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Paul C Back to Basics in 2019 Part 9

This is a continuation of the topic Paul C Back to Basics in 2019 Part 8.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Sep 13, 10:59pm Top

A few years older than the last thread (not literally of course!). I believe that I am in Singapore at the time and I would have been 27 closing on 28 years old.

Sep 13, 10:59pm Top

I am Paul Cranswick, sometime group statistician, Malaysian correspondent - construction project manager and avid book accumulator.

Father of three - Yasmyne, Kyran and Belle - the first two already studying in university in the UK and hopeful of a return to the UK in the none too distant future.

Had a tough few years and this affected badly my reading last year which was the first that I have failed to reach 100 books. This year - hope springs eternal so let's see.

Edited: Sep 13, 11:01pm Top

Books 1st Half

Edited: Oct 13, 7:28pm Top

2019 Books Second Half


36. They Shoot Horses Don't They? by Horace McCoy
37. Reef by Romesh Gunasekera


38. Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang
39. Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus
40. Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz
41. The Blind Owl by Sadeq Hedayat
42. Norte by Edmundo Paz Soldan
43. The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kis


44. The Impostor by Damon Galgut
45. To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite.
46. Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
47. Gold Mine by Wilbur Smith
48. Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
49. Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey
50. The Lake by George Moore
51. The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt
52. Demian by Hermann Hesse


53. Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill
54. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
55. Below the Crying Mountain by Criselda D Yabes
56. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
57. North of Boston by Robert Frost
58. Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
59. Into the War by Italo Calvino
60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
61. Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope
62. The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll
63. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Sep 13, 11:01pm Top


January 2019 - The Natural World https://www.librarything.com/topic/296824#6632759
February 2019 - Pat Barker and Peter F. Hamilton
March 2019 - The Murderous Scots https://www.librarything.com/topic/296824#6637458
April 2019 - Rosamond Lehmann and John Boyne
May 2019 - The Edwardians https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6656870
June 2019 - Nicola Barker and Wilkie Collins
July 2019 - YA Fantasy Series https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6660927
August 2019 - Anita Brookner and Jim Crace
September 2019 - Biography and Memoir https://www.librarything.com/topic/299559#6674204
October 2019 - Rose Tremain and Louis de Bernieres
November 2019 -The Jewish Contribution https://www.librarything.com/topic/301575#6688724
December 2019 - Zadie Smith and Michael Morpurgo
WILDCARD - Back to the Beginning - LIVELY and ISHIGURO

Here is a link to the thread:

Sep 13, 11:02pm Top

American Author Challenge

American Author Challenge 2019

I will be joining Linda's challenge where I can this year and have started:

January 2019 - Chaim Potok - My Name is Asher Lev
February 2019 - Louisa M Alcott
March 2019 - Jon Clinch
April 2019 - Jesmyn Ward - Sing, Unburied, Sing

Edited: Oct 13, 8:07pm Top


120 books in this challenge so I am going to have to do much better than last year!

To date : 63/120

1900 - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
1901 - My Brilliant Career
1902 - The Four Feathers
1905 - The Lake
1908 - The House of Arden
1914 - North of Boston
1916 - Petersburg
1918 - Eminent Victorians
1919 - Demian
1922 - Just William
1923 - Zeno's Conscience
1924 - Naomi
1925 - In the American Grain
1929 - The Seven Madmen
1930 - The Weatherhouse
1931 - The Late Monsieur Gallet
1933 - Love on the Dole
1935 - They Shoot Horses Don't They?
1936 - The War with the Newts
1937 - The Blind Owl
1939 - Good Morning,
1941 - Evil Under the Sun
1943 - The Little Prince
1944 - Story of a Secret State
1947 - Exercises in Style
1948 - Half a Lifelong Romance
1949 - Their Finest Hour
1950 - Pippi Longstocking
1952 - Moccasin Trail
1954 - Into the War
1955 - Pedro Parama
1956 - The Room on the Roof
1957 - Exile and the Kingdom
1959 - To Sir, With Love
1961 - Friedrich
1964 - Came a Hot Friday
1966 - Midaq Alley
1970 - Gold Mine
1972 - My Name is Asher Lev
1974 - The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
1975 - This Earth of Mankind
1976 - The Bride Price
1978 - The Rider
1983 - The Encyclopedia of the Dead
1985 - Black Robe
1987 - Thief in the Village
1988 - Nervous Conditions
1992 - Serious Concerns
1994 - Reef
1995 - Football in Sun and Shadow
1998 - The Hanging Garden
1999 - A Place of Execution
2001 - Soldiers of Salamis
2005 - Findings
2006 - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
2008 - The Imposter
2009 - Still Midnight
2010 - Below the Crying Mountain
2011 - Norte
2012 - The Bamboo Stalk
2014 - Kintu
2017 - Sing, Unburied, Sing
2018 - The Silence of the Girls

Edited: Oct 12, 11:15pm Top


Third attempt at this tough challenge which I have failed miserably at twice.

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

1. United Kingdom Kathleen Jamie
2. Canada Brian Moore
3. Uruguay Eduardo Galeano
4. Netherlands Tim Krabbe
5. France Raymond Queneau
6. USA Chaim Potok
7. Jamaica James Berry
8. Sweden Astrid Lindgren
9. Japan Junichiro Tanizaki
10. India Ruskin Bond
11. Ireland John Boyne
12. Czechia Karel Capek
13. Indonesia Pramoedya Ananta Toer
14. New Zealand Ronald Hugh Morrieson
15. Russia Andrei Bely
16. Kuwait Saud Alsanousi
17. Spain Javier Cercas
18. Zimbabwe Tsitsi Dangarembga
19. Germany Hans Peter Richter
20. Nigeria Buchi Emecheta
21. Poland Jan Karski
22. Belgium Georges Simenon
23. Italy Italo Svevo
24. Sri Lanka Romesh Gunasekera
25. China Eileen Chang
26. Algeria Albert Camus
27. Egypt Naguib Mahfouz
28. Iran Sadiq Hidayat
29. Bolivia Edmundo Paz Soldan
30. Serbia Danilo Kis
31. South Africa Damon Galgut
32. Guyana E.R. Braithwaite
33. Dominica Jean Rhys
34. Zambia Wilbur Smith
35. Uganda Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
36. Argentina Roberto Arlt
37. Switzerland Hermann Hesse
38. Mexico Juan Rulfo
39. Philippines Criselda Yabes
40. Australia Miles Franklin
41. Cuba Italo Calvino

Sep 13, 11:21pm Top

Hiya, Paul. Best wishes on getting to 100 by the year's end.

Book sale tomorrow. I'm thinking of going. Yeah...pretty sure I will.

Sep 13, 11:22pm Top


Eminent Victorians

Sep 13, 11:23pm Top

Reading Plan last Quarter of 2019

Sep 13, 11:23pm Top

Next is Yours

Edited: Sep 13, 11:26pm Top

Your list of thrillers from the previous thread is interesting. However, I think that the best one by Robert Harris is Archangel.

Sep 13, 11:40pm Top

>1 PaulCranswick: You handsome devil you!
>10 PaulCranswick: What an interesting combination!!
I'm almost never this early to one of your threads, Paul. Hope it's a happy one.

Sep 13, 11:40pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 14, 12:24am Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Sep 14, 1:04am Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 14, 1:35am Top

>323 That's rather heavy on WWII alt-history!

Sep 14, 3:28am Top

>9 weird_O: Saw your post Bill (luckily)!

Thanks dear fellow and I'm sure I would be along there with you for the sale if geography and finances allowed

Sep 14, 3:28am Top

Happy New Thread, buddy!

Sep 14, 3:30am Top

>13 benitastrnad: I wouldn't say that you're wrong, Benita, but I couldn't in good conscience include it because I haven't read it.

>14 LizzieD: * BLUSHES *

I suppose it is Peggy, but in keeping with my reading goals of 120 books (1 from each of the last 120 years) and Around the World in 80 Books, I think that quite a mix was inevitable.

Sep 14, 3:46am Top

>15 foggidawn: Thank you Foggy

>16 ChelleBearss: Thank you Chelle!

Sep 14, 3:47am Top

>17 quondame: Thank you Susan.

>18 quondame: Yes well there are a couple there for sure and I really enjoyed both the Sansom and the Robert Harris.

Sep 14, 3:47am Top

>20 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I trust that you guys are loving it in the UK as per usual.

Sep 14, 4:07am Top

Happy new one, Paul.

Sep 14, 5:12am Top

Happy new thread, Paul.

Sep 14, 5:47am Top

>25 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. We have a long weekend here in celebration of Malaysia Day so I am not working on Monday.
Maybe I can finish a few books.

>26 EllaTim: Thanks Ella. Lovely as always to see you here. xx

Edited: Sep 14, 6:01am Top

How's the new library shaping up Paul? Settled in?

Sep 14, 6:08am Top

>28 Caroline_McElwee: Settling in certainly, Caroline, but the library is still pending the shelves as finances dictate I have to wait a little while before indulging myself!

Edited: Sep 14, 9:49pm Top

Book #48

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Date Published : 2014 (48 of 120)
Origin of Author : Uganda (35 of 80)
Pages : 410 (13,124 in total)

Parts of this novel are very good, particularly the initial section upon which the book is essentially founded. Tracing a family root to the mid 1700s a tribal leader accidentally kills his kin and sets off a curse afflicting future generations. We see these descendants in turn as they coalesce in modern day Uganda via their separate stories to a reunion of the clan.

Some of the individual tales work better than others and some barely at all but this is a better novel than the sum of its parts and augurs well for the author's fledgling career. Occasionally felt like the creative writing thesis it actually was although I am saying so with the benefit of such pre-knowledge. I would have preferred a more seamless story but then again I am an old(ish) curmudgeon and I will definitely look forward to her next book.

Sep 14, 6:44am Top

Happy new one,Paul!

Sep 14, 7:31am Top

>31 figsfromthistle: Thank you, Anita. I always like to get my threads off to a decent start reading wise and I am hoping to add a second completed book before the day is out.

Sep 14, 7:36am Top

Happy New Thread, Paul. I hope you are having a great weekend.

Sep 14, 8:02am Top

>33 msf59: Thanks Mark. I am hoping it will be a good one and that I can get round the threads too.

Sep 14, 1:04pm Top

COURTNEY'S WAR is the only Wilbur Smith I've read - intriguing treatment of World War II spying.
Approach to people in Kenya was odd.

Sep 14, 5:25pm Top

Happy new thread, Paul!
Wishing you an enjoyable weekend.

Edited: Sep 14, 7:52pm Top

Happy New Thread, Paul!

Being several hundred posts behind, I missed your move (Happy move to Home, Sweet Pearl) and your birthday ... Happy rest of the year! ... and a major holiday or two ..... Happy Independence Day!

You are putting me to shame with both the number of 1001's (pitiful total of 4 for me this year) and the global reading challenge (19 countries, 3 in progress). So be it. I bow to you. :) Actually, I'm very inspired and may use several of those books as I putt putt across the world.

The XDH was very fond of Wilbur Smith. I remember reading and enjoying The Sunbird back in the 70's at his recommendation. Zambia. I did not know that.

Edited: Sep 14, 9:06pm Top

I would disput the addition of Dominion to your list, because I really like Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake mysteries, but I have not read that book. I thought the premise for the story was a rip-off of Philip Roth book Plot Against America or that alternative history schlock that Bill O’Reilly writes.

Sep 14, 9:40pm Top

>35 m.belljackson: Gold Mine was only my second, Marianne. The hero of the book in some ways was a Bantu tribesman and I'm not really sure of Wilbur Smith's views on race. He is most definitely African and clearly loves the continent dearly.

>36 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

Edited: Sep 14, 9:47pm Top

>37 streamsong: Thank you, Janet and lovely to see you.

I am closing on half-way through my Round the World in 80 Book challenge and am still somehow confident that I'll pull it off this year. I have a good reading vibe in the new house!

I have added a few to my 1001 reading this year but I (always) want to do better. I had a pretty dire first 8 months reading wise but I am improving this month at least. Feel ever free to use any of the books I have read for your own challenge.

>38 benitastrnad: Benita, I was recommended the book Dominion by SandDune's husband and it is a superb read. It is nothing like Roth's book and doesn't rip-off anyone else's work as far as I am aware. There has been some excellent alternate history books written including Robert Harris's Fatherland, but Sansom's book is better. I have only read the opening Shardlake book so far but can agree as to their quality. On my to do list for next year.

Edited: Sep 18, 10:07pm Top

Book #49

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Date Published : 1918 (49 of 120)
Origin of Author : UK (still 35 of 80)
Pages : 266 (13,390 in total)

Four profiles in this famous exploration of both biography and Victoriana by the pre-eminent biographer of the early 20th Century. I was enraptured by two of them (Florence Nightingale and especially General Gordon) and struggled manfully through the other two (Cardinal Manning and Dr. Arnold). This is partly personal preference but also possibly because the former two have remained of more interest to modern consciousness than the latter two - a cleric and a schoolmaster.

The writing style is sublime and his portraits of his supporting cast in asides particularly the poet Clough (a confidant of Nightingale) and Gladstone in his wonderful description of the events leading to the end of General Gordon bring the personalities and period to life almost.

If there is interest in the period then this is an unqualified recommendation, if not just read the 70 pages on Gordon which are wonderful.

Sep 14, 10:16pm Top

>My daughter gave me an e-copy of Dominion to read some years ago now, I really enjoyed it.

Sep 15, 12:24am Top

>42 avatiakh: Agree wholeheartedly, Kerry. It was an excellent read.

Sep 15, 8:18am Top

Happy new thread, Paul!

Congratulations - your reading month is coming along nicely, 6 completed with only half the month gone.

Sep 15, 8:47am Top

>44 karenmarie: Thanks Karen, I am pleased with my progress this month so far

Sep 15, 11:04am Top

Happy new thread, Paul. You've been doing a lot of good reading lately. Nice photo at the top. The alternative to aging is worse.

Sep 15, 12:53pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 15, 4:25pm Top

Happy new thread Paul, hope all goes well with your reading mate, currently I have read 62 and Karen has read 51, we will both hit 75 and I may get to 100 with a bit of a concerted effort. Have a good week mate, sending love and hugs from both of us.

Sep 15, 8:29pm Top

>46 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I'm now reading one of Argentina's most celebrated of early authors.

>47 amanda4242: Thank you, Amanda

Sep 15, 8:30pm Top

>48 johnsimpson: Last year John was the first when I failed to reach 100 books as an adult. My reading mojo is picking up pace so let's see where it takes me.

See that we tied the Ashes series but I still think that the batting could have done with a shake-up.

Edited: Sep 20, 9:08pm Top


The Seven Madmen by Roberto Alt

Sep 15, 9:12pm Top

Seriously late, but happy new thread!

Sep 16, 2:57pm Top

Oh the woes at Yorkshire mate, the penultimate game of the season at home against Kent, Kent are put in and a great spell from Olivier reduces them to 39 for 5, enter Darren Stevens, the gritty veteran. Along with Billings they put on an all time Kent sixth wicket partnership of 346 before Stevens is out for a career best, at 43, 237. By close of play they are 482 for 8 from 96 overs, what a mauling. A fortnight ago Kent said they would be releasing Stevens at the end of the season, last week he hit 92 and took a ten for and then today he hits 237, Kent are reconsidering.

Hope the week has got off to a good start mate.

Sep 16, 4:26pm Top

Hi Paul, having been missing for several months I'm just working my way around the threads trying to catch up (and failing miserably)!

Sep 16, 10:29pm Top

>52 drneutron: Thanks Jim. The group seems a little bit suspended in time and space at the moment with the lowest posting numbers since I started checking them.

>53 johnsimpson: What a great County Cricket servant Stevens has been. Would have been worth a game or two for England playing in the right conditions.
It is always said that a top all rounder will have a larger batting than bowling average and Stevens :
Batting : 15,595 runs @ 35.12 with 34 centuries and 79 half-centuries
Bowling : 508 wickets @ 25.43 with 25 5-fors and 2 ten-wicket match hauls.

Are statistics to be proud of, Kent would be crazy to let him go. I am a bit appalled at some of the culling in the game. Ned Eckersley was let go by Leicstershire last season and has done really well as captain for Durham.

Sep 16, 10:30pm Top

>54 SandDune: Lovely to see you, Rhian. Mr. SandDune came up in dispatches these last few days as I lauded his recommendation of Dominion a few years ago.

Sep 17, 2:33pm Top

Happy new thread Paul!

I hope you have a nice reading nook in your new place.

How’s the haze up where you are? Over here, the country is starting to shut down.

I’m vicariously enjoying the cricket commentary; it’s like reading PG Wodehouse school stories (my favourites of his works); I only recognise about half the names in the England side and know nothing about form but it’s all vaguely familiar.

Sep 17, 2:37pm Top

>55 PaulCranswick:

Many of us in the USA find it hard to care about things the way we used to when every morning
we wake up to insane headlines spearheaded by the monstrous ignorant racist sexist piece of dung
we refuse to remove from what was formerly known as the Office of the President.

Sep 17, 5:31pm Top

>56 PaulCranswick: He's been recommending that one to me for years but I still haven't got around to it!

Sep 17, 5:39pm Top

>57 humouress: The haze is pretty bad here too to be honest. I sent Kyran back to the UK (well I went only as far as the airport) and coming back it was noticeable how difficult it was to make out the buildings of our evolving skyline.

The England test team has done OK despite no help whatsoever from the ECB (English Cricket Board) who have created a season where no first class cricket is played whilst a test series is going on meaning that we basically started and finished with the same team irrespective of form.

Sep 17, 5:42pm Top

>58 m.belljackson: Politics is tough, Marianne, especially when he sort of got elected. Why you have basically a two horse race for someone to represent the whole of the United States and then need an electoral college. It is an ass that Gore and Clinton both lost elections in which they received more votes than their opponents.

>59 SandDune: Knows a thing or two about books that fellow of yours!

Sep 18, 1:16am Top

Happy newish thread, Paul. Maybe the posting will increase now that September is here. Things tend to pick up at this time of year.

Sep 18, 5:07am Top

>41 PaulCranswick: That looks like a much better set of biographies of eminent Victorians than the other recent and much publicised car crash one. I will have to look out for that one.

Sep 18, 11:42am Top

>62 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I hope so, because I have rarely seen it this quiet.

>63 sirfurboy: Wise and pithy, Sir F. Lytton Strachey could write.

Edited: Sep 20, 9:09pm Top

Book #50

The Lake by George Moore

Date Published : 1905 (50 of 120)
Origin of Author : UK (still 35 of 80)
Pages : 180 (13,570 in total)

Sensual passions and adherence to one's faith and vows as an ordained priest is a combination that is difficult to reconcile and is the central theme of this novel.

Lyrical and in part epistolatory we have moving descriptions of the beautiful West Ireland landscape and description of our protagonist's moving emotions. Father Oliver has a close friendship with a young schoolteacher, but when she is pregnant and unwed, the priest rebukes her publicly from the pulpit and she leaves the parish and Ireland. Oliver much regrets his actions and when he finds out she is in London under the care of a fellow priest he corresponds to express a desire to make amends.

George Moore was widely read in his day and this must have bemused some of his public with this short, poignant novel. In actual fact most of his work as does this one deals with the plight of ladies bearing children outside the confines of marriage. His star has waned somewhat in the last century but this is the work of a dextrously subtle hand.

Sep 19, 12:55pm Top

Checking in - first time I've been this early in a thread for a while ;)

Hope all is okay? X

Sep 19, 4:55pm Top

Paul, I saw Hani's post earlier today. I am so very sorry for your family's loss. A mother's death is always unmooring one's ties to the past, seldom a comfortable thing no matter when it occurs.

My heart is sad with you, old friend.

Sep 19, 6:29pm Top

My condolences on the loss of your mother, Paul, may she rest in peace.

Sep 19, 7:14pm Top

I, too, saw Hanni’s FB post regarding the loss of your mother, Paul. I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family at this very sad time.

Sep 19, 7:19pm Top

Sorry to hear about your loss!

Sep 19, 7:32pm Top

So sorry for your loss, dear friend.

Sep 19, 10:21pm Top

My deepest condolences, Paul. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Sep 19, 11:09pm Top

So sorry, Paul! Hugs to you all!

Sep 20, 2:58am Top

Oh Paul, I'm so so sorry. My thoughts are with you all.

Sep 20, 5:28am Top

I'm so sorry, Paul. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and in my heart, friend.

Sep 20, 5:34am Top

>66 BekkaJo: Nice to see you Bekka. Not so Okay really. Two of my tribe - Kyran and Yasmyne went off to UK and Norway respectively and Belle is a bit down.
My mum's sister has passed away aged 91 and I regret not seeing her last time I went to UK.

>67 richardderus: RD it is my auntie who passed away but she was a grand old lady much loved and will always be lovingly remembered.

Sep 20, 5:36am Top

>68 FAMeulstee: Again Anita it was my Aunt Sheila who passed but there is still plenty of pain in the family right now. My mum and her sister were not on the very best of terms recently which is so so sad.

>69 Copperskye: Thanks Joanne. My auntie was a lovely woman.

Sep 20, 5:37am Top

>70 thornton37814: Thank you Lori.

>71 amanda4242: Thanks Amanda.

Always my friends here are here when needed. xxxxx

Sep 20, 5:39am Top

>72 jessibud2: Thank you Shelley. It was my Auntie Sheila's husband Frank (long departed) who helped nurture my love of reading by passing on some of his thrillers and western books to me. I loved Hammond Innes, Alistair MacLean and George G Gilman because of him.

>73 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle - hugs are always welcome.

Sep 20, 5:40am Top

>74 BekkaJo: Thanks Bekka.x

>75 scaifea: Thank you dear Amber.

Sep 20, 5:50am Top

Deepest condolences Paul.

Sep 20, 6:40am Top

Ah, Paul, I'm sorry to hear about the death of your aunt. And you're right - it's always sad when family members are on the outs when one passes.

Poor Belle. Hugs to your youngest girl chick.

Edited: Sep 20, 10:01am Top

My wishes for a happy new thread are dampened by the news of your loss. My deepest condolences to you and yours, Paul.

Sep 20, 9:53am Top

Thank goodness, after a fashion, that it was Auntie Sheila not Mum. I can't exactly say I'm relieved, but it's a lot less painful to lose an aunt than a mother...though her loss is a much, much bigger blow to your mother.

Sep 20, 10:07am Top

So very sorry to hear of your news Paul.

Sep 20, 10:33am Top

Paul - Wishing comfort to you and your Family and glad that your Mother is fine.

Sep 20, 2:58pm Top

Hi Paul, so sorry to hear of the death of your Aunt, thinking of you all at this sad time mate, sending love and hugs to you all from both of us dear friend.

Sep 20, 7:02pm Top

Adding my condolences for the loss of a loved family member. She got to a fine age though Paul.

Sep 20, 7:30pm Top

>81 humouress: Thank you Nina

>82 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. Belle is a tough cookie and will be ok in a day or two.

Sep 20, 7:32pm Top

>83 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. It wasn't entirely unexpected but still very sad.

>84 richardderus: Don't worry RD, I know exactly what you mean. My mum has received a call from the oncologist and needs to go and see her early next week and is therefore scared to bits. Hani will send her there.

Sep 20, 7:33pm Top

>85 sirfurboy: Thanks, Sir F.

>86 m.belljackson: Thank you Marianne. My mum isn't entirely fine either but still fighting in her own way.

Sep 20, 7:36pm Top

>87 johnsimpson: Thank you to both of you, John. My aunt lived in Rothwell and I guess my brother will represent our branch of the family as it will be impossible for me to go to the funeral .

>88 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. She did indeed and she was not the eldest sister either. My Aunt Cynthia is still in good health and will turn 93 on Halloween.

Sep 20, 7:46pm Top

>90 PaulCranswick:

Oncologists should be required to call early in the morning so they can see you the same day.

Sep 20, 8:45pm Top

I'm sorry for your family's loss.

Sep 20, 9:03pm Top

>93 m.belljackson: Wouldn't argue with that, Marianne, as there is a huge amount of stress waiting for results and news.

>94 quondame: Thank you, Susan

Edited: Sep 29, 9:04pm Top

Book #51

The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt

Date Published : 1929 (51 of 120)
Origin of Author : Argentina (36 of 80)
Pages : 304 (13,874 in total)

There must really be a worthy debate as to how much of this is farce, how much black comedy and how much serious literary novel. We had the ridiculous - we had the darkly comedic and plenty of gritty realism.

Does this novel deserve the cult devotion it seems to inspire - probably not. The book does have a splendid cover though.

Edited: Sep 29, 9:04pm Top


The Soil by Yi Kwang-Su & Demian

Edited: Sep 21, 9:28am Top

>95 PaulCranswick:

And there's always the straight out fear which older people often try to balance with the old "lived a good long life" mantra.

(Always a big "So what?!" when you think of Grandma Moses and other artists and authors still going strong into their 70s, 80s, & beyond...)

Speaking of which, if you enjoy Handmade Books and Letterpress, we just lost a great master with the death of 79 year old Walter Hamady last week.
Online Search is impressive for this founder, with his wife Mary, of The Perishable Press. A few books are listed on LT, but mostly by one man.

Sep 21, 12:03pm Top

My condolences on your Aunt's passing, too, Paul. I saw on Facebook how good she was to Hani. She must have been quite a lady.

Sep 21, 2:53pm Top

So sorry about your aunt's passing, Paul.

Sep 21, 8:05pm Top

My condolences for you and your family, Paul.

Sep 21, 10:45pm Top

>98 m.belljackson: I spoke to my mum yesterday and she was a bit down and frankly scared of her upcoming appointment but I think I managed to cheer her up some.

>99 jnwelch: Both SWMBO and Yasmyne were close to her. I remember distinctly the quip about her following in Yasmyne's footsteps with the pink hair!

Sep 21, 10:45pm Top

>100 banjo123: Thank you Rhonda

>101 EllaTim: Thanks Ella - I am so blessed by having so many thoughtful and compassionate friends here. xx

Sep 21, 11:52pm Top

You know that I thought that your Aunt Sheila had a lovely face, full of character, and I'm sorry for her loss. I'll be thinking of your mother on Monday.
This growing old instead of only older is a strange business. When I see references to the agedness of septuagenarians, I cringe. At almost 75, I think I'm still full of life-force, and slower but not diminished in any meaningful way. That's what I think, anyway.

Sep 22, 4:53am Top

So sorry to hear about your aunt’s death Paul.

Sep 22, 5:41am Top

>104 LizzieD: What a lovely post, Peggy. Aunt Sheila never grew old even turning 90. When I was in my 30s and full of breath I never envisaged what being ancient and 50 would be like but (I think) I wear it relatively comfortably most of the time. Without being cheesy you are still a remarkably effervescent young lady. xx

Sep 22, 5:43am Top

>105 SandDune: Thanks Rhian. She was a lousy cook my Aunt Sheila but even her failings in the kitchen always made me smile. Funny because her mum and her two sisters were wonderful cooks but take-outs were very quickly in vogue at her place.

Sep 24, 9:34pm Top

Just thought I would update and confirm that I am still busy, still effectively broke and still reading.

Finished up an arbitration whereby I was appointed as an expert witness in a bungalow construction which was not superintended by an Architect (as the law requires). I was called to give evidence on the defects to the property, the solution and cost of remedial works and the impact upon the value of the property.

Started Churchill's second instalment of his war history/memoirs. Their Finest Hour. You know the Nobel committee received some criticism when it awarded the prize to Winston but he really was a superb writer whatever one thinks of his politics.

Sep 24, 9:38pm Top

Sad to see another of my poetry heroes has passed away.

Al Alvarez has passed away aged 90.

A very underrated poet and great advocate for new poets. Had the pleasure to meet him more than 30 years ago and he had some very kind words for me and my pretentious efforts at scribbling.

Sep 24, 10:36pm Top

Been away visiting my mum, so way behind here, Paul.

Sep 24, 11:43pm Top

>110 ronincats: I am behind too, Roni. Hope to catch up soon.

Sep 25, 12:39am Top

My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your aunt, Paul. It doesn't matter how old they are we are never really prepared for them to be gone.

Sep 25, 2:41am Top

>112 Familyhistorian: Thank you, Meg. I do wish I could be there.

Sep 25, 2:08pm Top

Adding my condolences on the passing of your Aunt Sheila, Paul. I love to hear stories about cherished aunts, as I've had a few, and strive to be one. They have a very special function in the world.

Sep 25, 9:29pm Top

>114 laytonwoman3rd: Seeing the family banter that sometime goes on in your exchanges with your daughter, I am sure that you'll be a brilliant Aunt.

Sep 26, 5:51pm Top

>109 PaulCranswick: Sorry to hear of Al's passing, Paul.

Sep 26, 10:00pm Top

>116 Caroline_McElwee: I always enjoyed his work, Caroline. He is one of two "famous" poets I have spent any real time with the other being Laurie Lee. Both of them inculcated a love of the written word in me that has survived to this day.

Sep 27, 2:00am Top

>109 PaulCranswick: Sounds like he lived life to the full, Paul. I've not read anything by him: where would be a good place to start?

Sep 27, 9:43pm Top

>118 charl08: That is an interesting question, Charlotte. His poetry is now difficult to find although I do have his New and Selected Poems on the shelves. He was more famous as a critic and an introducer of "American" style poetry to the gentile sensibilities of English verse via his The New Poetry and his lit criticism The Writer's Voice. He has written memoir and extensively on subjects as wide-ranging as poker, mountaineering and suicide.

Sep 28, 8:50am Top

A very belated happy new thread, Paul.
Please excuse my delay, I was absent from life in LT for a while.
My deepest condolences to you and yours, Paul.
I hope you have a good weekend.

Sep 28, 9:34pm Top

>121 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Thomas. Nice to see you here as always.

Edited: Oct 6, 4:47am Top

Book #52

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Date Published : 1919 (52 of 120)
Origin of Author : Switzerland (37 of 80)
Pages : 108 (13,982 in total)

Hermann Hesse won the Nobel Prize but not for the ease of digesting his narrative style.

Sinclair tries to find himself but can her overcome, or does he need to overcome the Mark of Cain.

Strange little book that heralded the author as a great talent of Central European letters. German literature is probably the most difficult for me to appreciate and this novel helped me overcome that not a bit.

Edited: Sep 30, 12:03am Top

A website I like, given my penchant for lists, is ranker.com .

Here is their list of the Best Novelists of All Time:

Interestingly they place the top ten as

1 Dostoevsky
2 Dickens
3 Tolstoy
4 Orwell
5 Hemingway
6 Twain
7 Steinbeck
8 Joyce
9 Tolkien
10 Kafka


Any level of agreement with that selection?

I would definitely find places for Balzac, Zola, Trollope, Austen and maybe Greene and Maugham too.

Sep 30, 3:59am Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Of those ten I haven't read any of James Joyce yet.

I prefer Tolstoy over Dostoevski, but I rated Ivan Goncharov higher than those two.
I am not a fan of Dickens.
I enjoyed Orwell, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Kafka. Not sure if they would all be on my list.
I don't like Twain.
I love Tolkien.

I would add Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, Halldor Laxness and Miguel de Cervantes.

Sep 30, 4:11am Top

>124 FAMeulstee: Strong shouts indeed, Anita. I cannot include Goncharov as I haven't read anything by him. I preferred Dostoevsky to Tolstoy but I would have thought that your assessment would have been more popular.

Edited: Sep 30, 4:24am Top

>125 PaulCranswick: I can recommend Oblomov, it was a 4½* read for me.
To me the best Russian novel is Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, and Story of a Life by Konstantin Paustovski the best non-fiction (memoirs).

Sep 30, 4:25am Top

My own list :

Charles Dickens - Not universally popular but the world would be poorer without some of his better works.

Emile Zola - Adored his Rougon MacQuart novels.

Honore de Balzac - His prodigious output was quality and quantity.

Jane Austen - Enduringly splendid novels about nothing in particular

Anthony Trollope - What a body of work and still appealing to the reader after 150 years

Victor Hugo - Makes it a triumvirate of French writers - I mean Les Mis!

John Steinbeck - Simply has to be an American on the list and none-better IMO

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Bludgeoned his readers somewhat but the blows were always worthwhile

Graham Greene - Adored his novels; especially his mid-period output.

William Somerset Maugham - May surprise some people but he could tell a story better than anyone else I have read.

My near misses would include :

Garcia Marquez, RK Narayan, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte Bronte, Iris Murdoch, Bernard Malamud, Primo Levi, EM Forster and Rohinton Mistry.

Tolkien's books were magnificent but I haven't included him as being too genre specific and his output of good works is in my opinion limited to on two works.

Sep 30, 6:45am Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Interesting list.

>124 FAMeulstee: It's been too long since I read enough by the Russian authors to decide on their ranking, but I enjoy both.

>125 PaulCranswick: I'd include Hugo on my list too, although I prefer The Hunchback of Notre Dame to Les Miserables. I think that is because we studied it in 10th grade. Our teacher made it fun for us.

Edited: Sep 30, 7:01am Top

>128 thornton37814: It is funny isn't Lori that the books we studied in class are fondly remembered - especially if the teacher can get our imagination. At various times in Lit classes I did:

Wuthering Heights
The Go Between
Songs of Innocence and Experience
The Waste Land
Richard III
Return of the Native

All of them are books I gladly return to.

Sep 30, 10:56am Top

>130 paulstalder: Jeremias Gotthelf is someone I am not familiar with Paul.

Sep 30, 12:06pm Top

>131 PaulCranswick: Jeremias Gotthelf was a pastor, politician, and writer. Gotthelf is his pseudonym, his original name Albert Bitzius. He wrote novels about farmers (Ueli, the farm hand, Ueli the farmer, Annebäbi the maid), which were made into plays and movies. The black spider is kind of a horror novel, where a huge black spider is terrorizing the whole valley.

Sep 30, 12:46pm Top

>123 PaulCranswick: I agree with ONE of their ten: Steinbeck.

Sep 30, 12:49pm Top

>123 PaulCranswick:

So far, I'd move Hardy, Hugo, and Tolstoy above Dickens
and drop Joyce, Tolkien, and Hemingway.

Steinbeck's openings can be memorable, unlike the endings.

And, it will be hard to read any more Hemingway after his appearances in SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS.

It would be good to see George Eliot

Sep 30, 1:20pm Top

>132 paulstalder: I will certainly have a look for his books, Paul.

>133 richardderus: Three made my list but I know one of my three definitely wouldn't have been on my list.

Sep 30, 1:22pm Top

>134 m.belljackson: George Eliot is a good pick, I guess, Marianne.

Sep 30, 1:25pm Top

I sure agree with your list more than Rankers, Paul. I enjoy Mark Twain's books, but he and Tolkien don't really belong on there, IMO. Like Marianne, I'd like to see George Eliot on there. Jane Austen, too. And I'd take Virginia Woolf over some of those listed. Willa Cather is highly regarded in the U.S. Doesn't that Shakespeare guy belong on there somewhere?

Do they have a list of modern authors? You know me, I'd put Murakami on there, and Cormac McCarthy. We'd need to think about Atwood, Toni Morisson, Edwidge Danticat, Marilynne Robinson, Kent Haruf, Marquez - who else?

Sep 30, 2:51pm Top

Any list of top novelists without Austen just wouldn't work for me. As for the others, it's got to be based on what makes a novel important and good for the reader, so I would include Dickens but not the Brontes. Twain and Steinbeck would have to be considered but Orwell, Joyce, and Kafka are sort of hinterland experiments, impressive but off the real road. I probably should expand my reading to include Trollope, Balzac, Zola, and more Hugo, and my enthusiasm for the Russian greats was exhausted long ago.

Oct 1, 10:29pm Top

>137 jnwelch: I appreciate rather than enjoy Joyce and Woolf and therefore couldn't in good conscience put them on my own list. I do very much like Willa Cather's books and she wouldn't be too far away from my own list.

There is this list of theirs I found on American writers:

Oct 1, 10:31pm Top

>138 quondame: I do agree, Susan, she has to be on that list! I don't quite understand your distinction on important and good for the reader but I do think the Bronte's - excluding maybe Charlotte - have too slight a body of work to merit inclusion.

Oct 1, 11:06pm Top

Oooo. Lists. Fun. I'm not inclined to rank writers and books, but I sure do enjoy perusing lists compiled by others.

Oct 1, 11:12pm Top

>141 weird_O: Timing is all, Bill as I was posting at your thread while you were visiting here. Love looking at others lists too but i get even more of a kick by compiling my own.

Oct 2, 2:39am Top

>140 PaulCranswick: My emphasis was important or good for the reader where the reader is the one, in this case me, making the list.

>141 weird_O: I mostly put them in tiers, with JA all alone on top.

Oct 2, 7:30am Top

>122 PaulCranswick: "Hermann Hesse won the Nobel Prize but not for the ease of digesting his narrative style."


I often find the Nobel Prize and also the Booker prize to be a good warning about such things.

Oct 2, 4:04pm Top

>122 PaulCranswick: I'm with you on this one Paul. I like Hesse, but this one didn't do it for me.

Oct 2, 6:50pm Top

>143 quondame: I think I follow that, Susan. x

>144 sirfurboy: Hahaha Sir F, a sort of guide of what not to read! It is fair to say that I have hated as many Booker winners as I have adored them.

Oct 2, 6:51pm Top

>145 Caroline_McElwee: I am so pleased to read that Caroline. I had worried I was just to dumb to appreciate him as I couldn't stand Steppenwolf either.

Oct 2, 8:54pm Top

>143 quondame: My wife would second your ranking, Susan. Me not so much.

Oct 2, 9:15pm Top

>148 weird_O: Enjoyment in reading does it for me, Bill. I do like to be told a story.

Oct 2, 11:12pm Top

The list --- I'm embarrassed that no American woman springs to mind immediately. I'd support George Eliot for sure!
I'm surprised that nobody (unless I wasn't reading carefully enough) has mentioned Faulkner (before Steinbeck in my list!) or Melville. I'll also offer David Foster Wallace. Vargas Llosa is my favorite SA writer, and I think he's worth mentioning.
(My favorite Hesse is Glass Bead Game, which I hope to reread before I die.)

Edited: Oct 3, 10:56am Top

>139 PaulCranswick: The Ranker American list is also way too white male-heavy. Who the heck runs Ranker? How did they miss what you have in >151 PaulCranswick:? (I stopped at 28 or so in Ranker).

How about considering:

Harper Lee (probably the greatest American novel)
Louise Ehrdrich
Louisa May Alcott
Shirley Jackson
Jhumpa Lahiri
Annie Proulx
Edwidge Danticat
Ann Patchett
Jesmyn Ward

and Yaa Gyasi may get there.

P.S. And then we could start on the male American authors of color - James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Colson Whitehead and so on.

Oct 3, 11:11am Top

>152 jnwelch: Most of those in your list I thought of for my own. I agree on the brilliance of To Kill a Mocking Bird but would struggle to find her a place based on essentially one piece of work. Haven't yet read the eventual follow-up but I understand it is underwhelming.

Yaa Gyasi wouldn't yet make it just on her, admittedly fine debut and nothing else.

James Baldwin is an absolute shoe-in when considering American male novelists.

Oct 3, 12:26pm Top

>147 PaulCranswick: I enjoyed The Glass Bead Game Paul. I have the new biography of him in the pile too.

Oct 3, 3:09pm Top

A definite YES for Melville (how could I have forgotten?! - having multiple copies of both him and Count Leo)
and a resounding NO for sensationalist JCO, though The Falls was okay.

Oct 3, 5:49pm Top

>154 Caroline_McElwee: That will probably be my third and final try at Hermann Hesse, Caroline.

>155 m.belljackson: JCO deserves some credit for being amazingly prodigious. A modern Balzac in that sense, even though the quality is less remitting.

Edited: Oct 3, 10:47pm Top

I think that Willa Cather should be on any list and I would also add Eudora Welty. I would remove Harper Lee. One novel does not an author or not make. Especially not that novel.

Oct 4, 12:49am Top

I love lists and this has been fun reading. Must haves on my list are Willa Cather, Jane Austen, and

Oct 4, 5:38am Top

>157 benitastrnad: I remember that To Kill a Mockingbird is not your all time favourite, Benita. I didn't enjoy the only book I have so far read by Welty but loved what I have read by Willa Cather.

>158 Oregonreader: Nice to see you Jan. Faulkner is a toughie. Talent undeniable but he can be a hard hard slog.

Oct 4, 11:22am Top

>155 m.belljackson:

Many readers would prefer the first OUTLANDER to any JCO...

Oct 5, 9:41am Top

>160 m.belljackson: Based on the excellent TV series I rather think so. I aim to read plenty of series next year. Outlander being one of them.

Edited: Oct 6, 4:47am Top

Book #53

Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill

Date Published : 1949 (53 of 120)
Origin of Author : UK (still 37 of 80)
Pages : 652 (14,634 in total)

Two Nobel Prize winners in a row and this time one whose writing I actually cherished reading.

The Second Part in his Six Volume History of the Second World War charts the remarkable fortitude and resistance of the British Empire against the German lead Axis ranged against them amid the disastrously quick belittling of France.

Wonderfully written and providing tremendous insights on Petain, De Gaulle, Franco, Chamberlain (to whom he pays handsome and unreserved tribute as he passed away in the darkening days of the year) but most of all the anxieties and energies of Churchill himself.

We have the fall of France, the escape from Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain (which put effective paid to Hitler's invasion plans of GBR), the sinking of the French fleet, the Desert victories against the hapless Italian armies, Lend-lease and the U-Boat threat presaging the Battle of the Atlantic.

The next year would close with America (and Japan) joining the fray but 1940 belonged to Germany - triumphant on land through the low countries and France and unmistakably Britain who out-fought Germany in the skies and stood alone as a beacon for the free world.

It was also the high age of Chruchill's wonderful hyperbole. His "We Shall Never Surrender" speech accompanying the army on its return from France. He had many faults Old Winston but on this point he was right.

Edited: Oct 6, 4:35am Top

Up Next

Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

Oct 5, 10:54am Top

Hi Paul! I'm late to the party, but

>123 PaulCranswick: Top ten? All dead white men, eh? I’ve read 7 of them. Two – Twain and Dickens – I agree, the rest not so much.

My top ten, not in any particular order. 5 women, 5 men. 7 dead, 3 living.

Jane Austen
Dorothy L Sayers
JK Rowling for Harry Potter and as Robert Galbraith for Cormoran Strike
Diana Gabaldon
Stephen King – excluding most of his early stuff
Charles Dickens
Kurt Vonnegut
Mark Twain
Harper Lee
James Michener

I'd include J.D. Salinger, but I don't particularly like Catcher in the Rye and absolutely adore all of his short stories and I'm taking the definition of 'novelists' literally.

Oct 5, 11:42am Top

>164 karenmarie: Interesting list, Karen and mainly seems to favour the power of the story over the intricacy of the prose.

Gabaldon, King, Michener, Rowling are all storytellers as were Twain and Dickens.

For me :
Austen - also on my list
Sayers - personally think her stories are a tad dated these days; her hero a bit of a know-it-all-prig
Rowling - too populist for me so haven't read anything at all!
Gabaldon - looking forward to reading the Outlander series but I haven't yet done so.
King - only read Carrie and thought it execrable.
Dickens - Love him despite partial agreement on the dangers of verbosity
Vonnegut - when he was good he was really good but wasn't always good.
Twain - stories are memorable but wouldn't quite trouble my list
Lee - her major work (and almost her only work) makes my top ten but one major work does not justify a place in the Pantheon.
Michener - Enjoyed reading Centennial but the story is better than the prose IMO

Oct 5, 2:37pm Top

I don't like making lists as I always forget someone or two who should be on there.
I have my father-in-law's Winston Churchill books and started reading the first volume years ago but never finished even though I was enjoying it. Maybe next year.

Oct 5, 3:15pm Top

My trouble is I can't decide my own favorite books or authors of all time. It could change daily--depending on any number of factors. As a middle schooler, I would have told you Phyllis Whitney was my favorite author because I devoured her books. In upper elementary, my list might have included Marguerite Henry, Lois Duncan, Franklin W. Dixon, and others. As an adult reader, it's more difficult. Comfort read authors hit the spot with me at times. At other times I want to read something well-written that tells a good story. Those authors are different, but they each serve their own purposes. However, the shear number of "entrants" into both categories makes it impossible for me to determine an order that would stick for either.

Oct 5, 3:50pm Top

>165 PaulCranswick: Being popular isn't always bad, and the Harry Potter books really are great, mostly fun, reads and do show developments and new facets in each volume. On the other hand Outlander nearly got thrown across the room and stomped on when I finished it and I haven't read anything but short stories of a tangential sort by Gabaldon since. While they don't cause pain, they aren't remembered either.

Oct 5, 4:59pm Top

>166 avatiakh: I often prepare a list and then say to myself why did I miss so-and-so?!
Winston is always readable but he must have been a pain to work under firing memoranda at everyone all the time.

>167 thornton37814: Being able to change your mind is surely one of life's great privileges, Lori?
I agree though that it is extremely difficult to narrow "best" authors (whatever that means) to only a list of 10.

Oct 5, 5:00pm Top

>168 quondame: I agree completely, Susan. I don't think that I am too much of a literary snob but qualitative measurement on such a subjective issue is obviously going to lead to debate.

Oct 5, 8:19pm Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Those are certainly fantastic authors, and I'm not sure how to rank one above another at that point. What criteria are being used by the people who are voting? In this case, I'm sure it's different for each person. I hesitate to say anyone is the best writer of all time!

Oct 6, 4:26am Top

>171 The_Hibernator: Agree, Rachel. Isn't it that the lists are subjective that makes them interesting?

Edited: Oct 9, 9:57pm Top

Book #54

Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

Date Published : 1955 (54 of 120)
Origin of Author : Mexico (38 of 80)
Pages : 143 (14,777 in total)

Intricate little novel which was very influential on Latin American writers including Marquez who could apparently almost quote the whole book verbatim.

I sort of get it and parts of the book were very effective and effecting, but the reading required too much concentration on time and place and dead or alive to quite ever immerse oneself fully into it.

If you like Marquez you will love this as it was clearly formative in his own work.

Oct 6, 4:44am Top

Next up........

and fresh from the stores:

Originally released in the Philippines in 2010, this was Longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize

Oct 6, 10:50am Top

>162 PaulCranswick: Strangely enough, I have never read anything by Winston Churchill although I have read things that others have written about him. Their Finest Hour sounds like it would be a good read after Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back From the Brink which I am reading now. In fact, my library has a whole collection of Churchill's writings. I better get started. Thanks for the nudge, Paul.

Edited: Oct 6, 1:24pm Top

>162 PaulCranswick:

SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS would be a good one for the inactions (Britain, France, and U.S.) that preceded those Finest Hours.

For your Jazz fan > 50th Anniversary year AEC is currently in Nantes, then Lithuania, Portugal, Stockholm, The Netherlands, and more.
Portugal is the only concerning one so far, with anti-African immigrant reactions.

Good that things are staying calm for you.

My Dad was a Marine radio operator in the Pacific when I was born in 1944.

Oct 6, 7:59pm Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Ranker seems like it is based in English speaking countries, I wonder what the list would look like if people in China voted, or Russia or... would be interesting to know, wouldn't it?

Oct 6, 8:41pm Top

>175 Familyhistorian: Memorable writing, Meg, if a little old fashioned.

>176 m.belljackson: Churchill was a little bit in the wilderness in the 1930s as he had the temerity to question the policy of appeasement at the time of the Ramsay-MacDonald, Baldwin and Chamberlain governments. He saw the danger of Hitler and Stalin very early and it was rehearsed on the Spanish mountain tops and plains.

Oct 6, 8:42pm Top

>177 EllaTim: You are probably right, Ella, but I do note that they placed Dostoevsky first which doesn't seem very Anglophile!

Edited: Oct 7, 2:40am Top

Sorry to see that another of our Poets has departed.

Ciaran Carson whose most famous collection Belfast Confetti is a must in most poetic libraries, charted the troubles and concerns of his native land in a unique style.

He will be sorely missed.


Oct 8, 11:53pm Top

Hello, stranger!! Sorry to hear about losing your Aunt. Loving all the top 10 lists. Hoping to be a more of a regular here. : )

Edited: Oct 9, 12:07am Top

I'm enjoying the discussion of the "greatest novelists" -- my first reaction to the top ten by Ranker was similar to some others: all white males?? Again??

So, while I think identifying the top ten any-kind-of-author is an exercise in futility (what criteria are we using, after all?), I'm glad to see Austen, Cather, Morrison, Erdrich, Baldwin, Marquez getting some attention. I haven't read him much but does Rushdie deserve a nod?

Oct 9, 9:57pm Top

>181 Berly: Hope so too, Kimmers! I have missed you over here.

>182 EBT1002: It was indeed, Ellen, wasn't it? My own wasn't too much better but at least I did include Jane Austen! Willa Cather and James Baldwin are also favourites of mine.

Edited: Oct 11, 2:39am Top

Book #55

Below the Crying Mountain by Criselda D. Yabes

Date Published : 210 (55 of 120)
Origin of Author : Philippines (39 of 80)
Pages : 179 (14,956 in total)

Based on the real life separatist uprising in the 1970's of the muslim majority Moro people in the Philippines.

Politics and love stories together in this short well-realised novel which manipulates real events and weaves them into an enjoyable story. Well received internationally but more controversial locally as the region is now home to terrorists who splintered off from the original separatist movement.

Mildly recommended.

Edited: Oct 11, 2:46am Top

Next Up

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Oct 10, 12:23am Top

Hi Paul! Hope you enjoy the Miles Franklin. I saw the movie many years ago, and liked it.

Edited: Oct 10, 3:44am Top

>186 banjo123: It certainly bubbles along nicely, Rhonda. I reckon that I'll be done with it by this evening.

Amazing really that the author was only 16 when she wrote the novel.

Oct 10, 5:18am Top

The Nobel awards are imminent.

They will award two prizes one for 2018 and one for 2019

I will stick my neck out and tip:

1 Maryse Conde the Guadaloupe writer


2 Ngugi Wa Thiong'o the Kenyan writer

to win.

Others in with a shout IMO

Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, Milan Kundera, Olga Tokarczuk, Ismail Kadare, Adunis, Tahar ben Jelloun, Nuruddin Farah, Elena Ferrante, Anita Desai.

I am pretty sure that one of the two laureates will be awarded to a lady and - on balance - I think Europe and definitely Western Europe - will miss out.

Oct 10, 5:19am Top

>188 PaulCranswick: Don't forget though I am almost always wrong!

Oct 10, 7:10am Top

>189 PaulCranswick: You were right ;-)
It is Olga Tokarczuk from Poland and Peter Handke from Austria.

Edited: Oct 10, 12:51pm Top

Oh, Milan Kundera! Italo Calvino deserves a shout-out, too.

P.S. And Peter Handke. Good one!

P.S. Oops. I thought we were still ranking writers. I've no clue re the Nobel Prize, although I'd love to see Thiong'o get it.

Oct 10, 11:46am Top

>188 PaulCranswick: Excellent two choices for the Nobel Prize, Paul. I was hoping that this would be Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's year to win, but I'm starting to think that he won't be chosen before he dies, similar to Amos Oz.

Oct 10, 12:38pm Top

I think these choices stink! The Nobel committee has awarded clunkers in the past and nothing has changed. Wait - am I talking about the Board of Trustees at the University of Alabama or the Swedish Academy? Must be the same, it has the same white men, who think only of white and western.

OK - the choice of Tokaruczuk was a bone they threw to the masses of non white men. Will we be satisfied with that? Hell NO! When are they going to truly give a prize for World Literature? Sadly, probably not in my lifetime.

>189 PaulCranswick:
You were gloriously wrong - both European authors. Snort. At least it wasn't Bob Dylan. That committee couldn't think outside of its box for any reason in the world. Even with the whole world watching. Dumb hat asses.

Oct 10, 9:55pm Top

>190 SirThomas: Yes I was right, Thomas - I'm always wrong!

>191 jnwelch: Calvino cannot win Joe as he died in 1985! I think you put down Peter Handke before he won which is one heck of a spot though.

Oct 10, 9:57pm Top

>192 kidzdoc: I know your feelings on Thiong'o, Darryl and I do think that he deserves the award.

I will be reading something of his this month by the way.

Amos Oz could probably have won this time as he could have been given the 2018 posthumously as he died in December of that year AFTER they should have originally awarded it - and I think he would have been deserving.

Oct 10, 10:11pm Top

>196 PaulCranswick: I partially agree with you, Benita.

I think it a little insulting of them to emphasise that they intend to move away from a Eurocentric view of literature and then proceed to award BOTH Nobels to Europeans.

I haven't read either writer yet although I do have books by each on my shelves but I must say that I find Handke's politics more than a little disagreeable. He appears to be rabidly anti-islamic and his eulogising of that arch ethnic-cleanser Slobodan Milosevic does him and the Nobel Academy a grave disservice.

I don't think it is quite fair to state that the award to Tokarczuk is a bone thrown to non-white males. Up to and including her award 4 of the last 10 awards have gone to ladies, which is a marked improvement.

I am more concerned that the diversity is not there.
Apart from the "wasted" award to Dylan. There would appear to be a snobbishness about USA literature which is unwarranted.
Twain, James, Frost, Baldwin all deserved the prize but were never close.

Africa and Asia have been unfairly overlooked for too long.
How did Achebe not win?
How many years does N'gugi Wa Thiongo have to wait?

It is not quite fair to state that the Swedish Academy that decides the award is an all white male preserve. Whilst it is a Swedish award and therefore the Academy is made up of Swedish people it does comprise 6 ladies in its 18 member panel. In terms of ethnic diversity there is only one person of non-Nordic heritage which is the Iranian born Swedish writer Jilla Mossaed.
It is not representative of world society but in all fairness it doesn't pretend to. This is a Swedish award.

Oct 10, 11:12pm Top

Following up on the comments by Benita - here are 20 writers sadly now gone who were overlooked for the Nobel Prize.

I have only included writers who lived beyond 50 as in fairness the Nobel Academy could hardly be blamed in the circumstances:

Robert Frost
James Baldwin
Henry James
Mark Twain

Carlos Fuentes

Jorge Luis Borges

Roberto Bolano

Alejo Carpentier

Virginia Woolf
Ted Hughes
Graham Greene
Evelyn Waugh
Iris Murdoch

Simone de Beauvoir
Marcel Proust
Emile Zola

Italo Calvino

Nikos Kazantzakis

Eugene Ionescu

Leo Tolstoy
Anna Akhmatova

Rainer Maria Rilke

Harry Mullisch

August Strindberg

Henrik Ibsen

Assia Djebar

Chinua Achebe

Who else did I miss?

Edited: Oct 12, 6:28am Top

Book #56

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Date Published : 1901 (56 of 120)
Origin of Author : Australia (40 of 80)
Pages : 232 (15,188 in total)

Miles Franklin is immortalised in Australia by having their premier literature award named in her honour. This is her most famous work and it was written when she was just 16 years of age.

The precociousness of both author and main character is what I will take away from this novel. There is a clear yer nascent feminism at play here at a time when such things were certainly frowned upon as Syb seeks to avoid the confines of convention and make her own way in the world.

It is just such a shame that she has to be quite so beastly in going about such laudable aims.

Entertaining, especially the picaresque passage of her life in various Australian bush settlements with an engaging narrative style but I do wonder if the fully mature Ms Franklin would have agreed that Sybylla ought really to have been nicer to those who were good and kind to her.

Enjoyed it nonetheless.

It is October and I am halfway through my Around the World in 80 Books challenge and still not halfway through my 120 years of reading challenge. Still not giving up.

Edited: Oct 13, 4:24am Top

Up Next

Paul's Reading Marathon

Nowhere Man
Growth of the Soil
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Into the War READ
Moccasin Trail READ
The Little Prince READ
Serious Concerns
Golden Child
North of Boston READ

From LT time Friday morning 12.01 am
to Sunday Evening LT Time 12.00 midnight

72 hours - 10 books

Oct 11, 3:14am Top

>199 PaulCranswick: OK there are a couple of poetry collections, and three children's/YA classics but, if I can do this one then my mojo is BACK.

Not exactly on Anita or Suz or Charlotte's level but this would be some going for me.

Oct 11, 6:39am Top

Hi, Paul. I hope you had a good week. Good luck with the Reading Marathon! A nice way to catch up a bit.

Oct 11, 8:04am Top

>199 PaulCranswick: Good luck with your reading marathon Paul. Not familiar with that Calvino.

Edited: Oct 11, 8:52am Top

>194 PaulCranswick: Calvino: Yeah, I thought we were still ranking authors, dead or alive, not handing out prizes to living ones. I loved his books as a young guy.

P.S. Like Caroline, I haven't read the Calvino you picked. I was a Hamsun fan and now have mixed feelings because of his Nazi sympathizing. I did not like Growth of the Soil, despite the recognition it got. Hunger and Mysteries were my favorites.

Oct 11, 11:35am Top

>201 msf59: I'll do my best, Mark

>202 Caroline_McElwee: It is an autobiographical one, Caroline.

Oct 11, 11:37am Top

>203 jnwelch: Not to worry, Joe. I'm not really sure that the Nobel Prize Academy know what they are doing either.

Ooops on the Hamsun because I didn't enjoy Hunger and was hoping for something more story driven.

Oct 11, 4:05pm Top

Best of luck in your marathon! Into the War is short, but smacks the reader with a seldom-heard viewpoint: The ephebe not-quite-victim.

Oct 11, 9:19pm Top

>206 richardderus: Very much like the look of it RD. Calvino's voice was a unique one and since he was born in Cuba, I can cheat and include him under their flag for my around the world in 80 books challenge.

Oct 11, 10:03pm Top

Good luck with your reading marathon, Paul. Are you going to fit in some sleep too?

Oct 11, 10:15pm Top

>208 Familyhistorian: Not too much, I reckon!

Could be my last chance for an all-nighter of reading as SWMBO will hopefully be on the plane home very soon.

Oct 11, 10:26pm Top

I think I will give up on the Nobel prize! The literary prizes are pretty hit and miss at any rate.

Oct 11, 10:44pm Top

>210 banjo123: I wasn't unduly disappointed other than I would have no truck with Peter Handke's politics - Ernst Junger and Ezra Pound were unrepentant fascists but both wrote beautifully.
What cheesed me off was the public pronouncements that they would move away from a Eurocentric view of Literature and then they awarded both prizes to Europeans.

I must be honest in that I don't think that the award should be given to a person of colour or to a lady merely because of either race or gender but surely Ngugi Wa Thiong'o or Maryse Conde who were my own picks were as much if not more deserving as writers and because of the influence they have had on their locale and the world. I'm not sure that had Peter Handke had grown up in Mogadishu or Hanoi or Guatemala City his books would have resulted in nominations for the Academy's consideration.

Oct 11, 11:00pm Top

I know nothing about either of the Nobel Laureates, but I read your sentiments in about every comment. Sorry.
>151 PaulCranswick: I don't necessarily dislike them, but I don't love one of your top 5 American women. I'm not sure how I'd replace them, but I can't love your list. *sigh*

Oct 11, 11:45pm Top

>212 LizzieD: Were the second five more palatable, Peggy?

I am certainly no expert on American Literature as there are so many gaps in my reading. If I were to list authors I like then Anita Shreve and Sharon Penman would be on my list.

Oct 12, 4:10am Top

>200 PaulCranswick: Even for me that list would be ambitious, Paul, more than 3 books a day!

Good luck and enjoy!

Oct 12, 6:26am Top

>214 FAMeulstee: Yes, but you keep up the pace every day - Anita - I'm trying it once in a blue moon!

Edited: Oct 12, 5:52pm Top

Book #57

North of Boston by Robert Frost

Date Published : 1914 (57 of 120)
Origin of Author : USA (Still 40 of 80)
Pages : 60 (15,248 in total)

Robert Frost was a quiet revolutionary. His stilted and often off-kilter story-poems of the farm country in which he grew up had a profound impact upon American verse.

This is the poet at arguably his peak and at such a young age. There are some of his best known poems amongst the 16 here including "Death of a Hired Man" , 'Mending Wall' and 'Apple Pickin'. Some of the stuff reminds me strangely of Bob Dylan's Another Side of Bob Dylan and I'm not sure why.

I stayed up reading and re-reading these poems to glean the gobbets of wisdom in there :

This is from The Black Cottage

Where it will trouble us a thousand years
Each age will have to reconsider it.
You couldn't tell her what the West was saying,
And what the South to her serene belief.
She had some sort of hearing and yet not
Hearing the latter wisdom of the world.
White was the only race she ever knew.
Black she had scarcely seen, and yellow never.
But how could they be made so very unlike
By the same hand working in the same stuff?
She had supposed that the War decided that.
What are you going to do with such a person?
Strange how such innocence gets its own way.
I shouldn't be surprised if in this world
It were the force that would at last prevail.

One of our friends in this group, whom I do not readily associate with poetry, wrote a review of this collection and ended...... "I am optimistic now that not all poets are bad, just most of them."
Stephen almost a convert to poetry means that Frost was definitely gifted

Oct 12, 9:18am Top

>216 PaulCranswick: I enjoy Frost's poetry.

Oct 12, 11:15am Top

Seventy-two hours, ten books. Whew.

Oct 12, 12:37pm Top

Good luck with your marathon!

Oct 12, 5:46pm Top

>217 thornton37814: Me too, Lori

Oct 12, 5:47pm Top

>218 EBT1002: I haven't done it yet, Ellen!

>219 amanda4242: Thanks Amanda.

Edited: Oct 12, 11:15pm Top

Book #58

Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Date Published : 1952 (58 of 120)
Origin of Author : USA (Still 40 of 80)
Pages : 247 (15,495 in total)

Very enjoyable adventure story as young Jim runs away from his Missouri home and heads West. He is attacked by a grizzly (wonder did Punke read this book) which, though injured he manages to kill. Left for dead he is rescued by the Crow tribe and grows up amongst them.

Now a trapper he receives a message from his family and sets off to their aid.

Good old fashioned yarn which I recommend for its storytelling and good hearted message.

Edited: Oct 13, 4:17am Top

Book #59

Into the War by Italo Calvino

Date Published : 1954 (59 of 120)
Origin of Author : Cuba (41 of 80)
Pages : 91 (15,586 in total)

Italo Calvino may have been born in Cuba but he is regarded by many as the finest Italian writer of the 20th Century.

The works I have read of his before and more celebrated than this one were undeniably brilliant but flawed and far too clever by half for me. This recounting of the early days of the war (after Italy's decision to come in on the winning side in June 1940) in San Remo is just brilliant.

The haplessness of early victims - a boy scalded by a falling pot as power was cut, an old man collapsing with the communal soup spilled all about him - takes us over the new border into ransacked Menton. Calvino struggles to play ball with his fascist chums who were looting all available goodies by stealing instead all the keys from the Fascist Headquarters.

The last part in which he is part of a two man air-raid team is black comedy at its best as the lethargic Lotharios show more the callowness of youth than the martial spirit.

Very much recommended.

Edited: Oct 13, 7:48am Top

The good work continues

Book #60

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Date Published : 1943 (60 of 120)
Origin of Author : France (still 41 of 80)
Pages : 109 (15,695 in total)
1001 Books First Edition

Aviator and much decorated Frenchman aviator, Saint-Exupery wrote short lyrical works about flying and the desert and the meaning of life.

We get more of the same here but aimed at a younger audience in a sort of dreamy fable style.

Simply told but deeper than the mere assemblage of words.

Edited: Oct 13, 8:03am Top

Paul's Reading Marathon

Nowhere Man
Growth of the Soil
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Into the War READ
Moccasin Trail READ
The Little Prince READ
Serious Concerns READ
Golden Child
North of Boston READ

From LT time Friday morning 12.01 am
to Sunday Evening LT Time 12.00 midnight

72 hours - 10 books

Oct 13, 5:54am Top

Well done with your weekend of reading.

Oct 13, 7:47am Top

>226 avatiakh: Still going Kerry. I'll get a few more done for sure.


Oct 13, 7:53am Top

It looks like you are having a great time on the marathon. Go Paul! Go Paul!

Edited: Oct 13, 8:14pm Top

Book #61

Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope

Date Published : 1992 (61 of 120)
Origin of Author : UK (still 41 of 80)
Pages : 87 (15,782 in total)

I am a tad ambivalent about this one. There are certainly times when the clever playfulness of Cope's verse descends to the twee, smug and self satisfied.

I still have a penchant for rhyme and rhythm occasionally but there is some real lightweight throw away stuff here alongside some top-notch light verse.

This is the sort of thing she does that, for me, works:

Some Light Verse
You have to try. You see the shrink.
You learn a lot. You read. You think.
You struggle to improve your looks.
You meet some men. You write some books.
You eat good food. You give up junk.
You do not smoke. You don't get drunk.
You take up yoga, walk and swim.
And nothing works. The outlook's grim.
You don't know what to do. You cry.
You're running out of things to try.

You blow your nose. You see the shrink.
You walk. You give up food and drink.
You fall in love. You make a plan.
You struggle to improve your man.
And nothing works. The outlooks grim.
You go to yoga, cry and swim.
You eat and drink. You give up looks.
You struggle to improve your books.
You cannot see the point. You sigh.
You do not smoke. You have to try.

A hit and miss collection, I think.

Edited: Oct 13, 8:00am Top

>228 msf59: Yes, I am enjoying myself Mark - for the first time in a goodly while, I am getting plenty done.

Have you read much Robert Frost or Wendy Cope?

The latter may be a little bit too British for your tastes!

Oct 13, 8:01am Top

Hi Paul! Congrats on the reading marathon results so far.

>229 PaulCranswick: The poem you quote by Wendy Cope works for me too.

Oct 13, 8:03am Top

>231 karenmarie: She can be clever and structurally quite innovative but a few of her poems in this collection grate a little.

Oct 13, 10:18am Top

>229 PaulCranswick: You blow your nose. You see the shrink.
You walk. You give up food and drink.
You fall in love. You make a plan.
You struggle to improve your man.
And nothing works. The outlooks grim.

Belt up, Wendy. Whiny wee dishrag.

Oct 13, 10:42am Top

>196 PaulCranswick: I am also disappointed by the choice of Peter Handke. He had some good works in the beginning but nothing that would have merited the Nobel prize.

Your are right, this is Swedish award.

Oct 13, 11:31am Top

Go Paul! Go! - I wish you all the best for your marathon, have fun.

>224 PaulCranswick:: I love that book, we have a special relationship to it, our wedding ceremony almost 35 years ago was based on it.
Today we were at an exhibition opening with lithographs from the book.
It was very nice, with a short biography of the author and a little reading from the book. It was very beautiful.

Oct 13, 12:59pm Top

>233 richardderus:

He read the poems, some made him think.
Some made him smile, thought some did stink
Some like her verse, though not our RD
Whose usual refrain is ewww ewww poultry.

>234 paulstalder:

I was astonished that after all their world vision talk they went and picked Handke.

Edited: Oct 13, 4:05pm Top

>223 PaulCranswick: I've only recently come across Calvino, will add this to the wishlist.

>225 PaulCranswick: GOOD LUCK!

>229 PaulCranswick: Ooh, criticising Wendy Cope, my poetry first love. Dangerous territory. I think you're right though, this book was the point where I stopped buying everything she published. I still love the early stuff though.

Oct 13, 5:29pm Top

>235 SirThomas: Thanks Thomas. Fell asleep awhile but I'll still manage a couple more I reckon.

It is a little treasure of a book for sure and I enjoyed it the more having read his earlier tale of being lost in the desert.

Oct 13, 5:30pm Top

>237 charl08: Don't get me wrong, Charlotte, there was plenty there to enjoy; it was just that I thought some other of it pretty meh.

Oct 13, 7:33pm Top

>236 PaulCranswick: Heh.

I reviewed the last three Booker nominees I'll have time to read before the award in my thread, post 213.

Oct 13, 7:56pm Top

Hours to go. Good luck in the marathon. Very ambitious, I might add...

Edited: Oct 13, 8:14pm Top

>240 richardderus: And there's me thinking you'd like it!

I will get along and have a look at your comments on the last three winners. I think I read one of 'em and hated it.

>241 Berly: Unfortunately Kimmers I lost more hours on the blasted challenge as I have to start work at 7.00 am (Boo Hoo).

Yesterday also (well I found out Saturday) a good friend's mum passed away. His mum and I were very fond of each other (dear lady was 89 when she passed) so I wouldn't have missed her funeral for anything. My friend is a muslim convert but his mum was a Sikh lady and it was my first Sikh funeral at the City crematorium. Gave my friend a big hug and his dear mum a kiss on her cheek and flower petals in her casket as a send-off.

Still I have managed to complete another couple.

Edited: Oct 13, 8:20pm Top

Book #62

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll

Date Published : 1974 (62 of 120)
Origin of Author : Germany (still 41 of 80)
Pages : 116 (15,898 in total)

A cold dissection of the corruptive and destructive influence of the press.

Written in the rather hysteric mid-1970s this still has relevance today. Heinrich Boll will never be a favourite author of mine but this one does have a certain amount of unpolished bravura.

Oct 13, 8:21pm Top

10 books in 72 hours is quite a challenge Paul. But if anyone can do it I think you probably can. I would never be able to do it. Not a fast reader at all.

I just finished a book that had a thread about the Nobel Prize that was turned down by Boris Pasternak in the 50s. Of course later his son accepted the prize that was awarded posthumously. That was excellent since his father did not turn it down willingly.

Edited: Oct 13, 8:26pm Top

Book #63

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Date Published : 1900 (63 of 120)
Origin of Author : USA (still 41 of 80)
Pages : 162 (16,060 in total)

I can almost see Judy Garland (and not the Renee movie just out).

All my favourites are there and much of it is so familiar with the movie I must have watched every other Christmas growing up.

There are however scenes which I full well understand how they ending up out of the screenplay (birds with broken necks don't play that well to a juvenile audience) but on the whole it was a magical escape from cares and chores.

Oct 13, 8:34pm Top

>244 brenzi: Unfortunately Bonnie, I am not going to make it. What with my six hours of work on Friday, five hours of work Saturday and five hours of work on Monday morning, three hours lost to the funeral, six in total to sleep and two hours taking Belle to dinner - I was down to 45 hours to fit em all in.

I managed 7 books completed (including 2 1001 First Edition books) and got well into another two which I'll complete today or tomorrow (also both 1001 First Edition books).

I am on the whole pleased with my efforts this weekend and I reckon with a concerted effort 75 will fall this month. I am still not giving up on my two challenges and have got both of them past the halfway mark.

Oct 13, 10:34pm Top

>243 PaulCranswick: All I remember about the forty-five-year gone read is Katharina was a whiny little party who thought somehow if she didn't admit she had sex with the guy it was okay.

Sounds like I kept the gist.

>245 PaulCranswick: Ooo! Fun book, much moreso than the slightly pasty movie made of it.


The film is classic! It's the snake's garters! Best thing ever to happen to this Republic!

Oct 13, 10:59pm Top

>247 richardderus: Yes, that pretty much covered La Blum.

I reckon the film did do the book justice but I usually prefer the images my mind can create than rely on my dodgy eyes. I can't help envision a slightly gin-soaked Judy slurring Over the Rainbow though which gives the book a surrealist edge!

Oct 13, 11:18pm Top

Go Paul Go!!!!

Oct 13, 11:26pm Top

You are a reading magister, Paul! Kudos!!!
(As to your American women, 6-10, I really like Robinson, Morrison, and Kingsolver.)

Oct 13, 11:29pm Top

>242 PaulCranswick: Sorry to hear about your friend's mum passing, but I am glad you got to attend the funeral and say your goodbyes to the sweet lady.

And very respectable job on the books!! Especially given all the time constraints. I just read a book called Finding Dorothy, which is about Frank L. Baum's wife and also about the making of The Wizard of Oz. It is historical fiction, and it always turns me off a little when there is a lot of conversation, because THE AUTHOR WASN'T THERE!, so I can only give it a good not great rating, but it was still a fun read. I kinda want to watch the movie again.

Oct 13, 11:35pm Top

>249 EBT1002: Work, as you well know Ellen, sort of got in the way. I did manage 7 books over the weekend though which is pretty good going for me.
I also made a big dent in Nowhere Man and Growth of the Soil and I'll finish both of them this mid-week too.

In completed books I have read 2,078 pages over 13 days or 159.85 pages a day
Over the whole year of 286 days so far I have managed 16,060 pages or only 56.15 pages a day.

>250 LizzieD: Thank you, Peggy. I shall bask in my success briefly!

Oct 13, 11:36pm Top

>251 Berly: She was a dear old lady, Kimmers.

I think that I'll watch it again soon with Baum's book relatively fresh in my mind.

Oct 14, 3:52am Top

>252 PaulCranswick: Seven books in one weekend - what a great performance, Paul.
As Hermann Hesse said:
You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.

Oct 14, 8:55am Top

Congrats on the 7-book marathon, Paul. Well done, given all the other things you were doing. I must say that 6 hours of sleep total sounds brutally insufficient. Or, is that normal?

Oct 14, 11:59am Top

>254 SirThomas: Hesse could be wise, Thomas, when he wasn't writing strange fiction!

>255 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. I do normally sleep about 4 hours a night so I halved it for my reading exertions. Will get my four hours back tonight!

Oct 14, 2:58pm Top

>246 PaulCranswick: Well an honourable stab at it Paul, and life got in the way. Agreeing that it was good you got the chance to pay your last respects to a treasured lady.

Oct 14, 6:16pm Top

>257 Caroline_McElwee: Speaking of treasured ladies - mine own one will be home this week!

Oct 14, 6:31pm Top

Of course everyone knows already but:
The Booker was shared:


Atwood's win was a populist move and she is not my favourite writer but I do recognise that many love her writing. I will read more of her work and try to see what I am missing.

I am pleased to see Bernadine Evaristo win and her book has been lauded in many places.

Oct 14, 7:08pm Top

>259 PaulCranswick: Well, there went any respect I had for the Booker. Two-thirds of The Testaments reads like a crappy YA dystopian novel, and the remaining third, while far more interesting, isn't anywhere near the quality of The Handmaid's Tale.

Oct 14, 7:16pm Top

>260 amanda4242: I haven't even read it yet and I am less than impressed! I don't like things that are over-hyped and this was definitely over-hyped. Good for the book trade though.

Heard good things about the other winner though although Richard wasn't keen as I note.

Oct 15, 12:08am Top

I would say that was a very respectable showing on your reading weekend, Paul, especially as you made time for RL as well. Sorry to hear about your friend's mum's passing.

Oct 15, 12:23am Top

I would agree, a good chunk of reading done! I liked the Testaments and am an Atwood fan from way back, so happy with the Booker, but prizes are a bit silly in many ways.

Oct 15, 3:26am Top

I just got my copy of the GN version of The Handmaid's Tale. I have read the original, but wanted a refresher before I read The Testaments. We'll see!

Oct 15, 11:16am Top

>262 Familyhistorian: Yes Meg. Of course I hadn't anticipated Mrs Deol passing on. I had to organise flowers, call to Hani and her friend Salwa, find out where the funeral was taking place. I also had work Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Monday morning to disturb me!

>263 banjo123: I like the prizes because they aid the statistician in me not because of any inherent love of prizes! I'm not a big fan of Atwood but I can see why many of my peers esteem her writing.

Oct 15, 11:17am Top

>264 Berly: I hadn't realised it was in GN form now. Won't be buying it, Kimmers!

Oct 15, 12:33pm Top

Just popping in before you get going on yet another new thread...

I have to agree about the Booker prize...it just isn't what it used to be. I haven't read the new Atwood, but no one seems overly impressed with it, especially given her earlier work, so why is it prizeworthy?

Oct 15, 7:03pm Top

>267 laytonwoman3rd: Because it is Atwood and because it is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale which has aged better than The Old Devils which won instead.

Oct 16, 1:56pm Top

Good show on your reading blitz, Paul. I wish I had known you were doing a reading marathon last weekend. I have fond memories of the organized events several years ago on LT. Checking on each other's progress was so much fun. Plus, it helped to know that I wasn't alone in burning the midnight oil. That will teach me to fall behind on your thread!

You only get 4 hours of sleep per night?!!? I would be dead…or extremely cranky. ;-(

Edited: Oct 16, 6:04pm Top

>269 Donna828: It would have been nice to have done it in a more organised way, but I just needed to get a move on with my reading a bit!

The sleep is just something I'm used to, Donna, as I have a body clock that reboots very quickly after shutting down!

Oct 16, 6:10pm Top

I'm a bit down today actually as I bought a ticket for SWMBO to make a long awaited return to Malaysia. I specifically cancelled the change-the-ticket option as she was so keen to come home and it was supposed to be today (Thursday) flying. She called me in a flap in the evening (my time) and has lost her passport!! Not like her, in fairness, and she is so upset. Now she has to go to the Malaysian embassy to get an emergency passport which apparently takes three days so I will have to buy another ticket for her now. All at a time when my funds are so tight.

Still I have just spent over an hour on the phone with her (via whatsapp) trying to get her to calm herself and not panic. I told her I've wasted more money over the years than her and she deserves at least one screw up. She is so disappointed (and so am I, but I tried not to show it as I haven't seen her for nearly four blinking months).

Oct 16, 7:53pm Top

Yikes, a lost passport is a real pain! Glad you were there for her.

Oct 16, 8:31pm Top

>272 drneutron: Im sure she wouldn't have lost it had I been there Jim. She would have been so busy making sure that I didn't lose mine that she would have taken better care of her own.

Oct 16, 10:09pm Top

>271 PaulCranswick: Oh rats! I am so sorry that happened to Hani. (And to you, of course.) Four months is a LONG TIME to be apart!

Oct 17, 2:23am Top

>274 richardderus: It is indeed RD. I hope that we won't stay apart this long again. The stresses and strains of being apart so long and so often have told on the pair of us but still we have that incredibly deep connection that time and distance will never be able to sever.

Oct 17, 4:09am Top

>271 PaulCranswick: So sorry for both of you, Paul, waiting even longer to be together again.
Safe travels to Hani in a few days.

Oct 17, 7:46am Top

I'm sorry to hear about Hani's lost passport and disrupted travel plans. I hope she gets home soon.

Oct 17, 10:40am Top

>276 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. She goes to London tomorrow to arrange a replacement passport.

>277 karenmarie: These things are sent to try us, Karen.

Oct 17, 11:37am Top

Poor Hani, so stressful. And on the $$$ front too, but these things happen. I hope you will be reunited soon Paul.

Oct 17, 11:44am Top

Sorry to hear about Hani's passport woes....international travel is stressful enough already. Keeping a good thought for a quick turn-around on the replacement.

Oct 17, 5:59pm Top

>279 Caroline_McElwee: She will be in London today and can hopefully settle the issue.

>280 laytonwoman3rd: Funny thing is that it is so out of character for her to lose something so important.

Oct 18, 10:00am Top

I hope everything works out smoothly for Hani getting a new passport and coming back home, Paul.

Oct 18, 9:48pm Top

Amazingly and at the eleventh hour a passport has been found! She left it in a bag that she left with birthday boy Kyran in Portsmouth. He texted us both whilst Hani was in the Malaysian embassy trying to get a new passport organised.

A tad embarrassed but she can now travel - shame about the waste of the ticket though!

Oct 18, 10:10pm Top

That's too bad about the unused ticket, but hurray for the found passport!!! I hope you two are together soon. : )

Oct 18, 11:03pm Top

Thanks Kimmers. I am hoping Wednesday or Thursday she'll land back here.

Oct 18, 11:09pm Top

Four months is a long time to be apart. Happy reunion wishes!

Oct 18, 11:16pm Top

Not expecting quite the stellar reading weekend but I am enjoying:

Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun (I can see why he won the Nobel Prize - I didn't like Hunger but this is much more my cup of coffee).

Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon - Another 1001 books

I should finish these two and then make inroads into another few:

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
We, the Survivors by Tash Aw
Soil by Yi Kwang-su
In a Free State by VS Naipaul

Oct 18, 11:18pm Top

Whew! The important thing is that Hani is coming home to you, Paul. Blessings on you both!

Oct 18, 11:18pm Top

>286 Berly: It is indeed, Kimmers!

Oct 18, 11:20pm Top

>288 LizzieD: Thank you, Peggy. She spent time yesterday with Kyran celebrating his birthday which she couldn't have done if she hadn't misplaced the passport. I guess it is worth $750 to give the benefit of the birthday with her boy.

Oct 18, 11:24pm Top

There they are in UK - eating Malaysian food!!

Oct 19, 2:13am Top

Well, I am glad some good came of the missed flight. Happy birthday Kyran!!

Oct 19, 3:27am Top

>291 PaulCranswick: happy to hear of the good outcome of that adventure :)

Edited: Oct 19, 10:20am Top

Phew, glad the passport has been found, and Hani will soon be winging her way in your direction Paul.

Oct 19, 10:41am Top

Happy Birthday to Kyran, and how great to see him with Hani in >291 PaulCranswick:.

Oct 19, 1:47pm Top

I'm sure that's a relief to find the passport!

Oct 19, 2:33pm Top

Happy birthday to Mr. K, YAY about the passport, and go get Flames by Tasmanian tyro Robbie Arnott.

Yesterday, 5:13am Top

>292 Berly: Thank you Kimmers. One thing that Portsmouth and Edinburgh have in common are branches of the up market seafood restaurant chain Loch Fyne. It is a favourite of mine in Scotland and we also coincided a visit to Yasmyne with a trip there and now they've found one in Portsmouth too!

>293 paulstalder: Somehow it contrived to be Kyran's fault!

Yesterday, 5:14am Top

>294 Caroline_McElwee: I think the flight will be on Wednesday, Caroline.

>295 jnwelch: Thank you Joe. Both were happy. Kyran for a full stomach and some cash and a mother for seeing her son.

Yesterday, 5:15am Top

>296 thornton37814: It was indeed Lori and also enabled her to make a good friend at the Malaysian embassy which may stand her in good stead in future!

>297 richardderus: Thank you RD. I saw that one in the book shops today and almost took the plunge on it. I would have done had I seen your post already.

Yesterday, 7:49am Top

Hi, Paul. I hope you had a good weekend. I normally do not get a chance to read many Booker-related books, but this time around I have a few in the works. I am really enjoying 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. I also just finished The Testaments. Good, but not great.

Yesterday, 8:54am Top

Well done Kyran for finding the passport- and how nice it worked out they got to spend a birthday together. Good on you for seeing that positive too. I have my fingers crossed for some good $$ news too.

Yesterday, 9:16am Top

>301 msf59: I think that the marketing and hype created by Atwood's agent and publisher was clever, cynical and manipulative. They generated great sales and, even without reading it, a sort of honorific second Booker. Wasn't the best book so they didn't feel like giving her a whole Booker but she scraped a share in one! Shafak is a more readable author in my opinion.

>302 charl08: Oh heavens I do hope so, Charlotte!!

Yesterday, 2:10pm Top

Hi Paul!

I'm glad to hear that Hani's passport was found and that she and Kyran got to spend his birthday together.

Hope you have been able to get some good reading in.

Yesterday, 5:42pm Top

PAUL - Glad all's ended well! - maybe the passport could go in one of those new cell phone carrier bags?

(My daughter left her cell-phone-in-bag-with-her-car-key last Friday - I'm inventing a clip to attach phone bag and purse straps.
She's so far refused the silvery prototype.)

Her Dad got back from Europe today = Portugal wasn't the problem this time = Turkey needed to be cancelled,
thanks to someone's monster freak of a president.

Dad's headed out again in 2 days to South America, then Pittsburgh.
He's bringing a gift from The Paard for our Grocery Delivery Man, born in Holland.

Wow - were you ever as handsome as Kyran?!?

Yesterday, 11:27pm Top

>304 karenmarie: Thanks Karen, I am really enjoying Growth of the Soil which has surprised me somewhat because I hated his more renowned Hunger.

>305 m.belljackson: It is out of character to be fair as she normally looks after her things so carefully.

Hope all your family members stay safe with their travels, Marianne.

As to Kyran's superiority in the good look stakes v his father. It is a little bit subjective. The thread toppers from the last two threads should tell you how close I run him in the looks department. It is simple evolution that he'd be better looking than me as well as having the advantage of some of his mother's genes.

Today, 2:29am Top

I have been cataloguing again a little bit and realised 2 things:

1 How far I have fallen behind in the "zeitgeist" listing of the top 5,000 cataloguing members. I have lost some 100 places in a year.

2 How many of this group and its friends, previous members and fellow travellers are represented well up in the listing. I ran my eyes across the list ad spotted the following in amongst the list. I am sure that I have missed some of the group in that dense swamp of figures and text and if so do let me know.

Those with more than 5000 books catalogued - position given is the position in the top 5000 libraries:

33 lyzard 28,750
91 elkidee 19,076
152 paulstalder 15,535
172 alcottacre 14,825
222 chatterbox 13,421
288 PaulCranswick 11,941
332 whisper1 11,189
380 jjmcgaffey 10,600
519 CarolineMcelewee 9,303
564 someguyinvirginia 8,928
639 avatiakh 8,372
653 amanda4242 8,301
727 benitastrnd 7,873
758 bruce_kraft 7,715
854 MDGentlereader 7,351
888 LizzieD 7,233
950 smiler69 7,027
958 katiekrug 6,977
973 DeltaQueen50 6,940
976 sakerfalcon 6,921
992 lycomayflower 6,890
1104 richardderus 6,532
1110 CDVicarage 6,510
1223 beserene 6,147
1292 arubabookwoman 5,981
1400 thornton37814 5,717
1459 charl08 5,614
1675 brewbooks 5,256
1759 sibyx 5,143
1831 alsvidur 5,050

I make it 30 past and present members of the group or those who often post here in the group have more than 5,000 books catalogued.

A group past and present that probably incorporates 1,200 people out of a site with 1,800,000
should have about 0.07% of the biggest libraries but on this evidence 1.7% of the biggest libraries are with group members.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

331 members

98,315 messages


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