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World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #2

This is a continuation of the topic World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves.

This topic was continued by World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #3.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Feb 5, 8:02am Top

Last year I focussed on women writers, but my international stats went way down.* I also started (ha!) to buy more new books, and my TBR pile has gone nuts. So that's the three prong strategy in 2019. (Continuing the focus on women writers, reading beyond Anglophone world and reading my own books.)

Oops. Forgot to say. I'm Charlotte, I read most things, but predominantly fiction, memoir and history. I live in the NW of England, I work for a local university and I tend to read a lot.
*Sidenote: I have been reading how many women writers (don't) get translated into English. Fingers crossed the success of Elena Ferrente will change this.

Currently reading:
These Truths
Almost Famous Women

Book group book:
A novel that sounds like a self help book. I've forgotten the title.
It's How to be Happy

Netgalley book: Red Birds

Edited: Feb 12, 5:05pm Top

Books read This month 13 Last month 23 Total 35

February 13
The Strangler Vine (F, UK, fiction)
Natural Causes: life, death and the illusion of control (F, US, popular science)
Ms Marvel: Civil War II (Multiple, GN)
The book of Emma Reyes (F, Columbia/France, memoir)
Zeina (F, Egypt, fiction)
The Word is Murder (M, UK, fiction)
The Sixties (F, UK, memoir)
Mr Darwin's Gardener (F, Finland, fiction)
A Catalog of Birds (F, US, fiction)
Remedial Rocket Science (F, US, fiction)

Children of the Cave (F, Finland, fiction)
Stick Out Your Tongue (M, China, short stories)
There There (M, US, fiction)

January 23
Caveat Emptor (F, UK, fiction) audio
A Death at Fountains Abbey (F, UK, fiction)
Out Stealing Horses (M, Norway, fiction)
The Promised Land: poems from itinerant life (M, Italy, poetry)
Behold America: a history of America First and the American Dream (F, US, history)
We Were the Salt of the Sea (F, Canada, fiction)
The Fact of a Body (F, US, memoir)
Hiding in Plain Sight (M, Somalia, fiction)
The Handmaid's Tale (F, Canada, fiction)
A Morbid Habit (F, UK, fiction)

The Prague Coup (Multiple, GN)
Nearly a Lady (F, US?, fiction)
The Vogue (M, Ireland, fiction)
Blue Horses (F, US, poetry)
Soviet Milk (F, Latvia, fiction)
A Wicked Kind of Husband (F, US, fiction)
Equal Rites (M, UK, fiction)
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World (F, UK, GN)
The Forbidden Place (F, Sweden, fiction)
Lost Children Archive (F, Mexico/US, fiction) Netgalley

Evil Things (F, Russia/ US, fiction)
We Shouldn't (F, US, fiction)
Confessions of Frannie Langton (F, Jamaica/ UK, fiction)

Feb totals
Gender F 8 M 3 Multiple 1
Country/ Region UK 3 Europe 2 US & Canada 3 Africa 1 Latin America 1 Asia 1 Multiple 1
Type Fiction 9 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 3
Origin Library 5 Other (incl mine) 7

Netgalley 1

Running totals
Gender F 25 M 8 Multiple 2
Country/ Region UK 8 Europe 7 US & Canada 11 Africa 2 Latin America 2 Asia 1 Multiple 4
Type Fiction 28 Poetry 2 Non-fiction 5
Origin Library 15 Other (incl mine) 20

Netgalley 3

Edited: Feb 2, 6:56pm Top

African writers

(this is going to be very loosely interpreted, with inclusion rather than exclusion being the focus)

Hiding in Plain Sight (Somalia/ South Africa/ US) Published by Oneworld
Zeina (Egypt/ US) Published by SAQI (UK)

Edited: Feb 10, 10:59am Top

Europe (b#$%* Brexit) and beyond- authors in translation

Chester zoo penguins

China: Stick Out Your Tongue Translator Flora Drew
Columbia: The book of Emma Reyes Translator Daniel Alarcón (Spanish)
Egypt: Zeina Translator Amira Nowaira (Arabic)
Finland: Mr Darwin's Gardener and Children of the Cave Translators Emily and Fleur Jeremiah
French Canada: We Were the Salt of the Sea Translator David Warriner
France: The Prague Coup Translator ??
Latvia: Soviet Milk Translator Margita Gailitis
Norway: Out Stealing Horses Translator Anne Born
Sweden: The Forbidden Place Translator Rachel Willson-Broyles

Edited: Feb 10, 11:00am Top

Beyond Europe

Lost Children Archive (Mexico/US)
Confessions of Frannie Langton (Jamaica/UK)
The book of Emma Reyes (Columbia/France)
Stick Out Your Tongue (China/ UK)

Jan 21, 2:15pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Jan 21, 2:22pm Top

Happy 2nd thread, Charlotte!

Jan 21, 2:25pm Top

Happy new thread. Loving the quotation in >6 charl08:.

Jan 21, 2:33pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte. Love the penguins.

Jan 21, 2:50pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 21, 2:53pm Top

Happy new one!

Jan 21, 2:57pm Top

Hallooo, Charlotte. Getting in on the ground floor with this thread, I am.

Jan 21, 3:27pm Top

>7 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. First!

>8 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda.

>9 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I guess it would ruin the mood of the quote to add " but you better bring the book back! "

Jan 21, 3:29pm Top

>10 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I was going to find new ones. But I like these.

>11 drneutron: Thank you! Hope being back at work after your trip wasn't too much of a pain.

>12 figsfromthistle: Thanks figs

>13 weird_O: Talking like Yoda you are... Hi Bill!

Jan 21, 4:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!
So many lovely penguins up there.

Jan 21, 5:33pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

Jan 21, 6:05pm Top

happy new thread!

Jan 21, 6:52pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Love the penguins!

Jan 21, 8:05pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! May the penguins rejoice!

Jan 21, 8:43pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 21, 10:14pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte!

Jan 21, 10:54pm Top

I'm happy that I can get here at least once, Charlotte. Long may the penguins reign!
You remind me that I need to read The Devil in the Marshalsea before I buy the next two. Maybe I will. Maybe I will!
Meanwhile, I'm glad that you're here. I know you're always good for a new book or two or ten or twelve. Happy Reading!

Jan 21, 11:34pm Top

Happy New Thread Charlotte. Love seeing all the penguins!

Jan 22, 2:29am Top

Happy new thread! Happy Monday!

Jan 22, 3:37am Top

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Only two months until the Mackintosh exhibit opens in Liverpool!

>17 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I think I've lost your thread. Bad Charlotte.

>18 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I made the second recipe from my new book yesterday: chickpea and butternut curry. Mixed reviews...

Jan 22, 3:39am Top

>19 jessibud2: Thank you. I need to find your thread too...

>20 lkernagh: Yup, at least they're not endangered on my thread, unlike in the real world.

>21 ChelleBearss: Thanks! Hope your two day week is going well (or am I mixing that up with last week?)

>22 vancouverdeb: Deborah it's so lovely to see you back around the threads.

Jan 22, 3:41am Top

>23 LizzieD: It's worth it, I think Peggy. I do enjoy these historical mysteries.

>24 mdoris: Glad I'm not alone in my penguin affection Mary.

>25 Berly: Dancing, no less Kim? Touch wood, my PF is now in abeyance, so enjoying walking again.

Jan 22, 3:50am Top

Soviet Milk
This was the first one I read from the batch I ordered when signing up for Pereinne at the beginning of the month. A Latvian bestseller, it tells the story of a mother and daughter struggling with the mother's depression, amidst Soviet oppression. The mother is a gynecologist, but an attempt to defend a patient goes wrong and she is condemned to practice in an underfunded rural clinic. The daughter tries to understand her mother's depression and support her. She only really begins to understand what her mother has faced when she herself is punished by the communist authorities.
Out in the streets, the summer of 1989 was on fire. The people out there were transformed: elated and happy, armed with flowers, folk songs and little red-white-red flags. Life flooded the gardens, courtyards, roads, fields and cities. I wished that like the ninth wave it would crash through my mother's small, smoke-filled room, wash away all of history's injustices and miserable coincidences, including being born exactly then and there - crash in and let life in with it.
But my mother didn't leave her room...

Jan 22, 7:30am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Your cooking sounds good, and I like Tom Kerridge's programmes.

Edited: Jan 22, 7:49am Top

^A bit late on this, but well worth sharing.

Happy New Thread, Charlotte. Hope your week is off to a fine start.

Edited: Jan 22, 1:23pm Top

>31 msf59: teehee Mark.

May your new thread record much enjoyable reading Charlotte. Not to mention penguin sightings.

Jan 22, 9:10am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Jan 22, 10:22am Top

Happy New Thread!

Edited: Jan 22, 10:40am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte!

I thought you could use some Oliver Jeffers penguin art of your own:

Jan 22, 2:05pm Top

>30 susanj67: I'm having the night off tonight: chicken pie from M and S's gluten free range. Day 3 of 12/12 proved distinctly more challenging: I was very hungry at 10 am. I might try shifting things a bit so I can start earlier. Maybe.

>31 msf59: Thanks Mark. Now I know, in case I run into one as I go about my business.

>32 Caroline_McElwee: The more penguins the better, Caroline.

Jan 22, 2:07pm Top

>33 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie!

>34 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel.

>35 jnwelch: Oh I do like Jeffers. Thanks Joe.

Jan 22, 2:36pm Top

Snowed today

Then it melted.

Edited: Jan 22, 2:54pm Top

Great photo Charlotte. Just did the same here (in London).

Jan 22, 2:57pm Top

>38 charl08: Wow! I am totally jealous.

Jan 22, 3:02pm Top

>38 charl08: :-D
Here is snowed too, and didn't melt... but it is expected to melt in a few days.

Edited: Jan 22, 5:26pm Top

>39 Caroline_McElwee: I did a yeti impression walking through it.

>40 Crazymamie: Really Mamie? I'd swop you for some sunshine.

>41 FAMeulstee: I'm expecting more (but hoping it also melts!)

Jan 22, 3:57pm Top

Good news!

Poetry sales soar as political millennials search for clarity
Record £12m sales last year were driven by younger readers, with experts saying hunger for nuance amid conflict and disaster were fuelling the boom


Edited: Jan 22, 5:30pm Top

Now reading The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a Netgalley book. V good.
I saw the botanist’s book, once. In London. It was in a shop I visited with Madame. Aloysius Thomson’s Pharmacopeia of the West Indies. A thick yellow volume, out on display beside the encyclopaedias and the natural dictionaries. Anger tore through me when I flicked through it. Everything Phibbah had told that man about was written in there. The next day I stole down to the same shop with a lead pencil tucked in my palm, hid myself behind the shelves with one of the volumes, and scratched her name on every page.

Jan 22, 6:51pm Top

Soviet Milk goes on my list, Charlotte. I just got my first Pereine book! I got a postcard with a handwritten note with it!

Jan 22, 7:11pm Top

>44 charl08: - Ugh. I always forget about my NetGalleys. I think I have about 8 sitting on my Kindle... Oops.

Jan 22, 8:51pm Top

Soviet Milk sounds quite interesting, Charlotte. I'll have to look into that one further. Snow looks so lovely in pictures, but not so much in real life.

Jan 23, 3:45am Top

>45 BLBera: Aw, that's really nice Beth. I got an email from them asking for feedback - I put more events outside London. I probably should have put 'worldwide'!!

>46 katiekrug: I've been poor with them lately Katie. Nothing in paper was calling my name, and then I remembered I had heard good things about this one. The cover is so lovely, I want my own one!

>47 vancouverdeb: It was interesting Deborah. And I'm with you on the snow: it stuck overnight, just microscopic amounts, but enough to freeze and making walking to work a very nervous experience.

Jan 23, 3:49am Top

>28 charl08: Yay for no more PF!!! Mine is still twinging, but not currently horrible.

>38 charl08: I am going for one snowfall this year. Is that really asking for too much? It is looking doubtful. : (

Jan 23, 8:26am Top

Your snow looks so much prettier than ours, Charlotte. Perhaps it was the magic sentence, "Then it melted" that makes it seem so appealing to me. We have about six inches just lying around making walking and driving difficult and refusing to go anywhere. And with temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit, it will be with us for a while, I'm afraid. Much like houseguests, it has worn out its welcome and I'm ready for it to go home!

Jan 23, 12:15pm Top

>49 Berly: There's not a lot you can do with ours: and no hills to do it on! Hope you get some fun in.

>50 rosalita: I spoke too soon: it came back overnight and did not melt. Sadly. I am not a fan as the gritters never seem to make it to the footpaths.

Jan 23, 12:16pm Top

Still reading >44 charl08:

People always ask the same question, wondering how I could’ve been so taken up with novels, there of all places. They blame me more for reading through it than suffering through it, I think. Novels are heresy, in their opinion; man creating man , no need for God. But how could I not read? I always want to ask. How else would I have survived it? What would you do, sitting in a dark, locked room, if someone brought in a lighted candle? I’ll tell you. You’d read your single copy of Moll Flan‑ ders over and over until you’d oiled the pages thin from your fingers.

Jan 23, 1:27pm Top

Happy "new" thread, Charlotte. Beautiful cover on The Confessions of Frannie Langton, you may have me with a BB there.

Edited: Jan 23, 3:08pm Top

>53 RebaRelishesReading: It is a lovely cover Reba. There's another much more realist cover, I'm not sure why they bothered.

Jan 23, 8:18pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I love the plethora of penguins! And >55 charl08: is very cool.

Jan 24, 12:22am Top

>55 charl08: Ooh, love the "Don't tell me women are not the stuff of heroes" one.

Great snow photo up thread, Charlotte. That's the snow we usually get, the "and it melt" the next day kind. But we didn't get any this year and I took a photo of a rhododendron in our parking lot today. It was starting to bloom.

Jan 24, 8:37am Top

>27 charl08: Yep, that was last week. This week I am Monday to Thursday. Last day today! Yahoo :)
Hope you are having a good week!

Jan 24, 9:00am Top

>56 EBT1002: I am very tempted Ellen: I have a birthday coming up and might mention this. Maybe they can add a Mary Oliver one to the series though.

>57 Familyhistorian: Spring still feels like a long way off here Meg. Although we do have snowdrops on campus.

>58 ChelleBearss: Enjoy the weekend Chelle! And sorry I missed your message way up there - I think you must have posted at the same time as I was, er, drafting a masterpiece. (Ha!)

Jan 24, 9:54am Top

Pereinne are offering a discount if you want to try, say Soviet Milk - or another award winning translation.

Peirene No. 24 Dance by the Canal was shortlisted for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German translation, Peirene Now! No. 3 Shatila Stories was longlisted for the EBRD International literary prize and Peirene No. 25 Soviet Milk was longlisted for both the EBRD prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize!

Enter PRIZE at the checkout for £5 off a subscription for yourself or a friend: https://www.peirenepress.com/shop/subscribe/peirene-subscription/

Jan 24, 3:48pm Top

>55 charl08: love this too! As it happens i am looking for quotes about words for my boss to have made into art work for our office. (The main line of work is qualitative analysis.) "Although they are only breath words which I command are immortal" is a good one!

Jan 24, 3:54pm Top

>61 LovingLit: I googled using goodreads and words: my favourite of their options is from the BFG:
Don't gobblefunk around with words.
(Although the Dr Seuss one would make sense here too)

Jan 25, 8:35am Top

Joe mentioned Quiet Girl in a Noisy World which has had a lot of enthusiasm on Litsy (possibly because it is preaching to the choir!). It's just dropped onto the mat here. I've also purchased another copy of Ms Marvel: as a gift. Maybe I should start buying this in bulk?!

Edited: Jan 25, 1:54pm Top

Tempted to put this on the wall at work.

Jan 25, 5:33pm Top

>64 charl08: *chuckling*

Jan 25, 9:43pm Top

>55 charl08: Cool

>64 charl08: I should post it on my syllabi. Students always expect an immediate response.

Jan 26, 1:56am Top

Looking forward to your Guardian reviews tomorrow - no pressure, Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 26, 2:58am Top

>65 Caroline_McElwee: Her work experience took me back a bit: I like to think I've got better. Her description of walking into an open plan office for the first time after uni completely hit the nail on the head for me. How does anyone get any work done like this?

>66 BLBera: This one hit home when I was a post grad student wondering why my supervisor didn't send chatty emails!

From PhD Comics

>67 vancouverdeb: Aw. Very nice of you Deborah.

Edited: Jan 26, 4:53am Top

Happy new thread Charlotte!

I've just read Small Gods and I thought you might appreciate a picture of Patina, the goddess of wisdom in Ephebe.

Yes, that's a penguin she's carrying (thanks to an incompetent sculptor).

>31 msf59: Nice list of how endangered the penguins are, Mark. I like the line of Emperor, King and Royal but am most intrigued by Macaroni.

>57 Familyhistorian: >55 charl08: That's the one I want, too!

Edited: Jan 26, 7:59am Top

Guardian Reviews Non-fiction

The Final Days of EMI by Eamonn Forde reviewed by John Harris
"EMI’s place at the core of global pop culture was assured when, in 1962, George Martin signed the Beatles to Parlophone, and the group subsequently posed for the cover of their debut album in among the modernist geometry of EMI’s HQ at Manchester Square, in central London, grinning from ear to ear.
Forty years later, things at EMI were not nearly as cheerful. The company had enjoyed a good 1990s, putting out big-sellers by Blur and Radiohead and eventually signing Coldplay. But it was in debt, and the commercial climate was growing chilly."

As a description of death by management consultant, I'm not sure If this is the book for me.

Edited: Jan 26, 4:53am Top

Salt on Your Tongue by Charlotte Runcie reviewed by Ruth Scurr
"Alongside visual and literary representations of the sea, Runcie is attracted to its presence in song. She joins a choir and is “drawn to sea shanties, working songs of hardship and struggle and longing for women left behind on shore”. Enjoying the irony that her mostly female choir chooses to rehearse “old masculine sea songs about seagoing terms we have never known before”, she begins to research Stan Hugill’s book, Shanties from the Seven Seas, published in 1961. Hugill described himself as “the last known shantyman”, he was shipwrecked many times and his life, Runcie remarks, was “a swashbuckling boy’s own story”. She imagines Hugill nursing a pint at the back of the pub where her choir is performing, listening to women sing songs that were not written for them."

Weighing up the bit that appeals to me (The sea) with the bit that doesn't (a memoir that seems, at least from this review, to be aimed at women who will be, or have already been, pregnant).

Edited: Jan 26, 4:56am Top

Last Train to Hilversum by Charlie Connelly reviewed by PD Smith
"... a heartfelt and funny celebration, from the earliest broadcasts of musical performances, such as Dame Nellie Melba’s at Chelmsford in 1920, the origins of radio comedy (The Goon Show was “the first piece of radio to exploit a generation gap”), those unmistakable voices of the network, the announcers, such as Radio 4’s Corrie Corfield (a “mix of lullaby empathy and no‑nonsense head girl”). He tells the inspiring story of Britain’s smallest commercial station, Two Lochs Radio in north-western Scotland, which serves an area the size of Glasgow that has a population of only 1,600 people: “I have sat in bus shelters bigger than the Two Lochs Radio building.”"

I love radio, so yes.

Edited: Jan 26, 9:52am Top

Twilight of the Elites by Christophe Guilluy reviewed by
Jon Henley
"...argument is not especially complicated. France, an ostensibly unified country, is in fact divided in two, between globalised, culturally vibrant cities such as Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon – where careers, investment and wealth are concentrated – and all the rest."
"...there will be considerable interest in his latest work, published in French as Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut in 2016 and now, by Yale. In a further development of his now-familiar argument, he tackles head on – and with great virulence – the flip side of La France périphérique, those he considers largely responsible for the country’s profound social, economic and political dislocation: hipsters, who the French call bourgeois-bohèmes or bobos."

Edited: Jan 26, 5:26am Top

A Short History of Brexit by Kevin O’Rourke reviewed by Fintan O'Toole
"It might indeed be questioned whether such a project is worth doing while the outcome is so uncertain. But O’Rourke’s book provides a bracing and absorbing answer. As he puts it towards the end, Brexit has already been “a hugely informative, if costly, civics lesson for the people of Britain, Ireland, and the rest of Europe” and he is superbly well fitted to draw out that lesson for the general reader."

Edited: Jan 26, 5:31am Top

The Library Book by Susan Orlean reviewed by Alexander Larman

"This book is a homage not just to the spirit and resilience of those who rebuilt the library, but to those whose lives are transformed by these public palaces of reading, on both sides of the lending desk."

Yes please.

Jan 26, 9:12am Top

>75 charl08: - I haven't read this one yet, Charlotte, but it's definitely on my radar. On my thread, I have posted a link to a wonderful interview with the author that I watched last week on our local tv.

Jan 26, 11:56am Top

>75 charl08: Yes, indeed, Charlotte. It was one of my favorite reads last year.

Thanks for posting the reviews, as always.

>68 charl08: Hah.

Jan 26, 1:17pm Top

>64 charl08: LOL! I love that one, too, Charlotte. I've got her new Book Love book coming soon.

Jan 26, 2:46pm Top

>69 humouress: I love the penguin stamp. I wonder if I can find a print...

>76 jessibud2: On my radar too! Looking forward to it.

>77 BLBera: I don't think it's even out here yet Beth!

>78 jnwelch: Another one? That's very tempting.

Jan 26, 3:48pm Top

Yes, I loved The Library Book -- especially because I have loved that library my whole life.

Jan 26, 8:21pm Top

Slightly late to the wishing of "Happy New Thread" but wishing it anyway!

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 27, 7:35am Top

>80 RebaRelishesReading: I really liked your review Reba, lovely to read about it from your perspective.

>81 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul, hope you've had a good weekend.

Oof, unexpectedly busy weekend for me. Not much reading unless you count that I did try to persuade a young reader of the virtues of

(Not convinced), read/ performed highlights from Dr Seuss' Fox in Socks on the train, and took a kid into a bookshop* and said "pick one" (I wish I could do this every weekend). Couldn't resist this for my class this week.

Last minute drop in from a friend saw some frantic cleaning/hoovering/ digging in the freezer. She's a translator so I've pushed the Pereinne subscription, Svetlana Alexievich and Han Kang.

I feel like that lets me off not doing much Actual Reading. And may now collapse.

*To clarify, not just a random child!

Jan 27, 7:38am Top

Hi Charlotte! Probably best to be in charge of the actual child in the bookshop, all things considered :-) Your weekend sounds busier than mine, but I have done some Marie Kondo-style folding. It turns out that I have enough t-shirts to last for ever, so that's nice :-)

Jan 27, 8:06am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Hope you are enjoying the weekend. Incredibly frigid here, so now I know how those penguins feel.

And hooray for The Library Book! I loved that one.

Edited: Jan 27, 2:10pm Top

>83 susanj67: It was a fun day but knackering. I read on Ridgewaygirl's thread that her charity was based on research that kids picking their own books makes them more likely to keep reading. I've made soup and a huge chilli for the week, so my shirts will have to survive without I think.

>84 msf59: Sorry to hear it's so cold with you, Mark. Hope you're wrapped up for work tomorrow. I followed your advice and got the collected Mary Oliver I resisted earlier in the month.
(Not that I needed much encouragement! )

Jan 27, 10:25pm Top

I love your children's books. Such a kind thing you did for that little one. When I got to be about 6 or 7, about once a month, my mom would take all of we kids to the one bookstore d tell us that we could each choose a book for ourselves. And I imagine my parents did the same thing for themselves. It was quite a treat and all my sibs and I are all readers. So I really think there is something to letting children choose books for themselves. I did it with my two sons as well, but my results are not quite as good. I'm hoping my sons are just in a busy phase of life and that is why they don't read for pleasure. At least my grand daughter is getting plenty of reading in, and I'm having fun picking out baby books.

Charlotte, it sounds like you had a very busy weekend. Take it easy next week at work.

Jan 28, 4:01am Top

>86 vancouverdeb: It made me laugh, because despite wanting it to be a free choice, I kept thinking "not that one, it's too...." or "not that one, I don't like that author!" I think I managed to keep quiet.

Baby books are lovely things, I'm not surprised you're enjoying that. Wishing you a good week, hope Dave's recovery continues to go well.

Edited: Jan 29, 12:26pm Top

Do you think this might bring Marie Kondo joy?

(According to Litsy it's a cosy called Decluttered and Dead for those who can't see the image)

Jan 28, 6:04pm Top

Archive of Lost Children - a Netgalley book

This was a rather surreal read. I'm not sure what I think about it. Will come back and put together a review.

Jan 28, 7:43pm Top

>89 charl08: I'm still waiting to get it from the library.

I can't see >88 charl08:.

Jan 28, 8:09pm Top

Very interested in finding out what you think of the Luiselli.

Edited: Jan 30, 3:03pm Top

>90 BLBera: Sorry Beth: it shows up here!

>91 RidgewayGirl: I'm not sure if my reaction is going to be representative.

Lost Children Archive
You were not even level A because you confused the letters b and d, and also the letters g and p, and when I showed you a book and asked you what do you see here on this page? you said, I don’t know, and when I said what do you at least imagine? you said that you pictured all the little letters jumping and splashing like all the kids in our neighborhood when they finally opened the swimming pool and let us swim there.

I read this online, in a Netgalley review copy for the phone and I think that might affect my review. The book circles ideas of archiving and recording, as a "blended" family makes a trip South to record for a documentary (her) and for one of those academic projects that is on the slightly bonkers end of the spectrum (him). Travelling with two small children, the first half is her narrating the journey alongside her increasing awareness that the relationship is over, and at their destination she will take her child and he will take his (always referred to as "The girl" and "The boy"). The journey is long, in parts dull, and sometimes scary (police asking for papers). Along the way Luiselli builds up a picture of the family, mum map reading, dad trying to interest the kids in stories of Native American histories as part of his work, and the (older) boy taking pictures with his new instant camera, whilst the five year old amusingly misunderstands much of what is going on.
The mother's research project is linked to the missing children travelling the rail lines from Mexico. The boy absorbs the story and makes a dramatic decision.

The book includes images, lists and many quotes: I suspect a beautiful print edition might have swayed me more towards a positive response. There are some lovely passages, sections that made me think, but I can't forgive it for a very long central section that I just found a bit tedious.
I wondered if given the success of her last book this had been rushed out (also the topicality of the lost children theme) - but I don't know if that's the case.
Euphemisms hide, erase, coat.
Euphemisms lead us to tolerate the unacceptable. And, eventually, to forget.
Against a euphemism, remembrance. In order to not repeat. Remember terms and meanings. Their absurd disjointedness. Term: Our Peculiar Institution. Meaning: slavery. (Epitome of all euphemisms.)
Term: Removal. Meaning: expulsion and dispossession of people from their lands.
Term: Placing Out. Meaning: expulsion of abandoned children from the East Coast.
Term: Relocation. Meaning: confining people in reservations.
Term: Reservation. Meaning: a wasteland, a sentence to perpetual poverty.
Term: Removal. Meaning: expulsion of people seeking refuge.
Term: Undocumented. Meaning: people who will be removed.

Edited: Jan 30, 6:29am Top

I missed over 150 posts in your threads... and will miss some more until Sunday when I'll hopefully have some quiet time. Had to laugh about >64 charl08: and >68 charl08:. I remember once sending a long mail explaining whatever in detail to a South Tyrolean colleague and getting back an empty response or so I thought. Just when I checked it the third time I found the little "ok" just above the signature. They don't make many words here, independently from their office rank.

Happy Wednesday!

Jan 30, 1:24pm Top

>93 Deern: Hey Nathalie! Glad you made it. Cultural differences and email really don't do well, in my experience. I don't know how you do it across languages too...

Edited: Jan 30, 5:14pm Top

The book I still can't work out if I read it, or read an article about it, or listened to a version on the radio has just won the Costa Prize.


The title would help here: The Cut Out Girl

Jan 30, 6:18pm Top

The Confessions of Frannie Langton Netgalley
Reading was the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to me. I can still see all those spines: Vesalius’s Cor‑ pus Humani, the Philosophical Transactions, Newton’s Principia, the Encyclopaedia. But there were novels, too, that Miss-bella ordered, though Langton kept those on the bottom shelves. Those were the books I loved. Holding one was like holding all the things that could happen in the world but just hadn’t happened yet. I had to wait until Miss-bella was finished with them, but then I could smuggle them behind the sideboards, read until I heard footsteps . I read with my mouth hanging open, like I could spoon sugar right out of all those books. I hid in the cook-room at night to read by the light of a tallow candle I made myself , beef tallow moulded in an old pewter bowl. Books answer questions with questions, but still I couldn’t get enough.

Brilliant first novel that takes as a key idea the stories that are not told in history. Frannie is a former slave in 19th C London accused of murdering her master and mistress. Her lawyer urges her to write her own story, to give him something he can use to get her off the charges. Instead she writes her life story, from the plantation owner with dreams of proving his version of scientific-racism theories to her love affair in the home of her employers. Expertly done and with a real period feel.

Edited: Jan 31, 6:48am Top

I think I need to up my usage of antibacterial hand gel at work...

Jan 31, 6:54am Top

>96 charl08: That one looks good, Charlotte! I've put it in my Amazon basket as a reminder. The library isn't listing it yet, even as "Ordered". It's out on 4 April.

>97 charl08: Oh no! Sorry the lurgy got you again.

Jan 31, 9:11am Top

Charlotte, sorry that you aren't feeling well. Hoping it doesn't stay long.

Jan 31, 9:43am Top

Feel better, Charlotte!

Edited: Jan 31, 9:51am Top

>98 susanj67: I think you might like it Susan: there is quite a bit of court room stuff. Turns out the author was a lawyer before she wrote the book. And thank you.

>99 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. At least this one feels a bit more seasonally appropriate than being full of germs on holiday in the sunshine..!

Now reading The Strangler Vine (if I can keep my eyes open).

Jan 31, 10:51am Top

Bummer! Feel better soon, please :)

Jan 31, 11:18am Top

What Reba said, Charlotte. Hope you feel better soon.

Jan 31, 11:21am Top

I hope you shake off the lurgy and are back to full strength soon, Charlotte!

Jan 31, 11:28am Top

>101 charl08: Charlotte, The Strangler Vine looks excellent! And the library has it. I can't go twice in the same day* so I will save it as a treat for lunchtime tomorrow.

*or can I?

Jan 31, 2:01pm Top

Get well soon, Charlotte.
>105 susanj67:. Yup. Happy to help. >:-)

Jan 31, 2:30pm Top

Adding my hopes for a speedy recovery Charlotte.

Jan 31, 11:34pm Top

>68 charl08: Love it.

Sorry you're under the weather. I had the crud last week and it is. No. Fun. I hope yours is short lived.

I thought Lost Children Archive sounded interesting. It also sounds, well, weird. Thanks for taking the time for that thoughtful review.

>75 charl08: I WANT The Library Book!!!!

Feb 1, 4:53am Top

>102 RebaRelishesReading: Bummer indeed, Reba.

>103 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday (I know, shocking eh?) And ordered up a storm on Amazon. Hoping I correctly remembered which Ms Marvel I'm up to. If only there was a way to record such things...

>104 rosalita: Thanks Julia. I spent some of the last two weeks batch cooking soup, which has worked out weirdly convenient in an unexpected way.

Feb 1, 5:03am Top

>105 susanj67: Did you go twice? Barbara recommended this one: glad I found it in the library (I've already asked for the next one!) Hope the snow situation wasn't too disappointing.

>106 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. Hope you've not got too many supplier visits in this weather.

>107 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I've had this minor cough for three days and already finding it ridiculously tedious: I admire your stamina.

>108 EBT1002: Hope you're fully recovered Ellen: and that your very cold-sounding trip went off OK.

I want The Library Book too.

Edited: Feb 1, 5:08am Top

Weird coincidences: the section of These Truths I read last night, and The Strangler Vine both quote this passage from Montaigne.

On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.
Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Feb 1, 6:26am Top

January report

January totals
Gender F 17 M 5 Multiple 1
Country/ Region UK 5 Europe 5 US & Canada 8 Africa 1 Latin America 1 Multiple 3
Type Fiction 19 Poetry 2 Non-fiction 2
Origin Library 10 Other (incl mine) 13

Netgalley 2 (Total reviewed 99!)

I'm still reading a lot more UK authors than I intend to.

Edited: Feb 1, 11:37am Top

The Strangler Vine
This was very good. I had to take a rapid course in the history of British colonialism in India in order to look vaguely knowledgeable for seminar purposes many years ago. This served to make me a bit sceptical when Thugs came up, one of the subjects with "sati" (widow burning) and "caste" that gets a proper bashing by most contemporary historians.

In this 19c set novel, a young army recruit, new to India, is sent to accompany a strange disgraced former company man, to find a famous writer, last seen in pursuit of these legendary bandits.

My worries were pointless. Carter is a "real" historian as her other job, and the Watson/Holmes narrative structure worked very well to support a gradual reveal of a very complex plot that not only completely outstripped my knowledge (not hard) but created compelling characters, whilst showing she not only knows the historical debate but can use it for dramatic effect. I particularly liked the account of the Princes' court and the power of the Zenana. Carter has their knowledgeable contact humorously prick the balloon of the young lieutenant's (and hundreds of years of the western gaze) imagined "exotic harem" with the revelation that the majority of the women are the age of the Prince's mother in law, and more interested in politics than titillation. Ha!

Feb 1, 6:48am Top

>113 charl08: That sounds great, Charlotte. I didn't go yesterday and now it is a bit sleety, so I think I'll leave it till next week. I have a few things to be getting on with...

I hope a day in the warm makes you feel a bit better.

Feb 1, 8:10am Top

Thanks Susan. It's impressive stuff. Hoping the library comes back with book 2 before I crack and order it on kindle!

I can highly recommend blankets from Dunelm Mill. Also Kleenex Balsam.

Feb 1, 10:34am Top

>109 charl08: Hoping I correctly remembered which Ms Marvel I'm up to. If only there was a way to record such things... LOL! Remind me to tell you about Librarything some time.

Feb 1, 12:39pm Top

>113 charl08: The Strangler Vine looks fun - added it to the wish list.

Feb 1, 12:45pm Top

>88 charl08: Decluttered and Dead! That's good.

Feb 1, 1:04pm Top

Happy Friday, Charlotte! You hit me with The Strangler Vine - that sounds so great.

Feb 1, 1:05pm Top

>119 Crazymamie: Ha! Back to add that Barbara already hit me with that one. Such a great memory I have. Anyway, I'll add your name to hers.

Feb 1, 2:57pm Top

>116 jnwelch: I think I might be alone here, but I get really confused by the volume/ number thing with the comic end of the spectrum. And Ms Marvel doesn't restart when Kamila takes over (at least, that's what I think from the LT numbering). And I don't know what it is when it's several small ?issues together. I thought that was a volume, but...

>117 SandDune: Yes, it was a top tip from Barbara.

>118 The_Hibernator: I am tempted to try and track it down.

Feb 1, 3:15pm Top

>119 Crazymamie: >120 Crazymamie: Yes, I omitted to mention that! Thank you Barbara! And thank you Mamie for reminding me...

I finished Natural Causes which was a bit of a mixed bag for me, some fascinating stuff about how tech billionaires prepare against death for example, and although some of the stuff about the medicalisation of childbirth wasn't new, it was all interesting. However, the last couple of chapters were heavy on microphages, which are (I think) a kind of cell that eats up the rubbish in our bodies, but have more recently been found to be implicated in vascular dementia. That bit is interesting, but after three chapters, I wanted more about the tech billionaires, and less about the ethics of self...

And the reference to a book called Why Would Anyone Believe in God? reminded me of this quote from The Hitchhikers' Guide
"... more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway"

(Which probably wasn't what she was going for.)

Feb 1, 4:51pm Top

>121 charl08: Ah, I thought you were kidding, Charlotte. I know how to add the collected volumes of Ms. Marvel (no. 10 is the next one), but I don't know how to add single comics.

Feb 2, 5:35am Top

>123 jnwelch: I was kidding about LT - as in, if I used it better to record the books / GNs I read, it would help! But not kidding about not knowing how the volumes work. Maybe it's different people recording the series differently on LT - so book 2 Generation Why is down as Ms. Marvel (Vol.3, 2) but also as 6-11. Hmmm.

Feb 2, 5:39am Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction (this week)

Optic Nerve by María Gainza reviewed by Amy Sackville
'...this book would appear to inhabit the territory of autofiction; in it she reflects, in glimpses and fragments, on motherhood, childhood, adolescent friendship, strained familial relationships. Most of all she reflects on paintings and painters: it is this, above, all, that matters to her, and that gives shape to her digressive, intricately woven narrative. "

This sounds a bit like Ali Smith, so adding it to the wishlist.

Feb 2, 5:44am Top

Adèle by Leïla Slimani reviewed by Alice Clark
'...a tough read, but a bracing one; little concerned with reader-pleasing narrative treats, but provocatively enigmatic. Appearing to adopt the conventions of realism – despite being sparely written, it is filled with physical detail, from an encounter in a freezing back alley to the “immense black-and-white photograph of derelict Cuban theatre” that decorates a fancy Parisian apartment – it eventually becomes increasingly dream-like, the compulsions of its characters (and not merely Adèle) revealed as the manifestation of suppressed desires and dysfunction."

Hovering on this one, especially since it is noted here that it is her first novel, and I had mixed feelings about The Perfect Nanny.

Edited: Feb 2, 5:50am Top

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian reviewed by Nicole Flattery
"Roupenian is at her best when she discards shock tactics and levels her gaze at teenage sexuality. In “Look at Your Game, Girl” and “The Boy in the Pool”, naive female desire is so brilliantly and lushly evoked that you can practically see the sun-drenched cinematography. Similarly, in “Biter”, a woman humorously takes advantage of office sexual politics. It shows a flair for satire and comedic timing. Roupenian’s strengths lie here."

This sounds like Otessa Moshfegh's books, so a no from me.

Edited: Feb 2, 5:56am Top

Deviation by Luce d’Eramo reviewed by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
"her autobiographical novel, first published in Italy in 1979, covers her experiences between the summer of 1944, when she went voluntarily to join the slave labourers in the IG Farben factory in Mainz, and late 1945 when, paralysed from the waist down, she returned to Italy."

This sounds like nothing I've ever heard of. The full review is worth a read.

Feb 2, 5:59am Top

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai reviewed by Anthony Cummins
"...charming and unpredictable debut, narrated by Marwand, a 12-year-old boy who, raised in the US, takes a trip to his parents’ village in Afghanistan in 2005, when “the American war was sort of dozing, like in a coma, or as if it were still reeling off a contact high from that recently booming Afghan H, leaving the soldiers and the bandits and the robots almost harmless”. With his cousins, Gul, Dawood and Zia, he’s on the trail of his uncle’s dog, Budabash, which hasn’t been seen since it savaged Marwand’s index finger in an uncharacteristic attack on the first day of the trip."

Love the cover.

Edited: Feb 2, 6:03am Top

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield reviewed by Laura Miller
"In place of the cobwebs, cinders and old books that perfume The Thirteenth Tale, Once Upon a River has mud, marsh and ale, drawing on the uncomplicated characters and enigmatic motifs of folklore. "

I've seen comments on this already on LT, so possibly!

Edited: Feb 2, 6:10am Top

Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon reviewed by Tony White
"Noon made his name in the 1990s with sui generis SF novels such as Vurt and Pollen that were distinctively homegrown and dreamlike. Slow Motion Ghosts is his first crime novel, and it’s a belter. Hobbes’s journey into the underworlds of occult obsession and police violence is rich in social and subcultural detail, and Noon’s storytelling is assured and compelling.'
Sounds good!

Feb 2, 6:15am Top

For the Good Times by David Keenan reviewed by David Hayden
"By telling the story with the voice of Sammy – killer, loyal friend, indifferent revolutionary – and by holding the reader close to the pleasure he feels in his choices, Keenan is either giving the reader a rare chance to reflect on the intoxication with violence at the heart of our culture, or providing us with a florid example of its celebration. A switch of viewpoint halfway through the book, from Sammy to an artist who is immolated in the British embassy in Dublin during the protests after Bloody Sunday, plunges us into a world of violence as unending nightmare. This might provide an answer to that question, but I could not in the end be sure. Part of his approach, which takes him a long way from the Troubles as they usually appear in fiction, is often to enter into the unreal in a hallucinogenic mode that encompasses comics, the occult and drugs..."

I think I'll stick to Milkman.

Feb 2, 6:22am Top

Anyone for a thriller? Lots here:

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts "goes to some very dark places indeed".

The Plotters by Un-su Kim (translated by Sora Kim-Russell; 4th Estate) "follows the trials and tribulations of Reseng, found in a rubbish bin as a baby, raised in a library where assassinations are planned, and now one of Seoul’s best hitmen. But Reseng is having reservations about his lifestyle, and starts to wonder if he has fallen foul of the “plotters” – those who run the contract killings. One assassin on the run from the plotters tells Reseng that he “wanted to find out exactly who was sitting at their desk, twirling their pen and coming up with this bullshit plan”"

The Last by Hanna Jameson (Viking)
"American historian Jon Keller is breakfasting at a Swiss hotel where he’s been speaking at a conference when he learns that Washington has been destroyed by a nuclear weapon. The attacks keep on coming and the news feeds last for a while, before phones run out and mobile connections disappear. Twenty people remain in the hotel, as rust-coloured clouds roll in and the sun disappears...."

Feb 2, 7:43am Top

>134 charl08: That picture book looks lovely, Charlotte.

Feb 2, 8:11am Top

>135 FAMeulstee: I'm really tempted!

Feb 2, 9:07am Top

Hi Charlotte:

I hope you feel better soon.

The Lost Children Archive sounds interesting. I'll give it a try, I think. Great comments.

I loved The Strangler Vine as well. I've resisted continuing the series because I'm afraid they won't stand up to the original.

>96 charl08: Got me with this one.

>125 charl08: Yes, sounds interesting.

>134 charl08: Onto Scout's list it goes.

Take it easy this weekend so you are no longer bleeding from your eyes.

Feb 2, 10:22am Top

Wow, the Guardian books look great this week!

Feb 2, 11:02am Top

>125 charl08: Went straight into my basket Charlotte.

>134 charl08: this looks good too.

Feb 2, 11:36am Top

>130 charl08: I would like to get a copy of that one. I read her The Thirteenth Tale and enjoyed it

Feb 2, 11:58am Top

>137 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I just went out for the first time in four days. Felt a bit like telling everyone in the shops. Fortunately I looked a little better than the gif (I hope!!)

A Catalog of Books has arrived. You can take full credit.

I hope you like the Luiselli more than I did. I think if I see it in the shops here I might try it again in paper form I suspect I would like it more. Did you read Tell me how it ends? I think they do link to each other.

>138 drneutron: Biting on all of them!?

>139 Caroline_McElwee: Plenty to think about picking up. Although an Amazon order has just arrived, so I should probably hold back. A little.

Feb 2, 11:59am Top

>140 ChelleBearss: Yes, I think you're in good company Chelle. I'm hopeless at remembering who said which book, but fairly confident Deborah (vancouverdeb) mentioned it.

Edited: Feb 2, 1:07pm Top

Now reading Running the Books.

Feb 2, 1:58pm Top

I haven't read Tell Me How It Ends. Maybe I should read that before I get the other one.

Edited: Feb 2, 7:25pm Top

>144 BLBera: I'm honestly not sure which is best to read first. They're both (at least to my mind) coming at the same issue (children lost in the mess of the US/Mexican border crisis) just with a very different approach. Tell Me How It Ends is the one that seems to have got all the attention so far, although it also has the advantage of brevity...

Feb 2, 7:18pm Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. Yes, I'm nearly finished Once Upon a River and it's a fascinating read. It's a little over 400 pages and I've been distracted a wee bit this week. It's proving to be a great tale. I''ll have to check the thrillers for my husband. Not to say I'm not one to read a thriller too.

Feb 2, 9:30pm Top

Charlotte! I don't know how I came to be so far behind on your threads, and I apologize profusely. Won't happen again!

Feb 3, 3:41am Top

Why are those Guardian reviews always so tempting?

Happy Healthy Sunday!

Feb 3, 6:01am Top

>146 vancouverdeb: I'll have to have a look, Deborah: I don't think I've read anything by her.

>147 ronincats: I'll let you off. Just this once!!

>148 Deern: Thanks Nathalie. Wishing you the same.

(And I have no idea, but my reservation list has had its weekly bump up!)

Feb 3, 6:25am Top

Reading yesterday - I made it out the house (woo!) and some more books turned up from Amazon.

Ms Marvel: Civil War II
Despite my concerns about which book I was up to, I hadn't read this one (phew) - I noticed the different art styles particularly. Can't say that these were my favourite, but good to see new artists taking on the mantle.

The book of Emma Reyes
This comes with a rave review quote on the back from Diana Athill, which given that her death was announced this week, seems a fitting tribute to pick this up.

Emma Reyes was a Colombian artist who spent a large part of her life in France. She had an amazing childhood, and a friend encouraged her to write letters about it to him, when she said she didn't have the time to write a book. These letters were found after her death, and have been translated by Daniel Alarcón. It's like a window into a different world, from playing on the local dump to living in isolated rural towns where the first car arrives to fall down shock from everyone. She and her sister were abandoned and ended up in a convent working 18 hour days. The tragedy for me is that she stopped after she escaped from the convent: she had an eventful life.

Edited: Feb 3, 6:49am Top

Mixed feelings about this one, as it has a particular style which took a while to get into. El Saadawi is famously controversial, facing harsh reactions in her native Egypt for criticising the state. The book is focussed on the life of an affluent woman who gave up her daughter at birth after the father was killed in a protest march. However, it circles back from her childhood, to her daughter's childhood, to her daughter's fame as a singer in adulthood, and back again. The mother character tries to write a novel drawing on her life, and the lead character from the novel within the novel sometimes takes over. It's not really clear sometimes (at least for me) what's real, what's memory and what's happening "now". I'm not sure if any of that is the point though, the point being the hypocrisy of a state that claims to be religious but is run by an elite that ignores the poor and treats women as second-class citizens.

Edited: Feb 3, 12:14pm Top

Reading time has been cut into by this jigsaw.
It seemed like a good idea when I started...

Should have stuck to the Books?

Feb 3, 12:16pm Top

It is possible the books may have taken up less space...

Feb 3, 1:32pm Top

>152 charl08: That's very cute, Charlotte! I love all these books available to celebrate women's achievements these days. I wish I had some little kids to buy them for, but there's no-one left. The first "little kid" in my life (the son of the first of my friends to have children) turned 27 last week :-O

Feb 3, 3:13pm Top

Hooray for the jigsaw!

Edited: Feb 3, 3:49pm Top

>153 Helenliz: Mmm. It's a good job no one else was using the rug.

>154 susanj67: Ha! I was testing this out, thinking I might pass it on. But it took Ages! But at least it didn't have a huge sea bit like the Xmas one. That was impossible.

>155 katiekrug: This was 500 pieces, super easy, and my back is already complaining. I think I need to remember this when next tempted to buy one with a fun theme.

Feb 4, 7:52am Top

Finished The Word is Murder (thanks for the recommendation Susan!) - I found it a gripping read.
I had no idea where it was going, and I liked the way the author presented himself as a character in the book.

Edited: Feb 4, 3:58pm Top

Now reading Berlin by Jason Lutes. I think 1920s Germany is fascinating.

Feb 4, 4:31pm Top

Can't remember if I've shared this on your thread before, but here, have a sign about penguins:

Feb 4, 4:42pm Top


Edited: Feb 5, 8:48am Top

Parcel arrived from World of Books: Eden's Outcasts, which really I should have got last month to fit the non-fiction category. Looking forward to reading it! I have a long train journey on Friday, so hopefully time to dig into it.
Like children we played cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians in Covent Garden. It involved a lot of cleaning. It may have been my most domesticated period. Whenever there was a rumour of a drugs bust - which was several times a week - floors had to be hurriedly but very thoroughly vacuumed, and surfaces wiped down to catch the bits of hash and grass that had dropped while we made the joints...

Finished Jenny Diski's short book (more of an essay, to be truthful) on The Sixties last night. I really enjoyed it, she uses her own experience to talk about the myths associated with the period, well aware of the rose-tinted effect of looking back. Her sense of humour adds to the discussion of sex education, protests against Vietnam and teaching children at risk of going into care. I took notes on her references to education reform, and found her thoughts on the idea of 'freedom' and how it could be connected (abused) to form Libertarianism later new (to me). I find her life extraordinary: in this tiny book she references setting up her own school, being hospitalised three times linked to drug abuse, and living in a commune. It all seems so unlikely, now.

Edited: Feb 5, 9:07am Top

Arabic class last night opened with a discussion of some of the literature now available in English. I am very tempted by I don't want this poem to end and Banthology

(warning: this video may add to your TBR pile)


Feb 5, 10:15am Top

>162 charl08: mygosh, I did a year of Arabic in the waaay back when, Charlotte.

Some interesting looking books.

Feb 5, 10:40am Top

>163 Caroline_McElwee: That sounds way more advanced, Caroline - this is called 'First Steps'!! I'll be happy if I can remember how to say 'my name is' and write anything at all...

Feb 5, 12:49pm Top

I remember almost nothing now, so many years on, but I still have a notebook with the script in, somewhere. Of course illegible to me now.

What inspired you to start Charlotte?

Feb 5, 12:56pm Top

>161 charl08: I very much enjoyed Eden's Outcasts when I read it a year or so ago. Hope you do too.

Feb 5, 2:54pm Top

>165 Caroline_McElwee: I have tried to learn the odd greeting here and there when volunteering, and have been so amazed at how just trying a word or two can make people light up. And I find Arabic fascinating generally: I read an article by Edward Said about his attempts to learn it as an adult that caught my imagination. I would love to go to Jordan, and Morocco, and Alexandria, and the pyramids in Sudan, and the libraries of Timbuktu...

Of course, we are learning standard Arabic, and I am not sure how helpful it's going to be.

>166 RebaRelishesReading: I am looking forward to it Reba: thanks for the encouragement!

Feb 5, 3:00pm Top

I picked up my copy of Mary Oliver's New and Selected.
Spring Azures is calling my name tonight.

...how I would like

to have wings -
blue ones -
ribbons of flame.

Edited: Feb 5, 5:45pm Top

Finished Pereinne #11 Mr Darwin's Gardener. A little gem of a book set in rural England at the end of Darwin's life, recreating the village community. In particular, their attitude to Thomas Davies' extreme grief at the loss of his wife, but other outsiders also face collective condemnation.

Feb 5, 8:10pm Top

As a convert, Charlotte, I have, of course, studied Arabic to some degree and it is an immensely interesting language with a rich literature.

I was a little off put by my Father-in-law bizarre exhortation that I simply must be au fait with the language as I won't understand anything said in heaven otherwise as it is the only language spoken up there! I think he believes himself too.

Feb 6, 1:43am Top

I admire anyone taking on a new language, as I'm useless at languages.
I love the look of arabic script, it's so mysterious. i mean it could be a shopping list and I'd still be fascinated!
>170 PaulCranswick: right... Your father in law a known theologian? (Sorry, I jest).

Feb 6, 2:46am Top

Oh, cool, learning Arabic, Charlotte?

In a leap of faith with the postal system, I ordered The Cut Out Girl from Blackwell Books in the UK. We'll see how long it takes to get here. It's not available in Canada for quite a while, so I thought I'd try ordering the softcover version. We'll see .

Feb 6, 5:29am Top

Oooh, learning Arabic sounds exciting! I'd love to at some point, too.

Feb 6, 8:37am Top

>170 PaulCranswick: Maybe your FiL would welcome an introduction to the concept of the Babelfish?

>171 Helenliz: We've just started the letters, and the teacher explained that each letter can appear three different ways: and that vowels are extra marks on the side. It's all going a bit over my head, and I feel like my brain is mush compared to the 20 year olds who parrot everything back without thinking twice, but...

>172 vancouverdeb: Fingers crossed The Cut Out Girl has a speedy journey to your door, Deborah. I admire your willingness to try these things!

>173 scaifea: It's interesting learning a language that has no recognisable (to an English speaker) roots or structure. Makes me realise how I should have been counting my chickens as a kid learning French in school!

Feb 6, 9:18am Top

>134 charl08: That does look good. What ages is it aimed at?

>162 charl08: I missed that you were taking Arabic. My dad was an Arabic interpreter / cryptographer in the army during the Vietnam War. He decoded intercepted messages and then translated them into English. He once translated one that said "I think the Americans have intercepted our messages." and the other answered "That's ok. They're all in Arabic." lol

Feb 6, 10:23am Top

>175 The_Hibernator: Not sure what age Rachel - there are some sample pages on the artist's website, if that would help.

>175 The_Hibernator: I had no idea that people spoke Arabic during the Vietnam War. How unexpected!

Feb 6, 2:38pm Top

>152 charl08: cool puzzle!

>158 charl08: that one looks amazing, I must go look into it further....with a view to perhaps obtaining a copy...*sigh*

Feb 6, 3:17pm Top

>177 LovingLit: I can't say enough good stuff about Berlin. Although I think I would buy each volume separately I'd I did it again. Volume 1 and 2 combined are even heavier than Jill Lepore!

Feb 6, 5:25pm Top

Well I loved A Catalog of Birds. Great recommendation, Beth.

Feb 6, 8:33pm Top

>179 charl08: You are welcome. It deserves lots of applause.

>169 charl08: Lovely Oliver poem.

Go, you, learning Arabic. I've toyed with the idea. We have it at my college. In my spare time?

>158 charl08: Love the drawing.

Feb 7, 4:46am Top

I really thought it was a marvellous book, Beth. I don't know how to write a review though. I will keep thinking. I've downloaded a language learning app too - they can be a great solution if you can't make a class.

Feb 7, 6:00am Top

>170 PaulCranswick: On the upside, Paul, at least he's decided you're going to heaven (I don't know that my husband's folks would be that generous with me) ;0)

Edited: Feb 7, 7:47am Top

>182 humouress: Ha! 50% full and all that.

A Catalog of Birds

"Will Uncle Trevor come back?"
"Time-tested advice: don't marry a drinker."
"He's always been a drinker."
"A woman gets fed up. All the money goes. Jobs get scarce."
"He never changed?"
"After the war..." He can't continue.
"He tried. God, how he tried."
He glances at her, turns his attention back to the road.
"You want to save them," he says. "And you can't."

I loved this novel, and read it almost entirely in one sitting. Nell is the youngest of a big family in rural New York State. All her brothers and sisters have grown up and moved out, and she is about to graduate High School and go herself. She is close to her brother Billy, who at the opening of the book is blown up in his helicopter in Vietnam, and shipped home, badly burned, to recover. Billy is a committed naturalist, drawing what he sees and hears around him in the forest and lakeside. The book is full of beautiful descriptions of nature, the water, the birds, the trees. There is an awareness that this could all be lost: what have the chemical treatments to the orchards done to the land? Flashbacks to a childhood in the country are contrasted with Billy's losses and his family's attempts to help his readjustment, layered with his parents' memories of their own struggles after WW2. Beautifully done, and I will look for her first book now.

Feb 7, 7:48am Top

>44 charl08: That one sounds very good! Thanks for the BB.

>75 charl08: I have that one home from the library now, so will be reading it in the next couple of weeks.

>128 charl08: That one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the mention and the link to the review, Charlotte.

OK, now caught up after being 180+ posts behind. . .Happy Thursday!

Feb 7, 7:55am Top

>183 charl08: Lovely comments, Charlotte. I'm glad you loved it as much as I did.

Feb 7, 11:41pm Top

I have had A Catalogue of Birds on the shelves since Beth praised it a while back. Now I want to get to it sooner rather than later!

Feb 8, 12:33am Top

>175 The_Hibernator: "That's ok. They're all in Arabic." LOL.

Charlotte--Good luck and have fun learning another language! Particularly challenging since it has no similar roots or characters. Way to keep your brain young.

>183 charl08:, First Mark, then Beth, now You!! I've been hit.

Feb 8, 4:54am Top

>165 Caroline_McElwee: my sister goes to Morocco every year, her sweetheart is a Moroccan Berber. She said French is the most useful language Charlotte, with a bit of basic Arabic (she also has some Berber)

Feb 8, 12:26pm Top

>185 BLBera: Thank you for persuading me to get my hands on it!

>186 EBT1002: She's so good with the recommendations! A lovely read.

>187 Berly: I saw one of the guys I've known for awhile and he was telling me about how the greetings change across different regions. Fascinating stuff (but will I remember it?)

>188 Caroline_McElwee: I should probably sign up for a tour, Caroline. My ignorance is appalling, so maybe I'd cover up the basic stuff.

Edited: Feb 8, 12:28pm Top

Now reading Children of the Cave. Two Finnish books in a month!

Feb 9, 3:17am Top

>184 alcottacre: Sorry Stasia! I still want to get hold of Orlean's book.

Feb 9, 3:29am Top

Children of the Cave
Another Pereinne translation.
A recreated journey into European wilds. A controversial scientist travels from Paris in the 1820s to try and find evidence for evolution. His young assistant writes of the discovery of a strange group of children. Are they animal or human?

Edited: Feb 10, 4:01am Top

Guardian Reviews Non-fiction
Full reviews, more reviews, pictures of shiny new books

Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison reviewed by RO Kwon
"The book contains exhortations and transcribed question-and-answer sessions, reflections and analyses, exegeses and commencement talks. In other words, it’s a large, rich, heterogeneous book, and hallelujah."

I'm terrible with essays, so probably not.

Edited: Feb 9, 5:52am Top

Zucked by Roger McNamee reviewed by John Harris
"....partly the story of his early enthusiasm giving way to mounting alarm at Facebook’s failure to match its power with responsibility, and what he has tried to do about it. It is an unevenly told tale....is bracingly blunt about the company’s threat to the basic tenets of democracy, and his own awakening to its dangers."


Edited: Feb 9, 5:52am Top

Underground by Will Hunt reviewed by Jon Day
"...first became interested in such places when, as a teenager, a teacher told him about an abandoned railway tunnel that ran near his home in Providence, Rhode Island. He broke in with some friends and was entranced by the strangeness of the subterranean world he had uncovered, and the sense of transgression exploring it provided. He has been going underground ever since. "

This sounds good, but it also reminds me that I've not read the book about mazes that came out last year.

Edited: Feb 9, 5:52am Top

Let Me Not Be Mad by AK Benjamin reviewed by Colin Grant
"He is the kind of physician to whom, halfway through your visit, you might glance up and say: “Doctor, have you looked at yourself recently? What’s wrong?”"

Hard to live up to comparisons with Oliver Sacks.

Edited: Feb 9, 4:28am Top

Childless Voices by Lorna Gibb reviewed by Aida Edemariam
"This is a book so much more powerful for Gibb having searched the world for childless voices. It tells the author’s own story, too, as one voice among many..."

Edited: Feb 9, 5:53am Top

The Joy of Missing Out by Svend Brinkmann reviewed by Steven Poole

"...smart little pamphlet is, in a way, a manifesto for personal degrowth, or shrinkage."

Tempting to deal with the FOMO.

Edited: Feb 9, 5:53am Top

When I Had a Little Sister: The Story of a Farming Family Who Never Spoke by Catherine Simpson reviewed by Richard Benson
"In a way, the real memorial for Tricia is the compassionate and beadily observed account of the Lancashire landscape. Simpson is unafraid to plait the pastoral with the darker aspects of country life: she does not hide the ugly accoutrements of intensive farming, such as pig farrowing crates, and she shows how flashers and gropers sometimes took advantage of all three sisters when travelling alone in open country. That honesty underwrites what should be an enduring addition to writing about both mental illness and rural England."

Swithering on this one. Lancashire: plus. Grim farming stories: not so much.

Edited: Feb 9, 5:54am Top

The Truths we Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris – reviewed by David Smith
"There is a telling moment when she recalls how her mother, long treated differently because of her accent and skin colour, taught her always to be on her best behaviour when passing through airport customs. “The first time Doug and I went through customs together, my muscle memory kicked in. I was preparing myself in the usual way, making sure we had everything just right and in order. Meanwhile, Doug was as relaxed as ever. It frustrated me that he was so casual. He was genuinely perplexed, innocently wondering, ‘What’s the problem?’ We had been raised in different realities. It was eye-opening for us both.” Yet she stops there, opting not to explore the complexities of an interracial marriage in America, especially Trump’s America."

I think the review is enough for me, but could see if I had the chance to vote for her, I'd think again about getting a copy.

Feb 9, 10:06am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte, and the kind words >189 charl08:, especially since many of my reads are recommendations from you. I will look at the Morrison collection; you have a different title.

Have a lovely weekend. I hope you are feeling better. I have caught something now.

Feb 9, 2:25pm Top

>199 charl08: I was listening to an interview with the author of When I had a Little Sister this afternoon. It didn't seem quite as grim as the subject matter suggests.

Feb 9, 4:53pm Top

I have Underground on the iPad, but haven’t started it yet. Will let you know how it is!

Feb 9, 5:26pm Top

I've made note of A Catalogue of Birds. What a lovely review.

Feb 9, 5:54pm Top

>198 charl08: I liked his Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze, so I will look for that one.

Feb 9, 6:19pm Top

A Catalog of Birds sounds good!

And happy weekend, Charlotte.

Feb 9, 6:43pm Top

>193 charl08: I do love essays, so this one is for me Charlotte.

Feb 10, 4:07am Top

>201 BLBera: Thanks Beth! I think the Morrison essays will be great, but I just don't seem to have a good track record with them. I've still not read all of the Zadie Smith and I love her stuff, just not the form.

>202 SandDune: Ooh, interesting. Will you read it, do you think?

>203 drneutron: That would be great, thank you!

Feb 10, 4:11am Top

>204 RidgewayGirl: It's a lovely book Kay, hope you can get hold of a copy.

>205 FAMeulstee: It sounds like my cup of tea too Anita.

>206 banjo123: I think Beth's right, it would be great to see this book get more attention.

>207 Caroline_McElwee: I would like to read more Morrison, Caroline. I'll stick to the fiction though!

Feb 10, 6:36am Top

>208 charl08: I think I probably will. I've added it to the wish list.

Feb 10, 7:34am Top

^Happy Sunday, Charlotte. I hope you are enjoying the weekend and getting plenty of reading in. I am nearing the end of These Truths. It has been an excellent, highly informative read.

Feb 10, 8:19am Top

>210 SandDune: Cool. Look forward to hearing more about it!

>211 msf59: Thanks Mark. I'm nowhere near the end of These Truths. I heard from Beth that you recommended A Catalog of Birds too. Such a great book.

Feb 10, 8:28am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte :-) I've reserved Underground (the catalogue listed a "Hunt, Will (Urban Adventurer)" so that was handy, even if, as I suspect, it breaks many rules of cataloguing) and added Zucked to my Amazon basket as a reminder as the library hasn't heard of it yet. But I expect to see it on the shelf at some point. I deleted my Facebook account when I read the book about Trump and the Russians, and I think it might actually be gone now. First they make it dormant for 30 days so you will change your mind, but I held firm.

Feb 10, 3:03pm Top

I've been away for the weekend and just checked the library catalogue. 7 books waiting for me. Argh.

(I'm not remotely tempted to request some of those new reviews)

Feb 10, 3:06pm Top

Feb 10, 3:06pm Top

>213 susanj67: Not helping on the reservation front there, Susan!

Feb 10, 3:06pm Top

>215 Berly: Thanks Kim!

Feb 10, 4:44pm Top

>218 charl08: - Read or bought? ;-)

Love the sculpture

Feb 11, 12:23am Top

I'm going to look for the Catalogue of Birds too. Sounds great, but my library does not have it. I hope you have a lovely weekend. The books look good! :-)

Edited: Feb 11, 5:26am Top

>219 jessibud2: Not read - yet!

>220 vancouverdeb: I hope you like it as much as I did, Deborah. I had a great weekend!

Included a visit to Roslin chapel, which was under scaffolding for repair for most of the time I lived in Edinburgh. Stunning stuff - but no photography allowed inside.

(This image is from Rabbies.com who do bus tours. We went on a normal bus instead.)

The view from Roslin glen

Partially ruined Roslin castle

Unbelievably clear day for Scotland (especially since the forecast had been rain).

Feb 11, 12:45pm Top

Oh, and I ordered a reading chair! Rather impatiently waiting the 4-6 weeks for it to be made up...

Feb 11, 12:47pm Top

>147 ronincats: What Roni said!

You are making me want to get to A Catalog of Birds - I added it to The List last year when Beth hit me with it. Lovely review!

>221 charl08: Gorgeous!

Edited: Feb 11, 2:21pm Top

>222 charl08: ooo, look forward to seeing that Charlotte. Love a nice chair.

Feb 11, 2:53pm Top

Hi Charlotte! I just ordered A Catalog of Birds from a neighboring state's library. I don't often do that because it's a big of a hassle, but you made it sound oh so good. How could I resist? That was a lovely picture of your quick snowstorm upthread. We are still waiting for a pretty snow…all we can attract here in America's heartland is sleet and ice! Not so pretty.

Feb 11, 4:24pm Top

>223 Crazymamie: Mamie, I had no time this weekend and work was crazy at the end of last week, so I'm now feeling like I will never catch up again. Ditto the library reservations!

>224 Caroline_McElwee: Me too Caroline! Despite being known for my patience (Ha!)

>225 Donna828: Hope you like it!

I was amazed how dramatic our snow flurry looked, and how quickly the snow disappeared. And rather pleased, also. I have no sense of balance to speak of, and we're not great at clearing roads down my way.

Edited: Feb 11, 4:31pm Top

Bit of a dilemma: I've received a (no doubt mass) email from the publisher of Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, a sci fi book I read a while back on Netgalley (my review is on the book page: it was a fun read). Apparently at the moment the reviews on Amazon are sparse. I don't post reviews on Amazon as a rule, but I did like this book and would like it to get an audience. Should I change my preferences because someone asked nicely?

Feb 11, 5:17pm Top

Your problem may be they don't allow you to post reviews unless you buy the book from Amazon I think, not 100% sure Charlotte.

Feb 11, 9:49pm Top

We've got snow too, and it looks like it will be here for ??? 5 days or so. It's a big mushy mess. We are no more prepared for it than you in the UK. Ah well. Oooh - a reading chair on order! I would love a proper chair .

Feb 12, 12:28am Top

>172 vancouverdeb: That's strange, Deborah. The Cut Out Girl is waiting for me at the Vancouver Library.

I enjoyed Once Upon a River as well, Charlotte. Looks like signs of spring were premature. We now have had snow and cold (for us) weather since February started. More snow predicted tonight.

Feb 12, 3:02am Top

>228 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline: I can't publish it until the book is out, at least. Other people have reviewed the audio version, and there are plenty of positive reviews, so I am less bothered now.

>229 vancouverdeb: Sorry to hear about the big mushy mess - hope you're wrapped up warm Deborah.

I was so pleased to see the chair still in the shop where I last admired it! As it was now in the sale, it seemed destiny.
Or summat.

>230 Familyhistorian: Good to read more enthusiasm for Once Upon a River. I need more hours in the day.

Feb 12, 9:20am Top

Oooh, a new reading chair!

Feb 12, 11:26am Top

#198: I've got The Joy of Missing Out on my shelf (in Danish of course) :) - and when i get up in tempo reading I'll get to it - I really loved Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze.

Edited: Feb 12, 1:03pm Top

>232 katiekrug: Indeed. It may prove difficult to crowbar me out of it!

>233 ctpress: Thanks for the reminder. Just added it to my Amazon basket.

Feb 12, 3:04pm Top

I've found nine hearts. Anyone else had any luck?

Feb 12, 3:17pm Top

I think I was up to 11 before taking a break...

Feb 12, 3:23pm Top

I finished a few minutes ago.

Feb 12, 3:36pm Top

Just started, I've got 2. Brain on go-slow though...

Edited: Feb 12, 3:46pm Top

>236 katiekrug: >237 drneutron: >238 Helenliz: I found 15! Fingers crossed for a t-shirt...

(Helen, I totally relied on the clues)

Feb 12, 3:50pm Top

I just finished, thanks to some of the helpful clues on the Talk thread...

Feb 12, 4:16pm Top

I'm at 10 without peeking yet. Including one which I found while actually reading a completely different clue!

Feb 12, 5:10pm Top

I say yes to posting your review on Amazon, if you haven't already. I've done that for books where they seem out of the mainstream, and I think they deserve a boost.

Feb 12, 5:24pm Top

->240 katiekrug: Katie, they were very helpful clues :-)

>241 Helenliz: Ooh, well done.

>242 jnwelch: It turns out I can't until the book is out in the UK. I am less worried about it as I went online and saw it now had plenty of positive noise. Phew!

Feb 12, 5:26pm Top

>227 charl08: Can you just post that review individually on Amazon without changing your Goodreads preferences to allow Amazon to use all your reviews? That's probably what I would do, because one of the reasons I canceled my Goodreads account was that I didn't want Amazon just skimming off all my reviews.

Edited: Feb 12, 5:35pm Top

There There
This was a Netgalley book. I took so long to read it I also got it out of the library in hardback!

Strong echoes of Sherman Alexie, but with a focus on the "urban Indian", set in Oakland exploring the linked experiences of generations within families, friends and co-workers. A pow-wow is being organised in Oakland as a first for this disadvantaged area. Some bring layers of bad memories, from stories of battles with the bottle, to surreal attempts to reclaim Alcatraz. Younger attendees are attracted by the prize money, or are looking to find family for the first time. A powerfully written book, I'll look out for this author's next one.
BEFORE YOU WERE born, you were a head and a tail in a milky pool— a swimmer. You were a race, a dying off, a breaking through, an arrival. Before you were born, you were an egg in your mom who was an egg in her mom. Before you were born, you were the nested Russian grandmother doll of possibility in your mom’s ovaries. You were two halves of a thousand different kinds of possibilities, a million heads or tails, flip-shine on a spun coin. Before you were born, you were the idea to make it to California for gold or bust. You were white, you were brown , you were red, you were dust. You were hiding, you were seeking. Before you were born, you were chased, beaten, broken, trapped on a reservation in Oklahoma. Before you were born, you were an idea your mom got into her head in the seventies, to hitchhike across the country and become a dancer in New York.

Feb 12, 5:44pm Top

>244 rosalita: I don't use goodreads, so I didn't know they did that! How cheeky.

Feb 12, 7:24pm Top

>245 charl08: I was also reminded of Alexie, Charlotte. It will be interesting to see what he does next.

It sounds like you had a lovely short vac. Nice weather, anyway.

We just got another foot of snow and I have a pretty spectacular cough, of the kind that make people move away when one is in public. :) At least you can't hear me on LT, right?

Edited: Feb 13, 4:09am Top

I agree Beth, it's exciting to think what else he might write.

I hope you feel better soon, that cough doesn't sound like fun. No more snow here. Phew!

I'm feeling a bit cheesed off: There There was the 100th book I'd posted about from Netgalley, but my page on the website is stuck on 99 books. Boo!

Feb 13, 7:26am Top

Time for a new thread, I think!

Feb 13, 10:31am Top

>246 charl08: Ah, I misread your original post, Charlotte — when you mentioned changing your preferences my mind leapt to the conclusion that you meant your preferences on Goodreads. Although, now that I think about it, I don't think they give their users the choice to opt out of Amazon using their reviews so that was a silly conclusion to draw.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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