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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 7

This is a continuation of the topic SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 6.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Jul 20, 5:54am Top

Hello, and welcome to my seventh thread for 2019.

I'm Susan, a Kiwi living in London for the past 24 years. During the working week I'm a lawyer so I love nerdy legal stuff, which crops up in more books than you might expect.

Over the past few years I've started to read a lot more non-fiction, so my reading is now more balanced between F and NF than it was in the past. I think I spend more *time* reading NF than F, but NF books tend to be longer and more complicated than a quick novel.

While I have been reading mostly from the library, I do have a fair few books that I've bought (mostly for the Kindle) and I need to keep my eye on those so that I actually read them instead of just accumulating them. Every year I give up reserving or randomly borrowing library books during November (which is renamed "No!vember") but this year I've also added June, and may add in another couple of months.

Edited: Today, 11:44am Top

Books read during 2019


78. Mad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo
79. A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna
80. Reflex by Dick Francis
81. Heartland by Sarah Smarsh
82. Whiteshift by Eric Kaufmann
83. American Overdose by Chris McGreal
84. Triptych by Karin Slaughter
85. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
86. Fractured by Karin Slaughter
87. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
88. A Passage to India by E M Forster
89. Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance
90. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
91. The Strangler Vine by M J Carter
92. Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win The White House by Luke Harding
93. The Good War by Studs Terkel
94. Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
95. In The Dark by Cara Hunter
96. The Hunger by Alma Katsu


97. Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan
98. And Their Children After Them by Dale Maharidge
99. All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo
100. A Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh
101. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
102. Star of the North by D B John
103. Robot Rules by Jacob Turner
104. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
105. The Dry by Jane Harper
106. Book I Cannot Name
107. Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein
108. The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona Maclean
109. Bombs on Aunt Dainty by Judith Kerr
110. Lancelot by Giles Kristian
111. Serpent in Paradise by Dea Birkett
112. The Nurse's Christmas Wish by Sarah Morgan
113. How To Keep A Secret by Sarah Morgan


114. The Watchmaker's Daughter by C J Archer
115. Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
116. Wolf Pack by C J Box
117. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
118. The Redeemed by Tim Pears
119. Rat Race by Dick Francis
120. The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman
121. Word by Word by Kory Stamper
122. Maestra by L S Hilton
123. Domina by L S Hilton
124. Ultima by L S Hilton
125. Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
126. The Food Police by Jayson Lusk
127. Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman
128. Denying the Holocaust by Deborah Lipstadt
129. The Reckoning by Jane Casey
130. Silent Scream by Angela Marsons


131. The Zinoviev Letter by Gill Bennett
132. The New Girl by Daniel Silva
133. The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson
134. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
135. The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland
136. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
137. Nomad by James Swallow
138. White Rage by Carol Anderson
139. London Made Us by Robert Elms
140. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
141. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
142. Sons of the Blood by Robyn Young

Jul 20, 5:55am Top

A couple of years ago I started a new NF challenge, which is to read the non-fiction winners of the Pulitzer prize. I stole this idea from Reba, who was doing a fiction challenge (and has now finished it. Hi Reba!) This is a long-term project, rather than something to be completed in a year or two. If I can't find the relevant non-fiction winner easily in the UK, I propose to substitute the winner of the history category.

Last year I didn't make great progess, so I'd like to read at least five this year.

Here's the full list:

2019 Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold
2018 Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman
2017 Evicted by Matthew Desmond
2016 Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick
2015 The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
2014 Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin
2013 Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King
2012 The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
2011 The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
2010 The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman

2009 Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A Blackmon
2008 The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer
2007 The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
2006 Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins
2005 Ghost Wars by Steve Coll
2004 Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
2003 A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
2002 Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter
2001 Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P Bix
2000 Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

1999 Annals of the Former World by John McPhee
1998 Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
1997 Ashes To Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, The Public Health, And The Unabashed Triumph Of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger
1996 The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism by Tina Rosenberg
1995 The Beak Of The Finch: A Story Of Evolution In Our Time by Jonathan Weiner
1994 Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days Of The Soviet Empire by David Remnick
1993 Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills
1992 The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin
1991 The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O Wilson
1990 And Their Children After Them by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson

1989 A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan
1988 The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
1987 Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David K Shipler
1986 Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by J Anthony Lukas
1986 Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White by Joseph Lelyveld
1985 The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two by Studs Terkel
1984 The Social Transformation Of American Medicine by Paul Starr
1983 Is There No Place On Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan
1982 The Soul of A New Machine by Tracy Kidder
1981 Fin-De Siecle Vienna: Politics And Culture by Carl E Schorske
1980 Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter

1979 On Human Nature by Edward O Wilson
1978 The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
1977 Beautiful Swimmers by William W Warner
1976 Why Survive? Being Old In America by Robert N Butler
1975 Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
1974 The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
1973 Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam by Frances Fitzgerald
1973 Children of Crisis, Vols. II and III by Robert Coles
1972 Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 by Barbara W Tuchman
1971 The Rising Sun by John Toland
1970 Gandhi's Truth by Erik H Erikson

1969 The Armies Of The Night by Norman Mailer
1969 So Human An Animal by Rene Jules Dubos
1968 Rousseau And Revolution, The Tenth And Concluding Volume Of The Story Of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant
1967 The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture by David Brion Davis
1966 Wandering Through Winter by Edwin Way Teale
1965 O Strange New World by Howard Mumford Jones
1964 Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
1963 The Guns of August by Barbara W Tuchman
1962 The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H White

Edited: Aug 21, 5:08am Top

My 2019 reading challenge is the Goodreads "Around the World in 52 Books" challenge, which is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/174195-around-the-year-in-52-books

I'll post the names of the books as I finish them. I've taken out the cover picture montage as most of the images don't show up. Stupid LT bug that they need to fix ASAP.


36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list - The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
3. A book where the author’s name contains A, T, and Y - The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
14. A book with a title, subtitle or cover relating to an astronomical term - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, subject) - Nerve by Dick Francis
35. A psychological thriller - An Unwanted Guest by Shari La Pena
9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror) - Snap by Belinda Bauer
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.) - The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc) - The Law of Angels by Cassandra Clark
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual) - In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
10. A book featuring an historical figure - Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood
12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer - The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
16. A book told from multiple perspectives - Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover - Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding
34. A book with a person's name in the title - A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet - Is There No Place on Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.) - Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson
51. A book published in 2019 - The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) (fiction or nonfiction) - Primate Change by Vybarr Cregan-Reid
7. Two books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1 - The Familiars by Stacey Halls (the topic is witchcraft in 17th century England)
42. A book with a monster or "monstrous" character - The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR - Forfeit by Dick Francis
6. A book with a dual timeline - The Secret Place by Tana French
18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements - Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable by Dan Lyons (the element is Silicon (i.e. Valley))
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country - A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey
37. A book set in a school or university - The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury
40. A book you stumbled upon - The Impossible Life of Mary Benson by Rodney Bolt
1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy - The Wanderers by Tim Pears
30. A book featuring an elderly character - The Century Girls: The Final Word From The Women Who've Lived The Past Hundred Years of British History by Tessa Dunlop
2. A book with one of the 5 W's in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why) - Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco
39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life - The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes - I've chosen "A Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction winner or shortlist" (heh) - Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel, etc) - The Long Take by Robin Robertson
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title - The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover - Moneyland: Why Crooks and Thieves Now Rule the World and How to Take it Back by Oliver Bullough
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old - Mad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo ("old" = historical fiction)
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New - A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna ("new" = new scientific technique)
32. A book with more than 500 pages - Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities by Eric Kaufmann
48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year - Heartland by Sarah Smarsh
17. A speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopia) - The Hunger by Alma Katsu
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country - All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country - Star of the North by D B John (North Korea)
45. A multi-generational saga - Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #4 Something Blue - Wolf Pack by C J Box (mostly blue cover)
13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list - The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley


5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare - The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2 - Witchfinders by Malcolm Gaskill
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #3 Something Borrowed
29. A book published before 1950 - Rookwood by William Ainsworth

31. A children’s classic you’ve never read - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards - I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.) - Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden

Edited: Aug 7, 11:09am Top

I have a few series on the go, so in this post I'm going to list them so that I don't forget where I'm up to. Reading in order is important to me :-)

Series I have started and still have squillions to go *happy sigh*

I'm going to list these in date order, because why not.

Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder (about 100 BC)

Roman Blood
Arms of Nemesis

Ruth Downie's Medicus (Britannia, 108)

Terra Incognita

Priscilla Royal's Eleanor, Prioress of Tyndal (East Anglia, 11th century)

Wine of Violence

Ellis Peters' Cadfael (Shropshire, 1135 - 1145)

A Morbid Taste for Bones
One Corpse Too Many
Monk's Hood

Bernard Knight's Crowner John (Devon, 1190s)

The Sanctuary Seeker
The Poisoned Chalice
Crowner's Quest

Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew (Cambridge, 1348)

A Plague On Both Your Houses
An Unholy Alliance

Cassandra Clark's Abbess of Meaux (Yorkshire, 1380s)

Hangman Blind
The Red Velvet Turnshoe
The Law of Angels
A Parliament of Spies

Shona Maclean's Alexander Seaton (1620s)

The Redemption of Alexander Seaton

Michael Pearce's Mamur Zapt (Egypt, 1908)

The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet

Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver (England, 1920s/1930s)

Grey Mask
The Case is Closed

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee

The Deep Blue Goodbye

Mal Sjowall's Martin Beck


John Sandford's Lucas Davenport

Rules of Prey

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch

The Black Echo

John Harvey's Charlie Resnick

Lonely Hearts
Rough Treatment
Cutting Edge

Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus

The Ritual Bath
Sacred and Profane

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Agent Pendergast


Steve Berry's Cotton Malone

The Templar Legacy
The Alexandria Link

Harry Bingham's Fiona Griffiths

Talking to the Dead
Love Story, With Murders

Mari Hannah's Kate Daniels

The Murder Wall

Karin Slaughter's Sara Linton


Karin Slaughter's Will Trent


Paul Cleave's Christchurch Murders

The Cleaner

Stuart MacBride's Logan McRae

Cold Granite
Dying Light
Broken Skin
Flesh House
Blind Eye
Dark Blood

Annie Hauxwell's Catherine Berlin

In Her Blood
A Bitter Taste

Cara Hunter's DI Adam Fawley

Close to Home
In The Dark

Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan

The Burning
The Reckoning

Angela Marsons' DI Kim Stone

Silent Scream

Lesley Thomson's Stella Darnell

The Detective's Daughter

Manda Scott's Ines Picaut

Into the Fire

Susan Mallery's Mischief Bay

The Girls of Mischief Bay

Series I'm caught up with and waiting for the next one *tapping foot*

Lee Child's Jack Reacher, obvs
C J Box's Joe Pickett
Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon
Elly Griffiths' Dr Ruth Galloway
Vaseem Khan's Baby Ganesh Agency
Abir Mukherjee's Sam Wyndham
Lynne Truss's Constable Twitten
Anthony Horowitz's Daniel Hawthorne
Attica Locke's Highway 59

Not really a series but I need to keep track of my Dick Francis finishes (Hi Julia!)

Rat Race

Edited: Jul 20, 6:06am Top

Jul 20, 6:13am Top

120. The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman

This is the first in a long series of books about a Los Angeles police officer and an Orthodox Jewish woman who lives in a yeshiva in California. The crimes in this one happened in the yeshiva, but I assume that must change in later books or it will be like Midsomer, which is the most dangerous village in England. I'm not sure how I heard about this series - it's possible that another one of the author's books was reviewed recently and I googled her. I'll definitely continue with it.

Jul 20, 6:41am Top

Happy new thread, Susan!
The images issue is really very annoying and I'm with you, needs to be fixed soonest.
Hope you're enjoying the weekend of what should be better weather than during the week.

Jul 20, 6:53am Top

>8 Helenliz: Thanks Helen! So far I've done lots of laundry, so that's a good start. I'm staying home today because the weather is a bit vague and also I have to watch the netball semi-final at 3pm as my friend and her family will be in the audience, so I might see them :-) New Zealand is playing England, so I will have to cheer for NZ but if they lose and England faces Australia in the final tomorrow I will *definitely* be cheering for England.

Jul 20, 8:31am Top

Happy new thread, Susan. I'm gobsmacked by the number of series you're reading!

Jul 20, 10:16am Top

What lovely shiny new thread you have here, Susan! One of these days I'd like to watch a netball game, as I've never seen one and have trouble grasping the differences between it and basketball. I should put that on my "when in England" list, along with catching a game of cricket. :-)

Jul 20, 10:31am Top

Happy new one.

Fingers crossed for the netball. Seems to be getting the kids excited, which is nice!

Jul 20, 10:49am Top

Happy new thread, Susan.

>6 susanj67: I love it!

I started the Kellerman series but haven't read any for years. I probably need to start over. I don't remember where I left off...

Jul 20, 11:01am Top

Happy new one, Susan!

>6 susanj67: - I'll fight you for it ;-)

Jul 20, 11:37am Top

>10 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I'm not making much progress with some of the series, though. Must do better!

>11 rosalita: Thanks Julia! I don't know enough about basketball to be able to explain the differences. But I played netball at school, so I know how it goes :-) I used to be the goal shoot, which is a position fraught with expectations.

>12 charl08: Thanks Charlotte :-) NZ just won, which is totally awesome. I watched most of it on mute because the commentary was inane and heavily biased. There were hardly any shots of the Kiwis in the audience.

>13 BLBera: Thanks Beth :-) I think there are 22 books in that series, so I have enough to keep me going for a while. I have the next one downloaded to read when I travel up to Newcastle and back this coming week.

>14 katiekrug: Thanks Katie :-) We could be co-drivers - one drives and the other one gives a snark-filled commentary over the microphone in the bus. That could work.

I'm juggling three NF books this weekend, but Winners Take All seems to have the edge at the moment.

Jul 20, 8:17pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 21, 4:38am Top

>16 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

121. Word by Word by Kory Stamper

This was a recommendation from Julia (Hi Julia!) and it's AWESOMELY GOOD. Stamper is an editor at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and this is about the work of lexicographers and all the others who put a dictionary together. And it's about words, and how we use language, and why people are so enraged when definitions change, or unworthy words are added to dictionaries. And much, much more. I read this in little bits because I didn't want to finish it and have no more of it to read.

My favourite quote:

"People do not come to the dictionary for excitement and romance; that's what encyclopaedias are for."

This is a book that I can see myself rereading, and I virtually never reread. Thank you, Julia, for an excellent recommendation!

Jul 21, 4:42am Top

Happy Sunday and congrates on your new thread. I've only read one Faye Kellerman book. My local library has got only a few books of that series.

Jul 21, 4:49am Top

122. Maestra by L S Hilton
123. Domina by L S Hilton
124. Ultima by L S Hilton

This is a trilogy by Lisa Hilton, who is writing as L S Hilton to differentiate this series from her, um, more respectable works. It's a deeply silly story about an assistant at one of the big London fine-art auction houses, who gets sick of being treated like rubbish, and seeks revenge. This involves three books of dashing through Europe, encountering various baddies, oligarchs and Eurotrash (if that's not all a tautology) while dressed in designer clothes and accessories and looking at lots and lots of lovely paintings. It reminded me of a sort of mash-up of Villanelle and Dexter.

It is, apparently, touted as the next Fifty Shades of Grey, so many of the hatey reviews are from E L James fans. But, unlike Fifty Shades, it's not badly written, apart from the gratuitous s*x scenes, which bounce the reader right out of the story. I read an interview with Hilton in which she said that Tinder and online p*rn meant that people expected very explicit bedroom carryings-on (not that they're confined to the bedroom) but it's almost as if she wrote a ripping yarn leaving placeholders for the sex, and someone else came along and wrote those scenes. Odd.

Nevertheless, I whizzed right through the books, downloading the second and third immediately after I'd finished book 1. The main character has a nice line in snark and there are some great recurring characters, including Carlotta the billionaire-hunter with her ever-gloomy anecdotes. Overall the series is fun, and it will make you look a bit differently at paintings.

Jul 21, 4:51am Top

>18 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara! My library seems to have all the Kellerman books in e form, so I thought I could safely start the series and not have to worry about reading things out of order :-)

Jul 21, 4:57am Top

> 20 Lucky you. My library has only started with e-books four years ago. They use epub which doesn't work with my kndle. My family have tolinos so they use the e-books from the library, especially my elder daughter.

Jul 21, 5:05am Top

>21 Ameise1: That's a nuisance, Barbara. My library uses Overdrive for its ebooks, but I have a Kindle Fire so I downloaded the Overdrive app which means I can access the books. The collection is still a bit random, with odd books missing from series (often book 1 - why, why?!) but they seem to have bought a lot of complete older US series.

Jul 21, 5:10am Top

> 22 Mostly I need to buy the first book of a series too. I don't know why they don't have them. I guess that I'm always too late when starting a new series.

Jul 21, 5:14am Top

>23 Ameise1: It's interesting that you also have the book 1 issue! I thought it was just my fairly hopeless library, but maybe there's a reason for it (bookshops get to sell book 1 and then maybe people will forget the library and buy the others?!)

Jul 21, 5:19am Top

>25 Ameise1: I don't know. I think I should keep track with this issue and start series earlier. Probably I can find the aswer better so.

Jul 21, 7:57am Top

>24 susanj67: I wondered if (in some cases) the older books don't have a digital version (because they were published pre kindle). But that must be a declining number!

Jul 21, 8:38am Top

>17 susanj67: I am only delighted that you enjoyed Word by Word, Susan. I totally agree about its re-readability — I'm sure I will dip in and out of it multiple times. It's nice in the way it's organized, because you could just read bits instead of the whole thing in one go.

While I'm here, I have a question about the English legal system. I'm reading the new Jackson Brodie, and in describing one character, a young lawyer, she writes "He was an ambitious greenhorn of a bloke who'd only just finished his articles." Is finishing one's articles akin to what we in the US would refer to as "passing the bar" — in other words being licensed to actually practice law? And is it a different process for solicitors vs barristers? It's not essential to the book but I'm always curious about how things work in Other Places. :)

Edited: Jul 21, 9:39am Top

>25 Ameise1: Barbara, with a lot of series I like to see if they're going to keep going first...Plus, of course, I think there are just Too Many Books to keep up with.

>26 charl08: Charlotte, I think that definitely used to be the case, but surely publishers would be keen for the whole series to be available once ebooks were a "thing". It can't take much effort to digitise a manuscript that's been published (although having never tried, there may be things I'm missing...).

>27 rosalita: Julia, "articles" used to be what someone would do to qualify as a solicitor. They would have been an "articled clerk", and after finishing their articles they would be able to call themselves a solicitor. But we haven't had articles for a long time - they are "training contracts" now, and the Young People are "trainees". They can start a training contract after they do the Legal Practice Course (usually a year of study after their degree, but some firms put their prospective trainees* through a more intensive version to get them qualified (and earning) quicker). Once they finish their training contracts they can call themselves a solicitor (after obtaining a practising certificate, but that's just a payment of money, not an exam). The system is changing again soon to some sort of super-exam.

A Young Person wanting to be a barrister would do the Bar Professional Training Course after their degree and then do a "pupillage" (a pupil is supervised by a senior barrister, or "pupil-master") and after finishing their pupillage they would be a barrister.

*Most students would find themselves a training contract before doing the LPC as they then have a guaranteed training contract at the end of it (assuming they pass**) and the firm they will be working for usually funds the LPC and gives them a grant for living expenses. That's another reason why the big firms are keen to have a shorter but more intensive course.

**A couple of years ago our numbers for the trainee induction course were thrown out of whack when we got an email from HR saying someone had failed the LPC and would not be joining us. That's virtually unheard of at my firm.

Jul 21, 10:35am Top

Happy new thread, Susan.

So many series listed and most I haven't even started ;-)
I reserved the next Cadfael from the library & have Rat Race ready on my e-reader.

Jul 21, 12:26pm Top

>29 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! I may have too many series, but I blame all the LT-ers with their reviews :-)

125. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

This is best explained by the blurb on the back:

"What explains the spreading backlash against the global elite? In this revelatory investigation, Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, showing how the elite follow a 'win-win' logic, fighting for equality and justice any way they can - except ways that threaten their position at the top.

But why should our gravest problems be solved by consultancies, technology companies and corporate-sponsored charities instead of public institutions and elected officials? Why should we rely on scraps from the winners? Trenchant and gripping, this is an indispensable guide and call to action for elites and citizens alike."

It's excellent, and highly recommended.

Half-way through the netball final and NZ is three goals ahead. YASS!!!!! I couldn't actually bear to watch most of it - I had the TV on mute and peeked around the side of my book occasionally. It's always worse losing to Australia than to anyone else, so the stakes are high.

Jul 21, 12:48pm Top

End of the third quarter - NZ is four goals ahead. At one point they were *seven* ahead! I'm trying to cut book reviews out of a stack of supplements. Some of my lines are a bit wobbly.

Jul 21, 12:54pm Top

>31 susanj67: Fingers crossed for you, Susan.

Jul 21, 1:12pm Top

>32 charl08: Thanks Charlotte - NZ won!!!!! 52 goals to 51. The Goal Shoot looked sweetly surprised at the end, even though she'd shot most of the goals. It's the middle of the night in NZ so I don't know how many other Kiwis will have seen it live, but I'm glad I did.

Jul 21, 3:33pm Top

>33 susanj67: well done! How are the finger nails?

Jul 21, 3:52pm Top

>34 Helenliz: Thanks Helen! The fingernails are fine, but I do feel older :-) I think I'll save Poldark for tomorrow night and go to bed with a book.

Jul 21, 5:24pm Top

>17 susanj67: This sounds wonderful. Onto the list it goes.

Jul 21, 6:58pm Top

>28 susanj67: Thanks for the very interesting legal primer, Susa. Interesting that Atkinson would use that reference in a contemporary book if it's so out of date.

>33 susanj67: Congrats to the New Zealand netballers!

Jul 21, 7:25pm Top

Happy New thread, Susan!

>24 susanj67: I too feel I have a fairly useless library. They cull so many books so fast, it's really hard to find a book at all. More and more the space is given over to " community space." I understand that sort of, but one the other hand, my city has far more " community centres ' with meeting places, sports activities, hobbies and interests, so I wish the libraries would focus a bit more on books! :-)

Jul 21, 9:33pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan.

I effectively have no library at all save what I have compiled for myself.

Jul 21, 9:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. My library also often doesn't have the first book in a series. It's kind of like they are late getting to series as they only order them after they are popular and by then the second book in the series is in demand.

>38 vancouverdeb: If you want a library with more books, Deborah, try the main Vancouver Library. I get most of my books from there and they have at least six floors of them.

Edited: Jul 21, 10:20pm Top

When it comes to ebooks, I think part of the problem is the restrictive lending terms that publishers give libraries, where books expire after a set number of checkouts or a certain time period. So, they buy maybe one copy of the first book in a series. If the series began before ebooks, or when ebooks were brand-new, most readers of the series would have discovered it in paper, so they aren't checking out those early series entries, but absolutely want the newer books as they are released. The library sees that the number of checkouts for the first book is much lower than the rest of the series, so once the first book "expires" it's not considered good value to repurchase it, even as they continue to buy new books in the series.

At least that's my current harebrained theory, which is almost entirely unencumbered by the thought process. :-)

Jul 22, 8:29am Top

>36 BLBera: Beth, I'm sure you'll love it :-)

>37 rosalita: Thanks Julia! Yes, "articles" is an odd word to use as solicitors haven't done articles for decades.

>38 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. My library has training rooms where talks are held (and Slimming World, on Tuesdays) but they haven't reduced the book space so far.

>39 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>40 Familyhistorian: Meg, SIX floors of books! Oh my word :-) That would be my dream.

>41 rosalita: Julia, that would make sense. Fortunately Amazon has their "Start a series" sale fairly often, so I can plug gaps that way if necessary.

I just returned a book and took nothing out. But the new Gabriel Allon novel is in transit - squeeeeee! Excitement.

Edited: Jul 23, 5:31am Top

I'm at King's Cross waiting for my train to The North. Right now I'm at Leon, where there is a departure board *inside*. Impressive, or perhaps it's normal now and I just don't travel much. It's baking hot here today so I have my bottle of cold water. I should probably get some M&Ms to go with it.

Ooh, my train is "preparing" now and people going to Edinburgh can check luggage. That's civilised.

Jul 23, 8:50am Top

What have I missed? Where are you going?

Jul 23, 9:10am Top

If she's feeling like the rest of us, she's leaving the country.
Susan, Scotland isn't far enough!!

Jul 23, 9:32am Top

>44 katiekrug: Katie, I'm in Newcastle, helping with a vacation scheme for Young People (high schoolers). My firm has an office up here and it looks pretty nice. I am giving a talk later, judging a presentation exercise tomorrow morning that a colleague is running and then doing my own workshop about litigation later tomorrow afternoon before I go back to London. For the presentation judging I have to be the crabby one on the pretend-client panel. Heh.

>45 Helenliz: Helen, I know what you mean. Still, it could be worse. It could be Corbyn. Then I really *would* be leaving the country.

The train journey was fine save for People. I wanted to ask the woman with the lively toddler whether her journey was really necessary and, if it was, whether she'd ever heard of Calpol. And I don't know why grown-ups (without toddlers) can't *sit still* instead of leaping up and down all the time, fussing. I had an aisle seat and fortunately the girl next to me went to sleep and didn't move, so that was something. And I got a "Hello my love" from the ticket inspector, which was...different. I think the taxi driver from the station might have worked in London, though, as I told him where I wanted to go and he said "Do you know where that is, or will I have to find it?" It seems some things are the same everywhere.

Jul 23, 3:51pm Top

>46 susanj67: "Do you know where that is..." What ever happened to "the knowledge"?

Jul 24, 4:56am Top

>47 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I don't know whether the Knowledge is a thing outside London. But they all have sat-nav these days, and I gave him the postcode...

126. The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate by Jayson Lusk

I read this on the train yesterday, and it's an entertaining read, although I don't agree with all of it. The author criticises the "food police", who he says are the food snob types, exhorting everyone to eat local and organic and snubbing the huge advances that have been made in food safety, crop yields and variety over recent decades. Further, they are trying to make their own preferences into government policy.

I think the big food processing companies get off too lightly - he has nothing much to say about the fact that so many foodstuffs these days are just sugar delivery vehicles, and he also seems fairly blase about the health problems caused by heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Maybe in the US where people pay for their own health care this is a common view, but it's certainly not in a country with a "socialised" health system like the UK. When we read articles about obesity-related diseases they focus on the damage to individuals, but there is always a bit about how much it is all costing the NHS, which we all pay for.

But he makes good points about eating "local" not being particularly clever or healthy - some areas grow very little so people would have a very dull diet if they had food at all, and locavorism means that farmers aren't growing at scale and getting the most out of their land. Different regions produce different things, and it is more efficient for regions to grow what they're good at and buy in other things. He doesn't, however, look at the issue of food security because he's looking at the US, where pretty much everything is available from within the country. The UK imports far too much food for a country which is about to leave the EU and face a longer process to import things. More local eating would make sense in our case, even if it's a bit dull, because it's more important that the population has *something* to eat than relying on salads etc flown in from Spain.

It's a thought-provoking read, although readers from outside the US are unlikely ever to agree with his points about growth hormones in cattle being fine, and that is one of the things we fear here if a trade deal is done with the US. Growth hormones for cattle are banned throughout the EU and will likely stay banned here, but there are fears we will have to import US meat which contains them. We're also scared of a chlorinated chicken, which is not something the author mentions but which is also controversial.

Jul 24, 12:00pm Top

>48 susanj67: If we relied on the food we managed to get out of my local allotment (after the rabbits and the pigeons had fed heartily) I think we would have been eating mostly potatoes, with a brief window of blackcurrants and raspberries!

Hope your journey back is smooth and full of air conditioning.

Jul 24, 12:22pm Top

>49 charl08: I've just boarded the delayed 16.59 in Newcastle and it is fine and not v busy and the air con is working. I even have my phone plugged in. But a colleague got an earlier train and it's stopping everywhere and has no air con, wi fi or food so the staff are handing out alcohol. I am prepared for the worst but at least I have half a tube of mints from, um, my last trip to NZ in 2017.

Jul 24, 1:09pm Top

Now at York. Multiple weather reports predict 39C for London tomorrow. I really hope they're all based on the same inaccurate information. We just don't have temperatures like that.

Jul 24, 4:23pm Top

Love the travelogue, Susan. I hope the temp doesn't get that hot. It has been cooler here this week, which is wonderful.

>48 susanj67: This sounds interesting. Have you read Fast Food Nation? He talked about how much of what we eat isn't even real food. It sounds like Lusk is way too easy on food processing.

Jul 24, 4:27pm Top

Hope the journey home remains calm and cool.
Multiple weather reports predict 39C for London tomorrow It's reports like that that have caused our boss to cancel work tomorrow afternoon; we're all round to his for a pool party & BBQ. Not entirely sure about the swim suit in front of my colleagues (I give them all a good 10 years a a couple of stone) but the pool does sound very very good. >:-)

Jul 24, 4:44pm Top

>52 BLBera: Beth, yes, I can't imagine how hot 39C would be. I will actually be glad to be in the office. OMG, look what things have come to. I have read Fast Food Nation, and a few others in that vein. It's an area I'm interested in. But nevertheless I stopped for dinner at King's Cross and had a fish-finger wrap and baked fries :-)

Top tip for King's Cross travellers: The branch of Leon in the station looks tiny, but has a big room out the back with lots of seating and decent air-conditioning. I would never have expected that. I went there yesterday morning and again this evening, when it held a lot of flaked-out tourists filling in time and I suppose using up the wi-fi. The manager came around and tried to chivvy them all out, warning that they were closing at 9pm.

I'm home now, which is good because I'm really not a traveller. At least the train was OK. It was eight minutes late into Newcastle but I don't think it got any later so we were back in London in reasonable time. The carriage I got into wasn't busy, so I sat at a table of four seats, all of which said "Reserved", but then all the seats said that and there were very few people in them. I kept my things with me so I could move quickly if the reservation-holders came along, but no-one did so I had the seats and the table all to myself, and I could even plug in my phone. Fortunately the train only stopped twice between Newcastle and London, so once we'd left York and still no-one came along to claim the seats I could relax a bit. I started Adventures in Stationery on the train, but it's not as exciting as it sounds.

I've been following Boris's new cabinet with dismay - Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary?!! He's the one who, when he was Brexit Secretary, admitted that he hadn't appreciated just how much came into the country by way of the English channel. Yes, he *literally* didn't seem to appreciate that we are an island. Dear G*d. But I remember back to when Trump gave all those generals top jobs and Americans were relieved that people with common sense would be in charge - it may be the same here with the Whitehall mandarins running the country because the politicians are so hopeless.

Off to bed now, where I am hoping for a better night than last night, when someone tried to get into my room at 4.30. I asked him through the peephole what he was doing, and pointed out that it wasn't his room, but he insisted that it was and kept trying to get in, so I yelled a bit. He walked away and I could hear him having a phone conversation and then he came back, still insisting that it was his room, so I rang reception and asked them to get rid of him. This morning I got repeated apologies from the man on reception, who explained that he had taken my call and gone straight up to eject the stranger. It turned out that he *was* a guest in a room with the same number...at an entirely different hotel in another part of the city. "He came in with another...guest," said the hotel man, meaningfully, "and it seems that she..." He left the sentence unfinished, but I think he meant to say "changed her mind." So she ran off to her own room leaving him thinking that somehow he was in his own hotel. "There may have been drink involved," I suggested. "Oh yes," said the hotel man, and apologised again.

Jul 24, 4:47pm Top

>53 Helenliz: Helen, I think a few places have given up on tomorrow. LNER, the company I have just travelled with, has said "Don't travel". Nice. No word about what they're doing for the people who have tickets worth hundreds of pounds. Our dress code has been relaxed, so there may be Men In Shorts OMG. There is no way I'd be doing swimsuits in front of colleagues, so you are a braver person than I am! I might paddle, but that would mean not wearing tights. Ooh.

Jul 24, 7:41pm Top

Susan, that would rattle me, being woken up in the night by someone who thought it was there hotel room. Quite unsettling. Unfortunately the politics in Britain is most unsettling right now . Yikes! I know a fair bit about Boris, but the foreign secretary etc, no, not so much.

Jul 24, 7:50pm Top

>54 susanj67: Goodness, what a hotel adventure you had! Thank goodness you didn't open the door, and good on the hotel staff for moving him along back to his own hotel. I wonder if that fellow grasped the main takeaway of his sojourn when he sobered up: Don't go home with strangers! Not a terribly safe practice for either men or women, honestly. He's lucky she just changed her mind.

Edited: Jul 25, 9:28am Top

>56 vancouverdeb: Deborah, the Guardian (a left-wing paper) is saying that the new cabinet is "hard right", but then they would say that. They're criticising the new Home Secretary for being in favour of deporting foreign-born criminals once they've served their sentences, which is the *actual law*, and which I think 99% of British people would agree with. I think they are disappointed that he has appointed four BME people to the cabinet (out of 23) because that is the same proportion of BME people in the UK as a whole (and two of them have the top jobs), so now they can't criticise him for that.

>57 rosalita: Julia, I never open doors to strange men but I was glad of the peephole so I could see what was going on. I wasn't impressed with the hotel as there was no way of physically stopping the door being opened (except for the chair I had wedged under the handle before I went to bed) - no chain or deadbolt lock I could use. Security depended on the staff not making a mistake in giving out the keycards. The lifts went to any floor without swiping the keycard first and the stairs were entirely open to anyone. I wouldn't stay there again. There was a big Hilton over the river, so I'll try that if we run the same holiday programme next year.

My phone says it's 36C outside, and the BBC says 37C but I am nicely air-conditioned. The canteen was nearly empty at lunchtime so most people must have gone outside, but I am staying in. It will still be bad by home time, but not *as* bad.

Jul 25, 9:06am Top

>58 susanj67: Good point about staff and keycards. At the W in London last year we had people trying to get into our room repeatedly (shortly after there had been a false fire alarm and in the wee hours) and they did get the door open. We were saved because there was one of those chain like things on the door and we had it in place. Turned out staff had not properly recorded giving us the room and issued a keycard to others. Glad your trip otherwise went well.

Thanks for your perspective on the new UK government.

Jul 25, 9:36am Top

>59 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yikes, that must have been worrying. At least there are two of you to yell at once! I have stayed at the Marriott here at the Wharf during plumbing emergencies, and they have someone on the door who asks what you're doing there, and the lifts don't work without swiping your keycard first. That wouldn't have stopped the man in my case, who came in with someone else, but it's a start. Most of all, though, a proper door lock is crucial. My door in Newcastle did have a deadbolt, but a remodel of the frame part of the door meant there was no hole for it to go into, so it was pointless. I don't know why a hotel would make a room *less* safe by design...I was glad to get home last night and lock myself snugly in. Also my bathroom has proper lighting and the snacks don't cost £10 each, so there's that :-)

Jul 25, 9:49am Top

I would have been terrified if I had been alone! In our case the people belonged there and had every reason to think we were in their room. Someone drunk and in the wrong hotel are a whole other thing. And you're right...then there are the pricey snacks and inadequate lights.

Jul 25, 9:52am Top

>58 susanj67: Oh, hold on — I hadn't realized the guy actually had a key card to your room! I thought he was just knocking and wanting you to open the door. Now I am retroactively terrified on your behalf. And I take back any complimentary things I wrote about the hotel staff — shame on the front desk for giving him a key card without confirming he was the actual guest!

Jul 25, 10:10am Top

>61 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yeah, the bathroom lighting was really unimpressive. I couldn't tell which was the shower gel and which was the shampoo in the shower, so thank goodness for hair serum and a blow-drier, because it was *squeaky clean* :-)

>62 rosalita: Julia, no, he didn't - his card was for room 520 in some other hotel. I just meant that I wasn't impressed with the hotel generally for not having a chain or a deadbolt, because people don't *feel* safe. You're totally reliant on someone earning minimum wage with maybe very little training not to hand out duplicate key cards. It wouldn't be such an issue if you could actually physically stop someone getting in, but I like to over-dramatize and fear the worst :-)

Jul 25, 2:00pm Top

>63 susanj67: Hey, you're talking to someone who always has an answer for the question, "What could possibly go wrong?" in any situation, so I get it. :-) And i do not feel safe without a chain or (lever-type fastener that many hotels here have instead). I had never really thought about how much security hotels apply when someone asks for a room key directly by room number, but now I have one more thing to interrogate staff about when I book a room!

Jul 25, 5:48pm Top

OK, so I'll be staying in a hotel tomorrow night, and Julia and Susan are both terrifying me. Actually, it is kind of a funny story -- since he didn't get into your room.

Edited: Jul 25, 7:14pm Top

>65 BLBera: Yeah, this was bad timing on our part, Beth! I'm pretty sure the Iowa House has chain locks on the doors, though. And it's still summer break so the frat boys are mostly gone, and there's no football game on Saturday to pre-tailgate for. :)

Edited: Jul 26, 6:29am Top

>64 rosalita: Julia, I'm used to that lever-type system too (but yesterday couldn't for the life of me think of the correct word :-) )

>65 BLBera: Beth, yes, I suspected he was drunk, but I didn't think to ask which hotel he thought he was in. He would probably have said "this one", though :-)

>66 rosalita: *looks up "pre-tailgate"*

Drinking before the main event? It's "pre-loading" here. But now I know a new word, and that meaning has made it into Kory's dictionary :-)

I am having a day of holiday here, which mostly involves opening and closing the roof window as rain blows over. I've opened a balcony door now, despite the risk of sp*d*rs in this hot and sticky weather. Eek. My phone says it's 21C but the BBC says 25C and it feels like about 30. So muggy.

Edited: Jul 26, 9:14am Top

>67 susanj67: Drinking on the same day before the main event is usually just "tailgating," a reference to people lowering the tailgate of their pickup trucks in the venue parking lot and setting up a drinks/snacks station there. My use of "pre-tailgating" may not be an actual thing, but I was trying to convey the notion of tailgating the day before the main event rather than day of. I bet Kory Stamper's been to a few tailgates in her day. :-)

Jul 26, 9:24am Top

>67 susanj67: It's threatening another storm here - some spectacular rain yesterday. The garden water butt is full again, which is pleasing.

I don't like hotel rooms without a physical lock/ chain arrangement either. I don't even like those doors that unlock automatically when you open them - I want to be able to feel that the door is not going to open from the other side!!

Jul 26, 11:43am Top

Surprised not to see more politics on your thread these last few days, but probably too depressing. Had to chuckle to keep from crying when I saw this this morning.

Jul 27, 4:42pm Top

I'm glad to see that you made it back safe and sound from your adventure in Newcastle, Susan. I'll check the security in my hotel rooms more closely now! I hope you are holding up in the heat. Do you have ac in your flat?

>70 ronincats: I especially like the stamp on the bottom left, Roni. That pretty much encapsulates it.

Jul 27, 8:36pm Top

Wow! What an adventure, Susan. Glad it did not end badly. The Hotel Industry really needs to get to work in terms of security. So many instances of a partial or complete lack thereof is going to come back to slap them in the face some day soon and they won't be very happy when then happens.

The Kory Stamper book and Winners Take All are both on the you-list now.

Jul 27, 9:46pm Top

I had a peaceful night in my hotel room in Iowa City, Susan. I did have a bar on the door. :)

Jul 28, 4:52am Top

>68 rosalita: Julia, I see! You should tweet Kory and suggest they include pre-tailgating :-)

>69 charl08: Charlotte, it was incredibly rainy here yesterday morning - I have about 100 yards to run to the tube station and I was very wet by the time I got there. But I steamed dry on the trip to Westfield :-)

>70 ronincats: Roni, the waste of time in politics is depressing but, like Boris, I back Britain and I think that things will work out. I just wish the Government hadn't squandered the six-month Brexit extension by in-fighting because now it looks like we'll be leaving with no deal.

>71 Familyhistorian: Meg, I don't have a/c, but almost no-one does here. Some of the fancy new blocks might have it, but it is very rarely needed here - maybe half a dozen days a year most years. Today is back to being cool and overcast - perfect British weather :-)

>72 Fourpawz2: Hi Charlotte! Yes, I was surprised by the security issue. I seldom travel so I don't know what's normal these days.

>73 BLBera: That's excellent, Beth :-)

Jul 28, 4:57am Top

127. Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman

This is book 2 in the series I started last week. It's still set in a time of landline phones, but the police officer now has a pager :-) This one was a bit more gruesome than the first, and some of the language (not swearing but descriptions of women) made me wonder whether this was entirely written by a woman. The relationship between the two main characters also took an unexpected turn. It's probably too soon to download book 3 from the elibrary. But then again...

Edited: Jul 28, 6:54am Top

128. Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt

I didn't realise just how old this was when I borrowed it from the library, as my copy is a 2016 reprint, but this is actually the book, originally published in 1993, for which the author and Penguin Books were sued for defamation by David Irving (they won). I'm not sure how well known the case is outside the UK, but it was the basis for the recent(ish) film starring Rachel Weisz. Irving is a Holocaust denier, and just one of many that the author writes about in this excellent work on Holocaust denial and how it came about.

It was not, originally, the case that the Holocaust was denied. Early deniers merely said that both sides in WWII had done terrible things. Some said the Allies were to blame for starting the war, and/or that the deaths of Jews were the result of Allied activities which stopped food reaching the camps, where people were living in decent circumstances. Then the narrative started to shift - six million people had not died. Far fewer people had died. Many had in fact been allowed into the US, and could not be identified simply because there were so many Jewish people living there already. The Jewish-controlled media hid this fact from view and continued to perpetuate the myth of six million deaths. Then it shifted again - the killings were nothing to do with Hitler but the people running the camps, and so were not part of an official policy. And so on.

Lipstadt meticulously traces the development of Holocaust denial, and despairs at the publications giving space to deniers as the "other side" of a legitimate debate, when there is really no debate at all. By making them the "other side", publishers and broadcasters suggest that there *is* a debate, and that "history" is a case of which side you believe rather than actual verifiable facts. Reading it, I could see eerie parallels with other contentious subjects today, although Holocaust denial has moved away from mainstream press and broadcasting (certainly in the UK) and onto the internet.

But, as this book was written in 1993, there are just three references to "online bulletin boards", and no sign of All The Crazy that is the internet, where cranks and nutcases can now spread their lunatic theories without having to worry about getting advertising accepted by newspapers or being invited onto debate shows. And, although far-right publishers have printed Holocaust denial books for years, it is even easier these days to self-publish online.

It's a depressing read, but an important one.

Jul 28, 11:20am Top

>76 susanj67: Great comments, Susan. Believe it or not, this was a common text at our college years ago. Lipstadt came and spoke as well. It would be interesting for her to update this to account for online crazies.

Jul 28, 12:40pm Top

>77 BLBera: Beth, how great that you were able to hear her. She has written a new one - Antisemitism Here and Now, which is the book I hoped the library would have when I looked at the catalogue, but actually I'm pleased that I could only get this one, because I understand now how Holocaust denial started. We have a big problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party here at the moment, and Holocaust denial pops up from time to time (or more accurately the idea that Hitler wanted the Jews to emigrate and was a supporter of the idea of Israel) but it's folded in to general criticism of Israel. Googling her new book so I could post the title, I see that there is a Ted talk and some interviews which I will have to have a look at. But this one from the New Yorker is interesting:


Jul 29, 6:53am Top

>78 susanj67: The new one sounds like something worth searching out, especially as you say with the subject so much in the news at the moment.

Striking how quickly some topics can be dated: I am reading about women's sport and (at least to me) in the area of publicity and TV broadcast of women's participation, things seem completely different to five years ago (when the book was written).

Edited: Jul 29, 12:21pm Top

>79 charl08: Charlotte, there is another one by Julia Neuberger which also looks good - "Antisemitism - What it is, What it isn't, Why it matters". Yeah, that's never going to turn into a touchstone, is it. Things do change quickly, though. And in women's sport there are now all the people who aren't women, but I don't suppose anyone could write a book about that without being accused of a hate crime.

129. The Reckoning by Jane Casey

This is book 2 in the Maeve Kerrigan series, and it's another good instalment although pretty gory. Booky Work Friend emailed earlier asking for some happy and uplifting novels, but my LT list really isn't the place to look for them :-)

Jul 31, 11:12am Top

All ya'll may remember that in my last thread I encountered a £3.95 doughnut here at the Wharf, which everyone agreed was Madness.

But now, now I bring you the £5.80 eclair. Oh yes. https://www.maitrechoux.com/product-category/eclairs/ This fancy shop has just opened a small branch here, but I doubt they do the tasting menu, which is £84 for two people.

In book news, I have one hard copy library book to finish and a couple of ebooks, one of which I may have downloaded at lunchtime to get around the no random borrowing stuff in August ban. Because it's not August yet. I have ebook reserves which may come in, but I can cope with those. Oh, and August's Overdrive Big Read is going to be The Binding, which is getting lots of buzz here, so I'll be borrowing that tomorrow.

Jul 31, 11:37am Top

>81 susanj67: That is an utterly absurd price for an éclair and I want one of the multi-origin dark chocolate ones right now.

Jul 31, 11:43am Top

>81 susanj67: I'm not even going to torture myself by opening that link. I'm stalled with 7 kg more weight to lose and looking at pastries isn't going to help.

Jul 31, 11:59am Top

>82 rosalita: Julia, I believe very dark chocolate virtually counts as a vegetable, so that could work.

>83 Helenliz: Helen, the pictures are tiny, if that's any help...

Jul 31, 1:50pm Top

Yikes. I wonder how many days it would be reasonable to fast in order to prepare for an £84 tasting menu...

Edited: Jul 31, 5:58pm Top

>84 susanj67: Great! And it's Five A Day, right?

>85 charl08: From what I saw in a quick glance, the £84 option appeared to be mostly booze, Charlotte. :-)

Edited: Aug 3, 3:31pm Top

>85 charl08: Charlotte, Julia is right (below) but still I wouldn't have any lunch if I was doing the tasting in the afternoon. I suppose I should visit the shop just to get a better idea of the size of things, and report back later.

>86 rosalita: Julia, yes, five a day. Or some nutritionists say ten. Ten! I doubt I eat that many separate things every day, quite apart from ten vegetables.

130. Silent Scream by Angela Marson

This is the author's first novel, and it introduces Detective Kim Stone and her team, who solve crime in the Black Country. I thought the set-up was great, the characters were interesting and the plot was really well done, with an "ooh" twisty bit at the end. It did read as though the author was using all her Best Words in parts, but that should settle down in the following books. People might also start to say "don't" and "can't" instead of "do not" and "can not". Overall, though, it was a good read and I'll definitely continue with the series.

I downloaded The Binding this morning from Overdrive, for the Overdrive Big Read, and started it on the bus this morning. I'm a chapter and a half in and I want to keep reading, so that's a good sign :-)

But otherwise this is no-library-borrowing month, so it's back to my own books. Last night I read another chapter of The Slave Trade, which I have been reading for roughly 5,000 years. It's about the Atlantic slave trade from 1440 to 1870, and it's possible that the author describes (in detail) every single voyage made during those years. I'm 38% of the way through it (the text ends somewhere in the 60%s) and I have centuries to go.

Aug 1, 5:17am Top

>80 susanj67: My Library Has got the last one Let the Dead Speak as an ebook. Currently they are doing maintenance, so I can not see online if they have the other volumes of this series as books.
Wishing you a fabulous day.

Aug 1, 8:35am Top

>88 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! Isn't it annoying when they take the ebook site down?! I hope it's up and running again soon.

I got an email from the library just before lunch to say that the new Daniel Silver book was in - The New Girl - so I had to run across and get it immediately. It's nearly 500 pages long - 15/10 cannot contain my excitement. I went to visit the eclair place on my way back to the office but it isn't open, so I don't know what the tweeting was all about.

Aug 3, 4:18am Top

131. The Zinoviev Letter: The Conspiracy that Never Dies by Gill Bennett

I had never heard of the Zinoviev letter, but the author gives numerous examples of references to it in political debates and discussion, so clearly I haven't been paying attention. It's a piece of "fake news" from the 1920s, and its origin and purpose has been debated ever since. The Labour Party believe that it lost them the election in 1924, so it's used as a byword for "things used by political opponents as smears", particularly on the eve of elections. But what was it? Who sent it? And why?

The letter purported to be from Grigori Zinoviev, a member of Comintern, and called on British communists to mobilise "sympathetic forces" in the Labour Party to support an Anglo-Soviet treaty (including a loan to the Bolshevik government) and to encourage "agitation-propaganda" in the armed forces. (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6)

The letter itself doesn't exist, or at least was never sent to its intended recipient, the Communist Party of Great Britain. But the *text* of it was sent by telegram from the SIS office in Riga to the office in London and then somehow it turned up in the Daily Mail. (Plus ca change, etc). People have been trying for nearly a century to find out who really wrote it, as it seems to be accepted that it was not Zinoviev, and how it got into the hands of the SIS and then the Mail. The author of this book is the Chief Historian at the Foreign Office, and the book describes and updates a report that she wrote in 1999 (which is referred to in the Guardian article linked above).

It's meticulously researched and well-explained (save for the prologue, which I found confusing) so history lovers will enjoy it, although it's pretty "fringe". But at least I know what the Zinoviev letter is, and now I bet I see or hear a reference to it in the next few days, because that always seems to happen.

Aug 3, 4:28am Top

In other news, I'm giving up on The Binding. Yes it's beautifully written but nothing has really happened five chapters in, and it's going be very sloooooow and I just don't care. It also purports to be set in a time that's an alternative version of history - everyone can read but books are evil and banned (srsly?) and there are references to a Crusade but also to farm machinery, and I can't really be doing with that set-up. So back it goes.

Aug 3, 11:47am Top

Hi Susan! Just trying to catch up after being away. I would join you in not borrowing any library books in August, but I've come home to two e0books and an audio that I had on hold :)

Aug 3, 3:28pm Top

>92 katiekrug: Hi Katie! Welcome back :-) And it's OK if you have library things you've already reserved - you just can't borrow new ones.

132. The New Girl by Daniel Silva

My favourite day of the year is the day I read the new Gabriel Allon novel, and today was that day :-) This is book 19 in the series, and sees many of the familiar characters from previous books reappear. That's one of the things I like most about the series - the sense that I'm catching up with a group of friends. Plus, the world really needs Gabriel. A lot of this one is set in the UK, and Larry the Downing Street cat makes a couple of appearances, which is sweet :-) It's extremely topical, so I'm glad I'm up to date with the series. But now I have another year to wait for the next one :-( If you're not already a giant Gabriel fan, you should start immediately with The Kill Artist.

Aug 3, 4:28pm Top

>93 susanj67: I love this series too.
Happy weekend.

Aug 5, 4:32am Top

>94 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! I hope you can get the new book soon. You might also enjoy the new Netflix film "The Red Sea Diving Resort", which has lots of Mossad agents running around creating mayhem :-)

I just returned The New Girl to the library, and I saw the new Shari Lapena novel Someone We Know. Ahem. And then I saw what I thought was the new Ben MacIntyre book, A Spy Among Friends, but it turns out to be a republished older one which I've already read. Darn. But, on the bright side, no-library-book August is only half as much a failure as I thought :-) I'll return the MacIntyre in a couple of days, so it doesn't look like I'm a total diva.

Aug 5, 4:47am Top

I could join you on the not checking any library books out in August. I've already got too many on the shelves to read!
>93 susanj67: nope, you're not going to sell me on a series of 19 books to catch up on. I will stay firm on that one. (bites lip)

Aug 5, 4:56am Top

>96 Helenliz: Helen, I clearly do need support, so you are welcome to join :-) I'm just about to finish a library ebook I've had since last week, and then there's the Shari Lapena, but after that I'm all clear for August. I probably need to stop buying stuff, though.

If you *were* going to start a new series, Gabriel would be the one to start. Better, even, than Jack, except don't tell anyone I said that.

Edited: Aug 6, 4:54am Top

133. The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson

This is the first in a series in which the protagonist is Stella Darnell, daughter of a former Detective Inspector in the Met. When her father dies in mysterious circumstances, Stella discovers copies of the police case file in his house, and sets out to try and solve the cold case that he was working on.

The book seems to divide opinion, with some excellent reviews but some that are just one star. It's not perfect - it's too long, for a start, and the timeline jumps around, and there are chapters by a Mysterious Person whose identity is very vague until further on in the book. I think this would be a disaster as an audiobook. But it's set in an area of London where I used to live, and I liked Stella, who is the boss of a cleaning agency, even though she described herself as having no time to read (and no apparent interest in books). I'll get the second one and see how the series develops.

I'm nearly two-thirds of the way through the Shari Lapena novel I borrowed from the library yesterday. It's a fast read, and I would have finished it last night but PBS America was viewable (often I get the "no signal" message, and I think it's on the multiplex with the weakest signal) so I watched a programme about mega-fires instead. The voiceover said it was from "Nova" in the US, so if that's a channel (or perhaps the name of a documentary series?) that y'all have, it's worth a look. I've also discovered a Smithsonian channel (Freeview channel 99 http://www.smithsonianchannel.co.uk/) which has some good things on it too. But again, it seems to come and go with the weather. Fortunately many of the channels seem to repeat things endlessly, so it's possible to see them at some stage even if it's not exactly when you intended to.

I'm back to Amazing Grace: The Great Days of Dukes now, so I hope to make some progress on that this week.

Aug 6, 7:14pm Top

>98 susanj67: I love reading about places I know. Too bad that I didn't know the places in The Detective's Daughter because I started reading it twice before I actually made it through it. It took a long time before I could get into it.

I like the idea of no random library borrowing in August. Something has to slow down my library reads which seem to be keeping me from my own books which are threatening to take over some of my rooms! I have put all of my holds on pause because of upcoming trips so aside from the two that are waiting for me to pick them up maybe I will have a fairly library free August (well, except for the ones I have at home now, of course.)

Aug 7, 2:57am Top

Just started One Winter Morning and thought of you Susan , as it's partly set in NZ.

Hope the Dukes are treating you well.

Aug 7, 4:55am Top

>99 Familyhistorian: Meg, I know what you mean about it taking a while to get into. I couldn't believe how long it took me to read - only over two or three days but I kept thinking that surely it should be finished already. Lucky I had the ebook and not the hard copy because it seemed about 800 pages long! I'm hoping no-library-book August will work. June was a big success with 14 read from Mount TBR. But in July I only managed about four. So I want to try for at least ten.

>100 charl08: Charlotte, I hadn't heard of that author, but there is lots of praise on Amazon. Ooh. The dukes - ehhhh - it's pretty dull. I don't understand how dukes can be dull when they used to have trumpeters walking in front of them to announce their presence. You'd think that was exciting enough in itself.

134. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

This is the brand new novel by Shari Lapena, which jumped into my hands at the library on Monday. And as it was all new and clean, I couldn't resist. It's a thriller set among households in upstate New York, and made me glad that I don't know any of my neighbours. I didn't guess who'd done it, either. A fast, fun read.

Last night I started The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland, which I've had on the Kindle for a while. I loved Company of Liars, The Owl Killers, The Gallows Curse and The Plague Charmer, but wasn't so keen on The Falcons of Fire and Ice, which was a DNF. I think it was just a different setting to what I expected. But this one is set at the time of Richard II, near Lincoln, and is much more like the others. I have another couple to go, and then I'm going to try and find the books written by "The Medieval Murderers" - seven authors (including Maitland) who seem to have worked together. Goodness knows how that was organised and why there wasn't non-stop arguing about what should happen.

Aug 8, 1:55pm Top

>101 susanj67: I've read a couple of books by "The Medieval Murderers" and it's a really good concept. It's not 1 story so much as a set of related short stories that are linked by an artefact or a something. The something keeps turning up in each story, with each author often including their detective creations to move the story. As long as the thing is not destroyed, it can turn up again in the next century, or millennia, as appropriate. I've enjoyed the 2 I have read so far.

Aug 9, 4:26am Top

>102 Helenliz: Helen, that does sound like an excellent idea! I will have to investigate the library catalogue.

A couple of days ago I checked the ebook catalogue and there were *dozens* of new ones. I might have borrowed Nomad, by James Swallow, because I saw so many people reading Exile, the second one in the series, last year. Oops. Still, it's going to thunder and rain all weekend so I will need something to keep myself busy.

Aug 9, 9:30am Top

I've put the Lapena on my library WL, Susan. I've not read anything by her, but another of hers was already on the WL. So many books!

Hope you have a great weekend.

Aug 9, 11:45pm Top

The Medieval Murderers project does sound quite something, Susan.

Have a great weekend.

Aug 11, 9:50am Top

Hi Susan - I have The Detective's Daughter on my e-reader, so I have that to look forward to. The Lapena looks good. I must give her a try.

I do enjoy Nova - it's a PBS series here.

The Medieval Murders does sound interesting.

Aug 12, 5:48pm Top

Hope you stayed dry, Susan. Crazy wet here.
I got sucked into The Boys on Amazon Prime (what if the superheroes were evil?!) and appear (ahem) to have watched all of the first series. Which might explain why the reading has tailed off...

Edited: Aug 15, 4:36am Top

>104 katiekrug: Katie, The Couple Next Door is probably the best one. And also her first!

>105 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>106 BLBera: Beth, I will look for more Nova documentaries on PBS, in that case. PBS America has some good things on here, including old Ken Burns documentaries which are excellent.

>107 charl08: Charlotte, I stayed sort of dry, but this week has been even rainier than the weekend!

It's been a busy week here, and on Tuesday I had to use the word "sunset" as a verb, which made me disappointed in myself. Today is A-level results day and I have a room full of sixth-formers to talk to at 10am. Tricky. Some of them have said they will be late because they have to collect their results first.

135. The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland

This is a great read if you like mystery-type things set around the time of the Peasants' Revolt. Actually that might be a bit specific - "if you like things set in ye far-off olden days", perhaps.

136. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

This was perfect for a Sunday morning. It's told in the third person but with the author also speaking directly to the audience and commenting on things happening in the story. There's probably a snappy word for it, but I don't know what it is. But there's a lots of snark, and giggles, and I loved it. I know it's popular on LT so thanks to everyone for a great recommendation!

Currently reading:

Nomad by James Swallow
Sons of the blood by Robyn Young (excellent)

Currently out from the elibrary (reserved before no-library-books August) but not started yet:

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
White Rage by Carol Anderson

Aug 15, 4:49am Top

I remember A-level results day, It was awful, I missed my grades (typical!) And, this being pre-internet, I had to wait until the Monday to be able to call and find out if the University would let me in (they did). I'd not wish anyone that experience again. Hope they're all quite chipper for you at 10.

The Maitland sounds good, as does the Nina Hill. This doesn't help the whittling down the library books, you know.

Aug 15, 5:25am Top

I was in Mexico for mine. It was a good job my first uni turned me down, because I wouldn't have met their offer, and that would have been a very expensive Clearing phone call!

Hope your students got what they needed, Susan.

Aug 15, 9:26am Top

>109 Helenliz: Helen, those are two good ones to add to the library book list. Just sayin'...

>110 charl08: Charlotte, that must have been a bit worrying, being so far away. I remember that for one set of exams my parents came into town with the results envelope as I had a summer job, and we went to lunch and I opened it. No pressure...

We had 40 students yesterday (well, 39, as one apparently decided after the first day that he wasn't coming back) but today I only had 30, so quite a few must have been getting their results. And half of the 30 came in late. I thought they're be picking the results up locally, so I was a bit puzzled about why they would be late at all, but it turns out they're from all over the country and some had gone home to e.g. Manchester last night, and come down again this morning on the train. Yesterday I was being a client for a mock pitch exercise, but today was my own talk on How Litigation Works. Not like Harvey Specter, that's how.

Aug 15, 10:20am Top

I just finished The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, too, and really enjoyed it. Especially the snark :)

Aug 15, 12:55pm Top

>111 susanj67: I think I was pretty blase about it. I actually quite liked paper exams. Piano exams on the other hand, I would rather have eaten one of those horrible things on that Australian programme with the celebrities.

Aug 15, 2:39pm Top

>108 susanj67: The Bookish Life book sounds good. And I'm enjoying the new pop-up feature on touchstones, since I can't see either of your photos in this message.

Aug 15, 3:35pm Top

>114 rosalita: - Ooh, I hadn't noticed the pop-up feature, but that is awesome! Thanks for the tip, Julia.

Hi Susan!

Aug 15, 4:37pm Top

>115 katiekrug: There's a whole thread about the new pop-up here in TaLT: https://www.librarything.com/topic/310208

I like it, but I hope they had how many ratings the stars are based on (a 5-star rating when only one person has rated it is much different than a 5-star rating from 100 people), and publication date. But other than that, I like it!

Edited: Aug 16, 8:35am Top

>112 katiekrug: Katie, I did like the snark. "Imagine you're a bird. You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who've chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up". :-)

>113 charl08: Charlotte, I also did a lot of piano exams, but I would rather have done them than eat the bugs...

>114 rosalita: Julia, darn those photos! Thanks for alerting me to the new pop-up feature, though :-) I can't help wishing that if the LT techies were going to spend time on something it would be fixing the photos...

>115 katiekrug: Hi Katie!

>116 rosalita: Julia, I'm with you on the number of ratings.

I see all y'all are getting a 51st state! Exciting. But do dress warmly when you visit :-)

137. Nomad by James Swallow

MI6 agent Marc Dane has been set up and has to clear his name and save the world (sort of). There is lots of running around, and guns. Also air travel. And gadgetry. But the writing is pretty clunky and the pacing was a bit off. I won't continue with the series unless I happen to see the next one somewhere and I have nothing else to read. Because that could happen. A shame, as it has many elements that I generally like :-)

Aug 16, 6:06am Top

>117 susanj67: I don't think LT knows that photos are still broken in some cases, because no one has reported it to the Bug Collectors group. They can't fix what no one tells them about ...

I saw someone speculate on Twitter that Greenland:Trump::St. Helena:Napoleon. We can only hope...

Aug 16, 8:41am Top

>118 rosalita: Well now it seems that the Greenlanders don't want to be sold to The Donald. I mean really. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/16/greenland-not-for-sale-trump-inter...

But let's just pause to think about the fact that:

"US President Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland"

and marvel at the fact that "wants to buy Greenland" isn't the craziest part of that sentence.

I went to Shake Shack for lunch. I've never been before, but there is one very near the office, so I decided to try it. I'm trapped here by client work today and I felt like a treat. Their ordering system is chaos, but the lunch was pretty good. I had the chicken burger, fries and a banoffee concrete, although it wasn't that concretey. However, it was very tasty. I got a takeaway, but maybe should have eaten in. But it was noisy with a huge queue, so not the best place to sit and eat. I was going to try Five Guys, which is in the mall downstairs so even easier to get to, *and* with an online ordering service, except I went right through my order and then the system told me it couldn't connect to the restaurant, so that was pointless.

Aug 16, 12:24pm Top

I hadn't noticed the new pop-up touchstones either. They're great!

Edited: Aug 17, 1:09pm Top

>120 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I think they're a good idea, too. And I bet *their* pictures always work. Hmph.

138. White Rage by Carol Anderson

I thought this was going to be about the rise of the far-right in the US, but it wasn't. Instead, it's about how black people in the US have been subjected to white rage throughout the centuries, and how, even when they seemed to achieve equal rights, there were still people fighting against them having those rights by putting obstacles in the way. The current example is the voter suppression laws, but I was amazed at all the efforts to keep schools segregated despite Brown v Board of Education (the Boston story is covered in the excellent Common Ground, but it was far worse in the South), and the people involved were people who should have known better and not the rent-a-mob protesters who tend to grab the headlines today. It's a very good read, and there's an afterword in which the author discusses the current President.

It's a lovely day here, and I have done All The Laundry. And half of the ironing. Ooh, maybe it's time to vacuum :-)

Aug 17, 1:26pm Top

Vacuuming - tick :-) I did lose a pair of tights, though. Darned super-suckiness and failure to keep the end of the hose clear of the clothes horse. I decided to change the bag, but can't find the stash of vacuum cleaner bags that I'm sure I must have. So I ordered some more from Amazon, and they'll be coming on Wednesday. I should find the existing box any time now.

That purchase used up a prepaid debit card that was a gift from New Zealand, and which was stopping me from downloading apps because the card was a NZ one but I am in the UK and Amazon doesn't like that. Now I'm back to my usual credit card, so my jurisdictions match and I've downloaded the proper version of YouTube for the Fire Stick (it's replacing the Amazon version of YouTube) and Pluto TV, which seems too good to be true but is apparently true. It promises a hundred channels of free content, and it has its own programme guide. Exciting! There are all sorts of channels, including a wedding one, one about ghosts and one which seems to be dedicated to programmes about conspiracy theories. Plus food and sports and all the usual things. The www says that the programmes have ads, which is why they're free. I suppose they'll be UK ads, though, and not American ones, which are nearly as good as the actual programmes. I might have to test it out later.

Meanwhile, the weather is smiling on the channels at the bottom of the list on the TV which means I've been watching the Now 80s channel, and the 100 Feelgood Anthems of the 80s. Epic. And we're only at anthem number 47. There's also a Now 90s channel. I'm not sure whether Now That's What I Call Music! is a thing outside the UK, but it's a series of pop music compilation albums that started back in 1983 (they're now up to volume 103) and the channels are part of the same company. I can only get them from time to time, depending on atmospheric conditions, so I'm making the most of today.

Aug 18, 12:36pm Top

Did you get your fill of the channels you can only get with the right atmospheric conditions, Susan? That seems odd to me in these days, but it would have been par for the course back in the day when signals didn't clog the airways (wait a minute, maybe that's the reason, hmm).

I was fascinated by the discussion about A levels. Do they have A level in New Zealand as well? We don't have them here but can remember visiting England when I was about 13 and someone there asked about doing my A levels. Is that about the right age?

Aug 19, 4:32am Top

>123 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! I did enjoy the "occasional" channels while I had them :-) I also thought that going digital would fix bad reception issues, but it seems not as the signal is still coming to an aerial on the roof of my building.

A levels are the exams that students sit in their final year of high school here, so they'd be 17. There are GSCEs (formerly O levels) at 15, AS levels the year after, for which students study four subjects, and then they do A levels in their final year, dropping one of their four subjects so they only do three.

We had a slightly different system in New Zealand, with School Certificate at 15 (and that was solely exam-based, in five subjects or six for the bright kids) and University Entrance the following year, which was "accredited" for a lot of students if their coursework was good, so they didn't have to sit exams. We could technically go to University from that point, but those kids who were going stayed on for another year to sit the "Bursary" and "Scholarship" exams. Bursary was five subjects, I think, and then we picked three for a further exam, which was for a Scholarship. That was a heavy exam season as we had eight exams in total. Bursaries actually paid out money weekly while we were at University - that seems incredible now - and a Scholarship was a lump sum. Only the super-clever kids got Scholarships, so I didn't, but one of my friends did, and a couple of the super-bright maths boys. It's all different now, but my nephews helpfully describe their exams using the old terminology so I can keep up :-)

Aug 19, 5:25am Top

The library's space-themed summer continues. I totally want to to go Alien Messages on Thursday. But I suspect that grown-ups without kids would be viewed with suspicion, darn it.

Aug 19, 10:37am Top

Well. It turns out that a *cannibal* has moved in round the corner. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9748725/costa-cannibal-paul-duran-released-prison/

The article just says "Tower Hamlets", but that sign in the top picture which is only half visible actually says "Wapping Green", and that is the bus stop next to the Health Centre.

No more going to the paper shop or the Post Office for me, that's for sure.

Aug 19, 10:38am Top

Just don't go at meal times :)

Aug 19, 4:44pm Top

Or always travel with a doughnut, and argue that it will taste better than you do. >:-)

Aug 19, 4:58pm Top

>128 Helenliz: Ooh, Helen might be on to something here — always have some sort of foodstuff on you ready to throw in the opposite direction if the cannibal approaches!

Aug 20, 5:03am Top

>127 katiekrug: Katie, definitely not!

>128 Helenliz: Helen, >129 rosalita:, the bakery does do a nice-looking doughnut...

But where is a mob with pitchforks when you need one. This is just awful. A joke sentence, and now he'll be looking for his next victim. That's one of the major problems with London - no matter how much you pay for your house, you're only ever a few hundred yards from the scum of the earth.

139. London Made Us: A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City by Robert Elms

This is an annoying book. It's a fanboy look at London, but the author is a presenter for the BBC and lives in a multi-million pound house in Camden, so his view of the city is going to be vastly different to the experience of most other people. He starts with details of his council house upbringing, because you're not allowed to write books about social history or popular culture unless you're "working class", even if you're not any more. The bits about London in the 70s and 80s are interesting from a historical point of view, and probably the best bits of the book. But then he grows up and it's all about Bands He Saw, Squats He Lived In and so on. There's a huge amount of name-dropping, and lots of cockney rhyming slang (without explaining what it means, because if you have to ask then you're not a Londoner). His conclusion is that London is all just one big 'appy faaaamily, getting along fine, and look at all the amazing food we can get here now.

Yeah. It's not really though, is it? The book is actually a fabulous illustration of why the Brexit vote happened. It's because the voices of the metropolitan elites, who can cash up and move somewhere quieter and more law abiding any time they want, kept telling other people that everything was awesome, but the other people knew it wasn't. And, having no voice themselves, they ticked the Leave box, and in those parts of the country with fewer highly-paid people but exactly the same problems, they won.

London isn't getting along fine. Disparate communities are not one big 'appy family. The default setting is mutual suspicion and dislike, not Knees Up Mother Brown. The author loves getting his coffee from a Portuguese cafe near his house, where he practices his Spanish (yes, really), but many other people are fed up with every retail transaction being conducted in a mixture of pidgin and mime because no-one speaks English in the centre of the English-speaking world. They don't want to get on buses where half of the passengers are hidden behind face-veils and even babes in arms wear headscarves (my bus to work). They fear being caught in the (literal) crossfire of the stupid "postcode wars" where gangs of youths think they "own" parts of London when they own nothing, and their entire existence is paid for by the people that they mug and rob. The author thinks London is now safer and more law-abiding than it was in the past, but that very much depends on where you live. A townhouse in Camden, maybe. But if you're an old lady in council housing on a grim estate and the next flat has been turned into a pop-up brothel staffed by women trafficked from Eastern Europe and guarded by gangsters, not so much.

Currently reading: Sons of the Blood (must do better and finish this)

Ebooks from the library:

The Hunting Party
Invisible Women

Aug 21, 2:52am Top

Well, I don't think I'll be picking up London Made Us anytime soon! I know it's a way off, but would you retire in London or look for something elsewhere? I rather hanker after a house on the beach but short of a lottery win (or the beach being in some island that only gets sun 2 days a year) I can't see that happening!

Edited: Aug 21, 4:57am Top

>131 charl08: Charlotte, and I didn't even mention the terrible copy editing! I'm undecided on the retirement issue. I think I'll stay in London, as I like the public transport and not having to drive, which makes everything easier. And there is much that is awesome about living here, even if the author writes off zone 1 as irrelevant now, because of all the tourists, (casually casting aside some of the best museums and galleries in the world). I just wish people wouldn't ignore the problems, because that's what got us into this mess.

140. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

I picked this because it fits the category "A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list" for my reading challenge, and because there are lots of "amazing" quotes on the cover. But really it doesn't deserve them. It's about a group of 30-somethings who spend New Year at a remote Scottish estate, and one of them dies. The characters are all awful, and it's pretty dull. And there's a basic problem with the use of multiple narrators, which is that one of them is the victim, so she appears to be telling the story after she's dead

Currently reading:

Sons of the Blood (really must do better and finish this)
Invisible Women

Ebooks from the library:

The Gap of Time I may have had a moment of weakness in the elibrary last night. Ahem.
Birdseye Double ahem.

Aug 21, 8:51am Top

I did my final presentation (for the summer) for the graduate recruitment team this morning. I seem to have been talking for weeks (which isn't really a challenge, but still). So I got lunch from Five Guys, in the mall. I got the Little Cheeseburger and the Little Fries but there was a MOUNTAIN of food. It was like being on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. There was a little cup of fries, but about five times that volume of fries loose in the bag. There were *nearly* too many, and the burger was huge too. But I did my best, and finished everything. Goodness only knows what the non-Little versions are like.

Comparing it to Shake Shack, the fries were better at Five Guys (they had the skin on) and the burger was better at Shake Shack. I didn't get a drink this time because spending £5+ on a milkshake is a slippery slope, so the jury is still out on that. Overall, though, I prefer the £10 lunch special at The Big Easy (which includes a drink). Stay tuned for more reviews of the lunch offering at the Wharf :-)

Aug 21, 9:02am Top

I enjoy hearing about your culinary explorations, Susan, especially when it's a chain I'm familiar with. Five Guys started in a suburb of DC, and I would occasionally go when I lived there. They franchised it soon after, and while still good, it was never the same.

I've never been to Shake Shack because it's always over run with tourists around here. The Wayne has been and said it was just okay.

You'll really be in luck in the burger department if Mooyah makes it to London :)

Aug 21, 9:22am Top

>134 katiekrug: Katie, Shake Shack is pretty touristy here too, although the one at the Wharf is quieter on the weekends. Five Guys was very quiet today - maybe the target audience is still on holiday. Shake Shack on Friday seemed to be full of young people, who are the ones stuck in the office while all the bosses are away. Five Guys seems less trendy. Or maybe just less Instagrammable :-) I'll look forward to Mooyah if it comes here!

Aug 21, 10:04am Top

My family really likes Five Guys but I've never seen the attraction (part of what they like is the peanuts and I'm not a fan so that just leaves the huge burgers and family sized "small" order of fries). We got a Shake Shack in San Diego last year and I wasn't impressed with anything they have there. If The Habit comes to London though I recommend you try them :)

Aug 21, 11:12am Top

This thread is making me hungry! Susan I would totally follow your instagram thread.

Aug 21, 12:24pm Top

>136 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I don't think we have anything peanut-related at the UK Five Guys, so it must be a US thing :-) The Habit looks excellent - I like the look of the tempura green beans on their website. Vegetables, and yet somehow not.

>137 charl08: Charlotte, I learned recently that there are entire YouTube channels where people eat stuff. Who'd have thought? They just sit in front of the camera with their takeaway and eat it. It's quite a thing, apparently.

I had a meeting this afternoon in which a person younger than I am was explaining how the new iteration of a document review platform was much better than the old one, "which was ANCIENT - maybe 2012."

I learned from a comment under a Guardian article this morning that the All4 Hub now has the *entire set* of Hill Street Blues available. I think I can see how my evening is going to pan out.

Aug 21, 12:38pm Top

>138 susanj67: They have choices other than burgers which I like (good salads for example). 5 Guys here has huge bags of peanuts-in-the-shell which you can take at will -- my clan always has a lot of those while waiting on the burgers.

Ancient -- 2012 LOL

Aug 21, 6:39pm Top

I just watched a great Nova show on the planets. They showed pictures from Voyager.

I am waiting to get The Bookish Life from the library. I just started one that is also pretty entertaining. I think Charlotte recommended it: Dear Mrs. Bird. I've already laughed out loud a couple of times.

Yesterday, 4:40am Top

>139 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it's odd that they're giving away peanuts - you'd think they would want people hungry so they order more!

>140 BLBera: Beth, I will look out for that show. And I just reserved Dear Mrs Bird. Oops :-) The Bookish Life is very well done, and it's also a fast read so it shouldn't distract you too much from all those books on your own shelves that you mean to read :-)

Today is (I hope) my last day in the office this week. Monday is a Bank Holiday, so I'm adding tomorrow to make a four-day holiday weekend extravaganza. It's so quiet in the office right now that I think some people have started a five-day extravaganza.

Today, 4:08am Top

141. Invisible Women: Data Bias In A World Designed For Men by Caroline Criado Perez

This is a SUPERB read, and one that everyone should pick up. The author looks at just how little statistical information there is about women (work patterns, public transport use, health, tools, domestic arrangements) and how that leads to policies and decisions that disadvantage them. Some of the examples are almost unbelievable, and I had no idea of just how bad the problem was. *Everything* is primarily researched on, or designed for, men, with women an afterthought if they're given any thought at all. And when they are, they're treated as just a smaller version of a man, despite huge differences in how a woman is constructed and how her body works.

One of the health examples is heart attacks, and that is probably the best-known one. Women often don't have the "classic" (i.e. male) symptoms of a heart attack, so they are often misdiagnosed and, even if they're diagnosed and treated, it's with procedures and medicines designed for male bodies. But there are lots more shocking examples, which make me wonder whether it's actually safe to take any medicine. Most of the trials are done on men, so the results don't necessarily mean anything for women.

I could go on, but instead I'm just going to say that everyone should read this. Criado Perez doesn't blame men for many of the problems - she points out that the default for "human" is "male human" and people often just can't see past their own experience, particularly when it's considered to be the "normal" one, with everyone else an aberration.

Today, 5:47am Top

>142 susanj67: It sounds like one of those books that I shouldn't read because it will be bad for my health, in terms of raising my blood pressure and making me furious. :-)

Coincidentally, I just watched a segment of John Oliver's HBO show on this very topic: https://youtu.be/TATSAHJKRd8. I hope that's viewable in the UK.

Today, 7:15am Top

>143 rosalita: Julia, it is pretty blood-pressure-raising. Another health example was the tests on a new drug to see if it helped with migraine (which women suffer from more than men). Both sexes were tested, so that was a good start, and early results seemed to show that it did work. Yay! But some of the men in the trial reported, um, a certain side effect. And where there's men there's money, right? The drug became Viagra, and its potential use to women for migraines wasn't researched any further.

The government here is very keen to get everyone taking statins, and today there's a report on a new "polypill", but I think all women need to ask "Was this tested on women?" and "What were the results *for women*?" And I bet none of the doctors will be able to answer.

Sadly I couldn't see the YouTube video - I am geo-blocked. Sniff.

In funnier news, I love this story from the BBC today about the first day of school for a little girl in Scotland: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-49445515

Today, 8:50am Top

I love the story about the little girl's first day. Too cute!

Today, 8:50am Top

And enjoy your long holiday weekend! I'm having one of those next week :)

Today, 11:01am Top

>42 susanj67: I also just read Big Sky recently I think that the reference to "articles" is to a middle aged solicitor who is part of a sort of group of friends and would have been through the process a while ago. Had the change already happened or was it just takng place when you moved to London and started working here? I have a feeling the phrase was still in common use even if the system was changing when I started working in legal offices (as a secretary) in 1996/1997 and I knew a couple of people in the early 90s who were going through the training process at different stages.

Today, 11:06am Top

>41 rosalita: I think there are several issues with libraries and series - most library books get discarded after a few years and availability of earlier books depends on them being reprinted at all. When I first moved to London my local libraries had been starved of money for years and I could find some older books locally and newer ones in Islington/Camden/Westminster.

Today, 11:42am Top

>145 katiekrug:, >146 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! Today has been lovely. I went down to the big supermarket at Surrey Quays, where it's usually just me and the pensioners, but it's still school holidays in England, so there were some kids racing around as well. Then I came home and had lunch and watched Fahrenheit 11/9, which is Michael Moore's documentary from last year (and holy carp) and then I washed the windows in the living room. The emails from work are virtually non-existent :-)

>147 elkiedee: Luci, the internet says that training contracts took over from articles in 1990, but I'm sure that people were still referring to articles for a while, just as some of the older lawyers now still refer to the old court rules, which changed in 1999. I sometimes have to translate for the Young People at work.

>148 elkiedee: I can't help thinking there ought to be some sort of rule about series - a library either has the whole thing or none of the books. But then I suppose what happens if one is damaged, or never returned...But at least they could make it a rule with ebooks...

142. Sons of the Blood by Robyn Young

This has a very low rating on LT but no reviews, so I don't know why the rater didn't like it. It's set at the time of Edward IV/Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, and puts forward a slightly different version of the accepted events. But then it's a novel, so it can do that. I thought it was well done, if fairly gory. The next one in the series is apparently on the shelf near me, so I will have to be very strong.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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