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Orange is not the only Penguin (book) - charl08 reads #14

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 2:44pm Top

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

Tis the season(ish)

I can't decide on a Xmas jumper ...

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 2:24am Top

Books read in 2017 - 271

Baby penguin
Last three month's reading: (ish)

December 29
The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth (M, UK, short stories)
The Duchess Deal (F, US, fiction)
Turtles All the Way Down (M, US, fiction)
Flaneuse (F, US, lit crit)
The Facts of Life (F, UK, GN)
Spinning (F, US, GN)
Tennison (F, UK, fiction)
The Unwomanly Face of War (F, Belarusia, non-fiction)
The Dying Detective (M, Sweden, fiction)
A Legacy of Spies (M, UK, fiction)

Josephine Baker (Joint authors, France, GM)
Dubliners (M, Ireland, short stories)
Olive Kitteridge (F, US, novel)
Kindred (F, US, novel)
Lightning Men (M, US, novel)
The Ninth Hour (F, US, novel)
Another Brooklyn (F, US, novel)
The Paper Cell (F, UK, novella)
Foe (M, South Africa, novel)
A Maigret Christmas (M, Belgium, short stories)

From the Mixed up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler (F, US, children's fiction)
City of the Dead: a Clare DeWitt mystery (F, US, fiction)
The Most Dangerous Book (M, US, books about books)
Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (F, Denmark, novel)
The Emma Press Anthology of The Sea (Multiple authors, poetry)
A Very English Scandal (M, UK, non-fiction history)
Embroideries (F, Iran, memoir)
The Last Days of New Paris (M, UK, fiction)
Wilde in Love (F, US, fiction)

November 27
Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (F, Bulgaria, travel writing)
When it grows dark (M, Norway, fiction)
Seconds: a graphic novel (M, US, graphic novel)
Barefoot Gen: Life after the Bomb vol III (M, Japan, graphic novel)
A Dying Light in Corduba (F, UK, audio fiction)
The Complete Maus (M, US, graphic)
Until Love us do part (F, US, fiction)
Sledgehammer (F, US, fiction)
Becoming a Vincent (F, US, fiction)
Poppies from Iraq (Joint authors m/f, France, GN)

Moving Pictures Joint authors m/f, Canada, GN)
Going Wild (F, US, fiction)
Styx & Stone (M, US, fiction)
When David Lost his Voice (F, Belgium, fiction)
The Bookseller's Tale (F, UK, fiction)
Rivers of London vol 3 Black Mould (Multiple authors, GN)
Winter (F, UK, fiction)
The Improbability of Love (F, UK, fiction)
Radish Legs, Duck feet (F, US, poetry)
Thinking Machines (M, UK, popular science)

Audubon: on the wings of the World (Dual authors, Belgium, GN - biography)
An Ex for Christmas (F, US, fiction)
The Novice's Tale (F, UK, fiction audio)
The Midnight Assassin (M, US, history)
Castro: the graphic novel (M, Germany, biography)
We Won't See Auschwitz (M, France, graphic memoir/ travel)
Lady Jayne Disappears (F, US, fiction)

October 19
The Outcasts of Time (M, UK, fiction)
Holding (M, Ireland, fiction)
Homing (F, South Africa, short stories)
Period Pain (F, South Africa, fiction)
If Nuns Ruled the World (F, US, non-fiction)
Manhattan Beach (F, US, fiction)
The Disappearance of Emile Zola (M, UK, biography)
Welcome to Our Hillbrow (M, South Africa, fiction)
The Black Friar (F, UK, fiction audio)
Defectors (M, US, fiction)

Sachs Street (F, South Africa, fiction)
Testosterone Rex (F, Australia, popular science)
Present Darkness (F, Swaziland, fiction)
Skinned (F, South Africa, poetry)
Smile (M, Ireland, fiction)
A Tale of Love and Darkness (M, Israel, Memoir)
Practical Magic (F, US, fiction)
Lord John and the Private Matter (F, US, fiction)
Brief Loves that Live Forever (M, Russia, fiction)

F 16 M 11 2 joint authors
Europe 16 US 13 South Africa 1 Middle East 1 Anthology 1
Library 9 Mine 18 Netgalley 2
Fiction 20 Non-fiction 8 Poetry 1

F14 M9 Plus 4 joint authored
Europe 15 US & Canada 11 Asia 1
Library 18 Kindle 5 Audible 2 Me 2
Non-fiction 8 Fiction 18 Poetry 1

M7 F12
Europe 6 (UK 3) Africa 6 US 5 Australia 1 Middle East 1
Library 3 Mine 14 (Netgalley 4) Some one else's 2
Fiction 13 Non-fiction 4 Poetry 1

For Jan/Feb see http://www.librarything.com/topic/254233
For Mar/Apr/ May see https://www.librarything.com/topic/257735#6053690l
For June /July see http://www.librarything.com/topic/268325
For August/September see http://www.librarything.com/topic/270443 kl

Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 6:06pm Top

Read Harder Challenge (Bookriot) COMPLETE!

Read a book about sports. Leap In: a woman, some waves and the Will to Swim
Read a debut novel. The Dry
Read a book about books. Bookshops
Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. Fever Dream
Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.The Lonely Londoners
Read an all-ages comic. Huck
Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.In a Lonely Place
Read a travel memoir On a Chinese Screen
Read a book you’ve read before. Black Sheep
Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
Becoming Unbecoming
Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Human Acts (South Korea)
Read a fantasy novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Read a nonfiction book about technology.Thinking Machines
Read a book about war. The Darkroom of Damocles
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.George
Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country. Dubliners
Read a classic by an author of color. Kindred
Read a superhero comic with a female lead. Ms Marvel: volume five
Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey Saints
Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel -Guapa
Read a book published by a micropress. Radish Legs, Duck Feet
Read a collection of stories by a woman. Kafka in Bronteland
Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. Skinned
Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. A Chinese Life

One to go!

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 2:52pm Top

Going to put some stuff here about plans for 2018.
Not sure what they are yet!

Dec 6, 2017, 3:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Did you get your tree yet?

Dec 6, 2017, 3:18pm Top

Some carolers to go with your tree. Happy new one, Charlotte!

Dec 6, 2017, 4:44pm Top

Happy very seasonal new thread, Charlotte.

Dec 6, 2017, 5:15pm Top

Happy new thread!!

Dec 6, 2017, 5:35pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte!

Wow, that last thread somehow went *poof* really quickly.

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 5:36pm Top

Double post? I thought we'd couldn't do those any more?! I just did, somehow.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:31pm Top

>6 katiekrug: No tree. No decorations. Sadly lacking in holiday spirit so far...

>7 Crazymamie: Aw. Who knew penguins could sing? (Disney? Or Pixar?)

>8 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.#Happy Holidays...(14 days work to go...)(not that I'm counting...)(much)

>9 scaifea: I think it's time for me to pull out the PB DVD:-)

The Duchess Deal turned up in the post today perfectly timed, was just feeling rubbish and in need of book, duvet and chocolate.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:32pm Top

>10 jnwelch: >11 jnwelch: I had the same earlier. Maybe the LT elves are working on something....

Nice jumper!

Dec 7, 2017, 1:39am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Out of the jumpers in >2 charl08: it has to be one of the blue ones or the one that Joe posted in >10 jnwelch:. I had to agree with No tree. No decorations. Sadly lacking in holiday spirit so far... you sound like me except that I am not even thinking of Christmas wear.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 2:09am Top

Happy new thread!

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 2:26am Top

>14 Familyhistorian: I think the ones for kids are the nicest. The adult ones seem to be mostly aimed at being as terrible as possible. We have a Xmas jumper day at work (for charity) so I should probably just accept it's going to be awful and get one!

>15 mdoris: Aw! Cute. Thank you. Your Oliver Sacks review is tempting me to pick up one of his.

Dec 7, 2017, 6:51am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

It has been years since we had our last Chrismas tree, if I felt up to it I used to decorate the house plants.
But I am not up to it now, so I join you in no tree and no decorations.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 8:08am Top

Thanks Anita. I just bought a Xmas jumper, so I feel like I've done my duty.

I blame Beth for this - found The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers on the NPR Book Concierge.


ETA Signs you have too much in your wishlist: second book I've added this week that was already in my library...

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 8:24am Top

Wait Till You See Me Dance: Stories also sounds very good. As does Too much and not the mood, and WHEREAS: Poems. I'm stopping now...

ETA plus serious cover envy...

Dec 7, 2017, 8:27am Top

>19 charl08: I liked that cover, too, Charlotte, and it made me think of you. That NPR list is dangerous. Wishing for you a Sweet Thursday.

Dec 7, 2017, 9:01am Top

The NPR Book Concierge is The Devil.

Dec 7, 2017, 10:54am Top

Dec 7, 2017, 12:00pm Top

>20 Crazymamie: Aw. Hope the biscotti baking goes well.

>21 katiekrug: >22 drneutron: Yup. My wishlist is straining under the weight.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 6:25pm Top

I just read Turtles All the Way Down: so good that young people have access these days to good books like this - a great story, 'real people' (characters) living with anxiety.

Edited: Dec 7, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>24 charl08: So glad you enjoyed Turtles all the way down too :-)
Books for youngsters have come a long way.

ETA: I think your touchstone goes to the wrong book.

Dec 7, 2017, 6:26pm Top

Thanks Anita (I would never have guessed that there was nore than one book with that title!)

Dec 7, 2017, 9:12pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I was sorry I missed the end of your old one. I'd like to post the Boo Boo on our president's Twitter.

Your sweaters are all too cute; you need some ugly ones.

Dec 8, 2017, 12:46am Top

Happy new thread Charlotte! Just skipped through the old one and loved how you got to 250 so quickly, sorry I couldn't visit the last couple of days and help out as well. :)

When I read Christmas jumpers, my memory goes back to a very uncomfortable looking Colin Firth in the first Bridget Jones movie. Seems such a British (also US?) thing, I like it, should try to introduce it here.

Yesterday I read the word "penguin" where I would never have expected it. I had to check all the yogurt product flavors we produced/sold in the last 12 years and found penguin there. Must ask my boss what kind of experiment that was. :)) (okay, most probably like the kinder penguin chocolate bars, but still...)

Dec 8, 2017, 3:55am Top

>27 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I think "Boo" would be an entirely appropriate response. Although it is amazing how many situations can be dealt with, with a Princess Bride gif...
Hope the sprinkles are coming out soon with Ms Scout!

>28 Deern: It was remarkable how quickly the posts added up Nathalie. Almost as if people knew I was keen to move on. I am not signing up for a penguin yoghurt, I'm afraid. Although I do like penguin chocolate bars (not sure if those are a UK thing?)

Colin Firth, you say? If only there was a gif for that...

Dec 8, 2017, 4:51am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! I thought I had commented, but maybe I spared you bus typing. I am also amazed that two books share that turtle title!

Edited: Dec 8, 2017, 7:43am Top

Edited: Dec 8, 2017, 12:25pm Top

Ooh, what's better than Colin Firrh? (Or even FIRTH)

Dec 8, 2017, 12:38pm Top

Damp, vulnerable Colin Firth?

Dec 8, 2017, 12:39pm Top

Dreamy, pensive Colin Firth?

Dec 8, 2017, 2:19pm Top

Lots of Colin Firth...

Dec 8, 2017, 4:46pm Top

Excellent. One for each of us.

Dec 8, 2017, 4:50pm Top

Dibs on dreamy and pensive.

Dec 8, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>37 katiekrug: Oh, alright. Then I'll take damp, vulnerable Colin.

Dec 8, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Which leaves Charlotte many Colins in funny jumpers, which seems about right since that's how this whole Colinathon got started....

Dec 8, 2017, 7:10pm Top

I'll take that. Even in the awful jumper...

Dec 8, 2017, 7:13pm Top

Agreed. *big grin*

Dec 8, 2017, 7:36pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! I'll take the red penguin sweater, if you please!

Dec 8, 2017, 8:50pm Top


Just in case you are interested :)

Edited: Dec 8, 2017, 9:33pm Top

So what's cuter than a penguin sweater?

Don't you just love that second from the left one?

Dec 9, 2017, 1:33am Top

>44 ronincats: where's that smiley with the hearts in the eyes when you need it? *love for the penguins and for all the Colin Firth pics as well*
The penguin on the right has a super-pengu jumper with a cape, aaawwwww! :D

Dec 9, 2017, 6:47am Top

>42 vancouverdeb: Ok Deborah: no worries. Penguin sounds like a good choice.

>43 LovingLit: A darts match bet? Wow.

>44 ronincats: I do love that picture!

>45 Deern: They are so cute. Although, smelly. So a good job we don't have smellovision.

Dec 9, 2017, 9:48am Top

>40 charl08: No one's saying that he has to keep the jumper on...

Dec 9, 2017, 11:47am Top

>47 charl08: So many good books. I've been taking a look at books I'm not familiar with that come up on more than one list... That should help me procrastinate a bit. Happy Saturday, Charlotte.

Dec 9, 2017, 2:39pm Top

>44 ronincats: I love that picture too. i have just sent it to an ailing friend and it perked her right up thinking about penguins on a beach in South Africa. She said they were called 'Jackass Penguins".

Edited: Dec 9, 2017, 4:59pm Top

>48 scaifea: Thanks for the important clarification there, Amber:-)

>49 BLBera: That does sound like a splendid project for procrastination Beth!

>50 mdoris: Glad to hear it. They make me smile too.

Dec 10, 2017, 4:38am Top

>44 ronincats: Adorable.

Have a lovely Sunday, Charlotte. xx

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 7:20am Top

^Sorry for the delay, but Happy New Thread, Charlotte. I hope you are enjoying the weekend.

And hooray for Turtles All the Way Down! I loved it too.

Dec 10, 2017, 11:32am Top

>52 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I may have followed your example at the big bad wolf sale...

>53 msf59: Thanks Mark, cute penguin. I hope Turtles is available in lots of school libraries.

Dec 10, 2017, 1:10pm Top

Having a great British rail adventure on the way back through to sunny West Lancashire from Edinburgh. Wi-Fi is rubbish so pictures will have to wait.

Have finished two books whilst travelling, the rather appropriate Flaneuse, about women walking the city, particularly New York, Tokyo, London and Paris. One of those books that had loads of lit references making me want to pick up other books, oh, and go/move to Paris.

The other one was the graphic memoir The Facts of Life by Paula Knight. Winner of graphic novel awards (in a shorter format) this book documented the author's life with a focus on the expectations to settle down and be a mother, with the reality and a long term illness (ME). Not a light read, and in some ways treading familiar ground in terms of the young woman pushing at boundaries, but I loved the way she showed her highs and lows of creativity, and her account of the difficulties of infertility felt honest.

I've picked up a few books whilst in Scotland, my bag is somewhat heavier than when I started out!

Dec 10, 2017, 1:14pm Top

>55 charl08: Charlotte, I hope your adventure doesn't get *too* adventurous. And we will expect a picture of your new purchases at some point, in sufficient detail to read all the titles. Just sayin'...:-)

Dec 10, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Oh, good tip on The Facts of Life, Charlotte, thanks. I added it to the WL.

We had to buy two duffel bags on our first trip to London without kids, to carry back all the books we bought. We've used them for that ever since. :-) Good for you for picking up "a few books" in Scotland.

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 1:41pm Top

Thanks Susan. It had all the hallmarks of British trains at their "best": unexplained cancellations, shorter trains, stopping far short of the promised destination.
However, since a train turned up fifteen minutes after we arrived in Carlisle, and is now wending its way to Preston, I'm not complaining!

>57 jnwelch: A spare bag shows great wisdom on your and Mme MBH's part. I like the idea I am supporting local bookshops (and Oxfam!). The Blackwells near campus has four shelves worth of GN, so I thought it was only right to buy one (!) especially since I've not come across it before. I also have A friend The Dry, as she's a fan of crime fiction (and Australia).

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 6:04pm Top

Added to the library:

The Alphabet Of Birds by SJ Naude

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood

Say Something Back by Denise Riley

The Low Voices by Manuel Rivas

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

Emma Press Anthology of the Sea: Poems for a Voyage Out by Eve Lacey

The Homesickness and Exile: Poems About Longing and Belonging (The Emma Press O… by Rachel Piercey

The Trip to Echo Spring

Dec 10, 2017, 6:09pm Top

Nice haul, Charlotte. Um...I have not heard of any of them.

Dec 10, 2017, 6:41pm Top

The Trip to Echo Spring includes F Scott Fitzgerald...

Dec 10, 2017, 7:00pm Top

That looks interesting - I will await your thoughts.

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 7:52pm Top

Oh, Charlotte, the thought of train journey in England is so romantic to me. Not in the way that would be kissing my husband, just so fabulous! We just don't have trains in Canada, I mean we have a train or two that travels across Canada, but they are super slow and hugely expensive. I guess the geography and distances in Canada don't lend themselves to train rides. I mean of course 100 years ago, train was the way to get around , but nowadays they are only for those with money and time. I did have the privilege of traveling from Winnipeg to Vancouver back in my 30's, but that was assisted by my grandparents. They felt unable to travel and and our kids were quite young and I am afraid to fly, so we drove one way , and I took the train home and my husband flew home with the boys. I traveled in my own little room. It was so fun! Great view and two nights in my little room. I had access to the observation car and I think it had stuff to eat in it. But it took about 2 1/2 entire days and cost a fortune.

If you live in the Toronto - Montreal area, there you might be apt to commute by train.

Back when I traveled by train, it was a great opportunity to read, visit with the other passengers, and enjoy the scenery. Wifi wasn't a thing back them.

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 7:59pm Top

>47 charl08: Some interesting reads from The Guardian. I've actually read Home Fire, Days Without End and Stay With Me. I'm in the library queue for Little Fires Everywhere and Mrs Osmond.

Dec 11, 2017, 2:57am Top

>62 Crazymamie: Ha! Might take a while. I am in need of a book clear out/ shelf solution due to overwhelming bookage.

>63 vancouverdeb: >64 vancouverdeb: Years ago a friend did a cross-country rail trip across Canada and it sounded amazing. Your trip sounds wonderful too. I spent some nice time reading but take the Wi-Fi rather for granted these days!

Home Fire is on my radar, but just not got to it yet.

Dec 11, 2017, 10:02am Top

Anyone for another list?
(and 50% off? https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3489-verso-gift-guide-2017 )

Dec 11, 2017, 3:46pm Top

Spinning - can't quite get my head around the age of this author: born in the late 90s... This is a graphic memoir, looking at growing up female and gay in Texas (whilst ice skating). I always thought it looked like a fun hobby when I was a kid, and admired the beautiful skaters. Like Swimming Studies, this book makes very clear the sweat and early hours training behind those perfect moves.

Dec 11, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Now reading Tennison, the prequel to all those Helen Mirren Prime Suspect stories.

Dec 11, 2017, 4:52pm Top

>67 charl08: I thought Spinning was quite good, Charlotte.

I loved Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect before I got married, and now I'm trying to convince my wife to give it a go.

Dec 11, 2017, 5:18pm Top

>68 charl08: I loved the Prime Suspect series — she is such a great actor.

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>65 charl08: BOOKAGE, what a great new word Wonderful!
I loved the Prime Suspect series. Mirren is a marvel.
We have just steamed through the Swedish series Beck. Wow they're good but intense.

Dec 12, 2017, 3:59am Top

>69 jnwelch: I only caught the tail end of the PS's, Joe, so I really should go back and watch them. I'm reading Tennison because of Prime Suspect 1975, which when I went to look for the second series dates, turned out a) not to have a second series and b) have been the source of a rift with Lynda La Plante and the TV production company. So far I can't really tell what she was bothered about, as it seems to have retained much of the plot.

>70 rosalita: She is! I am rather green about those who have seen her live.

>71 mdoris: Can't claim originality there! I love Beck - can recommend the BBC dramatisations (on audible here, not sure elsewhere). Some more great (British) actors.

Dec 12, 2017, 12:44pm Top

Urgh. Think I left my book at work...

Dec 12, 2017, 1:38pm Top

>73 charl08: Oh No! That's the worst feeling.

Dec 12, 2017, 5:17pm Top

Yup. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the coffee shop when I realised I hadn't brought the book I wanted to read. Finished Tennison at home, which rather underwhelmed me. I suspect Prime Suspect fans are probably better off sticking to Helen Mirren.

Now not sure what to read next: try and finish Another Country and Dubliners for the challenge, or something a bit lighter. Or another option is some Swedish crime The Dying Detective.

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 5:12pm Top

Instead, as part of my clear out of "currently reading " books, just finished The amazing The Unwomanly Face of War , which was published this year in English. Just an amazing piece of work, documenting women's experience as soldiers, workers and partisans for Russia in WW2 in their own words.

"We need hundreds like you my girl, to tell our story. To describe our sufferings. Our countless tears."

Dec 14, 2017, 12:52am Top

Just wanted to say hi! Hope we are appropriately dressed...

Dec 14, 2017, 2:37am Top

Thanks Kim. Hope you're feeling better.

Dec 14, 2017, 9:15am Top

>76 charl08: That sounds up my alley!

Dec 14, 2017, 9:15am Top

Ancient mega-penguin reached human height.


Dec 14, 2017, 10:13am Top

>76 charl08: & >79 rosylibrarian: Me too, I think!

Dec 14, 2017, 2:21pm Top

>76 charl08: That is on my "to read soon pile", Charlotte, thanks for the reminder.
Svetlana Alexievich is a great writer, I am glad the Nobel gave her a wider audience.

Dec 14, 2017, 3:59pm Top

>79 rosylibrarian: >81 PaulCranswick: >82 FAMeulstee: Hope you can all read it soon. It's really good history, fascinating reading - the kind of book that should be read in schools I think.

>80 katiekrug: Not such a cute penguin!

Today was a combination success and balls up, as we raised lots of money for charity, but some of the people who are supposed to meet us came to the wrong place so missed it completely. Argh.

Dec 14, 2017, 8:05pm Top

Hey Charlotte - I'm another Mirren fan. I loved the Martin Beck series when I read them in the 70s. I should give them another look.

>76 charl08: Sounds great. I've been lucky with nonfiction this year. Onto the list it goes.

Dec 15, 2017, 1:36am Top

>84 BLBera: Martin Beck followed me around Stockholm: kept seeing streets I vaguely thought I recognised!

The Dying Detective is very good. I don't think I've read anything else by Persson but would definitely pick them up now.

Dec 15, 2017, 10:46pm Top

>85 charl08: Isn't it just the case with series and novels where place is so well created. I am sure Wallender's Ystaad would be the same.

Have a great weekend.

Dec 15, 2017, 11:50pm Top

I was surprised Stockholm didn't make more of the Beck link: maybe it's just too classy a place for that (not sure how Abba museum fits thst theory).

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 1:23am Top

Finished The Dying Detective. Impressive stuff.
(The book, not finishing it).

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 8:39am Top

Guardian Reviews

Cuz: the life and times of Michael A by Danielle Allen
Reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu
"The most compelling sections of Cuz deal with how Michael, with the help of Allen and others, tried to start a new life after being released on parole....There's another book lurking beneath the surface here...Allen's father...opposed affirmative action as well as being a member of Ronald Reagan's US Civil Rights Commission...these facts don't bleed into her discussion of the former president's failures around the "war on drugs "."

The House of Government: a saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkine reviewed by Owen Hatherley
A "dizzying book, a hall of mirrors, panoramic and bizarre..."

Collusion: how Russia helped Trump win the White House by Luke Harding reviewed by Charles Kaiser
Harding "never forgets that Putin has the soul of an assassin."

Till Time's Last Sand: a history of the Bank of England by David Kynaston reviewed by Colin Kidd
An "engaging and absorbing account of its history..."

The Internationalists and Their Plan to Outlaw War reviewed by Mark Mazower
A "marvellously readable book that makes what could have been arcane matters of international jurisprudence comprehensible and lively."

From www.guardian.co.uk/books

Dec 16, 2017, 7:02am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. Hope you had a good week. I am big fan of the original Prime Suspect series. One day, I will have to revisit. Mirren was wonderful, wasn't she?

Dec 16, 2017, 7:37am Top

Stopping by to say hi, Charlotte! I miss those big, full Guardian reviews. Perhaps they will be back in the New Year? My newspapers are mainly devoted to Christmas recipes books and best of the year too. I'm sad to say that the Megan and Harry wedding is not that exciting to me. Do you think they are suited to one another? Just so you know, nothing against Meghan Markle, but the TV show " Suits" that she starred in was hardly on any North American Radar that I had heard of. I had never heard of it, nor had really anyone I know. Okay, maybe I had heard of it, but that's all - and maybe not - maybe it only came to my attention when Meghan started turning up as Harry's girlfriend.

Just so you know I'm not an entirely crazy Canadian, I am perplexed/ interested in that my niece, age 25 , married for two year and working as nurse , is fascinated by Diana! She is collecting books from my sister and loves her sense of style. What a surprise to me. She's not the starstruck sort. Interesting.

Dec 16, 2017, 8:43am Top

>90 msf59: Tennison is dedicated to Mirren, Mark, so La Plante is a fan too I think!

>91 vancouverdeb: Deborah my main interest in the royal wedding was in the hope of an extra public holiday.
No go.
Sad face.
Baffled by the Diana fan in your family. Must be nice for you to have a shared interest though?

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 12:34pm Top

Carrying on the theme from The Dying Detective of investigators going back to the records and digging up muck, have been reading A Legacy of Spies. The bean counters in the modern secret agencies are trying to find out what, precisely, Peter Guillem got up to in Eastern Europe all those years ago...

I was really annoyed to have to put this down yesterday and go to work, and although my colleagues are all rather lovely, I would have been quite happy to skip the company do and stay home with this!

I really like this speech made near the end, feels like le Carre pushing back against all the little Englanders.
'So was it all for England, then?' he resumed. 'There was a time, of course there was. But whose England? Which England? England all alone, a citizen of nowhere? ... If I had a mission - if I was ever aware of one beyond our business with the enemy, it was to Europe. If I was heartless, I was heartless for Europe. If I had an unattainable ideal, it was of leading Europe out of her darkness towards a new age of reason.

Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 12:57pm Top

Dec 16, 2017, 1:10pm Top

Dun, dun, dun!!! Or however that spooky thing sounds. A most intriguing title! I am all set to start my very first Jack Reacher detective novel today. If everyone will just leave me alone. LOL

Dec 16, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Still have not read Le Carre. And I call myself a reader....

Dec 16, 2017, 4:33pm Top

>95 Berly: It's actually about Joyce and Ulysses, but it does sound dramatic! Hope you get some time to read your Reacher.

>96 LovingLit: Plenty to choose from Megan!

Dec 16, 2017, 8:52pm Top

It has taken me forever to get to the end of your thread, Charlotte. There were 3 links to book lists, 3!!! It almost forced me to go to the book store and browse but I resisted. At this time of the year, I put my name in for Santa Thing and then try to refrain from buying books because I don't want to duplicate what my Santee will/has picked for me. It is the only way I have found to curb my book buying for a while.

Dec 17, 2017, 4:13am Top

>98 Familyhistorian: Bonus points for stamina, Meg! I need more shelves - it's definitely not that I have too many books...

I've picked up Life and Fate again, in the hope that I'll get some concentrated reading in today.

...the strange incongruity between the tremendous military strength of the Soviet state and this dark kitchen with its poverty, gossip and general pettiness; the incongruity between cold, hard steel and kitchen pots and pans full of potato peelings.

Dec 17, 2017, 7:12am Top

Procrastination update: Made some cake.

(I didn't do the icing: seems a bit OTT)

Dec 17, 2017, 7:30am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte!

>93 charl08: Frank bought that one in Dutch translation last month. I might read it someday.

>94 charl08: Good luck with continuing Life and Fate.

Dec 17, 2017, 7:54am Top

>93 charl08: Have you read The Pigeon Tunnel yet, Charlotte? If not, it is a fantastic memoir.

Dec 17, 2017, 8:39am Top

>100 charl08: That cake sounds delicious, Charlotte, but honestly cream cheese frosting is my favorite. I would skip the twee little marshmallows, though; that does seem overly fussy.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:34am Top

>101 FAMeulstee: I read the Smiley books so long ago that some of this made me think I should probably reread them.

>102 msf59: Nope, will look out for your thoughts.

>103 rosalita: I do like icing (frosting) but it's so rich it seems a bit much just now, what with all the office chocs.

Dec 17, 2017, 10:00am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte! A Legacy of Spies is on my Christmas list, and I hope I get it. I do need to read Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy first, though. And I would second Mark's recommendation of The Pigeon Tunnel - I listened to it on audio, narrated by le Carré himself, and he did a fabulous job of it.

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 1:29pm Top

Sounds good Mamie. I've just finished Josephine Baker. I had no idea she was a spy during WW2.

Dec 17, 2017, 11:14am Top

>106 charl08: Me, either!

Dec 17, 2017, 2:33pm Top

>100 charl08: Ooh, that looks lovely, iced or not. And you can actually taste the flavour of the cake without lots of icing.

Dec 17, 2017, 3:23pm Top

>107 Crazymamie: She certainly had a biography-worthy life.

>108 susanj67: It may contain additional fruit. Not sure if this affects verdict...

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 3:32pm Top

Han Kang on writing and her health in the Guardian.

"There were so many books in the house when I was growing up – I think that’s the most important thing."

Dec 17, 2017, 5:25pm Top

Update on my attempt to clear out the currently reading category:

should probably be renamed in my case 'books I once was currently reading'.

The Wandering Earth - returned to the library. Liked it , but not so much that I was sad to return it.

Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London
The Unwomanly Face of War

Begun reading again
Lightning Men: A Novel
Life And Fate

Another Country (missed the sauna last week, so no reading)

Not looked at
Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke
The Last Days of New Paris

Thinking of abandoning...
The Scandal
Natural Selection: a year in the garden
The Queen of the Night

Dec 17, 2017, 6:30pm Top

I'm also surprised by the young Diana Fan in my family! I'm not sure what prompted her interest in Diana. I'm not that interested in Diana any more. I recall at the time of her death speaking with my grandma, and she things differently from me, owing to her greater age and experience in life I guess. She told me, Deborah, in way it's best Diana passed away on a " high note". My grandma felt that Diana was headed in the wrong direction with her various beaus etc. But oh my Grandma never cared for Camilla and insisted in calling her " Camell- uh" . LOL! I wish my grandma was still with us. Such a cracker jack she was.

Dec 18, 2017, 8:30am Top

In a rare moment of royal enthusiasm, I had the Royal Wedding ladybird book as a kid. I have no idea how I acquired this (or where it is now).
Something like this
Wonder if Meghan will get one? Will Carsten know?

In a substantial Error, have forgotten that I was supposed to reread Olive Kitteridge for book club on Wednesday. Perhaps if I bring cake they won't notice?!!

Dec 18, 2017, 9:41am Top

Yes, bring cake.

Dec 18, 2017, 10:18am Top

When in doubt, bring cake. Also, when not in doubt, bring cake.

Dec 18, 2017, 11:58am Top

Thanks guys.Chocolate vs coconut deliberation starts now.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:04pm Top

Also: helpful insights into Olive Kitteridge for book club welcomed.

I'm sure I liked this book the first time round...

Dec 18, 2017, 3:18pm Top

Hmmm....I don't think you can go wrong there, but I would lean towards coconut. I have not read Olive, so I am no help to you, but Katie read that earlier this year.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:28pm Top

>116 charl08: Chocolate.

>117 charl08: I liked Olive Kitteridge a lot, and I'm not normally a fan of collections of connected stories. I thought Strout did a really good job of revealing Olive's life through a variety of perspectives, so that by the end of the collection I ended up with a much more complete and sympathetic picture of her than I had at the beginning. I think a lot of readers didn't like her because they thought she was mean or unpleasant, and she was in lots of ways, but in the end I realized she was a very complex woman, and I liked that.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:53pm Top

Julia, I think you have pinned the reason I don't like it this time: I feel like that discovery of her complexity has gone...

Dec 18, 2017, 3:54pm Top

Well, there you go! Now you have something to talk about — that actually makes a lot of sense, as the discovery was definitely a big part of the appeal. Glad I could help. :-)

Dec 18, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Chocolate 1 Coconut 1

>118 Crazymamie: Sorry Mamie, I missed you there.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Love the idea of this: The Poetry Pharmacy
From Guardian web chat with the author:

"Desperate English teacher running an understaffed department and facing a week of exhausted film and chocolate indulgence followed by a week of marking and planning seeks poetic salve for the soul and reigniting of vision and passion for education in a world of absent CEOs and the O word."

William Sieghart
From My Brilliant Image by Hafez:

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!

It sounds like, in your exhausting and challenging build upon to Christmas, you just need a little reminder of how special and remarkable you are. Hafez's words always make my patients seem a foot taller.


Dec 18, 2017, 8:11pm Top

How about chocolate coconut?

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 12:04pm Top

Mmm. Coconut.

Finished Olive Kitteridge so my duty to bookclub had been done. If I'm guessing, I would imagine we're going to spend time on likeability. But I've been surprised before!

Also finished Dubliners. I think I need to find an annotated version. Half the stories went over my head.

ETA. fixed in likeability to *on* likeability. (as in, I suspect we will discuss the fact that she's awkward, kind of unlikeable).

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 5:09am Top

>126 charl08: I'm with Beth. Also with Katie in >115 katiekrug:.

I read Olive Kitteridge but it hasn't stuck with me. You could pose the question "Do we think that Olive is a memorable character?" And then the other group members have to answer it and not you - see what I did there?

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 7:06am Top

>113 charl08: OMG, the memories! I was 10 and watched the whole thing live on German TV (although I was terribly bored most of the time, i.e. when Diana and her dress were not in the picture). It was the first time I learned there were still royals elsewhere in Europe. My grandma was a big Diana fan and I later got various biographies for her as Christmas and birthday gifts. Of course she was also a Camilla hater (and now she's worried about Kate's pregnancy and whether Harry's marriage will work). She's also invested in the other royal houses, including Monaco.

Also for coconut. Never made a coconut cake, now that I think of it.

>124 charl08: *sniff* thank you for posting this. Am very emotional today, even the Poirot episode I finished watching this morning while drinking my coffee had me in tears. It's the season...

Dec 19, 2017, 9:51am Top

I like OK ok (heh) but wasn't blown away by it like some others have been. I think Julia's comments are very good, and I did like the multiple perspective view of Olive that the different stories provided.

Dec 19, 2017, 12:10pm Top

>127 susanj67: They are both wise women, Susan. I have written your comment down in my book, in pencil. I was in two minds about doing this, but then decided, why not, it's my book.

>128 Deern: I don't remember it, and the fact that this book must have come to us new makes me think that it probably was a gift from someone - my parents were big believers in the library.

I liked all the poems he recommended: he even recommended the High Holborn one, which pleased me greatly. Big virtual hugs re the season. If I was an ad director I'd come up with something that didn't feature one big family happily eating together (how hard can that be, really?). Not that there's anything wrong with that (of course), just that some balance of the range of people enjoying / enduring Xmas would be good.

>129 katiekrug: I think what surprised me was how unblown away I was the second time, Katie. Although that might well be the effect of having to read it this time round.
I can't seem to get over the 'school' feeling of it all. Plus the bits I'd misremembered: the scene where she gets in the car with the guy who's going to commit suicide, I'd remembered as her rescuing him, rather than the rather dramatic denouement, in the sea with the other lady, that does happen (as well as her rescuing him).

Dec 19, 2017, 1:10pm Top

How was Collusion: how Russia helped Trump win the White House? Was it horribly biased? It's an interesting topic, but some of these books can get to the point of being conspiracy theories rather than facts.

Dec 19, 2017, 1:34pm Top

>131 The_Hibernator: Rachel, I didn't read it! The review I quoted was pretty positive though.The author is a respected journalist who has worked on the topic for years.

Dec 19, 2017, 3:46pm Top

Now reading Kindred. V good. Why didn't I pick this up years ago?

Dec 19, 2017, 5:51pm Top

Just getting caught up - looking for photos of Edinburgh trip?

I like the rather dotty and disorganized Colin Firth in Love Actually.

I remember liking Olive Kitteridge, particularly for the reasons Katie mentioned. She's rather unlikable, but as we get to know her better, she's not so bad. However, if someone asked me I would have to say pretty unmemorable.

Dec 20, 2017, 2:40am Top

>134 nittnut: I like that Colin Firth too, Jenn. The poor language skills were rather endearing.

I rather admire Olive's ability to say what she thinks, and to call people out on their double standards. I think there's a theme there too about access to counselling / other support, and how attitudes have changed.

Edinburgh photos? Hmmm.

Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 3:01am Top

Arty shot of the Scott monument.

Gorgeous coconut and butternut soup.

Art from the Royal Gallery on the mound

Edited: Dec 20, 2017, 6:01am Top

>113 charl08: LOL! The Ladybird version of Diana's wedding! Ha! I was the same age as Diana, and me and friend both agreed to stay up overnight to watch the royal wedding. So did both of my sisters and then my mom got up too. And my friend called me at 2 am or 3 am while it was happening and discussed it all and had a great laugh. I thought her hair flopped a bit, and and her dress was a bit wrinkly, but hey , we were fans and only 19 . Makes me laugh to think of it. Hmm - you think maybe Carsten was watching the wedding? I know he is very involved with the palace now, but I''ll hazard a guess that he was not that interested in his younger days! But I could be wrong! Same friend that I mention told me she flew on the same plane with Pippa and she said hi! LOL! And she is relatively normal person - teaches high school English and Band and is married - you know, not that socially backwards. I guess we in Canada ( some of us ) have a fascination with royalty in the UK. You go ahead and love on Justin Trudeau. I voted for him and all and he's okay, but I"m not in love with him or anything.

Dec 20, 2017, 9:29am Top

>134 nittnut: I love that Colin Firth too.

Dec 20, 2017, 12:52pm Top

Christmas penguins! Yay!!

I love Colin Firth in Love Actually! We own that DVD and watched it a couple of weeks ago. Though I have it basically memorized, it's just such a great feel-good movie. It's fun to see the actor who played the little kid ("...worse than the total agony of being in love?") now playing Whitey, the sherif's deputy on "Godless" on Netflix.

I liked Olive Kitteridge less than most did, although I actually liked it better on second reading. I think it was timing, though, and a more patient approach to the material my second time around. I still don't think it warrants all the hype it has received over the years.

I have read through and I can't tell -- did you resolve the Chocolate vs. Coconut question?

Dec 20, 2017, 3:22pm Top

>137 vancouverdeb: There are lots of royal fans here too Deborah, don't worry. And my mum takes royal magazines (lots of them as free gifts) to my aunt's lodger every time they go to Cape Town. You're not alone!
I'm still pretty miffed I don't get a holiday when Harry gets married.

JT seems pretty keen to stay where he is, to me ...

>138 The_Hibernator: He's pretty popular, who knew?!! :-)

>139 EBT1002: Shameful confession. I was so tired last night I opted out. I did read the book though!

Dec 20, 2017, 3:34pm Top

Oh, book club report! We were a small group this time , but it seemed to work fairly well. We talked about what the book was about (Can you sum it up in one word like one of our member's 80 something mother?) how the structure worked, the writing, which was our favourite story, how the small town setting affected the book...

Julia's comment was Very useful. As was the memorability ones. Someone else snaffled Susan's question (or close enough) so I didn't get to ask it.
Thanks everyone. You're great.

Dec 20, 2017, 3:47pm Top

>136 charl08: Thanks very much! *grin* I LOVE the arty one.

Dec 20, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>139 EBT1002: - I didn't make the connection between Whitey and the kid from Love Actually! I just thought he looked vaguely familiar :)

Hi Charlotte!

Dec 20, 2017, 4:49pm Top

>143 katiekrug: I have to admit that it's P who made the connection. I was in your camp.

Dec 20, 2017, 5:44pm Top

>142 nittnut: It's a beautiful city. For the skilled version, see Hani's pics on Paul's threads!

>143 katiekrug: >144 EBT1002: Carry on, ladies :-)

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 4:05am Top

I finished Kindred - what a book: ahead of its time.

Dec 20, 2017, 6:15pm Top

And with Kindred I've completed my Bookriot challenge! >4 charl08:

Dec 20, 2017, 6:21pm Top

Oh Charlotte, you really made me laugh with your JT gif. He is really hilarious in his way. At least he has a sense of irony. His latest thing is a public service announcement on TV where he tries to call Santa, but Santa does not answer his cell phone. So Trudeau calls Liberal minister of Transport , Marc Garneau to see if Santa is okay. Turns out Santa put his cell phone in " airplane mode" so as not to be distracted while flying the sleigh and Trudeau is really relieved that Santa is staying safe. It cracks me up. I'll see if I can find a link. Sorry that Meg and Harry did not have the decency to give you a bank holiday! Dash it!

Here is a bit of the commercial - a small clip - https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-channels-drama-teacher-days-in-distracted-driving-psa-1.3728228

Dec 20, 2017, 8:48pm Top

>140 charl08: Did you get a holiday when Will and Kate got married, Charlotte? We are happy to have JT represent our country, much happier than our friends to the south of us.

Dec 20, 2017, 11:04pm Top

>111 charl08: Your "currently reading" headers had me laughing!

>147 charl08: Hurray for Kindred and completing your Book Riot Challenge!! Woot, woot!

Sorry about the no-wedding-holiday. Sigh.

Dec 21, 2017, 1:55am Top

Errr.... when again does Harry get married? Need to organize holiday and TV channel/ internet source. I'd like to watch that, should be a fun wedding.

"Love Actually" is one of my yearly holiday must-sees/ tear-jerkers, along with "The Little Lord" and the "Muppets Christmas Carol" (and then for days I'll have the songs in my head).

Dec 21, 2017, 4:03am Top

>148 vancouverdeb: Sounds like an important message there Deborah - not to mention a funny commercial. And yes, no bank holiday. Sad face.

>149 Familyhistorian: We did. Him being the heir and all. I don't think I was working though, so not sure it made much of a difference at that point!

>150 Berly: Oh, let us not speak of my currently reading pile on LT, Kim. It bears little or no resemblance to the reality of the books on my nightstand, piled up by the bed, and sitting on shelves waiting their turn!

And yes, Sigh! I wonder if there is a petition somewhere I can sign...

>151 Deern: Um, not sure, Nathalie. I'm sure the bride will look lovely, and hope they have a nice day (but I may be reading my book!). I rather suspect regardless of whatever else happens that day in the world (world peace, discovery of something, hopefully not awful natural disaster), we will be getting lots of wedding related "news" from all channels.

Dec 21, 2017, 5:03am Top

Charlotte, well done on the reading challenge! And with ten days still to go :-)

The Wedding is 19 May, which is the same day as the FA Cup final, so there is a scheduling clash for Prince William, who usually presents the cup. There will probably be a helicopter involved if he's still doing that.

Before The Wedding, of course, there is another Baby, so it will be a big year for royal news :-) Along with The Dress, the Daily Mail will run pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge (or Kate Middleton as they persist in calling her), looking for the remnants of baby weight from the baby she will have had just a few weeks earlier. Although, being the Duchess, she will probably have thinned down again and then they will run stories about how there is NO baby weight, and that can't be healthy and perhaps she has an eating disorder. I like to think that when Harry's engagement was announced, she looked at all the Meghan-mania on the TV, sighed happily, took her face off and put her hair up in a scrunchie and snuggled into the sofa with a box set and a tin of biscuits. But it can't last...

Dec 21, 2017, 7:13am Top

>135 charl08: Susan, you are a girl after my own heart! I confess to reading the Daily Mail online most days , just for the silly royal news. Even I know the Daily Mail is a piece of trash, but oh I do love my crazy royal stuff. And it's a great escape from the rigors of life , at times! :-) I am so glad I don't have to have Christmas Lunch with the queen etc and dress up on and on. But it's fun to read about it! Alas, I'm not really feeling the love for Harry and Meghan. It's Will and Kate and family that I am crazy about!!!!

Dec 21, 2017, 9:34am Top

You're encouraging me on Kindred, Charlotte. That's one of hers I haven't read.

Dec 21, 2017, 11:28am Top

Yes to Kindred. I loved that book.

And congrats on achieving your Bookriot challenge! I rather like those categories; they're a bit more interesting than some you see in various Bingo cards and such.

Dec 21, 2017, 12:08pm Top

>156 EBT1002: - Ellen, here is the link to the 2018 BookRiot "Read Harder" Challenge: https://bookriot.com/2017/12/15/book-riots-2018-read-harder-challenge/.

I am thinking of following along with it - not necessarily picking books specifically for it, but just seeing how many books I read end up checking a box. Same thing with the Pop Sugar challenge.

Oops, I did it again - Hi Charlotte!

Dec 21, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>157 katiekrug: I am thinking of following along with it - not necessarily picking books specifically for it, but just seeing how many books I read end up checking a box. Same thing with the Pop Sugar challenge.

Ahem! Point of order, missy! You are LEADING the Pop Sugar challenge.

Hi Charlotte!

Dec 21, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>157 katiekrug:, >158 susanj67: Right. And we are eagerly awaiting the special thread that you will be setting up for us.

Hello, Charlotte!

Dec 21, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>158 susanj67: and >159 Crazymamie: - I would hate you both if I didn't like you so much!

Dec 21, 2017, 1:02pm Top


Dec 21, 2017, 1:26pm Top

>153 susanj67: I do like the idea of Kate being able to ignore the papa for a bit!

>154 vancouverdeb: Deborah, I'm sure the little ones will be in snazzy outfits for the wedding, not to mention Kate herself.

>155 jnwelch: Really? Oh I thought it was very good. Which of the others would you suggest I pick up next?

>156 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. It was supposed to make me 'read harder' and it did.

Dec 21, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>157 katiekrug: >158 susanj67: >159 Crazymamie: >160 katiekrug: >161 Crazymamie: Time for me to make some decisions about signing up to challenges!

Dec 21, 2017, 1:39pm Top

>157 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. I've posted that link on my own thread, mostly for ease of finding later.

Now I have to investigate the Pop Sugar challenge. Sheesh. There are so many ways to organize one's reading! (I love it.)

Dec 21, 2017, 1:51pm Top

>164 EBT1002: Good to see Katie's group growing, Ellen...

I'm now reading The Grass Dancer, blithely ignoring my unfinished books...

Dec 21, 2017, 2:03pm Top

>162 charl08: Which of the others would you suggest I pick up next?

Parable of the Sower, and then Parable of the Talents. Good stuff.

>157 katiekrug: My wife and daughter are doing the Pop Sugar challenge, and are very excited about it. Madame MBH has already set aside the books she intends to read for it.

Dec 21, 2017, 2:09pm Top

>164 EBT1002: and >166 jnwelch: - Mamie and Susan are pressuring me to set up a thread for the PopSugar challenge. Maybe I'll do a joint PS and BookRiot thread (IF I DECIDE TO DO ONE AT ALL WHICH I AM NOT COMMITTING TO SO MAMIE AND SUSAN CAN JUST KEEP THEIR SMUG COMMENTS TO THEMSELVES FOR THE TIME BEING, CAPISCE?)

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 2:35pm Top

Dec 21, 2017, 2:36pm Top

Well, that gif didn't work...

Dec 21, 2017, 2:44pm Top

I see a penguin falling over?

Dec 21, 2017, 4:04pm Top

Oh good. He's apparently "the awkward penguin".

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 5:11pm Top

>167 katiekrug: So what you're saying is that, if the mood strikes you just right, you might do a thread, one with, oh, book reading commitments throughout. But you're not vulnerable to pressure, bribes, or other forms of undue influence.

Just trying to be sure I'm understanding you.

Hi Charlotte. The awkward penguin gif appears to be working. :-)

ETA: I like the advanced Popsugar challenge better than the, um, regular one.

Dec 21, 2017, 10:17pm Top

>172 EBT1002: - I am holding out for as long as I can so Susan and Mamie don't think they can boss me around.

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 11:05am Top

>173 katiekrug: Um...right. And why would we want to boss you around? It's just that you volunteered. And we're counting on you. You know, because of your awesomeness. Think of Susan and I me as your posse.

Um...Charlotte, I am pretty sure your name is already down. I remember seeing it on Susan's list.

Dec 21, 2017, 10:44pm Top


Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 3:05am Top

>172 EBT1002: >173 katiekrug: >174 Crazymamie: >175 katiekrug: Glad that's all cleared up then.

In other news, I found my copy of Life and Fate has a cast list in the back: very handy. There are a lot of people in this book.

Dec 22, 2017, 4:21am Top

I was considering sending a Santa or Christkindl pic, but maybe a snow-covered family dog - Anton, my aunt Karin's Eurasian - serves better
as a neutral messenger for the joys of the year-end. :)

A Very Merry Christmas or Very Happy Holidays to all my dear LT friends and their loved ones.
May there be lots of great books under the tree or in the stockings, may there be your favorite foods on the table,
May there be joy and laughter and above all lots and lots of love around you and everywhere in the world.


Dec 22, 2017, 5:50am Top

Aw. Lovely! Thanks Nathalie.

Dec 22, 2017, 7:34am Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte. Hope you had a good week. Hooray for Kindred. Glad you enjoyed it. It is my one and only Butler read. I hope to read more of her next year.

Dec 22, 2017, 9:02am Top

Sounds like there are a few of us wanting to read more Butler then! I am looking forward to ten days of reading!

Dec 22, 2017, 11:12am Top

It sounds like you had a good discussion of Olive.

Congrats on finishing your challenge.

What did Katie volunteer for again?

I've only read Kindred, but it was fantastic. I'm up for more Butler.

Dec 22, 2017, 3:03pm Top

>181 BLBera: Don't mention the V-word Beth.I don't want to bring out the awkward penguin again.

It was a good discussion. Or possibly I just thought so, because everyone agreed with me..(!)

I am really pleased to have lots of days off to read. So pleased, I think I'm going to go fall asleep in a corner somewhere.

Dec 22, 2017, 5:15pm Top

I googled "awkward penguin." I had no idea it's a thing!

Dec 22, 2017, 8:51pm Top

Yay! You finished Kindred! I am reading Parable of the Sower, and then Parable of the Talents for a 6-week reading class starting January 9th. We meet once a week to discuss. Very excited!! : )

>168 charl08: Love the awkward Penguin.

>174 Crazymamie: >175 katiekrug: >176 charl08: What the heck is the Popsugar challenge that Katie never signed up to lead us on?

Dec 22, 2017, 9:07pm Top

>184 Berly: You can find it here, Kim: Pop Sugar Challenge. You should totally join in - it's sure to be a blast, and Katie will be setting up a special thread so she can fearlessly lead us and stuff. There will definitely be shenanigans, adult beverages and snark.

Dec 22, 2017, 9:27pm Top

I thought about doing the Pop Sugar Challenge this year, but I think I'll focus on plain and simple goalless reading. Maybe.

Dec 23, 2017, 4:04am Top

>183 EBT1002: Now there's a theme for next year!

>184 Berly: I think that book group sounds brilliant Kim. Did you post your review of Kindred?

>185 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie for the link!

>186 The_Hibernator: Good luck with that Rachel :-)

Dec 23, 2017, 6:56am Top

I didn't know Awkward Penguin was a thing either!

I'm going to try and use books I already have for the challenge, so I might try and sketch out a Plan this afternoon.

Your ten days of reading sound like bliss, Charlotte. I think I'm going to have to hit the office next week, but I want to read The Good People and The Women's Room by the 2nd, when they are due back, so I'd better crack on.

Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 9:23am Top

A plan? Susan, that doesn't sound like you (!)

Some reviews, anyone? (Guardian 23rd October)

Down Girl: the Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne reviewed by Moira Weigel
"to quote John Oliver 'Why is misogyny still a thing?'

Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister by Nicholas Shakespeare reviewed by Richard Overy
"Churchill in the end was the choice, but almost by default..."

Bethlehem: Biography of a Town by Nicholas Blincoe reviewed by Justin Marozzi
"Blincoe, it should be said at the outset, is not your average historian."

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and A Short History of Drunkeness reviewed by Alice O'Keefe
"Alcohol has performed an important social function for most of human history ..."

The world broke in two by Bill Goldstein reviewed by John Mullan
"...concentrates on four writers: Eliot, Woolf, E.M. Forster and D.H.Lawrence....
The experience they share is not ebullient experimental achievement but the grim struggle to overcome writer's block."

A New Map of Wonders by Caspar Henderson reviewed by Jon Day
"Borgesian in scope and intent, composed of a series of interlinked essays that read like entries in a gonzo encylopaedia."

Full reviews www.guardian.co.uk/books

Dec 23, 2017, 9:40am Top

Dec 23, 2017, 9:45am Top

I have The World Broke in Two in the stacks. Happy Saturday, Charlotte!

Dec 23, 2017, 10:56am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dec 23, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Congrats on finishing the Book Riot challenge for 2017, Charlotte. Are you going to do their Read Harder challenge in 2018 and the Popsugar Challenge that Katie has volunteered to lead us in?

Dec 23, 2017, 3:09pm Top

>191 Crazymamie: Hope it's as good as the review makes it sound!

>192 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara! And to you.

>193 Familyhistorian: Apparently I have. I don't remember...

Dec 23, 2017, 3:10pm Top

>194 charl08: Hmm, yes it is a bit unclear from the posts, isn't it?

Dec 23, 2017, 3:50pm Top

More from my memory!

Dec 23, 2017, 4:46pm Top

Wishing you a happy holiday season ~ enjoy those reading days!

Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 7:06pm Top

Thanks Ellen: just finished Lightning Men, the second novel based on the real experiences of the first black cops in Atlanta.

Now reading The Ninth Hour.

Dec 23, 2017, 7:29pm Top

Hi Charlotte, stopping by to wish you and your loved ones peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and for 2018!

Dec 23, 2017, 8:35pm Top

>199 charl08: Well, I got 19 points. They said "bah, humbug."
Honestly, several of those were by the sheer luck of guessing correctly.

Dec 23, 2017, 11:28pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 5:31am Top

>200 lkernagh: Thank you, Lori. Cute bears! Holiday wishes to you.

>201 EBT1002: I won't tell, Ellen.

>202 ronincats: A lovely image, hope you have a lovely time.

I've picked up Homesickness and Exile: poems this morning.

(From) Vena Cava
By Ivy Alvarez

when it rains here
I can pretend it's home

outside, the sky is a cloud
and my hand is condensed with water...

Dec 24, 2017, 5:03am Top

Hi Charlotte! It sounds like your epic Christmas read is coming along :-) I have all sorts of plans for today, but they don't involve going outside, so I'm hoping to get a few hundred pages read. Ooh, that sounds like a challenge to myself.

Dec 24, 2017, 5:35am Top

>204 susanj67: I've done my walking first thing, so all set for trying to clear a few more from the currently reading pile.
Possibly. If I don't get distracted by the shiny new books.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 7:22am Top

^Have a great holiday, Charlotte. And hooray for "shiny new books"!!

Dec 24, 2017, 8:27am Top

Knowing you lights my world!
Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy!

Dec 24, 2017, 9:23am Top

Well, I got 23 on that quiz, and it was pure luck.

Dec 24, 2017, 11:00am Top

Happy holidays! I am thankful this holiday season for all the good friends I have made in this group. You are all so supportive. I don't know what I'd do without you!

Dec 24, 2017, 11:39am Top

>206 msf59: There are always shiny new books, aren't there...

>207 nittnut: Aw, how lovely.

>208 Crazymamie: You're all so modest. I want to register an official complaint about the opera questions...

>209 The_Hibernator: Aw, those are very cute. I'm sure your 2018 is going to be amazing.

I've still got many, many pages to go in Life and Fate, but I have managed to finish Another Brooklyn and The Ninth Hour, both which were great.

Dec 24, 2017, 2:03pm Top

I got 22 right on the quiz. I'm not quite clear on why it's a "Christmas" quiz, but it was fun nonetheless!

Dec 24, 2017, 2:33pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 24, 2017, 8:31pm Top

Dec 24, 2017, 9:40pm Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 1:42am Top

Dear Charlotte, best wishes to you and yours at Christmas!

Dec 25, 2017, 5:15am Top

Happy Christmas, Charlotte! I hope it has brought all the books you wished for, or at least decent approximations.

Dec 25, 2017, 5:28am Top

>211 katiekrug: Woo! Winner!

>212 SandDune: >213 rretzler: >214 PaulCranswick: >215 AMQS: Thanks everyone! Happy holidays :-)

I've finished Foe, another book which I inexplicably put down months ago half read. Coetzee uses the Crusoe story as a hook but makes Robinson hopelessly lacking in ambition, Friday a traded slave rather than his rescue, and the narrator a woman who may or may not have been looking for her runaway daughter. The island is not really what Coetzee is focussing on here: instead it is is what happens afterwards in the book negotiations with 'Mr Foe'.
...I made a list of all the strange circumstances of the the year I could remember ...Dubiously I thought: Are these enough strange circumstances to make a story of? How long before I am driven to invent new and stranger circumstances: the salvage of tools and muskets from Crusoe 's ship; the building of a boat or at least a skiff, and a venture to sail to the mainland...Alas, will the day ever arrive when we can make a story without strange circumstances?

Dec 25, 2017, 5:36am Top

Merry Christmas to you from Philadelphia, Charlotte!

Dec 25, 2017, 3:32pm Top

wishing a holiday and new year of peace for you and yours!

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 7:19pm Top

Thanks Darryl and Rhonda!

Seasonal reading with A Maigret Christmas

Thick yellowish fog had suddenly blanketed Paris, which is quite rare. The lights were on in all the buildings; from one end of the boulevard to the other, all of the windows looked like distant ships’lanterns; the details of everyday reality were blurred to the point where, had they been at the sea’s edge, passers- by would have expected to hear the boom of a foghorn. For one reason or another – probably it was prompted by a childhood memory – all that gave Maigret a certain pleasure...

Dec 25, 2017, 11:35pm Top

Merry Christmas, Charlotte!

Edited: Dec 26, 2017, 9:44am Top

Thanks Deborah. I've picked up City of the Dead, a crime novel set in New Orleans.

Dec 26, 2017, 9:48am Top

*New Year's Resolution* Stop clicking links on this thread...

*Also* Find some willpower

Hi Charlotte! I think you missed me up there in >216 susanj67: but I hope your day went well.

Dec 26, 2017, 10:11am Top

Still a bit under construction, but here's the new group: https://www.librarything.com/groups/75booksin2018

Happy Boxing Day!

Dec 26, 2017, 1:16pm Top

>223 susanj67: Oh no! Sorry Susan.
I guess you didn't order any Verso books then?!

(And if you find a stash of willpower, do feel free to share!)

>224 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

Dec 26, 2017, 1:57pm Top

>225 charl08: Charlotte. No. Unless five counts, in which case...yes.

Dec 26, 2017, 2:25pm Top

Happy Boxing Day!!

Dec 26, 2017, 2:39pm Top

>226 susanj67: FIVE!?

>227 Berly: Thanks Kim, that's lovely.

Dec 26, 2017, 2:47pm Top

>228 charl08: But for less than a tenner...

Dec 26, 2017, 3:45pm Top

Ah, I see... Off to check Verso's site...

Dec 26, 2017, 5:51pm Top

A Maigret Christmas
Three short stories set in Paris at Christmas, but with lots of crime amidst the snow and festive cheer.

From the central switchboard in Paris, Christmas Eve:
But there had been no emergencies. The small crosses in Lecœur’s log were eloquent. He did not bother to count them. He knew that there were almost two hundred in the drunks’column. Because on that night, obviously, some latitude was allowed. Uniformed officers tried to persuade revellers to go home without making trouble. They intervened only when drunks turned nasty and started smashing wine glasses or threatening law-abiding drinkers. In various police stations, 200 men – and a handful of women – slept heavily on bare boards, behind bars. Five stabbings, two at Porte d’Italie and three in the fringes of Montmartre – not the Montmartre of the nightclubs, but in the area of shacks made of old wooden chests and tarred felt where more than a hundred thousand North Africans live. A few lost children – mostly found again soon after – among the crowds of worshippers at midnight mass.

Dec 26, 2017, 11:51pm Top

HI there, happy last visit from me, as I move on to the new group soon. Hope you are reading a lots, and having a great a d restful holiday season. :)

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 1:36am Top

Thanks Megan. Hope you are having a good summer holiday.

From the Mixed up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
A children's story that had completely passed me by
as a child. Two siblings run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and try to solve an art mystery. I think I would have loved this idea as a kid, bar running away with my brother or sister: we'd not have got on as practically as these two do!
“If all those files are secrets, and if secrets make you different on the inside, then your insides, Mrs. Frankweiler, must be the most mixed-up, the most different insides I’ve ever seen. Or any doctor has ever seen, either.”

Dec 27, 2017, 2:10am Top

I love that one!! ^^ Just read it this year.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:51am Top

It was a fun read Kim, another one to chalk up to LT warbling.

Dec 27, 2017, 4:26am Top

Well, here I am wondering what you got in the Verso sale, but there is no update. This leads me to think that you must have gone completely crazy...

It is snowing here. Really! I don't think there will be enough for a snowman, but you never know.

Dec 27, 2017, 5:07am Top

Susan, I loaded my basket and then we had a visitor, so got distracted. But I am very tempted by the Levellers book. And er, a* few*, others....

Snow! How exciting. We're awash here. Hoping that doesn't mean more floods in this part of the world.

Dec 27, 2017, 5:32am Top

>237 charl08: The Levellers one is good, but it's very much about what they did, rather than explaining what they were. I think it would be better with a foundation knowledge of, um, Levelling. Awesome cover, though :-) The snow seems to have stopped now and it's just wet. So far I haven't seen any buddies walking past, but I'm probably going to try the canteen for lunch rather than venturing out.

Dec 27, 2017, 8:07am Top

Hmm. Can't say I know a lot about levelling!

I've finished City of the Dead. Set in NOLA a year after the floods, it's full of psychic dreams, hauntings and the I Ching, as well as PTSD, alcoholism and poverty. Claire De Witt tries to solve the murder of a local ADA for his nephew: the case of the Green Parrot.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:11pm Top

Now reading The Most Dangerous Book which has this rather (I think) wonderful statement about the mid-Victorian attitude to censorship:
"There were respectable English novels from the likes of Dickens, Trollope and Thackeray and then there was pornography..."

Dec 27, 2017, 6:16pm Top

Those are great! My favorite is "Man turns into bug; hates it." Metamorphosis by Kafka. LOL

Dec 27, 2017, 6:20pm Top

The Pride and Prejudice one is pretty spot on, I think!

Dec 28, 2017, 1:36am Top

>241 charl08: I liked "2017" by George Orwell. (Probably why 1984 went flying off the shelves this year.)

Hope you are enjoying the Holiday Season, Charlotte.

Dec 28, 2017, 6:51am Top

>244 Familyhistorian: I think you're right. I wish you weren't!

I watched a film (Waitress) last night and then stayed up late reading The Most Dangerous Book - the author's reading of Joyce's er, 'intimate' letters to his wife leads him to argue "Joyce treated readers as if they were lovers."
(Can't we just be friends?)

Dec 28, 2017, 9:01am Top

Charlotte, I love these! (also the way the Penguins are all slightly different, and then there is the giant one for Gulliver's Travels). I think my favourites are Gone Girl, and Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.

Dec 28, 2017, 9:05am Top

Those covers are so fun, Charlotte! The girls and I were enjoying a giggle over them - our favorite is the Game of Thrones one where the penguin has a target in his chest.

Dec 28, 2017, 10:18am Top

Love those covers!

Dec 28, 2017, 11:18am Top

>246 susanj67: >247 Crazymamie: >248 kidzdoc: They're fun, aren't they! As someone says in the comments, it's a shame they're not available to buy. I do like the scarf on the Wind in the Willows penguin.

Dec 28, 2017, 1:42pm Top

Happy Holidays, Charlotte!

Talking Animals Doing Very British Things is one of my favorite books . . .

Dec 28, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>241 charl08: I recognised "What happens when you leave the planning to dwarves" immediately. Even Frank, who has never read Tolkien, understands it now, as we watched the Hobbit films just before Christmas.
I took The hobbit with me on holiday, in case I would run out of books to read.

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 5:29pm Top

>250 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. An adaption for kids was the first play I ever saw. I remember almost nothing of the play, but the theatre seats made a big impression on me...

>251 FAMeulstee: I was pretty confident most would get that one because (whisper) I've not read or watched LoR.

I'm still reading about Joyce. He's not exactly an appealing character, what with spending most of his cash on booze...

Dec 28, 2017, 5:59pm Top

Hi Charlotte, loved the book covers.

Wishing you a wonderful 2018, full of amazing reading.

Dec 29, 2017, 4:47am Top

Thanks Mary - are they books coming out in 2018?

I finished The Most Dangerous Book which was just brilliant. I want to read Ulysses now, but definitely in an annotated edition!

Dec 29, 2017, 8:03am Top

Happy belated Christmas greetings, Charlotte and all the very best in 2018!

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 11:58am Top

>255 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda, and to you too.

I have been out and splurged on books. I bought:
Black and British because it has won a prize and so fits the NF challenge for January.
Made in India: cooked in Britain
Autumn because I want my own shiny copy
A Very English Scandal because Smith's book was on buy one get one half price.

I may also have hit buy on my Amazon basket. The clue was when a delivery guy turned up today with the latest Rebus, Hidden Figures, Maya Jasanoff's new one about Conrad and Sapiens which my book group is reading in February, so that's Totally Fine.

I read the Emma Press Anthology The Sea in a coffee shop, whilst trying to ignore the woman behind me who was telling her friends about the terrible choices her daughter was making in the relationship department. She sounded like she'd stepped out of some kind of 1950s behaviour manual, and yet she looked about my age. Argh. The poetry was lovely though.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:10am Top

Nice haul, Charlotte! Ugh to the self-righteous mother. I hate when parents publicly trash on their kids. That should be reserved for small, private parties. *blinks* Just kidding about that second part. Hoping your Friday is full of fabulous - and you are off to a great start in that with the book purchases.

Dec 29, 2017, 12:24pm Top

I may read Black and British as early as February, although I probably won't get to it until the spring or early summer.

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>257 Crazymamie: Felt very sorry for the daughter, Mamie. All sorts of grim messages about women's behaviour, which was a bit of a shock to the system. I guess I have got used to my office which is pretty liberal.

>258 kidzdoc: I've heard good things, but hard to follow Staying Power I think.

Dec 29, 2017, 1:30pm Top

>259 charl08: Trust me, I live in the Deep South, so I know exactly what you are talking about. It boggles the mind.

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 2:05pm Top

Thanks Mamie. Empathy appreciated!

I have got a bit carried away with my reservations (shock): although most aren't in the library yet, so hopefully there's a built in delay.

Pre Xmas ones:
Dear Fahrenheit 451 :
Engineers of Jihad
To die in Spring
Women & power : a manifesto
The book of forgotten authors
Priestdaddy : a memoir
The book smugglers of Timbuktu
The river of consciousness

New books -
On balance
The clinic, memory : new and selected poems
My German brother
Frankenstein in Baghdad
A line in the river : Khartoum, city of memory
Psychoanalysis : the impossible profession - a new one by Janet Malcolm
Washington Black new one by Esi Edugyan
Rain dogs next in N Ireland police series by Adrian McKinty

Dec 29, 2017, 2:13pm Top

>261 charl08: LOL, indeed! I hope the library gods are nice and space out the delivery of these for you!! Frankenstein in Baghdad has an intriguing title...

Dec 29, 2017, 2:14pm Top

Nice book haul. I just finished Gun Street Girl which I liked very much. Will go on with this series.

Dec 29, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Happy New Year Charlotte, I just got caught up on your thread.

Dec 29, 2017, 3:36pm Top

You got me with Frankenstein in Baghdad - are you allowed to do that with reserves?

Dec 29, 2017, 6:33pm Top

>262 Berly: It is a good title - and I know very little about it beyond that!

>263 Ameise1: I think we're at the same point in the series Barbara.

>264 avatiakh: Hi Kerry, I've just been over to your 2018 thread - looking very organised already!

>265 Crazymamie: *whistles and looks shifty*

Yikes - A Very English Affair does not leave a good taste in the mouth about politicians' lives... Almost unbelievably inept as well as unpleasantly entitled individuals.

Dec 30, 2017, 2:58am Top

>265 Crazymamie: >266 charl08: I see a group read of Frankenstein in Baghdad in the future.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:44am Top

>267 Berly: I've seen your list of challenges Kim - how about 2019?

Dec 30, 2017, 3:49am Top

Ah yes, I see it.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:58am Top

>268 charl08: Why wait? Let's see...Frankenstein is greenish, so March could work or September for metallic in the ColourCAT challenge. I get the same two months for F and B in the ABC Challenge. And I am sure I can find a way to fit it into the Bingo Card so that's anytime any month. : )

Dec 30, 2017, 10:33am Top

>269 Ameise1: I suspect you will soon be far ahead though!

>270 Berly: Not sure how soon the library will have my copy, but impressive stuff...

Dec 30, 2017, 10:39am Top

I might have pre-ordered it, so my copy will might arrive on January 23rd.

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 11:45am Top

Review catchup

The Most Dangerous Book (M, US, books about books)
This was a brilliant piece of non-fiction, which managed to weave together so many disparate threads (suffragettes, modernists, censorship campaigns) into a brilliant whole to tell the story of how Ulysses was written and published. I learned a great deal about the US and UK attempts to censor through creating a culture of fear of prosecution for booksellers, printers and publishers: I find it profoundly shocking that the US and UK were burning books in the interwar period. Like all the best books I've read, it made me want to read more: about the radical women magazine editors, about what happened to suffrage campaigners after the vote, about the Hogarth Press (Virginia gets a mention) and of course Ulysses itself.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (F, Denmark, novel)
Dorthe Nors doesnt write like anyone else. This rather bleak novel looks at one woman's midlife attempt to learn to drive in Copenhagen. Not much happens: she fires her first driving instructor, worries that the new one is hitting on her and tries to get in touch with her sister. Along the way she somehow manages to throw out little gems about the craze for increasingly violent Scandi-crime, dealing with getting older and the nature of home.
She wants to get free, utterly free, and so she has to take flight... Sonja pressed an elevator button in her mind. The doors opened and then Sonja departed skyward. While Jytte was grinding out het first butt under her shoe, Sonja disappeared from the picture unnoticed...

The Emma Press Anthology of The Sea (Multiple authors, poetry)
I came across these small poetry anthologies in Blackwells in Edinburgh, where the poetry section is larger than the usual one shelf. Paperback, hand sized, and illustrated in pen and ink by one of the editors, they are easy to carry with you. This theme appealed to me, and the poems were diverse internationally and in approqch, including a mum revisiting the beach she went to when her child was small, to a grouping of exotic sea related words where I could only guess at the meaning. The press has a newsletter, I'm going to sign up.

A Very English Scandal (M, UK, non-fiction history)
The quotes on the outside of the book make this sound like it's a real life comedy of errors but I found it chilling. Telling the story of how Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of a majpr political party in the UK, came to stand trial for attempted murder in the 1970s, it read to me as an indictment of the way the establishment protected their own.
As a gay man when homosexuality was still a crime, Thorpe was understandably private about his private life, and clearly vulnerable to blackmail. What appears to have happened from the book's account is that one of his relationships was with a young man with mental health problems who didn't have much power, but who Thorpe and his friends feared would ruin his career. Astonishingly, Thorpe chose to deal with this by commissioning a contract killer.

Dec 30, 2017, 11:41am Top

>272 Crazymamie: I might have had more books arrive today....

Dec 30, 2017, 11:58am Top

Nice reviews, Charlotte! You hit me with the first one - adding it to The List. And I have the last one in the stacks.

More books! Most exciting. I mean, if it happened.

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Thanks Mamie! Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi arrived today. Very quick read, but funny and well worth everyone's time. Satrapi depicts a group of women sitting discussing their love lives in Iran, with humour and honesty.

Dec 30, 2017, 3:06pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte.

I'll be trying this reading business anew in 2018, hoping to do better both in numbers and in being more social. See you on the other side.

Buh-bye 2017...

Dec 30, 2017, 6:00pm Top

Thanks Bill and good luck!

Finished The Last Days of New Paris.
Nazis. Surrealists. Magicked golem figures.
Hope someone's bought the film rights...

She flipped through engravings to a picture of a trumpeting thing, a spiked tail, a horde of little devils. He recognized them. They beset the same St. Anthony that they had seen a few streets away. “It’s by Schongauer,” she said. “Where did you get this?” “A library.” Thibaut shook his head at her foolishness or bravery. To plunder a library! Books were not safe.

Dec 31, 2017, 4:33pm Top

Stats from the year

Note for next year: keep a running table, these are Very Rough Numbers!


F 159 M 95 Joint / Edited 10 genderqueer 1

Europe 136 (UK 82) US & Canada 99
Asia 6 Australasia 5 Caribbean 1 Africa 11 Middle East 3 Latin America 4

Fiction 204 Poetry 9 Non-Fiction 47

Library 143 Digital 32 Mine 84

Dec 31, 2017, 7:59pm Top

Jan 1, 4:41pm Top

Happy 2018!!

Did you start a new thread yet? Having trouble finding you ....

Jan 2, 2:53am Top

Hope to see everyone on the 2018 thread!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

420 members

172,368 messages


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