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2018 reading with PGMCC - Chapter I

This is a continuation of the topic PGMCC reading in 2017 - Volume 3 - The Sequel to The Sequel.

This topic was continued by 2018 reading with PGMCC - Chapter II.

The Green Dragon

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Jan 2, 4:00pm Top

Starting 2018 with A Rulebook for Arguments. I started it on December 31st but have only managed 20 pages so far.

If my posts this year appear more cogent than normal you will know where that came from.

Edited: May 18, 12:06pm Top

Read in 2018

Title Author Status Start/end date
Gladiators, Pirates and Games of Trust by Haim Shapira Reading 08/08/2017-
Confessions of the Pricing Man by Hermann Simon Reading 25/09/2017-
Who Rules the World? by Naom Chomsky Reading 20/10/2017-
A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston Reading 30/12/2017-
The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell Read 12/01/2018-06/02/2018 400pages
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro Abandoned 08/01/2018-25/01/2018 38pages
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers Reading 07/02/2018-
Confusion by Stefan Zweig Read 10/02/2018-14/02/2018 150oages
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Reading 14/02/2018 - 13/03/2018 360pages
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. 13/03/2018 -
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan 30-03-2018 - 08/04/2018 470pages
Only the Dead Can Tell 2018Apr
The Quiet American 2018May
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett ? - 17/05/2018 214pages
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 18/05/2018-

Jan 2, 4:15pm Top

Happy new year. You're one of my brightly shining stars.

I hope your current read includes advice on what to do if the other party to the argument hasn't read the book.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:33pm Top

>3 Meredy: Interesting proposition. I have not noticed a chapter on putting down unqualified opponents. It does have one comment, however, in relation to holding strong views.

"It is not a mistake to have strong views. The mistake is to have nothing else."

I like that one. Perhaps some variant of it can help when dealing with someone who has not read the book.

An old English teacher I had (who was totally useless and a legend in his own mind) used to refer to someone who, when a book was mentioned to him, would cry, "Quote, man! Quote! If you cannot quote the book then you have not read it properly."

I would not recommend this approach.

Perhaps something more along the lines of, "It is not a mistake your feeling so strongly about the book. The mistake is that you have nothing to support your baseless views."

Perhaps, "uninformed", instead of, "baseless", would be more appropriate.


I am sure if we work at this we can get it to a higher degree of bitchiness. :-)

Edited: Jan 4, 8:30am Top

There's a line attributed to Harlan Ellison that one is not entitled to one's opinion, but rather one is entitled to an informed opinion. (Please note that I have not been able to verify that attribution. I'm just putting it out there as a relevant item.)

Besides, wasn't there a wonderful Monty Python bit with a comment, Here, now, that's not an argument; that's just a contradiction. It wasn't the same one as Ministry of Silly Walks but it was in the same vein.

Best wishes for a happy new year, Peter, and many wonderful reading experiences.

Edited to fix a wayward bit of italicized formatting.

Edited: Jan 3, 3:07am Top

>5 jillmwo: Thank you for the good wishes.

I have heard the quote you mention but cannot recall to whom it was attributed when I heard it. Harlan Ellison is as good as anyone to attribute it to. In this day of the Internet, The Information Super Highway, and the World Wide Web (often abbreviated to, "Wobble-u, Wobble-u, Wobble-u"), we can attribute quotes to anyone and be sure of an equal number of supporting and disputing comments. Let us not ruin a good story with facts, real or otherwise.

Jan 2, 5:56pm Top

>5 jillmwo: Because everything is better with a little Python: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvcnx6-0GhA

Jan 2, 6:03pm Top

>5 jillmwo: That quote reminds me of this one: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Jan 2, 11:51pm Top

Now this is why I hang around this place!

Jan 3, 8:04am Top

Happy New Year, Pete.

The Corgi Saga reminds me of my Prof of yonks ago, a brilliant and highly respected scientist (genuinely). He had a corgi, the bane of juniors who had to go to his home to collect prac material. The wretched b****y animal would let visitors in, then bite chunks out of their ankles on the way out.

Jan 3, 9:27am Top

>10 hfglen:

Hugh, your corgi story is not dissimilar to my experiences with those demons of the canine world. All cute and cuddly looking, but infused with an essence of evil.

I wonder if garlic will keep corgis out of the house.

Jan 3, 9:29am Top

Aw, I love corgis! Our neighbors have one and he’s awesome! And every year there is a sled in our town’s Christmas parade pulled by a team of corgis. So cute!

Jan 3, 9:31am Top

Is it the shape of the corgi do you think? Dachshunds have similar temperaments. Do they resent their short stature? Their silly proportions? That ankles are their only targets?

Jan 3, 9:32am Top

>12 catzteach:
I love corgis!

Fried or boiled?

Happy 2018, catzteach. I hope it is a good one for you.

By the way, depending on how things work out with my son I may have a corgi for you now that I know you love them. :-)

Jan 3, 9:33am Top

>14 pgmcc: hahahahaha! :) I would gladly watch yours for a while. I don’t know if my cats would appreciate it much, though.

Jan 3, 9:54am Top

I blame you all for making me miss my exercise/stretching, etc. once again this morning. Too fun.

Jan 3, 5:32pm Top

Looking at the earlier conversation about opinions - the one that worries me most when I happen across it in RL is "You're all entitled to MY opinion because it's the only one that counts."

Having said that I wish you a Happy New Year, and look forward to reading your posts from my lurking post hiding somewhere but I shan't say where.

Jan 3, 10:56pm Top

*whispers * >17 Peace2: is behind the curtains, she thinks we can't see her there. Don't mention that her shoes are poking out.

Jan 4, 7:53am Top

Happy New Year! I can already tell that your thread is going to be an amusing and possibly dangerous place this year!

Jan 4, 9:42am Top

>19 Sakerfalcon: Many happy returns. Glad to have you along for the adventure.

Amusement and danger; an interesting combination. You make it sound like a James Bond plot...or possibly Johnny English.

Jan 4, 11:52am Top

>20 pgmcc:

Speaking of spies, are you recovered enough that we can expect another mission to France?

Jan 4, 12:11pm Top

>2 pgmcc: I'm envisioning pirates doing blind trust falls on board ship. Happy new year!

Jan 4, 5:19pm Top

>18 MrsLee: But if I click my heels together three times, who knows where I'll be before you get to me!

Jan 9, 9:14am Top

Reading has been held back by real life in the form of a very busy work environment, a lot of domestic duties at home, more car that bus journeys, and the commencement of my watching the boxed set of the new Twin Peaks.

Jan 9, 12:28pm Top


Jan 9, 1:59pm Top

>25 suitable1: I dunno. Twin Peaks, (anything Lynch, really), is a quality excuse reason in my book.

Lynch's movies, like good books, are brain food. Creepy & weird brain food, but still brain food...

Jan 9, 2:06pm Top

>26 ScoLgo: The weird has been stepped up in the Twin Peaks return, but so too has the humour and the over done melodrama. There are quite a few visual jokes and references to cultural icons.

Jan 9, 11:23pm Top

>24 pgmcc: I have yet to watch the new Twin Peaks. Is it on Netflix, I wonder.

Jan 10, 3:15am Top

>28 catzteach: I do not know. I treated myself to the DVD box set.

I am tempted to go back and re-watch the original. My younger son, 20 years of age, is avoiding watching to much of the new production because he now wants to watch the original first.

Jan 10, 9:30am Top

I enjoyed the Twin Peaks revival. It was so suitably weird and yeah, I appreciated the visual and audible references and jokes

Jan 10, 11:54pm Top

>29 pgmcc: Not on Netflix. I'll check Amazon Prime video. Although The Husband does have a birthday coming up.....

Jan 11, 6:52am Top

>31 catzteach: Number 1 in the bibliophile's book of rules: Always buy your spouce a book you want to read.

I am sure it applies to box sets too.

Edited: Jan 12, 3:00pm Top

>32 pgmcc: In my family of origin, we called that a boxing glove.

It seemed that my father knew an old joke (all my father's jokes were hoary with age) about a lad who told his mother that he didn't know what to give her for her birthday. She said, "Choose something nice enough that you would like to have it yourself." So he bought her a boxing glove.

Sometimes books and other things would come gift-wrapped and tied with a bow and bearing a little tag that said, "This is sort of a boxing glove, but..."

In my household we still honor the tradition with the occasional gift of something that we're just keen to introduce into our own vicinity. It has a respectable history, after all.

Jan 14, 3:39pm Top

>33 Meredy: You reminded me of one of my mother's jokes. When it was my birthday and a jumper or a nice shirt was unwrapped as my mother's gift to me she would say, "I was going to get you a book but I knew you had one."

Jan 15, 5:38pm Top

I have been starting books galore in 2018 but not getting through them. This is mostly due to the distractions of real life. Also, none of them have grabbed me by the proverbials and pulled by through hedges backwards. The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell looks like it might do that. It is one of his supernatural stories about a police unit that investigates supernatural events. If one is of a genteel nature I would not recommend it. It is not a gentle supernatural story like those that occur Lychford.

Edited: Jan 16, 4:14am Top

>35 pgmcc: This is on my Tbr pile. I loved London falling.

Jan 16, 10:37am Top

>35 pgmcc: & >36 Sakerfalcon: I'm in the same boat as Claire having to still get around to the 2nd in the series. It's certainly one I want to go back to though so I hope you enjoy it.

Jan 19, 10:07pm Top

*waves* So sorry to hear about your reading slump. You said none of the books you're starting are grabbing you "by the proverbials." Wonderful imagery there. Hope it's a very brief slump! Let the grabbing commence! :o)

Jan 20, 2:50am Top

>38 clamairy: I like the way you think.

Edited: Jan 26, 3:48am Top

38 pages into The Buried Giant and I have lost the will to carry on. I know this has been critically acclaimed but I have been worn down by drab inconsequential drivel. The description of the settlement indicates the author is not aware how a fire draws air to it. The descriptions of terrain demonstrate he does not know the morphology of the land where he has placed his story.

Apologies to anyone who loves this book but I am finding it a great big bore and am abandoning it.

Jan 25, 6:40pm Top

>40 pgmcc: Thank you for saving me the bother - I'd seen this on the library shelves and contemplated borrowing it. I shall leave it stand now and concentrate on other titles in its place - if I ever run out I can always go back and give it a try. I'm not sure that's going to be an issue any time soon.

Jan 25, 6:52pm Top

I'm not a big Ishiguro fan, so I haven't been tempted.

Jan 26, 3:13am Top

>40 pgmcc: Thank you for the note of realism. I have a pet hate in stories like that, namely when the author fails to realise that the action described requires rivers to flow uphill.

Jan 26, 3:49am Top

>43 hfglen: when the author fails to realise that the action described requires rivers to flow uphill.

That is a perfect comparison, Hugh.

Jan 26, 6:48am Top

I remember a bit of controversy when The buried giant was published because Ishiguro insisted that it wasn't a fantasy novel (which people interpreted as him saying that it was superior to a mere genre novel). I'd say he was correct - the majority of fantasy novels have worldbuilding that works!

Jan 26, 9:08am Top

>45 Sakerfalcon:
Claire, I like your perspective.

Jan 26, 9:15am Top

>45 Sakerfalcon: That comment almost put me off of trying The remains of the day, but I'm glad I went ahead and read it. I will continue to read his works when I come across them, but probably not seek them out.

>40 pgmcc: Good on you for knowing when to walk away. :)

Jan 26, 9:33am Top

>47 MrsLee: Your comment on your own thread about reading what you want helped me make the final decision.
Thank you!

Jan 26, 9:03pm Top

>40 pgmcc: You're in good company! I started reading The Buried Giant a month or so ago and I doubt I even made it to the 25 page point before I returned my digital loan. However, I did very much enjoy The Remains of the Day and I thought Never Let Me Go was pretty good.

Jan 26, 9:16pm Top

>49 clamairy: This is good to hear! The Remains of the Day was in my top 5 books the year I read it. The only other Ishiguro book I have on the TBR today is Never Let Me Go.

Considering everything I'm hearing here, I will likely skip The Buried Giant - at least until the world runs out of other books for me to read... ;)

Jan 27, 8:13pm Top

I have to share this picture of my granddaughter and the family dog. Her dad caught this picture using his phone.

Jan 27, 9:16pm Top

I love it!

Jan 27, 10:10pm Top

>51 pgmcc:

Great shot!

Jan 28, 12:46am Top

She’s a cutie!

Jan 28, 10:39am Top

>51 pgmcc: Adorable! What a pair, and what hijinks they will get up to!

Jan 28, 11:05am Top

She's beautiful.

Edited: Jan 28, 3:23pm Top

*thumbs up* I am charmed. (And that photo could easily be turned into a fabulous kind of Old Dutch Masters painting. It's got the play of color, composition and light.)

Jan 28, 3:46pm Top

>57 jillmwo: That struck me when I saw it. I am glad you like it.

Jan 28, 4:17pm Top

>51 pgmcc: lovely shot of both.

Jan 29, 6:43am Top

Lovely photo! They look as though they might be plotting mischief together.

Jan 29, 6:59am Top

>60 Sakerfalcon: I suspect that would be the case. I also suspect it will not be the last time.

Jan 29, 1:17pm Top

>51 pgmcc: - great picture - I love their expressions!

Feb 1, 7:44am Top

I am making steady progress through Paul Cornell's The Severed Streets horror detective novel about very bloody murders carried out by a supernatural villain in London.

It was a slow start but I am moving through it nicely now. Reading time limited to commutes on the bus.

Paul has used Neil Gaiman as a character in his story and I am not comfortable with that. Paul would know Neil from their being guests at conventions and other events, but I feel several things, namely:
1. Paul is using Neil Gaiman's name to tap into Neil's fan base. This appears a bit desperate to me.
2. Paul is paying homage to Neil which I believe diminishes Paul's own work.
3. The only Neil Gaiman work that I found to be better than mediocre was Good Omens which was a joint effort between Neil and Terry Pratchett, at the completion of which Terry said he would never work on another collaboration.
4. Paul does not need to pay homage to Gaiman.

I get the feeling that Paul was playing politics with this inclusion.

There are a number of murders involving the use of a cut-throat razor, so this book is not for the squeamish. If you like The Witches of Lychford do not assume you will like this book.

I described the first novel in this series, London Falling, as a cross between "The Sweeney" and "Buffy; the Vampire Slayer". I am not finding this one as good as the first. I think it will score a 3 star rating when I am finished. For me 3 stars means it is a good book.

My poor reading month means I have not completed a book in January. That is a first for me.

Edited: Feb 1, 1:01pm Top

>63 pgmcc: "My poor reading month means I have not completed a book in January. That is a first for me."
I'm so sorry.

Feb 1, 2:10pm Top

It has been in stark contrast to last year.

Well, the best has yet to come.

Feb 1, 6:00pm Top

>63 pgmcc:

Please don't get in a fight with the lawn mower just to get reading time.

Feb 1, 6:04pm Top

>63 pgmcc: I quite enjoyed the first book in the series so it's a shame to see you thinking the second isn't up to scratch.

Feb 1, 8:03pm Top

>66 suitable1: *guffaws* Sorry, Peter...

Feb 1, 10:18pm Top

>67 AHS-Wolfy: Do not be put trying it. I have been very busy at work and that could have affected my getting into this book. I do think however, that it is not as fresh as the first one.

I suspect it was influenced by the London riots of 2011 and the global Occupy movement.

Feb 1, 10:20pm Top

>66 suitable1: & >68 clamairy:
I am a bit cut up about that remark.

Feb 2, 3:49pm Top

I have just become a granddad for the second time.

Feb 2, 4:48pm Top

>71 pgmcc: Congratulations! (Somehow, I get the feeling you have been a grand dad all along though... ;)

Edited: Feb 2, 5:51pm Top

Yay grandkids

Feb 2, 6:04pm Top

>72 ScoLgo: Yes. I'm a born granddad.


Feb 2, 6:05pm Top

>73 suitable1:
So right, you are.

Feb 2, 7:29pm Top

>74 pgmcc: The grandest, even! Congratulations, Peter! :o)

Feb 2, 7:36pm Top

Yay! Someone new to buy books for!

Feb 2, 9:34pm Top


Feb 2, 11:51pm Top

>71 pgmcc: Wonderful! For both you and your grandchild. Pretty sure your child will think it's wonderful too. I loved watching my kids fall in love with my parents and vice versa.

Feb 3, 4:38am Top

>71 pgmcc: Congratulations! Hope you enjoy getting to know your newest family member!

Feb 6, 3:31am Top

Thank you all for the congratulations and good wishes.

Feb 6, 12:32pm Top

>71 pgmcc: Congratulations!

Feb 6, 1:31pm Top

Edited: Feb 7, 9:07am Top

Yay! I managed to finish a book; The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell.

It took me a long time getting into it. The last third was an exciting run to the climax. I have reservations about it, which I shall mention behind a spoiler mask, but I have to admit the adventure at the end ran along nicely enough.

I have several concerns, some of which I have mentioned in earlier posts, but which I shall include here for completeness.

Using Neil Gaiman as a character:
This does not sit well with me and I do not think it added anything to the story. It appears like a bit of name dropping in the hope of having the book picked up by some of the multitude of Gaiman fans.

Fan fiction feel
This manifested itself in a number of ways. One was the inclusion of Gaiman, but the other was the inclusion of the BBC headquarters and the use of the "Blue Peter" garden as locations in the story. Blue Peter is a children's magazine programme (I use this modern description, but it had not be coined when Blue Peter first broadcast in the 1950s) that is still running live, and which every school child in the UK would have watched. I certainly watched it as a child growing up in the 1960s. It is a UK cultural icon but would mean nothing outside the UK.

Slow start and characterisation
I found it very slow to get going and I took a long time to get to know the characters.

Enough of the negative
On the plus side, this book was prophetic in it description of media manipulation of the masses to initiate political change. I suspect the events of the novel were inspired by the London riots of 2011 and the role of social media in the organisation of those riots.

The media manipulation in the book was achieved by a powerful media magnate.

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first Quill novel. I have the third and will read that in the not too distant future.

I understand from Paul Cornell that the publisher has decided not to continue with the series.

Feb 7, 9:14am Top

I have started A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.

I enjoyed her first book and described it as a Science Fiction story for people who were not into Science Fiction. The heavy Science Fiction fan would scoff at it as a pastiche of many traditional tropes, but I look on it as an entertaining sampling of Science Fiction tropes populated with interesting characters, and promoting a tolerant approach to life and society.

I am only about twenty pages into "A Closed and Common Orbit" so I cannot say much at this stage.

Feb 7, 11:51am Top

>71 pgmcc: belated congratulations! We have really enjoyed having both to play with. Are your two grandkids siblings?

Feb 7, 12:47pm Top

>86 Jim53:
Thank you, Jim.
They are cousins. Their mothers are my daughters. One family lives in Ireland, just south of Dublin, and the other in Birmingham, England. I do not know how often they will get to see one another. The Birmingham family usef to live in Boston until last September, so England is closer, at least until Brexit kicks in.

Feb 7, 3:54pm Top

>87 pgmcc: I hope you'll get plenty of time with both of them. Our two are brother and sister; our younger son has not yet procreated, which is a good thing, since he also does not have a serious partner. Our grandkids have a cousin on their mom's side, and they really enjoy getting together. Having made the move to the frozen north, we're now just a four-hour ride from them, which is much better than the overnight trip that it used to be.

Feb 9, 2:42am Top

I an not feeling the love for A Closed and Commin Orbit. I am finding it a little mundane and it strikes me as being like stories written in the 1950s. I am finding the world building, viewpoint from kit exposé, and social atmosphere development all a bit laboured.

Feb 10, 9:26am Top

>89 pgmcc: Yes, it took me a while to get into it. I found myself racing through the AI's chapters to get to Pepper's story, which was much more interesting to me.

Feb 13, 5:08pm Top

Meet Fiona Patricia, my new granddaughter.

Feb 13, 5:24pm Top

Have you started reading to her yet?

Edited: Feb 13, 5:37pm Top

>92 suitable1: I haven't met her yet. I hope to meet her next Wednesday when I visit her at her home in Birmingham. Her father has been reading fantasy novels to her.

Feb 13, 7:08pm Top

What an incredible delight for you! And Fiona is a lovely name for a lovely little girl! Congratulations.

Feb 13, 7:13pm Top

>91 pgmcc: lovely! Congrats to your daughter and her husband. Fantasy novels sound like a good start.

Feb 13, 10:12pm Top

>91 pgmcc: she’s beautiful!

Feb 13, 11:26pm Top

What a cutie!

Feb 14, 1:33am Top

So cute!

Feb 14, 4:03am Top

Thank you everyone. I am looking forward to meeting her for the first time next Wednesday.

Feb 14, 4:19am Top

This is a short (153 pages) book, full of enthusiasm and passion. The title and the cover give an indication of the main topic of the book. This story is about the interplay of innocent intellectual infatuation, the naivety of youth, and the social constraints within which homosexuals lived. It is one of those books that helps the reader get into the heads of other people and to understand the world a little better. It is also a book about coming of age and a young man innocently becoming the subject of his mentor's passion and learning a painful lesson about life, love and the universe. (I added in the universe bit just to make three points.)

It is a compelling read and I must take my hat off to the translator (Anthea Bell) as she has managed to convey the urgency and emotion that Zweig must have built into the original.

Feb 14, 4:57am Top

Thanks for sharing the picture of your beautiful granddaughter! I hope you have a good visit and enjoy getting to know each other.

Feb 14, 4:57am Top

Feb 14, 8:43am Top

>91 pgmcc: Ah lovely! What a joy for you. :)

Feb 14, 2:06pm Top

>103 MrsLee: Thank you. She seems to be doing well.

Feb 15, 5:27pm Top

I have started Oliver Twist. I have never watched any version completely, so I know highlights and am aware of many of the characters. It is nice meeting them in their original medium.

Feb 16, 9:00am Top

>105 pgmcc: That is one I have not read, and always wanted to read, if only to understand all the references to it in other books and movies. Mayhaps I'll take it off the shelves to read next. I have a couple of books to finish first though.

Feb 16, 9:01am Top

Between Stefan Zweig and Charles Dickens my poor run with books has been brought to an end. Oliver Twist has grabbed me by the whatever and is dragging me through the pages.

Feb 16, 9:35am Top

>107 pgmcc: Oh! Oh! I can give you LOTS of names for your whatever now that I've read that section in my euphemism book!

Good to know, and making it more and more certain that that will be my next read. :)

Feb 16, 10:10am Top

>108 MrsLee: I have been reading your comments about that book with interest. It would make a great topic for a trans-Atlantic book club discussion. It must have plenty of juicey titbits.

Edited: Feb 26, 6:21pm Top

I was at a secondhand book fair today. The volumes that returned home with me are:

Laura's Bishop by George A. Birmingham
The National Being by George Russell
The Silent People by Walter Macken
The Rebel Countess by Anne Marreco
De Valera in America by Dave Hannigan

The reasons I picked these are:

"Laura's Bishop" - This is by an author whose works I have been collecting. I have a copy of this novel but the volume I got today has a dustcover, rare for books of this age, and it is a first edition. :-)

"The National Being" - George Russell, also known as A. E., is an author who was brought to my attention recently and this book contains his views on the origin of the nation of Ireland.

"The Silent People" by Walter Macken is a story I have not read before by a popular author of stories of the weird.

"The Rebel Countess" is about Countess Markievicz. She was sentenced to death for her part in the 1916 rising but her sentence was commuted in time to save her from execution. She went on to become the first woman elected to the British parliament. As a republican she did not take up her seat in Westminster as it would have required swearing allegiance to the British monarch, not something a republican can do. When the Irish Dail (parliament) was established she was elected to it and was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of the Environment. Her appointment to the Cabinet made her the first woman to be appointed as a Minister in a Western democracy.

"De Valera in America" is about De Valera's campaign in the USA to raise support (money) for the cause of Irish Independence.

Feb 25, 5:35pm Top

Congratulations to your family on your beautiful new arrival.

Feb 25, 5:40pm Top

>111 Peace2: Thank you.

Feb 25, 9:18pm Top

>91 pgmcc: She is perfect. Big hugs to all of you. :o)

Feb 26, 3:59am Top

>113 clamairy: Thank you, Clare.

Feb 26, 9:57am Top

>110 pgmcc: A pretty patriotic group of acquisitions. I remember reading some Russell many years ago; I think it was poetry. I remember a discussion of whether "AE" was a sign of his mysticism or a proofreader's mark that he liked.

Feb 26, 10:41am Top

>115 Jim53: A friend of mine runs a small press, The Swan River Press, which is dedicated to the publication of works of the weird. He published a book of Russell's poetry last year and that was my first introduction to AE.

I was aware that AE had views on the political situation in Ireland so when I spotted this book yesterday I thought it a good opportunity to find out more about his views. I also like the word "polity" and his using it in the title was an added bonus.

Feb 28, 10:39am Top

The snow arrived and Shadow, panther like, explored the garden with more snow than he has ever seen in his life.

Feb 28, 11:48am Top

Lovely!!! So how much snow did you end up getting?

We don't let our cats out. Not only are there too many things that want to eat them, they also decimate the wild bird population. :o(

Edited: Feb 28, 5:56pm Top

>118 clamairy: So far we have had about six inches but we are promised another nine inches tonight. Tomorrow night is supposed to be the worst of the snow storm.

I got into work on a bus this morning but only stayed long enough to collect my laptop and return home. By chance I had the same driver going in and coming out. I got on the bus to go home and he said, "Have you finished a full day's work already? I wish I could go home."

I believe the buses have stopped service now. They have already announced there will be no bus services tomorrow and probably not on Friday. Working from home for now.

We let the cats out for a while each day. They have bells on their collars to give the birds warning.

Foxes are about the only things near towns in Ireland that would take a cat for dinner. I am not sure if pine martens, minks, or stoats would take them, although I would suggest a mink would have a go.

Feb 28, 3:27pm Top

Good luck with the snow!

When I lived in NH I had a kitty who went out, he was a big fluffball like yours and hated it when snow got stuck in his belly fur. Here I don't dare let the girls out. They'd be lunch in 10 minutes. Coyotes, foxes, owls, eagles, fishers - they'd all be interested.

Feb 28, 4:10pm Top

>120 Bookmarque: Thank you for the good wishes.

The country has decided to close down for a couple of days. The National Emergency Coordination Group (isn't that a mouthful) is advising people to stay indoors from 4pm tomorrow until 12noon on Friday. The Met Office has issued a Red Alert for that time period and we are advised to stay warm and not to venture out.

Your domestic cats appear to have a tough time in the wild. What's a "fisher"? Is it a type of bird?

On my visit to Boston I was delighted to see birds that we do not have. They included the Cardinal and the North American Goldfinch. There are Goldfinches in Ireland but they are totally different to the North American variety.

Edited: Feb 28, 4:55pm Top

A fisher is a large mustelid or weasel. Sometimes called a fisher cat which is silly. It's bigger than a mink, but smaller than a wolverine. They climb trees and roam over large territories and will eat almost anything they can catch. I've only ever seen one once, at a distance, but have heard them scream in the night. It sounds like a woman being murdered. They're pretty cool.

They have very large tails and climb trees. I think I followed some tracks the other day and it went up a few trees on its merry way.

Oh and unfortunately, I didn't take that photo. Maybe someday.

Feb 28, 5:55pm Top

>122 Bookmarque: Thank you for the lesson. I had never heard of a fisher before.

Feb 28, 6:09pm Top

>122 Bookmarque: - I've seen one fairly close, but was not able to get a picture. It didn't stick around very long. They do look very cat-like, but with shorter legs. Not as cute as martens, though.

Feb 28, 6:41pm Top

Agreed, martens are the cutest weasels.

Feb 28, 11:07pm Top

>117 pgmcc: that’s a cool pic! We have two kitties that don’t mind the snow. The other two go out and come back in when they realize it’s cold and wet.

>122 Bookmarque: The Fisher is cute! I wonder if those live in Oregon.

Mar 1, 9:10am Top

My kitties are both inside right now due to high winds and rain. I like them to be inside during the night, but they will venture outside during the day, one more than the other. The other morning the small female insisted on going out while it was still dark, but a few minutes later I heard an owl hooting very close to the house and looked out to see kitty huddled against the glass door. She was very eager to come inside when I opened the door. I don't know what sort of an owl it was, or if owls could manage a cat (this is the smallest adult cat I've ever owned), but I would rather not put it to the test.

Stay warm and dry, Peter. I KNOW you have lots of good books to tide you through. How is Oliver Twist coming along? I was sure I had that one, but apparently not. I have several other unread Dicken's stories though.

Mar 1, 10:16am Top

>127 MrsLee: Oliver Twist is coming along nicely, thank you very much.

Mar 2, 3:17pm Top

>122 Bookmarque: It sounds like a woman being murdered. They're pretty cool.

Okay then.

Mar 2, 3:42pm Top

The two things have no direct relationship. Their call is a little scary, but they're wonderful creatures. I love weasels anyway so I guess that makes me nuts.

Mar 2, 4:38pm Top

>130 Bookmarque: "I love weasels anyway"

You’d love some of my colleagues, then. They don’t typically scream like a woman being murdered but sometimes, when they weasel out of work, they make me want to. ;)

I enjoyed seeing the fisher picture, by the way. I’d never heard of them. It is pretty cute!

Mar 3, 4:12am Top

Hope the worst of the weather is passed and that you and yours are safe and warm.

Mar 8, 3:48am Top

>132 Peace2: It looks like we are over the worst for the moment. There are still some heaps of slush and ice hanging around. I hope they are not waiting for more snow.

On the positive side, being snowed in for a number of days helped us clear out items we have had in our freezer for some time, "Just in case". Well, the "Just in case" happened and we dined well.

Note to self: Need to refill the freezer with things we will forget we have.

Mar 8, 9:14am Top

>133 pgmcc: I should probably be snowbound for a week, or quite possibly a month if I take my pantry into consideration as well. Glad you made it through without any major problems.

Mar 11, 6:40am Top

>133 pgmcc: Glad to hear things are looking up and what a perfect opportunity to focus on those things in the freezer (I've done the same just recently - although without the being trapped by snow part!)

Mar 12, 10:28pm Top

>133 pgmcc: Well, you've reminded me I really need to start eating what's in my freezers soon. :o/

Loved all of your snowy photos on Facebook, btw.

Mar 14, 12:58pm Top

It took me about a month to read Oliver Twist. I enjoyed the book but I probably did not get as much enjoyment out of it as I have from other books by Dickens because I was fairly familiar with the story having seen parts of the 1960s film and picked it up from other sources. That being the case, I still enjoyed it.

While the story highlighted the plight of poor Oliver Twist, I could not but believe it was also a book intended to highlight the misogyny of the age as well as the other social injustices of the time. That could be pure fancy and there certainly is a case that Dickens was not the best example of a man who treated women in a perfect fashion.

Before leaving discussion of this book I want to mention a cartoon that demonstrates how this book was related to a period of writer's block experienced by Dickens. The cartoon shows Dickens sitting at a bar. He laments to the barman that he suffering from writer's block. In his depression he orders a martini. The barman asks, "Olive or twist?" Dickens has an epiphany.

Mar 14, 1:01pm Top

I have started Thinking, Fast & Slow. It is a non-fiction book dealing with how our minds actually work and how irrational decisions are made. The main focus is on bias and how we can mitigate against it in others and, more importantly, ourselves.

Mar 14, 4:48pm Top

>137 pgmcc: A martini will do that for you.

Mar 14, 8:28pm Top

>137 pgmcc: & >139 MrsLee: Yes, it will! 🍸

Edited: Mar 24, 12:07pm Top

Are we still thinking about Thinking Fast and Slow? Waiting for the verdict as it might be something I would pick up.

P.S. Dark confession time: I could never get into Oliver Twist either as a work of fiction, a character, or as a film. I do fret that my total lack of engagement suggests a certain shallow disregard for human PAIN.

Edited: Mar 27, 5:52am Top

>141 jillmwo:
Yes, we are. I am reading it slowly due to limited availability of reading time, but that is proving beneficial to my taking on the content.

I was afraid it was going to be a book that explained an interesting premise or hypothesis but then spent the rest of the volume saying the same thing over and over again.

I am glad to report that this has not been the case to date. Each new chapter introduces another aspect or application of the principles involved which is new and worthy of consideration. Hopefully it will continue in that fashion.

Mar 27, 6:19am Top

>141 jillmwo:

I do have one or two (three, actually) reservations about Thinking, Fast and Slow, but on the whole I think it has a lot to offer.

My reservations are born from the following points made by the author.

1. He was talking about experiments relating to people's ability to do statistical analysis intuitively. In the run up to his description he states, "We already knew that people are good intuitive grammarians:..."

I think there is ample evidence showing how this assertion has become less reliable than once it might have been.

2. For his intuitive statistics experiments he used psychologists, and stated that psychologists are not very good statisticians and that they will always be prejudiced in favour of their preferred outcomes.

I thought this was rather a sweeping statement and that it undermines an immense amount of psychological research that depends heavily on statistical analysis for it findings. I thought about this and how peer reviewing of academic papers in psychology would help address this issued if it were true, but then I realised that, according to the author, all the peers would be poor at statistics too. I am afraid his assessment of his colleagues' statistical ability calls the findings of the whole discipline into question and it undermines his findings if he has, as he would be expected to, relied on statistics to verify the veracity of his results.

3. He has just (i.e. in a page I recently read) commended the content of the book, The Wisdom of Crowds. This contains ideas that were popular a few years ago when the book first came out and its arguments and anecdotes appeal to what is called the System 1 thinking in, "Thinking, Fast and Slow", i.e. the thinking process that relies on intuition and does not analyse or consider issues in a sceptical fashion. The principles in, "The Wisdom of Crowds", have been discredited since the book's publication.

What I am saying about, "Thinking, Fast and Slow", is that it is an interesting read and contains plenty of thought provoking material, but one must be careful and watch out for things that are not 100% perfect. To use the book's terminology, one must use one's System 2 thinking while reading this book as it contains some of the traps he describes in the text. I would like to say he has done this deliberately but I fear it was the author's lazy thinking that put these disconcerting comments in the book.

I have only read 90 pages so far, but I am still keen to read on.

Mar 27, 4:44pm Top

>143 pgmcc: Your points of concern seem valid. It does sound like it would be an interesting read, but OTOH, it doesn't sound like something I must order immediately as the hot book of the year and the NEXT BIG THING.

Mar 30, 8:09am Top

Standing in the queue for my flight to France. Another week of debriefing and training in the home by the lake. Advance party travelled by surface transport and brougt all necessary equipment, including The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Transmissions may be erratic until contact made with local network.

Mar 30, 1:59pm Top

Hope training goes well and suitable updates for operations are received still leaving plenty of time to enjoy la Belle France

Apr 2, 6:06am Top

La Belle France is Belle mais froid. Jumpers are required most if the time but the food and the pace of life make up for that. The sun comes out to play in the afternoon and we have a little sun-trap that enabled me to sit out reading for a couple if hours.

I am enjoying Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. It is a locked room murder mystery set in a high-tech future in which people, if they are rich enough, can transfer to other bodies to extend their lives by centuries. The hero is hired by a billionnaire to investigate who murdered him. Yes, you read that correctly.

Good entertainment fodder with strong characters of every gender and some underlying humour that pops its head up every so often. It is a bit like a detective nour story.

I did not use a spoiler mask because I do not think I gave anything away other than the premise. There is another layer of story to do with the main protagonist's history.

I am enjoying the leisurely read.

Having watched the first two episodes of the Netflix version I am finding it interesting spotting the little changes they have made to the story to put it on screen. One thing I notice us that the look of the screen version owes a lot to the original Blade Runner. That is not something I am picking up from the novel.

Apr 2, 6:38am Top

>147 pgmcc: I’m glad to read you’re enjoying Altered Carbon. It’s on my list, and I bought the first book almost 2 years ago, but for some reason it hasn’t found a place in my reading schedule yet. Maybe I should try to remedy that this year.

Apr 2, 7:54am Top

>147 pgmcc: Sounds like an interesting one to consider for future wishlists!

Edited: Apr 2, 10:36am Top

>147 pgmcc:

Jumpers are required - sweaters?

Apr 2, 7:29pm Top

>150 suitable1: Oh, right. I thought it was code for something going on in maneuvers.

Apr 2, 8:09pm Top

>150 suitable1:, >151 MrsLee: Maybe he’s wearing this kind of jumper most of the time, and this kind of jumper while sitting in the sun-trap?

Or maybe he’s just eating a lot of frog legs? Or jumping up and down to keep warm.

Apr 3, 7:14am Top

Today the temperature soared to 14C. I might even start to strip off my jumpers.

Da! Da! Da! Da!
Da! Da! Da! Da!
Da! Da! Boom! Boom!
Da! Da!Boom! Boom!...

Apr 3, 8:48pm Top

>147 pgmcc: - Enjoy! Stalking you on Facebook for photos.

>152 YouKneeK: - I wore the second kind of jumper as a child. Thanks for the reminder! :o)

Apr 5, 7:19pm Top

>153 pgmcc: I am taken aback by such goings-on. Surely that would draw more attention than is properly warranted when operating -- ahem -- undercover?

Apr 7, 7:46am Top

>155 jillmwo: That depends on my uncover role.

Edited: Apr 10, 9:24am Top

>155 jillmwo: Speaking of stripping, did the film, "The Full Monty", ever make it to North America?

It is the tale of a group of men from Sheffield who were made redundant when the British Steel business collapsed and Sheffield, the heart of British steel manufacture, became an unemployment hotspot.

These men were trying to imagine how they could make some money and when their wives went wild to see a show with The Chippendales, a group of male strippers, they had an inspiration.

It is hilarious, sad, and heart warming. Recommended. It also has one of the coolest soundtracks of any film.

ETA: Given some of the comments from some of the ladies of the Green Dragon in other threads I know that many of you would enjoy this particular film.

Edited: Apr 10, 10:14am Top

>157 pgmcc: Yup. Saw it many years ago. A wonderful film. 😊 My favorite scene is when several of the guys are waiting in a queue and one of the songs from their routine starts playing. 😂

Apr 10, 11:20am Top

>158 clamairy: I love that scene.

Apr 10, 6:17pm Top

>157 pgmcc: and >158 clamairy: Okay, now I have to go hunt down this movie. I remember the commercials for it, but I never got to see it when it was in theaters.

Apr 11, 9:19am Top

>157 pgmcc: Adding to my Amazon Prime queue, for the next movie night with my friend. :)

Apr 11, 2:11pm Top

My son is in a job interview process. He had a second stage telephone interview last week. He was asked what he was most proud of on his curriculum vitae (resumé). His response: "Good question! Probably the font."

It took a while but the interviewer started to laugh. He laughed so much he put himself on mute until he got himself back under control.

Apr 11, 2:28pm Top

Did your son cut his own font?

Apr 11, 2:48pm Top

>163 suitable1:

When the interviewer had composed himself my son told him he was proudest of the time he set up a company to train school children computer coding.

Apr 12, 3:38am Top

>162 pgmcc: That's a great response! I wish him the best of luck.

Hope your mission in France is going well.

Apr 12, 4:10am Top

>165 Sakerfalcon:
Mission over. Cloak and dagger put away until the next time. Mixed weather but a nice time was had.

Any secret missions in planning for you?

Apr 12, 6:10am Top

>166 pgmcc: I will be heading to Philadelphia in early June, but sadly couldn't manage to overlap with MrsLee. So that meeting will have to take place another time.

Apr 12, 9:16am Top

>167 Sakerfalcon: Rats. So close. Perhaps we could leave coded messages for each to find? Or find the residues of auras? :)

Apr 12, 9:27am Top

>168 MrsLee: There are so many used bookstores in Philly that we could create quite a trail of clues by hiding messages in books!

Apr 12, 9:28am Top

>167 Sakerfalcon: & >168 MrsLee:
Aura residue is good.

Claire, that happened me when I went to Boston. I ended up having a LT meet up in The Shire secondhand book warehouse in a place called Franklin. I shall dig out the group photograph and post it here later.

Apr 12, 10:08am Top

>167 Sakerfalcon: jillmwo is in the Philadephia are I belueve. She may be around for a meet up.

Apr 13, 7:20am Top

>171 pgmcc: That would be great! I will be seeing Laura from the Virago group, so I shan't miss LTers entirely. Ironically I'm travelling via Dublin but won't have time to leave the airport. I shall wave to you though.

Apr 13, 8:53am Top

>172 Sakerfalcon: I shall wave back.

Apr 13, 7:14pm Top

>157 pgmcc: >158 clamairy: I saw it years ago. Great film! Clam, that’s my favorite scene, too. 😁

>164 pgmcc: I have learned how to code by default this year: I’ve been using the Tynker app to teach my students. I can tell you what a nested loop is. 😊

Edited: Apr 23, 3:00am Top

Altered Carbon

Novel and Netflix adaptation:

Interesting entertainment fodder. This is a murder mystery with a difference; it is in a Science Fiction setting and the main character is hired by his client to find out who murdered his client. Spoiler mask for a little while:

The key Science Fiction elements used in this story are:
- People can have their consciousness transferred into another body, or, as referred to in the story, sleeve.
- Victims of the legal system, i.e. crooks, are sentenced to a period of storage as punishment for their crimes. Their consciousness is put in storage, but their sleeve may be bought by someone else.
- When people are released from storage, which may have been for a couple of hundred years, they can be put into whatever sleeve is available.
- Very rich people have clones of their body grown and can virtually live for ever by transferring into a younger sleeve when the one they are using is getting of a bit.
- The very rich control everything and, due to their longevity, continue to control everything.
- Rich people have their consciousness backed up regularly so that in the event of something happening to them they can be downloaded into another sleeve without losing much in the way of memories.

A key theme in the story is the inequality between the very rich and the not very rich.

Differences between the book and the Netflix adaptation:

The Netflix adaptation had some fundamental character changes but did not change the theme of the overall plot. The adaption did change the plot significantly in terms of detail but the overall theme of the screen version was the same as the book.

I am a person who considers a book and its adaptation as separate entities and have long since moved away from the position of rubbishing a screen adaption because it did not follow the book exactly. Had I not been of such a disposition I would have found much to complain about in relation to the liberties taken by the screenwriters. They changed characters, added characters, removed characters, and made some peripheral historical events core to the story. Despite all the alteration it still told basically the same story as the book.

A.I. Hotels

There are A.I. hotels in the story. Basically they are hotels run by A.I.s. An interesting change from the book that was in the screen version, was making the character of the A.I. in the hotel where the main character stays a fan of Edgar Allen Poe. The hotel is called The Raven.

This was good entertainment but some people may not find it to their liking as there is a degree of sex and there is a fair amount of violence.

I enjoyed both the book and the Netflix version but I do not know if I shall be chasing after the subsequent books written by Richard K. Morgan. This book did pull me out of a reading rut, so I might try the next one if I find my reading slowing down, something which I have noticed in recent months.

I will give this book 3.5 stars for entertainment quality and enjoyment value but, as I said above, it will not be everyone's cup of tea.

Apr 22, 4:21pm Top

Neighbour popped by to borrow a few grubs.

Apr 22, 7:42pm Top

>175 pgmcc: I’ve made myself a note to come back and read the spoilery bits after I’ve read the book myself. Meanwhile, I enjoyed reading about your general impressions. Between your review and the review Narilka posted a while back, I’m not too sure if I’ll like this or not, but I have it tentatively slotted it for late summer.

>176 pgmcc: Lovely pictures, and how generous of you to share those tasty-looking grubs with your neighbor. :)

Apr 22, 7:53pm Top

>176 pgmcc: I love the shots of your friendly robin!

Apr 22, 8:59pm Top

What a lovely bird. Not closely related to the bird we call robin, is it? What's it's song like? I must run off and google this.

Apr 22, 9:22pm Top

Oh my. That photo of the grub in its mouth is amazing!

Apr 23, 3:10am Top

>177 YouKneeK: I watched the first two episodes of the Netflix and then sought out the book. As with most book/screen adaptations the book contained mych more than the show and things were simplified for the viewing public. In relation to the sex and violence, they were integral parts of tge story on the book. The sex, however, while integral to the story plot, did verge towards male fantasy land.

I would suggest you use the library to get a feel for the book before investing hard earned cash in a book you may not enjoy.

In relation to sharing the grubs with the neighbour, I saw them as due remuneration for the robin's modelling work.

Apr 23, 3:11am Top

>178 jillmwo: I am glad you like them.

Apr 23, 3:19am Top

>179 clamairy: The bird called a robin in North America is related to thrushes, not what we call robins. Our full name for the bird is "robin redbreast". I did a bit of digging and according to the Internet, that totally unreliable, unverifiable source of information, the first record of the robin redbreast being called a robin redbreast rather than simply a redbreast was in the 1950s. I was born in 57 and my parents never knew the bird as anything other than a robin redbreast.

The robin, as in my picture, is a traditional emblem on Christmas cards here, a non-religious seasonal icon. Being brazen little birds, and having a very distinctive appearnce in snow, they are commonly seen around Christmas when any feed is put out for birds.

Apr 23, 3:21am Top

>180 MrsLee: I am glad you like it.

How did you and your friend enjoy Tge Full Monty? Is she still speaking to you? :-)

Apr 23, 7:36am Top

>175 pgmcc: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the book of Altered carbon, as I don't generally like a lot of sex and violence in my reading. But something about the world and the plot pulled me in and kept me hooked. The one part that I almost literally couldn't stomach was what happened to the dog.. I don't think I'd want to see the book on screen though, which is just as well as I don't have access to Netflix.

>176 pgmcc: Lovely photos! Robins can be very obliging when it comes to posing for pictures.

Apr 23, 9:24am Top

>184 pgmcc: lol, we both enjoyed the movie very much, once we put subtitles on! Couldn't understand a word of it without them. There are a lot more layers to that movie than clothing layers. We were impressed. Actually, the nudity was very mild. We were trying to imagine what the implications would be were it women in the predicament instead of men. A very different movie I think, with the women not coming out of it so good.

Apr 23, 10:10am Top

>186 MrsLee: I am glad you enjoyed the movie. Sorry you were disappointed that the nudity was so mild.

I thought the accents might cause a problem but didn't want to put anyone off watching it.

Apr 23, 12:43pm Top

>186 MrsLee: - You need to check out the movie Calendar Girls. This is a description for it I found online "A Women's Institute chapter's fundraising effort for a local hospital by posing nude for a calendar becomes a media sensation." Based on a true story.

Apr 28, 5:47am Top

I had a road to Damascus moment in my favourite independent bookshop yesterday. The man ahead of me in the queue at the counter was talking to the attendants about his book buying and how his wife would be coming into the shop and telling them to stop selling him books. I realised that I shared this book-buying addiction with this gentleman and informed the attendants that their feeding our addiction put them in the position of being drug dealers.

Apr 28, 7:13am Top

And their response?

Apr 28, 9:05am Top

>190 hfglen:

They showed him the clearance shelves.

Apr 28, 9:28am Top

>190 hfglen: & >191 suitable1:
One of them is quite elderly and she did not know how to react so she just took my money and slipped my purchase across the counter in a bag, the other one said, "Oh, that'll do wonders for my street cred."

May 10, 1:46pm Top

>192 pgmcc: Perfect reaction! (The second one, not the first.)

>191 suitable1: Bwahaha!

May 10, 9:23pm Top

>157 pgmcc: My wife and I enjoyed The Full Monty. I liked the scene that everyone notices, when the guys are in the queue, but for some reason I also found the business with the garden gnomes quite funny.

May 11, 3:31am Top

Yay! I finished a book. The Quiet American by Graham Greene. I knew next to nothing about the book before reading it other that it existed and, I assumed, was about a spy.

It is a fascinating book. It is set in Vietnam when the French were fighting the Vietmein. My recollection of the news in the 1960s was about the US involvement in Vietnam but I knew very little about the French involvement before that other than it being a French colony where things went sour.

The story is about the relationship between a long-in-the-tooth English journalist and a recently arrived young Bostonian working at the US legation, the quiet Ameican of the title.

Graham uses the relationship between the men and what they see and do to show the horrors of war and discuss the motivations of the political forces involved and their total disregard for the people on the ground and the people they send out to fight for them.

Another major theme is the treatment of women. To avoid spoilers I shall not go into much detail, but the story shows how little either man really thinks about what the women in their lives really want.

I enjoy Graham Greene books. So far I have read Brighton Rock, The Third Man, and Our Man in Havanna. "The Quiet American" and "Our Man in Havanna" are set in times that I knew of but did not know much about, namely Vietnam before US involvement and Cuba before the revolution.

The book is only 180 pages long but it certainly packs a punch. Greene really brings out the personal involvement in life. A very thought provoking book.

Now I am moving on to Dashell Hammet's Maltese Falcon. I have watched and enjoyed the film many times and have seen the 1982 paraody, "The Black Bird", twice. The latter is hard to get but it is well worth watching if you know "The Maltese Falcon", can put up with relatively low budget mivies, and like a good laugh.

By the way, I also finished a murder mystery by Alex Gray, called Only The Dead Can Tell.

May 11, 3:54am Top

I have just read the Introduction to The Quiet American and must say there is very little I would disagree with in it. It was written by Zadie Smith in 2004.

By the way, reading the Introduction to a novel after having read the book is my standard and recommended approach. I have found so many so-called introductions that are filled with spoilers that I have given up reading them first. Yes, I have ranted about this before and shall rant about it again. When one has strong views that are based on empirical evidence one is allowed to rant about them because there are so few things in life that one can be certain of and can present evidence to support one's position.

Edited: May 11, 4:44am Top

>196 pgmcc: I agree with your views on introductions. Not only can they be filled with spoilers but also they can give the wrong impression of a book. I lent my mum Elizabeth and her German garden because it's her kind of book, but she gave it back to me saying "I didn't like it at all. The introduction said it was a very funny comedy and I didn't think it was funny at all." If she hadn't had that expectation I think she would have liked it a lot.

May 11, 4:49am Top

>197 Sakerfalcon: I feel your pain.

I have found one accademic editor who has published books with collections of stories and has written introductions. The very first thing he states in his introductions is that you should not read the introduction before reading the stories. He then tells the reader to go read the stories and come back later.

I shall hunt out his name later.

May 11, 7:06am Top

>194 Jim53: Since we started discussing The Full Monty I have been hunting for our DVD to watch it again. I have forgotten the gnome scene so you have given me a fresh impetus to search again this weekend.

May 12, 5:51pm Top

>195 pgmcc: That is on my radar to borrow from the library - I'm pretty sure it was one of the ones I read when I was at college twenty some years ago, along with The Power and the Glory but I don't really remember much about them beyond thinking they were good. Early last year I read Travels with my Aunt which I enjoyed.

May 12, 6:06pm Top

>200 Peace2: I have many Greenes yet to read. Joys stretching into the future.

I have discovered that when I now think about my time in college I can no longer use the phrase, "twenty some years ago". I have to double the number.

May 12, 8:20pm Top

>201 pgmcc: I'm hanging on to the 20 some as long as I can (thirty some is approaching far faster than I'd like right now)

May 13, 9:36pm Top

>201 pgmcc: You're restricting yourself to single digits for the "some" part, which seems unnecessarily restrictive.

May 15, 4:02pm Top

I am really enjoying The Maltese Falcon. Bogart nailed the character of Sam Spade.

I am not sure what I am enjoying about it; is it the nostalgia of reading a book about such a stereotypical movie genre? is it remembering Bogart and Lorre, and all the other great actors who brought the stereotypes to life?

Edited: May 15, 5:01pm Top

I have only seen the movie once, but have read it several times. I have two copies. Not so much a detective novel as a caper, kind of. Spade gets manipulated six ways from Sunday and we watch him struggle to get out of it. So fun.

I’m reading in a similar vein - Playback - Chandler’s last Marlowe novel.

May 15, 5:09pm Top

>205 Bookmarque: I have all the Chandler novels to hand. I got them for my wife many years ago with the intention of my reading them too. I am only getting around to that now. I think those old detective noir stories are real comfort reading. They are so over the top and do not pretend to be anything else.

May 15, 5:50pm Top

They are wonderful! My favorite is The Little Sister. I hope you get to them soon. So fun!

Edited: May 15, 8:53pm Top

>204 pgmcc: That's the only Hammett I've read, and I did enjoy it. The movie was very fuzzy in my mind when I read it for a book group.

So happy you're reading without issues. :o)

May 17, 12:06am Top

>208 clamairy: While I am having more success with my reading I have been slow on reviewing and commenting about the books I have read. Baby steps! :-)

That is a fantastic butterfly photograph you have on facebook and twitter. Really beautiful.

May 17, 3:35am Top

In London for a flying visit. 06:20 morning flight; 20:00 evening flight home. Travelling light.

Work from 09:00 to 17:00.

Beautiful day. Admired the sights from the plane. Landed in City Airport in the heart of London.

Another secret mission.

Don't tell anybody.

May 17, 9:21am Top

I remember reading all of Dashiell Hammett's books about 15 years ago. I enjoyed them, but not enough to keep on my shelves. What I remember is the feel, the nostalgia of the films and such. I think they are like Agatha Christie for me, in that I can read them any time, but don't feel the compulsion to visit the characters frequently. Glad you are enjoying them!

May 17, 1:53pm Top

>211 MrsLee: The Maltese Falcon is one of the films I have told my younger son, currently 21, is a myst see. I have dug out the dvd and hope to watch it with him this weekend. He probably will not appreciate it, but then again, he might love it.

Edited: May 17, 3:29pm Top

>209 pgmcc: Thank you. I think I'll add it to my journal thread. >210 pgmcc: HAVE FUN!

May 18, 8:32am Top

>212 pgmcc: I hope you both enjoy it! Remember the popcorn and possibly a martini or some such cocktail to go with the mood. I watched many a classic movie with my daughter when she lived at home and she loves them as I do, my boys have yet to appreciate the noir films. Their taste runs more to the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy and the like. :)

May 18, 12:09pm Top

I have started Nicholas Nickleby and have been thrown head first into the delightful prose of Mr. Dickens.

May 20, 8:34am Top

Hi Peter!

I didn’t realize I wasn’t following you this year until you posted on the Nicholas Nickleby thread. Sometimes I miss my mind.

Briefly – darling pic of granddaughter and dog, congrats on your new granddaughter, Altered Carbon is on my wishlist, I now know the difference between American Robins and Robin Redbreasts (thrush vs chat), I loved The Quiet American when I read it in 2008, and …. (mostly) caught up.

So glad you’ve started Nicholas Nickleby and are enjoying Mr. Dickens’ delightful prose.

Now I’ve put a star by your thread so you’re stuck with me for the rest of the year. *smile*

May 20, 9:25am Top

>216 karenmarie: I would not use the term, "stuck with", in reference to having you along for the thread. Words such as, "pleasure", "delight", and "great" are much more appropriate.

May 20, 9:26am Top

Thank you.

Edited: May 26, 2:07pm Top

How long of a read is Nicholas Nickleby? Longer than Tale of Two Cities? Obviously not the tome that Bleak House would be....

You started it on May 18 and today is May 24. How far along are you now?

Oh, just saw the note that says you're off on another mission. Will the nefarious villain that you're undoubtedly tracking allow any kind of time by the pool for you to read while surreptitiously keeping an eye on the criminal henchmen?

May 26, 5:27pm Top

>219 jillmwo:

I believe A Tale of Two Cities is about 340 pages long. Nicholas Nickleby has 769.

Due to busy schedules at work, and busy home life, I am only reading on my commute and have reached page 105 to date. I must say, however, that I am finding it highly entertaining and have found much pertinence to today's world of commerce. In Chapter Two I found a description of the setting up of "United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company". It is to have a capital of five millions, in find hundred thousand shares of ten pounds each. Politicians and leading businessmen promote the enterprise and, at a public meeting, outline plans for an Act of Parliament that will give the company a monopoly in the Greater London area for selling hot muffins and crumpets to ensure the poor will have good quality hot muffins and crumpets. The shares are expected to sell well and the share price to rise rapidly to exceptional heights, at which point we are told, the founders of the company who have promoted its altruistic purposes, propose to sell their shares and move on to their next scam, I mean business enterprise.

My paragraph does not do the chapter justice, but its contents could be used to describe many, if not all the business enterprises we see using great hype to boost their value as the founding shareholders cash in their shares, make a killing and wander off as if nothing has ever happened when the reality of the daft business idea hits home and share prices plummet leaving Joe Public with the loss.

My mission was a quick one-day foray into the heart of London where I met underground contacts (I was at a conference that was held in meeting rooms two storeys below ground). Thanks to the flight I took I had a nice tour of several of the London landmarks as we flew into London City airport, which is very close to the city centre. I flew over Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, The Shard, The Dome, and I even got to see the London flood defences from the air.

Did I miss your report on your mission to this side of the world, or was that subject to need to know rules?

This topic was continued by 2018 reading with PGMCC - Chapter II.

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