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Orange is not the only Penguin (book) - charl08 reads #6

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Apr 2, 2017, 9:47am Top


These are nice too though

Edited: Apr 24, 2017, 4:56pm Top

Books read in 2017 - 74

April 17
Blame it on Bath (F, UK, novel)
Swell: a waterbiography (F, UK, memoir/ history)
Unexploded (F, Canada, novel)
The Good People (F, Australia, novel)
The Brittle Star (F, UK, novel)
In a Lonely Place (F, US, novel)
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After (F, UK, novel)
First Love (F, UK, novel)
Dancing the Death Drill (M, South Africa, novel)
On a Chinese Screen (M, UK, short stories)

Cheese (M, Netherlands, fiction)
Date at the Altar (F, US, fiction)
Roads to Berlin (M, Netherlands, travel/ memoir)
Waterlog (M, UK, travel/sport)
Sister Noon (F, US, novel)
Spaceman of Bohemia (M, Czech Republic, novel)
One Hundred Nights of Hero (F, UK, graphic novel)

March 12
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)

F11 M6
Europe 11 (UK 8) US & Canada 4 Australia 1 South Africa 1
Fiction 14 Non-Fiction 3
Library 10 Netgalley 2 Mine 5

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: Apr 17, 2017, 11:45am Top

1. Last year I read over 300 books: I'd like to do the same this year.
2. Read Harder Challenge (Bookriot)
12 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.In a Lonely Place
Read a travel memoir. On a Chinese Screen
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: Apr 17, 2017, 11:45am 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)
Read Dancing the Death Drill (South Africa )

4. Reading from the 'what students read' list


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

Apr 2, 2017, 9:27am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Me first? or just a little too early ? Hope you're having a spectacular Sunday! :0)

Apr 2, 2017, 9:47am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! 5 stars for Caleb's Crossing? Hey, good enough for me.

Apr 2, 2017, 9:56am Top

>5 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda - quick but not too quick!

>6 msf59: Thanks Mark. Hope you can squeeze it in!

Apr 2, 2017, 10:09am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!!

Apr 2, 2017, 10:21am Top

Thanks Amber.

Just putting my bragging hat on. This was just after I'd dug the new border last year

And this is now! Hoping the perennials will get a bit bigger and obscure the Orange fence a bit.

Apr 2, 2017, 11:16am Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Charlotte. I like your garden photos. It looks like you have a sunny day, too.

Apr 2, 2017, 11:19am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! And nice gardening pics :-)

Apr 2, 2017, 12:01pm Top

>1 charl08: I have a little bit of a collection of the first ones shown, Charlotte.

happy new thread, my dear. xx

Apr 2, 2017, 12:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Love the garden, LOVE the books at the top. I'm trying hard not to look directly at them. I want!

Apr 2, 2017, 12:46pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte! Love the pretty covers in your topper :)

Apr 2, 2017, 12:56pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte. Reading more than 300 books a year is awesome. And you read such good ones, too.

I'd like a set of those books at the top, too, please. :-)

Apr 2, 2017, 1:18pm Top

Happy New Thread and Happy Sunday, Charlotte!

Love the thread-topper. Maybe the fancy new cover might actually get me to like Wuthering Heights, but I expect that is asking too much. I hated it.

Apr 2, 2017, 4:59pm Top

>10 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. It was lovely to be out in the sunshine, especially since yesterday morning it poured down!

>11 susanj67: Thanks Susan. Sunshine makes everything feel better!

>12 PaulCranswick: Sounds good to me Paul. I live the Persuasion cover, might have to add that one to the (mumble mumble) copies I have already picked up!

>13 BLBera: Thanks Beth. They're lovely aren't they. Cunningly, the paperback are just different enough from the hardbacks to make me want both...

>14 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Not tempted?

>15 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Me too. Maybe we could get a group discount?

>16 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. Sadly, I can't report that my fancy copy of Middlemarch has got me past the first 30 or so chapters...

Apr 2, 2017, 5:39pm Top

Wow! Fabulous new topper! Gorgeous books! I'm a bit jealous now :) We are having a sunny weekend too! Full on sun today, but with quite a bit of wind. Nice border!

Apr 2, 2017, 5:57pm Top

Pretty books!

And nice flowers. If I did any gardening, everything would be dead post-haste.

Apr 2, 2017, 9:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 2, 2017, 9:22pm Top

Drooling over the books and the garden!! Happy new thread.

Edited: Apr 3, 2017, 1:14am Top

Wishing you a wonderful start into the new week, Charlotte.

Apr 3, 2017, 2:29am Top

>18 vancouverdeb: Deborah, you and me both, I'd love to own that penguin set of Austens. Glad you've got a break from the rain.

>19 ursula: Hey Ursula. Maybe with the new move you'll get a garden?

>20 drneutron: Thanks Jim.

>21 Berly: Thanks Kim. Or is it Beth? Or Bim?
Oh the confusion...

>22 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Hoping for a quick and painless week.

Apr 3, 2017, 7:53am Top

>23 charl08: I hope not! The problem isn't the weather, it's the gardener. ;)

Apr 3, 2017, 9:33am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte! That border is looking lovely! I have the same kind of green thumb that Ursula does, but luckily Craig is a very good gardener.

Apr 3, 2017, 10:29am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. All your work has improved the border a lot :-)

Apr 3, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>24 ursula: Oh, I have this idea of California as a place where everything grows... Don't wreck my illusions now!

>25 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie! Lovely to see you. Does Craig have any tips to pass on?

>26 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I am a big fan of the big blousy yellow tulips. Little ones have also come up, but I fear the slugs will get them...

Apr 3, 2017, 12:44pm Top

Swell: A waterbiography is proving rather entertaining.

"Because mixed bathing roused a red-faced blustering concern, by the 1860s all sorts of by-laws were in place in coastal resorts to stem this source of potential outrage. Bylaws like this one, from Suffolk: ‘A person of the female sex shall not, while bathing, approach within one hundred yards a place at which any person of the male sex, above the age of twelve years, may be set down for the purpose of bathing. ’By-laws that led to situations like one reported in Hastings, where a male swimmer was required to stand thirty yards from his own wife, vainly shouting directions to her while she tried to master the basics of swimming. You can picture the scene: a man standing some way up the beach, bellowing fruitlessly to a woman in the water, ‘Move your arms. YOUR ARMS. ’"

Apr 3, 2017, 2:50pm Top

>27 charl08: I fear I'm not communicating well today. I had assumed you were thinking that the weather in Michigan wasn't conducive to much gardening, which it probably isn't, at least for a couple more months. Everything does grow, all the time, in California - unless I touch it, in which case it dies. :)

Apr 3, 2017, 3:11pm Top

>1 charl08: No matter how many books we may own, there is always more and more reasons to buy more. These covers are lovely.

Apr 3, 2017, 3:19pm Top

>29 ursula: I'm getting the impression you don't like gardening Ursula...

>30 Whisper1: It is a truth universally acknowledged...

Apr 3, 2017, 4:30pm Top

>23 charl08: Hah. Swell does sound good.

Apr 3, 2017, 5:29pm Top

>32 BLBera: I am enjoying it!

Apr 4, 2017, 4:46am Top

Hi Charlotte! What do you think of the Bailey's Short list? I've posted it on my thread, and I've ordered and am waiting for Stay With Me and Dark Circle from the UK, but as I've mentioned, Dark Circle is really taking it's time to get here.

Apr 4, 2017, 5:45am Top

Happy Tuesday, Charlotte.

Edited: Apr 4, 2017, 8:01am Top

>34 vancouverdeb: Didn't know they had already announced it Deborah! Surprised Hag-Seed and The Gustav Sonata didn't get picked though. Will be interested to hear what you make of Linda Grant's book - I wasn't swept away.

>35 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Sunshine shining here and two of my beans has already broken the surface - I only planted it on Saturday, so doing well.

Swell: A waterbiography continues to amuse:
In the summer of 1915, the NWLSL staged ‘suffrage swim races ’, where they dressed a dummy with a red sash declaring it to be ‘anti-suffrage ’, while the swimmers themselves wore sashes in that familiar suffrage purple embroidered with ‘Votes For Women ’. They rowed the dummy out and dropped it overboard, whereby the League women raced to save it. The event made the New York Times with a headline of ‘BRAVE SUFFRAGISTS SAVE “ANTI ”FROM THE SEA ’. ‘Fully clothed and hampered alike by her garments and her principles. ’the paper wrote, ‘being an old-fashioned woman who does not believe it is ladylike to swim, she would certainly have been lost in the waves but for the gallant women who hurried to her rescue. ’With a five-star review like that, it ’s clear what the New York Times official stance was.

Edited: Apr 5, 2017, 12:27am Top

Well, Dark Circle arrived today in the mail! Still waiting on the other two. Two books came into the library for me , A Hillbilly Elegy and Gustav's Sonata. All is not lost after all!

Edited: Apr 5, 2017, 2:42am Top

Glad some books turned up Deborah - three should keep you busy for a while...

I'm hoping to finish a book at some time! Reading The Good People which is a bit like an Irish version of His Bloody Project - that kind of very dour, poverty ridden context.

Apr 5, 2017, 4:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Pretty books and pretty gardens.... perfect way to start off a new thread.

Apr 5, 2017, 5:28pm Top

Hey Lori, thanks for visiting. Just in time for a book! I finished Swell - really enjoyed this very personal account of discovering a passion for swimming as an adult.

Apr 5, 2017, 6:24pm Top

Hi Charlotte and Happy New Thread!

Back on your prior thread, I added two crime novels to my wish list: My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood and What You Don't Know by JoAnne Chaney.

Apr 5, 2017, 6:25pm Top

Apr 5, 2017, 9:37pm Top

Hi Charlotte - your garden border looks lovely!

Apr 5, 2017, 11:29pm Top

Your photos remind me that I have some daffodil bulbs to plant- stat! But, it has been raining for two days straight now (there is flooding on the back lawn, and major flooding in towns far from mine with evacuations etc also, so now maybe not a good time!!).

Apr 5, 2017, 11:42pm Top

>28 charl08: Bahahahaha! No wonder some girls thought they could get pregnant just by being in the same pool with a man. Dying. Adding that book to the TBR pile.

Love the garden photos! We aren't doing much gardening this year, just seeing what appears in the yard. So far we have azaleas and some sort of hosta looking thing sending up new shoots. There also may be a hydrangea and there are definitely rhododendrons, but I don't know what color. The rest is a mystery.

Apr 6, 2017, 3:22am Top

>41 EBT1002: >42 EBT1002: Hope those crime novels suit you, Ellen. I was pretty tempted myself!

>43 Copperskye: Thanks! I'm thinking about how I can improve it for next year, and hoping the lavender and lupin will grow to give a bit better coverage. Waiting for the poached egg plants to flower too...

Apr 6, 2017, 3:27am Top

>44 LovingLit: Yup, I'm not so keen on planting in the rain Megan! Hope you get a dry patch soon.

>45 nittnut: Jenn that sounds really exciting, waiting to see what might come up. Our previous neighbour planted lots of spring bulbs so those still come up regularly year on year.

Swell has made me laugh a lot. Very much a light hearted, but deeply felt, history of access to the water as well as her own water story. I do wonder how well it will travel.

Apr 6, 2017, 3:40am Top

Swell: A waterbiography
...the view from under the water is magic. Perception changes; I began to swim in the lido ’s blue, not on it, and it felt like being put right inside a photo. Ahead of you are tiny legs hanging like tights on a washing line, kicking in a wind. The batik patterns of light on the floor break and blur as you pull through them. Other people ’s shadows are the hull of a boat, the body of a sea mammal. Stopping for a moment and dipping half down so your eyeline is flat along the surface of the water, you get the perspective shot they use in films like Piranha, which is perhaps not the best example to invoke. But it ’s an evocative shot, flicking your eyes down to the blue silence that lies beneath you and then up and along the surface. The water does things that feel counterintuitive. The surface bows, the colour is more concentrated at the top, a planetary horizon.

Landreth mixes the personal - her own swimming biography, as a woman who came to swimming after her children were born, evangelism for women's right to swim without body shaming or other limitations, and histories of women's campaigns to get equal access to the water. I knew a little of her material (the bathing boxes seem to be something of a historical cliche) but had no idea seaside towns tried to segregate swimmers, or the links between the suffrage (voting) movement and swimming. Despite the sometimes serious themes - sexism, campaigning and motherhood, humour throughout, so not a dry read at all.

I really enjoyed this book. Recommended if you like swimming, Jacky Fleming, or memoirs exploring feminism and/or women's history.

Apr 6, 2017, 6:21am Top

Excellent review, Charlotte! Thumbed. I'm currently reading Gustav's Sonata. What a sad story, so far.

Apr 6, 2017, 7:27am Top

Howdy, Charlotte! I've just gotten caught up on your last thread and now this one, and thought I'd put my comment here rather than there since everybody but me had moved on. :-)

The comment was that The Great Leveller from the Guardian nonfiction reviews sounds terrifying and fascinating at the same time. I haven't found it available at any of the libraries I frequent, but I'm going to keep looking.

Apr 6, 2017, 8:52am Top

Hi Charlotte, I just got Life and fate from the library. I think I will start it towards the end of this month.

Apr 6, 2017, 9:19am Top

Good review of Swell, Charlotte. I bethumbed it.

Apr 6, 2017, 9:22am Top

Love the comments on Swell, Charlotte. Another one for my list, but who's counting? :)

Apr 6, 2017, 10:50am Top

>50 rosalita: Julia, that's impressive stuff. I think that might be the book that Susan is reading on the Levellers. Interesting topic, although it always makes me think of a rather alternative band that was popular back when I was a kid.

>51 FAMeulstee: Great Anita. I did think about bringing that book with me, but it's such a brick I left it at home. I did have book regret last night as I wished I had brought my kindle proper as the phone charger was out of reach of the bed. Bad Planning on the hotel's part....

>52 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I'd be really interested to hear what non-British readers make of it, as it is a bit Brit-(and maybe even English, now I think of it) centric.

>53 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Me! I'm counting! :-)

Edited: Apr 6, 2017, 5:50pm Top

Now reading Dancing the Death Drill
‘I, Jerry Mogodiri Moloto, want to get this off my chest as soon as possible: I am not about to give you a history lesson. On the contrary, I want to show you how Pitso Motaung or Roelof Jacobus de la Rey, who you know as Jean -Jacques Henri, was an accident of history. He was a complex character, Pitso was. I don’t know why I’m speaking about him in the past tense. Pitso is a complex character. Three names already: Roelof De la Rey, Pitso Motaung and, of course, Jean-Jacques Henri. Complex.’

Apr 7, 2017, 9:50am Top

At the Roald Dahl Museum

Apr 7, 2017, 10:16am Top

>56 charl08: Nice.

Happy Friday, Charlotte.

Edited: Apr 7, 2017, 11:56am Top

It was such a lovely place. My friend's daughters had a great time - story telling, interactive buttons to press and crafty activities to do.

Author inspirations:

And huge chocolate bars...

Apr 7, 2017, 11:55am Top

Serendipity... I just finished a Roald Dahl book, while you were at his museum :-)
He was a great writer, nice there is a place dedicated to him.

Edited: Apr 7, 2017, 11:58am Top

It's in his old village, so a lovely setting. I got a coaster for work with a quote from Matilda's parents. What do you want to go to university for? (!!)

Apr 7, 2017, 11:59am Top

I also loved the Roald Dahl museum when we visited it a number of years ago.

This is where I expect to be by about Thursday:

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Apr 7, 2017, 12:12pm Top

That looks lovely Paul, I'm guessing Yorkshire?

Apr 7, 2017, 12:34pm Top

>62 charl08: Yes it is at Newmillerdam in Wakefield where my brother used to live.

Apr 7, 2017, 12:39pm Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte. Great that you had a good time at the museum.

Apr 7, 2017, 1:29pm Top

>63 PaulCranswick: Really lovely.

>64 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Apr 7, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>48 charl08: - Fabulous review of Swell, Charlotte!

Edited: Apr 7, 2017, 8:54pm Top

Happy newish thread, Charlotte. Swell: A Waterbiography sounds interesting.

I just did a lot of research about the history of sport for my blog. It was very interesting especially where women were concerned. In the early 1880s it was thought that activity was injurious to women's fertility. Even when they were able to participate in sports there were restrictions. Imagine playing tennis in a dress with a bustle and a hat! (Info from Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain written by Judith Flanders who writes those Sam Clair mysteries.)

Apr 8, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>66 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. It's a fun book, hope it finds an audience.

>67 Familyhistorian: There's a long bibliography of books that are tempting me in the back of the book!

Edited: Apr 8, 2017, 3:08pm Top

Had a lovely time in London, including my first ever meetup with the very lovely Susan (and my first ever trip to the Royal Academy to see their Soviet exhibit). I'm still quite surprised that there was revolutionary pottery...

Apr 8, 2017, 3:02pm Top

>69 charl08: Sounds like fun, Charlotte.

Apr 8, 2017, 3:54pm Top

It was really nice. I may also have paid a visit to a bookshop on the way to the train...

Apr 8, 2017, 6:03pm Top

Susan's lovely, isn't she? We had a great time together a few years ago when I was in London for work.

Apr 8, 2017, 6:41pm Top

Oh how lovely! A trip to London and a meet up with Susan. And a book shop! What was your haul :)

Edited: Apr 8, 2017, 7:58pm Top

Oh boy, I wish had been in your pocket in London!
Can your pocket go to V&A museum and the River and Rowing Museum to look at the Beatrix Potter paintings and report back? It is her 150th birthday and they are making a well deserved fuss.

Apr 8, 2017, 9:33pm Top

OK, confess. What did you buy?

Apr 8, 2017, 10:37pm Top

>71 charl08: You are a complete tease. Come on and spill the beans.

Glad but hardly surprised that your meet up with Susan was an enjoyable one. xx

Apr 9, 2017, 12:38am Top

Your visit to London sounds lovely.

"I'm still quite surprised that there was revolutionary pottery..."
Something about that sentence just tickled me.

Edited: Apr 9, 2017, 5:55am Top

>72 katiekrug: She said the same about you Katie. Hope you get to visit again soon.

>73 vancouverdeb: I'll have to post a picture Deborah. It was lovely to be in a different place.

>74 mdoris: LOL. I didn't know there was a Potter exhibit. My gran camped in her field in Sawrey (not just randomly - she volunteered with the guides). Glad she is being commemorated as well as all the Russians.

>75 BLBera: Er, I may have just discovered a new bookshop that promised it has more stock online, including a book I'm after about smuggling books in France. Temptation!

>76 PaulCranswick: It was great to have company for the exhibit, Paul, and to meet Susan. I'll have to photo the stack.

>77 EBT1002: Yes, it does seem odd. Some of the pieces were lovely - I just didn't imagine there would be any market for small figurines of revolutionary women, or a mug with Trotsky's face on...

I finished Unexploded, a book I picked up at Waterstones (just browsing). It was really good, and I'll try and write a proper review later as it deserves it. However, now the weather is beautiful and the garden is calling...

Apr 9, 2017, 8:34am Top

Enjoy your Sunday, Charlotte. I have Unexploded on my shelf. Perhaps I should move it to a pile.

Edited: Apr 9, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Thanks Beth. I valued this a great deal. It had something to say to me about prejudice, which felt useful in these troubling times.

I thought I should post these pictures- of the haul (eta - rather blurry, sorry!)

Field Study - I've loved some of her books, so intrigued by short stories.
A Peirenne - Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman- I don't always like these translations, but really like what the company is trying to do, and the format is so nice to read.
Goodbye to Berlin because it was on the Orange penguin shelf
Sit down and Listen because I buy these if I see them.

Excited to see this ad for a book I enjoyed now a film

Their Finest Hour and a Half

This made me laugh (I didn't buy it)

Apr 9, 2017, 2:40pm Top

Looks like you and Susan had a good time!
I saw The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932 in 1992 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, I think that was a similair exposition. Indeed there was revolutionary everything.

Apr 9, 2017, 3:36pm Top

>81 FAMeulstee: Yes, even satirical abstract ration stamps Anita! One of the oddest bits was linked to Trotsky's downfall- so a scarf with Stalin in the middle and a different leader in each corner in a circle. Except then Trotsky became persona no grata and the person had cut out the circle with his face - but kept the rest of the scarf. Just odd!

Apr 9, 2017, 3:42pm Top

Looking forward to your thoughts on Unexploded, Charlotte.

Happy Sunday!

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 7:39am Top

I was a bit reluctant to pick this up as I feel like I've read quite a few British home front novels. But this one is different, and one of the reasons it's different is that it acknowledges antisemitism existed in UK society in the same way as elsewhere in Europe. Based in Brighton, Macleod introduces an ordinary couple facing the prospect of invasion in 1940. The explosions are figurative and actual, as the town tries to prepare itself for the feared German soldiers landing on the beach, and the couple find that the stress of the war finds cracks in their relationship.
The writing is lovely: evocative, gripping.
People from a tea dance at the Old Ship came out and clung to the railings on the prom, the women pressing their hands against their legs to stop their dresses from blowing high. The German negotiated the waves, carrying his shoes at chest height. On the beach, four bobbies clutched their batons. The seaplane lifted off, its floats skimming the waves.
The onlookers- stray sunbathers, children, old couples and arcade attendants in their jackets and epaulettes - stood transfixed at the green railings of the King's Road, watching the lone enemy struggle against the surf to the shallows and hop painfully over the stones.

Apr 9, 2017, 6:28pm Top

>84 charl08: Onto the wish list it goes. I had not heard of Unexploded before.

I love the little note you found. I couldn't read the signature. ??

Apr 10, 2017, 12:42am Top

Hi Charlotte! Sounds like you had a great time in London with book buying and a meet-up with Susan. Wishing you a great week. : ) And I am Kith because BLBera took Bim. LOL. Let's just stay with Kim or Berly or Kimberly! ; )

Apr 10, 2017, 2:38am Top

>85 EBT1002: I hadn't either Ellen, but I'm going to look for Macleod's other books now.

Maybe better that the signatory remains anonymous? It was in a collected edition of Dorothy Parker.

>86 Berly: Kim, you say? Not Beth?! Huh. ;-)
Hope you're back on form this week. Back to normal for me. I feel like I need a week to recover!

Apr 10, 2017, 4:06am Top

>78 charl08: Ooh, Unexploded just jumped onto the list. It looked good when I read the back of it on Saturday :-) I checked the RA shop online but there's no replica of the Stalin scarf, which is sad :-)

Apr 10, 2017, 7:41am Top

Oh, that's sad about the scarf. Could have been quite the talking point in the office ;-)
I did quite fancy some of the crockery. But not the stuff in the shop...

Apr 10, 2017, 7:45am Top

I was doing so well with my library books, down to 17 - have just looked and 5 are now waiting for me. Hmmm.
Spaceman of Bohemia
Other minds : the octopus and the evolution of intelligent life
The life project : the extraordinary story
The brittle star

Apr 10, 2017, 8:05am Top

I've downloaded a sample of Spaceman of Bohemia to my kindle. Looks quite fun.

Apr 10, 2017, 11:17am Top

I'm glad that you enjoyed the Russian art exhibition at the Royal Academy, Charlotte. Fliss and I will see it on Friday.

Apr 10, 2017, 1:02pm Top

>91 SandDune: I'm looking forward to reading it!

>92 kidzdoc: Definitely worth the exhibition ticket- although a shame they didn't allow photos, I suppose it did mean not having to worry about getting into other people's shots! I was impressed at how busy it was, and tempted by the two other Russian exhibits I saw advertised.

Apr 10, 2017, 2:28pm Top

>78 charl08: - I'll be there sometime the second week of July! Perhaps you'd like to make another visit? :)

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 2:56pm Top

>94 katiekrug: I'd love to - will have to see if I'm allowed time off though, as we have a couple of events around that point.

The Good People
I kept stopping and starting with this one - like her previous book, Kent paints a vivid picture of grim poverty - in this case 19c Irish life, barefoot and barely scraping by on potatoes and paying the rent with milk and butter. It's convincing but incredibly bleak reading, and perhaps because it was more familiar to me than the Icelandic setting of her previous book, I found all the poverty and misery hard going. In telling the story of a grandmother trying to deal with her disabled grandson, she raises all sorts of questions about historical understanding of autism and mental health, and how that related to spiritual understandings (the 'good people' or fairies of the title).
"There are worlds beyond our own that we must share this earth with," Maggie told her. "And there are times when they act on another. Your Mam bears no sin for being swept."

Apr 10, 2017, 3:37pm Top

>95 charl08: Mr SandDune's just finished The Good People. It didn't sound a cheerful read.

Apr 10, 2017, 4:04pm Top

You've been really busy! It all sounds like fun though.

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 5:13pm Top

>96 SandDune: Nope. Beautiful cover though!

>97 ronincats: It was lovely to get away for a bit. Knackered now though!

Now reading The Brittle Star. Haven't read a Western in ages...

Apr 10, 2017, 7:05pm Top

Hi Charlotte - Unexploded is moving up the list. I know what you mean about WWII historical novels; I have to space them or hope there is a novel approach, like Lissa Evans has.

Spaceman of Bohemia is an interesting title...

Seventeen library books? I don't feel so bad now; I was feeling a little greedy because I have 14 out right now. Thanks, Charlotte.

Apr 10, 2017, 7:55pm Top

>84 charl08: I am definitely going to have to see if I can find a copy of that one.

Apr 11, 2017, 12:57am Top

Happy Tuesday, Charlotte. It sounds like you had a great time in London and hooray for the meet-up with Susan.

Apr 11, 2017, 1:42am Top

>99 BLBera: I now have 20 again Beth! Whoops. Something to work on.

I'm hoping to get to the cinema soon to see the film of Lissa Evans' book.

>100 alcottacre: Hope you can, Stasia.

>101 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I did! Hope your week goes well.

Apr 11, 2017, 2:52am Top

>102 charl08: Well, with a long weekend ahead, the week must be going well. From Thursday I'll be off work due to Eastern. We restart next Tuesday.

Apr 11, 2017, 3:18am Top

Yes, that's definitely a plus. Hoping to get my passport sorted and I'll be set for my trip to Sweden next month!

Apr 11, 2017, 4:44am Top

>108 When and where will you be in Sweden?

Edited: Apr 11, 2017, 7:53am Top

>105 Ameise1: Next month Barbara, Stockholm.

Apr 11, 2017, 11:38am Top

Lurking. Or de-lurking. One of those.

Apr 11, 2017, 11:44am Top

Lol, Ellen.

Apr 11, 2017, 12:47pm Top

>106 charl08: Sounds gorgeous. For how long will you stay there?

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 6:18am Top

Less than a week - but hopefully will be enough to get a sense of the place. I already have a couple of library buildings I'd like to check out!

The Brittle Star
I really enjoyed reading this western, the story of a young man whose home is burned down and his mother kidnapped by a gang of Indians (as they are termed in the book), and his attempt to track down his mother. Encompassing lawless Los Angeles, secret societies, pirates (not that kind, Katie and Susan. Sorry.) and the Civil War, this was an ambitious first book but I think she pulled it off.

There's an interview with the author here
"Writing this book may, subconsciously, have been some form of antidote to metropolitan, London life. It does feel as though the wild is calling once more. If life were suddenly to provide the means for me to get on a real horse and ride in the direction of the horizon, any horizon, I would be there like a shot."

Apr 12, 2017, 5:42am Top

>110 charl08: Stockholm is on Hani's radar too, Charlotte. Take plenty of photos!

Apr 12, 2017, 6:30am Top

A trip to Stckholm, exciting, Charlotte, and we will be meeting in London, May is going to be a memorable month :-)

Apr 12, 2017, 6:37am Top

Your trip to Stockholm sounds great fun. Hopefully the weather will be good for you in May.

Apr 12, 2017, 7:25am Top

>110 charl08: I struggle to understand why anyone would write a book about other kinds of pirates when the bodice-ripping kind are right there (with holograms) but nevertheless I have wishlisted the book :-)

Apr 12, 2017, 8:38am Top

>111 PaulCranswick: I'll try and remember. What usually happens is I take loads in one place and forget the rest of the time!

>112 FAMeulstee: Yup Anita, I'm looking forward to it.

>113 lunacat: I hope so to - the friend I am visiting has sent pictures of spring flowers and beautiful sunrises, and I can't say I'm much of a sun worshipper, so hopefully...

>114 susanj67: Well, yes. Apparently this fictional one is based on a real person, so there is that...

I'm starting Other Minds: the octopus and the evolution of intelligent life today, as someone else has already requested it... in other news, Harriet Harman(well, her biography, anyway) has finally arrived in the library.

Apr 12, 2017, 10:08am Top

I leave all the bodice-ripping pirates to Susan. I prefer the bodice-ripping sports stars... ;-)

Apr 12, 2017, 1:43pm Top

>116 katiekrug: Duly noted Katie, duly noted...

Edited: Apr 12, 2017, 4:33pm Top

Forgot to add a new acquisition, picked up at a market I passed when working at a different site yesterday.

Red Plenty is one I've wanted to read for a while, and nice to pick it up after having been to the Russian exhibition last weekend.

Apr 12, 2017, 4:41pm Top

>118 charl08: That one sounds interesting... and YAY the library has a Dutch translation! :-)

Apr 12, 2017, 8:46pm Top

>118 charl08: I love the cover, Charlotte.

You will take pictures in Sweden, correct? Is this for vacation or for work?

Apr 13, 2017, 2:58am Top

>119 FAMeulstee: Glad to hear it Anita. Not sure when I'm going to get to it!

>120 BLBera: It seems I have to make sure that I take pictures! It's a holiday- meeting a friend who is based there for a while. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it!

Apr 13, 2017, 10:39pm Top

Um, yes to photos. And have FUN, Charlotte!!!

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 2:33am Top

Thanks Ellen - I'm looking forward to seeing a new place!

I finished A Lonely Place, a book I picked up because of the lovely penguin cover (ahem). Such a creepy book! Ex fighter pilot moves to California after the war, and meets up with his friend who is now a police detective. Women are being killed by an anonymous attacker...

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 7:04am Top

Now reading First Love, one of the women's prize shortlist. The narrator and her mother have just gone to one of my local cinemas. I love that cinema!

Apr 14, 2017, 7:26am Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte. Only a couple of the shortlist are available in my library. When the longlist came out, I was feeling proud of myself that I had already read three, but none of the ones I've read made the shortlist, so I've got some reading to do.

Apr 14, 2017, 7:29am Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte.

Apr 14, 2017, 7:43am Top

Good Friday, Charlotte! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Apr 14, 2017, 10:59am Top

>125 BLBera: Hi Beth, it certainly wasn't the shortlist I'd have picked! Good luck with getting to those books. I went to my favourite independent bookshop this afternoon and they had all the books on display. I managed to spend a fortune without being any of them though.

>126 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I'm half convinced it's Saturday!

>127 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. You too.

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 11:57am Top

I love a bookshop with free bookmarks.
Maybe Jenn needs this key info to make a decision about going into bookselling?
Or maybe not.

Apr 14, 2017, 12:18pm Top

Thought this was interesting:
"Mammoth Screen have cast David Morrissey to play Inspector Tyador Borlú in BBC2’s adaptation of China Miéville’s mind-bending novel The City & The City, which began filming in Liverpool this week."

Wonder how on earth they'll present the two overlapping cities? (Clue: it's being filmed in Liverpool)

Apr 14, 2017, 1:14pm Top

Just putting a place marker here - got way behind this last week.

Happy Easter!

In garden news, we have hot pink and white azaleas and lots of little pink and purple ground covery things. Also the grass looks to be well populated with teensy violets. The trees around the house are now leafing out and we can identify them as River Birch. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next. :)

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>131 nittnut: Lovely news about the garden. How great to find all those flowers just growing! And I'm a fan of birch, hope to see photos.

Apr 14, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Just a heads up that next Tuesday is World Penguin Day! Wanted to give you time to plan how you will celebrate.

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 4:51pm Top

LOVE the bookmarks.

And what did you buy at the bookstore? You can't just leave it at that.

Edited: Apr 14, 2017, 5:46pm Top

What else, apart from South Africa: the art of a nation you mean? (!!)
I killed Scheherazade: confessions of an angry Arab woman,Penguin Modern Poets Three: Malika Booker, Sharon Olds, Warsan Shire and Rad Women Worldwide - the last for the friend I'm going to visit in Sweden. Although I've just realised it's a silly thing to take to someone who's going to have to get it back on the plane. So I'll have to hold on to it and take something consumable.

Apr 14, 2017, 11:36pm Top

Interesting book by Francis Spufford on the the USSR in the 50s! His latest is about New York in the 1750s or thereabouts, and is up for the Walter Scott historical fiction prize... So it's on my list to read soonish.

Apr 15, 2017, 1:00am Top

Charlotte--Your thread is on fire! I can't keep up. ; ) On the other hand, your challenge is to keep up with your library books. Let's just both do the best we can and have fun. Happy weekend!

Apr 15, 2017, 1:14am Top

Apr 15, 2017, 2:52am Top

>130 charl08: That will be interesting. I'm intrigued to see how they present the two cities. I can't quite see how it could be done!

Apr 15, 2017, 4:22am Top

>129 charl08: Oooh, bookmarks :-) I'm always unreasonably pleased to find a nice one, given that a till receipt will do just as well. It sounds like your trip was successful, Charlotte. The Francis Spufford one looks good too. Quite a change from Golden Hill.

Apr 15, 2017, 4:59am Top

>136 Chatterbox: It's funny Suzanne, I read and liked On Golden Hill but had not realised it was the same author until I got the Russian book home.

>137 Berly: Do my best and have fun? Sounds like a good motto.

>138 EBT1002: Me too Ellen. And having sat about three feet away from the lead actor listening to him speak, it'll be interesting to see what he does with the role.

>139 SandDune: There are certainly plenty of odd places in Liverpool, but I rather suspect camera trickery will be involved!

>140 susanj67: Me too. I'll save the reverse for my next thread. Can you guess what they might be?

And apologies >133 ronincats: I missed you. My head is well and truly up!

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 5:07am Top

From First Love which is odd, but reminds me of Rachel Cusk in that I find her directness compelling.

Considering one's life requires a horribly delicate determination, doesn't it? To get to the truth, to the heart of the trouble. You wake and your dreams disband, in a mid-brain void. At the sink, in the street, other shadows crowd in: dim thugs (they are everywhere) who'd like you never to work anything out.

Apr 15, 2017, 5:06am Top

I sent you a PM. Thanks! I saw First Love at the books store this evening, but it did not appeal to me enough to purchase it. Let me know what you think of it. .Happy Easter Weekend!

Apr 15, 2017, 5:25am Top

Apr 15, 2017, 5:30am Top

>141 charl08: Charlotte, not immediately although with the first one I thought I knew who it *might* be, and googling proved me correct! But not the second.

Apr 15, 2017, 6:37am Top

Hi Charlotte, wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend.

Apr 15, 2017, 7:19am Top

Hi, Charlotte! Hope you are enjoying a lovely Easter weekend and I hope you are enjoying those current reads.

Apr 15, 2017, 8:09am Top

>143 vancouverdeb: I'm not sure I would have bought it either Deborah. Enjoying reading it though. Will try and get to the post office this week. I also have one to send to Mark. (Hi Mark! >147 msf59: Thanks for the wishes !)

>144 DianaNL: And to you Diana.
>145 susanj67: Ha! Thought you might recognise it.

>146 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Love the daffs.

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 8:48am Top

Guardian reviews non-fiction

Hamlet, Globe to Globe by Dominic Dromgoole reviewed by Andrew Dickson
"... a trip to the UN’s Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan in 2015 to play for Syrian refugees, which generated headlines around the world. Elsewhere, it seems to have been as much as the troupe could do to muster a crowd. Dromgoole ruefully notes that a show in Wittenberg, the town of Hamlet’s education, was “rather disappointing”. Another in Gdańsk in Poland...resulted in many spectators leaving at the interval. (Dromgoole blames teething troubles with the theatre.)For all its excitements, the journey must have been a slog, and the book has something of that feel, too."

Triptych: the magic of the Manic Street Preachers
Larissa Wodtke reviewed by Dan Wilcox
"Few albums can withstand a book-length analysis without tedious padding, but The Holy Bible can – which is fortunate, as Triptych includes approaches by three authors: Rhian E Jones looks at its personal and political impact and context; Daniel Lukes at its literary influences; and Larissa Wodtke considers its relationship to memory."

Past Mortems by Carla Valentine reviewed by Wendy Moore
"...as technical curator of the pathology museum at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, Valentine is one of the loudest, liveliest and brashest advocates for confronting our modern day taboo of death."

The Durrells of Corfu by Michael Haag reviewed by Kathryn Hughes
"...a grey postwar Britain greedily devoured the Durrell myth and has been letting the juices run down its chin ever since. Last year’s ITV serial The Durrells, based on My Family and its two sequels, averaged 7 million viewers. The series is returning to our screens again, which must explain the publication of Michael Haag’s pointless book; while his introduction promises “a new and revealing narrative”, it is hard to see what he adds to the well-known story."
Ouch again!

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth reviewed by Ian Jack
"Hope finds very little room in this enjoyable, sometimes annoying and mystical collection of essays. Kingsnorth despises the word’s false promise; it comforts us with a lie, when the truth is that we have created an “all-consuming global industrial system” which is “effectively unstoppable; it will run on until it runs out”. "

The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington by Joanna Moorhead reviewed by Vanessa Thorpe
"...for her many fans Carrington’s imaginative world has the compelling quality of a haunting riddle. These admirers, including Madonna, Björk and Laura Marling, will find Joanna Moorhead’s lively biography a helpful handbook of clues, although it cannot solve all the puzzles of her art."

The Souls of China by Ian Johnson reviewed by Julia Lovell
"...religion has made a striking comeback since intense political repression eased after Mao’s death. A survey carried out in 2005 by one of China’s top universities revealed that almost a third of the population (some 300 million people) subscribe in some way to a faith: mainly Buddhism, Taoism, folk religion or Christianity. But the party remains deeply ambivalent about China’s religious turn. “Traditional values and practices are encouraged as a source of stability and morality,” Johnson writes. “But faith is also feared as an uncontrollable force..."

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 9:08am Top

Guardian reviews fiction

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
"...this is as much a love letter to a cruel but curiously buzzing place as a lament. And the drugs that fuel the city are seen as thrilling as well as damaging."

How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza reviewed by Alice O'Keefe
"It begins with that familiar moment of encounter: Mary, who has recently separated from her partner Mark, arrives home one day from her unsatisfactory job and finds a fox lying in her garden. Laid out in an elegant sprawl, he cuts an imposing figure, his manner seeming to “dispute something. Her right to be here. The supremacy of humans.” The impression is confirmed when he opens one eye, and winks at her; the gesture seems deliberate, and she becomes convinced that she and the fox have a special bond."

The Unaccompanied by Simon Armitage reviewed by Kate Kellaway
""Legion were the items that came tamely to hand: / five stainless steel teaspoons, ten corn-relief plasters, / the Busy Bear pedal-bin liners fragranced with country lavender… "
To be amusing and desolating at once is an art."

Larchfield by Polly Clark reviewed by Ian Sansom
"Polly Clark’s first novel is, at least in part, a fictional account of WH Auden’s time living and working in Helensburgh, Scotland, where he was a schoolmaster at the Larchfield Academy in the early 1930s. The book therefore takes its rightful place – alongside, say, Anthony Burgess’s Nothing Like the Sun (1964, subtitle “A Story of Shakespeare’s Love-Life”) and Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (1998) – on that long, strange, slightly wobbly shelf marked Fictional Lives of the Great Writers."

Lots more at www.guardian.co.uk/books

Apr 15, 2017, 10:05am Top

I may not have to give Ian Sansom's novels (cutesy mysteries) another chance, based solely on that phrase: "that long, strange, slightly wobbly shelf marked Fictional Lives of the Great Writers."

Apr 15, 2017, 10:07am Top

I may have to give Ian Sansom's novels (slightly cutesy mysteries) another chance based solely on that delightful phrase: "that long, strange, slightly wobbly shelf marked Fictional Lives of the Great Writers."

Apr 15, 2017, 11:58am Top

Hi Charlotte - Thanks for posting the reviews. It sounds like the nonfiction ones are taking a beating from reviewers this week.

Larchfield sounds good to me.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 5:38pm Top

>151 Chatterbox: >152 Chatterbox: Leaving your options open Suzanne!? I like
Sansom's county guides: to me they read as an effective pastiche of the 30s. The librarian ones I find harder to enthuse about.

>153 BLBera: Some people do sound quite grumpy. Having read the first few pages of the Hamlet book and given up in a sense that I'd walk away from the author at a party, so why spend several hours with his book, agree with that reviewer.

Apr 15, 2017, 4:29pm Top

>150 charl08: The Blood Miracles is a definite for me having just finished The glorious heresies.

I thought of you the other day when I picked up a used copy of Professor Penguin at The Green Dolphin Bookshop.

Apr 15, 2017, 4:33pm Top

>80 charl08: I have a Rachel Seiffert book on my shelves and a friend has been patiently waiting me to read it so I can tell her what I think of it. But it has been years. I wonder if she will lose hope and forget about me and my ridiculous books lists. ;)

>118 charl08: I love that cover!!! I saw an exhibition of propaganda posters quite a few years back, and it still stays wiht me. I will have to check this book out!!! I may even WL it ;)

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 4:36pm Top

Charlotte, wishing you a very Happy Easter weekend.
This is my all time favourite Easter book!

Edited: Apr 15, 2017, 6:13pm Top

>155 avatiakh: Hmmm. Sounds like it should be required reading for my Penguin Studies course!

>156 LovingLit: Rachel Seiffert is AMAZING Megan. Your friend is being very patient. Please pick up the book! Especially if it is the one about Germany. I love the socialist realist pictures: awful context, but the strong women in the Russian ones are just so different from so much other art. I had to talk about this one for a seminar. It references earlier iconographic traditional style...(at least, I think this is what we talked about.)

>157 mdoris: Thanks Mary! I am enjoying time in the garden, napping and reading (of course).

Edited: Apr 16, 2017, 1:16am Top

Well, I'm finding Other Minds hard work - lots of historical biology. At some point presumably he's going to get to contemporary octopuses (pi?) I'm also a bit confused he's a philosopher...

I've taken a break from First Love and read The Little Shop of Happy Ever After - which is the Bookshop around the corner in the US edition I think. I googled one of the books she mentioned and it didn't turn up, so I'm confused - did she make some of them up? Why? If so, I'm really hoping someone writes the book about bringing up Russian children. That sounds really good!

"Nina was the only one getting off here, feeling odd and crushed and so very far from home. She looked around. There were two narrow streets winding down from the side of the hills that surrounded the town; a little pub, a grey-painted restaurant with scrubbed wooden tables, a small grocer’s shop, a bakery, a tiny post office and a shop selling fishing rods. There wasn’t a single soul to be seen anywhere, nobody on the road. Nina felt nervous. In novels, this usually meant that the next person you met was going to try and kill you and the rest of the community was going to cover it up, or everyone would turn into a werewolf. "

Apr 15, 2017, 8:47pm Top

Thanks for posting some of the Guardian reviews, Charlotte. None of them are particularly calling to me this week, which is unusual....

Apr 15, 2017, 9:38pm Top

Happy Easter, Charlotte and thanks for the Guardian Reviews. None are really calling to me, I feel a need for something quirky and light. That is hard to find!

Apr 16, 2017, 1:57am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Apr 16, 2017, 6:53am Top

>160 EBT1002: Maybe it's good to have a week off? (I've splurged this week, so not really speaking from experience here).

>161 vancouverdeb: The bookshop book (above) was very light - easy gentle reading.

>162 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. How you've having a great day.

Edited: Apr 17, 2017, 3:57am Top

First Love
This reminded me of Outline and Eileen, a similar confessional style, about a woman with relationship and perhaps personal problems. The kind of internal monologue you might not tell close friends. I can't say I find the style comfortable, and I loved Outline but could quite cheerfully have given up on Eileen.

In Riley's novel we are bounced around Neve's none to successful history, in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and finally living in London in a weirdly awful relationship. Beyond having somewhere to live, there seems very little love for Neve, but the blurb assures me that the novel is about questioning love in a relationship. I'm afraid my answer would be that there is not much, and not much to be gained by exploring it in this story beyond prolonging the misery.

Edited: Apr 16, 2017, 8:53am Top

Dancing the Death Drill

This novel is set around a real life tragedy, the sinking of a British troop ship transporting African workers to the front in France. Notoriously the captain who crashed into the troop ship failed to act to rescue those in the water, leading to hundreds of deaths as many men couldn't swim.

The author's account of the night of the sinking, the men's experiences on the ship and working behind the lines (none if the black recruits from South Africa were permitted to bear arms) were compellingly told. Although this is a fascinating piece of history, and I admire the author for writing about it, the book itself didn't work for me. I found there was quite a lot of telling rather than experiencing the history with the characters, in places seeming to want to get as many of the historical detail in, in others to try and move the story along. As some parts were gripping, I'll have a look for his other work and see if it was just the subject that was the problem.

... that the collision and consequent loss of life, loss of the SS Mendi and material damage to SS Darro, were caused by the wrongful act and default of Mr Henry Winchester Stump, the master of SS Darro, in not complying with articles 15 and 16 of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, as to sound signals and speed in a fog, and by his more serious default in failing, without any reasonable cause, to send away a boat or boats to ascertain the extent of the damage to the Mendi, and to render to her, her master, crew and passengers, such assistance as was practicable and necessary, as required by section 422 (1) (a) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The Court suspends his certificate, No. 017169, for 12 months from the date hereof. Dated this 8th day August, 1917.

When Pitso read the last words, a hush fell over his audience. Summer birds called from their perches, a light breeze blew from the sea in Dieppe. Then a siren sounded, and the men got up slowly from their haunches.

Apr 16, 2017, 8:55am Top

>158 charl08: I never thought why I liked many socialist realist posters, Charlotte, but indeed strong women as you don't find elsewhere. After reading Svetlana Alexijevitsj I realised the USSR wasn't that equal to women, but there was more equality then there was over here in the West.

Apr 16, 2017, 9:32am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte!

I LOVE bookshops that have lovely free bookmarks. It's one of the reasons I like ordering from the Book Depository, to be perfectly honest - they have such good ones.

Apr 16, 2017, 9:39am Top

Catching up! Lovely trip, love the posters and pictures of London and books and small lakes and your garden!

Apr 16, 2017, 10:31am Top

>166 FAMeulstee: Of course, not a perfect system - but more opportunities to be scientists, doctors etc.

>167 scaifea: I was so pleased to see these ones, Amber. I'll put them on the top of the next thread (if I can still find them at that point!)

>168 sibyx: You make my thread sound pretty busy Lucy. Congrats on your exciting publishing news.

Apr 17, 2017, 3:42am Top

>123 charl08: Great noir looking cover on A Lonely Place. You got me with that one and my library has it. I only have 12 books out - that must be remedied.

Apr 17, 2017, 3:49am Top

I'm really glad that I did not purchase First Love when I saw it on Friday evening at the bookstore, Charlotte. Thanks for taking one for the team. At least is was blessedly short ( or so it appeared) at the bookstore. Sometimes I have to ask - what are the Bailey's Women Literture Prize judges thinking of? Clearly you and I could fill their places ever so much better! :)

Apr 17, 2017, 4:25am Top

Hapy Monday, Charlotte. I hope you find a Pasolini book but La Dolce Vita is not written by him.

Apr 17, 2017, 5:10am Top

>170 Familyhistorian: The cover is a bit deceptive - I was expecting Marlowe, and got something far creeper!

>171 vancouverdeb: I'd happily read for work Deborah, I don't know about you. I think some people might like the book, but not my taste.

>172 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I posted on your thread. Glad you've got the knowledge to sort me out on this one.

Edited: Apr 17, 2017, 5:13am Top

I've picked up Waterlog again, in the hopes that I can finish it this month for the hobbies non fiction thread. He makes me want to go swim outdoors. But not in a cave, which he also discusses. Not my thing at all.

I've also picked up the very slim on a Chinese Screen, vignettes from the author's time in early twentieth century China. Of course is very dated in terms (coolies, for example) but is amazing to read to compare to modern China.

Apr 17, 2017, 5:53am Top

>173 charl08: I posted on my thread a link to wikipeadia.

Apr 17, 2017, 8:12am Top

Thanks Barbara!

Apr 17, 2017, 11:01am Top

Well, Charlotte, I'll give First Love a pass. I did love Outline, so maybe I'll look for her new one instead.

Have a great week.

Edited: Apr 17, 2017, 11:42am Top

I liked the sequel to Outline Beth. Hope you do too.

I finished On a Chinese Screen, which for a short book manages to leave the reader with a varied picture of China in 1917. From European traders who had lived in China all their lives, to snotty officials, he is very good at the inner contradictions of outwardly professed commitments. The observations on Chinese people are more external - presumably because he couldn't sit down and have a conversation with people because of the language barrier. He is sympathetic to the grinding poverty many people he saw lived with, and positive about what he sees as social equality as opposed to the British class system. There is exoticism here too though, particularly in the discussion of the baby tower and infanticide.

The snobbery here made me laugh.

Apr 17, 2017, 7:23pm Top

>165 charl08: That one looks good! I will have to see if I can drum up a copy.

Apr 18, 2017, 12:59am Top

Nice review of Dancing the Death Drill, Charlotte.

Apr 18, 2017, 1:07am Top

Happy Tuesday, Charlotte.

Apr 18, 2017, 2:35am Top

>179 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. I haven't been able to track down an outside SA publication date.

>180 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl. I want to read more of what Umazi publishes.

>181 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Back to work for me!

Apr 18, 2017, 3:32am Top

Now reading The Idiot (thanks Beth) - joys of a temporary commute.
I wasn’t interested in society or ancient people’s money troubles. I wanted to know what books really meant. That was how my mother and I had always talked about books. “I need you to read this, too,”she would say, handing me, say, a New Yorker story in which an unhappily married man had to get a rabies shot, “so you can tell me what it really means.”She really believed, and taught me to believe, too, that every short story or novel had a central meaning. You could get the meaning or you could miss it completely.

Apr 18, 2017, 3:45am Top

>178 charl08: Somerset Maugham was always an entertaining writer wasn't he? Greetings from a very early morning Jacksonville, Charlotte. xx

Apr 18, 2017, 5:04am Top

>182 charl08: I'm back to work too. The student teachers are teaching and I get some time to do other things.

Apr 18, 2017, 5:50am Top

>184 PaulCranswick: This is only the second of his I've read, but it was fascinating.

>185 Ameise1: I'm first aid training. I drew the short straw!

Apr 18, 2017, 7:34am Top

>186 charl08: Well, I like the first aid training. We've always lots of fun.

Apr 18, 2017, 8:35am Top

Charlotte, I thought you might like this article "How I Slowed the Flood of Library Holds". http://bookriot.com/2017/04/17/how-i-slowed-the-flood-of-library-holds I particularly liked the way that it was such a perfect system...until it too got out of control :-)

Apr 18, 2017, 11:16am Top

>187 Ameise1: Three days feels like a lot of first aid!

>188 susanj67: Thanks Susan. I think half my problem is that I'm not sure I really want them to slow down...

Just reading an article about Elsa Morante, cited by Ferrante as a key influence on her writing. Another writer about whom I've heard nothing! Has anyone else read her?

Apr 18, 2017, 11:22am Top

Thought this was interesting too.

Apr 18, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>189 charl08: Agreed, definitely too much.

Apr 18, 2017, 5:09pm Top

>191 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Today was poisons and allergies and lots and lots of acronyms. Hopefully I will remember some of them.

I am very much enjoying The Idiot (thanks Beth)
Turkish was the only language that could express that there was indeed not much difference between a latrine and Ivan’s paternal aunt, and it was full of Hungarian words, like handcuffs and beard. Compared to Turkish, Ivan wrote, all Western European languages are just “garb.”For weeks, just thinking about that line could make me laugh aloud. Garbi was Turkish for “Western,”related to garip (alone, stranger, strange). But “garb”was also like “garble”and “garbage,”and it was also just weird clothing, and I thought he was right. All those Western languages were garb.

Apr 18, 2017, 7:20pm Top

Isn't it fun, Charlotte? I copied so many quotes.

Apr 18, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>188 susanj67: This is hilarious.

Apr 18, 2017, 9:06pm Top

I must confess that when I saw that you were reading The Idiot, my brain went to the other The Idiot, and I couldn't get the quotes to reconcile with Dostoevsky at all. It probably means I should go to bed soonish Lol.

Three days of first aid training? Oof. Short straw indeed. However, I will be pleased to have you around, should I be in need of first aid.

Hope your week is great.

Apr 19, 2017, 12:12am Top

Three days of first aid training! You should be quite and expert by the end of it all. I'm about 100 pages into Dark Circle by Linda Grant and so far is seems to be pretty light. Perhaps that will change. I was wanting something " light' but this is not that engaging so far. Doing my "Bailey's " reading! ;)

Apr 19, 2017, 1:16am Top

Happy Wednesday, Charlotte. Is it the last day of your first aid cours?

Edited: Apr 19, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>193 BLBera: The stuff about dancing to dance music in the 90s is like someone read my mind. When will this be over?

>194 BLBera: I need to lobby my library for the hold feature.

>195 nittnut: I nearly put ' not that one' after the title... and you wouldn't be saying that if you'd seen my head bandage. The poor guy could see our of one eye, at least.

>196 vancouverdeb: I think it gets darker as time goes on... Today we did various bandages, and treatment for various conditions. Tomorrow we have to do cpr on a dummy...

>197 Ameise1: Not until tomorrow. I will be fully qualified from that point. I hope. If all goes to plan...

Apr 19, 2017, 2:59pm Top

>198 charl08: Good to know I will have TWO qualified first aidérs with me in May ;-)
(Frank has to do a course each year for his work)

Apr 19, 2017, 4:26pm Top

That's very nice of you. I keep reassuring myself that the local medical services are just around the corner from work if there ever was an emergency ...

Apr 19, 2017, 4:29pm Top

Well worth reading in any format, but this new penguin pbk is striking.

Apr 19, 2017, 5:37pm Top

>201 charl08: Oh, that is pretty. My copy was a blue cover with no faces.

Apr 20, 2017, 2:14am Top

>202 BLBera: Luckily (or unluckily) I only saw it on the way out of the bookshop. They have so much tempting stuff.

Apr 20, 2017, 5:38am Top

Hi Charlotte, I started reading Life and fate today.

Apr 20, 2017, 7:14am Top

I'll try and pick it up tonight Anita. It's a big book!

Apr 20, 2017, 7:56am Top

>201 charl08: I already have that one in the Black Hole or I would be adding it again.

Apr 20, 2017, 11:00am Top

It's a short one, but worth the time I think Stasia. But I am an unashamed Habila nut.

Apr 20, 2017, 4:15pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Charlotte. I just came home from a very long work day. Here we have freezing temps which isn't good for the plants.

Apr 21, 2017, 6:00am Top

Thanks Barbara, sorry about your long day.
I've put some beans in the allotment veg garden, but not sure if they will make it - we are anticipating low temps too. Also problems with rabbits.
These are the pampered indoor plants... (there is more than one bean - just not a very good pic!)

Apr 21, 2017, 6:11am Top

>207 charl08: I am not sure I have read anything by Habila at all. Recommendations?

Apr 21, 2017, 6:26am Top

Everything! Everything he's written. But particularly Waiting for an Angel is my favourite - it is part magic realist, part tribute to prison narratives by writers such as Soyinka and wa Thiongo.

Apr 21, 2017, 4:37pm Top

From my course - a free app for your phone, so if anything happens and you need first aid advice you can just look up what to do.


Edited: Apr 22, 2017, 5:25am Top

A new translation of a Dutch classic. A short dark look at business, published in 1933 but still pretty relevant on the idiocies of companies and marketing. Man goes into business in cheese, despite knowing nothing about it, or how to sell it...

Apr 21, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>212 charl08: That is reassuring, I guess ;-)

>213 charl08: Oh, I should get to that one. It has to wait until I finish Life and fate, which is very good so far.

Apr 21, 2017, 8:01pm Top

Oh those rabbits! Overall, it seems to have been a bad year weather wise. I was just commenting to Mary that the produce in my area is not up to much , and it's grown here in B.C. as well as shipped from the USA, Mexico and further abroad. We've had some nice sun lately . Cute little bean shoot!

Apr 21, 2017, 8:50pm Top

>211 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte! I will see if I can locate a copy of that one and go from there.

Edited: Apr 21, 2017, 10:28pm Top

I have been in Beatrix Potter land having read about the reverence for her in the Lake District from the Shepherd book. I have been trying to read all her little books and interested that at my ripe old age I had not read them all. She draws and writes about rabbits in the garden in such a captivating way but I'm sure that you are not at all convinced about this once those critters nibble away your beans.

Apr 22, 2017, 5:43am Top

>214 FAMeulstee: Very easy to use - I have put it on my phone as a reminder.

>215 vancouverdeb: Hope the sunshine continues - after some Warmth it's gone quite cold here, so my beans may be in trouble!

>216 alcottacre: Hope you enjoy him - would love to hear from you when you read it

>217 mdoris: Nope, not a rabbit fan: it remains to be seen what the new fence will do to keep them out of the veg - I suspect not a lot!

Apr 22, 2017, 10:02am Top

I'm not a fan of rabbits either, unless of course, they are in the pages of a book. Have a great weekend Charlotte.

Apr 22, 2017, 1:16pm Top

Thanks Beth! Some fictional rabbits are mean too, don't forget Watership Down...

I (finally) finished Roads to Berlin. I could have done without the various afterwords, added years after the fall of the wall!

Edited: Apr 22, 2017, 1:41pm Top

Guardian Reviews: Fiction

The President’s Gardens by Muhsin al-Ramli reviewed by Robin Yassin-Kassab
"“If every victim had a book, Iraq in its entirety would become a huge library, impossible ever to catalogue.” This novel belongs to Ibrahim, nicknamed “the Fated”, whose life is narrated in the most detail and the discovery of whose head in a banana crate opens and closes the novel in 2006."

Let Go My Hand by Edward Docx reviewed by Alfred Hickling
"features a part-Russian narrator named Louis and his elder twin half-brothers, who drive across Europe to deal with the death of their father: the twist being that Dad isn’t actually dead yet, but intends to be in the very near future. The fact that their final destination is Zurich creates a presentiment as to where this road-trip is ultimately heading."

The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks reviewed by M John Harrison
"“Charming” would seem to be the wrong word to use of such a dark book. Yet this is a fairytale of a sort, and Brooks is clearly interested in the meaning of enchantment. If his post-first world war world – economically stricken and morally bankrupt, stocked with quietly desperate widows unable to forget the dead husbands they barely remember – isn’t quite the one we’ve come to know via Downton Abbey, his Epping Forest is not the one we know either. It sprang up “when the planet was freshly cooked and still cooling” and remains a place of weird possibility, where you can hear “unearthly singers in the deep dark woods” – even if they do turn out to be Scouts."

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly reviewed by Alison Flood
"Kelly is a master at drip-feeding us the details, keeping us guessing about the truth, and the many shades of grey it contains, right until the end."

The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan reviewed by Sylvia Brownrigg
"Morgan proves her nerve by crossing a literary divide between white writers and the black characters they may seek to describe. In a long section, she delves into Allmon’s upbringing in Cincinnati, showing us his mother, Marie, struggling with a chronic illness and inadequate medical care, his mostly absent and feckless Irish father, and other white characters who appear either as scolding coaches or prison wardens."

Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou reviewed by Maya Jaggi
"The eponymous narrator of this picaresque tour-de-force is an inmate at an orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire. Abandoned as an infant, he is christened Moses by the kindly Papa Moupelo, a “pocket-sized” priest in elevator heels from neighbouring Zaire, who is the children’s moral compass... Moses’ childhood is punctuated by loss, and tutored by power..."

Apr 22, 2017, 5:47pm Top

>220 charl08: Why do writers feel the need to add endless afterwords?

Apr 22, 2017, 6:44pm Top

No idea! This one just seemed like he'd written some journalism on Germany after the book was originally published, and added it on.

Finished Waterlog. I did love this book, have added it to my favourites list, and written about it on the nonfiction challenge for April.

Edited: Apr 22, 2017, 7:19pm Top

Thanks for the Guardian Reviews. The Sport of Kings is on the Bailey's short list, but I have a feeling I'm going to get to it.
I'm glad that you loved Waterlog so much. Overcast and rainy today.

Apr 22, 2017, 7:19pm Top

5 star read for Waterlog, that's wonderful! . I must put it to the top of my pile.

Apr 22, 2017, 9:56pm Top

I do want to read The Chibok Girls.

And I have a box of postcards with drawings and sketches by Beatrix Potter. I love her drawings!

Apr 22, 2017, 9:57pm Top

>221 charl08: Last week may have been a week off but every one of those is going on the wish list! Yikes!

Apr 23, 2017, 3:16am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Edited: Apr 23, 2017, 3:28am Top

>224 vancouverdeb: I can't say I was tempted about the topic (horse racing) but the review makes it sound tempting.

>225 mdoris: Its a lovely book. Not much in it about Cumbria though!

>226 EBT1002:>227 Wow, that's quite a few to add Ellen! I feel like I grew up with Potter, but was reading one to a friend's daughter, and was quite surprised by it, as the story was pretty brutal. I should have realised though, as even the famous ones (Peter) hardly hide from death or threat.

I picked up Sister Noon in a charity shop a while back and started reading last night. It's an old book (well, 2001) I suspect reissued because of the success of her later ones. It's set in 19c San Francisco, and I'M leased to say that so far it completely deserved republishing.

Apr 23, 2017, 5:38am Top

You might see anyone in San Francisco on a Saturday night. You could buy stocks or snakes. You could buy a pig or a paste necklace or a paste guaranteed to dissolve warts....Fast Irish women passed slow Spanish men. There were sailors from the ships of every country odd the world and soldiers from the Presidio. There were sweethearts and zealots and labor agitators and mesmerists...
Enjoyable novel that uses newspaper reports of the 19c as a jumping off point to tell a story about a woman working in a children's home who becomes entangled with city gossip when she makes a link with the notorious "house of mystery ".

Apr 23, 2017, 6:37am Top

>221 charl08: Black Moses sounds like a good one, Charlotte.

Have a great Sunday.

Apr 23, 2017, 9:27am Top

>230 charl08: Sounds good, Charlotte.

I was reading "Peter Rabbit" to Scout, and she asked me to stop. She was worried that Farmer MacGregor was going to catch Peter. We'll try again when she's older. :)

Apr 23, 2017, 12:18pm Top

>231 PaulCranswick: I've not done well with Mabanckou in the past Paul, but the review does make it sound tempting.

>232 BLBera: Aw. Glad she can tell you when it's too much, Beth. My gran gave me optional endings to to her stories for that very reason.

Now reading Spaceman of Bohemia, and remembering jaunts to Prague.

Apr 23, 2017, 1:13pm Top

Yes, The Tale of Peter Rabbit definitely looks death head-on.

I always liked the drawing of the white cat sitting by the pond watching the Koi. As a child, I had a white cat named Dewey, so that was particularly appealing to me.

Apr 23, 2017, 7:02pm Top

She is actually really good about telling me what she wants to read and what not. She loves Henry and Mudge books - about a boy and his St. Bernard dog - and in one Henry gets stung by a wasp. For a while she didn't want me to read that story. Yesterday she got stung by a bee at my house, and after we had a cold cloth on the sting and did some cuddling, I asked if she wanted to look at the Henry and Mudge story when he got stung. We did, compared stings and that seemed to help. How cool that my three-year-old can identify with things in books! She is a prodigy -- of course I'm not partial.

Apr 24, 2017, 12:31am Top

Oh, I love Beatrix Potter. But I guess she is somewhat brutal at times.

Last week we were at a nearby public garden, and there was a woman who had brought her pet rabbit to let him enjoy the outdoors. He was cute, and very placid.

Apr 24, 2017, 1:20am Top

Ohh I made an error in my post @ 224 . Like you, the idea of reading about horse racing puts me too sleep. I'm keen on reading The Sport of Kings either, though from reading the reviews, it sounds like more of a " Southern Gothic". I finished The Dark Circle and have yet to compose some thoughts, but overall, other than writing about what it might be like to be confined to a TB sanatorium, and the birth of the NHS , I did not see why it was worth inclusion on the Bailey's list. I thought it a very ordinary novel in many ways.

Next week is your meet up with Anita and Frank and others? So exciting!

Apr 24, 2017, 2:13am Top

>234 EBT1002: There are so many beautiful ones but I loved Mrs Tiggywinkle, Ellen.

>235 BLBera: Of course she is a prodigy Beth. Glad the book helped with the sting.

>236 banjo123: Sounds like a good trip for the bunny Rhonda.

>237 vancouverdeb: I wasn't particularly won over by the Dark Circle either - just didn't grab me.
Not meeting Anita until next month!

Apr 24, 2017, 3:03am Top

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

Edited: Apr 24, 2017, 4:19am Top

Goodness sakes Charlotte, what I meant to say is I am not keen to read about horse racing or horses either! I blame the dog and my husband for trying to get my attention when I'm trying to catch up on LT for my repeated errors in communication. I have no plans to read The Sport of Kings. Happy Monday. *smacks self on the head*

Apr 24, 2017, 8:21am Top

Hi Charlotte, I just finished Life and Fate and want to thank you for mentioning this book, as I hadn't heard of it before I saw it on your thread.

Apr 24, 2017, 8:55am Top

>239 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Monday will soon be over, right?

>240 vancouverdeb: Lol Deborah. No need to do any smacking of any kind.

>241 FAMeulstee: I'm glad you liked it. Now I have to finish my copy!

Edited: Apr 24, 2017, 9:09am Top

Spaceman of Bohemia

Kurak: Do you consider Jakub an idealist?
Lenka P: Jesus Christ, what a question. He’s flying a spaceship to nowhere. What else would you call a man who does such a thing?

Jakub is the Czech Republic’s first space explorer, as the small Eastern European state takes advantage of a new kind of space dust appearing 8 months away from earth. A scientist, a specialist in kinds of spacedust, he grabs the opportunity, but as the reader learns from flashbacks to his childhood and his marriage, his choices come from a desire to make reparations for his father’s political acts under communism. His decision to become an astronaut will have consequences for his relationship with his wife:
I’m no Penelope. I don’t want to wait around for a hero’s return. I don’t want the life of a woman in epic poetry, looking pretty as I stand on shore and scan the horizon for his ship once he’s finished conquering. Perhaps I sound awful. But what about my life, my hopes for myself?
Jakub’s exploration finds far less, and far more than he anticipated, not least a hero of space exploration history:
I was awake, and this was real. It was her, the outcast of Moscow, the first living heroine of spaceflight, a street bandit transformed into a nation’s pride.
It was Laika the dog. Her body preserved by the kindness of the vacuum….Earth could provide her with no further honors, while the cosmos gave her immortality.

It’s a fascinating read, although I’m not sure I’d go so far as some of the blurbers - for me it lost track towards the end. For a first novel it’s beyond ambitious - I’ll look for his next book.

Roads to Berlin

A man receives a grant to work in Berlin, a man wants to write a book, a man is overtaken by events and suddenly finds himself at the centre of a vortex…

History becomes visible at moments of great upheaval, and there have been plenty of those. Travelling and reading in this part of Germany have convinced me, more than ever, of the idea of history as a continuum, with lines branching out, bifurcating, a permanently tangled web of cause, coincidence and intention...

I felt like I needed to say a bit more about this book - I remember the wall falling (it was reported on a children's news programme), but remember being shocked teaching students who were born after it fell, and knew little or nothing about it. This book is a series of essays Nooteboom wrote when he was in Germany as the wall fell and Germany was pieced together again. I hadn't realised many of the challenges of that process, or the ways in which both sides had to adjust, although I should have done having read Stasiland and a couple of other books about this period. For me, I could have done without the essays added at the end, years later, updating the author's feelings about the state. In many cases they were clearly (and identified as) pieces of writing for other purposes, and sometimes with repetition, others without resolution to his question (what did happen next?) For me, he was a rather windy author - lots of references to authors or political figures I'd not heard of, with no allowance made for that gap in knowledge. The kind of book that if you were keen enough on the area you would read with a pencil and notebook (I wasn't).
The Bookseller from the East
I don't need to tell you all the things that weren’t allowed. But there were also loads of things that were allowed… And now everything’s allowed, but nothing’s possible, because my shop’s been bought up by a chain. Everything I know, everything I’ve learned, it’s all become useless. You don’t need to have read Updike or Goethe to sell books about sex or travel guides.

Edited: Apr 24, 2017, 9:07am Top

Now reading Friday the Rabbi Slept Late. For which I'd like to thank / blame Barbara. (!)

Apr 24, 2017, 10:19am Top

>244 charl08: Enjoy it, Charlotte. I've finished the second one yesterday. Now I have to wait until next week when I make another trip to this branch of my library.

Apr 24, 2017, 10:28am Top

>3 charl08: WOW! Last year you read over 300 books. How awesome! I'm not reading as much this year so far as other years. I hope to catch up. Congratulations on all the books you have read.

Apr 24, 2017, 1:02pm Top

>245 Ameise1: It's a nice gentle read Barbara, thanks for the recommendation.

>246 Whisper1: Not doing so well this year though! Thanks for the nice thought.

Apr 24, 2017, 3:02pm Top

Ooh, I'm feeling a bit sad. One of the guys from the refugee group has left the area for shinier places. I'm happy he got his leave to remain (of course), but he is such a kind guy (he acts as kind of a surrogate dad to some of the younger guys), he will be missed.

Edited: Apr 24, 2017, 5:06pm Top

Lovely storytelling for a late night read.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero which my library got in record time, BAG as Mark would say...


Apr 25, 2017, 1:07am Top

Happy Tuesday, Charlotte.

Apr 25, 2017, 1:57am Top

Thanks Barbara! Time for a new thread.

Edited: Apr 25, 2017, 3:33pm Top

>238 charl08: I love the picture of Mrs. Tigglewinkle. I just read the book last week so the memory is fresh as I was on a read B.P. mission! She is a lovely prickly little animal/ person and irons those hankies and pinafores perfectly. She reminded me of Bettina in the John S. Goodall book Shrewbettina's birthday. I think John Goodall is the very best too. His books are wordless half page to flip stories if you don't know about him.

Edited: Apr 25, 2017, 12:47pm Top

Thought you might like this recent NYer mag one.

Apr 26, 2017, 7:34am Top

Uneasy lies the head that wears the penguin cracks me up. I'm not even sure *why*! the children's book illustrations are also beautiful.

Edited: Apr 27, 2017, 5:52pm Top

I know I loved it too and not sure why.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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