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Member: wandering_star

CollectionsOwned, not read (975), Available (276), Pearl-ruled (61), read, not kept (359), Read but unowned (110), Gave up (113), Your library (2,126), e-book (209), books I have read (1,374), Not mine (27), @cb (18), Lent out (7), Bex (577), Discarded without reading (242), Favorites (8), @2hb (5), @JV (1,239), Audiobook (38), Wishlist (64), Currently reading (2), All collections (3,493)

Reviews361 reviews

Tagsfiction (527), @jv (513), @jv-rr (397), @bex (367), in: BM (266), in: 2h (215), 2010 (188), tioli (187), non-fiction (186), in: gift (173) — see all tags

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Recommendations133 recommendations

About me"I seem to wander around the world ... accumulating material for future nostalgias." - Vikram Seth

And something I need to remember: "Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents." — Arthur Schopenhauer

My thread for 2012 is here.

I am using my wiki to keep quotations and poems which I like. Also a short sample quote from each book that I have read.

Fun stuff

My timeline
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About my libraryI started using Bookmooch as a way of noting down all the books I read in a year. Then it got addictive... first I started adding books in my permanent collection (I tend to give books away, unless I really like them); then books on my wishlist; and then books that I could remember reading, but have given away. On the positive side, I can't think of any more categories of books which I could add (and if you can, please don't tell me!)

My rating system:

5* or 4*, would happily recommend
3* and 2.5, I enjoyed - wouldn't recommend but wouldn't warn you off either
2*, I didn't think much of, definitely wouldn't read again
1*, hated

GroupsAll Books Africa, Amateur Historians, Anglophiles, Arab, North African and Middle Eastern Literature, Asian Fiction & Non-Fiction, Atwoodians, bande dessinée, BBC Radio 4 Listeners, Can you recommend....., Cheese!show all groups

Favorite authorsDouglas Adams, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Nicola Barker, Elizabeth Bowen, A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Sarah Caudwell, Jim Crace, Michael Dibdin, Jenny Diski, Patricia Duncker, Helen Dunmore, Robert Edric, Jennifer Egan, Elena Ferrante, Michael Frayn, Linda Grant, G. W. Hawkes, Reginald Hill, Kathleen Jamie, Gish Jen, Hilary Mantel, Andrew Miller, David Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, Jeff Noon, Viktor Pelevin, Salman Rushdie, James Salter, W. G. Sebald, Vikram Seth, Jane Smiley, Jane Stevenson, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson, Michela Wrong (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstoresAny Amount of Books, BFI Filmstore, Books for Amnesty, Crockatt & Powell Booksellers, Daunt Books - Marylebone, Eslite [誠品], Gangarams, Grant and Cutler Ltd., Oxfam Books & Music - Marylebone High Street, Stanfords, Tate Modern Shop, Tlön Books, Topping & Company, Whose Books (胡思二手書)

Favorite librariesBritish Library

Also onBookMooch, delicious,

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/wandering_star (profile)
/catalog/wandering_star (library)

Member sinceNov 11, 2006

Currently reading99 Poems in Translation: An Anthology (Faber & Faber) by Harold Pinter
Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia by Francis Wheen

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I hope that didn't sound like I was nagging -- I know it had a distance to travel
I'm so glad you hadn't read any of the SantaThing picks I chose for you. I hope you like them! -Mel
Hi, Wandering_Star

It was nice of you to drop by.

I have not as yet mined Bunker 13 or the Burley Cross Postbox Theft but your comment has pushed them to a higher altitude on Mount TBR and I am delighted that you have made positive comments about them.

Bunker 13 is a book I picked up on a whim, so I have no preconceptions about it. The Burley Cross Postbox Theft is a book I bought on the basis that it is about a postbox. I have been working in the Irish post office(An Post)for the past five years and being a bibliophile have developed a tendency to buy books with any reference to the postal industry. Charles Bukowski's Post Office was the first such book I read. Recommended if you want a realistic and very non-PC view of life in the post office. Of course it is nothing like that now. ;-)

Your profile quotation about buying books and also buying the time to read them is a sentiment I share. I have to console myself with Eco's quote and regard my book buying as a pension plan to ensure I have plenty of value to dig out of my mine in years to come.

All the best.

Thanks for the message. It was so nice to be asked to post my review. I posted to both threads, included the title of my second choice, and mentioned your name in each post - I hope you don't mind.

The best part is that I got lots of tips for countries that I still have to visit.


Since the Europe Endless challenge I have been keeping track of my global reading - apparently on the same website as you use. I was going to transfer all the information to another site as this one seems to be somewhat unreliable, but for now it seems to be working again.

Nice to hear from you.
Hi wandering_star, I've added you to my interesting libraries list. We have a few favourites in common and I look forward to investigating more of your books.

It showed up on my 'Connection news' and caught my eye. So that makes you I have to thank for making me find it. :)
Hi star,
thanks for, completely unbeknownst to you, introducing me to Diving Belles!
Thank you for the kind words. I don't have an LT thread - I've seen people refer to them, but don't really understand how it works. Is it sort of an ongoing blog in bulletin board form? By the way, now that we've met, I'm enjoying reading your very thoughtful reviews - thank you!
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Brilliant pic but what happens when the book you wnat is at the bottom ???
Your Arthur Schopenhauer quote is painfully true...
Hi wandering_star:

Although I enjoyed "Land of Laughs", the twist was quite predictable and there are a lot of other fantasy stories on a similar theme. I haven't read all of the author's books but I would recommend that you read "Sleeping in Flame" or the "Wooden Sea" next. "Sleeping in Flame" was the first one I read and I absolutely loved it, while "Wooden Sea" had a more interesting mystery plot than some of them. I didn't like "Voice of Our Shadow" so much, but looking at my review, I think I may get more out of on a second reading.

As for leaving a gap between the book, I think it would be a good idea, as II find tJonathan Carroll's protagonists a bit samey.
Hi wandering_star:

Re Land of Laughs -it's good to know my pain is shared-misery loves company. ;) Like a lot of things these days it strikes me as SFF fiction for people who don't read SFF fiction. I've since become cautious with new genre fiction that's overly raved about. Oh well...
I was blown away by *Snow Crash*, but I fear that it has dated badly. Reynolds has created a world that I greatly enjoy beginning with Revelation Space, but he's something of an elliptical writer. Actually, I think I might start with Chasm City and then go back. It's a hard call.
I didn't think that *1Q84* had the depth of *W-U Bird* or even of *Kafka*, the only two I've read. It is way too long, but I found it very entertaining.
I still haven't gotten off here to check Jeff Noon, so I'm going NOW!!!
That was my reaction to your recommendations for me although I did find a China Mi&eacure;ville that had somehow escaped being catalogued here. Jeff Noon is a name I don't know, so I'm off to explore since I also enjoy Iain M. Banks very much. Do you like Neal Stephenson too? Alastair Reynolds? They are my current favorites, but Ian MacDonald may join their ranks. I'm reading River of Gods, my second, and liking it a lot. I read my Mantel yesterday almost exclusively, and that's rare.
Oh! I really, really like Murakami too - especially *Wind-Up Bird*. I was not quite so carried away by *1Q84*, but it's not a bad book at all.
Glad to talk to you!
We do seem to have a lot in common - mysteries as well as women's books. I also love science fiction and fantasy, and I suspect that you don't. (I'd be glad to point out my favorites if you ever feel the urge!)
I haven't read but two Maggie Gees, her memoir, My Animal Life, which I remember as somewhat flawed but fascinating and My Cleaner. Even so, I know that I'll read everything that she has written if I live long enough. I think I'll read *White Family* before *Driver* though.....
Looking at things that I should borrow from you, I see that I haven't done as good a job entering my library as I thought. Back to the drawing board!
And since I'm talking books here (!), I'll tell you that I'm reading and enjoying A Place of Greater Safety, River of Gods, and Mad Puppetstown as my main three of the moment.
Peggy Again
I thumbed your review of The Flood and came over to thank you for it. I like Maggie Gee anyway, so your review was all it took to run up my acquisition antenna.
Now that I'm here, I see other stuff in common. I'm set to start Palace Walk when I finish one of my current biggies, and I have the Montalbano series on my radar although I've been able to avoid it so far.
What I really like is your using the wiki for a quotation from each book. Great idea! I will steal it immediately!
I see that we're on each other's interesting list; that was a good move on my part. I'm interested!
Heh, Wandering Star, I didn't even know there was an "interesting libraries" feature. What else might I be missing?

I have been worrying about the number of "books I didn't finish" since I joined Libarything over four years ago. Perhaps over-exposure to the Web and digital death rays has sapped my attention span? Or maybe I'm just older, wiser and more discerning? Anyway, you have 84 books you couldn't finish and I see I have a mere 24. I thought there was considerable overlap with my "what a mess" tag but there are only five of those. Though of course many more deserve the tag.
Happy New Year!

Hello Margaret,

Wishing you a great 2012!

Best wishes,

Hello Wandering_star,

Many many thanks for the book choices, it was a great delight opening my parcel this morning! I love the books, I had heard about the Kathleen Jamie book but the Sea Room was completely new to me and as you say the Colin Tudge book was already on my wish list.

I hope that you received some good books as well.

Best wishes,

Bigpinkchimp (Ruth)
Thank you for your fun stuff - don't know how you did it but I'm impressed. Just read your review of Love by Elizabeth von Arnim which I just listened to - the version was read by Eleanor Bron - couldn't have asked for a better narrator really. Your review was very good. It's been ages since you read it so it is probably but a distant dream now but I did think it was a really really interesting book and beautifully written....ooh look at all your helper badges.....what a lot of work you have done....
I am amused to see that you eventually abandoned "Rituals"!
Hi, wandering_star, what a charming welcome! Tell me more of the thread setup you recommend -- I'm a total newbie to LibraryThing and don't have a handle on its formal and informal uses.

How sadly true the Schopenhauer quote is -- true of a lot of the stuff we buy for 'stories about ourselves' even if it doesn't have brands on, to tie it back to Buying In.

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This is an amazing photo. Did you take it? Where?

Found envelope of books in son's car. He forgot to mail....will mail this week. Sorry for the delay!
Hello! Thank you for telling me :) I had imported my reviews from another site where it wasn't possible to have half stars but now that I know, I can change that :) I'm pretty sure there are several books that have that half star touch to them :)

No no, you don't have to send them back. Just pass them on to your friends. I'll stick the snail one in with the Imperfectionists. I'll let you know what day I ship, not sure how long it will take me.

Take care,
If it's not too expensive I will slip my ARC of the Snail book in with the Imperfectionists....It's not the final copy but it's still a nice copy. can check my blog if you want more reviews...I usually post them there first...

I think this snail book is going to be very popular! I will let you know the day I ship...not sure how long it will take. Is it hard for you to get books like the Snail book in Taiwan?

I will post it on Monday, okay? I'll remind you to look for it when it goes up. You'll be happy with it. Let me know if you can wait and I'll send you mine.

Hi there,

PUT it on your wishlist immediately. It's THAT good. I have the review written but won't post it until Monday. It has an ensemble of characters and it's really, really good. I was worried it would be too preachy about the loss of newspaper readers but it's far more of character images. I can send you mine after my friend reads it, if you don't mind waiting a month or so.

Take care,

Did you like Dirt Music? It's slated for production in 2011....Rachel Weicz and Russell Crowe.

Thanks for the list you mentioned, I will look for those.

I wonder if you would like The Door in the Grimming, by Paula Grogger. It is one of my favorite books. I'll be looking for the one you recommended, The Surveyor.
Thanks for the heads-up. Unfortunately too late for me. I was online but at the wrong place so I will skip creating a challenge this month as there is already one listed very similar to what I had in mind. I love yours though:)
I had to revisit your page to see what book you were talking about (Teta, Mother, and Me). I was able to borrow it from the local library, yay! But I haven't had time to read it yet.
Thanks to your review of Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women (which I only heard about today), I am eager to read this book.
ooh thanks for the Vincent Lam recommendation! Considering how much you liked it, I highly recommend The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review (there's also a semi-annual journal) -- collection of stories, essays and poems that touch (sometimes barely) on illness, either in the perspective of patient or healthcare provider. Not as depressing as it sounds :)
I look forward to seeing what you think of Queenpin. The book is short, but the cover does not lend itself to public reading. The weekend I read it, I left it home when I attended a child's basketball game at the ymca and when I took my daughter to a piano exam which took place at our good old local fundamentalist university.
Hi wandering_star,

I've noticed your proposals for tag combinations. I think it's great, and I would love it if the Chinese word for China got combined with the western equivalent (etc.). However, I have not a clue about these things myself, and I'm afraid this goes for many of us occidentals. So even I am voting undecided on several of them.

To make a long story short: for some of my own proposals I have noticed that it's a big help if you explain your suggestions on the Combiners group

Hope this helps in some way,

Regards, Matt
Ha! Thank you! It does sound rather splendid, doesn't it? It's a novel, and I'm guessing, a rather peculiar one...!
And you've read Margaret Atwood!

What would you recommend to pick up first?
I've labeled you interesting back, especially since you include many more African books in your collection--which is my biggest lack.

And I think that the Doomsday Book is the kind of book that appeals to people who don't generally read SF/Fantasy. I know that I don't often read any, but loved this book.
Hi! Thanks for your compliment. I enjoy thinking of names for tags, which is time I should probably spend reading instead, haha! I don't have a thread where I post my reviews but I'm glad you enjoy them. Now it's time to take a look through your library to see what cool books to add to my TBR pile...
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I like to think I too can make a home anywhere I go!
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An unusual home for a hermit crab, though quite ingenious.

Dear WStar,
I'm always happy when somebody with serious books likes my library. As you see, I'm a compulsive book-keeper, and with some reason. My enthusiasms come in cycles. If I got rid of all the mysteries because I'm not reading them now, I'd probably kick myself badly a in year or two when I want them again. (I don't think I'll ever kick myself for getting rid of Anita Blake.) Let me return the favor. I don't recognize some names on your favorites list, and I certainly need new authors!
I see that you correspond with Cushla..... You haven't ever felt the need to join the Virago group? What great women!
Thanks for the encouragement on the Coroner's Lunch - ok, I'll keep going then!! It was recommended by a local bookseller. I love it when people in bookshops recommend books, but I wasn't sure.

Just found your thread for this year (lurked last year!) - haven't had much LT-hanging-out time yet but will go and have a read tonight.

Hi, Margaret . . . thanks for the information on the Gratiaen Prize--I'd never heard of it. Very interesting, indeed! Cheers, Joyce
I don't think I was right. With Wishlist, or any collection, you can choose Edit Collection and then uncheck the boxes for showing up in recommendations and and connections, and you can also make sure that any book you put into that collection isn't also in the "My Library" collection. BUT, even when I do this, books I add to my "Books to Investigate" category still show up in other places, for example, on my profile page, as if I had actually acquired them. Rebecca
Thanks for your note. I am somewhat frustrated with my "Books to Investigate" category because I wish I could make it like the Wishlist category in that books in it don't show up as books I actually own. If that were so, I would probably add LOTS more books to it! My interest in Stet! comes because I work as a (nonliterary) editor, so I'm intrigued by other editors' experiences. Rebecca
Thank you - isn't he just a big old meanie?! If I was on LT much more I don't think I'd ever finish a book again... :-)

And thank you for the very kind words and for starring my threads, I'm a little overwhelmed by the way they've taken off already this year! Every review provokes comment, every story encourages everyone else to share, it's great! The more the merrier, so stop by anytime you like!

Ellie X
Hi Margaret,

I don't want to run a Fun Challenge group, but do come to my thread and talk about it. If you, Stasia, and/or Richard want to do/run this, I am fine with it. You can either take the idea and make up your own mini-challenges or copy mine. Your choice.

I need life to be simple. :)


Dear Margaret,

Thank you for revealing yourself! It's so nice to be able to leave you a personal note. I'm very much looking forward to these books; I'll be taking them with me on holiday. Thanks for expanding my Virago library and starting my Persephone library!

Happy holidays and have a great new year!

Warm regards,
Thanks so much for offering to send me "Lost Ladino" -- that is very kind of you. However, yesterday when I was placing a last-minute holiday order on Amazon, I thought I would look for it and send a present to myself! So it will be winging its way to me shortly anyway. Rebecca
Hi wandering_star. I read "The Cross and the Pear Tree" many years ago and I know I found it interesting. It is pretty much the story of the Perera family, originally Sephardic Jews in Spain, and their migrations and in some cases conversions. I have an interest in Sephardic Jews and in Jews living in "unusual" places, so that's why I picked it up. If your interest in mostly in the Ladino language, I don't remember how much that is a part of the book. Rebecca
Hi, wandering_star! The book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is specifically for non-bread machine breads. However, it's extremely easy to make - I would say it's almost as fast and easy as making bread in a bread machine (which I have, too, and which I haven't used since getting the book). The authors also came out with a new book this fall, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is on my wishlist. :-) The premise of both books is that you mix up a large batch of dough, let it rise, then keep it in the refrigerator (no kneading). When it's time for a new loaf, you take a portion of the batch and form it into a loaf, let it rise, and bake (again, no kneading). It's really quite easy - and very good!
Thanks for adding me and following my thread!
Only just read Ianthe Brautigan's memoir, and I gotta say I agree w/ you. I enjoyed it overall, finding it worthwhile b/c of all the Brautigan-related information one can learn, but sometimes it was just painful: Her references to pop culture that made her seem much older than she is (e.g., Tales from the Crypt being a cheesy '70s horror movie--wot??), and about half the time her Brautigan impressions (I found it kind of odd that she only did it sometimes...and it seemed randomly...) were very hit-or-miss, about 50/50 good/bad. And YOWCH, that chapter about Brautigan and Cobain jamming together was one of the most painfully shitty things I have ever read in my entire fucking life. Terrible. Absolutely fucking terrible.
Thanks for adding. To have so many books in common always makes an attachment, but also to see that you have a large number of books that I would like to read means that I've got to add you as well. You have an impressive number of reviews. On the downside, one of them, Strangers by Taichi Yamada, you only gave two stars, I am just a few pages in (the only reason I'm not further on is I'm on LT to enter it), curses, still at least I'm forwarned. One of our 'shared' is one of my favourite reads of the year, Gil Adamson's The Outlander which I keep pressing on people to read.
Thanks! I posted that exact same review of The Exception on Amazon and so far it has 0 out 3 helpful votes. I just do not understand why so many people seem to think this is the Scariest Most Hard-Hitting Book Ever. It made me laugh.
Hi and thank you for the add. I'll happily return the favour - just going through the books where we overlap made me feel this is a library where I will find new things to my taste. Then I read a few of your well-written and to the point reviews, and felt even more so. Here I'll get some good tips, no doubt about it!
You are so sweet! Thanks for letting me know. While I write the reviews for myself, it does feel good to know others read my reviews too.

Take care!
They do look interesting, don't they? They're not exactly falling into my lap, though. I've had them all on my Bookmooch wishlist for a year now, to no avail. Some of them I've found (but not bought yet) on Amazon, but a couple of them aren't even on there.
Thanks. I think someone should do a survey to find out how much less reading gets done because a person belongs to LT! It's fun, though, a reassuring that there really are so many people out there addicted to real books.
I posted my review of "Mrs. Stevens Hears etc." Then I read yours. Amazing how close we were in our assessment. Would be interested to know more about why you found Mrs. S. "a tiny bit infuriating," and if for the same reasons I did.

Review is here:

Thanks again for the suggestion (and the book from Mooch).

Thanks for adding me to your interesting libraries, and right back atcha! I've been enjoying your thread in Club Read, though I've just been a lurker to date. You actually inspired me to read a couple of MR James stories during a snow here--I'd previously been reserving them for dark and stormy nights. :)
I saw your revew of The Spare Room, and it reminded me of a movie I saw years ago. I would describe it much the same way- strange, unsettling, but not sad or weepy. Here's the wikipedia site-
It's also about a woman who becomes mysteriously ill, but goes through an amazing transformation into clarity as a result.
Thanks for the revview!
Thanks for the accept, W-S. I do so love Duncker and Murakami - they're wonderful!


Anne B
Thanks for adding me to your Interesting Library list -- I'm about to ad you to mine!
Back at you for the Interesting Library. And your reviews are equally interesting. You've read some unusual books! Quite intriguing. Thanks.
Hey thanks for adding me to your interesting libraries list. I'm flattered. You have a pretty impressive library yourself.
Thank you about the step-children comment. It is true we all have those. I do quite a bit of traveling and look for local resale shops, goodwill etc... I then rush to book department like a child on a treasure hunt! I find many, too many in fact and those are the ones that tend to be put aside after the impulse buy.

Since this is a book site I want to recommend one of my favorites:

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves ( Translator )

Thank you so much for adding me as an interesting library. I would like to return the compliment. We share some interesting books (and I'm still haven't catalogued all of my fiction) and I don't think I've ever met anyone else who has/has read ibsen's Rosmersholm! Were you a theater major at some point? Look forward to "seeing" more of you on Book Nudgers.

I just got your parcel. What a treat!
Running in the Family, of course, looks as wonderful as I hoped it would be, and Watching the English will be great fun to read. I'd heard the title but really nothing else about it, so I'm looking forward to discovering a new book/author.

Thank you very much!

Just popped by to thank you for recommending Funny Boy (several months ago now, after my unhappy Carl Muller experience). I finally got hold of a copy - it arrived yesterday from BookMooch, and I can't put it down.

You suggested that I should "start a thread" to generate interest in this Chinese American history group. I don't know how to do that. Any suggestions?
Just passing by.
You are a member of some really interesting groups, a few for me to check out, and I thought I'd already found all those that I'd like.
Did you like Leila Aboulela's Minaret?.. I really liked it.
I'd highly recommend Southern Fried Rice is you have an interest in a memoir of a man who grew up in a Chinese laundry in Macon, GA, mid-20th century. As I said, I'm working on a history of Maine's Chinese and I found this memoir of a person who grew up Chinese far away from a Chinatown or cohesive Chinese community interesting both in itself and as a comparison to the situation here in Maine.
I'm happy you joined me in the Chinese American History group. I'm in the process of doing research for a book on the history of Maine's Chinese community. What's your interest in this subject?
gary w. libby
Hi. Thanks for your note. It would be great if you become as enthusiastic about Raven as I am. I've had very little luck in proselytizing for his work.

I read Alms in the order published, the order, that is, the order in which they are printed in the three volume set, and didn't find it to be a problem at all. I'm not sure anything would be gained (or lost) by reading them in chronological order.


Yes, I am sorry, I meant to come let you know before now! I am in the midst of buying a house, so I am very limited in my online time. I am just finishing up a book I borrowed from someone else, though, and then I am very excited to read that next. Thanks again!
Oh no! Although I would love to hear Ondaatje read, I'm afraid I no longer own a cassette player.
Would you mind terribly if I took you up on your offer of a paper copy instead?

As far as where to send it, I can send you the address, but I don't think I can accept packages there until September. Maybe I should message you when the date gets closer?

I feel this is all getting rather complicated. Let me know what works for you.

Thanks! I'd very much enjoy either a paper or an audio copy of the book, so whatever's easier for you is good for me.
I'm glad to hear it comes so highly recommended.

Thanks for adding me to the list for "Mr Y"! I'm looking forward to reading it!
A book would be great.
Do you still have the copy of Running in the Family listed on your Book Mooch account? I fell in love with Ondaatje when I read Anil's Ghost a few months ago...I'd love to read more.

I'm heading to the post office today. I think it should take 6-10 business days for the book to get to you.

"The Genizah at the House of Shepher" *is* already an international bookray, and you can be in on it. I do need you to sign on as a member of Bookcrossing first in order to add you to be on the participant list. Thanks!

I see a "wanderingstar" on BookCrossing who lives in Sri Lanka. I'm thinking that is not you!
I'm in the US but would be glad to send it along anywhere it needs to go, please add me to the list! Thank you!

I'm in the US, but I could probably send it anywhere. Please do add me to the list! I will try very hard not to hoarde the book for myself, much as I like to own my own books, ;-).

I would be interested in The End of Mr Y. I'm not a member of bookcrossing, so let me know....

feel free to put my reviews on the wiki!

Thank you! I'll start adding them in now.
Hi wandering_star, I came across your review of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Last September" when I was scanning the cover of the edition I picked up at a library sale yesterday (a beautiful cover, btw - a 1979 edition). I admit to only skimming the review, not wanting to come across spoilers or be too influenced by it, but it seemed like a well-done review (I should go back and give it a thumbs up, eh? *off to do so*). Well. any coming-of-age story of a character named Lois ought to be interesting:-) Thanks for doing that review. Best, Lois
Hi. On Go Review That Book!, I've created a group Wiki page to keep track of the progress of the game and the reviews that have been generated. Some may find it easier to read the reviews by having them in one handy place. There's a discussion thread in the group and this is the first Wiki page if you are interested in having a look. To avoid any difficulties with copyright, I'm seeking your consent to add your reviews to the group Wiki page.
Just a quick note to let you know that I sent you the BM book Vale of Tears today. It should make its way across the pond to you in a a fews or so. I hope that you enjoy it. =)
Wandering_star (great name, btw), I was just catching up with the post on the March theme reads (even though, yes I know, it's already april!) and saw that you are a fellow Pym fan. She is such a wonderfully funny and insightful writer, but when I say "the writer Barbara Pym" so many folks have never even heard of her.
P.S. Glad you enjoyed "Tiny Deaths" also! That story about the little girl being reincarnated as an ashtray stayed with me a long time. Did you leave Rob a note on his profile page? I'm sure he'd love to hear from anyone who has read it. - Lois
wandering_star, I put the direction for posting pictures including book covers in the 'kitchen' message #100 of the 75 Book Challenge Group. I use photobucket and download a copy of the cover from somewhere to my computer and upload to Photobucket and so on. It seems like a bit of work, and perhaps it is, but I enjoy seeing it - I like to mix up text and graphics (old desktop publishing habit, I suppose). The other day I thought to put them into my challenge thread. I figured I already had most of them in photobucket because I put them on my profile page, so voila! I haven't master getting them all the same size as some seem to, but I'm guessing that if I wanted to put the covers on Photoshop and resize them first there, it would do it but I retain a certain degree of laziness:-) This is a rather long-winded way of pointing you to the message in the kitchen, isn't it? Best, Lois
Wandering_star (what a lovely user name!),

I'm happy to elaborate on Mary Butts' work to the best of my ability. I can certainly see how my rather gnomic pronouncement on her Taverner novels might have left you wondering whether she's an author worth checking out or one better avoided at all costs! ;-)

I did end up adding 'Armed with Madness' (but not the second Taverner novel, 'The Death of Felicity Taverner') to my year-end top 10 and, while I can't unequivocally recommend it to every reader (those who don't like modernism, literary landscape-painting, or Grail mysticism are best warned off), I think it's a remarkable work, one of great beauty and great strangeness, albeit annoying and exasperating as all hell.

Virginia Woolf termed 'Armed with Madness' "indecent", not because of anything explicitly sexual or socially unseemly in the book, but simply because it was so over-the-top: heavily laden with swoony Grail mysticism, just barely suppressed male-male desire and XX exclusionary homosociality, childishly naive and viciously ugly theories of culture and class (embodied more explicitly and less acceptably in the second Taverner novel, where genuine anti-Semitism is rife), and many long passages elaborately painting landscapes of an idyllic Southern England that never was. The book begins with stand-ins for Adam and Eve (and their friend, Steve ;-)), sunning themselves by the sea, naked, sexless and without sin, and ends with a quite literal crucifixion. It's some seriously weird stuff-I certainly get where Woolf was coming from. But 'Armed with Madness' is also occasionally exquisitely written and compulsively readable. As annoyed as I often was (and was I ever!), I found I couldn't put the book down and had to keep reading to the end.

I'm not sure how illuminating the novel will be if you're only seeking to understand a rural, Southern England long gone (you may want to check out Butts' memoir of her childhood and youth, 'The Crystal Cabinet', instead), but if you enjoy high modernism, lush language, and a curiously hard-eyed, very 20th century pagan sensibility, than I think you might like Mary Butts and even 'Armed with Madness'.

Kind regards,

P.S. If you like historical novels of any kind, but especially those given to introspection in the vein of Broch's 'Death of Virgil' and Yourcenar's 'Memoirs of Hadrian', as well as Lagerkvist's work, I highly recommend reading Butts' two late historical novels: 'The Macedonian' (about Alexander the Great) and 'Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra'. They're both truly superb and I really wish she'd written more like this.
Thanks so much for the suggestion, Wandering-star. I will have to read the Barrett book now, after that recommendation.



I recently joined the All Books Africa Group. As a publisher who has just released a novel about the Angolan Civil War, I thought it might be worth bringing to your attention. Ondjaki's Good morning Comrades has just been released (indeed, i'm not sure amazon has changed it status yet). Ondjaki is a Lusophone writer of international reputation, and our edition of Good morning Comrades introduces him to an English speaking audience for the first time. It will not be the last: Aflame Books in the UK is set to release his fable The Whistler, and I know New Directions is also looking at publishing something by him soon. We expect he will become one of the most celebrated African novelists of his generation.

Anyway, if you would like further information on Comrades, you can chcekc out our website at It is also available online on amazon and elsewhere, and available through any good bookstore.

Thansk for your time, and I do hope that this was not too intrusive. (We're a small literary press based in Canada, and we're just trying to do whatever we can to let potential readers know about the book.

Best wishes,

Dan Wells
Interested to see your excellent review of 'The Terrors of Ice and Darkness' which I really enjoyed. Have you any other suggestions like this book or have you read any of Ransmayr's other works? It was really one of the best of 2007 for me.


Is your user name taken from the Portishead song of the same name?
I finished the 1000p book I was reading when my santa things came in, so was ripe for a good mystery. read sybil in her grave and loved it! thanks again. I've already passed it on to my friend and neighbor who returned the favor by lending me sue grafton's "T" in hardcover that she hadn't even started yet. now onto the winter queen (I actually didn't get any other "reading" books for my birthday & christmas this year!)
Hi, Wandering Star

Thanks for your comments about Virginia Woolf's the Waves. I'm putting it aside to read at the end of next term (I'll get to it in mid-April, I hope). From what you said, it sounds totally intriguing.
I'll let you know how I liked them when I am done. I never would have found these myself, but I would be surprised if I didn't like them.
Got my santa thing books today! Thank you! they look really wonderful! I'm looking forward to reading them over the holidays.
I am glad you like it :) The Bengali cookbook sounds great too, I'll have a look into it. Ah, I wished I could have signed my book also, I just stalked one of my professors to have him sign a huge coffee table book on Maya architecture. I think he felt flattered :D

Happy holidays,

Somehow the book title - The Handmaiden's Tale - was dropped from my earlier message. I agree with what you said earlier, too, about being torn between reading for the plot vs reading for an understanding of the text. I find the plot sucks me in too, which, after, all, is what the author is trying to do. The only thing to do is to read it a second time, paying attention to theme, style etc, but, who has the time? Since I've been doing my LT challenge and I've been reading two or more books at once (something I would never do pre-LT), textual elements are more apparent because you are carrying them together in your head and can spot differences straight off.
Thanks for your message. I'd never heard of Bookmooch until I checked out your profile, and your list is very interesting. I do love finding new books and authors - like little unwrapped presents. One of my favourite authors is also Margaret Atwood, in fact, is the only book about which I've thought, I'd wish I'd written this.
thanks for the recommendation on the book about Trieste; been meaning to get to it and this is a good nudge...
I love your pic!
Yes, the dangers of LT!!!!!
So sorry for my late response. I have only read the trilogy but have acquired another one or two for future reading. A friend recommended her to me originally. Have you read Gish Jen's "Love Wife"? - I thought it quite wonderful.

Have you started your own 'read around the world' thread on Reading Globally? Could be fun! I'm not really committed to reading a book from every country so that's why I haven't bothered to start one. Perhaps at some later date.

Best, Lois
You're right--I didn't realize how bad the Dewey challenge would be for my TBR pile until I started. I had thought it might encourage me to get through the more obscure ones that I already own, but now I'm just buying and planning to buy even more!

I haven't read The Guards yet, so I can't comment on it. I enjoyed London Bridges though and that led me to Simon Raven, as a blurb on the cover compared the two, but I can't say that I saw the similarity, except perhaps in Roses of Picardy. I think Andrew Taylor's MacDougal books have a little of the same vibe.

In response to your suggestions of Funny Boy, well, it's funny that you mention it. I keep picking it up at the bookstore, but I'm trying to buy fewer books, so it keeps getting back on the shelves somehow. I have Cinnamon Gardens, by the same author, packed in my suitcase for my upcoming trip to Maui. I like to read books set in the tropics when I'm in the tropics.

Thanks for your message.
I just finished Eucalyptus, and you're right, it is a wonderful book. Been reading it sitting outside in a town in Western NSW - I almost felt I was there, swaying in and out of the stories.
Hi, saw your post in the forum about a love story with 50 apples. I don't know what it is. But you might like Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult. It also has a romance with apples... Have a great day!
I love that little wine bar. Don't often get there myself, except when with visitors, you know how it is, I suppose, living in a "tourist" town yourself. Thanks for the tip on book, will look it up. Do get someone to buy you Isolarion. Wishing you a Happy Birthday.

I saw your post about Cookbooks from Ceylon. Just checking in because today I was looking at those from Goa. Really surprised to see Isolarion on our shared books. I thought this was the best book I have read in ages.


Sintra, Portugal
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