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World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #3

This is a continuation of the topic World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #2.

This topic was continued by World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #4.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Feb 16, 2:44pm Top

Three things I'm bearing in mind when choosing books this year.

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 I'll be continuing the focus on women writers, reading beyond the Anglophone world and reading my own books.

And penguins, of course!

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 reserve the right to completely ignore this though.

Currently reading:
These Truths
Almost Famous Women

Book group book: I've got a clash, so no book group for me this month. Sad face.
How to be Happy

Netgalley book: Red Birds

Edited: Mar 9, 12:43am Top

Books read This month 9 Last month 31 Total 62

March 9
Mrs Robinson's Disgrace (F, UK, History)
Not Another Family Wedding (F, Canada, fiction)
Dead Man Running (F, US, fiction)
Berlin - parts 1 & 2 (M, US, fiction)
Bryony and the Roses (F, US, fiction)
Ms Marvel: Mecca (Multiple, GN fiction)
Convenience Store Woman (F, Japan, fiction)
Bird Cottage (F, The Netherlands, fiction)
House of Beauty (F, Colombia, fiction)

February 31
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)
Music, Love, Drugs, War (F, UK, fiction)
Stitches (M, US, GN)
The Fire Engine that Disappeared (Multiple, Sweden, fiction)
Full Package (F, US, fiction
Golden State (M, US, fiction)
Overnight Sensation/Big Stick / Major Misconduct / Puck Me Secretly (F, US, fiction)

Murder by the Book (F, UK, history)
See Jane Score (F, US, fiction)
The Hartigans III (F, US, fiction)
Blow Me Away (F, US, fiction) Netgalley
Pale Rider (F, UK, history)
Women Talking (F, Canada, fiction)
The Body on the Doorstep (Joint, fiction)
Things I don't want to know (F, South Africa / UK, fiction)

The Diary of a Bookseller (M, UK, memoir)

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)

March totals
Gender F 7 M 1 Multiple 1
Country/ Region UK 1 Europe 1 US & Canada 4 Africa 0 Latin America 1 Asia 1 Multiple 1
Type Fiction 8 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 1
Origin Library 4 Other (incl mine) 5

Netgalley 2

Running totals
Gender F 46 M 12 Multiple 5
Country/ Region UK 15 Europe 9 US & Canada 26 Africa 2 Latin America 3 Asia 2 Multiple 6
Type Fiction 47 Poetry 2 Non-fiction 12
Origin Library 27 Other (incl mine) 36

Netgalley 4

Edited: Feb 13, 7:35am 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: Mar 9, 12:45am 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)
House of Beauty Translator Elizabeth Bryor
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
The Netherlands: Bird Cottage Translator Antoinette Fawcett
Norway: Out Stealing Horses Translator Anne Born
Sweden: The Forbidden Place Translator Rachel Willson-Broyles

Edited: Mar 9, 12:46am Top

Edited: Mar 9, 12:47am Top

Books out from the library

The aviator
The flamethrowers : a novel
The bridges of Constantine
Frederick Douglass : prophet of freedom
The shape of the ruins
The sunlight pilgrims ,>
Win win when business works for women, it works for everyone
Lipman, Joanne
Land of the living
The chosen
Katalin Street
House of beauty
American overdose : the opioid tragedy in three acts
Women talking
The oyster thief : a novel
Golden State Winters, Ben H.
Music love drugs war
The printer's coffin

Feb 13, 8:05am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! 36 books so far, wow!!

Feb 13, 8:07am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.
I'm liking the caveat in post 1. I do that too, set a target, completely fail to hit it then pretend it didn't matter in the first place >;-)

Feb 13, 8:23am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Hope February is going well for you.

Feb 13, 8:46am Top

Happy new thread! THat's a heckuva stack you've gotten from the library.

Feb 13, 9:26am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Feb 13, 9:29am Top

Happy new thread! Nice library haul

Feb 13, 10:30am Top

>7 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley!

>8 Helenliz: I reserve the right to change my mind about almost everything!

>9 Carmenere: I'm (touch wood) lurgy free, so the world is my oyster. Possibly.

Feb 13, 10:32am Top

>10 drneutron: Yes. The only problem is, there are five more books waiting for me at the library!

>11 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.

>12 figsfromthistle: I do do my best to support my local library.

Feb 13, 10:40am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte

Feb 13, 11:42am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.
>6 charl08: That's quite a long list of library books! Good luck.

Feb 13, 12:17pm Top

Happy new thread Charlotte. Love all the penguins and all the good books over here. The snow removing machne just went by. The snow does look very pretty though.

Feb 13, 12:22pm Top

Happy new thread! Boy, you are really zipping along.

Feb 13, 12:27pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Feb 13, 2:17pm Top

>15 jnwelch: Aw. If someone turned up with a card like that in RL, I think I'd faint in shock.

>16 BLBera: Thanks Beth - I fear some of these are going back unread... Are you feeling any better?

>17 mdoris: Glad the snow removing machine has made it to your place Mary - hope you are wrapped up warm.

Edited: Feb 13, 2:23pm Top

>18 RebaRelishesReading: I feel like I need to read more though, Reba. Yesterday I finished the last couple of chapters of There There, but spent most of the evening trying to learn a bit of Arabic (the teacher is getting strict: which is good (Shukrun!) as I need it) and watching Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, a comedy about a cartoonist I'd never heard of. It was good though.

>19 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie.

Feb 13, 2:27pm Top

I don't feel worse, Charlotte, thanks for asking. According to those with offices next to mine, I sound worse.

Feb 13, 3:38pm Top

>22 BLBera: Well, as long as *you* feel better?

Now reading Music, Love, Drugs, War, part of the NI fiction renaissance that might or might not be the Guardian's imagination (see Kay's/ Ridgewaygirl's thread).

Feb 13, 3:51pm Top

Happy new thread!

Feb 13, 6:21pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

I always try to keep my library stacks low, as I feel sorry for books returned unread. If I don't read them, who will?
Failing at the moment with 15 library books (9 e-books) and 8 to go...

Feb 13, 10:53pm Top

Happy New Thread , Charlotte. I used up a lot of my library thing time solving the LT Valentines Hunt. So much fun, but I'm afraid I get myself on all sorts of incorrect tangents and it took me a bit to get all 18 clues. Nice library haul! ERR - Happy Bre$*t. Oh that would be getting to me.

Feb 14, 1:24am Top

Happy new thread! A penguin reading a penguin. Very fitting I think. : )

Feb 14, 3:16am Top

>24 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel! Hope you're getting some sleep with the little one.

>25 FAMeulstee: That is a concern Anita. I just can't resist new books though!

Feb 14, 3:18am Top

>26 vancouverdeb: I gave up when I got to 15, Deborah. Well done you for sticking to it though! Brexit is beyond depressing. Not doing the reputation of politicians any good at all.

>27 Berly: I do love these reading penguins! Thanks Kim. Hope you feel better soon.

Edited: Feb 14, 3:49am Top

I read Music, Love Drugs War last night. Despite the title, a really old fashioned, (in a good way) story about growing up in the profoundly odd circumstances of early 1980s Derry at the height of the Troubles (Northern Ireland). Liz and her brother Elvis are determinedly anti-political, hanging out in a seedy bar and getting high. Despite their determination, Bobby Sands is on hunger strike, and it proves impossible for Elvis (or Paddy, as he insists on being known) to avoid the call of the riots on the streets. Quigley manages to show how the very ordinary demands of being a teenager: exams, friendship and conflict with parents could be lived alongside soldiers in the streets and bombs in your town centre.

Feb 14, 4:52am Top

>30 charl08: I had a penfriend in Belfast during my teen years, and of course there is a kind of normalisation of what outsiders would think extreme, when you've known nothing else. I remember her talking about going in and out of M&S (I think) multiple times, to get another look at the handsome soldiers on the doors.

Feb 14, 5:22am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! I'm reading this on a 24-inch screen and I nearly had to *scroll* through your library books :-O Then I reserved American Overdose.

Feb 14, 7:33am Top

Very intrigued by Music Love Drugs War.

Feb 14, 7:44am Top

Checking in on the new thread, Charlotte! Impressive list of library books. I expect BBs will be flying!

Edited: Feb 14, 7:53am Top

>31 Caroline_McElwee: Yes, it rather reminded me of a Palestinian film I saw years ago, where the police come round to tell a club that curfew is now on. The music shuts off, everyone's quiet. The police leave. The music goes back on again, everyone's dancing... There are a few set pieces like that, and the author's drawing on her own youth.

>32 susanj67: That's one someone had returned, Susan. It was on the returns trolley, calling my name. Sometimes I wish I could ask who reads books like that in my town, and go have a coffee with them.

Feb 14, 9:25am Top

I'm also intrigued by your comments on Music Love Drugs War, Charlotte. Milkman was my first real on-the-street exposure to what was considered normal during the Troubles.

Feb 14, 1:27pm Top

>33 RidgewayGirl: I think it makes a good companion piece to Milkman, albeit in a very different style.

>34 alcottacre: Thank you!

>36 jnwelch: Although much of it is lost to the mists of time now, I did a course on NI modern history (ie since WW2) when I was at uni the first time. So some of it is oddly familiar, but from that weird academic perspective (to what extent was the civil rights movement in NI informed by US predecessors?!). And of course, endless news on the TV as a child. It is amazing what you can grow up thinking is 'normal'.

Feb 14, 1:44pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day!! ❤️💚💗💙

Feb 14, 3:56pm Top

Thanks Chelle. I like Cupid's nappy!

Feb 14, 4:05pm Top

Read Stitches, a powerful memoir by artist David Small of his painful childhood. Beautifully drawn but just awful. How do some people survive their parents? I loved his description of imagining himself as Alice, and a real tribute to an effective therapist.

Edited: Feb 15, 4:05am Top

Now reading Golden State which is gripping stuff: an imagined future America where lying is a crime... Ben Winters does it again, I think.

...just imagine the alternative, the world in which a man encounters some scrap of information, about the murder rate in his neighborhood, or about the presence of troops on the northern border, or what time the bus is supposed to come - any of the small or large pieces of information a person encounters in the course of a day or a lifetime, personal or political, substantive or trivial - and then the next hour or the next day he hers something different, and it is impossible, literally impossible, to know which version is the real one.
Madness creeps in very quickly at the edges of such speculation.

Feb 15, 3:57am Top

I quite enjoyed Stitches, one of the few graphic novels available at my library. More snow again tonight, Yikes, Charlotte!

Feb 15, 4:06am Top

>42 vancouverdeb: We're up to 13 C here, Deborah! Dizzy heights...

Feb 15, 4:09am Top

I finished listening to The Fire Engine that Disappeared last night - for me, most interesting in comparison to the BBC dramatised version, which made some interesting choices about what to cut, and how to prioritise the story. I really hated the narrator's take on Larsson's voice: for me he is the actor in the Martin Beck series shown here recently. (The guy on the left)

Feb 15, 7:28am Top

>41 charl08: I'm a big Ben Winters fan, Charlotte, so I'm glad to hear his new one is good. I'll have to look for that at the library. Did you read Underground Airlines?

Feb 15, 8:30am Top

I did, but I had to just read a review to remind myself. Oh dear, shocking memory strikes again... I liked the end of the world ones too.

Feb 15, 12:23pm Top

Well, I don't think I'll be wearing this shirt again in a hurry.
Small child to me: I can see your belly!

Feb 15, 1:00pm Top

What's so bad about that?! Out of the mouths of babes, I guess. It's a wonder any of them survive to adulthood with the things they say to total strangers. :-)

Edited: Feb 15, 10:16pm Top

>48 rosalita: Belly was not supposed to be visible, Julia! This kid makes me laugh, always with the honesty, no filter.

Finished Golden State: very good, and hopefully there will be more coming.

Feb 15, 5:48pm Top

De-lurking to wish you a happy new thread, Charlotte!

Feb 16, 7:38am Top

Hi Lori. Hope you have a good weekend!

Edited: Feb 16, 10:59am Top

Guardian Reviews Fiction

Picnic in the storm by Yukiko Motoya reviewed by Chris Power
"Like soap bubbles, several of these stories catch your eye, but the instant they are gone you forget about them."

Feb 16, 7:46am Top

Muscle by Alan Trotter reviewed by Toby Litt
"...takes Raymond Chandler, Albert Camus, Philip K Sick and Patricia Highsmith and pummel them together into something not entirely new but exquisitely fresh."

Feb 16, 8:49am Top

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet reviewed by Melissa Harrison
"Domestic stories of women’s lives in wartime are common in genre publishing but rarer in literary fiction. From the off, Frances Liardet’s second novel, published 25 years after her first, distances itself from nostalgia and insists on its own terms. The writing is often dazzling..."

Feb 16, 8:51am Top

The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri reviewed by Stephanie Merritt
"...savagely political, disturbing and fiercely optimistic..."

Edited: Feb 16, 8:54am Top

Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley reviewed by Johanna Thomas-Corr
" In less capable hands, her “low-octane” stories (as one critic dubbed them) about the quotidian aches of marriage, parenthood, ageing and friendship would be grating. But her prose – measured, ironic, disarmingly perceptive – picks up on all the contradictions of human existence."

Feb 16, 8:56am Top

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin reviewed by Daniel Hahn

"This is our world, and sharp-focused, but stripped of its usual meanings. Even banality is uncanny. One paragraph ominously begins: “From outside the house looked the same as always …”

Feb 16, 9:02am Top

And the best sci fi and fantasy

The best recent science fiction and fantasy – review roundup
Golden State by Ben H Winters; Foe by Iain Reid; The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; The Chosen from the First Age anthology and The Revenant Express by George Mann

Feb 16, 10:22am Top

>58 charl08: I am on the library hold list for Jane Harper's The Lost Man and I can't wait. Everything that review blurb said about how she created moody atmospheric settings has been so true in her first two books.

Feb 16, 10:58am Top

>61 rosalita: I read an ARC of that one: really good. It completely wrong footed me, and the creation of a community in the outback was memorably done. Hope it arrives soon for you!

Feb 16, 11:33am Top

Hey Charlotte -
So many books!
Music Drugs Love War goes on the list as does the Winters one.

We Must Be Brave sounds good, too... And a new Jane Harper! AARGH!

Have a great weekend.

Feb 16, 11:42am Top

Thanks Beth! May there always be too many books.

Really gutted to read today of Andrea Levy's death. Small Island means a lot to me. Apart from the loss far too young, so sad she won't be writing any more books.


Feb 16, 11:48am Top

Just delurking to say hi, Charlotte, and a belated Happy New Thread.

Feb 16, 11:51am Top

I've never read Levy though I have a couple of her books on my shelves. Off to put them on the "read soon" pile.

Feb 16, 12:23pm Top

>56 charl08: this one might be worth a look. I listened to a preivous collection of short stories by her. They were not cheery, but there did each find something to say about the nature of humanity.

Feb 16, 12:41pm Top

>65 ronincats: Hey Roni!

>66 BLBera: Small Island is really marvellous Beth. She played a big part in making the story of Caribbean troops in the UK after the war visible.

>67 Helenliz: It's a very enthusiastic review. I don't think I've read anything of hers, although the name is familiar.

Now reading The Printer's Coffin which despite being set in London rather than travelling across India, manages to retain the rich sense of place of the first book.

Feb 16, 7:36pm Top

Slightly late to the party (as seems my wont these days, Charlotte) but I hope that I am in time to wish you both Happy New Thread as well as a lovely weekend.

Feb 16, 11:42pm Top

That's sad about Levy. I have never read her, but I picked a copy of Small Island up from a free box today.

Feb 17, 6:57am Top

>69 PaulCranswick: Paul, I managed to miss almost your whole new thread, so nothing to apologise for!

>70 banjo123: Rhonda I think I will try and find a copy of Small Island. They made a tv series of it and I couldn't watch it, the book was so particular in my head.

Feb 17, 7:14am Top

For some reason The Printer's Coffin wasn't grabbing my attention, so I picked up one that Susan recommended, Murder by the Book. This was really well written true crime, and I read it in one sitting. Weirdly, it also dealt with the first years of Victoria's reign (1840s) as Carter's fiction. The book centres on the killing of a lord, and the public fear around who had committed the crime. Harman discusses how the public enthusiasm for books and later plays glamorising the life of criminals was blamed for inciting the crime. In the process, she highlights strange legal practices (I mean, strange for us now), the public interest in hangings and a newly popular literary production featuring Dickens, Thackeray and now-forgotten literary celebrities. This in this context of political rumblings about universal suffrage.

This has pointed out that I want to read something about the Chartists, as we missed this bit at school (which on reflection, seems weird).

I also read some (ice) hockey romances this week. Typing that has made me giggle at the thought of a British version set in a hockey club. There would be a lot less £¥€$ floating around, that's for sure. The romance of the dodgy beer at the run down clubhouse bar? Hmmm. Hopefully less concussion though. Although my sister's friend did once manage two spectacular black eyes in a game.

Feb 17, 9:10am Top

Ooh, ice hockey romances! My favorite is See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson. Just FYI :)

Edited: Feb 17, 10:48am Top

>73 katiekrug: But that's book 2 in a series!
(I may have looked online. But I'm not reading it straight away. I have to rewatch Derry Girls clean up before a friend visits...)

Feb 17, 11:15am Top

>74 charl08: - I read it pre-LT, before I learned that one Did Not read series out of order!

Feb 17, 5:00pm Top

>75 katiekrug: Important clarification there, Katie.

Feb 18, 4:02am Top

Belated happy new thread, Charlotte. Sending sunny greetings from Davos.

Feb 18, 8:43am Top

Thanks Barbara! Glad Davos is sunny (and presumably snowy?)

Showing admirable self restraint, last night I cleaned the bathroom, the cupboards and removed books from every flat surfacetidied up downstairs ready for a visitor, BEFORE I watched Derry girls and downloaded Katie's recommendation >73 katiekrug:. Sadly all appearances of restraint were doomed this morning when the third in the Hartigan books automatically downloaded to my kindle.
Who knows, at the end of this current binge, I may actually have to find an ice hockey game to watch.* I've booked two days off this week so am looking forward to entertaining for my birthday and then going to the theatre: I can't remember the last play I saw. Maybe Death and the King's Horseman? Hopefully I can also fit in an art gallery visit, some cake and some reading.

*Key emphasis on the 'may' there.

Feb 18, 8:49am Top

>74 charl08: The first one is Simply Irresistible. All ya'll are welcome.

Two days off sounds lovely, Charlotte.

Feb 18, 8:51am Top

>79 susanj67: - Okay, but that one is not very good. I only gave it 2 stars.

So, Charlotte, if you read it first, I promise See Jane Score is way better (disclaimer: I read it FORVER ago, so can't even remember why I liked it so much...)

Feb 18, 9:46am Top

>79 susanj67: Thanks Susan. Did you see that I checked, and everything? (dusts off nails...)

>80 katiekrug: Duly noted Katie. I liked See Jane Score, but I think expectations of the players have markedly increased since she wrote this book. Having a big TV and a view of the Space Needle would not cut it!

Feb 18, 2:22pm Top

>72 charl08: We started the third season of Victoria last night. That was the first time I'd ever heard of the Chartists (sadly, history, as taught in American schools is VERY America oriented). If you find a good book about them I'll be interested in reading it too.

Feb 19, 1:55am Top

Happy new thread and happy birthday celebrations, Charlotte.

Feb 19, 4:54am Top

Since I wrote >81 charl08:, I read the third Hartigan book, which featured (shock!) a hockey player with No Money. (He still got to live in a big flat though. Not sure how that worked.)

>82 RebaRelishesReading: I've not watched that - Jenna Coleman is stuck in Dr Who for me. I think Susan might have read something. Or maybe that was the Levellers. I get mixed up with anything before 1890.

>83 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! I'm now thinking I want to go explore some new-to-me restaurants, as yesterday's Arabic class was all about food. It was a bit like torture seeing as I hadn't had my dinner before I went. The teacher has family in Algeria, she talked about how migration / colonialism had contributed to culinary practice - so French pastries too, and recommended some Syrian bakeries nearby. (Mouth waters) I forgot I wasn't supposed to be eating pastry until typing that just now. Oh dear.

Feb 20, 3:42am Top

Oh, I really like mezzes of the arabic food. Could it them without stopping but I'm not a big fan of the sweets.

Feb 20, 7:36am Top

Happy new thread Charlotte!

>22 BLBera: Yay?

>29 charl08: Politicians have good reputations?

>35 charl08: Ask the librarians? Although, of course, that's private information.

>84 charl08: Mmm yum.

Feb 20, 7:42am Top

>54 charl08: We Must Be Brave sounds right up my alley. I will have to look for that one.

Happy Wednesday, Charlotte!

Feb 20, 8:48am Top

>85 Ameise1: I can't cope with the sweetness of baklawa/ baklava, but willing to try new things :-) Especially when the new things involve exciting newtome cuisines.

>86 humouress: Of course politicians don't have good reputations. But some are truly in the toilet at the moment with the B-word. They are taking obstructiveness and deliberate idiocy to new heights.
I don't think the librarians would offer anything up. The new GDPR stuff has put the fear of god into everyone about personal data.

>87 alcottacre: Right back at you, Stasia. It's a Wednesday that's really a Friday for me.

Feb 20, 11:54am Top

>88 charl08: "It's a Wednesday that's really a Friday for me. " You can go off some people, you know...

Feb 20, 12:47pm Top

>89 Helenliz: I suspect you are not alone: I was unusually cheery for almost all the day. Well, excepting the short period when the person opposite had their phone on vibrate on the table. Argh. Every time it went off I had a passive aggressive argument with myself.

Edited: Feb 20, 1:20pm Top

Netgalley review!

Blow Me Away
Fun romance that reminded me of the Stephanie Plum books. Centred around two business-owners who become caught up in a comedy of errors when interfering family, well, interferes. A wide cast of friends and family, particularly a very determined grandmother, made the story for me. The cookie bakery was a great idea, although I'm not sure I'd eat some of the biscuits aimed at hen nights. I don't know who came up with the tagline 'he's the florist your mother warned you about', but I shall be laughing at that for some time.

Feb 21, 1:36pm Top


Feb 21, 1:38pm Top

>92 charl08: How fabulous! I saw loads of snowsrops last weekend, they just look so cheery and promising.

Feb 21, 2:16pm Top

Was so surprised to see a big bed of them, and bees too!

Feb 21, 2:20pm Top

Went to see The Kid Who Would Be King at the cinema. Fun watch!

Feb 21, 3:44pm Top

>92 charl08: Beautiful.

Feb 21, 3:59pm Top

>97 Caroline_McElwee: So glad Spring is on the way!

I am still enjoying Berlin, the amazing graphic novel series set in Weimar. I've reached 1929 and the Communists are being shot in the streets during a peaceful march - but not by Nazis, by the police.

Feb 21, 4:06pm Top

Oh, what a lovely spring photo. 🙃

Feb 21, 6:31pm Top

Please send some spring this way. We have had snow all of February and have more on the way - not our usual weather.

>84 charl08: Why aren't you supposed to be eating pastry, Charlotte?

Feb 22, 4:36am Top

>99 Ameise1: It was so nice to have a sign that winter is almost over :-)

>100 Familyhistorian: Hope spring turns up your way soon.
I am avoiding pastry as I am avoiding gluten. With mixed results, it has to be said: I never realised how much stuff I ate contained flour.

Reading the new TLS this morning. I've subscribed for the year, and am trying not to panic about how quickly the new one seems to come through the door (ie, before I have opened the previous one). Interesting review of All that Remains: a life in death, which I think I will pass on - the life story of Sue Black, a forensic anthropologist. I'm glad there is someone to do her job (amongst other things, she has helped identify murder victims and evidence for cases of war crimes), but equally glad it's not me. There's also a review of the graphic memoir Heimat, which I picked up in the amazing UCSD bookshop.

(I liked the book: the review, which engages in freudian theories around dealing with
pain, doesn't do much for me.)
John Bowen writes about the attempt by Dickens to put his (sane) wife in an insane asylum, and D.J. Taylor writes on the impact on the author of fan letters. This made me laugh - Evelyn Waugh writing to Nancy Mitford in 1952, generally took a negative tone (at least, from Taylor's account) towards fans, but advises that wealthy Americans deserved a polite letter in response as 'They are capable of buying 100 copies for Christmas presents."

Feb 22, 4:37am Top

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Feb 22, 4:39am Top

Thanks Barbara. I am very much enjoying a no-work Friday :-)

Feb 22, 6:18am Top

>103 charl08: Enjoy your 'no work Friday' Charlotte. I'm looking forward to a 'no work Monday' (A/L, though I'd love to do a 4 day week *sigh*).

Edited: Feb 22, 4:16pm Top

>104 Caroline_McElwee: Some days I'd like to do a 1 day work week...

Feb 22, 6:24am Top

>105 charl08: 😂
Enjoy your day off.

Feb 22, 11:31am Top

>105 charl08: hahaha! I used to say I'd never stop working, as I'd be bored. I get mentally nored very quickly. But I now have a plan to prevent that, so I can retire. At some point. But not yet, not by any stretch of the imagination!

Feb 22, 4:00pm Top

Charlotte, I'm glad you've also had a good day off. This is the life :-)

I'm looking at all the Times supplements piled up (with book reviews) - no way could I take on anything else! The TLS sounds good, though. I have the book of Waugh/Mitford correspondence and it is very funny.

Feb 23, 1:48am Top

Spring, books and Friday.... can't go wrong with that combination!

Feb 23, 7:32am Top

>92 charl08: Yes, Charlotte, spring is coming ;-)
I just took some pictures of the crocusses and snowdrops in my garden, to use them as thread toppers for the next thread.

Feb 23, 9:54am Top

Blow Me Away sounds like good entertainment. I was looking for one after some intense reading. 100 reviews! Congrats.

Enjoy your long weekend.

Feb 23, 3:55pm Top

>106 Ameise1: I did, very much! Could get used to it.

>107 Helenliz: I wish I was motivated like that, behaving read a recent pension forecast, there's no chance of anything early, and maybe working on past official state age. Gah.

>108 susanj67: I appear to have got carried away. I cancelled the LRB: the politics articles were outweighing the books, at least for what I wanted. The TLS seems to be being wrested into the 21st century, and it satisfies my craving for weird book adverts. However, maybe the Pereine subscription and the Granta one were a step too far? One was a gift, so will end soon I think.

Feb 23, 3:58pm Top

>109 lkernagh: It was such a sunny day, amazement all round.

>110 FAMeulstee: Look forward to those Anita! My garden is just about coming back to life, early days though. It needs some TLC.

>111 BLBera: I enjoyed it Beth. Maybe a bit too steamy for some (I probably should have put that in the review. Whoops.)

Feb 23, 4:32pm Top

I wish you a blessed weekend - soaring like this jackdaw

Feb 24, 8:07am Top

>114 paulstalder: Paul, I think I most identify with the red feet, but it's a lovely thought.

Edited: Feb 24, 12:00pm Top

Pale Rider
Thanks to Susan on this one! Fascinating and accessible look at the global history of the 1918 flu. I most admired the author's incorporation of diverse stories, from China to Tuvalu. I could quibble with some of the simplification of the African examples, but there are references to follow up and find out more, so really on 300pp that's more about my interests than the book. I also liked her acknowledgment that different debates around the origins of the flu continue, and the role that nationalism played. The chapter on cultural impact has given me new authors and writings to look for, too. I didn't know (shame on me) that Virginia Woolf wrote an essay on illness. I want to find the Brazillian writer Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto, and something on brazilianisation by infection, which sounds nuts. And African Apocalypse: the story of Nontetha Nkwenkwe.

Feb 24, 8:23am Top

>116 charl08: I really enjoyed this one as well, Charlotte. I thought it was a good introduction to the Spanish Flu -- sorry Spain -- for the lay reader.

Feb 24, 8:28am Top

>117 BLBera: Yes, poor Spain!

Edited: Feb 24, 12:53pm Top

I didn't get as much reading done as I'd thought, but some bookish stuff in Manchester.

The Rylands (which I may have mentioned, er, once or twice) had an exhibition on local achievers. I just caught it as it closes at the end of the month. I especially liked the section on one of the Guardian's editors, Madeleine Linford.

I "found" a new-to-me ye olde library - the Portico. Gorgeous ceiling.

Edited: Feb 24, 1:27pm Top

Oh, and saw my first Brecht Mother Courage and her Children in a new adaptation (it's dystopian, Beth!) by Anna Jordan. Mother Courage has an adapted ice cream van.

I've picked up a student edition of the original play - I'd forgotten how weird it is (or rather, that I find it) to see things in the round. I got distracted several times watching the reactions of the front rows opposite.

(Picture from Whats On Stage)

Feb 24, 1:28pm Top

Just popping this on your radar:
The First Women exhibition will be in Liverpool starting 18th June.
I am going to try and get to Newmarket, which is closer for me.

Feb 24, 2:04pm Top

>116 charl08: So glad you liked it, Charlotte!

Your day sounds excellent, and I love the "found" library, What a beautiful space.

Feb 24, 2:09pm Top

>119 charl08: Nice found Library.

>120 charl08: sounds good. I've not seen that Brecht. I like 'the Round' Charlotte, but it does add that distraction of watching your fellow audience members.

Feb 24, 3:53pm Top

>119 charl08: - Beautiful. Love the stained glass!

Feb 24, 4:23pm Top

I've made note of Pale Rider. There's family history with that influenza outbreak. My paternal grandfather's sister died of it and my grandfather's memory is of sitting on the front stoop waiting for his father to get home and as he walked past my grandfather he said, "you should have died instead of her." My grandfather was an abusive alcoholic, but that moment, though.

Edited: Feb 24, 4:49pm Top

>121 Helenliz: Thanks Helen! Duly noted. It's a lovely gallery in part of the newly developed area on the dock. Should be good. Newmarket references always make me smile: my mum and dad used to take us there to fly kites as kids.

>122 susanj67: It was surreal - I was walking past the building thinking 'oho, look, another library turned into a bar, when I saw a sign pointing out that actually, the top was still the Portico. Apparently they've been renting out the ground floor since the 1920s!

>123 Caroline_McElwee: I think it didn't help I was on the first tier - I think had I been on the ground it would have been harder to people watch. I do love the theatre though - saw a memorable production of The Rivals with school, where Maureen Lipman sat down in a specially reserved seat and started a conversation with a poor audience member as Mrs Malaprop. It was great! And during the immediate post-bomb years, saw a production of Much Ado with some very wobbly fake trees in a temporary tent in a church. (I remember this, because I was worried the actor perched in one was going to bring it all down in my direction!)

Edited: Feb 24, 4:56pm Top

>124 lkernagh: A hidden gem - I must try and work out if it is possible to become a member and go work there occasionally. I particularly liked they had a section of books marked 'polite literature'. Funny how language changes.

>125 RidgewayGirl: Hope you enjoy it Kay. I'm not sure why, but I don't think any members of my immediate family were affected. But having said that, we recently discovered that according to the 1911 census, my great grandmother had a child that died before my gran and her twin were born. This was the first my mother had heard of it, so it wouldn't surprise me that there were some things that just weren't spoken of.

One of the things that was so interesting about the book was how the flu affected people of different ages, and from different groups. More recent studies suggest some immunity effects from earlier epidemics, so some older people had better survival rates.
And what an awful thing to say to a bereaved child.

Edited: Feb 24, 5:10pm Top

Women Talking
I've been putting this off, as the subject matter and my mood never quite seemed to agree. I've finally picked it up, not unconnected to the request that means it's due back at the library soon.
Toews imagines a teacher on the edge of a Mennonite community somewhere in Latin America, who has returned after excommunication because he can't fit in anywhere else, and because he loves one of the community women who he knew as a young boy. Toews has talked about the book being inspired by the shocking case of women in a similarly isolated community being drugged and raped over a period of years, with their complaints blamed on their own sinfulness or the devil. Toews imagines a group of women asked to forgive the men who have been placed in jail, awaiting bail. They meet in a small group to decide what to do next: to do nothing, to fight, or to leave the community. The teacher is asked to take notes of their discussions: he is viewed as almost less than a man because he cannot farm. In Platt deutsch he is compared to a tanner - one who would only be capable of looking after the animals of others.
None of us have ever asked the men for anything, Agata states. Not a single thing, not even for the salt to be passed, not even for a penny or a moment alone or to take the washing in or to open a curtain or to go easy on the small yearlings or to put your hand on the small of my back as I try, again, for the twelfth or thirteenth time, to push a baby out of my body.
Isn't it interesting, she says, that the one and only request the women would make of the men would be to leave?

Toews shows just how hard it is to leave, from ties to family and friends, to the practical things like not being able to read or having no money. I loved the way the relationships between the women emerged as their discussion evolved, from the young girls desperate to try modern things to the mother / daughter relationships, even in the midst of dealing with such a terrible abuse of trust. I'm always intrigued by books about dilemmas around faith - how do you reject something that requires you to dismantle almost everything you've lived your life by - and Toews' book is a fascinating insight into that.

Edited: Feb 24, 5:20pm Top

The Drop by Mick Herron (a Netgalley ARC)
I'm not counting this in my stats, because it was a very quick read - a novella from Netgalley.
This book links to the Slough House (Slow Horses) world but is set amongst other 'failures' - the declining group of former cold war spies who had crossed over to the UK and exist on MI5 pensions. In a black comedy of misunderstandings and bluff and double bluff, the back story for one of the 'slow horses' is made clear, whilst one reason for Brexit being such a spectacular failure is amusingly laid on the table by Heron. If you haven't already picked up on this funny series with shades of Le Carre if he was in the pub with Roddy Doyle, here would be a good place to start.

Feb 24, 5:24pm Top

>126 charl08: I love theatre too Charlotte. I probably don't see quite as much as I used to, but hope to see more this year. Ha re Maureen Lipman. I went to a play once where half the audience where at café tables on the edge of the stage, there were coats on some seats the actors would use, and 'soldiers' came in and raided the café. My heart was pounding it felt so real. A youngish Daniel Day Lewis was in the play. I'll have to go through my programmes, as I can't remember the name of the play.

>128 charl08: Great review Charlotte. I've not got to Toews yet, but I do have one somewhere.

Feb 24, 5:30pm Top

>130 Caroline_McElwee: Wow! Daniel Day Lewis!

Feb 24, 5:35pm Top

>131 charl08: luck of my age Charlotte, I got to see him several times on stage in the 80s, including his last theatre performance as Hamlet. I've seen a lot of amazing performers over the years.

Feb 24, 6:57pm Top

>119 charl08: Beautiful library, especially the ceiling with the stained glass!

Feb 24, 9:22pm Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. I hope you had a great weekend. You reminded me, that I have to find a copy of Golden State. I am a big fan of Winters.

Feb 25, 3:40am Top

>132 Caroline_McElwee: How amazing to see him once, never mind several times. Brilliant stuff.

>133 FAMeulstee: It's a hidden gem, I think, Anita. I will try and find a visit where I can get some kind of history talk or tour, as it clearly has plenty of the stuff.

>134 msf59: Thanks Mark. I was so pleased my library had a copy on order when I requested it!

Feb 25, 9:39am Top

Well, the Guardian didn't like it, but I was pretty impressed by On the Basis of Sex, the RBG biopic.
(I especially liked this jacket!)

Feb 25, 9:40am Top

>128 charl08: I've loved the books by Toews that I've read, Charlotte, and am patiently waiting for this one to be available here.

Next Monday, March 4 is the Women's Prize longlist announcement. Any predictions?

Edited: Feb 25, 12:43pm Top

I haven't got a clue Beth. I get confused by the publication dates. I wish they would publish a list of all the books the panel had read!

Feb 25, 2:11pm Top

I agree the publication dates are confusing. I jotted down some ideas although I usually am REALLY bad at predictions. One reason is that there usually seem to be quite a few first novels, by new-to-me writers -- which is a good thing, but it does tend to throw off predictions.

Feb 25, 2:13pm Top

>136 charl08: I liked it too Charlotte, but maybe I'd have been more critical if I'd known more about her. I just ordered her book.

Feb 25, 3:43pm Top

>139 BLBera: Yes, always exciting to see the new authors they find and promote.

>140 Caroline_McElwee: Yup, that makes sense. I think for me it was partly that a story was being told, even if it wasn't perfect, about her work.

Feb 25, 4:10pm Top

Oof. A relief at Arabic class this evening: spent most of the two hours practising our letters. Amusingly, some letters are called "naughty " and won't join up with others.

We also talked about films in Arabic. I was reminded of the lovely film Caramel.

Feb 25, 8:35pm Top

>128 charl08:, >137 BLBera: I've loved Toews books too! Women Talking made my top reads list for 2018. I also found some video clips based on the true story that she takes her story from and happy to find them for you if you would like. It is not an easy story however.

Feb 26, 1:33am Top

Delurking--Hi! Hope you have a great week until you make it Friday again. Love the happy dance and naughty letters...really? LOL

Feb 26, 9:22am Top

>143 mdoris: I might pass on the video, but thank you. I was impressed how Toews managed to deal with the violence, not shy away from it, but I never felt like it was wallowing or sensationalising it.

>144 Berly: There are six naughty letters, Kim, and some of them look confusingly like er, well-behaved letters. I'm trying to remember that recognising all the letters includes where they sit on the line. Talk about feeling like you are five again, learning your alphabet.

Feb 26, 12:48pm Top

I'm so impressed that you're learning Arabic. I wouldn't have the courage to try. I do like the concept of "naughty letters" though.

Feb 26, 2:16pm Top

>146 RebaRelishesReading: I'm pretty hopeless, but know enough about myself now to know that for me it's never going to be about speaking fluently, it's about understanding a bit more of a different culture, and (ha!) reading. The teacher is lovely and the group is nice and small too, which helps.

Feb 26, 8:21pm Top

Wow! Add me to the list of people that are impressed with you learning Arabic. Even if you can only speak it in bits and pieces, it's great that you are learning and helping another culture in your area. Naughty letters that won't join up with others? Interesting! I was very pleased to find that the book, The Cut Out Girl , that I ordered from Blackwell's in the UK arrived only about 2 weeks after I ordered it. Fluke , or improved postal service? I'm not sure.

Edited: Feb 27, 4:14am Top

>148 vancouverdeb: Well, if it's a fluke or not Deborah, I'm glad it arrived! Look forward to hearing what you think about it.

The Body on the Doorstep
This was one of my library's audiobooks available via borrowbox - a crime set in a smuggling community in the late 1700s. The vicar opens his door late one night to find a young man who has just been shot. I loved the village community created in the book, and the way the vicar kept on with his ordinary pastoral duties as he tried to work out whether the murder was linked to the smuggling, or about dastardly French plots. He has some help from the mysterious Mrs Chater, who has recently moved to the village.
I've not read anything by this husband and wife writing team before, but am hoping that this is the first book of a series.

Feb 27, 6:34am Top

>149 charl08: Charlotte, that one sounds excellent, and it's the first in a series of 3. They're all available at very cheap prices for Kindle...

Feb 27, 7:42am Top

>150 susanj67: Hurrah! I might have to download that now.

Feb 27, 6:03pm Top

Things I don't want to know
Deborah Levy reflects on writing, and how she came to write, drawing on her childhood in Johannesburg and Durban waiting for her dad to return from (political) prison. A very slight book touching on some big issues.

Feb 27, 6:55pm Top

>149 charl08: This one sounds good, Charlotte. I love a good historical mystery. Off to check to see if my library owns it.

>152 charl08: This also sounds good. Darn it!

Feb 28, 3:22am Top

>119 charl08: What a great library.
>120 charl08: It's a great story. I saw the play more than once and could see it again.
Sweet Thursday, Charlotte.

Feb 28, 7:37am Top

Sweet Thursday, Charlotte! I really liked Things I Don't Want to Know, and if course, I liked the Orwell connection.

Feb 28, 7:53am Top

>155 Crazymamie: Yes, I think I need to read the Orwell article, and then reread this.

She is very good at little images that stick in the brain: the biro'd words on the napkins, the parents having a celebratory drink with the nanny, the budgie in the cage refusing to escape. I would like to hear her speak.

Feb 28, 7:55am Top

I'm going backwards!

>154 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I have the playscript and am going to read to see what I missed. (much!)

>153 BLBera: Two very different, but good, reads. I've been struggling with finding something that matches my mood, so short (the Levy) and pacey (the other) definitely helped.

Feb 28, 8:46am Top

Hey Charlotte! I sent you a PM :-)

Edited: Feb 28, 6:16pm Top

Thanks Susan!

Diary of a Bookseller
The dark humour of this shop owner in Wigtown, Scotland, appealed. From his ongoing disagreements about how to run the shop with his part time staff, to the odd things people say in the shop the book made me laugh. His visits to buy book collections were fascinating. I didn't know people did that!

Mar 2, 5:39am Top

Well, Charlotte, not long now until the Women's Prize for fiction longlist is announced. I'm looking very forward to that. March 4th is the date, I believe.

Mar 2, 10:01am Top

>160 vancouverdeb: So I've been told, Deborah! It will be fun to see what they have picked out.

Edited: Mar 2, 10:28am Top

Things I read in February...

Feb totals
Gender F 22 M 6 Multiple 3
Country/ Region UK 9 Europe 3 US & Canada 13 Africa 1 Latin America 1 Asia 1 Multiple 2
Type Fiction 22 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 9
Origin Library 13 Other (incl mine) 18

Some fiction highlights included in historical crime, The Strangler Vine, a novel impressive as a thriller with some deft use of changing understanding of Indian histories in there too. I read some of my new Pereine (a newish publisher that just does translations) Mr Darwin's Gardener and the really rather odd Children of the Cave. I also fell down a hole of hockey romances. Don't judge me!

Beth recommended A Catalog of Birds and Susan recommended Murder by the Book and Pale Rider and they were all most excellent. I was worried about both Women Talking and the Diary of a Bookseller, but both were good reads (in very different ways, of course!)
As I read, I was a bit worried I was one of the annoying customers in Bythell's book, but if I'm reading him correctly, most gets forgiven if you are at least someone who buys stuff, and doesn't haggle. I meet both criteria, so phew.

Some of the things that I've wondered whilst reading:
What did Deborah Levy's dad do to get put in prison? (or did they not have to specify as they had that detention law)
Did people really behave more 'criminally' because they picked up a bit of slang watching a play in the 1830s? (Murder by the Book)
Has anyone ever tried to write a film based on the crazy childhood of Emma Reyes? (The book of Emma Reyes)
If the Random bookclub by mail is now full, how many people are in it?
Did any of my ancestors get Spanish flu?
Will there be a sequel to Golden State?
Is Tibet any better now than it was when the author of Stick Out Your Tongue visited?
Do women in Mennonite communities use images the way Toews does in her book?

Mar 2, 10:45am Top

>162 charl08: I love your February wrap-up, Charlotte. I am waiting for Women Talking and Murder by the Book to become available, and, of course, waiting for the Women's Prize longlist!

Mar 2, 10:56am Top

Just checking in, Charlotte. I saw on SUsan's thread that you two had a bit of a meet-up. I'll be in London at the end of June - I know you aren't all that close, but thought I'd mention it well ahead of time *grin*

Mar 2, 12:55pm Top

I enjoyed Diary of a Bookseller too. It made me want to visit Wigtown and the town in Wales with all of the bookstores too.

Mar 2, 3:58pm Top

>163 BLBera: Thanks Beth - it will be a fun week. Family reunion time too!

>164 katiekrug: Susan told me about your accident, Katie. Hope the pain is not too bad. I am hoping to get down for June - it will depend a bit on work, I think.

>165 RebaRelishesReading: Yes! The annoying thing (which he does acknowledge) is how difficult it is to get to by public transport.

Mar 2, 4:21pm Top

Well, as Susan mentioned, there was a bit of a meetup. I'd never been into the Barbican estate, I had no idea they had a conservatory. Or indeed, booksales. I can report that the Barbican library has one of the biggest GN collections I've come across outside Edinburgh's Blackwells.

Books acquired: from Susan (Thank you!) Is There No Place On Earth for Me?
Dead Man Running
The Letters of Gertrude Bell
Gorky: My Childhood
Le Testament Francais (not actually in French, but the touchstone doesn't seem to be working)
Granta: Loved Ones
Gods and Soldiers

Mar 2, 4:42pm Top


Mar 2, 5:08pm Top

Mrs Robinson's Disgrace
This was one of those Victorian histories that had me shaking my head. Mrs Isabella Robinson's husband was a git (to use the technical term), but despite this was able to divorce Mrs Robinson on the grounds that she had written in her diary about her crush on her doctor. No one mentioned in court that he had two illegitimate children by his other partner. Shocking stuff. As context Summerscale explains the rise in diary keeping at the time, especially by women, as well as the new divorce law: the Robinsons were one of the first to have their case heard by the (then) new law that meant they no longer had to get individual acts of parliament to get their marriage dissolved. It's the little facts about the community Mrs Robinson socialised with that makes the book fascinating, from Darwin's nervousness that meant he went to the same spa, to a fellow writer who was found walking the streets of Edinburgh naked, to the (secret) writer of a sex manual that sold thousands of copies in the period, despite supposed Victorian prudery.

Edited: Mar 2, 5:22pm Top

I've been meaning to go to the Dulwich Gallery for years, finally got there today. Their current exhibition, sponsored by various Norwegian chequebooks, was Harald Sohlberg Painting Norway. I'd never come across his paintings before, but really loved the pictures of remote Norwegian scenery

and, in particular one of a church. (My photo really doesn't capture the otherworldliness of it though)

This one is lovely too.

(from the website)


Edited: Mar 2, 5:36pm Top

>170 charl08: Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of my favourite places. Must get to that exhibition Charlotte. I'd not heard of that artist either. That bottom painting is lovely, lots of my favourite colours.

The gallery will have had many famous visitors over the years, but I'm tickled that Vincent Van Gogh visited twice while working in England.

Great you and Susan got together too.

Edited: Mar 2, 6:18pm Top

Thanks Caroline. I was thinking about the Tate and also about the Diane Arbus exhibition of early photos at the Hayward, but in the end decided that I really wanted to get to Dulwich. It was striking the difference in the audience profile between Dulwich, and the one I went to before I went home, in Waterloo itself. I completely lucked into it, I was just having a wander before picking up my bags and the train.

I don't think anyone who's read one of the bios will learn anything new (I was a bit cheesed off to be all but instructed to watch the introductory video by another attendee. I'd heard the last minute of Trevor MacDonald and that was plenty, I wanted to actually see the artefacts.) I was dying to ask some of the kids with their parents what they made of it: part of the exhibit was recreating the physical stuff of apartheid: the signs saying 'whites only', and some of them I saw looked kind of shellshocked. They had some of Mandela's childhood books and a photo of him at school which I'd not seen before.

Some of the physical things were amazing in that they survived - the piece of card used to record his fingerprints when they arrested him before the Rivonia trial. They didn't seem to engage with the way the ANC changed while he was in prison - and some of the challenges to his leadership.
Also the criticism of his role in power: why he didn't do more about AIDS, or redressing inequality.
Not that kind of exhibit!

Mar 2, 6:04pm Top

Amazing street art in the tunnel under Waterloo

Mar 2, 6:52pm Top

Looks like such an interesting exhibit, Charlotte. I have read quite a bit about Mandela, both by others as well as by him.

In this last pic>173 charl08:, I can't make out what the writing says but I am guessing those are meant to be fossils of underwater life? Quite striking!

Edited: Mar 3, 10:16am Top

>174 jessibud2: Shelley, it says 'The cost of human irresponsibility is the exhaustion and extinction of others'.

Mar 2, 8:28pm Top

>170 charl08: Ohhh I love that third one! Gorgeous

Mar 3, 1:00am Top

Loving pictures of both the exhibit and the street art in the tunnel under Waterloo station.

Mar 3, 2:45am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. It looks like you have a wonderful time.

Mar 3, 6:17am Top

>167 charl08: Back in the day I used to be a member of the Barbican library which had a much bigger selection than my local library to be honest. And there used to be some ducks too - with duckings - not in the library obviously, but in the ponds outside.

>170 charl08: I'm trying to work out if i've ever been to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and have decided that I haven't, which is quite shocking. The paintings that you have shown above are lovely.

>169 charl08: I like the look of Mrs Robinson's Disgrace

Edited: Mar 3, 9:39am Top

>174 jessibud2: I thought it was a bit hagiographic, to be honest. Which is understandable: according to this article it was curated by his friends and family, and it is still a recent loss.

ETA I would totally go to an exhibition about his reading and books. There was a bit about how other prisoners smuggled in copies of a 70th birthday tribute to him, for him to read, and some about his studies. The book on Mandela's letters (which I by no means read all of) talked about the difficulties he had in completing correspondence studies as he struggled with the fees, and meeting some of the course requirements with the limitations of prison life. Doesn't put London U in particularly great light...

>175 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I use (Control) and (+) to enlarge the screen in windows - but not sure if that works on all computers? (apple key) & (+) works on the mac.

>176 ChelleBearss: Made me want to visit Norway! (A win there for the Norwegian tourism board, who are coincidentally called Visit Norway...)

Edited: Mar 3, 9:40am Top

>177 lkernagh: I have signed up for an Art Pass, in the hope that I get out an about to more stuff. I've become a bit lax lately.

>178 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara - nice to get a change of scenery. Hope Davos did the same for you.

>179 SandDune: I would like to be eligible to be a member, although I am not sure I would be very good at finding my way out again! It's a lovely gallery for a visit - not too big to be overwhelming, and there was a nice green space outside which in summer I'm sure is a great asset. The cafe was also very good...

Edited: Mar 3, 10:00am Top

Dead Man Running
This is part of Virago's (I think now defunct?) crime inprint, published in the early 90s in the UK but earlier in the US. It reads as a historical document of the period. The plot is centred on a lost scientist who was working on an AIDS vaccine. Wormald's PI discovers a government coverup of genetic experiments which created HIV/AIDS, and then a superpower spy conflict over the evidence. In the midst of that, there's Basil Exposition sections on how AIDS is not caught and a woman's right to choose. I especially liked how as a New Yorker, the PI, Sarah Callaway, reflects on how the town works, the districts and habits of the residents.

Edited: Mar 3, 10:02am Top

I liked the Maigret references:

Mar 3, 10:53am Top

>170 charl08: Love the art, Charlotte.

Hooray for meet-ups and new bookstores!

Mar 3, 2:44pm Top

Couldn't agree more, Beth.

Edited: Mar 3, 3:18pm Top

Guardian Books non-fiction

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy by Frédéric Martel – reviewed by Peter Conrad
"I also worry a little about its methods. Some highly placed informants are given the benefit of anonymity, and others are lured into confiding or confessing by the flirty signals Martel transmits....The tone falters because Martel seems unsure whether to be horrified by the church’s corruption or to let out a gasp of high-camp amazement at its excesses."

Crumbs. Can't imagine the church is keen on this one.

There's another review of it here too: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/21/in-the-closet-of-the-vatican-by-fr...

Mar 3, 2:54pm Top

The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon reviewed by Katy Guest
"“The message at the heart of this book is that a gendered world will produce a gendered brain,” Rippon states – which is important “not just for women and girls, but for men and boys, parents and teachers, businesses and universities, and for society as a whole”. There is actually very little discussion of the effect of all this on men and boys, which is a shame, considering those seven-year-olds in No More Boys and Girls who couldn’t discuss their feelings, and given that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. This, as much as the female brain-drain from STEM subjects, is an outrage. The Gendered Brain is one of those books that should be essential reading before anyone is allowed to be a teacher, or buy a child a present, or comment on anything on Twitter, ever again … but my fear is that Rippon is preaching to the choir."

Aren't the colours on the cover pretty? (!!!)

Mar 3, 2:56pm Top

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells reviewed by Mark O'Connell
"Some things I did not want to learn, but learned anyway: every return flight from London to New York costs the Arctic three square metres of ice; for every half degree of warming, societies see between a 10 and 20% increase in the likelihood of armed conflict; global plastic production is expected to triple by 2050, by which point there will be more plastic than fish in the planet’s oceans. The margins of my review copy of the book are scrawled with expressions of terror and despair, declining in articulacy as the pages proceed, until it’s all just cartoon sad faces and swear words."

Mar 3, 3:01pm Top

What a great bunch of February reading! And happy March reading...

Mar 3, 3:03pm Top

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez reviewed by Eliane Glaser
"Criado Perez has assembled a cornucopia of statistics – from how blind auditions have increased the proportion of female players hired by orchestras to nearly 50%, to the good reasons why women take up to 2.3 times as long as men to use the toilet. This is a man’s world, we learn, because those who built it didn’t take gender differences into account. Most offices, we learn, are five degrees too cold for women, because the formula to determine their temperature was developed in the 1960s based on the metabolic resting rate of a 40-year-old, 70kg man; women’s metabolisms are slower. Women in Britain are 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed following a heart attack: heart failure trials generally use male participants. Cars are designed around the body of “Reference Man”, so although men are more likely to crash, women involved in collisions are nearly 50% more likely to be seriously hurt."

Added this one to the wishlist.

Mar 3, 3:04pm Top

>189 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda!

Mar 3, 3:07pm Top

Parkland by Dave Cullen reviewed by Lois Beckett
"...he followed the Parkland students whose outrage had sparked a national move-ment. He reported from the tiny office they set up in a Florida shopping mall, where current students and a few recent graduates workshopped the memes they would use in social media warfare with the National Rifle Association, and documented their early protests....Parkland focuses purely on the March for Our Lives movement, from the founders’ first days organising in one student’s living room, to a rally for gun control that drew hundreds of thousands of people to Washington and more than a million across the country, to their campaign to turn out young voters in the 2018 midterm elections. The book does not delve into the details of the attack at the school, the red flags law enforcement missed, or the partisan local debates over who was most to blame. It does not even mention the shooter’s name. After 20 years of chronicling violence and failure, Cullen wants to tell a story of hope. Unlike Columbine, his new book does not challenge the accepted narrative of the shooting or its aftermath. He believes the Parkland students achieved real change and are on their way to even greater victories. But he does not gloss over what was messy and painful about the movement’s growth..."

I don't think I'll pick this up, but clearly one of those 'important' books.

Edited: Mar 3, 3:23pm Top

Sleeping With Strangers: how the movies shaped desire by David Thomson reviewed by Peter Conrad
"Thomson’s publisher originally wanted a history of gay careers in Hollywood, and for a while the book obliges. It playfully examines the cohabitation of buddies who bunk down together in westerns, then decodes some sadomasochistic couplings in film noir – Tony Curtis as Burt Lancaster’s subservient bitch boy in Sweet Smell of Success, Glenn Ford as rough trade picked up George Macready in Gilda. Thomson inconclusively ponders the enigma of Cary Grant’s erotic appeal, and has fun with a dubious tale about Spencer Tracy seducing a handyman he’d summoned to repair his boiler.....But while Thomson was sifting through all this gossip and innuendo, the ground beneath his feet seismically shifted. "

I don't know: I like his writing, but sounds like it would need a 'proper' read (i.e. time)

Edited: Mar 3, 3:33pm Top

The Future Is Feminist ed by Mallory Farrugia reviewed by Barbara Ellen
"...all the pieces seem connected in spirit – signifying a thread between the generations that may, at times, have become frayed, but is ultimately unbreakable. Considering the bold title, it should be noted that this collection makes precisely zilch attempt to prove that the future is destined to be any more feminist than the past or present."

Not new work, so probably not.
(But the cover is marvellous, makes me want to pick it up).

Mar 3, 3:33pm Top

Making Evil by Julia Shaw reviewed by Steven Poole
"...her main argument – that there is no such thing as evil – is one that science can’t settle one way or the other. And she seems to shy away from pursuing the implications of her position to their logical conclusion. Having persuaded the reader that, given the right circumstances, we might all be killers, creeps, deviants, cyberbullies, slave-owners and accomplices to torture or genocide, Shaw is careful to point out that she does not subscribe to “moral relativism”, and that some things just are wrong."

Passing on this one.

Edited: Mar 3, 3:44pm Top

Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis reviewed by Lauren Elkin
"...Louis’s father is disabled but alive, having been injured at the factory where he worked until 2000. He was left barely able to walk, dependent on a machine to help him breathe, which led to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and a bad heart, and a ventral hernia, his belly having been “torn apart by its own weight, its own mass”. “You’re barely fifty years old,” Louis addresses his father. “You belong to the category of humans whom politics has doomed to an early death”. Through a non-chronological series of memories – fragments of his childhood concerning his father – Louis takes aim at the self-defeating masculine ethos of the place where he grew up.... a taste for violence, vengeance, the imperative not to do “effeminate” things like cry or take school seriously, not to take anything seriously that could improve his lot in life: as “far as I can tell, constructing your masculinity meant depriving yourself of any other life, any other future, any other prospect that school might have opened up. Your manhood condemned you to poverty, to lack of money."

One of those reviews that makes me feel like I've missed an author out entirely.

Edited: Mar 3, 5:46pm Top

Dangerous Hero by Tom Bower reviewed by Stephen Bush
"... several writers have tried their hand at a study of Corbyn’s life: Rosa Prince’s meticulously researched straight biography Comrade Corbyn, Alex Nunns’s impeccably well-connected inside account of his 2015 leadership campaign, The Candidate, and Richard Seymour’s critical left analysis Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. Now Tom Bower, the author of critical biographies of Tony Blair, Richard Branson and others, has had a go with Dangerous Hero. I haven’t read any of Bower’s earlier work and I’m told that his study of Robert Maxwell is worth reading. On this evidence, quite frankly, you couldn’t pay me to read another of his books. That he refers to Corbyn’s wife, Laura, not by her preferred name of Laura Alvarez, but as “Laura Corbyn” tells you all you need to know about him."

That's a hard no.

Mar 3, 4:10pm Top

That's a far too tempting selection. Maybe not very cheery, at times.
(yes, that cover is beautiful!)

Edited: Mar 3, 5:45pm Top

>190 charl08: yes, I have my eye on that one too Charlotte, will probably wait for the paperback. As is >188 charl08:. I'm trying!

Mar 3, 5:46pm Top

>198 Helenliz: Not much on the light side this week, Helen.

>199 Caroline_McElwee: Stay strong there Caroline :-)

Mar 3, 5:55pm Top

Berlin by Jason Lutes
The edition that I read combined parts 1 and 2 of Lutes' exploration of interwar Germany. Although some of the content (full frontal nudity) might make it an unlikely book for schoolchildren, I suspect they see much more 'in these modern times' on their phones in lunch break, and here they'd actually be learning. Lutes brings together disparate lives, from the dispirited journalist to the Jewish family selling antiques, and a young woman fleeing middle class life in Cologne. Fights on the street between Communists and Nazis - police shootings, infighting between socialist branches and Weimar's exciting club scene all get a mention. There is of course, a lot written in this area, but in creating characters who are compelling and easy to care for (even as they make poor decisions) what could be tired becomes new again. And of course, given current political events, timely. City of Light (book 3) is now available, and I am trying to resist.


Mar 3, 8:35pm Top

Gorgeous photos from the Dulwich Gallery, Charlotte. As for who is to be credited with my reading The Hours Before Dawn, well it may or may not have been you. I think the author idea may have come from this Crime Round up from the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/16/best-recent-crime-novels-review-ro... . I admit it was from a while ago, but I recall it catching my interest - the new standalone by Elly Griffiths and The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin, which I may yet purchase. So thanks for that! Well, tomorrow we will have the Women's Lit shortlist. Plenty of new titles to explore, I hope.

Mar 4, 7:45am Top

>192 charl08: I'm not big on "instant history" type books, so I probably won't read Parkland, either, but I will say that Cullen's previous book on a school shooting, Columbine, is a masterpiece and did a lot to dispel many of the myths that sprang up around school shootings. I highly recommend it for anyone who has any interest in the topic and can stomach the grim topic.

Mar 4, 7:52am Top

>202 vancouverdeb: Oh, yes, I see now Deborah. Ha! Bad memory strikes again on my part. What did you make of the Women's lit list?

>203 rosalita: Thanks Julia - I'm not sure I could bear it, to be honest. But so important someone wrote it. And that you read it, too.

Mar 4, 7:55am Top

I just came across this charity whilst looking for something else, and thought it might be appreciated here.

Coram Beanstalk trains volunteers to become reading helpers in schools and early years settings.
Worth having a look for the lovely pictures of small readers and their helpers enjoying reading together :-)

Mar 4, 8:26am Top

>205 charl08: - Charlotte, this reminded me of an article I saw a few years ago, of a program at a local animal shelter, to help kids read. They encouraged young kids to read to animals, with wonderful results: rapt audience, focus and confidence in the kids. If I can find that article, I will post it.

Mar 4, 9:11am Top

>206 jessibud2: I think I saw that too - perhaps someone posted it on LT? Lovely idea.

Wow, the rain is really pouring down here.

Women's prize longlist - I've only read three.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
✔️Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
✔️Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn
✔️Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

Edited: Mar 4, 11:03am Top

I haven't read any of them but I do have two on my to-read list already planned for this year. An American Marriage and Circe

Mar 4, 11:10am Top

>207 charl08: I *think * my next book subscription is Circe (squeeee!) and I have Silence of the Girls on the wish list.

Mar 4, 11:30am Top

Hi, Charlotte.

Berlin looks really good. Based on your tip, I’ve requested it at the library.

I just did some “favorite GNs” lists over on my thread by genre that might pique your interest.

Mar 4, 12:17pm Top

>189 banjo123: What Rhonda said. :)

>201 charl08: This does look good.

>207 charl08: I've read three as well, but different ones from those that you have read. I do have Milkman sitting on top of a pile of "read soon" books. Maybe I'll try to get to it next week when I have my spring break.

Others I am waiting to get from the library.

Mar 4, 12:18pm Top

Can you refresh may memory about what you thought about Swan Song?

Mar 4, 4:06pm Top

>207 charl08: I have read Ghost Wall and My Sister the Serial Killer which I both enjoyed, and Normal People, which I didn't. Several others on the list that I want to get around to.

Mar 4, 4:24pm Top

>187 charl08: & >190 charl08: These two caught my eye, I hope they will be published in Dutch translation.

Edited: Mar 4, 7:01pm Top

>208 ChelleBearss: Sounds good Chelle.

>209 Helenliz: I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's reviews on these Helen!

>210 jnwelch: I didn't realise until after I finished that Lutes isn't German, and had been writing these for twenty years. Talk about a labour of love. I shall have to mosey over to your thread and check out the recommendations. I found some new titles in London: now I've just got to persuade the library here to order them.

Edited: Mar 4, 7:06pm Top

>211 BLBera: >212 BLBera: I don't think I was that faffed by the swan book. It's the Capote one, with all the rich lady secrets. I shall have to see if I wrote something more lengthy than that!

>213 SandDune: I'm not rushing to read the Rooney, partly because your comments struck a chord with me!

>214 FAMeulstee: I am endlessly impressed at the books available in Dutch translation, so fingers crossed, Anita.

Edited: Mar 4, 7:10pm Top

Bryony and Roses
After a dispiriting Arabic lesson in which I felt a million years old with a sadly unplastic brain, this was a lovely, smart take on the beauty/beast story, which has improved my evening. Thanks to Roni who recommended it (and has written much more interesting comments on her thread).

Mar 4, 7:34pm Top

>216 charl08: Hmm - that doesn't sound like one I would normally pick up. I might leave that for a while. I think I'll take Milkman on my spring break.

Mar 4, 7:41pm Top

>192 charl08: Oh, Columbine was such an extraordinary book. I'm interesting in what Cullen has to say about Parkland, although it is noteworthy that while it took him a decade to write Columbine, Parkland is out only a year or so after that shooting.

>196 charl08: While the author's first book of auto-fic was interesting, I'm not sure I want to read Who Killed My Father.

>207 charl08: I've read five, with one more waiting on my shelf, leaving me the decision of whether to go for it and try to read the entire longlist, or to wait for the shortlist. I heard Bernice McFadden speak at a book festival and I'm very pleased her book is included in this list. She is definitely under appreciated.

Mar 5, 3:34am Top

>218 BLBera: This is what I said in November:
"The later life of Truman Capote, as narrated by a cast of high society women ("Swans') who were his friends until he told all their secrets in a series of magazine articles. Wealthy women not used to being mocked in print turn on him and he is shown collapsing in a pile of drink and drugs. The author rehearsed all the women's secrets, from affairs to failed careers, and Truman's own self-mythologised past. It all read very smoothly, but I just didn't care very much."

>219 RidgewayGirl: It sounds like the focus of this book (ie not on the shooting itself) was at medical advice, as he got PTSD.

I have a few waiting on the shelves: Ordinary People, Freshwater and a Netgalley of The Silence of the Girls. Will try to read those ones first!

Mar 5, 4:36pm Top

Thanks Charlotte - I don't really care very much, either. I'll leave that one for last. :)

Edited: Mar 5, 5:22pm Top

>221 BLBera: I would like to read a review by someone who loved it, to work out what I missed!

Ms Marvel: Mecca
Another breakneck episode. Here Kamala finds herself in the middle of a Trump like anti-mutant movement, and Red Dagger turns up in New Jersey...

Edited: Mar 6, 4:24am Top

Convenience Store Woman
I have been waiting for ages for the one copy my library system has of this book to come round to me. It finally made it! Short book that makes so many interesting and thought provoking observations. I had assumed from the book blurb that this was a book about autism, but that's never stated. If anything, the book argues against that kind of diagnosis based pigeonholing. The descriptions of the convenience store life - at one point a disgruntled employee comments on the morning prep that it's like a religion: and rather than seeing it as negative Keiko embraces the description. For her the shop provides the guide to living in a community she feels she needs.

Fascinating international covers

Edited: Mar 6, 6:00am Top

I read Convenience Store Woman some time last year and it had yet a different cover. The cover is mainly blue and pink - I won't post it here. I enjoyed it too.

As for the Woman's Longlist, I have put a hold on Ghost Wall at my library, and I have an American Marriage out from the library. Will I read it this time round, I'm not sure. I did take out Number One Chinese Restaurant out from the library and it did not seem to be anything special to me, so after reading 75 pages or so, I took it back. I want to say that I have read Milkman, but when I tried reading it for the Booker Prize, I found it quite a difficult read and gave up after 100 pages or more. Will I give it another try ? I'm not sure. Perhaps I don't know enough about The Troubles . I do have Praise Song For Butterflies in my TBR, but I'm not certain when I will get to it. I'd like to give My Sister the Serial Killer a try, but I can't find it at my library, nor on amazon ca. So I'll to look around for that one. It's not in my local bookstore, perhaps if I go downtown , which is not likely in the next couple of weeks.

I really loved The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin. What a great read , at least for me. It's more like a domestic suspense/ thriller, so really not that scary, but it sure kept me turning the pages. It was written back in 1958 and it's seems there is a resurgence of interest in the author. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered The Long Shadow from Blackwells in the UK. Let's hope it wings its way here fairly quickly like The Hours Before Dawn.

Some of the books are quite difficult to find here, - from the Long List, I mean.

Mar 6, 7:54am Top

>224 vancouverdeb: Deborah, sounds like you are way ahead of the game. I don't know about Milkman - I first picked it up thinking it was dystopia, and it made no sense to me, so maybe knowing about the Troubles does help. The second time round I had read a review, so it made more sense and I really found the voice started to work for me.
I still want to listen to the audio though.
I just found out that My Sister the Serial Killer is in a new voting competition at work for a 'shared read' book - complete with shiny new copies in the library.

Glad you loved the Fremlin. Hope your new one turns up soon!

Mar 6, 11:52am Top

I also loved Convenience Store Woman, Charlotte.

I think my next longlist read will be Milkman - at least no one can say I'm not prepared; I've heard so much about the narrative.

Mar 6, 12:25pm Top

I was correct, my new book subscription is Circe in a beautiful edition. I am just a little bit in love already.

Mar 6, 12:54pm Top

I'm another one who loved Convenience Store Woman, Charlotte. I'm glad to see it receiving some recognition.

I'm pretty sure you helped me get situated in reading Milkman by explaining it was set during the Troubles. Everything started making much more sense.

Mar 6, 2:01pm Top

>226 BLBera: Hope you enjoy Milkman, Beth. If nothing else, the author's personal story, living with so much pain she can barely write, and having to rely on food donations, and then winning the Booker. It's like fiction.

>227 Helenliz: Photos please!

>228 jnwelch: Oh, isn't it fab. I am even more sad now the library doesn't have more copies. I might mention it to the staff on the desk, they are usually very helpful. Milkman definitely doesn't make any concessions: I think if I hadn't bought it I wouldn't have gone back to it (very glad I did). Not sure I can take the credit for that insight, but thank you!

Mar 6, 4:36pm Top

It SOUNDS like the kind of book I would like, Charlotte. First, though, I have to finish The Sympathizer for my book club. And probably return a whole stack of books to the library unread. :)

Edited: Mar 7, 2:39am Top

>230 BLBera: Ah, I have done that recently. I consoled myself that (in my case) 60p reservation fund was cheap compared to paying for the full book!

Work has asked readers to vote for their choice from a shortlist for a "shared read" project ("The Big Read is a pre-arrival shared reading scheme, aiming to make new students feel welcome, give them something in common with other first years and creating links between with the wider university community.").

My sister the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The book of Alexander by Mark Carew
Of murder, muses and me by Claudia Chibici-Reveneau,
Conclave by Robert Harris
The testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Edited: Mar 7, 2:41am Top

Now reading Bird Cottage which has a lovely cover.

Mar 7, 7:27pm Top

Love the cover of Bird Cottage. I believe I am currently reading Praise Song for the Butterflies from the Women's Longlist. I am reading it, but not far enough in to book to officially announce it. But it seems very promising. I was at the library a day ago and asked the librarian if there is a limit on holds . Apparently yes, just 15 holds!!! That's one strict library. But the librarian was very nice and dug around to find me some books and suggested the purchase request - which of course I am more than aware of, but I let the librarian think she was doing me a big favour by requesting a book for me! :-)

Mar 8, 3:08am Top

>233 vancouverdeb: I admire your caution, Deborah, and how nice of the librarian to try to help.

I was resisting ordering more books but it does bug me when the library system doesn't even have the longlist on order. So I've asked for Praise Song for the Butterflies, Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton, Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li, and Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn.

I really like this cover -

I've also requested other ones that were on the catalogue, but don't think I'll be getting them any time soon!
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss

Edited: Mar 8, 9:44am Top

Bird Cottage
Lovely book translated from the Dutch - recreating the life of an unusual woman, Gwendolen “Len” Howard, who chose to retreat from her career as a violinist and observe garden birds. It's laced with description of birdlife and the natural world, making striking contrast between the urban and rural. Meijer points to the way this observation method was seen as 'unscientific' by postwar academics, but now better reflects our attitudes to understanding animal behaviour.
And then I take off my suit, put my bathing costume on, dark blue to light blue, and walk down the narrow path through the back garden to the river. Poppies, cornflowers, buttercups. The water is clear and cool. I walk straight into the middle of the river, then sink into the water. For a moment I gasp for breath, and then swim, my hair waterweed, my hands water brown. ...By a willow tree I turn back. I swim homewards, with slow strokes. Time here is hardly more than a change of the light.

Mar 8, 3:54am Top

That's annoying about the lack of longlisted books, Charlotte. Maybe they'll get them in now that they're famous :-)

>231 charl08: I've only read Harold Fry, but I wouldn't have thought that was a great choice for young people (as it involves people over 30, and even that is pushing it). On title alone, I'd go for My Sister the Serial Killer. If you can proxy vote, feel free to tick a box for me :-)

Mar 8, 9:20am Top

It is annoying that the library doesn't have the long listed books available, but at least they have been published there! I recently discovered that my library does have a hold limit, when I got the message that I had too many holds...I don't want to say how many that is.

Bird Cottage sounds lovely. Darn it.

Which book are you voting for?

Mar 8, 3:16pm Top

>236 susanj67: Embarrassing: when I went back to check the catalogue, the library did in fact have one of them. Tactfully, the librarian just added it to my reserve list.
I've started My sister... Good so far.

>237 BLBera: ooh, I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 50....

Mar 8, 3:16pm Top

And I have no idea what book I'm voting for!

Mar 8, 4:58pm Top

Pereine have a sale on...
50% off all books by women authors

From the ad:
I've probably mentioned before that only 3% of books published in the UK are translations. Of this tiny percentage, only 30% are written by women authors.

When you do the maths this means that translated books by women writers actually make up less than 1% of our literary landscape!

As a Peirene reader, you'll probably be as shocked about this as I was - I knew we were niche, but not that niche. At Peirene 60% of our authors and 70% of our translators are women.


Mar 8, 5:24pm Top

>236 susanj67: I agree about Harold Fry...good book, but probably not appealing to a younger person.

Mar 8, 5:35pm Top

>232 charl08: That is a nice cover, Charlotte.

I don't know how many times I have bought a book for its cover but it often repays its visual appeal.

Mar 9, 12:49am Top

I'm wide awake before 6am on a weekend. Urgh.

>241 The_Hibernator: It does seem like an odd choice!

>242 PaulCranswick: I agree Paul. And if not, at least it looks good on the shelf.

Mar 9, 1:23am Top

I am slowly making my way through your thread which I obviously haven't visited for a while. You got me with The Body on the Doorstep and my library has it!

>156 charl08: Deborah Levy is high energy and very funny in person which is why I had to read Things I Don't Want to Know. I saw her at the Vancouver Writers Festival last October.

I went through the non-fiction reviews with my library's website open and I added a few more holds as I went through them, Charlotte. Your thread is dangerous to my holds list!

Mar 9, 2:10am Top

>240 charl08: you are a very bad influence!

Mar 9, 2:13am Top

>244 Familyhistorian: I would like to hear her speak, how great that you got to go to an event. I want to read her next memoir The Cost of Living.

You have also reminded me that I downloaded the sequel to The Body in the Library, and promptly forgot about it.

Mar 9, 2:13am Top

>245 Helenliz: I think you meant to type 'force for good', there Helen.. (!!)

Mar 9, 2:21am Top

Fascinating discussion when I went volunteering yesterday - one of the attendees was clutching a copy of Season of Migration to the North, and telling me about how he thought that the copy he had read at home was censored compared to the English translation. He's also recommended another Sudanese author, although he's not cheap, even in second hand copies.

Mar 9, 2:22am Top

Time for a new thread again, I think...

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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