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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 6

This is a continuation of the topic SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 5.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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May 13, 4:42pm Top

Hello, and welcome to my sixth thread for 2017.

I'm Susan, a Kiwi living in London for the past 22 years. During the working week I'm a lawyer so I love nerdy legal stuff, which crops up in more books than you might expect.

Over the past few years I've started to read a lot more non-fiction, so my reading is now more non-fiction than fiction. I typically aim for 150 books, with a 100 NF/50 F split, although this year isn't working out quite like that. While I read mostly from the library, I do have a fair few books that I've bought (mostly for the Kindle) and I need to keep my eye on those so that I actually read them instead of just accumulating them. This year I want to read at least 50 books from Mount TBR (which counts as anything I own) so I'm adding a ticker for that too.

Edited: Yesterday, 4:13am Top

Books read during 2017

By Dick Mudde - Own work, Public Domain, Link


1. The Trials of the King of Hampshire by Elizabeth Foyster
2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
3. Make Me by Lee Child
4. The Bible: The Biography by Karen Armstrong
5. Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery
6. Until We Touch by Susan Mallery
7. Night School by Lee Child
8. Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins
9. Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
10. The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
11. Defiance: The Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard by Stephen Taylor
12. The Last Grain Race by Eric Newby
13. The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
14. Hold Me by Susan Mallery
15. Kiss Me by Susan Mallery
16. Thrill Me by Susan Mallery
17. Toast by Nigel Slater
18. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
19. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
20. Hell's Bottom, Colorado by Laura Pritchett
21. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
22. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
23. Looking for Alaska by John Green


24. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
25. The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
26. The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown
27. The Riviera Set by Mary S Lovell
28. Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
29. The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury
30. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
31. Evicted by Matthew Desmond
32. China's Disruptors by Edward Tse
33. Oil on Water by Helon Habila
34. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
35. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
36. The Unwinding by George Packer


37. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
38. The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker
39. The Templar Legacy
40. Waves of Prosperity: Indian, China and the West: How Global Trade Transformed the World
41. Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb
42. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
43. How to Survive a Plague by David France
44. Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
45. The Mighty Dead by Adam Nicolson
46. The House At Sea's End by Elly Griffiths
47. A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
48. The Life Project by Helen Pearson
49. You May Also Like by Tom Vanderbilt
50. Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge


51. The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
52. The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
53. The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang
54. Hit Makers by Derek Thompson
55. The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey
56. The Windflower by Laura London
57. An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie
58. The Leveller Revolution by John Rees
59. The Death of an Owl by Paul Torday
60. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
61. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham
62. Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara
63. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
64. The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
65. Vicious Circle by C J Box


66. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
67. Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
68. The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland
68.5 Midnight at Tiffany's by Sarah Morgan
69. The Doctor's Engagement by Sarah Morgan
70. Mail Men by Adrian Addison
71. Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
72. Good As You by Paul Flynn
73. Fully Connected by Julia Hobsbawm
74. Irresistible by Adam Alter
75. The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie Engish

May 13, 4:44pm Top

Last year I started a new NF challenge, which is to read the non-fiction winners of the Pulitzer prize. I stole this idea from Reba, who is doing a fiction challenge. Hi Reba! This is a long-term project, rather than something to be completed in a year or two. If I can't find the relevant non-fiction winner easily in the UK, I propose to substitute the winner of the history category.

Last year I read about eight books from the list. This year I'd like to do the same, but I have five already and I'll focus on those.

Here's the full list:

2017 Evicted by Matthew Desmond
2016 Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick
2015 The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
2014 Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin
2013 Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
2012 The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
2011 The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
2010 The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman

2009 Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A Blackmon
2008 The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer
2007 The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
2006 Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins
2005 Ghost Wars by Steve Coll
2004 Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
2003 A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
2002 Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter
2001 Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P Bix
2000 Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

1999 Annals of the Former World by John McPhee
1998 Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
1997 Ashes To Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, The Public Health, And The Unabashed Triumph Of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger
1996 The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism by Tina Rosenberg
1995 The Beak Of The Finch: A Story Of Evolution In Our Time by Jonathan Weiner
1994 Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days Of The Soviet Empire by David Remnick
1993 Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills
1992 The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin
1991 The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O Wilson
1990 And Their Children After Them by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson

1989 A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan
1988 The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
1987 Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David K Shipler
1986 Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by J Anthony Lukas
1986 Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White by Joseph Lelyveld
1985 The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two by Studs Terkel
1984 The Social Transformation Of American Medicine by Paul Starr
1983 Is There No Place On Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan
1982 The Soul of A New Machine by Tracy Kidder
1981 Fin-De Siecle Vienna: Politics And Culture by Carl E Schorske
1980 Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter

1979 On Human Nature by Edward O Wilson
1978 The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
1977 Beautiful Swimmers by William W Warner
1976 Why Survive? Being Old In America by Robert N Butler
1975 Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
1974 The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
1973 Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam by Frances Fitzgerald
1973 Children of Crisis, Vols. II and III by Robert Coles
1972 Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 by Barbara W Tuchman
1971 The Rising Sun by John Toland
1970 Gandhi's Truth by Erik H Erikson

1969 The Armies Of The Night by Norman Mailer
1969 So Human An Animal by Rene Jules Dubos
1968 Rousseau And Revolution, The Tenth And Concluding Volume Of The Story Of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant
1967 The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture by David Brion Davis
1966 Wandering Through Winter by Edwin Way Teale
1965 O Strange New World by Howard Mumford Jones
1964 Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
1963 The Guns of August by Barbara W Tuchman
1962 The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H White

May 13, 4:45pm Top

There are all sorts of reading challenges around (quite apart from LT) and I thought I'd have a go at the Better World Books challenge, which is as follows (with some thoughts for books in each category where I have thoughts. Or books):

A food memoir Toast by Nigel Slater COMPLETED
A young adult novel Looking for Alaska by John Green COMPLETED
A National Book Award Winner The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead COMPLETED
A book under 200 pages Hell's Bottom, Colorado by Laura Pritchett COMPLETED
A book by a female writer The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf COMPLETED
A book set in Asia China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan COMPLETED
A book translated from another language Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg COMPLETED
A fantasy novel Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb COMPLETED
A book that’s more than 100 years old Bleak House COMPLETED
A book about immigrants The Wangs vs the World COMPLETED
A romance that takes place during travel The Windflower by Laura London COMPLETED
A book set in a place you want to visit An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie COMPLETED
A book you picked based on its cover The Leveller Revolution by John Rees COMPLETED

Still to go:

A collection of short stories
The First Person by Ali Smith (a gift that I haven't read, not really being a short story person)

A book with a color in the title
If "Fiery" is a colour, then The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

A book based on a fairytale
Snow White by Matt Phelan

A book that takes place in a forest

A book over 400 pages
Catherine the Great & Potemkin by Simon Sebag Montefiore

A banned book
1984 by George Orwell

A nonfiction book about nature
Weatherland by Alexandra Harris - another gift that I haven't quite got to

A book by a person of color
The Pillow Book

A book of poetry
Poem for the Day, which I didn't quite keep up with last year.

A book about a historical event
Hitler's Beneficiaries by Gotz Ali

A book with a child narrator

A book that’s been adapted into a movie
The Life of Pi

Edited: Today, 3:57am Top

Other projects for 2017

The Pulitzer challenge has no end date, but for 2017 I want to read Boswell's Life of Johnson which I have in a slightly different (i.e. cheaper) version than this handsome Penguin Classic. But it's the unabridged version, so yay.


1. BBC 3: Breaking Free: Martin Luther's Revolution. Reformation 500 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p052bmk9
2. BBC Radio 4: The Battle of Lincoln 1217 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njv60
3. BBC Radio 4: 1816, The Year Without a Summer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b077j4yv
4. BBC Radio 4: Le Morte d'Arthur http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pp989
5. BBC Radio 4: The Epic of Gilgamesh http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080wbrq

Edited: May 13, 4:57pm Top

May 13, 4:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

May 13, 4:52pm Top

71. Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

In this entertaining book, the author discusses many of the things that we take for granted today which were developed because they were fun, amusing or different, rather than absolutely necessary. Spices, for example. Or the colour purple. The cinema. Computers (made for gaming as well as complex calculations, and who among us would have one if they were just for calculations?) He argues that the pursuit of things like spices, purple (from sea snails) and the once newfangled cotton led to the development of the modern world for good and bad - voyages of discovery and all the technology that those required, slavery in the US and so on. While the official history of things tends to emphasise all the worthy reasons they were developed, he says that we can't overlook play as another powerful motivator. Highly recommended.

May 13, 4:54pm Top

>7 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

May 13, 5:50pm Top

Happy new thread from me too. I note you've already read 71 books...and you walk thousands of steps each day...and you have a demanding job...how do you do all of that?!?

May 13, 6:34pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

May 13, 8:57pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. Well past 1,000 posts on your thread this year already. x

May 13, 10:35pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 13, 11:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan.

May 14, 2:38am Top

Happy new thread!! I have several of the NF Pulitzers in the TBR stacks; they should be good ones if I ever get to them...

May 14, 4:31am Top

Happy new thread Susan. >8 susanj67: looks good to me.

Lovely sunshine here, time for me to transplant some tomatoes:-)

May 14, 10:30am Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

May 14, 10:33am Top

Happy new thread!
>16 charl08: that's next weekend's job. I've mowed the lawn and have a load of post holiday laundry drying in the nice weather!

May 14, 12:02pm Top

>10 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the steps have taken a hit. Apart from special efforts like last weekend, I just can't sustain 10,000 per day and get anything else done.

>11 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

>12 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I'm trying to overtake Amber :-)

>13 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>14 BLBera: Thanks Beth :-)

>15 Berly: Thanks Kim. I love the threads!

>16 charl08: Charlotte, I hope the transplanting went well. It's lovely down here too. I went to the supermarket in just a short-sleeved t-shirt and light cardigan. No coat of any kind!

>17 scaifea: Thanks Amber :-)

>18 Helenliz: Helen, I've also taken advantage of the good drying weather!

Continuing the magazine discussion from my last thread, I had a look at Tesco's magazine selection this morning, and it is very good. I saw four magazines dedicated solely to carp fishing, which I was surprised to learn is still actually a thing (I've always associated carp with abbey fishponds, and assumed carp were rare, if they were still around at all. Maybe they *are* rare, and that's why people need four magazines to catch them). One was called Total Carp, which was snork-worthy. There may, however, be a gap in the market for Holy Carp. (Hi Katie!). I bought:

Focus, which is the BBC's science and technology magazine http://www.sciencefocus.com/issue/anything-good-you-any-more which comes (at least at Tesco) bundled with a magazine called "The Theory of Everything", which I see really *is* worth £9.99

History Revealed http://www.historyrevealed.com/history-revealed/current-issue, another BBC magazine, which comes bundled as a Tesco special with "Hollywood Histories Revealed" https://www.buysubscriptions.com/special-editions/hollywood-histories-revealed


All About History, https://www.historyanswers.co.uk/ because...

How could I resist?

I'll see which ones look best to subscribe to, with the BBC History magazine I bought last week and their World Histories too.

Before that, I was gazing dispiritedly at the ironing, and decided to try a podcast while I did it. I looked at the History magazine I've been reading on the bus, and looked up the podcast referred to in the article about the Reformation, which was excellent: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p052bmk9 Then I listened to the one on the Battle of Lincoln, which also features in the magazine. It was Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time, on Radio 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njv60 . At the end I scrolled down the rest of the page and noticed a "recommended reading" section which had *seven* good books in it. And a link to the top ten "In Our Time" podcasts, as voted for by listeners. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/wvSdFMv6yP0m6W5J8xyhBh/the-in-our-time-...

Now I just need many hundreds more minutes, and a quiet room. I can't hear well enough to listen to them while I'm out in the noisy world, although I can see that a person with better hearing and a long commute would never lack for entertainment again, even if they couldn't read. The good news is that, as well as learning, I have ironed *all the things*.

Edited: May 14, 6:45pm Top

Who looks at their iron like this?

Nope. For me, it's more like this...

Glad you got it done. : )

May 14, 9:39pm Top

Carp are a common trash fish in US rivers, ponds and lakes, Susan--rather more common than desired! Funny to think the situation is so different over there. I can't imagine magazines about them...

Happy New Thread!

May 15, 4:11am Top

>20 Berly: Kim, I'm going to assume that the first picture is from an ad for the iron! I have never looked at my iron like that. I'm more like the second picture :-) But it is lovely to have a whole row of nicely ironed things to choose from, instead of having to iron something every morning. I am bad with ironing and paperwork filing.

>21 ronincats: Roni, I've just looked up carp on Wikipedia, and it seems that:


"Attitudes to carp as a recreation or sport fish vary around the world.

In Europe, even when not fished for food, they are eagerly sought by anglers, being considered highly prized coarse fish that are difficult to hook. The UK has a thriving carp angling market. It is the fastest-growing angling market in the UK.

In the United States, the carp is also classified as a rough fish as well as damaging naturalized exotic species but with sporting qualities. Many states' departments of natural resources are beginning to view the carp as an angling fish instead of a maligned pest. Groups such as the Carp Anglers Group and American Carp Societypromote the sport and work with fisheries departments to organize events to introduce and expose others to the unique opportunity the carp offers freshwater anglers."



And they list *five* UK carp-related magazines, but none for the US. Maybe if the US had some magazines, there wouldn't be so many carp :-) Hey, there's a business opportunity for someone!

I was going to try a podcast on the bus this morning, just to see if I could hear anything, but the bus tracker said 23 minutes till the next bus and, while I was fairly sure that was wrong, I got the tube anyway. I definitely can't hear anything on the tube.

The roomie arrived at 8.59, which is about three hours earlier than usual. She hurried off to a 9am meeting, muttering about partners who like early starts. Then she came back, because apparently the partner isn't here. "And you got here a whole minute early!" I said. "I know, right?" she said. I'm never entirely sure how seriously to take her :-)

May 15, 7:55am Top

Library confession time: I took back Wonderland and noticed The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu on the new books shelf, so I got that. And also Los Alamos, a thriller. Just because. Well actually because I read a lot about Los Alamos in one of my Pulitzer books last year, so the title jumped out at me.

May 15, 8:07am Top

Bah humbug. No Timbuktu book in my library :-(

May 15, 8:14am Top

>23 susanj67: Amazingly mine has it as an ebook too, and I was #4 in the queue, so I've cancelled that now. It's very new, though. Yours might get it. I tried to get The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu a while ago after someone read it, but it wasn't where the catalogue promised it would be. I reserved that Barbara The Slut book, btw :-)

May 15, 6:34pm Top

Hi Susan - I am of the iron-as-needed philosophy. However, when I'm doing my spring cleaning, anything that has been on the ironing board for a year gets sent to Good Will.

The Book Smugglers looks good. I'll watch for your comments.

Happy Monday.

May 16, 2:05am Top

>25 susanj67: Well, be prepared for plenty straight talking with Barbara and the other protagonists!

>26 BLBera: I really need to spring clean my wardrobe. Not so much the ironing as the clothes I like but never wear...

May 16, 4:11am Top

>26 BLBera: Beth, at least you have a system :-) I'm looking forward to The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu and I hope to get to it soon.

>27 charl08: Charlotte, I'll bear that in mind!

72. Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride: 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn

Described as "The definitive pop-cultural history of British gay men", this is a good read, but probably one for people who live in the UK, as I doubt a lot of the pop culture written about was available in the US or elsewhere, unless you live in a country that got a lot of UK music and soaps, because they feature heavily. Coming from New Zealand, I got all the music references and the tracing of gay characters in television programmes which pre-dated my arrival in the UK. Then I came to live here, so I'm familiar with the rest of it. It is a *tiny* bit spooky to see a book classified as "history" when all of the events in it have taken place during your lifetime, but, as someone who gets offered seats on the train now (yup - still not over that) I'll let that go.

The author is a couple of years younger than I am, so it starts when he is 12, and hears "Smalltown Boy" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" for the first time (not on the BBC, which immediately banned it). Who could forget "Relax", in particular? I bought a Frankie Goes to Hollywood tape cassette and I remember having to tape over the end of one side with silence, because there was a lot of swearing in a sort of coda at the end, and I couldn't risk my parents hearing it. There's lots about pop culture, but also quite a bit about the legal changes that were going on at the same time, ending with the equal-marriage legislation being passed by Parliament. The author interviews a lot of interesting people, including Chris Smith, the first openly gay cabinet minister, and some "gay icons", including Kylie Minogue. There's also a lovely interview at the end with David Furnish, who is Sir Elton John's husband. It *is* pretty amazing to look back over just thirty years and to see how much things have changed. And I'm tempted to get Frankie Goes to Hollywood on CD...

May 16, 8:17am Top

Book Riot's list for today - 100 must-read books by international romance authors.
http://bookriot.com/2017/05/16/100-must-read-books-by-international-romance-auth... It's funny seeing UK authors on the list, but I suppose they are "international" compared to the US. I will have to try some. A quick glance doesn't show up any pirates, but a person can hope.

Last night on the bus I tried another podcast, which I could hear most of until we got to the cobbled streets where I live, and then it was hopeless so I finished it off at home (also it was 40+ minutes long and the bus takes 15). It was "1816, The Year Without a Summer" http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b077j4yv. This morning, continuing with my BBC History magazine, I read about Elizabeth Fry (no associated podcast - whew!) and then the bombing of Guernica, which served only to confirm that the Spanish Civil War should stay in my too-hard basket, and an article about King Arthur and whether there actually was such a person (probably not, was the conclusion). It ties in with the film which is out here now, but they only had a tiny picture of Charlie Hunnam, so I'm not sure why they bothered. I mean really. There's a podcast on Le Morte d'Arthur, which I will get to. Next up is the book reviews section. Oh dear. Based on the covers and a quick skim, I want:

The Greedy Queen by Annie Gray (no touchstone)
The Prince Who Would be King by Sarah Fraser
The Earth is Weeping by Pater Cozzens

I've already read The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker and This Orient Isle.

And there's a TV and radio section too.

May 17, 4:10am Top

Last night I listened to the Le Morte d'Arthur podcast, which is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pp989 I'm listing all these in post 5, so I can keep track of them. It was excellent, although I have now downloaded volume 1 of the book, because I need more books. The bus was a bit of a challenge as a girl from work was on it with her toddler, who has yet to perfect his inside voice, but I did what I could, and finished it at home. UK BBC-lovers, you can now sign in on the iPlayer and it remembers where you are across all your devices (allegedly - it didn't work with the podcast but maybe it works with TV). It's going to become compulsory soon, but they're rolling it out on a voluntary basis at the moment. I might have to find some things to follow. Ooh. I really want my new phone, because everything will work better on it (I am convinced) but there's still no sign of it. The roll-out is supposed to finish by the end of June but no-one I know has got theirs, which is vexing. It is just cruel to dangle shiny new things in front of people and then make them wait :-)

I read about half of Julia Hobsbawm's book Fully Connected last night, which about how busy we all are with FOMO etc, and trying to do All The Things and, while it doesn't apply to my life in terms of people to meet and places to go, it certainly does in respect of things to read/watch/listen to. I remember when I was a kid actually being *bored*. Ha! The olden days.

May 18, 1:44am Top

Hope the shiny new phone turns up soon Susan. I am a bit miffed with the whole sign in thing, as it all seems so unnecessary - everything was working fine before! (who moved my cheese, etc)
I always forget what FOMO stands for, which probably means I should be doing more, right? Ack. Back to the job application.

May 18, 4:14am Top

>31 charl08: Charlotte, FOMO = Fear of Missing Out :-) I passed the smartphone refresh point yesterday, and was tempted to knock on the door to see if anyone was in there, but I managed not to.

73. Fully Connected by Julia Hobsbawm

This is about "Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload", but it's a tedious read which is all over the place, with random case studies and general annoyance. It is at least short. The author advocates for better Social Health, but I'm still not sure what that is. Maybe people not emailing at 11pm and expecting an answer (or, if I'm honest, saying something *so wrong* that I can't leave it uncorrected till morning). It's all very woo-woo, and fairly pointless. Also a lot of it struck me as pat points that could be made by middle-aged people with famous surnames and good contacts, but of relatively little use to young people who find themselves stuck in the "gig" economy, when all they want is a desk and a monthly pay slip and paid sick leave and holidays. And an IT department. But that could just be me. Don't bother with this one.

This morning I started the "History Revealed" magazine on the bus. It's another BBC publication, but very different to "History". It is incredibly picture-heavy, with lots of boxes of text all over the place, whereas I tend to like starting at the beginning and reading to the end of something, with maybe a box of interesting points at the side. I am orderly like that :-) I don't think it's one I'll continue with, but it's interesting enough. I just like a bit more depth than a box with a fact in it. I wonder whether it's aimed at the "bite-sized" market for information that we see on Facebook and other social media. But I haven't got to the main feature (Richard III) yet, so maybe I shouldn't judge until then.

May 18, 7:45am Top

>32 susanj67: Oh yeah, I move past that into RIMO (Relief I'm...). Unless it's books. I opened the history magazine last night for a quick skim and had to close it again quickly. Too many books.
Also, the editor looks about ten.

And I want to go to the Jaipur literary festival. Are you free to attend the one in about three years time?(!)

May 18, 8:52am Top

>33 charl08: Charlotte, having finished "History" I thought that I could put it in the paper recycling, but then I thought I should go through it one more time for book advertisements. It's like a sickness. Interestingly, History Revealed doesn't have links to podcasts or other learned BBC content. I found this press release for the launch, which is interesting:


Immediate Media Co, the special interest content and platform company, announces that it is to launch History Revealed, a brand new exciting and action-packed magazine that will bring the past to life for everyone.

Appealing to a wide audience aged 15 – 50+; each issue will explore one of the big stories from history – from ancient Rome to the First World War – telling readers everything they need to know about the subject. Every issue will also feature a mix of quality features with a strong story-telling element, stunning images, infographics, Q&As, plus fun historical facts and trivia. Debuting on the newsstand on 27 February 2014, the print edition will be priced at just £1 for the launch issue and £3.99 thereafter.

Dave Musgrove, Publisher, commented: “History has been a strong sector for magazines recently, and the forthcoming swathe of anniversaries this year (World War One, Bannockburn, the fall of the Berlin Wall) means that interest in the past will pick up apace. Coupled with our existing knowledge and expertise of this subject, we believe the timing is right and there is space in the market for a new history magazine.”

Paul McGuinness, Editor, added: “Here at ‘History Revealed’, we love a good story – and that’s what has driven us to produce a new kind of history magazine, one packed with characters, colour and adventure. We leave the analysis to others and concentrate on the stories and pictures that really bring the past to life.”


Hmmm. I don't want to use the word "comic", but there are similarities...

Did you mean the festival in Jaipur (surely the ultimate LT meet-up) or the one in London? :-) The roomie told me I could go to India because there's a fancy train for people worried about e.g. drinking the water and it goes all over the country to all the good sights, and the food and drink is safe. But still...

May 18, 9:41am Top

More history books:


I'm intrigued by Sleep in Early Modern England. I'll be even more intrigued if the price drops from the near-£20 it is at present, or the library gets it :-)

May 18, 12:16pm Top

Hi Susan - Great lists, podcasts, etc. I can't keep up with you.

May 19, 1:19pm Top

>36 BLBera: Beth, I am struggling myself. And I just bought some new earphones but can't get the packet open without scissors, so here I sit on the bus, podcastless. Heh :-)

May 19, 2:02pm Top

I had to abandon the bus in the end, as it just sat in traffic. So I got in some extra steps. And when I got home, my Civil Wars bookazine was waiting, and it looks like a great read. Not for this weekend, though...

May 20, 11:24am Top

The Jaipur festival in India sounds like fun to me. Thw haitory magazine certainly makes it sound tempting! I'd love to travel by train as well, although not sure funds would stretch to a fancy one! Hoping to get to Edinburgh this summer for their book festival, which is likely to be fun but less adventurous than Jaipur.
I've not been to it in years, so hoping for good things.

Edited: Yesterday, 4:10am Top

>39 charl08: Charlotte, when I win the EuroMillions tomorrow (£99 million!) I will charter the train and invite everyone. The roomie's mother moderated a session there one year, and apparently it's lots of fun. Edinburgh sounds good - I didn't realise they had a book festival as well as the "Edinburgh Festival", unless it's part of the same thing...

74. Irresistible: Why We Can't Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching by Adam Alter

Heh :-) This is an excellent read. While LT may be less addictive than Facebook or Instagram with their endless "likes", don't we all just love it when someone posts on our threads? Yes we do. And might we, say, refresh over and over just to, you know, keep an eye on things? Hmmm. The author looks at how popular technology (gaming, social media etc) hooks us and just won't let us go. While addictions to substances have made the news for centuries, this behavioural addiction is a newer thing, and harder to wean ourselves off. If someone gives up alcohol, they don't go to the pub. But most of us can't just stop looking at email, because it's part of our job. The author doesn't really have many suggestions for grown-ups (but perhaps being aware of what's going on gives us some power to resist), although there are some good tips for parents who face their kids just staring at screens for hours and hours. The most chilling statistic in the book:

"In 2000, Microsoft Canada reported that the average human had an attention span of twelve seconds; by 2013 that number had fallen to eight seconds.(According to Microsoft, a goldfish, by comparison, has an average attention span of nine seconds)."

Very highly recommended.

75. (yay!) The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English

In 2012/13, the famous town of Timbuktu was overrun with jihadis, who caused all sorts of mayhem. They destroyed various famous monuments and brought misery to the citizens, but the city held another treasure in the form of hundreds of thousands of manuscripts from the days when Timbuktu was a centre of learning, and attracted scholars and students from all over the region. The jihadis left the city only after French military action and, as they left, announced that they had burned all the manuscripts. But that turned out to be false, as most of them had been smuggled out of the city over the preceding months, by people determined to keep them safe. I suspect these are the same people who feature in The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which wins best title but which the library doesn't have on the shelf where it's supposed to be. Fascinated by the story, the author left his job and went to find out how the evacuation took place. The book's chapters alternate between the modern day and the history of Timbuktu and its grip upon olden-days Europeans as a magical place, a grip which loosened a bit when European explorers finally got there in the 1800s. It's really well done, and highly recommended.

Yesterday, 8:00am Top

Congrats on reaching 75, Susan! And it sounds like the 75th was a good one, too. Onto the list it goes.

Yesterday, 8:04am Top

>41 BLBera: Thanks Beth! 74 and 75 were both excellent. Weirdly, I was just over at the library (well, that's not actually the weird part, as I think we know) and I saw yet another display in a whole new place, with the Facebook "like" thumb displayed on little cards all over it (raising intellectual property issues, but I didn't think I would point that out).

Yesterday, 8:05am Top

>40 susanj67: Now on my list too. I watched the recent programme about the researcher travelling to Timbuktu - so sad to see the city surrounded by armed guard and traders not able to travel (but I suppose better than the previous arrangement).

The goldfish stat is a bit of a shocker, too. I wonder if it varies by age?

Yesterday, 9:02am Top

>43 charl08: Charlotte, I think I've recorded that one. I must actually watch it... They didn't differentiate between young goldfish and older ones, so I'm not sure :-)

Yesterday, 11:28am Top

That 8 second stat is a shocker!!

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu sounds very interesting. I'm trying hard to reduce the height of Mt. TBR but that one may just have to make its way there.

Yesterday, 1:19pm Top

Congrats on 75! I have Badass Librarians on my stack - so it'll be interesting to compare notes on the two books.

Yesterday, 3:23pm Top

Belated congratulations on a new thread Susan! I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all the book, magazine and podcast recommendations from just the first 40 posts... I think I will start with the Reformation podcast.

And congrats on 75 books!

Yesterday, 3:48pm Top

>44 susanj67: *snork*
I'm slightly surprised it's that short, if I'm honest. We had a uni professor who used to make us all get up & change seats every 20 minute to reinvigorate ourselves.

Today, 3:56am Top

>45 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it is a shocker. The Book Smugglers is well worth one more addition to Mount TBR :-)

>46 drneutron: Thanks Jim! I'll definitely get the Bad-Ass Librarians if I ever find it where it's supposed to be.

>47 souloftherose: Thanks Heather :-) That reminds me I must add another podcast - I listened to one on the Epic of Gilgamesh while I walked to and from the supermarket on the weekend: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080wbrq

>48 Helenliz: Helen, I hope I'm not down to eight seconds, but I have definitely lost the ability to concentrate for long periods like I used to.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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