Search mirrordrum's books

Random books from mirrordrum's library

Too Many Women by Rex Stout

The Serpent and the Staff by Frank Yerby

Squares and Courtyards: Poems by Marilyn Hacker

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George

Reflex by Dick Francis

The Audubon Society field guide to North American butterflies by Robert Michael Pyle

Members with mirrordrum's books

Member gallery (19)

(see all 19 pictures)

RSS feeds

Recently-added books

mirrordrum's reviews

Reviews of mirrordrum's books, not including mirrordrum's

Helper badges

Cover UploadingHelper

Site design selection

Use the new design

Use the old design

The old design is no longer fully supported nor does it get full attention when we roll out new features. We strongly recommend using the new design.


Member: mirrordrum

CollectionsYour library (1,396), Wishlist (1), Currently reading (1), To read (1), Read but unowned (126), Favorites (10), All collections (1,400)

Reviews12 reviews

Tagsaudiobook (112), fiction (76), (75), mystery (31), NLS (31), England (21), large print (11), NLS DB (10), Recorded Books (10), British (10) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

Recommendations3 recommendations

About my libraryThis is primarily a virtual library. I used to have a fairly large collection of both professional books and those read for pleasure. When I became visually impaired and then disabled, I began to give away the professional books I could no longer read and no longer used, then slowly was able to let go of a lot of the books I'd been carting around with me for years. It's taken me about 20 years to reduce my standard print books to my collection of poetry books, a number of books on Buddhist and other forms of spiritual and meditation practice, my Pooh collection and assorted thises and thats with which I still can't part. I still have my entire Nero Wolfe collection, though it's visually quite inaccessible. Silly me. :)

I've begun to add some large print books and am developing a small library of audio books, a lot of them Terry Pratchett books I ordered from the UK before they became available in the US.

I include in my virtual library anything I have on my shelves in audio or print format as well as the books I've downloaded or taken from the local library or NLS. Just for my own pleasure I'm trying to remember and include books that I've read over the course of my life and no longer own.

Groups50 Book Challenge, 75 Books Challenge for 2012, 75 Books Challenge for 2013, A Quieter LibraryThing, All Things Discworldian - The Guild of Pratchett Fans, Audiobooks, Buddhism, Crambo!, Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Librarians who LibraryThingshow all groups

Favorite authorsJane Austen, James Baldwin, Alan Bennett, E. F. Benson, John Betjeman, A. S. Byatt, Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, Harriet Doerr, Lawrence Durrell, E. M. Forster, Anne George, Rumer Godden, Tony Hillerman, Shirley Jackson, P. D. James, Barbara Kingsolver, Jack Kornfield, Dennis Lehane, Penelope Lively, Edna St. Vincent Millay, A. A. Milne, Toni Morrison, Pablo Neruda, Patrick O'Brian, Mary Oliver, Terry Pratchett, Mary Renault, Sharon Salzberg, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Steinbeck, Rex Stout, Josephine Tey, Ross Thomas, J. R. R. Tolkien, Alice Walker, Connie Willis, Virginia Woolf (Shared favorites)

Real nameEllie Moses

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/mirrordrum (profile)
/catalog/mirrordrum (library)

Member sinceMay 22, 2009

Currently readingThe Middle Mist by Mary Renault

Leave a comment


Ha! I'm plenty old enough to remember the 5th Dimension, Ellie, but I did enjoy hearing (and watching) "Up, Up and Away" again. :-) That one brings a smile every time.

I'm glad it arrived at a good time! I hope things are going well for you and JB, and that you get a good prognosis. Thinking of you here in Chicago . . .

Good lord, is there nothing we can do to dissuade JB? Surely there must be some other mystery writer she hasn't sampled yet.

How about Jacqueline Winspear and her Maisie Dobbs books? I've just recorded two books by Carolyn Hart from her Death on Demand series which I hadn't heard of before. She's no Agatha Christie but at least she sticks to the plot and places her red herrings wisely, unlike LP who clearly thinks she's a philosopher cum poet.

On the other hand, I'll be looking forward to hearing what JB thinks of Three Pines.

So glad you're feeling well enough to post on LT and hopefully books are helping now that you can concentrate on them. You're right about August and getting my books in order. First up is "Americanah" about which I've heard wonderful things. (Nigerian girl moves to the US and experiences prejudice for the first time.) Also, I believe that J.K. Rowling is coming out with her second detective novel, a sequel to "The Cuckoo's Calling" which I enjoyed very much.

Temperatures here are erratic and we seem to go from chilly to mild and back again. But the buds are out and the birds are back. Enjoy the sunshine!

Love and kisses, Anne

You guessed it, Ellie. Local is from your Nao of Brown benefactor. I thought it would show who it's from - didn't mean to be mysterious. Hope you like it. It's a flavor favorite of Mark's and mine. A dozen linked short stories, really well done.

- Your pal, Joe
Hi Ellie,
We are safe, though our hearts are heavy with sadness for those who lost loved ones in the landslide. It's so difficult that so many are missing, presumed dead, but not yet found or identified. Thank you for your concern!

My thread is at (I'm on #6 for the year).

You've been missed by the 75ers.

Comment on this image. Image comments only appear on your own profile page and the image page itself.
:) Cool pic! I like it.
Hmmm.... must learn to read these things before posting them.

Last line should read "Here's hope that your health continues to improve in 2014 ...."
Hello Ellie,

Here's the link to last year's faves. My intention is to do a running account this year but so far, it hasn't happened!

I was surprisingly unfazed by the Patriots' loss. It was amazing they got as far as they did with all the injuries, and I figured their luck would run out. Better they lost now than having to sit through another Super Bowl loss. Besides, I'm still ticked off that they let Wes Welker go and I'm rooting for him on Sunday. Plus I like Manning too. Problem is, I like the Seahawks coach Pete Carroll too, from his days coaching here. It's a good match up but I think I'll be pulling for Welker. Superb player who just got under Belichek's skin for some reason. His rant about Welker knocking out one of our players as "the worst thing I've seen" was ridiculous and belongs in the poor loser category. Shame on him. So it's Wes all the way for me.

The only Penelope Fitzgerald I read was "At Freddie's" about a children's acting school in the thirties. I loved it; made me laugh and cry. She is definitely one of the authors I have to revisit soon.

Here's hoping that your help continues to improve in 2014, which I hope will be filled with marvelous books for all of us.


So good to see you at the cafe. I hope that your wing has been successfully repaired. Seeing your posts make me think you're lots better and perhaps able to do some reading/listening.

Ha! Glad you got it, Ellie. Hope you're feeling much improved.

- Joe
I am here to yodel and carol and warble with pleasure! 200 book darts are MINE! (Well, 203 since they include a weird little promo card in a glassine envelope with one of each color attached to it. Dunno why they do it, but I like it!)

Thank you ever so for the treat, and for not making me feel hideously guilty every time I took a sip of coffee. Many many hugs and smooches!
Perkins has a high tolerance for whimsy, being virtual.

I shall advise upon receipt, doubtless with yodels and other vocalizations. After all, I am not a Basenji.

Smoochiecuddles!! I **love** them already, I need them every time I read a tree book, and I will smile and murmur each time I pick one up to use it, "thanks, Ellie, for making my reading habit that much more pleasant!"

Scroodles of huggings
He does.

And I shall have you know that, not only do I grind my own coffee beans, I do so in a hand grinder so the heat from the motor does not cook the roasted beans.

Hope you and JB have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Ellie!

- Joe
Hi Ellie,

Sorry about Manning vs. the Colts. Big surprise to everyone. It will be a long time before I forgive the Pats for letting Wes Welker go to the Broncos but I do enjoy watching him work with Peyton and am cheering for them both. Meanwhile our poor Tom Terrific has to deal with a bunch of newbies. Their 6-2 record is hilarious considering the number of dropped passes and the injuries this year; can't last.

Meanwhile, did you hear, the Red Sox won the World Series? General euphoria around here and we need it. I try not to cringe at the "Boston Strong" jingoistic stuff but it does keep the spotlight on the people who were hurt in the marathon bombing and that can only be a good thing as they are getting lots of help and encouragement as they heal and continue on with their lives.

Oh wait. This is a reading site, not a sports site. I just finished Jane Gardam's "Crusoe's Daughter" which was delicious. I highly recommend it, especially since meeting her in June. One young woman asked what Jane's favorite book was and she very promptly answered "Robinson Crusoe". In this book she re-imagines her mother' early life and there's a lovely essay at the beginning of the Europa edition I had which explains this. Apparently this is her favorite and most personal of the books she's written even though she acknowledges that "Old Filth" is everyone else's fave. "Queen of the Tambourine" is on my list. I'm parcelling out my Gardams since she says she's not writing any more.

Her last book, "Last Friends" is a bit meandering and it's better to read it right after Filth and "The Man with the Wooden Hat" since it deals with the "before" lives of these characters. Still lovely writing though. I thought of you when she described the athletic young woman who would eventually end up being Filth's wife as "a true Betjeman girl". Such a nice little jolt of recognition when our reading criss crosses.

I hope that you and JB have a lovely weekend and that you both are feeling well. Sadly, all our birds have flown and we are left with the squirrels, some of whom, I swear, are suicidal as they leap out in front of cars. I believe that in the squirrel world, if you haven't been industrious and haven't stored enough food for winter, death by car is the only way out.


Hi Ellie! :) Thank you for the invitation !
Pleased to accept!
Hi Ellie,

Well, you're right, the newest book has been delayed because of the guvvermint. We're shut down until .... when??? Never mind, I have stuff to narrate at home. I have previewed my latest for NLS and do not want you, on any account, to listen. Dreadful sentence fragments, ridiculous plot, banal philosophizing all remain but just more of it. Yikes.

I was delighted to read that you've picked up Ruth Ozeki's newest. I listened to her reading the audible sample and thought, "Is there anything this woman cannot do?" I'm sure it's a delightful listen. Today is the Man Booker announcement and although she's a long shot, I'm pulling for her. Plus, I think she might need the dough.

We are getting a glorious fall here in NE which makes up for the swift slide into winter we (didn't) enjoy last year. I hope that you and JB are enjoying some balmy weather.

By the way: did you know that The Book Thief is a movie coming out this Christmas? The trailer is online and Geoffrey Rush plays the father, Emily Watson the mother. It looks good from the little I saw. Of course when a book is so great, it's an awfully hard act to follow.


Comment on this image. Image comments only appear on your own profile page and the image page itself.
This is a beautiful photograph.
I probably was reflecting my NBA prism in comparing Pistol Pete and Magic to Candace's moves. I do know Cynthia Cooper and Cheryl Swoopes, but I don't remember them doing the fancy lookaway passes (like Magic) or the hold the ball out one way with hesitation, and then take it, or pass it, another (like Pistol). Other now you see it, now you don't moves of CP3 reminded me of Pistol, too. (I thought he was way ahead of his time - people'd be going crazy over his moves today). CP3's whole game isn't like that, it's those moves that caught my eye.

I started with women's pro ball by following Chicago's Women's Pro B-ball League team, the Hustle, when they played at the DePaul arena in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago back in the late 70s, early 80s, before they financially busted. Rita Easterling was the big deal back then. I wish the Sky played somewhere closer! They play in a 'burb.
Thanks for the CP3 Top 10, Ellie. The woman can play! I liked #6 in pink, among others. I see some Pete Marovich in some of what she does (Magic Johnson, too).
P.S. I just saw Anne's comment on "The Book Thief". My understanding is that, in Australia, where Zusak lives, it was marketed as an adult book. The YA positioning was a U.S. idea. Because we've had so much YA/adult crossover reading, it hasn't made much of a difference in terms of attracting adults, as far as I can tell. I hadn't thought of Anne's point about the younger kids. I took on some tough ones at 12 and 13, as I'm sure you did. I suspect some kid willing to take on a long serious one like that will be able to handle it.
I do like CP3 a lot. She grew up in the Chicago area (Naperville) and was a big deal here, and last I knew her ma worked for the Chicago Sky. She's definitely worthy; I wish I had seen her play more this past year. I can believe she had a lot of assists. The great players see the whole court and make the plays to win. Good point about Pat S. I'm sure you're right about the other three. Their day will come.

EDD's comment after getting creamed in the playoffs: I've got to get stronger. Amen.
Hello Ellie,

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I actually did read "The Book Thief" some time ago and thought it was a fabulous book. I did have trouble with its being marketed as a young adult book, presumably because the main character is a young girl. Although I can see it being a great book for discussion for kids 15 and up, many of the kids trolling the young adult shelves are 12 and 13 and I thought the material was pretty advanced for them. But then, my kids are grown and I'm a bit out of touch.

My home studio work is coming on well. Book #6 (romance) is coming out next month and I've just got a contract for book #7 (comic novel). It's a bit tricky trying to figure out what will sell but I'm getting a bit smarter about the books I choose to audition for. Still recording for NLS two days a week as I will until the 40 mins. drive each way gets to be a burden, but hopefully that won't be for quite a while.

All my best to JB. What a stinker cancer is. I hope her treatments are the last she'll have to go through and that you can both enjoy a lovely autumn.

Take care, dear Ellie and happy reading to you.


Ha! Can I dig it? I can dig it! Oh, did I ever "dig it" a lot back in those years. And let more "dude"s know I dug it than I can count. Should we discuss bell bottoms?

If you and JB are by any chance looking for laughs, we found the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy movie hilarious last weekend. Sophisticated it's not, filled with blue language it is. Melissa McCarthy is my newest hero. We haven't laughed so hard at a movie in years.

Is Breakfast with Buddha on audio? That might be a good one. Sorry the truckload of dung isn't on audio - that sounds a bit strange to say, doesn't it?

Looking forward to you digging it on the threads.

- Joe

I'm liking "Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung" by a downunder Buddhist, Ellie. Very short stories, told with modesty and humor.

Hope all is progressing well for you.

Best - Joe
Thanks, Ellie. The link seems to take me to the top of your thread, though. No it to worry - when in have time, I'll hit Google for more info.
Hi Ellie!

I do have my own studio thingie, built by my fabulous husband with sound engineering advice from a work colleague. I'm currently recording my fifth commercial book so things have been going pretty well. At least the huz didn't build the thing for nothing! I'm dealing with authors and publishers now which is very interesting. I also have the option of working in my pj's occasionally which is sort of fabulous. Of course I'm still recording for NLS up in New Hampshire and have NO TIME for my own reading!!! Can't wait for August.

I was wondering about you and "Nada". When you mentioned you were reading it I was a tad chagrined. I found it deeply depressing and was also aware that it was some kind of classic (I think the English translation is a new one) but it was a slog. Life is way to short to be reading books we don't like. Unless of course we're being paid to read them. Ah, the almighty dollar.

I'm so glad to hear that you're out and about more, enjoying the birds and the gorgeous weather before the heat sets in. I hope JB is doing well too.

All the best,

Hi, Ellie.

Hope things are going well. How's JB's health?

It occurred to me that you might enjoy Ron Merullo's "Buddha" novels. I liked "Breakfast with Buddha" very much, and I'm liking the second one, "Lunch with Buddha" so far.

Good stories, good reminders of what's important.

Best wishes - Joe
Aww....thanks, Ellie. You hold your own in company, never fear! (Richard tends to bring out the funny in me.)
You might be interested in this article about organic and GMO food that was my dad sent me.
if this stuff is so cool, how come Monsanto doesn't want GMO foods labeled?

I'm reserving judgment about whether or not there are problems with GMOs. I've heard arguments on both sides. However, there are obvious reasons for not wanting GMOs labeled. Labeling them could scare away people who don't know what it means, or who still believe they're not safe if they are found to be just fine (like the unshakeable anti-vax attitude toward vaccines). I'm sure there are other reasons I can't think of offhand. I'm not for or against labeling at this point, but the attitude of "if they have nothing to hide, then everything must be in the open" is not one I agree with (I have nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I want a video camera in my kitchen).

I poked around on google and every reputable site I looked at - government, international aid, university, journal - said two things: the first is that GMOs can't be lumped together in one group, because they're all modified in different ways and need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The second is that all research thus far has shown no adverse effects.

Also, it's nice for you that you can afford expensive organic (whatever that means) foods. Not everyone can. I'm unemployed and living off my parents' goodwill. Some of my friends don't even have that luxury. Cheap food is a good thing.
Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you liked the review. I hope you like the book when you get to it! It's definitely not mile-a-minute thrills (though it gets rather intense near the end), but it's a solid piece of storytelling that doesn't sugar-coat or tie everything up neatly in a bow at the end. I loved it!

*acute terror*
Hi Ellie- It sounds like you enjoyed Mystic River. It's been nearly 10 years since I read it, so the details about the ending are a little fuzzy. And I can't remember if the film altered anything. Yes, the casting was amazing. I have always loved Sean Penn and he does a stellar job here. Have a good week.

I'm goin' with tired-can-finally-rest in preference to slothfulness, if it's all the same to you.

Hi Ellie! I've actually only read the first Nero Wolfe mystery (last May Murder & Mayhem, I think it was!) and it was high time I returned to the series.

"Dance to the Music of Time" is good, in that understated English way, but I'm going slow. Possibly because there aren't that many dragons and explosions. I am a reader of very little brain at the moment. :)

Thanks for your note!

Thanks, Ellie!

30 years ago coming out had to be a whole different story than what it would be today, even at Cal. And as a Prof. in TN? I suspect that wasn't an easy time. I look forward to hearing the tales some day. And what the heck did you teach, you brainy one, you?

We feel good about our parenting decisions, and so far the kids seem to think we're okay. Your Pat Summitt story, and her great achievements to please her pa, raises the question of whether creating that drive to please may help geniuses accomplish great things, but I still wouldn't do it. What a lousy thing to do to somebody, you know?

Thanks for the kind comments about Debbi and me. The parenting means a lot to us, as you can tell, and I'm glad you've got other reasons, too.

I'm a Britney Griner fan, as you know, and what Jason Collins has done, with so much class, is a great thing. We're getting there. As Debbi says, our generation is getting it, and the lion's share of our kids' generation is way, way beyond that. A lot of the stupidity, with idiot pocket exceptions, is going to be history, and we're seeing it happen, thanks to people like Collins and lots of others. Very cool that he picked his 98 number to honor Matthew Shepard.

You're right about bright lights, big city - that's a pic of me a ways uptown from Times Square that you see behind me, before we went to the theater on our recent trip there.

Hope all is well with you and JB!

Best - Joe

p.s. I know you like photos, and I just posted a bunch more on my profile.
Hope you're doing okay, Ellie. We miss you around LT land.

- Joe
Sorry about them Lady Volunteers. What a year for Louisville's men and women b-ballers.
Glad all is well, Ellie. Sorry the weather's pestering eyes like clown fish pestering clams. And sorry about the wordy section in Nao. I was thinking oh no when I ran into it while reading Nao, but it's actually good and not too demanding if you can figure out a way to get the print big enough. It's probably a pain to read with a magnifying glass? I had an OED once (a departure gift from a bookstore I worked at)that came with a magnifying glass. Kinda cool, but kinda annoying to have to use it.

If you'd like, I could give you a short summary of what's in that Nao written section.

I liked but not loved Regeneration. Maybe I should give it another chance some time. Haven't read Return of the Native, although I liked his Tess of the D'ubervilles. Have you read other Hardy's? Which would you recommend?

I'm reading a mystery (C.J> Box's latest), The Greater Journey (recommended by Anne), and Lilli Carre's graphic Heads or Tails, which is interesting but not capturing my heart. Germinal is looking at me from my little stack on the dining room table, and Beloved is calling out from my bedside. Maybe it's time to give Beloved a try.

Hope you're set up for an enjoyable weekend and JB is healing well.

Best - Joe
Hi, Ellie. I hope all is going well in your part of the world. The Tennessee women's team keeps marching on in the NCAAs, I'm glad to see!

I'm just finishing one you might like some day, called Benediction, by Kent Haruf. He's the guy who wrote Plainsong. This is another really good one, set out in Colorado. Plain, unadorned writing about plain, unadorned people - beautiful.

Best - Joe
Ellie, Thanks so much for the links. I tried to buy a couple of Joe Bonamassa CDs over here but they are 3 times the price of local cds as imports so I'll wait for an overseas trip to add them to my collection.

I know, that line gets me every time. We should all be so lucky as to waste our lives that way. I'm glad you liked it. Have a great weekend, mi amiga. I'll pass on Casey's "Hey" to the wily Sherlock.
Ha! Will do, Ellie. I know, it's a beaut, ain't it? Here's another one by him that has stuck with me:

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
By James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
Loving the poems in your thread. Seemed presumptuous to post in your thread a favorite they reminded me of, by that ol' Ohioan James Wright, so I'm putting it in this pm:

A Blessing
By James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
Hi Ellie,

Yes, I have read Olive Kitteridge and loved it. Such a flawed and prickly character. Her visit to her married son and the outing with his family resonates so that I can still see the stain on her front.

Have you ever heard of National Theatre Live? Some National Theatre productions are transmitted "live" to cinemas around the world. We're going to see Alan Bennett's "People" next week and Helen Mirren's play will show in mid June and you can bet I'll be there. Here's the link:

I've noted the Juliet Stevenson Masterpiece which I'd never heard of. Meanwhile, I've just started Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South read by Juliet, making me commute a dream.

I've not been present on LT much lately because in addition to my NLS work, I've now got a home studio and have started some commercial work. Busy but happy!

Not sure whether my post from my phone is going to show up, Ellie. We're going tonight to see the indy poet finals (as opposed to team finals)of the Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam competition, so we're taping the Bulls game.

I may not be the LTer you're thinking of re Killer Angels, but I am indeed a fan of it, and would be happy to do a one for the tuther with Beloved!

- Joe
Are you still enjoying The Nao of Brown?
Please continue with any stream (or creek) of consciousness thoughts you may have, Ellie! That helps with Beloved, because I'm trying to overcome the annoying "I don't wanna" voice inside that speaks up whenever I approach it.

Sorry Alexie reading isn't so good so far. As you've seen from cafe comments, he sounds like he's entertaining to see in person. That doesn't mean he's a good reader of his own work, though. You're much more audio-knowledgeable than I am; the only author who has successfully stood out for me is Neil Gaiman. In the non-author (or celebrity author) group, I did like Ian McKellen reading the Odyssey a lot.
Don't! Eccchhh
Ha! Thanks, Ellie. I do get their news - and I ordered! :-) I'm not sure what the difference is between Sumatra Batak and Sumatra Blue Batak, but I figure I'll like it, regardless.

Best - Joe
Oh, I'm so glad you're enjoying Nao, Ellie! The drawings are so good, aren't they? Wish I could be there to be your audio for it. Going to bed at 4 a.m.? I've lost track of when midnight is these days. I'm getting up not long after you go to bed!

Best wishes from Chicago - Joe
I've not read either of the two you asked about (although I certainly read The Well of Loneliness back in the 1980s). Given the topic and the things going on in my life, I will add them to my list for this year!

Page Eight with our dear Bill Nighy is on Masterpiece Theater this Sunday! (Am so delighted that Downton is over and that Masterpiece has finally returned to sanity.) You had mentioned this to me a while ago but I never managed to get around to looking for it. Very excited that I'm finally going to get to see it.

So glad Janet is feeling better. It must be a relief to you both to have this period over with.

In a non-fic book I'm reading, Ellie, All Roads Lead to Austen, she learns she can't be called American in South America because everyone in South, Central and North America is an "American". The Spanish phrase they use instead is "estado unidense", meaning "United States-er". That has a nice ring to it, don't you think? So you just need to get us all to start using the Spanish phrase.

- Joe
Ellie- I appreciate all your wonderful comments. What's BFS?

Hi, Ellie.

Debbi did a great job at the storytelliing event, telling one about her father dying in an accident when she was ten, and how little she can remember of him. Very moving. Becca and three of her pals attended, and we had a number of our other friends in the crowd. If some of this ever gets on Youtube, I'll let you know. She's really good.

I am so glad you mentioned "Listening for the Crack of Dawn"! I could not figure out, for some dimwitted reason, where it came from and why, and thought it was for Debbi. Now I know, and will listen to it! Thank you for thinking of me with that, and apologies for being so clueless.

- Joe
Ellie- It's so good to hear from you! I see you posting at the Cafe regularly. I also loved the Hurt Locker and NEED to see it again. I'm glad you mentioned Generation Kill. I did not read the book but the HBO series was fantastic.
I just started the Navy Seal memoir, "No Easy Day" about taking down Bin Laden. It's off to a good start. Drop by my thread sometime. No food but beer & beers!

Hi, Ellie. That's great news on JB, although I'm sorry they sent her home way too early. She's one tough cookie - back at work, are you kidding me?

The Kathryn Bigelow comments were in the LA Times, reprinted in our Trib:

Completely agree with you on Obama's inspiring speech. I loved the part you quoted, and this one got me, too: "For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote." "to hear a King proclaim" - woo, love it.

He hit it out of the park, you're right. I may be more forgiving on his first term than you - he was dealt an awfully tough hand. I sure do like him as a person.

Good for you on Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It is indeed an incredible piece of writing. I've never seen anything like it.
Thanks for the link to the remarkable creatures, Ellie. That must have been mind-boggling back then - actually, it's mind-boggling now. But we (most of us!) don't have that religious framework that they had saying it's not possible.

Have you heard anything about Chevalier's new Underground Railroad-related book? I hope it's good.
Hi, Ellie. Thanks for the remarkable creatures link! I'll peruse soon. We're heading out to hear Debbi at a storytelling event.

Gemma and Duncan - I did like the one I read, just not enough to pursue it further. My avid reader sister loves those.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers - maybe it's not the time for you to read it? Sounds like RL hasn't exactly been easy lately for you, and I don't read tough ones at times like that. (How is JB doing?) The book is really remarkable, but it's a very hard life that's described. As a reader you root for those trying to overcome such difficult odds, and the author has done something absolutely amazing in creating it. But you might want to wait for a more auspicious time to read it?

- Joe

Thank you for mentioning the audible sale over at Joe's cafe today. I meant to buy 1Q84 yesterday but then completely forgot. Now it is tucked away in my Kindle.


I love it! Which book was it in? I suspect I read The Four Friends as a wee lad and have forgotten it over the years. Thank you for sending it! Now I understand huffling much better. James may have been "only" a snail, but he's an inspiration to all of us.

- Joe
Thanks for your message-
I am really really looking forward to Moon Tiger actually, and Im glad to have an endorsement from you. It is hard to chose when there are so many goodies out there.
Im excited now.
I hope all is well, Ellie. How was your b-day? Any good books on your table (or queued up for the audio?)

- Joe
Thank you. I had a great time in California last May, I really want to head back there, but my next trip will be around Europe. Who knows I may get back to California one of these days, I'd certainly like to see both San Diego and San Francisco again (so many photo opportunities!!)
Thank you very much - I think the shot you're talking about is this one:

If so, I'm very glad that you liked it, I was a little uncertain of the original shot (in colour) but as soon as I converted it to black and white it seemed to really take on a life of its own.

Once again, I really appreciate you taking the time out to explore my website. I try to keep updating it with new shots as often as possible (daily, if I can).

Thank you for the news about Michael, I didn't know he was unwell.

And thanks for checking out my site :-)
Thanks Ellie for your comment and for posting the link to the photostream. I have had a little look at some of their archive photos before but had not seen those library ones - they are great!

Feeling a little better today, and trying not to worry about all the things I should have been doing while I was ill, which still need to be done some time: for now, I still need to rest and get properly better.

Have a very good New Year's Eve!

Not to mention the Maybach's major downside: UUUUUUUUGLY.

And not just a little, either. Nice idea for the tongs. Send them to the Barbados address, please. I shall be joining them for the month of February.

Perkins! Have you shipped the Bentley to Barbados yet?
Courage? I suspect that's way too much credit for me, since all I'm doing is stubbornly refusing to sit down and never get back up! So many people I've seen do that...just plop down and let what happens, happen...and I am deathly afraid of what that would mean. I'd rather suffer a little and preserve the bits of independence that I can.

Stubborn, see?
Heh. Isn't it nice to be able to play around without people (publicly) making frownie faces at us?

Thanks for the concern, dearest, I'm hangin' in there. If not for the dog needing to be walked, I suspect I'd just lie here and moan. So far, anyway, that's been motivation enough to keep exercising. It does help. And the wind, say hallelujah, is dropping!!

Hi Ellie,

Further proof (as if we needed it) that the books we read are all connected to one another. On page 40 of Ian McEwan's "Sweet Tooth", the heroine comments on her single life in 1970s London:
"And just like the working girl in a Betjeman poem Tony once read to me, I too washed my smalls in the handbasin of my bedsit."

I tell you, Mr. B. seems to follow us everywhere.

Happy Birthday and New Year to come. Best of health to you and Janet,

Hah! No worries, Ellie. We're honored - please hang onto it if you like. We do manage to have fun together, although how she manages to put up with me is hard to figure.

I realized I hadn't put in new photos for a long time, so I'm looking around for what else might be added that's fun.

- Joe
Thanks for the links and thoughts, Ellie! That's a great Bruegel, and I love the WCW poem to go with it. What a well done commentary on how important we all are. One of the most famous myths ever, and he's an irrelevant, unnoticed plop out in the water.

Some of Bruegel's are better than others, that's for sure. I've always liked this one, too:

I've heard a lot about Judith Leyster recently, as her "rediscovery" continues. I always assumed it was some unscrupulous trying to make $ who put Hals name on her paintings, but maybe it was the maestro himself?

- Joe
My knee is doing very well, thanks Ellie for asking. Best of all I've been getting by with less of the drug which has been the thing that's been keeping me on the couch for far longer than I want to be.

Could the Elizabeth McGovern you refer to be the lady who stars in Downton Abbey?

Tomorrow I'm picking up Laura Amy Schlitz's new book (can't remember the title now) in an attempt to read a children's book to try to jump start my reading mojo. She wrote the Newbery Award-winning "Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!" and "The Drowned Maiden's Hair". I narrated the latter and enjoyed them both immensely.

Failing that, "The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland ...." sounds intriguing and comes highly recommended.

I hope that you're keeping well and that your weather is a lot better than the infinite drizzle that's stuck over us!
Thanks, me dearieo! I'm a little stiffer and more sore than usual from the chill and damp, but I'll wear into it soon enough.

Hi Ellie,

I've been laid up for the last month due to a fortunately successful knee replacement op, but I know that as soon as I get back to the studio, that new L. Penney will be waiting for me.

Right now, because of the pain meds, I'm restricted to reading for my own pleasure and have become addicted to epistolary novels that I can put down and pick up without losing the plot. Now that Joe has posted his review about the 100 year old man (a book I have never heard of ... but what is LT for?) I look forward to branching out a little.

Meanwhile I amble about the neighborhood on my crutches, hoping to be as inspired by nature as my friend Ellie. It's lovely today and a bit cold but as long as the sun shines ...

Hope that you and Janet are enjoying the weekend.

I'm glad you stopped by my profile, Ellie. The urge to keep accumulating books is a common weakness around here. I am almost at a saturation point...there is just nowhere to put them anymore. BUT "I still have my entire Nero Wolfe collection, though it's visually quite inaccessible" is NOT silly. There is something so companionable about our favorite books, even when we aren't reading them. I have multiple copies of many of mine. It strikes other people as strange, but I know why I do it, and I don't much care what anyone else thinks. Right now, for instance, I'm going to pick up my lovely little Konemann Travel Classics edition of Life on the Mississippi, just for the pure pleasure of holding it. I have at least two other copies of it. One was my husband's before I knew him. One is a Library of America edition. And this one I just bought at a library sale for $2.00 because it was beautiful. Couldn't possibly do without any one of those, could I? Well, someday I may have to. But it is not this day.
Ellie - Trebizond has gone right on my WL - It looks very much like my kind of thing. Thanks so much. Lucy
Elle, good news that JP is coming home, everything is so much better when you are surrounded by your loved ones and your own things. Enjoy your day.


Thank you for dropping by and leaving me the message about Thay. We are so blessed he is still going strong. I was blessed to hear him speak last year in Denver. It was on my birthday and the best present I ever gave myself. It was at the top of my bucket list. It's scratched off now but still a highlight for me. I would love to go to Plum Village one day.

Thank you for the blessings! “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” _/\_

Wonderful! The two you mentioned, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and the Hare with Amber Eyes, are ones I've been very interested in, so your endorsement means a lot.

I'm reading a light as a feather urban fantasy called The Dirty Streets of Heaven that Jim Dr. Neutron liked, and it's a good changeup after the deep gripping strength of The Garden of Evening Mists. After that is (finally!) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Glad you're only knackered. Rest up and enjoy those books, and we'll keep your table ready at the cafe. Thinking of you in Chicago -

- Joe
I hope everything is going okay, Ellie.

If you're looking for something new to read, I commend The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng to you. I think it fits your interests, and it's a beautifully written book.

Best wishes - Joe
Hi, Ellie. I hope all is going well.

I thought of you and Janet after having some Peet's Uzuri African Blend. I think your HSO might like it. For me it lasts well as a daily cuppa.

Sorry to see you and Anne don't like the Louise Penny series. I like Gamache, and I like Three Pines, and that carries me through a lot. Plus the author seems like a genuinely nice person. But this is one of the things that makes book-reading interesting - dedicated readers often disagree. :-)

What are you reading and liking these days?

- Joe
Do you know how fabulous it is to know that you dislike this dreck as much as I do Ellie? I have heard nothing but praise for these books on LT and in the press and thought I was perhaps missing something or out of my mind. Our dear Joe is currently singing the praises of her latest which I await with dread.

More descriptions of Clara's paintings (masterpieces!!), Ruth's poetry (masterpieces!!), Peter's jealousy, Myrna's wisdom and what in my opinion is an insulting, stereotypical depiction of Gabri and Olivier fill the next five volumes. And god-like Gamache, Nichols the weirdo and Beauvoir - who can figure him out and who cares? - are on hand with stupidly inane murders and bizarre solutions. Also, dreadful, simplistic delving into the human psyche that has been described as deep and heartfelt.

In the "life's too short" department: I read somewhere that you should deduct your age from 100, then read a book only until that page number (in your case page 31) , then discard if it doesn't hold your attention. Sounds like you went beyond page 31.

Unfortunately, in the the case of la Penney, I can't do that. Soooo pleased to have found a kindred spirit. It will help me get through the next "Beautiful Mystery".
Dear Ellie,

Well I'm blown over by your long message; it must have taken ages to write! Your kind words mean a lot and credit for any success with an English accent goes to living with a Brit for 36 years and being addicted to all things Julie since childhood. So thank you so much.

I'm so glad that my dislike of the books isn't seeping into the recording. (You should hear my groans when another one shows up at the studio.) I share your bafflement as to the books' popularity. When a murder is committed in this tiny Shangri-la and the ENTIRE Montreal homicide department takes up residence in the B&B for days in order to solve it, I want to tear my hair out! Also, Ms. Penny has a strange prejudice in deciding on her villains - which I won't spoil for you but if you read several of the books to follow, perhaps you'll eventually spot it.

Still, these books are loved by many. I just think they're silly so I don't comment on them. And although I find it hilarious when the author puts the brakes on the plot to describe in minute detail the sandwiches being served at the Bistro - I do think that Penny has a marvelous way of describing food. With no possibility of reaching for something to eat while I'm reading, my stomach starts to rumble and we have to stop recording. I really do think she should write a cookbook!


Hi Ellie

Very curious about what you thought of the latest Louise Penny. I've never commented on the books on LT because I'm not the fan that most are. I've often wondered if that spills over into the narration. Haven't had any complaints so far and I know I'm set to read the new one any day now. Lord knows I've recorded plenty of books I don't love!

And how is Blair Brown doing? she doesn't narrate much but I do enjoy her.

Take care,
Hi Elle,

Excellent question. All I can do is share my current criteria for reading print versus audio. For the most part,anything with significant literary quality, that I will want to take notes on, falls into the print category. "Snow" is a magnificent novel with multilayered themes, imagery, and symbolism. I vote read it! By the same token, if the narrator is good and you tend not to take notes, it is probably wonderful on audio!

Hope that helps a little in your decision making process.

Thanks Ellie for sending me the hilarious grannies. If this guy is re-elected then Missouri has a lot to answer for. I tried to explain to a particularly rabid liberal friend of mine that we should all kiss Todd Akin's ring for bringing to the public eye his rape defining bill, co-sponsored by the can't-run-away-from-my-own-dogma-fast-enough Mr. Ryan. (She isn't buying it. She wants them both tarred and feathered and taken out of the country on a pole.)

A steady diet of politics is bad for the blood pressure but for a bit of relief, I tune in to Mr. Ailes' network to see what half truths and smokescreens they're cooking up. As the ladies so beautifully put it:

"We heard it on Fox News
So it must be true..."
Oh my goodness, the Legitimate Rape video is something, isn't it? I passed it on to my kin. It's hard to believe what these nutcases all talk themselves into. You can just see him with the right (far right!) group, everyone nodding and agreeing with this piece of wisdom. Ay yi yi.

Kudos to the performers, and Renegade Raging Grannies a great name for a group. Walklover and my sisters like to call themselves the Crones from Hell, although as far as I know they haven't considered releasing a single yet. Mainly they like to make fun of Walklover's husband.

- Joe
I watched Maru's TV debut and it was just too precious! I laughed till I cried.
Hah! Good channeling of Lord PDW, Ellie. A defeated porpoise is sad thing indeed. A defeated poor puss ain't too jolly either.
No worries about the audiobooks. It seems most things are going to the streaming route with the cloud and ultraviolet becoming popular. Why keep hard copies of anything anymore. However, I still love having books in the house just for security.
Great news about the rescue kitten. It was meant that your friend turned the wrong way. I haven't viewed Maru's website, but I plan to. Thanks for the heads up. Have a wonderful week.

Just got through viewing your pics and I LOVE them, especially Maru.

Hi, Ellie. Thanks so much for dropping by my profile and admiring my "art" collection. Those optical illusions including the primary picture of the sailing ship were sent to me in an email by a friend. I don't know who did them, but it would be interesting to find out. I love them too which is why I saved them.
Do you listen to audiobook tapes or stick to cds? I ask because I'm in the process of thinning my library and I have some taped audiobooks that you might like. Are you interested?
It seems that we have the same taste in authors. I thought that I had every book Mary Renault wrote, but The Middle Mist is new to me. Where did you find it? Must find book, must find book.....

Ellie, so happy that you've enjoyed "The Hare with Amber Eyes" as much as I have. It's such a personal book but covers so much history and geography. We're on vacation this week and I've left my copy on the coffee table in the hope that some will pick it up and love it too. So far no takers. They've got their noses in their Kindles and I have to keep asking what they're reading.

I've noticed that sometimes when Mom gushes about a book there's a bit of resistance (or bloody mindedness ... depends on your point of view) although to be fair, they have often taken my suggestions. Have my niece reading "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" so there is hope that she'll move on to "Amber Eyes" since she still listens to me.

Don't know why everyone doesn't just read what Mama reads!

I'm finding that this ebook craze has taken away one of my pleasures at the beach. I love to look at book covers to see what people are reading but alas they're getting fewer in number each year.
Hi Ellie!

We haven't chatted in a while. Hope that the dog days of summer aren't too doggy for you!

I'm currently reading "Return to Thrush Green", this time read by June Ritchie. She is excellent with wonderfully specific voices for each character. Gwen Watford isn't quite the technician she is, but oh, I do love her warm voice. I'll be returning to her for the next volume.

Enjoyed as always the latest Lisette Lecat/ Ladies Detective Agency tome.

How are you getting along with Blair Brown? Interested to hear whether her voice appeals.


I almost hope the a-holes elect this yahoo! What a comedy classic his presidency would be!

I see stuff like this and think, "job security for Obama!"

Hi Ellie- It was great to hear from you! I've seen you around LT for a couple of years. Sorry about the Any Human Heart bullet but that's just what I do! It was great to have you pop on the thread too! I'm honored.

Hah! It is a bit of heaven, here, Ellie. And I'm supremely good at being lazy, a talent I don't get to exercise half enough. I imagine floor elves and peeping chipmunks are agog at my ability to do nothing of substance for such extended periods. Plus I'm enjoying Goose Girl. My gals are napping, and all's right with the world.
Presently: 91. Humidity 50% so it's bearable. Just.

The dog isn't in any rush to go for her 2pm walk. I just said "let's go" and she turned on her back, paws in the air, in the path of the a/c. Normally that makes her vanish down the stairs in a flurry of nail-clicks.

Smart poochie, that Stella.

cakes and champers? mais oui!

everything is completely ouchareenee at this moment. thunderstorms blowing in, blahblahblah

am trying to keep it all low-key today and, since tomorrow is supposed to be over 90, tomorrow too.

tks ma petite punkin

Thanks, Ellie! Were you off on some adventure of your own? Thanks for taking good care of the cafe while we were on Aussie break.

- Joe
I hope things are going well, Ellie. Love the Shaun Tan pic up top!

We're back after a great trip, and I thought of you while enjoying my Peet's Sumatra Blue Batak this a.m.

- Joe
Yes, it was a lovely surprise to find the letter in the unremarkable second-hand copy of Greengage Summer I bought on ebay. I upgraded to a lovely Folio Society copy and I now keep the letter in that.

No worries, Ellie (see how Australian I'm getting?) Crikey, I love it when you take over at the cafe! Particularly if you're having fun with it. So please continue to your heart's content.

We're back in the world of wireless, so I should be able to drop by a bit more often, although we're out and about a lot. We're having a blast. Debbi has put together quite an itinerary, and the kids and I are thanking her over and over again.

I haven't figured out how to copy images on this iPad yet (my usual methods don't work), so I'll see whether our Master of Computers son or his visual media savvy sister can help me.

It's actually cool here, as opposed to summer hot in Chicago, and we're loving it. We've had a number of sunrise events or early planes to catch so far, but tomorrow our Sydney tour doesn't start until a blessed post-9 a.m., so we can "sleep in" a bit and start slow. We've loved the outback experience, but we're city folks, as you know, and all of us are glad to be back in a big one for a while.

Hope all is going well with you and Janet.

Best - Joe
Welcome to the vortex!
Quite welcome, of course. Glad to up your savvy points!
Ellie, thank you for asking. The ribs are better. Nothing broken, but I think I collapsed a small part of my lung. I am practicing some deep breaths to send some healing to the sore spots. I am slow. I am gentle. I am getting better minute by minute.

I appreciate all my LT friends who have expressed concern and good wishes. Thanks!

aka maggie1044
I'm back!

I just found this info about a radio play starring your friend and mine, Bill Nighy:

It says it's being broadcast on Tuesday at 14.15 which, I believe is 9:15AM for us (presuming that there is still a five hour time difference).

Thought you might be interested if you're going to be available Tuesday!
Hi Ellie,

Yes, eldest daughter is a sci-fi, fantasy lover but also reads books on quantum theory and basically everything else. She was one of those kids who glommed on to reading and never let go. She's very wary about anything her mother suggests; says she'll never get back those four hours of her life she spent reading "Edgar Sawtelle" . (Four hours! Have you read that thing? Took me four days without interruption.) Daughter #2 didn't really cotton to reading until age 18, pointing out that her mother and sister hauling her into every bookstore we passed turned her off. But for 11 years now the dear thing loves anything I suggest, even calling me from airport bookstores and reading titles to me so I can recommend something. Bliss!

No Anne Tyler at work for me; instead I'm narrating a "christian romance" called "Larkspur Lane". Stupid title. But I have learned not to turn my nose up at any genre. Decent writing is what's really important and the dialogue in this one is very good. Also a believable premise having to do with social workers and game wardens. Not like my last bodice ripper called "Savage Love" (I think... well, Savage Something, no need to know the actual title), a "Twilight" rip off wherein people in the Louisiana bayou morph into leopards and have a lot of sex. I should have received additional pay for that work of art.

I've had a lot of celebrity bios lately and so narrating "The Obamas" by Jodi Kantor was a nice diversion. I'm a fan of the prez and his fabulous wife but reading it made me realize that I'm watching a little too much MSNBC and getting an extremely one sided sanitized view of his presidency. So I've sworn off television "opinion" shows and am sticking to the New York Times and The Economist. (Should be adding the Wall Street Journal to the mix, I know, but I draw the line there.) "The Obamas" is well written and worth reading I think; it's a pretty balanced account even though the writer is from the NYT.

"Digging to America" is one of Tyler's more recent books and I thought it was wonderful. So glad that NLS has the Blair Brown version although I never know how they choose which commercial books to adapt. I really think you'll enjoy it.

I'm not expecting to do a lot of reading this week-end since we have a lot on our plates but I did get another Gwen Watford/Miss Read book for next week's commute. Delicious.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and that the weather is sunny... but not too.


Ellie, I just checked in with audible to check out the narrator. What a shame that Blair Brown didn't narrate. I think that she has recorded most of the other Anne Tyler titles and I've heard her read something else - can't think what it was just now - and remember thinking what a good narrator she would be for Tyler books.

Have you listened to her? I've been a Tyler fan for a long time and I believe that the only one I didn't read was Noah's Compass which my daughter read and didn't like. (This is the daughter whose reading habits are closest to mine. The other one is a fantasy and sci fi fan - and just about everything else her mother doesn't enjoy!)
That sure worked! Thanks, Ellie. Nice pics. Fun to see Janet, too.

We just got back from going to Best Buy for Ipad-helping keyboards, Myopic Bookstore for some books for the trip, including a Ngaio Marsh mystery and Terrry Pratchett's Mort (I'm still trying with the latter author), and then a cool toystore called Rotofugi, where I got a little ninja and a happy-making little tea kettle. I know, you'd have to see them. Debbi and the kids got similar items.

We bought Jesse his graduation present, a new camera. You guessed it, I told him I have a great test subject, our garden. We'll see. Still some game-playing (apples to apples) to come.

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!
Thanks, Ellie! Sounds like a plan. Microsoft-to-be son may help, too.

Your vegetation unfortunately wants me to log in first, and my hacking skills are pathetic.
Thanks, Ellie. I'll consult with my more techno-savvy kids about getting you photos of the garden so we can get them onto the thread.

It's his pal Phosy (I think) I'm talking about in terms of developments in the Dr. Siri series.
Hiya, indeed we (Jeremy and I) read the whole of 50 Shades to each other. Neither of us could believe his sister was squeee-ing herself hoarse over this garbage. Urpsome indeed.

I know, I feel awful that I yodel the praises of a book I know you can't get in audio, but Ellie dearest, it's worth hiring an Indian student to read it to you!! The book is amazing. A. Maz. Ing.

I'm sorry, I'll go now.

From Debbi: "Please tell Ellie thank you. I had no time to check it out this weekend, so I didn't know it was off. Have been watching on and off today - and they are definitely changing - so funny."

Best - Joe

Thanks, Ellie. I've alerted Debbi to all Puppy Cam developments. I feel lucky to benefit from Janet's extensive Peet's experience, and will keep her thoughts in mind for the next time Sierra Dorada pops up.

I would find it daunting to review an audio book, as I like to go back and look at favorite or important passages in the print book when I do a review. How you do such good ones from memory is beyond me.

Wish you could've been with us at the book fair - it was wonderful.

Best - Joe

I've been completely engrossed by Gwen Watford's reading of "Battle at Thrush Green". I had tried to read a Miss Read book a couple of years back but couldn't make it through. It reminds me of when I read the first book of the "Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency" series. It was good but I wasn't moved to pick up its sequel. Then, I heard Lisette Licat's recording and I've listened to every one since. She is the only reason I keep returning.

Now here we have lovely Gwen Watford and her gorgeous vowels and consonants. My husband listened to a bit in the car yesterday and her voice and the story brought him back to his childhood in England in the fifties. Very nostalgiac but since he isn't a fella for nostalgia, he won't be listening to any more. But I will!!

Thanks for the obit. The mention of Watford's "huge brown, liquid eyes" were exactly as I remembered her. I saw her in Noel Coward's "Present Laughter" with Donald Sinden as his long suffering secretary. I can't remember anyone else in it since she made the biggest impression. It's on video and I got it from the library; it's one of many plays in the "Noel Coward Collection". Maybe your library will have it or can get it. I think Watford is also in quite a few Agatha Christie TV plays.

Many, many thanks for putting me on to this. I think my library only has three of her Thrush Green recordings but I plan to listen to them all. You've made my weeks ahead of driving a real pleasure.

Hi, Ellie.

Have you read Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee? If not, I think it would suit you well. Lovely book.

Best - Joe
Love the new profile pic up top, Ellie!

Thanks for the good coffee thoughts. I am like Janet in what I like, and in wanting to have flavors to juggle, but I think I'll wait for the next Transit of Sierra Dorada - with our trip coming up, I just don't feel right about having it sit that long.

Sounds like you've got an active and lovely area outside your window. I've heard about the mysteries featuring your raccoon Agatha Raisin (maybe in a previous, human incarnation). We still get raccoons in the city (and coyotes that come in along the Chicago River, and a big wildcat a few years ago that they had to kill on a street near us). The one that almost made my heart jump out of me was an early morning opossum on the grass in front of the corner church on our block. Those critters are so ugly! I should have been more mentally prepared, because we had a family of them by our house in the woods in Ann Arbor when I was growing up. I've seen the same possum since and been calmer about it.

From our front porch we can see cardinals (our faves), sparrows, finches, robins, bluejays, crows and from our deck in back those and the occasional woodpecker. Some finches have a nest stashed under an eave above our rain gutter that runs along the porch. We get to watch the parents fly in and out, and an occasional confused young 'un flying about and trying to remember how to get back to the nest.

BTW, wife Debbi is now addicted to the Puppy Cam! She keeps calling me over to watch them sleep, or turn, or move about, or not move about. If someone sends a link to a baby cam to go with that, I may lose her entirely.

You're such a good writer that I'm not at all surprised that you write entertaining and thought-provoking book reviews. If you have others lying about on LT (or elsewhere), I'd be interested in reading them.

Best - Joe
Thanks re the Sierra Dorada tip, Ellie. I already stupidly overbought and have some Sumatra Blue Batak cooling. When I say stupidly overbought, we're going off to Australia in the latter part of the month for a couple of weeks, so I'd be returning to drink it after that. Do you think it would stay good in the freezer for that long? Or should I wait for next time?

- Joe

You mentioned "Gwen Watford" at the cafe just now and a light went on. I could see her face and hear her voice and up to this moment, I had no idea that she had recorded audio books!

Not only that, she seems to have done most of the Miss Read books which I've been meaning to read, especially having been reminded by her (Miss Read's) recent obit. So here's my question: which one do you think I should start with and/or does it make any difference?

Very excited about this revelation as I can hear Watford's voice in my head. Thanks so much for the new and exciting information!

thanks for the heads-up on ann pratchett, Ellie. I won't hurry to read more of hers.

And I look forward to your well-rested explication of why Case Histories is one I should read.

Hope you and JB have a great long weekend!

Best - Joe
Oh, for voice-activated keyboards...

Dear mirrordrum,
I just read your review of The Help and I feel compelled to thank you. You put into words exactly(no kidding, it was eerie!) what I've been thinking about The Help since I read it. Most reviews of The Help have been so uniformly enchanted by it that I wondered(for about two seconds) if I was such a misanthrope that I had missed the point of the novel. I started reading your review with my breath held waiting for the superlatives to begin. It was an unexpected pleasure to read someone who also found it a troubling and, to my mind, condescending piece of fiction. I also gave Stockett points for being an able writer who, hopefully, has a more personal and interesting story to tell.

I thought you summed it up brilliantly.


Jeesh! First I'm impressed that you can send a screencap like that. I wish I could reciprocate. Second, I'm mystified. Why would the review section be missing for you? I know others get it because they tell me when one of mine is in it.

Not sure how far you want to pursue it, but I've successfully written the LT head honcho Tim Spaulding and gotten things fixed. Here's his profile page:

- Joe
Wish I could come over and look for it for you, Ellie! It should on the lower right in the "Hot Reviews" section, under the section of "Hot This Month" books and above the "On This Day - 17 May" section.

Here's what it (with the other three) looks like without the pretty visuals:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, reviewed by mirrordrum
“I recently finished the audio version of The Help with Bahni Turpin and Octavia Spencer as two of the narrators. Their part of the narration was exceptional. The novel itself was embarrassing and not particularly well written. I didn’t read any reviews before listening to it or writing down my reactions. I was uncomfortable with the idea of a book written by a white woman that presumed to... (read)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce, reviewed by mrstreme
“The front cover of my advanced reader's edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry had the word "marvelous" in big, bold letters across it. Shrugging it off as marketing mumbo jumbo, I started reading this book, expecting an average read by a new author. Well, 24 hours later, I finished the last sentence and could only think of one word, "marvelous." The front cover didn't lie.

Harold... (read)

Zoo Station by David Downing, reviewed by DeltaQueen50
“In Nazi controlled Germany one spent much of their time keeping their head down and trying not to draw any attention to themselves. In [Zoo Station] David Downing captures this claustrophobic feeling as he tells the story of Anglo-American journalist John Russell, living and working in Berlin, held there by emotional ties. He has a German girlfriend he doesn’t wish to leave and a half-German son... (read)

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy (50 Shades Trilogy) by E L James, reviewed by ohdani
“Oh, this disappointment is just all-encompassing.

Have I read the same book as all of my friends?

First of all, I need to get this off my chest. This is the biggest Twilight rip-off I have ever read. I'm not even a die-hard Twi-hard, and I'm disgusted by how similar these books are. Seriously, at least Twilight has vampires, albeit sort of silly ones.

So let's compare.

Twlight-... (read)

That's it. Eight thumbs! That's a lot of thumbs, even if you're a late night TV monster. Well-deserved!

- Joe
I should've expressed it better, Ellie. Your home page "is" the LT home page. Go to Home, scroll down to the bottom right and you'll see four reviews, with yours on top last I looked.

- Joe
Hello Ellie,

Thank you for your fantastic, articulate and emotionally resonant review of The Help. I haven't read it and don't wish to, but now when someone recommends it to me (again), I'll just forward them your review.

Hi, Ellie. You've got the first review on the LT homepage! Very cool.

Best - Joe
Admirable review of 'The Help'; I've heard this perspective before, but you spoke to it eloquently.
Hi Ellie,

Not traveling anywhere yet but will be away in a couple of weeks.

The only celeb bio I've read that hasn't been for NLS was "Home" by Julie Andrews. My daughters gave it to me for Mother's Day several years ago, a no-brainer since I've adored her since I first heard her voice on the old hi-fi. Although I own it, I opted to get the audio version from the library and had the pleasure of listening to her tell her own story.

Ashley Judd's book was interesting in that she genuinely has dedicated parts of her life to highlighting the plight of women and girls living in brothels and as sex slaves in the third world through the non governmental agency PSI. She tells about her abandonment in childhood and how that accounts for her identification with the plight of these women. But then ... she enters 42 days of intense therapy and takes us along. Now I'm all for therapy and believe it can be most helpful, but no one wants to listen to the ups and downs of 42 days of it. When she returned back to her philanthropic work and getting her masters at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government the book got better. Of course, we were constantly reminded of how hard she was working on her recovery. There is also an anecdote about her returning to her luxury hotel after a day of visiting brothels in Africa: an American woman recognized her and asked if she was going on safari. (Certainly a reasonable question under the circumstances.) She notes the woman's "expensive khakis" and says that no, SHE has spent the day visiting this country"s poor disenfranchised women in this country to hopefully better their lives. Nastily, she states "I hope I ruined her day." So much for compassion to all God's children whom she refers to as "my sisters".

Of all the bios I've read for NLS my favorite was "It Ain't All About the Cookin'" by Paula Deen which was a huge surprise. Plagued by agoraphobia, this woman pulled herself up by the bootstraps and forced herself to start a business to support her two boys. It really is an inspiring story and I found myself liking her - although I think my cholesterol rose just reading her recipes!

Hope all is well with you and that you're enjoying the spring.


Hi Ellie,
Thanks for your lovely message. (Apologies for the delay, I've been on holidays). Hoping you're enjoying the audiobook - let me know what you think!
I don't know if I can explain it well, Ellie, and maybe I let myself get scared off too soon with Case Histories, but I wasn't expecting the child killing element and I bailed out.

An attempt: The difference between non-fiction like Behind the Beautiful Forevers and fictional descriptions of child abuse or child killing is, oddly enough, the fiction draws me in and has me experience it all much more painfully. There is true crime reporting that Becca can read that does the same thing. I have a hard time with the intentional cruelty of it. They (the children) are so outmatched and uncomprehending, I know they have no chance of saving themselves, and I know the adult is going to cruelly enjoy the power advantage, and I can't do a darn thing about it. I can't enjoy reading that. Having raised two of them, these were big fears, of course. The idea of it being out of my control, of not being able to protect them, pushes my buttons. I want to jump into the book and save them, and I can't.

In Behind the Beautiful Forevers everyone, not just the children, is suffering for different, nonpredatory reasons. It doesn't push my buttons like what I just described.

Thanks for asking! I know it's puzzling, but it really gets me. Maybe I can figure out a way to give Case Histories another try some time.

Best - Joe
No prob re the space, Ellie, but I usually add width=200 or 250 at the end of mine, e.g. . That seems to work. I picked it up from one of the fancy tricks threads that I've got the links for on my profile page.

I sure like what you're posting! That little field mouse (?) guy was a hoot.

Best - Joe

P.S. I ordered more Peet's - I'm turning into a Peetnik, and it feels good. :-)
Dear Ellie,

I would like to take back my comment that the Ashley Judd book isn't just another celeb memoir on the remote chance that you'd want to read it. Afraid her self absorption is soaking through the pages half way through.

Very interested, thank you! I'm definitely sending that on to my friend Sybil (a former library director whose fibromyalgia is very bad). That has given the thought that in my extra-depressive/grumpy phases I should probably re-read Pollyanna! Music and books definitely help me just as much as the medications I'm on.

Also, that picture of your cat on the cow is so cute, and lends itself to numerous amusing captions.

happy thoughts,
Hi Ellie! Oh, I am with you. I HATE UConn...... and I would love to see Pat make it to the Final Four. I tend to root for the Pac-12 since I've been out here long enough to have left my SEC and Big-10 roots, but I have so much respect for Pat. So, are you at Tennessee? In Tennessee? I have family in Nashville and Waverly.

Well, I'm starving, having been reading all the menus at Joe's Cafe. You come up with some fabulous fictional meals. Yum!

Re "11/22/63": I too thought of the cause and effect conundrum while reading. As I said in my review, I felt that I was in good hands with King and went along for the ride. I've never read anything else he's written - and probably won't, except for his book on writing, since I don't like to be scared silly - but the way he formatted the book, I just trusted him. All I can say is he didn't disappoint. Perhaps someone great like Jack Fox will read it for NLS and you'll be tempted to try again. Love his voice.

I've read your post of living in the now several times and I'm glad I've got it. At work I'm reading Ashley Judd's memoir, "All That's Bitter and Sweet" about her humanitarian work in the third world. She has adopted bits of Buddhism into her faith and I've been surprised by her - not just another pretty face. I sort of groaned at yet another celeb memoir but this one is proving to be thoughtful and interesting.

Thanks so much for the comments on the review! It really is an excellent book; whenever something is so universally praised as Boo's book has been, I worry that the buzz is taking over, or that people are really congratulating her courage in tackling a tough subject. Happily, that wasn't the case here, and my qualms about reading a book of this kind written by a non-Indian who relied on interpreters didn't seem well-founded, either. Perhaps it's a case of being able to come to the material in a fresh way?? In any event, I hope that the book finds a good audiobook narrator (I'm surprised it's not on audio already, in fact, although I rarely look at those, I'm afraid) and that you enjoy it when you get to it!

Ellie, I just ran across an interesting bit of information that seemed to dovetail a couple of your interests in one.

Dan Stevens (Matthew of "Downton Abbey) won a British audio award for his narration of a World War I novel. And it's available at audible U.S.!

Here's the announcement:

Celebrating the best in audio publishing
For the first time, the 2011 Galaxy National Book Awards featured the Audiobook of the Year Award. This year’s accolade went to Louisa Young with her tale of love and loss in the First World War, My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You. Narrated by Dan Stevens (from TV’s Downton Abbey, whose character, Matthew Crawley, is no stranger to the trenches himself) who is no newcomer to audiobooks; as a long-term convert to the format, Dan has been acting out characters in audio for several years.
Sigh, we have both hit the jackpot it seems. I've got fibro as well (and was glad of the mild winter just for the fact that it meant fewer fibro symptoms!). Well, I think it's more that not all people are equally good at coping with chronic pain. I was lucky enough to have a high pain tolerance and a natural superman complex (thank you, three older brothers), which has helped a fair bit.

For me it's mainly down to the pain. I had no choice but to remain physically active through the pain, so I haven't had as many problems with stiffness. Because it's in my whole body (minus my neck, thank goodness), I can't sit upright for long. The continuous aspect really is the worst of it, both physically and psychologically, but I think you have that with any chronic illness. I just try to push myself as much as I can. I'm going to be in pain no matter what, so I'd rather be in more pain and have accomplished something than keep the pain level and rot my brain with TV.

On the plus side, my three-year-old nephew is growing up understanding that you have to be extra gentle with some people, etc... and I think it will make him a more empathetic person.

As the Quakers say, I'll be holding you in the light.


PS - Oh, and it's wonderful to see someone reading Lorca! He's one of my favorite poets.

I definitely prefer Meredith but I don't mind mabith at all. Bookstores really are amazing. You have so much more freedom than with a library. But with either you get that wonderful warmth of introducing someone to a book that they'll love. That's why I loved taking care of the children's section. Giving amazing books to kids is the best thing ever. Sadly I think a lot of people getting into the book business don't understand just how much work it is (unless you're independently wealthy, anyway) and how you need more than just a love of reading.

It really reflects well on the boys' school that they let you do that, and on you too, of course, I can't imagine how hard it must have been. It is wonderful to grow up with the library connection, and in a family where everyone really values reading. Not to mention getting to borrow all the movies that the library owned!

I have a bizarre chronic pain disease called RSD, where my nerves are just confused and instead of sending pain signals when there's pain stimuli they send them all the time. Mostly it affects one limb but I hit the jackpot and got the full-body version. Thank you, Ellie, for being so kind! I try not to be sorry about it, as that's just life. My family is incredibly supportive and so many people with chronic pain have families who just don't seem to believe them or care. I see from the other comments on your page here that you have RA. I can certainly relate to that from a pain and limitations standpoint.

Hope you're having as easy a week as is possible,

I knew that you had health issues but I hadn't realized it was RA. I've been looking it up online. Wow. From what I've been reading, you have to have complete faith in your medical team. I hope and pray this is true for you. And thank God for JB. I cannot imagine how someone without a loved one can cope.

And then .... tornados. Do all the cars in your neighborhood look like they've been at the driving range? We're so far away from it all but every evening on the news I hear that people are being told to expect activity that night. It's all so random and strange. Yet apparently, many people still feel that climate change is a myth.

I hope you're feeling better each day. If prayers work, you can be sure you're in mine.

Okay Ellie, it's been a couple of days since I've noticed any posts. Hope all is well.

Every night on the news it seems they are saying that the same communities have to be alert to tornados. I can't imagine how frightening such a warning would be - never mind several nights in a row.

All we get here are snowstorms which are inconvenient, but we have our shovels and snow blowers and salt for the roads. It's not a helpless feeling when a snowstorm descends. It's just annoying.

Wherever you are, I hope you're not in harm's way and are getting some sleep.

Hi Ellie

Sorry, I was eavesdropping in on some comments you posted over on jnwelche's profile, about Shaun Tan.

I was lucky enough to visit the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney once with the kids and they had an exhibition called "The Odditoreum" where Shaun Tan had made up stories around various strange artefacts from the museum. A teeny tiny bit is online:

Love Shaun Tan too, his works are just magical.

I had never heard of Housewife, 49 before but in reading the synopsis, I think I've read something about this lady. Is this based on a true story?
Hi Ellie,

I too stayed up to watch the Oscars but with the sound off as usual, since it's really a fashion show and if anyone says anything remotely interesting or funny I'll hear about it later.

I was delighted that Streep won. I thought she was robbed a few years back when she did "Doubt" and managed to conjure up images of every nun who ever taught me. I haven't seen "Iron Lady" but I did see "The Help" and thought Viola Davis was perfect. I'm hoping she gets her Oscar when she plays someone other than a maid. I saw her at the Williamstown Theater Festival several years back in "Raisin in the Sun" and never forgot her. Truly amazing.

I'm just a theater junkie, no background at all. I've written reviews of local productions when I worked at newspapers. My girls acted in high school, college, and community theater - the result is that they pretty much ace job interviews which they regard as performances. It's probably no accident that they are both in professions that require giving presentations.

Boston has great theater and anytime we visit NYC you'll find me standing in line at TKTS in Time Square trying to score a half price ticket to something. Also, an annual summer jaunt to the Berkshires for a day to take in a play is pretty much standard. This week's two plays in a week is pretty unusual though!

"Daddy Long Legs" by Jean Webster hasn't been out of print since 1910. It's a YA book, told entirely in letters from a young orphan to her unknown benefactor who pays for her college education and whom she addresses as Daddy Long Legs. It's a charming story and yes, the film with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire was loosely based on the story but actually is pretty creepy because of the plus thirty year age difference. I looked it up and NLS re-recorded it in 1982; their original recording I'm sure was shredded from over use. The narrator is Mary O'Neal who I'm not familiar with. I encourage you to read it! It's old fashioned and delightful, a true classic.
Hi Ellie,

Thought I'd step out of the cafe for a further discussion of "Wild Swans" since it probably isn't of general interest. The video did show the staging accurately - it might have been the best part of the show. When the audience is taking their seats, the players are already onstage and the scene is a bustling market place. They talk to each other but not very loudly; you can tell what's going on just by watching: an official and his concubine haggling over the price of something to the disgust of the girl doing the selling, a wealthy man getting what looked like a pedicure while his parked bike is allowed to stay where it is, clearly because of who he is. Many vignettes like this going on at the same time. It's a tableau that probably lasts a good half hour. Fascinating.

Then the actors begin to remove all the accoutrements of the market stalls stage left, while others, dressed as peasants, enter stage right and begin to empty the burlap sacks which have been onstage all along but have been left behind. This is dirt which is spread as more and more actors emerge stage right with wooden rakes, spreading the dirt as they go. Now we're in the fields and the young communists arrive, explaining to the peasants that they will not be working for the warlords but for themselves and each other. These are Jung Chang's parents, imbued with the zeal of the new order and the more perfect world.

Jung's mother then explains to the peasants, with large puppets, the story of her own mother who was taken as a concubine by a warlord and forced to hand her baby over to the warlord's wife. She steals her baby and flees. This was beautifully done, with the other young communists handling the other puppets: not just a bow to an ancient Chinese art but a movingly descriptive way to tell the story economically.

Then we move from the fields to the town - a hospital where Jung's mother is recovering from exhaustion. This entails all the actors pushing the dirt from stage right to left and off stage with their rakes, and the bamboo walls being manually rolled up and revealing walls of posters of Mao and depictions of the Great Leap Forward. It really is extraordinary - it's like a dance (music in the background) and extremely hard work. We couldn't figure out what the "dirt" was made of. My husband thought it was peat but that would have given off a smell, I think. And there was no dust as they pushed it so I think it was a man-made fiber that had the consistency of soil.

In a later scene the walls turned into movie screen panels, showing acres of paddy fields and workers silently, steadily planting rice and Jung's father on stage doing the same. Later to show a more modern China, these panels were turned in different directions with movies of busy streets and trolley cars and attendant noise. Very powerful imagery everywhere. But it's a shame to come out of any production and be talking primarily about the sets, don't you think?

The story of the father is central to "Wild Swans" but it is primarily the story of the women. In this production changes were made at the end that left the audience hanging as to what ultimate happens to the young girl. Afterward we went wandering through Harvard Square and ended up at the Coop Bookstore (surprise!) where the book was on display. I found the passage that I thought would have wrapped it up nicely and read it to my husband. (I don't want to tell you what it is since you haven't read the book.) He agreed that it would have been a fitting end to the play too and I can't for the life of me understand why it wasn't chosen. The script was written by a woman and she didn't take the opportunity to explain that it was the mother who provides their daughter a hopeful future .... or even that she had a hopeful future. Very puzzling.

Another interesting bit of business: the scene where the family is descended upon by the ruffians during the Cultural Revolution is very powerful - this is the one mentioned in the review that the couple in the audience were so affected by. The leader of this group pours ink on the father's face as they wrestle him to the ground. He's a handsome young man but when he rises and wipes the ink off his face and clothes, with his hair disheveled, he seems to have aged before our eyes. Later, when years have passed, he's onstage with sloped shoulders, hair greased back and in a slightly larger jacket, making him look years older. Remarkable transformation.

It seems to be theater week for us ... it never rains, it pours. The Merrimack Theater in Lowell, MA is putting on a musical of "Daddy Longlegs" and I'm dragging my husband on Wednesday night. I've warned him this could be a bit on the treacly side but he's game. (Plus he's found a good Greek restaurant in the neighborhood.) I'll let you know what the show's like - it's one of my favorite children's books.

Back to you and double

Appreciate your concern and good thoughts

I caught them and will guard them as the precious thoughts they are

Hi, Ellie. Just saw your post that you're in the middle of a bad storm! Hope all is well. I'll be thinking of you.

- Joe
Lovely! Played it twice and sent it to the kids.

In return, here's lovely, winsome Penelope Wilton in her prime:

The Boston Public Library has an ongoing exhibit called "From Pen to Print" which features the annotated originals of Hawthorne, Whitman, Longfellow et al. Gives one the chills, no? The excellent Eric Larsen, who wrote "Devil in the White City" and "In the Garden of Beasts" bemoans the fact that we can access these things online. As a professional researcher he revels in putting on the white gloves and touching the originals, smelling the paper, etc. He claims that he often can get a hint of the writer's mood by noting the pressure he/she put on the pen. But for us mere mortals who can't go winging off to spend time with a manuscript, I'm very glad to be able to see them at all.

I have to re-read "Regeneration", this time on audio, and then complete the trilogy. For now I'm savoring the Sidmouth Letters which I'm reading in tandem with "Best Short Stories of 2011" for NLS. I'm in short story heaven just now.

Ah, were that I were on my way to India!

Penelope Wilton is another favorite. She was in Alan Ayckbourne's (sp?)"Norman Conquests" which I think is on YouTube in bits and pieces. She's also in Downton Abbey and was in Calendar Girls.

(By the way, can't stand "Downton Abbey" except for Miss Maggie. I tape it and fast forward to her bits since she gets all the best lines. I'll bet she demands them. My daughter says to ignore the obvious historical blunders and enjoy the soap opera. I've told her that I'm not as mature as she is about it.)

Loved your post about evolving lesbian literature. Reminded me of how much I adored Sarah Waters' "Fingersmith"; but when I picked up her much lauded "Nightwatch", the opening chapters were so sad I couldn't go on. Maybe when I'm mature enough to get over my harumphing at Downton, I'll be able to get past the beginning of "Nightwatch".
Ellie, it's like they made a movie especially for us! All those great people and India too!

I'll be there May 4th - interesting movies have been pretty sparse this spring so it's nice to have something to look forward to. I assume you heard over the weekend that Dame Judi announced that she has macular degeneration? Of course she intends to keep right on working and I'm sure her many friends will assist her as much as they can. Apparently her daughter reads her scripts aloud so she can memorize them.

Plucky lady. But we always knew that.
Ellie, I see you are getting ready to read The Polish Officer by Furst. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Love your photograph of the cat! Classic.
Ah, "Possession", how I loved that book. Another very long book that I thought wasn't long enough ... only because I didn't want it to end. And yes, letters, memories ... and ethics.

I know you're going to enjoy the Essential Dykes compilation .... I mean you get to read 20 years of this woman's work in a very short time! It feels like cheating a bit but to watch these fictional characters actually age is a bit thrilling. I wonder if the library files it under "history"?

As for the Sidmouth letters, I almost think it would have been better if Annie opened them and the story ended despite my feeling cheated. I think that I just couldn't believe that she wouldn't read them, not to do anything about publishing them ... but then I suppose the temptation might have been too great.

In a new favorite of mine, "The Hare with Amber Eyes", the author unearths his family's history mainly through letters. But at the end, when he wonders how much more he would have gleaned if his grandmother hadn't burned her grandmother's letters, he pauses: "Why should everything be made clear and be brought into the light? Just because you have it does not mean you have to pass it on."

Of his Uncle Iggie, who had told him many stories, he says, "I remember the hesitancies when talking to him in old age; hesitancies that trembled into silences, silences that marked the place of loss."

Once again, it feels like we're all reading one big, never-ending book!

I'm loving Gardam's "Sidmouth Letters" which I grabbed per your recommendation. I skipped to the last, title story at lunch today.

Tell me, would you have opened those never-before-read letters, read the signature only and burned them?

Not me! I might have burned them (or at least I think I would have in deference to poor dead Jane A's sensibilities) but I would definitely have read them! Had me scratching my head a bit.

Thanks for the painting of Shaun Tan with his dad, Ellie. Intriguing. I agree, based on that one, anyway, I like his illustrations better.

I'm so glad you enjoyed The Arrival! It's a special book, isn't it?

Hope you're having a good day. I'm still enjoying your wonderful present, but it's nearing time for me to join the Peetnik Corps.

Best - Joe
We did have fun Friday night, Ellie, thanks. This Bulls team is a lot of fun, with a humble superstar (Derrick Rose) who somehow got raised right in very difficult circumstances in Southside Chicago.

Good to know you follow the women's college and pro basketball teams! Yes, I do know about the strong Volunteers teams over the years, and poor Pat Summitt's situation. (I'm a Sports Illustrated subscriber). I went to the old Chicago Fire's pro women's games here years ago, but so far the Chicago Sky haven't caught our fancy enough to get us to go.

Your Alfred Peet stories are wonderful and unexpected. I'm on my way to becoming a Peetnik. I love the Sumatra Blue Batak, but believe it or not I think the Garuda suits me better. Both are so smooth and high quality! It's good to know you think highly of Peet's teas, too. I can pick out some for Debbi. Any that you particularly recommend?

- Joe
p.s. Nice pictures of JB! The one with Casey makes me want to slow down and just appreciate life for a while.
Thanks for the fun surprise message this morning, Ellie! I emailed you, so you should get it. Please let me know if you don't. It was awfully nice of you to think of me. I look forward to sampling whatever you recommend.

Great pics! Hope you enjoy the day.

Another great photo of you!

Do you think that the English in general would know what "a Betjeman girl" means? I'm not so sure. (Smug quotient #9 for both of us for being in the know.)

I did see Bernadette Peters in "Night Music" last year and I thought she was a wee bit old for the role. In "Follies" the same was true but our seats were quite far back and I told my daughter that this was all too the good because the age discrepancy between Peters and the other leads wasn't so obvious to us. It pains me to say this because I've always enjoyed her and I thought she was in better voice in "Follies" than in "Night Music".

I've put Jane Gardam's Sidmouth book on my list to be read. I've just begun Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" based on our friend Joe's rave review. It's been on my shelf for years and I just needed a push to read it. Don't know why - I adored "Travels with Charley".

I hope that you're getting through the winter months in good health.


Oh Ellie, with all these coincidences, sometimes don't you think we're all reading one big book?

I've never read anything by Bruce Chatwin but he's on my list.

As usual with a post from you Ellie, I'm off to the dictionary. Must go look up the meaning of "peuls"....
Hi Ellie,

Thanks for the info about the Nighy film. If he didn't get me to watch it, Eileen Atkins would.

I will read "The Sidmouth Letters". I'm guessing that at least one of the stories takes place in Sidmouth, a town I know well since my parents-in-law lived there for years. Gardam was scheduled to speak at the Harvard Book Store last year and I was all a-twitter. Unfortunately she pulled out, no reason given. My youngest daughter just got a Kindle and I sent her the ebook version of Old Filth which she's saving until she goes on vacation next month.

Broadway was great: Stephen Sondheim's "Follies" with Bernadette Peters (birthday gift for my girls) and "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" which is an old chestnut that perhaps shouldn't have been revived. But there was excellent singing and dancing and Harry Connick Jr. was surprisingly charismatic ... almost as dishy as Bill Nighy!

I'm completely immersed in "11/22/63". Loving every minute of it. It's spellbinding, a little eerie and storytelling at its best. I've never read a Stephen King book and from what I hear, it's his best yet.
Happy Sunday, Ellie! Thanks so much for the npr article about Ed Ricketts. I'm starting to get the (remarkable) picture now. John Cage, Joseph Campbell and Henry Miller partying and swapping ideas at Ed's lab? That part reminded me of Gertrude Stein's gatherings.

Ed Ricketts sounds like a guy I sure wish I had met, and I can only imagine spending time with him and others at the lab. Did your father know him personally?

Best - Joe
Hi, Ellie. Happy New Year!

I hope you had a good holiday season and things are going well. All is fine in my part of the world. I'm reading Steinbeck's Cannery Row right now and liking it. I have a large stack of books at home from the holidays and the library that needs tending. I may have to quit my job so I have more time to read. Or maybe that's not such a good idea.

This may not be your cup of tea, but I have a thread going in the 75ers group that you might enjoy. I'd love to see you there if you feel like stopping by: Not to worry if not, though.

Here's to a year of good reading in 2012!

Best wishes - Joe
And a Happy New Year to you, Mirrordrum.

I go to the book on LT and look at Conversations. Thus one can tell if the book has been used in the game previously. It is a bit of work, but it is kind of interesting to look at the conversations, which are excerpted below the list.

While I have many books, most of the books I list I do not have since I use libraries almost exclusively. I probably don't buy five books a year.
Many thanks -- wouldn't recommend NOT reading it, it's about a two hour commitment, and really is fun. It was, in fact, enjoyable enough so that I poked around on Amazon among other "revivals" of P&P, of which there are an astonishing number. Read one, a mystery by Carrie Brebis, called "Pride and Prescience". The dialog and relationships in this really were good -- more sparkley than Dame James (?). The plot, however, dragged in the supernatural, which turned me totally off -- how un-Janelike. So much for Ms. Brebis. So much for P&P "revivals".
I just got Endless Forms Most Beautiful and haven't read it yet, but am looking forward to it. I can see that it would be a good book to have in print, but I got what I got. So will have to make it do.
My grandson, Mikey, was in a guitar concert yesterday. It was funny to see him and the other boys sitting with the girls in his class. The girls were obviously starting to mature. He's a nice size for a 12 year old boy, but he's a 12 year old boy. I'm somewhat worried abot who's talking to him about sex. I think I'd be the best one for it (as a feminist and former labor and delivery nurse), but that's not going to happen. So I just keep my fingers crossed. I can't say that I recommend everyone have children, but I do think we should all have grandchildren. They are a joy.
Thanks for your comments on my pix. As you can see, I'm rather in love with my grandson. Having an atheist grandma can be confusing at times, but the neat thing about kids is that they're open to anything. They accept the concept of how babies are made, life doesn't get more confusing than that.
It was a simple a href.

<a href = "/topic/128210">Part 10</a>
I just read your note to my husband who said "Sounds like she wants Lesser doing more." It is puns like these that will have us all groaning around the Thanksgiving board tomorrow.
Thanks, Ellie. By coincidence, DeltaQueen50 (Judy) has been recommending the same Walt Longmire series, and I've started the first one, Cold Dish. I'm glad to hear you like series so much. It's always fun to come upon a well-written new one.

I hope you have a good weekend. Our office is open for the holiday, but at least it's a blue jeans day.

Best - Joe
Oh my goodness, you're making me laugh, Ellie! 'i had been waiting for the facetious sarcasm and here it was in spades.' and 'i had a lot of Tiger beer.' Great! I came back to the game after being away for a bit, and it's just filled with zingers.

- Joe
Oh my gosh Ellie. The Bill Nighy ad knocked my socks off! Love, love, love him (must watch "Love, Actually" again for my annual Christmas chuckle) and do love the message. (Flaming liberal from MA don't ya know.) But do you know who the gentleman is who is firing all the questions at him??? The great Anton Lesser! I've got his voice in my brain and I would bet money on it!

The story about your mother not being able to abide the folding of a book page reminds me of my eldest, the bibliophile. Not my neatest child but woe betide anyone who bends the pages of any of her hundreds of books! And my dear Uncle Dave was a huge fan of Patrick O'Brien's books. I used to watch out for their publishing dates so I could get each new one to him asap. I will most certainly listen with the recommendation of the two of you urging me on.

Thanks so much!


Hi Ellie,

Thanks for your long letter. I hope this finds you feeling well and hunkering down for winter. We had a blizzard in the northeast that you might have heard of with power outages everywhere. Very weird to have snow on the ground, trees and branches strewn everywhere and still the (remaining) leaves on the trees are green! Strange world.

My book club is reading Dorothy Sayers' "Whose Body?" after a couple in our group confessed to never having read her. Can you imagine? I'm looking forward to it since it won't seem like a re-read, having read it so long ago. I will be on the lookout for schwarmes! Thanks for the explanation.

I, of course, feel completely responsible if Anton Lesser makes a dog's breakfast out of "Great Expectations". I can't believe he will though. I'm currently listening to the third installment of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series. The first two ("The Ruby in the Smoke" and "The Shadow from the North") were sensational and the third ("The Tiger in the Well") is promising to be the same. The evil worlds that Pullman conjures up in these Victorian melodramas actually send a shiver down the spine and Lesser's voicing of the villains is masterful. Am I gushing? You bet!

I got very excited when you made the connection between Sebastian Flyte's bear and Betj's Archibald. Of course! How clear it is when someone else points it out! I never ever thought of it.

So now I'm returning the favor. I was a little frustrated while narrating the Betjeman book that more of his poetry wasn't included so when I was in Oxford last year I picked up "The Best of Betjeman". The following reminded me of Muriel Sparks' novels about young women in postwar London, particularly "A Far Cry from Kensington" which is my favorite. She can be a very wicked writer but she was a little kinder in that one. And we know how wicked Betjeman could be.

Business Girls

From the geyser ventilators
Autumn winds are blowing down
On a thousand business women
Having baths in Camden Town.

Waste pipes chuckle into runnels,
Steam's escaping here and there,
Morning trains through Camden cutting
Shake the Crescent and the Square.

Early nip of changeful autumn,
Dahlias glimpsed through garden doors,
At the back precarious bathrooms
Jutting out from upper floors;

And behind their frail partitions
Business women lie and soak,
Seeing through the draughty skylight
Flying clouds and railway smoke.

Rest you there, poor unbelov'd ones,
Lap your loneliness in heat,
All too soon the tiny breakfast,
Trolly-bus and windy street!

Great to hear from you, Ellie!

That was a surprisingly interesting article - how in the world did you come across it? Previously pretty much all I knew about squirrels was even my ingenious father gave up on keeping them off the birdfeeder, and "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while." As to the latter, now I know it probably did so by odor, rather than remembering the location of where it was buried, although I suppose even that's not a sure thing. It would be interesting to have them do a similar study with snow on the ground to see how that affects retrieval (I'm assuming the snow would limit the ability to sense odor). Remembering where each nut was buried (or most of them)in a huge area nine months later seems like quite a mental feat, so I hope they test that one, too. I suppose if that's a key to survival, it Darwins into prevalence.

I also had never heard of Will Cuppy! I can tell I've been missing something good.

Things are going tolerably well in my part of the world. As I get closer to retirement I feel more keenly how much I will enjoy having that additional time to read - and to go to the theater. Right now having too many late nights wears me out, and my nose starts slipping off the grindstone. Today we're seeing Sondheim's "Follies" at Chicago Shakespeare, directed by Gary Griffin, who does a great job with Sondheim. For reading I'm immersed in "1Q84", the new Haruki Murakami. He has become one of my favorite authors, and already in his new one we seemed to have slipped into some parallel world.

I hope you're doing tolerably well, too. I see you really liked Mrs. Dalloway. I have to read more Virginia Woolf. And you're a Harry Dresden reader - what fun that series is!

Best wishes - Joe

Dear Ellie,

What are "schwarmes"? It's been so long since I read the book. Is that word in there or is this a word I just never heard before?

Sorry it's been such a hard slog. There isn't much of the poetry in the book and frankly, poor Mrs. Betjeman's faux cockney just about drove me round the bend. As you say, life's too short. There are so many books out there.

Have you ever listened to Anton Lesser? I'm actually mesmerized by him. A true actor, he goes way over the top in his characterizations but he's so talented that you happily take the ride with him.

By the way, did you know that NLS narrators are discouraged from making the recordings too much like performances, except in the case of children's books? With the explosion of the audio book industry, these days I often wonder if clients wish for more performing.

Have a wonderful day. We're enjoying unusual heat in the northeast today and it's great to feel warm sun one last time.


Thanks for your message of sept. 29

The languages that I have some knowledge of are:
(Glad to say this, because I love Lists, esp. any lilst having to do with Language))

1. Fluent, English, Latin, French, and Spanish

2. Working knowledge: Greek (Classical and Biblical. esp. the former), Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Russian, Tongan, Hawaiian, Hawaiʻi Creole (aka "Pidgin )

3. Smattering: Modern Greek, Turkish, Swedish, Maori, Tahitian, Melanesian Pidgin (aka Tokpisin) Irish, Yiddish, Hebrew

The translations from Greek that I have put into the "Silly..." Thread are from a project that is

nearing the "half-finished mark: To translate, metrically, 3 plays of Sophocles that

deal with three different kinds of illness (nosos in Greek: mental ("Ajax), physical {Philoctetes) and

spiritual (Oedipus at Colonus) "Oedipus at Clonus" is completed, and Iʻm about 1/3 of the way through "Ajax".
Good to hear back from you, Ellie! I'm sorry that your eyes are continuing to give you trouble. It has to be hard not to be able to read print.

It's funny, I don't listen to many audiobooks. You may recall that my wife is a storyteller (with a lovely voice), and she has often read to us - including the whole Harry Potter series (with books that got longer and longer . . .) I love to listen to books being read, but I don't drive to work (I take Chicago's El train)and other opportunities are few - when time permits, I'd rather read the print. The exception is long car trips, but I have to keep in mind my family fellow travelers - e.g. my son started getting sick once during a particularly graphic ox sacrifice scene in The Odyssey. :-) He and his sister still like to tell that story about their crazy dad.

I'd love to hear Anne read - that must be a treat. And I always reconsider when I see someone on LT rave about an audiobook.

Your recommendation of Visit from the Goon Squad makes a difference for me. I had for reasons forgotten decided not to read that one, but now I'll put it on the tbr.

I like Merwin's poetry, although not as much as some others. I gravitate toward the plain speakers like James Wright(gone) and Sharon Olds and Adrienne Rich and Billy Collins, and the witty ones like John Berryman (gone) and Dean Young.

I'm finding Cry, the Beloved Country to be a beautiful, heartbreaking (with both sadness and joy) book. Much more so than I expected. It's old-fashioned in a way that I think you and Anne would appreciate.

It does sound like I'd like Adichie, including Half of a Yellow Sun, so I'll look for her work. Thanks for the recommend.

We've had surprisingly nice weather here in the City of Big Temperature Swings (apologies to Sandburg) - cool and sunny when not raining, and I like rain.

I'm glad to be back in touch, Ellie. I look forward to more back and forth. I hope you have a good day!

- Joe
Most Welcome, we must try to help each other in any tight situation.
Hi Ellie,
I'm not sorry that the NLS "Golden Compass" recording didn't work out for you. Of course I haven't heard it, but I'm hoping that the one your partner is about to pick up is the full cast recordings with Pullman doing the narration. It is absolutely spectacular as are the other two books in the trilogy. They were the first audio books I ever listened to and what a treat they were.


Thank you Ellie for your lovely, lovely note. I'm so glad that you're enjoying the book but I must warn you of something that will be coming up. When Betjeman's wife enters the picture, the author describes her as having a somewhat artificial cockney accent and its source is never explained. Normally I would just give a suggestion of that, but unfortunately her dialogue is written phonetically so I had no choice but to reproduce it. (For example, the word "I" is always written as "oi".) The sound of it is awful, I think, and I don't remember another book where all of a character's words are written in this way. NLS is a stickler for reading what's on the page so I gave it my best shot but I do think it is disctracting.

Having said that, I am very touched that you would take the time to write to me about this. I love what I do and I've had some feedback from NLS clients but yours takes the cake.

Oh dear, I've suddenly developed a case of flop sweat, knowing that you're listening to one of my books.

I became so enamoured of Betjeman that I bought I book of his poems when I was in Oxford. Right now I'm narrating the Pushcart Prize winners from 2011: a selection of short stories most of which are pretty remarkable. Unfortunately, there is also poetry and I have to admit that in many cases I'm at a loss to know what the poets are talking about. Sometimes after two or three readings I finally catch on, but not all the time.

Makes me long for the writings of dear John.
No worries! There are so many features (and feature additions and changes) here that it is easy to forget things.
Hi Ellie,

If you don't want to post in the discussion thread, you can always send Tim an email. Contact details for all staff are available on the contacts page. There's a link to that page at the bottom of every LT page.


Hi mirrordrum,

I've never read any of Virginia Woolf's fiction but I've recently bought a rather nice 'Selected Works' (, including 'Mrs Dalloway' ...

... and then you go and post that 'boys in uniform' line on the silly book game (this is probably the place for a 'lol' but I can never bring myself to use them).

It's got me seriously wondering if I've make a mistake. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Ms Woolf was being satirical, or that it's a fleeting aberration.

Hurrah to you for getting Audible to bend to your will! They won't make that mistake again!

I did switch my post to the current page - thanks. I must be so mesmerized by Ms. Stevenson's reading of [Jane Eyre] that I wasn't paying attention. I'm loving it and spend way too much time sitting in the garage at the end of my commute (with the engine shut off, I hasten to add) so that I can listen till the end of a chapter.

I'm glad you enjoyed Bel Canto - one of my favorites. The writing was somewhat dream-like, perfect for the trance state all the characters found themselves in. And then when the trance ended - wow. You're right, couldn't have ended any other way but a lesser writer might have tried and spoiled it.

Thank you so much for the link to Judi and Michael. I didn't know it existed and must get a copy now. I see that the recording also includes readings by Alan Bennett on whom I have a major crush and Alec McGowan who I saw years ago as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion with Diana Rigg playing Eliza.

Is it any wonder that Judi became an actress with a father who awakened her with poetry recitations? What a wonderful storyteller she is. I got a little catch in my throat when I heard her recite "And there they sat for days and days with neither breath nor motion...." My dear Uncle Dave used to recite that over and over on our sailboat trips on Cape Cod. Dave was very plucky and learned to sail in his sixties - very badly, I'm afraid - so we were often becalmed and out came The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. It was a lot more enjoyable than ramming into other boats on our way back to the mooring, which was also an inevitable part of our outings.

You were quite right to fire off your complaint to audible. Shame on them! Let me know if you get any satisfaction.

Such kind words. Thanks so much! I am glad you find the Tuchman worthwhile. I just finished an LT group read of another much longer book about the entire war, called A World Undone. It was hard for me to get through, but I have a much better understanding of the conflict.
Thank you, Ellie, for your words, which I do appreciate. I am gratified that I have kept track of the books I read, and only wish I had done post-reading notes on them all. My comments on Mein Kampf are drawn from a diary I kept in those days. But there are some books which are lost to my memory and on which I have only the name and author. But there is too much to read to go back and read what I have already read.

But I have comments on LibraryThing on about 80% of the books I have read.

I find those games we do addictive, and always look up books which I find of interest and which I do not know.
I'm only about a third through 'Vanity Fair', so far; but I'm finding it absolutely delightful - I'd recommend it to anyone. The narrative voice is quite prominent - sly and satirical and very engaging - a bit more 'up front' than Austen. And Becky Sharp is shaping up to be a really refreshing heroine - though the narrative voice pretends disapproval and wouldn't call her the heroine (but you know he doesn't mean it).
I've just realised why you commented on 'Goat Husbandry' - it's come up on my profile under 'recent activity'.

I'm carrying out a big project of going through all my books and altering all those annoying instances where they have 'Penguin Classics' or such tacked on as part of the title; or where the titles are not properly capitalised or are all in upper case (they seem to get imported from the Amazons in those ways - and, yes, I know it's rather obsessive).

It shows how good 'Goat Husbandry' was that I was dealing with it while doing the above and just from memory I had to five-star it.
From the Silly Book Game:
"Is it the wrong time of month, maybe?"
'there's a croquet mallet digging into my kidney.'

I recognize that feeling! Nice response.

Hi Ellie,

I know how you can get rid of a wattle! Spend every hour of your life devoted to your skin, your figure and your clothes. Ignore those around you and anything that might be of any interest to you in the world and concentrate on yourself alone!

How do I know this? Because I just finished narrating "Beyond the Cleavage" by Raquel Welch who is 70 and doesn't have a wattle. Or a wrinkle or a sag anywhere. She also confesses to "not being much of a reader" and is in perpetual therapy with her two 50 year old children who refuse to take her advice. (It can only be about skin care and exercise!) Personally, I'd prefer the wattle.

Anyway, I've begun to write a few reviews and here's the site:

Take care,

Thanks Ellie, that was lots of fun to read. I imagined that I could hear Dame Judi and Dame Maggie's voices and their laughter while I was reading it. I believe that they're making yet another film together. I think that "Ladies in Lavender" is several years old.

Love your new photo! I hope that you're feeling better these days.

Hi, Ellie. Thanks for the friends request, which I of course immediately accepted!

I've been thinking of you - I hope all is well and your health is good.

I recently read Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, which I think you may have recommended on LT, and liked it very much. (She deserved better from her foolish family, but what a woman!) I also just read The Blue Castle, which our pal NarratorLady had recommended, and likewise liked it very much. Probably a lesson there for all of us in terms of fears and accepting - or rejecting - oppression.

Anyway, good to hear from you!

Best wishes - Joe

And you made my day! What a pleasant comment. I hope you enjoy those books as much as I did.


Ellie, I forgot all about the audio version until you mentioned it. Naturally, it's also on sale in the UK bookstores but SHE DOESN'T READ IT! She reads the introduction but someone else reads the story. I was shocked. I've never heard of an actress not recording her own biography. I know she's a busy lady but it's still very odd. So you have actually missed nothing at all.
The "bunker" was surprisingly long. They started small and kept on taking over bits of the basement. Imagine being down there for days and weeks at a time ... and everyone smoked! The sleeping quarters weren't open to the public; it sounded like they were like sleeping compartments on old trains - very tight quarters. I did see the letter from Churchill that said he was "sold a pup". The only other time I ever heard that expression was when my mother-in-law was telling me about a friend who got a bad deal on a house. Isn't it interesting the expressions that fade away? I wonder what the origin of that one was? Must google.

Naturally I went to my share of UK bookstores and our friend, Dame Judi, has published another autobiography. I'm waiting for the next blizzard to curl up and read it.

I'd never heard of the Connie Willis Marble Arch book, so my list increases. I'm still waiting for the audio version of Blackout from the library.

Your comment about the blitz and the underground would have surprised me too but last month I was in London and we went to Winston Churchill's bunker in Whitehall where his wartime staff lived and worked. Winston only stayed overnight for four nights but took all his calls from Roosevelt and worked on strategy there. Fascinating. Apparently when peace came, they all left everything behind and returned to their lives and there it all stayed - phones, papers, maps - until 1984 when Maggie Thatcher decided it should be preserved and opened to the public. Anyway, the men and women residing there assumed they were perfectly safe since a metal layer had been installed in the roof. But it wasn't impregnable and when a rocket hit next door, they went blithely on with their work. They couldn't hear the blitz from down there so they ignored it. Winston, of course, knew the danger.

I hope you had a lovely birthday,

Good to hear from you, Ellie! I'm glad that it's not more serious, although I'm sorry your hands and eyes are giving you trouble. I'll look forward to your being able to rejoin the silly game and other threads.

Yes, that's my wife, and the two great women are my sisters. Nice to know you're enjoying the pics. Since I usually forget to use the camera, I'm lucky others are better about it.

I should've thought of making yours an interesting library a long time ago! Your book choices are always intriguing, and I never would've read one like The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast without your push.

- Joe
Hi, Ellie. Per your request, I put up a couple of new pics. Hope all is going well.

Best wishes - Joe
Hi Ellie,
I was away for the weekend and computer free so I just got your message. I got the two Noel Coward plays from the library. Here is the information from the library site. It doesn't mention Imogen Stubbs for some reason, but her photo, along with Fry's, is on the cover of the packaging. I hope you can track it down!

ISBN 0792747119
Publisher # BBCD 192 BBC Audiobooks America
Note Compact disc.
Title from container.
In container (17 cm.).
"Digitally Mastered"--Container.
Performer Two BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatizations starring Stephen Fry and Judi Dench.
Summary In Private lives, the lights of a yacht on the French Riviera are reflected in the water and in the eyes of four hilariously mismatched lovers. In Hay fever, a country house weekend goes haywire when the guests and their hosts play a game of romantic musical chairs.
Subject Radio plays.
Riviera (France) -- Drama.
Added Author Fry, Stephen, 1957-
Dench, Judi, 1934-
BBC Radio 4.
Thanks, Ellie! I liked the audio selection of Three Wyrd Sisters. I wish my life was more conducive to listening to audio books. Right now I only get to do that on long driving trips. (Train commute, doesn't really work well driving around the city, etc.)

I'll check out this one, Night Watch and The Colour of Magic, and see whether I can make any headway. So many people whose opinion I respect enjoy reading him.

I'm still getting quite a kick out of Little Women. We just made it through the long night of Beth in danger from scarlet fever. Phew!

- Joe

Hi, Ellie. Good to hear from you!

I do know Edward Steichen, but not James Nachtwey, so I will look for him. I've got a cool volume of "Atget Paris" from Gingko press in my office, that I stumbled upon at some book sale. What is it about Paris? A photographer's dream, and I just love black and white photos of it.

Glad to hear at least your local newscaster is pleased with weather that's too warm and dry. Weather seems to be an irresistible inanity magnet on tv, doesn't it?

I had a trial once not far from Knoxville, in Cookville, with Judge Clure Morton, a man who would brook no nonsense, that's for sure. My brother-in-law and his wife live in Gatlinburg; you're in a beautiful part of the country.

I'm lucky enough to look out over the lake from my office here in Chicago. Uncharacteristically warm and lovely October weather here (lovely isn't as unusual as warm is!); at lunchtime I just wandered about and reveled in it.

I've never found the right port of entry for Terry Pratchett; maybe you can help me. I liked Good Omens a lot, the one that he did with Neil Gaiman, but didn't take to The Fifth Elephant (recommended) when I tried that one. I've gotten a jumble of recommendations since then, with explanations that I'd need a diagram to follow.

I'll try to post a new picture soon - glad to hear you're enjoying them!

- Joe


I very much enjoyed your review of "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand". I have to confess that I never gave any thought to Mrs. Ali's religion. I think because she was so different from her husband's relatives, I had assumed that she and her husband were not as strict about religious matters. Mrs.Ali didn't want to give up her shop and did so to help her husband's nephew provide for his small family. She knew that she was sacrificing her freedom by doing this but it seemed that life was offering few alternatives.

It's an interesting point though. Since she was born in the UK it's possible she was more secular since no mention was made. But perhaps it was simply a theme that the author wasn't equipped to explore.
The New York Times review of "Langrishe, go down" was intriguing enough to put it on my netflix list too. Did I read it correctly? Dame Judi naked? Dame Helen Mirren was almost constantly naked during that period but Judi? If it's awful, then it will be spectacularly so, considering that Harold Pinter wrote it and Annette Crosbie (another favorite from my theater going jaunts in the seventies) are in it too.

My daughter was living in London a few years ago and came home and phoned me to tell me she had passed Pinter in the street. He apparently lived in her neighborhood. I told her that she was probably one of the few Americans in her twenties who would recognize him.

I had forgotten about "American Splendor" having the cartoony look. I actually don't remember the movie that well but I loved Gemignani and Davis. "Next Stop Wonderland" is quirky and romantic if you're in the mood.
just that since you and i have library commonalities in our virtual lists which rank so high numerically, and since you mentioned you were trying to recall books you had read long ago, i thought of this author whose works delighted me in high school....
did you read frances parkinson keyes back in the 60s?
I loved Animal Dreams just as I love her others. It wasn't my favorite because the whole time I just knew her sister was going to die and I dreaded it! But it was really lovely.

I first heard of The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories when it came up as the incorrect touchstone for another book of horse stories I have. The same thing makes me laugh: are the stories lesbian or the horses? I'll have to buy it and find out I guess. I know I just played it on the last silly game (usually I like to space my books out a little more) but I couldn't resist.
You can certainly find some gems on the Newbery honor lists: must look up your friend Jean.

Loooove Paul Giamatti, he of the gorgeous voice. He always seems a bit awkward when interviewed on TV but I've heard him on NPR and he's delightfully relaxed on radio. I think I could listen to him reading the phone book and be entertained.

My fave Hope Davis film is an indie called "Next Stop Wonderland". Takes place here in Boston which was fun and is a little rough around the edges as you would expect but Davis is sublime. Very interesting actress to watch.

Oh dear, stethoscope. I knew it was wrong and tried it a couple of ways and thought "better look it up"....and then it flew out of my addled brain.

I didn't make the whole helicopter landing pad thing clear. In the book, it's so completely out of place with the description of the rather broken down facility that was the charity hospital. Also, it's pretty clear that these trips to harvest organs is a one-way deal: organs are never brought to the charity hospital, they are only picked up.

You're right, I'm very fortunate that I haven't had much experience with medical jargon. But I have had some and for some reason forget what I've learned almost as soon as I have no more need for it. This does not bode well for the future as for now I must write everything down that a doctor tells me. I'll probably be carrying around volumes of notes once things start to break down.

As always, thank you Ellie, you're very generous with your praise.
Ellie: I've never been to the Bodleian but I may rectify that in December when I'm being taken to the UK for my birthday and plan a day in Oxford. (By the way, during high school/college my after school job was at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, where I was the person trolling the stacks for books and handing them out to scholars like you!)

I remember seeing Dench in "The Pleasure of His Company" - a musical with John Mills. Again, delightful with a marvelous, quirky singing voice although the show wasn't much but who cared with those two on board? More recently, I saw her in "The Royal Family" .... with Harriet Walter! It was quite a cast including Toby Stephens (Maggie's son!) and Julia McKenzie who is another favorite of mine. Tell me what you think of Harriet's book. I assume you've seen Dench's turn on youtube as Sally Bowles.

I would have loved to have seen Dench in "A Little Night Music" but alas was raising children in the States and trips to the UK were off. If she should be planning to grace the London stage this December, you can be sure I'll be there! It pains me that in the days when I visited London frequently and didn't find her name in the newpaper, she was probably performing Shakespeare with the Royal Shakespeare Company, who, in those days, didn't advertise which actors were performing. You just showed up because of the RSC - but I needed more concrete info!

I lived in Europe for four years and every time I landed in London I scanned the newspaper theater guide for her name so I've seen her several times. That first time I had no idea who she was and she stole the show. When she walked she danced on the balls of her feet and her eyes sparkled with mischief. Couldn't take my eyes off her. Of course I've seen her in more serious roles but in every one, without breaking that fourth wall, she manages to intimately include the audience in her performance somehow.

When I married my British husband, I explained during our first London visit who I was searching for and he amazed me by saying "Judi Dench? Queen of the Nottingham Rep?" which was where she worked in the late sixties before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company and where my husband went to university. Small world, huh?
Ellie: I don't want to get you all excited about the Betjeman bio. I haven't started it yet (I'm on vacation this week) but I've given it a cursory glance and there's not much of his well known poetry in it. There are bits he's written to friends and of course many excerpts from his letters but you'll be disappointed if you're looking for "Death in Leamington" - it's not even referenced in the Index. This isn't all that unusual. I remember narrating a bio of Katherine Ann Porter and she was such a nasty woman, I had to go and get her short stories to make me understand what all the fuss was about! The only things quoted in the bio were her letters and they showed a mean-spirited sort. But the stories I read on the side were delightful and helped me get through the rest of the bio.

I see from the correspondence below that you read Judi Dench's "Scenes from my Life" that I own. It's the only book I've read where I was actually present during one of stories she described. I was in the audience for her last performance in "London Assurance" - she was pregnant and it was her last night. She references some giggling when a line about "expecting" came up. I didn't understand the laughter, but got the joke two nights later when I went back to the theater to see her again, found that Sinead Cusack was in the role, and when the line came up again and there was no laugh, understood that the empire waistline on the delightfully round Ms. Dench was hiding something! I've been a rabid fan ever since "London Assurance".
"... gawd, how young they all were."

When I was a teenager I fancied Dame Judi something rotten (her and Marianne Faithfull). Looking her up on IMDB lately, I've been surprised to find that she's actually sixteen years older than me and would have been in her early thirties when I was lusting after her. I'm sure that at that age I'd have thought anyone over thirty positively ancient, so I can't help wondering if I'd have been such a lifelong fan if I'd realised, then, how old she was. We men are very shallow, you know!

Your photo prompted me to check up on Joe Melia - he used to be such a familiar face on British TV, instantly recognisable in the photo, but I hadn't seen him for years. He seems to have just faded away - I couldn't find any references to him in the last ten years or so, nothing on IMDB after 1997 (they don't list him as having died). Strange: male actors usually seem to go on until they drop; or, at least, don't retire that early.
Hello Mirrordrum,

I've just got hold of Judi Dench's 'Scenes from my Life' that you recommended to me a while back. I read the whole thing last night. I was a little taken aback at first - I hadn't realised it was, in effect, a book of photographs - but then I found I was laughing out loud on practically every page! I can't pick anything out as I have it on my lap now and find I can open practically anywhere at random and find something to make me chuckle. Well, just one - someone supposed to hand John Woodvine a quill pen handing him a whole bird instead - ON STAGE! Hilarious.

Many thanks for the recommendation.

Paul G.
I like your lawn mower shot (although maybe all the borders add up to just a little too much white). So you do yours with just one image and then put the borders in with masks?

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of my favourite Heinlein books. I enjoyed particularly the different way the main characters spoke and all the Russian and Chinese words that had crept into their language. Mike is one of my favourite SF characters ever!

I've never tried anything in audio-book format, I'm not sure I would concentrate enough and it would become background noise while I did something else.

Mmm CS5! I'd have to buy a new computer as well. That's really no major problem because a new computer would be cheaper than CS5! It will have to wait a while though because I just bought an iPad - what a gorgeous way of showing off one's photographs that is.
Found it! I thought I had bookmarked it but I hadn't so I had to find it again.

7 minute video.
Goodness me no! You keep your copy, I haven't been actively looking yet because I'm stuck at base-camp level on Mt TBR. Every time I make an assault on the summit, I get beaten back by bookalanches!
Not reading Wesley the Owl yet, I haven't found it anywhere yet. I added it to my wishlist because of the quotes you used in the 'Silly Book Game'.

Glad I'm not the only one in the dark about this site!!! Why does it have to be so complicated? anyone else out there feel the same way?!?!!! please tell me that besides the 2 of us, we are not the only ones!!!! But I shall keep pluggin' away to learn about this site!!!
Thanks for the reply....Guess this site is a little puzzling to me!!! so much going on......I'll have to take it one step at a time....hope I don't sound like a dork, but I'll have to work at it awhile!!!
Thanks so much for the Tony Hillerman book list. I'm enjoying "Sinister Pig" but am aware that there's a lot of history that I'm unaware of. I don't know if I'll read all of them but thanks to you I'll know to start at the beginning and read the first book!
It's never too late to learn things. Do you have access to university classes you could audit? And the Learning Company has excellent classes. They're pricey, but your library might have some or be able to get them for you.
Oh, please, witter away.

I agree with your mom's philosophy entirely. My girls were welcome to read anything in the house, which meant between me and my husband, they were exposed to a lot more history and science at home than in school. I'm sure they attempted things I would not have felt were age-appropriate, but I don't think it scarred them enough to notice.
I know I read things my parents didn't approve of, but they never took anything away from me. My mom recommended Costain and Edna Ferber, so I read a lot of both of them. Now I imagine she was trying to find adult novels that were appropriate (or at least not graphically inappropriate) for a twelve- or thirteen-year-old.
Funny you should say that about Molly Ivins. As I re-read her columns from the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, it's astonishing how so many of the things she writes about could be lifted verbatim and applied to what's happening today. I so miss her humor and clear-eyed view of things.
Ah! You're a first-rate Crambologist and a Nero Wolfe fan to boot! Will you be my friend?


To continue the Maggie Smith/Alan Bennett thread, I'm a fanatic of both. I own Bennet's recording of "Lady in the Van" - a true story about Bennett allowing a very difficult woman to park her van in his front garden where she lived for years. Maggie Smith played her in the West End, which isn't surprising since she and Bennett are great friends. I also have tapes of "Talking Heads" although I don't think Smith's "Lentils" is included but I have seen the superb video. I think my favorite of the tapes is Patricia Routledge's "Miss Fossard Finds her Feet."
Mirrordrum: Check your State Library for Talking books for the blind, visually impaired and handicapped. My daughter is a librarian for the one in SC and sends our thousands of recorded and large print books weekly. They're FREE and you get a free digital player to play the audio books.
Yes, 'teem' and 'esteem' might be tricky to visualise. Here's a Sunbeam you could use though!
Erm, Hi. Me again. I know it's the middle of your night, but when you get up... well, we're having a little problem over on Crambo! and I wonder, if it's not too much trouble, would you jump in and be a Special Guest Crambologist?

No worries! G'nite.
I left you a link in the last message. Maybe I didn't underline enough words!

That might be overkill though. :0
Yes. But if you just (a href = "/topic/92211")text here(/a) then it goes to the top anyway. Btw, you did know you don't need the http://www etc didn't you? It is actually better not to use it for some reason to do with the other language sites.

I recently got myself a Tamron 90mm f/2 macro lens. Oh the sharpness, oh the bokeh!
Nice flower shot! Sweet colourful bokeh as well!

The #lastmsg would have sent people who clicked on the link to the, erm, well, last message in the post. Probably no real big problem, just that they would have missed any previous messages without scrolling. Such a me attempting to sing 'Twenty-one today' ;)

Take care.
You are a wealth of information! Thanks so much, especially for the links to the poems.
I knew about Peter Firth being in Equus but since I've only seen him in comedies, it's always been hard for me to think of him as a dramatic actor. I think he was in Sophie's Choice but I could never bring myself to watch that movie.
So it's time to re-think Peter and finally listen to the rest of Barker's trilogy.

By the way, loved the story of your Mom reading Nero Wolf to you in the car.
I did read the text version of [Regeneration] years ago and it's seared into my memory. I understand that it's the first book of a trilogy and I always mean to get to the other two - she's an amazing writer. It would be great if Peter Firth narrated the audio versions of those as well. If so, I'll finally read them.
Crazy here, Ellie (for some reason I keep having to do work - go figure), but I wanted to get you the LT Buddhism link:

Not the fastest-paced group on LT (!) but I think you'll find some things that interest you.

I'll respond further soon!

Best - Joe
Hi, Ellie. I must have been in a travel-induced fog; I thought for sure I had read your recommendation of The Broken Teaglass! Thank you for your gracious response and patience with a dopey guy. The book does look good; I ordered it from the library and will report back once I get it and read it.

As you can tell, I could use some better practice with mindfulness myself! Not to mention a couple of smacks upside the head. I read the Nyanaponika book when I was in college and thought it was terrific. I even based my thesis in part on it. Like you, I practice vipassana, but haven't found an insight meditation group in Chicago that fits me. I agree with you that these challenging times make it more important than ever to start paying attention to paying attention, each moment. And to be compassionate.

The "what one book would you recommend" question was asked in the LT Buddhism group, and my response was "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki. Something about its gentle tone and understanding helpfulness works for me. Thank you for the ones you mention in your message; Chodron and Salzberg are new to me and I will look for them.

Best wishes - Joe

I checked the NLS site and apparently The Broken Teaglass is "under consideration" to be read. I'll let you know if it ends up at our studio: it's a one in five chance!

I was wondering about The Broken Teaglass, mirrordrum (i.e. whether to read it) and then saw your recommendation. I'll order it from the library as soon as I get back home.

Best wishes - Joe
Hi there, yes Tommy was my favourite, the kind of look in a man I have always admired, as if he wouldn't even know what to do with a suit or a dinner jacket (hate 'em!). There are so many gardening, cookery, house make-over/decorating programmes on TV here now, that drama very rarely gets a look in. Hence my joining of LT, to get back to books. All the best, take care. Sue
That's a lot of Holstein, all right. He's a cutie, if seemingly a bit stubborn:) I have a bit of a soft spot for cows, and my almost-five-year-old LOVES them. I showed him the picture last night and it took me a full ten minutes to pry him away from the computer for bed. "Cow" was his third word, lol, spoken the very first time he ever saw a cow.

We were at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago a couple when he was about three (developmental disabilities account for the delayed speech), and there's a little farm at the back of it. First building we went to was the dairy barn. Four pretty big cows were in stalls, two black and two red, and Kidlet was completely enthralled. So much so that through the entire rest of the farm area, all he wanted to see was the cows.

We pointed out every other animal at the farm to him. "Look, son, chickens." "Cow," he'd say. "See the little piglets?" "Cow," he'd say. Goats, ponies, sheep, even the veggie patch, it was always the same - "Cow." We got back to the cows and then it was "COW!!!!!" with the biggest grin I'd ever seen. That's the first place we go now whenever we're up there.
Hello Mirrordrum,

Sorry, I was being overcomplex about the price. 94p is $1-38 at this afternoon's rates.

I seem to have been a Judi Dench fan for as far back as I can remember. I'll certainly look out for the books you mention.

Paul G.
Hi, mirrordrum. I've, as usual, been enjoying your posts in the silly game. You're reading a book I really liked, Emma Thompson's one on writing the screenplay and making the Sense and Sensibility movie. What a remarkable woman! Plus I'm a pushover for most things Austen (not zombies or add-ons). Hope you're enjoying the book, and that all is going well.

Best wishes - Joe
Hi mirrordrum,

Working well on the silly book game - especially your #204 which made me laugh out loud again.

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film by Emma Thompson - Never heard of this. For some time I've vaguely been meaning to hunt up some journals or memoirs of people involved in the movie industry, was intrigued by some of your quotes, looked up some reviews here and on Amazon, found a copy for 94p/£0-94 and thought it was a good place to start. I'm looking forward to reading it, so many thanks for bringing it to my attention.

By the way, if you're keen on the nuts and bolts of screen and stage, have you seen this - - ? It's the actress Sophie Ward's blog and she has some fascinating insights into the actor's life ('fascinating' bearing in mind that it's something I know little about) - a bit superior to the usual blog, in my opinion.

Paul G.
186990Image flag on this image. Image comments only appear on your own profile page and the image page itself.
Please provide evidence of 1) permission to use on LT, 2) license applicable to LT, or 3) public domain status. (See Contributing Photos to LibraryThing.)
I'm always happy to be able to make people laugh, glad it was you. I clicked over to take a look at your profile and library and such... we have a lot of books in common. Don't you just love Agatha Raisin? I can't wait for the next installment, she's become something like an old friend. Well, see you in the silly game!
Hi mirrodrum,

There's a pretty thorough bibliography of Tanith Lee at (though a little cumbersome to navigate around). However, most of the spoken word stuff seems to be as individual short stories as parts of anthologies. There are a novel and a novella listed - Indigara or, Jet And Otis Conquer The World and The Sky-Green Blues, respectively, but I've never read either and I suspect, from the description, that the former may be a children's or young person's book.

About Tanith Lee: I've been trying to write something to give you a flavour of her and I just can't do it. She writes stuff that could be shoe-horned into 'sci-fi' or 'fantasy' or 'horror' (and stuff that can't), but I think she's pretty much unique. I think this could be one of the cases where the word 'literary' could apply. Having said that, in spite of the occasional foray, I haven't really much interest in the above three genres, so I'm not really in a position to compare. I think she's a brilliant short story writer and a very good novelist, but she may be a bit of a 'specialist' taste - I once loaned the short story anthology Forests of the Night to a friend who generally shares my tastes (she introduced me to Dorothy L Sayers and I her to Terry Pratchett and we're both very pleased) and I was astonished that she was completely unimpressed! I'm not being very informative so I'd better stop writing.

Hi, mirrordrum. I saw your comment #252 on 'The Silly Book Game'. We live and learn - I never knew that about baby tortoises!

A silly story: My sister-in-law has a couple of tortoises she's had for thirty or forty years or more. Years ago, when the kids were small and their little friends in and out of the house regularly, my brother (who has a bit of a wicked sense of humour) was seen standing in front of the tortoises, slapping his knees and shouting, "Up! Up! Up!" - with a gang of visiting kids looking on, totally bemused, and not at all sure whether the tortoises were actually going to do anything or if their friends' dad was totally bonkers.

Hi, mirrordrum. Thanks for the nice note! That's a beautiful kitten up there - yours?

Thanks for the tip on Marlon James' piece about Buffy and Joss Whedon - that guy (Marlon) can write. My favorite line was "like many teenagers in the real world, Buffy didn’t have time to make an epic tragedy out of her whining and moping because whether it was her choice or not, she had shit to do."

My daughter and I both enjoyed Buffy (I take credit for seeing it first and recommending it to her :-)). Like Xena in particular and X-Files, too, there's a lot of wisecracking and wit.

Like you, I'm caught up in the NCAAs. What drama! Kids we know from Young Chicago Authors (a local writing organization for public school kids) did performance poetry pieces in the pregame show on Sunday, and they were great. I've crashed and burned in the office pool, but I'm philosophical - each year I consider it my donation to someone else's winnings. :-)

Best wishes - Joe

P.S. Marlon James also rightly raves about Dr. Horrible - if you haven't seen it, it's worth tracking down.
I was just working on my profile, deleting and archiving comments, and came across yours of last year about "Wyrd Sisters." Wanted you to know that I'm reading it right now and finding it delightful!
Just stopping by to say hello, mirrordrum, and thank you again for the hilarious entries in the Silly Game (book dialog). The latest was fashioning "some kind of pyramid". Great!

I hope all is going well for you.

Best wishes - Joe
Thank you so much for that poem, it's fabulous. The lettuce sounds exactly like me!! I love owls, I have one taken up resident in my garden. I can see its silhouette sometimes when there's a bright moon. I just wish it would confine its hooting to the hours when I am awake!!!
Come back and play Crambo! It's gone all boring without you.
Thanks for the awesome link - Wanda's a truly exceptional person it seems! I believe the multiple names for narrators (usually) has something to do with working for different companies at different times. "Nadia" also does a great job on a True Crime book -- "Pointing from the Grave" by Samantha Weinberg which, although set in California, has a British (expat) victim central to the plot, so a British-accent narrator makes perfect sense!

I don't think Nadia/Donada used Wanda McCaddon for long, but always mention that one in case folks run across the nom-de-narrator. I gave up on Amelia Peabody eventually, when the plots hybrid'ed romance with her son Ramses, and Nefret.
Thanks for your message, mirrordrum; you're very kind.

On the 'read anything' question: being the sort of chap who sometimes wanders around with his mind wandering around elsewhere, young ladies with writing on the front of their teeshirts can prove an occasional hazard - if I see text my eyes are automatically drawn as to a magnet, which in that circumstance can lead to hard glares and embarrassment.

I regard Wodehouse as a sort of literary 'comfort food' - 'turn your brain off' reading that I can relax with before bedtime when I'm too tired for anything more challenging. It's quite superficial - or, if there's any depth to it I'm missing it - but at its best it can be laugh-out-loud funny (for me, anyway).

I'm well, thanks for asking (having recently got over the near-annual Christmas head-cold). Hope you are well, too.

Thanks. That was about what I thought. Italics wouldn't be a problem. It'll be a while, but I wanted to be prepared.

Happy New Year!

Question: If answering a question in the game from a book of short stories, what is the correct way to reference it?

"Name of Short Story" in [Name of Book] by [[Author]]
or [Name of Book] by [[Author]]


By the way, I finally got Bachelor Brothers' B&B but don't know when I'll get it read. Maybe next up, as I have two trilogies I want to read and don't like to read another book in between. So many books, so little time, as I saw on a Tee-shirt.
Hello mirrordrum, Thanks - and Happy New Year.

I recently realised that it was so long ago that I read Unnatural Death that I couldn't remember it - hence my reading it now. It's fascinating - for a book written in 1927 - working out DLS's treatments of lesbianism and of racism. She obviously put in a lot of thought on her treatment of each but it's all quite oblique, isn't it?

I very vaguely remember the Ian Carmichael narrations on the radio; I also have a glimmering of a memory of him in a TV series, but I'm not sure about that.

I'm not sure about the Petherbridge/Harriet Walter series, though (have 'em on VHS). Fair enough, I think Harriet Walter was so strong in the role that I now see her whenever I read the books; but Petherbridge didn't do it for me, I'm afraid. Not 'silly ass' enough in the face and not athletic enough in the body (which was probably why they had Bunter do the horse race against the clock in Have His Carcase). And, talking of Bunter, I thought he (I forget the actor's name) was 100% miscast. Bunter was a working-class lad who'd educated himself; so his so-formal speech and correct pronunciation would have been superimposed on a working-class accent. The actor playing him was trying, not very successfully, to put a working-class accent on top of what was clearly quite a 'posh' accent - exactly backwards. And I'd always assumed (probably with no good reason) that he was older than Peter.

I'd better stop now - compulsive writer - once I get started I tend to go on and on, and on, and on .......
My Christmas card for your virtual mantelpiece. I hope that a Cramboist Extraordinaire like yourself will appreciate the wordplay.

Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2010.

I was searching for last year's link to Basil Rathbone's "Christmas Carol." I grew up with that recording. My parents bought it on their wedding day, Christmas Eve 1940. It became a part of our Christmas tradition to listen to it every Christmas Eve. Around the fireplace, lights off, with just a few candles and tree lights, drinking eggnog and listening to this recording.

I was able to download this recording from this link:

Hope this works for you and have a Merry Christmas.

hi, mirrordrum. Great to get your note! Yes, I'm really enjoying The Wings of the Sphinx (I keep forgetting touchstones don't work in these). The series starts with The Shape of Water, so you might want to look at that first. It's set in Italy, and features Inspector Montalbano, who's curmudgeonly and a contrarian and willing to buck authority at every turn, and who's also as charming as can be, at least to me. Loves to eat, too - the meals always sound so good!

Fun holiday books if you're in the mood for witty, engaging mysteries, along with some armchair travel in Italy and good food.

Have a great holiday!

- Joe
Hi there!

Yes, CRAMBO! is in full swing! Please join us -- but, please be gentle on this newbie. I already printed out some rhyming dictionaries; but, a few of the words were not on those lists. I had to get into deep unused parts of my brain - thats a good thing!

"Ghost with Trembling Wings" is a lovely book. Well written and I feel it would be a good book to listen to. It has a good degree of painted narrative and the author uses this against the canvas of good research. "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" is my personal favorite compared to this book. I had to look my copies up and I only have first editions. Some of the research in both of these books has changed in recent years - particularly that which is related to the elusive Ivory Billed Woodpecker. I believe there are some new books on this subject - which I am very interested in - but, have not acquired these books yet.

Thanks for the introduction and playing CRAMBO!

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,563,696 books! | Top bar: Always visible