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World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #9

This is a continuation of the topic World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #8.

This topic was continued by World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #10.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jul 23, 2019, 2:05am Top

Time for a cooling swim?

Via WWF .

Edited: Aug 17, 2019, 5:56pm Top

Books read
This month: 14
Last month: 22
Total: 188

August 14
Still Waters (F, Sweden, fiction)
The Uncannily Strange and Brief Life of Amedeo Modigliani (M, Bosnia, fiction)
Making it Right/ Staying for Good (F, US, fiction)
The Catalogue of shipwrecked books (M, UK, history)
Almost Famous Women (F, US, short stories)
Tell them of battles, kings and elephants (M, France, fiction)
The Man Who Saw Everything (F, UK, fiction)
Proof by seduction (F, US, fiction)
Court Number One (M, UK, legal history)

The Bookshop by the shore (F, UK, fiction)
The Wallflower Wager (F, US, fiction)
Good Boy (F, US, fiction)
Night Boat to Tangier (M, Ireland, fiction) Booker longlist

July 22
The Surreal life of Leonora Carrington (F, UK, biography)
The King's Evil (M, UK, fiction)
Fluffy (F, US, fiction)
Charlie Savage (M, Ireland, fiction)
The Countess Conspiracy (F, US, fiction)
Unnatural Causes (M, UK, memoir)
Olive Again (F, US, fiction)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (F, US, fiction)
Grand Hotel (F, Austria, fiction)
A Plague on both your Houses (F, UK, fiction)

Dear Mrs Bird (F, UK, fiction)
All Grown Up (F, US, fiction)
A Clean Canvas (F, UK, fiction)
The Stopping Places (M, UK, travel)
The Man who was Saturday (M, UK, biography)
The Deaf Republic (M, US/ Ukraine, poetry)
Doing it Over (F, US, fiction)
Coldhearted (F, US, fiction)
Machines like me (M, UK, fiction)
Travellers (M, Nigeria/ US, fiction)

The Penalty Box (F, Canada, fiction)
The Wife's Tale (F, Canada/Ethiopia/UK, biography)

August totals
Gender F 9 M 4 Multiple 0
Country/ Region UK 5 Europe 3 US & Canada 5 Africa 0 Latin America 0 Asia 0 Austalasia 0 Multiple 0
Type Fiction 12 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 2
Origin Library 4 Other (incl mine) 10

Netgalley 1

Running totals
Gender F 137 M 45 Multiple 9
Country/ Region UK 52 Europe 37 US & Canada 84 Africa 4 Latin America 3 Asia 4 Austalasia 1 Multiple 9
Type Fiction 153 Poetry 5 Non-fiction 34
Origin Library 74 Other (incl mine) 119

Netgalley 23

Edited: Jul 31, 2019, 8:13am 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
My Sister the Serial Killer (Nigeria) Published by Atlantic (UK)
Zeina (Egypt/ US) Published by SAQI (UK)
Travellers (Nigeria/ US) Published by Hamish Hamilton (UK)
The Wife's Tale (Canada/Ethiopia/UK) Fourth Estate (UK)

Edited: Aug 7, 2019, 2:42pm Top

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

Chester zoo penguins

Austria: The Second Rider Translator Paul Mohr
Bosnia: The Uncannily strange and Brief life of Amadeo Modigliani Translator Celia Hawkesworth (Croatian)
China: Stick Out Your Tongue Translator Flora Drew
Columbia: The book of Emma Reyes Translator Daniel Alarcón (Spanish)
House of Beauty Translator Elizabeth Bryor
Denmark Lone Crossing Translator Charlotte Barslund
Death of a Nightingale Translator Elisabeth Dyssegaard
Egypt: Zeina Translator Amira Nowaira (Arabic)
Finland: Mr Darwin's Gardener, Children of the Cave and Things that fall from the Sky Translators Emily and Fleur Jeremiah
French Canada: We Were the Salt of the Sea Translator David Warriner
France: The Prague Coup Translator ??
The Years Translator Alison Strayer
Tell then of battles, kings and elephants translator Charlotte Mandell
Germany: Dreamers when the writers took power, Germany 1918 Translator Ruth Martin
You Would have missed me Translator Jamie Bulloch
Berlin Now Translator Sophie Schlondorff
The Pine Islands Translator Jen Calleja
The Cleaner Translator Bradley Schmidt
Hungary: Katalin Street Translator Len Rix
Latvia: Soviet Milk Translator Margita Gailitis
Lebanon: Jokes for the Gunmen Translator
The Netherlands: Bird Cottage Translator Antoinette Fawcett
Norway: Out Stealing Horses Translator Anne Born
Russia: The Aviator Translator Lisa Hayden
Sweden: The Forbidden Place Translator Rachel Willson-Broyles
The Wolf and the Watchman Translator Ebba Segerberg
Until Thy Wrath Be Past Translator Laurie Thompson

Jul 23, 2019, 4:56am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

I hope you can keep it a bit cool in the next days...

Jul 23, 2019, 6:55am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Jul 23, 2019, 8:34am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Jul 23, 2019, 9:14am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

>5 charl08: Your library loan list doesn't seem to be getting smaller. :)

Jul 23, 2019, 10:17am Top

Ooo, needed a peek at that diving penguin to cool me down. Getting hotter today.

Edited: Jul 23, 2019, 10:20am Top

>6 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I have the fan blowing. It's mostly making my eyes water.

>7 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley.

>8 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Any sign of a return trip this way, to see the joke that is Boris, PM?

>9 BLBera: Thanks Beth. And yes, it is something I have noticed! ;-)

>10 Caroline_McElwee: In my next life I'm coming back as a penguin, I love that moment of anticipation before the water. Although I better make it snappy before everything melts...

Jul 23, 2019, 10:36am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte.

I love the penguin photos. You've outdone yourself this time.

Sorry about Boris. We know what it is to have a joke at the top. Arggh.

Jul 23, 2019, 12:36pm Top

Happy new one, Charlotte. I love the topper. It's 36C here and I could need some coolness.

Jul 23, 2019, 12:44pm Top

>12 jnwelch: I was no fan of May either, but she suddenly appears in a much better light.

>13 Ameise1: Oof! Someone told me today they were going to a wedding in your part of the world. I hope they are packing sunblock...

Jul 23, 2019, 12:49pm Top

They will need it. These temps will last until Sunday.

Jul 23, 2019, 12:50pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 23, 2019, 12:56pm Top

Re: Boris Johnson's election...

Jul 23, 2019, 1:17pm Top

Sorry about Boris, but then again, we have the Donald.

Jul 23, 2019, 3:45pm Top

>15 Ameise1: Hope you can find a cool spot, Barbara.

>16 drneutron: Thank you!

>17 weird_O: Ha!

>18 BLBera: Too true.

Jul 23, 2019, 3:46pm Top

I find it spooky how alike Boris and the Donald are -- they even look alike!!

Edited: Jul 23, 2019, 4:53pm Top

Now reading The Wife's Tale - fascinating history of the author's grandmother in Ethiopia.

Jul 23, 2019, 3:49pm Top

>20 RebaRelishesReading: Yup. There's a funny photo montage with the combovers being blown in the same direction.

Jul 23, 2019, 8:49pm Top

>17 weird_O: Boris is an unpredictable chump. Funnily enough he wasn't by all accounts an absolute disaster as Mayor of London because he let people with brains run things - hope he does that now.
His winning speech was cringeworthy.

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

Jul 23, 2019, 11:22pm Top

No way I can catch up on the last thread, Charlotte, which would mean really catching up with you.
On the other hand, I'm sorry about the Boris too. I don't think he's quite as bad as the Donald, but when we've all stooped that low, I guess it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
Anyway, thanks for BBs in your opening posts. I wish you happy reading and thoughtful reporting!

Jul 24, 2019, 12:06am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Jul 24, 2019, 12:29am Top

Happy new thread!!

Jul 24, 2019, 1:16am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.
I realise I'm just about the only person, but I quite like the heat. I've even shed my cardigan.

Jul 24, 2019, 2:09am Top

>23 PaulCranswick: Not my impression, Paul. E.g. rather pricey vanity projects. And poor Zaghari-Ratcliffe. She must be despairing.

>24 LizzieD: Any books in particular, there? Thanks for visiting.

>25 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I've not seen you about - must come visit your thread. I've not been around the threads much lately.

Jul 24, 2019, 2:12am Top

>26 Berly: Thanks Kim. My bad eyesight- at first I thought the penguin was necking back a drink!

>27 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I'm sure you're not the only one: it's graduation week this week at work and there is much appreciation of being able to take nice pictures!

Edited: Jul 24, 2019, 2:39am Top

Darryl posted the Booker longlist- interesting range of books.

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments reserved
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer Read
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other reserved
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall reserved
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything reserved
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive Read
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities reserved
Max Porter (UK), Lanny
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World Netgalley
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein Netgalley

Jul 24, 2019, 4:48am Top

In need of a laugh today... (no cats were harmed in the making of this tweet)

I’m fairly sure Larry has actually died of shame here. pic.twitter.com/FiPiYpY30F

— Nick Harkaway (Harkaway) July 23, 2019

Jul 24, 2019, 5:19am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

>17 weird_O: We don't have the Handmaid's Tale in our Venn diagram at least - none of the (mainland) UK political parties is trying to abolish women's rights over their own bodies. In fact, there was a documentary on the US situation on the BBC on Monday night, focusing on Alabama, because the whole idea is just so alien to us. Boris may not be everyone's idea of a great PM but he's not in thrall to the religious right (or in fact to any religion).

>30 charl08: Charlotte, Waterstones emailed me this morning with the longlist, and it does look interesting!

>31 charl08: Love it :-)

Jul 24, 2019, 6:29am Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte. Thanks for posting the Booker Longlist.

Jul 24, 2019, 7:42am Top

>32 susanj67: Hopefully it doesn't give him ideas, Susan. I am wondering what will happen about NI access to abortions - another one of those issues that gets swallowed in the endless discussion of Brexit.

>33 msf59: Darryl gets all the credit there, Mark. I had forgotten, despite only recently reading about it on Deborah's thread!

Jul 24, 2019, 7:55am Top

EdX is doing an intro course on Digital Humanities(from a Harvard team) - they share these sites which are just completely bringing out the history nut in me.

Harvard library have scanned their maps, so you can search for them by all sorts of different criteria. Some of them are So Old! and so beautiful.
I really like this one of West Africa, which has ye olde spellings and flags showing where the French and British were

This is a rather detailed video about the history of monks in Oxford, before the dissolution, reconstructing their presence on maps of the city - maybe interesting for fans of Shardlake?

and this one has lots of photos of men with amazing 19c moustaches...

and this one is just mind-boggling - data on Chinese individuals going back hundreds of years, mapped to see things like how folk with educational qualifications moved across the empire.

Jul 24, 2019, 8:18am Top

Wow, My Sister, the Serial Killer made the Booker long list! Didn't see that coming. I very much enjoyed it, but wouldn't have guessed that would happen.

Jul 24, 2019, 9:01am Top

>36 jnwelch: Nope, me neither, Joe.

Jul 24, 2019, 9:58am Top

>30 charl08: Thanks for posting the list, Charlotte. I'm with you on My Sister, the Serial Killer. I am obviously missing something...

Jul 24, 2019, 11:58am Top

>38 BLBera: I can't see it getting much further, but then, I wouldn't have predicted it getting this far, either!!

It's Far Too Hot. Wishing I could decamp to my local library which had the AC turned up to 11 when I popped in yesterday.

Jul 24, 2019, 4:36pm Top

>26 Berly: I love the penguin/book images this thread turns up :)

Happy new thread, happy reading, happy penguining :)

Jul 24, 2019, 7:44pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte! I saw the list last night and I was quite disappointed. I've only read My Sister the Serial Killer and I might get to Lost Children Archive. I confess that though I have read A Handmaiden's Tale I'm not a fan of Margaret Atwood. She may be a brilliant author and person , but I'm just not a fan. I think part of it that I don't care for dystopian fiction.

The heat in Britain must be unbearable!

Jul 24, 2019, 10:32pm Top

Sorry to hear about the heat. We're in Denver right now and it sure is hot here too. Happy new thread and I can see why you chose the diving penguin into ice cold water for a topper. What a great pic that is!.

Jul 25, 2019, 12:38am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Maybe you need ice cream because of the heat? Hope you are keeping cool somehow.

Jul 25, 2019, 2:39am Top

>40 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. There are some lovely pictures out there.

>41 vancouverdeb: I think there are plenty of books to choose from Deborah - I've ordered several of the ones I've not heard of from the library. Sorry you were disappointed though.

Jul 25, 2019, 2:41am Top

>42 mdoris: I can't quite believe that they've announced trains will be running slowly due to fears of tracks buckling... nowhere near the London temps though.

>43 Familyhistorian: I've bought a bumper pack of ice lollies and am enjoying those!

Edited: Jul 25, 2019, 2:48am Top

Didn't get much reading done last night - did watch this lovely doc series about a project saving Orangutans.


Unbelievably dedicated vets and other carers.

Jul 25, 2019, 5:02am Top

>46 charl08: I love orangutans.

Jul 25, 2019, 5:29am Top

>47 Caroline_McElwee: I think it will be online via 4oD, Caroline, if you missed it.

Edited: Jul 25, 2019, 7:09am Top

The UK's poetry day (not until October) are already recommending new poetry. Including Deaf Republic which I picked up last weekend in Hebden Bridge.

Edited: Jul 25, 2019, 7:10am Top

Duplicate post!

Edited: Jul 25, 2019, 7:11am Top

Jul 25, 2019, 7:19am Top

>49 charl08: I really must pull Deaf Republic from the tbr mountain.

Jul 25, 2019, 7:49am Top

>52 Caroline_McElwee: I really want to read it, but this hasn't translated into actually reading it yet.

The new issue of Granta turned up yesterday, even though I haven't cracked open the bumper '40 years' edition previous one. Plus the subscription people at Peirene have said that Faces on the Tip of My Tongue is being mailed next week. I may have ordered a book about anti-colonial opposition which turned up as a Complete Brick in a weak moment when I was pretending I was still a student and have the time to read stuff like that and not lose all the fiction time as a result.*
And there are four books waiting on the shelf for me at the library.

I need a holiday (again) to catch up.

*Actual experience of being a student may not resemble, in any fashion, this rose-tinted perspective.

Jul 25, 2019, 8:53am Top

>46 charl08: - Ooo, thank you for that link!

Jul 26, 2019, 2:25am Top

>53 charl08: *snort*. I think my student days probably marked the minima of my reading history!

Edited: Jul 26, 2019, 2:30am Top

>54 jessibud2: It's a lovely programme!

>55 Helenliz: Surely not, Helen!

I read Deaf Republic last night - powerful stuff, very topical politically. I can't say I loved any of it though.

I started reading Ian McEwan's new one Machines like Me. I'm only near the start but it's an intriguing idea: an alternative UK with androids.

Edited: Jul 26, 2019, 3:24am Top

From the garden.

Doing it Over new series (to me) by Catherine Bybee. Three friends meet up for their ten year reunion, things haven't quite gone to plan for Melanie, and she's thinking about moving home permanently. A bit more drama than I was expecting in a contemporary romance, it nearly fell foul of my kidnapped women filter but ultimately a neatly done genre read.

Jul 26, 2019, 6:19am Top

>46 charl08: There's one about hippos on BBC2 tonight with David Attenborough, which looks good too.

>58 charl08: Heh :-) You're evidently making up for my measly two current hard copy loans. Some of those look excellent!

Jul 26, 2019, 9:46am Top

I'm thinking I could almost make a title poem out of them, Susan, clearly a sign I should Cut Back A Bit...

The wife's tale
You don't know me
The age of surveillance capitalism
Goodbye Lucille

After she's gone
Tell them of battles, kings, and elephants
You will be safe here
The Parisian

Jul 27, 2019, 1:43am Top

>45 charl08: Did any tracks buckle? On our news tonight they showed salt trucks spraying the roads in the Netherlands so that they wouldn't melt and stick to car tires. Stay cool!

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 1:50am Top

Hurray - it's raining and the temperature has dropped back down below 20 degrees. >61 Familyhistorian: They did report this was a concern, but I didn't hear any more about it.

Guardian Reviews Non-fiction

Two books about Crosby, Stills and Nash...one by David Browne and one by Peter Doggett reviewed by Richard Williams
"Peter Doggett, in the better of these two books, puts it neatly: “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have spent approximately two of the past 50 years as a functioning band and the other 48 years fending off questions about why they are no longer together.” Both he and David Browne, his rival author, strive to answer the question of how so brief and turbulent a heyday could have left so lasting an afterimage."

Had to search for them on Spotify, although the name sounded familiar.

Jul 27, 2019, 1:55am Top

The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson reviewed by PD Smith
"...we can all make a difference by having wildlife-friendly gardens. Packed with remarkable details about the roles played by such unexotic creatures as ants and earwigs, the book shows how anyone lucky enough to have a garden or an allotment can transform it into a refuge for threatened flora and fauna. From attracting pollinators to creating environments for bees to nest in, this is an excellent guide to green gardening. Gardening to save the planet is not that difficult, Goulson assures us: grow a variety of flowers, such as foxgloves for long-tongued bumblebees and thyme for honeybees, honeysuckle for butterflies and even ivy (there’s a species of bee that depends on it)..."

I guess I shouldn't have cut back all the ivy. Maybe time to dig a pond?

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 2:00am Top

Stop Being Reasonable by Eleanor Gordon-Smith reviewed by Jonnie Wolf
"...explores how we really go about changing our minds. Her approach is to probe six real-life stories of people who have had to radically rethink in high-stakes situations. Like Dylan, who, in a flash of insight, realises the apocalyptic cult that he was born into is bogus. Or upper-crust Alex, who appears on a reality TV show in which he has to fake it as a London bouncer and ends up with an unrecognisably new identity."

This sounds really interesting - I like the idea of thinking about how people do change their minds (and why they don't).

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 5:48pm Top

Livingstone's London reviewed by Owen Hatherly

"...rambling about a variety of London-related subjects..."

Nice cover!

Jul 27, 2019, 2:13am Top

Fangirls by Hannah Ewens reviewed by Fiona Sturges
"...as the American music critic Jessica Hopper once tweeted: “Replace the word ‘fangirl’ with ‘expert’ and see what happens.”
Rejoice, then, for the Vice journalist Hannah Ewens’s calm, thoughtful and illuminating study of female fandom, which not only challenges such dismissive attitudes but actively highlights and celebrates young girls, their musical obsessions and their impact on the artists they champion. These are the consumers who often make up a band’s core constituency, spending money on albums, concert tickets, merchandise and meet-and-greets, and who gather on social media and online forums, which they see as safe spaces where they can talk about their sexuality, mental health and friendships. Fangirls is about the ways that girls show their love for music, how it makes them feel and affects their sense of self..."

As someone who is not a fan of music concerts, and so pretty much missed this (except for the girl at my school who camped outside one of Take That's house in the 90s) this is intriguing.

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 2:18am Top

The English Job by Jack Straw reviewed by Andrew Anthony
"...explains the peculiar circumstances of a country finely balanced between becoming a nuclear power and risking international isolation. It’s written in a manner that is balanced, dispassionate and yet sympathetic to the Iranian people.... is a nation that remains anachronistically fixated on the UK, as if it were a superpower capable of extraordinary influence far beyond its shores. There is a reason for this. Britain did once fit that description, and there were few countries in which its long and clandestine reach was felt with more resentment than in Iran."

Sounds interesting.

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 2:25am Top

The Great Romantic by Duncan Hamilton reviewed by David Kynaston
"...where Hamilton really scores is in his candid treatment of Cardus in the years after he won almost instant fame for his cricket writing ....In the end, of course, it is the work that counts. Cardus was a wonderful and innovative cricket writer for many reasons – evocation of atmosphere, a rich aesthetic sense, heightening the drama of the contest, an almost uncanny grasp of what the spectators were thinking and feeling – but above all because he understood and made human, as rich, three-dimensional characters, the cricketers themselves.... No one before Cardus had remotely conceived in this way of cricket’s literary possibilities; and for all the excellence of disciples like RC Robertson-Glasgow and Alan Ross, as well as Arlott, no one has quite matched him since."

Er, lovely cover!

Jul 27, 2019, 3:22am Top

>62 charl08: It's also pouring down here, and beautifully cool. Yay! I will have to go to Westfield to stay out of the rain and get some steps in. Oh well, needs must...

Thanks for the book reviews - >64 charl08: looks very good and I'm also tempted by >67 charl08:.

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 7:02am Top

>62 charl08: - Thanks for this, Charlotte. I am sending this to a friend who has a rock and roll library. She is an absolute fiend about R&R.

>63 charl08: - This looks lovely. My garden space is small but I have packed it full and have seen lots of bees, though fewer butterflies than I had hoped. I am always looking to plant to attract the good guys for the environment! This book has a lovely cover, too. Just last week I bought a book that reminds me of this cover, also very pretty: Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively. Which was, according to the cover, a Booker Prize Winner! I see in the touchstone that the cover for the Lively book, though beautiful, is not the one I have. If you look on the right side, at the alternate covers, mine is the one with the white background, the first one pictured.

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 9:22am Top

>70 susanj67: I'm watching the rain from safe inside, Susan. Planning to do very little. Might try some walking tomorrow.

>71 jessibud2: I've read one of his books about bees- some amazing stories.

(From the garden at work)

Jul 27, 2019, 9:57am Top

>72 charl08: - Beautiful, Charlotte! Are those lilacs?? Our lilacs are long gone, one of the first in the spring but don't stick around for long.

If you don't mind a hijack for a moment, here is one of my favourite photos I've ever taken, at a garden centre, while shopping around. This guy was so laden with pollen, that he was moving rather slowly, allowing me to follow him around for the perfect shot. I have made this pic into cards, too. Your pic, above, reminded me of it:

Edited: Jul 27, 2019, 10:59am Top

>73 jessibud2: Lovely picture! Hurray for the bees.

(And no, Lavender.)

Jul 27, 2019, 5:45pm Top

>64 charl08: I'm about to start this tonight Charlotte.

>68 charl08: pffft re cover...

>72 charl08: good catch.

>73 jessibud2: beautiful shot Shelley.

Jul 27, 2019, 9:44pm Top

I'm dating myself but I love Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, both together and individually. A blast from the past. I must look for my CDs. :)

Lovely garden pics.

Have a great weekend, Charlotte, and thanks for the reviews.

Jul 28, 2019, 3:09am Top

>75 Caroline_McElwee: Ooh, I will head over to your thread. It sounds like such an important book, especially right now. The eg the review gave of how she got into the field, about tackling guys who were catcalling just made me stop completely: really engrained not to engage with people like that!

>76 BLBera: Beth, the CRN lack of recognition was mostly my lack of names of bands to go with songs. As I was listening found several I could sing along to - The Marrakesh Express used to be on the radio all the time - such an upbeat track.

Jul 28, 2019, 3:46am Top

Machines like Me

Charlie buys Adam, one of the first publicly sold human like robots. He really wanted an Eve, but they all sold out first. We're left to imagine why that might be. Charlie is not a successful human being: by his own estimation he's a failure at work, and appears cut off from much of society. And what a society! McEwan's had fun imagining what England might look like in the 80s in an alternative technology world: Thatcher doesn't win the Falklands, and practically every car on the road is AI driven. But people are still people, and can the robots handle an imperfect world?

A profoundly odd book - felt like McEwan decided he wanted to write a book about the problems of AI and didn't worry too much about the plot. But plenty of food for thought.

Edited: Jul 28, 2019, 6:12am Top

Back to The Wife's Tale
Aleqa Tsega returned a liqè-kahinat, chief of the learned, of all of Semien and Begemdir. But at the time she understood only that she would have been happier if he had not come back at all...

Jul 28, 2019, 8:27am Top

>73 jessibud2: I love this bee photo! Gorgeous.

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. How is Machines like Me? I have also been curious about this one and have seen very little LT activity on it. Folks here do not seem to read a lot of McEwan.

Edited: Jul 28, 2019, 9:27am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

The CSNY books made me think of a documentary that just came out about Crosby: David Crosby: Remember My Name. In it he apparently acknowledges how difficult he was and the mistakes he made. It's been getting a lot of ink and praise.

What a beautiful voice he had/has. It's probably connected to the documentary name - he did a wonderful solo album called "If I Could Only Remember My Name". A friend and I used it as part of the soundtrack for a student film in high school, and everyone was asking, "Who is that?"

Jul 28, 2019, 9:55am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. There are some beautiful garden photos. Thanks for sharing them.

Jul 28, 2019, 10:29am Top

>81 jnwelch: - That doc about Crosby is currently playing at my doc cinema and I am going to see it next week. I will report back after!

Jul 28, 2019, 1:43pm Top

Machines Like Me sounds interesting, Charlotte. Luckily, it's already on my list -- I'll get to it eventually.

Jul 28, 2019, 1:44pm Top

I saw CSNY in concert in several permutations.

Jul 28, 2019, 2:56pm Top

>80 msf59: I feel like lots of people read Nutshell, Mark?

>81 jnwelch: I'd not heard of that one, Joe. Coincidentally I'd just been thinking about subscribing to a digital documentary service here.

>82 Ameise1: It gives me a lot of pleasure, Barbara. Already planning lots of moving stuff around for next year, and have just bought some seeds for next year.

Jul 28, 2019, 2:59pm Top

>83 jessibud2: Sounds good! Please do report back.

>84 BLBera: He never writes a dull book, although my heart belongs to Atonement shakes fist at him about the ending .

>85 BLBera: Wow. In the two years, or with reunion gigs? Sounds like you would be the perfect reader for the books though...

Edited: Jul 28, 2019, 3:33pm Top

Went to see the Keith Haring exhibit in Liverpool Tate gallery today. Huge exhibit, including some of the iconic protest pieces.

I thought everyone might like this little gem...

Jul 28, 2019, 3:35pm Top

It looks like you had a fantastic day. I like Keith Haring.

Jul 28, 2019, 9:14pm Top

Lovely photos of your garden Charlotte. Glad that it's cooled off for you.

Jul 29, 2019, 2:17am Top

>89 Ameise1: I really liked how they recreated a sense of the art community he operated in: one wall was papered with reproductions of flyers for different art events, and they had video installations of him at work and footage from the ACT UP protests. Gave a sense of him beyond the work.

>90 mdoris: Big relief! A bit soggy round the edges now though. I got soaked on my way to the gallery.

Jul 29, 2019, 2:51am Top

>91 charl08: That sounds gorgeous. I would like to have seen it, too. Wishing you a lovely day.

Edited: Jul 29, 2019, 4:31am Top

>92 Ameise1: Definitely recommended. I was lucky to get a free ticket, too!

Travellers by Helon Habila
I really like Habila, his work is beautifully written and powerful. His last short book was non-fiction about the Chibok girls and was hard reading, but this fictionalised account of the refugee crisis I found really difficult to take and read in small chunks. I think partly because I have sat with guys (and families) who have been through some of what is described here, and they made it, and I somehow tell myself that as a way of living with it. But this book puts all of the pain front and centre: people losing each other, dealing with racism, poverty, endless waiting. Linking the stories is a Nigerian expat in Berlin, relatively well off, with a visa. He encounters his first refugees as a chance meeting, and then is drawn into individual stories. The book hammers home that this is not a crisis "over there" but is woven into everyday life now in Europe, from the Italian town sinking under the weight of migrant arrivals to the deportation trains crossing Germany to return people to the African coast. Unlike in Spring, resistance of the ordinary people to the state's choices appears futile.
Have you ever been on a refugee boat? Pray you never do. Pray your country never breaks up into civil strife and war, that you are never chased out of your home. The boat was really nothing but a death trap, an old, rickety fishing trawler that should have been retired a long time ago. Because we paid five thousand each we got to sit on the upper deck where we could get a bit of fresh air. Some, who were down below in the hold, stacked on top of each other, died within hours of our departure— the children and the pregnant women died first. We saw them bring up the bodies and throw them in the water. Our engine was on fire, the captain wanted to turn back, but we begged him to go on. We would rather die in the water than go back. There was nothing to go back to.

Edited: Jul 29, 2019, 3:48am Top

Some netgalley books to read:

Polly Clark

Three Women
Lisa Taddeo

The Behaviour of Love
Virginia Reeves

The Man Who Saw Everything
Deborah Levy

The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective
Susannah Stapleton

Jeanette Winterson

How We Disappeared
Jing-Jing Lee

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
Elif Shafak

A Stranger City
Linda Grant

We, The Survivors
Tash Aw

Ann Devine, Ready for Her Close-Up
Colm O'Regan

How to Fail
Elizabeth Day

The Chronology of Water

Delphine de Vigan

The Other Americans
Laila Lalami

Jul 29, 2019, 4:07am Top

>93 charl08: I've only read Oil on Water which was a very good read.
BTW the touchstone of the title Travelers leads to a completely different book.

Jul 29, 2019, 4:31am Top

>95 Ameise1: I really like all of his books, Barbara. I'm not sure why the touchstone wasn't working - hopefully fixed now.

Jul 29, 2019, 4:38am Top

>96 charl08: Yep, it works now.

Jul 29, 2019, 2:42pm Top

>93 charl08: I thought this was an excellent novel Charlotte, even if the content was sometimes hard to read. I recommended it for my local reading group, and it was selected for next year, so I'll read it again then. Certainly adding Habila to my list of interesting authors.

Jul 29, 2019, 6:28pm Top

>87 charl08: Let me see - I saw CSNY all together, then CSN without Neil Young, then CS, S solo and I think I saw Neil Young solo as well, but that was later. It was a LONG time ago.

>93 charl08: This one sounds really good. It was on the library shelf, and now it's on my teetering pile of library books -- when I finish The Luminaries.

>94 charl08: Lots of good ones I am waiting for. I was underwhelmed by The Other Americans

Jul 30, 2019, 3:40am Top

>97 Ameise1: Good stuff.

>98 Caroline_McElwee: I agree completely Caroline. Just hard to read. Both from the physical tragedies and loss of life pov, and the sense of waste of potential- so much hope gone to waste. I read the opening sections in Berlin and liked his descriptions of being a new visitor to a new city. His first novel Waiting for an Angel is my favourite I think. Similarity in that states getting things wrong and affecting the little person, but set in Nigeria under ?Abacha (I think, it's been a while since I read it!)

>99 BLBera: I am such a bad concert goer. I often get bored. I always feel that I should be trying harder!

Hope you get to The Travellers before that pile wobbles too far...

Jul 30, 2019, 1:58pm Top

>88 charl08: What I like about Keith Haring is that I recognise his works immediately. You did choose the right picture for us, booklovers :-)

Jul 30, 2019, 2:35pm Top

>101 FAMeulstee: I may have taken a few more pictures...

Jul 30, 2019, 3:03pm Top

>102 charl08: Ohh wow, thank you, Charlotte!

Jul 30, 2019, 3:20pm Top

And, for a while, the world's largest jigsaw puzzle was a Keith Haring one: http://www.largestpuzzle.com/

(It's not any more - the largest is now 42,000 pieces).

Edited: Jul 31, 2019, 8:15am Top

>103 FAMeulstee: I wondered if it might travel, Anita: certainly deserves to, imho.

>104 susanj67: Interesting! Since I am challenged by ones labelled as for children, I might pass on that, though :-)

Edited: Aug 1, 2019, 1:49am Top

The Penalty Box
This is a hockey romance (IblameKatie) although I am not impressed with the author, who borrowed from my least favourite contemporary crime fiction trope and really if it's in romance novels When Will This End? Also, don't start me on the attitude to the Russian mob.
(but very readable, nonetheless)

The Wife's Tale
Light rains, spots of fresh green grass. Storks fly north. Women prepare fuel for the rainy season: deadwood, and sundried cow dung coated with mud. Caravans hurry home from Sudan. Fishing in rivers. Children sing of the country’s wellbeing to storks, men and women picnic outside, celebrating the birthday of Mary.-
This was every bit as marvellous as the reviews and prizes suggest it is. The author tells the story of her grandmother, who was married as a child and by virtue of a long life saw huge change in Ethiopia. She lived under imperial rule, witnessed the Italian invasion, and then British bombs. She lived through the takeover of the Marxist-Leninist influenced Derg, and the terrible famines everyone over a certain age will no doubt picture when someone mentions Ethiopia.

This isn't a universal picture: the author doesn't hide the affluence of her grandmother's family. But her privilege meant that she travelled and witnessed more than some, and as a woman her experience across the century is now very much of an almost unrecognisable past, and was of the past even to her children and grandchildren. I loved the way the author structured the book around Ethiopian months, with a description of the season and traditional work.

I had a netgalley copy (and then a library copy - did prefer the paper copy).

... a living room, where, with great ceremony, she installed a radio. It was a huge radio, encased in wood, protected with embroidered runners. Three times a day, every day, she asked for silence, or, if it was not immediately forthcoming, enforced it with a sharp ‘ish!’ then sat down to listen to the news. She listened for mentions of Gondar and of Addis Ababa, for the names of those she knew or had met, and of those, thanks to this amazing box, she felt she was coming to know. She drank in accounts of events across the rest of the country, and in the world beyond its borders, trying out on her tongue the names of foreign leaders, entering, over the following decades, wholehearted into their achievements and their anxieties, weeping for Samora Machel, listening intently to the progress of Indira Gandhi – ayi! If I’d gone to school I could have been like her! – absorbing all she could about the myriad countries in which her children and her children’s children came to live.

Edited: Aug 1, 2019, 2:09am Top

Month in review -July : 22

I read more books by women than men, (Gender F 14 M 8)
Mostly books from the UK, the US and Canada
(UK 9 Europe 2 US & Canada 9 Africa 1 Latin America 0 Asia 0 Austalasia 0 Multiple 1)
About 2/3rds were fiction (Fiction 16 Poetry 1 Non-fiction 5)
Slim majority were mine (Library 9 Other (incl mine) 13)
Read 4 netgalley books.

In terms of new books by authors I like, I loved Olive Again, the new one from Elizabeth Strout, but wasn't quite as convinced by Ian McEwan's latest Machines Like Me. The King's Evil was a strong entry in this ongoing Restoration-set series, and I laughed and laughed at Roddy Doyle's collected columns Charlie Savage. In contrast Helon Habila's take on the refugee 'crisis' in Europe was pretty grim reading.

It was bio and memoir month in the non-fiction group, and I read quite a few, enjoying the accounts of a painter (Leonora Carrington), the author's Ethiopian grandmother and another author's experience tracing his Romany/Gypsy roots (The Stopping Places). I got super frustrated with The Man who was Saturday: still can't get my head round a publisher in this year who allows a biography through editing with the statement that the subject didn't appear to spend time with "floozies". Wtf. I was sad to be underwhelmed by the one book of poetry I read this month The Deaf Republic: may well be my mood though, so will try and pick this up again.

Running totals 176 (NB: I know: these numbers don't work: should have kept a spreadsheet!)
Gender F 128 M 41 Multiple 9
Country/ Region UK 48 Europe 33 US & Canada 79 Africa 4 Latin America 3 Asia 4 Austalasia 1 Multiple 9
Type Fiction 142 Poetry 5 Non-fiction 32
Origin Library 70 Other (incl mine) 110

Netgalley 23

Edited: Aug 1, 2019, 2:25am Top

Spent a very pleasant hour or two last night deleting stuff off the kindle. Like reorganizing shelves without the dust. Deleted lots of netgalley duplicates and articles I'd downloaded in a fit of enthusiasm about how much time I had to read history papers (I didn't have that much time to read them, it turned out, and my kindle didn't make then very easy to read - think they would've been better on a tablet).

Aug 1, 2019, 4:52am Top

>106 charl08: What is your least favourite contemporary crime fiction trope? The Wife's Tale looks good, and I added it to my library wishlist last night.

>109 charl08: Ooh, I'm envious of the Old Bailey one - and I hope it's good since it's my fault :-)

Aug 1, 2019, 5:12am Top

>108 charl08: So now you have more room for new books ;-), Charlotte. Sweet Thursday.

Aug 1, 2019, 7:51am Top

>110 susanj67: where the woman gets locked up in a small room / box / other claustrophobia inducing space and then is horribly treated until (optionally) Rescue Arrives.I went through a spate of them last year and got so sick of it put a couple down rather than read them. I guess various news events probably influenced writers, but it just really bugged me.

And I totally thought that Old Bailey one must be you. Maybe I was looking for one you recommended and this popped up on the library lists. Sorry!

>111 Ameise1: You wouldn't say that if you saw the library pile, Barbara :-)

Aug 1, 2019, 9:42am Top

>5 charl08: I have a question, for you and others who might respond: Why hasn’t Maria Popova’s Figuring walked off with nominations and awards? Or have I just missed them? (OK, that’s two questions … )

Aug 1, 2019, 12:45pm Top

>113 jasbro: Welcome to my thread. Since I have yet to read it, I'm not in a great position to answer you, but maybe someone else will....

Aug 1, 2019, 1:44pm Top

Nice review of Travelers: A Novel, Charlotte. That's definitely one for the wish list.

Did you say "hockey romance"?!

Aug 1, 2019, 2:26pm Top

>115 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl. Don't make me wax lyrical about Habila's amazing books again.

Yup, hockey romance.

Aug 2, 2019, 2:08am Top

Excitingly, I have the day off, and Adventures planned. Court Number One is proving a gripping read, kicking off with the 1907 trial of Robert Wood, an apparently mild-mannered designer, accused of murdering a prostitute.

Aug 2, 2019, 4:45am Top

>112 charl08: I see, and, like you, I'm alarmed that this sort of thing now appears in romances! I mean, held prisoner (of lurv) on a super-yacht by a brooding billionaire until you admit you never got over him and that your twins are his secret babies, sure. But otherwise, no.

>117 charl08: Adventures! That sounds good. Better than my review of the precedents collection, anyway.

Aug 3, 2019, 8:50pm Top

>109 charl08: Wow 22 books on loan from the library, Charlotte! I think the most I ever took out was half a dozen. I am missing the availability of libraries here especially as my disposable income has been disposed!

Have a lovely weekend.

Aug 3, 2019, 10:20pm Top

>118 susanj67: - I second this (re: trope).

Hi Charlotte!

Aug 4, 2019, 8:56am Top

Happy new thread! (I'm a bit behind :)

Aug 4, 2019, 9:56am Top

>118 susanj67: Ah, a prisoner of Lurve. Completely different. What I don't really understand about the drama romances is that by definition the ending is upbeat. So there's no tension, really...

>119 PaulCranswick: Well, actually 20 (because that's the max). I'd just returned the top two. I would miss my library. I still miss Edinburgh's free reservation system.

>120 katiekrug: Hi Katie. It was a bit weird.

>121 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle!

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 4:15am Top

Still Waters
This Swedish crime novel begins a series (! I know, how unlike me!) set (partly) in the gorgeous archipelago. Despite being a playground for the rich over the summer, a body washes ashore and a case is opened. I liked this book which was populated by normal people and no one got locked in a small room. Oh, hang on. Just a lighthouse. Hmm.

Edited: Aug 4, 2019, 12:23pm Top

Visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture park.

Damien Hirst

Katrina Palmer
(Art inspired by the volunteer nurses of WW1)

Edited: Aug 4, 2019, 12:26pm Top

Ai Wei Wei

Alfredo Jaar

Aug 4, 2019, 4:28pm Top

Great photos, Charlotte. Thanks for sharing them.

Aug 4, 2019, 5:05pm Top

Thanks Barbara: it's such a photogenic place, difficult to take a boring picture.

Aug 4, 2019, 6:27pm Top

>124 charl08: >125 charl08: Thanks for sharing the pictures of the Yorkshire Sculpture park, Carlotte, I would love to visit this park someday.
Some intriguing works of art. I could not decipher the small print of the "Public warning", can you tell more about it?

Aug 4, 2019, 8:50pm Top

>124 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I love that first statue.

Aug 4, 2019, 11:06pm Top

>124 charl08: Cool art!

Aug 5, 2019, 1:18am Top

Interesting photos of the Yorkshire Sculpture park. I'm also interested in what it says on the "Public Warning" notice.

Aug 5, 2019, 3:01am Top

>128 FAMeulstee: I did think of you, Anita, and thought you might have enjoyed it. It was a fascinating collection, although I was also reminded of my recent reading around under representation of women's work.

If I do control + (or apple key and +) I can read the info at the top of the warning notice. There's more about the piece of work here though via a picture I uploaded on Litsy's webpage.

>129 The_Hibernator: It dominated the view!

>130 banjo123: I enjoyed it, Rhonda.

>131 Familyhistorian: Hope the answer above helps!

Aug 5, 2019, 3:43am Top

Yorkshire sculpture park is close to my home area, Charlotte and my father used to rent a cottage in the grounds of Bretton Hall.

>123 charl08: I think your touchstone is wrong, is it the Still Waters by Vivica Sten that you are referring to. This was strongly recommended to me by Richard earlier this year.

Aug 5, 2019, 4:16am Top

>133 PaulCranswick: It's lovely, Paul. I'd been before and was amazed to (again) get beautiful weather.

(and yes, the touchstone was wrong. I've corrected it now).

Aug 5, 2019, 4:22am Top

>134 charl08: You could probably get decent odds on a third day of beautiful weather!

Aug 5, 2019, 4:24am Top

The Uncannily Strange and Brief Life of Amedeo Modigliani
Very odd book - called a 'mosaic novel' and translated from Croatian (although the author originally was from Bosnia and now lives in France), short, episodic chapters repeatedly going over the last days of Modigliani's life. Large quotes from Camus on imprisonment and 'magic realist' style reflections on encounters with angels, death, violence, dirt, poverty and sex. A quick read, but not one I made much of.

Aug 5, 2019, 4:45am Top

>123 charl08: Ooh, that one looks good! I feel I should get it, to support orderly reading (see what I did there?)

Excellent pictures from the park, too. I particularly like "Public Warning" :-)

Aug 5, 2019, 7:12am Top

>135 PaulCranswick: I want to go back, but I don't want to risk a complete soaking. Can also recommend the restaurant - gorgeous food.

>137 susanj67: Thanks Susan. Positive reinforcement! Nicely done there.

Aug 5, 2019, 8:37am Top

Great photos, Charlotte. Love the art - you get a double perk -- art and a walk in a park. Have a great week.

Aug 5, 2019, 8:56am Top

I love outdoor sculpture walks. Thanks for the photos. It looks like you had good weather for it. That first one is striking.

Aug 5, 2019, 9:18am Top

>139 BLBera: Yes, although I could have done without the final hill on the way back up to the car!

>140 jnwelch: This is the only one (I think) I have been to - really enjoyed it.

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 11:46am Top

The catalogue of shipwrecked books
I really liked this history of one of Colombus's sons and his passion for books, which led to the creation of an enormous library in 16th C Spain that drew on books from across the European book trade. Despite flood and mismanagement, some of it even still exists. The book (even the paperback) is full of copies of old maps and illustrations, and some brilliant bookish anecdotes, including Hernando's trip to buy books in London. Wilson-Lee makes the case that Hernando's ideas for cataloguing books only really bore fruit once digitisation of catalogues became possible, but his work in trying to create useful summaries and indexes for scholars (as well as the innovation of putting books on shelves instead of chaining them up on tables) means he was way ahead of his time.

Especially the first half, which describes how Columbus involved his sons in his expeditions, this reminded me of The Black Count. The family struggled to get what royalty promised in the way of pensions and other rights, and Hernando was responsible for the first biography of his father that sought to demonstrate (exonerate?) his legacy as an explorer in the face of claims by others.

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 5:23pm Top

Almost famous women
Fascinating short stories inspired by the lives of "hidden" famous women in the early twentieth century, some because they were gay, some circus "freaks", most working in arts or entertainment of some kind. Each opens with a period photo, and in most cases focuses on the end of their lives, what happened after the fame, the heroism, or the money. Beautifully written, with widely diverse lives despite these common themes.

Inclides Romaine Brooks, an artist whose work is now collected in the Smithsonian.

Aug 5, 2019, 6:12pm Top

>132 charl08: Yes, I could read that too (I opened the picture in a new window and enlarged it to full size there), but was wondering if the fine print in between the Horses revealed more. Thanks to the link to Litsy I now think those are the diaries of the nurses.

Aug 6, 2019, 1:39am Top

>144 FAMeulstee: Not sure Anita - definitely the text on the horse jump is from historical letters.

Edited: Aug 6, 2019, 1:51am Top

So now down to five books on the currently reading list

Big Sky (Jackson Brodie) 2019
The Parisian 2019
Red Birds 2018
These Truths: A History of the United States 2018
Eat Sweat Play

Aug 6, 2019, 2:06am Top

Kniphofia uvaria (red hot poker) in the garden.

Aug 6, 2019, 4:15am Top


"In 2014, Carry saw a little library in Golders Green, and decided to take the concept home to Leeds, but thought that it should be an object of beauty, as well as functional. She painted the first box in late 2016, which she set up outside our home, and the following year teamed up with the artist Jacky Fleming and woodturner Dave Ayres to make more, and become Leeds Little Free Libraries. Initially individuals, schools and local businesses applied for them, but funding from Leeds city council ensured that the libraries, some painted by guest artists, could be located in communities across the city."

Aug 6, 2019, 8:00am Top

>147 charl08: that not a very hot looking red hot poker. Do they go redder the longer they are open? My current success in the garden in the agapanthus, which is flowering again.

Aug 6, 2019, 8:46am Top

>147 charl08: They do come in different colours, but this one is a bit redder at the top than it looks here - not sure why the camera washed it out so much. Will update if it gets any redder though. I was gobsmacked that it appeared at all - planted it the year before last and thought it had given up!

4 books have turned up at the library, which is frustrating as I have been reading my own books to try and clear the 'currently reading' shelf - I may have mentioned that I am now down to FIVE!!!

Aug 6, 2019, 12:45pm Top

Urgh. Day of trying to stay alert after a terrible night's sleep. Fingers crossed tonight is better.

Aug 7, 2019, 3:36am Top

Hurray! Much better night. Nearly 10 hours. Feel human again.

Took out two books from the library last night, Night Boat to Tangier and Girl, woman, other, both of which are on the Booker longlist this year. Read (a little) more of Court Number One: the first case seems to have heavily featured the barrister for the defence denying that the accused had a funny walk...

Aug 7, 2019, 5:45am Top

>151 charl08: I slept badly on Monday night too, although the finger of suspicion pointed to a flat white from the coffee machine at 5pm. What was I thinking?!! Glad you're feeling better. I am too :-)

Aug 7, 2019, 6:31am Top

>147 charl08: Pretty!

Hi, Charlotte. Glad you are catching up on some quality sleep. The catalogue of shipwrecked books sounds like a good title. I have added it. How is Red Birds?
For some reason, the title caught my attention. Grins...

Aug 7, 2019, 8:31am Top

Glad you were able to catch up on sleep, Charlotte. I'm one of those people who get any less than 8 hours sleep and immediately feel less-than-myself. Hope you're able to get through those library books in a timely manner :)

Aug 7, 2019, 9:13am Top

>153 susanj67: I ended up doing lots of jobs that required standing or moving. I now have a cleared out desk area, which is a definite double plus!

>154 msf59: It is a great story, Mark. I do love books about books.

>155 bell7: That's me in a nutshell! I don't know how all the new mums do it!

Edited: Aug 7, 2019, 1:53pm Top

Book group this lunchtime was a 'bring and share' meeting, so I brought along Out Stealing Horses and Valeria Luiselli's essay on the refugee crisis and Hells Bottom, Colorado.
I do love/hate giving books away!
Lots of suggestions of new books including a gifted copy of Penguin Classic A Confederacy of Dunces, and recommendations for After the Party and The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.

Aug 7, 2019, 12:02pm Top

>142 charl08: This sounds good - Just reserved a copy at my library.

>146 charl08:!

>147 charl08: Lovely.

Edited: Aug 7, 2019, 2:51pm Top

>158 BLBera: Hope you like it, Beth!

Just finished Tell them of battles, kings and elephants. Wonderful story translated from the French. Short chapters (sometimes just a page long) focussed on Michaelangelo's time in Istanbul, building a bridge over the Bosphurus. The designs still exist in Ottoman archives (although the bridge itself was never completed). Enard captures beautifully Michaelangelo's physicality as a sculptor, as well as the webs of intrigue he was subject to, between pope and vizier and their entourages.
Often one wishes for things to repeat; you want to relive a moment that escaped, return to a gesture that didn't take place or a word that wasn't uttered; you try to find again the sounds that were left in your throat, the caress you didn't dare give, the tightening of the chest that is gone forever.

Aug 7, 2019, 3:26pm Top

>152 charl08: yay for a good night's sleep Charlotte. I too had one of my best nights in a while. My wakefulness caused by pulled ligaments in my arm grrr.

Aug 7, 2019, 4:27pm Top

Ouch! Hope the pain goes away soon Caroline.

Aug 8, 2019, 2:42am Top

Nearly 100,000 Christians have signed a petition to the American Library Association protesting against its support of “Drag Queen Story Hour”, but the ALA has said it “strongly opposes any effort to limit access to information, ideas and programmes that patrons wish to explore”.

Hurrah for the ALA

Aug 8, 2019, 5:24am Top

>162 charl08: hurrah for the ALA indeed- who cares who's reading the books, so long as they're reading the books! :)

Aug 8, 2019, 12:44pm Top

Adding to hurray's for ALA. I saw a clip of those story times a while ago and they looked fun.

Aug 9, 2019, 2:59am Top

>163 LovingLit: True: also the bit about libraries being for everyone.

>164 Caroline_McElwee: Me too Caroline - they also seem to have inspired some UK story times, which sounds like a Good Thing.

I'm still reading about law cases in Court Number One, although every so often I hit a word I don't know and wonder if it was Really Necessary, or as the author would put it "Otiose" (serving no practical purpose or result). Some are downright shocking, as in the case of the French woman who shot her Egyptian husband in the back three times, and appears to have got off on the basis of her barrister's dog whistle references to her husband's "oriental" habits.

Aug 9, 2019, 8:40am Top

>146 charl08: How are you enjoying Big Sky? I enjoy the Jackson Brodie books but I find she adds a bit too much filler sometimes.

Aug 9, 2019, 8:56am Top

I think I need to go back and read the other ones, Chelle. I felt like I had forgotten too much.

Aug 9, 2019, 10:03am Top

>167 charl08: - That's good to know. I was thinking I probably should re-read the others before tackling Big Sky...

Aug 9, 2019, 11:19am Top

>159 charl08: Worth the read?

Aug 9, 2019, 11:52am Top

>168 katiekrug: I think quite a few folk enjoyed it without, but my memory is shocking.

>169 Oberon: I think my review hints at that, doesn't it?! Hope so, otherwise I'll go back and rewrite.

Now reading The Man who saw everything
It was as if my father’s tanks were always parked in the living room of our house in Bethnal Green, ready to roll over my unworthy thirteen-year-old body with their guns raised. Goodbye, Dad. What else could I say at his funeral? A lot. The difference between my father and myself, apart from my education and high cheekbones, was that I believed that people had to be convinced and not coerced. But now that he was dead and couldn’t answer back, I missed his certainty.

Travelling without a physical book, which is clearly an Error, as now I really want to read a paperback!

Aug 9, 2019, 1:20pm Top

>167 charl08: I was unsurprised at how few details of the earlier Jackson Brodie books I retained, but I didn't find that to make much difference in reading Big Sky. I'm sure it would be more enjoyable if you did, though!

Aug 9, 2019, 3:13pm Top

>170 charl08: Brave, very brave Charlotte.

Aug 10, 2019, 12:40am Top

>171 rosalita: Glad you liked it Julia. I think I was mixing it up with the TV series which bothered me a bit as they did differ.

>172 Caroline_McElwee: I think "ill advised", Caroline. I managed to forget my booster thingy connection, so had to turn the phone off to save it for more essential phone things. Ended up listening to an eye watering conversation about drug taking between two professionals that looked old enough to know better and then another one that was so saccharine and vacuous made me want to (metaphorically) shake the two women involved and ask them about politics.
There's definitely a refuge in books on a Friday night train.

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 1:02am Top

The man who saw Everything
I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I found Hot Milk (at least, in my imperfect recall) a bit directionless. I liked this one more
Saul is a historian, studying East Germany and about to go visit East Berlin. At the very beginning of the book he is run over at the Abbey Road crossing, and although he picks himself up and meets his girlfriend, he keeps having headaches and weird deja vu effects. Saul lost his mum at a young age and never felt like he fitted in with his working class, communist father. He wears a set of pearls from his mother, a child refugee from Nazi Germany, and likes a bit of blue eyeliner. I liked how Saul's experiences in Berlin were beyond cliche, and how his return changed how those experiences were interpreted.
Soon I would walk away from the Alexanderplatz of the twenty- first century, past the Currywurst kiosks and fast food shops and drug dealers and buskers. A man was strumming his guitar, which he had plugged into a generator. He was singing about seeing clearly after the rain had fallen. I was not sure I could see anything clearly, never mind feel anything clearly, including the monuments that were supposed to mourn the murdered Jews, the murdered Roma, the murdered homosexuals.

A netgalley book.

Aug 10, 2019, 1:09am Top

Booker longlist- progress?

Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything reserved
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive Read
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer

Out from the library
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other reserved
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities reserved

On the kindle
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World Netgalley
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein Netgalley

John Lanchester (UK), The Wall
Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport

Waiting until my reservation queue calms down...
Max Porter (UK), Lanny
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:06pm Top

Guardian reviews fiction

Inland by Téa Obreht reviewed by Elizabeth Lowry
"...the book begins conventionally enough, with the story of an outlaw, Lurie, who is on the run. The twist lies in Obreht’s affinity for unusual transformations. Like her, Lurie comes to America from the Balkans, as an immigrant child called Djurić. His surname is swiftly anglicised and he has a brief career as a gang member before falling in with the US Camel Corps on its way from Texas to California. Here truth proves stranger than fiction. The Camel Corps was a short-lived experiment introducing the animals into the US army as beasts of burden, manned by drivers from the Ottoman empire. "

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:08pm Top

Supper Club by Lara Williams reviewed by Lara Feigel

"...the voice feels akin to Sally Rooney’s: colloquial, precise, at once uneasy about its place in the world and determined to stand up for itself. The supper club of the title could be read as a feminist take on the anarchic men’s group in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. It begins when, after university, Roberta gets an entry-level job folding clothes at a fashion website and makes friends with a new colleague.... together they dream up the idea of making this more communal and more subversive: “What could violate social convention more than women coming together to indulge their hunger and taking up space?” They want to expand and to be nourished, “to be full up, instead of hungry and wanting, all the time”."

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:12pm Top

A Small Silence by Jumoke Verissimo reviewed by Irenosen Okojie
"...an act of literary disruption. Hypnotic, expertly crafted and full of subtle power, it challenges cultural norms around silence, darkness and solitude..."

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:16pm Top

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood reviewed by Aida Edemariam

"...feels like a kind of cross between William Boyd’s The New Confessions and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, whose structure it echoes, and it possesses similar satisfactions."

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:19pm Top

Dolores by Lauren Aimee Curtis reviewed by Holly Williams
"Dolores takes us, month by month, through its protagonist’s time at the convent – and to the full term of an unplanned pregnancy."

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 4:21pm Top

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead reviewed by Tim Adams
"The secret graveyard that stood behind a prison reform school in the Florida of the Jim Crow era has been disturbed by developers building a shopping mall. "

Full review (and many more)

Edited: Aug 10, 2019, 6:42am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. I am loving Lanny at the moment. Gorgeous writing. I hope your copy comes in soon. And hooray for The Nickel Boys. Another terrific book.

Aug 10, 2019, 8:14am Top

>176 charl08: I'm intrigued by Inland, both because I thought Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife was unusual and compelling, and because I find the Camel Corps to be one of those notions that is too bizarre to be true and yet it is true.

Supper Club and The Hiding Game also look interesting. What the heck, onto the wishlist with all of them!

Aug 10, 2019, 1:33pm Top

Hi Charlotte - Thanks for posting the reviews - they all look good!

Aug 10, 2019, 4:23pm Top

>182 msf59: Thanks Mark. I hope Lanny turns up soon!

>183 rosalita: I think The Tiger's Wife suffered from all the raving I heard about it before I got to read it: but the camels intrigue me!

>184 BLBera: I think I would cheerfully read them all, Beth!

Aug 10, 2019, 9:57pm Top

Téa Obreht will be speaking about her new novel at the Decatur Book Festival just east of Atlanta later this month. I probably won't attend her talk, as I'll likely go to one of the PEN America Immigration Series talks that features two début novelists, one from India and the other from Nigeria. Hopefully one of our fellow LTers or one of my work colleagues will report on Obreht's appearance.

Edited: Aug 11, 2019, 4:47am Top

Hi Darryl, sounds like a good event. I would be interested to know who the new authors are at the talk you are planning to attend.

Edited: Aug 11, 2019, 5:38am Top

>187 charl08: This comes from the Festival's web page about the event:

Searching for Community and Home Amid Displacement, PEN America Immigration Track

Fiction, PEN America Immigration

Debut novelists Devi Laskar and Tope Folarin explore the theme of displacement, and the feeling of being unmoored and isolated, while searching for supportive and accepting communities. In the process, their characters grapple with identity, fraught memories and prejudice, as they learn how to redefine what it means to be and feel at home.

Moderator: Anjali Enjeti

Devi S. Laskar

Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in Tin House and Rattle, among other publications. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is an alumna of The OpEd Project and VONA. The Atlas of Reds and Blues is her first novel. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Atlas of Reds and Blues
When an unnamed narrator moves her family from the city of Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small southern town. Despite the intervening decades, the woman, known only as The Mother, is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrant parents, her truthful answer, here, is never enough. She finds herself navigating a climate of lingering racism with three daughters in tow and a husband who spends more time in business class than at home. The Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a baseless and prejudice-driven police raid on her house, she finally refuses to be calm, complacent, polite— and is ultimately shot. As she lies bleeding on her driveway,The Mother struggles to make sense of her past and decipher her present—how did she end up here?

Devi S. Laskar has written a brilliant debut novel that grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, a sister, a wife, a mother to daughters in today’s America. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own terrifying experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Blues explores, in exquisite, lyrical prose, an alternate reality that might have been.

Tope Folarin

Tope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington, DC. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013, and was shortlisted once again in 2016. He was also recently named to the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 39. He was educated at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Masters degrees as a Rhodes Scholar.

A Particular Kind of Black Man
Small-town Utah has never felt like home for Tunde Akinola—classmates touch his hair and wonder why the brown won’t rub off his skin. While his ever-optimist father clings to his American dream, his mother battles demons of schizophrenia that eventually consume her when she flees to Nigeria. Tunde spends the rest of his childhood searching for connection that can help make sense of his tumultuous past—to the Nigerian grandmother who keeps him tethered to a home he’s never known; to the opaque stepmother and stepbrothers he gains when his father remarries; to the Utah residents who mock his father’s accent; to his Texas middle school’s crowd of African-Americans; to intoxicating and resolute young love. In so doing, he discovers something that sends him on a journey away from everything he has known.

Edited: Aug 11, 2019, 4:33pm Top

Sounds like a potentially fascinating session, Darryl - I'd certainly be keen to hear what you make of the books, if you decide to read them.

I've spent the morning reading about various British trials in the 1950s in Court number one, in lovely peace and quiet with the back door open and the tree at the back of the garden rustling. It's funny, there's also traffic noise from the road behind, but I seem to tune it out.
The contrast between today and yesterday could not be much sharper. I went to visit the family mum and I were helping, who decided to move south after they got leave to remain (basically, govt acknowledged they are refugees).
I had a big rant here but I'm going to delete it and move on.
I was really relieved to see they are all well. They still like asking lots of questions which I generally can't answer.
Why didn't you stay overnight at our house?
Why do they want to look in our bags (security at the museum- the man looked v briefly and waved us through and I could have hugged him, as the little one had just said it made her scared)
What do you mean they (the Elgin marbles) were stolen?
How old is this?
Which is longer a train or an aeroplane? (Later: which is taller, a bus or a plane?)
How much is an aeroplane?
How much does the queen earn? (At Buckingham palace)
Which one is the queen's room?
Why aren't they allowed to move? (Looking at the soldiers on guard duty)
Why does she have so many policemen looking after her?
Can we go into her garden? (When I told them about the private park)
Why are they arresting that man (amazing what you see happening in Victoria)?
Are we nearly there yet? (About every 5 minutes on the train!)

Aug 11, 2019, 1:48pm Top

>186 kidzdoc: Yes, it's unfortunate that Obreht is speaking at a time slot with too many intriguing talks going on. I'm leaning toward the session with Madeline Ffitch and Tupelo Hassman, but also the one you're planning to attend, as A Particular Kind of Black Man is on my wishlist and I'm eager to read it.

Aug 11, 2019, 2:43pm Top

>190 RidgewayGirl: Sounds like a good problem to have (the schedule full of so many good authors).

Edited: Aug 11, 2019, 3:59pm Top

>189 charl08: questions qvestions...

Glad you got a more restful day today Charlotte.

Aug 11, 2019, 4:34pm Top

>191 charl08: It's a fantastic problem! I've already spent so much time looking at the schedule and pondering which session sounds more interesting or which author I want to see more.

Aug 12, 2019, 3:40am Top

Happy newish thread, Charlotte!

Catching up, finally, from your previous one. And, yes, you are missing out if you haven't read the Vorkosigan Saga books :0)

Aug 12, 2019, 3:44am Top

>192 Caroline_McElwee: And the one that I always struggle with "is that real?" (eg reference to ancient Egyptian religion). First answer: (is the scary monster eg Horus real) no, definitely not. Second answer (in my head) define "real", real to them, then... is it culturally appropriate to just dismiss a historical religion.... argh. This is why I could never work with children!

>193 RidgewayGirl: I guess the good thing is at least now with twitter there's a chance to catch up / follow other sessions.

Aug 12, 2019, 3:53am Top

>194 humouress: Thanks Nina! I'm behind in catching up too, must get on that. My browsing time was cut down by trying to save the phone battery. Not sure why my phone decided this weekend was the one to lose battery (argh) but hey ho. A reminder to keep a backup with me. Especially a book!

I've still not finished the law book. The last chapter was about Soham, the first case he discussed that I really remember being in the news. I put it down and went to bed.

Aug 12, 2019, 4:06am Top

Oh, and I love your picture in >1 charl08:

Edited: Aug 12, 2019, 2:58pm Top

How do they not jump back out again with all that ice?

I have been listening to the podcast 10 minutes to the Moon and really enjoying it. Even includes an appearance from one of the Hidden Figures. Recommended.
Link via spotify (but others work too).

Aug 12, 2019, 5:03pm Top

Court Number One

Well, I'm counting this, even though I didn't read the two long appendices (one of them not by the author). Great read for those who like their legal history. Grant whips through 11 cases in the 20th century court that demonstrate how much things have changed over that time (although all the leading barristers were still men in the Soham case, the most recent one discussed, so perhaps not quite as much as could have been). I think the spy and treason cases were the most interesting ones: at times I started to wonder if John Le Carré made much up for his books at all. Sometimes it does get a bit bogged down in the detail (for me): I didn't always care what the prosecution said at a particular point, but it clearly was significant to the author (who is also a QC, so is likely to know).

I want to read more about George Blake (maybe the marvelously titled George Blake, Superspy which sounds like it should come with a free action figure (but more likely The Greatest Traitor - although I see Ben McIntyre has also got one with a similar title). Also Bound and Gagged: a secret history of obscenity in Britain, because the chapter on things that were banned in the 1950s really shocked me.

Aug 13, 2019, 7:29am Top

I have bookmark envy.
https://www.peirenepress.com/ (they don't seem to be on sale. Sadness.)

Aug 13, 2019, 8:27am Top

>200 charl08: ohhh, nice. You've already got me with that site more than once...

Aug 13, 2019, 8:40am Top

I'm trying to resist another subscription, Helen, Casava Press. I didn't realise you could do this, but you can pay a flat fee and get all their books when they're published. But I think I'll have to wait until Granta expires.

Aug 13, 2019, 12:22pm Top

Library loans

Nigerian fiction
Goodbye Lucille (see also Berlin kick)

Fiction in translation
Women who blow on knots

Another planet : a teenager in suburbia

Recommended to me in RL
You don't know me

Berlin kick
Before the deluge : a portrait of Berlin in the 1920's

Sounded like a shiny new thing I wanted to read...
The Parisian need to get back to this
You will be safe here
Things in jars
A perfect explanation

for the NF group
The brief life of flowers I'm three pages in and thinking I should start a list of flowers she recommends.

Booker longlist
An orchestra of minorities Booker longlist
Night Boat to Tangier (another booker)
Girl, woman, other Another booker prize longlist - I loved her last one, so fingers crossed.

I shouldn't be allowed unsupervised on the library reservation pages...
The night tiger
The pisces I ordered this ages ago, and am not sure why it's only turned up now...
Dancing bears : true stories about longing for the old days (found on a travel prize website)

Not forgetting:
The Greek wall crime set amidst the refugee camps in Greece.
The bookshop on the shore Lovely humour (I hope!)

Aug 14, 2019, 1:17am Top

Good job reading the Booker Long List! I was going to try to read a bit of it, but An Orchestra of Minorities was just too much effort for me right now.

Aug 14, 2019, 3:45am Top

>204 banjo123: I need to pick up Frankisstein again: I started it and just wanted to quote and quote.
The world is at the start of something new. We are the shaping spirits of our destiny. And though I am not an inventor of machines I am an inventor of dreams.

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 3:50am Top

Finished The Bookshop on the shore yesterday. Similarly to the first book, a story about moving to a new (Scottish) place and finding your feet. Although in many ways rather cosy, there are dark themes here too. Particularly child self harming.

Aug 14, 2019, 8:18am Top

>205 charl08: You have been warned... 😀
Claire pursed her lips and went to her screen. I could see her manicured fingertips tapping out Intelligent Vibrator.
I asked the woman – because I had to know – why would anyone want a vibrator featuring a camera and a remote control?
She looked at me with a mixture of anger and contempt.
She said, Teledildonics.
Pardon me?
She said, Haven’t you heard of teledildonics?
Sadly, never. But I am British.

Aug 14, 2019, 8:19am Top

To start with at least, John Le Carre must have drawn a lot on his own experience as a spy. The only book by him I've actually read so far is The Constant Gardener though I now own quite a lot of his work, mostly through special offers, and I'm not sure whether his more recent stories about UK spies are historical or contemporary.

Aug 14, 2019, 11:37am Top

>200 charl08: Nice

> 207 I love Winterson - can't wait until this one becomes available here.

The court book sounds interesting.

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 4:28pm Top

>208 elkiedee: I guess I was surprised by the similarities in the characters in le Carré as much as the plots. That some suspected the head of MI5 of being a double agent, for example, as in Tinker Tailor.

>209 BLBera: Do you have long to wait, Beth?
I don't think I'd have read the court book if it hadn't been relatively quiet at work at the moment: a bit of brain space available in the evenings.

I read the start of a fascinating book about early Russian communists Bolshevik Women. The author had compiled a database of over fifty women and used their autobiographies to write about their backgrounds and experiences. Will be interesting to compare it to Why women have better sex under socialism.

Aug 15, 2019, 3:30am Top

Quiet reading spot in the library.
(Well, quiet for this month, anyhow!)

Aug 15, 2019, 6:19am Top

Very nice.

Edited: Aug 15, 2019, 12:45pm Top

>212 Caroline_McElwee: It won't be very quiet when everyone comes back!

I'm doing a course to try and improve my digital skills via EdX. Finding it just fascinating. So you can use a free text of a book (or books) from Project Gutenberg, plug the text file you've saved from it into another free tool Voyant, and you end up with these shiny graphics (and charts too, but I like the word clouds more!)

(Although I need to work on the resolution choices, judging from this.)
(This is from an analysis of Sylvia Pankhurst's book The Suffragette).

Aug 15, 2019, 4:01pm Top

Aug 15, 2019, 4:05pm Top

Ooo, that's very nice Charlotte. Happy hours of reading in that.

Aug 15, 2019, 4:11pm Top

I like that very much. I see it is already reading your TLS. >;-)

Aug 15, 2019, 4:39pm Top

Nice chair! I am also looking for a new one.

Is that a photo of Anne Frank on that magazine under the book? It just has that iconic shape of her hair...

Aug 15, 2019, 4:39pm Top

That's a lovely chair, that is! I hope there's a matching little footstool for even more basking.

Aug 15, 2019, 8:01pm Top

>214 charl08: Yes! Looks great, Charlotte.

Aug 15, 2019, 11:58pm Top

Lovely chair Charlotte. Happy reading to you!

Aug 16, 2019, 3:32am Top

>215 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. I have been happily road testing it since I got home.

>216 Helenliz: It's a smart chair, what can I say?

>217 jessibud2: I saw it in the shop first months before I bought it, so when I still liked it when I saw it again I felt pretty confident! And yes, the new TLS has an article about a new edition of Anne Frank's collected writing.

Aug 16, 2019, 3:34am Top

>218 rosalita: The thing that persuaded me to buy it is that it's the right height for my (short) legs. So I can comfortably sit in it with my feet on the floor. I don't think I've *ever* had a chair at home like that!

>219 jnwelch: I'm really pleased with it.

>220 mdoris: Thank you! I'm delighted to have 'my' spot!

Aug 16, 2019, 5:03am Top

>214 charl08: Nice chair, Charlotte! And good that it's perfect for you.

Aug 16, 2019, 6:09am Top

>222 charl08: Ah! A chair that's just the right height for sitting with feet flat on the floor? That is heaven!

Aug 16, 2019, 7:13am Top

Your reading spot in the library and new reading chair look truly lovely, Charlotte!

Aug 16, 2019, 9:27am Top

>221 charl08: - Thanks for that link, Charlotte.

Aug 16, 2019, 10:55am Top

>223 susanj67: I really like it. Sadly I'm working tomorrow otherwise I think I would just stay in it all weekend.

>224 rosalita: It is lovely!

>225 bell7: I've been spoiled the last couple of days.

>226 jessibud2: No worries, Shelley. I think some of the articles are free - I just get the snail mail version, so not sure how much is behind a paywall.

Aug 16, 2019, 12:22pm Top

>222 charl08: I had to smile at you having trouble finding a chair that has short enough. I always have a hard time find one that it high and supportive enough. One of my biggest problems in staying in hotels and on cruise ships is that the furniture is all so low (for me). The chair is very attractive and I'm glad it "fits" you because that is ever so important.

Aug 16, 2019, 8:06pm Top

Love the new reading chair, Charlotte. You must have test driven it in the shop. Wherever did you find a chair short enough?

Aug 16, 2019, 9:16pm Top

I am also short (5 feet) but if I am honest, I never measure a reading chair by if my feet reach the floor. Rather, the seat area has to be big enough to have room to tuck my feet under me as I read as that is how I am most comfy. While your chair looks very comfy in the seat and back, I don't think I could mange the tuck in this one, myself. ;-)

Aug 16, 2019, 10:11pm Top

Congratulations on the new reading chair!

Edited: Aug 17, 2019, 2:56am Top

>228 RebaRelishesReading: I have the opposite problem! From mirrors where I can only see my nose to office desks set up as if my arms were twice as long...

>229 Familyhistorian: It's from a lovely shop in Edinburgh where I have "pressed my nose against the glass" for years...

Aug 17, 2019, 2:59am Top

>230 jessibud2: I can't sit like that for any length of time: you must be very flexible!

>231 RidgewayGirl: Thanks Kay.

Aug 17, 2019, 4:24pm Top

>232 charl08: Yes.

Granted, this mirror was clearly installed by a very tall man, but the point stands.

Aug 17, 2019, 6:09pm Top

Night Boat to Tangier
Fantastic book: two gangsters are in the grotty port of Algericas looking for a lost (adult) daughter. Gradually the book unpeels why they are there, the reunion they are hoping for. And the lovely Irish lilt in the writing, the rhythm of it.
At the port of Algericas the criminal despondency of half of Europe had gathered. The air had a medieval tang. The vagrant children of many nations were crouched and high and drunken there. All the drums and the girls and the dogs were arrayed. Tiny fires showed against the dark...

Edited: Aug 17, 2019, 6:54pm Top

>235 charl08: Hmm, I've been hovering over that one Charlotte.

>234 RidgewayGirl: pffft.

Aug 18, 2019, 4:21am Top

>234 RidgewayGirl: This mirror was put up when I was away.

>236 Caroline_McElwee: It's not a long read, but I thought it was very well done, Caroline. I'll go looking for his others now.

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 5:24am Top

Guardian reviews non-fiction

Trinity by Frank Close reviewed by Graham Farmelo
"Fuchs was one of the experts who helped develop the first nuclear bomb and early plans for more advanced weapons. He proved himself to be an able researcher and was a popular lodger in the Peierls household, especially with the children. Meanwhile, he was supplying the Soviets with high-quality information about the nuclear project."

Reading the account of 1950s spy trials has rather made me want to read more about this subject.

It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman reviewed by
Anthony Quinn
"He keeps tossing out magical little trills and riffs that cut to the heart of Fagen’s swooning sound: “Drums skip and skim like speedboats leaving a summer jetty; the electric piano nudges you with a conspiratorial grin. The chorus rises and falls like sun motes on a holiday balcony.” He can be funny, too, in a feline way. Finding an audiobook of Pete Townshend’s autobiography – all 15 CDs’ worth – he balks: “I’m sorry, no one, not even a freelancer, has that much leisure time.” Elsewhere, his essays on James Brown, Charlie Parker and Prince aren’t definitive; they are only inimitable."

Not my bag.
Also I get that Fitzcarraldo are going for a "classic" design vibe, but I hate it. So dull.

Paper Dragons: China and the Next Crash by Walden Bello – reviewed by Will Hutton
"...may passionately share the general concern about the threat of deregulated global finance, but he knows next to nothing about China. In fact this is a serious case of literary mis-selling. In a book of more than 300 pages, I counted only one section of 14 devoted to China – and even that is confused and under-researched. Compared with Adam Tooze’s magisterial Crashed or Adair Turner’s Between Debt and the Devil – both in the same territory and neither of which Bello cites – this is thin gruel."

Ouch of the week.

Rough Ideas by Stephen Hough reviewed by Peter Stanford
"This is not, though, only a book for those wanting to go backstage in the classical music world. Hough offers thoughts on all sorts of things from architecture to picture restoration. Some of his most countercultural musings, however, come over religion. He is not, he says, adapting Graham Greene, “a Catholic pianist” but a pianist and a Catholic. “It has to do with the difference between God’s responsibility and ours in the creative process.” Where his own faith does, arguably, play a role in his work, he suggests, “is in the mental health that results from its vision of ultimate reality”."

This sounds good. Although also annoying. Classical pianist, exhibiting painter AND writer?!!

The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour reviewed by Peter Conrad
"The title of Seymour’s inflamed polemic comes from a painting by Paul Klee, in which a row of avian predators “squawk discordantly”, enticing victims into a bloody pit. As Seymour hears it, what ought to be a lyrical dawn chorus has become a “cyborg roar”, boosted by Trump’s latest warmongering tweets or the screech of some anonymous adolescent mob persecuting a luckless schoolgirl; the whole apparatus exists “for the purpose of human damnation”."

Suddenly feeling very conscious that I am doing this on my phone...

Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell reviewed by Viv Groskop
"The passages that are longer and much more interesting cover the sort of territory where Bushnell excels. Why do some people become obsessed with cycling when they get older? Can you actually be friends with those people? Why do women who have been friends for 40 years suddenly have catfights like 12-year-olds? And what are you supposed to do when your ex-boyfriend’s estranged eight-year-old comes to stay with you and doesn’t know how to tell his dad that he can’t ride a bike?"

I wasn't expecting to want to read this, but now I do. I predict raised eyebrows in the library (I'm more than likely kidding myself, they're a kindly and almost entirely non-judgemental bunch).

Don’t Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari reviewed by Joe Moran
"Shariatmadari borrows from Iris Murdoch’s idea of language as a net cast over the mind, constraining our thoughts according to how its knots and threads land – wrinkled in some places, straight in others. Every language is a different throw of the net. Language sieves and strains reality but never imprisons it. There are always holes for the real world to escape. Shariatmadari’s general approach to language is pro-diversity and anti-pedantry."

Sounds wonderful. On the list!

Always loads more books here

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 4:59am Top

>200 charl08: Maybe you get the bookmark if you buy the book. But they look similar to the 'carpet' bookmarks I've seen everywhere. Definitely in Singapore, but I'm sure around the world.

>211 charl08: Looks like a campus?

>214 charl08: Ooh, nice. My chair is a rocking chair with a footstool (I have horrendous circulation) but I don't tend to read in it. It's comfortable enough for me to accidentally fall asleep in - but unfortunately not comfy enough because I wake up with all kinds of kinks.

>237 charl08: >234 RidgewayGirl: Fortunately for me, I live in Asia, since I'm only 5 feet. And a half. Your foreheads look similar :0) Maybe we could start a new thread; 'Mirrors I have not met'

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 5:34am Top

>238 charl08: I thought they were cross stitch, but that's just a guess.

There is definitely a plus side - airline seats!
And yes I work at the local university (so almost all the students are at home now).
Lol re the thread. I'm sure there are some funny pictures out there.

Aug 18, 2019, 8:12am Top

>234 RidgewayGirl: >237 charl08: The other way around is also annoying, I vote for big/long enough mirrors for all ;-)

Aug 18, 2019, 8:29am Top

Thanks for the reviews, Charlotte. Don't Believe a Word is the one that stand out to me this month.
>211 charl08: Nice view - when do classes start?

>214 charl08: The chair looks comfy.

>235 charl08: I've been wondering about this one, but your comments have convinced me. Sigh. Off to reserve it.

Aug 18, 2019, 9:25am Top

>241 FAMeulstee: Sounds good to me, Anita.

>242 BLBera: I love books like this about language, very tempting.

Overheard in bookshop this morning.

Child (to mother) Can we buy this book please?
Mother: We're not going to buy any books today.
Child: Why are we here then?!

Aug 18, 2019, 10:09am Top

We have mirror issues, what with me being just over 5 ft and him not far off 6 ft. We've resorted to buying rectangular mirrors and hanging them portrait style.

>243 charl08: that's child with the essentials worked out!

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 10:11am Top

>243 charl08: Smart kid...

And what damage did you do in the bookshop this morning Charlotte?

Aug 18, 2019, 11:31am Top

>243 charl08: Love it.

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 4:59pm Top

>244 Helenliz: That's a smart solution!

>245 Caroline_McElwee: Cry Mother Spain and We have been harmonised.

>246 BLBera: I tried not to laugh... he nailed it.

Now reading Girl, Woman, Other which is wonderful.

Aug 19, 2019, 5:19am Top

I love the mirror pictures :-) As a taller person I probably would have done that without thinking. Helen's solution is the way to go!

>243 charl08: Poor kid - why *were* they there?! That's like hovering next to the chocolates and then saying you're not buying anything with sugar in it. Except worse, obviously.

Aug 19, 2019, 11:38am Top

>248 susanj67: I was tempted to ask, but didn't think that would go down very well!

Aug 19, 2019, 11:38am Top

Time for a new thread, I think!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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