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Fieldnotes: On Staying Clam & Reading in 2018 ☽ Part II ☾

The Green Dragon

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1clamairy
Jul 22, 2018, 12:17pm Top



I'm happy to say that I've read another practically perfect book. I find my self at a loss to describe what I loved so much about News of the World. It is, like A Gentleman in Moscow, difficult to articulate what makes this one so special. It's got a high rating here on LT, and it was a National Book Award finalist, so at least I feel I'm not alone in my praise for it. It reminds me of what I like best about Cormac McCarthy without what I dislike added in. :o) Does that make sense? Before you start thinking I mean a kinder gentler McCarthy then think again. There is some serious violence, and there are some truly despicable people in this book. But I cannot recommend this one enough.

2cindydavid4
Edited: Jul 22, 2018, 12:44pm Top

Oh I loved that book as well! I see the comparison with Gentleman in Moscow - an older man fostering a young girl, guiding her along the way she travels. In both, by the time I got to the end I didn't want to be finished and read it again.

BTW in one of LTs reviews for the book it mentions a movie in production, with Tom Hanks as Captain! Oh I can see that.....( just checked - no release date set as of last year....)

3clamairy
Jul 22, 2018, 12:43pm Top

>2 cindydavid4: AHHH! I did not know about that. He will be absolutely wonderful in that role!

4cindydavid4
Jul 22, 2018, 12:45pm Top

I just checked - as of last year, there was no release date yet. crossing my fingers that its still in the making!

5clamairy
Jul 22, 2018, 12:54pm Top

IMDB has it listed as "in development" with Hanks as Kidd, so I too will keep my fingers crossed. (And perhaps my toes.)

6MrsLee
Edited: Jul 22, 2018, 1:05pm Top

That one looks very familiar. I think it may be here in the house somewhere, but not sure. My father-in-law gives me bags of books and I siphon a lot of them out to my mom. I'll have to see if I can find it.

ETA: I see it is in my TBR list, which means it is in the house somewhere. The Search Begins!

7clamairy
Jul 22, 2018, 1:55pm Top

>6 MrsLee: I think you'll enjoy this one, my friend. The only complaint I had (and by reading some of the reviews here on LT I see others had it too) is the lack of quotation marks. I got used to it pretty quickly, though.

8Jim53
Jul 22, 2018, 8:31pm Top

>1 clamairy: I think you got me with this one. I've added it to the list. But there are so many ahead of it! I'm having trouble prioritizing these days.

9stellarexplorer
Jul 23, 2018, 1:49pm Top

I loved it too. News was on my Favorite Reads list last year.
My review: https://www.librarything.com/work/16475582/reviews/144240087

Glad you enjoyed it!

10clamairy
Jul 23, 2018, 2:52pm Top

>8 Jim53: I think you will enjoy this one!

>9 stellarexplorer: Yours was probably one of the book bullets that scored a hit. I think another friend posted a glowing review on Facebook as well, but I cannot recall who.

11pgmcc
Jul 23, 2018, 4:13pm Top

>10 clamairy: I suspect there are two elements of your post that could explain the wound I am suffering. Firstly, "It is, like A Gentleman in Moscow", and secondly, "It reminds me of what I like best about Cormac McCarthy without what I dislike added in".

You know I loved A Gentleman in Moscow. You are unlikely to have known that I was not impressed with No Country for Old Men.

12Darth-Heather
Edited: Jul 23, 2018, 4:37pm Top

>11 pgmcc: I second this. All in favor? Aye!

13clamairy
Jul 23, 2018, 5:04pm Top

>11 pgmcc: I guess I was only half shooting blind. I love the way McCarthy paints a picture with his use of language, but I find he's often heavy-handed with the gruesome details of life.

>12 Darth-Heather: :o)

14catzteach
Jul 23, 2018, 10:26pm Top

>1 clamairy: sounds like a lovely book!

15clamairy
Jul 24, 2018, 5:06pm Top

>14 catzteach: I'm not sure I would use the word lovely. But I think you would enjoy it.

16clamairy
Edited: Jul 24, 2018, 5:18pm Top



Finished listening to a wonderful book called The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham. It's a call to reason and compassion, featuring many anecdotes about and passages from the speeches or conversations of several presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Lyndon Johnson & Dwight Eisenhower, among others. There is also a very large section dealing with Joseph McCarthy and his disgraceful shenanigans, and some other unsavory and shameful bits of our past, such as the rise & fall (rinse & repeat) of hate groups like the Klan. It is ultimately a hopeful book, however. Pretty much what I needed right now.

17clamairy
Aug 1, 2018, 1:26pm Top

Hey, I'll probably mostly AFK for about a month or so. I might drop by sporadically when I need a break, but it won't be often. My move is set for the 16th/17th and I anticipate a long acclimation/settling in period. LOL

Try not to have too much fun without me.
:o)

18suitable1
Aug 1, 2018, 1:28pm Top

>17 clamairy:

pictures?

19cindydavid4
Aug 1, 2018, 1:51pm Top

>17 clamairy: Oh man, done that way too many times in my life, suspect I'll stay put from now on. Hope the move is as easy and unstressful as possible. Come back when you can!

20Jim53
Aug 1, 2018, 4:11pm Top

>17 clamairy: Best wishes for a successful, minimal-stress move!

21pgmcc
Aug 1, 2018, 4:26pm Top

>17 clamairy: Wishing you all the best for the move. Take things easy and remember to use sun block.

We will all be waiting to hear your adventures and to wish you all the best. Good luck.

22YouKneeK
Aug 1, 2018, 5:33pm Top

>17 clamairy: Good luck with the move! Moving (including the preparation and the aftermath) is a LOT of work!

23Narilka
Aug 1, 2018, 8:24pm Top

>17 clamairy: Good luck moving. We'll be here when you get back.

24Peace2
Aug 1, 2018, 8:54pm Top

Hope the moving goes smoothly!

25stellarexplorer
Aug 2, 2018, 2:09am Top

Hope you love your new home!

26Sakerfalcon
Aug 2, 2018, 6:39am Top

Good luck with the move, I hope everything goes smoothly and it soon feels like home.

27Marissa_Doyle
Aug 2, 2018, 8:23am Top

Let us know how many boxes of books you end up moving with you... :)

28MrsLee
Aug 2, 2018, 9:24am Top

We'll keep the light on for you!

29hfglen
Aug 2, 2018, 10:35am Top

I can think of a reason for envying you the ability to pick up a whole box of books in one go (though the cardiologist assured me this morning that it'll come, eventually). Anyway, I wish you a safe move and much happiness in your new home.

30catzteach
Aug 2, 2018, 9:41pm Top

Moving is hard! I hope yours goes smoothly.

31clamairy
Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 10:34pm Top

Thanks, all. I'm unloading a bunch of books. (Probably 400 or so, so far.) Mostly I'm donating things I'll never reread or things I've never read, but owned for so long they're unreadable. Saying good-bye to lots of 60's & 70's era paperbacks. :o(
I've decided to foist a painful choice onto others by donating them. :o)

>29 hfglen: They are small boxes. The one's I'm donating are just going into bags!

32littlegeek
Aug 8, 2018, 12:38pm Top

>31 clamairy: I have done that. I miss very few. I still have some books around the house to make it homey. I do so love just gazing at books (although I love my Kindle.)

33clamairy
Sep 4, 2018, 8:41pm Top

Dropping in to quickly say hello and let you all know I landed safely on end of The Isle of Long.:o)

It was crazy and (as was to be expected) not everything went according to plan. But I am here, and I sneak off to enjoy the beach for a couple of hours when I can. And I am still reading.

I believe I've only finished a handful of books in the time I've been absent.





Martha Wells is one of my new favorite authors. I was so pleased to learn she'd won a much deserved Hugo for the first MurderBot novella, All Systems Red. Anything that manages to keep one's attention while their world is dramatically shifting has to be special. LOL I read Artificial Condition right after the first one. I'm taking a break with Genius Foods and Sunshine but I will be reading the third soonish.

Hope all is well with all of you. I will be coming back and catching up on threads slowly. I still have a massive amount of unpacking to do.

34pgmcc
Sep 5, 2018, 1:07am Top

>33 clamairy: Glad to hear you have arrived and that you are getting a few hours on the beach once in a while. As always, I am wishing you well.

35YouKneeK
Sep 5, 2018, 6:22am Top

>33 clamairy: I’m glad you made it safely!

I’ve seen so much praise for those Murderbot novellas. I’ll have to try them eventually. So far the only thing I’ve read by her is City of Bones, a standalone fantasy novel. I liked it quite a bit at the time, but it hasn’t stuck with me very well.

36MrsLee
Sep 5, 2018, 9:06am Top

>33 clamairy: So good to hear from you, and that things are going reasonably well. Any time one can sneak off to the beach for a couple of hours break, things can't be too bad, right?

37Jim53
Sep 5, 2018, 11:44am Top

Like others, I'm glad to hear that you're surviving and finding a little time to do what you want. I remember reading All Systems Red earlier this year and finding it OK but nothing to get excited about. Maybe I'll try the next one after all.

38clamairy
Sep 5, 2018, 12:15pm Top

>34 pgmcc:, >35 YouKneeK:, >36 MrsLee: & >37 Jim53: *waves* I probably shouldn't be taking the time away from unpacking to swim, but the lure of sand and surf is too much for me to resist.

>37 Jim53: If you didn't like the first one then don't. I loved the dry humor. If that didn't please you in the first one then it won't in any of the others

39pgmcc
Edited: Sep 5, 2018, 12:51pm Top

>38 clamairy:
There used to be an evening news programme on Northern Ireland television with a news announcer who always closed with a little words of wisdom phrase. I watched the programme daily for years but the only saying I remember from that slot is, “Time you enjoy wasting is not waste time.”

Enjoy your swims. The unpacking will happen. Go for another swim.

40Narilka
Sep 5, 2018, 8:13pm Top

>33 clamairy: You survived the move! Have fun unpacking :)

41cindydavid4
Sep 5, 2018, 9:56pm Top

Exactly! Enjoy!

42Peace2
Sep 8, 2018, 2:27am Top

Enjoy and good luck for the rest of the unpacking - but don't stop taking the chance to swim and relax too. The unpacking will still be there when you come out, the right weather might not be once the unpacking is completely finished to your liking.

43hfglen
Sep 8, 2018, 7:15am Top

Enjoy your new home! Right here and now you would find your style cramped for almost anything except reading -- for the last 12 hours or more we've had heavy rain alternating with monsoon-like floods.

44suitable1
Sep 9, 2018, 9:56pm Top

>1 clamairy:

Just finished News of the World. It's a great read.

45clamairy
Sep 12, 2018, 8:11pm Top



I finished Sunshine and it was interesting. I found the semi-stream of consciousness style both humorous and sometimes off-putting. I did identify quite a bit with Sunshine, but she was a bit angsty even by my standards.

I read a few more pages of Genius Foods before abandoning it for the third Murderbot book, which I in turn abandoned for Fear: Trump in the White House.

46MrsLee
Sep 13, 2018, 8:51am Top

>45 clamairy: Hmm, doesn't sound like something I would enjoy reading, but I LOVE that cover.

47clamairy
Edited: Oct 12, 2018, 7:56pm Top

Forgot to mention the audio books I finished off.



Trevor Noah's Born a Crime and



Stephen Mitchell's Gilgamesh: A New English Version.

I need to pick out something new from my Audible stockpile to start. Before I cancelled my membership I think I used my credits and bought a bunch of chunky non-fiction when they had a sale. I think I have at least a year's worth in reserve. I think I might start Grunt as I'm a Mary Roach admirer.

(ETA: Most of the touchstones were loaded in the preview, but as soon as I hit Post they went *poof.*
Edited for touchstones.)

48Narilka
Oct 12, 2018, 8:06am Top

>47 clamairy: How was that Gilgamesh?

49clamairy
Oct 12, 2018, 9:03am Top

>48 Narilka: It was a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. I'm still very glad that I listened to it since it's such an important piece of literature. I suspect that with so much repetition involved I could never have forced myself to read it.

50stellarexplorer
Oct 12, 2018, 11:29am Top

>48 Narilka: An abridged summary of the tale was plenty enough for me!

51Jim53
Oct 12, 2018, 1:22pm Top

>47 clamairy: I've heard a variety of reactions to Born a Crime. What did you think?

52Narilka
Oct 12, 2018, 2:31pm Top

>49 clamairy:, >50 stellarexplorer: I think I'll pass then.

53clamairy
Oct 12, 2018, 7:55pm Top

>48 Narilka: >50 stellarexplorer: I was stuck in traffic (which I am no longer accustomed to!) for a good chunk of it, and it was very distracting at first, but then it just got annoying.

>51 Jim53: Born a Crime was an eye-opener for me, and quite difficult to listen to in parts. He had a very difficult childhood. I would have given it a higher rating if he hadn't mentioned several times that he thinks "cats are assholes." Go ahead and chuckle if you will, but I have always been wary of people who don't like animals.

54catzteach
Oct 13, 2018, 11:26am Top

>53 clamairy: he doesn’t like cats? That saddens me. I’m wary of people who don’t like animals, too, especially cats.

55clamairy
Oct 13, 2018, 11:52am Top

>54 catzteach: Exactly. Apparently they are not held in very high esteem where he was raised. But he's had plenty of time to alter that conditioning.

56Busifer
Nov 1, 2018, 11:27am Top

>33 clamairy:, >45 clamairy: - Did you get back to the Murderbot Diaries? I read them all, recently, and loved them, but if you abandoned Rogue protocol I'd be interested to hear why you didn't finish it.

One of the reasons that I liked the series was the voice of Murderbot - it's very human self-depreciation and self-doubt - and I also enjoyed the hopeful tone, in spite of the background being a rather bleak, robber-baron-riddled, universe.

57clamairy
Edited: Nov 5, 2018, 9:41pm Top

>56 Busifer: Yes, I read all four of them. Loved them! I can't wait for more Murderbot!!! I just wish they weren't so short.

Welcome back, by the way! I was going to write a post in your new thread, but I was ill over the weekend and I'm just starting to feel human again.

58Busifer
Nov 6, 2018, 7:21am Top

>57 clamairy: I hope you're feeling better.

I loved Murderbot, loved the voice, and I too thought them too short, and the last one... it felt like all of it had been just setting the stage for the real story, or set of stories.

It feels so good to be back :-)

59clamairy
Nov 7, 2018, 8:16pm Top







Just throwing the covers in here. I finished these since I last listed books, and I think that's it. I can't recommend the Murderbot series enough. The Towles was good, but nothing on the level of A Gentleman in Moscow, sadly.

Right now I'm working on The Witch Elm. I borrowed it through OverDrive to read for Halloween, but Rules of Civility took me much longer to read than I had planned. So now the Tana French book is my Thanksgiving read. ;o)

60suitable1
Nov 7, 2018, 8:42pm Top

>57 clamairy: & >58 Busifer:

I suppose that I'm whining here, but I also think they are too short, especially for the prices. I think they should have been combined into a single book at the appropriate price. That said, I have enjoyed the first two, and will probably buy the third, muttering all the time.

61clamairy
Nov 7, 2018, 9:34pm Top

>60 suitable1: My new library has the digital copies to borrow. And yes, they are pricey. I got the first one cheap because it was on sale, bought another full price and borrowed the other two.

62stellarexplorer
Nov 7, 2018, 9:53pm Top

It looks like there are 5 books in the Wells series, starting with All systems red. Is it important to read them in sequence?

63suitable1
Nov 8, 2018, 12:15am Top

I would say that order is important. It's a continuing story.

64Busifer
Edited: Nov 8, 2018, 7:08am Top

>62 stellarexplorer: Reading order is very important. Like >63 suitable1: said, it's a continuing story, told sequentially.

>60 suitable1: I too thought them too expensive... but after having read the first I needed to read the rest, and so... the price in Sweden was 200 SEK per volume, so 800 SEK for what is literally a 600 page book. Standard is rather 300 SEK for that size hardbound book, and 150 SEK for the paperback. (200 SEK is approximately USD 22 or 16 GBP, and 800 SEK is USD 89).

Book addiction has it's price, apparently...

65clamairy
Nov 8, 2018, 9:06am Top

>62 stellarexplorer: There are only four so far. What looks like a fifth is the omnibus. And yes! They must be read in order. Also, I realized Tor gave me the first one for free, if I remember correctly. (They knew they'd get us hooked...)

66YouKneeK
Nov 8, 2018, 5:59pm Top

>65 clamairy: Tor is very evil about that. :) They’ve sucked me in more than any other publisher with their first-in-series freebies.

67pgmcc
Edited: Nov 10, 2018, 2:34pm Top

A colleague was talking to me yesterday about a book he picked up on the kindle for 99c. The blurb on the book was written by the author and it said, "Does it matter what the book is about? It is only 99c. If you do not like it you have lost very little. If you do like it you might buy my other four books which are €4.99 each and that is where I make my money. I hope you enjoy it."

My colleague did enjoy the first book and has now bought the other four.

68catzteach
Nov 10, 2018, 11:41am Top

>67 pgmcc: excellent marketing ploy.

69pgmcc
Nov 10, 2018, 2:36pm Top

>68 catzteach: It really was.

My friend said the book was actually poking fun at Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Yes, you read right. He said it was well done and it encouraged him to get the other books.

70Jim53
Nov 10, 2018, 9:05pm Top

>59 clamairy: I picked up Witch Elm this week but haven't started it yet. French has said many interesting things in interviews that I've read, and I liked her Dublin Murder Squad books quite well, so I'm looking forward to it.

Hope you're feeling better!

71clamairy
Nov 11, 2018, 5:38pm Top

>70 Jim53: It was a bit slow to get going for my taste, but sweet cheeses... now that I've been sucked in I'm having a hard time putting it down.

72clamairy
Nov 15, 2018, 7:57pm Top

Sweet cheeses. I need to start posting more, or I'll never have enough posts to start my new thread for January!



I finished The Witch Elm and I ended up giving it 3 1/2 stars. There were a few places were it really shone, but it just went on a bit too long and took quite a while to get going. I understand her other books are much loved, and they seem to have higher rating here on LT than this one does.

73clamairy
Nov 15, 2018, 8:03pm Top

Oh, and I'm well into Spinning Silver and I am loving it.

74Jim53
Nov 16, 2018, 8:11pm Top

>72 clamairy: I did enjoy her Dublin Murder Squad books.

75MrsLee
Nov 17, 2018, 11:20am Top

>72 clamairy: Never fear, this pub is full of thread-extenders if you need some in a pinch. :) We piffle like no others.

76pgmcc
Nov 17, 2018, 11:50am Top

>72 clamairy: I agree with MrsLee’s comments in >75 MrsLee: and I am posting this to increase your thread’s post count simply to prove the point.

77suitable1
Edited: Nov 17, 2018, 3:39pm Top

>75 MrsLee: Aren't we supposed to wait until December to piffle?

78catzteach
Nov 17, 2018, 4:13pm Top

>73 clamairy: glad you are enjoying that one. I couldn’t get into it and ended up not finishing it, which was disappointing since I loved Uprooted.

79clamairy
Nov 19, 2018, 12:11pm Top

>74 Jim53: Yes, I remember that you were one of the ones who'd mentioned her before.

80clamairy
Nov 19, 2018, 12:12pm Top

>75 MrsLee: >76 pgmcc: & >76 pgmcc: - Thank you! And no, it's never to early to piffle. Not in my book anyway.

81clamairy
Edited: Nov 19, 2018, 12:14pm Top

>78 catzteach: I loved Uprooted too. This seems much more serious to me, as there is very little humor. It feels much more intense and realistic, despite the magic.

82Narilka
Nov 19, 2018, 4:40pm Top

>73 clamairy: I wrapped up Spinning Silver this weekend and also loved it :) Glad you're having a similar experience. Yeah, I'm behind on writing a review.

83YouKneeK
Nov 19, 2018, 5:14pm Top

>73 clamairy:, >82 Narilka: I’m glad to read you are both enjoying/enjoyed Spinning Silver! I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews about that one, so at this point I’m really curious to try it and form my own opinion. I haven’t decided yet when I’ll fit it in, though.

84Sakerfalcon
Nov 20, 2018, 5:07am Top

I'm really looking forward to Spinning silver, though I'm waiting for the paperback. Glad you are enjoying it, Clam.

85clamairy
Edited: Dec 1, 2018, 9:08am Top

So I was nattering on in another thread about the ebook borrowing situation here at my new library. Apparently the consortium my old library in CT belonged to for borrowing ebooks through OverDrive was minuscule compared to the one in Southold. This consortium appears to own Kindle copies of EVERYTHING, and every book I've put on hold has appeared on my Kindle within days. I was about to buy the kindle version of The Three Body Problem the other day when it was on sale for $2.99, but I figured I'd check OverDrive first on a whim. I knew my old library didn't have it, but the new one had multiple copies. I suspect Amazon won't be getting as much of my money as they used to here. (Which is good, because the local vineyards will be emptying my pockets.)



I finally finished Spinning Silver and quite enjoyed it. Though, as Narilka pointed out, the constantly changing POV got a bit tedious at times. I also felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be. I did enjoy Uprooted more, but only slightly. This is a much meatier tale than Uprooted, and it addresses the issue of antisemitism head-on.

I've moved right on to Michael Ondaatje's Warlight. I loved his The English Patient, and LT tells me I've read another one of his called Anil's Ghost which seems to have made zero impression on me.

86Narilka
Dec 1, 2018, 10:03am Top

>85 clamairy: I wish Spinning Silver had been written in third person. That would've fixed the POV problems easily enough. I really need to read Uprooted now.

87Jim53
Dec 1, 2018, 10:26am Top

>85 clamairy: Warlight was on a list I was looking at last week (TLS? can't remember) and I'm hoping to get it in this month. His The Cat's Table was one of my best reads this year. And I liked some aspects of The English Patient better than the movie, which was also quite good.

88cindydavid4
Edited: Dec 1, 2018, 10:38am Top

Read Cats Table it for a book group and it was one of the few books that everyone of us loved. I saw EP but never read the book, should do that.

I have tried multiple times to get into Novik but just bale out in frustration. Not sure if its the POV, or her convuluted writing style or a lack of editor, but they just don't work for me. Strange because all of the plots are right up my alley. Maybe I'll try this new one. I too love 'fractured fairy tales', maybe this one will do the trick.

>85 clamairy: I am a dinosaur, I know, but I can't wrap my head around 'checking out' an ebook. Do you need to return it in prestine condition? What happens if its overdue? And how does someone price them - there is no production cost. I know its just like paying for HBO, Netlix or Pandora, just feels strange from a library.

89reading_fox
Dec 1, 2018, 11:14am Top

>88 cindydavid4: yes they're paid for out of the libraries budget just like the pbooks they hold. They are not 'no production cost' the publisher has to reformat the files so that it works as an ebook, server database and software costs and it will need the same editing etc as any pbook title*. The system - overdrive- allows only so many licenses, so any title can only be lent to a few people at once. They come with DRM that inactivates them after x time.

* what I find oddest is that the cost of the ebooks tends to scale with the current pbook costs. So if there's only a hardback available at £25, then the ebook will be about that expensive but the same file will be £7 a few years later when there's a paperback around. This does seem like price gouging on desperate customers who can't wait, but authors have to make a living too, and the early hardback sales make up a lot (most!) of their income from a title, so it seems a bit churlish to begrudge it. I just wish I had more confidence the extra money went to the author.

90clamairy
Edited: Dec 2, 2018, 7:13pm Top

>88 cindydavid4: I hemmed and hawed for a while after I bought my kindle before I decided to take the leap. It was actually quite easy. Usually all you need is your library card number. You go to you library's website and look for something that looks like this:



All they need is your library's name and your card number and an email address. When the books you've put on hold become available you'll get an email. You click on the links in the email and follow the directions and the books *magically* appear on your reader. It's AWESOME! :o)

91clamairy
Dec 2, 2018, 7:14pm Top

>87 Jim53: I can't be sure where I saw it, but it might have been on the NY Times list of 100 best books of the year. I requested it as soon as I saw it, and it showed up a couple of days later.

92clamairy
Dec 2, 2018, 7:16pm Top

>86 Narilka: Yes, it would have been easier, but I think she wanted to give each character her/his own voice. Third person doesn't really allow for that.

93littlegeek
Dec 3, 2018, 1:30pm Top

>88 cindydavid4: I don't like Novik, either! I have tried several times and end up DNF. I can't even put my finger on why.

94Sakerfalcon
Dec 4, 2018, 4:21am Top

>88 cindydavid4:, >93 littlegeek: Her Temeraire books have never appealed to me even though I've had them recommended several times. But I did love Uprooted and am looking forward to Spinning silver.

95clamairy
Dec 4, 2018, 8:00am Top

>88 cindydavid4: >93 littlegeek: & >94 Sakerfalcon: I read His Majesty's Dragon for a group read we did in here years ago. It was okay, but I didn't enjoy it enough to keep going with the series. I thought Uprooted was wonderful.

96littlegeek
Dec 4, 2018, 2:04pm Top

>95 clamairy: Even Uprooted didn't do it for me (though I liked it better than Temeraire). It's weird how authors affect different readers.

97clamairy
Dec 4, 2018, 8:37pm Top

>96 littlegeek: Yes, and as you pointed out in your thread your mood when you start something is a huge factor as well. I think the weather can have some impact, too. (And I'm thinking that I should start locking up my phone when I pick up my kindle. LOL)

I'm having a little trouble with Warlight. I just don't care enough about anyone in it yet. Only 20% in so I'll try a little longer.

98suitable1
Dec 5, 2018, 12:01am Top

Now we can piffle!

99pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 4:42am Top

>98 suitable1: How much piffle is required?

100suitable1
Dec 5, 2018, 9:27am Top

>99 pgmcc:
What happened to your super computer?

101clamairy
Dec 5, 2018, 9:33am Top

"Let the wild rumpus start!"
(Piffling is encouraged.)

102suitable1
Dec 5, 2018, 9:40am Top

We could organize a snipe hunt, too. How big a bag for Long Island?

103clamairy
Edited: Dec 5, 2018, 9:45am Top

I love grilled snipe. But it has to be marinated first to mitigate the gaminess.

104cindydavid4
Dec 5, 2018, 9:49am Top

>89 reading_fox: Thanks for that info, makes sense. I am curious how much authors are making on ebooks versus paper, anyone know

105cindydavid4
Edited: Dec 5, 2018, 9:57am Top

>94 Sakerfalcon: I was surprised how much I liked Uprooted since I really hated His Majesty's Dragon (we were reading the former for a group read, otherwise I never would have picked it up) There was another one by her that was made into a tv series that I hated (oops, confused authors, thinking of Magicians by Lev Grossman) Would like to try Spinning Silver, but might wait till its in paperback.

106hfglen
Dec 5, 2018, 9:58am Top

>104 cindydavid4: I know that for the tree book that my good friend Braam and I wrote (Guide to introduced Trees ...) we get 12.5% on the paper version and 30 or 33% on the e-book. OTOH, as of about 6 months ago we'd sold almost 2000 paper copies and just 5 electronic. Hope that helps.

107cindydavid4
Dec 5, 2018, 10:01am Top

>98 suitable1: Ok I know piffling means trivial, what does 'to piffle' mean?

>103 clamairy: hee. reminds me of the joke attributed to stephen king "I have the heart of a small child. I keep it in a jar on my desk'

108cindydavid4
Edited: Dec 5, 2018, 10:04am Top

>106 hfglen: That does, thanks, interesting

109clamairy
Dec 5, 2018, 10:22am Top

>106 hfglen: Do you think you've sold more paper copies because it's the kind of book that's good to have in your hands when you're out wandering through the woods?

110clamairy
Dec 5, 2018, 10:25am Top

>107 cindydavid4: In this case we're using it to describe the nature of our mostly meaningless posts. I can't start a new thread for 2019 that is linked to this one until I hit 150 posts.

111suitable1
Dec 5, 2018, 10:42am Top

>103 clamairy:

You should try deep fried.

112pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 11:47am Top

I piffle
You piffle
He, She, It Piffles
We piffle
You piffle
They piffle

113Bookmarque
Dec 5, 2018, 12:20pm Top

All this talk of piffling makes me feel like I need to go to the eye doctor.

his name is Piffl.

114Busifer
Dec 5, 2018, 12:43pm Top

Piffling about is not my main forte, but I can stand here in the corner and wave with some piffle-pafflers, perhaps?
*waves*

115pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 12:53pm Top

>114 Busifer:
Hi, Busifer. I think you are piffling rather well.

116clamairy
Edited: Dec 5, 2018, 1:16pm Top

Here's something to gaze upon whilst piffling.


117pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 1:17pm Top

>116 clamairy: It is not showing on my phone. I shall have a piffle at it when I get home.

118pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 1:19pm Top

Oops! It just burst on my screen.

That is a great vestige of a shell. Years ago I could probably have named it for you.

119pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 1:20pm Top

>116 clamairy: Lovely shot.

120pgmcc
Dec 5, 2018, 1:21pm Top

>113 Bookmarque: He must be Piffling all day.

121hfglen
Dec 5, 2018, 3:03pm Top

>109 clamairy: I suspect it has more to do with the fact that the publisher has non-pushed (if there is such a word) the e-book to the extent that its existence is almost a secret. I don't, myself, think that there would be all that much difference in usability, provided that you use the e-book on a colour-enabled device (I can't see it working on a Kindle, as there's colour on every page). Also I don't think that there's a huge market for e-books here.

122Marissa_Doyle
Dec 5, 2018, 6:41pm Top

>111 suitable1: Deep-fried piffle requires a good citrus-based sauce as accompaniment.

123MrsLee
Dec 6, 2018, 9:30am Top

All this talk of piffling makes me want to read Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novels again. He is a master piffler.

>116 clamairy: Absolutely gorgeous. A very meditative shot.

124pgmcc
Dec 6, 2018, 11:21am Top

>123 MrsLee: You have made another Dorothy L. Sayers novel in my near future a distinct possibility. I have been reading them in chronological sequence so I must check which one is next. I think the last one I read was Five Red Herrings.

I agree with your comment about Lord Peter Wimsey. If he were here Clare would already be on her twenty-second reading thread for 2018.

125clamairy
Dec 11, 2018, 4:11pm Top



I enjoyed The Friend, but I can't recommend it to too many people, not even in here. I think I found it either on a NY Times list or perhaps a Washington Post list of the 100 best books of the year. It's very literary, in that many authors and their works are mentioned/quoted. But it's a rather morbid tale of a woman obsessed with a friend who has taken his own life and left her his Great Dane. She then becomes obsessed with the dog. I enjoyed this wallow in the dark side of the literary pool, but I was also glad this one was short. (And also glad I borrowed it from OverDrive.)

Right now I've started The Three-Body Problem which starts off with some rather gruesome antics and I might not stick with it much longer if there are more beatings and/or shootings. I don't care how highly rated it is.

126YouKneeK
Dec 11, 2018, 5:48pm Top

>125 clamairy: I read The Three-Body Problem a couple years ago. I remember the first part was set in the past and pretty violent, but I can’t remember if there was much violence past that part. I may have just forgotten, but there isn’t anything that stands out in my memory.

127MrsLee
Dec 11, 2018, 9:21pm Top

You wonderful wizard, you! Love our new group photo! :)

128hfglen
Dec 12, 2018, 1:44am Top

I second what MrsLee said. It's a great picture!

129clamairy
Dec 12, 2018, 10:39am Top

>127 MrsLee: & >128 hfglen: Thank you. The sizing is a bit awkward but I don't have time to adjust it.

>126 YouKneeK: Thanks for the info. I'm going to plod along for another day or so and see where it goes.

130littlegeek
Dec 12, 2018, 11:47am Top

>126 YouKneeK: FWIW, I loved that whole trilogy. So many fascinating ideas.

131YouKneeK
Dec 12, 2018, 6:14pm Top

>130 littlegeek: I liked it quite a bit also. I gave all three books a consistent 4 stars. I liked how the plot kept evolving so that each book felt fresh rather than like more of the same.

132clamairy
Dec 14, 2018, 2:22pm Top

>130 littlegeek: & >131 YouKneeK: I've kept going and it's improved drastically.

I bagged on Warlight and returned my digital copy. I may try again at a later date, but I doubt it.

133YouKneeK
Dec 14, 2018, 5:06pm Top

>132 clamairy: I'm glad it's improved!

134littlegeek
Dec 14, 2018, 6:34pm Top

135suitable1
Dec 17, 2018, 4:30pm Top

Mid-month piffle.

136clamairy
Edited: Dec 17, 2018, 8:12pm Top

>135 suitable1: Hee hee...
I'll have a stack of piffles, with sausages on the side, blueberries on top and lots of warm maple syrup. The real stuff, please!

137hfglen
Dec 18, 2018, 3:20am Top

That's what so many old-world residents think of as the archetypical stomach-turning American breakfast -- entree and dessert on the same plate before you're awake! De gustibus non est disputandum!

138pgmcc
Dec 18, 2018, 3:30am Top

>137 hfglen:. I was thinking exactly the same but wasn’t going to say. But of course, I fit within the category you mentioned, “old-world residents”. (Hyphens are important to avoid ambiguities.)

139hfglen
Dec 18, 2018, 4:12am Top

To be sure and 'tis the Oirish that are always poloite.

140MrsLee
Dec 18, 2018, 8:50am Top

Depends on what I was doing the night before what kind of breakfast I want. Also the day ahead, I guess. Most work days, if I eat anything before work it will be a slice of bread, with a cup of coffee, then my golden turmeric milk. Banana or grapefruit at work, with a handful of nuts. On the weekends though, I eat a big breakfast around 10 or 11, which might be any kinds of sausage, bacon, eggs, and toast, waffles or whatever. Or, if I have been up early on a marathon of cooking, I may forget to eat altogether until I feel sick, then start tasting whatever I'm cooking.

We have sourdough waffles every Sunday, but my mom and husband eat them plain. I like butter and real maple syrup on mine. Piffles aren't served here in the morning until everyone has had their coffee.

141clamairy
Dec 18, 2018, 10:31am Top

Real maple syrup is not as sweet as the knock-offs that most people buy and use. Just saying. And I make my waffles (and pancakes) with buttermilk, and half white/half whole wheat flour.

The breakfast I described probably contains fewer simple carbs than a bowl of kids breakfast cereal. (Which I admit is very unhealthy.)

142littlegeek
Dec 18, 2018, 12:24pm Top

>137 hfglen: But British people eat fish for breakfast, and beans, I mean WTF?

143Marissa_Doyle
Dec 18, 2018, 12:32pm Top

>141 clamairy: If you ever see these guys' syrup, try it--it's amazing. The pecan-wood smoked is my favorite. https://runamokmaple.com/

144clamairy
Dec 19, 2018, 10:04pm Top

>142 littlegeek: Hey, I eat smoked salmon. LOL

>143 Marissa_Doyle: That looks amazing!

145pgmcc
Dec 20, 2018, 2:13am Top

>142 littlegeek: Kippers are lovely any time of day. Beans for breakfast are an abomination. NEVER let anyone tell you beans are part of an Irish breakfast. They are not. Beans started being served in breakfasts in Ireland in the 1980s to meet the requirement of British tourists. I shun establishments that serve beans as part of their Irish breakfast offerring.

146hfglen
Dec 20, 2018, 3:27am Top

>145 pgmcc: The problem with kippers is that they tend to be repetitive, and "any time of day" morphs so easily into "every time of day". But there is much to be said in favour of a good kedgeree for breakfast. And my breakfast this morning was anchovy toast -- quick, easy, tasty, sustaining.

147MrsLee
Dec 20, 2018, 9:01am Top

Mmmm, I love fish for breakfast. I like Boston baked beans for breakfast too. But then, I tend to eat leftovers for breakfast. An Asian inspired rice bowl for breakfast is terrific! Fish, rice, veggies, eggs, seasoning.

>144 clamairy: Smoked salmon, yes!

The only kippers I have had come in a can. I am for them, but not so much at breakfast. We usually had them for a picnic lunch in the woods, eaten on a cracker, when we were getting in the wood for the winter. Haven't done that since I was a small girl, but I do eat kippers on a cracker now and then. Craved them when I was pregnant with my first. Kedgeree sounds delicious, but I've never made it.

Fried oysters with mushrooms and potatoes on the side is one of my favorite rare treat breakfasts.

148haydninvienna
Edited: Dec 20, 2018, 11:31am Top

>145 pgmcc: >146 hfglen: >147 MrsLee: I found kippers on the menu for breakfast at a rather grand pub in Alnwick at which my wife and I stayed a few months ago. (Apparently, if you’ve seen the film Titanic, you’ve seen that dining room—it was used for the ship’s first-class dining room because it actually is the first-class dining room from a sister ship.) I ordered the kippers, much to my wife’s disgust.

And I adore kedgeree and have made it a time or two. And smoked salmon too, but only hot-smoked.

149jjwilson61
Dec 20, 2018, 11:44am Top

"Could we have kippers for breakfast
Mummy dear, mummy dear
They got to have 'em in Texas
'Cause everyone's a millionaire"

Breakfast in America by Supertramp

150pgmcc
Dec 20, 2018, 11:49am Top

>148 haydninvienna: Yes, kippers are served in all the best places.

151haydninvienna
Dec 20, 2018, 12:06pm Top

I remember in one of Thomas Love Peacock’s novels there is a learned discussion among a number of great minds on the pre-eminence of Scotland in fish for breakfast

152haydninvienna
Dec 20, 2018, 12:11pm Top

>146 hfglen: And in Willie Rushton’s Book Superpig, he mentions that your kipper is a game little fellow, and his last act will be to make sure that you never forget him.

153pgmcc
Dec 20, 2018, 12:19pm Top

clamairy, I see from the link at the bottom of your thread that you have reached you piffle quota and are all set up for 2019.

154littlegeek
Dec 20, 2018, 1:35pm Top

>144 clamairy: OK, salmon is different, tho. LOL

155Marissa_Doyle
Dec 20, 2018, 1:39pm Top

Baked beans are for Saturday night supper in this neck of the woods, served with Boston brown bread.

I did enjoy being in Iceland and having all the smoked salmon and pickled herring for breakfast that I wanted, though they pickle their herring with sugar in the brine, which seemed rather odd.

156rolandperkins
Edited: Dec 21, 2018, 6:06pm Top

"beans... for Saturday"

This custom didnʻt follow me and my late wife in our post-Bostonian* residences: Honolulu (Hawaiʻi) > Nukuʻalofa, Tonga>and Waiʻanae,Hawaiʻi. And even the diction can be different:
My late wife leialohaʻs (Hawaiian)
phrase for Haoles* "Wheat Bread" or "Dark Bread" was "Brown Bread". (And, in Tonga, maybe throughout Oceania, the phrase for "oat meal" is "rolled oats".

*I was born of Irish and English-Scottish parents, officially in Woburn, MA and lived in North Woburn until the 8th grade; the actual birth was in Brighton MA, St. Elizabethʻs Hospital.

157pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 5:58pm Top

>156 rolandperkins: & >155 Marissa_Doyle:
Of course, we may have to clarify the type of beans we mean in different parts of the world.

When we talk about baked beans in Ireland and Britain we would be talking about baked beans in tomato sauce which come from a tin. (I shall be trying to find out exactly what type of beans these are. A gap in my knowledge.) Heinz beans would be the archetypal baked beans and this is reflected in their long-standing advertising slogsn, “BEANS MEANS HEINZ”.

158pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 6:02pm Top

“Most commercially canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans (a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris)”

I find this strange as “haricot” is simply the French word for bean, so “haricot beans” is literally, “beans beans”. I think we need the input of our esteemed expert botanist, hfglen.

159rolandperkins
Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 1:30pm Top

Yes, perhaps hfglen knows why "haricot"
is being applied to the English WORD FOR "haricot."

About possible redundancies that creep into Standard English: ca. 1950 the Chinese cavalry in the Korean War was called "HORSE Cavalry" by the U. S. media. That was because most countriesʻ "cavalry" had become
tank forces. Of course the Chinese did have tank forces, too, very formidable ones, mostly obtained from the Soviet Union. (That was before China decided that
the USSR was not "really Communist" --Marxist, perhaps but not Marxist-LENINIST.)

160pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 6:31pm Top

>159 rolandperkins: I would love to sit up speak tautologies all night but I have had a lovely dinner with my wife, most of a bottle of Malbec/Merlot, and am getting up early tomorrow. I shall take my leave of you with thoughts of kuala bears and matryoshka dolls.

161haydninvienna
Dec 21, 2018, 7:52pm Top

>160 pgmcc: Gotcha (I think)! If by “kuala” you mean “koala”, they aren’t bears, so “koala bear” is not a tautology but an error. The animal’s proper name is just “koala”, and they are marsupials like kangaroos. If on the other hand there is an actual bear called a kuala bear, I humbly apologise and repent in sackcloth and ashes.
(Wanders off looking for a PGGB and wondering about koalas that have lots of little koalas inside ...)

162pgmcc
Dec 22, 2018, 1:41am Top

>161 haydninvienna: You have me at a disadvantage as I have already admitted to having had most of a bottle of wine. It is I who shall be donning the sackcloth and ashes, although I will look rather peculiar wandering down to the hotel to collect the car wearing such an ensemble.

By the way, wine improves with age. The older I get the more I like it..

163haydninvienna
Dec 22, 2018, 2:40am Top

>162 pgmcc: and to think I could have spun a yarn about drop bears in there.

I absolutely agree about wine improving with age, except that it doesn’t seem to work for “goon”, which is what we crude Australians call the stuff that’s sold in cardboard boxes. The older I get the less I like that stuff.

164hfglen
Dec 22, 2018, 7:11am Top

>158 pgmcc: >159 rolandperkins: Pete, you know, of course, the definition of "expert", don't you: "ex" means "past his sell-by date" and a spurt is nothing more than a drip under pressure. Thanks for the compliment, anyway.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology offers two possibilities for "haricot beans" one is a simple tautology from the French, which to me lacks the logical tying-up-of-loose-ends of the other one. This derives it from the Nahuatl word ayacotli, meaning a bean. One remembers with satisfaction that navy / white / French / baked beans come originally from Mexico. If you're making traditional Old Word recipes from before 1492, strictly speaking you should use Fava / broad beans (Vicia faba), which come from the Mediterranean -- if you can get them. We used to get them frozen back in the day, but I haven't seen them in years if not decades.

165haydninvienna
Dec 22, 2018, 8:31am Top

>164 hfglen: You need to come to the Middle East! They’re a staple diet here.

166Busifer
Dec 22, 2018, 10:11am Top

>155 Marissa_Doyle: Sugar in the brine is traditional for pickled herring in Scandinavia. My favourite, matjes, is pickled in a brine with loads of sugar, some nitric acid and ginger, among other things.

Never ever for breakfast, though. I'm not a barbarian ;-)
Scandinavian pickled herring is traditional at Yule and Midsummer, for lunch or as part of a dinner buffé.
But many, like me, eats it all around the year. And then mainly for lunch.

(Fish, any kind of fish, for breakfast is unusual outside of fancier hotel breakfast buffés, were many strange things can be found... At least in Sweden.)

167haydninvienna
Dec 22, 2018, 1:22pm Top

>156 rolandperkins: I’ve been trying for years to work out whether oatmeal and rolled oats are the same or not. Growing up in Oz, all I ever saw was labelled rolled oats. Wikipedia doesn’t help much. But the Whole Grains Council (https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/easy-ways-enjoy-whole-grains/gra...) distinguishes them.

168pgmcc
Edited: Jan 8, 4:10am Top

>166 Busifer: I was introduced to matjes in Germany. North Germany, of course.

I like pickled herring.

On the topic of herring, there is an old Northern Ireland recipe for a delicacy called potted herring. Herring fillets are rolled up, placed in a deep baking tray and malt vinegar poured in to cover them. All spice pellets are spread generously over the herring/vinegar mix. The baking tray is then put in the oven to be cooked. The smell is delicious and will permeated buildings at forty paces.

169clamairy
Jan 7, 12:28pm Top

Thank you all for posting in my absence! :o) I will start my new thread soonish!

Happy New Year to all!

170pgmcc
Jan 7, 12:44pm Top

Happy new year, Clare.

171suitable1
Jan 7, 12:56pm Top

Do you think there's a market for professional pifflers?

172pgmcc
Jan 7, 12:59pm Top

Oops! >171 suitable1: did you not get the cheque?

173haydninvienna
Jan 7, 1:47pm Top

>169 clamairy: Happy new year to you too, Clam.

>171 suitable1: Yup. They’re also called lawyers.

>168 pgmcc: ... or, as we used to say in Oz, would kill a brown dog at forty paces. Don’t ask me why brown.

Actually, I like pickled herring too. Appalled my wife once by tucking into it from the buffet in a Finnair lounge at Helsinki Airport.

174Busifer
Jan 8, 3:48am Top

>168 pgmcc: Hmn, sounds nothing like Swedish pickled herring; ours is mainly pickled cold. I think matjes is a minimum 30 day process. Doesn't smell much, except at serving. And then less than most cooked foods.
But now I got a craving for "inlagd sill" ;-)

175pgmcc
Edited: Jan 8, 4:11am Top

>174 Busifer: Sorry, I should have started a new paragraph after stating that I like pickled herring. When I wrote that I meant cold pickled herring.

My description of the potted herring was intended to be a separate topic. I have edited the >168 pgmcc: post to help clarify my meaning.

176Busifer
Jan 8, 4:17am Top

>175 pgmcc: Ah, now I feel much better. The baked version has a Swedish cousin, but no-one groups it with the pickled herrings.

177pgmcc
Jan 8, 4:24am Top

>176 Busifer: Apologies for upsetting your culinary balance. :-)

178Busifer
Jan 8, 4:49am Top

>177 pgmcc: Apology accepted :)

179ScoLgo
Jan 8, 1:47pm Top

174> "Inlagd sill" Mmmm... det smakar härligt! (English; "It tastes heavenly")

I tend to eat if direct from the jar. Craving ensues but currently don't have any on hand... :-/

180clamairy
Jan 8, 3:59pm Top

I love pickled herring! Both in a wine sauce and in a cream sauce. MMMM!
I haven't bought it for a while because last time I did it was the massive jar from Costco and I ate the whole thing myself. :o( Haven't had the urge to do that again yet.

181pgmcc
Jan 8, 4:01pm Top

>180 clamairy:

But they are so healthy and good for you.

182Marissa_Doyle
Jan 8, 9:56pm Top

>166 Busifer: I figured that sugar in the brine was a Scandinavian recipe; I'm more used to Polish pickled herring, which omits the sugar but is heavy on onions in the brine. And consumed with sour cream.

183Busifer
Jan 9, 12:43pm Top

>182 Marissa_Doyle: Traditionally Swedish pickled herring is served with "gräddfil", which is not exactly sour cream, though it is creamy and soured and thick. With freshly chopped chives on top.
"Inlagd sill" is also heavy on the onions, and pepper, but there's a wide variety of recipes. "Matjes" (my fave) has no onions but pepper, bay leaves and ginger. And so on. Vinegar and sugar is the only ingredients shared, in most cases. And herring, of course ;-)

184haydninvienna
Jan 9, 1:32pm Top

This thread now has 9 mentions of kippers and 21 mentions of herring (plus sundry other fish). Oh, and 31 mentions of piffling. Gotta love the Green Dragon, where piffling is an art form.

I mentioned the kippers at Alnwick some posts ago, but I also like canned kippers. Can't get pickled herring or matjes or rollmops anywhere that I know of here.

Busifer: I recall seeing fish called "sild" in cans. If you look for "sild" in Wikipedia it redirects to the article on herring, but there's no explanation that I can see of the term "sild". Can you throw any light?

185NorthernStar
Jan 9, 1:41pm Top

I haven't had herring for a long time. After reading this thread, I am inspired to look for some next time I'm in the grocery store.

186Busifer
Edited: Jan 9, 3:04pm Top

>184 haydninvienna: In Sweden it is "sill" - in Denmark and Norway it is "sild". All of them are the same "Atlantic herring". Sill is just our local name for it. In Denmark "inlagd sill" is "syltede sild". Both are Scandinavian style pickled (Atlantic) herring, probably fished in much the same waters.

To make things worse we do have "strömming" as well. It is the same fish, but when it is found north of Kalmarsund (the strait that separates the island of Öland from mainland Sweden) it turns into strömming. Strömming is typically smaller than the sill.

Sill is eaten pickled and cooked/baked in much the same way as Peter described the potted herring in >168 pgmcc:
Strömming is fried and eaten with mashed potatoes as a dish or on hard bread as a snack or side.

We don't have kippers, but böckling (buckling) is a close kin and pretty common.

187clamairy
Jan 9, 8:32pm Top

>181 pgmcc: Yes, healthy and delicious, but several pounds was just too much of a good thing.

188haydninvienna
Jan 10, 10:19am Top

>186 Busifer: Just to add: thanks for explaining that. "Norwegian Sild Sardines", which is how the cans were labelled, has always puzzled me a little.

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