World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #8
This is a continuation of the topic World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #7.
This topic was continued by World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #9.
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This month: 15
Last month: 26
The Surreal life of Leonora Carrington (F, UK, biography)
The King's Evil (M, UK, fiction)
Fluffy (F, US, fiction)
Charlie Savage (M, Ireland, fiction)
The Countess Conspiracy (F, US, fiction)
Unnatural Causes (M, UK, memoir)
Olive Again (F, US, fiction)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (F, US, fiction)
Grand Hotel (F, Austria, fiction)
A Plague on both your Houses (F, UK, fiction)
Dear Mrs Bird (F, UK, fiction)
All Grown Up (F, US, fiction)
A Clean Canvas (F, UK, fiction)
The Stopping Places (M, UK, travel)
The Man who was Saturday (M, UK, biography)
Death in a Desert Land (M, UK, fiction)
Disturbing his Peace (F, US, fiction)
Say No to the Duke (F, US, fiction)
The Border: the legacy of a century of Anglo-Irish Politics (M, Ireland, history/ politics)
Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (Joint, Russia / Slovenia, politics / philosophy)
The Heavens (F, US, fiction)
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (F, Singapore, fiction)
Why Women have better sex under socialism (F, US, history/ politics)
An Ungrateful Governess (F, Canada, fiction)
Say Nothing: a true story of murder and memory (M, US, history)
The Chai Factor (F, Canada, fiction)
The Cleaner (F, Germany, fiction)
Throw Me to the Wolves (M, UK, fiction)
Lady in the Lake (F, US, fiction)
Is there no place on earth for me (F, US, biography/ health)
Fix Her Up (F, US, fiction)
Fatal Crossing (F, Denmark, fiction)
Parental Guidance (F, US, fiction)
Black City (M, Russia, fiction)
The Library Book (F, US, history / true crimes)
Circe (F, US, fiction)
The Flat Share (F, UK, fiction)
Worked Up (F, US, fiction)
Death of a Nightingale (Multiple, Denmark, fiction)
Katalin Street (F, Hungary, fiction)
Superfan (F, US, fiction)
Gender F 10 M 5 Multiple 0
Country/ Region UK 8 Europe 2 US & Canada 5 Africa 0 Latin America 0 Asia 0 Austalasia 0 Multiple 0
Type Fiction 11 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 4
Origin Library 7 Other (incl mine) 8
Gender F 124 M 38 Multiple 9
Country/ Region UK 47 Europe 33 US & Canada 75 Africa 3 Latin America 3 Asia 4 Austalasia 1 Multiple 8
Type Fiction 137 Poetry 4 Non-fiction 31
Origin Library 68 Other (incl mine) 105
Europe (b#$%* Brexit) and beyond- authors in translation
Chester zoo penguins
Austria: The Second Rider Translator Paul Mohr
China: Stick Out Your Tongue Translator Flora Drew
Columbia: The book of Emma Reyes Translator Daniel Alarcón (Spanish)
House of Beauty Translator Elizabeth Bryor
Denmark Lone Crossing Translator Charlotte Barslund
Death of a Nightingale Translator Elisabeth Dyssegaard
Egypt: Zeina Translator Amira Nowaira (Arabic)
Finland: Mr Darwin's Gardener, Children of the Cave and Things that fall from the Sky Translators Emily and Fleur Jeremiah
French Canada: We Were the Salt of the Sea Translator David Warriner
France: The Prague Coup Translator ??
The Years Translator Alison Strayer
Germany: Dreamers when the writers took power, Germany 1918 Translator Ruth Martin
You Would have missed me Translator Jamie Bulloch
Berlin Now Translator Sophie Schlondorff
The Pine Islands Translator Jen Calleja
The Cleaner Translator Bradley Schmidt
Hungary: Katalin Street Translator Len Rix
Latvia: Soviet Milk Translator Margita Gailitis
Lebanon: Jokes for the Gunmen Translator
The Netherlands: Bird Cottage Translator Antoinette Fawcett
Norway: Out Stealing Horses Translator Anne Born
Russia: The Aviator Translator Lisa Hayden
Sweden: The Forbidden Place Translator Rachel Willson-Broyles
The Wolf and the Watchman Translator Ebba Segerberg
Until Thy Wrath Be Past Translator Laurie Thompson
Books that have maxed out
The chosen POTOK, Chaim
Katalin Street Szabo´, Magda
Frederick Douglass : prophet of freedom
Books I've started...
The Parisian Hammad, Isabella
The surreal life of Leonora Carrington
And the rest...
Before the deluge : a portrait of Berlin in the 1920's FRIEDRICH, Otto
The wife's tale : a personal history Aida Edemariam
The dollmaker Allan, Nina
You don't know me Mahmood, Imran
Women who blow on knots Temelkuran, Ece, 1973-
A date with death Roberts, Mark
Machines like me and people like you
Black car burning
The ultimate FODMAP cookbook : 150 deliciously easy recipes to soothe your gut-
Trick Starnone, Domenico, 1943-
You will be safe here
Goodbye LucilleAfolabi, Segun
Happy new thread, Charlotte. How is THe Parisian? I just got that from the library.
Happy new thread Charlotte! It's certainly warm out. I'm loving it; the husband and the penguin in >1 charl08: would be in agreement.
Happy Saturday, Charlotte! Happy New Thread! I hope to get to Frederick Douglass : Prophet of Freedom sometime this year.
Happy New thread, Charlotte! Gorgeous image and yes, Br#&t. Would quite drive me mad. Our own Canadian politics are quite enough at times, but nothing near to what you are coping with.
Happy new thread, Charlotte. Now to go back and catch up with your old one.
>6 BLBera: Thanks Beth, I got distracted about half way through, but good so far.
>7 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. I loved the little tutus on your thread.
>8 Helenliz: I'm too warm: went to the beach yesterday to walk on the pier at Southport. Apart from ongoing requests for ice cream, it was wonderfully relaxing - cool and breezy.
I read Katalin Street - really loved it.
I am not normally very keen on magical realism but I loved the way Szabó used it here to show how memories of the war dead lingered with survivors long after the war. Henriette is a benign ghost, despite being shot due to the (unwitting) actions of the other families. The survivors' lives never truly recover their prewar lustre. The headmaster loses his faith in rules, his daughter her trust in her fiancee, and the young doctor his ability to plan, to try for the future. Szabó's book is also a kind of mourning for Budapest before the war: surviving families are moved to new flats, the houses bulldozed, and the view of the Danube lost. Written in 1969 I can see that the communist authorities would hardly have been a fan (she had been banned since 1949). Her depiction of the denunciation of one of the characters makes clear how the new state (didn't) work. Rather than reflecting whistle-blowing, the system is shown as fundamentally corrupt, at the whim of personal animosity.
Thanks Paul. I do wonder how many bits of popcorn the photographer had to look at to find these!
>23 charl08: you may look at a few other popcorns on my thread :) I ate a whole bowl of it
Happy new thread, Charlotte!
>20 charl08: I don't do well in warm weather either. Installing an A/C upstairs was the best thing we ever did. Now I can sleep in summer :-)
I'm now reading The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington, another artist who seems to have been written out of art histories because she was female (but has recently been 'rediscovered'). As I'm reading, wondering what it is about some individuals that they can resist society's 'requirements': Carrington time and time again just said 'no', from being a muse rather than an artist, to her parents' demands for how she should marry and settle down.
Hm, that's the second time in two threads I have seen that popcorn up-thread- now I feel like eating popcorn! dang it ;)
I put this on Litsy as well, but it made me so cross I'm going to put it here too. I've been reading Eat, Sweat, Play: How Sport Can Change Your Life in my lunch breaks, and today I read (and I thought this book was published in 2014, but it's worse, because it was published in 2016) that research into 'periods and injuries... has only been taking place in the last decade'. The academic then goes on to say that the lack of female athletes to research 'on' means that they researched on men and then took / adapted the figures for women (!!) This reminds me of my friend who studied medicine, who described how the lecturers would talk about the default male body, and then casually mention at the end that it might be different for female bodies - despite making up half the population the doctors would be treating (not to mention the doctors themselves!)
Has anyone come across / read anything about attempts/ work to make medicine work for everyone (that they would recommend?)
>33 drneutron: (Embarrassed, because I missed this because I was so busy being cross) Thank you!
June round up
I read 26 books
19 were by women.
3 were from the UK, 6 from Europe and 15 from the USA and Canada.
Not so great on the rest of the world - just 1 this month.
I read 6 non-fiction books, and 11 books from the library. 4 books were netgalley, and I briefly looked like I might reach the dizzying heights of 45% response rate (but then I requested more books...)
I read two books about the Irish peace process: I recommend Say Nothing and will skip past the other one. The Library Book is every bit as good as everyone said.
I read crime fiction from Russia, Germany, the US and Denmark, and I think only one woman was kidnapped and held hostage, and that was brief, but still... I really liked Katalin Street and loved Circe. The Flat share made me laugh, and some of the stats in Why women have better sex under socialism made me shake my head in disbelief.
A good month for reading.
>34 charl08: Too frustrating and extremely disappointing this lack of research pertaining to women. i know that is true in the heart research literature.
>40 mdoris: One of the things that got me was that the expert had cited that women were better to do exercise than not - the thing I've always been told that doing exercise means you're less likely to have pain. But if they've not done the research on pain, how can they tell if the exercise makes the difference: could it not be that women with pain are less likely to exercise? (Correlation rather than causation)
The anecdotal evidence from athletes suggested that doing exercise differently in different stages of women's cycle made a difference to those elite women getting injured. That made me wonder about advice to women about when we exercise and what kind we do at different times in the cycle - stuff I've seen in recent health articles.
>41 vancouverdeb: Glad to hear it Deborah!
>42 Berly: Rant away Kim. I need to find a book on this, I think. I've read a few things on gender and the history of medicine and naively assumed that things had changed... On the positive side, with the enthusiasm for the women's world cup here, it's going to be difficult to argue that there aren't women in the right category to be an effective sample.
Happy new thread, Charlotte! >1 charl08: Perfect topper! Have you been feeling the heat wave that's been hitting the rest of Europe?
>44 Carmenere: It's nowhere near as hot here, but as always, I am feeling overheated in even moderate temps!
My pile of library books is so tall at the moment, Charlotte, that I put my reserves on hold for a week. Also, there's Wimbledon, which eats into my reading time...
>46 charl08: A journey through gypsy Britain sounds interesting, Charlotte.
Good news - the insurance company refunded my lost travel/ museum pass from Berlin. I felt quite lucky just getting the phone, so this is even better.
Wow! Eight books to pick up. That's amazing, Charlotte. I'm very glad to hear that you got a refund from you lost travel/ museum pass ! Great news.
>54 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I picked up 4 and left the rest on the shelf (too much to carry!)
I've seen these matchboxes on twitter (to encourage children to talk about the books they've read in a year - and hopefully to read more).
I kind of want to make one for myself!
Amazed how creative some folk are!
Now reading The King's Evil, crime fiction set in 1667, the aftermath of the Great Fire of London.
The TLS turned up yesterday, reminding me that I want to read the 'new' (in translation) Alexievich about children that survived the war. There's also a very tempting mention (ad) of a Library of America book March Sisters: on life, death and little women - writers respond to Little Women.
"Four lifelong fans of Little Women come together here to offer a deep, funny, far-ranging meditation on the power of great literature to shape and enrich our lives. Each takes as her subject one of the four March sisters: Kate Bolick finds parallels between Meg’s brush with glamour at the Moffats’ ball and her own complicated relationship with clothes. Jenny Zhang confesses to liking Jo least among the sisters when she first read the novel as a girl, not wanting to see so much of herself in a character she feared was too unfeminine. Carmen Maria Machado writes about the real-life tragedy of Lizzie Alcott, the inspiration for Beth, and the horror story that comes from not being the author of your own life narrative. And Jane Smiley rehabilitates the reputation of youngest sister Amy, whom she sees as a modern feminist role model for those of us who aren’t as fierce and fiery as Jo."
>63 charl08: 😀
Finished The King's Evil
This is the third book in a series set during the restoration. Marwood is again doing dodgy jobs for the authorities, caught up in a murder which also involves Some familiar faces from previous books. The historical detail is fascinating with these books: I'd never really wondered what happened after the Great Fire of London. The author has his characters walking streets being rebuilt, as well as those left half destroyed. He also includes the refugees of the fire, some who had recovered more quickly than others.
The March Sisters book grabs my interest in a certain way. The only problem is that I read Little Women so long ago - when I was a kid , I'm not sure if would work for me. I tried to re read Little Women last year, but I just could not get into it. Touchstones don't seem to be working.
>61 charl08: Lovely green and flowers and the cat! We are having a dreary overcast day today.
>64 vancouverdeb: I read it a long time ago too Deborah - but I read it a lot, so I suspect things will come back to me (and if they don't I'm going to try not to worry too much about it). It's very grey today, and it seems to have rained overnight, so hopefully the allergies won't be as tricky.
>65 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley - we have a couple of cats on campus who seem to be adopted by students and staff. There was a lovely picture posted by one of the librarians of the tabby cat curled up in a comfy chair in the new library. Hopefully it helps students feel relaxed? (not that they are here at this time of year though)
Guardian reviews (fiction)
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann reviewed by Ian Sansom
"...doesn’t just carry on as before: she doubles down, doubles up and absolutely goes for broke. And it works. This may just be because everyone else has now caught up with Ellmann’s unapologetically super-self-conscious style. Readers who have been exposed to the work of, say, Sarah Manguso and Rachel Cusk, or even Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, will recognise Ellmann’s dauntless cataloguing of desires and hopes and fears, and her refusal to be anything other than endlessly curious and utterly self-directed. But there’s more. As well as Ellmann’s radical adherence to the idea that a novel might contain and appropriate anything and everything, and might therefore risk resembling a form of disorganised mental chatter, there is also in her work a thoroughgoing commitment to certain kinds of everyday human stories: in particular to the common longing for peace, love and understanding."
So many writers with extensive back catalogues I've just never even heard of...
The New Me by Halle Butler reviewed by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
"...most jobs are tedious, to complain at length about how tedious they are can be even more so. Nor, in these precarious times, is the “I hate my job” lament in short supply. Yet the generation that graduated into a recession has also been sold the lie that you have to “love what you do”. How to square that with the monotonous pointlessness of most office work? Butler paints it as a kind of spiritual death: “Back at my desk I sit and slowly collect money that I can use to pay the rent on my apartment and on food so that I can continue to live and continue to come to this room and sit at this desk and slowly collect money.” Her coping mechanisms are alcohol, back-to-back episodes of true-crime TV, deadpan humour and delicious hostility."
I was quite tempted until the review mentioned Otessa Moshfegh. No thanks!
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay reviewed by Nikesh Shukla
"a powerful meditation on the chaos of good intentions – how well-meaning philanthropy can be undone by the naivety of privilege... a masterful piece of fiction.... an assurance surprising in a first-time novelist, and is a delight to read. And while this is an in-depth expansion on the history and people of Jammu and Kashmir (humane but never sentimental), it is her protagonist who compels most..."
The Body Lies by Jo Baker reviewed by Sarah Moss
"...it’s not surprising that the distinctive dynamics of the writing workshop should find their way into fiction. Baker’s version is more direct and plot-driven than Rachel Cusk’s in Outline, but both are interested in the drama of fictions and egos performed in weekly ritual. Baker’s students include a lawyer writing generic misogynist crime fiction, possibly related to that dead body, with disturbing relish; a young woman mining her own not very interesting past; and a troubled posh boy upsetting everyone by writing rather brilliantly about the workshop. Presenting these pieces in the novel is a loop of metafiction that would floor a less assured writer.... When the denouement comes, it is well timed to feel both shocking and inevitable: early enough for satisfying resolution afterwards and late enough to keep the reader up long into the night. There is violence, but there is also a very modern interrogation of violent fiction. What were you staying up late for, exactly?"
I'm a fan since reading Longbourn - although this sounds v different.
Asghar and Zahra by Sameer Rahim reviewed by Alice O’Keeffe
"...at its core this is a book not about being British Muslim, but about the universally deep and difficult business of making a marriage work. As Zahra observes: “People talked about mixed marriages as though they only existed between people of different religions or backgrounds: but every marriage was mixed, and every one needed the same painful compromises.”"
Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann reviewed by John Self (first published in 1971)
"Nothing is really certain; even her passport has her profession “crossed out twice and written over”. Malina embodies the equanimity the narrator cannot achieve in her own mind and body. This originates in childhood with her father, who represents Austria’s struggle to come to terms with its Nazi past. Her father’s abusive atrocities tear the book down the middle (“I am fired to death in the kiln of my father’s frenzy”) and run through its second half. Amid all the talking (and much smoking of cigarettes), there is a plot..."
Not sure what to make of this. Has anyone read it?
ETA It's a penguin modern classic. Suddenly rather tempting...
I saw this on Litsy and thought it might be of interest here. This is a US charity auction to raise money for refugee families. Maybe of interest to new authors, as quite a few offers of reading/ editing.
I really like the idea of an "annotated" by the author copy of Little Fires Everywhere.
Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. So many good ones! The Baker, especially is calling my name.
>57 charl08: Cool idea.
Yes, lots to tempt me this week, Beth!
Collated columns from Roddy Doyle's weekly peek into the life of the eponymous Charlie in the Irish Independent. From missing football during the off season to trying to remember how many children and grandchildren he has, Charlie is a wonderful character. I laughed out loud repeatedly. It was also really touching, particularly when speaking about his love for his grandchildren (almost as much as Man U). At points, like any column-turned-book, there was more repetition than I needed, but it was a quick read for all that. Worth reading for his view on Trump alone.
ETA Bill (Weird_O) has posted some of these columns on his thread...
I also loved her A Country Road, A Tree set in WW2 France. Have you come across that one?
Lovely morning for a little walk.
Lots of swallows swooping across the fields, butterflies, and some very happy dogs out with their owners. Walked through an enormous garden (legally: footpath right of way!) and had a brief chat with the owner. Major garden envy. Huge car boot sale on in one of the local farmer's fields: walked past several folk weighed down with oddly shaped items (I think one was a tailor's dummy...) Fancy new map app was great: whether it works so well in the wild places, I have no idea.
>82 charl08: Lovely picture, Charlotte!
Over here we also see lots of swallows at our walks. Walked this morning, when Frank came from his work.
>71 charl08: >82 charl08: As a big Beckett fan, I loved A Country Road, A Tree Charlotte. I shall no doubt give in to her new novel.
I see in Kit De Waal's article there is a new James Baldwin biography due next month. Definitely in my shopping basket, along with the new book by Patti Smith, also due next month.
Sounds good Anita - I was reminded why I like walking. I had such a job convincing myself to leave the house. But gorgeous once I got going: warm and full of flowers, birds and happy dogs out for walks.
One of those books that I thought I would like more than I did. The author trained to be a forensic pathologist and worked for many years on major cases, from bombs to shaken babies. From the beginning he hinted that he had had difficulties with PTSD, but I never really felt that I understood him and his choices. Fascinating in terms of why someone might go into this field, and rather depressing in terms of (again) the influence of privatisation of the job.
This was a netgalley book.
As seen on twitter. This makes the local scarecrow festival look quite benign.
>89 msf59: It was a lovely day: hopefully we get a few more!
I've picked up Olive Again as light relief from the "who am I? Why did I make these choices?" spiral of self doubt that always results from trying to argue my worth in 2000 characters of an application form.
Gosh, she's good.
His own affair with Elaine Croft had not started until he’d been married for twenty-five years. The urgency he and Elaine had felt; God, it was something. It was terrible. Had Betsy felt that? Not possible, Betsy was not an urgent woman. But how did he know what kind of woman she was?
Crumbs. I really want to reread Olive Kitteridge. Probably at the same time as reading Olive Again.
Moved on to something a bit less emotionally demanding (or at least, that's my theory) The Man Who Was Saturday, about Colditz escapee Airey Neave.
>34 charl08: Yeah, behind here again but you have to read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. The lack of studies on women is much worse than you realize. Now back to my perusal of your thread.
ETA You got me interested in both of the Jo Baker books. I have a hold at the library on the new one which is on order. A Country Road, A Tree is available and hopefully will still be when I can fit it into my reading plans.
>88 charl08: IDK...Dolls can be very scary. I think I might pass on that one. ; )
In the garden. As you may be able to tell, I really like thistles, have been trying to get them to grow in the garden for a while. The weather this year seems to have suited them.
Thinking I'm going to try and clear the 'currently reading' shelf. It's pretty big.
>100 charl08: OK, now I'm scrolling sideways...
>96 charl08: Very nice!
I saw a book with "Doll" in the title at the library yesterday and feared it might be the one you weren't enjoying (the wi-fi is bad there so I couldn't check) but it turned out to be The Doll Factory. So that might be a doll-related read that works better :-)
>96 charl08: oh yes, lovely. I'm a fan of thistles too. Glad they have taken this time Charlotte.
>101 susanj67: Yeah, it's all a bit out of control. Time to finish a few!
Hmm not sure I will like the Doll Factory, looking at the reviews: hard to tell!
>102 Caroline_McElwee: I missed you Caroline, apologies. I'm not sure I will grow the crazy tall ones again, they are pretty hard to navigate around without getting prickled, and yet the cats that use our garden as a theough route blithely ignore them! I've had no luck growing (from seed) the beautiful blue ones that my neighbour has: maybe next year.
>104 RidgewayGirl: I quite like how any reviewer mentioning Mossfegh gives me an automatic get out of jail free card!
(And happy that my currently reading pile can help...)
>100 charl08: Suffering from the same affliction! Mine is now 10 but there is less likelihood of me cleaning the decks as you do!
>110 BLBera: One of the things I loved about this tweet was people replying saying "me too!"
35 books! Scout is (of course) a girl after my own heart.
I gave three books to my office colleague today and she was touchingly pleased. So nice to be able to share books.
>110 BLBera: Good on that girl! She'll never face the problem I did. My parents once found me asleep with a dictionary in my hands. Apparently I had (whisper it, some people may find this distressing) run out of books. ! ! ! I had started on the dictionary so as to have something to read. I'd got to somewhere in the middle of the "d"s before falling asleep.
This is clearly why I have a larger TBR pile, it's a physical reaction against a traumatic event in my childhood. >;-)
>111 charl08: Yes, she is a book lover. Yesterday I asked her to pick some books to put in the mini free library. I just bought a bag full of kids' books at the library sale. She wanted to read them and didn't want me to give any away! I must say, she does come by it honestly -- I have books coming out of my ears!
>109 charl08: Bahaha, I was one of the replies and I'm still getting likes on my reply and replies to my reply. I have very few Twitter followers so I'm not used to all these notifications lol.
Anyway, I too really loved that and can completely relate. My mom would never let me take out more than four books at a time, and I think it's probably why I decided a high school job at a library putting away books was a grand idea.
>112 Caroline_McElwee: I really like my phone for this. When I lost it in Germany I was really miffed because I "only" had the er, few physical ones I'd brought with me to read.
>113 Helenliz: That's very constructive Helen. I, on the other hand, reread books I practically already knew by heart (classics such as The Secret Seven does something or other...).
>114 jessibud2: Yup, travel without books is no fun. (In my humble opinion.)
>115 BLBera: Yup, this is why I grew up in a house full of books: basically everyone would look at them and think "I might want to read that..." and back they would go on the shelf.
>116 bell7: Oh, i want to go back to the tweet and find yours now.
I was really lucky in my school to have a great library (where I also volunteered! ) They even had collections of French cartoon books we used in class.
>117 charl08: re-reading such that you know the original by heart? oh I did that too! My parents thought they had a chiold prodigy on their hands when they found me reading a book aloud. Until they realised the book was upside down and I just heard the story so many times that I knew it by heart, including where to turn the pages.
Aw. I was apparently a big fan of looking at babies in the Mothercare catalogue!
I just walked past a sparrowhawk in someone's drive. At least, I think that's what it is...
>118 charl08: I'm bell7 on Twitter as well (joined both in grad school and didn't use a lot of creativity in usernames haha).
Are you making progress with your currently reading shelf, Charlotte? >96 charl08: Thistles look pretty but I tend to steer clear after a close encounter I had in a Yelvertoft churchyard. They had let the area around the gravestones go back to nature and I was wearing sandals.
>121 Caroline_McElwee: Surreal - I kept expecting him (her?) to spook but just looked at me looking...
>122 bell7: Nothing wrong with consistency!
>123 Familyhistorian: Mostly reading Strout this evening. Not getting so much read, and this weekend is my neighbour's open garden (I am helping
Kindle offer in the UK
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell
Kindle Price: £0.99
I love Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout.(Olive Again)
Olive heaved a deep sigh. “I know, I know. But I’m just saying, I wasn’t especially good to him, and it hurts me now. It really does. At times these days— rarely, very rarely, but at times— I feel like I’ve become, oh, just a tiny— tiny— bit better as a person, and it makes me sick that Henry didn’t get any of that from me.” Olive shook her head.
>125 charl08: I think they are posers. I took some great photos at London zoo of one just turning this way and that 'here I am', s/he was doing it for ages.
Apols if I've posted before.
>128 Caroline_McElwee: I don't think you have, Caroline. Very cute! Sorry I missed you up there. Cross-posting!
I read Olive Kitteridge on the recommendation of this group, and this sequel was for me as wonderful as sitting down with an old friend and finding that you can have the same easy conversations you did the last time you got together. If you haven't already read OK, go and do that now. Then come back, and delight in Olive remaining herself, even as she gets older, more fragile, and more dependant on others.
1 down, 10 to go!
>109 charl08: Love it! Sounds like our daughter. She definitely was like that as a kid. Her Kindle has taken a bit of the load off since then, but at a more advanced age she still manages on occasion to carry a lot of emergency backup books.
>131 jnwelch: I think she's in good company there Joe. I thought the tweet was particularly lovely - the idea that despite tech children are still so keen on reading.
>134 susanj67: It just got busier as something at work means I'm going to be filling in unexpectedly. Lots of fingers crossed for me please!
>135 charl08: Fingers crossed here! My weekend also just got busier, with a call out of the blue from an old school/University friend who is in London. I'm meeting her tomorrow to roam around. Must charge the Fitbit!
>130 charl08: I loved the original Olive Kitteridge, so I'm happy to hear that the sequel is also good. I'll definitely keep my eye out for that one.
>133 charl08: This was a charming read. It made me laugh:
Howard cleared his throat. “Here we go: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Southern California Quiz Bowl Qualifier. Tonight, competing for glory and a chance to go forward to the next round, Book ’Em, Danno; Menace to Sobriety; You’re a Quizzard, Harry; and Olivia Neutron Bomb. One team will make it through the night; the other three will be buried in ignominy. Our first contest is Book ’Em versus Menace.” He turned to Leah and grinned. “And what’s your name, little lady?” Leah raised her eyebrows at him.
>110 BLBera: 38! How many books can you take out on one card?! That’s my limiting factor. How to get them home is a secondary consideration.
>118 charl08: Hmm; maybe I should get my reader to volunteer in his school library. It might introduce him to the idea of looking after his own books.
>119 Helenliz: My aunt told me they thought my cousin had learned to read but he had learned the books off by heart from having them read to him and even knew when to turn the pages.
>141 Helenliz: Yup, there were some great quotes in this one. I love the Olivia Newton John reference.
>142 humouress: I used to love being able to stamp books and find the tickets. I wonder if the digital systems would have such an attraction.
>143 katiekrug: I read this very quickly - engaging and set in a bookshop. Hope you like it too.
Guardian Reviews (non-fiction)
Woke up this morning thinking 'argh, I'm late getting up for work' and then realised it was Saturday. D'oh!
Irreplaceable by Julian Hoffman reviewed by Caspar Henderson
"...a passionate and lyrical work of reportage and advocacy. The care, dignity and grit of the locals shines through, and Hoffman combines close historical knowledge with an eye for detail. The Gwent Levels, for example, saltmarshes reclaimed from the sea in Roman times and described by Gerald of Wales in the 12th century as “glittering with a wonderful brightness”, are home today to a huge diversity of birds and other life. But one of the things that catches Hoffman’s attention there is the rootless duckweed: “the world’s smallest flowering plant and one that’s found nowhere else in Wales – so tiny that you could hold thousands of them in your cupped hands”."
I love this description, maybe the library will have a copy.
Insurgent Empire by Priyamvada Gopal reviewed by Miles Taylor
"...really comes into its own in its coverage of the interwar years, when London became the epicentre of an anti-imperial internationalism, drawing together black Americans, West Indians, Africans and a surge of British radicals. Gopal carefully considers several long-forgotten pressure groups – including the League Against Imperialism and the International African Service Bureau – alongside a further series of exemplary figures, such as the enigmatic Reginald Bridgeman, and the incredibly resourceful Nancy Cunard, whose printing presses and magazines supported the cause of black liberation. Here Gopal tracks an arc of anticolonialism, stretching from the Harlem renaissance to the Ethiopian struggle, from West Africa to the West Indies. Black voices of anticolonialism and revolution, such as CLR James, Claude McKay and George Padmore, now instructed their British comrades on what being on the receiving end of empire really meant."
I'm not sure how 'new' this is, but it still sounds like an interesting read.
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry reviewed by Aida Edemariam
"Perry understands how necessary it is to examine our reactions to these small individuals, and to determine whether what we are reacting to, when we become angry or distressed, is their behaviour, or something childlike in ourselves."
This reminds me of having distant relations visit with their (then) small kids. One of them picked up a knife at the dining table (which in our house is generally quite a blunt object) and waved it around a bit. My two siblings and I all blanched and either my brother or sister channelled my mum on "Never PLAYING with knives". We've laughed about it since, how it's been programmed in by my mum very effectively with all of us! (I'm not saying that this isn't a very sensible piece of advice, only that seems to have worked unusually well with all of us!)
Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill with Dan Piepenbring – reviewed by Peter Conrad
"...investigations started 20 years ago with a commission from a movie magazine and they have continued ever since....this book is only an interim report on a sticky network of lies by the LAPD, the FBI and the CIA, which joined forces in an effort to muddy the truth about Manson’s crimes."
Cleaning Up the Mess by Ian Kennedy reviewed by Chris Mullin
"In the red-top tabloids, the narrative quickly became “they’re all at it”; the damage to public confidence in politics and politicians was incalculable. Arguably, it contributed to the mood of populist outrage that led to Brexit. Political leaders moved quickly to damp down the outrage. Inquiries were announced; rules about what could and could not be claimed were hastily revised; root-and-branch reform was promised. This led in due course to the creation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa)....The idea was that it would be independent of parliament and entirely transparent, freeing MPs once and for all from the embarrassing responsibility for setting their own terms and conditions. .... despite having overwhelmingly endorsed the concept, once Ipsa was up and running many MPs began to have second thoughts."
Given the awfulness of the expenses scandal, this sounds suitably awful. (as in the behaviour, not the book!) And that cover is really clever.
The Lark Ascending by Richard King reviewed by Alexandra Harris
"...an idiosyncratic pilgrimage through 20th-century experiments in life and sound....wanders between cathedral stalls and festival fields, magnetically drawn to overlaps of avant-gardism and popular song, radicalism and tradition."
"The richest potential lies in the borderlands between what King offers for celebration and what he must describe with more caution and detachment. He gives us the image of women at Greenham Common dancing on the silos of the nuclear base in a ceremonial rite that echoes hilltop dancers through time. sets this scene of peaceful protest next to the vigorously masculine and sometimes militaristic folk dancing led by Rolf Gardiner in 1930s Dorset. He does not unravel the connections and contrasts but lets the dances sit side by side as commentaries on each other..."
This sounds mad.
Fried and Justified by Mick Houghton reviewed by Barbara Ellen
"... sheds light on a bygone industry that, although flawed, occasionally nurtured genuine misfit-creatives. Now retired from PR, Houghton mourns old friends (including Bunnyman Pete de Freitas, who died in a motorcycle accident) and celebrates others ....takes the reader on a wild rock’n’roll fairground ride of the damned, where you’re simply not allowed to get off. "
I don't think so. The musical era he worked in is before my time, so I"m not sure this would mean much to me.
You're an evil temptress, there are several there that I think I would go for.
>148 charl08: Love the "don't play with knives" story. Maybe not for me though, I think my parents have taken enough blame over the years. I survived. I am dreadful with small people though, they worry me!
>151 charl08: I am intrigued, but probably not intrigued enough to buy it. Sound is fascinating. I was once involved in some testing of how loud a device click was, so we used a lab to do the testing. They showed me round and I went in both an anachoic chamber and the reverse (would that be a choic chamber?). The first felt clostrophobic, as your ears are telling you that the room is tiny (and it wasn't) while the opposite is designed to have a very long reverberation, and your ears are telling you that the space is immersurable large (and it wasn't). The rooms were, actually, probably of similar size, but they felt so utterly different. A very wierd experience.
>148 charl08: We all do it, Charlotte. I remember once I yelled at my kids "In or out," as they were running in and out of the house one summer. As I yelled it, I realized I really didn't care. They were having a good time and playing nicely -- it was just what my mom used to say!
Came home at 4ish after walking with the kids down the canal. Was very pleased with myself (read: smug) as had printed an RSPB handout with pictures of flowers for them to find and tick. This lasted for all of half an hour, but counted towards stealth reading. We also read the barge names, and looked at Coldplay's lyrics (I'd laugh at thinking it was when I rolled (ruled) the world, but then I would have to admit to all the songs I've thought were saying something else for years...)
Came home and slept for three hours. Exhausted!
>155 charl08: The first thing that I conjure up about my parents as a kid was 8-Track cartridges in the back of Dad's car and singing along to Johnny Cash and Elvis and the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra, James Last (for heaven's sake) and the Big O. Any of their songs will set me off.
Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.
My memories with my parents ( and of course I have many ) were Sunday drives when we young. All 4 or 5 of us kids piled into a station wagon with my parents in the front of the car ( and likely the youngest sibling sitting up front with my parents ). My parents liked a drive , plus were always searching for new house that was a little bigger. So they were long drives, but most of the time all of we kids were well behaved and at the end of the drive we all called out " Let's Go to Dairy Queen" - an ice cream place with milkshakes, sundaes, soft ice-cream etc. My parents would pretend to ask each other - had we kids been well enough behaved on the long drive? The answer was always yes, and so out we'd pile for ice cream and my mom would always warn us of the upper limit of what price our ice cream could cost per child :-) I guess eating out with 5 kids can cost a pretty penny. My dad was quite a fast food keener and my mom did not love to cook, so when McDonalds hit town, I'm sure my family was among the first to hit the Mc Donald's. As Paul says, it is funny what sort of things parents do that create a memories. Of course, back then , there was no such things as seat belts or car seats, We kids just tumbled around and sometimes made faces at other drivers on the road - though if my parents noticed that, we'd incur some wrath from them.
>140 charl08: Great quote, Charlotte, and my library has that one on order. Onto the hold list it goes.
>146 charl08: Insurgent Empire seems to be brand new - it's a Verso book but I also looked it up on Amazon to see if perhaps it was a reprint. There is one review, which says "Very well researched but not easy read for non academic non historian. Author is very diligent in citations but that diminishes easy reading for reader with general interest." Hmmm. It's a topic I read a lot about, but it sounds hard.
>149 charl08: Ooh. That looks good.
>150 charl08: Yesterday I couldn't see the book cover picture on my phone (WHEN will LT fix the image problem?!!!) so I spent a bit of time wondering which particular poor behaviour it was referring to, but the reference to Ipsa clarified it :-)
>157 PaulCranswick: Music is a great one for sparking memories, Paul. I have a pile that take me back to the summers at the end of school, too.
>158 vancouverdeb: My parents viewed eating out as a terrible waste of money, Deborah, unless visiting family was present. Then all bets were off. (I guess like a lot of people with families in distant places who didn't visit that often). This rule also didn't apply to buying my siblings and I crisps and coke in the pub garden (in the days when children weren't allowed in pubs!)
>159 Familyhistorian: Hope you like it, Meg.
>160 susanj67: Sorry Susan, I meant "new" as in the sense that I have read books on opposition to empire before, and the reviewer seemed to be claiming that the author was staking out new research territory.
The Manson book sounds mad. If the case wasn't mad enough already, add in the CIA and a coverup?!
>161 charl08: I would probably have money in the bank, Charlotte, if Hani and I had followed your parents views on eating out.
>163 PaulCranswick: I like to eat out, Paul, so I'm not suggesting it as an approach!
Helping sell cake for charity at an open garden today. Such a stunning collection of plants.
The Tempest was well worth seeing:
This outdoor production is touring all over the place this summer. My favourite bit was at the start when they were doing the shipwreck: the actors not on stage (a company of 5!) took turns to throw buckets of water. So many lines were recognisable quotes, too.
Finished Grand Hotel - apparently the first hotel novel, the Austrian Jewish author went on to be a scriptwriter in Hollywood. My edition was translated early and it shows: some offensive language (that I imagine) the NYRB edition avoids. I liked the way the book felt very much of its time (men recovering from the war, the fear of unemployment, changing social positions) and the descriptions of boxing and driving and flying conveyed well just how exciting thise things might be when done for the first time. Wikipedia says Baum was a boxing enthusiast in real life, training in a Berlin gym. Her life sounds biography worthy.
>168 charl08: I can see that being my favourite part, too. We get the Handlebards coming over once a year. I've only seen them a couple of times, but they do a good job of staging Shakespeare with only a handful of actors.
>170 humouress: Great name! We were lucky too to get warm and dry weather for the show.
I finished A Plague on Both Your Houses on audio, the first in a series of crime novels set in medieval Cambridge. It's a murky world, and not just because the plague has hit. Matthew, a doctor who teaches in one of the colleges, starts to suspect that some supposed suicides by fellows are in fact foul play.
>171 charl08: that's a good series, although, as with any series, they get a bit samey after a while. Spread them out and it works OK.
>176 BLBera: It came up in postcolonial texts so often, I was quite surprised there was (I thought) so little of Caliban.
I'd like to read the more recent translation to Grand Hotel, see if there is much of a difference.
>178 charl08: I read that one earlier this year and thought it was delightful!
>179 rosalita: I am enjoying it Julia. Last night I was resentful of the upcoming early start which meant that I had to put it down instead of finishing it. Thankful I did this morning!
Dear Mrs Bird I liked this, a story based on the author's enthusiasm for wartime agony aunt columns. Funny, sad and sweet.
Edmund had been very quiet the past weeks, hardly writing at all, but I had told myself he was off fighting, which had been preferable to worrying that he was all right. It hadn’t occurred to me he might be off falling in love with somebody else.
Still reading about Airey Neave. Thatcher's machinations (and those of others on her behalf) to become leader are just not that interesting (to me). The Man Who Was Saturday.
>96 charl08: Lovely garden photos, Charlotte! By the way, we rarely ate out as a family - McDonald's was about 25 cents a burger back in the day and it was all takeout. Cheap take out! :-) Likewise an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen.
>168 charl08: That looks like an interesting production of The Tempest. I like the sounds of the waves being enacted with buckets of water. Our local Shakespeare productions are under tents so no watery props but sometimes the weather obliges.
>183 vancouverdeb: >184 vancouverdeb: I think.our version was the local fish and chip shop, Deborah. For a bit when I was small my mum worked on a Saturday so my dad would take the three of us swimming and then we'd eat fish and chips in front of the tv. Simpler times, happy days.
>185 Familyhistorian: The stage direction was very well done. A tent sounds very much in the spirit of the globe!
>187 humouress: They never taste as good as after exercise, or eaten outside!
I have only been to the Edinburgh one...
>168 charl08: for years as kids we went to the travelling Shakespeare companies outdoor productions at the local park. Wonderful.
There were many serendipitus moments. One of my favourites was during Hamlet, when the melancholy Dane talks of being all alone, and the Rookery cat is standing at his feet, looking up at him as if to say 'but I'm here'. Another was when a religious heckler climbed on stage to say that we would all be damned for watching heretical plays. It was The Tempest, the performers went into statues while he went on, but had great difficulty not laughing.
Dear Mrs. Bird sounds like a good one, Charlotte. I love the excerpt.
and my library has a copy!
>188 charl08: There was one holiday in the tropics when we used to have swimming classes with our cousins and we’d eat hot chips at the poolside afterwards.
>189 Caroline_McElwee: Love the idea of the actors trying to be "statues". I can't think what in the Tempest the campaigner would be bothered by - the magic?
>190 BLBera: I wondered initially if it would be a bit too pastiche 'jolly hockeysticks' but the author had clearly done her homework and the period setting did feel v real.
>191 humouress: That sounds like my holidays (only replace the tropics with 'freezing cold open air pool somewhere in Thetford forest!)
This tweet made me laugh this morning. Who would you be if a book had this kind of transformative powers?!!
>193 jessibud2: Made me smile! I'm trying to decide if I'd have been Pippi, one of the Famous Five, or living in Concord with the March sisters.
I did read last night, but didn't get very far. The 99p sale on Kindle was very tempting, but can't quite decide what to settle on! Reading bits of the women in sport book and wondering on it. I'd like to go to an event talking about this stuff now, if any research has been done since. The lack of knowledge in the medical profession about what exercise / sport does to the female body just seems more and more shocking the more the book goes on. At one point the author comments on how the female viagra pill was tested - on a group that was predominantly male! What?!
Hmmm, I hadn't realised there was a Kindle summer sale. I've just bought A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell.
Fans of Israeli spy dramas (and we all know I mean the Gabriel Allon books) will love Rise And Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations, which is most excellent.
>192 charl08: I also liked that Tweet, Charlotte :-) I'd probably be Trixie Belden or a Bobbsey Twin.
>192 charl08: I love that! I can't decide what I should have turned into. Based on how much history I read, probably a knight. which would have been interesting for all concerned. >;-)
>195 susanj67: I have A Woman of No Importance in hardback as my book subscription for July. You'll probably get to it before I do.
>192 charl08: - I would have turned into one of the Borrowers who live under the floor :)
If children reading about gay people in fiction turns them gay then how come I'm not a Canadian redheaded orphan??
— Barbara Evans 🇪🇺🇬🇧🌈 (@BEonthetoilet) July 17, 2019
Oh, I love that!
Can I be Miles Vorkosigan?
>195 susanj67: Should I admit I don't know who Trixie Belden is?
>196 Helenliz: A Woman of No Importance looks rather tempting, now you (both) mention it!
>197 katiekrug: How could I forget the Borrowers? Definitely Arriety (although in reality, far too brave for me).
>198 rosalita: I fear there are vast holes in my childhood reading that must be filled...
>199 jnwelch: Yup, vaster and vasterer....
A colleague recommended this one, so I had to buy it, right?
Migrations: open hearts, open borders
>201 charl08: - I have been looking for this one. My library doesn't have it and my local big box store can't find it in their system to order it. What's up with that? Is it too new, perhaps?
>202 jessibud2: I wondered if it was something to do with donating the profits to charity - but no idea, really. (I've ordered through the Guardian bookshop).
>194 charl08: I suspect that were that the case, the world would be overrun with Annes and everyone else would be very tired of them. An childhood friend who is coming to visit me recently emailed me that she was happy to play Diana to my Anne and let me make all of the plans and I remembered why we were such good friends.
>192 charl08: If that were the case, I would be very confused people. I wanted to be Peter Pan. And a knight of the Round Table. And a Sherwood outlaw. And Anne, and Harry (Crewe) and Morgan of Hed and Tristan of Calandra and Elizabeth Bennet and a dragon rider of Pern and Bod Owens's adoptive family and (as brave as) Cordelia Vorkosigan and a Cheysuli warrior and, and, and ....
I thought about you this evening, Charlotte, when we watched the film version of Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop. A few Penguin editions made it into the viewfinder and Random House/Penguin got a nod in the credits.
>192 charl08: I love that tweet!
I really must get a copy of A Woman of No Importance.
>209 EBT1002: Oh, that's definitely a book where I liked the cover more than the book itself.
Guardian Reviews fiction
My Name Is Monster by Katie Hale reviewed by Sandra Newman
"...Monster is trekking through a depopulated England scarred by ash pits where the dead have been incinerated. By shunning other people, she’s avoided the things that killed them, but all she’s gained is that she’s left to struggle alone. She tries to see her solitude as freedom, reflecting that “history is just a set of lies agreed upon. Now nobody needs to agree on anything. Now all of it is mine.” But ultimately she begins to struggle not only with starvation but insanity."
This review could be summed up as a first novel showing promise. I might pick it up if I see it at the library.
This was all over the news here last week, I liked this headline - 'Penguins ignore cops, return to sushi shop'
Train Man by Andrew Mulligan reviewed by Suzi Feay
"... reminiscent of Nick Hornby’s high-concept scenarios and deceptively light touch with human tragedy. It may come as a surprise to anyone suffering the delays and cancellations of their local train company, but Michael’s railway experience is surprisingly positive."
Stand By Me by Wendell Berry reviewed by Jane Smiley
"an exploration, covering about a century, of the loyalties and interactions between fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, cousins and brothers. All the protagonists are raised on chancy farms in a hilly, difficult spot for farming; bad weather is a constant threat, only a few portions of a property can be put to use, and the fallbacks if crops fail are hunting, felling trees and hoping for some good luck. The communities where the stories are set can’t be said to have prospered and, by the late 20th century, they are depopulating and in decline."
I saw this in my local bookshop with a rave review from one of the booksellers - so tempting.
Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma reviewed by Anthony Cummins
"Parsing emails about the need for “dynamic, holistic social”, Iris compares herself to a detective: “but instead of solving a murder, she was trying to work out what she did for a living”. Low-hanging fruit this may be, but it’s plucked cleanly all the same. Sauma’s curveball comes when Iris, hungover, applies for a spot on a reality show on the recently colonised desert planet of Nyx, where there is no internet and the diet is all vegan. “"
This sounds good!
Exhalation by Ted Chiang reviewed by Adam Roberts
"That said, there is an inevitable danger in accelerating SF hype into hyperspace. Exhalation’s nine stories are … fine. A couple are excellent, most are good, a couple don’t really work. It feels like damning the book with faint praise to say so, but isn’t that exactly how short-story collections generally work?"
Not tempted by this one, but the review makes a big case for reading his first one.
I Am Sovereign by Nicola Barker reviewed by Toby Litt
"Barker makes the analogy between fictional inclusion and actual immigration very clear. Sovereignty of any sort requires a gesture of exclusion. You can’t come in. You don’t belong here. In this brave, funny and painfully timely novella, Barker questions her own – and thus our own – authority. By what right can we keep people out?
There’s also the question of going dominantly in – of the subjection of the Subjects. Should a novelist be free to colonise other people’s heads? "
On the fence. Again. Not sure if it would be a meta win or lose...
Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan reviewed by Molly McCloskey
"Can love save us from our unhappiest selves? Is that something we can ask of another person? How do we even pose the question?
Mina is a young classicist and associate professor in New York: “bisexual, vegetarian and on meds”. She is working, sort of, on a book about female survivors in Greco-Roman myths and legends (Penelope, Psyche, Leda), an obvious parallel to her own struggles for survival. When the novel opens, Mina is standing on the George Washington Bridge, trying to will herself to jump."
>212 avatiakh: How cute are they!
I have been travelling today, and in the internet black hole of Hebden bridge. Hopefully I've got rid of the duplicate posts now!
Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. So many tempting ones this week...
Have a great weekend.
House sitting for my friend this weekend. Not sure I have brought enough books with me (!)
>198 rosalita: Julia, for some reason the Trixie books were more easily available in NZ than Nancy Drew.
>200 charl08: Charlotte, Trixie was a girl detective, a sort of less-popular Nancy Drew https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trixie_Belden The books were available for $1.00 at the Foodtown supermarket where my mother shopped, so if I went with her I would usually buy one (or more). I didn't have all of them, though - clearly the Only Reading In Order thing didn't kick in until later. Mind you, you couldn't be too fussy in NZ back then - you either bought the fairly limited range of stuff in the shops or went hungry (or bookless).
>221 charl08: I see your point there. But it's only 4.50 - surely you could pop out for some extras, just in case.
>222 susanj67: I went for nipping to the coop instead. Although the charity shop is offering 3 for 2 on their books, temptingly.
Our son is reading and liking Exhalation, after reading and loving Ted Chiang's first one. Like you, I'm going to start with the latter. I love that description of Exhalation; it mirrors the advice I give people daunted by the idea of reading a recommended poetry collection. Look at it as if you're reading short stories, I say; it's a rare collection where every story is great. Most likely, "a couple will be excellent, most will be good, a couple won’t really work" for you.
Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Unfortunately I can't see most of the pics. Sigh, I really hope they can fix it one day.
>221 charl08: How long are you house sitting for? A weekend and you'll probably be OK, much longer and I'd worry...
>224 jessibud2: Belatedly realised I don't even need to cart them home again, as visiting again soon. Hurrah! Although now I have the dilemma of which ones to take and which ones to leave.
>225 jnwelch: That makes a lot of sense, Joe. I try to think about my lit paper subscription a bit like that: if I read one good article each time it comes, I've learnt something.
>226 BLBera: It's always a worry. And I always seem to overpack non-fiction as a result.
>221 charl08: Wondering how many books you have finished from that stack by now ;-)
A Clean Canvas
Fun, lighthearted crime series - Lena is working as a cleaner for an art gallery when a painting goes missing. Having already solved one crime (sorry Susan: yes, this is not the first book in the series) she calls on her friend in the police force to help her clear her co-worker, Sarika's, name. Lots of misunderstood English idioms (Lena is Hungarian).
Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte! I'll be looking forward to the Booker Long-list, just for curiosities sake. And by the way, I'm not sure which character I'd be out of the kids books that you mention above. I also read a few of the Trixie Belden books , as well as Cherry Ames ( nurse series ) , Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys . I think I read every series that was around in my day. My mom had a lot of old books from her childhood for me - and my sibs to read.
So sorry about the UK getting Boris as PM tomorrow. Ugh, Charlotte.
I agree with Susan, Trixie Belden was definitely less popular than Nancy Drew, but when you are desperate as a kid...I also read another series featuring - " Honey Bunch" - here is the wiki link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_Bunch I did read stand alones too as a kid. Enid Blyton, you name it, I read it ;-)
Trixie Belden was less popular than Nancy Drew, but I devoured all the books in both series and I would much rather have hung out with the Beldens than with Nancy et al. That might be just me, though.
>235 vancouverdeb: Half the fun I think, Deborah is changing your mind about who you would be!
Politics seems like a surreal dream at the moment. Who would have predicted this?
>236 rosalita: I didn't read Nancy either, but I can't remember if she was available in the library. Probably not though (as i would have picked it up). Those Sweet Valley books definitely made it over the pond though.
The Stopping Places
Damian le Bas traces his memories and Gypsy histories across the UK and to a religious festival in France. An experienced activist with links across Europe, he writes about the links between different European groups of Rom, histories of prejudice and discrimination against travelling peoples, and his own experiences as he looks for the remnants of the stopping places his own family used in living memory. He writes beautifully about the landscape, and Gypsy places within it, from picking hops to catching hares. I grew up in an area that saw travelling (circus) people arrive every year for the Strawberry fair, and some of the casual discrimination he describes is all too familiar. I learnt that the Gypsy/ Traveller distinction (where Gypsy is seen as more authentic) is only rooted in this prejudice. I particularly loved his reflections on language, the words that have seeped into mainstream English, and the differences (even on this small island).
Reminded me of Robert Macfarlane and Bruce Chatwin, although like them I was at points reminded of how male this genre can be. His partner is often a silent or choric commentator, stepping away, questioning, putting on the hot water. The book is also a reflection on his own identity - how can he be part of a community that argues he is not fully part of them as his family married out and settled down, but also, his worries about not looking sufficiently Gypsy, his difficulties dealing with entrenched prejudice at school, and before travelling for the book, never following the travelling life.
It read very well Caroline - it has been nominated for a non-fiction award, I think, but the one I can find is specifically a travel award. Although on the plus side, I now want to read Ottoman Odyssey: Travels Through a Lost Empire by Alev Scott and Dancing Bears: True Stories About Longing For the Old Days by Witold Szabłowski, Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
(not sure if this is a good thing...)
ETA My library has copies of both!
>241 BLBera: It was a quick read, Beth.
The Man who was Saturday
I finished this one despite being increasingly annoyed by the author. He was clearly a fan of Neave: I found him a bit pathetic by the end, someone who spent his post-war life trying to capitalise on his war record, even though he (and other British prisoners) only got out of Colditz because of Dutch help (and after other nationalities had shown it could be done). Quite why the British government still refuse to release the records relating to his death is a mystery (but not one that needed several pages of discussion, imho).
>243 Familyhistorian: Thank you! Although I've realised (now) that the list of books I have on the currently reading shelf should have included this one. Ah well. Johnson news is today. Gah.
>244 rosalita: I was determined to finish it: but it's made me feel better about abandoning another one which don't much like The Dollmaker. Back to the library that one goes.
>238 charl08: That sounds interesting, Charlotte. An acquaintance of mine told me that her family were gypsies /Roma in Europe and she lived quite a disruptive, difficult life as they traveled around Europe when she was a child and teenager. That was some 15 years ago. Prior to that I did not believe gypsies were real. I thought they were just something imaginary like fairies or whatever.
Politically speaking, we do live in surreal times. Scary times, I think.
>246 vancouverdeb: It's a fascinating look at a culture that is pretty hidden, Deborah. And a group that seems somehow to still be viewed by some as acceptable to stereotype and disparage. Last year I got really cross on a train as I listened to a woman talk about the arrival of a group of travellers, and their apparent responsibility for everything that had gone wrong in her area.
Le Bas' book makes clear that the state has effectively created a problem by stripping away most of the places people used to travel to, including to stop and work at in rural areas.
This topic was continued by World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #9.
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