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Charl08 reads the year through #2

This is a continuation of the topic Charl08 reads the year through .

This topic was continued by Charl08 reads the year through #3.

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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1charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 8:30am 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!


Photo from Martin Mere, Lancashire

3charl08
Edited: Feb 15, 6:04pm 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)
Nada Spain
Diary of a Murderer South Korea
The Memory Police Japan
Signs Preceding the end of the World (Mexico)

4charl08
Edited: Feb 9, 6:13pm 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 (!)

5charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 8:47am Top

Now reading Moon of the Crusted Snow, a very generous gift from the weekend.

6PaulCranswick
Jan 27, 8:40am Top

Hope I am not premature in jumping in to wish you a happy new thread, Charlotte.

7figsfromthistle
Jan 27, 8:48am Top

Happy new one!

8susanj67
Jan 27, 8:53am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

>5 charl08: That one looks really good :-)

9jessibud2
Jan 27, 9:05am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Love the topper and your shelves.

10katiekrug
Jan 27, 9:18am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte!

I love the photo collage in >3 charl08:.

11Carmenere
Jan 27, 9:26am Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte! Have a wonderful week!!

12humouress
Jan 27, 11:15am Top

Happy new thread Charlotte!

13Crazymamie
Jan 27, 11:18am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte!

14charl08
Jan 27, 1:06pm Top

>6 PaulCranswick: You're first, Paul!

>7 figsfromthistle: Thank you!

>8 susanj67: It's started strong, Susan, but might not be one for the veggies...

15charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 1:09pm Top

>9 jessibud2: Pleasingly, some of the shelf has been moved along to new homes.
At this rate, I might get through 30 or so of my own books.

>10 katiekrug: I want to travel now. I cannot WAIT to go on holiday.

>11 Carmenere: Thank you, and to you too.

16PaulCranswick
Jan 27, 1:09pm Top

>14 charl08: That is something most uncommon these days, Charlotte!

17charl08
Jan 27, 1:10pm Top

>12 humouress: Thank you. I am super jealous of your recent trip. One day I might make it to Hawaii.

>13 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. Monday is nearly over. Phew.

18charl08
Jan 27, 1:32pm Top

>16 PaulCranswick: Happy to help, Paul.

19Familyhistorian
Jan 27, 1:33pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte. This time last year we actually had flowers blooming and then the snow hit in February and in March. This year the shoots are barely peeking through the ground so I'm hoping it is a slow and gradual start with no wallop in February or March to remind us it is still winter. Fingers crossed. Hope your snows are over for the season.

20weird_O
Jan 27, 1:43pm Top

Hi, Charlotte. New thread, always good.

Just to reply to a post on the previous thread...

I guess I did intend to cast aspersion on the Goodreads 1000-books list, exactly because it's a popularity ranking rather than an aspirational thing. I like to think I'm an aspiring reader, hoping to learn more. Whether or not I am is not something I can discern.

21charl08
Jan 27, 1:45pm Top

I finished Nada last night. If you like this book, you might want to look away now.
I really didn't enjoy this read, although I did expect to. Nada was written by a Spanish writer who lived a similar experience as her main character. She comes to Barcelona from the countryside, to study at the university. The book opens beautifully as we share the main character's excitement at reaching the exciting city.
And then it all goes wrong. The family she meets - two adult sons, a daughter, a daughter in law and a grandmother, are desperately poor and have turned upon each other. One son beats his wife, and the other has a weird charisma that is never fully explained or justified in the text. Hunger accompanies the narrative: no one has enough to eat, but as a young girl with a monthly allowance she is desperate to save face and buys silly gifts for her friends. Rather than descriptions of the city (which presumably the author knew well) there are rather prosaic descriptions of moving through the streets, jaunts to the beach, a bohemian painters' flat. Overwhelmingly the cramped and constraining family apartment is the one that dominates the narrative. Laforet clearly conveys a young person's confusion at relationships and histories she doesn't understand. Ultimately the resolution doesn't fit that reading: all is solved. She escapes.
Not my cup of tea.

22charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 2:59pm Top

>19 Familyhistorian: Me too! I could do without snow. We have snowdrops out at work. One of my favourite flowers.

>20 weird_O: I am not particularly a fan of the list I posted, Bill. But I do think it's really interesting to try and see what the majority of people are *actually* reading. If we have any belief in the impact or the meaning of reading, that matters, surely?

Btw. Have you read Nada? (Would you like my - battered - copy?! ETA it's 1001 )

23drneutron
Jan 27, 2:34pm Top

Happy new thread!

24charl08
Jan 27, 2:44pm Top

Thanks Jim!

25mdoris
Jan 27, 2:52pm Top

Happy new thread Charlotte Lovely bookshelves! The books look so inviting!

26Helenliz
Jan 27, 4:35pm Top

Happy new thread. I'm fairly sure flamingos are not native to Lancashire. Thise certainly look a tough out of place in their surroundings!

27charl08
Edited: Jan 27, 4:45pm Top

>25 mdoris: Thanks Mary. The only problem with the shelves is that they are full!

>26 Helenliz: You've not come across a Lancastrian flamingo? You can spot them as they're slightly larger than the Yorkshire variety...

28thornton37814
Jan 27, 7:34pm Top

Happy new thread!

29msf59
Jan 27, 9:38pm Top

Happy New Thread, Charlotte. I hope your week is off to a good start.

30AMQS
Jan 27, 11:24pm Top

Happy new thread!

31EBT1002
Jan 28, 12:23am Top

>4 charl08: I read Sunburn in 2018 and gave it 3 stars. Even reading through the reviews, I don't remember it.

Happy New Thread!

32charl08
Jan 28, 2:31am Top

>28 thornton37814: Thanks Lori.

>29 msf59: Thanks Mark. Monday is done, so it's downhill from here.

>30 AMQS: Thanks Anne.

>31 EBT1002: I'm glad I'm not the only one who has that problem, Ellen!

33charl08
Jan 28, 2:33am Top

I've just been watching an interview with a health expert with the most distracting bookshelves behind her. I spotted Wolf Hall but couldn't work out the organising system...

34charl08
Edited: Jan 28, 2:50am Top

Another tiny dot added to the map in >2 charl08: South Korea - Diary of a Murderer
Although billed as 'and other stories' it's really one novella and two short stories. The main story is the first person narrative of a serial killer (now retired) who discovers he has dementia. At the same time, he's convinced there is a copycat who is after his daughter. How can he protect her? The last short story features a writer who can't meet his deadline, with some comedic touches on the business of publishing. Not my usual reading, but interesting stuff.

35humouress
Jan 28, 3:06am Top

36BLBera
Jan 28, 3:59pm Top

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

Where are the penguins at the top?

I have nada on my list, so I'll skip your review.

37charl08
Jan 28, 5:10pm Top

>35 humouress: What can you be referring to?!

>36 BLBera: No penguins in the Lancashire centre, but there'll be some in Cape Town. Along with the beach. And the sunshine. Sigh.

38charl08
Edited: Jan 29, 4:08am Top

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
I can't say I'd ever heard of the Book women before January and Jojo Moyes' book that I read earlier in the month. This one felt like a book that could have been written fifty years ago, or maybe more. For me it had that quality to the storytelling. Sassy Mary is a "blue", part of a line of blue-skinned Kentucky hill-farmers. She's part of the 1930s WPA programme to being books to rural communities, but faces prejudice and discrimination linked to doctors' desire to understand the skin condition and Jim Crow.

39susanj67
Jan 29, 4:22am Top

>37 charl08: Charlotte, I sense you're ready for your holiday :-)

>38 charl08: That one looks excellent. The library only seems to have it in audio, so I'm hoping more versions will show up.

40katiekrug
Jan 29, 9:56am Top

When do you go on holiday, Charlotte?

41RidgewayGirl
Jan 29, 10:29am Top

>33 charl08: Shocking though it may be, many people don't organize their books. The only positive thing I can say about that is that at least they have books in their house.

42Ameise1
Jan 29, 11:48am Top

Happy new one, Charlotte.

43charl08
Jan 29, 3:05pm Top

>39 susanj67: Yup, ready. Not yet packed though!

>40 katiekrug: Not soon enough, Katie! Really looking forward to some sunshine.

>41 RidgewayGirl: I am one of those people, Kay. Now the truth can be told.

I was fairly sure that there was an organising system at work in the expert's shelves, just couldn't work out what it was.
On reflection, probably not helped by my tendency to forget where I left my glasses, first thing in the morning.

>42 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. Is it Davos time yet? I do love your snow pictures.

44Ameise1
Jan 29, 4:12pm Top

>43 charl08: We're arriving in Davos at the 8th of February.

45mdoris
Jan 29, 4:44pm Top

Charlotte have a swim for me in one of those fabulous outdoor pools. Enjoy!

46charl08
Jan 30, 8:25am Top

>44 Ameise1: Sounds lovely, Barbara.

>45 mdoris: I better dig out my suit. And my suncream!

47charl08
Jan 30, 8:47am Top

I've been reading Dreyer's English as an attempt to improve my writing and editing. Came across this fascinating blog about the gendered nature of 'experts' in this field.
"It’s hard to think of a woman who has been elevated to this status—whose pronouncements are quoted by the cognoscenti, or whose name has the kind of cachet that would prompt a publisher to commission ‘Jane Doe’s English’."
https://debuk.wordpress.com/2020/01/26/gurus-language-scolds-and-comma-queens/

(and yes, she does discuss Lynne Truss)

48ChelleBearss
Jan 30, 10:58am Top

>5 charl08: Did you enjoy? I read that one last year when my library was promoting it and I really loved it

49charl08
Jan 30, 12:59pm Top

>48 ChelleBearss: I think I left it in the office, Chelle, and it has become buried under papers. I must retrieve it, as reading at lunchtime is Not Working.

51nittnut
Jan 30, 1:44pm Top

>38 charl08: I just saw that book on sale at Costco. I didn't buy it - how do you think it compares with Giver of Stars? Isn't it funny how book topics seem to cluster a little? I'd never heard of the traveling libraries and suddenly there are multiple novels...

52charl08
Edited: Jan 30, 1:55pm Top

>51 nittnut: I was a bit worried they would be too similar, but they're actually pretty distinct. Moyes' book uses the clever device (given that the author is also British) of an outsider narrating what she finds. Richardson's narrator is born in the hill country, and has tricked her way past the local librarians to get a job in the first place. The WPA is a much less friendly place for Bluet, despite her love for the work itself. The style of Richardson's book felt a lot more traditional too. It reminded me of books I've read from the 40s and 50s.

53jnwelch
Jan 30, 3:26pm Top

I'll give a plug for My Antonia, Charlotte. Great book. I think you'll be happy when you read it.

54charl08
Jan 30, 3:38pm Top

Thanks Joe. I might just take it on holiday. I've started the process of trying to decide what to take. So far I've packed 8 books and realised that leaves me little or no space for anything else! Only about 3 weeks to try and work out which ones to leave behind...

Despite my comment in >49 charl08: to Chelle, it turns out that Moon of the crusted snow was hiding underneath another stack. So I finished it. It was good - a fascinating idea. Evan and his wife Nicole wake up to find the phone signal (and then all the power) has gone in their remote, snow-bound First Nation community. Evan hunts, but his brother is a fan of the playstation. What will happen to the community? And what has gone on outside it? Really interesting twist on dystopia- as one elderly character says: this is not our apocalypse, that has already happened to us.

55charl08
Edited: Jan 30, 3:47pm Top

Now reading The Great Pretender by Susan Cahalan

56BLBera
Jan 30, 3:57pm Top

I am another who does not organize her books, Charlotte. Great minds, right? :) Any organization I have is mostly along the lines of: "Oh, I want to read this soon" or "One day I might read this one."

57thornton37814
Jan 30, 8:29pm Top

>38 charl08: Did you like Moyes or Richardson better?

58Familyhistorian
Jan 31, 12:45am Top

Random is a way of organizing books, isn't it? My books are only half organized, the non-fiction is in a certain order but the fiction is in stacks and on unorganized shelves. It makes it hard to find that one book I want, though.

>54 charl08: Good luck finding room in your bags for the books you want to take, Charlotte.

59charl08
Edited: Jan 31, 2:58am Top

>56 BLBera: I have gone through stages of having them organised. I probably should try again. I'm never quite sure what I've got as I've run out of space and everything is squeezed in any old how.

>57 thornton37814: I think Moyes' style worked better for me. But I'm glad I read both. And your mileage may vary...

>58 Familyhistorian: Someone tried to persuade me yesterday on the virtues of travelling with kindle. I didn't get the chance to say that I do travel with a kindle. But that's *as well* as hard copies. Not least because you don't get told to put the book away as the plane takes off...

Random is definitely an approach!

60charl08
Jan 31, 3:07am Top

The Great Pretender is annoying me and I'm only 50 pages in:

a) breathless tone to her 'discoveries' (going to an office and seeing a pile of papers on a shelf related to her work)
b) distinction between medical and psychiatric conditions. I'm hoping this is more of a straw man, but at the moment, not so much. She acknowledges she's been criticised for it, and then goes right back to stressing the difference.
c) tendency to put herself into the story, rather than relying on the power of the histories. Makes me worry she didn't find enough history.
d) descriptions of people (one woman is like Katharine Hepburn. Really?)

61Helenliz
Jan 31, 7:21am Top

>59 charl08: Oh yes. Allows me to tell my travelling tale. Boarded a plane at Amsterdam, and the couple in the seats already were (let's be honest) a bit grumpy. When I got my almost finished book and the next one out of my bag he muttered something derogatory. So I settled down to read. There was then an announcement that we were going to be delayed for 2 hours. I finished one book and got a good way through the next. Meanwhile Mr & Mrs Grumpy were getting more and more irritable. I may have sniggered to myself in a Muttley stylee!

62katiekrug
Jan 31, 7:29am Top

>59 charl08: - Charlotte, it may depend on the airline, but every time I've flown the last couple of years, you don't have to put the Kindle away. As long as it's in airplane mode, you can just keep on reading.

I also travel with at least one hard copy book, because the Kindle could die or get sat on or dropped or something equally terrible.

63jnwelch
Jan 31, 8:51am Top

Going back to your last thread, I'm so glad you liked Guts. I'd read others of hers, and wondered about this one. I'll request it from the library.

64elkiedee
Jan 31, 8:54am Top

>61 Helenliz: Derogatory about your reading choices or just you rummaging in your bag/occupying a seat next tp them?

65Helenliz
Jan 31, 9:15am Top

>64 elkiedee: Derogatory about reading at all! It was something like "oh look here comes the library". I sat there feeling increasingly smug as the time wore on...

66drneutron
Jan 31, 9:25am Top

>62 katiekrug: Agreed. These days, I don't have to pu try iPad away on the planes, so I've stopped carrying more than one paper book when I travel on the bet that I'll not be in so desperate straits that the iPad isn't sufficient. Of course if I ever lose the iPad while traveling, I'm screwed... 😀

67BLBera
Jan 31, 10:08am Top

>60 charl08: That does sound irritating.

68RidgewayGirl
Jan 31, 10:45am Top

>65 Helenliz: That's just amazing. And that's a European flight - a place where people still have bookshelves!

For all of you who don't organize your shelves, how do you find a book that you brought home a few years ago and haven't thought about in some time, but were just reminded of it and want to read it right away? Or that book you read five years ago and now want to look up a particular event in the book? Or do you simply keep your total number of books small enough to see all of the titles with a single glance?

I am sincerely asking - as a person whose library is exhaustively organized and regularly reorganized, I don't know how it would work not to know exactly where each book lives.

69charl08
Edited: Jan 31, 2:21pm Top

>61 Helenliz: I'm normally the grumpy one, but it's because I've finished a book raise than I was expecting.
Love the story!

>62 katiekrug: Maybe I just annoyed the steward. When I'm feeling nervous or shy I often sound really abrupt, so it wouldn't be the first time!

>63 jnwelch: I really liked the style, Joe. It felt familiar but maybe that was just the skills of the artist.

70charl08
Jan 31, 2:27pm Top

>64 elkiedee: >65 Helenliz: Smug definitely seems an appropriate response here.

>66 drneutron: Don't lose the iPad, Jim!

>67 BLBera: I'm debating whether to put it to one side. I am fascinated by the focus though- the 1970s research where people got themselves committed to prove the system was flawed.

71charl08
Jan 31, 2:53pm Top

>68 RidgewayGirl: I regularly forget I own particular books. LT helps though.

72thornton37814
Jan 31, 9:38pm Top

>59 charl08: I read the Moyes book in December. I hope to get to the Richardson this month. I'll see if I agree.

73avatiakh
Feb 1, 12:49am Top

>68 RidgewayGirl: I often have to request a book from the library that I know I own but can't locate. Sometimes it's a book that I picked up earlier in the week but have no idea where I put it, they eventually turn up.

74charl08
Feb 1, 4:21am Top

>72 thornton37814: I think both are pretty good for bookish types: lots of references to the books.

>73 avatiakh: I find duplicates around the house fairly often. My mum is very good at spotting a charity shop bargain.

I am really tempted to start pulling down all the books and start reorganizing them now.

75susanj67
Feb 1, 5:41am Top

>74 charl08: Please send pictures of your progress. Or a video!

76charl08
Edited: Feb 1, 6:04am Top

>75 susanj67: Susan, if I get beyond thinking about it, I will post a picture.

Is everyone ready for the end of the month pie charts?!

Now reading The Memory Police.

77susanj67
Feb 1, 6:47am Top

>76 charl08: Charlotte, well OK re the picture, but I would still prefer a video. You could speed up the tidying bits like they do on the YouTube, and slow down for books you wanted to talk about. But the BookTubers seem to be shelving by colour at the moment, which might not be for you. And yes, where *are* the pie charts? :-)

78msf59
Feb 1, 7:54am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. I hope you have an R & R weekend planned. Sorry, to hear that The Great Pretender is rubbing you the wrong way. It has been getting good reviews. I really enjoyed her Brain on Fire book.

79Helenliz
Feb 1, 9:08am Top

>76 charl08: Love me a good pie chart. *drums fingers impatiently*

80katiekrug
Feb 1, 9:57am Top

I would like some pie, please!

*rereads message*

Oh, a chart... I guess that would be okay, too...

81susanj67
Feb 1, 12:55pm Top

Yes, where are those charts? Or pies? (thank you, Katie, for putting that idea into my head...)

82BLBera
Feb 1, 2:37pm Top

I'll watch for your comments on The Memory Police; I have it from the library and have been debating whether I want to read it.

83RidgewayGirl
Edited: Feb 2, 12:56pm Top

>74 charl08: Reorganizing all the books is one of my favorite activities. It's a chance to hold each one and to remember why I loved it, or why I brought it home.

>77 susanj67: Do NOT arrange books by spine color. Yes, it does look magnificent. But I can tell you out of my own bitter experience, that not all books have the same colored covers as their spines and that it will be one of those books you will desperately want to find right now, and knowing that the cover is red is useless when the spine is black and white.

84charl08
Feb 2, 8:21am Top

>77 susanj67: I think you are confusing me with some of your tech talented Young People, Susan!
And that's a big no to the shelving by colour.

>78 msf59: She writes well, and clearly has been through a great deal, Mark. Brain on Fire was a big hit here too, but I think partly because it creates a narrative about mental health that people want to hear (look, we can cure you with better diagnosis) rather than the difficult one (look, this mental health epidemic means we need to change our society, deal with inequality and social isolation properly).

>79 Helenliz: Hopefully delayed gratification will work?

85PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 8:27am Top

>76 charl08: I'm ready for all three, Charlotte.

A pie
A chart
And a Pie chart.

>83 RidgewayGirl: It is a guilty pleasure of mine too!

Have a lovely weekend.

86charl08
Feb 2, 8:27am Top

>80 katiekrug: This is a real pie free zone due to the pastry. Sorry!
(real-pie free zone?
real pie-free zone?
real pie free-zone? ) I think I am more confused by the grammar books rather than improving yet. Clearly need to keep reading / learning.

>81 susanj67: Even more delayed gratification...

>82 BLBera: Ooh, those are coming too. Took it on the train yesterday. There is something about reading a lovely new hardback that made it worth carrying around.

>83 RidgewayGirl: I get distracted too easily! I think I would be reorganising the general area books - we have lots of history, religion, travel and maps, books about words / grammar etc. It's just easier if they're roughly in the right subject area, so it at least in theory shouldn't be a big job. But then I find a book I didn't realise was in the house, and...

87charl08
Feb 2, 8:27am Top

>85 PaulCranswick: They're coming, honest!

88charl08
Feb 2, 8:29am Top

89charl08
Feb 2, 8:30am Top

Gender breakdown (trying to read more women authors)

90charl08
Edited: Feb 2, 8:32am Top

Where the books came from (January)



Brexit adjusted EU category :-(

91PaulCranswick
Edited: Feb 2, 8:48am Top

>90 charl08: Wry smile with regards to enforced category adjustment. xx

92charl08
Edited: Feb 2, 9:15am Top

I read some great books this past month.

I thought Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the last trial of Harper Lee was well done - fascinating insight into the life of Harper Lee and her choices during and after Mockingbird. Love Lettering was a very well done romance novel - as much about the city of New York as it was about the characters. I read two books about travelling libraries in Kentucky - both of which I'd recommend (The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek). I read some fiction in translation that ought to come with a health warning (Nada) and a crime novel that's set down just the road Late Swim. Other crime fiction was further afield - The Mist more excellent scandi-crime and South Korean short stories / novella combo Diary of a Murderer. I was impressed by the first book by a new author: Blood & Sugar is set deep in the murk of the British industry that was the Atlantic slave trade. I hope she keeps writing.


93PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 8:58am Top

>92 charl08: Oh gosh, I'm not sure I should have seen that post! At least five book bullets there!

94charl08
Feb 2, 9:17am Top

>91 PaulCranswick: I'm still mostly in denial, Paul.

>92 charl08: I'm very lucky in my local library system, Paul. They keep delivering the great new books.

95PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 9:53am Top

>94 charl08: You know, Charlotte, I am still so keen to relocate back to the UK and the situation with my mum has made me even more wistful for the olde place. I spent a few hours in my local library on the penultimate day I was back recently and I could get used to making use of its excellent service.

96charl08
Edited: Feb 2, 9:59am Top

The Memory Police
A really creepy novel written some time ago but just recently published in English translation. Yoko Ogawa is, I discover now, a big name in Japanese publishing, but I'd not come across her before. This book uses similar ideas to 1984 but instead of the forgetting being state instituted, it takes on a power of its own. The historical echoes are strong: people in hiding, vans taking victims away and piles of books burning.
After these relatively uneventful weeks, another disappearance occurred. I thought I'd become accustomed to them, but this one was more complicated: this time novels disappeared.
As usual, it started during the night...

97PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 9:57am Top

>96 charl08: I have seen great reviews for this book elsewhere too, Charlotte. It could find its way into my collection this month.

98Crazymamie
Feb 2, 11:28am Top

>96 charl08: I was wondering what you would think of that one, Charlotte - I really didn't like it, which surprised me.

I love the pie charts! You had a reading month full of fabulous, and quite a few of those made it to The List.

99Caroline_McElwee
Edited: Feb 2, 11:32am Top

>96 charl08: I loved her The Housekeeper and the Professor, a very different book to the one you have just read. Dropping that into my clickerty click cart.

Btw enjoying your pies.

100charl08
Feb 2, 11:57am Top

>97 PaulCranswick: It caught my imagination, Paul.

>98 Crazymamie: I think it suited my mood, Mamie. I was on a Northern Rail train (slow, frustrating) for much of the time I was reading it (!)

>99 Caroline_McElwee: I would love to know the story of the translation of this one - why now? From the wiki entry she has written many books that remain untranslated.

101BLBera
Feb 2, 2:20pm Top

Love your pie charts.

You've convinced me about The Memory Police.

>92 charl08: Great January reading. The library ones and the Scandic-Crime sound especially appealing.

102charl08
Feb 3, 2:55am Top

>101 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I have read some good books, hope that others can find them too.

103charl08
Feb 3, 3:42am Top



The Great Pretender
Mixed feelings about this one. I have a long standing interest in books about mental health and treatment, particularly from the POV of the patient. However, I've not read Cahalan's first book because I find the premise (I wasn't really mentally ill at all!) rather insulting. She now tours speaking about her experience of encephalitis, improving awareness amongst the medical profession. This new book looks at a key study published in the 1970s which sent a group of people 'undercover' to facilities for people who were mentally ill, to try and see if their fakery could be spotted by professionals. It wasn't, and the fall out from this paper (Cahalan argues) was a key plank in setting up the tick box system of DSM IV.

What appears as Cahalan seeks to pull apart all the details of the research process, is that 1960s psychological research methods don't bear much weight. Prof Rosenhan excluded the one case of a student who had a positive experience in a well-funded, short-term hospital for crisis patients. His accounts of dates and diagnosis didn't match those on the medical record. He claimed that all his subjects went in with a very simple case history (hearing voices making hollow noises): the medical records suggest far more was claimed. And perhaps most damningly, it's not really clear that all the fake patients he claimed carried out the study, actually existed.
Or at least, Cahalan can't find them.
Which isn't quite the same thing.

For me this book had more of Cahalan in it than I wanted: for example, I didn't really care that she got nervous interviewing people, had arguments with people at conferences, or bonded with some of the academics who had worked with Rosenhan. Some of the writing choices were odd - e.g. I found the quoted emails from people who said they didn't act as a fake patient unnecessary. Towards the end she almost goes in for a hatchet job on Rosenhan, and then seems to shy away from adding up the evidence she found that he had a slippery attitude to the truth throughout his life. I also found her attitude to medical records naive. Just because a doctor or other medical professional types up a record, doesn't make it definitively 'true', particularly given staff shortages at many of the institutions.

Her conclusions do acknowledge the bigger picture in the field, that many famous studies are coming under attack as (at best) ill thought out and at worst faked entirely. But from my reading of this book, Cahalan could have made more of the response from the field to the study, or just how significant it actually was. She suggests that critics of Rosenhan deliberately avoided destroying him because the conclusions of the study supported their argument - mental health diagnosis needed to be nailed down to fixed conditions with firm boundaries. However, as she notes, Kennedy initiated the turn to community care (rather than asylums) and subsequent health funding changes meant the dramatic closure of hospitals so that it is now almost impossible for anyone to get an emergency mental health bed. There were other accounts of shocking mental health experiences (e.g. the amazing Is there no place on earth for me). Rosenhan's study may be quoted as significant, but was it ever more than a convenient reference point?

She highlights new attempts to change diagnostic approaches, alongside accounts of the ways the brave new world of technology might offer new insights into the brain. None of this is particularly new, however. It mostly highlights that we still don't know so much about mental health.
Ultimately an interesting book, but for me, not a necessary one.

104susanj67
Feb 3, 4:54am Top

Excellent pie charts, Charlotte :-) It sounds like January was a really good month for you.

105charl08
Feb 3, 3:50pm Top

>104 susanj67: So long as no one mentions the TBR shelf, I'm golden, Susan.

I have picked up Saltwater because someone else has requested it at the library. (How very dare they?)

106nittnut
Feb 3, 9:29pm Top

>52 charl08: Thanks! I think I will give it a try, especially because of the bits that are unique, like the blue people, which I know very little about.

107charl08
Feb 4, 2:15am Top

>106 nittnut: I hope people find both books, I thought they were both well done.

108charl08
Edited: Feb 4, 2:16am Top

Saltwater
I did not know how much of my story I was entitled to take, and how much of the past I was allowed to leave behind.

109charl08
Feb 4, 2:31am Top

Does anyone have any experience with sourdough starters? I found this recipe online but I'm wondering if it will work! https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sourdough_starter_22976

110Berly
Feb 4, 5:02am Top

Hi there. I lost you somehow...glad to have found you again!!! Also glad to see you having fun with your pies, although my personal favorite is blackberry. ; )

Most of my books are organized (by author), except for the Urgent TBR pile right beside my bed. That's totally random and the only rule is it can't get taller than my night table!!

Can't help you with the sourdough....

111charl08
Edited: Feb 4, 1:39pm Top

>110 Berly: I'm impressed by all the organisation, Kim. Maybe some of it will rub off on me?

I've completed step one and have set the timer to do step two... fingers crossed I'll be making my own sour dough toast by the weekend!

112charl08
Feb 4, 2:29pm Top

Saw this Litsy and it made me laugh.

114charl08
Feb 4, 3:09pm Top

>113 katiekrug: Argh, Katie. That's an internet black hole if ever I saw one.

115katiekrug
Feb 4, 3:22pm Top

You're welcome?

116nittnut
Feb 4, 3:55pm Top

117alcottacre
Feb 4, 4:28pm Top

>38 charl08: I own that one and really need to get it read.

>53 jnwelch: I am with Joe. My Antonia is one of my all-time favorite books.

>96 charl08: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Charlotte!

118charl08
Feb 4, 5:10pm Top

>115 katiekrug: Ha! Or as I should have said in the first place, thanks for the link.

>116 nittnut: Yup.

>117 alcottacre: Troublesome Creek is a lovely read.

My Antonia has a lot of fans around here. I'd like to hear more views on LT of The Memory Police.

119charl08
Feb 4, 5:11pm Top

Saltwater is just a lovely read. I've not finished it, but think this is one I'm going to be pressing on people.

120charl08
Edited: Feb 5, 4:03pm Top

A Delicate Deception
I really liked this, and am tempted to go back and read the one earlier in the series that I missed (sorry, Susan!). Both main characters are bi, unbothered by convention but struggling to work out how the future looks.

Saltwater
Books offered me a gauzy verison of reality and I stepped hungrily into it. I inhabited an in-between space of terraced streets and bridges laced with lines from novels and iconic film stills.
This was a brilliant. In short chapters she jumps between her family's story, growing up and the present, living alone in an isolated part of Ireland. She focuses on her relationship with her mother. Her father has many issues and it is her mother who is the core of the family. She gradually breaks the ties, leaving for London and a degree. Andrews describes finding yourself in an institution that has no space for working class cultures, never mind northern cultures. She shows the reshaping that young people are forced to go through to succeed. Somehow she writes it and London, and the institution, and foolish choices become beautiful as well as heart breaking.
This should be on reading lists for kids thinking about going to university.
Now that I am in Ireland, I am screaming on vast beaches when there is no one else around. I am swimming in the sea, spreading my body wide in the water, feeling my limbs and my lungs stretching as far as they can. I am lying in the grass in the cottage garden and watching the stars at night, letting my thoughts wander, limitless, without cutting them short, or backing them up, or squeezing them into too-small spaces.

121charl08
Edited: Feb 5, 4:04pm Top

Now reading Manchester Happened (which has a different title in the US). (I am not sure why.)

122weird_O
Feb 5, 4:24pm Top

Another here who likes those pie charts, Charlotte.

Organizing my books? Hmmm. I've always viewed Karen (karenmarie) as an exemplar of organization. She's got a spreadsheet that maps all her bookshelves and lists a location code for every book. I'm definitely not there.

123mdoris
Feb 5, 8:36pm Top

Charlotte there is an interesting article in the NYer mag (Jan 27th 2020) about wild swimming written by Rebecca Mead "Going for the Cold". She refers to Roger Deakin's book Waterlog which rests on my shelves yet unread. It was from a Cheevers short story "The Swimmer" (that I just read on line) that he got his inspiration to refurbish the moat around his Suffolk house and do all the wild swims that he did. The article describes some pretty wild winter swims in your neck of the woods complete with neoprent booties and mittens worn by R. Mead. Yikes!

124banjo123
Feb 6, 12:36am Top

Happy new thread, though I guess it's not so new anymore. The pie charts are great.

125charl08
Edited: Feb 6, 1:55am Top

>122 weird_O: That's an impressive system you're quoting there, Bill. I quite like your big pile approach, myself.

>123 mdoris: I thought that I recognised the name, Mary. She wrote a book about her love of George Eliot. I've read Waterlog, and it's a lovely book. There's even a book retracing Deakin's steps across the countryside, trying to find out if the watery places remain. Hope you can squeeze Waterlog in - it's just lovely.

>124 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I think I padded it out with the pie charts...

126charl08
Edited: Feb 6, 2:02am Top


A friend quoted this yesterday, I really like it.

127katiekrug
Feb 6, 7:19am Top

126 - Oh I love that!

128jessibud2
Feb 6, 7:51am Top

>126 charl08: - Excellent!

129susanj67
Feb 6, 7:57am Top

>126 charl08: I love that one too!

130charl08
Edited: Feb 6, 8:16am Top

>127 katiekrug: >128 jessibud2: >129 susanj67: It's impressive, isn't it.

👀👀👀 I'm still spinning about Saltwater. Can I quote the whole book?
My head was too full to do any reading. I was memorising street names and coffee shops and how to get a good head on a beer in a Staropramen glass and the year of the Chablis and what the celeriac is marinated in and how to pronounce the word Holborn and how to use the Dewey Decimal system and dancing at parties and changing the shape of my sentences, the texture of my skin and the weight of my skull.
When I opened my books the words wriggled and I couldn't make anything stick.

131Caroline_McElwee
Feb 6, 12:48pm Top

>126 charl08: love that Charlotte.

132charl08
Edited: Feb 6, 5:26pm Top

>131 Caroline_McElwee: It is well put. Gutted that I've had no luck tracking down the author's other work, Caroline.

Reading another installment of Papergirls. Enjoyed this H2G2 reference.



133EBT1002
Feb 6, 11:07pm Top

>33 charl08: I can completely relate to this -- I would be distracted by the bookshelf, trying to see what's on it. I love that you tried to figure out the organizational scheme. She may be like me and blend more than one variable to sort her books, making it look like chaos to anyone else. :-)

I also try to see what people read in public. I get the occasional funny look although I don't understand why people are offended by my curiosity in this regard. But it seems that sometimes they are so.

Cool pie charts.

134EBT1002
Feb 6, 11:10pm Top

>126 charl08: I love that! And I fear we're going to need more coats and more sedition in the coming years.

135charl08
Feb 7, 2:13am Top

>133 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. I was chatting to a colleague about the temptations of bookshelves. It seems we are not (entirely) alone!
I love seeing people reading hard copies in public. It is almost a treat now, given the domination of ereaders.

>134 EBT1002: As someone has commented on Litsy, it's amazing that having a dress with pockets *still* feels like a bonus.

136ChelleBearss
Feb 7, 10:42am Top

>92 charl08: I love that cover for Late Swim!

I am still on the hold list for The Giver of Stars.

137Helenliz
Feb 7, 12:22pm Top

>126 charl08: I love that. I wonder where one finds a pattern for a dangerous coat? Although, let's be bhinest, I could be pretty dangerous with my handbag - in more ways than one!

138charl08
Feb 7, 2:06pm Top

>136 ChelleBearss: I'm glad it's popular, but sorry you have to wait...

>137 Helenliz: I think back in the day the handbags were automatically suspicious. If you had a pocket you could (maybe) avoid being caught out. Although then they stopped women going to political meeting altogether, so...

139charl08
Edited: Feb 8, 3:12am Top

I begin to think I should write to Peirene and ask if I can be their northern representative. Someone I met through Litsy is now reading Soviet Milk (This may actually be a coincidence, now I think about it). Just been checking out that yes, they do ship to places outside the UK, you don't *have* to go through evil A.
www.peirenepress.com/shop

140susanj67
Feb 8, 5:35am Top

Charlotte, you would make an excellent representative for anything booky :-)

I overcome the pockets issue by usually wearing a coat. They always have pockets. And it's late in the year before I can be prised out of my puffa.

141msf59
Feb 8, 7:03am Top

Happy Saturday, Charlotte. I love that quote from Saltwater. I forgot to mention to you, that I really enjoyed Maggy Garrisson. I hope there are more to come. Enjoy paper Girls. These are a lot of fun.

142jnwelch
Edited: Feb 8, 11:38am Top

Glad to see a fellow Paper Girls fan, Charlotte. The time-jumping can get complicated, but the repartee and those cultural references are so good.

>112 charl08:, >113 katiekrug: I love this - I first saw it on FB. I think the article wittily highlights the reactions of many LatinX folk to American Dirt.

>126 charl08: Love this! I must show it to my wife. Neither of us can believe the absurdity of there being no pockets in so much of women's clothing.

143charl08
Feb 8, 12:16pm Top

>140 susanj67: I find coat pockets particularly useful in the airport when I've run out of space for books in my carry on bag!

>141 msf59: Glad you liked Maggy Garrisson too. Hopefully the series will continue!

>142 jnwelch: The colleague who recommended it said there were even pocket making tutorials during the height of the suffrage campaign. Not sure why they are so rare, as they make so much sense (except when I forget to check them before doing the washing).

144charl08
Edited: Feb 8, 12:28pm Top


The Other Bennet Sister
It's cold outside so I stayed in and read this instead.
Mary Bennet gets the spotlight for a change, and her attitude and choices are sympathetically told. Beloved characters reappear, from the Gardiners to Darcy. Others also get a more sympathetic perspective than in P & P and that is perhaps surprising. Yes! Mr Collins!
(In Fordyce) an inclination towards serious reading was an excellent quality in a female... It was much to be regretted, he added, that so many ladies read only novels. Such works could not add to the stock of their knowledge and offered instead a false and misleading picture of the world.
Mary paused at this.
Mrs Bennet was a great reader of novels.
Dr Fordyce made some excellent points. She decided she would read on.

145charl08
Edited: Feb 8, 4:17pm Top

Jumping around the books this evening. About half way through Valentine, possibly the least romantic book ever named that (about the fallout from a brutal rape and attempted murder in the Texas oilfields). Also about half way through Manchester Happened, but have stalled on a story told from the perspective of a Ugandan street dog
Then very tempted by the new Eoin Colfer for grown ups. Highfire - a dragon in bayou...

146BLBera
Feb 9, 12:01am Top

>126 charl08: I love it.

>145 charl08: It must be that kind of day, Charlotte. I've been roaming around as well, from poetry, to essays, to short stories.

147charl08
Edited: Feb 9, 3:59am Top

>146 BLBera: I'm listening to the sound of the wind and rain on the glass: not planning to go out today either.



I had a takeaway on Friday, the shop has been really good at leaving out onions in the past. I don't know if they mixed mine up or if the chef has changed, but I got it home and realised there had been a mistake. It felt too wasteful not too eat some. My mistake. I've now caught up on my sleep but been forcefully reminded that I need to be more careful. Thank goodness for a good book or two.

148charl08
Edited: Feb 9, 7:59am Top

Speaking of good books. From Highfire. Black, black comedy.
With a dragon.

Hooke knew that people found it difficult to hold his gaze. They felt it in him, the deep well of aggression, the boundless need for conquest. Hooke could twist his mouth into a grin and relax the tension in his shoulders, but he couldn’t do shit about the eyes. So he bought himself some Wayfarers to disguise the animal bloodlust. Hey, it worked for Tom Cruise.

149LovingLit
Feb 9, 4:51am Top

As usual some beautiful covers on your thread! I like >50 charl08:, and >139 charl08:...*not clicking the link.not clicking the link.*
:)

150PaulCranswick
Feb 9, 5:07am Top

>126 charl08: I love that, Charlotte.

Happy Sunday

151charl08
Edited: Feb 9, 8:03am Top

>149 LovingLit: Admiring your self restraint there, Megan! I think there are some really talented artists working to design books. Although I wish Fitzcarraldo would get with the programme.

>150 PaulCranswick: Isn't it powerful, Paul! Poetry as politics.

Sour dough starter is officially "ready". Fingers crossed...



This has proved a useful distraction given the crazy weather thanks to Storm Ciara.

152Helenliz
Feb 9, 8:40am Top

>149 LovingLit: Oh that's not pleasant. Hope you're back on form and that they take notice of the order next time.

153susanj67
Feb 9, 9:30am Top

>147 charl08: Charlotte, do ring them and let them know about the onions. If that was nuts it could have killed someone. I hope you're better now.

Crossing my fingers for the starter. We'll need a picture of the finished bread!

154Ameise1
Feb 9, 10:17am Top

Finally caught up here, Charlotte. Happy Sunday.
You did some great reading. I still use more real books than ebooks.
Your pie charts are gorgeous. How did you make them?

155BLBera
Feb 9, 11:03am Top

Fingers crossed for your sourdough, Charlotte. My mouth is watering here.

It is snowing here, pretty steadily. It looks like we've gotten about six inches so far. Shoveling later.

156Crazymamie
Feb 9, 1:43pm Top

>155 BLBera: Snow! *pout*

Charlotte, your thread is always so fun.

>126 charl08: LOVED this!!

I am intrigued by Soviet Milk.

>144 charl08: I had wondered about this one - adding it to The List.

>147 charl08: I love these gifs. Especially the David Tennant one. I adore him.

>148 charl08: Made me laugh.

Hooray for your sour dough starter! And YIKES to the takeaway - Susan is right.

157charl08
Feb 9, 2:30pm Top

>152 Helenliz: Well, I went back to bed and that seems to have helped! I knew at the time it was a bad idea not to just throw it out, so kicking myself.

>153 susanj67: I will drop in there tomorrow, it's on my way home.
The bread tastes good but I still need to work on getting it to rise. It certainly doesn't look very impressive :-(

>154 Ameise1: I do find the ebooks are handy when you just want to read something different, Barbara. Mood reading, I think. The paper ones are much nicer to read though.

158charl08
Edited: Feb 9, 2:44pm Top

>155 BLBera: I feel like the sourdough I buy is actually worth it, having kneaded, proved and made the starter over the past week. Maybe a bread making machine would make it a bit easier though. At least it tastes good at the end of all that faffing.

>156 Crazymamie: We thoroughly endorse Soviet Milk here on Charl08's thread (end of advertisement feature)
seriously, it's one of my favourites of theirs. It's political - the impact of communism in Latvia - but also personal (a mother and her daughter). Much better reviews are available on the work page, of course...

159Crazymamie
Feb 9, 2:46pm Top

>158 charl08: Okay. Adding it to The List - your endorsement is enough for me, especially when it appears in bold print. *grin*

160Crazymamie
Feb 9, 2:48pm Top

>144 charl08: Just adding this one to The List, and you cover is so much better than the one here:

161charl08
Feb 9, 4:45pm Top

>159 Crazymamie: Aw, I'm touched.

>160 Crazymamie: That cover does say 'Mary' to me a lot more than the UK one. (Though the UK one is nicer, I agree.)

Still reading Manchester Happened. Laughed out loud at this.
Two well travelled British-Ugandans discussing British politics
... who knew that Britain would one day claim an Independence Day? We saw it on TV and asked ourselves: did Europe colonise Britain?...
I hope our children also Brexit and come home."

162charl08
Feb 10, 2:38am Top

Manchester Happened
Short stories by the British-Ugandan author of Kintu. The stories are really powerful, told by Ugandans who have moved to the UK, and some who have travelled and returned. Makumbi manages to make the mundane insightful: two stories are set in airport security st Manchester airport. Stories ask questions about how things have changed (if they have changed) since the 1960s, about choices to stay and leave, and about the unintended consequences of trying to give children opportunities through migration. The final story reads like it was made for TV : a biracial young man is given a youtube dare tongo through "traditional" adult circumcision. The resulting media storm is fruitful territory for Makumbi's quiet observations of families and communities.

163charl08
Feb 10, 2:42am Top

I've updated my map in >2 charl08: - Uganda looks tiny in comparison to the UK, despite them being within 1000 km(sq) of each other.

164Caroline_McElwee
Feb 10, 5:35am Top

>139 charl08: I really must get back to my stash of Peirene novels.

>147 charl08: I'd hate to have to give up onions Charlotte. Poor you.

165charl08
Feb 10, 7:39am Top

>164 Caroline_McElwee: It's normally ok, Caroline. I've found that in most recipes you can manage without them. I've experimented with washing / soaking them which seems to make some difference. But you can't really ask someone to do that in a restaurant - and of course, there are some cuisines I just avoid now.

166charl08
Feb 10, 7:54am Top

Three things have turned up at the library, which almost makes the walk home in the (very cold) weather seem worthwhile.
The shadow king
Djinn patrol on the Purple Line
Signs preceding the end of the world
If I read all three I get to add three countries to my map.* And they're all shiny and new :-)

167Crazymamie
Feb 10, 8:05am Top

>166 charl08: Those all look interesting, Charlotte. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on them.

168charl08
Feb 10, 2:25pm Top

Just started Djinn Patrol on the purple line, Mamie. Very good opening!

169charl08
Edited: Feb 11, 3:18pm Top

One of those days today where I just wished I could sit and read the books and not have to people.
(A day ending in y)

170charl08
Feb 11, 4:08pm Top

Now I want to watch a film...
Squib dropped the grenade launcher and thought about his favourite book as he surfed on a keel plate that moonlit summer swamp night. The book was The Princess Bride and the part was where one guy says to the other guy following a series of barely credible events how ‘inconceivable’ might not mean what he thought it meant.

171Helenliz
Feb 11, 4:17pm Top

>170 charl08: that's got to be one of my favouritest films of all time.

172charl08
Feb 11, 4:36pm Top

>171 Helenliz: I haven't watched it in ages. Time for a rewatch!

173charl08
Feb 11, 4:44pm Top

Highfire

This was a lot of fun. Like a noir crime novel mixed up with a Tarantino film, but with a dragon. Squib lives with his mum in a shack by the river, working three jobs to try and help her keep the wolf from the door. Vern decides to make an exception to his no human policy when his usual supplier (of vodka and boxing passes) has to go underground for a couple of months. A bad bad cop is on Squib's case though, so things get really complicated.
Squib wasn’t in the mood for a science lesson. From his teenage perspective, getting pissed on was worse than being burned. Having said that, he did mentally add dragon piss to the list of things which might grant him superpowers. Dragon-Boy. Not bad.
‘The way to think of it,’ continued Vern, ‘is like it’s aloe vera times a million.’ Aloe vera did not sound like something an X-Man might have a use for, so Squib went back to being annoyed.

174charl08
Feb 11, 4:55pm Top

175BLBera
Feb 11, 5:19pm Top

Charlotte - If you spent half the year with snow, you would not want more. :)

When do you leave on your vacation?

176PaulCranswick
Feb 11, 7:50pm Top

I miss the four seasons here in Malaysia but the snow not so much. I somehow like the idea of it and then, when I'm back in the UK and go out in it.....30 minutes later I long for the tropics. My idea of heaven is a mild spring day or a lightly breezy autumn one.

177ronincats
Feb 11, 10:35pm Top

I LOVE good sourdough bread but have never been able to successfully sustain starter, Charlotte. Good luck!

178charl08
Edited: Feb 12, 5:59am Top

>175 BLBera: Fair enough, Beth! It's been a long time since I had to shovel snow.

>176 PaulCranswick: I usually like winter weather, Paul. At the moment, it feels as though there is ice in the wind, which I'm not a fan of at all.

>177 ronincats: I'm not there (yet?) Roni. I couldn't get it to rise properly, so I've got something that's more like a cake in texture than bread. So I'm going to keep trying. And look at breadmakers.

179susanj67
Feb 12, 4:29am Top

>168 charl08: Charlotte, I saw that one in the new fiction at the library on Monday, so I grabbed it :-) It was on my wishlist.

180charl08
Feb 12, 6:00am Top

>180 charl08: Look forward to hearing what you think, Susan. I'm trying to work out which ones will have to go back before I go away. This is why the library allowing me 20 books out is a mixed blessing.

181Crazymamie
Feb 12, 7:09am Top

>168 charl08: Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on this. But um...no pressure or anything.

>169 charl08: "One of those days today where I just wished I could sit and read the books and not have to people.
(A day ending in y)"
This speaks to me SO much.

I also like winter weather, Charlotte, but Georgia doesn't actually get any.

182charl08
Feb 12, 7:20am Top

No pressure sounds good, Mamie.

My book group meets next week, we're supposed to be reading The Lido. I am really not good with being told what to read... I've had this one out for weeks already.

183Crazymamie
Feb 12, 7:25am Top

"I am really not good with being told what to read..." This is why I cannot belong to a book group.

184charl08
Feb 12, 1:32pm Top

I cheated and started in the second chapter (a technique I've nicked from academic reading) and it's actually rather nice. Lots of swimming descriptions, which I like.

This video amused me mightily today.

https://mobile.twitter.com/shefunistudents/status/1226875971942391808

(NSS is a national survey designed to compare student satisfaction across universities)

185charl08
Edited: Feb 13, 8:40am Top

Valentine still trying to polish off this ARC novel

And because the men couldn’t believe it was just bad luck, or their own stupidity, they started looking for someone to blame. How could a woman grow such a marvelous garden all by herself? How could she change the course of a river? How could she bear to go on living without her husband and her children? Any self-respecting woman would have killed herself, one man said, or at least gone back to the Midwest.

186susanj67
Feb 13, 8:31am Top

I cheated and started in the second chapter

But...but...

*unable to deal with new form of disorderliness*

Do you go back and read the first chapter at some point?!

187Crazymamie
Feb 13, 8:56am Top

>186 susanj67: Okay. I was wondering this, too.

188charl08
Feb 13, 12:44pm Top

>186 susanj67: >187 Crazymamie: I might go back and read the first chapter. Possibly (mostly because if I don't, you can guarantee someone in the group will say something like 'isn't the first chapter really x or y' and I will have to admit that I skipped it).

189weird_O
Feb 13, 1:10pm Top

Ah, I like that approach. Who cares if it violates nature or the cosmos? Just start reading wherever.

But pray tell, how is it a technique I've nicked from academic reading? Do academics read books this way?

190charl08
Feb 13, 1:55pm Top

>189 weird_O: Nature or the cosmos? I was feeling bad enough upsetting Susan!

Just meant strategic reading - for me, always better to have read something than nothing (from an academic book) rather than beating yourself up because you haven't (yet) read the whole text.

191charl08
Feb 13, 2:50pm Top

Well, not sure if it was the cosmos or something else* but my the fix on my bad tooth has just given up and fallen out again. So back to the dentist for me, and fun times ahead getting a crown fitted. Argh.

*It's from grinding my teeth according to the medical professional.

192FAMeulstee
Feb 13, 5:15pm Top

>190 charl08: I like the term "strategic reading", with mysteries I often start at the last chapter ;-)

>191 charl08: Sorry about the tooth, I hope the crown can stand grinding teeth...

193katiekrug
Feb 13, 6:45pm Top

I grind my teeth and have to wear a night guard to sleep. AFter about a year, I think I am finally getting used to it...

194BLBera
Feb 13, 7:46pm Top

Sorry for the dental woes, Charlotte. I hope the crown solves your issues.

>184 charl08: You will upend some people's world with this tactic, Charlotte -- no mention of names, of course. One of the people in my book group often reads the book out of order. She opens it and starts reading. Often she reads the end first. I could see it working with some things, but not all.

195charl08
Feb 14, 3:37am Top

>192 FAMeulstee: I just hope I can stand the dentist putting it in! Thanks Anita.

>193 katiekrug: I'm not sure I could cope with that. I already sleep with headphones plugged in, and often wake up covered in wire imprints.

>194 BLBera: There's no pain now, so that's a plus.

I was mostly thinking that I had to get over my child's brain saying "Don't wanna do what I'm told."

196Ameise1
Feb 14, 3:54am Top

Oh dear, I'm so sorry about your crown problem, Charlotte. One doesn't have to be in pain to find this problem annoying, it's more the time-consuming thing that annoys one because one has to go to the dentist again.

Happy Friday, Charlotte.

197charl08
Feb 14, 7:40am Top

>196 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I've been fitted in for Tuesday, so hopefully they can do something that will survive my time on holiday!

198susanj67
Feb 14, 9:11am Top

>188 charl08: Well. As the YouTubers say, I am shook. SHOOK, I tell you. I can't even.

Bummer about your tooth. But Tuesday isn't too bad - it could have been pre-Tuesday...

199charl08
Feb 14, 12:21pm Top

>198 susanj67: I will be seriously shook (that's new to me - love it!) if I'm having to eat only soft food when I'm away. The fish is just amazing. Mouth watering just thinking of it.

And yes, Monday might have been a bit of a stretch!

200charl08
Feb 14, 12:47pm Top

Think I've got my packing sorted for my trip



(a week to go! Huzzah hurray!)

201katiekrug
Feb 14, 12:53pm Top

>200 charl08: - Looks about right :D

202Ameise1
Feb 14, 1:00pm Top

>200 charl08: Where are you going to?

203charl08
Feb 14, 2:09pm Top

>201 katiekrug: Maybe I can squeeze in another few books though...

>202 Ameise1: Cape Town! Penguins Ahoy!

204charl08
Feb 14, 2:11pm Top

I've been looking at the Guardian style guide (along with several others. Confusion reigns).

I liked this though.

quite
“I’m quite tired” means “I’m fairly tired.”
“Have you quite finished?” means “have you completely finished?” and comes with a built-in note of irritation.
“Quite!” means “I agree!”

https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-q

205Crazymamie
Feb 14, 2:17pm Top

>204 charl08: Ha! I like that, too. Except the first one is wrong - it means "I'm very tired."

I love your packing - I mean, who needs clothes and stuff, right?! And you are reminding me that I have Travels With My Aunt in the stacks. With deckled edge pages. *squee*

206charl08
Edited: Feb 14, 2:48pm Top

>205 Crazymamie: With me it translates to: whatever you have suggested, I'm going to stay home and read instead. Please and thank you.

Still reading Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

207susanj67
Feb 14, 2:54pm Top

>204 charl08: No wonder people find it so hard to learn English!

>206 charl08: Agreed - that is also what I secretly mean :-)

Funny about the library cards :-) I passed two libraries today on my bus ride, but did not get off and explore either one, even though I was tempted. But I don't think that borough is included in the consortium, so it wouldn't have been much fun to look and not borrow anyway.

208Ameise1
Feb 14, 2:59pm Top

>203 charl08: Wow, sounds fantastic! Enjoy it.

209PaulCranswick
Feb 14, 9:12pm Top

>201 katiekrug: Wow, Charlotte, you are prepared. Packed with a week to go!

Travels with my Aunt is a lighter Greene novel but an enjoyable one just the same.

Have a wonderful weekend.

210BLBera
Feb 14, 9:52pm Top

>206 charl08: Love that!

I'm not sure there are enough books in that suitcase, Charlotte.

>204 charl08: Quite.

211charl08
Feb 15, 2:11am Top

>208 Ameise1: I will! Thanks Barbara.

>209 PaulCranswick: Ha! Anything but prepared. I keep talking to my siblings and remembering something else I usually travel with, and have no idea where I saw it last...

>210 BLBera: I am debating which ones to take, Beth. I don't really want to have to bring them back again.

I'm wide awake, it's 7 am and I don't have to go to work. Argh.

213jessibud2
Edited: Feb 15, 7:09am Top

>212 charl08: - Renew the ones you can, if you want to take them. That's what I do when faced with that decision.

Edited to add this. :-)



Happy travels!

214thornton37814
Feb 15, 8:52am Top

>213 jessibud2: I still pack one or two print books at times, but for the most part, I stick with my iPad now for vacation reading. I'm more likely to take print books when I go to my brother's house at Christmas. I find it's a good time to catch up on books I want to read from our library's lease book collection. Some of the ones I want to read are gone, but I grab 4 to 6 to take with me. In 2018, I almost finished the stack. This year, with their neighbor's freezing to death (literally) and the craziness of the following days, I brought home more unfinished than finished although I did make progress on some of the ones on my iPad when traveling to various family member homes as a passenger. I didn't want to accidentally leave a library book at one of the destinations.

215charl08
Feb 15, 10:42am Top

>213 jessibud2: I wouldn't want to take library books away, I've had a rather worrying experience of lost luggage. I'll see this week how many I can renew past my return date, and then return the others.

>214 thornton37814: I will take the kindle as well, but am going to try (ha!) not to buy too many books on this trip (and be like the millennials and focus on "the experience"!!)

216charl08
Feb 15, 10:56am Top

I finished two books.


Valentine
Stories can save your life. This, Corrine still believes, even if she hasn‘t been able to focus on a book since Potter died. And memory wanders, sometimes a capful of wind on a treeless plain, sometimes a twister in late spring. Nights, she sits on the front porch and lets those stories keep her alive for a little while longer.

This was an ARC which has taken me so long to read that I was convinced it was already published, but it's not due out for ages yet (I wondered if they have delayed it because of the furore around American Dirt). Told from multiple perspectives, mostly female, the book opens with a ghastly attack on a young girl in the 1970s Texas oilfields. She escapes and finds a rescuer: a young farmer's wife who prevents the attacker from removing all the witnesses to his crime. The book then pitches into an entirely different tone, from that dramatic and edge-of-your-seat tension, to the slow crawl of the wait for the trial. The farmer's wife slowly goes out of her mind with the threats and the small-town attitudes to a young girl left out on her own at 14. It is implied that she is ruining the life of some young man who grew up in the town.
The elderly lady over the road is mourning her husband, killed accidentally on a "hunting trip". Another woman has up and left her young daughter and husband, tired of the hopelessness of her life. The reason I wonder about the impact of American Dirt, is that the rape victim is Mexican, and the attacker is white. The violence of the town, and the hopelessness, is related by the author to the violence meted out to the original occupants. I really liked the ending a bit of wish fulfilment as the violent man gets a kind of rough justice, and a new life and new possibilities are opened up for Glory. The blurb from the publisher compares this to Elizabeth Strout, and certainly the layering approach of narratives told from different perspectives is similar.

217charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 8:12am Top

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
This book is set in an Indian illegal settlement and narrated by a nine year old. Despite the poverty around him, Jai is obsessed with detective series on TV and cricket, and doesn't much like school. When children in his community begin to go missing, he and his friends, too-smart Pari and hard working Faiz, try to work out what's going on. The author was a reporter in India before moving to the UK. She writes of poor lives with understanding and empathy, and captures children's brilliant ability to take everything 'normal' to them, for granted. As it got to the end, I began to realise that Anappara was not willing to sacrifice realism for a neat ending. I both admire and resent her for it. Highly recommended.

218susanj67
Feb 15, 1:12pm Top

>217 charl08: Charlotte, I'm glad you liked that one! I started it yesterday and I'm about 50 pages in. It's excellent so far.

219arubabookwoman
Feb 15, 1:38pm Top

>147 charl08: Are you allergic to onions? I am nearing 70, and have been unable to eat raw onions since I was a toddler (if there are a few in a stew or soup cooked to a mush, I’m ok). I’m not allergic, but I gag, and my day is ruined if I get food with raw onions. I’m a nag about it at restaurants and takeout places.

220BLBera
Feb 15, 2:19pm Top

>216 charl08:, >217 charl08: Both sound good, Charlotte. Off to check whether my library has them.

221charl08
Feb 15, 2:57pm Top

>218 susanj67: It's a good read, isn't it? I was so tired last night otherwise I would have stayed up to finish it. I think maybe my iron levels are off: have been going to bed really early and still feeling exhausted.

>219 arubabookwoman: I didn't use to be bothered by them, but I really notice now, especially when they're raw, or are a significant part of a dish. I used to love tuna, apple and onion salad. Now I add cucumber instead. It's not the taste, but digestive pain. I don't say allergy, as someone cutting an onion next to my food won't kill me (as a former colleague with peanut allergy used to worry about), and restaurants have got much better at labelling stuff.

>220 BLBera: Hope the library has copies Beth - I'm not sure what the US publication of Valentine will be (or even was).

222charl08
Feb 15, 2:59pm Top

Saw this great review of a book about bilingualism, and my library has a copy!

The Bilingual Brain
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/feb/15/the-bilingual-brain-albert-costa-r...

223charl08
Edited: Feb 15, 4:22pm Top

Now reading Laurence Anholt's Art of Death as I am feeling guilty about my ARC mountain. I have such good intentions when I download them!

(UK publication date July 2019)

224thornton37814
Feb 15, 7:48pm Top

>215 charl08: I confess. I've already looked to find bookstores in the Outer Banks. I found some and wrote down the addresses.

225figsfromthistle
Feb 15, 8:11pm Top

Finally caught up with you

>139 charl08: Major BB for me

Sorry to hear about your dental problems. I hope the visit to the dentist isn't overly painful ( or expensive)

>200 charl08: Love the books in the suitcase. I also look up bookstores when I travel. I also buy books at the airport ( which has a read and return within 6 month program). So I get to read my book and get 50% of my money back!

226PaulCranswick
Feb 16, 4:10am Top

>213 jessibud2: That would be one heavy suitcase!

Have a great Sunday, Charlotte.

227susanj67
Feb 16, 6:21am Top

>217 charl08:, >221 charl08: Charlotte, I agree with your review entirely, including your hidden text! This really is excellent.

228msf59
Feb 16, 8:03am Top

Happy Sunday, Charlotte. It sure looks like you are pretty excited about your upcoming trip. We are full winter here. Snow everywhere and COLD. I can't believe how many books you have out from the library. I am assuming you don't get to all of them, right? How long can you have them out for?

229charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 8:35am Top

>224 thornton37814: I'm going to have to be very strong to avoid this one!

Kalk Bay Books https://g.co/kgs/cC5CnX

>225 figsfromthistle: It's a fascinating read. Hope you can get your hands on a copy. Picking up books at the airport (that you can return for a discount) sounds like a great scheme to me.

>226 PaulCranswick: Maybe it comes with a book porter, Paul?

230charl08
Feb 16, 8:34am Top

>227 susanj67: Hope she's got another one on the way, Susan. Glad you had a good read. My current crime one is struggling a bit in comparison. Too much cliché.

>228 msf59: Those are good questions Mark.
You can renew on our system up to 10 times, then you have to return to the library. If no one else wants it, you can take it out again though. I usually end up holding on to books unless someone else wants them. I'm largely a mood reader, so sometimes I do end up returning them unread. Usually those ones are non-fiction, because that takes longer.

231charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 8:40am Top

Signs Preceding the end of the World
This was recommended as an alternative to American Dirt, so I requested a copy from the library. It's a small book but manages to pack in a lot of complexity about the border, migration and living in the US. But it's not a conventional novel, by any means.

232msf59
Feb 16, 8:51am Top

>230 charl08: Up to 10 times? Wow! Are they also 3 week periods, like they are here?

Signs Preceding the End of the World is an excellent read and a shorty too!

233charl08
Feb 16, 8:55am Top

>232 msf59: Yup, three weeks.

Would you recommend any other border fiction? I liked Luiselli's latest one too.

234msf59
Feb 16, 9:09am Top

I know The Devil's Highway is nonfiction, but a terrific read. I would also recommend Urrea's fiction too. Have you read him? I loved his short story collection, The Water Museum.

235charl08
Feb 16, 9:24am Top

>234 msf59: Thanks Mark. I'll have a look at what the library has!

236charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 11:55am Top

Had a fun morning with a friend and her kids at a local "Harry Potter café". Lovely to see so many kids (and adults) enthusiastic about a book series.


Art of Death

At home have polished off a fairly formulaic crime novel. This one was an ARC but is now for sale. The odd couple in this case is a Buddhist policeman and a new DI from London, trying to solve a mysterious art-world related murder. Nothing objectionable but I won't rush to find the next one.

237msf59
Feb 16, 12:02pm Top

This is a good Mexican novel list. Most of them, I had never heard of:

https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/top-10-contemporary-mex...

238charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 12:29pm Top

>237 msf59: Thanks Mark.

My library has Sea monsters by Chloe Aridjis which was only published in 2019.
Blurb: "One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, 17-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomàs, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking - recklessness, impulse, independence - and may also help her fulfil an unusual obsession: to track down a troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs who have recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. They head for Zipolite, the 'Beach of the Dead', a community peopled by hippies, nudists, beach combers and eccentric storytellers, and Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will 'promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery'. But as she wanders the shoreline, she begins to discover that a quest is more easily envisioned than accomplished."

It also has Leaving Tabasco by Carmen Boullosa.

Doesn't have Guadalupe Nettel though, whose books sound intriguing, or those of Jorge Volpi. But some to be going on with!

239msf59
Feb 16, 12:25pm Top

Looks like a really good list.

240charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 2:05pm Top

>238 charl08: It does! Thank you for sharing it Mark. I'm also keen to follow up the publisher And Other Stories, who publish via a subscription list.

241Helenliz
Feb 16, 1:58pm Top

How exciting! About the books and approaching holiday, not the tooth woes. Have a fantabulous time.

242charl08
Feb 16, 2:42pm Top

Thanks Helen. I'm still packing. Where is my torch? I'm sure I had more suncream left after my last holiday. And when am I going to have time to pick up currency? I have a list that doesn't seem to be getting any shorter!

243charl08
Feb 16, 2:42pm Top

I'm still reading the book group book The Lido.
The sky stretches above her and for a moment she feels completely free. She rolls onto her back and tries backstroke so she can watch the birds crossing back and forth and the spring buds waving on the arms of the trees around the lido building. She stops swimming for a moment and floats; for the first time in a long time she lets herself relax.

244charl08
Edited: Feb 16, 3:02pm Top


Interesting international covers?

245paulstalder
Feb 16, 4:03pm Top


wish you a good new week

246charl08
Feb 16, 4:06pm Top

Thanks Paul!

247BLBera
Feb 16, 4:29pm Top

>231 charl08: Hi Charlotte. I have this on my shelf. One of these days...

248jnwelch
Feb 16, 4:56pm Top

Did you end up liking Signs Preceding the End of the World? I thought that was a really good one.

249banjo123
Feb 16, 6:54pm Top

Hi Charlotte! Enjoy your holiday.

250charl08
Yesterday, 2:44am Top

>247 BLBera: I wouldn't rush to it, Beth.

>248 jnwelch: I did! >231 charl08: Mark's given some recommendations re other border novels, and I'd happily take more.

>249 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I'm counting down. I'm also panicking about whether I'll fit it all into my bag...

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