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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 2

This is a continuation of the topic SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 1.

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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1susanj67
Jan 21, 7:37am Top

Hello, and welcome to my second 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.











2susanj67
Edited: Feb 17, 3:24am Top

Books read during 2019

January

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
7. Snap by Belinda Bauer
8. The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley
9. Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert
10. The Law of Angels by Cassandra Clark
11. The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife
12. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
13. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood
14. West by Carys Davies
15. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
16. Murder by the Book by Claire Harman - January Gem
17. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

February

18. Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding
19. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
20. A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul
21. Pandemic by Robin Cook
22. Is There No Place On Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan
23. Hitler's Beneficiaries by Gotz Aly
24. Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

3susanj67
Edited: Feb 11, 7:48am 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

4susanj67
Edited: Feb 17, 3:23am 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.

COMPLETED



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
9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror) - Snap by Belinda Bauer
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.) - The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc) - The Law of Angels by Cassandra Clark
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual) - In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
10. A book featuring an historical figure - Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood
12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer - The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
16. A book told from multiple perspectives - Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover - Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding
34. A book with a person's name in the title - A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet - Is There No Place on Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.) - Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

STILL TO READ

1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy - Sugar Money by Jane Harris
2. A book with one of the 5 W's in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare - The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
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

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
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
29. A book published before 1950 - Rookwood by William Ainsworth
30. A book featuring an elderly character

31. A children’s classic you’ve never read - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
32. A book with more than 500 pages
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 - The Impossible Life of Mary Benson by Rodney Bolt
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards - I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
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

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

5susanj67
Jan 21, 7:39am 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)

Medicus
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
The Law of Angels

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

Roseanna

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

Relic
Reliquary

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*

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
Attica Locke's Highway 59

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

Proof
Nerve

6susanj67
Edited: Jan 21, 7:44am Top

7cbl_tn
Jan 21, 8:52am Top

Happy New thread! >6 susanj67: I love it!

8Helenliz
Jan 21, 8:59am Top

Happy new thread!
>6 susanj67: *snort* In my head I've never yet reached 30. My body occasionally disabuses me of that notion...

9Crazymamie
Jan 21, 9:13am Top

Happy new one, Susan! I need to make myself a series list like yours - I like how it is organized.

10BLBera
Jan 21, 9:23am Top

Happy new thread, Susan. You've started off the year with some good reads.

>6 susanj67: Hah! Love it.

11alcottacre
Jan 21, 9:33am Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

>6 susanj67: I love it too!

12drneutron
Jan 21, 9:33am Top

Happy new thread!

13figsfromthistle
Jan 21, 9:37am Top

Happy new one!

14susanj67
Jan 21, 10:04am Top

Thanks everyone! As the last one was at 201 posts, I thought it was time :-)

January is going quite well on the reading front (I mean "fairly", there, not "very"). Very will be when I'm retired, and can read all day :-)

I started The Shadow of the Wind last night and I've read about a hundred pages so far. Then I watched an episode of Murder Mountain on Netflix, and half of the second series of Friends From College, which is very silly :-)

15katiekrug
Jan 21, 10:41am Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

How is Murder Mountain? I've thought about giving it a whirl...

16susanj67
Jan 21, 10:45am Top

>15 katiekrug: Thanks Katie :-) Murder Mountain is OK (two episodes in) but so far there's not a very strong narrative thread to it. There's a lot of "Well, this is pot-growing territory so lots of people go missing" and "It started out as just friendly hippies and now look what's happened" but I'm not really sure what the point of it is (although it starts with a father whose son has gone missing and at the end of episode 2 it seems that someone knows what happened to him). But I don't know how they're going to spin that out for four more hours, particularly as they're now up to the date when everything was legalised and the growers' income dropped massively. I'll stick with it, but it's not an "OMG watch immediately" type of show.

17katiekrug
Jan 21, 11:31am Top

>16 susanj67: - Thanks. I think I'll pass. I'm always behind on shows I actually love, so....

18susanj67
Jan 21, 11:57am Top

>17 katiekrug: Yes, I know that feeling :-) I want to watch the one made from John Grisham's The Innocent Man, which is apparently his only NF book.

19katiekrug
Jan 21, 12:00pm Top

Oh, yes, I forgot about that one! I read the book and it's very good - though infuriating, of course...

20susanj67
Jan 21, 12:04pm Top

>20 susanj67: Definitely watch The Staircase if you haven't already. Episode 1 is a bit dull, but episode 2 is the true OMG!!! moment, and it just gets crazier from there. Gripping.

21Crazymamie
Jan 21, 12:54pm Top

>20 susanj67: Adding this to the queue.

22katiekrug
Jan 21, 12:56pm Top

>20 susanj67: - Another one I heard about and meant to queue up and totally forgot about. Thanks, Susan!

23ronincats
Jan 21, 1:11pm Top

Happy New Thread, Susan!

24charl08
Jan 21, 1:49pm Top

Happy New one Susan.

25BLBera
Jan 21, 4:14pm Top

>16 susanj67: That sounds like one I can pass on as well.

26Familyhistorian
Jan 21, 5:42pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. I need to go back and catch up with your first one. I kept wondering why other threads kept passing it, now I know it was because everyone had moved on!

27lkernagh
Jan 21, 7:30pm Top

Hi Susan, Happy New Thread! I am way behind with the "business casual", "causal business" discussion, but wanted to weigh in that this seems to be a problem that a number of offices face. I like to dress "presentable", meaning that if a client suddenly showed up in the office, my wardrobe would fit dressy "Friday night pub Night" in that jeans are okay, but with dressier shirt/ jacket/ footwear (aka, no flipflops and only fitted Tshirts under stylish suit jackets). I have been surprised with a few too many last minute meeting requests that I now always assume a potential in person meeting on a Friday afternoon and dress with that possible meeting in mind. ;-)

28charl08
Jan 22, 3:35am Top

>27 lkernagh: Ha! This reminds me of the time I wore my Xmas jumper the last week of work before Xmas and found myself in a meeting with the three most senior people in the office. Argh.

29susanj67
Jan 22, 5:23am Top

>21 Crazymamie: Mamie, I can't wait to hear what you think of it! I recommended it to a friend at work who watched it over Christmas and we had a good catch-up with much OMG!-ing afterwards :-)

>22 katiekrug: Katie, there are so many! Two pals say that You is vg, although it's getting a bit of adverse press here.

>23 ronincats: Thanks Roni!

>24 charl08: Thanks Charlotte :-)

>25 BLBera: Beth, I watched episode 3 last night, and it got a bit better, but it's not one of their best ones. If you haven't seen Wild Wild Country then that is excellent.

>26 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! I should have put a final message on my last thread - I will do better next time!

>27 lkernagh: Thanks Lori! I agree about the surprise meetings. We are told to keep a suit in the office but my role is not supposed to be client-facing, so I don't go that far. I figure that if a client needs to see me super-urgently they won't care what I'm wearing :-)

>28 charl08: Charlotte, LOL! I suppose they didn't out-jumper you with Christmas creations of their own.

I read a bit more of A House for Mr Biswas last night, which I really like. And A Sunburned Country arrived in the elibrary after I reserved it on Reba's recommendation.

30susanj67
Edited: Jan 22, 12:23pm Top

Goodness, it is (apparently) snowing in London! I can't see the Twitter pictures in this link as Twitter is banned in the office, but they're bound to amuse people in countries with real snow:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6618807/UK-weather-Drivers-pedestrians-...

And the BBC forecast page for London has a snowflake until 7pm!

ETA: Ha - just got the Twitter videos going on my phone, and y'all will *love* them. Binoculars might come in handy.

31katiekrug
Jan 22, 12:46pm Top

Good thing you don't have to drive on those "ICY death traps"!

32Berly
Jan 22, 12:52pm Top

Susan--Happy new thread! Hope you don't get snowed in...LOL. Love all your challenges up top and I'd say your reading is going quite well this year!

33cbl_tn
Jan 22, 12:57pm Top

Hi Susan! I am having neck problems and I'm not allowed to read for a few days. :-( I checked AcornTV out from the public library and I have been enjoying a show called The Art Detectives. I think it may be called something else in the UK, though? The host is Bendor Grosvenor. I'm about halfway through the available episodes and I'm enjoying it a lot!

34Caroline_McElwee
Edited: Jan 22, 1:31pm Top

>30 susanj67: I'm just getting rain Susan.

ETA: OK, wet snow now.

35SandDune
Jan 22, 1:31pm Top

>30 susanj67: It is apparently also snowing in Hemel Hempstead where my boss lives. No snow here yet ...

36susanj67
Jan 22, 1:49pm Top

>31 katiekrug: Katie, I'm pretty relieved!

>32 Berly: Thanks Kim! I think I'm OK with the snow, but never say never...

>33 cbl_tn: Carrie, I'm sorry to hear about the reading and I hope you're soon better. Thank goodness for TV! I have seen Bendor Grosvenor in a couple of episodes of something, but it may have been Britain's Lost Masterpieces.

>34 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, I'm envious! I still have just rain.

>35 SandDune: Rhian, more envy!

37charl08
Jan 22, 1:55pm Top

Snow here!

38alcottacre
Jan 22, 3:00pm Top

We got snow over the weekend here in Texas. Too bad it snowed so little. I love snow!

39Caroline_McElwee
Jan 22, 3:08pm Top

>36 susanj67: Already stopped Susan, and not cold enough to settle.

40cbl_tn
Jan 22, 3:18pm Top

>36 susanj67: I think Britain's Lost Masterpieces may be the same show they're calling The Art Detectives over here. I guess for the same reason that some books are titled differently here.

41lkernagh
Jan 22, 9:00pm Top

>30 susanj67: - I will trade you my rain for your snow. Winter just doesn't seem like winter to me without some "white stuff" coming down. ;-0

42vancouverdeb
Jan 22, 9:01pm Top

Hmm, I live more or less in the same neck of the woods as Lori, but I'll take the rain, thanks. But I have osteoporosis and snow means the potential of slipping and breaking bones . Snow looks nice, but it ends there!

43susanj67
Jan 23, 4:33am Top

>37 charl08: Ooh, pictures Charlotte?

>38 alcottacre: Stasia, "Texas" and "snow" don't really go together in my mind! It's more like an "end of days" sort of thing :-)

>39 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, I didn't get any at all :-(

>40 cbl_tn: Carrie, you're probably right. The Art Detectives makes it sound like the pictures could come from anywhere :-)

>41 lkernagh: Lori, sadly we don't have enough snow to trade in London...

>42 vancouverdeb: Deborah, yes, I'm always worried about slipping too. But today is just cold and clear - nothing falling from the sky at all (so far).

44rosalita
Jan 23, 8:22am Top

Well, you've been zipping right along, Susan, while I've been nursing a lousy chest cold and feeling sorry for myself. But also reading, so not all bad. I have — let me check — 6 inches of snow outside with more falling if you'd like me to send some your way. I am more than ready to be rid of it, believe me!

I'm making notes about your Netflix recommendations. Although honestly, I have so many things in my queue that I should hardly be looking to add more. Funny, that's the same thing I say about books ...

45susanj67
Jan 23, 9:32am Top

>44 rosalita: Julia! There you are :-) I was just checking the threadbook this morning to see if you'd started a thread. Sorry to hear you've been lurgified. I do enjoy the self-pity when I am full of lurgy myself, though - I am really good at it :-) I know what you mean about Netflix - I was looking through the new things last night and feeling overwhelmed. Plus Dynasty has just started again for the second part of season 2.

46Familyhistorian
Jan 23, 5:53pm Top

I didn't expect to see info about snow on your thread, Susan. I live in the same neck of the woods as Lori and Deborah, no snow here but I like it that way. Actually there are signs of spring. We always try to be different from other places in the Northern Hemisphere.

47BekkaJo
Jan 24, 3:20am Top

Oh goodness, thread two. How am I behind before the end of January! Anyway, morning!

48susanj67
Jan 24, 4:44am Top

>46 Familyhistorian: Meg, I think there is more snow on the way, as Canary Wharf is gritted this morning. They are always better prepared than the local council (no doubt due to paying for proper weather forecasts) so I won't be surprised if it starts later. I'll post photos or newspaper links. Magnifying glasses at the ready, people!

>47 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! You've mostly just missed me ranting about poor customer service, so don't worry :-)

49Crazymamie
Jan 24, 9:34am Top

*sits down to wait for the snow*

Happy Thursday, Susan - we have almost made it to Friday. Loved the link to the snow stories, so thanks for that.

50LovingLit
Jan 24, 3:11pm Top

>3 susanj67: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P Bix has me interested. Japan is such a fascinating culture, I am put off by its formality, but so intrigued by it as well.

I hope you don't get snowed in! We have a cooler day forecast today, which is nice as it has been hot lately and the kids needs a break from the UV!!

51charl08
Jan 24, 5:11pm Top

Susan did you see the latest Verso sale quotes Marie Kondo? Made me laugh.

52Helenliz
Jan 25, 4:38am Top

>489 just back from Holland, where it had snowed and was minus 7C yesterday morning as I left the hotel. Now that's cold!
All the trains ran on time and everything... just saying.

53susanj67
Jan 25, 5:23am Top

>49 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! Yes, Friday at last. Once again it took far too long to come around. No snow though, and it's quite WARM today.

>50 LovingLit: Hi Megan! I really do intend to read more Pulitzer winners this year. I have to stop with the random library books and focus. I hope you got your break from the sun - it is insanely burny down in NZ. My aunt used to work with Iraqi refugees in Auckland and even *they* couldn't get over how strong it was.

>51 charl08: Charlotte, it took me a while to get past "Verso sale" there, but I'm a bit confused. They seem to be saying that the books don't bring them joy any more. This shows that we should always think carefully before jumping on the nearest bandwagon.

>52 Helenliz: Helen, brrr! That's cold. Excellent about the trains, though :-)

I walked through the malls this morning to go to Pret on the way to work and stay out of what seemed to be drizzle. Well, more like wannabe drizzle. Anyway, I passed Hobbs, and Look How Pretty:



I think I'll buy it at lunchtime. Then I walked through the tube ticket hall, where the busker was doing an acoustic guitar version of Billy Joel's Piano Man. Billy Joel! Sung by a young person! He must have thought it was cutting edge old-skool. Heh.

54susanj67
Jan 25, 5:31am Top



12. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

This is the same book as "Down Under", in case Bryson fans think that they might have missed one. I reserved this after I enjoyed his Thunderbolt Kid memoir, and Reba recommended it. It's about his travels through Australia, and it's hilarious. Vintage Bryson - lots of giggles. Published in 2000, this edition has an afterword about the Sydney Olympics, but it's aged surprisingly well. Definitely recommended, particularly if you need a travel book for a reading challenge and you don't usually pick them up.

55rosalita
Edited: Jan 25, 6:28am Top

>54 susanj67: I enjoyed that one too, Susan. I was particularly impressed by the vast number of living critters in Australia that can kill you in the wink of an eye. Perhaps surprisingly, I still want to visit Oz/NZ someday. Watching the Australian Open on television these past weeks has only increased that desire. They don't dwell on the killer flora and fauna. :-)

56susanj67
Jan 25, 6:45am Top

>55 rosalita: Julia, yes, there is no way I would live in Australia with all those critters. NZ just has *one*, and it's now endangered: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/blogs/creatura-blog/2018/04/new-zealands... I don't know anyone who's ever seen one, although I remember one allegedly being spotted in the school cloakroom when I was about ten. I expect it was actually a money spider :-)

57alcottacre
Jan 25, 6:48am Top

>54 susanj67: Already read that one so I get to dodge that BB!

58Crazymamie
Jan 25, 8:13am Top

>53 susanj67: Very pretty! I hope you go back and get it at lunch time.

Love the Billy Joel story!

59ChelleBearss
Jan 25, 8:22am Top

Happy new thread!

60charl08
Jan 25, 8:26am Top

>53 susanj67: And did you get past it (The Verso sale bit)? Your meta analysis means I've now moved from 'what a funny idea for a marketing strategy' to 'they don't want their books? Oh no! Those sad little books need a new home! I can give them a new home..."
;-)

Love the jacket colour. Nice change from all the drab colours around (weather and otherwise) at present.

61susanj67
Jan 25, 8:39am Top

>57 alcottacre: Stasia, I will have to try harder!

>58 Crazymamie: Mamie, I did get it :-) But I didn't buy any of the four pairs of trousers that the assistant gave me to try after I also expressed an interest in trousers. So that was, um, a saving, really.

>59 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

>60 charl08: Charlotte, I scrolled down the list of sale things, mostly wondering how many books it is possible to write about Rosa Luxembourg or whether people are now starting to repeat themselves. I still don't know who she is. And the more titles I see, the less I feel I need to find out, because evidently everyone else already knows. The coat is spring-ish, so I can't wear it yet, but I have been looking for that colour for *years*. I think I'll buy it a scarf. Ooh.

In Netflix news, I can recommend "Fyre", which is about the disastrous Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, and also "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes". Yes, it only became available yesterday but I have watched three out of four episodes and it is excellent. I'll finish it tonight. Look at me finishing whole series in an orderly manner :-)

62rosalita
Jan 25, 9:29am Top

>56 susanj67: *shudder* That spider gives me the willies, as do all of its 8-legged family. Maybe I'll just stay here in Iowa, where this morning it is -17F (-27C) with a wind-chill factor of -32F (-35C). And it's going to snow.

On second thought, perhaps I'd rather take my chances with that horrid arachnid.

63katiekrug
Jan 25, 9:32am Top

Love the lavendar coat, Susan! And good on you for saving money by not buying trousers.

Strangely, I have never read any Bryson, though I have a few on my shelves/Kindle.

I finished Season 2 of The Crown last night and can't decide if I hate or feel sorry for Prince Philip... And ohh la la, I didn't know all that about Tony Armstrong-Jones (if it is, indeed, true).

Anyway, have a happy rest of your Friday and an excellent weekend. The Wayne comes home tomorrow, so I am very much looking forward to that :)

64susanj67
Jan 25, 9:34am Top

>62 rosalita: Julia, I'd bet money you would never see a katipo if you went to NZ. And it's never that cold! I can't even imagine -27C. We all start whining if it gets gown to 0. (I should clarify that I mean Londoners. They are hardier in other parts of the country. There is a joke weather forecast along the lines of "Today the temperature will be -2C. Londoners should on no account travel, but should stay at home. Northerners, you will need your big coats.")

65susanj67
Jan 25, 9:40am Top

>63 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I am actually in the market for trousers, but sadly none of them were right. Prince Philip certainly divides opinion. He is currently unpopular here after being involved in an accident a week or so ago (which seems to have been his fault) and then being photographed driving again 48 hours later (in a new car) without a seatbelt. And he's 97. I think most of the Tony Armstrong-Jones part of The Crown is true, at least if Ma'am Darling is true. If anything, The Crown underplayed it a bit. Happy weekend!

66RebaRelishesReading
Jan 25, 1:58pm Top

Love your new coat. Very smart and will probably be nice and warm too.

67susanj67
Jan 26, 9:31am Top

>66 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba!



13. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood

I really enjoyed the very silly "The White Princess" and the less silly "The White Queen" on TV over Christmas, and then I remembered I had this book on my Kindle which looks at the lives of all the main female characters. I peeped into the depths of the ebook TBR and found it, and it's a great read. It comes with a simplified family tree at the front, which isn't the best thing for an ebook, so I printed one out from the internet which I could refer to, because there are a lot of characters, and most of them are called Elizabeth, Margaret, Henry and Edward. You need a fairly firm grip on who's who for this story to make sense, but having watched them all on TV I found I could follow it.

68figsfromthistle
Jan 26, 9:51am Top

Great new coat! Have a fantastic weekend :)

69susanj67
Jan 26, 1:51pm Top

>68 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita - you too!



14. West by Carys Davies

I saw this short novel on Katie's thread, so I reserved a copy. It's an excellent read, so thank you Katie!

I'm giving up on The Shadow of the Wind because I'm not getting anywhere with it. And I started a Prince Charles biography and ditched that after a few pages because it seemed to be All About the Author, was published by a company I've never heard of and had a reference to "unchartered waters" on page 3, despite later thanks to his *awesome* editor. Not good signs. So that leaves me three library books. Wow. Maybe it's time for some Netflix :-) I'm three episodes into The Innocent Man, which is very good.

70katiekrug
Jan 26, 3:01pm Top

>69 susanj67: - Glad you found West worthy! Sorry about the duds...

71susanj67
Jan 26, 3:13pm Top

>70 katiekrug: Well, they can't all be winners :-) I've started The Word is Murder, which is the first (of course) in a new series by Anthony Horowitz, but he's the narrator as his own self, and not an imagined character. So it reads like NF but it's a novel. A strange concept.

72RebaRelishesReading
Jan 26, 3:45pm Top

I can't see the photos in >67 susanj67: and >69 susanj67: -- more of the bug that bit LT I guess. Are they photos of you in your lovely new coat?

73PaulCranswick
Jan 26, 8:27pm Top

>5 susanj67: Liked reading your list of series, Susan, but then again a listomaniac like myself would.

Allon, Reacher, Logan McRae, Lucas Davenport and Charlie Rezsnik are all series I have followed. The latter I am up to speed as I am with Jack Reacher (available in Malaysia anyway) - i hope to get some of my own series reading going again this year.

I have a number of Scandi series which I really enjoy and I would heartily recommend the Lennox series by Craig Russell based on a liking for Logan McRae.

74Whisper1
Jan 26, 9:00pm Top

>53 susanj67: That is a lovely coat! I admit that I do not have a shoe buying habit, but I try to curtail my love of coats and buying them. Usually, I wait until Talbots has a 1/2 price sale on winter coats, then wait again until there is another 20-30% off.

I found the site for Hobbs. Did the coat really cost $400?

75Oberon
Jan 26, 11:21pm Top

>50 LovingLit: Late to the discussion but I would highly recommend Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. It is a superb book and very readable.

76susanj67
Jan 27, 4:33am Top

>72 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the images are book covers. Darned LT bug again!

>73 PaulCranswick: Paul, thanks for the Craig Russell recommendation. The elibrary doesn't have him, but the hard copy library does. I've wishlisted the first one to remind myself :-)

>74 Whisper1: Thanks Linda! It wasn't $400 - that is a very creative use of the exchange rate on Hobbs' behalf! I didn't realise they delivered overseas from the UK site, but I set it to "US" and wowza! Those prices! No doubt that's why shipping is just $5 :-) It was much more reasonable in sterling, and they had 10% off everything as part of a promotion too. I am also a coat fan - I think it comes from growing up in NZ where everyone was convinced that it never really got cold, and proper coats weren't a big thing (in Auckland, anyway).

>75 Oberon: Erik, that is one that I tracked down in the library catalogue a while ago - I must remind myself where it is! Good to hear that it is readable - Japan isn't really a country that I know much about in terms of history.

It is blowy and cold here today, so I think I'll stay in :-) The Word is Murder is growing on me, but it's still strange. I plan to finish it today, and maybe start Murder By The Book. There seems to be quite a bit of murdering going on in my current reads.

77charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 3:42pm Top

>71 susanj67: >76 susanj67: Intrigued by The Word is Murder. I did like The Magpie Murders, and the library has several copies in paperback. Thanks! Trying not to do what Paul did and look at all your series reading, or I'll get really reservation -happy, and I already have 2 waiting, as per.

78Helenliz
Jan 27, 10:13am Top

Liking the coat. I like Hobbs, but try and resist unless there's a sale...

79susanj67
Edited: Jan 27, 12:26pm Top

>77 charl08: Charlotte, it really is an interesting concept, although the LT reviews seem pretty lukewarm.

>78 Helenliz: Thanks Helen :-) I've had some nice things form them over the years, although my most recent knitwear purchase bobbled almost immediately, which didn't impress me.



15. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

This is an odd book, as it features the author, as himself, ostensibly writing about the work of a detective who is trying to solve a murder. It's a book about the author trying to write a book, but the result *is* the book. That's not uncommon when the narrator is an invented figure, but this is Horowitz himself, going about his ordinary business (researching another series of Foyle's War, attending the Hay on Wye festival, his Alex Rider books, writing the new Sherlock Holmes titles etc) with added scenes relating to a fictitious murder and investigation. It's hard to know what's real and what's invented, and I doubt I'm the only one who goggled the murder victim just to see whether she was actually a real person. For about half the book the whole concept bamboozled me, but then I just focused on the mystery, and it's a cracker.

Overall I really enjoyed it, notwithstanding his snippy comments about people who like Jack Reacher having no "interior imaginative life at all". That gets a "harumph" from me. I saw the second in this series at the library over Christmas, and it seems to be available at my local branch, although it's on loan at the moment. I'll definitely get it when I see it.

80susanj67
Jan 28, 4:54am Top

I took four books back to the library this morning and took out NO books! Goodness. Going before work means that I have a very limited time there so I can't dig around too much.

I read most of Murder By The Book last night and it is *excellent*. I should have a review tomorrow, but I think it's going to be my January Gem. And I've downloaded a book mentioned in it, which will fit the "book published before 1950" category of my challenge :-)

81BLBera
Jan 28, 8:13am Top

Love the coat, Susan.

I only have six library books out at the moment. :)

Sorry The Shadow of the Wind didn't work for you. I also enjoyed West.

I keep meaning to read something by Bryson. Maybe this year.

82katiekrug
Jan 28, 9:28am Top

>80 susanj67: - Now the library will be forced to close due to lack of use...

83susanj67
Jan 28, 10:40am Top

>81 BLBera: Beth, I'm still glad I tried The Shadow of the Wind - at least I understand what it's about :-)

>82 katiekrug: Katie, FLA always encourages me to borrow more to keep their stats up, but the *pressure*! Oh dear :-)

Here's today's snow story from the Evening Standard. The photos of London in the gallery at the top are not from today, I should add - it is bright and sunny and not even that cold. I see that sneakily they haven't dated them, though. But from tomorrow night there could be a WHITEOUT OMG. Maybe I should panic-buy some soup in case I'm snowed in on Wednesday. One of my pals is apparently iced in outside London, but somehow he has been out to get his hair cut, so I am not convinced.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/london-snow-forecast-whiteout-expected-as-hea...

84alcottacre
Edited: Jan 28, 10:57am Top

>69 susanj67: I also saw West on Katie's thread and put it on hold. Still do not have it yet.

Sorry The Shadow of the Wind did not work for you. I loved it. Different strokes and all that.

Thanks for the recommendation of A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

85susanj67
Jan 28, 11:24am Top

>84 alcottacre: Stasia, that's excellent about A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet! I got it because of all the LT love for it, so LT strikes again :-)

86charl08
Jan 28, 12:45pm Top

>83 susanj67: Careful in all that snow Susan! I'm planning a trip to Scotland in a few weeks, and wondering if it is really a Good Idea...?!

87Familyhistorian
Jan 28, 4:03pm Top

>80 susanj67: I was thinking Murder by the Book sounded familiar, Susan, but then I realized you already got me with that BB only my library doesn't have it. Is it a recent book? Love the coat but it doesn't sound like you will get to wear it for a while with snow in the forecast.

88Whisper1
Jan 28, 5:43pm Top

Susan, You are a bad good influence on me. I went to Talbots today. They were have a 60 % off sale prices. I found a lovely grey coat that can function for casual, or dressy. Thanks for the inspiration!

89susanj67
Jan 29, 4:44am Top

>86 charl08: Charlotte, they are used to snow in Scotland so it should be fine. It's trips to London that you need to worry about :-)

>87 Familyhistorian: Meg, yes, it is very new. My library had two brand new copies in the new NF display, so I had to snap it up. The coat's first outing is a way off, but at least it is something to look forward to! It is hanging in the wardrobe now with a plastic cover over it.

>88 Whisper1: Linda, that sounds excellent! I always love coat news :-)



16. Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Victorian Literary London by Claire Harman

This little book is about the murder of a member of the aristocracy in Mayfair in 1840, and the way that the investigation was conducted. In particular, the author explores the claim that the murderer had been influenced by a book about Jack Sheppard, the notorious criminal and prison escapee from the early 1700s, and the multitude of dramas that were showing in London based on the book in 1840.

The book, Jack Sheppard, was written by William Harrison Ainsworth in the late 1830s (and it's the one that automatically comes up as the touchstone!), and was one of a craze known as the "Newgate novels", in which crime was glamorised and a new "flash" language was developed, making much of the dialogue incomprehensible to the worried middle classes. The author of Murder by the Book describes it as a bit like the panic over rap music (and violent video games, I suppose) today - works that encourage young people to get up to no good.

The actual link between the murderer and the books/plays is a bit tenuous, but the book is a fascinating look at what preoccupied London in 1840, and how the murder (and the blame placed on the book) caused authors to change what they wrote about.

Ainsworth was more famous than Dickens and Thackeray at the time, and although he continued to write, no-one remembers him now. The author also discussed his earlier success with a book called Rookwood, which Gutenberg has available for download, so I've acquired that one too :-)

90susanj67
Jan 29, 8:14am Top

Well, darn it. I went to the library to return book 16 and take out NO books, but I thought I might just have a look for The Child Finder, which Katie mentioned on her thread (Hi Katie!), and which the catalogue said was on the shelf. That's not conclusive, as the alphabet seems to be regarded at my library as an old-fashioned, elitist concept, but there it was.

And that was fine. But then I saw a display of books, and Kolymsky Heights was described on the cover as "The best thriller I've ever read". And then I saw Pandemic on the new fiction display (while I was waiting for someone to finish with the self-checkout, so totally not my fault), and I do like a nice pandemic. Still, that was only three. But then it was my turn at the checkout, and as I was scanning my books I noticed Anatomy of a Scandal in the just-returned pile. It keeps appearing on my library ebook page with a wait list, so I thought it would be prudent to get that too.

Oh noes.

91charl08
Jan 29, 8:30am Top

Nicely done, Susan. I may have also added Murder by the Book to my reservation list of shame.

92susanj67
Edited: Jan 29, 8:31am Top

The latest on the snow, which could be the worst snow since, um, the last snow: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-weather-forecast-worst-travel-chaos-since-...

Travel CHAOS is predicted. "Between 1 and 3cm* of snow has been widely forecast while 5 to 10cm could fall on higher ground."

*For those who measure in inches, 2.5cm is 1 inch.

"Four separate yellow weather warnings have been issued...Heavy snow had already fallen in Cumbria by Tuesday lunchtime, with one unfortunate driver getting his van stuck in a ditch."

"RAC** spokesman Simon Williams told the BBC:..."If you must travel, pack a blanket, shovel and food in case you get stuck." " (stuck in 1 inch of snow, that is)

**Breakdown service

"Andy Thomas, managing director of strategic operations at Network Rail, warned trains may be forced to slow down in adverse conditions."

Once again in London it is bright and sunny, and not that cold. But everything could change by 9pm...

93susanj67
Jan 29, 8:32am Top

>91 charl08: Charlotte, it's definitely worth a read. Also pretty short. I've read about the murder before, but not the booky connection.

94katiekrug
Jan 29, 9:15am Top

>90 susanj67: - Hi Susan!

I love your snow updates :)

95rosalita
Jan 29, 9:24am Top

>92 susanj67: Good morning, Susan! As I sit here with outside temperatures of 1F (-17C) at 8:30 a.m., with tonight's low temperature expected to be -23F (-30C) without windchill (-40 windchill), I find your weather reports of snowpocalypse resulting from 1-3 inches of snow rather charming and soothing. I hope you come through it safely!

96susanj67
Jan 29, 9:57am Top

>94 katiekrug: Katie, it does seem to be clouding over here...and there is a snowflake in the BBC's weather graphic for London from 9pm. I am going to take my laptop home just in case tomorrow is a whiteout.

>95 rosalita: Hi Julia! Yes, I thought it would amuse LTers in properly cold places :-) If the whole country grinds to a halt it will just be good practice for Brexit day, when supermarket shelves will be empty and there could be rioting in the streets for ten years, apparently. It's like we're Venezuela. All y'all might have to send food parcels, like the US did in the war :-)

97Helenliz
Jan 29, 10:48am Top

>92 susanj67:. This always makes me laugh. One year in school, we had to do a project on a family member. I did my Granddad. He was a postman in Norfolk and one winter he was driving the delivery van in the stick, turned a corner and got stuck in a snowdrift. Took them several days to dig the van out. Granddad got a letter from the palace commending him for staying with His Majesty's Royal Mail. That was more than an inch of snow...

Tomorrow I'm due to be visiting a supplier; they've already rung me to say to let them know if I decide not to try and get there. Which is sweet, but it should be main roads all the way. Assuming I can get out of my estate, I'll be fine!

98rosalita
Jan 29, 11:04am Top

>96 susanj67: Whenever I hear the doomsday predictions of Brexit if there's no agreement, I can't help but think back to the whole Y2K hysteria, when planes were supposed to fall from the sky due to their computers not being able to recognize the new century and various other disasters large and small. We can only hope that the hype in this case is also worse than the reality!

99susanj67
Jan 29, 11:24am Top

>97 Helenliz: Helen, how lovely to get a letter from the Palace! Your grandfather must have been pleased, once he thawed out. It still doesn't look too bad here but I haven't given up the doom-laden predictions.

>98 rosalita: Julia, we certainly have the DOOM. Or "BREXIT CHAOS" as the TV ticker now says whenever Brexit is being discussed, which is most of the time. Yesterday a number of food retailers signed a joint letter warning that - gasp - things that have never been in season here in March in the whole of history (until air freight) might not be available after Brexit because of customs dramas. But two of the signatories were McDonald's and KFC, and I'm not sure that a few weeks free of junk food is actually going to hurt the population. KFC had to close for more than a week last year because of a snafu with a new logistics firm, and nobody died. We could start eating seasonally. Or planting more things. Good for food security *and* biodiversity. I listen to all this and I literally can't believe that Britain ever acquired, and retained, an empire. A small handful of people must have snuck out of the country while everyone else was running around in circles.

100rosalita
Edited: Jan 29, 11:58am Top

>99 susanj67: Your comment reminded me of this recent op-ed in the New York Times: The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class, which is fairly harsh on the mess that the "chumocrats have made of things over the years. There's a link to a similar Economist article, which is also good. It's really a stinging indictment, not of the British generally, but the ways that an insulated and self-important upper-class can muck things up for everybody. It seems particularly relevant over here as well, as more and more billionaires seem to think that being rich equates to being able to rule a country. The CEO of Starbucks has just thrown his hat into the presidential contest for 2020, heaven help us.

101susanj67
Jan 29, 12:20pm Top

>100 rosalita: Thanks for the links, Julia. I read the whole of the NYT one (the other one required registration so I just read the first bit). I agree that the whole thing has been badly managed, and that the "chumocracy" has damaged us, but the NYT writer was over the top blaming partition for all the trouble in India/Pakistan. No-one forced them to start raping and killing one another the day after the British withdrew. That's always a choice, not an inevitability. They were fighting before the British ever got there, and they're still fighting today, 70 years later.

I think the main problem with Brexit is that no-one in the "ruling classes" (by which I mean London-based politicians) ever thought that the vote would be to leave, and that there was no way of changing it or fixing it. Even now there are calls for a second referendum, like the "wrong" people won and it should be able to be ignored. So there's been a lot of sitting round wailing, instead of working on a way to leave with dignity, or at least certainty. No way should it have been left until now, with two months to go and still no arrangements in place. When it comes to the hard negotiating and thinking about the future, there doesn't seem to be anyone competent to do it.

102BLBera
Jan 29, 5:13pm Top

>96 susanj67: My kids used to be highly entertained by snow emergencies in Georgia after they got an inch of snow. :) Yes, right now the air temp is -14 F, with windchill in the -30-40 F. range. Tomorrow the high will be -20, with wind chills in the -65 F. range. On the bright side, snow day! No school.

>89 susanj67: I have a library hold on this one.

103susanj67
Jan 30, 4:47am Top

>102 BLBera: Beth, I'm glad you have a snow day! That just sounds grim.

Not a flake of snow here in London, and nor are the papers full of snowpocalypse news from other parts of the country, although Liverpool and Manchester airports are closed. Hmph. I even stayed up late(r) just in case. But that meant I could watch the first episode of Pine Gap on the Netflix, and it is excellent.

My office roomie just reappeared from a month of leave, looking very tanned. "I went to the Dominican Republic," she said. "Don't hate me."

104Helenliz
Jan 30, 12:38pm Top

No snow here eaither, although we had sleet last night. I had to defrost the car this morning. How I love my heated front windscreen, meaning I only have to scrape the side windows and headlights. It has been very cold, yesterday evening's sleet had frozen in drops everywhere.

I set off to visit a supplier with a pair of boots, thick socks and an extra jumper in the car "just in case". Didn't need them, obvs...

105charl08
Jan 30, 1:13pm Top

Snow here! Although it's already melting, and the binmen have even made it around.

A whole month off? Wow.

106Crazymamie
Jan 30, 1:37pm Top

No snow here, either.

107susanj67
Jan 31, 4:38am Top

>104 Helenliz: Helen, no shovel? No emergency rations? You are living right on the edge...It's freezing here this morning, and there was frost on the roof of the building over the road. It's clear and sunny, though.

>105 charl08: Charlotte, the young ones can take a month of unpaid leave after they finish their training contracts and qualify as solicitors. They can defer it for a while (which the roomie did) but eventually the entitlement runs out, so this was her last chance to take it.

>106 Crazymamie: Mamie, I think that's because all the snow is up north, going by the weather report from the US last night. The Sky News US correspondent is based in Washington, but yesterday was in Chicago, where it was -46C. I'm assuming the insurance didn't cover her to go to Minneapolis, where it was even colder :-), although they showed it on the map. She interviewed some people outside and one of them said "I'm from Atlanta, Georgia! We don't get cold like this!" Then the anchor asked her how she felt, and she said she could hardly talk because her face was frozen. I'm sure they all want a break from the lunacy of Washington, but this shows that we should be careful what we wish for.



17. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Ooh, this is good :-) I can't say too much without being spoilery, but I *can* say that I started it on the bus home last night and finished it at 10.45pm. And that's *very late* for me. Why, it's practically tomorrow. I found the hard copy on the just-returned shelf at the library, but it's also on the front page of the elibrary site. I clicked to see how long the waitlist was, and it said "more than six months". So it's certainly popular :-) Recommended.

108Crazymamie
Jan 31, 8:27am Top

>107 susanj67: SO very true, Susan!

Okay, I am adding Anatomy of a Scandal to The List. Still thinking about The Murder Book and whether or not to add it...

Hoping Thursday is kind to you. It is very gray here despite a truly stunning sunrise.

109Crazymamie
Jan 31, 8:29am Top

Susan, I am back to say that The List has 21 books on it so far, and 6 of them are your fault. Are you going for your own Dirty Dozen?!

110drneutron
Jan 31, 9:03am Top

Got me with Anatomy of a Scandal...

111katiekrug
Jan 31, 9:37am Top

Also got me with Anatomy of a Scandal!

112rosalita
Jan 31, 9:38am Top

Chipping the ice off my keyboard to say that you also winged me with Anatomy of a Scandal, Susan. I just put it on hold at my favorite library, and wonder of wonders I am only #2 on 1 copy! I guess people in Iowa who read ebooks do not also read your thread. :-)

113charl08
Jan 31, 9:40am Top

Argh, I though I had posted. Me four (or five?!) for Anatomy.

114susanj67
Jan 31, 11:34am Top

>108 Crazymamie: Mamie, Thursday has been OK, but it is only 4.30 so I don't want to tempt fate.

>109 Crazymamie: Hmm, maybe I am! (Do I have more books on The List than Katie? Do I do I?)

>110 drneutron: Hi Jim!

>111 katiekrug: Oh, um, hi Katie!

>112 rosalita: Julia, sorry to hear that I'm not big in Iowa :-) Funnily enough when I went to look for more of the author's books (for, um, the future) I found the hardback version of this one on the shelf (but no others). I wonder if people realise they could just walk in and get it.

>113 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I'm sure you'll enjoy it - it's fiction and yet the fictitious Prime Minister and his junior minister chum both went to Oxford where they were members of a louche dining club, both appeared in a notorious photo that was bought up so the papers can't publish it any more, and the chum lives in north Kensington. Heh. I also recognised another character, who is a (badly) disguised version of someone in the real world. All very amusing, although the subject of the story is not.

115susanj67
Jan 31, 12:43pm Top

OMG Londoners have been warned to be home by 9pm as we are getting a SNOW BOMB. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6651849/UK-weather-Britain-10-hour-snow...

Or perhaps that's SNOWBOMB. Who can say, with these made-up weather phenomena? The BBC weather forecast is now showing a snowflake (which it wasn't yesterday) so I should skedaddle. I'll take my gadget home again, just in case.

116katiekrug
Jan 31, 12:59pm Top

I wonder if a snow bomb is like the snow squall we got yesterday - very short period of intense snow and wind.

Yes, better skedaddle!

117Crazymamie
Jan 31, 1:14pm Top

>114 susanj67: Okay, so I just checked and you're.....tied.

I also vote for skedaddling. I mean, SNOWBOMB! That does not sound like something to mess around with, Susan. It's probably how this happened:

118susanj67
Jan 31, 1:41pm Top

>116 katiekrug: Katie, I will take note and report back. It's 18.37 now, so a couple more hours...

>117 Crazymamie: Mamie, I love that handsome fellow! I skedaddled and I am now waiting patiently. OK, not that patiently.

I am going to read A House For Mr Biswas for a while as I need to make some progress with it.

119Helenliz
Jan 31, 2:39pm Top

>118 susanj67: take care. Our forecast has changed to barely any snow overnight. It was -5C this morning, which was somewhat chilly when I left for work.

120SandDune
Jan 31, 2:48pm Top

I had -6C for a few minutes when driving to work this morning! Our Board Meeting was cancelled this evening ‘because of the weather’ but being as:

1 - there isn’t any actual snow at the moment
2 - it isn’t forecast to snow until 11pm tonight and then only lightly and
3 - the temperature has gone back above freezing and is forecast to remain there all night

I think they’re being a incy-wincy bit over cautious myself.

121charl08
Jan 31, 3:44pm Top

Did it turn up yet? We've got sunshine predicted...

122susanj67
Jan 31, 4:20pm Top

Not a single flake so far! I mean really. The BBC says "heavy snow" for London.

Will answer properly tomorrow.

123susanj67
Jan 31, 4:50pm Top

A little bit swirling around now. Where was it an hour ago when I was all ready to turn the lights off and watch?

124Helenliz
Feb 1, 2:35am Top

We have snow. Enough for a short snowball fight, but not enough to start making snowpeople.

125susanj67
Feb 1, 4:35am Top

>119 Helenliz: Helen, that sounds very cold!

>120 SandDune: Rhian, yes, that does sound a *bit* cautious, but you never do know...

>121 charl08: Charlotte, it did not!

>124 Helenliz: Helen, I hope you won the snowball fight :-)

Apparently there is snow all over London. Not where I live or work, mind you. Or in Rotherhithe, which I can see over the river. But somewhere. There are some pictures in this article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6656491/Apocalypse-SNOW-hits-UK.html

And this article is meant to be photos of dogs enjoying the snow, but there aren't that many dog photos (at the time of posting). Maybe there will be some more good boys and girls later. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6656779/UK-weather-Latest-snow-snaps-sh...

126charl08
Feb 1, 4:46am Top

Love the Siberian cat photo. We've had a sprinkling but that's it. All rather underwhelming (she says, from a comfortable position under the blanket).

127susanj67
Feb 1, 7:42am Top

>126 charl08: We're getting a bit of sleet in east London now - nothing very exciting, but enough to make me stay in the building over lunch.

I suspect the weekend will involve snuggling down with some books and the Netflix. I've started series 2 of Ozark (wishing I could remember a bit more clearly how series 1 finished) so that will probably be my focus this weekend.

128susanj67
Feb 1, 9:03am Top

Holy. Carp. I have just found amazement in the Boots 70% off sale, which is where they discount all their Christmas gift sets. Four full-size Benefit "Cake Pop" glosses, in a set, which was originally £52 (and it really was, because I remember looking at them and thinking they were pretty, but then seeing the price and swiftly moving on) now £11.33. !!! I bought this set: https://www.boots.com/benefit-cake-pops-pink-and-pretty-10257497 but they also have a "bold and bright" set https://www.boots.com/benefit-cake-pops-bright-and-bold-10257496. If you or someone in your life is a lip gloss fan, this is superb value.

129BLBera
Feb 1, 5:33pm Top

You want snow? I'll take a picture from my front door and post it for you..

>107 susanj67: Got me.

130Familyhistorian
Feb 1, 6:14pm Top

Interesting snow coverage, Susan. Did any more land where you are?

131luvamystery65
Feb 2, 1:04pm Top

>53 susanj67: I love that coat Susan. I want!!!

132susanj67
Feb 3, 12:24pm Top

>129 BLBera: Beth, I think I might still want *some* snow...

>130 Familyhistorian: Meg, not a flake. Humph.

>131 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta! I am looking forward to trying out the coat. Still a way to go, temperature-wise, though.



18. Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding

This was a random library borrow from the new NF last week (fancy that!), and it caught my eye because it's about a very odd murder in Hampstead in 2006, in which an elderly man was beaten to death and an odd Chinese man was convicted and jailed for life. Parts of the case were heard in secret due to the nature of the evidence, and it's the first time that's happened in a murder case in modern British legal history. Some years after the conviction, the author started investigating exactly what had gone on, and whether the conviction was safe. I remember coverage of this at the time, and it all seemed quite strange. It still does, but the book was a great recap of what happened at the time, and the convicted man's attempts to appeal his life sentence. Recommended for true crime fans.

133charl08
Feb 4, 7:17am Top

>132 susanj67: Sounds like a surreal book Susan. I read The Word is Murder yesterday, thanks to you (and the library). Very gripping, I thought. You would not have been impressed at the state of the copy I got though. Long past time to withdraw from circulation I think.

134alcottacre
Feb 4, 7:30am Top

>89 susanj67: I already have that one in the BlackHole, so I get to dodge that BB.

>107 susanj67: My local library has that one! I have put it on hold, so hope to have it soon.

>132 susanj67: Adding that one to the BlackHole!

Here's hoping you get some snow - but not too much :)

135susanj67
Feb 4, 10:47am Top

>133 charl08: Charlotte, that sounds yicky about the book condition. And it's not even an old book!

>134 alcottacre: Stasia, it seems I got you with some BBs there :-)

No snow - rain today, but it's not that cold. I want to go to the library after work to return yesterday's finish, but I'll see what it's looking like before I venture out.

In other news, I finally started a Pulitzer NF from my own collection this morning! I hope it's the first of many Pulitzers this year, as I need to hurry up or the Pulitzer post will be in every thread until 2030.

136RebaRelishesReading
Feb 4, 11:21am Top

>135 susanj67: "hurry up or the Pulitzer post will be in every thread until 2030" -- lol. I feel the same about the biographies. I have quite a few of them waiting in Mt. TBR but seem to keep finding other things I want to read first.

137susanj67
Feb 5, 4:24am Top

>136 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, that's because there are so many other great things out there! I made some more progress on the bus this morning, but it's about mental health services in New York in the late 1970s, so I mostly just wonder how much things have changed since then.



19. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Katie mentioned this on her thread (Hi Katie!) and it was right there on the shelf at the library. The subject-matter is pretty disturbing, but it's very well done. And there's a sequel coming out later this year, which I will definitely get. Thanks for a great recommendation, Katie!

138rosalita
Feb 5, 10:50am Top

Hi, Susan! Thanks again for the recommendation of Anatomy of a Scandal — I finished it yesterday and enjoyed it very much, although being a foreigner I did not recognize who the real-life people are of whom the characters were thinly disguised version, as you mentioned in >114 susanj67:. I would have liked a little more detail in the ending — who spilled the beans about the Libertines scandal to the police? I felt we were meant to assume it was Sophie but that didn't feel authentic to her character. I loved all the insider details about how the legal process works in the UK; it's a bit jarring to this American that a barrister (I hope that's the right term for lawyers who actually appear in court?) might sometimes be a prosecutor and sometimes be a defense lawyer. Also the wigs etc, of course. Can you recommend any other good books set within the UK legal system?

139susanj67
Edited: Feb 5, 12:26pm Top

>138 rosalita: Hi Julia! I'm so glad you enjoyed Anatomy of a Scandal :-) And you are right with the terminology - barristers are the ones with the great outfits, who appear in court. Kate is a Queen's Counsel, which is the most senior sort of barrister (the book mentions she is pretty young to be a QC). They have a different sort of gown to a "junior" counsel (anyone who is not a QC) but the same wig, save for the ceremony when they become QCs and then they have a full-bottomed wig, breeches and patent leather shoes with buckles (yes, even the boys). Here's a picture: http://bankruptcyandinsolvency.blogspot.com/2011/03/2011-queens-counsel-new-inso... And it's not uncommon for barristers to act for the prosecution in one case and then for the defence next time. Some stick to one "side" - a friend's husband is a criminal defence QC and never prosecutes, but a lot of them take whatever comes along, and defendants often like someone who has been on the other side, because they know how the prosecutor (be it the Crown Prosecution Service or a regulator) thinks.

As for books, the most famous are probably the Rumpole books by John Mortimer. I also enjoyed the first few in the "Caper Court" series by Caro Fraser some years ago (and then I lost track - I didn't give up for any good reason). http://www.caro-fraser.co.uk/books They're more about the gossipy side of lawyering than the technical side, but an interesting look at life as a barrister. My library has the first six, and I'm tempted to revisit them. I can't think of anything else at this stage - we don't have the John Grishams or the Scott Turows. Our legal system isn't (whisper it) very exciting. But I'll keep thinking.

140Familyhistorian
Feb 5, 4:22pm Top

Looks like we got the snow after you, Susan. That was a surprise after seeing the spring flowers coming out. It snowed Sunday and is staying around as the temperatures are cold (for us). The high today is 0 C.

Love the photo of the new QCs. We have those here too but I don't think they get the full outfit when they become QCs.

141rosalita
Feb 5, 7:27pm Top

>139 susanj67: Thanks for the recommendations, Susan. I actually thought of Rumpole as the only example of UK legal novels that I could think of, but I wondered if they might be a bit out of date since the series started in the 1970s.

Then I thought, we are talking about a legal system that still requires its advocates to wear curly little wigs, robes, and patent leather shoes with big metal buckles. That is surely not a legal system that changes a great deal in 40 years!

I'm joshing you all in good fun, I hope you know. If I ever make it over to the UK, I'm counting on you to take me to observe a criminal trial, and interpret what's going on. Deal? :-)

142Helenliz
Feb 6, 1:33am Top

>141 rosalita: Its a legal system that's probably not changed a lot in 400 years, I suspect! We don't do rapid pace of change around here. >;-)
I got called for jury duty and that was an eye opening experience for someone who'd not had anything to do with the legal system before. Nothing major, just the local magistrates court and 3 short cases in my 2 weeks. My lesson? Don't wear a suit, you get elected foreman!

143rosalita
Feb 6, 12:30pm Top

>142 Helenliz: Ha! Good advice for potential jurors, Helen! I am annoyed that I have never gotten called for jury duty, ever. Granted, for the first 20 years of my adult life I was a journalist and would have just gotten dismissed anyway, but now I am an ordinary citizen and I want to do my duty! Part of the problem may be that I live in a fairly sparsely populated county and there just aren't a lot of jury trials here, I don't think.

144susanj67
Edited: Feb 7, 4:35am Top

>140 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! That snow does sound unexpected. I hope it stopped before you had enough to build a snowman :-)

>141 rosalita: Julia, you're right about not much changing! And yes, we will definitely have to do a court tour. The Royal Courts of Justice (civil courts) are based at the lovely old building in the Strand (with outposts that have bigger courtrooms and proper cabling for new technology) and the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey) is near St Paul's. The Bailey is where all the high-profile criminal trials take place, and very occasionally in the mornings my bus is held up by a convoy of prison vans and police vehicles en route from Belmarsh prison, which is in Woolwich.

>142 Helenliz: Helen, I've never been called, although lawyers can now serve on juries. Good tip about no suits!

>143 rosalita: Julia, I hope you get that envelope one day, but don't get stuck on something that's going to run for months.

I spent the whole of yesterday in a meeting, but made my secretary have words with the catering staff, who typically count out one biscuit (cookie) per meeting attendant and then subtract some from the plate. As a result, there were mountains of biscuits all day. Result!

I started Pandemic last night, which is clunkily written but a decent enough story. The author is shovelling in lots of back story about the main character, which makes me think that - gasp - he might have featured in previous books, and I could in fact be reading out of order OMG.

ETA: Yes! This is book 11 in the series featuring this character. Oh dear. No-one tell - wait. Never mind.

145charl08
Feb 7, 4:39am Top

Out of order?! Shocking stuff. Hopefully the author is just plot dumping?

I saw a fraud case (or a short part of one) with a friend who was studying law. I was amazed at how little public speaking skills everyone seemed to have: the TV makes it look like everyone is so polished. Almost like they're actors, or something...

146Helenliz
Feb 7, 5:05am Top

>143 rosalita:, >144 susanj67:. I was in my early 20s and had no idea! I decided that I ought to be respectable, so on day 1 turned up in my suit (complete with waistcoat). I was called for a jury and was far and away the youngest person there. At the point the jury was asked to elect a foreman (I think at the point we were dismissed to consider the verdict?) someone said that I looked like a good choice and the rest all agreed very quickly, probably to avoid doing it themselves. So muggins here had to try and organise getting to a result. Which we all did very quickly; he'd done it, clear as the nose on your face. >:-)

>145 charl08: my experience was that some do have impressive skills in that area. The defence barrister on one trial had a voice like rich velvet, or molten honey, which he used very effectively. I found myself thinking that I could well believe anything that voice told me - even though in this case he was defending someone we found guilty. But yes, most of them were a bit mediocre. This was in the late 1990s, so maybe they've learnt that trick by now.

>144 susanj67:! >:-o oh noes!! How will you cope with that one?? Worth reading the previous 11 or not for a clunkily written story?

147susanj67
Feb 7, 5:56am Top

>145 charl08: Charlotte, yes, the author is just plot-dumping. An amazing amount of things have previously happened to the main character, and I thought "Wow - each of these things could be the subject of a whole book." And then the penny dropped. As I always say to the Young People, law in real life is not like the TV. They all look very disappointed. I double-checked with our US secondee to make sure that even American law wasn't like the TV, and he says that it isn't.

>146 Helenliz: Helen, yes, the foreman is elected once the jury goes out to consider the verdict. You must have looked very respectable in a suit! Solicitors say (rather meanly, but not necessarily inaccurately) that barristers are all wannabe actors, but they do vary a lot. They have all the best stories, though. And no, I don't think I'll read the previous books after this one. The subject-matter of this one (gene editing using the new CRISPR technology) is interesting (What DID the Jane Doe in the mortuary die of and is it the beginning of a terrifying pandemic?), but the others are all about other things, and some are quite old now. I'll just accept that the main character has had a Very Eventful Life and leave it at that.

148susanj67
Feb 9, 1:38pm Top



20. A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul

This is a famous book that I should have read years ago, but a brand new copy at the library made it even more attractive :-) Set in Trinidad in the early to mid 20th century, it's the story of a man (from his childhood) who is forever trying, without much success, to find his place in the world. Parts are snarkily funny, and parts very sad. I enjoyed it, although it took me too long to read as I kept getting distracted.

149charl08
Feb 10, 4:33am Top

>148 susanj67: This one's on my shelf to read. The more I read about the author the less I want to read his work though.

Hope you're having a good weekend. I almost got called for jury duty in Edinburgh but moved before the dates they specified. Relief!

150cbl_tn
Feb 10, 7:14am Top

Hi Susan! I’ll have to give Mr. Biswas another try. I stalled about halfway through and never got back to it.

Our crazy winter is making people sick because of the drastic changes in weather. One Tuesday we had a snow day, with 3 inches at my house. The next Tuesday it was in the 70s F. Now it is winter again, but will be in the 50s and 60s in a couple of days.

151susanj67
Edited: Feb 11, 6:59am Top

>149 charl08: Charlotte, I've read Naipaul's NF account of his first visit to India, which was very scathing about "Indian Indians" (as opposed to the community in Trinidad). I was amused to see that one of the characters in Mr Biswas had similar views after leaving the island :-)

>150 cbl_tn: Carrie, I think it's always a danger with long books. I'm glad I stuck with it, though. Your weather sounds crazy! I doubt we'll see snow in London this winter now - it has warmed up quite a bit from a week or so ago. It's very windy, though, and some of my TV channels are a bit scrambled, so I think the big aerial on the roof may have moved a bit. But it seems a bit better now than it was first thing.



21. Pandemic by Robin Cook

Apparently Robin Cook is an "international bestselling author", according to the cover of this book, which bemuses me because the writing is terrible. Really ploddy, overly detailed, and everyone speaks in full sentences explaining exactly what they mean for the benefit of the reader. I liked the idea, though - a pandemic caused by gene editing using the real-life CRISPR /CAS9 technology, which is fairly new and pretty revolutionary because almost anyone can do it.

In this book, irritating man-child medical examiner Jack Stapleton carries out an autopsy on a young woman who became ill and died within half an hour on a subway train. The autopsy shows that she died from a massive reaction of her own immune system to something, but what? Fearing a repeat of the 1918 pandemic, Jack flounces between official buildings in NY and NJ trying to get to the bottom of it as some more people die, while trying to stay out of the way of his wife (who is also his boss), his mother in law and even his own children. There's also an evil Chinese billionaire, a token black friend who "keeps an eye on the neighbourhood" (and drives an Escalade, because of course he does) and various simpering female types. I wish I'd put it back and got a NF book about this very interesting technology and, almost as if sensing that many readers will feel the same at the end of the book, the author recommends one, and it is A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution. I just reserved it. Heh :-)

152katiekrug
Feb 10, 9:17am Top

>151 susanj67: - So that's a "no" then? Heh.

Happy Sunday, Susan!

153BLBera
Feb 10, 10:58am Top

Hi Susan. I am going to go take a picture for you right now. You want snow? I'll try to get the snow gods to send some your way.

154susanj67
Feb 10, 11:25am Top

>152 katiekrug: Katie, that one's a no :-) Happy Sunday!

>153 BLBera: Beth, the snow gods will be fighting against bright blue sky at the moment (at 4.30! Summer is on the way).

I've just finished up Orange is the New Black on Netflix, which I had watched about half of some time ago. I'm trying to at least finish a series of something before pausing (even if there are more series to go) but I'm right up to date with OITNB now. There will be one more series, which will be the last one, so I'm all ready. I also finished Pine Gap, which is a worth a look. It's a Netflix Original from Australia, about an intelligence base near Alice Springs, shared with the US.

I might now start my sole remaining library book, but then what if I run out? Maybe I'll read a bit more of my Pulitzer NF instead.

155Familyhistorian
Feb 10, 6:57pm Top

>144 susanj67: Well, that snow was last Sunday and was just disappearing in spite of the cold temperatures but now it is snowing again. We thought we were heading to spring as well but looks like we're not. *sigh*

Interesting talk about the court system. It reminded me that I want to have a look at the Old Bailey when I am in London. Some of my family members were sentenced there back in the 1840s in the days when the prisoners didn't get to testify.

I have never been on a jury - had to show up for a cattle call where they were selecting multiple juries but I wasn't chosen. I have testified in court, however, but it was small claims court where rules are bent if not broken.

Good to know that there is a pass on starting in the middle of a series if one is not aware that a certain book is not a stand alone. (Have I got that right?)

156rosalita
Feb 11, 6:40am Top

>151 susanj67: A long long long long LONG time ago (I was probably 12 or 13) I joined a bunch of those book-a-month clubs because you could get a whole pile of books free when you signed up. (This was back in the days when you had to mail back a card every month if you didn't want the monthly selection sent automatically. LONG ago!) I didn't really know authors back then so I was picking books based on the brief descriptions, and I vividly remember one of the first books I got was Robin Cook's Coma. I liked it, though I don't think I've read anything of his since, but even then I could tell it was not scintillating prose and some of the plot points were rather ridiculous. Your review has not tempted me to revisit his oeuvre!

157susanj67
Edited: Feb 11, 7:42am Top

>155 Familyhistorian: Meg, sorry about your delayed spring. You should definitely bookmark the Old Bailey for when you're in London - there is usually something suitably gruesome on, and anyone can go and watch. Here's their webpage: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/history/Pages/central-criminal-co... You can't take electronic gadgets in with you, which is worth knowing before you set out with one in your bag...

As for the reading out of order question, well...no. Just no. :-) Had I known, I wouldn't have got the book.

>156 rosalita: Julia, I also remember those book of the month clubs! I'm not sure I ever belonged to one, but I do remember the whole mailing back of the card thing. Proper olden days :-) It's interesting to hear the writing has always been dubious - I wonder how some authors actually get publishing contracts.



22. Is There No Place on Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan

This is a Pulitzer-winning NF read, from Mount TBR, so it immediately ticks three boxes :-) It's also a very good read. Very sad, but good. It's the story of "Sylvia Frumkin", the pseudonym of a young woman suffering from schizophrenia, and her experiences in the mental health system in New York in the 1960s and (mostly) late 70s. She spent a lot of time at Creedmoor hospital, and the author moved into the hospital with her at one point and slept in the next bed. Even for the time her treatment was haphazard, and unsuccessful. I have no idea what someone medically knowledgeable would make of it all 40 years later, but it would probably seem even more outdated and hopeless today.

I've decided to start another Pulitzer-winner immediately, to keep up the momentum, and next up is The Good War, which an oral history of WWII, albeit written down. Presumably from tapes...

158alcottacre
Feb 11, 7:45am Top

>137 susanj67: I am reading that one right now and hope to finish it today. I agree it is a good read!

>148 susanj67: I loved that one when I read it!

>151 susanj67: I am so skipping that one.

>157 susanj67: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Susan.

159charl08
Feb 11, 8:49am Top

>157 susanj67: Is there no place on earth for me? sounds like my kind of book, will try and see if the library has a copy. Reading your comments reminded me that I'd like to read more about that experiment where well people deliberately got themselves committed in the US as a way of discrediting diagnosis methods (and in some cases, struggled to get out again). It's come up in a couple of books briefly, but hopefully I can track something down.

Trying not to look directly at Monday, but...

160susanj67
Edited: Feb 12, 4:47am Top

>158 alcottacre: Stasia, good news about The Child Finder - Katie strikes again! And I definitely recommend skipping Pandemic, but I am looking forward to getting the NF book on the technology.

>159 charl08: Charlotte, I hadn't heard of those experiments, but I found a follow-up article on the internet discussing what the author had done to research the book https://archives.cjr.org/second_read/a_beautiful_mind.php , and Nellie Bly was mentioned: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how-nellie-bly-went-undercover-to-expose-abu...

My pre-Tuesday was actually OK (touch wood). I had to ring my NZ bank to register my mobile number to make a payment, and I got an actual lovely Kiwi lady, instead of a call centre goodness knows where. I was amazed, and then delighted. I could hear and understand every word she said, which *never* happens. So that got the day off to a good start, and I decided not to dwell on the tedious file review that I had to do in the afternoon.

I started The Good War on the bus home, and read a bit more this morning. Already I love it. The only downside is that I have a super-cheap mass market paperback - one of those small-sized books - and the printing is tiny. Quotations are even tinier. And my eyesight is fine close-up!

There's a funny article in the Guardian today about a Daily Mail article advising women to clear their homes (particularly bedrooms) of books in order to attract a man. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/feb/11/shelf-policing-how-books...

Here's the Mail article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6688899/How-avoid-turning-home-manrep...

Ehh - I'd rather have the books :-)

161charl08
Feb 12, 8:36am Top

The bookshelf article made me laugh, especially the suggestions for calming down nervous visitors (e.g. Normal People) - even if the books themselves aren't so calming.

The experiment I was thinking of was by David Rosenhan, a psychologist at Stanford University in 1973. "On Being Sane in Insane Places" was published in 'Science'
The Washington Post article that quotes it isn't exactly 100% convinced, which surprised me. I'm tempted by the Lauren Slater book he mentions though. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/an-experiment-fooled-psyc...

162katiekrug
Feb 12, 9:18am Top

Laughing at the books in the bedroom advice. Didn't seem to repel The Wayne!

163BekkaJo
Feb 12, 1:04pm Top

This time I got really behind. Trying to actually get back on to LT, so hi and hopefully not bye :)

164Caroline_McElwee
Feb 12, 3:01pm Top

>160 susanj67: pffft, very amusing. I'm keeping my books.

165FAMeulstee
Feb 12, 5:34pm Top

>160 susanj67: LOL, I found a husband who loves his books in the bedroom, so can I keep the books (and the cactuses) ;-)

166thornton37814
Feb 12, 9:21pm Top

Catching up! I guess I know why I'm still single. My bedroom is filled with cats and books. ;-)

167vancouverdeb
Feb 13, 11:11pm Top

Oh,Susan, that a hilarious article from the Daily Mail. Well, I still lived at home when I was dating my know husband. My parents were quite strict and people of the male persuasion were not allowed into any bedrooms. Perhaps if my now husband had spied my bookshelf, I might still be single? :-) I must admit that part of my attraction to my hubby was the fact that he had a book on his bedside table.

By the way, what do you think of Meghan Markle and her bump cuddling etc? I'm not quite sure what to make of it all. Is there a rift between William and Harry? I know you follow the Royal Family like I do, so I am safe chatting about them on your thread. Feel free to offer your opinions on the RF on my thread.

168susanj67
Edited: Feb 14, 5:02am Top

>161 charl08: That's an interesting article, Charlotte. One thing that stuck me about the Sheehan book was how easily Sylvia was admitted to hospital when she needed/wanted to be. I wondered how hard it would be to get a bed these days, and the answer seems to be "very".

>162 katiekrug: Katie, yes, they do a consistent line in Why Women Are Always Wrong. But what they're missing is the point that if a man is that easily scared off by books, and pictures of women, is he worth bothering with anyway? They never ask *that* question.

>163 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! Always lovely to see you :-)

>164 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, good call! Books are forever, after all. Or exactly as long as you want.

>165 FAMeulstee: Anita, I often wonder whether there is a publication out there advising men how to attract women, but the Daily Mail never refers to it if there is one.

>166 thornton37814: Lori, LOL!

>167 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah! I'm in two minds about the bump cuddling. On the one hand, it's her baby and she can cuddle it if she wants to. Maybe she's waited a long time to be pregnant and she still can't quite believe it. (There is, of course, a conspiracy theory that says she isn't pregnant at all, the bump is fake, and she has to keep touching it to make sure it hasn't become detached and started to move around). But on the other hand she could give it a rest now :-) I think the "rift" is something invented by the papers, who need Drama to sell more copies. There is no news value in two happy couples getting on with their lives, unless it's in what outfits the Duchesses are wearing, but they need more than that. I think Harry just has his own life and his own household now. It must have been hard for him always being the singleton when the Cambridges were a couple and then a family. Now it's his turn. In the real world brothers aren't expected to live in one another's pockets, so there is no good reason why the princes should.

I do think that the DoS made a mistake in having her friends say nice things about her to the papers a couple of weeks ago. I don't think she understands how the UK tabloid press works. No-one can stop them. She should study a bit of recent history and see how e.g. Princess Michael of Kent was treated. Or even the DoC when she was new to the family. She should rise above it, get on with her life and people will either like her or not. She can't *make* them. That said, the hating from the keyboard warriors is totally out of control, and worse than I remember it being for the DoC, but then again there are more outlets for it these days. If it's true that Serena Williams' PR people are helping Kensington Palace then that's good, because there's a point at which it actually becomes dangerous.

169ChelleBearss
Feb 14, 1:40pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day!! ❤️💚💗💙

170vancouverdeb
Feb 15, 4:22am Top

I've heard about the conspiracy theory about the bump. I think that bump is real. I think a bit, she could give the bump" two handed holding" a rest. Sure, it's fun to feel the baby move , but one hand might do in public. I agree about the " rift." It's possible that the two brothers just have more separate lives as time goes on. It's only natural. My sister and I and our husband lived in duplex, side by side for 7 years. I enjoyed the close company. But eventually we both moved into detached homes and it was not a case of rift, just growing up and moving to our own places. I'm sure just like in the real world, we aren't always keen on who our brother or sister marries. Sometimes yes, sometimes less so. Just natural. As you say, it does sell papers. I do recall Duchess of Dolittle and Workshy Will. So yes, now Meghan and Harry are the ones the press is after. I sure hope the whole marriage between Harry and Meghan works out. Somehow Harry seems less joyous and full of laughter than he used to seem. Kate had a lot of time to catch on to the ways of the RF, plus she grew up in Britain, whereas Meghan had short time to hang out with RF and it's must be a steep learning curve.

171susanj67
Feb 15, 9:56am Top

>169 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

>170 vancouverdeb: Deborah, maybe Harry is just worried that he will soon be responsible for a whole new human and it's freaking him out :-) I could understand that. Also I think there are real security concerns about some of the haters and Meghan. There is a nasty edge to it that I don't remember with the DoC, and it must be tempting for him to just want to stay at home with her until at least the pregnancy is over. I know that people criticise the Cambridges for not working as hard as some of the other members of the family, but no doubt they're looking at the Queen still going strong and realising that that they may have 60 years of work ahead of them. They could just be pacing themselves :-)



23. Hitler's Beneficiaries: How the Nazis Bought the German People by Gotz Aly

This is a Verso book, which has been sitting on my Kindle for too long. I started it after Holocaust Memorial Day, when a survey showed that apparently 5% of British people don't actually believe the Holocaust happened. I know we're living in an era of mass stupidity, endorsed by the leader of the free world, but really.

The author debunks the received wisdom that the "final solution" was something dreamed up by hard-line Nazis while the rest of the German people knew nothing about what was going on. It has always seemed amazing to me that people living near the concentration camps never wondered why more and more people were going in, but no-one ever came out. But anyway, this focuses on the many benefits of the Nazi welfare state to ordinary Germans, and how those benefits were financed by stealing from Jews, and making occupied countries pay for the costs of their occupation. It seems that ordinary Germans benefited greatly from these policies, and were well-fed and well-dressed throughout the war, receiving parcels of expensive consumer goods from family in the military stationed in countries overseas while the locals starved. Further, many of those bombed out in Germany who were immediately given new clothes and furniture confiscated from Jewish people knew exactly where those things had come from, and didn't protest. An important book and one that frankly made me wonder why the UK was ever keen to join the EEC, as it was then.

172susanj67
Feb 15, 2:47pm Top

I had the afternoon off, after going in to the office this morning for a meeting that was entirely pointless, and which I knew would be pointless, so I thought it best just to leave the building afterwards. I found a list of excellent documentaries in my internet bookmarks, including some on YouTube, so I watched one this afternoon. I'm not sure how to find them apart from by title - the "search" function doesn't do "documentaries" as a category but it was amazing to watch it on the TV and not on something smaller. The fire stick has the YouTube app on it.

Then I watched Derry Girls on All4, which is excellent :-) And then I had a look at My5 and discovered that the My5 app has PBS America on it. My TV has a bunch of channels that come and go with every retune, and that's one of them. So now I can follow whole PBS America series on My5 and not have to worry about the vagaries of the Crystal Palace transmitter. Yay :-) I think I'll start one about the dustbowl over the weekend.

I'm currently reading Kolymsky Heights as my fiction choice, and I have In Her Blood for after that. It's from the crime series Charlotte recommended, which is not about nuns. My hard-copy NF is The Good War but I'm also going to start another Verso NF ebook - maybe Lord Leverhulme's Ghosts. I thought I had lots of unread Verso books, but actually I'm not doing too badly with them.

There is definitely a feeling of spring around in London, which is a nice change. I might even do some steps on the weekend!

173katiekrug
Feb 15, 3:01pm Top

Smart move taking the afternoon off to avoid any further pointlessness.

I'm glad you like 'Derry Girls'! I have 3 more episodes to watch...

It's a lovely day here, too, so I walked to the library and post office and then took the long way home. Feeling very smug about it :)

174susanj67
Feb 15, 3:06pm Top

>173 katiekrug: Hi Katie! Yes, I think I made the right choice having a half-day. This year has been a shocker so far on the office front - I spend most of my time enraged. I'm rationing Derry Girls - I could have watched it all this evening but then I wouldn't have any left. I've watched the first two. Well done on the stepping - maybe winter is over. Ooh.

175SandDune
Feb 15, 3:08pm Top

>172 susanj67: >173 katiekrug: We like 'Derry Girls' too.

176katiekrug
Feb 15, 3:09pm Top

>174 susanj67: - I love that second episode about the chip shop. And pizza. "It's not as nice."

177charl08
Edited: Feb 15, 10:15pm Top

You all talking about it - I'm just going to watch it all again. There is so little that really makes me properly laugh, and this one did.

178vancouverdeb
Feb 15, 8:14pm Top

I can certainly understand the security concerns surrounding Meghan. I think I've read even her half sister is on a " watch list." Well, let's just hope it all goes well. As for the Derry Girls, that sounds very interesting .I'll have to check and see if it is available here. But I'm too dumb for my smart TV, and don't yet know how to use Netflix or anything but my optik tv with cable . Oh, I am showing my age. Glad you had a half day at work.

179alcottacre
Feb 15, 8:48pm Top

>171 susanj67: Adding Hitler's Beneficiaries to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Susan. I had not heard of that book before.

180PaulCranswick
Feb 16, 7:59pm Top

>171 susanj67: I'm another one who will look out for that book, Susan. It does beggar belief somewhat that the ordinary German didn't know just as it does that the rest of the world was blissfully ignorant until the soldiers liberated the camps.

Have a lovely weekend.

181susanj67
Feb 17, 3:21am Top

>175 SandDune: Rhian, I'm not sure how I missed it when it was broadcast originally.

>176 katiekrug: Katie, yes their love of deep-fried food is very funny :-) My favourite characters are the headmistress and the grandfather - and the nearly silent baby who is just toted around, largely ignored.

>177 charl08: Charlotte, glad to oblige :-) I love the teen angst. I've watched four episodes now.

>178 vancouverdeb: Deborah, you are *not* too dumb for your smart TV! Get out the instructions and give it a go. On your remote there will be a button which might be labelled "back" or "exit" and that undoes anything you click on, so it is easy to get back to the home screen.

>179 alcottacre: Stasia, I hadn't either, but the Verso sale makes me bulk-buy all sorts of things :-)

>180 PaulCranswick: Paul, yes, I can see how it's a subject that people don't want to examine too closely. I hope your weekend is also going well.



24. Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

This was a random library book which I borrowed after seeing the quote by Philip Pullman on the front cover: "The best thriller I've ever read". Hmmm. Apparently Charles Cumming has said something similar, and the LT page is full of people asking What Were They Thinking. Or perhaps Did They Have A Different Book? It's a "quest" story - the hero has to get into a super-secret facility in Siberia where something odd is going on and the scientists can never leave. He has to find out what it is, and then get out again. It all takes a very long time, and it's described in great detail. I didn't *dislike* it, but it's not a fast-paced thriller. A couple of the LT reviewers say that the author's earlier novels are better, so I'm going to look out for one of those.

182Caroline_McElwee
Feb 17, 5:10am Top

I loved The Rose of Tibet, but it isn't a thriller. Years since I read it though. It belonged to my mother.

183Crazymamie
Feb 17, 10:03am Top

Happy Sunday, Susan! I got the girls to watch Derry Girls, and they gobbled it up all in one sitting.

184BLBera
Feb 17, 11:28am Top

Sorry work is enraging, Susan. That makes it so exhausting. I hope things get better -- or at least you can balance work with a bunch of good shows and books.

185BekkaJo
Feb 17, 1:37pm Top

>172 susanj67: *bangs head against wall against pointless meetings*

Why, why! When people know there are legal time frames? Pull your &&&&& out of your &&&&.

Okay, that might be my frustration talking :/ I took part of Friday off as a flexi day as the kids were on an inset day (teacher training) and had presumed I had promised... anyway, I worked from home a bit, fielded children a lot, coped with pre-teen daughter baking A LOT... and then all the stuff I knew I would have to deal with came in between 4-6, when I wouldn't have been at work anyway and... have I mentioned banging head against a wall?

186susanj67
Feb 18, 5:07am Top

>182 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline!

>183 Crazymamie: Mamie, I'm not surprised! I have watched it all now. The Sunday Times had an article about it yesterday (sadly paywalled) and it said the next series starts in March, so I hope it hits Netflix pretty soon afterwards for you.

>184 BLBera: Beth, yes, exhaustion is a definite side-effect. And I had a headache all weekend, which I couldn't shake even with a Bic Mac, fries and an iced mocha frappe.

>185 BekkaJo: Bekka, I know! Friday's meeting was to update someone who has zero interest in the matter, and did his emails on two phones and an iPad the entire time, while making occasional "Mm-hmm" noises to pretend he was listening. And then got up and left because he was bored.



25. In Her Blood by Annie Hauxwell

This is the first in a series recommended by Charlotte, and it was excellent. Thanks, Charlotte! Catherine Berlin is an investigator with the "Financial Services Agency", (not the Financial Services *Authority*, you see, which was a real thing until it changed its name), based at Canary Wharf. (Just like the real FSA! (until it moved to Stratford. Those poor people)). When a source turns up murdered in Limehouse Basin, everything starts to go very wrong. This is set in my part of London, so I loved that, and I read it in a single sitting. I've already reserved the second one :-)

I'm trying and failing to find The Strangler Vine, which Charlotte also recommended. It's supposed to be on the shelf at Canary Wharf, but it isn't. Yesterday I went to Chrisp Street, which also has it listed as on the shelf. But again, nothing. I checked crime *and* the ordinary fiction *and* a display of new crime, which seemed to start with H until I realised that the books were not shelved in any order OMG. (There were so many that they were actually shelved, not displayed cover-outwards). Sadly the display was straight in front of the desk, or I would have, um, tidied it up a bit.

Then I checked the various other random displays, but still nothing. I did get The Horseman, though, which Canary Wharf doesn't have (even though it's the first in trilogy and they have the other two grrrr). And The Cleaner, by Paul Cleave, who apparently is a Kiwi. I have to pick up Primate Change at lunchtime, so that will give me three library books. Maybe I can cope. I'll have to reserve The Strangler Vine, which will make me look very lazy until one of the staff tries to find it, and then they will understand.

187charl08
Feb 18, 7:28am Top

Sorry those recommendations proved so troubling to find, Susan. Hoping this week brings you fewer meetings :-)

188susanj67
Edited: Feb 18, 7:48am Top

>187 charl08: Charlotte, there are no meetings scheduled for this week. And, in totally unrelated news, it is half term so most of the partners are away.

I went to the library to pick up Primate Change and The Stone Circle, the new Dr Ruth Galloway novel, was also there. Squee! "There's a reserve on this one," said the young man as he checked it out for me. "I'll probably read it tonight," I said. But then he said they are stamping everything for a month instead of three weeks because of an upcoming system upgrade of some sort. I wanted to ask what sort, and whether it would make the whole wish list feature easier to manage, but there was a queue. On the way out I saw The Familiars, which I decided to get as well because look how pretty:



Heh - I see something now that I didn't see at the library, where I was dazzled by all the foiled gold on the cover. Let's say prettyish, apart from the giant noose

189katiekrug
Feb 18, 8:37am Top

So jealous you've got your hands on the new Ruth Galloway! I think it comes out here in the spring *sad face*

190Helenliz
Feb 18, 8:41am Top

I find myself way behind. I've just reserved the first Ruth Galloway form the library. (see, I'm getting the first book in the series to start... )

191susanj67
Feb 18, 8:42am Top

>189 katiekrug: Katie, I will be very careful not to give away any spoilers. Or gloat too much. Oh. That may not be working.

192susanj67
Feb 18, 8:43am Top

>190 Helenliz: Helen, in a way you are lucky because you will be able to binge-read the whole series. And there is a very strong narrative link running through the books, so they actually have to be read in order to understand that (as well as just for good management). You're in for a real treat!

193susanj67
Feb 18, 8:54am Top

Ooh, alert! I can't find the Great Deals thread, but one of today's UK Kindle deals is the fabulous Endeavour by Peter Moore. This was one of my top reads for last year. UK LTers, buy buy buy! We can even gift Amazon books now. I think I'll get it for Booky Work Friend :-)

194charl08
Feb 18, 9:50am Top

>191 susanj67: Ha! Good luck with that Susan. I think I got left behind when she went to Italy. The one where it turned out her old professor was secretly doing some very bad things for a very long time in the mud for some reason struck me as particularly hard to believe, and I wanted a break.

195BLBera
Feb 18, 3:13pm Top

Lucky you that The Stone Circle is already out!

>188 susanj67: THat is a pretty cover.

Off to check to see if In Her Blood is available in my library.

I hope the week is off to a good start at work, Susan.

196Familyhistorian
Feb 18, 8:29pm Top

You must be having a better week this week, Susan, with most of the partners being away. Thanks for the link to the Old Bailey. Good tip about no electronics. I wonder if a Fitbit would be considered electronic. What do you think?

197susanj67
Edited: Feb 19, 4:49am Top

>194 charl08: Charlotte, I think that was the one before last, so it wouldn't take long to catch up :-)

>195 BLBera: Beth, the week is off to a quiet start, which is something. And it's beautifully sunny today, which is lovely. I might do some steps at lunchtime. I hope you can find In Her Blood - I had to reserve it and it took a while, but I'm surprised the author isn't better known. It was a real page-turner.

>196 Familyhistorian: Meg, I think a Fitbit could potentially be a problem. When I went through security at the Palace of Westminster recently I had to take my Fitbit One off and put it through the scanner (but they don't confiscate electronics there - just scan them). While it shouldn't *really* be an issue, the security people at a lot of government buildings are unpredictable (and by that I mean idiots). There are stories on legal blogs of a barrister's stiletto shoes being confiscated on the basis that they could be used as weapons, and a barrister's wig tin being refused because apparently tins are dangerous in some unspecified way and he could have put it in a plastic container. Sheer lunacy, but that's what you're dealing with, so common sense doesn't really feature.

197 posts! I am so close to starting a new thread.

198Helenliz
Feb 19, 5:21am Top

>197 susanj67: - don;t get me started on illogical rules. My personal pet hate are airports. I can cope with taking my boots off, and having to take my belt off and hold my trousers up with one hand. I diligently put my liquids, all of less than 100 mL containers in a clear, zip lock bag and then I get stopped for having talcum powder (a bulk powder, not a liquid) or soap (a bulk solid not a liquid) in my carry on bag and not pulled out separately. And sometimes the pull it out and others they do not. I don't mind rules, I am a natural rule follower, but don't make them random. I'm terrified of flying as it is, so you don't find me at my most clam and relaxed at an airport anyway, adding illogicality to the equation is not on!

199Caroline_McElwee
Edited: Feb 19, 6:29am Top

>198 Helenliz: yeh, the random stuff is annoying. Last time I flew, I was frisked even though the beeper didn't go off. It felt like someone was requesting it just to annoy her friend who was on frisk duty!

200charl08
Feb 19, 6:35am Top

The one that has weirded me out a bit was the last time through Manchester, where a guy clapped his hands and said 'we're going to go through extra quickly today' - we left everything in our bags: tech, smellies, the lot. It was great - got through in half the time. But it did make me wonder why that was OK that time...

(time for a new one, Susan?)

201susanj67
Edited: Feb 19, 7:08am Top

>198 Helenliz: Helen, I think there has been some relaxation of the rules since 2005 or whenever it was, but you're right that it isn't consistent.

>199 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, that was probably exactly the reason!

>200 charl08: Charlotte, possibly profiling if it was a smallish group? I once had to attend a meeting at the Palace of Westminster, and my mind went blank when they asked me who I was meeting. "Never mind, Madam, I'm sure it's fine," said the policeman, and let me through.

And it *is* time for a new thread! Yay!

BRB, as the young people say.

My new thread is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/303980#6745598

This topic was continued by SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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