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Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 25

This is a continuation of the topic Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 24.

This topic was continued by Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 26.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Sep 12, 2017, 4:13pm Top

I mentioned the market town in South Yorkshire that I used to frequently cycle through as a young man - the unfortunately named Penistone. Near most Yorkshire towns there are wonderful examples of how the railways imposed themselves magnificently upon the Yorkshire landscape.

Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 4:23pm Top

Paul's Poetry

This is throwaway stuff but meaningful to me at the moment given the circumstances. I won't reveal who is "Piggy Eyes" but needless to say he is not someone I am particularly fond of.


Surprise, surprise
It's Piggy Eyes
No more lies ......

shake up
drop it or take up
make up or break up

Talk is cheap
Let go or keep
Crocodile tears still weep
The road ahead is steep

shake up
drop it or take up
make up or break up

Victim of circumstance
Second chance
Bonne chance!!

shake up
hold it and take up
make up, make up


Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:48pm Top


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

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

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

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:51pm Top



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


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


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

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:52pm Top



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


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


47. Il Postino by Antonio Skarmeta (1985) 112 pp
48. How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position by Tabish Khair (2012) 190 pp
49. 1914 by Jean Echenoz (2012) 118 pp
50. Resistance by Carla Jablonski (2010) 121 pp

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:53pm Top



51. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig (1968) 281 pp


52. Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson (1936) 299 pp
53. Amok by Stefan Zweig (1922) 121 pp
54. The King's Revenge by Don Jordan (2012) 328 pp


55. A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri (2012) 278 pp
56. Listening to Van Morrison by Greil Marcus (2010) 183 pp
57. The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins (2005) 85 pp
58. S. : A Novel About the Balkans by Slavenka Drakulic (1999) 201 pp
59. The World's Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus (2012) 52 pp

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:54pm Top



Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:55pm Top

British Author Challenge 2017



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


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




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

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

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


Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:56pm Top

American Author Challenge

American Author Challenge 2017

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

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:58pm Top

b>ANZ Author Challenge

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

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

Sep 12, 2017, 4:14pm Top


Sep 12, 2017, 4:15pm Top


Sep 12, 2017, 4:15pm Top


Sep 12, 2017, 4:15pm Top


Sep 12, 2017, 4:15pm Top


Sep 12, 2017, 4:28pm Top

and happy new thread, Paul!

Sep 12, 2017, 4:33pm Top

>17 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Nice to see you bright and early......It is 4.30 a.m. here.

Sep 12, 2017, 4:34pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 12, 2017, 4:35pm Top

>19 amanda4242: Thank you Amanda. xx

Sep 12, 2017, 4:37pm Top

Happy new thread mate.

Sep 12, 2017, 4:39pm Top

>21 johnsimpson: Cheers John. I must admit to a bit of disappointment at Yorkshire's performance again today. They need to buckle down to avoid relegation at the rate they are going. It is so frustrating having so many players unavailable all the time and I am half certain that the authorities do it on purpose to stop us winning.

Sep 12, 2017, 4:49pm Top

>22 PaulCranswick:, It is a bit worrying mate as I think it is going to be tight for the second relegation spot, we are losing bonus points hand over fist but these are mainly form the batting side of things though. I see your beloved Leeds are off to a good start mate, could this be the year for promotion.

Like you I am frustrated by having players unavailable due to Strauss's dictum, our players are not a worry for the winter tour and their form is good but I worry that we could be in for a good hiding down under. The key England performers are going to be carrying so much pressure to perform from ball one because the back ups are not performing well and our batting at the top of the side is fragile. I did think that once Cook had relinquished the captaincy he would get his free flowing fluency back without the added captaincy pressure but at the moment he has the added pressure of maintaining his wicket if his partner goes quickly, as does the number three and then if Root gets a good one we are down to a dodgy number five before we get to Stokes, Bairstow et al.

Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 5:00pm Top

>23 johnsimpson: I think Stoneman is probably the right man to play with Cook although I do worry about the pace of scoring. Sam Northeast is big character and I don't understand why he is not on many people's list as a likely tourist. Our bowling is good - spin excepted but Ali is certainly a shoe-in.

Westley and Malan don't impress me and I wouldn't pick either of them. I don't think that the young fellow at Lancashire is ready to be exposed either and I would probably tour with:

Leeds are now top of the Championship with 5 wins and 2 draws from seven with six clean sheets. Apparently they were not as irresistible as Saturday but I will take a 2-0 win when we were off colour a bit. MOT.

Sep 12, 2017, 5:06pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul! I quite like the railway viaduct in your topper — nowadays those sorts of things are probably considered overbuilt, but many are still in effective service 150+ years later, when much more recent highway bridges are falling apart.

Sep 12, 2017, 5:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul.
Your poem makes me want to give you a hug!

Sep 12, 2017, 5:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul! Beautiful bridge. I love that old stone architecture

Sep 12, 2017, 5:48pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul! You remain as popular as ever. Are you giving up on the AAC? I know I have not participated in many other Challenges myself, so I understand the conundrum. You do, what you have to do.

Sep 12, 2017, 5:57pm Top

>25 harrygbutler: Quite right Harry - they were built to last and are so grandiose. I love seeing them and my neck of the woods has plenty of them.

>26 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Angry, despairing and then a little touch of positivity all in a very simply constructed ditty. xx

Sep 12, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>27 jessibud2: Thank you Shelley. The Viaduct is one of the features of travel through the UK. I do think that they do add some richness to the vista.

>28 msf59: Not at all, Mark. I am struggling with every challenge at the minute but I always have an AAC book each month even when I don't get to it. Tenth of December by George Saunders is lined up for this month.

Sep 12, 2017, 6:23pm Top

>1 PaulCranswick:

Incredible photo - is there enough room for trains going both ways?

Is it still in use?

Sep 12, 2017, 6:36pm Top

Happy new thread Paul!!

Sep 12, 2017, 6:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Sep 12, 2017, 7:02pm Top

>30 PaulCranswick: Tenth of December is a fantastic choice. I am close to finishing my Saunders collection.

Sep 12, 2017, 7:07pm Top

>31 m.belljackson: Thanks Marianne. Yes and yes!

>32 SuziQoregon: Thank you Juli. Lovely to see you as always.

Sep 12, 2017, 7:08pm Top

>33 humouress: Thanks neighbour.

>34 msf59: I do hope that I will get it done this month Mark.

Sep 12, 2017, 8:07pm Top

Happy New thread, Paul! Gorgeous picture of Yorkshire.

Sep 12, 2017, 9:12pm Top

>37 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deb. Yorkshire really has so much more than "Dark Satanic Mills"!

Sep 12, 2017, 9:19pm Top


Listening to Van Morrison by Greil Marcus

Publication Date : 2010
Pages : 183

I am a huge fan of Van Morrison and have all his recordings as far as I know.

I am not a huge fan of this book in which a hugely opinionated critic determines which of Van's enormous catalogue we should listen to and which we should throw into the skip.

He writes of in a couple of lines everything that Morrison recorded between 1980 and 1997 which is extraordinary when you consider the depth and breadth of some of that music. I do agree with him, the painful Astral Weeks to one side, on which his absolute best records are but I couldn't enjoy or appreciate his manner or approach in arriving at conclusions without seemingly any due consideration.

Music in qualitative terms will always be subjective and I don't really need this smart Alec to insisting to me that I was always wrong to like certain songs.


Sep 12, 2017, 9:41pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 12, 2017, 10:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Sep 12, 2017, 10:08pm Top

>40 drneutron: Thanks Jim

>41 ronincats: Thank you, Roni. Always lovely to have you drop in. xx

Sep 13, 2017, 12:49am Top

Happy thread 25, Paul. You really are motoring along, aren't you?

Sep 13, 2017, 2:21am Top

Happy new one, Paul! How can you be 43 posts in already?!

Sep 13, 2017, 6:44am Top

Happy new thread Paul, And what impressive picture on top.

Sep 13, 2017, 7:17am Top

Happy newish thread, Paul! Another stunner of a topper!!

Sep 13, 2017, 7:46am Top

Hi Paul and happy new thread!

>1 PaulCranswick: A beautiful imposition, functional and pleasing to the eye.

Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 8:42am Top

Happy New Thread, mate!

I'm a Van fan, too. After his concert in Cambridge, Mass. many years ago we ran into him in a nearby restaurant. Shocker: he's shy. (I'm kidding - not a shocker. He was just what you'd expect. Polite, but shy).

Sep 13, 2017, 8:46am Top

Happy new thread, Paul.

Sep 13, 2017, 9:01am Top

Happy new thread!

Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 9:13am Top

Hiya Paul! Hope you are having a lovely day!
My favourite Van Morrison is, probably typically, Brown Eyed Girl. My high school had it on the juke box and someone always picked that song at lunch hour. (As well as Hotel California)

Sep 13, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>39 PaulCranswick: delurking.

If someone suggests we more or less dismiss Morrison's work from 1980-1997 they need to be immediately dismissed themselves! Seriously. Some of my favorite Van music lies in the period - actually probably almost all of my favorites are in that range. Queen of the Slipstream, Cleaning Windows, the Poetic Champions album, Avalon Sunset album, so much more. Sheesh. What is wrong with this guy?

Sep 13, 2017, 3:10pm Top

Hello Paul. I hope all is well.

>1 PaulCranswick: Again, nice shot. Imposing is right, but somehow stately as well.

Sep 13, 2017, 4:27pm Top

I know this will be a shock but I really don't get Van Morrison and don't know what all the fuss is about him, this could probably be said of my tastes but it is like some other things with me, I have never watched Star Wars or Game of Thrones although I did get the books which Amy promptly took off me and I haven't got them back yet, ha ha.

Sep 13, 2017, 8:15pm Top

>43 Familyhistorian: I am doing ok this year posts wise even though I slowed down quite markedly in June/July. I love being here in my little covey in LT, Meg.

>44 Berly: Actually a wee bit slower than normal, Kimmers, because work has kept me away from the computer!

>45 EllaTim: Thank you, Ella. We have our viaducts in Northern England and I guess you have your impressive dikes in Holland.

Sep 13, 2017, 8:22pm Top

>46 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda - lovely to see you here as always. xx

>47 karenmarie: Thank you, Karen. "A Beautiful imposition" - I like that phrase!

>48 jnwelch: Thanks buddy. Van is a notoriously difficult character. Many moons ago and through a mutual friend, I was supposed to be introduced to him with a view to do backing vocals on some tracks he was recording in Bath but I couldn't make it as I was stuck on a project in fairly nearby Warminster. I suppose looking at the dates it would have been from his "Too Long in Exile" album. Ah, well! Now at least I can spend time singing in the bath!

Sep 13, 2017, 8:24pm Top

>49 BLBera: Thanks, Beth

>50 foggidawn: Thank you, Foggy

>51 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle. It is funny that despite 'Brown Eyed Girl" being almost certainly his most successful single it is not among my own favourites. I like so many of his album tracks that I would struggle to name one but "Real Real Gone" is one of my favourites.

Sep 13, 2017, 8:29pm Top

>52 RBeffa: Couldn't agree more, Ron. There is some great stuff on those albums. She Gives Me Religion, Enlightenment, When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God being three that immediately come to my own mind.

>53 brodiew2: Thanks Brodie. They were built to last and the majority of them scattered across the country would be more than 150 years old, I think.

>54 johnsimpson: I would have had you down as a Van the Man fan, John. Surprised a bit - I will sing "Crazy Love" for you and Karen, the next time we meet up and then you'll reconsider. Singing that song to Hani helped her to fall in love with me back in the day!

Sep 13, 2017, 11:00pm Top

The Man Booker Shortlist was announced yesterday:

4321 by Paul Auster
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Autumn by Ali Smith
Elmet by Fiona Moxley
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Sebastian Barry, Arundhati Roy, Mike McCormack, Jon McGregor, Kamila Shamsie, Zadie Smith and Colson Whitehead didn't make the cut. I am surprised that the latter two didn't make it.


Sep 13, 2017, 11:14pm Top

Hi Paul! I just read Autumn and loved it so I was pleased to see it on the shortlist.

I am also a Van Morrison fan. Tupelo Honey is my favorite of his songs, with Crazy Love a close second. I am also partial to Brown Eyed Girl since I have brown eyes. :-)

Sep 13, 2017, 11:17pm Top

Van Morrison! I'm not sure I realized what music he did, but I checked. Yes, Brown Eyed Girl, Into the Mystic, and Moondance. Oh yeah! I think Into the Mystic would be my favourite.

Yes, I'm a wee bit sad about the Booker short list, but I'll live. Capricious judges! :-) I'd read three of the long listed Bookers and only Exit West made the cut, and it was not my favourite. Oh well! I really loved Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie and I would not have been aware of it otherwise. I do have Reservoir 13 waiting in the wings . Sometimes the books on the longlist are the best.

Sep 13, 2017, 11:44pm Top

>60 cbl_tn: Oh!, I also adore the song Tupelo Honey, Carrie. Crazy Love is Hani and I's song and we have done our best to live the song!

>61 vancouverdeb: When Van was being mellow he was really wonderful, Deb. I must admit that I have never enjoyed reading Paul Auster so his name on the list is a bit off putting. I do have three of the shortlist on the shelves and may try to get to them before the result is announced.

Edited: Sep 13, 2017, 11:51pm Top


Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 3:20am Top

>63 PaulCranswick: Wow, that's a lot of Van Morrison, Paul!

I too was rather off put by the presence of Auster on the list.

Sep 14, 2017, 6:06am Top

>64 charl08: And there is such a lot of the book as well Charlotte. I will probably read it, or try to, given that I am a bit of a completist freak but I am not relishing the prospect.

Van is very much the Man.

Sep 14, 2017, 6:43am Top

Good morning, Paul!

Lots of Morrison love here, I see.

I'm not an Auster fan; he seems to delight in being rather a pain in the neck, show-offy kind of fellow. I much prefer his wife's work.

Nearing the end of the week; I hope it's been a good one.

Sep 14, 2017, 7:05am Top

>66 bohemima: Gail, lovely to see you.

I agree with you on Auster. He always appears so pompous and full of himself. Even if his book is great, I hope he doesn't win.

Sep 14, 2017, 7:08am Top

Loving the Van Morrison love on the thread. I grew up on his music (dad's a fan) so it's been ingrained in me. I think my favourites are probably "Days Like This" and "Warm Love" - though I like pretty much all his songs.

Sep 14, 2017, 7:26am Top

>68 PawsforThought: Two of my favourites too, Paws.

This clip is of the video he did for Days Like This


Sep 14, 2017, 8:51am Top

I have a soft spot for "Wild Night Is Calling". Always makes me think of fun times with pals.

Sep 14, 2017, 9:07am Top

Hi Paul!

I've only read Lincoln in the Bardo but can't imagine any book more deserving of the prize. One of my rare 5-star reads.

I just don't get Zadie Smith. Tried both On Beauty and White Teeth and bailed.

And, finally, I have the Moondance album by Van Morrison. I can't have bought when it came out in 1970, but I'm sure I bought it within a year or two of that. I'd forgotten how many songs I love and remember from that album!

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 9:24am Top

>70 jnwelch: You mean "Wild Night", Joe from his good album Tupelo Honey?
This is a version of the song - one of him performing it at the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival.

>71 karenmarie: I will possibly make that one or Elmet my first shortlisted read, Karen. I also have Autumn on the shelves.

Moondance is one awesome album. And It Stoned Me, Into the Mystic, Crazy Love and the title track are all timeless.

Sep 14, 2017, 9:20am Top

>72 PaulCranswick: Yes - here it's also called Wild Night is Calling, but I like "Wild Night" better. Love the Tupelo Honey album.

Were you going to post a link of him performing it? It didn't come through in the post.

Sep 14, 2017, 9:24am Top

Sep 14, 2017, 9:28am Top

Stupid border police. It won't play via that link here, but I was able to find it. For USA-ians, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AO901RX-oc

Sep 14, 2017, 9:31am Top

>75 jnwelch: Both are great, Joe (well they are both the same, actually!). I didn't realise downloading of some of the stuff was prohibited in the States.

Sep 14, 2017, 10:44am Top

>63 PaulCranswick: While I can't argue with Moodance, I personally liked Days Like This in a close second.

Sep 14, 2017, 11:12am Top

>77 Oberon: I certainly think that it is the last album of his that is really really good. I also like its studio successor, The Healing Game but I think it has less depth than Days Like These.

Sep 14, 2017, 11:39am Top

Good morning, Paul. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying Van Morrison. 'Moondance' is good stuff.

Sep 14, 2017, 11:49am Top

>79 brodiew2: Hi Brodie. As a multi instrumentalist he is also very impressive. Quite a saxophonist too by all accounts.

Sep 14, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Nice Van Morrison convo here!

Sep 14, 2017, 3:40pm Top

>81 sibyx: I suppose that with your own Celtic musical roots, Lucy, he would be someone you would appreciate. I do like the album he made in the 80s with The Chieftains.

Sep 14, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Unless a miracle happens tomorrow it looks like congratulations are in order for Essex as new County Champions, they have had a very good season with contributions from all team members and their recruitment has been excellent. We can take some credit in Yorkshire with ex-Yorkshire players Chris Silverwood as Head Coach and Anthony McGrath as Assistant Head Coach.

The weather has helped Yorkshire in this round but they still need to be on their game for the last two games of the season. A stiff leaning curve for Andrew Gale but I am sure he will have learnt a lot that will stand him in good stead for next season.

Hope you are having a good week mate, Karen says hello.

Sep 14, 2017, 5:44pm Top

>83 johnsimpson: Essex have done well John, haven't they? Browne, Lawrence, Harmer and Porter have all been tremendous. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Porter didn't make the Ashes squad.

We have been dreadful again. I really do think that the Central Contracts system is killing the County game. Lees, Lyth, Handscomb, Root, Ballance, Bairstow, Rashid, Bresnan, Plunkett, Coad, Brooks would beat any county hands down but we have not been able to field that team once.

Say hello back to Karen for me. I miss you both.

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 6:00pm Top

>39 PaulCranswick: I don't really need this smart Alec to insisting to me that I was always wrong to like certain songs.
Hear hear!

>59 PaulCranswick: I have called Exit West by Mohsin Hamid as the winner. Not having read it though, I am hardly qualified, but hey. One can hazard a guess.

ETA: >1 PaulCranswick: the railway is over fields.... surely there was a purpose for it being raised so high? Tall sheep? ;)

Sep 14, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>85 LovingLit: I think we are all capable of using our ears and other other senses to determine what we like.

I half hope Ali Smith wins it because she has been shortlisted such a lot.

Railways over fields........baaaaa!

Sep 14, 2017, 9:10pm Top

Late to the game, but.... Moondance!

Sep 14, 2017, 9:35pm Top

>87 drneutron: Yes! That song has been running through my head ever since I started reading this thread! Such a great song!

Karen O.

Sep 14, 2017, 9:39pm Top

>87 drneutron: And it was a marvellous night for it too, Jim!

>88 klobrien2: And it was also a fantabulous night to make romance also apparently, Karen!

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 10:14pm Top

>85 LovingLit: No, silly, it's for the trees. You can see them lining up to cross over under.

Sep 15, 2017, 3:30am Top

>86 PaulCranswick: Baaa ha ha :)

>90 humouress: Baaa ha :)

Sep 15, 2017, 3:39am Top

>90 humouress: Very Tolkienesque, Nina; Striders all!

>91 LovingLit: I could never go to sleep counting sheep.

Sep 15, 2017, 3:46am Top

>92 PaulCranswick: neither could I, it would take *far* too long around here :)

Sep 15, 2017, 9:56am Top

>86 PaulCranswick:

Maybe the railway (what is its name?)
architects had dreams of giant electric sheep...?

Likely members (sorry) have already made enough name jokes for your town,
yet it recalls previous thread discussions and made me wonder
if Prince Harry is a direct descendant of Prince Albert...

Sep 15, 2017, 12:01pm Top

>93 LovingLit: As I know, Megan, there are far more sheep than people in NZ so I guess your task in counting them all would be pretty thankless.

>94 m.belljackson: Of course I don't see Philip Dick as a likely railway architect!
Prince Harry is a direct descendant of Prince Albert and I am not at all sure whether they share physiology as well as inclination!

Sep 15, 2017, 12:17pm Top

Paul - so you are awake in Malaysia as we are at 11 AM - what time is it there?

Well, if/when Megan (Meghan?) Markle writes her book, inquiring minds may be enlightened.
(I'm in there's-gotta-be-a-reason mode since, otherwise, he doesn't seem a thrilling catch.)

On Mark's site, I mentioned the Gustav Klimt feature now up on My Modern Met, a free weekly
newsletter from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Just go to their website, click on
My Modern Met (or do a Search for My Modern Met), and Klimt.

You might very well enjoy the diversion.

Sep 15, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>96 m.belljackson: It is 25 minutes past midnight, Marianne and the night is but young.

Going off to be diverted!................

Sep 15, 2017, 8:40pm Top


The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins

Date of Publication : 2005
Pages : 85
American Author Challenge

Billy Collins is as familiar as an old raincoat stashed away in a cupboard whose recovery reminds of long autumnal walks in the forest.

He speaks in a clear, unfussy voice in poems deceptively simple and conversational yet capable of pearls of profundity when it is almost unexpected.

This is his poem Bereft from the collection:

I liked listening to you today at lunch
as you talked about the dead,
the lucky dead you called them,
citing their freedom from rent and furniture,

no need for doorknobs, snow shovels,
or windows and a field beyond,
no more railway ticket in an inside pocket,
no more railway, no more tickets, no more pockets.

No more bee chasing you around the garden,
no more you chasing your hat around a corner,
no bright moon on glimmering water,
no cool breast felt beneath an open robe.

More like an empty soul that souls traverse,
a vaporous place
at the end of a dark tunnel,
a region silent except for

the occasional beating of wings -
and I wanted to add
as the sun dazzled your lifted wineglass,
the sound of the newcomers weeping.

The Trouble with Poetry is that not many people write it like Billy Collins. I believe its readership would be greatly extended if they did.


Sep 15, 2017, 9:16pm Top

>98 PaulCranswick: I agree, if more poetry was written like Collins then perhaps I would read it more.

Sep 15, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>99 ChelleBearss: There was a brilliant but scathing review of The Trouble with Poetry in the New York times written in a style aping his work and attacking the blandness and timidity of Collins' poetry. I can accept some of the criticisms of him in terms of sheer technicality or originality but that rather misses the point. Collins has a gift of bringing poetry to a wider audience which, perhaps with Mary Oliver and Carol Ann Duffy nobody else can do today.

He deserves to be cheered at more than sneered at.

I will not set out the rather mean review here in full but here is an excerpt:

almost as we chuckle gently
in anticipation when we realize
that the book review we've been reading

is about to turn the corner,
and begin placing a writer's shortcomings
alongside his virtues,

by observing, for instance,
that Billy Collins too often relies
on the same blandly ironic tone

and the same conversational free verse,
loosely organized in tercets
or the occasional quatrain
when an extra line jogs onto the page,

Continue reading the main story
or that his poems often begin well
and then spiral down
into unsurprising images

like exhausted birds
unable to stand for anything
beyond the simple fact of exhaustion,

or that, most important,
he is often humorous
without actually being funny,

The full review is here : http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/08/books/review/08orr.html?mcubz=0

Sep 16, 2017, 8:43am Top

>100 PaulCranswick: Ouch, that review must have hurt. I didn't think the poem at #98 so very bland or timid at all.

Sep 16, 2017, 8:53am Top

>98 PaulCranswick: Great comments on The Trouble with Poetry, Paul. I quite enjoyed the title poem. I find Collins' style refreshing. I get the feeling that he doesn't take himself too seriously.

Have a lovely weekend.

Sep 16, 2017, 8:56am Top

Hi Paul!

>100 PaulCranswick: I laughed out loud at the review of The Trouble with Poetry, because it reminds me of myself in my first year of college. We had to read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I was an extremely conventional person at the age of 18 and hated the book. I didn't like the language at all and wrote my entire paper on it using some of those made up words and some of my own. At the bottom of the paper, with my opinion of it, I wrote that the professor reading the review might be as frustrated as I was reading the book. I sure do wish I still had that paper. I don't even remember the grade I got on it. Lost in the mists of time.....

I'm one of those (still) conventional people who loves poetry that actually rhymes, always excepting E.E. Cummings. For some reason his poetry speaks to me, regardless of rhyming.

Sep 16, 2017, 11:16am Top

>101 EllaTim: I think that there should be more poets like him, Ella, and then the form may be more popular.

>102 BLBera: He is easy to read certainly, Beth. He is not a great technician, he is not given to hyperbole and he is not particularly profound but his words speak cleanly and clearly to the reader rather than baffling the reader as so many others do.

Sep 16, 2017, 11:19am Top

As an English professor, I appreciate Collins even more for not baffling the reader, Paul.

Edited: Sep 16, 2017, 11:23am Top

>103 karenmarie: I have done a few reviews of poetry anthologies in verse, Karen, but I don't remember writing any essays at college with quite such bravery.
I am fairly conventional too with regards poetic forms and do prefer structure and rhyme over free flow in most instances. Readers of my own poetry will see more in the way of rhyme than otherwise.

>105 BLBera: Yes, Beth, there is plenty to admire in being able to communicate your ideas as deftly as he is able to.

Sep 16, 2017, 11:33am Top

>103 karenmarie: It must be a freshman english thing. I too was a conventional relatively conservative person as a freshman and the freshman college english teacher I had struck me as trying to be very edgy and hip. 5 or 10 years ago I could have told you what book it was but now I can't remember, but whatever it was (Not Clockwork Orange) I responded to what I thought was a nasty work by writing what I thought was a fairly good satirical type paper on it quoting back all sorts of bits from the book to lambaste it - I thought I was being very clever and it felt like the only way I could respond to something I pretty much hated. My professor was not amused. I got a C on it (+ or - I do not recall) and that was a terrible grade for me and my balloon was popped. I now knew not to do this again the next time she threw something unconventional at us, and she did. However, she did introduce me to Graham Greene and The Power and the Glory and for that whiskey priest I was forever grateful.

Sep 16, 2017, 11:50am Top

>107 RBeffa: Any teacher with the perspicacity to introduce Graham Greene to a youngish reader is allowed one misstep with 'nasty lit'! My english lit teachers were generally quite conventional but I do remember being blown away by Volpone by Ben Jonson having never imagined that Elizabethan plays could be so fun or so bawdy.

Sep 16, 2017, 12:37pm Top

>108 PaulCranswick: She was one of the toughest university profs I ever had - and I can't even recall her name. I later came to think that she was hard on the freshman to toughen us up for the highly increased expectations we would face in college. But she certainly gave me an appreciation for Graham Greene. The only tougher English (or maybe any) prof I had was something of a legend on my campus and a fairly accomplished and respected poet. She actually helped me quite a bit as a writer at the time. Her name was Celeste Turner Wright. https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/obituary-celeste-turner-wright/

Edited: Sep 16, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Hi Paul, back to your previous thread: I am busy making my own ""A book a year for my age" list. A lot of work, but having fun with it, thanks!
I hope to finish it before my 55th birthday ;-)

Sep 16, 2017, 4:54pm Top

>109 RBeffa: Ron, I was also very much inspired by my teachers and tutors - in english, in history and in philosophy.
The Obit for Ms. Turner Wright was a very loving one.

>110 FAMeulstee: I hope that means that you are well into your 55th year, Anita! I look forward to seeing your list. xx

Sep 16, 2017, 5:07pm Top

>111 PaulCranswick: I can take my time, Paul, as I am a bit over 7 months into my 55th year ;-)

Sep 16, 2017, 5:19pm Top

>112 FAMeulstee: Almost five months of bated breath, Anita, checking your thread daily for your list.......xx

Sep 16, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>100 PaulCranswick:. That review is hilarious. THanks for posting.

And happy weekend!

Sep 16, 2017, 5:58pm Top

>114 banjo123: Reviews can be fun when they are cruel, Rhonda. I don't think I would enjoy looking out for the papers to see what some smartass journo makes of my work!

Sep 16, 2017, 6:59pm Top

>105 BLBera: As someone who is almost always baffled by poetry, I appreciate the little I've read by Billy Collins. His Aimless Love is also the only book of poetry I bought on purpose.

Sep 16, 2017, 7:27pm Top

>116 Morphidae: If I ever get one published Morphy I would expect you to double that number!
Lovely to see you here, dear lady.

Sep 16, 2017, 10:30pm Top

Just keeping up here...Hi!

Sep 16, 2017, 10:32pm Top

>118 Berly: Hi right back at yer Kimmers! You are always welcome in these verdant pastures. xx

Sep 16, 2017, 10:34pm Top

Verdant pastures eh? I see you are waxing poetic!!

Sep 16, 2017, 10:45pm Top

>120 Berly: More like waning poetic, Kimmers!

Edited: Sep 16, 2017, 11:38pm Top


S. A Novel About the Balkans by Slavenka Drakulic

Date of Publication : 1999
Pages : 201
Around the World in 80 Books : #26 Croatia
1001 Books First Edition - #284

Some books perplex me as to why they made the 1001 books list but this book perplexes me for a multitude of reasons.

Makes me shudder at the inhumanity of man and I say man because most of the venom here is visited upon women and also the nearness of this very realistic story. It is barely twenty five years ago that the events described graphically in this novel were common place in the Balkans.

Drakulic does a marvellous job of placing herself via her initialised character into the horror of a camp and a "women's room" where the Bosnian ladies are routinely and brutally raped for the very reason that they have the temerity to be born muslims.

An important book and one that will stay with me a good while.


Sep 16, 2017, 11:37pm Top

Late to the party, Paul, but like so many, I love Billy Collins for who he's decided to be and how he's decided to write.
Hope I get back to graze here soon!

Sep 16, 2017, 11:40pm Top

>123 LizzieD: The lack of pretentiousness in Collins is so appealing isn't it, Peggy?

Trust you, dear lady, to extend so deftly the verdant pastures metaphor. xx

Sep 16, 2017, 11:44pm Top

Sep 16, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>125 Berly: Kimmers your presence in this group has continuously brought so much happiness and friendship this year that I am so pleased to see that you have outposted your previous years by almost double.

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 7:35pm Top


Country 26 of 80 - CROATIA

Croatia Factfile

Area : 21,851 sq miles
Population : 4,190,700
President/Prime Minister : Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic / Andrei Plenkovic
Capital City : Zagreb
Largest City : Zagreb
Currency : Kuna
GDP Nominal : $51,945 billion
GDP Per Capita : $12,405
National Languages : Croat
Median Age : 42.7
Life Expectancy : 75.9
Percentage Using Internet : 72.7%

Its a Fact : The world's first torpedo was made in Croatia.

Sources : Various but mainly wikipedia and CIA world fact book

Sep 17, 2017, 12:08am Top


Punjena Paprika

To be fair this dish is popular across the Balkans. Stuffed peppers, basically.

Sep 17, 2017, 12:11am Top


Nikolina Ristovic

Croatian TV presenter.

Sep 17, 2017, 12:13am Top


Marin Cilic

Very tall tennis man

Sep 17, 2017, 4:30am Top

>122 PaulCranswick: I'm sure I should read this book Paul, but I'm not sure I can. I have read other books about such violence in the past. It saddens me that it continues.

Sep 17, 2017, 6:16am Top

>131 Caroline_McElwee: 'Harrowing' certainly describes the book at times, Caroline.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:23am Top

>129 PaulCranswick: LIKE!

Happy Sunday, Paul or what's left of it for you. Hope you found some time for a little R & R this weekend.

I had a splendid day, with Nancy, (alphaorder) yesterday, hiking and chatting. Another friendship that would have never been possible with out the magic of LT. If many of us lived closer, I am sure there would be much more of this going on.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:32am Top

>133 msf59: I reckon I have a fairly unerring eye, Buddy!

Isn't it amazing how we can all get together and fall into conversations comfortably as if we have known each other for the longest time. I don't remember feeling any awkwardness in any of my LT meetings.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:38am Top

I am not sure if I could get you out on the trails, for a couple of hours, but I could certainly convince you to sit in a brewpub and chat a bit. Someday?

Sep 17, 2017, 10:17am Top

Happy Sunday, Paul.

Sep 17, 2017, 10:36am Top

>135 msf59: You may not know Mark but I was a semi pro cyclist many moons ago and I would soon get into shape on a bike for sure. Good beer and conversation does still appeal more though, I must say!

>136 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Lovely to see you.

Sep 17, 2017, 10:54am Top

Paul, I hope the coming week is a good one for you.

I find that I'm (mostly) conservative in my taste for poetry. Bukowski would be an exception, but his work is straightforward, if unconventional in form--mostly formless, really.

One poet that...um...puzzles me is Wallace Stevens. A couple of his poems I more or less understand; I do get that he likes to play with language. I don't mind expending a good bit of effort on my reading. But I hate being completely frustrated. Any thoughts?

On the other hand, I find unconventional fiction intriguing.

Sep 17, 2017, 11:04am Top

>138 bohemima: I can certainly sympathise with that point of view re: poetry Gail. Wallace Stevens is a poet that one needs to get into but when he is on point he really is top notch. One poet that has always troubled me for the same reasons you give is John Ashbery. I find a lot of his stuff pretty incomprehensible.

TS Eliot on the other hand needs a bit of work to follow but the language is so beautifully constructed that it often doesn't matter a jot.

Sep 17, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Hi, Paul! My taste in poetry runs both older and longer in general; I'd say I prefer narrative to lyric overall, though I do have my favorites among shorter pieces.

Sep 17, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>140 harrygbutler: I can read the romantics, Harry and Longfellow and Tennyson too, but my favourites would be more modern:
Dylan Thomas
TS Eliot
Ted Hughes
WH Auden
WB Yeats
Louis MacNeice

That would probably be my six of the best in poetry.

Sep 17, 2017, 6:05pm Top

I was here, Paul. Sadly, I wasn't first.

Sep 17, 2017, 6:15pm Top

Just for you, Paul.

Sep 17, 2017, 6:29pm Top

>143 weird_O: - ROFLMAO!

Sep 17, 2017, 6:58pm Top

>142 weird_O: Always great to have you stop by, Bill.

>143 weird_O: Hehehe.

>144 jessibud2: I am not rolling but I was certainly chuckling, Shelley. xx

Sep 17, 2017, 8:05pm Top

The joke is on me.

I was trying to explain to our LT friend Weird O about the term Cranswickian and from whence it sprang, and I realized that I have used that word so many times that my iPad considers it a real world. It is now auto-implanting it whenever I try to write your name! Dang and drat! Now I have to try to re-teach the machine.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:22pm Top

>146 benitastrnad: Hehehe, Benita. The use of words is, I suppose, what makes them words! I have to admit that there is little that is Cranswickian about my 2017 book additions to date.

Sep 18, 2017, 3:52am Top

#146 Ha! Similarly I accidentally used the phrase at a massive book sale a while back - to a person/friend who looked at me utterly confused (as you would) and ended up embroiled in an attempt to explain - as it turned out she thought I was mis-quoting Cranfordian (lord knows why or how Cranford would have any bearing on the context) and started by politely correcting me...

Sep 18, 2017, 9:24am Top

>148 BekkaJo: I cannot remember who coined Cranswickian but the fact that so many of us know what it means is testament to the power of the threads. A few of mine have been "The Pecan Paradisio" which refers to Mamie and her lovely family's home in Georgia and Mark - a Warbler to many - will always be the Postie with the Mostie for me.

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 2:46pm Top

Hi Paul! Always lovely to visit here. Monty Python and Cranswickian are both priceless.

Edited to add: My list of books for the first 64 years of my life: Karen's List

Sep 18, 2017, 2:53pm Top

Hi Paul, hope the weekend was good for you mate and that the week has got off to a good start, we both send our love to you all.

Sep 18, 2017, 3:28pm Top

>148 BekkaJo:, >149 PaulCranswick: I talked about a Cranswickian haul to mrsdrneutron and got The Look. You know, the "what the heck are you talking about?" look. 😀

Sep 18, 2017, 5:26pm Top

>141 PaulCranswick: I've read at least a little by most of those on your list, Paul. T. S. Eliot would be my favorite among them, though it has been ages since I've read his poetry.

I read the romantics, and more modern work, too, but my tastes probably run older yet. :-) Among English-language poets, my favorites might be these:

the author of Beowulf
the author of Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness, and possibly Saint Erkenwald
James I of Scotland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Byron (I especially have enjoyed the short narratives, such as The Giaour or The Corsair, though I've not read them for some time)
Rudyard Kipling

I'm keen on the Middle English metrical romances (including works of the Alliterative Revival), though admittedly they vary in quality, and the work of John Lydgate, albeit I've come nowhere near reading probably even the bulk of the more than 125,000 lines of verse he wrote. I enjoy Chaucer and Robert Henryson but don't consider them favorites. I find Alexander Pope's style congenial, but I've not read his translations of Homer (ditto Dryden's translations of Virgil). I recall enjoying Lalla Rookh but haven't read it in many years. As I also much enjoyed the Irish Melodies, I need to find a collected edition of Thomas Moore sometime. Among later writers, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, works for me, but less so some of his other works. Likewise, I'm a definite fan of Macaulay's The Lays of Ancient Rome, and was pleased by Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Sep 18, 2017, 5:43pm Top

I am not much into poetry, but I do like Billy Collins very much. Thank you, Paul, for expressing why his work appeals to the masses and putting the stodgy NYT review in its place. I can be a little bit of a book snob when it comes to literary fiction, but I don't put down romance or other genre readers. There is room in this world for many different ways to appreciate the written word. Thanks for reminding us!

Sep 18, 2017, 8:00pm Top

>150 karenmarie: And it is always lovely to have you visit too Karen!
I will go off and study your list. xx

>151 johnsimpson: Thanks John. Your own thread set me worrying a bit about you all too mate. I hope everything is ok.

Sep 18, 2017, 8:08pm Top

>152 drneutron: I sometime talk to Hani about things and happenings and people in our group and it used to go over her head. Now that she has met a number of the group she is more interested and provides fewer arched eyebrows.

>153 harrygbutler: A lot of memories stirred by your post Harry. I haven't read Dryden or Pope or Byron, Shelley, Keats for a good while but they always resonate when I do. I am not as familiar as you obviously are with the middle english poets save for Chaucer who I have, of course, read once I grew accustomed to the language.

Tennyson and Kipling are definite favourites.

>154 Donna828: You would probably like Mary Oliver also Donna, I would surmise. I definitely prefer literary fiction with a few good old fashioned thrillers and a dose of historical fiction thrown in than other fictional genres but I put that down to my own incompleteness than looking down on Sci-fi and other genres I struggle with. I like history and biography most in non-fiction but will try other topics as and when the fancy takes me. x

Sep 18, 2017, 8:41pm Top


The Brothers K and Kafka both continue to edge forwards. The Julia Copus poetry collection is wonderful and surprising.
I am three stories into the Saunders collection for the AAC and have just started Robert Goddard's Post WWI trilogy for the September series challenge.

I hope to get these finished and a few more before the month end as my mojo slowly returns.

Sep 18, 2017, 10:04pm Top


RD is no longer in the group so I can probably get away with this list. These are my favourite six of his:

A Tale of Two Cities

Wonderful storytelling and memorable scenes.

Great Expectations

Pip has spawned two other of my favourite novels - Mister Pip and Jack Maggs

David Copperfield

Apparently with a touch of autobiographical detail. Story flows beautifully.

Nicholas Nickleby

My favourite of his early novels and its Yorkshire setting helps!

Hard Times

More concise than some of his more verbose work. Early social commentary.

A Christmas Carol

Simply a timeless story - literally so.

Sep 18, 2017, 10:35pm Top

>158 PaulCranswick: RD appears to have completely migrated to goodreads

Sep 18, 2017, 10:40pm Top

Chuckles the Dick.

Let's honor RichardDerus with the Proper Name.


Sep 19, 2017, 6:26am Top

Charlie has proclaimed that A Christmas Carol is his favorite Dickens, and I haven't bothered pointing out that it's the *only* Dickens he's read... Ha! He does like to tell people that he's a Dickens fan, though.

Sep 19, 2017, 8:56am Top

A Christmas Carol is my favorite Dickens, and it is not the only Dickens I have read! I mist shamefacedly admit, though, that I have not read A Tale of Two Cities. I know, I know . . . but my mother recommended it to me during my teenage years, and though I have always had a fairly good relationship with my mother, I was a bit obstinate about reading her recommendations (despite the fact that they were mostly good, when I capitulated)! And I have just never gotten around to it since then. Someday...

Sep 19, 2017, 10:03am Top

>159 RBeffa: I miss the old miserablist.

>160 karenmarie: I cannot go quite as far as RDear did in his own inimitable manner. xx

Sep 19, 2017, 10:08am Top

>161 scaifea: Charlie is a smart boy that is for sure. To be a Dickens fan at his tender age is mightily impressive and I don't believe it is humbug!

>162 foggidawn: My favourite is A Tale of Two Cities - most days anyway!

Sep 19, 2017, 10:37am Top

I miss Richard and I don't like the Dickens I have read... ;-)

Edited: Sep 19, 2017, 10:44am Top

All this talk of being Cranswickian on my thread these couple of days has made me a tad itchy.
Hani and Belle asked me to join them in KLCC today and I couldn't resist a trip to Kinokuniya:

107. To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (2016) 461 pp

Why? Lovely big hardback for a reasonable price and a born storyteller to boot.

108. Rotten Row by Pettina Gappah (2016) 335 pp

Why? Really liked her book Elegy for Easterly

109. England, Their England by A.G. Macdonell (1933) 287 pp

Why? Part of the PAN books at 70 series.

110. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer (1976) 336 pp

Why? Part of the PAN Books at 70 series

111. Jaws by Peter Benchley (1974) 330 pp

Why? Part of the PAN books at 70 series

112. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017) 231 pp

Why? Booker shortlisted.

Sep 19, 2017, 10:43am Top

>165 FAMeulstee: Well I half agree with you, Anita! I miss Richard but I do enjoy Dickens with the exception of Edwin Drood.

Sep 19, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>163 PaulCranswick: and >165 FAMeulstee: Ditto! I miss RDear and have not enjoyed Dickens yet

Sep 19, 2017, 2:19pm Top

Yay for Rotten Row. I can't believe you've chosen a Tale of Two Cities as a comedy. That book made me cry like a baby.

Sep 19, 2017, 2:34pm Top

Dickensian Cranswickian, Let's call the whole thing off.

Like 'em both: Cranswick and Dickens.

Sep 19, 2017, 3:57pm Top

>168 ChelleBearss: Both always have managed to divide opinion. I have always been positive about both!

>169 charl08: Didn't get your comment at first Charlotte. Chuckles was the name my old friend and previously prolific 75er Richard Derus gave to Charles Dickens. My picks refer to Dickens choices not comedy, my dear lady!
Made me cry too!

>170 weird_O: Hahaha. Thanks Bill.

Sep 19, 2017, 4:07pm Top

Hi Paul, after all the ups and downs since last Wednesday we are both ok and Karen is preparing for her Gallbladder op on Thursday.

It has been a very interesting first day of this penultimate round of county championship matches, we have got three bowling bonus points and I hope we can get a full set of batting points as they are all going to be vital. I am hoping both Surrey and Lancashire do us a favour and restrict both Middlesex and Somerset bonus points and the only black spot is that Thursday could be spoilt by rain for Yorkshire.

Hope all is well with you and yours mate and hope that business is going well for you.

Sep 19, 2017, 4:17pm Top

>172 johnsimpson: Funnily enough, John, we cross posted as I was posting at your place just as you were posting here.
Fingers crossed for Yorkshire as we don't deserve relegation given the ridiculous restrictions placed on the availability of our players this year. Root, Ballance, Bairstow, Rashid, Plunkett and Willey have all been missing at various stages of the year. Root and Bairstow are, in my opinion, the best two batsmen in England and they have played only 4 games between them for us. Scandalous.

Nice to see, however, Bairstow get a ton in the ODI.

Sep 19, 2017, 4:30pm Top

>173 PaulCranswick:, I heartily agree with your comments mate, I have just got this months copy of the Cricketer magazine and viewed the top fifty power list in English cricket and must say that some should not be on there and some are ruining English cricket. They have reduced the number of division one matches and still players are rested, I do not understand and if we get a sound thrashing down under I would hope that there are number of them on the list that will fall upon a sword.

Bairstow is a class act and could be the guy at the top of the order we have been looking for, Roy just doesn't look convincing at the moment.

Sep 19, 2017, 4:39pm Top

>175 PaulCranswick: What has been done to English cricket is nothing short of a disgrace, John.

Don't like the idea of the two leagues at all. 18 counties playing 17 games is fine I think.

Hate the central contracts. Players should be available for their counties unless they are actually honoured by a call to play for England.

Sunday league 40 overs cricket to be reintroduced as a matter of urgency. That put bums on seats and got a respectable TV audience.

One one-day knockout competition. 50 overs.

One 20-20 knock-out competition at either the start or the end of the season. Priority has to be the first class game.

No more than six home tests a summer and no more than five one day internationals and two 20-20s.

Sep 20, 2017, 3:54pm Top

>113 PaulCranswick: My 54 year list is on my thread :-)

Sep 20, 2017, 3:57pm Top

>176 FAMeulstee: Off to enjoy, Anita. xx

Sep 20, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>171 PaulCranswick: I did wonder why they were all Dickens! That makes more sense! Thanks for your patience...

Sep 20, 2017, 4:24pm Top

>178 charl08: No problem, Charlotte - your post made me, erm, chuckle!

Sep 20, 2017, 8:05pm Top

I did enjoy The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah . I'm sure you'll enjoy Rotten Row. Exit West was okay for me - I gave it 4 stars but I feel in some ways it only deserved 3.5 stars. But that is just my taste. Well worth the read and it's a good feeling to read a Booker Listed Book.

I'm encouraged by your book shopping. It makes me think life is getting back to usual in Cranswick land.

Sep 20, 2017, 8:56pm Top

As noted on another Thread, I'm wondering about giving up on Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe -
if you can remember that far back, does Quilp stick around for the whole story as Uriah and Fagan did?

Sep 20, 2017, 9:45pm Top

>180 vancouverdeb: I am getting poor at deciding the relative value of certain books Deb and have consciously not read any of the Bookers this year so as to read them without second guessing (and being disappointed in) the Judges.

Shopping hike was, I fear, a temporary reversal!

>181 m.belljackson: He does go very far into the book as I recall, Marianne, but I won't tell you what becomes of him unless you really do forsake of the book.

Sep 21, 2017, 9:15am Top

>177 PaulCranswick: And thank you for creating this madness of book lists, Paul!

Sep 21, 2017, 9:22am Top

>183 FAMeulstee: I am a confirmed listaholic, Anita, so I cannot very well help my list making!

Sep 21, 2017, 9:42am Top

>184 PaulCranswick: For some years I did a good job keeping my list addiction hidden inside, Paul, but this month I have been unstoppable with lists.
Merged all 1001 book lists to check the ones available in Dutch translation, checked the Dutch Canon (125 essential Dutch books) for what I had to read to complete it & added all original publication dates to my list of books read to create my life list. Now I am considering a 20th century list ;-)

Sep 21, 2017, 10:41am Top

>184 PaulCranswick: I did a challenge a few years ago to read a book from every one of the last 150 years. It was tough but fed my habit and addiction to planning and lists!

Sep 21, 2017, 12:22pm Top


The World's Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus

Date of Publication : 2012
Pages : 52

This is Julia Copus' third anthology but the first that I have read and I have to say that it is a pretty accomplished collection. Music and an excellent series of poems on IVF treatment are backed by some other very solid pieces.

Not too much rhyme here but the use of words is tremendous and there is plenty of technique too. There are a couple of mirror style or palindromic poems in the collection that are particularly impressive. Here is one about her schoolteacher:

Miss Jenkins

More and more, lately, when absence thickened the air
at the schoolgates, in the street, first thing on waking,
she’d think of her former calling, the way it had defined her.
In the dim, sugar-paper blur of the light,
while boiling the kettle or kneeling over weeds,
many times at dusk now (the streetlights coming on)
she’d feel herself alive, transported
once again to the bright, tall-windowed classroom,
chalky-fingered, cherished by her peers, and walking –
that brisk and rhythmic pace she adopted, all her working days.
Even in sleep, her breath would rise and fall with
the sharp pat pat of the children’s feet approaching and
she’d sense – in her blood – like a counterpoint beneath it,
the slap of books upon each child-size table
whenever she set up class for their arrival.

Whenever she set up class for their arrival
– the slap of books upon each child-size table –
she’d sense in her blood, like a counterpoint beneath it,
the sharp pat pat of the children’s feet approaching and
even in sleep her breath would rise and fall with
that brisk and rhythmic pace she adopted, all her working days.
Chalky-fingered, cherished by her peers, and walking
once again to the bright, tall-windowed classroom,
she’d feel herself alive; transported.
Many times at dusk now (the streetlights coming on),
while boiling the kettle or kneeling over weeds,
in the dim, sugar-paper blur of the light,
she’d think of her former calling, the way it had defined her,
at the schoolgates, in the street, first thing on waking –
more and more, lately, when absence thickened the air.

I will certainly look out for more of her work. Recommended.


Sep 21, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>158 PaulCranswick: Skimming through (sorry) I saw your comment on RD and remembered I saw him commenting on the Guardian when the Booker SL was out, complaining about the US candidates. :)
I had completely forgotten about his Dickens issue. The cats I remember well... :D

I hope I'll find more time to read here soon, for now I'm wishing you a great rest-of-the-week!

Sep 21, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>188 Deern: Lovely to see you Nathalie. RD is a real character and I miss his firmly held opinions, sense of humour and all round curmudgeonly demeanour.

Edited: Sep 21, 2017, 2:22pm Top

>106 PaulCranswick:

Is there a word for words that have no rhyme?

I'll head to WIKI for CURIOSITY summary.

Sep 21, 2017, 2:17pm Top

>190 m.belljackson: Mmm technicalities! Actually words without rhymes (an example being orange) are called refractory rhymes.

Sep 21, 2017, 2:17pm Top

>187 PaulCranswick: Oh I love this poem Paul. I'm always looking for new poetry. Will add this to the wishlist!

Sep 21, 2017, 2:21pm Top

>192 charl08: You really ought to look for her anthologies then, Charlotte. There are two examples of "mirror poems" or "palindrome poems" in the anthology I just reviewed. The other one is even better IMO but a little bit longer precluding easy inclusion here.

Sep 21, 2017, 6:01pm Top

I am another who misses Richard. I wholeheartedly supported his dislike of Dickens. The only book by Dickens I liked was Tale of Two Cities and most critics think it maudlin. For me, it is the only one of his books that I have managed to complete. The others are interminable, so I terminated them early.

Sep 21, 2017, 8:02pm Top

>194 benitastrnad: You, like RD, have always firm opinions which is a trait I admire and respect. I often don't agree with those firm opinions as in the case of Chuckles but I am always glad that there is someone to make the world interesting by not agreeing always with me! Have a lovely weekend, Benita.

I say that because it is Awal Muharram today which is the first day of the Islamic new year so we have a public holiday here and a long weekend. xx

Sep 21, 2017, 8:30pm Top

Hey, Paul. I just finished The Heart's Invisible Furies. It was an excellent Irish novel. This might be your cuppa. Just sayin'...

Sep 21, 2017, 8:34pm Top

>196 msf59: I will look out for it Mark. I am partial to a touch of the blarney given my own familial antecedents.

Sep 21, 2017, 8:39pm Top

It is an epic novel, filled with humor and pathos, along with some terrific characters.

Sep 21, 2017, 8:44pm Top

>198 msf59: Sounds exactly like the nation of Ireland, Mark!

Sep 21, 2017, 9:18pm Top


1. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham

Based around the life of Gauguin and told in WSM's inimitable style.

2. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

I would place this as the greatest work of historical ficiton

3. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

When I first read this at 11 years old I knew it would stay with me forever.

4. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

My favourite Greene novel changes almost weekly. Pinky, Spicer et al. Classic noir.

5. Shame by Salman Rushdie

This is a brilliant novel of Pakistan

6. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

Ok not technically a novel but I couldn't leave this one out!

Sep 21, 2017, 9:46pm Top

>199 PaulCranswick: LOL. Good point.

Sep 21, 2017, 10:00pm Top

>202 PaulCranswick: I don't know if you have ever visited the Erin isle, Mark, but I can guarantee you would be in raptures.

Sep 21, 2017, 10:18pm Top

>200 PaulCranswick: Enjoying your lists, Paul. I don't think I could do this, possibly authors but not books.

Sep 22, 2017, 3:04am Top

>203 avatiakh: It isn't easy to choose sometimes and often when I have posted I will think; "How could I leave that one out!?"

Sep 22, 2017, 8:57am Top

#200 Hmmm I've been meaning to pick up some more Rushdie :)

Sep 22, 2017, 12:17pm Top

>200 PaulCranswick: I only have read The Lord of the Rings, Paul, but I have read it about a dozen times.
Most recently last January and first time when I was 12 years old, started on a Friday after school and finished it the next Sunday :-)
I think it is one of the best books ever written.

Sep 22, 2017, 12:41pm Top

From September 22nd's LOVE, SEX, DEATH, & WORDS:

"Death of the worthiest knight that ever lived"


Sir Philip Sydney lives in the annals of English Literature as

the author of what is often taken to be the first novel in the language

the author of the first serious literary-critical treatise in the language
(An Apology for Poetry),

and the author of the first notable sonnet sequence in the language
(Astrophil and Stella)."

What a Knight!

Sep 22, 2017, 1:12pm Top

I went to consider starting a list like you all are doing, but currently I'm stumped on the first year! How can I choose? Clearly 1984 has to be a contender, but also in genre are Earth Abides and Needle and the sublime Silverlock. And Tolkien published Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wooten Manor. In nonfiction, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is dueling it out with The Second Sex. Robert Frost duels with William Carlos Williams in poetry. I am constitutionally unsuited for this task! Although it is interesting to note that even back then, there were vampire novels and P&P sequels.

Sep 22, 2017, 1:24pm Top

>182 PaulCranswick:

Nancy P. came and marched off with CURIOSITY -

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY came up next on DailyLit -

the first paragraph is SO GOOD that it will redeem
whatever tedious pompous writhing lying evil ugly villains appear!

Sep 22, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>208 ronincats: Then do what Bill (weird_O) is doing, he is listing a couple of books each year, starting here.

Sep 22, 2017, 4:23pm Top

Well mate, Yorkshire made hard work of beating Warwickshire today and only the calm heads of young Fisher and the wily old Patterson got us to the winning line. Seven points is all that is required against Essex but the way they have played that could be an uneasy task, the only light is that Middlesex play Somerset and that could be a cagey game and help Yorkshire out.

I have seen a post on Facebook and a lot of the comments were that Gale should be sacked, I replied and asked whether some of those making these comment were also football fans that blame the coach/manager instead of the players. The Yorkshire top order minus Root and Bairstow need to really look at themselves and be brutally honest and say that for two seasons they have been crap. As I said a while ago, Gale will learn a lot from this season with it being a struggle and hopefully next season will be better. If he had been quite successful it would have appeared an easy thing to take over from a class act like Dizzy and just continue on their merry way whereas now he knows some hard work and I hope some hard words need to be done and said.

Karen enjoyed the kiss and hug I passed on from you mate and she is doing fine to say she only had her op yesterday. She is taking things easy and I am making sure her needs are met. Hope you and Hani and the kids have a good weekend mate.

Sep 22, 2017, 6:31pm Top

>205 BekkaJo: Don't pick up Grimus as I hated it with a passion!

>206 FAMeulstee: I couldn't agree more, Anita. I am not as quick a reader as you are but I have also read the epic fantasy three times.

Sep 22, 2017, 6:34pm Top

>207 m.belljackson: What a knight indeed, Marianne. It makes me even more shy to admit that I haven't read any of his work other than a few of his poems collected in various anthologies!

>208 ronincats: Narrowing down to a single book was also a bit tough for me too, Roni and I don't want to look back through my list too carefully for fear that I shall change it too much. There are no rules to say that you have to choose a single book though. xx

Sep 22, 2017, 6:37pm Top

>209 m.belljackson: How much comfort it is, I don't know, but I much prefer Nicholas Nickleby to Curiosity.

>210 FAMeulstee: Bill's list is phenomenal isn't it? I also thought of a Pulitzer style shortlist of three but may have struggled with some of the years so I opted for the more rigid formula of just one.

Sep 22, 2017, 6:41pm Top

>211 johnsimpson: I think Yorkshire are just about safe, John, given that other counties also play each other. We have had a poor year but I agree with you in not wishing to see Gale depart as there are extenuating circumstances. We didn't have a regular overseas player, the top order - Ballance excepted - let us down and we lost so many players to call-ups and central contracts. On the plus side Ben Coad looks great. We also miss Gale tremendously as a captain.

Continued best wishes to Karen in her recovery. xx

Sep 22, 2017, 7:32pm Top

Very sad to be informed that Rebecca (rebeccanyc) has passed away. Thanks to Darryl (and Lois from Club Reads) for bringing this to our attention.

As Darryl said in his tribute I am another who found my own reading quite closely aligned with hers. She was a brave, fiercely intelligent and astonishingly candid lady who I admired tremendously. I missed her wonderful reviews when she moved exclusively to the Club Reads a few years ago as she was struggling to keep up. She informed last year that she would be "retiring" somewhat from LT due to illness so Darryl's new was not entirely unexpected but very sad nonetheless.


Sep 22, 2017, 7:53pm Top

>213 PaulCranswick:

Astrophil and Stella is online, but has A LOT of stanzas!

Sep 22, 2017, 7:55pm Top

>217 m.belljackson: I am not sure that I could quite stanza for that one at the moment, Marianne!

Sep 22, 2017, 7:56pm Top

>211 johnsimpson:

Good to hear that the surgery is successful and your wife is recovering with your help.

Does she enjoy you reading to her?

Best to both of you from Wisconsin.

Sep 22, 2017, 8:09pm Top

>219 m.belljackson: Having met John and Karen and spent a fair bit of time in their company (they kindly joined me last year for my 50th birthday celebrations in Leeds amongst other meet-ups), I can say without fear of being contradicted that they are a devoted couple whose obvious love and affection is compounded by them clearly being so comfortable in each other's space. I can think of no better tribute to them but to say that they are a credit to my home town!

Sep 22, 2017, 8:15pm Top

>218 PaulCranswick:

Just glad you are not board.

Sep 22, 2017, 8:42pm Top

>221 m.belljackson: I am not, in fact I am very much on bored. xx

Sep 22, 2017, 8:52pm Top

Oh so sad about RebeccaNY. I read her reviews and suggestions very carefully and got some good reads!

Sep 22, 2017, 8:59pm Top

>223 sibyx: I was only thinking last week, Lucy, of how many friends previously in the group are no longer active. Her thread was always a must visit for me for the reasons you describe. Bonnie I used to love to visit to read her brilliantly constructed reviews, Judy (DeltaQueen) I always enjoyed keeping up with and she helped me understand how to "do" certain things with my thread etc (that is why I still call her "Guru"), Richard for being so contrary, Prue who was my very first LT friend and so many more.

Sep 22, 2017, 11:09pm Top

Hi Paul. Going down memory lane here with all the mentions of past bright lights on LT. : (

Hope you are on board for a non-boring weekend!!

Sep 22, 2017, 11:36pm Top

Oh sad about rebeccanyc, I also followed her and noted that she was not well. She did some really interesting reading and I picked up many BBs from her threads.

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 12:23am Top

>225 Berly: I can pretty much guarantee a lack of boredom, Kimmers! Whether that is for the good or the ill we must wait and see!

>226 avatiakh: Yes Kerry. Hers was always a go to place for me to check my own opinions and see what treasures in the world of literature she could reveal to me. There are a few other threads in the group that I feel like that about. A certain one that emanates from NZ springs immediately to mind! xx

Sep 23, 2017, 8:18am Top

>224 PaulCranswick: It is quite sad how many friends have wandered away from LT, me included for a stretch. Real life gets in the way of screen time, but we miss them just the same. I miss Claudia quite a bit! She is the only LTer that I've met in real life.

Sep 23, 2017, 8:27am Top

Happy weekend, Paul.

Sep 23, 2017, 8:59am Top

>228 ChelleBearss: Cee has in fact made a comeback of sorts this year but I do miss her regular appearances. Kath is another who was so prolific and is now not able to be so. Bonnie, Judy, Valerie, Richard, Prue, Jenny, Genny, Dee, Eris, Orlaith, Luci, Stephanie, Tina and so on and on.

>229 Ameise1: Barbara, same to you my dear lady.

Sep 23, 2017, 3:15pm Top

From (Sir)Thomas thread:
I routinely study the inside pages publication information when I catalogue my books both on my spreadsheet and here on LT

So do I, Paul, but I only took the publication year of the publication itself (including ..th edition), so I have the dates from the books that are 1st editions, but had to look up the rest.

My inner listmaker is calling to add the original publication date to my yet unread 3000+ books on LT...
Please tell me before I go working on this, do you use any other specifications out of the ordinary "Title, Author, Publisher, ISBN, Original Language, Translator, Illustrator, Number of pages, Date aquired, Date started and Date finished" that you may use for future lists? ;-)

Sep 23, 2017, 5:05pm Top

A good win for the boys in White today mate, top of the table at the moment as well.

Sep 23, 2017, 7:15pm Top

Happy weekend, Paul!

Sep 23, 2017, 7:27pm Top

Stopping in to wish a happy weekend and high-jack your thread for a moment to say the Halloween thread is up.

Sep 23, 2017, 7:59pm Top

I got a bottle of this at our local libation shop today and thought I'd ask someone from Yorkshire whether I got something good or the local equivalent of Budweiser. 😀 Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising!

Sep 23, 2017, 8:08pm Top

>231 FAMeulstee: For me Anita, if the initial first publication date is not given (it almost always is), I will go and research until I find it out. I am more than a little bit fussy when it comes to such details!

>232 johnsimpson: Yes, John, I am very pleased as we are playing with some panache also. We have a front four with two Spaniards, a Macedonian and a German that is fluid and terrific. I am optimistic to say the least this year but it is a tough league. Six wins and two draws in 9 games is promotion form in anyone's books.

Sep 23, 2017, 8:12pm Top

>233 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I will be along visiting my American friends (Canada included soon). Yesterday I visited my friends from Asia Pacific and Europe. I try to mix up how I visit my pals each weekend. Some weeks I go geographically, some weeks alphabetically by the threadbook, some weeks by order of most posts and some weeks entirely at random based on who was the last to post.

>234 amanda4242: More than welcome, Amanda. I am sure that it won't be the first time that visitors here feel the place has turned all spooky!

Sep 23, 2017, 8:14pm Top

>235 drneutron: Almost missed you Jim.
Samuel Smiths ale is wonderful if well preserved and pulled on draught. I don't think that I have tried it from a bottle before as I generally don't like ale when bottled. Budweiser it is not and it is one of my favourites on draught.

Sep 23, 2017, 8:18pm Top

Great! Thanks for the info. I'll let you know how it is when I pop the cap.

Sep 23, 2017, 8:24pm Top

>239 drneutron: Enjoy that little bit of Yorkshire, Jim!

Sep 23, 2017, 9:47pm Top

Just caught up with your thread, Paul. I must admit that I had to listen to some Van Morrison through parts of it. Love that Moondance! Have a great weekend.

Sep 23, 2017, 10:21pm Top

>241 Familyhistorian: I still think that album is close to perfect, Meg. My favourite is the quite introspective Veedon Fleece but the tunes on Moondance are more commercial.

Sep 24, 2017, 4:52am Top

Thought of you yesterday, Paul. My brother emailed me and he has just gotten back from Dubai. He is airline pilot, so he is accustomed to a lot of travel. He recommended a camel milk latte and sent me a picture of it, as well as the hotel he stayed in etc. I thought, Paul has traveled a lot - you might be a camel milk latte kind of a guy. Hope things are going okay this weekend.

Sep 24, 2017, 4:58am Top

Happy weekend, Paul!

Sep 24, 2017, 7:46am Top

I am enjoying all this Samuel Smith chatter. I have not had one of these in many years. I know they carry them in the beer stores.

Hope you had a good weekend, Paul and got plenty of reading in.

Sep 24, 2017, 8:07am Top

Hi Paul! I hope you have had a good and relaxing weekend.

>200 PaulCranswick: I must admit that I haven't read any of those books. I've tried LotR twice and even bought the audiobook(s) and tried them. I ended up giving them all away. Sigh. Just not a Tolkien fan.

Sep 24, 2017, 10:28am Top

>243 vancouverdeb: "A camel milk latte kind of guy" Hahaha, Deb, udder the thought!

>244 humouress: Same to you Nina. It is blasted warm up here this weekend.

Sep 24, 2017, 10:30am Top

>245 msf59: It is simply wonderful stuff draughted straight from the cask, Mark. Theakston's would be my absolute favourite but Sam Smiths would probably run it a close second.

>246 karenmarie: We cannot a like Tolkien, Karen. In actual fact, as much as I adore both The Hobbit and LOTR, everything else of his i tried was as dull as ditchwater!

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 11:39am Top

Some additions today after we saw the new Kingsman film. Great fun it was too. The books:

113. The Samurai by Shusaku Endo (1980) 320 pp

Why? Hailed by many as Japan's answer to Graham Greene

114. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (2017) 418 pp

Why? The Booker Longlist

115. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (2017) 274 pp

Why? The Booker Longlist

Sep 24, 2017, 11:40am Top

I have now collected up 10 of the 13 Booker Longlist. Only McGregor, Friedlund and, yuck, Auster to go.

Sep 24, 2017, 12:33pm Top

>182 PaulCranswick:

Nancy Pearl has written a book!

George and Lizzie

Sep 24, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Hope you're having a good weekend, mate.

Looking forward to your thoughts whenever on The Samurai. I've not read Endo, and that may be a good entry book.

Home Fire has been getting a lot of positive buzz among the 75ers.

Sep 24, 2017, 3:46pm Top

>216 PaulCranswick: - Very sad to hear the news about Rebecca. She was so inspirational. Even now, she's inspired me to revive my own thread even though my reading and the quality of it has slowed down significantly due to RL. Going through her choice of books and her excellent reviews has made me remember what a joy and wealth reading can be for a person's soul.

Sep 24, 2017, 3:53pm Top

>224 PaulCranswick: >225 Berly: >228 ChelleBearss: >230 PaulCranswick: - I miss my "old" friends from those first years too. To be honest, I sometimes feel lost here in this group which may be one of the reasons I'm on and off my own thread. It proves to be pretty difficult to connect with new soul-mates...

Sep 24, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>250 PaulCranswick: YOu've collected them, but have you READ them? LOL Hi, Paul! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! I hope to see the Kingsmen movie soon and I just placed a hold on Home Fire at the library.

Sep 24, 2017, 5:54pm Top

LOL Paul! I thought you might be as adventurous as my brother! When I asked him, he admitted he preferred plain old cow's milk lattes. Yeah for Home Fire. Excellent choice!

Sep 24, 2017, 6:53pm Top

>251 m.belljackson: She has and I would have Pearl ruled it!

>252 jnwelch: I also haven't read him but I think this one appeals to me more than his more famous book; Silence. Darryl as I recall is a fan of that one.

Sep 24, 2017, 7:07pm Top

>253 MGovers: & >254 MGovers: Lovely to see you posting again Monica though I would have chosen very different circumstances.
Inspirational is a good word for Rebecca. She was intellectually very honest also and, despite a love of "serious" world literature she was neither stuffy or a book snob at all.

As to the make up of the group, it has indeed changed over the years with a number of old and dear friends leaving our fold for a variety of reasons or simply being much less active. This place remains one of great emotional comfort for me and I feel I do connect with so many wonderful people who have made a substantial difference to my happiness quotient over these last few years. I wouldn't swap this group for anything to be quite honest.

It is funny though that I do get tetchy and a little self doubting when there remain a number in the group whom I like and esteem who seem to avoid my thread for reasons I don't really understand and who don't respond to my posts, other than tersely, to my posts on their threads. It shouldn't bother me but it does.

Sep 24, 2017, 7:08pm Top

>255 Berly: You have hit the nail on the head as usual Kimmers! Read none of them yet!

>256 vancouverdeb: Would that I were more adventure loving, Deb. I am not - cheese excepted - much of a dairy man to be honest.

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 8:11pm Top

Just catching up here, Paul. Always good to see what you've been up to, even when I don't say much. Sorry to hear about rebeccanyc. It always is very hard when we lose one of our LT compadres--Janet in London, Pat, Ellie...

Sep 24, 2017, 8:06pm Top

>260 ronincats: Yes it is hard, Roni. It is a reminder, if ever we needed it, that we are all much more than simply messages on a computer screen. xx

Sep 24, 2017, 8:38pm Top


Rumours of Rain by Andre Brink

Loved this novel in my youth and Brink remained one of my favourite writers

Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz

A simply wonderful novel where the teeming streets of Cairo and its polity comes to life

The Dictator's Last Night by Yasmina Khadra

One of my favourite novels of recent times. Very powerful.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I would place this novel as one of the very best I have read in my time in LT

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Difficult not to include this quintessential African novel

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

An early testament against prejudice and a sustaining one.

Sep 24, 2017, 9:16pm Top

Hi Paul!
I think of so many of you so very much. I'm using your thread to throw out a big HI! to everyone. I'm sorry not to be active on LT as I once was. I did try to modify this year and keep up a little, but doesn't seem to be working for me right now. In no way does that diminish my cherished thoughts of all of you. This is a very special group.

Thanks so much for being persistent on my thread, Paul, with a warm and passing wave to me now and then. You're too funny! It means a lot to me. Sadly, I just can't keep up with the threads of my LT friends. I am thankful for your (and others') friendship over the years. I still keep a quick check (now and then) on what everyone is reading and add to my own list, i.e., still getting hit with those book bullets :-)

Hope all is well with you and your family.
HUGS! xoxo

ps.. My new cat, Gracie, is now in charge of watching out that bathroom window which seems to have sparked your imagination with great entertainment! Not much traffic in the cove, but plenty of birds and wildlife. I told her to watch for you. lol

Sep 24, 2017, 10:02pm Top

>263 -Cee-: What a lovely surprise, dear Claudia. xx

I do miss the presence of so many of my good friends made in those early years when I was rushing around the threads like someone possessed - charmed more like it by the love, warmth, friendship, kindness, humour - that I found abundantly almost invariably.

Gracie the opportunistic cat
Took the spot where Claudia was at.
No frosting on windows
What's inside to outside shows -
A memory cherished is that!

I am a bit out of practice with limericks but I thought I owed you one. xx

Sep 24, 2017, 10:30pm Top

Here is a little throw away Paul poem from yesterday:

Birds Without Feathers

Birds without feathers.
Out in all weathers;
Birds without wings
And none of them sings.
Birds without beaks
And another rhyme tweaks.
Birds without a nest
And a short poem must rest.

Sep 25, 2017, 6:11am Top

>262 PaulCranswick: And another interesting list! And I have read none of them, yikes!

Thanks for visiting my thread, I've been having fun with the link you gave. Much appreciated.

I'm sorry to read about your LT friend Rebecca dying!

Sep 25, 2017, 8:30am Top

>262 PaulCranswick: You keep going with lists, Paul, yet an other interesting one!
I have read recently Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and not the one you list, but Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe.

Sep 25, 2017, 8:50am Top

>262 PaulCranswick: Of those six I've only read Half of a Yellow Sun.

>263 -Cee-: YAY for a Cee visiti!!

Hope you are having a good week, Paul!

Sep 25, 2017, 10:18am Top

>257 PaulCranswick:

Yikes! Tell us more about the Pearled Pearl...

Sep 25, 2017, 3:53pm Top

>258 PaulCranswick: - Indeed, I loved the fact that despite being extremely well-read, Rebecca was brave enough to admit that she loved all sorts of books. I will miss her.

I had to look up tetchy and tersely, but I understand what you mean. It's unpleasant but it is what it is. But hey, there are plenty of us who do care and react :-).

Sep 25, 2017, 4:32pm Top

Waving hello, Paul, as I start to peek my head in and attempt to pretend I'm caught up on threads (eventually I'll just click on them all so they're not glaring at me with the number of unread messages). My laptop is back after a long summer without it, so I should be sighted more often over the next few months. Hope all is well with you!

Sep 25, 2017, 5:51pm Top

Just dropping by to say hello Paul. I put some Portugal recommendations on my thread if you're still interested.

Sep 25, 2017, 7:36pm Top

I loved Half a Yellow Sun, too and recently acquired Americanah and Purple Hibiscus. Have you read either of those yet, Paul?

I miss many of the same people you have mentioned, Paul, and feel lucky to have made their acquaintance, however slight. My reading life is richer because of them and so many others here on LT. Yourself included!

>263 -Cee-: How nice to see you checking in, Cee! Miss you!

Sep 25, 2017, 9:09pm Top

>266 EllaTim: African literature is unsurprisingly very rich, Ella. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite from that list to be honest.

>267 FAMeulstee: There are plenty of other African writers who could have gotten a slot, Anita. Tahar Ben Jelloun, Nuruddin Farah, Abdulrazak Gurnah, JM Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer for example.

Sep 25, 2017, 9:11pm Top

>268 ChelleBearss: I miss Cee in these parts terribly, Chelle (just as I did yourself when you wandered away under the weight of new motherhood!), and a rare visit from her is a treasure indeed.

>269 m.belljackson: Nothing much to tell except that I cannot imagine enjoying reading a book about not enjoying reading books!

Sep 25, 2017, 9:15pm Top

>270 MGovers: I think that the problem lies more with me, Monica! I am a little over sensitive and think if posts don't get responded to or if someone visits lots of threads but very rarely mine, it means that they don't like me when it could be a whole host of other reasons.

>271 bell7: That is great Mary that you will be around more. I am quite in the dumps at the moment as my troubles on the home front continue. Hani is going away to the UK imminently and for a month. Let us see how the wind is blowing when she returns.

Sep 25, 2017, 9:17pm Top

>272 SandDune: Thank you for that, Rhian. I shall go and look and pass on the tips to Hani. xx

>273 Copperskye: Considering how much I loved Half of a Yellow Sun it is surprising that I have not read either book yet. I did read a short story collection of hers which was also pretty good.

LT and this group in particular has assisted in broadening my reading horizons over the years. I never thought I would ever read and enjoy a Graphic Novel for example!

Sep 25, 2017, 11:17pm Top

Paul, I've posted my list on my thread. The criteria was I had to have loved the book enough to reread it at LEAST three times (except for the last few years, where one reread sufficeth).

Sep 25, 2017, 11:29pm Top

>278 ronincats: Wow, you are tough. I have reread selected books, but my list would have a lot of blank years if I judged books on that basis. Quite the opposite: my list has multiple books for all but a couple of years. Hmmm, as many as nine in one year.

Sep 25, 2017, 11:34pm Top

Bill, I had to come up with a criterion that was tough or I'd have more than 9 some years, I imagine.

Sep 26, 2017, 2:42am Top

Just a drive by (as always, I suck) with many hugs

Also weighing in with love for Half a Yellow Sun. I read this during a really awful time I had in 2010 and it's always stuck with me. I find it endlessly interesting how the impact of what we read changes so vastly depending on our mood.

Sep 26, 2017, 6:30am Top

Hello, Paul! Just a quick chiming in about thread visits - I'm here lurking every morning, but can't always think of something worthwhile to add to the conversation. But you are one of my very first visits every day, friend!

Sep 26, 2017, 7:56am Top

Hi Paul!

I hope your week is going well. It's nice to see you posting about books and lists again.

Sep 26, 2017, 8:04am Top

>278 ronincats: Off to have a good old peek, Roni. I'll guess my go to lady for Sci-Fi and fantasy may have a surprise or two in store for me.

>279 weird_O: I agree with you Bill. I think my list of thrice read books would not span the fingers of two hands.

Sep 26, 2017, 8:10am Top

>280 ronincats: Wow, just wow! Roni you are a prodigious and prolific reader!

>281 BekkaJo: I am interested in divining your mode of conveyance, Bekka. A scooter I reckon! What a great novel that one is and I think I would love it in any mood!

Sep 26, 2017, 8:15am Top

>282 scaifea: I have to say Amber dear that you were most certainly NOT in my mind when I made that pretty churlish comment to Monica. I have been a bit down in the dumps lately and it makes me unduly hyper-sensitive. My thread is meant to be a free-for-all haven where people can say whatever they like (or not) but I do know that the speed it sometimes moves at can be off-putting and/or intimidating to some.
You are also always near the top of my threads to visit list!

>283 karenmarie: A bit of a tough week so far Karen, but I am just about coping.

Sep 26, 2017, 1:10pm Top

Hi Paul
For some reason I can't find your thread in the group unless I go to the threadbook.
Could be me- I am very tech challenged!
Hope that your week gets better- i am busy looking for a new studio space for my pottery co-op- our present landlord gave us notice after over 35 years! ( could be that our very low, low rent is a factor)

Sep 26, 2017, 1:22pm Top

> 287 Just found my problem - clicked on the wrong spot! so everything fixed!

Sep 26, 2017, 1:24pm Top

>287 torontoc: That has happened to me with some threads before now, Cyrel.
It is a major upheaval after such a long time and I hope that you can find a new location without too much difficulty.

Sep 26, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>288 torontoc: Pleased to know that I am not too incognito in the group, Cyrel!

Sep 26, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Hi Paul! I hope that you are feeling better. for African novels, The Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o; The Famished Road by Ben Okri.

And I am also a big fan of Adichie!

Sep 26, 2017, 5:47pm Top

Sep 26, 2017, 7:33pm Top

>291 banjo123: Yes Rhonda - Ben Okri and Ngugi wa Thiong'o are both worthy of inclusion in any discussion regarding african literature.

>292 banjo123: That one almost read the list - I read it this year and liked it a lot.

Sep 26, 2017, 11:38pm Top

Hi, Paul! I can't say that I've caught up, but I've at least tried. You know that I'm in a bit of a bad place with my dear mom at the moment, but she is improving.
Meanwhile, >255 Berly: You mean that collecting doesn't count as much as reading? Oh NO!!!!! Somehow I felt as though it did.
I do so agree about *½ Yellow Sun*, but I never ever loved Palace Walk. I wanted to so much to honor another lost friend Janet in London. (At least I bought it!)

Sep 26, 2017, 11:47pm Top

>294 LizzieD: You are very much in my thoughts at the moment dear Peggy. I do hope that your mom continues to improve.
If collecting counts just as much as reading then I will be in the front echelon!

Sep 27, 2017, 12:17am Top

>294 LizzieD: Collecting is half the fun! But I wanted to poke fun at dear Paul somehow. ; )

Sep 27, 2017, 12:25am Top

>296 Berly: I am a willing fall guy!

Oct 1, 2017, 10:03am Top

>117 PaulCranswick: Of COURSE, I'd buy any book you've written as long as it's published in a country I can purchase from without losing an arm or leg!

Oct 1, 2017, 11:57am Top

>298 Morphidae: No loss of arms or legs if it happens, Morphy. xx

This topic was continued by Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 26.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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