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Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 33

This is a continuation of the topic Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 32.

This topic was continued by Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 34.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:28pm Top

For the topper of #33 I travel North in spirit at least with the ladies of my family to Edinburgh. This is a photo by Hani of that august city.

Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:39pm Top

Paul's Poetry

Here is an old one of mine called The Wall

Next door's moggy greets the day
Atop the wall they forgot to take away.
Bearing winters compromising but hard
Along with all the remnants of the yard -

You for whom a craftsman's fingers bled
And had great things planned, alas instead
Bowed by a pulse that time effaces
Is an object only a wastrel cat embraces -
With contempt.

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:25am 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 (20), Kyran (18) and Belle (13), 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: Nov 28, 2017, 8:42pm 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: Nov 28, 2017, 8:43pm 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: Nov 28, 2017, 8:46pm 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: Dec 4, 2017, 7:28am Top



60. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer (1976) 334 pp
61. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (1979) 264 pp
62. Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye (1995) 157 pp
63. The Dig by Cynan Jones (2014) 156 pp
64. The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata (2005) 292 pp
65. Tudors by Peter Ackroyd (2012) 471 pp
66. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017) 231 pp
67. Tenth of December by George Saunders (2013) 251 pp
68. Poems New and Collected by Wislawa Szymborska (1998) 270 pp
69. Now by Morris Gleitzman (2010) 182 pp
70. When Adam Opens His Eyes by Jang Jung-Il (1990) 126 pp


71. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri (1973) 215 pp
72. The Other Country by Carol Ann Duffy (1990) 53 pp
73. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2005) 115 pp
74. Embers by Sandor Marai (1942) 249 pp
75. The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdonov (1948) 167 pp
76. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002) 615 pp
77. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966) 126 pp
78. The Barbary Figs by Rashid Boudjedra (2010) 191 pp
79. The Many Days : Selected Poems of Norman MacCaig by Norman MacCaig (2010) 121 pp
80. The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela (1942) 166 pp

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:30am Top

British Author Challenge 2017



MARCH : A DECADE OF BRITISH NOVELS : The 1960s - 10 Novels by Men; 10 Novels by Women - 2 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 1 DONE

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

NOVEMBER : POET LAUREATES : British laureates, children's laureate, National Poets - 1 DONE


Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:33am 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 Tenth of December
October- Ann Patchett
November- Russell Banks
December- Ernest Hemingway

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:35am Top

ANZ Author Challenge

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

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

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:36am Top


Guardian 1000 (998) Books - 330 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270237#6197972

1001 Books First Edition - 287 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/268508#6162704

Booker Prize Winners - 25 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/268508#6165614

Nobel Prize Winners Read - 63 out of 114 laureates read something. https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6207224

Pulitzer Prize Winners (6 main categories) - 23 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6207348

National Book Award Winners (Fiction) - 16 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6208562

Women's Prize Winners - 5 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6208568

Giller Prize Winners - 6 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6208574

Miles Franklin Winners - 5 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6208578

Walter Scott Prize Winners - 2 Read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209474

Baillie Gifford Winners - 3 Read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209503

James Tait Black Winners - 17 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209513

Whitbread/Costa Winners (4 categories) - 23 winners read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209540

Dublin International Literature Award - 7 winners read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209556

PEN Faulkner Award Winners - 3 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209725

National Book Critics Circle Awards - 6 read https://www.librarything.com/topic/270794#6209733

Nov 28, 2017, 8:32pm Top


Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 5:29pm Top


Simple reach 100 books!

I am not going to achieve any of my other challenges so I will be all out to make that number and keep a run going since I was 15 years old - i.e. 36 years of achieving at least 100 books per year.

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:37am Top


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

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

1 AFGHANISTAN Khaled Hosseini
4 Angola
5 Antigua
9 Bangladesh
12 Bosnia
13 Brazil
16 China
20 Denmark
22 Dominican Republic
23 Egypt
24 Ethiopia
25 Finland
28 Ghana
30 Haiti
40 Jamaica
42 Kenya
45 Malawi
46 Malaysia
47 Mexico
49 Mozambique
50 New Zealand
51 Nigeria
52 Norway
55 Peru
56 Philippines
58 Portugal
59 Romania
61 Saudi Arabia
62 Senegal
63 Serbia
64 Sierra Leone
65 Singapore
66 Somalia
68 Spain
69 Sri Lanka
70 St. Kitts
71 Sudan
73 Switzerland
74 Syria
75 Tanzania
76 Trinidad
77 Turkey
78 Ukraine
80 Zimbabwe

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:39am Top



I will select five males and five females and there will be two special months.

January : EDNA O'BRIEN
April : Samuel Beckett
September : RODDY DOYLE

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 7:40am Top


JANUARY - DEBUT NOVELS - https://www.librarything.com/topic/275745#6259410
FEBRUARY - THE 1970s - https://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6262597
MARCH - CLASSIC THRILLERS - http://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6266669
APRIL - FOLKLORE, FABLES AND LEGENDS - https://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6264065
MAY - QUEENS OF CRIME - https://www.librarything.com/topic/275745#6260378
JUNE - TRAVEL WRITING - http://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6266685
JULY - THE ANGRY YOUNG MEN - http://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6266706
AUGUST - BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION - http://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6265570
SEPTEMBER - HISTORICAL FICTION - http://www.librarything.com/topic/276329#6266539
NOVEMBER - WORLD WAR ONE - https://www.librarything.com/topic/275745#6258461

The format of the British Author Challenge next year will be slightly different in that it will be based upon themes.
That said for guidance I will choose 10 books each month to help and guide that theme along but, as you know me, you can then read what you jolly well like anyway!

Nov 28, 2017, 8:33pm Top

Next one is yours

Nov 28, 2017, 8:34pm Top

Happy new thread! Love the topper!

Nov 28, 2017, 8:37pm Top

>19 amanda4242: Amanda, lovely to see you early doors. xx

Nov 28, 2017, 8:42pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul! That's a nice photo up top.

Nov 28, 2017, 8:45pm Top

>21 harrygbutler: Thank you Harry. I do think that Hani has quite a good eye when it comes to capturing scenes. I am even more impressed that she manages to get such good photos from her iPhone.

Nov 28, 2017, 8:51pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Nov 28, 2017, 9:09pm Top

Hi Paul! Happy new thread and that is an absolutely gorgeous photo by Hani - beautifully balanced and pleasing to look at. Well done.

Nov 28, 2017, 9:12pm Top

Another new thread? Wow, what a lovely topper! Happy new one, Paul!

Nov 28, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>23 lkernagh: Thank you Lori.

>24 karenmarie: A bit like she herself, Karen. Thank you my dear.

Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 9:33pm Top

>25 jessibud2: Thank you Shelley. Edinburgh, as Darryl also attests, is a beautiful city.

Here is another of her photos to whet the appetite.

Nov 28, 2017, 10:01pm Top

Happy new one!! : )

Nov 28, 2017, 10:08pm Top

I will never forget being totally overwhelmed (in a good way) by the beauty of Edinburgh when we got off the train from London 15 years ago, although it doesn't seem that long. It is a breathtaking city, and I would love to go back some day. I love Hani's picture up top. Thanks for sharing, Paul, and bringing back some wonderful memories.

Nov 28, 2017, 10:43pm Top

>28 Berly: Thank you Kimmers!

>29 Donna828: Donna, it is one of my favourite cities and I would happily retire there. Hani loves it too so there is a possibility of that happening.

Nov 28, 2017, 11:25pm Top

>12 PaulCranswick: all those challenges ..... just how many clones do you have running around ?

Nov 28, 2017, 11:59pm Top

>12 PaulCranswick: Just Me, myself and I. Alex.

Nov 29, 2017, 12:18am Top

Beautiful thread topper! Happy new thread.

Nov 29, 2017, 12:23am Top

>33 banjo123: Thank you Rhonda. xx

Nov 29, 2017, 12:47am Top

Heavens, PC. ANOTHER thread! Who do you think you are, anyway? Joe or something?

I wanna go to Edinburgh! So much gorgeous, and Scotland about to be indie again, what's not to love?

Nov 29, 2017, 1:08am Top

>35 richardderus: I would swap many things with Joe (maybe not his hairstyle) and comparisons with that Doyen are flattering in the extreme.

I also would like to get to Edinburgh preferably with my wench still in situ.

Nov 29, 2017, 6:22am Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Nov 29, 2017, 8:28am Top

Oh ! I love the Queens of Crime, Paul! P.D. James, Ruth Rendall and Agatha Christie. I cut my teeth on those mysteries!

Nov 29, 2017, 8:29am Top

Happy New Thread, Paul!

Beautiful photo up top by Hani - and in >27 PaulCranswick:. We hope to be in Edinburgh for a bit next fall.

Nov 29, 2017, 9:05am Top

Gorgeous thread topper! I'd love to visit Edinburgh.

Nov 29, 2017, 9:56am Top

Stunning topper, a fine eye Hani has. I have still to visit Edinburgh. Maybe next year.

Nov 29, 2017, 10:43am Top

Happy new thread, Paul! I love Hani's photo up top - agree with you that she has a good eye for framing her shots.

Nov 29, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>37 scaifea: Thanks Amber, dear.

>38 vancouverdeb: I have read plenty by James, Rendell and especially Christie. Still fond.

Nov 29, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>39 jnwelch: It would be great if a meet up in Edinburgh or even Yorkshire could be arranged mate.

>40 foggidawn: Thanks Foggy. An Edinburgh outpost for the group is certainly a possibility.

Nov 29, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Happy new thread! I'm up for running away to Edinburgh...

Nov 29, 2017, 4:03pm Top

Happy new thread mate, I am sure Karen would be up for a visit to Edinburgh so a meet up would be great and if not one in Yorkshire would be mighty fine.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:54pm Top

>41 Caroline_McElwee: Edinburgh could be in for quite the LT meet-up next year, Caroline.

>42 Crazymamie: I first noticed her skill in photography when we went to New Zealand as we came back with some astonishing pics from there, Mamie.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:56pm Top

>45 drneutron: Now let us find someone with whom you can elope Jim!

>46 johnsimpson: We don't need to limit things to a single meet-up, John!

Nov 29, 2017, 4:57pm Top

>48 PaulCranswick:, I'm with you on that mate.

Nov 29, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>49 johnsimpson: A 75ers Roadshow perhaps John. Inspired by Darryl's travels. Holland and Switzerland and Italy obvious ports of call.

Would you have taken Stokes to Australia, John? Innocent until proven guilty and all that? We could have certainly done with him in the first test.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 9:24pm Top


FEBRUARY 2018 - THE 1970s

The 1970s were something of a tough decade following the so-called swinging sixties. The cold war, OPEC, in England we had the three day week and power cuts as the Miners went on strike and at the end of the decade loomed the spectre of Mrs. T.
We also had some great fiction.
Here are my suggestions one per year 5 ladies and 5 gentlemen authors. You don't have to follow the suggestions.

1970. I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill
1971 Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
1972 To Serve Them All My Days by RF Delderfield
1973 The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
1974 The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge
1975 High Rise by JG Ballard
1976 Falstaff by Robert Nye
1977 The Road to Lichfield by Penelope Lively
1978 The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
1979 Pig Earth by John Berger

Nov 29, 2017, 6:32pm Top

>51 PaulCranswick: The 70s may have been tough, but they gave us Ziggy Stardust so they weren't all bad.

Nov 29, 2017, 6:39pm Top

>52 amanda4242: And my soccer club, Leeds United were in their pomp for most of the decade. Championship winners, three times runners-up, FA Cup winners, twice runners up. One European trophy and two finals.

Bowie, Elton, Van the Man, Paul, John and George, Gerry Rafferty on Baker Street, the wonderful Electric Light Orchestra, Who's Next, Pink Floyd going to the Dark Side of the Moon.

Nov 29, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>51 PaulCranswick: - I am assuming it is a different Elizabeth Taylor...

Nov 29, 2017, 7:05pm Top

>54 jessibud2: Not the one bathing in asses milk as Cleopatra with Richard Burton ogling her every move.

Elizabeth Taylor was a fine novelist who is much beloved by a number in the group and still easily found in print. Her novels of the 1950s Angel and The Sleeping Beauty were probably her best know work but the selected novel was something of a renaissance for her in later life.

Please see:

Nov 29, 2017, 8:47pm Top

>51 PaulCranswick: I remember wanting to read The Bottle Factory Outing after reading about it on someone's thread. The 2018 BAC is working well for me!

BTW happy new thread - again, Paul.

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 10:04pm Top

Hey Paul, love the topper, and loving the BAC selections so far--I've got a book in each category on my shelf just waiting for me.

Taylor is one of my favorites--already read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, but I have a collection of her short stories from 1972 The Devastating Boys, so hope that works. But I also have To Serve Them All My Days around here somewhere.

Nov 30, 2017, 12:34am Top

>56 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I haven't read all the books on my list, of course (I must save something for myself to read), but The Bottle Factory Outing is one that I have read. Very droll and very English.

Nov 30, 2017, 12:36am Top

>57 kac522: Thank you Kathy. I hope to put up one or two more photos of Edinburgh shortly as Hani's efforts are made for sharing!

There is no problem substituting books with a book from the decade of your own choosing so long as it is by a British writer.

To Serve Them All My Days is a favourite novel of mine.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 12:49am Top

This one was taken by Belle. Well done Belle.

Nov 30, 2017, 1:18am Top

Nov 30, 2017, 2:46am Top

#51 Plus my parents got married and moved to Jersey in the 70s - so I can't complain :)

#60 Stunning pic! I saw this on fbook and thought it was a fantasy still at first. Screams Harry Potter to me!

Nov 30, 2017, 5:12am Top

Hi Paul!

Quick hello. Nice picture by Belle and I agree with BekkaJo, although since you haven't read HP you wouldn't know, I suppose. *smile*

Nov 30, 2017, 5:25am Top

Help, I can't keep up at all and it isn't even yet year end! A very Happy New Thread, Paul! :)
I obviously have to get to Edinburgh at some point, lovely pics.

Nov 30, 2017, 6:29am Top

>60 PaulCranswick: - Another WOW from here. Just lovely! She has a great eye!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:44am Top

>61 amanda4242: That is what I thought, Amanda and sort of "that's my Belle!"

>62 BekkaJo: So the 70s were kind to you, Bekka, and kind to the island of Jersey too!
I am not sure about Harry Potter, but Belle has waved a magic wand there.

Nov 30, 2017, 7:47am Top

>63 karenmarie: Of course, Karen, I haven't a clue about Harry Potter and I don't think he would survive well in an Edinburgh December.

>64 Deern: Don't worry, Nathalie, I am not keeping up either!
See if you can time a trip there with Hani and I being there.

>65 jessibud2: She does indeed, Shelley, mostly when it is not turned, raptor like, upon me!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:57am Top

Lovely pictures by Hani, very atmospheric.

Why wouldn't Harry survive Edinburgh December, it's his home Paul?

Have a happy new thread.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:26am Top

Happy new thread, Paul! Hani and Belle have quite an eye for capturing the essence of Edinburgh. It appears Scotland has a lot of architectural character and there is the possibility of another photo snap with a turn of the head.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:42am Top

I loved Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. I should read another by her at some point.

Nov 30, 2017, 10:51am Top

>60 PaulCranswick: That is an excellent photo. Well done, indeed!

Nov 30, 2017, 10:54am Top

Two great photographers in your family!!

And another great list for the BAC. Thanks, Paul.

Nov 30, 2017, 11:05am Top

Happy New Thread, Paul. A bit belated, on my part. I hope the work week has been going smoothly for you.

Nov 30, 2017, 11:25am Top

>60 PaulCranswick:

Looks like Belle could have a lovely career!

And, Paul, my Thread is up to 99 posts...

Nov 30, 2017, 11:29am Top

>62 BekkaJo:>60

Harry Potter for sure and it's in tune with the 2018 UK Jacquielawson.com SEASIDE calendar -
well worth the $4.00 investment AND you do not have to be a Christmas fan to enjoy it since
it is packed with a lot of ENGLAND's Art and Fun!

Nov 30, 2017, 11:30am Top

>63 karenmarie:

If he met the HP challenge, he would merely have advised Hani to speak in Parseltongue at the filling station.

Nov 30, 2017, 2:36pm Top

#66 ha! I wasn't even a twinkle in their eyes when they came over here :)

#75 I do like a good calendar, but unfortunately I need one of the family planner style... with many many columns to try and ensure I end up in the right place at the right time!

Nov 30, 2017, 2:41pm Top

>77 BekkaJo:

Okay - I forgot a few details!

It is an interactive Christmas Advent Calendar & very entertaining.

Nov 30, 2017, 3:13pm Top

I am a little late to the party, Paul, happy new thread!

Nov 30, 2017, 4:06pm Top

>50 PaulCranswick:, It is a hard one Paul but I think I would have stayed with the decision and now hope he can be available, the reason I would go this way is that if we had done well with him and he had contributed well, it would have been a big blow if he was called back to the UK to face charges and this could have given Australia a boost whereas if he is now available the Aussies should be wary of what a wounded Lion can do to prove he is a key member of this squad.

I don't think it should have taken this long especially as the two lads being attacked have praised Stokes for coming to their aid even though he had had a skinful. The main thing now is for Stokes to watch how much he is drinking and where he is drinking, he will always be there to be knocked down from the pedestal he gets put on.

Nov 30, 2017, 7:01pm Top

>68 EllaTim: Shows how much I know about Harry Potter, Ella!

>69 Carmenere: Yes Lynda. To be honest all its major towns and cities are architecturally pleasing. Glasgow used to have a reputation for its tenement slums but actually has some of the finest Victorian public buildings in the UK.

Nov 30, 2017, 7:10pm Top

>70 jnwelch: I haven't had the pleasure of Ms. Taylor as yet Joe. 2018 will change that all being well.

>71 harrygbutler: Thanks Harry. I am surprised that Belle managed to prise the phone from her mother's fingers.

>72 Berly: And another list quite imminent, Kimmers!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:12pm Top

>73 msf59: Work is hectic but fairly rewarding for the moment, Mark.

>74 m.belljackson: She just sent me a lovely voice message, Marianne, telling me she missed me. She is such an undemonstrative individual that a few words from her mean such a lot to me.
By my reckoning you are beyond the 100 already because, if I am not mistaken you abandoned a thread at the beginning of the year with 6 posts on it. xx

Nov 30, 2017, 7:14pm Top

>75 m.belljackson: I could make a nice calendar out of my ladies' photos and my son's drawings. He was painting something yesterday that took my breath away.

>76 m.belljackson: If I could have enlisted HP's help that evening it would have been to ensure that diesel went into a diesel engine and not petrol!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:16pm Top

>77 BekkaJo: Yes but the Channel Islands are the beneficiary of their decision to relocate. xx

>78 m.belljackson: I saw something on the news last week about the commercialism of advent calendars nowadays. Apparently there is a Single Malt advent calendar that is retailing at several thousand $!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:17pm Top

>60 PaulCranswick: Wow! What an incredible photo, and what a great place to visit!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>79 FAMeulstee: Only slightly tardy, Anita, but none the less welcome for all that. I am hoping that you manage to read 500 books this year.

>80 johnsimpson: I think Stokes is a victim of his fame here. A fairly minor kerfuffle outside a nightclub. These things happen every week in Wakefield outside Rooftop Gardens as was. His actions to protect two young chaps against blatant and vicious homophobia (if true) are laudable even if he probably got carried away. A caution would have sufficed surely.

Nov 30, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>84 PaulCranswick:

The commercialism of some may well be, but there has been NONE so far on your UK Jacquielawson.com - just check out the site!

Nov 30, 2017, 7:25pm Top

>86 Whisper1: It is an absolute favourite place of mine, Linda, and I was so thrilled when Yasmyne decided to further her studies there. Hani loves it too.

Nov 30, 2017, 7:25pm Top

>88 m.belljackson: I will do certainly Marianne. xx

Nov 30, 2017, 7:28pm Top

>88 m.belljackson: I really like the one which has a sleigh ride through the village. They are very affecting. I am missing the seasons and the season and the ladies.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:00pm Top

>91 PaulCranswick:

Keep going and invest your four bucks in SEASIDE - it eventually gets to the Main Street Art Gallery!

Nov 30, 2017, 8:15pm Top


The Many Days : Selected Poems of Norman MacCaig by Norman MacCaig

Date of Publication : 2010
Pages : 121

Norman MacCaig was a close friend and confidant of Hugh MacDiarmid and in so many ways a more accessible poet to non-Scots sensibilities.

There is wonderful lyricism here on a variety of subjects but he is best on the Scottish landscape both rural and urban together with its non-threatening wildlife of trout, salmon, seabirds, toads and deer.

This career retrospective is well worth seeking out. He is newly amongst my favourites.

As he aged his poems became not surprisingly more elegiac and introspective. The subject of this one Visiting Hour is as obvious as it is moving.

The hospital smell
combs my nostrils
as they go bobbing along
green and yellow corridors.

What seems a corpse
is trundled into a lift and vanishes

I will not feel, I will not
feel, until
I have to.

Nurses walk lightly, swiftly,
here and up and down and there,
their slender waists miraculously
carrying their burden
of so much pain, so
many deaths, their eyes
still clear after
so many farewells.

Ward 7. She lies
in a white cave of forgetfulness.
A withered hand
trembles on its stalk. Eyes move
behind eyelids too heavy
to raise. Into an arm wasted
of colour a glass fang is fixed,
not guzzling but giving.
And between her and me
distance shrinks till there is none left
but the distance of pain that neither she nor I
can cross.

She smiles a little at this
black figure in her white cave
who clumsily rises
in the round swimming waves of a bell
and dizzily goes off, growing fainter,
not smaller, leaving behind only
books that will not be read
and fruitless fruits.


Nov 30, 2017, 8:18pm Top

>92 m.belljackson: I may well invest in one or two for the upcoming festive season, Marianne. A good find for sure.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:24pm Top

>60 PaulCranswick: Wow, that looks to be professional quality, Paul! Belle has framed it perfectly.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:28pm Top


The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela

Date of Publication : 1942
Pages : 166
Nobel Winners : 63rd Laureate Read
Around the World in 80 Books : #38 Spain

This is a squalid little book about a squalid little man.

Does it have literary merit? Well a little in the introspections of someone propelled to violence and killing for a variety of reasons - all of which are disturbing.

This is one of Cela's most celebrated works. If he won the Nobel Prize for this then all I can say Modiano and Dylan deserved it at least as much.


Nov 30, 2017, 8:29pm Top

>95 ronincats: I am so proud of her, Roni. She really is such a quiet and introverted girl that you wouldn't think that she was capable of great determination and very mature mind and has more ability in her little finger than her chubby little old Dad.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:58pm Top


Country 38 of 80 - SPAIN

Spain Factfile

Area : 195,360 sq miles (51st)
Population : 46,468,102 (30th)
King/ Prime Minister : Felipe VI / Mariano Rajoy
Capital City : Madrid
Largest City : Madrid
Currency : Euro
GDP Nominal : $1.232 trillion (12th)
GDP Per Capita : $26,643 (30th)
National Languages : Castillian Spanish (regional languages Catalan, Galician, Occitan and Basque)
Median Age : 42.7
Life Expectancy : 81.8
Percentage Using Internet : 80.6%

Its a Fact : Amongst Spanish inventions are the mop and bucket, the stapler and the forerunner of the modern cigarette.

Sources : Various but mainly wikipedia and CIA world fact book

Nov 30, 2017, 9:01pm Top




I guess it had to be really although I am also tempted by the wonderful assortment of tapas available. Spanish cuisine is undoubtedly one of the world's finest.

This is a rather overstocked Seafood and Chicken Paella

Nov 30, 2017, 9:03pm Top




This can be delightfully refreshing on a hot day overlooking the Med.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:07pm Top



Paz Vega

Spanish actress and not known to be a relation of Suzanne.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:11pm Top



Alex Gonzalez

Spanish actor who was Riptide in the X-Men whatever that is.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:16pm Top

>102 PaulCranswick:

Hmmm...seems like there was a long ago promise of a certain handsome tennis player once you got to Spain...

Nov 30, 2017, 9:23pm Top



Mr. Nadal

This could turn into quite a racquet!

To keep his legion of 75er friends happy including of course .....>103 m.belljackson: Marianne. xx

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 9:44pm Top

>105 m.belljackson:


Quel hombre!

You too!

Edited: Dec 1, 2017, 10:22pm Top



RD is to blame be thanked for this one after forcing himself to read Simon Armitage's book (see below) and liking it despite himself. British history is long and varied but is it all true?

Here are my ten selections:

Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
The Once and Future King by TH White
The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart
Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as translated by Simon Armitage
Beowulf as translated by Seamus Heaney
Mabinogion as translated by Gwyn Jones
Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood by Henry Gilbert
The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Nov 30, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>105 m.belljackson: Mas bienvenido. xx

Nov 30, 2017, 10:13pm Top

Nov 30, 2017, 10:18pm Top

>108 amanda4242: I am pleased that one resonates, Amanda. I was a little worried and determined not to make the list too difficult and stuffy.

Nov 30, 2017, 10:23pm Top

Thanks for the heads up re squalid little books about squalid little men.

>102 PaulCranswick: Mijito! Ven a papa, guapito.

Nov 30, 2017, 10:27pm Top

>109 PaulCranswick: I think you hit an excellent balance of classic and modern there. And the best part is you didn't include Idylls of the King!

Dec 1, 2017, 2:12am Top

>110 richardderus: I am enough squalid without having to read about more of my number, RD.

I did think that you would appreciate Senor Gonzalez.

>111 amanda4242: Thank you Amanda. I did see your comments regarding your, erm, affection for Tennyson's work and skirted both that and The Lady of Shallot in consequence. xx

Dec 1, 2017, 2:42am Top

>106 PaulCranswick: I am in for April! I already have The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro waiting on the shelves. :)

Dec 1, 2017, 2:47am Top

#106 *Does a happy dance*

Dec 1, 2017, 3:04am Top

>113 Berly: I included that one as a sort of safety valve for readers, Kimmers but it is I think on theme.

>114 BekkaJo: Bekka, I am so pleased that this selection seems to be popular.

Dec 1, 2017, 3:37am Top

Hi Paul!

45 posts behind in 22 hours. Good grief.

(>68 EllaTim: Harry was actually born in Godric’s Hollow, a fictitious village in “the West Country”, and raised in Little Whinging, Surrey, another fictitious village, the home of his aunt and uncle. Hogwarts is in the Highlands of Scotland.)

>76 m.belljackson: and >84 PaulCranswick: Nicholas Flamel, the famous alchemist (or even Dumbledore, for that matter) could have converted the petrol to diesel. *smile*

>104 PaulCranswick: Least said soonest mended. For some reason his hairy armpits are eeewwww, although I do acknowledge the guns. Or, rather, armpit and gun. RF forever!

>106 PaulCranswick: Alas! It says a lot about my readings in FOLKLORE, LEGENDS AND FABLES that I have only heard of or read one on your list, Heaney’s Beowulf, and have the 5th in the T.H. White The Once and Future King series, The Book of Merlyn. I didn’t even realize there was a series or that there were 5 books in it. I suppose I should really start with The Sword in the Stone. Onto the wishlist it goes.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:21am Top

>106 PaulCranswick: I have an Arthurian category planned for next year over in the category challenge so this fits in quite nicely.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:24am Top

>116 karenmarie: Well Surrey is positively balmy beside Edinburgh! JK Rowling herself of course famously lives in Edinburgh so must find it bearable to a degree!

The summoning of Nicholas Flamel may well have cost me more than the £500 I incurred.

I prefer Fed Ex more for the absence of grunting than the less luxuriant armpit hair.

I have read The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart which is the first in her Merlin series but other than that I have all to go at.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:25am Top

>117 avatiakh: That is great news Kerry. This category is fast becoming, erm, legendary!

Dec 1, 2017, 4:34am Top

>93 PaulCranswick: glad you enjoyed MacCaig, Paul. I’m just coming to the end of the 1940s poems in the volume I’m reading. I’m rationing myself to a few poems a day, or missing a few days so I have a glut :=) .

Dec 1, 2017, 4:35am Top

Great photo from Belle too.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:52am Top

>120 Caroline_McElwee: I really did enjoy him Caroline. There was none of that dialect stuff you have to overcome with some of the Scot poets of that period.

>121 Caroline_McElwee: It is funny. They are at the Lakes now and Hani has just messaged me that she is having trouble to get Belle out of bed (a familiar problem I must say) and I sent a WhatsApp voice message with something of a loudhailer voice to summon her from slumber. Didn't work apparently.

Dec 1, 2017, 6:13am Top



For over 35 years i have always read 100 books a year. This year I am going to have to get my skates on if I am to do so again.

I have 20 books to read in December and these tentatively will be the ones:

I will take my Round the World Challenge to 40 Books (Halfway around the world so to speak)

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (AAC)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (BAC)
Night School by Lee Child
Six Poets : Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (Around the World in 80 Books - NZ / Anzac)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Warleggan by Winston Graham
Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason
Human Amusements by Wayne Johnston (CAC)
The Wrecking Light by Robin Robertson
A Month in the Country by JL Carr
The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi
A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele (Around the World in 80 Books - Nigeria)
A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
November by Sean O'Brien

Dec 1, 2017, 6:26am Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Go, Paul! You can do it!

Dec 1, 2017, 7:10am Top

Yay Paul! I wish you the best in reaching your goal.

I am shamelessly picking short books for the 10 books I need to read in December to get to MY 100-book goal. Of course I'm still reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and am on page 334 of 607; I will definitely finish it in December. But a couple of recent books have been 45 and 110 pages respectively and I'm reading another that is 119 pages. All good books worth of being read and counted as a book, but no chunksters for me this month.

Dec 1, 2017, 10:15am Top

>116 karenmarie: The Harry Potter books were written in Edinburgh. At least, the first was. I visited Edinburg a couple of years ago, and saw references to him and J.K. Rowling.
So you could say it's his spiritual birth place;-)

See also https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/scotland/articles/the-top-6-loc...

>106 PaulCranswick: Love this category Paul! Sir Gawain and the green knight was my first book in English (a different version of course;-))

Dec 1, 2017, 10:41am Top

>118 PaulCranswick:

Federer may be a great tennis player...

yet, this year, he feared to meet Rafa on clay,

while Nadal was brave enough to risk a loss on a Federer court.

Dec 1, 2017, 11:10am Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Do you have December off Paul? :=)

Dec 1, 2017, 12:37pm Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Wishing you good luck!

Dec 1, 2017, 1:43pm Top

>124 scaifea: I have made a pretty OK start as I have split the 20 books into 4 sets (4 weeks) of 5 books each and have made a dent in all five today. I am currently reading:

Dec 1, 2017, 1:50pm Top

>125 karenmarie: Thank you Karen. I have picked two books Warleggan and Night School which both run to over 450 pages each but are books sure to drag me along as the series' have never failed to.

>126 EllaTim: I certainly will defer to you on the subject of Potty Harry, Ella.

I am so glad that the folklore category seems to be a successful one.

Dec 1, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>127 m.belljackson: I think it is save to say, Marianne, that Nadal is the undisputed king of clay whilst Fed Ex shades him on all other surfaces. It certainly cannot be said of Nadal that he is a one trick pony as he has, after all, a career grand slam to his credit, but the disproportionate value of his clay court play makes FedEx the greater player overall.

Dec 1, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>128 Caroline_McElwee: Hahaha I really ought to have didn't I? I will certainly have a long flight back to the UK and return to help me as that will be at least four books in two days.

>129 amanda4242: Thank you, Amanda,

Dec 1, 2017, 1:59pm Top

Hi, Paul.

>126 EllaTim: Thanks for posting the link, Ella. I've saved it for our planned Edinburgh trip next year. I love the idea of Rowling writing in those cafes.

Dec 1, 2017, 2:30pm Top

>130 PaulCranswick: I hope you love the Gaiman as much as I did!

Dec 1, 2017, 2:42pm Top

>134 jnwelch: I hope we are able to enjoy it together, Joe, as I would really like to meet up with you and Debbi again there.

>135 scaifea: So far so very good, Amber. I have read the first three chapters and it is very compelling.

Dec 1, 2017, 3:41pm Top


What's not to love?

He hated gays,
Jewish people,
trashed his friends and mentors,
was violent,
and enjoyed animal cruelty, from bulls to donkeys...

Dec 1, 2017, 3:46pm Top

George Takei's tweeted pome:

"Some fortunes have started to tip
Now that Flynn's decided to flip
Impeachment? Indictment?
That's too much excitement
They'll scurry like rats off this ship"


Dec 1, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Dec 1, 2017, 4:02pm Top

>137 m.belljackson: I have to say that the opening couple of chapters of To Have and Have Not is punctuated by a very liberal and unnecessary use of the word "nigger". I know times change but surely even then in 1937 it would have been considered not exactly the correct form of address? He was a prose stylist for all his many considerable flaws though and this earns him respect as a writer but not as a man.

This is much in the same way that Ezra Pound's poetry can be admired (if it can) whilst the man himself was to be deplored.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>138 richardderus: George does those limericks better than I could have done - much better. Let us hope that they make the ginger shitbag whimper.

>139 jnwelch: Yup!

Dec 1, 2017, 4:12pm Top

>131 PaulCranswick: Ha! And on the subject of Edinburgh as well, Paul? I mean, I spent the whole of three days there, so you definitely should.

>134 jnwelch: It is a fun idea isn't it? Drinking butter Beer?

Dec 1, 2017, 4:14pm Top

>140 PaulCranswick:

If you asked the Black literary artists around 1937,
from Chicago and Harlem to Paris and beyond,
they might likely have found him to be an insufferable ass----,
however neat his sentences.

And yes, even ee cummings who totally dissed old ernest was also anti-semitic.

I once loved his poems, but THAT stance keeps me distanced from still loving them.

Appreciation, yes; fan, no.

It's a rare Pound poem that calls to me.

ps. be sure you did not miss Jimmy Kimmel's response to Roy Moore!

Dec 1, 2017, 4:38pm Top

>142 EllaTim: Hahaha I can definitely top that over the years, Ella!

Beer is always good, Ella. In Egypt I got quite a taste for Oranjeboom.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:40pm Top

>143 m.belljackson: I wouldn't disagree with you Marianne but I am looking at his measure as a writer not as a man. He shaped up in terms of the former and shaped down in terms of the latter.

Dec 1, 2017, 5:57pm Top

>140 PaulCranswick: Sadly, I fear that was a part of regular speech, Paul. I once was doing some research in newspapers around that time period which talked about how lynchings were down from previous years - from the stats given they were still happening.

I am enjoying the themed months for the BAC. Has there been any interest in the CAC for next year?

Dec 1, 2017, 6:07pm Top

>140 PaulCranswick:, >146 Familyhistorian: Nigger was normal, everyday speech in the US until the middle 1960s, when it was replaced by Negro, though the folks themselves had started using "black" to identify themselves. The polite moved to black when the folks themselves moved to African American. The polite has moved to African American as the folks themselves have moved to people of color. Which to me is just colored people revived.

Dec 1, 2017, 6:41pm Top

Dec 1, 2017, 9:22pm Top

>146 Familyhistorian: In so many ways the world has got better, Meg, just as it has regressed in others. That his language, otherwise crisp and clean, jars so on his obscenities probably tells us that.

I can confirm that I will not be administering the CAC next year. Ilana came up with the authors for two years and I guess it is for another (????) to take up the cudgel! The next BAC theme will be one which I am traditionally to struggle with.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>147 richardderus: I guess what and how people are termed and classified will always be subject to change as well as to rancour. It is always the case that the intention of such a naming must have some importance too. If reference is given out of admiration or neutral identification it is surely tolerable whereas a name given out of antipathy or derision will not be.

Strangely I am used to this living in Malaysia where us whites (especially Brits) are termed "MATSALLEH" by the populace and "GWAILO" by the Chinese community specifically. The latter means "Ghost Man" or "Ghost Devil" and refers to the paleness of skin.

>148 m.belljackson: xx

Dec 1, 2017, 9:51pm Top

The British Author Challenge Thread is up for December:

Wildcards chosen last year Elizabeth Gaskell and Neil Gaiman


Dec 1, 2017, 10:06pm Top

The Canadian Author Challenge Thread is also up for December

Donna Morrissey and Wayne Johnston


Dec 1, 2017, 10:12pm Top

More vicarious travel with my wife. Her and Belle are presently following in Wordsworth's footsteps in the English Lake District and her wonderful eye for colour and a scene is undimmed as I think you will agree:

Dec 1, 2017, 10:13pm Top

This is the same lady the day before looking back across at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh:

Dec 1, 2017, 10:15pm Top

I will round things off with this Cityscape she posted looking across the City of Edinburgh at twilight:

Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 9:19pm Top



Britain can rightly be proud of its heritage of science fiction and fantasy writing.

Here are my ten selections:

Greybeard by Brian Aldiss
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
2001 : A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Great North Road by Peter H. Hamilton
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
The Just City by Jo Walton
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Dec 1, 2017, 10:37pm Top

I am now half-way through my BAC Themed selections for next year.

I am as always open to suggestion from the group on possible themes and do still have a couple of spots not yet fully decided.


Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 1:54am Top

>157 PaulCranswick: Historical novels? Travel narratives?

ETA: if you choose travel narratives, you must include Richard Francis Burton so we can have both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the list!

Dec 2, 2017, 12:14am Top

Goodness - I got so far behind so quickly!

Beautiful photos - and great challenge categories!

Dec 2, 2017, 12:24am Top

Gorgeous photos, Paul! Lovely!

Dec 2, 2017, 1:46am Top

So much great reading to look forward to in 2018, I hope my reading brain will finally recover and I won't fill another year with childrens's books and easy mysteries (although those are enjoyable as well).

Have a lovely weekend!

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 10:00am Top

>153 PaulCranswick:+ wonderful photos Paul.

>156 PaulCranswick: I can vividly remember when I first read Weaveworld, as I was working with Barker’s then boyfriend, a nurse at a London hospital, in the 1980s. A chance to revisit the book perhaps,

Dec 2, 2017, 4:37am Top

I'm way behind Paul. I would be tempted to take those beautiful photographs and- as you say - make a calendar or maybe one of those photobooks? Hani and Belle clearly very talented artists, I know both locations a little and was so struck by the originality of the chosen view.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:09am Top

>153 PaulCranswick: Love the Hani photos. Gorgeous.

Happy Weekend, Paul. Hope you can enjoy some R & R.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:22am Top

>144 PaulCranswick: Oranjeboom! Haven't seen those in a long time, all in Egypt?

>158 amanda4242: I like both historical novels and travel narratives.

Other suggestions: growing up? Short stories, poetry, 19th century classics?

Dec 2, 2017, 7:48am Top

>158 amanda4242: Hahaha I like how your mind works Amanda. Food for thought, certainly.

>159 Dejah_Thoris: Thank you Princess. I can take no credit for the photographs only a proprietary interest!

Dec 2, 2017, 7:49am Top

>160 vancouverdeb: I will thank you for them both, Deb. xx

>161 Deern: Unless I make those genre categories of course, Nathalie! xx

Dec 2, 2017, 7:49am Top

Beautiful photos, Paul! I've noticed that we've had some stunning sunsets here, too, this past week, though of course, the scenery on the ground out my window is not quite as spectacular....

Dec 2, 2017, 7:53am Top

>162 Caroline_McElwee: When I worked on the extension of Changi airport back in 1996/7 in Singapore I remember my Coordination engineer extolling the virtues of the book which I bought a few years ago but never got round to reading. Good excuse to lose myself in it for sure.

Clive Barker is an interesting character and I really ought to be more diverse in my reading which the mix of genres may help me towards.

>163 charl08: I know Charlotte. They managed to capture somehow a new perspective or view of something I thought was very familiar. Hani in particular has a very good eye for colours and she has used it often upon me in the past properly coordinating the clothes I wear!

Dec 2, 2017, 7:57am Top

Hi Paul! I hope you're having a good weekend so far.

>153 PaulCranswick:->155 PaulCranswick: Beautiful photos. I'll echo EllaTim from above - atmospheric.

>156 PaulCranswick: I read Day of the Triffids in November and it's excellent. I've also got The Midwich Cuckoos on my shelves.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:58am Top

>164 msf59: Thanks Mark. They have produced a good wintry mood in their photos that makes me yearn to join them (that was probably the idea!). Today was pretty hectic to be honest but I am expecting a restful day tomorrow.

>165 EllaTim: Ella, we somehow got ourselves an agent who managed, nefariously almost certainly, to get the Dutch beer from the docks in Alexandria. We loved the stuff actually, but I am pretty convinced that this was as much the fact of it being a guilty pleasure as much as the superiority of the beer itself. I have managed to drink it often on occasions later with some relish and a little wistfulness for those long gone days on the edge of the desert with the Mediterranean over our shoulders.

Great suggestions too on the themes. I am thinking carefully on these as I run out of months to fill.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:04am Top

>168 jessibud2: I am charmed by the positive comments on the efforts of my two intrepid UK explorers, Shelley. They are moving back to West Yorkshire today and I must find them somewhere to stay (or book them the place they have found more like). Sunsets and sunrises do make for great vistas if captured right don't they?

>170 karenmarie: So far so good and I managed to fit in a trip to the bookstore between meetings (more to come).

Karen, the list is mainly for guidance and the challenge is satisfied if you read something else by the author or even choose a different author of the same genre.......Michael Moorcock, Olaf Stapleton, Ken MacLeod, Iain M Banks, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Angela Carter, etc etc or even Tolkien, Lewis, Peake, Orwell, Huxley too for certain works.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:10am Top

More books, what could be nicer?

Okay, okay! I am sold on the idea of participating in August and have penciled in Mother London by Moorcock or The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham into my handy-dandy desk calendar. I'm avoiding chunksters in December (ML is 496 pages) and it's too soon to read TMC.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:17am Top

>173 karenmarie: Grrreatt! I don't want the challenges to be too restrictive. Some of my peers like the idea of having a number of specific books that they can pick off whilst others don't wish to be too shackled. As a typical British practitioner of diplomacy I want to cater to everybody!

Dec 2, 2017, 10:27am Top

Here's what I added at the bookstore today:

145. Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015) 152 pp

Why? National Book Award winner which apparently evoked James Baldwin.

146. Pearl by Simon Armitage (2016) 103pp

Why? The discussion on folklore as a BAC Theme Challenge got under my skin

147. English Romantic Poetry : An Anthology edtied by Stanley Appelbaum (1996) 234 pp

Why? Hani is in the Lakes.

148. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (2001) 435 pp

Why? The BAC challenge on Sci-fi writing.

149. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016) 462 pp

Why? Am I the last one left to read this one?

150. The Saga of the Volsungs by Anon (c. 1250) 121 pp

Why? Picked up as I was looking at Armitage's books

151. Various Voices by Harold Pinter (1998) 242 pp

Why? I want to read more by Pinter but boy are his plays heavy going.

152. The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey (2016) 260 pp

Why? CAC author for December.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:10am Top

>153 PaulCranswick: ff Lovely, lovely, lovely!

>156 PaulCranswick: Now THAT is some kinda list! Excellent choices.

>175 PaulCranswick: Oooo aaah

Dec 2, 2017, 11:29am Top

Great choices, Paul. I have read the Coates and the Towles. Both excellent

Dec 2, 2017, 11:31am Top

>176 richardderus: I cannot imagine Inspector Rebus trudging the town / with those shades of sunset coming down.

I did go for a mixed bag RD in the sci-fi list and wanted, of course, to include a few lady practitioners at least.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:32am Top

>177 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley. I can hardly remember a lukewarm review of the Towles novel and Coates to get comparisons with James Baldwin means I would have been cuckoo not to bring home the book.

Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 11:41am Top

>178 PaulCranswick: I haven't read Noughts and Crosses or the Nicola Griffith title, and am not a Clive Barker fan, but the rest are really really good reads, representative of most mainstream threads in British SF.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:46am Top

>181 PaulCranswick: I know sod-all really about Science Fiction even though I have actually read the Wells and the Wyndham books. I do want to broaden my horizons and cast off my ill-kept prejudices next year. I mean recently a pal of mine even read a book of poetry after making his dislike of the form very politely public. So as Rocky Balboa, that noted American philosopher, once captured on film saying - If I can change and you can change everybody can change (or something like that!)

Dec 2, 2017, 11:49am Top

I am pleased to announce that this is the 9,000th post on my threads in 2017.

It is the third time I have reached that milestone having also achieving the feat in 2012 and 2013. Mark should also pass the 9,000 posts on his threads sometime today.

A big, big thank you to everyone who has posted here this year or those who have simply lifted the atmosphere here by secret visits. xx

Dec 2, 2017, 3:24pm Top

Hello, you popular fellow! I've been enjoying the pictures that Hani and Belle have taken, both are very good at photography. Good luck with your December reading!

Dec 2, 2017, 4:09pm Top

Congrats on your 9,000th post of 2017! You should have no trouble making it to 10,000 by the end of the month, you chatty young man, you. :)

>153 PaulCranswick: Gorgeous! As are the next two. Hani's got the eye.

Further to discussion about Hemingway, cummings, Pound et al.being good writers/poets but nasty human beings. I was disappointed when I learned that T.S. Eliot and Lovecraft whose work I love(d) both held horrible racist views. May have been normal in society of those days, but still disappointing. For some reason, I expect great artists to be above it all and better than that. Interesting that Pound, Eliot and Hemingway were friends.

Dec 2, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>181 PaulCranswick: "very politely public" *snort*

Good on ya for casting off the shackles of prejudice, though, it's enormously rewarding.

>182 PaulCranswick: Merciful goddesses 9,000 posts!! My very fingerbones throb at the notion.

Dec 2, 2017, 4:57pm Top

9,000 posts, I can only dream of that figure mate. A disappointing first day of the day/night test mate, would have liked a couple more wickets to have been taken but if we can strike early on the second day then it might be interesting. Hope you are having a good weekend mate, resting and reading.

Dec 2, 2017, 5:14pm Top

AS the Hemingway discussion has evolved (better here than alienating all the LT fans on his Thread),

I started reading an oddly compelling novel, BEAR, by Canadian author Marian Engel, published in 1976.

Her sentences are often short, terse, and direct, leading to thinking that,

if Hemingway had been a more decent sort,
and a woman,
he would have been proud to have written BEAR.

About 3/4 through the book, Hemingway is mentioned in a dramatic sentence!

Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 6:41pm Top

This might be a duplicate post but as LT is playing up and I haven't seen my post appear in the last 30mins, I'm reposting:
I'll look forward to your BAC scifi month, I've noted Ian McDonald's River of Gods to read next year.

Your book haul looks good, I've not read the Amor Towles so you are in 'good' company. Anita was not blown away by that one and I suggested a heftier tome that I'd read good reviews of The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkin.

....and I just read a good review of The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. Wigtown seems to be in the middle of nowhere, Scotland.

Dec 2, 2017, 5:55pm Top

>188 avatiakh:, Hi Kerry, Wigtown is in the middle of nowhere but is well worth the long drive to get there. We went about 12 years ago when we were staying in Dumfries and it was about a 70 mile drive from there on winding A roads, there were a few really good bookshops but now it is bigger and a real haven for book lovers. Unlike Sedburgh in Cumbria, that was touted as the English book town but has failed miserably and apart from one book seller is not worth a visit, Wigtown spoke to the people at Hay-on-Wye for some advice and they took a lot on board and have their own festival of books now and so both Hay and Wigtown are well worth a visit and are both a decent drive for me but we both go and have a good time. I am hoping The Diary of a Bookseller is in my Christmas stocking this year.

Dec 2, 2017, 6:40pm Top

>189 johnsimpson: Oh that's good to hear. Not much chance of me visiting in the near future though I'll mention it to my daughter who lives in London.

I googled Wigtown and found this gem: Shelf catering: tourists offered chance to run a bookshop on holiday - For £150 a week, AirBnB users are invited to live in – and run – The Open Book store in Wigtown, Scotland

Dec 2, 2017, 6:47pm Top

Congrats on hitting 9000 posts!

Dec 2, 2017, 6:54pm Top

Congrats on 9,000 posts plus! I hope you're having a good weekend, Paul.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>183 DeltaQueen50: Thank you dear Guru. They love the Lake District and extended another two nights there. They are on the edge of Grasmere and Hani is waxing lyrical about its beauty and the fish and chips she managed to find there. There is always a practical bent to her musings!

>184 Storeetllr: Thank you Mary. 10,000 posts has never been done before so it would be quite a thing if Mark or myself were to achieve that. He currently stands at 8,998 posts which is his best total yet and he is certain to pass the milestone today.
I garnered more than 1,000 posts last month which is unprecedented for this time of the year as Mark had a 350 plus lead at the beginning of November. I am a fits and starts merchant whereas he just keeps keeping on so my money would be on him to end 2017 with the most posts as he did last year.

9,000 posts has only been achieved five times (Mark will be six) :

Myself 2012, 2013, 2017
Stasia 2010
Amber 2014

Dec 2, 2017, 7:30pm Top

>185 richardderus: I want my reading to be varied next year, RD, and I do think that these themes will help guide me to that. I hope that you'll pick up Armitage again with Pearl or The Death of King Arthur.

It is not long ago that you were thrice posting numbers in the late 8,000s. You are the only person other than I to cross 8,000 posts more than twice and how I miss those January days when you were off like a rabbit from a trap and nobody on God's earth to keep up with you.

I think you may have noticed that your return to the group has occasioned there being some very happy campers.

>186 johnsimpson: My day today will be restful John and I want to get a couple of my books finished. Pleased to see Overton play yesterday as it was simply perverse that he wasn't selected for the first test and what a first wicket to get. I think we will struggle batting second on this pitch. Anderson and Broad look a shadow of their former selves and Ali is simply not a front line spinner. I think for Sydney and Melbourne we should play Ali as mainly a batsman and give Crane a game. What a shame Jack Leach wasn't picked to tour.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>187 m.belljackson: Interesting Marianne. As Mary points out above it is disappointing that individuals who write so beautifully (Eliot especially included here) could hold such views that mark them as people who you wouldn't want to associate with in modern times. There are so many flawed artists that it most likely comes with the territory.

I don't think that the forum matters. I don't think that very many in the group, if any at all, would hold any truck with the frankly racist sensibilities at work in Hemingway but I would be entirely dishonest if I didn't admit to an admiration of his skills as a weaver of words.

>188 avatiakh: You really are dangerous, Kerry!

Firstly if I am in company with you, it is great company indeed. xx

Secondly River of Gods, The House of Government and The Diary of a Bookseller all go onto my rather oversized watchlist.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>189 johnsimpson: Oh John! I now know where I want to go when next I am in Scotland. I love Hay and if Wigtown is in the same vein I shall be transported to heaven.

Hani was mentioning the lovely bookshops which litter the area near Grasmere but I know she is aiming to make me jealous and it is bloody working!

>190 avatiakh: Me Like!!! I will suggest that to the family as an activity for next year. It has long been my dream to retire to a bookshop. Hani to make coffee and bake and serve delicious food in store. A little paradise that I wouldn't care if it made money only enough to enable me to keep it open.

Dec 2, 2017, 7:44pm Top

>191 amanda4242: Thanks Amanda. Your contribution to that number is a significant one; not only in your own posts here but for your continued help in keeping the BAC active and fresh. xx

>192 bell7: Thank you so much Mary. I am looking forward to a lazy Sunday and then a VERY busy next week.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:06pm Top

Update on Posting League.

Prescient given that this is the first time that two threads have passed 9,000 posts in the same year and it was accomplished on the same day.

All threads with more than 100 posts:

1 PaulCranswick 9015
2 msf59 9000
3 jnwelch 6671
4 scaifea 6577
5 Berly 4586
6 crazymamie 4025
7 EBT1002 3686
8 KatieKrug 3623
9 karenmarie 3465
10 Charl08 3204
11 FAMeulstee 3118
12 Ameise1 2533
13 kidzdoc 2419
14 rosalita 2319
15 FamilyHistorian 2318
16 johnsimpson 2103
17 drneutron 2038
18 lyzard 1980
19 BBLBera 1936
20 ronincats 1894
21 SusanJ67 1826
22 ireadthereforeiam 1821
23 mstrust 1688
24 ChelleBearss 1485
25 harrygbutler 1467
26 Lunacat 1294
27 vancouverdeb 1237
28 nittnut 1217
29 jessibud2 1148
30 Donna 990
31 rebarelishesreading 982
32 Chatterbox 979
33 LizzieD 972
34 avatiakh 957
35 thornton37814 949
36 Streamsong 947
37 cbl_tn 927
38 Carmenere 904
39 cameling 882
40 lit_chick 858
41 Weird_O 828
42 SandDune 818
43 Whisper1 808
44 sibyx 799
45 lkernagh 792
46 laytonwoman3rd 778
47 alcottacre 777
48 laurelkeet 772
49 storeetllr 772
50 DianaNL 752
51 MickyFine 742
52 coppers 738
53 mahsdad 724
54 foggidawn 714
55 Oberon 711
56 EllaTim 710
57 Swynn 690
58 richardderus 684
59 PaulStalder 662
60 AMQS 657
61 bell7 655
62 SirFurboy 654
63 Deern 647
64 Banjo 644
65 norabelle414 611
66 rretzler 604
67 Ursula 601
68 ffortsa 597
69 morphy 597
70 bohemima 588
71 PawsForThought 587
72 tymfos 574
73 MichiganTrumpet 554
74 souloftherose 532
75 mdoris 508
76 brodiew2 506
77 lindapanzo 494
78 klobrien2 490
79 The_Hibernator 479
80 maggie1944 475
81 cammykitty 447
82 smiler69 445
83 ctpress 419
84 amanda4242 415
85 Caroline_McElwee 409
86 thearlybirdy 402
87 ape 396
88 lycomayflower 384
89 SqueakyChu 381
90 Dianekeenoy 367
91 aktakukac 366
92 BBGirl55 352
93 Rbeffa 323
94 fuzzi 321
95 Zoe 282
96 seasonoflove 262
97 inge87 261
98 SuziQOregon 260
99 witchyrichy 258
100 Humouress 248
101 archerygirl 242
102 arubabookwoman 241
103 tiffin 230
104 kmartin802 212
105 eclecticdodo 208
106 Bekkajo 206
107 majileavy 205
108 cee 199
109 Kassilem 197
110 beeg 195
111 luvamystery65 191
112 someguyinvirginia 186
113 Fourpawz2 181
114 eyejaybee 180
115 kgodey 180
116 Luxx 178
117 cal8767 171
118 susanna.fraser 168
119 roundballnz 167
120 Deedledee 166
121 mckait 164
122 tapestry100 162
123 kristelh 154
124 kac522 152
125 calm 151
126 JustJoey4 150
127 Sir Thomas 150
128 Cariola 146
129 TadAd 143
130 CassieBash 142
131 torontoc 142
132 countrylife 136
133 elliepotten 132
134 Forthwith 132
135 cyderry 130
136 Oregonreader 125
137 jennyifer24 122
138 evilmoose 120
139 walklover 120
140 yoyogod 118
141 Porch_Reader 113
142 hredwards 111
143 rosylibrarian 110
144 vivians 110
145 bluesalamanders 105
146 m.bellejackson 105
147 LibraryLover23 102

Dec 2, 2017, 8:12pm Top

From >198 PaulCranswick: above:

Top Ten ladies:

1 Amber
2 Kim
3 Mamie
4 Ellen
5 Katie
6 Karen
7 Charlotte
8 Anita
9 Barbara
10 Julia

Top Ten Guys

1 Paul C
2 Mark
3 Joe
4 Darryl
5 John
6 Jim
7 Harry
8 Bill
9 Jeff
10 Erik

Dec 2, 2017, 8:29pm Top

Top Tens on Residence


1 Mark
2 Joe
3 Amber
4 Kim
5 Mamie
6 Ellen
7 Katie
8 Karen
9 Darryl
10 Julia


1 Meg
2 Chelle
3 Deb
4 Shelley
5 Nancy
6 Lori
7 Mickey
8 Mary
9 Ilana
10 Katherine

1 Charlotte
2 John
3 Susan
4 Jenny
5 Rhian
6 Sir F
7 Heather
8 Caroline
9 Bryony
10 Jo

1 Anita
2 Barbara
3 Diana
4 Ella
5 Paul S
6 Nathalie
7 Paws
8 Carsten
9 Monica
10 Thomas

Asia Pacific

1 Paul C
2 Liz
3 Megan
4 Kerry
5 Nina
6 Alex
7 Adrienne
8 Derrick
9 Trizzy
10 Prue

Dec 2, 2017, 8:40pm Top

>194 PaulCranswick: My 5-star review of River of Gods. It was my 2007 6-stars-of-five read, but 'tis too late to go back and apply modren standurds to old reviews.

My return seems to have made a burst of activity occur! We can hope we'll see that continue.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:51pm Top

>201 richardderus: I will be watching for that one for sure then RD. Your review is as five star as the book, I guess.

I do think that your return has certainly had an impact on the figures dear fellow. You have come from a standing start to the cusp of the top 50 in two months.

My own burst of activity is also probably the result of me changing my maudlin ways. I received a PM from one friend in the group basically giving me a few home truths and I realised that I needed to get back to my happier state of mind. Your coming back to us helped that considerably too.

Dec 2, 2017, 9:04pm Top

9000 - good glory! Here's my mite to help you reach 10000.

Dec 2, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>203 Dejah_Thoris: Hahaha Princess; thank you. xx

You are almost on the list too. 100th post this weekend for sure.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 1:54am Top



I have tried not to list too many series but am looking more at one off novels (although some have sequels here). So many of the group like historical fiction that it would seem only fair to have it included this year and a couple of suggestions were put forward for it too. Five by lady authors and five by gentlemen. Scott, Ainsworth, Dickens, Eliot (Romola) are amongst high profile writers I have not included aiming for a more modern (historical fiction to be modern?) and diverse group.

Here are my ten selections:

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
Conscience of the King by Alfred Duggan
Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Far Pavilions by MM Kaye
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter
The Man on a Donkey by HFM Prescott
Morality Play by Barry Unsworth

ETA Moved to September so as not to be followed by another historical type theme (Folklore and Legends)

Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 9:55pm Top

Oh good, I own one of these! I think I have had The Far Pavilions on my shelf for more than a couple of decades!

Dec 2, 2017, 9:53pm Top

>206 jessibud2: Shelley, the only thing is I might move it to a little later in the year as folklore and legends follows immediately thereafter.

Dec 2, 2017, 10:22pm Top

I am doing work with the American company Haskell as I have mentioned before and I thought it opportune to mention the obvious sense of humour (intentional?) in their recruitment of their ethnic Chinese staff.

Two of their number are called

Yuck Man
Fook Yue


I kid you not.

Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 11:16pm Top

More Hani/Belle shots

The Lakes at twilight

Dec 2, 2017, 11:18pm Top

And here is the lady herself in sultry pose. I think she is trying to make me miss her (and doing a good job).

Dec 3, 2017, 1:24am Top

Paul--Loving how your BAC is shaping up! Hani's photos are awesome! And, yes, the last one here should be making your heart ache! Congrats on 9,000 (and Mark, too!). I am ecstatic to make the top 5! That will go down in the scrapbook or something. : ) Thanks for keeping track. Best of luck on your December reading shooting for 100 books. Hugs.

Dec 3, 2017, 1:34am Top

>210 PaulCranswick: Thanks Kimmers.

I used the group to come up with one of the ideas for the BAC themes. I had a few others which included "CLASSIC NON-FICTION", "THE ROMANTICS" and "BRITISH NOBEL WINNERS"

Those three didn't make the cut.

I was a bit too spoiled for choice in non-fiction and fear my own prejudices for history writing would have held too much sway.

I thought carefully before deciding against inflicting the British Romantic poets upon an unsuspecting group. Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, Lord Byron, Percy Bysse Shelley, John Keats and John Clare are all wonderful poets in their way but I am not sure that the group would have welcomed a month full with their aching words.

The British Nobel winners was originally a shoe-in but pulled at the last minute because I needed to leave at least one of them out!

I will now work steadily through the last remaining Themes.

Dec 3, 2017, 1:47am Top

>212 PaulCranswick: But I actually like the Romantics!!

Dec 3, 2017, 1:53am Top

>213 amanda4242: I will do something I did early on in the BAC for the first two years and introduce a Wild Card month which can replace any month you wish. This will be the Romantics and just for you (and me too actually!!).

Dec 3, 2017, 1:58am Top

>214 PaulCranswick: Yesss! I've looking for an excuse to finally finish Byron's Don Juan.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 2:14am Top



These are the books I grew up reading. Love most of the ones listed and have read some of them several times. Again and as usual you are not tied to the selection of my choice for the author and can substitute other authors as you like. Stephen Leather, Martina Cole, Robert Goddard and Geoffrey Household immediately spring to mind as possible alternatives.

Here are my ten selections:

Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler
Running Blind by Desmond Bagley
The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
The Land God Gave to Cain by Hammond Innes
Decision at Delphi by Helen MacInnes
The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
Harry's Game by Gerald Seymour
The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White

Dec 3, 2017, 2:11am Top

>215 amanda4242: :D I also want to read some anthologised stuff.

Dec 3, 2017, 2:12am Top

Keeps your eyes skinned because the last few months to be filled in are coming thick and fast.

Dec 3, 2017, 2:29am Top

Hi Paul!

Why? Am I the last one left to read this one? Re A Gentleman in Moscow, quite possibly. *smile* I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

Congratulations on going over 9000 posts. Amazing. You and Mark.

Hmm. 9th with 3465 posts. 9 is tough but 9 = 9*1 and if you change to 9-1 arbitrarily, you get 8. (3+4) + (6-5) = 8. Easy Peasy.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 2:47am Top



The British have been an intrepid bunch and this is captured in the array of travel writing by British writers. Some great stuff and exceptionally difficult to prune to 10. Colin Thubron and others that are left out I am sorry. a Again and as usual you are not tied to the selection of my choice for the writer and can substitute others as you like.
Here are my ten selections:

Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley
Voices of the Old Sea by Norman Lewis
The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane
Venice by Jan Morris
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
Baghdad Sketches by Freya Stark
Arabian Sands by William Thesiger
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West

Dec 3, 2017, 2:41am Top

>219 karenmarie: Your own haul of posts has been fantastic this year. Must be the biggest single percentage increase amongst the group's mega posters.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 2:56am Top

Ooh, me, a mega poster. *blush*

I can hardly account for it, frankly, but wish to thank everybody who's posted on my threads this year. I've done that on several of my threads, but doing it here will definitely get a wider audience!

>220 PaulCranswick: Being as you've stated in >172 PaulCranswick: Karen, the list is mainly for guidance and the challenge is satisfied if you read something else by the author or even choose a different author of the same genre....... I just may try to read The Vanished Pomps of Yesterday: Being Some Random Reminiscences of a British Diplomat by Lord Frederic Hamilton. I have an edition printed in 1921 with a post-it note from a dear and sorely missed friend who passed away in 2015. The note says "Karen. I bought this book in CT., & have hauled it around ever since. It's interesting in spots & mostly entertaining. (It's also old & beat-up). Dispose of it as you see fit. Love, Marie" The CT years were ~1975-1980 for her and 1977-1980 for me.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:02am Top

>198 PaulCranswick: Ooh, stats. Very impressive with those two front runners over 9000 posts.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:06am Top

>222 karenmarie: Perfectly acceptable, Karen!

You are officially a mega-poster.

Arbitrary Cranswickian definition : someone who averages more than 10 posts per day throughout the year. In 337 days you have 3,465 posts.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:07am Top

>223 Familyhistorian: It hasn't happened before actually Meg.

You will also comfortably be the leading Canada based poster this year. It has been an absolute pleasure following your thread this year.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 3:12am Top



This is a group of writers who emerged through the 1950s and how were very influential and characterised by disillusionment with modern post-war British society. Most of the names still resonate today.

Here are my ten selections:

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Room at the Top by John Braine
Scenes from Provincial Life by William Cooper
Look Back in Anger by John Osborne
Various Voices by Harold Pinter
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
This Sporting Life by David Storey
Hurry on Down by John Wain
Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
The Outsider by Colin Wilson

Dec 3, 2017, 3:32am Top



The comic novel is rooted in British literature. From Sterne and Henry Fielding to Ben Elton and Helen Fielding there has always been a place for comedy in the British novel. This is a really tough selection and Molesworth, Just William, Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole fans please don't hate me (because you can read 'em anyway).

My selections

The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Mapp and Lucia by EF Benson
At Freddie's by Penelope Fitzgerald
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
England, Their England by A.C. Macdonell
Puckoon by Spike Milligan
The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse

Dec 3, 2017, 3:43am Top

So there it is except for one month - December 2018.

This will be series / British institutions.

Which series would you want to include. There are some quintessentially British ones:

Doctor Who
Sherlock Holmes
Father Brown
James Bond
Ross Poldark

There are some by British writers that perhaps seem more foreign

Jack Reacher
Hercule Poirot
Genghis Khan (Conn Iggulden's brilliant series)
Bernie Gunther

Some modern and gritty

Inspector Banks
Tom Thorne
DCI Banks
Inspector Rebus
Charlie Resznik

Some not very modern at all

Lymond Chronicles
Richard Hannay

Some of them might even make you smile

James Herriot
Jack Sheffield teacher books
Just William
Adrian Mole

Which series would you want me to list?

Dec 3, 2017, 3:54am Top

>228 PaulCranswick: Flashman is a must! Also love Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Sharpe, and Cadfael.

Dec 3, 2017, 4:16am Top

Just William and Paddington if we can include children’s books. Or Winnie the Pooh.

Dec 3, 2017, 4:38am Top

>229 amanda4242: Amanda you, of course, get six votes!

>230 SandDune: I don't see why children's books should be overlooked, Rhian. Lovely to see you posting. xx

Dec 3, 2017, 9:01am Top

Hani has been at it again with her photos:

These capture the reflections of the earth via the waters of Lake Coniston

Dec 3, 2017, 9:02am Top


Dec 3, 2017, 9:03am Top


Dec 3, 2017, 9:22am Top

I tried leaving a message over here but it would not post. Strange? Are you having any issues?

Dec 3, 2017, 9:24am Top

>198 PaulCranswick: It looks like the guys are the chatty ones, Paul, but we would never reach these preposterous numbers, without all our lovely female visitors, right? Congrats on taking the lead. That was a helluva surge.

Dec 3, 2017, 9:25am Top

I LOVE all the Hani/Belle photos. I would have no problem, travelling with those two.

>210 PaulCranswick: You are one lucky fellow. Simply gorgeous.

Dec 3, 2017, 9:35am Top

I really must plan my reading NOW! :0 *panics before 2018 has even started*
Those categories will be so much fun and I might get some older books off my shelves, and some 1,001s read and and and.... Okay, taking deep calming breaths and praying some more for a reading-funk-free year.

Congrats on more than 9,000 posts! It has been almost impossible to keep up lately, but I'm trying my best to check in once a day to at least skim-read through the 50-100 new posts I always find here.

Lovely pictures, thank you to Hani!

Dec 3, 2017, 9:54am Top

>235 msf59: Yeah, the site is playing up a little bit Mark to be honest. I have left a number of posts today which don't arrive and when I re-click it comes up "duplicate post" but then nothing happens. I then have to delete and retype. A bit of a bummer!

Dec 3, 2017, 9:57am Top

>236 msf59: I surprised myself a little mate because it was almost 1,100 posts in the month which is quite unprecedented. A friend in the group persuaded me to start to be more upbeat again and it helped me to get my mojo back somewhat.

Joe is also third. It is of course the ladies that form the core of the group and without them, as in RL, we would cut pretty sorry figures. My good lady is presently tearing a hole out of the UK and I am missing her just a little bit.

I have the Big Bad Wolf book sale to look forward to this coming weekend and I might buy one or two books!

Dec 3, 2017, 10:00am Top

>237 msf59: I am biased Mark but she is still very much an attractive young lady, I think. For those that have met and know her they will attest that she is also very sweet and has a lovely musical voice most of the time (alters scarily when she is on the warpath and I have done something to be chastised for!).

They are pretty good travellers actually when they are not putting petrol in diesel engines, although Belle is a quiet girl, she can certainly hold her own in company.

Dec 3, 2017, 10:02am Top

>238 Deern: I do love receiving posts from you Nathalie!

I am having to reply to individual posts individually at the moment as the site seems to be playing up a little and I have lost a few posts.

I hope that we both manage a no-reading-funk-year next year Nathalie as I am going to have another go at the Around the World in 80 books Challenge again.

Dec 3, 2017, 10:04am Top

More stunnng photos, wonderful.

Dec 3, 2017, 10:05am Top

>239 PaulCranswick: Yeah, it was blocking me from copying and pasting too. The duplicate window keeps popping up. I hope this problem is corrected.

When is Hani coming back home?

Dec 3, 2017, 10:09am Top

>243 Caroline_McElwee: She is going to have to stop though, Caroline, as she will be preventing my threads from loading!

Dec 3, 2017, 10:10am Top

>244 msf59: She is only home in February, Mark!

The idea is that she will look for a place for us to stay although she seems to be doing more sight seeing than anything else so far! I will be in England before Christmas with Kyran in tow.

Dec 3, 2017, 11:46am Top

Hani's eye is unerring. The tree shots are lovely, as is the lady herself.

I'm still gobsmacked at the mere notion of 9,000 posts.

Dec 3, 2017, 2:57pm Top

>212 PaulCranswick:

Classic Non-Fiction would be a great choice for those of us meeting the Non-Fiction Challenges.
A little doubling really helps with the heavier ones.

YES, many of us would have welcomed all those Romantics - your Prince Harry has inspired that!

Dec 3, 2017, 3:20pm Top

>216 PaulCranswick:

For those of us who find it hard to bear

any more
Fear & Terror & Hate & Dread than our morning newspapers are supplying -

and/or who don't relish reading about gruesome murders or Nazis -

it would be great if this month would offer AN ALTERNATE CHOICE.

The Romantic Poets would be perfect.

Dec 3, 2017, 4:28pm Top

9,000+ posts? Well done! I would feel I was doing well to reach 900 (probably not going to happen this year, with my current total sitting in the 700s)!

Dec 3, 2017, 4:37pm Top

Hi Paul, it looks like I have consolidated a top twenty position in the posting charts, this I could not have forecast last year mate.

Onwards and up to 10,000 posts mate or will Mark pip you to the post, ha ha.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:02pm Top

>225 PaulCranswick: Why thank you *blush*

>235 msf59: I had similar issues in the past two days, Mark. That is why I ended up with a deleted post when I started my December thread.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:05pm Top

Hi Paul,

I also had these issues posting over the past couple of days so I started a post in the bugs thread. It may be a good idea to post there, to let them know the issue continues:


Dec 3, 2017, 6:21pm Top

>249 m.belljackson: I don't know how great an alternative it would be as the Romantics could be a very gloomy, death-obsessed bunch. For example, these lines from Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale":

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!

Beautiful, but not really something to lift the spirits!

Dec 3, 2017, 6:35pm Top

>247 richardderus: Since I have just awoken from slumbers, RD, I need to go and see what she has been up to overnight! She did tell me that she was having difficulty in getting Belle out of bed (what's new?) and that she was planning another visit to Coniston water.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:37pm Top

>254 amanda4242: ...aaannnd just like *that* there goes my desire to read any more poetry down the drain. Ye gawds that's horrible. Gloomy mawkish blahblahblah.

>255 PaulCranswick: Wakey wakey! Time to be a Dad again. ;)

Dec 3, 2017, 6:38pm Top

>248 m.belljackson: Well Marianne, I will be offering the Romantics as a wild card alternative. I will have to save the other one in case I am enticed to do another BAC in 2019!

>249 m.belljackson: The world is seriously screwed up at the minutes isn't it? Listening to trump call Kim Jung Eun, "Rocket Man" repeatedly is getting irritating and for all his lardy rhetoric he is completely devoid of any ideas of how to resolve or at least defuse the situation.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:44pm Top

>250 foggidawn: 2014 was your best posting year so far on your threads Foggy with 1,172 posts. You will be very close to your last year's total of 791.

>251 johnsimpson: Mark could well zip on by as he is Mister Consistency and I will be travelling to the UK and will effectively lose a couple of days posting time. Your numbers have consistently grown over the years and you have gotten your own devotees who like to keep up with the 75er's own Simpsons on a daily basis!

Dec 3, 2017, 6:46pm Top

>252 Familyhistorian: I am not sure what has set the gremlins afoot, Meg, but I am a bit concerned given that I am close to starting a new thread and my setting it up may be quite a task like this.

>253 jessibud2: That is a good idea, Shelley - I wish was as thoughtful and practical as you!

Dec 3, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>256 richardderus: Nooo! Pretend you didn't see that!

In fairness to Keats, he *was* dying of tuberculosis so I think he had the right to be gloomy.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:49pm Top

>254 amanda4242: Beautiful truly but they were indeed not noted for being the jolliest of knaves. I won't try to pick individual works for the ten poets but leave them free to be sample as you will.

>256 richardderus: I had a feeling that the Romantics would be, erm, not quite your thing, RD.

Daddy is slowly awake with his coffee in hand.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:50pm Top

>260 amanda4242: Poor fellow didn't make it to 26 - just think how bloody gloomy he would have been in his fifties.

Dec 3, 2017, 7:02pm Top

>260 amanda4242:, >262 PaulCranswick: It's certainly fair to say that someone of 25 tender years who is under a death sentence is entitled to be as gloomy as it's possible to be. I simply don't want to participate in it.

Note to self: English Romantic poetry is To Be Avoided.

Now if the assembled company will excuse me, I shall go read "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" to blow the grave-dust out my mouth.

Dec 3, 2017, 7:10pm Top

>263 richardderus: Well, yes, that is why I decided to leave them out only to have a number of our august body clamouring for their honeyed but surely maudlin words.
Read away, dear fellow and read away.

I am just finishing Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I am a convert - excellent old fashioned tale telling.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 7:53pm Top

I'm going to try posting again, Paul. I was one of those who couldn't earlier because of the tech problems.

First, yes! I'm so glad The Ocean at the End of the Lane got to you. One of my faves of his.

Here's my earlier post. Fingers crossed.

Beautiful photo of Hani up there, Paul. I'm glad you and Kyran will be joining the ladies before Christmas.

Lots of great book lists up there. I always smile when I see Code of the Woosters; I'm a pushover for Bertie and Jeeves. The one that jumped out at me is The Songlines. That one knocked me on my keister when I was a lad.

P.S. Success!

Dec 3, 2017, 8:42pm Top

>264 PaulCranswick: Now you know what you've been missing by avoiding sf and fantasy for so long!

Dec 3, 2017, 8:43pm Top

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

*aaahhh* Now I'm home again.

Dec 3, 2017, 10:20pm Top

Woo-hoo! I'm 107th on the poster list, and it's just my first year!

I point this out just to contribute to the 10K.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 10:40pm Top

Hi Paul. I tried to catch up with reading your threads but fell asleep last night (sorry!); there was just too much. Drive by *wave*, from number 100.

Dec 3, 2017, 11:08pm Top

Paul, my dear friend, I have been swearing off challenges for 2018 but your themed BAC is SO appealing! I will definitely be participating. Just love it.

Dec 3, 2017, 11:14pm Top

Way back up there at the stats - heckuva year for me. I’m thinking i’ll finish in the top 20!

Dec 4, 2017, 12:01am Top

Hmm... I missed the stats.....
Ah, I see them at >198 PaulCranswick: and following. We are a chatty bunch!

Dec 4, 2017, 2:03am Top

>265 jnwelch: Joe, the Gaiman book really is excellent. I think that it could possibly be my favourite read of 2017.

I am waiting with bated breath to see what else Hani posts pictorially!

I will post an index of the 120 books suggested for the BAC next year - I have read some of them of course but not all of them as I would like to participate myself!

Dec 4, 2017, 2:05am Top

>266 amanda4242: Well I don't yer certainly, Amanda, but hopefully I shall have much more idea next year after the respective SF challenge. Really though this Gaiman book is wonderful, I will be a little upset when it is finished.

>267 richardderus: Lovely Richard. So many of us are glad you are back home. Home being here in 75ers that is.

Dec 4, 2017, 2:07am Top

>268 majleavy: Hahaha David and every one counts equally! It has been a pleasure to have the benefit of your erudition in the group this year and hopefully for a long time to come.

>269 humouress: Hahaha we can almost walk past each other, neighbour! So sorry to put you to sleep!

Dec 4, 2017, 2:12am Top

>270 EBT1002: Yippeee! I am so pleased, Ellen, because I do so much enjoy your company. xx

>271 drneutron: You will indeed, Jim. By far your most posts in a year and everyone is so pleased that our reason for being so to speak has been amongst us more! (sorry to sound so biblical) . 1,364 was your previous best total in 2014 and this is the first year that you have amassed more than 2,000 posts and with a bit to spare.

Dec 4, 2017, 2:38am Top

>272 EBT1002: Your stats are as consistent as ever Ellen. Safely in the top 10 again.

Here is a summary of your posting since I started keeping record in 2012

2012 15th place = 3,045 posts
2013 6th place = 4,609 posts
2014 9th place = 3,654 posts
2015 8th place = 2,786 posts
2016 9th place = 3,548 posts
2017 7th place = 3,686 posts (to date)

Dec 4, 2017, 3:58am Top

So glad you liked the Gaiman - it's really wonderful. But then I do love his work :)

Loving the categories - not sure I'll hit all of them though!

Dec 4, 2017, 5:10am Top

>278 BekkaJo: Just hit the ones you like Bekka. It is made to dip in and out of like a good warm soup!

Not all of American Gods sailed my ship but this one is really excellent.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:42am Top

Hi Paul!

Everything I've read by Gaiman, admittedly only 3 books, has been fascinating and a joy to read.

>278 BekkaJo: I'll be 'dipping' next year, too!

Dec 4, 2017, 7:14am Top

>280 karenmarie: Dipping is an excellent idea, Karen, so dip away.

Thumbs up for Gaiman.

Edited: Jul 14, 2018, 3:55am Top

>227 PaulCranswick: I want to add a suggestion to your list.

It seems to have been lost to booklovers but is a total joy to me
The author is a member here - I joined because I found his entry

Ivor Gould A Smoking Dot in the Distance

I recall giggling and my eyes widening in disbelief and delight.

Sadly, his only book

Aug 2, 2018, 12:26pm Top

I've chosen Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White for August.

This topic was continued by Paul C's 2017 Reading & Life - 34.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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172,371 messages


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