Paul C Back to Basics in 2019 Part 10
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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.
1. Findings by Kathleen Jamie BIAC
2. Black Robe by Brian Moore
3. Love on the Dole by Walter Greenwood
4. Football in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
5. The Rider by Tim Krabbe
6. Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau
7. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (AAC)
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (BIAC)
9. A Thief in the Village by James Berry
10. The House of Arden by E. Nesbit (BIAC)
11. The Hanging Garden by Ian Rankin (BIAC)
12. Still Midnight by Denise Mina (BIAC)
13. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
14. Naomi by Junichiro Tanizaki
15. The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond
16. A Place of Execution by Val McDermid (BIAC)
17. Just William by Richmal Crompton
18. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (BIAC)
19. The War with the Newts by Karel Capek
20. This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
21. Came a Hot Friday by Ronald Hugh Morrieson
22. Petersburg by Andrei Bely
23. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (AAC)
24. The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason (BIAC)
25. In the American Grain by William Carlos Williams
26. The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsnousi
27. Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas
28. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangaremba
29. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
30. Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter
31. The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta
32. Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski
33. The Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon
34. Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo
35. The Weatherhouse by Nan Shepherd
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
64. Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
65. We, the Survivors by Tash Aw
66. The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
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:
120 books in this challenge so I am going to have to do much better than last year!
To date : 64/120
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
1917 - Growth of the Soil
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
2019 - We, the Survivors
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
42. Norway Knut Hamsun
43. Malaysia Tash Aw
Happy new thread!
Happy new thread!
Like Amanda, I'm frustrated that I can't make out any titles nor do I recognize any by the covers that I can see.
Happy sorting and stacking when you get around to shelves!
I hope you get your book cases soon.
But I think it's better to have books without book cases than book cases without books.
>20 LizzieD: I will have a look at some of the other photos and see what I can do to enlighten all on some of the book identities.
>1 PaulCranswick: I love the look, I agree it would improve with bookcases.
It reminds me of our move in 1997 to a smaller house. The movers put all the bookcases and the boxes with books in the small room that would be our library. It was so full, we had to get boxes with books out first, to make a small pathway to make room to be able to put the books on the shelves.
Enjoy putting on the shelves when you get them. I have shelves, boxes and teetering towers!
Hope Hani had a good flight home and that you are starting to settle down in your new home, sending love and hugs from both of us dear friend.
>1 PaulCranswick: You are definitely a bibliomaniac.
All my favorite rooms in the house have books.
Even though your books need proper shelving, I find the picture calming :)
He will undoubtedly not set foot in the USA again.
The movers delivered all of my stuff from storage today, so my living room is now many piles of books in boxes and 3 large empty bookcases. The bedroom has empty bookcases too. I have missed all my friends, even though I brought several boxes of books with me to my temporary housing. Can't wait until Saturday when I'll have time to decant my lovelies...
Many beautiful creations!
>64 PaulCranswick: Wow, beautiful.
I saw this poetry pamphlet in Halifax today and wondered if it had reached your collection yet.
So glad that Hani made it back home after the passport dilemma. I can see why she might be overwhelmed by your books. hahaha
>67 EllaTim: Indeed, Ella. Always lovely to see you here.
>69 charl08: No, Charlotte, I don't have that one. I don't own any poetry pamphlets actually and I am struggling to think why. Maybe because they are so difficult to come by here but also because I do like full blown collections which normally indicates that the poet has reached a certain level of maturity. The pamphlets are an early sign of promise though. I will look out for the writer.
>71 m.belljackson: I will try to find that episode, Marianne, as I have to admit that the preparation of much of the local cuisine is an interminably tedious affair. I have a great cook in my household but she doesn't really bake that often.
Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
Date Published : 1917 (64 of 120)
Origin of Author : Norway (42 of 80)
Pages : 435 (16,495 in total)
1001 Books First Edition :
I must be honest in stating that I hated Hamsun's supposed masterpiece Hunger, but I believe in second chances.
It paid off in spades as I thoroughly enjoyed this story of farming lives in the untilled lands of Northern Europe. Nothing much happened other than the passing of the seasons and the turning of the soil and the toiling of its custodians, but it was strangely gripping nonetheless.
I suppose the casualness of sex as a woman cements her shelter in the wilderness and the "morality" of infanticide if your child is born with a hare-lip to a mother with a similar affliction would afford some action, however, it was the place and the land itself which was the main character in this book.
Glad to recommend this one.
Close to impossible but not impossible if I add to my reading marathons in the coming weeks.
The 28 books planned this month:
A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd (1981) Ghana
The Soil by Yi Kwang-Su (1932) Korea
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson (1946) Finland
The Nebuly Coat by J Meade Falkner (1903)
Father and Son by Edmund Gosse (1907)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (1915)
The Castle by Franz Kafka (1926) Austria
The Tower by WB Yeats (1927)
Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson (1928)
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (1944)
The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis (1951) Greece
Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado (1958) Brazil
The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa (1962) Peru
General of the Dead Army by Ismail Kadare (1963) Albania
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o (1967) Kenya
In a Free State by VS Naipaul (1971) Trinidad
Sweet and Sour Milk by Nuruddin Farah (1979) Somalia
Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago (1980) Portugal
The General in his Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1989) Colombia
The Land of the Green Plums by Herta Muller (1993) Romania
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov (1996) Ukraine
Foreign Bodies by Hwee Hwee Tan (1997) Singapore
Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam (2004) Pakistan
The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Safak (2007) Turkey
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi (2013) Iraq
We, the Survivors by Tash Aw (2019) Malaysia
Only 6 1001 Books and 6 Nobel prize winners and a Pulitzer.
Piece of cake really!!
I had a look and he was one of 12 featured poets in the Faber New Poets 2015/16 series. I will try to add these to my collection very soon.
The series is:
Faber New Poets 1 by Fiona Benson
Faber New Poets 2 by Toby Martinez de las Rivas
Faber New Poets 3 by Heather Phillipson
Faber New Poets 4 by Jack Underwood
Faber New Poets 5 by Joe Dunthorne
Faber New Poets 6 by Annie Katchinska
Faber New Poets 7 by Sam Riviere
Faber New Poets 8 by Tom Warner
Faber New Poets 9 by Rachael Allen
Faber New Poets 10 by Will Burns
Faber New Poets 11 by Zaffar Kunial
Faber New Poets 12 by Declan Ryan
I have definitely got a collection by Jack Underwood on the shelves and Joe Dunthorne is well known for a few very well received novels including the 1001 Book First Edition Submarine.
>85 jnwelch: Ha! I have been thinking that in 2020 I will get back to reading (and writing) much more poetry. I have an offer to publish some of my scribbles here in Malaysia which I may or may not pursue but I will definitely look at publication in some of the UK periodicals next year.
I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been able to move back to England yet. I know you have been really looking forward to it.
I watched a few videos on Kek Lapis/Sarawak cake. This one is my favorite. It isn't one of the fancier designs but it does show the step by step process of making one.
We do want to go back to the UK in the near future and light hopefully at the end of the tunnel in that direction.
I am hungry just looking at the videos. xx
I am amazingly still managing to read as well!!
>106 thornton37814: I do have work satisfaction, Lori. Slightly excuses my reduced reading numbers.
This is the other one. Difficult logistically because it is right in the centre of town and connects physically (and extends) the existing KL Convention centre which itself is attached to the KLCC Twin Towers.
The video is interesting as the motor cyclist at 3.45 is setting off next to a white condominium tower. That is where we live! I spend three days of the working week in the basement of the project and the other three days in a custom built temporary office next to the PNB118 project.
>109 quondame: In many ways the Sapura building is a more challenging project - linking up with existing buildings, keeping the convention centre open, the logistics of location in the centre of a busy city.
I suppose you heard about the massive fire here in Auckland at the Sky City convention centre currently under construction. What a nightmare.
Hope that the damage caused by the fire can be put right soon.
I hope all negotiations work out in your favor.
Glad you are still reading :-)
It is an intense project, RD, that requires patience as well as a bit of street-smart in negotiating with the American Contract Administrators appointed by the Government Linked owners.
>116 FAMeulstee: We also have a third project about to start which Samsung want me to help advise them on. I told them I wanted three salaries but they seemed to think I was joking!
Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore (her last poetry collection and winner of the Costa Book Award)
Wild Harbour by Ian MacPherson in the great British Science Fiction series. Written in 1936 it tells the tale of a pacifist couple who retreat into the Northern Highlands of Scotland as the war approaches them.
Hope you had a good weekend!
I'm hijacking your thread to get the word out....
Its 75'er Christmas Swap Time! : https://www.librarything.com/topic/312848
I do have a change of address of course which I shall PM to you.
Podium many times in the Tour but never atop it riding as he did through the eras of both Anquetil and Merckx. Probably the finest rider to have never won Le Grand Boucle.
That's after he said, "Isn't that the guy who hides the books he buys from his wife?" LOL.
I am really struggling with my reading this month and despite my best efforts. I have started so many books but got nowhere near finishing any as yet.
I hope this weekend see me break my monthly duck!
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner which I have been looking for for a goodly while.
I'm in a reading slump as well with several barely started books lying around.
Hope you are feeling better today.
I'm so sorry you're under the weather, Paul. Being too sick to enjoy reading is, well, just not fun at all. Being just sick enough to stay home from work while still being able to read, at least for a few hours in the day -- that is a sweet spot that is hard to nail.
Thanks to all who have visited here and posted here in 2019. You are all great friends and have kept me going at times when I haven't had much energy to carry on.
We all have our highs and lows in books and posts, I am just thankful this group exists!
As long as Hani doesn't mind, she and Jackson can have a pandan onde-onde-off! *drool* That pandan flavor is addictive. I can see why it's "the vanilla of East Asian cooking."
A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I have to be honest that my reading is a little less than up to date but this is my take on my best 20 novels of the last decade. In no particular order. Thoughts anyone
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Among Others by Jo Walton
The North Water by Ian McGuire
The Dictator's Last Night by Yasmina Khadra
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela
Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
The Song of Achilles by Margaret Miller
Norte by Edmundo Paz Soldan
The Dig by Cynan Jones
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Two of my selections above make the cut.
I have so far read 19 of the Guardian list.
Good news on the health front. Being sick is no fun at all especially when it interferes with reading.
ETA: I've read 36 from The Guardian list. Their No. 2 is my No. 1: Gilead. I've already read it 3 times!!!
Your work is beyond my comprehension. Ohhhh, carry on, man.
Thanks for the Guardian link. I've actually read some of those, and have quite a few others in my stacks. Regrettably, I've read only 4 of your personal top twenty.
>172 weird_O: You always were a smart and charming fellow Bill!
Work is oftentimes beyond my own comprehension so we can certainly agree on that.
Four of my list isn't too shabby as it is based only on my own strange reading choices!
Note your comment on Ishiguro's book but your list did include something by Jilly Cooper!!
>174 msf59: Mark, I don't think that The North Water got nearly the credit it deserved. The Booker winner that year was, I think, The Sellout which I truly hated, but has made so many lists.
20 on the first list; not surprising as I am an inveterate Back List Reader
36 on the second list. A so-so record, I think.
I did dislike Never Let Me Go for being too predictable, but I loved Atonement.
Gilead, Cloud Atlas, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Country Girls, and Wolf Hall would be my top reads, I think. All were memorable in the best sort of way.
Editor-in-chief Jonny Diamond even mentions my six-stars-of-five dote Margaret the First!
I saw the lists over on Laura's thread and have saved it on the old Apple.
>166 PaulCranswick: I was surprised to see as many as three books on the list that I’ve read and a couple more are on the shelves (somewhere).
>196 EBT1002: I love historical literary fiction, Ellen, which tells a story so I am pre-disposed towards The North Water as it ticks all my boxes. I also quite liked His Bloody Project which was shortlisted in the same year but didn't feel it held together as a story in quite the same way.
I really didn't enjoy The Sellout as I found it a bit of a pastiche. The satire was so heavy it should have been applied with a spatula!
Wishing you good reading, and good health!
Always lovely to get a message from you.
And I had!
I should have included:
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh - the excellent follow up to the even better Sea of Poppies
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman which I thought was a throwback to the great storytelling tradition.
I would probably omit Lyrics Alley and The Bone Clocks
>203 PaulCranswick: I loved Sea of Poppies, started River of Smoke but abandoned it. It’s still waiting hopefully on my shelves.
And I'm glad that your poor tummy is behaving itself.
On to responses....
Lists galore! I LOVE lists. Lists... my precious...
>165 PaulCranswick: Yay! I recognize and have read books on your list! I'll start off by saying I did not like the Walton and I'll never read another Mantel after getting THREE-QUARTERS of the way into Wolf Hall and couldn't make myself read anymore. I know a lot of you love it. It's just not to my taste.
There were a couple I read and they were fine but I adore David Mitchell. I need to get caught up on his bibliography. Black Swan Green is next on my list.
There are a couple I plan on reading including Sing, Unburied, Sing but I'm going to need to read it when I'm in the proper mood as I'm sure it's going to devastate me.
>166 PaulCranswick: I've read 20 of the Guardian's Best of the 21st. I've DNFed 4 and have 15 on Mount TBR - 1 of which I own.
>173 amanda4242: I did best on this one. I've read 36 of BBC's Novels That Shaped Our World. I've DNFed 4 and have 16 on Mount TBR.
>181 richardderus: I've read 3 books from the main article (including Dissenting Opinions) from ListHub's 20 Best Novels. I've DNFed 1 and have 15 on Mount TBR - 2 of which I own.
In the Honorable Mentions, I've read 7, DNFed 1,* and have 15 on Mount TBR - 2 of which I own.
* Gone Girl and Wolf Hall sure are popular on these lists.
I used to finish every book I picked up. But nowadays I'm much more adventurous in my reading - I used to read only SF/F and romances - therefore I'm more likely to come across books I don't care for. Notice I didn't say BAD books, though there have been some, mostly they haven't done anything for me.
I have camels sunbathing in my backyard, eating dill pickles with maple syrup.
No, not really. I'm simply surprised you got this far in my wall of text and thought I'd put something silly. :D
>207 Familyhistorian: We are similar in that respect, Meg. The shops here are a little slower stocking the latest releases for obvious reasons although they are getting better and my tendency to overplan my reading doesn't accommodate those late releases so readily putting me further behind.
>209 johnsimpson: Hitler was born in Austria, John, but it hasn't affected my view on him qualitatively one way or the other! Bonk buster? - the mind boggles - horsey types shagging was my understanding.
>218 brenzi: I don't quite understand my hesitation to read the final instalment, Bonnie, to be quite honest. I have a couple of other novels of his too. I did read his book about Egypt - In an Antique Land many many moons ago, but Sea of Poppies is by far the best thing he has done that I have read.
Seamus Heaney - Seeing Things - One of only 3 of his collections I did not possess - I want to complete the collection in early course.
Terrance Hayes - American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin
Heard great things about Hayes so I thought I would check him out for myself.
I have read the first two books in the Ibis Trilogy and I have the third one waiting for me on my shelves. I thought that River of Smoke was even better than Sea of Poppies. The second book is all about the First Opium War and takes place in what becomes Hong Kong. I have Flood of Fire on my shelves but just haven’t gotten to it - yet.
Ghosh has just published (in September 2019) a sort of sequel to the trilogy. It’s hero is named Deen Datta. The title for that book is Gun Island and I have already put it on my TBR Wishlist.
In my opinion Ghosh is very underrated. He has a wide variety of work to his credit and deserves to have a bigger reading audience. I think he is a better writer than Rushdie. I have never managed to make it through and entire Rushdie novel, but I have read two Ghosh novels and have Hungry Tide and Glass Palace on my TBR list. Ghosh also has a nonfiction work in climate change that is based on a series of lectures he gave in Germany on that subject.
This is an author that people should be reading. He is good.
>230 Berly: Lovely to see you Kimmers! On PNB 118 it will be an intense few weeks as I will be basically locked in a room with my two opposite numbers from the Employer's Contract Administrators trying to agree terms for a Supplementary Agreement that will re-set completion of the project by a further eleven months to November 2021.
Such heavy downpours are incredibly disruptive including to my construction projects where flash floods can wreak havoc.
We, the Survivors by Tash Aw
Date Published : 2019 (65 of 120)
Origin of Author : Malaysia (43 of 80)
Pages : 326 (16,821 in total)
There was much familiar to me about the novel. The locale for a start some of the places described in the story are places I have seen, visited and sometimes avoided.
Then there is the situation - the plight of the foreign workers; battling prejudice and poor living conditions and pittance wages and unscrupulous bosses. I know of scores of Bangladeshi workers engaged in building the most iconic of buildings whose wages are at least three months behind. They are kept here by the necessity of getting their money and the impossibility of escape without the means to do so.
At the same time there is the inherent prejudice against the racial minorities in this country. The impression given that the ethnic Chinese community are all rich and hard-working is a misconception nailed in these pages.
The story is of desperation, ties of community and friendship that culminate in a tragic killing.
It should have been a great novel but somehow wasn't. It didn't quite hold together and insufficient sympathy was generated for the characters. It was as if Tash Aw wanted to tell a different story and his main protagonist got in the way.
I was able to get to the end of it more by the fact that I have lived in the country for 25 years and can understand what isn't written as much as what is. Those in their armchairs in Surrey or Saratoga or Saskatchewan will not love a story that has something missing.
Challenges all blown. Now I have to rescue my pride and at least get to 75.
I'm going to read River of Darkness first up by Rennie Airth - a series I have long wanted to start.
I may do something similar with poetry.
Walking in a street of dreams;
paviors whose every indent
cast a memory of thwarted schemes
of time imagination spent.
Reflections of an age now past
whose mulling brings a soul to see;
a thankful shore that die was cast
with thankful thoughts of what would be.
Friends have come to succour and aid
in needful days most anguished
and by their deeds left me unafraid
when despair may yet have languished.
I am at peace now
and life's vicissitudes cannot strain
that relaxed and creaseless brow
protecting an untroubled brain.
Wishing all my American friends a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and together with all my other LT friends I wish to express my continued and profound thanks and appreciation for your friendship in this inspiring group.
ETA A reorganisation of a clumsy third stanza. This poem was typed straight from a ponderous Sunday morning brain to my thread, whilst thinking of all my friends celebrating their thanksgiving weekends and my being thankful for their friendship.
The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Date Published : 2018
Origin of Author : UK (43 of 80)
Pages : 84 (16,905 in total)
This is Raymond Antrobus' first collection and it won the Ted Hughes Award and The Folio Prize and having read and re-read all the poems here I must conclude that he was a more than worthy winner.
This is direct, confessional and brilliant poetry.
Raymond Antrobus is deaf and his condition or the art and difficulties of communication, it's prejudices and tragedies fill the pages emotively. The other major theme here is his difficult relationship with his Jamaican born father and, to a lesser extent, his English mother - all serves to create moving verse.
The title poem The Perseverance is possibly the most effective - The Perseverance was the name of the public house or bar where his father drank away his family's meagre resources. There are plenty of other gems though including the opening salvo.
My ear amps whistle like they are singing
to Echo, goddess of noise,
the raveled knot of tongues,
of blaring birds, consonant crumbs
of dull doorbells, sounds swamped
in my misty hearing aid tubes.
Gaudí believed in holy sound
and built a cathedral to contain it,
pulling hearing men from their knees
as though atheism is a kind of deafness.
Who would turn down God?
Even though I have not heard
the golden decibels of angels,
I have been living in a noiseless
palace where the doorbell is pulsating
light and I am able to answer.
I shall keep returning to this collection. I would be lost without my other love - music but, though Antrobus heard no sounds he certainly puts words together sweetly.
Lovely to see you here. xx
I know how hard it is to focus on reading with so many other stresses and strains going on and do hope that you can put together another 9 before year end to get to 75, if only for your own peace of mind.
Last year my goal of 105 was only met because my last 4 books only contained 435 pages total and the last 3 were started/finished on the 31st!
The emotional support of my pals at this time is precious.
>249 paulstalder: Thanks Paul.
I am a little overwhelmed with life at the moment and struggling to focus so my love of poetry can help me focus on words and my love of a good yarn can probably keep me sane. Probably.
Business is such a stress Bonnie - I am glad that I have gone back to a simpler existence; or that I will have when I get my financial issues resolved.
>259 figsfromthistle: Thank you Anita! I am much humbled by the support of my friends here. xx
>270 BLBera: When I first started to freelance I was footloose and fancy free, Beth. Then I bought the construction company which threatened to make me seriously rich only to have something like $4 million in bad debts due to Developer failures and the local politics. Now I am freelancing again and slowly recovering.
Sad for your broken trust, glad for your resilience.
Across nations, creeds, philosophies, this is, was, and will be true. People love them some hatin' and excludin'.
I will do one and quickly gather the intelligence to put an intelligible challenge together if there was sufficient support for it.
I'll have a think about how to do it this coming year and any ideas would be welcome.
I am sure that there will be less interest than usual but I cannot let Amanda and my other pals who enjoy the challenge, down.
>288 richardderus: To be fair, RD, Moorcock moved to Texas in his fifties and spends half a year there. Don't believe that he has changed his nationality. I have lived in Malaysia since the 1990s too but I am still a Brit last time I checked.
I had forgotten about His Bloody Project. I gave it 3.5 stars whereas The North Water got 4.5 stars. Both were good but I agree that The North Water was special. I do wish I had it in me to go back and re-rate books after time. Both of these are holding up in memory.
I've reserved Waterland by Graham Swift and requested it not come in before December 30. I think it has enough holds that it's predicted to come in about a week or so into January.
Also, super excited by the first BAC selections!
The group has already read the first 8 in the 12 book Erica Falck series and we have read 12 in the Brunetti series over two years. However, we still have a long way to go to finish Brunetti because Leon publishes one title per year, with 24 novels so far and number 25 coming out in spring 2020. That's a lot of reading to do.