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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 7

This is a continuation of the topic SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 6.

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 8.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1susanj67
Edited: Jul 15, 12:48pm Top

Hello, and welcome to my seventh 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 balanced between F and NF than it typically has been. 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.











2susanj67
Edited: Aug 25, 12:16pm Top

Books read during 2017



By Dick Mudde - Own work, Public Domain, Link

January

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



February

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



March

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



April

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



May

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 English
76. Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon
77. Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
78. The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal
79. About Last Night by Catherine Alliott



June

80. Barbara the Slut and Other People
81. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
82. All This Will Be Lost by Brian Payton
83. Queer City by Peter Ackroyd
84. Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh
85. On Intelligence by John Hughes-Wilson
86. The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy



July

87. A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
88. Koh-i-Noor by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand
89. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
90. The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
91. The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
92. Collecting the World by James Delbourgo
93. The Anatomy of a Traitor by Michael Smith
94. He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
95. A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin
96. Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy by Tim Harford
97. House of Spies by Daniel Silva



August

98. A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
99. Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World by James Evans
100. Caesar's Last Breath by Sam Kean
101. Ulverton by Adam Thorpe
102. Pale Rider by Laura Spinney
103. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
104. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
105. The King's City by Don Jordan
106. One Hot Summer by Rosemary Ashton
107. Crusoe's Island by Andrew Lambert

3susanj67
Jul 9, 4:09am 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

4susanj67
Edited: Aug 20, 9:18am 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
A collection of short stories Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes COMPLETED
A book with a color in the title The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson COMPLETED
A book about a historical event Pale Rider by Laura Spinney COMPLETED
A book over 400 pages The King's City by Don Jordan COMPLETED

Still to go:

A book based on a fairytale
Snow White by Matt Phelan

A book that takes place in a forest

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 with a child narrator

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

5susanj67
Jul 9, 4:13am 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.



I'm also starting to listen to podcasts, as they seem to be The Thing, so I'll record them here:

Podcasts

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
6. BBC Radio 4: Purgatory http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08qxfrb#play
7. BBC Radio 4: The Gin Craze http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b084zk6z
8. BBC Radio 4: Enzymes http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rp369
9. BBC Radio 4: Christine de Pizan http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08sksb4
10. BBC Radio 4: The Day is for the Living (Hilary Mantel Reith lecture) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tcbrp
11. BBC Radio 4: Making History - The English Pearl Harbour http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08sn96v
12. BBC Radio 4: The Field of the Cloth of Gold http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003k9dl
13. BBC Radio 4: Making History - Zombies in Yorkshire? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tcg6f
14. BBC Radio 4 Extra: Suburbia http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05n3yjq
15. BBC Radio 4: The American Populists http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tbf4g
16. BBC Radio 4: Costing the Earth - The World's Toughest Plants http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rq6dx
17. BBC Radio 4: Common Sense Philosophy http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qhbn#play
18. History of Pirates podcast - Introduction http://www.historyofpiratespodcast.com/?p=19
19. History of Pirates podcast - What is a Pirate? http://www.historyofpiratespodcast.com/?p=23
20. History of Pirates podcast - Ancient Pirates and the Quest for Stuff http://www.historyofpiratespodcast.com/?p=111
21. History of Pirates podcast - The Phoenecians and Greek Pirates http://www.historyofpiratespodcast.com/?p=121
22. BBC Radio 4 - Eugene Onegin http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tvjjq

6susanj67
Edited: Jul 9, 4:15am Top

7charl08
Jul 9, 4:38am Top

>6 susanj67: Yes indeed. Happy new thread Susan. Hope the sun shines for you. Rather overcast here, wondering if we're going to be hit with rain.

8susanj67
Edited: Jul 9, 5:12am Top

>7 charl08: Thanks Charlotte :-) Sunny and warm so far...



88. Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand

Oddly, the cover above spells the title slightly differently, as a single word, but my edition has the hyphens. But anyway...this is, as the subtitle says, a history of the famous diamond, currently available to view at the Tower of London, having been, um, presented to Queen Victoria after a war in Punjab in the 1840s. I was interested in the section at the end of the book about the ongoing (and numerous) attempts by various people to have it repatriated to India, or maybe Pakistan, or the Taliban thought that Afghanistan would be most appropriate, as the diamond was there for quite a while. Apparently no-one answered their letter.

The second part of the book is a better read than the first part, which deals with the early history of the diamond, and sets out to prove that the official history of it was incorrect. The second part looks at the Maharajas of Punjab who came to possess the diamond, and from whom it was eventually taken. The fact that the Maharaja at the time was only ten, and had few options when presented with the peace treaty which included the transfer of the diamond to the UK didn't really seem to matter at that time. It's a decent read, although I was expecting something longer.

9scaifea
Jul 9, 9:06am Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

10susanj67
Jul 9, 12:27pm Top

>9 scaifea: Thanks Amber!

Oof, still steamy hot here. I'm really enjoying See What I have Done, but I think the Netflix and The Handmaid's Tale will mean that I don't finish it today. Plus Readly. I've just made some dairy-free ice-cream, which involves cutting up ripe bananas and freezing them over night, then whizzing in a food processor. I added some cocoa and vanilla, but apparently nut butters also go quite well with it. And no doubt other things, but it's pretty darned awesome all on its own :-) I'm tempted to make it dinner, but I suppose I had better have some actual dinner...

11BLBera
Jul 9, 12:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. One of the things I love about the new threads is looking over the list of books you've read so far this year. Impressive.

You are zipping through the Pulitizer Prize winners.

12susanj67
Jul 9, 12:30pm Top

>11 BLBera: Thanks Beth :-) I have a Pulitzer on the go at the moment but it's buried by library books, sadly. I should get back to it before I forget who all the people are.

13BLBera
Jul 9, 12:33pm Top

We cross posted, Susan. I've been watching "Shetland," which is really good and also started "Doctor Who" again. I am going through the seasons in order, just started the second one. It's great summer watching.

Your ice cream sounds yummy.

14susanj67
Jul 9, 12:41pm Top

>13 BLBera: Beth, I'm delighted about the seasons being watched in order. Because, you know, not everyone does that. I started GLOW this afternoon, which looks promising. But there's something called "Salem", I think (about witches, anyway) and that also looks good. Plus I have to get back to Reign. I think two extra days in the week ought to do it...We are jealous here about the Ben & Jerry's non-dairy options in the US, but apparently they won't sell them here because the market isn't big enough. Still, at least my home-made version is very simple and added-sugar-free. Next time I might get more bananas and make a larger batch, and freeze it in cupcake cases for easy serving.

15PaulCranswick
Jul 9, 12:41pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan.

16FAMeulstee
Jul 9, 1:25pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan.
Your ice-cream sounds good, I might try that some day.

17Ameise1
Jul 9, 2:42pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. I try to make my way back on LT.

18RebaRelishesReading
Jul 9, 3:21pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. Sorry you're enduring a heat wave. We've had rain the past two days (off and on) but it's just about perfect today, blue sky with white puffy clouds and low 70's. Come and share the porch with me :)

19Helenliz
Jul 9, 3:24pm Top

Happy new thread.
>:-)

20susanj67
Jul 9, 5:03pm Top

>15 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>16 FAMeulstee: Anita, it's worth a try!

>17 Ameise1: Hi Barbara!

>18 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. I might come on over and share the porch. Might there also be iced tea? :-)

>19 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I'm hoping July will see more finishes than June.



89. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This is a fictional account of Lizzie Borden's slaying of her father and stepmother, told from multiple viewpoints. I thought it was really well done, although it is pretty gory. I read it all over the weekend, which I think works because there are lots of tiny details that might be lost over a longer period of time.

21BLBera
Jul 9, 5:18pm Top

Gory? I think I might have to pass on that one.

22RebaRelishesReading
Jul 10, 9:09am Top

>20 susanj67: You betcha! Herbal, black or green? Invitation still stands.

23Ameise1
Jul 10, 12:15pm Top

>20 susanj67: Sounds very good. I put it on my library list. I hope your week is going well, Susan.

24Fourpawz2
Jul 10, 1:28pm Top

Part of me wants to read the Lizzie Borden book - probably because of the local and family connection, but part of me wants to skip over it. Maybe I'll throw it on the library list.

The steamy weather that you are 'enjoying' just now, Susan - is that London steamy or US steamy?

25susanj67
Jul 10, 2:52pm Top

>21 BLBera: Beth, it doesn't describe the actual murders. Maybe I mean creepy rather than gory. The sort of book that, if it was made into a TV series, would involve lots of lingering close-ups (not of the bodies).

>22 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I'm very tempted! And I think black (if you have that. I once asked for black tea at a McDonald's and the girl said "We don't have that." "OK then," I said, "just ordinary tea will be fine." Then I gave back the little containers of milk that she tried to give me with my ordinary tea :-) )

>23 Ameise1: Barbara, it's not really going that well so far, but I live in hope...

>24 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I noticed the local connection! And the weather is, I suppose, London steamy, although the roomie did arrive the other day saying "It's like India out there. And you know I don't often say that." Her in-laws are here from Bombay at the moment and it's much warmer than even they expected. I haven't met them, but I like her mother-in-law, who apparently saw me from a distance across the foyer once (she was waiting with the roomie's husband and Dad to go for lunch with the roomie) and said to the roomie "But I thought you said she was an older lady." Aaah :-)

26Fourpawz2
Jul 10, 7:12pm Top

>25 susanj67: - How nice! That would sure make my day.

27BLBera
Jul 11, 8:32am Top

Generally, I'm not a fan of creepy either.

I watched the premier of a new series, "Will" last night, about Shakespeare. I thought it looked interesting, and it was. It focused on the question of whether WS was Catholic and the persecution of Catholics at the time. The torture scenes were way over the top. Why do they do that? Not at all necessary. I guess they are trying to appeal to a demographic other than me... Anyway, that was a turn off and I don't know that I'll watch any more, even though it was interesting in a number of ways.

28drneutron
Jul 11, 12:57pm Top

Happy new thread!

29susanj67
Jul 12, 12:30pm Top

>26 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, it certainly made mine!

>27 BLBera: Beth, I hadn't heard of Will, but I see it's on here on one of the pay channels, so I'll have to see if it comes to Netflix at some point. But I know what you mean about torture - there was a new series of books a while ago (maybe Rory Clements' John Shakespeare series) which looked promising but was sickeningly detailed on the torture front, and I decided I wouldn't continue it for that reason.

>28 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

Three new books are waiting for me at the library. Yay! I will go and get them now, and they might prompt me to read a bit more in the evenings. Not tomorrow, when Katie and I are hitting the town (woo-hoo! and the rain has stopped and everything - welcome to London, Katie!) but maybe when I'm recovering :-) If you don't hear from either of us for a few days, someone please come and bail us out.

30charl08
Jul 12, 12:37pm Top

Lol, I'll wait by the phone Susan... Have a lovely time on the town.

31Helenliz
Jul 12, 12:55pm Top

>29 susanj67: I think I read one of those and I'm not going back for more. It wasn't just the gore that got to me so much as the complete lack of plot and abysmal writing.

32RebaRelishesReading
Jul 12, 5:04pm Top

>22 RebaRelishesReading: love your MickeyD story. Here if you ask for tea you're likely to get iced tea unless you specify hot tea but most places it will be black "ordinary" tea..and without milk. It's very unusual here to have tea as strong as it is often served in the U.K. and Ireland or to have milk in it. I love tea but I have a hard time with it being too strong. That said, I always have lots of kinds of tea in my house so you would have a wide choice.

33katiekrug
Jul 13, 4:59am Top

See you tonight, Susan! And thanks for the gorgeous weather 😀

34BLBera
Jul 13, 9:28am Top

We expect a full report and pictures! Have fun - raise a glass for me.

35Familyhistorian
Jul 13, 11:30pm Top

>25 susanj67: That MIL sounds like a wonderful person! LOL. Enjoy getting into trouble with Katie.

36susanj67
Jul 14, 4:12am Top

>30 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I'm pleased to say that neither the US embassy nor the NZ High Commission were called upon to assist their nationals :-)

>31 Helenliz: Helen, I couldn't say for sure it was that series, but the torture got me before the writing :-)

>32 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I will remember that about the iced tea! It's one British tradition that just doesn't seem to have made it over the Atlantic.

>33 katiekrug: Katie, always happy to oblige, weather-wise :-)

>34 BLBera: Beth, there are no pictures, but a report follows!

>35 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg :-)

Last night Katie and I had our London meet-up! Woo-hoo! We'd arranged to meet outside the National Gallery but, this being LT, we actually ran into one another in the Waterstones store nearby, about 20 minutes before the meeting time. Heh :-) We went on to the restaurant, and had a lovely evening of chatting and pizza. And Katie brought me the sweetest gift - a copy of The Buccaneers, which I had tried and failed to find here and another book about the social history of food in NY, which also looks excellent. And they have the American "floppy" binding that I love. I'm actually sitting here flopping them right now :-) Thank you, Katie! I want to start them right now despite the pile of library books. Despite both of us saying we were trying not to add heaps of stuff to our wishlists, I came away with at least three suggestions, one of which I have already requested that the library buy in e form. I had a great evening, and I have today as a day's holiday (finally!) so I am going to try and make some progress with the library books.

37charl08
Jul 14, 7:47am Top

Wow - sounds like a great day. Hope that the TBR lists aren't swooning under the weight there. Enjoy your lazy day. I can't wait until next week - a long weekend in Edinburgh. Bring on the gin and the sitting outside in the sunshine :-)

38Familyhistorian
Jul 14, 9:25am Top

Trust two LTers to meet in the local bookstore before time. Too perfect!

39BLBera
Jul 14, 10:08am Top

It sounds like a good time, Susan. Have a great day off.

40luvamystery65
Jul 14, 2:57pm Top

Howdy Susan! I love that you Katie were able to meet up.

41lkernagh
Jul 14, 6:43pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

>20 susanj67: - I am taking a BB for the Schmidt book. I read Maplecroft a few years back, which is another fictional account of Lizzie Borden, but not of the actual killing. Maplecroft is more an alternate reality store set after the parents' death. I will keep in mind that you found the Schmidt book pretty gory at times.

I love how you and Katie meet up in the bookstore and not in front of the National Gallery as planned. ;-)

42Ameise1
Jul 15, 7:09am Top

It sounds like you had a fabulous meetup. Happy weekend, Susan.

43susanj67
Jul 15, 9:18am Top

>37 charl08: Charlotte, some of the wishlist has been transferred to actual books, so the blanket box beside my chair is taking the strain. Details below...

>38 Familyhistorian: Meg, yes, it was pretty funny :-)

>39 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I had a lovely day of pottering. There may also have been a nap.

>40 luvamystery65: Roberta, it was great fun! We missed you, though :-(

>41 lkernagh: Lori, I hope you like the Schmidt book. It doesn't get great reviews here on LT, but it really caught my interest. I am wondering now what the odds of finding an LTer in any large bookshop in the world are at a given time :-)

>42 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara!

Yesterday I bumped into the guy who lives next door with the Queen of Shopping, and he told me that they were moving out today. I didn't admit to knowing this already due to all the packaging supplies that have been arriving for them. It's not that I pay attention to other people's post because I don't get much of my own...oh, OK, it is. But parcels are right there in the foyer for everyone to see. Anyway, he apologised in advance for all the noise they would be making today (particularly with the lift still out) so I decided to go down to Greenwich and see Death on the Ice, which is the brand new exhibition at the Maritime Museum about the Franklin expedition. It's *excellent* - I recommend it to anyone looking for something museumy. Afterwards I walked back through the foot tunnel and up the Isle of Dogs, with a plan to go to the supermarket. However, I thought I'd just pop in to the little library branch at Cubitt Town first, because I'd noticed that When She Woke, one of Katie's recommendations, was on the shelf there in the catalogue. And it was! At the back of my mind I remembered there was something else there that I meant to get next time I was passing, and it was Judith Flanders' A Murder of Magpies, which Charlotte liked. So that's Katie and Charlotte fairly and squarely to blame. I'm not sure who I can blame for Crusoe's Island: A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness, which I found in the 980s when I was looking for a book about the Arctic (it turns out those are in the 910s). But anyway...Now I have seven library books to be getting with.

I got home to a letter from the credit card company for my never-used emergency card, saying that they'd been sending my cards to an alternative address but from August had to start sending them to the address on the letter. Alarmed, I wondered what was going on, but noticed that somehow the postcode for my address had subtly changed on their letter. I don't know when it happened, but the last card I received was years ago, presumably before the change on their system, and it must now register as a "different" address, even though the rest of it is entirely the same. So anyone with a Barclaycard who gets a similar letter, don't be alarmed (necessarily) but check that they haven't made up a new postcode for you.

44susanj67
Jul 15, 12:46pm Top



90. The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

This is subtitled "Autobiography of a Trial", so I hoped it would be about the legal process but much of it was woo-woo, and the author was really annoying. It started well (Katie, this is the point at which I mentioned it on Thursday) but ultimately didn't amount to what I had hoped.

Today I've read a chunk of Collecting the World, which is my main focus at the moment. I'm going to start The Outcasts of Time this evening, though.

45Berly
Jul 15, 12:52pm Top

Susan--Hurray for the fun meet-up and very fitting that you found each other early in the bookstore. ; ) Happy reading and weekend!

46BLBera
Jul 15, 2:44pm Top

I also loved the Flanders books, Susan, so good choice.

It also sounds like you got some steps in.

47susanj67
Jul 17, 7:21am Top

>45 Berly: Thanks Kim! It was a great few days.

>46 BLBera: Excellent, Beth. That's a three-way blame apportionment :-) The weekend was pretty steppy, which I was pleased about.



91. The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

This is the first of Ian Mortimer's novels written under his own name (he is also James Forrester). He is better known for his Time Travellers' Guides series, and Centuries of Change, which I thought was excellent. This one took a while to get going, and even a couple of hundred pages in I didn't *love* it. But I kept reading, and by the end I thought it had been a good read. The main character, with his brother, has the plague in 1348, and, in return for selling his soul (maybe), is allowed to live for six more days, but each day is 99 years ahead of the day before. It's a survey of what was happening in a particular area through the centuries, and I did *not* see the twist at the end coming (even though the Guardian review suggests that it was pretty clear what was going to happen). It was meticulously researched, but I think that I prefer the author's NF work, although I will look for the James Forrester books.

48LorisBook
Jul 17, 8:03am Top

A Bookstore is a great place to meet up. I wonder how many people first encounter their soulmate at a Bookstore?

49Fourpawz2
Jul 17, 10:34am Top

>43 susanj67: - So envious of your trip to the museum to see that exhibition about the Franklin expedition. I find the voyages to explore the Arctic really fascinating - especially when they didn't go right. (Sorry - I am a ghoul.) Dan Simmons' The Terror and The Arctic Grail by Pierre Berton really got me very interested in the Franklin mess. You lucky girl!

I, too, am a noticer of other people's mail. Hey - I've got functional eyes and if you leave your stuff around I'm going to at least glance at it. Won't pick it up and shake the box or rip your envelopes open, but I will look. I have no life - what can I say?

50charl08
Jul 17, 3:41pm Top

Hope mail order couple encourage the clompingtons to move on too...

I've got The Outcasts of Time on library reserve. Not sure now...

51susanj67
Jul 18, 4:15am Top

>48 LorisBook: Hi Lori - welcome to LT! I like the way that bookstores always give you something to do if you're waiting.

>49 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, thanks for those book titles. I tried to find something about the expedition at the library, but no luck. I did read Hampton Sides' book about the USS Jeanette last year, I think, and that was good. Part of the exhibition was about how Parks Canada had found the ships after extensive efforts by the English in earlier years had failed. Once they listened to local Inuit, they found the site pretty quickly. Here's a link to the Canadian page for the expedition - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/franklin I suspected the exhibition had been on in Canada first because the audio clips were available to listen to in English or an Inuit language. I couldn't imagine many people in London pressing that second button, although I was tempted.

>50 charl08: Charlotte, I also hope that, as part of my greater hope that both flats are bought as "buy to leave" by wealthy foreigners. I know that's a terrible thing to think but still... It turned out that next door moved last night, because they were mid-move when I got home and it didn't seem to be going that well. I'd keep the book on reserve and see what you think. It's a pretty quick read.

I'm supposed to be attending a meeting via Loop-Up shortly. This befuddles me. However, I can at least try, and if it doesn't work I will get someone else to tell me what happened. It's a techie thing about our new intranet, so I won't actually have anything to contribute...

52BLBera
Jul 18, 9:01am Top

Hi Susan - The premise of The Outcasts of Time sounds promising. Too bad it didn't deliver.

Good luck with your new neighbors.

53susanj67
Jul 18, 9:13am Top

>52 BLBera: Beth, I don't want to sound like too much of a downer on The Outcasts of Time. By the end, I could see what he was trying to do. I just didn't *love* it. But you are better at reading literary books than I am, so I may have just missed something. I'm not sure what's happening with the flat next door yet - with no lift at the moment there are 96 steps to walk up every time you come home, so I don't think it will be super-easy to re-let, particularly as we also have scaffolding going up for 10 weeks of repainting etc on the outside of the building. I'm hoping to have the floor all to myself for a while :-)

I got my Sahara badge from Fitbit last night, which was lovely :-)

54Familyhistorian
Jul 18, 10:11am Top

>43 susanj67: The Judith Flanders mysteries are really good. I hope you enjoy the first one.

I have been interested in the Franklin Expedition since grade school - they were lost in this country after all. I saw an exhibit about the expedition in Vancouver last year. Did the one you saw have stuff about the discovery of the Erabus? Some of the neat looking subs used in the discovery came from a company in Port Coquitlam - which is right next door to where I live.

55katiekrug
Jul 18, 10:31am Top

How did your Loop-Up meeting go? We use it at work, and I love it.

56susanj67
Jul 18, 12:23pm Top

>54 Familyhistorian: Meg, yes they did have a section on the discovery, including the ship's bell, and a video about how they'd found it and details of what the conservation people were doing. It was really well put together, and some of the things recovered from the wrecks were still in pretty good condition, considering.

>55 katiekrug: Katie, I don't love it :-) I dialled in, but didn't have a meeting code, so couldn't see the slides. Then finally they read out the code because heaps of people had asked what it was, but by then the guy had waffled on for about ten minutes saying nothing at all, so I hung up because emails were coming in. It's been one of those days... I'll read the handout when it's available. People set up so many meetings when really they need to send a short memo.

Tomorrow the entryphone people are coming, and I was going to take the day off, but not any more :-( I'll have to text the porter to ask them to come ASAP in the morning, and then hustle myself into the office. We haven't had an entryphone system for nearly a year, which *has* eliminated the food delivery people roaming the building at all hours, but finally they are putting a new one in, so I get a new unit for my wall and a new set of instructions to puzzle over.

57souloftherose
Jul 18, 1:05pm Top

>36 susanj67: Woo hoo for meetups!

58katiekrug
Jul 18, 1:26pm Top

>56 susanj67: - Ugh. Is it Friday yet?

59ronincats
Jul 18, 1:58pm Top

A little late on your new thread, Susan. Hurrah for a fine meet-up experience!

60charl08
Jul 18, 2:34pm Top

Now I'm intrigued by Loop Up.

Cough cough.

>58 katiekrug: The important question.

I know what you mean about buy to leave. Usually the children either side are charming, but when the small footballers start kicking the ball against the fence when I'm trying to read, I think affectionately of the period when their predecessors were just trying to sell and were hardly ever there...

61susanj67
Edited: Jul 19, 7:44am Top

>57 souloftherose: Heather, woo-hoo indeed!

>58 katiekrug: Katie, sadly not. But tomorrow's Thursday, if that helps.

>59 ronincats: Hi Roni!

>60 charl08: Charlotte, I can see that if it worked properly, and the meeting chair was someone who actually knew how to run a meeting, it could be useful. Sadly neither of those elements was present yesterday.

I'm sitting here drinking black coffee, partly because I've given up dairy, and the machine doesn't yet vend nut milk options :-) but partly because I got virtually NO sleep last night. At 9pm, someone knocked on my door. I don't open the door to anyone I don't know, so I ignored it. But I heard voices in the foyer, so I got up and peeped out of the spyhole, which is something neither Gabriel Allon nor Jack Reacher would approve of, but I thought an actual trained assassin was probably unlikely. It turned out that the boyfriend of the Queen of Shopping was standing there, on speakerphone. No, I have no idea why. He was assuring someone that their flat was now empty, but then he started to sound a bit cagey. There was some reason he couldn't get inside it, but I didn't hear what that was. The call ended, and there was more knocking. Srsly, in what universe do men think it's a good idea to knock on the doors of women who live alone (a) at any time but particularly (b) late at night? The only reason I could think of would be if the building was on fire, and even then I would expect him to shout Hey, fire.

I decided to go to bed at that point, as the spying meant I'd stopped watching my TV programme. Later, there was MORE KNOCKING. Then relative peace, until I was woken up at 11.30 by the doors between the foyer and stairs banging constantly. You have to go through two doors (right next to my bedroom) and if you don't shut them quietly, they bang shut. Bang-bang! Bang-bang! UNTIL 3AM. Clearly the flat was not empty at all, and they were hurriedly clearing the rest of their stuff out. This morning I heard YET MORE NOISE and saw him in the foyer with a lady who looked like she was a cleaner, so evidently that was the end-of-tenancy clean about to start. On the other side of the building the scaffolders were busy (and noisy) and I still had the entryphone people to deal with. Fortunately I was able to rustle them up pretty quickly, and it only took ten minutes for them to fit the new unit. The chap demonstrated its features, which now include a colour picture!! and a button to turn it off, which means I will never be bothered again with leafleters or people trying to get me to take in random parcels for someone who isn't at home. I will only turn it on when I'm expecting someone, which is almost never :-) Now I get to try and stay awake all day, but at least it's quiet at my desk...

62BekkaJo
Jul 19, 6:24am Top

Sending black coffee vibes - that sounds like an awful night!

63thornton37814
Jul 19, 7:50am Top

>61 susanj67: Sympathies. When I lived in a townhouse, I had bad neighbors who were renting the next unit from the owners. I was so happy to see them move out! Here's hoping you have better neighbors next go-round.

64charl08
Jul 19, 8:36am Top

Yikes. I will never complain about the kids next door again.
Well, maybe not until next week, anyway.
I wonder if they got their deposit back?!

65susanj67
Jul 19, 9:13am Top

>62 BekkaJo: Bekka, it's not often I'm desperate to get into the office for some peace and quiet :-)

>63 thornton37814: Lori, overall they were OK, although neither of them could close any door quietly. It was annoying when they got home in the small hours and slammed their front door, or left for the airport (I assume) at 5am and slammed it. But they weren't otherwise noisy, or with lots of visitors or bad habits. The door knocking bemuses me, though, because this is London and People Don't Do That.

>64 charl08: Charlotte, I think overall the kids would be worse, because it's all the time. They do grow up, though. The former upstairs neighbours (pensioners, wearing slippers, on carpet - i.e. the world's best neighbours) used to have their grandsons for the school holidays sometimes, and I was sure I could see the building shaking as they jumped around. But soon enough they were slouchy teenagers, staring at video games with their headphones on "and talking to strangers all over the world", Mr Upstairs used to say, amazed.

I'm still awake, now assisted by the M&S version of Jaffa Cakes, in lemon & lime flavour. I don't know how they can call them jaffa cakes, but they're lovely. And just £1.50 for TWO boxes! I am going to save one for tomorrow. Of course.

66RebaRelishesReading
Jul 19, 10:02pm Top

>61 susanj67: Yuck!! What an awful night! I do like that you can turn your entry phone off. We don't often have trouble but sometimes people just call to be annoying or to see if someone will let them in, perhaps to roam the halls and see if anyone left their door unlocked. It would be nice to be able to leave it off unless someone was expected.

Hope you're getting a wonderful night's sleep as I write and than tomorrow will be kind to make up for it all.

67ronincats
Jul 19, 10:58pm Top

Sounds like a miserable night, Susan. I hope you are having a good night's sleep as I type. Oops, Reba just said that, but I mean it all the same.

68susanj67
Jul 20, 4:38am Top

>66 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba ;-) I am delighted with that entryphone feature, which I pressed as soon as I got home last night. We get endless leafleters and delivery people, and I wasn't looking forward to having all that start up again. Last night was very quiet. Bliss!

>67 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I think they've well and truly moved out now, and I'm all alone. There are only two flats on my floor. I'm keeping an eye on the sale and rental listings to see if I can see it, but nothing so far. Yesterday I had a terrible thought and ventured onto Airbnb, but there was no sign of it there either. Whew! The landlady bought it to live in, but then found herself expecting an unplanned happy event, so she moved out to somewhere bigger. I think the happy event would only be about eight now, so she won't be moving back in.

Progress on the reading front has not been stellar, and I had to renew a library book, and today all the new history mags have come out on Readly, so that's quite a quandary. I've discovered another magazine app through my library, called Zinio, which would be worth a look by anyone who likes magazines. I can't get it on the Fire, but it's available on i devices and Android and for Windows 8.1 or 10, so I'm going to try it out when I get my new Surface Pro. It seems to have most of the magazines I have recently taken up, and it's *free* via the library, which is flat-out amazing. Meanwhile, I've extended my interests to World of Animals, the Oldie, the Spectator, How It Works, New York magazine and several numerous others.

69BLBera
Jul 20, 3:07pm Top

Sorry about your bad night, Susan. I hope they are really gone? Anyway, good luck and sweet dreams tonight.

Congrats on your Sahara badge. That is my last one as well. It's a long gap to the next one, I think.

70charl08
Jul 20, 3:28pm Top

Hey Susan, hope you've got a quiet night tonight. I have overestimated my ability to garden and am now completely pooped. Will sleep well tonight I think.

I am still trying the LRB and the TLS. I never read all of both, but like different bits about both (but usually not the politics articles in either!). The new TLS has a lovely Austen cover.

71Helenliz
Jul 20, 4:13pm Top

Hoping you have a quieter night and your next neighbours are no worse than your previous ones.
The advantages of a detached house, we can have a nice loud shouty row and disturb no-one >;-)

72susanj67
Jul 21, 4:30am Top

>69 BLBera: Thanks Beth. They have gone - I know this because there is a parcel in the foyer for the Queen of Shopping and it's been there a couple of days now. I was thrilled with the Sahara badge, and maybe even a tiny bit motivated to work towards the next one. I got my Cloud badge for stairs climbed a while ago, but the stair tracker function credits me with endless flights I haven't actually climbed, so I couldn't feel too proud about that one.

>70 charl08: Charlotte, issue 5 of the BBC World Histories magazine is out now, just in case you were interested :-) I see you're nearly away to Scotland - yay!

>71 Helenliz: Helen, last night someone was letting off fireworks in the street (doubly annoying because I know they will have been paid for with my taxes) but only for about half an hour after I went to bed, which gave me an excuse to read some more chapters of He Knew He Was Right. There were some very upset dogs, though. One BANG in particular set them all off, although it didn't sound any different to the others to me. Temperamentally, I definitely need a detached house in the middle of a large field, with an electric fence around it :-)

At least the scaffolding seems to be finished on my building (there are two more to go), so I no longer need to worry about scaffolders seeing me in my jammies. At some point the people doing the painting etc will start, but I'm not sure when that will be, and I doubt they will start as early in the morning as the scaffolders.

73charl08
Jul 21, 6:33am Top

Errors have been made. News you don't want to hear as you are about to get on a train: today is the busiest day to go on holiday...!

74Ameise1
Jul 22, 10:12am Top

Happy weekend, Susan.

75susanj67
Edited: Jul 23, 5:35am Top

>73 charl08: Charlotte, oh dear. I hope it all worked out.

>74 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara!



92. Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane by James Delbourgo

This is about Sir Hans Sloane, remembered now in the names of Sloane Square, Sloane Street etc, but better-known during his own lifetime as a society doctor and collector of interesting things from all over the world. His collection formed the basis of the British Museum when it was created in the 1750s, with the idea that it should be open to all. Well, not exactly "all" - people who could write for tickets and attend during working hours. So not working people. But eventually that changed, until it is now mobbed at all hours (my commentary there, not the author's).

Sloane led an interesting life, although the author does tend to look back from today's viewpoint and criticise him for e.g. not acknowledging the slaves who had collected a lot of the materials that were sent to him, rather missing the point that if slaves had been seen as people instead of nameless drudges there wouldn't have been slavery. But, things like that aside, it's an excellent read, looking not just at what Sloane collected, but at how his collection, and collecting generally, fitted into the cultural and political life at the time.

I might now turn to a quick novel, if I can tear myself away from "Ozark", which landed on Netflix yesterday. It is AWESOME. And I'm half-way through the series already :-)

76BLBera
Jul 23, 12:49pm Top

>75 susanj67: Sounds interesting. Also, off to check to see if "Ozark" is available here.

77susanj67
Jul 23, 1:51pm Top

>76 BLBera: Beth, it will be. It's a Netflix Original, so everyone got it on Friday. I've now watched all the first series...(ten episodes). Heh. So much for my "read all weekend" weekend.

78susanj67
Jul 24, 9:20am Top

Return one book. That's all I had to do. Return. One. Book.

But I noticed that the display of yellow books in the window had changed into white books, which tipped me off to a change in all the displays, which led to wanton grabbing of shiny new things, which in turn led me to the issue desk, which in turn led FLA to say "Happy reading!" as he checked them all out for me.



How are we getting on with the extra days between Friday/Saturday and Sunday/Monday, btw?

79charl08
Jul 24, 4:23pm Top

I got a seat and the toddlers kept quiet, so I am calling it a win.

Not sure where all the new books are going to live though...

80susanj67
Jul 25, 4:31am Top

>79 charl08: Charlotte, OMG there were toddlers? You were so brave :-) FOR and his wife are taking the mini-FORs up to Scotland over the summer, to the other grandparents. This is their first time with two children. He is worried. I asked why, when there is one grown-up for each mini-FOR and he explained that that wasn't enough, as a ratio. I think the little boy requires two, which leaves the baby...

I got home last night, peered out of the window to see if I'm being decorated yet (no) and set about reading seriously because of All The Books. OK, I watched an episode of Friends From College over dinner, as they're only 30 minutes long. But, overall, I made solid progress with my spy book. I don't know why I'm reading so much about spies at the moment - possibly a subconscious build-up to the new Daniel Silva novel which is on its way to me.

81susanj67
Jul 25, 6:46am Top

Ooh, a cool new thing! I was reading the LT email, and there is now a way of finding out the distribution of your library using the Dewey Decimal System (sort of). Here's mine: https://www.librarything.com/profile/susanj67/stats/ddc If you don't get the newsletter with the link it it, replace "susanj67" in the link I have pasted with your own membername.

82BLBera
Jul 25, 10:12am Top

>81 susanj67: That is very cool, Susan. I am all over the 800s!

83charl08
Jul 25, 10:42am Top

I like that a lot Susan. Fun to compare with the average LT holdings too. My books about books wishlist makes my library studies section look very healthy.

84susanj67
Jul 26, 4:28am Top

>82 BLBera: Beth, that doesn't surprise me!

>83 charl08: Charlotte, I like the comparison feature too. And if you click on any particular bar, it lists the books you have for that category. (I didn't work that out till later - it may be obvious to others :-))



93. The Anatomy of a Traitor by Michael Smith

What makes people betray their countries? The author looks at the expected answers, and some that are less expected. Although much of it is historic, there is a little bit about Edward Snowden (thought by some to be a Russian agent, whatever he may say) and a fascinating section in the conclusion about whether the Trump camp are in fact unconscious Russian agents. If you're really into spying, this may not have much that is new, but I'm not, and I found it interesting.



94. He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

This was a reread for me, which I almost never do, but the Group Read thread is excellent. There was lots about this that I'd forgotten, although it was a delight to revisit Jemima Stanbury, who is one of my three favourite Trollope characters (so far). But, as with other Victorian novels, what always annoys me is the way (and a bit of a spoiler alert here) that people fade away and die of *nothing* (physical). It happened here, and it happened in Bleak House, which I read earlier in the year. In both cases, fit and healthy young men get a bee in their bonnets about something, and slowly expire, even though there is nothing else wrong with them. They don't commit suicide. They just...die. It doesn't happen now. Did it actually happen then? Or were Victorian readers also thinking OMG what are these people dying of? But, that aside, this was a great read.

85FAMeulstee
Jul 26, 8:23am Top

>81 susanj67: Yes, cool new tool, Susan, I tried immediately. Most results are in the 800s, it took some time to find Dutch literature, as it is lumped under German...

86susanj67
Jul 26, 8:55am Top

>85 FAMeulstee: Anita, I suspect the Netherlands is a bit like NZ - always lumped in with something else due to being so small. Boo!

Squillions of new books have appeared in the library e-catalogue. Oh no. Only one reserve so far, but we know me...

I did, however, return my spy book to the actual library and managed not to take anything else out, although I found myself having a good look at the 300s. Srsly? said the logical part of my brain, but the bit controlling my feet seemed to be out to lunch, and wouldn't hurry them away.

87Crazymamie
Jul 26, 9:04am Top

>81 susanj67: Very cool, Susan! And The Anatomy of a Traitor looks interesting, so I'm adding that to my list.

88charl08
Edited: Jul 26, 2:28pm Top

Spy book sounds great Susan. Impressed you resisted the new books : I've just picked up five books on the reserve shelf. Spoilt for choice, I've got no idea what to pick up next. Strange the Dreamer was not my usual fare but I loved it : a hero librarian, on a quest. Wonderful: now tempted to go through her back catalogue. The tbr groans.

89susanj67
Jul 27, 4:19am Top

>87 Crazymamie: Mamie, I think you'll like it. There are some amazing stories of people getting away with it for ridiculous amounts of time. I'm not sure that would be the same today with all the new means of surveillance.

>88 charl08: Charlotte, I did see FLA and wondered whether I could just surrender my library card for a week or two, to avoid temptation, but he *actively encourages* the taking out of many books. When I need to pick a next one from the pile, I look at what's not available for renewal, and read one of those :-) I've heard of Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone was getting a lot of attention a few years back, but I haven't read any of hers.

90susanj67
Jul 27, 7:01am Top

Ooh, great deal alert: Verso has 90% off all their ebooks until tomorrow night https://www.versobooks.com/

91charl08
Jul 27, 7:04am Top

>90 susanj67: noooo.....

92susanj67
Jul 27, 7:38am Top

>91 charl08: Charlotte, don't worry - I've bought enough for at least two people, maybe more.

93charl08
Jul 27, 7:40am Top

Crumbs, that's going to keep you busy for a week or two!

94susanj67
Jul 27, 7:45am Top

>93 charl08: And I took one out of my basket when I saw that I'd actually bought it in the last sale. There's also one on my Verso shelf that I'd dismissed as too hard this time round. Yikes.

95majleavy
Jul 27, 11:14am Top

>92 susanj67: Planet of Slums is an excellent book, though Davis can be dry and maybe a little pedantic. I use a chapter of it in my 12th grade English class (and the kids hate it).

Oh, I may not have ever posted on your thread before. Hi, I'm Michael.

96BLBera
Jul 27, 1:02pm Top

Enabler - posting the link...

97charl08
Jul 28, 3:15am Top

>94 susanj67: I've still got three from them to read, so will try to be strong...

98susanj67
Edited: Jul 30, 8:07am Top

>95 majleavy: Hi Michael, and welcome to my thread :-) Verso's output does tend toward the pedantic, so I'm nearly used to it. It's good to know that the book is worth the read, though.

>96 BLBera: Beth! After all the BBs I pick up from your thread!

>97 charl08: Charlotte, I hope you managed.

The week was nuts, and I worked part of yesterday, but then I picked up the new Daniel Silva novel from the library...



95. A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin

This is apparently a classic (maybe a classic of its kind). Written in the 1980s, it's about a Labour leader who disapproves of nuclear weapons, wants to throw the US military out of the country etc and is considered unelectable...until he is elected. It's about what the Establishment does next. I can see why it's had a resurgence in popularity recently! This was a Kindle book, so I actually get to add another book to the Mount TBR ticker.



96. Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy by Tim Harford

This is a great read - short chapters on the 50 things that have made the modern economy, but they're not always the things you might think. And it's not just a random assortment - the author groups them together by theme. I won't give any more away, but if you like economics/anthropology books, you will love this.



97. House of Spies by Daniel Silva

Aaah, July, which must mean it's time for the new Gabriel Allon novel. This arrived at the library on Friday but I literally couldn't get out of the office in time to pick it up. I got it yesterday instead, and I've just finished it. This time Saladin, the ISIS supremo who appeared in the last book, has struck again, in the heart of the West End, killing hundreds. He needs to be found and disposed of once and for all. It's an excellent read, with all the usual characters running around killing people, but it's a tiny bit depressing to read about terror attacks in London - sort of like a fictitious version of the life I am actually living, although Silva has them kill far more people than I think they are capable of. These people are not clever. If they were, they wouldn't be trying to return the world to the seventh century. They are life's losers, hitting out against the West because it is smarter and more civilised, and they are nothing without their repressive lifestyle, subjugation of women and no-one challenging them. Silva gets in subtle digs against countries (including the UK) that harbour them, and the tech companies that allow them to communicate so freely. (Weirdly, I stopped reading to listen to Sheryl Sandberg on Desert Island Discs this morning, and that was one of the issues that the presenter asked her about). If you haven't read a Gabriel Allon novel before then obviously you should start at the beginning of the series, but it won't take you long to binge-read your way through them and get up to date :-)

99Ameise1
Jul 30, 8:20am Top

Happy Sunday, Susan. I took a Gabriel Allon to my currently holiday in France. I really enjoy this series.

100charl08
Jul 30, 4:34pm Top

Just saw Lenin's application for a library pass. I was disappointed once I realized it wasn't signed 'Lenin '. D'oh.

That book was Falling in bed with the Duke. I need to not read any more by this author. Her language bugs me and I think its just my personal thing. This was the example I could remember enough to find again "Maybe he was uttering the same words... ". Really? Utter? Just felt like she had a dictionary at her side.

101BLBera
Jul 30, 5:14pm Top

>98 susanj67: Darn it! I'm trying to not start new series, but the Silva one sounds good...

102susanj67
Jul 31, 3:49am Top

>99 Ameise1: Barbara, it's my very favourite :-)

>100 charl08: Charlotte, it sounds like the exhibition was good! Thanks for the warning about the Duke book.

>101 BLBera: Beth, it's definitely a great one to start :-) There are 17 books now, and I've been caught up for about the last six years. Before that, there was a lot of binge-reading.

I was reading the Spectator on the bus this morning and thinking I liked the book reviews, when I came across this: "Like his murder mystery Curtain Call, the first in this loose trilogy (although each novel stands splendidly alone)..."

Oh dear. More people reading stuff out of order. (The book was Eureka by Anthony Quinn, btw, but obviously I need to start with Curtain Call. OBVIOUSLY.) Anyway, no reading for fun for me for a bit - a super-busy week looms. It may even involve dinner eaten in the office. Aaargh.

103charl08
Jul 31, 5:02am Top

>102 susanj67: I'm reading my comment back and thinking 'what on earth was I getting so wound up about'? Nonetheless Lorraine Heath is on my no thanks list for the future. The Russian exhibit was fascinating - very different to the one we went to, much more text based (although also some posters and films). The shop was Very Dangerous. I should avoid that in future.

104susanj67
Aug 1, 4:26am Top

>103 charl08: Charlotte, that wasn't wound up :-) Inside my head, things are far more wound up than that :-) I should visit the exhibition, which I see is on until the end of the month. Oooh, I sense a Plan forming...

No books last night as I watched a Horizon documentary on driverless cars, and for the first time I thought they might actually be something (properly developed) that I might not live to see, which was weird. There are all sorts of things I will not live to see like e.g. colonies on Mars, but this seems so close, and yet quite far away as there is still so much to be done on making them foolproof. Other tech seems to arrive in a "Ta-da!" way (like smartphones), pretty good from the get-go. But driverless cars are still pretty much at the "man with a red flag walking in front of them" stage. It was an excellent programme, though, and I particularly liked the way that they had lots of women commenting in it. Then I watched a BBC Four documentary about typefaces, and specifically Johnston and Gill Sans, which are all around us. I love the BBC.

More library books have arrived on reserve. I know this is my fault, for reserving them, but still...

105Helenliz
Aug 2, 1:47pm Top

>104 susanj67: I saw the driverless car doc as well. I'm not sure how much I'd trust it, I find automatic windscreen wipers to be annoying!

And I recorded the type face programme. I adore BBC4, it's erudite, quirky and has a sense of humour.

106charl08
Aug 2, 2:37pm Top

Will look out for the doc - hadn't heard of that one.

Did you see the documentary last night about a kindergarten in an old peoples' home? So cute.

107Berly
Aug 2, 8:21pm Top

>81 susanj67: Oh! The Dewey Decimal breakdown is so much fun! Thanks or sharing that.

108susanj67
Aug 3, 4:41am Top

>105 Helenliz: Helen, I haven't been in a car for so long that I was amazed at all the things they can already do! In New Zealand in 2014 (probably my last car experience) my Dad's car had a rear parking camera and you didn't need a key, or didn't need it all the time, or something.

>106 charl08: Charlotte, it's a good one. I didn't see the one about the OAPs, but it got a great review in the Guardian, so I will look for it on 4seven, or maybe even try the app on the Kindle. Ooh.

>107 Berly: Hi Kim! Yes, I thought it was fun too. I was surprised at all my books from the 200s, until I realised that I only had four. The bars look so big!

Finally, another finish in the middle of this ridiculous week:



98. A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders

This is the first in a series, and introduces Samantha Clair, an editor with a publishing house, who finds herself involved in a mystery. I loved the character, and the bits set in the publishing house. But there was a lot about City law firms, and it was just so woefully wrong that the mystery part became totally unbelievable. I'm going to look for the next one in the series and hope it doesn't involve lawyers...

109charl08
Edited: Aug 3, 5:23am Top

Oh noes! The law stuff was wrong? I'm trying to remember the plot of the second and third ones now...

ETA I think you should er, could possibly think about contacting Flanders and offering your services as legal consultant. She could pay you in copies of her copious NF back catalogue maybe?

110BLBera
Aug 3, 10:26am Top

>108 susanj67: Ooh, not good. When I find obvious errors, it sometimes bothers me so much, I can't finish the book.

What's wrong with reading out of order? ;)

I hope your busy work week is going well, and that you see light at the end of the tunnel.

111susanj67
Aug 3, 12:12pm Top

>109 charl08: Charlotte, sadly, yes. For one thing, Sam's mother was 62, and a partner in a City firm. Show me a 62-year-old professional woman in the City and there will be a unicorn in the next office. Also, she referred to her own firm as a "company" (nooooooo!). And then the Thing They Did to get the documents? Um, no. But I did like Sam, and her terrible colleagues :-)

>110 BLBera: Beth, I really only kept going because you and Charlotte liked it, and I did like the main character. Plus I think it was her first novel, so I am hopeful about the others in the series. I know you're kidding in your next sentence, even though I find it slightly hard to breathe...:-) The week is going NUTSILY (hey look, a new word). And it's going to be just as bad for the next three weeks. I did escape briefly to the library at lunchtime where all sorts of books were flaunting themselves in front of me. I did NOT take out the following:

The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock
The Traitors by Josh Ireland (really wanted this)
Do I Make Myself Clear by Harold Evans (and this)
One Hot Summer by Rosemary Ashton (I am a hopeless case)

But I expected to be here late doing something and it turns out that the materials aren't ready yet, so I'm going to go home and READ stuff this evening, and try and make a dent in the library pile.

112PaulCranswick
Aug 4, 6:19pm Top

Catching up in order to wish you a lovely weekend, Susan.

113susanj67
Edited: Aug 5, 9:12am Top

>112 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul, you too.

I have returned from roaming around this morning, and just in time, it seems, because there has just been thunder, and some stern raindrops. I had to bring my hand washing inside, so it should fine up any minute.

The most exciting thing I saw today was (nerd alert) one of the new Crossrail trains. Squee! I knew they had snuck them into service (well, OK, there was a press release, but it only mentioned one train) on the part of the line that is already running, but I hadn't seen one other than on the www Although Crossrail isn't due to open until next year, part of the line already exists and was taken over by Transport for London a couple of years ago and renamed TfL Rail. That was a bit odd because they had bought up a lot of the suburban rail network and turned it into part of the Overground (the orange lines on the map). But then they explained that it was going to be part of Crossrail, and everyone thought ooooh. Of course, it's actually going to be part of the Elizabeth line, which is what we *should* be calling Crossrail, but nobody actually is.

And now I am going to finish a book, and report on it ;-)

114susanj67
Aug 5, 12:54pm Top



99. Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World by James Evans

It is easy to think of the original emigrants to the US as the pilgrims, but James Evans looks at all the other people who also went (far more to Virginia than to New England) in the 1600s. He groups them by theme (Fish, Gold and Smoke, Equality before God, King, Fur, Liberty, Despair) and it's really well done. Also, it will tie in nicely with the book on London in the time of Charles II which I will start shortly. Highly recommended.

115charl08
Aug 5, 3:10pm Top

Sounds good. Wishlisted. I really like books about migrants' stories.

Just started Lincoln in the Bardo after reading several raves about it. I was cursing it earlier as it was a brick to bring home but glad that I did now!

116Ameise1
Aug 6, 4:27am Top

Happy Sunday, Susan.

117Fourpawz2
Aug 6, 9:17am Top

>114 susanj67: - It's gone on your 4th recommendation list.

118susanj67
Aug 7, 4:46am Top

>115 charl08: Charlotte, I wish I knew more about why my family emigrated from the UK. My paternal grandfather went out in the early 1920s, having fought in WWI and I got the impression from my father that it was all a bit bleak after that (and he may have had shell-shock). He picked NZ because a friend went out there, but I suppose he just wanted to go *somewhere*. My paternal grandmother's family went out when she was a child. Her mother's first husband had gone to the US to try and make a home for the family there, but died on the ship in New York harbour. So when her second husband (my great-grandfather) started talking emigration years later, she said anywhere but the US. Once again, there was family already in NZ, which is why they picked NZ, but I'd love to know what made them decide to leave. My library has Lincoln in the Bardo as an ebook. Hmmmm.

>116 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara :-)

>117 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, OMG, a fourth list? :-) It's very good, as is book 100.



100. Caesar's Last Breath by Sam Kean

This is a superb popular science book (although with quite a bit of real science) about the air around us. The title refers to the idea that, even today, we could be inhaling molecules that were exhaled by Julius Caesar, or Shakespeare, or any number of people from thousands of years ago. Every chapter starts with a model of a molecule, and its name, and how many of them there are per million molecules of air, and therefore how many quadrillions of each one we are breathing in every breath. The numbers are astounding, and I feel sure I would need to breathe more deeply in order to get them all, but it's a very clever way of making it relevant. The author has the droll style that I like, and there were literally fascinating facts on every page. Very highly recommended.

I went to the library yesterday to return book 99. "No more books", I told myself firmly as I approached. "No. More. Books." But then I walked in and the very FIRST thing I saw was History of Wolves, which someone has mentioned on here, and it was all brand new and clean and in a display of Booker books. "One book," I told myself slightly less firmly. "Just. One. Book." And I only came out with two - I couldn't resist Harold Evans' Do I Make Myself Clear? I started it on the bus home and it looks like a quicker read than some of the history chunksters.

119BekkaJo
Aug 7, 6:46am Top

Dropping into say hi! Happy Monday - hope the piles of paperwork are less :/

120susanj67
Aug 7, 7:36am Top

>119 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! Today, amazingly, the paperwork has calmed down, in the sense that I am not speed-drafting like last week. It won't last, but I am making the most of today to catch up on things, before another batch of documents arrives tomorrow for review.

121charl08
Aug 7, 9:04am Top

Glad to hear things have calmed down a bit - at work, if not on the reservation shelf / wishlist! I've got a newish copy of History of Wolves out from the library, just trying to finish Lincoln in the Bardo so that I can get to it. I got distracted by the 99p Heyer offer yesterday on the kindle and may have ordered three and read one past my bedtime...

122Helenliz
Aug 7, 2:36pm Top

>118 susanj67: I know what you mean. I have family (about 7 or 8 of my great grandmothers brothers) who left for Australia either side of WW1. I have the passage documents for one of them. But as to why they left, that's sort of missing. They rose to become people of importance, so there's a very interesting post emigration tale there as well.

Well done on book 100! I like the sound of that. Joni Mitchel was right, we are stardust. We are also the remains of other people, which is a little less lyrical.

123susanj67
Aug 7, 2:38pm Top

>121 charl08: Charlotte, well done on the Kindle special!

I have just started The King's City, which is about London at the time of Charles II, and a terrible thing has happened. As I came to the end of the introduction, it said "This book is the third and final part of a series about the reign of Charles II..."

Gargh! Noes! Now I am in quite a quandary.

124charl08
Aug 7, 3:15pm Top

Lol Susan. What a Dilemma!

125susanj67
Edited: Aug 7, 3:36pm Top

>122 Helenliz: Helen, there was an interesting BBC programme maybe last year, looking at families where some had stayed in the UK and some had gone to Australia, and at how they had fared since. I think there were certainly more opportunities in Australia/NZ without the British class system. I doubt I'd have a University degree if I'd been born to my coal-mining ancestors up north. I was pleased to make it to #100, particularly with all the distractions this year.

>124 charl08: Charlotte, I thought I'd try a couple of chapters and it's really good! I'll break my rule and continue with it, but now I need to continue with Pale Rider, which is about the 1918 flu or, as the author says, the greatest disaster of the 20th C, now virtually forgotten in the war narratives.

126SandDune
Aug 7, 4:42pm Top

>125 susanj67: I doubt I'd have a University degree if I'd been born to my coal-mining ancestors up north. I wouldn't count on it - all my ancestors were coal miners (pretty much anyway) and all my generation got degrees - one of my first cousins ended up a university professor. I've studied my family history quite a bit and it's quite suprising what fluctuations there can be in prosperity levels from generation to generation.

127susanj67
Edited: Aug 8, 3:55am Top

>126 SandDune: Rhian, maybe (and maybe in the 80s, when there weren't the fees there are today) but there seems to be a lot of poverty of expectation here, which is very different from NZ (or at least NZ as it was when I was younger - I can't speak for now). The statistics for lawyers in City firms without (a) University-educated parents and (b) private schooling are shocking. Every year we get an email asking us to update our diversity statistics and, while I am still a middle-aged white lady, I can at least tick the box for "first in family to go to university" and "went to state school"!

The Charles II is excellent, and it does seem to be about London mostly, rather than Charles II, so I'm going to continue, although I realise that I will now have to get down off my reading-in-order bandwagon and wave goodbye to it. And Pale Rider is also very good.

128charl08
Aug 8, 7:34am Top

This is what I hate about those stat collecting - there's no subtlety to it. Your educational attainments, whilst of course great, bear no relation on the success of a firm to recruit from those within the UK who historically have not been able to access those jobs. The thing they think they're counting: they're not counting. Unless there's a box for 'where was your education'...?

Re the comments above about not knowing why your family left - obviously hard to work out individual reasons if there aren't any family papers (and sometimes even then), but you could possibly take a good punt at general reasons that were affecting the community. You could track down birth records and (if the right period) online census records and look at what the families were doing, and then do some research / reading into what was happening in those industries at that time. So for example, agricultural trends are pretty straightforward to track in different areas, and if there was a depression in (say) meat prices it would be a good guess that was a push factor. There are also a lot of regional newspapers online for the Victorian period, which would give a good idea about other stuff that was going on (and probably adverts / discussions of the advantages of emigration).

I really like that sort of stuff.
As may be evident from the over-explanation, sorry!

I have it in my head that your family was Scottish, is that right? Or have I got that wrong?
I think I have mentioned Margery Harper before - she's got a book out (great quote from the Proclaimers in the title here) Scotland No More, but there's a book she mentions on her webpage that's planned to come out about NZ (and Scottish migration)

https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/research-enterprise/cultural/centre-for-history/staff/professor-marjory-harper/

And there's this academic blog as well
http://thescottishdiaspora.net/ - I really like the digital museum, with images of dresses and boarding cards http://museum.thescottishdiaspora.net/

129BLBera
Aug 8, 9:43am Top

>114 susanj67: Sounds really good, Susan. I remember hearing stories about when my grandfather first came to America. When I ask students about immigrant stories in their families, many have never heard any. I think the stories are getting lost, which is too bad.

>111 susanj67: I hardly ever read things out of order. :) It's too bad that Flanders didn't do her research about how the legal system works. She's written nonfiction, so it's not as if she doesn't know how.

I hope your work week is manageable. Hooray for library books.

130susanj67
Aug 9, 4:17am Top

>128 charl08: Charlotte, yes, the stats are pretty silly. Also, going to a state school in NZ in the 1980s was no disadvantage - people at my school (decent state) got better marks in our final year than the top girls at the fanciest private girls' school in Auckland. Back then, going private was for social cachet rather than a better education. In London, at least, it's not like that (particularly now). It also bemuses me that people here are discriminated against on the basis of regional accents whereas I, a foreigner, get a free pass despite also having an accent. I think I just fall outside the class system altogether. Thanks for the thoughts on family research - I hadn't considered those. My father's parents were both English (one from London, one from up north). The Scottish side was my mother's, but further back. I do like the sound of that book, though...

>129 BLBera: Beth, I really wish I had asked more questions and paid more attention. I was quite interested in my teens, but never really went far enough. Of course, back then the main source of records was the microfiches at the Mormon church. My mother did a lot about her family, and I'm sure would have loved the internet to find out even more. So far the week is going OK, although it is pouring with rain this morning so I had to get the tube. It wasn't too bad due to school holidays and the fact that Waterloo station has half of its platforms closed, so I think a lot of people must be working from home.

Good heavens - the roomie just arrived at *9.13*!! It turns out she has a meeting at 9.15, so she has disappeared again, unimpressed.

131Fourpawz2
Aug 9, 9:27pm Top

Not a huge science geek, but Caesar's Last Breath sounds really good one, Susan. Onto the latest you-list it goes.

I know why most all of my forbears left home to come here. The last ones to come were my father's maternal grandparents who came here from Quebec Province in the 1890s. I believe they came here for a better job for my great-grandfather. (As he worked off-loading bales of cotton from trains to be used in the cotton mills, I wonder what kind of god-awful job he can have had before.) Likewise I believe my maternal grandmother's father's family came here for economic reasons, too. (Her father was born on the boat trip over from the UK.) And my father's paternal grandfather supposedly left a wife and children in the UK when he came over, but I don't know that he was a strict bigamist; it may have been one of those marriages where they both agreed to part. As for the rest, they appear to have been 17th century religious emigrants. Which leaves my father's paternal grandmother's family. There is no way of knowing what their story was. That great-grandmother was a slick cookie and very deceptive. She was extremely close-mouthed when it came to personal details and absolutely nothing is known about her background. I don't even think that the place she claimed to have come from was where she she actually came from, but that is just a guess.

132susanj67
Aug 10, 4:28am Top

>131 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I love your family stories :-) I am also wondering what a worse job than unloading cotton bales could be. I did see a Portaloo being pumped out this morning, and that would count, but they didn't have them back then... The mysterious great-grandmother sounds like she was hiding something. I wonder what? It's great that you know so much, and you can go back to the 17th century. Even by English standards of Ye Olden Days, that's impressive. I know a bit about my father's side, but nothing about my mother's other than where they originally came from.

133charl08
Aug 10, 4:36am Top

My grandma's family (they have an unusual name, which helps) have got in touch via facebook this past week as they are organising a reunion. Last night I was shown a black and white group photo of old ladies who look weirdly similar to me. There is some debate over who these ladies are though, which amuses me slightly.
I suspect a haphazard attitude to photo-album-keeping may also run in the family...

I also wish I'd asked more questions - or even known that some things existed - I've been shown several photo albums that I had no idea were preserved in the family years after my gran had died, probably because I never showed any interest in them!

134Fourpawz2
Aug 10, 9:02am Top

>132 susanj67: - Pumping out the Portaloo - that's definitely nasty. I'm not sure which is worse - nasty or back-breaking.

I've got a million family stories. I think it's because I was more comfortable with adults when I was a child, so I liked listening - repeatedly - to my mother and her parents talk about all these characters (not all of them family) down through the years. I have fewer stories about my father's sketchy grandmother - but that is not surprising as the woman did not share anything about herself. However I find all the blank spaces in her story fascinating. She definitely was not your ordinary woman of the late 19th - early 20th century.

135Helenliz
Aug 10, 12:05pm Top

I'm tempted to reply along the lines of the Yorkshire men sketch. Pumping out a portaloo? ha! We'd have thought ourselves lucky to have been pumping out a portaloo...

Another fascinated by family stories, both yours and mine. My intriguing one is a great great grandmother was, supposedly, the daughter of an admiral who disapproved of her choice of husband, as he was a wastrel and good for nothing, apparently. So he disowned her. No family fortune there then. As my great grandmother was one of 17, he was certainly good at one thing, at least. >;-)

136susanj67
Aug 11, 4:28am Top

>133 charl08: Charlotte, an unusual name definitely helps. I think all the people in NZ with my weird surname are descended from my grandfather, for example :-) I *do* remember asking questions, and my grandmother used to talk about the trip out to NZ when she was 10, but I found the voyage on a shipping register recently and learned that it arrived in Wellington, which was not where her father and half-brothers had settled. I wish I'd asked how they got from Wellington to the other town, because in 1908 it must have been quite a challenge. But maybe, being a child, she didn't have to worry about things like that and so didn't remember (she did remember the crossing the equator ceremony that they'd had, no doubt because it was fun). The women in my mother's family sound like the ladies in your photos - they pretty much looked identical over three or four generations, like the husbands had had no genetic input whatsoever. The only way I could tell them apart was by their outfits and hairstyles :-)

>134 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I think nasty might be worse :-) I also used to listen hard as a child, but people mostly seemed to be talking about recent stuff, or people who didn't interest me. There was still some pretty good gossip, though :-)

>135 Helenliz: Helen, I hope she didn't regret the husband in that case, although I suppose if you're one of 17 it's easier to give up your inheritance than if you were one of two!



101. Ulverton by Adam Thorpe

Oof. I should have known when this turned up as a Vintage classic that it would be very hard. And it was, or at least it took me a long time to get through it. It's 12 stories about a place called Ulverton, which is in Berkshire (in the book - it's not a real place) and the stories run from just after the Civil War until 1988. It's cleverly done, and the writing is gorgeous, but it's hard. One chapter was entirely a stream of consciousness in dialect, so I had to give up on that one. The others were better, but I'm sure I missed things, although I did notice certain family names and events recurring. It's probably the sort of book that benefits from careful study and much rereading, which I won't be doing. Still, at least I'll know what people are talking about when I see it mentioned, because apparently it's quite famous. Oddly, when I tried to add it to my library I got a message saying there was no such book. I changed my library source choice from Amazon to the British Library, and *then* it appeared. Hmmm.

137BLBera
Aug 11, 10:00am Top

>136 susanj67: Interesting, Susan. I have never heard of that book. When was it originally published?

Some of my relatives are interested in genealogy, so on my dad's side, we have information that goes back a bit. I suspect my mom's German cousins may have more info on the history of her family.

138susanj67
Aug 11, 11:05am Top

>137 BLBera: Beth, it was published in 1992 originally. My copy was the 20th anniversary "classic" reissue. I'd like to see if the library has more by the author - perhaps when I don't have quite the giant pile of library books all waiting to be read. Hmmm - I wonder when that will be.

139SandDune
Edited: Aug 11, 11:40am Top

I've done quite a lot of family history and what surprises me is that quite a lot of people who emigrated didn't like it and came back again. I'd always tended to assume it was a one way trip before I started looking into genealogy!

140BLBera
Aug 11, 12:03pm Top

>138 susanj67: Good luck with the library books, Susan. I was so proud that my pile was down to five, and then I got the notice that five were waiting for me. :)

>139 SandDune: That is interesting, Rhian. We don't hear too often about people going back.

141susanj67
Aug 11, 12:26pm Top

>139 SandDune: Rhian, I've only realised recently that people came back, and it surprised me, particularly the people who travelled between the UK and US (more than once) in the 1600s. Not a trip I'd have thought anyone wanted to make on those tiny ships! None of my family came back, although my grandmother had older half-siblings, and one went to the US instead of NZ, while one stayed here. The others went out to NZ with her father. That makes me wonder just how many kids there were in that family... My English grandfather was the only one of his siblings to go to NZ, which must have been very lonely, really. His friend went out first and wrote back to say that things were OK and there was plenty of work, and he'd got my grandfather a job in a roading gang, working with him in the King Country (an area in the middle of the North Island, rugged even today - goodness knows what it must have been like in the 1920s cutting roads through the bush). But when my grandfather arrived, he discovered that his friend had been killed the day before in an accident at work, so he knew no-one at all.

>140 BLBera: Beth, a couple were holding me up, I think. It was good to finish Ulverton and get it out of the house. I've just renewed the Charles II book to avoid getting a pre-overdue notice tomorrow (grrrr) but that will be my focus for the weekend. That, and the book about the flu. Plague in one book, flu in the other - what a cheery weekend I will have :-)

142SandDune
Aug 11, 3:02pm Top

>141 susanj67: I suppose I'm thinking more about later 19th century emigrants as you can track their progress by the record of where their children were born in the census. I've got one family on my father's side who were born in South Wales, emigrated to the US (Pennsylvania) where their eldest children were born, returned to South Wales for several years where they had some more children, and then returned to the US for good. On my mother's side we've got people who went to Canada, stayed a few years and had children, and then the whole family returned to South Wales where they spent the rest of their lives (apart from one daughter's year or so in Argentina). Both of these were in the later part of the nineteenth century.

143PaulCranswick
Aug 12, 5:42am Top

>142 SandDune: My lot sort of came the other way. My maternal great grandfather and great grandmother eloped from Donegal - one part catholic and one part protestant and avoided Glasgow and Liverpool worried about the families hunting them down. My great grandfather settled on the Yorkshire coalfields as a place to call home.

Have a great weekend, Susan.

144susanj67
Aug 12, 11:11am Top

>142 SandDune: Rhian, I wonder whether the returnees are largely hidden from view because the narratives (both fictional and real) focus on the people who were poor and desperate, scraped together every last penny, endured the awful voyages in steerage and then *had* to make a success of things because they had no other option. All the dramatic tension would disappear if they could just return to where they came from, like those epic fantasy quests where the hero *has* to fight the monster/baddie etc - there would be no story if he could just shrug and go back again.

>143 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul - you too.

I was planning a pyjama day today, and in fact was sitting in my jammies reading my book in the living room when Strange Men appeared on the scaffolding. Gaargh! (even though they were decorators, not burglars). I had to get dressed and put my face on, because I am my mother's daughter. They clomped back and forth intermittently, and I think they were responsible for the whining power-tool noise all morning, although I'm not sure what they were doing. They seem to have gone now, though. I assume they're behind schedule if they're working on a Saturday. I did manage to finish my book, whilst attempting to spy on them. And I bought a top from QVC. Oops.



102. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed The World by Laura Spinney

This is *excellent*, and I think it will make my top ten of the year. The Spanish Flu, which may or may not have originated in Spain, could have killed more people than WWI and WWII put together, and yet it's still not very well understood. Perhaps the post-war confusion as vast numbers of people moved around meant that everyone was just focused on surviving rather than reflecting on their experiences, but we are slowly starting to learn more about it, and how the death toll may have been 100 million people. There were so many other awful diseases around at the time that reasons given for death were not always accurate, and in some places weren't given at all. The author also looks at what we know now about flu, whether a similar pandemic will strike again, and what we should do differently for a better outcome. Very highly recommended.

145Fourpawz2
Aug 12, 12:04pm Top

>144 susanj67: - You and scaffold guys - so funny, Susan. I understand completely, as I - not being very much like my mother - have always felt compelled to, when being visited by workmen of various types, (up to and including the men who used to come to un-stick the bloody sewer drains for Pete's sake!) clean for them. I know they don't care about the state of my rugs, dust on my tables or possible cobwebs in the corners, but every time - there I am - hustling around trying to get the place as tidy as possible before they show up. Ridiculous!

Pale Rider is going on the latest you-list. Have always been fascinated by that event - especially as there is a dreadful story about it that pertains to my father and his parents.

146BLBera
Aug 12, 12:45pm Top

Pale Rider sounds great, Susan. Onto the list it goes.

147BekkaJo
Aug 12, 2:21pm Top

LOL - I have a new found thing for scaffold me too. Not in any way for the men themselves, but outside my new office window they are repairing a roof on a nearby building - ergo I get to listen to the music on their radio ;)

Unfortunately also their power tools which is decidedly less fun.

148susanj67
Edited: Aug 12, 4:27pm Top

>145 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I am the same when people are coming into the house. Outside...not so much, although I have been taking care not to have underwear visible on the drying racks :-) The scaffolding seems to have been up for ages and I wish they would just finish and take it down. I'm going to ask my father whether his parents ever mentioned the 1918 flu. His mother was in NZ by that time, but his father would still have been here. The book mentions its arrival in NZ but, even worse, the ship leaving from Auckland to go up to Western Samoa where it wiped out 20% of the population. I had never heard of it as a big thing in NZ but the country is so small that I suppose a lot of subjects just don't get written about because the interested audience would be too small.

ETA: There *is* some information on NZ: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/influenza-pandemic-1918 and it seems that there is even a book!

>146 BLBera: Beth, it's a really worthwhile read.

>147 BekkaJo: Bekka, there was no music today, but I would have preferred it to the whiny power tool. In the end I put some washing on and the spin cycle drowned them out :-)

I've started When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, which Katie recommended (Hi Katie!) and it's excellent. It has elements of The Scarlet Letter and The Handmaid's Tale - very timely. That reminds me, I have the last few episodes of Handmaid to watch, which I will try and get to tomorrow. Someone has also reserved History of Wolves so I might read a bit of that tomorrow if I can. Busybusybusy :-)

149thornton37814
Aug 12, 9:05pm Top

>114 susanj67: That one is going on my list. It's not out in the US yet, but I can order it from Book Depository. I'll just need to order a second book at the same time. I'll find something.

150katiekrug
Aug 12, 10:05pm Top

>148 susanj67: - Hi Susan!

151susanj67
Aug 13, 4:55am Top

>149 thornton37814: Lori, I think you will find lots of interest in it, particularly given your genealogical research.

>105 Helenliz: Hi Katie! I *loved* the book!!



103. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

This was a Katie recommendation, and it is *awesomely good*. How is it not better known? It's set in the near future, when "Chroming" is the answer to prisons that are too full. Criminals have their colour changed by a virus which turns them a colour depending on the nature of their crime, and are then let back into the community. Hannah is a red, and has to stay red for 16 years. And "Chromes" can't just disappear off the grid, because the virus needs regular topping up or they will "fragment" - lose their minds. This is a really good story, with excellent world-building (if that's the right term for something that's not super-different from the world we currently live in) and I had to finish it this morning before I got up so that I knew how it all worked out. Thanks Katie!

152RebaRelishesReading
Aug 13, 8:44am Top

>144 susanj67: I think I would have just closed the curtains.

I grew up knowing that my maternal grandmother had died in the 1918 flu epidemic but lately a cousin (who is a nurse) has suggested she thinks it may have been something else based on a photo of Grandma from shortly before she died. Nevertheless I'm still interested in that pandemic. Pale Rider onto the wish list.

153susanj67
Aug 13, 11:05am Top

>152 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I don't have curtains in the living room. If people want to spy on me from Rotherhithe, then good luck to them ;-) I like as much light as possible, and it's a huge full length sliding door so curtains would be quite an undertaking. I'm sure you'll enjoy (if that's the right word) Pale Rider. The author made the point that part of the reason the full death toll is a bit vague is because people sometimes had multiple things wrong with them already, and the flu just carried them off.

I went out today, as my view is currently plastic, through which I can see that it's daylight, but that's about it. I have a little bit of sky where the plastic runs out.

I bought another navy top:



This will go under an open-front cardigan, and be for Fridays. It's quite sheer so it comes with a cami to go under it, and watching the young man at the till try to disentangle the UNDERWEAR from the blouse while not touching the UNDERWEAR was very funny.

I *didn't* buy this cute backpack, but look how cute!



However, I couldn't think of a reason I needed it, and there were 195 reasons that I really didn't. For a nylon backpack! Holy carp.

I also saw a lovely scarf, but I can't find a decent picture of it so you are all spared from looking at that :-)

I think the cutest bag of the season is this one, from the new Burberry "Beasts" collection (based on illustrations from medieval manuscripts)



However, there are 2,995 reasons I don't need this one. Here's the link for any craft-y people who want to take a closer look. They are gorgeous. https://uk.burberry.com/womens-burberry-beasts/

154Berly
Aug 13, 12:13pm Top

>151 susanj67: I loved When She Woke! Great book.

>153 susanj67: And I have to ask, Why exactly is this a Friday blouse? : )

155Helenliz
Aug 13, 1:01pm Top

>153 susanj67: The owl bag and his friends are gorgeous. but I know I'd never ever take it out if it cost that much!

156BekkaJo
Aug 13, 1:42pm Top

#151 OoooH! Off to find this!

157susanj67
Aug 13, 1:43pm Top

>154 Berly: Hi Kim! So glad you also enjoyed When She Woke - I want to pres it on people and make them read it :-) And the blouse is maybe a bit casual in terms of the print. We are "business casual" at work, but I don't think I'd wear it to a client meeting. Fortunately I have very few of those!

>155 Helenliz: Helen, I reckon if you bought that at Selfridges, you'd be mugged before you'd got to Bond Street station. It is gorgeous though. I wondered about the coin purse until I saw that it was £895. Or maybe the card holder...£295. Still, looking at the website is free :-)

158susanj67
Aug 13, 1:43pm Top

>156 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! Yes, find it, find it!

159BLBera
Aug 13, 1:57pm Top

When She Woke sounds great. I must try to get a copy sooner!

Love the handbags. Unfortunately, I mostly carry a backpack with my school stuff. Messenger bags have given me some shoulder issues. And. of course, there is the price...

160charl08
Aug 13, 2:54pm Top

>153 susanj67: I want the burberry backpack.
https://uk.burberry.com/the-large-rucksack-in-deerskin-with-beasts-motif-p40556231

As you say, looking at the site is fortunately free!

The flu book reminds me of the Icelandic short novel set when the flu arrived. Name escapes me. Horrible image of coughing and sneezing in the cinema.

161susanj67
Aug 13, 4:39pm Top

>159 BLBera: Beth, I'm a backpack fan too, unless I'm going to a client meeting in which case I have a nice document bag, but I am strict about not putting it on my shoulder. I had a secret plan to buy something new for when we get the new Surface Pro laptops, but I checked the measurements today and it will fit in the bag I already have.

>160 charl08: Charlotte, would you get the slate blue or the apricot? The beasts are different :-) I like the blue, and the beast has a very sweet expression on his face. But I like the fish too. Decisions, decisions...

162AMQS
Aug 13, 8:45pm Top

Hi Susan! Great readign here, as usual. You got me with Pale Rider and When She Woke. Hope you have a great week.

163charl08
Edited: Aug 14, 2:56am Top

>161 susanj67: Do I have to choose?!

I'm with Beth re messenger bags. They are so smart in theory.

164susanj67
Aug 14, 4:40am Top

>162 AMQS: Hi Anne! I think this week should be saner than previous ones (famous last words).

>163 charl08: Charlotte, you're right - you shouldn't have to choose. Get both of them, and then they will go with all your outfits. I've never tried a messenger bag, but they look like something that my neck would quickly regret.

Another Strange Man appeared on the scaffolding this morning, but not till I was dressed (and actually I got dressed in another outfit in order to do the ironing, and then got changed :-)) I must do all the ironing tonight. That is my goal, if I have any energy left after a lunchtime walk with Super-Fit Friend.

165RebaRelishesReading
Aug 14, 5:32pm Top

Love the blouse! I like the owl bag but can't really imagine carrying it. looks like you had a really fun day of shopping though.

166susanj67
Aug 16, 4:57am Top

>165 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I think it would have a pretty short life before everyone had seen it, and then what would you do? :-) It was good to get out of the house and see what's coming in for the new season. There is a lot of velvet, and quite a bit of orange - not totally orange clothes, but as an accent colour. I want another scarf/shawl for my office, as sitting by the window is freezing in the winter, but it might be a bit early.

I had some interesting news on the flu question I asked my Dad - it seems that one of my grandmother's half-brothers died of it in NZ in 1918, which is not something that I knew before. I did a quick search of the death records and I think I can see him, but they had a relatively common surname and there are a few with the same name for that year. I'm not entirely sure what all the half-siblings were called, but my Dad has the same first name as one of them, and I found that name.

The books are going well, but FLA won't let me hand in my library card to stop myself borrowing more things as he said it would be bad for their statistics. Drat! I had sort of forgotten reserving an ebook which came in yesterday, and it is one of the brand new hardback titles that I was looking at a couple of weeks ago, so now I have that too. It's the one about the Great Stink of 1858. Plus I started something on my Kindle, which I have to keep going before I forget it. Maybe I need to deploy the kitchen timer and set up a reading rotation.

167charl08
Aug 16, 7:31am Top

Like the idea of an orange scarf. I've got the opposite problem, an office that is permanently stuffy. I forgot midwinter which is due back today, so going to be doing some reading of that this evening!
The good news is, I'm now down to 16 books out, with nothing on the reserve shelf, so go me!

168Helenliz
Aug 16, 8:04am Top

The books are going well, but FLA won't let me hand in my library card to stop myself borrowing more things as he said it would be bad for their statistics.
hahahahahaha!

I regularly get told that my reservations are keeping them going. I will only visit my local branch of the library, so end up making reservations for things in other branches. There is a reason for this odd behaviour! Last time they reviewed library provision the council said that one of the things they took into account was how many peopleonly use that library. The theory being that if you have used 2 libraries, they assume you can get to both. So if I only use the local library, I'm a user who can only access that one library (I'm not, I could drive to another, but it's the principle of the thing).

169RebaRelishesReading
Aug 16, 8:03pm Top

>166 susanj67: re FLA and library card -- LOL

170charl08
Aug 17, 3:29am Top

I'm down to 15 books out Susan! Whoo!

171susanj67
Aug 17, 4:16am Top

>167 charl08: Charlotte, I've got my eye on a lovely pink scarf - a woven paisley pattern, with the paisleys at each end outlined with bugle beads. I have another one by the same designer which has beads, sequins and crystals, so this one looks pretty restrained :-) I can't find a decent photo or I would make you all look at it.

>168 Helenliz: Helen, good thinking! I am also one for reserving stuff from nearby branches, but mostly because I can't be bothered making the trip. The reserve shelf at my library waxes and wanes - there are a lot waiting at the moment but I suppose people are away.

>169 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I need help of some sort, before I borrow All The Books.

>170 charl08: Charlotte, yay for 15! That is, um, quite the achievement!

I read a bit of One Hot Summer yesterday, while on buses, and it is not just about the Great Stink of 1858. It is actually about 1858 and *all* the things that were going on during that summer, including what was happening with Dickens, Disraeli and Darwin. The author describes it as "micro-history" - not tracing a specific event through time (like e.g. Darwin's work on On The Origin of Species) but picking a time and looking at all the events in it, to see how they fit together even though they're in very different fields. Interesting. I must have read books like this before - in fact that Bill Bryson one about 1927 (maybe) springs to mind. But it is true that, reading about e.g. Darwin, we do not generally encounter Dickens.

FOR's daughter is coming in for a visit today. "Is she coming on her own?" I asked, meaning would her brother also be coming. "Well," FOR deadpanned, "she'll be bringing her mother." There is a lunch planned, if the nap maths works out.

172susanj67
Aug 18, 7:47am Top

The visit yesterday was fun. The baby slept through lunch, but they came into the office a bit later after running some errands and she was awake and smiley for her new fan club. There were even chuckles and some eyebrow-waggling, and, in the end, a huge yawn that signalled it was time to go home.

I have the day off today - yay! I've made the most of it so far by finishing a book. And now it's raining, so I might have to stay in this afternoon and read some more. Oh dear.



104. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

I got this because everyone was talking about it, and then it made the Booker longlist. I loved the setting, and I found the whole Christian Science angle interesting, but it was also a bit woo-woo in parts, and may have gone over my head. I'll look for the author's next book, though, because there was a lot about this that I liked.

173Helenliz
Aug 18, 7:54am Top

>172 susanj67: yay for a day off. And how dare the weather make you stay in a read. >;-)

174charl08
Aug 18, 12:53pm Top

A bit woo woo sums it up perfectly. Totally stealing that for a future review. Hope you had a lovely day off: I am feeling so tired after just two hours of frenetic colouring, play dough and paper plane making.

175susanj67
Aug 19, 9:26am Top

>173 Helenliz: Helen, I survived :-)

>174 charl08: Charlotte, without the woo-woo I think it would have fallen into the same class as e.g. Heather Gudenkauf or Diane Chamberlain (both of whom I like). It was like one of their stories written by someone with a MFA. Meow :-) I think I had a calmer day than you, in that there was no colouring , play dough or paper planes :-)



105. The King's City by Don Jordan (hmm, no touchstone?)

This is about London during the time of Charles II, and it was a great read. I picked it because it was about London, but it turns out that there are two others about Charles in the series. Set before this. And I haven't read them. Ahem.

That leaves me with two hard copies and an ebook from the library. Yay!

I went out this morning to get away from the Strange Men, but it's clouding over now so I think I picked the best part of the day to go out.

176BLBera
Aug 19, 11:16am Top

>175 susanj67: Reading out of order? I'm shocked. Shocked. :) I think Charlotte and I agree about The History of Wolves - strong first novel, but I doubt it will make the short list. But then, I am frequently wrong.

177susanj67
Aug 19, 11:36am Top

>176 BLBera: Beth, I was also quite shocked :-) But it was a heavy book and I'd already carried it home, and it sort of stood on its own... I think you and Charlotte are right about the book - I would trust your opinion over mine, anyway!

I seem to be squandering the afternoon watching QVC and pottering. OK, playing Fishdom and wishing there were potato chips in the house, but not being motivated enough to go all the way to the supermarket and get some. I should do the ironing. I got some exciting news this week with a date for the Surface Pro - 13 September. Yay! We go to training, and while we are there they switch us over and we go back to our desks to the new toy piece of office equipment. I still haven't got the new phone, so if that arrives at the same time I will literally not know what to do with myself.

178susanj67
Aug 20, 5:22am Top



Finished the ironing! I think I deserve a gold medal, or perhaps this nice gold iron :-)

Does anyone get sub-conjunctival haemorrhages? (It's where a blood vessel in your eye bursts and turns part of the white red - I won't post a picture. It's not an infection like conjunctivitis). I had never had one until about a month ago, and I googled and saw that it would go away on its own, which it did. Now I have *another* one. There's no pain or vision problems or nausea, all of which mean go to A&E in eye terms, it seems. The internet suggests that if they recur then maybe some blood tests might be in order (something to do with clotting, apparently) but I don't know how often they have to recur before that would be appropriate (one site said more than twice yearly, but it was a US site, and y'all do love the doctors :-) ). The NHS website is silent on when to seek advice other than the emergency type. My blood pressure seems to be fine, so I'm at a bit of a loss. Also, I'm going out later and I'll have to use the self-checkout everywhere so people don't have to look at me :-(

Today I want to make some progress with Crusoe's Island, which is very good so far. Last night I got sucked into the Netflix and watched a documentary about Bitcoin and then half of a series about the dark net.

179Helenliz
Aug 20, 6:38am Top

> Fancy finishing my ironing? I'm watching documentaries on iplayer so I don't get too bored.

Yes to the red eye. I tend to get it if I've been rubbing them when tired. Or poked myself in the eye (yes, it has happened, I can be a bit clumsy) Always had them, so if it turns up, I look like a devil for a few days and it goes again. If it's a new thing for you I would be tempted to mention it if you go to the GP. My theory of medicine is that there is a normal for you. We're all different and we have a steady state that we usually troll along at. It's when it changes from normal for you that needs to be addressed. Disclaimer, I have no medical evidence for any of that!
Oh and dark glasses - you may not see where you're going, but no-one will point & stare at the lady with the devil eye >;-)

180FAMeulstee
Aug 20, 8:06am Top

>178 susanj67: I have banned ironing, most clothes look good enough when they come out of the dryer ;-)

On the red eye, it happens to me once in a while, in my case it seems to be related to not getting enough sleep. My father had it, but in his case it was a little growth on his under eyelid, that kept his eye from fully closing at night. When the growth was removed his eye went back to normal.

181susanj67
Edited: Aug 20, 5:10pm Top

>179 Helenliz: Helen, I would iron for books :-) Hey, I could make that a side hustle, as the young people call it. I always try to catch up on TV while I'm doing it too! It segued into rehemming a pair of trousers and trying on things from the depths of the wardrobe to see if they still fitted, so quite the clear out... Thanks for the eye experiences. I'm with you on "normal for you". That's what's making me a bit nervous, or not the eye specifically, because it cleared up fine last time, and quicker than the internet said it would, but because if the blood vessels in my eye are giving up the ghost, where else might they be doing it? My mother died of a brain haemorrhage (as did her sister, very recently) and that's always on my mind. Plus the impending big birthday. Goodness, that was a gloomy paragraph. I will try and do better.

>180 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. It's interesting to hear it could be something like that. That could explain why it's suddenly started happening. I just know that by the time I get a doctor's appointment everything will be fine and they'll look at me like I'm wasting their time.

I went out, and tried not to look at people. No-one recoiled or crossed themselves, so I'm counting that as a win. I returned two books to the library and didn't take out Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination even though it looked really good. It was quite a chunkster, with tiny printing, so I thought maybe not now. (All bets are off for tomorrow, though). I did get the next Ruth Galloway novel, and I've got this one and then two more and I'm up to date with the series. She's written another series, which has three so far, starting with The Zigzag Girl. Have we read those and do we like them?

I also went to Waitrose, where I discovered an awesome loyalty card perk that I'd never paid attention to before. I knew about the nasty free coffee, which has never tempted me, and I knew that there was something about newspapers, but today I read the offer on the newspaper stand, and it said get a newspaper and they will deduct the cost if I spend over £10. That's a free newspaper! I got the Sunday Times, thinking that perhaps there was a catch, because free giant Sunday newspaper! But no. And, of course, the thing I need is *more to read*, so it worked out well. I got the bus home, even though I'd forgotten to take my phone and had no way of looking up how far away it was, and I made a start on it.

But now, Crusoe's Island and not QVC. Repeat 100 times. I should just hide the remote, but then I'd know where I put it. I need one of those timer boxes you can put stuff in to keep it out of temptation's way.

182RebaRelishesReading
Aug 20, 3:44pm Top

>178 susanj67: I just had one of those. Since I'd had cataract surgery just a couple of months ago it freaked me out when I awoke to a bright red dot in my eye, which grew and grew until by the next day the entire white of my eye was red. I emailed my doctor (who is in CA and I'm in NY) and he said "it will go away, don't worry about it". So I didn't and it did. (btw I too have "good" blood pressure, no circulatory problems, etc.)

183susanj67
Aug 20, 4:28pm Top

>182 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it *is* pretty freaky for something that is apparently no big deal! One website said it's like a bruise, and we all get plenty of those, except usually I have fallen over something. Both of these have just appeared from nowhere.

I have not made much progress with the reading this afternoon, which is poor, but I did make a nice lentil stew for dinner (and tomorrow's dinner, and two dinners at some future point). It was from the "Stingy Vegan" blog, and it was good because it had comparatively few ingredients, which is more important to me than actually being cheap: https://thestingyvegan.com/spanish-style-vegan-lentil-stew/ One recipe in a magazine I read recently had about a foot of ingredients, ending with a quarter of a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. Um, no.

I was vaguely planning another day off tomorrow, but someone arranged a two-hour conference call that I have to be on, so I have to go in to the office. It's a Bank Holiday next Monday, though, so I'm going to take Friday off, and maybe Thursday. Just as well I got that library book today...

184RebaRelishesReading
Aug 21, 2:43pm Top

> I too had done nothing unusual before the thing appeared. I forgot to mention that doctor said to use the kind of eye drops that are for dry eye (over the counter ones) and they would help the body reabsorb the blood and make the thing go away faster. Seemed to work.

Bummer you have to go in for a conference call :( Hope you get a nice long weekend afterward though.

185charl08
Aug 22, 2:46am Top

>183 susanj67: Like the sound of the lentil recipe. I have a truckload of herbs I've used once, so wasteful.

I'd forgotten the bank holiday. Hurrah!

186susanj67
Aug 22, 4:31am Top

>184 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I am steadily working towards a longer weekend :-) And the eye is looking a lot better today. Still a bit dragon-lady, but much better than yesterday.

>185 charl08: Charlotte, I had overlooked the holiday until recently, but then it came back into view :-) Super-Fit Friend (who cooks) says the lentil recipe will taste totally different with smoked paprika, so that might give it a bit more oomph. I only had ordinary, and try not to buy things to use them just once, but apparently I should have. An alternative might be some curry paste at that stage, and I see Patak's now do small sizes as well as the big jars: https://www.pataks.co.uk/products/spice-pastes I will definitely look for those.

187susanj67
Edited: Aug 22, 5:16am Top

A giggle-worthy photo/headline fail from the Evening Standard:

"Armed soldiers to go undercover in crowds at Notting Hill Carnival and Reading and Leeds music festivals"

188RebaRelishesReading
Aug 22, 9:39am Top

Yep, that's undercover all right :)

189susanj67
Aug 22, 11:29am Top

>188 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I think the picture editor must have been having an off day :-)

I just got my hair cut, which would be unremarkable if I hadn't been cutting it myself with embroidery scissors for the last two years. The backwash basins give me awful headaches, which scared me away. But the salon at work said I could go in with it clean, and they would just spray it down and cut it like that. Yay! The hairdresser said that actually I'd done a reasonable job cutting it myself :-) Also, apparently I have very soft hair. I didn't realise that there was a scale of softness for hair. I just thought hair was hair. So that's, um, nice.

190BLBera
Aug 22, 10:44pm Top

>187 susanj67: Yes! One of those embarrassing moments for the editor.

>189 susanj67: Nice job with the hair cutting. Scout told me yesterday that Charlie, her dog, was bad because he cut her hair. She thinks she should get a puppy in addition to her two cats and two dogs. (We were reading Madeline's Rescue). Anyway, when I shared this with her mom, she only laughed and said the story was a little twisted. Scout cut Charlie's hair. It's only a matter of time until she starts on her own. Luckily she just got her four-year-old pictures taken.

191charl08
Aug 23, 3:58am Top

>187 susanj67: Wow. No one will spot those guys...

>189 susanj67: Susan, those hairdressers sound great. Everytime I go to the hairdresser I get a bit of a raised eyebrow about pulling the grey. What am I supposed to do, accept it and go gracefully?! Er...

Love the Scout story. One of the little ones at the volunteer place is very keen on scissors (luckily the ones we have are the child friendly kind, so very blunt). She won't be distracted by offers of crayons or other less destructive craft options :-)

Susan, hope the long weekend strategy is working.

192susanj67
Aug 23, 4:42am Top

>190 BLBera: Beth, how much hair does Charlie have?! I have visions of bald patches. I never cut my own hair when I was little, but I did have a doll with no eyelashes...Good news about this year's pictures :-)

>191 charl08: Charlotte, ouch! (about pulling grey hair). Maybe going gracefully would be less painful? That is funny about your little scissor-fiend. Thank goodness for kiddie scissors. The long weekend strategy seems to be working (Friday, maybe tomorrow - I'll have to see).

I read a bit more of Crusoe's Island last night and it's an excellent story, but the copy-editing lets it down. The comma situation, in particular, means rereading things multiple times to work out what they mean. I think it's one of those jobs that you just don't notice when it's done well, but it's a pain when it isn't. Another reserve has come in, though, so I'll rotate things over the weekend. I still have the Harold Evans book to finish (which is very good) so probably enough to keep me going.

193susanj67
Aug 24, 9:35am Top



106. One Hot Summer by Rosemary Ashton

Subtitled "Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858", this is about the summer of 1858 and key events in it. For the population of London, the most immediately significant event was the decision to Do Something about the almighty stink from the Thames, which was basically just a giant sewer. The decision led to the famous works by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, including the Victoria, Albert and Chelsea Embankments, and an altogether cleaner city. Disraeli was a key politician in pushing the legislation through. Of more global importance was Darwin's On the Origin of Species, which he was hurrying to write after discovering that Alfred Russel Wallace had independently thought up the same idea. But Dickens was just being a sleaze. He got rid of his wife to chase after a young actress and set off on a reading tour of the country to make some money after deciding that he was tired of doing it for charity. He didn't write a book or do anything else notable, and his inclusion really seems to be because he was alive and famous at the time. There was a lot about a row between two members of the Garrick club, one egged on by Dickens, but that's a story probably best left in history because it was very dull. Overall, a decent enough read, and if you're a London history buff then you'll want to read it, but I'm not convinced that the author's "micro-history" is really the way to go.

I got my long weekend, and this morning I went to see the "Perfume" exhibition at Somerset House, because apparently we are all "engaged in the dialogue around perfume" now. I must admit the existence of the dialogue had escaped me, but perhaps there's a PerfumeThing where people post bottles. There was a little historical bit at the beginning, with one of the most famous old scents re-created for the exhibition, and then ten rooms with different modern scents, where visitors are invited to write down what they think the scents are made up of. I couldn't say no to a card and a pencil (quite literally - the girl was blocking the door), but I had no idea what they were although one smelled like fabric softener. Needless to say it wasn't fabric softener, but something wildly expensive. I couldn't smell the second one at all, and nor could a man in the room at the same time. But, at the end, it turned out that it was a particularly big molecule which a lot of people wouldn't be able to smell. The final section was a little lab with real perfumers, who explained the make-up of a scent that they sprayed, by dipping into all the bottles of ingredients. That was good. I think it would be more fun with a friend, but it was relatively quiet so there was plenty of time to look at (and smell) everything, so if you're looking for something to do in London that isn't overrun by schoolchildren then this might work. Nearly all the other women there seemed to be pregnant, which was odd, as they weren't maternity-leave pregnant, but there were a lot of bumps. https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/perfume

194susanj67
Aug 25, 6:42am Top

It's another lovely day here, and I woke up thinking I'd taken a long nap and it was Friday night, but then realised I still had the whole day :-) The Strange Men are around, so ventilation is limited to the roof window, but never mind. There are additional strangers next door, who may be laying carpet, I haven't been able to spy on them properly because the lift opens on that side of the foyer, and it's still not working. The stairs come out on my side. So there's no way I could accidentally see what they're doing, darn it. I had to go to the supermarket and come home only with groceries, and not information.

I'm still slogging away with the Crusoe's Island book, and I would *love* to finish it today. Unless I read the Elly Griffiths novel, of course. Or the Harold Evans.

195susanj67
Aug 25, 8:19am Top

I have 88 pages to go!

Meanwhile, I noticed that the BBC History magazine was on the shelf at the supermarket, but hadn't appeared on Readly, so I'm trying the Zinio reader, which is free via the library. I know that I often have £100 of brand new hardbacks out at once, but somehow the free magazines seem even more amazingly generous. I'm hoping I can load their Android app onto the Surface Pro, or that the Surface Pro counts as a PC, because they don't have an app for the Fire. If that works, I'll cancel Readly, because did I mention All The Free? Plus, I mostly signed up to get the BBC History magazine, so if it's no longer available then that's annoying.

Back to the book.

196BekkaJo
Aug 25, 8:46am Top

Trying to find the like button for 'All the Free'!

Enjoy the day off :)

197RebaRelishesReading
Aug 25, 10:32am Top

Perfume exhibit sounds interesting. I didn't know about a perfume dialogue either :) I do know that our choir here at Chautauqua has a strict "no scent" policy because of allergies. I wonder if that is part of it ? The idea of a molecule that only some can smell reminds me of the cilantro molecule that only some can detect. Also yesterday there was wine tasting here on the grounds and we were offered a test to determine what wines we were likely to prefer. It involved "tasting" 4 tiny slips of paper and recording our reactions from "worst thing I've ever tasted" to "why am I licking paper?". I followed the wine selections my results suggested and found I liked most of the wines very much so perhaps there's something to it.

198susanj67
Edited: Aug 25, 12:12pm Top

>196 BekkaJo: Thanks Bekka. I have so far :-)

>197 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the wine testing sounds interesting. I wonder what happened to the people who licked all the paper? I read quite recently that American chocolate contains an ingredient that tastes like vomit to a lot of people, which explains why I have never got on with Hersheys because that is *exactly* what it tastes like to me:-) https://www.quora.com/Why-do-British-and-American-chocolate-taste-different We have a no perfume policy at the office, but it's strong perfume rather than any scent. Lotions are OK, which is lucky for the roomie and me as we do like our hand lotions.



107. Crusoe's Island: A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness by Andrew Lambert

Finally. I thought it would never end. It turns out that the author is "One of the most eminent naval historians of our age" according to a quote on the cover, but he needs a better copy editor. I found this really hard going, and yet it was about all the things I love - exploration, Empire, history - such a shame it was such a let-down. The island in question is one of the Juan Fernandez islands, which are off the coast of Chile, and where Alexander Selkirk was famously marooned for some years, something Daniel Defoe used as the basis for Robinson Crusoe, although Crusoe's island was in the Caribbean. However, the Juan Fernandez island is now known as "Crusoe's island", showing the blurring between fact and fiction, which is one of the points the author makes about how the story became part of Britishness. I wish I had liked it more, but honestly if I had a pound for every time the author used "scorbutic", I could buy a Moncler puffa.

Ooh, maybe this one, which is a *cloak* with padded sleeves :-)



Anyway, I can't recommend this despite the interesting subject-matter, but it has made me want to read more. By someone else.

199RebaRelishesReading
Aug 25, 5:11pm Top

>197 RebaRelishesReading: Those who marked "why am I licking paper?" were advised to go for wines with big flavors because they have relatively insensitive taste receptors (my friend fell into that category). Just to be clear, the test involved licking paper so that question was a cutesey way of saying they didn't taste the chemical it had been dipped in.

Most interesting comment about chocolate. I've never knew that about American chocolate (and I'm fine with Hershey although I'm generally not a huge chocolate fan unless it's wrapped around nuts or dried fruits).

I think the reason the choir has a "no scent" rule is because it can be difficult for those who are allergic because even a little scent affects their throats. Wouldn't be that big of a deal in an office probably.

200charl08
Aug 26, 5:05am Top

I'm afraid to ask what scorbutic means Susan. Will look it up when feeling stronger.

Big clean today, so no reviews for me. I predict lots of sneezing.

201susanj67
Aug 26, 5:41am Top

>199 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, ah, I see. I thought licking the paper was the opposite end of the spectrum from "worst thing I've ever tasted" - i.e. very very good :-) Hence if people licked all the papers they might be steered away from wine in the direction of, say, AA.

>200 charl08: Charlotte, it means suffering from scurvey. The islands were a good place to refill the water on the ships, and for the sailors to eat lots of fresh greens, reversing their vitamin C deficiency. And, may I just point out, it won't be Saturday without the reviews :-( But good luck with the cleaning.

I have to go out, as I am overrun with Strange Men, who aren't just passing by any more but working on my balconies. I looked up to see one draped over the roof window, doing something with a trowel and mortar. Tesco here I come, just to get out of the house. Also I finally got a £1.50 Clubcard voucher, so I must spend that :-) I will be back later to start a new thread as this one is now too long, being 201 posts. Oh noes.

202susanj67
Aug 26, 7:21am Top

OK, the new thread is up :-) http://www.librarything.com/topic/268103

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 8.

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