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A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 10:45am Top

I'm Charlotte, I have an important birthday this year (ouch) and I'm celebrating 100 years since (some) UK women were (finally) given the vote in 1918 in 2018.

My plans for this year include attending lots of talks, seminars and exhibitions on this theme, organising a few myself, and - you guessed it- reading about the history of the campaigns, feminism and women's fiction and non-fiction more broadly , likely to be heavy on the autobiographies and biographies.

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 10:43am Top

I love penguins, both this kind

And the book kind.

Every year, increasingly tenuously, I attempt to shoehorn these two themes into one thread.

Edited: Jan 20, 2:58pm Top

My theme book for January is one by Jill Liddington and I'll be working my way through the others here, (*hopefully* mostly on my TBR shelf already) through the year.

Books read in 2018 11
Broad Strokes: 15 women who made art (F, US, art history)
Slow Horses (M, UK, fiction)
Zen and the Art of Murder (M, Germany, fiction)
The Burgess Boys (F, US, fiction)
A Study in Scandal (F, US, fiction)
The Huntsman's Tale (F, UK, fiction - audio)
The Burning Gates (M, UK, fiction)
The Break (F, Canada, fiction)
His Lordship's Last Wager (F, US, fiction)
Slow Horses (M, UK, fiction)

On Balance (F, UK, poetry)

Gender This Month F 7 M 4 Joint 0 Running Total Ditto
Fiction/Non? This Month Fiction 9 Non-fiction 1 Poetry 1 Running Total Ditto
Source This Month Library 2 Mine 9 Running Total Ditto
Author home
This Month: Africa 0, Asia 0, Australasia 0, Europe 6 (UK 5), Middle East, US & Canada 5, Other 0.
Running Total Ditto

Dec 31, 2017, 10:44am Top

Popping in to drop a trail of breadcrumbs.
I entirely approve of the penguins. In fact, have a selection of penguins including one dressed as a penguin.

Dec 31, 2017, 11:42am Top

Nice reading plans for 2018, Charlotte. I look forward to hearing more about the books you read and events you attend related to the suffrage movement in the UK. Women weren't granted the vote nationally in the US until 1920, as I'm sure you know, and hopefully there will be similar celebrations here that year.

Dec 31, 2017, 11:43am Top

Welcome back!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:13pm Top

Dropping a star, Charlotte, and thrilled to see the penguins back.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:26pm Top

Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

Dec 31, 2017, 12:29pm Top

Hi Charlotte! I love your 2018 theme, and I'm looking forward to at least one suffrage-related event in 2018 :-)

Dec 31, 2017, 12:42pm Top

>4 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. A beautiful annotated Penguin issue of Persuasion to celebrate being the first visitor?

>5 kidzdoc: Hey Darryl, although I'm keen to learn more about the UK suffrage movement, I'll be reading internationally too. I am keen to learn more about suffrage and feminism outside the UK too!

>6 drneutron: Thanks Kim - and a big thanks for all your hard work.

>7 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. Couldn't do it without the penguins!

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 1:09pm Top

>8 The_Hibernator: I hope so Rachel! Wishing you a lovely year - it certainly sounds as though it's going to be a very full year, your end!

>9 susanj67: Ha! Me too Susan. I'm definitely involved in three events at work, but hopefully will get to go to a talk on Lancashire women, and also get to the House of Parliament's exhibition.

There are lots of talks in LSE

And closer to me, in Manchester

A rather lovely online collective biography project for memorialising 'ordinary' suffrage campaigners.

Dec 31, 2017, 1:25pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte! I like your theme for the year.

Dec 31, 2017, 1:40pm Top

Just dropping a star here, Charlotte. Looking forward to another good year :)

Dec 31, 2017, 2:03pm Top

Found you, Starred you and Wish you a very happy new year. So glad the penguins are back!!

Dec 31, 2017, 2:50pm Top

Happy reading in 2018 (and have fun finding penguin pictures), Charlotte!

Dec 31, 2017, 4:14pm Top

Happy new year, Charlotte. All birthdays are important because they allow us to celebrate you, and allows you to make new and exciting plans for the days to come. Starred you.

Edited: Jan 1, 10:40am Top

Stats from the year 2017 - 271 read

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, 4:48pm Top

>12 cushlareads: Thanks Cushla. Wishing you a lovely year.

>13 katiekrug: Thanks Katie, looking forward to enjoying your shenanigans with Susan and Mamie in 2018.

>14 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. Glad you also enjoy the penguins. They make me smile.

>15 FAMeulstee: Oh I will Anita! Thank you.

>16 cameling: Thanks Caro. I am very grateful for the acceptance of this group. You all are rather wonderful. However I do anticipate a duvet day on the big day itself!

Dec 31, 2017, 5:05pm Top

view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

Dec 31, 2017, 5:10pm Top

Beautiful, Barbara!

Edited: Jan 1, 4:52pm Top

I knew I'd forget something...

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge - 1 down!

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen
2. True crime
3. The next book in a series you started
4. A book involving a heist
5. Nordic noir
6. A novel based on a real person
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you
8. A book with a time of day in the title
9. A book about a villain or antihero
10. A book about death or grief
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you
15. A book about feminism
16. A book about mental health
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift
18. A book by two authors
19. A book about or involving a sport
20. A book by a local author -
21. A book with your favorite color in the title
22. A book with alliteration in the title
23. A book about time travel
24. A book with a weather element in the title
25. A book set at sea
26. A book with an animal in the title
27. A book set on a different planet
28. A book with song lyrics in the title
29. A book about or set on Halloween
30. A book with characters who are twins
31. A book mentioned in another book
32. A book from a celebrity book club
33. A childhood classic you've never read
34. A book that's published in 2018
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
36. A book set in the decade you were born
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to
Broad Strokes: 15 women who made art
38. A book with an ugly cover
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges (you can easily Google these)

Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school
2. A cyberpunk book
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
4. A book tied to your ancestry
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title
6. An allegory
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you
8. A microhistory
9. A book about a problem facing society today
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Dec 31, 2017, 6:34pm Top

>22 charl08: - "LIKE!"

Jan 1, 12:21am Top

Hope you have a fantastic year of reading in 2018!

Jan 1, 12:22am Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 1, 3:52am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 1, 7:20am Top

Jan 1, 7:35am Top

Happy New Year to all my visitors.

Watching the Vienna new year concert. 2 women in the whole orchestra.

>23 katiekrug: Katie, I'm trying to resist the Read Harder one too!

>24 thornton37814: Thanks Lori. Or should I say "Santa"?!

>25 ronincats: What an appropriate image Roni!

>26 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>27 Carmenere: That's beautiful Lynda.

Jan 1, 7:38am Top

Jan 1, 8:40am Top

>17 charl08: Great stats, Charlotte! Except could you maybe put a total at the very top of the post, because I had to do adding up and stuff, and on a Bank Holiday.

Edited: Jan 1, 8:41am Top

Hi Charlotte, setting a Star down.

Happy New Year.

Jan 1, 8:51am Top

Happy new year and happy reading, Charlotte.

Interesting theme you have set up!

>28 charl08: Until just a few years ago the Vienna orchestra was all male, women not allowed.

Jan 1, 9:02am Top

>31 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. Look forward to adding to my wishlist on your thread.

>32 EllaTim: Wouldn't it be good to see meaningful change in their makeup accompanying policy change?

Jan 1, 9:05am Top

>30 susanj67: Ahem.

*sad sniff*

Jan 1, 10:03am Top

>30 susanj67: Ha! I was thinking the same thing - do math on a Pre-Tuesday? I think not.

Hello, Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 1, 11:03am Top

>30 susanj67: >34 susanj67: >35 Crazymamie: I suspect none of the numbers add up folks. Must Try Harder... The jointly authored books confused me mightily over the year.
271 was the overall total though.

I've been out for a bit of a walk. So windy and wet I'm now back in my pjs with a face that feels like I've been on holiday without the Factor 50. Grump.

Jan 1, 10:59am Top

Ouch to the burning face, Charlotte. You definitely should stay in and read for the rest of the day.

Jan 1, 11:13am Top

I've starred you, Charlotte - don't want to miss those penguins - and I've started the PopSugar challenge, too.

Jan 1, 11:52am Top

Me too, I starred your thread and greatly looking forward to your theme.

Jan 1, 11:55am Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte! I love your thread theme.

I'm dropping off my star and looking forward to another year in which I frequently say "oof, you got me again, Charl".

Sorry about the windburn! I prescribe a mug of hot tea, a couple of biscuits (in the British sense), and a round of reading.

Edited: Jan 1, 12:05pm Top

^Happy Reading in 2018, Charlotte!

Edited: Jan 2, 4:31pm Top

ETA I missed everyone! >37 Crazymamie: - >41 msf59: Apologies! See >54

Book #1
Broad Strokes: 15 women who made art

This beautiful book was a sneaky purchase for myself when buying Xmas presents for a talented arty friend in the Tate Liverpool's rather wonderful bookshop/ art shop.
The gallery is great too!

This was a great introduction to the life and work of a wide range of women artists, from Artemisia Gentileschi to modern artists still working such as Kara Walker. The reproductions are wonderful and the portraits of each artist by Lisa Congdon are an added bonus. Quinn's personal account of 'discovering' art history, being a working mother, makes the book very accessible to readers (like me) who know little or nothing about the artists.

Kara Walker
Ruth Asawa
Louise Bougeois

Jan 1, 4:44pm Top

Found you!! Looking forward to more book bullets.

Happy 2018!!

Jan 1, 4:48pm Top

Thanks Kim! Hope you have a good year of reading :-)

Edited: Jan 1, 8:00pm Top

Happy 2018, Charlotte!

Jan 2, 1:08am Top

Happy New Year Charlotte!

I think I read about Broad Strokes on your thread last year as a Guardian review. It sounded good, so I bought it for my Kindle on a whim. I haven't read it yet, but I'm glad to see that you thought it was good.

Jan 2, 6:18am Top

Happy New Year Charlotte! I love your thread theme, I'd like to read more political books in 2018, mainly on feminism and racism, both fiction and nonfiction, and I'll surely get many BBs here.

Jan 2, 6:41am Top

Happy new reading year, Charlotte.

Last summer I visited the Copenhagen Zoo and saw the penguins. I also bought this plastic animal that now stand on my shelf :)

Edited: Jan 2, 12:15pm Top

>45 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Hope you and Mme MBH have recovered from the new year shenanigans.

>46 arubabookwoman: Hi Deborah, I wonder of there are many differences between the kindle and the hardcopy.

>47 Deern: Hi Nathalie, look forward to your thoughtful comments on the readings.

>48 ctpress: Hi Carsten, I like your penguin. I was so indecisive in Cape Town, I managed to come home without one, despite some lovely examples. There were even fluffy ones with detachable baby penguins. Although suspect those ones weren't aimed at me...

Back to work tomorrow, and masses of books to choose from but I'm not really grabbed by my current one Slow Horses. Perhaps I'm not in the mood for a crime spree just now...

Jan 2, 2:20pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte. I look forward to another year taking bullets from you. :)

Edited: Jan 2, 4:00pm Top

>40 EBT1002:

Does anyone know the entymology of biscuits =
how it means cookies in England
and ended up being raised baked round flour dough in the U.S.?

Jan 2, 4:01pm Top

Jan 2, 4:30pm Top

>50 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Hope you had a lovely break.

>51 m.belljackson: Nope, not me. Biscuits don't hang around in my presence long enough to get around to etymology ;-)

>52 rosylibrarian: And to you Marie. Wishing you a great year.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:43pm Top

Sorry! I missed folk when i got over excited about finishing a book yesterday.

>37 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. I was becoming worried I mighthave to crack open the concealer, but things appear to have now calmed down...

>38 CDVicarage: Thanks! Hope you enjoy the challenge. I'm enjoying the thread a lot too.

>39 mdoris: Thanks! It looks like a good year of reading around the threads.

>40 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen! Fortunately chocolate digestives were close to hand.

>41 msf59: Hope you are surviving the snow and terrible temps Mark. Gales predicted here.

Jan 2, 4:48pm Top

I've started a Netgalley of Happiness. Love the cover.

Jan 2, 5:37pm Top

>55 charl08: Lucky you - I don't know when it will be available here.

Jan 2, 8:52pm Top

Wishing you a new year full of reading and penguins.

Edited: Jan 2, 10:15pm Top

Hi, Charlotte! Fascinating topic, so I'm dropping a star. I lurked a lot last year without commenting; I'll try to do better this time. :)

>51 m.belljackson:

"Biscuit" derives from a medieval French term for "twice cooked", meaning hard baked goods; "biscotti" has the same derivation, obviously. Biscuits are therefore supposed to be hard and snappable (and dunkable), not soft and gooey. "Cookie" is derived from the Dutch word for cake, and therefore (at least technically) should refer to doughier baked goods, but is used for any sweet baked good.

However in Scotland the contradictory term "soft biscuit" was used to describe non-rising breads like bannocks. The term was carried to America where it began to refer to breads made with baking soda rather than yeast.

I've had this conversation before, can you tell? :D

Jan 2, 11:13pm Top

>55 charl08: That is a nice cover!

Jan 3, 2:18am Top

>56 BLBera: It's a bit of a messy proof, if that's any consolation, Beth!
Foxes have popped up again, I feel like I've read more foxes in fiction in the last year or so than before.

>57 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Your Spanish trip looked wonderful.

>58 lyzard: Thanks for that! I guess Marianne now knows where to head for the relevant language expertise! I'm quite happy to stick to eating them.

>59 thornton37814: Yes, and so much nicer than this one:

Jan 3, 8:00am Top

Slow Horses works a lot better at work, it turns out (lunch break, she adds, hastily).
And she had been lovely once. Many had said so. One man in particular: You’re lovely, he’d told her. But you look like you’ve had some scary moments. Even now she thought he’d meant it as a compliment.
But there was nobody to tell her she was lovely any more, and it was doubtful they’d say so if there were. The scary moments had won. Which sounded like a definition of ageing, to Catherine. The scary moments had won.


Jan 3, 9:13am Top

>61 charl08: Oh, dear!

Jan 3, 9:48am Top

>55 charl08: That IS a lovely cover!

Jan 3, 9:54am Top

Hi, Charlotte! I'm happy to be able to see your reading!
>55 charl08: I'm envious, but then, I haven't read The Hired Man yet, so I shouldn't be greedy.
Happy New Year too!!!!!

Jan 3, 10:09am Top

I feel much more happiness when I look at >55 charl08: cover (thinking warm tropics) than >60 charl08: cover (the view outside my window)

Edited: Jan 3, 12:43pm Top

>62 Crazymamie: Ouch indeed.

>63 The_Hibernator: It's tempting me to add it to the wishlist. Even though I own the ARC now, so really it's OTT.

>64 LizzieD: I still have to read The Ancestor Stones. It's on the shelf and everything. Thank you for visiting!

>65 Carmenere: The parakeets are so cheerful, but despite looking crazy tropical, they're all over the south east now... They used to visit the bird feeders at a friend's third floor flat in London, much to the delight of her little boy.

(Not my pic!)

Jan 3, 1:57pm Top

I'm happy again; I still have both Ancestor Stones and The Hired Man on my shelves.

Jan 3, 2:44pm Top

>60 charl08: - I guess I'm odd. I prefer that cover to the one with the birds. I'm not big into birds, though....

Edited: Jan 3, 5:52pm Top

Hi Charlotte! You always very kindly come and visit me and I rarely make a return trip, which is obviously to my detriment. What a lot of interesting things! I like the look of that collection of female themed books, would quite like to dive right into several. The only one I actually have on the TBR shelves is The Beauty Myth which I keep glancing at but never opening. I'll be interested to see how you fare with that one; it might inspire me to pick up my own copy. I also realised the other day that I own a copy of a A Room of One's Own which I haven't read. Me! A confessed Woolf-ophile. How embarrassing. Also, I didn't know Kate Tempest published poetry. I think she is a uniquely interesting songwriter and I enjoy her music, so I'm very intrigued to find out there's this string to her bow as well. And of course, what could I do but put that book of women artists straight on the wishlist? What a lot of treasures I've discovered! I'll try and visit much more often this year, promise!

Jan 3, 5:42pm Top

Ack! You hit me with a book bullet with your review of Broad Strokes. I just have to add that to my close to exploding wish list.

A friend found a parakeet wandering around her garden in Uxbridge last week, opened her door and the bird just walked right in and made itself at home. Apparently it doesn't want to leave and is still there, eating crumbs off their plates and making a bit of a mess everywhere. My friend's not sure if they should buy a big cage for the bird or if there's a way to potty train a bird.

Jan 3, 6:09pm Top

>67 BLBera: Glad to hear it!

>68 katiekrug: Let's go for "unique" instead, shall we?

>69 HanGerg: I'm not sure if a professional would find the art book a bit basic, Hannah, but it is certainly a lovely thing to look at.

Kate Tempest's poetry is fabulous, some is available as spoken word albums as well as print. There was even one of her books in my local Waterstones when I last checked, a place nit known for its diverse poetry stock.
Love her music too.

>70 cameling: It's only fair as I'm now craving chicken curry after a visit to your thread.
I think that parakeet might be off come summer!

Jan 3, 6:14pm Top

Book #2 Slow Horses
This took a while to grab me: a book about failed spies sent to do scut work? How interesting could it be? Very interesting: gripping, actually. Funny as well.
My finger is hovering over the 'order book 2' button.
Their conversation had been focused at first (Jackson Lamb is a bastard), then becoming speculative (what makes Jackson Lamb such a bastard?) before drifting into the sentimental (wouldn’t it be sweet if Jackson Lamb fell under a threshing machine?). Crossing back to the Tube afterwards, there’d been an awkward parting – what had that been about? Just a drink after work, except no one in Slough House went for a drink after work...

Jan 4, 12:58am Top

I prefer quote #72 to the one at #61. Much better to channel one's hostility outward than inward. Looking forward to your book adventures in 2018, Charlotte. Good luck with the important birthday feelings.

Jan 4, 3:05am Top

>73 Familyhistorian: Thanks! It's like 75 books - just a number, isn't it :-)

Jan 4, 4:48am Top

Hi Charlotte!

I had to star your thread when I saw what your theme for the year was going to be. Feminism and Women's history make up at least 50% of the books I've bought in the past few years (though I haven't been as good about reading them). The titles in >3 charl08: and >18 charl08: are great additions to my TBR list (some where already there, though).

Jan 4, 5:01am Top

Charlotte, in case you haven't caught up with this in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/03/lab-ones-own-science-suffrage-first-world-war-patricia-fara-review We must both read it this year!!

Jan 4, 6:06am Top

I'm having trouble getting into a book , Charlotte. Maybe Slow Horses would be my ticket out of the "reading drought". I was chatting with my sister this evening and her son that attends Cambridge just flew back to the UK a day ago. Apparently your weather is very snowy and bad and Alex had a big wait on British Airlines, then I think the train up to Cambridge ended up stopping. Good old Alex had hoped to call a cab as he had all of his luggage with him , but could not get a cab, so ended up mushing through the snow for a few miles walk home. It was great to see him, but my question about the Royal Family proved useless! :-) Apparently Alex pays no attention to the Royalty. Well, to the high brow Daily Mail for me.

Jan 4, 8:24am Top

>75 PawsforThought: Good luck with reading the shelves Paws. I don't have much of a record on that!

>76 susanj67: I may have maxed out my reservations Susan. If so, I may have to wait a bit...

>77 vancouverdeb: Most inconvenient, but I bet Cambridge looks lovely in the snow Deborah. Wishing you a good 2018.

Jan 4, 8:31am Top

>66 charl08: >65 Carmenere: Well I'll be darned. The thing about cover second cover (besides snow) is the downed tree. Almost like happiness broken.
I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the book.

Jan 4, 9:40am Top

Okay, ordered Slow Horses from amazon. Cross our fingers! I need all the help I can get to get out of my book slump. I did read Someone by Alice McDermott this month and loved it! But I was crazy about The Ninth Hour too. No idea why really, just grabbed me. I bet I have easily 10 books sitting on the kitchen table , hoping one will " take'.

Happy 2018 to you too, Charlotte!

Jan 4, 2:14pm Top

>79 Carmenere: I'm tempted to do a montage of all the fox related covers I can find now...

>80 vancouverdeb: I enjoyed The Ninth Hour a lot Deborah - great book. I don't think I've come across her before, so thanks for that!

Edited: Jan 4, 2:16pm Top

My christmas swop books arrived! How exciting.
All books I wanted to read:
The Burgess Boys
A Journal of a Plague Year and I am Hutterite
I do love book mail.

Edited: Jan 4, 5:22pm Top

Reading a very battered copy of One Hand Tied Behind Us. The first public statement of the Lancashire and Cheshire Women Textile and Other Workers' Representation Committee
"What Lancashire and Cheshire women think today England will do tomorrow."

Jan 4, 5:11pm Top

>83 charl08: there's nothing like being modest - and that's nowt like being modest!

Jan 4, 5:35pm Top

There is nothing like book mail! I really enjoyed Burgess Boys when I read it. I narrowly missed another book bullet with Slow Horses but only because I already have that in my TBR Tower... whew!

Come to think of it, it's not a bad exchange ... I tempt you with food and you tempt me with a book.

Jan 4, 5:57pm Top

>84 Helenliz: I think this book is going to make for stirring reading - straight talking, northern, working women who lobbied for political change.

>85 cameling: Hopefully I'll be able to read it soon. Glad you're happy with the exchange!

Edited: Jan 4, 6:18pm Top

I've started a crime ARC: Zen and the Art of Murder. Mystery monk walking in flipflops through Germany. Who is he so afraid of, and why won't he explain anything to the police?

(plot reasons, I suggest)

Jan 4, 7:53pm Top

I should reread One Hand Tied Behind Us as I liked it very much when I first read it quite a lot of years ago. It also covers a part of women's history which isn't always included - Lancashire mill women were suffragists not suffragettes but they weren't the tame reformist types that suffragists are often seen as being. My great grandmother was a suffragist as a young woman, and a socialist - she was very keen to make the difference clear to my mum, her grandson's wife in the 1960s.

Very envious of the Happiness Netgalley as my request for it has so far been ignored, and I suspect I will be ignored/rejected on that one. It does console me that it's rather messy.

Edited: Jan 4, 8:55pm Top

Ohh! I enjoyed I am a Hutterite. I hope you enjoy that too. A fascinating read!

Jan 5, 12:53am Top

Hi, Charlotte. Dropping a star.

>87 charl08: Ooh - Zen and the Art of Murder sounds good. I'll have to look out for it.

Edited: Jan 5, 2:25am Top

>88 elkiedee: I really like the clarity of style in this book: written for a wide audience and it shows. I was just talking to my mum about our family history and women's involvement - my gran was the youngest of eight (with six sisters), from Cumbria (now) though, not Lancashire. I'm wondering if any of them might appear on some of the women's petitions to parliament.

>89 vancouverdeb: Looking forward to reading it Deborah.

>90 rretzler: It's another one I'm surprised to find has a title doppelganger! Hope you can find it. Thanks for visiting!

Jan 5, 4:50am Top

I think I have copies of both books under the title Zen and the Art of Murder - the other one is by Elizabeth M Cosin - not read it yet.

Edited: Jan 5, 10:52am Top

>87 charl08: Sounds totally crazy and now I want to read it.

Edit: Incredibly they are two different books with that seemingly unique title. Yours is by a German author, got the German sample now

Edit again: oops, it was mentioned. Okay, I should read better... :)

Jan 5, 4:56pm Top

Zen and the Art of Murder sounds interesting. Wishing you a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Jan 6, 2:11am Top

Here is a good feminist blog post, one that was shared by Australian Clementine Ford, and Prue (LT), and which I read (and loved) today!

I gave A Room of One's Own to my academic supervisor as a Christmas gift this year, I had the Penguin Modern Classic edition, my favourite Penguin editions :)

Jan 6, 3:16am Top

>95 LovingLit: Just read it and bookmarked the site,thank you!!

Jan 6, 3:47am Top

I have just had notification that A Vindication of the Rights of woman is waiting for me at the library. I figured I may as well start at the beginning. >:-)
I read A Room of one's Own last year for the first time and I was encouraged that some things had changed, but depressed at how little had not. I've not read a lot of feminist literature, which is odd, seeing I should be one, but find it a movement I struggle to embrace.

Jan 6, 9:59am Top

>92 elkiedee: Ooh, intriguing to compare them!

>93 Deern: I did fix the touchstone, but not sure if I did it in time!

>94 Ameise1: I enjoyed it Barbara - review to follow.

>95 LovingLit: >96 Deern: She makes a really good point.
But the comments! Oh my goodness.

>97 Helenliz: I've only ever read quotes from it, want to read it, her travel letters from Sweden and the joint bio of her and her daughter. I need to get reading!

Jan 6, 10:01am Top

Zen and the Art of Murder

This was a Netgalley ARC of the Englosh translation (2018).

I enjoyed this crime novel which follows a struggling detective in Freiburg as she tries to deal with the strange case of a Buddhist monk walking in the snow. Louise is an alcoholic, and is supposed to be off the case, when a tragedy occurs. I really like crime fiction when the local context is so specific, and here, with the German/French border causing tension between national forces, it makes for intriguing reading.

Edited: Jan 6, 12:30pm Top

Guardian reviews non-fiction

Everywhere Is Somewhere by Naseem Khan reviewed by Arifa Akbar
"...written in the last 18 months of her life, and confirmed for publication a day before her death on 8 June. It is a hybrid book, at once an autobiography that explains Khan’s life through her work, and a history of BAME arts development in Britain from 1946 to 2007, where Khan begins and ends her chapters.... Prior to her pioneering research, Britain had not thought seriously about diversity in the arts. When artists of colour got a look-in, she recalls, they received minuscule funding and then only to produce work that was cordoned off in an ethnic minority arts ghetto. She challenged all that with her groundbreaking Arts Council report, The Arts Britain Ignores, in 1976, and led subsequent campaigns."

I'd not.come across her. Wonder if the library might help.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff reviewed by Lloyd Green
"...a toxic tale that singes all..."

Gosh, haven't heard anything about this one(?!)

The Second Body by Daisy Hildyard reviewed by Gavin Francis
"These are fretful, questioning essays with occasional flashes of beauty, demanding of readers that they think about anthropogenic disruption of climate and ecology. "

This sounds depressing.

A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War by Patricia Fara reviewed by Wendy Moore
"For four years female doctors and scientists dedicated themselves to saving wounded soldiers, leading medical research, developing military technology and designing weapons – taking the places of men who had gone to war – and they revelled in the opportunity. But after the war they were expected meekly to return to their second-rate, lower-paid jobs or simply to devote themselves to domestic chores. "
Susan is on the case for this one.

In Search of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson reviewed by Rachel Hewitt
"Frankenstein becomes a lens through which we peer into Mary’s embodied self, and vice versa. We are invited to imagine inhabiting the infected arm, the postpartum body, the “compound tiredness that must come from breastfeeding while living on an inadequately understood vegetarian diet”, the miscarriages that ensured “Mary cannot avoid knowing … that the creation of life is costly” and difficult, and “to give life to a full-term, fully human ‘progeny’ more difficult still”."


Jan 6, 10:28am Top

Well, your thread and your books are off to a great start!! Loved the quote in >72 charl08:! Added to the WL and duly notated with "Charlotte's Fault."

Jan 6, 10:31am Top

>97 Helenliz: and >98 charl08: I found A Vindication quite impressive and inspiring - it was as part of a course so I also read some of what she was responding to, including Rousseau who wrote asserting the Rights of Man but also wrote explicitly that women shouldn't be included in these rights.

I want to read A Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark too, and Romantic Outlaws - have a Netgalley of the latter. Bee Rowlatt also wrote a book about travelling in Mary Wollstonecraft's footsteps In Search of Mary: The Mother of All Journeys.

Edited: Jan 6, 10:47am Top

>100 charl08: I have my eye on The Second Body Charlotte, I’m a big fan of Essays. Oops, just clicked!

Edited: Jan 6, 12:26pm Top

>101 Berly: Nice sign Kim! I hope the series lives up to the humour of the first.

>102 elkiedee: That sounds like a good course. I wonder if there is an online one I could sign up for. I read Bea Rowlett's book, hadn't come across the letters before that.

Edited: Jan 6, 12:31pm Top

>103 Caroline_McElwee: The question is: on Amazon or on add to wishlist?

The Guardian also has one of those lists of books to read in 2018

I may be some time.

Jan 6, 12:03pm Top

Hi, Charlotte.

I've read good things about that Fiona Sampson book about Mary Shelley. I hope your wish gets granted.

Edited: Jan 6, 12:34pm Top

Thanks Joe. I'd not come across it before seeing this review. Hopefully the library will have a copy...

ETA Yes, it's already on order...

Jan 6, 1:04pm Top

>105 charl08: On Amazon Charlotte ;-)

Jan 6, 2:11pm Top

Gosh! Quick work there.

I've been reading Rebel Girls: for bonus points, name the third Pankhurst daughter...

Edited: Jan 6, 5:51pm Top

Currently reading The Burgess Boys

Jan 6, 6:12pm Top

>82 charl08: Hooray for books arriving in the mail. I loved The Burgess Boys - but no pressure.

You got me with Slow Horses and the Zen detective one.

Regarding reviews: A Lab of One's Own and the Mary Shelley both look interesting. I'll pass on the Trump -- we get enough about him in the news every day.

Edited: Jan 7, 6:04am Top

Loved it Beth! A great pick by my Santa (and sibyx / Lucy who I have tagged as responsible for the recommendation).

I really enjoyed this, reminded me of Ann Patchett and Anne Tyler. Three siblings are thrown together in middle age when one of their children throws a pig's head into a mosque. Despite that beginning, this isn't a novel about extremism, it's far more subtle than that.

Strout writes in an essay about the book (included in my copy) that she wanted to explore how different cultures deal with loss, and so she brings together a Maine community and a new Somali refugee population. I really didn't have any sense of where the novel was heading, and couldn't put it down.

Jan 7, 5:42am Top

>122 BB put it on my library list. Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Jan 7, 7:13am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. I also liked The Burgess Boys but I think her best work, is in her linked stories. Comparing her to Patchett and Tyler is spot on.

Edited: Jan 7, 12:31pm Top

Hi Charlotte. I struggled with The Burgess Boys for its content, the domination/cruelty of the older brother just got me so upset. Can you tell I am the youngest of four in my original birth family? I know it was a good book though and would read anything that she writes in a heart beat!

Edited: Jan 7, 12:32pm Top

>113 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Hope you like it!

>114 msf59: I think my favourite one I've read so far is Anything is Possible, but I'm pleased there are more to read.

I'm reading Rebel Girls again today, reading about rowdy marches and going to prison for protesting at parliament. It's so great to read a history centred on the north and on women.

Jan 7, 12:34pm Top

>115 mdoris: Mary, the relationship was very uncomfortable, wasn't it! It felt very honest to me.

Jan 7, 2:06pm Top

>100 charl08: "Gosh, haven't heard anything about this one(?!)"

Ha ha ha, I wonder what that one is about? ;)

Edited: Jan 7, 5:06pm Top

>118 rosylibrarian: It has made the news here, repeatedly, which I find a bit mind boggling.

Still reading Rebel Girls: fascinating stuff about the individuals who campaigned despite not much of a background in politics.

Dora Thewlis, the "baby suffragette" being arrested during a London protest (she was actually from Yorkshire).

Jan 7, 8:30pm Top

I can't remember which of Elizabeth Strout's I've read, but I know I loved My Name is Lucy Barton. Slow Horses arrived today. Let's hope one of my books " takes" :-) Thanks for the BB! I am hopeful!

Jan 7, 8:35pm Top

I, too, like Strout very much including The Burgess Boys

Jan 8, 8:05am Top

Thought I’d bring a friend over to meet you Charlotte, he was very entertaining, taking regular bows for his audience, a proper Showman.

Jan 8, 8:11am Top

>109 charl08: Was the third Pankhurst daughter Adela? (I didn't look it up, promise)

Testosterone Rex came into the library for me this morning :-)

Edited: Jan 8, 8:37am Top

>122 Caroline_McElwee: Love the purple shoes!

Hiya, Charlotte. Have you read Nicholas Nickleby? It's one of the few of his I hadn't read, and so far I'm liking it.

Jan 8, 10:24am Top

>120 vancouverdeb: Hope you find something that fits the mood Deborah.

>121 RebaRelishesReading: I think she has quite the fan club here on LT. I'm not sure I would have picked her up otherwise. Probably not.

>122 Caroline_McElwee: Aw, nice chap.

>123 susanj67: Nice stuff Susan. She was banished to the Antipodes, apparently (I haven't got to that bit yet).

Jan 8, 10:25am Top

>124 jnwelch: After my disaster last year with George Elliot, I'm not sure I'm brave enough for another chunkster , Joe.

Jan 8, 10:56am Top

>119 charl08: Ugh, I was hoping it hadn't. I was hoping for a Trump-less existence while living in the UK, or at least not hearing about him as much...

Jan 8, 4:10pm Top


Although this rather made me laugh.

I cracked today and bought this online.

Jan 8, 7:59pm Top

😂 to the article!

👍 to the game!

Jan 8, 10:55pm Top

What Jim said.

Jan 9, 2:26am Top

>98 charl08: >95 LovingLit: Ireadthereforeiam: >96 Deern: Deern: She makes a really good point.
But the comments! Oh my goodness.

I couldn't read the comments when I looked first time! Or are you talking about on Clementine Ford's Facebook page? She always gets awful comments, I feel for her as they are obviously trolls.

Edited: Jan 9, 2:55am Top

>129 drneutron: >130 BLBera: Quick thinking there by the staff of that bargain store...

>131 LovingLit: They were the comments at the bottom of the post. Men and women are completely different, apparently....
I was also really shocked that she reported she had had an abusive post from an academic. I rather hoped that universities would be more alert to that kind of behaviour.

A Study in Scandal
A romance novella in a series I've enjoyed. It was a bit Basil Exposition at the start, and a rather abrupt change in perspective from the last book, but an undemanding quick read.

The Huntsman's Tale
Third in this series which I've been listening to via Audible. Nicholas and his family leave Oxford to help with his family's harvest. The new lord of the manor turns out to be a Bad Sort, damming up the mill's stream, treating workers badly and worse. I'm enjoying the historical detail of this series, and the ongoing will they won't they between the bookseller and the young woman he rescued in the last book continues.

Jan 9, 7:40am Top

>131 LovingLit: I didn't have time and the nerves to read the comments that day, but I expected they'd just confirm what she was writing?

Edited: Jan 9, 8:08am Top

>133 Deern: Yes, that's a good summary.

I've started reading Johannesburg, which is channelling Mrs Dalloway. There have already been several mentions of the flowers for the party.
Gin had asked Mercy to get all the old platters out and wash them . Gin was home for five days only and before this day was done, there would be a party for Mrs Brandt , for her eightieth birthday. Some of the platters had thin cracks no wider than an ant’s foot. Mercy ran her fingers across the fault lines . She liked how they felt and liked too the confidence she had that they would not break. The older things had a strength to them that the newer stuff did not. The same was true of women and girls .

Edited: Jan 9, 8:21am Top

Does anyone know anything about whole-institution book schemes? I was thinking of suggesting The Power after reading Beth's review, as it links pretty well with all the equality themes about voting we're talking about this year. But I don't know anything about how they're run...

Jan 9, 9:34am Top

>135 charl08: - I've been a part of such programs - I initiated one in high school where the whole school read the same book, and then the author came and made a presentation and did some small group discussions. It helped that it wasn't a very well known book or author :)

My college had a "First Year Program" that I was a part of - where common themes and issues were addressed across varying disciplines, and part of it was 2 or 3 "shared" reads throughout the year, where everyone, regardless of class focus (history, biology, religion, etc.) read the same book and discussed it within their classes with the perspective of that particular discipline. Each author came in at the end of the "read" and did a presentation/discussion with the whole program. It was pretty cool.

Jan 9, 12:37pm Top

>95 LovingLit: Wow, that was quite the link. Thanks for posting Megan.

Jan 9, 2:36pm Top

Thanks Katie. I'm going to mention it to a librarian colleague and see if this is something that might work. I guess Alderson is unlikely to be visiting us though!

It's a bit mind boggling Mary! It did remind me of questions I got about studying Africa, to which my answer was often "why not?"

Jan 9, 3:20pm Top

I think The Power would be a great discussion book. There is so much there to talk about. Though there are some stomach-turning parts.

Edited: Jan 10, 7:21am Top

I think I better reread it before I recommend it then Beth. I've forgotten the stomach-turning. Probably because I didn't like reading them in the first place...

I've been on two threads (only) this lunchtime, and already added one book to the kindle Miss Kopp's Midnight confessions - thanks Marie - and one to the wishlist My brother's husband - thanks Nathalie. Maybe I should stop there?

Also, books for other people don't count, right?
I bought Rebel girls the illustrated book for two of the children I volunteer with. The short bio stories and images are rather lovely.

Jan 10, 11:57am Top

>140 charl08: You are welcome! Though be warned, it is the saddest book I've read in a long time.

Edited: Jan 10, 12:29pm Top

Oh yikes. Maybe I'll mix in something a bit lighter first. I'm still (technically) reading Life and Fate but the war was very grim, so...

Did anyone see Bowie's son has started a Bowie 100 book group?

Alright gang! Anyone who wants to join along, we are reading Peter Ackroyd’s “Hawksmoor,” as an amuse cerveau before we get into the heavy stuff. You have until Feb 1. ❤️

— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) December 27, 2017

Jan 10, 12:43pm Top

Your first book of the year about 15 women who made both art and history looks really wonderful. Adding it to the wish list.

The university where I currently work designates a "Common Book" every year but there is not much organized around it. We're a huge and very decentralized institution; I think it would work better in a smaller venue.

Jan 10, 3:31pm Top

>143 EBT1002: I'm wondering what kind of events work for this kind of themed book - as Katie said about her shared read, getting the author in would be fab, but I'm mostly interested in how a novel might get people thinking about gender and equality. Ambitious?!

Jan 10, 5:45pm Top

I've had a couple of nights of npt much reading, have picked up Rebel Girls (the grown up one) this evening. Reading about the fabulous Lavena Saltonstall, who in protesting at parliament in 1908 was arrested. In court, asked if she had anything to say in her defence, she told the judge that the policeman had "resisted me in the execution of my duty."

Jan 10, 6:10pm Top

Today's exciting event that I (probably) won't get to...

Women with Vision (Bristol)
16 Dec 17 - 11 Mar 18

A celebration of women in British art - past, present and future.

In a year of national milestones, the RWA marks the impact of female artists on our country's artistic landscape with four diverse exhibitions of historic and contemporary works.

These exhibitions are Frink-Blow-Lawson, Women of the RWA, Cornelia Parker: One Day This Glass Will Break and Anne Redpath ARA RWA RSA.


Jan 10, 6:18pm Top

>146 charl08: Oh, sounds really interesting. I'd love to go see that.

Jan 10, 6:27pm Top

Charlotte, thanks to your book bullet of Slow Horses I think I'm back in business! By the way, I"m quite sure that Mark has read the first in the series with Koop sisters - Miss Kopp's Midnight confessions . He read the first ( and maybe the second in the series. ) I could be wrong, but I think he found it fun? Maybe ask him.

Jan 10, 6:46pm Top

>128 charl08: I'm interested to hear more about the game - have you played it yet?

Jan 10, 9:44pm Top

>146 charl08: Super Cool - I think I need to visit to see it.

Jan 11, 12:43am Top

Jan 11, 7:20am Top

>147 PawsforThought: It does look good! I was hoping they might have a catalogue, but no sign of any self-published books in their shop, so I guess they don't do that. I have family nearish to Bristol, so thinking about it...

>148 vancouverdeb: So glad that Slow Horses is proving a good read Deborah! I have read two of the Kopp books - this one is the third one. The first was brilliant, the second great but not as good - so hoping this one is as good as the first.

>149 rretzler: I haven't played it, but I have unpacked it! I'm now feeling a bit precious about it, and wondering if I really want to let the students anywhere near it (tongue in cheek).

>150 BLBera: > 151 That would be great :-)

Jan 11, 3:37pm Top

Heya, dropping a belated star and happy new year. I'd forgotten entirely that I still had my kitten filter on - it replaces any images of Donald Trump that come up in my browser with photos of kittens. Sometimes it gets a little over-zealous though, and all of your Guardian reviews in post 100 have been kittenified. I was very confused at first.

(Oh and thanks to >58 lyzard: for the very excellent biscuit/cookie explanation - it's one of those things I've ranted about a lot, scones as well, but never actually looked to origins of the words)

Edited: Jan 12, 2:58am Top

I had no idea that a kitten filter existed: that's tickled me.

Reading about suffrage artist Emily Ford in Rebel Girls.

Jan 12, 2:26am Top

Just cruising the threads, seeing what's up :) All OK here? OK, then, I'll mosey on along....
In personal book news, I cannot *wait* to get to bed tonight to read the end os The Pearl that Broke its Shell, a stark yet gripping book about the lives of women in Afghanistan.

Jan 12, 2:47am Top

>153 evilmoose: a kitten filter sounds amazing! Never heard of such a thing. How very inventive some people can be.

Jan 12, 5:21am Top

>153 evilmoose: A kitten-filter?!?! :)))

Jan 12, 7:37am Top

Actually, now that I am over the shock of Trump , I kind of get a chuckle out of the gas bag's stupidity. He's scary stupid and a bully, but if you can't laugh. .. That's how I cope with it all.

Jan 12, 7:39am Top

I'm going to have to come back and reply to messages, but just wanted to post this - in case anyone is planning a trip to London from June...

Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament exhibition
During summer 2018, a major exhibition, Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament, will be staged in Westminster Hall. Featuring a range of amazing interactive features, the exhibition will cover the campaign for votes for women and the representation of women in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

How can I visit?
Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament will be held in Westminster Hall from 27 June to 6 October 2018. It will be open to everyone to visit, free of charge. Check this page for further details of how to book nearer the time.

What’s in the Voice & Vote exhibition?
This landmark public exhibition will tell the story of women, the vote and Parliament. It will cover the contribution and impact of women on Parliament over the last 200 years.

Throughout the exhibition, rare and previously unseen historic objects, pictures and archives from the Parliamentary collections and elsewhere will be displayed. Together with immersive and interactive technologies, the exhibition will tell the story of women in Parliament, the campaigning, the protests, the achievements, where we are today and how you can make change.

The exhibition will give visitors the experience of women’s place in Parliament by recreating lost historical spaces of the Palace of Westminster:

The Ventilator – 200 years ago, this loft space above the House of Commons Chamber was where women watched and listened to Parliamentary debates. Women were banned from the public galleries. Those who were politically engaged and wanted to watch discussions of issues they were campaigning for, such as the abolition of the slave trade, would make their way to this space to watch and listen.

The Cage – after the 1834 fire which destroyed the old Palace of Westminster, the new House of Commons included a Ladies’ Gallery which allowed women to view the Chamber from high up above the Speaker’s Chair. The gallery was closed off by brass grilles, deliberately placed there to stop MPs seeing the women. The grilles restricted women’s view and the Ladies’ Gallery was hot, stuffy and soon nicknamed “The Cage”.

The Tomb – from 1918, women were allowed to stand for Parliament for the first time. An office called the Lady Members’ Room was provided but it was poorly furnished and became increasingly overcrowded as more women were elected as MPs. They had to share the space, which became known as “The Tomb” despite their differing politics. Once the few desks provided were all taken, women MPs had to sit on the floor to do their paperwork and hold meetings in corridors.

The Chamber – The final part of the exhibition will be the Chamber, exploring the experience and work of women MPs and members of the House of Lords today. Women have now occupied the highest positions in Parliament, including Betty Boothroyd, the first, and only (so far) woman Speaker and Baroness Hayman, the first Lord Speaker in the House of Lords.


Jan 12, 8:01am Top

>159 charl08: Wow, that sounds amazing. But I wasn't planning to go to teh UK this summer. Wish I had more money/time off so I could have several holiday trips.

Jan 12, 8:05am Top

>159 charl08: ooooooooh! That sounds well worth a visit to the big city to explore. Added to that Westminster Hall is one of the great spaces in the country and well worth a gawp at on its own.

Jan 12, 11:23am Top

>159 charl08: It does sound amazing.

A kitten filter?

Jan 12, 12:57pm Top

We'll be there in the fall but sounds like that's too late.

Jan 12, 2:29pm Top

>155 LovingLit: Sounds like a great read Megan.

>156 Helenliz: >157 Deern: >158 vancouverdeb: I think the kitten filter wins: it's a pretty good solution!

>160 PawsforThought: I think you're excused!

>161 Helenliz: I'm hoping to get to this one. Maybe an LT outing? They haven't announced the events yet, but hopefully there will be tours too.

>162 BLBera: I think I'm going to be spoed for choice this year.

>163 RebaRelishesReading: I don't know when Autumn starts for you, but it runs until the first week of October...

I finally hit send on a submission today, so glad it's off my to do list, that I'm going to be reading crime tonight: The Burning Gates.

Jan 12, 3:18pm Top

>159 charl08: Oh my goodness, I will be able to go in June! I don't think I've processed that I'm moving yet. :)

Jan 12, 10:54pm Top

>153 evilmoose: I want a kitten filter!

Jan 13, 6:18am Top

>165 rosylibrarian: Yup! Make sure you take pictures if you go, please!

>166 rretzler: Tempted by a kitten filter ?

Edited: Jan 13, 7:23am Top

Guardian Reviews - Fiction

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone reviewed by Linda Buckley-Archer
"...an action-packed adventure and a truly magical tale (in both senses), set in the icy north. Erkenwald is a land of mountains, forests and glaciers; it is home to polar bears, eagles, whales and wolves, as well as to the Fur, Feather and Tusk tribes. In Elphinstone’s well-orchestrated mythology, the North Star, a Sky God “carved from stardust”, breathed life into the land that still retains traces of the magic of its creation. But “darkness can come to any kingdom and so it came to Erkenwald”."

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor reviewed by Sarah Crown
"The book returns us to Reservoir 13’s hills and valleys and shifting seasons, but here the collective voice of the novel has fractured. Instead of a broad but shallow composite perspective, the stories, each from the viewpoint of a single character, present a series of narrow but far deeper insights, altering our understanding both of the familiar landscape and the actions of the people moving through it."

The Unmapped Country: Stories & Fragments by Ann Quin – reviewed by Andrew Gallix
"... her work is as open-ended as those sentences she regularly produced that trail off into silence, casting a spell instead of spelling out; floating away on their reserve of potentiality. "

Star in the Jar by Sam Hay reviewed by Imogen Carter
"....about a small boy who loves collecting precious things – “Tickly treasure. Glittery treasure... even litter bin treasure” – and one day stumbles upon a real star. Popped in a jar for safekeeping, the star never leaves the boy’s side, even brightening up a trip to the toilet. But as night descends, the star longs for home. Sarah Massini’s rich, characterful illustrations show the boy’s celestial friend growing limp as it gazes up from a window ledge to read a constellation spelling out “lost, one small star”. And so the boy and his big sister, the story’s narrator, must figure out how to return their latest treasure...."

Lullaby by Leila Slimani reviewed by Julie Myerson
"If you’ve ever been paid to look after someone else’s children – and I have – then you will know what a queasy, bittersweet transaction it is. A nanny wields such emotional power, despite a sometimes appalling lack of rights or status or future....
It’s an explosive cocktail, and Leïla Slimani’s deft, often agonising novel shakes it up with a precision that takes your breath away."

Turning for Home by Barney Norris reviewed by Alexandra Harris
"...here again is the wistful lyricism that distinguishes all Norris’s work, the philosophical intelligence, and the acute, demotic empathy with people of diverse ages and in different kinds of trouble. Few young novelists have been so attentive to old age, yet considering our ageing population, the giant unsolved problem of how to care for the elderly and the complicated pain of seeing our relatives struggle on, the need for literary engagement feels urgent."

Lots more www.guardian.co.uk/books

Jan 13, 9:49am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. The Star in a Jar illustration is lovely.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Jan 13, 12:58pm Top

>164 charl08: We'll be there in late September so sounds like it will still be on. I've copied your info and will put it on the list of things to do. Thanks for the info.

Jan 13, 1:08pm Top

Charlotte--Another vote here for The Power -- 2/3 of the way in and loving it! Book discussion this Wednesday.

Also waiting to hear how the game goes....?

Happy Saturday!

Jan 13, 2:28pm Top

Just popping in to Suffragette City to mark your thread.

Jan 13, 3:04pm Top

I love the kitten filter!

Jan 13, 3:20pm Top

>164 charl08: count me in for a trip. Will need some notice, but certainly up for it.

Jan 13, 3:24pm Top

>168 charl08: Hello Charlotte!

I've added many of the books listed here. In particular The Star in the Jar sounds lovely.

Edited: Jan 13, 4:17pm Top

>169 BLBera: It looks really lovely: I may pick up a copy for the new arrivals at the refugee group.

>170 RebaRelishesReading: Sounds like a great time to visit - look forward to hearing more about it!

>171 Berly: I left it at work Kim. I've also got two other games we're going to be playing! Need to ask someone about that whole book project too. This week was a bit mad.

>172 libraryperilous: Suffragette City! That is going on the suffrage playlist!

>173 banjo123: Me too.

>174 Helenliz: Great! I am not at all sure about dates, but worth a go. I might try and ask my MP too.

>175 Whisper1: Hello! Thanks for visiting! It does look lovely, doesn't it.

Jan 13, 4:24pm Top

>159 charl08: Charlotte, thanks for those details! That looks excellent and I will definitely go.

And I think I need to look up The Power...

Jan 13, 5:50pm Top

I'll let you know if they post any news about the events linked to the exhibit!

Finally finished a book! The Burning Gates was the 4th in the series about the Sudanese PI trying to get over his dark past on the mean streets of Cairo. This one sees Makana caught between several shady dealers in search of an art haul after Bush invaded Iraq.

Jan 14, 1:37am Top

I don't remember a single character of Reservoir 13 by name except for the dead girl, and I thought the book was quite perfect as it was. Are you going to read the tapes?

No UK trip planned any time soon (it involves flying!), but I'd love to see the exhibition.

Edited: Jan 14, 5:46am Top

I haven't even read the original one Nathalie. I didn't know you don't like flying: I guess that's a very long train journey?

Now reading The Break (thanks Deborah!)

Jan 14, 8:29am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Hope you are enjoying the weekend and getting plenty of reading in.

Edited: Jan 14, 10:38am Top

I am Mark: I read The Break, which was most excellent, as Deborah said. The author tells the story of a violent attack through a wide range of voices. As the relatives, friends and a policeman reflect on what has happened, their experiences of poverty, and of racism towards the Mètis community (as well as familial love and resilience) help to make a picture of the community.

Jan 14, 10:40am Top

>180 charl08: You got me again, Charlotte.

Jan 14, 1:27pm Top

Yup, me too.

Jan 14, 4:47pm Top

Sounds like a full on read by the looks of the reviews on the book page. I have just read a tough one, in that sense, so might have to save this one for another day.

Edited: Jan 14, 9:27pm Top

HI Charlotte, With the theme of your thread you might be interested in this website if you don't know about it already. How it describes itself is the "the world's largest girl empowerment marketplace for raising smart, confident and courageous girls". There are lots of book ideas for the younger set.


Jan 15, 1:16am Top

I like your theme for this thread! I am trying to read more female authors for my 75 books challenge this year. My goal is 3 female authors for every 1 male author I read with the goal being to write up a bit each month on how its going. So far its okay but I have a feeling its going to be a great challenge

Jan 15, 2:35am Top

>183 BLBera: Deborah very kindly sent me her copy, I was really glad to have the chance to read a book I don't think I would have found otherwise.

>184 drneutron: Hope you can find a copy Jim!

>185 LovingLit: Hi Megan, definitely worth mixing the tougher reads and the less grim!

>186 mdoris: Thanks Mary, I'll have a look.

>187 pbirch01: I've found that trying to read more women writers has made me very aware of how the places I look for books are dominated by books by men. Even my library. I've found even when I explicitly seek out and choose books by women, there is plenty of noise around other books - and it's also made me aware of authors I still want to read: Colm Toibin, Julian Barnes, Michael Ondaaje, Coetzee. Some fields seem harder than others, and I don't know why : books in translation, for example.

Jan 15, 2:49am Top

Mixing it up, with His Lordship's Last Wager
Third book in this (I think) self published series, a regency romance. The first book was brilliant, the second less so, but this one felt back to the standard of the first. It has a completely bonkers plot featuring the rescue of a performing bear and a long journey. (This was one of the complaints of one of the reviewers on amazon: too much bear. Lol!) Funny, and no wet heroine.

Jan 15, 11:14am Top

>189 charl08: Sounds like a fun one. And, how can there ever be too much bear?

>188 charl08: Last year, 76% of my reading was by women authors. I want it to be a bit higher this year, say 80%. I generally seek women writers before men, for some of the reasons that Boyne mentions in his article. Many men do not understand women, which makes me crazy. So far, of my six reads this year, all are by women, and I have two more by women in progress right now. I find that for nonfiction, it's harder to find women authors, unless it's memoir.

Happy Monday.

I awoke to some more snow, so off to shovel.

Jan 15, 11:20am Top

You're brave reading self-published books. I used to read them, but then I realized that it is really hard digging out the really good ones from the people who don't even find an editor. And I'm such a slow reader that I don't like dedicating time to books that the author didn't bother dedicating enough time to. I know that means I miss out on a lot of good books, though!

Jan 15, 11:27am Top

>188 charl08: I hadn't consciously looked at the authors in that way before. Then last year I read 65% book by women. Which came as a surprise. I think I want to try and maintain that BUT without reading dross just because it was written by a woman. It's the dilemma, would you employ a woman who is less good just because she is a woman? I would say no, but I can see why people are tempted to do it. I find lots of History is now written by women.

Jan 15, 1:32pm Top

>190 BLBera: I got horribly confused last year with joint authors, so didn't even attempt a percentage. But most months it was more women than men. I think the non-fiction situation is improving (but that might just be because I read topics where women get published). Hope the snow behaved itself.

>191 The_Hibernator: I don't as a rule, but I had come across this one when I was a lot less picky (read: cheap). She goes back and edits earlier books, has other people credited for editing (and I think that shows) and has comments that make me laugh about how long it takes her to write. I get quite annoyed at some of the books my library is now stocking digitally, which are Very Poor, in all round writing skills. (Tries not to feel self-conscious about all round writing skills. Fails.)

>192 Helenliz: I don't think anyone is suggesting reading something you don't want to read! For me it's about acknowledging the discrimination / prejudice in the system, and taking one personal action to try and react against it.

Jan 15, 4:00pm Top

Picked up The Heart's invisible Furies. What an opening!
Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.

Jan 15, 5:07pm Top

Wow! I'm glad I already have that one on the list. What an opening.

Jan 15, 6:32pm Top

>195 BLBera: ditto!

And bravo for focusing on women writers! I don't seem able to make that a general rule, but a few years ago I did an all-woman writers month, which made me have to think.

Jan 15, 7:57pm Top

>188 charl08: YES, YES, YES!!! I am only 15 days into this project but it is amazing how incredibly skewed toward men the places I look for books are. I feel like I have to work harder to find books by women which makes sense why my gender ratio was so biased towards men. I don't feel like I was choosing male authors specifically over female ones but I was always going back to the same places to find books and I was inadvertently skewed because of that.

Jan 15, 9:25pm Top

I've been following the VIDA count for years: https://www.vidaweb.org/the-2016-vida-count/

Jan 15, 11:20pm Top

love the entire theme of this thread!

Jan 16, 1:40am Top

>195 BLBera: Dodged effectively there Beth. >198 BLBera: Looks like I should rethink my LRB subscription. Thanks for posting.

>196 banjo123: I'm edging towards that Rhonda. Maybe a month later in the year: I'll see how I get on.

>197 pbirch01: Yes, especially galling since more women are reading in every stat / poll I've come across.

>199 shuwanted: Thank you and welcome!

Jan 16, 1:44am Top

I'm also trying to read more women authors and authors of color this year, so will definitely be following along for inspiration :) Do you have a favorite female author by any chance?

Jan 16, 5:34am Top

>194 charl08: That is an opening to drive you on Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 16, 5:53am Top

I read and really enjoyed The Heart's invisible Furies last November, Charlotte. It really grabs you in right from the start as you mention and I really enjoyed the entire book. I hope you do too!

As for The Break , for those in the USA, it's being published in the USA and sold via amazon com as of March 6 , 2018 . Here is a link for Beth, and Jim and anyone interested in the book. https://www.amazon.com/Break-Katherena-Vermette/dp/1487001118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516099919&sr=8-1&keywords=the+break+katherena+vermette

Jan 16, 6:43am Top

I also loved The Heart's invisible Furies, Charlotte. I hope you can start the warbling cycle all over again. Enjoy!

Edited: Jan 16, 8:15am Top

>201 shuwanted: I find it really hard to choose just one author - as you can probably tell from my favourites list on my profile page - https://www.librarything.com/profile/charl08 and just looking at that can see there are plenty I want to add!

>202 Caroline_McElwee: You'd think so, but I picked up I am Hutterite shortly after posting. Contrary!

>203 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah! Hope lots of people can find a copy. Great to read all the enthusiasm here.

>204 msf59: Mark, I have been bad at keeping up with your crazy fast thread, and clearly I wasn't much better last year: sorry!

A copy of Rise up Women! arrived today from the publisher :-)

Jan 16, 12:05pm Top

>205 charl08: glad to see that anne of green gables has a place :) surprised to see Unaccustomed Earth instead of Jhumpa Lahiri's other works (only because I haven't gotten around to reading that one yet)

Edited: Jan 16, 1:00pm Top

Not sure what you were looking at, sorry! - I've favourited her rather than any particular one of her books, have read more than one, honest.

After a day in which throwing my work mug full of soup all over the floor was not the worst moment (even though the mug broke), glad to be home.

In an occasional series I shall be calling "Charlotte is a sucker for suffrage tat", I ordered this from the Museum of London:

Edited: Jan 16, 3:53pm Top

I'm still reading Rebel Girls: I've reached 1912 and two ladies who blew up post boxes, Molly Morris and Leonora Cohen. Leonora even managed to defend herself against a charge of breaking a case in the Tower of London (she got an expert into court to argue the case wasn't worth enough to be at the trial!).

Some lovely artifacts belonging to Leonora

Jan 16, 5:10pm Top

>207 charl08: I want that!

And the women in Rebel Girls sound like bad*sses! I'm going to have to buy that one.
(The kaftan/dress is spectacular!)

Jan 17, 1:13am Top

>167 charl08: Good thing I use Chrome! Installing the kitten filter now!

>198 BLBera: Very interesting statistics, Beth.

Unfortunately, the literary arts industry seems to be in line with many other industries. I am a CPA, and while the mix of women to men at the new hire level is close to 50/50, it doesn't stay that way for long. In the early 2000's, I was a shareholder and Director of Tax in a Top 100 accounting firm, and I was 1 of 2 women out of about 30 total shareholders, and the only female at a Director level. It was the early 90s before any of the Columbus offices of the Big 4 international accounting firms had promoted a woman partner, and several years after that before more were promoted. Unfortunately, what I have seen over the years in my industry is that women are often forced to choose between family and work due to the time commitment of a CPA. This is changing, but it is changing slowly. Many of the larger firms are trying to institute work/life balance, but at smaller firms, the profession can still be dominated by older males who don't want to see things change. Of course, not all men are like this, but I worked with quite a few of them who were. When I was at that firm, the managing partner called me to discuss maternity leave lengths because he didn't think women should be entitled to paid time off, since it was the woman's choice to get pregnant. Sigh... I got pregnant with my 2nd son soon after, took 8 weeks off with pay, and responded anytime someone needed me (which wasn't very often, the managing partner was actually the only one to call me at home for anything.) The shareholder group was amazed at how well I handled maternity leave, which went a long way toward them agreeing to keep paid maternity leave. My husband, who is a banker and worked at a larger company, took 2 weeks paid paternity leave and 2 partial weeks of paternity leave - one of the first in his company to do so. I have to think that other industries face similar work/family balance issues, but have no first-hand information.

Jan 17, 4:06am Top

>209 PawsforThought: One of the things I've been interested in Rebel Girls is how she contrasts Yorkshire, where few women workers were unionised, with Lancashire, where lots of them were (and so they were better placed to organise for suffrage). As someone who gets nervous every time I speak in public, their bravery in speaking when people were heckling, throwing things (and sometimes being physically violent) speaks to me too.

>210 rretzler: I'm in shock you only got two months maternity leave. 6 months here is usual, and some friends have had a year. That seems like a very short time to recover from having a baby. We seem to be (slowly) moving here towards shared parental leave, like they have in Nordic countries. I hope so, anyway.

Jan 17, 8:40am Top

Saw this in the telegraph, another book to add to the pile.. (sorry).

Jan 17, 9:39am Top

Thanks Helen - I'd seen this, but not picked up it was a book!

Jan 17, 9:48am Top

Charlotte, it's snowing here - I just thought you should know.

Jan 17, 10:35am Top

Here in Canada, the government mandates 6 months off for new moms with 55% of your pay, subject to a maximum. You can also elect to take 52 weeks off, with less pay, and you can also take 18 months off , with no " pay" from the government after 12 months. But your employer must guarantee you your job back . Dad's can take some of those weeks, if they wish -not entirely sure of the details. Depending on who you work for, some companies offer even better benefits to parents. My DIL plans to take a year off, possibly 18 months, depending on how she feels etc.

Back in the day when I had my first son, the Canadian Government only allowed you 16 weeks off with 55% pay. For me it was not a big deal, as I went back to work just one or two days a week. They lengthened time off to 6 months just a year or two after I had my first child

(Of course, one can go back to work whenever they feel like it , if they wish ). But the Canadian Government guarantees the above, should you wish to take it.

Jan 17, 12:44pm Top

>214 Crazymamie: Did you move and not tell anyone Mamie? Confusion.

>215 vancouverdeb: I hope that like Canada, our provision will get better for women: a lot seems to depend on the company you work for in terms of how much 'extra' you get on top of the statutory minimum.

Saw this, and wanted to join the guides again.

And listened to this, and thought I would share it with you. By the same genius group who managed to make music out of an space mission, women talking about equal rights.


Jan 17, 1:16pm Top

I feel almost scared to mention that in Sweden, parental leave is 68 weeks (90 days reserved for each parent, the rest is left to the couple to divvy up) with 77% pay for the first ≈1 year. Plus 10 days for non-birthgiving parents when a child is born or adopted. Birth-giving mothers have the right to stay home up to 7 weeks before due date.
And you can stay at home and care for a sick child with 80% pay.
And you have the right to return to the same position you had when you left.

Jan 17, 4:29pm Top

Maternity leave rights are quite poor in the US. In the UK it depends a lot on your employer, and some employers, mostly in the public sector, have cut previously good schemes or used temps and/or outsourced jobs Statutory maternity leave improved from April 2007 here, which I think had some connection to EU law, depending on due date. Mums of babies due on 31 March 2007 (even if they were born in April) were entitled to statutory maternity pay (90% for 6 weeks then a very small weekly amount for another 20) which the government refunds to employers. Mothers of babies due on 1 April 2007 (even if they were born early) would have been entitled to SMP for 33 weeks after the initial 6. I had a really good scheme from my employer and could choose 16 weeks on full pay then 12 on full pay or 24 on half - did the longer time on half pay first time round but realised I would have got slightly more if I'd taken full pay for 28 weeks and then 11 just on the very small amount of SMP, so did that the second time.

>217 PawsforThought: That sounds amazing.

Edited: Jan 17, 4:45pm Top

Sweden sounds like a great place to be a parent!

I'm coming to the end of Rebel Girls, and wondering which book of the theme pile I'll pick up next. Netgalley were offering free copies of Mick Herron's series, so Dead Lions on the fiction front.

Jan 17, 8:08pm Top

This was quite some time ago, so I'm not sure what the US federal government does now, but when I was working for them as an attorney at the time my first three children were born (1978, 1980, and 1983), I think they would guarantee your job back for six months, but the only compensation you were entitled to was for any vacation or sick leave time you had accumulated. I worked up until the day I went into labor, and took off between 4-6 weeks for each of the kids. I was on the phone with the office quite a bit while home, beginning from when I was in the hospital (back then they kept you in the hospital 5 days after birth). Not very enlightened.

Enjoying your comments on the books you are reading, and also glad to see you are keeping us all current with the Guardian reviews.

Edited: Jan 18, 12:08am Top

Quite complicated rules in Germany that keep changing every couple of years, but there's always leave 6 weeks before the calculated date of birth and 8 weeks (mandatory) after, with full pay. Then there's voluntary parental time that can last up to 3 years and is partly paid during the first year. Parents in parental time can't be fired (unless the company closes down or similar).

Charlotte, I saw on the book page that you added Living a feminist life. Have you looked into it yet? I tried to read the sample twice now, and always get stuck on the first pages of the introduction, feeling like I'm reading very intellectual expressions that are like bricks building a wall that wants to keep me out, the book is not accessible to me. I wanted to know if it gets any easier after the intro.

Jan 18, 1:40am Top

I'd say our maternity benefits are quite similar to those in the UK, Charlotte.

>217 PawsforThought: Sounds fabulous!

Jan 18, 2:45am Top

>220 arubabookwoman: >222 vancouverdeb: Sweden is looking increasingly enlightened.

>221 Deern: I got a copy from the library because I read her blog about students being harrassed by supervisors, which was quite accessible (short) but haven't got to the book. Will shout when I do.

Jan 18, 3:59am Top

Another event I would love to bookhorn into my schedule (see: if wishes were horses)

And news of an archive "discovery" in Cambridge - 3rd Feb launch event, with Elizabeth Crawford speaking.

Jan 18, 7:31am Top

And file under "reasons not to privatise your library services..."

The fallout from the collapse of Carillion has hit the UK’s already beleaguered library sector, with several London authorities making moves to part ways with the bankrupt outsourcing firm – including Croydon council, which has announced it will start running its libraries itself after years of what it has called unsatisfactory service.
Carillion, which went into compulsory liquidation on Monday, was responsible for scores of government contracts, including the management of library services in several London boroughs with a non-profit arm called Cultural Community Solutions. Hounslow, Ealing, Croydon and Harrow outsourced their library services in 2012, to a company called John Laing Integrated Services, which sold the contracts on to Carillion in 2013. Hounslow terminated its contract with Carillion in July 2017.

Jan 18, 8:08am Top

And closer to home, more events...


I like the sound of this one, despite the title

From Petticoats to Microscopes at Manchester Museum, Manchester, 12 March 2018, free entry - Find Out More

Manchester has been home to some incredible thinkers, activists, scientists and artists over the years, and is relatively good at celebrating them. But how much do you know about Marie Stopes, Margaret Murray or Adela Breton? Three pioneering ‘Wonder Women’ who helped shape Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester and, to some degree, the course of history.

In a talk delivered by Michelle Scott and Judith Fabian as part of Wonder Women 2018, From Petticoats to Microscopes will explore and champion the lives of these and other inspiring Manchester women, who either worked at the University, or whose collections have helped shape the Museum’s.

Marie Stopes (1880-1958) was an author and campaigner for women’s rights, who founded the first birth control clinic along with her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe. She’s perhaps most famous for her 1918 publication ‘Married Love’, yet she began her career as a palaeobotanist working in Japan. Much of Stopes important collection is now housed at Manchester Museum, and illustrates the passion of this remarkable woman.

Margaret Murray (1863-1963) was an Anglo-Indian Egyptologist, archaeologist, anthropologist, historian, and folklorist, closely involved in the first-wave feminist movement. She became the first woman to be appointed as a lecturer in Archaeology in the United Kingdom, but is best known in Manchester for her lead role in the 1908 public unwrapping of Khnum-nakht – one of the famous mummies recovered from the Tomb of the Two Brothers. 110 years later and the mummy remains one of the crowning glories within Manchester Museum’s collection, where it sits on public display.

Adela Breton (1849-1923) was an English archaeological artist and explorer who eschewed marriage in favour of a life of travel. She is most famous for her work in Mexico, where she used her artistic skills to record friezes and carvings, most notably those of the Upper Temple of Jaguars at Chichen Itza. Breton is internationally recognised for her valuable contribution to Mesoamerican archaeology, and Manchester Museum now houses part of her archaeology collection.


Jan 18, 9:36am Top

>226 charl08: Sigh - sounds amazing. (And yay! I knew about Margaret Murray, at least a little bit.)

Jan 18, 10:28am Top

>211 charl08: Actually maternity leave in the US is worse than that. It's been almost 13 years since I knew what the policies were, but at that time, it depended upon whether you work for a company that employs over 50 people or not. If you work for one of those, then you are entitled to 12 weeks off WITHOUT pay and your job is guaranteed. Anyone who has to take time off for themselves or to care for a family member is entitled to this. If you work for a company with under 50 employees, it depends upon the generosity of your employer. Most companies give their employees 6 weeks off with some sort of reduced pay - that is what is covered under the short-term disability plans of most employees through their employers. I was lucky enough the second time to have full pay for 6 weeks, and then I used 2 weeks of vacation time to get up to the eight weeks. With my first son, I think I took six weeks at 65% pay and then 2 weeks of vacation (although that may not have been right - it was a very small company with only 20 people working there, and I may have been able to negotiate something better than 65%). I may not have had to use the vacation time, now that I think of it because I had a c-section for both boys and I think that may have extended my short-term disability benefits for another 2 weeks.

The US is behind the rest of the world when it comes to worker's benefits like vacation, sick time, maternity benefits, etc. For new workers, most companies only allow 2 weeks vacation and most companies only recognize 6 holidays - New Year's Day, Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas. The federal government allows 10 holidays, adding Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Veteran's Day - some companies allow a combination of some or all of the additional. Also sick leave for new hires used to be only 5 days - it really depends on your employer for that, I don't think there is anything mandated. Most companies have short term and long term disability policies that can be purchased. Short-term disability usually starts after 2 weeks and goes to 6 months, and long-term covers the rest - of course, these typically only cover a percentage of your pay while you are ill. As you work longer, some companies will allow you to have more vacation and sick time. My husband has worked at the same company for 23 years, and he now has 25-30 days combined vacation and sick time. It varies by company and is not mandated by the government.

>226 charl08: Wow, that sounds really interesting.

>221 Deern: I keep telling my husband we need to move to Germany, but I can't get him to budge.

>225 charl08: So are all the libraries in the UK privatized, or only some of them? What about the British Library? I have to admit that I am often on the British Library website looking up something or other with regard to the Golden Age mysteries I read, as it is one of the best sources of information that I can find. I wish there were a way for me to be able to borrow books from them!

Jan 18, 10:32am Top

Wonderful thread - thank you.

Edited: Jan 18, 10:40am Top

>228 rretzler: not all libraries are private. Most are run by the council, or are run by a company on behalf of the council. Council budget is funded by tax income, partly from government, partly from the residents.
My council is currently looking to cut it budget and is consulting on cutting the number of libraries to 8, shutting 20 plus. Obviously everyone is up in arms about it. We're looking at making the library a community run affair, but it's all very difficult at present.

I will feel mildly smug about my 25 days holiday a year and 8 days public holidays. That's not extraordinarily generous either. Statutory minimum is 28 days (inc public holidays). It's never enough days how ever you cut it >:-)

Oh, to add: I used to have a reader's card at the British library. You need to show that you need to access the collection as you canot access the materials from other standard sources. So as a post doc in London, I was able to claim need for research purposes. The new British library building came on line while I was in London and it is a fabulous environment. It is lovely having a cup of tea in the shadow of the King's Collection, which are held in a glass sided cube, laid out so that the spines all face the outside of the cube. They look like an interior designer's dream of a library.

Edited: Jan 18, 1:35pm Top

>227 PawsforThought: It does sound good. I must mention it to my mum, as she loves all things women explorer related, and is far more knowledgeable about them than me.

>228 rretzler: Yikes. Remind me not to have a baby in the US of A. Our library system is still run by the council, but there have been noises about all kinds of other privatisation, so I wouldn't be surprised if a future party attempted it.

>229 patchygirl: What a lovely comment. Thank you. Please come back anytime.

>230 Helenliz: Hope that you are able to persuade the council to Back Off. Ours does "consultations" every so often, which they then ignore. The current one is to lose an evening so that there is only one late night opening a week. This on the basis they open late (only til 7) on Mondays and Fridays, and the library is usually dead as a dodo. And they wonder why noone goes to the library on a Friday night!!! (well, I quite often do, but I mean less bibliomaniac types).

Edited: Jan 18, 1:50pm Top

The boutique-size law firm where I worked originally was in the dark ages when it came to maternity/paternity leave. When I started there I was lucky to have a couple of days off after each child's birth, and the men lawyers prided themselves on getting right back to work. We didn't have any female lawyers become pregnant at that time, but 4-6 weeks was the policy.

When I became managing partner in the late 2000s, that was one of the first changes. 6 weeks paid medical leave for the women (our disability insurance covered that) plus 6 weeks paid maternity leave. The men, six weeks paid (including splitting up when they took it if they wanted - which was useful) and another six weeks unpaid if they wanted/needed it. The carrot I held out to the other partners for making the change - if we wanted to get the best lawyers to join the firm, we needed to make it attractive rather than discouraging.

So it's way better now. A friend made partner while she was pregnant, another good sign of progress.

Jan 18, 3:05pm Top

>232 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Good to know the change is going in the right direction.

Jan 18, 5:03pm Top

From Dead Lions

River said, ‘Untraceable poison. Dying message.’
‘Something you want to get off your chest?’
‘Seems a bit . . . unlikely.’‘
Tony Blair’s a peace envoy,’ Lamb pointed out. ‘Compared to that, everything’s just business as usual.’

Jan 19, 1:20am Top

I remember Mark warbling about The Heart's Invisible Furies and I'm again adding it to my wish list.

Last year Seattle implemented paid parental leave above and beyond what the state provides and mandates. For either/any new parent, they get an additional 12 weeks above the 12 weeks supported by FMLA. Actually, I don't know that all of it is paid, so I should be careful about saying that. It depends on what the person has accrued in terms of leave. But at least their job is secure. 24 weeks still isn't a lot compared to many places on earth but it's progressive by US standards.

Jan 19, 1:31am Top

Interesting discussion about maternity leave. I have always been amazed by how little leave there is in the US but I think that has a lot to do with their private enterprise philosophy. In Canada we are a bit more unionized with its attendant humanitarian principles.

Jan 19, 7:31am Top

>234 charl08: I've finished Slow Horses and very much enjoyed it, Charlotte. Thanks for the book bulllet. I have Dead Lions ready to go in my TBR pile. Thanks for helping me out of my reading funk.

Jan 19, 9:50am Top

Love the Rebel Girl reports, Charlotte. I have Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls for Scout.

Yes, Sweden is definitely a good place to have a baby. :) This is why we need more women in government.

Edited: Jan 19, 1:13pm Top

Ignore this one!

Jan 19, 1:13pm Top

It seems to me the Nordic countries are good for all sorts of supports not just maternity supports to create independence and happiness. I was blown away when I read The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen It was an outstanding book, a favourite. I have a daughter in Denver with 2 little ones and was scandalized at the lack of supports for a new mother.

Jan 19, 1:31pm Top

>235 EBT1002: All these different policies! Is Seattle known for social policies.

>236 Familyhistorian: I'm trying to guess what friends would have done with only a month or two leave.

>237 vancouverdeb: Glad you liked it Deborah. I'm enjoying the sequel too.

>238 BLBera: I gave my copy of that book away, and now I want one!
Amen re women in politics.

>240 mdoris: Sounds like a good book!

Jan 19, 3:17pm Top

Seattle is known for being a very progressive city. We have a high tax base which has its ups and downs but generally the citizenry is willing to tax itself for education, transportation, social services, and related matters. Unfortunately, having no income tax, the state relies solely on property taxes and regressive sales taxes. It's not an ideal system and I have to admit that I'm not always convinced that city departments are making the most fiscally responsible decisions with money they accrue through voter tax initiatives (a recent initiative to support services and programs for our burgeoning homeless population has resulted in three 6-digit salaried administrators but I haven't yet seen much in the way of services and programs for homeless folks). Still, I appreciate the overall progressive culture. Only 8% of Seattle voters voted for Trump.

Jan 19, 4:04pm Top

>241 charl08: I can't imagine so little leave when your life has just been turned upside down, Charlotte. The 25 weeks that I ended up with about 30 years ago, really didn't go very far. The year that is now offered is much more realistic.

>242 EBT1002: Hmm, progressive city on the west coast with a homeless problem - now that sounds kind of familiar, Ellen.

Edited: Jan 20, 4:46am Top

>242 EBT1002: I am regularly embarrassed by how little I know about the US. I will have to do some reading before my much anticipated trip to California towards the end of the year. Scotland gained income tax raising ability recently: interesting to see what they do with it, given devolved govt claims to commitment to social justice.

>243 Familyhistorian: I remember being surprised by how young the babies were who could be taken to my little cousin's nursery. I dont know if that's as widely available here. We see a lot of grandparents with little ones, which is great if you are keen but I wonder how easy that is if you're not so young or fit (or even have other things you'd rather be doing).

Edited: Jan 20, 5:37am Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

Crime reviews roundup

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado reviewed by Justine Jordan
"...a ragged glory to their formal experimentation and erotic fearlessness, and the gusto with which they reinvent horror, SF and fairytale tropes"

Sourdough by Robin Sloan reviewed by Suzi Feay
"Lois, his young protagonist, works at a tech startup in San Francisco, programming robot arms alongside her mostly male colleagues – “bony and cold-eyed, wraiths in Japanese denim and limited-edition sneakers”. They have no time to eat properly, subsisting on a nutritive gel named Slurry. Lois fails to thrive until a takeaway leaflet for Clement Street Soup and Sourdough flops through the door..."

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar reviewed by Hermione Eyre
"” Somehow the stiffness of the first dried, shrieking black mermaid in its bell jar only highlights the slippery wildness of the second mermaid, which is never anatomised or inspected, but remains a presence, a glow, an immanence. Trapped in her saltwater vat, she is a “great voluptuous sorrow rolling over”
There are deep currents roiling here, but the book takes its time setting them in motion. On the whole, investment by the reader is amply repaid. The author swims like a fish in Georgian cant and vocabulary."

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon reviewed by Hannah Beckerman
"...explores the inner lives of society’s outsiders. Eighty-four-year-old Florence Claybourne is a resident at the Cherry Tree home for the elderly and is beset by both nostalgia and dementia: “My mind started to wander. It can’t help itself. It very often goes for a walk without me, and before I’ve realised what’s going on, it’s miles away.” "

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey reviewed by Tessa Hadley
"Titch Bobs is the best car salesman in rural Victoria, and enters the trials as a publicity stunt for his new car showroom; he takes along his wife, Irene, mother of their two children. Driving a car is all in the bum, he unromantically explains, “and her bum is a perfect instrument for the job”"


I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan reviewed by Fiona Noble
"an uplifting, empowering novel with hope at its heart. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, he has a real ear for dialogue, fresh, funny and colloquial, making his teenagers real and relatable. However, it is the rooting of the narrative in Muzna’s coming-of-age that is the masterstroke. She’s a warm, vulnerable, complex heroine, and while her experiences offer a much-needed perspective on growing up as a Muslim teenager, her search for identity is a universal one."

I want All the Books.
As usual!

Jan 20, 5:47am Top

Hi Charlotte! I read about The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock in something I was cutting up last weekend, and reserved it. I'm glad they think it's good.

>225 charl08: I saw a reference somewhere to Carillion doing libraries and wondered how on earth that would work. It's interesting that there had been complaints for a long time, too. But I wonder where the council will suddenly magic up people who can do the job properly. The council running it will only be an improvement if they get proper staff. That has been one of my main issues with the "Idea Store" brand for Tower Hamlets libraries - a lot of the staff look like they have no idea what books do or why they should care. It's better than it was, but still not great. Of course, I hark back to the golden days of the local public library when I was a kid - all the full time staff were properly trained librarians who loved books and were passionate about reading them, talking about them, promoting them...

Jan 20, 5:55am Top

>246 susanj67: I've just reserved it too Susan. Although with a borthday coming up, if it's a beautifully designed hardback it will be hard to resist.

New Zealand news re PM's baby is rather nice.

Jan 20, 6:03am Top

That's a very positive article, although I suppose the Guardian has to be. And, of course, Winston Peters won't be in charge of THIS country...

Jan 20, 6:10am Top

>248 susanj67: I liked the comment about the speaker holding babies during speeches! Hard to imagine that in the H of P.

Jan 20, 10:30am Top

>245 charl08: Thanks for posting, Charlotte. They all look good this week! I'm trying not to look directly at them.

Have a lovely weekend.

Jan 20, 10:33am Top

Charlotte, the act of parliament that introduced the vote for women also increased the number of men who could vote by lowering the voting age to 21. Do you know if it is at this point the the property ownership requirement that was removed as well?

Jan 20, 11:57am Top

>245 charl08: Thanks for posting those reviews. I just purchased Her Body and Other Parties. Now I want The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, Three Things About Elsie, and especially I Am Thunder and I Won't Keep Quiet.

Edited: Jan 20, 12:31pm Top

>250 BLBera: Good luck with that Beth!

>251 Helenliz: This is from the parliament site:
Representation of the People Act 1918

Description :
A further Act to reform the electoral system was deemed necessary during the First World War as millions of returning soldiers were not entitled to the vote because of property and residential qualifications. This Act widened suffrage by abolishing almost all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. The Act also instituted the present system of holding general elections on one day, and brought in the annual electoral register. These changes saw the size of the electorate triple from 7.7 million to 21.4 million. Women now accounted for about 43% of the electorate. However, women were still not politically equal to men, as men could vote from the age of 21. The age 30 requirement was to ensure women did not become the majority of the electorate. If women had been enfranchised based upon the same requirements as men, they would have been in the majority, due to the loss of men in the war.

I'm going to sign up for this I think!

>252 EBT1002: Glad you are keeping me company with wanting All the Books!

Jan 20, 12:41pm Top

>251 Helenliz: and >253 charl08: That is so interesting! History about which I know too little.
I think the course looks good, too. Are you going to start it on February 5?

Edited: Jan 20, 3:22pm Top

We've got the launch of all the work celebrations on the 6th, so possibly won't get a lot done until the 7th!

I finished two books:
Dead Lions the second in the slow horses series about failed London spooks. In this one, old Russian spies come back from the Cold War. There's plenty of dark humour and plot twists. The author keeps up his habit of knocking off characters you've come to feel affectionate towards rather unexpectedly.

On Balance

I want my own copy of this book of poetry, not just because it has a beautiful reproduction of a historic islamic engineer's fountain from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices on the cover. There's also a rather great poetic inspiration to find out more about Lilian Bland, who built and flew her own plane in 1910.

And 'The Rope' about playing with your siblings on the front drive (opening below) which makes me want to call my sister and brother.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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