Kerry (avatiakh) will be reading in 2017 #2
This is a continuation of the topic Kerry (avatiakh) will be reading in 2017.
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Mt Taranaki, one of the few things I loved about boarding school was getting to see this mountain on a daily basis.
A suitable boy by Vikram Seth - Apr-Jun group read
Missus by Ruth Park - iPod audio
To the green angel tower by Tad Williams
The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists by David Burke
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Lo Kuan-Chung - tbr pile
My Year in books 2016
My 2017 category challenge:
1) ANZAC - Australia / New Zealand literature
2) Israel & Jewish World literature
4) Young at Heart - children's & YA
5) Scifi & fantasy
6) Books in Translation
7) The Big Read - doorstoppers & series
8) Challenges - CATS, TIOLI & Theme reading
9) Anthologies, short stories, essays, poetry
10) Thrillers - adventure, crime & espionage
Overflow / General Fiction
ANZAC challenge 2017
ANZAC Bingo 1x25
1: Read a book set around WW1 - Somme Mud by E.P.F. Lynch
2: Read a dystopian novel - The Quiet Earth by Craig Harrison
3: Read a book published between 1950-1979 - Living in the Maniototoby Janet Frame (1979)
4: Read a book about convicts or forced migration - The Second Bridegroom by Rodney Hall
5: Read a book by a dead author - The Godwits Fly by Robin Hyde
6: Read a book from a 'best of' list - The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
7: Read a book with a rural setting - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan
8: Read a book with yellow on the cover - Between Sky and Sea by Herz Bergner
11: Read a journal/memoir (can be fiction) - Looking for Darwin by Lloyd Spencer Davis
12: Read a book about colonists/settlers - Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
13: Read a book with a name in the title - The Legend of Winstone Blackhat by Tanya Moir
14: Read a fantasy novel - The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan
15: Read a book about the goldrush - It's raining in Mango by Thea Astley
18: Read a book by a young writer under 35yrs - While we run by Karen Healey
19: Read a book with a school/education setting - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
21: Read a book with a # or quantity in the title - Sixty Lights by Gail Jones
22:Read a book about a marriage - Perfect Couple by Derek Hansen
23:Read a young adult book - My sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
24: Read a book by an indigenous writer - Mutuwhenua by Patricia Grace
25: Read a book with an animal/bird on the cover - All the green year by Don Charlwood
I've added titles but reserve the right to chop and change as the year progresses.
75er & other Reading challenges
I participate in the monthly TIOLI challenge and occasionally get a book read for the BAC (British Author Challenge), the Nonfiction Challenge here in the 75er group. In the category challenge group I've joined in a few already and I also try to read a book for the almost defunct Orange/Bailey's Jan/July group.
Group/shared Reads I'm hoping will get underway:
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth - May
The glorious heresies by Lisa McInerney
Plans for February:
Reposting all the books I noted for reading in January minus the one I did read...sigh
To green angel tower by Tad Williams, the final book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy - read one chapter
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra - read one chapter
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (14th century Yuan Dynasty) - my slow read for the year
King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett
The glorious heresies by Lisa McInerney - Orange/Baileys Jan read
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht - my AwardCat Jan read (category challenge group)
The secret book of kings by Yochi Brandes
The wish child by Catherine Chidgey - ANZAC read
Tell the truth, shame the devil by Melina Marchetta - listening
Blood Moon by Garry Disher
Shylock's Daughter by Mirjam Pressler - reading
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
Girl at War by Sara Nović
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
and lots more
Poldark group read:
#1 Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
#2 Demelza by Winston Graham
Reposting my lastest review:
29) Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley (2014)
This was an interesting read about the Marine's combat hunter program and how you can use some of the tactics to keep yourself safe as the world evolves into an increasingly unsafe place. The term left of bang is referring to noticing and taking some sort of action before an incident (bang) rather than reacting to one that is/has taken place (right of bang). This involves becoming self aware of one's situation, the environment, becoming more observant of others.
'Staying left of bang, write Van Horne and Riley (the son of a police officer), starts with enhancing your observational skills. Drawing on scientific research findings, they describe in detail how to detect and analyze suspicious human behavior in six “domains” that “communicate current emotions and possibly future intentions” to determine a potential threat. The domains, or cue sources, are:
Kinesics, people’s conscious and subconscious body language
Biometrics, human beings’ “uncontrollable and automatic biological responses to stress”
Proxemics, the way subjects use the space around them and interact with surrounding people
Geographics, reading familiar and unfamiliar patterns of behavior within a given environment
Iconography, the expression of beliefs and affiliations through symbols, and
Atmospherics, “the collective attitudes, moods, and behaviors present in a given situation or place.”
The book points out that by searching for “clusters” of cues from these domains, you can learn to enhance your abilities to observe your surroundings and improve the skills you already possess.' - https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/situational-awareness-lets-stay-left-bang/
Some of the videos mentioned in the book can be found here:
So what did you think of it?
I found it interesting. On a personal level we were already aware of the need to observe and keep safe, my husband is from Israel, so it's sort of ingrained. I'll probably recommend it to my daughter as she lives in London and travels around Europe quite frequently with her partner.
It does add to your understanding of military procedures and gives you a lot of respect for the soldiers out in war zones having to patrol in areas where the enemy could be anyone in plain sight.
Is it safe? Happy new thread!! I'll have to come back to see what you'v filled in. : )
What I'm actually reading:
Sacred Games - slow read
Shylock's Daughter - YA based on The Merchant of Venice, not really wowing me as yet
Strange Star - YA, just started, Lord Byron, Percy & Mary Shelley sitting in the dark & telling ghost stories
The Severed Land - YA fantasy, good so far
Good People - just started, maybe a bit too wordy
Lauren Yanofsky hates the Holocaust - YA, a typical teen novel, Lauren would rather hang out with the cool kids than go to after school classes at the Jewish Centre
Tell the truth, shame the devil - Melina Marchetta's first adult novel, also not grabbing me
The world of Edena - graphic novel, stalled
Happy new thread. I can barely keep up with the three I have on the go at the moment, let alone the number you are juggling! Some of them look very good!
29) Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan (2006)
I loved the artwork by Niko Henrichon, so much orange and yellow. This is based on the true story of the lions that escaped from the zoo in Baghdad during the initial US air raids in 2003. The lions all have different survival instincts which makes the storyline compelling. At the back of the book is a section devoted to initial concept art which is always interesting to look at.
From wikipedia: 'IGN named Pride of Baghdad the Best Original Graphic Novel of 2006, calling it a "modern classic", and commenting that the book "can be enjoyed on several levels. Those wanting a 'simple' tale of survival and family will find that. Those wanting a powerful, gripping analogy of war will find that as well. Writer Brian K. Vaughan was also careful to avoid pinpointing any one particular viewpoint—each lion represents a different attitude, which is refreshing since many books do not allow that choice.'
Elmer: a comic book by Gerry Alanguilan (2009)
This was originally self published in 4 issues by Filipino writer/artist Alanguilan before finding a publisher and coming out in one volume. This was one that I'd never have come across except for browsing through Cart's Top 200 Adult Books for Young Adults. An unlikely premise but a highly enjoyable read. The artwork is good, so many chicken drawings, what a feat to turn so many into individuals. I liked how so many of the chickens fought back, had strong menacing personalities and protected their right to no longer be eaten.
Imagine a sudden white flash across the world and chickens all around the world waking up with the equivalent of human intelligence. At first chaos and killing both of humans and chickens. Battery farm chickens finally take revenge, fighting cocks long bred for their killing instincts form gangs. Later the UN accepts chickens into the human family. All this seen through the lens of one chicken family, in the present the assimilated adult children who have gathered at their family home as their parents are ailing, and also through a diary kept by the father, Elmer, as he navigates those first months and years of chaos, prejudice and learning.
Mister Doctor: Janusz Korczak and the Orphans of the Warsaw Ghetto by Irène Cohen-Janca (2015)
I found this children's story about the orphans and Janusz Korczak really inspiring. The text succeeds to convey the spirit of Korczak's philosophy of respect, honour and kindness that made his orphanage so different. There are hints of fairy tale and also mentions of his character Matt from King Matt the First, the children carry a King Matt flag when they enter the ghetto for the first time. Overall a very good children's story about a very sad event in human history.
The artwork is by Italian Maurizio Quarello and looking at his other work it appears to be quite a departure. Here he uses graphite pencils on a tinted background to great effect.
A youtube presentation of the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUgdKA_BQVY
A more informative review here: https://thechildrenswar.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/mister-doctor-janusz-korczak-orphans-of.html
Janusz Korczak: "The lives of great men are like legends-difficult but beautiful, "
'Janusz Korczak once wrote, and it was true of his. Yet most Americans have never heard of Korczak, a Polish-Jewish children´s writer and educator who is as well known in Europe as Anne Frank. Like her, he died in the Holocaust and left behind a diary; unlike her, he had a chance to escape that fate-a chance he chose not to take.
His legend began on August 6, 1942, during the early stages of the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto-though his dedication to destitute children was legendary long before the war. When the Germans ordered his famous orphanage evacuated, Korczak was forced to gather together the two hundred children in his care. He led them with quiet dignity on that final march through the ghetto streets to the train that would take them to "resettlement in the East" -the Nazi euphemism for the death camp Treblinka. He was to die as Henryk Goldszmit, the name he was born with, but it was by his pseudonym that he would be remembered.
It was Janusz Korczak who introduced progressive orphanages designed as just communities into Poland, founded the first national children´s newspaper, trained teachers in what we now call moral education, and worked in juvenile courts defending children's rights. His books How to Love a Child and The Child´s Right to Respect gave parents and teachers new insights into child psychology. Generations of young people had grown up on his books, especially the classic King Matt the First, which tells of the adventures and tribulations of a boy king who aspires to bring reforms to bis subjects.
It was as beloved in Poland as Peter Pan and Alicein Wonderland were in the English-speaking world. During the mid- 1930s, he had his own radio program, in which, as the "Old Doctor," hedispensed homey wisdom and wry humor. Somehow, listening to his deceptively simple words made his listeners feel like better people.
At the end, Korczak, who had directed a Catholic as well as a Jewish orphanage before the war, had refused all offers of help for his own safetyfrom his Gentile colleagues and friends. "You do not leave a sick child inthe night, and you do not leave children at a time like this," he said.' - from http://korczak.com/Biography/kap-1who.htm
>12 avatiakh: - Wow, you are right, Kerry. I had not heard of him. What a man he was. I will look for this book! Thanks for a great review.
>13 jessibud2: I also wasn't aware of him until a few years ago. By chance I picked up a copy of The king of children and although I have yet to read it, I was inspired to look out for his children's fiction. I've read both King Matt the First and Kaytek the Wizard, both are very good. The book of Aron is a recent fiction novel about his children's orphanage in the ghetto. Now I want to read more nonfiction about his life before the war.
>14 avatiakh: - Ok, how is this for spooky (or karma, however you interpret such things.) I was emailing with a close friend in the States (near Boston) who is in for the evening because she is snowed in and their road hasn't been plowed. Here is exactly what she wrote me, not an hour ago:
"I read a very fine and sad and moving book about Janus Korczak today. I barely left the living room, let alone the house. The title is The Book of Aron; it's by Jim Shepard who teaches at Williams College in the western part of Mass. (Massachusetts)
I heard the author speak last year at the JCC and bought it thinking I'd read it right away. But I did read it today. Actually short but not easy to work my way through. Very fine. Very sad."
Now, what are the odds that, having never heard of Korczak before today, suddenly I read about him twice, in one evening, from different parts of the world? I think maybe this is a sign that I must go find either the book you recommended or the one my friend did. By the way, I hope you won't mind but I copied your review to her, as I had to tell her about this unusual coincidence, too!
The storyteller by Evan Turk (2016)
I wanted to explore the art in this book but found the story really interesting as well. It's a nonfiction picturebook relating myths from Morocco, an Arabian Nights style plot. The artwork is sort of a blend of traditional with modern, the intricate with the suggestive sweep of bold lines. A lot to enjoy especially the bold colours.
There's a good article here on Turk's love affair with both Moroccan art and oral storytelling: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/articl...
and a book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKV_ZBRRzXo
From the publisher: 'From Ezra Jack Keats 2015 New Illustrator Honor recipient Evan Turk comes his debut work as author-illustrator: an original folktale that celebrates the power of stories and storytelling.
Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, refreshing water to quench the thirst of the desert, and storytellers to bring the people together.'
>15 jessibud2: Wow, that is a coincidence! I recommend reading both Mister Doctor and The book of Aron, they are quite different. As I said above his children's books are both well worth reading and of course less sad.
There's a poignant sculpture at Yad Va shem in Jerusalem to memoralise him and the children.
Totally different from your post in >16 avatiakh:, but for some reason, I was reminded of another children's book I have, this one based on a true story. It's called The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter and while the artwork is more naïve and not all that outstanding (in my opinion), the story is amazing. It tells of a woman in Basra, a port city in Iraq, who was a librarian. Her library housed 30,000 books, of many languages. Her library was also a community meeting place, here people gathered to talk about books, and matters of the world and of the spirit. But when war came, and she wanted to move the books to a safer place to escape the bombs, she is refused permission from the governor. So she does what any booklover would do: she goes undercover. She moves them a few at a time, by herself, and then, recruits the help of friends and neighbours. Having successfully moved them, the library is indeed, bombed but most of the books are saved. This story was first revealed to the world by a New York Times reporter who heard about it when she was in Iraq. Portions of the sales of the book were donated to a fund to help rebuild the library. I think the NYT article appeared in 2003.
Am interested to see your reading (well starting to) Sacred Games which is a chunkster I have had on the shelves a while and also a Maurice Gee. He is a writer I want to read much more of but who is impossible to find over here. It will be quicker to use book depo and amazon in the UK when I move there and the libraries may also have some.
Happy new thread, Kerry. xx
>21 jnwelch: Hi Joe, oh yes, I loved Pride of Baghdad, those lions were quite something. I haven't picked up The World of Edena lately as it's such a big book, I'm not ready yet to commit the time to it. Probably later this coming week as it's library due date draws near. I was intrigued that it started as a commission job for Citroen Motors and the opening story features an old Citroen. The introduction to the book was quite absorbing.
>22 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. I'm being pressed by library books so having less time for the books from my own shelves so haven't been reading much from Sacred Games though it will become a frontrunner in the next few days as I wrap up a couple of YA reads. So far it looks to be a great sprawling yarn and an enjoyable one at that.
The Severed Land is Maurice Gee's latest book, it's a YA fantasy, he does fantasy very well. I have most of Gee's books, picked up in used bookstores from time to time. I'm sure you'll have much more luck in England.
>10 jessibud2: I never answered this query. I start lots of books, read a chapter or the first 25-50 pages and then settle on a couple to read straight through. The others I'll pick up from time to time and read a chapter here and there until I can't put them down and then they will become my priority read.
So many book bullets here Kerry. I loved The Book of Avon, so moving, so will look for the picture book too.
And I hadn't read either of the books discussed set in Baghdad, so will add those too. I am meeting the young man from the refugee group who I passed on Alpha (or rather encouraged him to take out from the library) this week, and so am keen to hear what he makes of it.
>24 charl08: Will be interesting to see his reaction to that GN.
>25 DianaNL: Wave to Diane. Love kittens.
>26 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. Yes, all of Mt Taranaki. It resembles Mt Fuji in Japan and while I hated the boarding aspect of my high school years, I did love the school & that wonderful mountain and living by the sea.
30) Shylock's Daughter by Mirjam Pressler (1999 German) (2000 Eng)
This is a retelling of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and comes with a short essay by Professor Brian Murdoch who discusses the book, Venice and the play.
I'm no longer familiar with all the ins and outs of the play so was fairly taken aback by Jessica's elopement with Lorenzo, mainly because of her robbing her father when she did it. There are a few extra characters including a foster sister for Jessica who is much more deserving of our attention. The book follows the plot of the play, including the 'pound of flesh' though we don't get to visit the court room scene.
What the book does very well is outline the life for Jews in the Venice Ghetto in 1568, the differences between Ashkanazi, Marrano & Sephardhi Jews living in Venice at the time. It also explains the reasons behind the Jews agreeing to live in the ghetto.
Hi Anne, yes the book is very beautiful. I came across some of the images online and had to see the book itself after that.
Oh yes, King Matt the First is good. He wants to be a good king, but you can't agree with everyone as he soon finds out. I've just ordered by interloan his Big Business Billy, it seems to be quite rare but our National Library has a copy.
'...the hero is a child who is learning the ways of a man of business. Billy does everything an entrepreneur should do. Moreover, Billy is determined to run his business with the highest standard of ethics. As in Korczak's other masterful pieces of children's literature, most notably "King Matt the First," our hero ends up in ever deeper trouble, mainly because he cannot fit in the adult world. In other words, the world of the adult is not a friendly place for children; in fact, it can be downright hostile....'
>29 avatiakh: I love how your pile of books for your Mom is driving your need to visit!! LOL. I am sure you are a popular visitor.
>32 Berly: Well, since she had her cataract eye operations she's swung back into reading and driving big time. She went through 6 months last year almost blind, luckily the operations went well.
>33 arubabookwoman: I'm looking forward to sinking into Sacred Games, just need to clear a couple more library books.
I had just recommended The Bad-ass Librarians of Timbuktu the day before to Shelley, so was rather serendipitous to find it on the shelf at the charity shop.
>34 nittnut: Hi Jenn, Left of Bang was a good read, not my usual subject matter, but the human behaviour aspect was very interesting and if I learnt anything it was trust your instincts.
Mister Doctor is a beautiful book, gave me more than I expected.
>35 brodiew2: Hi Brodie - Pride of Baghdad is well worth looking out for.
>36 avatiakh: So glad that the operations went so well for her. That's awesome!!
31) Lauren Yanofsky hates the Holocaust by Leanne Lieberman (2013)
YA / Canada
I found a list of YA Jewish reads a while back and requested several that sounded interesting from my library - this was one of them, the title alone made it worth a look. It's a mixed bag sort of read, one I would have abandoned except I decided to finish it to see where Lauren ends up. Lauren is a 16 yr old high school student, she's ditched her Jewish school for a public high school. In fact, since her bat mitzvah she 's given up on being Jewish. She used to be obsessed about the Holocaust to the point that she suffered panic attacks, her grandmother was a survivor and her father is a lecturer on Holocaust studies. It seems her whole Jewish identity rests with the Holocaust and nothing more. Mostly it's a typical high school romance story, though through it all Lauren continues to struggle with her Jewish identity.
I suppose when I read YA Jewish fiction I want the main character to accept their Jewish identity and be stronger for it. Here Lauren is a mess, she's rejected her ties to Reform Judaism, but it doesn't seem to have helped. The parents don't seem to care that their child has rejected their identity, she even burns her bat mitzvah certificate.
I could go on but I'll leave it here.
Gosh, lucky picking up that second hand copy of the librarians of Timbuktu. Looking forward to reading that one.
Willy & Max by Amy Littlesugar (2006)
A Holocaust story around the friendship between two Belgium boys, one of whom is Jewish. Willy's family promise to look after a painting, The Lady, belonging to Max's family when the Nazis arrive and take valuables from Max's home. However someone informs on Willy's family having contact with Jews, so their antique shop is raided. Many years later in the USA, Willy is contacted, authorities have found the painting and because of a photo of the two boys attached to the back of The Lady, they've identified him. Willy, an old man now is determined to track down Max to give him his painting back. He locates Max's family, Max has recently died, but his family finally gets the painting that Max talked about so much. A good story that could lead to much discussion. There is nothing too upsetting in this story. Illustrated by William Low.
The author's note tells about The Commission for Art Recovery and stolen Jewish art.
The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust co-written and co-illustrated by Karen Gray Ruelle & Deborah Durland DeSaix (2010)
This was quite fascinating. During World War Two the Muslims of Paris helped many North African Jews and small children pass as Muslim and avoid capture by the Nazis. At the time most of the Paris based Muslims were Berbers from Kabylia in Algeria. The Kabyle were also active in the resistance, hiding people in the mosque for a few days before getting them out of Paris. The Nazis were less likely to search the premises thoroughly as they didn't want to stir up trouble with any North Africans while they had a war on in the North African desert.
The author got most of their material from interviews with Derri Berkani who made a documentary on the 'forgotten resistance' in 1990. The illustrations are quite lovely, the coverart especially.
32) The World of Edena by Moebius (2016)
This started out in 1983 as a commission by car manufacturer Citroën. The first chapter has a classic vintage Citroën driving across an unknown planet. I won't go into details, not sure really how to describe it, except to say it's set in outer space and you get a bit mixed up eventually as to what is dream and what is reality. The artwork is excellent.
Harvey by Hervé Bouchard, illus. Janice Nadeau (2009)
children's graphic novel
This just scrapes in as a graphic novel, the illustrations dominate too much to call it an illustrated novel, though the strip layout is missing. The plot is fairly simple, it's about Harvey's reaction to his father's sudden death. We meet Harvey and his younger brother (who is taller than Harvey) coming home from school to see a small crowd and ambulance outside their home. It hits the spot emotionally and the illustrations are very well done.
The author is from Quebec and the character names and feeling of the book reflect that.
Cloth Lullaby: the woven life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Noveesky, illus. Isabelle Arsenault (2016)
A very effective blend of word and illustration to portray the life of an unusually creative woman, sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The illustrations are a delight, lots of detailed look at fabrics and how they are woven.
From wikipedia: Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) was a French-American artist. Best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious. Although Bourgeois exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists and her work has much in common with Surrealism and Feminist art, she was not formally affiliated with a particular artistic movement.
Miracle Man: the story of Jesus by John Hendrix (2016)
Hmmm.....I was interested in reading this one, a colourful jazzed up looking treatment of the story of Jesus. The book plunges us into Jesus's life at about midpoint when he's already an adult and about to perform some miracles. The first lot of text describes the land as 'dry and dusty', 'people were in need', 'the land was a sick place, in need of healing', '...blind place...' and '...thirsty place...'
I had a few issues with this book, possibly I'm too sensitive but I like to see these books give a balanced treatment to historical events and biblical stories - here, the Roman soldiers are drawn to resemble perhaps Persian soldiers, anyway not Roman though they have Roman weaponry, the local people are well drawn. No mention of the towns, Jerusalem even or Galilee though it looks like the author's focus was on the message not the details.
I will say that the illustrations are skilfully done, detailed and there's lots to look at, some I didn't particularly like or were too hard to read, but overall it's all so bold and larger than life, which again is probably the effect the writer/artist was after.
In his author's note Hendrix says he's stripped the Gospel of Matthew of many details in order to tell his own version of the story and to focus on Jesus, the individual himself.
..so if you want a modern looking adaption of the story of Jesus, this is for you...'
I think it would work well if it was used along with other dryer texts on the life and gospel of Jesus.
Happy New(ish) Thread, Kerry! Love the Mt Taranaki topper. Gorgeous. It looks like the books are treating you well. Have a great weekend.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (2016)
Before I read this I noticed that there was some criticism by childlit experts that I follow about cultural aspects/cultural appropriation of the book. It's possible to read this book and enjoy it for what it is and not even notice what draws the ire of some Mexican or Native American children's literature people. One commentor (Yuyi Morales) makes the point that ghosts aren't part of the Day of the Dead tradition and that it's celebrated on Nov 2, not Halloween.
For me the story was ok, a family move to a new town in California and find out that it is full of ghosts who appear to mix and mingle with the living on the night of Halloween. However the celebration is more in the style of the Mexican Day of Dead. I didn't gel with the characters in the book and would definitely recommend her other graphic novel, Drama over this one.
You read such an eclectic collection of books!! I need to branch out more....
>49 msf59: Hi Mark, I'm currently enjoying an adult novel (finally!) The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, takes a little perseverance but is now quite captivating.
>51 jessibud2: >53 nittnut: I hope you can get a look at the book. I maybe overstated the amount of detail on fabrics, but her family's business was restoring tapestry so there was quite a bit about sewing and repairing weaves etc.
>52 Berly: I've spent a lot of time lately on illustrated books, so good to get back to an actual proper novel. I like to mix it up as the artwork in some picturebooks is quite amazing.
33) The invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach (2016)
A very moving story. Heaven knows where Stambach got the idea for this one but it really worked a subtle magic on me for all the depressing world it encompassed. Ivan has lived in the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus since he was left on the doorstep seventeen years earlier as a newborn. He's a product of Chernobyl, severely deformed but with a fierce intellect and a devourer of books. Into his barren world comes Polina, sixteen yrs old, recently orphaned and dying of leukemia. She's smart, funny and irreverent. In her short time at the hospital they become more than friends. This won an Alex Award (2017) - given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.
Stambach is interesting, I had a peek at his bio - 'Scott Stambach lives in San Diego where he teaches physics and astronomy at MiraCosta and Mesa colleges. He also collaborates with Science for Monks, a group of educators and monastics working to establish science programs in Tibetan Monasteries throughout India. '
The Sam and Lucy Fables by Alan Bagnall, ill. Sarah Wilkins (2016)
Oh, this was fun. A collection of short stories starring Sam and Lucy, two smart little pigs.
'We learn how whales got to the sea, how bus drivers learn not to stay stopped just because it's a bus stop, how fish learned to read (in schools of course) and how not to despair because your computer has crashed.'
Alan Bagnall is well known here for writing many stories for the Education Department's school reading programme. Wilkins has built a career doing graphics for magazines, editorials and the occasional collaboration for picturebooks.
Thirty three books plus already Kerry. I think 200 is definitely on the cards despite your pessimism pre-start.
Have a great Sunday.
34) The Severed Land by Maurice Gee (2017)
Always something to celebrate when Gee pens another book, this one a children's fantasy. He had retired from writing some years ago, but the image of Fliss sitting in a tree and watching soldiers chase a drummer boy to the wall, the impenetrable wall that she now lives safely behind, was too strong and once again he put pen to paper.
There's been so much talk in the media about building walls, so quite interesting to read about a fantasy wall, one that divides the land between the colonisers and the native tree people. A wall that decides who can cross over and live safe from slavery and hate.
35) Tell the truth, shame the devil by Melina Marchetta (2016)
Marchetta's first adult novel is a crime mystery. Bish Ortley is a suspended policeman who gets caught up in an investigation into a terrorist bombing of a bus full of high school students in Calais as his estranged daughter was on the bus. He rushes across the channel and is one of the first of the parents on the scene, making crucial bonds with the surviving children and parents and with the French investigators. One of the girls has gone missing and it's quickly revealed that she's the daughter of a notorious terrorist from a bombing 13 years earlier that Bish had investigated. Was she the bomber or was she the bomber's target? All up is a huge mystery that unravels and reveals many secrets in a totally satisfying read.
>63 avatiakh: Sounds like gripping reading Kerry.
Good luck with getting back to your piles of your own books. I am being distracted by e books at the moment.
Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild by Katie Cotton (2015)
A counting book of beautiful wildlife portraits of endangered animals designed to create awareness of the plight of the world's wildlife. The artwork by Stephen Walton is stunning. The book itself is large size.
>66 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - I believe that I have all his books, easier for me to accumulate through the used bookshops here. I've read all his children's and YA work and several of his adult books. I'm also intending to read them all eventually.
>64 charl08: Hi Charlotte - I'm collecting less books from the library of late, so there's hope.
36) Blood Moon by Garry Disher (2009)
Inspector Hal Challis #5. Continuing this series and really enjoying the ensemble cast of characters of detectives and uniformed cops. I've already downloaded the next book onto my phone to read, I now have three e-library books to get through.
Last night I watched the first Jack Irish tv movie which stars Guy Pearce. It was quite good and encourages me to look out for this series by Peter Temple when I finish up reading Garry Disher, the first book is Bad Debts. There's 3 tv movies and also a newer tv series all starring Guy Pearce. I think the books will be good judging by what I've seen.
37) Rump:The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff (2012)
This was a great retelling of Rumpelstilsken, told from the POV of Rumpelstilsken, so this time our sympathies lie with him rather than the miller's daughter.
Another good retelling was the YA fantasy by Elizabeth Bunce, A curse as dark as gold.
38) Strange Star by Emma Carroll (2016)
This was a great little read also. Lord Byron, Percy & Mary Shelley are all characters in this tale which echoes some of the real-life inspirations for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The party of Englishfolk, staying in a villa on Lake Geneva are sharing scary ghost stories, Mary Shelley is stuck for a story to tell when her turn comes round. At that moment an insistent knocking on the door scares them all, at the door is a girl, scarred, blind and almost dead from exhaustion. When she recovers she has a tale to tell...she has followed them from England, from the last place they stayed before they came to Europe...a tale of a scientist with a crazy idea.
39) The girl who drank the moon by Kelly Barnhill (2016)
This won the 2017 Newbery Award. A great children's fantasy, lots of magic and a strong plot. I did find the ending stretched out rather a lot but overall a very satisfying read.
Once a year the people of the Protectorate leave the town's youngest baby out in the woods as an offering to the witch who dwells in the deepest, darkest part of the woods. So the people suffer from great sorrow and some mothers can't accept the loss of the child, still it's more bearable than the wrath of the witch...who is this witch, and how evil is she?
>70 avatiakh: Interesting title, Kerry. What is the follow up : "The Boy who Munched the French Wondows"?!
Have a lovely weekend.
>70 avatiakh: I can't wait to read that one. It's a long wait list, but I will get it eventually.
40) Another Me by Eva Wiseman (2016)
YA historical fiction
This is set in 14th century Strasbourg, France and based around the true story of how 2,000 Jewish inhabitants were burned alive by their fellow citizens, blamed for the Black Plague that spread quickly among the inhabitants. Because of Jewish customs of cleanliness, they were less likely to catch the plague and so were under suspicion.
Natan is in love with Elena, a Christian girl. One night after sneaking a visit to her, he comes across Kaspar, a butcher and his thugs poisoning the town well, they plot to blame it on the Jews.
I didn't gel so much with the characters in this story, unfortunately Natan is killed early on and his soul ends up in the body of Elena's father's worker, an ugly, squat fellow with greasy hair, so every time Elena talks to Natan she has to deal with the ugliness of the body he now inhabits. Still, it sheds light on an awful event from the past,and I'll look out for other historical fiction.
Little bit annoyed as two of my interloan requests haven't been fulfilled. Big Business Billy by Janusz Korczak is in our National Library but looks like it is a non-loan item. Shame so now I'll look out for Korcak's nonfiction on education issues instead.
Also nonavaiable in New Zealand is From Swastika to Jim Crow: refugee scholars at Black colleges by Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb looked like an interesting read. I read an article last week, about how after fleeing the Nazis, many Jewish refugee professors found homes at historically black colleges in the south.
There's a documentary based on the book as well - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4DecqDTB3Y
Pickups from the library:
Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo - loved her debut novel and waited ages for this to come in
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman - Regency paranormal - hoping it's good.
The girl from everywhere - time travelling YA
My focus for the rest of Feb is to concentrate on Sacred Games.
Yesterday I came home from the CBD via Onehunga which is home to my favourite used bookstore, The Hard to Find Bookshop - took a few photos as I do from time to time.
That's my pile of books on the chair in the second photo, I culled it down a bit before going to the counter.
To the wild sky by Ivan Southall - YA, a Text Classic series that I'm collecting
The Magician's Wife by Brian Moore - saw this mentioned a few times on LT
Early Dawn by Lev Kassil - a Soviet era writer of children's books
The Witch at Wellington Library by Maxine Schur - children's reader
Palestine: retreat from the mandate by Michael Cohen
>78 ronincats: Ok, tried to take them straight from dropbox. Have reloaded them from photobucket
41) Cardboard by Doug TenNapel (2012)
YA graphic novel
This was fun. Cam lives with his Dad who is out of work and skint. So for Cam's birthday he ends up bringing home a cardboard box. He's paid 78c for it from some wiseguy and they'll be able to do some construction fun with it. However Cam's Dad forgets that there were two rules regarding the cardboard - 1) bring back all the scraps 2) Don't ask for more. Turns out that this is not just any cardboard box...
I just finished Wolf Hollow yesterday - have you read it, yet? Ohmygosh, it's amazing!
Du iz tak? by Carson Ellis (2016)
This was a Caldicott Honor Book (2017) and is quite fun and educational. The text is all in a non-English insect language which is easy enough to understand. An insect points to a new shoot and asks "Du iz tak?" "Ma nazoot" answers the other insect. The book proceeds to show the growth of the shoot into a beautful plant, then flower and how a plethora of insects take advantage of it. The artwork is restrained with muted colours, the book could be wordless but the idea of an insect language moves this one up the ranks to outstanding.
>86 ronincats: It's an old building, every nook and cranny is books, the mezzanine areas can be quite nerve-wracking at times, especially when you're clambering round with a pile of books. While I was there a young girl came up the stairs, got scared and forced her mum to go straight back down again. This visit the shop seemed to be overflowing with extra stock, piles of books by the shelves, cartons of books etc.
I'm almost halfway through The Dark Days Club, I'm enjoying it though it's more paranormal than I usually read. I like that there's only the slightest hint at romance.
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen
This was a reread, I felt I had to revisit after reading The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán" a few weeks back. This is set in an early Irish monastery and features several of the incidental poems that monks sneaked onto corners of the manuscripts that they worked on. Brother Theophane is young and a little carefree, so he is sent to collect bark and make the brown ink. While he's outside he decides to collect different plants and make more colourful inks so the monks can add colour to their gloomy work.
I just read this article, Critical Thinking With Unreliable Picture Book Narrators and while I've already read a couple of them, I've requested the rest from the library, they all sound like great reads.
>91 scaifea: I picked up a copy for $2 today, it was an ex-sample at the Scholastic Factory Shop. I'm lucky this factory shop for children's books is only about 3km from my home.
Religion : A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer (2011 Dutch) (2015 Eng)
A visual presentation of the idea of religion. De Beer gives us a brief overview of five of the world's main religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. As well she tackles atheism and humankind's quest for spiritual enlightenment. She also rates the five religions from a feminist point of view. It's an interesting read, more a springboard to further reading than anything else.
She's also done similar books on philosophy, world domination and science.
Plans for March:
Reposting all the books I noted for reading in January& February minus the one I did read in Jan...bigger sigh than I did at beginning of Feb
To green angel tower by Tad Williams, the final book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy - read one chapter
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra - read 100pgs
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (14th century Yuan Dynasty) - my slow read for the year
King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett
The glorious heresies by Lisa McInerney - Orange/Baileys Jan read - started
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht - my AwardCat Jan read (category challenge group)
All the above are my slow reads, I'll be reading them one after the other.
The secret book of kings by Yochi Brandes - reading
Good People by Nir Baram - DNF
The New York trilogy by Paul Auster - DNF
The Green Man by Kingsley Amis
The dark days club by Alison Goodman
and lots more added to TIOLI
Death Going Down - María Angélica Bosco
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari
Poldark group read:
#1 Ross Poldark by Winston Graham - listening
#2 Demelza by Winston Graham
#3 Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham
>57 avatiakh: Kerry, Your thread is always so good that I feel like I am falling into a magical place. This particular book was one of my top reads of last year. I set me on a path to learn as much as possible regarding Chernobyl. Thanks for the additional information about the author.
42) Silence by Shūsaku Endō (1966 Japan)
This was a wonderful read about Jesuit missionary, Rodrigues, who enters Japan in 1639 after the Shimabara Rebellion. He's to bring succor to hidden Japanese Christians and also find out the fate of his mentor, Ferreira, who it is rumoured has become an apostate. Nothing could prepare him for what he finds and Rodrigues' faith is tested to its limits.
>93 avatiakh: So you made some goals, and then you read a bunch of other books. *Grin* Book addict issues. Not, of course, that I know anything about that. I finished Stone of Farewell and then realized that I only had part 2 of To Green Angel Tower on my kindle. Sigh. I've ordered part 1, which was only available in book form (why?) and I should have it soon.
>95 avatiakh: I am putting Silence on my TBR pile. It sounds intriguing.
>94 Whisper1: Hi Linda - oh I feel flattered and yes, The invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko was a top notch read for me too. It won an Alex Award so will be getting some more exposure for that.
>96 brodiew2: Hi Brodie. Silence was an extremely good book. I'd suggest reading some of the reviews forit rather than my comments. I've just watched the trailer for the 2016 film and can't decide if I want to watch it as yet.
>97 nittnut: I wonder why I make any goals at all, though I do eventually achieve them just not in the time span I initially think I will. I'll be tackling To Green Angel Tower once I put Sacred Games to bed. I hope you manage to get it read while you move house.
I just signed up for a 30 day free trail of kindle unlimited, I don't intend to take it beyond the free period, just that I went to look for a book that was published yesterday and instead of paying $13.50 for it, I got it for free as long as I start reading immediately! My library doesn't have it on order, The lies they tell by Tuvia Tenenbom.
I'm almost done with The dark days club and I'm really enjoying it, another unplanned ANZAC read.
43) The dark days club by Alison Goodman (2015)
This is the first in the Lady Helen series, it's Regency with paranormal elements. The main character, Lady Helen, is your typical young lady launching on her first season but from her late mother she's inherited a unique ability. She's a Reclaimer, a special one. The enemy is demon-like and inhabits human bodies at all social levels of society. Lady Helen is initiated in to the Dark Days Club, a coterie formed to assist and support the few Reclaimers that exist. She's going to be a sort of Regency Buffy but how does that co-exist with the sort of demure ladylike existence that is expected of her.
What I liked is the detail of the world that Lady Helen lives in, not just the social circle she moves in, but also that of the ordinary people. Also that the romance is pared right down, Goodman injects just enough to give us hope that a great love story is underway, but the main focus is primarily on Lady Helen's emerging abilities and what this means for her.
Luckily the second book The dark days pact just came out in January. I've already got it on request at my library.
44) Whispering Death by Garry Disher (2011)
Inspector Hal Challis #6. I'm very much enjoying this police procedural series and now only have one left to read.
This one revolves round a serial rapist, a young woman whose an accomplished cat burglar and Hal Challis speaking his mind to a reporter about police budget & staffing cuts in his state.
>99 avatiakh: It's waiting for me at the library! And the second is on order for the library and I'm first in line when it gets here.
>95 avatiakh: This is on my radar. Is there a lot of discussion of theology, or would you say it's more general (kind of ethics?). I've found some of Marilynne Robinson's stuff a bit off- putting with the focus on the intricacies of belief. Perhaps I should just try Silence anyway though.
>102 charl08: I think you'd enjoy it as while it deals with the priest's faith it also deals with the imposition of a foreign religion on the closed society that was Japan at the time and that aspect is interesting too. I didn't feel dragged down by any religious discussion, it was more the priest's reactions to what he saw and what was said/done to him and others.
I haven't read Marilynne Robinson, I did start an audiobook but the narrator droned on and I fell asleep.
After seeing all the books you have been reading, I think I am due some YA. Maybe some older Newbery's since The Girl Who Drank the Moon has such a long wait list.
Thanks Kerry. I'll add it to the list. Sounds like it would be a good book for a trip when I have lots of uninterrupted time to read.
>104 Berly: I find YA great to fit around more demanding reads, though lately I have been finding it hard to even fit in those demanding reads around the YA!
>105 charl08: I found it to be a quick read, especially since it was due back at the library last week.
>106 alcottacre: Hi Stasia. Great to see you doing the rounds and congratulations on having finished your studies.
>95 avatiakh: I keep threatening to go on a Japanese author binge, and this one will be added to the pile to read if my threat ever comes good.
eta: I may have missed it, but did you review The New York Trilogy? I couldn't spot it. I ended up giving it a 4-star rating, even though I recall it being a tad confusing reading at times
Hi Megan - I'm listening to The New York Trilogy and it's a slow listen as I have Harry Potter cds on the go in the car. I've read and enjoyed a couple of Auster's books, he does do confusing but 'good confusing'.
As far as Japan goes, Silence is a must read as is Murakami if you haven't read any of his as yet? I'll be reading/listening to his The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle this year. I had Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama home from the library, it looks like a delicious big crime novel, but ran out of time, so a nudge to get it out again. I also want to read David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
I was browsing Japanese reads at Unity Books yesterday and noted -
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture by Ruth Benedict - reviews are mixed & interesting
The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura - definitely reading this
The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami - love the cover photo
45) Nothing tastes as good by Claire Hennessy (2016)
I loved this. I've read a few YA around the topic of eating disorders and they can be quite disheartening reads. In this one, anorexic Annabel has already died and has been given the option to be a sort of 'guardian angel' or 'ghostly helper' to another teen who has problems. Annabel projects and sees Julia's problem straightaway, she is fat. The book is about saving Julia from herself in her final year of school and also finally making Annabel confront her own death as right to the end she had felt in control and would never admit that she had a sickness. Annabel needs to get it right for Julia as she'll earn the right to leave a last message to her own family. Mostly the story revolves around Julia's love of journalism and her role as editor of the weekly school paper, the need to meet deadlines and motivate her news crew.
Irish Times Review: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/nothing-tastes-as-good-by-claire-henness...
Sam & Dave dig a hole by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen (2014)
Much love for this one. Here the text does not exactly tell us what is going on in the pictures as Sam and Dave dig a hole.
No Bears by Meg McKinlay & Leila Rudge (2011)
The girl in the story says there are "no bears" in her book, but a bear is there and actually saves the day. Another where text and pictures deliberately don't match up.
Lion Lessons by Jon Agee (2016)
Fun. Boy tries to learn to be fierce and strong as the lion teacher but is failing, that is until it really matters.
How to be a hero by Florence Parry Heide & Chuck Groenink (2016)
Gideon wants to be a hero, but what is a hero? Heide lets the reader decide who the hero is.
How this book was made by Mac Barnett & Adam Rex (2016)
Another fun read. This is a humorous look at how a book gets published and how it isn't really a book until it has a reader.
Oooh, Sam and Dave is one of Charlie's and my favorites! Also How This Book Was Made. We're huge fans of Mac Barnett here.
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman (1995)
How can you not like this one. Officer Buckle gives boring safety talks at schools and the children drift off to sleep. When he starts bringing police dog, Gloria, to his talks he's suddenly got an enthusiastic audience and lots of bookings. Unknown to Officer Buckle, Gloria is acting out his safety tips behind his back - so again, a book where the text and pictures don't completely match up to the glee of the young reader.
This was a Caldicott Medal winner back in the 1990s.
>110 avatiakh: Obesity is becoming a major scourge in the Western countries and I am among the burgeoning number. Works of YA that can get the message across will definitely help.
Sometimes it is not always about over eating; it can be a genuine health concern and it is unfair and unwise to generalise but so many of us could do so much more. Eat better, exercise more and trim down. I need to lose 30 kilos; 30 kilos for heaven's sake.
>116 PaulCranswick: Some excellent books around, and also important to just normalise these overweight kids. Not every books needs to carry the 'lose weight and your life will get better' message. A favourite is Fat Kid Rules the World.
I'm also carrying more than I should at present, ever since my favourite gym changed ownership and I left in protest I've had problems resetting my fitness routine at my new gym.
>117 jessibud2: I think it would be a perfect book for acting out. I was very pleased to have discovered this book from the article Critical Thinking With Unreliable Picture Book Narrators.
46) The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin (1998)
Very intense and tautly plotted psychological drama. I picked up a tatty ex-library copy from the sales table as I'd read and enjoyed Werlin before. This ragged paperback sat round the house till the other day when I finally picked it up so I could read and discard it. Great read.
David has been acquitted of killing his girlfriend, it was an accidental death but he's still grieving from the incident, recovering from the court case, the initial guilty slander he's been through. He must now repeat his final high school year in order to apply for college, his parents suggest he moves to a different city and stay with relatives and attend a new school. He immediately feels bad vibes from the relationship between his aunt and uncle and his young cousin, Lily just gives him the creeps, she's so hostile.
>120 FAMeulstee: No, I've read her Impossible which was good, based on the folk song, Scarborough Fair. I feel like I've read another by her but nothing comes to mind. Locked inside sounds good.
47) The girl from everywhere by Heidi Heilig (2016)
Well, actually she's from 1860s Hawaii. This time travel in a pirate ship idea was a good not great read. I liked a lot of the ideas in the travelling from map to map, but most of all I loved reading about old Honolulu & Hawaii in Victorian times. Heilig is from Hawaii and knows her history and the local myths and legends and this was the part of the story that I enjoyed most.
The sequel, The ship beyond time has just come out and I've already asked my library to get it.
Like Katie, a quick fly-by hello and happy weekend from your friend in Malaysia (I may not get to say that too often in the future)!
Cardboard looks like a book bullet. I've seen praise for it before, but it looked like it was just 101 things you can do with a box.
Ghosts - the cultural appropriation comments are interesting. I'm not defending cultural appropriation at all. Poor borrowing from a culture can be pretty insulting, but the US does a lot of it and talks a lot about it. I'd been talking a lot about it so brought it up with a Japanese artist who was using a Scottish ballad as his inspiration and he looked at me like I was nuts. So, what does that mean... But my other comment on it is my school is 25% Latino at least and Halloween and Day of the Dead traditions have blended together at our school. We actually had a big alter one year until someone complained about it, I don't know on what grounds. We do have the sugar skulls and people talk about both holidays. Obviously they are different holidays and a lot of our Mexican-Americans celebrate both. Day of the Dead is more serious, a bit like our Memorial day. That said, in blended cultures like ours the holidays are similar enough and close enough together that they are blending together.
>122 katiekrug: >123 PaulCranswick: >124 Berly: Thanks. Extremely rainy here, we've had the entire March average rainfall come down in a couple of days and no end in sight to the downpour...so a wet weekend.
>125 cammykitty: Cardboard was unexpectedly good, I saw it on an online list of graphic novels for kids somewhere or other and it was the only one I hadn't read. One of my favourite picturebooks is The Man who Loved Boxes by Stephen Michael King but these are two totally different beasts.
Thanks for your comments about the cultural appropriation and the blending of the two traditions in the US schools. I'm friends with Monica Edinger on GR and she had been alerted to blog posts and comments about the book. Debbie Reese who blogged about her problems with the absence of Native American ghosts around the Mission in the story is an important voice on these issues.
Ok, I've given up on the audio of New York Trilogy by Paul Auster - the narration did not draw me in rather the various voices turned me off. I'll pick up the paperback instead. I've started Poldark instead and very happy with my choice.
I can see how an absence of Native American ghosts could be a real issue. Like the double-forgotten people. I'll look for both Cardboard books!
48) Signal Loss by Garry Disher (2016)
Hal Challis #7. This is the latest in the series so i'm up to date and now only have a couple of Disher's novels to read.
There's a few crimes to solve this time and but it all starts off with a hit job that gets complicated. The peninsula is overrun with drugs, if only they can find whose behind it all. And then there's the burglar turned rapist.
I've just picked up Cloth Lullaby from the library - what a beautiful book. I'm not sure about the spiders, but the woven art looks like something I want to find out more about. Thanks for mentioning this book - I'd never have found it otherwise.
49) Kings of the Boyne by icola Pierce (2016)
children's historical fiction
I noted this from a best of list of 2016 books recommended by Irish children's writers back in December. I find the literary pages of The Irish Times a useful resource for new fiction.
Pierce has previously written Behind the walls about the 1688 Siege of Derry. This book continues the story of the Williamite War waged between the Protestant William of Orange and the Catholic King James II, his father in law. The 1690 Battle of the Boyne was the last deciding major engagement and William's victory entered the Orange folklore.
The book follows the fates of four soldiers from both sides as well as including the Kings themselves.
Pierce has also included the story of Ulsterwoman, Jean Watson, a story that shows how desperate times were back then for poorer folk. http://forgedinulster.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/the-story-of-jean-watson-and-king.h...
I enjoyed this and will read Behind the Walls when I can catch my breath from all the other reading I have lined up. I know nothing about this era of history, had never heard of the Battle of the Boyne which is considered one of the major battles in the history of the British Isles.
I am being hit by BBs everywhere on this thread! Must run and hide in The BlackHole!
>132 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, I'm hardly reading my own books due to so many BB hits so I know that feeling.
>130 avatiakh: That looks fascinating, Kerry. My own familial lineage will always make such books interesting. Great Gran and Grandad were catholic and protestants who ran away from Donegal to marry and settled in West Yorkshire. They were deeply and directly affected by the divide between Orange and Green.
>134 PaulCranswick: Paul - my Irish grandfather came out to NZ before WW1, and in the little town he settled he couldn't socialise with the local Irish as he was Catholic and they were all members of the local Orange Lodge.
Another historical Irish children's book I enjoyed was Children of the Red King, set in 1209 and by Madeleine Polland.
Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch (2016)
Fits into the Peter Grant series of books like colourful brief interludes. This one wasn't that compelling tbh. Russian Night Witches, millionaires, a child kidnapped, ransoms and Lesley wearing her mask. For fun, Peter's girlfriend, the river sprite Beverley charms some Russian mafia muscle and they end up doing her housework.
>135 avatiakh: It is simply amazing how deeply prejudices went between those two groups. It can still be seen today albeit to a lesser extent in the last 30 years in Glasgow and Liverpool especially in the United Kingdom.
Have a wonderful weekend, Kerry.
50) The Lies they tell by Tuvia Tenenbom (2017)
Expat Israeli Tenenbom drives across the US for seven months and reports verbatim conversations he has with a diverse number of US citizens. He talks to the rich, the powerful, the homeless and the poor. When he's warned not to go to certain neighbourhoods for his own safety he makes a beeline for them and talks to those who live there. All this while he catches up with the daily news reports and follows the primary debates for the 2016 Presidential election.
I read his Catch the Jew! and found it a revelation, this one is also a revelation though on a lesser scale as the US is such a huge country. Tenenbom's style is conversational, humorous and rude but he asks the questions that no one else is willing to ask and he asks them of all manner of people so the book is a compelling read. He sums up in just a few pages and is quite brutal but honest.
Publisher Weekly - 'He encounters propaganda and denial, and exposes political corruption in Chicago, gun culture, megachurches, anti-Semitism, polarizing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, vanishing Native American culture, proud “rednecks”, intimidating African-Americans and Muslims, and climate-change deniers denigrating intellectuals. He reveals the hypocrisy of a nation where international aid organizations are well funded and $30 million is raised for a Catholic shrine in Wisconsin, yet devastated neighborhoods in Detroit and Chicago get nothing. His outlook may be bleak, but it’s hard not to share his incredulity at the levels of laughable self-delusion. '
An interview with Tenenbom about his book here - http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36457
Interesting, here's what he said about Trump in Sept last year:
Why can't things go on as they have up to now?
"Because it goes against human nature! Why is Donald Trump doing well? After all, 10 or even four years ago he would never have been able to penetrate the establishment's outer defenses. He says things that Americans don't hear. In other words, they think it, but don't hear it. That is why the press has rallied, almost in its entirety, against him. Even the Republicans. Because everyone is afraid it will blow up."
What you saw on your long journey was that the mechanism protecting this fictitious unity is a phony mechanism, which is why, quite ironically, Donald Trump appears like someone who can save America from this quandary...
"That's it exactly. He will save America by placing a 'this is what we think' mirror in front of it. It's very important. On a personal level, I am not in favor of Trump and am not involved in the elections. I am keeping a distance, without voting. But I think it would be really good for America, on all fronts, if he is elected. Because then they will have to confront their problems."
>139 drneutron: >140 alcottacre: Tenenbom is definitely not for everyone, but he's refreshingly unPC. He's active in theatre and can pass for a German so has this chameleon-like persona which he uses to advantage to get people to say what they honestly believe. His book on Israel/Palestinian territories, Catch the Jew, was a real eye opener. He's also written a book about Germany, I sleep in Hitler's Room.
Auckland Writers Festival will be here in May, I used to be a festival volunteer but stopped a couple of years ago and haven't been since then. This year I've decided to go to a few events and have purchased my tickets.
So I'll be seeing -
Paul Beatty - have not read his book
Nick Bollinger - got his memoir Goneville
Amie Kaufman (free event) - YA writer
NZ educator, Welby Ings & his book Exams be damned - free event
Frances Hardinge - free event
Caroline Brothers - not read her The Memory Stones, it's on my tbr
Steve Sem-Sandberg - not read any of his books
Matters Medical - David Galler, Glenn Colquhoun & Sue Wooton - I've read Colquhoun's poems & have Gilmour's award winning memoir on my tbr pile
There are lots of great writers coming - I'm missing AN Wilson, Hisham Matar, George Saunders, Anne Enright, Teju Cole, Paul Cleave, Ha Jin, James Gleick, Stella Duffy, James Shapiro, Madeleine Thien, John Lancaster, Lloyd Geering, Fiona Kidman.
I feel like I should be going to more, but there are lots of timetable clashes and I've decided not to go on the last day which also cancels out several. I chopped and changed but am happy with my choices. I might be convinced to add a few more events, i have to decide fairly quickly as the festival is incredibly well supported and popular writers sell out fast. Jay Rayner's The Ten (Food) Commandments has already sold out in only 4 days.
>142 avatiakh: Sounds like a wonderful time, Kerry! I hope you enjoy it all.
51) Thraxas at the races by Martin Scott/Millar (1999)
Thraxas #3. I'm enjoying this fantasy series. Thraxas is a disgraced PI, a sorcerer whose forgotten most of what he learnt and now can only carry one spell at a time. This book is set around the world of chariot racing and betting. Thraxas is engaged to discover the missing artwork of his old military commander, a man he's respected from the time they fought against the invading Orcs.
These books are great fun, a little irreverent, and enough mystery to keep one entertained. Millar went on to write the Lonely Werewolf Girl books starring Kalix which I also really liked.
Stasia, they're not well known but are a lot of fun. I looked out for them after reading Kalix and following the author's blog for a while. They sat around my house for a fair while before I started reading them but have been released as e-books more recently.
I wanted to drop by to thank you for the recommendation of The Girl from Everywhere. I finished it last night and very much enjoyed the book.
>142 avatiakh: I looked at the web page of the festival and must admit that I would have been tempted to spend a lot of time and money there if it was closer (much closer) to me.
Have a lovely weekend.
I read the first Thraxas book a couple of years ago, Kerry. I wasn't inspired to keep going, but I certainly will check out the Kalix books, which I've never heard of.
>148 alcottacre: Oh that's good Stasia. I liked the Hawaii aspect of the book, I hadn't thought much about how they joined up with the USA etc. So not only did we get the time travel via maps, we also got a look at colonial Honolulu.
>Paul, I used to be a volunteer and got into most of the events I wanted for free. One thing I learnt was that some of the lesser events were actually the more interesting vs the big name events. I 'discovered' Eleanor Catton just after her first book launched thanks to this. I'm very tempted to buy another 5 ticket pass. I won't volunteer again, I did my dash. I always volunteered for the school programme and sometimes the Friday as well but it made for a long and busy week, a little too self-indulgent.
>Roni - I can see that the Thraxas books wouldn't be for everyone. I'm enjoying them for the humour and the entertainment value alongside my other reading. I came to them after reading the first Kalix book. I have about 4 more in the series on my tbr pile.
I ordered a couple of the Thraxas books with one of my birthday gift certificates, so I am hoping I like them!
>151 avatiakh: So great to be an early adopter with a writer. I love that feeling of encountering a new writer. Our uni is doing a new little festival, I'll have to see if they are using volunteers.
>152 alcottacre: Stasia - I think you'll enjoy them just fine, sort of pulp fantasy, good fillers between serious nonfiction.
>153 charl08: Charlotte - I used to be quite active also at reading the blogs of newer writers and enjoying their excitement and trials of writing and getting published. Laini Taylor had a great blog going for a long while, now she's successful she has less time to blog.
I loved being a volunteer, just felt I should move on and let someone else have a chance.
I've finished two books this weekend and am making great progress on Sacred Games.
So before the month ends I'd love to finish up the following:
The Far Distant Oxus by Katharine Hull & Pamela Whitlock - great story about how this book got published back in the 1930s.
The glorious heresies by Lisa McInerney - enjoying this
...and in food news I made a rather delicious & spicy tortilla soup in the slow cooker - https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/crockpot-spicy-chicken-tortilla-soup/
and the tortilla strips were easy to prepare - http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/seasoned-baked-tortilla-strips/
Hi, Kerry. Just checking in. Hope you are doing well and had a nice weekend. I see you are doing some fine reading...as usual.
I just started a graphic memoir you might be interested in- The Best We Could Do. It is relatively new, so I hope you can track a copy down.
>155 msf59: Hi Mark - put in a request at my library for that one. I started the graphic memoir Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63 by Marcelino Truong last night.
>138 avatiakh: Just felt I should mention that I took a 1 month kindle unlimited free trial in order to read The lies they tell as my library didn't have it. I've also downloaded for free but won't get to them - The Sellout & Nine Love Letters by Gerald Jacobs.
I'm especially interested in the Jacobs book as it starts in 1940s Iraq.
52) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (2000)
A re-read, this time I'm listening to Stephen Fry narrate the books. Very slowly done as I only listen to the CDs when in the car on my own. I enjoyed this, all the fun details I'd forgotten.
53) Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (2017)
I really enjoyed Onuzo's debut novel, The Spider King's daughter which was loosely based on Romeo & Juliet but set in modern day Lagos, Nigeria.
This book is again set in Lagos, and again is an enjoyable read. Five mismatched young people end up together and are thrown into a political scandal. Chike, an officer and Yemi, his subordinate, are deserters from the army's cruel killing of civilians in the Delta region, and while making the journey to Lagos they meet up with Fineboy, a rebel fighter, and Isoken, a girl separated from her family who are most probably now dead. Lastly they meet Oma, a runaway wife from her abusive husband. Lagos is their mecca, but once there they realise it isn't the answer to their dreams. Jobs are scarce, they are living on the streets. They need each other for safety and support, to keep themselves from descending into the lowest dregs of society.
An update on my tv watching:
Suits - just finished second half of season 6 - pure enjoyment
Travelers - finished season 1
Designated Survivor - all available episodes
Morden - The Fjallbacka Murders - Series 1 - this is really great stuff - Camilla Lackberg's books brought to life
Inspector Montalbano - Vol. 7 - A Delicate Matter and The Mud Pyramid - the latest 2 episodes with 2 more to come
Teachers - started watching this older UK comedy starring Andrew Lincoln.
Nice review of Welcome to Lagos, Kerry; thanks for the link to the review in The Guardian. I haven't heard of this book or its author before, so I'll add it to my wish list.
Welcome to Lagos sounds good. I'm all for political intrigue and scandal, as long as it doesn't involve my own country. ;)
54) Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra (2006)
This is one of those doorstopper paperbacks that sits on your tbr pile, too big to pick up on a whim so just sits there gathering dust. This year I decided to finally read both this and A suitable boy. The group read for the Seth book starts next month so I was keen to have this done before then and I just squeaked in.
This is a big robust story, lots of characters, a dual time line that meets near the end. There are also interesting back stories of minor characters that adds to the depth, the richness of the history, the tapestry of peoples that makes up India, especially the city of Bombay. So we follow the life of Sikh policeman, Sartaj Singh and also the story of the elusive gangster, Ganesh Gaitonde. The death of Gaitonde, at his own hands, near the start of the book leads Sartaj & others on an almost wild goose chase around the city, to uncover the secrets that Gaitonde hinted at. Along the way Sartaj also investigates blackmail, corruption and petty crimes.
A very satisfying read, not so much a page turner, though at times it is. I really felt immersed into Indian culture and feel the need to watch a couple of Bollywood films.
I've got a copy of Red earth and pouring rain somewhere in the house, I'll definitely be reading that in the next year or so.
^ I do love big books that give you the feeling of being immersed in a place.
Yeah, I avoid them but the big books do provide that immersion factor. I'm going to pick up the Tad Williams later this week as well as A suitable boy so there won't be much room for much else.
Glad you liked Sacred Games. I personally prefer big books over shorter books, as I have a hard time usually getting into a new book, but once a book grabs me I'm in deep.
I too have Red Earth and Pouring Rain on my shelf and hope to get to it soon. It's been a while since I read any Indian novels.
Re the group read of A Suitable Boy, do you know if the followup to that, I believe called A Suitable Girl will be published soon? I wanted to reread A Suitable Boy before reading the sequel.
>170 arubabookwoman: tbh I do love big books, though since joining LT I've avoided the bigger reads as LTers keep mentioning so many interesting books that I try to cram in as much as I can. Each year I set a small goal of a couple of classics or doorstoppers and generally really love them.
I've heard of A suitable girl but not sure about publication dates. I tend to avoid books about India having read a fair few in the past. I just read an article about the elections in India today, about how the Hindu conservatives have won and how the liberal press is worried about India becoming an Islamophobic society due to their leadership. A Hindu monk has been elected to Governor of Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state. It was interesting and pointed out that the 70(?) years of socialism after independence didn't work out that well for them.
>169 lkernagh: I hope you enjoy it. I'm now looking forward to A suitable boy.
Nice review of Sacred Games, Kerry. I started reading it several years ago and was enjoying it, but I left my copy somewhere and never found it. I did buy another copy of it several months later, but I haven't opened the new book yet.
I thought I had a copy of A Suitable Boy, but it isn't in my LT library.
>172 Oberon: I hope you enjoy it, as I said before, it's an easy read.
>173 kidzdoc: I felt that Chandra really got the mix of peoples down pat in this book. He got me interested in the post colonial political history of India, much more than most other novels I've read.
I've still to replace my copy of The French Tutor by Judith Armstrong which I left on a plane last year, still kicking myself for that. No copies at the library, so will have to keep an eye out at the used bookshops.
I won a giveaway copy of The Starlings by Australian writer, Vivienne Kelly, over on goodreads. It arrived today and looks like an interesting read.
55) Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner (2016)
The book comes with a warning on the back cover: 'very few people in this story die of natural causes.'
This was an excellent look at the life of 12th century samurai, Yoshitune, one of the heroes of the Japanese classic, The tale of the Heike. It's more of a military history than a biography and is written in a fast moving style that would appeal to modern teens. Turner compares the various characters at times to more modern concepts such as beauty queens, celebrities, Star Wars, college jocks, baseball teams etc and for the historian this may rankle but I think for a teen reader it makes this ancient hero and the world he inhabited more easily accessible.
The narrative style is fun to read, the author includes chapter notes and masses of bibilography.
In the clash of two samurai clans for control of Japan, the Minamoto family and the Taira, Minamoto Yoshitsune rose to prominence as a military leader who took crazy risks which paid off time after time.
The illustrations by Gareth Hinds are excellent.
56) Ross Poldark by Winston Graham (1945)
The first Poldark book. I'm behind on the group read, they'll be starting the 4th book in April but at least I've made a start. I decided to listen to the audio and Oliver J. Hembrough was a very good narrator.
I really enjoyed this story and will be continuing. The story is about Ross Poldark who returns home to his late father's farm in Cornwall after fighting in the American Revolutionary War.
57) Ghosts of Parihaka by David Hair (2013)
Aotearoa #5. The penultimate book in the series and I'm looking forward to the last one in this fantasy series that straddles real world New Zealand and a ghostly colonial era Aotearoa, a world where mythological creatures, ghosts of historical figures and those with strong ties to the land live together. There are some, adepts, who can cross between these worlds. I loved that this book included aviation pioneer, Richard Pearse, and his flying machine (he possibly flew before the Wright Bros but it can't be proved). The story begins in Taranaki's Parihaka, travels through Nelson, Wanaka and Arrowtown winding up at Dunedin's Larnach Castle.
This series should make any young NZ reader keen to find out more about the historical figures, both Maori and European and to simply discover more of our country's heritage.
Parihaka is an important event in NZ history, the pacifist Maori movement used passive resistance in 1881 in an attempt to resist the appropriation of their lands.
Goals for April:
A suitable boy by Vikram Seth - group read: part 1
The Green Man by Kingley Amis - March BAC book
To the Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams - Memory, Sorrow and Thorn #3
The lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists by David Burke - library book, long wanted to read this
The Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandes
plus my ANZAC reading, library books and ongoing Poldark series group read where I'm 2 books behind.
Demelza by Winston Graham - Poldark #2
Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham - Poldark #3
Warleggan by Winston Graham - Poldark #4
Hope you like The Glorious Heresies I really enjoyed that one. I think the sequel is also out now?
58) The Far Distant Oxus by Katharine Hull & Pamela Whitlock (1937)
I came across this book a couple of years ago and made a mental note to pick it up at some time as it's included in 1001 children's books you must read before you grow up. The story of how it came to be is really interesting and well covered by the introduction by Arthur Ransome in the Fidra Books edition I read. Written by two school girls as sort of fanfic for Swallows and Amazons they managed to surprise Ransome by sending a 400pg manuscript to him with accompanying letter. He was impressed as most fan letters he received were more on the lines of 'I'm going to write a book' or 'Are the characters real people' etc etc. The girls decided to write about a bunch of children having exciting adventures, just like in Ransome's books, except this time they'd be on the moors and riding ponies.
The book was a nostalgic type read, the adventures were mild but wholesome and I would have probably loved this book as a child, though less so now as an adult. Still I enjoyed reading it and their love of ponies really does come through in this book. I enjoyed that they made use of Persian mythology and place names to rename places and animals as part of their special 'club'. The three Huntingly children, their parents reside in Sumatra, come to an Exmoor farmhouse for their school holidays. The couple have ponies that they can ride everyday and they soon team up with two children from a nearby grand house and a mysterious older boy who appears on his black pony, Dragonfly, with a black labrador, Ellitas.
There are two sequels. Note the older Collins editions of the books were somewhat abridged.
59) We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan (2017)
YA, verse novel
Another shared writing venture, this one by two writers I've read before. I loved Sarah Crossan's One, truly outstanding and Conaghan's When Mr Dog Bites was a sympathetic look at Tourettes syndrome, his The bombs that brought us together won the Costa Children's Book Award and on my tbr list.
This is a verse novel, a little depressing, though a good read. Nicu is from Romania, his parent's youngest child. He meets Jess, a troubled teen on a Young Offenders community programme. Jess has a step father who abuses her mother and it looks like he'll soon be abusing Jess. Nicu's parents are saving hard for the bride price of a young girl back home, that Nicu will be marrying soon. As the friendship between Nicu and Jess grows, they see their best option will be to run away together, though like their own young lives so far, even that goes wrong.
What I liked was the broken English verses of Nicu, and seeing life from the point of view of a young EU migrant who understands that his culture is so different from what he really wants, though has no way of expressing himself to his English peers as they all prejudge him as a gypsy thief.
From Fidra Books: In 1936 Katharine Hull (1921-1977) and Pamela Whitlock (1920-1982) met at boarding school whilst sheltering from a thunderstorm. They discovered their shared interest in ponies and the moors and decided to write a story together using the works of Arthur Ransome as a model. The girls, then aged 14 and 15, kept their project a secret from everyone and vowed 'to cut off all our hair if the book was not finished' by the time they took their Higher Certificate in July of 1937.
They worked together in a very methodical way; working out the entire plot and becoming familiar with the characters before they begun to write. During the winter term they worked on alternate chapters and then swapped them over to edit. By the Easter term they had completed their story ‘by children, about children, for children’.
Katherine and Pamela also wrote Escape to Persia in 1938 and Oxus in summer in 1939 and Crowns in 1947. Pamela continued to write throughout her life and married John Bell who was a literary editor for the Oxford University Press.
Loved your review of Sacred Games and well done being on your 60th book already even with that one done!
Have a lovely Sunday.
60) Such a lovely little war: Saigon 1961-63 by Marcelino Truong (2016 Eng (2012 French)
Truong's father was Vietnamese, his mother French. His father was a diplomat. The family had been stationed in Washington DC when his father was called back to Saigon in 1961. His new job would be as interpreter for the prime minister, Ngô Đình Diệm. The memoir covers the tense two or three years that the family spent in Saigon, the politics of the time and how Truong and his brothers and sisters lived there as children while their mother suffered from the stress of being in a country at war.
>142 avatiakh: Nice picks on the festival there were a lot of clashes this year, always try to pick one or two writers i have not read, something out of left field to experience ....
61) Bitter Herbs: A Little Chronicle by Marga Minco (1960 Eng) (1957 Dutch)
A short, compelling story based on Minco's own experience during the war, is about a young Jewish girl and how she lost her family to the Holocaust. Her father says at the start of the war, "It won't come to that in Holland," but unfortunately person by person the family is taken, the girl going into hiding and becoming the only survivor. The bitter herbs of the title come from the Passover meal.
The cover does no justice to the excellent b&w illustration work on the inside by Herman Dijkstra.
I'd be interested to read more of her work.
There's a good bio of Minco here: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/minco-marga
'Minco made her literary debut with the short novel Het bittere kruid, translated into English as Bitter Herbs. In a painful, concise way the work narrates the story of a young girl during World War II. The “little chronicle,” as the subtitle calls it, achieved success both nationwide and abroad, selling four hundred thousand copies in the Netherlands alone. Awarded the Vijverberg Prize in 1958, the novel was subsequently translated into several languages and is still a popular work, particularly among secondary school pupils.
Minco’s books are distinguished by, and celebrated for, her sober, reserved way of using words and emotions. Her restrained style and cinematic turn of phrase give her books great power.'
>188 charl08: One of the reasons I wanted to read the book was because it was so well received at the time even though the writers were so young. I have a feeling that Fidra Books didn't go ahead with the sequels.
The Saigon GN was an interesting read, the writer remembers his childhood well, all the games they played, how interesting the war was from their perspective, daily life and their mother's deteriorating mental health.
>189 roundballnz: Hi Alex. I always like to discover someone new so my festival choices reflect a bit of old and new.
Well I better go and pick up one of the weightier tomes I'm meant to be reading this month.
62) Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci (2005)
I picked this from the Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time List, one of the few on the list I had not read. It also makes John Green's 18 Great Books You Probably Haven’t Read list. I read it in a couple of hours and found it predictable and weak.
Victoria (Egg) is in her last year of high school, but she's not your regular student. She lives in Hollywood, her parents, divorced are both medium big shots in the movie industry. Egg is Egg because she idolises the character in her all time favourite movie, Terminal Earth. She has a shaved head and eyebrows and wears a cloak to school she's such a fan. She also has no friends just people she hangs out with when she doesn't want to be alone. She's virtually boy-proof, that is till new boy Max, starts class. He's even brainier and cooler than Egg, and while he wants to be friends, Egg doesn't know how to act normal anymore.
So a girl of privilege, who does whatever she wants suddenly realises that she wants the boy especially now that he's given up on her, that her hero worshipped actress hates Egg-fans and the homework isn't getting done.
63) becoming, unbecoming by Una (2015)
Una was a child growing up in the same area as the Yorkshire Ripper was finding and killing his victims in the 1970s. While the media was all about the Ripper's attacks on prostitutes, Una herself was the victim of sexual assault but never tells family or other adults of her ordeal, she blames herself. She goes on to discuss the phenomenon of violence to women and how society has not really dealt with it.
She manages to touch on really important issues while still telling her own story and that of the Ripper. She goes on to show how the assault affected her as a teen, her life choices and it wasn't till later as an adult that she began to heal. In the afterword she mentions Misogynies by Joan Smith as being the book that finally woke her up to the reality of her situation.
The artwork is quite stunning and emotive. Uno reports of an incident where a young girl was assaulted and the police and social services dismissed the case, considering her a prostitute-in-training, saying the girl was almost 16 and was making a lifestyle choice. I also kept thinking of those poor girls from Rotheram who were preyed on for years by those Pakistani sex gangs, and received no support from social workers or the police.
Torty and the soldier by Jennifer Beck (2017)
Beck and Fifi Colston, illustrator bring another ANZAC story to life in this quite fascinating story of a World War One medic and the tortoise he brings home from the war. While serving in the Ambulance Corps in Salonika, Greece Stewart sees a tortoise survive being run over by a heavy gun wagon. He takes Torty back to the hospital and nurses her back to health, eventually smuggling the tortoise back to New Zealand when the war ends.
The bond between man and tortoise lasts a lifetime, Torty is still alive and after Stewart passed, she went to live with his daughter and now lives with his grandchildren.
Greetings from a tired shwilistim sitting in zhe tmol shilshom cafe enjoying chamshuka.thanks for the hint about this place. It s great
>194 avatiakh: I was impressed by this one too. Not easy reading but powerful stuff, plenty to think about. I hadn't come across the publisher before, but really great to find out that they are encouraging new writing.
Yesterday I visited one of my favoured used bookstores in central Auckland. It has come under new ownership since my last visit and change is definitely in the air. As I was praising the huge new windows that open the main room to the outside, I was told that the new owner is looking to make it a bookshop cafe venture. It's a great location and has a roomy outside courtyard, though change will mean less book stock. I found some good books though I did feel the stock had shrunk quite a bit, the children's section is now almost nonexistent and I do like to browse for older children's books.
It's now called The Open Book, used to be Classics and suchlike.
Just read up on the store's blog and one of the co-owners lives in New York/Motueka and they co-wrote a book about migration to New Zealand with the other owner, a local economist. They seem to be quite open about the logistics of running a bookshop, posting their costs and profits online, it almost seems to be a project rather than a business venture. Interesting. https://www.ponsonbybooks.co.nz/blog/
taken from the shop's website
I also see that they rent out books by the metre per theme! Not for me but I suppose great for setting a house up for sale or a film set.
The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes - Persephone Books edition
Tales of Languedoc by Samuel Jacques Brun
Heritage: civilisation and the Jews by Abba Eban
In contrast a couple of weeks ago I went to St Kevins Arcade on Karangahape Road and visited the two used bookshops there. Green Dolphin Books had a great children's section, lots of classics and good reads, though the pricing was definitely done by someone who knows the worth of each individual book so some were quite costly.
>179 avatiakh: your April reading plans sound wonderful! I can only hope to read that many books over the next two (or three) months ;)
>199 avatiakh: interesting! I love it that it is called The Open Book, was its previous name "Classics and Suchlike"? Or was that your phrasing?
Renting books out by the meter sounds like it is designed for film sets. I guess house sales might generate more interest if the place is furnished will books, and at Auckland prices....
Megan yes, it was called 'Classics and suchlike' and on Ponsonby Road in an old villa. I've loved going there in the past but the last couple of years have noticed that the stock seemed to stagnate with not much new going on so I go there much less frequently. I feel they need to be ruthless and get rid a lot of the non-selling stock and get rid of the backroom $1 shelves and reinstate it as scifi and childrens like it used to be.
I quite like the idea of ordering a metre of blue books, such an unusual way of dealing in books.
My April reading -
I'm loving The glorious heresies - a chapter or two a day
I'm forcing myself through The green man by Kingsley Amis - much dislike but I'll finish it soon
I started A suitable boy last night and didn't want to put it down - a few pages in
I'm reading To the Green Angel Tower slowly, read read read and find I've only done 5 pages, so at 1070odd pgs I have a long way to go, my current goal is to read 50pgs in one day.
I also started The Lawn Road Flats last night - it's rather dry, a mix of modernism architecture with espionage and writers.
Also trying to get a graphic novel or children's book done every couple of days.
Today I was browsing in Unity Books and took a note of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East which is edited by Reza Aslan. The cover is compelling but it cost more than $40 so was out of my price range so thought I'd look it up in the library.
Someone had marked the book 'to read' on goodreads and their review caught my eye - 'I cannot rate this book as it was rudely torn from my grasp and tossed out the window of a moving vehicle. I will amend this entry once I purchase a copy of my own.'
64) The Green Man by Kingsley Amis (1969)
My third Amis novel, I loved Lucky Jim and Take a Girl Like You was fairly dated and sexist though an enjoyable enough read. This one I didn't take to, it's a serious ghost story built around the main character of Maurice Allingham who seems to spend the whole time totally drunk on whiskey and scheming to bed his latest mistress.
He owns and runs The Green Man, a small historic pub/restaurant that is haunted. The haunting is from the 17th century, a previous owner, but Allingham feels there's something more malevolent at work. Everyone else in the story assumes that his behaviour is a product of his own drinking problem, that his ghosts are a product of a drunken imagination. The research that Allingham does makes him aware that it is much more than a simple haunting, more deadly and dealing with the occult and possibly the pagan.
Probably a book that I'll appreciate more now that I've finished reading it. The edition I read had an interesting introduction by Michael Dirda which placed the book at the forefront of the horror trend of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, Carrie etc which were all published within a couple of years of The Green Man.
The writing is very fine, I especially loved this description of the cat, Victor Hugo, entering a room - 'He entered, as usual, in vague semi-flight, as from something that was probably not a menace, but which it was as well to be on the safe side about. Becoming aware of me, he approached, again as usual, with an air of uncertainty not so much about who I was as about what I was, and of keeping a very open mind on the range of possible answers.'
Benita has made me aware that there is an older BBC miniseries of the book which I've found on youtube and will watch this weekend.
>204 charl08: Funny review and interesting book!
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (2014)
A quick read but covers some interesting issues in a lightish mode. Anda is a young highschooler who loves playing videogames. Her mum finally relents and lets Anda play an online game when she is recruited at school to play with an all-female clan. She joins her 'Captain' who takes her on a virtual killing spree of groups of 'gold farmers' who harvest the game's gold and onsell it.
Then she finds out by talking to one of these bots, that there is a real person behind this avatar, he's Raymond, a poor Chinese student who works the game with others in an internet cafe in China to make money for his family.
And she gets grounded and so on...
The artwork is by Jen Wang.
>199 avatiakh: Loved the write up about the Auckland bookstore and the fact that the owners have quite an open manner is managing it is refreshing. Hopefully the stocks don't dwindle too much as it will lose the reasons that made it a favourite.
Have a great weekend, Kerry.
Also loving the bookstore photos!
I forget--are you in the first book or the second book of To Green Angel Tower? Hopefully the pace will pick up as you get closer to the end.
>206 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - I enjoyed writing up about it. They are also going to try social afternoons with music, though now I see they are trying to do everything with $15,000 working capital I think they'll be a bit stretched as both owners are absent most of the time and so they have to pay for staff.
I went to another old favourite this morning, Dominion Books in Herne Bay. I used to live in the sentral city so these bookshops used to be close to my old home. The only change at Dominion Books is that it's even harder to find a nearby carpark than it used to be. She had The Memory Stones in the front window, I'm going to the Caroline Brothers event at the Writers Festival next month, but this copy was beyond how much I'd pay for a used book at $18.
>207 ronincats: Roni - I have the whole book in one volume and am closing in on about the first quarter. Last night I managed a bigger chunk so am optimistic that I'll soon find it hard to put down. My main problem is all the other reading I'm doing.
I hope to finish The glorious heresies today, it's a really good read. I've started my library ebook, Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For, which is quite humorous so far.
I also started my group read, A suitable boy, and I can see this one will be a great read too.
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