Orange is not the only Penguin (book) - charl08 reads #9
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From Monkey and Me one of the many fun books found in my local library.
Books read in 2017 - 151
Last three month's reading: (ish)
A Necessary Evil (M, UK, fiction)
A Chance Encounter (F, Canada, fiction)
Bookshops (Spain, M, non-fiction)
Boxers (US, M, GN)
The Skeleton Road (UK, F, fiction)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (F, US, fiction)
The Life Project (F, UK, history of Science)
L'Origine du Monde (F, Sweden, graphic non-fiction)
The Cold Cold Ground (M, UK, fiction)
Blessed are the Dead (F, Australia, fiction)
Darling Beast ( F, US, fiction)
Leap In (F, UK, non-fiction memoir/sport)
Dearest Rogue (F, US, fiction)
Mai-Tai'd Up (F, US, fiction)
Persuading Austen (F, UK, fiction)
I hear the sirens in the street (M, UK, fiction)
Hold your own (F, UK, poetry)
Prague Nights (M, Ireland, fiction)
The Good Lord Bird (M, US, fiction)
Strange the Dreamer (F, US, fiction)
The Undateable (F, US, fiction)
The Children (F, Colombia, fiction)
The Argonauts (F, US, memoir/ philosophy)
Fall with Me (F, US, fiction)
Milk and Honey (F, Canada, poetry)
Husband by the Hour (F, US, fiction)
When he was Wicked (F, US, fiction)
Shot gun Grooms (ditto)
Married on Demand (ditto)
East West Street (M, UK, history)
The Hawkshead Hostage (F, UK, fiction)
A Rising Man ( M, UK, fiction)
Father in Training (F, US? fiction)
Crimson Lake (F, Australia, fiction)
The Masuda Affair (F, Germany, fiction)
The Long Dry (M, UK, fiction)
Cream of the Crop (F, US, fiction)
It’s in his kiss(F, US, fiction)
Meetings with Remarkable Trees (M, Ireland, natural history)
Just Mercy (M, US, non-fiction- law/memoir)
Burma Chronicles (M, Canada, non-fiction graphic travelogue/ memoir)
The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno for Commissario Ricciardi (M, Italy, fiction)
Saints (M, US, GN)
Dancing With Clara (F, Canada, Novel)
El Deafo (F, US, Graphic memoir)
Witches Abroad (M, UK, fiction)
Blasphemy: new and collected stories (M, US, short stories)
The Patriots (F, Ukraine, novel)
Out of this World (F, UK, novel)
As good as New (F, US, novel)
Spandex and the City (F, UK, novel)
Shenzhen: A travelogue (M, Canada, graphic memoir)
Maigret at Picratt's (M, Belgium, novel)
Flesh and Bone and Water (F, Brazil, novel)
Fever Dream (F, Argentina, novel)
Blanche and Marie (M, Sweden, novel)
The Way to a Duke's Heart (F, US, novel)
Barbara the Slut (F, US, short stories)
Truevine (F, US, history/ biography)
For Your Arms Only (F, US, fiction)
Our Holocaust (M, Israel, fiction)
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (M, US, novel)
The Unaccompanied (M, UK, poetry)
Rogue's Downfall (F, US, fiction)
Victorians Undone (F, UK, non-fiction, history)
Out of Bounds (F, UK, fiction)
The Best We Could Do (F, US, graphic memoir)
Anything is Possible (F, US, fiction)
Hostage by Guy Delisle (M, Canada, Graphic Biography)
Blame it on Bath (F, UK, novel)
Swell: a waterbiography (F, UK, memoir/ history)
Unexploded (F, Canada, novel)
The Good People (F, Australia, novel)
The Brittle Star (F, UK, novel)
In a Lonely Place (F, US, novel)
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After (F, UK, novel)
First Love (F, UK, novel)
Dancing the Death Drill (M, South Africa, novel)
On a Chinese Screen (M, UK, short stories)
Cheese (M, Netherlands, fiction)
Date at the Altar (F, US, fiction)
Roads to Berlin (M, Netherlands, travel/ memoir)
Waterlog (M, UK, travel/sport)
Sister Noon (F, US, novel)
Spaceman of Bohemia (M, Czech Republic, novel)
One Hundred Nights of Hero (F, UK, graphic novel)
On Friday the Rabbi Slept In (M, US, novel)
Penguin Modern Poets Three (Multiple authors, poetry)
The Idiot (F, US, fiction)
Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry (M, US, fiction)
Sunday the Rabbi stayed Home (as above)
The Serpent Prince (F, US, fiction)
Australasia 1 Latin America 1, US & Canada 11 Europe 11 ( UK 8)
Library 12 Mine 12
Fiction 18 Non-Fiction 5 Poetry 1
US & Canada 9 Europe 8 (UK 5 ) Australia 1
Library 18 Mine 4
Fiction 16 Poetry 1 Non-Fiction 5
F15 M 7
Europe 8 (UK 5) US & Canada 11 Latin America 2 Middle East 1
Library 17 Netgalley 2 Mine 3
Fiction 17 Non-fiction 4 Poetry 1
F13 M9 (+1 multiple authors)
Europe 11 (UK 8) US & Canada 9 Australia 1 South Africa 1 (+1 multiple authors)
Fiction 19 Non-Fiction 3 Poetry 1
Library 10 Netgalley 3 Mine 10
For Jan/Feb see http://www.librarything.com/topic/254233
1. Last year I read over 300 books: I'd like to do the same this year.
2. Read Harder Challenge (Bookriot) 16 down...
Read a book you’ve read before.
Read a nonfiction book about technology.
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
Read a classic by an author of color.
Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel
Read a book published by a micropress.
Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
Happy Sunday and congrats on your shiny new thread, Charlotte. I missed a lot of your previous thread and I hope doing better on this one.
Copying this review Iver from the previous thread - it's a great book and Is be intrigued to know how many had heard of it (I hadn't)
The Long Dry
This was recommended by Rachel (whose user name I can't spell: atakuac? Eta aktakukac) I shall go and check. It's short but packs a powerful punch. A man is looking for a lost cow on his farm. His teenaged son enjoys driving a van load of ducks to a new pond. His wife has a terrible migraine and regret. The vet comes to put down their elderly dog, suffering with an inoperable tumour. It sounds very humdrum but the writing is beautiful, the characters (and the farming couple's marriage) beautifully observed, full of cracks and rough places. The natural world of the farm, from swallows to the hedges is described in quiet detail. And humour there too. I want to quote the whole book but shall try and settle for just a few.
The harder mountains to the north stood out then, like knuckles at arm's length in front of your eyes and the mist ran down from them, rolling onto the log sea until it turned to cloud and lifted into the sky. The sea was like wet glass in the sun.
Happy new thread, Charlotte. I have heard great things of Cynan Jones.
Happy New Thread, Charlotte!
I love how you find new penguin images each time and they are not just penguin images; they are truly interesting penguin images!
Happy new thread, Charlotte. What Ellen said about the penguins - who knew there were so many interesting images?
>9 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. I've just noticed the little penguin on the right and the fish are eyeing each other. I'd missed that earlier.
>10 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Not me, for sure. But I'm glad to find them. This one I picked up because the children I volunteer with were thin on the ground on Friday.
Beautiful day today and roses have opened.
(The white one smells amazing)
The books I picked up whilst waiting weren't all penguin related. This one was adorable, about a puppy with obedience problems (I will love you anyway)
>13 BLBera: Very cute, with a lovely relationship between the puppy and the child.
>14 Berly: Hey Kim. Did you finish the scrabble challenge yet? That one stumped me.
>15 drneutron: Thanks Doc! Anymore celebrity space appearances to report?
>16 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. Only just made it to the new one in a day of much needed catch up zzz's.
I think I'm going to take a few days off - interview tomorrow, so more reads unlikely! :-)
Waving feebly hello. Headaches and heat have sidelined me, to the point where I'm limited to listening to The Far Pavilions on audiobook. LOL...
Is the Matthew Carr book just being released in the UK, do you know, or is there a revised edition? This may prompt me to finally read it. It came out a while ago -- 2009 or 2010, I think.
The collecting book sounds fascinating, although I do hope it was a reviewer slipup to misspell Sir John Soane's name as Sloane. Anyone who is in London: DO go to his house (tucked away behind the Law Courts); it is utterly fascinating. I've been a few times just to prowl around, and once for a work event, when we had a part of it to ourselves. It's like a giant validation for clutterbugs.
Happy New Thread, Charlotte.
That Cynan Jones book sounds good. I like those excerpts.
Happy new one, Charlotte! Thinking of you and wishing you happy. Those roses are so pretty!
Happy new thread, Charlotte!
I love the topper, the roses and the pictures in >12 charl08:
happy new thread! The roses are beautiful.
>12 charl08: That book looks like fun.
>18 Familyhistorian: As you were - nothing to see here! Not my finest hour. Onwards and upwards. Well, onwards, anyway.
>19 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. I love their scent.
>20 Chatterbox: I think you were thinking of a different collector, Suzanne. This is from the British Museum website http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/the_museums_story/general_history/sir_hans...
As you said, Blood and Faith is a new paperback edition of the original book.
Interesting article about the book here
>21 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I really loved that book! 5 stars.
>22 avatiakh: I'm hoping it comes to my local library soon.
Meetings with Remarkable Trees.
I loved this big coffee table book about trees across the UK. Big high quality pictures of ancient trees, with some interesting stories. They're a bit heavy on the toff factor, but as old houses tend to have old trees, I suppose I could let him off. I agree with his point that we need to take better care of old trees - here's some recent news about a campaign to save the Macbeth trees.
>29 charl08: That looks like a great book to browse through, Charlotte. Old trees can be quite majestic, aren't they?
>30 rosalita: It was a lovely book to browse through Julia - nothing too demanding.
Reading Beartown/ The Scandal - in the UK. I liked this quote.
Thanks Mamie. Bit of a sad/disappointing day for me - I didn't get the more senior job I applied for. I wasn't expecting to get it, but it would have been nice!
Picked up The Bottom of Your Heart , a Commissario Ricciardi novel: I quite fancy a Sicilian sea view about now...
Wow. This was a powerful read about the horrors of the American death penalty, and prison system more widely, and how Bryan, with other lawyers, has fought to overturn unfair convictions. His approach, using personal stories of people caught up in the prison system, makes the terrifying injustices very real. I liked the way he acknowledged that the work of his law firm is only part of a long term fight for civil rights, particularly in referencing the work of Rosa Parks and her generation.
Thanks to everyone who raved about this book - and can I recommend the documentary series that looks at young people on death row. Similarly frightening stuff.
I bought four books on the Verso website. I blame Susan for this, as she introduced me to the site.
Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis, paperback / softback, 9781784786625
Rebel Crossings by Sheila Rowbotham
In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Žižek, paperback / softback, 9781786630797
Threads: from the refugee crisis by Kate Evans
They were all discounted, but really it was quite silly as I have plenty to read.
Most excited about Threads, which I've read about- a graphic memoir about working with refugees in Calais.
This was recommended by Joe and my library managed to get me a copy on interlibrary loan.
Fascinating look at Burma before 'The Lady' was released, and things were looking very bleak indeed. As with a couple of his travelogues, his wife's MSF access makes his perspective much more interesting than a 'regular' traveller, from the HIV clinic to the ngo rumour mill.
Here he attempts a retreat...
And I swam today. The much missed (by me) swimming ticker is back (I'm thinking it may take 4 years at this rate!)
>42 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I had a a moment where I got all excited about the travel possibilities of a more senior role, but will just have to get on with what I have! Hopefully Threads will be translated widely - seems like an issue the whole of Europe should be reading about.
>43 jnwelch: I think Im going to leave Delisle for a bit now, as I've read a few close together and I'd rather space them out and appreciate them.
There was a sale on the Threads publisher's website Joe. Just saying...
>44 LovingLit: I enjoy all the different graphic styles (eta that I've read so far). One of the fun things about Delisle - he quite often mentions and "quotes" other styles in his books.
I heard my name, so I had to come over in case someone was reading stuff out of order.
Yay for book purchases! Rebel Crossings looks excellent. It's the one I had out of the library but had to return due to lack of focus for such a big book in the time available I'd like to get it again at some point, though.
Sorry about the job, Charlotte. But onwards!
So sorry you didn't get the job.
So impressed that you read 300 books!!!
Sorry you didn't get the job, Charlotte. Both of the graphics look great.
Nice book haul. I may have to check out the site...
>46 susanj67: Nope, no misbehaving reading books out of order, just ordering lots of books...
>47 sibyx: Thanks! Nowhere near that this year! I'll have to work a lot harder (or can anyone recommend some Really Short books?!! :-)
>48 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I really like that they give you a digital version when you buy the hard copy. Travel problems solved...
Oh, that interview. Sorry you didn't get the job, Charlotte, but the main thing is you got the last one and probably will get the next one too. I have Burma Chronicles on my shelf. I am happy to see that you liked that one.
Yes, it's quite a relief to come out of a job interview and think that if it doesn't work out, you still have a job...
Makes it a lot easier to take, doesn't it? Have a great weekend, Charlotte.
The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno is proving a bit long winded, so I'm glad to have the reviews to look at instead!
Everything from www.guardian.co.uk/books
The Secret Life by Andrew O’Hagan reviewed by Andy Beckett
"O’Hagan describes the initial stages of his descent into the Assange vortex with a lovely wit and confidence: “I got to Ellingham Hall … I’d been told there were journalists everywhere and indeed there were lights around the fields and sometimes helicopters overhead. I looked at the driveway under a full moon. It felt almost comically filmic ... character and power waiting to combust.”"
Essayism by Brian Dillon reviewed by Lauren Elkin
"Dillon suggests that we cannot define the essay, but that we might more productively gesture at some quality of essayism: a certain texture, a style, a voice, an “experiment in attention”. The essay will – and by its nature must – always resist attempts to pin it down. It refuses to be contained by any neat summary; it is “diverse and several – it teems"
Selfie by Will Storr reviewed by Steven Poole
"As one scientist remarks: “Actually people with high self-esteem are pretty insufferable.” Which is unfortunate if true, because for decades it was official policy to increase it for everyone."
The Way of the Hare by Marianne Taylor reviewed by Alex Preston
"...a remarkably old-fashioned book, and reminded me less of “the new nature writing” than of another publishing phenomenon – the Collins New Naturalist Library, launched in 1945 with EB Ford’s Butterflies, and still going strong (Richard Sale’s magnificent Falcons was published last year). I’ve always loved these precise and recondite books in which eminent scientists delve deeply into the lives of animals, or bring landscapes to life through profound engagement with history and ecology. Taylor is a scientist, an ornithologist who has written several RSPB field guides. In The Way of the Hare, we get little in the way of transformative personal narrative or poetic reverie, but we learn a hell of a lot about hares."
No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein reviewed by Hari Kunzru
"...dissects the values of the Trump brand, noting that it doesn’t stand for quality or innovation or taste, but for “richness” itself, associating the consumer with wealth in its most direct and uninflected form."
A Bold and Dangerous Family by Caroline Moorehead reviewed by Alex Preston
"Like any good biography, A Bold and Dangerous Family is about far more than its subjects, and it’s hard not to feel regular little shivers of horrified contemporary recognition at the rise of the populist demagogue Mussolini. It’s a book about resistance and valour, about Italian life and the uniquely integrated place of the Jewish community within it. Moorehead moves breezily through the history, grounding it in the lives of her protagonists, dropping the reader into key events, so that we feel as an almost personal outrage the lurch from the optimism and inclusiveness of the Risorgimento to the brutality of Mussolini’s rule."
The Way of the Hare stands out for me there Charlotte.
Have a lovely weekend. xx
It sounds like a lot of hare- raising reading, Paul... (sorry)*
The books from Verso have arrived, and the Alexie. Bookish dilemma - stay home and read new books or go out to get more books?!! I definitely need a month without reserving anything!
*but not that sorry!
Always a difficult decision, reading books or getting more of them ;-)
I currently have no physical library books at home, managed to finish them all before we went on vacation. Only 2 e-books from the library and they turn themselves in.
Today seems to be book delivery day: Butterfly Burning turned up too :-)
>59 BLBera: Thanks Beth! Too much choice right now!
The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno for Commissario Ricciardi (M, Italy, fiction)
This felt a bit long, and I was confused by the back story plot until I realised that this was book 7 not book 3 (I thought it was a series of 4 seasons, but I suspect that the books sold better than expected! ) I was far more interested in the detective's romantic resolution, and felt
Saints (M, US, GN)
One of a pair of GNs set in the time of the Boxer rebellion in China when Chinese groups killed missionaries and Christian converts. A young convert sees scenes from the life of Joan of Arc in France. It's an interesting choice: there's no 'rational' explanation presented- she just sees visions.There's another book that tells the story of one of the Boxer group members who appears here very briefly.
Happy Saturday Charlotte. I am most impressed with all the books you read! And, the fact ath you read 300 books last year is astounding.
>62 BLBera: I love the way these books get me interested in periods of history I've never really thought about before. Although I still have to *do* the reading!
>63 banjo123: Well worth it Rhonda: I skimmed an academic blog talking about gender representations in Boxers/ Saints, but got a bit turned off by the author of the post's referring to Yang's American influences. D'oh. He wrote a memoir called American Born Chinese! I must be missing something.
>64 Whisper1: Well I'm taking influences from the picture book readers on LT...
Guardian reviews fiction
All from www.guardian.co.uk/books
The Cut by Anthony Cartwright reviewed by Jude Cook
"...unique in that it was commissioned by Peirene (better known for short fiction in translation) specifically to explore Brexit..."
Pages for Her by Sylvia Brownrigg reviewed by Stevie Davies
"...explores problems of sexual politics, bisexuality and authorship. Like its predecessor, it opens in the autumn, this time on the west coast: “There was no fall in California ... a problem for Flannery.” She cannot accommodate to the seasonal “ambiguities” of California’s weather, a miasma of fog and sun – a symbol for her own ambivalence and loss of bearings in a dissatisfying heterosexual relationship, as wife, mother and faltering author."
The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris reviewed by Marcel Theroux
"...presents a bouquet of egregious male doofuses..."
Angel Hill by Michael Longley reviewed by Fran Brearton
"...the elegist and self-elegist par excellence of his generation"
Tiny Dinosaurs by Joel Stewart reviewed by Imogen Carter
"...bursts with entertaining scenes, not least when the duo play the “dino dress-up game” and transform Rex into a scrappy triceratops using three taped-on loo roll tubes. "
Tiny Dinosaurs looks like fun Beth. I've been helping with the annual open garden event held on our street. So tired now!
Such a pretty garden:
I always hope that spending time in such a great garden will help me to improve my own, but I'm not sure that has happened yet! Have a great week everyone.
>54 charl08: Ooooh, I hadn't realised Naomi Klein had a new book out! (No Is Not Enough) Which reminds me, I got her climate change and capitalism one for my birthday 3 (4!??!) years ago, and am still *officially* reading it!
>72 LovingLit: The review mentions it must have been written quite quickly, to deal with the election of Trump. So interesting to see what kind of content it delivers. Climate change and capitalism eh? Sounds like good links to your field...
>61 charl08: Looks like a good read. I probably will never get to it, but I can always look at it and say maybe someday lol.
>74 The_Hibernator: It was a pretty quick read Rachel...
>75 weird_O: Oh I love those early penguin graphics Bill. Thanks for stopping by!
This seems a bit worrying...
The TSA is testing new requirements that passengers remove books and other paper goods from their carry-on baggage when going through airline security. Given the sensitivity of our reading choices, this raises privacy concerns...
>76 charl08: - Don't get me started on the TSA. I loathe and detest it for a whole cornucopia of reasons, and this is just the latest. The American Civil Liberties Union is already threatening to take them to court, and I don't think the government has a leg to stand on. Just another over-reach in the effort to fool people into thinking they are safer when they aren't (and to justify a bloated bureaucracy).
ETA: Just saw your link was from the ACLU :-P
>77 katiekrug: Don't feel you have to hold back there Katie!
El Deafo came in at the library - such a sweet book, I'm enjoying it very much. Thanks to everyone who recommended it.
ETA oh I think this is the next book that I foist on all my friends with kids. Such a lovely story about a little girl who finds a way to make sense of her deafness through an imaginary superhero character.
It was a fun one Joe. Chalk up another success to the LT grapevine!
Still reading Blasphemy: new and selected stories
Some really punchy stories here.
"Well you should be more careful where you drive," the officer said. " You're making people nervous. You don't fit the profile of the neighbourhood."
Hooray for El Deafo! It is such a sweet gem. I really like Delise, but I have not read Burma Chronicles. I NEED to correct that oversight.
I did LOVE the Boxer & Saints GNs.
And speaking of GNs, I am nearly done with The One Hundred Nights of Hero. Greenberg has really burst on to the scene. 2 terrific ones in a row.
I loved El Deafo as well. It's on Scout's future reading shelf.
I love Alexie!
>81 msf59: It was fascinating to read about Burma, Mark. I do like the way he acknowledged his own limits too, eg great ideas about protesting but sleeping in instead...
>82 BLBera: I'm rather jealous of Scout's shelf Beth! I saw some shoes with pom poms on the toes yesterday evening that I wondered if she might approve of ...
I've fallen down a net black hole the last couple of nights : need to get back to the books.
A little more swimming
I've just been reading a chapter of Bookshops in the staffroom (it has a fancy name, but I forget), a haven with spare seats. The campus is mad today as we have an open day for prospective students to come check out stands from unis across the country. Lots of kids with free stuff wandering around, but I couldn't find my old institutions in my cursory wander around, to try and get anything, so harumph to that. Bookshops is a lovely book that I want to own though (unlike a free bag from Newcastle Uni, or an inflatable balloon/ ball from unidentified institution). I just read a chapter on bookshops in Tangier that makes me want to go - he includes pictures of booksellers' cards as well as the shops themselves which are all rather nice.
From the NYT Blog
I've been listening to Nigel Planer's narration of Witches Abroad which rather made me smile as I listened on my way to and from work. I particularly enjoyed the bad translations of "foreign", the mysterious disappearance of Dracula and the postcards home. Casanunder made me laugh too.
Bookshops sounds fascinating. I'll have to try to find a copy.
Scout would probably like pom poms on shoes -- she likes shoes with glitter although she wore her lion slippers with a fancy dress to a wedding last weekend. It was hilarious.
I have a baby shower for a niece-in-law this weekend and plan to ask Scout for book recommendations. Angie, the mom to be, asked for favorite books.
>68 charl08: Wonderful picture of the garden from your street open event. Beautiful!
>86 BLBera: This is more my budget level - topshop, so the pompoms are fashionable too...
Ooh favourite books. That sounds like my kind of shower.
>87 FAMeulstee: Pigeon I think Anita - I was so amused by the rabbit making the best of the quiet no-student months I kind of ignored it. We do have more exciting birds on campus- there was a buzzard last week - but I rarely get my phone out in time!
>88 mdoris: Mary it's a lovely garden and they raised a lot of money for charity, so win win I think.
I started reading the new Abir Mukherjee book A Necessary Evil last night, and then promptly fell asleep. It's been a long week and I am hoping to pass out early tonight so that I'm in a fit state for some proper gardening over the weekend. Lots of tidying up and weeding required.
>73 charl08: quickly written books sometimes come across as quickly written books, if you know what I mean. It will be interesting to see how it reads!
>90 LovingLit: Yup, although the Ali Smith book that seemed very quickly produced was wonderful, so there is hope...
>76 charl08:, >77 katiekrug: Ugh. The TSA. I second Katie's rant. Particularly the illusion of safety part. It's humiliating and invasive to travel, but what can you do? It certainly isn't worth fussing and getting stuck in a windowless room with a TSA employee savoring their moment of power. I hope they do get taken to court.
>92 nittnut: I always try to be as friendly as possible when going through security. At some point someone’s going to see it as suspicious behaviour...
I'm still reading the short stories in Blasphemy loved this quote: of a character who reads a lot: "She wanted to be buried in a coffin full of used paperbacks."
ETA: Finished! What a great read. Highly recommended.
I do love these lists, although the idea of a summer of reading is not my reality (sadly)!
Tessa Hadley recommends Rotten Row which is good because I've already read that...
I want to read Go, Went, Gone recommended by Jenny Hendrix (although I suspect she will be disappointed in Modiano as a crime fiction writer for the beach (but what do I know?).
I am tempted by The Seabird's Cry: the lives and loves of puffins which Sam Leith suggests.
I am rather jealous of Phillipe Sands who says he went to Franshoek lit fest and suggests Chasing the Tail of My Father's Cattle and a memoir My own Liberator about a Robben Islander prisoner who is now a supreme Court judge. I'm feeling good that I have already read Dancing the Death Drill.
Hirsh Sawney recommends Dance of the the Jacaranda set in colonial Kenya. And Daniel Trilling recommends Asylum after Empire: colonial legacies in the politics of asylum making. Maybe I can get a copy through work- sounds like something people should be reading.
I rather like the sound too of Longthroat Memoirs about Nigerian cuisine, recommended by Bee Wilson. (When I went to add it, I had it already!)
Guardian reviews fiction
A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee reviewed by Andrew Motion
"The sound of grief is audible everywhere in A Sense of Freedom, but it never drowns out the voices insisting on their right to thrive."
Not really calling to me.
Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre reviewed by Eimear McBride
"...courtesy of the relatively new but already impressive indie press Les Fugitives. Its commitment to making the work of hitherto untranslated French female authors available in English is a heartening crusade in these dark times. So far it has given us Nathalie Léger’s fascinating, genre-bending Suite for Barbara Loden and Ananda Devi’s excellent Eve Out of Her Ruins. Blue Self-Portrait is the third book in its publications list."
I hadn't heard of any of these...
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy reviewed by Julie Myerson
"Once the children are gone, everything accelerates and the plot unfurls swiftly and sleekly with chapters moving back and forth between adults and children with barely a viewpoint left unturned. As one queasy event follows another, it becomes clear that Meloy is not going to spare us..."
Broken River by J Robert Lennon reviewed by Stuart Kelly
"We are in a backwoods place near a rust-belt kind of town; bad things have happened, and will happen."
Never been a fan of horror.
Blind Spot by Teju Cole reviewed by R.O. Kwon
"I was initially drawn to Blind Spot less for its 150-plus photos from dozens of countries than for its text, the short paragraph or two – at times, just a couple of sentences – accompanying each image. I’ve sought out Cole’s writing since 2011, when I first read his novel Open City,"
The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English reviewed by William Dalrymple
"For African historians, the realisation during the late 1990s of the full scale of Timbuktu’s intellectual heritage was the equivalent of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls for scholars of Judaism in the 1950s. When the African American academic Henry Louis Gates Jr visited Timbuktu in 1997 he actually burst into tears at the discovery of the extraordinary literary riches. He had always taught his Harvard students that “there was no written history in Africa, that it was all oral. Now that he had seen these manuscripts, everything had changed.”"
Roots, Radicals and Rockers by Billy Bragg reviewed by Richard Williams
"The thousands of newly formed skiffle groups around the UK that year involved Cliff Richard, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Gerry Marsden, Billy J Kramer, Roger Daltrey and Paul Jones, each of them taking his first steps towards a life in music by absorbing the vernacular music of the descendants of African slaves. Donegan, who was on his way to mainstream popularity, saw his fan club enrol more than 2,000 members. They included this writer, whose memories of 1957 include a school summer fete opened by the Battle of Britain fighter ace “Johnnie” Johnson, a former pupil. Al fresco entertainment was provided by a skiffle group under the leadership of a fifth-former, Viv Prince, later the drummer with the Pretty Things. The event was a near-perfect example of the dissonant cultural forces at play in Britain as postwar austerity faded away."
American Heiress: The Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin reviewed by Rachel Cooke
"...by my count, there are already more than a dozen nonfiction books about her, not to mention two novels, her own memoir, a feature film, several documentaries, numerous academic papers and – the eyes widen – two porn movies. Why, you might wonder, would anyone want to go there again?"
First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten reviewed by Chris Mullen
"This is a man who has had his fingers in many pies. Not for nothing was he labelled by sketch writers the Grand Poobah."
Thanks for sharing the Guardian revievs, Charlotte, no BB for me as none is translated yet...
>96 charl08: There is another book about the people who rescued the books of Timbuktu?
Having read Teju Cole's essays about photography, not so much interested in this new book. I've seen some of his photographs and while some are good, other are just interesting illustrations to what he wants to talk or think about. So -- no, not for me. I've got American Heiress sitting here, because everyone has said it's fascinating. Maybe I should read it now, because it's clearly a hot weather kind of book.
Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte :-) Those all sound quite gloomy, which is good because I've just read the latest issue of the BBC History magazine and wishlisted numerous things from that...
I hope your weekend is going well and the gardening is all done. I'm about 75% of the way through the second Mukherjee book *looks around for Mamie and Katie - finds coast clear* and I've started the new Dalrymple one about the Koh-i-Noor diamond too, so I have an Indian theme at the moment.
I love your work rabbit up there :-)
>97 FAMeulstee: I'm never sure whether to commiserate or suggest that the gap in translation gives you more time to catch up ... not that you need that given your reading rate just now! More thinking in terms of my own anxieties about library reservations!
>98 Chatterbox: I like Teju Cole's writing but the photography (especially of Europe) does little for me. His images of Lagos streets I find fascinating.
I'm not sure why they got Dalrymple to review the Timbuktu book. All exotic places are the same, right?! Big sigh.
>99 susanj67: ha! Just a few things from the BBC magazine Susan? Can to elaborate? I have four books from Verso sitting looking at me in a mournful fashion... why aren't you reading us?
>100 charl08: Well, Dalrymple is a travel writer and part of one of those London-based explorer's clubs, so that may be why. On the other hand, the book itself sounds exactly like a re-tread of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which came out last year, so I wonder what's going to be new here? I certainly won't pay $$ for it... It's out here under the title of The Storied City; I suppose the other title would have been too close to Joshua Hammer's book. The latter had its flaws, but still.
>101 Chatterbox: Mmm, a travel writer and historian of India, no? My theory is they meant to ask William Boyd and were too embarrassed to admit the mistake. And of course there are no women who write about West Africa...
I am hoping that English's book might be easier for me to find, as the Hammer book doesn't seem to be available via my library.
Hoping to take it very easy today and do little more than drink coffee and read - was trying to tidy up the garden for visitors yesterday pm. Weeding is not my favourite thing!
>100 charl08: Charlotte, since you asked: :-)
The Women Who Flew for Hitler by Clare Mulley
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney
The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton
Ulverton by Adam Thorpe (mentioned in a side box about novels spanning the centuries, as the main book was The Outcasts of Time, which I have already reserved. I'd read the other two books in the box, so that was a lucky escape :-) (Edward Rutherfurd's London and Annie Proulx's Barkskins))
And from another history mag:
Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick
London's Triumph by Stephen Alford
I see your point about the Dalrymple review, and I like your William Boyd theory :-)
Happy Sunday to you Charlotte! I'm not even going to peek at the Guardian titles, ok, I did peek a little but no bb's yeah!
Happy Sunday Charlotte. Thanks for the reviews. I can resist this week, I think.
A Necessary Evil (M, UK, fiction)
Next installment of this crime series set after the first world war in 'Raj' India... I had no idea who did it, and liked that this book was set outside Calcutta.
A Chance Encounter (F, Canada, fiction)
I'm rediscovering Mary Balogh, gentle reading which is newly available on Kindle. This one relied rather obviously on people not talking to each other, but was sufficiently full of comic relief for the *argh, just talk to each other* factor not to cause throwing book across room. Kind of a mash up of Persuasion and P&P plots, difficult to pull off. All the way along there is a lovely running joke between the heroine and the father of the house about the ridiculousness of the Cinderella plot, which was a nice touch.
Still reading Bookshops - the author discusses US shops. Were the beats good customers? (Er, this one is not so hard)
>103 PaulCranswick: I do like the idea of you and the Timbuktu booksavers meeting up at eg a conference and discussing book smuggling strategies :-)
>104 susanj67: Just a few then Susan (keeping quiet about how few I have ordered lately...) Looking forward to hearing the truth about the pirates then.
>105 Carmenere: >106 BLBera: Impressive resistance then ladies! Kudos to you both.
Oof, I feel like this work conference is Kicking my rear-end... I can't wait until a week tomorrow, when I will sleep in and worry about something else entirely...
Hoping to finish Bookshops tonight and maybe even Boxers, as time and the reservations shelf waits for no woman.
Bookshops listed in Bookshops
El Pendulo (chain? Mexico)
The Last Bookshop, (Los Angeles)
La Central, Barcelona
Ler Devarger, Lisbon
10 Corso Como, Milan... Lots more.
I was a bit annoyed that my favourite bookshops weren't made more of, but this is very much a Spanish language book. I want my own copy!
Banging and booming. Hooting and Hollering.
Have some Fourth of July hi-jinks from your American cousins.
Thanks Bill. I'm enjoying the 'Malia Obama Day' meme going round. Nice idea.
I finished Boxers last night, the GN pair to Saints that I read last month. This was a much weightier book, as the hero's development from village weakling to hero and leader of the anti-imperialist army is a much more detailed one. I loved the Chinese opera characters that the fighters transformed into each time they fought - beautifully designed and wonderful to look at.
I liked Bookshops a lot but I think that it would have been better reading if I had a bit more brainspace: at the moment my tolerance for philosophical musings about the nature of the bookshop (as opposed to a summary of what the shop is like!) seems to be pretty low. I did think the idea that bookshops are trying to create an internet-like open space where lots of things are going on (instead of a bookshaped space with as many shelves as possible crammed into a tiny shop) an interesting one...
The last bookshop, LA.
>113 FAMeulstee: I think so Anita - there's not a lot of text and I find the images (eta: help) a lot (I've read a few in French). I think Boxers should be read first (yes, I read in their wrong order again!)
Still feeling pretty stressed out - looking forward to Wednesday and a chance to recover from conferencing.
>115 charl08: Probably, but I still would fear they might fall down ;-)
The garden (that's not quite the right name) looks so lovely!
I like that photo of the bookshop in LA but how does one access those books??????
I'm not sure you're supposed to touch those books, let alone access them ...
I'm still reading The Skeleton Road. At some point presumably I will be able to keep my eyes open long enough ...
Sounds like you are keeping plenty busy, Charlotte. No summer slow down for you?
>120 Oberon: It's a beautiful book- as in Saints, the choice to go full on magical realism makes for some striking images.
>121 ronincats: I've got leave coming up and I am looking forward to chilling out then.
>122 jnwelch: Joe, I want to get my hands on that one. So many GNs, so little time...
Skeleton Road is proving annoying. I want to skip the flashback sections altogether. Is this book worth sticking with?
>123 charl08: Magical realism fit this story quite well I thought. I certainly can't think of a better way to rationalize a belief of invincibility to firearms without engaging in a form of mass delusion or using narcotics.
An odd time for China that seemed more understandable using a GN format.
>124 Oberon: I hadn't realised it was drugs! That makes more sense. Although not of the lass in Saints seeing Joan of Arc...
Finished The Skeleton Road. I really like Karen Pirie as a character, and the story of the two useless lawyers desperately trying to save their careers was entertaining, as it was clear they deserved little sympathy. The self-indulgent "memoir" of an academic looking back at her time under siege in Dubrovnik - and I realise that it was deliberately done - drove me up the wall and I skimmed the last few.
Now reading The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley - strong start. I know other LTers recommended this so I feel in safe hands...
Guardian Reviews Non-fiction
I've been to the allotment, and my dad and I have picked Even More blackcurrants - hope this year we're going to have enough sauce to last us until Xmas dessert season :-)
Oh, I do love a summer books list -
I've been distracted by the LRB which includes a long review by Sheila Heti of The First Wife by Paulina Chiziane which makes me want to pick it up. At one point when I was unemployed I was trying to teach myself Portuguese, and I am tempted, despite previous, disheartening (and unfinished) attempts, to buy it in English and Portuguese and see how far I get in the original.
This is a tight month - I'll add it to the wishlist for next.
Why was I posting? Oh yes, Guardian Fiction reviews -
Modern Gods by Nick Laird
"...a richly textured geography of the human need to believe in something..."
Madame Zero by Sarah Hall reviewed by Kate Clanchy
"The opening story of Sarah Hall’s new collection, Madame Zero, won the BBC National Short Story award. It’s called “Mrs Fox”, and in it, a young married woman undergoes a transformation. This may sound soothingly familiar: after all, David Garnett’s story “Lady into Fox” follows the same theme and was made into a film and a ballet... and we’ve all heard the term foxy lady. But Hall’s lady doesn’t turn into any of those anthropomorphic creatures. She isn’t a piquet-playing, clothes-wearing fox, nor a ladylike, balletic fox: she is an actual fox..."
I heard this story read on the radio - it is so creepy. Argh I think I have an ARC of the book to read... Behind! Behind!
To Kill the President by Sam Bourne reviewed by Mark Lawson
"...a White House legal aide spots a plot to murder a recently elected controversialist president who, though never named, seems familiar."
Will You Walk a Little Faster? by Penelope Shuttle reviewed by Kate Kellaway (Poetry)
"...an unbossy, contemplative, unmistakable voice. She leads you quietly and helps you see things – London especially – afresh. "
I am not sure I should look at any summer book lists, but I probably will anyway. :) Happy weekend.
Interesting summer lists. Several of the nonfiction books sound good this week as well.
Glad you are loving Samuel Hawley.
Yum, blackcurrants! This may solve your glut of berries: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/meals-and-courses/desserts/blackcurrant-ice-c...
I found the Guardian NF reviews and reserved two of them. I blame you and Beth for this. I would have got the ones about sharks too, but the library seems to be tardy in getting them.
I hope your day is sunny again - I am looking forward to some balcony time, particularly as the scaffolding for the external building works hasn't reached me yet.
Happy Sunday, Charlotte! The story collection by Sarah Hall looks intriguing - might have to get that one.
>134 Ameise1: Welcome Barbara. You have been missed.
>135 Crazymamie: I love Sarah Hall, Mamie. Hope you can find a copy.
I've just had blackcurrant and ice-cream and am trying not to get nervous about the event at work tomorrow and Tuesday. Mostly failing on that one! Finding The Life Project fascinating. How scientists have struggled to get funding for cohort studies in the UK, and how those studies have been used to argue / debate the impact of class and poverty.
I finished this look at cohort studies in the UK. The author is clearly won over by the approach, so the funding decisions- including to cancel the latest study altogether, seem bonkers. Reading about the early science really emphasised how little was known - the impact of smoking on babies, for example. A well written piece of popular science.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Charlotte. Like you, I was amazed at all the things we now know as a result of these studies. I don't know where I'd assumed the knowledge came from. But I suppose they're something else that we allegedly can't afford any more.
I hope your work thing goes well. Nearly Wednesday!
Good luck with the work thing. I'm sure it will go well.
Yum for blackcurrants.
I made several batches of strawberry jam, most went to my daughter.
>131 susanj67: Why does Susan blame me?
>138 susanj67: Thanks Susan. It's tempting to think people in government went off research informed policy when it stopped agreeing with what they wanted... I feel so sad about the sure start centres, such a good idea for little ones.
>139 BLBera: Not a fan of strawberry jam (although I would imagine Scout is a fan ?). Hoping there is some blackberry as well as blackcurrant in my future.
And re Susan's comment - I think you did mention non-fiction up there...!!
I've been snoozing, despite best intentions of going walking. In between picked up my Swedish GN (which was only available in French - L'Origin de Monde). Except I'm hopelessly lost - will have to look up half of the text!
Yes, Scout is a fan of strawberry jam. I like homemade strawberry; the stuff from the stores is too sweet and doesn't taste like strawberries.
Mmm, books and berries. Your thread is making me hungry, Charlotte.
Hi Charlotte! Long time no see! Glad that your thread is moving along so nicely. :)
>142 BLBera: Homemade strawberry jam sounds good Beth! I love bonne maman jams too.
>143 Familyhistorian: Me too Meg. *And* I've just been out for dinner, so really no excuse there.
>144 msf59: Ha Mark! Thanks for that, made me smile.
>145 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel. Unlike the thread, I am crawling after a Very Long Day, so hoping to get under the duvet very shortly.
>146 lkernagh: Welcome Lori!
I was talking about this to some people from work over dinner - is anyone else planning on going? I'm wondering if I am being completely nuts even thinking about it - is it horribly expensive to stay/ difficult for a non-driver / likely to be told that LT doesn't do tickets for ALA anymore...?!?
I ordered Tiny Dinosaurs and read it to Scout today - it was a hit. She thought Rex looked a little like her dogs Lola and Charlie.
Hey, just checking on in on my way about the threads, Hope you are well!
>152 drneutron: I don't have to look far for the next topper!
>153 charl08: Congrats! Yes, a beverage is definitely called for. Ah, do you have to work tomorrow?
Day off Beth! Have been enjoying working in the garden and am heading to the allotment soon. Hoping to get a chance to sit by the canal and enjoy the warm weather too.
Can Konta keep up the winning streak?
Hooray for days off!
It's too bad Konta and Venus play each other - I'll have to cheer for Venus, but Konta is playing really well.
I think Konta has done incredibly well to get so far Beth. Perhaps it is Venus' year.
L'Origine du Monde
I'd never come across Liv Strömquist before I found this book in a wonderful Stockholm bookshop, but I'm keen to find more of her work - some of which is translated into English as well as French (from her native Swedish). She riffs on menstruation, gendered medical histories, the ways in which women's bodies have been differently understood in oriental/occidental cultures. None of it is new, but the references are here and the illustrations make it engaging and fun. My French isn't great - I had Google translate open - but it was a pleasure to read, nonetheless.
If I was still teaching I'd be emailing her to check she was happy for her images to be used for classes. This one is great!
There's never enough time, is there? I'll just add some extra books to the wishlist...
Reading Colm Toibin in New York Review of Books
In his book, Eribon also invokes the French writer Annie Ernaux, who described her own humble origins:
>161 BLBera: I've not found it in English yet - not sure why...
>162 msf59: Aw. Sad.
>163 charl08: OK I took the test. My results:
Based on average reading speeds, here are some examples of what you could read instead…
By the end of tomorrow, you could have read nothing.
In a week’s time, you could have read nothing.
In a month, you could have read nothing.
In a year, you could have read nothing.
This may be because I already use all that slack time reading :)
I think the test is not worded for people who also read a lot. It is a great way to think about the amount of screen time one is getting. My husband, for example, used to spend very little time on his phone. His new job requires him to have more of a social media presence. Now he wakes up in the morning and gets right on to check things. He is struggling a little to find balance there, IMO. Lol
>166 nittnut: Yup Jenn, I'm not sure it's aimed at the group. Although I do spend plenty of time checking my phone (often at times when I think reading isn't an option) so I have time to add to the reading time :-)
>167 FAMeulstee: Ha! Is it a reread Anita? I've read a couple of non-fiction bits about Orwell in the last few years but not his fiction lately.
Maybe we could all save time by not taking the test?!
>168 BLBera: I should have added that she does have some work translated into English, just not this book. http://www.topshelfcomix.com/ts2.0/artist/468
I've picked up Leap In: a woman, some waves, and the will to swim again, she reminds me that I want to do wild swimming. Maybe this will be my challenge for the big four-oh year...
Guardian Reviews Fiction
Controversial? Which is the best Austen novel?
A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi reviewed by Abdulrazak Gurnah
"...expertly shaped, and persuasively investigates an important phenomenon of our times."
H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker reviewed by Justine Jordan
"her interest both in the buzzing, multiplying, uncontrollable meaning of words and the visionary realms that lie beyond them.... the narrative tumbles through the most abstract fields while glorying in the physicality of the book as a printed object..."
The Answers by Catherine Lacey reviewed by Sarah Ditum
"Lacey is better at building an intriguing setup than she is at delivering on plot. The one she assembles here, however, is an ingenious sci-fi scenario that tweaks at the edges of what we believe about that part of us we call a self."
Mad by Chloé Esposito reviewed by Alison Flood
"There’s a good read here, but it’s lost in an excess of similes and oversharing. It’s hard not to warm to the ridiculousness of a murderess who finds herself distracted mid-corpse disposal by the sexiness of her co-conspirator, and who pokes fun at the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey with comments such as “at least my inner goddess is dead; she was really starting to piss me off”. But it’s also hard not to want to shout “shut up” at her as she rabbits endlessly on."
Familiar Things by Hwang Sok-yong
"The novel’s most impassioned passages depict garbage as a social phenomenon, the visible evidence of capitalism. “People bought things with money, did whatever they wanted with those things, and threw them away when they were no longer of use. Maybe folks like him Bugeye’s father had also been thrown away when they were no longer of use.” The community is dehumanised as people jockey for boxes of free instant noodles and focus on compensation when a young man loses his legs instead of on his suffering.
Oof. It seems I'm still knackered from this week's excitement. I finished The Cold Cold Ground and was impressed- think I will be staying with this series. Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the setting reflects the author's own background.
Now reading Blessed are the Dead the apartheid crime series. Similarities to the Mckinty as the detective's own troublesome identity gives the writer a chance to say more about the community and history.
Interesting - why run a bookshop if you don't want to talk about books?
The end: Yorkshire Dales 'bookseller from hell' quits his shop
>181 charl08: Wow. I would not have wanted to visit his bookshop, that's for sure!
Charlotte, I am hopelessly behind. Skimming through, noting Guardian reviews (so many books, so little....).
I also saw on Beth's thread that you're down with a summer bug. So sorry about that. I hope you feel better quickly!
Is "wild swimming" the same as "open water swimming"?
About a decade ago (gulp), my BIL, nephew, and I all trained for the annual swim across the Columbia River. It takes place around Labor Day in Hood River, Oregon, and is quite the event. They take you over to the opposite shore and you swim back. We trained all summer and I was very excited to do this. There we sat on the boat, in our swimming gear with our bright orange swim caps, and trying to stay warm in the early morning with grocery sacks made into ponchos and old sweatshirts we were willing to donate (any clothes left at the starting point were donated to local homeless shelters), and they canceled the swim! The river was just too choppy and they were concerned that they would not be able to visually track all the swimmers. The swim route is of course monitored by boats and volunteers on paddle boards, but they want to be able to see each swimmer at any given moment. The swells were 3 feet. It's the only year in which the event has been canceled. *sad face* We ate the pancakes anyway....
Here is the description from the website:
At dawn on Labor Day each year, a large group of hearty souls jumps in the mighty Columbia River and swims the 1.1-mile stretch across to Hood River. The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim – Columbia River’s biggest and oldest official swim event, attracting hundreds of participants from around the world – originated in 1942 when local orchardist Roy Webster challenged himself to swim across the river. On the day of the swim, participants board the famous Sternwheeler paddleboat on the south shore of the Columbia, at the Hood River Port, and are ferried across the river to the Washington shore. When signaled, swimmers jump off the Sternwheeler into the “refreshing” Columbia and head back for Hood River. To help them find their way, a special swim lane lined with volunteers in sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards are there to guide, encourage, and protect swimmers as they cross the channel.
>181 charl08: Here's a warm fuzzy bookshop story to make up for your grinch one. http://booksellers.co.nz/members/services-membership/taking-plunge-wardini-books...
and he wrote a book...
Charlotte, sorry to hear the lurgy got you. Isn't that always the way after a big project ends? Just when you can run around and celebrate, you're welded to a box of tissues. I hope it doesn't last long.
>182 rosalita: I was amused that one of the reasons he quit was that people commented on his notoriety in the shop...
>183 kidzdoc: Yup.
>184 EBT1002: I think you should go back! One thing it made me (reminded me) I want to swim in the Lake District. I really liked her emphasis on your body as healthy when it does what it can do, rather than competition or a body to be viewed by others.
>185 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Feeling a bit less sorry for myself.
>186 avatiakh: That's a lovely one, Kerry. I hope that the book does well.
>187 susanj67: I thought it wouldn't happen to me....
>188 lkernagh: My dad reminded me of a bookshop (now closed ) where the owner managed to insult both of us. But he was a big fan of books, and had amazing stock.
I don't appear to have written anything about books I've read in between the napping, paracetamol and sneezing (I may have overanticipated the recovery from self-pity).
The Cold Cold Ground (M, UK, fiction)
Brilliant start to crime series set in Northern Ireland. It's the middle of the Troubles, and our hero is as compromised by the loyalist (Protestant) and pro-Independence (Catholic ) politics as anyone else. As a Catholic police officer, his perspective on the majority protestant community he lives in, gives the writer a chance to show the idiocies of the prejudices that led to the Troubles as well as the grim realities of police life (wake up, eat breakfast, check for bombs under the car...)
A series I'll be following. Thanks to Suzanne for the recommendation.
Blessed are the Dead (F, Australia, fiction)
I am so pleased this author has got her books published to kindle. Hopefully more people will now discover the series, set in South Africa in the 50s. The lead detective has a chequered career, and like McKinty's books, Nunn uses crime detection to highlight the crazy system of discrimination, as well as delivering a pacy crime novel. From urban Johannesburg in the first book to the diverse Durban port in the second, this third book is set in the beautiful Drakensberg mountains.
Darling Beast ( F, US, fiction)
Dearest Rogue (F, US, fiction)
Two in the Maiden Lane series. I really liked the first one, which like a few regency/ Georgian romances, draws on contemporary enthusiasm for the theatre.
Leap In (F, UK, non-fiction memoir/sport)
I'm glad I didn't buy this! It was a bit short for what it was , and probably suffered from having been read after three other books on swimming which were more substantial.
She was good on the journey from novice to outdoor swimmer, and includes tips on kit and finding other outdoor swimmers. It didn't go far enough I thought here - lists of drills and training guidance would have made sense to me when other practical information is included. The stuff about IVF I wasn't expecting- and I think is such well trodden ground that it is difficult to write about in a new, interesting way. I did really appreciate her stress on dealing with the bikini body pressure on women: choosing to see your body for you, for this skill that gives so much pleasure.
Mai-Tai'd Up (F, US, fiction)
Last in this enjoyable, light hearted romance series set in California. Not my favourite - the characters weren't as engaging to me, and the plot revolves around a pit bull rescue centre, and the author includes a LOT more detail than I wanted to know.
Persuading Austen (F, UK, fiction)
I was hoping this would be fun modern take on Persuasion, but whereas I love the original Anne, this version made me want to shake her. The writing needed polishing too. Avoid.
>173 charl08: No wonder you were feeling knackered with a summer cold coming on, Charlotte. Hope you feel back to your own self soon. I enjoyed the bookstore stories. As for the first rude bookseller - some people are their own worst enemies and can't see if for themselves. He must have been (and probably still is) frustrating to deal with!
>190 Familyhistorian: Me too Meg. Waiting for the storm to break here, very humid and overcast.
I quite liked the grumpy bookseller (not the guy in the article)- I used to be a fairly regular customer and he was a softie underneath.
>191 BLBera: Hope you find them. In case Susan is paying attention, I feel the need to point out that the first Nunn book is A Beautiful Place to Die.
>192 charl08: Ha! I'm *right here*. Always watching y'all reading stuff out of order...
OK Susan. Nothing to see here... Everything is in order.
In other news, on my holidays until next week!
Edinburgh from Friday, with lots of reading. My friend is getting married next year, so I have been informed that we're touring venues. Which sounds good to me: I'm willing to test bar service, and cakes also...
Sounds like you are volunteering for a tough job, testing the bars and cakes. ;)
Happy Holiday, Charlotte! Have a lovely time in Edinburgh and enjoy those books!
Thanks Mark. Have today to get myself organised.
However instead of packing, have been digging in the garden, moving plants around that have got too big and trying to dig up the foxgloves which have taken over the new border so that the lavender has a chance to grow a bit more. Got a bit carried away and dug up a budleia and moved a fuschia, plus a few more trimming and weeding. Oof.
Your penguin cartoons reminded me on this one, which is an old favorite, and appropriate since you hit me with two book bullets that are police procedurals - The Cold Cold Ground and Blessed Are the Dead (but I'll start with the first in the series to keep Susan happy).
Glad to see that you are gearing up for your vacation, and checking out bars and tasting cake sounds like a grand adventure.
Further up there you mentioned that you like Bonne Maman jams, and this made me laugh because just yesterday I was trying out a new recipe and I needed peach preserves, and the only one at the local market was Bonne Maman - when I got it home, I realized it was mango and peach! But oh, well. You mix it in a 1:1 ratio with "a grainy mustard". This makes the spread that you use on the ham, Havarti cheese and arugula sandwich - truly delicious! We all loved the spread, and it paired beautifully with the ham.
>153 charl08: LOVE this!
Hoping that your vacation is full of fabulous!
Oh boy I get that....gardening instead of packing. ( I do NOT like packing). We were going to take out an ancient and huge lavendar that looks awkward in a small garden area but the bees are going crazy on the blooms right now so he/she has earned a respite. I have all the gardening books for the Pacific Northwest on reserve at the library for planning for our new house move in early September. There is nothing so wonderful as pouring over plant lists!
Enjoy your holiday, Charlotte. Getting some gardening done I'm sure feels good, but I'm all for the bars and cakes - and Edinburgh and reading. We want to get back to Edinburgh. We loved it.
Just picked this up today. I love the books on the hat.
>203 Crazymamie: Love the cartoon Mamie! So nice to see you here. Your culinary Adventures sound brilliant. Just to let you know my tasting range extends beyond cake... just in case you need an extra opinion.
>204 mdoris: It's such a small garden, two buddleia were ridiculous. We've still got one left but I'm not brave enough to get rid of it, as it's in the bit directly under the beech tree and I am not sure anything else will grow there. Have fun with your plant lists - I'm going through a grasses phase for my last couple of purchases. And jasmine.
>205 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I hope you get there again, I love hearing about visits to the city. There are so many things to see and do I always learn something.
>206 charl08: I hope the packing is done now, Charlotte, enjoy your holiday!
Thanks Anita. Um, almost done...
Forgot a link for the TLS Austen stuff.
By way of reminder to myself (warning, spoilers) as I've had to leave hardbacks at home mid read (argh):
Good Lord Bird
John Brown has sent Onion ahead to "hive" support for the rebellion, but s/he finds the railway supporters more than sceptical. When will Onion reveal his her true identity?
What happened to Pa Midwinter's' wife in Zambia? Will Tom pull through? Happy ending seems unlikely.
No review snippets this weekend, back next weekend, although no promises that I won't add a few books to my wish list!
Thanks for the wishes Barbara, Rhonda and Beth. I had a great trip...
Thanks Barbara. There are a few more...
Read during breaks
Hold your own Seeing Kate Tempest's poetry in a bookshop I wanted to buy it all but restrained myself to just this collection. I love her music (Bad place for a good time is a favourite) so knowing her voice it was almost like a talking book. This one is so sharp.
We wander into school, happy children;
kind and bright and interested in things.
We don’t yet know the horrors of the building.
The hatred it will teach. The boredom it will bring.
Soon we’ll learn to disappear in public.
We’ll learn that getting by is good enough.
We’ll learn the way it feels to see injustice,
and shut our mouths in case it comes for us.
We’ll learn to never think but copy blindly.
To ally with the mean and keep them near.
We’ll learn to not be talented or clever,
and the most important lessons
for success in a career:
How to follow orders when you’re bordering
on nausea and you’re bored and
insecure and dwarfed by fear.
Prague Nights arc via Netgalley
I found this one hard to get into, although I've enjoyed his series set in Dublin. In complete contrast, this book is set in Prague in the reign of Rudolph (the same time as Elizabeth I) 16th century Bohemia is full of plots and out young hero who arrives in town to make his fortune and instead finds a dead body. Its all in a supposedly contemporary (because they wouldn't be speaking English) style
I was a young man still, barely five and twenty, bright, quick and ambitious, with all the world before me, ripe for conquest, or so I imagined. My father was the Prince-Bishop of Regensburg, no less, my mother a serving girl in the Bishop’s palace: a bastard I was, then, but determined to be no man’s churl.Black's afterword makes it clear he finds the period fascinating, but the book never really flew for me. Endless plotting behind a largely inept ruler obsessed with alchemy meant the crime seemed forgotten for most of the book.
Glad to read you had a good trip, Charlotte, and that some books found you ;-)
>216 charl08: What a beautiful, heartwreching poem...
>216 charl08: Love it, Charlotte. Off to see if my library has a copy...
What was the best thing about your trip?
I have her first novel here Beth, which I want to read soon.
Favourite? Apart from all the books, I went to the beach yesterday: sat on the sand, read and watched the waves. Lovely.
It was a beautiful day in North Berwick, Julia.
Good Lord Bird
Read for Mark's challenge, this historical novel imagines John Brown's life from the perspective of a freed slave who is ambivalent about Brown's aims and methods. I know next to nothing about Brown and his campaign, so this was a read un bothered by the "real" history.
I went for a swim yesterday! It felt SO good to be in the water, to use my upper body.... it was just awesome.
And here's a coincidence (if those exist among us book-lovers): I was sitting up in bed this morning thinking about what to read to close out July and I noticed The Cold, Cold Ground on my dresser. I bought this at Powell's last winter because of a rave review of a later installment in the series. And I was thinking "I really want to read that!"
I admit that I picked up a library book, Jam on the Vine, instead because I am currently overwhelmed by library books, both "real" and ebooks, but I will move The Cold, Cold Ground up on the list.
Also making note of Kate Tempest for poetry.
I'm echoing what Anita said about the poem and will try to find some of Kate Tempest's poetry. (Of course) Never heard of her before. I wish I could be at that beach instead of my office, waiting for an audit starting in an hour (so much about being dwarfed by fear).
Edit: found it, bought it :)
>224 EBT1002: >225 EBT1002: Glad that you had a good swim, Ellen. I got the Mckinty books via my library's online system, so good for travelling. I love the penguin pictures.
>226 Deern: Hope you like them as much as I did Nathalie. Sometimes books find us at the right time: definitely the case for me with this.
I would still be wishing I had stayed at the beach except it's pouring down today.
I finished Strange the Dreamer. A wonderful book that makes me think I should read more YA.
>221 charl08: Lovely.
Tempest is not very available here...I loved the poem. I want to hear what you say about her novel.
Glad you are enjoying the Adrian McKinty series -- that's been a delicious find of mine of the last two or three years and I do a happy dance when a new one appears. He has a knack for really keeping both the plots intense and the backstory moving forward in time, as well as making the setting come alive.
I shall look into Malla Nunn. I'm about to read the Benjamin Black novel set in Prague, though I suspect I'll enjoy it more than you did (I'm fascinated by the era and personalities.)
>228 BLBera: Sorry to hear that Beth. She writes some great stuff, reminded me of Orlando (there is a long poem sequence about a character who is male, then female, and then female again).
>229 Chatterbox: You can hardly like the Black less, Suzanne! I think the main reason I was frustrated by it was the use of his 'crime' pen name.
And thanks again re the McKinty: I am trying to space them out a bit to make them last longer.
>230 jnwelch: Joe, despite being keen on her music and hearing her perform on the radio, have had trouble getting a copy of her books to read via the library. Edinburgh was the first time I had seen her books to buy. Definitely going to renew/repeat my request to my library to get her newer collections. Looking forward to your comments on Brand New Ancients.
Strange the Dreamer (F, US, fiction)
I seem to be the last person to have heard of Laini Taylor, only picking this up because of the review in the Guardian. I loved it, a wonderful magical story about Lazlo Strange, an orphan who works in a library piecing together bits of information about a lost city 'Weep'. The descriptions of working in the library alone would have been a great book, as Lazlo's enthusiasm for his work (in the face of widespread disinterest) and dreams of travel are compelling. What happens next
There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt—like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair. And there it would remain—the mystery, in his mind—exhaling enigma for years to come.
There are some lovely animations (below the 'how they did the animation' article) about the book here
The Undateable (F, US, fiction)
I picked this up after it was recommended on Litsy - despite the meh title, it made me laugh, snort and generally was not a book suitable for reading in public. Bernie is caught rolling her eyes at a flashmob student proposal in the campus library where she works, and becomes a meme 'the disapproving librarian'. A locally based online magazine sees the meme as an opportunity to catch readers via a makeover story. it's a familiar romance trope but it's the humour of the two lead characters at its heart, as well as the supporting cast from elderly neighbours to performance artist friends that made the book for me. Bernie is feminist, snarky and highly sceptical of the magazine's agenda! Like any romance, you know where the story is going, but here the journey is a fun one.
Copied from Nathalie's thread - Booker list
I've already read :
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
I've asked the library for:
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals) (apparently not out in hardcopy here until January?!)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet)
Not sure if I'll get to these:
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton)
4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury) (not out until next month)
>232 charl08: I've added both these to the list, Charlotte.
I've read FIVE Booker nominees already: Swing Time, Autumn, History of Wolves, The Underground Railroad, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness!
Autumn is my favorite from the ones I've read. I've requested Home Fire and Exit West from the library.
>234 susanj67: Hope you like it as much as I did Susan, not as clever as the Judith Flanders books, but still snarky fun.
>235 BLBera: Five! That's impressive stuff. I missed your Wolves comments, must go back to that. I've just suggested Autumn for the work book club. Hoping they pick it as if they do, I might be able to buy a discounted copy.
From the Booker longlist, I've only read The Underground Railroad. Good news is I've placed holds on 9 others. Two I'm unable to find locally. If not to expensive maybe I'll purchase. ooooo, I get so giddy this time of year :0)
>238 Carmenere: Giddy is a good word for it Lynda. Quite when I'm going to fit them all in...
The library have put it on order for me Beth, but I'll believe it when I see it...
Just finished The Children - I have no idea what it meant or was about.
And finished The Argonauts - has anyone else read this? I really admire the author's frank and intelligent look at gender, relationships, motherhood and art. So many references I feel I should go back through it taking notes for future reading.
You pass as a guy; I, as pregnant. Our waiter cheerfully tells us about his family, expresses delight in ours. On the surface, it may have seemed as though your body was becoming more and more “male,” mine, more and more “female.” But that’s not how it felt on the inside. On the inside, we were two human animals undergoing transformations beside each other, bearing each other loose witness. In other words, we were aging.
(Quotes via goodreads as kindle highlights don't exist in a a proper book. Gah.)
>244 charl08: It's a fascinating read Megan, and relatively short too.
Went to work's book group yesterday - not too sure if I will carry on. Was an open discussion about books people had enjoyed and future books but not exactly a wide range or variety in reading. The next book is The Siege which I've already read.
Oof and now I'm exhausted. Lots of kids at the library today. None of them wanted to read (except very briefly, a picture book about superheroes with feelings) but playdoh appears to be an international winner.
I just ordered a paperback copy of Hold Your Own.
>216 charl08: I love that poem. It's breathtaking and I need to read more.
And I'm with Megan, I now want to read The Argonauts. Adding it to the wish list.
As an aside, why has LT added albums and films to the touchstones? (I'm not really asking you that, Charlotte. It's a rhetorical one-off thought after the 1963 film "Jason and the Argonauts" came up as the first option for The Argonauts. Sheesh.)
>246 charl08: Hah! When Scout leaves after spending a day with me, I need a lot of couch time -- and she's just one.
>247 EBT1002: Re: albums and films showing up in touchstones — I think it's just an unfortunate side effect of the growing number of such items that are getting catalogued here. I think the search prioritizes by popularity. I'm a bit of a grump because I wish music and movies were siloed away from the books data, but it's not my site so I just make the best of it.
How can the Man Booker judges nominate a book that isn't out until January? Or is it published elsewhere and simply unavailable in either the US or UK? Very frustrating. Maybe they will bring the pub date forward if it makes the shortlist. I've read the Mohsin Hamid and Colson Whitehead novels, and have had Lincoln in the Bardo, Autumn, the Paul Auster tome, and Days Without End sitting here awaiting me for a while, the latter of these because it was nominated for the Walter Scott prize (I'm not a mammoth Sebastian Barry fan...) I'll get the Emily Fridlund novel from the Athenaeum, and have long had both the Kamila Shamsie and Jon McGregor books on my wish lists for when they come out -- I'll either ask the Athenaeum to purchase them or buy them myself. Of the rest: I've developed a bit of an aversion to Roy after reading some of her polemical non-fiction recently, and I'm not sure whether I really want to read the novel. Irrational, I know, but... I certainly won't buy it. I'm not a massive Zadie Smith fan, though I'm willing to give this one a try. Some of her books I've found just never quite have gotten off the ground or lived up to what she can do. And the McCormack novel sounds very meta for my taste, but we'll see.
For my part, I'm looking forward to the big non-fiction prize of the year -- the erstwhile Samuel Johnson prize, now the Baillie Gifford prize. (Poor Sam, dethroned...) Longlist due in September, I think!!!
>247 EBT1002: Really glad that's not a question for me Ellen!
Hope you like the Argonauts and Kate Tempest.
>248 BLBera: I've got to check out some more activities for little ones belle next Friday. Ideally also find two extra volunteers, a lots of people are on holidays. It was fun to have so many kids turn up for a change -they had fun playing board and card games.
>249 rosalita: Phew, thanks for taking that one... (Having them delegate sounds good to me).
>250 Chatterbox: Swing Time's great but not perfect, imho. Lots of interesting ideas. Hope the Samuel Johnson prize lives up to expectationsSuzanne. I just picked up Flaneuse in paperback , liking forward to reading that as I have a long train journey tomorrow.
Time for a new thread I think!
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