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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 9

This is a continuation of the topic SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 8.

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 10.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Aug 17, 2018, 2:20pm Top

Hello, and welcome to my ninth thread for 2018.

I'm Susan, a Kiwi living in London for the past 23 years. During the working week I'm a lawyer so I love nerdy legal stuff, which crops up in more books than you might expect.

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

While I have been reading mostly from the library, I do have a fair few books that I've bought (mostly for the Kindle) and I need to keep my eye on those so that I actually read them instead of just accumulating them. This year I want to focus on reading my own things (famous last words).

Here are my tickers. I'm aiming for 150 books in 2018 as I want to read some NF chunksters and I also want to read more magazines and internetty things. I can feel a bit pressured by a stack of library books, so I'm going to take it easy (and yes, I can hear that laughing from the cheap seats).

Edited: Sep 22, 2018, 12:36pm Top

Books read during 2018


1. The Women's Room by Marilyn French
2. Snow Blind by Ragnar Jonasson
3. Orientalism by Edward Said
4. Roseanna by Maj Sjowall
5. Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine
6. Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield
7. Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie
8. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
9. The Spy Who Couldn't Spell by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee


10. Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
11. The Confession by Jo Spain
12. Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
13. In Search of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson
14. Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold
15. Artemis by Andy Weir
16. This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan
17. With Our Blessing by Jo Spain
18. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson
19. Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar
20. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
21. The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taube
22. The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
23. The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg
24. The Midnight Line by Lee Child
25. The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson


26. Close to Home by Cara Hunter
27. Young and Damned and Fair by Gareth Russell
28. Exposure by Helen Dunmore
29. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
30. Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote by Jane Robinson
31. Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky by Patrick Hamilton
32. The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
33. The Power by Naomi Alderman
34. Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
35. The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
36. Dark Blood by Stuart MacRae
37. The Almighty Dollar by Darshini David


38. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
39. Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain by Julian Glover
40. Common Ground by J Anthony Lukas
41. Flat Broke With Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
42. The Last of the Greenwoods by Clare Morrall
43. Paradise in Chains by Diana Preston
44. Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant by Barbara Hosking
45. Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
46. World Without Mind by Franklin Foer
47. The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald
48. Trouble in Paradise by Kathy Marks
49. A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power
50. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
51. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
52. The Black Echo by Michael Connelly


53. The Ministry of Nostalgia by Owen Hatherley
54. The Circle by Dave Eggers
55. The Net Delusion by Evegeny Morozov
56. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham
57. The BBC: The Myth of a Public Service by Tom Mills
58. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
59. Wired for War by P W Singer
60. Rules of Prey by John Sandford
61. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
62. The Disappeared by C J Box
63. The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste
64. The Mesmerist by Wendy Moore


65. The Vaccine Race by Meredith Wadman
66. Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters
67. The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku
68. Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor
69. Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
70. Secret Pigeon Service by Gordon Corera
71. Bookworm by Lucy Mangan
72. MI5 and Me by Charlotte Bingham
73. Slow Horses by Mick Herron
74. Chasing the Harvest by Gabriel Thompson
75. To Be a Machine by Mark O'Connell
76. The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos
77. Lonely Hearts by John Harvey
78. Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwart
79. Charlotte's Web by E B White
80. 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman


81. The Leavers by Lisa Ko
82. The Romanovs by Simon Sebag-Montefiore
83. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
84. Proof by Dick Francis
85. If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes from Trump's America by Jon Sopel
86. The Legend of de Marco by Abby Green
87. The Call of the Desert by Abby Green
88. Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan
89. Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
90. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
91. The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman
92. Damaged Goods by Oliver Shah
93. The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
94. Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee
95. A Shot in the Dark by Lynne Truss
96. The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah
97. Joining the Dots by Juliet Gardiner


98. Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
99. Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan
100. Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
101. Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd
102. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
103. The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
104. Extreme Cities by Ashley Dawson
105. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
106. Clock Dance by Celeste Ng
107. Settled Blood by Mari Hannah
108. Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
109. Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
110. My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
111. The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker
112. Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark
113. Bring Me Back by B A Paris


114. All The Colours Of The Town by Liam McIlvanney
115. After The Party by Cressida Connolly
116. The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh by Linda Colley
117. Born Trump by Emily Jane Fox
118. Small Country by Gael Faye
119. Rough Treatment by John Harvey
120. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
121. Into the Fire by Manda Scott
122. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
123. Texas by James Michener
124. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
125. Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Aug 17, 2018, 2:21pm Top

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

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

Here's the full list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited: Sep 22, 2018, 12:35pm Top

Last year I did the Better World Books reading challenge, which was mostly fun. This year I'm doing the Popsugar challenge https://www.popsugar.co.uk/smart-living/Reading-Challenge-2018-44211686 and I've started sketching out my choices for each category. As I read them, I'll add the covers here.

15. A book about feminism - The Women's Room - COMPLETED
5. Nordic noir – Snow Blind - COMPLETED
32. A book from a celebrity book club - Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan - COMPLETED
2. True crime - The Spy Who Couldn't Spell by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee - COMPLETED
30. A book with characters who are twins - Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi - COMPLETED
34. A book that's published in 2018 - The Confession by Jo Spain - COMPLETED
16. A book about mental health - Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant - COMPLETED
8. A microhistory – Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold - COMPLETED
27. A book set on a different planet – Artemis by Andy Weir - COMPLETED
35. A past Goodreads Choice Award winner - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson - COMPLETED
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you – Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar - COMPLETED
20. A book by a local author - The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar - COMPLETED
9. A book about a problem facing society today - The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taube - COMPLETED
22. A book with alliteration in the title - The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers - COMPLETED
38. A book with an ugly cover – The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg - COMPLETED
8. A book with a time of day in the title – The Midnight Line by Lee Child - COMPLETED
3. The next book in a series you started - The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths - COMPLETED
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges – A book that's been on Mount TBR too long – Common Ground - COMPLETED
26. A book with an animal in the title – Flat Broke With Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha - COMPLETED
9. A book about a villain or antihero – Paradise in Chains: The Bounty Mutiny and the Founding of Australia by Diana Preston - COMPLETED
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist - Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant by Barbara Hosking - COMPLETED
18. A book by two authors – Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - COMPLETED
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library - World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer - COMPLETED
36. A book set in the decade you were born – The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald - COMPLETED
28. A book with song lyrics in the title – Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo - COMPLETED
4. A book involving a heist - The Black Echo by Michael Connelly - COMPLETED
1. A book made into a movie you've already seen - The Circle by Dave Eggers - COMPLETED
6. A novel based on a real person – Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney - COMPLETED
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym - Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters - COMPLETED
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - Slow Horses by Mick Herron - COMPLETED
31. A book mentioned in another book – Orientalism by Edward Said - COMPLETED
10. A book about death or grief – To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell - COMPLETED
6. An allegory – Charlotte's Web by E B White - COMPLETED
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title - 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman - COMPLETED
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to – The Romanovs by Simon Sebag-Montefiore - COMPLETED
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you - If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes from Trump's America by Jon Sopel - COMPLETED
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical – Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood - COMPLETED
4. A book tied to your ancestry - All The Colours Of The Town by Liam McIlvanney - COMPLETED
25. A book set at sea - The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History by Linda Colley - COMPLETED
23. A book about time travel – The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - COMPLETED
1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school – Texas by James Michener - COMPLETED
19. A book about or involving a sport – Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas - COMPLETED

Still to read

17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift – The Buccaneers
21. A book with your favorite color in the title – The Colour Purple
24. A book with a weather element in the title – The Snow Child
29. A book about or set on Halloween -
33. A childhood classic you've never read – Anne of Green Gables

Advanced Reading Challenge

2. A cyberpunk book - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you - Is There No Place on Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan

Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 9:43am Top

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

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

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

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

Roman Blood
Arms of Nemesis

Ruth Downie's Medicus (Britannia, 108)

Terra Incognita

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

Wine of Violence

Ellis Peters' Cadfael (Shropshire, 1135 - 1145)

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

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

The Sanctuary Seeker
The Poisoned Chalice

Michael Pearce's Mamur Zapt (Egypt, 1908)

The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee

The Deep Blue Goodbye

Mal Sjowall's Martin Beck


John Sandford's Lucas Davenport

Rules of Prey

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch

The Black Echo

John Harvey's Charlie Resnick

Lonely Hearts

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Agent Pendergast


Harry Bingham's Fiona Griffiths

Talking to the Dead
Love Story, With Murders

Mari Hannah's Kate Daniels

The Murder Wall

Stuart MacBride's Logan McRae

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

Manda Scott's Ines Picaut

Into the Fire

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

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

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


Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 2:33pm Top

Aug 17, 2018, 2:45pm Top

>6 susanj67: - Amen, sister!

Happy new one, Susan.

Aug 17, 2018, 3:05pm Top

>6 susanj67: What Katie said!

Happy new thread, Susan!

Aug 17, 2018, 3:07pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 17, 2018, 3:51pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. Enjoy your weekend.

Aug 17, 2018, 4:09pm Top

Happy new one, Susan!

Aug 17, 2018, 8:10pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 18, 2018, 3:53am Top

>7 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

>8 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie :-)

>9 drneutron: Thank you Jim. How's that post-launch to-do list coming along? :-)

>10 BLBera: Thanks Beth. So far it's not going that well...

>11 charl08: Thanks Charlotte.

>12 thornton37814: Thanks Lori!

The alarm woke me up this morning, as I intended to pop into the West End. I lay there for a bit, listening to the ticking of the clock, and realised there was another ticking noise somewhere. Or, like, a *dripping* noise. I think there is something leaking upstairs at the Clompingtons. I can hear the dripping, and there is a small damp patch of plaster in my bedroom ceiling, but it seems to be mostly going in between a built-in cupboard and the wardrobe. Vexing. It was splashing at one point, but seems to have stopped now, which makes me think (hope) it's an appliance hose of some sort rather than a pipe.

I wrote a note and went upstairs and knocked, but all I got was quite cross barking and snuffling, which suggested that someone on the other side of the door wanted to gobble me up. And that meant I couldn't put my note under the door. Fortunately the Clompingtons get most of the parcels that Amazon UK dispatches, so I left it on a big box standing outside the door (in breach of the fire regs, but that's another story). Even if there's no-one inside, someone will come to feed and walk the dog, so they should see it this morning at some point. I left my phone number and worked out how to turn on the ringtone, so I might still go out because I'm not sure what else I can do. I've cleared the area of stuff, so if it does get worse then I just lose some plasterboard. I might also leave a note on my own door just in case the guy below *me* is getting it. If I'm not then it has to go somewhere.

THIS is why I want to live on a island, all by myself.

Aug 18, 2018, 4:36am Top

Happy New thread.
>6 susanj67: yup, that's me.
Hoping the watery problem is simply resolved. I thought my hubby got every other parcel that Amazon delivers. At least, they always seem to come while I'm working at home AND on the phone. Do delivery drivers etc have a special sense by which they know I'm on the phone before they ring the doorbell?

Aug 18, 2018, 8:01am Top

>13 susanj67: Yikes! I hope the waterworks stop before you find yourself sharing a room with the Clompingtons, who sound delightful.

Aug 18, 2018, 8:07am Top

>14 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I'm not sure about the Amazon drivers, but yesterday I got a Prime delivery (heh) and the tracking said that the driver was five addresses away, and then four...and then I made myself stop looking. Today I am waiting for a Hermes delivery from QVC (oops) and I have had to turn the door buzzer back on. Outrageous. I'm pretty sure they can get in without me, but better safe than no new Skechers, I say. Royal Mail dropped off the latest Estee Lauder beauty box, which has things from all of their brands and looks like a lot of fun.

I got a text message from Clompington 2 while I was out, apologising but saying he couldn't work out where it was coming from (but accepting that it must be him as he is the highest). As it stopped (and hasn't started again) I think it must be either an appliance or e.g. a cracked pipe leading from a bath or shower (which happened to me in a rented flat years ago) so it's only an issue if someone uses the appliance/bath/shower. I texted back and told him what time I'd heard it, so maybe that will help. I'm going to use the clear-out of my cupboard/wardrobe to have a bit of a sort-out. And I may actually read something at some point.

Aug 18, 2018, 8:13am Top

>15 rosalita: Julia, yes, I would draw the line at the lack of a ceiling! He said that he has been having a lot of trouble with mains pressure, so I was at least able to help him out with that. The Upstairses (previous owners, best neighbours in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD) put a pump in to help because the pressure was so weak, but it turned out that useless Thames Water had dialled it right down so that they didn't lose as much water from their own leaky pipes, and once they were made to put it back up again the situation improved. This has nothing to do with my situation, but Clompington 2 said that he could only run his washing machine at night and apologised for that. The managing agents said they had no idea what the pump was for and said it was all his fault, so I told him the history and he is now armed to go back into battle. Strangely, though, I am only one floor lower and have no trouble with my mains supply to the washing machine.

Aug 18, 2018, 8:19am Top

>17 susanj67: Well, perhaps this will prove to be a blessing in disguise, in the form of improved relations between your households. Grasping at straws, I know!

Aug 18, 2018, 8:26am Top

>18 rosalita: Julia, well, we'll see. He offered to pay for the damage, which is a bit weird when it appears to be an ongoing problem likely to involve more damage (and maybe to more than one flat). To me, that says he doesn't want anyone up there poking around because the kitchen is actually a meth lab but I may have just been watching too much TV.

Aug 18, 2018, 8:38am Top

>19 susanj67: - Funny!!

Is it awful of me to hope that you are not on the verge of making actual friends with the Clompingtons? The reason being that I just love that name. The stories about the mysterious, invisible people upstairs stomping around in their wooden clogs (in my mind that is the footwear of the Clompingtons) just wouldn't be the same if they turn out to be very nice and responsible and have to be re-named accordingly.

Aug 18, 2018, 9:19am Top

>20 Fourpawz2: What Charlotte said! Except that I picture them in steel toe boots.

Aug 18, 2018, 9:31am Top

>21 Crazymamie: Yes! With the laces undone, of course.

Aug 18, 2018, 9:31am Top

>22 rosalita: Exactly.

Aug 18, 2018, 11:18am Top

>20 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I think it unlikely that we will become besties. I just *cannot imagine* what they are doing up there, although it has been better lately than it used to be.

>21 Crazymamie:, >22 rosalita:, >23 Crazymamie: Ha! Who wears clogs/boots in their *own kitchen* in the middle of the night, is what I have always wanted to know. I won't even get slippers with proper soles in case I disturb the guy downstairs.

Has anyone watched the new Matt Groening programme on Netflix? I gave it 20 minutes but didn't get it. My current guilty pleasure is Insatiable, but I only have four episodes left.

Aug 18, 2018, 8:13pm Top

Happy new thread and I hope you figure out the water/neighbour issues soon, Susan.

Aug 19, 2018, 8:17am Top

>25 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! There has been no more dripping, so I'm crossing my fingers. There's an odd smell in the room, which I had put down to the scaffolding planks that have gone up outside (particularly as there has been heavy rain on them) but the water must be hiding behind a wall, or have gone further down the building. But if it's stopped then eventually things will dry out, I suppose.

I read about this podcast in the Sunday Times this morning: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/the-teachers-pet It's an investigation into an unsolved diasppearance by The Australian newspaper, which is a sister paper to the Sunday Times. I listened to the first two episodes while I did a metric buttload of ironing (my new favourite expression courtesty of Katie - Hi Katie!) and it's well done, although the subject-matter is depressing. But it's free to listen to through all the usual podcast places, or from the link above.

I've given up on Invisible Agents, which is just too hard. Or at least tiny print, masses of footnotes - not really tempting. I might read some more of Texas this afternoon, but I'm going to have to renew it anyway because it is so huge.

Aug 19, 2018, 8:20am Top

>26 susanj67: - Hi back!

(FYI, "metric buttload" is the family-friendly version of the term. The adult version is metric fuck-ton :) )

Aug 19, 2018, 8:27am Top

>27 katiekrug: LOL - I had never heard of either of those. I'll try out buttload on our US secondee and see how he reacts :-)

Aug 19, 2018, 9:10am Top

Susan, anytime you want to move into a flat above me, I'd be fine with that. :-)

Aug 19, 2018, 11:17am Top

Oh Susan, sorry to hear about your water woes. I hope they get sorted before your roof falls in. Your Clompington neighbors sound charming. ;) I hope you get some reading in this weekend.

Aug 20, 2018, 4:30am Top

>29 charl08: Charlotte, I hope my next move will be to the middle of a large field, but if not then I'll let you know :-)

>30 BLBera: Beth, things seem to be OK, and I think I've discovered where it was dripping. By doing some measuring, I've realised there's a gap between the inside of the wardrobe and the outside of about six inches, and it must have been in there, which fits with the marks on the ceiling too. What I don't know is whether it has pooled in there or gone further down. But no more dripping, anyway. Lots of clomping last night, though. I'm unimpressed.

The weekend was not a great one for reading. But I did get a fair amount of Netflix watched :-) I've finished Insatiable, which is very silly but somehow compulsive. (It's the one that everyone protested about before it was even available to view, on the basis that it fat-shamed the main character. In fact it gets stuck in to nearly everyone and everything). And I've started series 2 of Narcos (yes, I am quite behind) and nearly finished series 1 of Arrested Development (most of it watched before the weekend). I think series 2 of Ozark starts soon, and I loved that. Hmm, maybe I need another short week :-)

Aug 20, 2018, 9:30am Top

Hi Susan - just checking in post hols. Boo hiss to dripping!

Aug 20, 2018, 10:26am Top

Catching up here -- so sorry about your water woes!! Hope it is resolved soon.

Aug 21, 2018, 8:45am Top

>32 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! No more dripping so far, but I'm not putting things back in the wardrobe and cupboard just yet...

>33 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. I suspect he does know what caused it, but as long as it has stopped then I'm OK with that.

I went out for lunch with FOR today, as he leaves soon. His little boy went to stay with FOR's parents late last week, as he is 3.5 now and old enough to stay on his own. FOR said on Thursday that everyone was excited, particularly Grandpa. Today he said that his parents looked like "empty husks" when they returned him :-) Meanwhile, his daughter is continuing to add Spanish words to her vocabulary. He said he got a "por favor" this morning when she wanted something from a bookshelf.

Aug 22, 2018, 4:14am Top

110. My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

I got this because Beth said it was awesome, and she is RIGHT! I loved it, and read it nearly all at once. Thanks Beth!

Aug 22, 2018, 4:21am Top

>35 susanj67: I really must read this, sure it's on the pile (somewhere...)

Aug 22, 2018, 4:34am Top

>36 charl08: Charlotte, I'm sure it probably is! It's excellent, so I hope it shuffles its way to the top of the pile soon.

Edited: Aug 24, 2018, 10:05am Top

111. The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker

I saw this on Marie's thread, so I reserved it from the library. It's an excellent read, about "the surprising new truth about food and flavour". The author's main argument is that most commercially-produced food these days is very bland, with "flavour" added out of a packet, causing us to overeat because our bodies never feel "full" like they do with proper food. Proper food, as well as containing flavour, contains many other things, including triggers that tell us when we're full. Definitely worth a look if you're interested in food, or the health effects of what passes for food now.

Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 11:36am Top

GDPR fail of the week: I just bought some furniture online, and the page said "Click here to receive our e-newsletter". I didn't click, because I don't have room for any more furniture. As I was finishing the order I saw a new email previewed in the corner of my screen. "Welcome to our e-newsletter!" Yeah, about that...

My new chest of drawers and little bedside cabinet should be here on 10 September, in a four-hour slot between between 7am and 9pm. However, as the slot may not be notified until 8am on the day of delivery, this is once again not *super*-helpful.

I took my new Skechers for a walk to Westfield this morning, and they had a good time. It definitely feels a bit cooler today, and there was an outbreak of coats on the tube. That made me think I should continue my so-far-futile hunt for a new raincoat made out of raincoat material (harder than it sounds). Eventually I got something from M&S, which doesn't make me go "squeeee!" (my usual required reaction to a coat) but it will be fine. It's actually a lot more nicely made than some of the more expensive coats I tried, but M&S never gets it quite right, clothes-wise. Colours that just miss the trend, odd cuts, decent cuts in strange fabrics, pointless yucky embellishments, and so on. The new coat is navy, because I was determined not to get black. It has Stormwear (TM), which is a raincoat thing, and also Buttonsafe (TM). Buttonsafe means that the buttons aren't supposed to fall off the first time you wear it. My NZ friend thought I was joking when I explained Buttonsafe to her in May. It was funny.

I'm making good progress with Hangman Blind, which is a series that Charlotte recommended, so thanks Charlotte! I'm also reading The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, which looks promising. And of course there is Texas...

Aug 25, 2018, 1:52pm Top

>39 susanj67: Congratulations on finding a new raincoat. I have an ugly black one that is quite water-proof (but doesn't breathe and so is often much too warm) and I keep being tempted to get something more attractive but can't quite find it. Maybe I will while we're in the U.K. :)

Aug 25, 2018, 1:59pm Top

I have a showerproof and a waxed jacket, but not a genuine raincoat. I also need to buy a new winter wool coat for this winter, after I managed to wear through the old one on my handbag hip. So I have that pleasure to look forward to... Plus I've worn out my walking books, I see a shopping trip (probably frustrating) in my future

Aug 25, 2018, 1:59pm Top

Buttonsafe! And here was me thinking making clothes that didn't fall apart on first wearing was the default. Silly me.

Aug 25, 2018, 3:41pm Top

>40 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I tried a couple of the Blocktech coats from Uniqlo. They were so unbreathable that they actually crinkled. So don't look there!

>41 Helenliz: Helen, I found it hard to find a raincoat in a lightweight fabric, as opposed to the hugely heavy cotton ones like Hobbs does, for example. I tried one of theirs on last weekend just to see if it was as heavy on as it looked (yes) and the double-breasted buttoning was also harder to work out than the logic problem about the farmer with the boat and the chickens. I found some Four Seasons ones at John Lewis this morning, including some navy ones, in the sale, in all sizes. This always makes me suspicious, and sure enough the body of the coat was fine, but the arms were about three inches too short, thereby explaining the £100 discount.

>42 rosalita: Julia, no, we have to pay extra here for buttons that stay on. Sad but true :-) Still, at least they got a nice buzzword out of it, for the labels.

Aug 26, 2018, 5:45am Top

Oh, I think I might try those John Lewis ones. I'm not quite TRex but... My walk to work raincoat has given up - I will not be buying that brand again (well, if I can remember which one it is).

Aug 26, 2018, 5:52am Top

>43 susanj67: I love a double breasted winter coat. You can almost wrap yourself up in it. As someone who is not troubled by being extra tall or long of limb, I might take a look at John Lewis.

Aug 26, 2018, 6:20am Top

I'll post a link to the coats when I'm back home. Currently I am museuming, where I have just seen the best-ever sign: "Please do not touch the walrus or sit on the iceberg". Where am I?

Aug 26, 2018, 7:38am Top

I'm guessing it's not the National Gallery...

Aug 26, 2018, 10:06am Top

>47 charl08: Charlotte, you are right! It was not the National Gallery :-)

I went to the Horniman Museum, which I have never visited before, even though it is fairly close to me on the Overground. The collection was put together by a rich Victorian man, who then gifted it (and the premises) to the nation. One half is wildlife (the stuffed and mounted kind, including a walrus sitting on a plastic "iceberg") and the other half is objects from around the world, grouped by continent. There's also an excellent exhibition of photos on there at the moment. Most of the patrons were either knee-high or in charge of the knee-highs (including a few grandparents exhibiting early signs of empty husk syndrome, to adopt FOR's description) so it's not the place to go for a peaceful Sunday morning, but I imagine kids who live locally would be taken there *all the time*. There are lots of kid-friendly activities and discovery trails etc, and 16 acres of gardens which I planned to walk around but then it started *pouring* with rain, so I went down to West Croydon instead, to visit The Works and the giant W H Smith down there. There are two malls, with plans afoot to demolish both of them and build the biggest Westfield in the known universe, but there are still plenty of shops open so the developers seem to be some way off getting started. At The Works I bought these:

And I have checked the John Lewis website for the coat, but couldn't see it, so it might have just been surplus stock in one shop.

Edited: Aug 26, 2018, 12:50pm Top

>48 susanj67: A museum and new books - what could be better!

Edited: Aug 27, 2018, 5:02am Top

>49 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, yes it was good to see something new. I'll go back to look at the gardens, but combine it with somewhere else. I've just found a walk online from Crystal Palace (dinosaurs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Palace_Dinosaurs), via Dulwich (for the Dulwich Picture Gallery) and then on to the Horniman Museum and gardens. There are even hills.

112. Hangman Blind by Cassandra Clark

This is the first in the Abbess of Meaux series, set in Yorkshire in the 1380s. Sister Hildegarde is sent to York by her prioress with an important letter, and is then allowed to look for an appropriate manor to establish a daughter house with six other nuns. But events mean she finds herself at Castle Hutton, owned by a childhood friend, where people keep getting murdered. The time and place is vividly described, and the travelling through the country in appalling weather with villains around every corner reminded me in some respects of Karen Maitland's In The Company of Liars (although that is set somewhat earlier).

Charlotte recommended this series and I loved this first instalment. I just wish I had a reserve slot free to reserve the second one right now...In the meantime, I have Rough Treatment and All The Colours of the Town to read. And Texas. I'm also enjoying The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, which I'm reading on my phone while I'm out and about.

Aug 26, 2018, 4:18pm Top

I'm so glad you loved My Name Is Leon, Susan. I'm always nervous about recommending things I loved.

After reading Fruit of the Drunken Tree, I would like to read Killing Pablo.

I loved Hangman Blind as well; that reminds me I should get to the next in the series before I totally forget about it...

Aug 27, 2018, 5:11am Top

>51 BLBera: Beth, I know what you mean about recommendations :-) But it was excellent! I'm looking forward to Killing Pablo - Narcos is excellent even if I do have to read the screen instead of doing crosswords. I have a question about Spanish pronunciation: In Narcos, the DEA character's voiceover pronounces his name with a "hard" b sound - Pab-lo Esco-bar. But the Colombian characters seem to pronounce the b sounds differently - like they're halfway to b but they don't actually make the "buh" sound. Sort of like "Pahwlo Esco-wah", except halfway between the b and the w sounds. I noticed it in Jane the Virgin too, when the main character calls her grandma "abuela". It's not a-bway-la, or a-way-la, but something in between. Is there a word for that sound, and how is it made?

Today's reading goal: The Alamo chapter of Texas. It's 86 pages long, so off I go. Well, I do hope to read more than 86 pages today in total, but that's my primary goal :-)

Aug 28, 2018, 7:34am Top

I'm up to page 425 of Texas, slow going, but I'm getting there. This morning I returned a couple of finishes to the library, and Born Trump was waiting for me to pick up. The assistant looked vaguely disapproving as he checked it out for me. That left me with a reserve slot free, so I reserved the next one one in the Abbess of Meaux series.

FOR showed me some pictures of the kids taken over the weekend, which included a snazzy new pair of pink shoes for his daughter, who looked delighted with them. "And how *is* senorita FOR?" I asked. "She is muy bien, gracias," he said :-)

Aug 28, 2018, 10:16am Top

Good ear, Susan. In Spanish, the "b" is halfway between a b and a v sound.

Aug 28, 2018, 9:30pm Top

>53 susanj67: It does take awhile to plow through that one.

Aug 29, 2018, 4:35am Top

>54 BLBera: Beth, I have tried and tried but can't do it :-) Maybe my Spanish course will help, unless they just do vocab. It starts on 17 September and I have bought a new notebook.

>55 thornton37814: Lori, yes! I could do better, though. I keep getting distracted.

After the total *awesomeness* of the BBC's new series "Bodyguard" over the weekend (US viewers, keep an eye on BBC America) I started Line of Duty on Netflix last night, which is by the same writer. And also excellent although, as someone commented, it has more twists than a 1960s jukebox. Somehow it has become normal in a very short time to binge-watch TV drama thanks to Netflix, so Bodyguard fans are slightly put out that we have to wait until Sunday for the next episode. The BBC broadcast the first two over the Bank Holiday weekend, thereby wrecking the audience for the new ITV adaptation of Vanity Fair which starts this coming Sunday at the same time. Naughty. But everyone knows what happens in Vanity Fair, or can find out in thirty seconds. With Bodyguard there are So. Many. Questions.

Aug 29, 2018, 5:27am Top

Oh I'd forgotten about that. Big Keeley Hawes fan. I'm guessing she's not as nice as she is in Crete. Time for the iplayer!

Aug 29, 2018, 5:56am Top

>57 charl08: Yes, iPlayer urgently! I love Keeley too. And it has Gina McKee in it. The leading man can't really do expressions, but his character is supposed to be quite mysterious, so somehow it works.

Aug 29, 2018, 7:22am Top

>56 susanj67: Thas for the tip about "Bodyguard," Susan. Sounds intriguing.

Aug 29, 2018, 8:33am Top

>58 susanj67: Strange how some actors get work despite that!

Aug 29, 2018, 8:44am Top

Susan, I feel obliged to report shopping success. One woolen winter coat bought. Not exactly the double breasted, black, knee length I had in mind, but a funnel neck, single breasted affair, black and knee length. The sleeves are, if anything, a fraction too long, but that'll just help keep my hands warm and dry. Also one waterproof in grey with purple piping & zip.

Also a whole load of other items... I don't go shopping very often. The way I came home laden with bags, I'd say that's a good thing!

I was distracted by Waterstones but that was the only "off list" purchasing.

Aug 29, 2018, 8:49am Top

>59 rosalita: Julia, it is! It's about a female Home Secretary and one of her Personal Protection Officers. There is all sorts of mayhem going on :-) Keeley Hawes (The Durrells, Ashes to Ashes, Wives and Daughters) plays the lead and a chap from Game of Thrones plays the officer. There have been a few "What would it be like to have a PPO?" articles, which are funny. Even the actual former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, wrote an article for the Sunday Times about it. I used to work with someone whose husband had done a lot of close protection work, and she said that it would actually *drive anyone mad*. She couldn't even take him shopping without him immediately starting to scan the mall for threats, and there's a particular way they do it that she could recognise. "Stop that," she would say, but he couldn't help himself :-)

>60 charl08: Charlotte, yes, there are a few :-) But even though everyone's saying that he looks like a Ken doll, I liked the way that there wasn't Poldark-style gratuitous abs and general pouting gorgeousness (and I'm talking about the male Poldark characters here :-) ).

Aug 29, 2018, 8:53am Top

>61 Helenliz: Helen, that sounds like an excellent trip! And longer sleeves are much better than shorter. We probably just got our coats in time - it was *pouring* here this morning so I was glad of mine. What did you get at Waterstones, hmm?

Aug 29, 2018, 8:58am Top

>63 susanj67: Invisible Agents, which has had good reviews in the telegraph & guardian. Although I couldn't remember the title or author, so you need to pity the assistant trying to track down the title with my mangled description of its contents! And Bats in the Belfry as I'm a church bellringer and even if the mystery has no connection with actual belfries, it is a fun title.

Only 2 off list purchases is, I think, pretty good going. I didn't get distracted by party frocks or high heels, which is my other shopping weakness.

Aug 29, 2018, 9:03am Top

>64 Helenliz: I think really, as they were both from the same shop, you could say it was just one off-list purchase :-) Well done re the frocks/heels. But there is plenty of time before Christmas.

Aug 29, 2018, 12:57pm Top

>50 susanj67: - Well, this one is going on the you-list, even though it is not specifically recommended. The fact that you loved it is enough to get it on the list, though.

Reading about woolly-coat shopping makes me want to tear my skin off - mostly because it is - at present - 93 degrees here with a 'feels like' temperature of 106.

How I loathe summer....

Aug 29, 2018, 1:04pm Top

>66 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, you can count it as a recommendation! We have had quite a weather change here (thank goodness). When I got up on Saturday it felt very different - I could say autumnal but that might be pushing it a bit. It is supposed to warm up again for September though.

Aug 29, 2018, 1:32pm Top

>67 susanj67: - Supposed to be better here by Friday and the only thing that would be better than that would be if it would be better in the next 15 minutes. Trying to be patient (because I have no choice), but it is difficult. Reading is almost the only thing I can do outside of sleeping the days away. Not a chance in the world that I am touching knitting or getting on with the fabrication of lovely flannel pajama pants today or tomorrow. I plugged in the good oscillating fan this morning and really hope that I do not succumb to the truly desperate move of dragging the giant fan upstairs or - horrors! - arranging all three of the fans around my chair on the highest setting. Don't know what the next step would be after that.....

Hope that your weather people are wrong, wrong, wrong about a warmer September.

Aug 29, 2018, 2:56pm Top

>67 susanj67: "Warm up again for September"?!? How warm and for how long? I've planned to bring long trousers and sweaters. Do I need to rethink that? We're having another spell of hot and muggy although it was supposed to start storming an hour ago and that is supposed to bring cooler weather for tomorrow (but then more storms/rain for days and days). I would so love to find cool (or even somewhat cold) weather in Scotland and London...please?

Aug 30, 2018, 5:14am Top

>68 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, by "warmer" they mean about 25C, which is 77F (don't laugh :-) ) It sounds bad where you are, but thank goodness for the books. Imagine if all your hobbies were cold-weather only!

>69 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the latest: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-weather-forecast-latest-temperatures-to-soar-to-25c-as-start-of-autumn-brings-glorious-sunshine-a3923111.html But not hot by US standards, so don't worry! Trousers will be fine. And Scotland is very different from London, so sweaters will be OK there and probably in London - the past couple of months have been an unusually prolonged warm time. Usually it's more variable. Layers are always good for London, though, just in case.

I managed a few more pages of Texas last night, but otherwise I have nothing booky to report.

Aug 30, 2018, 7:15am Top

>70 susanj67: I will endorse layers. Wednesday (walking around a zoo) went from padded coats to shirt-sleeves, and back to coats again.

Aug 30, 2018, 12:15pm Top

I'm going to throw in a couple of tee-shirt weight tops just to be safe. I'm trying to pack really light (as in one carry-on sized bag and a back-pack for shoes/electronics/meds/etc. but I think I can still fit those in.

Aug 30, 2018, 3:10pm Top

>38 susanj67: That would be a good one for me to pick up. After spending a week with my BIL and SIL who are doctors and super health freaks, Nate and I realized that our diet sucks. We have started Maximized Living and are trying to train ourselves to cut out the crap. Hopefully we can get ourselves a bit healthier over time!

Aug 31, 2018, 5:25am Top

>71 charl08: Charlotte, yes, you can't beat a good set of layers for every occasion :-)

>72 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, that should be fine. Plus there is always Uniqlo or Gap if you need something else. That does sound like very light packing!

>73 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! It was really interesting. Flavour seems to have overtaken everything else, and the author recommends getting back to real food, like our grandparents would have recognised. But I read something the other day which said that even fruit is now a lot sweeter than it used to be, due to endless cross-breeding. Still, I'm sure it's better than plain sugar :-)

In the office just now:


Um, this book we need - you said it was available at the library?


Um, where is the library? And will they just let me take it away?

You'd need a library card.

Oh. Um...

I have a card. Shall I pop over and get it?

Oh, could you?


Actual work-related library visit - yay! Of course, it did mean I had to pick up the three reserves that I was trying to ignore till next week. But still...

Well, since you all ask:

Small Country - (someone here - the library card of suspicion points towards Charlotte or Beth)
After the Party - (one of the best-of lists)
Into the Fire - Manda Scott (the first in a series after the second one was reviewed last week).

That reminds me of a conversation I had with FOR last week. I can't remember what we were discussing, but he said "You have to watch them in order. Don't start half-way through the series." Heh.

Aug 31, 2018, 8:19am Top

😀 So you got to go to the library on company time... Score!

Aug 31, 2018, 9:01am Top

>74 susanj67: How long did you tsk and shake your head over that conversation?

Aug 31, 2018, 10:54am Top

>75 drneutron: Jim, yes - I was delighted :-)

>76 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the conversation with FOR surprised me a bit, but evidently I don't go on and ON about reading/watching stuff in order like I do here, or he would have known that I would never watch out of order :-) I was, however, tsking to myself that almost nobody seems to know about the library, and it's five minutes away! Maybe they are not cheapskates big readers.

Aug 31, 2018, 12:26pm Top

I think you should take the team out for a trip to the library, Susan.

Aug 31, 2018, 12:44pm Top

>78 charl08: Great minds think alike, Charlotte — I was just going to suggest the same thing! It sounds like an office retreat to the library is in order, Susan. You can help them all get library cards and explain how it works. Like a preschool class field trip, but taller.

Sep 1, 2018, 2:48am Top

A field trip to the library sounds like fun, Susan. But maybe it would be strange to see coworkers there?

Sep 1, 2018, 3:24am Top

>80 Familyhistorian: Oh, I hadn't thought of that.

Did you see there's a new book out about the Endeavour, Susan?

Sep 1, 2018, 5:35am Top

>78 charl08:, >79 rosalita:, >80 Familyhistorian: All in all, I think I'd rather take a group of pre-schoolers :-) Plus I might have trouble finding hi-vis tabards for the work pals, and they might object to having to hold hands and walk in pairs...And a tiny bit of me thinks it's "my" space :-)

>81 charl08: Charlotte, I did see that :-) It was reviewed or written about in something I have in a pile waiting to be read. As well as your thread, I see!

Yesterday I showed FOR my reserve haul when he popped in to my office, and he asked where I get all my recommendations from. I explained about the online community of Bad Influences. But, alarmingly, this month is "Scroll-Free September" here in the UK, which I think means we re supposed to give up social media. Holy carp! I won't be doing that. It won't stop me envying the US LTers with giant houses (and secret attics - oh, I'm not over that yet...) or the retired LTers who can read and read. So y'all are stuck with me.

113. Bring Me Back by B A Paris

This was in one of the "best-of" lists, so I reserved it from the elibrary, and was far far down the queue. Eventually it came, but it wasn't really worth the wait. It's a sort of Gone Girl wannabe, but I can only grade it Ehhh. Fortunately it was a pretty quick read on my phone.

I've started All The Colours of the Town and I also want to read After The Party this weekend, because someone has reserved it. Plus watch about 100 hours of TV, so good luck to me :-)

Sep 1, 2018, 8:10am Top

Secret Attic LTer, checking in!

Have a great weekend, Susan!

Sep 1, 2018, 9:06am Top

I'm sure glad you're not planning to abandon us this month for the sake of your mental health or phone battery life or whatever is the point of the "Scroll Free September" campaign. As for myself, I can quit social media and LT anytime I want. No, really, I can. Why are you laughing?

Sep 1, 2018, 10:00am Top

Glad you'll still be around!

Sep 2, 2018, 2:48am Top

>83 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! It is gorgeous here - sunny, but not too hot. And perfect drying weather for laundry! So that's, um, excellent.

>84 rosalita: Julia, so could I. So I'm not laughing :-) Here's a link to the campaign: https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/scroll-free-september.html I took the quiz and it turns out I'm "low-risk":

Your social media index (SMI) falls in the ‘low-risk’ category, so your social media use currently seems relatively healthy. Going #ScrollFree this September should be a breeze for you! Perhaps you could even handle the full Cold Turkey plan? Sign-up now to claim your bragging rights and set a good example to your friends...

But presumably the bragging rights would be shared on...social media. ANYway, it sounds like an interesting thing for people who can't live without it.

>85 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba!

I made decent progress with All the Colours of the Town yesterday but I also watched five episodes of Line of Duty, so I could do better. I'll try and finish it this morning before I go out to get a paper. I have to go to the supermarket when it opens at 11 because I've run out of change and I can't go to the paper shop with a note, particularly when it's a £20 and I only want the Sunday Times.

Sep 2, 2018, 5:37am Top

114. All The Colours Of The Town by Liam McIlvanney

I thought that Charlotte had recommended this one, but I see that the author now lives in NZ, so I may have got it from another list. Anyway, I enjoyed it, although it's all about sectarian politics in Scotland and Ulster, so it can be a bit hard to follow if you don't know what all the acronyms stand for. The main character is a journalist who is shown a photo of a Scottish politician in what appears to be a compromising (sectarian-wise) position, and he tries to work out where the truth lies. Amazon describes this as the first book in the "Conway trilogy", but there only seem to be two of them. I've reserved the second one :-)

Sep 2, 2018, 5:51am Top

>87 susanj67: I've got no memory of it, but that doesn't mean much! Sounds good though.

Sep 2, 2018, 8:28am Top

>87 susanj67: It does sound good, Susan.

I hope your Sunday goes as planned. Tennis is taking up my time these days...

Sep 2, 2018, 9:31am Top

>86 susanj67: Thanks for the link to the quiz, Susan. I am also "low risk" so my conscience is clear about ignoring Scroll Free September". Really, it's just LT and Twitter for me. Once a month or so I remember I have an Instagram account and swipe through to see what people are doing, but I don't post. I just can't imagine anyone wants to know what I'm up to, except when it comes to books!

Sep 2, 2018, 2:35pm Top

>88 charl08: Charlotte, well, if you haven't read it, you might like it!

>89 BLBera: Beth, Sunday has gone pretty well in terms of things I wanted to get read. And I ran through a talk I am giving first thing tomorrow morning, so now I can watch Bodyguard in peace :-)

>90 rosalita: Julia, for me it's just LT and I look at Facebook but don't post, unless it's "liking" various stitchery and snarky memes :-) I'm fairly impatient with the whole scroll-free thing, because life is short and why shouldn't people have a bit of fun, but then again it hasn't been around for much of my life, and I think if I'd been born into the social media era I might think differently. I try not to think about how much worse the bullying would have been at school.

115. After The Party by Cressida Connolly

Ooh, this is FABULOUS. The main character returns to the UK with her husband and family in 1938, to find her sisters involved with the British Union political party (formerly the British Union of Fascists). She and her husband become involved, and then find themselves interned during WWII. There are glimpses of real people (including the Mosleys) but I was most interested to read that some of the internees were moved from Holloway prison to the Isle of Man, which I hadn't previously known about. It's beautifully written, with the characters very much of a time and class that is now history. I loved it. Very highly recommended.

Sep 2, 2018, 3:59pm Top

>91 susanj67: After the Party sounds wonderful. I may have to look that one up.

Sep 2, 2018, 7:55pm Top

>91 susanj67: Well, this one goes on the list, Susan. Thanks, I guess. Enjoy your Netflix.

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 4:33am Top

>91 susanj67: Sounds interesting - especially having read about the Mosley's fairly recently in the history of Holloway prison (Bad Girls). Onto the wishlist it goes.

ETA Gah. Or even 'the Mosleys'. Send in the grammar police.
ETA 2: Mosleys'? Mosleys's? S's are starting to swim before my eyes...

Sep 3, 2018, 6:50am Top

>92 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, definitely!

>93 BLBera: Beth, you will love it. I promise.

>94 charl08: Charlotte, yes, it would go well with Bad Girls. Mosleys' I think. Cressida Connolly credits three NF books at the end of After The Party, one of which is Martin Pugh's Hurrah for the Blackshirts! which I thought might be a tad hard to find in Tower Hamlets, but the library has it as an ebook, so I definitely want to read that one.

I have done my first talk of the day, and caught up with sundry pals to discuss last night's Bodyguard, which is SO GOOD! I can't remember the last time I was so caught up in a TV series.

Sep 3, 2018, 8:41am Top

You know you're too obsessed with Bodyguard when...Young People come into your office all the time with questions and you really wish they'd address you as "Ma'am" (which in this context is pronounced "Mahm" rather than "Mam", "Mam" being for the Queen). There's a scene in episode 2 when the Home Secretary is walking through a building and every 50 yards a police officer says "Ma'am" to acknowledge her. I could totally get on board with that. Mostly, though, they just say "Um"...which isn't really the same.

Sep 3, 2018, 10:15am Top

>96 susanj67: I'm going to have to check out this series.

>95 susanj67: You promise? I'm going to find a copy right away.

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 10:46am Top

>91 susanj67: You sold me on After the Party, but it doesn't appear to have been published over here yet. :-( I've added it to my "keep checking" list.

>94 charl08: In the phrase "having read about the Mosleys" it's a straight pluralization, no possessive, so 's' and no ' is the way to go. If you were talking about something belonging to the family, that would be the Mosleys' stuff. And we won't talk about how many times autocorrect tried to make me type that incorrectly!

Sep 3, 2018, 11:43am Top

>97 BLBera: Beth, both are worth it!

>98 rosalita: Julia, it's brand new here, so it should get to you soonish. And yes re the apostrophes - I read it incorrectly as the Mosleys' history in Holloway. Oops.

No more books appear to have arrived at the library for me today. Quite a relief in a way. I might start Born Trump tonight.

Sep 3, 2018, 3:43pm Top

>74 susanj67: It's really amazing to realize how much sugar is added to the foods we love. Even things that don't taste sweet have sugar added.

>82 susanj67: Sorry to see that was just an Ehhh read.

Sep 4, 2018, 4:10am Top

>100 ChelleBearss: Chelle, yes, the scary part is the un-sweet-tasting things that are full of sugar. We've become so used to it that we can't even taste it any more. I thought of you yesterday - I was discussing something on Netflix with my former office roomie and he said "We had a terrible weekend with Netflix." "What happened?" I asked, wondering if there had been an outage that I had luckily escaped. "Paw Patrol was unavailable," he said solemnly. But apparently it was a glitch and it's been fixed now. Phew!

I didn't manage to read anything last night as I had to re-watch Bodyguard for clues. The message boards are going nuts discussing it, and there are all sorts of theories doing the rounds. It may well bring back a fashion for week-by-week TV, because it's lots more fun than solo binge-watching.

Sep 4, 2018, 4:59am Top

>74 susanj67: Love it! Wish I had to go to the library for work. Though I do sometimes get to walk over to the Jersey Archives which a) means I get a pleasant 15 minute walk either way and b)... archives!

Sep 4, 2018, 5:50am Top

>102 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! The archives sounds like a much better trip. And all those steps, too!

Sep 4, 2018, 4:18pm Top

>101 susanj67: I got to the end of episode two Susan. Wth? And there are clues as well? Oh dear. I think this may be over my head.

Sep 5, 2018, 4:03am Top

>104 charl08: Charlotte, there may or may not be clues. People think there must be clues they have missed because otherwise WTH, as you have said :-) I see that it is the BBC's most-watched drama in the last decade. That may be partly because the core audience is watching it multiple times :-) The thing that amuses me is how many breathless articles are being written about it. Even the Guardian hasn't suggested that Julia is guilty of workplace harassment. Although can you harass someone who has a gun? I read somewhere yesterday that there was a poll asking "Is Bodyguard really very silly?" or "Is it totally compelling?" and most people picked both answers :-)

Sep 5, 2018, 7:32am Top

>105 susanj67: I'm a bit afraid this has ruined my Sunday tea viewing of the Durrells. Not sure I'll be able to see Mrs Durrell in quite the same light again. That car scene was really quite brutal.

Sep 5, 2018, 7:38am Top

>106 charl08: Hmm, well, there's a scene in episode 3 which *definitely* means you'll never see Mrs Durrell in the same light again!

I have just been a pretend judge for the trainees. They had to call me "My lady", which is probably as close to Ma'am as I'm going to get. It's not quite the same, though, in terms of glamour. Or maybe it's missing guns.

Sep 5, 2018, 9:50am Top

>107 susanj67: don't let the power go to your head, m'lady.

Sep 5, 2018, 10:17am Top

>108 Helenliz: Mmmm - it might be too late. There was this exchange at the end of one presentation:


Me: How do you think that went?

Trainee: I think I could have been better prepared.

Me: I would agree with that.


(NB this was just in front of the pair that was arguing their case before me, not the whole group. But maybe this is why they think I'm crabby...)

Sep 5, 2018, 10:31am Top

>109 susanj67: It doesn't count until you make someone cry!

Sep 5, 2018, 10:38am Top

>110 rosalita: Julia, ha! I don't think I've ever made anyone cry (in front of me, anyway). But I'm not going to praise them for e.g. not knowing the name of the fictitious case they are arguing, not being entirely sure which side they are representing and making up evidence that isn't in the documents, causing their opponent to make up more stuff in return instead of pointing that out.

Ooh. I *am* quite crabby, it turns out.

Sep 5, 2018, 12:52pm Top

>111 susanj67: Sounds like you're giving them the kind of vital training that people only appreciate in retrospect, Susan. At least I never appreciated it until years later. :-)

Sep 5, 2018, 12:55pm Top

>111 susanj67: - I've never thought of you as crabby, but I've only seen you outside the office! My colleagues are always surprised how pleasant I can be when not at work ;-)

Sep 6, 2018, 5:02am Top

>112 rosalita: Julia, I think I am :-) And it's funny how often I think back to what I learned early on in my career too, when at the time it didn't seem that important, or was getting in the way of all the excitement of having a real job.

>113 katiekrug: Katie, I blame crabby resting face :-) (for me, not you!)

I started Born Trump last night, which was...timely. The review I read suggested that it was very badly written, but I think the reviewer may just have led a sheltered literary life. It's by a Vanity Fair writer, so it's a bit like a very long magazine profile, but Vanity Fair has some great stuff. I'm only about 60 pages into it, but there's lot of good gossipy content. Well, I say "good" as someone who lives thousands of miles away. Maybe it's not one for those in the US right at this very moment.

Concussion has come in as a reserve for me at the library (Hi Julia!) but I plan to leave it there until after the weekend and try and finish things. Heh.

Edited: Sep 6, 2018, 6:23am Top

Howdy, Susan! I can't read any of those books about our current calamity but I'm glad you're taking one for the team and can report back. Then I'll know which ones to pick up after this, too, passes. Assuming it does, of course. :-0

And yay for Concussion. Which is a very weird sentence out of context, when you think about it.

Sep 6, 2018, 6:37am Top

I want to live in a sheltered literary world. Maybe in the next life....! I have three books waiting on the reserve shelf, so between them and the plants desperate to be put in the border, it looks like my weekend is sorted.

Sep 6, 2018, 6:45am Top

>115 rosalita: Julia, I suspect that this one won't be a classic, but it's interesting enough for right now. There's lots about how he was never expected to win and all the chaos among the family and supporters when he did. I didn't realise that the candidates have to have a transition team in place before the election, just in case, and he didn't take that seriously at all, so basically his son in law did it all, with various people he then fell out with. It starts on inauguration day and then jumps back to the start of the campaign. And as well as all the politicking, the outfits are carefully written up. That might be what offended the reviewer :-)

>116 charl08: Charlotte, it sounds like your weekend is indeed sorted! I have just received the weekend travel update from Transport for London and it seems that the Tour of Britain is riding through London on Sunday, so that will be a great day to stay home.

Sep 6, 2018, 10:16am Top

>111 susanj67: That's not crabby, it's giving them needed feedback. (Makes me wonder how they ever got hired to begin with)

Sep 6, 2018, 2:31pm Top

>118 RebaRelishesReading: I didn't want to say that, but, yes.

Sep 6, 2018, 2:37pm Top

>111 susanj67: I'm not sure that's crabby, I can do far crabbier than that. Sounds, to me, like they got off lightly.

Sep 6, 2018, 4:47pm Top

You've never made anyone cry, Susan? I make students cry all the time although I don't think it's me as much as the knowledge that yes, they failed because they didn't attend class all semester, and no, there's nothing they can do about it now, during the final week, and yes, it probably means they won't graduate and they will probably have to take summer school.

P.S. Crying doesn't make me change the grade.

I'd say your feedback was pretty mild.

Sep 6, 2018, 5:18pm Top

>111 susanj67: Not crabby in my book either. You were just saving them from someone really taking them to task later. Then they would have a better idea about crabby in the real world.

Sep 8, 2018, 4:42am Top

>118 RebaRelishesReading:, >119 charl08:, >120 Helenliz: Ha! Well, thank you for the support :-)

>121 BLBera: Beth, you students sound like my friend's students. From time to time she tells me about the latest outrageous attempt to get more time/better grades. My favourite is still the student who asked for extra time to complete an assignment because he'd been arrested on the Friday night and hadn't been able to get bail until the Monday morning. And there was the one who asked whether a test could be moved (for a class of hundreds of students) because she'd booked a holiday.

>122 Familyhistorian: Meg, I feel that I could go full-on crabby at any point :-)

Yesterday was trying. It started with two conference calls in which most of the other participants seemed to be calling from inside dustbins on moving vehicles, and went downhill from there. You know the day is going badly when the two hours you spend teaching a group of excitable and noisy high school students is the calmest part of it. But eventually it ended.

Beauty box update: September's box arrived during the week and there are some great things in it.

Omorovicza Ultramoor Mud Mask (5 ml sample) https://www.lookfantastic.com/omorovicza-ultramoor-mud-mask-50ml/11230464.html - I can't wait to try this.

Philip Kingsley Elascticizer (40 ml size) https://www.philipkingsley.co.uk/philip-kingsley-elasticizer.html

Eve Lom cleanser and a muslin cloth (20 ml sample) https://www.lookfantastic.com/eve-lom-cleanser-100ml/10365659.html

Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning bath and shower oil (9 ml sample) https://www.lookfantastic.com/aromatherapy-associates-revive-morning-bath-shower-oil-55ml/10358948.html

Mane 'n Tail Hoofmaker Hand & Nail Therapy https://www.lookfantastic.com/mane-n-tail-travel-size-hoofmaker-original-hand-and-nail-therapy-57g/11406585.html

Lord & Berry Strobing Pencil (full size) https://www.lordandberry.com/uk/makeup/face/highlighters/strobing.html This looks scary and I'll have to try it out on a weekend day.

Edited: Sep 8, 2018, 11:40am Top

Well, Susan, I have more sympathy for the student who was in jail; at least it was something he could not control. I do have trouble with people who plan vacations in the middle of the semester. Last semester I had a student who got married in the middle of the semester and didn't miss ONE class. I held her up as an example... :)

My sympathy about the conference calls. I have a hard time hearing on the phone sometimes.

Sep 8, 2018, 1:37pm Top

>124 BLBera: Beth, that student does sound dedicated!

116. The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History by Linda Colley

I needed a "book set at sea" for the PopSugar challenge, so I searched "sea" in the elibrary catalogue, and this was one of the books that came up. While it's not entirely set *at* sea, the subject of this biography spent a lot of time travelling during the mid 1700s, and mostly by sea due to her connections with the Royal Navy through family. That period was a time at which great change was going on in many parts of the world, again because of Western exploration by sea, so I'm sneaking it into the category. Although she died aged only 50, Elizabeth Marsh packed a lot of life into the time she had, including being kidnapped by Barbary pirates as a young woman and taken to Morocco where she nearly became part of the ruler's harem, and then spending a lot of time in India after she was married. This was an interesting read, even if Marsh didn't leave masses of written material about her life.

Sep 8, 2018, 1:49pm Top

I thought for sure you'd read a pirate romance for the book set at sea prompt!

Sep 9, 2018, 4:25am Top

>125 susanj67: I've got this on the shelf, and I think I've read it, but you make me want to read it again. My reading plans have been a bit diverted this weekend, but treated myself to reading Caitlin Moran, which has cheered me up.

Sep 9, 2018, 2:52pm Top

>126 katiekrug: Katie, I like to be unpredictable :-) Also I looked around earlier in the year and couldn't easily identify anything piratey.

>127 charl08: Charlotte, it's very interesting on the way that individual lives and huge historical moments collide. Sorry to hear your weekend hasn't gone quite to plan, but I see you liked the Moran :-) She had a funny column in the Times magazine yesterday, on how to distinguish between real news and fake stuff on the internet - fonts. Respectable news sources would be allowed to use black Courier (I think) while everyone else would have to use pink Comic Sans until they could prove that they were responsible in what they were writing :-)

I am trying out a Glamglow mud mask, which came in a recent Estee Lauder brands box. This one, in fact, but in a tube: https://www.glamglow.co.uk/product/17949/47488/skin-care/skin-concern/firming/gravitymudtm-firming-treatment-glam-to-go However, it's the same 15g size, so allegedly worth £16 OMG. It's a silvery plastic-y colour and I glow in the dark. Scary.

Sep 9, 2018, 2:59pm Top

>125 susanj67: I resorted to Pugwash in the Pacific for that square. If I'm allowed a link that tenuous, so are you!

>128 susanj67: hoping the slivery sheen wears off before tomorrow. Not sure how your scardy little trainees would take to you appearing like an extra from a scary movie. >;-)

Sep 9, 2018, 3:03pm Top

117. Born Trump by Emily Jane Fox

I read a scathing review of this in the Guardian, so I decided that I had to read it. The author is a Vanity Fair writer, and it has lots in it that I would expect to see in a magazine article instead of a serious politics book, but fortunately it's not a serious politics book. I can imagine it must have been very hard to know when to stop writing, because so much lunacy happens every day and any manuscript going through the publishing process is going to look dated even after a fortnight. So it's written for instant consumption rather than as part of a retrospective analysis of the Trump presidency. I doubt it will last that long.

It's mostly about the Trump children, although it goes back in time to Donald marrying Ivana, and has a fair bit about his business practices too. It could definitely have done with at least one more round of editing, because anecdotes are repeated, and there are a fair few typos in it and apparently other mistakes according to one of the LT reviews - product names confused and so on, although I didn't notice those as a furriner. I'm also not sure how much of it is actual truth rather than endlessly repeated stories and rumours, which somehow *become* truth. There was an interesting bit about the Megyn Kelly row, though - Ivanka has apparently said that her father would NEVER talk about a woman's period because he is a total germophobe and didn't even make (or tolerate) scatalogical jokes when they were kids. He just can't stand anything like that at all (and was reluctant to travel overseas on holiday to dirty countries when they had nice clean Mar-a-Lago to go to) so whatever he meant it wasn't what the world assumed.

This may not be a great read for those in the US who are already in despair (and probably know much of what's in the book anyway) but it was interesting to me.

Sep 9, 2018, 3:13pm Top

>129 Helenliz: Helen, yes, your choice does give me some comfort for that category! I'm going to take the mask off soon. I have to stay home tomorrow for my new furniture to be delivered, so I might only scare the delivery men and the people doing our external redecoration work. But if it comes in time then I'll go in for the afternoon as I miss my screens when I have to work from home.

118. Small Country by Gael Faye

This is a FABULOUS novel which I read this afternoon. It's short, but amazingly good. I think I read about it on Charlotte's or Beth's thread. It's a coming-of-age novel set in Burundi at the time of the genocide in Rwanda, and the narrator has a French father and a Tutsi mother. Burundi holds out against the violence as long as it can, but eventually it affects everyone. Stunning. Read this book!

Sep 9, 2018, 4:44pm Top

I had it from the library, but I had to return it. Off I go to reserve it. Thanks Susan.

Sep 9, 2018, 4:49pm Top

>131 susanj67: - Wishlisted! The library has it :)

Sep 10, 2018, 7:02am Top

>132 BLBera: Beth, aha! It must have been you.

>133 katiekrug: Katie, excellent!

My furniture delivery window started two minutes ago. Apparently they call 30 mins - 1 hour before they arrive, though, and I haven't heard anything yet.

On the book front, I have half a crime novel left to read, Manda Scott's Into the Fire and - sigh - Texas. I have to renew it again if I'm going to finish it. I'm not sure I can be bothered. All opinions welcome :-) The new Steven Pinker downloaded from the elibrary but I sent it straight back because it looks very long and hard and this isn't the right time.

Sep 10, 2018, 11:39am Top

Small Country onto the wish list.

Sep 10, 2018, 11:50am Top

>135 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, excellent!

My furniture arrived at 1.30 and the delivery men were not the chippy jobsworths I had feared, but really nice. It was all boxed up so I got them to bring it up to the foyer on my floor, and I unboxed it myself from there and brought it inside. It was fully assembled save for the drawer handles, so I unscrewed those from the inside of the drawers and put them on the outside. Both pieces (chest of drawers and matching bedside cabinet) look great, and now I just have to take the metric buttload of packaging downstairs to the rubbish/recycling cupboard. In between everything I have been working like a demon, but I seem to have stopped now. However, as my weekend was ruined by needy people from the office I'm OK with that.

Sep 11, 2018, 12:23am Top

Glad to hear the furniture arrived and you got it situated well. Hopefully you didn't go into the office afterward. Since the office people already took up your weekend...

Sep 11, 2018, 4:44am Top

>137 ronincats: Roni, I'm really pleased with it. And I stayed working from home because I had calls, so it was an office-free day even though it was busy. Plus I could mute my phone and make toast :-)

Sep 11, 2018, 7:37am Top

I just picked up Warlight and Concussion at the library (both reserves) and saw the brand new Endeavour (by Peter Moore) on the shelf. Woo-hoo!

Sep 11, 2018, 9:07am Top

There's nothing like scoring an unlooked-for but wanted book while picking up reserves, is there?

Sep 11, 2018, 9:18am Top

>140 rosalita: Julia, there is not! And I particularly wanted it, too as my reserve list is full up

Sep 11, 2018, 9:10pm Top

New furniture! How exciting. Will we see pictures? I hope you like Warlight.

Sep 12, 2018, 5:54pm Top

Glad your furniture delivery went well.

Sep 13, 2018, 3:00am Top

>139 susanj67: Amazed no one had grabbed Warlight - our library had ordered plenty of copies (I thought) but there was still a hold when I returned it to the system.

Hope you're enjoying the new furniture - sounds like a relatively pain-free delivery.

Sep 13, 2018, 4:24am Top

>142 BLBera: Beth, yes, it was a bit exciting, particularly when it arrived without hassle :-) Pics below (from the company's website, as my bedroom is not nearly as interesting as the one in the picture):

>143 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba!

>144 charl08: Charlotte, I had reserved Warlight but I was surprised to get it so quickly. And there's no reserve on it yet, but I'll still try and read it this weekend.

Sep 13, 2018, 6:40am Top

>145 susanj67: Oh, I like the look of those chests, Susan! Now I want one ...

Sep 13, 2018, 8:04am Top

>146 rosalita: Me too. Although I'm not convinced about a spider plant over my head in bed. That would bother me.

Sep 13, 2018, 9:14am Top

>147 charl08: Agreed! Also weird how the same pair of high-heeled shoes show up in both bedrooms. Maybe you can't buy the chests unless you wear those shoes? Susan, did the shoes come with?

Sep 13, 2018, 9:24am Top

>146 rosalita: Julia, it has taken me a long time to find something simple, which sounds counter-intuitive, but there it is.

>147 charl08: Charlotte, I'm not a fan of plants in the bedroom either.

>148 rosalita: Julia, I wondered whether anyone would notice the shoes! They didn't come as part of the package. I also think they've accessorised the bedside cabinet incorrectly - that lamp is too big and makes it look very cluttered.

I forgot to add a review earlier:

119. Rough Treatment by John Harvey

This is book 2 in the Charlie Resnick series, which is OK but a bit dated. I'll continue, though, as there are a lot more books, I think, and eventually the characters will stop writing letters and relying on landlines.

Sep 13, 2018, 1:07pm Top

>130 susanj67: In your review of the book on the Trump family you wrote: I doubt it will last that long.. By it did you mean the book or the presidency?

Ooh, almost fully assembled new furniture. It looks really nice.

Sep 13, 2018, 1:42pm Top

>145 susanj67: Very nice - I would not like a plant hanging over my bed. Given that all too often, they overflow when I water them, I don't see that as being a good idea.

Sep 14, 2018, 8:02am Top

>150 Familyhistorian: Meg, I meant the book. It is already dated in just a few months, so I can't see people being interested in it in a few years. Much more stuff will have happened by then, and I hope it will eventually be possible to say "This is exactly what happened during the presidency" instead of living in the middle of it and wondering what on earth is next.

>151 BLBera: Thanks Beth!

I started Warlight last night. I'm 60 pages in and so far it isn't impressing me. But it's a fairly quick read, so I'll keep going. I just picked up A Ladder To The Sky from the library. I think it was one of the books reviewed in the Guardian recently (Hi Charlotte!). I'm also reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on my phone, but again it isn't gripping me. I'm only 6% of the way into it, though...

Sep 14, 2018, 10:05am Top

I hope Warlight gets better for you. I've heard others say that it was a slow start for them as well. Fingers crossed.

Sep 14, 2018, 11:26am Top

>153 BLBera: Beth, it's good to know that others found it a bit slow to start with!

The whole Peter Ackroyd History of England collection has just appeared on the library's ebook site. And Bob Woodward's Fear. There are 14 people waiting for that one, though, so it's lucky really that I reserved the hard copy yesterday :-) I might make the Ackroyd series a project for next year.

In other news, I have ordered two dining chairs from the furniture company with a 10% discount coupon that they sent me after my first order was delivered. They'll be coming in a couple of weeks, but fortunately will be boxed up and easy to carry inside by myself when they arrive.

Sep 15, 2018, 5:41am Top

120. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

I reserved this because people liked it on LT, but sadly I didn't like it at all. It was at least a quick read, though, and I returned it this morning so the next person can get it quickly and perhaps like it more.

*slinks off to the corner reserved for people who don't understand proper literature*

Today I'm going to focus on Into the Fire, which has the next due date. It looks promising so far.

Sep 15, 2018, 6:24am Top

>155 susanj67: Sorry that didn't work for you Susan. On the plus side, he's written loads, so you've got a long list to cross off from 'possible future reads'...

Sep 15, 2018, 6:34am Top

>155 susanj67: I’ve not read it but it only has an LT avg rating of 3.9 so I’d say you’re far from the only person who didn’t like it. And no hiding in corners — you won’t be able to enjoy that lovely new furniture from over there!

Sep 16, 2018, 9:10am Top

>101 susanj67: Ha! Paw Patrol being unavailable would have been terrible news for us a year ago! I've noticed that since Chloe started school the TV is being used much less and I love that! She has moved onto Disney show Vampirina and Puppy Dog Pals and then when they are finished she moves on to toys and puzzles and we turn the TV off.

Sep 16, 2018, 9:40am Top

>156 charl08: Charlotte, good point!

>157 rosalita: Julia, it does seem to have a bit of a mixed reception in the LT reviews...

>158 ChelleBearss: Chelle, I remember you saying how much Chloe loved Paw Patrol, but my former roomie will be relieved that eventually his son will move on to something else! He said that Paw Patrol is sometimes the only thing standing between them and a meltdown, so he missed it a lot :-)

The furniture people emailed me this morning offering a free upgrade to express delivery, so now my chairs are coming on Friday and I will have a short week. Yay!

121. Into the Fire by Manda Scott

I read a good review of book 2 in this series a couple of weeks ago, so I reserved this one, which is book 1. Of course I did. The main character is Ines Picaut, a captain in the police in Orleans, where a number of fires have apparently been lit by Islamic terrorists. Running alongside the modern-day narrative is a story from 1429, when Joan of Arc was taking France by storm, amazing or appalling people depending on which side they supported. Can the two stories be linked? And if they are, how? I liked both the stories, but the Joan of Arc one possibly had the edge. Still, I'm looking forward to the second book about Ines.

Sep 18, 2018, 7:51am Top

I've picked up Texas again and read 100 pages since Sunday, which feels like (some) progress. I've read 560 pages now and I have 440 to go. I can't remember having a book out of the library for so long. Never again.

This morning I collected Grey Mask, for which I blame Julia. Hi Julia! Also Washington Black has downloaded from the elibrary. I was wavering over whether to continue The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but I'm now 30% of the way through it, so it looks like I'll finish it.

Sep 18, 2018, 9:56am Top

>160 susanj67: You're welcome, Susan! Though I note that you carefully did not thank me for The Grey Mask so much as you acknowledged my possibly unwelcome influence. ;-)

Sep 18, 2018, 11:44am Top

Your furniture looks lovely and how nice the chairs will be coming early!

Sep 19, 2018, 4:42am Top

>161 rosalita: Julia, I will have to save the thanks (or not!) for when I have actually read it :-) Mostly my reaction was to wonder how it was fairly grimy even for something nearly new. I need to move somewhere nicer. Much nicer.

>162 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba! I saw on their Facebook page that they have the free express delivery offer for everyone, so now I don't feel quite so special, but I'm still looking forward to them coming :-)

Texas update: Pages read: 620. Still to go: 380. I just have to stick with it, and fortunately there is nothing much on TV tonight so I should be able to put in a few hours. Well, a couple of hours anyway.

In other news, Netflix has picked up the international distribution rights for Bodyguard, which has put cats among pigeons. It will be available from 24 October outside the UK and Ireland. We have one more episode to go here, and although the writer did something batpoop crazy in episode 4 which had much of the viewing public aghast (and a good proportion still in denial), I think it will do well.

Also worth looking out for, probably on BBC America for those in the US, is Princess Margaret: The Royal Rebel, which is a two-part documentary that concluded here last night. It's massively gossipy, mostly thanks to some of her former ladies in waiting who are interviewed at length and are frank in the way that only elderly upper-class English women can be :-) Once again I was reminded that I need to get to series 2 of The Crown, and that I want to reserve Ma'am Darling from the elibrary.

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 9:21am Top

Good news about Netflix and Bodyguard, as you've piqued my interest in the series. I'll keep an eye out for Princess Margaret as well. I heard a review of Ma'am Darling that came out recently, and it sounded interesting.

Sep 19, 2018, 7:35am Top

>163 susanj67: I have ended up letting the people on Gogglebox watch that, really great reactions. Ma'am Darling sounded like it wasn't exactly a pretty picture (which no doubt will make it very entertaining).

Edited: Sep 20, 2018, 5:31am Top

>164 rosalita: Julia, Ma'am Darling keeps popping up on the elibrary front page, and it sounds delicious :-)

>165 charl08: Charlotte, fair enough re Bodyguard. It is very different from the Durrells. Interestingly the Daily Mail, which is still running Bodyguard stories, is also monstering Keeley after they ran a story saying that she'd lost a stone for Bodyguard on some sort of weird diet. She tweeted "Um, no I didn't" and then #whowritesthisnonsense (except she didn't say "nonsense"...). So now they're running photos of her having dinner with people who are not her husband, but omitting the photos of all the other people who are at the dinners, and trying to imply bad things. Truly pathetic.

Texas update: Pages read: 680. Still to go: 320. Check me out! I've also started Convenience Store Woman which came in yesterday and which looks like a quick read. I love it so far :-)

Ooh, I just got an email from L'Occitane saying that their Advent calendars are now in stock. I'm not going to get theirs this year because they're always the same, but here's a link: https://uk.loccitane.com/advent-calendar,83,1,93743,1142289.htm

There is also a selection of beauty Advents here:

This year I'm planning to get the NYX one, which is all make-up. I'm hoping it shows up at Boots, because they have a 3 for 2 deal on all Christmas stuff (already!), including Advent calendars, which are here:

And, um, that's the Christmas news for now...

Sep 20, 2018, 7:53am Top

Susan! Argh....

(although I do want the Occitaine one: in case Santa is reading this).

Sep 20, 2018, 8:15am Top

>167 charl08: Charlotte, I know! It does seem very early for Christmas offers. But John Lewis also has a Christmas section up, also with Advent calendars: https://www.johnlewis.com/browse/christmas/advent-calendars/_/N-54yb?intcmp=cp_chr_adventcalendars_tobl1_top_adventcalendars_x310818

I want another of their felt animals for my office tree, but they don't seem to have any yet. I will have to see where the new roomie stands on the Christmas decoration/Advent calendar issue, and make a plan. Ooh, a Plan :-)

Sep 21, 2018, 2:58am Top

122. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Hmmm. This is perhaps too clever for its own good, but is basically a country house murder plot, with time travel. By this I mean that the main character has eight chances to solve a murder and then leave, but he lives through the same day over and over in the bodies of eight "hosts" - other guests at the mansion. It's quite confusing, and I'm not sure I understood it all in the end, but I realised about 40% in that it would fit the PopSugar "time travel" category, so I kept going with it mostly for that. I'm so shallow. Overall not recommended, but then I don't always get the nuances, so who knows? Y'all might love it.

I'm at home again today, waiting for my chairs. The delivery window is 7am - 6pm, but I'm supposed to get a text message with a two-hour slot some time this morning. There is no sign of it yet, but I was up and dressed ready for 7am, just in case, which is alarmingly efficient of me. Realistically, the depot will be on the outskirts of London and I am in the middle, so I wasn't going to be first UNLESS I was still in my jammies, and then I would have been.

Texas update: Pages read: 752. Still to go: 248. Ooh :-)

Sep 21, 2018, 5:13am Top

Still no ETA on the chairs, which is annoying. However...

Texas update: Pages read: 826. Still to go: 174.

Sep 21, 2018, 6:08am Top

>170 susanj67: I hope by the time you finish Texas you have something new to sit on, Susan. Maybe the furniture people are in cahoots with the Michener estate to make sure you finish it!

Sep 21, 2018, 7:17am Top

>171 rosalita: Julia, I just called them to check what was happening and got a super-cheery American guy, which has never happened to me before in the history of UK customer service, so I now wonder where they have their call centre. ANYway, he looked up the delivery people's tracker and said it was scheduled for between 2.47 and 4.47 this afternoon. Strangely precise, and yet...not. They are at stop 30-something and I'm package 70-something. But...

Texas update: Pages read: 883. Still go go: 117.

Sep 21, 2018, 8:07am Top

>169 susanj67: Go, Susuan. For long books I start doing all sorts of fractional maths. So I've ready 5/9th of it and so on. Not sure it makes it go any quicker.

Sep 21, 2018, 10:02am Top

Hi Susan - Happy Friday. Sorry Warlight didn't work for you.

Into the Fire looks good. Off to check to see if there's a copy in my library...

Sep 21, 2018, 10:17am Top

>173 Helenliz: Helen, I went! I didn't go quickly, though.

>174 BLBera: Beth, I was sorry too. I wished I had.

And now...

123. Texas by James Michener

Sooooooo long! I've renewed this twice, and I only kept going because it was the only decent candidate for the PopSugar best-seller from my final year of high school. And finally I have finished. As I said before, this isn't a great novel from the point of a view of a novel. But as an account of Texas history with fictional people illustrating important themes and events, I thought it was good. Certainly detailed. So I'd recommend it for that, but probably some NF on key events would be better.

I can't quite believe I've finished it. Yay :-)

Still no chairs and it's 3.17 ish. *This* is why I still have furniture gaps, because I just can't be bothered spending entire days waiting and waiting. If they'd sent me the text they promised then I could have gone out earlier, but I've now been stuck here, *wide awake* for eight hours. No, I have not even been able to sneak in a nap.

Sep 21, 2018, 10:19am Top

>175 susanj67: Woo hoo! Congratulations. What's next, in the tome department?

Sep 21, 2018, 10:27am Top

>176 BLBera: Thanks Beth! I want to reread A Suitable Boy before the sequel is published, which I thought was going to be later this year, but I've googled and now it doesn't seem so. So I currently have a chunkster vacancy :-) I have plenty in the library pile to be getting on with, though.

Sep 21, 2018, 11:53am Top

Finally! After 9.5 hours of waiting, the chairs arrived. And here they are (from the company's website):

The colour is exactly what I wanted, so that was lucky. Buying from www photos is always a bit of a gamble.

And now I can go out. Yay!

Sep 21, 2018, 12:20pm Top

>178 susanj67: excellent, and they are very nice. >:-)

Sep 21, 2018, 12:57pm Top

>Thanks Helen!

124. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko, the narrator of this short, droll novel, suffers from what we might call "failure to launch". Failure to fit in, to understand what people mean, to get a proper job, and so on. Eighteen years after she leaves University, she is still working part-time at a convenience store, desperately trying to mimic her co-workers who are "normal", in the hope that she might finally understand how life works. I liked it a lot. The only downside was that it was such a short read. But perfect, it turns out, for when you've finished an uber-chunkster and your chairs still haven't arrived. I have moved one of them over to my computer desk, to replace the folding chair that I have been using temporarily...for 20 years. I can identify with failure to launch, in many ways.

Sep 21, 2018, 1:03pm Top

>178 susanj67: Those are some good-looking chairs, Susan! Much better than a folding chair! I can so relate to the 20-year temporary workaround, sadly.

And congratulations on finishing Texas!

Sep 21, 2018, 1:35pm Top

>175 susanj67: Congrats on finishing Texas.

Sep 21, 2018, 2:51pm Top

I also loved Convenience Store Woman, Susan.

Your chairs are so pretty; I love that color.

Sep 22, 2018, 7:58am Top

>181 rosalita: Thanks Julia! I think the 20 year anniversary is what's prompted me to buy the last few things :-) It's so easy, living on my own, to just get used to the workarounds and stop noticing them.

>182 thornton37814: Thanks Lori!

>183 BLBera: Thanks Beth - I also love the colour and I'm relieved that it is the same as online. One of the other colours, "robin egg blue" looked good on the website but the sole review said that in real life it was green, and even the URL of the page said "light green velvet" when I looked at it, so I crossed my fingers that "teal" would indeed be teal.

I took a couple of books back to the library this morning and they had a new fiction display in their main display space :-) I nearly got the new Andrew Miller, but it looked a bit worthy. So I got the new Sophie Kinsella, Surprise Me, instead :-) Kamila Shamsie's publisher seems to have reissued her backlist because they had at least a couple of those too. And on the way out I saw a new NF display, and I had to get Viceroys, because Look How Pretty.

So all in all not really a successful trip in terms of whittling down the library pile.

Sep 22, 2018, 10:01am Top

>184 susanj67: That does look good - and the cover is lovely.

Edited: Sep 22, 2018, 1:07pm Top

>184 susanj67: Beth, I hope so. The sole review on the UK Amazon is one star, but I think it was written by a hater.

125. Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas

I saw this on Julia's thread (Hi Julia!) and it sounded interesting AND a book that would fit one of the PopSugar categories. It's the story of the Nigerian-born pathologist who discovered what was making so many former NFL players behave erratically and kill themselves, and the difficulty he had in persuading the world while the NFL was denying it all. There was a lot more about the doctor than I had anticipated, but it was still a good read. And it's no wonder that tens of thousands of kids have been pulled from football academies.

I've only seen a tiny bit of American football, but apparently it's very tough on the head, which makes me wonder whether rugby players are also at risk because of the scrums. I think they changed the rules a while ago to try and stop so many neck injuries but I'm not sure about heads. It's known in the UK that football ("soccer") players can have trouble if they head the ball too much, but that's a much rarer thing than kicking it. The head isn't really in the game (apart from headers).

Next up is Peter Moore's Endeavour, which I will make a start on this evening.

Sep 22, 2018, 1:03pm Top

>125 susanj67: that does sound interesting. In motorsport those campaigning to introduce safety measures were accused of damaging the sport, I assume he had a similar problem.

Rugby has introduced, in the last few years (I for get how long), more thorough protocols for head injuries and potential injuries. That includes enforced timeout and doctor review in the event of potential injury as well as forced rest games after confirmed concussions. American football has always been more padded with helmets, meaning that the impacts were greater than those in Rugby - if you're more protected, you can hit harder.

There seem to be no reviews so far, are you going to post yours to the book's page?

Sep 22, 2018, 1:12pm Top

>187 Helenliz: Helen, that's interesting about rugby. Time-outs were an issue with the NFL - they weren't seen as necessary. Also interesting was the idea that the damage is not necessarily only caused by confirmed concussion events, but cumulatively by *all* knocks to the head, meaning that little kids could start to be damaged in the pee-wee leagues. Helmets stop the skull from breaking, but do nothing to stop the brain flying around inside the skull. It made me pretty glad to be a lazybones :-) I don't usually post reviews in case people judge me, so I won't post this one :-)

Sep 22, 2018, 1:25pm Top

>188 susanj67: fair enough. (stoopid woman!) >;-)

Sep 22, 2018, 1:25pm Top

Concussion does sound good, Susan. I'm so glad I don't have kids or grandkids in football; I doubt I would want them to play. Certainly, I never allowed my son to play until he was in high school -- and that was well before all this head injury information became public. I think there should not be contact football for young kids.

Sep 22, 2018, 1:30pm Top

>186 susanj67: Good review, Susan! I'm relieved you didn't hate it. :-)

>187 Helenliz: The touchstone was pointing to a rogue edition that needed to be combined with the main work entry. I've done that now, so you'll see all the reviews that have been posted (including mine, she added immodestly).

Sep 22, 2018, 1:40pm Top

>191 rosalita: thanks. That a lot of pretty favourable reviews there.

Sep 22, 2018, 4:17pm Top

>189 Helenliz: :-)

>190 BLBera: Beth, my sister-in-law was always determined that the nephews wouldn't play rugby (which is virtually treasonous in New Zealand). Youngest nephew plays rugby league, but the rules for kids were different to try and stop the injuries.

>191 rosalita: Julia, I definitely didn't hate it! It was a good read. Thanks for fixing the touchstone issue - my book was the film tie-in version, I think.

>192 Helenliz: Helen, the pressure is off me now!

Somehow I got caught up watching The Sinner on Netflix this evening, which was excellent. We only have season 1 so far, but season 2 is coming in November according to the internet. So no reading for me. Tomorrow I am going OUT! (further than just to the supermarket, I mean). Stay tuned for an update...

Sep 22, 2018, 5:26pm Top

>186 susanj67: Yikes. I had heard that some football groups are trying to ban kids heading the ball altogether after seeing the stats on links to brain damage. It's frightening stuff.

Sep 23, 2018, 11:50am Top

>195 susanj67: Charlotte, yes it is. And a ban sounds like a good idea. It should all be about kicking.

Today I met the lovely Reba and MrReba for lunch here in London, and that was lots of fun. And Reba gave me American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, which looks like exactly the sort of book I will love. Thanks Reba! After lunch, Reba and I went to Foyles, because it was very close by, and that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. It's in new(ish) premises now, so better laid out, and there was temptation roughly every two steps. It had also fortunately stopped raining by then, after a spectacularly grey and rainy morning. Fingers crossed that the good weather lasts for the rest of the visit :-)

Sep 24, 2018, 2:59pm Top

Ooh, another meetup. Sounds lovely.

Did you see there is a new Sarah Morgan out Nov 1st?

Sep 25, 2018, 4:48am Top

>197 susanj67: Charlotte, yes, I had a great time :-) I hadn't seen the new Sarah Morgan, so thanks for the reminder. I must read the one I bought over the summer.

Sep 26, 2018, 11:50am Top

Well, no pressure!

Sep 27, 2018, 1:20am Top

Any comments on the Meghan closes car door "story", Susan? (also, look how close you are to 200, no?!)

Sep 27, 2018, 4:08am Top

>198 charl08: Charlotte, definitely not :-)

>199 charl08: Charlotte, I couldn't help thinking that whoever was supposed to have closed the door must have been embarrassed that they hadn't done it quickly enough. But then she does have form on the door front - remember after the wedding when she was in the sports car and leaned over to open Harry's door for him to get in? So in a way it's not surprising :-)

And this is message 200! I might just quickly start a new thread.

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 10.

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