Helenliz Houses the Hoard, pt 3
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I'm Helen, and I'm a Quality Manager for a small company making medical devices (asthma inhalers). I'm also now secretary of a local bell ringingers association, which is a new addition to my list of things to occupy my time. I enjoy reading, cross stitch embroidery, growing edible things in my garden (and then eating the results!) and watching documentaries (usually to relieve the boredom of ironing).
As for last year, I don't want to set too many targets. I can get a bit obsessed or very put off by targets, it's a chalk and cheese thing with me. So there will be no particular numbers in each category. That's not to say I don't want to stretch my reading, as ever. To achieve that, I have changed up some of last year's categories and introduced a few new ones that will make me think a bit harder about what I am going to read.
My theme is historic buildings and houes. I like visiting sites of this kind, they are usually interesting, with questions around who built it, who later made changes, what they kept and what got removed. They come in all shapes and sizes and histories. They're fun to clamber around, they look interesting in the landscape and they tell us something of who we are. It's fun to imagine being at the top of the social structure, but I know that in reality I'd have more likely been stuck slaving away in the scullery or other equally unglamerous corner of the building. I've tried to pair the buildings with the themes I've picked.
The thread construction has now completed (I am setting up something simpler next year - trust me!), so wipe your feet on the mat, come in and help yourself to tea and cake.
A Woman of No Importance
Inspector Colbeck's casebook (audio)
Library books on loan (must do something about this!)
A Modern Comedy
Le Morte D'Arthur
We, the Living
Wide Sargasso Sea
Adding book bullets
✔️ The Crossing PLaces (Elkiedee) (Norfolk setting) (completed)
The Stranger Diaries (Charlotte & Susan)
Transcription (Stacy, amongst others)
Why We Sleep (Jackie_K)
The Great Typo Hunt (Cindy)
The Silence of the Girls (Susan) (I'm a sucker for retellings of the ancient Greeks)
Rain: Four Walks in English Weather (Carrie) (Walking in rain is sometimes the best thing ever)
The Century Girls: The Final Word From The Women Who've Lived The Past Hundred Years of British History (Susan)
Alone in Berlin (Tess)
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stacy)
I will never see the world again (Charlotte)
The Five (Carrie)
Mr Dickens and his carol (This-n-that)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Charlotte - again).
Fools and Mortals (Birgit)
Wakenhyrst (Susan) (again)
The Way of all Flesh (charlotte yet again)
Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible JackieK
1. The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead, ***
2. How to be Both, Ali Smith, ****
3. Wrote for Luck, DJ Taylor, *** (audio)
4. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, ***
5. Atonement, Ian McEwan, ****1/2
6. The Saga of the Volsungs, Anon, ***
7. Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell, ***
8. Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer, ****
9. Murder by Matchlight, ECR Lorac, ****
10. Distant Voices, Barbara Erskine, * (Abandoned) (audio)
11. Belinda, Maria Edgeworth, ***
12. Lady Susan, Jane Austen, ***
13. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle, **** (audio)
14. Munmun, Jesse Andrews, ***
15. The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer, ****1/2
16. The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman, ***
17. The Lemon Table Julian Barnes, ****, Audio
18. The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney, **
19. For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories, Ian Fleming, ****, (audio)
20. Circe, Madeline Miller, *****
21. The Absentee Maria Edgeworth, ****
22. The End of the Affair, Graham Greene, ***
23. The Crossing Places, Elly Griffiths, ***
24. A Good Hanging and Other Stories, Ian Rankin, ***
25. The Janus Stone, Elly Griffiths, ****
26. The Last Summer Ricarda Huch, ****
27. The Darkness of Wallis Simpson and other stories, Rose Tremain, *** (Audio)
28. Regency Buck, Georgette Heyer, ****1/2
29. The Monk, Matthew Lewis, ****1/2
30. Invisible Agents, Nadine Akkerman, ***
31. Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, ****
32. Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay, ****, (audio)
33. May we be Forgiven, AM Homes, ****
34. Means of Evil and Other Stories, Ruth Rendell, *** (audio)
35. Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan, **
36. The White Monkey, John Galsworthy, ***
37. A Silent Wooing, John Galsworthy, ***
38. The Silver Spoon, John Galsworthy, ***
39. Marrying off Mother and Other Stories, Gerald Durrell, *** (audio)
40. Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies, ****
41. And the Wind sees All, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, ****
42. Passers By, John Galsworthy, ****
43. The Scent of Almonds and other Stories, Camilla Läckberg, **, (audio)
44. Homeland, Walter Kempowski, ****
45. The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald, **
46. Far Eastern Tales, W Somerset Maugham, **** (audio)
47. Octopussy and The Living Daylights and Other Stories, Ian Fleming, *** (Audio)
48. Little, Edward Carey, ****
49. The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories HP Lovecraft, * (Audio)
50. The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope, ***
51. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer, ***
52. The House at Sea's End, Elly Griffiths, ***
53. Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories, Colin Dexter, ***, (Audio)
54. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling, ****
55. Loch and Key, Seanan McGuire, ***
56. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss, ****
57. The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane, *****
58. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges, ***
59. Reader, I Married Him, various, ****, (Audio)
60. Classic tales of Hauntings, various, *** (Audio)
61. The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay, ****
62. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling, ****
63. War by Candlelight, Daniel Alarcon, ****
64. Terry Deary's Knight's Tales, Terry Deary, *** (audio)
This impressive house is Hardwick Hall. It was built in the Elizabethan period and was renown in its time for its use of glass and the size of its windows. A rhyme of the time went "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall".
At the top of each bay you can just make out there is an E and S. These are the initials of the builder, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, known to her time and to history as Bess of Hardwick. She was born in a now demolished house on this site. It is this house she is most associated with, despite actually being influential in Chatsworth, as well as the Old Hall on the Hardwick site. Married 4 times, she founded a dynasty; the Cavendish family (the Dukes of Devonshire) were the offspring of her first marriage. She died in her 80s, having lived a life extrordinary by any standards.
In 2017 two thirds of the books I read were by women authors. In 2018, so far, I've achieve parity. I want to maintain that parity into 2019.
Hardwick Hall is now in the hands of the National Trust
1. The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
2. How to be Both, Ali Smith
3. Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
4. Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer
5. Murder by Matchlight, ECR Lorac
6. Distant Voices, Barbara Erskine
7. Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
8. Lady Susan, Jane Austen
9. The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer
10. The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInernery
11. Circe, Madeline Miller
12. The Absentee Maria Edgeworth
13. The Crossing Places, Elly Griffiths
14. The Janus Stone, Elly Griffiths
15. The Last Summer Ricarda Huch
16. The Darkness of Wallis Simpson and other stories, Rose Tremain
17. Regency Buck, Georgette Heyer
18. Invisible Agents, Nadine Akkerman
19. Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
20. Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay
21. May we be Forgiven, AM Homes
22. Means of Evil and Other Stories, Ruth Rendell
23. Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
24. Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies
25. The Scent of Almonds and other Stories, Camilla Läckberg
26. The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
27. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer
28. The House at Sea's End, Elly Griffiths
29. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling
30. Loch and Key, Seanan McGuire
31. Reader, I married Him, Various
32. The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
33. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling
The country cottage, with a thatched roof and roses growing round the door has to the be classic, chocolate box, impression of English houses. I hate to disappoint, but it ain't necessarily so. That doesn't stop us hankering after the classic cottage experience, right until reality hits your head on low beams, windows that rattle in the wind and a chimney that can't be persuaded to draw. However, let's ignore reality and imagine oursleves in a better place.
This category is for housing those books that have achieved classic status, at times, in spite of their failings. I'd like to read at least 6 of these this year.
1. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle
3. The Absentee Maria Edgheworth
4. The Monk, Matthew Lewis
5. The White Monkey, John Galsworthy
6. A Silent Wooing, John Galsworthy
7. The Silver Spoon, John Galsworthy
8. Passers By, John Galsworthy
9. The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope
The Mill has to be the most down to earth building. At one time they were essential to the survival of every village. They come in a variety of forms, depending on the local resources; this is a post mill, a typically East Anglian design of wind powered mill. It is built around a central post that runs the height of the mill and everything you can see with the exception of the circular roofed lower storey rotates to ensure that the sails face the wind.
This example is Saxtead Post Mill and it is in the hands of English Heritage
This matter of factness makes the mill the place I will house my selections of non-fiction. I aim to read one per month, but that's not always met, so I'll aim for 10 over the course of the year.
1. Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
2. Invisible Agents, Nadine Akkerman
3. Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies
The terraced house is a product of its time, the need to get more houses in a smaller space. They're not the maximum occupancy of the back-to-backs, but they get a bad rap. There was a tendency in the 20th century to build rows and rows of terraces, all looking the same, just one after another. But it is people that make a house a home, and this example of a terraced house is not just any terrace, it is the childhood home of Paul McCartney.
This, along with John Lennon's childhood home, are both open to visitors on pre-booked tours, as they are in the hands of The National Trust
As terraces come one house after another, I'm using the terraced house as my place to read all of Gerogette Heyer's romances in publicaiton order. This is a work in progress, as shown below. I have read 7 this year, and that was stalled by not owning 2 of them, so I will aim to read 8 of these in the year.
(r) Set in Regency Period
(g) Set in Georgian Period
(h) Set in prior historical Periods.
✔️ The Black Moth (g) 1921 Finished 01Jan18, ****1/2
✔️ Powder and Patch (g) 1923 Finished 05Feb18, ***
✔️ The Great Roxhythe (h) 1923 Finished 30Apr18, ***
✔️ Simon the Coldheart (h) 1925 Finished 7May18, ***
✔️ These Old Shades (g) 1926 Finished 31May18, ***
✔️ The Masqueraders (g) 1928 Finished 17Jul18, ****
✔️ Beauvallet (h) 1929 Finished 08Sep2018, ****
✔️ The Conqueror (h) 1931 Finished 25Dec2018, ****
✔️ Devil's Cub (g) 1932 Finished 31Jan2019, ****
✔️ The Convenient Marriage (g) 1934 Finished 12Mar2019, ****1/2
✔️ Regency Buck (r) 1935 Finished 08May2019, ****1/2
✔️ The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer Finished 10Aug2019, ***
To be Read
An Infamous Army (r) 1937
Royal Escape (h) 1938
The Spanish Bride (r) 1940
The Corinthian (r) 1940
Faro's Daughter (g) 1941
Friday's Child (r) 1944
The Reluctant Widow (r) 1946
The Foundling (r) 1948
Arabella (r) 1949
The Grand Sophy (r) 1950
The Quiet Gentleman (r) 1951
Cotillion (r) 1953
The Toll Gate (r) 1954
Bath Tangle (r) 1955
Sprig Muslin (r) 1956
April Lady (r) 1957
Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle (r) 1957
Venetia (r) 1958
The Unknown Ajax (r) 1959
Pistols for Two (short stories) 1960
A Civil Contract (r) 1961
The Nonesuch (r) 1962
False Colours (r) 1963
Frederica (r) 1965
Black Sheep (r) 1966
Cousin Kate (r) 1968
Charity Girl (r) 1970
Lady of Quality (r) 1972
My Lord John (h) 1975
The building above is an Orangery. In the 18th century, having one of these showed you'd made it to the top of the social tree. They were a glorified greenhouse, for the growing of exotic plants in the miserable English climate. They were positioned to take advantage of what sun was available, often on the edges of walled kitchen gardens. The gardeners of the day alos used to make use of tricks like having the compost heap on the back wall, to provide warmth to the fruit trained on the other side of the wall.
these days they are often converted to make attractive tea rooms or resturants with a garden view.
The example above is at Belton House, which is in the hands of The National Trust
The books to accompany the Orangery are those that have won or been shortlisted for the Orange Prize in any year. I know it has changed its name now, but it'll always be Orange to me. I'd like to taarget reading 6 in the course of the year.
1. How to be Both, Ali Smith
2. The Glorious Heresies Lisa McInerney
3. Circe Madeline Miller
4. Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
5. May we be Forgiven, AM Homes
6. The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
7. The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
This building, which is both small and slightly short on sides, is Rushton Triangular Lodge. It is an intricately decorated building, the original use of which is not entirely clear. It is generally accepted as having been used by a warrener, overseeing the safety and health of the local warren. Yes, it could be the most highly decorated bunny keeper's house. It is the decoration that makes this special though. It was built in the Elizabethan by a catholic who was less than secretive about his faith. He was imprisioned more than once, died in the tower and left the family in poverty when the estates were confiscated. Relatives of the family were involved in the Gunpowder plot. The decoration is in multiple of 3 (the holy trinity) and gets a lot more complicated from there. There are inscriptions that run around the walls and the windows make cross patterns when viewed from inside. If you knew what you were looking for, this building would have been a dangerous statement of faith.
The lodge is now in the hands of English Heritage
The size (and shortage of walls) makes this the perfect choice for short stories. Since my commuting time has reduced, I've taken to listening to short stories on audiobook in the car, on the grounds that I can stop between short stories without too much difficulty, or recap from the beginning as I set off next time. No numbers here, as it's a bit of a variable feast!
1. Wrote for Luck, DJ Taylor
2. Distant Voices, Barbara Erskine
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle
4. The Lemon Table, Julian Barnes
5. For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
6. A Good Hanging and Other Stories, Ian Rankin
7. The Darkness of Wallis Simpson and other stories, Rose Tremain
8. Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay
9. Means of Evil and Other Stories, Ruth Rendell
10. A Silent Wooing, John Galsworthy
11. Marrying off Mother and Other Stories, Gerald Durrell
12. Passers By, John Galsworthy
13. The Scent of Almonds and other Stories, Camilla Läckberg
14. Far Eastern Tales, W Somerset Maugham
15. Octopussy and The Living Daylights and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
16. The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories HP Lovecraft
17. Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories, Colin Dexter
18. Loch and Key, Seanan McGuire
19. The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
20. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
21. Reader, I Married Him, Tracy Chevalier
22. Classic tales of Hauntings, various
23. War by Candlelight, Daniel Alarcon
24. Terry Deary's Knight's Tales, Terry Deary
This imposing building is Apsley House, most famous for being the London residence of the Duke of Wellington.
Apsley House is maintained by English Heritage
Apsley House also bears the fabulous address of No 1, London. And when you number a list, you start with number 1, so this is the place for that monster list, the 1001 books you should read before you die. As I'm a sucker for a good list, and the combined 1001 list (comming in at ~ 1300 books) is too good to pass up. I may not finish them, but it certainly gives me a good stock of titles to work my way through. I'm currently at 114 titles read. I would like to read at least 6 in the year, 10 would be excellent.
1. The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
2. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
3. Atonement, Ian McEwan
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle
5. The Absentee Maria Edgeworth
6. The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
7. The Monk, Matthew Lewis
8. Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
9. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
The attra ctive courtyard and house above is Chiswich House, an estate that was once in the countryside surrounding London, but is now an oasis of green in the sprawling metropolis. It is built in the neo Palladian style.
Chiswick House is now in the hands of English Heritage
As the palladian style was first used by Palladio in the villas in the vicinity of Venice and then across italty, this is an imported style. Like all foreign ideas, it doesn't always travel well; loggia and the like are all very well in a warm Italy, but less suited to a cold wet climate. Having said that, it does work well for my aim to read more books that have been translated into English from foreign languages. This is a new category, so I will aim at 4 for the year.
1. The Saga of the Volsungs, Anon
2. The Last Summer Ricarda Huch
3. Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
4. And the Wind sees All, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson
5. The Scent of Almonds and other Stories, Camilla Läckberg
6. Homeland, Walter Kempowski
7. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
This is an image of a most unusual building, it is a Jacobean riding house. William Cavendish was a man on the move, trained in France, he introduced the young Prince Charles (the future Charles II) to horsemanship. After the restoration of the monarchy, he returned to his family's estate and built Bolsover castle as a family retreat. It was sibsequently extended to include a large wing to impress the hoped for royal guests. The final buildings on the site were his riding house. He was the author of a book on horsemanship that we would recognise as the origins of dressage. The book is not entirely outmoded now, with his insistence on working with the horse than against it.
Bolsover Castle is maintained by English Heritage
As this is the last historic house/castle/building I visited (last weekend) I am using this to house those authors who are new to me. This is another new category, but it is one I have done before. Target is 12 new authors in the year, averageing one a month.
1. The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
2. How to be Both, Ali Smith
3. Wrote for Luck, DJ Taylor
4. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
5. Atonement, Ian McEwan
6. Distant Voices, Barbara Erskine
7. Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
8. Munmun, Jesse Andrews
9. The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman
10. The Glorious Heresies Lisa McInerney
11. The Crossing Places, Elly Griffiths
12. The Last Summer Ricarda Huch
13. The Monk, Matthew Lewis
14. Invisible Agents, Nadine Akkerman
15. Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
16. May we be Forgiven, AM Homes
17. Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
18. Marrying off Mother and Other Stories, Gerald Durrell
19. Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies
20. And the Wind sees All, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson
21. The Scent of Almonds and other Stories, Camilla Läckberg
22. Homeland, Walter Kempowski
23. Far Eastern Tales, W Somerset Maugham
24. Little, Edward Carey
25. The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories HP Lovecraft
26. The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope
27. Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories, Colin Dexter
28. Loch and Key, Seanan McGuire
29. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
30. The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
31. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
32. The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
33. War by Candlelight, Daniel Alarcon
34. Terry Deary's Knight's Tales, Terry Deary
This is Souter Lighthouse, set on the Northeast coast, just south of Sunderland, midway between the Tyne and the Wear. Opened in 1871 Souter is an archetypal lighthouse, hooped in red and white. Souter was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. I didnl;t realise that each lighthouse not only casts a rotating beam, but that for each lighhouse the frequency and number of flashes is unique. They're not all just one light going round. It's to help with identifying the lighthouse when at sea. Well I never.
Souter Lighthouse is not longer a working house, and is now in the hands of
The National Trust
As Lighthouses come in all shapes, forms and ages, I'm going to use this category to record any books that don't want to fit anywhere else, it's the miscellaneous pile. No target numbers here - too many and I will have to rethink the categories for next year!
Ightham Mote (said Ing-am, before you put your teeth out trying to get that out) contains a real rarity, a grade 1 listed dog kennel. yes, really. Built by the owner in the Victorian period, it is some size and fits in with the much older buildings that surround it. It is in the courtyard of the beautiful 14th century moated manor house. It is incredibly pretty, but the practical side of my brain is screaming "but think of the damp". Maybe not for me then.
The dog kennel and the rest of the estate at Ightham Mote are in the care of The National Trust
A victorian dog kennel makes this the ideal house for storing the BingoDog card. I will also include any other list type challenges that appeal to me during the year.
BingoDOG 2019 Squares: The Official List
1. Book made into a movie The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
2. Main title has 6 or more words in it For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
3. Title contains a homophone word (such as hair/hare, slay/sleigh, there/their/they’re) Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay
4. Weather (title contains a weather word, or book involves/centers around a weather event) And the Wind sees All, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson
5. Book has an LT rating of 4.0 or more Munmun, Jesse Andrews
6. Book in translation Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
7. Prize-winning book Atonement, Ian McEwan
8. Children’s/YA book, or reread a childhood favorite Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling
9. Graphic novel The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
10. Food-related title or topic Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
11. Read a book bullet (meaning another LT member inspired you to read it) The Crossing Places Elly Griffiths
12. Book mentioned in another book you have read The Monk, Matthew Lewis
13. Animal on cover/in title/plays a significant role Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
14. Short stories or essays Wrote for Luck, DJ Taylor
15. Debut novel Lady Susan, Jane Austen
16. Book about/featuring siblings The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
17. Book with an artistic character How to be Both, Ali Smith
18. Fairy tale (classic or reworked) The Saga of the Volsungs, Anon
19. Author uses middle name or middle initial The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle
20. Cover has at least two human figures Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer
21. Part of a series Regency Buck, Georgette Heyer
22. Alliterative title Murder by Matchlight, ECR Lorac
23. Topic or character related to medicine/health The End of the Affair Graham Greene
24. Eastern European author or setting The Last Summer Ricarda Huch
25. Read a CAT Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
Goodreads Around the Year in 52 Books
1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
2. A book with one of the 5 W's in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why) The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
3. A book where the author’s name contains A, T, and Y Wrote for Luck, DJ Taylor
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc) Murder by Matchlight, ECR Lorac
5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare
6. A book with a dual timeline How to be Both, Ali Smith
7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2
9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror) Devil's Cub (g) 1932
10. A book featuring an historical figure Regency Buck, Georgette Heyer
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, subject) The White Monkey, John Galsworthy
12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list Circe, Madeline Miller
14. A book with a title, subtitle or cover relating to an astronomical term
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country The Italian Teacher
16. A book told from multiple perspectives The Glorious Heresies Lisa McInerney
17. A speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopia) Munmun, Jesse Andrews
18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR A Silent Wooing, John Galsworthy
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes
22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New Little, Edwaed Carey
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #3 Something Borrowed Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #4 Something Blue The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, AC Doyle
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.) (Cold War) Octopussy and The Living Daylights and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
29. A book published before 1950 The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
30. A book featuring an elderly character The Lemon Table, Julian Barnes
31. A children’s classic you’ve never read The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
32. A book with more than 500 pages Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet The End of the Affair Graham Greene
34. A book with a person's name in the title Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
35. A psychological thriller The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories HP Lovecraft
36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list
37. A book set in a school or university The Last Summer, Ricarda Huch
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel, etc) Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay
39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life The Crossing Places Elly Griffiths
40. A book you stumbled upon Distant Voices, Barbara Erskine
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards
42. A book with a monster or "monstrous" character The Saga of the Volsungs, Anon.
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) (fiction or nonfiction) The House at Sea's End, Elly Griffiths
44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.) For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
45. A multi-generational saga
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.) May we be Forgiven, AM Homes
48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year Atonement, Ian McEwan
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country Far Eastern Tales, W Somerset Maugham
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual) The Absentee Maria Edgheworth
51. A book published in 2019
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
PopSugar reading challenge 2019
01 - A book becoming a movie in 2019
02 - A book that makes you nostalgic Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
03 - A book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction)
04 - A book you think should be turned into a movie The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
05 - A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling
06 - A book with a plant in the title or on the coverThe Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
07 - A reread of a favorite book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
08 - A book about a hobby The Italian Teacher
09 - A book you meant to read in 2018 Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
10 - A book with "pop", "sugar" or "challenge" in the title
11 - A book with an item of clothing or acceessory on the cover
12 - a book inspired by mythology, legend or folklore The Saga of the Volsungs, Anon
13 - A book published posthumously Far Eastern Tales, W Somerset Maugham
14 - a book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie
15 - A retelling of a classic Circe, Madeline Miller
16 - A book with a question in the title Why Don't You Stop Talking, Jackie Kay
17 - A book set on a college or university campus Wrote for Luck DJ Taylor
18 - a book about someone with a super power
19 - a book told from multiple POVs How to be Both, Ali Smith
20 - a book set in space The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories HP Lovecraft
21 - a book by two female authors Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
22 - A book with a title that contains "salty", "sweet", "bitter" or "spicy"
23 - A book set in Scandinavia
24 - a book that takes place in a single day And the Wind sees All, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson
25 - a debut novel Lady Susan, Jane Austen
26 - a book that's published in 2019
27 - a book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling
28 - a book recommended by a celebrity you admire
29 - a book with "love" in the title
30 - a book featuring an amateur detective The Crossing Places Elly Griffiths
31 - A book about a family The Man who Loved Children, Christina Stead
32 - A book written by an author from Asia, Africa or South America Stay With Me, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
33 - A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title The White Monkey, John Galsworthy
34 - a book that includes a wedding Atonement, Ian McEwan
35 - A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter The End of the Affair Graham Greene
36 - A ghost story Classic tales of Hauntings, various
37 - a book with a two-word title Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer
38 - A novel based on a true story Little Edward Carey
39 - A book revolving around a puzzle or game Murder by Matchlight, ECR Lorac
40 - Your favorite prompt from a past Popsugar Reading Challenge
41 - A "cli fi" book
42 - A "choose-your-own-adventure" book
43 - An "own voices" book
44 - Read a book during the season it is set in
45 - A LitRPG book
46 - A book with no chapters / unusual chapter headings / unconventionally numbered chapters The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
47 & 48 - Two books that share the same title
49 - A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories, Ian Fleming
50 - A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent The Monk, Matthew Lew
This gorgeous structure is the Wellington Arch. Built in 1825–7, it was originally intended as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace. At first it stood facing the Hyde Park Screen, but it was moved to its present position in the 1880s. Its original design was never completed, and a controversial giant statue of the Duke of Wellington was erected on top of it in 1846. The quadriga sculpture that crowns the arch today was placed there in 1912. Since then the roads have moved and it sits in the middle of a roundabout, and was London's smallest police station for a time. I love this and the statue that crowns it.
Wellington Arch is naintained by English Heritage
This is a bit of a stretch but as the Wellington Arch is an arch (duh!) and cats are known to arching their back, this is the house I am going to shoehorn my CATs and KITs into. Not sure which one's I'll be participating as yet, this will be updated as they are established.
January: Q, A - How to be Both Ali Smith
February: K, O
March: U, L - The Glorious Heresies Lisa McInerney
April: B, M - Circe Madelline Miller
May: H, V - May we be Forgiven AM Homes
June: J, D
July: C, P - The Blue Flower Penelope Fitxgerald
August: N, I
September: F, W The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
October: G, T
November: S, Y
December: E, R
January: dudes22 -- First in, last out - read one of the oldest members of your tbr - Atonement, Ian McEwan
February: Helenliz -- A book you borrowed to read and still haven't got to Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
March: sallylou61 -- Book acquired on/for trips or for a special occasion
April: mathgirl40 -- Book originally acquired for an LT group read or challenge The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
May: LibraryCin -- Book that I keep looking at, but never manage to open Invisible Agents, Nadine Akkerman
June: donan -- Book bullet (i.e. book suggested by someone else, not necessarily on LT) Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies
July: LittleTaiko -- Book by an author with more than one book on your TBR shelf Passers By, John Galsworthy
August: The_Hibernator -- Book purchased with great excitement and with plans to read right away that is somehow still on my tbr a year later The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane
September: Robertgreaves -- Classics I feel I should read Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
October: DeltaQueen50 -- Book purchased because of its visual appeal (striking cover or colors, beautiful edition, etc.)
November: MissWatson -- Book given to me as a gift
December: RidgewayGirl -- A book I bought because it was so cheap (library sale, remainder table, etc)
January: Your name in print Emsworth's Plum, Linda Newell
February: We need a break The Italian Teacher
March: European Country
April: Tournament of books winner (claiming The Italian Teacher)
June: Playing cards Drew 4 diamonds. The White Monkey, John Galsworthy,
August: School. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling
September; Equinox The Translation of the Bones, Francesca Kay
Number of books: The first three months were a little bit variable, 8, 3 and 7, but that seems to have evened out and increased a bit. 6, 8, 9 in April, May & June has increased the reading rate somewhat. If the second half mirrors the first, I'd exceed 80 books in the year, which is probably higher than anticipated.
The last quarter has been pretty good. The stand out was Circe which I just adored. It's my first 5 stars since April last year, so I'm not dolling out the stars like candy. At the other end of the scale, I least enjoyed Bonjour Tristesse, it and I just didn't connect. There were no more DNFs, meaning that Distant Voices remains the only one.
Challenge 1: Women Authors: 24 books read by women authors out of 41 books. I wanted to aim for at least 50% so I'm doing OK on this one so far.
Challenge 2: Classics: With a target of 6 and 7 completedm this one's finished. That's not to say that I'm going to stop reading classics, of course. But hurrah for me!
Challenge 3: Non-Fiction: 3 in 6 months is much lower than my rate of non-fiction reading over the last few years. And with a target of 10 for the year, I'm waaaay behind schedule. Not actually sure what's going on here. I have a lot of really good non-fiction on the pile to read, I'm just not picking them up. Hmm, must try harder.
Challenge 4: Heyer series read: 3 read in 6 months sees me falling behind my target of 8 for the year. I have enjoying these so I'm slightly surprised that this is not keeping up.
Challenge 5: Orange Prize. 5 read so far this year, with a target of 6 for the year has me a long way ahead of schedule. It's helped that 2 of my book subscription books have falled into this category, that's explained the extra. I should hit target in this category very soon.
Challenge 6: Short Stories. 11 in this category so far. With no target, these are just for fun. I'm enjoying the variety.
Challenge 7: 1001 List: I've now completed 8 from the 1001 list. With a range of 6 to 8, I could call this category a success. The 1001 group reads are helping here.
Challenge 8: Translation: With 4 books in translation finished (and 2 more currently ongoing) this category is also hit it's full year target at half way. I'm enjoying the variety here. There's so much out there once we look beyond the horizon.
Challenge 9: New authors. With 20 new authors out of 41 books read I'm amazed at how varied my reading has been and that this category has also far exceeded its year long target. I'm really pleased with this one. When I am stressed or otherwise unhappy, I tend to retreat into my comfort zone. That this category is running away with itself tells me something very positive about my state of mind. Very pleased with this one.
Challenge 10: Miscellaneous. Nothing in here, but that's not a bad thing. It just means that I've made my categories wide enough to capture almost everything!
Challenge 11: Bingo & other challenge lists: Bingo just has 3 more to do, so I should be able to finish that. Goodreads ATY is as 28/52, so is a smidge over half way done. Popsugar is doing less well at 22/50.
Challenge 12: CATs. Mixed results, but that's OK. 4 out of 6 in Alpha (where I only intended to read one every other month), 5 out of 6 on TBR and 4 out of 6 in Random CAT is fair enough. I'm not too worried about this one, it's just for fun.
All in all, half way sees me in reasonable shape. Some categories are already at target, some, I suspect, are going to miss. But I'll take that, I'm reading a lot that's new and enjoyable, which has to be the aim of the exercise. Let's jump into the second half of the year and enjoy the ride.
Title: Passers By
Author: John Galsworthy
Why: follow on from last year's Forsyte saga read
Categories: classics, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #11. Let's play doctor!
This is a bitter sweet entry in the series. Soames is in the US, having spent the last 6 months travelling around the world with Fleur, in order to help her recover her spirits after the events of the previous book. While sitting near a statue in Washington DC, he hears some people approach, one of whom is Jon Forsyte. He's not seen the young man in a number of years now, but he remains anxious to avoid him and, more importantly, that he not meet Fleur. Back at the hotel he discovers that Jon, his wife and Irene are all staying in the same hotel. That severely shocks the old man and he is unable to get Irene out of his mind. After another tense day when Jon and Michael meet, but Fleur does not seem Jon, Soames hears a piano playing and knows that it is Irene. He cannot resist seeing if it really is her and so the memories come flooding back. He still cannot understand her, they remain as incompatible as ever, and yet, he cannot hate her either. It is a very short interlude, and yet is is very telling, they remain chalk and cheese and yet he cannot quite get her out of his hair.
>21 MissWatson: thank you!
>22 RidgewayGirl: Thank you! The listing book bullets and their sources is a new departure for me this year. I fear that it will very soon run entirely out of control, if that's just 6 months worth of bullet holes! It is nice knowing who to thank (or blame!) when a book is good, but I fear that it may become overwhelming. How else to people record sources of book bullets, as I'm not sure a list will be sustinable in the long term - and I love me a good list!!
At least we have finally had some summer this weekend, it's been gorgeous. I've done some tidying up in the garden, picked my first cucumber, the year's first bowl of raspberries and thinned the grape vine. This is a new planting for me, only went in 2 years ago, and I already have baby grapes growing. Feeling very proud of myself, even though I've had very little to do with it really!
That's looking up through the pergola on which the vine is trained. The bobbly thing in the middle, that's going to be a bunch of grapes (I hope!)
I'm enjoying the books in translation too (many are crime fiction for me).
I was tempted by the Peirene Press link you posted, and the 2 I've read so far have both been good, so thank you for that one. I used to read a lot of crime ficiton, but I don't like gore, so tend to avoid the modern Scanicrime wave.
>27 Helenliz: Good luck with the grapes! The arrival of summer should help. My horticultural attempts have been getting battered with torrential rain. I thought summer had arrived, but maybe not.
Title: The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories
Author: Camilla Läckberg
Categories: women authors, short stories, new author, translation
TIOLI:Challenge #8. Read a book about which you know nothing except the LT rating
This is a particularly unbalanced colleciton of stories. I listened to thi, and at 4.75 hours the main story was a huge proportion of this, comming in at over 3 hours. The other 3 stories were about 20 minutes each. This did not make for an even listening experience.
In the main story, we have the classic locked room mystery, with a death in front of a crowd of witnesses who are then unable to leave the scene, in thgis case being trapped in a hoptel by a snowstorm. One of the guests is Martin Molin, and he is a policeman. I'm not sure what type of policeman, as he seems to go about the investigation that is foisted on him in a particularly amateur way. At times he did seem very young. Some of the questions he seemingly doesn't ask seemed glaring. And, in a house full of motive, he say he can't find one. I could, a great deal of money and a yet to be signed will.
The second story features Martin again but this time he has a detective who seems to know what he is doing. The thrid and forth stories are as much mysterious as detective, as neither is solved, as such.
The writing is OK, and there are some interesting twists on the standard mystery in here. But I'm not sure that the characters grabbed me enough to read more, and the disparate size of the stories in this collection made it an uneven collection. Not a bad read, just not enough to get me comming back for more.
I'm hoping we've finally got some summer, weather was a lot better at the weekend. And I picked my first cucumber from the greenhouse, so finally the produce is on the way. I'm going to treat any actual edible grapes as a bonus - my gardening skills are a touch rudimentary... I'm amazed it's still alive, tbh!
Where: my shelves
Why: Mr B's Subscription
TIOLI:Challenge #12. Read a book with a one word title beginning with a letter of the previous book
Set in the late 1980's this book can feel a bit dated now, things have moved on so much that the political situation, as portrayed in this book, seems barely credible now. But that's to take nothing away from the story itself.
Jonathan is a journalist who lives with his girlfriend in a small attic flat. He gets the chance to write an article for a rally through East Prussia (was part of Germany, now part of Poland) as part of a promotion of a car company. He is invited to visit the area and gather information for the article in the company of a 2 other staff. He is intrigued enough to take the job on, as he was born in east Prussia in 1945, as the Germans fled in advance of the Russian army advancing from the east. Both parents died in this period of time and he was brought up by his Uncle. he sees this as an opportunity to continue to gather information on the great churches of the north, so serving his own journalistic ends as well as a more human desire.
It is a very interesting book, with lots of big themes that continue to trouble us. There's culture clash between the haves and have nots. The difficulty of taking on the sins of the fathers - should the Germans be apologising for events that took place before they were born? The fact that we all need to come from somewhere, but is that somewhere a place, or is it made by people? He visits where he was born and achieves some self satisfaction, but that doesn't change who he is, and the emotional attachment to his uncle.
It was a fascinating book to read, and well worth the effort of getting the different names for the same place straight in your head. Jonathan felt very human and the ending leaves you feeling that he will move forward in life in a positive frame of mind.
Keep us updated on the grapes - I've had about 8 raspberries so far from the canes - not convinced I'll bother in the future.
>36 katiekrug: welcome in, bet there's lots of catching up to do. That's what comes from taking holiday. >;-)
And then I saw an advert by ShelterBox, a UK based charity that provides aid in the wake of disasters. They run a book club, where for a monthly donation, you get a book 8 times a year that is related to their work. https://www.shelterbox.org/book-club. In the spirit of broadening the mind, how could I resist? Well I didn't. So that'll be yet another book arriving through the post to add to the ever expanding tbr pile. Let's put it this way, I'm unlikely to run out of books again any time soon...
Title: The Blue Flower
Author: Penelope Fitzgerald
Why: Alpha kit
Categories: women author, orange prize, CAT
TIOLI:Challenge #9. Read a book (fiction or non-fiction) centered on someone who really existed, with rolling geographical setting/connection
This was an odd book. the writing was, at times, lovely, but I couldn't get into the spirit of it. A fictional account of the early life of the man how later became the author Novalis. he just failed to engage me. Not sure I can explain why.
Title: Far Eastern Tales
Author: Somerset Maugham
Categories: Short stories, new author
TIOLI:Challenge #15: Read a crime/mystery/thriller by an author you’ve never read before from a country you’ve never visited
This was a set of shortt stories that feature, as a common thread, the setting of Malaysia when under British rule. Considering when it was written, there is the casual racism that was prevalent at the time, which is distasteful to a modern sensibility. What is more unexpected is how he approaches women. In 3 of the stories, he allows his wives to leave an unsatisfatory marriage and venture forth on their own into the world with every liklihood of their success. In a forth he excuses what is probably murder on the account of the husband's behaviour. It was quite refreshing.
Not all of them are equally as good as their fellows. They are a real mixture. Mr Know-All has a twist in the tale and is gently mocking. Footprints in the jungle is a crime story that's more howdunnit than whodunnit, but it's nonetheless interesting for that. There is a mixture of 1st and third person narrative, making it a varied colleciton to listen to, this isn;t the same story in a variety of guises.
I couldn't quite work out when these were suposed to be set. My guess would be interwar, but there was no mention of WW1 to give you any certainty of that. I've not read any of Maugham's works before, but if this is any guide, he ought to get more of my attention in the future.
Title: Octopussy and the Living Daylights and Other Stories
Author: Ian Fleming
Categories: Short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #13. Read a book with an author name (first, middle, last) that starts with one of the letters in EDGAR MARTINEZ
I'm always intrigued at how much more subtle the books are than the films. There's something very understated about these stories, with only the vaguest show of flash - Bond's Bentley, for example. They are a mixture, with Octopussy being the remebrances of a Major who went off the rails on one occasion in the war and has been living off the proceeds ever since. He is given time to "consider his position" and so the book ends in not the manner one might expect. Bond acts merely as the catalyst for the tale to unfold. IN Portrait of a Lady, a valuable piece of Faberge art is sent to a double agent, and so begins a tense auction room scene where Bond has to uncover the russian bidder jacking up the price. The Living Daylights sees Bond on a shoot to kill mission which doesn't go entirely according to plan. He's torn in this one, between being good at his job and not wanting to be the one doing his job. You can see it tearing him in two, if this level of tension were to continue. Finally he spends a mere 24 hours in New York, in an attempt to warn a former colleague about a situation she finds herself in, only to discover that the rendezvous does not exist. The tone turns from self congratulatory to very very cross in a moment and manages to be quite farcical!.
They are very much set in the early 60s, when the world was a bit more drab and Bond provided an element of escapism. The world is no less dangerous, but Bond of the books has certainly been locked in a past time. It is an enjoyable way to while away a few hours, but I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
I found that too. My friends and I were avid Ian Fleming fans when I was a teenager and devoured all the books. After a few decades of watching Bond movies, I have re-read some and found them surprisingly good. Coincidentally, Ian Fleming was one of the personages in Operation Mincemeat: the true spy story that changed the course of World War II by Ben Macintyre, a brilliant book that I read recently.
My first Shelterbox book club decision, which do I want to read?
Pynter Bender by Jacob Ross
"In a Caribbean village perched above can fields, a woman gives birth to twins. The second child, Pynter Bender, is born blind two days after the first; a sign, his family believes, that he will not live to adulthood.
When, as a young boy, Pynter's sight is miraculously restored, a landscape of luminous physical beauty is revealed to him, but so is the unrelenting hardship faced by his family of formidable women, for this is a world where men leave their families and never return.
And, as this West Indian nation struggles to shuck off the systems that have kept them shackled for centuries, those who remain must fight for a better life.
Mosquito by Roma Tearne
"When author Theo Samarajeeva returns to his native Sri Lanka, he is in search of inspiration in the lush landscape of a beautiful but increasingly war-torn land.
Soon the widower finds friendship with a budding artist, sixteen-year-old Nulani. Gradually, love blossoms between them - only to be torn apart when tensions in the troubled country erupt into violence.
How will they survive the terrible consequences? And what will the grief and horror they have endured mean for those around them?
This is affecting story of love, loss and exile - and the power of hope.
War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon
"This extraordinary collection takes the reader from Third world urban centres to the fault lines that divide nations and people. In these stories an unrepentant terrorist remembers where it all began; a would-be emigrant contemplates the ramifications of leaving and never coming back; a reporter turns in his pad and pencil for the inglorious costume of a street clown.
In Alarcón's haunting landscape, wars both national and internal are waged in jungles, across borders, in the streets of Lima, and in the intimacy of New York apartments. These are the stories of those who live at the margins of the not-quite-globalised world - The people who never feel at home in the cities in which they were born."
Author: Edward Carey
Where: MrB's Subscription
Why: In danger of falling behind on subscriptions...
Categories: New author
TIOLI:Challenge #7. Read a book with at least 1 U.S.A. citizen and 1 French citizen
Told in the first person, this is a ficitonal account of the life of the person who became famous as Madame Tusaud, she of the waxwork museum. She goes through quite a life before becomming a respectable old lady. Starting life as an orphan, she becomes a servant and an oppressed servant at that. She then has a stroke of luck and becomes a servant to a member of the royal family, only with the revolution on the horizon, this turns out not to be quite the stroke of luck that it might have been. Throughout it all she is working on the wax works and their story is almost as engrossing as hers, the heads she casts and the waxworks produced go through the mill at times. She is a tool for propaganda and entertainment, but is that also appealing to the lowest of the low?
It's all very immediate, being in the first person, and the story drags you onwards. It is also illustrated with images of the heads and other items described. It has certain quirks, repeated phrases appear in certain chapters as a device, which works until you notice it is a device, then it becomes mildly annoying.
She goes through a lot, but comes into her own in the end. And it is the ending that, I feel, lacks something. After the detail of the preceeding chapters, her life in London is barely a postscript, how both her boys come to join her is left unsaid, it almost felt like the author had hit a page limit and had to stop. Apart from the slightly rushed ending, though, it was a good read.
>61 RidgewayGirl: I know, it sounds like a great scheme! Each time there are 3 options voted on and the winner is sent out for discussion. If it proves to be a success mayber it will be rolled out, but I should imagine overseas postage would make it less of a money raiser. That is, after all, their intent.
>62 charl08: That's my problem! I think I could quite happily read all 3. LT ratings are 3.7 to 4.1, so not a lot to choose between them their either. I might resort to ip dip!
I also like how you think as far as bringing enough books on your trips!
Title: The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories
Author: HP Lovecraft
Categories: New author, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #14. Read a book with a title of at least 4 words (subtitles excluded)
OK, I get that he's a trailblazer for the sci-fi genre and sets the ground for a lot of writers to follow - but that doesn't make this collection any more enjoyable. That may be the material, or the narration, but I suspect is due, in part to both. the text was somewhat overblown and florid, while the narrator did a very fine line in high Victorian melodrama - neither of which are really to my taste. I finished it but as much because there was nothing good on the radio that because I was enjoying it. I can appreciate the inventiveness of some of the stories, the horror is dredged out of seemingly normal situations with some ease. And I can appreciate the way he sets a scene, be that on this world or another. But I can't past the over the top ness of the colleciton and that is my lasting impression. he may be great and loved, but based on this, he is simply not for me.
>68 LisaMorr: Thank you. >:-) My volume of A Modern Comedy is from the library and I am running short on renewals! Only the one more novel to go and that can be returned. I will then probably order the final trilogy and not read it until I'm made to feel guilty!!!
Had an epic day today, customer meeting in the morning (which went as well as these things ever do) followed by an afternoon off on the hottest day of the year, with BBQ & pool party at the boss' house. I did debate the swim suit decision (do my colleagues really need to see that much of me?), but decided what the heck and went with it (although I need a new one, having lost weight and 5 cup sizes since I bought this swinsuit, it was a leetle spacious). Pool was fabulous in this weather, and we had a great time. Although I was making notes when someone intigated a game of "let's tip the quality manager off the inflatable" and there will be retribution... 3:-)
Tomorrow will be a bit of a bump down to earth, as I have a technical file to review and drawing revisions to cross check, which will be a lot less fun!
>71 rabbitprincess: I realise I'm the oddity, but I quite like the heat, it's cold I struggle with. I've even shed my cardigan on occasions in the last few weeks, and that almost never happens. >:-o But the dip in the water every now and then was a excellent way to spend a hot afternoon.
Title: The Three Clerks
Author: Anthony Trollope
Why: Lyzard's shared read
Categories: New author, Classic
TIOLI:Challenge #3: Read a book where one of the title words begins with the letter “C”
This is my first time reading Trollope, but it's not likely to be my last. This is more of an ensemble piece in that none of the 6 main characters can be said to be hero or heroine material or the be the real leads. They also are not painted in black and white, they have their strengths and weaknesses. No one is entirely good or entirely evil, even the person who falls the lowest is lead astray. It acts better as a tale reflecting society than as a character study. Again it makes me quite pleased I'm not living in that period, the constraints placed on both men and women by the rules of society would be somewhat restricted. It's interesting in that opportunities for socialising were severely restricted, especially for young women. I have to say that I quite liked the inventiveness of the supporting character naming, some certainly made me snort.
Well I never, that makes 50!
Well done, and congrats on 50!
I have answered your last question to some length on the main thread, but as I also said there, I hadn't realised this was your first Trollope of all! - I guess I just naturally assume that everyone's reading him! :D
There certainly will be more group reads and I hope you've enjoyed this enough to join us.
Title: The Talisman Ring
Author: Georgette Heyer
Where: Mum's collection
Why: Heyer Series read
Categories: Female Author, Heyer Read
TIOLI:Challenge #8. Read a new-to-you book by one of the authors you've listed as a favourite on LT
This is almost claustrophobic in its tightness, with a very limited cast of characters and locations. It also, at times, verges on the ridiculous in its plot and the strategems that are used to try and obscure a certain person's identity and to unmask a second. But despite all that it is quite hilarious fun. To some extent, the back story is redundant, heir to a baronetcy is suspected of murder, hustled out of the country and now turns out to be a smuggler. Arrives back on his own patch as he inherrits only he can't due to aforesaid black mark against his chararcter. Cast of cousins and hangers on try and unmask the person who did the deed and framed the unlucky heir. And that's about as substantial as the plot gets. But, you know what, it made me chortle and a book that does that is no bad thing.
A day of mostly travelling sees me all the way through this and a good 2/3rds through the next book, so while I'm now knackered, it was not all a waste of time.
>79 Tess_W: Thank you! on both counts!!
An important book too, because it's the one (chronologically speaking) where Heyer's romantic focused shifted from the obvious couple to the less obvious couple. :)
It's standard to start people off on the Barchester books (as I did!), and I've so far found it a reliable manoeuvre, but yours is a good argument too. The next on my catch-up list is also his next novel, The Bertrams, which is another standalone and considered a step-up from The Three Clerks; I hope you'll feel like joining us when we get to it. :)
Title: The House at Sea's End
Author: Elly Griffiths
Why: It's a series...
Categories: Female Author
TIOLI:Challenge #12. Read a book with a college or university connection
Book 3 in the series featuring Ruth Galloway, a lecturer in archeology who gets herself muddled up in murder investigations becasue she's called in to review the bones. In this case, there are 6 bodies found in a crumbling cliff. They could have been there for some time, and the fact that they had been bound before being shot makes this a murder case for sure. And that is just the start of a story that uncoveres more than just the bones in the cliff. It is quite a dark tale and resolves itself into two parallel tales, the modern and the recent. As usual, Ruth manages to run herself into a mares nest and needs rescuing again. She's trying to juggle motherhood and work and not always doing either very well. I like this about her, she's not super human, she's not trying to have it all, she's feels like a person, not an archetype.
I just wish she'd sort herself out about Harry... I suspect that's not going to end well at some point.
Title: Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories
Author: Colin Dexter
Categories: New Author, Short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #9. Read a book where the first letter of the first name of the author comes alphabetically before the first letter of the last name
Morse is one of those detectives that, due to the TV series has seeped into the nation's conciousness without you having to read any of the books. This was the first time I've read a Morse book, and the series of short stories set in an around Oxford do not all include Morse. I like him, he's a bit grumpy, he's a bit set in his ways, he's probably a tyrant to work for, but he has a something about him. There's a heart of gold under the gruff exterior, but there's also a sharp inteliigence and a fine knowledge of human nature. Some of these stories feel like they were trial runs for a longer story, it feels like they could be fleshed out, in other cases, it is just the right length. They are, to some extent, dated, the world has moved on to mobiles and the like, while Morse continues to exist in a world where there are pay phones on the corners of roads. I wonder if that will make them easier to read in the future as a period paiece, it's almost like it feels old fashioned now, but will be historic in the future.
I couldn't get on with Book-Morse; "my" Morse is Shaun Evans from Endeavour :D
Title: Harry Potter and the Half Blood prince
Author: JK Rowling
Where: Our Shelves
Why: Series read
Categories: Female Author
TIOLI:Challenge #7. Read a book by a woman whose gender is not evident
JK Rowling certainly knows how to string a story together. In this one we have our 3 at that difficult age, 17, having done their OWLs it's now year 1 of their NEWTs, and as well as school and new responsibilities, they are also dealing with falling in (and out) of love. It's a rotten age, and this reminded me of it far too clearly!
And along side that we have the fight of good versus evil, just for a change. Some people show their true colours and something rather nasty happens. Sides are taken and Rubicons crossed. It's anothjer satsfying entry n the series.
I've not really watched a lot of Morse on the TV, so while I'm aware of him, I'm not that invested in the character.
>88 Nickelini: I'm sorry to say that one did not win. I should be recieveing War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon sometime soon.
>89 Helenliz: It turns out we don't own book 7! I thought we had all of them, but no. So that means I neeeeed to buy it, as I can't complete the series otherwise. >;-)
(Not sure I should admit this!)
Title: Loch and Key
Author: Seanan McGuire
Why: Series read
Categories: Female Author, New author, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #11. Read a book following the Man Over Board-rescue-manoeuvre in the first sentence
This is not the first in the series (for which I hope the gods of LT will forgive me).So I did feel a little out of my depth at times, but not too bad. The Healeys are parents, sone and daughter-in-law and they go fishing to a lake. Which just happens to have some plesiosaurs that have survuved in this lake since the dinosaur extinction. Imagine Nessie's North American cousins. These creatures are quite happy to allow the family to go fishing and, in return for not upending their boat, they have their backs scratched and the mites scrubbed off. All so far so good. Only there is a fly in the ointment (when is there not?) and it comes in human form, of the local landowner's niece and her husband, who are both such lovely people that they deserve everything that's comming to them.
I'm not sure what the set up in this particular fantasy world is, but it seems to me to be an interesting juxtaposition of rational and fantastical, but just enough rational to keep the fantastic in bounds. I have a theory that the greatest science fiction makes you take one leap of faith (there are living dinosaurs) and then the remainder of the story is entirely selfconsistent, there are no additional leaps of faith that you need to take for the story to make sense. This short story passed that test with flying colours. I can see myself reading more of these.
for which I hope the gods of LT will forgive me
Ooh, sorry: didn't mean to imply I'm a god! :D
Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Why: MrB's Subscription
Categories: New author
TIOLI:Challenge #10. Read a book with the name Rick or Ricky in the title, author's name, or main character
Well this is inventive! Told almost entirely by the lead character narrating his story to a chronicler, this is a tale set in a land where magic & demons exist and things are not always what they seem. And things have changed, the contrast between the young student and the current innkeeper makes it hard to remember that they are the same person. There is little in the current innkeeper that makes him seem to be the adult he is describing turning into. Although there is the interlude with the spider things (never complaining about a house spider in the bath again after that!). I like that the magic that exists is more a borrowing of energy, you can't just create something, you have to have a link between things and to light a candle, you have to have to take the energy from somewhere and direct it to the candle. It's not a free form of energy, it's a moving of energy from place a to be, and I'm a fan of the 1st law of thermodynamics (nerd alert). It's certainly an invetnive way of making something magical but having a cost associated with it. It's not free of risk or pain, as is illustrated here more than once.
I like the young man at the centre of this story, he;s been through a lot and yet manages to remain cocky and engaging and entirely unsure of himself at one and the same time.
Unfortunately, it is clearly the first of a series, as the story telling has taken 1 day and the hero telling his tale said it would take 3. So there's yet another series to look out for.
And that's a TIOLI sweeplette this month. Does a happy dance. I seem to have fallen one short time after time.
We've had some time off, so I have been doing some reading (^ was 660 pages, so not for the faint hearted!). I've also done some tidying (including clearing the ironing pile) and managed to unearth the sewing machine. I made myself this hanging to go on the study door, to be a means of removing distraction while I'm working. My first attempt at machine quilting, and I am ridiculously proud of myself. >:-)
Title: The Lost Words
Author: Robert Macfarlane
Where: My shelves
Why: fits this month's CAT
Categories: New author, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #17: Read a book published by a two word publishing house
This is spectacular. I bought it after seeing, completely by chance, an exhibition of the artwork. It's a large format book, and the artwork most certainly deserves it. The gold is almost icon-like in its intensity. The printing looses something of the vivid gold, but that is a minor deficiency.
And then there's the text. Each plant animal or bird is described in rhyme and takes the form of an acrostic, with each line spelling out the creature of plant that is the subject of the text. They are mesmerisingly beautiful. Some of them very short, some of them longer. All of them capture something of the nature of the creature of plant. There's lots of fabulous use of language in here, word play, almost tongue twister like word combinations. It's a joy to read.
If you're looking for a special book for a child, a non-reigious christening present, for example, you could do a lot worse than this. It is beautful in every way.
And you can't see the number of times I unpicked bits. The first time I thought I'd finished piecing the top, I found I'd offset the squares by one such that the pattern didn't repeat. So had to unpick that, as I'd never have been able to live with that as a mistake!
>99 Helenliz: I loved The Lost Words too. Gorgeous book.
Just need to gte a dowel to hang it from and then elastic the bottom so that it stays in place.
My only other atttempt at quilting was hand stitched hexagons, started as a cushion, ended up being a king size quilt! Took the best part of 20 years in total. I was keen to try something that was slightly shorter gestation period. Now it lives in the spare room and I curl up in it on my reading sofa from time to time.
We bought The Lost Words for our daughter, you've reminded me I keep meaning to read it myself too.
>108 rabbitprincess: Thank you. It's nothing complicated, just straight lines, but it's amazing how hard they can be! I'm still in awe of some things people produce. Nothing makes you more aware of how difficult something is than trying in yourself.
>109 Tess_W: Thank you. I've seen quilts hung on walls, so figured why not make it to fit a space and hang it on a door. Seems to have worked out quite well, if I do say so myself.
It's bank holiday here today and our last day off after 2 weeks. In fact with weekends and bank holiday, we'll have had 17 days off work. I am actually quite looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, and I think I can remember my password... We've greadually been setting the alarm clock earlier over the last few days, but I still think 5:25 tomorrow is going to hurt...
Barracoon: The Story of the Last 'Black Cargo' by Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston went to Alabama, to interview Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of history. Hurston recorded Cudjo's account of the raid that led to his bondage 50 years after the slave trade was outlawed in the USA.
They talked of Cudjo's memories from Africa, the horrors of being held in a barracoon for selection by Slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 others aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Barracoon offers insight into the legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta
At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity. When her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father’s five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward.
In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, and new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities.
Deola’s journey is as much about evading others’ expectations to get to the heart of her frustration as it is about exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which I have already read)
Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home.
As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.
I'm tempted by the Hurston at present, any thoughts appreciated.
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
Why: ssomeone recommended it.
Categories: New author, short stories, 1001 list, translation
TIOLI:Challenge #5. Read a book with a striking opening sentence
Maybe this was me starting to get used to his style, but I think this collection improved as it went through. It all feels a bit odd and contrived at times, the early stories particularly. Later they feel to have more flow. The later stories also have sly little connections, the author of the (fictional?) book that's the subject of one story is mentioned in a later story, the character of one appears as a reference in another. This helps tie it together as a colleciton. There's enough here to be interesting, but it's not exactly light bedtime reading, it needed some attention.
Title: Reader, I Married Him
Author: Tracy Chevalier and Various other contributors.
Categories: short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #3. Read a book in a genre you've discovered or re-discovered in the past year (short stories)
First up: confession time - I'm not a huge fan of Jane Eyre. It's one of those stories where I was willing her to walk away from him and stand on her own two feet and not submit to convention. As an unequal marriage I always wondered how much chance it had of success.
This book takes the story and themes of Jane Eyre and each female writer has written a short story in response. In some of them it is a continuation of the Jane story (with two quite different takes on the outcome) in others it is the same story told from a differen character's persepctive. Others take the story and transpose it in time and place while others riff on the subject of love and marriage - both good and bad. Several take as their start or end point the final lines of Jane Eyre, and in each story the line has a different twist or emphasis. I really enjoyed listening to these.
My new book subscription has arrived. It's a lovely looking newly published book Mudlarking. Sounds right up mt street. Again. So far, of the books I've read (and I am 1 behind) the lowest score has been a 3 and the average is 4. I'd say they're doing pretty well and might just be my new bestest booky friends .
>97 Helenliz: - What a wonderful wall/door hanging! I would never have known this was your first attempt at machine quilting if you had not pointed this out in your post!
>97 Helenliz: Gorgeous quilt!
Title: Classic Tales of Hauntings
Author: Bram Stoker and Various other contributors.
Categories: short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #11: Read a book with a food word embedded in the title
A set of 16 stories, of a variety of ages, that involve a haunting of some description. A colleciton such as this could become quite repetive, but the combination of different authors, setting and narrators kept the interest levels up. There were few real "wow" moments, but no real clunkers of stories either. A few similarities did creep in, the ghost who needs their murder avenged appears more than once in the collection, as does the miser with the hoard of gold (although the one where the current owner almost destroys the house trying to find the missing hoard did make me smirk). Nothing particularly scary in here, which is good, I don't need a fright while driving!
It's been one of those weeks so far. Spent Sunday night working, then a ridiculously long day Monday reviewing submissions documents and an audit on Tuesday (relatively sucessful) mean that I'm a slightly braindead Helen tonight. Working at home for the rest of the week, which makes things easier, especially as I have a couple of library books that need returning. That's tomorrow's task, get to the library and out again without adding anything new to the borrowed pile!
Title: The Translation of the Bones
Author: Francesca Kay
Categories: women author, orange prize
TIOLI:Challenge #4. Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the phrase “Harvest Moon”
This is a short book with a cast of characters that goes somewhere quite unexpected. It starts as Lent approaches when a young woman, who would once have been described as being simple, sees Christ open his eyes and his would flow with blood. From here the various people in the church and the people they then come into contact with each battle with somethng through the Lenten season until the climax in Holy week. There is a foreboding in here, with the future being the source of concern and worry to more than one character. There is a good mix of people in this book, and the various women are all very convincing, with their hopes, fears and emotions laid bare to the reader in a way that they never are to the people they interact with. For a book that closes with a funeral, it has a surprisingly hopeful tone at its conclusion. It is a book filled with very human people, they could all have been drawn from the life. Very convincing.
>141 RidgewayGirl: I was hoping for a quick swoop in to the self serve and back out again - only time got away from me and I never made it that far. Must do it Wednesday, by which time i suspect at least one of my reserves will have arrived.
I though that LT might approve of my latest crafty effort. I do cross stitch panels for a charity that produces quilts for children with illnesses. The quilts are themed according to the child's likes, so we get a lot of princesses and the like. This one was a Winnie the Pooh theme, so I was able to stitch this pattern again. It was from a kit I bought many years ago. Being able to stitch it again meant that my hoarding habit for patterns was vindicated.
Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: JK Rowling
Why: Harry Potter series re-read
Categories: women author
TIOLI:Challenge #6. Read a booked linked to a specific decade
I can't help feeling a little disappointed that this has finished. I've re-read the series in the last year. Having said that, I did have to go and buy book 7, so I'm pretty sure that was a new read.
I'm not going to try and give a plot synopsis, needless to say that this continues the story from the previous stories. Harry, supported by Ron & Herminone, continues to try to finish the task set for him by Dumbledore. They seem to be growing up in that there is more questioning of the adults in the story, more acceptance that the world is not black and white and that there are shades of grey. The enemy of mine enemy is my friend springs to mind more than once. There are a few elements that explain some of the back story we've been missing in the previous books, Snape, for instance. There are highs and lows, not everyone escapes unscathed. However it remaains a satisfying end to a great series and I've enjoyed revisiting these.
Title: War by Candlelight
Author: Daniel Alarcon
Why: Shelterbox book club selection
Categories: new author, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #10: Read a book where the title starts with one of the letters of "Having fun with TIOLI"
This is the first of the books I've recieved from the Shelterbox book club, and is this is typical, these are going to be very good. Thbis is a set of short stories set in Peru and the US with the link being someone from peru. There is a lot of migraiton, from the country to the city and from the city to the US within these pages. At times it is an uncomfortable read, with violence, war and crime looking large. It does not make for a restful or particularly hopeful experience. But it is not devoid of light and shade or love and humour. In the first story, the prison is known as the University, as that's where you go when you finish hugh school. It's black but it is humour.
The stories don't all work as well as each other, but there are some very good tales in here. That of Fernando and Juan Carlos being probably the pick of the crop.
I'm looking forward to the discussion, to be held in October via Shelterbox's Facebook pages.
Title: Terry Deary's Knight's Tales
Author: Terry Deary
Why: Stopgap download until I can get to the library
Categories: new author, short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #6: The Decade Challenge - read a book linked to a specific decade
This is a fun set of tales of Knights and the things they get up to (not always quite what you would expect). Told for children, it roars along and the author has an ear for rhythm and alliteration in his text. It is not poetry, but it was a pleasure to listen to and I can imagine it working well in that scenario.
I liked that each tale has an epilogue that puts the story in historical context. Each is based on a true story and it puts these details across in simple but informative terms.
Fun to listen to.
>148 rabbitprincess: No need. As secretary, I have a complete set of reports going back to the guild's inititation in 1924.
BUT: there's also a copy of my PhD thesis in the British Library and when I was showing new students how to search the catalogue, I did used to search for me, just for kicks. >:-D
Title: The American Lover
Author: Rose Tremain
Why: Stopgap download until I can get to the library
Categories: short stories
TIOLI:Challenge #1: Read a book by Toni Morrison or a book which has at least one three-letter combination of BEL, ELO, LOV, OVE, or VED in the title.
An interesting mix of short stories, some of which are more sucessful than others. They are set in a variety of times, some contemporary, others set in the past. Some take you somewhere, others seem to go nowhere at all.
The title story was a review of a past, unsucessful love affair, from which she wrote a book, made a fortune and fouind it didn't make her any happier.
Extra Geography was about two teenage school girls who decide to fall in love with the next person they see, who happens to be their geography teacher, and it becomes rather silly and sorbdid from there, chaning their lives not at all and the geography teacher's quite a lot.
A view of Lake Superior in the fall is a retired couple who run away from their lives and their failure of a daughter to the frozen north and find themselves again. It works as a story, but doesn't really address the problem at the centre of the story - which is true to life, we don't do that.
Man in the water feels to be set in a past time, but noting gave the dating away significantly. A fisherman struggles to deal with his wife's death and his young family. His daughter sees a boat sinking and a man in the water, and gains herself some time alone, but to what end is never really revealled.
Juliet Greco's Black Dress is a woman who moves to France to art school and becomes wrapped up in the lifestyle, and invests far too much in a black dress - that comes to grief.
Smithy is an odd tale of an old man who walks a lane and picks litter, he becomes overly emotioanl when a matress is dumped in this lane, which disasterous consequences.
Blackberry Winter is a story of an older woman who has a fall and her daughter comes to stay and look after her for a time. It's the kind of thing a lot of my generation are currently dealing with, older parents who are stuggling to deal with their cuurrent frailtly, their limitations and the fact that parent/child relationships are never the easiest to navigate. It is one thing at least that I'm never going to have to deal with - and that's a strange relief.
Lucy & Gaston - this is probably the one I found most enthralling, Told in two timeframes, 1976 &1944, it tells of an English pilot and his wife one one hand and a French farmer and his family on the other. Lusy is the pilot's wife and he never returns from a misison oevr France in WW2. Gaston is a french farmer whos father was killed on the Caen road and whose son unearths a plane in the boggy meadow. The split timeframe works really well, with the 1844 episodes filling in the back story of the 1976 events. the split tale comes together and it worked really well.
The closing door had Marjorie sening her daughter patience to boarding school for the first time and suffering the pangs of separation from her only child. She sees something of someone else's life and draws her own conclusions. Not sure it worked terribly well, it felt a bit mean to all concerned.
The 21st century Juliette is a diary based story of an upper class girl who has to decide between a eastern European builder and a very rich man to marry. She does choose, but mmore because of circumstances than because of her decision. Not one of those endings that leaves you feeling much in the way of hope.
These were a bit of a mixture, with one real standout and a few that were just meh. I thought the older settings were more sucessful, the two relating to schoolgirls were particularly ineffective.
So quite why I have elephantine butterflies circulating in my stomach, I have no idea. I can do this, I know I can do it, or I wouldn't have volunteered. But still, the nerves set in...
Title: A Woman of no Importance
Author: Sonia Purnell
Why: MrB's Subscription
Categories: woman author, non-fiction, new author
TIOLI:Challenge #2. Read a book with a 2019 copyright
This is such an interesting story told with a somewhat distracting style quirk.
The bad - the style quirk is that at the end of a seciton or chapter there would be some form of statement or rhetorical question in a short sharp sentence that would act as a lead into the next seciton, where the statatement would be immediately proven to be predictive. So an example might be end of seciton 1, "Things couldn't get any worse." Promptly followed by a new section in which something else comes crashing down. It was annoying an seemd to be trying to provide dramatic emphasis in a story that really didn't need any additional dramatic emphasis.
Putting that aside, it is a biography of a remarkable woman who came from a relatively well-to-do background who ended up being one of the most successful agents in France during WW2. She did some remarkable things, and that is before you count the disadvantages against her: female and with an artificial leg. She ought to be a poster woman, and yet I'd not heard of her before.
It's not necessarily an easy read, there is a fair amount of ill treatment of those around her who fall vicitim to some of the more unpleasant elements of the nazi regieme determined to chase her down, and then destroy everything she spent time trying to establish. After the war things get no better, with the CIA hardly being model employers.
There's a lot of detail pieced together here, when you consider that some records have been destryoyed, and some remain underwraps even now, there's quite a few gaps in the record. At times it gets a bit deferrential, lots of reminiscences that are entirely positive. No one is entirely good, there are always some rough edges, and one imagines that someone who managed to achieve all Victoria Hall did wasn't immune to that - she'd have had to have been. All in all it is a very interesting story and told, for the most part, reasonably well. I'm just note sure that the style and balance was necessaruly quite right.
And that sees me finish another TIOLI Sweeplette, second month running. Feeling very proud of myself. >:-) Looking at the categories for October, that's not going to happen this month!