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Orange is not the only Penguin (book) - charl08 reads #5

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Mar 15, 6:01pm Top

Love this cover from the Penguin website:

Nils Holgersson is a naughty boy who tortures animals and never listens to his parents - until one day he wakes up as an elf. Deeply puzzled by his new status, he climbs on a gander's back and flies away with him, joining a flock of wild geese. As he is carried around Sweden, Nils learns everything about birds, animals, his country and good behaviour. Incredibly charming, elegantly translated and beautifully designed, The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson is a timeless classic loved by generations of children around the world.

Via: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/285006/the-wonderful-adventure-of-nils-holgersson/#kLbwDPtS0QOv48Gp.99

Edited: Mar 30, 5:04pm Top

Books read in 2017 - 58

March 13
Becoming Unbecoming (F, UK, graphic memoir)
A Gentleman in Moscow (M, US, novel)
The Murderess (M, Greece, novel)
All for Nothing (M, Germany, novel)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (F, UK, GN/history)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (M, UK, fantasy)
Blood Curse (M, Italy, crime)
A Chinese Life (M, China, GN)
The Warmth of Other Suns (F, US, history)
In the Name of the Family (F, UK, fiction)

A Cast of Vultures (F, UK, fiction)
Kafka in Bronteland (F, UK, short stories)

February 21

Darling: new and selected poems (F, poetry, UK)
Sweet Little Lies (F, fiction, US)
I will have Vengeance (M, fiction, Italy)
Alpha (F & M, GN, Belgium & France)
Seven Minutes (F, fiction, US)
The Bodyguard and Mrs Jones (F, fiction, US)
How to Survive a Plague (M, non-fiction- popular science/politics, US)
Smoke Over Malibu (M, Fiction, UK)
Too Loud a Solitude (M, fiction, Czech Republic)
The Refugees (M, fiction, US)

Slaughterhouse 5 (M, fiction, US)
It Takes A Scandal (F, fiction, US)
Once Upon a time in the East (F, Memoir, UK/China)
Head Land (multiple authors, fiction, multiple nationalities)
The Longest Night (M, fiction, Netherlands)
Last Fair Deal Gone Down (M, fiction, US)
Bitter Herbs (F, Memoir, the Netherlands)
Huck (Multiple authors, GN)
Love in a time of Scandal (F, fiction, US)
The Gigantic Beard that was Evil (M, graphic novel, UK)

Leaving Lucy Pear (F, fiction, US)

January 24
The Long, Long Life of Trees (F, non-fiction, UK)
Tsing-boum (M, fiction, UK)
Human Acts (F, fiction, South Korea)
What a woman wants (F, fiction, US)
The Dry (F, fiction, Australia)
In Gratitude (F, Non-fiction, UK)
The Darkroom of Damocles (M, fiction, Netherlands)
Warpaint (F, fiction, UK)
Before we kiss (F, fiction, US)
The Chalk Pit (F, fiction, UK)

Even Dogs in the Wild (M, fiction, UK)
Second-hand Time (F, non-fiction, Belarus)
Moonglow (M, fiction, US)
Three Simple Words (F, fiction, US)
The Lonely Londoners (M, fiction, Trinidad)
The Watcher (M, fiction, UK)
Essex Poison (M, fiction, UK)
Hold Me (F, fiction, US)
The Descent of Man (M, non-fiction gender studies, UK)
Marrying the Ugly Millionaire (F, poetry, UK)

Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters (M, Fiction, Belgium)
Kingdom of Twilight (M, Fiction, Germany)
Two of a Kind (F, Fiction, US)
Streets of Darkness (M, Fiction, UK)

F 6 M 6
Europe 9 (UK 6) US 2 China 1
Fiction 8 Non-Fiction 2 Graphic Novel 2
Mine 3 Library 8 Digital 1

Netgalley 1

F11 M10 (1 book dual author, plus one edited collection)
Europe 10 (UK 4) US 10 (1 book dual author)
Fiction 16 Poetry 1 Non-Fiction 2
Library 9 Digital 9 Mine 3

Netgalley 4
RH 1

Edited: Mar 30, 4:46pm Top

1. Last year I read over 300 books: I'd like to do the same this year.
2. Read Harder Challenge (Bookriot)
10 down...
Read a book about sports.
Read a debut novel. The Dry
Read a book about books.
Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.The Lonely Londoners
Read an all-ages comic. Huck
Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
Read a travel memoir.
Read a book you’ve read before.
Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. Becoming Unbecoming
Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Human Acts (South Korea)
Read a fantasy novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Read a nonfiction book about technology.
Read a book about war. The Darkroom of Damocles
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
Read a classic by an author of color.
Read a superhero comic with a female lead. Ms Marvel: volume five
Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey
Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel
Read a book published by a micropress.
Read a collection of stories by a woman. Kafka in Bronteland
Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. A Chinese Life

Edited: Mar 15, 5:46pm Top

More goals...

Goals - continued

3. Reading more diverse books. In 2017 I'll try and read across the African continent.

I'm reading Under the Udala Trees (Nigeria)

4. Reading from the 'what students read' list


Cyprus The Murderess - read.
Not sure what's up next...

Mar 15, 5:23pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte.

Mar 15, 5:55pm Top

Happy shiny new thread, Charlotte :0)

Mar 15, 5:57pm Top

Another fan back again for more!!

Mar 15, 6:15pm Top

Thanks Barbara. Have a swimming penguin...

Edited: Mar 15, 6:18pm Top

Thanks Lynda and Kim. Maybe the penguin in >8 charl08: is really thinking...

From Penguin Problems

Edited: Mar 15, 7:31pm Top

Did you say swimming PIGS? Oh Sorry, it was swimming penguins!!!

Happy new thread Charlotte!

Mar 15, 7:37pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Mar 15, 7:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Swimming penguins and pigs. I thought the latter were supposed to fly?!

Mar 15, 10:58pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 15, 11:25pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 16, 2:05am Top

>8 charl08: Thanks so much, Charlotte. I like this litlle cuty. Wishing you a lovely day.

Mar 16, 3:48am Top

>10 mdoris: Thanks for the laugh Mary!

>11 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Hope you're wrapped up warm in all that snow...

>12 PaulCranswick: I think someone has responded to that on your thread Paul....

>13 drneutron: Thanks Doc! Hope that those Belgian beers are treating you well.

>14 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Just read your response re Yanighara: I agree. Difficult choices.

>15 Ameise1: And you Barbara. Hope lots of learning takes place today.

Edited: Mar 16, 4:16am Top

Currently reading:

Once Upon a Time: A short history of fairy tales, The Warmth of Other Suns, In the Name Of the Family, Life and Fate.

Last night I was catching up with the Dunant: Machiavelli just met the son of the Borgia Pope, and Lucrezia Borgia is really ill with something that sounds like malaria. Like her other books, Dunant is really good at the fascinating details of medieval medical history. Syphilis does not sound like fun, but neither does the treatment for it...

Mar 16, 5:12am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte :-) Look at all those currently readings. Envy... I always think that Marina Warner is Boris Johnson's wife (who is actually Marina Wheeler).

Mar 16, 8:59am Top

Thanks Susan. They are rather nice. I've brought Life and Fate into the office in its own little bag because I was afraid of it getting messed up with my lunch. Sad, eh?

Mar 16, 11:04am Top

Sweet Thursday, Charlotte! And happy new thread!

Mar 16, 2:21pm Top

Thanks Mamie.

Today I managed to send someone an opportunity that closed last year.

Mar 16, 2:22pm Top

Oh, dear.

Edited: Mar 16, 2:32pm Top


Mar 16, 2:30pm Top

On the bright side - tomorrow is Friday.

Mar 16, 2:37pm Top

Mar 16, 2:50pm Top

Fozzie is my favorite muppet! We both like terrible jokes:)

Sorry about the face-palm moment, Charlotte, but it happens to all of us!

Mar 16, 3:10pm Top

Yeah. On the plus side, at least I didn't email the whole department:-)

Mar 16, 4:14pm Top

Still reading The Warmth of Other Suns. I live the depth of personal histories the author has gleaned from elderly people - remembering the moment they arrived in Atlantic from a small segregated town, and resolving "never live in another country Jim Crow town again..."

Mar 16, 5:56pm Top

Congrats on your new thread. Finally started Welcome to Lagos, I'm so behind with my library books, I've had this for 3 weeks already.

Edited: Mar 16, 6:12pm Top

Don't get me started on the books I'm behind with, Kerry! Just not enough time.

Still reading The Warmth of Other Suns, getting a bit urgent now as it's an ILL, and I'm only allowed to renew once.Robert Foster is driving to California
"If you had seen it, you would have wanted it, too," he would say decades later. "They just took chrome and splashed it on that car when they made it, the Road master Buick. And it rode like a chariot. I bought it in St Louis and drove through a housing project., and I can hear the little kids screaming now 'Good Lord, look at that car.'"

Mar 16, 6:23pm Top

Happy new penguin thread, Charlotte!

Mar 16, 6:31pm Top

Thanks Anita. Penguins, did you say? Not sure I could bear to eat these ones...

Edited: Mar 16, 6:40pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! I LOVED The Warmth of Other Suns. I hope you are feeling the same way about it.

And I hope the week has been going well for you.

Mar 16, 6:52pm Top

Hi Mark! Apart from the fozzie face palm moment, it's been great. Enjoying reading the migrants' stories very much, although heart in mouth at times.

Edited: Mar 17, 12:59pm Top

In my inbox this morning:

We are devastated, but not surprised by the president's 2018 budget framework that was announced today. It calls for the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and many other fundamentally important programs. The IMLS is the only federal agency that funds libraries nationwide. The IMLS is the main federal source for innovative library programs that support early literacy, workforce development, and community improvement through libraries. If this library program is cut - along with NEA, NEH, and PBS as proposed - the impacts would be felt in small towns and in big city neighborhoods. Because millions of Americans rely on libraries to find jobs, gain new skills, and start their businesses, and because libraries return more than $5 to a community for every $1 spent on them, we believe that cutting library funding is not a path to prosperity for Americans.
Please sign the Petition to show your support for IMLS, NEH, NEA, and PBS....

Mar 17, 2:53pm Top

Books for girls, about girls: the publishers trying to balance the bookshelves
One study of 5,000 children’s books found that a quarter had no female characters, and less than 20% featured a woman with a job. But a new wave of books and writers is helping to fix that disparity

Mar 17, 2:57pm Top

>35 charl08: Are you kidding me?! Every time I hear anything that has his name associated with it it ruins my mood. Thanks for posting this.

Edited: Mar 17, 3:04pm Top

>35 charl08: Agree with the comments, Charlotte. He's an unmitigated disaster. One fun fact: "Meals on Wheels" for the elderly here, another one of his budget cuts, costs $3 million a year. That's the cost of one of his (already) many trips to his getaway Mar-A-Lago, or whatever it's called.

Edited: Mar 17, 4:45pm Top

>36 charl08: Interesting article, I'm pleased that they covered the rebuttal to the 'Rebel Girls bookshelf' by others such as the publisher from Nosy Crow. I'm always suspicious of these studies, do they set off with an agenda and how do they choose those 5,000 books. So these women raised over $1mil from their experiment to publish their own book, sounds like a very switched on marketing 'experiment'.
There's masses of great books for both boys and girls out there, good writers for children are very aware of all these issues. I've been to many many talks, events for children's literature in my time and can speak from that experience. Girls will happily read boy-centric books but not so much the other way round. Years ago one of my sons loved Jacqueline Wilson's books and when she came to Auckland I took him to see her at the promoted event at a private school for girls, he was the only boy there!

>35 charl08: Shame that the library funding is going to be cut, though I would have thought that it would be a local issue rather than a national one? Our library funding comes from our local council.

Mar 17, 5:49pm Top

>36 charl08: Not only in childrens books are uneven gender rates, it is everywhere. But on the bright side: it is slowly getting better.
I did read everything as a child, boys books, girls books, anything I could get ;-)

Mar 17, 5:54pm Top

>1 charl08: That was one of my favorite books as a child, Charlotte. Reread it many times and cried like a baby every time (in a good way).

Mar 17, 6:08pm Top

Thought of you when I saw this, Charlotte.

Mar 17, 7:15pm Top

>37 Berly: I am not sure if that thanks is sarcastic Kim!?

>38 jnwelch: That's appalling Joe. Although we're (UK) currently voting in most councils on how to deal with the hole austerity has left in many budgets, and social care for the elderly has been very hard hit.

>39 avatiakh: I think it's good to be sceptical about any academic research, but my own experience is that the stuff that is readily available to a lot of kids trades in stereotypes. There are the wonderful, beautiful, creative picture books. But there are also books that describe Africa as a place that is solely a safari park (rather than a rapidly urbanising continent) - for example. The pinkification of bookshelves I look at drives me nuts. I think you still have to dig to find the good stuff. And not all parents have the time or the interest.

>40 FAMeulstee: It is everywhere. But it would be good to start the children off right, no? :-)

I also read everything I could get my hands on : but when I look back I realise how much of it was drowning in stereotypes. I remember thinking how odd Pippi was - and now I wonder if that was because she was so free from the stuff that drives a lot of stories about girls.

>41 ronincats: I've never read it, so perhaps I should pick it up...?

>42 jnwelch: Love that!

Edited: Mar 17, 8:00pm Top

Just had a very surreal night out at the theatre.

Goal this weekend? Finish The Warmth of Other Suns and A Chinese Life. Both interlibrary loans and due back soon.

Mar 17, 8:34pm Top

>36 charl08: Years ago I got my knickers greatly in a twist when I came across information about films and Hollywood's horrible gender imbalance. Every once in a while I go and check out films to have a peek using the Bechdel Test (which is a pretty light assessment!). So i do know and appreciate what you are saying about representation of girls in books.
Do you know about this site?
The world's largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls.
We have 4 daughters so this concern has always been greatly on my radar!

Mar 18, 4:14am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte.

Edited: Mar 18, 5:05am Top

Hi Mary, I hadn't come across them, or letter box books which is mentioned in the site. I was reading the three little pigs yesterday, and the third pig was a girl. Was quite impressed by that. Implicit bias is a bit of a nightmare.

Thanks Barbara!

Guardian reviews Non-fiction

Mail Men by Adrian Addison reviewed by Ian Jack
"There are other disconnects, not least that the editor of Britain’s most passionately anti-European paper has collected at least £460,000 in EU subsidies for his estates. But hypocrisy is a common condition among journalists, as it is among preachers of all kinds. The causes of tyranny are a more interesting speculation. What does Dacre believe and why does he behave as he does? "

Insatiable by Stuart Sim reviewed by Jonathan Steele
"Sim puts much of today’s ubiquitous greed down to the ideological dominance of neoliberal economic ideas in politics and the media"

Truevine by Beth Macy reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu
""It’s the best story in town, but no one has ever been able to get it.” That’s what journalist Beth Macy was told by colleagues when, at the end of the 1980s, she moved to Roanoke, a former railroad town in rural Virginia."

Be Like the Fox by Erica Benner reviewed by Terry Eagleton
"This is revisionism with a vengeance. Hardly a word of rebuke for this admirer of the bloodstained Cesare Borgia passes Benner’s lips..."

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith reviewed by Philip Hoare
"The beauty of Godfrey-Smith’s book lies in the clarity of his writing; his empathy, if you will. He takes us through those early stirrings in the seas of deep time, from bacteria that sense light and can taste, to cnidarian jellyfish, the first organisms to exhibit nervous systems, which he describes wonderfully: “Picture a filmy lightbulb in which the rhythms of nervous activity first began.” The ocean itself became the conduit for evolution; we feel a magnetic attraction to the vast waters that gave us birth because we still carry the sea inside us."

I really want the octopus book.

Edited: Mar 18, 7:36am Top

Guardian reviews fiction

The Witch Finder’s Sister by Beth Underdown reviewed by Suzi Feay
"Thankfully, there is only one episode of overhearing a conversation through the wall, that other trusty standby."

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar reviewed by Timor Fischer
"You only have to read a few lines of Jaroslav’s Kalfar’s debut novel to realise that you are undoubtedly in the land of the satirist Jaroslav Hašek and film‑maker Jiří Menzel.
Jakub is the Bohemian spaceman of the title: in 2018 a proud Czech Republic fires him off from a launchpad in a potato field..."

Paperback - Cheese: A Novel by Willem Elsschot reviewed by Nicholas Lezard
"Laarmans – conscious of his lowly position in society, and the fact that a clerk “has no sacred aura” and “faces the world as naked as the day he was born” – seeks self-improvement. He finds it when an influential friend of his brother arranges for him to take delivery of and sell 20 tonnes of full-cream edam. There are only a couple of snags: Laarmans has no idea how to go about this, and he hates cheese..."

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee reviewed by Tash Aw
"Nobuo’s unchanging routine and determinedly detached manner hide a terrible secret that plagues him daily: he is not, in fact, Japanese, but Korean..."

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore by Clare Clark
"...defies categorisation. The novel opens (after a brief and superfluous modern day prelude) with a man burying a dead body in a clearing in a wood, a blend of beauty and horror evoked with such breathtaking poetry that it haunts me still. "

The Helen Dunmore and the Czech book are calling to me!

Read more www.guardian.co.uk/books

Mar 18, 6:33am Top

>47 charl08: I don't think I could really stomach reading a whole book about the Daily Mail. A newspaper that supported Nazism until it was too late and one whose virulent right wing views on the world masquerade as news.
The Octopus would of course be much, much better.

>48 charl08: I read Cheese : A Novel many moons ago (there must be a moon and cheese pun in there somewhere if my brain would only work properly) and found it a quirky little book.

Have a great weekend, Charlotte.

Edited: Mar 18, 6:45am Top

I'm going to make my dad read it. Or at least buy it for him, Paul.

Cheese sounds good. Both the book and the food.

Mar 18, 6:47am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. The octopus for me, and Truevine, which looks excellent. None has made it into the library catalogue yet, though. Boo. I think the one about the Daily Mail might breach my self-imposed ban on reading it (still going strong).

Mar 18, 7:09am Top

My favourite amongst English cheeses is :

Mar 18, 7:16am Top

Susan, I've asked for Truevine, the Czech space book and the octopus book. Hopefully this will not discombobulate the young librarian who said he was a bit thrown by my request for Penguin Problems. He reckons this breaks my pattern as he can usually guess what books below to which library requester...

Edited: Mar 18, 7:18am Top

>52 PaulCranswick: Blurgh. None of that please...
This, on the other hand..

Edited: Mar 18, 7:34am Top

Nor exactly meeting my own goals. Instead reading a review of a book about Orchids which sounds fascinating. Orchid: A cultural history. I didn't pick up in Chandler that the old man in the orchid room was supposed to be a sign of corruption and decay. I kind of thought how nice to have a greenhouse...


Mar 18, 7:32am Top

>48 charl08: My library has got a copy of Birdcage Walk. I put it on my list.

Mar 18, 7:35am Top

I really enjoy Dunmore's writing - I'm looking forward to this one arrivimg at the library.

Mar 18, 7:37am Top

>56 Ameise1: I tell you when I will pick it from the library. There are some other books I've to read first.

Mar 18, 8:07am Top

Hi Charlotte! I already have Pachinko wish -listed, owing to a review I read here in Canada. I think BirdCage Walk sounds very good too. I quite like Helen Dunmore, though her books do vary - some are very good, some not so much. I'm currently reading The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso from the Bailey's Women's long list. It's an easy read and quite enjoyable so far. It came in to the library, along with Autumn by Ali Smith and another title that I cannot remember.

Sorry , as for cheese, I am not a cheese fan. I will eat cheddar cheese, and I very much enjoyed the manicotti that I had my son and daughter - in law's for dinner, but I'm not much for cheese. Now, talk to me about chocolate...... :P

Mar 18, 8:19am Top

Ooh I hope you like Autumn Deborah! One of my favourites.

Not a cheese fan? Ooh. I think I can manage chocolate. I was at the Hotel Chocolat cafe last night, and had a lovely hazelnut drink...

Not my pic..

Mar 18, 8:52am Top

>55 charl08: That post made me laugh. Now I want to reread The Big Sleep.

Mar 18, 8:53am Top

Hi Charlotte - I am very behind, but happy new thread. From your previous one, I LOVE the article about the study of reading. My students will definitely be hearing about that.

>35 charl08: Boo!
>36 charl08: About time. Another article for my gender unit.

Happy Friday.

Mar 18, 10:01am Top

I've got Truevine saved on audio. I think Mark's read it and warbled about it.

Adding the Helen Dunmore to the list, as I've liked everything I've read by her. Well, all three of them....

Mar 18, 11:25am Top

Hi, Charlotte.

I passed that mightygirl.com link on to my wife and daughter, and they both loved the website.

Blacksticks Blue? I will look for it next time we're in your part of the world.

Edited: Mar 18, 1:04pm Top

>50 charl08: You are making me drool with the image of cranberry and wensleydale cheese. I confess, I am a cheese-aholic.
My favourite currently is manchego, a Spanish sheep cheese. Years ago daughter #1 was playing pro volleyball in Tennerife and introduced us to many Spanish cheeses and I was hooked. Cheese IMHO is one of the main reasons to travel.

Mar 18, 4:28pm Top

Well, the best laid plans. Spent this afternoon with my mum and dad in A&E after my dad had a suspected heart attack while hiking. They've taken him into a ward and are running more tests. Argh. He's quite happy now, but it was all pretty stressful when the guys turned up with all the monitors in the ambulance.

>61 Crazymamie: I might just listen to the abridgement instead Mamie.

>62 BLBera: I would like to hear more about what your students think of those Beth.

>63 katiekrug: Not sure how many I've read by her, but liked them.
Update: seven.

>64 jnwelch: Nice Joe. I think M &S do some lovely cheeses, including this one. Just in case...

>65 mdoris: I do like manchego. Excellent choice. Have had some lovely times in France just eating bread and cheese picnics. And of course Swiss cheeses. Melted Swiss cheeses... mmm.

Mar 18, 4:36pm Top

>50 charl08: Oh, that is a wonderful cheese. Costco had it available here last winter.

Mar 18, 5:51pm Top

Oh, I hope your Dad feels better soon. Thinking of you and yours.

Mar 18, 6:06pm Top

Abridgement? *sob* Say it isn't so, Charlotte...

So scary with your Dad - sending all of you good mojo and keeping you in my thoughts.

Mar 18, 6:19pm Top

Thinking of you and your dad and family.

Mar 18, 7:22pm Top

Oh so sorry about your dad, Charlotte. I hope all is well, and just a minor scare. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts. I'm glad to hear he is feeling cheerful right now. A good sign.

Mar 18, 8:14pm Top

Hope your Dad is on the mend now. Bit of a shock for you.

Mar 18, 8:21pm Top

^Yup, me too.

Mar 18, 10:47pm Top

I hope your dad is okay, Charlotte.

Mar 19, 3:00am Top

>67 ronincats:

Me in the cheese aisle.

Thanks Barbara, Mamie, Mary, Deborah, Kerry, Jim and Katie for the good wishes. Will hopefully know more about what's going on later on today. It was all a bit surreal, so what it was like for my dad, I can't imagine.

>69 Crazymamie: This is not just any abridgement, Mamie. This is the BBC full dramatised cast, with British actors giving their best mid-Atlantic...

Mar 19, 4:36am Top

>25 charl08: never fails to raise a smile :)

>66 charl08: yikes, that is scary. I hope he is feeling on the up now.

Mar 19, 5:15am Top

>66 charl08: Charlotte, how scary for your Dad and all of you. I hope he's had a good night and the tests work out what's going on.

Mar 19, 6:11am Top

>76 Ireadthereforeiam: I love Fozzy, and the muppets generally. There is a station here that has a Friday just gone 5 broadcast of Phenomenon, which never fails to cheer me up.
Thanks for the wishes.

>77 susanj67: Thanks Susan. Not letting him home today, which is not what we wanted really. Hoping it's just because the consultant doesn't do Sundays...(one of those sentences I didn't ever anticipate typing).

Mar 19, 6:38am Top

>78 charl08: Charlotte, that is probably why. At least he has a button to push if he's worried about anything, and there's something to be said for that, particularly if they haven't been able to tell him exactly what's wrong yet. At home, it's easy for worry to creep in again (speaking from experience).

Mar 19, 9:53am Top

Sending best wishes for your Dad Charlotte.

Mar 19, 12:23pm Top

>79 susanj67: Well the consultant turned up, and he's going to be taken to the big heart hospital tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday. And he's on the drugs for people who've had heart attacks (or heart events), and the care seems switched on (in that he'll be sorted out before he's sent home).

>80 SandDune: Thanks Rhian. He's joking with us and now looks ok so it seems rather unreal still. Mum says it can't be that serious or they'd be rushing more!

Mar 19, 12:40pm Top

I'm glad your father is in good hands. It's no fun being stuck in hospital, but it's so much better to go through all the tests and procedures instead of being sent home to wonder if it will happen again at random.

Mar 19, 1:29pm Top

>81 charl08: Charlotte, it sounds like there's a Plan, which is always good...It's good that he's feeling better too.

Mar 19, 4:08pm Top

>82 RidgewayGirl: He has books, so that's something. I tried to sneak in some fiction, but he's gone back to Johnson's visit to the Highlands.

>83 susanj67: My friend the newly qualified doc tells me heart treatment is all about the protocols these days, so he's in the system, and it's one that works well apparently, so hopefully he'll be home soon. It's just so weird, because I was telling a work colleague on Friday that I don't want to move far away and not be able to help, even if it is just sitting with my mum and getting them a cup of tea now and again.

Mar 20, 12:08am Top

>35 charl08: I had not heard that about his budget. Of course he would do this. The man has never read a book in his life, why on earth would he think it's important to support access to reading material for the masses?! GRR!!! Honestly, I can't keep up with his stuff.

Sorry to hear about your dad. I hope the treatment plan is successful.

I also love cheese. Wensleydale -- yum. And I'm a fan of good blue cheese, too, as long as it's not too pungent!

Oh, and manchego. Yum on that, too!

I want to read Truevine. I looked at it during the great Powell's meet-up yesterday but didn't purchase.

Have a good week, Charlotte. I do hope things go well with your dad.

Mar 20, 3:02am Top

>85 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen for the good wishes. Truevine looks exciting - I've requested a copy from the library. Along with (mumble mumble) a few others...

I'm not a fan of Brie like cheeses (squidgy and blue with a crust, no thanks) but love most other kinds, especially Danish blue.

I haven't managed to finish The Warmth of Other Suns, due back today, so will have a look for a second hand copy. Such a good read.

Mar 20, 5:11am Top

Sorry to read about your dad, Charlotte, I hope all goes well and he can go home soon.

>48 charl08: I thought I had commented on Cheese : a novel. It was required reading on highschool, so it is stored in the "forgotten" part of my brain. I have Willem Elsschot's complete works, so I can join you if you want to read it.

Mar 20, 6:36am Top

I was away and missed the bit about your dad earlier, Charlotte. He (and you) are now firmly in my thoughts...

Mar 20, 8:04am Top

>87 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Reading Cheese sounds good. Although possibly bad for the willpower re the real cheese. I'll have a look and see if I can get a copy here, and let you know.

>88 scaifea: Thanks Amber, that's kind. I can't visit today and I feel bad, but I said I would volunteer tonight, so volunteer I will. Plus my mum will be there, and possibly everyone who was there when they were walking...(!)

Mar 20, 8:23am Top

So sorry to see about your dad, but it sounds like he is getting the best care and that he's in good spirits. Hopefully they'll have some more answers soon and it ends up an easy treatment plan and resolution for him.

Mar 20, 12:53pm Top

Charlotte, I hope your Dad is continuing to improve, and all the visitors behaved themselves. One of my Dad's friends was telling a risque joke when he visited my Dad in hospital, and didn't notice that my aunt had come into the room. She's a nun...

Mar 20, 4:11pm Top

>90 lunacat: Thanks Jenny. It's the shock of it more than anything else I think. I found myself feeling quite weepy at work today, which is a bit pathetic.

>91 susanj67: Ha! Love that. My mum did too. Thank you.

And to briefly return to the books (!) Picked up Kafka in Bronteland, A cast of Vultures and Blood Curse.

Mar 20, 6:03pm Top

Oh Charlotte, I am sorry to hear about your dad. Hope all goes well.

Kafka in Bronteland is an interesting title.

Mar 20, 7:48pm Top

Charlotte, no , no , not at all pathetic that you find yourself weepy. Of course it is a shock and you feel anxious for your dad. So completely normal. Big hugs. I am hoping for the best outcome. I hope once they have done some testing, they will be able to address the problem fairly easily. It is wonderful that he is a cardiac care place of excellence. I hope the nurses and doctors are kind . That makes such a big difference. Thinking of you and yours, Charlotte.

Mar 21, 3:14am Top

>93 BLBera: It is, isn't it Beth! It's one I ordered and promptly forgot about, so it will be fun to read. Thanks for the good wishes. My brother is coming to visit and my sister is already here, so he's got plenty of company.

>94 vancouverdeb: Aw thanks Deborah. Hoping to be a bit more with it today. I started reading the next in the Commissario Riccardio series last night but just couldn't keep my eyes open.

Mar 21, 3:20am Top

Mar 21, 5:09am Top

I think feeling weepy about the situation is perfectly understandable! I've been weepy over a heck of a lot less recently - and this from someone who generally only cries about 4 times a year. Brain chemicals are a tricky thing. Don't go beating yourself up for feeling stressed and anxious, or about struggling with the shock of it. Most people would react exactly the same.

Mar 21, 5:20am Top

Charlotte, weepiness is entirely normal, so don't berate yourself for feeling like that. It's a big shock for all of you. In a way, I think it's almost harder at this stage for the family than the patient, who is getting all the care (and has the button to press if necessary). It's good that your brother and sister can visit - between all of you you'll have plenty of things to talk about to cheer your Dad up.

Mar 21, 7:20am Top

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad's health issues, Charlotte. I'm sending good thoughts your way and echo everyone else who says to give yourself permission to feel emotional right now. Perfectly natural!

Mar 21, 12:47pm Top

Don't bother about weepiness, Charlotte. It's so normal and healthy to help your soul and comfort. Believe me, it's much beter that way than keeping everthing inside. Thinking of you and sending lots of good vibes.

Ah, you are on the second of the Commissario Riccardio series. That one is still waiting on my shelve to be read. Looking forward about your thoughts.

Mar 21, 4:26pm Top

>97 lunacat: Thanks Jenny. It's just trying to stay sufficiently with it for purposes of the office. Everyone has been very nice though.

>98 susanj67: He had a pretty rubbish day today: several delays and an emergency meant he has to wait until tomorrow for his angiogram. But my brother and sister were both there, and I was sent a pic of a heated scrabble game.

>99 rosalita: Thanks Julia. He was being very cheerful with us but think he and mum are both exhausted.

>100 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. He's in the best place, I know, and I'm trying to be a bit kind to myself - watching lovely programme about Chester Zoo.

Mar 21, 10:04pm Top

I'm so sorry to hear about your father's possible heart attack, and for the delay in having an angiogram (I've had one of those). Hopefully, he continues to improve, and by tomorrow the tests will be complete. I know it must be hard for you to concentrate in the meantime.

Edited: Mar 22, 2:00am Top

Ah, sorry for the delay in your dad's angiogram. It is great that your brother and sister are around, as I am sure that will cheer your dad, and help with the stress of the whole situation. I'm glad that you are being kind to yourself - watch a bit of mindless tv, each some chocolate - that sort of thing. Order a book you've been keen to read - you know , " splash out" and treat yourself.

I am sure your entire family is feeling exhausted. Take care, Charlotte. Best wishes to all of you, most especially your dad. I recall a stint of time my dad spent in cardiac care centre , and though the outcome was very good, it was so exhausting worrying along the way and going back and forth to the hospital daily.

Mar 22, 5:29am Top

>101 charl08: Charlotte, sorry to hear about the delays. I hope it can go ahead today, before his bed is covered in Scrabble dictionaries.

Mar 22, 8:18am Top

>102 arubabookwoman: Thanks Deborah. Today has been good so far - something to bury my head in, and then the news came that he isn't going to need any further treatment. Hurrah!

>103 vancouverdeb: Yes, he was visibly delighted to see my sister and brother, Deborah, although tired. The place in Liverpool was really quite fancy - massage chairs, running tea and coffee and a good supply of newspapers and magazines while you waited.

>104 susanj67: He's home, so hopefully Scrabble is now Off the Table. Although we did have a rather subdued game of Bananagrams when I arrived (the rest of the room seemed more interested in Emmerdale though). My suggestion of Jenga was vetoed by my brother as Unsuitable for a cardiac ward.
He was probably right.

Mar 22, 9:05am Top

>105 charl08: Charlotte, excellent news that no more treatment is needed. Hurrah indeed! I'm sure he'll feel a lot better after decent sleep tonight. Hospitals are very hard to sleep in. And I think I'd have to agree with your brother about the Jenga...

Mar 22, 9:50am Top

Delighted to hear your wonderful news, Charlotte . Susan is right, I'm sure a decent nights sleep at home will him have feeling that much better. The place in Liverpool sounds lovely!

Mar 22, 1:08pm Top

Great news about your dad, Charlotte. So glad to hear he's home now and recuperating.

Mar 22, 2:41pm Top

Gosh I'm reading slowly. Still reading Blood Curse.

>106 susanj67: Hope so. I think he might miss the three course meals at the hospital though!

>107 vancouverdeb: I was impressed by it - much nicer than I was expecting!

>108 rosalita: I think he might have discharged himself if they hadn't manged to do it today, so it worked out well all round.

Edited: Mar 22, 3:20pm Top

Hi Charlotte. Sorry that your dad ended up in hospital. It's good he's home and doing better. I get a little weepy just imagining my dad in hospital, so I don't think it's an abnormal feeling when it's an actual situation.

Sorry you didn't manage to finish The Warmth of Other Suns before it had to go back. Such a fabulous book. I hope you find a copy soon. I loved that bit about the car and all the chrome. They just don't make cars all that exciting anymore, IMO. Of course, they don't take as much fuel either...

>36 charl08: Interesting article about girls in books. I was raised on a steady diet of women authors, so I never felt the lack. I also was able to recognize the difference in expectations for girls/women in those old stories vs. my own life, and it was a good thing, I think. Louisa May Alcott, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen - all women who were pushing the constraints of their times, Anne McCaffrey - she definitely dealt with role expectations, Ursula Le Guin, Nancy Drew, Madeleine L'Engle - hooray for a mom who is a scientist, and Maya Angelou all come to mind immediately. Just because a girl is the main character, doesn't make it great either, as you know. :)

>39 avatiakh: I am also often skeptical of some of the conclusions drawn. I think sometimes we give too much weight to our own expectations and current cultural norms, and don't give enough credit to the women who have paved the way, even if their stories seem stereotyped or restricted compared to now. Also, so much of the "girl" lit that I am plowing through as my daughter ventures into YA reading is absolute rubbish. So there's a girl in it. Does she have to have multiple love interests? Do they have to be paranormal beings? So much of it is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Twilight, The Selection kind of stuff. Blergh. Where is the next Meg, traveling through space and time to rescue her Dad?

Mar 22, 3:57pm Top

Great news about your dad, Charlotte.

Edited: Mar 23, 7:08am Top

>110 nittnut: I do wonder about the impact of those books.This isn't new, but I never noticed, for example, that in 60 odd Chalet school books I read about an all girl school, no one ever referred to periods. That's not to say I don't think role models aren't important in books: just that readers are pretty selective creatures. And not just readers - was it 24 where someone pointed out poor Jack never went to the loo in that whole day?

>111 BLBera: Yup. Pretty relieved here.
This is me pretty much.

Well on the inside...

Mar 22, 5:41pm Top

>110 nittnut: Yes! Where is the next Pippi Longstocking or Trixie Belden going to come from.

Mar 22, 10:05pm Top

Hooray for the good news about your father, Charlotte!

Mar 22, 10:08pm Top

Glad to hear your Dad will be all right, Charlotte. Hugs to my pal.

Edited: Mar 22, 10:35pm Top

>112 charl08: Well, escape from reality is part of the point, right? Lol

So here's a thing to ponder. How important is the mundane, everyday reality of life in a story for you? Do the characters have to take toilet breaks, put on the deodorant, shave legs or chins, have periods, experience the occasional gastrointestinal upset, for the story to be more impactful? Or does it depend on the type of story? I am considering this for my own interest, but thought I'd put it out there.

Mar 22, 10:44pm Top

I am so, so pleased to hear the good news about your dad. Oh relief!

Edited: Mar 22, 11:00pm Top

>116 nittnut: Interesting observation, Jenn.

Mar 22, 11:20pm Top

I'm so glad for the good news about your father and that he is home now.

Very sad to learn of the terrorist attack today in London. I'm pretty familiar with London (in a general sense--I lived there for a year years ago). I and my friends for the "art tour" will be there April 1. One of them has never traveled outside the US, and I'm wondering what her level of anxiety will be.

Mar 23, 3:46am Top

>105 charl08: home is often just the panacea that is required! I hope he continues to improve. When my mum was hospitalised for a whole month a few years back, she was just to happy to be home that I am sure she improved exponentially from then on.

Mar 23, 4:12am Top

>113 rosalita: Off to Google Trixie Belden...

>114 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl. Hope you're getting some mUchida deserved R and R.

>115 msf59: Thanks Mark. It's lovely to have him home. Even if he does control the remote with a grip of iron...(!)

>116 nittnut: Yup, can only imagine what it must be like when a whole room of young women syncs with PMS.

>117 mdoris: That's it exactly!

>118 vancouverdeb: I agree. I guess it depends on the book for me.

>119 arubabookwoman: It is odd when you hear about news like this in a place you knew well. I am quite fatalistic when it comes to things like terrorist attacks, but I can appreciate if your friend has never travelled this could add to nerves.

>120 Ireadthereforeiam: Yes, he seemed much more himself at home last night. Hope it continues.

Mar 23, 5:44am Top

SO glad to read that your Dad is back home, Charlotte. Hoping that Thursday is kind to you.

Mar 23, 6:43am Top

Oh, wonderful news about your dad! Yay!!

Edited: Mar 23, 7:21am Top

>121 charl08: Oh, Trixie's the best, Charlotte. She was the working girl's Nancy Drew, and solved mysteries with her brothers and her best friend. I connected with her much more viscerally than Nancy, although I did love Nancy Drew, of course. I don't know if she ever made it out of the States, publishing-wise.

Mar 23, 11:12am Top

>124 rosalita: I loved Trixie Belden as well. I wish there had been more of them. I connected with her too - having 4 brothers of my own. :)

Mar 23, 2:31pm Top

>121 charl08: >116 nittnut: I recently read a book with a whole bunch of girls having PMS ;-)
Didn't like the book, but not because of this. Every day reality isn't important, but it should pop up once in a while in a book...

Edited: Mar 23, 3:46pm Top

>122 Crazymamie: I just got home and he's made me a cup of coffee and is looking very well.

>123 scaifea: That's it exactly Amber.

>124 rosalita: I don't know either, but I'm intrigued now...

>125 nittnut: Oh, I wanted an older brother when I was small. Not four though.

>126 FAMeulstee: Yup, a bit of acknowledgement of real life seems to make sense to me.

And another k swum.
I should get danger money - small child doing hand stands without any sense of space...

Mar 23, 5:31pm Top

I read both Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew and I think I recall preferring Nancy Drew in my childhood days. I don't recall a class difference at all, but I don't think I was aware of such things at the age that I read them. My mom had read Trixie Belden in her childhood, and passed them along to me and my sisters, so Trixie Belden did make it to Canada.

Good for you, Charlotte, having swum another kilometer today. I'm glad your dad is feeling so well!

Edited: Mar 24, 3:35am Top

Fun to hear about the books that weren't so popular here. I don't think I came across Nancy Drew as a kid.
I finally finished a book- Blood Curse.

Mar 23, 9:51pm Top

Argh, trying to catch up. I am still on your last thread but just got to the post about Becoming Unbecoming which sounds very interesting. So I looked to see if my library has it. I am happy to report that the Vancouver Public Library has 3 copies but none are available at this time - looks like it has buzz as well.

Back later when I get caught up!

Mar 23, 10:04pm Top

>127 charl08: Haha. Me too. All mine are younger. At the time I had the idea that being the oldest was not ideal. :)

Mar 24, 1:17am Top

Sorry to hear about your Dad's health scare, Charlotte. Such great news that he is ok but it sure is scary when you don't know what is going on. Makes you appreciate them a lot more when they scare you like that, too.

Edited: Mar 24, 3:53am Top

>130 Familyhistorian: I thought it was quite a dark read Meg, but glad to hear that it is more widely available than I thought it might be.

>131 nittnut: Yup. "Just look after your brother and sister... But...I just want to read Mum! "

>132 Familyhistorian: It was scary but hoping that he will use it as an impetus to be more healthy in future.

I was so tired last night I was struggling to put a sentence together about Blood Curse. I enjoy this rather morbid crime series, set in corrupt 1930s Naples, awash with blackshirts and poverty. The detective's dark life has a supernatural reason, rather than just due to the usual failed relationships and alcoholism. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens in the last two books of the quartet.

Edited: Mar 24, 7:10am Top

>128 vancouverdeb: Nancy was the daughter of a lawyer, which in my child's mind made her "fancy", though of course she was motherless which greatly upped her sympathy quotient even for me. Trixie was one of six children and her family lived on a small New England farm — they weren't poor, but they didn't have a lot of extra money. Class was probably more overtly dressed in the Belden books because her best friend Honey came from a very rich family and much was made of how kind she was despite that. My own childhood was much closer to Trixie than Nancy (minus the rich best friend, dang it). I'm glad Trixie made the journey north to you!

>129 charl08: Thank you for hosting this conversation about children's books, Charlotte. I had always assumed that Nancy Drew was more or less universal but she must have been much more U.S.-centric than that. A good reminder for me that the book world has some interesting regional quirks.

Mar 24, 8:43am Top

I enjoy it: I used to really enjoy listening to papers by two academics looking at older books for girls. Some of them were kind of surreal. Others were like little bits of social history : young American women going to college.

I used to read a lot of second hand books, and library books, so I think I mostly got older stories. I went through a phase of reading the Sweet Valley books (the library had them) and then ran out or outgrew them, not sure which. I lived the cataloguing side of series like the Chalet school - by which I mean knowing that x character went to the school and then something else happened however many books later and they would pop up in the background.

Periods have just turned up in the Borgia book I'm reading. Ha!
She visits the Abbess, who pretends more sorrow than she feels at the news of Lucrezia’s departure. If the honour has been unprecedented, so has the length of the visit, and it has had its effect on convent behaviour, especially the novices living in proximity to a group of women who pay more attention to preening than to prayer. It isn’t their fault. Ladies-in-waiting are singled out early as the daughters who will not be nuns, and the novelty of playacting has long ago worn thin. It has been hard for women so creative with colour to be dressed in black, mourning a baby they never knew, or to wake to a day that is the same as every yesterday: no male flirtation to lighten the mood, no spice of intrigue of any kind, save the most petty sort that breaks out among cooped-up women whose menstrual flows have fused together into the cycle of the moon.

Edited: Mar 25, 1:54am Top

Finished A Chinese Life. Phew! It's due back at the library soon. It's a very weighty memoir by a Chinese cartoonist, taking the reader from his childhood to China's economic miracle.

There's an awful lot to read here - I would like more time to look at the street scenes.

This courtship scene made me smile

Perhaps because he still lives in China, the author is pretty positive about contemporary politics.

Edited: Mar 24, 9:38pm Top

>134 rosalita: I think maybe I read such a variety of unrealistic books that I did not really think much one way or another about the fact that Nancy Drew's had a lawyer for a dad. She drove a blue coupe / roadster too, and at my age, I wasn't going to drive anything. I read a lot of authors - Enid Blyton, E.Nesbit. I also read the Bobbsey twins, which featured two sets of twins and hired help - very non PC , but I don't' think it affected me one way or another. I read " Cherry Ames", student nurse, and I was 10 or 11 :) My mom had a lot of old books that I inherited along with my sisters and I used the school library a lot.

It is fun to think back.

Charlotte, I'll have to check out your Valley Girls series. I'm more familiar with the " boys" series that my sons enjoyed reading.

Oh, yes and I read the Hardy Boys. I loved a good mystery when I was young, and whether it was boys or girls, I didn't care too much. Once again, there were just at my parents place and my brothers read them . I think I'd read almost anything I could get my hands on.

ETA - I loved the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner.

I think I'm showing my age with the books I loved as a child ;) Sweet Valley High, that quite a recent series of books, I think?

Mar 25, 1:44am Top

A Chinese Life sounds very interesting. After reading Do Not Say Nothing last year, I could definitely use more information on Chinese history.

Thanks again for hosting out childhood book discussion on your thread.

Enjoy your weekend Charlotte, and I hope it is pleasant and uneventful .

Mar 25, 2:25am Top

I have A chinese life home from the library at the moment, haven't made a start on any of the GNs from the library as yet.

Mar 25, 3:21am Top

Oh Deborah, I'd avoid the Sweet Valley books. I think they were one of those series that got taken over by a group of writers and (never that sophisticated in the first place) became all about the marketing. I saw they'd been relaunched a while back, and I think there was a TV series.
A Chinese Life was a pretty good intro to Chinese history I think. Quite a brick of a book though. Hard to hold.

>139 avatiakh: Worth your time Kerry I think. He's quite open about his political attitudes, which made for interesting reading.

Edited: Mar 25, 3:59am Top

Guardian reviews non-fiction
Fathers and Sons by Howard Cunnell reviewed by Alex Preston
"He close-reads the landscape like a poem. “We travelled in a wash of southern light that filled the car and seemed to push at and past the edges of the world" "

Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel reviewed by James Lasdun
"The intent seems to be to elevate Knight by association into a flawed saint of solitude. But artlessly surrounding him with canonical figures (“He looked a bit like the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy”) and hoping for the best isn’t enough to do the trick. One wants the connections to be explored rather than simply raised. More important, you want to be brought, somehow, into the inner reality of Knight’s experience..."

The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart reviewed by Jonathan Freedland
"...argues that the key faultline in Britain and elsewhere now separates those who come from Somewhere – rooted in a specific place or community, usually a small town or in the countryside, socially conservative, often less educated – and those who could come from Anywhere: footloose, often urban, socially liberal and university educated. He cites polling evidence to show that Somewheres make up roughly half the population, with Anywheres accounting for 20% to 25% and the rest classified as “Inbetweeners”."

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder reviewed by Tim Adams
"I sat reading Snyder’s own book last week outside in the first spring sunshine. And while I was doing so I was struck by a thought that maybe creeps into your head as often as it creeps into mine these days. The thought runs like this: it is good to be reading these words not on a screen but on a clean white sunlit page not only for the tactile pleasure it gives but also because it is the only way I can be sure that this interaction is just between me and the author of this book. No algorithm is tracking my scrolling habits; no cunning intelligence is hazarding a guess at what I might want to read or be distracted by next (“If you liked On Tyranny, you might also like i) Nineteen Eighty-Four, ii) tear gas canisters…”). No one else knows what me and Snyder are up to."

Joint review : Books on Islam and Isis by Anthony Sattin
The Way of the Strangers by Graeme Wood
The Islamic Enlightenment by Christopher de Bellaigue
"...has reported as a journalist from Iran and Turkey, and his telling of this renaissance as it manifested itself in Tehran, Istanbul and Cairo is as thorough in research as it is rich in detail. Framing this as a struggle between conservative faith and liberal reason, he ambitiously and successfully blends stories of the 19th-century Arab awakening with the opening up of Ottoman and Persian societies..."
The Raqqa Diaries by Samer
"The anonymous author... shares snapshots of life under the occupation in Raqqa, his Syrian home town. To read of the horror of random brutality – mothers humiliated, lovers stoned, others lashed, many beheaded and all in the name of Islam – is to feel the creeping inexorability of despair..."
Islam: The Essentials by Tariq Ramadan
"... long banned from travelling to the US and, as grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, will probably soon be banned again, in spite of also being professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford. Curtailing his movements would be unhelpful, for he is an eloquent advocate of an enlightened Islam."

All of the Islam books sound relevant and useful. Also tempted by the Snyder.

Mar 25, 7:06am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. Thanks for sharing the Guardian reviews. I really want to read Stranger in the Woods. It has been getting some great buzz over here.

Edited: Mar 25, 7:57am Top

Guardian reviews fiction

In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant reviewed by Mark Lawson
"...while offering new perspectives on two long-defamed names, Dunant is unsparing in her presentation of the fabled derangement of the period. Readers in an era when the papacy has come to stand for celibacy and pacifism can only goggle at the spectacle of Pope Alexander VI, born Rodrigo Borgia, who is running almost as many wars and whores as he has children...”

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin reviewed by Chris Power
"...the Argentinian writer’s first book to appear in English (she has written three short story collections). In it, Amanda has left her husband working in Buenos Aires and travelled, with her daughter Nina, to a holiday home in the countryside. She becomes friendly with a neighbour, Carla, who tells her a horrible, apparently supernatural story about her seven- or eight‑year-old son David, whose soul, Carla believes, has “transmigrated” into another body..."

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov reviewed by Phoebe Taplin
"At the heart of this weighty and engaging novel are true stories: hundreds of Americans living in the USSR in the 1930s were abandoned by the US government and got trapped in Stalin’s terror..."

The Brittle Star by Davina Langdale reviewed by Jane Smiley
"A romance in the strict sense of the word – a young man, with a conscience and only a few flaws, sets out to right a wrong. In this case, John Evert Burn is the only child of his American father and Spanish mother. The father has died and the mother is attempting to run the ranch; a neighbour, Phineas Dunn, who owns the adjacent property, is trying to take the Burn ranch any way he can. Late one night, raiding warriors from a local Paiute band burn down the house, injure John Evert with an axe, and kidnap his mother. John Evert’s quest is to find and rescue his mother, but, as with all quests, his real job is to grow up, see the world, and maybe find love along the way."

The Erstwhile by B Catling reviewed by Stuart Kelly
"The middles of trilogies are difficult things, a balancing act between closure and continuation. The middle can’t just tread water, nor can it wholly deliver. In the right hands, this very balance can be elliptically tantalising. The Erstwhile almost revels in its status as the hiatus between Genesis and Apocalypse. It applies the sleight of hand that many of the best middle-books do, for a shift of focus..."

Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary reviewed by Alison Flood
"...if you’re not reading this series of London-set police procedurals then you need to start doing so right away."

First Love by Gwendoline Riley reviewed by Stuart Evers
"...a brutalising, intensely claustrophobic effect, one that shows two people trapped by their own emotions, appalled and attracted by one another in equal measure. While there are conscious echoes and a few nods to Turgenev in this First Love, it’s Harold Pinter who comes most readily to mind during Neve and Edwyn’s combative dialogues."

I'm reading the Dunant - it's brilliant. I've ordered First Love from the library, and am tempted by the others, especially the Patriot.

Mar 25, 7:58am Top

>142 msf59: Good to know Mark. I don't think I'll be picking it up!

Mar 25, 8:48am Top

Oh my Charlotte! What a week it's been for you and your family! I'm happy to see your dad is back home, taking it easy I hope and mending properly!

On the book front:
Kafka in Bronteland Sounds like a winner.
Birdcage Walk Got to get it but library doesn't have it yet.
In the Name of the Family love Dunant have to get that too.
Fever Dream - just read it and gave it almost 5 stars. I highly recommend it!!

Try to have a good relaxing eventless weekend.

Mar 25, 9:13am Top

Thanks Lynda. I'm really enjoying the Dunant. Glad Fever Dream is good. I'll have a look for it. Birdcage Walk is on order at the library here - hoping don't have to wait too long!

Mar 25, 9:52am Top

Happy weekend, Charlotte!

Mar 25, 10:33am Top

Hi, Charlotte.

I read both The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as a kid, too. And I was a big E. Nesbit reader.

Your liking A Chinese Life and interest in the Iraq region made me think you might like Rolling Blackouts, if you haven't read it. It's a GN memoir of some journalists' recent trip through Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Mark gave it high marks, and although I'm only about halfway through, I'd do the same.

Mar 25, 1:12pm Top

>147 scaifea: Thanks Amber. Hope you are taking it easier as directed!

>148 jnwelch: I liked it a lot Joe. I'd like to read her other book How to understand Israel which Kerry recommended, too.

Mar 25, 2:20pm Top

Happy weekend, Charlotte.

Mar 25, 4:44pm Top

Thanks Barbara. I'm enjoying finishing off The Warmth of Other Suns which the postman dropped off this morning.

Mar 25, 6:13pm Top

Thanks for the Guardian reviews, Charlotte. The Road to Somewhere sounds interesting. The author's name sounded familiar to me; I checked my LT library and noticed that I own a copy of his previous book The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration, which I haven't read yet.

Fever Dream was chosen for the Man Booker International Prize longlist, so I'll buy it in London if it isn't available in the US.

Mar 25, 6:30pm Top

Thanks for the Guardian reviews, Charlotte! I was just reading the few reviews in my newspaper, and nothing inspired me at all. I am in the hold queue for The Gustav Sonata at the library as part of my wish to read more of the Bailey's List. I think they only have one copy , so I'm in line for a while. I am patiently waiting the arrival of Dark Circle via the Book Depository. I'd like to try Midwinter and Stay With Me, but so far they are not available in Canada. I did get The Woman Next Door read, and it was a fine read, just not what I think will go forward to the shortlist.

Birdcage Walk is another book on my radar - but yet to get to my library.

Mar 25, 6:41pm Top

I am hopeful that no updates on your Dad is good news, Charlotte. Last we heard he was making you tea - possibly therapy for you both! Fingers and toes crossed that his scare is a blip along a smooth road.

Non-Fiction - I would choose Timothy Snyder, I think. As a muslim, I am not in the mood to read about my religion too much this week given the infamy brought about falsely in its name in London a few days ago.

Fiction. Has to be Sarah Dunant.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 25, 6:43pm Top

>152 kidzdoc: It seems from the review (I'd not heard of him before) he's pretty controversial. But the book sounds interesting reading, especially post Brexit.

>153 vancouverdeb: I really liked The Gustav Sonata and have been sad it's not been recognised by other prize lists. Midwinter is waiting for me to pick it up from the library. As usual, Too Many Books!

Edited: Mar 25, 6:47pm Top

>154 PaulCranswick: He's ok, but sad I think. I'm hoping when he feels less tired he will remember summer is on the way and give me a hand with the beans and tomato seeds that could do with going into the greenhouse.

Hope you find a copy of the Dunant. It really is gripping stuff.

Mar 25, 7:17pm Top

>155 charl08: Right. I'll at least look at the book, and possibly buy it if it strikes my fancy.

Mar 25, 8:19pm Top

Hope your dad continues to feel better.

Mar 26, 3:32am Top

>151 charl08: finishing it off, and you only had it delivered this morning? really? (I may have missed something as haven't read all the posts here, but that does sound like speedy reading)

Mar 26, 4:00am Top

>157 kidzdoc: Hope.you have fun mak8ng the choice Darryl. I'm waiting to hear if work will send me on a conference to London next month - the LRB bookshop will be on the wishlist, if I can squeeze it in.

>158 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Hope you feel better too!

>159 Ireadthereforeiam: I wish I read that fast Megan! I read the bulk of it last week but had to return it this week as it was an interlibrary loan. So I found a copy online because it was such a great book and I wanted my own copy. Our lovely postman delivered it yesterday and I felt quite guilty: I'd thought the paperback would be a little lighter than the hardback, but it was still a brick.

Mar 26, 4:07am Top

>160 charl08: aaaah! That makes sense :) I really enjoyed reading that one too. It filled in gaps in US history that I didn't even know I had!

Edited: Mar 26, 4:09am Top

The Warmth of Other Suns
They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.

They traveled deep into far-flung regions of their own country and in some cases clear across the continent. Thus the Great Migration had more in common with the vast movements of refugees from famine, war, and genocide in other parts of the world, where oppressed people, whether fleeing twenty-first-century Darfur or nineteenth-century Ireland, go great distances, journey across rivers, desserts, and oceans or as far as it takes to reach safety with the hope that life will be better wherever they land.

What's left to say about this wonderful book?
Wilkerson focuses on three migrants to tell the story of the 20th century migration North. Some of this was eye opening: methods to try and stop migrants moving North and leaving their exploitative bosses, for example. Her stats on the impact of migrants on the northern communities they joined. Her reflections on how migrants kept those connections with what they had left behind - and in some cases gradually took their own communities with them, leading to the recreation of southern communities North.
If you haven't read it, you're missing out. I was so impressed I bought my own copy.*
*Also ILL wanted their copy back.

Mar 26, 4:50am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Mar 26, 4:59am Top

Thanks Barbara. Sunshine here - it's lovely.

Edited: Mar 26, 5:55am Top

I said to my brother when he visited on my birthday, that I would buy a copy of Waterlog, as he hadn't brought his copy, which he'd promised to lend.
I wouldn't, he said.

Then he produced a copy for my birthday, along with The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. Just for balance, I guess.

Something about this book just completely appeals to me: the swimming, the scenery as he travels across the UK, the quotes from writers I've never heard of, and the humour. I was gutted when I had to return it to the library before I'd finished it.

This bit is about a sunken town in Norfolk, reclaimed by the sea.
The contrast between the clamour of a medieval sea- port city at the peak of prosperity and the empty, silent horizon of today is enough to set the least reflective of souls thinking about the impermanence of things.... The one medieval building left standing is the ruined twelfth century chapel of the St James leper hospital, once well outside the city walls...the outsiders have endured in the end.

Mar 26, 7:58am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Waterlog sounds interesting. I had not heard of it. I did read The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. It is a creepy little GN.

Thanks for supplying the beer/lit link on my thread. you know me well.

Mar 26, 11:06am Top

Hi Charlotte - Great news about your dad.

Thanks for the reviews. The nonfiction books on Islam sound interesting, and the Dunant and Fever Dream are calling my name from the fiction.

Waterlog sounds good, too. Nice brother.

Have a great Sunday.

Edited: Mar 26, 5:34pm Top

>166 msf59: Thanks Mark. Creepy is a good word for the beard book.

From your thread, sounds like you have plenty of beer related reading group you could pick up then?

>167 BLBera: Hi Beth, I've just finished the Dunant. Really enjoyed it, cracking historical fiction.

I had a great day - I did some gardening in the sunshine, was given some spare plants by the lady next door, and put in some plants we got on sale yesterday. I'm really hoping the sea holly in particular will do well - lovely plant. Lovely chicken Sunday roast and a bit of a snooze with the books - I'm hoping I've caught up after feeling tired most of last week.
And yes, he's a great brother.

Spot the goldfinch.
This is feeder mark 3 after they destroyed the first two. It turns out there is quite a bit of fighting in goldfinches' lives.

Edited: Mar 26, 5:58pm Top

In the Name of the Family

This was an ARC from Netgalley (published March 2nd in the UK)

All I knew about the Borgias before reading this were stories of poisoning and corruption. In contrast Dunant tells the story of Lucrezia and the Borgia Pope, alongside young Machiavelli, who is diplomat to the Borgia court, as well as from the perspective of Cesare, the pope's illegitimate son and his doctor, who is fighting off VD. As with Dunant t's other books, the historical detail is fascinating, but the characters drew me in. I wanted Lucrezia's arranged marriage to work, and Macchiavelli to survive the political jockeying. I can't say I liked the pope though. Perhaps that was the point. Dunant cites translations of Borgia letters in her acknowledgements, and the personal touches of correspondence that open chapters are intriguing.

Birth, coupling, death. The more she thinks about it, the more it seems that that is all there is; a wheel turning over and over, moving so fast that sometimes you cannot even make out the spokes . It is a wonder there is any room for poetry.

Mar 26, 6:01pm Top

The Dunant does sound great, Charlotte. Onto the list it goes.

Edited: Mar 26, 6:22pm Top

She's one I look out for Beth. A great writer.

Edited: Mar 26, 6:49pm Top

Just started The Good People, by the author of Burial Rites. Gorgeous cover.

Mar 26, 10:31pm Top

Just noting that this Dunant is a sequel to a book published two or three years ago that covers earlier years in Lucrezia's life -- also v. good!

And a vote in favor of Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. I think Lasdun's review (or at least the excerpt) misses the point: he wants to remain unknowable and remains resistant to being interviewed or even talked to. That's the point of his withdrawing from human society and an essential conundrum: that he struggles so much with what the rest of us find essential, i.e. contact with other human beings. (He said a single word out loud to another human being -- hello -- in a single passing contact in 27 years....) It's an ARC I got at ALA Midwinter and turns out to have been written by a friend of a friend -- is also one of my fave non-fiction reads of the year so far.

I've got The Patriots here to read. Probably should bump it up my list...

Glad your father is doing OK, Charlotte; hope the gardening weather encourages him to venture out to help?

A quick word on children's books -- since they came up in passing, I have to say I adored the Chalet School books -- the ultimate escapism. I didn't need more reality than that -- mind you, wouldn't have minded had there been a real chalet school! That said, I also loved Geoffrey Trease's historical novels. He was a socialist IRL and his books and choice of characters (who often pushed back against established authority, and were never kings/queens/princesses/princes, but ordinary boys/girls) reflected that. They were great "real" yarns, even though historical fiction that made me impatient about silly friily romantic tales.

Mar 27, 12:59am Top

I bought Waterlog and it is sitting on my shelf. I had better get cracking! I bet I'll love the swimming parts. Deakin was a great pal of Robert Macfarlane I think........

Mar 27, 1:12am Top

Good morning, Charlotte. Wishing you a good start into the new week.

Mar 27, 2:46am Top

>173 Chatterbox: Yes, that's an important point about the sequel. I want to read her other one about the Borgias too.

Lasdun wasn't impressed by the book - he thought the references to literature about hermits made little or no sense to the life the author was supposedly examining. I can't say I'm rushing to get my hands on it. The power of the reviewers...? We read a Treace at school. I had no idea he was a socialist, but that makes sense.

>174 mdoris: I've been reading about swimming more than actually doing any lately. Need to get back in the pool more often. Perhaps tomorrow night.

>175 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. You too!

Edited: Mar 27, 9:25pm Top

I've got my fingers crossed for Helen Oyeyemi, as the winner usually comes to campus!

The winner, to be announced at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, will receive a £10,000 prize.

The Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in a published short story collection and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award to a writer from the shortlist, and a further category for stories by Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing students.

This year’s judges are Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

The shortlist will be announced by 30th June with awards to be presented at a special event as part of Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.

The longlist in full:

Light Box K J Orr (Daunt Books)

The Travelling Bag Susan Hill (Profile Books)

Raw Material Sue Wilsea (Valley Press)

A Primer for Cadavers Ed Atkins (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

The Glue Ponys Chris Wilson (Tangerine Press)

Vertigo Joanna Walsh (And Other Stories)

Hearing Voices Seeing Things William Wall (Doire Press)

All That Lies Be-neath/What I Know I Cannot Say Dai Smith (Parthian)

Ferenji and other stories Helena Mulkerns (Doire Press)

He Runs the Moon Wendy Brandmark (Holland Park Press)

Treats Lara Williams (Freight Books)

Mr Jolly Michael Stewart (Valley Press)

Stations Nick Mulgrew (David Philip Publishers)

When Planets Slip Their Tracks Joanna Campbell (Ink Tears)

Speak Gigantular Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda Books)

Sandlands Rosy Thornton (Sandstone Press)

The Other World, It Whispers Stephanie Victoire (Salt)

The Parts We Play Stephen Volk (PS Publishing)

Damage Rosalie Parker (PS Publishing)

Quieter Paths Alison Littlewood (PS Publishing)

Ritual, 1969 Jo Mazelis (Seren)

This is the Ritual Rob Doyle (Lilliput Press/Bloomsbury)

Gods and Angels David Park (Bloomsbury)

Shore to Shore Tamsin Hopkins (Cinnamon Press)

Dinosaurs on Other Planets Danielle McLaughlin (John Murray Press)

Blind Water Pass Anna Metcalfe (John Murray Press)

The Museum of Shadows and Reflections Claire Dean (Papaveria Press)

Aphrodite’s Kiss Rosemary Jenkinson (Whittrick Press)

Llama Sutra Melanie Whipman (Ink tears)

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories Penelope Lively (Penguin)

Tales of Persuasion Philip Hensher (Fourth Estate)

The Man Who Wouldn’t Get Up and Other Stories David Lodge (Vintage)

Fen Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)

Multitudes Lucy Caldwell (Faber)

Legoland Gerard Woodward (Pan Macmillan)

What is Not Yours is Not Yours Helen Oyeyemi (Pan Macmillan)

Hostages Oisin Fagan (New Island Books)

Wild Quiet Roisin O’Donnell (New Island Books)

Sunrise Sunset Tina Pisco (Fish Publishing)

The Pier Falls Mark Haddon (Vintage)

When Black Dogs Sing Tanya Farrelly (Arlen House)


Mar 27, 12:40pm Top

>149 charl08: Good to hear re Rolling Blackouts, Charlotte. I thought How to Understand Israel was just as good.

Mar 27, 3:31pm Top

>178 jnwelch: Maybe I'll get my hands on it this year. Had a rater depressing conversation with the librarian today who said they're not buying much non-fiction. Sadly I think Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts has been lost by the library system.

Edited: Mar 27, 9:22pm Top

The Good People
"What woman lives on her own with a goat and a low roof of drying herbs? What woman keeps company with the birds and the creatures that belong to hear dappled places? What woman finds contentment in such a solitary life, has no need of children or the comfort of a man? One who has chosen to walk the boundaries. One who somehow has an understanding of the mysteries of the world and who sees in the clawing briars God's own handwriting. "

Edited: Mar 27, 7:44pm Top

Nice long list, Charlotte. I need to read more short stories. Although after Lucia Berlin's collection, I'm afraid other collections will pale in comparison.

Love the quote from The Good People.

Mar 27, 7:44pm Top

>180 charl08: Love the quote!

Mar 27, 9:14pm Top

Hi! Love the long list of short story collections. :)

Mar 28, 7:43am Top

>181 BLBera: >182 BLBera: Thanks Beth. The book is beautiful, both as a physical thing (shiny gold leaf effect on the cover, and irregularly trimmed pages) but also in terms of the writing. She's doing for Ireland what she did for Iceland. (What next? India? Iraq?)

>183 nittnut: It is a very long list. Perhaps I won't get excited about Oyeyemi visiting us, until / if she makes the shortlist :-)

Edited: Mar 28, 1:35pm Top

It's been a while since a list of shame...

Library loans

The book of Negroes I think I'm going to have to return this unread, as I've reached the max renewals.
On a Chinese screen very short. I've still not read it.
Dalila Brand new, but haven't even opened.
The lives of the novelists : a history of fiction in 294 lives I got to about 1900, but need to crack on with these.
A cast of Vultures Funny, and half way through.
Kafka in Bronteland and other stories early days for this one.
Roads to Berlin half way through, but it got a bit woolly for me, with imaginary encounters with enormous statues.
The world without Us Shiny new paperback.
Under the udala trees This one makes me feel guilty.
Paul Robeson : the artist as revolutionary A way to go here.
The republic of imagination I started this one but it didn't grab me.
The Villa Ariadne Just picked up yesterday.
Midwinter Ditto
Iraq + 100 : short stories from a century after the invasion I got about half way then was distracted.
The good people reading this now. It's brilliant.
I stared at the night of the city This one opens very mystical, and I'm not at all sure...
A constellation of vital phenomena No idea. Oh dear.
Once upon a time : a short history of fairy tale Lovely book.
Shirley Williams : the biography I do want to read this one.

Mar 28, 3:27pm Top

As you can see, new border is still very much a work in progress, but I'm so pleased with the tulips...

Mar 28, 6:38pm Top

Your tulips are lovely, Charlotte. When the tulips start to bloom, the gardening season has started :-)

Mar 28, 7:06pm Top

Love the tulips, Charlotte. Love the library book list, too. Isn't Flanders fun?

Mar 29, 12:22am Top

Well, as to your library list, I can only advise you on a couple. I thought The Book of Negroes was a fabulous. Read it when you have time. I also enjoyed A Constellation of Vital Phenomena , but I did not review it and I gave it 4 stars. I'm torn up about the fact that so many of the Bailey's list are not available in Canada. Next thing we know, it will be short - list time. What to do?

Edited: Mar 29, 10:36am Top

>187 FAMeulstee: Yes, I'm really happy to be out in the garden now. Lots of plants coming up, and unexpected flowering from some that didn't last year. Although not today, as it's pouring with rain.

>188 BLBera: Thanks Beth. There's an awful lot of pink in the back border, so pleased this is so yellow (so far). I really enjoyed Flanders' novel, and it's also a reminder I have plenty of her non-fiction to get to!

>189 vancouverdeb: Thanks for the recommendations re my library list. Too many books, not enough time, I think.

I'm sorry you're not able to get hold of more of the longlist. I'm waiting on a (very) long waiting list for several of them, so I'm not in a much better position! I did enjoy The Gustav Sonata and I know that has been out for a while here, and also out for a while, The Essex Serpent - I've seen some great reviews for that one.

I finished A Cast of Vultures last night. I enjoy this series about an editor who gets caught up in crime. Some wry observations about office politics and some carefully constructed skewering of stereotypes really caught my attention here. I was wondering how the author would deal with the disbelief factor (how much crime does an editor really encounter?), but a couple of chapters in, I'd forgotten all about that.

Edited: Mar 29, 8:19am Top

This is the Netgalley LoS - I've just realised I can read the gardening one and the swimming one (Swell) for the non-fiction challenge - Win!

Daring to Drive
Flesh and Bone and Water
Can You Hear Me?
New Boy: Hogarth Shakespeare This is one about a Shakespeare play I actually know a bit from school, so should be interesting!
Take Courage: Anne Bronte

Dancing the Death Drill
Why haven't I read this - about the SS Mendi and a crime novel in one...

Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden
Radio Sunrise

Swell: a waterbiography

The Last Bell
The Lauras
Hamlet: Globe to Globe: Taking Shakespeare to Every Country in the World (after the anecdote about going to Heston Blumenthal's restaurant as a company trip, I am less inclined to carry on with this one...)
In the Darkroom
Birds Art Life Death
The Idiot
The Queen of the Night I'm half way through this one, but it's a bit sordid and I'm not sure I want to carry on...
Welcome to Lagos
The Disappearance of Emile Zola
This is weightier than I was expecting, due to the light work of the author - this is totally unfair of me, I know...
Leaving is My Colour
The Bones of Grace
Homegoing (groan! What am I doing not having read this already?!)
The Walworth Beauty

Mar 29, 10:34am Top

>191 charl08: What a lot of promising looking books, Charlotte. Can't wait to see your comments. I just got The Idiot from the library.

Mar 29, 1:00pm Top

>192 BLBera: Certainly enough to keep me busy for a while...

Mar 29, 1:27pm Top

I admit to skimming a bit to get caught up, Charlotte, but I was very glad to see your dad is home and does not need further treatment.

Edited: Mar 29, 1:36pm Top

Thanks Katie. We're all laughing like idiots at a panel show at the moment.

Edited: Mar 30, 4:38am Top

Charlotte, I broke down and ordered Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò today, via Amazon Canada Marketplace , from some sort of bookfront in the UK. It will likely take a month or so to arrive, but book is not being released here until June or July, and I think I'd like to read it. Cross your fingers that it arrives. I've been waiting on about 3 books shipped from the UK and I hope they arrive sooner than later.

Mar 29, 10:13pm Top

Dancing the Death Drill - title sounds interesting, but no info on the book page. How was it?

Mar 29, 10:37pm Top

I just left one interesting cheese discussion over on Paul's thread only to discover an equally interesting cheese discussion happening over here, Charlotte! I love cheese.

Getting caught up and very sorry to read the news about your dad and his health scare. Glad to learn that his now at home and taking things easy.

Mar 29, 11:35pm Top

>43 charl08: Way back when--I have been MIA for so long! No, the thanks were most sincere about posting. He just makes me so mad. Not you. Sorry for the confusion. : )

Glad your Dad's immediate health scare is over. Phew! And thanks for all the Guardian Reviews, and cheese!

Mar 30, 2:44am Top

>196 vancouverdeb: Sounds good Deborah. I've got my fingers crossed for quick postal travel between the UK and Canada. My sister found a couple of books for me for my birthday at the end of Feb - one of the books didn't turn up from the US until mid March! It was a nice surprise though. Spreading out the birthday.

>197 drneutron: Hi Jim! It does sound good doesn't it. It's about a widely overlooked horrific incident in the first world war, when hundreds of African troops were drowned in the British channel.

From the publisher's website:
Paris, 1958. An Algerian waiter at the famous restaurant La Tour d’Argent is convicted of the murder of two customers. As he is awaiting trial, his long-time friend Jerry Moloto helps an opportunistic and ambitious journalist build a case to defend him.
Through Jerry’s testimony the reader discovers that the waiter is actually Pitso Motaung, a mixed race South African drafted to fight in the First World War. He is also one of the few remaining survivors of the SS Mendi tragedy, which saw the formidable warship sink off the coast of the Isle of Wight, killing 646 people, including many black South African soldiers. So how did a brave soldier become a criminal and will Pitso’s name be cleared before it is too late?

Mar 30, 2:54am Top

>198 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. I think my cheese discussion is older, and possibly therefore smelliest, so feel free to move swiftly on!
Thanks for the good wishes.

>199 Berly: Thanks Kim. I hope you are recovering from your bug and feeling more yourself. Two bugs in a row does not sound like fun.

Mar 30, 4:16am Top

>162 charl08: I really enjoyed reading The Warmth of Other Suns too.

>186 charl08: lovely tulips! I had some black ones growing a hole ago, and I regret not keeping them in as they were so distinctive and beautiful.

Mar 30, 4:46am Top

This made me smile - I assumed it was a typo, but then thought for gardening that's a rather appropriate measure of time...

Mar 30, 4:56am Top

LOL, it was supposed to read "a while ago" :) Macs just love to autocorrect.

Mar 30, 8:37am Top


This mouse mat is from the domestic violence stand at work today. Nicely done, someone...

Mar 30, 8:50am Top

Nice library haul - thanks for sharing, Charlotte! I also have I stared at the night of the city, and I read the beginning, but it feels awkward to me. The writing is clunky, and it is hard to get into.

>186 charl08: Lovely! Tulips are my favorite!

Love the Jane Eyre quote!

Mar 30, 10:03am Top

Hi, Charlotte.

I got stuck halfway through The Warmth of Other Suns. It started feeling repetitive to me. I should pick it back up and give it another go.

Mar 30, 2:29pm Top

>206 Crazymamie: Isn't it a lovely quote Mamie.

I am thinking that I stared... is one of those books that would benefit from some knowledge about the context. Maybe I can find a Kurdish fiction reader (I do ask a lot).

>207 jnwelch: I think she does repeat bits (I thought probably for the people who were reading in small chunks), and I didn't think the end section was as strong as the beginning, but the summing up chapter at the end, relating the lives to the theory and overall history was definitely worth reading.

Mar 30, 2:32pm Top

>186 charl08: Gorgeous tulip photo. I still have to another 2 days?

Sweet Thursday.

Mar 30, 2:51pm Top

>209 Ameise1: There haven't been many sunny days here to enjoy them yet Barbara - I'm hoping some might come at the weekend.

Edited: Mar 31, 1:57am Top

Kafka in Bronteland

One of Tamar Yellin's stories made the short story collection put out by my workplace, so I ordered this collection. The title story is about a young woman who has always wanted to live in Yorkshire, convinced she could live like her hero Emily - only to find that unlike her characters, Emily never lived alone... There is a reflection on female friendship that is rather poignant, and a story of a meticulous piano tuner beginning to lose his grip that manages to quietly show how that chaos at end of life may be entirely unreflective of how a full life was lived. Good reading.
Yes, she implied, my brother was very well educated in two things: How to hate his parents, and how to drink.
In six years at the Talmud Torah I learnt to know and love the Hebrew Bible, the prayers, the songs and the Jewish rituals. In six months at the Hebrew Circle my brother learnt to ask for a glass of beer.
"Birna, bevakashah"

Mar 30, 7:27pm Top

>200 charl08: Great description - I will have to check this one out.
>205 charl08: LOVE the mouse pad. Am going to watch the PBS thing on the Brontes right now.

>211 charl08: I ordered this book.

Mar 30, 11:50pm Top

>185 charl08: "...A constellation of vital phenomena No idea. Oh dear."
I loved that book absolutely. It was a five-star read for me. But it's admittedly on the grim side.

Edited: Mar 31, 2:00am Top

>212 BLBera: Its good isn't it. I'm still trying to work out how.it a linked to accessing their services - I think the barcode might be significant. Hope you like Yellin. I'm going to look for her novel.

>213 EBT1002: I blame tiredness: I looked at the cover and recognised it straight away. It's one I want to have the time to just sit down and read uninterrupted. Maybe the weekend?

Oliver Sacks' partner Bill Hayes has written a memoir:
He wrote me a letter. That’s how we met. He had read my book, The Anatomist, in proof, and enjoyed it. (“I meant to provide a blurb,” but “got distracted and forgot.”) This was when I was still in San Francisco – early 2008. This was when people still wrote letters regularly and when one got a letter, sat down and wrote a letter back.

“Dear Mr Hayes – ”
“ – Dear Dr Sacks…”

Edited: Mar 31, 5:16pm Top

I've picked up Waterlog again. I love his turn of phrase
Madeleine said the true Penzance swimmers go in the sea off the Battery Rocks over the swimming pool walk. They're in all year round at eight o'clock in the morning, and scorn the pool-bathers. According to Madeleine, who clearly returned the disapproval, they're always getting cramp and saving each other...

Mar 31, 9:31am Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte.

Mar 31, 9:38am Top

More wishes for a Happy Friday!

Mar 31, 11:34am Top

>215 charl08: You inspire! I am going up to my stash of books (not in boxes from our moves) and start Waterlog today. With thanks for mentioning it.

Mar 31, 5:24pm Top

Ack, fixed the typo in the quote. That was always supposed to be Madeleine...

Thanks Beth, Kim and Mary. Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

I had fun at the library reading a book about Pi- Rat. The person I was reading to was not impressed by the ending at all. It was rather comical.

Apr 1, 3:29am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte.

Apr 1, 3:55am Top

Thanks Barbara. Hope you get lots of r and r.

Apr 1, 4:06am Top

>221 charl08: Me too. Soon I'll go to the farmer market.

Apr 1, 4:48am Top

>205 charl08: Love the mouse pad! I'm just starting on a book that I purchased from the UK via mail thanks to one of your Guardian Reviews. So far, so good! I'm still waiting very patiently for three more books from the UK ! :) One from the Book Depository and two from two separate ' book fronts" on amazon canada. Every day I go to my post box and say a little prayer - oh book, please be here! No luck so far.

Edited: Apr 1, 5:34am Top

>222 Ameise1: Hope they have some good stuff Barbara!

>223 vancouverdeb: Deborah, glad one of them turned up at least. I've got one out from the library to read - Midwinter. Not sure whether I'll get to it before the shortlist though!

I was hoping to get gardening today, but the weather is not cooperating - pouring rain.

Guardian Reviews Non-Fiction

Familiar Stranger by Stuart Hall reviewed by Colin Grant
"was a radical Caribbean intellectual based in Britain for most of his adult life, an activist and cultural theorist who became a hugely influential figure for his own and subsequent generations. His fierce championing of social engagement – as exemplified in his editorship of the New Left Review – was underpinned by compassion, delivered in a voice as smooth as the finest rum. He was a pioneering thinker about race in Britain, who nonetheless put class first..."
As someone who has admired Hall I'll look forward to reading this.

The Islamic Enlightenment by Christopher de Bellaigue reviewed by Bettany Hughes
"did a rational enlightenment follow on from Islam’s deep-rooted interest in the works of Plato and other classical philosophers?"
There's a gorgeous photo illustrating this article - worth checking out -

Ludo and the Power of the Book by Richard Ingrams reviewed by Chris Mullins
"When it came to the judiciary, Kennedy did not mince words. He described Lord Robertson, one of the judges in the Meehan case, as “one of the stupidest men I have ever come across”. Lord Hunter, another Meehan judge, was “almost as big a dumbo as Robertson”....“My generation,” writes Ingrams, a founder of Private Eye, “is often credited with the demolition of the old establishment … but Ludo played a much more influential role.” Although Ingrams doesn’t tell us a great deal that we didn’t already know (and despite the clunky title), he has written a lucid and affectionate portrait of one the great journalists of his day."
The quotes made me laugh but I don't think I'll get to the book...

Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti reviewed by Fiona Sturges
"The show, called Prostitution, prompted a meltdown from the tabloids and a discussion in the House of Commons in which COUM were branded “wreckers of civilisation”. All of this – the coercion and abuse, the sex work, the maggoty tampons – is told with a blunt matter-of-factness, as if none of it were anything unusual. The effect is to make it all the more vivid while allowing the reader to take the most outre scenes in their stride....her memory of events that took place over 45 years ago is impressively sharp."
This sounds completely bonkers...

David Jones by Thomas Dilworth reviewed by Chris Power
"...a heroic attempt to salvage Jones for a new audience, reclaiming him from a past in which a critic in this paper felt able to call him “an eccentric figure on the periphery of English poetry”."
If I could sit and read every day, I might read this one.

The Great Leveller by Walter Scheidel reviewed Paul Mason
"Scheidel observes that, left to their own devices, most societies – including ancient Rome – seem to reach a demographic and technological limit of inequality. What reverses this is violence – and not just ordinary violence. “Only specific types of violence have consistently forced down inequality,” Scheidel writes. War has to be total; revolution has to be ultraviolent and socially pervasive; state failure has to lead to violence so intense that “it wipes the slate clean”. Ditto the social effects of pandemics."
I really hope this isn't true, so I should probably read the book to work out for myself if I think it holds together.

Edited: Apr 1, 6:23am Top

Guardian Fiction Reviews

Crime Roundup
What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney "...begins where most crime fiction ends, with the capture of a murderer."
My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood "compelling and convincing"
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia "Beautiful, clever and manipulative, 17-year-old Hattie, star of her high school’s production of Macbeth, dreams of acting on Broadway but ends up stabbed to death in an abandoned barn..."
The Acid Test by Élmer Mendoza "the city of Culiacán is lawless; when the president declares war on the drug cartels, who are already at war with each other, the corpses lie in heaps. In the middle of the melee is Detective “Lefty” Mendieta, a detective-hero in the noir mould, world-weary and self-doubting but dogged."
The Riviera Express by TP Fielden "an altogether calmer affair"

The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke reviewed by Alfred Hickling
"...takes the form of a parodic gazette compiled, in the kind of meta-textual twist Yan frequently employs, by “a world-famous author from Beijing named Yan Lianke” who is commissioned by the city authorities to document the settlement’s “great leap forward”. The fictitious Yan agrees to abandon the novel he has been working on and accepts the commission on the grounds that he is a native of the region and has been tempted by the fee: “I hope readers will forgive me, but I really needed the money.”
The prelude not only ironises the novel’s central theme of the egregious scramble for money, it also characterises his precarious relationship with the authorities."

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill reviewed by Molly McCloskey
"...here is violence in this novel and there is make believe, but the world is seldom simply either/or. A drowned mouse in a jar floats “about with its arms spread, as if it were truly amazed by life”. The book is full of such images, filtered through an off-kilter sensibility that charms and disturbs."

Collecting Sticks by Joe Decie reviewed by Rachel Cooke (Graphic Novel)
"Tent and Primus stove fanatics may want to give it a miss; ditto enthusiastic Scout leaders, and those who even in middle age ache inside at the merest thought of Glastonbury. But if you’re still scarred by camping holidays you endured as a kid – I know I am – then this singular, funny book is for you. The rain, the boredom, the tinned beans: why anyone in their right mind prefers a night on a damp groundsheet to one in their own bed is completely beyond me."

The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott reviewed by Wyl Menmuir
"The capture and hanging of the infamous thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard in 1724 made headline news and his rackety life story was turned into a sensational biography by Daniel Defoe. In Defoe’s account, Elizabeth Lyon – the lover Sheppard denounced before his death – “laid the foundation of his ruin” when she first met him, setting him on the path to the gallows. In The Fatal Tree, Jake Arnott redresses the balance, offering a fictional account of one of history’s footnotes..."

All reviews via the site www.guardian.co.uk/books
(I think I could happily pick up all of them, but I am trying to be restrained. Don't laugh, everyone!)

Apr 1, 6:16am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. Not that I am reading them with the library catalogue open, or anything like that.

Sorry you have rain. I have sun, but am going to squander it just sitting about.

Apr 1, 6:22am Top

But Susan, I read on your thread that you have the door open, so that sounds like having the best of both worlds to me! Having got caught out by a sudden downpour yesterday as I tried to go across campus, I'm glad to be able to sit indoors.

Edited: Apr 1, 6:38am Top

Thinking about going back to school:

BREAKING NEWS #dundee1st
Our new Penguin Studies MSc is now accepting applications 🐧🎉
Apply now: https://t.co/3RNtcYsPrj pic.twitter.com/iy0Z3vFNd9

— University of Dundee (@dundeeuni) 1 April 2017

...one of the listed course modules is: "Penguinese – the language of penguins."

Apr 1, 6:38am Top

Apr 1, 6:39am Top

Hi Diana! Hope you have a good weekend.

Apr 1, 10:48am Top

>231 The_Hibernator: I actually was tempted before I realised it was a prank.

Apr 1, 11:02am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte.

Thanks for posting the reviews. I have my little notebook here and am busily writing titles. The one on Islam looks good, all of the crime and the O'Neill are particularly tempting.

Restrained? Hmm. How many library books do you have out?

Apr 1, 12:34pm Top

>233 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I've just been looking at Mary's thread, where she listed the shortlist for the Walter Scott prize - restraint goes out the window, as I want to read the only one I've not put my hands on yet (Still have to finish The Good People), The Vanishing Futurist.

The O'Neill does sound good.

Apr 1, 2:33pm Top

>225 charl08: I feel for the person in the cartoon ;-)

Happy weekend, Charlotte, sorry there is no penguin studies... it should be, if only for you!

Apr 1, 2:44pm Top

Happy weekend, Charlotte!

Apr 1, 3:23pm Top

>235 FAMeulstee: It did remind me of some wet camping holidays... Thanks Anita.

>236 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia!

Apr 1, 3:30pm Top

From Swell: A waterbiography

There’s a great chunk of time when women only appear in the swimming story as mythological creatures, and you have to wonder why mermaids were invented

Apr 1, 3:59pm Top

The Walter Scott prize books do sound good. I've liked the few I've read.

Apr 1, 8:08pm Top

Happy weekend! Kafka in Bronteland sounds fun.

Apr 1, 8:20pm Top

>224 charl08: I think my choice would be the David Jones biography as I love his In Parenthesis.

>225 charl08: The story of Jack Sheppard is wonderfully told in novel form by William Harrison Ainsworth in Jack Sheppard. I am certain that Jake Arnott couldn't get near that in qualitative terms but it would be fun to see it updated.

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Apr 2, 2:31am Top

>228 charl08: LOL, that's one of the best April fool's I've seen.
Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Edited: Apr 2, 5:04am Top

>239 BLBera: Some good books in the list, including The Gustav Sonata. I was less impressed by Mothering Sunday but have lived some of his other books.

>240 banjo123: The author Tamar Yellin has quite a distinctive, strong voice. I'll look for her other writing.

>241 PaulCranswick: I'd never heard of his work before Paul, but good to see that you are a fan. And I've not read the Defoe either. Some catching up to do, perhaps.

>242 Ameise1: It certainly suited me Barbara! Top marks to the staff at Dundee I think.

The sun is out (however briefly) and the birds have polished off the bulk of the seed, so I'm going to do some gardening and maybe catch up with reading later on.

First Love turned up at the library yesterday and is a lovely short light hardback, so think I'll be reading that one at lunchtime this week.

Apr 2, 5:47am Top

>228 charl08: Charlotte, it's such a shame that was an April Fool joke. It makes a lot more sense than some of the craziness currently doing the rounds. I hope your gardening goes well.

Edited: Apr 2, 8:06am Top

The article I read about it said actually it's not so far from the reality eg studying oceans or the Arctic. At this point I remember how badly the African penguins in Cape Town pong. Maybe not.

I've been out picking up leaves, tidying up and putting in some plants mum's friend gave us. Sadly they're pink, but I've out them in the corner where they'll mostly be out of sight, and at least they're cover. Amazed at how some of the other. Plants have spread. Some of the alpines, in particular have done really well.

Tulips in the garden.

Apr 2, 8:02am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte! I am currently enjoying The Secret Chord. An interesting take on King David and it appears Ms. Brooks has done her homework...once again.

Apr 2, 8:09am Top

Sounds good Mark. I so hope she is writing another - I've enjoyed what I've read by her.

Apr 2, 8:18am Top

I still have not read Caleb's Crossing. I think there was just enough mixed opinion, that I kept putting it off.

Apr 2, 9:23am Top

I gave it five stars Mark!

Time for a new thread I think.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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