Happy Holidays! The 12 Days of LT scavenger hunt is going on. Can you solve the clues?
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A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #9

This is a continuation of the topic A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #8.

This topic was continued by A Room of Charl08's Own: Feminist Penguins #10.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Aug 12, 5:46pm Top

Scottish theme this month as the festival kicks off in Edinburgh.

There's always exhibits run to capture the attention of festival goers (maybe for those times when people want to look rather than listen?), and in 2018 some of them are suffrage themed. including at the National Library of Scotland 'YoungWummin', at General Register House 'Malicious Mischief', and at the Museum of Edinburgh 'Their Work is Not Forgotten'.


Edited: Aug 29, 2:31am Top

I love penguins, both this kind

Photo: Scottish Parliament / World Press Photo competition
And the book kind.

Every year, increasingly tenuously, I attempt to shoehorn these two themes into one thread.
(This edition of The House of Mirth is from the Penguin English Library: https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/book-talk/series/penguin-english-library/)

Edited: Aug 12, 3:40am Top

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

Edited: Sep 13, 2:51am Top

Books read in 2018 : 207
For January Feb and March see https://www.librarything.com/topic/289897#6443853
For April see https://www.librarything.com/topic/291122
For May see https://www.librarything.com/topic/292701
For June see https://www.librarything.com/topic/293727

July 29 (running total 165)

Sugar Money (F, UK, fiction)
How to Stop Time (M, UK, fiction)
Destroying Angel (F, UK, fiction)
Down the River Unto the Sea (M, US, fiction)
By Grand Central station I Sat Down and Wept (F, Canada, fiction)
The Last Dragonslayer (M, fiction, UK)
A Closed and Common Orbit (F, fiction, US)
The Song of the Quarkbeast (M, fiction, UK)
Falling Short (F, UK, fiction)
The Blood Miracles (F, Ireland, fiction)

How to Forget a Duke (F, US, fiction)
Time Served (F, US, fiction)
The Pledge (M, Switzerland, fiction)
The Only Story (M, UK, fiction)
Map of a Nation) (F, UK, history)
Hello Stranger (F, US, fiction)
In The Distance (M, US (Argentina, Sweden), fiction)
Get Her Off the Pitch (F, UK, sports writing / memoir)
The Amok Runners (M, US, fiction)
Unmentionable (F, US, history/ humour)

My once and future duke (F, US, fiction)
Working Stiff (F, US, non-fiction medicine)
Dear Lady Truelove (F, US, fiction)
Grumpy Fake Boyfriend (F, US, fiction)
The Water Cure (F, UK, fiction)
Record of a Spaceborn Few (F, US, fiction)
Happiness (F, UK, fiction)
The Trip to Echo Spring (F, UK, literary criticism/ memoir)
Butterface (F, US, fiction)

August 32

The Mars Room (F, US, fiction)
Warcross (F, US, fiction) - Popsugar Challenge
Snap: a novel (F, UK, fiction)
Feminist Fables (F, India, short stories)
A Woman's Work (F, UK, autobiography)
Cold Desert Sky (M, UK, fiction)
Waiting for Robert Capa (F, Spain, fiction)
Warlight (M, Canada, fiction) Booker LL
This Could Hurt (F, US, fiction)
All the World's A Stage (M, Russia, fiction)

The Last Time We Spoke (F, New Zealand, fiction)
The Blue Castle (F, Canada, fiction)
The Habit of Art (M, UK, fiction - play) Popsugar
One Damned Thing After Another (F, UK, fiction) Popsugar
Suspicion (M, Switzerland, fiction) Popsugar
The Unpunished Vice (M, US, essays/lit crit)
Everything Under (F, UK, fiction) - Booker LL
The Governess Game (F, US, fiction)
Tell Me How It Ends (F, Mexico, essay)
The Mitford Murders (F, UK, fiction) Audio

Quite Ugly One Morning (M, UK, fiction) Popsugar
Death in the Clouds (F, UK, fiction) Popsugar
A Thousand Mornings (F, US, poetry) Popsugar
Ways of Going Home (M, Chile, fiction)
Early Riser (M, UK, fiction)
The Madness of George III (M, UK, historical fiction - play)
Hell's Bottom Colorado (F, US, fiction)
Cowboy Pride (F, US, fiction)
The Monastery Murders (F, UK, fiction)
Duke by Default (F, US, fiction)

Dead Wake (M, US, history) Popsugar
Washington Black (F, Canada, fiction) (Booker LL)

September 11

The Way of All Flesh (Joint, UK, fiction)
No Place to Lay One's Head (F, Poland/France, Memoir)
Walking Through Fire (F, Egypt, Memoir)
Police at the station and they don't look friendly (M, UK/US, fiction)
Brave New World (M, US, fiction)
How to be Famous (F, UK, fiction)
Invisible City (F, US, fiction)
Lead me on (F, US, fiction)
So tough to Tame (F, US, fiction)

An Unholy Alliance (F, UK, fiction - audio)

Overall stats

Gender This Month F7 M 2 Joint 1 Running Total F153 M 50 Joint 2
Fiction/Non? This Month Fiction 8 Non-fiction 2 Poetry 0 Running Total Fiction 160 Non-fiction 41 Poetry 5
Source This Month Library 7 Mine 3 Running Total Library 86 Mine 116
Author home
This Month: Africa 1, Asia 0, Australasia 0, Europe 5 (UK 4), Middle East 0, US & Canada 4, Other 0 Multiples 0.
Running Total: Africa 2, Asia 6, Australasia 7, Europe 116 (UK 89), Middle East 3, US & Canada 69, Other 3 Multiples 1

Edited: Sep 7, 6:05pm Top

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge -45 down!

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen Hidden Figures
2. True crime The Killers of the Flower Moon
3. The next book in a series you started Dead Lions
4. A book involving a heist
5. Nordic noir The Darkness
6. A novel based on a real person Girl in Disguise
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you Miss Burma
8. A book with a time of day in the title Quite Ugly One Morning
9. A book about a villain or antiheroThe Blood Miracles
10. A book about death or grief Claire of the Sea Light
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist My Brother's Husband
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical The Habit of Art
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you Persepolis
15. A book about feminism Women and Power
16. A book about mental health Psychoanalysis: the impossible profession
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift Frogkisser
18. A book by two authors Working Stiff
19. A book about or involving a sport The 1908 London Olympics
20. A book by a local author Sirens
21. A book with your favorite colour in the title The Green Hollow
22. A book with alliteration in the title Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
23. A book about time travel One Damned thing after another
24. A book with a weather element in the title Death in the Clouds
25. A book set at sea Dead Wake
26. A book with an animal in the title Magpie Murders
27. A book set on a different planet A Closed and Common Orbit
28. A book with song lyrics in the title . Suspicion
29. A book about or set on Halloween The Bookseller
30. A book with characters who are twins The Grass Dancer
31. A book mentioned in another book reading Christ Stopped at Eboli
32. A book from a celebrity book club You think it I'll Say it
33. A childhood classic you've never read A Wrinkle in Time
34. A book that's published in 2018 The Wedding Date
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner A Thousand Mornings
36. A book set in the decade you were born Lady with a Cool Eye
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to
Broad Strokes: 15 women who made art
38. A book with an ugly cover The Madness of George III
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library Bookworm: a memoir of childhood reading
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges - a book set in a hotel Hotel Silence

Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school
2. A cyberpunk book Warcross
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
4. A book tied to your ancestry
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title Chicken with Plums
6. An allegory Brave New World
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you MI5 and Me
8. A microhistory Bad Girls: a history of rebels and renegades
9. A book about a problem facing society today When I Hit You
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Hell's Bottom, Colorado

Aug 12, 3:42am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

Aug 12, 4:00am Top

Thanks Meg!

Now reading the latest Boris Akunin

Aug 12, 4:01am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!
Love the penguins (rockhopper penguins?) you found this time :-)

Aug 12, 4:54am Top

>8 FAMeulstee: It's a lovely photo I think Anita. I might try and get to the exhibit when I am in Edinburgh - not there for long though, and catching up with a friend so time not really my own.

Aug 12, 4:57am Top

Happy new penguin thread!!!

Aug 12, 5:36am Top

Thanks Kim. Those are very cute!

I'm also reading The Unpunished Vice: talking about finding a bookshop where the owner was gay in the 1950s
I was never a systematic, methodical reader... Sometimes I felt I was registered in Cocktail Party 101; I wanted to be urbane rather than erudite.

Edited: Aug 12, 7:34am Top

Today only, some Penguin classics for 99p. I had most, but nabbed 5.


Aug 12, 8:04am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Love the topper.

From your last one, This Could Hurt sounds good.

I'll watch for additional comments on THe Unpunished Vice; sounds like it could be interesting.

I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Aug 12, 8:09am Top

Happy new thread! Only 14 left for Pop Sugar, Awesome!!

Aug 12, 9:14am Top

Happy new thread! And yet more penguins to admire.
BTW, you might want to pop over to my thread, I have a book I think you might be interested in...

Aug 12, 9:44am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

I thought it an opportune moment to jump back in!

>7 charl08: I need to go an catch up on the Erast Fandorin series as it is a goodly while since I read any.

Aug 12, 9:53am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Aug 12, 9:59am Top

>12 Caroline_McElwee: Wow, looks like a big sale there Caroline.

>13 BLBera: This Could Hurt took me by surprise - I was laughing out loud in the final section. I've not read any of Edmund White's books before, but the Unpunished Vice is making me want to do something about that.

>14 ChelleBearss: Well, I'm a bit stuck, truth be told Chelle. I ordered a book for the year I left school and didn't get anywhere with it, and haven't picked up Christ stopped at Eboli in months. But thanks for the encouragement!

Aug 12, 10:00am Top

>15 Helenliz: Intriguing...

>16 PaulCranswick: I do enjoy the writing Paul, I'm getting the sense that there are some digs at the failure of anti-Putin protestors in this one (despite being set in the 1900s). And of course the lead character is fun.

>17 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie!

Aug 12, 11:19am Top

>18 charl08: and did you indulge Charlotte? My acquisitions are already on my catalogue.

Aug 12, 2:44pm Top

>20 Caroline_McElwee: Resisting! Barely!

Aug 12, 4:16pm Top

Hi Charlotte. Just swinging through to see what's up. Your thread is SO dangerous! (That is a good thing.)

I ended up ordering several of the Booker nominees from Book Depository. By the time I get them, the short list will likely have been named. Oh well. It seems like this year's long list is turning out to be another good one (I thought last year was one of the best in a long time).

Aug 12, 6:01pm Top

>22 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. I've found the ones I've read so far worth reading, even if they wouldn't be my choice for winners. I really like that the list includes new authors and women writers.

I finished All the World's a Stage- this is book 11 in the series, originally in Russian, by the pseudonymous Boris Akunin. Fandorin is a bit like Sherlock Holmes - he can pretty much do everything. He speaks many languages, is culturally sensitive (in particular he has deep links to Japan), he has worked for the police service (but is above corruption), and has a Tragic Past (see books 1-10). He's accompanied by a loyal Japanese servant, who is equally adept at very useful crime fighting skills. Here Akunin deftly dodges revolutionary politics (as Fandorin has aged, he's getting closer and closer to the revolution) by having his lead distracted from Stolypin's assassination case by a beautiful young actress. Fandorin must battle gangsters, corruption and a whole lot of overacting to try and save the heroine and the company.

Embarrassingly, someone had to point out to me that each book takes on a different crime style (the obvious example is Murder on the Leviathan, which bears a remarkable similarity to the approach of Christie on the Nile) - I'm not sure what you'd term this one - so I cheated and checked out a crime blog. Disappointingly, it's prosaically called 'a theatrical mystery'.

Edited: Aug 12, 6:11pm Top

Ooh, there's a new Jasper Fforde novel (but it's £13.99 for a kindle copy. Ouch!), Early Riser.

Aug 13, 7:43am Top

I've cracked and reserved The Overstory at the library. Harumph.

Aug 13, 8:00am Top

Hi, Charlotte! I hope you enjoy your brief visit to Edinburgh. It sounds as though you'll be too busy to meet up. Thanks for mentioning the exhibitions, as I was thinking of going to one of the museums in New Town on Sunday afternoon, as I have 6-1/2 hours of free time between my first and second Book Festival events. Depending on how knackered I am after a full Friday and Saturday I may try to see one Fringe and one EIF performance during that time, as my B&B is in Newington, south of The Meadows, and isn't close to Charlotte Square.

Aug 13, 8:00am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! I now have the spy book, so I'm looking forward to that. And an empty reserve slot. Dangerous...

Aug 13, 1:13pm Top

Happy new thread!

Edited: Aug 13, 7:56pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! Have fun in Edinburgh.

Aug 14, 4:09pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 14, 5:22pm Top

>26 kidzdoc: Yup, this is a whiz in and whiz out trip. Sounds like you're going to be pretty busy too!

>27 susanj67: Hope you have fun with the spies, Susan (and the reserve slot...)

>28 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel and >29 jnwelch: Thanks Joe!

>30 drneutron: Thanks Jim. Hope you've had a chance to recover from all the excitement...

Aug 14, 5:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Edited: Aug 14, 5:52pm Top

Urgh. Think the small people passed on some wonderful germs at the weekend, as I've spent the day feeling like something the cat dragged in. Spectacular timing for my trip away, I think you'll agree. However, in between the sleeping read The Blue Castle, a L M Montgomery I'd missed, which was wonderfully sweet, with her classic theme of a young(ish) woman struggling but winning through.

The Habit of Art was available on the library digital catalogue, so that made me laugh - and filled the play category for the Popsugar challenge. I wish I'd seen this one at the theatre. Bennett sets up a play within a play, actors rehearsing a reunion between Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten in an Oxford college. It's pretty filthy, but made me laugh. Here, Carpenter is a journalist, but Auden thinks he's visiting for a different reason altogether.
Auden: Here we go. Take off your trousers.
Carpenter: What for?
Auden: What do you think? Come along, it's half past.
Carpenter: What am I being asked to do?
Auden: You aren't being asked to do anything. You're being paid. This is a transaction. I am going to suck you off.
Carpenter: But I'm with the BBC.
Auden: Really? Well that can't be helped. Ideally I would have preferred someone who was more a son of the soil, but it takes all sorts. In New York one of th erent boys worked at the Pierpont Morgan library.
Carpenter: I am not a rent boy. I was at Keble.

The Last Time We Spoke set in New Zealand, this novel about a house invasion was surprisingly 'light' fare. I went in worried that it would be too grim for me, but Sussman opens the book with the violence, so that you are hardly attached to the characters, and then spends the rest of the novel exploring the consequences on one of the perpetrators and one of the victims. The novel draws on some of the Maori restorative justice programmes, which are, I think, a great and rich subject for a book, but don't get much time here, instead focusing on the actions of the victim. I thought the writer's choice to show the aftermath in terms of many years rather than months was her most interesting one. Ultimately though, for me was a bit too neatly tied in a bow at the end. I don't think time is quite such an effective healer and I thought there were some elements that didn't 'gel' - the mystical 'Maori history' voice chapters, and the saintly Chinese neighbour.
Blurgh. Time for some more paracetamol, I think.

Aug 14, 6:36pm Top

>24 charl08: a bit pricey for a Kindle, even if it is Jasper Fforde.

Sorry you don't feel well. Germs, leave her alone! There, I hope that helps.

Aug 14, 9:44pm Top

I laughed aloud at your Auden bit. I'll look for that one.

Not sure about The Last Time We Spoke. That can go in the maybe pile.

I hope you feel better. It's horrible to be ill away from home. And you won't get to enjoy yourself.

Aug 14, 10:38pm Top

I seriously hope that the germs are of the 24 hour variety and are dying off now so that you won't be ill and can enjoy yourself - and everything/body else!

Aug 14, 11:09pm Top

>31 charl08: That's definitely the case for the first few days of this trip, Charlotte. I won't have much time between check in at the B&B I'm staying at (2-3 pm) and the first Book Festival event (which starts at 17.45). Friday and Saturday are booked solid, and Sunday will likely be a full day as well. I don't have anything planned for Monday and Tuesday, though, and I suspect that Monday may be a wind down day, when I spend most of the day in cafés in Newington and the area around the University of Edinburgh and see few if any performances. I jammed a lot into this coming weekend, as several of the Fringe, International Festival and, needless to say, Book Festival events are only on or are ending by Sunday.

BTW, there will be a group meet up in Birmingham on Saturday 8 September; at least three of us will visit Genny (gennyt), and hopefully at least two LTers who live nearby can also make it. Let me know if you're interested and able to make it, and I can include you in the plans.

I hope that you recover from the summer crud soon!

Aug 15, 3:18am Top

>32 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. Sorry I missed you up there.

>34 Berly: Thanks Kim. All positive exhortations gratefully accepted.

>35 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I've not booked a train ticket, and staying with friends means I won't lose a hotel reservation, but I'll be gutted if I don't get to go at all. Sadface.

Aug 15, 3:24am Top

>36 LizzieD: Thanks Peggy. Don't think I'd be terribly popular to spread this bug around!

>37 kidzdoc: Sounds like you've got it all planned in very well Darryl. Thanks for the invitation to Birmingham, that's really kind. I'll get back to you when I'm thinking a bit more clearly.

Just One Damned Thing After Another Couldn't sleep last night. Read this. Enjoyed the digs at historians. Met the time travel category for the Popsugar challenge.

Aug 15, 9:17am Top

I hope you're feeling better, Charlotte. I am loving You Think It, I'll Say It -- great, funny stuff about relationships. I think you recommended this one? I've read some great short story collections this year.

Aug 15, 11:34am Top

Happy new thread Charlotte! I lost you for a bit. Get better soon.

Coincidentally, I had The Blue Castle in my hands not half an hour ago as I'm reorganising my bookshelves. (I'm taking a quick break. It's so easy to get distracted with books.)

Aug 15, 2:00pm Top

I hope you are feeling better soon, Charlotte, soon enough that you get to Edinburgh!

Aug 15, 5:20pm Top

Get well soon Charlotte.

Aug 15, 8:57pm Top

Sorry to hear about you feeling crummy. Being sick anytime is no fun but I think somehow it is worse in the summer. Hope you get better soon and can get on with your adventures.

Aug 16, 2:30am Top

>40 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I do love Sittenfeld's work. I was chatting to someone at work recently about meeting authors, and how they're not always what we hope they'd be. That said, I think Sittenfeld, at least from her interviews, would be someone I'd like to have at my fantasy dinner party.

>41 humouress: My parents are clearing out some of their shelves, or at least attempting to. The latest batch due for recycling, I 'rescued' several. I was surprised I hadn't even heard of The Blue Castle, but I could quite easily just have forgotten, or missed it altogether at the library where I read the Avonlea books.

>42 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. >43 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline.

>44 mdoris: It's rubbish. Fortunately, so is the weather, so I feel a little less annoyed at it all.

Aug 16, 2:55am Top


Inspector Barlach came up in a Guardian / Radio 4 series about European crime, and when I went to try and find copies at the time they were expensive, but a year or two on now seem to be more moderately priced. Barlach is, like his creator, Swiss. Durrenmatt wrote these novels after the second world war - this one was first published in the early 1950s. I was surprised how explicitly this story addresses the question of Nazi war criminals working in plain sight in post-war Switzerland, although the portrait of the concentration camp survivors was less impressive. In particular the 'Gulliver' vigilante character, seemed to draw more on the 'wandering Jew' stereotype than attempt to question how survivors survive. Similarly, the Nazi surgeon was evil all along, rather than raise the more personally difficult question of 'the banality of evil'. The book was much stronger on everyday people wanting to ignore their suspicions, which rang all too true.

On a lighter note, I'm counting this as my popsugar song lyric challenge, so as a result, Elvis has most definitely not left the building...

Edited: Aug 16, 3:27am Top

The Unpunished Vice
When I was a teen in Illinois in the 1950s, I used to wander through the open stacks of the Evanston Public library, a stately Andrew Carnegie building. Whoever has not known the pleasures of open stacks... is like a music lover who's never owned a CD.
This book was a mixed bag for me - like a lot of essay collections I think I would have enjoyed it more as a newspaper weekly series than read together. This is partly because White is, I think it's fair to say, snobby, name-droppy ('We were friends with Peggy Guggenheim..') and inclined to a little more self-indulgence than seems seemly when repeated in chapter after chapter. It's also because he repeats himself.
I really liked the bits where he talked about things I know little or nothing about - 1950s and 60s gay life, literature and the influence of Japanese, Russian and French books. The bits where he tried to talk about more recent books just came off as fawning to me (or in the case of his one line description of the plot of Half of a Yellow Sun, just Plain Wrong), and someone should have told him that a chapter bemoaning his unappreciated husband's writing (or his husband's unappreciated writing?) was a bad idea.
Worth it for the lit crit, I think, but probably one to dip in and out of on the kindle rather than loan from the library and read in one go.
I like to read great books not because I'm hoping to imitate them but because I want to remind myself how good you have to be to be any good at all. We won't be read in the light of other writers in our zip code or decade but as we compare to Proust, Joyce, and Nabakov. History has set the bar very high, and one must jump over it, not do the limbo under it.

Aug 16, 4:08am Top

I'm pretty much in agreement with you Charlotte. I was disappointed in the volume as a whole, while really enjoying some chapters.

Aug 16, 5:01am Top

>47 charl08: I like the final quote, but I know what you mean about a book collection that was originally a column in a newspaper. At intervals of a week you don't spot the repetition; read one after the other it is very obvious and somewhat tedious.

Edited: Aug 16, 1:06pm Top

>48 Caroline_McElwee: Reading your review on your page I think I was harsher than you! Perhaps unfair of me - he is after all an elderly man these days.

>49 Helenliz: I'm not sure that this book was published separately as essays - although I think I have read something by him as a long essay in the Guardian - but it certainly read (to me) as though the editors could have been a bit more careful.

I've just read the first of Zadie Smith's essays in Feel Free, where she talks about the attempts (eventually successful) to close down Willesden (NW London) library and open a smaller one. She just seems to be able to write things down and I think 'oh yes, of course that makes sense' - like explaining why expats care so much about local politics...

I've picked up Everything Under as there are an awful lot of people waiting for it at the library. Lovely cover, but cheap paper :-(

I'm in the middle of Nawal El Saadawi's late career biography - it's not as passionate (or succinct) as her earlier book about becoming a doctor, but does cover similar ground (and as she was writing from Duke University, perhaps a little freer with names and so on).

(Touchstones down? eta fixed)

Aug 16, 8:25am Top

We read much Dürrenmatt (also plays) in high school and I remember finding this one very scary. I should reread them, I believe there are 2 or 3 of the Bärlach books.
Stupid germs... get better soon!

Aug 16, 9:13am Top

>33 charl08: Hope you are feeling better! I hate when my littles share their germs with me!

>18 charl08: Hope you get unstuck soon! Try to pick a fun book to get back into the swing of it

Aug 16, 9:21am Top

Hi Charlotte: I hope you're feeling better.

Not sure about Suspicion. That will go on the maybe pile. I think you're right about collections of essays; most of the time they work better when not read all at once. I might check the Wilson out.

I love Zadie Smith's essay on the closure of the bookstore! I had to return it to the library, but will continue when I get it again.

Aug 16, 1:09pm Top

>51 Deern: I remember I think you and Barbara talking about the plays before Nathalie - I don't even know if they're translated. (Shame!)

>52 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle. I picked some short books and that seemed to help :-)

>53 BLBera: I would recommend The Judge and His Hangman of the ones I've read of the series, I think. My plan is to read one at a time, so hopefully I don't get essay overload.

Aug 16, 2:28pm Top

I haven't read my copy of The Unpunished Vice yet. I'm waiting for what I feel is the right time to start it. And also, I have fifty books out from the library right now.

I hope you feel better soon.

Edited: Aug 17, 2:24am Top

Everything Under - Booker LL read
One of the British books longlisted for the Booker.
It is hard, even now, to know where to start. For you memory is not a line but a series of baffling circles, drawing in and then receding... The memories flash like broken wine glasses in the dark and then are gone.
Told in linked, but at first unclearly, strands of the same story. Gretal tries to make sense of her childhood on a canalboat, with a free spirited mother who disappeared when she was 16. Johnson explores an almost mythical world, where a frightening creature in the water causes panic amongst the canal community. There is a strong nod to Greek myth and ideas about predestination, but unsurprisingly given the quote's reference to the problems of memory, there are no conclusions. I suspect this book will have me thinking about it for a while, but at the same time, I found it a bit too blurry at the edges to be a truly satisfying read.
I remember, out of nowhere, being accosted at a train station by a man in a bright purple T-shirt with a piece of paper where he wanted me to write my details. He had dropped a large orange into my open hand and told me that was how much brain a person lost when they had Alzheimer's. I thought about that. The size of an orange cored right out of you.

Edited: Aug 17, 2:24am Top

Booker update

Have read (ranked)
Michael Ondaatje (Canada) Warlight (Jonathan Cape)
Rachel Kushner (USA) The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)
Daisy Johnson (UK) Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
Sophie Mackintosh (UK) The Water Cure (Hamish Hamilton)
Belinda Bauer (UK) Snap

Still to read

Waiting from the library:
Nick Drnaso (USA) Sabrina (Granta Books)
Esi Edugyan (Canada) Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail) (out last week, so hopefully will turn up soon!)
Guy Gunaratne (UK) In Our Mad And Furious City (Tinder Press)
Sally Rooney (Ireland) Normal People
Richard Powers (USA) The Overstory (Willian Heinemann)

Anna Burns (UK) Milkman (Faber & Faber)
Donal Ryan (Ireland) From A Low And Quiet Sea (Doubleday Ireland)

Not so sure...(AKA ran out of library holds)
Robin Robertson (UK) The Long Take (Picador)

Aug 17, 2:31am Top

Others have "borrowed" my library copy of The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu so I bought my own copy for my trip. And Anne Applebaum's book about the famine in Ukraine, Red Famine.
It wasn't just because of the beautiful cover.

Edited: Aug 17, 3:45am Top

Happy new thread!

Greetings from Switzerland

Aug 17, 9:03am Top

You're doing well with your Booker reading, Charlotte. I'm not sure about Everything Under. You notice I'm letting you go first so I know what is worthwhile? Thanks, by the way.

I hope you're feeling better.

Aug 17, 9:13am Top

>59 paulstalder: :0) Maybe I won't complain about the weather in Singapore.

Aug 17, 1:20pm Top

>59 paulstalder: Thanks Paul. I have no idea what it's about, but I love the cover.

>60 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I'm OK, I think.

>61 humouress: Lol!
On the plus side, penguins...

Edited: Aug 18, 4:41am Top

Guardian Reviews Non-fiction (this week)

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari reviewed by Helen Lewis
"All the classic Harari themes are here. "

Not a fan.

Edited: Aug 18, 4:48am Top

Human Relations and Other Difficulties by Mary-Kay Wilmers reviewed by Alex Clark
"What’s most striking about Human Relations, though, is how much Wilmers has to say about women, and often women of a particular kind: what we’d now call the dysfunctional (the novelist Jean Rhys appears substantively in two pieces here, including a deliciously painful review from 1983 of David Plante’s Difficult Women, whose triad is completed by Sonia Orwell and Germaine Greer), and those whose lives appear to be defined almost entirely by their relation to men."

Contender for the ugly cover category for the popsugar challenge.

Aug 18, 4:54am Top

Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century by Kehinde Andrews reviewed by Afua Hirsch
"...lucid, fluent and lively journey through what is – or what he believes is wrongly alleged to be – radical black thought. Having debated with Andrews myself....– it reads much like a conversation with him in person."


Aug 18, 5:40am Top

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze reviewed by Yanis Varoufakis
"..combines simple explanations of complex financial concepts with a majestic narrative tracing the prehistory and destructive path of the crisis across the planet (including long, apt and erudite chapters on Russia, the former Soviet satellites, China and south-east Asia). It also offers original insights into the nature of the wounded beast (financialised capitalism)."

Aug 18, 6:29am Top

Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Journey Without End by Ian Thomson reviewed by Miranda Seymour
"A beguilingly light tone masks but never mars Thomson’s impressive scholarship. (His award-winning West Indian travel books are worth hunting down.) Quoting the Italian maxim traduttore traditore (the translator as traitor), Thomson shows how prim English clerics flinched at words like “cul”, meaning arse. They preferred “a sound obscene” to the candid blast of Dante’s farts. Dante, as he observes, was never so “mealy-mouthed”. Credit is nevertheless given to Henry Cary’s splendid blank-verse version of 1814 (Coleridge adored it), and to the heroic 13-year enterprise of Dorothy Sayers for Penguin Books. Thomson dislikes the snappily rhymed quatrains with which Clive James obscures Dante’s tripartite design. He’s uncertain about Steve Ellis’s plainspoken Hell (1994), Eliot, “who hovers like an Anglo-Catholic atmosphere over all modern versions”, is more gently treated. But it is Shelley, who was still translating Dante when he died, aged only 29, who wins Thomson’s highest praise."

Aug 18, 7:38am Top

>59 paulstalder: >62 charl08: Why do the penguins always wait so patiently in their penguin suits? Elke Heidenreich answers this question: They always wait for a ship to take them to Vienna to enjoy an opera there ...

Edited: Aug 18, 3:19pm Top

Hmmm. I can't say any of those NF grabbed my attention. Maybe Crashed, though I find it difficult about the world's financial troubles because it raises my blood pressure to read about all those people getting rich off other people's misery. A personal failing, I know.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, Charlotte!

Aug 18, 8:51am Top

hmmm. Intrigued by the Dante. I read The Divine Comedy once. I was young a foolish and was thoroughly seduced by an exhibition of Boticelli's drawings for it. The drawings were excellent, the text has remained less memorable.

Aug 18, 9:13am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte! I am also intrigued by the Dante.

Aug 18, 11:56am Top

>68 paulstalder: Good to know Paul, thank you.

>69 rosalita: I've not read any financial crash books at all, so no fingers pointing here.

>70 Helenliz: Wow. That's bonus points for effort right there.

>71 Crazymamie: Mamie, Dante passes me by, but always glad to hear what everyone else is tempted by.

Aug 18, 1:29pm Top

Aug 18, 2:48pm Top

Ooh, shelfie alert! Someone's been shopping :-) I like the look of the crocodile one too.

Aug 18, 6:46pm Top

>73 charl08: There's a good looking pile of books there, Charlotte.

Thanks for the reviews. Not sure about them this week.

Aug 19, 2:02am Top

>73 charl08: That's a colourful pile of books. Very inviting.

Aug 19, 5:47am Top

>74 susanj67: I also splurged on a book about the artist Elizabeth Blackadder. I love her pictures of Japanese gardens and still lives.

The crocodile got more cropped than I realised - it's a pop up board book of opposites by Dahl and Blake, for a young man who is rather hard on his reading materials. Hopefully this one will pass muster!

>75 BLBera: I wandered down a road of independent shops and charity shops, nearly bought a beautiful reading chair (!) I love Oxfam bookshops in Edinburgh, they have such an amazing range of books.

>76 Familyhistorian: I could have come away with another armful really easily. Fortunately my bag has space as I brought an unwieldy gift with me on the way up.

Edited: Aug 21, 1:10am Top

I went to see the Rembrandt exhibit at the National Gallery: it was supposed to be about the impact of Rembrandt in Britain, but I would have liked more ephemera I think (there was a fun cartoon mocking the failure of the state to buy one, but that was all I saw) to go with the art.


I also nipped into the Central Record office to look at their exhibit about Scottish suffragettes.

Aug 19, 11:24am Top

Thanks for sharing the E. Blackadder links. Her paintings are beautiful!

Aug 19, 1:34pm Top

>25 charl08: Yay!!!!

I have Warlight from the library and plan to read it as soon as I finish Happiness by Aminatta Forna.

Sorry to hear about the germ attack. I hope you're on the mend!

Aug 20, 5:04am Top

Harumph again, Ellen. Maybe I'll wait until they announce the shortlist...

Aug 20, 8:03am Top

>73 charl08: The Door is a fine novel.

>80 charl08: I was impressed to read about Obama's letters. I'll no doubt spring for that.

Aug 20, 1:33pm Top

>83 Caroline_McElwee: I think I might also put my hand in my pocket for that one too.

I am behind with reviews.

The Governess Game
This is the latest Tessa Dare, and for me was more successful than her previous one (but I thought the heroine could have done better, personally). I do wish she could take a year off and spend a bit longer on these though.

Tell Me How It Ends
I think Beth recommended this one: it was really good (and also short). Luiselli was a volunteer translator for unaccompanied children from Mexico and other Latin states claiming asylum. Heartbreaking stories as well as optimism: she runs a course in Spanish conversation with ugrad students, who commit to activism through the process.

The Mitford Murders
I listened to this one and kept falling asleep, leading to some confusion. The narrator did a good posh annoying voice for Nancy, but it's an imagined story linking the Mitfords to the murder of a respected ww1 nurse, amd it all seemed a bit unnecessary, really

Edited: Aug 20, 2:20pm Top

Quite Ugly One Morning
This was a great read - crime fiction set in a (fictional) Edinburgh hospital. This was written ten years ago, and sadly some of the NHS finance issues are relevant again...
This is the first in a series about the wise cracking, danger seeking investigative journalist Jack Parlabane.
*waves to Susan*
Acres of prime site in the centre of one of Europe's most prestigious and historic capital cities for three mill. Now that's a bargain worth killing for.

Death in the Clouds
Poirot on a plane!

A Thousand Mornings
I love Mary Oliver, and this collection is beautiful.

Aug 20, 2:32pm Top

>85 charl08: Hi Charlotte! That sounds like a good one. I will have to investigate.

Aug 20, 4:15pm Top

It's a bit gory Susan, but I've not read the other Jack, so not sure how it compares...

Aug 20, 6:54pm Top

Hi, Charlotte. Trying to catch up on many neglected threads, while I was out west. It is not easy. Hope all is well. And hooray for A Thousand Mornings. I have a copy of this one my "keeper" shelf.

Aug 21, 1:46am Top

Hey Mark! Glad you had a good break. This has reminded me that I still have lots of Oliver to read!

Edited: Aug 21, 2:28am Top

Ways of Going Home I picked this slim novel up in Edinburgh. Translated fiction from Chile which I think puts it in a select group of 1 on my bookshelves.
Now I don't understand the freedom we enjoyed. We lived under a dictatorship; people talked about crimes and attacks, martial law and curfew, but even so , nothing kept me from spending all day wandering far from home. Weren't the streets of Maipú dangerous then? At night they were, and during the day as well, but the adults played, arrogantly or innocently - or with a mixture of arrogance and innocence - at ignoring the danger. They played at thinking that discontent was a thing of the poor and power the domain of the rich...

Initially a story within a story- a writer struggling to tell a story about growing up in the dictatorship in Chile, the lines increasingly blur as the novel develops. Not much plot, but plenty of questions. The author asks how children cope with growing up in the middle of politics that they don't understand. I was really struck by how 'the author's' struggled with his parents' lack of activism. There is a repeated refrain about it being his 'fault' that the parents now read: I wondered if the two things were linked.

Aug 21, 5:11am Top

Hi Charlotte, happy belated new one.

>46 charl08: I liked that one too. I think all Dürrenmatt books are strong ones.

>54 charl08: I suppose that most of the plays are translated.

>59 paulstalder: Oh Paul, that's such a great book. I've also read Nero Corleone by Heidenreich which is terrific too.

>73 charl08: Nice book haul.

Aug 21, 6:21am Top

>78 charl08: Rembrandt had a big influence on painting in his days, Charlotte.
Nice painting, I never saw this one before.

Aug 21, 7:19am Top

Hi Charlotte:

Quite Ugly One Morning sounds good -- but gory? Not sure.

I love A Thousand Mornings - one of my favorite Olivers.

I'll have to try the Zambra - I read another by him that didn't work for me. I think he tends to the experimental... This one sounds interesting, though.

I just started Fruit of the Drunken Tree, set in Colombia during the days of Pablo Escobar; the author says it's based loosely on her own experiences.

Aug 21, 7:41am Top

>91 Ameise1: Discussing translation, I came across this:
, a version of Paul's book in >59 paulstalder:
Rather tempting...

>92 FAMeulstee: I was hoping for a postcard of the lady reading, Anita, but couldn't find one. She was on loan from a collector in the UK, so perhaps that's why. They did have a lot of old paintings that had been in British hands for hundreds of years - but I just love the stuff that goes with that - a receipt or a diary entry about buying the painting would have gone a long way for me :-) The modern references room was also interesting - but nothing I particularly loved. I'm now wishing I took notes though, so that I could at least mention some of the artists included.

>93 BLBera: I enjoyed the book, but it was very dark humour. Which was kind of fitting for a Glaswegian hero in Edinburgh.
I think I would not have tolerated a longer book - there seemed to be a lot of prevaricating. But at 150 pages I can tolerate a bit of an experimental approach.
I'm not sure I've read a Colombian author at all (shame on me) - will watch for your comments.

I splurged for another couple of books - Maggie Nelson's book Bluets, a book on women cartoonists (Inking Woman)and a biography of Eleanor Marx by Rachel Homes which I'd wanted for a while. I was hoping to find lots of poetry and a GN, but nothing particularly grabbed me in either department.

Aug 21, 2:16pm Top

Just delurking to say Hi!

Edited: Aug 21, 3:27pm Top

Hello Kim!

Now reading Early Riser

Aug 21, 3:44pm Top

Thought I’d drop in on LT to say hi. Even though I go on Litsy more often than LT now, I prefer the longer more informative reviews and comments on LT.
>80 charl08: I’m so glad you posted the link to this. I think a book about letters to Obama would be a pleasant respite from most of the political reading I’m doing nowadays.
Are you close to London? Is it easy for you to get to the National Gallery? If so, lucky you!

Aug 22, 1:22am Top

Good plan to take an unwieldy gift with you so you would have space in your luggage to bring books back. Quite Ugly One Morning sounds like a good one.

Aug 22, 3:18am Top

>97 arubabookwoman: Yes, they're very different beasts aren't they. I'm hoping the library gets a copy of the Obama letters book, although I'm sure it would be a beautiful coffee table addition. I'm not close to London - this was the Scottish National Gallery.

>98 Familyhistorian: I was amazed it worked out so well. Although I was a bit afraid I would turn around and knock someone out with my heavy heavy rucksac on the way home...

Aug 22, 6:00am Top

just *waving*

Aug 22, 8:15am Top

Waving back! Still reading Jasper Fforde. I don't know how he comes up with all the stuff that's packed into the books. So very detailed (a bit like Pratchett) - he even has a dig at the female James Bond controversy...

Aug 22, 10:32am Top

>101 charl08: I've only read the first Thursday Next book; obviously I need to get back to him. Oddly enough, for a long time I thought he was a she, because one of the first reviews I read referred to the author as 'she' and I just thought (with a roll of my eyes) that this was a case of a lady using a male name.

Aug 22, 12:38pm Top

My speciality is mixing up authors (as in thinking two are in fact one person writing surprisingly diverse books). For ages I thought Ishiguro had written a book about what he thought about whilst he was running. Red face.

And moving swiftly on In Our Mad and Furious City has turned up at the library.

Aug 22, 1:19pm Top

>103 charl08: *snort*

I do that with actors, no memory for names and faces.

Edited: Aug 22, 5:46pm Top

>104 Helenliz: Oh, I do that too.

Early Riser
This was a lot of fun: if you like Pratchett, I'd give this a go. Fforde's speciality is intricately plotted alternative worlds, with footnotes and fake adverts (my favourite in this one is the 'woncho' or Welsh woolly poncho). This is a standalone book, so no worries about which Thursday Next you need to start with here. Charlie is plunged into the world of the Winter Consuls after his attempt to escape his 'home' is thwarted by one of the nuns. Consuls have a low survival rate: they are the police whilst (almost) everyone else sleeps through winter. Fforde has a lot of fun imagining what a drug to stop you sleeping might do, just how much rich food you might need to last to hibernate (I started craving peanut butter whilst reading this book) and how hibernating people would be accommodated (there's a plan and everything).


Aug 23, 1:10am Top

>105 charl08: I may give that one a go. I adore Pratchett and had heard Fforde described in the same terms. Only I think I picked up the wrong book. I tried one of the Thursday Next series, not the first one, and it simply passed me by, leaving me somewhat frustrated by the whole experience. A standalone featuring a woncho (and who doesn't now want a woncho?) might be a better bet.

Aug 23, 2:05am Top

Sweet Thursday, Charlotte. I like Heidenreichs books.

Aug 23, 2:56am Top

>106 Helenliz: I admit I visited the site, a woncho looks like a great option for winter draughts.

>107 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara, it does look like fun.

Not sure what I'm going to read now...

Aug 23, 3:11am Top

If you find a copy of Lenin Lives Next Door, go for it. I can strongly recommend it.

Aug 23, 7:07am Top

Thanks for the nudge Barbara!

Edited: Aug 24, 12:32pm Top

Trying to finish Walking through Fire (instead, I've read 6 pages!)
When still a child I was afraid of the darkness. Now at the age of twenty-six I had become a doctor, held a small torch in my hand and went round in the dark of night fighting against these metaphysical forces

Aug 24, 7:18am Top

Hurrah! Washington Black has finally come in at the library.

Aug 24, 9:00am Top

I caved and bought it Charlotte! I'll probably start it in a week or two.

Edited: Aug 24, 4:28pm Top

>113 Caroline_McElwee: I was on the brink Caroline. It was 'on order' for ages and ages....

The Madness of George III
After reading an Alan Bennett for the popsugar challenge, I was reminded how much I like his writing. The library had this one, so I ordered it. I've seen the film, but reading the play gave me a sense of how it was originally staged. As you expect with Bennett, there's lots of clever lines, jokes and some touching insight into human beings. For the edition I read there is also a lovely introduction where Bennett explains how the play changed through drafting and rehearsing. He also discusses changing attitudes to George III - and I've just read an article (from five years ago) about changing ideas about what caused his illness.

ETA (I'm counting this as an ugly cover: I really don't like the triangles)

Edited: Aug 25, 12:18pm Top

For everyone who has an LFL
'Gestures of sharing and love' … the mini libraries giving books to the community
As the general election results were coming in on the morning of 8 June 2017, the artist Carry Franklin was outside her front door, installing the first Little Free Library in Leeds. A year later there are 19 all over the city, with more on the way.

This non-profit project aims to bring the community together by setting up book exchange boxes across Leeds, where anyone can take or leave a book for free.

“I love the serendipity of it,” says Franklin, “the fact that you never know what book you’re going to get”.

Edited: Aug 25, 2:26am Top

Guardian Reviews - Fiction this week

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker reviewed by Emily Wilson
"...brilliant new novelistic retelling of The Iliad puts the experience of women like Andromache at the heart of the story: the women who survive in slavery when men destroy their cities and kill their fathers, brothers and children."

Aug 25, 2:31am Top

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne reviewed by Sam Leith
"It’s sort of a comic novel, sort of a satire, and sort of a thriller: the characterisation and plot points and bitchy dialogue have all been turned up to 11, and it works very well indeed on that not-quite-grand-guignol level. "

Note to self: grand guignol= a dramatic entertainment of a sensational or horrific nature, originally a sequence of short pieces as performed at the Grand Guignol theatre in Paris.

Aug 25, 2:35am Top

Vox by Christina Dalcher reviewed by Carrie O'Grady
"At the two-thirds mark, Vox morphs from a glum prophecy into a Hollywood-style thriller, complete with gun-totin’ bad guys growling, “Don’t do anything stupid, Jean”, and a wrap-up so convenient it beggars belief."

Aug 25, 2:38am Top

An Untouched House by Willem Frederik Hermans reviewed by Sam Jordison
"...first standalone English-language edition arrives more than half a century after the book first appeared in Dutch. But be glad that it has finally emerged. It remains a shocking read, even if you have to imagine the impact it must have had when it was published in its home country in 1951, exploding the prevailing postwar discourse of brave resistance to the Nazi occupation with a story of selfish opportunism and amoral nihilism."

Aug 25, 2:42am Top

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan reviewed by Arifa Akbar
'...less a book about the effects of slavery and more about the burden, responsibility and the guilt of personal freedom in a time of slavery. “What does it feel like, Kit? Free?” Washington asks Big Kit, a female fellow slave who is, for a time, his protector.
She tells him that it is a matter of being able to “go wherever it is you wanting.” "

Aug 25, 2:46am Top

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai – reviewed by Ben East
"'Makkai herself is too young to have lived as an adult through the years of all-consuming apprehension that characterised Aids in the 1980s, there’s a huge commitment here to telling a truthful story of what it was like to do so. The sections set 30 years later in Paris, where Fiona is searching for her estranged daughter, offer a sense of context, nuance and poignancy too. These are absorbing individuals to care about, rather than hedonistic caricatures painted in broad brushstrokes."

Edited: Aug 25, 2:54am Top

Night Time Cool by Jamie Paradise reviewed by Alexander Larman
"The main attraction is the hyper-caffeinated prose that makes following this particular narrative a guilty pleasure of sorts. Like Amis and Welsh, Paradise takes delight in conveying the extremities of bad behaviour in a greatly stylised fashion..."

Aug 25, 4:29am Top

You are dangerous to my book shelves. Tempted by the Barker. And I've read The Illiad now, so a retelling may make some sort of sense...

Edited: Aug 25, 4:56am Top

>124 Helenliz: That is what I thought. While I wait if it is translated I will read Pat Barkers last book of her Regeneration Trilogy.

>119 charl08: I have the Dutch original of An Untouched House at the shelves, if you want to read together, let me know.

Aug 25, 8:57am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. Too many good ones this week. Luckily, many were already on the WL. Have a lovely weekend.

Aug 25, 11:17am Top

>119 charl08: as someone long interested in all things Dutch, I sprung for this one.

Aug 25, 11:23am Top

I'll join the crowd saying that An Untouched House looks like the cream of the crop here. Thanks for compiling these reviews for us, Charlotte!

Aug 25, 11:49am Top

I also think that An Untouched House looks excellent (but I may have already reserved a couple of the others). And it's only £4.74 for Kindle in the UK at the moment, which is an excellent price for something brand new(ly translated). Thanks Charlotte!

Aug 25, 1:30pm Top

Trying not to look too closely, no new tbrs if possible in August for me ( as if...).
My Guardian BB this week was Fruit of Knowledge which fit in very well with the "Victorian manual". Might be sth for you, unless you read it already. I'd check if I knew how to shift/f on a touchscreen...
Happy weekend! :)

Aug 25, 1:57pm Top

>129 susanj67: It doesn't get released until October over here, Susan. :-(

Aug 26, 5:24am Top

>126 BLBera: Sounds like a lucky escape there Beth :-)

>127 Caroline_McElwee: I'm hoping the library will provide a copy, as it didn't seem to be in my local shop (although the latest Andrew Miller was, so I did buy that.

>128 rosalita: Sounds like we might have a few readers for that one...

Aug 26, 5:30am Top

>129 susanj67: ...and you too Susan. I would have reserved most of them but my library catalogue (provided by capita) is down this weekend.

>130 Deern: Yup, I read it in French. I may have mentioned this once or twice, as it doesn't happen very often (and mostly with pictures!). I usually look at the book page to see if anyone's read it before (which might be easier in the absence of control+f!). Sorry if that's hopelessly obvious and not what you are after.

>131 rosalita: Oh dear, that's rather annoying.

Edited: Aug 26, 5:40am Top

Hell's Bottom Colorado
This was another LT win, lovely short book about living on a ranch in Colorado. A bit like Elizabeth Strout, interconnected stories about people who are interconnected, but not really following a plot. Thanks to everyone who recommended it. My copy was remaindered by Chicago city library, I am tempted to post it back to them and say that they should keep every copy that they had...

Aug 26, 7:43am Top

Now reading: Dead Wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania
I fear it will end badly...

Aug 26, 7:49am Top

>124 Helenliz: How did I miss your message? I haven't read any Barker for ages, but really liked the WW1 trilogy, so definitely should pick her up again.

>125 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita - a co-read sounds brilliant. I will check the library catalogue (when they have finished doing whatever they are doing to it this weekend).

Aug 26, 7:54am Top

I got these books yesterday.

Now We Shall be Entirely Free and Homage to Barcelona

Aug 26, 8:06am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Hooray for Hell's Bottom Colorado! I loved it too and have been meaning to read more of her work.

I am currently enjoying Eileen. The author is apparently not for all tastes, but I like her style. Have you read her yet?

Aug 26, 8:31am Top

I'm another fan of Hell's Bottom, Colorado, Charlotte. I'm so glad you liked it! The follow-up - Stars Go Blue - is also worth a read.

Aug 26, 9:56am Top

>138 msf59: Hi Mark - I have read it, but no, I am not a fan of hers. Just a grim book, as far as I was concerned, with little to convince me that the hype was worthwhile.

>139 katiekrug: I didn't know there was a follow up Katie - thank you!

Aug 26, 3:36pm Top

>134 charl08: Good mini-review of Hell's Bottom Colorado, Charlotte. I've been on the fence, but you convinced me to add it to the WL.

Aug 26, 8:43pm Top

I also loved Hell's Bottom, Charlotte. I have yet to read the companion book, though.

Aug 26, 9:01pm Top

Tempting reviews, Charlotte, although my library only has one of the true crime ones on order. My name is now on the reserve list.

Aug 26, 11:29pm Top

>105 charl08: So glad you liked this one by Fforde! I will keep an eye out for it. : )

Aug 27, 11:45am Top

>141 jnwelch: Joe! I felt for sure you had read it. It felt like everyone had except for me. Inside the book is a reservation ticket for the book, Chicago readers are clearly sophisticated types.

>142 BLBera: It took so long to get here I was convinced it was lost, but it was a bargain (in both senses).

>143 Familyhistorian: My library catalogue is back online (phew) so I've added a few requests from that crime list.

>144 Berly: It was fun Kim. Although I kind of wish it was a series now!

Aug 27, 12:04pm Top

Cowboy Pride
I read about this on Carrie's thread - a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in a (?)early 20th century small western town. Nothing particularly literary, and poor Mary has been binned, but I enjoyed it.

The Monastery Murders
This was available as an instant read on Netgalley - otherwise I definitely would have read the first book in the series first (honest Susan!). Set in the 12th century. Following a murder in an isolated Yorkshire monastery, a clerk and his assistant are asked to solve a mysterious murder. The story starts out in London with a bear baiting scene which is very gory - perhaps to highlight the difference between then and now?- I found it quite hard to read. Called to Yorkshire in January things are very cold, bleak and - as the order is Cistercian - spartan. Despite the religious commitment, there are terrible tensions between older and younger monks, monks proper and the monks who do the practical work, and the religious community and those villages that surround them. The mystery itself ultimately seemed a bit implausible, but the setting was compelling, I thought - atmospheric.

Aug 27, 9:22pm Top

The Monastery Murders sounds good, Charlotte. I do love good historical mysteries.

Aug 28, 12:22pm Top

I had a day shopping, and clearly I need to practice more, as I came home laden. Including Invisible Agents the title or author of which had both completely slipped my mind. Pity the assistant in Waterstone's faced with my rambling description of the contents... He asked where had I seen it and I had to say the telegraph and guardian reviews, as I felt sure referencing your LT thread would not have helped narrow it down any >:-)

Aug 28, 5:49pm Top

>137 charl08: Cannot wait for my copy of the Miller to arrive, along with All Among the Barley.

Side note: The cover of Now We Shall Be Entirely Free is absolutely gorgeous.

Aug 29, 2:21am Top

>147 BLBera: It was a straightforward historical crime, which was pretty much what I was after Beth. I have been reading Dead Wake about the Lusitania disaster - it's really good, but so tense (even though I know what's going to happen) I keep needing to put it down and try something else.

>148 Helenliz: I'm impressed they found it! I stood behind a guy in Blackwells in Edinburgh whose description consisted of 'it was in the Telegraph, I had the piece of paper but I seem to have dropped it'. I didn't envy the bookseller that one.

>149 libraryperilous: It is lovely, a real work of art - I had a £10 voucher from the Waterstones' stamp card scheme. Which apparently is now closing. I need to sign up / switch over, as I try to use the local shop (on the basis it's the only one left in our town).

Duke by Default
I downloaded this romance on the basis of this quote which made me laugh a lot.
...do you have any books about dukes?” The librarian’s eyes went wide and she rubbed her hands together with glee. “We have a fantastic romance section,” she said. “Do you need recommendations? How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?” “Actually, I meant nonfiction,” Portia said glumly. The librarian sighed. “Aye. Just a warning, love—the non-fic dukes are not nearly as fun.” Portia sighed. The librarian had no idea.
It's set in a lightly disguised picture of Leith, a docklands area that has seen a lot of change over the past twenty years (now effectively part of Edinburgh).

Edited: Aug 29, 8:48am Top

I feel like I'm in a bit of a reading slump. I've got loads of books out from the library to be read, and have bought several books which I was excited to read, but am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Harumph. I had visions of getting loads read over the weekend, but it didn't come off (partly because we went to the zoo instead yesterday: I think the words are, to quote Susan's FOR, 'dried out husks' by the time we dropped off the small people).

ETA Managed to miss the penguins (the place was huge) but elephants:

Aug 29, 11:21am Top

I do like elephants though.

Hope the reading funk passes Charlotte.

>150 charl08: the quote is amusing.

Aug 29, 2:40pm Top

Some great reviews here! I have Washington Black on my tbr for later this year hopefully.

Love the pics of the elephants!

Edited: Aug 30, 7:12am Top

>152 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I think just writing it seems to have helped! Weird.

>153 ChelleBearss: I started Washington Black yesterday - I looked up and 50 pages had flown by.

Finished Dead Wake last night - great recommendation by Jenn (Nittnut) for the popsugar 'set at sea' category. It was really well written, so many details about the people on the boat, the reasons why the Lusitania sank, and why the Germans attacked it in the first place. It kind of had the effect on me like watching one of those comedies where you're just waiting for the awful thing to happen, and want to shout at the hapless lead 'don't do that!'.
Not sure if Frank Spencer (some mothers do have 'em) travelled, but that's the general idea.

Really effective, in other words. Impressive when you know what is going to happen. Horrible tragedy, so many lives lost, and you never lose the sense that these were individuals, not just the dispensable statistics of the British admiralty code breakers.

Aug 30, 3:31pm Top

Hurrah! I've just realised >139 katiekrug: means I can count Hell's Bottom, Colorado for the popsugar thingy book recommendation one. Phew.

Aug 30, 3:49pm Top

>154 charl08: mmmm Betty. I so remember that episode Charlotte.

Aug 30, 10:26pm Top

>154 charl08: I'm glad Dead Wake was a hit for you, Charlotte, and I know just what you mean about the surprising amount of narrative tension considering the ending is a foregone conclusion. Larson is one of my favorite historical nonfiction writers.

Aug 31, 2:32am Top

>156 Caroline_McElwee: I missed the point of the show completely- used to worry about the character.

>157 rosalita: Makes note to self: Narrative tension! Thanks Julia. I've added a couple of his other books to the wishlist too, was so impressed with this.

Aug 31, 5:40pm Top

Finished Washington Black. Loved it.

Booker update

Have read (ranked)
Esi Edugyan (Canada) Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)
Michael Ondaatje (Canada) Warlight (Jonathan Cape)
Rachel Kushner (USA) The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)
Daisy Johnson (UK) Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
Sophie Mackintosh (UK) The Water Cure (Hamish Hamilton)
Belinda Bauer (UK) Snap

Still to read

Waiting from the library:
Nick Drnaso (USA) Sabrina (Granta Books)
Guy Gunaratne (UK) In Our Mad And Furious City (Tinder Press)
Sally Rooney (Ireland) Normal People
Richard Powers (USA) The Overstory (Willian Heinemann)

Anna Burns (UK) Milkman (Faber & Faber)
Donal Ryan (Ireland) From A Low And Quiet Sea (Doubleday Ireland)

Not so sure...(AKA ran out of library holds)
Robin Robertson (UK) The Long Take (Picador)

Edited: Aug 31, 7:05pm Top

You are steaming ahead Charlotte.

Sep 1, 12:21am Top

I'm always impressed how you steam through the prize long lists, Charlotte. I just started Warlight and am enjoying it. It's reminding me a bit of Crooked Heart. I thought the Edugyan looked good as well. I have to wait until the library gets it to me.

Sep 1, 2:16am Top

>160 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. The library has turned up quite a few lately.

>161 BLBera: I really loved Warlight - hope that it and/ or Washington Black at least make the shortlist. Two great Canadian writers! Hope the beginning of term is going well.

Edited: Sep 1, 2:36am Top

Guardian Reviews Non-Fiction

Liquid by Mark Miodownik reviewed by Katy Guest
"...about people and relationships as much as it is about atoms and bonds. At one moment, he is scaring the daylights out of the reader by describing the tens of thousands of litres of aviation fuel in the aircraft, “10 times as powerful as the explosive nitroglycerine”; the next, he is explaining how the in-flight safety briefing is really a “ritual … a trust ceremony”, performed to persuade nervous humans to cede control to an unseen collection of engineers. In a chapter about liquid crystal displays comes a moving digression about art: “Static images like paintings and photographs allow us to contemplate ourselves, and how much we’ve changed from viewing to viewing,” he argues. Whereas “magical liquid screens … are dynamic, and offer us a vivid window into another world. They let us escape ourselves”"

I love the cover of this one!

Edited: Sep 1, 2:36am Top

Help Me! by Marianne Power reviewed by Kathryn Hughes
"...it is these lightning bolts of real-life experience...that stops Help Me! floating off into inconsequence. Still, the book retains a certain generic weightlessness..."

Interesting idea (living by a different self-help book each month) but I've had my fingers burned with blogs-into-books before, so probably not.

Sep 1, 2:36am Top

A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory reviewed by Alice O'Keeffe
"In 1988, at the age of 11, Tom Gregory became the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel. It took him just under 12 hours to complete 32 miles, fuelled by tubes of tomato soup and the odd chocolate biscuit lobbed into the sea by his coach, John Bullet. This memoir is structured around Gregory’s account of that swim, and he makes no bones about how horrendous it was."

Added this to my wishlist of swimming memoirs. Which reminds me, I need to get back in the pool!

Sep 1, 2:41am Top

Lords of the Desert by James Barr reviewed by Ian Black
"...beautifully written and deeply researched book covers 25 years of competition between Britain and the US for hegemony in the Middle East. Churchill’s warning that he had not entered Downing Street to liquidate the empire didn’t sit easily with Franklin Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter. Still, American idealism was not entirely altruistic: British “imperial preference” tariffs left US companies at a disadvantage. Oil was an increasingly important consideration. Barr demonstrates that the two countries were becoming outright rivals..."


Edited: Sep 1, 2:44am Top

Gloucester Crescent by William Miller reviewed by Amanda Craig
"...stuffed with hilarious literary gossip and anecdote."

Tempting stuff.

Edited: Sep 1, 2:51am Top

Endeavour by Peter Moore reviewed by Ruth Scurr
"She left her London anchorage on 30 July 1768, bound for Tahiti, where her crew observed “the Transit of Venus over the Sun’s Disk”, before continuing further south into uncharted seas and towards Australia and New Zealand. The botanist Joseph Banks accompanied Cook and could often be seen in his collecting boat, towed along behind the ship. “Banks’s journal shows a man who sets to his collecting every morning with the cheer and spring of a parson on Easter Sunday”"


Edited: Sep 1, 2:55am Top

Leftover in China by Roseann Lake reviewed by Yuan Ren
"Lake’s anecdotal approach contrasts with the more political work of Leta Hong Fincher, who has argued that the rhetoric surrounding leftover women is the result of a deliberate government campaign. Leftover in China offers lighter material, though later sections of the book do examine issues such as LGBT rights and the disadvantages women face over property ownership (Hong Fincher has suggested that these discussions draw on her book, Leftover Women). .... “dating clubs” have gradually become a popular way to meet partners, and so are websites that focus on marriage. More recently, Tinder copycats such as Tan Tan have become widely used for dating and hookups."

Review made me want to read Leftover Women instead!

Edited: Sep 1, 3:23am Top

Rise by Gina Miller reviewed by Afua Hirsch
"...about far more than Brexit, online abuse or litigation. Miller reveals elements of her life that have so far been private – the experience of her first child being born with learning difficulties, and the fight that ensued to provide the right level of care and education for her daughter; it led to the end of her first marriage. Describing herself as an outspoken woman in the City, Miller offers choice anecdotes about its racism and sexism, from the man who said to her at a work event, “Just because you think you’re a good-looking black woman you think you can get away with anything,” to another who told her husband she had only married him to obtain a British passport. Andrew Neil asks whether she has 'turned tinkering in the democratic process into a rich woman’s hobby' The book is at times reminiscent of Sheryl Sandberg’s call to corporate women to “lean in”, at others a confession of Imposter Syndrome, and even a guide on how to get pregnant. At the outset, Miller states her aim in writing it was in large part to encourage others to stand up to oppression themselves, but at times, it feels as if it’s trying to do too much."

I don't think so.

Edited: Sep 1, 9:15am Top

>163 charl08: This one sounds really interesting as long as the science is accessible. And the cover is gorgeous indeed.

>166 charl08: This history of US/UK meddling in the Middle East is an area of my knowledge that could use shoring up. Our current disastrous policies in that area are so dreadful that I'm not sure I have the stomach for it, though.

>167 charl08: >170 charl08: I'm not familiar with either of these authors, although it seems they are well-known over there? Who is William Miller's dad?

Sep 1, 12:12pm Top

>171 rosalita: Re the science book - The reviewer talks about the book being full of stories, which sounded really appealing.
I know so little about the middle east I fear it would be like opening a can of worms.

William Miller's dad is Jonathan Miller - most of the people he seems to be talking about are literary types from the 60s and 70s - the reviewer says it's similar to Love, Nina = "The Tomalins, the Garlands, the Haycrafts, and the Ayers. (Alan) Bennett, Stephen Frears, Mary-Kay Wilmers, Michael Frayn, Oliver Sacks, Max Stafford-Clark, Shirley Conran, VS Pritchett, Lawson and Martin Amis make an appearance."

Now reading The Way of All Flesh, which mysteriously self-downloaded to my kindle, almost as if I had pre-ordered a crime novel set in 19c Edinburgh...

Sep 1, 12:44pm Top

>165 charl08: That one looks very tempting. I still have Waterlog to read but it is top of the pile. I am back to the pool next week for regular swims. Can hardly wait!

Sep 1, 1:32pm Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. Several look tempting...

I'm really enjoying Warlight so far.

Edited: Sep 1, 1:49pm Top

>167 charl08: I caved on this.

>168 charl08: this is tempting too, but I might wait for the paperback.

Glad you are enjoying Warlight Charlotte.

Sep 1, 4:34pm Top

>173 mdoris: Ooh, have fun in the pool. I haven't been since I had a mole removed earlier in the summer. The excuse has long since run out!

>174 BLBera: Glad to hear that Beth. I do like Ondaatje a lot.

>175 Caroline_McElwee: It does sound like a humorous read, Caroline. I really enjoyed Warlight - great read.

My Edinburgh book is turning into one of those that needs to mention all the local celebrities. Inspector McLevy (who I only know because he turns up in another fictional historical) of the Leith police, and Hill and Adamson, whose photos I saw in an exhibition in Edinburgh.
This one: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/exhibition/perfect-chemistry-photographs-hill-and-adamson

Sep 1, 8:52pm Top

Finally catching up here, Charlotte! Envious about the Fforde--it's on my wishlist for spring.

Sep 2, 4:27am Top

>2 charl08: I read this same edition of The House of Mirth 2 years ago, I found the book pretty accessible (considering I don't do 'old' books usually).

>168 charl08: Oooh, interesting.

Sep 2, 5:43am Top

Now reading The Way of All Flesh, which mysteriously self-downloaded to my kindle, almost as if I had pre-ordered a crime novel set in 19c Edinburgh...

That is *uncanny*!

I must look for Warlight. Oh look - I'm second in the reserves queue :-)

Sep 2, 5:57am Top

>177 ronincats: Worth the wait Roni, I promise :-) Just as bonkers as his other books.

>178 LovingLit: I haven't read it (shamedface). I like the cover though...

>179 susanj67: Isn't it, Susan? Almost as if I had, in a weak moment, clicked 'pre-order'...

Edited: Sep 2, 2:23pm Top

The Way of All Flesh
Enjoyed this crime novel set in the 1840s streets of Edinburgh, following an apprentice maternity doctor and a young housemaid he meets. They live in the home of an expert doctor, amidst new experiments on anaesthetic methods. Their detective instincts are roused by the unexplained deaths of pregnant young women. Full to bursting with local detail, the book was good reading, but not without a few minor gripes: a weird twist of perspective right before the big reveal, and an odd reference to a key character's back story which then wasn't referred to again until right at the end of the book.

No Place to Lay One's Head
Compelling account of a bookseller's attempts to escape the Nazis following the closure of her French language bookshop in Berlin in 1939. Cared for by friends and acquaintances, dealing with blackmail and loss, gradually making her way to the Swiss border to try and escape.
The story of the book's rediscovery is almost as intriguing as the book itself - published in Geneva shortly after the war, it was rediscovered second hand a few years ago and has been published and then translated into many languages.
The Latin quarter rippled with youth, street corners still hummed with song, and book lovers continued their furtive reading in front of tables laden with treasures provided so generously to everybody...
The descriptions of her bookshop (before the restrictions of the Nazis) are perfect 'books about books' material.

Sep 2, 2:38pm Top

Hi Charlotte! I am also tempted by the new Pat Barker. And I want to get a copy of Washington Black. I am thinking of waiting on that until it's in paperback, though, and seeing if my bookgroup will do it

Sep 2, 4:23pm Top

No let up over here reading wise, Charlotte.

I have enjoyed today having a little more time to get around a few at least of my pals threads.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Sep 2, 9:17pm Top

Looks like you've had lots of great reads lately!

Edited: Sep 3, 7:56am Top

>182 banjo123: Yes, Pat Barker's pretty impressive. Another one on the 'when am I going to pick that up?' list...

>183 PaulCranswick: Lovely to see you 'out and about' again, Paul! Hope this also means you've got reading and family time (or any time off work, really).

>184 thornton37814: It's been good, Lori. Things are about to get quite a bit busier at work, so unlikely to get so much time to read (sob!).

Now reading Police at the Station and they don't look friendly, (the title turns out to be a great Tom Waits reference) - more NI 'Troubles'-set crime. The opening scene is a cracker. And how's this for a literary reference?
"Are you a policeman?" a very little girl asked.
"Where's your gun, then?"
I patted my shoulder holster.
"What type of gun is it?"
"A Glock. A man called Chekov sold it to me. I figure I'll use it at some point."

Sep 3, 7:57am Top

>181 charl08: I also enjoyed No place to lay one's head. I'm a fan of Stephanie Smee's translations. She's did such a marvellous job of the Comtesse de Segur's children's books.

Sep 3, 8:19am Top

Hi, Charlotte. I haven't been around the past few days. We were visiting my cousin in Wisconsin, so I am trying to visit some neglected threads. I hope you had a good weekend and the books are treating you fine.

Sep 3, 10:49am Top

>185 charl08: Ha! That's a clever literary reference to Chekhov's axiom about guns. I didn't pick up the Tom Waits reference; I always think I should listen to more of his music but his voice is a bit much for me.

Sep 3, 12:33pm Top

I hope your reading slump is over and you've recovered from the zoo!

Sep 4, 7:01am Top

>186 avatiakh: It was done very well, I thought, Kerry. Very glad I read it.

>187 msf59: Sounds like a great trip Mark, I must head over to your thread to see if any birds were spotted.

>188 rosalita: It is good, isn't it. Helpfully the author includes the referenced song (or at least, a verse of it) in the front of the book. I think he's a bit like the author of Rebus, very keen on his music. Much of which goes over my head.

>189 Berly: Thanks Kim. I've got another bug, so just about ready to switch to hot orange and lemon drinks this pm.

But in more uplifting news, LOTS OF NEW BOOKS! A list! Whee!

Edited: Sep 4, 7:17am Top

Listed here in case that helps me find them in the future (!)
The Wildlands by Abby Geni

In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

Ponti by Sharlene Teo

She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore

CoDex 1962: A Trilogy by Sjón

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

The Caregiver by Samuel Park

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Trinityby Louisa Hall

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim

Sep 4, 3:20pm Top

Perfectly timed- my first Granta turned up today (have signed up for a year). Granta 144

Contributions from Sally Rooney, Miriam Toews, Stella Duffy and Leni Zumas, amongst others.

Sep 4, 3:28pm Top

>190 charl08: Thanks for the link - it will be a nice break from reading student homework.

>192 charl08: Looks like a great selection.

Sep 5, 1:45am Top

Hope it offers a bit of a distraction, Beth.

Just came across a series of British Library suffrage events, including:
Immortalised: Remembering Women's Achievements
Tue 11 Sep 2018, 19:15 - 20:30


Sep 5, 4:10am Top

>191 charl08: Ooh, more books! I have only heard of two of those authors, though.

*hides in shame*

I hope your new lurgy is a bit better today, Charlotte.

Sep 5, 5:55am Top

I've only come across 3 Susan! Lots of first books I think.

Sep 5, 6:46am Top

>191 charl08: Oooh, is that a new Cormoran Strike I spy in that list? Exciting!

Sep 5, 7:31am Top

>197 rosalita: Yes! I'm controlling my excitement.

In lurgy news, I'm chalking this up as a win to the flu jab.

Sep 5, 8:11am Top

Excellent lurgy news!

Sep 5, 9:48am Top

>190 charl08: not yet more new books I'm never going to get too...
Still fancy the Pat Barker.

>198 charl08: see, this science lark isn't all bad news. Well done that lurgy preventative.

Sep 5, 11:14am Top

Hi, Charlotte.

You asked about John Woman - I'm really enjoying it. An interesting main character, and lots to think about. Unfortunately, I'm 3/4 of the way through and can't finish it before we leave on a trip. I'll have to return to it when we get back.

Sep 5, 11:31am Top

>191 charl08: Cormoran Strike...coming soon!!! : )

Sep 5, 4:39pm Top

>199 susanj67: It really is! I've got so much I want to get done, and really couldn't be doing with it. Signing up for the next jab.

>200 Helenliz: Ha! Stick to your guns there Helen.

>201 jnwelch: That's great news Joe. Looking forward to getting my hands on the latest Walter Mosley!

>202 Berly: We're all completely calm here.

Sep 5, 4:58pm Top

Walking Through Fire
I really struggled with this one, although I have read her fiction and found it much more compelling. She writes about her adult life but I felt she wasn't sure what she was writing here, whereas in her previous books, where she was writing about her time in prison, her study to become a doctor in the face of discrimination, she grabbed my attention. Here she seems to circle her experiences in two unsuccessful marriages, the death of her parents and leaving Egypt under a death threat. I'll go for more of her fiction though.

Sep 5, 6:21pm Top

>181 charl08: No Place to Lay One's Head sounds like a good one! I love it when books as rediscovered and made current again.

>192 charl08: I love the Granta editions, they are so beautiful designed. Do you ever read the in their entirety though? I can't seem to get through an entire one.

Sep 6, 1:27am Top

The Way of All Flesh looks interesting, Charlotte. I now have a hold on it at the library. The setting and cover of the book remind me of Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. Good to know that you enjoyed Washington Black, I'm hoping my library hold on that one comes in before I see Esi Edugyan at the Vancouver Writers Fest.

Sep 6, 3:02am Top

>205 LovingLit: I'd recommend it Megan. She clearly loved books.
I never finish a whole Granta either - but I like the chance to try out lots of different authors.

>206 Familyhistorian: Hope you manage to get hold of the Edugyan before you see her, Meg. A really great read.

I finished Police at the station and they don't look friendly - and I'm just reading on his website that the new book (#7) is due out soon. The black humour continues alongside the sometimes unbelievably crazy (but set amongst real events) politics of NI in the 1980s. This is very literary crime fiction - nods to the tropes of the genre, as well as quoting Irish poetry and referencing literary fiction (e.g. By Grand Central Station I sat down and Wept). Hope my library will also get the next one when it comes out.

Sep 6, 4:41am Top

>207 charl08: I like the Duffy series. I've only read the first four ones, should go on with it.

Sep 6, 7:58am Top

I've enjoyed them - hoping that the author has a few more left in him!
"A squat grey building of only 34 storeys. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE..."
Now reading Brave New World - my vintage edition seems to have about ten foreword / introductions...

Sep 6, 12:31pm Top

>207 charl08: I hope so too. Did you read Edugyan's other book that did well, Half-blood Blues?

Sep 6, 2:30pm Top

>210 Familyhistorian: I did, enjoyed it too!

Sep 6, 9:32pm Top

Hooray for BNW - don't read the introductions.

The NI police one sounds good. I did love the one about the psychologist. I still have to look for the other one you recommended.

Edited: Sep 7, 2:55am Top

>212 BLBera: I got a few pages into the Atwood intro - the one where she compares the vision of BNW to Orwell, and asking which one we've got, and whether the two can exist side by side. I listened to a bit of the book on my walk home and found it a bit much, so went back to the text. Something about the narrator just made it extra creepy.

The copy of What Happened finally turned up at the library, as did Yellowhammer a new crime novel, and How to be Famous, which I'm really looking forward to - the next Caitlin Moran.

Sep 7, 4:13pm Top

Still reading Brave New World: what a mad book...

Sep 7, 6:07pm Top

‘I don’t know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.’

Sep 8, 4:18am Top

Guardian Reviews - Fiction this week
www.guardian.co.uk/books - for many more reviews, (and of course, in full!)

The best recent science fiction novels – review roundup
Salvation by Peter F Hamilton; Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce; Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente; Early Riser by Jasper Fforde; and Supercute Futures by Martin Milla
(I can confirm the Fforde is v good!)

Edited: Sep 8, 4:45am Top

Transcription by Kate Atkinson reviewed by Lisa Allardice
"Although Transcription does not belong with her recent twinned novels Life After Life and A God in Ruins, it is a historical continuation: where Life After Life began before the first world war, a halcyon era for well-to-do family the Todds, and A God in Ruins took us on heartstopping flights through the blitz, this latest book brings us into the war’s drab aftermath. This is the London of pea soupers and tinned peas, where everyone is a casualty in some way."

Waiting for this from the library!

Edited: Sep 8, 4:45am Top

The Tristan Chord by Glenn Skwerer reviewed by John Boyne
"...his debut novel, which presents itself as a record written by Hitler’s boyhood friend Eugen Reczek from an Austrian internment camp shortly after the end of the second world war, where he is being “de-Nazified” by American psychologists and pumped for information about the young Adolf."

Edited: Sep 8, 4:46am Top

All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison reviewed by Clare Clark
"As an evocation of place and a lost way of life, Harrison’s novel is astonishing, as potent and irresistible as a magic spell."

Will be interesting to compare this fictional exploration of fascism to the Mosley references in Lissa Evans' recent book.

Edited: Sep 8, 4:46am Top

Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar reviewed by Meena Kandasamy
"Drawing in equal measure on WG Sebald and David Shields’s Reality Hunger, the book is replete with footnotes, artwork and photographs, lines of Urdu poetry and clippings from news magazines. Polyphonic and digressive, it is more an essay novel than an autofiction. Kumar daringly mirrors historical similarities across continents, and situates personal stories against the backdrop of pop-cultural references. "

Sounds brilliant.

Edited: Sep 8, 4:46am Top

Katerina by James Frey reviewed by Alexander Larman
"...the dreadful Katerina represents a new and, in its own perverse way, impressive attempt at career suicide."


Edited: Sep 8, 4:47am Top

The End by Karl Ove Knausgaard reviewed by Alex Clark
"And now, cataclysm: Knausgaard’s uncle Gunnar, his father’s brother, has responded to the copy of the manuscript Knausgaard sent him with an email headed “Verbal rape”. Gunnar’s anger and determination to block publication send his nephew into a tailspin, not least because his faith in his own recall of events has been shaken. As Knausgaard frets and calls his editor, Linda and Geir on rotation, it is an unavoidable fact that he must still fry fishcakes for his children’s tea and make sure they watch that day’s episode of Bolibompa."

I've avoided this series altogether so far...

Edited: Sep 8, 5:05am Top

Picture books for children reviews – witty, wise and heart-melting
A cake-fixated rabbit, a granny who snores like a walrus, a guitar-wielding purple ogre, and the wonders of the universe
Mini Rabbit Not Lost
Grandma Bird
Dave the Lonely Monster
There’s Room for Everyone
The Skies Above My Eyes (this book folds out - some lovely images on this blog - https://pagesofjoychildrensbooks.co.uk/non-fiction/the-skies-above-my-eyes)


Sep 8, 11:37am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. I am also waiting for the new Atkinson.

I think BNW would be hard to listen to, especially chapter three, when by the end of the chapter, every other line is alternating speakers. I'll be interested in hearing what you think of it when you finish.

The kids' books look charming. I'm sad that pretty soon, Scout will be too old for many of them. I was just pulling books off the shelf to look at them and put away the ones she doesn't care for anymore.

BTW, Stinky is fine although she did cry when her sister died.

Sep 8, 1:36pm Top

>217 charl08: >224 BLBera: Hi Charlotte--Just like my twin (Hi Beth!), I am waiting for the new Atkinson. And I have to wait a few more years before the next generation arrives in my family and then I will be back into children's books. ; )

Sep 8, 4:14pm Top

Happy weekend, Charlotte!

Edited: Sep 8, 4:21pm Top

I have shelves and shelves of kids books and yesterday spent the day making piles to pass to our "girls" of those books given as gifts as the books have their names to identify. I loved those books and it is a bit of a hard stage to move on from. Oh well.

I saw, from an article in the New Yorker Aug. 27, that there is a book by Joe Minihane, Floating: A Life Regained. He did a redo of Deakin's swims from Waterlog and then wrote about it. Now he is in the U.S. swimming between his book talks. Are you familiar with this book?

Sep 9, 12:34am Top

Adding Transcription and All Among the Barley to my wish list.

>191 charl08: I want to retire! So many books!

Sep 9, 3:30am Top

>224 BLBera: Hi Beth, what are you going to do with all the books Scout doesn't like anymore? Must be tempting to keep the ones you like. My mum still has a much loved 'open the flap' copy of 'Spot the Dog'. The flaps have seen better days. Glad to hear Stinky is doing well. I don't really know what to say about Brave New World. I will try to form sentences.

>225 Berly: I think we need a support group for waiting for the Atkinson book!

>226 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda - and to you!

>227 mdoris: I'm sure they will appreciate the books. Ours almost all got passed on to friends, donated or read until they fell apart. Although I still have my copy of the Usborne Book of Long Ago (a compilation illustrated history: Egyptians, Romans, Castles - or really, Norman Britain, and a fourth one that I seem to have forgotten altogether - Oh yes, Vikings).

As far as swimming goes, I think I did read about the re-do of Waterlog - but I was a bit nervous about a rehash of such a great idea. Deakin's writing is so lovely, it would be hard to match. But I'd be happy to be proved wrong, of course.

>228 EBT1002: Well, there's four of us waiting already, Ellen. It's a good job we don't all belong to the same library :-)

Sep 9, 3:59am Top

Brave New World
As I mentioned upthread, I accidentally read most of Margaret Atwood's intro to the Vintage edition, before realising that it probably would be good to read the text first. This fell into the category of books I thought I might have read, but opened and realised I definitely hadn't. I read a lot of classic science fiction (from the 1940s, 50s and 60s) when I was a teenager, and much of what Huxley wrote seems familiar - but then of course, perhaps those authors were riffing off Huxley? Atwood compared its vision to 1984, and asked which version of this (then) future we were living in: they seem to me rather like Cold War opponents, with Huxley asking if there is anything society can't aspire to buy (and thus control) and Orwell asking something similar of the limits of the state's tentacles. Much of the novel centres around cloning, and there are stratifications of society based on the way in which pre and postnatally the clones are treated. The glimpses into the structure imagined by Huxley, of gradations of intelligence, deliberately designed by maltreatment, and the ethnicity and physical descriptions of people were hard to read. Women don't come off well here either: the people in control, and the people having doubts about the way the system operates, are male. Women seem to pretty much accept their lot.

I wonder how the science was read in the 1940s, when cloning people must have seemed distant, unlikely, compared to now where it is a scientific bogeyman, and experiments on embryos strongly controlled under law against by many countries.

How to be Famous
Caitlin Moran unfailingly makes me laugh. This book picks up Johanna's story (How to Build a Girl) now she's in Britpop, 90's London, and starting to see through some of the shiny side of celebrity life. Moran lived through all of this as a young music critic and columnist, so it's tempting to read through for the autobiography, but ultimately, it's a bit too fairy tale for that. If a fairy tale can include a sex tape, fart jokes and lots of coke. And references to The Secret Garden and What Katy did at School.
'If you're gonna ask me, I think, as an artist, your job is to fall on your arse,' she said, restless as a wasp jar. 'You have to dare. You have to not be scared. You should believe you are a blueprint of the future. 'This life is but the draft of a draft.' That's Moby Dick,she added, to the table at large.
'I know it's Moby Dick,' John replied, tetchily.
''Adverse winds are holding mad Christmas in me'' Suzanne continued. 'Those are words to live by. That's Moby Dick too.'
'I am happy for you that you have read that book,' John said. 'I, too, have read that book. I am thinking about it, quietly, in my head, now.'
''It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him',' Suzanne sniped.
I didn't know much about drugs, but she seemed to have taken the drugs that make you quote Moby Dick all the time....

Sep 9, 4:40am Top

So many BBs... I must reread both 1984 and BNW at some point, and close together. Given my current reading situation, I should maybe concentrate on the children's books (how cute are those covers? and a cake-fixated rabbit?!?!) and not start anything difficult or my brain will explode and I'll watch soaps for months to recover.

Also avoiding the Knausgaard so far, but I'll get there when I'm ready, I don't want to force it.

Sep 9, 11:06am Top

Great comments on BNW, Charlotte. I need to reread 1984; I meant to do it this summer, but I didn't quite get to it.

I will save the books that Scout loved. Periodically I do go through the shelves, and I donate the ones she was never interested in.

Sep 10, 3:06pm Top

>231 Deern: I love children's books. I went in for one at the weekend and came out with four. One made me laugh because it was about a dad who sang all the time, which I thought one of the kids would like. 'I've read this' she said...

>232 BLBera: Well, it's not quite an essay response, Beth!

I do find getting rid of books so hard, but I can see the point of whittling down the collection. One of the kids said to my mum that they had too many books and could they just leave them at the library.
I don't know what she said in reply (!)

Sep 10, 3:50pm Top

Invisible City

This is the first in a series (get me, doing things in the right order!!)* from my library's surprisingly diverse digital collection. Rebekah is a Florida journalism grad working in NY as a stringer for a major paper. She has major anxiety problems and anger issues with her mother who left her as a small baby to return to the orthodox community she (briefly) left. Rebekah's job takes her into the heart of the orthodox community when a woman's body is found in a scrapyard, and she accidentally finds a scoop. A compelling start to a series - the hasidic community makes for a fascinating setting, and Rebekah is a complex lead. This has just been published in the UK, but there are two more novels which hopefully will also be released here.

*I realise it seems unlikely.

Edited: Sep 11, 4:04pm Top

Current project.

Sep 12, 7:31pm Top

>234 charl08: This sounds good.

>235 charl08: Very nice.

I'm not grading you, Charlotte.

Sep 13, 2:41am Top

>236 BLBera: Ha! Beth, you made me laugh. I still have the 'the exam is today and I forgot to revise' nightmare xxx years after the exam.

I feel like I look up from my computer and it's 5om at the moment. I've been reading Victoria Dahl rather than bookers - and just a week until the shortlist is announced! In our mad and furious city had to go back to the library unread, sadly.

Sep 13, 2:55am Top

An Unholy Alliance
Have been listening to this before bed - series set in medieval Cambridge. Matthew Bartholomew reluctantly investigates crime, whilst teaching medicine in an early Cambridge college. Rich in historical detail, dominated by the church and the legacy of a national plague outbreak. I listen for quite different reasons to my other reading - hoping to sleep - so a story has to both maintain interest and be good in small chunks. This worked well, and I like the narrator (David Thorpe).

Sep 13, 4:46am Top

>234 charl08: Yay for the right order! Sadly my elibrary doesn't have that one. I wonder how libraries pick what to get. I thought Overdrive would have packages, but maybe not.

>235 charl08: Pretty! And I love that it's a bookmark :-)

I want to start the Susanna Gregory series, and I think I got as far as finding out which library has the first one. I should remind myself!

Sep 13, 6:45am Top

>234 charl08: This sounds interesting. I know Susan will give you extra credit for beginning at the beginning of a series. Have you read My Name is Asher Lev? Not a mystery but an interesting look into the Orthodox Jewish community in NYC. There's a sequel, too, if you want to start with that one first. :-)

>235 charl08: The bookmark is lovely. Your stitches are so neat and even.

Sep 13, 8:10am Top

>239 susanj67: Weirdly with this one, library has the ebooks for the first and third in the series. Huh?

I have a bad record of getting to the 'just needs finishing off bit' and putting the thing in the back of the drawer and forgetting about it.

>240 rosalita: Ooh, Ellen has recommended this, according to my (cough) infallible LT note system, so will put a wriggle on.

I love the cross-stitch fabric, it's so regulating. I cannot imagine how people used to do it (still do it?) on proper cloth. Tangential aside. I heard a researcher speak a few years ago who looked at cross-stitch samplers from students in West African mission stations in the 18/19th century - she had tracked down these rare things in archives around the world. Really moving.

Sep 13, 6:57pm Top

I love cross stitch as well, Charlotte. I'm making a sampler for Scout.

The Susanna Gregory series looks like one I would like; I love good historical mysteries.

Sep 14, 2:55am Top

I do cross stitch as well. I also have a family heirloom, a sampler by Sarah Ann Skelton, aged 7 in 1829. It was kept for years in a stripy paper bag of the type you got pick 'n' mix sweet in years ago. I had it framed when I got it, and it now hangs in the study. One day I will decorate the study in the same colour way.

Sep 14, 3:02am Top

A sampler for Scout? Ooh. I bought a pattern for one for my friend's son, with birthdate and so on. He's now eight. Oops. I do like Gregory's books - lots of incidental (fictional) history.

I've got a Maigret out from the e-library, plus Anita's thread led me to a 2018 published Indridason, The Shadow District .

Sep 14, 3:04am Top

>243 Helenliz: Oh I love that. You've reminded me that I saw some votes for women patterns online. Must got my hands on one, I think.

Edited: Sep 14, 3:26am Top

>241 charl08: I cannot imagine how people used to do it (still do it?) on proper cloth.
My mother could do that, she was very good with crosstitching. She was a teacher and tried to teach me cross stitching. That didn't work, I am complete hopeless in this. One of my books here has a cover of her cross stitching (not proper cloth): the songbook for church. She made many of these.

Sep 14, 4:38am Top

>243 Helenliz: >246 FAMeulstee: beautiful samplers. Such care taken so young. I saw a few of thes in The American Museum in Britain, a few weeks ago. And have seen some British ones too.

Sep 14, 7:09am Top

>246 FAMeulstee: Wow! My Gran did lovely tapestries, and crochet blankets, but those must be lovely to have.

>247 Caroline_McElwee: Another museum to add to the want to visit list, sounds worthwhile.

Sep 14, 7:22am Top

Just booked to see Kate Atkinson next week. So the question is, do I go and buy the book now so that I can read it before I see her? And do I ask her if she still doesn't listen to Radio 4? (what she told me about a decade ago. Since they had serialised her first book, and that was how I had come across it, I was slack-jawed at that).

Sep 14, 10:10am Top

Lucky you. I might read it and take it for her to sign?

Sep 14, 6:29pm Top

>230 charl08: I read Brave New World years ago and recall very much enjoying it. It is one of those relatively modern classics that can be reread every few years, I reckon.

>249 charl08: I would read it first! Yes.

Sep 15, 4:21am Top

>250 BLBera: I have reserved it at the bookshop - but not sure I'm going to get there before the reading!

>251 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. I'm not sure I'm as keen on Brave New World to read it repeatedly, but I'm glad I read it.

Time for a new thread, I think!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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