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Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 17

This is a continuation of the topic Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 16.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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May 16, 5:57pm Top

Anxious glances back towards Yorkshire.

When I think of the capital of my home county, York, the first image in my head is Clifford's Tower next to where I always park when I visit.

Edited: May 16, 6:06pm Top

Paul's Poems


It's April in Chernobyl, haven't you heard?
There isn't a flower, there isn't a bird.
It started with a fire under a mushroom cloud
Extending tumorous fingers, the people were bowed.
A hard rain descended, puddles yellow and green
It'll take a millenium to make the place clean.

This was written after reading Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

Edited: May 16, 6:10pm Top


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

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

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

Edited: May 16, 6:11pm Top



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


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


19. Up the Junction by Nell Dunn (1963) 133 pp
20. Middle Passages by Kamau Brathwaite (1992) 120 pp
21. Maus II : A Survivor's Tale : And Here My Troubles Began (1991) 136 pp
22. Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (2011) 466 pp
23. Fences by August Wilson (1985) 101 pp
24. No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (1999) 262 pp
25. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (2001) 399 pp

Edited: May 25, 12:12am Top



26. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003) 343 pp
27. Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason (2010) 296 pp
28. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (1967) 415 pp
29. When I Was Old by Georges Simenon (1970) 452 pp
30. On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin (1982) 262 pp
31. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (2013) 444 pp
32. The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald (2013) 307 pp
33. I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish (2010) 236 pp
34. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (1965) 81 pp
35. Shout at the Devil by Wilbur Smith (1968) 391 pp
36. A Perfidious Distortion of History : The Versailles Peace Treaty and the Success of the Nazis by Jurgen Tampke (2017) 269 pp
37. Doctor Who and the Web of Fear by Terrance Dicks (1976) 150 pp
38. The Haw Lantern by Seamus Heaney (1987) 51 pp


39. Then by Morris Gleitzman (2009) 196 pp
40. March: Book One by John Lewis (2013) 121 pp
41. Selected Poems : 1940-1982 by Norman Nicholson (1982) 78 pp
42. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992) 587 pp
43. The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe (1997) 402 pp
44. Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (1800) 97 pp
45. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (1999) 220 pp
46. And the Weak Suffer What They Must? by Yaris Varoufakis (2016) 246 pp

Edited: May 16, 6:14pm Top

British Author Challenge 2017



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


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




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

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

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


Edited: May 16, 6:15pm Top

American Author Challenge

American Author Challenge 2017

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

Edited: May 16, 6:18pm Top

ANZ Author Challenge

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

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

Edited: May 16, 6:39pm Top

Other Challenges & Some Stats

NOBEL WINNERS 60 Laureates read (1 new in 2017)

PULITZER WINNERS 15 fiction winners read (1 in 2017)

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


1001 BOOKS FIRST EDITION - 275 / 1001 (3 in 2017)

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

IMPAC WINNERS - 6/21 read (1 in 2017)

May 16, 6:00pm Top

TBR Records

Edited: May 21, 8:33pm Top

May Reading Plan

1. March: Book One by John Lewis COMPLETED
2. Then by Morris Gleitzman (ANZAC) COMPLETED
3. Selected Poems 1940-1982 by Norman Nicholson COMPLETED
4. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (May Monsters) COMPLETED
5. Disgrace by JM Coetzee (80 Books : S. Africa)
6. Night School by Lee Child
7. The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol (May Mysteries)
8. Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (BAC; 1001)
9. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding (BAC; 1001)
10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (AAC; 1001)
11. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami (1001) (80 Books : Japan)
12. The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe (CAC) COMPLETED
13. And the Weak Suffer What They Must? by Yanis Varoufakis (80 Books : Greece)

Edited: May 21, 8:34pm Top

May 16, 6:01pm Top

Literary Worlds

Edited: May 24, 7:30am Top


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

visited 20 states (8.88%)
Create your own visited map of The World

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

May 16, 6:01pm Top

Next one is yours

May 16, 6:01pm Top

First! Happy new thread!

May 16, 6:05pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul! The Big 17th! I like the Clifford's Tower Topper!

May 16, 6:08pm Top

>17 amanda4242: Thank you Amanda......quick off the mark...and

>18 msf59: Here is Mark! Thanks Buddy that makes you, me and Amber all getting new digs in the same day. Actually my last thread with all its lighthouses was starting to have difficulty loading.

Edited: May 16, 6:22pm Top

Happy new thread and I have great memories of my visits to York. Fairly sure I stayed in the youth hostel there on my first visit many moons ago.
I missed out on adding a Taranaki lighthouse to your last thread:

Cape Egmont lighthouse looking back to Mt Taranaki - originally erected on Mana Island, it was moved to Cape Egmont in 1877

May 16, 6:23pm Top

Oh, I meant to mention that a friend of mine is currently spending time with her family in the UK for the summer and when she gave me her address, it was in a place called Hutton Cranswick!

May 16, 6:26pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 16, 6:36pm Top

>20 avatiakh: NZ is always so impressive, Kerry. What a glorious backdrop.

>21 ursula: Of course that is where part of my antecedents hail from, Ursula. North Yorkshire on the way to the coast. I have some photos of the place and will go and look for them.

>22 drneutron: Thanks Jim

May 16, 6:42pm Top

I am going to have to leave off for a fair few hours as I have to drive up country to a kick-off meeting at a new project site.

May 16, 6:42pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!
Appropriate to start your 17th thread on the 17th of May :-)

May 16, 7:10pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul!

Going back to your prior thread, I love Jim's story about the Orcas jumping off the side of the boat and then swimming right underneath. I have had similar experiences. Many years ago we were boating in the San Juan Islands with P's parents (they had the boat) and we floated into and among a pod of Orcas. I don't know if it was J-pod but we just turned off the engine and drifted with them for a while. They came very close and did that kind of playful diving about. In the distance, we saw a young Orca breach. I think the mom was keeping baby further from humans (smart mama) but we could still see the youngster.

Another time we were on the Victoria Clipper on our way from Seattle to Victoria, BC. The Clipper is a very fast ferry. We were sitting in our seats, reading our books and enjoying being on the water when suddenly the engines shut off. Of course, we all looked around like "what the...?" and the captain came on the PA system to apologize for the delay. But J-pod was crossing our path and the law is that you can't have your engines on if you are within 200 yards of the Orcas. So we drifted along until they had made their way past and around and under us to continue their trek. They appeared to be on a hunting expedition. We chuckled at the captain's apologies; who cared if we were 20 minutes late arriving in Victoria?? We got to see the Orcas!!

May 16, 7:23pm Top

>26 EBT1002: Love that, Ellen. We were lucky enough to see a huge number of Orcas (75!) when we vacationed in the San Juan Islands near you. We were giddy with all of them frolicking nearby.

Happy New Thread, Paul! That's a wicked funny/sad poem up in >2 PaulCranswick:. Makes me think of Tom Lehrer's clever songs.

May 16, 7:36pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

May 16, 7:59pm Top

I took a printmaking course in York a number of years ago- I had a great time.

May 16, 9:23pm Top

Paul, are you anxious about your move? I mean, of course, above and beyond the "normal" sort of anxiety involved in uprooting oneself and one's family and moving half-way around the world?

I stand corrected re: Portland Head Light. I've spent many long and happy hours at both locations...Maine is a beautiful and unique place.

I love the new poem! I envy your creativity.

May 16, 9:33pm Top

Happy new thread! I managed to get here almost timely!

Love the thread topper picture! I think we'll all miss the Malaysia pics (perhaps you'll have to have both as toppers!)

May 16, 9:39pm Top

>2 PaulCranswick:

"Extending tumorous fingers"
echoes those gigantic white sculpted fingers protruding
from the water in Venice...

May 16, 10:03pm Top

Looks like I completely missed your previous thread while I was out of town. Still playing catch-up on threads. Happy new thread!

May 16, 10:33pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul! I trust all is well with you and yours. (We're fine here.)

May 16, 10:57pm Top

>27 jnwelch: SEVENTY-FIVE Orcas?????!!!! Wow. That must have been amazing, Joe!

Hi Paul. xo

Edited: May 17, 4:53am Top

>2 PaulCranswick: You might like to read this article about wildlife in Chernobyl:


Oh, and happy new thread. :)

May 17, 6:41am Top

>25 FAMeulstee: It wasn't planned as such Anita but is one of those happy coincidences. With all the wonderful pictures of lighthouses on my last thread, the thread moved quickly but also was starting to be a little heavy loading.

>26 EBT1002: That is another lovely story, Ellen. I would so like to visit that part of the world and the opposite corner of the country in Maine.

>27 jnwelch: Seventy-five is some number Joe. Is that an approximation or did MBH help you count 'em. Nice to get compared to Tom Lehrer and my delay in responding is due to my being off poisoning pigeons in the park! Actually I was aiming for the pithy verse style that WH Auden often brought to similar topics.

May 17, 6:49am Top

Hello, Paul - happy new thread!

May 17, 7:12am Top

>28 harrygbutler: Thanks Harry. It was a strange and rushed way for me to set up a new thread because I was up early as usual but was driving three hours up country for a kick-off meeting for a new project and my driver Azim was there at 6.30 am to send me off in time for our 10.00 am meeting. It meant that I couldn't get fully set up before having to drive off.

>29 torontoc: York is a wonderful city, Cyrel with lots to do and great food to be had. It is also close to Leeds and all the amenities that offers. The racecourse is practically in the city and hosts some top races and some of its historical sites are very well preserved. The Minster is also very beautiful. It's downfall apart from being relatively expensive is the propensity of the city to flood as the Ouse notoriously bursts its banks at the slightest encouragement.

>30 bohemima: I am very much so Gail. Money issues are one things but i have come to realise that if I don't ring-fence and otherwise protect what I have here I will be "naked" and exposed when it comes to the nature of my involvement with the business in the UK. To wit, I don't want to return like a whipped cur.

May 17, 7:18am Top

>31 rretzler: Thanks Robin. I will try to maintain a Malaysian flavour here in some way, shape or form. How much time I spend in each locale will of course also be determined by events.

>32 m.belljackson: Hi Marianne. I got a very palpable sense from Svetlana Alexievich's book that the fallout from the Chernobyl sort of crept up on them. Of course the after effects of what those people were exposed to in terms of disfigurements and especially malignant tumours was if they were brushed by a hand of bad conscience.

>33 thornton37814: I well know the feeling Lori - once you get behind it can be quite a daunting task to catch back up. Take your time my dear, I am not going anywhere!

May 17, 7:27am Top

>34 LizzieD: I am trying to keep my chin up Peggy. In truth I am weighed down and worried about finances and hoping that this few days can bring some relief because otherwise I will be up against it a bit (a lot).

>35 EBT1002: Just so Ellen. I suppose you couldn't help tweaks in your tummy as those beautiful creatures circled and went under the boat.

>36 sirfurboy: Sir F, Isn't that chilling. "The poisoned heart of the red forest".......and an exclusion zone extending to 1,600 square miles! That problem is not getting solved any time soon.

May 17, 7:28am Top

>38 scaifea: Ooops almost missed you there. Thanks Amber. Wouldn't be the same without a visit from you. xx

May 17, 7:54am Top

Happy new(ish) thread - glad to see the lighthouse theme continuing.

Covesea lighthouse is the one I want to go stay in and read...

May 17, 8:35am Top

>35 EBT1002: It was amazing, Ellen! The boat captain said to us, you have no idea how lucky you are (not many days before the orcas had been feeding too far out). We thought, yes we do!

>37 PaulCranswick: Ha! It was one of the docents (or whatever the word would be for a naturalist on board a whale-spotting boat) who told us the 75 number, Paul. What an amazing experience.

May 17, 9:04am Top

>43 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I want to go back to my roots in the summer at some stage if I am able and revisit County Donegal, Ireland where my maternal Great-Granparents eloped from in the late 19th century. This is the lighthouse guarding the harbour towards the wonderfully named Rotten Island at Killybegs and where I have distant relations still.

>44 jnwelch: In Kaikoura, New Zealand they know for sure where the dolphins will be cavorting and you sail out to them and can actually swim with them (I didn't). In your case the unexpectedness of their connection must have been thrilling.

May 17, 9:30am Top

Happy new thread, Paul. Love the lighthouses and your topper.

May 17, 10:28am Top

Happy New Thread!!

>26 EBT1002: Great story about the Victoria Clipper!

May 17, 11:55am Top

Late to the party but here is Split Rock Lighthouse north of Duluth Minnesota on Lake Superior. It is now a historical site managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.

May 17, 3:48pm Top

Nice new thread, Paul!

May 17, 4:40pm Top

>46 BLBera: Thank you Beth. Clifford's Tower in York does have something of a dark history. In 1190 150 jewish locals were killed there in a pogrom with many of them committing suicide to avoid falling into the hands of a baying mob.

>47 SuziQoregon: Nice to see you, Juli.

May 17, 4:41pm Top

>48 Oberon: Lake Superior is some beast to produce waves like that, Eric. Great photo.

>49 kidzdoc: Thank you Darryl.

May 17, 5:02pm Top

Hi Paul, happy new thread mate and a great thread topper photo, I also park at Clifford's Tower, it is so easy to get into the centre of York from there. Hope things are going well with you and send love and hugs to you all mate.

May 17, 5:20pm Top

>52 johnsimpson: Great minds and all that John because i was posting over at your thread while you were over here. Even though the car parking isn't overly cheap it is convenient for walking through to Fenwicks and then a short hop onto Waterstones.

Edited: May 17, 6:05pm Top

If the new Thread is moving from Lighthouses into Towers, southern Wisconsin is proud of
the Helena Shot Tower where lead shot was made for muskets.

It's located in Tower Hill State Park - near Spring Green -
my 4th grade classes would stop there on the way to The Effigy Mounds, ice cream,
and a long swim to celebrate the last week of school.

May 17, 6:46pm Top

>54 m.belljackson: Interesting, Marianne. Apart from literature, history was always my favourite subject:

May 17, 9:38pm Top

Happy latest thread, Paul!

I see you've gone from lighthouses to towers and lighthouses, but I wanted to comment on your mention from your last thread about your time inside the pyramids bringing on claustrophobia. It was in the Yucatan rather than Egypt, but the climb up into El Castillo in Chichen Itza was my own claustrophobic watershed moment. But what a rush when I got to the top and viewed the Jaguar Throne! Amazing!

May 17, 10:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul! Hope your circumstances start shaping up soon.

May 18, 5:12am Top

>56 Storeetllr: Mary, the antechamber was stunning inside the main pyramid but getting there and back was uncomfortable in the extreme. I would love to see the Jaguar Throne too but don't like the sound of getting there.

>57 foggidawn: I hope so too Foggy as getting up in the morning is becoming increasingly fraught and I am taking it day by day.

May 18, 9:06am Top

Hi Paul! The subject matter is hard, but I love your poem about Chernobyl. I see the lighthouses are still lighting the way on your thread--beautiful. Hope the prep for the big move go smoothly and good luck with the new work project. Happy new thread. : )

May 18, 9:31am Top

Hi Paul, I am a lighthouse buff and am glad to see so many great pictures in your thread.

Edited: May 18, 10:29am Top

>59 Berly: Kimmers, sometimes I have found that a light touch on a serious subject is more effective at getting a straightforward message across.
I should have some positive movement next week with my finances and I have to say that one of my partners in particular here has stepped up to the plate manfully and shown himself to be a true friend in the last weeks.

>60 cal8769: Carrie, I am a little surprised at how popular the lighthouse pics have proven to be. I do feel that lighthouses have a mystique and a romance that goes far beyond the bricks and mortar of their often highly innovative construction. Lovely to have you visit here as always. xx

Edited: May 18, 11:12am Top


Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Date of Publication : 1992
Pages : 587 pp
May Martians and Magic Theme Reads


I was persuaded to read this one for the above theme read and I certainly understand both why this is a hugely popular book and also why it falls flat with others.

I hasten to add that I am firmly in the enthusiastic camp with referral to the book which has been criticised elsewhere for its undue length (a fair criticism on balance) and the lack of depth in characterisation. I can agree that she does better with some of the characters than the others I believe that the scope and realisation of her imagination are what makes this a magical book.

For the other three people in the world still not having read this, I can summarise that basically it is a time travel adventure. In Oxford in the 2050s a student historian is transported to the Oxford of 1820 only to eventually realise that by mistake (if it was a mistake) she instead arrives in 1348 just in a timely fashion to witness the start of bubonic plague in the University town. Meanwhile modern Oxford a mysterious virus strikes and impedes her colleagues in any attempt to rescue her.

As with much of science fiction written before many of todays major innovations there were some clunky bits such as the cost of Xmas presents, and difficulties with telephone lines which clearly didn't anticipate the coming of the internet age and the prominence of the mobile phone. That said it is in the recreation of medieval England and the characters difficulty of returning which held my interest most of all.

Is it the best thing I have ever written?
Well, no.
Does it get a solid recommendation?
Hell, yes


May 18, 11:30am Top

>62 PaulCranswick: I'm one of those three who have not yet read it! I keep meaning to read more of her books, but just haven't yet.

Edited: May 18, 11:32am Top

>62 PaulCranswick: & >63 foggidawn: Wondering who that 3rd person is ;-)

May 18, 12:29pm Top

May 18, 12:41pm Top

I LOVED Doomsday Book!

May 18, 2:25pm Top

Happy new one, Paul.

Edited: May 18, 2:37pm Top

May 18, 3:41pm Top

>62 PaulCranswick: I have that one on the shelves and keep meaning to read it. Maybe after I finish solving the mysteries of Udolpho.

Edited: May 18, 3:45pm Top

>64 FAMeulstee: Me. I'm the third person. Or maybe the fourth, since it appears Amanda hasn't read it yet either. Actually, I started, but for some reason just couldn't get into it. I will have to try again.

May 18, 3:52pm Top

Actually, I thought I was that third person. Although, in fairness, I actually have a copy on my physical shelf! I hope to get to it sooner rather than later but I am already so behind in my challenge commitments, so who knows...

May 18, 4:51pm Top

I also haven't read Doomsday Book but can highly recommend her To say nothing of the dog which is a much shorter read. I have to confess that it is the size of the books that puts me off.

May 18, 6:13pm Top

Ooof, I *still* haven't read The Doomsday Book, despite its being on my list for ages and ages. Soon? Ish?

May 18, 6:17pm Top

I'm another one who really enjoyed The Doomsday Book. To Say Nothing of the Dog, too.

May 18, 9:43pm Top

>63 foggidawn: Ha! Foggy there is another one I didn't know about.

>64 FAMeulstee: So am I, Anita, so am I.

>65 EBT1002: Place markers sometimes don't spell out provenance quite well enough. That is not a problem with that one.

May 18, 9:54pm Top

>66 The_Hibernator: Lovely to see my absolute favourite serial dater! I am not in the least surprised that you would be beguiled by Doomsday Book.

>67 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara, dear.

>68 sirfurboy: So I have my three already!

May 18, 9:58pm Top

>69 amanda4242: Further proof, Amanda, that I cannot count.

>70 Storeetllr: My tongue was placed so far in my cheek that it has now got ice on it, Mary!

>71 jessibud2: Shelley, my mathematics used to be so reliable but nowadays 1+1+1+1+1+1+1 = 3.

May 18, 11:55pm Top

Hugs, Paul, to help build resiliency for all the stresses you are encountering. Glad you like Doomsday Book.

May 19, 1:50am Top

>72 avatiakh: Kerry, the books are long and it did put me off but a three hour drive north and back again enabled me to get it done.

>73 scaifea: I guess I should have said that I am now one of the three (or so) to have read it!

>74 jnwelch: I am known to visitors here, Joe, to be a little Sci-Fi averse but this one was more my cup of tea.

May 19, 1:52am Top

>78 ronincats: I am apparently a tough little cookie Roni and I will work my way through things as best as I can. There is around a $100,000 black hole that I am contending with which sounds bad but is much better than it was a couple of months ago. I am hopeful that by the end of June, I will be on an even keel again.

May 19, 10:30am Top

I've been loving all the lighthouse photos. Sorry about your ongoing business headaches, and your brother's wrongheadedness. Hope you can continue to keep your own chin up until things are right again.

May 19, 4:20pm Top

>81 laytonwoman3rd: Thank you Linda. I am safely in the sanctuary of the weekend so I have a couple of days to relax, regroup and try to make the next week better and more productive than the last. xx

Edited: May 19, 4:57pm Top

A couple of short years ago here the government introduced GST (Government Sales Tax) which is basically the same as VAT in the UK. Public utilities here charge the GST and the rules (which have impacted my business too) are that once billed you have to pay at the month end irrespective of whether your invoice has been paid or not.

This has lead to madness in the public utilities whereby services are terminated basically if a bill runs over by a mere handful of days. I have recently had to deal with the electrical provider trying to cut our power (over an estimated bill which was ridiculously overstated and for which I prevailed but still had to pay most of the bill) and got our internet service cut yesterday as the bill due on the 15th was paid only on the 19th. When I paid the bill we didn't get reconnected as usual and an irate Hani was on to them and the service provider stated that for reconnection we had to pay all charges up to today itself (i.e. pay in advance for their service). Malaysia is struggling under the weight of an incompetent government that has squandered its wealth and is now placing an unfair burden on it's consumers to fit the bill. Meanwhile Government linked companies and the government itself is not paying its own bills making the situation worse. I have a client with two government infrastructure projects of a substantial nature (one making train cars and the other a rail link to the city airport) he hasn't been paid for five months on either project but has been harassed and fined by the customs and revenue because he is unable to pay the self-same government their GST charges on the invoices to the government that they have not honoured! Madness.

In previous times the public utilities did not chase the population over unpaid bills too much and allowed some leeway (typically three months before they would look for some payment) and the sudden conversion to forcing people to basically pay up front for services is causing havoc with families pay-packets. My own staff are really struggling to make ends meet too. All the utilities have deposits for their services and assign credit limits which seem to now be ignored completely.

As you can see my internet service has been reconnected. Grumble over.

Edited: May 19, 5:42pm Top

>83 PaulCranswick: I will never again complain about my utility and internet companies' incompetence and bad customer service, unless they begin to mirror Malaysia's system, which is actually a possibility considering who is in charge in the U.S. now.

Glad your internet is back up.

May 19, 6:04pm Top

>83 PaulCranswick: Ditto what Mary said! We've had internet and telephone problems for the last month, but I must say our provider was quite responsive, and even though there seem to have been 3 separate issues, all are now resolved, at no expense to us. As if you didn't have enough to deal with!

Edited: May 19, 6:37pm Top

Just saw an online Search notice, Adventures for Harriet,
for a woman who started on May 1st to reprise Patrick Leigh Fermor's walking journey.

She is doing this to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK, to honor her friend's death.

May 19, 6:50pm Top

>84 Storeetllr: I don't have a major problem, Mary, with certain services being suspended if payment after a reasonable period is not forthcoming but to then insist that you pay for sums not yet due in order to enjoy further service is just not reasonable. I don't think that essential power should be subject to termination. Old people especially would be put at risk in such a situation. In our case my electricity bill is usually an already expensive $200 per month but suddenly I was being asked to pay double that amount for no apparent justifiable reason.

>85 laytonwoman3rd: It is of course even more irritating, Linda, when money is a bit tighter. The cost of essential services here is going through the roof and I predict major trouble here in the not too distant future as there is no provision of public welfare.

>86 m.belljackson: That will be interesting Marianne. A Time of Gifts was more about the erudition than the walking so Harriet needs to be articulate and well read in order to replicate the walk properly.

May 19, 9:37pm Top

>48 Oberon: that water is a lake???!?! Woah.

>83 PaulCranswick: sounds like a nightmare- one that you will hopefully avoid by taking your business to the UK.

May 19, 11:05pm Top

I have been meaning to try something by Connie Willis; so thanks for the enthusiastic review.

May 19, 11:28pm Top

I have to say that I'm glad that you all are getting out of there, Paul. It doesn't sound as though it's going to get better, at least in the short term.
Put me solidly in the pro-*Doomsday* category. I love the ending thought about the absolutely unique value of each person.

May 20, 1:53am Top

Hmm, I get busy for a few days and LT just takes off. All of these new threads *sigh*. Happy newish one, Paul. Happy to hear and see that you got your internet back.

May 20, 2:45am Top

>83 PaulCranswick: Malaysia seems to be going to the dogs with all these laws and regulations with no breathing room.
I've just had two wonderful days at the Auckland Writers Festival which I'll be writing up on my thread in the next couple of hours.

May 20, 7:25am Top

>88 Ireadthereforeiam: I know Megan. It is hard to believe that lakes could be so tidal!
I wish it was as simple as just moving my businesses to the UK. The companies here will continue to subsist but I can only leave them more often to spend the majority of my time in the UK when they are able to manage and are on an even keel. I am getting there but not at the pace I would like.

>89 banjo123: I preferred the parts set in medieval England rather than the bits in 2050 Oxford but I did enjoy the book quite a bit, Rhonda.

>90 LizzieD: It is a sad but in some ways a satisfying read - the innate goodness in human nature is well exemplified by some of the characters in the book. I am glad too, Peggy, to be moving back home more less but I do love Malaysia and my present frustrations with the place would be minimised when the contents of my wallet become my own again.

May 20, 7:33am Top

>91 Familyhistorian: The pace has stabilised somewhat Meg, but we did have a few days where there was a spate of new threads. I was a little lost without the internet!

>92 avatiakh: Ooh I want to go and read up on that, Kerry. The festival was something I had had a good look at on line and there are a number of authors that I would have been keen to see. Carol Anne Duffy was there was she not?
The situation in Malaysia is very bad economically at the moment and the government seems to be taking the Malay population for granted somewhat. Oil, rice and a number of other things used to get subsidised here but that has stopped and the country has no welfare system whatsoever to help those in need. Families are expected to take care of its own if they cannot work or are out of a job for any reason and the state doesn't get involved. There is nothing really approaching a National Health Service either. It is difficult to justify why the Malaysian tax burden is then so heavy. 26% corporation tax, huge levies on many imported goods including cars, 26% personal income tax. A car in Malaysia is double the price of the UK and local salaries are much, much lower. The median salary for my companies is less than $1000 per month. Electricity is more expensive than the UK too.

May 20, 8:32am Top

Hello Paul! Looks like things are moving forward to your move! Do you have a planned date set now?

May 20, 9:45am Top

>95 ChelleBearss: Lovely to see you, Chelle. Actually with my brother's rather egotistical manner I have realised that I would be making a mistake not revising my leave here at all costs programme! I will move back to the UK but only when I am able to do so independently to the extent that I am not throwing myself and my family at the mercy of my brother's ego. He is a big hearted and charismatic fellow but he is Peter first and second and I would be eventually in an invidious position to go from running a few companies to being at best a junior partner/employee. I won't let pride get in the way but I will run away from here and it's difficulties only as an absolute last resort.

May 20, 2:27pm Top

Hi Paul - I hope you have a great weekend.

I am one of the three people who hasn't read Doomsday Book, and it does sound interesting.

May 20, 4:44pm Top

Hi Paul. I've finally decided to risk coming on board. Hoping all your financial woes are sorted out soon (as long as it doesn't preclude our long-threatened meet-up!).

>1 PaulCranswick: Ooh, Clifford's Tower; I think that qualifies as the first 'castle' my kids explored, Tower of London included.

>20 avatiakh: How do you move a lighthouse?

>77 PaulCranswick: +1

Not jealous of all the Orca sightings. Not. Not...

Though I could tell you of the time we went to Jarvis Bay, NSW, where they guarantee dolphin sightings in the bay. It was the end of winter so (hailing from the tropics, as we do) we were all bundled up, including my youngest who was then about 3 months old. Whale watching season would start only in a week or two after that - but just after we started out, a message came over the radio that a couple of whales had been spotted passing near the mouth of the bay, so away we shot for the open sea. Though we hovered around for a bit and looked with all our might and main, we couldn't spot the whales, though my mum thought she might have, possibly, caught a glimpse in the distance of something. Not that we were too desperate to wait around for ages because quite a few people felt sea-sick in the choppier waters outside the bay, which set other people off, too. And though my 3 month old seemed fine that way, he did what all babies are notorious for doing and I had to do an emergency change (including clothes) for him on the rocking boat. Eventually our time was up and we headed back. No whales, no dolphins. The only sea mammal we saw, for those who could muster the interest at that point, was a sea lion (seal?) lounging on a rock, sunning himself. Though we saw him on the way back in - so maybe that counts as 2?

May 20, 6:24pm Top

>83 PaulCranswick: Good grief. Like others have said, I will stifle my complaints about the middling problems of internet service in my neighborhood. I'm glad you're back on line, though!

>98 humouress: That was a disappointing day!

May 20, 7:35pm Top

Hope I'm not too late to get into the lighthouse conversation. My husband and I love them and often include them in our travels.

We are lucky to live close to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Cape Hatteras Light is probably the most famous as it was moved some years ago. But we are fans of Bodie Island Light as it includes a long walk way through the marshes and is a great birding spot.

May 20, 8:20pm Top

>97 BLBera: My three turns out to have been a poor approximation Beth! I would recommend it though and that is something from someone who generally shies away from science fiction in all its guises.

>98 humouress: Not all whale sightings come to fruition then Nina, sadly. Hani is convinced that I look like a beached whale when I am laid across the marital bed with my latest book absorbing my attention rather than the good lady herself!

I rather hope that the finances will start to be better by June and then, July onwards, I should be back to normalcy.

That is an interesting question on the lighthouse moving. The simple answer is : "very slowly". How did they actually move the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse? Please see:


Meet-up guaranteed in June, I would say if you are around.

May 20, 8:23pm Top

>99 EBT1002: Yes Ellen, it wasn't a great day but at least my pugilistic spouse got the thing back on.

>100 witchyrichy: Cape Hatteras is apparently the tallest brick lighthouse structure in the world so moving it was some feat. They are usually in remote-ish locations, Karen, so walks there are normally rewarding ones.

May 21, 5:58am Top

The weekend is ending here, but suspect yours is till in full swing ...... Hope you find time to escape in a book or 2 to de-stress from business woes ....

Edited: May 21, 6:49am Top

I hope you also find some de-stressing in following the Giro. What a pity for Geraint Thomas that he had to quit after that fall. The last week promises to be spectacular.

Have a good week, Paul. xx

May 21, 7:43am Top

Hi, Paul! Hope you found some R & R this weekend. I worked in the rain yesterday but I will enjoy my off day today.

Hooray for lighthouses!

May 21, 11:00am Top

>103 roundballnz: Closing in on completing three books, Alex, hopefully within the next couple of days.

>104 DianaNL: Another OK day for Dumoulin on the same ground as the Tour of Lombardy. I hope he holds on to win it.

>105 msf59: If it is warm then a little rain would perhaps be welcome, mate? No lighthouses for the last 24 hours?!

May 21, 11:11am Top

>101 PaulCranswick: Good to know, Paul. I'm not much of a SF reader, either.

May 21, 11:17am Top

>107 BLBera: I suppose the time travel element of it makes it science fiction but the treatment of the plague and it's impact upon faith was very interesting.

May 21, 1:54pm Top

My sister was married on the Mulkateo Ferry in Everett, WA. The reception and all of the wedding pictures were taken at the Mulkateo Lighthouse. This was considered an exotic location for a wedding by the residents of my tiny hometown in Kansas. Kansas, is rather a long way from large bodies of water of any kind.

My sister got married on that Ferry because she had lived in Seattle for 3 years and in Oregon for 5 years and had just finished a 1 year stint of teaching in a school just outside of Seoul, South Korea. Getting married in Seattle was just returning home for her - at that point in her life.

May 21, 5:02pm Top

Hi Paul, a good batting performance from Yorkshire against the old enemy, lovely to see the headband warrior Brooksy getting his maiden century and in a Roses match. I think it will peter out to a draw sadly with all the time lost to rain but at least we have Sidebottom and Brooks back in the fold and they have had a good workout with the ball. Hope you have had a good weekend mate and have a good week ahead.

May 21, 5:49pm Top

Just dropping in for a weekend hello.

I'm sorry your move has become somewhat complicated and uncomfortable; I'm hoping you get it sorted soon and can stop holding your breath waiting for the next financial shoe to drop.

I'm in the middle of Regeneration. I like the book and the writing even if I'm unhappy with the idea. I think I might give The Doomsday Book a go--your review has inspired me to look into it.

May things look up this week for you and yours.

May 21, 6:11pm Top

>109 benitastrnad: That is a nice story, Benita. Of course only shining lights get married at lighthouses!

>110 johnsimpson: With Brooks getting a ton it always indicated to me that we would have trouble bowling out the Red Roses. This is especially so as they have that awkward gluepot, Chanderpaul, in their line-up.

>111 bohemima: Another week is about to start Gail and another that I look forward to with no little trepidation. I can only do my best but I have to say that the stress of it is getting to Hani a little at the moment and her jitters and tears are something that I cope with far less well than the other slings and arrows fate throws my way. Thank God for LT and the 75ers!!

May 21, 8:05pm Top

>99 EBT1002: Disappointing but memorable, Ellen!

>101 PaulCranswick: I can empathise with Hani; I have a beached whale of my own (though he denies the likeness).

>112 PaulCranswick: Wishing you luck.

May 21, 8:30pm Top

>113 humouress: Ha! I suppose me and your own Beached Whale ought to form a club of sorts. xx

May 21, 8:45pm Top

>114 PaulCranswick: Noooo..... *covers face in horror*

Well, if you're heading our way after mid-June, you can go for it. ;0)

May 21, 8:46pm Top


The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe

Date of Publication : 1997
Pages : 402
Canadian Author Challenge

This novel is a fictionalised version of the actual Cypress Hills Massacre in 1873 when 13 Canadian and US "wolfers" went in search of horses stolen from them - they believed - by Assinboine Indians. As a fan of such fiction I was really looking forward to this and the "western" elements of the novel didn't disappoint.

It was counterpoised however by half the novel being centred on Hollywood decades later as a movie mogul decides to make The Western movie featuring the story of one of the survivors of the Massacre. These bit stalled the novel somewhat for me and lead to a reduced level of enjoyment. Reading two books in a row which both featured parallel storylines became a bit trying at times.

Overall a good effort but Joseph Boyden covers similar territory better in my opinion.


May 21, 8:46pm Top

>115 humouress: Let's see; I will be bringing Hani along almost certainly.

May 21, 9:32pm Top

>62 PaulCranswick: I have to add my love for Connie Willis as well, The Doomsday Book was fabulous and the other books in the Oxford Time Travel series which includes To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, All Clear and the short-story Firewatch were also wonderful. I keep meaning to also read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome which inspired To Say Nothing of the Dog, which was hysterical!

Sorry to hear about all of your internet problems. I'm thinking that I need to hire Hani when we have some sort of issue or other - Ed and I are usually too nice about things, until we are walked over too many times and then I am also irate, but end up just making the person on the other end of the phone mad as well and accomplishing nothing. I would agree that Malaysia may be heading for trouble if they are too quick to cut off essential services. Sounds like there may be the beginning of an inflation too. Unfortunately, I think service in general anywhere is declining. I have days where it seems I have one frustration after another. As an example, just this afternoon, we were on our way home from a soccer tournament and stopped at a drive through fast food restaurant called Cane's which serves breaded chicken. The meal we all get is called the 3-finger combo and comes with 3 chicken fingers, fries, "texas toast" and a drink. Since I shouldn't do fries, I always ask for cole slaw instead of fries. Well, we got home this time and alas, no cole slaw for me, and Keegan's combo was 1 chicken finger short. It's way too much trouble to go back to the store and complain, and if you call up, they usually tell you to let them know the next time you come in and they will give you a free meal - something I can never remember to do. Not the same as the government shutting off services, but just a small indication of the larger problems in the world, I think.

May 21, 10:42pm Top

>118 rretzler: Reminds me of the time my husband went to a drive through on the way home after a long day at work and ordered 3 whoppers and a couple of other things. He was rather irate when he eventually got to the window and they handed him his side orders and 3 bottles of water - but no burgers. So he started ... telling them what was what - a thing he does very effectively (embarrassing for me if I'm standing next to him, but it gets the job done when it's necessary; you may want to consider hiring him if Hani is not available, Robin) - while the poor confused server insisted he ordered water and not burgers ... until he worked out he was at a McDonald's and not a Burger King.

May 22, 1:26am Top

>118 rretzler: Hani can be a bit of an attack dog if she feels the need and which I do find extremely useful on occasions.

>119 humouress: What a great story - Burger King versus MacDonalds two different versions of plastic food! Singaporean service is particularly irritating actually.

May 22, 5:43am Top

>112 PaulCranswick: I hope your week goes more smoothly than you expect Paul. Poor Hani. Say hello to her for me.

Edited: May 22, 7:13am Top

Have a good week, Paul! I've finished Jonson's Epigrammes but may not post comments until I finish The Forest as well, since they were originally published together.

May 22, 2:03pm Top

>88 Ireadthereforeiam: Yup. Lake Superior is chock full of shipwrecks and that photo shows why. I have read that the lake, being more enclosed than ocean, actually has its waves magnified due to the shore.

May 22, 7:42pm Top

A little trivia to liven up a slow Monday 22 May >

1935 The UK's first mass market paperbacks were launched as Penguin Books...with these 10 titles:

Ariel: a Shelley Romance - Andre' Maurois
A Farewell to Arms - Hemingway
Poet's Pub - Eric Linklater
Madame Claire - Susan Ertz
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy Sayers

The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie
Twenty-five - Beverley Nichols
William - E.H. Young
Gone to Earth - Mary Webb
Carnival - Compton Mackenzie

"Allen Lane, in his early thirties at the time, claimed to have had the inspiration for his paperback
pocket books while standing on the platform of Exeter station, having just visited Agatha Christie
and having nothing to read."

May 22, 8:08pm Top

>121 Caroline_McElwee: Hani is going to be in raptures today, Caroline, as her first born returns for an extended break. Yasmyne and boyfriend arrive this afternoon on separate planes so there is plenty of scope for things to go wrong timing wise! Apparently Tobias (the boyfriend) is very excited about his trip.

>122 harrygbutler: I look forward as always to your postings about your eclectic reading, Harry.

May 22, 8:12pm Top

>123 Oberon: The picture posted up, Erik, disavowed any belief of tranquility when it comes to the Great Lakes. I would certainly like to visit the lakes at some stage in the future but preferably from an earthen vantage point!

>124 m.belljackson: Interesting Marianne. There are a few there I haven't heard of but plenty of "survivors" too. I have read Poet's Pub as well as Hemingway, Christie and Sayers and I love Compton MacKenzie's books.

May 22, 8:41pm Top


Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth

Date Published : 1800
Pages : 97
British Author Challenge
1001 Books First Edition : 276/1001

Where should this seemingly unassuming little novel fit into the pantheon of literature?

It is regarded as the first "Big House" novel and the first truly "regional" novel. Edgeworth was acknowledged by luminaries such as Austen, Scott and Yeats - did she deserve it?

On first reflection, no. The work is after all slight, the scenes shift higgledy-piggeldy and we are reliant upon a narrator who writes as he speaks and that is most likely with a great deal of whisky infused into the thing. There is however both a charm and a twist in the story that surmounts this. The four subjects of the big house give scope to consider the impecunious nature of the Irish gentry, the crassness, the neglect and the profligacy. As in good irony what is amusing is also what is discomfiting and Edgeworth achieves this without appearing to be trying to do so.

Would it be in my top 100 novels? Certainly not.
Do I see why it makes the 1001 books? Possibly.


May 22, 10:17pm Top

>127 PaulCranswick: Great review and, I believe, a fair assessment.

May 22, 11:14pm Top

>128 amanda4242: I remembered your own curt appraisal of it too Amanda. I finished up slightly more generous towards it than I had expected to be halfway through it.

May 23, 12:55pm Top

Yay for having Yasmyne for a visit. Hope they both arrived without issues.

May 23, 5:31pm Top

Paul - Hope that your friends and family have been spared from this latest horror.

May 23, 6:00pm Top

>130 SuziQoregon: Juli, Yasmyne and Tobias arrived safely in the afternoon although I only got to see them in the evening as I was chock full of meetings. She looks well and happy to be home and he seems pretty excited to be in the tropics.

>131 m.belljackson: I don't know anyone caught up in this latest act of extreme cowardice, Marianne. How those evil beings think their cause is served by killing essentially children is beyond me.

May 24, 7:31am Top

And using near children to kill children. Heartbreaking stuff, but not an easy fix in our world.

Enjoy having Yasmine home with the BF. I think it is Hani's smile lighting the place up right now.

May 24, 9:24am Top


Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Date of Publication : 1999
Pages : 220
Around the World in 80 Books : #18 South Africa
1001 Books First Edition : 277/1001
Booker Prize Winners : 25th

An admirable book with thoroughly unlikable characters.

The main disgrace of the novel is David Lurie an arrogant, self-important vulture of a man who sees women, including students under his care, as fair game and he pursues them with a selfishness and carnality that leads to his downfall. This is juxtaposed as he watches his daughter become herself a victim of the same coarse unwanted brutality.

This is a character study on sexual politics, on moral responsibility, on selfishness, on varying levels of love and on a post apartheid South Africa still clearly not at ease with itself. It is brilliantly written and more than a little unsettling but fails to become magical for the simple reason that not a single character in the story is fully worthy of all our sympathies.


May 24, 9:24am Top

>133 Caroline_McElwee: More her snores, I think Caroline. I have never seen her look so sleepy!

Edited: May 25, 1:23am Top


Country 18 of 80 - SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa Factfile

Area : 471,445 sq miles
Population : 54,946,900
President : Jacob Zuma
Capital Cities : Pretoria, Bloemfontein & Cape Town
Largest City : Johannesburg
Currency : Rand
GDP Nominal : $326,541 million
GDP Per Capita : $5,859
National Languages : 11 in total
Median Age : 26.8
Life Expectancy : 63.1
Percentage Using Internet : 51.9%

Its a Fact : South Africa is unique in having three capitals none of which are the largest city.

Sources : Various but mainly wikipedia and CIA world fact book

May 24, 10:04am Top

A South African Dish

Has to be


May 24, 10:12am Top

Another South African Dish

Amanda Du Pont

Swazi actress Du Pont is my pick

Edited: May 24, 10:17am Top

And Another South African Dish

Jean De Villiers

Rugby legend.

May 24, 1:13pm Top

Glad your family is complete again, Paul, enjoy!

May 24, 1:58pm Top

>139 PaulCranswick:

Nelson Mandela would make a great South African Dish!

Today's New York Times The Interpreter column (which I cannot locate on their online site,
though it was sent out to readers this morning - Wednesday 24th May)
addresses "The Most..."
which is what journalists have learned about suicidal terrorists.

It expands what you wrote in >132 PaulCranswick:.

May 24, 2:40pm Top

Just checking it to say hey!

May 24, 3:14pm Top

>137 PaulCranswick:, just love Bobotie, after we had met up with Barbara and Thomas in Bournemouth three years ago we were making our way back to Salisbury and came across the Bat and Ball pub. The pub was run by a South African cricket lover and as we were looking at the menu Bobotie was suggested to me, I thought I would give it a try and loved it. Karen has made it for me since.

Hope all is well with you mate and Hani and the kids are fine, sending love and hugs.

May 24, 5:17pm Top

HI Paul, Just stopping by to say hello and hoping to get some books listed today. It seems that we are moving the week of June 15th for the third time! We are moving in with one of my oldest friends. I have known her for around 15 years maybe more and she does not mind having my dogs at her house. We have the promise of a house from the builder that my husband is working for presently. We will be moving about 60 miles north of where we are now if we move into that house. My girlfriend lives here on the Jersey Shore so I am happy to say we will get to spend one more summer here. I am going to take advantage of that. My youngest daughter has been working at that school for disabled kids and adults but she is leaving to start working as a manager at an ice cream parlor that is affiliated with a theater on Long Beach Island. They have performances there all summer long and she spent several years working there as a scooper. It was sold and re-bought and the new owners hired a woman who was part of the former staff and she said she would set the whole concession up again if my daughter would work with her, as her assistant. Believe it or not she will be making double what she was making at the school. They just don't value people in teaching positions. She is going to grad school in the fall so she needs to save her money. My middle daughter (she met Donnie Osmond recently and said he was a lovely person) and my oldest is running a halfway house in Florida and helping to set up others when they are opening new ones. I am very proud of them all. I am wishing you and your family the best. It is hard to get on here as often as I would like but I keep trying!

May 24, 6:10pm Top

>140 FAMeulstee: Worried also because Yasmyne is a spendthrift and Hani is a willing accomplice!

>141 m.belljackson: Yes indeed of another sort. I saw the great man at a distance a number of years ago when he paid a visit to Malaysia. A couple of young ladies met him in the lobby of the Palace of Golden Horses hotel where he had been staying and sang for him the South African National anthem in presumably Mr. Mandela's native language. The beam on his face and the grace with which he received the ladies were a complete measure of the man. Pure class.

For someone with an opinion on most things, I am slightly lost for words as to the evil perpetrated upon Manchester these last days. This brainwashing of potential terrorists needs to be stamped out at source somehow but I am as helpless as most to suggest a realisable means of achieving this.

May 24, 6:13pm Top

>142 BekkaJo: Lovely to see you Bekka.

>143 johnsimpson: As cricket lovers John, I suppose it was quite appropriate that that was how you stumbled upon the dish! Coping here, mate, but only just!

>144 mmignano11: Nice to hear from you Mary Beth, I do worry about you with long absences. I hope that the move works out well and your friend sounds like a true trooper. I am sure that you'll get some much needs stability to things very, very soon. xx

May 24, 6:24pm Top

Hi Paul, I just reread my post and realized I lost the part about my middle daughter. She is working at the Molly Pitcher Inn and celebrities often stay there and as she is the hostess she often gets to speak with them and help them with their needs, that is why she met Donnie Osmond. She is also cleaning home s on Long Beach Island and again meeting celebrities in their summer homes there. Most recently she met Robin Quivers of the Howard Stern radio show and she said Robin was very nice and had a lovely home and they had a love of cats in common! They are hard working kids, every one and are all showing me great love and appreciation for what we did for them in the past, so there is hope for all those parents who are feeling unappreciated by their kids right now! They see the light as they get older!

May 24, 6:32pm Top

>147 mmignano11: That is heartening to know! Hani currently is having issues to Kyran who is a tad rebellious and doesn't see the need to work even if it be chores around the place. He is a good hearted boy though and I am sure that he'll be fine.

May 24, 10:18pm Top

Hi Paul, I'm desperately far behind and did not realize you had revised your plans for move back to the UK. Sounds like a well-thought out plan. Ridiculous rules on utility bill payments in Malaysia ... I am with Hani, would be completely irate!

May 25, 12:10am Top

>149 lit_chick: I am struggling a bit Nancy in truth. Soldiering on and hoping that by end of June all my businesses and finance is back on an even keel.

Edited: May 25, 12:25am Top

Hi Paul, I was desperately far behind too but now caught up. Great book reviews! I am voting for business and finances to be back on an even keel for you too. Fingers crossed for you!

May 25, 12:26am Top


And the Weak Suffer What They Must? by Yaris Varoufakis

Date of Publication : 2016
Pages : 246
Around the World in 80 Books : #19 Greece

Mr. Varoufakis gained fame and some notoriety as Greece's Finance Minister at the greatest time of their recent economic crisis as he tried in vain to prevail upon his European counterparts to forgive Greece's debts or to at least reschedule them in such a way that gave the country a chance.

He has written a well-argued and extremely vehement denunciation of the European Financial System as controlled by the Bundesbank and the elites of France but particularly Germany. He is a passionate socialist and democrat whose contentions resound meaningfully with someone like myself who thinks largely as he does.

At the core of his position is that the solution to the world banking crisis was one squared largely against those that really needed help - the poor citizens and the deficit countries. In effect the system insisted upon governments propping up irresponsible and otherwise insolvent banks and have the taxpayers pick up the bill for them. It would have been far better to have allowed all that private debt be and to have the banks fall rather than save them at such an expense, he argues.

He very interestingly traces the roots of the problems to the manner in which the Bretton Woods system pre-supposed that the USA would always run a surplus and how after the Nixon Shock of 1971, the European policy makers made the same mistake of not building flexibility into a system by assuming German budgetary infallibility.

He speaks of a Europe with very grave problems but remains at heart very pro-European in his outlook and believes that by proper cooperation the whole is more than the sum of its parts. He is particularly aggrieved that when the USA forced the UK and France to forgive German war debts to allow German hegemony, the same Germany refused to countenance a remission of Greek debts on the same principle. He is no lover of the Bundesbank or German financial policy.

He ends one of his chapters with the phrase: "Europe is too important to be left to its clueless rulers." Mmm



May 25, 12:27am Top

>151 mdoris: Thank you Mary. I am so pleased to get your vote - I hope to win the election!!

May 25, 12:41am Top

Lurking through the threads just now I saw your question as to whether you were the only one who has not read the Harry Potter books. Answer: No. I haven't read them either.

>152 PaulCranswick: I saw an interview with Varoufakis around the time his book was published and was impressed enough that I bought the book. Haven't read it yet, though.

I hope your business issues get resolved soon. In the meantime, enjoy your visit with Yasmyne and her BF.

May 25, 1:23am Top

>154 arubabookwoman: Thank you, Deborah. I am glad not to be entirely alone in my hsunning of the Potter books!

He is an interesting chap, Varoufakis. He used to turn up on his motor bike to meet with the other Finance Ministers and I would have loved to have seen their faces when his bold prescriptions were laid before them.

May 25, 2:24am Top

Just dropping by to say hello Paul. Sorry to hear that you're struggling with your relocation. I wondered if Yasmyne had any thoughts on Edinburgh as a university location in general? J is thinking of putting it down as one of his options (University of Edinburgh though, not Herriot-Watt) and at the moment it's fairly near the top of his list.

May 25, 3:32am Top

>152 PaulCranswick: Sounds like an important read, Paul, I found a Dutch translation at the library and hope to read it soon.

May 25, 6:36am Top

>137 PaulCranswick: Oh, I've never had Bobotie, but it looks amazing!

>139 PaulCranswick: I'll pass on this dish, though - that hair... yoicks.

May 25, 7:28am Top

>137 PaulCranswick: Mine doesn't look like that (bay leaves: no thanks) but it is pretty nice. Some people even ask for seconds...

Reading Simon Armitage's new collection - some real crackers in there. Recommended!

May 25, 9:45am Top

>156 SandDune: She loves the city, Rhian. Yasmyne is a very studious (but fun loving) young lady and I think that Scotland's capital city has just the right amount of culture and entertainments to keep her enthralled. For a parent, it is also a gorgeous place to get to visit occasionally.

>157 FAMeulstee: He has very clear but uncomfortable views, Anita. He is extremely critical of the richer nations and especially USA, France and Germany but the common sense of not having people pay from their pay packets for the mistakes of greedy bankers resonates with me for sure.

May 25, 9:49am Top

>158 scaifea: Like John, Amber, i have eaten it at a cricket dinner and liked it pretty much.
Rugby players are not noted for their ability to maintain a great hair style!

>159 charl08: Nobody eats bay leaves though really, right?
I will look out for Armitage's new collection as they are always good value.

May 25, 2:17pm Top

Here's one you might want to save for your return to London:

THE FREEDOM PRINCIPLE is published by The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

A really impressive book for anyone intrigued by the experimental music and art of Chicago's
1960-70s, it celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the founding of The AACM (Association for the
Advancement of Creative Musicians).

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago hosted the impressive exhibit in 2016 which corresponds to this catalogue.

Your architect friend in Malaysia could be thrilled!

Edited: May 26, 7:19am Top

>152 PaulCranswick: I was eyeing this book Paul, but it doesn't sound like he attributes any responsibility to Greece for its situation, not least in the majority refusing to pay their taxes.

One of the biggest problems was the EU became so big, and there were nations who were allowed in despite not complying to the rules that existed. The EU needs a major overhaul, which is what we should have had a vote to commit to, rather than withdrawing IMO.

May 25, 8:29pm Top

>162 m.belljackson: Sounds like the perfect gift for his 50th birthday which is coming up next month, Marianne - thanks for that!

>163 Caroline_McElwee: I wouldn't disagree with that at all - I was also of the stay but major reform school too. I was a little frustrated too at some of the remain camp who looked at Europe through rose tinted spectacles when its big business and banking interests do need tackling as does the need to make it genuinely accountable to its citizens. It did get too big too quickly and I think that the admission of the Eastern European states in such a hurry was a mistake and was more geared to prising them away from Russia than for the Europe project as a whole.
He does rather play down Greece's own culpability, you are right, although he does raise the spectre of rising fascism in the country as an alternative to their woes which is quite disturbing.

May 25, 9:43pm Top


Country 19 of 80 - GREECE


Area : 50,949 sq miles
Population : 10,955,000
President/Prime Minister : Prokopis Pavlopoulos / Alexis Tspiras
Capital Cities : Athens
Largest City : Athens
Currency : Euro
GDP Nominal : $194,248 million
GDP Per Capita : $17,901
National Languages : Greek
Median Age : 44.2
Life Expectancy : 80.5
Percentage Using Internet : 66.8%

Its a Fact : Greece attracts more visitors every year than it has population.

Sources : Various but mainly wikipedia and CIA world fact book

May 25, 9:44pm Top

A Greek Dish


Has to be

May 25, 9:49pm Top

Another Greek Dish

Doukissa Nomikou

Greek model and TV presenter

May 25, 9:56pm Top

And Another Greek Dish

Orestis Tziovas

Greek actor

May 25, 10:05pm Top

Hi Paul, just cruising through and catching up with what's going on. I am betting the Cranwicks are having some lovely times now that Yasmyne is home and the family is all together! We are still working away at our downsizing, and have moved on to the actual packing. My books alone will probably fill one moving truck!

May 26, 12:48am Top

>168 PaulCranswick: oooh, smouldering!

May 26, 12:59am Top

>169 DeltaQueen50: Judy, lovely to see you here and we share the problem of what to do with all those books! Yasmyne is happily parading the boyfriend to all her usual haunts.

>170 Ireadthereforeiam: I guessed that the pick would meet with some small satisfaction amongst my peers!

May 26, 4:22am Top

>152 PaulCranswick: Book bullet .... with thanks I think

May 26, 6:07am Top

>172 roundballnz: It is good, Alex. Gives a slightly different view of Europe to that pedalled by Berlin and Paris.

May 26, 12:18pm Top

I like the Greek dishes

May 26, 3:18pm Top

>166 PaulCranswick: Yes, please!

May 26, 4:31pm Top

Ah yes, the books. The movers did a lot of complaining about those in my move. There were a few. The book boxes filled most of the lower floor. Good luck with moving them.

May 26, 10:20pm Top

When I moved the movers did NOT complain about the books. I had them boxed and stacked - waiting for the trolleys to take them out the door to the truck. They did complain about my kitchen accoutrements. They had to pack all of that.

May 26, 10:41pm Top

>174 beeg: Brenda, I have always had an affinity and fascination for things greek and certainly >166 PaulCranswick: and >167 PaulCranswick: would be very much to my taste!

>175 kidzdoc: Would be on my menu most months, Darryl, I love moussaka and Hani is a dab hand at making it.

>176 Familyhistorian: It is something that worries me overly to be honest because those that don't move immediately with me will be missed almost with the depth of absent children!

May 26, 10:42pm Top

>177 benitastrnad: It is a sheer volume issue though Benita isn't it? Having probably still 7,000 or so in the house (I have given away so many of my read books) that amounts to one heck of a number of boxes.

Yesterday, 4:44am Top

I started the Dutch translation of And the Weak Suffer What They Must? yesterday. He has some valid points about merging all currencies into the Euro.

Yesterday, 7:52am Top

Happy Weekend, Paul. Hope you are enjoying some R & R. It looks like you could use it.

Yesterday, 9:33am Top

Caught up, Paul. I hope that all these issues in your life resolve quickly and in your favor.

>127 PaulCranswick: Good review of Rackrent. I enjoyed it perhaps more than you did, but its overall worth is somewhat iffy.

>134 PaulCranswick: Oh dear. Disgrace left me cold. Typically I don't mind unlikable characters, but the whole story here didn't work for me.

The EU: they have some of the same problems we do here in the US, with the wealthy forming an oligarchy which is difficult to undermine. I do get it about everyone paying their taxes, though. The policy of overlooking that seemed self-destructive.

I hope you all are enjoying your time with family and that Ramadan won't be too onerous for all of you.

Yesterday, 10:59am Top

>178 PaulCranswick:

"D" (Volume III, D& E) is one of my two 1897 New English Dictionaries,
so I will look up "dab hand!"

Edited: Yesterday, 12:32pm Top

I went to U-Haul and got their book boxes. It costs money, but the boxes are made for books. I had 17 of those book boxes to move. When I move next time there will be even more. I moved to a larger house so there was more room for books.

Edited: Yesterday, 2:16pm Top

As my 5-year old daughter once sadly said to a mover who sourly commented on how many boxes of books he had to carry out to the moving truck, "Yeah, boxes and boxes and boxes of books."

I'm down to about 1,000 books now, and, during my recent move, my helpers built a wall in the living room that was 5' high and about 8' long of nothing but the book boxes except for one box that held my daughter's papers and keepsakes. I use "bankers' boxes" for the books, as they hold just about the weight of books that I can pick up, and they stack neatly.

It's a real problem.

I can't imagine moving 7,000 books across continents!

Yesterday, 9:41pm Top

>180 FAMeulstee: I especially found his arguments about the world forgiving German debts seventy years ago to allow the German economy to prosper and comparing this with the German refusal to countenance a similar attitude to Greece and Ireland quite compelling. I also don't know why the banks were saved at public expense when failing businesses in manufacturing that employed hundreds of thousands of people were allowed to flounder.

>181 msf59: Thanks Mark. Yep my life is a tad stressful at present but I have a clear goal in place to work towards having many things settled and determined by the end of June.

Yesterday, 9:50pm Top

>182 bohemima: Thank you Gail, it is always a boost to me to see you posting here!
Disgrace is a typical Coetzee book isn't it? Admirable certainly but difficult to like. He really does do unsympathetic characters well and I can imagine him to be quite a prickly chap in real life.

The EU was in many ways set up in America's image but its economies are difficult to control because of the huge disparity between states in terms of wealth and productivity.

>183 m.belljackson: This is according to Britishisms on Wordpress:

“Dab hand”

This noun phrase meaning “expert” (usually followed by at, as in “a dab hand at cookery“) derived from the now-archaic dab, meaning the same thing, which is “frequently referred to as school slang,” according to the OED. The first citation is from The Athenian Mercury in 1691: “Love is such a Dab at his Bow and Arrows.”

Dab hand apparently originated as Yorkshire dialect pre-1800, but didn’t become widely used in Britain until the 1950s, according to a Google Ngram. Following a familiar pattern, it peaked in Britain in about 1990, while U.S. use continues to rapidly increase (though it’s still used less than half as often here as there).

There are many dab American hands nowadays. The distinguished Stanford Berkeley linguist Geoffrey Nunberg was quoted in the New York Times in 2011 as follows: “I fancy myself a dab hand at Google, but it drives me crazy,” but the term shows up in less elevated company as well:

“Hughes graduated in May with a degree in entrepreneurship management from Boise State University. Now he’s putting what he learned to work as he functions as a driver, a furniture mover, and at times a dab hand with the little wrenches IKEA encloses in its packaging (his business offers assembly).”–Idaho Business Review, August 22, 2012

‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ director Timur Bekmambetov, who proved himself a dab hand at vampire thrillers (‘Night Watch,’ ‘Day Watch’) before he directed the 2008 graphic-novel adaptation ‘Wanted,’ handles the violence in an arresting if flashily impersonal style.”–Variety, June 22, 2012

“At Virginia Polytechnic, architect Kimberly Peck started playing around with industrial design, and became a dab hand at using the lathe, the milling machine and other mechanical equipment.”–New York Times, April 15, 2012

Yesterday, 9:55pm Top

>184 benitastrnad: Now you have me wondering, Benita, how many boxes I will need for all my books. I reckon if I can get a hundred books a box(?), I will need something like 70 boxes.

>185 Storeetllr: And of course I then have the problem of where to put them all when I move over. We have an apartment here of approximately 3,000 square feet and there are books literally everywhere but I have an eye on places in England with potential for a library eventually.

Yesterday, 9:57pm Top

The first day of Ramadhan was successfully completed yesterday and we enjoyed a family repast out at a traditional Malay food eatery to give Yasmyne's boyfriend the chance to sample a number of different Malay dishes. I think that the poor boy is hooked!

Yesterday, 11:12pm Top

>187 PaulCranswick: Interesting history on the phrase. It's been in my vocabulary for years, but I have no idea how it got there...maybe from the tiny bit of reading I do?

Yesterday, 11:25pm Top

>190 amanda4242: Hahaha, you do seem to have read one or two books, Amanda.

I was of course taken by the fact that it seems to be of Yorkshire origin and I must say its usage has been in our family all my life - not that I am a dab hand at too many things.

Today, 2:59am Top

>188 PaulCranswick: Book boxes provided by packers are surprisingly small, Paul - until you stack them full and try to lift them! As I remember, they take about 20 books each.

Today, 3:09am Top

>188 PaulCranswick: I reckon if I can get a hundred books a box(?), I will need something like 70 boxes. A hundred book in a box - and you expect to be able to ship them or even lift them? I suggest that you get a packing box, (I used bankers boxes for my books) and see how many books you can fit in the box and still be able to lift it and not have the bottom collapse.

Today, 3:59am Top

Yikes. All this discussion of moving books is making me anxious about ever moving mine again. Crumbs. Maybe I should do some thinning out...

Today, 5:14am Top

>192 humouress: Yikes 20 only. That is over 350 boxes!

>193 Familyhistorian: I used to buy about a hundred books at the Big Bad Wolf sale and you're right I couldn't get them in a single box (or lift them probably). Hopefully, Meg, it will be more than 20 because 350 boxes will be one heck of a lot of boxes.

>194 charl08: I am going to have to make some decisions too, I fear, Charlotte.

Edited: Today, 5:36am Top

I wonder how many books you can fit in a storage/ shipping container?
Just finished a Val McDermid set in Edinburgh. Honestly, with her and Rankin, if Edinburgh was really so criminal no one would ever step outside!

Today, 6:09am Top

That is a lot of boxes, best start your packing now ...

Today, 9:25am Top

>194 charl08: I agree, Charlotte! And yet all I've done this year is add on. The problem of buying a house with a real library that I know I won't see again. May have to just stay here until the end.

Today, 11:16am Top

I have never understood that either. The point about governments not allowing banks to fail and yet letting manufacturing and home owners go under. After much thought on the subject I thought that it might be the fact that bank runs have the potential to be destabilizing, while factory layoffs are less problematic. Banks going under affect the rich as well as the poor, and the poor are not as important to keep happy as are the rich.

Edited: Today, 11:27am Top

The U-Haul book boxes are a little bigger than bankers boxes. They are taller and narrower, (sized for trade paperbacks and most hardbacked books) but they hold about the same amount of books. They come with handles cut into the sides, reinforced bottoms, and are stackable. Two abreast stacked 5 high fit right onto a moving dolly. They are GREAT!

However, they cost. They were about $3.00 per box, and they have to be purchased. U-Haul won't give them away. I found them to be worth it, because my library is worth it.

When I move next time - the clothes are going to the Thrift Shop. Those clothing boxes are so expensive and clothes are so replaceable at a later date.

Today, 12:02pm Top

>187 PaulCranswick:

Thank you, Paul, for the quick & expert responses to "dab hand."

I read through the first two (very TINY print) pages in the D-E tome
and found many of the things you mention...and also:

dab-stone and dab-wash

Then there's the obsolete (which you might choose to revive):

"To dab nebs: to kiss"

and, also obsolete, " to deceive, jape." >

1616 R.C.Times Whistle vi. 2402 -

"Like the parish bull he serves them still.
And dabbed their husbands clean against their will."

A poem that should not be resigned to the ages!

And "One skilful ((one "l")) or proficient at anything,
an expert, an adept."

In 1828, at last, "dab hand."

Lovely mention of IKEA's "little wrenches."

Edited: Today, 1:32pm Top

Another definition of 'dab' which my kids constantly demonstrate.

Today, 1:36pm Top

Hi, Paul! Wishing you and your family, employees and friends a joyous and blessed Ramadan. After the year you've had so far, you deserve a month of peace and restoration!

>200 benitastrnad: Although I am a box saver and still have some boxes I used for a move in 2008 (and perhaps even a few from 1988), I ended up having to buy more boxes for my books (because my sister took some of the boxes to use for her own move). I went to Lowe's and got a 5-pack of bankers' boxes for about US$4. They were sturdy enough, have handle cut-outs and reinforced bottoms, and also stack. They're a bit smaller than the book boxes from U-Haul, but, as I mentioned, I like having boxes I can lift without injuring myself, and the bankers' boxes seem to hold just the right amount of books for that. They aren't perfect for the bigger and odd-sized books, but for paperbacks and the usual sized hardback books, they're great. Also, disassembling them to store for future moves (tho I really hope I never have to move again) is easy, as is reassembling. I don't think they hold 100 books. More like 25, depending on the size of the hardbound books, or 75 if they're paperbacks.

You do have some hard decisions to make, Paul!

Edited: Today, 5:18pm Top

All our moves (1988, 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2005) we did one shelf of books in one box, that way it was easy to get every book back at the right place. The movers were glad the boxes didn't get too heavy that way. Largest amout of books was the 1996 move, about 3000+ books in over 100 boxes.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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