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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 1

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Today, 12:46pm Top

Hello, and welcome to my first thread for 2019.

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

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

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

My tickers will go here when I'm feeling brave enough to set them up. Every year it bamboozles me.

Edited: Today, 4:41am Top

Books read during 2019


1. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
2. The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
3. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
5. Nerve by Dick Francis
6. An Unwanted Guest by Shari La Pena

Dec 25, 2018, 2:27pm 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: Today, 4:41am Top

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

I'll post the names and covers of the books as I finish them.


36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list - The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
3. A book where the author’s name contains A, T, and Y - The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
14. A book with a title, subtitle or cover relating to an astronomical term - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, subject) - Nerve by Dick Francis
35. A psychological thriller - An Unwanted Guest by Shari La Pena


1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy
2. A book with one of the 5 W's in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc)
5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare

6. A book with a dual timeline
7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2
9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror)
10. A book featuring an historical figure

12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer
13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country

16. A book told from multiple perspectives
17. A speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopia)
18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country

21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes
22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #3 Something Borrowed

26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #4 Something Blue
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.)
29. A book published before 1950
30. A book featuring an elderly character

31. A children’s classic you’ve never read
32. A book with more than 500 pages
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet
34. A book with a person's name in the title

37. A book set in a school or university
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel, etc)
39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life
40. A book you stumbled upon

41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards
42. A book with a monster or "monstrous" character
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) (fiction or nonfiction)
44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.) - Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden
45. A multi-generational saga

46. A book with a (mostly) black cover
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.)
48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual)

51. A book published in 2019
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title

Edited: Dec 25, 2018, 2:33pm 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

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

Hangman Blind
The Red Velvet Turnshoe

Michael Pearce's Mamur Zapt (Egypt, 1908)

The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet

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

Grey Mask
The Case is Closed

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee

The Deep Blue Goodbye

Mal Sjowall's Martin Beck


John Sandford's Lucas Davenport

Rules of Prey

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch

The Black Echo

John Harvey's Charlie Resnick

Lonely Hearts
Rough Treatment
Cutting Edge

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

Susan Mallery's Mischief Bay

The Girls of Mischief Bay

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

Attica Locke's Highway 59

Bluebird, Bluebird

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: Dec 25, 2018, 2:36pm Top

Dec 25, 2018, 2:48pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 25, 2018, 2:51pm Top

>6 susanj67: Thanks Jim! And thanks for setting this up!

Dec 25, 2018, 2:59pm Top

Cheers to a new year, Susan!

Dec 25, 2018, 3:01pm Top

>9 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

Dec 27, 2018, 5:59am Top

Happy New one Susan!

Dec 27, 2018, 9:51am Top

>12 susanj67: Thanks Charlotte!

Dec 27, 2018, 6:15pm Top

Hope 2019 is a great year for you!

Dec 28, 2018, 3:08am Top

Just dropping in with my star for another year :)

Dec 28, 2018, 3:29am Top

Happy New Thread (and New Year)! Dropped off a star.

Dec 28, 2018, 9:16am Top

>13 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! You too!

>14 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka :-)

>15 SandDune: Thanks Rhian!

I am going to see who else has started their threads, but here's an interesting article from the BBC News website about the booming trade in second-hand books: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46386557

Dec 28, 2018, 12:04pm Top

Happy new thread (I'll save "new year" for a couple of days). I love the way you report your Pulitzer reads. It looks like a lot of work or I might copy you.

Dec 28, 2018, 3:45pm Top

Hi Susan! Thought I would make the rounds of the threads now before group gets too busy to find anyone. Dropping star and wishing you a fabulous New Year, just in case I don't make it back before Jan 1st rolls around.

Dec 29, 2018, 12:30pm Top


Dec 29, 2018, 2:43pm Top

>17 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba! The Pulitzer post should have little book covers - I'm not sure whether those are showing up (they're not for me) but I find it motivating to have some "proof" in addition to the striking-out of the titles :-)

>18 lkernagh: Thanks Lori!

>19 Fourpawz2: Yay Charlotte!

I'm giving some thought to what my first book of 2019 should be. So many possibilities, particularly as I now have ten library books again.

Dec 29, 2018, 4:35pm Top


(I'm "down" to 17)

Dec 29, 2018, 7:55pm Top

Howdy Susan! I haven't chatted with you in ages. I love your series set up.

Dec 30, 2018, 6:36am Top

Dropping my star on your new thread.

Dec 30, 2018, 6:09pm Top

>20 susanj67: covers of the ones you've read show up which is nice. I haven't tried to do strike-outs here yet. Sounds like you may be using something that automatically inserts the covers or are you putting them in manually?

Dec 31, 2018, 2:55am Top

Happy New Year Susan!

Dec 31, 2018, 5:14am Top

Plumping my cushion Susan.

I like the idea of >3 susanj67:. I thought The Looming Tower outstanding. I also love Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, due a reread. I have three others on the list on my shelves, so might nudge those up.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:09am Top

Happy reading in 2019, Susan!

Jan 1, 4:18am Top

>21 charl08: Charlotte, yes, ten. But I'm working on them :-)

>22 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta! Lovely to see you. I thought I needed to write the series down or things would be chaos :-)

>23 Helenliz: Thanks Helen!

>24 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I'm just putting them in manually. I wish there was something that would do it for me :-)

>25 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel :-)

>26 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline! I should be making more progress with the Pulitzers. Distractions, distractions...

>27 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita - you too!

Happy new year to everyone! I am going to have a quiet day inside (for a change - heh) and read something. No, really. The Silence of the Girls is the first library book due back next week, so I've chosen that one for my first book of 2019. Handily, it also fits a prompt for the Goodreads challenge as it is a book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list. Here's a link to their list for 2018: https://apps.npr.org/best-books-2018/

Jan 1, 4:39am Top

Jan 1, 5:12am Top

>29 Berly: Hi Kim! Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 9:23am Top

Happy New Year, Susan! You will be happy to hear that the roofers finished the roof in just one day - they actually stayed until after 8pm working on it yesterday, which was kind of exhausting, but it is done. They still have to come back and finish cleaning up and also replace the flashings, but that will be much quieter and much shorter a job. It's a relief to know that once again our house has a brand new roof, and is now ready for all the storms that 2019 will send our way. Heh. *blinks*

Jan 1, 10:14am Top

I wish you from my heart a healthy 2019 filled with happiness, satisfaction, laughter and lots of good books.

Jan 1, 12:41pm Top

>6 susanj67: Sounds like a plan, Susan. :)

Happy New Year! I look forward to many recommendations from you in 2019.

Jan 1, 1:09pm Top

Happy new year :)

Jan 1, 1:19pm Top

>31 Crazymamie: Mamie, that is fabulous news. No more waiting, and no more building materials piled up outside the house. I hope they can do the last bits quickly.

>32 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara - you too!

>33 BLBera: Thanks Beth! I hope for many from you too :-)

>34 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

1. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

This is FABULOUS, and I'm so pleased it was my first choice for 2019, because it sets a great precedent :-) It's the story of the Iliad told mostly from the point of view of Briseis, the Queen given as a slave to Achilles after her town was conquered, and then claimed by Agamemnon, causing Achilles to stop fighting and sending the whole campaign into chaos. It's beautifully written, and the war looks very different from Briseis's point of view. Very highly recommended. Also look at that pretty cover. My copy is brand new from the library, and it's a gorgeous book.

Jan 1, 1:29pm Top

Only a few hours into the New Year, and I am hit by a book bullet - well done, Susan!

Jan 1, 1:36pm Top

>36 Crazymamie: Mamie, sorrynotsorry about that. It's awesome, though.

Sadly, I'm going to give up on The Great Believers. It's beautifully written, but I read about 60 pages, put it down and haven't felt tempted to pick it up again. Instead, last night I watched four episodes of The White Princess, a Starz account of the reign of Henry VII and Elizabeth, which is only marginally less ridiculous than Reign. The costumes are a bit more authentic, by which I mean that it doesn't look like the women are all on their way to Coachella. I particularly enjoyed the trip taken by the royal couple to Spain to engage their oldest son, Arthur, to Catherine of Aragon, which I had never read about before :-) And today it turned out that Perkin Warbeck really was Richard of York OMG. Basically the characters share the names of historical figures, and that's about it. Addictive.

Jan 1, 1:40pm Top

Laughing about your addiction! We do not have Starz, or I would be tempted to check it out.

The cover for The Silence of the Girls is not nearly as gorgeous here:

Jan 1, 1:42pm Top

>35 susanj67: me too. But I'm a sucker for retellings of the Greek Classics, I adored The song of Achilles and intrigued by The Penelopiad so this was always going to be up my street.

If your year carries on how it started, you're in for a stellar year. And we'd better invest in armour!

Jan 1, 1:48pm Top

>38 Crazymamie: Mamie, I agree with you about that cover - I suppose it looks "classical" but it wouldn't grab me if I saw it on a shelf. And the US usually has *better* covers than we do. Odd. The White Princess showed up on our Drama channel, which has a lot of reruns of old(er) things, some BBC and some from overseas broadcasters. There was a box set available on my new Fire TV stick. In fact, it also has The White Queen, which was the BBC version of the story of Elizabeth Woodville, I think. The White Princess is a sort of sequel to that story, but don't tell anyone that I watched it first and therefore out of order.

Jan 1, 1:51pm Top

>39 Helenliz: Helen, me too, although I returned Circe largely unread because of the pressure of books. I'll look for it again. I particularly enjoyed The Penelopiad. There's a lovely sly reference to The Odyssey in The Silence of the Girls, but I won't spoil it. You'll giggle when you get to it, though.

Jan 1, 1:53pm Top

Sounds like you've had a great start to the reading year, Susan. I loved The Great Believers, but it's not a short book, especially if you're not enjoying it, so probably wise to move on.

Jan 1, 2:10pm Top

Happy New Year! And look at you with a book finished already! I hope to read that one next month for Paul's British Isles challenge.

Jan 1, 2:13pm Top

>42 charl08: Charlotte, I feel that I *should* have loved it. However, I did tell Favourite Library Assistant that you'd recommended it, and he wrote it down :-)

>43 cbl_tn: Hi Carrie! I do like to read something on 1 January - I picked something that I knew I could finish in a day :-)

Jan 1, 2:22pm Top

Aw. I feel honoured!

Jan 1, 2:28pm Top

>45 charl08: You are "my friend, who reads *hundreds* of books..." I think FLA thought I was exaggerating. Ha!

Jan 1, 2:33pm Top

Does one need to be familiar with the history/source material to enjoy The Silence of the Girls, Susan? Because I am very, very poorly versed in the ancients...

Jan 1, 2:45pm Top

Hi fellow lawyer! Thread seems very interesting love the selection of challenges you have here. Will try to keep up with your thread. Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2:59pm Top

I also loved Silence of the Girls, Susan. Hooray for a great read to start 2019. I like your cover more.

Jan 1, 4:25pm Top

>47 katiekrug: Katie, I think knowing the story of the Iliad would help, not least because you can see which bits are stressed in it and which bits played down (all the stuff relating to the women, basically) so you can see what Briseis's narrative adds to the story.

>48 vikzen: Hello Victoria! Lovely to see you.

>49 BLBera: Beth, I'm sure I read about it on your thread at some point, so I can probably credit you with the BB :-)

Jan 1, 5:09pm Top

>37 susanj67: sorry you had to give up on the book Susan. You have to be in the right mood for some things.

Jan 1, 6:30pm Top

Happy 2019
A year full of books
A year full of friends
A year full of all your wishes realised

I look forward to keeping up with you, Susan, this year.

Jan 1, 10:37pm Top

Dropping off my star, Susan!

Jan 1, 10:54pm Top

>3 susanj67: Reading the non-fiction pulitzer prizer winners is quite a goal. I find it fascinating. and will be back frequently to see what you read. In the meantime, all good wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Jan 2, 3:19am Top

>51 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, yes, I think I may just have too many things out from the library at the moment. If I'd taken it on a plane and had nothing else to read I'm sure I would have kept going. I can see why it's getting great reviews.

>52 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>53 ronincats: Thanks Roni :-)

>54 Whisper1: Hello Linda! I really need to focus on the Pulitzers. I have quite a few in hard copy ready to go.

It's 8.15 and, scarily, I am at my desk. I woke up ridiculously early, so I decided to get a head start on the day. I did have to put my face on under electric light, however, so it is possible that I look like a clown. But I'll be spending much of the day in the basement, wrangling files, so it's probably not a bad day to look like a clown. I discovered the basement on Monday, and it's very exciting. The floor isn't uniformly level, but sort of undulates, like it's been built over dinosaur skeletons, or maybe a Roman village. There is also a lift that we *must not get into* as our cards don't work, but you only find that out once the doors have closed. (I learned this from a trainee rather than from first-hand experience, fortunately).

Jan 2, 8:14am Top

>35 susanj67: Not sure how I haven't heard of this one, but it's definitely going on the wishlist now. Thanks!

Jan 2, 9:34am Top

>55 susanj67: So, what happens if you do get into the lift for which your cards don't work? Can you get back out or are you stuck in there screaming for help until someone else comes down to the basement? Or does it take you to some other mysterious part of the building that isn't part of your office? I think we can workshop a pretty good horror novel out of this...

Jan 2, 10:15am Top

>56 scaifea: Amber, it's definitely something you will enjoy! Plus you'll "get" even more of the references than I did. I've read The Iliad once, but not like you have :-)

>57 rosalita: Julia, apparently you can't get back out, but have to do the screaming and/or wait for someone else to call the lift. And no-one will do that in quiet times. Fortunately today we had to use the big service lifts, which *are* used all the time. We only hit one set of closed doors, and knocked on them till someone opened them and we found ourselves in the meeting room catering department. I think we've finished in the basement for the day, not least because there is no phone/wi-fi signal down there and I need to email people.

Jan 2, 10:33am Top

>58 susanj67: That is an alarming scenario that will fuel my nightmares for the next week, Susan. So, thanks for that!

Jan 2, 10:42am Top

>58 susanj67: oh, that would be terrible! I bet many panic attacks have been had in that lift!

Jan 2, 11:40am Top

>59 rosalita: Julia, always happy to help :-)

>60 ChelleBearss: Chelle, I think it's mostly used by people with the correct access pass. We ran out of storage upstairs and so had to use the basement, but I have never been there before in the 15 years I have been in this building. But the trainee who got stuck told me that he was claustrophobic. On a normal day the whole building is busy, so it wouldn't be a long wait before someone else called it.

Jan 2, 11:45am Top

>55 susanj67: Yikes re the lift. The basement sounds good though. I think automatic archive shelving is an underused method in thrillers.

Jan 2, 2:41pm Top

>62 charl08: What Charlotte said.

Jan 3, 7:42am Top

>35 susanj67: - Oh, goody! My first you-book for the year. Happy to pass on The Great Believers. I'm not a fan of disease books - unless it is about a real pandemic - but I would have added it to the list if you'd been nuts about it. When you have a book muse you really need to heed the call at all times.

Ooh! Another idiotic show similar to Reign. I kind of miss that stupid show - it was so unrelentingly ridiculous. I think I actually saved The White Queen on some watchlist somewhere so I'll have to take a look.

I'm still posting on my 2018 thread. Wanted to finish yesterday, but Jane came and sat down on the keyboard so that put paid to that and I had to switch to reading instead.

The scary file room at my favorite law firm was located at the top of the building which sounds as if it would not be creepy, but it was. It was the top floor of an old mill building - unheated - where everybody's crap and all of the law firm's closed files were stored and mostly nobody ever went up there. I used to prop the door open with a giant fake tree in a basket and I always made sure to tell people where I was going and to take my phone with me because in the winter, if some 'helpful' person moved that fake tree and let the door close, I think a person might well die of exposure up there. And of course one had to consider criminal assault as well as the fact that the area did have some sketchy criminal types living and "working" in the neighborhood.

Jan 3, 7:47am Top

>35 susanj67: Looks like your reading year is off to a great start - and you are adding to the BlackHole already! Thanks for the recommendation, Susan!

Jan 3, 8:54am Top

>64 Fourpawz2: Now that's the set up for a novel I'd read. Title suggestion: Who moved the tree?

Hi Susan!

Jan 3, 9:27am Top

>66 charl08: - I never thought of that. You're right, Charlotte, it might make a very good murder mystery.

Edited: Jan 3, 12:29pm Top

>62 charl08: Charlotte, thank goodness we don't have that :-)

>63 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie!

>64 Fourpawz2: Charlotte! You do make me giggle :-) I've never been anyone's muse before. And, funnily enough, part of what made me give up on The Great Believers was that I read And The Band Played On recently(ish) and it was so good that I'm not sure there was much more to say. Well, I mean of course there *was*, but not that I felt I had to read. I think your creepy file room beats mine, although I did discover a rodent poison trap in mine yesterday (as we left, fortunately). Brrr. Today I am focused on a room upstairs, and I am waiting for a man to appear with a trolley to empty it for me, as stuff is packed multiple boxes deep and I'm not convinced it has all been put away in the right places.

>65 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Always glad to help with the BlackHole :-)

>66 charl08: Yes, and the sleuths could be a group of pals who met in an internet book club, and they could travel to one another's countries as mysteries occurred around the world. Ooh :-)

>67 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, it certainly sounds spooky enough!

Jan 3, 10:18am Top

Susan - You can give me credit for any book you liked. :)

Jan 3, 10:46am Top

>68 susanj67: - I would like this international group of book-loving sleuths to please come investigate my secret attic. I'm convinced there must be bodies or riches hidden up there...

Hi Susan!

Jan 3, 12:32pm Top

Happy new year Susan. Sounds like you're off to a good start as always.

Jan 3, 12:58pm Top

>69 BLBera: Beth, good to know :-)

>70 katiekrug: Katie, I fear that the characters would just spend the whole book pouting:

>71 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, not so bad on the book from but OMG the office! I'm so stressed today trying to wrangle people who are supposed to be doing stuff but just stare at me blankly that I just want to run out of the building.

Jan 4, 12:32am Top

<72 Hope the office population behaves better tomorrow.

Jan 4, 12:41am Top

>55 susanj67: That sounds rather scary to me. A few years ago, on a Friday morning, I was the only one in the building where I worked; I took the elevator. The doors closed and the elevator didn't move, nor did the doors open. I always perceived myself as rather calm and very able to hand a stressful situation. I was wrong! After what seemed too long of a time, I pressed the help button. When the voice at other end said "I will get someone as soon as possible." I screamed, "NO, NOW, GET SOMEONE NOW."

The Silence of the Girls is now added to my TBR pile. I agree, the cover is lovely...and your description is wonderful.

Jan 4, 1:02am Top

The elevator that lets you on but won't release you unless you have the right car, sounds like a scary trap, Susan. Why does it let you on if it won't let you off?

Hope your coworkers are better behaved tomorrow.

Jan 4, 9:29am Top

On the other hand, the elevator sounds like a good place to get away from the office stress. Just make sure to visit the loo before boarding, and take your Kindle with you. And maybe a snack.

Jan 4, 9:51am Top

Finally making it around to the various threads. I'm not sure what to think about that lift/elevator story. That would be a bit scary.

Jan 4, 10:20am Top

>73 Berly: Hey Kim! The office population is sadly not behaving better, although some of it has now gone to a meeting, leaving me in peace save for email replies they are writing under the table, not having read the original email properly.

>74 Whisper1: Linda, that does sound scary! I have just been spelunking in the basement again, all on my own OMG and I got into the service lift to come back up, and the doors closed but my floor wouldn't light up. I had to swipe my pass, but it was a bit worrying there.

>75 Familyhistorian: Meg, there does seem to be a flaw in the system somewhere...

>76 cbl_tn: Carrie, how I would love to do that right now. The Day I am Having.

>77 thornton37814: Well, Lori, I have survived so far and I am back at my desk. I'm hanging out for the weekend. Next week will also be awful, but at least I am closer to being finished.

Jan 4, 10:21am Top

>76 cbl_tn: Now I am picturing Susan creating a little comfy reading nook in that elevator!

Susan, we made it to Friday!!

Jan 4, 10:44am Top

>79 Crazymamie: Mamie, sometimes reaching Friday isn't even enough. But I did go down the mall briefly at lunchtime and picked up a couple of liquid eyeshadows on my travels, which cheered me up for about five minutes.

Jan 4, 4:51pm Top

Possibly tossing that liquid eyeshadow on the worst offenders among your office mates would cheer you up for another five minutes? Just a thought ...

Edited: Jan 4, 7:36pm Top

Hope Friday was an improvement over Thursday! (I started to ask if you'd thought about taking a whip into the office but then decided that might not be the best idea for several reasons)...maybe a prod though?

Jan 4, 7:37pm Top

Happy weekend, Susan!

Jan 5, 5:44am Top

>81 rosalita: Julia, that would just waste the Crushed Jewel (Blissful) and (Dreamcatcher). And eyeshadow doesn't seem to be a thing with the young ones, anyway. It's all Eyebrows and lip fillers. It's like talking to an aquarium.

>82 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, sadly not. However, I made it out of the building eventually. Today I ache all over from lugging boxes (because that is not, apparently, a job for the burly men in Facilities and I couldn't ask one of the paralegals to do another day of manual labour) but I plan to spend the day reading and watching ridiculous TV.

>83 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia!

Today's read: The Murder of Harriet Monckton, which was part of a display for the Tower Hamlets Write Idea festival in November. I thought this meant all the authors were locals, but this one lives in Norfolk. The story is set in Kent in the 1840s, and is based on a real crime.

Jan 5, 6:33am Top

Stopping in with belated New Year wishes!!! Hope the weekend is proving more relaxing.

The London fireworks looked amazing on TV!

Jan 5, 12:11pm Top

>84 susanj67: Look at it as a free workout? Anyway, hope you have a pleasant, restful weekend.

Jan 5, 1:43pm Top

"It's all Eyebrows and lip fillers. It's like talking to an aquarium. " This made me laugh!!

Happy Saturday, Susan! How goes the ridiculous tv watching?

Jan 6, 9:57am Top

Susan - I am enjoying my last week of break before I have to go back to the classroom. I can identify with you and your clueless coworkers. It sounds like the classroom. "But I didn't know I actually had to do the work to pass." :)

Jan 7, 4:35am Top

>85 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka!

>86 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I could have done without the giant headache that came with the rest of the aching, but I'm feeling mostly better today.

>87 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! I watched a bit more of The White Queen over the weekend, and the first episode of the new Marie Kondo "Tidying Up" show on Netflix. I'm not sure why, really.

>88 BLBera: Beth, yes. "But I ticked this box to say I was helping you. Now you want me to actually help?" I must either try and keep the rage under control today, or pack my stuff and leave.

2. The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

I can't remember the last time I read a nearly 500-page book so fast. This really flew by. It's the fictionalised account of the investigation into the death of a young woman in Bromley, Kent, in 1843. Her complicated private life meant that there were a number of options for the coronial jury to consider, but in the end they simply reached a verdict of murder by person or persons unknown. The author digs a bit deeper, and decides whodunnit. The novel is based on the records of the two inquests, and attendant press coverage, plus imagined writings of some of the key characters. It's a great read, if a little slow at the point of the second inquest.

This would fit a few of the Goodreads challenge categories, but I'm going to choose it for the "Author's name contains A, T and Y" category.

Edited: Jan 7, 6:55am Top

>88 BLBera: Yikes. Breathe Susan, breathe...

>89 susanj67: Sold! I mean, er, when I've read all the books on my TBR I will start looking at the new shiny books...

Jan 7, 7:49am Top

>90 charl08: Charlotte, that should mean you're ready to get to it in about 2043, which would be perfect for the 200th anniversary of the crime :-)

I just returned a couple of things and picked up two reserves - the next one in the Abbess of Meaux series and also Ghost Trees. I would have looked at the New F and NF displays, but the library's very worst soap-dodger patron was sitting nearby, and the stink was so appalling that I couldn't bear it.

Jan 7, 8:05am Top

Yikes! Sorry about the soap-dodger. Yep - it's Pre-Tuesday again. *sigh*

>89 susanj67: Adding this one to The List - nice review!

Jan 7, 8:45am Top

>90 charl08: The library may have had a copy, and I may have hit the reserve button...

Jan 7, 8:52am Top

>92 Crazymamie: Mamie, yeah, pre-Tuesday is living up to its reputation. I'm shortly going to tell one of the partners not to quote for a new piece of work on the basis that I will be doing it.

>93 charl08: Heh :-) I live to serve, Charlotte.

Jan 7, 10:09am Top

Harriet Monckton is on the you-list now - of course. Expect it will be a while until it hits the library.

Jan 7, 1:23pm Top

>95 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, so glad it sounds like your kind of thing :-)

My day just got SO much worse that it's actually farcical. And it's 6.20 and I am still in the office. That, in itself, should be a sign.

Jan 7, 1:28pm Top

Ah Susan, I'm sorry you're having a rough patch. Hope you get to go home soon and that you'll have a nice glass of wine and a good book when you get there (not to mention an early night).

Jan 7, 1:28pm Top

>96 susanj67: oh noes! That's not a good way to start the week.

Jan 7, 1:33pm Top

Ha! Instant cheer-up when I dropped in on Booky Work Friend, on my quest (so far fruitless) to find one of our bosses, and she gave me a Nancy Pearl Librarian action figure for my birthday! Hilarious.

Jan 7, 1:33pm Top

Hooray for Booky Work Friend!!

Jan 7, 1:52pm Top

Sorry you are having a carp day :(

But yay for bookish action figures!

Jan 7, 2:33pm Top

>97 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it *is* days like this when I'm tempted to take up drinking...

>98 Helenliz: Helen, it's about all that can be expected of a pre-Tuesday.

>100 RebaRelishesReading: Yes, I told that we love Nancy Pearl on LT :-)

>101 katiekrug: Katie, yes!

7.32 now and I'm still here. Or, as that meme says, I keep pressing Esc but I'm still here. I'm going now, though. If anyone would like a new employee who is good at putting stuff in order and endlessly judging the Young People of Today, do let me know.

Jan 7, 2:36pm Top

You can have my job! I'm pretty much done with it :)

Jan 7, 3:10pm Top

>89 susanj67: ouch, hit by a BB. Thanks Susan.

Jan 7, 3:15pm Top

Hope you got home safe Susan.

Jan 8, 4:19am Top

>103 katiekrug: Katie, sold! Also, and this is awesome, I could live in one of your attics! I'm quiet and I like books. I'll text you my flight details :-)

>104 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, I hope you like it!

>105 charl08: Charlotte, I did. Finally! In early this morning for more nonsense, but at least I went to Pret and got a bacon and egg baguette as a pick-me-up. Also, I have run out of breakfast at home.

I'm making good progress with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which is excellent. I definitely want to read all the other books in the series too. I think there are seven.

Jan 8, 7:20am Top

Hmph. I posted yesterday but it doesn't seem to have "taken", even though it kept telling me it was a duplicate post. You'll just have to take my word for it that the post was filled with empathy re work situation, celebration of having a BWF and doubtless many other precious and brilliant insights.

Hope today goes better for both of us!

Jan 8, 7:33am Top

>107 rosalita: Julia, that was kind :-) Today is...going. And going better than for the two poor chaps who have killed themselves jumping from the escalators here at Canary Wharf in the last 24 hours. One in the tube station and one in the shopping mall. The papers persist in saying "falling from" due to the rules on reporting suicide, but no-one can accidentally fall "from" an escalator, particularly one of ours. You have to climb over the side and let go. Very sad.

Jan 8, 8:11am Top

>106 susanj67: - Susan, the attics are not climate-controlled so you might want to re-think that. But there is the guest room :) Alternatively, our London office just moved into lovely new digs somewhere in East London, so you could work from there :)

>108 susanj67: - Oh, that's sad.

Jan 8, 8:42am Top

>89 susanj67: This one sounds good, Susan.

I hope work is going better this week. I already got an email from a student telling me she'll be on vacation for the first week of class, so could I tell her what she's going to miss. :)

My daughter's class wrote letters about wishes for the New Year. One little girl wrote that she wished for Obama to be president again.

Jan 8, 9:00am Top

>108 susanj67: Oh no. There was an advert on Dave throughout the Xmas break (don't judge me: some of their programmes are OK, honest) about 'being the mate you'd want' - basically suggesting blokes text / call each other. It seems so basic, but...

>110 BLBera: Awww.

Went to the library and picked up all the books last night. Back up to 17 books....!

Jan 8, 12:32pm Top

Glad today is going better Susan. Suicide by escalator sounds awful though. I hope you never have to witness one.

Jan 8, 12:35pm Top

I hope today is a better day than the day after Sunday was!

Jan 8, 12:39pm Top

>89 susanj67: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation!

I hope things are improving for you!

Jan 8, 7:56pm Top

I'm feeling very good with only 11 library books right now.

Jan 9, 12:58am Top

>108 susanj67: - That is a bad news day. I am actually shocked that there are rules around reporting suicide (yes, that makes perfect sense in some situations) but overall, seems more driven by containing news than factual reporting, which is always a disturbing sign.

Jan 9, 4:09am Top

>109 katiekrug: Katie, that *is* a downside to the attics...

>110 BLBera: Beth, I love your student story :-) My friend the lecturer had a student email her once to say that she'd be on holiday the day of a crucial test, and please could it be rescheduled (for the entire class).

>111 charl08: Charlotte, as a frequent watcher of Pick, I cannot judge anyone watching Dave :-) . I'm a fan of Motorway Patrol (Auckland's motorways) and Highway Cops (the NZ State Highway system). I said to Oldest Nephew that if I see him on either of them, there will be trouble. Seventeen books! Wow.

>112 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yes, that must be awful. There have been a couple at the fancy Westfield near me where the jumpers have landed on top of people.

>113 cbl_tn: Carrie, the week is calming down, thank goodness.

>114 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia!

>115 BLBera: Beth, yeah, 11...Well, it's not 17, is it. I suppose there's that :-)

>116 lkernagh: Lori, it's aimed at preventing copycat suicides by not going into details about the method used. Hence we get a lot of "person found dead" stories, with "police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death", which signals "suicide". But they won't say "hanged", for example. Even reporting of inquests doesn't go into all the details.

I was discussing it all with Booky Work Friend yesterday, and it's notable that, despite all the professed concern of large employers for the wellbeing of their staff, we have had NO communications whatsoever from the firm saying that we might have read about what's happened and reminding us of the mental health resources available to us, or even just giving a number for the Samaritans. Even the BBC does that after a traumatic TV programme. But nothing. They wouldn't even need to know the details of what happened to reassure people that there was someone they could talk to. But two people dead, and...nothing. The whole "wellbeing" thing is just a box-ticking exercise, which we all knew, but still.

I'm making good progress with I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and yesterday I started Nerve, for the Dick Francis shared read. I'm not sure when it was published as I have an e version, but it's quaintly old-fashioned, with references to a "television set" and "telephoning to" someone. Plus the main character's family lives in a huge flat near the Albert Hall despite only being musicians and not e.g. hedge fund managers.

Jan 9, 7:31am Top

>117 susanj67: Hi, Susan! Nerve was published in 1964. Besides the things you mentioned, I found it quaint that people could survive on 20-40 pounds a week, and that a pound was a big enough bribe to get someone to spill the beans.

Jan 9, 7:47am Top

>118 rosalita: Julia, 1964 would explain it! And yes, the £10 per race that the jockeys received didn't seem like much but now also makes sense. I was surprised that they could just show up and ride a horse not having ridden it before. I had assumed that they trained *with* the horses, like the show-jumpers do. I remember back in 2008 (I think) when Zara Phillips had to pull out of the Olympics because her horse wasn't well, and a horsey pal explained that the horse and rider are a team. The rider can't just pick a new horse the day before. But the jockeys in Nerve seem to show up on the day and jump on the horses for the first time. BTW I found a lip gloss yesterday! NYX has a new line out so I went to look at those, and while they didn't grab me I saw they had some in their "Lip Lingerie" range, so I am trialling "Euro Trash" today (which, confusingly, also comes as a matte lipstick). Good colour, seems to last quite well, but I fear it may feather this afternoon, and need a primer pencil first for later applications.

Jan 9, 8:14am Top

>119 susanj67: I'm no expert, but I think that racing jockeys are far more likely to turn up and ride a horse than their show jumping counterparts. They are quite different skills I should imagine. A successful jockey who rides lots of winners in racing (think AP McCoy and his 4000+ winners) can't have ridden them all to train, that's not practical.

>118 rosalita: in the early 80s I was doing well with £1 a week pocket money... *The youth of today...*

Jan 9, 8:33am Top

>89 susanj67: The Murder of Harriet Monckton is now on the tbr list. If 500 pages went quickly, then it must be darn good!

Jan 9, 8:41am Top

>110 BLBera: Beth, Your story is a good one indicating the lack of commitment regarding some of today's students. In the last few years, before my November 2018 retirement, I had too many of those instances. I was helping a student, giving my time to assist her. Repeatedly she was late...very late. Finally, when she breezed into my office an hour late, I was surprised at the tone of my voice when frustratingly I told her "Get, out of here! Get, out of here right now!" I told her that she should send an email that day committing to a specific time the next day, and this would be her last chance.

Interestingly, she was quite surprised that she would be the brunt of my anger! The next day she showed up early!

A faculty friend found a student blatantly cheating. When she had to attend a hearing composed of my friend, another neutral faculty member and the Dean of Students, she looked at my friend and said "Your syllabus did not say I could not cheat!" She confirmed that she did indeed cheat, but thought it was the faculty member's fault.

My friend is from Korea where education is highly valued. She could not believe the hubris of the student. A senior who needed the grade, was not able to graduate on time. Hopefully, she learned a lesson.

Jan 9, 9:17am Top

>119 susanj67: Yes, as Helen says, jockeys who ride in races don't necessarily get a lot of bonding time with the horses. Of course, some trainers do employ jockeys regularly, as Axminster did with Pip and Rob, and in those cases the jockeys will "ride out" during exercise and (especially in the case of steeplechase) training sessions on days when there are no races, but I suspect most jockeys are not affiliated with any one particular trainer and would ride for whoever needed a rider that day. It seems a frighteningly uncertain way to make a living to this risk-averse old lady!

Thanks for the tip on the NYX gloss! I will keep an eye out for it here, although that color name does not excite me.

Jan 9, 9:20am Top

>120 Helenliz: Helen, yes, that makes sense. I've never paid attention to the number of horses they ride. My mother disapproved of racing as *her* mother had been a bit of a gambler, so it's not something I ever learned anything about. I had a friend here at the office who was a showjumper so I learned a bit about that, but not the go-fast horse stuff :-)

>121 Whisper1: Linda, I was surprised at how fast it went.

>122 Whisper1: Ha - yes, lateness is something I am constantly trying to work on with the young ones in the office. If a talk starts at 1pm, that means *be there* at 1pm, not leave your desk, go and buy a sandwich and then show up at 1.10 still chatting to your friends. As for the cheaters, I despair. Is it more of a thing now, or did we just not hear about it in Ye Olden Days (by which I mean the mid to late 80s in my case)? A lecturer friend had a student ask where his mark was, and she said she hadn't received a paper from the exam. He said he'd sat the exam and the paper must have been lost. Making some inquiries, however, she discovered he'd done exactly the same thing with another paper *in the same faculty*. Like he thought they wouldn't find out!

I just picked up The Shadow of the Wind at the library, which I reserved because of Beth. Hi Beth! Favourite Library Assistant said that he hadn't done a lot of reading over Christmas because it was a busy time. I've got to say, I was kinda disappointed. But I didn't say "What is more important than reading. What" with no question marks, so at least I was polite.

And, in some good news for a change, I saw one of my friends here as I got back, whose wife had a baby girl in December, four weeks early as she wasn't growing properly. She was 3lbs something to start with, and needed a feeding tube, but he said she's doubled her birth weight now, and showed me a picture of her filling out her Babygro from end to end, so that was lovely news.

Jan 9, 9:33am Top

>123 rosalita: Julia, yes it does seem like a very worrying way to make a living! It's almost like a cab driver or a junior barrister - you just hope something comes along and you take whatever it is. The NYX gloss is not going to rank higher than my very favourite, L'Oreal's Infallible Mega Lip Gloss in 110 (I Got The Power), which has a cream finish rather than, um "dazzle" or "xtreme". I wonder what an xtreme finish is... I keep buying it but then I think I shouldn't be so boring and I should try something else, hence the excursions into other brands.

Jan 9, 1:11pm Top

The Murder of Harriet Monckton looks like a good one Susan but it looks like it might take a while to get here.

So sad that two gentlemen chose the same method and weekend for their deaths. The holiday season is difficult for many. Perhaps the aftermath of that had something to do with it.

Jan 11, 4:47am Top

>126 Familyhistorian: Meg, it is very new, but should make it over your way at some point during the year.

3. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Finally I have read this book, which I know is a classic but which I've never read before. That may be because the library editions are inevitably grubby and uninviting, but how could I resist this brand new copy from a complete set at the library just after Christmas? It's excellent - particularly the parts set in Stamps, Arkansas. The St Louis and California parts were less gripping and, although I originally intended to read all seven books, by the end of this one I didn't really like the writer much, so I probably won't continue. However, I'm very glad that I've finally read it.

Jan 11, 8:10am Top

Somehow I managed to borrow another book from the library at lunchtime - Murder By The Book: The Crime That Shocked Victorian Literary London, which is a cute little hardback about a murder in Mayfair in 1840. It's NF.

I started The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet last night, which is definitely different! I could only read it until something came onto the TV at 8, but made a decent enough start. I also have Nerve, which is my e-read.

Edited: Jan 11, 8:11am Top

>127 susanj67: - If it makes you feel better, I've never read it.

Hope your week is ending better than it began, Susan! And if not, well, hooray for the weekend!

Jan 11, 8:13am Top

>127 susanj67: so long since I have read this book Susan. It needs a reread. Glad you got to it. She was quite something.

Jan 11, 8:17am Top

>129 katiekrug: Katie, it does make me feel better! My copy had a quote from Barack Obama on the cover. The picture above has an Oprah Winfrey quote. It's one of those books that I always meant to get around to... The week is ending better than it began although I was amused today to finally get some help marshalling files back into order, only to discover that my helper had stacked all the boxes with their identifying details against the wall, and not facing out. That about sums up my week, really. And hooray for the weekend! I may go to the mall, as we now have a "smart casual" Friday dress policy (the rest of the time it is "business casual") so I could justify some new things. Everyone else seems to be wearing jeans, but is that really "smart" casual, or just casual? Hmmm. A friend's firm went to "dress appropriately" as their dress code. "It will all end in tears," he said, expecting leather shorts to make an appearance at any minute.

Jan 11, 8:18am Top

>130 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, yes, although I liked her younger self more than the teenage version, definitely.

Jan 11, 8:19am Top

Our Friday dress code in the office is smart casual and includes jeans. But not jeans and T-shirts or that sort of thing. Still needs to look nice and pulled together. Of course, since I work from home, every day is smart casual day :)

Jan 11, 8:28am Top

>129 katiekrug: Me neither, so at least you're not alone.
>131 susanj67: ohhh, I hate smart casual with a vengeance. I always get it wrong. I usually overdress than underdress. My classiest example being a cocktail dress when everyone else was in jeans & t-shirts. But that was a bit of an exception. I currently need a new dress for a black tie event, having lost weight, so my currents ones are hanging off me... What's a girl to do??? >;-D

Jan 11, 10:10am Top

>127 susanj67: I have also never read it, Susan.

Craig's office also has a casual dress code for Fridays - the office is only open a half day, so the employees get to wear jeans, and they had office t-shirts made that they all wear. Well, not Craig, as the t-shirts are tie die ones, and he says, "Just No." So he wears a button down dress shirt with his jeans.

Jan 11, 12:09pm Top

>131 susanj67: I can't imagine what the difference between "business casual" and "smart casual" would be. It seems like a very fine line to try to draw but then I really don't even know what "smart casual" is and that's a term used by the cruise line we frequent. I assume it lies somewhere between beach wear and formal but from the looks of the dining room on those nights, most people have no idea what it means.

Jan 11, 12:54pm Top

Your comment about those office dress down day things made me laugh. I thought lawyers all wore black suits? Reminds me of school non-uniform days, which I invariably misjudged!

Edited: Jan 12, 8:03am Top

>133 katiekrug: Katie, every day could be pyjamas for you :-) Maybe a nice top if you have a video conference call.

>134 Helenliz: Helen, yes, it is confusing. I didn't find anything interesting this morning (in the clothes arena, anyway :-) ) so I'll stick to my current things for a while longer. I never really understood business casual either. And my former roomie (not Former Office Roomie, who is a boy and didn't have clothes-related opinions) insisted that there was a difference between "business casual" and "casual business" too. I knew better than to argue.

>135 Crazymamie: Mamie, I love the idea of everyone in tie-dye :-) But I can also see why Craig said Just No.

>136 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yes, it's a bit of a conundrum. I think smart casual on a cruise would be smarter than smart casual in an office, too. Degrees of smart casual! Oh no :-)

>137 charl08: Charlotte, sadly we don't all wear black suits, although personally I love a nice suit. But I don't (officially) have a client-facing job, so I only wear suits occasionally, when I have client meetings for the job I don't officially have. I do have a spangly new job title this year - for the same job - and yesterday, unbidden, two new packs of business cards turned up in the internal post. I was amazed.

I went to Westfield this morning, and discerned from the mass of security staff and actual police officers that a football game is taking place this afternoon at the former Olympic stadium. However, it wasn't busy to start with, and the route through the mall to the Olympic park is marked by men with signs in any event. I didn't find any inspiring smart casual clothes. I did buy a few bits and pieces at Superdrug and NYX and a reed diffuser from the White Company for the bathroom, in the "Lime & Bay" scent.

And I had a look at Typo for notebooks for the office, which I usually make up from scrap paper and get the print room to bind for me, but which are sadly dull as a result. And inevitably if I get my secretary to do it she ticks the wrong box for binding and it comes with the plastic spiral binding that is designed to defeat the left-handed and annoys me every day I use it, for months. Only the wire binding works, but no matter how many times I make this point, it never gets remembered. I quite fancied "Killing It" and something snarky about "Busy Living My Best Life". But I like a really thick notebook and nothing had enough pages. There was a mother in there with her two tweenagers and I heard her ask "But how many notebooks do you have already?" and wanted to point out that the answer to that question had no bearing on whether *more* notebooks were needed, but fortunately the girls were onto it :-)

Jan 12, 9:23am Top

Can't wait to hear your verdict on Murder, by the Book. If it makes the grade with you it'll be a purchase for sure. I never seem to have enough true crime books.

'Business' and 'casual' are two words that just do not go together. Clothes are either one thing or the other. Business is fine by itself in the office and a lot of casual items are fine too, but together they are just neither here nor there.

Jan 12, 1:54pm Top

EEEgads! "business casual", "casual business", cruise "smart casual", office "smart casual" --- makes me want to join a nudist colony (well, not really but...)

Jan 12, 2:15pm Top

>140 RebaRelishesReading: I'd go the other way, make everyone wear a minimumof lounge suit at all times. and, on keeping the sartorial side of the thread up. I bought an evening dress. Floor length (and then some I'm not the tallest...) sort of greek goddess shaped (the dress, not me!). Not sure it is quite dressy enough, but it was a bargain and it will do if I can't find the "right" thing.
We've been shortlisted for the Mayor's business awards, do in March, this is not a small deal. Black tie event, so must keep the standards up.

Jan 12, 10:13pm Top

>127 susanj67: I felt please to have read this one too, when I got around to it :)

Jan 13, 5:48am Top

>139 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, it certainly looks good, but I have so many things that it might be a while before I get to it. Unless I bookhorn it in somewhere...I agree with you about the office/casual wear - it is so confusing to try and mix it.

>140 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I don't think I'll go *that* far :-)

>141 Helenliz: Helen, it sounds like your shopping day was more successful than mine. I hope the awards go well.

>142 LovingLit: Megan, it also fits the category of a book on the 1001 books list, should you need one for a challenge :-)

Today my book focus is The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, which is unlike anything I've ever read before. I'm only 62 pages into it and still trying to work out how the various people/species fit into the narrative, but it's really well done. I've also started sorting book review newspapers/Sunday supplements out, with a view to actually reading them all and wishlisting things. Not *today*, but in an orderly manner which will get rid of a lot of newspapers into the recycling.

Jan 13, 10:03am Top

I loved The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Susan, and the second one is even better, IMO. I still need to get to the third one.

Good luck with the book reviews - I love doing that.

Jan 13, 11:42am Top

Hi Susan - I hope you like The Shadow of the Wind.

I never get dress codes either. When I worked at Mayo, the code was really strict, but unenforced, which made the dress code Q&As amusing.

For school, I guess there is one but I'm not really sure what it is except one of my colleagues said we're not supposed to wear open-toed shoes...

Good luck with your shopping.

Jan 13, 1:09pm Top

>144 Crazymamie: Mamie, I loved it! The second one is at the branch I went to over Christmas, so I hope it's not too long before I can go back and get it.

>145 BLBera: Beth, I'm sure I will like it :-) I have a few other things to read first, though. Too many books :-)

4. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I saw lots of references to this book on LT and everyone loved it, so when I saw it at the library I don't usually visit I thought I'd better get it. This is a great read, and very different to my usual sort of book. It's centred on a spaceship called the Wayfarer, which makes tunnels through space, and is crewed by a variety of different species. It's set years in the future, after humans have wrecked Earth and been forced to leave, but they're a relatively small part of the "Galactic Commons", which includes species from other galaxies. The only good thing about finding this book relatively late is that books 2 and 3 are already available :-)

Next up for me is finishing Nerve, which is an ebook, and then A House for Mr Biswas. For my NF read I'm about to start Ghost Trees.

Edited: Jan 13, 1:18pm Top

>127 susanj67: I read Angelou's book years ago. It was a book that I actively pursued a copy of because it was the first book I remember deliberately choosing because the author was African American. I am not sorry I read it back then and I should probably read it again!

>146 susanj67: I have not heard anything about that series, so I will have to see if I can find a copy of the books. Thanks for the review, Susan.

I read A House for Mr Biswas a few years ago. I thought it was very good. I hope you like it.

Jan 13, 1:23pm Top

>147 alcottacre: Hey Stasia! I hope you can find the Becky Chambers series - I thought book 1 was very well done. I started Mr Biswas last night and it's going well so far. It will also fulfil the "book of more than 500 pages" for the Goodreads challenge, which is another plus :-)

Jan 13, 7:43pm Top

>145 BLBera: I think the open-toed shoes is an OSHA thing that applies to all workplaces in the US. We have that rule, too!

>146 susanj67: I stalled out halfway through A House for Mr. Biswas a few years ago and haven't managed to get back to it. Maybe I just picked it up at the wrong time.

Jan 13, 9:53pm Top

>149 cbl_tn: We don't have that rule. That's probably a good thing since I sometimes can't find closed toe shoes that fit my combination width foot. I had to purchase open toe dress shoes most of my growing-up years. Clark's is about the only brand that really fits me in closed toe shoes now. Some of the ones that are narrow enough in the heel are way too tight across the toes for me.

Jan 14, 4:43am Top

>149 cbl_tn: Carrie, interesting about the open-toed shoes! We have a ban on flip-flops ("of any type") and heavy work boots. Oh, and trainers. And the intranet now has a section added on "smart casual", which says that "smart fitted jeans, polo shirts and smart-casual shirts are appropriate" but not "t-shirts, football shirts, ripped jeans, hoodies, flip-flops, shorts, combat trousers or sportswear (including trainers and tracksuits)". Lucky I didn't get the leopard-print hoodie I saw online on Friday :-)

>150 thornton37814: Lori, you'd be fine here with open-toed shoes :-) Fortunately we have lots of shoe shops at the Wharf, so it's not hard to find something that works.

I started Ghost Trees last night, and read far more than I intended to. It definitely helps living in the area, although it's about Poplar, which is the part of the borough east of where I live. But I've learned lots of local history already, quite apart from tree-related things. The only thing that lets it down is the author's snippy comments about Canary Wharf (which is part of Poplar). But you're not a liberal in London if you don't have something disapproving (and usually completely inaccurate) to say about an area which provides 100,000+ jobs and which, despite the fact that yes, we have our own private security people (and adorable sniffer dogs who obligingly stop for patting), *anyone can visit and walk around as much as they want to*. Yeesh.

Jan 14, 6:25am Top

>150 thornton37814: It’s an OSHA rule if you work in an environment where there is a danger of something falling on your feet. Just don’t drop a book on your foot! We do not let our workers wear open toed shoes. I make an exception for myself if I know I’ll be in meetings all day and not handling books.

>151 susanj67: I would have trouble with the no trainers in the winter. I have discovered with age that my lower back feels better if I wear shoes with good support. Trainers designed for walking fit the bill!

Jan 14, 6:28am Top

I've always worn closed toes for work, because I've worked in manufacturing and you do not want some of the stuff they throw around in production landing on an open toe. I'm always in heels though. I even have a pair of steel toecapped court shoes, for when I really have to venture onto the shop floor. >:-)
I think I have tinsy tiny hairy ugly toes, so never wear open toed shoes even if I could. yes, I am a little bit odd at times...

Jan 14, 7:51pm Top

>152 cbl_tn: It's mostly summer when I wear open-toed ones. I'm rarely doing anything in summer that would risk something falling on my feet. However, I don't think we've ever been told it's an OSHA regulation. I've been lucky to find Clark's most of the time. I got a new pair of black ones at Christmas which will help things for awhile. My navy ones are still in good shape as are my brown ones.

Yesterday, 5:40am Top

>152 cbl_tn: Carrie, do you have the Ecco brand in the US? They're super-comfortable with good support, but smarter than trainers if you need something for work. I have multiple pairs :-)

>153 Helenliz: Helen, I love the idea of steel-capped court shoes :-)

>154 thornton37814: Lori, I hate it when a much-loved pair of shoes has to go. Clarks are very popular here too.

5. Nerve by Dick Francis

I read this as part of the shared read that Julia set up. (Hi Julia!) It was published in 1964 and has some very quaint, old-fashioned language which I enjoyed. There's also a glimpse of a lost London in it, when fairly ordinary people could afford to live near Hyde Park, you could get from A to B in minutes in a car you could park outside your door, restaurants served food in season and not air-freighted in year-round and so on. And lots of TV went out live instead of being recorded in advance. But most of it is set in racing country and at various racecourses. Knowing nothing about racing, I found it really interesting as well as entertaining and the mystery/crime bit was also well done.

Yesterday, 9:30am Top

Glad you liked the Becky Chambers. I thought the whole trilogy was great, really well done.

I finally got round to The Handmaid's Tale! Brilliant. Even with having to read it for something (bookgroup) which sometimes seems to kill off all the joy (as someone said in book group and I have shamelessly stolen).

Funny to read about all the parking. One of the libraries near here had an exhibition of photos from the 1960s, when it was a brand new town. Gleaming new concrete everywhere. Sometimes there's one whole car on the road...

Yesterday, 6:26pm Top

>155 susanj67: I think I've seen Ecco here but I haven't tried that brand. I have fallen in love with Naots, but the two pairs I have are warm weather shoes. I need to find something with a similar footbed that I can wear with socks in cold weather.

Today, 4:39am Top

>156 charl08: Charlotte, I have yet to read The Handmaid's Tale - a terrible confession since it's been on TV and all... The book of photos of east London I read before Christmas was similar with the lack of cars (and people, in fact). Amazing how much it's changed.

>157 cbl_tn: Carrie, I don't think we have Naots here, but if you can find Ecco then you'll find something suitably wintry. They're a European brand, where it gets properly cold :-)

6. An Unwanted Guest by Shari La Pena

I saw this in the new ebooks on the library site and I couldn't help myself. I loved it :-) It's a bit different from her first two - this one sees various people converging on a boutique hotel in the Catskills for a nice weekend, and then an ice storm hits. And people start dying... Very good. And it fits a Goodreads challenge prompt. Fancy that! :-)

Today, 7:55am Top

>158 susanj67: I would like to go to the Catskills. I think it's as much the name as anything.

Today, 8:08am Top

>159 charl08: Charlotte, agreed! Maybe not the hotel in the book though. There was no wi-fi OMG.

Today, 11:09am Top

>158 susanj67: An Unwanted Guest sounds rather tempting. On to the "maybe" list it goes.

The first Atwood I read was The Blind Assassin and I absolutely hated that book so I was very hesitant to read The Handmaid's Tale but I ended up loving it. I'm still a bit gun shy of Atwood but still recommend Handmaid strongly.

Today, 11:20am Top

I'm another who loved The Handmaid's Tale, Susan. Also her Stone Mattress, which is a collection of short stories.

You hit me with An Unwanted Guest - onto The List it goes. AND - guess what arrived yesterday? My very own copy of The Stranger Diaries!! It's not out here yet, so I had ordered it from Book Depository at the end of last month, and it showed up yesterday. Can't wait to get to it.

Today, 12:26pm Top

>161 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I think you'll enjoy An Unwanted Guest :-) I haven't read any Atwood - it all seems to be dystopian and that's not really my thing. But I'll give The Handmaid's Tale a try.

>162 Crazymamie: Mamie, great news about The Stranger Diaries! I saw it on the New Fiction shelf at the library the other day and wanted to press it on someone and recommend it, but I managed not to. And it's probably not that long till the next Ruth Galloway novel. Ooh, 7 February here, according to Amazon!

Today, 3:22pm Top

>163 susanj67: The Handmaid's Tale is dystopian too but I still liked it.

Today, 4:31pm Top

>151 susanj67: Glad you are enjoying Ghost Trees Susan. It finished off my 2018 reading nicely.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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