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Ireadthereforeiam- March Thread

This is a continuation of the topic Ireadthereforeiam- February Thread.

This topic was continued by Ireadthereforeiam- April, Come She Will.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 5:22pm Top

Xenicus Layalli 2008, by Ben Reid, a local artist.

Read so far.....
1. The Art of Travel (NF)
2. Absolution (Crime?)
3. North and South (Historical Fiction)
4. The Wall (Graphic Novel)
5. Snake and Lizard/ Up In the Tree/ Billy A Lolly Leopold Story (Childrens)
6. Complications (NF)
7. The Night Circus (Fantasy)
8. My Side of the Mountain (YA)
9. Blankets (Graphic Novel)
10. Lost in Shangri-La (Narrative Non Fiction)
11. The Seige (historical Fiction)
12. Trapped: Christchurch Earthquake Rescue Stories (NF)
13. Making Toast (Memoir)
14. On Chesil Beach (Fiction)
15. Book of A Thousand Days (YA)
16. Marcelo in the Real World (YA)
17. The Torchlight List (NF)
18. Great Expectations (historic fiction)
19. The Pearl (fiction)
20. Sophie's Legacy (NF)
21. Sea of Poppies (fiction)

Feb 29, 2012, 1:54am Top

Nice new digs, Megan!

Feb 29, 2012, 6:55am Top

Hi Megan- Love the new thread! Spring is in the air. Nice picture at the top too!

Feb 29, 2012, 9:20am Top

Hi Megan - just keeping up with the new thread:)

Feb 29, 2012, 9:33am Top

Happy New Thread, Megan! Love the art too!!!
Now this is what I said I wasn't going to do - but ---- if you let me know when you plan to read The Bone People, maybe I can join you? I've had it on the edge of my consciousness for years and would like to try it. On the other hand, if I don't care for it for some reason, I may desert you in keeping with my new resolution to read only what I want to read when I want to read it.
Looking at your classics list, I wish that you would substitute Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend or almost anything else for A Tale of Two Cities. I always enjoy it, but I don't think that historical fiction was Dickens's forte.
I've read all of your list except Libra with widely ranging but strongly held opinions on all of them except Sons and Lovers which I should reread because I've forgotten most of it. GOOD list! Enjoy!!!!

Feb 29, 2012, 9:35am Top

Congrats on the new thread Muscles.
Mark is of course right to point out the seasonal aspect of your artwork but bearing in mind Mark's spring is your autumn and I get no seasons at all.....

Feb 29, 2012, 12:16pm Top

bearing in mind Mark's spring is your autumn

I love that about this group.

I see you've always had your fondness for the darker sides of things.

I have no idea what you're talking about -it's all pink fluffy cupcakes for me. ;)

Feb 29, 2012, 3:38pm Top

>3 lit_chick: Thanks Nancy!

>4 msf59: Spring is in the air.....as I type a Southerly (which means very cold here) front is coming through and dropping cold squally rain as is goes. Definitely carrying tones of winter!

>5 calm: Hi Calm, not too much to catch up on yet, looks like you dropped in at the right time :)

>6 LizzieD: Peggy, I would love to read The Bone People along with you, I have no idea when Im going to start it, so if you have a hankering to begin, let me know, and if I do, I'll do the same! (this is sounding like a mexican stand-off now :))
Thanks for your comments on my TBR Classics list, I feel its a long shot to get them all read this year. But I am willing to try.

>7 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul....not sure about my new nickname. I cant say its fully accurate, as even though I do have muscles, they purely built up by carrying a baby around, and not from regular exercise or exertion.
I do have grand ideas of heading out to the garage-gym that my partner has set up, but that would be more for getting an hour of peace and quiet rather than for use of the gym equipment!

>8 Luxx: pink fluffy cupcakes- with skull and crossbones on them and raspberry (blood) dipping sauce? ;)

Feb 29, 2012, 3:47pm Top

>6 LizzieD: Just to add something else Peggy....I want to sub in A Christmas Carol for Tale of Two Cities, but that is only because it is much shorter! (and also because I own it).
I am really enjoying Great Expectations for its expanding of a title that is so well known. And for Pip's wry comments...

Feb 29, 2012, 4:02pm Top

Fancy new thread :) Happy Leap day ... or is your leap day over already? I can't remember what time zone everyone is in

Feb 29, 2012, 4:27pm Top

Hi Chelle. Leap day all over here now, today is March 1, it's 10am and I'm already cooking dinner. Feels good to get jobs out of the way early :)

Feb 29, 2012, 5:23pm Top

Good luck with finishing Great Expectations, Megan. Dickens is pretty long-winded, but his writing and stories are so good that you don't want to miss a word. I really liked Our Mutual Friend yet I'm ready to give Mr. D. a rest for awhile.

Feb 29, 2012, 9:58pm Top

Megan - Can't see your "nickname" sticking either to be honest based as it was on your erstwhile promises of violence on my behalf! Muscles would certainly not be a description often associated with yours truly.

Mar 1, 2012, 12:59am Top

Hi Donna: Im coming out of a tricky phase in Great Expectations, one where I lost the plot (so there IS a literal use for that phrase, Ive only just clicked!). It has got exciting and interesting again, so I'll be straight for the finish line from now on (if my pesky library books dont get in the way :))

Paul: I used to have guns once when I went through a short but intense phase of being a gym-bunny. But on my broad shoulders they just made me feel manly so I axed the gym just like that. How vain I know, but that was the point of me going to the gym in the first place. haha

Mar 1, 2012, 6:12am Top

*Waves* and *Hugs*

Mar 1, 2012, 8:16am Top

Love the art at the top!

Just keeping up with you!

Mar 1, 2012, 8:27am Top

I love your lists and the art that begins your thread.

Speaking of birds, we have six cardinals at our feeders this morning. It is a great way to start the day!

Mar 1, 2012, 8:44am Top

Hi Megan!
Love the birds - cute and industrious! But then it's easy to be industrious when it comes to flocking with friends and eating ;-)

I just had a brilliant idea! I need a house in NZ so I can winter here - then winter there! Cool!
*rushing out to buy a lottery ticket - oops forgot it was snowing. Maybe later *

Mar 1, 2012, 9:07am Top

I like the birds as well! They remind me of the shared tattoos of my niece and her husband. Except they just have one bird that looks like that, sitting on a branch.

Mar 1, 2012, 1:33pm Top

Hi Megan. Found your thread. I love the birds - is that a woodcut? Or partially a woodcut? I like that you include the genre on your list of completed reads. Nice way to get a snapshot of your eclectic tastes.

Mar 1, 2012, 4:50pm Top

Hi Stephen and Kath: welcome, and thanks for coming

Nancy: watching birds can whittle the time away quite quickly cant it, I dont do it so much here, but at my dads with all the native trees to look down on, its great.

Cee: you must love winter! Maybe you need to read some of Gretel Ehrlich's books, she loves winter too :)
We had a taste of winter last night with it dropping to below 4 degC. Eek. No wonder little Lenny woke up early.

Kerri: he also does dead birds, probably not the top choice for a tattoo. Nice idea to get the same tattoo, I like it (apart from how Ill never get a tattoo that is...)

Ellen: hello, thanks for tracking me down, glad to see you. The print is a drypoint, relief and woodblock print, according to its details. He etches on metal, then inks and wipes clear the surface to get the exact lines he has drawn.
I had no idea I read so eclectically til I specified the genre. I would have said I was literary fiction all the way :)

Mar 1, 2012, 9:04pm Top

Hi Megan! I'm catching up. I love the thread continuation feature. I hopped right over from your last thread. I'm still hoping for a pic of the kiddos swimming!

Mar 1, 2012, 9:23pm Top

pink fluffy cupcakes- with skull and crossbones on them and raspberry (blood) dipping sauce? You read my mind ...

I'm looking out for those pictures, too!

Mar 1, 2012, 9:32pm Top

Cute cousins helping each other across the stones, just prior to total disrobing :) Hanmer River.

Wilby (3 1/2) and his big little cousin (4 1/2)

Mar 1, 2012, 9:41pm Top


Mar 1, 2012, 9:43pm Top

Echoing Chelle - pity their poor little footsies walking on those stones!

Mar 1, 2012, 9:45pm Top

>23 porch_reader: here you go Amy, you reminded me about my promise last thread and the pictures!

Luxx: I was already getting onto it when you posted :) Look at me jumping to attention when a request is made!

Chelle: thanks! It was the last sun I saw practically, and was only 2 full days ago.

Mar 1, 2012, 9:46pm Top

Paul: city kids huh? When I was a girl.....etc etc etc :)

Mar 1, 2012, 10:12pm Top

How adorable! Oh, sweet sweet littles.

Mar 1, 2012, 10:31pm Top

They're so cute -- thanks for posting the pictures!

Mar 2, 2012, 1:05am Top

Thanks Luxx
I have to say I had a very sweet little Wilbur on my hands this evening, with his dad out tonight looks like he had no one to play up for so it was a lovely drama-free evening. Its nice to know he's got it in him. *exasperated sigh*

Hi Dejah, thank you for visiting. Always pleased to see a new face around here. Do you have twins? Its all I could make of your profile blurb :)

Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 1:29am Top

Oh, and the real reason I logged on (again) this evening was to report my book exchanges. I visited a book exchange today, run from a glass fronted fridge, as part of an arts project called Gap Filler. They use the sites where buildings have been demolished from earthquake damage and put temporary fun stuff on them (like an outdoor cinema, bowls matches, coffee caravans etc).

I ended up getting some real gems, this surprised me as I was expecting a Mills and Boon-a-thon. I dropped off 6 books and collected the following:

Perfect Lives Polly Samson (short stories)
Postcards from Surfers by Helen Garner (short stories)
Tethered by Amy MacKinnon (was on my WL!)
Sophie's Legacy by Lesley Elliot (one I'd considered buying!)
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
At Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall
Lord Byron An Anthology (a teeny tiny hardcover book)

All relatively new and good looking books. Will have to go back though to square things up as I took more than I gave. I love that its just sitting there unlocked for anyone to take a book from.

eta: here's the link to the book exchange project, have a look, its an interesting way to use the vacant lots.

Mar 2, 2012, 7:00am Top

Megan- Thanks for sharing the adorable pix! Cute healthy kids. Nice book haul too. And I see some short story collections too. Yah!

Mar 2, 2012, 7:34am Top

I love the idea of a book exchange ! Did you see this :

Kara posted it on Facebook.. Love the micro library idea, and they are often
exchanges, too.

Mar 2, 2012, 10:11am Top

The book exchange sounds like a terrific idea! We have one of those "leave one, take one" shelves at work but it's pretty stagnant.
Adorable kids! I'm glad for your drama-free evening. I love kids but, not having any of my own, I have tremendous respect for parents and their need to develop incredible patience.

Mar 2, 2012, 10:15am Top

Book swaps would be great fun although I don't have anyone much to swap with over here. The regularity of me turning up to meetings with a book in my hands as well as a notepad occasioning major comment shows how unusual it is for people to openly read here!
Good book haul - always impressed when one of my pals gets a pile of books and I haven't read any of the authors!

Mar 2, 2012, 10:18am Top

Little children really love to get in the water don't they? I remember when my son was four we and we'd just found a picnic spot in France next to a small river. When we turned round after unpacking the picnic things we found he'd completely stripped off and was in the water already - in the space of about one minute.

Mar 2, 2012, 10:21am Top

>32 Ireadthereforeiam:

Hmmm...are you certain you were looking at my profile? No twins or any small children at all here, but I'm always delighted to admire the offspring of others!

I've been lurking on your thread for a while, and just thought I'd say hello.

Mar 2, 2012, 2:17pm Top

Mark: Healthy, by that you mean well-fed? haha, they both love their food. Wilbur's stomach isn't actually that large, I must have caught him in a slouchy moment.

Kath: great phone booth library, very cool. In weak moments I have thoughts of starting up a second hand book shop, but realise that it would be a ridiculous enterprise if I were to take money making into account.

Ellen: a stagnant book swap shelf is a sad thing to witness :( Can you vamp it up? Get things moving? It's a great idea for a workplace though, I remember the book swap shelves in backpackers when I was travelling, there were always random language books in them.

Paul: not even Byron? There's very little chance you'd have read Lesley Elliot as she is a NZ mum whose daughter was brutally murdered by her boyfriend (who was also her daughter's university tutor). The book will hopefully talk a lot about the trial in which Clayton Wetherston (the now incarcerated killer) used the controversial defense of provocation, and represented himself. It raised a lot of issues as during the trial, the accused basically ran down the girls character mercilessly in an attempt to show that "she made him do it".

Rhian: hi, welcome. It s great that kids get to strip off whenever the mood takes them, it always makes me laugh. It only takes one and then they're all doing it.

Dejah: This is what made me think twins- until Irene and Lee made their double bill appearance
Hmm, now I'm wondering what that could mean....
Feel free to de lurk again, I'm happy to show off my babies to people who are happy to admire :)

Mar 2, 2012, 3:56pm Top

Hi Megan. I'm catching up on threads. Love the art work and the kiddie pics. Hope things are feeling better in Christchurch now that the one year anniversary of the earthquake has passed. I know how things still get here in NYC around Sept 11- tense and with a weird kinda vibe; everyone a little on edge.

#40 - Irene and Bill were hurricanes.

Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 7:52pm Top

>32 Ireadthereforeiam:, 39 - 40

LOL! I never thought of how obscure that might be to someone not in North America.

Last year I was living in New York State, not too far outside of New York City. We had a very rainy August and then were hit by Hurricane Irene which caused substantial flooding. Less than two weeks later, we were hit by Topical Storm Lee, which also caused tremendous flooding. We were much better off than many, but let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Twins would have been much more interesting!

Mar 2, 2012, 8:25pm Top

> 41/42 Thanks for filling me in! Ok, now I feel silly! And given the context it all comes clear :) lol

>41 VioletBramble: I bet it does all get a little weird around Sept 11 for you all, memories feel a little raw on anniversaries. For any sad anniversary.

>42 Dejah_Thoris: twins sound hard work for sure, so do hurricanes and storms though
*weighing up which I'd rather have*

Mar 2, 2012, 8:29pm Top

Operating on little sleep again today, 2 nights in a row with 4 hours sleep.
Little Lenny has a cold so is waking in the night and taking *hours* to settle, and big bro and him seem to have a roster whereby they tag team til morning. I never used to get it when my friends with kids said their kids were sick, I just thought sick kids were in bed all the time sleeping, or lying on the couch watching tv or something. What it actually means (when they are little anyway) is a lot of one on one care and treading the floor boards half the night.
Bring on good health again!

Mar 3, 2012, 8:09am Top

Sick kids = tired mom. I hope your boys feel better soon, Megan, so you can all get a good night's sleep. And I'm glad we cleared that up about Dejah's "twins!" My niece has twin boys, and when they were growing up, it was a bit like having a hurricane in the house.

Thanks for sharing about the Gap Filler projects. How cool to make something good out of the earthquake destruction. And you got some good books out of it!

Mar 3, 2012, 1:14pm Top

Such cute photos! And the book swap sounds good. I don't think I've heard of any of those authors. I just had to scroll back up there to double-check that none of them were hugely famous, but no!

Mar 3, 2012, 1:14pm Top

Hope your little ones feel better soon Megan and you can get some rest. The last time I visited my friends for the weekend their 11 month old had a really bad cold (snot everywhere) so I could see at first hand the amount of hard work involved by Mum and Dad - phew! Can't imagine trying to handle that with two of them.

Mar 3, 2012, 1:21pm Top

Sorry to see your kiddies are sick! Hope they get well soon and hope mommy gets some sleep!

Mar 3, 2012, 2:02pm Top

Donna: I love Gap Filler, they started out really small, but are now doing some big projects, and interesting ones.

Susan: is Lorrie Moore well known? I only ask as she has a short story in my Penguin Classic Collection of short stories....I had heard of Helen Garner before too.

Heather: I feel sorry for sick kids, they just need their mums a lot! Lenny's not too bad, just has trouble settling as he cant suck his thumb and breathe at the same time.

Thanks Chelle: better night last night, could be over the worst.
I made my partner take big bro out yesterday afternoon while little bro had a sleep, as I needed a sleep too. I was starting to do weird stuff like put the milk away in the cupboard and the mugs in the fridge :)

Mar 3, 2012, 3:23pm Top

Oh no.. sick kids does make life hard... Hope all is well soon.

Mar 3, 2012, 5:38pm Top

I'll join you on the sleepless nights - too much driving, too much stress with my brother's problems in England, my overcooked work schedule etc etc etc. Hope Lenny and Wilbur are fighting fit and restful asap.

Mar 3, 2012, 5:43pm Top

Megan- Lorrie Moore is pretty well known in literary circles. Her last novel, A Gate at the Stairs got much critical attention. (I was disappointed). Her short stories are supposed to be fantastic. I have not tried them yet, although I own her 1st collection.

Mar 3, 2012, 9:12pm Top

Oh jeez, those milk-in-the-cupboard days are never good. I hope they continue to improve, and that you get plenty of rest!

Mar 3, 2012, 10:35pm Top

Kath: Getting better thanks Kath, had a fun afternoon out today to see a pipe band that never actually turned up, but the playground and the beach were still there as well as a double decker bus doubling as a chocolatiers shop. I indulged in some brownie.

Paul: you need a stress free NZ holiday! Hopefully planning your holiday isn't causing you more stress :{

Mark: I thought she might have been an established writer, I hope I'm not disappointed in A Gate at the Stairs- whenever it is that I eventually get to it.

Luxx: functioning well today thanks! No more kitchen confusion than normal now. Once I poured boiling water into the coffee jar instead of my cup, ruined the whole jar. Sleep deprivation will make you crazy :

Mar 3, 2012, 11:15pm Top

Megan - planning my holiday will I'm sure give me pots of pleasure when I can get down to doing it!

Mar 4, 2012, 1:49pm Top

>55 PaulCranswick: I hope so Paul, you sound like you could do with a good break away from things right now :)

Mar 4, 2012, 2:54pm Top

Book 16
Marcelo in the Real World by Francesco Stork

What a nice looking book, great font (typeface is called Mrs Eaves), great layout and spacing, and a lovely cover. It is also a very accessible story.

Marcelo has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a mild one. His father is putting pressure on him to leave the special school he attends and attend the local one for his last year of high school. They strike a deal whereby if Marcelo agrees to work in the mail room at his fathers law firm for the summer, and successfully navigates in the "real world", he gets to chose stay at his special school. Things unfold (as is usual in a novel) and Marcelo is faced with a moral dilema.

Marcelo is set up to seem very immature and "special-needsy" in the first part of the the book, and then comes up with some very mature decisions, thought processes and actions in the later sections. I know this must be character progression, and coming of age etc, but it didn't feel plausible to me.

Putting this aside, the way Marcelo thinks (in the first half) is written very well and gives great ideas about how and why people on the Autistic Spectrum think and act. The story grabs you, and the characters are satisfying. 4 stars

Mar 4, 2012, 3:00pm Top

Good review, Megan. Your plausibility point is legit, but, like you, the story and characters really grabbed me.

Mar 4, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Thanks Joe, I must have got this book from your thread I think? It was on my get-from-the-library-asap list for a while but was often out.

Mar 4, 2012, 3:49pm Top

Probably not my thread, Megan - this is my first year with a 75er thread. But I have spoken highly of it on other threads.

Edited: Mar 4, 2012, 8:22pm Top

Naughty naughty, down to our last $100 in the account before payday tomorrow (never usually this low, but insurance bills AND council rates all came at once), and I go and buy to books!
Couldn't resist as $15 for 2....and both look pretty on my shelf.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (this one a gamble but went for it as was shortlisted for Booker in 2009)

eta: hi Joe, missed you up there! Now I wonder who I discovered Marcelo from then.....

Mar 4, 2012, 8:25pm Top

Hi Megan. I've been wanting to read Marcelo in the Real World for a while. Nice review.

Mar 5, 2012, 5:23am Top

Stopping by to say hi, Megan. I have to admit that I did not care for The Gate at the Top of the Stairs - fair warning. It's been a while since I read it though, so I don't remember enough to tell you what I did or did not like.

Mar 5, 2012, 8:41am Top

I'm glad that you liked Marcello :) I wasn't sure about it in the beginning..
but as it wen on, I liked it a lot, too :)

15 for 2 is a good deal!

Mar 5, 2012, 1:32pm Top

#57 Hi Megan. Glad to see my husband is not the only person who checks the typeface for books :-)

Mar 5, 2012, 1:52pm Top

Hi Megan!
Chuckling at you and Luxx and your "...milk-in-the-cupboard days ...". Reminds me of my own early Mommy days! There are some really sweet compensating moments though - like bath-time fun and sweet-smelling cuddles.

Mar 5, 2012, 5:34pm Top

>62 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, it is a quick and easy read so dont be put off starting it

>63 vancouverdeb: oh dear, but, as it stands I probably wont even get to read it this year I have so much planned. I will consult the LT "will you like it" scale and see what they say!

>64 mckait: Kath, if it was 15 for $2 it would have been a better deal, but hey, I cant complain :)

>65 souloftherose: Heather, I am such a sucker for a beautifully designed book! I reckon the typeface and spacing plays a big part in it

>66 -Cee-: Lucky for everyone the compensating moments way make up for the milk-in-the-cupboard days! I swear Im in love with little Lenny and his cute baby-ness. He sits and does those big open mouth smiles and then just practices his clapping for a bit, has a bit of a crawl, waves, eats a toy or 2.....has a nap and something to eat. That's his day really, and I find all of it so endearing I could stare at him the whole time!

Mar 5, 2012, 6:32pm Top

Hi Megan.

I loved the book Tethered. I gave it five stars!

What a great haul of books you obtained.

What cute photos!

All the best,

Mar 5, 2012, 7:00pm Top

Hi Linda- you liked Tethered? Great, I was looking forward to that on, maybe your thread is where I originally saw it? I have such a terrible memory for these things....
Thanks for visiting :)

Mar 5, 2012, 8:47pm Top

I also enjoyed Marcelo in the Real World and still haven't read Stork's other book/s.

Mar 5, 2012, 8:58pm Top

I love Lenny's daily schedule, Megan... it sounds like a blast .. I want them too.

Mar 5, 2012, 9:49pm Top

like bath-time fun

Oh, dear, not around here - bath time is a rodeo. Or, I should say, shower time is a rodeo; Victor's baths are still sweet and fun, but the toddlers can create chaos in thirty seconds once one adds water.

Mar 5, 2012, 10:26pm Top

Kerry: Im not sure Ill seek out any of his other book/s....unless of course someone reviews it and speaks highly :)

Caro: Its an alright deal for the baby isn't it? I didn't mention the wrestling with getting a nappy on or the 45 minutes of rocking to get him to sleep or the throbbing feet....but in the spirit of encouraging you....Ill leave those bits out

Luxx: ha ha, and then there's the 10 minute conversation on whether or not one needs to remove ones clothing for a bath, and whose job exactly it is to do that :)

Mar 6, 2012, 7:07am Top

I am with you Cee... Bath time was always a signal that it was time to
settle down... have a snack, read.. sink slowly toward bedtime :)
yep, those were the days :)

Mar 6, 2012, 9:58am Top

73- One of my favorite pictures of 2-year-old B is when he climbed into my shower in his pajamas; I found him there after searching the rest of the floor, and he was happily splashing and drinking from the shower.

Mar 6, 2012, 2:19pm Top

Kath: these are the days....that means that all the stuff Im looking forward to having time and headspace to do will have to wait til Im done raising my babies! Oh well, I can handle that.

Luxx: that settled it I guess, its no ones job to remove clothing for bath time! I hopped in the bath with both littlies last night and was informed by big bro that "boobs are fun", when asked why, he said "because they move". haha, I cracked up! Like father like son it seems :)

Mar 6, 2012, 2:38pm Top


Little boy logic is awesome.

Mar 6, 2012, 11:55pm Top

>77 Luxx: I have started writing things down that get said as even though you think you are going to remember the hilarious ones, you son forget them.

Mar 7, 2012, 3:50pm Top

Yay! My mum gave me a book. It is a cool book.

The Torchlight List (sub title- Around the World in 200 Books) by Jim Flynn. He is an American University lecturer who has settled in NZ and who is flummoxed by the apparent lack of interest in reading for pleasure amongst his under-grad students. He came up with the idea that those with a university education are actually less educated than many prolific readers he knows who have no formal higher education.

This "list" is meant to be able to give a person a well rounded world education. The "book" discusses why each book is on the list and is also peppered with cute anecdotes and personal history. I am mostly finished it, but couldnt wait to talk about it.

Btw, of the 200, I have read 14 :
But about 30 are on my tbr list :)

Mar 8, 2012, 1:39am Top

Because Im obsessed with lists, I now must list the 14 I have read from the above book, The Torchlight List.

Catch 22
The Chosen
My Name is Asher Lev
Death of a Salesman
The Great Gatsby
On Chesil Beach
Great Expectations
Animal Farm
The Poisonwood Bible
Owls Do Cry
A Fine Balance
Memoirs of a Geisha

Add the ones I plan to read (and Ill have to qualify that with "soon' so as to not have to include most of the rest of the 200):

Midnights Children, A Bend in the River, Crime and Punishment, The Plague, Every Man Dies Alone, Brideshead Revisited (did anyone else know that Evelyn Waugh is actually a man? I'm a bit slow off the mark here, but the name does suggest otherwise!), Lucky Jim, A Tale of Two Cities, Bel Canto, The House of Spirits, Love in the time of Cholera, The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, Wanderings, A Suitable Boy, Things Fall Apart, Our Man in Havana, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

If I were into Philip Roth (should I be?) or Gore Vidal (ditto) then i could add 8 more to this list.

Mar 8, 2012, 5:58am Top

I knew Evelyn Waugh was a man (and also kind of a jerk), but I read Brideshead Revisited last year sort of thinking I'd hate it. As it turns out, I was completely blown away by it, and it was one of my favorites. I hope you like it!

Mar 8, 2012, 7:00am Top

Megan- Thanks for sharing the list. I've read 8 of the top ones. Does that make me smart? I NEED to get to A Fine Balance. I've had it in the stacks forever. I also have On Chesil Beach.

Mar 8, 2012, 9:38am Top

Well, I have read 6 of your out of your 14. I guess I should try to remedy that. I have a theory as to why many undergrad students do not do much pleasure reading and that is because they have to read so much for University. I say that as a mom who's son will graduate this April in Computer Science. He really has no time for books that are not assigned for school. Maybe once he's finished school he'll go back to pleasure reading.

I agree though, one can get a great education through well chosen pleasure reading.

Mar 8, 2012, 11:55am Top

The Torchlight List isn't available through my library system, but it sounds like fun - I may have to buy it!

BTW, I'm planning on reading Our Man in Havana this month....

Mar 8, 2012, 1:08pm Top

>81 DorsVenabili: Brideshead Revisited has been on my radar for ages now....just one of many!

>82 msf59: I wasnt so sure about On Chesil Beach at the time of reading it, but it has gone up in my estimation a tiny bit since, because I keep thinking about the issues in it. Even if I was adverse to the delivery method!

>83 vancouverdeb: I recall the same issues at university, we were given so much reading to do and I really think half of that was just to reinforce that their course was so important that it had more reading to than any other course! I still made some time for pleasure reading though :)

>84 Dejah_Thoris: Its a very short one, but good if you like to refer to lists and compare your reading. I think Ill be going back to it again and again. Hope you enjoy Our Man in Havana- Id like to join you in reading it this month but Im sure I wont get to it that soon :/

Mar 8, 2012, 1:13pm Top

Book 17
The Torchlight List by Jim Flynn

This book is sub-titled Around the World in 200 Books.
Jim Flynn is an American University lecturer who has settled in NZ and who is flummoxed by the apparent lack of interest in reading for pleasure amongst his under-grad students. He came up with the idea that those with a university education are actually less educated than many prolific readers he knows who have no formal higher education.

This "list" is meant to be able to give a person a well rounded world education. The "book" discusses why each book is on the list and is also peppered with cute anecdotes and personal history. My rating reflects my love of lists and books, not necessarily the writing! 4.5 stars.

Edited: Mar 8, 2012, 2:25pm Top

Cool book.
I've wondered the same about Philip Roth (I do have American Pastoral on my TBR pile). I think I've read Burr by Gore Vidal (years ago!) and it was interesting.

Mar 8, 2012, 2:44pm Top

I read The Torchlight List when it first came out because like you I love lists. There was some criticism of his list at the time as too personal or too male or something, but overall it introduces you to books you might not come across on other lists so why not. I made it a priority last year to read The Slave because of his enthusiasm for it. I also tagged a few books in my library as 'Torchlight List' but looking back I've only added it to 3 books so have a long way to go. I'll try remember to tag a few more.

Mar 8, 2012, 6:20pm Top

Thanks for sharing your list. I haven't heard of that 200 book, sounds interesting though!
I've only read 4 off of your list, but I've read a couple on your TBR list. Should be some good reading for you!

Mar 8, 2012, 7:17pm Top

Megan, if you get hold of Brideshead Audio narrated performed by Jeremy Irons, it rocks! Was one of my best reads of 2011.

Mar 8, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Munching out on some delicious (if I do say so myself) ginger and buttermilk scones- minus the rhubarb compote as couldn't wait. Busy busy day and one kid sleeping, one watching "Jamie and His Magic Torch" on Dvd. Pumpkin soup simmering and I'm finally having a sit down!

Ellen: thanks for your word on Vidal and Roth, the names are familiar to me but that is it I'm afraid. Sometimes I confuse a familiar name with one that I must read. So wanted to the low down on these two authors in particular.

Kerry: I hadn't heard anything about The Torchlight List until my mum mentioned it. We both thought it was an actual list that was being passed around on A4 paper or something, but the bookshop pointed us in the right direction!

Chelle: There are so many lists I would like to go off for reading ideas (Booker Winners, 1000 books you must read, Orange Winners, Pulitzer........etc etc etc) So Why not get ideas from all of them and not punish myself in trying to read every single book from a list!?

Nancy: I have never read an audio book! I can see it happening once I get my iPod Nano running (which requires a new computer as the iTunes I need is impossible to get on this old thing). Ill be all "see you darling! I'm off for a 2 hour walk, you'll be fine with the kids wont you?". (I like the sound of that already!)
But shouldn't I read Brideshead Revisited first?

Mar 8, 2012, 10:35pm Top

Hi Megan, just got caught up with your not so shiny new thread and I just want to add to what others have already said, the pics are adorable! Such innocence is so sweet and so fleeting.

Hmmm, I've got Chesil Beach on my bookshelf. Looks like another one I need to bring to the top of my Tipping Tower.

Mar 8, 2012, 11:47pm Top

The Torchlight List sounds interesting, Megan. I'm gonna look around online and see if I can find the whole list. I'm sure someone must have posted it.

Mar 9, 2012, 7:54pm Top

>92 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, Such innocence is so sweet and so fleeting.
You are so right, I love the innocence of children. All children should get the chance to remain innocent as long as is possible!
On Chesil Beach is very short, so love it or hate it, it'll be a quick read.

>93 VioletBramble: Hi, you'd think it'd be somewhere, I couldn't find it, although I didn't look for that long. Let me know if you find it somewhere.
I had a look at The Arrival (as a graphic novel with no words....) and it was certainly a fantastic book. I didn't count it as one of my books for the 75 challenge though, just couldn't do it :)

Mar 10, 2012, 7:35am Top

Dear Megan - here's hoping you a lovely weekend.

Mar 10, 2012, 7:38am Top

Ditto what Paul said :)

Mar 10, 2012, 2:13pm Top

Paul and Kath: thanks, has been very cool so far, went to a fair yesterday. Wilbur was very taken with the bouncy castle, and I with the bargain kids clothes/toys.

And last night I went out with the freedom of knowing that I wouldn't have to turn around and come home if Lenny woke up, this is the first time I have done this since Lenny was born 7.5 months ago. He can take a bottle now, so me and my milk production system were outa here! I went out for dinner and then a movie with my great friend (who also happens to be my sister) and it was super cool. We saw My Week With Marilyn (as it was the only one that was half decent and on at the right time/place). It was a decent film, and next on my list is We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Mar 10, 2012, 2:36pm Top

Glad you liked The Arrival, Megan. I can remember the days when my much better half and I had a chance to get a night off from our young kids and be "grownups" - heaven. Have a great weekend!

Mar 10, 2012, 2:51pm Top

How lovely to have a night out! Good for you.

Mar 10, 2012, 3:14pm Top

I know it must seem a small thing, but seriously, I so rarely leave the house without a child, that whenever I do, it is actually a very exciting thing!

Joe: that will be the next step, getting someone else to come in so that me and my other half can go out together *gasp* Call me crazy, but its a plan I have :)

Luxx: now that I know it is possible, Ill be planning a weekly outing!

Mar 10, 2012, 3:29pm Top

Too bad you don't live near us. Seasonsoflove is an ace babysitter (besides being an ace pre-K teacher).

Mar 10, 2012, 4:00pm Top

Hi Joe:
*a little research later*
And Seasonsoflove would be.....your daughter!? Pre-school teachers make the best babysitters! I have my Parents in Law that I can ask, but I always feel bad asking (even though they offer). I'm just riding out the early years at present!

Mar 10, 2012, 4:21pm Top

Yes, seasonsoflove is my daughter, and Walklover is my much better half. Sorry about that! A lot of folks know that from LT, but I forget not everyone does. You're right about pre-school teachers being the best babysitters. She loves babies and little kids. As does her ma the storyteller.

Mar 10, 2012, 9:35pm Top

*driving by*

Mar 10, 2012, 10:36pm Top

>103 jnwelch: wow, a family on LT, that is cool. My sis is on too, but her LT attentions have lapsed to the point of total abandonment :(
(she is kiwidreadgirl- which is in fact a lie as she doesn't have dreadlocks anymore!)

> Hi Ellen, keeping busy I see....oh, you've already gone ;)


Only 2 new books today, and only $2 each.
The Big Red Train Ride by Eric Newby and
The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux

Obviously I am dreaming of travel as the other day I got a second hand Lonely Planet book about travelling with kids!

Mar 10, 2012, 10:42pm Top

Megan - could really relate to some of your comments there:

I'm with Wilbur...I loved bouncy castles so much I married one (for God's sake don't tell her).

I remember going out without Yasmyne and especially Kyran years ago and the sense of liberation it engendered. I also remember going to KL when we stayed in the south for a meeting and SWMBO followed me without Kyran who had been enjoying breast feeding. Sans pump I was called into emergency action and had no reasonable explanation to my colleagues the following day for the blister on my lip.

You seem to have itchy feet buying up travel books?

Mar 11, 2012, 4:15am Top

Paul: haha, better not read out that post to SWMBO! She is about as far away as a bouncy castle as you can get from what pictures I have seen of your lovely wife! Wash your mouth out :)
Re: your other anecdote, not sure I can deal with that! So will ignore.

Mar 11, 2012, 6:07am Top

Megan believe it or not "bouncy castle" is one of my pet names for Hani - I am nothing if not charming!

Mar 11, 2012, 3:27pm Top

Excellent nickname! I definitely wont be telling my partner about that one lest he takes it on. I called my partner the Maori version of his English name for a few years, but he didn't like it. I was doing it to annoy him so I guess that's fair enough!
I was intentionally pronouncing it in an over exaggerated Pakeha (NZer of European extraction) accent to so it came out as Anna-Roo, instead of the Maori Anaru (Un-ah-ru). I still chuckle to myself as I think of it now, it was probably very irritating!

Mar 11, 2012, 3:31pm Top

I have no shame, Megan. I do count GN's. However, I did not count the books of the bible read for my bible time line class. That really seemed like cheating to me.

Mar 11, 2012, 4:26pm Top

>110 Carmenere: are the books of the bible all in separate covers? If so I think I would count them, but the GN I read had no words at all. My own personal rules dictate it must have at least one or two words other than the title!

Mar 11, 2012, 4:42pm Top

Megan- I agree a family of LTers is wonderful. In my house, when I mention LT, (Yes, they know what it is) I get much rolling of the eyes. Old Dad or hubby and his little online world. Poor little man.
Hope you had a nice weekend.

Mar 11, 2012, 4:54pm Top

>112 msf59: hi Mark, its funny isnt it, hard for others to really get how much people get to know each other and look forward to each others comments etc.
Yes, great weekend, thanks for the thought.

Yesterday afternoon there was a minor calamity however as Wilbur's beloved "Car Blankie" (his name for his cuddly scrappy bit of merino blanket) was nowhere to be found. Big Blankie (the mother ship from which the scrappy bit of car-blankie was cut) was a poor substitute, but it had to do as after half an hour of searching for the real deal, we still couldn't find it. (I even took the washing out of the machine in case it was bundled up amongst it all, and looked in the wood pile in case it had been "posted" in there).

So this morning I remembered that I had cleverly spirited away some scraps of blankie when the initial downsizing was done, and managed to sew the edges and now we have a new "Car Blankie" that seems to be doing the trick. *sigh*
Thank goodness I put away what at the time I thought were ridiculously small bits of blankie!

Mar 11, 2012, 5:38pm Top

Yay for the blankie-magic! You will find the original Car Blankie now you have two of them, It's inevitable :-)

Edited: Mar 11, 2012, 11:06pm Top

Megan, I think I would have the same rule about a GN having to have some words. That said, I definitely "count" GNs which are a new genre to me. I've particularly liked the Graphic Memoirs I read last year -- Fun Home and Stitches. I thought both of them were brilliantly poignant. Or poignantly brilliant.

Mar 11, 2012, 11:56pm Top

Oh despite Mark's lukewarm feeling about The Betrayal - I really loved it! Give it a try!

Mar 12, 2012, 3:17am Top

Susan: true, although we haven't found it yet, and it's been 24 hours now! No matter, he appears appeased with the new car-blankie!

Ellen: I had Stitches on my list to read, but took it off again as got Blankets instead. Maybe I need to look at the library and see!

Deb: who am I kidding, if I see it I will get it! But maybe I wont seek it out as quickly as I would have :)

Mar 12, 2012, 3:27am Top

Boys can be very suspicious of replacement blankies - so well done you!

Mar 12, 2012, 5:03am Top

#94 I'm a bit behind the conversation here - but just posting to say I loved The Arrival and I'm afraid to say I did count it as one of my 75 books. Although there were no words it just felt like reading a book and I know that if I don't list it I will forget who the author was and I do want to look out for more books by him.

#103 I think my niece is the most intrepid traveller with kids that I know. She lives in Thailand but returned to the U.K. over Christmas for a week with her daughter age 21/2 while her husband and younger son remained in Thailand. As she found some cheap flights to Sri Lanka she decided to spend a week travelling round there with her daughter en-route, as she'd never been there before. I'm definitely not as intrepid as that - travelling round Sri Lanka on your own with a 2 year old seems like very hard work to me. But I know that some of our friends have considered some of our holiday destinations as slightly odd places for a family holiday. The holiday that we've had that probably worked out least well was the one chosen with my son in mind so that he would have over children to play with.

Mar 12, 2012, 12:35pm Top

#119 - I counted The Arrival in my 75 books back in 2010. With graphic novels I spend a lot of time looking at details in the illustrations - I use a magnifying glass- and looking at the artists' technique. Plus, I like the record of books I read/looked at to be complete for the year. There have been books I've listed but not counted, like, knitting pattern books, etc.

Mar 12, 2012, 4:06pm Top

>118 roundballnz: Alex I may have been hasty in my self-congratulation.... this morning at 5am there was a big crying fit involving talk of car blankie and this not being the one that is wanted and demands for the other car blankie to be found. *double sigh* Things are harder for all of us in the dark hours of night time it seems.

>119 SandDune: Love your niece! She sounds lie a go-getter. Its hard to travel from NZ to other countries as it always involves a flight, so you have to be committed. Our travel within NZ is pretty much limited to the South Island, and we have our favourite spots to go back to again and again, but rarely do a big trip all over like we used to.

My parents took us kids (as 7, 8 and 11 year-olds) to Chile for a whole year way back in 1983, we camped and travelled around in a General Motors Jeep we bought there. I admire my parents so much for that now, it was such an adventure and I remember a lot of it. People thought they were crazy, but we all leanrned so much there. Apparently we came home stone broke and it was a hard few years getting back on top. Luckily I was shielded from that part, and was only told a few years ago that it was even the case.

>120 VioletBramble: I'm not really in it for the stats so either way, I'm not bothered. I have just finished Great Expectations which took me ages to read so Ill have to get on and put that on soon.

Mar 12, 2012, 4:11pm Top

Glad to see that you had a night out... hope another one comes along soon.
It looks like things are going along well for you, thank goodness :)
I usually call LT "my book site" when speaking to others. No particular reason..
more descriptive maybe? dunno...
carry on having good things happen !

Mar 13, 2012, 9:43pm Top

A year in Chile sounds like one heck of an experience Megan - education is not only learned in school is it?

Mar 13, 2012, 11:11pm Top

Hope the blankie situation is under control. Your family's year in Chile would have been a great experience, not sure how the Chilean politics were at that time.

Mar 14, 2012, 2:29am Top

>122 mckait: Hi Kath! I call LT my "nerdy nerdy book website" just to reinforce all those "bookish people are nerds" stereotypes. Even though that's not true any more.

>123 PaulCranswick: that is so true Paul. Spending a year in Chile as a kid taught me what a travel bug is, that's for sure. We were supposed to be doing correspondence school but it was too hard coming across post offices as we were pretty remote a lot of the time, and my parents rightly figured out that we were learning a lot in our every day lives. (like how to pitch a tent!)

>124 avatiakh: Hi Kerry, original car-blankie hasnt been found yet, and the substitute seems to be going OK. I was offered US$50 for my cuddly pillow when I was 8 (we were in Chile at the time just to tie it all together!) and of course I declined the offer. They are such special attachments for young'uns!
Chilean Politics was dodgy at best at the time of our travels.....there were so few foreigners there we felt like celebrities. Pinochet was in full force, and I remember giggling at the army's funny-looking goose-step march, and having my mum very quickly smother me and try her best to convey the notion that it is not a good idea to laugh at the Army given the current climate. Oh the innocence!

Mar 14, 2012, 3:02am Top

Oh yes, correspondence school. We were going to do this when we took our oldest three (10yr,8yr,1yr) to Europe and Israel for 9 months many years ago. They sent us so many boxes of workbooks that we sent them back and went the travel diary option with a little math thrown in. Even that didn't go so well, the 8yr old turned his into extremely detailed lists of what he ate, though I remember one entry was for a day out in Paris - we'd been to the Musee D'Orsay among other sights and he wrote a detailed story about falling down the entrance steps and how everyone laughed at him. The diaries turned into scrapbooks of ticket stubs, tourist maps and postcards. If you're on constantly on the move there just isn't time for 'school' we soon learnt.

Mar 14, 2012, 3:24am Top

Well that sounds about exactly what our diaries were like! We were made to write our diaries every night (as a record and education i guess). I remember some nights I wrote "got up, drove all day, put up tent, went to bed". haha

Mar 14, 2012, 6:10am Top

#125 - Ha! My husband calls me a nerd all the time, but that's mostly due to my elaborate reading spreadsheets and the category reading.

A year in Chili during the Pinochet regime! That's intense.

Mar 14, 2012, 7:50am Top

reading spreadsheets make me shudder... lol

traveling for a year with your kids sounds like a dream!! wonderful!

Mar 14, 2012, 8:08am Top

omg - missing blankie! And you thought a substitute would do it? It just doesn't feel or smell the same. My girls had blankies and they believed the blankies had magical powers to heal when they had a physical ailment or just felt the need for comfort. oy...

So happy for you to get a night out! And more to come!
Have a good day - er, I guess it's night for you... :)

Mar 14, 2012, 1:14pm Top

My youngest always got outraged when I snuck his blankie into the wash and it came out clean. All the smell was gone and it was no longer stiff. Which was my goal, but not his! I still have all my kids blankies hidden away in a drawer. My 19-year-old found hers this summer and couldn't believe I still had it, nor how ratty the thing was! She asked me to still keep it though. : )

I love the Torchlight List! I have read 10 of your first 14 and 11 of your planned ones. I am quite pleased with myself! LOL. Course that still leaves many gaps to fill in so I guess I'd best go get the book and keep on reading!

Mar 14, 2012, 2:37pm Top

>128 DorsVenabili: Im reclaiming the term nerd and using ot for powers of good :)

>129 mckait: I can consider travel with my kids once they are a bit older and once the bank balance is a bit bigger too.

>130 -Cee-: Well, Cee, here's the thing: the original blankie was the most loved, and then we cut it up into 2 as it was disintegrating. We thought this might cause a conniption, but "big blankie" and "car blankie" were fine. Then gradually "car blankie" became the #1 blankie, but "big blankie" would still do. Now that "car blankie" is seemingly gone, the new hanky sized blankie (produced as if by magic from the hot water cupboard) is still doing OK (other than the drama the other morning which I think was caused by a dream that "car blankie" had been found).
Get it?
Haha, it's a complex situation.

>131 Berly: Im not sure there'll be anything left of blankie to keep into adulthood, the rate of its demise is alarming. Im sure Little Lenny is about to start attaching to his one, all the signs are there.

Mar 14, 2012, 2:42pm Top

Book 18
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I would have liked this book a lot more if I could have read the middle 2 quarters when my brain wasnt addled by lack of sleep. I found in these 2 quarters I lost the plot a bit and was unable to pick up the characters properly again. Reading 2-3 pages at a time just cant do it justice.

The parts I read in big chunks were great and I was really carried along by the story and actually liked the flowery descriptive language. I loved the first and last sections and will put this on the "intend to reread at some point" pile. I suspect in a reread it would get an upgrade in my star rating. 3 stars.

Mar 14, 2012, 2:44pm Top

The kids over here have small pillows as their constant bedtime companions which it is sacriledge to wash. bantal busuk or literally "smelly pillow" they are called in Malay.

Mar 14, 2012, 3:22pm Top

I am more than a little charmed by bantal busuk.

Mar 14, 2012, 3:35pm Top

A year in Chile! Sounds great - although Pinochet in power would worry me, too. That must seem like forever to a kid. We spent a month in Mexico when I was in first grade, and that seemed like forever to me.

I always liked Great Expectations, and that was a re-read for me, too.

Mar 14, 2012, 3:40pm Top

I second Joe's comment ... Great Expectations is a re-read for me too. I love this book story. *ducks in case Richard is lurking ... he of the anti-Dickens club*

Mar 14, 2012, 4:45pm Top

Paul/Luxx: so is a bantal busuk what your kids have Paul, or what everyone in Malaysia has? It is a very cute name! Smeely pillow! lol (we also call blankie, "manky blankie")

Joe: I wasnt worried for a second.....good parents made me feel safe- even if they did take me to a country in the grips of a military dictatorship! Mum wasn't too happy with the whole situation when my sister got Typhoid Fever.....she wanted out then. But we were super duper lucky in that there was a German doctor who specialised in infectious diseases who happened to be i the town we were in. So we stayed on once she got well :)

Caro: I think you're safe, RD hasn't been around these parts for a while. And he doesnt throw books anymore, just burns them! he he he

Mar 14, 2012, 4:53pm Top

Smelly pillow is just so....perfect! Loved Great Expectations. And the Anti-Dickens club leader can't burn it if you buy it on Kindle. (That is the first time I have endorsed Kindle over paper, no, second--Kindle is good for vacations, too.)

Edited: Mar 14, 2012, 5:11pm Top

Oh dear ! The Blankie Situation! With my kids, once I discovered what their " favourite blanket"was , I bought at least one more that was identical and put into the mix fairly early. That way there was always a blankie available for them -and they survived longer.

I remember my own blankie situation!!! It's very sad! Try to hold back your tears..... I had a favourite blanket and I think it went through a few repairs. When I was 4 or so, my mom said if you want a a Liddle Kiddle ( sort of popular doll at the time ) , she would trade me my favourite blanket for my choice of Liddle Kiddle. I went for it but changed my mind by bedtime. My mom would not got back on the deal. A lot of tears - never traumatized my poor kids that way.... I said you can have your favourite blanket for your entire life..

Mar 14, 2012, 7:38pm Top

>139 Berly: I am technologically challenged, and financially too, so no kindle for me. Yet.
Even my iPod Nano lies unused as has to wait for my computer to upgrade before it is compatible. I like paper books so thats ok :)

>140 vancouverdeb: That IS sad Deb. Good on you for letting your kids have theirs!
My friends little boy turned five and declared he no longer needed his ga ga (!!). He proudly put it in the rubbish bin, straight after which his mum got it out and hid it away. Fast forward to that evening and a teary-eyed boy comes and confesses to his mum, "I think I made a big mistake mummy". She brought out the ga ga and all was well again :) He said something like, I think when Im 6 I wont need it anymore. hehe, so cute. He's 6 now, and still has it in bed, it is a tiny scrap of muslin cloth!

Mar 14, 2012, 8:09pm Top

Oh, how sweet!

We never had blankies or stuffies, but the big two both took pacifiers. Both were good about leaving them in bed, and both lost them just after turning two. For B, I ended up cutting off the tip when he wasn't around, and when that didn't dissuade him I started cutting little slivers off at a time. He never knew what was happening - he just started calling it "brokey paci." It got to the point where there was nothing left, and he'd wedge the end between his face and his pillow (so pathetic and sad). One day he woke up and couldn't find it and sobbed that he couldn't find brokey paci ... and didn't ask for it again.

I found it and have it in a drawer.

Max was much more straightforward: he lost his pacifier one day and, with a crying Victor needing attention, I told him he'd just have to take a nap without it.

And he did. And didn't ask for it again. Once again, I found it when he wasn't around, but never let him know.

None of them ever took a paci from a little brother, either.

Mar 15, 2012, 2:37pm Top

>142 Luxx: its probably just as well you got them out of the habit early enough...these things can drag on. And yay! They weren't traumatised by the process! :)


I had a great morning out the other day with my 4 year old niece. Im hoping for it to become a regular event and am calling it "Cool Aunty Day" (just to talk myself up). It involves me taking her out and doing something cool. This time we went to a bead shop so she could choose some beads and we made a necklace for her. Pink pink and more pink beads :/ Oh well, she is a 4 year old girl I suppose!
But we both had fun and she was very pleased with her efforts and proclaimed she would wear it to preschool every day. We'll see how long the enthusiasm lasts, as Im sure the next favourite thing will come along soon and eclipse the beads. But it was sweet that she had fun.

Mar 15, 2012, 4:49pm Top

Yup! You are one cool Auntie!

Mar 15, 2012, 4:56pm Top

Agree - very cool Auntie!

Mar 15, 2012, 8:23pm Top

Megan bantal busuk is by all accounts common to many kids here and mine inparticular. The other one would be keeping their first dog eared cuddly toy.

Mar 15, 2012, 8:44pm Top

Hi Megan!
I'm willing to bet your niece will keep her enthusiasm for the pink bead necklace longer than her mother - lol

Nice you can have a little girlie fun!

Mar 16, 2012, 2:43am Top

>144 Berly:/145 why thank you, now to plan the next one.....any ideas? Maybe a pony ride....

>146 PaulCranswick: mine was the dregs of a feather pillow, I had snapped all the feather stalks again and again til it was practically just dust left.

>147 -Cee-: girls are different! I only know boys, and truth be told, was more a boyish girl myself.

Mar 16, 2012, 3:16am Top

Went to the library today to get one of 3 John Steinbeck novels that I was after......none on the shelves and only one even held at that library, but there were 8, that's right 8, Alexander Mcall Smith books there with who knows how many others of his already checked out.

Hmmmph. Something wrong with that I say.

Mar 16, 2012, 3:25am Top

I'm waving hi and laughing at the blankie discussions. My kids have never had blankies, but I think I am Teresa's blankie - at 5 she still "needs a human being to hold in the night". And Fletcher holds onto his toy Mario or monkey all night long - at nearly 8!

Mar 16, 2012, 7:04am Top

Megan- Sorry to hear about the absence of Mr. Steinbeck. That's a bummer. Hope you have better luck elsewhere.
I also hope you are enjoying SOP! It's such a great read.

Mar 16, 2012, 7:25am Top

Greetings Megan! Ah, losing a beloved blankie, teddie or pacifer is a very traumatic thing. My son spit out his pacifer when he was three month old and never went back to it. Teddy, however, is definately part of the family and shows up on many vacation pictures. Even at 13 , Teddy's the same age, my son keeps him close at hand, if only to keep him on the nightstand beside his bed, propped up by the lamp.

Shame about the absence of Steinbeck's but do you think those A M S's will be on the shelf in 50 years? shrugs

Have a happy weekend!

Mar 16, 2012, 7:41am Top

Hi Megan - just stopping by to say hi.

Must say my local library is pretty much the same when it comes to Steinbeck - the major ones are still in circulation in one branch or another but a lot have been shifted to their offsite storage facility. It seems a shame that they are not on the shelf:( Well at least I can ask for them to be pulled out of storage.

Mar 16, 2012, 9:06am Top

Just stopping by, and sorry not to be able to catch up.
Saw a bit about blankies.. lol
My sister has one. It is a fleece lap blanket that I made her..
it is yellow and orange.. and pink... She takes it everywhere :)

I think only Adam, my oldest had a blankie.. it literally fell apart one day
in the washer. It was a very inexpensive comforter sort that came in a set my mom bought ..
That was a sad day, believe me!

Mar 16, 2012, 12:09pm Top

Megan, I agree that the availability of books provides a somewhat disappointing commentary on our community's reading habits..... I just use it as an excuse to buy the Steinbeck books......

And, just to say: I'm an auntie and I love it! I'm also a great auntie, and that's almost even better. :-)

Mar 16, 2012, 12:20pm Top

#148 - I'm the cool auntie to one of my nieces (she's 25 now). I did take her on a road trip to see Radiohead in Ohio when she was teenager. That got me cool points.

Mar 16, 2012, 4:48pm Top

>150 cushlareads: Hi Cushla, my nephews "blankie" was a toy plastic hammer! He cuddled it in bed and everything, so funny.

>151 msf59: In all fairness, there are actually a lot of copies of Steinbecks books in the library system, they are just spread throughout the 13 (or so) libraries. This one library I went to was supposed to have one on the shelf and two out. Maybe its just that no one is taking out Alexander McCall Smiths books!?

>152 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, its true that a book must stand the test of time to become a great one. Ill get back to you in 2062 with my answer on that one :)

>153 calm: They should all be on the shelves shouldnt they? And on display too, as you know what some people are like, they see the lovely reissued covers and grab them!

>154 mckait: Um, what age is your sister that she still has a blankie? I look forward to getting old and reading with my lap-blankie in front of the fire :)

>155 EBT1002: Dont get me started on buying...that will be my next step if I cant get hold of a library copy soon....Ive got my eye on those Penguin Modern Classic editions. The whole set maybe. Or should buying firewood for winter be my priority? Tough choice...

>156 DorsVenabili: Now that's a cool auntie day trip! Oh that my own aunt were so cool....

Mar 16, 2012, 4:53pm Top

Little Chubby Lenny- nearly 8 months old in this pic, now already standing and walking behind anything that he can push!

Mar 16, 2012, 6:21pm Top

Megan- Great picture of Lenny! Yes, he's quite the lady-killer already!

Mar 16, 2012, 6:35pm Top

#158 Caption: "Is this the veggie of the month?"

Yummy - Lenny looks so edible. How many times a day do you nibble on him? LOL

Mar 16, 2012, 7:05pm Top

Ohh Lenny's is sooo cute! Darling guy!

Mar 16, 2012, 8:49pm Top

awwww baby pic!

Mar 16, 2012, 8:55pm Top

Well Megan you are clearly not worried about Lenny suffering from undernourishment! I don't think I have seen a healthier looking little fellow! He might have something to say when he's a bit older at all the shots of him as nature intended! Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 16, 2012, 9:17pm Top

chiming in on the blankie conversations..my daughter (now 39) had a well worn Winnie-The Pooh blanket. The satin edges were worn and tattered. A few years ago I found a box containing her blanket and baby shoes. It was such a lovely surprise. I sent them along to her and it brought a huge smile...

Mar 17, 2012, 2:21am Top

>159 msf59: mark you're funny! Lady-killer ;)
He does get the odd admirer when we're out. I try not to covet it....but my proud mama instincts prevail

>160 -Cee-: How many times a day Cee? All day! His poor cheeks (at both ends!) get a smattering of kisses throughout the day. Getting in now before he can bat me away and theatrically wipe them off like big bro does

>161 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deb, even big bro is playing the part now and has been sleeping in for the last few days, we dont usually have him dive bomb our bed til 6.30 lately. Bliss.

>162 mckait: yep, thought it had been too long since little Lenny had shown his face around here.

>163 PaulCranswick: Nope, not worried about his condition. He's all over food in any form. I think he'd just keep stuffing it in all day long if I let him. Had to prize the chicken bone from his hand after last nights roast. It was about to be inhaled!

>164 Whisper1: Oh that's sweet! Wilby has seen photos of his big blankie pre-chop....and he looks a little confused and unsure. But he still recognises it :)

Mar 17, 2012, 2:28am Top

Am enjoying a double dark bottle conditioned ale courtesy of the home brewery in the garage. Its very refreshing after a busy family day out in the sun.

Went on a bike ride most of the way around Hagley Park (the big green space right in the middle of Christchurch). Wilbur managed on his little bike and Lenny was in the seat attached to the back of mine. The boys loved dad being there too, and we all had a picnic at the playground half way round.

Then this afternoon we all went to the pool for Lenny's first swim. (wasn't trying to get him to swim laps to work off that baby chub- just a splash about). Was good fun again, and now we all feel hot and bothered by the warm sun and blustery (but cool) north easterly winds. Such a fun day!

Mar 17, 2012, 2:40am Top

Megan - own beer (double dark and undoubtedly delicious), and your boys and their old man blazing a trail in Hagley Park before a dip in the pool. Your right, sounds like a near perfect day.

Mar 17, 2012, 2:46am Top

...and Paul, I forgot to brag about my biking to the park as well as the bike rack for the car only takes one at a time.....that's an extra 20kms under my belt and a free pass to have extra oaty date slice after tea :)

Mar 17, 2012, 2:59am Top

Megan - you are a heroine today - don't eat all the pineapple lumps by the way!

Mar 17, 2012, 8:25am Top

I agree.. that does sound like a perfect day!

Mar 17, 2012, 6:54pm Top

>169 PaulCranswick: there's always more pineapple lumps at the dairy....

>170 mckait: Yea, it was lovely. Today is a beautiful day weather wise too, I am taking a walk into the red zone (da da daaaa) as the powers that be have opened up a section to walk through for people to view the cathedral in its partial state of collapse. It is to be demolished. I will take sunglasses but people might still see little tears running down my cheeks. :( Just little ones, as it is only a building afterall.

Mar 18, 2012, 2:36am Top

The crumbling Cathedral, the spire was twice the height of what is left. But some buildings are completely fine looking, and others just have boarded up windows, like this one.

Oh no! The beer factory is in ruins...its OK, the home brewery is putting out some fine dark ales.

And just to end on a good note......young Wilbur helping out with the cooking.

Mar 18, 2012, 8:52am Top

Your photos bring the severity of the damage into a better focus.

I like the swap shelf -- I want to have a regular (say bi-annual) party at our library for swapping SF books -- I've been delaying due to my perfectionism problem - my volunteer work there has been to 'redo' the SF collection and it's been taking me forever to get it sufficiently done. When am I going to figure out this will never happen??????

Mar 18, 2012, 10:39am Top

Megan- Thanks for sharing the photos. The beer looks tasty and Wilbur has a killer smile. How could you deny him anything?

Mar 18, 2012, 11:07am Top

Like the look of the dark ale - Wilbur looks like he is very much at home in the kitchen - I don't see chauvinism being allowed any space in Megan's house!

Mar 18, 2012, 11:11am Top

#172 - Wow. Thanks for sharing the photos. The damage was awful.

On a more positive note - my husband brews beer too (I don't really help. I just drink it.)! He's made three batches in the past month (none are ready to drink yet) - I believe a stout, a wheat, and an IPA, but I'm not 100% sure.

Mar 18, 2012, 12:02pm Top

Thanks for the photos from me, too. The dark ale looks delightful!

Mar 18, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Lucy: book swaps a a great idea, i think Ill start one at bookclub

Mark: When he shines he shines, that's for sure!

Paul: He is always keen to help in the kitchen, which means there is always more mess to clean up and things take twice as long, but hey.

Kerri: I dont help with anything but the drinking of the home brew either! Im liking the dark ales, but Im waiting for a stout to be ready

Darryl: I am definitely developing a taste for the more interesting beers now. Dark, I like, and stout even better.

Right thats it: we are off for a 3 day getaway today, to Lake Brunner on the West Coast (3-4 hours drive?). See you all in a few days, and thanks for visiting :)

Mar 18, 2012, 10:21pm Top

Hope you have a terrific time!
(You're gonna have your hands full when those boys grow up!)

Mar 19, 2012, 3:44am Top

Paul I don't think you need worry about pineapple lumps - but marmite has run out, this is such a catastrophe it has hit the news runs ..... Megan nothing to do with your boys ???

Mar 19, 2012, 7:59am Top

Alex I don't understand the attraction of marmite - that alone has delayed my trip to Autralasia by a decade or so!

Megan it is a guy thing messing up the kitchen. I don't think Wilbur will grow out of that one!

Mar 19, 2012, 8:24am Top

I want to join the others in thanking you for the pictures..
It certainly makes one stop and think.

Wilbur is such a cutie :)

Mar 20, 2012, 4:30am Top

Paul, I think you may be right, I don't get the allure or the taste, but my kid brother born down here used to live off the stuff .... must be something in the air or water ????

Mar 20, 2012, 11:28am Top

Lenny and Wilbur are both adorable children. Love the pics. The home-brew looks pretty yummy. Your Saint Paddy's Day sounds like a fun one!

Mar 21, 2012, 4:47pm Top

Cee: thanks Cee, great time away despite on paper it sounding a nightmare (6 stops on way there, car sickness, grizzly kids on way back, one kid not mine, had a vomit bug while there.....). But great weather, good company, good food, a lovely trip to the lake and my kids sleeping through the night made it a success :) :) :)

Alex/Paul: Marmite! Love it, not that British stuff though, that is like engine oil. Lenny has it on toast sometimes, and that is how we all get to love it...early indoctrination

Kath: Thanks for sayin' :) Hope you're well

Ellen: The home brew is pretty yummy, but it is kept in the garage, labelled in a way that means only the maker knows what kind of beer is actually inside. I wonder is this is deliberate? ;)

Mar 21, 2012, 4:59pm Top

Megan - engine oil - yeah that's the taste I was thinking of. SWMBO keeps giving me scary weather reports about NZ - how is the weather presently?

Mar 21, 2012, 5:06pm Top

haha Paul, weather not scary at all! I just had 3 perfect days at Lake Brunner. Back home here it is raining now though :(
We have very changeable weather patterns here, a southerly change can whip up the country bringing rain and wind on what can start as a beautiful calm day, but our forecasters are pretty much spot on so just keep an eye on the TV weather when you're here and you'll be fine.

Mar 21, 2012, 5:15pm Top

Thanks Megan I'll pass the message on to the scaremonger!

Mar 21, 2012, 5:49pm Top

Added thought Paul: I think you should head to Queenstown pretty soon after you get here as the Autumn colours down there are spectacular, and even though the nights are cold, the days are calm and lovely. Dont be scared to stay quite a few nights as i dont think you'll be disappointed, plus, you can always send the kids bungee jumping if they are getting rowdy!

Mar 21, 2012, 7:47pm Top

I'm from a marmite family too though we only go through a small jar each year as we don't eat that much bread. Most visitors to NZ don't realise that the trick is to 'thinly' spread it on toast not slather it on as a thick paste. Can't believe that my brother switched to vegemite, that stuff is revolting.

Sounds like you had a lovely few days at Lake Brunner.

Mar 22, 2012, 12:55am Top

>190 avatiakh: lol vegemite vs Marmite can sure drag up an intense conversation!


Busy today roasting and pureeing all our tomatoes that would otherwise soggify on the plants. Will make them into proper pasta sauce a a later date but dont want them to go to waste. We still have a heap of cherry toms so are eating them with every meal, and they are delicious. I feel very industrious! Now...back to reading....

Mar 22, 2012, 12:56am Top

LOL. If you really wanna start a fight ask a group this: peanut butter or nutella?

Mar 22, 2012, 4:33pm Top

>192 jillbone: Hi Jill, always happy to see a new face around here. And for my 2 cents worth, definitely peanut butter. But not that watery made in china stuff, the real crushed peanuts in a jar. With an oily slick on top. That's the good stuff :)

Mar 22, 2012, 5:01pm Top

Megan, I'm so glad that your thread was at the top today when I came by. I've read most of it now with a lot of enjoyment. Great kids' pics! Scary building pics! "bantal busuk" - Great! I still have my Suzy (a rag doll) and Suzy's blanket.
Good reading going on too! YOU say when we do The Bone People - just not until May at least, please. Jill, I was introduced to Nutella only a couple of years ago. LOVE! But you can't beat peanut butter either.

Mar 22, 2012, 5:26pm Top

Hi Peggy, OK, Ill finish Turn of the Screw and then A Quiet American and will start and finish Visitation and then Ill message you about The Bone People. I can guarantee this wont happen before May....but cant guarantee I'll be a fast reader of it :)

In all fairness, I havent had nutella in years, but consider it more chocolate than something to put on toast.

Mar 22, 2012, 6:26pm Top

I was just thinking how there was a tiny bit of Turn of the Screw in the book I'm reading) (The Magicians and Mrs. Quent when it pops up on your thread. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

Mar 22, 2012, 7:56pm Top

I am a fan of marmite.. but not on the flimsy gummy stuff that Americans think of as bread.
Better on the good saturday home made stuff. And only with good butter and spread nice and thin :)

Mar 23, 2012, 9:06am Top

I'd like to try Marmite once before I die just to see.
I really came back to recommend Dervla Murphy's travel books, especially the ones about taking her little daughter to the south of India and through the Andes. I read Eight Feet in the Andes a couple of years ago and loved it. The other is On a Shoestring to Coorg, and I loved that too. I'm never sure whether taking a child along on these dangerous jaunts is genius or insanity.

Mar 23, 2012, 9:27am Top

All this marmite talk. I use a lot of nutritional yeast flakes. Is that related? I know marmite has something to do with yeast.

Mar 23, 2012, 10:23am Top

Peanut butter for me, too. Chunky please! How nice to have a budding chef in the family, Megan. I agree that Wilbur has a killer smile.

Waaay upthread you mentioned The Torchlight List. Now who can resist another book about books? It's on my Amazon WL but it may be summer before I place another order. I'm still working my way through 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Ha! I think I'll have better success with 200 books.

Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 10:36am Top

Donna, as you say, at least the Torchlight List is a vague possibility (for me)! :-D

Megan, I haven't had Nutella in years. I look at it occasionally at the shop and I want to buy it but I'm afraid to have it in the house. Thinking of it as a toast option might open that up for me. I think I've been afraid I would have to run out and buy ice cream to put it on!

I have never tried marmite, but perhaps I will someday.

Mar 23, 2012, 10:40am Top

My wife and daughter love Nutella. We're going to try marmite when we visit Australia later this year.

Mar 23, 2012, 1:12pm Top

I absolutely detest marmite but they do have some good adverts:



The second advert is clearly a spoof on the party political broadcasts by the BNP (British National Party - a far right British political party) who retailiated by including a marmite jar on their own broadcast and then ended up paying a considerable amount of money to Marmite's makers in damages for using their brand without permission.

Mar 23, 2012, 4:25pm Top

Dejah:Im only a few pages into Turn of the Screw and it is coming over as very very old in its writing style to me. It might take me a while to get through it Id say :{

Kath: the thicker the bread and thinner the marmite is spread the better. Id better get the old bread maker cranking again I think, its had a few weeks off lately

Peggy: thanks for the recommendations, I will wish list them both unless they turn me off for some reason once I've had a closer look. People thought my folks were mad taking us to a country in the throws of a military dictatorship when we were 7-11 years old. But we all loved it and learned heaps.

Kerri: Marmite is made with yeast extract, so yea, I guess similar

Donna: budding chef? budding tornado more like :) hehe, I think he'll grow up to be an engineer or a lawyer, he likes to take things apart and the argue the finer points...

Mar 23, 2012, 4:30pm Top

Ellen: nutella on ice cream? Now that seals it, it is definitely not a spread, its a dessert item! I could probably eat it with a spoon and call it that anyway :)

Joe: Where are you visiting in Australia? Sounds fantastic. I bet you'll try lots more than just marmite there.

Rhian: NZ marmite is totally different from UK marmite. i wonder if youd like ours though as it is the same base really. Ours isnt so gluggy or thick.

Mar 23, 2012, 4:35pm Top

The east coast, Megan. Cairns and Brisbane and Sydney, with trips to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock and that kind of thing.

Mar 23, 2012, 4:35pm Top

Book 19
The Pearl by John Steinbeck

In my quest to find a Steinbeck to read, I was dismayed to find so many Alexander Mcall Smith novels on the shelves and so few Steinbecks next to him. I ended up grabbing this novella in desperation as it was one of the only ones I could find!

I loved this little book. It was everything I like in a story, descriptive yet spare, bleak yet meaningful. And the introduction gave good background about the authors life and what he might have been thinking when he wrote this book. 5 stars.

Mar 23, 2012, 4:40pm Top

I just looked on the review page for The Pearl and came across this review:
This book is so depressing, and beyond boring! DON"T READ IT. I only finished the book because I had to read it for my language arts class.

Hahaha, excellent. Talk about different strokes!

Hi Joe: the plan sounds alright to me. Im thinking sun, food, road trips and exploring. The great ocean road is supposed to be great, you're not going to miss out the Arts Capital of Australia are you? (Melbourne)

Mar 23, 2012, 4:57pm Top

We're going to have to miss Melbourne this time, Megan - it's kind of like wanting to see all of the U.S. in two weeks. There'll have to be another trip some day - we want to see NZ, too!

Edited: Mar 24, 2012, 2:04am Top

>209 jnwelch: It is so hard to see everything isnt it! I love Melbourne, but have never been to Cairns, spent only one night in Brisbane and only 4 nights in Sydney, so what do I know? If you are coming to NZ, I'll shout you a packet of Pineapple Lumps :)

eta: I ate nearly a whole packet of them the other day on the way back from Lake Brunner :/ Oh my bottomless pit of a stomach

Mar 24, 2012, 2:30am Top

Tempting more souls with pineapple lumps ..... lucky there is no shortage :)

Mar 24, 2012, 2:43am Top

true Alex! Not like Snifters and Tangy Fruits, (mot to mention Marmite). They were supposed to be stalwarts and have bitten the dust :(


A beautiful 27 deg C day today (80F), and if it wasnt for the NE wind I would have been sweltering. Went to the beach and braved the onshore wind behind a home made shelter, Lenny ate some sand and Wilbur screamed (literally) around the place yahooing and digging for treasure. Great day.

Mar 24, 2012, 7:52am Top

Hi Megan- I'm glad you loved The Pearl. I believe this was the 1st Steinbeck I had read, waaaaaaaaay back in grade school. It must have planted a seed. I should re-read it at some point.
Sounds like you are enjoying some gorgeous weather.

Mar 24, 2012, 8:30am Top

HI Megan! Glad your trip went (relatively) well!
What's the difference between marmite and vegemite? I tried vegemite many years ago when I was in australia, yuck! Give me peanut butter instead please ;)

Mar 24, 2012, 2:05pm Top

Mark: looks like your enforced reading of it at school went better than the other reviewer on the book page! I would like to read a few of Steinbecks now....particularly Cannery Row and The Wayward Bus. All thanks to the Steinbeck-a-thon!

Chelle: Vegemite and Marmite taste very similar, only the most discerning of Australasian palates can tell the difference! Its a sure bet that if you didnt like Vegemite, you wont like Marmite.
No matter anyway as Marmite has run out NZ-wide. The Sanitarium Factory that produces it here in Christchurch has been closed down due to earthquake damage, so they are moving production elsewhere.

Mar 24, 2012, 2:28pm Top

Megan have a lovely Sunday and keep the place warm for us please!

Mar 24, 2012, 2:40pm Top

Will do my best Paul
*puts thinking cap on*
Um, Im having trouble on figuring out how, but will keep trying.
But will definitely have a lovely Sunday, thanks.

Mar 25, 2012, 8:46am Top

Enjoying the Marmite, Vegemite discussion - it's something you have to eat as a wee spratling I think or forget it. When we were in Oz I tried it - (I have a bro who lives in Canberra), but it doesn't appeal. When the nephews are in the US we try to have some Veg. available for them since they love it.

Mar 25, 2012, 9:12am Top

Very sorry to hear about the Marmite outage! I hope they get production up and running again soon. In the UK it is advertised with the slogan "Love it or hate it", which is interesting because usually an advertiser wouldn't admit that anyone HATED their products. I think it's an attempt to make the LOVE camp eat more of it, because they're never going to convert the haters, let's face it.

Mar 26, 2012, 1:58am Top

>Lucy: definitely got to start them young if you want them to like things....thats why Im persevering with broccoli with my littlies!

>Susan: Sounds like they are embracing the controversy. People sure have strong feelings on the issue....I remember National Radio saying they had the most correspondence ever over which way people prefer the toilet paper roll to face!

But on to as/more pressing issues....my upper back pinged yesterday and as a consequence I couldnt turn my head to the left, lift my arms above my head, sit/stand without holding my head forward like I was looking down, or brush my teeth without sharp pains. I was moving very gingerly yesterday most of the day when I decided that I shouldnt be so silly, and just harden up. So I disregarded the slight pains and just moved as I would normally. Well, that resulted in such a sharp twinge that I ended up on my knees making some sort of animalistic groaning noise! (yes what a fool, I should have listened to my body's not so subtle messages).

So I ended up taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory and lying down for an hour while Lenny had a sleep and big bro was taken out for the afternoon. After a bad nights sleep I decided a trip to my favourite massage therapist was in order (my sister!). So we and the kids hung out all day and I got a half hour session on my head and neck. *large sigh* Phew, that and more drugs and I feel so much better now. Back pain is, IMHO, the worst! (although, lets face it, all pain sucks really).
So hooray to a pain free tomorrow (touch wood):)

Mar 26, 2012, 3:07am Top

I do think back/nerve pain is the worst ....... based on previous experience - take care & listen(!!) to your body.

Mar 26, 2012, 4:45am Top

Hmm! Interesting chat about marmite/ vegemite. I've read about it plenty, but I've never had the desire to try it! ;) I've always imagined a salty paste of some sort..

Mar 26, 2012, 5:06am Top

Can't resist linking to the Marmite advert that got banned in the UK:

Mar 26, 2012, 1:25pm Top

ow ow ow Megan. I hope your back's on the mend.

I have just scraped the last bits of Marmite out of the jar. How long did they say till we see it again? I missed lots of the fuss last week (except to note there was fuss) with head-in-assignment syndrome.

Mar 26, 2012, 3:29pm Top

>221 roundballnz: thanks Alex. It reminded me of other times Ive been to the Dr before and they have said to rest. And I have practically laughed in their face. Rest? During the day? With tornado #1 and hurricane #2 around the house? You must be joking. Ha, but I found a way the other day for the much needed lie down.

>222 vancouverdeb: Your imaginings arent that far off Deb! Think also of a condensed vege stock....tangy, tasty and salty on toast. YUM

>223 avatiakh: will come back to that one! thanks

>224 cushlareads: Oh no, on your last swipe of Marmite! Oh well, youll have to resort to vegemite I guess. Im still on 1/3 of my mid sized jar.....feeling a bit smug about the relative abundance of the stuff in my house :) Back on the mend, thank god for sisters~!

Mar 26, 2012, 3:36pm Top

>223 avatiakh: Kerry why did that ad get banned? Its great! I mean its not like it was a semi-clad bikini model jumping into a blob of marmite! haha

Mar 26, 2012, 7:30pm Top

I think it was because really young children were frightened of the blob and started refusing to watch tv anymore and some had nightmares.

Mar 26, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Megan/Kerry - I thought the advert a blast but I don't think it would have helped sales too much!

Mar 26, 2012, 8:19pm Top

Megan, I hope the back feels better soon!

Mar 26, 2012, 9:18pm Top

Ouch! Glad to hear that you got the best of the pain before it got the best of you!

Mar 27, 2012, 2:22am Top

Book 20
Sophie's Legacy by Lesley Elliott

This is the story of a beautiful and gifted young woman murdered by her ex-boyfriend and university lecturer here in NZ in 2009. It is written by her mother and is as much about her adored daughter as it is about the justice system and its failings in the dealings in their case.

The book starts with the gruesome telling of the author storming into her daughters room upon hearing screams to find her ex-boyfriend stabbing her, a lot of times. It is gut wrenching to read this account and it is heart wrenching to hear of the grief she, and her family, suffered through over the coming 18 months.

The story of the trial of the accused (and now convicted) killer is intertwined into this book as his refusal to plead guilty is what caused a lot of extra pain and grief for the family. He was seen doing it by the girls mother for goodness sakes, he didn't flee from the scene, and he confessed to the policeman who arrived first, while he still had blood on his hands. The institutionalised protection of the accused and the absolute lambasting of Sophie's character during the trial disgusted her family, and has since prompted a review in the use of using the defense of provocation in murder cases.

This was all over the news when it happened here, and it was a very good account from very close to home. Very very sad to read, but glad I did. 4 stars.

Mar 27, 2012, 2:24am Top

Kerry/Paul: oh yea, I guess it would be scary for littlies, but still, not as offensive as blatant nudity in the selling of cars or ice cream!

Ellen/Kath: back much better now, just a little bit of stiffness and inflammation, I need to get a massage more often. It was so delicious!

Mar 27, 2012, 8:00am Top

I liked the ad! Like it says -and I imagine it is true -you will either love or hate it!:)

Great review of Sophie's Legacy. Sounds like a difficult book to read.

Mar 27, 2012, 9:53am Top

Oh goodness, does it ever, but I'm glad to hear a) that her mother had the opportunity to share her story and b) that the book sounds like it allows the girl and her family some grace.

Mar 27, 2012, 3:06pm Top

Deb: thanks, it really gives an insight into how families of victims suffer in trials, apart from the trauma of the actual act, that they have to be tramatised further during the trial, is tough to read about.

Luxx: I forgot to mention that the mother actually started a foundation to help teach young women about the warning signs of being in an abusive relationship.

Mar 27, 2012, 3:33pm Top

Megan - I don't think I would be able to read the book, it was a horrific court case considering his obvious guilt. Her family suffered many times over.

Mar 27, 2012, 3:45pm Top

True Kerry, it was horrible to hear about in the media wasnt it. They guy was obviously coveting the attention and it was sick to see.

Mar 27, 2012, 8:46pm Top

I need to get a massage more often. Hear hear!!!

Mar 27, 2012, 9:34pm Top

Ellen, I definitely under utilise the what should be the benefits of having a massage therapist for a sister. Perhaps its because I remember when she was working full time as well as studying massage full time and she would often get requests from friends for massages, she would always oblige and I dont want to be one of the people who "uses" her :/


Funniest thing said today from 3.5 year old big bro:

W: "Shit shit shit"
M: why are you saying that?
W: because its what you say when something goes bang, or if mummy just about drops a big knife on daddys foot. (true, cant fault that reasoning)

Coupled with the freestyling that is currently being sung into his newest and favourite toy, a hollow plastic "microphone" that uses echo to kind of amplify the voice. (I know, what was I thinking? A three year olds voice needs amplification!!?)
Now if he could just call it a microphone instead of a microwave, he'd be sorted :)

Mar 27, 2012, 9:41pm Top

The kiddos at Lake Brunner. Lenny getting a mouthful of whatever's going! In this case pebbles and sticks. I spent a lot of time hooking stuff out. Big bro very keen on a kids wetsuit he found at the bach, wore it every day we were there :)

Mar 28, 2012, 12:35am Top

Great shot of Lenny (and Wilbur) Megan. Hope to see them soon.

Mar 28, 2012, 10:09am Top

Love the pic, Megan! Beautiful spot by the lake.

Mar 28, 2012, 10:36am Top

Love the young explanation of why one says, "shit shit shit"! Makes sense to me. :-)

Mar 28, 2012, 2:46pm Top

>241 PaulCranswick: Paul, If I can help it I wont be bringing either kiddo! But in actual fact, tagalong Lenny will probably be there :) Im pretty sure I never got taken long to international-book-enthusiast-meetings as baby, but I like to broaden my kids' experiences :)

>242 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen, there is a rope swing about 30 feet high just out of shot. I had a whirl on it and freaked Wilbur out, love doing that.

>243 jnwelch: the knife thing did actually happen, although there was only one "shit" uttered.....but Wilbur obviously doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good story

Mar 28, 2012, 2:50pm Top

He's a clever one, your Wilbur.

Mar 28, 2012, 3:03pm Top

Luxx: I fear you are right. Hes not quite at the gifted and talented range, but has a memory that amazes me, and a huge vocabulary and correct grammar.

Little Lenny is under the weather, poor little fella. This is characterised by aggressive head cuddling (mine), and intense hair snuggling pulling. Apparently he needs to have at least a few strands of my hair in his little fat fist while sucking his thumb - otherwise its just not worth it :) Super cute, and headache inducing.

Edited: Mar 28, 2012, 9:02pm Top

Book 21
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

I became invested in the character of Deeti early on, as she was the first person whose life was described in detail. I found I wanted to keep hearing more about her journey and hear how her story unfolded. But after her came character after character after character: them, their family relationships, their personal histories, and that of their maids or masters, their thoughts on the caste system, their favoured hair-care products and pets names. It all came pouring out.

Unfortunately it was all too much for me. The cast overload along with the unfamiliar names and words (Baboo Nob Kissin!? Really? How can I keep a straight face reading about someone called that?) has got me riled. Yes, he has done his research and can name items used in 19th C India. Well done Ghosh.
"...spare jugboolaks and zambooras, coils of istingis and rup-yan, stacks of seetulpatty mats, tobacco by the batti, rolls of neem-twigs for the teeth, martsbans of isabgol for constipation......"

But for me all this distracted from the story, and whatever good writing was actually in there. I couldnt get a sense of time or place that I would have liked from a novel about somewhere so different from where I am. 2 stars.

Mar 28, 2012, 9:19pm Top

Hi Megan!
Interesting review. I am reading this book right now. Can't say I do or don't like it yet - but it is certainly mind boggling trying to understand it - and yet, surprisingly I am getting it. Just wish there wasn't so much I don't understand (language-wise).

Holding further comment til I figure out what it is I do think of it.

Glad your massage was healing for you. You have a great sister :)

Mar 28, 2012, 9:21pm Top

So sorry to hear of your back pain woes. I hope you are feeling much better today.

I love the photos!

Great review of Sophie's Legacy!

Mar 28, 2012, 10:01pm Top

Megan- Sorry Sea of Poppies didn't work for you! I loved it from the beginning to the end. I never felt it got to "busy". Well, I hope your next book is better!

Love that Lenny! He's getting plenty of fiber with those sticks!

Claudia- Don't give up on SOP!

Mar 29, 2012, 2:40am Top

Cee: Mark is right, dont give up on SoP....it had me really wanting to read it, so it got me in, just not hooked. I hope you like it. You're right, I do have a great sister.

Linda: back nothing more than a tiny niggle now, so healing nicely. Thanks so much for asking. I hope your pain is manageable these days, I hope that doenst sound like a throwaway comment, as I really do hope it is.

Mark: I know! Disappointing...so now might be a good time to bow out of the GR of the sequel. Or not, who knows, I might want to see how he goes on #2! I think Im like Kath, the ones heaps of people love here on LT dont always resonate with me. Oh, well, onwards and upwards
*grabs one of the 7 books currently on the go and sets to it*

Mar 29, 2012, 12:09pm Top

Oh! Megan. I forgot to say I love your pic of the boys.
Different angle. I bet you planned that on purpose.
I think I had a few of the kids that were askew - but not meant to be.
Foreground/background... great perspective!
And oh how sweet that little Lenny is!!!

Mar 29, 2012, 5:15pm Top

Hi Cee- thanks for the glowing review of my photo. Photography is in my genes so everything I do is intentional :) Little Lennys gorgeous face is not something I could manufacture, lucky me as I wouldnt change a thing!


Off to meetup with Paul soon. How odd that feels to type :)
Hope the sun comes out soon so that poor old fallen down Christchurch doesn't make a bad impression *fiercely proud of my fallen-down-town*

Mar 29, 2012, 5:19pm Top

just skimming... sorry :( will try to do better soon..
great photo though :)

Mar 29, 2012, 5:26pm Top

Ka-ath! *in whinging Puh-LEASE tone*
Look after you and yours, visit me later, your plate is full :)

Mar 30, 2012, 2:48am Top

Successful LT meetup!
Met with Paul and his family at the outdoor "container mall" (shops trading in fitted out containers). The sun came out (phew) and we enjoyed a nice lunch and coffee before, of course, visiting Scorpio Books. Little Lenny displayed some very un-Lenny-like behaviour and grizzled almost the whole time, but thanks to Hani's magic touch, was placated in her arms. SWMBO? Nothing of the sort :)
I gave Paul a ridiculously oversized and over weight book (just the thing for the start of a 2 week trip, I know), and he reciprocated in getting me An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd. What a lovely family!

Mar 30, 2012, 5:16am Top

Sounds like a good time was had by all...except maybe Lenny.

Just wanted to let you know that I've created the Torchlight List 'awards' page - have now entered all 200 plus the extra 76 books that were on his list. http://www.librarything.com/bookaward/Torchlight%2520List

Mar 30, 2012, 5:36am Top

Megan - in top ten holiday park just outside C-Church and agree that it was a lovely meet-up. Your the first of my LT friends to meet with SWMBO and to realise that all that I type has at least a semblance of truth. Not got long on this metered internet access so I just wanted to say thanks so much. Your tale of the book you so kindly gave me tells nothing of the story of it which I will tell in detail when I have more time on line. Hope Lenny is not so chesty soon.

Mar 30, 2012, 7:24am Top

Hooray for lovely meetups! I'm happy you both had fun.

Mar 30, 2012, 11:25am Top

Yay for a fun meetup! Glad everything went well :)

Mar 30, 2012, 12:35pm Top

Delighted you met with Paul and family, Megan! How fun!

Mar 30, 2012, 12:37pm Top

Great to hear that you managed to meet up with Paul and his family. Hopefully pictures will turn up sooner or later:)

Mar 30, 2012, 1:12pm Top

What a lovely-sounding meetup! I vote photos too!

Mar 30, 2012, 1:39pm Top

Sounds great, Megan!

Mar 30, 2012, 1:50pm Top

Thanks for the meet-up report, Megan. I'm not sure what a "grizzling" baby does but I'm glad Hani was there to help. How lovely to meet Paul AND his family.

>257 avatiakh:: Thanks for posting the Torchlight List, Kerry. I've read 44 out of the 200. Lots of good reading ahead of me...some in books I've never heard of!

Mar 30, 2012, 2:40pm Top

Nice! All meetups have been reported to be wonderful. I am so glad that
you all met and had a good time :)

Mar 30, 2012, 4:51pm Top

>257 avatiakh: Kerry, that is great for you to have listed the whole list! Something I could have done surely, but didnt really know much about how....(excuses excuses)....now a great resource with easy access. Thanks!

>258 PaulCranswick: your good humoured banter with SWMBO made me smile :) And you two too! Glad you like the book, Little Lenny gave us a run for our money last night :( After multiple fruitless walks around the block, finally resorted to a midnight drive to get him to settle.

In fact, better get back to parenting duties now, and will reply to everyone else's comments soon!

Mar 30, 2012, 6:50pm Top

Luxx, Chelle, Nancy, Calm, Kerri, Joe, Donna and Kath

Since all your messages expressed a similar sentiment, I will reply in one fell swoop! Thank you, and yes, it was fun. Photos may surface from Paul's end....I allowed them to be taken with the proviso that I could veto any unflattering ones of myself (first rule of the internet!)

Donna: grizzly baby = one who wriggles, and makes sad noises and is generally unhappy. Being "out of sorts" may describe it better.

Mar 30, 2012, 9:49pm Top

Megan - just to confirm that the photo Yasmyne took and showed you passed muster OK? A rare one with me without specs.

Mar 31, 2012, 7:44am Top

lol @ concern about photos...

I think my sister looks fora the worst ones of me to post on FB.
I would mind, but I have posted some pretty awful ones myownself.
I am not much to look at as it is, but I photograph even worse.
( at least I hope that is the case, as that is what I tell myself)

Mar 31, 2012, 8:17am Top

How delightful your meet-up sounds!

I loved the 'shit, shit, shit' story, priceless!

Mar 31, 2012, 3:25pm Top

Paul: yes, the photos taken got the green light from me. Post away. And have fun cruising the arid highlands......if your kids are interested in some fun current NZ music get them to try Annah Mac or Ladi6. Could keep them happy in the backseat!

Kath: gotta put your best foot forward! :)

Lucy: thanks for the visit. Ill have to remember to post some more of Wilbur's Wise Words...he has a few choice comments.


Not visiting any one elses threads today probably as Little Lenny is miserable and I dont foresee much spare time today. Have been up since 4.30am (which in real time is 330am as daylight savings ended today), and had to resort to an aimless starlit drive to get Lenny snoozing! Poor sick kids, they dont have it easy, and neither do their mothers.

Mar 31, 2012, 9:22pm Top

Megan, glad (and unsurprised) to hear that you and Paul had a nice meet-up. Sorry little Lenny is so miserable, and I hope he feels better soon!

Apr 1, 2012, 10:52pm Top

Of course Paul is always "kidding"? about Hani - but now I am wondering just a little as Lenny seems to have caught on that Hani is SWMBO! She is the one who tamed the grizzly baby ;-)

At any rate, your meet-up sounds great!
Hoping you and Lenny get some restful sleep in your beds - very soon!

Apr 1, 2012, 11:57pm Top

Hi Ellen, Lenny is on the up. So that might mean I get more than 2 hours of sleep in a row tonight- hopefully. I am green with envy about Paul's holiday, I want to be going where he is! I know its silly though as I can just plan it and do it from where i am, it has actually reminded me of that :)

Cee: I think its safe to err on the side of humour with Paul!
Lenny is such a joy, I just hope he will be more of his happy self soon, as its so sad to see him whimpering instead of goo-ing!

Apr 2, 2012, 8:13am Top

I hope little Lenny is feeling better by now?

Apr 2, 2012, 8:53am Top

I remember someone telling me there would be days I wouldn't brush my hair, and i remember thinking, How Preposterous!

All my sympathies and hope you get some sleep!

Apr 2, 2012, 3:40pm Top

Kath: he is definitely on the up thanks for asking, he is decongesting, and the tissues are filling quicker than I can gather them. Better out than in as they say.

Lucy: haha! Preposterous indeed...*quickly puts hat on to cover un-washed un-brushed hair*.
I have at least had a *valid* reason to request a shower (as if to be clean is not valid enough), and that if for reasons of breastal relief...if you know what I mean :) Little Lenny has not been a fan of feeding lately, and Im feeling it!

In reading news, I'm most of the way through The Quiet American and am getting into it now. Was hard to get into it though as I was only managing a page or two at a time for a few days there *blocks out rousing chorus of "what else is new?"* :)

This topic was continued by Ireadthereforeiam- April, Come She Will.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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