Genny's Hymn to Books, Verse 3
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The start of my holiday and (more or less) the beginning of August seem like a good reason for a new thread - Verse 3!
And as I'm staying at Gladstone's Library (formerly St Deiniol's), it's an excuse to post a couple of photos of this wonderful 'temple of reading'.
I haven't quite finished with my old thread yet - I've got a lot of overdue book reports/reviews to do, and aim to finish those off over there, so if you are interested knowing what I thought of any of my reading in the past 6 weeks or so up to the end of July, do keep an eye on that thread (Verse 2). Books read and acquired from August onwards will be on this thread.
If you are mad enough to want to look back at my earlier postings in 2001, you can find them here:
Verse 1 and
Third and final thread from 2010 is here
And here's what I wrote about myself on the Introductions thread.
I've also got a (much shorter) thread going in the Orange January/July Group which you can find here.
I will be reaching the goal of 75 books in the next day or so (I'm up to 73 as I write this), so at this rate I will probably read about 120 books this year - unless I go for lots of long ones in the next few months - after all, if I read all the short books to get through my TBR pile faster, I'll be left with lots of 500+page chunksters, and next years' figures will drop right down. Doesn't really matter I suppose!
I'll carry on the habit I started in my last thread, of listing book acquisitions as well as what books I've been reading. The ratio of books acquired compared to book read is a bit embarrassing, though I know this is an affliction shared by many friends here!
Some tickers to keep track of things:
Reading from August 2011
72 Eats, shoots and leaves - Lynne Truss - finished 2.8.11 - TIOLI same syllable challenge
73 And then there were none - Agatha Christie - eBook - finished 3.8.11 - TIOLI same syllable challenge
74 Lord Peter views the body - Dorothy L Sayers - finished 7.8.11
75 Gladstone: the making of a Christian Politician - Peter J Jagger - finished 8.8.11 - TIOLI biography challenge
76 August Folly - Angela Thirkell - finished 9.8.11 - TIOLI read with a friend
77 O Pioneers! - Willa Cather - finished 10.8.11 - TIOLI title word sounds like alphabet letter
78 Sisters of Sinai - Janet Soskice - finished 12.8.11 - TIOLI biography challenge
79 The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway - finished 14.8.11 - TIOLI word sounds like letter
80 The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy Sayers - finished 16.8.11 - TIOLI friends read
81 Eric - Terry Pratchett - finished 22.8.11
82 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury - finished 26.8.11
83 Devil May Care - Sebastian Faulks - finished 29.8.11
84 Arms of Nemesis - Stephen Saylor - finished 6.9.11
85 Sovereign - C J Sansom - finished 14.9.11
86 Moving Pictures - Terry Pratchett - finished 18.9.11
87 Life Class - Pat Barker - finished 20.9.11
Previous reading May-July 2011
37 Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde - finished 2.5.11 - TIOLI off TBR pile
38 Southern Discomfort - Margaret Maron - finished 4.5.11 - TIOLI off TBR pile
39 Shooting at Loons - Margaret Maron - finished 7.5.11 - TIOLI birds
40 Unnatural Death - Dorothy L Sayers - finished 10.5.11 - TIOLI repeating vowels
41 Mr Campion's Farthing - Youngman Carter - finished 13.5.11 - TIOLI off TBR pile
42 Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny - finished 14.5.11 TIOLI library
43 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - finished 16.5.11 - TIOLI birds
44 The Deep Range - Arthur C Clarke - finished 17.5.11 - TIOLI library
45 Andromeda Veal - Adrian Plass - finished 20.5.11 - TIOLI off TBR pile
46 Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen - Nancy Wood - finished 21.5.11 - TIOLI outsize books
47 Dark Fire - C J Sansom - finished 24.5.11 - TIOLI set in London
48 The Shape of Water - Andrea Camilleri - finished 28.5.11 - TIOLI repeating vowels
49 Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel - finished 31.5.11 - TIOLI Mexican author
50 Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett - finished 6.6.11 - TIOLI ! in title
51 Remnant Population - Elizabeth Moon - finished 11.6.11 - TIOLI new-to-me author
52 Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh finished 18.6.11 - TIOLI flowers on cover
53 Pies and Prejudice - Stuart Maconie - finished 21.6.11 - TIOLI fact/fiction
54 A dedicated man - Peter Robinson - finished 22.6.11
55 Go the f*** to sleep - Adam Mansbach - finished 27.6.11
56 The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet - finished 29.6.11 - TIOLI name beginning Z
57 A short history of nearly everything (Audiobook) - Bill Bryson - finished 1.7.11 - TIOLI guilty book
58a The tale of Mr Todd - Beatrix Potter - finished 1.7.11 - TIOLI re-read childhood book
58b The Tailor of Gloucester - Beatrix Potter - finished 2.7.11 - ditto
58c The tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle - Beatrix Potter - finished 4.7.11 - ditto
58d The tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter - finished 5.7.11 - ditto
59 Miss Marple and the thirteen problems - Agatha Christie - finished 8.7.11TIOLI typeface-only cover
60 The Death Maze (Audiobook) - Ariana Franklin - finished 9.7.11
61 The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim - finished 11.7.11 - TIOLI title ending with middle name initial
62 The Jewel Seed - Joan Aiken - finished 12.7.11 - TIOLI juvenile fantasy
63 Just My Type - Simon Garfield - finished 12.7.11 - TIOLI typeface-only cover
64a The Tale of Tom Kitten - Beatrix Potter - finished 13.7.11 - TIOLI re-read childhood book
64b The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin - Beatrix Potter - finished 13.7.11 - ditto
64c The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse - Beatrix Potter - finished 13.7.11 - ditto
64d The Tale of Jeremy Fisher - Beatrix Potter - finished 13.7.11 - ditto
65 The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie - finished 15.7.11 - TIOLI typeface-only cover
66 Purple Hibiscus - Chimananda Ngozi Adichie - finished 20.7.11 - TIOLI woman-authored prize nominated
67 Waterbound - Jane Stemp - finished 21.7.11 - TIOLI YA fantasy
68a The Tale of Two Bad Mice - Beatrix Potter - finished 19.7.11
68b The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes - Beatrix Potter - finished 18.7.11
68c The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies - Beatrix Potter - finished 21.7.11
68d The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse - Beatrix Potter - finished 29.7.11
69 The Moving Finger - Agatha Christie - finished 22.7.11 - TIOLI read a book you should borrow from person below
70 The Outcast - Sadie Jones - finished 25.7.11 - TIOLI 'hot' author
71 The Inimitable Jeeves - P G Wodehouse - finished 27.7.11 - TIOLI title words consecutive alpha order
Previous reading January-April 2011
1 The White Witch - Elizabeth Goudge - finished 3.1.11
2 Come dance with me - Russell Hoban - finished 5.1.11
3 The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K Dick - finished 8.1.11
4 84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff - finished 21.1.11
5 The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - Helene Hanff - finished 22.1.11
6 Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel - finished 22.1.11
7 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - finished 27.1.11
8 Roman Blood - Steven Saylor - finished 29.1.11
9 Flowers for the judge - Margery Allingham - finished 5.2.11
10 Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively - finished 17.2.11
11 Native Tongue - Suzette Elgin - finished 18.2.11
12 Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett - finished 23.2.11
13 A Glass of Blessings - Barbara Pym - finished 25.2.11
14 The Ghost of Thomas Kempe - Penelope Lively - finished 26.2.11
15 The murder in the vicarage - Agatha Christie - finished 4.3.11
16 Jar city - Arnaldur Indridason - finished 8.3.11
17 Hypothermia - Arnaldur Indridason - finished 9.3.11
18 Bruno, Chief of Police - Martin Walker - finished 10.3.11
19 Dissolution - C J Sansom - finished 11.3.11
20 The Moving Toyshop - Edmund Crispin - finished 12.3.11
21 The China Governess - Margery Allingham - finished 17.3.11
22 The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde - finished 26.3.11
23 Whose Body? - Dorothy L Sayers - finished 26.3.11
24 Clouds of Witness - Dorothy L Sayers - finished 29.3.11
25 Murder in Mesopotamia - Agatha Christie - finished 30.3.11
26 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - finished 3.4.11
27 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie - finished 4.4.11
28 The Homeward Bounders - Diana Wynn Jones - finished 5.4.11
29 The Help - Kathryn Stockett - finished 9.4.11
30 Pyramids - Terry Pratchett - finished 11.4.11
31 Mr Campion's Lucky Day - finished 13.4.11
32 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - finished 18.4.11
33 The House in Norham Gardens - Penelope Lively - finished 19.4.11
34 Fingersmith - Sarah Waters - finished 27.4.11
35 Fire and Hemlock - Diana Wynne Jones - finished 28.4.11
36 Journey into Joy - Andrew Walker - finished 28.4.11
Books acquired during 2011
I've already significantly overshot my target of a maximum of 100 new books into the house this year. I really don't need to buy any more for the rest of the year... In fact I don't know what the total is at present because I have not yet added all the books that arrived in July - this counter will be updated when I have done so.
Here's a list of books acquired from August onwards: I will make a note when these are read.
And then there were none (e-Book) - READ
Cue for treason
186 One by one in the darkness
187 Portuguese for Travellers
188 The Wind Changes
Gift: Advices and Queries (The Religious Society of Friends)
Acquired May-July 2011
1st May - From my sister's church book sale (25 pence each)
92 Loyalty in Death - J D Robb
93 The Liar - Stephen Fry
94 Sheepfarmer's daughter - Elizabeth Moon
95 The riddle of the sands - Erskine Childers
96 Franny and Zooey - J D Salinger
97 A perfect spy - John le Carre
98 The history man - Malcolm Bradbury
99 Like water for chocolate - Laura Esquivel READ
100 The True Darcy Spirit - Elizabeth Aston
101 A dubious legacy - Mary Wesley
102 Fatherland - Robert Harris
11-12th May - from Amazon marketplace/eBay
103 The female man - Joanna Russ
104 Up jumps the devil - Margaret Maron
105 Home fires - Margaret Maron
13th May - from public library
The haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
Bury your dead - Louise Penny - READ and returned
18th May - from eBay
106 Parker Pyne investigates - Agatha Christie
20th May (LT London meet-up)
from Persephone Bookshop
107 Flush: a biography - Virginia Woolf
from The Lamb Bookshop
108 La's orchestra saves the world - Alexander McCall Smith
109 Melted into air - Sandi Toksvig
110 The price of love - Peter Robinson
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Marcia Williams (picture book for a gift)
111 Mr and Mrs God in the Creation Kitchen - Nancy Wood - READ
from Oxfam bookshop, Bloomsbury
112 The wandering fire - Guy Gavriel Kay
113 Selected poems - U A Fanthorpe
114 The Virago book of Victorian ghost stories - ed Richard Dalby
115 The weather in the streets - Rosamond Lehmann
116 Precious bane - Mary Webb
21st May - from second hand bookshop, Sheffield
117 Invitation to the waltz - Rosamond Lehmann
118 Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett READ
119 Moving Pictures - Terry Pratchett READ
120 Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
27th May - from Amnesty bookshop, Newcastle
121 Lucy Gayheart - Willa Cather
122 A lost lady - Willa Cather
123 The republic of love - Carol Shields
124 The heaven tree - Edith Pargeter
125 The tenderness of wolves - Stef Penney
(Loan) A place of secrets - Rachel Hore
126 Lord Peter Views the Body - Sayers (ebay) - READ
127 Ordinary Thunderstorms - William Boyd (ebay)
128 Newcastle: a short history and guide - Frank Graham (eBay)
From market bookstall 3/6
129 The Time Traveler's wife - Audrey Niffenegger -
130 Our Spoons came from Woolworths - Barbara Comyns (VMC)
131 Thirteen moons - Charles Frazier
From church Summer Fete 4/6
132 The life and death of Mary Wollstonecraft - Claire Tomalin
133 The hungry tide - Amitav Ghosh
134 Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
135 Life Class - Pat Barker
136 Frequent Hearses - Edmund Crispin
137 Eats, shoots and leaves - Lynne Truss READ
138 Diary of an ordinary woman - Margaret Forster
139 In the kitchen - Monica Ali
140 The hare with amber eyes - Edmund de Waal - (Gift)
from Oxfam bookshop 10th June
141 The time of the hero - Mario Vargas Llosa
142 The time traveller's guide to medieval England - Ian Mortimer
143 The Pyramid: the Kurt Wallander stories - Henning Mankell
144 The emigrants - W G Sebald
145 Austerlitz - W G Sebald
from Scope charity shop, 10th June
146 Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M Auel
from Amazon marketplace
147 Mr Campion's falcon - P Youngman Carter
from Oxfam shop, 17th June
148 The enchanted April (VMC) - Elizabeth von Arnim READ
149 A sudden wild magic - Diana Wynne Jones
150 Poseidon's Gold - Lindsey Davis
151 Soul Music - Terry Pratchett -
152 The magic toyshop (VMC) Angela Carter
153 Rebecca (VMC) Daphne du Maurier
from Audible - free download
154 Go the F**k to sleep (Audiobook) READ
eBay bulk order received 29th June
155 Jane Fairfax - Joan Aiken
156 Eliza's daughter - Joan Aiken
157 The last slice of the rainbow - Joan Aiken
158 A bundle of nerves - Joan Aiken
159 The winter sleepwalker - Joan Aiken
160 The Jewel Seed - Joan Aiken - READ
161 Presiding like a woman - ed Nicola Slee - Reading
162 Quicksilver - Neal Stephenson
163 The death maze - Ariana Franklin - READ
164 The Tale of Mr Tod - READ
The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle - READ
The Tailor of Gloucester - READ
The Tale of Peter Rabbit - READ
165 Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky
166 Killing Orders - Sara Paretsky
167 The age of innocence - Edith Wharton
168 The moving finger - Agatha Christie - READ
169 The case of the sleepwalker's niece - Erle Stanley Gardner
The water's edge - Karin Fossum
The old man and the sea - Hemingway READ
Sisters of Sinai - Janet Martin Soskice READ
170 The world's wife: poems - Carol Ann Duffy
171 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken (replacement copy)
172 The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
173 The body in the library - Christie - READ
174 The tale of Squirrel Nutkin - B Potter - READ
The tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher - READ
The tale of Mrs Tittlemouse - READ
The tale of the pie and the patty pan
175 Mr Golightly's holiday - Salley Vickers
176 Eric - Terry Pratchett READ
177 The tale of Timmy Tiptoes - READ
The tale of Pigling Bland
The tale of Johnny Town-Mouse - READ
The tale of two bad mice - READ
178 The tale of the Flopsy bunnies - READ
Appley Dapply's nursery rhymes - READ
179 The other British Isles - Christopher Somerville
180 O pioneers! (VMC) - Willa Cather READ
181 The ladies of Lyndon (VMC) - Margaret Kennedy
182 Dead right - Peter Robinson
183 Their eyes were watching God (VMC) - Zora Neale Hurston
184 Crooked House - Agatha Christie
185 Duet of Death - Hilda Lawrence
Books acquired January-April: (numbering does not include library or other loaned books as these are not permanent acquisitions, but I'll still list them here)
1 A Glastonbury Romance - John Cowper Powys - READING
2 Sir Thursday - Garth Nix
3 Lady Friday - Garth Nix
4 Just my type - Simon Garfield - READ
5 Beowulf - transl Heaney - READING
6 Everyday Easy Chicken - Andrew Roff (cookbook)
7 84 Charing Cross Road - Helen Hanff - READ
8 Unnatural death - Dorothy L Sayers - READ
9 Vulnerable communion - Thomas E Reynolds
10 The Bodleian Murders - Jane Stemp
11 Mr Ives' Christmas - Oscar Hijuelos
12 Murder in the mews - Agatha Christie
13 Death comes as the end - Agatha Christie
14 Miss Marple and the thirteen problems - Agatha Christie - READ
15 Murder in Mespotamia - Agatha Christie - READ
16 Remnant Population - Elizabeth Moon READ
LIBRARY: Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie READ
LIBRARY: Native tongue - Suzette Haden-Elgin - READ and returned
17 Love lies bleeding - Edmund Crispin
18 The two heroines of Plumplington & other stories - Anthony Trollope
19 Jar City - Arnaldur Indridason - READ
20 Framley Parsonage - Anthony Trollope
21 The Greek Myths - Robert Graves
22 Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively - READ
23 The earth hums in B flat - Mari Strachan
24 Phineas Finn - Anthony Trollope
25 Can you forgive her? - Anthony Trollope
26 Arms of Nemesis - Stephen Saylor READ
27 Dry bones that dream - Peter Robinson
28 Innocent graves - Peter Robinson
29 The seven dials mystery - Agatha Christie
30 The house at Norham Gardens - Penelope Lively - READ
31 The ghost of Thomas Kempe - Penelope Lively - READ
32 A stitch in time - Penelope Lively
33 Always coming home - Ursula K Le Guin
34 The Help - Kathryn Stockett - READ
35 Good omens - Terry Pratchett
36 Christian roots, contemporary spirituality - Lynda Barley
37 Community value - Lynda Barley
38 Five little pigs - Agatha Christie
39 The murder at the vicarage - Agatha Christie - READ
40 Lord Edgware dies - Agatha Christie
41 Hand in glove - Ngaio Marsh
42 Journey into Joy - Andrew Walker - READ
43 - Fingersmith - Sarah Waters - READ
LENT: Sovereign - C J Sansom - READ
44 Shade's Children - Garth Nix
45 John Diamond - Leon Garfield
46 The labours of Hercules - Agatha Christie
Music from Taize Vol 1 - Jacques Berthier (Replacement of missing Music/Hymn book)
47 Whose body? - Dorothy L Sayers - READ
48 Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
49 The mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
50 Daughter of earth - Agnes Smedley
51 The return of the soldier - Rebecca West
52 Intervention - Julian May
53 The homeward bounders - Diana Wynne Jones - READ
54 Detection unlimited - Georgette Heyer
55 The hanging valley - Peter Robinson
56 Clouds of witness - Dorothy L Sayers - READ
57 Glimpses of the divine - Gemma Simmonds
58 Stations of the resurrection - Raymond Chapman - READ
59 The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet - David MItchell - READ
60 Started early, took my dog - Kate Atkinson
61 The broken sword - Poul Anderson
62 The murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie - READ
63 The unbearable lightness of scones - Alexander McCall Smith
64 Wednesday's child - Peter Robinson
65 Reconnecting with confirmation - Peter Maidment
66 A necessary end - Peter Robinson
67 A dedicated man - Peter Robinson - READ
68 Past reason hated - Peter Robinson
LENT Revelation - C J Sansom
69 The history of Danish dreams - Peter Hoeg
70 From the holy mountain - William Dalrymple
71 Summer cooking - Elizabeth David - Reading
72 The white tiger - Aravind Adiga
73 Depths - Henning Mankell
74 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
75 The scent of the night - Andrea Camilleri
76 Restless - William Boyd
77 Divinity Road - Martin Pevsner
78 Samuel Pepys: the unequalled self - Claire Tomalin
79 A murder on the Appian Way - Stephen Saylor
80 Set in darkness - Ian Rankin
81 Dead souls - Ian Rankin
82 A thousand splendid suns - Khaled Hosseini
83 Mervyn Peake - John Watney
84 Hildegard of Bingen - Fiona Maddocks
85 All passion spent - Vita Sackville-West
86 Murder must advertise - Dorothy L Sayers
87 The unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L Sayers
88 Grave mistake - Ngaio Marsh
89 City of the mind - Penelope Lively
90 Next to nature, art - Penelope Lively
91 Judgement Day - Penelope Lively
I'm nearly half way through reading Gladstone: the making of a Christian Politician, part of my commitment to read some 19th century biographies including one of Gladstone himself, while staying here in his Library.
Lots of interesting stuff, but no time to comment - having got my new thread all set up, it's time for me to go down to dinner. More later.
Oh Genny! Those pictures are idyllic! What a wonderful place!!!! I'm delighted that you get to go! I can't even be envious.
Enjoy! Enjoy! And your own nook on the other thread looks lovely too.
Oh, Peggy, but I can (be envious, that is). Wow. I can't believe you get to *stay* there! *drools*
*Oh, and waves too*
Lovely lovely place to take a quiet holiday. Hope you are settled in and making the most of your stay. I'm too 'bad' to ever list all the books I acquire.
Hi Genny, love the photo of your wonderful temple of reading. Looks absoluely idyllic. Also love the photo of your little room in your previous thread. Enjoy!!
What a lovely spot! Can anyone book in there, or do you need to be a scholar or using the resources?
I'd be delighted to jointly read August Folly! I've not embarked on Thirkell yet... Definitely not up to a re-read of any Trollope books at this stage -- they are too massive for me to get my brain around. I've read the first three Barset novels and the first two of the "political" books, although it's been years now. I'd probably want to go back and start from the beginning, at least with the Barset books. I remember Can You Forgive Her? quite vividly. Probably bec. I also watched the Pallisers TV series, as Glencora is played by Susan Hampshire (her sister was my elementary school headmistress, and SH came to all our annual plays and prizegivings; we also got freebie movie tickets from her!)
Fascinating that The Hanging Wood is based on the place you're at! I did enjoy that book; perhaps not as much as some earlier books in the series, but still v. good.
What a gorgeous place to stay Genny! I hope you have a great time away and hopefully you will get lots of reading done. :)
Hello Peggy, Amber, Lucy, Kerry, Nancy, Suzanne, Valerie and Stasia - I'm glad you've come to share this spot virtually - wish you could indeed all be here for real.
In answer to Suz's question: anyone can indeed book in here. People come and stay for a great variety of reasons. Some have booked in for a course (one called 'Greek in a week' has just finished, and 'Hebrew in a week' is just about to start, followed by Latin, then Welsh), some are researching using the library, some are writing, some are reading mostly their own stuff, some are using it as a base for touring the area. Some are here just overnight (one woman was on her way back to Liverpool having been at the Eisteddfod in Wales, and just wanted some space to chill before returning home), some stay for months. And while you will find a higher than average proportion of clergy and church people among those staying, there is absolutely no expectation that guests have any religion or any interest in religion.
There is a guest book in the particular room I'm staying in, with all sorts of comments from previous people staying here. Here's what one person wrote last year:
I am here on a short holiday - a break in routine and a chance to visit some local places of interest. Having recently rediscovered the necessity and pleasure of travelling alone, I am always on the look-out for sympathetic places to stay. I have loved being at St Deiniol's, where it is not a crime to be alone. The building itself is quite beautiful and a wonderful memorial to William Gladstone and his philanthropic love of learning. ... The rates are extraordinarily good value, especially compared to hotels, where single residents are heavily penalised for taking up a whole room by themselves.
I love books, I love studying, I write for hours every day. Although I didn't come to St Deiniol's for the library it has been refreshing to be surrounded by books and scholars. My one regret is that I haven't even 'peeked' at the library itself, embarrassed by my status as a tourist. Perhaps I will come back some time. Thank you for allowing a worldly tourist to stay here, and don't underestimate the extent to which holidaymakers may be seeking 'healing for the soul' as much as the more materialstic pleasures of sightseeing.
I hope this woman did have a 'peek' inside the library before she left, and that she has come back again since and spent a bit longer in there - there was no need for her to feel embarrassed about not being here for research purposes, as she is far from alone in that. Her point about it 'not being a crime to be alone' here is well made though, and one of the reasons I love coming. I can have the solitude and peace of my little room or the library itself when I choose, but also the conviviality of the dining room and the common room where you get to meet all sorts of interesting people. Some are here as couples, many are not, but either way the norm is for people to mingle ('do you mind if I join you?') in the dining room.
This evening I spoke to a young woman who has just finished the first year of her PhD about women's experiences in Bath and other spa-towns in the 'great 18th century'. She is staying here while doing a couple of days' research in a nearby Records Office. We chatted about the challenges of research, and the current situation re funding of higher degrees, and about what exactly is meant by the great 18th century (from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 or the accession of Victoria in 1832).
Yesterday I spent almost entirely reading - a little bit of Lord Peter Views the Body and about 2/3 of Gladstone: the making. I also sorted out the huge pile of unread journals and newsletters which I've brought with me in the hope of catching up with some of those, and have organised them into four separate piles (one pile each of 'The Church Times' and 'The Tablet' going back to April, some still in their plastic wrappers, one pile of political/ethical journals like the Amnesty magazine and Ethical Consumer, and one pile of miscellaneous publications from church organisations and local newsletters). If I read one from each pile each day that I'm here, I'll have got through most of them. I'll probably just skim most of them to see if there is anything of particular interest.
Today I've done rather less reading. With someone else staying here, I went into the nearby town of Chester this morning to attend a Quaker meeting. This was my first proper experience of Quaker worship. The hour of (mostly) silence passed very quickly - there were apparently more people standing up and saying things during the meeting because several of them had just got back from the Yearly Meeting with representatives of Quakers from all over the country, and they had lots to share. I was very impressed by the whole experience.
I read some journals while eating lunch in an Italian restaurant in Chester, and wandered around the shops (couldn't resist checking out the nearby Oxfam shop, where I was fairly restrained and just bought one Virago Modern Classic (Oliva Manning's The Wind Changes) and a Portuguese phrase book ready for my next holiday to the Algarve in October.
Wandering through a shopping precinct looking for somewhere to buy Ordnance Survey maps of the local area, but really wanting somewhere to sit down and read without having to buy a drink, I came across a fish foot spa, and on the spur of the moment decided to book in to have my feet nibbled by hundreds of tiny fish eating up all the dead skin cells! It tickled, and felt very strange at first, but once I got used to it, I had a pleasant half an hour reading more Peter Wimsey stories while the fish got busy on my feet. Feeling refreshed, I caught the bus 'home' to Gladstone's Library, but by then had a headache and had to sleep to shake it off.
This evening I have finished the Lord Peter book of short stories, which is book no. 74, and have spent some time writing a few reviews of earlier books. Tomorrow will be another full reading day, so I hope to reach my 75 target then.
Sounds fabulous, Genny! And you'll reach your 75 tomorrow! I only heard recently about fish foot spas - not surprised to hear they are ticklish. My feet are wildly ticklish, so not sure whether I'd find it pleasant or hysterical - but either sounds not too bad, frankly : ).
I haven't been to a fish foot spa, Genny, but I had the natural experience when I was in Hawaii some years ago - a most peculiar feeling! :)
#14 Forgot to say, thank you Suzanne for agreeing to read August Folly with me for the TIOLI challenge. I'm looking forward to discovering the world of Thirkell. I'm with you on not being quite in the mood for (re)reads of Trollope; I do want to get on to the Palliser novels some day, but perhaps they are more of a winter read. I've not read any of them, but do also remember the TV series with Susan Hampshire - what fun the connection with your headteacher!
Re the Martin Edwards books, they are selling both the new book (hardback) and the previous 4 (paperback) at a 25% discount here - which is still quite a high cost since I'm so used to buying used books most of the time. I'm going to check whether the library gets any benefit from these sales - if so, I might buy either the new one (though I don't normally go for hardbacks) or the older ones, and wait for the other to go to paperback.
Ha! Located August Folly, so the joint read is on! I'll check the Wiki and add it if you haven't done so yet.
Re the Martin Edwards books, I'd suggest reading the first one (especially if the library gets a portion of the revenues...) I wouldn't recommend starting with the last one first, as there is back story involved in the two main characters. So if you buy it as it will benefit the library, wait to read it until you've read the others -- save it for your next trip??
#22 Just added August Folly.
Thanks for the advice re the Edwards series; as there is enough backstory to make a difference, I'll start at the beginning.
Oh, and I've just "friended" you, so that we meet the technical specs of the challenge! *grin*
Oh, of course, forgot about that bit! Thanks! So far I've only 'friended' people who are real-life friends rather than those met on LT, but that distinction is increasingly breaking down now that I feel I'm getting to know people so well on here (and have been to one R-L meet up already too).
Hi Genny. Your holiday sounds perfectly lovely and I will admit to being envious. I did not realize there were fish foot spas in the UK - I had only ever heard of them in relation to parts of Asia; I'm looking forward to trying it out when I am in Indonesia and Malaysia next month, but my feet are very ticklish, so we'll have to see how long I last!
That looks such a lovely place to stay! I hope you have a nice relaxing time and enjoy your reading.
Sounds like you're having a wonderful holiday. Funny what you and the visitor said about being on your own - I love travelling alone and have done plenty of it while we've been living over here. But it's surprising how many people say to me "You're going to Paris on your own??" or "don't you mind not going with anyone?" It sounds like you have a great balance where you're staying.
Funny you found a fish foot spa there - I had never heard of them till on Friday when a friend in London posted a photo of his feet at a spa. It took me a while to see the fish, then I thought it looked awful!! I'm happy that you enjoyed it, but I think I would find it icky and I don't even know why.
I don't know whether I'm more jealous about your staying in that temple of reading or getting your feet nibbled by fish! The latter made me laugh until I realized there actually are such places. Like Cushla said, it sounds a little on the icky side, but I think I could get over it and enjoy the experience.
Thanks for posting pictures of Gladstone's Library. It looks like hallowed ground for reading and meditation.
Genny, thank you for letting us have a little taste of your holiday. I had never heard of fish foot spas, so I'm entranced. And the place still sounds perfectly wonderful!!! I've read all of the *Pallisers*, none of the Barsetshires-Trollope, and some of the Barsetshires - Thirkell. Enjoy! Enjoy!!! But keep us posted every now and then so that we can enjoy too.
Genny, I enjoyed listening to the Shirley Williams podcast on my way to work this morning -- I can't remember where you posted it (this group? the Virago group?) but wanted to thank you for recommending it. It was so interesting to hear her take on Vera Brittain & Winifred Holtby. AND ... I have discovered BBC podcasts! We use iPlayer extensively, mostly to stream BBC R3 throughout the house, but I was completely unaware of the podcasts. Not all are available in the US -- R3 is notably absent but BBC R4 has loads. So a second thank you for that !!!
Quick update via my mobile because my laptop's WiFi function is not working (boo!).
I finished book no. 75 this afternoon! That was the Gladstone biography. And I've started the next book, August Folly. Very entertaining so far.
I hope to continue to give updates on my holiday and reading, but this WiFi problem may make that difficult. It's very slow typing on my phone, and I can't do touchstones, so entries may be strictly limited until the laptop is co-operating again. It seems to be a problem with a physical switch that won't work, possibly a loose connection.
Still, all the more time to read, if I can't do much posting!
Re fish foot spas, I had never come across them either, though I have stood in shallow coastal water while shoals of tiny fish have swirled around: on those occasions the sand and the waves are already massaging the feet so couldn't tell If fish were also nibbling. So yesterday was one of those spur of the moment, 'I'm on holiday, why not try something different' decisions. It did feel strange, and if anything looked even stranger, but my feet felt wonderfully alive last night and still feel refreshed today!
It all looks and sounds wonderful Genny. I am not one bit envious though, oh no!
The fish foot spa sounds VERY interesting - thanks, Genny. I am still balking at even owning a cell phone, so you are miles ahead by typing on one : ).
I hope you continue to share the pictures, Genny. I am loving them (despite my jealousy)
I may have to hunt down the public computer terminals in the library if I'm going to post any more updates, let alone photos. I'm out for the day today, as it was meant to be sunny, but I'm sitting in the drizzle having my picnic, thinking it's time to head back!
Hooray, internet WiFi switch working again! (But v slow) At least I'm back online with my laptop though. I've just been uploading my photos from yesterday and today, so here are a couple:
A typical old shopfront in the city of Chester (bet you didn't know Next had been around for so many centuries!)
and sweet peas in the Walled Garden at a nearby National Trust property - Erddig Hall.
Meanwhile I've been reading more of August Folly, and laughing out loud in places (hoping nobody could hear me)!
Nice photos. Isn't Chester lovely? My husband was born there, although he didn't grow up there, nor has he any relatives in that area now. His mother did still live near there when we first met, and we went there every year or so on one of our visits to her. And Erddig! Beautiful.
I just told my husband, now I know where I want to stay if we ever get to visit England!
I love Chester! Thanks for sharing the picture. And congratulations on hitting 75 books!
Sweet peas are one of my favorite flowers; those are gorgeous. I am also probably too ticklish for the fish foot business.
Congratulations on reading 75!! I love the photo of the sweet peas. I think they are quite possibly one my favourite smelling flowers. :)
Thanks for all the congratulations on reaching 75, and appreciation of photos. I wish I could have captured the smell of the sweet peas as well as the colours - the scent reached me well before I'd rounded the corner and seen the flowers.
My aim was to write a daily update on my reading (I've finished August Folly and O Pioneers! and started Sisters of Sinai, and on my holiday excursions, with photos of anything interesting - but plans were somewhat scuppered for the past 48 hours because maintenance work was being done on the computer system/WiFi etc here at the library, and I couldn't get on line at all yesterday or today.
The work is now finished, and the problems with a very slow connection which I was experiencing before seem to be resolved, so that is good. I have plans therefore to do some more updates this evening, but first I have promised myself to spend an hour or so sorting out my digital photos.
Just as a taster though, here's a photo taken on my trip 2 days ago to visit the coast at Crosby, north of Liverpool, where about 100 life-sized iron human figures are standing fixed in the sands staring out to sea, in an installation by the artist Anthony Gormley called 'Another Place'.
The tide was way out at this point. When it is at its highest, all the figures are covered.
I looked before I read your explanation and was bothered by the apparent nudity and the stiffness of the pose. *grin* And I think I have to put Sisters of Sinai on the wish list even before you read it. Wow!
Just finished Sisters of Sinai - what a wonderful book!!
It's nearly dinner-time here at the library - I'll be doing a little bit of starting to write reviews & book reports etc before I head down to the dining room (much as I enjoy cooking, I'm loving this being able to forget all about meal times until it's time to eat, and being able to stroll down and see what is on offer, and have someone else do all the washing up afterwards too!).
I have more to report on my outing yesterday to Port Sunlight and the Lady Lever Art Gallery, as well as updates on the reading I've been doing.
Ramifications I hadn't bothered to consider..... That gorgeous library, England, and FOOD!!! What a vacation!
I look forward to getting my hands on Sisters of Sinai some day. My local library still does not have a copy. Not a happy camper. I am glad to see you enjoyed it so much though, Genny!
I find that installation of statues very moving and I would love to see them in person. I hope the area is closed off to boats so they don't knock them over or get gouged!
Wow! What beautiful photo's! How I envy you! :) Enjoy your holiday! As to whether I'm planning to read any other Kate Atkinson books - as you know I've read all of the Jackson Brodie's -and yes - I did purchase Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It's in my TBR pile - but who can resist a book by Kate Atkinson! It will be interesting to see how they compare to the Jackson Brodies........
Hi, Genny. I wasn't sure whether to make this comment on Thread #2 or over here, but regarding your remarks about The Thirteen Problems, I recently did a blog post looking at the development of the fictional female detective. The prototype for Miss Marple seems to have been Amelia Butterworth, who was created by Anna Katharine Green in 1897 and appeared in three novels; she helps out the main professional detective. Christie admitted her debt to Green both in terms of plot structure and Miss Butterworth in particular. Mary Roberts Rinehart was also fond of spinster detectives, usually the maiden aunt of one-half of a young couple in love and trouble.
Thanks for visiting, all of you!
Peggy, the holiday is great. An unexpected additional pleasure has been that friends of mine are staying at the same time - they arrived a few days after me and are leaving tomorrow, but we have had nearly a week of opportunities for catching up at meal times. Also, one of the friends is a wine enthusiast, who organizes tasting sessions as a hobby/sideline business, and tonight my arm was twisted to join him and several others sampling a few bottles and having lots of interesting discussions.
Mamzel, the statues were amazing to see in person. I've often seen photos of them, but the scale of the whole installation is not easily conveyed. I'd also not really thought about the name of the piece 'Another Place', till seeing it in situ: as the figures stare out across the Irish Sea towards the Atlantic and beyond, there are resonances with the experience of emigrants who have crossed the sea to 'another place' and of course those who stay behind. Here's another of my photos, with the figures tiny in the distance, and a passing ferry:
There is not too much danger of boats hitting them as the beach is very shallow- certainly big boats like the ferry are much much further out to sea. But I gather some water-sports have had to be moved away (you wouldn't want to bang into one of those while windsurfing or waterskiing!). See wiki page.
Deborah, I hope you enjoy Behind the Scenes - I loved it, and can see some similarity of themes with Case Histories and probably some of the other Brodie books, even though it lacks Brodie himself! Other pre-Brodie books are Emotionally Weird, which I started but never finished - it didn't grab me so much at the time, but I must try again. Then there's Human Croquet which I don't have a copy of and know nothing about.
Liz, thank you for your helpful elucidations of the origins of spinster detectives. I hoped someone out there might know more! Yes, here is the best place for the comments as I'm trying to finish off the old thread just with the reviews. But if anyone is not sure what we are talking about, the link back to the relevant post is here.
Why do I think Human Croquet is short stories? I should go and verify that....
No, it isn't -- it's a novel, and I know I read it, in fact, I think I might own it, but I can barely remember a thing. That is not good at all! The name Isobel Fairfax rings faint bells in my head. Grr. Now I'll have to go and find a synopsis.
I'm back again -- I DO remember it -- it's almost a fantasy, cross-genre for sure (not that it matters) Not a bit like the mysteries except that there is, of course, a mystery. I'm relieved that I do remember it!
#58 Lucy, thanks for that on Human Croquet. It doesn't surprise me that it is cross-genre, and I wasn't expecting it to be like the mysteries because they have been a particular strand in her work unlike the previous ones. But also not surprised that there is a mystery within the book. There is in Behind the Scenes too. Not sure about Emotionally Weird as I didn't get that far. But she does like it seems to present puzzles/mysteries without writing straight genre fiction.
Lunch is in 15 minutes, when I'll be meeting my friends in the dining room - their last meal here before they head home. I'm glad I've got a few days more, though the time is rapidly running away and I haven't done half the things or read half the books I'd intended to. But I've had fun with the ones I have read and the things I have done, and that's what matters with a holiday.
Now, do I spend another 15 minutes catching up on threads (as I've spent the last hour since church) or should I actually read a book for a bit?
Well, I now have all the unread threads reduced to one page, after spending a lot of time reading them over the past few days. I'll stop now and do some more reading of books. Though I must say, The Old Man and the Sea, my current read, is not grabbing me - although it is short, I've had it on the go for several days without making any progress...
Genny, your photos are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your holiday experences with us! More! More!
I love the photos. Thanks for posting them! I also enjoy the fact that you post all the books you have accumulated. I fear that posting would bring on a sense of guilt and reckoning for me. But, perhaps I should give it a go and it might curb the appetite....
Thanks, Ann, Linda, Lucy. Linda, I was hoping that by listing my new books acquired I might feel that guilt and stop accumulating so quickly. So far it has not worked...
Well, I had a fantastic day out in Liverpool yesterday, am very tired and stiff from so much walking (including climbing many stairs to reach the top of the tower of Liverpool Cathedral to get the wonderful view from the top, and running to catch the last ferry back across the Mersey to be home in time for dinner) and have not yet had a chance to upload my photos.
This is my last full day at Gladstone's Library. I'm going to finish off my current read - The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, then do so uploading of photos, updating of reviews, and other tasks. So, for those who have been enjoying the holiday snaps, there will be a few more to come, I promise - and I might manage to post a link to the whole album if you want to see more.
Now, off down to settle into a leather armchair in the library and finish my book!
#64 There's nothing like reading in a proper library (especially one with comfy chairs). Enjoy your last day :-)
Oh, Genny, I hate to see it end for you. I came to see how you were getting on with *UatBC* and you told me without my asking. Hope you enjoy! I just finished it.
>62 & 64 I don't hold out much hope, Linda. I took Genny's idea and have been posting mine, and I do feel a twinge of guilt. More often I look at the list and gloat.
It doesn't work for me, although I did feel a twinge when I passed 100 books acquired for this year this week. I even have a ticker--still doesn't seem to slow me down.
What a lovely vacation you've had, Genny. I hope you return to your parish rejuvenated and relaxed, and thank you for sharing it all with us.
I've finished a mammoth session of digital photo sorting and filing at last. The Liverpool photos are taking a long time to upload, but here are a few from my visit last week to Port Sunlight, the 'garden village' built in the late 19th century by William Lever (manufacturer of Sunlight Soap) for his factory workers. It's a wonderful example of Victorian philanthropy/paternalism/pragmatic business sense: workers who were well housed and healthy in attractive surroundings convenient to the factory were of course far more productive. Many different architects were employed, each designing a small block of the cottage-style housing, and demonstrating the whole range of late Victorian/early Edwardian Arts and Crafts decorative features. It's a far more varied and beautiful collection of buildings than most 'social housing'.
All the cottages were given a front and back garden. The factory employed a gardener to keep all the front gardens neat.
The streets are spacious, with many green areas, trees and gardens around them.
Fanciful features like hearts and turrets abound!
The soap factory from the Village (the company became Unilever)
Lady Lever art gallery, built to commemorate the founder's wife, has a large collection of art which was open to all (and still is). And the large war memorial honouring the many factory workers who died in WWI.
And it has gone 1 am, so I'd better stop there. I'm not planning on leaving here until around lunchtime, so I hope to get some more updates done tomorrow morning.
Wonderful pictures! What a far cry from our mill villages!
Hope you sleep well and have safe travel. We'll be glad to know you're home safe and sound!
Hello Peggy, Anne, Nancy and Stasia. I'm glad you like the photos.
Peggy, it's a far cry from most workers' housing then and now! Port Sunlight children were apparently noted for being taller, stronger and more boisterous than those growing up in the usual slums of the late Victorian industrial era, because of the better air, fresh food grown in their own gardens or provided in staff dining halls - and perhaps because Lever believed they should have access to a good education and the arts as well. He did have some rather restrictive rules too, I gather: he would not allow the keeping of chickens, even though everyone had space to keep them in their back yard. Perhaps he thought they would make the village look a little untidy! It is almost too perfectly beautiful.
Anne, I see you are reading The Incredible Journey - I loved that book as a child, and the film too!
Right, the room is now packed and after three trips to the car, everything is now loaded up except my laptop, my pile of books read while I was here (in the hope that I'll get some reports written) and my bigger pile of books bought while I was here, because it's confession time again! Here goes:
In Chester 10 days ago I was very restrained in the Oxfam bookshop, and only bought:
The Wind Changes - Olivia Manning - VMC
Berlitz Portuguese for beginners - ready for my autumn break in the Algarve (first visit to Portugal)
At my visit to the Quaker Meeting I was also given a copy of their Advices and Queries, a short book of reflections that are a kind of distillation of Quaker wisdom.
In the Library itself I bought two books (new, discounted) by the crime author Martin Edwards, who had held the launch for his most recent book (inspired by a stay in the Library, and featuring a similar fictional library) here the week before I arrived. That book is the fifth in the series, and was available in hardback, also at a discount, but in the end I decided (for the sake of my bank balance) not to buy all 5 but to buy books 1 and 2 in the series for now, and get the rest later if I enjoy them.
Thus I have The Coffin Trail and The Cipher Garden lined up for when I want a new series.
When I visited the National Trust property, Erddig (the one with the lovely sweet peas), and followed a sign saying "Book Shop" among the outbuildings, I was not sure what to expect: National Trust gift shops usually stock quite a few books about the history and architecture of the building and area, and a lot of general 'heritage' and 'nostalgia' type stuff. But this was a shop separate from the main gift shop, purely selling used books to raise money for the Trust. I could have spend hours and many pounds - the books were double stacked for lack of space - but I restricted myself to one title: The Janissary Tree, a historical mystery set in nineteenth-century Istanbul, which I've heard mentioned on a few threads.
Book buying then went quiet for a bit; I resisted various local history/heritage/victoriana tomes in the Port Sunlight shop and the Lady Lever Art Gallery shop (where I restricted myself to buying lots of postcards of the art work, including one of the striking, bleak work 'The Scapegoat' by Holman Hunt, to paint which Hunt apparently sat sketching real goat skeletons and a dying goat in the barren heat of the Dead Sea:
Before my day trip to Liverpool on Monday, I checked on the LT local pages for the area and discovered that there were two more interesting bookshops listed among all the Waterstones, WHSmiths etc - and they were both on the same street. So that helped determine my itinerary round a city that was entirely new to me. After spending time at the new Museum of Liverpool at the Pierhead, to get my bearings, and then taking a tour round the Anglican Cathedral, including views over the whole city from its very high tower, I made my way along to Bold Street, where I found News from Nowhere 'a radical and community bookshop' (the name comes from the title of a utopian book by William Morris). There was all kinds of hard-to-find, interesting stuff on sexuality and gender, activism and politics, spirituality, sustainability, global perspectives - I stuck to the bargain corner, and got myself four books at half-price or less:
Muhammad: prophet for our time by Karen Armstrong
An Open Heart: practising compassion in everyday life by the Dalai Lama
Martin Luther King by Geoffrey Hodgson
and finally, an unlikely seeming anthology (since one does not associate left wing Guardian readers with the countryside which is seen as the preserve of The Telegraph): The Guardian Book of the Countryside - a selection of journalism from nearly the past two centuries which has deal with rural topics. It's a beautiful hardback book which looks as if it will be a pleasure to dip into, and I anticipate it will be very interesting to read these perspectives on the changing face of rural Britain "whose gentle sweetness," the opening chapter states, "is all too often a sham when it comes to mankind's business rather than Nature's." (Yes, a Guardian writer did say 'mankind' not 'humankind'!) There's been a bit of a discussion on Janet's thread about the false image of a rural England that never was, reinforced by a certain type of TV programming. I'm sure this book will open up some new insights into the reality, rather than the myth, of the English countryside.
My last book shop of the trip was the Oxfam Shop further along from News from Nowhere. There I concentrated mainly on hunting for VMC's and had success:
Frost in May and The Lost Traveller - Antonia White (I think I may have a copy of the former, but not a VMC; if it is, I shall have a duplicate!)
Walking Naked - Nina Bawden
and a Virago Travellers book: Up the Country: letters from India by Emily Eden, First Lady to her Brother the Governor General of India from 1836-42.
I also picked up a one-volume copy of The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy - I really loved The Road but have not read anything else by him yet.
And last but not least, I spotted Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis, the second Falco book. I'm trying to collect a full set, having read them mostly from the library first time - but I haven't yet catalogued which ones I do have, so I took a chance on this being one to fill a gap - must get that shelf added to LT!
So that is my full confession! Unless I happen to spot a second-hand bookshop as I drive home.... NO! no more room in the car!. Hmmmm 16 books acquired during the holiday and 7 read. Time to report on some of that reading next.
Wow! What a wonderful set of books you bought to take home with you!
The following is a caption for a book on display in the library, ready for a guided tour this afternoon - the book in question is William Ground: 'Ecce christianus: or, Christ's idea of the Christian life' (1879).
Often people would send Gladstone books and write a dedication in the front. This one reads 'The Right Honble W.E. Gladstone, with profound respects of the author'.
Gladstone has also written a brief statement giving his opinion of the book.
His verdict here is 'This author has got hold upon a great idea, but not quite I think by the right end.'
Books read this month before I came away (I still have a few July books to report which I'm meant to be doing on my old thread, but I don't want to get too far behind here). Just putting down markers, I hope to come back with a few more comments/proper reviews in some cases.
Book no. 72 Eats, shoots and leaves - Lynne Truss
Started in July, finished 2.8.11 - TIOLI same syllable challenge
This one needs no introduction for most LT folk. I knew more or less what was in it without ever having read it! Nevertheless, a few comments to follow eventually, I hope.
Book no. 73 And then there were none - Agatha Christie
The first eBook I have borrowed from my library - they've just introduced a system for borrowing audio books and e-books. Read it on my laptop as I find my smartphone a bit small for pleasant reading, though it does at a pinch when I'm stuck without a book
finished 3.8.11 - TIOLI same syllable challenge
This was a re-read; one of the few Christie's I'd ever read before this year. Comments to follow.
Reads while staying at Gladstone's Library August 5-17 - more details & comments to follow:
74 Lord Peter views the body - Dorothy L Sayers
- finished 7.8.11
- source: own book, acquired June 2011 from eBay.
I enjoyed this collection of 12 short stories all featuring Dorothy Sayers' aristocratic, bibliophile sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey. I read it as part of my complete read through of the whole series, and it worked well using this book to read an occasional story to fill odd moments between reading other books.
The titles alone are fun in a deliberately over-the-top way: they all consist of the same formula ("The adjective noun of the noun with qualifier" - the first noun being some variation on the idea of 'adventure' or 'affair' or 'mystery'). Examples: The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste; The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head etc. The cumulative effect of these titles is of self-parody.
Another thing that struck me was how much the reader is presumed/expected to share Lord Peter's culture and education. His passion for collecting fine editions of rare books is presented as a rather eccentric hobby - though one which many LT readers will have sympathy for, while envying Lord Peter his leisure and his budget to pursue this; but did Sayers expect her readers to be familiar with all the texts that Peter discusses and collects, or does she list these details to convey his superior knowledge of arcane information? In one story, his love of books and his understanding of the depredations on them of mould and damp are key to the plot. More mundanely, Lord Peter's ability to understand and speak French fluently is taken for granted, as is the readers' ability to follow bits of dialogue in French - to the extent that the clue to one of the mysteries is buried within the French grammar. In another story, Lord Peter's knowledge of some rather specialised ecclesiastical terms lead him to a clue which is unlikely to be recognised by the average reader today. Sayers herself was a good linguist and a keen churchwoman, and you can see her education and her enthusiasms writ large in Lord Peter.
Quite a few of the stories do not involve any murder, but are more light-hearted adventures, some involving theft, or impersonation, or other crimes of mystery. My favourite story was perhaps the above-mentioned Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head, in which Lord Peter introduces his young nephew both to the delights of book collecting and the excitements of outwitting robbers and discovering hidden treasure - that range of talents and interests which is central to Lord Peter's charm.
While not as satisfying as a full novel, and not giving us very much depth of characterisation, these stories are entertaining pieces which give us little windows on the crime-solving life of Lord Peter. I gave it 4 stars - probably a bit more than it really deserves but it feels like a 4 nevertheless!
75 Gladstone: the making of a Christian Politician - Peter J Jagger - finished 8.8.11 - TIOLI biography challenge
76 August Folly - Angela Thirkell - finished 9.8.11 - TIOLI read with a friend
77 O Pioneers! - Willa Cather - finished 10.8.11 - TIOLI title word sounds like alphabet letter
78 Sisters of Sinai - Janet Soskice - finished 12.8.11 - TIOLI biography challenge
79 The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway - finished 14.8.11 - TIOLI word sounds like letter
80 The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy Sayers - finished 16.8.11 - TIOLI read with a friend
I really must stop for lunch, so will just leave the above skeleton report of my holiday reading for now. It worked out rather well that my 75th book for the year was about Gladstone, while staying in his Library, though the book itself was not my best read. Sisters of Sinai was my favourite, but O Pioneers! and August Folly in their different ways were great reads too, and the Sayers were solidly entertaining. Didn't make much of the Hemingway - it's the only book of his I've read, don't think I'll be rushing for more.
Off to lunch and then pack away the laptop and reluctantly depart. Thanks to all who've been sharing my holiday experience with me. I may still have a few more photos to impose on you, as well as more books to share, once I get home.
#78: I may still have a few more photos to impose on you, as well as more books to share, once I get home.
Looking forward to it, Genny. Safe travels!
DO be safe! And know that I'm thrilled with all your purchases, but positively drooling over your finding Up the Country: Letters from India. It's one that I'd trade my first-born for if it were in the original Virago/Beacon format - and if I had a first-born. I'm off to check AMP and AwesomeBooks one more time!
Just to report that I've arrived back safe and sound (and without getting a speeding ticket which I managed most uncharacteristically to acquire on my way down - that was because I was late setting off and trying to make up for lost time, bad idea as by the time the nice policeman had stopped me and taken my driving licence and given me my ticket, I was later anyway, as well as having to pay a fine and have points on my licence).
Anyway, no speeding this time, listening first of all to Bob Dylan (Desire) and then to an audiobook of Fahrenheit 451 and had couple of stops to make sure I wasn't getting sleepy - awkwardly, I didn't sleep very well at all last night because I had an invasion of wasps in my room keeping me awake. One ended up in my hair when I tried turning the light out, and I'm sure it stung me on top of my head but I can't see to check, obviously. It feels a bit strange and tingles a bit though, so I'm pretty sure.
Now I've unpacked the hire car, cleaned out the sand from the footwell from my beach day, and returned it to the car hire place at the nearby airport (I hired a Hertz car for this holiday because as people may remember, I've given up owning my own and normally use the local car club, but for longer periods, conventional rental cars are more cost effective). A quick taxi back home, and I'm finally going to have a bite to eat (although it is 10pm, I didn't feel like eating earlier). I bought a slice of game pie from the Gladstone Estate Farm Shop, along with some fresh salad stuff, local cheese and nice farmhouse bread, so that should fill a gap!
Tomorrow morning I will go to collect the dog from the kind lady who has been looking after him. The house feels very empty without him. But at least I have all my books!
Welcome home Genny! I'm sure your dog will be very happy to see you tomorrow!
ouch re the wasp sting! that sounds awful. I'm dealing with a lot of flies this summer; far more than normal, but happily not wasps...
sounds like the holiday was fab; I admit I'm rather envious. I must re-locate August Folly and start reading; I could do with some laughs!
Genny - thanks for sharing the holiday with us all!
You've given me so many ideas for visiting that area and I'm grateful for the information on Gladstone's Library - I'm definitely going to visit there one day!
#84 It was very funny, I thought (August Folly, not the wasp sting, obviously). Especially everything to do with the donkey, Modestine/Neddy. And with the daily menu at the Tebbens'. A light-hearted summer read which is also an interesting depiction of the realities of daily life in the 1930s for those (women and men) who are well educated but not well off. I hope you can locate your copy, and that the humour works for you too!
Sorry to hear about the wasp sting! Ouch.
Glad you are safely home, Genny.
Oh, I'm so happy you loved August Folly that and Wild Strawberries are, to me, her two comic 'masterpieces'. The Tebbens are magnificently 'real', awful, loveable and, well, I love that book. We had a donkey named Geraldine when I was a lassie and she lived to be about 35. Never did a thing she didn't want to do. Not one thing.
I have to go see if I put that book in my top ten..... Do I have a comic top ten category? Hmm..... maybe I need one.....
I'm avoiding my own thread so as to not have to start a new one until close to September..... I'm off to have my car inspected, and, don't anybody laugh, have the summer tires put on and the winter ones off..... I still have several huge drives before snow season. I know they are going to laugh at me at the garage. I just didn't get around to it, I was READING, probably!
Sorry, but I'm laughing. When do you get your first snowfall in Vermont? By Thanksgiving? You'll be back to the garage before you know it! Reminds me of the time I left a collection of Santas on the mantle until July.
#88 I'm not laughing about the tires, Lucy! The way I'm late with everything, I'd be just the same. And the way our summer has been going, it wouldn't have been worth taking off the winter tyres in the first place, if we had them, which we don't (and that is why all England goes into a flat panic when we have serious snow, because we don't have it regularly and often enough to be equipped when it does happen).
I think it was you (or you and Peggy in conversation) who first alerted me to Angela Thirkill - thank you for that! I'm looking forward to reading more when I can get hold of them. I hope Suzanne will like August Folly too - she might empathize with Mrs Tebbens trying to make a living writing economics text books! I think donkeys in general like to do their own thing. I have tried for several years to borrow one for our Palm Sunday procession, which previous churches I've been at have successfully done, but there seems to be a scarcity of available donkeys in the region. I did finally track down a woman farmer in Hexhamshire (20 or so miles out into the hills) who had one, and we discussed the possibility of a loan for the morning, but she advised against it because she said he was really "a bit of a scallywag". With visions of little children dressed as disciples with tea-towel headdresses being kicked in the face by said scallywag, or him bolting off down the road leaving the palm-leaf-waving procession trailing behind, I decided to take her advice!
78: Sisters of Sinai goes onto the wishlist...
82: I got stung by a wasp a couple weeks ago. It had claimed my water bottle and I hadn't noticed. But it was outside, where wasps belong.
88: The thread police are noticing...
Glad to hear that you returned from your fantastic trip safe and sound! Thank you for updating us with pictures that totally made me feel like I was travelling alongside you. The pictures of those figures standing on the beach was especially striking and hopefully one day I can see them up personally. :)
Wonderful pictures, wonderful books and glad you got safely home. Sorry to hear about the wasp sting though - I've only been stung once and I did feel quite strange for the rest of the day.
A final few photos, this time of my first ever trip to Liverpool.
View from across the river, and from the ferry across the Mersey - the three grand buildings known as 'The Three Graces', and in the background to the right of the left-hand picture, the bulk of the Anglican Cathedral
The Catholic Cathedral ('Paddy's Wigwam') seen from the top of the tower of the Anglican Cathedral; and the waterfront from the same vantage point.
Stained glass window in Anglican cathedral from near and far. The vast scale of this building is hard to capture in single images.
A sculpture on Hope Street (Catholic cathedral in the distance) with concrete luggage whose brass labels have the names of famous people connected with Liverpool - a reflection on the high level of immigration/emmigration. Most of the labels of more famous people seemed to have been removed, but the guitar case does say Paul McCartney.
Colourful Lambananas were all over the place - not quite sure what that was all about, I think they were inspired by one original sculpture.
A memorial to the Great Famine of Ireland, and a bombed out church also kept as a memorial.
The beautiful Bluecoat Arts Centre, and view of old and new from the Albert Dock
The Yellow Duckmarine - does tours of the city on land and in the water. If I'd known about that at the start of the day, I might have saved my legs from doing so much walking! And bizarrely, a statue of Freddy Mercury which accompanied me on my ferry crossing in the morning - not sure where it was heading!
These are just a little sample of the many, many photos I took on a very enjoyable day - there is so much in Liverpool to see, I'll have to go back another time. I got nowhere near to the Tate Liverpool, or the Walker Art Gallery, or the Maritime Museum or the Museum of Slavery, and didn't make it to see inside the Catholic cathedral which is another very interesting building. I did call in briefly at the very newly opened Museum of Liverpool, and had a quick look at a gallery currently devoted to the connections between Liverpool and China, particularly Shanghai, as trade links developed there. There was all sorts of interesting stuff about the fashion for Chinese art and objects in Europe, the history of the Chinese community in Liverpool (including the sad story of secret, forced re-patriation of many Chinese men who'd served in the merchant navy but were sent back to China after WW2 without any explanation often leaving wives and children without an explanation), and a brief mention of the 19th century opium trade and opium wars (the background to the Sea of Poppies trilogy, alongside display of opium pipes and other paraphernalia.
So, all in all, a great introduction to a lively, culturally rich and ethnically diverse city whose history as a major trading port has left a complex legacy of associations and issues as well as buildings and monuments.
For any who have been contemplating a stay at Gladstone's Library, especially if you would like to use it as a base to explore the surrounding area, the proximity to Liverpool is definitely one of the attractions. Equally, in the same time you could get quite a way into North Wales where there is also plenty to see. But for me, that will have to wait for the next visit!
And Genny, you "forgot" to go to Anfield! (Liverpool Football Club's stadium) So you HAVE to go back. :)
I love the photos! I didn't make it to either cathedral on my visit to Liverpool, but I did go to the Albert Dock! I was a frequent visitor to the Tate Gallery when I lived in London in the late 1980s, so I made sure that Tate Liverpool was on my itinerary. I didn't like it nearly as well as the London gallery, probably because I'm not really fond of modern art. It was worth the visit, though, and I still remember several pieces I saw there. Maybe you'll be able to fit it in to your next visit!
Liverpool is nothing like I imagined it. Genny, you have a wonderful eye for photography. Thanks for sharing your dream vacation with us.
Genny, must thank you again for taking all of us on vacation with you : ). I've never seen or even read about lambananas until your thread - they are wonderful! Interesting that you're borrowing ebooks from your library - I've just started doing the same. They're taking some getting used to. I'm reading on an iPad which has a good size screen; I couldn't manage on a phone.
I'll have to wait to see yr photos until I'm at a cafe, our home internet is just too pathetic..... but I was chortling over your description of your donkey quest!
Well, Genny you have effectively doubled my knowledge about Liverpool with your pictures. Thank you!! I had never heard of the Lambanana either. Quite an art form!
Update: I've googled the Lambananas and in fact they are called Superlambananas. The original sculpture weighted 8 tons, was 17 feet high and was created by Manhattan-based Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. The sculpture is both a comment on the dangers of genetic engineering and also heavily influenced by the history of Liverpool: historically both sheep and bananas were common cargos in the city's docks. The smaller versions were created to celebrate Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year in 2008. See more here.
95: I'd never thought of Liverpool as a travel destination, but you make it look very appealing.
Oh what beautiful pictures! What a wonderful holiday you had! By the way - I"ve been reading your comments re Kate Atkinson on Jolerie/ Valeries thread- thanks for that extra insight into Kate Atkinson's books.
#104 Fascinating bit of history on the lambananas, Genny. Don't know if it's just me but I find that an almost impossible word to type!
Just came from Valerie's thread where I read your and Deb's comments about Atkinson's Brodie novels and also about some of her previous work. Much appreciated! You've given me some additional Atkinson wishlist-ers.
Genny, just finally caught up with your thread – which really is like a commonplace book, as we were discussing. What a joy staying at a library and a historic one at that!
Beautiful pictures - I love stained glass windows although I can never properly capture them in photos.
Thanks for all your appreciation of the holiday photos - it's nice to have people to share them with.
#110 Heather, I didn't post the 99 digital photos of stained glass that came out blurred or over/under exposed! Eventually you strike it lucky if you take enough...
#109 Hi Suzanne, thanks for visiting - and for your suggestions re archiving of threads - I have now copied my main completed threads from last year and earlier this year as PDFs and have them saved on my desktop - and to be extra safe I should remember to save them online somewhere too (I haven't yet worked out my best option for cloud storage/backup). I know some people use these threads strictly for recording books read, which is fine, but I have found that for me it becomes a place to record some other significant things, or reflect on current experiences, or share frustrations or joys. I don't currently keep a diary and I've never tried to write a blog, but I suppose these threads have become a cross between both of those and the 'commonplace book' idea, a kind of book and reading-related journal of daily life. And that is why I am keen not to ever lose this as a document. It would be good to find a way of formatting the saved files into something more attractive to print out, as you mentioned.
#108 I agree about lambanananas, Nancy - my fingers don't know when to stop adding 'a's and 'n's! Glad to oblige on the Atkinson books. It's fascinating that there has been such a surge of interest especially in the Brodies in recent months here on LT - I last read one in 2009 (haven't yet read the latest Brodie book) before starting to talk on these threads, but something has drawn Atkinson to everyone's attention much more of late. I wonder if it was a number of people reading Case Histories through the Orange January/July that got the ball rolling?
#107 Thanks Deborah - see comments above also about Atkinson.
#106 qebo - I think Liverpool has been greatly smartened up and made more appealing to visitors in recent years, and I'm sure there are still plenty of un-photogenic parts as in any big city, particularly one that has suffered the decline of its major industry for many years. But there is certainly plenty to see and enjoy, both old and new, so anyone visiting the North West of England should definitely including it in their itinerary.
#103, 105 Stasia and calm, you are most welcome
#102 Peggy, the lambananas may not be everyone's idea of art, but I do enjoy this sort of thing where you get to see a variety of interpretations of a common idea. They had something similar going on in Toronto when I was last there, with large decorated sculptures of moose out and about all over the city!
#101 Sorry Lucy, I haven't been very kind to people with slow connections, in posting so many photos. I should really have linked through to an album that you could browse (or not) at leisure, but though I have uploaded all my photos to Picasa Web Albums, I haven't yet removed the duds, or put in any captions, so they don't feel very suitable for public viewing as they stand. I hope you enjoy this selection when you manage to see them. And I'm glad my story of the Palm Sunday donkey amused.
#100 Hello again, Nancy - re eBooks, my library has only just started offering them, downloadable in a variety of formats. The choice of books is not huge so far, but I assume that they will be making more available this way soon. I did manage to read a chapter and a half of one book (Devil May Care, the Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming) on my phone while having lunch in a pub today, but I'd prefer to see a little more of the text at one time than that allows, on the whole.
#99 I wasn't quite sure what to expect myself, Donna - I think it is the last major city in England that I had not ever visited, so I was glad to rectify that. And thanks re the photos - my dad is a very keen and good photographer and I like to think that something of his eye for a good shot has come down to me too!
#98 Carrie, I was sorry not to have time for the Tate Liverpool. I do like (some at least) modern art, and used to visit Tate Modern as well as Tate Britain regularly when I lived near London. They have a Magritte exhibition running currently at TL, which sounded great, but I knew I could easily spend more than half the day just in the Tate and I really wanted to get more of an overview of the whole city. That was partly why I chose to visit the Cathedral instead, so I'd have a literal view over the whole city! But yes, next time I'm staying at the Library, I hope to go again and sample some of the galleries.
Well, since I have got home I have not managed to do much reading. I've been trying to catch up with work, but have not made much inroad into the emails or post yet, or started to do all the jobs that were on my 'tackle as soon as I'm back from holiday' list. I've been pretty tired since my return, which doesn't sound right after a holiday. But I'm pretty tired a lot of the time with an ongoing post-viral fatigue thing, and I am always being caught out by how much I need to rest just when I should be working. Plus my busy day out in Liverpool and my almost-sleepless night with the wasps prior to leaving the library, didn't help on the tiredness front.
Anyway, I have been reading for some light relief a shorter-than-usual Terry Pratchett, called Eric. Actually the cover is called
to the question "What is one to read?" the best reply must always be the most personal: "Whatever profoundly and permanently stimulates your imagination".
His choice of books is therefore deliberately personal and subjective, containing many that might be on other people's lists of recommended reading, but others that will probably not - he talks about a fusion between one's own prejudices and what might be called 'classical taste', and he seems to be encouraging the reader to make their own list of 100 best books in response. Now that would be an interesting challenge, and a more sensible question to ask of avid readers than "What is your favourite book?". What 100 books would represent that fusion for me of my personal tastes and preferences with classic great reads that just about everyone recommends? Needs some thought, that one...
Hi again, Genny. Interesting that you have been reading through Powys's One Hundred Best Books. I read that book earlier this year and through it found A Night in the Luxembourg by Remy de Gourmont, which became an instant favorite (and which I reviewed). In evaluating his list it is well to remember that it was compiled in 1915 and reflects the tastes of that era. There are so many books on there that intrigue me, especially the ones by French authors. It's inspiring to hear that you are halfway through the list!
Genny, thanks so much for sharing your lovely photos -- they're wonderful! Like others here, I had a very different picture of Liverpool in my mind.
#112 I love the quote from Cowper Powys. I've just downloaded the book from Gutenberg myself now.
ETA: So sorry to hear about the tiredness.
#113 I should clarify that I am not halfway through reading all the 100 books on Powy's list, just that I have read through his comments on about half of them! I want to go back and have a proper look at the list, and find out a bit more about the ones that are not familiar. It is interesting to consider such a list compiled almost 100 years ago, thus ruling out many many more recent works which tend to end up on most such lists.
#114, 116 - Anne and Darryl, glad you liked the photos. I think I should be getting some sort of commission from the Liverpool tourist board for all this publicity I've been giving their city!
#115 Thanks Heather - the tiredness is a pain (edited to add: ie, a nuisance). I don't mention it too much because it gets boring for me, let alone anyone else, and as I am not in any (literal) pain I feel I am far less badly off than others with long-lasting condidtions. But it is very frustrating just not know whether/when I shall feel better again and have energy levels back to normal. I am like a re-charbeable battery which goes flat much more quickly than it used to and takes much longer to charge up again.
I've finished Book no. 81: Terry Pratchett's Eric, in which Rincewind the incompetent wizard is reluctantly conjured up and co-opted as a three-wish-granting demon, and joins his young client Eric in a whistle-stop tour of the Trojan War, Aztec sacrifices and a demon dimension made even more hellish than usual by bureaucracy. Some funny moments, but this won't be among my favourites. 3.5 stars
More book acquisition confessions:
The following all arrived in the post while I was away, or in one case, this morning. The first one was a give-away which I won on Jill's Orange July blog, the rest are all from Bookmooch.
The swan thieves - Kostova
The transit of Venus - Hazzard
The little stranger - Waters
Raven black - Cleeves
Norwegian Wood - Murakami
Ethan Frome - Wharton
The giant, O'Brien - Mantel
Along with all those I bought while on holiday, that should keep me busy for a while, considering the size of the TBR pile already! The Wharton is encouragingly short (181 pages); why are so many modern novels such chunksters?
Morning, Genny. I also think you should be receiving commission from Liverpool's Tourist Board! I confess I am not familiar with any of your recent hauls, so will look forward to upcoming reviews.
I'm sorry to hear about your fatigue; I know how very wearing it can be. Hope your energy returns to normal very soon, and that your Genny-battery will resume normal recharge times.
Nice acquisitions Genny.
I must say that early Pratchett is rather hit and miss with me, sounds like you liked
Hope you are feeling less fatigued.
Hi Genny, I hope you are feeling "recharged" soon! Of your recent book haul, all of them except the Murakami are on my TBR shelves. Great minds and all that ;)
Morning Nancy, calm and Katie, thanks for your visits and the good wishes re fatigue.
I must say, I am officially a wimp now. I am due to be heading off to a festival this coming bank holiday weekend, and already have my ticket, which includes camping at the festival site. I have always camped before, and that has been an enjoyable part of the whole experience, but I was just talking about it with my sister last night (I'll be staying with her the night before) and starting to think about having to pack all the gear, and then getting it all set up, and packing it all away again at the end, and then remembering how very cold it was last year and how little sleep I got, and the risk of rain, and feeling pretty tired before I even start...
Well, to cut it short, I decided to book into a Travelodge nearby for the duration of the festival, so I shall have somewhere clean, warm and dry to retreat to at the end of each day and be guaranteed a good night's sleep, and thus have more energy I hope for enjoying all that's on offer at the festival. Plus it means I can do a bit of bed-time reading rather more easily than in my tent, where my torch batteries always seem to run out on me!
I hope this is not the end of my camping days forever, because I do enjoy it when I've got the energy for it, but for this year certainly I think I've made the best decision and it's worth the extra money I've had to pay for a room.
Good decision! Warmer, more comfortable, better for reading.....what's not to like?
Glad you approve! I've also pre-booked a bit of wifi time so I'll be able to do some LT updates in the middle of it all.
:) Until you posted (somewhere else?) a bit about the festival, I thought for a minute it might be Reading! Don't be silly, Janet.
Well, you never know... But I just had a look at the Reading line-up, and it's probably not my cup of tea! I only recognise about two of the bands names there, and they are from way back: Pulp and Madness.
It was on Peggy's thread I think I mentioned a bit more about where I'm actually going. I don't think I could cope with a music-only festival, unless it was a folk-festival. If I could take more weekends off, I'd love to attend the Cambridge Folk Festival and Whitby and some of the others. Greenbelt, which I am attending, calls itself a festival of faith, art and justice, and has a mix of music, other arts (drama, comedy, literature, performance arts, film, exhibitions of photographs and visual arts etc) as well as a large number of talks/seminars/panels on a a range of issues - some are faith related, others more about contemporary political/social/international/development issues, so there will be plenty on 'Arab Spring' and the Middle East situation, on the so-called 'Big Society' and on the financial crisis; also this year quite a bit about issues to do with homes and homelessness which is the theme for this year.
This is a festival rooted in the Christian faith but open to exploring all kinds of ideas, and firmly believing that employing (and enjoying) ones imaginative and creative faculties and pursuing questions of justice are central to Christian living. Many of those who come to speak or perform do not necessarily share this (or any) faith but are in sympathy with the aims and want to be part of the conversation.
I normally recognise only a very few of the names of musical performers at Greenbelt too (they tend to be mainstream contemporary rock/pop/soul/other modern genres which I'm not very up-to-date with and some Christian rock/pop bands which I tend to avoid!) but this year, unusually, there are several well known folk/roots acts that I'm looking forward to seeing the following on the Mainstage:
Show of Hands
and there's also Billy Bragg - he's been at least once before, as indeed has Kate Rusby but I missed that year.
I also look forward to visiting the " Performance Cafe" where each hour there is a short acoustic set played by different artists - many interesting singer/songwriters, soloists or small groups - some so good that I go straight over to the CD tent to buy a recording, some just pleasant to listen to while enjoying my cafe.
And then there are the speakers. Not very many interesting big names this year, but among the book-related ones, I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Janet Martin Soskice who'll be talking about her book Sisters of Sinai which I've just read, while Ruth Downie, writer of mysteries set in ancient Rome (which I've not yet tried) will be talking about the growing popularity of crime fiction in this country where crime rates are actually falling, and exploring what it is that appeals about this kind of fiction. There's also Stella Duffy, talking about her latest book Theodora Actress, Empress, Whore, which I've not yet read, but which calm and Suzanne (chatterbox) both rated highly. I may well find myself buying that one from the festival bookshop.
So, lots of good things in store, and I know there will be some surprise new finds as well. So having made the decision about not camping, I can now concentrate on looking forward to the programme (and the hot shower and nice comfortable bed at the end of each day)
Have fun at Greenbelt, Genny. (One of these years I will get round to going...)
That does sound like a great festival. I have never heard of it, but I guess I only know about the music festivals via my children, and this one is probably not on their radar (I wish it were!).
It sounds wonderful, Genny! I think that the decision to book a room will probably turn out to be very wise, and of course, the wifi time definitely tips the scale. It is so enjoyable to share all these experiences with you. Oh, and I responded to your question about Furlong on my thread--thanks for visiting!
Stella Duffy is a very entertaining speaker (never afraid to be controversial!) Enjoy your trip.
Hope you enjoy Greenbelt. Like Caty, I've never been but it's on the list of things to consider one day. I have long hated camping so I think the Travelodge sounds very sensible!
The speakers sound really interesting - esp Janet Soskice.
#130 - Oh good, I'll make sure not to miss her. There are usually about 3 or 4 different things that I'd like to do at any one time at the festival, so I'm forced to choose!
#129 Thanks Roni, I've just added loads of Furlong titles to my Bookmooch wishlist - one of them is already available (Travelling In) so I've mooched it, from Japan!
#128 It's a good, friendly environment and the many teenagers who attend love going off and leaving their parents to do boring things like attend talks, while they hang out at the seedier, noisier music venues. It's greatly appreciated by youngsters who've been brought up to attend church but are finding home church a bit boring or restrictive and wanting to find their own place - as well as by adult church members (including clergy) who are worn down by the petty squabbles of daily church life and want to re-capture a more inspiring, challenging, larger vision of what it's really all about. But I guess it is not likely to be on the radar of anyone who does not have at least a toe in the water of Christian faith - however hesitant or reluctant - to start with.
#127 I'm sure I will have fun, Caty. Apart from anything else, I get to catch up with lots of old friends who attend - some of them I am expecting to be there, and others - if past years are anything to go by - I will bump into unexpectedly at some point during the weekend. I'm sure there would be much for you to enjoy if you ever decide to go. This year, one of the alternative worship events is entitled "The Voyage of St Brendan. A Postmodern Retelling (Apophatic Performance producing Aesthetic Contemplation"! The blurb says: "The Filid invites participants to explore the darkness of faith through a retelling of the story of St Brendan. Participants take flight in their imaginations as skilled musicians spontaneously accompany the story of Brendan, embodying his narrative as it is retold live by the Filid storyteller." I might go along at 9pm on Friday night just to see what on earth they mean by that!
#131 You should go for it, Heather! Some of my friends have resorted to the nearby B&B/Travelodge option already in the past, and some have never bothered with the camping bit at all. It means a bit of trekking to and fro first thing and last thing - and I've just realised it will mean I can't have more than a pint in the 'Jesus Arms' beer tent, but otherwise it's a good solution.
Just catching up with a lot of previous posts- Genny your thread is so packed with interesting things! Like everyone else I am also appreciating all the photos- Gladstone's library looks amazing. I'm going to show the husband the pictures in a moment, in an effort to convince him it would be the perfect place to stay to work on his next academic paper!
The festival sounds great too- catch The Unthanks if you can, I saw them earlier this year and they were brilliant.
Hi, thanks for visiting! Yes, Gladstone's Library is great for anyone trying to get on with researching or writing up a paper or a book - the atmosphere is very conducive to that sort of thing. And you get into interesting conversations over meal times with other people about what you or they are reading or working on.
I've seen the Unthanks briefly here in Newcastle, as one brief turn in an evening full of sea shanties, and I've got all but their most recent CDs, so I'm really looking forward to hearing/seeing them do a full set.
Also catching up Genny. I really enjoyed reading about your Liverpool trip and the great photos, you defintiely sold it as a destination to visit for me. Enjoy your festival.
Hi! I'm overdue visiting you too - wow I had no idea Liverpool was so nice looking. I'm sold.
Nice haul of books too....now- i cant think of why Hilary Mantel is familiar to me. I'll figure it out eventually.
#136, 138 Hi KiwiNyx and Megan - th anks for visiting, glad you enjoyed the photos! Megan, I first came across Mantel when Wolf Hall was shortlisted for the Booker prize, but she'd been writing novels for years and years before I noticed her!
Genny I had no idea about Liverpool being so appealing either!
And I shudder at the thought of camping, but know I will be doing it when we go home (but with access to a bakery and hot shower and decent coffee). I hope you have a great time in the hotel. The Festival sounds really good.
I am NOT LOOKING at the Lord Peter Wimsey reviews. I was a huge Agatha Christie fan when I was a teenager and have a few at home - Mum and Dad used to buy them in the secondhand shops for me.
DON'T LOOK then! You're only missing out on one of the most sensitive (recovering from shell shock and still suffering from nightmares), intelligent, charming, book-loving detectives ever, who just gets more interesting as the series develops!
I can't come to yr. thread very often these days because I can't load it unless I'm at a cafe or a library -- just so you know if I seem quiet.
Thanks for dropping by Lucy - I'm sorry I've overloaded my thread with photos that keep you away! I look forward to hearing from you when you can visit.
Genny, I'm so far behind with threads and racing to catch up. . . but I must stop here and say that your photos are absolutely stunning!
Genny, the festival sounds WONDERFUL!!!! The three women writers alone would be worth attending the whole thing for! Do not feel bad for not camping this time. Are you 20? It's perfectly legitimate to seek normal comforts if you can get them. I can't wait to hear all about it!
And Peggy, I am SO glad I've opted out of camping. The weather forecast (which I hadn't looked at earlier in the week when I made this decision) is now for solid rain over the whole weekend. It will be a rather soggy festival, but at least I'll have somewhere dry and warm to escape to!
#145-46 Here's to opting for comfort over camping! 20 is a LONG time ago for me!
Yeah I don't consider myself old in any sense but after being a counsellor to a group of teenage kids, I've realized I'm long past the point of being able to stay up all night chatting and camping means a place with a bed and flushable toilet for me please. :)
Hi Nancy, Valerie and Stasia! Fro m the comfort of my hotel room, after a fantastic first evening at the festival, I'm drinking a late night herbal tea and catching up on a few threads before bed time.
Finished an audio book on the journey here: Fahrenheit 451. (no touchstone as my phone does not do square brackets.) There was an interesting afterword by Bradbury about all the ways people engage in book 'burning', not Just literally: eg censorship, including changing or removing what is seen to be offensive. The new edition of Huck Finn is a good example I guess.
Drat that I am so far behind on the threads and thus missed your lovely, lovely photos! Oh, my! They are breathtakingly beautiful.
I love Pre Raphaelite art and find it exciting that you were able to see some incredible paintings. The buildings are lovely.
May I ask what type of camera you have? I need to buy a new one and your images are crystal sharp.
>139 that's where I had heard of her. Thanks for filling me in. That was the first I had heard of Hilary Mantel too.
>150 And doesn't that sound jealousy inducing! Ditto for the book you're reading, I've been waiting for a library copy of that for ages.
#151 There was an interesting afterword by Bradbury about all the ways people engage in book 'burning', not Just literally: eg censorship, including changing or removing what is seen to be offensive. Yes! I think this is so important, Genny. In my school district this past year, Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None was banned for this exact reason - current complaints about past language which is no longer deemed politically correct. Sounds like Huck Finn has been taken apart, too. I don't know where this ends.
I'm stopping by while I'm at a B&B w/ fast 'net! Good discussion here about invisible book-burning.
Bother! I was near the end of a long post while using a pay as you go computer, and my 20 minutes ran out and cut me off in mid flow, and all us list... This is from my phone instead, slow and fiddly to edit.
In brief, thank you for visiting! I'll respond more fully when I have easier access. I had another great day at the festival today: Janet Soskice followed by Stella Duffy (holding up T-shirt which says "I am not Carol Ann Duffy) - two lively, intelligent women speaking about other amazing women (the 19th century twins who discovered important bible manuscripts, and 5th? century Theodora who began as circus performer and became Empress).
Cool, Genny! Have you read Stella Duffy's book yet? I did, and found the way she dealt with the religious conflicts in the Byzantine Empire fascinating. Can't wait to see how she handles a sequel.
I'm catching up with threads again, Genny and can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your photos and all the holiday details. It all looks and sounds wonderful!
Congratulations on reaching 75!
I'm reading Stella Duffy's latest book, courtesy of the Virago First Look reviewer scheme at the moment, and it's a terrific read - I would be interested to see what you make of it, Genny.
After wrestling with a faulty voucher for wifi access in my hotel, and obtaining a new one, I now have just under an hour for some updates and catching up on threads, before I vacate my room.
#158 Thanks Dee!
#160 *Waving back* at Stasia.
#157, 159 Suzanne, Luci, I haven't read Theodora yet, but I bought a copy at the festival book tent - I was very restrained, this was the only book I bought - so I'm looking forward to reading it soon. Duffy read several extracts from it during her talk; she also spoke about what inspired her to write it: encountering a depiction of Theodora - given equal position and prominence as her husband Justinian in the amazing mosaics in Ravenna - and wondering who this woman was and how she got there, and discovering her very humble if not disreputable beginnings, thought there was a story there...
I saw those mosaics many years ago and loved them. I think I still have some of the postcards I bought back then. Here's Theodora with some of her retinue:
This was Stella Duffy's first visit to Greenbelt and she said when she got the invitation she wondered, seeing this was a Christian festival, whether the organisers realised that she was an ex-Catholic lesbian Buddhist. Then she read a bit more on the website about Greenbelt's ethos and realised that this was far from being a problem. She enjoyed being able to talk about the dimension of faith within the novel, and also during the question time spoke about her own practice as a Buddhist and the connection between the discipline required for that and for being a writer. And she was funny! Some guy asked a question about how she came to write a historical novel this time; commenting that he'd obviously missed the beginning of the talk when she had told us all about this, she gave a greatly speeded-up condensed re-cap of the first 10 minutes of the talk and then apologised to the signers who had had no chance of keeping up with her!
At Greenbelt I always look forward to the talks by Andrew Tate, who lectures in literature at Lancaster University. He usually does something exploring the theme of the festival through a range of literature, old and new. It's a good way to be reminded of some familiar favourites and to be introduced to some new authors.
The theme of Greenbelt this year was 'Dreams of Home', and many of the talks were exploring aspects of home and longing for home. The title of Andrew Tate's talk was 'All families are psychotic', taken from a Douglas Coupland novel of the same name - he linked this with the opening line from Anna Karenina, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." and spoke a bit about how some kind of disfunction within the home underlies so much literature. He also explored ideas of exile from home, and how especially as children or as elderly people, we may be made to leave our home without having any say in the matter. One reading that struck me very much was this poem from Carol Ann Duffy (more Duffies!) about her childhood experience of moving with her family from Scotland to England.
We came from our own country in a red room
which fell through the fields, our mother singing
our father's name to the turn of the wheels.
My brothers cried, one of them bawling Home ,
Home , as the miles rushed back to the city,
the street, the house, the vacant rooms
where we didn't live any more. I stared
at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.
All childhood is an emigration. Some are slow,
leaving you standing, resigned, up an avenue
where no one you know stays. Others are sudden.
Your accent wrong. Corners, which seem familiar,
leading to unimagined, pebble-dashed estates, big boys
eating worms and shouting words you don't understand.
My parents' anxiety stirred like a loose tooth
in my head. I want our own country , I said.
But then you forget, or don't recall, or change,
and, seeing your brother swallow a slug, feel only
a skelf of shame. I remember my tongue
shedding its skin like a snake, my voice
in the classroom sounding just like the rest. Do I only think
I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space
and the right place? Now, Where do you come from?
strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.
I moved myself at a similar age from England to Holland, and I loved especially the line 'all childhood is an emigration', and the last few lines. When people ask me where I am from, I too hesitate. This poem articulates for me very well some of the confused feelings about home and loss of home which I know all too well, and which in our increasingly mobile world so many others must know also.
Love the mosaic, Genny. Also love the Duffy's poem on theme "Dreams of Home." I couldn't agree more that "home" is becoming a blurred line for many in our increasingly mobile world. What I find particularly powerful in the poem is the use of "Originally?" in the last line - speaks volumes to me. I chose, as an adult, to move from Ontario to BC where I've been settled these past twenty years. However, even after decades, I find that live in BC but am from Ontario (my "Originally?"). So, that distinction for me has been blurred by an adult decision. I can only imagine how much more confused the idea of home must be to those, particularly children, who've been uprooted, some of whom have undoubtedly never returned "home."
Glad you had a good time at Greenbelt and managed to stay relatively dry! The talks sound really interesting although I am going to try and resist temptation and not buy Theodora... I don't rate my chances very highly.
Trying to finish Gilead before the end of the month to fit a TIOLI challenge. I'm loving it, but not much chance for reading in the midst of catching up with friends and god-daughter, and travelling back home later today.
Genny, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Gilead after you finish, given its spiritual/theological nature.
#162. Genny this is indeed a very interesting topic. In fact it so interesting my husband wrote his PhD thesis on something similar! That was about European actors in Hollywood in the 40's, essentially exiles from their homelands due to all the upheavals at that time. It also looks at the characters they played in films of the period, and how their job was basically to hold a mirror up to the experience of being American, by embodying that which was "other". As many cultural theorists have pointed out, people define themselves as much as by what they are not, as what they are. That's why questions such as "Where are you from. Orginally?" sting so much, because you know that by posing it, people are neatly putting you in a box marked "Different from us". Of course, one does not have to be a gifted psychologist to see why this topic would interest my husband, an Anglophile Hungarian living in England, but constantly reminded of his "otherness", with polite enquiries about the origin of his accent (to give you examples from the more gentle end of the spectrum of behaviour he encounters). And, I can also relate having previously had the reverse experience of being an English girl in Hungary for 5 years.
On a similar theme, we once met a couple who lived in a little village in the heart of France. They were actually from the neighbouring village, but had lived in their current one for almost 30 years. And the affectionate nickname the other villagers gave them? "Les Etrangers" - the foreigners.
Genny, I came by last night to catch up on your thread, but I didn't have the brain to read the poem. I'm glad I came back. I think I've said before that we live in the house where my husband grew up in the town where I was born. Sense of place is almost hard-wired into us, and while I lived in a couple of other towns in N.C. as a young woman, nothing is like coming home. I see the difference, but I have no way to understand it. Hannah, my hometown has always been like that French village. We refer to old houses by the names of the builders rather than the current occupants. ("He lives in the Dr. Parker house," for instance.) And on the other end of the social scale, a newcomer can expect to be asked in an accusatory tone, "You ain't from around here, is you?"
I have Theodora wishlisted, and I too am eager to hear what you make of Gilead!
I've neatly gotten around all that by deciding, sometime in my twenties that I am a native of 'the Northeast'. One could argue that my home is a rest area somewhere on Route 87, 90, or 95 but that would be a bit unkind..... SERIOUSLY..... I can't wait for the aliens to arrive and then we'll all feel that we are from Planet Earth. All Native. Every One!
Well, I'm not sure if it was the after-effects of the festival and the long drive home, or the prospect of the return to busy parish life, but I am exhausted! I didn't read any more of Gilead on Weds night because I was too tired and wanted to read it while I was properly awake. On Thursday I was officially back at work, spent the morning unpacking and sorting out holiday stuff while starting to catch up on emails etc, and the afternoon doing 4 visits to elderly members of the congregation to take them communion (they are such a varied, interesting bunch, it's a privilege to visit them all but I end up very tired after the visits) and then visiting another older lady who has been looking after my dog Ty, to catch up with her and collect Ty to bring him home again.
So I bought myself a takeaway Indian meal on the way home, ate it and watched a little TV, and suddenly felt very weary indeed, so I snuggled up on the sofa at 8 pm to have a little rest. The next thing I knew it was 7.30 am, and I'd slept for almost 12 hours on the sofa!
Today is a day off, so I should be doing more washing, unpacking and sorting myself out, but I'm still feeling rather tired. I also need to do some long-put-off work on my personal finances, expenses claims and tax returns etc, but all I really want to do is curl up with a book - finish Gilead and start something else. I have made only fairly modest commitments so far to the TIOLI challenge as I was massively over-committed in August. I don't quite have the energy at present to run around my shelves making lists of all the possible reads, so I shall just take them one at a time, I think.
Anyway, Laura, Peggy - I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer for my thought on Gilead, but I am enjoying it very much certainly.
Hannah and Lucy, thanks for visiting and for your thoughts on home/belonging/otherness etc (Peggy too). I'm sure you're right, Lucy, that an alien invasion would suddenly increase our sense of all being fellow human beings and make us less bothered about the who is from where questions. It's a shame that it is all too likely only a 'common enemy' or a more extreme 'outsider' that would bring about such a sense of unity. The challenge for us humans is to learn to value the particularity of place - whether we are rooted in one place or have belonged to many places over our years - without making that a reason to de-value other places. I hated it when, as a child, born in the UK but living in Holland since the age of 5, people would ask me "Where do you feel more at home, England or Holland?". Partly because I did not know the answer, but also because they were forcing me to choose, and I can now say that there are elements of home in both places for me.
I do know that it's good to be home again after holidays and travels, with a sofa I can fall asleep on, and all my books around me, and with Ty here asleep beside me (the house does not feel like home properly until I have collected Ty from his holiday carer).
Sounds like you needed a good rest, Genny! I am glad you got some sleep.
Lovely response Genny -- 'elements of home in both places for me' --
I hope you get yr. energy back. I can relate. I always seem to need an extra day now after a long trip until I feel 'normal' - whatever that is! - again.
I also loved your response about home and place, Genny, and your thought that I can now say that there are elements of home in both places for me. So glad you shared your vacation and are home now, resting up, reorganizing, and getting set for a busy back to work! I'm doing much the same this weekend; I start back to school Tue.
Hi Genny, thank you from popping by my thread. As you can see it is very quiet and I am very behind with my reviews. I'm not very good at writing reviews either, but I guess I'll get better with practice! It's Cushla who now has me addicted to Library Thing and has me reading far more interesting and varied books than I did before. In fact it was her who gave me the first C J Sansom book. I've really enjoyed all his books, although he does sometimes rush his endings. Anyway nice to meet you, Georgia.
Hi Genny, I hope you're getting your energy levels back up. Your festival sounds like an incredible experience, I'm also adding Theodora to my tbr list.
Glad you had a good time at Greenbelt. Hope you're feeling less exhausted now.
>176: I know what you mean about LT getting you to read more varied and interesting books! My reading interests have just exploded since being a member of LT these past few years. It's been great!
Thanks for the poem! I've been on the move since my first birthday and people busily put me in boxes of their own construction, complete with sets of characteristics, ever since. It's made me v. curious about the whole question of identity, as I definitely don't have one at all -- regional, national, family, etc. etc. When asked the "where are you from" question --still dreaded -- I am deliberately awkward. I'll answer with some variant of the following -- I was born in the US to Canadian parents, raised mostly in Europe, attended a Canadian college and Japanese graduate school, now living in New York." It's, ahem, educational to watch the responses.
#168 -- That sounds as if it would be a fascinating thesis! I know I've often been the other -- or felt like the other, even when I blend in, or conversely, feel at home when my accent makes me stand out -- and yet I, too, am curious about wanting to know others' stories. I wonder if there's a polite form of "where are you from originally?" It's really, IMO, a question that operates as a way into a conversation about who someone is, what they think is important, etc. etc. If there were no language/accent issue, or no national costume, or something like that, then I, at least, would find some other way to open that discussion. And asking the question produces fun results, like the cab driver from Burkina Faso with whom I had an hour-long discussion about the tribal vs. national boundaries in West Africa, African cinema and music, and the tangible legacies of french colonialism (the baguette!). To me, that question can be a sign of interest in another person. I kind of expect it when I'm in a French-speaking country because although I read and understand French probably as fluently as most native speakers, my accent and increasingly my spoken vocabulary aren't on a par. So they are flummoxed -- in some ways I sound like a native speaker and yet I'm not. The Belgians used to guess Swiss; the Swiss, Belgians. The French would just say, "but you aren't French, are you?" -- because after all, being French is the only thing that matters...
I do find England is v. difficult for me. I lived there from 6 until I was 12; my earliest clear memories are from those years. Then at 14, we were in Belgium, and I would spend several weeks with friends in England every year. My passport said Canadian, but I had virtually no emotional attachment to Canada at that point. I was in an international school that was then dominated by Americans (in Brussels) and I clearly didn't fit in there. And yet, after two or three years (and after a lot of severe bullying in those two years in Canada) I had lost much of my English accent. (The intonation comes back when I'm there, and pronunciation of some words, but never the real accent.) So I no longer 'belonged', and was treated as if the country with which the vast majority of my memories were associated was one that I had no ties to at all. It was even more odd, moving back there in my 30s to work. One study that would be interesting to me is to compare the experiences of long-term migrants -- North Americans who have lived more than 5 years in England vs Brits who have lived more than 5 years in North America -- and gauge the degree to which they feel a part of their new society. That kind of study would remove many of the anomalies -- language, primarily -- that wouldn't make such a study feasible anywhere else in Europe, but would show up cultural differences in attitudes to immigrants. It would be interesting to contrast New York and London with the same experiences in say, Cincinnati and Stoke-on-Trent or Exeter.
Hi Genny, I enjoyed reading about your festival and the poem also struck a chord with me, especially as I've never lived in the town where I was born and moved towns every few years growing up. Hope you've had some more rest and feel a bit more on top of things now.
I feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of words on this thread since I was last here.....
*slinks off guiltily as no possibility of catching up exists*
Genny, belated apology for not getting hold of August Folly during the friends' read last month. I found it, then it hid itself in one of my stacks of books again... *feeling sheepish*
#183 No problem, Suzanne! I hope you do enjoy it when you get to it. You might identify with one of the main characters who is struggling to make a living by writing economics text books while inflicting economies on her household - though you might not want to follow her bizarre choice of keeping a donkey and cart to save the expense of running a car...
#182 Megan - no guilt please, and no slinking necessary. We've been a bit wordy recently over here, I admit - but you don't have to read them all. Perhaps reading one word in three would speed things up?
#181 Leoni, thanks for visiting and I'm glad you liked the poem. This is indeed a theme that strikes a chord with many of us. I'm feeling a little more rested now, thanks, though I rarely feel on top of things!
#180 Our experiences have some similarities, Suzanne, though you've had more moving about than I have by the sound of it. I also attended an international school, but mine was in the Netherlands not Belgium. Actually it was a British School, but with about 40 different nationalities attending it. For me it meant losing my sense of local identity - the slightly nasal, slightly west-country accent which natives of the Isle of Wight speak with became a generic rootless English, more southern than northern but otherwise unidentifiable. Spending six months working in France before I started at university in England got me to the point of dreaming in French, and my rather tweedy neighbour in my first year at college thought I was terribly 'European' - probably because I liked decent coffee and didn't dress as conservatively as he did! But though I've been back in the UK for nearly 30 years now, I've moved around so much that there are many, many places that have been (and still are in some ways) home to me, and at the same time I'm not sure that I really belong in any of them.
I once wrote something about the sense of being exiled from 'home' in the parish magazine when I was a curate. I picked the wrong audience though - this was in a part of rural Lincolnshire where most people were still living in the town they'd been born in, with all the friends they'd had since school, and only one person commented on what I'd written to say they'd found it helpful, and that was someone who like me had moved around a lot. One reason that being part of a community of faith is important for me is that it gives me sense of belonging that, at best, transcends geographical location while giving me a local community to be part of. Of course, church can also be parochial in the worst sense and be both deliberately and unwittingly exclusive of outsiders. The Greenbelt Festival I've just been to is a great antidote to the pettiness of local church and an encouragement to those of us trying to forge an identity that has to to with generosity and openness.
More comments and updates to follow, but I have an overdue phone call to make first, and an evening meeting to go to...
Genny, interesting thoughts!
I have to confess, though, that in the wake of my Internet debacles of recent weeks, there was actually a lively discussion on my FB page revolving around the relative merits of keeping a horse and cart in lieu of a car. I don't have the latter, btw! I made the case that while both require fuel, the horse at least produces fertilizer at the other end of the process that could be re-used in a home garden... :-)
True about the horse (which might also be better behaved than the donkey in the story!). Though where you would keep a horse and cart in NY might be an issue?
Genny, it may actually be no different from where to keep a car... The cost of garaging a car here can be more than the cost of renting a small house in the midwest.
I've finally read a book this month (Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor. I have not been in the mood for picking up a book since I got back from holiday, being either too tired or too distracted, but I started this (second in mystery series set in Republican Rome) yesterday as I realised a distracting mystery was more what I needed than a serious and moving reflection on life, mortality, ministry and relationships (Gilead, which I was enjoying very much but don't feel in the right space to continue at present).
I've also succumbed to another book-buying temptation. I was driving back from a meeting yesterday way up in the north of Northumberland (Scotland a stone's throw across the river), and was about to pass the town of Alnwick, and I though, "how can I drive past Barter Books and not have a quick look?" So in I went, to this huge emporium of second-hand books in a former railway station, and came out with, I think, 13 books, at least 9 of them Virago Modern Classics (original green editions) in excellent condition. I will add further details when I have the energy to dig them out of the bag and list them. I don't often have a car these days so it made sense to visit the shop while I was passing - *she says, trying to justify this vast addition to the TBR pile, in such a slow-reading month...
Rationalizations are good. Bargain book buying is good. Repeat this to yourself a dozen times, morning and evening.
Rationalizations are good.
Bargain book buying is good.
I buy bargain books.
I am a rational person!
Works for me. Nice haul on the Virago Modern Classics, Genny!
#188 Congratulations on finishing Arms of Nemesis and the book haul! I have several worthy reads in my 'Currently Reading' collection which I am making slow progress on because they require a certain amount of energy and consideration.
9 VMCs :-) It would have been wrong not to get them...
Great book haul! You have to get them while the getting is good. I am still regretting some books I let slip by back in the early 70's.
Steven Saylor's name sounded so familiar and then I checked out my shelves and realized that I had bought a bunch of his books from bookcloseouts.com awhile back but they are still just sitting there. :) I read his book, Roma awhile ago and really enjoyed it so hopefully the other ones that I've got will be just as interesting.
9 original green VMCs!!!! (Readers of my thread will note the lack of an apostrophe, please.) How absolutely grand!!!!!! Will you list them here or on the Virago thread? I think you have to rejoice and be glad. I am for you.
Saylor is just good; that's all there is to it. I think you're about to get to my favorite, Catilina's Riddle. Yay!
How did I miss #188 and mention of 9 original green VMCs?! Oh now I am green with envy! Nice haul, Genny.
Thanks for visits, folks, and for encouragement in my recent purchases, and enthusiasm about VMCs (lack of apostrophe approvingly noted, Peggy)! I will list them, I promise, probably both here and on the Virago thread. There were more where those came from, too - I just couldn't afford to buy them all!
This is in haste as I have as usual some overdue work to do (parish weekly newsletter deadline in an hour's time and it's meant to be my day off but I didn't get this done yesterday). I hope to return later to do some book reviews (what are they?) and catalogue and list my recent acquisitions.
Wow that is a great haul!! Looking forward to seeing what you bought.
I really enjoyed Arms of Nemesis - it's been ages since I read a Steven Saylor novel. I love how he weaves the history in with the murder.
And, going way way back., I listened to Stella Duffy on the Guardian books podcast way back in June while I was out walking in Disentis, wondered who she was, and thought her new book sounded really good. You've reminded me to add it to my wishlist.
Hope you get that newsletter finished on time...
Yay for the new books!
I keep meaning to get round to Saylor. One of these days...
Isn't Barter books wonderful? Brings back memories of wonderful holidays in Northumberland.
#202 Barter Books is wonderful indeed. With the little electric train running round on tracks overhead on top of the bookshelves, making you think it is raining very heavily outside when you hear it passing by, and the cafe/restaurant using the old Station Buffet and serving very nice coffee (this was the first time I've used the cafe) and with just such a vast array of books but arranged very carefully by subject and in alphabetical order...
From the shelves dedicated to collectible children's books I found:
Watership Down - the Puffin edition just like the one I read back in the 70s and lent to someone and never got back!
From the crime and thrillers shelves I picked up:
Five Red Herrings Dorothy L Sayers - stocking up for my re-read
Last Seen in Massilia Steven Saylor - sadly they didn't have Catalina's Riddle which is the next one I'm due to read, but this will be saved for later in the series
Stone's Fall Iain Pears - I've enjoyed his previous books, especially Fingerpost
And from the general fiction section, a great selection of Virago Modern Classics - I didn't even buy all of them...
My Next Bride and Year Before Last - Kay Boyle
The Ballad and the Source - Rosamond Lehmann
The Matriarch - G B Stern
The Brimming Cup - Dorothy Canfield
The Lying Days - Nadine Gordimer
Sapphira and the Slave Girl - Willa Cather
The Rector's Daughter - F M Mayor
Poor Caroline - Winifred Holtby
I've only heard of five of these eight VMC authors, and know nothing about any of these particular books. I'm enjoying how collecting VMC (and eventually reading them, I hope!) is widening my range of authors.
#203 A very good haul! I think I've only heard of 3 of the VMC authors but like you I'm finding the 'greens' a good guide towards finding new authors I might enjoy.
#203 Wonderful haul of books, Genny. Love what you say about how collecting VMC is widening your range of authors. That's one of the gifts of LT for me, too.
Thanks all - have just been adding my latest acquisitions to the catalogue, and some earlier books bought in August. I've stopped for now (as it's time for dinner), although there are a few more to add, because I've reached the nice round number of 1000 books in my catalogue!
416 of these are in the 'To read' collection. I haven't done much cataloguing of my existing collection for ages, because I spend all my time cataloguing newly acquired books, but I guess that there must be at least another 2,000 waiting to be catalogued, probably quite a bit more than that. Of these, I think the greater part of the fiction I have read, but there are still plenty of unreads among them. As for the theology collection, far, far too many of those are unread! I read loads of theology books from the library when I was in college, and once I had money to buy books I went mad buying anything that looked interesting, especially books from bargain sales - but have been too busy working to do the associated ongoing studying. One of these days I'll post a picture of my study with all those rows and rows of unread books!
Just stopping by to catch up on your thread--and there is a lot to catch up on! Holiday photos, festivals, and new books--too much to even comment on.
#209 Nice to see you Anne. Yes, we have everything here but book reviews!
Just stopping by to say hi! A very busy thread and a lot of happenings for you. Looks like you've got a great haul of new books !
>203: I'm also having a big of book jealousy, but I'd have no good place to put that many books so maybe I can live with it. I have a new book-in: book-out rule. So far it's working but I may have to do some culling after our library booksale next month.
2,000 books waiting to be catalogued... my goodness, Genny, how can you sleep at night? ;-)
OOOooo! Everything looks good, but especially your VMC's. Lucky YOU!!! If you will be guided by me, you'll make your next book Poor Caroline. It was my first Holtby and turned me into a believer at once! I also enjoyed The Matriarch, but it's obviously a first book and not as well-done as *PC*. Whatever you do, enjoy!
ooh great books Genny! Last seen in massilia was the first Steven Saylor I read and it got me hooked.
Hello Darryl, Cushla, Peggy, Donna, Linda and Deborah - thanks for dropping by and appreciating my book haul!
Cushla, I'm enjoying the Saylor, having now read the first two. I learned a lot about the imperial period through the Falco series, now I'm discovering Republican Rome with Gordianus!
Peggy, thanks for the recommendation. I was certainly hoping to get to Poor Caroline soon, as I've been wanting to read some Holtby and this is the first one I've got hold of. I think it will be my next VMC read, if not my next read altogether.
Donna, a book-in, book-out rule sounds very sensible. The BIBO rule... Even a book-in, book-read rule would be good sense (BIBR - not so easy to pronounce!). Having room to expand is a current luxury, but I won't always be living in a five-bedroom house on my own (it comes with the job) so when I retire into some small flat somewhere, I shall have problems! As for the cataloguing, it doesn't keep me awake at night thankfully, else I would get no sleep for months or years! But I am very slowly working my way through. I've just ordered one of those little 'catalogued on LT' stamps that were about to go up in price - I thought that might be useful to keep things in order, especially when I reach those parts of my collection which contain a mixture of already and not yet catalogued...
And going back a bit further up the thread, thank you also to Terri, Suzanne, Nancy, Heather, Dee, Lucy, Amber, Laura, Leonie, Valerie, Roni, Suzanne for visiting and for your encouragement (not that I need any) and reassurance about buying all those books. Barter Books is a bit special, and I don't visit very often - just as well for the bank balance and the TBR ratio!
#205 Nancy, it's true that LT in general, as well as starting to collect VMCs in particular, has been a great way to broaden my reading and introduce me to so many new authors. The VMCs add a different dimension because they are helping me to explore earlier 20th century (women) writers beyond the obvious and most famous ones, whereas in general the other new authors I'm discovering through LT are mainly contemporary.
#200 I'd be interested to know what you make of the Saylor books if you do try them, Amber. With your knowledge of the period you would have a better idea of how well he is depicting the reality of that context. With the Lindsey Davis 'Falco' books, which I love, I can see that she is deliberately injecting quite a modern tone in having a 'hard-boiled' detective character. Saylor is not so deliberately blatant in his inclusion of modern attitudes, but it's probably going on there too. But both seem, from what I can tell, to have done their homework in giving us a rich and detailed setting.
#199 I've yet to read Theodora but Luci says its really good. I hope you get hold of a copy soon too, Cushla.
#194 Valerie, I had a look at Roma and I see that it's not part of the Gordianus detective series, but more of a sweeping historical saga of the history of Rome. So if the other books you've picked up by Saylor are the Gordianus ones, they may be rather different, but hopefully you will enjoy them anyway.
Well, that's me caught up on visitors - I'm too far behind on book reviews to afford to get behind on comments and acknowledging all the friendly people dropping into the thread: must keep up with something at least.
Now, about those said book reviews...
I like you book haul Genny although it made me realise I own 3 copies of Watership Down but am still yet to read it, having only seen the movie. Shocking state of affairs.
#218 Shocking indeed, Leonie! Off you go and read all three of them straight away! :) Stopping myself from buying duplicate copies of books I'd not got round to reading was one of the reasons I wanted to catalogue my collection, and therefore found LT. So hooray for duplicates (and triplicates) I say!
I just dropped in to a local cheese and wine delicatessen, on my way cycling home from a meeting (mainly to catch my breath as it was very windy and I was trying to cycle into the wind). I bought some lovely local cheese, and a single, individually wrapped amaretto biscuit (safer for my diet to buy nice things in small amounts). Then at the till I spotted a flyer which announced:
The Bon Viveur Book Club
'a place to taste, a room to meet, and a space to think'
Do you like the idea of combining books, good company and great wine?
If so come and join us for Carruthers & Kent's first meeting of the Bon Viveur Book Club on October 6th where we will be talking about the award winning cook and writer Nigel Slater's biography, Toast. The gardening writer, bibliophile and wine lover, Caroline Beck, will introduce this and future sessions and fill in the gaps between sips of wine and talk on books. ... Cost £5 includes a glass of wine
Future books on the programme include I drink therefore I am by Roger Scruton, Honey from a Weed by Patience Grey, Red, white and drunk all over by Natalie MacLean, Writing at the Kitchen Table: the authorized biography of Elizabeth David by Artemis Cooper and Raw Spirit: in search of the perfect dram by Iain Banks.
What fun! I might try out the first meeting- I've not read that Slater book but I have partly read another of his - Eating for England. It would be interesting to see who else turns up, and I might find some other book-loving people to get to know locally (though it may only attract those who like books about food, that's a start). And I love the writing of Elizabeth David so I'd be interested in that one (not happening till next June) and I do like a good single malt whisky so might go for the Iain Banks one too.
If that was not enough excitement, I turned over the flyer to see on the other side the following announcement:
Poetry Kitchen @ carruthers & kent Like the idea of poetry and afternoon tea? Then come and join us for an Afternoon Poetry Tea brought to us by Poetry Kitchen on 20th November. Pauline brings together her twin loves of words and cooking and will take us through a series of readings on gastronomic themes while you sip on a glass of Prosecco or a cup of Tea and nibble on her home made cakes.
This too promises to be the first of a series of similar events. Might make me actually take on some poetry - albeit with a very specific thematic range again!
Genny that sounds great. I have three Elizabeth David books and love them (French, Italian and Mediterranean I think...must find them) and Nigel Slater's the Kitchen Diaries which has a few food stains... Lovely book.
219: Stopping myself from buying duplicate copies of books I'd not got round to reading was one of the reasons I wanted to catalogue my collection, and therefore found LT.
Me too. But what has actually happened? The constant stream of recommendations results in more books, cataloging doesn't keep pace with purchasing, and I still get duplicates. I just discover them sooner.
#222 The constant stream of recommendations results in more books, cataloging doesn't keep pace with purchasing, and I still get duplicates. I just discover them sooner. That is very true for me too - but I'd rather have LT and the duplicates, than just the duplicates!
#221 Yes, ED is wonderful. My mum had her books, and I've been looking out for copies of my own recently - I've been dipping into Summer Cooking this summer - though our weather was so un-summery this year I was not tempted to try many of her recipes.
Still reading Sovereign - I'm about half way through, it's a 600+ pager. It's not dragging at all, but I'm busy with work and can't just curl up on the sofa and read. It's been a very slow reading month so far, so much else going on with the start of new school year which also means everything in church is gearing up too at a great pace after the summer lull.
Loved the tension mounting up in Sovereign as the Royal Progress approached; and loving the developing relationship between Shardlake and an older lawyer who is becoming like a surrogate father for him to care for as he was not able to care for his own father before he died. And there's a great description of a day unexpectedly spent reading in someone's very large personal library.
Genny, I'm buying a plane ticket so I can join you for those book meetings! Sounds lovely.
With all the recent talk of Saylor's books and historical fiction about ancient Rome, I am wondering if you, Genny, or someone else here knows of a good novel about Marcus Aurelius — besides Marius the Epicurean, which I'm reading just now. It is piquing my fictional interested in that period.
Good grief! If I don't stop lurking here, I'll be buying a ticket very soon myself!
Hi Genny! You are such a temptress! I'm gonna need about 6 months in the UK.
Genny, the bookclub meet sounds like lots of fun, I hope you enjoy it.
My problem with duplicate and triplicate books (yes, I have a few) is that I see a bargain book at a second-hand shop and have to make the decision right then and there whether to buy it or not. Sometimes my memory obviously fails me and I bring it home only to find its older cousins on the shelves, oh well. There are worse issues to have in life.
I posted a photo way up in post no 47 of one of the Anthony Gormley sculptures on Crosby beach near Liverpool, taken while I was on holiday.
Here's a news photo taken today of one of the same scultpures, as the west coast of Britain is being buffeted by the tail end of Hurricane Katia. We're getting very strong winds and some branches coming down, over here in the north east too - and one fatality in nearby County Durham from a tree falling on a bus.
>224: Oh yes, I loved how Matthew got lost in those old dusty books in Giles' library. I just finished Sovereign today, Genny. What a treat it was. You will want a few hours of uninterrupted reading time towards the end so that you can read it all in a gulp. I'm already looking forward to the next Shardlake adventure.
>230: Thanks for that picture. The waters looked much calmer when you took yours of the sculptures in the sand.
Wow, that's a dramatic photo!!
I think Sovereign has been my fave of the Sansom novels to date...
Poquette, I can't think of another book with Marcus Aurelius in it, but there is the excellent Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. Hadrian was another one of the "good emperors"; preceeded Marcus Aurelius by a few years. You could also check out M.A.'s Meditations, one of the bedrock texts of the Stoics.
Sovereign was my first Shardlake novel and I loved it. That photo looks a lot like the weather here at the moment, after a few sunny Spring days we have been buffeted by strong, cold winds and endless rain.
>232 Thanks, Suzanne! I'll look for the Yourcenar book. I have dipped into Aurelius' Meditations from time to time but have not read them through. I thought a fictional account might be amusing. I did a search on Amazon and couldn't come up with anything there either. Oh well . . .
Oh, the book/wine/poetry/tea meeting sound lovely! So jealous right now...and eagerly awaiting reports!
A book group sounds like fun! I wonder if there is anything like that where I'm from but then again just the amount of time I spend on LT may impede on me actually meeting any real people. :)
The picture of the statue almost looks eery, as if the person really should be running away from those waves instead of just calmly drowning in it...
Statue! *whew* I was all ready to whip out my life-vest and do some rescuing. Cool photo!
So, Genny, do those statues ever fall over? How do they stay standing in the sand?
This is so intriguing... and kinda spooky
Great photo, and I agree with Kerry, it looks exactly like the weather in Auckland at the moment. I am curious now as well about how they stay there, they must be anchored quite deep to not move with the shifting sands and tides.
Bad cold has come out of nowhere, taking me out of action (at least as far as reading and posting on threads is concerned) for the past couple of days.
All these visitors here meanwhile! Welcome! I'll come back in a bit and reply, and update my reading reports a bit too... but it's time for a sniffly lunch first.
Extra fluids, extra rest and Virago Modern Classics!
Hope that nasty cold is on its way out! :)
Oh poo, Genny. I'm sorry about your cold. Take care of yourself!!!
We want you well for your sake but also so that you can tell us about the wine/book/tea/poetry meetings. I wish we lived somewhere like that.
Aren't colds totally miserable? I hate it when I have to work to breathe. Hope you get better quickly. Chicken soup!
They say there are 137 cold varieties and eventually we catch all of them. I have not had a cold since 2003, which makes me think I must have passed the mark! I can think of a lot of other marks I'd like to pass! LOL
Get better soon, Genny!
Sorry to hear about your cold Genny, hope you feel better soon. I'm on cold-alert as a couple of people at work and my husband have had colds this week...
I believe you and I share the same birthday. Happy Birthday tomorrow!
Hello Genny - thanks for visiting my thread. Thought I would catch yours before you start a new one. What a fascinating mix of photos and books! Fabulous - got you starred now! Oh and Happy Birthday for tomorrow!
thanks for visiting my thread :) I hope your head cold is better. Every once in a while I wish I had a cold so I can stay home from work and read lots. Then when I inevitably get a cold and I'm at home unable to do anything other than doze in bed and drink juice I realise how wrong I was about the joys of 'staying home with a cold' it's awful.
Happy birthday Genny! Also hoping that the cold is going and that you can enjoy the day.
Thank you, thank you, for all your kind wishes re the cold, and more recently for my birthday!
The cold is still with me, but I don't care because I've finished my official duties for the day and I'm out to the lovely old Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle to watch the new Jane Eyre, followed by a Book Club discussion of the film. And then dinner with some friends.
I'm sorry I've not had a chance to reply to any of your messages above - and now this thread is growing over long, so I've started a new one, over here. Do come and join me there - it's looking a bit bare at present but I'll be back to add the various tickers and lists later on today.
Happy Birthday, Genny! I'm sorry to hear about your cold; it sounds like the same thing I had last week. I noticed that a lot of people on the flight from Heathrow to Atlanta yesterday were also sniffling and coughing, including my seat mate, who wore a white mask throughout the flight.
Hi, Genny, I hope you had a nice, cold free, birthday. Lots of people do seem to have colds just now. I might have caught one, too - hopefully not.
Ohh Genny! I did not realize it was your birthday! Happy Belated Birthday!
I was on Claudia's thread and I had to put my 2cents in for reading I Shall Not Hate. It was a big thing here in Canada a couple of years ago, and I read it . It was real eye- opening look at Palestine and don't I'll ever see Israel and Palestine the way I did before. It's very readable and a great eyeopener. The author has since come to live and practice medicine in Canada. It's a very touching book.
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