World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #12

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World of Penguins: charl08 travels the shelves #12

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Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 3:27am

Nearly there for 2019!

I was looking for Xmas presents last weekend and found lots of very cute things. Not sure that everyone in my family wants penguin figures though, so I'll put some of them here instead.

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 1:08pm

Books read
This month: 11
Last month: 27
Total: 275

December 11
Eat, Sweat, Play (F, UK, Sport / health/ feminism)
Red Love (M, Germany, Memoir)
New Kid (M, US, Middle school / GN)
Truth or Beard (F, US, fiction)
Nickel Boys (M, US, fiction) Netgalley
Little Siberia (M, Finland, fiction)
The Ministry of Truth (M, UK, Lit crit / biography/ politics)
Studmuffin Santa (F, US, fiction)
The truth About Cowboys (F, US, fiction)
The Infinite blacktop (F, US, fiction)

Why you should read children's books even though you are so old and wise (F, UK, fiction)

November 27
Rain (Multiple, GN)
Death in the East (M, UK, fiction) Netgalley
The Psychology of Time Travel (F, UK, fiction)
Hot Winter Nights (F, US, fiction)
We Have Always been here (F, Canada, memoir)
Good Talk (F, US, Graphic memoir)
The Little Bookshop of Promises (F, US, fiction)
Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady (F, US, memoir)
Pumpkinheads (Joint, GN)
A Puff of Smoke (F, UK, Graphic memoir)

The Testament of Jessie Lamb (F, UK, fiction)
Trying to Score (F, US, fiction)
The Book of Dust: the secret commonwealth (M, UK, fiction)
Everything You Ever Wanted (F, UK, fiction)
Dancing Bears: true stories about longing for the old days (M, Poland, travel/ politics/ history)
Moonlighter (F, US, fiction)
Platform Seven (F, UK, fiction)
Faker (F, US, fiction)
A Lesson in Dying (F, UK, fiction)
The Night Tiger (F, US, fiction)

The Second chance road trip (F, Canada, fiction)
Liar's Candle (F, US, fiction)
Prima Facie (F, UK, fiction) Audio
Not Saying Goodbye (M, Russia, fiction)
Sudden Traveller (F, UK, short stories)
A Beastly kind of Earl (F, US, fiction)
Hippy Trail (F, US, fiction)

October 23
Heaven my home (F, US, fiction)
The Incurable Matchmaker (F, Canada, fiction)
Things in Jars (F, Ireland, fiction)
The Greatest Traitor (M, UK, biography)
Grand Union (F, UK, short stories) Netgalley
A Crisis of Brilliance (M, UK, collective biography)
Trouble on Tap (F, US, fiction)
Awkweird (F, US, fiction)
The Second Sleep (M, UK, fiction)
Stasi 77 (M, UK fiction)

The Stories You Tell (F, US, fiction)
The Case of the Wandering Scholar (F, UK, fiction)
The Sanctuary Murders (F, UK, fiction) Audio
Bringing Down the Duke (F, US?, fiction)
Where the Crawdads Sing (F, US, fiction)
Ottoman Odyssey (F, UK/Cyprus, travel/ politics)
Well Met (F, US, fiction)
The Okay witch (F, US, GN/ children's)
The Dish (F, UK, fiction)
Reel Love (M, UK, GN)

A Girl Like Her (F, UK, fiction)
The Red Thread: mazes labyrinths (F, UK, biography/ lit crit)
Or the Bull Kills You (M, UK, fiction)

Dec totals

Gender M 5 F 6 Multiple 0
Region UK 3 Europe 2 US & Canada 6 Africa 0 Latin America 0 Asia 0 Austalasia 0 Multiple 0
Type Fiction 7 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 4
Origin Library 6 Other (incl mine) 5

Netgalley 1

Running totals
Gender F 202 M 66 Multiple 15
Country/ Region UK 85 Europe 49 US & Canada 124 Africa 7 Latin America 4 Asia 4 Austalasia 1 Multiple 12
Type Fiction 226 Poetry 5 Non-fiction 53
Origin Library 111 Other (incl mine) 174

Netgalley 29

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 3:04am

African writers

(this is going to be loosely interpreted, with inclusion rather than exclusion being the focus)

Hiding in Plain Sight (Somalia/ South Africa/ US) Published by Oneworld
My Sister the Serial Killer (Nigeria) Published by Atlantic (UK)
Zeina (Egypt/ US) Published by SAQI (UK)
Travellers (Nigeria/ US) Published by Hamish Hamilton (UK)
The Wife's Tale (Canada/Ethiopia/UK) Fourth Estate (UK)
A Stranger's Pose (Nigeria) Cassava Press (Nigeria / UK)
Taduno's Song (Nigeria) Canongate (UK)
Goodbye Lucille (Nigeria/ UK) Vintage (UK)

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 6:26am

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

Chester zoo penguins

See previous thread but one for longer list: some favourites

Columbia: The book of Emma Reyes Translator Daniel Alarcón (Spanish)
Egypt: Zeina Translator Amira Nowaira (Arabic)
France: Cry mother Spain Translator Ben Faccini
The Years Translator Alison Strayer
Tell them of battles, kings and elephants translator Charlotte Mandell
Germany: Dreamers when the writers took power, Germany 1918 Translator Ruth Martin
You Would have missed me Translator Jamie Bulloch
Latvia: Soviet Milk Translator Margita Gailitis
Sweden: The Wolf and the Watchman Translator Ebba Segerberg

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 5:09am

Just read Good Talk, which I had to order from Amazon to get free delivery for something else.
(Good excuse, no?)
This was every bit as brilliant as Beth and Joe and Ellen and I'm sure many more have said. Jacob is married to a white man with a mixed race small son, and in this book she takes the conversations she has with him, all starting with an obsession with Michael Jackson, and turns them into a simultaneously hilarious and really moving narrative about race, family and living in America.

(My poor photo. Sorry about that.)
We think our hearts break only from endings - the love gone, the rooms empty, the future unhappening as we stand ready to step into it- but what about how they shatter in the face of what is possible?

Nov 8, 2019, 5:04am

>1 charl08: Happy new thread and the little penguins are so cute!!

>5 charl08: How did I ignore all those guys chatting about this book? Well, now you get the credit for the book bullet. : )

Nov 8, 2019, 5:53am

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

Nov 8, 2019, 6:52am

Hi Kim, nice to see you ?although what time is it there?

Hi Susan, thank you. Have you tried out the mini stepper yet?

On the plus side, I've just bought a little bag to go with my outfit for the wedding tomorrow. On the down side, I was only in the shop because my train (with seats booked) was cancelled. Fingers crossed this train has enough free seats unreserved...

I like train travel, honest.

Nov 8, 2019, 7:45am

>8 charl08: Charlotte, it's not coming till the 20th (which I thought was closer when I decided not to pay for speedy delivery...) but I sent the roomie a link and she said it was a good choice. And she's a former high-performance athlete, so that was nice :-) How annoying about your train. Fingers crossed that the next one has plenty of unreserved seats and no hyperactive toddlers. OK, any toddlers at all :-)

Nov 8, 2019, 7:53am

Happy new one!

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 9:11am

Happy new thread! When would you like to read New Jim Crow?

Nov 8, 2019, 10:10am

Happy new one, Charlotte!

Nov 8, 2019, 10:12am

Happy new thread, Charlotte. You had a fantastic reading year so far. I would never be able to read so many books.
Sorry to read about your train issues. I hope you'll get a nice journey.

Nov 8, 2019, 1:19pm

>9 susanj67: I'm sure that'll come round in no time at all. I like Helen's idea of doing it during pointless. Maybe I should do the same thing.

>10 figsfromthistle: Thank you!

>11 The_Hibernator: It would be good to break it down into sections I think. I'm not very quick at reading Non-fiction, but if we said eg a chapter a week that would probably be doable.

>12 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Hope the jury service is averted.

>13 Ameise1: Barbara, for the brief time I was teaching I hardly read anything at all, I think you are amazing to do such a demanding job and read fiction (not to mention talk on here in another language!)

Nov 8, 2019, 1:24pm

>I could do that. 🙂 Should we start, say, Monday with the introduction?

Nov 8, 2019, 1:40pm

Well, I'm hoping the wedding itself is a bit smoother than my journey here. First train cancelled (which meant I had time for hot chocolate and a handbag from Primarni, so I'm not complaining - so much - about that - £6!!). Then got on second train, but this one was run by another company. Repeated announcements that our tickets were not valid. Please get off.
I got off. I realised I had confused my (booked through the app) tickets with e tickets, and had been lucky not to be fined for that. So picked up the tickets from the machine, wondering what the point of an app without e tickets was, exactly... Waited for the next train, some two hours later than my original one. Got to Edinburgh, walked past my old flat feeling nostalgic (and also breathless, because my home town now is almost entirely flat as a pancake).* Decided that it would be a good idea to have some emergency alcohol soaking crisps. Got out some cash for the bar and got annoyed because: Scottish money, which means I'll either have to spend it all or try and exchange it before I go home (they don't like it in Lancashire much). Saw Oxfam bookshop and bought emergency book supply.

Caught bus. Listened to an ill advised American try to get directions from an Edinburgh bus driver (they are not keen on this), and then get talked at by a local for half an hour about fishing. I think she was going to a Harry Potter related event, judging by the outfit. Got off bus a stop early (why I had wanted to arrive in the daytime), only just avoiding leaving one of my bags thanks to a very kind and surprisingly speedy very senior citizen. Walked down the (dark) hotel drive, wondering if they have themed events for Halloween, to be interrupted by an Aussie couple who tried to give me a lift. Got to lovely room, realised it wasn't the right one and was given one up two flights of stairs instead.

Now thinking I may just use the emergency crisps in lieu of dinner and collapse.

*It has always been flat, but I have not always lived there.

Nov 8, 2019, 1:41pm

>15 The_Hibernator: Sure. And if it isn't working out we can always rework it.

Nov 8, 2019, 1:48pm

>16 charl08: Oh dear, what an odyssey! Thank goodness you made it OK in the end. Darn those train companies, though - at UK train prices you should be able to travel on whatever turns up first.

If you have Scottish money left, you could always visit that Oxfam bookshop again :-)

Nov 8, 2019, 1:56pm

>16 charl08: Oh my goodness, Charlotte. I am exhausted just reading about your travel adventures. Here's hoping you've gotten all the bad stuff out of the way and the rest of the weekend is smooth sailing.

Nov 8, 2019, 2:16pm

>16 charl08: - Whew! At least it wasn't raining...?

Hope the rest of the trip is less *adventurous*...

Nov 8, 2019, 2:51pm

>16 charl08: That was quite a trip!! Hope you've used up all of the allotted problems and things will go smoothly from here on.

Nov 8, 2019, 3:55pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

>1 charl08: Maybe you can give them to yourself at Christmas?

>16 charl08: That was not the trip you hoped for. I hope the rest of your stay will be easier on you.

Nov 8, 2019, 4:14pm

Scottish money? Do I miss something?

Nov 8, 2019, 4:28pm

>16 charl08: oh my, what a palava Charlotte. I hope things improve going forward.

Nov 8, 2019, 6:41pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Love the penguins. Your journey sounds harrowing - an adventure! I hope all the rest goes well.

Nov 8, 2019, 7:48pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 8, 2019, 8:49pm

Charlotte happy new thread. Glad that your long day ended well. Love the penguin topper!

Nov 9, 2019, 3:41am

>18 susanj67: It was really frustrating, they seemed to have enough space for everyone. (And yes, re the Scottish money!)

>19 rosalita: I hope so too!

>20 jessibud2: Yes, I think I'm done with adventure now. I really hope so, anyway!

Nov 9, 2019, 4:22am

>21 RebaRelishesReading: The thing that made me laugh about it was that I hadn't even thought about it being an issue - I've done the trip to Edinburgh back and forth for years now.

>22 FAMeulstee: I am tempted to self gift, Anita. I have also sent the link to family as a heavy hint!

>23 Ameise1: The Scottish banks print their own notes, and it can sometimes be hard to convince people they're legal tender south of the border!

Nov 9, 2019, 6:05am

>24 Caroline_McElwee: Me too Caroline! I just have to sit and look happy now, which shouldn't be too difficult, I hope...

>25 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I have safely delivered the bubbles, so my work here is done.

>26 drneutron: Thank you!

>27 mdoris: Me too. Fingers crossed the penguins turn up in my Xmas stocking.

Nov 9, 2019, 6:16am

>29 charl08: I had to google it. Couldn't believe it first.
Wishing you a wonderful day.

Nov 9, 2019, 6:34am

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. Happy New Thread. I am so glad you loved Good Talk. One of the best of the year. I hope the rest of your trip goes well. Fingers crossed.

Nov 9, 2019, 3:59pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte.
Hope the wedding is more enjoyable than getting to the wedding has been so far.

Nov 9, 2019, 8:23pm

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Happy new thread!

Nov 9, 2019, 9:32pm

Wow, Charlotte, just wow! Glad you are finally in your own room and hope all the rest goes smoothly.

Nov 9, 2019, 9:39pm

Happy new thread! Your penguin toppers are so cute.

Nov 10, 2019, 12:17am

Your journey sounds like quite the odyssey, Charlotte. I hope everything goes more smoothly for you now. I'm with you on the Scottish money. Somehow I never bring any home so I must have it sussed.

Happy new thread!

Nov 10, 2019, 12:30am

Happy new thread Charlotte! I'm so far behind that I had to skip a thread, sorry.

Gosh, that sounds like quite a journey - especially when you've done it so many times before. That's weird about the trains; when I lived in England, BR was still 'getting there'. And I didn't know that about Scottish money although I do remember that England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have (/had?) different symbols on their pound coins.

Nov 10, 2019, 11:04am

>31 Ameise1: It takes a while to get used to Barbara!

>32 msf59: I agree, Good Talk is exceptional, Mark.

>33 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. It was a lovely ceremony.

Nov 10, 2019, 11:07am

>34 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Hope your mammoth readathon is going well.

>35 ronincats: It was lovely to find a comfy chair, and my friend arrived to check in and we had a nice dinner. Or at least, I had a nice dinner. Complaints of too much salt from the other three we ate with.

>36 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. The site says only two left! Oh no!

Nov 10, 2019, 11:11am

>37 Familyhistorian: Sounds like you're ahead of me there, Meg.

>38 humouress: On the plus side I got a seat! There's some change afoot as Virgin has lost the contract, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Nov 10, 2019, 12:39pm

Kindle daily deals today includes a whole batch of Toni Morrison books.

Nov 10, 2019, 12:39pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. You'll need to open another one by Thursday at the rate the posts pile up!

Regarding The Testaments, I think you may be right about people perhaps wanting Offred's story to continue, although I doubt I could have been persuaded to read it had that been the case.

Edited: Nov 10, 2019, 4:41pm

>42 elkiedee: I should probably be good: I've raided three bookshops in Edinburgh...

>43 RidgewayGirl: I'm not sure what happened to this one! I liked what Atwood did with the book, and more on Offred was unlikely to please many readers, given she left it so open to the readers' imaginations in the previous book. It made sense to me that the rulers of such a corrupt state were not so ethically motivated or smart. I'm not sure they ever have been. Just motivated by power and greed.

Edited: Nov 10, 2019, 5:20pm

A Little Bookshop of Promises
A very sweet story set in a small fictional Texan town. Lots of the stories are a continuation of previous books, so probably not the best place to start.

Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady
This made me laugh. A memoir about growing up in the US in the 1950s Washington DC. Florence's family is comedically dysfunctional, just about clinging on to respectability. She gets a scholarship to access a college education. She finds herself in a college that doesn't offer the one course she wants to complete, and surrounded by students that only want to get married. Published in the 1980s she is able to be open about experiences that she makes clear weren't widely discussed, discovering her sexuality in the 1950s, from hard to believe levels of ignorance, to coping with threatening calls in the middle of the night when dating her first girlfriend.
Her lack of interest in a teaching career highlights the sense of humour here... love of reading and study stood alone, untainted by any personality traits that could conceivably make it pay off. Getting along in the groves of academe required a gift of manipulating people, a willingness to attend meetings, a tolerance for male hens, humility in the presence of important alumni...

Nov 10, 2019, 5:32pm

Hi Charlotte,

I'm hijacking the most popular threads to get word out, and you are one of them...

Its 75'er Christmas Swap Time! :

Nov 10, 2019, 5:37pm

>46 mahsdad: Yikes, already? Wow. I must sign up.

Nov 10, 2019, 8:50pm

Hi Charlotte! Hopefully the rest of your weekend has gone more as planned and you've spent all your Scottish money on stuff that you are pleased with. :)

I'll start reading The New Jim Crow on Monday. I would have read it slowly, anyway, so don't worry if you need to pause the reading for a little while. Otherwise, we'll just do a chapter a week like we said. :)

Nov 11, 2019, 7:01am

>48 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel. I'll head over to your thread when I've finished the intro - probably later this week, if that works?

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 7:06am

I'm reading The Testament of Jessie Lamb for the work book group. Only I wouldn't have picked it up if the book group hadn't chosen it (they needed one to stand in for another chosen one that, it turns out, is not yet available in paperback). Finding it really depressing: everyone's infected with a bug that kills pregnant women. Then they find a way to keep the babies alive (but not the mothers).
I remember things that make me ashamed now, like driving home from the caravan at Scarborough with Mum and Dad, and all the roads around York being clogged up because of a mass funeral at the Minster. Dad had forgotten to check online. And I was impatient to get home and call for Sal. We were stuck behind the traffic for two hours. I remember staring at all the miserable people in their cars and saying ‘Why can’t they just stay at home to mourn? The women who’re dead won’t care!’
I have such a bad record of completing book group books I feel I have to Really Try to complete this one though.

Nov 11, 2019, 8:05am

Sounds good!

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 8:49am

>51 The_Hibernator: I'm looking forward to reading it.


Loved this! Really sweet story about two kids hanging out together whilst working at the local pumpkin patch, and their last session before heading off to college.

Nov 11, 2019, 9:54am

Nov 11, 2019, 11:51am

Yes, very much so Beth!

I am putting off walking home as it is truly horrible outside: dark, wet and windy. I walked from one side of the campus to another an hour ago and am already pretty soggy. Am not looking forward to the walk home!

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 12:05pm

This sounds good. Although - London.

Writing Lives

Of writing biography, Hermione Lee has said, ‘There is a tension between the muddle and repetition and fragmentariness of a life, and the desire of the biographer to turn it into story narrative.’ How does a biographer make sense of a life’s complexities? In this event, four writers consider experimental life-writing and the limits of biography. Lara Feigel is a literary critic and Reader in Modern Literature at King’s College London. Her most recent book, Free Woman, is part personal memoir and part biography of Doris Lessing. Delia Jarrett Macauley is the author of the novel Moses, Citizen and Me, winner of the 2005 Orwell Prize, and a biography of the writer and first Black woman employed by the BBC, Una Marson. Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, and musician. His most recent book, Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon, combines fact with the imaginative structure of the novel. They are joined by biographer and critic Hermione Lee, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, whose work includes biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton and Penelope Fitzgerald.

Nov 11, 2019, 2:08pm

>16 charl08: aaah the joys of travel :):):)
I loved reading this.

Nov 11, 2019, 11:09pm

I've read The Love-Charm of Bombs about the lives of a group of writers in London during the Blitz by Lara Feigel, and have a copy of The Bitter Taste of Victory which also looks really interesting by her. Not that I'm obsessed with WWII or anything.... I'd like to read her biography of Dorothy Lessing. I also have several biographies and a book about writing literary biography by Hermione Lee, all of which look great and have been TBR for a while. Including the Penelope Fitzgerald which I bought on Kindle when it was still expensive in January 2014 and still haven't read nearly 6 years later.

Islington Libraries has 4 copies of Feigel's Doris Lessing biography. When I have free space on my library cards (my partner's as well as my own) and I don't have more reservations coming through than I can keep up with (that will probably be years at the moment though I suppose if the current government is reelected they might just stop buying any new books!), I must borrow one.

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 11:22pm

The Yellow-eyed pension penguin/Hoiho, won our annual Bird of the Year competition. It does tend to dominate the news here while it's on...I voted for one of the albatross this year:)

Nov 12, 2019, 3:33am

>56 LovingLit: Not so much! The train coming home was (fortunately) a lot smoother, although thanks to two near shaves where I nearly missed a train, I went in the other direction and sat in the station for an hour...

>57 elkiedee: I've read quite a bit of Feigel's stuff on Lessing (I think in the LRB, as well as the Guardian) so am not tempted to rush out and get it - but I do like Hermione Lee and would like to read more of her work.

>58 LovingLit: Aw. Maybe next year will be the year of the Albatross.

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 10:37am

I didn't get there at the weekend, but I do like this clever use of a quote at the NLS in Edinburgh.
(via Gillian Dow )

Nov 12, 2019, 8:55am

I've got to 53% in the book club book The Testament of Jessie Lamb (for the meeting tomorrow). Will I make it?

The sky was full of stars. We stood for a while in the shadow of a fir which blocked the streetlamp, and looked for the constellations either of us could name. Then we walked back to my house holding hands and not talking, feeling as if we owned the night and everything in it: moon, stars, the dark shapes of trees, the crouching quiet houses. We knew we would never be stupid in the ways our parents were stupid.

Nov 13, 2019, 11:16am

I finished the book but seem to have been in the minority about not liking it!

Had an interesting discussion about the portrayal of men and women's reaction to the new virus in the book, whether another narrator might have changed the book's focus, whether it was really YA in disguise, and the author's other books (recommended by one member).

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 1:11pm

Back to A Puff of Smoke

A graphic memoir about growing up in the West Midlands with a debilitating health issue that doctors can't diagnose, and struggle to treat. I loved the picture she created of her large, loud family. The account of her medical treatment was difficult to read.

Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 5:30pm

On p.452 of The Secret Commonwealth: this is a loooooong book!

Nov 14, 2019, 3:32pm

>60 charl08: Lovely way to make stairs looking good and I like the quote :-)

Nov 15, 2019, 2:03am

>65 FAMeulstee: Me too, Anita. I must get back there the next time I visit Edinburgh. I didn't manage to add the V and A to my schedule (I had things to be back at work for) but hoping to go in the New Year.

Nov 15, 2019, 3:28am

Trying to Score
More hockey players, but I think I will leave this series here, as it felt quite formulaic and "neat".

The Book of Dust: the secret Commonwealth
Well, this was wonderfully out of this world fantasy stuff, we reenter the world of Dust, the mysterious magisterium and the forces of good ranged against them. All is not well in Oxford, and Lyra's right to protection is under threat. but at about the 300 page point I found it a bit much. Perhaps (for me) it would have been better as more books in a series, as I will certainly read the next one. Lyra is now an adult, dealing with adult themes, so not the same target audience as the earlier books (although I read them as an adult, so what would I know?)

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 4:18pm

Now reading The New Jim Crow

Nov 15, 2019, 9:25pm

Interesting to see that Corbyn's Labour Party are promising everyone free broadband. Bribery or Brexit becomes the choice! Free broadband would be nice!

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Nov 15, 2019, 9:32pm

Hi, Charlotte! Hugs!

Nov 16, 2019, 5:37am

>69 PaulCranswick: I'd be impressed if the next government can deal with the "not spots" of absent coverage, but I do appreciate what they are saying about equality of access to the job market. Journal access (open access) is a big deal for lots of folk trying to get postgraduate jobs here.

>70 ronincats: Hi Roni, thanks for visiting.

Edited: Nov 16, 2019, 6:14am

The latest TLS has a new design and a focus on George Eliot. Which reminds me I have still to read Middlemarch. Maybe 2020 will be the year?

Nov 16, 2019, 6:22am

>71 charl08: It's not just the job market, important though that is. Universal Credit requires that claimants sign in every day, which must be difficult if you're dependent on a library which isn't open on Sundays (and possibly on other days too- Haringey was top of the list to be rate capped in the 1980s and our libraries were hard hit for ooh, about 17 years, when they were rated as the worst in the country and got in a private company to tell them they needed to open more hours/days and buy some new books). A lot of councils run the housing register through a system that requires internet access too.

Nov 16, 2019, 6:44am

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. Hooray for Pumpkinheads! Fun read. And yes, read Middlemarch next year. Wonderful book.

Nov 16, 2019, 8:57am

Happy Saturday, Charlotte.

>60 charl08: Love the quote on the steps. Hmmm.

Writing Lives sounds interesting.

Middlemarch is great -- and long. :)

Nov 16, 2019, 9:04am

Happy weekend, Charlotte. Middlemarch was a 3½ stars for me.

Nov 16, 2019, 9:28am

Hi Charlotte! Thanks for stopping by my thread with your ideas. I answered them over there. Should we just keep the conversation over there for the sake of not repeating it all?

Nov 16, 2019, 1:23pm

>72 charl08: I love Middlemarch even when I want to strangle Dorothea.

Will have to get this edition of the TLS. Love the cover Charlotte.

Nov 16, 2019, 1:34pm

>68 charl08: I also have The New Jim Crow, thanks to that recent Amazon sale. You might be interested in Biased, which I have just finished, and which looks at some of the reasons why black people are disproportionately locked up in the US.

That broadband plan would bankrupt the country. I agree that access should be more widespread, but surely it would be cheaper just to pay for it for people who can't afford it (like the transport passes and winter fuel payments for pensioners) than to nationalise BT (which would involve *billions* in compensation to shareholders before a single penny was spent on broadband). Most people can afford to pay for their own, and fibre will be rolled out quicker in response to market demand than by some inefficient top-down procedure.

Nov 17, 2019, 6:07am

>73 elkiedee: I didn't realise they had ramped that up so much - three years ago (2016) they were saying you should be online 3x a week I think (and showing evidence of doing something to search to an agreed level). What drove me mad was the lack of coordinated understanding of the different kinds of job market. I would have thought there would be coordinated approaches (e.g. we know there are x people needed in this sector, let's offer training and placements for jobs to people) but there seemed to be no specialist or strategic thinking. From my own perspective, having a joined up careers service for people with particular levels of qualification (rather than expecting the poor folk in the job centre to understand why a postdoc in biochemistry is not the same thing as a postdoc in social sciences). And no privacy. I heard so many awful stories sitting waiting for my appointment: people describing childcare problems which meant in effect they couldn't get access to work and were penalised, one guy describing a family member's violent mental health problems, and many many people who behaved as though they had failed just being there.

The appointments were almost always late, which was ok. But you were sanctioned if you as the jobseeker missed an appointment or were late, despite the reason.

Whenever I get really frustrated with my job I try and remember what that time was like. So it worked on that level, I suppose.

>74 msf59: Hi Mark. That book was like a little ray of sunshine. I went through my library catalogue and ordered the unread GNs I could find after that.

I'm still on the fence re Middlemarch.

>75 BLBera: Long is the thing I'm focusing on, Beth. Maybe I'll take it on holiday (!)

Nov 17, 2019, 6:15am

>76 Ameise1: I'm not sure if that means you think I should read it, Barbara! I had some success with the app that broke long classics down into chunks. Maybe I should do that again.

>77 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. Thanks again for this. Looking forward to discussing the book over on your thread.

>78 Caroline_McElwee: It seems to be one of those books that has a major impact on people. I want to read more about the author's life. Which reminds me that I need to pick up Eleanor Marx again.
(Too many books!)

>79 susanj67: I shouldn't imagine we agree on politics Susan, but I suspect we agree that if they put more money into libraries it might help with lots of things.

Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 6:17am

I am now reading Platform Seven as recommended by Susan, which is very gripping and I had problems putting it down last night.

Nov 17, 2019, 8:00am

>81 charl08: Charlotte, we can definitely agree on that! If nothing else, opening seven days a week would help people who need daily access to a computer (what a *ridiculous* rule that is for Universal Credit!) or wi-fi to avoid using up all their phone data. But the Idea Store at Canary Wharf recently remodeled part of itself to provide terminals for council services, and there are now little workstation spaces available for access. But there are no terminals - just cases saying "Soon there will be a screen here so you can access council services." It's been at least a couple of months now, but no sign of screens that people can actually use. Those six screens could be used by *hundreds* of people daily, but they're a totally wasted space right now. Another thing the government could encourage (by means of a guilt trip on the tech companies or big landlords) is more wi-fi access in public areas. Canary Wharf, for example, has wi-fi available right across the estate, and it's totally free. There's no password, you don't have to buy anything - you just sign up (it's an O2 service) and you're good to surf. So people can sit in the mall, or in one of the parks in the summer, and do whatever they need to do, for as long as they want. Again, it means that people don't have to use up their own data.

>82 charl08: Yass! I strike again :-)

Nov 17, 2019, 10:36am

Platform Seven does sound interesting. Off to see if my library has a copy...

Nov 17, 2019, 2:28pm

>83 susanj67: Our bus station functions the same way, although sadly it's not warm or covered over. It would be good if the library was open over the weekend, especially in the winter when heating becomes an issue for a lot of people.

>84 BLBera: Fingers crossed, Beth.

Nov 17, 2019, 2:58pm

Everything You Ever Wanted

I found this rather close to the bone, almost wanted to read with my hands over my eyes. The main character, Iris, is in her late 20s, hates her job, feels lost and drinks too much and so signs up to go to planet Nyx, with the problem being that noone can come back again. There's a weird programme of interviews, and then the book jumps forward eight years.The blurb on the back says that the book satirises the obsession with a meaningful life, but from my reading of it it was more a reflection on the bind young(ish) people find themselves in, working linked to encouraging people to buy "stuff", constantly online, and struggling with mental health issues.

There was a nice bit about swimming in Hampstead ponds though.

Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 3:26pm

Dancing Bears: true stories about longing for the old days
The librarian pointed out yesterday that I can't renew this again, so I thought I should probably get on with this. It was really fascinating, just the kind of history-informed travelogue that I like. The author is Polish so has a personal understanding of former Communist states (originally published in 2014 the English translation came out last year). The first half is his interviews with the final Bulgarian bear trainers and the NGOs who ended the business in 2007. Despite rescuing the bears, most had been so conditioned by their experience that they struggled to adapt to "freedom" in a special nature reserve. The author sees in the bears a metaphor for people in ex Communist states. In the second half of the book be travels around Europe finding traces of the Communist past, including Stalin obsessives, wannabe extreme reformers in Greece, and Albanians blowing up Hoxca's concrete defence network (for the steel).

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 2:14am

View from Southport Pier this weekend.
Frosty temperatures are here... predicted to be -1 degrees tonight
(Try not to laugh, those of you dealing with real weather.)

Nov 19, 2019, 5:00am

>88 charl08: Ooh, that looks chilly (to someone also not dealing with real weather :-) )

Did you finish Platform Seven?

BTW The Flatshare is 99p on Kindle at the moment so I snapped it up over the weekend because you and Katie (I think?) loved it. They have 60+ books cheap in a Countdown to Black Friday sale. Personally I am not counting down to it, but hey, a bargain's a bargain :-)

Nov 19, 2019, 5:20am

>88 charl08: Enchanting, not.

>79 susanj67: & >81 charl08: I'm not entirely sure that this is a mere question of politics. Free Broadband for all is an ideal that I am sure so many of us could agree upon. The question rightly raised is its affordability.

I would personally welcome a few pence on income tax if it was structured to target some of the money towards such goals. I suspect, however, that I would be in the minority as most studies show that people prefer low taxation. A Corbyn administration could only deliver on its promises by making huge increases in taxation and they need to be honest enough to say so. Just as in their policy on Brexit though it seems that fudge will be more the order of their way. As a lifelong Labour supporter, I must say that I am saddened by the current "quality" of its leadership.

Nov 19, 2019, 8:00am

>89 susanj67: I got sidetracked by hockey romance. Which half way through I realised was a bit of a marketing con, because it was really a meta version of a Billionaire one, which I don't usually read. (Weird the reading rules I set for myself!). I got a voucher for participating in someone else's research (also, a guilty feeling about continuing to eat meat*) so am going to try and use that as a way of controlling the amazon spend, having cancelled Prime recently. Strangely, my library does not seem to have a large supply of digital versions of US sports romances!

*However, I have had a lovely roast on Sunday and yesterday a lovely coconut, spinach and salmon curry, so clearly this guilt is not affecting my appetite. But I was struck by how powerful peer pressure can feel even when you don't know a group of people. Very weird.

>90 PaulCranswick: I want to vote for social care, better pension support, a state run NHS, a migrant system that doesn't discriminate on the basis of race or access to education, getting children and families out of poverty (and if one more person says 'hard working families' I will scream) and giving northern England a fair deal on public transport and other services. I want my government to take gender and other bias research seriously too, and actually enforce it. And do something about green energy and electric cars so that children don't have to live in polluted cities (or the rest of us).

All of that costs money (except for the migrant bit, which probably will save it straight away) but could be argued will lead to a healthier, more balanced, and more equal society - which tend to be happier, some research suggests (see The Spirit Level - I wish LT did footnotes sometimes!!)

Nov 19, 2019, 8:21am

Outstanding library books AKA books I at some point definitely wanted to read.

Fiction -
The night tiger
My Coney Island baby
The nickel boys
Dawn (heard his work as part of an Amnesty event in Edinburgh)
The western wind
Sudden traveller (Love Sarah Hall)
Platform seven (this is Susan's fault)
Lives of girls and women I think I might have read this already, a while back.

At the pond : swimming at The Hampstead Ladies' Pond (couldn't resist this on the shelf)
The work of the dead : a cultural history of mortal remains (sounded interesting)
The ministry of truth : a biography of George Orwell's 1984 (got stuck, need to go back to it)
Noble savages : the Olivier sisters : four lives in seven fragments
Invisible women : exposing data bias in a world designed for men (need to read this!)
Rebel writers : the accidental feminists : Shelagh Delaney, Edna O'Brien
The guilt-free gourmet
A false report : a true story

Nov 19, 2019, 9:17am

>91 charl08: Nothing I could possibly disagree with there, Charlotte. I have just lost a little faith in my old party to deliver on that.

Nov 19, 2019, 9:17am

>87 charl08: Dancing Bears is already on my list, Charlotte, and his book about Turkey The Assassin from Apricot City looks interesting too.

>91 charl08: That is exactly what I want to vote for. We have more parties to choose from, but sadly none of them covers all this. So each time I vote I have to weigh which themes are most important to me.

Nov 19, 2019, 12:20pm

Actually I think a lot of things Labour would like to do could save some money - the kind of privatised infrastructure schemes done over the last 40 years by both Tory/ConDem and Labour governments involve a lot of off balance sheet borrowing which is actually far more expensive than it would have been for the government or councils to borrow directly. At the end of the last Labour government a lot of money was put into school buildings, very necessary, but unfortunately much of the money borrowed was being paid to lawyers and surveyors and stuff because it couldn't be done more directly. I regularly had to update the list of property/contracts cases that my team and the contracts lawyers in Legal were dealing with for the council, and I remember wondering what we were paying an external solicitors firm for because the updates every month indicated that the man in question had done NOTHING. The NHS (admin side) also never answered letters, and that was about car parking spaces from the council to a hospital (so you would think that they had an interest in responding and getting their staff some much needed parking). Lots of taxpayers money and other money paid to public sector organisations is being used to pay off these disguised bills. And government funding of higher education is based on the premise that students now will be paying off debts into their 50s (when their kids may well want to study). No one likes paying taxes but I'm always confused by people who would sooner pay for health insurance than a small amount of extra tax.

As for leadership, who are people harking back to when they criticise the current leadership? Because I look back at an appalling record in government and in opposition over the last 40 years, and the only person who didn't attract much criticism as a leader sadly died before he had the opportunity to get things as wrong as his predecessors and successors.

Nov 19, 2019, 3:50pm

>88 charl08: Yup, we had to defrost the car properly for the first time this winter. Brrrr. Although there is something to be said for those clear, frosty mornings.

Nov 20, 2019, 7:44am

>93 PaulCranswick: Vaguely related - I didn't watch the debate last night, but the clips with people laughing were a bit weird.
(Boris on truth and Corbyn on clear policy re Brexit)

>94 FAMeulstee: I didn't know he'd written others in translation, I'll have a look. I really liked that it was a layered perspective - so not another English speaking person wandering around. I think the responses he got in part reflected that.

>95 elkiedee: I remember reading something recently about the problem with contracting out services is that no civil servant has the skills to evaluate external contracts (or didn't, historically). And also they don't factor in the cost of doing that evaluation (if someone is doing it, which they ought to be), in the supposedly cheaper cost of the external person.

>96 Helenliz: I came in all wrapped up this morning, and found there was no ice. Arrived looking like I'd run a marathon. I'm going to have to be more careful with my weather watching!

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 8:11am

Reading-wise, I'm finding it hard to stick to anything much. Read a really creepy story in Sarah Hall's new collection, got scared on behalf of the protagonist in Platform Seven (which makes no sense on many levels) and thought about picking up a few others.

However, I have read The King Who Banned the Dark. It's very good.

Nov 20, 2019, 9:35am

>95 elkiedee: Which Labour leaders have I admired and which drew me into the movement.

Michael Foot, Peter Shore, Tony Benn, Robin Cook and actually Gordon Brown.

Gordon Brown is condemned as a grey Prime Minister and for apparently laying the foundations for the need for austerity that ushered in the Cameron Coalition. In actual fact his brilliant statesmanship and decisiveness during the world economic crisis safeguarded the futures of hundreds of millions of people. His intervention in the Indy Ref probably kept Scotland in the Union.

He shared the blame for Blair's Iraq folly but at least had the gumption to naysay Bush and come out first when he was able to do so.

Nov 20, 2019, 2:36pm

>98 charl08: Thanks Charlotte for the recommendation. My library has it and it's on the way. The King who Banned the Dark.

Nov 20, 2019, 3:09pm

>99 PaulCranswick: With the history hat on, I do wonder what they will think in fifty years!

>100 mdoris: It won't take you long, but it's a very clever story.

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 1:50am

Finished Platform Seven, which Susan recommended. Very good indeed, and not at all a typical thriller. Doughty creates a community on the station from the ladies behind the cafe counter to the Transport police officers dealing with a crime, all real worth their own concerns and interests. I really struggled (if that's the right word about a book) with the tension she built up about domestic violence, and put the book down a couple of times. It was weird as once it was out how the boyfriend had effectively driven the narrator to her death, I felt a lot more comfortable with the book. I suspect this is a sign of really good writing, that the author made me buy into the narrator's unease and uncertainty even as she was being treated so appallingly.

I like the black humour: this is definitely not a book Peterborough's tourist board (if there is such a thing) is going to like. Although they are not the only target.
Foreknowledge of what awaited me on Peterborough railway station would have had me packing a bag and going to the bus depot, hitchhiking even or getting a taxi to another town. I could have gone to East Midlands or Norwich Airport or even down south to Stansted or Luton. I could have got an Easyjet flight - hell, if I'd known I was fleeing for my life, I might have even risked Ryanair.

Nov 21, 2019, 4:21am

>99 PaulCranswick: I agree with your list Paul, but wobble on Brown. He was also responsible for selling our gold and buggering pensions. That said, I had respect for some of what he did prior to being in government, especially a report he led about the needs in Africa.

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 5:27pm

>103 Caroline_McElwee: The debt forgiveness supposedly saved a lot of lives (although I've read that the new Silk Road is replacing this with new debt).

I finished another book but again, it was so short I'm not counting it. Stig & Tilde is the story of twins who head off for a kid only holiday on an island only to find things don't quite go to plan.

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 5:34pm

Double post!

Now reading Familiar Stranger and The New Jim Crow. Plus Sudden Traveller.

Nov 22, 2019, 4:45am

I'm at a training I could really do without this morning, but need to do it to access something else. Hoping my powers of nodding and smiling are working.

Nov 22, 2019, 7:09am

>106 charl08: I hope you survived the training, Chalotte, nodding and smiling at the right times.

Nov 22, 2019, 8:50am

>103 Caroline_McElwee: Well yes, Caroline. I would have to admit he rather screwed up with the selling of the gold. Probably undersold it by a mere $5 billion!

Nov 22, 2019, 10:09am

>79 susanj67: Biased looks interesting.

Nov 22, 2019, 1:11pm

>107 FAMeulstee: I really tried hard, Anita! I pity the poor trainers.

>108 PaulCranswick: Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

>109 The_Hibernator: I agree!

Nov 22, 2019, 2:09pm

>99 PaulCranswick: I think only two of that list were actually leader.....

Nov 23, 2019, 1:35am

>111 elkiedee: Not sure what to respond here.

I finished the Ann Cleeves that was in kindle sale, A Lesson in Dying - it's a reissue of one of her early books, from 1990. I don't think of 1990 as being that long ago, but definitely thought this one was showing signs of age. It was an interesting plot - headteacher is killed after a school party, and given how unpopular he was noone is particularly surprised. Some of the descriptions of the characters and theor actions felt rather cliched (the elderly spinster teacher, the retired miner, the stay at home mum at a loose end) rather than the more interesting individualised characters in her other, later books I've read.

Edited: Nov 23, 2019, 6:51am

Now reading The Night Tiger which I have renewed 9 times and cannot renew any more (due back Tuesday).

Nov 23, 2019, 8:07am

>111 elkiedee: True Luci, but "leadership" of a party is surely not to be confined to the body of its Leader. If that is the case then we are surely stuffed!

Jo Swinson - as bad a taste in pullovers as policy.

Jeremy Corbyn - steadfastly refuses to give a personal position on the issue everyone wants to know his view on. I can agree on most of the policy ideals but the country cannot afford it.

Boris - Cannot speak without untruths dripping from his pudgy jowls.

What a great choice.

Nov 23, 2019, 8:38am

A list! "Ten of the best new books in translation" from the Guardian

The Discomfort of the Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison (Faber)
Zeruya Shalev Pain
Pain by Zeruya Shalev, translated by Sondra Silverston
Vernon Subutex 3 by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins (Daunt Books)
The Eighth Life (for Brilka) by Nino Haratischwili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (Scribe)
Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah, translated by Deborah Smith (Jonathan Cape)
Elly by Maike Wetzel, translated by Lyn Marven (Scribe)
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes (Fitzcarraldo)
Crossing by Pajtim Statovci, translated by David Hackston (Pushkin)

Nov 23, 2019, 8:49am

>115 charl08: Interesting list, Charlotte.

I have only seen The Memory Police in the shops here as yet.

Nov 23, 2019, 8:52am

>116 PaulCranswick: Yes that was the only one I recognised.

I've just tried to order one of the others from the library, and the online form is down. Sad face.

Nov 23, 2019, 10:15am

>92 charl08: That's quite a list! Good luck.

I'm also reading Sudden Traveler! I need to pick it up again.

Love the end of the year lists.

Have a great weekend.

Nov 23, 2019, 10:34am

>114 PaulCranswick: It's true. For the first time I am seriously considering spoiling my ballot, as none of the parties seem to speak to me; it becomes whose approach do I dislike the least. Oh for student union elections, when you could vote for RON.

Nov 23, 2019, 10:58am

>119 Helenliz: I take little pleasure in the dearth of quality in the political class, Helen. The UK is crying out for inspiring leadership. I don't see too many characters on any of the benches that I would follow into the abyss.

Edited: Nov 23, 2019, 11:07am

>120 PaulCranswick: I agree and it saddens me. I'd barely give most of them the time of day, let alone trust them with my country.

I read the obit column of the Telegraph most days and we seem to be loosing a generation of politicians who had a job in real life before entering politics. They'd been in the forces, the law or business before entering parliament. Or, from the labour side, a miner, factory worker etc before becomming a union man and entering parliament that way. Either way, they had some experience of real life before entering politics. These days too many of them have gone from school to university to politics and have spent their entire life in various institutions. I'd be in favour of raising the age you can enter parliament to, oh, I don't know, about 45. That way you'd have to have done something "proper" first.

*grumble grumble grump*

Nov 23, 2019, 11:15am

>121 Helenliz: That is a good point, Helen.

It isn't even a comment on policies. The wrong policies vigorously pursued and implemented with conviction and integrity are better than the muddle and cant we have had for the last times.

Nov 23, 2019, 6:08pm

>115 charl08: Interesting list, Charlotte, thanks for sharing.

Two are already on my TBR The discomfort of the evening and The Eighth Life (for Brilka), I don't find Dutch translations of the others yet.

Nov 23, 2019, 7:35pm

Jeremy Corbyn has expressed his personal view on the EU several times over the last few years, but this slection shouldn't be on that issue alone. I also think he's right that it's not just about the view of one person, that he's the leader of a party which decides policy through its structures and conferences. I wish more MPs in all parties would understand this and put their egos away.

I can't afford another Tory government. My adopted home area, a part of north London which is high on most deprivation criteria and low on members of any elite, can't afford it, and my home city 200 miles north of here definitely can't. Investment in jobs and services here would mean a higher tax take and also more money to spend in local shops, which would in turn recirculate the money furrther in the local economy. I'm voting for that not the asset strippers.

Nov 23, 2019, 7:49pm

>124 elkiedee: I am still a member of my party despite my dissatisfaction with some of the directions it is going or not going in. I think that the Parliamentary party made a catastrophic mistake by allowing Corbyn onto the leadership ballot but then again my own two choices Hilary Benn or Alan Johnson were not standing either.

That said I would never wish for a Tory government but to say I am disillusioned with Labour is an understatement.

Nov 24, 2019, 2:59am

>118 BLBera: I'm on strike this coming week, so I have some reading time: maybe I'll clear a few more. Although I also have some in the reservation list...

>119 Helenliz: >120 PaulCranswick: >121 Helenliz: >122 PaulCranswick: I find it helpful to think about who I would really hate to be standing at number 10 after the election and vote to avoid that. It's hardly the stuff that dreams are made of, though.

>123 FAMeulstee: You mean you're not fascinated by our ridiculous UK politics, Anita?!! I'd be tempted to move but not a great LT traveller.

My library seems not to have any of them, so hoping that is just a temporary thing. Some seem to have been very high sellers across Europe so hopefully will make it into more translations.

>124 elkiedee: I don't disagree. As a colleague pointed out, Corbyn gets painted as an extremist despite many of his policies being advocated elsewhere with little or no reaction.

>125 PaulCranswick: I'm really saddened by the numbers of female MPs standing down citing the level of abuse they receive. Our MP has received death threats that has led to someone (eventually) being jailed. I can't think that that helps widen the pool of talent the parties have to call on.

Edited: Nov 24, 2019, 3:06am

The Night Tiger

Loved this book! Wonderful, gripping story of a young woman and a young boy each trying to save someone. Mixed in with myths of shape shifting tiger/men, the power of numbers and of ghosts. Choo creates a believable rickety community of expats, diverse migrants and indigenous families in 1930s Malaya, that Ren and Ji Lin navigate.

I loved the author bio, which said that the novel could not have been written without large amounts of chocolate.
My library copy was even signed by the author.

Edited: Nov 24, 2019, 7:42am

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Ooh, The Night Tiger sounds very good. Onto the list it goes! I just started The Revisioners. This one might be a good fit for you.

Nov 24, 2019, 10:12am

Thanks Mark. I've added The Revisioners to the wishlist- lots of noise on Litsy about it.

Nov 24, 2019, 10:13am

I'm still reading The New Jim Crow. Discussion is over on Rachel's thread (the hibernator) but I wanted to put this quote here. Shocking.

By 1996, the penal budget doubled the amount that had been allocated to AFDC or food stamps. 100 Similarly, funding that had once been used for public housing was being redirected to prison construction. During Clinton’s tenure, Washington slashed funding for public housing by $ 17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent) and boosted corrections by $ 19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.” 101 Clinton did

Nov 24, 2019, 10:14am

Great comments on The Night Tiger, Charlotte. It sounds like one I would like. Another one for the List!

Edited: Nov 27, 2019, 6:59am

>131 BLBera: Thanks I really enjoyed reading it (and was so close to just returning it unread).

Christmas 75ers wishlist
Happy with second hand books too.

Richard Wright Native Son
Michael Ondaatje Divisadero
Rachel Kushner Telex from Cuba
Shahrnush Parsipur Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
Tony Horwitz Confederates in the Attic
Michel Kpomassie An African in Greenland
Zahra Hankir Our Women on the Ground (not just because it's a gorgeous penguin cover!)
Where the Jews Aren't: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan
Julia Boyd Travellers in the Third Reich
Peter Cole Wobblies of the World
David Peace GB84
Kate Bolick March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women

Nov 24, 2019, 4:09pm

Happy Sunday, Charlotte! The Night Tiger does sound good.

Nov 24, 2019, 4:33pm

Definitely recommended, Rhonda!

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 7:19am

Reading Stuart Hall's memoir Familiar Stranger in a gorgeous orange penguin edition this morning. Not a quick read as I seem to have forgotten any / most of the Caribbean history I ever knew.

Nov 25, 2019, 9:01am

>126 charl08: That is really depressing isn't it? When I was more active in politics it was an exciting time with a number of very capable ladies coming to the fore in Labour - Jowell, Beckett, Hodge and Harmon in particular as well as Clare Short and Diane Abbott who were a little too much to the left for me and seemed to lack a sense of humour.

It is a sad irony that the party most dedicated to equality is the last to have a female leader.

Nov 25, 2019, 12:03pm

>136 PaulCranswick: I am not sure they have ever been very good at implementing the equality thing beyond class. Harriet Harman's autobiography was eye opening for me.

I have been to the library and picked up a spy thriller Liar's Candle, which opens with an explosion at a US embassy. Day one of the strike and I am in dire need of a Plan. Or I might just help with with decorating ("help" here is defined loosely).

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 3:57pm

Those hard core classicists...

Nov 25, 2019, 7:43pm

Liar's Candle
Really pacey spy thriller set in a lightly fictionalised (the president has a new name) Turkey. A bomb goes off in the US embassy and an intern, caught up in the explosion becomes an instant celebrity, photographed carrying a flag out of the rubble covered in blood and dust. However, there are murky goings on, and everyone wants a piece of Penny, from the handsome CIA officer sent to "rescue" her, to the Turkish president's ambitious daughter. And was it really Kurdish separatists that planted the bomb?

This has "film" written all over it. If Reese Witherspoon hasn't optioned it already she's missing out. Great funny dialogue, and I'm a fan of the gutsy heroine who had a real skill (fluent Turkish) as well as a heart of gold. Maybe the escapes got a bit crazy flukey by the end, but still.

Nov 25, 2019, 10:04pm

>92 charl08: Invisible Women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men is really good and eye opening, Charlotte.

>127 charl08: Chocolate as fuel/inspiration for a writer sounds about right.

Nov 26, 2019, 5:24am

>140 Familyhistorian: I want to read it, I'm just a bit swamped. Although not this week (strike day 2).

Now reading Inland by Tea Obrecht. Bring on the camels!

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 2:29pm

I've seen a few posts about the best books of the "00s". ETA or even the 10s.

Some favourites

The Forty Rules of Love (2010)
Burial Rites 2013
The Walk Home 2015
The Evening chorus 2015
The Argonauts 2015
The Refugees 2017
What it means when a man falls from the sky (2017)
The Round House

Nov 26, 2019, 12:24pm

>138 charl08: *SNORK!!* Where, I ask, is the lie?

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 1:45pm

142: I've read What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky and Burial Rites, if you mean the Hannah Kent novel (which I was very impressed by). I have at least 4 of the others waiting to be read. I am currently reading Elif Shafak's newest novel.

My list for the decade we're coming to the end of would have to include

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo
May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes

I'd have to look at all the books I've read over the last 10 years and identify the ones that were published recently enough to count to make a list though. I'm not sure I would have even read the AM Homes if her book hadn't been chosen by a book group, as I can't say the central character appealed to me much!

Nov 26, 2019, 2:43pm

>143 scaifea: Lie?!! Surely not.
I love the idea that the author has a friend she is honouring with this gag. One of the reviews on LT says that this book has a dodgy sense of humour. I guess that's in the eye of the beholder.

>144 elkiedee: Thanks for spotting that! I did mean Hannah Kent. I've fixed that now. I think my answers will reflect more of the end of the decade as I've got better at recording what I've read. I am also a fan of Mr Loverman though. A book that successfully messed with my expectation.

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 3:13pm

Someone has contacted me via LT to ask if they can use my picture of a ye olde bus in their book about a bus company. I am quite tickled by this flattering request.

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 5:01pm

Now reading the latest Fandorin Not saying goodbye - only published in Russian last year, the English translations are speeding up.

Nov 26, 2019, 5:21pm

>138 charl08: I always thought Amber was hard-core but not crazy - that's Mamie!

>147 charl08: I need to get back to Fandorin as I haven't read any of the series in a good while.

Nov 26, 2019, 8:46pm

>146 charl08: Oh that's great both for you and them.

Having been absent from your thread for too long, I have been mowed down by many book bullets and have nothing to say about UK politics.

Nov 27, 2019, 1:43am

>148 PaulCranswick: I've been wondering how Akunin would deal with the revolution: fun to finally find out.

>149 avatiakh: It was nice to be asked!
I wish we could borrow your leader for a bit. She is such a nice contrast to what is going on in our part of the world.

Edited: Nov 27, 2019, 2:34am

Lancashire day today!
(The Lancashire Hotpots: Lancashire's for me)

Some (West) Lancashire highlights

From top left:
- Detail from Rufford Hall, Ormskirk parish church, The "Blood tub" lock,
- A heron at work, residents at WWT Martin Mere, winter walk West Lancs,
- Parbold Mill, view towards Lathom, another winter walk.

Nov 27, 2019, 9:19am

>151 charl08: Looks lovely, Charlotte. Is this part of your PLAN?

I love the lists, even though I always criticize the "best of" ones. :)

Nov 27, 2019, 12:50pm

>152 BLBera: The PLAN has yet to emerge, Beth. (Some may detect a theme.)

Very much feeling protest from muscles after yesterday's bid to de-leaf the lawn. Excitement at new Lidl which is doing crazy (opening?) prices on lactose free milk (nearly 30p lower than Aldi!) And fun Xmas leggings and socks for kids gifts.

Edited: Nov 27, 2019, 12:58pm

Sad to see that Clive James has died. I loved his Unreliable Memoirs, a book I nicked from my dad's shelf.

Nov 27, 2019, 2:49pm

>146 charl08: And so you should be tickled Charlotte.

>151 charl08: Nice photos too.

>132 charl08: Our Women on the Ground will fall into my basket.

Nov 27, 2019, 3:07pm

>154 charl08: that's sad.
And Jonathan Miller.

Nov 27, 2019, 3:42pm

>146 charl08: How nice!

>147 charl08: Book 16??!
I have the Fandorin books my library wishlist, but Dutch translations only go until book 7....

>151 charl08: Lovely pictures.

Nov 27, 2019, 10:40pm

>98Thanks Charlotte. I read The King who Banned the Dark and it was as good as you said. Great illustrations too.

Edited: Nov 28, 2019, 3:28am

>155 Caroline_McElwee: Our Women on the ground looks really good, Caroline. I want to get out and do some walking (and take more pictures), but the weather...

>156 Helenliz: I never heard him speak in person but his programmes were always on in our house, and I remember reading one of his memoirs in a long wait at Sydney airport. His columns in the Guardian magazine over the past years have been my regular reading, I found them really touching - slightly miraculous in about 4 short paragraphs.

All I really know about Jonathan Miller is his link to Bennett via Beyond the Fringe - so Bennett is now the only one left of the four?

>157 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

I am not sure how LT works out book 16 - inside the book the English titles listed make this book 13. I think some novellas might not have been translated, but I might be remembering that wrong.

Nov 28, 2019, 3:33am

Prima Facie
I listened to this latest in the Medicus series, set at Ruso's family farm. Not much has changed since his last visit, but his young sister is now old enough to have a fiancee, who gets accused of murder. I like the touches which make me think about the mundanities of Roman life - how did parents keep their children safe in all the public and private water places and bathhouses?

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 5:12pm

Some lit(ish) stuff that has caught my eye whilst Xmas shopping.
(See also Susan's bookmark from Foyles!)
From the British Library

For the rocket scientist or space fan...

For the royal fan

For the Buddhist (and/or jigsaw puzzler) in your life (!)

For the gothic gardener...

Nov 28, 2019, 12:32pm

For a theatre fan?

For the fan of Fitzgerald

Sorely tempted by this one (although the temptation would be once purchased to graffiti it)

This one is going to a friend with a love of children's lit

Nov 28, 2019, 12:37pm

> Love the last mug. That could be my mantra.

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 5:12pm

Nov 28, 2019, 1:21pm

>163 Helenliz: I might just sneak another one into my basket. I love the shape too.

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 5:13pm

I bet you didn't know you needed Darwin on a coaster? (Natural History Museum)

Rather lovely quotes on notebooks from the Scottish Poetry Library
"A tiny radiance in a dark place” – from Toad by Norman MacCaig

Austen, anyone?


Or maybe a bookmark with art by Charlotte Bronte? (The Bronte Parsonage Museum)

Or perhaps a bookish print? (I want to see what's on the shelves here...)

The Bibliophilist's Haunt (Creech's Bookshop)

Edited: Nov 28, 2019, 5:17pm

Not saying Goodbye

Oh, and I finished a book - enjoyed Fandorin's latest adventures in Russia. This is book 13 (or 16 if you're Russian) so I've put the whole lot in spoilers as it's almost impossible without them. At the end of the last book the detective was shot in the head. However, this is not enough to stop him (think a Russian Sherlock Holmes - amazing ninja powers, deduction, criminal insight etc). His faithful assistant Masa has nursed him through a three year coma, so that when he wakes up, Russia has completely changed - it's 1917 and revolution number two has already taken place. We're swept through the various competing groups within Russian politics in Moscow, then the competing lines of Red and White forces (plus double agents). Romance (and 'back to the land's movements) are encountered. Some of these bear a remarkable similarity to contemporary arguments for a "strong leader" in Russia.
Fandorin is desperate to avoid supporting either sides, but it proves increasingly difficult to do so. This appears to be the end of the line for Fandorin, but I'm wondering if one of the other characters might not get their own series...

Nov 29, 2019, 4:35am

>167 charl08: 13 or 16? That will be because of the Russian calendar. *nods knowledgeably*

I love all your booky Christmas gifts, particularly the Lady Macbeth soap :-)

Nov 29, 2019, 4:46am

>168 susanj67: I could spend hours on the British Library shop, Susan, but mostly seem to find ideas for gifts for myself!

I did find some pencils that will be the perfect "joke" gift for my brother along with the thing he actually wants.

Nov 29, 2019, 5:08am

>169 charl08: :-))

I just saw a tweet from the Natural History Museum, and they have *dinosaur* versions of Cluedo, Monopoly and Guess Who? Genius. So if you have any young dinosaur fans to buy for, the NHM is the place to go :-)

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 5:09pm

>170 susanj67: Aw! What a lovely idea.

Back to The New Jim Crow

On the war on drugs:
...some commentators charge that a virtual “drug exception” now exists to the Bill of Rights. Shortly before his death, Justice Thurgood Marshall felt compelled to remind his colleagues that there is, in fact, “no drug exception” written into the text of the Constitution.

Nov 29, 2019, 7:20am

On the use of SWAT (which she describes as paramilitary units, a term which is striking to me in the different associations I make - IRA/ UDF, violence vs Holywood action films about hostages)

"The rate of increase in the use of SWAT teams has been astonishing. In 1972 , there were just a few hundred paramilitary drug raids per year in the United States. By the early 1980s, there were three thousand annual SWAT deployments, by 1996 there were thirty thousand, and by 2001 there were forty thousand."

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 10:14am

We are, all of us, sudden travellers in the world, blind, passing each other , reaching, missing, sometimes taking hold. But, sooner than you think, after this flood, after the darkness, the loss, the loneliness, someone is going to take your hand and tell a story...

Sudden Travellers
Loved this small collection of short stories. Clear sighted and with some beautiful writing. I love Sarah Hall's work, not least because it is so memorable. She has won awards for her short stories - listen to an extract read by Andrea Riseborough here

Nov 29, 2019, 2:24pm

Hi, Char!! Thanks for all the amusing holiday gifts. Hope your brother enjoys his pencils, LOL. Enjoy the weekend!

Nov 29, 2019, 4:46pm

>169 charl08: They have others, too! Like Depressed Pencils. You made me go look for them, Charlotte and now there's a whole site full of stuff.

Nov 30, 2019, 5:49am

>174 Berly: I hope he likes them too, Kim.

>175 RidgewayGirl: Yup, plenty of options. I thought I might get the procrastination ones!

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:21am

Another list:

I'm adding To the Lions and considering starting another new crime series!

Nov 30, 2019, 2:54pm

Wow, Charlotte. I love the gift ideas -- my favorite is the Lady Macbeth soap. :)

Thanks for another list that makes me feel woefully unread.

Nov 30, 2019, 4:42pm

>178 BLBera: There was also a small bag with Shakespearean insults on I was very tempted by, but they'd sold out.

Nov 30, 2019, 6:55pm

Some great books this month.

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 7:37am

Nov totals

Gender M 4 F 21 Multiple 2
Region UK 11 Europe 2 US & Canada 13 Africa 0 Latin America 0 Asia 0 Austalasia 0 Multiple 1
Type Fiction 22 Poetry 0 Non-fiction 5
Origin Library 11 Other (incl mine) 16

Netgalley 1

Need to work harder on reading books outside the UK and US, although the way I count the stats hides dual origins- so for example the author of The Night Tiger is American of Malaysian heritage, and the author of the Fandorin series writes in Russian but lives in London.

I really actively disliked the bookgroup book The Testament of Jessie Lamb in contrast gave away Good Talk to a teacher friend almost straight away because I thought it was so good it needs to be read.

Dec 1, 2019, 7:51am

At the Manchester art gallery yesterday.

A Lowry painting of a school foundation stone ceremony. The councillor shown wanted the council to buy it, but the council disagreed. Given how much these paintings are now worth, this must be quite galling to the current council members!

A Dutch painting from a small room of early Dutch images. I love how happy people look to be out on the ice.

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 8:00am

Finally finished Eat Sweat Play.

I really admired this book: the author, a sports journalist, marshals arguments to support a revolution in women's involvement in sport. This includes better research on women's health and sport (the experts she spoke to emphasised the lack of research based knowledge on the relationship between periods and physical activity, for example), support for women with kids to get active, and supporting women's sport. I really loved her emphasis on sport as a way to feel good, rather than to have a better body.
Just one little swim. One little run. One little walk. That's all it takes and you're right back there. You haven't got lost. It hasn't gone away. It's all there just waiting for you...

Dec 1, 2019, 5:02pm

>182 charl08: Two lovely paintings, Charlotte!
The Lowry painting is now shown at the artgallery, I think it gets more visitors than it would at the school.
Nothing has changed, people here get happy when they can skate, or at least the ones that go out to skate. With freezing temperatures I prefer to curl up at home and read :-)

Dec 2, 2019, 4:45am

>180 charl08: Nice montage, Charlotte! How did you do it?

That Jessie Lamb book doesn't sound like me either. Thanks for confirming that I don't need to get it :-)

Dec 2, 2019, 4:57am

>183 charl08: I might have to have a look at that one. I don't do sport, but have developed a slightly deranged love for Spin and a type 2 affection for HIIT. I've also been doing resistance work in the gym, with last year's resolution being to learn to do proper pressupe, which i achieved by July. Did 25 of them this morning. Next target will be to do a pull up - that's going to be a much harder challenge!
I started as i know that I'm a dreadful dieter, so for me to be fitter, I need to move more. From there, I tend to eat less crap, as I don't want the effort in exercise to go to waste. A virtuous circle, if you like. I'm probably now (at a few years shy of 50) the fittest I have ever been and loving the way it feels. The side effect of having dropped a couple of stone is not bad either >;-)

Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 9:28am

>184 FAMeulstee: Anita, I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how the picture ended up in Manchester's art collection. Lowry mostly worked around Salford, which is for all intents and purposes now a suburb of the city. But back in the 1950s was seen as separate. Schools used to be run by local councils, so I was thinking that it would have been a small council that ended up with a painting worth $$$$$ Equally they could just have lost it- I heard a talk in Blackpool about their city collection, and the curator talked about a legal case with a school who had been (according to the council) loaned a piece of art. The school argued they had had it for so long, and the council had no record of ownership, that they were entitled to sell it. So they did.

ETA Donated to the gallery by another education institution.

>185 susanj67: It's one of those free phone apps. It keeps trying to sell me fancy options, but just for the basic montage it's free. Google photos has an option too, but seems to have less (fewer?) editing options.

>186 Helenliz: I like the virtuous effect thing Helen. Sounds great. I liked the way she emphasised it's normal to be interrupted in activity - but just start again. Give things a go and be rubbish at the start.

I can post you the book if you want it - it's just going to the charity shop otherwise. I am buried in books and need to do something to shift some.

Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 9:52am

Red Love
Despite the title, not actually a romance novel about people with blushing difficulties.

The author was born in the GDR in 1970 but really the power in this family history is his research of the two sides of his family and their contrasting approach to the state. His maternal grandfather was forced to leave Germany as a Jewish refugee, became a resistance hero in WW2, and a significant journalist and diplomat in the GDR.

In contrast his father's father had fought in the wehrmacht and (probably) been a signed up nazi, but became a committed communist after obtaining a job in the East. Both the author's parents found ways to accommodate and protest the state, despite their very different backgrounds. Mostly because of the stasi records he is able to find the ways all his family were watched and threatened, and closely documented evidence of them standing up to threats (I'm always amazed at this kind of behaviour, not being built like this myself) . After the wall comes down his mum is able to write freely as an academic, but his dad struggles to find what to make art about, having used it as a way to protest the state.
That balance between conformity and resistance, between courage and betrayal, is hard to explain. Even those words are probably too big to describe the little movements that were generally at issue. It was a grey area of possibilities, in which you could go in one direction or another, in which there was no right way and no wrong one, but at best the feeling of having made a bearable compromise.

Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 2:53pm

And New Kid a story about 12/13 year olds and aimed at the same age group.

As well as dealing with being the new kid, there's dealing with implicit bias and being surrounded by wealthy peers. I liked the emphasis on friendship and kindness that shines through.

Dec 2, 2019, 3:50pm

>187 charl08: that would be very generous, if you're sure, then yes please. Not that I need any more books, of course.

Dec 3, 2019, 3:19am

>190 Helenliz: No worries. PM me where you'd like it to be mailed to.

Dec 3, 2019, 3:26am

Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 3:33am

>183 charl08: I should really read that one. Sometimes it is hard to make time for just a little walk...

Good luck with the cleanup!

Dec 3, 2019, 3:47am

Thanks - I'll need it, some of them are pretty long!

Eat Sweat Play is very British-centric (I'd say English, but Andy Murray's mum makes an appearance, so no). I would be really interested to hear how relevant it is beyond the UK.

Dec 3, 2019, 7:49am

I'm having a very weird issue with text auto-changing to something I didn't type. This is a test post!

Dec 3, 2019, 8:11am

>195 charl08: Well, that seems to have worked. Very Strange!

Dec 3, 2019, 2:26pm

Hej Charlotte, just passing by saying hello

Dec 4, 2019, 5:05am

Hi Paul, I just tried to post on your thread but the computer changed my words again. It doesn't seem to be happening on my thread, I'm not sure what is going on!

Dec 4, 2019, 6:21am

Little Siberia
This is a really gripping crime novel set in a rural village in Finland. A meteor falls from the sky: it's worth a lot of money, and is held for safety in the local museum before being transported to the government scientists in the capital. There's not enough money to pay for a security detail, so the locals volunteer. Joel is the local priest, new to the village and an Afghanistan veteran. He's not sure about his job, or his wife, and has been keeping secrets. On the night he volunteers, someone breaks into the museum...
I turn and look at the elk. The beast and I look each other in the eye - maybe. Then I turn back to Jokinen.
'You just told me hunting season is over.'
'The animal doesn't know the difference between December and January,' he says.
'We don't normally ask the elk for his opinion.'
'Just think, that's one less elk-related car crash that won't happen now.'

Dec 4, 2019, 12:48pm

Hi Charlotte! I have finished chapter 1 of The New Jim Crow, and put my comments on my new thread. What chapter are you on now? I'll try to catch up now that I am back in my reading groove. Sorry about the delay. Sometimes my life is just crazy, as I'm sure happens to you, too.

Dec 4, 2019, 2:38pm

Thanks Rachel! I'll head over.

Edited: Dec 5, 2019, 1:53am

Is that what normal husbands do - buy flowers for no reason? All these years out of that school and he still spent a segment of his days trying to decipher the customs of normal people.
The Nickel Boys
A brilliant fictional account of a real scandal: abuse in juvenile detention in the US. Elwood is a bookish boy who is doing well despite his parents leaving him, second rate schooling and Jim Crow. Given the promotion for the book it comes as no surprise that he is thrown into detention and must try to learn how to survive. However, the twist at the end completely got me, I was reassuring myself with the thought that this lovely boy survived such a terrible experience and made it out the other side, and instead was shocked to find that in fact he was another victim in the graveyard. I was impressed at how Whitehead showed the long term impact of the abuse on the boys as they became adults: it would have been easy to dwell on the physical abuse but he shows the psychological effects, as well as the way there is pressure on survivors to "move on".

Edited: Dec 5, 2019, 1:58am

End of year mop up - update

Nickel Boys
The New Jim Crow (45%)
Dawn: Stories
Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands
Red Birds
A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind
These Truths: A History of the United States
The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 Chap 3
An Orchestra of Minorities

Dec 5, 2019, 7:31am

>203 charl08: That's progress, Charlotte!

Btw this thread is now 204 messages long - just saying.

Dec 5, 2019, 9:11pm

Good luck with your mop up, Charlotte!

Edited: Dec 6, 2019, 3:51am

>203 charl08: Thanks Susan - progress of a sort!

>204 susanj67: Thanks Beth - not much achieved last night (fell asleep on the couch - first day back at work was a bit of a shock to the system). But I did order my secret santee their books, so fingers crossed those arrive in time.

Have also booked my flight to Cape Town for next year. I won't run out of penguin pictures for this thread after all (!!)

Clifton Beach - Wikipedia cc

Dec 6, 2019, 11:37am

>206 charl08: Capetown :)

Dec 6, 2019, 12:20pm

>206 charl08: Penguins >:-D

Dec 7, 2019, 3:52pm

>207 RebaRelishesReading: Yup! That's me.

>208 Helenliz: I'm planning lots and lots and lots of photos.

Lovely afternoon at a craft fair in Liverpool cathedral. The train there was crazy, as it was full of supporters on the way to the Everton match and there wasn't a seat to be had! I didn't do very well getting presents but did manage to find some books and a bookmark...

Dec 7, 2019, 9:22pm

>209 charl08: Well at least those Evertonians will be happy tonight with a new win under Big Duncan. They are not my team but I would like to see them do better and I hope the big fellow gets the job.

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Dec 8, 2019, 12:42am

>202 charl08: I was also completely shocked by that plot twist. Made it all the more poignant. Nice write-up.

>206 charl08: Hurray for more penguins!

Dec 8, 2019, 7:06am

>210 PaulCranswick: I hope so Paul! Hope you have had a good weekend too.

>211 Berly: It was brilliantly done, Kim. Great book.

Edited: Dec 9, 2019, 7:39am

End of year mop up - update

Nickel Boys
The New Jim Crow (53%)
Dawn: Stories
Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands
Red Birds 25%
A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind
These Truths: A History of the United States
The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 Chap 8
An Orchestra of Minorities

Dec 8, 2019, 7:43am

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Hooray for The Nickel Boys. I am sure that will be one of my favorite fiction reads of the year. What is Dawn: Stories about? You know I love a great story collection.

Dec 8, 2019, 10:38am

>214 msf59: Mark, the author is Selahattin Demirtaş, who is a political prisoner in Turkey - he worked for Amnesty International before becoming a co-leader of a pro-democracy, pro-women's rights, pro-Kurdish political party. The stories are all about ordinary people in Turkey.

Dec 8, 2019, 12:40pm

>209 charl08: Gad you survived the football fans, Charlotte. And the craft fair sounds good.

Do you listen to things in the BBC Sounds app? I'm listening to a podcast (The Missing Cryptoqueen - VG) and I can't work out how to speed it up. Or even if that's possible.

Dec 8, 2019, 2:50pm

>214 msf59: Yes, I agree with you!

>215 RidgewayGirl: Thanks Kay. I went to an Amnesty reading over the summer and his work was read, along with that of another imprisoned Turkish writer.

>216 susanj67: I don't think you can in the app, Susan.
(Or at least, if you can, I haven't found it).

Edited: Dec 9, 2019, 6:01pm

Graphic novels best of list from the Guardian

Clyde Fans (Drawn & Quarterly)
Rusty Brown (Jonathan Cape)

Sensible Footwear (Myriad)
Sunday’s Child (Jonathan Cape),
Maggy Garrisson (SelfMadeHero)
Off Season , James Sturm

Gina Siciliano
I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi (Fantagraphics)

David Rault ABC of Typography (SelfMadeHero)

Kristina Gehrmann comic book version of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (Ten Speed Press).

Drawn & Quarterly:
Palimpsest: Documents from a Korean Adoption by Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom,
Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

I really liked Sensible footwear so will see if the library can help me with some of these!

Dec 9, 2019, 12:16am

Oh, it looks like I need to get to Nickel Boys sooner rather than later.

Dec 9, 2019, 3:14am

>219 banjo123: It's a really good read, Rhonda.

News of an important women's rights exhibition coming to the British library in the new year. On my wishlist to visit.

Dec 9, 2019, 6:02pm

End of year mop up - update

Nickel Boys Finished
The New Jim Crow (53%)
Dawn: Stories
Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands
Red Birds 25%
A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind
These Truths: A History of the United States
The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 Chap 11
An Orchestra of Minorities
Edit | More

Dec 9, 2019, 8:32pm

>217 charl08: I read Dawn: Stories earlier this year. While I thought the stories sometimes felt a little obvious and the first one broke my heart, they were a solid collection that taught me about ordinary people in Turkey.

Dec 9, 2019, 11:51pm

Best of luck with your year end mop up, Charlotte. I hope you are quite far along in These Truths if you aim to finish it.

Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 2:03am

>222 RidgewayGirl: It's a slim volume, so hoping I can get it back to the library for someone else to read!

>223 Familyhistorian: You'd think, wouldn't you! Fortunately for me work closes over Xmas so I have ten days to read. Although my mum has put her back out again, so it might be a bit busier than I was anticipating.

The Orwell book The Ministry of Truth is really brilliant. Fascinating not just on Orwell himself, but the early reactions (and misunderstandings) of his book. It seems both the left and the right saw what they wanted to see in it, rather than Orwell's intended attack on all totalitarian regimes (and the apathy leading up to them). There is a discussion of the key role of truth which seems very relevant right now (and does not, to put it mildly) fit with years of reading academic debates about the impossibility of one "truth".

Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 1:16pm

I can't even read the whole of this article, and I've still added a book to my wishlist...(Cherokee America)

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 6:27am

Weird, a double post. That doesn't happen very often!

The Ministry of Truth
Really excellent Non-fiction, as recommended by Mamie.
Lynskey charts Orwell's route to writing 1984, and then shows the complex ways in which the book has been picked up after publication. The issues that the book considers - how do we prevent totalitarianism - are highly topical today. The book relates to the debates on privacy and data too, even though (as the author points out) Orwell didn't write about computers or the internet.

Highly recommended.

(I didn't notice the figures in black outline on the bottom of the cover until this week)

Dec 11, 2019, 4:43am

>227 charl08: Charlotte, that one does sound good. I've added it to my library wishlist.

I hope you love Blood and Sugar when you get to it. The author is tweeting about her next book, due in either March or July, I think. (I may follow too many people on the Twitter).

Dec 11, 2019, 6:31am

>228 susanj67: Hope you can find a copy, Susan. It read very well, although it took me ages to get round to it. (Poor)

Mop up update!

Nickel Boys Finished
The New Jim Crow (53%)
Dawn: Stories
Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands
Red Birds 25%
A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind
These Truths: A History of the United States
The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 Finished
An Orchestra of Minorities

Dec 11, 2019, 8:50am

>229 charl08: - You're making good progress with the mop-up, Charlotte. I'm impressed.

Dec 11, 2019, 12:44pm

Charlotte, thanks to you I seem to be seeing penguins everywhere as they seem to be a Christmas association now in decorations. Nice!

Dec 11, 2019, 3:45pm

>230 katiekrug: So was I, Katie, and then I picked up a new library book. Oh dear. Derailed! (And not even the first in the series: everyone act natural, maybe it won't be picked up...)

>231 mdoris: What is it with all the penguins?! I was in Aldi today and they had Xmas bags (another thing I don't really understand) with a cute cartoon one on it.
Penguins are for All Year, not just for Xmas.

Dec 11, 2019, 3:57pm

I'm *right here*.

Just saying...

Dec 11, 2019, 4:00pm

Dec 11, 2019, 4:16pm

>233 susanj67: Darn it. Caught.

Hi Susan!

>234 katiekrug: :-)

Dec 11, 2019, 4:49pm

>233 susanj67: It's OK Susan, come away, you don't need to see. Sit down and have a cup of tea.

>235 charl08: you need to be more subtle about it than that >;-)

Dec 11, 2019, 5:58pm

Finished chapter 2 and almost done with chapter 3 of The New Jim Crow. I'll let you know when I have my thoughts up.

Dec 11, 2019, 8:48pm

I rest my case!

Dec 12, 2019, 6:40am

>236 Helenliz: She was right, this was a bit difficult to follow (although still very good).

>237 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel!

>238 mdoris: Nicely rested there. Despite what I said, those hats are very cute!

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 6:48am

The Infinite blacktop
Not sure who recommended this series but it was very good, and I'm now going to go back and find the first two (which I think my library doesn't have, in my defence...) PI in LA tries to work out who is trying to kill her, plus flashbacks to her childhood as a 'teen detective', the influential magazine she and her friends read (also about a teen detective) and her attempts in the late 1990s to solve a cold case. The author says her books are told in a slightly skewed world where detectives are more important - I was reminded a bit of Phillip Pullman (and I'm sure other authors, but he's the one that comes to mind), that kind of mix of normal world and imagined powers. I was really struck by the way the PI is shown as being very tough and hardnosed - she knows someone is going to kill her, and runs away from the police and rescue services. She has no resources so is 'forced' to steal them - there is an acknowledgement of the impact of her actions, which leapt out at me as unusual (at least, from my reading). Some lovely dark humour, smart comments too.
"So why are you in Las Vegas?" Claude said. "And who's trying to kill you? What's going on?"
"Well, if I told you, " I said, "it would ruin my big denouement at the end."

Dec 12, 2019, 7:42am

Hey Charlotte! All caught up here! I'll try to be a more active follower in the new year.
Wow, Cape Town! Now that's really exciting!

Dec 12, 2019, 10:08am

>240 charl08: Oh, that sounds good. Another for the ever expanding wishlist.

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 1:52pm

>241 Carmenere: I'm looking forward to it!

>242 RidgewayGirl: I'm hoping the other two will be ok to track down.

Now reading Joe Country
'Are you always this unpleasant?'
Lamb shrugged. 'It's not an exact science.'

Dec 12, 2019, 11:57pm

Charlotte, you have probably already seen and posted this, but I simply had to come by with a link!

Penguins in Sweaters

Dec 13, 2019, 2:45am

>244 LizzieD: The penguin wearing a sweater like a penguin book cover has a delicious irony about it.

Dec 13, 2019, 4:12am

>244 LizzieD: I have, but it bears repeating!

>245 Helenliz: It's a lovely picture. If I didn't already own more pictures than wall, I'd be tempted to get a copy printed.

Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 4:19am

Why you should read children's books even though you are so old and wise
A lovely book (well, essay really) on children's books from an author an academic. From her childhood reading to how she writes for children now, this was evocative and powerful for me.

If hope is a thing with feathers, then libraries are wings...

Dec 13, 2019, 4:57am

Charlotte, you should add >240 charl08: and >247 charl08: to your mop-up list so you can cross them off immediately :-)

I'm holding steady on five hard copies and one e, but anything could happen between now and the library closing.

Dec 13, 2019, 2:51pm

I like the way you think there, Susan!

The renewal date at the library is now 3rd Jan. It is officially time for me to bewail "where did this year go?"

Dec 13, 2019, 3:06pm

>249 charl08: Yes, I think the bewailing could start now. By 3 Jan I will be back at work after the Christmas break *sniff*. It's far too close.

Dec 13, 2019, 5:29pm

I don't want to think about the return yet, either!

I'll squeeze in a new thread before new year...