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Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 11

This is a continuation of the topic Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 10.

This topic was continued by Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 12.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Mar 9, 6:28pm Top


PENANG - Or known locally as Pinang. The island to the North West of the peninsular was a trading centre for the British and is today a vibrant place famous for its food, sunshine, history and commerce. The small Chinese trading stores sell anything from herbal remedies to pickled fruits to the bare necessities of life. This is typical of the place and is by a local artist.

Edited: Mar 9, 6:37pm Top


This is a very old poem written (though revised slightly) after a school visit to Conway and its castle.


Climb once sumptuous walls, the outsides bare
Over crumbling parapets wreathed in mist;
Decayed by the pounding of time's iron fist
Into a decrepitude beyond repair.
Innards rent by greedy fingers
Wherein the reek of battle malingers

Liken this stony shell to flesh;
No longer a beating heart - all is still
Swallowing last the bitterest pill;
An eternal, solitary emptiness.
From this soul of chivalry bowed
Under the weight of a disrespectful crowd.

Edited: Mar 21, 7:50pm Top


I was 50 in September 2016 and have enough unread reading material on my shelves to take me safely into my seventies! I have lived in Malaysia since 1994 and have a long suffering (but never quietly) wife, Hani (sometimes referred to as SWMBO), three children Yasmyne (19), Kyran (17) and Belle (12), as well as a supporting cast which includes my book smuggling assistants Azim (also my driver and a part time bouncer who, despite his muscles, lives in almost as much fear of my wife as I do) and Erni (my housemaid, almost-little sister and the worlds greatest coffee maker). On this thread you'll probably read as much about the vagaries of life, book buying and group related statistics as you do about the actual books themselves.

I have added 3,000 books to my shelves in four years but late last year I decided to sort my books from the 4,500 books unread into the essentials of 900 fiction and 180 non-fiction books and I will try to make a serious dent in that list this year.

I will also be reading, as usual, plenty of poetry which is another passion and, as you have seen above, a faltering pastime.

Edited: Mar 21, 7:52pm Top



1. The Magician's Wife by Brian Moore (1997) 229 pp
2. Maus I : My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman (1986) 159 pp
3. Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft (2006) 440 pp
4. Out in the Midday Sun : The British in Malaya 1880-1960 by Margaret Shennan (2000) 471 pp
5. Blood Child and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler (2003) 214 pp
6. The Assault by Harry Mulisch (1985) 185 pp
7. 100 Prized Poems : Twenty-Five Years of the Forward Books (2016) 176 pp
8. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (2005) 400 pp
9. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost by Ismail Kadare (2000) 182 pp
10. The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal (2010) 352 pp
11. Varamo by Cesar Aira (2002) 89 pp
12. The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen (1935) 250 pp


13. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970) 456 pp
14. A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine : The Last Diaries by Tony Benn (2013) 294 pp
15. City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan (2016) 190 pp
16. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983) 210 pp
17. The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert by Jaroslav Seifert (1998) 246 pp
18. Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien (2011) 253 pp


19. Up the Junction by Nell Dunn (1963) 133 pp
20. Middle Passages by Kamau Brathwaite (1992) 120 pp
21. Maus II : A Survivor's Tale : And Here My Troubles Began (1991) 136 pp
22. Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (2011) 466 pp

Edited: Mar 9, 7:07pm Top

Best Books of 2016

Literary Fiction :

The Orenda

Honorable Mention
The North Water

Non-Fiction :

Return of a King

Honorable Mention
Military Blunders


The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Honorable Mention
Death of a Naturalist

Thrillers / Sci-Fi


Honorable Mention
His Bloody Project

Edited: Mar 21, 7:58pm Top

British Author Challenge 2017



MARCH : A DECADE OF BRITISH NOVELS : The 1960s - 10 Novels by Men; 10 Novels by Women - 1 DONE


MAY : BEFORE QUEEN VIC : 10 Novels written prior to 1837




SEPTEMBER : THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Great Books Since 2000) A novel chosen from each year of the new century

OCTOBER : WELSH AUTHORS (Born in or associated with Wales) : JO WALTON & ROALD DAHL

NOVEMBER : POET LAUREATES : British laureates, children's laureate, National Poets


Edited: Mar 21, 8:02pm Top

American Author Challenge

American Author Challenge 2017

January- Octavia Butler Blood Child and Other Stories
February- Stewart O' Nan City of Secrets : A Novel
March- William Styron
April- Poetry Month
May- Zora Neale Hurston
June- Sherman Alexie
July- James McBride
August- Patricia Highsmith
September- Short Story Month
October- Ann Patchett
November- Russell Banks
December- Ernest Hemingway

Edited: Mar 21, 8:13pm Top

ANZ Author Challenge

I will be doing Kerry's ANZAC Bingo Challenge 2x12

ANZAC Bingo 2x12
1: Read a book about conflict or war
2: Read a book with more than 500 pgs
3: Read an Aussie crime novel
4: Read a book using word play in the title
5: Read a book about exploration or a journey
6: Read a book that's been longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award
7: Read a book that's part of a series
8: Read a memoir/biography (can be fiction)
9: Read a book written under a pen name
10: Read a book with a musical plot
11: Read a book with water featured in title/cover : COMPLETED The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
12: Read a book with an immigrant protagonist

Edited: Mar 21, 8:14pm Top

Other Challenges & Some Stats

NOBEL WINNERS 60 Laureates read (1 new in 2017)

PULITZER WINNERS 14 fiction winners read at 1/1/17

BOOKER PRIZE WINNERS 24 winners read at 1/1/17


1001 BOOKS FIRST EDITION - 274 / 1001 (2 in 2017)

GUARDIAN 1000 BOOKS - 319/998 (2 in 2017)

IMPAC WINNERS - 5/21 read at 1/1/17

Mar 9, 6:30pm Top


Edited: Mar 21, 8:15pm Top


To finish
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Karen group read)
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (Obama Books / Global Challenge : Israel) DONE

And as many as I can from:

Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon (Group read with Dan from Club Read Group)
Middle Passages by Kamau Brathwaite (March Poetry read / Global Challenge : Barbados) DONE
Up the Junction by Nell Dunn (BAC March) DONE
A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow (BAC March)
Georgy Girl by Margaret Forster (BAC March)
The Green Man by Kingsley Amis (BAC March / 1001 Books)
The Undiscovered Country by Julian Mitchell (BAC March)
The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott (BAC March)
Lost Empires by JB Priestley (BAC March)
The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (AAC March)
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (CAC January / 1001 Books)
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (CAC March)
Her Privates We by Frederic Manning (ANZAC Bingo)
Maus II by Art Spiegelman DONE
Fences by August Wilson
When I was Old by Georges Simenon
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Global Challenge : Afghanistan)
Underground by Haruki Murakami (Global Challenge : Japan)

Edited: Mar 21, 8:54pm Top


Edited: Mar 10, 2:44am Top


A Game of Thrones

Part of it anyway

Edited: Apr 4, 8:42pm Top


I have not included the UK and USA in this as so much of our reading is from those two places but these are my 80 countries. Authors should have been born there, been a citizen of that country or are clearly associated with it.

visited 12 states (5.33%)
Create your own visited map of The World

1 Afghanistan
2 ALBANIA ISMAIL KADARE - Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
3 Algeria
4 Angola
5 Antigua
8 Austria
9 Bangladesh
11 Belgium
12 Bosnia
13 Brazil
14 CANADA BRIAN MOORE - The Magician's Wife
15 Chile
16 China
17 Colombia
18 Croatia
19 CZECHIA JAROSLAV SEIFERT - The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert
20 Denmark
21 Dominica
22 Dominican Republic
23 Egypt
24 Ethiopia
25 Finland
26 France
27 Germany
28 Ghana
29 Greece
30 Haiti
32 Hungary
33 Iceland
34 India
35 Indonesia
36 Iran
38 ISRAEL YUVAL NOAH HARARI - Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind
39 Italy
40 Jamaica
41 Japan
42 Kenya
43 Korea
44 Lebanon
45 Malawi
46 Malaysia
47 Mexico
48 Morocco
49 Mozambique
50 New Zealand
51 Nigeria
52 Norway
53 Pakistan
54 Palestine
55 Peru
56 Philippines
57 Poland
58 Portugal
59 Romania
60 Russia
61 Saudi Arabia
62 Senegal
63 Serbia
64 Sierra Leone
65 Singapore
66 Somalia
67 South Africa
68 Spain
69 Sri Lanka
70 St. Kitts
71 Sudan
72 SWEDEN MONS KALLENTOFT - Midwinter Sacrifice
73 Switzerland
74 Syria
75 Tanzania
76 Trinidad
77 Turkey
78 Uganda
79 Ukraine
80 Zimbabwe

Mar 9, 6:31pm Top


Mar 9, 6:32pm Top

Happy New Thread Paul!!

That artwork is fabulous!!

Mar 9, 6:34pm Top

Hooray new thread!

Mar 9, 6:36pm Top

New thread woot!

Mar 9, 6:39pm Top

>17 SuziQoregon: That was quick Juli. I have a very similar piece on my wall in the living room but of a market scene in Kuala Lumpur but actually done by my next door neighbour who tutored alongside that artist.

Mar 9, 6:41pm Top

>18 mstrust: Hi Jennifer. I am surprised but always gratified to have the pleasure of visitors to my little domain. I can think of few things that fill my day with such brightness. xx

>19 BBGirl55: Bryony, lovely to see you so active this week. I guess that is what happens when you spring free of feeling ill and are full of energy and the joys of an approaching spring. Hope we can meet up in the not too distant future.

Mar 9, 7:13pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 9, 7:14pm Top

>22 amanda4242: Thanks Amanda. xx

Mar 9, 7:28pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul! Love the Pinang topper!

Have you started your Styron?

Mar 9, 7:36pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul!

Edited: Mar 9, 8:09pm Top

>24 msf59: Not yet started it Mark. Maybe this weekend but I simply have got myself too many books on the go at the same time.

Pinang is a delightful place and one of my favourite spots to visit in Malaysia. The food is awesome.

>25 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I am way behind in my reading this month and hope I can get a little time to make some inroads.

Mar 9, 8:01pm Top

Please do not call me Roni. Nothing against Roni, of course...

Mar 9, 8:10pm Top

>27 msf59: Oops - my numbering muddled up. Now amended.

Mar 9, 8:11pm Top

And don't call me Shirley...

Edited: Mar 9, 9:00pm Top

Happy new thread! Just don't call me late to dinner!

Mar 9, 9:00pm Top

If you get to Montreal before June- there is a wonderful Marc Chagall art exhibit on.
Toronto is a great place to visit- you could try to come during the International Authors Festival ( Oct sometime) or the film festivals ( Sept or April). Just try not to come in the winter -usually really cold

Mar 9, 9:01pm Top

>29 drneutron: I won't call you Shirley if you don't call me Janice.

Mar 9, 9:03pm Top

>30 foggidawn: Ha! Foggy when the mists clear can I just call you friend? xx

>31 torontoc: That would be interesting, Cyrel. The international authors festival sounds fantastic and will be lightly pencilled in. I ought to be travelling a great deal this year which I am looking forward to.

Edited: Mar 9, 9:22pm Top

^Now I will going to bed thinking of Leah Marville. Thanks, Paul. She is a bit thin for my tastes, but what a lovely face.

Mar 9, 9:48pm Top

Checking in on you, Paul!

Mar 9, 10:05pm Top

Hi, Paul! I'm so hopelessly behind on your threads (among others) that I just jumped in here at the end to say hello.

Mar 9, 10:10pm Top

Hi Paul. Happy new thread.

Mar 9, 11:08pm Top

>34 msf59: Glad you came back quickly Mark as I was a little worried you had gone off in a huff! She is lovely isn't she. Very sultry.

>35 alcottacre: Lovely to see you Stasia. Am enjoying getting used to seeing you around again. xx

Mar 9, 11:10pm Top

>36 ffortsa: And I am so pleased you did, Judy. Don't ever feel the need or necessity to wade through my threads which I know tend to move too fast and too confusedly for many (including me most of the time). xx
I could be in New York soon so it would be great if I was to get the chance to meet up with you and Jim.

>37 BLBera: Thank you Beth.

Mar 9, 11:16pm Top

Wishing you a pleasant weekend with lots of reading opportunities. I have The Green Man from the library, the hard part is finding time to read it among all my other reads.

Mar 9, 11:46pm Top

Feliz nuevo hilo!

Mar 10, 3:22am Top

>40 avatiakh: I am hoping to get lost in books this weekend, Kerry, once I get over a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning.

>41 Morphidae: Mucho Gracias, enchantadora dama!

Mar 10, 3:53am Top

Happy new thread, Paul. Getting lost in books sounds like perfection, I hope you can do so, you deserve it with everything that's going on.

Mar 10, 4:14am Top

>13 PaulCranswick: a good batch of current reads you have there!

I have just finished A Manual for Cleaning Women which was marvellous- and am rather stuck for what to read next....too want to choose from.

Mar 10, 4:47am Top

Hi Paul!

I hope your Bleak House read is coming along. I ended up liking it so much more than Great Expectations and in the last few days I re-watched the 2005 BBC Miniseries with Gillian Anderson, Burn Gorman, Anna Maxwell Martin, Charles Dance, and etc. It made so much more sense having read the book.

Mar 10, 4:59am Top

>43 lunacat: I noticed a bad sign this afternoon that one of my eyelids is starting to twitch, Jenny. A sure sign that I am under a bit of pressure! A few hours with my books will make a difference.

>44 Ireadthereforeiam: I spend more time admiring them than reading them, Megan, which is a problem! A don't need a manual to clean my woman but I suppose some may need one! Look at my sixties selection and see if anything takes your fancy or I could recommend some Rohinton Mistry if you have anything available.

Mar 10, 5:00am Top

>45 karenmarie: I am, shall we say, savouring it Karen. It will end up being one of my favourite Dickens books for sure.

Mar 10, 6:17am Top

Happy new thread, Paul. And kuddos on being invited to visit Haskell in Florida!

Mar 10, 6:22am Top

>48 DianaNL: Sometimes accidents will happen, Diana, and they are not always bad! xx

Mar 10, 6:31am Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Mar 10, 6:36am Top

>50 scaifea: Thanks, Amber dear. I am hoping to get around the threads this weekend too. xx

Mar 10, 6:41am Top

>38 PaulCranswick: I would never leave here in a huff. Maybe some other threads, but not this one.

Happy Friday, Paul.

Mar 10, 6:56am Top

>52 msf59: That brought a smile to my face buddy. I hope I can arrange it so that I can fly up to Chicago on my upcoming trip to Florida as it would be great to catch up and chew the fat, so to speak.

Mar 10, 7:39am Top

Love the painting in the topper Paul, and fine poem in >2 PaulCranswick: as well.

Mar 10, 8:36am Top

Loving your thread topper - reminds me of nothing so much as the busy shops and crowded streets of New York City's own Chinatown.

And Bleak House is my favorite Dickens - this week anyway.

Mar 10, 8:59am Top

Congratulations on the new thread, Paul.

Nice poem up there.

I'm a fan of Bleak House, too. Hope it goes well for you.

Mar 10, 9:33am Top

Happy new thread!

Edited: Mar 10, 9:43am Top

Happy new thread, Paul! Just doing my best to keep up here. Continuing from your last thread, I just want to put a plug in for a west coast visit!! : )

Mar 10, 5:30pm Top

Hi Paul, Happy new thread mate and a great watercolour painting to start the thread. Nice to see Hales and Root with centuries in the last ODI and a comprehensive win, it seems we are starting to build a decent ODI team with a bit of competition for places so it will be interesting to see the final 15 selected to compete in the Champions Trophy in England.

Hope you have a good weekend mate.

Mar 10, 7:22pm Top

>54 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I am pleased with the poem too actually considering it was drafted when I was only 15 and only slightly edited by me much later.

>55 magicians_nephew: Doesn't it show how ubiquitous is the Chinese touch wherever they end up. Pinang is very much a Chinese island, Jim, and its influence on the food too creates a wonderful mix of flavours that elevates the place above the rest of Malaysia from a culinary point of view.
Loved your comment about Bleak House - that has always been my problem with him; deciding which of his books I like the best at any given time.

Mar 10, 7:25pm Top

>56 jnwelch: Lovely to see you Joe. I suppose that the poem is a little "english" and traditionalist for most American sensibilities but I think it does remind me that I knew as much about the mechanics of rhyme and meter then at fifteen as I do now at fifty.

>57 The_Hibernator: Thank you Rachel. I am so pleased that you were able to take time off from your heady life of dating to drop by. xx

Mar 10, 7:28pm Top

>58 Berly: To let you in on a secret Kimmers; Hani and the kids have determined that they want to visit that part of the world as a priority so if I were to go there this trip, I could get lynched on my return home! It won't be long I would guess.

>59 johnsimpson: Thanks John. We have got a good one day side haven't we. They tend to play an attacking game with abandon that pays off more often than not. I am not advocating that we play the test game exactly the same way but Root has to ditch the ultra caution of the Cook regime and set out to win games rather than to try to avoid losing them.

Mar 10, 9:34pm Top

>62 PaulCranswick: Well, I certainly don't want to get you lynched and I can wait if it means I get to meet the whole crew. That will be fun! Now I will just have to practice being patient person. : )

Mar 10, 10:18pm Top

I hope your weekend reading lessens the stress, Paul. I hate when the eye tick happens! Great news about your US trip and when you come west just remember that Canada has a west coast too!

Mar 11, 4:38am Top

>63 Berly: Kimmers, we will get together sooner rather than later. There are so many of you on that side of the country that I am really keen to meet up with.

>64 Familyhistorian: Meg, Vancouver and British Columbia generally is very much on our radar. I can see that, when I am based in the UK, I will be able to devise numerous potential opportunities in North America that will allow a plethora of meet-ups.

Mar 11, 7:02am Top

Hope you have a great trip to the US Paul. Any thoughts on which bookshops you plan to visit?! Meet ups sound like a great idea.

Mar 11, 8:12am Top

Hi Paul!

Savoring Bleak House sounds like a good idea. I think you have more discipline than I do, because I knew if I didn't read it in February it likely wouldn't get finished.

I hope you're having a good weekend.

Mar 11, 9:55am Top

>66 charl08: I will have a study on this nearer the time, Charlotte! The Chamblin Bookmine looks interesting and there is a large Barnes and Noble Store too.

>67 karenmarie: Karen, Discipline?!!? I am sure Hani would want words with you about that, Karen!

Mar 11, 12:57pm Top

Just claiming a seat here...wouldn't want to lose your thread, Paul!

Mar 11, 1:01pm Top

Happy weekend, Paul.

Edited: Mar 11, 3:49pm Top

I am late to the party, belated happy new thread, Paul! When are you traveling to the UK to prepare the move?

Mar 11, 7:42pm Top

>69 laytonwoman3rd: I have you one here right in the front row, Linda. I certainly wouldn't want you to lose my thread. xx

>70 Ameise1: The very same to you dear lady.

>71 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I haven't got my tickets yet. The aim is to plan for the 27th but I am behind schedule on the planning side of things and the financials too in truth.

Edited: Apr 2, 2:33am Top

I forgot to mention a couple of books that I added on Friday; one of which I was fairly sure that I had purchased and then I realised that Yasmyne gave it away to the school library by mistake a few years ago:

38. Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984) 297 pp

Had it and lost it because of my daughter's (in this instance) misguided philanthropy!

39. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (2016) 301 pp

Barry is reliable and this won Costa Book of the Year in 2016.

Mar 11, 10:37pm Top

Congratulations on Thread #11, Paul, and what a charming topper! I saw on your last thread that you will be visiting Florida in late April. That's a good place to start your adventure; I hope you have enough time to see some more of our country while you're here. You have a multitude of fans in North America!

Like you, I am planning some quality time with my books for the rest of the weekend. Bleak House is a real treat but my heart still belongs to A Tale of Two Cities. Enjoy your book time!

Mar 11, 10:45pm Top

>74 Donna828: Lovely to see you Donna. I probably can agree that A Tale of Two Cities should rank #1 amongst his novels (for the moment at least), but I do like Bleak House.

Denver and the Pacific North West when I have Hani in tow, I think. xx

Mar 12, 3:14am Top

>65 PaulCranswick: It is much easier to visit the eastern part of North America from the UK. It is quite a trek to come this far west - I remind myself of that every time I travel to the UK from here. Its a far cry from being in Montreal when my Mum and I hopped over to London for a long weekend!

Mar 12, 3:44am Top

>73 PaulCranswick: The Barry was really good Paul - one one vp a thumping good read bit also clever in the way he breaks down expectations about what the past looked like.

Mar 12, 8:39am Top

Have a lovely weekend, Paul. Some down time, perhaps?

Mar 12, 8:54am Top

Happy Sunday, Paul! I also have Days Without End on shelf. I hope to bookhorn it in, soon. I have never read Barry.

Mar 12, 9:13am Top

>76 Familyhistorian: It will still not seem too bad compared to my trips from Malaysia, Meg.

>77 charl08: He is a clever writer, Sebastian Barry, Charlotte. I have read his A Long, Long Way and I am expecting him to do for the American Civil War what he did there for the misnamed, Great War.

Mar 12, 9:17am Top

>78 jessibud2: Unfortunately no, Shelley. I got called by the investment partner this afternoon to discuss and iron out some teething issues. He was quite stressed actually which hasn't too much for my evening and has particularly ruined Hani's day. She is not talking to me at present, poor girl.

>79 msf59: Thanks Buddy. I am looking forward to it. Kazuo Ishiguro, who knows a thing or two, called the book; "A true leftfield wonder", whilst Booker shortlisted Donal Ryan said it was "a beautiful, savage, life affirming masterpiece." I reckon it should be a good 'un.

Mar 12, 9:23am Top

Ooh, perfect blurbs. Looking forward to it.

Mar 12, 9:33am Top

>82 msf59: I have gotten myself into a muddle with too many books on the go, Mark. I have decided to knock them off one by one to clear my way for a few more BAC sixties books and the Nat Turner I am so looking forward to.

Mar 12, 10:07am Top

Happy Sunday, Paul!

Mar 12, 10:25am Top

>84 scaifea: Thank you Amber dear. I am keeping a low profile actually as I keep seeing Hani scowling at me through the window of my reading room.

Mar 12, 10:47am Top

I think I'm one of the few William Gibson fans in the 75ers, Paul. Neuromancer knocked my socks off when it came out, and I enjoyed it again on a re-read. My favorites of his are the Bridge Trilogy, that is, Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties. He has a wonderful imagination.

Mar 12, 10:56am Top

>86 jnwelch: I am going in to reading it with a pretty open mind, Joe. I have oft told myself that I don't like sci-fi but I seem to be setting about disproving myself this last year or so reading wise so who knows?

Edited: Mar 12, 10:35pm Top

Joe entertained us with a poem at the head of his latest thread about V V-G and Caroline was reminded that she had written a homage to the same artist and she included her simply marvellous poem on her thread here -

https://www.librarything.com/topic/244657 ; post #112

It further reminded me that after reading Somerset Maugham's well known novel about one of his buddies, I had scribbled something and I went off to look at it. Much less lyrical and free form than the splendid efforts by my friends but I thought I would share this old thing anyway.

Strickland on the Page in Tahiti

In what gaudy colours
did he daub your life?
The moon, a sepia hued sixpence
cast a tepid pastiche.

Rather than those furrowed lines
upon his face you painted
the native ladies of Papeari.
Were your daubings primitive,
or were you smeared?

The artist's hand placed heart
upon canvas.
The author's pen entertained
with half-truths.

Mar 12, 11:39am Top

Word to wise travelers to USA shores - casual use of some words can get one labeled Far Alt-Right...

Mar 12, 11:49am Top

>89 m.belljackson: I shall remember to remain shtum then as I would rather get detained than be considered of the right!

Mar 12, 12:27pm Top

Wishing you some good/safe travels!
Must get to Barry's Long, Long, Way. I recently finsihed Days Without End and it amazed me.

Mar 12, 12:47pm Top

>91 mdoris: That is good to know Mary. I think that Barry is one of the leading Irish novelists still writing.

Mar 12, 1:00pm Top

Hi Paul!

>68 PaulCranswick: Book reading discipline. You will finish Bleak House in its own time, along with all the others you have on the go. I perceive you as being very disciplined about reading. Hani may resent all the time you spend reading, I don't know, but I admire perseverance and discipline in reading a book.

>85 PaulCranswick: I'm sorry work stresses have caused The Glare. The advantage of my taking over daughter's recreation room, aka Karen's Retreat, is that I can hide upstairs without seeing the glares or hearing the sighs if my husband is irritated with me.

Best wishes for a good week.

Mar 12, 1:13pm Top

>93 karenmarie: Sapiens will probably be the next book I finish, Karen. It is a wonderfully enlightening and thought provoking.
The glare is reducing because we have just been discussing a topic of mutual interest - food. French fries in Amsterdam eaten piping hot and bought just outside the cathedral adjacent to the Anne Frank Huis certainly put a smile on my ladies' face and made her lips smack contentedly.

Mar 12, 4:16pm Top

>1 PaulCranswick: We loved Penang when we visited Malaysia. The food was absolutely wonderful, especially a fairly traditional restaurant that we found near our hotel in one of the old houses that look like your header.

Mar 12, 5:16pm Top

Happy new(ish) thread, Paul!

I look forward to your comments about Days Without End.

Mar 12, 7:24pm Top

>95 SandDune: Almost impossible to have a bad meal in Pinang, Rhian. I like the island's mix of history, natural beauty, relaxation and culture. It is probably how Singapore would have been had Lee Kuan Yew not happened.

>96 kidzdoc: Thanks mate. It could be a while yet with my rate of present reading.

Mar 12, 7:27pm Top

I'm in the library queue for Days Without End, but there are several people ahead of me. I'm glad to read that all is settling down a little at the Cranswick Kuala Lumpur outpost. Sorry for your work stress.

Mar 12, 7:35pm Top

>98 vancouverdeb: The beginning of a new week, Deb, and I am not sure that I am looking forward to it entirely. There is a lot to do and so many variables. At the same time bills need to be paid and my brother is pushing for confirmed dates and times whilst realising that I can only move as fast as the banks will allow me to.

Mar 12, 7:49pm Top

Thanks for sharing your poetry, Paul! I am enjoying it.

Mar 12, 8:11pm Top

>100 banjo123: Thank you Rhonda. I slipped that one in sort of mid thread and I thought it had passed by unnoticed! I have to say that I would wholeheartedly recommend friends go to Caroline's thread and read her poem of Van Gogh; it is really excellent. I am plugging her more than Joe on this occasion for two reasons:

1 Her poem blew me away; and
2 Joe doesn't need so much assistance by way of plugs as his thread is as busy, just about, as any other in the group.

Mar 12, 10:14pm Top

Hello Paul, and I love the painting in your topper. And I love the poem in >88 PaulCranswick:. Thanks for sharing that with us.

I've never read anything by Sebastian Barry.

Oh, and it's a bit belated but Happy New Thread. :-)

Mar 12, 10:29pm Top

>102 EBT1002: Missed you over the weekend, Ellen, dear.

I don't dislike the poem in >88 PaulCranswick: to be honest but I had almost forgotten having scribbled it down - probably 20 years ago. I keep all such scribblings in a big red and white chequered folder that I have maintained since I was 13 and it is rather spilling over. Only the last four lines were added later and I didn't revise it as I often tinker. It is probably typical of the wry slightly cynical type of thing I was jotting down in those days.

Mar 13, 8:21am Top

Hi Paul!

>99 PaulCranswick: Sorry about the outlook for this week. And I know how much you love banks.

But the Glare was reduced at the topic of mutual interest, so there's something good.

Mar 13, 9:18am Top

Happy belated new thread, Paul! Thanks for sharing your poetry with us, perhaps you should plan on making a bound hard cover book of them, If not for the world at least for your children.

Are work obligations hindering you from savoring the big move? I certainly hope not but I imagine cutting ties can't be easy.

Mar 13, 6:58pm Top

>104 karenmarie: The banker involved in putting together the plan is also an incredibly high maintenance sort of fellow with an enormous ego and a penchant for using those awful smoking machine things, blowing strangely scented air everywhere. Yesterday wasn't too bad a day so let us hope it was the harbinger of good things to come.

>105 Carmenere: I have plans with my poetry, Lynda and will look to publish some of it discretely in poetry periodicals and be more active in the Poetry Society in the UK to get my "name out there". I have no great expectations about it and am aware of my limitations but it would be fun to have the time to see what a wider and more critical audience would say.

Work obligations are not really the issue, it is more making sure that funding is in place to take me and the company, I am partly leaving behind are well placed to move forward.

Mar 13, 7:51pm Top

Since I started keeping posting stats in detail in 2012 there have been peaks and troughs in posting but this year's has been a solid start all round.

I have kept track of the top ten for each year.
I have kept track of the top 140 threads for each year (why 140? - actually I cannot remember!)

Using both yardsticks 2017 is doing well.

Top Ten

Year end totals:

2012 64,556
2013 57,632
2014 61,113
2015 44,759
2016 58,132
2017 17,479 (to date)

Therefore with not even the first quarter year done we are already over 39% of 2015 total and over 30% for 2013 and 2016.

Top 140

2012 186,558
2013 178,293
2014 184,724
2015 127,536
2016 144,320
2017 47,629 (to date)

Again we are well over 30% already for 2015 and 2016 (37.05% and 33% respectively).

Mar 14, 12:18am Top

On a day of high political drama in the United Kingdom when Parliament passes the Bill to allow the triggering of Article 50 and formally start the process of EU exit and the Scots talk up another referendum on independence on some mythical grounds that they could stay in Europe whilst the rest of the UK leaves (baloney completely as Spain would certainly veto such an arrangement), we have the Texas legislature, erm, shaking up a storm or, um, trying to pull off a change in the law.

One state representative Jessica Farrah is trying to bring into law that men (and presumably pubescent boys) be fined $100 for masturbating. I dread to think how this is going to be enforced!


Mar 14, 12:37am Top

>108 PaulCranswick: I was relieved to see that the proposed legislation was a statement in irony to highlight the unnecessary and humiliating legislation Texas has subjected women's reproductive rights to. If the same thing were done to men...

Edited: Mar 14, 12:59am Top

>80 PaulCranswick: That depends on whether you can find a direct flight, Paul.

Best of luck getting all your ducks in a row with your business before the move.

>109 ronincats: That makes more sense now, Roni.

Mar 14, 2:23am Top

>109 ronincats: Yes, Roni, I was too being tongue in cheek. I am sure that too many gentlemen would have been in fear of being caught red-handed, so to speak, if not red-faced!

>110 Familyhistorian: Meg I am hopeful that I will be able to get things sorted pretty close to the time for the anticipated move across.
Roni makes a good point about the very discriminatory laws against women and their right to choose in Texas. In the UK there is not too much controversy about being pro-choice as I think there is a clear public consensus on the issue. The fact that Ms. Farrah is in fact a Democrat does give away the parody of her actions.

Mar 14, 9:38am Top

Hi Paul!

>106 PaulCranswick: I'm glad your most recent experience of the high-maintenance vape guy wasn't too terrible. I find all vape equipment and scents as disgusting as tobacco products and hate having to breathe any of it too. I'm sorry for people who are addicted to nicotine, but I'm so glad that smoking is not allowed anymore in public spaces in North Carolina. And once I stopped working I didn't have to go through the haze of smoke outside the entrances to work where the smokers hung out any more. I rarely have to smell any of it.

>108 PaulCranswick: and >109 ronincats: I loved reading about that legislation! It obviously won't go anywhere, but if just even one TX legislator actually applies braincells to it and 'gets it', then it's worthwhile.

I'm glad things are coming along on your move.

Mar 14, 9:53am Top

>112 karenmarie: Thanks Karen for the good wishes with the move. I made some progress with Peter, my twin, on the bits I am doing with him.

I have never smoked a cigarette believe it or not so it isn't something I particularly understand - I have smoke the occasional cigar but that is literally just suck and blow so it has never lead me to an endearment with smoking.

If I was feeling punny I would say that the men of Texas are expecting relief at the failure of the passage of that particular legislation.

Edited: Mar 14, 5:03pm Top

>108 PaulCranswick: Paul Cranswick - Maybe our new government will use Drones?

I can visualize the new Puritans among us pointing bony (apologies all around) fingers toward
houses where lots of drones are lurking...

Mar 14, 6:05pm Top

>114 m.belljackson: Clearly therefore I should go and buy shares in companies making such drones seen as they will become ubiquitous in no time at all.

Mar 14, 11:50pm Top

I don't know why but my mojo is fast disappearing!
Hardly any posts in the last few days and very little in the way of inspiration.

I guess I am just a little over-wrought and stressed to concentrate.

At least I did notice that it is not only Muslims having trouble getting into the USA as the Canadian church groups have been finding out:


Mar 15, 12:50am Top

Miscellaneous Stats

Most posts on threads since I have been keeping count:

I started my stats in 2012. Since 1 January 2012 until 15 March 2017. The top ten threads are:

1 Paul C 42,801
2 Mark 41,369
3 Joe 35,404
4 Amber 33,863
5 Mamie 28,397
6 Richard 27,609
7 Darryl 22,662
8 Ellen 18,648
9 Katie 17,950
10 Kath 15,442

Remarkable that Richard still gains 6th place - over 26,000 of those posts in 2012-2014

Kath also still makes the top ten despite not posting much in the last two years. Megan is closest to her with 14,154 posts and Stephen with 13,361 posts.

Edited: Mar 15, 3:50am Top

Hope your mojo comes back Paul. I'm finding it harder to fit in the books and I have nowhere near your commitments. I was trying shorter books but was just too tempted by Life and Fate not to dive in!

Mar 15, 4:38am Top

Hiya, intrigued to see you picked up a William Gibson classic .... I read when it came out. Would make an interesting read now

Mar 15, 5:44am Top

>116 PaulCranswick: , Yes it is so ridiculous! A lot of groups have decided not to even bother trying to go to the USA due to the " Travel Ban" .

Girl Guides of Canada has decided to suspend trip to the USA for now - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/girl-guides-of-canada-cancelling-trips-to-...

This is a bit old, but I know many school boards across Canada don't want the hassle of being turned back/ questioned at the US border. I've heard of many school boards who have decided not to go to the US with the travel ban.. It's all or none.


I hope you get your reading mojo back soon, Paul. So much stress with the banks and upcoming move. It it will be worth it!

Mar 15, 7:06am Top

>118 charl08: I hope so too, Charlotte. I was feeling a bit down in the dumps actually - too much to do and too little time to do it in and nothing positive to say on my thread; no books finished; no lovely food gulped down to share - only tiredness and a little bit of dejection.

I am a bit more positive today after a busy day at work.

>119 roundballnz: I thought that my pick might have raised an eyebrow or two (I can only raise both together anyway). If I am going to "get" Science Fiction then this may be it!

Mar 15, 7:11am Top

>120 vancouverdeb: Lovely to see you, Deb. I am amazed that Canadians are also having trouble to get across the border into the US. What about those from the US going the other way - don't they have any trouble too?

It is not only my reading that lacks mojo unfortunately - it is also my posting and my daily attempts to get my kit together to wrap up and move on. Most importantly I need to get my sense of humour back and pronto.

Mar 15, 7:26am Top

I hope you feel much better soon, Paul. It's no wonder you're down in the dumps with everything you've got going on. Be kind to yourself, and this too shall pass.

Mar 15, 7:33am Top

>123 lunacat: Thanks Jenny. I am not normally so grumpy. Half full glasses normally abound in my world but they have started to appear jolly empty recently.

Mar 15, 10:04am Top

Moving and making arrangements are stressful! My advice- try to read a "feel-good" book- my choice is usually Pride and Prejudice. This year I read P&P as told and photographed with guinea pigs ( not very satisfying but the guinea pigs wore nice hats)
Another choice -some good short stories.
If you need something funny- try anything by the late, great Canadian Stuart McLean

Mar 15, 11:37am Top

>125 torontoc: Feel good books is a good idea, Cyrel. I think one of my mistakes is getting myself too bogged down with too many books at the same time and some tough ones in there too. I have managed to finish one at least today and will possibly finish one each in the next two days.

Mar 15, 1:16pm Top

Paul--I am trying to fit in some very light reading to keep my spirits up. I don't want to deal too much with deep angst when I am not feeling up to snuff and while I have so much going on. Oldest daughter is moving out this weekend into her own apartment. She is very excited but stressed! I think she wants everything to be perfect on the first day and it takes time to truly settle in. I keep telling her, lovingly!, to take a chill pill. ; ) Do you have a favorite genre or author that might cheer you up? Big hugs!

Mar 15, 1:28pm Top

Oh, I'm sorry to hear about the missing mojo, Paul. I hope you find it soon!

Mar 15, 2:57pm Top

I'm feeling swamped at the moment, but I'm trying to make time to read. I'm about halfway through an audio book, about halfway through New Boy, and just started a chunkster (over 800 pages). Hope you find your mojo.

Mar 15, 3:04pm Top

Oh boy, moving is not easy. Take care! Energy and the glass half full will return

Mar 15, 3:10pm Top

Dear Paul,
Stephen Fry exists. Doesn't that cheer you up a bit?

Mar 15, 3:21pm Top

>131 mstrust: I don't know about Paul, but it cheers me up no end, every ding-dang day.

Edited: Mar 15, 7:05pm Top

>122 PaulCranswick: re School Boards, Canada Girl Guides, Sports teams etc deciding not to enter the USA with the Trump administration in power, here is why they are doing what they are doing. Since Trump took power, there have been problems with people from Canada being turned back at the border, or taken in for questioning, based on religion, place of birth, even Canadians born in Canada, but of different race. Cellphones can be searched, one can be questioned on about one's religion - in particular Muslims - how often do you go to your temple, do you like Trump? and plain old stupid Border Guards. One can be denied access to the US for any reason , at the discretion of the border guards. I link up a newspaper account of a Canadian Born woman of perhaps Indo -Canadian roots that was turned back at the border and another woman who feels she was turned back due to her religion.


So, school boards, sports groups., the Canadian Girl Guides have decided that they do not want to take trips to the US where one / or more children are denied access due to skin colour, religion etc, as well as the parents or teachers or leaders of such groups. The groups do not want a child / parent / leader left behind while the rest of the group proceeds forward through the border, or for a child / parent / leader / teacher to be subjected to the embarrassment .

It's not the fault of Americans , especially those here on LT, but rather border agents acting on Trumps Travel Ban, though it is not yet legal.

And yes, while Canada can turn people back at the border, Canadians don't have the same fear or crazy leader of our Country. If anything, Canada is taking in refugees/ asylum seekers in from the USA

Here is one area in particular where people are crossing into Canada, though it is happening in BC and Quebec, to a lesser extent .


I hope you are soon feeling better, Paul. Yes, good idea to read something light and cheerful, if you can find that. I've been trying to do the same.

Edited: Mar 15, 8:18pm Top

Ooops, couldn't help myself!

Mar 15, 8:19pm Top

>127 Berly: I have sort of got myself stuck with the books I am reading with the exception of the Pynchon which I am going to ditch until I am more in the mood to concentrate upon it.
I suppose Kimmers, I would look to Nesbo, Child and Camilleri to get up going again with my reading but I am short on all of these at the moment - sort of update in terms of the books I have - except one Nesbo.

>128 scaifea: I will Amber. There is that saying about not being able to keep a good man down and then there's me!

Mar 15, 8:24pm Top

>129 thornton37814: Yes, I have noticed that you have been struggling along a fair bit too, Lori. Let us keep our chins up together. xx

>130 mdoris: I would ordinarily be fine with the moving Mary but it is two things that are pressing me:

1 Ensuring that what I leave behind is not in a mess
2 Ensuring that I do not go back with practically empty pockets

Added to that we had word from Yasmyne yesterday that she is not feeling well but had not seen a physician. The mother was panicking a fair bit and I spoke to Yasmyne yesterday and explained to her that the National Health Service, when all is said and done, is what us Brits can still sing about, and she should go and sample its wonderment immediately.

Mar 15, 8:26pm Top

>131 mstrust: Stephen Fry could cheer me up reading out the telephone directory, Jennifer! Not only is he wonderfully funny, he is also extremely erudite - an ideal dinner companion. He has his own demons too though by all accounts.
Thanks so much for sending such an angel to cheer me up. xx

>132 scaifea: Amber you use phrases like ding-dang and I won't need anything else to cheer me up!

Mar 15, 8:31pm Top

>133 vancouverdeb: Refugees from the US streaming across the Canadian border to seek sanctuary under an enlightened regime. How far away is such a headline?
I would say that turning away people from the border checkpoint holding a valid passport of a nation with full diplomatic ties, having valid visas if so required should be against international law. It is certainly a slight against the country issuing the travel document. Is the USA saying that Canada doesn't know what it is doing in issuing passports and visas?

>134 mdoris: Mary, you are a star. I always knew pigs could fly! xx

Edited: Mar 15, 8:51pm Top


Maus II : A Survivor's Tale : And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

Date of Publication : 1992
Pages : 136

The sequel of course to Maus I.

This was deeply affecting as much for the parent/child relationship issues laid bare as for the horrific retelling of his father's derring-do survival of Auschwitz, the Death March, Dachau and the war aftermath.

I like the fact that Art Spiegelman makes no attempt to sugar-coat his own relationship issues with his father or to glorify an obviously difficult, but essentially brave and resourceful man. The book is a timely reminder on the importance of family, of caring and looking out for each other and on the terrible impact upon the survivors of the Holocaust - not only those poor souls who lost their lives like cattle.

There is guilt for the survivors - why did they make it through and others, friends and family and strangers did not? There is bewilderment at how it could have happened. There is trauma and an impact upon behaviour henceforward in the hoarding habits and of not wasting any food even if you find it unpalatable. There is the terrible fear of it happening again.

There is also the learning of lessons and the failure to learn them. The author demonstrates via his father's own inherent racism against black Americans that racism of all kinds can lend itself to violence and hatred and worse.

This is an important book, disguised as a comic. Just as the survivor is trying to disguise himself and fails just so this comic is very much a book indeed.


Mar 15, 8:53pm Top

Hi Friend.

9/10 is quite a high rating. This book is on the tbr pile for a long time. Looks like it is time to read it.

All good wishes to you!

Mar 15, 9:00pm Top

>140 Whisper1: Thank you Linda. I don't know why but I woke up this morning with you in my mind and I hope your pain is beginning to abate dear lady. xx

Mar 15, 10:01pm Top

>139 PaulCranswick: I think Maus was one of my first GNs several years ago. Did you notice the pigs were Poles, the Germans were cats and the Jews were mice? What an intense and moving book and for sure the background story with his dad is intense too. Great review!

Mar 16, 1:46am Top

Hi there. Just a little book thought for you...happened to me just last week. ; ) Hope your mood is on the up and up.

Mar 16, 3:53am Top

>133 vancouverdeb: >138 PaulCranswick: There was an incident recently where a Welsh teacher was abandoned in Iceland, and wasn't allowed to continue his journey to the US, presumably because he was Muslim and was ethnically from South Asia. I'd be pretty sure that that school and other local ones would think twice about any future trips to the US.

We were away for my sister's birthday last weekend and we're teasing her that she won't get back into the US any time soon as she's going to Iran this week with her daughter. I'd be surprised if my niece gets into the US in future either: as well as having been to Iran once already, she's also been to North Korea!

Mar 16, 4:33am Top

I hope both you and Yasmyne are starting to feel better in your different ways. And thank you for the review of Maus II, I've owned I and II for years but never got round to reading them so hopefully this will inspire me :)

Edited: Mar 16, 5:48am Top

>142 mdoris: Thank you Mary. I am not even sure whether I liked the first one more or the second. I think the second on balance. It was also comical that the French were frogs and that Artie's wife was deemed to be a frog turning into a mouse. Too good.

>143 Berly: That one depends a little bit both on the book and its ending, Kimmers!
Actually I am a little happier today but still struggling to make ends meet and at the same time I have been asked by two separate parties to lend them money within 24 hours of each other. One is the the landowner of a project we are hoping to do in Pekan on the East Coast of Malaysia. The other is a Malay lady with whose father I have had some tenuous dealings in the past. They hail from the Northern state of Kelantan and we have had some discussions in venturing into a car dealership there and in the importation of an electric powered car from Thailand. It seems she has been facing bankruptcy proceedings as she was left as guarantor for a separate car dealership that failed. The lady is a pleasant, vivacious young woman of about 30 years, married with two youngish children. It has been intimated to me (and not by her I would add) that she is willing to become my bedfellow if I am able to settle her legal fees!!! I don't foresee Hani approving of such an arrangement!!! Bizarre all round but an illustration both that the economy here is in trouble and that people will go to some lengths to meet their responsibilities. The lawyer is a good friend of mine and I have spoken to him to defer fees as much as possible but there isn't room in my bed for anyone other than Hani. I also don't think that I will be doing business with the family given that they would have even thought that I would be open to such suggestions.
I wouldn't mind but I am hardly Robert Redford.

Mar 16, 5:47am Top

>144 SandDune: It is a scary world we are living in Rhian. All politicians are opportunists and cannot be trusted. We have a Prime Minister who was apparently in the Remain camp very clearly showing her true colours - she was clearly always a Brexiteer. Mr. Corbyn is also a closet Brexiteer and, whilst I can see pro and cons of being in or out of the EU, I don't want these clowns negotiating for us or making a complete mess of holding the negotiators to account.
On the other hand we have the SNP, having said the last referendum was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity clamouring again for another one; one that to suit their selfish ends would almost certainly bankrupt the people of Scotland. Spain have been adamant that they would block any Scottish attempts at entry and Nicola Sturgeon is being entirely dishonest in her approach. She may spout about anti-austerity measures - and wouldn't we want some of those really in the rest of the UK - but the reality there is far from the spin. Then we have Marine Le Pen having a real shout at winning the French Presidency which would almost certainly spell the end of the EU as an experiment and the Dutch elections too. Oh and then there is trump.................

>145 lunacat: Thank you Jenny. She at least promised to go to the clinic yesterday.

Mar 16, 6:38am Top

>117 PaulCranswick: Those stats are staggering aren't they? A chatty bunch for sure.

Sweet Thursday, Paul. Hope you are having a good week. Hooray, for Maus! What an achievement.

Mar 16, 7:30am Top

>148 msf59: Mark, it is surprising that over those years you and I are closing on 85,000 posts between us since 2012.

Mar 16, 7:31am Top

Hi Paul.

You have such a dramatic life! And you are the consummate diplomat! :-)

I hope Yasmyne feels better quickly.

And may April and your move come soon and with less drama for you

Mar 16, 8:03am Top

>141 PaulCranswick: I am honored! We had a snow storm and the university was closed for two days. This is highly unusual and, it was great to relax, rest and read.

I also hope your move goes smoothy, and as >150 jessibud2: notes, with less drama.

Mar 16, 9:51am Top

>138 PaulCranswick: Is the USA saying that Canada doesn't know what it is doing in issuing passports and visas? Of course it is, Paul. It has been a frequent and recurring theme throughout the years. LOL.

Mar 16, 2:48pm Top

#146 I have to de-lurk to say WTF!!!! I agree that Hani would not be likely to agree to this arrangement!

I suspect my mojo may be where yours is... my brain plans posts then can't find it's follow through enough to type it out. Stress is a bugger isn't it :/ But hiya nonetheless.

Mar 16, 6:05pm Top

>138 PaulCranswick: As I understand it, both the USA and Canada are "sovereign countries " and either of us can turn someone away at the border without a valid reason, even if we have the correct papers. I don't think that is usually a problem, but right now with the Trump " Regime" , things are quite different. I think that the Canadian government is just waiting to see who things sort themselves out with the Trump Travel ban. I don't our government wants to cause a big deal with the US government because there is so much trade back and forth between our two countries. At the rate Trump is going, with luck he'll be impeached or in jail sooner than later :)

At least Geerte Wilders did not win the election in the Netherlands yesterday. Things to be thankful for!

I hope everything sorts itself out with your banking and business very soon Paul. I agree with you that we live in a scary world these days. I hope things will get sorted out fairly soon. Dump Trump, for a start.

Mar 16, 6:53pm Top

>150 jessibud2: Sometimes I do wish that it was a little less eventful, Shelley, as I could do with a rest. Last night I went to the birthday party of a friend and client (he is 59 today) and found that it was a double celebration as he and his wife share the same birthday. What are the odds on that?!

On the legal issue I alluded to in an earlier thread, my lawyer friend informed me last night that he is going to discharge himself on the morning of the Court of Appeal hearing. This will achieve what the young lady wants in effect as she will be afforded more time and he gets off without preparing for a case he thinks cannot succeed and for which she cannot pay.

>151 Whisper1: A decent little mini break appeals just now for me too Linda but I really mustn't allow myself the luxury. Thanks as always for your kindness and good wishes. xx

Mar 16, 6:59pm Top

85,000 posts? WOW! You would think we sat home all day, with no job and little outside social activity. Grins...

Mar 16, 7:04pm Top

>152 Familyhistorian: Yes it would certainly appear that way to me Meg.

>153 BekkaJo: Hahaha that is exactly what I thought too! It could well be that the young lady herself is innocent of any such imputation and doesn't even know of its existence but the father's and my mutual "friend" seemed quite emphatic in his suggestions. To be honest, I found the whole thing extremely distasteful - especially considering that I know the lady's parents and children and have even met the husband! I am now slightly in a quandary as to how much I tell Hani about the situation bearing in mind that I have:
1 No intention of doing anything wrong; and
2 No intention of henceforward working with the family

>154 vancouverdeb: No, Deb, I wasn't saying that the US or Canada don't have the right to police or manage their own borders but it seems to me that, amongst allies, if a person with a valid passport, without any criminal record or other travel ban, holding any stipulated visa, is refused entry then it is a slight to the country that has issued them a passport and allowed them beyond their own borders.

I think most of us would agree that the Netherlands just about struck a blow for common sense yesterday.

Mar 16, 7:06pm Top

>156 msf59: Well buddy at least one of us gets out and about on the streets most days visiting numerous homes in his vicinity delivering missives of love and wanting etc!

Edited: Mar 16, 7:09pm Top

For a single day a year, everyone can be Irish!

Edited: Mar 16, 7:10pm Top

^Glad this isn't us....

Mar 16, 7:12pm Top

Yes - and still fun to head to You Tube to watch the original "There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama!"

Mar 16, 7:15pm Top

Hi Paul!

I'm sorry your book mojo hasn't returned.

I've been having great fun reading Poldark.

I'm very sorry that Yasmyne hasn't been feeling well and is Too Far Away from Mom and Dad, but glad that she finally went to a clinic. I just got off the phone with my daughter, who has been feeling blue and anxious for a while because of some things going on at her work. Fortunately she's coming home tomorrow through Sunday so we can pamper her and make sure she's okay.

Yay The Netherlands.

Bizarre re the Malay lady. Distance is a good thing.

I admire you for working to make everything as perfect as it can be - both for what you're going to in the UK and what you're leaving in Malaysia.

Mar 16, 7:25pm Top

>160 msf59: That is a startling photo, Mark! Exactly why would he have his legs quite so far apart?

>161 m.belljackson: Well certainly he is as Irish as many of us on 17 March!
My maternal family does originate from County Donegal.

>162 karenmarie: Thank you dear Karen.
Poldark would be another "feel good" read actually. Immerse myself in a time and a place long gone but with characters we can almost reach out and touch......isn't reading wonderful?!

I am doing my best to get away from Malaysia in a manner that works well for the greatest number, but it is tough!

Mar 16, 7:27pm Top

Airing things out, I suppose...

Mar 16, 7:29pm Top

>164 msf59: Hahaha, looks like he has plenty of airing to do as well!

Mar 17, 9:18am Top

>136 PaulCranswick: I hope that Yasmyne has started to feel better and has taken advantage of the health care available to her!

Mar 17, 9:22am Top

We found it took the son about a year to settle into a new situation - college, grad school, etc. I think you'll find that this time next year she'll feel more integrated. In the meantime, it's hard to watch your kid go through it.

Mar 17, 10:35am Top

>166 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle. She has gone off to see her boyfriend in Prague so she is probably feeling well whatever her help condition is! To be fair to her she did visit the clinic on campus and got some medication.

>167 drneutron: Actually Jim, I think that she is happy enough in Edinburgh, but isn't really that competent at looking after herself fully! Like her mum, Yasmyne is a little bit of a hypochondriac, but whereas Hani has a season ticket at the local GPs, Yasmyne is scared to find out what her illnesses signify. The problem is of course not being close enough to take proper care of her ourselves.

Mar 17, 3:48pm Top

It isn't easy for Yasmyne to look after herself, Paul, but she will learn. And it isn't easy for Hani to be so far away...

Mar 17, 8:10pm Top

>169 FAMeulstee: Indeed, Anita, indeed. It won't be for too much longer either God willing.

Edited: Mar 17, 8:28pm Top


Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Hariri

Date of Publication : 2011
Pages : 466
Obama Book Challenge
Around the World in 80 Books : 10/80; Israel

This is a seriously good book.

A history that has gravitas as well as being accessible. One that is profound as well as being understood easily by the layman. A discourse that drags you in by the sheer excellence of the prose.

I am not entirely sure that some of Hariri's contentions in terms of the development of religious thought in particular would be appreciated by the more convinced amongst us but the survey is as illuminating on the ideas expounded as it is contentious to some degree.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as steadily as I progressed through it and will definitely look out for the companion piece he has written predicting our futures.


Edited: Apr 5, 6:59am Top


Country 10 of 80 - ISRAEL

Israel Factfile

Area : 8,019 sq miles (149th)
Population : 8,662,640 (97th)
President / Prime Minister : Reuvin Rivlin/ Benjamin Netanyahu
Capital City : Jerusalem
Largest City : Jerusalem
Currency : New Shekel
GDP Nominal : $327.63 billion (35th)
GDP Per Capita : $37,778 (24th)
National Languages : Hebrew, Arabic
Median Age : 29.7
Life Expectancy : 82.4
Percentage Using Internet : 78.9

Its a Fact : The Mount of Olives is the world's oldest continuously used cemetery.

Sources : Various but mainly wikipedia and CIA World Factbook

Mar 17, 8:54pm Top

>139 PaulCranswick: I loved the Maus books when I read them. I agree that they are important books disguised as comics.

Mar 17, 8:55pm Top



Popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it was originally introduced into Israel by Libyan and Tunisian Jews following the nation's re-establishment. I distinctly recall some of our friends Joe and Paul Harris relishing the dish when I met up with them in London last year.

Mar 17, 8:56pm Top

>173 alcottacre: I had never read a graphic novel before Stasia, so what an introduction to the medium!

Mar 17, 9:00pm Top


Gal Gadot

Again I didn't go for the obvious in the delectable Nathalie Portman but this young lady has a similar look and is entrancing!

Mar 17, 9:05pm Top


Zohar Liba

Israeli actor and model

Mar 17, 9:06pm Top

>175 PaulCranswick: Oh, that is a terrific introduction to the genre for you then!

Mar 17, 9:10pm Top

>178 alcottacre: I will next try and read Persepolis, Stasia, before going off in search of the March books.

Mar 17, 9:14pm Top

>179 PaulCranswick: I think you will like that one too, Paul, although for me personally, it does not measure up to the Maus books.

Mar 17, 9:23pm Top

>180 alcottacre: In all fairness, Stasia, Spiegelman did win a Pulitzer for it so I always reckoned on starting at the top and working my way down. xx

Mar 17, 9:36pm Top

Mar 17, 9:42pm Top

>182 alcottacre: It really is lovely to see you back, my dear. The group has greatly missed your care and energy. Richard not having access regularly to a computer has slowed things down too so I am happy to see you back to redress the slow down in posting!

Mar 17, 9:44pm Top

>183 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. You never know how much you miss something until it is gone. I have 5 years of posts to make up for now!

Mar 17, 9:44pm Top

>174 PaulCranswick: Looks tasty. Kind of reminds me of huevos rancheros.

Since you have discovered you're not allergic to graphic novels, you might want to give Neil Gaiman's Sandman a try for the December BAC. The series is more like traditional comics than Maus, but it's a grand tale deeply rooted in myth.

Mar 17, 10:01pm Top

>184 alcottacre: Well you have made a decent start!

>185 amanda4242: Paul and Joe and Debbi all reckoned it was delicious, Amanda.
I will give the Sandman books a go as I have seen them enthusiastically reviewed across the group.

Mar 17, 11:23pm Top

Hi Paul! Your life is certainly not dull.

I am SO annoyed with Trump and the Muslim Ban 2.0. I am glad, at least, that the courts had the sense to rule against it.
I was reading an article that said that US universities are having a decrease in international students, and I have to say that I quite understand. If I were a Muslim parent, I wouldn't want to send my kid to school here.

Mar 17, 11:45pm Top

>171 PaulCranswick: I still haven't made time for Sapiens but do want to say that I first came across the book when I read an article about what books Netanyahu took on a flight to the US a few years back. He is an avid reader and loves visiting the bookshops in the US when he's there. On his trip to Moscow last week Putin presented him with a 500 year old edition of Josephus’ book The Jewish War which was a very well received gesture and will be treasured by the National Library of Israel.

Mar 18, 1:20am Top

Hi Paul (at last). Wow - you have so much going on! Good luck for the big move back to the UK.

Sapiens looks really good. Onto the wishlist it goes...

Mar 18, 4:45am Top

Happy weekend, Paul.

Mar 18, 5:25am Top

>171 PaulCranswick: good to know it is good Paul, it's near the top of a pile.

>174 PaulCranswick: love Shakshuka.

Mar 18, 5:54am Top

>187 banjo123: Well, yes, there is that Rhonda! We are only here once so I do believe in living it to its fullest. I have realised over the years that I want to spend the good times and the bad times and the indifferent ones with Hani after a major hiccup three years ago which still haunts some of my sleeping moments and was a time when I took my eye off the ball for a time. She is a tough cookie but she is my tough cookie and I wouldn't swap her for a gold pig.
It is only when cultures and faiths and peoples mix that the commonality is realised and the differences trivialised. Someone's race, gender, sexuality, creed and politics don't matter a jot when you can connect properly with the person beneath that pile of stereotypes.

>188 avatiakh: It is funny because I almost bought a modern version of that self same book last month. If you listen to some forms of media you would have thought that Putin and Netanyahu couldn't even read.

Mar 18, 5:59am Top

>189 cushlareads: Lovely to see you Cushla. I am trying to get myself in a position that I can go back to the UK reasonably close to the target that we have set ourselves. xx

>190 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I am doing my rounds of the threads geographically this week and I will be visiting my European friends shortly.

>191 Caroline_McElwee: Brilliantly written and not afraid to call the absurd by its proper name.

If I am not mistaken you didn't have Shakshuka that day, but I could be wrong. I seem to remember that there were three portions ordered but my supposedly reliable memory fails me - I think because I arrived as you had ordered.

Mar 18, 6:11am Top

Hi Paul. Hoping you get some time to sit down and read this weekend.

Mar 18, 6:23am Top

>194 charl08: I have big reading plans for tomorrow but I am hoping not to tell Hani too much or she will hatch plans for me to spend my time otherwise.

Edited: Mar 18, 7:03am Top

>192 PaulCranswick: - It is only when cultures and faiths and peoples mix that the commonality is realised and the differences trivialised. Someone's race, gender, sexuality, creed and politics don't matter a jot when you can connect properly with the person beneath that pile of stereotypes.

So well said, Paul! And so true. Pity that more people don't see it this way. Well, more world leaders, anyhow. I think plenty of *real* people do understand and see this.

Mar 18, 7:07am Top

>196 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley. I could be simplistic and view the North of England I grew up in as hopelessly prejudiced. I have to say though that it was much more the case that the Northern English were not so familiar with Brits of African-Caribbean and Asian descent. I am heartened that the natural Yorkshire warmth has helped to ease many of the strains that originally beset the relationships.

Mar 18, 8:59am Top

Paul, you are so funny . I have big reading plans for tomorrow but I am hoping not to tell Hani too much or she will hatch plans for me to spend my time otherwise. Fortunately for me, my husband reads quite a bit. I'm glad that Yasmyne is feeling better. Here is my 27 year old son off on a trip to Iceland, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam ( with his wife and another couple) and I don't worry so much about them now, but I give my son lots of " travelling tips" before he goes. :) I would have an hard time getting used to either of my boys going to school across the pond.

Mar 18, 10:21am Top

Hi Paul!

>171 PaulCranswick: I skipped your review of Sapiens because I bought it the other day - saw it, it was at a nicely reduced price off of retail, so snagged the only copy they had left. I can't wait to start, but have a busy weekend. I probably won't get to it until Monday. I'm so excited.

I hope you've had a relaxing weekend.

Mar 18, 10:28am Top

>198 vancouverdeb: She also likes to read it is just that she doesn't like to see me doing so when I could be otherwise occupied rubbing her feet or massaging her back etc. Yasmyne really wanted to go to Scotland, Deb, and I felt it was the impetus I needed to make my own move back.

>199 karenmarie: You are in for a treat with that one Karen.

Mar 18, 10:49am Top

Howdy Paul. I am eternally behind, but wanted to stop in and say hello. I have Maus in the queue for next month.

Mar 18, 12:55pm Top

Hmmm. I need to come up with an evil plan to distract Hani so you can read.... :)

Mar 18, 2:19pm Top

Thought of Hani yesterday, Paul, as an organized group of 15 broke into the Nieman-Marcus here and made of with over a hundred thousand dollars worth of designer purses in under 3 minutes. Has she taken up a new occupation of mastermind?

Hugs to you for stress relief!

Mar 18, 6:53pm Top

>201 luvamystery65: Lovely to see you Roberta, I have missed you lots over here and around the threads. I am sure that you will appreciate the Maus books.

Mar 18, 7:03pm Top

>202 drneutron: Couldn't you distract the lady by giving me some of those lovely craft beers the Belgian scientists are turning into planets?

>203 ronincats: She is sleeping very contentedly at the moment Roni without the slightest guilty look on her face. Either she is a master at hiding emotion or she is innocent on this occasion!
Thanks for the hugs - I may need plenty in the week ahead.

Mar 18, 11:41pm Top

I am freshening up my reading a bit as I have been struggling to get reading traction this month.

I have decided to stop with Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon which is just too complicated and convoluted for my present state of mind. Not pearl Ruling it exactly but I won't be back to it for a while.

I am trudging to the end of No Great Mischief for the CAC which is well written but extremely slow moving and incident free.

The Simenon journals When I Was Old are good and introspective and I will get that one done steadily.

I am getting through the excellent Bleak House at a savouring pitch.

I need to read some faster moving non-fiction and what could be faster than Seabiscuit.

Maurice Gee and Khaled Hosseini call to me as does The Confessions of Nat Turner which I need for the AAC

Gilead is also my selected Obama book.

I also want to get some more BAC stuff done and will look at J.B. Priestley.

I have started Fences by August Wilson.

That means 10 books on the go to finish in 12 days and get me back a little on track.

Mar 19, 4:01am Top

I hope these books provide the magic lure back into reading.

Mar 19, 4:35am Top

>207 avatiakh: I had a think about ditching multiple reads and concentrate one at a time and then I thought I may do better letting one read drag the others forward together. Let's see if it works.

Mar 19, 5:00am Top

I always have several on the go at same time and just let one or two take priority. It works for me.

Mar 19, 5:49am Top

>209 avatiakh: I have had a good days reading so far, Kerry, so it may be the way forward for me too.

Mar 19, 8:05am Top

Hi Paul! I hope the ten books you've got started or slated get you your mojo back.

I've started The Four Swans, the 6th Poldark book, reading 44 pages before going to sleep last night.

Mar 19, 8:39am Top

Happy Sunday, Paul! Looks like you have a lot of interesting books going. I don't think I could juggle that many.

Mar 19, 10:32am Top

>211 karenmarie: So far so good. It will test my levels of concentration to see if I am able to follow what is going on in all of the books.

I love Poldark.

>212 msf59: I am not sure that I will be able to do so either.

Mar 19, 10:53am Top

Take care with all that is on your mind, Paul. As for my son and DIL's trip to Iceland, Copenhagen and Amsterdam , I agree it sounds very exciting! The weather has not been great though, so I hope that has not affected their perception of the countries. They are keen travellers, so they have a fair bit to compare it with. Last summer they went to Britain, France and Italy and really enjoyed themselves. My DIL is originally from Hong Kong, so they are very familiar with Hong Kong and Macau. They have also been to Japan, and quite a few places in the US - Hawaii, San Francisco, etc and have a trip planned to the Grand Canyon later on this year. Apparently they wish to get a fair bit of travel under their belts prior to having kids.

I really can only read one book at a time :)

Mar 19, 10:55am Top

Hope you have a nice reading sunday, Paul.

Mar 19, 11:33am Top

>214 vancouverdeb: Deb, they really do sound like a couple of globetrotters! I well remember them getting married (doesn't time fly) and am very pleased that they get along so well and seem so happy together.

>215 EllaTim: Great to see you popping into my humble abode. My weekend is all but done here but it has been a good one really - sort of calm before the storm (I do not hope).

Mar 19, 2:04pm Top

Hi, Paul! Just catching up and am delurking to congratulate you on your excellent review of Sapiens, which I thought was fantastic too. (And I thought his analysis of the development of religion logical and actually probable.)

I don't read nearly enough GNs, but I thought Maus I and II, Persepolis and its sequel, and the Sandman series, as well as the March books by Rep. John Lewis, were excellent! Also the Alison Bechtel GNs, especially Essential Dykes, though that was more a collection of her comic strips.

Commiserating with you on being down in the doldrums lately. Moving is such a pain! I know I've been suffering a lot of stress and anxiety lately to the point of having sleepless nights, inability to concentrate on reading, and stomach pain, and I'm only moving 125 miles away, not across continents! One thing that has helped me is listening to audiobooks that I've already enjoyed before. Keeps me from obsessive worry while at the same time I don't have to concentrate too much on the book. (I'm not counting those as part of my targeted number of books.)

Hope you have a good week!

Mar 19, 2:06pm Top

Monday morning by the time you read this, but the sentiment is the same!

Mar 19, 4:54pm Top

Happy Sunday/Monday (whichever), Paul :)

Mar 19, 7:30pm Top

>217 Storeetllr: I was especially taken by his analysis of the importance of imagination in human development and the fact of Sapiens somehow wiping out the other human forms existing originally on earth. I agree with you his theses are probable.
I think if it was just the moving I would be ok, Mary, but it is the tremendous financial strains I am under too at the moment which keep promising to resolve themselves but still have not. Anyway I will keep on keeping on.

>218 lunacat: I hope that you are right with that one, Jenny. xx

>219 alcottacre: Yep it is Monday already here Stasia worse luck!

Edited: Apr 2, 2:36am Top

Oh and I did add one book yesterday whilst I was waiting for Belle to finish her gymrama class:

40. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (2016) 175 pp

Why? Put simply; the force of positive reviews by the 75ers!

Mar 19, 11:02pm Top

I did enjoy Another Brooklyn, I hope you do too, Paul. I hope Monday is not to stressful for you. Yes, my son and DIL will have been married for 2 years this July. Not that long , since Dave and I are approaching our 34th anniversary, but yes, they are very happy together.

Mar 19, 11:13pm Top

Hi Paul. Sorry to hear about the mojo slump. They do happen, especially when RL is overwhelmingly busy and stressful. But I see that you're still managing a bit of reading (and book-acquiring). I am adding Maus: And Here My Troubles Began to my wish list. I almost purchased Sapiens for my Kindle -- I believe it was on super duper sale -- and your comments are persuasive. I'm assuming it does not have images that I would miss by reading it in e-format?

I hope you have a good week ahead. Hang in there, my friend.

Mar 19, 11:27pm Top

>222 vancouverdeb: Well it hasn't started all too well if I am honest Deb, with a bit of a shouting match with a very recalcitrant sub-contractor who did work on a project of ours with no paperwork but insists on payment anyway.

34 years is impressive! Lesser sentences are given out for armed robbery! (kidding of course).

>223 EBT1002: There are images in the book but I don't think that they add to or detract from the enjoyment of it.

Thanks for the kind words, dear lady.

Mar 19, 11:57pm Top

Hmm, still. I think I'll wait and get a dead-tree copy.

Mar 20, 12:02am Top

I was going to wait for you to start a new thread before visiting your shores again because 220+ was too intimidating a number. But then I found I couldn't wait to see what's been happening with the Great Move of March 2017.

Good luck trying to balance all of the competing needs and objectives, managing the million details, and surviving financially and mentally with the unusual strains and stretching as your fingers reach toward the UK while your toes haven't yet left Malaysia and everything isn't quite lining up. Youch.

Loved the reviews of Sapiens and Maus. Will definitely add those to my list. Have stayed away from Maus all these years because I wasn't sure I wanted to take on such a heavy topic in a form that is so commonly associated with light entertainment.

I'm another who enjoyed The Sandman when it originally came out in individual issues. I never quite got to the end of the story because I graduated from college and moved away from the on-campus comic book library before it finished its run. And I tend to be an opportunistic book collector, so I haven't quite gotten around to buying all of the compiled graphic novels. I have volumes 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 10 of the 10-volume compilation reprints. So a few more to gather before the great re-read. And since I am already past the halfway point with that set and I'm cheap, I am not interested in acquiring the more recent and very expensive complete series in a single volume reissue.

You also inspire me to take up Bleak House sooner rather than later. I received a bunch of Dickens from friends who moved out of state several years ago but haven't gotten around to reading any of them.

Serious reading, alas, must await a more open schedule. Currently, I am working pretty much 7 days a week and night-time commitments too. I am so not ready for my Arabic class tomorrow night. So I haven't allowed myself to become immersed in new fiction novels when so much needs to get done in so little time.

Perhaps you have the better strategy of truly fine reading doing more to recharge you and prepare you for the challenges rising to the heights of cumulonimbus towers in these frantic busy days. Good luck and godspeed.

Mar 20, 12:10am Top

>225 EBT1002: Probably a good idea, Ellen.

>226 justchris: Bleak House is one of the more accessible Dickens', Chris, despite its imposing length.

Good point about Maus and I think that applied to much of the genre for me. I hope that you too get some down time and are free to do your reading.

Edited: Mar 20, 8:19am Top

>193 PaulCranswick: no, I didn't have it that day, I had the vege burger, which I liked more than Hani did, but would probably have something else next time.

>192 PaulCranswick: Glad you got through the bump in the road Paul. Although our meeting was short, I could tell you and Hani had something good going on.

Mar 20, 6:09am Top

>228 Caroline_McElwee: All I do remember really, Caroline, is the ladies sharing and delighting in the dessert that had been ordered.
Our life together, Hani and I, is rarely without incident. We have our ups and downs and she is extremely vocal about whatever it is she is passionate about - which is most things - but she is fiercely protective and supportive of me at the same time. She pretends horror at my book buying proclivities whilst at the same time asking me to recommend something for her to read!

Mar 20, 6:33am Top

Hello, Paul!

Remind me again - is the move happening in April?

Edited: Mar 20, 6:56am Top

Hi Paul!

Financial pressures are soooo draining! Take very good care of your wonderful self during this stressful and busy time.

I've started Sapiens. I think I'll treat it like my reading of Bleak House - perhaps a chapter a day. Not that I am not all fired up to read it, and I am already on chapter 2. It's a dense read, though, at least for me, so rather than rush through I'll savor it (like you're doing with Bleak House!)

Mar 20, 7:19am Top

Hello, I just found that I was several threads behind so I skimmed and now here I am! Real life is such a drag sometimes. It won't let me do what I want. LOL
Hopefully everything is good for you and yours. I have been enjoying the pictures and the thread toppers very much.

Mar 20, 7:58am Top

>230 scaifea: Supposed to be in March! I think it will be mid April looking at the issue with finances.

>231 karenmarie: I think you'll find it worth it, Karen. He makes a few deductions that some of our group will not agree with but the assumptions and deductions are certainly well argued.

>232 cal8769: Thanks Carrie. Lovely to see you you here my dear. Feel more than free to skim away at will. xx

Mar 20, 2:10pm Top

Yesterday was my father's birthday. Despite his calling my children "half-breeds"; despite his leaving my mother pretty much a broken woman; despite his cheating my brother from the company he had built up and tried to subsequently make him bankrupt. Despite everything, I still cannot help but spare a thought for him on his birthday. 73 years old and still full of vitriol and envy.

Mar 20, 2:14pm Top


Hope that is not the final straw that convinces you to go "A-whaling!"

Mar 20, 2:14pm Top

Today I was lucky to find a little cool room in one of my favourite malls which served as a cheese shop (it is Malaysia where cheese would go "ripe" in double quick time. I managed to buy my favourite cheese which is cambozola and enjoyed it simply with lashings of butter stuffed into a fresh baguette.

What are your favourite cheeses?

Mar 20, 2:19pm Top

French brie, Wisconsin and Vermont cheddars, and Gouda, which my co-op grocery
delivery man (originally from Holland) says is rightly pronounced How-da, non?

Mar 20, 2:21pm Top

>235 m.belljackson: Funny that I hadn't seen that in the local news! Apparently the censors here cut a scene which they felt was "glorifying homosexuality" and Disney in retaliation have withdrawn the entire movie. The Malaysian censors are complete numbskulls. It seems that they can only permit the showing of homosexuality if the same portrays it in a negative or remorseful light! Malaysiam authorities belong in the dark ages. It is ok to steal billions from the public but foreign movies have some sort of phoney moral code to abide with that denigrates the rights and equality of its minorities.

Mar 20, 2:22pm Top

>237 m.belljackson: Anita, Ella or Diana ought to tell us really but I think the "how" is quite a throaty one.

Mar 20, 2:40pm Top

>236 PaulCranswick: Given your home county, you should appreciate that one of my favorite cheeses lately is Wensleydale. I'm also partial to Muenster, New York sharp white cheddar, and pretty much any other cheese that shows up in front of me.

Mar 20, 3:32pm Top

My favourite cheese is feta. I also like a mild white goat cheese which is readily available in Spain though not so much here in NZ. Otherwise I love our local version of Edam & Gouda.
I'm familiar with all the English cheeses as I worked in El Vinos, in Fleet St when I lived in London and our cheese platter was very popular.

Mar 20, 5:07pm Top

Ooo cheese, wonderful. I like most cheese, and had a lovely cheeseboard over lunch at the weekend. Hmm, I suspect Paul, you will have to get good running shoes on your return to the UK wth all that tasty cheese so easy at hand. I cut my intake dramatically a few years back, not that it had any effect on my waistline.

In Holland, the G has a guttural H sound it is true. So really it is Fincent Fan Houhh. V's sounding like F's too. Though it has to be said that even the Dutch tend to pronounce his name the way most English do now. They are flexible where language is concerned, I'm told.

Mar 20, 5:30pm Top

Not Lancashire cheese Paul?!

I love almost all kinds - Danish blue on French bread is hard to beat though.

Mar 20, 7:05pm Top

>240 foggidawn: Crumbly old Wensleydale, Foggy, is a cheese I grew up with sort of. Familiarity doesn't exactly breed contempt in this instance but it is a little too tried and trusted for me to put it as a favourite.

>241 avatiakh: Hani used to look at me as if I was a complete moron when we would go to a decent restaurant and I would order the cheese platter for "dessert". She couldn't understand my preferences, Kerry, when that other dairy product - ice cream - was an alternative option.

Mar 20, 7:09pm Top

>242 Caroline_McElwee: My ambitions are strictly limited to walking (not running) shoes, Caroline! The Dutch like the Scandinavians are very proficient in languages as our small contingent here in the group prove daily.

>243 charl08: I don't know, Charlotte, it is maybe something about the water on the wrong side of the Pennines!
I also like haloumi cheese that can be grilled without melting and is simply delicious as the star of a salad.

Mar 20, 9:48pm Top

Wow, I don't think I could pick a favorite cheese - I like a bunch of them. Go-to, though, is fresh mozzarella on chiabatta with fresh basil.

Mar 21, 5:45am Top

>236 PaulCranswick: Did you know that Cambozola is a portmanteau of Camembert and Gorgonzola? It shares properties with both cheeses.

For soft cheeses, there is a nice local one called Pencarreg that I like. Caerphilly is nice, but mostly I am boring and eat cheddar. :)

Oh and marscapone makes a lovely dessert when transformed into tiramisu :)

Mar 21, 6:35am Top

>246 drneutron: It is pretty difficult to choose an absolute favourite, Jim, but how about a worst one?

I will plump for the cheese of Norway, Jahrlsberg which has a dreadful after-taste IMHO.

Mar 21, 6:36am Top

Smoked Gouda for me, and Butter Kasa. And white Cheddar. And Havarti.

Mar 21, 6:40am Top

>247 sirfurboy: Sir F, I hadn't refreshed my page so I hadn't seen that you'd snuck in, great as always to see you. I think I did know that snippet about the origin of my favourite cheese. Portmanteau is a lovely word isn't it, and so suggestive? There is a distinctive welshness in your taste-buds I see but I agree that Caerphilly is a lovely cheese.

Mar 21, 6:41am Top

>249 scaifea: Once you start with those "and"s Amber you can just keep on keeping on can't you. I love smoked cheeses generally and there are some little Austrian ones that I cannot remember the name of which are exquisite.

Mar 21, 7:55am Top

>251 PaulCranswick: Agreed. I like pretty much all cheeses (except the blue kind, I'm afraid, but only because I'm too chicken to try them). Smoked cheeses are the best, for certain.

Mar 21, 9:10am Top

Mmm, Gouda and Havarti and Feta . . . really, I just like cheese. But I feel that I am in good company on this thread.

Mar 21, 9:26am Top

Hi Paul! I hope your week has started off well.

I'm rather boring on the cheese front I'm afraid. My favorite is feta, hands down. Extra sharp cheddar, Jarlsberg which I only had recently at a friend's house, mozzarella, and smoked cheddar pretty much round out my cheese repertoire. I love Caraway Jack, but can't find it out here in the wilds of central North Carolina, USA. I'm not a fan of blue, Swiss, or soft cheeses. (ducks head in shame)

Mar 21, 9:49am Top

Cheese! I love cheese so much, and I eat so little of it anymore thanks to my digestive woes. I used to keep a minimum of 4 types in the fridge at all times, and now I am trying various cheese substitutes to see if I can live with them.

The sharpest of sharp cheddars! The freshest of bries! Mascarpone cooked in phyllo as bougatsa. Yum! I miss them all.

Mar 21, 10:24am Top

Worst cheese? Cheese whiz. Velveeta. Sliced processed cheese food. :)

Mar 21, 10:26am Top

>252 scaifea: I must admit that I never considered our favourite Wisconsin Classicist as a chicken!

Mar 21, 10:37am Top

I enjoy almost any sort of cheese as long as there's a carafe of wine along side it. However, if I had to choose just one it would be Smoked Gouda yumnumnum smack

Mar 21, 11:15am Top

>253 foggidawn: I feel in good company whenever I have you visit, Foggy. xx All the cheeses mentioned appeal.

>254 karenmarie: I don't know whether our choice of cheeses says anything about our personalities or not, Karen! For example wouldn't Caraway Jack be imagined sitting atop a grey charger and rattling across the plains and prairies in pursuit of The Hole in the Cheese Gang?

Mar 21, 11:19am Top

>255 justchris: Cheese substitutes? I am intrigued, Chris, are we back to a discussion on peanut butter again?

>256 drneutron: Wholeheartedly agree with you Jim if we could even conceive of that actually being cheese!

>258 Carmenere: Of course, Lynda, what greater accompaniment to a good cheese is a great wine in abundance. Reminds me of my French neighbours whose husband hailed from the French South West and who was absolutely horrified that we wanted to eat some of their holiest of cheeses with Jacobs cream crackers. "English philistine" was his considered opinion of me and my palate. He's not laughing now - they transferred him to Moscow!

Mar 21, 4:50pm Top

Best cheese(s): goat cheese, feta, havarti, Swiss, cheddar, and for smoked, my favourite is a brand called Applewood. I don't know it that's a Canadian one or not. Oh, another very Canadian cheese, made in Quebec, that I love is Oka. Mmm. Worst? Maybe blue cheese or anything too stinky. Bad smelling anything just puts me off

Mar 21, 5:03pm Top

I do not do cheese any more than I do ice cream. I have a feeling I am soon to be banned from both yours and Amber's threads. . .

Mar 21, 5:15pm Top

I like lots of cheeses, but one that is more unusual is Humboldt Fog, which comes from California. Here's an excerpt of the Wikipedia definition, which will undoubtedly not sound appealing to some less-adventurous types: "Humboldt Fog is a mold-ripened cheese with a central line of edible white ash much like Morbier. The cheese ripens starting with the bloomy mold exterior, resulting in a core of fresh goat cheese surrounded by a runny shell."

Mar 21, 5:43pm Top

>245 PaulCranswick: Oh I forgot haloumi, we had some a couple of nights ago. Yum.

In Australia they sell Persian feta, which isn't Persian at all but a marketing decision by an Aussie cheese company that caught on - marinated feta seeped in wonderful mixes of herbs and spices. I had to make my own when I came back from South Australia last year.

Mar 21, 5:52pm Top

Cheese is by far my favourite food substance. Brie, Cheshire, Wensleydale, Lancashire, Cheddar, Cheddar with Jalapenos. There is a local cheese called the Norfolk White Lady that is very like brie but even nicer. Halloumi is a classic BBQ delight. Real Parmesan is an essential on every and any pasta dish. Epoisses washed in brandy. Chaource. My list appears to be endless!

Mar 21, 5:59pm Top

I love a nice bit of Black Bomber Cheese preferably Welsh.

Mar 21, 6:41pm Top

>261 jessibud2: We Brits must claim Applewood, I'm afraid Shelley as it is manufactured in Somerset in England's South West. I can make an exception when it comes to the "sweaty socks" smell of some cheeses as the taste is worth the torment - ripe camembert for example.

>262 alcottacre: All I can say is NEVER, Stasia. No banning orders ever issued over in these parts and I reckon Amber is even more hospitable!

Mar 21, 6:45pm Top

>263 ursula: I had never heard of it Ursula but, with a name like that, and the description given I am certainly very keen to try it.

This is the delicious looking stuff if I am not mistaken:

>264 avatiakh: Those feta cheeses steeped in all those flavoursome herbs and spices and oils are always a delight, aren't they, Kerry?

Mar 21, 6:49pm Top

I've never particularly been a cheese fan. The thought of strong cheese gives me a stress headache (really) because eating it gives me a migraine.

Mar 21, 6:49pm Top

>265 lunacat: I have always been partial to Norfolk's white ladies (or of whatever hue they find themselves to be) but the fact that there is also such a cheese gets me interested to elope with one of them!

>266 johnsimpson: Of course John, the wheel of a Black Bomber cheese does look like a Barnes Wallace bomb or a crown green bowling ball.

Mar 21, 6:50pm Top

>269 eclecticdodo: Yes, I think it does contribute to migraines if you are susceptible to them in the first place, Jo. Tough luck that!

Mar 21, 6:53pm Top

>267 PaulCranswick: As I told Stasia over on my thread (where the discussion is ice cream, not cheese), she's of course more than welcome - it just means more dairy deliciousness for us!

Mar 21, 6:54pm Top

All this cheese and no books!

Had a bit of a disaster yesterday.

I had Fences, Gilead and No Great Mischief with me in the car yesterday on my way to work and as I would be going to a few meetings so I could read in between and on my way backwards and forwards. I returned back to the office after such a meeting only to be met by one of my partners who suggested we go off to lunch together. He ferried us in his car to lunch, which we enjoyed, but then walked the short distance back to my office.

When I came downstairs to drive home last night I couldn't find my books and realised that I had left them in Hakem's (my partner) car! I was bereft of printed company on the way home and miserable!

Mar 21, 6:56pm Top

>272 scaifea: Oooh ice cream! I shall be along to share some in a short while! That Stasia won't partake means that our portion sizes just got that little bit bigger.

Mar 21, 7:13pm Top

>267 PaulCranswick: Glad to know no banning orders are forthcoming :)

>273 PaulCranswick: Ack! Being book bereft is the worst!

Mar 21, 7:16pm Top

>259 PaulCranswick: Ha. Caraway Jack off pursuing the Hole in the Cheese Gang. I get a great visual with that one, with whiffs of Aidan Turner of the new Poldark series fame overriding Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.

>268 PaulCranswick: When I was perhaps 8 or so, my father asked for the Roquefort dressing to be passed at the dinner table. Keeping in mind my lack of love for blue cheeses, I took the bowl gingerly in one hand and pinched my nose shut with thumb and forefinger of the other as I passed it. Parents were not amused. I was told to keep my editorial comments to myself and then they made me eat a small salad with the dread stuff on it. Nevermore negative comments about foodstuffs. However, since we're not actually at the dinner table, I'd just like to say that my serious lack of love for blue and soft cheeses makes me look upon Humboldt Fog with less than joy.

>273 PaulCranswick: Quelle horreur!

Mar 21, 7:21pm Top

>275 alcottacre: Terrible feeling because at first I couldn't remember where I had left them. Azim (my driver) telephoned Hakem's driver (Sara - but it is a gentleman) and he confirmed that the books are safely in his possession.

>276 karenmarie: The salt smell of the sea is a fine setting for such a cheese as the salad you were forced to eat as Roquefort is on the salty side as I recall.

Oh, mon Dieu, exactement!

Mar 21, 7:24pm Top

Mmmm, cheese. There's a place in Fowler that makes a wonderful chipotle cheddar--a bit spicy, a bit smokey, and fantastic on a cheeseburger.

Mar 21, 7:29pm Top

>278 amanda4242: Yes please Amanda; I really like the sound of that!

Mar 22, 1:54pm Top

Mmmmm, cheese! Pretty much any and every kind is welcome on my table, especially a nice sharp cheddar, a smooth havarti, creamy brie, and fragrant gorgonzola. Also marinated fresh mozzarella with basil, garlic, tomatoes and a splash of balsamic is the best meal in summer.

Yikes! The worst thing is to be somewhere with time on your hands and no books! I would sooner leave my cellphone at home than my Kindle. (I suppose I could read on my phone, but small text gives me a headache.)

Mar 30, 4:31am Top

>280 Storeetllr: I need to come over there Mary and get me an invite to dinner by the sound of it - you made the food sound absolutely delicious!

Edited: Mar 30, 2:15pm Top

Love many many kinds of cheese. In fact, I'm making a heavily cheddar-laden macaroni cheese casserole for dinner tonight. I have not heard of Cambozola, though...it sounds utterly delightful. (But it needs butter on it?)

>238 PaulCranswick: So, homosexuality is anathema, but a love affair between a young girl and an animal is OK???

Mar 30, 6:26pm Top

>282 laytonwoman3rd: Great minds and all that, Linda, because I had baked pasta this evening using scottish cheddar and it really filled a hole.

I know the Malaysian authorities are such hypocrites. There are a couple of local TV personalities who have made a career of being over the top effeminate and one of whom serves up innuendo about his sexuality daily. I don't have a problem with either of them but they are very popular here on prime time tv so it the selectiveness of the thing that I find unacceptable.

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