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A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #12

This is a continuation of the topic A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #11.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Nov 9, 8:11am Top

Edited: Nov 9, 10:13am Top

I love penguins, both this kind

My photo: Boulders Beach, Cape Town

And the book kind.

(this one's actually a Puffin, but shhh)

Edited: Today, 1:30am Top

Books read in 2018 : 252
For January Feb and March see https://www.librarything.com/topic/289897#6443853
For April see https://www.librarything.com/topic/291122
For May see https://www.librarything.com/topic/292701
For June see https://www.librarything.com/topic/293727
For July/ August see https://www.librarything.com/topic/294828
For September see previous thread

November 12
I am, I am, I am (F, UK, memoir)
Belonging: a German... (F, Germany, graphic memoir)
Bibliophile (F, US, books about books)
What You Want to See (F, US, fiction)
The Overstory (M, US, fiction)
Holmes Entangled (M, US, fiction)
Milkman (F, UK, fiction)
Dream Country (F, US, fiction)
RL's Dream (M, US, fiction)
The Lazarus Project (M, US, fiction)

In the Woods (F, Ireland, fiction)
To Sir Phillip (F, US, fiction)

October 23
The unforgotten coat (M, UK, fiction)
11 Scandals to start... (F, US, fiction)
My Name is Asher Lev (M, US, fiction)
When they call you a terrorist (F, US, memoir)
Medicus (F, UK, fiction - audio)
The Muse of Nightmares (F, US, fiction)
The Lightkeeper's Daughters (F, Canada, fiction)
I Let You Go (F, UK, fiction)
Codec 1962 (M, Iceland, fiction)
A Foolish Virgin (F, The Netherlands, fiction)

Bee Quest (M, UK, Nature)
Queenpin (F, US, fiction)
The Lost Man (F, Australia, fiction) Netgalley
Boy Toy (Multiple authors, US, fiction)
How to Love a Jamaican (F, Caribbean, short stories)
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (M, US, fiction)
The Other Miss Bridgerton (F, US, fiction)
The Great Believers (F, US, fiction)
Running Upon the Wires (F, UK, poetry)
The Last Place You Look (F, US fiction)

Not Quite Crazy (F, US, fiction)
Lethal White (F, UK, fiction)
Hope Never Dies (M, US, fiction)

Overall stats

Gender This Month F8 M 4 Joint 0 Running Total F182 M 64 Joint 4
Fiction/Non? This Month Fiction 9 Non-fiction 3 Poetry 0 Running Total Fiction 197 Non-fiction 47 Poetry 6
Source This Month Library 0 Mine 12 Running Total Library 100 Mine 151
Author home
This Month: Africa 0, Asia 0, Australasia 0, Europe 4 (UK 2), Middle East 0, US & Canada 8, Other 0 Multiples 0.
Running Total: Africa 2, Asia 6, Australasia 8, Europe 133 (UK 100), Middle East 3, US & Canada 95, Other 4 Multiples 1

Edited: Nov 9, 1:41am Top

I'm working my way through the others here, (*hopefully* mostly on my TBR shelf already) through the year. I've finally got my copy of Hearts and Minds back, but waiting for the paperback to come out of Helen Pankhurst"s new book about the history of UK progress on gender equality (the original copy had to go back to the library).

Edited: Nov 9, 1:58am Top

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge -47 down!

Still to do:

4. A book involving a heist (I have the book, I just have to stay awake to understand the plot).
31. A book mentioned in another book- I have started reading Christ Stopped at Eboli must get back to this!

Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school
Best attempts have not been successful. May resort to picturebook.

Nov 9, 1:31am Top

Six! I can count. Am I too early? Happy new one!

Nov 9, 1:58am Top

Lol. Not too early. Thanks Kim.

Nov 9, 2:13am Top

Trying to decide if you're up very early, or staying up late! Happy new thread.

Nov 9, 4:43am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Nov 9, 6:12am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte. Quite a train adventure you had. Love the book haul - you're going to have to buy more luggage.

Nov 9, 8:15am Top

Happy new thread!

Nov 9, 9:09am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Almost finished with the PopSugar challenge, eh? Me too!

When do you return home? The US won't be the same without you :)

Nov 9, 9:45am Top

Happy new thread!

Nov 9, 9:46am Top

Hi Charlotte. Now that I am retired, I hope to have more time to visit the threads. Please explain the PopSugar challenge.

Nov 9, 10:15am Top

>8 Helenliz: I finally got used to the time difference, and it's time to go home!

>9 susanj67: Thanks Susan. Did you see the comment about the political books on the last thread? It seems you are part of a trend!

>10 BLBera: It did amuse me that the day I decided to be spontaneous the trains did too.

Nov 9, 10:23am Top

Yay! New thread. I'm now up to date. Keep on keepin' on, Charlotte.

Nov 9, 10:24am Top

>11 figsfromthistle: Thank you! I am wondering about the origin of your username...

>12 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Google has just thrown up Guess How Much I love You as a bestseller published in the right year. I think I can fit that one in...(!)
Just the weekend left. Sob. Work is calling.

>13 drneutron: Thanks Jim. Creepy Google is now finding all the news about the solar probe without me asking, which is good.
But also creepy.

>14 Whisper1: Hi Linda! Hope you're enjoying the first bit of retirement. Apparently this is the danger period, where you give all your free time away, convinced that you have lots of it. Or at least, so one of my mum's friends has it. Popsugar is a challenge list from a website. It's pretty wide ranging, and has meant I've read all sorts of stuff I wouldnt otherwise pick up.

Katie is leading the charge, but don't worry(!), she's pretty flexible. She even set up a thread.


Nov 9, 10:25am Top

>16 weird_O: Bill, you snuck in there whilst I was responding. Thanks for the wishes!

Edited: Nov 9, 11:50am Top

I tried reading this week's ago and gave up a chapter in, convinced it was another dystopian fiction account set in some unnamed location and couldn't I just read a nice bit of well located historical fiction?

The book having won the prize, I came back to it, now armed with the knowledge that this was set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the 1970s, so more than specific enough, even for me. And this time round it more than made sense, I really loved it. In some ways it reminded me of Marion Keyes, the way Burns catches the cadence of Irish conversation, the wit and the storytelling qualities of it. The story is framed around the unnamed narrator's attempts to escape the approaches of a senior man in the Republican movement locally. He's been making a study of her, turning up at her usual places, offering lifts and unwanted advice. In trying to resist his approaches, she must avoid offence, avoid the gossiping of the community, and try and navigate the other groups with an interest in her relationship. This is including other women who think she is the same kind of groupie as themselves, her mother who is terribly keen to see her married off, and her older sister's creepy husband. What's really clever about the novel is how such a relatively small, local and time limited experience (we're told the Big Man is shot dead right at the start of the book, so not a spoiler) is made to explain so much else about how the community works. So the rules for young women, for relationships, for going out at night (and where). Our narrator ignores these in a tiny way (she tells no-one about her boyfriend, she reads as she walks) and yet this failure to fit with community expectations marks her as 'beyond the pale'.
‘It’s not as if, friend,’ she said, ‘this were a case of a person glancing at some newspaper as they’re walking along to get the latest headlines or something. It’s the way you do it – reading books, whole books, taking notes, checking footnotes, underlining passages as if you’re at some desk or something, in a little private study or something, the curtains closed, your lamp on, a cup of tea beside you, essays being penned – your discourses, your lucubrations. It’s disturbing. It’s deviant. It’s optical illusional. Not public-spirited. Not self-preservation. Calls attention to itself and why – with enemies at the door, with the community under siege, with us all having to pull together – would anyone want to call attention to themselves here?’ ‘Hold on a minute,’ I said. ‘Are you saying it’s okay for him to go around with Semtex but not okay for me to read Jane Eyre in public?’
She's not the only one, and in describing these misfits Burns is able to say something about both how the community attempts to self-police and the (blackly) comedic aspects of that process.
... there was a time a while back when me and the older sisters came in the door and found wee sisters reading the papers from ‘over there’. It was the broadsheet newspapers they were reading and they had a few tabloids from ‘over there’ also. We couldn’t imagine where they’d got them but they had them and at that moment had them spread out in broad view all over the floor. Until that point wee sisters had never looked at these papers, or watched the political news on television, least not watched in any avid way..... my older sisters and I came in that day and we found them, no longer deep in Joan but now at those papers. ‘Wee sisters!’ we cried. ‘Where’d you get these? What on earth is going on?’ ‘Hush, older sisters,’ they said. ‘We’re busy. We’re trying to understand their viewpoint.’ After that they returned to poring over their broadsheets and tabloids while we, their elder sisters, disbelievingly looked on. Then we looked at each other – me, third sister, second sister and first sister. Trying to understand their viewpoint! What obscurity would wee sisters utter next? As for their remark, it was of the type that instantly could taint any person in our area. Did ‘INFORMANTS BEWARE’ mean nothing to those three at all? In our wisdom we tried to point this out, saying that by associating themselves with disallowed paraphernalia they were laying themselves open to accusations of traitorship. But they didn’t heed us, hardly chose to attend us, had forgotten us, so deep were they in those papers from ‘over there’. It was clear to us, their elders, that they’d no care for any motive a passing neighbour, chancing to look in our window, might decide to put upon this matter. Third sister leapt to the window and drew the curtains, which annoyed wee sisters, so one of them sprang up and switched the overhead light on. Another clicked on ma’s two favourite old-time glass lamps and the third got out their three little flashlights. But where’d they get those papers? Had anybody from our area caught sight of them procuring those papers? And so it was on that day that we elder speculated as to whether ages six, seven and eight might not be considered too young by the paramilitaries to punish in the usual manner those thought to be informers, or whether wee sisters might be rebuked only, then ordered by the renouncers to leave off those periodicals and to return instead to Bamber the Pig like little children everywhere else....

I'm hoping the wee sisters get their own book.

Nov 9, 11:04am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte. Happy Friday. Liked your thoughts on Milkman. It is on my list.

Nov 9, 11:06am Top

Great review, Char. You've made me want to read it.

Nov 9, 11:30am Top

>17 charl08: I have the same reaction to Facebook. Bought something on Amazon, then immediately started seeing ads for it on Facebook. First, that's just a bit too much sharing for my taste. Second, I *just bought that*! Why would I buy it again?

Nov 9, 11:47am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Nice review of Milkman. I'm still on my library's wait list. Some day soon, I hope!

Nov 9, 12:07pm Top

Today is the DAY!!

Nov 9, 12:48pm Top

Hiya, Charlotte. Happy New Thread!

I’m in the last quarter or so of Hope Never Dies, and having fun with it, although I found the confrontation of the motorcycle gang even more absurdly unlikely than the premise of the book!

Nov 9, 2:02pm Top

Hi Charlotte, I'm hijacking the top threads around here to spread the word. Its time to join the Christmas Swap festivities. Come on over...


Nov 9, 7:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

I hope you had a fabulous day today :-)

Nov 9, 9:00pm Top

AND we've delivered her back to her friends, safe and sound but maybe exhausted. I'll let her tell you about her day in her own words, but here's the picture.

Nov 10, 2:28am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. It looks like you had a fab meet-up.
My younger daughter will get the Milkman in her book adventskalender.
Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Nov 10, 6:13am Top

>28 ronincats: A meet-up, how great is that. Lovely to see you all. Looking forward to the tales of.

Nov 10, 7:35am Top

>28 ronincats: How nice, three lovely ladies did meet :-)

Edited: Nov 10, 4:28pm Top

ETA I missed everyone above >28 ronincats: See post below the reviews.

Oof, I was tired last night. Wonderful day, explored a wonderful bookshop in La Jolla, saw the seals and beautiful views on the coast, and then lunch in a beautiful fish restaurant. We then made it to part of the national parks for wonderful panoramic views across the city and beyond. So kind of Roni and Reba to share their city with me!

>28 ronincats: Thank you! A great memory.

>29 Ameise1: We did, we did! A lovely guy on the wall walk not only agreed to take photos but also suggested a better point for the view.

>30 Caroline_McElwee: It was so nice, I got a proper local tour as well as the chance to put faces to names.

>31 FAMeulstee: And the photographic evidence to prove it!

Edited: Nov 10, 2:14pm Top

Edited: Nov 10, 2:24pm Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

The Vogue by Eoin McNamee reviewed by Mark Lawson
"The dominant theme, though, is the easy falsity of history, a note that will resonate in Northern Ireland, and far beyond. The closest the novel comes to recent headline Irish events is that the recovered remains under the airfield recall the revelation that up to 800 children and babies were found to have died at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home..."

Nov 10, 2:26pm Top

The Oblique Place by Caterina Pascual Söderbaum reviewed by Ian Thomson
"Söderbaum’s narrative, constantly interweaving the personal with the historical, seeks to place family politics against a tumultuous backdrop of wartime Europe. By means of photographs, witness testimonies, diaries and other documentation, the day-to-day life of the Austrian “castle of murder” is brought disturbingly to life."

Edited: Nov 10, 4:04pm Top

Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds reviewed by Justine Jordan
"...an antiheroine to relish: a selfish, solitary art dealer living in a multimillion pound Chelsea townhouse, dedicated only to her own comforts, and entirely unbothered by other people’s opinions – even when her dodgy business practices catch up with her..."

Edited: Nov 10, 4:07pm Top

Enigma Variations by André Aciman reviewed by Joanna Briscoe
"Structured around five loosely linked sections that vary in length from novella to short story, this episodic work jumps in time, tense and place, each section exploring a different erotic fixation..."

Edited: Nov 10, 4:26pm Top


Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism by Kristen Ghodsee reviewed by Emily Witt
"Policies informed by socialist ideals such as a government jobs guarantee, quotas for female or gender nonbinary participation in corporate leadership and guaranteed childcare allow women autonomy, independence and, she contends, a happier sexual life."

Edited: Nov 10, 4:24pm Top

Gentleman Jack by Angela Steidele reviewed by
Ruth Scurr
"Lister, from a wealthy family, inherited Shibden Hall, a Tudor mansion, near Halifax. She was closely involved in running her estate, well-read, well-travelled, and the only female co-founder of the Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society. She dressed always in black and spoke openly in her deep voice of her interest in other women. Locally she was mocked as “Gentleman Jack”. “Does your cock stand?” someone in the street once jeered, and anonymous hate mail started arriving at Shibden Hall. Angela Steidele, translated from German by Katy Derbyshire, notes that, even when physically threatened, Lister remained calmly committed to her lifestyle, and confident that “God was on her side, as she was His creature too”."

Edited: Nov 10, 4:24pm Top

Slowhand by Philip Norman reviewed by Richard Williams
"Attempting to bring new insights to a familiar story, Norman has gathered testimony from a group of witnesses including a friend from Clapton’s childhood in a Surrey village, a fellow member of his first semi-pro band, a manager, a roadie, a personal assistant and – most significantly – Pattie Boyd, the former wife who was married to his best friend George Harrison when their relationship began. In the absence of access to his subject (who nevertheless allowed him to use some letters and a poem), Norman makes extensive use of Clapton’s own confessional memoir, published 10 years ago."

Nov 10, 4:32pm Top

>20 msf59: Well, I've now given away my copy, but I hope you fit this one in (I say this about so many books!)

>21 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you! It really did make me laugh, as well as think.

>22 drneutron: Yeah, I don't think much if that either!

Nov 10, 4:35pm Top

>23 Carmenere: Fingers crossed it comes through sharpish...

>24 ronincats: It surely was. Thank you again.

>25 jnwelch: Yes, I agree with you. It did make me laugh though.

Nov 10, 4:36pm Top

>26 mahsdad: How can it be that time already? I must sign up.

>27 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. It was lovely.

Nov 10, 4:51pm Top

>40 charl08: I saw that at Warwick's yesterday. Were my brother still alive, it would have been his Christmas present.

Nov 10, 5:06pm Top

>40 charl08: What a wonderful, well-written review! Thanks!

Nov 11, 1:03pm Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. I'm looking up several...

Nov 11, 2:03pm Top

>34 charl08: I got a copy of this when I realised that McNamee is from the same part of Northern Ireland as my grandfather was, an airfield was built during WW2 on the old farm that his family owned. I'll be reading it and if it's ok will be passing it on to my mother. My grandfather arrived in New Zealand before WW1 so the family tie to the area is quite distant, he turned down an inheritance in the 1930s apparently.
The only other book by Eoin McNamee that I have is a children's one, The navigator, has spent a few years on Mt tbr.

Your trip sounds great. I'm very behind in reading threads, this has not been one of my stellar years for reading at all.

Nov 11, 4:12pm Top

Several of the fiction offerings look very tempting...

Nov 11, 7:16pm Top

>47 avatiakh: that wouldn't have been near Limavady would it Kerry?

Nov 12, 7:11pm Top

>44 ronincats: I'm sure it would have made a lovely present.

>45 Whisper1: They do pretty well at the Guardian, I agree.

>46 BLBera: I'm trying to resist. Honest!

Nov 12, 7:13pm Top

>47 avatiakh: The library system has several of his earlier books, but no sign of this new one yet.

>48 RidgewayGirl: I thought so. And I am also tempted by the one about women's lives being better under (aspects of) socialism.

On the way home. Sadness.

Nov 12, 9:09pm Top

Hope you have a smooth trip home and that you come and visit San Diego again soon.

Edited: Yesterday, 8:41am Top

Thanks Reba!

RL's Dream
I took a while to get into this Mosley, about the unlikely partnership between an elderly jazz musician and the young woman who takes him in. I really most liked the reminiscences of the old musician: his memories of surviving the South were the sections I most wanted to read.

The Lazarus Project
A bit too meta for my taste, and perhaps suffering because I am reading it almost a decade after publication, she the techniques used are pretty tired I think. Youngish author has personal crisis in new country, gets money to write a book and goes back to the old country to research it. Extracts of the historical 'book' (The factual case of an immigrant killed by the police in the 19c) are interleaved with the contemporary story.

In the Woods
Another one I'm coming to (too) late: in lots of ways a great crime thriller, but the foreshadowing really annoyed me by half way through, and so instead of being happy for the two that made it past all the grimness, just left feeling for the poor narrator!

Yesterday, 6:37am Top

Hi, Charlotte! It looks like you had a lovely meet-up in, CA. I love the photos. I have been to that area a couple of times and it is absolutely gorgeous.

I am glad you finally read In the Woods. One of my favorite crime novels.

Yesterday, 8:40am Top

>54 msf59: Well, I read it, but I don't think I'm going to be reading the rest. It was too much psych thriller not enough crime for me.

Yesterday, 9:22am Top

Also, I really don't understand the ending.

Edited: Yesterday, 12:29pm Top

People are pretty divided about In the Woods. I think it depends on one's tolerance for ambiguous endings. I do think that the next book, The Likeness, is one of the best of the series, so if you decide to give Tana French another try, that's a good one. But I think that French is much more concerned with interpersonal relationships of various kinds and the, well, psychological impacts of crime, rather than in writing a police procedural, although she has some scenes in her novels of two detectives are interrogating someone that are among the best written.

Yesterday, 5:30pm Top

Great meet up photo, Charlotte. Looks like you had a great trip. I'll have to catch up with the end of your last thread. Happy newish one btw.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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