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Paul's Race to 75 Part 19

This is a continuation of the topic Paul's Race to 75 Part 18.

This topic was continued by Paul's Race to 75 Part 20.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 9:10am Top

This is a restaurant that overlooks KL in a place called Hulu Langat. It is off the road and serve Thai and Seafood dishes to die for at a ridiculous price.

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 12:11pm Top

Books read so far:
1 North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
2 The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
3 The Guards by Ken Bruen
4 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
5 Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela
6 Shadow by Karin Alvtegen
7 The Road Home by Rose Tremain
8 One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens
9 Pure by Andrew Miller
10 The Appointment by Herta Muller
11 The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
12 The Battle of Pollocks Crossing by J.L. Carr
13 No Glossing Over It by Gary Edwards
14 Unknown by Mari Jungstedt
15 The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
16 Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
17 Zoo Station by David Downing
18 The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
19 Jack Sheppard by William Ainsworth
20 An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington
21 The Fourth Man by K.O. Dahl
22 Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
23 Troubles by J.G. Farrell
24 My Life in Cricket by Dennis Lillee
25 Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone
26 The Affair by Lee Child
27 The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri
28 The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
29 The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
30 Praying Mantis by Andre Brink
31 Parky by Michael Parkinson
32 All Men Are Liars by Alberto Manguel
33 The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker
34 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
35 Legion of the Damned by Sven Hassel
36 Treblinka : A Survivor's Memory by Chil Rajchman
37 L'Enver de Treblinka by Vasily Grossman
38 Open Season by C.J. Box
39 Divorcing Jack by Colin Bateman
40 The Chalk-Circle Man by Fred Vargas
41 Lovely Green Eyes by Arnost Lustig
42 The Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White
43 Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
44 Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
45 The Butterfly Effect by Pernille Rygg
46 Twist of Gold by Michael Morpurgo
47 Eternal by Craig Russell
48 Life by Keith Richards
49 The Caretaker by Harold Pinter
50 Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
51 The Half-Finished Heaven by Tomas Transtromer
52 Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis
53 War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
54 In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee

Currently reading
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, Andrew Jackson by H.W. Brands, River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 12:12pm Top

Best Books of the Year so far:
Literary Fiction
1. The Road Home
2 Lyrics Alley
3 Wolf Hall
4 Dandelion Wine
5 Sea of Poppies
1. Zoo Station
2. The Troubled Man
3. The Potter's Field
4 Divorcing Jack

12 in 12 categories

1: Historical Fiction 6/12
2: 19th Century Fiction 3/12
3: Biography 7/12
4: In translation 7/12
5: Series Starts 6/12
6: Scandicrimesters 4/12
7: Sci-Fi 4/12
8: Noughties 3/12
9: One Word Titles 4/12
10: African Born Writers 4/12
11: Bought and Read in 2012 6/12
12: Off the Shelves 0/12 (IN RESERVE FOR THE END OF THE YEAR)

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 12:14pm Top


2009 The Appointment by Herta Muller
2007 The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing
2006 Snow by Orhan Pamuk
2005 The Caretaker by Harold Pinter
2003 The Master of Petersburg by J.M.Coetzee
2001 A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
1998 The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Jose Saramago
1995 Station Island by Seamus Heaney
1994 A Quiet Life by Kenzaburo Oe
1991 July's People by Nadine Gordimer
1988 Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
1987 On Grief and Reason by Joseph Brodsky
1983 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1982 A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1976 Herzog by Saul Bellow
1972 Billiards at Half-Past Nine by Heinrich Boll
1970 Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1964 The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre
1962 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
1961 Bridge On the Drina by Ivo Andric
1958 Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
1957 The Plague by Albert Camus
1955 The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness
1954 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
1953 History of the English Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill
1949 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
1948 The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
1947 The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide
1946 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
1938 The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
1932 A Man of Property by John Galsworthy
1930 Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
1925 Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw
1923 Collected Poems by W.B. Yeats
1921 And the Gods Will Have Blood by Anatole France
1907 Kim by Rudyard Kipling


2011 The Half-Finshed Heaven by Tomas Transtromer
2010 The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
2008 The Interrogation by J.M.G. Le Clezio
2005 The Caretaker by Harold Pinter
2004 The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
2002 Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz
2000 Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
1999 The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
1993 Jazz by Toni Morrison
1992 Collected Poems 1948-1984 by Derek Walcott
1990 The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz
1986 Ake: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka
1985 Flanders Road by Claude Simon
1981 Auto de Fe by Elias Canetti
1978 The Family Moskat by Isaac Bashevis Singer
1973 Voss by Patrick White
1969 Molloy by Samuel Beckett
1968 Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
1965 And Slowly Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov
1952 The Desert of Love by Francois Mauriac
1950 A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
1937 Jean Barois by Roger Martin du Gard
1936 The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill
1933 The Village by Ivan Bunin
1929 Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
1920 Hunger by Knut Hamsun
1915 Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland
1913 He (Shey) by Rabindranath Tagore
1905 Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 12:18pm Top



FAVOURITE NOVEL Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

HONORABLE MENTIONS The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
Night by Elie Wiesel

FAVOURITE NON-FICTION Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

HONORABLE MENTIONS If this is a Man? by Primo Levi
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
The King's War 1641-47 by C.V. Wedgwood
The Second World War by Winston Churchill

BEST THRILLER Judgement on Deltchev by Eric Ambler

HONORABLE MENTIONS The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
The Strange Land by Hammond Innes
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat




A KIND OF BLUE by Miles Davis
ELLA AND LOUIS by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 9:15am Top

I am so jumping into your new thread, Paul, before it reaches the triple digits of postings! Hmm, am I seeing double? Time to see the eye doctor.

ETA: I "see," the second pic was a place holder. I held off a bit on posting so I wouldn't interfere with your saved spots.

Jul 2, 2012, 9:14am Top

Hahaha first up Donna - pride of place at the top table for you.

Jul 2, 2012, 9:19am Top

Hi Paul - you are one popular guy. I'm just about keeping up with all these threads:)

That looks like a very peaceful dining spot:)

Jul 2, 2012, 9:29am Top

Hi Paul - nice new thread! Will have to keep that restaurant in mind next time I am in your fair city...

Jul 2, 2012, 9:47am Top

Lovely new thread, Paul. Reserving my spot early, as I know how quickly you fill up. Love the idea of reading something by each Nobel winner - might have to jump on that wagon myself. Hope you had a good Monday.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:03am Top

Great photo, Paul!

I'm very interested in joining you and Linda in the Nobel Prize Challenge. I'll post a list of books I've read in the next day or two, and the books by Nobel laureates that I haven't read yet that I plan to read this year, starting with The Vivisector by Patrick White.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:24am Top

Calm - thanks so much. It is peaceful but quite warm. Two people could banquet quite nicely for $30 there.

Katie - You may need my help to find it, but that can always be arranged.

Mamie - you would be welcome on board I'm sure.

Darryl - As would you dear Doc. I am going to follow you with Transtromer. Have started already in fact.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:12am Top

Paul - I LOVE your list of the day! How fun!! And I would like to eat at that restaurant - I adore Thai food.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:32am Top

Mmmmm... Thai food and a beautiful picture. No wonder you draw in the crowds! :) :) :)

By the way, thank you for answering my question about how you find out how many posts each thread has and how many books a person reads. I still can't believe you go to EVERY thread and dutifully keep track of everything! RESPECT.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:44am Top

Hi buddy! Love that picture up there. So evocative. Rubber Soul eh? Must agree it's a great album. I actually had it on vinyl centuries ago, but it's sadly lost to one of my many moves and breakups. Still, I made sure to download my favourite tunes from iTunes: Drive My Car, Girl, I'm Looking Through You, In My Life, Norwegian Wood, Michelle, Nowhere Man... hadn't listened to them in a while but you've inspired me to give them a spin now

I've got no car and it's breaking my heart,
but I've found a driver and that's a start...

I'm glad to see that I recognize some of the titles in your Nobel lists, have actually read a few, have others on my shelves and still more on my wishlist. I do look forward to The Tin Drum and for some reason intimidated by Snow Country. Perhaps we could keep each other company for those?

Jul 2, 2012, 1:18pm Top

I WANT to eat at that restaurant, Paul.

Jul 2, 2012, 3:49pm Top

Wow, what a start on the Nobels. I think my role is going to be shadowing you and Linda from afar. But at least that way I can use your guidance to make good choices :-)

Jul 2, 2012, 4:07pm Top

Hi Paul! Lovely new thread you have here :)
I see not much has changed, I go away for 3 days and you get 100+ posts in that time! Your thread moves super fast!

Jul 2, 2012, 4:24pm Top

Hi Paul, what a lovely spot to have a meal, you do put up some excellent photos.

Jul 2, 2012, 4:32pm Top

Hey ho, Paul ...great picture up top. i miss the great and very cheap seafood in Malaysia. Good seafood here in Boston, but the spices, man, the spices make all the difference.

Jul 2, 2012, 4:34pm Top

Hi Paul - that list of Nobel Winners is inspiring though I'm not tempted myself. I can recommend Fatelessness and also the movie which I came across before the book.

The restaurant looks great - must plan a visit.

Jul 2, 2012, 6:12pm Top

Mamie - As usual my innovation comes as a result of a blunder. For some reason when I put up my cover photo it posted it twice and I finished up reserving one post too many for my start of thread lists - left with a spare post I decided to start this post of the day spot.

Eris - the experience of just getting to that restaurant makes it an expedition worth undertaking. Out of KL you drive up a very large hill which overlooks the city and is actually called KL Look-out point. Over the top and towards Hulu Langat you take a right turn off the road for half a mile until you come to the restaurant.
There is no substitute for the hard work it takes to keep up the reading league but in any event I love visiting everyones threads!

Ilana - A lot of people pick Sgt Pepper as their Beatles high-point but Lennon's wry brilliance was more to my taste than the often twee melodies of Paul so it had to be Rubber Soul. In My Life would probably be my favourite track but the lyrics of Girl have a resonance for me too. I once had a girl/Or should I say she once had me Now who does that remind me of?!
I will get to Gunter Grass before Kawabata as I'm equally intimidated by some of the austere Japanese fiction - will let you know when we can double up on it.

Roni - well you know you would be welcome and would have an eager tour guide. It was you actually that got me thinking of the place with talk over at yours of thai food at the weekend.

Jul 2, 2012, 6:26pm Top

Paul- You are a thread-eating machine! Of course, I mean that in the nicest way. Congrats on #19. Are you shooting for an even 50?
Looking at your book total list on the last thread, always astounds me. I thought I was chugging along at a respectable pace, just shy of 75, and I find myself in 45th place!! There sure are some incredible readers in this group. Hats off to them.

I never considered Sgt Pepper one the Beatles greatest. I always wrestled between Rubber Soul & Revolver. The former is so happy & life affirming and the latter is so rich and forward-looking. Both are brilliant. I might have to go with The White Album as my absolute favorite. Does it get any better? Each of the 3 main Beatles contributed songs that were some of the best of their careers.

Jul 2, 2012, 6:34pm Top

Reba - I have made a start already with Pinter and Transtromer. Started The Caretaker last night and was suprisingly drawn in by it. I haven't read a play since my student days although I have a large number in my library but I had no issue in visualising it all. The Transtromer also I have been dipping into since I bought it and I am impressed by the immediacy of some of the images he creates.

Chelle - I noticed that things were quiet over at your place over the weekend and I am eager to go back there to find out what you were up to!

John - Walton doesn't have quite the same types of places mate does it? In nearby Sandal I used to enjoy, many moons ago, having dinner at The Three Houses - great beer and a Steak au Poivre to die for. I understand that it has changed hands fairly recently and is not the same anymore.
In Wakefield growing up there was a marvellous french restaurant called La Carousel where I had my first wine and my first Crepes Suzette flambe. I was 10 and it was our birthday (I have a twin) and my first experience of the light headedness that followed me almost permanently through my student days! It evolved into a great Indian restaurant called Taste of India which is also not there anymore. My taste of the Orient was first tweaked by The Lotus on Wood Street which I was pleased to see is still there.

Caro - food discussions would be duller by far without your interjections! The thought of food in those conditions with no spice fizzing in your mouth is well almost unthinkable. Seafood is a culture shock for a lot of Brits who come out (your Boss also springs to mind) as the head of the fish smiling at you whilst swimming sightlessly in a bath of kicap or sos tiga rasa is something that their sensibilities are not akin to.

Kerry - As stated above would love visitors! The place is called somewhat cumbersomely as The Veg Farm Fish Thai Restaurant.

Jul 2, 2012, 6:44pm Top

Mark - Cannot set targets on the number of threads as it depends on all my friends, you included mate. Don't think it is possible to get to 50 threads as I never take a new thread without passing 250 posts. RD and Kath would have more threads by now surely but they often wait for 300 posts.
You are right it is difficult to choose amongst Beatles albums. I didn't pick The White Album although it has undoubted highlights, there is no obvious collaboration there - John, Paul and George are largely doing their own things. A similar problem awaits with picking a Dylan album. Bringing it All Back Home has some of my favourite tracks, Blonde on Blonde is an acid dressed smorgasboard and Nashville Skyline surprised everyone that he could actually sing; but the quality of the songs and the stories they tell on The Times They are A-Changing is unsurpassed for me.

Jul 2, 2012, 7:10pm Top

Paul- Dylan is easy for me: BLOOD ON THE TRACKS! Although I truly love those early albums too! And one that would be very high on my Dylan list would be the Basement Tapes. Pure unadulterated joy!! And featuring the best back up BAND of all time!

Jul 2, 2012, 7:47pm Top

Yeah Mark I agree that it is his best album - when I pick the seventies it will be there for sure! The Band was great and their first two albums are must haves in any serious collection.

Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 8:39pm Top

"first two albums are must haves in any serious collection." Amen, my friend. Back to Dylan, do you own or have you heard his Bootleg Series Vol:1-3? It is a jaw-dropping collection of unreleased tracks, spanning '61 to '91.

Jul 2, 2012, 9:20pm Top

Paul, one of my UK colleagues went to Singapore for the first time last November, and thankfully, he was very adventurous and tried everything. So I threw Indian fish head curry, chili crabs, baby sotong gareng, roti canai, tulang curry, nasi lemak, mee rebus, satay and poh piah at him and he happily wolfed everything down. The only thing he wasn't thrilled with was papaya titek, which is a peranakan papaya and salted fish assam dish. Oddly enough, he actually like durian .... a fruit even I can't stand the smell of. I like the taste, but detest the smell.

Jul 2, 2012, 9:57pm Top

Mark - I have the complete catalogue of Bobby D. 50 in all (I think one or two of the recent live albums I haven't got) including all 9 bootleg series albums. I have most of them on CD except Dylan which I carefully preserve on cassette as I can't find a CD version.

Caro - So there are more than just a few Brits who will embrace the local cuisine! I don't have a problem with durian for its taste or smell (after all being a lover of french cheese I wouldn't dare complain to SWMBO on such grounds) but I really don't like its texture. I am one of the few exiles I know that likes Sambal Petai.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:06pm Top

You sound like a bona fide fan, alright! I think he may be finally running out of gas. I haven't cared for his last 1 or 2, including his abysmal Christmas album. OMG! But Time Out of Mind and Love & Theft were terrific.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Some details on the 2nd quarter posting records:

Top twelve for the 2nd quarter alone:

1 Paul 2190 (1st Q 2443) Total 4633 Overall 1
2 Kath 2178 ( 2015) 4193 Overall 3
3 RD 2022 ( 2309) 4331 Overall 2
4 Joe 1661 ( 2111) 3772 Overall 4
5 Mark 1624 ( 1812) 3436 Overall 5
6 Mamie 1431 ( 200) 1631 Overall 15
7 Darryl 1318 ( 993) 2311 Overall 9
8 Claudia 1112 ( 1269) 2381 Overall 8
9 Ilana 1026 ( 1487) 2513 Overall 7
10 Ape 920 ( 1568) 2516 Overall 6
11 Megan 880 ( 781) 1661 Overall 13
12 Donna 818 ( 1033) 1851 Overall 10

Jul 2, 2012, 10:14pm Top

Mark - the Christmas album is a completist buy only - I think I have listened to most of the songs 2 times tops, although the single "Must Be Santa" is good fun. I think the last truly great album was "Oh Mercy" back in 1989 - Modern Times and Time Out of Mind are certainly not stinkers but I think there is an element of his fans grasping at straws with his later stuff, me included.

Jul 2, 2012, 10:22pm Top

I am with you on Oh Mercy! I love that album and yes I forgot about Modern Times. We have to have a couple beers together at some point. And speaking of running out of gas, I'm outta here. See you tomorrow.

Edited: Jul 2, 2012, 10:43pm Top

Paul, I was going to mention Revolver as another of my absolute faces faves (damn spell check!) in my previous post, but it got lost amid the typing and goofing around. I'm with Mark though, I'm also a big fan of the White Album. There are so many great songs there and I kind of like the fact that it's all over the place. Blackbird? Julia? Helter Skelter? Rocky Racoon? I'm So Tired? Martha My Dear? Oh yeah! Just a few of my faves...

Jul 2, 2012, 11:02pm Top

Mark - I certainly agree about the beers mate. My schedule to do the whole of the states in a month next year would probably kill the family but even a honed down one is sure to include Chicago and those beers!

Ilana - Strangely enough my favourite on the White Album is a George one "Long, Long, Long" which is very atmospheric with excellent lyrics. I think I can sing acapella all the Beatles canon as I have played them to death over the years.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:29pm Top

Lovely new thread here Paul and I do believe I will make a stop at that restaurant the next time I am in KL. That will also be the first time I am in KL but that would be quibbling

I may steal your idea of listing the Nobel winner books I already own because it's...well...brilliant.

Jul 2, 2012, 11:49pm Top

Bonnie - would love to see you here (KL, I mean) of course.
Can't claim the credit for the list as the original idea for the Nobel challenge was Lindas (92007).

Jul 3, 2012, 12:18am Top

Hi Paul. I see that Dandelion Wine have made it into your top reads - I read a long and enthusiastic essay on Bradbury recently which also recommended this book highly - it was before his death....well, gotta be my next Bradbury.

Always like your lists :) boy, they don't make music like that anymore, ehh? Easy for me to say as I'm not following the contemporary music scene that closely.

Some books I have to check out now from your list. For me One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a top 60's read.

Jul 3, 2012, 12:29am Top

Hi Paul, nice new thread. Your restaurant picture is exactly the way I picture Malaysia to look like. I would love to kick back and enjoy a Thai meal there.

Jul 3, 2012, 12:46am Top

Hi Paul! Another amazing photo -- thanks so much for sharing a part of your world. I hope to eat there someday!

Jul 3, 2012, 4:17am Top

Carsten - nice to "see" you. With your busy work schedule I see you missed the Dandelion Wine memorial read for Ray Bradbury.
I do like plenty of what the Brits call "Alternative" music and some Alt Country like Ryan Adams is great.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich has plenty of atmosphere but is a little too cold and stark for my taste.

Judy - Feel free to kick away! Would love to host a LT dinner there. Food is great and it is certainly value for money.

Anne - I hope you and Callia make it out with the rest of your delightful family.

Jul 3, 2012, 6:38am Top

Ilana & Paul-I love your White Album choices but you are over-looking one masterpiece Dear Prudence, which may be my single favorite Beatles song.

Jul 3, 2012, 7:11am Top

I don't know which album is my favorite since I go by songs. Maybe you can tell by my favorite songs:


Twist and Shout
When I'm Sixty-Four


Come Together
Let It Be
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Love Me Do
Get Back
All You Need is Love
Can't Buy Me Love
Yellow Submarine

Jul 3, 2012, 7:30am Top

Yes! Rubber Soul is my absolute favorite Beatles album. Agreed that it is the apex. Of your movie list, I'd have to pick The Great Escape as my favorite (and I've seen all that you've listed).

Jul 3, 2012, 7:34am Top

What a beautiful restaurant!! "Thai and Seafood dishes to die for " *faints*

Love the food discussion as usual, although it gives me a craving for herbs and spices I'll never find anywhere around here.

Can't contribute anything to the music discussion, knowing only the most famous Beatles albums (red/white/Sgt Pepper).

Noble winners list... I am planning to read Palace Walk and maybe Dr Zhivago this year. At least I am through the Grass already.

Jul 3, 2012, 8:05am Top

Mesmerized, as always...by the photo up top .. breathtaking.
I can't even imagine living where you do. It seems that there is nothing but beauty
wherever you look. How do you read? I think I would just be looking around all the time.

Jul 3, 2012, 9:05am Top

Mark - The sun is up/The sky is blue. That's sounds pretty much like the start of your days at the moment mate. Great song for sure; also love Sexy Sadie and Revolution.

Morphy - With that playlist you're left with making your own compilation tape/cd. Great songs all.

Amber - I have all the Beatles stuff all of John, all of Paul and all of George but none of Ringos. Favourite John album "Imagine"; favourite Paul "Band on the Run", favourite George "All Things Must Pass"
lost John track "Isolation"
lost Paul track "Baby's Request"
lost George track "Baltimore Oriole"

Nathalie - Italian food has always been a favourite of mine. I managed to escape to one small italian place in KL on Sunday as the ladies were at Karaoke - the coffee alone makes the trip worthwhile.
Some of the German writers terrify me when it comes to knocking off the Nobel winners - I hope the Grass does indeed prove to be greener!

Kath - It's funny I'm used to it already - I am far more likely to bump into things with my nose in a book as I'm trudging along.

Jul 3, 2012, 9:16am Top

I would probably go with the White Album or Abbey Road, as they are the two that I tend to listen to the most. True story: "Rocky Raccoon" always makes me tear up. Not so much subject matter, but it's the the melody. Certain melodies make me cry. I'm a dork : )

Jul 3, 2012, 9:35am Top

Ooooo the sixties list very nice indeed. I wouldn't even know where to begin making one.

What a setting for a restaurant.

Jul 3, 2012, 10:18am Top

Kerri - I was waiting for your input as you are my go-to-girl for rock music. George's best stuff on Abbey Road - Here Comes the Sun and Something - John's Come Together is a classic and Paul belts out the melodies Golden Slumbers is vintage Paul.

Lucy - It is a glorious setting. Just before the restaurant turn you brest the brow of a very steep hill and the views back across KL are unrivalled throughout the Klang Valley.

Jul 3, 2012, 10:55am Top

I don't really come from a family of readers (they do read, but not like the folks on some of these threads) but I have a cousin who reads a few books. I guess I should say that he opens books, but rarely does he read them. He told me once that the only two books that he ever finished were Company Aytch and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. One is a memoir of the American Civil War and the other about the Gulag. When I asked him why he actually finished those books he said that both were authentic. And he liked the way Ivan Denisovich was written. Go figure!

I have never read any Solzhenitsyn and I don't really like to read things written in the vernacular so don't think that either of these books will be on my reading list. However, with the comments earlier about Ivan Denisovich I couldn't resist jumping in with that family story.

Jul 3, 2012, 12:00pm Top

Thanks for that story Benita - my twin brother has not to my knowledge ever completed a book and is bored to tears by the very thought of reading - still he was the guy told by the stewardess to stop singing along to his music which he was slaughtering happily on the understanding that they couldn't hear him singing because he had headphones on.

Jul 3, 2012, 12:01pm Top

I wish I could contribute to the music discussion, because listening to music is one of my greatest pleasures in life, but alas, I hardly listen to the Beatles. However, if you ever need someone to bloviate about gypsy/Roma music, soundtracks or symphonic metal and (to a lesser extent) viking and industrial metal, I am your girl! :D

Jul 3, 2012, 12:47pm Top

Desperately trying to keep up with you - love the photo and the Sixties list. I would also struggle to choose between Revolver and Rubber Soul as my favourite Beatles' album. I like their earlier stuff better than their later.

Jul 3, 2012, 6:16pm Top

"The sun is up/The sky is blue". You made me tear up! The great thing about Abbey road, is how they were able to re-group, after the discord on Let it Be and craft a final masterpiece. And I agree with you about George's contributions and Paul's Golden Slumbers medley. Music does not get any better!
As far as solo stuff, I love Imagine but I would give Plastic Ono the edge. And I agree, All Things Must Pass is stunning.

Jul 3, 2012, 6:29pm Top

I would love to eat at that restaurant. Twice.

And your list of the day is very cool. Rubber Soul is a good choice for fave album although I would be hard pressed to actually choose one favorite. Abbey Road came out in the 70s, though, right?
And of course I completely agree with you best novel choice.

I refer to P as P; it stands for Prudence. :-)
So much great music.

Jul 3, 2012, 8:37pm Top

I'd love to just sit at that restaurant and look at the water (assuming there's a view from the restaurant), as long as it's not too hot, or there are too many mosses around.

I'm far too young to remember all this music. Of course ;-)

Edited: Jul 3, 2012, 9:05pm Top

Talk of The Beatles makes me very nostalgic. My DH and I had one of our first big dates at a Beatles concert in St. Louis circa 1966. We will celebrate our 44th anniversary tomorrow and still listen to The Beatles music on long road trips! Rubber Soul is always my first choice. I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of Norwegian Wood!

Jul 3, 2012, 9:06pm Top

Eris - Viking metal? I'm intruiged. I love the romantic sounds of Romany music. May be Romany lite but I have several Gipsy Kings CD's in my collection.

Heather - to be strictly correct it would be mid period Beatles - Please Please Me and With the Beatles - the first two albums are not that great IMO.

Mark - no arguments with your comments at all mate. Agree that it is a toss-up between John's first two proper solo efforts. What do you think of the Yoko contributions on some of the others?

Ellen - We learn something new every day and now I know what P is for. Abbey Road was released in 1969. The restaurant is beckoning me this Friday given all the positive comments....will report on my menu later.

Nina - I should say the same as you - I was only 4 when the sixties closed! I have only been to the restaurant in the evenings and to be honest you don't get much of a view of the water. What is wrong with moss?

Jul 3, 2012, 9:09pm Top

Rubber Soul was the first album I ever bought (and I didn't have much disposable money--I'd bought a couple of 45s by then), and Julia is my favorite White Album song.

Jul 3, 2012, 9:46pm Top

The opening lines of Julia are quite appropriate to my LT style:
Half of what is say is meaningless
but I say it just to reach you

Great song Roni you're right - it was one of John's and about his mum.

Jul 3, 2012, 10:20pm Top

"The sun is up/The sky is blue". I've been singing that all evening. Love Julia too! Not a big fan of Yoko though!

Jul 4, 2012, 12:00am Top

Mark - Yeah, I mean who would buy one of her solo albums? To be fair some of the stuff if done by someone else may be ok. We're All Water and Born in a Prison from the 1972 Sometime in NYC album are actually good songs spoiled and Hard Times are Over from Double Fantasy is also listenable.

Jul 4, 2012, 12:49am Top

#60 - I don't know a lot about viking metal (as I've only recently started listening to it), although there are a few bands that I adore and listen a lot to. I'm picky, though, because I'm not really fond of growling or raspy screaming in my metal, and I usually go for the bands that are fronted by operatically inclined female singers. Lumsk is a really good example of viking metal in my opinion - they do songs in Norse with violins, folk instruments and heavy guitars, oh yeah!

Have you ever heard Fanfare Ciocarlia? They are a gypsy brass band of indescribably epic proportions. Here's one of my favorite songs of theirs called Iag Bari (no idea what the lyrics are as they're in Romani): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR20RvETfPs and a cover they did of Born to Be Wild! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YWvUJOQf8g

Gypsy music is the only music I like dancing to! :D

Jul 4, 2012, 12:57am Top

Eris I will look all of these up post haste. I like to dance but I am not allowed to do so by SWMBO as she believes I resemble the mating rituals of the pacific octopus.

Jul 4, 2012, 12:59am Top

I have made my fifties choices above and found them a little hard to narrow down. My music collection is not as strong as it hits the 1950s. What a tremendously strong decade for books and film though.

Jul 4, 2012, 1:04am Top


The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

Read it twice actually. First time almost all aloud as I haven't figured out how to read plays in other manners and the second time to try to understand what I read the first time! Spare and sparse though the scene setting and number of characters is Pinter brings an immediacy to their predicament through their language that make it obvious even to me that I was reading an undoubted genius of theatre. Basically three men in a room - two of them alternate and rarely appear together both offer the third a job as a Caretaker presumably of the room in which the play proceeds - the third guy seems to be down on his luck and harbouring a secret.
Not entirely satisfying as I still think I'm too dumb to get some of the point he must have been making but nonetheless I feel better for the experience.


Jul 4, 2012, 1:30am Top

It's all your fault!

Well...not all your fault.

I've started list-making...

Jul 4, 2012, 2:44am Top

Liz - hahaha I'll be straight over to inspect the fruit of your labours.

Jul 4, 2012, 5:05am Top

Hi paul,
I have half read half your posts, and will be back to be more thorough later....but now, I am off to unpack. Put the washing out and fill up my hot water bottle, its coooold tonight.

Did you read the play aloud, really? To yourself or with others? Im not sure how I would come over reading aloud to myself. I have read a novel aloud to my sister when we were driving long distance and couldnt not see what happened in the book. That was quite fun.

PS *in a whisper so as not to make you too jealous* Tekapo was great and gorgeous.

Jul 4, 2012, 6:46am Top

Megan - Keep warm and am glad to see you safely back. I figure I won't be back there for a while so if I can't get to go there I may as well enjoy my bestest buddy on the island (and his mum) get the full benefit of the place.

Said the play aloud to myself only - although I did get a few comments from SWMBO that medical attention would be sought of a brain doctor nature if I continued to talk to myself loudly in the bathtub or in front of the Tour de France.

Jul 4, 2012, 9:22am Top

haha I probably would think there was something wrong with Nate if we was reading out loud to himself in the tub too!

Jul 4, 2012, 10:16am Top

#60 and 65 - My husband is a metal fan (among other music genres, of course), but I'm not so familiar with Viking metal. I know he likes the older thrash stuff (I've been to a Slayer concert, thank you very much, check that off the list) and then the newer prog metal stuff, like Mastodon, Red Fang, and stuff like that. I do enjoy Mastodon (it probably helps that they have a Moby-Dick inspired album), but not much else. I know he likes to avoid "Cookie Monster vocals" in his metal, which sounds like a good rule to me.

Jul 4, 2012, 10:19am Top

Good evening, Paul. Love your fifties list - was happy to see you decided to go backwards first as I am longing to see your 30s list! Lots of good stuff in the fifties to choose from, huh? I think I would have to give the edge to Miles Davis in the music category, and then Louis, followed by Elvis. SHhhh, don't tell. I think Miles must have been born with his trumpet as it seems like an extension of his body.

Edited: Jul 4, 2012, 10:25am Top

Nice review of The Caretaker, Paul. I'll add that one to my Nobel wishlist. I think you almost have to read a play aloud, although maybe not loudly.

Jul 4, 2012, 11:32am Top

Chelle - Showers are all the rage here - the locals are not keen on baths, but I insist on mine - I mean how could you extemporise upon a play in the shower?!

Kerri - I'm not sure where heavy rock stops and metal or thrash begins. I need a melody or at least (to take from Keef) a riff to get me going and sheer noise or volume will not suffice. Subtlety needs to surface on occasion to keep me interested - are there any Slayer ballads?

Mamie - Film noir will definitely come into play a decade or two further back. I was tempted to include a french singer Georges Brassens whose music I love and whose album Le Mauvais Reputation is a classic IMO but I think the Elvis album was a singer still in touch with his roots and the raw vibrancy of that early stuff was magnificent. I would have taken the Sun Sessions but they were only released decades later as a collection. Miles and his trumpet? euphemistically or not I would have to agree with you!

Linda - I am pleased that I have made a quick start with Pinter. Still puzzled a little at the point being made but I did enjoy the language used.

Jul 4, 2012, 11:45am Top

#77 - Are there any Slayer ballads?
Haha! No. And just to clarify, I'm not a Slayer fan. : )

Jul 4, 2012, 11:55am Top

Paul- I missed your 50s list! Wow. Picking a film from that decade is very tough. I'm a big fan of The Searchers too but I might go with Vertigo, although there is also On the Water Front, A Face in the Crowd, Sunset Boulevard...OMG!
I would have to totally agree with you & Mamie about Kind of Blue. It just doesn't get any better.

Jul 4, 2012, 11:55am Top

Kerri - even more kudos to you attending their concert if you are not a fan. When the measure of talent is decibels that talent becomes suspect.

Jul 4, 2012, 11:59am Top

Mark - books and film especially difficult pruning a list for the 50's - especially the non-fiction. For example I loved the history written in that decade. A.J.P. Taylor was one of my favourite historians and I love his work but how could you overlook the hyperbole and turn of phrase of Winston and the brilliance of CV Wedgwood? Cider With Rosie is my all time favourite biography.

Jul 4, 2012, 12:09pm Top

And then there is the great foreign films from that period, Kurosawa & Ozu and the beginning of the French New Wave.
I'll have to go back and research the books from that decade. I'm fuzzy.

Jul 4, 2012, 12:20pm Top

I also missed your 50's list. Where was it?

Jul 4, 2012, 1:04pm Top

Benita - post #5

Edited: Jul 4, 2012, 1:17pm Top

The Searchers? You're welcome to that one, Paul. Ugh. Demonstrably *not* a fan of either westerns or The Duke; I could hardly make it through this one. North by Northwest, on the other hand...

#78: Oh yes they do too have a ballad! Sheesh.

Jul 4, 2012, 1:15pm Top

somehow I missed that. I read the Nobel list thoroughly and compared it to what I have read (not very much) and thought I ought to get busy and read more of those, but missed the fifties list.

I agree that Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" is a great album. I find myself listening to it more and more frequently. Lots of classic hits on that one. However, for overall impact on culture and society there is no doubt that Elvis Presley has to be number one for the 1950's.

Last month when I was at the library conference I convinced another librarian to make a road trip with me. I rented a car and drove out to Yourba Linda, CA to tour the Richard Nixon Library. The gift shop there has a big display of The King meeting the President. There are refrigerator magnets, coffee cups, gift cards, etc. featuring a photo taken on the occasion. Elvis was so taken with Richard Nixon that he presented the President with a silver plated Colt .45 police pistol. In return Nixon made Elvis a special agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I asked the clerk manning the cash register about all of that stuff and she said that those things are the best selling items in the gift shop. I found this astounding as Richard Nixon disliked those long-hair types and if Nixon had any great accomplishments it surely wouldn't be meeting Elvis. Later while driving back we discussed this phenomena at length and decided that Elvis was something that the ordinary John Q. Public could identify with, while Nixon in China or making peace with North Vietnam was not. Such is the impact of Elvis.

Jul 4, 2012, 1:26pm Top

#74 - Bwahahaha! Cookie Monster vocals! That's a perfect description. :D

#77 and #80 - I utterly agree with you, Paul, about needing subtlety in your music. A lot of metal enthusiasts just like one band or the other because it's "harder" or can be so loud it busts their ears. Blah, not me. My true favorite genre of metal has plenty of melody - it's symphonic metal, which is basically a metal band that is complemented by an orchestra and fronted by a usually female singer (the best ones are classically trained). When it's properly done it can be extremely beautiful. And trust me - symphonic metal bands are not afraid of ballads! Best example I can think of right now is called "Forevermore," by Xandria.

Edited: Jul 4, 2012, 1:51pm Top

>58 humouress: & 60 : (Gosh, this thread moves so fast!) Spelling mistake - I meant mossies, sorry. Oh, I see - my spell check corrected it for me when I wasn't looking, in the original post.

Were you only 4 years old? Well I was mumble, mumble actually.

>87 ErisofDiscord: : (jumping in a bit blind, having skimmed through) I like soft metal, myself; Heart and so on. Or I used to, in the days when I had the radio on all day and every day.

Jul 4, 2012, 2:12pm Top

#80 - Yeah - I've dragged him to more than one Neil Finn concert, so I figure it's the least I can do. It was actually fascinating from a sociological viewpoint. And it was at one of Chicago's most dreadful venues: The Aragon Ballroom (lovingly referred to as the Scaragon Brawlroom.)

I actually listen to an incredibly wide variety of music and I do sincerely like some metal: Mastodon (as mentioned), a bit of Helmet, a touch of Prong, and of course all Ronnie James Dio related things.

Ok. I'll shut up about metal :)

Jul 4, 2012, 2:24pm Top

I made a list! well.. not really a list..
but sort of a list :)
okay there were 3 things on it!

Edited: Jul 4, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Paul, you may have just opened up a whole new genre for me. Drama -- read aloud. Well, duh (but most brilliant ideas are really simple once what thinks of them). Now I will feel less intimidate by the notion of reading a play! Thank you for that, my friend.

I'm feeling a strong desire to listen to my Beatles albums..... Even Sgt. Pepper!! (because I do, in fact, get by with a little help from my friends)

ETA: I look forward to hearing about your meal at that restaurant!

Jul 4, 2012, 3:15pm Top

Paul - an interesting dish my mom makes when I'm home sometimes is sambal petai stuffed mackerel. She makes the sambal petal and stuffs it in the cavity of a mackeral and grills the fish over a satay grill. It's oh so amazingly good.

Jul 4, 2012, 7:02pm Top

I get a day or two behind on reading all the messages and look what happens! I have 92 to catch up on reading on your thread alone!

Jul 4, 2012, 7:43pm Top

Good review of The Caretaker, Paul. I would love to see it performed live before I attempted to read the book, though.

Jul 4, 2012, 8:16pm Top

To all my friends from the US - HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! You will forgive me if I don't rave so uncontrollably about one of the more infamous of British defeats! As a Englishman with Irish roots I take a bizarre pleasure in the old Irish rebel songs and have pretty much everything ever recorded by the Dubliners. The Battle of New Orleans is a song I used to enjoy singing along to also - I guess when we deserved to lose it is not so difficult to sing about it!

Jul 4, 2012, 8:30pm Top

Mark - my cinema picks were largely from memory which is not the best way to do it really I suppose as I'm bound to miss the odd one or two. I do like some of those moody French movies but would struggle to pick out one over another.

Benita - They made a movie of Nixon meeting Elvis if I'm not mistaken. I think by the time it took place both participants were a touch addled. I remember seeing an example of Nixon's handwriting at different stages of his presidency and it was amazing how he went from legible to scribble during those near six years.

Mamie - thanks

Amber - I am an unashamed western devotee but Big John is far from my favourite. I don't know what it is though about that movie that moves me so - I think it is brilliant in all respects - the opening scenes dealing with the attack on the farm are so atmospheric. Cary Grant was great as an innocent caught up in events beyond him.

Eris - Your passion for the genre shines like a beacon. I will download that one for sure, thanks.

Nina - Thanks for .....er....(not) giving your age away. Ladies prerogative certainly. I have nothing against rock music heavy or soft so long as there is a good riff or melody. I am a big softy so the occasional ballad to lighten the load always goes down well too. If an album is all one paced it is difficult to endure - whether full of rip-snorters or full of ballads.

Kerri - Now Neil Finn, I would go out of my way to see perform. Ronnie James Dio was a singer and a half wasn't he? I loved Rainbow and Nazareth and of course Deep Purple who mix up their stuff fantastically.

Jul 4, 2012, 8:37pm Top

Kath - three can be a very complete list!

Ellen - The play was helped by having only three characters. Interestingly the intro gave details of its early public performances and all three actors I had heard of and I found myself doing (probably awful) approximations of their voices at the relevant parts.
Great lead up to your Beatles fuelled pun, lovely Rita!
I will certainly think about you when I'm devouring the seafood over there tomorrow (Friday).

Caro - sounds delightful - I'm gonna have to gatecrash your moms place next time I'm in chincapor.

Lori - thanks for keeping up so beautifully.

Darryl - I would expect that there were at least a few nonplussed members of the audience when the play was put on.

Jul 4, 2012, 9:38pm Top

In middle school (5th or 6th grade - 10-11 years old?) we had to learn and sing "The Battle of New Orleans." It's the only thing I know about the War of 1812 - other than that the British lost (again :) ) and peace was secured with the Treaty of Ghent.

Jul 4, 2012, 9:43pm Top

Katie - one of Andrew Jackson's finest hours if I'm not mistaken. (Note to self must read the Jackson bio I bought last year). Hahaha the Brits were too busy in 1812 condemning the french fleet to a watery grave at Trafalgar.

Jul 4, 2012, 9:49pm Top

I've just finished reading the bit about the Battle of New Orleans in the bio I'm reading of Madison - good stuff.

Jul 4, 2012, 9:59pm Top

Ah, the Battle of New Orleans! The one thing that I do remember about that battle is that the Brits forgot to bring ladders.

Jul 5, 2012, 12:06am Top

Amber - Of course the Louisiana Purchase was not without its controversy as it was an act of hostility to the British by the American fledgling state to aid Boney in his war against the British. Still the inequality of casualties in the battle is quite remarkable and British brio and overconfidence was certainly dealt a blow by Jackson and his small forces. Even the war is called the war of 1812 the battle took place in 1815 the year of Waterloo and more proudly remembered by British military historians.

Eris - No boy scouts in the British ranks or they would have surely been better prepared. On a European scale it was little more than a skirmish with 291 British dead and only 13 American but 2 of the British Generals were amongst those killed which also undoubtedly impacted the outcome. Jackson had expected the British contingent to be 25,000 strong but was faced by less than 8,000 - there would have been severe carnage had the British brought such a force and seen the action through - thankfully common sense prevailed and the Louisiana Purchase also had no real impact on the European war.

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 12:17am Top


A Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Didn't think that epics like this were written any longer. A pantheon of interesting characters people this fascinating novel set in India at the start of the Opium War and indicating that the narcotics industry was a boon and a half to the British Empire and to the East Asia Company. Once the local naval lingo is bedded in this story moves with tremendous despatch between the participants. We have a wife and her opium addled husband, her dastardly brother-in-law and her shit-shovelling would-be-saviour, we have a Raja down on his luck and being set up for a fall by the fiendish Opium merchant and shipowner, we have the Mulatto (their word) American sailor appointed above his expectations, we have the orphaned daughter of a French naturalist looking to live up to her family reputation, we have her childhood helpmeet, together with others in a potent and heady mix that sails its way to a very satisfying ending which in turn sets up the next installment. Can't wait. Read of the year so far methinks.


Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 1:00am Top

I'm so glad you enjoyed Sea of Poppies. I will be interested to hear what you think of the sequel (assuming you plan to so indulge).

Jul 5, 2012, 1:51am Top

Ellen - I think I will read it whilst the first one is still fresh in my mind.

Jul 5, 2012, 7:20am Top

>102 PaulCranswick:: I've also learned (as you likely already know) that folks in the North, who didn't approve of the war, called it Mr. Madison's War, which works better, perhaps, than simple 1812... For me, though, the most interesting this so far in the Madison biography has been learning more about Dolley, who was, apparently, a bit of a hoot.

Jul 5, 2012, 7:49am Top

I enjoyed your portrayal of A Sea of Poppies, Paul. I hope to read it soon.

Jul 5, 2012, 8:08am Top

Sea of Poppies sounds good. The Mystic Oracle thinks I will like it.. ( LOL)
sigh, decisions ~ decisions.. I think it might go on my read someday list.

Jul 5, 2012, 8:45am Top

Hmmmm Sea of Poppies is tempting. I'm hoping it's already on my wl - the good thing is that the library has it. Great review!

Jul 5, 2012, 9:20am Top

Great review of Sea of Poppies Paul! I agree that it was excellent. I have River of Smoke checked out of the library waiting to be read :)

Jul 5, 2012, 9:30am Top

Evening Paul! I loved Sea of Poppies, too. I am in the middle of the sequel River of Smoke right now, and it is also very good.

An interesting thing about the War of 1812 is that the White House, which was not called the White House then, was burned. They couldn't get the scorch marks off the sandstone, so they painted it white, which is how it got the name it has today.The War of 1812 also inspired the writing of the song that would become our national anthem. Fascinating stuff.

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 10:06am Top

To add on to Mamie's comment, they left some of the scorch marks visible on an archway on the lower part of the North facade of the White House. You can still see them there, but it's not part of the public tour. Also, there is a restaurant nearby that is the oldest continuously open restaurant in DC (or something like that) and it was from there, supposedly, that the British soldiers watched the WH burn.

I miss DC....

ETA: The restaurant - Old Ebbitt Grill - makes fantastic Bloody Marys and does a nice brunch (just giving you ideas for your visit next year...)

Jul 5, 2012, 10:02am Top

105> I do recommend that approach.

111 and 112> I didn't know any of that! (or if I once knew it, I had forgotten.)

Jul 5, 2012, 10:14am Top

Katie.. I don't think I knew that.. fascinating !
Oh, I mean not about the burn marks or the restaurant..

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 10:16am Top

>112 katiekrug: I second the recommendation for Old Ebbitt, and add crabcakes and oysters

Jul 5, 2012, 11:24am Top

I just have to interject that I visited Chalmette Battlefield in May of this year. Chalmette is the place that the Battle of New Orleans took place. Today it is National Historical Battlefield and is administered and cared for by the National Park Service. Only a portion of the battlefield is preserved and it has a nice little drive around it that includes a self-guided tour. The battlefield is bordered by the Mississippi River on one side and back in 1815 a very big swampy swamp on the other. About the only thing left of the battlefield today is the remnant of the trench that Jackson had the citizens, slaves, and pirates present dig. It was a formidable obstacle. It was deep and the dirt dug out of it was piled up in front creating a wall that had to scaled. Hence the need for ladders.

When you see the battlefield you naturally wonder why anybody would have needed ladders to fight that battle. I am not kidding here, the land is as flat as a pancake. Flat. Flat. And flatter. Even the swampy parts. Water can't run downhill here because there is no downhill. However, once you see the wall that was built you understand why ladders would have been necessary.

Chalmette was a sugar cane plantation for most of its history and was home to the son of P. G. T. Beauregard, a rather infamous nondescript Civil War general. At one point in its history most of the battlefield was covered by a squatters town that was inhabited by blacks. In fact it was this town from which the inhabitants were forced in order to make the battlefield a Historic Site. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina covered the battlefield with about 3 feet of water. The flood destroyed the visitors center and all the previous markers for the site. The National Park Service has just now opened (on the anniversary of the battle) in January of 2012 a new visitors center. However, there is really very little to see on the site as they are still rebuilding things and trying to get exhibits set up in the visitors center. It has been a slow process for them.

The story of the battle is quite fascinating on several levels. There is the hero, General Andrew Jackson, the pirate hero, Jean Lafitte, the British heroes and scapegoats, and all those citizens and slaves of New Orleans who furiously dug and built a defensive position and then forced the British into the trap. History is just full of great stories.

As a side note, Harry Smith, of the 95th Rifles fame, was at this battle, as was the 95th Rifles and the 45th Highlanders. Both of these regiments were top-of-the-line troops lead by seasoned officers. They just didn't know the terrain and were forced into an amphibious landing in an area where it was not planned. Most of the troops who survived this battle made it back to Europe just in time to be posted off to Belgium where they participated in the Battle of Waterloo.

Robert Remini has written a biography of Andrew Jackson as well as an account of the Battle of New Orleans and what lead up to it. Then of course there is John Meacham's excellent prize winning biography of Jackson titled American Lion, but it doesn't deal with the Battle of New Orleans and that is what really made Jackson a star. There is also literature about Jean Lafitte but this guy was really elusive and there isn't much fact available about it. What is known is mostly conjecture and legend.

If you are in New Orleans, it is worth a trip out there. But be warned. It is a car ride because there is no public transportation out there. To get there you have to drive through some of the worst of the Katrina damage. It is that damage that is attracting most of the tourism these days. If you are not interested in military history I would say that you can skip this battlefield, but if you are a military history person then rent a car and make the trip. Once you see the terrain you will understand why the British had such a hard time. Jackson definitely made the land work for him.

Jul 5, 2012, 2:56pm Top

Hi. Love the list.

Moving Sea of Poppies higher up the pile. Good review.

Jul 5, 2012, 6:12pm Top

I'm beginning to think something is wrong with me for not liking Sea of Poppies......

Glad you loved it and a 9/10 is a scorcher of a grade! Will we see a 10/10 from you this year?

Jul 5, 2012, 6:51pm Top

Paul- Excellent review of SOP! It's such a special book and what rich characters. ROS doesn't quite reach those heights but it comes pretty damn close.

Jul 5, 2012, 7:57pm Top

Amber - I will be interested to read the Madison biography - as a sports fan the only thing I associate him with is a square garden.

Linda - Thanks - it is a bit of a chunkster but eminently readable.

Kath - I wish I could get access to that same mystic oracle as it would saveme from buying some of the duds I have in the past years.

Lucy - thanks; I am always jealous when I hear that libraries are there stocked with all the books I'd like to read and I have no access to any of them.

Chelle - I also enjoyed your review and noticed that you finished it a few days before me. I have ROS off the shelves and ready to go.

Mamie - Interesting story about the White House (as it became) burning and the genesis of your national song (one of the better anthems I must say).

Katie - Hopefully the Old Ebbitt Grill still welcomes Brits into its hallowed confines. I did look up the history of the place but noted that it claims its history from 1856 and it may be that it was the site of the place that the Redcoats were watching from. Still hugely impressive - http://www.ebbitt.com/main/home.cfm?Section=Main&Category=History

Ellen - When you enjoy the first book so much it woulf make sense to get straight to the second. I am putting The Swan Thieves to one side for the time being as I'm struggling with it. Besides I promised Mark to join the group read albeit late.

Katie - I am certainly not like the irish man who went to school to complain about his son's failure in school. He claimed that history wasn't fair because they were asking his son about things that happened before he was even born!

Jul 5, 2012, 8:07pm Top

Nora - lovely to "see" you here - I saw the crab cakes on the website and they do look marvellous I must say.

Benita - what an interesting post. You may have gathered that I am very much interested in history and of course the military part of it goes such a long way towards the shaping of events. May have a problem though to persuade SWMBO and the troops to follow me there. I don't have the two biographies you mention but I do have the one by H.W. Brands and plan to read it this year.

Jenn - thanks - you read so much faster than I so you should get to it soon.

Megan - Diasagreement is one of the things that brings us all together! There are elements to the book that are off-putting (the slang for example) and this keeps it a 9 and not a 10. Don't know whether I'll get a 10 this year as I am quite stingy with my marking.

Mark - and to think I only read it so as to get onto your group read of the follow-up!

Jul 5, 2012, 8:18pm Top


The Half Finished Heaven by Tomas Transtromer

I usually have a major issue with reading poetry in translation as the images are often too obtuse. There is an immediacy to some of the images in Transtromers work that makes the vernacular maybe less important. Metaphors of movement and landscapes and everyday items abound but some of it doesn't quite work as the point he is trying to make as a whole in his poems is muffled for me. Great individual images but connecting the parts has some problem.


I have left the book in my car so I will edit and quote from the book later.

Jul 5, 2012, 8:23pm Top


Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis

This is a re-read of the 20th a YA Sci-fi series that I read avidly at the end of the 1970's. Doctor Who was a creation of the BBC and this is a novelisation of the final episode of the First Doctor played by William Hartnell. It introduces the Cybermen one of the Doctor's most deadly foes - they were previously like us but morphed into steel and plastics and lost emotions save the desire for power. Not great writing but brought back plenty of memories enough to give me the pleasure of a quick read. The traffic in KL was bad yesterday and I read the book from start to finish going to and from 2 meetings.


Jul 5, 2012, 11:06pm Top

I read a whole book yesterday too Paul, must be the moon. Mine wasnt read in traffic, I was playing "act like a climbing frame" for part of it (I did it well), and then I begged the other adult in the house if he would do the dishes while I read for 2 hours after the kids were asleep- and he agreed. YES!

Ill have to be careful with that request, as its a bit mean, but as I was in charge of both kiddos for 4 whole days on holiday, I risked it!

Jul 6, 2012, 12:22am Top

Megan - shared duties must of course involve some reading time for you. The other parent is a brick obviously and realises a happy lady is a happy home. I need to remind myself of that a bit more frequently.

Jul 6, 2012, 12:52am Top

#123 - You're a Whovian? :D Hooray, no wonder why you're awesome!

And I would totally join you on a expedition to where the Battle of New Orleans took place. My brother would also be nerding out over it, as well, since he's such a huge history buff. It should be an official LT event if there's ever a meetup in New Orleans!

Jul 6, 2012, 12:53am Top

*Waves* to Paul!
I'm so glad to be back with all you great folks. Let's just hope I can stay on top of the threads!

Jul 6, 2012, 1:17am Top

I love your picture at the top, Paul! It's absolutely beautiful! And plus I love Thai and seafood *thumbs up*

Jul 6, 2012, 1:33am Top

Heading out for some traveling tomorrow. Wanted to say hi before I go for a few days without much LT access.

Jul 6, 2012, 3:14am Top

Well Eris - I guess I could be so termed! I have read at least 150 of the books and followed the first 4 Doctors (especially 3 and 4 - Pertwee and Tom Baker) avidly.

Will let you know on my dates next year for the states - New Orleans is a must I would guess so it would be fun to meet up and trudge aound in swamps together.

Valerie - Missed you and the little monkey loads! So happy to see your thread active this morning.

Danielle - nice to see you. I am visiting the restaurant this evening and will give a blow-by-blow shortly.

Ellen - Travel safe and I look forward to hearing of your adventures upon your return.

Jul 6, 2012, 10:36am Top

Just watched Federer beat Nole in four sets....now hopefully Murray can join him in the final.

Jul 6, 2012, 11:18am Top

My son has recently discovered Dr. Who and is apparently trying to watch all the episodes over summer break. It's quite an undertaking. Hooray for Netflix.

Edited: Jul 6, 2012, 11:18am Top

>131 PaulCranswick: : Don't be daft, mate. Ee's a Brit.

But I'm hoping, too.

Jul 6, 2012, 11:35am Top

Great review of SOP, Paul. Do you think you'll get to River of Smoke this year?

And an equally informative post from Benita. That was US history I was unaware of, so I'm very grateful for the interesting history lesson.

That was an incredible match between Federer and Nole. I wonder if Nole was a little under the weather or if this was just not his day because while Federer played really well, especially winning a high percentage of his second serves, it didn't appear that Nole was moving as well on court today as he usually does. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy about the outcome of the match. Just curious.

Jul 6, 2012, 12:35pm Top

I'm watching the Murray-Tsonga match now, and fully rooting for Andy to win it all.

Jul 6, 2012, 1:09pm Top

Just checking to see if you still have me blocked. Was it something I said? ;-)

I'm glad you think Sea of Poppies may be the year's best - so far. I thought River of Smoke was right up there with it.

Paul, I think it would be great if you could schedule some regional meet-ups in conjunction with next year's tour of the U.S. It would be fun to meet you and some other LTers at the same time.

Jul 6, 2012, 2:00pm Top

The LT Gods and a few of us librarian types met last year in New Orleans in conjunction with the American Library Association Conference. We met for breakfast at Cafe Du Monde. I didn't try to get a meet-up together for the conference this year as there were only five of us at the New Orleans meeting. I didn't even stop by the LT booth in the exhibits area. I just didn't have time. However, next summer the ALA conference is in Chicago and I am hoping that Mark and I can get a big group together for that conference and have a meet up there.

There is no battlefield to visit in Chicago, but I bet we can find a nice coffee shop somewhere close to some type of historical venue in that city that would work for a nerdy book person's meet-up.

Jul 6, 2012, 3:46pm Top

>121 PaulCranswick: I'm usually here, I'm just very quiet :-)

Jul 6, 2012, 4:07pm Top

Good heavens! I miss you ;-)
Can't read this whole thread - but want to say hi!
Love that restaurant up above. Are we talking ridiculous cheap or ridiculous expensive? Oh, who cares. I'm on my way!

Jul 6, 2012, 7:16pm Top

I've read several favorable reviews of Sea of Poppies. Maybe I'll get to it one of these days!

Jul 6, 2012, 7:40pm Top

I've been reading the praise of Sea of Poppies, too. I need to get to this one -- I do have a copy. I'll bump it up once I'm done with my classes for the summer.

Jul 6, 2012, 11:23pm Top

*Raises her hand* I too have Sea of Poppies sitting on my shelves. It has to compete with about 400 other unread books plus a shelf of library books... :/

Jul 7, 2012, 2:04am Top

Jenn - I only really was into the first 4 doctors William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. I didn't think number 5 Peter Davison was quite right for the part and I lost interest a little after that missing Colin Baker (no relation), Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. The last three doctors have prompted a revival in the UK I understand especially David Tennant (10). Great series but I would imagine it is a tad dated nowadays.

Nina - I am typing with the benefit of seeing Murray win. His usual blip aside it was a good performance from him and I hope he can do himself justice against R Fed. Should be a great final and though I have admiration in oodles for the Swiss I would love Murray to do it. It is 74 years since a Brit made the final (so well done) and 76 years since we won. Good omen for Olympic year.

Caro - Nole was a bit off today - I would have preferred him to push Fed to five sets to tire him out a bot for Andy Murray. Federer was near the peak of his powers today with his backhand superb.
Benita's knowledge of the 1812 war was impressive - so impressive that I have picked up my Andrew Jackson biography by HW Brands.

Darryl - It should be a good final if Murray doesn't freeze - he has come through a hard draw in magnificent fashion - Davydenko, Karlovic, Baghdatis, Cilic, Ferrer and Tsonga is far harder than his opponent has had to get here (Nole notwithstanding). Ramos, Fognini, Benneteau, Malisse, Youzhny and Nole. So far they have dropped only 4 sets each.

Donna - You will never be blocked my dear in these parts. I would admit to not getting around the threads as much as normal this week; mainly due to being stuck in traffic most of the time!
It is my plan when I am able to see how long I can afford away from my business (I'm hoping for a whole month) to plan an itinery that allows me to meet as many of you all as possible. Denver is a likely destination I would hazard - is that close enough to Missouri?

Benita - I will be a summer visitor for sure and Chicago would definitely be on my list especially since Al Capone is safely stowed away.

Nora - that makes two of us then that are shy and retiring!

Jul 7, 2012, 2:10am Top

Cee - Inexpensive and ridiculously so. The tribe including Erni and SIL (7 of us) last night - 2 fish one steamed and one fried, barbequed squid, crabs, prawns in oatmeal, kangkung belacan (a local veggie in a spicy prawn paste), kailan garlic(another local veggie), tom yam soup, and seafood fried rice all round. All of it with drinks around $60.
With your comment and Donna's I'll be doing the rounds after this.

Lori/Anne/Valerie - It is historical fiction at its best and IMO well worth bumping up the lists for.

Jul 7, 2012, 2:16am Top


War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Continuing my month of blitz reading I knocked off this one sitting in traffic again largely (wrapped up the last two chapters at home). I don't know if this was enhanced or not for me by watching the movie last year which I thoroughly enjoyed. I actually was impressed by some of the adjustments made to book's plot to enhance the cinematic experience. Pretty much though what I expected having read one of his books recently - good story, well told. A little too much sugar perhaps and the horses' grasp of European languages was not really so well explained! If YA fiction was all this good I may just seek out my second childhood


Jul 7, 2012, 2:27am Top

OK, OK, I have just boiught Sea of Poppies while I stand here cooking dinner. Because I have nothing else to read in the house.

Jul 7, 2012, 2:43am Top

Hahaha Cushla - that is the same reason I keep buying all my books and SWMBO her new dresses!

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 7:09am Top

Prawns in oatmeal? !!! What????!

Jul 7, 2012, 8:53am Top

Hi Paul! I've always wondered if I should go back and try to watch the Dr. Who program (aren't there 2 or 3 versions?), but then it seems like such an overwhelming time commitment. Anyway, how exciting that the Cranswick family will be visiting Chicago next summer!

Jul 7, 2012, 9:49am Top

Paul, I will have to run your comment by my son - I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. :)

Denver is good :). There are several of us in that vicinity and Donna makes it here fairly regularly. Just thought I'd cast my vote...
Are you bringing everyone? Would be so much fun to do a family-style meet up.

Jul 7, 2012, 10:38am Top

145: Thanks for that tip about reading at stop lights, Paul. I need to be creative to fit more reading time into my life.

150: Denver is very doable for me if I have plenty of notice. It's only a 12-hour drive! My Denver son is very sociable and would love to "crash" an LT meetup as I talk in such glowing terms about them.

Jul 7, 2012, 11:03am Top

Since you are a man of lists here is another one for you.

The Library of Congress opened a new exhibition on June 25. It is titled "Books that Shaped America." It is am amazing selection of titles, to say the least. Here is the url


Have fun with that H. w. Brands book on Jackson. Jackson was quite the character and Brands is quite the writer of history.

Jul 7, 2012, 11:46am Top

Kath - They are fried and the oatmeal forms a crust on them that is delicious.

Kerri - Favourite Doctor Who would be Jon Pertwee (the third Doctor) who invariably was based in normal time and had battles with the Master a fellow time-lord gone wrong. This time next year with any luck we'll be in the windy city when I'll be knocking down a few jars with Joe and Mark and any of you lovely ladies that care to join us.

Jenn - hahaha - just read it back and I see what you mean. Everyone will probably also include the loyal Erni if I can get a visa for her. Certainly SWMBO, Yassie, Kyran and Belle will be in tow otherwise I wouldn't be given leave to go.

Donna - hahaha reading at traffic lights is a skill learned over a number of years and I didn't ought to recommend it. This evening as I drove SWMBO to the mall as we wanted to try a new French/Singaporean owned restaurant called TWG (it was wonderful by the way) - as I was getting frustrated in slow moving traffic I was actually encouraged by SWMBO to "read my book and shut up", managed a few pages of Our Mutual Friend, sitting in said traffic.
Thinking - LA-SF-Portland-Chicago-New York-Boston-Philadelphia-Washington-Nashville-New Orleans-Denver-Phoenix-Las Vegas-LA

Benita - What a fantastic list - there are plenty for me to hunt down there. Only one point - not sure that Alcholics Anonymous is a book that should be put forward as shaping the nation!
Have started the Andrew Jackson and am four chapters in and enjoying the background. Doesn't paint us Brits too favourably though I must say.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:01pm Top

That is quite the itinerary for a trip. How long will you be in the U. S.? You could spend a month in San Francisco, Chicago, Philly, Boston, or Washington. I defiantly think that you should plan four or five days in Chicago. It is a wonderful town, with so many great things to see. Same for Boston and even more time in Washington, D. C. Washington is great because so many of the sites are free or very low cost. And of course there are all those Civil War Battlefields that are close to that city. You could do your own Civil Wargasim if you spend about six days in and around the city.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:33pm Top

Benita - it depends on budget and time available from my business I suppose. Ideally I would spend six weeks travelling round as it would be the chance of a lifetime, but more likely a month. We'll see.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:52pm Top

*splutter, wheeze*

sorry... I had to get my breath back from all that laughing when I read this in post #143 : that makes two of us then that are shy and retiring! You're the very opposite, my dear Paul.

Jul 7, 2012, 1:12pm Top

Just catching up (well, really just skimming 150+ posts), but if you come to the US you definitely should spend some time driving around the west and maybe places in the east so you can see the beauty of the land as well as the major cities.

Jul 7, 2012, 1:17pm Top

Caro - couldn't you see the tongue in my cheek as I was typing?

Rebecca - The cities are destinations only really - I am a country boy (well a lover of landscapes anyway) and would certainly want to see some of the prairies and canyons and hills and plains that is so wonderfully evoked in some of Johnny Cash's songs.

Jul 7, 2012, 3:33pm Top

Paul, hope that migraine you mentioned is all gone by now. It should be, because I caught it now!

I'm glad you enjoyed War Horse. Not as much as I did unfortunately, but that's ok, it can't be everyone's favourite book. Not that it's my one and only favourite book of course...

You made me hungry with the description of your meal last night. Why didn't you invite me to come along?!? Just kidding of course.

Jul 7, 2012, 4:05pm Top

That's quite an itinerary, Paul! Glad Denver's on the list. You can't go wrong with the Rocky Mountains for scenery:)

Jul 7, 2012, 4:55pm Top

>148 mckait: fry it and it will taste good, that's my motto Kath!

Hi Paul,
I hope the weekend is coming along well and you arent pulled into many directions at once. Im just off for a little walk up a hill, with a well defined path this time, as we dont want a repeat of the getting lost incident of last time.

Jul 7, 2012, 6:30pm Top

Hi Paul- Glad you liked War Horse. I did too, it was my 1st Morpurgo. The film was okay, just a bit over-blown, I preferred the book's approach.

Jul 7, 2012, 6:44pm Top

HI Paul! Will your trip bring you to Canada at all? :)

Jul 7, 2012, 8:15pm Top

I saw War Horse in Toronto in early June. It was stunning, possibly the best play I have ever seen. If you ever get a chance I highly recommend seeing it.

Jul 7, 2012, 9:33pm Top

Ilana - I didn't send the headache to you purposely, but thankfully it has left me this Sunday morning.
I do recall your enthusiasm for War Horse and I need to follow Anne (AMQS) and Kerry (and others too of course) who have advocated the benefits of YA for a while now.
There is an open invitation to join me at any restaurant of your choice in Malaysia at your first convenience!

Anne - I always start with an ambitious plan and I hope time and circumstances don't conspire to scale it down too drastically.

Megan - Buttered prawns where the butter is floured and forms a crust on the prawns is the most popular local way of preparation but oatmeal adds a little more substance. Envy you the fresh open spaces to walk in over there - the open spaces over here are full of wildlife that make it difficult to ensure a safe return even if the climate doesn't put you off. Enjoy.x

Mark - The book is invariably better isn't it? I did think that some of the minor alterations in the story were well conceived though in the movie whilst sticking to the basic story. A very wholesome experience the book is I must say.

Chelle - I wish but more likely another year or two later. We do plenty of work with a couple of Canadian companies Bombardier and CAE so there is a strong possibility that SWMBO and I may get to come to Canada on business quite soon and I would certainly take advantage of it to spend a few more days.

Mary - Nice to see you here. I have heard that the play is also very good and I would love the chance to see it too.

Jul 7, 2012, 11:17pm Top

I also knit at traffic lights... much better for me than reading as I am known for getting deeply involved and not noticing the light has changed. Or anything else for that matter.

My son would like me to share this link with you. He says it's written just for me (Just ignore the annoying political ads). Also, I don't think I'm that angry...


Jul 7, 2012, 11:23pm Top

>165 PaulCranswick: yea, the wide open and often empty spaces are prolific around here. The Port Hills alone are amazing. I just have to remember to use them more often. Rock fall was a serious risk post-earthquakes so parts are still closed off, and I was wary, but now Im not.
The walk was nice, coffee after was great!

Jul 8, 2012, 1:45am Top

The guy does look a regular meanie - it can't be you Jenn! Don't see it being a hit though do you?

Megan - coffee post promenade - true civilisation!

Jul 8, 2012, 3:03am Top

>166 nittnut:, 168 Bibliomania meets psychopathy. Or is that already an oxymoron? I'll admit it, that's what I'm thinking when someone interrupts my reading..

Jul 8, 2012, 6:33am Top

Hey! You have to add Minneapolis to your itinerary. I can't travel!

Jul 8, 2012, 8:23am Top

With your LT friends, you will never be lonely anywhere on the planet, Paul! Well, maybe there's a few remote locations...

Jul 8, 2012, 9:47am Top

Anne - Hahaha I don't lke it when I get disturbed reading either but hopefully I don't look like that fellow.

Morphy - Actually it was on their originally. You are right - I owe it to John Sandford anyway to make it to the twin cities. I couldn't go all the way to the US of A Morphy and not meet you.

Linda - That applies surely to most all of us doesn't it?

Jul 8, 2012, 12:28pm Top

Nineteen threads! You are a wonder, Paul : ). You've opened here with yet another stunning photo! Wow! Enjoy Sunday.

Jul 8, 2012, 1:34pm Top

#143 - The last three doctors have prompted a revival in the UK I understand especially David Tennant (10). Great series but I would imagine it is a tad dated nowadays.

I don't think it's dated at all! Here in America it's developing a following, especially among young people like myself. :) I adore the new reboot of Doctor Who and my mom (a person who hates television) has given it her seal of approval. She says that it's better than the crap on American television, and I agree with her. Have you seen any episodes of the new series?

#166 - Thank you for showing that video! Last night my brother was bothering me while I was reading a book, so I told him to go and look up at that video. It made him leave me alone. :)

Jul 8, 2012, 1:35pm Top

I would invite you too, but even I don't want to be here... lol

Jul 8, 2012, 1:54pm Top

Sorry Paul .. I know you wanted Andy to win, but Fed-Ex just brought his best game to the house today ... not to take anything away from Andy.. he played the best I've ever seen him play. If it was against anyone else, I would have been rooting for him more.

Jul 8, 2012, 3:50pm Top

Hi Paul, the return of Dr Who and his last three incarnations have created a real storm and we are all waiting for the new series in the autumn. The first, Christopher Eccleston had his own take on the Dr and his replacement David Tennant took it into the stratosphere and it caused a lot of dismay when he decided to leave but Matt Smith who took over has taken the Dr further. The surge in technology has really benefitted a series like this and a vast new audience has been created and an upsurge of Whovians.

Jul 8, 2012, 4:11pm Top

And don't forget Maine! You must stop here.
You want to taste a real lobster, don't you?

If you really can't make Maine *slobbery sob*, I will come to you with a little luck... in the USA of course. Can't afford KL

Jul 8, 2012, 5:27pm Top

*planning my world wide LT couch surfing trip*
Who's couch is free in 2026?

Jul 8, 2012, 5:41pm Top

Holy crap! excuse moi

I'll be pretty old by then. But if you come over and I don't have a free couch, Megan, I'll buy you one ;-)

Jul 8, 2012, 7:27pm Top

Hello Paul - and every other man/woman/dog that visits your page!! Just quickly saying I am back after a 2-week hiatus (don't ask - was at the farm and fell in a bit of a hole physically and emotionally). Back in Melbourne now and trying to catch up the threads...love your new digs with the - again - tempting view! The malaysian travel board should put you on retainer...Speak at greater length in a bit.

Jul 8, 2012, 8:25pm Top

Nancy - thanks, my Sunday is done I'm afraid and I'm already facing a hectic Monday morning.

Eris - I haven't managed to see much of the last three Doctors. I remember hiding behind the sofa on Saturday evenings as Pertwee and then Baker battled all comers and loving every minute of it. My guess on the datedness of the old series is based on technological improvements and not on storylines which were great.

Kath -Beaver County is part of Pittsburgh right? Hopefully I'll get to 300 miles from you in Philly.

Caro - Fed-Ex is fantastic when the roof is down I must say. Murray played well but Roger was just too good. The greatest ever possibly and no shame to be beaten by him.

John - I noticed that the latest Doctor was in the audience at Wimbledon yesterday. Murray could have done with the Tardis or at least the sonic screwdriver to get him out of trouble yesterday.

Cee - I haven't forgotten Maine - it was on my original list too as was Minneapolis. I would certainly detour to visit you and sample some of that famous seafood.

Megan - Wow holiday planning 14 years ahead - Leaving Lenny and Wilbur behind? Don't know where I'll be but I think we could spot you a place in our pad somewhere!

Prue - Was starting to get a bit worried again. Hope life is treating you kinder in Melbourne and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Jul 8, 2012, 8:30pm Top

Paul - your talk of a US itinerary for next summer reminds me of a game my family used to play on long car drives - "Keep or Go". We'd go through states, or cities, or countries and decide if they were worthy of existence or not (based on nothing very logical at all). So I have many strong opinions of what is actually worth visiting in the States (and the world for that matter) ;-)

Jul 8, 2012, 8:39pm Top

Thread 18???? Whimper, whimper. Or wait, do I get credit for an entire book read if I follow each post of each of your threads?? Hmm, maybe the 21st century version of an epistolary novel will be a social networking novel. (for anyone who wants a preview, check out Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook by Sarah Schmelling.

Given your Dylan comments, thought I'd mention a book by a friend coming out in mid- August about the bard himself -- Forget About Today by Jon Friedman. Seems to be no touchstone, but it's on Amazon.com.

Jul 8, 2012, 9:07pm Top

Katie - Sounds an interesting game - usually how many of the states were left at the end?!

Suz - hahaha - you don't need too much help in the reading stakes methinks. I have a fair few books by or about Mr. Zimmerman and will look up your friends book when it is out.

Jul 8, 2012, 9:12pm Top

More than you might think. But as a good New Yorker, my first cuts were reserved for Boston and Philly! And really, does one need Nebraska?!?!?

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 6:14am Top

Interesting looking at the third quarter that some things change but some things stay the same. 8 days in and there are some movers and shakers this month in Q3. Kim, Katie and Tui inparticular have shot from the pack; Kim spectactularly so. Stephen is also back to his January activity levels.
All those with over 50 3Q Posts:

1 Paul 203 Total 4836 Overall Position 1
2 Kath 169 4362 3rd
3 Stephen 155 2671 6th
4 Richard 147 4478 2nd
5 Mark 133 3569 5th
6 Mamie 125 1756 13th
7 Kim (Berly) 110 589 49th
8 Chelle 95 1714 15th
9 Caro 92 1886 11th
10 Darryl 92 2403 9th
11 Amber 85 1813 12th
12 Ilana 84 2597 7th
13 Megan 79 1740 14th
14 Donna 77 1928 10th
15 Claudia 69 2450 8th
16 Bonnie 67 1593 17th
17 Suz 60 1579 19th
18 Jude 56 1137 25th
19 Katie 56 854 35th
20 Tui (Tiffin) 56 522 57th
21 Joe 53 3825 4th
22 Ellen 51 1579 18th
23 Linda (Whisper) 51 1162 24th

Jul 8, 2012, 9:33pm Top

Woo! Katie - I better not go there. I'm sure that Nebraska is delightful!

Jul 8, 2012, 10:36pm Top

Paul, enlighten me on the meaning of the lists?

Jul 8, 2012, 10:46pm Top

>188 PaulCranswick: - Yeah, it's probably fine. Just kind of useless ;-)

Not sure why all of a sudden I have more posts on my thread. I think I have been chattier of late on both my and others' threads....

Jul 8, 2012, 10:48pm Top

Woefully behind again but stopping in. Very nice review of Sea of Poppies which I also loved. I'm about 2/3 of the way through with River of Smoke which I think is almost as good.

Jul 8, 2012, 10:53pm Top

wow, looks like I moved up in ranks a tad. I guess I must be doing something right :)
Hope your Monday isn't as hectic as you thought it would be. It's approaching midnight here on Sunday and I should be in bed. Night night

Jul 8, 2012, 11:32pm Top

OK, I'm all caught up now. Sorry that Murray lost - I was really hoping that he could pull it off just to take the pressure off, but Federer was just too good. Hope you are having a great Monday!

Jul 9, 2012, 12:20am Top

>183 katiekrug: keep or go! I love it, dictatorship at its best :) lol

>189 jolerie: Valerie, Paul likes statistics, I think it is as simple as that :)

Hi Paul, not that Im competitive, but....I think it should be known that I didnt even start my 3Q thread until quite a few days into July, cant the stats be weighted to account for that?
*tongue in cheek*

Jul 9, 2012, 6:31am Top

Valerie - I basically keep two sets of main stats (don't ask me why because I've forgotten and now cannot stop). I keep a record of the number of posts made on an individuals thread. For example on your thread as of this morning (Malaysian time) you had 188 posts in total with 31 of those coming in the third quarter of the year (i.e. from 1 July 2012). This puts you in 110th position overall which is pretty impressive considering your prolonged absence but most welcome return.

Katie - Least useful State in the Union would be.......Nebraska? I have had a quick skim of group members and I don't see any Nebraskans so we should both be safe.
I am visiting your thread with the same frequency as always (i.e. pretty regularly) and always find myself marvelling that there is someone I "know" who can kick my butt when it comes to buying books.

Anne - I am about 20% through River of Smoke and enjoying it equally to its predecessor. One small grumble is that I find the character Paulette somewhat annoying. Love the introduction of Ah Fatt's father who is brilliantly drawn.

Chelle - You are as consistent as always in the posting league and have never been out of the top 15. Sweet dreams (hopefully since it is 5:30 am over in Canada I hope you are still enjoying them).

Mamie - Sums it up - Federer was simply too good. Monday has been a bit tough with three meetings and an extremely fussy scottish client, who whilst personally being very amenable is professionally difficult to satisfy in his expectations of local building standards.

Megan - hahaha I never thought of Katie as the dictatorial type until know.
Valerie wouldn't be in a very exclusive club liking statistics in this group would she?
As much as I would like to tweak the figure in your favour the score don't lie as I take it from the dates of the post not the start of the threads. Time does get a bit muddled to be fair as you are a few hours in front of me and I'm loads of hours in front of North America.

Jul 9, 2012, 6:38am Top

Hi Paul- It sure looks like I love the 5th spot. It's my home, I guess. I plan on getting to a Ken Bruen this week. I'm due. Hope you have a good week.

Jul 9, 2012, 6:43am Top

This is me staying caught up over here! I love your explanation to Valerie about why you keep two sets of main stats!!

Jul 9, 2012, 6:48am Top

I have never been to Philly, myself. Beaver County is near Pittsburgh, yes. I live about 28-30 miles north
of the place. I never even see Berly's thread... why, oh why? Of course, I couldn't find my own thread this morning, it had been set to ignore. Baffling. I blame the iPad.

Jul 9, 2012, 7:04am Top

Mark - it is amazing that every time I put up those figures your position never seems to waver. Even taking a slice of time like the first 8 days of July - 5th it is. I have one more Bruen on the shelves already but it isn't a Jack Taylor - what are you reading?

Mamie - In so much of a rush I forgot to tell her that the other stat is books read league, where I am one of the wheezy boys.

Kath - Berly has reignited somewhat - another of the fascinatingly entertaining threads strangely overlooked and then somehow people realise....

Jul 9, 2012, 7:54am Top

Paul - you are certifiably crazy! I love stats too - but they have to mean something! Now the "books read" stats make more sense to me - but I don't want to go there.

That's ok. We all have something silly we love... for me? It's you! LOL

Jul 9, 2012, 8:19am Top

Enjoying all this, someone IN ONE WEEKEND I have missed over 90 posts...... I am excited about the US literary tour. I do seriously want to organize an LT literary weekend somewhere in New England near a really good bookstore or two or three..... probably Massachusetts..... so keep me closely in the loop on this.

Jul 9, 2012, 11:01am Top

So let me get this straight...
You have time to read books, write reviews, update your thread, read other peoples threads, comment on other peoples thread AND keep track of the stats on TOP of all that? Do you not sleep? ;)
One thing I've realized about our group. We really like lists, some more than others and you sir are definitely in the "more than other" category and that's a hoot!

Jul 9, 2012, 11:05am Top

Hello, Paul.
I was also rooting for Andy to win it all; Federer was just too good in that final.

Family (and kittens!) are keeping me from getting much reading done on this little vacation, but I did finish The Grapes of Wrath on the plane, I'm still enjoying Wolf Hall, and I'm soaked in 61 Hours (a perfect vacay read). Other than the hellish heat, it's been a good visit so far.

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 12:19pm Top

Paul, I am going to post this in your thread because you get so many visitors...

This is for a job at Perkin Elmer..
I know someone who works there and is very happy!

If you mind.. let me know and I will come and take it away , okay?


Jul 9, 2012, 11:30am Top

Actually Paul I was awake by the time you posted! I was desperately trying to get back to sleep by then though. Nate's shift starts at 6am and with a 30 minute drive to work, and him still being a keener, he leaves for work at 430. That means that starting at 330 he tries hard not to make noise but still manages to sound like an bull in a china shop ;)

Jul 9, 2012, 12:48pm Top

If your US trip is going to be book oriented, you MUST go to Portland to Powells. Besides, Portland is a nice city with some truly wonderful food. We have two daughters there so visit fairly often and Powell's and several restaurants are definites must-dos.

Jul 9, 2012, 1:33pm Top

Cee - I'm always interested if there are certificates available. Love you too btw.

Lucy - you will certainly be in the loop when I visit the USA. I have always wanted to visit Vermont to see how accurate Newhart was but I can't make it everywhere. Maine is very likely given that a fair few buddies reside there but New York and Boston pretty certain. I have read here about the delights of The Strand so that could figure in a meet-up.

Valerie - don't forget my running of a fairly successful Project Management Consultancy and my assistant managers role in my family of SWMBO, Yasmyne, Kyran, Belle, Erni (the coffee making queen and maid), Fifi my beautiful dress designing Sister-in-law and Amin my direction and kinetically challenged driver. I often wonder where the time goes and why the skin is so dark under my tired eyes.

Ellen - Glad to see you enjoying your trip. Lee Child is a perfect holiday book as he is pretty hard to discard once started.

Kath - No problems with this - but who or what is Perkin Elmer?

Chelle - Ouch Nate's start is early! I don't think SWMBO would awake at such an hour no matter how noisily I tried to say quiet!

Reba - I have heard of Powells and it would be a to do for sure. You may have noticed that Portland was in my itinery.

Jul 9, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Paul re142, Murray would need more than the tardis and a sonic screwdriver to beat Federer in the mood he was in yesterday, needs to watch the final and see how Federer moves and how he gives nothing away with his body language. How are you, i see the readings going well.

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 4:00pm Top

Paul - I didn't think it needed to be said, but then again, I'm going to say it just in case you've gotten my little corner of the US when you plan your summer trip of '13.... should you fail to add Boston to your stops, the wrath of SWMBO when you once again forget to pay the utility bills on time will be but an irritated tsk compared with the molten lava you shall find yourself in. Just sayin'

I've my henchmen on standby too..

Jul 9, 2012, 5:38pm Top

I finished River of Smoke and you have got to read this book! I thought it was better than Sea of Poppies.

Jul 9, 2012, 8:14pm Top

John - You are right - Fed-Ex never looks out of breath at all whilst Murray's emotions are etched into his features. Things are hectic here at the moment mate but manageable moemntarily. Trust everything is fine with you in wet West Yorks.

Caro - Boston is indeed near the top of my list - how could I dare otherwise?! I want to drink English tea on the Boston waterfront. btw your henchman could do with intimidation lessons - I'll have a word with SWMBO to see if she'll help.

Benita - I am immersed in it presently! At the moment I would agree that it is at least the equal of Sea of Poppies.

Jul 9, 2012, 8:26pm Top

Hi Paul.

That's all I have energy for. "Hi Paul".

Sorry, I'll try to do better next time. xx

Jul 9, 2012, 8:49pm Top

Ilana - I am at the start of my day and you are obviously nearing the end of yours! Nice to see you always. x

Jul 9, 2012, 9:07pm Top

Are you saying you're not quivering in your underpants under their steely death stares, Paul? I'll have you know, my henchmen have had the most hardened marines and Zimbabwean guerrillas begging for mercy.

Jul 9, 2012, 9:14pm Top

Hi Paul, I actually preferred Sea of Poppies over River of Smoke although they were both v v good.

Jul 9, 2012, 9:19pm Top

Paul -I'm steady as a rock! LOL. I'll be starting Cross. The 6th Jack Taylor and my first audio of the series, although I have the book handy too!

Jul 9, 2012, 9:28pm Top

Caro - not sure about the underpants - not worn those blighters for ages now!

Bonnie - I am about a third through the sequel so I can't decide yet, but both are good for sure.

Mark - Come in number 5! Will order the second Jack Taylor as they are impossible to get here.

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 10:16pm Top

I wish we lived closer so I could lend you mine. And I wouldn't even need a public library, you have one! LOL. I have one non-Jack Taylor, called A White Arrest, which I still haven't got to. Looks good though.
BTW- I won a copy online somewhere of The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, aka Chinaman. It sounds like a book you would like. I don't know why they changed the title. Have you heard of it?

Jul 10, 2012, 12:24am Top


Jul 10, 2012, 12:42am Top

Wait. What? You're coming to Colorado? :)

Jul 10, 2012, 12:56am Top

Well, I am trying to keep up! I've fallen woefully behind after a busy weekend with little LT time. Paul, when your American tour gets discussed I mentally see a map of the USA with colored pins stuck in haphazardly and zig zag trails leading you all over the continent! (something like the picture below) I'm really looking forward to following along in your planning of this trip. Of course, Hanni and the kids may very well have their own ideas of where you should be going, too.

Jul 10, 2012, 1:28am Top

Mark - Darryl strongly recommended Chinaman and I managed to buy it recently. If I'm not mistaken it won the commonwealth writers prize. The Bruen book I have is called London Boulevard. It would be nice to have some pals close at hand to borrow and lend books with...miss that.

Jenn - You........just.....did!

Joanne - next year all being well. Itinery to be announced in about six months.

Judy - Eyesight is a touch dodgy but I swear I see a few red dots in the pink of Canada! Hani and my tribe will certainly have some ideas of their own.

Jul 10, 2012, 1:59am Top

Oops, I'd forgotten Portland was already on the list...just let my comment underscore what a wise choice it is (as are Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston IMHO -- not to omit my own lovely hometown).

Jul 10, 2012, 2:16am Top

Reba with you and Roni in the area I would have to swing past San Diego somehow.

Jul 10, 2012, 2:33am Top

Great -- San Diego is a wonderful place (although I would be hard pressed to justify it on literary grounds).

Jul 10, 2012, 3:47am Top

Love the map! Could need a few more dots though.....Paul you may have got yourself into a pickle with the sheer numbers of people you will need to visit.....or face the wrath of Caro's henchmen. (oooooh, such ca-ute henchmen!) I have no such henchmen, but you would be a brave man to visit NZ again, and not me :)

I remind myself of a small joke: my good friends dad, called Ross, has a paddock which I helped to plant in grapes a hundred years ago, he now makes wine from these and calls his latest batch "The Grapes of Ross".
I love it.

Jul 10, 2012, 4:04am Top

Reba - Looking at the pictures of the place it justifies a visit on its own grounds.

Megan - You are right I will be fighting a difficult battle to get as many meet-ups as possible and to satisfy SWMBO at the same time.
There is no way that I would visit NZ (South Island) without seeing you and Lenny and hopefully Wilbur and you significant other too, if he ever gets finished with the road system.

Jul 10, 2012, 7:40am Top

Oooh, count me in for a Chicago meet-up, hopefully. Given enough advanced notice, I should be able to swing it, and I'd love to meet you and yours, and all the other LTers in the Chicago-Area Paul Fan Club!

Jul 10, 2012, 7:57am Top

Evening, Paul! Just making sure that I stay caught up with this happening thread! That map that Judy posted is cracking me up - that would be some itinerary. I am exhausted just thinking about it

Jul 10, 2012, 7:59am Top

LOL @ map, too. When is this trip Paul?

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 10:29am Top

you are a popular fellow! Did you imagine when you booked a trip to the US that there would be so many people demanding you to come visit them! :)

Jul 10, 2012, 11:16am Top

Amber - It seems Platteville to Chicago is 185 miles and I would be honoured if you were to drive such a distance to meet up with my bunch of reprobates.

Mamie - I normally make ambitious plans but I couldn't conceive of keeping up with Judys.

Kath - It will be during the kids summer holidays next year - July. Up to six weeks. This will depend on my work commitments and availability of funds!

Chelle - The problem is I have so many pals already how do you an itinery that provides the family with a great holiday and myself with the opportunity of meeting as many of my friends as possible. Who knows Chelle I might be able to make it over the border time and money permitting - Montreal and Vancouver and New Scotland are amongst the places which house a number of pals I would love to meet up with.

Jul 10, 2012, 11:16am Top

Do you play an instrument Paul? Maybe you can hold an American music tour to jazz things up. :)

Jul 10, 2012, 11:19am Top

Its funny Valerie - when younger I used to sing vocals in a Jazz band (a foursome totalling 200 years between them and I was then only 20-22 years old!). Don't think I would sell enough tickets to pay for the trip!

Jul 10, 2012, 5:13pm Top

Hi Paul, everything is fine with me and West Yorks is still swimming with all this wet weather, poor old Hebden Bridge has been flooded for the 2nd time in two weeks, poor buggers. It seems that we are stuck with rain till the end of July at least, just hope the weather turns for the olympics. It's all the bloody jet streams fault by all accounts.

Jul 10, 2012, 6:15pm Top

Hey, we love reprobates! Wow, if you make it to the Chicago area, we'll need to rent a hall, with a proper bar of course.
My latest Jack Taylor, Cross is par for the course, for this excellent series. Bruen rules!

Jul 10, 2012, 8:10pm Top

John - wreaking havoc with the cricket season as well isn't it? Was sad to see that the South African wicket keeper got hit in the eye with a bail yesterday and the injury was so serious that he has had to announce an immediate retirement.

Mark - Bruen did hit the spot earlier in the year and I'm looking forward to getting the second installment.

Jul 10, 2012, 8:11pm Top

Alas, I have no Bruen! Sad really.

Jul 10, 2012, 8:21pm Top

Mamie - I have the problem that he is not regarded at all over here and I have had to order his books. Mark put me on to him last year.

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 9:28pm Top


In the Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee f

I have to say I found this book as disturbing as it was compelling. Written in fiery and brilliant prose the author enters the mind of an extremely skewed individual and traces murder, rape, possession, servitude and certainly madness in droves. The main character is a plain spinster stuck with her widowed father on a farm somewhere deep in the South African hinterland. When the father takes up with his black servant's wife we are not clear whether the narrator is scandalised or jealous. Her breakdown and the depicting of the events that lead from it are fairly gruesome. There is a particularly chilling paragraph near the end involving her and a small boy delivering mail from which I'm still shuddering.
The style is spare but well written with the quirk being that Coetzee numbers all the paragraphs (there are 266 btw).


Jul 10, 2012, 9:19pm Top

Um...no. But your review is beautifully written.

Jul 10, 2012, 9:29pm Top

Mamie - In the Heart of the Country would certainly not be for everyone given the fairly fraught subject matter. I have to say though that Coetzee packed a lot of punch into a very dense 152 pages.

Jul 10, 2012, 10:00pm Top

In my experience Coetzee takes some getting used to. This one sounds more difficult than others I've read, but still intriguing ....

Jul 10, 2012, 10:03pm Top

Your review is compelling, but your description of the subject matter leaves enough disturbing images in my mind that I will carefully pass this one by. :)

Jul 11, 2012, 12:06am Top

Oh why oh why did I let myself fall behind in this thread??? Waaaaiiiiitttttt for meeeee! (Feeling quite smug that I have the opportunity to visit you on your 'home turf', too). I am off to see Richard Ford tomorrow night - thinking I will take Independence Day for him to sign (though I don't know if he is doing any signing...) Told my trainer this morning that I was going to see a Pulitzer winner - 'what's a Pulitzer, he said - didn't really expect him to know, I was just hoping to keep him talking so I would get a longer break between sets! Big hug to you but - like my trainer - PLEASE SLOW this thread DOWN!!

Jul 11, 2012, 12:52am Top

Caro's hench bunny is clearly a killer rabbit, of the same breed that once attacked Jimmy Carter. So be afraid; be very afraid.

But what about NYC?

Jul 11, 2012, 2:12am Top

Laura - it was an impressive but not a pleasant read if you know what I mean.

Valerie - I read The Master of Petersburg years ago and don't remember it being too difficult. This wouldn't be the place to start with Coetzee I can guess.

Prue - Lovely to "see" you my dear. I have seen Richard Ford's new book Canada in the shops here but it is in the large format that I rarely buy, so I'll wait for the paperback. Are you in serious training for your trip to Malaysia?!

Suz - Was the rabbit after the peanuts in his pockets? I have always thought that a rabbit's teeth look uninvitingly sharp.
Couldn't go all the way to the US without going to NYC. This was what I posted earlier in a reply to Donna:
LA-SF-Portland-Chicago-New York-Boston-Philadelphia-Washington-Nashville-New Orleans-Denver-Phoenix-Las Vegas-LA.
I have already agreed to add or arrange diversions to San Diego, Maine and Minneapolis.

Jul 11, 2012, 2:12am Top

>240 PaulCranswick: well. I really want to read that, but talk of the chilling paragraph really puts me off. I can think of about 4 or 5 sentences/paragraphs from separate books that I really wish that I had never read. Violence is the theme there.

So I guess this book is out for me then?

>246 Chatterbox: Paul has got to visit NYC, surely? Its the only place I made a special effort to get to in the US.....it was the art museums, I HAD to!

Jul 11, 2012, 3:01am Top

Megan - nothing actually happens in the paragraph but the thought processes it sets off is disquieting. I would read it though.

NYC has the Strand bookshop that I have heard so much about - if nothing else as well as one of the largest concentrations of 75ers.

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 4:03am Top

Just on the routing -- to cut down on travel time, go from Chicago to Boston, then straight down the Bos/Wash corridor -- you'll go through NY & Philly en route, and Dela-where, should you care. And no, the rhyming was unintentional. Really.

ETA: From LA you can get to San Diego, from Chicago to Minneapolis, and from Boston to Maine. Although I do hope that either you plan to do a lot of flying or have a lot of vacation time set aside...

Jul 11, 2012, 6:38am Top

Thanks Suz - I haven't really looked at the details too much yet, but a bit of local knowledge will certainly help. I may have up to six weeks.

Jul 11, 2012, 6:45am Top

#240 - Wonderful review of In the Heart of the Country. I think you captured it, Paul.

Jul 11, 2012, 8:21am Top

250: and Dela-where, should you care LOL! The state of my employment, but no longer my residence. I think you can give it a miss. NY, Philly, and Wash DC have much more to offer! Baltimore's not half bad though.

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 8:42am Top

The Newhart where he runs the inn in Vermont? That was a brilliant show - I loved it. And forgot all about it until this second.

The Waybury Inn where they filmed it is 30 minutes from MY HOUSE and IS RIGHT NEAR THE HUGE USED BOOKSTORE that I love! Monroe St books, which isn't on Monroe st. HERE. It helps explain the mystery of the (admittedly pocket-sized) airport in East Middlebury - there used to be a polymer research facility nearby (PLASTICS!), plus the tv show, plus Middlebury college.... I guess that was enough to get a little airport (small planes) going. But I've always wondered. Burlington is only 45 minutes from Middlebury.

BTW this is making me think of a really funny moment recently, Knox was talking to a young man who admitted to having just graduated from Cornell with a degree in manufacturing so Knox looked at him and said, "Plastics!" The boy looked utterly confused while I was cracking up, and Knox was ready to, but it was obvious within a moment or two, he'd never seen The Graduate.

Jul 11, 2012, 9:22am Top

If you want to meet up when you're in the Washington DC area, I'm an expert at DC tourism :-)

Jul 11, 2012, 11:26am Top

Paul if you visit both Vermont and Chicago, you'll have hit both Bob Newhart connections (his original 1970s sitcom was set in Chicago ... watched a few reruns recently and was surprised by how funny it still is).

Jul 11, 2012, 12:02pm Top

Thanks Kerri, a male writer giving an extremely unsettling portrayal of a female in an exploration of her sexuality.

Laura - when Suz brought it up it got me humming Perry Como throughout the afternoon. On the subject of song - one of my favourites is Hoagy Carmichael's Baltimore Oriole so I could find a place for that. I may need a year out of work to travel round the country like a sawn-off Jack Reacher drinking as much ale as black coffee, avoiding the casual flings he manages to get embroiled in (SWMBO would just know} and hopefully most of the scrapes (I don't see me taking out half a dozen Rednecks and coming out without so much as a shaving rash).

Lucy - Always enjoyed the wry humour of Bob Newhart. I read a book of his last year and surprisingly hated it but his shows and sketches are great value. Huge bookstore I also like the sound of.
Funnily enough I bought the Graduate on DVD last week.

Nora - I am drawing up a map Judy style placing all my LT friends so I can figure out how to get close enough to see as many of you all as possible. Tour guides with local specialities will of course be welcome.

Laura - I don't remember seeing Newhart's programme in Chicago. Chicago and Vermont are linked of course by Sinatra - My Kind of Town Chicago Is and Moonlight in Vermont were two songs I used to murder sing in my Huddersfield Jazz band many moons ago.

Jul 11, 2012, 12:13pm Top

Jul 14, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Ever since my cousin's hamster bit my finger (presumably mistaking the finger nail for a sunflower seed), I've been nervous of small herbivores with large teeth.

By the way, Paul, if you're planning on visiting the Mall in DC, avoid the Air & Space Museum; no matter what time I go in there, or how short a time I intend to spend there, I never manage to get out until they kick me out at closing time. Of the many times I've been to the Mall, the only time I managed to visit any of the other museums was when I (having finally learned my lesson) resolutely avoided looking at the Air & Space building, and went on to the next museum. Have a great trip!

This topic was continued by Paul's Race to 75 Part 20.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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