A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #3
This is a continuation of the topic A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #2.
This topic was continued by A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #4.
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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.
Annie Swynnerton's retrospective opens this month in Manchester.
Female power, strength and hope
Swynnerton first visited Rome in 1874, living for extended periods there between 1883 and 1910. The impact of Italy comes through in the vibrant colours and gestural paint of her portrayals of women that are a highlight of this exhibition. She represented women of all ages and walks of life, challenging conventions of beauty and capturing female power, strength, hope and potential at a time when women’s roles and opportunities were changing. Her shimmering nudes, winged figures and portraits of suffragettes show the importance of female networks and solidarity to Swynnerton’s art. Her portrait of suffragist Dame Millicent Fawcett, founder of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, will be on loan from Tate.
I love penguins, both this kind
And the book kind.
Every year, increasingly tenuously, I attempt to shoehorn these two themes into one thread.
My theme book for January was one by Jill Liddington, I haven't finished it! I'll be working my way through the others here, (*hopefully* mostly on my TBR shelf already) through the year. (Still haven't picked the next one!)
Books read in 2018 39
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)
I am Hutterite (F, Canada, memoir)
Persepolis (F, Iran, graphic memoir)
Someone to Wed (F, Canada, fiction)
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (F, US, fiction)
A Duke in Shining Armor (F, US, fiction)
Rain Dogs (M, Australia, fiction)
Frogkisser (M, Australia, fiction)
The Wedding Date (F, US, fiction)
Real Tigers (M, UK, fiction)
Velkom to Inklandt (F, UK, poetry)
Miss Wonderful (F, US, fiction)
The End of Days (F, Germany, fiction)
A Hat Full of Sky (M, UK, fiction - audio)
The Woman at 1000 degrees (M, Iceland, fiction)
Spook Street (M, UK, fiction)
Lullaby (F, France, fiction)
A Long Way From Home (M, Australia, fiction)
The Darkness (M, Iceland, fiction)
Topaz (F, US, fiction)
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (F, US, history for children)
Johannesburg (F, South Africa, fiction)
Hotel Silence (F, Iceland, fiction)
Wintersmith (M, UK, fiction - audio)
The Book of Forgotten Authors (M, UK, non-fiction)
Visitation (F, Germany, fiction)
Priestdaddy (F, US, memoir)
Women and Power (F, UK, history / politics)
The Lying Down Room (F, France, fiction)
Gender This Month F 3 M 0 Joint 0 Running Total F 26 M 13
Fiction/Non? This Month Fiction 1 Non-fiction 2 Poetry 0 Running Total Fiction 30 Non-fiction 7 Poetry 2
Source This Month Library 2 Mine 1 Running Total Library 12 Mine 27
This Month: Africa 0, Asia 0, Australasia 0, Europe 2 (UK 1), Middle East 0, US & Canada 1, Other 0.
Running Total: Africa 1, Asia 0, Australasia 3, Europe 20 (UK 12), Middle East 1, US & Canada 14, Other 0.
2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge -9 down!
1. A book made into a movie you've already seen
2. True crime
4. A book involving a heist
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 Persepolis
16. A book about mental health
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift Frogkisser
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
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 The Wedding Date
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
36. A book set in the decade you were born
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 - a book set in a hotel Hotel Silence
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
Happy new thread, Charlotte! Hope I'm not too early, I brought cake just in case...
Completely tired out after I took two of the small visitors from my volunteering group to Liverpool for the day. The idea was to tire them out and give their mum a bit of a break, but they were still full of beans when I left them at 4, and I am pooped! We had a great time, caught Chinese New Year displays of dragons and storytelling, as well as the dinosaurs.
And found a new penguin book!
That was a good deed, indeed, Charlotte. Those little ones can be hard to wear out sometimes. Sounds like a great day.
Happy New Thread! I saw this and thought of you:
Happy new thread, Charlotte!
From your previous thread: you hit me with The Woman at 1000 Degrees, available at the library in Dutch translation :-)
Happy new thread!
>10 jnwelch: love the penguins sliding down the stairs. I'd be one of the ones skidding down on their tummy. >:-)
Happy new thread, Charlotte. I hope you have recovered from your outing.
Happy new thread, Charlotte! I hope you're having a restful day today after your good deed yesterday.
>10 jnwelch: Joe, I think those two should be prescribed on the NHS. Everywhere we went they made people smile, from the storyteller they told about their "cat called banana" (who says storytelling only goes one way?!) to the folk on the train who were really amused by the very impressed reaction to travelling past the docks. Love the penguins.
>11 FAMeulstee: Hope you enjoy it Anita.
>12 Helenliz: I'd be standing at the top looking nervous!
>13 BLBera: It was so fun, Beth, but I don't know how their mum does it every day!
<14 Thanks Jim. Still looking for that perfect bio of Hedy Lamarr.
>15 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Good to read about your visit to hear Claudia Rankine. I need to read more of her books.
>16 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. My step counter tells me I walked as far yesterday as I normally do in two days!
>17 msf59: Thanks Mark. Hope it's not been too hard adapting back to the snow. Crazy wet here but that's it here, despite promises of snow.
>18 susanj67: I think I had as much fun as they did. We went to the big library in Liverpool as it was just next to the World Museum, and read some stories. Even one about pirates!
>20 charl08: That looks like a book Scout would like.
I know what you mean about being exhausted. I need couch time after Scout leaves.
Happy new thread, Charlotte.
I hope that your Sunday is filled with leisure and well-being. xx
>21 scaifea: Hey Amber. Wish I could get some of your gluten free baking here. Struggling today.
>22 BLBera: It was fun Beth, although the cheese references passed my two listeners by. Couch time has been great today!
>23 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Nice to take things easy. Hope you get some relaxation in now you are reunited with the travellers.
I've put down The Woman at 1000 degrees, which is good, but feels long (I seem to have been stuck at 2 hours left for ages). The old lady protagonist stuck in bed with terrible lungs is wonderfully rude about everyone and everything.
I later discovered she didn’t speak the islanders’ language. Because even though classes were taught in German, all the kids spoke Frisian to each other. It was a bizarre language. Somebody commented that Frisian was like shipwrecked Dutch. To me the locals always sounded like a dead-drunk Dane on an English merchant ship trying to speak German to a Dutch whore.
I've now picked up Lullaby, which is a nanny murder book that has won prizes in its original French. Not sure so far.
>9 charl08: That looks fun!
Happy New Thread, Charlotte. Hopefully your phone will cooperate now.
I rarely post via my phone ever since an early LT experience when I accidentally posted the content of a text conversation in my thread. I probably wouldn't do that again, and it was pointed out to me very kindly, but it did make me a bit shy of the process.
Thanks Ellen. I think I am asking my phone to store too much stuff, but not keen on upgrading.
Or deleting stuff!
Thinking of making a sour dough starter, as it's supposed to be good for gluten avoiders, and it's expensive. If anyone has any tips...
>9 charl08: The idea was to tire them out and give their mum a bit of a break, but they were still full of beans when I left them at 4, and I am pooped!
That is so kind of you, but don't try to achieve more than is possible from your outing. The absence of the children no doubt was appreciated greatly by their mother, and much rest and/or work will have been done. I have found it is impossible to tire kids out (in the hopes that they will be relaxed and calm later on). For me it is constant, and no manner of 'tiring them out' will actually result in them being chilled out.
The lovely other always expresses shock and exasperation at the kids still wanting to do even more after the has taken them out swimming, walking, or otherwise keeping active.
>26 EBT1002: I must have missed that! lol
Ha! Thanks Megan. I was amused that the whole outing pretty much knocked me out.
The Woman at 1000 Degrees refuses to end. Although the 10% mark is now in sight! Hurrah!
(if this sounds like it's not an enjoyable read, that's not right: it is good, it just needed a bit of a razor blade I think).
Picked up the two new reads for the work reading group. I asked for one of the new ones, but instead we've got a new edition of Emmeline Pankhurst's autobiography (at least it's short) and Autumn. I really need to shut up next time they ask for book suggestions though. Way more than my fair share lately.
>25 charl08: Love it! My family is from Friesland, and one of my mom's cousins said that his mom and aunts used to speak Frisian when they didn't want the kids to know what they were talking about.
It's full of nuggets like that, Beth.
I finally finished it! The acknowledgements credit inspiration to a woman the author spoke to when campaigning for his then partner. It manages to bring in everything from the Icelandic crash to Nazi fellow travellers, in one increasingly incredible fictional autobiography, narrated by an elderly cyber criminal whose nicotine filled lungs are giving up on her.
After spending half my life abroad, I yearned for my country in all its crassness. All its women’s-club coffee, cake mania, cola binges and cold sauce orgies. All its wind and rain and bitter, grumpy men. All its myopic culture and Worst German architecture with its endless parking fields and petrol temples. It was actually so strange that in the beauty of Paris, which never meets you without her makeup, it was the rudeness of Reykjavík I missed the most, the ugliness and its rough weather. I couldn’t stand all those flowery balconies anymore, baroque palaces and quaint, arty squares, not to mention the frigging fountains. This lava longing must have had something to do with the ugliness of our land, because Iceland obviously isn’t all beautiful. Many parts of the highlands and around Snæfellsjökull are very ugly, for example, not to mention the Reykjanes Peninsula and Mount Hellisheidi, that uncooked gruel of gales and lava.
Looks ok to me!
>35 charl08: Fun, Charlotte! I'm enjoying the series. I'm also enjoying the book I initially dubbed as " a little dry" The Boat People , one of the " Canada Reads " Contenders. What a fascinating look at the Tamils vs the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, and the way the people from Sri Lanka who landed on our shores were treated. I recall the incident back in 2010. This a book of fiction, but is really based on many factual incidents. Quite an eye opener.
>34 charl08: How interesting, Charlotte! Such a different take on Iceland than I've heard from family members. But of course living there vs visiting a place is very different. Do you recommend it?
Thia is the fourth book in the Jackson Lamb series about failed spies in a quiet London office. This one was just as good as the other three I've read. The head of the office , Lamb, is still as foul and yet reliable as ever. River runs off to try and save the world. Catherine still wants a drink. Ho is still terrible at being a human being. These characters mixed with the aftwrmath of a terrible bombing and an increasingly confused elderly spy make for gripping reading. And also laughs.
When the taxi dropped them, they walked to Baker Street. Patrice still had the gun, though where he’d secreted it, River couldn’t tell. If down the back of his waistband, as River suspected, he must have spent hours practising how to walk, sit, move, without looking like his haemorrhoids were flaring.
Odd ones (passed, reissued etc )
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
by Heather O'Neill
Maybe Esther by Katja Petrowskaja
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The Well of Ice by Andrea Carter
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Bookworm A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan
How I Lose You by Kate McNaughton 8th March
The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson 15th March
Happiness by Aminatta Forna
Painter to the King by Amy Sackville
Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam 5th April
The Wife’s Tale A Personal History by Aida Edemariam 22nd April
Started The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
as it fits a popsugar challenge
Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir felt her interest quicken, though as an old hand at this game she had learnt to expect a nervous reaction from those she interviewed, whether innocent or guilty. Being questioned by the police was an intimidating business at any time, whether it was a formal interview down at the station or an informal chat like this one. They sat facing one another in a poky coffee room next to the staff canteen at the Reykjavík nursing home where the woman worked. She was around forty, with short-cropped hair, tired-looking, apparently flustered by Hulda’s unexpected visit. Of course, there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for this but Hulda was almost sure the woman had something to hide.
Hi Charlotte! That's quite the Net Galley list :-) I want to start that Mick Herron series, so I wonder how long I'll hold out...
I can't see the picture in >42 charl08:, btw.
Hmmm, I tried the thread on my phone and I can see it now :-) I would have to add "Complain about the library not caring about books".
>43 susanj67: I think you should start it Susan. It makes me laugh and I get caught out by the twists and turns. I suspect you'd be better at working them all out, but still, v good.
>44 vancouverdeb: I've read another one by him, I realised when I went to his page. Nice to read about a lead character who is a) female and b) over 40.
>45 Helenliz: Nowt. Nothing at all!
>46 susanj67: Yes, and 'request new books for the library to order'.
I have added to my suffrage weekend in late March by booking onto "Suffragette City" in a secret location in central London, you can pretend to be a member of the WSPU. Be still my beating heart...
From their blurb:
This March we invite you to walk in the shoes of a Suffragette and experience what it was like for those campaigning for suffrage in London, before the partial grant of the vote to women in 1918.
This immersive experience is inspired by the extensive collections of The National Archives, which include Home Office, Metropolitan Police and Cabinet papers, as well as pamphlets and letters seized in raids on the Women’s Social and Political Union’s (WSPU) headquarters.
The experience will focus on the real testimony of Lillian Ball, a dressmaker and mother from Tooting, who was arrested for smashing a window in 1912. As with many women of the era, Lillian confronted life-changing choices that led her to join the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) causing her to be involved in militant action, leading to her arrest, interrogation and imprisonment.
Join us at our re-created WSPU headquarters where you will be set tasks and confront the difficult decisions faced by those in the movement. You will explore the depths of the London Pavilion and Piccadilly Circus, one of the most important areas of Suffragette activity.
That sounds great! Are you getting one of these?
I haven't started the series yet. It's like my last bastion of self control. Heh.
I was thinking more like
>42 charl08: Like!
I have a huge rearrangement to do... I am culling childrens & YA books and mainly adding literary fiction. So the childrens & YA section upstairs has empty shelves and the literary fiction downstairs is completely filled. My idea is splitting Dutch and translated fiction & moving the Dutch upstairs, not ready yet, but have to get to it soonish....
>50 Crazymamie: Ooh, I was watching Fiona Shaw on Portrait Artist of the Year last night. She had to sit still for four hours and pulled some really remarkable faces. I hadn't realised her 'own' accent was Irish, either.
>51 FAMeulstee: Oh that sounds like fun. Do you need a helper? Reasonable rates!!!
I want one of these gorgeous quilts. Or the skill and patience to make one of my own.
So I better start saving, I think.
>52 charl08: oh wow! And using the selvedges so that there's text on the spines is just brilliant.
I'm trying to make a quilt for the door to my study - it's a glass panel door and so I get easily disturbed. I thought a hanging would be a better solution than changing the door. That would, I suspect, be beyond me for a first time and I do not need to change the design now...
>52 charl08: Well, that is gorgeous!
So cool that we were both Fiona Shawing.
>53 Helenliz: That sounds like quite a project!
>54 FAMeulstee: I wish! No holiday left until September. Well, less than a week.
>55 Crazymamie: I really like her. She does a lot of theatre and I'd love to see her in something.
Weird thing in the supermarket. I was using the autotills, and I realised I'd forgotten the chicken. So I press cancel several times, but it won't cancel. So I decided it must need an official person, so I put all my stuff back in the basket to go back. At which point a lady from the supermarket told me I couldn't do that! Very odd. I walked back to the chicken aisle wondering if she thought I was stealing stuff? In a metal basket? Very odd!
>52 charl08: I love that quilt, Charlotte! I may have to see if I can talk one of my quilting friends into giving it a go for me.
>42 charl08: That's the story of my life!
Happy Valentine's Day, Charlotte.
Happy Valentine's day to you Charlotte. Hope you have a wonderful day.
p.s. Loved the reading chart in >42 charl08:. Think I will send it to my librarian daughter.
>63 mdoris: Lovely flowers - and thanks for the wishes.
>64 EBT1002: Great to see >65 Crazymamie: 's warbling working so well here...
Have spent the day looking at amazing women's print journals from an archive, more than a hundred years old and falling apart in my hands. I would post a picture here but I signed a long form saying that I wouldn't. So imagine, if you will, a picture of a beautiful hundred year old newspaper produced for women's campaign for the vote...
I finished Lullaby on the train back from the archive. (Called The Perfect Nanny in the US). This book is in translation from the French and won prizes - there's an article with the author from the Guardian - she sounds pretty impressive.
From the very beginning of the book you know that the nanny has attacked both children and then tried to kill herself. The rest of the story is unpacking what happened, how the 'perfect nanny' - always available, cleaning the house and making wonderful meals - flips. The mental health side of things really grated with me, and the parents were not exactly easy to empathise with (perhaps that's just me though!), and even the kids were hard to like. The story of the nanny is also the story of other nannies - illegal working, poverty, and being trapped in a job you don't particularly want to do.
One I'd find hard to recommend.
Thanks for taking one for the team, Charlotte. And thanks for not adding another book to my list. I have The Wedding Date sitting here, tempting me. I'm almost done with Parable of the Sower, which is wonderful but pretty intense, so maybe I need a "date" book.
Happy almost Friday. I keep thinking it's Friday because I don't teach on Fridays, so it is my Friday. Tomorrow is my Scout day, and my book club discussion of The Power. Scout has started to become a regular member of our group.
Hope you have fun with Scout, Beth. I have kicked off my day with a visit to the doctor, so things can only look up!
>42 charl08: I'd add one more to that pic, Charlotte, TALK BOOKS!. Whenever I'm in conversation with others, conversation always seems to come around to books I've read lately or books I haven't read but I want to.
Have a lovely weekend!
Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte. I hope all is well with you. Anita and I are sorted out for becoming neighbours, thanks to that push from you.
Thanks Deborah. All fine here. I had big plans for today and have decided instead to catch up with some much needed DIY and errands. (But first: the books!)
A mix of the fiction and the non-fiction this week. Bear with me!
The best recent crime novels – review roundup
Sunburn by Laura Lippman, Righteous by Joe Ide, The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh,That Old Black Magic by Cathi Unsworth, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar by Olga Wojtas
Too many books...
Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington reviewed by PD Smith
"With their eerie cries and nocturnal habits, owls have haunted the skies of this planet for some 60m years. Homo sapiens has been around for a mere 200,000 or so years. An unequalled stealth hunter, using hearing so acute it can be termed “earsight”, the owl has featured in our myths and stories since the beginning. But Darlington is interested in the real predator and she travels across Europe tracking down nearly all the continent’s 13 native species."
Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin reviewed by Davina Langdale
"..a meditation on loneliness, in which the outer and inner landscapes ring with a sound akin to desolation."
I've not read anything by him, and this doesn't sound very cheery.
Coal Black Mornings by Brett Anderson reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu
"...not, in his phrase, “the usual ‘coke and gold discs’ memoir”. Rather it’s a pre-history, a ruminative and often gorgeously written meditation on his early life: before Suede released their first single; before, without having released a note of music, they appeared on the cover of Melody Maker hailed as “The Best New Band in Britain”; before they were yoked into a still violently argued debate about national identity and guitar music. Anderson, who describes himself as “hunched over the fossils of my past”, claims early on that he’s writing “a book about failure”."
Suede were part of the soundtrack to my teenage years (as in, the background radio, rather than any active choice on my part!), so yes, I think so.
What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson reviewed by Dinah Birch
"...confirms the distance between her combative ideas and the dominant values of the west."
I'm not such a fan of her fiction to want to read her non-fiction.
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi reviewed by Sarah Perry
"...an acute portrait of Middle Eastern sectarianism and geopolitical ineptitude, an absurdist morality fable, and a horror fantasy. "
I have this one out from the library.
The Hoarder by Jess Kidd reviewed by Andrew Michael Hurley
"It feels as though behind every piece of junk there is a story; and indeed, as Maud begins the seemingly Sisyphean task of cleaning Flood’s house, she comes across two mysterious photographs of his son, Gabriel, taken in the garden of Bridlemere in the 1970s, when he was a child.'
Not sure, might wait to see if anyone on LT recommends it.
There's also a review of the latest Jackson Lamb novel, but I am scared of spoilers, so am avoiding it.
All taken from www.guardian.co.uk/books
A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey
I have enjoyed some of Peter Carey's novels True history of the Kelly Gang, Parrot and Olivier in America, failed to get into others Oscar and Lucinda and stared at others on my shelf with a kind of guilty uncertainty (several others!). This one fell firmly in the immediately gripped category. Carey takes as his setting the outskirts of Melbourne post WW2, Australia gripped by racial distinctions and ideas of purity, reference to "Baltics" and "mongrels".
Chapters are told (initially) alternately by "Mrs Bob" and Willy Bachhuber, who are neighbours as the story starts. Mr Bob is a car salesman, and desperate to get the contract for a dealership in the town, signs up both Willy and Mrs Bob to a cross country car race - with a difference, for they must maintain an average speed and not use replacement parts, for fear of penalty. As the journey progresses, family secrets and ghosts emerge, with unexpected consequences for both families. The story is full of period detail as the cars drive through one-horse towns and are rescued by an Aboriginal mechanic who takes a particular interest in Willy. One review I read contrasted the thumping pace of the first half of the book, which focuses on the race, and the second, where the race is complete. I liked this contrast, it worked for me, and I liked what Carey did with the historical setting. His acknowledgements point to a memoir by an Aboriginal author, Shadow Lands by Stephen Kinnane, and I've added it to my wishlist.
I visited Australia about 8 years ago now, and as part of the conference I attended we got a tour of the new Aboriginal art exhibit at the Sydney national gallery. The paintings were beautiful, really stunning, and I was reminded of that art reading this book
>77 patchygirl: I've booked, I just don't know whether I'm brave enough to wander through central London in a period costume.
>78 msf59: Me too Mark. I think I'm going to have to start a list of books I want from April when the library lets us ask again! ETA They have a digital version. Good news.
>79 susanj67: Hope you find it Susan, it does look intriguing.
>81 Helenliz: I really loved The True History of the Kelly Gang - and a friend whose lit views I trust raved about Oscar and Lucinda, so I was pretty sure it was me (nice to know I'm not the only one, though). I really loved Parrot and Olivier - the start is all about rebel printers in (?) 17thC England, having to run away because the government are after them, which was catnip for me.
>82 drneutron: I feel like we're missing pun opportunities here. An eagle eye? Maybe not though.
My initial belief in DIY success has been dashed - halogen strip light was flickering, so the internet tells me that if the bulb had a blackened end, it was probably just the bulb not the fitting. So I got a new bulb, and fitted it, and NOTHING. Argh. I think I'll just brush my teeth in the dark.
Thanks Beth. If you read the ones on your shelf first, please let me know how you managed to persuade yourself! (for research purposes)
I've talked to my dad and he gave me some instructions about refitting the light. "just twiddle it a bit"
I've got the new Mary Shelley book that needs to be returned soon (some other person has dared to request it: really! shocking!) but also have picked up Destined to be Wives about the family of Beatrice Webb, the famous (well, British famous) social reformer. Although she had quite an unconventional life, her sisters didn't - so interesting reading.
>86 charl08: That sounds interesting Charlotte. I read a bit about the Webbs as they were friends of many of the Bloomsbury group.
It's certainly an interesting opening - I'm not quite sure quite *what* she is hinting at re the father's personal life, but it doesn't seem great...
I don't seem to be sticking to much so thought I'd jump ship to the Mary Shelley book. Not sure I'm up for this either, but needs must when the reservation deadline looms...
I'm uncertain about The Hoarder, but I had put it on my wishlist earlier. It's not available for quite a while in Canada, so I can watch and see. Sorry about your bulb trouble. I leave changing bulbs to my husband. Sometimes I have be the DIY , but Dave relishes the position of DIY , so who am I to interfere? :-) Only he knows how put out the garbage and recycling,only he can properly do a number of things " in his mind" and who am to argue? Less work for me. Quite pleased. I'm the banker and tax filer though. I'm the brains, he's the hands that do the work. I'm quite pleased with the arrangement.
Thanks for the review of A Long Way from Home Charlotte - I've heard mixed reviews so far, but have enjoyed Carey in the past (I have relatives who were the sort of poor Irish who supported the Kelly gang - family rumour has it that we helped them out back in the day). I like to keep up with my Australian authors though, and I find Tim Winton irritating more often than not, so Carey has been a more usual go-to.
I am getting annoyed with the writer of In Search of Mary Shelley - I think Susan's review pointed out it doesn't really have a lot of substance to it, and things like trying to describe the boat she took from London to Dundee and saying 'may well have only a single mast' just seem bizarre to me. Surely it did or it didn't, or you don't know which ship she took?! Enquiring minds, and all that.
>89 vancouverdeb: I totally take my dad's knowledge for granted Deborah. Which is a bit annoying when he goes and swans off to another country for a couple of months. I combine a lack of interest with a lack of coordination, so DIY is really not my thing.
Sounds like you and Dave have got it all worked out :-)
>90 banjo123: Ooh, a local author. Lucky! I think I will avoid the latest Vlautin though - it did sound terribly blue.
>91 EBT1002: Her name seems familiar Ellen, so I'm wondering if I've read her (if only there was a catalogue where I recorded what I read... hang on... I read book 8 in the Tess Monoghan series back in 2013. So there you go). It was a good list of books this week, plenty to look for I think.
>92 evilmoose: Me too Megan re the mixed reviews, but I did love his Kelly gang book, so I'm always hoping they will be similar to that one. I think he is really good at the Australian historical detail.
I've not had much luck with Tim Winton either.
>93 charl08: Sorry the Mary Shelley book is equally annoying for you, Charlotte. The speculation gets worse. Just warnin' :-)
I looked up Laura Lippman in the ebook catalogue and the first one is sitting *right there*. I think they have that whole series. Oh dear...
Harumph. I've put the Shelley down and gone back to some Scandi-crime.
>94 susanj67: Good luck with the Lippman, Susan!
>93 charl08: I had a suspicion about the Mary Shelley book Charlotte, but also didn't think there had been any new discoveries. Muriel Spark wrote a good biography of her, bizarrely it's not in my catalogue, but I have and have read it (hunting activity this week!).
That sounds like an interesting read!
I finished The Darkness: hidden Iceland.
Quite creepy crime, with three threads running through the book. The main narrative follows a police detective on the verge of retirement, taking on one last cold case. Bitter and resentful about her treatment by her (male) colleagues, she finds new evidence about the disappearance of a Russian asylum seeker. Alongside this is the story of a young woman being taken out for an 'adventure' in the Icelandic wilds. And the third, a single mother desperately trying to reunite herself with her child, placed in state foster care. How can they possibly link?
Well done crime, kept me guessing until the end
>97 charl08: That does look like one for me to look out for, Charlotte. I don't think I'll ever kick my Scandi fad.
Have a lovely Sunday.
>98 BLBera: Hmm. Possibly. Although reading and moaning is quite satisfying...
>99 PaulCranswick: And why should you Paul?
I finished Topaz which was recommended to me last year when I was looking for classics by a POC. Published in 1997, I'm afraid some of the romance writing felt a bit dated. The plot and setting - young black woman working undercover for a newspaper in 19c Reconstruction US gets drawn into a wagon train of wives going West, made for a pacey read though.
Another ARC - I clicked on Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History because I like this (increasingly popular, it seems) idea of introducing kids to positive role models from history. I had a digital copy which didn't cope too well on my phone, but looking at the previewed images online it is clearly beautifully produced. There are a wide range of women included, from astronauts to modern artists.
I do have mixed feelings about this one though - the language seemed a bit uneven (at one point discussing the work of one of the Hidden Figures, she mentions 'trajectory' and I revised the age I thought it must be aimed at.
I found the idea of 'little leaders' a bit too saccharine for me, and would have liked a wider geographic representation beyond the US and UK. But I'm not the intended audience, and if it gets kids thinking about history, as well as wider choices, then of course that's fantastic.
>103 charl08: I think young kids like difficult words that feel interesting on the tongue as well as sound interesting. Trajectory. Wonderful. And difficult words that describe women, double wonderful, as one day they may be difficult words that describe themselves.
>103 charl08: I'm not very good at assessing the reading level something is actually set for, but I do love the word "trajectory." As Caroline suggests, maybe it's one that kids can pick up earlier because of its pleasing sound.
And it looks like a lovely book, visually.
>103 charl08: It is hard to figure out the age of the audience for some of these books, Charlotte. The pictures seem to attract young kids, but the vocabulary is for older readers. That bugs me as well.
>104 Caroline_McElwee: >105 EBT1002: I had no idea trajectory was such a loved word! I can't think of any I really loved the sound of as a kid - I was one of those readers constantly guessing meaning and pronunciation on my own, often getting it wrong (I had no idea gaol and jail were the same, thought Agnes was said "Aines" and the list goes on...)
>104 Caroline_McElwee: Yes, I did wonder if maybe my lack of science education was showing Caroline - maybe future astronauts love to hear about the details of space flight?
>105 EBT1002: It is pretty - I just came away wondering about the idea of showing adult women as children dressed up as adult women. It bugged me, and I can't quite put my finger on why - possibly just an aesthetic thing? or a revolt against 'cutesy'?
>106 BLBera: I don't have much experience to assess it, either. A lot of the pictures online of kids reading it (they came up when I was looking for cover art) show kids with their parents reading, which is nice, I thought.
Johannesburg This is another ARC, one that has sat on my TBR pile for a disturbing length of time.
The author uses the day of the death of Mandela's death to create a modern-day Mrs Dalloway. Gin is back from New York, preparing a party for her mother's 80th birthday, whilst her former boyfriend, Peter, tries to understand what has happened to his life, and a young disabled man gradually loses his sanity protesting outside Peter's building. I suspect there are lots of echoes of Mrs Dalloway here - I don't know the novel well enough to really appreciate them, I think. Melrose uses the Gin character to talk about the difficulties of leaving a place, returning, being yourself. She is a modern artist, but there is a lot there that could apply to a writer, I think, and I had autobiographical suspicions. The relationship between Gin and her mother is awful, and the wealthy white environment that Melrose conjures makes it easy to work out why anyone would leave. Peter is a bit of a pathetic character - does anyone moon over someone they never see for twenty years? The character of Saturday is just desperately sad: injured in a wildcat mine strike, he protests outside the mine company HQ every day, whilst his sister tries to keep his body and soul together despite a full time job. I'm not too sure what I thought about the idea of Mandela's death in the background - it makes for large set pieces, as the characters note the gatherings of people outside the family house (in Jo'burg), the newspapers' reaction, the comments of Peter's colleagues. I suspect this book suffered from me picking it up and putting it down again, but then again, perhaps that was because it really didn't grab me?
Anyway. Enough. Back to the archive. Drinking a truly Awful cup of tea and will be glad to get a decent cup in the office.
ETA: 76 ARC reviews on Netgalley...
>108 Copperskye: Ooh, let me know what you make of it. I was tempted to buy my own copy today.
>109 Ameise1: Ah, this makes me think I haven't shared my Charlotte's Web trauma story with you Barbara!
The archive kicked me out at 5pm (they tried at 4.45 by the well known British technique of "embarrassing people into leaving", but no thank you), so I had a couple of hours before my train, so I went and had a look at the LRB. One piece of quiche and a very helpful staff member later, I've added Visitation and Hotel Silence to my overloaded stacks. Believe it or not, but this was me being vaguely restrained - I was sorely tempted to pick up a biography of Elizabeth Bishop, and a collection of Northern stories edited by Sjon. And half the bookshop...
>111 Ameise1: >112 BLBera: Yup, that's me. Restrained.
I read Hotel Silence on the train home, a nice break from thinking about work stuff. It's a bit like A Man Named Ove, that sort of vein. It opens with Jónas planning suicide, and deciding that he can't risk his daughter finding his body. His solution is to book a trip to a country that is sufficiently unstable for him to disappear. What he doesn't count on, is what happens next. I really loved the community Olafsdottir creates in the novel. Like Ove, there is a gentle humour, from the self-obsessed early twenties daughter, to the misunderstandings of his forgetful elderly mother.
Jónas categorises his failure in his life at the beginning of the book, arguing (with himself) that he has made no difference. Although deceptively light-hearted, this book pushes back at that idea.
>103 charl08: I'm not sure I like the term "little leaders," but I do like the fact that Penguin is introducing some nonfiction for (apparently) young teens recently.
>110 charl08: Charlotte, well done on the, er, restraint :-) I hope you're back in the land of decent tea today. Our kitchen now offers perhaps too many choices for first thing in the morning. We've switched to Clipper tea bags, which I think have more varieties than Twinings.
I've also got Hotel Silence on in my mental wish list. I checked on amazon ca and it's not released yet her in Canada .
Lovely colleagues managed to "get" me for my birthday despite a) not being in on my birthday and b) not being in the day before my birthday. Cunning plans foiled again! (it was very nice of them)
>119 vancouverdeb: I hadn't seen it before I picked it up at the bookshop Deborah - maybe new here?
>120 EBT1002: From my experience, great for a travel book.
>121 charl08: Felicitations to you. And you deserve to have been got. >:-D
>122 Crazymamie: >123 Helenliz: Thanks folks. I have the day off. I've booked a hair appointment, but I'm really tempted to cancel it and just stay in bed for most of the day and read. I blame Kim, it's all her talk of a day in pjs that's got me tempted to just Lounge Around.
(I have no plans to shovel snow, however!)
>113 charl08: this one looks cool- the cover does anyway. Is it a lighthearted treatment of suicidal tendencies, or is there more there?
Happy Birthday, Charlotte, when ever the true date is! Enjoy flowers and chocolate goodies! Great work by your co- workers.
I rechecked amazon ca and they do have Hotel Silence but it just came out a few days ago.
>125 LovingLit: I thought so Megan - it's difficult to go into detail without spoilers though. It's not "high literature" by any means, but like Ove, there's a subtext too.
>126 BLBera: I think you get a pass on this one then Beth! Thanks for the wishes. I was trying to keep it low key and yet almost everyone has felt the need to buy me a card with the age on. Ouch.
No badge yet though, which is disappointing.
>127 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I have the day off and everything, it feels very luxurious!
>128 EBT1002: Sorry Ellen, this one won't fit, it's fiction - my poor phrasing at fault - I meant a book that's good for travel, as it's light in both senses of the term. I'm thinking about reading about one of the amazing early women travellers. I just googled, looked at the first list that came up, and have fallen down a black hole of books I want to read... Although this is a field my mum *loves*, so we have lots on the shelves, and I should really read one of them.
>129 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! I am enjoying having a lazy day!
Anyone for cake?
( I love how digital cakes are so easily gluten free...)
Happy birthday, Charlotte! Sorry about the "number" cards - I only got two as my family wisely knew not to :-) Enjoy your day off.
>130 charl08:, aww, if there's a number, they could at least have bought you the badge to go with it.
Or bought the card for 1/10th your age, then you'd almost certainly have had a badge. Something proudly proclaiming "I am 3!"
When I was 50, I emphatically told people at work I did not want black crepe paper, canes, etc., decorating my work space, as was the custom there. Thanks goodness they respected my wishes.
I'm twice as old as you, Charlotte, and on my birthday every card had 60 emblazoned on it, as did my birthday cake - but no badges! I put it down to everyone assuming that I was now too old to remember such details without visual reminders.
>131 susanj67: I remember making my mum a big card when she was 40 (I think I remember it because to me at that age cards with numbers on it were The Best, and I couldn't understand her lack of enthusiasm). When I told her about this recently, she denied all knowledge of a) the card and b) her reaction, but I noted today that she had sent me a card with a similarly large number on it. Hmmm. (!)
>132 BLBera: It is, Beth. :-)
>133 Helenliz: I would enjoy a comedy badge. Maybe something along the lines of "HOW many years to retirement?'
>134 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline
>135 Ameise1: Aw! >136 jnwelch: And Aw! again
>137 Crazymamie: They're very cute, but I'm not sure I could bear to eat them (so it's a good job they're digital, really, isn't it).
>138 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.
>139 BLBera: I wouldn't like that either Beth. Black crepe?!! I thought photocopied photo - posters were bad enough (big in my previous office. Shudder).
I've had a lovely day: lazy morning, picked up a reservation at the library, haircut with a hairdresser who listened to what I wanted, almost bought a new phone (but then decided to think on it a bit) and listened to the kids I volunteer with have mild hysterics over the farting noises their "slime" makes. It's the simple things, eh?
ETA: This is slime
In less positive news, I haven't finished (or started) Sapiens and book club is Tuesday. Ouch.
I didn't mind 20, 40 and 50, I dreaded 30. So I celebrated my 29th a few times, until I felt up to my real age again ;-)
I'm 26 in even years and 25 in odd ones. I'm not really in my late 40s at all >:-D
I ran a marathon for my 40th, as a way of proving I wasn't old and past it. Not making that mistake again...
Delay caused by another trip to Liverpool. Tate Modern came up with the genius idea (I thought) of having frames with fabric the kids could use to make dens. That took up at least half an hour. Looking at the paintings didn't go so well, probably a good thing since when I wasn't looking one of the 3-d pieces got manhandled (to be fair, it did look like a pair of stuffed tights).
I've got The Wife's Tale as an ARC, and really should get on and read it. Quite fancy the book about Sweden and Vietnam, as Swedish foreign policy comes up (and takes some flak) in the Martin Beck series.
A Philosophy of Dirt by Olli Lagerspetz reviewed by PD Smith
"...an investigation into what we mean by “dirt” and whether it is an actual quality of the world or, as most current theoretical work would have us believe, a subjective idea projected on to reality."
Building and Dwelling by Richard Sennett reviewed by Jonathan Meades
"...pretty much jargon free, quite an achievement given the milieu the author evidently frequents..... anyone seeking the key, the clue, to the mysteries of ever shifting urban populations and how to manage them must look elsewhere."
The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam reviewed by Nadifa Mohamed
"Yètèmegnu’s life was one of religious passion and service, and when she was an elderly woman and Haile Selassie’s daughter, Princess Tenangeworq, bowed low to her out of respect for her prophetic abilities, it appears, in the text, as both a historically interesting moment and a testament to Yètèmegnu’s unbroken strength.'
Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb reviewed by Zoe Williams
"Taleb is riotously discourteous and extremely thin skinned, still taking issue in his footnotes with the negative review he received in this paper for Antifragile. The effect is arresting: it can be extremely good fun. The combination of fearlessness, self-belief and immodesty adds up to charisma on the page; Taleb is the festival messiah you’d follow into a river until the drugs wore off. The argument of the new book is also immediately attractive: if you have no skin in the game, you shouldn’t be in the game. “If you give an opinion, and someone follows it, you are morally obligated to be, yourself, exposed to its consequences.” Hawks in the White House should not be taking decisions about bombs in Iraq when they will remain in their air-conditioned houses with their 2.2 children whatever the result."
Berlin 1936 by Oliver Hilmes reviewed by Nikolaus Wachsmann
"There are more substantive histories of the Nazi Olympics, but Berlin 1936 is the most readable. Hilmes has a gift for storytelling. Each chapter covers a single day and offers vivid vignettes. The flawed hero is the US novelist Thomas Wolfe. At the start of the games he seems oblivious to the real Nazi Germany, relishing the trappings of literary fame. By the end of the event he sees a country where fear and terror permeated the air “like miasmic and pestilential vapors”. Most other visitors appeared dazzled."
Operation Chaos by Matthew Sweet reviewed by Andrew Brown
"The starting point for this weird, sad, horribly readable story is the arrival in Stockholm in May 1968 of six misfit and confused US deserters from the Vietnam war after they had been shepherded across the Soviet Union from Japan, where a fishing vessel had smuggled them on to a Russian ship. They had been transported across the USSR “on a current of vodka” and with women supplied by the KGB; they had even been questioned by Yuri Andropov, later to rise to supreme power, and helped to make a propaganda film in which one of them, according to Sweet’s account, who had been a ship’s cook and never landed in the country, gave wrenching testimony of all the atrocities he and his unit had committed on the ground in Vietnam. To progressive Swedish opinion at the time they were a demonstration of the country’s stand as a moral beacon for the world. This was only six years after the death of Dag Hammarskiöld, the Swedish secretary general of the UN. The country still thought of itself as the spearpoint of human progress. What the deserters made of it is rather harder to tell."
A Hero for High Times by Ian Marchant reviewed by Iain Sinclair
"The structural models for A Hero for High Times, as Marchant indicates, are Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters, the biography of a homeless man, time-reversed, and Jeff Nuttall’s Bomb Culture, a work interweaving diary entries with less compelling cultural lectures."
A Good Time to Be a Girl by Helena Morrissey reviewed by Gaby Hinsliff
"...pitched as a mild rebuke to the gung-ho American cult of “lean in” corporate feminism preached by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Why, Morrissey asks, should women “lean in” to an old-fashioned patriarchal system that’s no longer fit for purpose, when we could change the system instead? Women shouldn’t have to copy men to get on but should be free to succeed in their own way, perhaps working more flexibly (when Morrissey ran her own investment management company, she offered a four-day week to anyone who wanted it) or managing more creatively or just approaching issues differently. So stop telling women to push harder for pay rises like the men do and ask why on earth you’d encourage a pay system that rewards self-promotion over talent. And all of that is a refreshing change from the niggling cult of female self-improvement, which starts from the premise that women are probably doing it all wrong. "
It's alright Barbara - you get to skip lightly away, thinking of all the other books you can add to the wishlist another time!
>147 charl08: Hmm, I think the Berlin Games one for the sports category of PopSugar (just waiting for the library to catch up with me), and Operation Chaos. I'm AMAZED that the Guardian is reviewing (apparently favourably) the Helena Morrissey, and what a title! It is NOT a good time to be a girl - it's just as bad as it's always been. And four days when you're a zillionaire fund manager with a house-husband for your nine kids is one thing, but how ordinary people are supposed to manage and save for living to 100 etc I have no idea. Grrrr. I might have to read it, and get properly annoyed.
>152 susanj67: Um, one of those ones it's quite difficult to excerpt from. It goes from "so this is quite good" to "but then..."
There's a sequel to the original Rebel Girls though, in case a less controversial option is required!
I am enjoying reading Sapiens. I had no idea human arrival has been associated with wiping out animal species for so long.
ETA Reread that: to clarify, meaning enjoying finding out about new historical theories!
Hmm back to bribing myself through non-fiction with mini eggs.
Sapiens have turned to agriculture, which turns out to be a bad move.
Well, I've put Sapiens to one side having been annoyed by a) description of the caste system that failed to acknowledge colonial involvement in the categorisation / entrenchment of castes b) Description of why so many patriarchal societies exist that failed to acknowledge range of matriarchal societies, and left with the sense that the author is arguing that patriarchy is somehow 'natural' by omission c) description of empires as the natural state of things, the conflation of european empires as operating in the same way, and that people running empires had good intentions when they invaded places. Hmm. And the tin (Romans) gold (Spanish) and claims to sea superiority (several, but thinking of the Brits here) were just incidental? No. As with lots of non-fiction, when one area cites something that I don't think is accurate, it makes me doubt the other bits that I can't readily fact-check.
I finished The Book of Forgotten Authors, which turned out to be more the book of about 25 forgotten authors, plus many more who just don't sell that well anymore. Which was a bit disappointing. The author was also quite off-putting in terms of some of his attitudes to women as readers and authors. I did add some authors to my wishlist though, so there's that.
In case I am being too harsh on Mr Fowler, here is the list - how many had you heard of?
Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Barbara Comyn Carr
John Dickson Carr
E M Delafield
Dr Christopher Evans
R Austin Freeman
Peter Van Greenaway
Robert Van GUlik
A P HErbert
Georgette Heyer (!!!)
Thomas Nigel Kneale
Edward John Morton Drax Plunkett
Thomas Love Peacock
T Lobdang Rampa
Cynthia Propper Seton
Matthew Phipps Shiel
James Redding Ware
TH White (!!)
>158 charl08: Um...nine.
And good job putting Sapiens to one side - I probably would have thrown it.
>157 charl08: I've got that home from the library at the moment. I also thought Georgette Heyer didn't deserve 'forgotten' status. I've only read the intro and will probably just flick through the book.
>158 charl08: I've heard of 8 and read 6.
Doubtful non-fiction isn't worth spending time with.
I've heard of 36 but I can't claim to have read books by all 36. Are they mostly British? If so that might explain why non-British readers have heard of fewer. And I am a member of Facebook group 'Undervalued British Women Novelists 1930-1960' so I am inclined that way.
Sorry, I'm late for the birthday festivities, Charlotte, but perhaps I can snatch one of these book bullets whilst I'm here (grabs Hotel Silence and scampers away;0)
Best wishes for an extremely happy year!
>159 Crazymamie: >160 avatiakh: >161 katiekrug: >162 Helenliz: >163 LovingLit: I think Kerry's hit the nail on the head (see below)
>164 CDVicarage: Yes, I think it is pretty British. I also think that a lot of them are the kind of familiar that you get when you read about someone's books as well as just a name, so not really a fair test on my part from just a list of names. Sorry everyone! I just couldn't face putting all the brackets in.
Some of them I've heard of because Radio 4 have made dramas out of their books - Keith Waterhouse because of references to his plays (not that I've ever seen one), or Arnold Ridley who was the elderly first aider in Dad's Army (but had a previous career as a playwright). I was pleased with his T H White bit though, which mentioned Mistress Masham's Repose one of my favourite childhood books.
>165 Carmenere: Very welcome Lynda. I wish people lived closer (or we had a cheaper postal system). That's one I'd happily donate onwards.
I've added these two authors' first books to my wishlist -
"How Do You Launch a New Generation of Native American Writers?
With two highly anticipated books, Terese Marie Mailhot and Tommy Orange are part of a new wave of indigenous writers, trained in a program that rejects the standards of white academia."
Belated (sorry!!!) Happy Birthday, Charlotte! Lovely card!
Oh dear, I remember I got bored reading the sample of the forgotten authors book. I know 3 of those names (who fall into the "don't sell well anymore category I guess), not sure about a 4th.
>157 charl08: My other half read Sapiens and had the exact same reaction that you did so I gave it a pass.
We saw a WONDERFUL film last night The Divine Order a Swiss 2017 film and this was the description..... "With women's voices at the centre of the narrative and behind the lens, this light-hearted suffrage story offers important commentaary on the rights we take for granted in our daily lives."
>45 Helenliz: I want to read at least 4 of 5 those crime novels at the top - I'd probably want to read the other one too but haven't looked at the review (yet).
I read Willy Vlautin's first novel Lean on Pete a few years ago and would be tempted by any of his other books though I haven't got to his other 3 novels yet. I have to say he's not cheerful though. He's also in a group Richmond Fontaine who play Americana.
I'm not sure if any are still in print or easy to find in a library, but Gillian Linscott wrote a historical crime series featuring a suffragette, Nell Bray, a few years ago.
>158 charl08: Some of the women on that Forgotten Authors list have been reprinted by Virago, Persephone and other reprint series - eg Marghanita Laski, Barbara Comyns, Winifred Watson, Barbara Pym. I particularly love Comyns' work. I don't think Margery Allingham could be said to be forgotten.
I wouldn't have heard of him otherwise but keep hearing work by Peter Tinniswood on the radio.
I have read and own at least one book, several in most cases, by 11 authors on that list, and I own or have read books by another 7. There are a few I haven't heard of.
>169 Caroline_McElwee: I do think it's harder without the links. Impressed by that!
>170 Helenliz: Yes, a friend from uni which is a long time ago now, of course.
>171 Crazymamie: Isn't it beautiful! Tempted to frame it.
>172 Deern: I didn't realise until about half way that it had been a column for a newspaper first - it did become a bit repetitive, like the same style, the way that kind of book can. Probably better to dip in and out than to try and read it all in one go. If you read it at all!
>173 mdoris: THANK YOU! I was wondering what I had got wrong, given the blurb on the back is from President Obama. But then I realised the blurb is quite selectively edited - he doesn't say it's good exactly.
"Interesting and provocative… It gives you a sense of how briefly we've been on this Earth"
>174 jnwelch: I don't know when he started the column that the book was based on, but I wondered if he had been overtaken by publishing events!
>175 elkiedee: I've not heard of Linscott, thank you.
>176 elkiedee: Yes, and he does acknowledge those publishers in the book.
>177 elkiedee: "The Book of Some Forgotten, but others you have remembered perfectly well, thank you". Hmm. Not so snappy...
Book group today (if not cancelled because of the "Beast from the East"): I need to work out what I'm going to say, because I carried on reading and the bit about Nazi ideology made me want to throw the book all over again. It's good to read things that challenge your ideas, right?
Charlotte, I finished listening to The Cold, Cold Ground last night, and I really loved, so thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Hoping your Tuesday is full of fabulous!
I think that was a Chatterbox recommendation, Mamie, so pleased to pass on the LT tip. Fascinating setting for fiction, I don't know how the author manages to create such an atmosphere for NI when he was so young when all that stuff was happening. (I guess that's the skill of writing fiction).
Book group was small, which was a shame, as I would have liked to have heard more views on the book. The person who recommended it was a fan (of course) but there were lots of questions about his take on religion, money and cooperation.
I suddenly realised today that if I'm having people to visit, I'd need to get two rooms ready for them. No reading for me - please pass the duster.
Outstanding library books
Frankenstein in Baghdad
Claire of the sea light
The Muslims are coming!
The clinic, memory : new and selected poems
Everywoman : one woman's truth about speaking the truth
The heart's invisible furies
Psychoanalysis : the impossible profession
Loop of Jade
Joining the dots : a woman in her time
Radical reformers and respectable rebels
The grass dancer
Killers of the flower moon : oil, money, murder and the birth of the FBI
To die in Spring
Priestdaddy : a memoir
No reading for me - please pass the duster.
Oh no, that is bad news. Dusting is such a last resort activity for me.
Nice to see an enthusiastic library patron, Charlotte. :) Have fun dusting, not my favorite job.
>39 charl08: I am way behind on your thread, Charlotte. You got me with the Jackson Lamb series. I now have the first one on hold at the library.
>158 charl08: I am currently reading a Margery Allingham book and she was number one on the list. There were a few other names that I have read in there.
Happy belated birthday, Charlotte. I hope the "beast from the east" was just a pussy cat.
>183 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen for the wishes. The conversation was a bit rambling and I think I talked too much. We were all really struck by the cave art I think - and the book's recommender mentioned that there wasn't enough in the book about the role of cultural arts. We wondered why the book had been so successful (comments ranged from the easy writing style to folk wanting to catch up on what they missed at school). We talked about the role of particular key points - the book mentions Cook's journey to the Pacific, and draws a link between Cook's successful treatment of scurvy and the ability to travel long distances (and thus have an empire). That got us onto alternative history fiction...
>184 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie - I just meant that Chatterbox recommended it to me. I wouldn't have read it otherwise. Thanks for the credit, I do appreciate the thought :-)
>185 LovingLit: It really is Megan. Although it's tough competition: hoovering, mopping, changing beds, sorting out rubbish...
>186 BLBera: Always Beth! I want a holiday to catch up with myself though - three have been requested by someone else.
>187 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg for the wishes. The beast from the East - so far we still have some snow but at the uni where I work the maintenance crew did a brilliant job clearing and salting, and things did seem to get milder. I'm supposed to be doing some local travel today, so... Lots of schools have closed in (the more rural parts) of my county. Bet those kids are happy!!
I was in a meeting yesterday and whilst we were having a discussion behind us a student came outside, talked to someone in the room above, and quickly threw herself on the ground and made a snow angel! Made me smile.
>182 charl08: Wow! and I thought I was bad, I've got 7 out at the moment...
Think of the tidying as the penance before the pleasure of having people to visit. This would be why I gave in a got a cleaner. There are always better things to do in my world than tidying...
>182 charl08: The library list wouldn't fit on a screen of my phone, Charlotte. I had to scroll :-)
Oh, what a library list. Can you tell me when you get the time reading all these books? So far I have not figured out how to read this lot of books in a timely manner.
Happy Wednesday, Charlotte.
Hey Charlotte! You've got some heavy reading ahead of you. I'm going to wishlist Killers of the flower moon : oil, money, murder and the birth of the FBI because everyone has read it and Psychoanalysis : the impossible profession as it sounds very interesting and I await you comments.
>189 Helenliz: I've already found several things I thought I'd lost, so that's a plus.
>190 susanj67: Yes, it's a bit out of control. I blame bookgroup and reading exciting new books.
>191 Ameise1: I don't Barbara at the moment - several have gone back unread recently as someone requested them or I ran out of renewals.
>192 Caroline_McElwee: Nice to have a recommendation, I must move it up to the top. I bought a couple of anthologies recently and those have blocked all the other poetry, I think!
>193 Carmenere: That's why I picked it up Linda. Janet Malcolm was recommended by Rebeccanyc (I think: might be remembering this wrong, sorry if so) and I find her books fascinating on the history of Freud and also on journalism. I put this one down though because I was struggling reading anything on a heavy topic after busy time at work. Must pick it up again though - it's only a slight book.
>195 charl08: Lovely. It looks like your walk is pretty with or without snow. I miss being able to walk to work....
>196 EBT1002: It is definitely improved by the snow -it's rather a boring park.
>197 Crazymamie: I should have got the church in the picture, but in my defence, it was cold!
I finished Visitation last night - what an amazing book, thanks to everyone who raved about Jenny Erpenbeck. This one tells the story of a plot of land in (what becomes) East Germany, through the perspectives of those who live on it and visit it. It's really short but it packs a real emotional punch, perhaps unsurprising given the march of armies across the land. Erpenbeck avoids the cliche though, and takes the story of the lakehouses in unexpected directions.
I have that Erpenbeck on my shelves, Charlotte. I'll try to get to it this month. I loved Go, Went, Gone and would like to read more by her.
The snow is pretty. I am sick of it.
>199 FAMeulstee: Yes, we're getting to the ratty end of things here Anita. Although the high winds are making things interesting. Hope you stay warm.
>200 BLBera: I got all nostalgic this evening. They announced that parts of Scotland has called in the army to help with the snow. They did this when I was in Edinburgh and we had a big snowfall. Except they didn't seem to show up! Just rumours of the army. Since we lived about five minutes from Holyrood Palace it seemed a bit of a cheek.
>201 BLBera: Hurrah! It's not the Bailey's prize anymore! Does a little dance. I'm definitely ordering those books. Maybe next month though. Or just one? Hmmm....
And this here was his house. For the sitting to be done by his wife and himself, he designed the two chairs with leather cushions, for observing the sunset, he made the terrace with its view of the lake, and their shared pleasure at receiving guests had taken shape as a long table in the main room, the chill he and she felt in winter would be combated by the tiled heating stove from Holland, his and her weariness after ice-skating by the bench by the stove, and finally his drawing at the drafting table was provided for, as it were, by the studio. And now he had to consider himself lucky he was escaping with his life, suffering his third skin to be stripped from him and fleeing, insides glisteningly exposed, to the safety of the West.
Hope you like it Barbara! Hoping to get back to the books soon - have been doing some more cleaning, and reading about Jewish humour in the TLS. I really enjoyed David Baddiel's review of Jewish Comedy: A Serious History.
>195 charl08: That's a pretty picture of the snow, Charlotte. It makes it easier to deal with when you can walk to work.
I'm glad you don't mind that snow too much, Charlotte. It looks lovely, but I am more that happy to deal with our rain! Back to normal here, thanks! I've been away from LT, but I did get some reading done . I've just started on Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, a BB I caught from your Guardian Reviews, which I really appreciate! I've got Go, Went, Gone in my TBR pile. My reading funk is over.
I've got to check out >201 BLBera:
Hi Charlotte! Happy very belated birthday wishes from a fellow Pisces. : )
I have heard of 7 of the authors.
Love the snow picture!
I will try to keep up now.
>205 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Still rather green about you getting to see Claudia Rankine.
>206 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I appreciated my hiking pole - just enough remnants of ice to be worrying!
>207 vancouverdeb: Fab Deborah. Hope you don't have to wait too long for your anticipated arrival.
>208 Berly: Kim! Hope you're feeling more the thing now, your allergy situation sounded scary. Pisces rule!
I picked up Priestdaddy last night - memoir of growing up the daughter of a Catholic priest (he became a priest after he had a family). Gripping stuff.
All from www.guardian.co.uk/books
I'm thinking the Greengrass and the Halliday, even thought the topic of the Halliday makes me think 'ick'. The Alarcón also sounds wonderful.
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey reviewed by M John Harrison
"...a historical novel full of the liveliness and gristle of the period it depicts..."
Felix Culpa by Jeremy Gavron reviewed by Colin Barrett
"...the bulk of its text is made up of lines lifted from other novels. An appendix lists the 100 works by 80 or so writers that Jeremy Gavron has used as his raw materials, though the text is not purely collage: only 14 of the 33 chapters are made up of “entirely sourced lines”. In other words, 19 contain some original interventions. While this may have been impossible to avoid, it can’t help but take the gloss off Gavron’s attempted feat. It’s as though the French novelist Georges Perec, author of the seminal Oulipian novel La Disparition/A Void, a book that famously does not contain a single E, instead wrote a book containing some Es."
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday reviewed by Justine Jordan
"...a sharp examination of the unequal power dynamic between men and women, innocence and experience, fame and aspiration. Through its fractured structure and daring incompleteness, it also explores the unreliability of memory, the accidents of history and the exercise and understanding of creativity. Most of all, it wonders whether we can ever “penetrate the looking-glass” of our own personality to imagine another consciousness – a question as relevant to human relationships as it is to novel writing."
The King Is Always Above the People by Daniel Alarcón reviewed by Ben East
"Time and time again, young men are forced to leave home, learning something about themselves, freedom and the ties of family. They do so in beautifully intimate ways that surely reflect this Peruvian-American’s experience producing the Radio Ambulante podcast, a kind of This American Life for the Spanish-speaking world..."
Sight by Jessie Greengrass reviewed by Lauren Elkin
"the writing is poised – but as if on the edge of a precipice. Hovering between the novel and the essay, unfolding through long, languorous sentences, Sight builds meaning through juxtaposition, through surprising mirrorings and parallels; the narrator even keeps a bulletin board where she places certain photographic talismans that recur across the narrative.
Teju Cole, or even Patrick Keiller, blending first-person writing with musings on figures such as Röntgen, the relationship between Sigmund and Anna Freud, and the surgeon-cum-collector behind the Hunterian Museum, John Hunter. Nothing sticks out; everything is folded into the patient laying out of language and thought."
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro reviewed by Molly McCloskey
"...fails to weave the ideas driving the narrative into the actual events, and we veer between a didacticism, in which Maggie intellectualises her desires, and the affair itself, often rendered in language that is cloyingly intimate, insufficiently sieved. The gap leaves the God issue feeling tacked-on and not entirely convincing."
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala reviewed by Alex Preston
"Beasts of No Nation was an astonishingly powerful novel and I’d been keeping tabs on Iweala’s progress. The last I’d heard he was working on an epic, multi-narrative novel of Washington life, following six characters as their paths crossed and diverged. It feels as though Speak No Evil was salvaged from the wreckage of that more ambitious project. At its best, this book reminded me of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, a languid, emotional, wilfully adolescent Bildungsroman."
And a thrillers round up -
The Kremlin’s Candidate by Jason Matthews, The Shadow Killer by Arnaldur Indriðason, Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell, The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox, Panic Room by Robert Goddard, The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste
>210 charl08: Hi Charlotte! Some of those look really good. I might have a canter through the library catalogue later. Just out of interest.
A hiking pole sounds like a very useful thing in this weather. I got off the bus last night to see the pavement on that side of the street being gritted. I've never seen it before in 20 years of living in this flat, so I assume someone from the council has just moved into the building next to the gritting truck :-)
>211 Ameise1: Glad I'm not alone in doing that Barbara!
>212 susanj67: Thanks Susan. A hiking pole is a very useful thing altogether. Good for a bit of courage when walking near cows too, I find. I was amused to find that the path next to work on the main road was gritted, but the steep path round the back was not. Not sure what that was about!
>213 BLBera: It's not a bad choice this week, is it?!
Still waiting to see if friend from "Down South" has managed to make it through the snow. Fingers crossed!
Thanks for steering me toward Jenny Erpenbeck generally and Visitation, specifically. I liked the excerpt you posted in >202 charl08:. Your snow is pretty but I am ready for winter to be over!
My rendition of Stormy Weather made it clear why, in fact, my man had gone away: because he was frightened of the sounds I was making.
Finished Priestdaddy, which is a good job because it's due back at the library and some other borrower has requested it. So hard to sum up, a memoir of growing up in a Catholic priest's family (her dad converted from Protestantism when he already had a family, so was allowed to stay married). She recounts leaving home with a man she met on the internet, becoming a poet, her husband's loss of sight and their return back to the family home penniless. It reads like the kind of life I would have struggle believing in a novel.
For me the most compelling parts were her account of accompanying her mum and dad on a pro-life protest outside a family planning clinic, and of going to a 'happy clappy' youth club. For me, who grew up with a similarly fundamentalist parent (albeit of a very different hue, and with no penchant for sitting around in transparent boxer shorts, thank goodness) she manages to encapsulate some of the ambivalence of looking back on happy memories that no longer represent your identity, but that cannot be wholly abandoned. She hit a nerve I didn't even know I had describing making jokes referencing religion and being accused of blasphemy. Her writing is beautiful (she has poetry collections published, which I must look up) and her family reminded me of David Sedaris' accounts of life in a big family with its own rules. Recommended.
Happy Thingaversary, Charlotte! I noticed it is also Anita's Thingaversary - she joined exactly 1 year after you did!
Happy Thingaversary, Charlotte. You hit me with Priestdaddy. I will look for this one. So, how many books do you get to gift yourself?
Priestdaddy sounds fascinating. Great review. Another one for the wishlist. Happy Thingaversary! Enjoy your purchases. Glad to see that perhaps spring is really on it's way? We've had a couple of days of sun.
Thanks Deborah - I will enjoy my new books. They came so quickly, I've hardly had time to realise that I ordered them...
And Spring - I really hope so.
She ro dolls now include Nicola Adams (British boxer)
Happy Thingaversary for yesterday, Charlotte :-)
I *love* the Nicola Adams story. What a great idea for inspiring dolls.
Here's the list for you to wake up to, Charlotte:
H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fireby Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Thanks Beth! Looks good.
I like lots of 'new to me' books and I haven't read most of them. Only The Idiot and Manhattan Beach although I have a few others on the kindle / hard copy to read.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Elmet by Fiona Mozley I tried to read when it was on the list for the Booker, and gave up, so might just hold off on that one.
Went online this morning and requested several more on the library catalogue, so I better get reading the books I have out already!!
H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Thinking about ordering myself...
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Have woken up to snow, which after a long day yesterday, I am feeling distinctly unimpressed by.
Although there are lovely sounds of my small neighbours outside laughing and playing, so there is that.
Have you read Barker before? I'm hesitant after Call Me Zebra...Otherwise, I will probably read most of the list, although not as fast as you do.
Sadly, quite a few of the books on the Women's Lit List are not yet available in Canada . Sobs to self. And I don't think I trust Canada Post to deliver in time from the Book Depository.
Home Fire was great , I thought. I'd like to order the Kit de Waal as I''ve read one of her previous books, but it's not yet available in Canada. Still pondering on some of the others.
Can't resist posting this penguin selfie:
There's a short video clip here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12009790&am...
>239 avatiakh: that's fab!
Not looking at books lists, *la la la not listening*. Like my list of books to read isn't already several miles long...
>237 Caroline_McElwee: It had gone here too, but then I woke up to more (and did a double take). By the time I'd got into the office they'd cancelled work, by which point it was just as much effort to go home so most people stayed.
>238 vancouverdeb: Sorry to hear that Deborah! Hope that changes. I am tempted to get a few on kindle - I can't remember, do you ever read digital books?
>239 avatiakh: That's so funny Kerry, thanks for posting.
>240 Helenliz: Good luck with that, Helen!
>242 susanj67: I was pleased when the steady flow of people opening the door, hovering, and asking hopefully if their classes were cancelled, ceased and I could get on with my work without the icy breeze!
>243 BLBera: I am not normally a big fan of this park, but I liked this view. (Ridiculously, I'm still bitter about the fact the town sold out and let Safeway supermarket build on a quarter of it in exchange for a bit of landscaping - this must be 20 years ago now, and it's certainly never stopped me from shopping there!)
I got Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard as a birthday present (along with a rather lovely scarf with silver stars on). I'm not sure it is a manifesto, but it was certainly a thought-provoking read. Beard's book is taken from two LRB lectures on classics and gender, and her role as classics professor certainly shows. She draws on a range of classical references to talk about the roots of women's exclusion from public speech, and brings it right up to date talking about the vilification lots of women face for speaking up and out.
In the afterword she talks about the challenges of adapting lectures - asking what should be updated (if anything) and reflects that if she was writing them again, she would focus on the right of women to sometimes be wrong. It's powerful stuff. Coincidence ahoy - I've just been reading about this Punch cartoon for a work thing - it also appears in the book!
Finished The Lying Down Room the first in a series about a French-Malaysian detective working in Paris (the author is of the same background). The case centres around the mysterious murders of elderly women, following visits by an unlikely pair of would-be evangelists. The investigator, Morel, has a murky personal life, and a quirky team: a good start to the series.
(Did I mention I read the first book in the series first? Yes?!)
>224 charl08: I liked the book too Charlotte, and *snerked* at the cartoon.
I forgot to mention how much I liked that she had included a list in the back of further reading. Tempting!
I'm going to start a new thread, in the hope that that might get me reading a bit more too!
>244 charl08: So good. I know this problem is widespread. I read that female advisors in mixed meetings with Obama started repeating whatever one woman said so that it wouldn't get lost like this ("That idea, that xyz makes sense, is a really good point, Ellen"). He apparently got the point, and started asking more often for the women's opinions.
That's really interesting Joe. I do like those stories about people learning and changing to do better.
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