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Orange is not the only Penguin (book) - charl08 reads #11

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 2:47am Top

Edited: Oct 1, 2017, 5:41am Top

Books read in 2017 - 197
Last three month's reading: (ish)

October 1
The Outcasts of Time (M, UK, fiction)

September 23

Reykjavik Nights (M, Iceland, crime fiction)
Mysteries of the Quantum Universe (France/ Belgium, Science- GN, multiple authors)
The Sad Part Was (M, Thailand, short stories
The Break (F, Ireland, fiction)
News of the World (F, US, fiction)
Madame Zero (F, UK, short stories)
George (Genderqueer, US, fiction - Children YA)
Wine of Violence (F, UK, fiction)
Things we lost in the fire (F, Argentina, short stories)
The Girl with a make-believe husband (F, US, fiction)

Forest Dark (F, US, fiction)
IQ (M, US, fiction)
Just Like Heaven (F, US, fiction)
An Order for Death (F, UK, audio fiction)
Exit West (M, Pakistan, fiction)
What it means when a man falls from the sky (F, Nigeria, short stories)
Lady in Disguise (F, US, fiction)
Lady of Quality (F, UK, fiction)
He Wants (F, UK, fiction)
The Seeker (F, UK, fiction)

1917: Russia's Red Year (Multiple authors, UK, graphic history)
The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn (F, UK, history)
Midwinter Break (M, Ireland, fiction)

August 21
The 7th Function of Language (M, France, fiction)
Night Rounds (F, Sweden, fiction)
Miss Buncle's Book (F, UK, fiction)
Let Them Eat Chaos (F, UK, poetry)
Sylvester (F, UK, fiction)
Lincoln in the Bardo (M, US, fiction)
History of Wolves (F, US, fiction)
In the Morning I'll be Gone (M, UK, fiction)
How to talk to Girls at Parties (M, UK, GN)
How to understand Israel in 60 Days or Less (F, US, Graphic memoir/ travelogue)

The Story of a Brief Marriage (M, Sri Lanka, Novel)
The Golden Calf (F, Sweden, fiction)
Midwinter (F, South Africa, fiction)
Black Sheep (F, UK, fiction)
A Fabulous Liar (F, Germany, fiction)
Guapa (M, Egypt, fiction)
Ways to Disappear (F, US, fiction)
A Masterly Murder) (F, UK, fiction audio)
Return of the Runaway (F, UK, fiction)
Gun Street Girl (M, UK, fiction)

Seeking Refuge (F, Canada, GN)

July 26
A Necessary Evil (M, UK, fiction)
A Chance Encounter (F, Canada, fiction)
Bookshops (Spain, M, non-fiction)
Boxers (US, M, GN)
The Skeleton Road (UK, F, fiction)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (F, US, fiction)
The Life Project (F, UK, history of Science)
L'Origine du Monde (F, Sweden, graphic non-fiction)
The Cold Cold Ground (M, UK, fiction)
Blessed are the Dead (F, Australia, fiction)

Darling Beast ( F, US, fiction)
Leap In (F, UK, non-fiction memoir/sport)
Dearest Rogue (F, US, fiction)
Mai-Tai'd Up (F, US, fiction)
Persuading Austen (F, UK, fiction)
I hear the sirens in the street (M, UK, fiction)
Hold your own (F, UK, poetry)
Prague Nights (M, Ireland, fiction)
The Good Lord Bird (M, US, fiction)
Strange the Dreamer (F, US, fiction)

The Undateable (F, US, fiction)
The Children (F, Colombia, fiction)
The Argonauts (F, US, memoir/ philosophy)
Fall with Me (F, US, fiction)
Into the Duke's... (ditto)
Field Study (F, UK, short stories)

June 23
Milk and Honey (F, Canada, poetry)
Husband by the Hour (F, US, fiction)
When he was Wicked (F, US, fiction)
Shot gun Grooms (ditto)
Married on Demand (ditto)
East West Street (M, UK, history)
The Hawkshead Hostage (F, UK, fiction)
A Rising Man ( M, UK, fiction)
Father in Training (F, US? fiction)
Crimson Lake (F, Australia, fiction)

The Masuda Affair (F, Germany, fiction)
The Long Dry (M, UK, fiction)
Cream of the Crop (F, US, fiction)
It’s in his kiss(F, US, fiction)
Meetings with Remarkable Trees (M, Ireland, natural history)
Just Mercy (M, US, non-fiction- law/memoir)
Burma Chronicles (M, Canada, non-fiction graphic travelogue/ memoir)
The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno for Commissario Ricciardi (M, Italy, fiction)
Saints (M, US, GN)
Dancing With Clara (F, Canada, Novel)

El Deafo (F, US, Graphic memoir)
Witches Abroad (M, UK, fiction)
Blasphemy: new and collected stories (M, US, short stories)

UK 1
Library 1
Fiction 1

M 4 F 14 (plus 2 multiple authors and 1 genderqueer)
Europe 12 (UK 8) Asia 2 US 7 Latin America 1Africa 1
Library 12 Mine 11 (Netgalley 3)
Fiction 20 GN 2 Non-fiction 1

M7 F15
Africa 2 Asia 1 Europe 13 (UK 9) US 5
Library 16 Me 5
Fiction 19 Travel/Memoir 1 Poetry 1

Australasia 1 Latin America 1, US & Canada 12 Europe 12 ( UK 9)
Library 12 Mine 14
Fiction 20 Non-Fiction 5 Poetry 1
Netgalley 1

F13 M10
US & Canada 9 Europe 8 (UK 5 ) Australia 1
Library 18 Mine 4
Fiction 16 Poetry 1 Non-Fiction 5

For Jan/Feb see http://www.librarything.com/topic/254233
For Mar/Apr see https://www.librarything.com/topic/257735#6053690l

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 3:39pm Top

1. Last year I read over 300 books: I'd like to do the same this year.
2. Read Harder Challenge (Bookriot)
19 down...
Read a book about sports. Leap In
Read a debut novel. The Dry
Read a book about books. Bookshops
Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. Fever Dream
Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.The Lonely Londoners
Read an all-ages comic. Huck
Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.In a Lonely Place
Read a travel memoir On a Chinese Screen
Read a book you’ve read before. Black Sheep
Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
Becoming Unbecoming
Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Human Acts (South Korea)
Read a fantasy novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Read a nonfiction book about technology.
Read a book about war. The Darkroom of Damocles
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.George

Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
Read a classic by an author of color.
Read a superhero comic with a female lead. Ms Marvel: volume five
Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey Saints
Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel -Guapa

Read a book published by a micropress.
Read a collection of stories by a woman. Kafka in Bronteland
Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. A Chinese Life

Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 2:50am Top

Counting down to my trip!

Aug 29, 2017, 3:28am Top

That topper looks ccold, Charlotte. Happy new thread. Enjoy the countdown.

Aug 29, 2017, 4:01am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! Love the image @ 4 ! I've never seen beach cabins? like that in real life. I've seen a penguin at the zoo, but never cool ,colourful beach cabanas? Exciting about the Penguin Trip!

Aug 29, 2017, 5:21am Top

Happy new one!!

Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 9:22am Top

>5 Familyhistorian: >6 vancouverdeb: >7 Berly: Thanks folks. May I offer you some Babotie, a local delicacy? (Mine is probably rather inauthentic, but I like it)


ETA Also, mine does not come out in a perfect square like the picture shown!

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 8:53am Top

Now reading Forest Dark, which helpfully has switched from the elderly tycoon to the perspective of an NY novelist, as the former wasn't doing much for me.
frankly hate Descartes, and have never understood why his axiom should be trusted as an unshakable foundation for anything. The more he talks about following a straight line out of the forest, the more appealing it sounds to me to get lost in that forest, where once we lived in wonder, and understood it to be a prerequisite for an authentic awareness of being and the world. Now we have little choice but to live in the arid fields of reason, and as for the unknown, which once lay glittering at the farthest edge of our gaze, channeling our fear but also our hope and longing, we can only regard it with aversion.

Also listening to Alexandria, enjoying Falco's visit to the ancient library. And have Elmet to read, sharpish, as someone else has requested it.

Aug 29, 2017, 9:16am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte!

>9 charl08: I like that excerpt.

>4 charl08: Beautiful. This should be a great trip.

Aug 29, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>10 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Happy feet indeed! I'm still early days with Forest Dark, and it's a bit weird reading about an author who's gong through a marriage breakup, when the author is also going through a marriage breakup (and was married to another author who put it in his fiction too...

Just read the rather beautiful Seeking Refuge - what a lovely book. Marianne arrives from Germany on the kindertransport, to find her host is a rather chilly English lady... The monochrome illustrations perfectly sum up England on the cusp of war.

Aug 29, 2017, 7:50pm Top

>8 charl08: Mmm, looks good. Is it spicy?

Aug 29, 2017, 8:03pm Top

I looked up the recipe, Charlotte. I fear I might not be someone who enjoys Bobotie. I'm an extremely conservative eater - err- fussy - eater. I don't like to mix sweet with savoury and I fear I eat very little in the way of curry. But it looks very good! Gosh, I am boring when it comes to food. I will eat butter chicken, but only fairly unspicey stuff. I don't care for anything fish, except of the occasional piece of halibut. Does that tell you a bit about me? I can fake it though. My son's wedding had far too sophisticated food for my tastes . Some sort of prime rib that was practically bleeding on my plate and far too salty, some sort of cheese tarte thing with touch of greens - just passed it by -and some dreadful non- chocolate dessert. Some sort of creme freche? with raspberry preserve. And I picked the tamest of the the three possible main dishes. Give me half a breast of chicken, some nice veggies, maybe garlic mashed potatoes with brownies for dessert and it's all good.

Aug 29, 2017, 8:03pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. xx

Aug 29, 2017, 10:27pm Top

>11 charl08: That looks like a good one, to teach kids about the realities of war.

Aug 30, 2017, 3:12am Top

>12 Familyhistorian: The one we make is very mild!

>13 vancouverdeb: The great thing about digital food Deborah- can be adventurous as you like, and No Calories! I must admit your son's wedding dinner sounds wonderful to me.

>14 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Hope your return to reading continues (especially if you can find more Miss Buncle type books).

>15 LovingLit: It was pretty hard reading, especially the antisemitism of British people (I don't doubt the book is accurate, it's just hard to be faced with the reality of bigotry - especially against kids). I'm sure it would spark some good conversations. I watched a children's documentary about refugees in the UK with my godson. We had some interesting chats as a result.

Aug 30, 2017, 9:43am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!
Lovely topper, the blue penguin looks even colder than the black ones. Is it from a picture book?

Aug 30, 2017, 10:38am Top

>17 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, yes, Blue Penguin - the author has a lovely blog post about it here - http://www.petrhoracek.co.uk/blog/?p=6384

Reading that 'rosylibrarian' (Marie) is moving made me look at books set in East Anglia. Somehow two more books have been added to my wishlist Love on a Branchline and kind of tempted (again) by The Essex Serpent.


Aug 30, 2017, 1:51pm Top

News of the World has turned up at my library! Let the joy be unconfined!
(lets not speak of how long this took!)

Aug 30, 2017, 4:16pm Top

>19 charl08: - It's a good 'un!

Aug 30, 2017, 5:36pm Top

Charlotte, I have finished but not reviewed Home Fire, It is excellent! Will the Booker judges prefer it? I don't know but I preferred it to Exit West, the only other 2017 Booker contender I have read so far this year.

Aug 31, 2017, 2:42am Top

>20 katiekrug: Looking forward to reading it.

>21 vancouverdeb: Interesting Deborah. What's on the radar next?

Borrowbox (my library's digital service) had Reykjavik Nights so I've started that. I'm listening to Alexandria still - lots of library descriptions, which I'm guessing are accurate, about access to the libraries and scroll catalogues. It's all fascinating, but still working as a bedtime story (ie I fall asleep).

Aug 31, 2017, 1:17pm Top

>22 charl08: I also found an unread Arnaldur Indriðason at the library today: Codex Regius. Enjoy Reykjavik Nights!

Aug 31, 2017, 4:37pm Top

Ooh I've not read that one, Anita. I'm enjoying the atmosphere and the mystery in Reykjavik Nights. Maybe time for another crime spree...

Aug 31, 2017, 7:22pm Top

Aug 31, 2017, 11:01pm Top

>23 FAMeulstee: Interesting one that as it seems to be set in Denmark and not the usual Iceland with Indridason.

I may also read Reykjavik Nights soon, Charlotte.

Sep 1, 2017, 4:11am Top

>25 Copperskye: I've just got to get to the library and pick it up...

>26 PaulCranswick: I'd not realised that, interesting reviews on the book page. Reykjavik Nights reminds me of Wahloo and Sjowell in that it's Iceland pre-boom and bust, lots of stuff in the background that makes for great social history (as well as the crime, of course). There's a nod to their books too - I hadn't realised they were serialised in the newspapers (first?).

Sep 1, 2017, 4:49am Top

>19 charl08: Excellent news about News of the World, Charlotte.

I clicked the link for Reykjavik Nights, and found this:

Inspector Erlendur: UK Publication Order ( Young Erlendur 1 - prequel 10), Young Erlendur (1), Erlendur Sveinsson (12)


Just imagine what that did to my read-in-order OCD. I mean really.

Sep 1, 2017, 4:53am Top

>28 susanj67: Yikes Susan. What will you do? In all seriousness, they are a great series of books. Which clearly I read completely in order and didn't just pick one up in the middle and wonder who all the characters were and then found out it was a series...
Ho hum.

I just found this advert for free tours of the London Library. I had no idea you could do this. Want to book a trip!


Sep 1, 2017, 4:58am Top

>29 charl08: Ooh, that looks good! Don't hate me if I go along on Open House weekend, although if they are the same as the evening tours: "The tour encompasses 45 minutes of walking involving many flights of stairs". Hmmm.

Sep 1, 2017, 6:57am Top


Sep 1, 2017, 7:07am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! Hooray for finally acquiring a copy of News of the World. It is such a gem.

Sep 1, 2017, 7:19am Top

>33 charl08: Well I am approaching one too Charlotte as all birthdays get significant on the wrong side of 50!

I have only read 13 of the 40. Actually 13 and a third.

Sep 1, 2017, 7:33am Top

Hmpf, I'm 46 and read only 21 from that list. Well... much to do.

Happy New Thread and Happy Weekend, Charlotte! :)

Sep 1, 2017, 7:57am Top

I've only read 6 from that list, and I have the fateful birthday next year! Looks like I have about a dozen on my shelves/Kindle, though...

Sep 1, 2017, 8:34am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte. Seeking Refuge looks good.

>33 charl08: I love lists. Some odd choices. I've read 15.

Sep 1, 2017, 8:39am Top

>31 charl08: LOL :-) I promise not to write about it if I do go :-)

>33 charl08: Huh. I couldn't resist trying "50 books to read before you're 50", but the only results are "50 books to read before you die". So that's nice. Also the African trilogy is actually three books (looks very good, though). I think they're trying to sneak in extra titles there.

Sep 1, 2017, 1:18pm Top

>34 PaulCranswick: My significant birthday is of course 21.*

>35 Deern: I don't want to read Lolita or War and Peace, so I think I shouldn't have to count those...

>36 katiekrug: I've threatened to hire a bouncy castle for the day Katie. If people are nice I might even let them go on it too...

>37 BLBera: It was a lovely book Beth, conveyed some powerful stuff.

>38 susanj67: It's more that I would make you go into great detail about it Susan. Sorry about the 50 list though.

Again tired after fun and games volunteering this afternoon. Bubbles went down very well in the sunshine.

*Ha! Again.

Sep 1, 2017, 2:07pm Top

I shan't forget--ever--the look on my granddaughter Claire's face, when significant birthdays collided in her world. My DiL's mother maintained at each of her birthdays that she was 39. Birthday coming up: "I'm going to be 39. Oh, you know that." The day came when Claire's mother was turning 39. Really, actually 39.

And Claire said to her mom: "Wait! Um. How can you be 39 when Grandma is...? Oh, uh, okay." Sheepish grin.

Sep 1, 2017, 2:48pm Top

Regarding the 40 Books to Read Before You’re 40: I've read twelve, but I didn't like several of the newer titles and the classics look randomly chosen. I'm calling shenanigans on this list -- I think it was compiled by a single person, either an intern in a hurry to get home before it started raining, or some assistant editor with a free hour.

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 12:13am Top

>40 weird_O: Ha! That's a puzzler, then.

>41 RidgewayGirl: I think it's got a lot to do with what's on the Penguin backlist and recently reissued list, but that might be the cynic in me talking. Still love a list though!

Sep 1, 2017, 7:54pm Top

>39 charl08: I understand, Charlotte. I spent the day with Scout and am thinking I should mow the lawn but probably will go lie on the couch.

Edited: Sep 1, 2017, 9:37pm Top

^^I think you may have missed me up there, Charlotte. Just sayin'...

>33 charl08: I have read 21 of those books. Not bad, right?

Sep 2, 2017, 1:39am Top

Reykjavik Nights
I'm not usually so much of a fan of prequels, but this early visit to Erlander worked really well I think. Iceland pre-boom forms an intriguing backdrop to this rather mournful detectives days as a traffic cop. Except he can't leave the case of the death of a homeless man he met on his night duty, or it emerges, any other missing person case.

Sep 2, 2017, 1:47am Top

>43 BLBera: I was glad we got outside to make the most of the weather, but I need to be fitter! I love bubbles. Such a simple thing and so much pleasure: from the children but also from the passers by.

>32 msf59: >44 msf59: Oops! Sorry Mark. Hoping to pick up NoW today. I think you win on the list...

Sep 2, 2017, 1:48am Top

So, if I've passed 40, then I already missed the mark and all the pressure is off!! ; ) Gotta love a list. I think I have read 12 or so. Happy weekend.

Sep 2, 2017, 3:17am Top

Yup. No Pressure!

Still reading Flaneuse: the lucky author is now in Venice, planning a novel. Learning about Sophie Calle, who has made art from following people.

From the Tate website.
Sophie Calle (born 9 October 1953) is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Calle's work is distinguished by its use of arbitrary sets of constraints, and evokes the French literary movement of the 1960s known as Oulipo. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability, and examines identity and intimacy. She is recognized for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives. Her photographic work often includes panels of text of her own writing.


Images here http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/7349/sophie-calle-suite-venitienne

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 5:11am Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

IQ by Joe Ide
" Joe Ide now begins a series of novels relocating the brain of Baker Street to South Central Los Angeles. Holmes finds his latest incarnation in Isaiah Quintabe, a 26-year-old African American, whose brilliant mind justifies his initial-nickname of IQ. In Hurston, a rough area where the finest diner is the Big Meaty Burger, he sets up as a private eye, taking on “local cases where the police could not or would not get involved". IQ has known, as his London predecessor did, the temptation of recreational drugs, and his understanding of the criminal mentality is based on experience. "
Maybe my library will be able to order a copy now. Harumph.

Smile by Roddy Doyle reviewed by John Boyne
"His darkest and perhaps finest work since The Woman Who Walked Into Doors 20 years ago, Smile combines tropes from the various strands of Doyle’s career – childhood memories from the Barrytown trilogy, middle-aged regrets from The Guts and Bullfighting, pub conversations from Two Pints – and merges them into a unique novel, one that is terribly moving and even, at times, distressing, while saving its greatest surprise until the end."

Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri reviewed by Jon Day
"Chaudhuri has for a long time been ambivalent about the cultural capital the novel has claimed for itself. Addressing a symposium on literary activism in 2015, he spoke of how the form’s dominance seemed unlikely when, as a postgraduate student at Oxford, he began writing. It is “almost impossible now to remember”, he said, “that poetry was the literary genre to which the greatest prestige accrued until the mid-80s … that we didn’t think of success in writing mainly in relation to the market, and in relation to a particular genre, the novel”. "

Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li reviewed by Sam Jordison

In 2008, Winnie M Li was raped twice while on a walk through Colin Glen Forest Park in Belfast. Li was 29; her attacker was just 15. He pleaded guilty before the case could go to trial and was jailed for eight years. The book closely maps Li’s experience. In spare, direct prose it gives a first-person account of an attack on a Taiwanese-American called Vivian as she walks near Belfast. This is not an easy book to read. The assault is brutal and degrading. Vivian does what she has to do “to survive” and we are made to see and feel it all.

Also this
Lost to translation: how English readers miss out on foreign female writers
Only a third of books translated into English last year were by female writers. As Women in Translation month wraps up, we investigate why – and if things are changing

Sep 2, 2017, 8:23am Top

Happiest of new threads, Charlotte, albeit a bit late. I believe I've read 11 or 13 from your list, I'm a bit fuzzy on two of them so I need to check.
You haven't taken your big trip yet, have you? I hope I didn't miss it :0(

Sep 2, 2017, 11:26am Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Charlotte and wishing you a fabulous weekend.

Sep 2, 2017, 11:26am Top

None of the fiction is screaming at me... LOVE the article on foreign women writers. Thanks for the link, Charlotte.

Scout loves to play outside. There is a park across the street from my house, and a lake with geese within walking distance. Yesterday we went to the "Geese Park." Took some bread and were swamped, Scout trying to bring order to the geese by shaming them. Then we also walked to a neighboring house to look at their fish pond. I think she will be pressuring dad to make a pond in their back yard. We also spent some time on the porch with bubbles and chalk, which she is currently combining into a new art form. I often think about my fitness when I am with her; it's hard to keep up at times.

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 5:15pm Top

This happened today. (Hangs head)

I just Love that the Parker still has a note in it saying the price went up since 1946...

>50 Carmenere: Lynda, you're just fuzzy on two? You're doing well! Still counting down on my trip, a month to go. Have been looking for a couple of new holiday bits this weekend.

>51 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Hope you have some time to relax from all your hard work in the schools. How you professionals do it I don't know. I just help out for a short time and am exhausted :-)

>52 BLBera: I love that you do all those things with your granddaughter. My gran was considerably older (both she and my mum were older when they had kids) but she made such lovely memories for us- we sang (she was a music teacher), she wrote us letters, took us to meet her friends in her village (who looking back were equally tolerant of us!) and baked sweet treats (and lots of other things too, but these are some that have stuck!) I miss her.

Bubbles and chalk sound wonderful. Future engineer?

ETA Debbie Go Home, Foe, Wole Soyinka Collected Plays 2 and Here Lies.

Sep 2, 2017, 5:06pm Top

Speaking of women and translation - making a note here that I want to get hold of Jhumpa Lahiri's translation from the Italian, of Domenico Starnone's novel, Ties. (Thanks to Ellen's thread).

"A container is designed so that something can be placed inside it. It has a double identity in that it is either lacking contents or occupied: either empty or full. Containers often hold what is precious. They house our secrets. They keep us safe but can also imprison, ensnare. Ideally, containers stem chaos: they are supposed to keep things from dispersing, disappearing. Ties is a novel full of containers, both literal and symbolic. In spite of them, things go missing."

Sep 2, 2017, 8:01pm Top

>55 BLBera: Nice haul.

You are so kind. I'm an old grandma. My grandmothers were both younger than I am. My mom was a grandma for the first time when she was in her forties.

Sep 2, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>53 charl08: Great haul, and I love the way you have memed it up :) We should all make little memes of our book hauls ad collect them!

Sep 3, 2017, 4:12am Top

>53 charl08: Charlotte, I *love* your graphic up there! Perfect. I hope your Sunday goes well. There is a chilly breeze down here, but in hand-washing terms (of laundry, I mean, not actual hands), that is pretty good.

Sep 3, 2017, 4:21am Top

>53 charl08: I'm exhausted too when the pupils are leaving at 3.30pm. I'm usually at school at 7.15am. The kids arrive at 8.15am. When they leave in the afternoon I have to correct and prepare everything for the upcoming day. Usually I leave school at 5 pm, but with all the meetings it could also be 8pm. At home I have to do the my plannings for the upcoming time.

Yesterday, we went for the 'long night of Zürich's museums' which was fantastic. We came home very late.

Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 5:42am Top

I've been reading / scratching my head over Mysteries of the quantum universe.

It's a rather wonderful idea, to create an explorer figure to investigate the history of theories about quantum physics. So not my comfort zone, and I can't say that I understood it all. But there are some ideas within it that have rather blown my mind (all possible outcomes of any event existing simutaneously) - I'd come across them in scifi but had no grasp of them as 'real' theories. I loved that the various scientists appear in person to explain their theories.

Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 5:52am Top

>55 BLBera: I guess it's all comparative- my gran was 72 when I was born. I'm lucky ladies on my mum's side have had long lives, but I did feel very envious of my friend's partner whose active and smart as a pin gran still lives in the same city.

>56 LovingLit: I am a bit addicted to Litsy, which lets you do loads of very short book posts based on pictures. Makes quotes lot easier too, just taking a quick picture on my phone.

>57 susanj67: Wet wet wet here Susan. I was thinking about putting some bulbs in, but maybe not.

>58 Ameise1: I'm not surprised that takes a lot of energy, that sounds like a big ask of anyone. I love open evenings, think our next one will be in 2018.

Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 7:06am Top

The Sad Part Was
This is a collection of short stories in translation from the Thai. I was a bit bemused by it all until I read the translators afterword, which explains why a story about a man talking to a woman on the bus about why she leaves spaces between her words is Interesting (Thai doesn't leave spaces between words). Lots here about affluent young people and their choices (a young couple are interrupted at a key moment by letters from a hoarding falling into their balcony, a group of copywriters meet to mourn a friend who killed herself). It's a globally connected Thailand - characters watch international movies, make plans to study in Londo , yet clearly cultures with their own logic and approach to life. Interesting, rather than gripping reading. My favourite was Pen in Parentheses: a young man looks back at the impact of his grandfather's movie-showing habit.

Edited: Sep 3, 2017, 8:30am Top

Lighthouse in the Night

The sky a black sphere,
the sea a black disk.

The lighthouse opens
its solar fan on the coast.

Spinning endlessly at night,
whom is it searching for

when the mortal heart
looks for me in the chest?

Look at the black rock
where it is nailed down.

A crow digs endlessly
but no longer bleeds.

-Alfonsina Storni

Sep 3, 2017, 8:30am Top

^^Thinking of you. Smiles...

Sep 3, 2017, 9:22am Top

>62 msf59: >63 msf59: Wow Mark, powerful stuff. Thanks for posting.

I've been digging up raspberry canes this morning, exhausting! Have put half in a pot for the house patio and half will go to the allotment. Not sure they'll survive as well but want to try converting more of the allotment to soft fruit. A small lavender plant has gone in the hole, as the main reason for digging the canes up was that they were obscuring the rest of the border from the house. When the rain and wind stops I might be able to take a picture (and put in some bulbs).

Sep 3, 2017, 1:30pm Top

Hi, Charlotte.

Adding Mysteries of the Quantum Universe to the WL . . .

Do you get your own raspberries from raspberry canes? Are they hard to grow?

Sep 3, 2017, 4:21pm Top

My library has the IQ book and I'm curious enough to request it.

Sep 4, 2017, 7:03am Top

>65 jnwelch: Would be good to hear what you make of it. I wondered if it might make for a fun revision option for science students.

>66 RidgewayGirl: I'm going to try ordering it again, now that the book is officially 'out' here...

Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 7:46am Top

Digging up raspberry canes does sound like hard work.

I liked the latest selection of Guardian fiction and the book IQ stands out.

>53 charl08: I really ought to read both Dorothy Parker and Wole Soyinka soon - what a combination!

Sep 4, 2017, 9:24am Top

>68 PaulCranswick: I couldn't believe how many had self-seeded - I suspect I'm going to get more growing next year, in amongst the lavender. Hopefully we'll get a bigger crop too - got about 5 this year! (first year)

I am looking forward to the Dorothy Parker, and would love to hear what you make of Soyinka. I haven't read all of his work by any means, but particularly love Isara, the semi-autobiographical 'novel' about his family.

Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 5:02pm Top

The Break (ARC)
I first came across Marian Keyes thanks to a very generous housemate at university. She writes believable friends in funny Irish families, with plenty of emotional turmoil and an optimistic ending. I can't remember one book that didn't make me laugh out loud. I can also recommend her Twitter feed.
'Maybe I’ll do a vlog with you.’
‘Would I be on telly?’
‘Granny . . .’ A note of warning has entered Neeve’s voice. ‘Don’t make me explain the internet to you again.’
‘No, no. No. I understand it. It’s magic telly for the young people.’‘

Sep 4, 2017, 6:34pm Top

I do love Marian Keyes. I was introduced to her by a good friend who never reads chick-lit and by her appearance on a BBC Radio4 show where she and three Very Serious men discussed each other's books and the Serious Men all loved her book, but wished the cover was more suitable to Very Serious men's travel reading.

Sep 4, 2017, 6:36pm Top

>71 RidgewayGirl: LOL. That sounds so fun.

Sep 4, 2017, 6:39pm Top

>72 banjo123: It was one of those shows where authors take themselves very seriously and I was so worried when they announced the line-up. And then the other authors, who had all written non-fiction tomes, revealed that they'd been charmed by the Keyes' novel.

Sep 4, 2017, 9:33pm Top

Mysteries of the Quantum Universe and IQ both sound interesting!!

Sep 4, 2017, 10:24pm Top

Raspberry canes! That does sound like a lot of work. In the area that I live, we have a lot of raspberries. They used to be my favourite summer fruit. Now I think it is blueberries , which are so plentiful around here.

Sep 5, 2017, 1:48am Top

>71 RidgewayGirl: It's an interesting thing, genre categories. I suspect Keyes' covers are about reassuring chick lit readers (and the massive markets there), rather than reflective of their content. She is so funny, her books fly by, but she manages to deal with depression, infidelity, alcoholism - and say insightful things.

>72 banjo123: Ha! I agree. She occasionally appears on the panel as part of the Strictly (your dancing with the stars) backstage show. I wish it was more often, as she makes me laugh. I wonder if the e book privacy effect has helped widen her readership.

>73 RidgewayGirl: Oh, is it the BBC one where they each recommend a book? I can't listen to that anymore. I like the Mariella one though. She seems to be a bit less worthy.

>74 Berly: You've reminded me to try to order IQ again, Kim (Beth? Kith? Him?). Thanks.

>75 vancouverdeb: It wasn't too bad, as they haven't been in long enough for the roots to get really deep. Just enough to be an effort! I love raspberries with my breakfast. Hoping we'll have a few more next year.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 1:50am Top

I've started News of the World. It's fab so far, thanks everyone.

Sep 5, 2017, 2:39pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

>8 charl08: - Totally snagging that Babotie recipe! Thanks so much for posting it.

Sep 5, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>70 charl08: Love it! That sounds a little like my daughter talking technology with me.

I KNEW you would love News of the World. I love Jiles.

Sep 5, 2017, 10:40pm Top

All caught up here, Charlotte.

I love raspberries and was fortunate enough to find some growing wild in the...more natural part of my backyard.

I must look into Marian Keyes.

Sep 6, 2017, 12:10am Top

>76 charl08: LOL. You're welcome. That would be Kim as in Kim(berly). But I've been know to answer to Hey You!! : )

Sep 6, 2017, 7:01am Top

"I've started News of the World. It's fab so far..." Yah!!

Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 2:09pm Top

Another fan of News of the World here who's happy you're finding it fab so far, Charlotte.

>70 charl08: LOL! Thank you, Granny, and Marianne Keyes. That's charming.

Sep 6, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Adored News of the World and was so peeved when its publication date was pushed back last year and all my early warblings about it were in vain!! My copy went to a novelist friend who teaches, and wanted novellas/short fiction to read and draw on for a class. I may have to replace that ARC. Sigh.

Not a massive fan of Marian Keyes, alas. My chick lit read of choice is Trisha Ashley. Nope, she doesn't do many socially redeeming plots, but she tends to go off on wild tangents, and also to be very quirkily funny. Her female characters, although they may end up romantically paired, are also independent, sometimes to an extreme. (Some founded a magazine called "Skint Old Northern Women", which occasionally pops up in subsequent books.) She's kind of rebellious, in a way, especially in her earlier books. Also, when I discovered her books, her main characters were older -- at least in their 30s and sometimes their 40s. They had had lives and careers. They knew who they were. I could relate to them in a way I couldn't to typical chick lit heroines, who tended to be married mums, or 20-somethings in search of romance and Mr. Right. Some of her edge has been tempered, but I still have fun re-reading books like Every Woman for Herself, which should be required reading for anyone who has ever read any other chick lit book. Because it's perfect.

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 2:56am Top

Bleurgh. I've lost my passport, so instead of reading, have spent the last hour trying to work out the replacement procedure. We're all very relieved at casa Charlotte, that we don't fall into the category, after all, of needing to provide details of my parents' parents' date of birth, and date of marriage. (Both parents born abroad). What do people do if their parents aren't around anymore to help with this stuff?

Reading the small print also makes me mad at immigration officialdom generally. 'If your claim to citizenship is through your father, at time of immigration provide evidence of his marriage to your mother' or something like that.
Stamps feet and gets generalĺy cross.

>78 lkernagh: I'd be intrigued to hear how it turns out. The family recipe (which sounds much grander than the tattered notebook it's written in) is a favourite, very tasty.

>79 BLBera: I think the word is spreading, as it's already been requested by someone else. Also my mum is reading it before I take it back.

>80 bohemima: Natural raspberries sound good to me. My canes were from Aldi, but did remarkably well in the new border. Hope they don't take offence at being moved.

>81 Berly: Just messing with you Kim. Thanks for taking it in such good humour.

>82 msf59: Yup, I've been posting over on Litsy- another one the LT friends got right.

>83 jnwelch: She's very funny, Joe. Her families always seem very believable to me, and I think reflect her own upbringing in a large chatty Irish family. Not twee though.

>84 Chatterbox: It certainly took long enough to arrive at my library. It sat on my reservation list so long I felt sure I was going to get told that the mysterious library supplier gods had decided that, after all, it didn't really exist... I love the title of that book. Reminds me of Have the Men Had Enough?

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 2:59am Top

Now reading Elmet : the 'badlands' of Yorkshire.

Sep 7, 2017, 5:11am Top

>85 charl08: yes. That does sound a hassle in the extreme! My passport is seriously lapsed, so goodness knows what kind of rigmarole I will have to go through to get a new one.

Sep 7, 2017, 8:13am Top

>87 LovingLit: It's all a bit bonkers as far as I can work out, Megan.

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 8:49am Top

Reading the TLS, really want to read this

Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

Sep 7, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Yiiks, passport issues are never funny. I hope you'll get the new one in time.

Sep 7, 2017, 4:07pm Top

All complaints aside Barbara, I'm very lucky to live half an hour from one of the major passport offices. They promise to replace passports in a week (for a fee).

Sep 7, 2017, 4:10pm Top

>91 charl08: That sounds great.

Sep 8, 2017, 10:19am Top

>85 charl08: In general raspberries have no trouble being moved. The greatest hassle with raspberries is that they spread easely under ground with their roots ;-)

We watched all three episodes of Strike - The Cuckoo's Calling last night. I liked it and Frank (who didn't read the book) liked it too. Of course there was a lot omitted, but you can't put this book in 3 episodes. I was glad I waited watching them until all episodes had aired.

Sep 8, 2017, 1:31pm Top

Well that will be fun next year when they re-emerge...

Glad you liked A Cuckoo's Calling - I might watch the next one. I've still got mixed feelings about it.

Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 2:47pm Top

Now reading Madame Zero - love Sarah Hall.

Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 6:00pm Top

Well that was a short read - turned out I'd read two of the stories already! Some creepy future environmental disaster dystopia, and some that reflect her Cumbrian roots. All rather dark and enjoyable.

Sep 9, 2017, 1:05am Top

Hi Charlotte. I just added Seeking Refuge to the library wish list based on your comments. It looks terrific.

I'm reading Elmet right now my own self. Liking it but not sure where it's headed....

And I'm another huge fan of News of the World!

SO sorry about the passport thing! I had a minor panic about a month ago when I could not find mine. I did find it but there was about 45 minutes of "oh crap" thinking going on in this household.

I'm glad I enticed you with Ties. As I said on my thread, Jhumpa Lahiri's introductory comments about translating the novel immediately captured my attention!

Sep 9, 2017, 4:51am Top

>97 EBT1002: I can't believe I was so silly to lose it Ellen. Hopefully I have Learned a Lesson.

I'm not sure about Elmet - tempted to return it as it is just not grabbing me. But I do like to read as much of the list as possible.

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 6:02am Top

Guardian Reviews Non-fiction

A Place for All People by Richard Rogers reviewed by Richard Meade
"It might be a personal history that he attempts to recount but much is an utterly familiar trawl through postwar Britain. The resistance to modernism, the Festival of Britain, discovering Le Corbusier, the ineffable Smithsons, Stirling and Gowan, an Aldermaston march – and then Yale, where he met another Fulbright scholar, Norman Foster, who would become his first collaborator."

The Push by Tommy Caldwell reviewed by Paul Sagar
"...would perhaps be expected to be a collection of the usual platitudes and cliches, the sort of kitsch that characterises many sporting biographies, but this is not what we get at all....stands out as a genuine achievement in its own right – and is about much more than just climbing."

Bread for All by Chris Renwick reviewed by Stefan Collini
"In a familiar attempt to scare the electorate, the Daily Telegraph misquoted Beveridge saying that his report was taking the country “half-way to Moscow”. In reality, he was taking it no further east than Whitechapel and Poplar, the social laboratories in which so much late-Victorian and Edwardian thinking about the best means to relieve poverty had been incubated."

The Lies of the Land: A Brief History of Political Dishonesty by Adam Macqueen reviewed by Gaby Hinsliff
"Like a sort of giant supermarket sweep through the dodgier aisles of Westminster..."

Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing reviewed by Lara Feigel
"...what gives this book its astonishing power is not the guilt, but the intelligence and literary skill. As a narrative, it’s beautifully structured, weaving its way from the family’s childhood holidays in rural Sweden to their lives in London, returning always to the hideous image of Hans and Eva’s bedroom as the dark centre of the story."

Sep 9, 2017, 5:34am Top

You don't say how you found Elmet, Charlotte?

>99 charl08: Mayhem would probably be the one I would choose from the Guardian non-fiction this week.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 6:04am Top

I do! >98 charl08: Basically I'm not sure, and tempted to DNF...

I like Granta, so I'm tempted by the Rausing too.

Sep 9, 2017, 9:42am Top

>101 charl08: Oops Charlotte. I don't know how I missed that!

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 11:20am Top

Never mind Paul. Reading George for the bookriot challenge (Thanks Amber).

Sep 9, 2017, 11:32am Top

Hi Charlotte - Thanks for the reviews. Not sure this week.

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 3:47pm Top

>104 BLBera: Well I feel like the Guardian needs to try harder, Beth!

Just finished George. What a sweet story, and hopefully will help lots of kids understand transgender experiences. I loved the surprises they packed into the older brother character and the sweet best friend. My library system has ordered multiple copies so fingers crossed this one reaches readers.

Sep 9, 2017, 3:58pm Top

Amber (scaifea) and my wife both loved George, too, Charlotte. I think the word is spreading. I have it, and expect to read it soon.

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 4:26pm Top

>106 jnwelch: Yes, thanks for the prompt Joe - I read it thanks to Amber's recommendation. I have been over to her thread to pass on the thumbs up :-)

Sep 9, 2017, 8:24pm Top

George goes on the list, Charlotte.

Edited: Sep 9, 2017, 11:54pm Top

Another George fan! Thanks.

Sep 10, 2017, 5:22am Top

>108 BLBera: >109 Berly: Great! Hope this one finds lots of readers.

Fun news from Hadrian's wall:

Archaeologists stumbled on the site by chance and have been taken aback by finds in a remarkable state of preservation. These include two extremely rare cavalry swords – one of them complete, still with its wooden scabbard, hilt and pommel – and two wooden toy swords. One has a gemstone in its pommel.

As well as other weapons, including cavalry lances, arrowheads and ballista bolts – all left behind on the floors – there are combs, bath clogs, shoes, stylus pens, hairpins and brooches. Sections of beautifully woven cloth have also been unearthed...

Unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall: lost secrets of first Roman soldiers to fight the Picts

Sep 10, 2017, 5:29am Top

>110 charl08: I love that article, Charlotte! Thanks for posting it. I'm reading a crime novel at the moment set in Britannia just months after Trajan's death, and it does bring Vindolanda to mind.

Sep 10, 2017, 9:57am Top

Sounds good Susan. Im wondering if I can fit a trip to Vindolanda before winter makes it a much less appealing prospect!

Sep 10, 2017, 10:08am Top

I'm so glad that you enjoyed George! I agree that we need to get this one into lots of young hands.

Sep 10, 2017, 10:41am Top

>110 charl08: Great article, Charlotte. In another life, I would have loved to be an archeologist, knowing of course that finds like this are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Sep 10, 2017, 6:19pm Top

>113 scaifea: A lovely book, Amber. Thanks again for the recommendation.

>114 BLBera: Beth, me too. I rather like the idea of Agatha Christie's time accompanying her husband on digs - writing but getting to see all the interesting discoveries...

Struggling to settle to a book, have picked up historical crime Wine of Violence which is sufficiently undemanding for a Sunday evening.

Sep 11, 2017, 4:00am Top

>115 charl08: Charlotte, my library has that whole Wine of Violence series in e form. Yay! I've downloaded the first one. And as for Vindolanda, it does sound fascinating. I hope you can make it.

Sep 11, 2017, 5:02am Top

George looks like a good read! As far as what to pack in the book department, paper backs? Do you have an e- reader? I have an old Kindle, but I much prefer paper books. Like you, I'm trying to get some Long Listed Bookers read. I really loved Home Fire by Shamsie, and Exit West wasn't bad. I'm currently slogging through Days Without End. I've read Annie Dunne by Sebastion Barry which I thought was lovely, but Days Without End is more of a western, and crumbs, it's boring to me. Words without end, even though it's only about 230 pages! I've got Reservoir 13 waiting to be read as well.

Best wishes with the passport. I was irked enough about leaving my bank card in the machine last Thursday and having to dash into the bank the following day and grab it before it was destroyed. A passport is whole other ball of wax.

Happy Monday!

Sep 11, 2017, 7:38am Top

>110 charl08: Thanks for the lovely article. I've always found archeology fascinating. :)

Sep 11, 2017, 2:48pm Top

>110 charl08: Yes, thanks for posting that article. I would love to hike part of Hadrian's Wall.

Sep 11, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>116 susanj67: I found it easy reading Susan, and liked the Prioress (although as I got more and more tired, read it as Princess a couple of times, which was a bit confusing...

>117 vancouverdeb: I do have a kindle Deborah, and can read it on my phone, bit there is something rather nice to me about reading a paperback. The problem is it needs to be good, but not so good that I want to keep it! Silly, eh!

The very nice passport lady said I was approved, so phew all round. Now I just have to worry about trousers vs skirt ratio etc.

>118 The_Hibernator: >119 Oberon: I had no idea we had so many fans of archaeology here! Sounds like a future meet up (or virtual meet up perhaps) in a dig would be a good idea.

Sep 11, 2017, 4:58pm Top

Things we lost in the fire

Translated from the Spanish, this was a weird, creepy collection of stories. There is an afterword about the book by the translator, and she writes about how the Argentinian context can be said to shape the stories, from the drugs and poverty to the extreme violence. I'm not sure how all that explains the gothic horror - although clearly the political history of Argentina could be brought in here too. All the classics are here, from a haunted house story, possession and disappearances. Some really grisly ideas, and whilst sometimes I felt the endings weren't as tight as they needed to be, the description of settings, from ghetto to rural hotel to rundown central Buenos Aires more than made up for this.

Sep 11, 2017, 7:57pm Top

Well, if you are just down to the trousers vs skirts ratio, your packing is going very well! Glad you have the passport issue sorted!

Sep 12, 2017, 2:37am Top

Well Deborah, I can always change my mind about clothes. Passports not so much, so a big relief that they said it was ok.

Sep 12, 2017, 4:30am Top

>120 charl08: Charlotte, I know what you mean about those additional characters jumping into a story when you're tired. I'm looking forward to starting it. I've nearly finished the first Cadfael. Excellent news about the passport. Once you've decided trousers/skirts, you can go to Boots for travel sized things, which is always fun :-) They have a 3 for 2 on a lot of their mini things at the moment. Mind you, they usually seem to have a deal on of some sort or another.

Sep 12, 2017, 12:34pm Top

>120 charl08: Archeologist was on the shortlist for professions but I was convinced I would starve doing it. Hopefully when I retire I can do some archeology in my retirement - though I would ideally do so in Europe or Central America because the archeology in those places interests me more.

Sep 13, 2017, 3:08pm Top

>124 susanj67: I really like this travel bits and pieces. Wish they were cheaper though. 3 for 2 sounds good.

>125 Oberon: I had a similar conversation with a career adviser. What is it about digging things up that is so attractive to teenagers making career decisions? (Or maybe that was just me)

Sep 13, 2017, 10:05pm Top

Okay, I have to tell you a " secret" . Here in Canada, and I think the USA too, no one calls " pants" " trousers" . If I told someone that I was going to wear trousers, I'd sure get an odd look. Perhaps 60 plus years ago, farmers wore trousers here. I think of trousers as needing suspenders to hold them up. Way back when, my mom called pants " slacks" but I think I've always called " trousers" pants. I understand that in the UK , pants means " underwear" ? Fun facts from across the pond.

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 8:50am Top

>127 vancouverdeb: I have heard that before Deborah! I think there is a quote about the US and UK being two nations divided by one language. I guess Canada too.

I've been reading on, if slowly, through Forest Dark, which doesn't really have much of a plot that I can see, but has some great lines.
Matti had laughed and said that if all the people in Israel who hinted that they worked for the Mossad actually did, then it would be the largest employer in the country. Think of all the banal domestic secrets whose cover- up the Mossad has unknowingly sponsored, he said.
Listening to An Order for Death which features amusing accounts of how Cambridge citizens viewed academics solving conflict in the 14th century (as this involved street riots, not very highly).
Read The Girl with a make-believe husband, light romance in the apparently unending Bridgerton series, if you watched While You Were Sleeping, and can imagine that transplanted to the war of Independence, you have the general idea. Was impressed the author didn't whitewash colonial slaveholding history, either.

Sep 14, 2017, 5:06am Top

>128 charl08: Charlotte, you've made me reserve the first one in that Susanna Gregory series. The library catalogue lists a 2016 reprint, so I'm hoping it won't be too filthy (or just that they actually send me that one and not the original version). And how I have I missed a new Bridgerton?! I love those books. I've wishlisted the first Rokesby one.

Sep 14, 2017, 7:17am Top

>110 charl08: Oh, archaeology! A career choice I would have loved. However, life happens when we least expect it, so other things intervened.

>128 charl08: An Order for Death looks good to me. Off to look it up...

Sep 14, 2017, 9:44am Top

>129 susanj67: Yup, it's my mind meld Spock technology, I've been practising. Or practicing. Whichever is spelled correctly. I'm not even going to begin to talk about the order in which the Bridgertons were read (or not read) in.

>130 bohemima: I found medieval history a bit tenuous at uni, so was quite glad at that point I'd not done it. Of course now I know archaeology is all over and much more recent, so humph. There's always retirement, I guess.

Booker shortlist. Ho hum. I guess I should probably read all of the ones I haven't read yet, but I can't say they're particularly calling my name, with the possible exception of Exit West. And Auster Schmuster, frankly.

Sep 14, 2017, 5:12pm Top

I'm just glad Autumn is on the shortlist, Charlotte. I'm betting, though, it will go to Lincoln in the Bardo or Exit West. Thoughts?

Sep 14, 2017, 5:15pm Top

Hi, Charlotte! There was an unfavorable review of Forest Dark in the Chicago Tribune today. Bummer! I had high hopes for that one. I hope you are finding something to enjoy there.

Sep 14, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>132 BLBera: There's a funny article by a former judge saying the only year he's ever got it right was when he was judging it! I've still to read Exit West.

>133 msf59: I've just this second finished it Mark. It's a very odd story.

Sep 14, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>99 charl08: The Lies of the Land: A Brief History of Political Dishonesty by Adam Macqueen...surely there is enough material for this to be book 1 of 30!!??

The pants/trousers conversation is funny. I have a British friend for whom 'pants' are underwear, I'm not sure what most NZers think 'pants' are, but we called long-legged shorts 'trousers'. :)

Sep 15, 2017, 9:15am Top

The reviewer was not impressed by that one Megan. I wondered why they even reviewed it tbh.

Weirdly in Liverpool, trousers are pants (Maybe the transatlantic connection) but I still get confused.

Sep 15, 2017, 5:20pm Top

Now reading IQ, a detective story which is managing to make me laugh. Although it does feature flashbacks....

His teacher, Mrs. Washington, was a severe woman who looked to be all gristle underneath her brightly colored pantsuits. Lavender, Kelly green, peach. She talked to the class like somebody had tricked her into it. “All right,” she said. “Inductive reasoning. It’s what those so-called detectives on CSI, SVU, LMNOP and all the rest of them call deductive reasoning, which is wrong and they should know better. It’s inductive reasoning, a tool you will use frequently in geometry as well as calculus and trigonometry, assuming you get that far and that certainly won’t be you, Jacquon. Stop messing with that girl’s hair and pay attention. Your grade on that last test was so low I had to write it on the bottom of my shoe.” Mrs. Washington glared at Jacquon until his face melted. She began again: “Inductive reasoning is reasoning to the most likely explanation. It begins with one or more observations, and from those observations we come to a conclusion that seems to make sense. All right. An example: Jacquon was walking home from school and somebody hit him on the head with a brick twenty-five times. Mrs. Washington and her husband, Wendell, are the suspects. Mrs. Washington is five feet three, a hundred and ten pounds, and teaches school. Wendell is six-two, two-fifty, and works at a warehouse. So who would you say is the more likely culprit?” Isaiah and the rest of the class said Wendell. “Why?” Mrs. Washington said. “Because Mrs. Washington may have wanted to hit Jacquon with a brick twenty-five times but she isn’t big or strong enough. Seems reasonable given the facts at hand, but here’s where inductive reasoning can lead you astray. You might not have all the facts. Such as Wendell is an accountant at the warehouse who exercises by getting out of bed in the morning, and before Mrs. Washington was a schoolteacher she was on the wrestling team at San Diego State in the hundred-and-five-to-hundred-and-sixteen-pound weight class and would have won her division if that blond girl from Cal Northridge hadn’t stuck a thumb in her eye. Jacquon, I know your mother and if I tell her about your behavior she will beat you ’til your name is Jesus.”

Sep 15, 2017, 6:10pm Top

Sounds interesting.

Sep 15, 2017, 6:24pm Top

The first couple of pages I thought it was going down the whole kidnapped woman thing again and I wasn't keen, but it managed to shift the story in a whole other direction.

Sep 15, 2017, 6:29pm Top

>137 charl08: That's a great excerpt and it made me smile.

Sep 15, 2017, 7:07pm Top

Hmm, IQ definitely sounds interesting. Not long until you are on vacation!

Sep 15, 2017, 9:06pm Top

>137 charl08: You picked a great excerpt to make me intrigued by that book, Charlotte! I like Mrs. Washington's sass. :-)

Sep 15, 2017, 9:12pm Top

Got that one on my list!

Sep 16, 2017, 1:59am Top

>137 charl08: You know how to pick the quotes! BB for IQ here too.

Sep 16, 2017, 2:23am Top

“I think that whether you intend to or not, the times that you live in emerge in the work that you produce. If you’re a writer of lyrics especially, it’s going to be in you and it’s got to come out. I think that if you intentionally try to make political music you will fall at the first hurdle, because your asking your idea to be something before your idea has revealed to you what it wants to be.”

Kate Tempest on her new work.

>140 Berly: >141 vancouverdeb: >142 rosalita: >143 drneutron: >144 Familyhistorian: Glad it's catching a bit more attention. It's not quite the beautifully written characters and plot of Walter Mosley, but I enjoy the nods to Holmes and Watson, the originality in not following what (I) expect in a crime novel- it's a series I'll be following (when the UK publisher catches up: sigh).
I want points from Susan for starting a series at the beginning, also.

Sep 16, 2017, 8:00am Top

Sep 16, 2017, 8:03am Top

So much catching up!
>29 charl08: A tour of the London Library sounds fabulous. Shall I join you? *grin*
>34 PaulCranswick: I get a little testy about those lists. I am sure that there are some books that should be read by all, but isn't that rather subjective? Like you said in >39 charl08:, I usually don't agree with all the ones on the lists Lol. I would nix One Hundred Years of Solitude, for example. I only managed 50 years of that one and it was an awful slog.
>84 Chatterbox: I have not read either one of those ladies. Have just requested a sample from my LL, including Every Woman For Herself, because sometimes, GOOD chick lit is just what is required.
>85 charl08: Lost Passport! Oh My. *reading quickly along to see what happens* Phew! Solved. :)
>110 charl08: Very cool stuff from Hadrian's wall. Thanks for sharing!
>137 charl08: I may have just taken a BB there.

Sep 16, 2017, 12:12pm Top

>146 susanj67: Thanks Susan. (Pats myself on the back)

>147 nittnut: Yikes, that's a lot of catching up. I'm earning the passport money tomorrow, doing an extra day of overtime. Good timing there.

I've not really planned much of my holiday so want to get on that. My aunt is having a picnic for her birthday in a wine vineyard, (well, the grounds that have been adapted for tourists really) so that should be nice. And I want to go back to Kirstenbosch gardens, which are truly beautiful.

Edited: Sep 16, 2017, 1:10pm Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie reviewed by Aminatta Forna
"...it is a contemporary Bonfire of the Vanities, New York seen from the inside and the outside, as only a writer of multiple slaves such as Rushdie.... could do."

The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath reviewed by M John Harrison
"...isnt just an entertaining ghost story, assembled by a master manipulator to be full of narrative trapdoors.... It's also an exploration of the deep mythology of the theatre."

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz reviewed by Margie Orford
"...the narrative meanders between a bewildering array of storylines..."

Munich by Robert Harris reviewed by Anthony Quinn
"A tantalising addition to the inexhaustible game of "what if"..."


Clade by James Bradley reviewed by Jane Housham
"Bird die-offs, mass fish deaths, wildfires and storms are just the beginning..."

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta reviewed by Kirsty Gunn
"...about looking, seeing, asking ourselves if we can ever really understand what makes a person tick. "

English Animals by Laura Kaye reviewed by Clare Clark
"...a strange hybrid, both determinedly contemporary and oddly old-fashioned."

Thrillers round up including The Susan Effect, Suburra and A Patient Fury,

and Attica Locke on her first book post Trump's election.

Sep 16, 2017, 1:16pm Top

I'm hoping The Girl Who Takes is better (for this reader) than that reviewer thought. For me, the last one was quite good, and there's no way I'm missing the newest Lisbeth Salander. Fingers crossed.

Sep 16, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>151 charl08: I'm not as invested Joe, although I read the first three, hope it is better for your sake though!

Sep 16, 2017, 1:59pm Top

Ooh, the Locke sounds good. English Animals, the Spiotta and the Rushdie go onto the list. Thanks Charlotte, I guess.

Sep 16, 2017, 2:03pm Top

I feel that I should get The Susan Effect, just because. And the Locke does look good. I saw one of hers at the library yesterday but I think it was The Cutting Season.

Sep 16, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>149 charl08: A new book by Robert Harris! :-)
I will wait for the Dutch translation.

Sep 16, 2017, 5:56pm Top

I've got an e-galley of the Rushdie, and that blurb makes it sound bump-up-worthy; I'm tapping my toe waiting for the Robert Harris to appear (I think it's next week?) and like Joe, shall hope that the Lisbeth Salander novel is better than the review suggests since it already resides on my Kindle.

I have an ARC of IQ somewhere, and clearly I'll have to dig it out! The author has a new book either out now or coming soon.

Sep 16, 2017, 6:27pm Top

>147 nittnut: Loved the comment that you could only read 50 years of One Hundred Years of Solitude as it was such a slog, Jenn. Lists are of course always subjective and surely that is what helps to make them fun.

and speaking of lists....

>149 charl08: McGrath, Rushdie and Harris all appeal.

Have a splendid weekend, Charlotte.

Sep 17, 2017, 7:40am Top

>152 BLBera: Seems like there are a lot of books that are tempting this week Beth.

>153 susanj67: I hadn't thought of that Susan. I wonder if there is any good merchandise the publisher might have put out... I could imagine a good poster being repurposed for the office...

>154 FAMeulstee: I've only listened to Fatherland. Oh and read Imperium. And The Ghost and Enigma. He's written a lot hasn't he.

>155 Chatterbox: I enjoyed the first two Salanders and had had more than enough about half way through the third. My crime reading is all over the place, so would be good to know what everyone else makes of it

>156 PaulCranswick: I can't pretend to want to read the Rushdie, Paul, but it's fun to read a positive review. And I do really respect Aminatta Forna's opinion...

(Have I convinced myself yet?)

Sep 17, 2017, 10:22am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Sep 17, 2017, 11:37am Top

Thanks Barbara. Doing some overtime today, looking forward to it Being Over.

Sep 17, 2017, 10:54pm Top

I confess I have not read anything by Salman Rushdie . Oh the shame. I recall reading a review about The Golden House in on of the newspapers we get in real life and it was not that positive. I have too see if I can search it up.

Not long now til you head south!

Sep 18, 2017, 8:12am Top

Me either Deborah, no confession necessary! I am looking forward to my trip a lot, although the butterflies have also kicked in - this will be the first trip back for years and my mum says lots has changed.

I'm just reading a tiny bit from The Disappearance of Emile Zola an ARC that I've been bad about reading, despite finding it very readable and interesting.
The point is he had had no need to take sides in the Dreyfus Affair, and prior to that , he had had no need to produce two highly partisan articles decrying anti-semitism. He was a novelist and cultural critic, not a politician. He continued: ‘Our life will pick up again and be greater and more magnificent.'
I like his optimism: he's just had to run from the French courts and the press and is in the UK, where the roads for his bike are much worse (I love little details like this).

Sep 18, 2017, 3:01pm Top

The Wardrobe MIstress sounds very interesting!

Sep 19, 2017, 3:06am Top

It does Jim! Genre bending I think.

I've been a bit distracted from my reading after such a busy weekend. I picked up Bernard Maclaverty's new one last night, Midwinter Break. Seems a quiet one so far, but I am enjoying it.

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 6:53am Top

Hi, Charlotte. I know you have a holiday coming up. When does it start? And do you have a stack of books ready to go?

I sure hope you can fit a bird tour into your plans.

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 8:43am Top

You're making me very pleased that I have IQ sitting at the top of my library book stack.

I read Innocents and Others earlier in the year and I loved it. There's a lot of detail of the process of creating a film, but I thought Spiotta made it all fascinating. And I'm a sucker for books that explore female friendship.

Sep 19, 2017, 9:22am Top

I missed the post where you wrote that you lost your passport (it might have been reading your thread on my phone and strange things happened so I skipped some posts - hate when that happens). Good thing that you checked in time! Not long before your trip now. How is the trip planning going? I have a love/hate relationship with trip planning: love to see all the possibilities but hate to check if they are practical and hate to be so programmed. I am deep into planning some trips for October so I can relate but I have the added work of research planning - that can be a rabbit hole!

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>164 msf59: I'll definitely plan to see the penguins, it's just whether I go on another tour too, Mark. I need to check with my aunt if she fancies it I guess.

>165 RidgewayGirl: I knew I'd read about Innocents and Others on someone'sthread! It looks really good. I'm hoping to get hold of the next IQ instalment soon.

>166 Familyhistorian: Because I've been a few times, and because I mostly want to be with family, the planning is a bit hit and miss. And also because I hate being closely programmed. Every time I go I have been reminded of how much I value the simple pleasure of being able to walk and travel where I want to go (mostly ) without having to worry about safety in the UK.

From Exit West
...for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.

Sep 19, 2017, 6:03pm Top

Is anyone else doing the pirate challenge? Struggling...

Sep 19, 2017, 6:17pm Top

Yay! Thanks for the reminder. I know what I'm doing this evening.

Sep 19, 2017, 7:01pm Top

I'm on 12. Now it's for pride...

Sep 19, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>168 charl08: Done with work, about to start!

Sep 19, 2017, 9:22pm Top

I've gotten all but the first three. Not coincidentally, these were the ones written by Tim Spalding. Will sleep on things and hope for illumination tomorrow.

Sep 19, 2017, 9:26pm Top

I completed the treasure hunt, but not without the assistance of the Talk thread devoted to it and clues therein...

Sep 20, 2017, 8:11am Top

>171 drneutron: >172 RidgewayGirl: >173 katiekrug: I'm down to two left! So frustrating. (or Arrrrrrrrrrrrr, of course in pirate)
Off to reread clues...

Sep 20, 2017, 1:00pm Top

I have piles of grading, so am trying to resist the treasure hunt. Good to know, though that there is avoidance available if I choose. :)

Edited: Sep 20, 2017, 1:39pm Top

One left. Arrrrrrrrrrrr.

I read about this book today and decided I 'ought ' to support the author and buy it. Hmmm. Hoping when it turns up it isn't a brick.

Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize

2017 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize logo
Cordelia Fine’s explosive study of gender politics has won the 30th anniversary Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

Judges praised Fine’s powerful book, Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds, for its eye-opening, forensic look at gender stereotypes and its urgent call for change

Since 1988 the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize has celebrated outstanding popular science writing and authors. Open to books written for a non-specialist audience, hundreds of entries are submitted by publishers from all over the world.


Sep 20, 2017, 1:42pm Top

>175 BLBera: There's nothing like walking the plank for a break from marking Beth.

Next door is in the sibling argument/ sibling wailing / parent yelling cycle. Some days I'm counting my blessings not to have sproglets, and this is One of those Days.

Edited: Sep 20, 2017, 3:45pm Top

Finished Exit West, which took me in a direction I wasn't expecting and was just brilliant. So many quotes and lovely ideas about moving and migrating, and what it might mean to change the societies who have the resources that people want come to.

But I still want Ali Smith to win.

ETA I think.

Sep 20, 2017, 7:02pm Top

Got all but 2. Gave up on those - I got 12 so I can maybe win a t-shirt!

Sep 20, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>176 charl08: Woot for the treasure hunters! Go Charlotte.

>177 charl08: Sorry about the domestic unhappiness next door. Ear plugs? Headphones?

I loved Exit West, but I loved Autumn more.

Sep 20, 2017, 7:47pm Top

I didn't even try and I ran stumbled across a treasure chest just by looking for something on the site. I then spent 1/2 hour trying to figure out some clues, but gave up . I'm afraid I'm not bright enough for the Treasure Hunt. I enjoyed Exit West, but not as much as you did. Lots of great quotes, but it did not capture my interest with regards to the characters. But despite my own issues, I could see it taking the Booker.

Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 3:02am Top

>179 drneutron: I was defeated by the ology one, even when I read all the clues on the pirate thread. Arrrr!

>180 BLBera: I think it's just a little one who has worked out that tears mean his parents come and enforce his way over older siblings... but it's pretty tear jerking for me!

>181 vancouverdeb: I think you deserve a prize for finding one without even trying! I was so glad they had the talk thread, as so much of then are about finding a part of the site - I'd get so frustrated knowing the reference to the book or person and just not being on the right link!

I started reading The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn last night. Lovely shiny new book with beautiful illustrations and photos.

Sep 21, 2017, 4:46pm Top

Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 5:14pm Top

It's a fascinating book Beth. I thought that Pepys' diary was written in code, but apparently not: it was a known form of shorthand...(except to the poor guy who worked on cracking it. Ouch).

Enjoying What it means when a man falls from the sky very much. I want my own copy
When anyone asked where my father was, my mother would say he was travelling, which was true if travelling meant "I prefer my mistress's cooking, so I'm going to live with her now."

Sep 22, 2017, 2:50am Top

Has anyone else come across The Seeker? I'm listening to it and the author is so growly and portentous I'm finding it hard to take seriously... admittedly they are talking about crime and censorship under Cromwell, but it's so gothic it's verging into camp...

Sep 22, 2017, 9:48am Top

Regarding that OLOGY riddle - it took me some time as the first time I guessed the answer, I omitted the e in pirate. Piratology looks better than Pirateology in my mind. Later, I was chewing over it and tried the other spelling. The worst part is that my son owns that book, or did when he was younger.

Sep 22, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>186 RidgewayGirl: I think I must have done everything except click on the book title- I was convinced it was the subject link not a book one. Argh. Or arrrr...

Sep 22, 2017, 8:22pm Top

Interested to read your comments about the Emile Zola book.

He remains one of my absolute favourite authors and he has certainly come out on the right side of history. His championing of Dreyfus was both brave as well as highly principled. Joins Twain, Henry James, Ibsen, Strindberg, Hardy, Checkov and Tolstoy as victims of the Nobel committee's extraordinary ignorance in overlooking their collective brilliance in the first decade of the prize.

Have a wonderful weekend, Charlotte.

Sep 22, 2017, 11:59pm Top

Charlotte, no , no parcel at all. Don't despair, depending on when you mailed it . I've found that when I order a book from the UK - say the Book Depository, it can take 10 days , 2 weeks or sometimes 2 months! Crazy and I'm not sure I have any idea why the times vary so much.. Have a good weekend!

Sep 23, 2017, 8:38am Top

I loved Exit West, what a great book. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Charlotte.

Sep 23, 2017, 10:39am Top

>188 PaulCranswick: I've never read anything by Zola, Paul, but it's a fascinating biography. I really like Michael Rosen but his range of expertise is rather intimidating!

>189 vancouverdeb: That's so weird, the one to Mark arrived so quickly and they were both sent at the same time, at the same post office!

>190 Ameise1: It was lovely. I was looking at it in the shop today, think I'll wait and get the paperback though.

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 12:09pm Top

Guardian non-fiction

The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabakov, Hitchens... by Martin Amis reviewed by Anne Enright
"...if you want a good scrap...a couple of these pieces will keep you going for a long time. "

So they call you Pisher: a memoir by Michael Rosen reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu
"...a portal into a lost Jewish London and a portrait of the artist as a nervy young man. "

The Animals Among Us: the New Science of Anthrozoology by John Bradshaw reviewed by Will Self
"takes his cue not just from our perennial fascination with our pets, but proximately from the promotion over the past 20 years or so of the idea that these pets are in some way good for us...according to Bradshaw, the scientific basis for these claims is threadbare at best..."

Defending the rock: how Gibraltar defeated Hitler by Nicholas Rankin reviewed by Richard Overy
"Gibraltar did not, as the title claims, defeat Hitler..."

Life 3.0: Being human in the age of artificial intelligence by Max Tegmark reviewed by Yuval Noah Harari
"Artificial intelligence need not be evil and need not be encased in a robotic frame to wreak havoc."

Nincompoopolis: the follies of Boris Johnson by Douglas Murphy reviewed by Oliver Wainwright
" The classically educated Johnson should have known the Ephebic oath of the Athenians, to leave the city more beautiful than you found it. Instead he furnished London with a plethora of ill-conceived ornaments, novelty solutions to problems that didn't exist."

Why We Sleep: the New Science of sleep and dreams by Matthew Walker reviewed by Mark O'Connell
"...filled with startling information about the effects of suboptimal shut-eye levels. It's not a book you should even be thinking about in bed, let alone reading....the stuff of nightmares."

Sep 23, 2017, 1:32pm Top

>185 charl08: I did add The Seeker to my UK Kindle TBR mountain at a rather attractive price a while back, principally because I quite liked her first series, starting with The Redemption of Alexander Seaton, and was drawn to it by the idea of a book set in Cromwell's era. Haven't read it, though a bad narrator can really ruin an otherwise acceptable novel.

You ended up hitting me with several book bullets as a result of the Pepys/Evelyn book. I'll get the Athenaeum here to put in a purchase order for that, but my look at its page on Amazon led me to another book about the literary friendship between Hume and Adam Smith, which is another "must read" and then to Mark Lilla's just published book about liberalism and identity politics, which I did end up purchasing. Good grief. Is there such a thing as the book bullet domino theory?

Off to do some reading...

Sep 23, 2017, 1:45pm Top

Glad the passport issue is all well. I just sent our passports off for renewal, so fingers crossed we get them back quickly.

And I think you have convinced me to try Exit West even though I didn't think much of the reluctant fundamentalist

Sep 23, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. I'm resisting them this week.

Sep 23, 2017, 3:16pm Top

>193 Chatterbox: Suzanne, I can't be held responsible for the books you found when you were on the page for a book I recommended. Not guilty!

>194 banjo123: I didn't really understand all the hoo ha for the Reluctant F, but I really liked Exit West. I think I might even try the middle book he wrote, something about being filthy rich? I forget the title just now. And fingers crossed for speedy passport return.

>195 BLBera: Lucky escape there, Beth! Will you have enough to be going on with?(!!)

I'm full of cold and feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully this means I've got time to get well instead of sharing my bugs with everyone on my flight...

Sep 23, 2017, 5:11pm Top

Get well soon, Charlotte.

Sep 23, 2017, 6:32pm Top

Feel better soon, Charlotte.

Yes, I think I will manage to find something to read. :)

Sep 23, 2017, 10:23pm Top

>191 charl08: Same post office on your end, Charlotte, but going to two different countries with two different postal systems. I think Canada Post sits on the parcels. I hope that you get over your cold in time for your trip.

Sep 24, 2017, 3:37am Top

This was just on the news this morning. Amazing young people.

>197 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Nothing compared to what you're going through. Hope your recovery continues to go well.

>198 BLBera: I was a bit worried there Beth!

>199 Familyhistorian: I do appreciate they're different countries, honest. Just hope it turns up eventually! Thanks for the good wishes.

Think I'm going to spend the day under the duvet. Bleurgh.

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 4:36am Top

I'll put a vote in for you to read How to Get Rich in Filthy Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid. I gave it 4.5 stars, though I don't remember if that well. But I preferred to Exit West. Sorry your not feeling well. Why We Sleep sounds interesting. I recall watching a film about Fatal Familial Insomnia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_familial_insomnia back in a psychology class. Eek! The stuff of night mares indeed. It followed a man and his family suffering from the illness. The first I'd ever heard of that.

When did you mail the parcel? That way I'll have a better idea of whether it is the window of possibility of arriving . As Meg says, sometimes Canada Post is very slow. I also live on the very western edge of North America, whereas Mark is on the eastern edge.

Sep 24, 2017, 6:14am Top

The review of the sleep deprivation book is actually pretty funny, for such a serious topic.

Parcel went out beginning of September I think Deborah.

I'm declaring five days of mourning, as Colin Firth has decided against being solely British post-Brexit...*


And this:
Tom Gauld on psychogeographers – cartoon


*Although frankly, if I had the option...

Sep 24, 2017, 7:32am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte! How are those books treating you? When do you go on vacation?

Sep 24, 2017, 10:26am Top

Reading a Heyer and alternating with cough sweets and the Pepys biography, Mark. Still feeling pretty rough but looking forward to getting on the plane in about a week.

Sep 24, 2017, 11:06am Top

Been away from your thread for way too long, Charlotte, for which I apologize. Of course, the loss has been mine. Interesting to hear of Colin Firth's citizenship business. My wife's niece is married to an Italian and is living in Italy.

Sep 24, 2017, 11:43am Top

Speedy recovery Charlotte. A week! Do you know what books you're going to take?

Sep 24, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Several of this weeks non- fiction books are calling out to me. The Michael Rosen one certainly and the book about sleep. and John Bradshaw is always worth reading if you are nterested in dogs (or cats).

I hope your cold clears up soon. Mr SandDune is also suffering (to be fair to him I think he has full blown flu) and is feeling very sorry for himself.

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 7:03pm Top

So sorry to hear you aren't feeling well, Charlotte. Kittens make everything better!

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 3:10pm Top

>205 weird_O: I rather like the idea although a colleague's recent accounts of a visit accompanied by water shortages and incredible temperatures gave me Pause.

>206 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Still feeling pretty rough, despite the meds and the sleep. But now my folks are back so I'm being plied with tea.

>207 SandDune: I love Michael Rosen. I do wonder when he sleeps though, this week he popped up as curator of an exhibition of working class artists' work from the 1920s.

Hope Mr S feels better soon. Full flu is no joke.

>208 ronincats: Aww. If you lived closer I'd be popping round to get some pet therapy. (Something to be grateful for there, for you, I think :-)

Have been reading sick room appropriate books, which turns out to include The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn in little bits and falling asleep to (and rewinding) The Seeker. I had objected to the narrator, who was so portentous he was driving me a bit nuts. He reminded me rather strongly of Sean Bean doing his full on northern hard man act, which turns out to be* what he was going for, as the character was supposed to be from Sheffield. I'm not sure why, but knowing this, I was less bothered by it, and the story helped too.

A murder mystery under Cromwell, I suspect this might have been a rave review if I read it rather than listened. As well as the period detail, there's lots of moral ambiguity with people living with the aftermath of civil war, a wide range of characters and some lovely historical 'walking London' detail. The downside was that for me, there was rather too much telling about how afraid everyone was of the main character (kind of a Cromwellian James Bond, with a Dark Past) rather than a more subtle approach, but I could see that as the first book in a series the author is setting up the character.

*I guess, as the actor's home accent is Lancashire. Yes, I was sufficiently bothered to look up his agent's webpage.

Sep 26, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Sorry you are still not well, Charlotte, I hope the tea being served does help.

Sep 26, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Sending really big get totally well vibes your way.

Sep 26, 2017, 4:54pm Top

Thanks Anita and Jenn. It's just nice to have my mum and dad checking on me when feeling so rubbish, even if I can't quite manage their truly impressive tea consumption levels...

Sep 26, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Sorry to hear that you are still feeling badly. Best wishes for a quick recovery. Enjoy the tea. Still no parcel, but I wouldn't panic at all. If you sent it at sometime in early September, it could arrive any day, or not until mid October.

Edited: Sep 27, 2017, 7:41am Top

>213 vancouverdeb: Well, I won't panic just yet then. Do hope it arrives eventually though.

The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn
I really enjoyed this exploration of the lives of Pepys and Evelyn, two friends who both wrote diaries which have been used to explore the everyday lives of people under Cromwell and the Restoration. There are lots of plates with images from Pepys & Evelyn's lives, and the author clearly knows a great deal about the period. It's not particularly academic in tone, at 250 pages it's a manageable read, and there are some really funny quotes (my favourite was the pet monkey that Pepys just happens to mention in his diary) and it fit in really well with the fiction listen (The Seeker) which is set in the same period.

I've got a big BB for a book about what Pepys read (called Samuel Pepys and his books), and his library, but this book includes a chapter discussing both of their habits as book collectors, I hadn't realised that Pepys, in particular, was so important to the collection of some early printing history (although I was amused that the writer describes Pepys being deliberately vague about some of the really old/ valuable texts he owned, presumably so that he wouldn't have to let other people see them!). Evelyn comes off as rather pompous in comparison to the direct and sociable Pepys, but their friendship makes for an interesting tie between the two. There is a lot of background material that (I think) sometimes is not sufficiently 'personally' linked to the two diarists, but it was interesting social history, so enjoyable reading on that basis.

(Magdalen College, Cambridge, where Pepys' library now sits. Poor Evelyn's library was sold off in bits.. :-()

Sep 27, 2017, 12:19pm Top

Reading Midwinter Break, which is quietly charming me.
Instead she rummaged in her bag and produced a postcard she’d bought in the museum shop. Old Woman Reading. It was not the painting she had seen but a different one . When she’d asked for the postcard the assistant had shrugged and said they were out of it. There are many old women reading, she said.
‘Isn’t that a wonderful state of affairs,’ said Stella.

Sep 27, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>215 charl08: Love it! It goes onto the list just for this bit. Thanks Charlotte. I hope you are feeling better.

Sep 27, 2017, 3:51pm Top

>216 BLBera: Weird coincidence, watching a documentary this evening about the Rijksmuseum. Odd how these things happen in the same day.

Edited: Sep 27, 2017, 4:45pm Top

Sep 28, 2017, 7:32am Top

That should be a sufficient amount of books for a couple of weeks, Charlotte, if there is enough on the kindle ;-)

Sep 28, 2017, 7:56am Top

I don't think I'll be able to afford/ fit all of these in, but I'm enjoying window shopping the tours -

Creative Cape Town

ape Town is considered one of the most creative cities in the world. It has an abundance of music, art, design, fashion and food, not to mention the natural creative assets the city was blessed with.
The 4 hour programme includes three elements. They might include
an artist-guided street art tour
a visit to the studio of a fashion designer
lunch and a concert at the home of a Cape Town musician
a visit to the studio of a fine artist or a local chef.

Take a seat at Paulina’s overlooking the Rickety Bridge vineyards. Sip a glassful of crisp estate wine and enjoy a delicious lunch while drinking in the splendour of the magnificent surroundings...

Can street art be the medium between creating beautiful things, beautiful spaces as well as bridging the visible divides within the City?
Cape Town has fast become well know for this resilient art form that has evolved over the years with significant pieces spread throughout the urban area.
Some of the best displays from renowned local and international artists are found in the vibrant restored suburb of Woodstock.

Sep 28, 2017, 8:44am Top

I vote for the vineyard one. Shocking, I know.

Sep 28, 2017, 9:33am Top

>220 charl08: Honestly, they all look really interesting but if you have to pick just one, I'm with Katie: Wine plus scenic tram ride equals fun to me.

Sep 28, 2017, 2:03pm Top

>221 katiekrug: I'm reading a review of the hop on, hop off tram vineyard tour, and they're complaining that they only managed to get to four vineyards in a day. It's hard pleasing some people!

>222 rosalita: It looks fun to me too!

Sep 28, 2017, 2:10pm Top

We did a winery tour on our honeymoon, and "only" made it to 4. It didn't help that it was the off-season, so we kept getting plied with multiple flights because the tasting room staff were so bored... :)

Edited: Sep 28, 2017, 3:22pm Top

Hi, Julia, Charlotte. This will shock you, no doubt, but my vote would be for the street art tour with an artist. :-)

Sep 28, 2017, 10:26pm Top

I don't know what to recommend, Charlotte, as far as your trip.The scenic tram trip looks really interesting . We did a winery tour way back when on our honeymoon. Just one winery and it was interesting. However, I am not accustomed to drinking wine , and Dave and I ended up back at our hotel having an afternoon nap, due to a few sips to wine. ;-) No parcel as of yet, just a Visa Bill today. Best wishes on your trip! Not long now!

Edited: Sep 29, 2017, 8:45am Top

>224 katiekrug: Sounds good to me, Katie. When I've done them before, 4 was more than enough.

>225 jnwelch: The fancy arts tour, unsurprisingly, was rather pricey. Bit if they deliver, I could see it would be worth it.

>226 vancouverdeb: Thanks for the wishes Deborah. I am leaning towards the trips that include food as well as wine, for the nap related reasons.

Still reading Bernard McLaverty's Midwinter Break
‘Those horses have got me going ,’ she said afterwards. They lay side by side staring at the ceiling.
‘Why do I take the notion more often when we’re away?’ said Stella. ‘Can you guess?'
‘Because I don’t have to think of dinners. The dinner. On a daily basis. It’s the bane of my life. Remember Mister and Missus Sheep?’
‘Mister Sheep says I’m fed up eating the same grass, day in, day out. ’
‘And Missus Sheep says At least I don’t have to cook it.’

Sep 29, 2017, 3:04am Top

>220 charl08: Theay look all good.

Wishing you a speedy recovery that you can enjoy your trip.

Sep 29, 2017, 8:46am Top

Thanks Barbara. I'm tempted to start a new thread but not sure how much time I'll get to update it!

Sep 29, 2017, 5:29pm Top

I'd love to go on the Creative Cape Town tour. But they all look like fun.

And now, like Stella (>227 charl08:), I'm due to start making dinner.

Sep 29, 2017, 6:32pm Top

Just lost my response and comments on Midwinter Break.
Will come back tomorrow.

Sep 29, 2017, 7:44pm Top

>227 charl08: You've sold me. I might have to order this right now. Four vineyards in a day sounds like plenty to me. I admit I'm a lightweight, but after sampling from a couple, everything else would probably be wasted on me. Great that you get to take a tram though.

Sep 30, 2017, 3:11am Top

>230 RidgewayGirl: Hope dinner turned our well!

>232 BLBera: I guess that was a successful ARC then...

Midwinter Break
I really loved this author's Grace Notes so was keen to read this, although I was a bit sceptical about the focus on a retired couple- was this an attempt to cash in on the grey pound? I was so pleased I read it, this is a wonderful, touching but dryly humorous look at a long marriage, through one weekend in Amsterdam. As the weekend progresses and the couple explore the city, MacLaverty gently shows us how they got there.

Edited: Sep 30, 2017, 4:24am Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn reviewed by Kate Clanchy
"His Lear is Henry Dunbar, the head of an international media cooperation – like Conrad Black or Rupert Murdoch – and is brilliantly awful. He has had a lifetime of power, over reputations and lives..."
I'm not sure. Not a Lear fan...

The Growing Season by Helen Sedgwick reviewed by
Sarah Ditum
"...any reader who knows their sci-fi will also know that, from RoboCop’s OmniCorp to Oryx and Crake’s OrganInc, you can never trust a business with an intercap. "
Love this line. Have the book to read...

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan reviewed by Meghan O'Rourke
"As a novelist, Egan possesses an unusual mix of qualities, combining a powerful social realism with poetic resonances that derive from her precise imagery and her fascination with the limitations of language. Here, she places her characters in situations that permit trenchant cultural observations, writing revealingly about the challenges of coming of age in the middle of the American century, when women’s lives were substantially circumscribed. But this novel is also metaphysical in nature: Egan’s characters are transformed by the vast ocean around them, which both hides and reveals."
I have this one too! Can't wait.

Worlds from the Word’s End by Joanna Walsh reviewed by
Joanna Kavenna
"The narrators of the stories in Worlds from the Word’s End are strikingly similar, to each other and to the narrators of Walsh’s previous works, but then one of them becomes a dog, which complicates matters a little. As in Hotel and Vertigo, they travel from one dreamlike place to another, residing in half-empty hotels, trying to write, or read, or focus on anything at all."
Not sure...

Poetry: Velkom to Inklandt by Sophie Herxheimer reviewed by Kate Kellaway
An “author’s note” explains the poems are written “in a Lenkvitch that my ear remembers as the way my paternal grandmother spoke”. She adds, simply, that her “first 17 years were my grandmother’s last”. Liesel lived in a quiet north London suburb and, visiting her, Herxheimer often wondered how Leisel and her husband had transported “such enormous heavy wooden furniture with them whilst fleeing for their lives”. The book is full of Herxheimer’s wonderful black-and-white papercuts of this remembered furniture – a shelf on which a coffee cup steams, a curvaceous sideboard, a table set with a lacy cloth (one poem is entitled My Demesk Tapell-Kloss)....
She suggests: “Reading the poems aloud is a good way in.” I’d say it was essential. At first, you might think the spelling a gimmick but the more you read, the more powerful the language ..."
My finger is hovering on the order button.

Crime fiction roundup
The Word Is Murder "Six hours after she has made arrangements for her own funeral, wealthy widow Diana Cowper is found strangled."

Low Heights "Garnier’s startling and surprisingly moving novels tend to centre on strange goings-on in French provincial settings, creating a world that is at once familiar and utterly bizarre... a stranger appears at the door claiming to be Lavenant’s long-lost son, things start to go horribly wrong in entirely unexpected ways."

Sleeping Beauties "Five bodies found in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains National Park are the starting point for...the third book in Jo Spain’s series featuring Inspector Thomas Reynolds of Dublin’s murder investigation unit "

If You Knew Her "a welcome addition to the ranks of coma lit."

Resurrection Bay "Caleb Zelic, private investigator and narrator .... is cut off from the world by a profound deafness that has made him not only a vigilant observer of nonverbal clues, but also a human bulwark against emotional closeness. When he goes to an old friend’s home and discovers that the man has been brutally murdered, he must – with the aid of his partner, former police officer Frankie, and a final text message from the dead man – prove his own innocence by finding the killer. "


Children's - The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell reviewed by Sarah Donaldson
"The detail of Cowell’s imagined world is a delight, not least in her scratchy pencil illustrations that evoke the darting, insect-like sprites or the pitch-black terrors of the forest. And her kinetic prose barely pauses for breath as Xar and Wish leap from one action-packed scrape to the next (you can practically see the scenes from the already-signed Dreamworks film jumping off the pages)."

Something I've often wondered:
Cover versions: why are UK and US book jackets often so different?
"One jacket designer, Stuart Bache, says the gulf between British and US design has narrowed in recent years, especially in literary fiction. Traditionally, US design tended towards literal interpretation, driven, Bache believes, by the complexity of the US market: the image that motivates readers in southern California to pick up a copy of a book is likely to be different to what appeals to readers in South Carolina. As a result, US jackets have tended to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and that does not make for good design."

Sep 30, 2017, 4:20am Top

Happy weekend, Charlotte. I hope you feel better.

Sep 30, 2017, 4:22am Top

Thanks Barbara. Hope you are well on your way to recovery.

Sep 30, 2017, 4:52am Top

I feel much better and I'm going back to work next Monday for 43% instead of 100%.

Sep 30, 2017, 11:45am Top

Hope the return to work goes well Barbara!

Sep 30, 2017, 1:30pm Top

Lots of good stuff this week, Charlotte. Thanks for posting. I'm waiting for the Egan from the library. Interesting about the covers...

Have a lovely weekend.

I hope you are feeling better. Your trip is soon, right?

Sep 30, 2017, 4:37pm Top

Thanks Beth. I love so many US covers, and wonder when they change them, although I'm aware from others' coments here that some of it is about rights being owned by different publishers across the Atlantic.

Trying to read The Outcasts of Time before I go away...

Edited: Oct 1, 2017, 12:51am Top

Does anyone know where I can find one of these bags?
ETA Maybe a non-gif will work...

Sep 30, 2017, 9:43pm Top

>234 charl08: I would probably choose, Dunbar.

>241 charl08: Cannot see the picture! I am sure Hani coud be of assistance here as, on Mastermind, ladies bags would be confirmed as her specialist subject - 18 points and no passes!

Have a lovely weekend.

Sep 30, 2017, 11:45pm Top

>234 charl08: What about Canada, Charlotte? Why don't they mention us? I think we get a mix of both covers. I must admit I much prefer the colourful cover on my copy of Home Fire to your black and white cover in the UK. The only big thing I recall is the Harry Potter's Series. Here in Canada the first book was called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone like in the UK, but in the USA the title was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, since it was thought that that the " Sorcerer's " stone would be better " understood" in the USA. Don't ask me why.

Still feeling yucky and nauseous . Hope I am soon feeling better. You too! Your trip is quite soon now!

Oct 1, 2017, 12:30am Top

Delurking to say Hi!!

Oct 1, 2017, 2:23am Top

>242 PaulCranswick: I wish she lived a bit closer Paul. I am hopeless at handbag type selection. If she was nearer I could seek expert consultancy...

I've updated the image, it was supposed to be Mary Poppins' magic bag! Some editing is going to be required of my things too I think if I'm going to get on the plane!

>243 vancouverdeb: Sorry to hear that Deborah. I've tried mint tea and ginger biscuits in the past (not together!). No books packed as yet.

>244 Berly: Hey Kim! Big wave in your direction.

Edited: Oct 1, 2017, 2:27am Top

The Outcasts of Time is really good, so far. Can't half tell the author has a background in the social history of medicine though. A lot of detail about living through a Plague epidemic...

Oct 1, 2017, 4:06am Top

>245 charl08: No books packed as yet

When are you leaving, Charlotte?
Packing books shouldn't be very difficult if you have enough on the kindle ;-)

Oct 1, 2017, 5:00am Top

>246 charl08: I took The outcasts of Time back to the library after about 40pgs last month. It was due back and I just couldn't get it read in time. I'll have another go at it next year as I liked the idea but had just read Matt Haig's How to stop time which was a bit too similar.

Oct 1, 2017, 5:38am Top

>247 FAMeulstee: Tomorrow! I've done a first pack, panicked a bit and am now trying to work out what to leave. Half the problem is that there is a severe water shortage there, so whereas I'm not normally someone to take lots of clothes, I feel guilty expecting to use my aunt's washing machine more than I have to, but think I'm just going to have to manage because I hate carrying so much stuff with me.

>248 avatiakh: I liked it a lot Kerry, but not quite a rave review. Someone else has requested it after me, and I waited a good while, so it's clearly popular here though.

The Outcasts of Time
I liked this a lot, it's a clever idea. Two brothers walk home in 1348, surrounded by the plague (with lots of grim detail about people dying in the roads, boats scudding down the river manned only by corpses, parents devastated by the loss of their children). After infection, they are offered a choice: to have a day every 99 years for six days as a chance for redemption. I was mostly really impressed how Mortimer told John and William's story across history, demonstrating what changes and what stays the same. At some points though, I could have done with a lighter touch on the 'lessons' from history. I didn't really think it was necessary to reiterate the transient nature of wealth and property: the story was making this point very clearly. The point about the poor getting poorer was also rather laboured, rather than following the drive of the narrative it sometimes felt like a detour. In places John and William seemed remarkably quick to learn, for example John's description of films as a moving newspaper.
Despite these caveats, recommended as a good historical read.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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