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Charl08 reads the year through

75 Books Challenge for 2020

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Jan 1, 2:00pm Top

Hi, I'm Charlotte and I'm looking forward to another year of reading in the group.

I tend to read a lot of fiction, but throw in poetry, history, biographies and can be persuaded by a good review. I'm keen to try new authors, enjoy using my local library and like to keep an eye on my stats. I do love a bookshop and have plenty of books on the shelves to get to!

Gorgeous beaches.
What's not to love about northern England?

Edited: Jan 17, 2:48am Top

Books read in 2020

(In a new move, I'm keeping an excel spreadsheet with the stats in: not entirely sure how that's going to work with this update post)

January 15 (January 2019: 23)
Love Lettering
The German Room
Maggy Garrisson
The Giver of Stars
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the last trial of Harper Lee
The Mist
Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter
Forever and a Duke
Blood & Sugar

Marriage on Madison Avenue
Rock, Paper, Scissors and other stories
Between the world and me
Kiss Me

Where the authors come from:

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

(Thanks to Paul S for this)

Edited: Jan 14, 5:52pm Top

Books read in translation

(Pictures from places I want to visit - or revisit - via Unsplash)

The German Room Argentina
Maggy Garrisson France
The Mist (Iceland)
Basquiat (Italy)
Rock, Paper, Scissors and other stories (Russia)

Edited: Jan 5, 11:37am Top

Books to read from the shelves...

From top left:
The Ungrateful Refugee (from a reading)
Close to the Knives (from the shop linked to the Keith Haring exhibit)
Rock Paper Scissors Reading in translation
The Slynx Reading in translation
My Antonia (I've still not read it. I feel left out)
Nada (Fiction in translation)
An Imperfect Blessing SA fiction
Our Endless Numbered Days One I've had on the wishlist for a while
Age of Iron SA fiction
Bird By Bird I've started, so I really should finish...
John Clare: faber A gorgeous new edition of the poet.
Lifting the Veil
Words will break cement
Balthasar's Odyssey Bought in the gorgeous mill at Saltaire. Referenced repeatedly in a book about Turkey.
The Beautiful Summer Fiction in translation.
The Gypsy Goddess She spoke at the same venue as Nayeri - very compelling.
House of Stone Picked up in Edinburgh, I think.
Respectable Heard her speak at work - she's impressive.
Why this world Fascinating writer, but I've still not picked up this biography.
Travels with my Aunt A beautiful orange penguin, a sad hole in my reading.
Sunburn I read a Lippman earlier in the year, mixed feelings, but have been assured her others vary, so thought I'd try this one when I saw it for A Reasonable second hand price.
The East Edge By a small press.
In Dependence One I wanted to find from when I read the list of 50 African women writers.
The Devil's Dance The first book of fiction to be translated from the Uzbek.
Manchester Happened
Whatever Happened to Harold Absalom
Insurgent Empire clearly a little light reading (!)

Jan 1, 12:40pm Top

Found you! Happy New Year. I look forward to another year of following your read and adding to my already HUGE TBR pile.

Jan 1, 12:41pm Top

Happy reading in the new year, Charlotte!

Jan 1, 12:47pm Top

Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 12:55pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte, where are the penguins?

Jan 1, 1:35pm Top

>5 BLBera: Hi Beth! Thanks for finding me.

>6 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I need to find your thread, I think. The busy-ness of this time of year makes me lose track.

>7 PaulCranswick: Thanks, again!

>8 CDVicarage: Thanks Kerry. There's going to be Lots in February as I'm visiting the African penguins again!

Jan 1, 1:36pm Top

Happy New Year Charlotte. Hoping to be more active on LT now that 2019, my “annus horriblis” (or whatever the Queen called her bad year) is over. I’ll still pop up on Litsy though, because it’s the only place I know how to post pictures.

Jan 1, 1:45pm Top

Thanks for the wishes! Hope you have a much nicer 2020.

Jan 1, 2:10pm Top

Anyone fancy a book event in 2020?

(Noirwich is tempting me, if only for the pun-tastic title)

Jan 1, 2:12pm Top

Glad to see you back for 2020!

Jan 1, 2:29pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 3:03pm Top

Happy reading 2020, Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 1, 3:11pm Top

End of Year Meme (this one lifted from Carrie's thread)

Describe yourself: A Crisis of Brilliance (Ha!)

Describe how you feel: The Patient Assassin

Describe where you currently live: We Have Always Been Here

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Another Planet

Your favorite form of transportation: Blue Horses

Your best friend is: Good Talk

You and your friends are: Still Waters

What’s the weather like: England: poems from a school

You fear: Normal People

What is the best advice you have to give: Behold, America

Thought for the day: Hiding in Plain Sight

How you would like to die: Sweet Home

Your soul’s present condition: Riot Days

Your favorite time of day is: The Second Sleep

What is life for you: Running the Books

Jan 1, 3:13pm Top

>13 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! Hope you had a good break.

>14 drneutron: Thanks for getting us sorted again. Hope the tech is behaving.

>15 Ameise1: Hello! Great to see you, thanks for visiting.

Jan 1, 3:28pm Top

Hi Charlotte! Happy new thread and New Year.

Jan 1, 3:35pm Top

Best wishes for 2020!

Jan 1, 4:31pm Top

Starred, of course. And my favorites from your memes are:

Describe yourself: A Crisis of Brilliance and You fear: Normal People--good ones!

Jan 1, 6:09pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Charlotte!

Jan 1, 6:28pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte!

What? No penguins?

Star duly dropped, by the way.

Jan 1, 6:52pm Top

And Happy New Thread, Charlotte! Looking forward to spending another bookish year with you!

Jan 1, 9:34pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte!

Jan 2, 2:00am Top

>18 susanj67: Thanks Susan.

>19 DianaNL: Thanks Diana.

>20 Berly: I had fun doing it, Kim. It's a nice reminder of books I enjoyed.

Jan 2, 2:05am Top

>21 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

>22 EBT1002: Not yet, Ellen. They will definitely appear though!

>23 msf59: Thanks Mark.

>24 jnwelch: Thanks Joe.

Looking forward to finding out about everyone's recommendations for reading in 2020!

Jan 2, 10:06am Top

Jan 2, 10:52am Top

Happy 2020, Charlotte! I wish you all the best and lots and lots of good reads.

Jan 2, 12:26pm Top

>27 paulstalder: Thanks Pau!

>2 charl08:} Thanks Lynda.

Now reading Love Lettering.
Feeling annoyed because someone felt the need to shout at me for someone else's parking. Argh.

Jan 2, 12:53pm Top

Happy new year, Charlotte!

I enjoyed reading your meme responses :)

Jan 2, 5:34pm Top

>29 charl08: Grrrr to mean people shouting at you.

Noirwich does sound like a great title. I'd like to get back to Harrogate this year (the crime festival in July), as I went nearly every year up to 2015, but I need to earn some money before I can even think of spending it, particularly if it involves the costs of going away from home, and I might be better off emotionnally going to a completely different "thing" in a different place. I do have financial safety nets but because they are just that I don't want to damage them by, for example, dipping into my savings for fripperies. Do please let me know if there's something in London you think you might come down to.

Edited: Jan 3, 3:07am Top

Thanks Katie, I have enjoyed seeing how everyone has used their reading to fit.

Now reading The German Room, which despite the title is Argentinian.
(And which the touchstones don't like)

Jan 2, 8:48pm Top

Happy New Year! I love your favorite time of day! :-)

Jan 2, 8:50pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte!

Jan 2, 10:13pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte!

>1 charl08: I love beaches and that one looks lovely and very walkable!

>16 charl08: Love your answers! I’m going to steal the meme and have some fun putting mine together tomorrow!

Jan 3, 3:23am Top

>31 elkiedee: These things can get expensive, I do tend to wish I could go rather than actually travel. I also got a bit annoyed by the Chelsea tractor types who seemed to colonise Hay and Edinburgh festivals, very loudly and with the expectation that what they wanted was what everyone else should want.
Feel like it should be possible to go to a book festival without paying a fortune.

>33 cbl_tn: Thanks Carrie. The campaign for better naps starts here

>34 ronincats: Thanks Roni!

>35 Copperskye: It's one of the beaches cared for by the National Trust, and whilst it gets very busy in the summer with a sunny day, I love it best on a winter one when there is almost no one there. Yesterday was not one of those days, but there were some lovely dogs!

Edited: Jan 4, 4:01am Top

Love Lettering
This popped up on my kindle as if unbidden, so I think someone on Litsy recommended it. Cute idea to match someone who lives for letters with someone falling out of love with numbers (and the city). I can't say I know New York to know if the geography works, but the wider characters were fun too.

The German Room
This English translation of an Argentinian novel is published by a small Edinburgh press.

It is rather odd. The first person narrator runs away from a breakup in Buenos Aires and goes to Heidelberg where she spent time as a child. She stays at a student hostel (despite not being a student) and meets a young man also from Argentina who is desperate to speak to someone from his own country. But it is a short friendship with a suicidal Japanese girl which skews her stay.
She also finds she can't leave her relationship behind, and one of her parents' friends appears to remind her of the reasons their stay was less than happy.
The back blurb talks of the work of Ferrente, and claims it is for anyone who has ever dreamed of running away. I'm not convinced.

Edited: Jan 3, 6:45pm Top

Now reading Dreyer's English which is funnier than any book on copy editing and style has a right to be.

Jan 3, 9:42pm Top

I recently heard about Love Lettering and immediately added my name to the library queue :)

Jan 3, 9:47pm Top

>38 charl08: That sounds oddly charming!

Jan 4, 3:54am Top

Found you! Happy new year, decade, thread and anything else you care to have be happy.

>22 EBT1002: I know, I was sure I was in the wrong place!

>12 charl08: love the pun. Also love Norwich and books. Less keen on Noir though.

Jan 4, 4:14am Top

>39 katiekrug: Thinking back on it there was a lot of (spoilery) stuff going on, but unlike another novel I've read recently, it was well paced.

>40 EBT1002: It's making me laugh, Ellen. Also making me break my own rules on writing in books.

>41 Helenliz: I was thinking it was noir in the widest sense (ie crime) but I should probably check the organisers are also going with this interpretation.
Thanks for finding me!

Jan 4, 4:29am Top

>38 charl08: I used to be an editor back in the day, and I am sure I would appreciate Dreyer's English, especially if it is "Utterly Correct"!

Jan 4, 5:18am Top

Hi Charlotte! Could you send me the membership form for the Better Naps Campaign? Because I feel I should be a founder member, and certainly a lifetime member ;-)

Dreyer's English was hiding from me at Waterstone's yesterday - I might have to click and collect it, and then they will have to find it.

Love Lettering is 99p for Kindle so...um, yeah. But at least I can blame you. And Katie :-)

Jan 4, 8:13am Top

>43 Berly: I was pleased to note the intro to my copy - he even rewrote this book for British audiences. My hero.

>44 susanj67: 99p! For that price I'm not even worried if you don't like it.(!)

Jan 4, 8:24am Top

Found you! Dropping a star and wishing you a happy new year, decade and thread!

Jan 4, 10:18am Top

>44 susanj67: >45 charl08: You made me buy it!

Jan 4, 12:11pm Top

Did I say happy new year on your other thread? If not, happy new year! :)

Jan 4, 12:29pm Top

>44 susanj67: susanj67: 99p! For that price I'm not even worried if you don't like it.(!)

Now steady on...

But I'm sure I will :-)

>47 CDVicarage: Oops. But it was really Charlotte though, wasn't it? :-)

Jan 4, 1:12pm Top

>37 charl08: >44 susanj67: oh dear, that tripped into my Kindle too, and it's not especially my kind of read, but you know... once in a while... and letters ARE my kind of thing.

Jan 4, 1:13pm Top

Btw great photo at >1 charl08: Charlotte.

Jan 4, 4:47pm Top

>46 jessibud2: Hi Shelley, thanks for visiting.

>47 CDVicarage: Which one?!

>48 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel!

>49 susanj67: Nope, it was you (and/or Katie that swung it).

>50 Caroline_McElwee: >51 Caroline_McElwee: Well, it's lettering rather than love letters, but it's definitely a bargain at 99p.

Edited: Jan 5, 3:34am Top

Maggy Garrisson

I liked this - three issues of a French comic/ GN about Maggy Garrisson, a young woman in London desperate for work. She ends up working for a PI who doesn't have much for her to do - so she takes the initiative, first with a lost budgie but rapidly increasing in seriousness. Lines are blurred and those who appear to be on the "right" side might not be, but Maggy is just getting by, getting through. The third issue leaves ends open, so hopefully there are more to come.

I thought LT members would identify with the bookseller's comment on working in a bookshop! (Maggy is undercover)

Jan 4, 5:55pm Top

>54 CDVicarage: Thanks for clarifying: 99p always gets me too.

Jan 4, 5:56pm Top

>53 charl08: This looks fun!

Jan 4, 6:12pm Top

Hi Charlotte, just found you today and wishing you a Happy New Year and year of great reading

Jan 5, 1:15am Top

I'm dropping my star, Charlotte. >53 charl08: That looks good. I'm waiting to get my hands on Maggy Garrisson.

Jan 5, 4:56am Top

>56 banjo123: It was a good one, I thought, Rhonda.

>57 mdoris: Thanks Mary. I'm still finding people myself - always a bit worried I'll miss people altogether.

>58 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg - look forward to hearing what you think of it.

Edited: Jan 5, 5:01am Top

I've gone back to The Giver of Stars which has such nice characters I was a bit worried about them all.

At one point the characters discuss Hardy, which made me laugh as one of them has the same view as me (the poor women!).

Jan 5, 5:10am Top

>60 charl08: Sounds interesting. My library has got an audio of it. I put it on my list.
Happy Sunday, Charlotte.

Jan 5, 7:40am Top

>61 Ameise1: I really loved it. Best book of 2020 ;-)

Jan 5, 7:44am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. I hope you are having a good weekend. Thanks for the rec on Maggie Garrisson. i have requested it from the library. I have never read Moyes and I have seen this author around for years.

Edited: Jan 5, 11:43am Top

Thanks Mark. I am! I read a really good book. Yesterday went for a walk and we saw two birds of prey wheeling above us, and then found a new pub with a roaring open fire. Lovely.

Tried to have a bit of a clear out. I think I have identified 6 books I am happy to donate to the local charity shop. Have also updated my TBR next list (up at >4 charl08:).

Jan 5, 1:25pm Top

>53 charl08:. Oh good, Charlotte. I liked Maggy Garrisson a lot, too. I hope we get to hear more of her stories.

Jan 5, 2:15pm Top

Finally getting around to making rounds and dropping stars! Happy 2020 reading!

Jan 5, 2:41pm Top

Hi Charlotte, stopping by with rather belated Happy New Years greetings. The group is just crazy with thread activity!

>64 charl08: - Sounds like a great walk (and a great location to end your walk)!

Jan 5, 3:25pm Top

Out for a Sunday stroll, Charlotte. Nice to see you.

Jan 5, 3:37pm Top

>65 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Mark said you had recommended it. You are in good company as it made the Guardian best of list for 2019. I liked the tone and the character, so fingers crossed for more. I was intrigued that two French authors would opt to set the story in London.

>66 thornton37814: And to you! Thanks for the visit.

>67 lkernagh: It is crazy, and I'm feeling like I'm very behind. I know everyone is very forgiving here though, fortunately.

>68 weird_O: Hi Bill. I took some inspiration from your enormous pile of books, and added my own at >4 charl08:

Edited: Jan 5, 4:23pm Top

Now reading Furious Hours. V. Good start.

Edited: Jan 5, 6:34pm Top

I'm going to keep an eye out for some Maggy Garrisson. I had not heard of this series.

Jan 5, 9:54pm Top

Happy New Year, Charlotte! I look forward to your thoughts about Furious Hours, which is one of the 20 nonfiction books I intend to read this year.

Jan 6, 2:05am Top

>71 EBT1002: I thought it was very well done, Ellen.

>72 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl. I'm about a third of the way through but was really reluctant to put it down last night. Well written, for sure. And if it was fiction, it would stretch credibility.

Jan 6, 2:14pm Top

>64 charl08: Lovely picture, Charlotte, and I also like the one in >4 charl08:. I am mostly reading library books this month.

Jan 6, 3:02pm Top

>74 FAMeulstee: Well, I forgot to put the library books in >4 charl08:. There are only 17 of them, so I'm sure it won't make that much difference (!)

Jan 6, 7:54pm Top

Why aren't the library books in >4 charl08:?! Just kidding. Happy New Year, Charlotte! Looking forward to following your reading adventures again.

Jan 7, 1:47am Top

>76 Crazymamie: Just can't get the staff, Mamie :-)

Edited: Jan 7, 2:11am Top

The Giver of Stars
I really loved this book - set in 1930s Kentucky (but by a British author) full of descriptions of beautiful country and hard lives. Alice marries into a mining family and moves from England to find she can't cope in small town life. A new library project, to bring books to rural homes, is a lifeline. She meets the unconventional Margery, who is running the project, and new possibilities open up. The friendships between the women and the pressure of the small town are really well done. So much so, I was invested in the characters and was scared Bad Things were going to happen (Hello, Catalog of Birds).

Of course, being a book about books, there are lots of references to authors and reading, and I liked the practical use of a copy of Little Women (not a spoiler - it's in the first chapter).

Thanks to Jenn (nittnut) who recommended this!

'If you've never been further east than - where was it, Lewisburg? - how is it you know so much about animals in Africa?'
Margery pulled her mule to a halt and turned to face her.
'Are you seriously asking me that question?'
Alice stared at her.
'And you want me to make you a librarian?'

Jan 7, 2:16am Top

>78 charl08: Okay, the quote was the clincher.

Jan 7, 2:24am Top

Furious Hours

Another great read - but rather different from Jo Jo Moyes!

Cep traces the case of Rev Maxwell in small town Alabama, who took out insurance policies on many members of his family. They then proceeded to have mysterious accidents, enabling him to claim thousands of $$$ from the insurance companies. Harper Lee heard about the case and spent many years trying to write her own true crime book, in part, reacting against Truman Capote's fictionalisation of true crime in In Cold Blood (which of course, she had also worked on).

Stacks of fascinating detail, from Alabama small town politics to the roots of 'voodoo', and a picture of Harper Lee that will stick with me, I think. (I hope.) Marching to her own drum, kind, suffering, but with a close and loving family who cared deeply about her. Cep shows Lee was ultimately able to accept that she wasn't going to finish another book, but that 'that bird' was an impressive achievement.

I loved the accounts of Lee's bookish links and interests.
For a woman of her means, that apartment was spartan, except for the Bodleian Library she had managed to squeeze inside it....
The books were her real companions, and she'd been collecting them since childhood. There was the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy, together with the contemporary American writers she admired - among them, Mary McCarthy, John Updike, Peter De Vries, John Cheever, and Flannery O'Connor - plus histories, crime stories, law books, and her five favorite novels: Samuel Butler's Way of all Flesh, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, Richard Hughes' High Wind in Jamaica, and Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.

Jan 7, 2:26am Top

>79 Berly: It's well worth it, for my two penn'orth..

Jan 7, 8:06am Top

>78 charl08: >80 charl08: I finished both of those last month.

Jan 7, 9:13am Top

>78 charl08: A direct hit, Charlotte. And Furious Hours was already on my radar, but you make me want to get to it.

Jan 7, 9:18am Top

>78 charl08: I was thinking of grabbing that one. I really enjoyed her Me Before You series.

Jan 7, 12:59pm Top

>82 thornton37814: Well, there's a bit of a coincidence?

>83 Crazymamie: I think you might like them...

>84 ChelleBearss: I have never read a book by her before, and in her acknowledgements she credited her publisher for being willing to accept the change in direction.

Edited: Jan 7, 2:42pm Top

Now reading The Mist, an ARC.

Jan 7, 3:44pm Top

Hi Charlotte!
Happy New Year, and happy reading :)

>16 charl08: I love these. Stand by for my version...

Jan 7, 3:56pm Top

>87 LovingLit: Hello Megan!

I was hoping you meant the shelf pic, but I will totally take a meme.

Edited: Jan 8, 12:23pm Top

The Mist

"The house was feeling its age and when the wind blew from a certain quarter the only way to keep warm in some of the rooms, like here in the sitting room, was to wrap yourself in a thick blanket, as she had done now. The blanket kept her body snug, but her hands, sticking out from under it, were so chilly that it was hard to turn the pages. Still, she put up with it. Reading gave her greater pleasure than anything else she knew. A good book could transport her far, far away, to a different world, another country, another culture, where the climate was warmer and life was easier."

Traumatic events referred to in previous books in the series (this is book 3) are in sharp focus here. In one storyline a couple in a claustrophobic, isolated farmhouse are snowed in as a stranger arrives on their doorstep. Erla would rather be in Reykjavik, but her husband won’t leave the family land. Living on the outskirts of Reykjavik, Hulda can’t understand what’s wrong with her teenage daughter, who seems to be beyond depression. She’s working so hard to combat the entrenched sexism of the police force, it’s impossible to get enough time off to find out what’s wrong. She also feels responsible for failing to solve the case of a young woman who went missing whilst backpacking on a ‘year off’. A dark read.

Jan 8, 10:49am Top

>78 charl08:, >80 charl08: These both sound great.

>89 charl08: I read the first one in the series, which was good. Not sure I'm going to continue. TOO MANY books!

Jan 8, 11:17am Top

>89 charl08: Charlotte, who's the author of that series - the touchstone goes to Stephen King, which I am guessing is not the correct one?

Jan 8, 1:42pm Top

>90 BLBera: It did manage to make me feel warm in comparison!

>91 Crazymamie: Now fixed. Sorry! The one at the top of the page was right, honest.

Jan 8, 1:45pm Top

>92 charl08: No worries, Charlotte. I was just curious, and I didn't even think to check the top of the thread. I have read the first two books in that author's other series, so I might give this one a go. Starting with the first book, of course. (looks around for Susan)

Jan 8, 2:17pm Top

>93 Crazymamie: Yup, order is Most Important, Mamie. Checks will be carried out...

Readers of The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society may be interested to see these records - newly released by Jersey archives - of Nazi occupation- includes records of protestors as young as 15.


Jan 9, 7:17am Top

Finally found you!

Dropping my star. I look forward to following your reading

Jan 9, 9:23am Top

Thanks! Happy new year! I am still in the process of getting around the threads - nudges from others welcome!

Jan 9, 12:33pm Top

Hi Charlotte! Glad you seem to be enjoying your reads so far this year.

Edited: Jan 9, 12:40pm Top

>97 The_Hibernator: I am so far, Rachel. I have not forgotten New Jim crow though. Must get back to it. Hope your new book groups are not proving too onerous.

Bit of a rubbish day: felt like putting my hands in the air at one point and just walking out. But came home to book mail, and there was a new Asterix (involving a non stereotypical female character) waiting for me on the reservation shelf* AND a GN I didn't even have to order on the new books shelf.

* At the library. Not got one at home (yet?)

Jan 9, 12:40pm Top

>98 charl08: Lol! So far the book groups are going ok, because we haven't had a meeting yet. I really hope the kids enjoy them.

Jan 9, 12:57pm Top

>98 charl08: Glad book mail arrived to perk you up Charlotte. Mine arrived today too. Looks interesting. Still have 2 of last years to read though, oops.

Jan 9, 3:12pm Top

Hi Charlotte! Just thought I should, um, drop in. For some reason. (Oh, hi Mamie!)

I think you should definitely get a reservation shelf at home. I mean, you already get handwritten mail from publishers :-)

Sorry about the hands in the air moment. I've been admiring the way the Sussexes quit, without even telling anyone beforehand. Just a press release, which for normal people would be a one-liner to HR. Tempting.

Jan 9, 3:14pm Top

>98 charl08: *SNAP* I've got one of those. Must try and, you know, actually read it...

Jan 10, 3:29am Top

>99 The_Hibernator: Ah, I see. Fingers crossed then.

>100 Caroline_McElwee: They're pretty short, another factor in their favour!

>101 susanj67: I was surprised at that too. I'm guessing they've got a super keen intern... I'm hoping it's "just" the January blues, and a holiday will sort things out. I cannot believe how much coverage H & M are getting give the international crazy going on.

>102 Helenliz: I've not liked all the ones I've read, but there's such a range they're always interesting reads.

Edited: Jan 10, 3:45am Top

Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter
I picked this up after a mention on Litsy as an attempt by new writers to redress some of the gender inbalances (which, as usual with me, I read about and realised I had been completely oblivious to as a kid, along with the other stereotypes which are equally dodgy: bit scary, hope things have now improved a bit). Although there is a central (teen) character who is female, the authors haven't really pushed things very far (the village protagonists are all almost entirely male, even the new 'young' characters). She's also written out by the end of the book!
Seemingly, it's a jump too far to have a female apprentice, but not to have a magic potion that makes everyone super strong...

Forever and a Duke
I like Burrowes' writing, and the non-romance theme (tracking fraud through account books) was oddly compelling. (Series alert: #3)

Jan 10, 2:44pm Top

Now reading Blood & Sugar (Susan's Fault). It has a very bloody murder to start and is gripping so far.

Edited: Jan 11, 7:25am Top

I returned the coin to my pocket, feeling faintly ashamed. `Then talk to me because you want to. Archer was killed because At he came here to help your people.'
`Which people are those? You cannot mean slaves, for I am now a free man. Do you mean secretaries, perhaps? Or the Yoruba, the tribe into which I was born? Or the citizens of Deptford, where I make my home? I know you cannot mean the the Negroes of the Kingdom of Dahomey, who took me from my village and sold me to the white man.'
He was trying to tell me that he was a book of many pages and I had chosen only to see the cover.

Gripping novel set in the last decades of the (British) slave trade. A veteran of the American war, Captain Corsham is asked to find out what has happened to an estranged friend, a fierce abolitionist, who has disappeared in Deptford. He had told his sister he was after evidence that would end the entire trade. London and the ports along the Thanes are a gritty, smelly and murky world here, full of corruption and misdirection. The grime reminded me of another gripping historical crime novel, where the author avoided averting their eyes from grim reality, The Wolf and the Watchman.

Jan 11, 7:27am Top

>105 charl08: Yay! Glad you like it :-) Also glad I've already read it, so I don't have to add it to my wishlist :-)

Edited: Jan 11, 1:09pm Top

>107 susanj67: It is always handy, Susan, to read a review with no anticipation of an additional book for the stack.

Walked into town to find my chemist closes early on Saturday. That's helpful. Bought stationary pens to console myself and ordered three books from the latest Guardian Review - The Other Bennet Sister, The Great Pretender and Echoes of the City from the library.

Jan 11, 1:02pm Top

I've heard enough good things about Blood & Sugar here on LT, that I've already got a copy waiting for me to read it.

Jan 11, 1:11pm Top

>109 RidgewayGirl: I was in the local bookshop this afternoon, and saw it was now available in paperback too. Tempting.

Jan 11, 2:17pm Top

>108 charl08: I thought The Other Bennet Sister looked great as well!

Edited: Jan 11, 3:22pm Top

>111 SandDune: Fingers crossed it comes through without too much impatience on my part!

Loved this cartoon today.

Now reading (I think) my first NYRB edition, Rock Paper Scissors and other stories.

Jan 11, 3:44pm Top

>112 charl08: - LOL! How true!

Jan 11, 5:07pm Top

>112 charl08: Love it!

Jan 11, 5:56pm Top

>112 charl08: :)

>94 charl08: Wow! I wonder if she is still alive?

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend to make up for your rubbish work day.

Jan 11, 5:58pm Top

>112 charl08: Oh yes, I wish! I veer between both extremes.

Jan 11, 10:52pm Top

>112 charl08: Also made me smile despite the flu. But surely we can have both!

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte.

Jan 12, 12:49am Top

>78 charl08: The quote is enough to make me want to read this. I've never read anything by Jojo Moyes.

>112 charl08: I love that cartoon. And I think the NYRB editions are lovely.

Jan 12, 4:40am Top

>112 charl08: I also love the cartoon :-)

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. We have some blue in the sky down here, which is excellent.

Jan 12, 5:04am Top

>112 charl08: LOL, so true. Have a lovely Sunday.

Jan 12, 7:40am Top

>212 that made me smile too Charlotte.

Edited: Jan 12, 8:31am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. Good review of Furious Hours. I am so glad you loved it. One of my top reads of last year. BTW- I picked up Maggy Garrisson from the library. Hope to get to it soon.

Ooh, Rock, Paper, Scissors: And Other Stories sounds interesting and I love that title. How has it been?

Edited: Jan 12, 3:51pm Top

>113 jessibud2: It rang a bell with me, certainly!

>114 jnwelch: He's always spot on, isn't he.

>115 BLBera: Kind of amazing they're still making this sort of things public. And I have no idea if the 15 year old rebel is still alive. Hope she told her family though.

Jan 12, 1:47pm Top

>116 Helenliz: Me too.

>117 PaulCranswick: Certainly hope so, Paul.

>118 EBT1002: Me either. And I've just come across another new book that is set in the same context Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek.

Edited: Jan 12, 3:54pm Top

>119 susanj67: Argh, phone died in the middle of the message and I couldn't find the charger. Rather grey here, which matched my mood perfectly. On the plus side, another couple of days knocked off the calendar until holidays. Woo!

>120 Ameise1: It seems to have clicked here, rather!

>121 Caroline_McElwee: I am reminded I want to read more of his books.

>122 msf59: It was very well done, Mark. I hope she's got more to come.

As for the Soviet stories - it's bleak - and I initially wondered when it was set because it felt as though it could be fifty years old.

Edited: Jan 12, 3:56pm Top

Via Litsy (but tweeted by one of the local bookshops here!)

Jan 12, 6:40pm Top

>112 charl08: >126 charl08: You made me laugh twice, Charlotte, thank you!

Jan 13, 8:06am Top

>127 FAMeulstee: Glad to hear it, Anita.

Still reading Rock, Paper, scissors and a second hand Laura Lippman I picked up, Sunburn. It's a bit dark for me at the moment. I need some humour.

Jan 13, 10:58am Top

Jan 13, 11:41am Top

>126 charl08: Too funny!

Jan 13, 12:32pm Top

>129 Caroline_McElwee: >130 Crazymamie: They have a great twitter account!

Edited: Jan 13, 5:18pm Top

Rather dark, tricksy and with a definite nod to 1950s PI Hollywood films. A woman leaves her husband and child in the middle of a beach holiday: a PI is assigned to follow her. She's seductive, able to twist men around her finger (again, Chandler) but nothing is quite as it seems. She takes a job as a waitress in a small town bar and seems to settle. Why is she staying?

Jan 13, 7:35pm Top

>126 charl08: Ha. Scout class SatNav, "talking maps."

Jan 13, 10:26pm Top

>108 charl08: Nice consolation there. ; )

>112 charl08: Love that cartoon! So true.

>126 charl08: LOL.

Jan 14, 2:12am Top

>132 charl08: - I liked that one when I read it a couple of years ago. I'm not usually into noir, but it was kind of noir-lite, I guess...

Jan 14, 2:55am Top

>135 katiekrug: I got about half way through, Katie, and wasn't sure if I'd finish it, as all the characters were rather seedy and I couldn't work out where it was going. I carried on because I really wanted to get it off my shelf, and I think it rewarded the effort. I do prefer the detective led ones though.

Jan 14, 2:59am Top

>133 BLBera: She's on the money, as usual.

>134 Berly: I can at least spell pen! The Dreyer book has got me feeling hyper conscious of my writing. Not seeing any major benefits, but hopefully those are to come.

Edited: Jan 14, 3:20am Top

One book ticked off the list from the shelf.

Jan 14, 3:28am Top

>138 charl08: You are doing better than me, Charlotte, all books I have read this year were from the library. So are the ones I am reading now.

Jan 14, 5:03am Top

>138 charl08: Nice shelfie there, Charlotte! I do want to get to Insurgent Empire at some point. #mustdobetter

Jan 14, 8:00am Top

Yay! I've got The Giver of Stars slated to read in March! I saw mention of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I highly recommend it. Interesting historical fiction with good character development.

Jan 14, 9:28am Top

>139 FAMeulstee: I think you have some time to turn it around in 2020, Anita 😁

>140 susanj67: It's Such a Brick, Susan. #ambitionvsreality I might take it on holiday. And maybe be "forced" to leave it there, where I can no longer feel guilty about it...

>141 Carmenere: Ooh. Will be interested to hear the comments. Although I reserve the right to have completely forgotten the plot by March.

Edited: Jan 14, 2:22pm Top

Still reading Rock, Paper, Scissors

In the evening I had a thought: What if they'd killed my Alexander Ivanovich? And why not? The fat man and his ma had that look about them: practical. And the last name fit too: the Krutovs—hard-boiled. They killed him, hid the body or buried it somewhere, and now they've got the use of his room.
There are fewer and fewer odd folks around, fewer and fewer eccentrics not just in Moscow, but here too. When I was young, they were every place you looked. So where had they all gone? I tell you where: they succumbed in the struggle for existence.

I shared my thoughts with the chief of the local police.
"The Krutovs? No," he says, "I don't think so. It's not the nineties any more."

Edited: Jan 14, 6:18pm Top


Rock, Paper, Scissors

These grew on me, to the point where I am wondering whether I want to get rid of it or not (especially as it appears it was new, not a bargain second hand copy as I first thought!) Osipov is a Russian doctor and many of the stories here have links to hospitals. They're not particularly welcoming places, or even functioning as institutions. One doctor makes a living escorting patients to the US once a month, another tries to keep a patient going to fiddle the stats. Outside of medicine communities aren't much healthier: the rural police have different rules for the elite, minority communities are treated as an expendable workforce and the elderly cling on with their fingernails. Even the oligarchs struggle (with romance), it seems. Migration and emigration are considered, dismissed, chosen or resorted to.
Everyone is adjusting to post communist life (or not).

Edited: Jan 15, 1:55am Top

Now reading Love is Blind - which was originally an ARC - not so much of the 'A' anymore (it came out May 2019). Better late than never?
Then he sat down and played a few chords, listening to the Channon’s particular voice. Big and strongly resonant – the precision thinness of the sounding board (made from Scottish spruce) under the strings was the special Channon trademark, its trade secret. A Channon could rival a Steinway or a Bösendorfer when it came to breaking through an orchestra. Where the spruce forests were in Scotland that Channon used, what trees were selected – the straighter the tree, the straighter the grain – and what sawmills prepared the timber, were facts known only to a handful of people in the firm.
I did work experience in a music shop as a kid. Lovely range of instruments, but messing around with them was rather interrupted by having to deal with customers.

Jan 15, 2:09am Top

>145 charl08: I would have thought that work in a music shop would be close to lovely. Probably third behind a great bookshop and a CD/Vinyl store.

Jan 15, 2:53pm Top

>146 PaulCranswick: It wasn't, Paul, although I was delighted when I got it. As a shy (and often overly honest) person, I hated being pushed into trying to do a "hard sell" on rental instruments for parents, and the shop wasn't happy place to be - they went out of business not long after. However, when I talked to the guys who removed plastic labels in HMV for two weeks, I felt lucky. It was years before I went back to work (volunteer) in any sales role - in a charity bookshop and found I loved it - I had a good, supportive manager. I know people bang on about kids being allowed to give up things - but I wish I had been able to say "actually this is rubbish, I'll go work somewhere else".

Edited: Jan 15, 3:23pm Top

Mixed feelings about Love is Blind - I'm enjoying the story, but every so often I get jarred by a clanging dump of research that doesn't seem to link particularly. The one I've just come across is a 'new' novel, Dracula...

Jan 15, 8:44pm Top

>144 charl08: Hooray for progress.

Jan 16, 6:13am Top

>145 charl08: I remember enjoying this Charlotte.

Jan 16, 9:18am Top

>149 BLBera: Yup. A little bit.

>150 Caroline_McElwee: I am liking it. Some reservations! >148 charl08:

Just found this list from two weeks ago about new books in 2020. Have ordered three! Would have asked the library for more but the ordering system won't let them do future releases.


Jan 16, 11:43am Top

>151 charl08: I will have to save that list for later in the year. Some good authors are releasing new ones this year
I already have The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates on hold as it comes out next month.

(I feel a little ignorant as I did not realize that John Irving was still alive and still writing.)

Edited: Jan 17, 2:47am Top

>152 ChelleBearss: I haven't read any Irving, and don't really know who he is, so you're safe as far as I'm concerned.

I finally read Between the World and Me. Beautifully written, but I think I preferred his biography of his relationship with his dad. Loved that he took history so seriously. I like to think I would have got on with him.
(I probably wouldn't have: I would have just been overawed by his dedication)
I had to inhale all the pages. I went into this investigation imagining history to be a unified narrative, free of debate, which, once uncovered, would simply verify everything I had always suspected. The smokescreen would lift. And the villains who ma-nipulated the schools and the streets would be unmasked. But there was so much to know—so much geography to cover—Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, the United States. And all of these areas had histories, sprawling liter-ary canons, fieldwork, ethnographies. Where should I begin? The trouble came almost immediately. I did not find a coherent tradition marching lockstep but instead factions, and factions within factions. Hurston battled Hughes, Du Bois warred with Garvey, Harold Cruse fought everyone. I felt myself at the bridge of a great ship that I could not control because C.L.R. James was a great wave and Basil Davidson was a swirling eddy, tossing me about.

Jan 16, 3:44pm Top

>144 charl08: My strategy when I'm not sure whether to keep a book or not is to put it on the shelf and revisit the question in a few months. By then you'll know.

Jan 16, 4:03pm Top

>154 RidgewayGirl: That makes sense. I'm running out of space though, which is making it a bit of an issue.

Jan 16, 4:33pm Top

>155 charl08: Another problem I can relate to!

Jan 16, 5:30pm Top

>153 charl08: Hi, Charlotte! One of my favorite parts of Between the World and Me was his recollections of having his worldview completely shaken when he went to Howard University. Most if not all the student body was black and yet came from lived experiences that were radically different.
I saw everything I knew of my black self multiplied out into seemingly endless variation. There were the scions of Nigerian aristocrats in their business suits giving dap to bald-headed Qs in purple windbreakers and tan Timbs. There were the high-yellow progeny of AME preachers debating the clerics of Ausar-Set. There were California girls turned Muslim, born anew, in hijab and long skirt. There were Ponzi schemers and Christian cultists, Tabernacle fanatics and mathematical geniuses. It was like listening to a hundred different renditions of “Redemption Song,” each in a different color and key.

Jan 16, 6:03pm Top

>156 RidgewayGirl: I sometimes think we should rename the group a support group!

>157 rosalita: It's beautifully written. I think I found his dad's life more interesting- he refers briefly to his work for the Panthers here, and how his parents chose to educate him, but there's more space in the earlier book. (From my memory of it, at least: it's been a while.)

Jan 16, 8:38pm Top

>53 charl08: >78 charl08: >80 charl08: >145 charl08: Adding those to the BlackHole! Thanks for the recommendations, Charlotte.

Jan 16, 8:56pm Top

>158 charl08: I've not read the book about his dad, but it's on the list!

Jan 17, 2:45am Top

>159 alcottacre: You're welcome, Stasia.

>160 rosalita: I'd be interested to know what you make of it - there are some interesting reviews on the book page.

Jan 17, 2:56am Top

I've got spreadsheet woes. I'm tracking my books via google sheets this year, and whilst the actual tracking is fine, the things I want to do (count, basically) seem to be a lot less easy to set up than the desktop version.

Jan 17, 11:42am Top

Hi Charlotte! Returning your visit. I see a few interesting books here ... *ducks and runs away*

Jan 17, 11:46am Top

>158 charl08: I would very much be willing to support your desire to acquire more books. I'll even help you carry them home!

Yesterday, 5:28am Top

>163 humouress: Run fast, Nina!

>164 RidgewayGirl: Aw. Your services may be required today. I have a credit from the local shop burning a hole in my pocket.

Yesterday, 6:45am Top

Now reading Tightrope. It's rattling along but I think I'm not going to read any more war stories for a while.

Yesterday, 8:25am Top

>153 charl08: He is in his 70's, but I had thought he was older. He wrote The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany in the 70's and 80's.

Yesterday, 12:51pm Top

>167 ChelleBearss: Heard of the films, but that's about it. Sorry?!

Not doing very well on the book buying front. In my defence, it's a very nice shop (as per the tweet below). They had the fire going this PM and I was tempted to sit and stay.

@BroadhurstBooks in Southport. Old school glory including a roaring fire, several floors and rooms, amazing stock, lovely, knowledgeable staff, very supportive of authors. Ambience for days, oozing book love. Like the inspo for a movie set. pic.twitter.com/6797CyVFkF

— Stephanie Bretherton (@BrethertonWords) January 15, 2020

Edited: Yesterday, 12:57pm Top

Playing around with stats...
Reading gender split so far.

Yesterday, 1:59pm Top

>168 charl08: I want one near me...

Yesterday, 3:34pm Top

>171 charl08: Southport's tourist heyday....

... may be behind it, but I'd be happy to do a tour.

Yesterday, 10:26pm Top

Interesting stats for your reading so far and I love the vintage Southport poster!

Edited: Today, 7:27am Top

It's part of a series, although sadly they filled in the lido to make a carpark. (Cue Joni Mitchell)

Now reading Late Swim
I accidentally bought a self-published crime novel set in a thinly disguised Southport. Shows I shouldn't be making judgements like that, as it's good. A great premise - a 1970s PI who was thrown off the force for a gay relationship. (It was only decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.)

Today, 6:01am Top

>173 charl08: I've had some luck with self-published things before, but I see from Amazon that Phil Booth is a "critically-acclaimed playwright" so he's probably a decent bet :-) As I looked him up I discovered Amazon's book notifications, sitting there for me unread. Oh dear.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

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