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Paul's 2011 Reading (Part 5)

This topic was continued by Paul's 2011 Reading Part Six to Hogmanay.

75 Books Challenge for 2011

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Edited: Nov 21, 2011, 2:33am Top


Edited: Dec 6, 2011, 8:03pm Top

2011 reading so far

1 Centennial by James Michener
2 Caught in the Light by Robert Goddard
3 Open by Andre Agassi
4 Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo
5 Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
6 No God but God by Reza Aslan
7 The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
8 The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
9 Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
10 Arabesk by Barbara Nadel
11 Turnstone by Graham Hurley
12 Lennox by Craig Russell
13 The Long Glasgow Kiss by Craig Russell
14 The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
15 Life on Air by David Attenborough
16 The Confessor by Daniel Silva
17 A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva
18 The Take by Graham Hurley
19 Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva
20 The Messenger by Daniel Silva
21 Angels Passing by Graham Hurley
22 Cantona : The Rebel Who Would be King by Philipe Auclair
23 The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
24 High Stand by Hammond Innes
25 Heroes by Simon Sebag Montefiore
26 Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
27 Unspoken by Mari Jungstedt
28 The Defector by Daniel Silva
29 The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
30 The Manager by Barney Ronay
31 The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
32 Last Templar by Michael Jecks
33 London by Edward Rutherfurd
34 Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri
35 Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri
36 The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri
37 Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami
38 August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
39 The Jacaranda Tree by H.E. Bates
40 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
41 The Age of Orphans by Laleh Khadivi
42 Preferred Lies by Andrew Greig
43 Worth Dying For by Lee Child
44 Bad Boy by Peter Robinson
45 Not to Disturb by Muriel Spark
46 Long Summer Day by R.F. Delderfield
47 Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
48 Broken April by Ismail Kadare
49 If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
50 1000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke
51 Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland
52 Storm Prey by John Sandford
53 Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
54 Die Twice by Andrew Grant
55 Heliopolis by James Scudamore
56 My Soul to Take by Yrsa Siggurddottir
57 The Gate by Francois Bizot
58 No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
59 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
60 Blood Eagle by Craig Russell
61 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
62 The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
63 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexandr Solzenistsin
64 Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsson
65 Decision Points by George W Bush
66 The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
67 The Ice People by Maggie Gee
68 The White Guns by Douglas Reeman
69 An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
70 Josh Lawton by Melvyn Bragg
71 The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury
72 The Rights of Desire by Andre Brink
73 Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
74 The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor
75 Generation A by Douglas Coupland
76 A Football Man by John Giles
77 The Imposter by Damon Galgut
78 The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
79 I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This by Bob Newhart
80 Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
81 The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn
82 The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin
83 From the Dead by Mark Billingham
84 Greenmantle by John Buchan
85 The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum
86 The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
87 The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva
88 Brother Grimm by Craig Russell
89 The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri
90 Deadlight by Graham Hurley
91 The Track of Sand by Andrea Camilleri
92 Bridge Over the Drina by Ivo Andric
93 Billiards at Half-Past Nine by Heinrich Boll
94 Pincher Martin by William Golding
95 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
96 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
97 Lust for Life by Irving Stone
98 The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard by Sir Athur Conan Doyle
99 Answering Back edited by Carol Ann Duffy
100 For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway
101 Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks
102 Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
103 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
104 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
105 Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
106 The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker
107 The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
108 The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich
109 What is Mine aka Punishment by Anne Holt
110 Summoned by Bells by John Betjeman
111 American Gods by Neil Gaiman
112 Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima
113 A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Best 10 of the Year

Half of a Yellow Sun, The Little Stranger, The Children of Dynmouth, Child 44, Breathing Lessons, Lennox, Josh Lawton, Mercy, The Messenger and Heliopolis
(Of Mice and Men not included as it is a re-read)

Nov 21, 2011, 2:38am Top

Wow my last thread was worn through in just over two weeks - I know how Mark feels now! Please stay with my while I try to balance reading, working, buying books, ventilating my poor excuse for humour, reading of threads and anecdotes from my frenetic lifestyle in sometimes sunny and always humid Kuala Lumpur. For initiates SWMBO is my darling wife Hani who spends her spare time here scaring the snakes and the crocodiles!

Nov 21, 2011, 3:03am Top

Hi Paul! I can't keep up with your thread but I'll keep trying... Lovely pic of SWMBO.

Nov 21, 2011, 5:46am Top

Thanks Cushla - hope you are settled back in NZ and readjusting to things there.

Nov 21, 2011, 6:47am Top

Hi Paul- Congrats on the New Thread! Yes, they start coming fast & furious, but at least you know you are well loved.
Great photo of the wife! She looks very dedicated.

Nov 21, 2011, 7:41am Top

Found you again and have you starred!

Hani has a lovely smile!

Nov 21, 2011, 7:51am Top

Ohmygosh, Hani is beautiful! Thanks for sharing such a lovely picture!

Nov 21, 2011, 8:52am Top

Nice pic!

Nov 21, 2011, 9:22am Top

SWMBO has decreed no more photos!

Nov 21, 2011, 9:31am Top

so here is what I pass every day on my way home from the office

Nov 21, 2011, 10:38am Top

Starred! Lovely pics of Hani, and an impressive night skyscape of KL! I should add "Good morning, Paul." I'm just now setting to coffee before heading out to greet the start of another work week : ).

Nov 21, 2011, 12:53pm Top

Beautiful! Hani, view home and thread..beautiful..

I am wondering about the snakes and crocodile thing though.. what did I miss?

Nov 21, 2011, 3:59pm Top

You are a very lucky man, Paul. Lovely wife, lovely city, and (from Ilana's 12 in 12 thread) a lovely reading room! Or at least a lovely fantasy.

Edited: Nov 21, 2011, 8:39pm Top

Mark - Thanks mate - she is a very focused lady.

Chelle - thanks! She always smiles like that after ordering food.

Amber - actually she hates that photo which I only realised when she looked over my shoulder yesterday evening and saw it! That is why I posted the other one with a sort of Roberto Duran "no mas".

Thank you Nancy - enjoy your working week - mine seems ages old already - I had three staff out of my small team missing yesterday - Nizam, my right hand, is down with the flu caught from his months old baby girl, Marhaida, my site expeditor, is expediting her daughter a place at a good school after getting 5 A's in her exams, and Afiz, my boy wonder, is attending the funeral of his paternal grandmother. When you have a small team you feel the loss of them keenly - wish all of them well - as to be honest, my staff rock! On a positive note, I had one Korean general manager who left me last year (on good terms) to join up with a Korean client of ours to work on a housing project in sleepy Libya! He is here after a restful and uneventful last six months on a short furlough so I took him and the remaining staff to a local buffet restaurant for lunch. Told him to keep safe over there and realised after seeing him drive that he is far more at risk behind the wheel than in the hairline sights in Tripoli! A more unaccomplished driver you could not hope to meet.

Kath - she's not a big looking old bird even if I say so myself! The snakes and crocodiles is just me being silly as usual and a play on the fact that she is a tad fierce!

Judy - I agree wholeheartedly dear guru. You forgot to mention LT which adds another dimension to life here and keeps me in touch with all you lovely and likeminded souls!

Nov 21, 2011, 9:11pm Top

Hmm, Paul, if she wasn't fierce, just how many books would you own by now????? The mind boggles...

Nov 21, 2011, 10:09pm Top

Thank you for the pointer, Paul; I must have been lost in the thread maze.

Some amazing reading this year. Many titles and authors on my endless WL.

Hani is charming; doesn't look fierce at all. Will trust your assessment, though.

Nov 21, 2011, 11:29pm Top

Great picture of Hani, Paul. Does she read as much as you do? If you share the similar tastes in books, you could consider the price of all the books you purchased halved. :-)

Nov 22, 2011, 12:36am Top

Suz - lol - heaven knows how many books I would have if not tempered by the SWMBO stare!

Gail - Nice to see you here again! She's not fierce to everyone by the way.

Caro - She does like reading but more in fits and starts...her favourites would be Tony Parsons, Anita Shreve, Karin Fossum and Yrsa Siggurdadottir. Good idea on halving the cost but I think I better not broach the topic with her!

Nov 22, 2011, 3:44am Top

Good morning Paul - love the pictures of SWMBO.

Nov 22, 2011, 4:02am Top

Same to you Heather - thanks re the pics

Nov 22, 2011, 4:24pm Top

Ohh Hani looks just lovely! Say hi to her for me!!

Nov 22, 2011, 4:59pm Top

Thought you might like to know since you're a foodie, Paul ........ I marinated some lamb and have mamak style sop kambing bubbling away in the slow cooker today for dinner. :-)

Nov 22, 2011, 5:19pm Top

Lovely photo of SWMBO at the top! I'm glad my abbreviation is proving useful - I was just too lazy myself to type out She Who Must Be Obeyed .

I am interested to see you did not use the new automatic thread-continuation feature when starting your new thread - was that deliberate? I was hoping to see the process in action, since it is meant to preserve the stars (if any) from the old thread to the new, so we don't lose people so easily in the transition.

Nov 22, 2011, 5:56pm Top

The pic in #10 is very definitely a "talk to the hand!" kind of picture, isn't it... I can just imagine that it was taken immediately after you tried to explain your burning need to acquire another dozen or so books...

Nov 22, 2011, 9:25pm Top

Thanks Deb - she says hi back to you and Dave.

Caro - Since I am hungry and without breakfast your information on Sup Kambing is both welcome and a torment!

Genny - Automatic thread continuation? - Not intentional I assure you as I simply had no idea about such a function. Will try to do better but it is not always easy typing with eight thumbs and two fingers.

Suz - from memory she is by her dressing table and prepared and ready for food. Normally nothing gets in the way of a lady and her supper! On the other hand however she could well have just noticed three Kinkuniya bags in my corner of the room!

Nov 22, 2011, 9:45pm Top

>1 PaulCranswick: SWMBO! Great acronym to confuse any first time visitor to your thread! Lovely photo too :)

>11 PaulCranswick: I could see the towers from the corner of the window of my shower when I stayed in KL- if I stood on tip toes and squinted.

>24 gennyt: I am interested to see you did not use the new automatic thread-continuation feature when starting your new thread - was that deliberate? I was hoping to see the process in action
Wow, is that really true!? I love it (if it is)

Nov 22, 2011, 11:08pm Top

I've read something recently about auto thread continuation. But I don't remember getting an email about the update, so I'm not sure how it works exactly, or whether or not I want to use it. Hmm, time for some LT research? All right ... where to?

Nov 22, 2011, 11:25pm Top

Genny? Help a techno-retard!

Nov 22, 2011, 11:30pm Top

Hi Paul,
I have fallen quite behind, and I will try to keep up here! I enjoyed the photos of your lovely wife and the beautiful skyline. Hope you're having a good week!

Nov 23, 2011, 12:00am Top

Nancy - firstly I want to clarify that the techno-retard is very much myself my dear and not your spring-heeled self - re-read my post and it could be misinterpreted!

Anne - Thanks for stopping by - you are right it is awfully difficult to keep up with all the activity on all the posts.

Nov 23, 2011, 12:23am Top

I did notice on my reading thread a link at the bottom saying something along the lines of "Continue this thread". I assume if you click on it, some LibraryThing magic will happen...

Sadly, the link is missing today, gone back for retooling, I guess. And I wasn't ready to restart a new thread, anyhow. :)

Love the photos of Hani!

Nov 23, 2011, 12:27am Top

Thanks Tania - will look out for that for future thread links as it is a pain switching over to a new one.

Nov 23, 2011, 12:33am Top

Review of Book #108 - TIOLI Challenge November 2011 Read a book written by a native american

The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich

I wanted so much to enjoy this and, maybe because I'm reading too many on the go at the moment, I unfortunately found it disjointed and an underwhelming read. Started off well with a vivid scene in which an out-of-his-depth bluecoat takes a baby from an indian village but the story meanders interminably thereon and to what point defeats me. She can obviously write so I will be trying her other work but the whole series of individuals stories and events were so clumsily put together and out of kilter that I couldn't wait for it to end. Not recommended I'm afraid especially to lovers of digestible stories such as my simple self.


Nov 23, 2011, 1:33am Top

Hmm, I'll pass on The Antelope Wife. Appreciate your thoughts. It never crossed my mind at #29 that you could mean moi - a techno retard! LOL (but you're right - the post could have been misinterpreted)!

Nov 23, 2011, 3:25am Top

Re automatic thread continuation, there's a very long discussion here, but the short version is that once a thread reaches 200 posts a blue link appears at the button which says 'Continue this topic in another topic'.

If you use that link instead of creating a new thread from scratch then people's stars and red-crosses will automatically follow you to the new thread and a link appears at the bottom of the old thread and the top of the new to direct people (see this test)!

I think you still have to manually copy and paste any blurb you want repeated in the first post and I think the title of the new thread is manual.

Ilana's thread currently has more than 200 messages so you can see the link at the bottom there (but don't press it - she might not want a new thread yet).

Nov 23, 2011, 4:17am Top

Heather - thank you so much for that - a difficult subject succinctly and easily explained.

Nov 23, 2011, 5:07am Top

I haven't read any Louise Erdrich but reading through the LT conversations, there seems to be a consensus that The Antelope Wife is nowhere near her usual standard.

Nov 23, 2011, 5:57am Top

Sorry The Antelope Wife was a disappointment! My Louise Erdrich experience wasn't exactly mind-blowing either. Oh well. Lovely photos of SWMBO!

Nov 23, 2011, 8:24am Top

I think I'll pass on The Antelope Wife, then. Thanks for the review!

Nov 23, 2011, 10:23am Top

#36 Thanks Heather for explaining that - I read Paul's plea for an explanation first thing this morning on my mobile phone, but the keyboard is too fiddly for posts of more than a few words so I was waiting until I had time to log on to my laptop. But you've covered it all, so that's fine!

I noticed this new feature just as I was in the process of setting up my last new thread, but wasn't sure enough about how it worked to press the link and do it automatically. But in future it should be very useful for 75 group members, as so many of us have multiple threads through the year, and/or try to follow multiple threads of other people.

I like the fact that we are still able to choose our own text for the title and the first post - wouldn't want to be automatically forced to keep it the same as previous one - but the automatic links back to previous and forward to next thread will be very handy.

Nov 23, 2011, 10:32am Top

I've just been off exploring this thread continuation matter too. 200 posts I think is a good number for the link to appear; I'm glad to know new title is manual - that would be a deal breaker for me. Thanks, everyone.

Nov 23, 2011, 3:17pm Top

Hello Paul - no time to stop by and chat - or post - at the moment. (which is a crying shame because I see you have been reading some great great books - some on my SoS, too!) Mum has been moved to palliative care and all the family are making final visits to say goodbye. She is still quite bright but now bed-bound and they have ceased any active treatments apart from that those that will "keep her comfortable" I swear if I hear them use that well-worn cliche one more time I will spit. Anyway, like Arnie, I will be back...hopefully soon! Oh that didn't sound quite right...you know what I mean. Take care of yourself in the meantime - and I love that photo of your gorgeous wife!

Nov 23, 2011, 3:57pm Top

Thanks for the heads up on The Antelope Wife, Paul. I had it on my obese wish list after reading the jacket some time back, but didn't feel compelled to buy it as yet. After reading your review, I'm happy to scratch it off ... to make room for a more worthy tome.

Nov 23, 2011, 7:48pm Top

Genny - thanks for the pointer on the automatic thread renewal - I get the idea now and it is a good one too. May not get another thread this year but will certainly use it on my next one.

Nancy - hi, I agree with you (which I seem to post with alarming regularity.

Dear Prue - must say how much I've missed you here being entirely selfish - your good sense, good humour and goodness is irreplaceable. Will try not to trot out more cliches as you are inundated with them at the moment but you and your mum are very much in our thoughts at the moment. Best wishes always - see you soon Ms. Schwarzenegger! (I know what you mean)

Caro - She can definitely write it is just that the story didn't seem to hang together very coherently. Maybe her other stuff is much better.

Edited: Nov 23, 2011, 8:17pm Top

Fabulous, thanks all for the explanations of the thread continuance! No wonder it was missing from my thread, I'm only at ~50 posts or so. Must've seen it elsewhere...

ETA: Started Snowdrops on the bus this morning. Not bad so far, but I'm not quite convinced by the noir-ish tone to the writing. Just doesn't quite gel for me.

Nov 24, 2011, 8:22am Top

To all my friends celebrating today - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Nov 24, 2011, 8:25am Top

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


Nov 24, 2011, 8:37am Top

Paul- Thanks for the holiday wishes! I hope you have a good day too and your current reads are treating you well.

Nov 24, 2011, 10:08am Top

#43 - Prue, I hope you won't think a joke is inappropriate in the circumstances, but your post about "keeping her comfortable" reminded me of this one, so here goes:

A woman is being admitted to the hospital, and the nurses are all trying to do their best to settle her in. After a few minutes, one of the nurses asks, "Are you comfortable?", to which she answers "I make a living".

Anyway, lots of positive thoughts going your way.

Nov 24, 2011, 12:15pm Top

Alan, Mark - Thanks guys enjoy your celebrations as appropriate.

Janet - in good taste or not all gags welcome on this thread - sure Prue with her own wicked sense of humour will have a smile on her face too.

Had some sad news today actually. I have asked one of my old colleagues to come on board and help me on some of my smaller projects and he told me that 40 days ago he lost his two year old son to meningitis and both of us shed a little tear in my office - since my office walls are entirely made of glass walls everything is transparent and I think my staff were wondering what the heck was wrong with the two old geezers blubbing in the office.

Nov 24, 2011, 12:16pm Top

A very Happy (non)Thanksgiving to you, Sir

I'm sure we all have our "things to be thankful for" (though my grammar sucks!)

not the least of which is your lovely wife

I saw her picture and said "Naiad, when did you get married?"...since she's a ringer for my friend Naiad Chun (last known living in Hawaii...but people do relocate)....

Oy and all

Nov 24, 2011, 12:22pm Top

Jude they say we all have a doppelganger or two around the world somewhere - how fierce is Naiad - depending on your answer my bags will be packed!

Nov 24, 2011, 12:45pm Top

I don't know how fierce Naiad be, now...I haven't seen her in 20 years.....her emails are becoming a little too "girly/girlish" for my taste..y'know, that Middle Aged Woman regression business......into teeny TWILIGHT ...twilight

Keep the bags in the cupboard...stay put....you be a Lucky Man...yes sir

and i dont want SWMBO coming after me with a pistol!!


Nov 24, 2011, 2:39pm Top

Hi Paul, you've been leaving all these wonderful messages on my thread and I've been a bad LT friend, not commenting here yet until now. But I did come in and drop my star here as soon as I realized you'd started a new thread, I promise!

Sad story about your friend losing his little one like that. Life is full of surprises. Some good, some, not so much.

I'll be trying out the thread continuation feature soon. I've just promised myself I'd post another 4 reviews I'm late on before doing so. So now I have to decide between writing reviews and getting caught up with all the threads I've been neglecting the last couple of days. I tell you, life is full of tough choices!

And btw, I didn't get the "are you comfortable" joke, someone care to spell it out for me? My migrainy brain is not functioning fully today.

Nov 24, 2011, 5:21pm Top

>51 PaulCranswick: 40 days is a very short time ago, what a devastating thing to have happen. I try not to think about "things like that" happening but confess its a real fear. I would have blubbed along with you.

Nov 24, 2011, 7:26pm Top

#55> Ilana, it's probably an English thing. :) "Comfortable" can be either physical comfort (a nice bed and pillow) or monetary (don't have to fret where the next dollar is coming from). In a hospital, a nurse asking whether you're comfortable would be the first; the joke is that the patient misunderstood it to be asking whether she was financial secure. (And then in typical English fashion, answers vaguely without tootling her own trumpet. ;)

Yeah, I'm afraid my eyes welled up slightly at the story of your colleague losing his son, Paul. I would have needed a box of tissues had I been there.

Have to say, hooning through Snowdrops, I'll finish it tonight. (Which is good, it's due back at the library tomorrow!) I don't think the noir feel works with this whiny git of a narrator (it works with Sam Spade et al because they were above us mere mortals), and I'm finding all the foreshadowing a bit much. I think I might be more positive than you, although I'm yet to finish it and things can always change at the last moment.

Nov 24, 2011, 7:45pm Top

Paul, I'm sorry for your friend's loss. It's never easy losing a child. I hope your friend has a good support network to help him through this devastating episode.

Nov 24, 2011, 8:19pm Top

Jude - Will folow your advice - the bags are unpacked! The only pistol SWMBO uses with any regularity (surprising regularity actually) is mine own!

Ilana - Joke explained beautifully in 57 by Tania. Your visits here are always a highlight as are my twice (at least) daily visits to your threads.

Megan - I know! We almost lost Yasmyne at three months with whooping cough (she couldn't breathe three times and I was strangely in the zone and got her back all three times by clearing her passages and smacking her bum) and had strife again at four with febrile fits. Anything to do with the health of our children is extremely disconcerting and putting myself into my friend Zulflida's shoes yesterday did (supposed toughy or not) bring tears to my eyes. If you are anything like as protective with your two lovely boys as I am or was with my three terrors you'll be a regular nocturnal visitor and have monitors and the lot and still not get any sleep if there are the slightest of fevers. The joys and strains of parenthood I guess.

Tania - thanks for the explanation for migraine-fogged Ilana! Love the phrase this whiny git of a narrator it is so apt!

Caro - Thanks. Did feel let him down a tad to be honest in our busy lives that we have a friend, albeit that he lives 330 kms away, could go through such a trauma without our knowing or being available to help. Poor chap has lost about 2 stone in weight also. I had a good friend contracted typhoid several years ago and lost a heck of a lot of weight from obese to extremely well proportioned. Great weight loss programme but I'll stick to walking the grounds of my condo compound with SWMBO thank you very much!

Nov 24, 2011, 10:50pm Top

Hi Paul
Sorry to hear about your coworkers loss. I can't begin to imagine how he must feel right now
That was nice of you to sit and share his grief with him.

Nov 24, 2011, 11:36pm Top

Paul, whooping cough is a nasty one. Friends of ours have a little boy who caught whooping cough as a baby and stopped breathing too. Needed CPR and a long stay in hospital to recuperate, but all is fine now. Glad to hear that Yasmyne got through it, with some timely intervention from you!

I still sneak in every night and sort out blankets and teddy bears and check that they're not running a fever. I assume I'll be continuing to do this for some years to come. (I can't see either of them giving up their bears, who are a fundamental part of the family.)

Nov 24, 2011, 11:44pm Top

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend's son, Paul. I don't think there is anything more heartbreaking for a parent than the death of a son or daughter at a young age. Bacterial meningitis is fortunately quite rare, due to vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae in young children, and Neisseria meningitidis in adolescents and young adults, but when it does happen it can be a swift and devastating illness.

Whooping cough (pertussis) is on the rise in the US, and I believe in other countries as well. as our immunity against Bordetella pertussis wanes with time. As was the case with your daughter, the persons most at risk are young infants who have received one or fewer of the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (TdaP) vaccines. I've taken care of a few dozen infants who had pertussis, including one earlier this month, and the coughing paroxysms can be impressive and very scary, as they turn purple and blue before they are able to stop coughing and take a deep breath in (the classic "whoop").

Nov 25, 2011, 2:18am Top

>59 PaulCranswick: Paul I confess to regularly sleeping on the fold out couch in little Lenny's room. I figure if I'm less than a metre away from him I'm going to know when I'm needed quick smart! What good luck (or good management) that you were close by your daughter when it counted. The possibilities are very scary aren't they.

>62 kidzdoc: thanks for the info Doc, you're very kind to share your expertise

Nov 25, 2011, 3:03am Top

Thanks Chelle but I felt my words, however, kindly meant were so inconsequential - I mean how do you cope with something of that nature?

Tania - can see myself in your portrait of checking in your youngsters' room every evening - hope you check the teddies too!

Darryl - would reiterate Megan's appreciation of your insight - what a stressful and yet rewarding job you have Darryl - you need a heart as large as an oak to cope with all your working day must present you with. Didn't realise that whooping cough is on the rise - the Malays over here call it the 100 day cough (sakit batuk seratus hari) but I remember vividly the sheer terror of seeing Yassie not being able to breathe as a result of the cough mechanism and don't wish that on anyone else.

Good child rearing is a few parts luck, a few parts faith, a sprinkling of commonsense and a heck of a lot of love. You have the last two in abundance Megan I'm sure and in any event judging by your photos Lenny is as strong as a lion (no pun really intended until I'd already typed it).

During this holiday time it is surely sufficient to give thanks for our blessings and wish well to others without quite our good fortune.

Edited: Nov 25, 2011, 3:17am Top

Well couldn't resist all the good reviews of Night Circus (Mark is a fiend for sure). As if by magic when I had my regular expedition to redeem my book vouchers there was a 30% sale on the hardback version so it is duly added. Purchased a tidy baker's dozen today mainly of wish/hitlist titles. These are:

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (Don't understand why I have been meaning to buy this for aeons and never got round to it)
Praying Mantis by Andre Brink (Regulars here will know he is one of my faves surprised this one slipt through the net earlier)
Vathek by William Beckford
The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins (replacing a very worn second hand version I had earlier in a new Oxford ed)
The Great Lover by Jill Dawson (also been on my hitlist for some time)
Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald (cannot find the version I had years ago - think the ex-girlfriend threw it away "philistine")
The London Train by Tessa Hadley
The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut
Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa
The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
Helen by Maria Edgeworth

Used up the vouchers and have only December left before I embark upon a Darrylesque venture of austerity. Decided that I won't manage to stick to 3 books read 1 bought - so I am going to go for two read one bought. At my normal reading pace I will therefore take about 20 years to clear my backlog of books!!

Nov 25, 2011, 3:58am Top

Paul don't underestimate yourself. I'm sure you were a great comfort for your friend, even just in lending a shoulder to cry on.

Glad to see you hopped on the circus bandwagon! I look forward to seeing what you think of it.

Nov 25, 2011, 4:17am Top

Thanks Chelle nice kind-hearted words as usual from my favourite american bride-to-be!

Nov 25, 2011, 5:45am Top

You are sweet! (Canadian though ;)

Nov 25, 2011, 6:55am Top

Congrats Paul, on another hefty book haul! I'm not familiar with some of those authors, so I'll have to watch for your future thoughts. Enjoy your weekend!

Nov 25, 2011, 7:09am Top

Another great book haul! I read Offshore a few years back - enjoyed it more than Fitzgerald's others so far. And I have Great Lover in my TBR pile...

Nov 25, 2011, 8:44am Top

I love to live vicariously through your book purchases (we've recently gone from a 2-income to a 1-income house, so my book-buying has come to a sad and whimpering halt).

I read your comments about your friend's loss last night and sat down and had a cry myself. When you have a wee one yourself, it makes hearing that sort of thing all the harder to take. I feel for your friend and will keep him in my thoughts. Oh, and then I promptly went into Charlie's room for my nightly blanket-tucking, forehead-feeling, watching-him-sleep session, of course. Parents are so predictable, no?

Nov 25, 2011, 9:09am Top

#55,57 - sorry my joke wasn't universally understandable! In fact, though, I didn't come across it as an English joke, but as a New York Jewish one. Just goes to show how cross-cultural some things can be, and yet not, all at once.

Nov 25, 2011, 9:47am Top

In two days I am something like 100 posts behind!

So sad your friend's loss, so sad.

I got the joke, but then, I can even get Philadelphia Quaker jokes about their finances. Every culture probably has their own little store of funnies about themselves, no?

Nov 25, 2011, 9:54am Top

There is a young lady who used to come to LT .. maybe she still does.. whose job was to
get rid of snakes and crocodiles. lol. She was also quite attractive, so one never knows... lol

I am so glad that you will be reading Night Circus! I loved it so much!

On a more somber note.. that is terribly sad news about the little boy.. heartbreaking :(
I am so sorry..

Nov 25, 2011, 10:38am Top

Paul, forgive me for having difficulty imagining you embarking on a venture of austerity But good luck with that!

Nov 25, 2011, 10:45am Top

Another great haul of books, Paul. *chuckling at your brave but probably futile attempt at book austerity in December* So are you on first name basis with the owners of the bookstores you bless with your generous patronage by now?

Nov 25, 2011, 10:54am Top

Chelle - I would try and pull a fast one and remind you that Canada is in America - North America but then I would be disguising an honest mistake - still end result is the same you are my favourite North American Bride-to-Be!

Thanks Mark and I hope plenty of walking takes the edge off all that turkey and IPA.

Genny - Meant to read Fitzgerald for a while - I have one of her others somewhere but haven't managed any yet. Have a good weekend even though you're working on our day of rest of course.

Amber how appropriate you follow Genny with vicariously! Followed the same script you are doing with Charlie with all three of mine and still do to a degree. The scary one though is that SWMBO is often caught on checking on me at night. I often wake up with her finest blood curdling stare and a hand next to my nostrils to check that carbon-dioxide is still coming out of there!

Janet I for one appreciated your joke. btw there were two Jews walking through the most anti-semitic district of Glasgow when they were confronted by a group of skinheads obviously intent on violent mayhem. Moses turned to Levi and said "old friend, it looks like were going to get badly beaten and robbed" Levi replied "You're
spot on Moses - here there's that fifty pounds I owe you!"

Lucy - I'm also struggling to keep up. btw the same two Jews recovered from their beating are discussing the nature of friendship. Moses said "Levi you're my best friend, I'd share everything with you" Levi asked "What if you'd got two houses?" He replied "You're my best friend I'd give one to you"........."What about two cars?" .....'You're my best friend I'd give one to you"............."What about two chickens?"......."You can piss off you know I've got two chickens"!

Kath - thanks, always nice to see you here.

Nov 25, 2011, 11:14am Top

Too many messages behind Paul, so I will have to start fresh from here. :)

Nov 25, 2011, 2:27pm Top

Caught up again! Paul, where do you put all those new books? My shelves are sagging.

Nov 25, 2011, 2:53pm Top

Hi Paul. I am so sorry to hear about your friend's loss, and about your own scary episodes with your kids. Parenting is a scary business. When they were little, my girls usually got fevers when they had colds. I would hover over their sleeping selves, getting up several times in the night to check on them, wondering if this fever was indeed a cold, or was this one meningitis? This Thanksgiving, and always, I am thankful for them and their good health. My heart is breaking for your friend.

Nov 25, 2011, 3:00pm Top

Nice jokes, Paul. I saw a little tv program the other night called "Old Jews Telling Jokes" It was exactly that - friends and relatives of the filmmaker standing against a white background telling jokes. Most were not professional joke tellers, but the jokes were very funny. Many of them were pretty rude, so I can't really reproduce here the ones I remember. Look for this program in the backwaters of your tv schedule, you never know.

Nov 25, 2011, 6:58pm Top

Valerie - I know what you mean I struggle to keep up myself but it's fun trying and failing isn't it! Nice to see you here.

Judy- I am blessed with a fairly sizeable reading/music room which is frankly struggling to cope. SWMBO bought a very deep teak display cupboard about a year ago which I think was meant to house a tv. Since I've bracketed the tv on the wall I took it over and it now hosts several hundred of my overflow. Got one hell of a bollocking recently when madam decided to use the space to keep some of her own objets d'ar only to realise that it was taken up by books she didn't realise I had!

Anne thanks for your very kind words. It was meningitis by the way.

Janet gags are definitely a weakness of mine and this normally gets me warnings from SWMBO that some of our social gatherings should not be turned into an opportunity for me to pracice stand-up. I have irish ancestry on my mother's side (Walsh) and of course the irish are butt of so many jokes in England.........an irishman went for a job on a building site - the foreman said "whats you're name?"..."Paddy Mulligan" he replied, "Can you spell that for me?" asked the foreman... "Stick the job up yer arse!" said Paddy!

Edited: Nov 25, 2011, 11:21pm Top

Review of Book # 109

Punishment by Anne Holt

Advertised as the Queen of Scandi although I think Karin Fossum may for one dispute the title, this is my first Anne Holt read and the first in the Stubo/Vik series. Adam Stubo is a bereaved and oversized police detective with an intuitive disposition and Johanna Vik is an ex-FBI profiler who becomes his somewhat reluctant accomplice. This first episode runs two stories together one a case of a miscarriage of justice and the other a series of abductions and murders of small children. The stories coalesce satisfyingly towards the end. Not my favourite of the genre but by no means bad. Will look forward to further reads.


Nov 25, 2011, 7:16pm Top

Review of Book # 110 TIOLI for November 2011 "Read a book with a musical instrument in the title"

Summoned by Bells by John Betjeman

Reread of Betjeman's largely blank verse rendering of his childhood, adolesence and early childhood. Didn't take as much from it as previously but it does sparkle in parts especially re his uncomfortable relationship with his father and in his description of surburbia, and the commonplace. Like and enjoy most of Betjeman's work which is not requiring of effort but a tad disappointed second time around.


Nov 25, 2011, 7:29pm Top


Many thanks for the lovely photos. Alas, my drive home from the office is not near as beautiful as yours. Your wife is lovely.

All the best,

Nov 25, 2011, 7:40pm Top

Thank you Linda. What would be the sights in Bethlehem, Pa?

Nov 25, 2011, 7:43pm Top

Good review of "Punishment"! I couldn't find the right touchstone. Funny, they are calling her the Queen of Scandi but I have never heard of her. (Although, I am no expert in the Scandi field). Now, Fossum, I know!

Nov 25, 2011, 9:54pm Top

Just calling by, I've been following your thread and admiring the photos but failing to post any comments. I'm staying away from more Scandi crime, I loved the Larsson books and have read a few by Nesbø but I think it would be a full time occupation to read more as there seem to be so many.

Nov 25, 2011, 10:28pm Top

#57 Thanks for the explanation Tania. Now I feel like a dunce. We also refer to "being comfortable" as a monetary thing, but I guess it didn't occur to me that a nurse would ask that question in that sense... but no worries, I'm always misunderstanding jokes. Musn't have much of a sense of humour...

#59 Paul, I have to say I always enjoy your comments and visits on my thread. Try as I may, I can barely keep up with my starred threads, so I don't know how you manage TWO visits on any given thread, given you also have a family and work full time. Fast reader I guess?

#65 Great haul! I too am scrambling to purchase all I can before the end of the year, after which I intend to become reasonable. I have the added incentive of needing to save up a little for a trip to France in the spring to visit mum.

Nov 25, 2011, 10:48pm Top

Paul, nice review of Ann Holt's Punishment (stupid touchstone, as someone has already noted). I'm going to follow your advice on Fossum - she's a Scandi I haven't gotten to yet, but plan to.

Nov 25, 2011, 11:21pm Top

Mark - yes I think the title is not yet hers! Promising first read though to be fair.

Kerry - nice to see you - I do the same with so many threads as well! There are becoming too many scandis to keep up with I have over 25 already and the writers tend to be prolific.

Ilana - Reading jokes and listening to them are two different things aren't they as part of the art is in the delivery. There is nothing wrong with your sense of humour my dear as anyone reading your posts will safely concur. I do aim to be as engaging as possible when butting into conversations on other posts - it helps to be the boss in the office I suppose as I can be scanning all the posts whilst directing the office traffic!
Great minds think alike (and ours also) in that my strategy is exactly as you have espoused for an end of year book-rush followed by a more controlled 2012. It is good to have something to save up for too. Where in France is your mum? Many moons ago when I used to race bicycles (non-engine type of course) I spent many happy days on the roads in Languedoc-Rousillon based at Canet-Plage. As an artist if you get chance Collioure in that area is worth a look.

Nancy - yes I've struggled with the touchstone too. Problem stems from different titles in the US and UK (it is called What is Mine in the US apparently).

Nov 25, 2011, 11:32pm Top

Punishment sounded interesting ...... and familiar, Paul.... until I realized it's published under a different title here in the US and that I'd already read the book. Over here, it's published as What is Mine. I've also read What Never Happens and found it pretty ... meh. So Ms Fossum's crown is definitely safe, in my opinion as Queen of the Scandis.

Nov 25, 2011, 11:36pm Top

Yes Caro you're right I also noticed the different titles. What Never Happens is called The Final Murder over here and which in this instance as you may be able to see generates the same touchstone. Why on earth do publishers like to confuse us all so much. Interesting to note that you dont think the next one is so great.

Nov 26, 2011, 2:50am Top

Yes, there are several contestant, Paul. I've also heard Liza Marklund mentioned as a runner-up for that title. I'm still exploring the would-be-kings of scandi-crimes and them I'm turning to the ladies.

Nov 26, 2011, 3:32am Top

Carsten we also have Kirsten Ekman, Helene Tursten, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Karin Alvtegen, Mari Jungstedt, Camilla Ceder and Camilla Lackberg amongst others to make a claim. Not a bad list to be fair and shows the strength in depth in scandicrime writing.

Nov 26, 2011, 4:25am Top

I even heard the genre "Scandicrime" mentioned on Radio NZ National the other day, it must be really taking off.

Nov 26, 2011, 7:15am Top

I am a huge fan of British authors.. as for Scandinavian or others... it just depends on
what wanders onto my radar. I do seek out British reads, though.

Nov 26, 2011, 8:35am Top

Wow! I can't even hope to get caught up on this thread. Regarding your latest bookstore trip, I'll be interested to know what you think of Offshore. That's one I've been meaning to read for quite awhile...or at least one her other novels.

Nov 26, 2011, 8:46am Top

Paul, I thought that she rambled a little in What Never Happens ... sort of as if she was a little distracted while she wrote.

I do with publishers would agree on just the one title (unless it's in different languages of course) because I've been the victim of acquiring books by an author of a different title only to find, after I start reading them, that I've already read them, but under a different title. Wouldn't be so bad if they were books I borrowed from the library but if I've actually purchased duplicates, then I get rather cheesed off .... although if they were purchased from a bookstore here then I can't grouse too much because I head over and exchange it for something I haven't yet read. ;-) Gotta love the return policy in US stores.

I haven't yet read anything by Camilla Cedar of Mari Jungstedt. Are there any you would recommend from them?

Nov 26, 2011, 10:02am Top

Megan - You really know when you've made it when you're on NZ radio. You should try to sell that advertising line to the station it could make you a mint.

Kath - As a Brit I am a little biased here! Scandicrime is a recognisable genre which I enjoy but (due probably to availability of translations and sympathy with an anglo-saxon background!) the variety of British writing is perplexing. It has been enhanced by the fabulous new voices who have meandered into english fiction via the nation's colonial roots and this adds a richness to our fiction that is not bettered anywhere else (p.s. to irate americans (US/Canada), Irish, Africans and Anzacs I'm not saying it isn't equalled!)

Kerri I think you do a swell job keeping up! Want to read Offshore soon and will let you know my humble opinion of it.

Caro we agree that publishers are eejits! I have once or twice made a mistake (before LT and fantasticfiction.co.uk) buying duplicates with different titles and it is extremely annoying. Will proceed with care with Holt's next in series although she has another series running parallel with it which I have some books of also.
I have the first book by Camiila Ceder but haven't read it yet if I'm honest. Mari Jungstedt's thrillers are set on the island of Gotland and feature the archetypal world-weary inspector Knutas who gets "help" from journalist Johan Berg in the investigations. The first in the series is called Unseen and the series is actually quite good.

Nov 26, 2011, 10:09am Top

Thanks for the Camilla Ceder recommendation, Paul ... I've just ordered it and am looking forward to exploring a new Scandi author. You've also reminded me that I've got the 2nd in the Patrick Hedstrom series by Camilla Lackberg in my TBR Tower ... time to dig it out when I get home.

Edited: Nov 26, 2011, 11:31pm Top

Paul, my mum is in a town called Graulhet, which I'm sure you've never heard of. It's in the Midi-Pyrénées region, about 50 km from Toulouse. She just finished writing a novel set in a fictional town based on Graulhet and her description of the place in her cover letter to agents is "a small town in Southwestern France, kilometers away from those quaint villages where tourists bask in an ambiance for which they’ve saved up all year." I only got a brief glimpse of the place many years ago, and am much overdue for a visit.

I've had a quick look at online pix of Collioure-by-the-sea and it seems quite heavenly.

Nov 27, 2011, 2:44am Top

Ahh Paul! I've missed your thread for eons now!! I was looking for " Paul Cranswick " and finally peeked in to see if Paul was you! And yes it was, sir!

Very very sorry to hear of the loss of your co- workers 2 year old. So heartbreaking! And your concerns with Yasmyne and whopping cough.

As a parent myself, I really feel for your co worker. We to have had our share of health scares. Our eldest looked well just past his 3rd birthday - but was peeing a think coke like liquid. Needless to say, we rushed him off to The Children's Hospital, where they hospitalized him immediately. I had realized he was urinating blood myself and this was Christmas eve! No one seemed to able to answer our questions , and we were quite worried that our eldest might need assistance from a dialysis machine, as that was next door to his room. Strangely enough, they never found a cause, but put him on a high dose of antibiotics and kept him for several days - at which time he seemed to have stopped passing blood. I think the pediatric nephrologist did not know what was going on , so that is why we too were very concerned and confused. Anyway, he is now 26 and very healthly. Our other was born early and spent 12 days in the NICU, unable to suck and swallow initially. Anyway, once again , he is now a health 21 year old!!

No wonder some of us have grey hair....

Edited: Nov 27, 2011, 4:58am Top

Ilana - my favorite part of France is the Pyrenees area and spent many a happy half a day going up and down the lumps there - the Cols and climbs of the Tourmalet, D'Ausbisque, Marie-Blanque, D'Aspin, Superbagneres, Guzet-Neige, Luz Ardiden, Cauterets-Hautacam and others. A few pedal turns now and I'm out of puff! Collioure wouldn't be so far away for you - as an artist it would be worthwhile for you I'm sure. Your mum's place sounds enchanting and your mum seems almost as interesting as her daughter!

Got a free trial today of a new health treatment which basically involves assuming various exercise positions on a machine which then violently vibrates for a set number of seconds. This is then followed by a detox session which is basically that you are enclosed in a ceramic jar which is then heated and you are left to almost literally stew for 30 minutes. Interesting fairly quick, no muscle-bound airheads surrounding you but the punch line is that is is ridiculously expensive (should have guessed with the free trial) - it is about $2,500 for 24 sessions. They are clever because the preface the whole thing with a body fitness examination which I, of course failed miserably - body fat almost double what it should be and the required weight loss resembling someones telephone number! The guy seemed pleasantly surprised that I had made it this far and still was breathing. He begrudgingly admitted that my muscle mass was what it should be - aha carrying all those bags full with books was good for me after all. Let us see whether I can go from Oddjob to James Bond in 12 sessions cause I sure as hell wasn't paying for 24!

Deb - thanks for stopping by and your kind words. This automatic thread continuer should stop us all losing each other in the ether. Not heard of a 3 year old passing blood in that way before (sure Darryl will have of course) but it is a sign of kidney stones in older people.

Nov 27, 2011, 8:24am Top

Hey Paul - Just trying to catch up!

Nov 27, 2011, 8:47am Top

Paul- I know you like your crime novels. Have you tried Duane Swierczynski? Really, no one is writing like this right now, slightly over the top but fast & fun.

Nov 27, 2011, 8:58am Top

Hm, I like the idea of an exercise program that doesn't seem to require much actual effort on my part. I'll be interested to hear what your results will be. Do we get Before and After pictures...?

Nov 27, 2011, 12:29pm Top

Brit - nice to see you safe and sound and returned in a timely manner to the bosom of your family - hope Charlie enjoyed his turkey.

Mark - You've done me with another Ken Bruen. Not read any Duane Swierczynski nor have I heard of him if I'm being absolutely frank. Considering the rip roaring success of Night Circus anything with Mark's stamp of approval must be sought out.
Best place to start - Fun and Games?

Amber hahaha on the before and after photos - let's see how brave I am! Basic facts 97 kg (I was 57kg when I was racing bikes), body fat far too high (will reveal the %'s later) and metabolism too slow. Will post the result in 6 weeks and we'll see if a "no-exercise" fitness programme is worth the big bucks.

Nov 27, 2011, 1:19pm Top

I'm nearly half-way through Fun and Games and yes it would be a good place to start but it is also the 1st of a trilogy, so that's a factor. The blonde and Severance Package were my 1st reads by him and those were the ones that grabbed me and made me a fan.
Just beware of that shifty "Stamp of Approval". It could backfire!

Nov 27, 2011, 2:26pm Top

body fat almost double what it should be and the required weight loss resembling someones telephone number! The guy seemed pleasantly surprised that I had made it this far and still was breathing.

You had me LMAO Paul. Startled my cat though!

Nov 27, 2011, 3:10pm Top

Delurking for a moment to say how sad about your friend's two year old; truly heartbreaking.

I loved your story about the new health treatment but have to say that 30 minutes stewing sounds rather draconian.

Nov 27, 2011, 3:31pm Top

I'm with Bonnie in that the stewing sounds rather morbid, Paul. But the shaking bit sounds interesting : ). Can't wait to hear more about this. And let's hear it for lugging books and muscle mass!

Nov 27, 2011, 4:27pm Top

I second Amber's request for Before and After pics, Paul. For the moolah you're shelling out for this no-exercise weight-loss programme, does it also involve a stringent diet fit for someone coming out of a quadruple bypass surgery?

Nov 27, 2011, 4:31pm Top

I just had to do the conversion to pounds. That's quite a range, fella. No doubt you were very thin when racing bikes, but still - if this regimen doesn't magically shrink you, it might be time to get back on one of those two-wheelers. Hard to read while pedaling, though.

Edited: Nov 27, 2011, 7:50pm Top


Here are some of the images in Bethlehem Pennsylvania

Here area few photos of the campus of Lehigh University where I am employed in the Journalism Department as the publications adviser for the newspaper and yearbook:

This is the University Center, located in the center of the campus and it is one of the oldest buildings

This is Coppee Hall, the building where I work

And, here is my favorite building of all, the Linderman Library


Edited: Nov 27, 2011, 7:52pm Top

More photos of Bethlehem:

We are known as "The Christmas City"

Here is a winter photo of the Moravian Church in downtown historic area

Here is a photo of Illick's Mill Park. I walk here often

Here is a photo of the Moravian Book Store, which claims to be the oldest bookstore in the USA.

Here is a photo of an abandoned Bethlehem Steel building. Once one of the largest producers of steel, now sadly the jobs are gone.

A sign of the times --- one of the areas previously used to manufacture steel is now the home of Sands Casino:


Many thanks for asking about my neck of the woods Paul!

Edited: Nov 27, 2011, 10:04pm Top

Thanks Mark - I'll take my chances on your good taste mate - so far so good. Will get in a book depository order before the year is out as he hasn't hit the shops here.

Ilana - glad you enjoyed my discomfort! Please ask your feline to accept my heartfelt apologies.

Bonnie thanks for delurking and for your kind words. The ceramic detox wasn't actually as bad as I made it sound. Will have to figure out though how to turn pages with my eyelashes if I'm going to be spending so many half hour sessions there.

Nancy - I will try to keep you entertained as I vibrate and stew my way to a sculpted look!

Caro - now why am I not surprised at you condoning this mischief! Ok 12 sessions in I will post up before and after photos so you can see whether I was wasting my moolah. The trainer also discusses nutrition and I must say he was looking askance at me with some regularity with my tales of nasi goreng, chapattis, mee mamak etc so yeah the diet will change too including a reduction in carbs. Important though is the treat day when I get to eat what the hell I like.

Judy - I'm also far more comfortable with imperial measurements but it sounds so much less in kilos! You're so right about the difficulties of pedalling and reading - I kept falling off. Have fixed the bike as well and will also be using my lovely condo pool if SWMBO can kindly give me directions as to how to get there!

Linda - thank you so much for the stunning photos of Bethlehem, Pa. Great to see where you work, the library and the snowscene especially was fantastic. Will see my travel agent in the morning (!) as it is a public holiday here on Monday to celebrate the Islamic New Year. This is why I'm getting in the resolutions on health in early, if anyone was wondering what the crazy guy was doing so suddenly - my friend whose brother-in-law owns the health club and SWMBO have been giving me some grief to get back to my more physically diminished proportions. I do apparently qualify for a discount on the club fees due to my friendship so that's ok too.

Edited: Nov 28, 2011, 12:18am Top

Oh, I go batty in a sauna, I can't cope with the heat. I think I'll stick with my exercise regimen! Much like your muscle tone is good due to hefting books around, I startled my trainer by being good with short sprints - running for the bus obviously does me good. Regular exercise does me better though, now I can run for the bus and hop on it without wheezing and glowing bright purple like a beetroot.

Looking forward to the before & after shots!

Absolute YES! to the treat day, but mine tends to be the whole weekend... Ahem.

Love how Hani checks that you're still breathing while you're asleep, I do that to Don too. :)

Nov 28, 2011, 12:38am Top

Hi Paul!

Linda, thanks for sharing photos of your hometown and place of work. That library sure is something!

Nov 28, 2011, 3:21am Top

Hi Paul, I've survived my weekend with the Grandkids! It sounds like you've been busy with the vibrating and stewing! We brought an exercise machine home that worked on the vibrating theory but we sent it back a week later - it seemed a lot of money to get shaken not stirred!

Nov 28, 2011, 7:24am Top

Ha Ha Judy you're right it is a lot of money and I haven't paid it yet!

Edited: Nov 30, 2011, 11:48am Top

If it truly inspires you to do the rest of the regimen (changes in diet, swimming, etc.) it might be worth it, although I wouldn't call the result exactly scientific. On the other hand, I read in one of the free rags in the city that one of our very sculpted actors works out on a vibrating platform, as that forces his muscles to contract and work harder. Who knew?

edited to fix spelling.

Nov 28, 2011, 3:35pm Top

The health plan sounds plausible enough though doenst it? Good luck. I like the sound of the hot ceramic jar sauna.....sweat all those toxins out out out.

Nov 28, 2011, 8:57pm Top

Tania - I wouldn't dare run for the bus in Kuala Lumpur - the motor cycles would surely get you! Intersting that you check on Don in the same way. All you ladies check their prize assets in such a manner I guess!

Judy - Yes you're right but then again I don't really do scientific!

Megan - that is the idea - I want to be fit for my trip to New Zealand next year - all you kiwis are in such good shape I don't want my self-esteem around my ankles.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Had a nice quiet day yesterday celebrating the start of the islamic new year with (you probably guessed) shopping and cinema. Saw a good British film Made in Dagenham about the fight for equality of pay for women (I sat as far as possible away from SWMBO!). After that while deciding what to eat (I had Korean food btw) managed to pop into Times bookstore with SWMBO in close attendance. After a desultory few minutes unable to get up a head of steam the ladies (SWMBO, Yasmyne, Belle and Fifi my sis-in-law, - Kyran declined in favour of his PS2) decided to go downstairs to the level housing all the eateries. I pulled Yasmyne to one side and told her that I would see her and Mummy downstairs as I wanted to buy a magazine. Caught five minutes later in the act of adding three more books as well as two magazines (never lie to your kids!) to my collection. SWMBO was not a happy bunny but I got her a cookbook and shut her up!
The Observations by Jane Harris
Resistance by Owen Sheers
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Southeast Asian Specialities by Rosalind Mowe

Nov 28, 2011, 9:07pm Top

Review of Book # 111

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I have been told that this is not the best place to start with Neil Gaiman - and that could be true as if I didn't think otherwise than some of the recommenders have taste enough to state that other works are more of a treat - there would be a danger that I would read no further.
Clever certainly and I won't labour the review with detailing the rather complex plot as I probably the last to read this book amongst the 75ers!, however and despite passages that flow along magnificently I was never gripped by the work in the manner it sometimes promised but didn't quite deliver. My biggest problem with the thing was the lead character had insufficient depth. He was far too credulous at the incredible events unfolding around him - the still corpse like ghost of his wife turns up butchers people left and right and he hardly seems even affected by it! I know it is supposed to be fantasy but surely it would have been more effective with a more emotional and less accepting front man. Not my best read this year.


Edited: Nov 28, 2011, 9:19pm Top

Review of Book #112

Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima

Interesting juxtaposition, interesting book. Klima covers a wealth of topics with an almost philosophical treat on the nature of nationhood, marriage, love, deceit, adultery, Kafka, art and, well, garbage too I suppose. Our narrator returns from a comfortable scholarly lifestyle in the US to his banned writing in Czechoslovakia. Stuck with his writing he turns to employment in a street cleaning gang to give him further insights into his life and country. Perplexed and haunted by an adulterous affair with Daria, a sculptress, whom he is unable to part from despite still loving his wife and ponderous on the life, work and similarly unsatisfying loves of his idol Kafka our hero plays over the somewhat copious amounts of love making in multifarious locales with his amour. The only downside is that Klima switches scenes and topics bewilderingly from paragraph to paragraph without break or warning and this can be somewhat disconcerting. Daria is also an unsympathetic character in that she expects our hero to ditch his wife for her at the same time expecting her own husband to ditch his own lover to be faithful to her?! All in all though a thought-provoking and intense read. Recommended


Nov 28, 2011, 11:05pm Top

Paul, the hubster has apnea and I wake up when he stop snoring ..and poke him so he starts again. He wasn't too happy about it when I had first started doing it, until I explained that if I thought he had just died, I'd be on the phone to the hospital to come collect his fresh organs for transplant patients before they started to cool. Now he wakes himself up sometimes and then pokes me for not waking him up before he expired!

I didn't think much of American Gods either. But you are definitely in for a treat when you read Good Omens and Anansi Boys.

Nice review of Love and Garbage .... pondering if I should add this to my obese wish list ......oh what the heck ... it's just a list right? I don't have to go buy it now, right? I'm only maybe getting the chance to hit a bookstore again on Friday after all ..... I did remove 3 books from my OWL yesterday too so that's freed up some room there ........

Nov 28, 2011, 11:09pm Top

Caro - your Singaporean humour is a touch macabre today; good to see the hubster is fully in tune with it and has played it right back at yer! Hani used to have a problem with insomnia and she would wake me from my blissful slumbers just to inform me that she herself couldn't sleep!

Nov 28, 2011, 11:13pm Top

Paul - I discovered the honeymoon was indeed over when I prodded the hubster awake because I was feeling like a chat at 3am and he said he needed to sleep because he was human, unlike my vampiric self, and that if I wanted to talk, I could always call my mother!

Nov 28, 2011, 11:33pm Top

Haha Caro I guess the time zones between you and Singapore do distrurb your sleep patterns travelling and keeping in touch.


Got some sad news this morning as my erstwhile business partner (we are friends and partners no longer) lost his young wife (in her thirties) to asthma over the weekend. The poor chap has two young children 4 and 2 years old and it must be a devastating blow to him and his family. For all my joking about SWMBO I could not imagine life without her stern, but well-meaning visage being the first thing I see every morning. Sent him a message of condolence but it is all, of course, so inadequate. Life is so very hard sometimes isn't it?

Nov 29, 2011, 12:06am Top

#130 Oh, Paul, so sorry to hear about another friend's devastating loss. You are right: Life is so very hard sometimes isn't it? Thoughts to you.

Nov 29, 2011, 12:58am Top

Life is so very hard, indeed. My sympathies and condolences, again. It must be awful to lose someone so quickly, and so young.

Nov 29, 2011, 3:54am Top

Nancy & Tania - thanks for your kind words. I lost touch with Hafiz a few years ago after we parted company business wise and heard about it from an ex-colleague of his. It was his second marriage after a trouble-filled and childless first marriage and he doted upon his wife - he was so happy that his wife quickly had a girl and a boy and I hope that they are a comfort to him henceforward.

Nov 29, 2011, 5:37am Top

Paul - so sorry to hear of your friend's loss. How awful.

Regarding Neil Gaiman, I'm aware that he has rabid and passionate fans, but lately I've been reading lukewarm reviews of his work. I'll probably avoid him for now, as the synopses of his books never seem to interest me anyway.

Nov 29, 2011, 6:50am Top

Paul - So sorry to hear about your friend and his family. I, too, would have no idea what to do if I lost my wife.

Nov 29, 2011, 7:03am Top

Hi Paul- Sorry you didn't care much for American Gods. It had it's flaws but it did work for. I hope you don't give up on Gaiman. Love and Garbage sounds interesting. I'm not familiar with the book or the author.
Sorry to hear about your friend's wife. Very sad!

Nov 29, 2011, 7:14am Top

Ahh, so sorry to hear about your friends loss. Tragic, Paul.

I remembered what my son had with peeing coke like looking blood - it's called glomeronephritis. I'd forgotten.

Yes, sometimes life is so difficult, what to say???

Nov 29, 2011, 7:39am Top

Oh dear, behind again... Hi Paul!

Nov 29, 2011, 8:30am Top

Oh dear. I'll be sending my thoughts Paul's-friend-ward today. I lost my brother a year and a half ago, and it's still terribly hard sometimes. I can't imagine losing my husband. I'm so so thankful for the family I've been so fortunate to fall into.

Nov 29, 2011, 10:29am Top

So very sorry to hear about your friend's loss. And leaving two young children behind. Life does seem unfair, sometimes.

I was intrigued by your Love and Garbage review which is now on the wish list and would have quite possibly be sent there on the strength of the title alone.

I have American Gods to read but am not in a rush to read it. I would recommend Neverwhere, though.

Nov 29, 2011, 10:30am Top

Hi, Paul, how sad about your ex-partner's wife. I do hope he and his family can find some comfort.

I was glad to see your comments on Love and Garbage. Klima is a writer I really want to get to next year, and I am debating between this and Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light - have you read that one?

Edited: Nov 29, 2011, 2:58pm Top

#126: You are reading many books by authors I know nothing about, Paul. Interesting mixture of subjects in Love and Garbage and the "philosophical treatment" sounds interesting....I have begun reading Herzog and he also rambles a lot on different subjects...

Yes, life is hard sometimes...and fragile. Thoughts to you.

Nov 29, 2011, 2:31pm Top

Paul, catching up again but wanted to add my sadness about the losses two of your colleagues have suffered so recently. All I can think is to echo what others have said; life is often so hard as you said.

Nov 29, 2011, 5:35pm Top

Kerri, Brit, Mark, Deb - Thanks for your kind wishes. Kerri I'm more in your camp than Mark's when it comes to Gaiman - I will read the others that have been recommended but not so soon. Deb I haven't heard of the disease your son had but it sounds scary.

Kath - hi, I'm also a little behind - was a bit down yesterday and didn't go near the computer in the evening.

Amber, Dee, Janet, Carsten and Heather - my thanks to you as well for your kindness. It is simply amazing how in such a short space of time I have so many friends from all corners of the globe willing to give a little time to making someones day a little better. On quite a downer until I switched on the computer saw my football team Leeds United had won 4-0 at Forest and ten friends had left kind messages on my thread - everything is right with the world again!

Amber I have a twin brother whom I talk to most days. He has had his health issues from stress recently and his various scares are multiplied by the distance I am from him. It is good that you have a loving family to lend you support when things get a little hard to bear. Hugs and best wishes.

Dee Love and Garbage is a great title isn't it? Also love the cover.

Janet, I haven't read anything else by Klima yet but I will get him again before Gaiman!

Carsten. Read Herzog a while ago. Despite the acclaim for him I have never quite taken to Bellow although I have read a fair few of his and have most of his books somewhere in my room.

Nov 29, 2011, 6:29pm Top

The only thing that scares me more than losing a child is them losing one or both of us. Glad to be one of the people from the 4 corners who can drop by and chat about life's bad as well as its good.

Nov 29, 2011, 9:34pm Top

Hi Paul, I am sorry that American Gods wasn't your cup of tea. But as a big fan of Neil Gaiman, I also had some problems with this book. I hope that you do give Neil Gaiman another chance one day, also I hope this hasn't turned you off trying another fantasy at some point in the future.

Nov 29, 2011, 11:10pm Top

Megan - you certainly are one of those people! Irreverent sometimes, controversial occasionally, funny often, intelligent and interesting and insightful always!

Judy (You too by the way - boy am I feeling mellow today!) - I will give Mr. Gaiman another go certainly - I did note from your thread your view that this was not the best place to start with and that some of his work is more accessible.

Today finishing off A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler as my final TIOLI of the month and also missing the pithy, witty and wise contributions of Prue at the same time as it was she whose advocacy of Ms Tyler forced me to read Breathing Lessons earlier this year and pleasurably so as well. Hope she comes back to LT soon!

Nov 30, 2011, 7:10am Top

Glad to hear that you are enjoying A Patchwork Planet and Breathing Lessons. I've not read an Anne Tyler in some time, but I've always enjoyed her books.

Nov 30, 2011, 9:51am Top

#144: I believe there will emerge a story somewhere down the line in Herzog - right now I would describe the novel as a troubled state of mind - well, it's my first Bellow, so I'll hold my breath a bit longer before judging.

Nov 30, 2011, 10:00am Top

Busy day today.

Morning met consultants we are using for a new project doing aircraft simulation. Lunchtime at Subway as my poor staff were forced into a rice free zone in sympathy for my resolution to be more healthy. Afternoon hilarious telephone conference with my Scottish clients discussing an aircraft component manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Hilarious to see the utterly perplexed looks of my staff as they tried to participate with their three scottish counterparts without being able to comprehend a single word spoken. They were so grateful for their boss being able to understand the foreign language emanating from the tartan realm!

All this was interspersed by SWMBO's car breaking down. Of course it was my fault or the fault of my poor driver. Seems the radiator decided it had had enough of lady drivers and spewed forth its contents to the general detriment of the rest of the motor vehicle. Judging by the rant on the telephone, while she was waiting for the garage to determine the damage, she was a little on the thrombosis side of miffed. Better not tell her I bought some more books this evening.

To the evening a meeting with two sets of lawyers and my clients strategising on their claim for non-payment for work carried out to a Blast Furnace (wont bore you further with details, although in fairness Grisham would be hard pressed to concoct such stories) and wrapped up with a trip to Times bookshop for some last minute November purchases:

Nourishment by Gerard Woodward
The Scheme for Full Employment by Magnus Mills
The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West
The String of Pearls by Thomas Peckett Prest
The House of the Mosque by Kader Abdolah
Molloy by Samuel Beckett

The Sackville-West and the Kader Abdolah were on my hitlist the other three caught my eye. Resolution no more book buying in November (1 hour and 8 mins left!)

Nov 30, 2011, 10:18am Top

Hi Paul! Condolences to your friend on his loss. Hopefully friends like you will help him in his grieving.

SWMBO is having a bad day eh! Cars can be such a pain when the don't want to run! Hope she got it fixed easily and didn't yell at you too too much.

Nice book haul, of course I have not heard of any of them! sigh.

Nov 30, 2011, 3:00pm Top

Paul - I think my ears were burning! So very sad about your friend. Unimaginably devastating. We never had any 'scares' with Lucy as a child - she will be 23 in January - and I must say that I feel huge gratitude for that.

Glad to see you are reading A Patchwork Planet - don't think it was a stand-out for me, but still and always a pleasure to be in Ms Tyler's modest company. May I recommend Digging to America as another Tyler should you feel like indulging?

Mum continues to 'hold her own' - she is eating heartily (would you believe!) and is actually a bit better than she was this time last week (I just don't think she has got the memo yet, bless her!). No change to her overall situation - but her deterioration is a little slower. My two brothers who live locally and I are each making daily visits at different times. We are all trying to make the most of this time in which, as well as being fairly pain-free, she is only receiving morphine once or twice a day and is still fairly 'engaged'.

I am still just popping in and out of LT - mostly lurking.....you are indeed such an attraction now that I daren't not pop in or I miss too much. Not surprised of course - it must be the jokes you tell...

Nov 30, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Hi Prue! Nice to have you around sometimes anyway....was just thinking the other day that I missed your presence.

Paul, nice to see that your busy day could fit in another book purchasing trip!

Nov 30, 2011, 7:13pm Top

Prue, I maybe have the angel that Barnaby was looking for in Patchwork Planet - wish you back on the threads (#147) and voila! Glad to hear your Mum is getting shifts of familial care and hope that you can all get some meaningful time with her until she receives her "memo" as you so nicely put it.

Megan a fully rounded day wouldn't be complete without a trip to a bookstore!

Nov 30, 2011, 7:31pm Top

Paul, are you going to make a resolution to buy no more books in December...? Because I think your November resolution was a bit late ("1 hour and 8 mins left!" indeed! :). You could join me, I'm not buying any books in December, as my spare pennies will be spent on Christmas stuff instead. (And going out, since my MIL will be in town and it rocks having a built in babysitter! I get to see movies! And have drinks with friends! And dinner out with Don!)

Another nice haul, btw! And if you don't join me in the non-book buying, then I shall enjoy your book buying vicariously, so that's a bit of a win-win, really... Hm, I don't seem to be selling my scheme very well here!

Nov 30, 2011, 7:51pm Top

Tania - I don't think that there is the remotest chance of me joining you in a book buying fast for December! I have already committed myself to 2012 being frugality year buying 1 book for every 2 books read and paying the balance to literacy charities as an incentive - I desperately need December to clear the bookstores of remaining stock! Wouldn't mind sharing either the baby-sitter or the dinners with you and Don though!

Nov 30, 2011, 8:03pm Top

I didn't like American Gods, but probably for other reasons. Unlike most other readers, I didn't mind the vacuousness of the lead character. There are so many clueless people in this world, and when I look at how I've lived out my life, I'd have to count myself among the 'unengaged' set. But had I started with this one, I would have been put off reading anything else by him for sure. I started with The Graveyard Book instead and was instantly smitten.

The Edwardians has been on my wishlist for a while. As for a book-buying ban, won't work for me in December either, as I've decided that starting Jan 1, I'll be taking every opportunity to save up for my trip. Which of course doesn't mean no book-buying at all, I don't think I could manage that, but much less of them incoming for sure.

Thanks for your visits in my parts. I'm not worthy, but it's always much appreciated.

Nov 30, 2011, 8:26pm Top

Oh, I quite understand having to stock up now on books for a frugal year ahead! I like your idea of donating to literary charities too, did you have any in mind? I donate to eco-libris (and they send me stickers to put in my books saying "one tree planted for this book", http://www.ecolibris.net/). And, closer to home, The Indigenous Literary Foundation supports indigenous Australians' reading skills: http://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/ - I support them mostly through buying books on their book buying days (and the bookseller then donates a proportion of their sales that day to the foundation).

I'm curious to hear of others.

(And I liked American Gods.)

Nov 30, 2011, 11:28pm Top

No book buying in December??? What would I buy people for Xmas? I am absolutely a book-giver (so easy to wrap!)

Dec 1, 2011, 12:11am Top

Prue, no book buying for yourself! Book giving is fine, as is book receiving. :) And since Mum gives me books with bookmarks in them ("oh, I haven't finished reading that one yet"), I reckon bending the rules to allow reading of a gift perfectly acceptable. In my family, at any rate. :)

And library books are okay, which keeps me sane.

(And I've already gone bookshopping for Christmas with Mum twice; once we bought for Dad; once we did a first run on her grandchildren's book gifts.)

Dec 1, 2011, 1:39am Top

>159 PrueGallagher: so easy to wrap, and so satisfying to wrap, Ive already wrapped two books, and they look great stacked

Dec 1, 2011, 6:32am Top

Paul, you are so fun, already making a New Years Resolution!! Buying up all of the books in the stores for December! ;) Kind of reminds of piling up on food the day before one goes on a diet!! ;) Great idea to give to charity as you buy. Kudo's to you !

Dec 1, 2011, 6:34am Top

Ilana - your tone is a bit on the maudlin side my dear. Contrary to your post I always find you both engaging and worthy to the extent that your post is among the first I scroll to every day. An artist, bilingual, a resemblance to Rachael Weisz, booklover extraordinaire, caustically witty! - what more could someone be looking for in an LT friend!

Tania - good sites - I did put some on Darryl's thread before. The idea originated if I'm not mistaken from Caro and I had suggested a five way split of my donation amount among charities recommended by the then "members". I am more than happy to take the first five - mine was a british charity http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/; Darryl had I think recommended one and yours (depending upon which you pick) would be the third. Add two more and I aim to split my donation between those.

Prue - yeah it wasn't one of Tania's best ideas! Although to be fair her barter idea is an interesting one if extended beyond the family.

Megan - all wrapping is left to SWMBO (who is not talking me for the last 24 hours on account of her motor vehicle distress) as I am useless at the task.

Dec 1, 2011, 7:01am Top

Nice idea about buying books according to how many you buy and giving the balance to literacy charities. I will miss your lengthy lists of books bought though!

I'm planning to read Vita Sackville-West soon but haven't decided between The Edwardians and All Passion Spent.

Dec 1, 2011, 10:06am Top

Dee I had that decision to make between those two books of Sackville-West yesterday.

Dec 1, 2011, 2:20pm Top

Hi Paul
I hope SWMBO has forgiven you for letting her drive a broken car, hopefully she is speaking to you again ;)

Dec 1, 2011, 2:20pm Top

Hey Paul! Good luck trying to get back in your wife's good graces after the car fiasco!

Dec 1, 2011, 2:31pm Top

166/167 Thanks Guys I received a text/sms from SWMBO on my way home from the office at 8.30 this evening informing me I was accompanying her and sis (Fifi) to the cinema for midnight movie. Didn't have the heart to tell her that I have an early presentation to a government department (Ministry of Finance) on my Langkawi project discussing funding options and I needed to read up. Now having returned from the cinema it is after 3 in the morning still wide awake and far more interested in the threads than the ministry. Now I have to sacrifice my morning read in the car to brief myself on the way to my meeting at the govt hq. Still she is talking again and amazed that I managed to praise the Malay language film we saw Ombak Rindu probably translated as Yearning for the Waves. Lovely story, well acted with amazing cinematography and two lovely leading ladies - wowzer!

Dec 1, 2011, 2:32pm Top

Paul dear, please forgive my maudlin tone in previous. I'm feeling sorry for myself this week, what with bugs and viruses on my mind (my cold just keeps getting worse). And really the "I'm not worthy" statement wasn't meant in terms of my lacking worth (heavens, NO!), but more in the sense that I know you are a frequent visitor and commenter while I can't return the favour quite as enthusiastically, for the simple reason that a I spend so much time posting on my own thread (to give you plenty 'engaging' material to want to keep returning for, see?). :-)

You are very good for my self-esteem, and for that I send you two demure pecks on the cheek, as us French people do, so SWMBO need not be jealous. ;-xx

Dec 1, 2011, 2:35pm Top

Two chaste kisses duly returned Ilana. There's a saying about Mohamad and the Mountain that I always get muddled up but the upshot is if I don't see you here I'm happy to visit your place!

Dec 1, 2011, 2:40pm Top

>168 PaulCranswick: ouch on the midnight movie before an early meeting, husband of the year for going!

Dec 1, 2011, 2:45pm Top

Actually Megan I must admit I thought I would have been asleep within 5 minutes of the lights being dimmed but I actually loved it. Maybe I'm a bit hyper because I had my first extortionate session at the health spa this lunch. Apparently I am able to spend 650 calories in my half hour in the ceramic planter-box - considering that I am skipping my lunch to be there I will disappear after 24 sessions or more accurately evaporate!

Dec 1, 2011, 5:16pm Top

LOL! You are too much, Paul. Don't entirely evaporate, please.

Dec 1, 2011, 5:21pm Top

Paul, the saying is "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain". I remembered it when you mentioned it, but Googled for accuracy just in case. So unless the wikitionary is wrong, that should be the quote you were looking for. And thanks, very sweet of you. Though I'm not sure I should say thank you really, considering you've basically just called me a mountain...

Dec 1, 2011, 5:31pm Top

Prue - yeah it wasn't one of Tania's best ideas!

:) I think of it as a way of clearing off the shelves the books I've already bought. (Yeah, and saving money for Christmas, only 23 days away lalalalalalala I can't hear you I have my fingers in my ears...) I'm over 400 "TBR" books catalogued here, and there are more at home that aren't catalogued. So it's worth it every now and then to dust off some of the older books on the shelves and give them a whirl. Some have been worth it (can't believe it took me two years between buying Of Mice and Men and reading it!); some haven't (no names mentioned).

And since I just upgraded my phone (old one was on its last legs; when it died halfway through a only moderately long text yesterday I knew it was time to get a new one), being sensible with books is a budgetary necessity for the next while.

Dec 1, 2011, 9:15pm Top

Nancy - I don't intend do - and I have a lot of detoxing to do to make inroads into my out-of-proportion frame.

Ilana - nothing wrong with having a mountainous personality!

Tania - My exclamation marks are normally a sign that I'm trying (and invariably failing) to be funny. You are right that unread books on the shelves are not money well spent until they get read that is - I have had books on my shelves longer than I've known SWMBO and not read them (a few brought from UK with me) and my to be read section is way into four figures (I'm still not sure quite how many!) - I hope you manage to keep to the task in December and that the diverted funds are utilised for enhanced christmas cheer! For my part I know that I will fail in 2012 if I don't go a little wild in December and since I have determined to contribute to charity I better behave myself next year!

Dec 2, 2011, 1:09am Top

I note that Christa Wolff the German writer has died at the age of 82. Interesting life she had from being a member of the stasi to a leading voice of the dissidents. Ref http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15981014

Dec 2, 2011, 7:01am Top

Hi Paul- Just checking in, with you sir! Hope all is well and your books are treating you good. Enjoy your weekend.

Dec 2, 2011, 5:50pm Top

Thanks Mark and the same to you mate - hopefully you are able to fuel the weekend with a little IPA and an excellent page turner.

Dec 2, 2011, 6:27pm Top

Movies, presentations and the ever present and always dangerous book talk!
I have so many shelves of unread books it is beginning to be alarming :P so I am
sending the books that I have read out into the world as much as possible...
Hope your weekend is going to be a wonderful one~

Dec 2, 2011, 9:15pm Top

I could do with an IPA right now.....its 3.15 and 26 degrees outside. The sun is well over the yard arm, but Lenny would have something to say about it if I indulged, so I continue to wait (im)patiently.....

Dec 2, 2011, 11:10pm Top

IPA? Another duh moment for me ...

Dec 2, 2011, 11:48pm Top

Megan - I would be so pleased to be able to cool off at 26 degrees! Put a little of the IPA in Lenny's bottle - send him to sleepland nicely - and then you can knock a couple back yourself! (kidding of course)

Nancy - IPA = India Pale Ale; this references discussions of Mark's thread whereby he is enticing us with a selection of fine beers.

Dec 3, 2011, 1:26am Top

Paul, I have so missed the witty tones of your thread and now have the word 'swimbo' forever etched into my vocabulary. Hwimbo doesn't quite have the same ring but is more accurate in our house.. or perhaps HWMBOOGAB. He who must be obeyed or given another beer.

Dec 3, 2011, 6:55am Top

Hi Paul- We are planning to go to a bar tonight, to see a Pink Floyd cover band, (I'm not expecting much) but I do hope they have a fine IPA on tap.

Dec 3, 2011, 8:38am Top

Just checking in Paul! Hope you have a nice weekend!

Dec 3, 2011, 9:21am Top

Mark - Good luck with the IPA - Would have thought that Pink Floyd were not the easiest band to cover, so good luck with that!

Brit - and the very same to you, especially after what looked a fairly torrid day yesterday. All is well with the world at the minute my socer team Leeds United are up 2 to zero with 20 minutes left in England and I'm at home with new books and fantastic coffee.

Dec 3, 2011, 9:26am Top

Flying by for a hello, Paul. Looking forward to, with some trepidation, 2012. I used my trusty notebook to sketch in a few, very few plans, most of which are to do with cutting back on some genres and trying to do some slightly weightier reading next year. Still fiddling with it, though.

Dec 3, 2011, 9:29am Top

I missed all this beer talk! My husband and I are beer nerds. He brews beer, but I just drink it (in moderation, of course). Currently he has a breakfast stout, a rye IPA, and a pale ale on tap. My brother-in-law is actually coming over today to help him build some sort of new, elaborate tap system.

Dec 3, 2011, 9:35am Top

Met an old friend for coffee early evening who is from the Northern state of Kelantan (every time I'm up there he takes care of me as if I were a family member) had a lovely chat catching up with him and planning some projects on mining of minerals whereby the overseas investor (the mining company) obtains a concession from the state to mine gold and iron ore and in return provides funding to the impoverished northern state (it is run by the opposition Non-radical Islamic party and gets no support from the federal government as a result) in order to do three crucial water projects - flood mitigation of the River Kelantan which floods yearly, improve water distribution throughout the state and renewing the states poorly devised water/sewage treatment facilities. Both sides get what they want and we generate work for ourselves managing all the projects.

Used my book vouchers in the MPH bookstore in Great Eastern Mall thereafter:
The Hours by Michael Cunningham (off my hitlist)
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson -JB4 which inexplicably I hadn't yet purchased; and
Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End by Leif G.W. Persson - another Scandi but apparently a departure from the Mankell style - we'll see as I may now hve the final piece for my scandicrimesters next year.

Dec 3, 2011, 10:04am Top

Hmm. . . Leeds? I am an Arsenal fan by virtue of one of my best friends living and dying with the team. I'm just not quite knowledgeable enough on the EPL to have my own team, if you know what I mean. . .

The Hours was a very good book! I was impressed by it.

Dec 3, 2011, 10:18am Top

For the English football is very territorial - it would be unthinkable for most people who come from Leeds, Harrogate, Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury to support anyone other than Leeds United and most non-North Londoners would not think too much about Arsenal either! In Malaysia it is of course very different where the support is far more fickle and faddish. Leeds had a huge following ten years ago when we were flying high but now nobody here seems to have heard of them!

Dec 3, 2011, 10:45am Top

Paul, I'm coming to the party way too late to catch up. I'll promise us both to do better.
Let me tell you a true story from my home town. One of the town money-men had died - one who had bought up a lot of land during the Depression. His next-of-kin, a brother and two nephews, were standing by his casket talking about his life. Said nephew 1, "Uncle loved money more than anything," and he peeled a 50 off his money wad and threw it in the casket. "That would make him happier than anything," agreed nephew 2, following suit. "You boys are certainly right!" said the brother, who then wrote a check made out to the dead man for $150 and took the change.

Dec 3, 2011, 10:50am Top

hahaha Peggy - I didn't know you were acquainted with my distant relatives! Good story!

Dec 3, 2011, 10:52am Top

There was a guy met a lady in a night club - the lady was very excited by his banter he informed her that he was going to make love to her in the living room, make love to her in the kitchen, make love to her in the dining room, make love to her in the bathroom and make love to her in the bedroom - she was bitterly disappointed when they got back to his caravan!

Dec 3, 2011, 2:24pm Top

I just love reading this thread, always something interesting going on.

I'll add to the frivolity! :)

A no-armed man goes into a church and asks if he can get a job there. The man he talks to says, "The only job we have is the person who tells our bell ringer when to ring the bell every hour." The no-armed man accepts the job.
The next day on his first day of work, he tries to find the man to tell him it's two o'clock. When he cannot find the man, he panics and rings the bell by banging his forehead against it. Only afterward does he realize that the man he was looking for was on the other side of the bell tower. Unfortunately, the man is so surprised, he falls off the tower and onto the street below.
By some miracle, he survives. After pushing his way through a crowd that had gathered around the man, the town mayor comes to the man and asks: "Who did this to you?" The man responds, "I don't remember his name, but his face rings a bell."

Dec 3, 2011, 9:16pm Top

Chelle - groan, groan, chuckle and groan! The punchline was a belter!

Dec 3, 2011, 10:29pm Top

All these groan-worthy jokes - yep, must be Paul's Place!

Hope you are having a great weekend, Paul!

Dec 4, 2011, 3:27am Top

>190 PaulCranswick: I was this close to buying The Hours on Friday, but as the cover was the movie cover I flagged it. Got a Salman Rushdie collection and Oscar's Books instead.

Dec 4, 2011, 4:48am Top

LOL Paul, your joke at #195 - hilarious but truly groan worthy!;)

Dec 4, 2011, 5:32am Top

>199 Ireadthereforeiam:. I read Oscar's Books at the beginning of 2009 and I wrote a rave review of it on 20th February 2009. I am surprised that there is only one other review of it as 75 LibraryThingers own a copy. You are in for a treat, for, as I said in my review, it is excellent.


Dec 4, 2011, 11:59am Top

Judy - thanks (I think!) - same to you too as far as the weekend goes.

Megan - My cover of The Hours is a tad more traditional - don't often buy books with stills from films as the cover either, but I don't go shopping with flags in my pocket either.

Deb - Thanks I aim to add weekend smiles wherever possible.

Alan - since Megan's purchase gets such a wholehearted recommendation I will also have to hunt it down.

Dec 4, 2011, 12:11pm Top

Good day today. Got a call from a friend who has opened a bistro in a luxury condo just completed in town. We were asked to join them to sample their wares in the shape of a fine Sunday buffet. Wonderful decadent stuff!

Added to my minuscule efforts to purchase every book on my wishlists in Kinokuniya this evening as well as getting some books for SWMBO and the kids
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Fourth Man by K.O. Dahl (Scandicrime)
Lethal Investments by K.O. Dahl (Scandicrime)
The Bomber by Liza Marklund (Early installment of Scandicrime)
Oil on Water by Helon Habila (Nigerian fiction)
The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman (recommended by Chelle and others)
Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marechal (for SWMBO)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid : 6 Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (For Kyran)
The Queen of Second Place by Laura Peyton Roberts (for Yasmyne)

btw Belle got a school bag instead and got to insist we all sat through a 3-d version of Puss in Boots.

Dec 4, 2011, 12:22pm Top

I hope Kyran enjoys the new Wimpy Kid. I bought it for my younger son's eleventh birthday last week. He's not so much of a reader as his brother but he devoured it within a hour!

Dec 4, 2011, 2:12pm Top

Great that you regularly share your love of books with your family, Paul : ). I hope all enjoy!

Dec 4, 2011, 2:55pm Top

Oh dear. The mysteries of the mind! I read SWMBO's Secrets of Macarons as *Secrets of Macrons* and clicked on it immediately.
Looks like an interesting list, Paul, and I add my vote for The Blessing Way.

Dec 4, 2011, 3:52pm Top

Hey Paul - I'll add to the recommendation of The Hours which I read back-to-back with Mrs Dalloway - good way to do it, I think...

Dec 4, 2011, 5:42pm Top

The Hours is excellent! And I wish I'd read Mrs Dalloway about the same time, I did mean to, but time got away from me rather...

I'm envious of your Sunday brunch! Sounds like too much fun! Especially when bundled in with a bookshop trip. :)

Dec 4, 2011, 6:39pm Top

I'll have to get my hands on The Hours as well, which I've also been planning to read back-to-back with Mrs Dalloway as Prue suggests.

The jokes were... *groan*

You'll be spared from any such coming from me since I can never remember them. :-)

Dec 4, 2011, 7:25pm Top

Another good lists of books! It wasn't me that recommended The Blessing Way but it does look good so I added it to my list ;)

Dec 4, 2011, 8:38pm Top

Dee - Thanks, he has read the other 5 and is thinking of his own version - Diary of a Macho Kid - don't think he will get far with that - he is about as macho as I am - softer hearted boy you wouldn't want to meet - he cries at the cinema almost as much as SWMBO.

Nancy - Actually the sharing bit involves a little tactics too! SWMBO has a weakness for cookery books, Kyran and Yasmyne both like to read and I like to encourage them but mainly I can add to my own lists in a relatively nag free environment.

Peggy - haha I was worried it was one of my frequent typos, glad to see we can have typos reading too.

Prue - nice to see you here and hope things are ok - Good idea on the reading order, given the success with Ms Tyler I will definitely follow your advice.

Tania - the Sunday brunch was probably the finest Sunday meal I never paid for! They are good friends and I wish them every success with the place - I know a lot of my customers will be lunching there coming soon.

Ilana - Yep sorry about the gags - I do tend to remember jokes quite well and bring them out at the most inopportune moments much to SWMBO's chagrin. btw Lucy and yourself looked extremely sophisticated yesterday in the Montreal bookstore - Coco looked...well...like Coco and seems to be at home in that environment too.

Chelle - We have so many recommendations flying backwards and forwards that I often credit wrongly in such an embarrasing manner - maybe it was Caro?

Dec 5, 2011, 11:13am Top

Paul, do you know of an inexpensive way to send books from the US to where you are? I think I have several Hillermans that I would like to pass along, but the last time I sent books to New Zealand, I would have been better off sending the money.

Dec 5, 2011, 7:08pm Top

Judy I am afraid I have been a victim of postage charges for the last 15 years or so until I discovered Book Depository thanks to Prue. I have always been willing to pay postage for books largely because the books are more important than their carriage! I have also done swaps with friends from overseas before (usually UK), but as to a cheap method of sending the books I'm not really sure to be honest. What Hillermans do you have?!

Dec 5, 2011, 7:12pm Top

I love this thread; it's so much fun. I'll be busy and then off on my trip, Paul, so I'll just say a very happy Holiday Season to you and SWMBO.

Dec 5, 2011, 7:18pm Top

I did enjoy The Blessing Way but I don't remember whether or not I recommended this here on LT ... oh the angst of one's aging mind.

Judy, there is no inexpensive way to send books from the US unfortunately because all international mail must go First Class these days, according to USPS regulations. It used to be we could send them by surface mail which, although they took about a month, was a very cheap way to send stuff, but now there is apparently no such option for mail sent outside US borders. :-( At least that's what my postal guys told me.

Dec 5, 2011, 7:18pm Top

Gail, thank you so much (I have a soft spot for your thread too!) Have a lovely cruise and I hope it is everything DH and you have dreamed it will be (a little bit green with jealousy if truth be known given that I have a hectic few weeks before Christmas here). Also the best of seasons greetings to you and DH from myself, SWMBO and my three little terrors.

Edited: Dec 5, 2011, 9:08pm Top

Hi Paul- I'll have to chime in about Tony Hillerman. I've read several of his books, including The Blessing Way and enjoyed them all. I love that southwestern setting. It's been quite a few years, since I read him though.
BTW- I am also a fan of Jim Thompson, with The Grifters probably being my favorite.

Dec 6, 2011, 11:54am Top

>212 ffortsa:/213 I also have postage issues as my paperbacks are being published in the US, which is fine for my US fans, but I live in the UK, which is why I am publishing Kindle editions for Amazon.co.uk. The last time I sent a book to the US it cost me more than the book!


Dec 6, 2011, 1:42pm Top

Too much happening here

...though I saw some books..the "dark & drearies"..that called my name...

I'm gone.......>>>>>


Dec 6, 2011, 5:43pm Top

Just stopping by to say Hi, Paul! I'm in the midst of reading Out Stealing Horses as well as trying to get out Christmas cards and celebrating my husband and eldest son's birthday's - my reading time has been curtailed! Gasp!

Dec 6, 2011, 8:03pm Top

Caro - I'm the one starting the confusions with recommendations as I can never remember who among the 100 or so friends I'm trying desperately to follow recommended which book. I have started to tag LT Recommendation with an attributation now so I don't fall into the trap of blaming / praising the wrong person!

Mark - been fingering the book ever since I picked it up the other day - looks like a one sitting read to be honest and I am far too busy at work to give it my attention at the moment. The setting is certainly an interesting one. Don't know if I ever mentioned I started at university doing a humanities degree of politics, english and history (until I realised that this was the primrose path to joblessness) and the first year assignment I did in history was an appraisal of the Dawes Act in the US and its impact upon the Native Americans. Always been a favourite subject since hiding behind the sofa as a boy as the Sioux closed in on Errol Flynn as Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Alan - I really must track down your opus which is already on my TBR as your plugging of it for your US fans makes me wonder whether a Malaysian fan club may be in order. (subsequent commission welcome of course)

Jude - my word what a case of the kettle calling the pot black! Your thread must be the most enchanting and distracting roller-coaster ride in the whole group and there is even the odd reference therein to reading material.

Deb - Struggling as are you with my reading progress this month - simply too much going on with visitors from overseas needing to be entertained and 39 ongoing projects for my small but dedicated team to battle with tirelessly. Only managed to finish one book thus far this month and that was a carry over from last month. My slowest rate of progress in living memory. Hope Dave is almost back on his feet again. Been visiting your thread daily (as with all my friends and interesting libraries here) as usual but little time to contribute meaningfully although your continued sure touch in selecting reading material is noted!

Dec 6, 2011, 8:10pm Top

Review of Book #113

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Failed to complete this for the TIOLI in November as I am simply snowed under at the moment with that tiresome distraction that is work. Dear Prue insisted that I gave Anne Tyler a try earlier in the year and I have come to trust her unerring judgment. Not quite as entertaining as Breathing Lessons this was nonetheless a very enjoyable read as we follow the life, loves, frustrations, ambitions and adventures of family "black-sheep" Barnaby in his efforts to make good on his own terms. Recommended for those who enjoy a read that is entertaining, literate, meaningful but not too heavy or dripping with hidden meanings.


Dec 6, 2011, 8:23pm Top

Here I am, just in time to put my mark on this thread before the new one pops up. Hani is lovely. You are just surrounded by beauty wherever you look, aren't you Paul? It must be very difficult to keep your eyes on the books.

Dec 6, 2011, 8:26pm Top

What lovely words Lynda! Now I have an even better excuse for not being able to keep pace with Suz!

Dec 7, 2011, 12:17am Top

Hi Paul, doing a fly-by one handed typing while feeding baba visit. Oscars Books doesnt seem to have a touchstone, but has a great cover. I hope you find a copy.

>201 TheTortoise: Alan/TT- Im sure Luxx has read it, she's a big fan of the man from what i can gather. Strange about a lack of reviews....maybe one day when Ive read it ill drum up a doozie

Dec 7, 2011, 12:42am Top

Megan - Oscar's Books by Thomas Wright touchstone is hi-tech Kuala Lumpur functioning OK! Will follow up with this as your recce's are reliable - as reliable as your handling of cute infants while feeding!

This topic was continued by Paul's 2011 Reading Part Six to Hogmanay.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2011

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