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2020 Reading Record of PGMCC - Episode 2

This is a continuation of the topic 2020 Reading Record of PGMCC - Episode 1.

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Mar 26, 6:10am Top

Read in 2020

Title; Author; Status; Start/end date; Number of pages

Reality is not what it seems by Carlo Rovelli 3/12/2019 - 20.01.2020 234 pages
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey 20/01/2020 - 26/01/2020 222 pages
The Last Best Friend by George Sims 27/01/2020 - 31/01/2020 191 pages
Dread Journey by Dorothy B. Hughes 31/01/202 - 05/02/2020
Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy by Tim Harford 06/02/2010 - 17/02/2020 292 pages.
The Lights Go Out In Lychford by Paul Cornell 09/02/2020 - 11/02/2020
It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences. by June Casagrande 17/02/2020 -
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley 17/02/2020 - 05/03/2020 482 pages
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain 06/03/2020 - 09/03/2020 116 pages
When The Wind Blows by Cyril Hare 09/03/2020 - 15/03/2020 254 pages
The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr 15/06/2020 - 25/03/2020 255 pages
Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor 26/03/2020 -

Edited: Mar 5, 11:32am Top

Welcome to Episode 2.

Mar 5, 5:35pm Top

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Edited: Mar 6, 3:00am Top

Well, OK. I couldn't keep going through the grammar book without some fiction.

The Postman Always Rings Twice is my choice of a quick read. It does not waste any time getting down to brass tacks.

>3 clamairy: I am sure many people can cause a wild rumpus over this book.

Mar 6, 4:46am Top

>2 pgmcc:, >3 clamairy: Where do rumpuses live in the wild? Can they be tamed? What does clamairy want it to begin doing?

Should we be scared?

Mar 6, 5:08am Top

>5 -pilgrim-: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I suspect any rumpus clamairy sets loose would be very wild.

Mar 6, 5:40am Top

I finally got round to writing a review for The Daughter of Time.

This is an interesting who-done-it tale. The main character is a detective who is confined to a hospital bed for some months following a workplace accident. To avoid boredom he starts reading about Richard III and his reputation as an evil person.

With the assistance of a couple of friends who hunt out various historical documents he applies his crime investigative skills and the laws of evidence to the facts recorded in the historical documents.

The strength of this book is in its analytical approach to the interpretation of evidence and its demonstration that the history we learn and that is generally held to be true, may not be as reliable as we might think.

It is evidence that the victors write history.

Mar 6, 5:42am Top

>6 pgmcc: In a straight fight between a wild rumpus and a crocodile, which would you expect to win? and against a pride of lions?

Mar 6, 5:57am Top

>8 hfglen: I think to answer such questions we have to have pictures of a crocodile, a pride of lions, and a wild rumpus.

I will do my best to provide a picture of a wild rumpus.

clamairy or -pilgrim- might have pictures of a wild rumpus.

Mar 6, 10:11am Top

There is that rumpus room here in the Inn. I understand that it's mostly tame rumpuses that stay there, though.

Mar 6, 11:04am Top

>9 pgmcc: Turns out I only have poor pictures of the whole pride; one obscured by grass, the other taken at night. But crocodiles are easy. Anyhoo, I've put both here in my own thread.

The mighty Google reveals a number pictures of the Great Rumpus Cat in his Cats incarnation, by the way.

Mar 7, 7:51am Top

Hunting - carefully! - for wild rumpii, I came across the following:

I think that is a candidate for haydninvienna's Bookshop Tourism list. Pity I live too far away...

Mar 8, 9:13pm Top

Edited: Mar 9, 6:28am Top

Very much the hard hitting, tough-life movie story.

ETA: I am just realising that I cannot think of a single appearance of a postman in the book.

Mar 9, 6:27am Top

>12 -pilgrim-: Brilliant!

Mar 9, 8:24pm Top

Your threads are dangerous - having spent time in Foyles in London a little over a week ago while waiting for a friend looking for It was the Best of Sentences, It was the Worst of Sentences which I had added to my wishlist after being hit by a BB, I didn't actually find a copy in there but I did spend quite a bit more time browsing and adding to my wishlist (I was restrained due to renovation project about to happen at home and the need to not have any more boxes of books to store than I already have - where will I sleep during renovation if any more boxes are filled with books!) I was liberally adding books to the notes section on my phone for later purchase and the S A Chakraborty books were among them - seeing your comments earlier have moved them up the list. Would they work as audio books do you think? I may get to them sooner that way...

Mar 10, 5:14am Top

>16 Peace2:

I have never listened to a book so I would not consider myself qualified to comment on how well the Chakraborty books would suit the audio format. I suppose it depends on the reader.

In terms of boxes of books, I did comment to someone in a similar situation that they consider using them as the base for a coffee table, possibly a glass topped one. If the boxes are transparent or even semi-transparent they could become both a focus of interest and a topic of conversation with your visitors trying to make out titles and possibly commenting on them.

In your particular situation perhaps you could use the boxes as the base for a bed. With enough boxes you could create a reasonably sized base for a King-sized mattress. I am sure it would be very comfortable.

My reading of It was the worst of sentences... is progressing nicely. I have taken to reading a few chapters at a time and interspersing these bouts of grammar with fiction. I am still enjoying the tone.

Casagrande is not above admitting prejudice and does not hold back in ranting about semicolons and brackets. She still admits that they are valid punctuation marks but does urge restraint and proportionality in their use.

Going back to audio book versions of the Chakraborty novels, I am wondering would the format affect the formation of the world I have created in my head while reading the physical book. The reader's pronunciation, accent and general tone could change the way my mind has constructed the world I have in my head. If I were doing something else while listening it could interfere with the world building in my mind and contort my perception.

I think what I am saying is that I am not convinced that I would like to listen to a book read by someone else; especially books that exceed the 600 page mark. (Hey, I used a semicolon. Do not tell June Casagrande.) Oops, brackets too. :-)

Mar 10, 5:24am Top

I have started and am enjoying When the Wind Blows by Cyril Hare. It has a different title in the Touchstone. Possibly a US publication title.

I would not call this a direct BB, but more of a ricochet as the first Cyril Hare story I read was Tragedy At Law and this was a direct BB from jillmwo. On the strength of my enjoyment of the first book I purchased a few others by the author. This is the second one I have started and I have no regrets. Thank you, Jill.

Mar 10, 8:20am Top

>17 pgmcc:
I did comment to someone in a similar situation that they consider using them as the base for a coffee table, possibly a glass topped one. If the boxes are transparent or even semi-transparent they could become both a focus of interest and a topic of conversation with your visitors trying to make out titles and possibly commenting on them.

In fact, most of the work surfaces/shelving in my current bedroom consist of just such plastic boxes...

Mar 10, 9:47am Top

>17 pgmcc:
The problem with using the boxes for the bed 🛏 is that you'll have make the dog and cat move to open a box

Mar 10, 12:02pm Top

>20 suitable1: There is always a catch.

Mar 10, 12:02pm Top

>19 -pilgrim-: Thank you for providing the supporting evidence for >16 Peace2:.

It works.

Edited: Mar 10, 1:54pm Top

>22 pgmcc: I cannot, however, speak as to the validity of your theory of their being conversation pieces, since I am not in the habit of inviting guests into my bedroom to find out.

Mar 10, 2:49pm Top

>23 -pilgrim-: Well, we are already talking about it so your conversation-starting ploy appears to be working... ;-)

Mar 10, 4:22pm Top

>23 -pilgrim-: & >24 ScoLgo:
My work here is done.

Mar 11, 6:13pm Top

I admit it; I have bought books. It being 11th March 2020 I am rapidly approaching my 14th Thingaversary and need to get my acquisition count up.

On Saturday my wife went to Cork for lunch marking International Women's Day. I dropped her to the 10am train and then had nothing to do. Well, that's not quite true. I went to a camera shop and bought a filter to protect my lens. I then went to The Secret Book and Record Shop, but it was closed. :-(

However, Hodges Figgis was open. I found myself going home with:

The Science of Storytelling and The Power of Small: How to Make Tiny But Powerful Changes When Everything…. Unfortunately I found my copy of The Science of Storytelling was damaged; some pages had been bound imperfectly. :-(

Yesterday I popped out for a walk at lunchtime and found myself in Chapters Bookshop where I found The Man Who Fell to Earth.

After work today I went to Hodges Figgis to see if they would exchange my damaged copy of The Science of Storytelling. I should have checked the book when I bought it so I was not 100% sure I could get an exchange. My fears were unfounded. When I showed the book to the man at the Customer Service desk, he was shocked. I could tell he loves books for their own sake. He replaced my copy immediately and apologised profusely that this had happened to me. Full marks to Hodges Figgis Customer Service.

On my way from the Customer Service Desk, located at the back of the shop, I had to pass piles of books. By the time I got to the door I had The Capital and The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories in my possession.

No suitable picture of The Power of Small.

Mar 11, 7:23pm Top

>26 pgmcc:

Re: Secret Book Shop

Please note. The code knock and password are changed ever forty-five day. Please check with your pusher.

Mar 11, 11:20pm Top

>27 suitable1: Let us know what you think of The Capital. I bought it a while back on the basis of a review in the Economist, but haven’t read it yet.

Mar 12, 3:39am Top

>28 haydninvienna:
I certainly will. You might get to it before me.

>27 suitable1:
My pusher is Mary in the Books Upstairs bookshop. It was open but I did not go in. You know how these dealers can be if they think you have been with one of their competitors.

Edited: Mar 12, 7:15am Top

I was tempted by the Penguin book of Italian short stories the other day while in Foyles at Waterloo Station (my favourite station, for this reason). I resisted, but can't guarantee I will hold out for long.

ETA Ooh, just had an idea. I could buy it for work and then borrow it! The perks of working in a library.

Mar 12, 8:30am Top

>30 Sakerfalcon: I was tempted by the Penguin book of Italian short stories the other day...

My purchase was the result of "stack'em high" temptation. While the Customer Service assistant went to get my replacement copy of "The Science of Storytelling" I noticed a large stack of The Penguin book of Italian short stories, picked one up, had a quick browse of the contents page, and then put it down again.

After my book replacement transaction was complete I headed for the front door but passed a table of books from other European countries and stopped to have a look. Yes, there was a copy of the Italian short stories book sitting amongst the other books and having already been softened up by my earlier browse I decide to pick it up.

There was a silver lining. When I came to pay for my two books I produced my loyalty card. It is one of those cards that they stamp on a squared for every €10 you spend. When you have ten stamps you get €10 off your next purchase. My purchase came to €28. The shop assistant, who happened to be the same person who served me at the Customer Service Desk, filled my card and then gave me €10 off the purchase. He then gave me a new card and put three stamps on it. I have always found Hodges Figgis to be very liberal in how they interpret their loyalty card scheme. Where there is any grey area for interpretation I find they always, without hesitation, go with the option that favours the customer.

Mar 12, 10:40am Top

The Taoiseach has announced that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities will be closed from 6pm this evening until 29th March.

Shops are to remain open.

Public transport is to continue to operate.

Internal gatherings of more than 100 people are to be cancelled. External events involving more than 500 people are to be cancelled.

People are encouraged to continue to go to work but are urged to work from home if they can. (That one looks a bit internally inconsistent.)

Restaurants are to implement social distancing as best they can. (This will eliminate some small restaurants.)

People are asked to avoid socialising. (There goes the pub trade.)

I have been asked to get my team together at 4.30pm this evening for a cascade message from the Management Board. They have not given a venue and I suspect we will receive an e-mail to read out to our teams. That would avoid bringing everyone into a single location.

We appear to be entering an historical period during which we will all be suffering from a common problem. Keep well everyone.

Mar 12, 10:42am Top

By the way, the Books Upstairs Bookshop has posted on facebook that they will be happy to see us if we drop in today to stock up on books to carry us over the period of lock-down that is coming. They have obviously made the connection between books and toilet paper.

Mar 12, 12:09pm Top

My daughter who works at Bicester Village outlet centre says that things have gone very quiet. Despite the Taoiseach’s good advice, I would happily visit an Irish pub right now.

Edited: Mar 13, 1:20pm Top

After 6 months of being housebound, except for hospital trips (and a brief interval over Christmastide), this "chemo holiday" is supposed to be my chance to "get out and about a bit" and socialise.

My timing is impeccable, as usual.

Mar 13, 8:07am Top

>26 pgmcc: I have remembered the point that first attracted me to The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories. I knew there was something other than its being book.

In my initial brief browse of the contents page I noticed there is a story by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa included. He was the author of The Leopard, a book I loved and strongly recommend.

That story will be the first one I read from this collection. I am curious to see what it is like. I must check out who did the translation. My reading of The Leopard was not hindered by any sense of its having been translated, so the translator, Archibald Colquhuon, must have done a great job.

Mar 13, 11:20am Top

>35 -pilgrim-: :o( I'm so sorry.

>36 pgmcc: I'm mulling over this recommendation, but first you have to promise me that the writing style is nothing like Haruki Murakami's. ;o)

Edited: Mar 13, 1:24pm Top

>36 pgmcc: I have been meaning to read The Leopard ever since it was quoted in The Prisoner by Thomas Disch.

Mar 13, 6:48pm Top

>38 -pilgrim-: Is that a book about the programme or a novelisation of the series?

I remember seeing the first episode of The Prisoner when it was first broadcast. My mother and I watched it. We had always been avid viewers of Danger Man (It was called, "Secret Agent", in the US.). We were expecting a new series of Danger Man to start and The Prisoner started. I know the producers said it was not a sequel to Danger Man but we thought it was. I read a few years ago that it was conceived as a sequel by Patrick McGoohan and the producer. The producer was from a competing TV production company and when word was slipping out about their making a sequel to Danger Man there were whispers of law suits for copyright infringement, etc... That was when they started denying that it was a sequel to Danger Man.

Mar 13, 6:48pm Top

>37 clamairy: Trust me, you will enjoy it.

Edited: Mar 14, 5:55am Top

>39 pgmcc: It is a novel. But not a novelisation of the series, just a novel set within the series:

The Village is putting on a performance of Measure for Measure, with Number 6 cast as the Duke. He is, of course, taking part for the same reason as he does anything.

So - we have someone who intends to not be there when everyone thinks he is, playing the role of someone who is there when everyone thinks he is not....and that's just for starters.

I don't remember if there was actually an episode of The Prisoner with that plot - my parents had only just got a TV, there was no such thing as VHS, so if you missed an episode, you had missed it - but I don't think there was.

I never saw Danger Man, other than an episode shown as part of a Patrick McGoohan retrospective some time in the nineties. But I watched The Prisoner every time the ran it - and negotiating with my parents to watch a TV programme that started at 11.30pm on a school night was a feat in itself!

Be seeing you.

Mar 14, 8:06pm Top

>41 -pilgrim-:

Caitríona and I go to a holiday village in France for holidays. Others here know it as my spy training camp where I go for debriefing and advanced spy training.

The staff go around the camp in golf carts and they always greet you with a wave and a "Bonjour!"

I commented to Caitríona one day that this reminded me of The Village and the "Be seeing you!" greeting.

Caitríona was not familiar with The Village so I obtained the boxed set. She really enjoyed it.

I then mentioned its origins in Danger Man and again this was new to Caitríona.

Yes, we got the boxed set of Danger Man and she loved that too.


Edited: Mar 14, 10:44pm Top

I have enjoyed When the Wind Blows, a murder mystery by Cyril Hare. jillmwo introduced me to the work of Cyril Hare in 2017 with Tragedy at Law. This is another delightful cozy crime novel.

Unlike other murder mysteries I have read or watched on TV I was able to identify the guilty party. I was not able to identify the motive, but that was due to the holding back of a bit of information until the end of the story, although, to be fair, there was a hint to it earlier in the story.

Thank you, Jill, for introducing me to Cyril Hare.

Mar 15, 2:12am Top

The TV series The Prisoner was filmed in Portmeirion, the tourist village on the western coast of Wales created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. I keep scheming to go there, but have small chance of persuading Mrs Haydninvienna.

Minor fun fact: Clough Williams-Ellis's wife Amabel was a joint compiler of a number of SF anthologies. One of the first SF books I ever remember reading was Out of this World, edited by Amabel Williams-Ellis and Mably Owen. Foreword by, heaven help me, Bertrand Russell, according to ISFDB. One classic story that I remember to this day: "The Ruum" by Arthur Porges.

Mar 15, 3:37am Top

>44 haydninvienna: I have often thought I would like to visit Portmeirion but have never bothered to organise the trip. With our trips to France taking up the bulk of my leave there does not appear to be a suitable time for me to arrange a trip. Our daughter is living in Birmingham and I was thinking we might combine a trip to visit her with a few days visiting Wales and pop into The Village for a quick reconnoiter. Of course, once we would get into The Village would we ever get out? You know what happens spies people when the visit there.

Now my daughter and her husband may be going back to the US. Between that and the current virus fiasco it does not appear there will be a suitable time to visit Portmeirion this year.

I like your fun fact.

Mar 15, 5:46am Top

>44 haydninvienna: >45 pgmcc: Having been to Portmeirion (nearly 40 years ago), if ever I were so lucky as to revisit UK, I'd hesitate to put it ahead of the Ffestiniog Railway. Pete, when Better Half, Aged Mother and I went there, we were happily out within two hours.

Mar 15, 6:48am Top

>46 hfglen: Last year we took the car over on a visit to my daughter. We got the ferry to Holyhead in North West Wales. My intention was to take motorway across North Wales and then travel south to Birmingham, again by motorway. I do not know why, but we trusted the Sat Nav and it took us through Snowdonia. I did not know North Wales was so beautiful. If I every plan the trip to Portmeirion, The Village will be one stop on a tour of that part of Wales. I must check out Ffestiniog Railway.

Did you ever make it to the railway station at Crianlarich in Scotland?

Mar 15, 7:12am Top

I have started reading The Science of Storytelling in the hope that it will add to the valuable insights I found in John Yorke's excellent book, Into the Woods.

I am seventeen pages into the book and it has not added any new information yet, but has promised to explain how our brains work when listening to stories. He has referenced Yorke's book and actually stated the same things Yorke stated. I do hope this book is not just going to repeat Yorke's point. Storr does promise to look at stories from the position of the brain's reactions to them rather than from story structure.

Like Yorke, he has stressed the central role of character in developing empathy and intrigue in the reader.

Mar 15, 7:13am Top

>47 pgmcc: The rule should evidently be NEVER trust the satnav without independent checking! But in this case it paid off.

We went through Crianlarich on our way somewhere else, but missed the station.

Mar 15, 8:53am Top

>49 hfglen: I believe I told my Crianlarich story from 1978 here before. If you do not recall it I will seek out the post and copy it to here.

Mar 15, 9:37am Top

It doesn't ring a bell, sorry.

Mar 16, 10:40am Top

I am delighted to report that The Science of Storytelling is proving very informative and interesting. It is an excellent companion to John Yorke's Into the Woods.

It took effort to pull myself away from the book to write this post. I felt it important, however, to update you on my progress and view of the work.

I have just read page 86 and I already have two pages of one line reference notes at the back of the book. I have also underlined many passages.

The section I have just finished described the geographic origins of Western and Eastern society and how this led to Western stories being predominantly focused on individuals with Eastern stories having more to do with groups. The Western hero will have battled evil or adversity and won, while the Eastern hero will have modestly done what had to be done to benefit the family or the group.

This is just a tiny bit from the book.

Now I am going back to the book.

Mar 19, 6:34am Top

I was looking at photographs on a facebook page yesterday. They are on a page from a part of Donegal that I spent a lot of time in over the years, my teens and twenties mainly.

There were pictures of a local school play.

My normal reaction when I see pictures from there is to see if I can recognise anyone in the pictures. It used to be I would be looking to see individuals that I know. Then it was looking for people who might be the children of people that I know.

Yesterday I was looking for people that might be the grandchildren of people that I know. :-)

Mar 20, 11:40am Top

>53 pgmcc: A few months ago, a teen worker at a fast food restaurant said, "You look like my best friend's mom!" He was very excited by this. I said a cheerful thank you whilst sobbing internally.

Mar 20, 11:59am Top

Once, about 14 years ago, when picking son up from kindergarten, one of the teachers from another... ward (? any way, normally working with another group of kids) asked me if I was my son's grandmother.
I had just turned 40.
Gray hair seems to do that to a woman.

Mar 20, 1:28pm Top

>55 Busifer: I'm guessing the word would be class.

Mar 20, 3:00pm Top

>56 suitable1: Or lack of it...?

One of my best friends from school didn't become a father until his early 50's. I know for a fact that he gets the "grandpa/grandchild" thing when they are out & about. I learned a long time ago not to assume such things. The, "when are you due?" question asked of women that may or may not be pregnant is a particularly egregious example. o_O

I don't smoke but my mother-in-law does. Mrs. ScoLgo and I will therefore regularly purchase a carton of cigarettes for her. I have slowly come to realize that I am no longer asked to show ID when purchasing cigarettes or alcohol. I must admit I sort of miss those days.

Mar 20, 3:50pm Top

>57 ScoLgo: Some 15 years ago I moved from Pretoria to Durban, which was mostly bliss. But I did find it a tad bit difficult to adapt to the local and frequently-used term of respect. Baba translates as "grandpa" and is equally used by Zulus I've never met and those I know relatively well.

Mar 20, 6:10pm Top

>55 Busifer: For many years, I've looked younger than I am. My aunt warned me that would go away almost overnight. Apparently, a new day has dawned. Alas. Although I am not quite at the age where I'll wear my trousers rolled.

Mar 21, 3:08am Top

>59 libraryperilous: I don’t wear my trousers rolled either, but I have always dared to eat peaches. The mermaids have never sung to me though.

Mar 22, 12:04pm Top

>60 haydninvienna: You can only hear the mermaids after you've worn purple with a red hat that doesn't go. Or so I'm told.

Mar 22, 12:57pm Top

>59 libraryperilous: In general people are surprised when I tell my age; they always think of me as younger than I am. The on time when a person mistook me for older than I am (see >55 Busifer: above) I was tired, it was in the middle of the winter, and I wore a black full length winter overcoat with wide fake fur trimmings at the neck and hands. The cut was somewhat late 1800's Russian, if you get what I mean ;-)

Mar 22, 2:32pm Top

>62 Busifer: Just keep telling yourself that. :-) That's what I do.

Between August 2009 and September 2016 I had a beard. I was amazed at how differently people treated me. In those years people offered me their seat on the bus on four occasions. I did not accept, of course. In shops I was paid more attention by shop assistants than I had been before having a beard.

My beard was shaved off the day after my wife heard the following joke:

I hate it when I see an old person and realise I was at school with them.

The day after hearing that joke my wife said, perhaps you should shave the beard. I interpreted that as her paraphrasing the joke to:

I hate it when I see an old man and realise I am married to him.

Mar 23, 2:52am Top

>63 pgmcc: Ouch. My wife and I frequently joke about being 2 old crocks. I think I'm a younger old crock than her though, even though by the calendar I'm 7 years older. In her case a lifetime's ridding injuries have something to do with it.

Mar 23, 4:24am Top

>64 haydninvienna: The ironic thing is that the beard was grown at her prompting in the first place.

Mar 23, 6:06am Top

>63 pgmcc: LOL! I sometimes see someone in the street and think they look somewhat familiar. Then I realize that they look like someone who I knew at fx work, 15 years ago, and should look older now, had it really been that person.

There's a thing going on among Swedish Facebookers at the moment, when people post pictures from when they were in their late teens or early twenties. Almost every time a picture pops up my reaction is "I knew that person!".

Mar 23, 3:57pm Top

>62 Busifer: I have been dressing like a babushka in the winter since I was a teenager. Warmth is good. :)

Mar 25, 6:21pm Top

I finished this excellent book this evening. It is a wonderful description of how we react to stories. It is full of information from psychological studies and examples from books and movies.

It explains how interdependent plots and characters are, and how stories have different levels, the plot being the surface and the protagonist's emotional and psychological response to the events of the story being the underlying level.

Apart from discussing our psychological response to stories the book also describes the psychological reactions and experiences of all of us in real life, and how our brain develops a neural model of the world in our early years that will solidify in early adulthood and dictate our world view and reactions into the future. Storr uses this to help explain how we can give fictional characters a degree of credibility and enable readers to connect with them.

I read John Yorke's excellent book, Into the Woods, last year. It was about the structure of story. When I picked up The Science of Storytelling I was a bit dubious as to how good it might be and how it would live up to Yorke's earlier publication. The content quickly proved the value of the book, its insights, and its useful advice. Storr referred to other writers on writing but held Yorke in very high regard. The other writer he referred to favourably was Christopher Booker; his book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories was recommended with Yorke's Into the Woods as companion books to his own. I can state categorically that Into the Woods and The Science of Storytelling are well suited as a pair. I have Booker's book but have not read it yet. It will not be long before I do.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in storytelling, either from the viewpoint of writing fiction, or telling a story in a business context. It is also a help in understanding conflict and people's reactions to opinions that do not agree with their own.

Mar 25, 6:52pm Top

>68 pgmcc: So if you had to pick one of the two that you've read to recommend which would it be? I see one of them has a slightly higher rating here on LT, and I'm curious to know if you actually preferred one over the other.

Mar 25, 7:21pm Top

>69 clamairy:
That would be a tough call and the answer would depend on what the person seeking the recommendation wanted from the book.

If I were to presume the person wanted more than a storytelling discussion, I would recommend The Science of Storytelling as it deals with the psychology of conflict and explains why people react violently to views that do not match their own. It explains that a person’s neural model of the world is their control mechanism, the thing that enables them to operate in the world, and if something arises that disagrees with their neural model, it will threaten their model of the world and hence their control mechanism thereby threatening the foundation of their very being; this explains why people react so violently to differing political or religious views.

I think you would like it.

Edited: Mar 25, 11:09pm Top

>70 pgmcc: Thank you. I'll see if I can get my hands on it. (BTW, Into the Woods is the one with the higher rating.)

Mar 26, 5:20am Top

>71 clamairy: I cannot be called to account for the errors of others. :-)

I would say Into the Woods would be of a more general appeal. In my recommendation, which I did say would be a difficult choice, I presumed you would be interested in more than the storytelling aspects; The Science of Storytelling provides that extra je ne sais quoi (actually I do know but GD guidelines make it difficult to state here) that would appeal to you. My recommendation to you was tailored. :-)

My preferred recommendation to people would be to read both if you have the time and can afford to. They work really well together.

Edited: Mar 31, 4:40am Top

Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor

With most of the country keeping to their homes, a friend of mine suggested having an on-line book-club read. This was her second suggestion when it turned out her first choice as only available in hardback and the Kindle edition is not yet available.

I have my reservations about reading a book by Joseph O'Connor. I have already read two of his books:



The Secret World of the Irish Male.

The first of these, Inishowen, was a mediocre crime novel set in Ireland. I disliked the way the author created landscape that does not exist in the places the action was supposed to be taking place. Looking back I see I gave it a 2-star rating.

The Secret World of the Irish Male was a puerile, school-boyish view of the world which I gave up on half-way through. I thought it was pathetic.

Joseph O'Connor is one of the authors greatly praised by the Irish Literati. Why is this, I ask myself. His work is not of any great merit as far as I can tell. Have I missed something?

Or is it the fact that his sister is Sinéad O'Connor who has achieved fame and notoriety as a singer and general rabble-rouser? I do not know, but he has not impressed me in his writing or in any interviews or panel discussions he has been on. I suspect it is a case of being a celebrity because he is a celebrity and not because of his talent. His celebrity, I suggest, is his relationship to a very talented sister who has had a rocky road in her life and who has become famous for many reasons.

"So," I hear you ask, "why have I agreed to read another book by an author whose work has not impressed me in the past?"

The reasons as far as I can assess are:

1. I do not want to let my friend down by rejecting a second choice book,

2. I am going to give O'Connor another chance to prove himself to me,

3. Now that I am equipped with the knowledge I have gained from Into the Woods and The Science of Storytelling I will be able to make a more educated assessment of what I like or dislike about this book. It is, you might say, an experiment to see if I can see elements in a novel that I might hitherto have missed.

4. The story is a fictionalisation of the life of Bram Stoker. I have read at least one biography of stoker and have been involved with a group known as, "The Friends of Bram Stoker", which has included a number of Bram Stoker's descendants, including Dacre Stoker who has travelled the world promoting his own books on Dracula. Having attended a number of talks and discussions about Stoker, his life and his work, I have a modicum of knowledge about his life. I want to see how O'Connor's work matches reality.

If I enjoy this book it will show that I have undergone a change and have been persuaded to set aside initial prejudices to give a work a fair chance. If I hate it and throw O'Connor once and for all into the category of, "I will never read any of that tosser's work again!", you will simply say I was biased from the very start. I cannot win. If the former occurs I will have demonstrated that my neural model of the world is flawed and the very foundation of my existence will have been smashed to pieces. If it is the latter that happens, then my story will be seen as a tragedy in which I reverted to the sanctuary of my flawed perception of reality.

We shall see. Stay tuned to discover how Peter reacts to this new novel by a mediocre writer who has not impressed in the past.

Mar 26, 6:57am Top

>73 pgmcc: We shall see. Stay tuned to discover how Peter reacts to this new novel by a mediocre writer who has not impressed in the past.
Had to laugh out loud :D
We'll see, indeed, but expectations are not that high, are they? ;-)

The Science of Storytelling sounds like a piece of writing that I'd enjoy. Added to my list.

Mar 26, 8:49am Top

>74 Busifer:
Pella, I wish you the best for your birthday. Under the circumstances I am sure you recall better days. Keep safe and well.

I think you would enjoy The Science Of Storytelling. I learned a lot from it. If you take its argument to an extreme it could be seen to demonstrate that we could all be living in The Matrix.

Mar 26, 10:02am Top

>73 pgmcc: The cover of The Secret World ... isn't inspiring, is it? I will be interested in your opinion, Peter, but at present I find it even less inviting than Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, just on the basis of that cover.

Mar 26, 10:28am Top

>75 pgmcc: If you take its argument to an extreme it could be seen to demonstrate that we could all be living in The Matrix.
In a way we do, don't we? The Matrix can be interpreted as an allegory for the system as a construct... depressing to think about, right now, though, so I rather put that on hold until (hopefully) brighter days are here.

Mar 26, 12:02pm Top

"Sinéad O'Connor Is Still in One Piece".

I made a start on brother Frank's Star of the Sea and didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

Mar 26, 7:56pm Top

>78 libraryperilous: As has been mentioned, my expectations are low. That could be my downfall. :-)

Mar 26, 8:02pm Top

>79 pgmcc: Never have high expectations if you can at all help it. Life is so much easier that way.

Mar 26, 8:05pm Top

Mar 27, 7:38pm Top

George took a selfie of himself and Willow.

Mar 27, 11:16pm Top

Mar 28, 6:14am Top

>82 pgmcc: Cuuuuuute!

Mar 28, 10:36am Top

Mar 28, 12:16pm Top

George is obviously very smart (to be able to take selfies), as well as cute.

Mar 28, 1:04pm Top

A very cute pair!

Mar 28, 4:38pm Top

>82 pgmcc: Which is which? I do not remember these things. The dog is handsome, but the cat is stunning!

Mar 28, 4:42pm Top

>88 clamairy: George is the cat, the one reaching out to take the selfie.

George is the sole survivor of the four kittens we adopted in 2013 when we found them in our garden. A lot has happened since then.

Willow was a rescue from being dumped in a pound because the owners' circumstances changed and they could not look after her.

Mar 28, 4:48pm Top

They both look like wonderful companions. Sorry that you lost all of George's siblings. I don't let my cat out, because if a car didn't get her I'm sure a raccoon, fox, hawk or something else would.

Mar 28, 5:24pm Top

O'Connor is trying too hard. The details of the relationship between Stoker and Irving do not match the biographies. I have to take this book as a total fiction.

The writing jars a bit.

Mar 28, 5:52pm Top

>68 pgmcc: I'm not sure whether to regret not taking the chance to get The Science of Storytelling on special offer from Audible when I saw it the other day or relieved, because it strikes me I would enjoy it more in paper form,.

Your reaction so far makes me relieved that I didn't go for Shadowplay when the library was adamant it should be my next read.

Mar 28, 5:59pm Top

>92 Peace2: O'Connor is starting with a handicap as far as I am concerned and he has not shown me anything in this book so far that indicates I should change my opinion of his work.

In relation to The Science of Storytelling I definitely needed the physical copy. I have four-and-a-half pages of page reference notes in the back and have dozens of pages with underlined sections. I do not know how I could do that with a Kindle.

Mar 28, 6:04pm Top

>93 pgmcc: I suspected it may be a book that would need more than just the auditory input for me to appreciate fully - your words have confirmed the impression - it will take me longer to get to it, but I shall bookmark it for the 'one day' pile.

Edited: Mar 29, 2:08pm Top

I have been tidying up a room that we have used to store things while we had a new floor laid in our dining and sitting rooms. As there were about five book cases in those rooms and they had to be moved for the floor operation, there were one or two books stored in this room in piles on the floor. Unfortunately my wife did not allow bookcases to be put back in those rooms so the books have arrived on the floor for some time.

This can be looked at in a positive light when one realises that some of the books involved are books I like very much and which I have not seen for some time. The first picture is of a crate of books I had displayed in the sitting room. The second picture lets you see the front cover of the Roget's Thesaurus. It has been fun rooting through books and meeting old friends.

Unfortunately the room also contains the detritus of two of my children, books of the third, and all the old odds and sods (old laptops; disparate power supplies; discarded clothes; etc...) that gather with a family of six, and occasionally a partner, living in the house full time. We are left with only one fledgling, but the other three have let it be known, albeit by insinuation, that they do not want "their" rooms to be absorbed into general household use. That is stopping now.


Mar 29, 2:15pm Top

>95 pgmcc: The fairy tale editions are gorgeous!

Mar 29, 2:35pm Top

>96 libraryperilous: I like them a lot.

Mar 29, 3:06pm Top

>95 pgmcc: "Unfortunately my wife did not allow bookcases to be put back in those rooms"

Did you try negotiating on this edict a bit more vigorously?

Mar 30, 9:13am Top

I will finish this book but if I were not reading it for a book club discussion I would probably have abandoned it. The writing is not bad but I do find it tedious the way O'Connor relies too much on techniques that he obviously considers as good. One tedious writing tick (and that is the correct spelling for my meaning) he has is the way he introduces a new place or scene a character comes across. For example, when his Stoker enters a market we get a litany of all the types of vegetables present in the stalls; when Stoker is at a theatre we get a litany of all the types of reprobate that attend the theatre; when Stoker enters a street for the first time get two litanies, one of the type of buildings/stores in the street, and then the litany of all the different types of people on the street and working in the various buildings on the street.

His repeated use of this technique reminded me of Stieg Larsson's use of sex scenes in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to set up info dumps that took place while the participants in the scene had their post-coital cigarette. In that book, every time someone received a gentle caress, or two people exchanged a lingering look, my mind shouted out, "INFO DUMP COMING!". My mind was always correct.

Mar 30, 5:44pm Top

I am ready to go to bed, but my book is still charging.

Mar 30, 6:04pm Top

>100 pgmcc: You know you can read it while it's charging.

Mar 30, 6:30pm Top

>101 clamairy: The socket is too far from the bed.

Edited: Mar 30, 6:32pm Top

>102 pgmcc: Go find an extension cord. 😄

Mar 31, 12:21am Top

>100 pgmcc:
First world problem!

Mar 31, 8:40am Top

>98 clamairy:

Did you try negotiating on this edict a bit more vigorously?

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!...

Good one, Clare.

Today, 9:37am Top

I was buying something recently and it was advantageous to accept the Amazon Prime free trial for a month. I reckoned I could watch the Amazon Prime Video seasons of things like Season 3 of The Expanse that I could not watch otherwise. I feel like the person in the song who joined the navy to see The World, but what did they see, they saw the sea.

Everything I want to watch on Prime Video is, "Not available in your area." :-(

Guess I will not be signing up for Amazon Prime on an on-going basis.

Today, 9:38am Top

>104 suitable1: They are the best ones to have.

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