Charl08 reads words with pictures in 2022 #6

This is a continuation of the topic Charl08 reads words with pictures in 2022 #5.

Talk2022 Category Challenge

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Charl08 reads words with pictures in 2022 #6

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 2:22pm

I'm Charlotte, I'm based in north west England and I like to read. I started in the category challenge last year.

I've not had much of a chance to get to galleries or museums due to Covid (I guess like most people in the group). I do love going to art galleries, and taking pictures and buying books when I'm there. I've enjoyed finding out more about women artists in recent years, so thought I'd focus on that for 2022.

I've just come back from a weekend in Edinburgh, where I saw a fascinating exhibit about Scottish women who were filmmakers and photographers in the 19th and early 20th century. My only gripe was that there wasn't a catalogue.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 3:50pm

Last quarter's reading

From "Dandy Style" exhibit at Manchester art gallery
Lubaina Himid (b.1954)

July 17 (Total 143)

1. Summer Light Then Comes the Night (New to me)
2. Horse (familiar faces)
3. The Essential June Jordan (New to me)
4. Fault Lines (New to me)
5. The Things They Carried (Prize winners)
6. Olga Dies Dreaming (New to me)
7. The Half Life of Valery K (Prize nominees)
8. His Only Wife (New to me/ African connections)
9. Persuading Annie (Familiar faces)
10. Women who kill (in translation)
11. Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead (Prize winners: Nobel)
12. The Siege of Loyalty House (History)
13. How High We Go in the Dark (New to me)
14. If they come for us (New to me)
15. The World of Yesterday (New to me)
16. Sex and the City of Ladies (history)
17. The Illustrated Woman (New to me)

Library books read in July 9

August 21 (Total 164)

1. Maps of our spectacular bodies (Prize nominees)
2. Beginner's Luck (familiar faces)
3 Ethel Rosenberg: a cold war tragedy (history)
4. Below Zero (familiar faces)
5. Booth (Prize nominees)
6. After Sappho (Prize nominees)
7. Case Study (Prize nominees)
8. Yell Sam, if you still can (Women in translation)
9. Luck of the Draw (familiar faces)
10. Intimacies (New to me)
11. Squire GN
12. The Con Artists (GN)
13. Best of Luck (Familiar faces)
14. All Walls Collapse (Bookclub books)
15. Wake (New to me)
16 . Dreamin' Sun: Vol 1 Vol 2 & Vol 3 & 4 (GN)
17. Bad Actors (Familiar faces)
18. The Colony (Prize nominees)
19. Chivalry (GN)
20. The Last Children of Tokyo (Women in translation)
21. The Whalebone Theatre (New to me)

Library books read in August: 11

September 24 (Total 188)

1. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Prize nominees)
2. The Trees (Prize nominees)
3. Maggie Moves On (Familiar faces)
4. No such thing as an easy job (Women in translation)
5. In search of equilibrium (New to me)
6. You Again (familiar faces)
7. Thirsty Sea (Book group/ Women in translation)
8. The Partisan (New to me)
9. Sylvie (GN)
10. Glory (Africa/ Prize nominees)
11. The Wolf of Baghdad (GN)
12. The Wolf Den (New to me)
13. You are not too late (New to me)
14. 1989 (Familiar faces)
15. No One Else (GN)
16. Crying in H Mart (Memoir)
17. Act of Oblivion (Familiar faces)
18. Woman Running in the Mountains (Women in translation)
19. The Waiting (GN)
20. Straight from the Horse's Mouth (Women in translation/ African authors)
21. I Walk Between the Raindrops
22. The Way it is Now
23. Ms Marvel: Beyond the Limit GN
24. Asadora: vol 1

Library books read in September: 17

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 4:44pm

Books read this quarter:

Georgia O'Keefe Autumn Leaves

October 32 (Total 220)
1. The Employees: a workplace novel of the 22nd century (New to me)
2. The Marriage Portrait (Prize winners)
3. A Proposal they can't refuse (New to me)
4. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love (New to me)
5. Several People are Typing (New to me)
6.-16. Sweat & Soap Vol 1-11 (GN)
17. A Prayer for the Crown Shy (Familiar faces)
18. Where You Come From
19. The Five Lives of Hilda Af Klint (GN)
20. The Radio Operator (Women in translation)
21. The American Roommate Experiment (Familiar faces)
22. Ao haru ride. Volume 1 (GN)
23. Like a Prisoner (Group book club books)
24. Stone Blind (Familiar faces)
25. Alison (GN)
26. Set on You (New to me)
27. Ao haru ride. Volume 2 (GN)
28. Part of Your World (familiar faces)
29. Mud and Stars: travels in Russia
30. Violets (Women in translation)
31. People Person (Book group book)
32. Fictions and Lies (Women in translation)

Library books read in October: 8

November 47 (267)
1. Scattered all over the earth (Women in translation)
2.-12.Ao Haru Ride Vol 3-13
13. Comrade Aeon's Field Guide to Bangkok (familiar faces)
14. Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller (Africa)
15/16/17/18/19/20/21/22/23. Abe Kun's Got Me 1-9 (GN/ Manga)
24. Snowed in for Christmas
25. Talk to My Back (manga + academic review essay)
26. Vagabonds! (New to me/ African authors)
27. Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters (reread)
28. A Little Resurrection (Poetry)
29. Homelands: the history of a friendship (Memoir / history)
30.-40. A Side Character's Love Story 1-10 (Manga)
41. The Darkness Knows (familiar faces)
42. Mona (Women in translation)
43. The Killing Hills (New to me)
44. Our Missing Hearts (New to me)
45. A Side Character's Love Story (Vol 11)
46& 47. Our Precious Conversations 1& 2 (Manga)

Library books read in November: 11

Edited: Dec 31, 2022, 5:40pm

New statue of Virginia Woolf at Richmond.

December 34 (301)

1. Burnt Shadows (Prize nominees)
2. What's the Furthest Place from Here? (GN)
3. Wotakoi 1 (Manga)
4. Defying Kurosaki Kun 1-4
5. Ao-Chan Can't Study 1-8
6. The Lost Man of Bombay (Crime fiction)
7. A Man and his Cat (Manga)
8. Sinister Graves (Crime fiction/ familiar faces)
9. Our Precious Conversations 3
10. Everybody: a book about Freedom (NF/ lit crit / history)
11. Wotakoi: love is hard for otaku 2 (Manga)
12. Asadora! 3 (Manga)
13. Wotakoi 3 (Manga)
14. Wotakoi 4 (Manga)
15. Still Sick (Manga)
16. Liberation Day (short stories)
17. My Phantoms (novel)
18./19. Wotakoi 5/6
20. Shrines of Gaiety (fiction)
21. The Snow Was Dirty (Crime fiction)
22. Now is not the time to Panic (New to me authors)
23. Downfall (GN/ in translation)
24. Factory Girls (New to me)
25. Flights (Prize winners - Nobel)
26. Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City (New to me)
27. Happening (Prize winners)
28. The Return of Faraz Ali (New to me)
29. Our Precious Conversations Vol 5
30. Folk around and Find Out
31. Cold Enough for Snow (New to me)
32. Sunlight On A Broken Column (New to me)
33. Our Precious Conversations Vol 6 & 7
34. Death in Summer (Crime, women in translation)

Library books read this month: 13

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 4:15pm

Women in translation (International artists)

Eva Hesse

1. Brickmakers (Argentina)
2. The Mad Women's Ball (France/US)
3. To the Warm Horizon (South Korea)
4. Punishment of a Hunter (Russia)
5. Wild Thorns (Palestine)
6. In Memory of Memory (Russia)
7. The Woman with the Knife (South Korea)
8. In Case of Emergency (Iran)
9. The Master Key (Japan)
10. Strangers I know (Italy)
11. Concerning my daughter (South Korea)
12. Wilder Winds (Catalan/Spain)
13. Goodbye, Ramona (ditto)
14. Witches (Spanish-Mexico/US)
15. Yell Sam if you still can (France)
16. The Last Children of Tokyo (Japan)
17. There's no such thing as an easy job (Japan)
18. Thirsty Sea Italy
19. Woman Running in the Mountains (Japan)
20. The Radio Operator (Germany)
21. Violets (South Korea)
22. Fictions and Lies (Russia)
23. Scattered all over the earth (Japan)
24. Talk to My Back (manga + academic review essay)
25. Mona (Argentina/ Spanish)

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 4:21pm

Prize nominees (women artists who have been nominated for and/or won prizes)

Check out the latest nominees for the Maxmara prize
1. Small Things Like These (Author has won the inaugural William Trevor Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Olive Cook Award and the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award 2009)
2. Matrix (Groff was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction)
3. The Sentence (Erdrich won the Pulitzer for her last book)
4. The Kids (Lowe won the 2021 Costa book prize)
5. Build Your House Around My Body (Women's prize 22)
6. Salt Lick (Women's prize longlist 22)
7. The Bread the Devil Knead (Women's Prize longlist 22)
8. The Book of Form and Emptiness (ditto)
9. Creatures of Passage (ditto)
10. Sorrow and Bliss (ditto)
11. Antarctica (Edge Hill short story prize)
12. The Things They Carried (author is National Book Prize winner)
13. Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies (Booker longlist)
14. Booth (Booker longlist)
15. The Half Life of Valery K (Times book of the month)
16. After Sappho (Booker longlist)
17. Case Study (Booker longlist)
18. The Colony (Booker longlist)
19. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida(Booker shortlist)
20. The Trees (Booker shortlist )
21. The Marriage Portrait

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 4:25pm

Books by authors with links to the African continent, loosely defined

Wangetchi Mutu "You were always on my mind" via Tate
1. Library of the Dead (Author is Zimbabwean)
2. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (Author is Somali, born in Kenya, lives in London)
3. Ancestor Stones (Sierrra Leone / UK)
4. A Blood Condition (Author born in Zambia, now UK)
5. Bless the Daughter raised by a voice in her head (Somalia/Kenya/UK)
6. At Night All Blood is Black (Senegal/ France)
7. His Only Wife (Ghana/ Liberia / UK)
8. Glory (Zimbabwe / US)
9. Straight from the Horse's Mouth (Morocco)
10. Vagabonds! (Nigeria)
11. Chronicle of a Cairo Bookseller (Egypt)

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 4:52pm

Histories & politics (early artists: Mary Moser)

Explore her work via Google.

1. The Mirror and the Palette (art history)
2. Devil in the Grove (civil rights)
3. Kingdom of Characters (history / linguistics)
4. The Long Song of Tchaikovsky Street (Russian history/ memoir)
5. The Siege of Loyalty House
6. Sex and the City of Ladies
7. Ethel Rosenberg: a cold war tragedy (biography)
8. Homelands: the history of a friendship (Memoir)

Dec 1, 2022, 3:56pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte.

I hope setting up a new thread, with some new art, cheered you up.
You found some beautiful paintings again. My favorites are the two by Georgia O'Keeffe.

Dec 1, 2022, 6:02pm

Love the colours in the Kathryn Maple painting!

Dec 1, 2022, 9:46pm

Happy new thread! Love the Maple painting.

Dec 1, 2022, 11:02pm

So colourful and interesting over here. Happy new thread Charlotte!

Dec 1, 2022, 11:56pm

Happy new thread Charlotte!

Those are some beautiful, bright, cheerful pictures.

Dec 2, 2022, 4:25am

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I hope the new pictures brighten your life.

Dec 2, 2022, 5:43am

Happy new thread.
I have Cloud Cuckoo Land on my pile to read, it arrived as a book subscription earlier in the year, only I've got very behind on those.
Hope you Mum's appointment goes well and she gets some improvement. In not having any at least they can't worry me any more, but that's a very fine silver lining and you really have to want to find it.

Dec 2, 2022, 11:24am

>12 charl08: and >14 rabbitprincess: I finished reading Cloud Cuckoo Land yesterday (library ebook). I have the newish Virago edition of Sunlight on a Broken Column out of the library (print) - I think I have the previous edition somewhere (also Virago) but this has a new introduction. And I have the books by Kae Tempest, Kathleen McMahon (think it was Women's Prize listed last year) and Olivia Laing on Kindle.

Dec 2, 2022, 1:37pm

What gorgeous pictures for your final thread. They're a lovely contrast from the dull greys and browns outside.

Dec 2, 2022, 2:29pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Here's hoping I can keep up with it this time.

Dec 3, 2022, 11:00am

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I love the art. I can't believe you've read almost 300 books this year! How do you do it?

Edited: Dec 4, 2022, 10:15am

>13 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I've been discovering lots of new-to-me artists via The Story of Art Without Men (and still over 100 pages to go...).

>14 rabbitprincess: >15 Tess_W: Isn't it beautiful? She has an exhibition in Liverpool's Walker Gallery in 23, I'm looking forward to seeing her work in person.

Dec 4, 2022, 10:19am

>16 mdoris: Thanks Mary. I saw a beautiful photo of Portobello baths from the (?) 1920s (when it was both an indoor and outdoor pool complex). A stunning mid-air shot. I'd quite like an art print linked to swimming on my wall.

>17 humouress: I hope so. It certainly did the trick for my mood.

>18 MissWatson: Thanks Birgit. It seemed to help. I've also been enjoying the books and the Xmas lights which have gone up around town.

Dec 4, 2022, 10:35am

>19 Helenliz: Oof Helen, I found this so sad. My sympathy.

>20 elkiedee: I have mixed feelings about Sunlight On A Broken Column, finding it quite melodramatic. Not helped by the accidental reading of the last page...

>21 Jackie_K: Yes, it's all rather brown here too. Helped to look a bit brighter by the Xmas lights which have gone up in town and the trees at work. I'm yet to get to ours though it's on my list!

>22 RidgewayGirl: Thanks. With your dad's move I imagine you have more than enough on your plate just now. Your comments about sweary cats did make me laugh.

Dec 4, 2022, 10:36am

>23 BLBera: Well, last month the answer was "with Manga"!

Edited: Dec 4, 2022, 10:43am

I'm behind on reviwws again.

Burnt Shadows

I liked the idea of this more than the actual book. Shamsie manages to travel from the Nagasaki bomb to Raj India to post 9/11 New York. She uses the connections between two families, one white British imperial administrators, the other "victims" of that system, to create a narrative that had me putting the book down half way through afraid of what might happen to one of the characters.
I loved this description of the elderly Hiroko arriving in (pre 9/11) New York.
...the young Japanese women who intrigued her most of all their unabashed laughter, their vocabulary peppered with words she didn't understand, forcing her to recognise that her own Japanese belonged to 'Grandmother's generation'. Nothing foreign about foreignness in this city. 'Like Mary Poppins' handbag', Ilse had said to explain how much the little island of Manhattan could hold within it.

Edited: Dec 4, 2022, 10:57am

What's the Furthest Place from Here? (GN)
Rather more gorey than I usually read. Book one of a new GN series set in an apocolyptic world peopled by "families" with their own small territories. Gradually the reader pieces together why everyone's young in these families, and what happens when rules are broken. But there are (of course) many questions left for the next volume(s).

Wotakoi 1: love is hard for otaku (Manga)
This was fun, a manga with helpful footnotes (!). Otaku is apparently a term for Japanese young people who have spent so long with popular culture (video games, anime, manga etc) that they're not so great at "RL". The author uses a standard romance trope (fake relationship) to riff off famous video games, Asian movies and even classic Japanese literature (e.g. The Pillow Book), whilst the two main characters try to pretend to their co-workers that they're "normal".

Dec 4, 2022, 11:12am

The Lost Man of Bombay
Third in crime series set in post-Independence India. A frozen body is found in a mountain cave and Persis is dumped with the case as "too political" for most of her colleagues. I liked the detail about the city (now Mumbai) and the dry humour.

Here Persis' investigation takes her into a seminary.
She supposed few women ever set foot here, least of all women dressed as police officers.
Rebeiro led her into the dormitory wing.
They passed an open doorway. Turning her head, she saw young men engaged in the time-honoured biblical pursuit of ping-pong, hopping around in their robes and thrashing at a white ball with wooden racquets.

Dec 4, 2022, 2:15pm

>25 charl08: Hi Charlotte, I love any swim talk!

Dec 4, 2022, 2:45pm

>31 mdoris: I want to do a bit more of the swimming in 2023 (as well as admiring the art). My friend is due this month, so we took things gently in the pool. I could do with a proper session. Maybe I can make water the theme for '23?

Dec 6, 2022, 1:06pm

I like Shamsie so will probably read Burnt Shadows at some point. The Lost Man of Bombay also sounds good. I'll look for that one.

I like the idea of a water theme...

Dec 6, 2022, 3:17pm

I'm on the last few pages of Homelands: the history of a friendship Charlotte. Really liked it.

The Story of Art (Katy Hessel) just landed, so will make up some of my Christmas reading, along with 1000 years of Joys and Sorrows (Ai Weiwei)

>28 charl08: Hmm I have an unread Shamsie on the shelf. Maybe next year.

Dec 10, 2022, 2:19pm

>33 BLBera: I need to get my ideas together re the theme. Time's a marching on.

>34 Caroline_McElwee: Glad it went well for you. I think I will look for her next book, I liked her writing.
I've just made it to Boty in the Hessel. The pictures are just amazing.

As Helen said on her thread (I think) there is always next year for a reading plan.

I have not done much reading this week as on Monday had some awful news about my mum. Scans have found inoperable cancer in her pancreas and liver, and the medics suggest we have "months" left with her. My brother and sister have come home which is a massive help, and we are trying to work out next steps.

Edited: Dec 10, 2022, 2:49pm

(Very brief) catching up on what I have read:

7. A Man and his Cat (Manga)
I didn't know this was a thing, manga about cats. This first volume of a series follows a lonely cat and his new owner. We're given hints about the owner's lonely past, but the focus is on the transformation through care of a pet. Sweet, but I won't be rushing to read vol 2.

Sinister Graves (Crime fiction/ familiar faces)
I love this series, following a young woman who "helps" the police in the 70s, a victim of anti-Indian fostering policies. As with the two previous books in the series, the author is telling us much more than a crime story here. I continue to root for Cash.

Manga read:
Our Precious Conversations 3
These are free via Kindle unlimited. Set in a school where the "hero" is oblivious but the conceit is running a bit thin for me here.

Asadora! 3
In contrast, via my library. The young heroine in 1950s Tokyo is trying to defend her city from a monster (or is it a Communist plot against the Olympics?). Tokyo is pretty seedy and down at heel, but trying desperately to tidy up for the international sporting visitors.

Wotakoi 2/3/4 (Manga)
Enjoying this series so much I paid my own $$ for it. Childhood friends meet at work and discover they are both covering up how much they play games / spend time creating fan manga / watching anime.
I'm enjoying this as much for the helpful translator's footnotes as for the story. It's an insight for me into a culture I had no idea about.

Dec 10, 2022, 3:03pm

> I'm so sorry to read you've received this terrible news. I hope over the coming weeks that you have enough help to allow you to have some rest time in support of your own health and welfare.

Edited: Dec 10, 2022, 3:18pm

Everybody: a book about Freedom (NF/ lit crit / history)
I so enjoyed Laing's book about cities, and this one too. Using her biography and discussions of the life and work of radical thinkers from Weimar Germany to 70s New York, she makes a compelling case for careful consideration of attitudes to the body, to gender and to love.
By insisting that there could be no positive discussion of homosexuality in schools, it* ensured the opposite. Homophobia spilled up unchecked. Poof, lezzer, I hope you die of Aids: the torrent of playground language to which any gay or gender non-conforming kid was subjected. I can still feel my school years in my body, every muscle clamped and clenched, defended against discovery of the so-called family situation...

* Section 28, legislation supposed to "protect " children from promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Liberation Day short stories
I went to hear George Saunders as part of Manchester's lit festival in October, and came away with this new collection of stories. I found them quite hard to read in places, as many (fictionally) engage with the price of failing to engage with politics. Characters reflect on the loss of freedom, people "choose" to have their memories wiped, office workers manipulate and control each other. Brilliantly done, but not a comfortable read.
...we assumed...that some adult or adults would arrive, as they had always arrived in the past, to set things right. It did not seem (and please destroy this letter after you have read it) that someone so clownish could disrupt something so noble and time-tested and seemingly strong, something that had been with us literally every day of our lives. We had taken, in other words, a profound gift for granted.

Dec 10, 2022, 3:18pm

>35 charl08: Very sorry to hear this news about your mother, Charlotte. Sending virtual hugs.

Dec 10, 2022, 3:26pm

>35 charl08: So sorry about your mother, Charlotte.

Dec 10, 2022, 4:00pm

>35 charl08: Oh what awful news! I'm so sorry. I hope that you are all able to get the support and solace you need.

Dec 10, 2022, 5:03pm

Terrible news about your mom, Charlotte. I am so sorry.

Dec 10, 2022, 7:01pm

Sorry to hear this news about your mum, Charlotte.

Dec 10, 2022, 7:37pm

>35 charl08: Oh Charlotte, I'm so sorry. Thinking of you all.

Dec 10, 2022, 8:56pm

Happy new(ish) thread, Charlotte. I actually have a print of that O'Keeffe in your topper. It's a beauty.

So very sorry about the news re your mum. Good that your siblings are able to be there and support you both.

Dec 10, 2022, 11:50pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. Sorry to hear the news about your mum.

Dec 11, 2022, 12:22am

Charlotte, I am so very sorry to hear the news about your mum. I'm glad your brother and sister have come home to help support you and your mum and dad. I hope you find time for rest and time together. ((( hugs))))

Dec 11, 2022, 2:38am

>35 charl08: Hello Charlotte. I am so sorry that you have received such very difficult news about your mum.

Dec 11, 2022, 5:08am

Sorry to hear you got such devastating news.

Dec 11, 2022, 6:15am

>35 charl08: I'm so sorry Charlotte.

Dec 11, 2022, 7:11am

I am so sorry to hear about your mother, Charlotte. Good that your brother and sister are around.

Dec 11, 2022, 7:37am

So sorry to hear your mother's news.

Dec 11, 2022, 6:22pm

>35 charl08: Such sad news for you all Charlotte. I will keep you all in my thoughts, and hope that your mum is as comfortable as possible for as long as the next part of her journey is. Hugs.

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 11:52am

>35 charl08: sorry about your bad news. Cherish the time remaining.

Dec 12, 2022, 11:15pm

>35 charl08: Oh, Charlotte, that is very hard for everyone in your family. I will be thinking of you.

Dec 13, 2022, 6:35am

Thanks everyone. My mum made a comment about how supportive everyone is here. I do appreciate it.
She's been given lots of pain relief and we're pushing special nutitional drinks at her as per the hospital instructions. She seems a bit brighter and more herself.
We're expecting more info in terms of treatment plans etc. later in the week.

Edited: Dec 13, 2022, 6:48am

My Phantoms
The novel's narrator has a terrible relationship with both her parents, both of them seem flakey. I thought it was as though the narrator is trapped in the perspective of a child, rather than an adult who recognises we're all flawed. She recalls awful visits with her dad after her parents separated, and stilted meetings in restaurants as an adult with her mum.
I've seen rave reviews of this, so definitely a case of your mileage may vary!
Probably not a book for me just now.

Edited: Dec 15, 2022, 9:34am

So sorry to hear about your mum, Charlotte.

Your comment on manga and cats reminded me that a librarian friend of mine shared this list of the best manga with cats, which starts with the one you've read. I read a couple of volumes of Chi's Sweet Home but apparently never cataloged them in library thing, so I'm not even sure how far I got. Will have to remedy that in the future...

Edited to fix my link which should make the paragraph make more sense now.

Dec 14, 2022, 8:52am

>58 bell7: I was surprised it was a thing, but it seems to be a whole genre to itself! Makes sense thinking how many people like cats.

Dec 14, 2022, 10:28am

Shrines of Gaiety
The new free-standing novel from Kate Atkinson set in 1920s Soho (London). I didn't think I'd get very far with this as my concentration's a bit spotty, but the story sucked me in. A bildungsroman, love story and crime thriller rolled into one. I particularly liked the humorous references to contemporary writers, from Hemingway to Thomas Mann.
So many had been lost in the war, she wondered-attempting to put a veneer of refinement on the base vulgarity of the proceedings - if they weren't following some instinctive compulsion to restock the human race. Like frogs.

She supposed she should come to terms with the concept of 'fun'. She didn't want any for herself but she was more than happy to provide it for others, for a sum.

Dec 14, 2022, 2:47pm

>60 charl08: I've not yet read a bad book by her. Must read more of them.

Dec 14, 2022, 5:05pm

>60 charl08: This one sucked me into that world, too. Glad it was there to provide a distraction.

Dec 14, 2022, 9:38pm

>60 charl08: Hit me with a BB!

Dec 15, 2022, 4:40pm

I just saw the awful news about your mother. Wishing you and your family peace and strength during this difficult time.

Dec 15, 2022, 5:19pm

>61 Helenliz: Emotionally Weird (as I recall it) was a bit odd, Helen. Did you read that one? I was disappointed after Behind the Scenes at the Museum. But apart from that quibble, agreed.

>62 RidgewayGirl: I am finding the books a help. That and my sister's dog, who is quite a personality. She's sighing right now because she's been left at home for the evening.

>63 Tess_W: It's a good one.

>64 christina_reads: Thanks for the kind message.

Thanking librarians (once again). I explained that my mum was unwell and had asked me to check on her behalf- one of our friendly branch team waived the fine on her account without being asked.
Also very impressed with one of the local banks who were so patient with my dad today.

Edited: Dec 17, 2022, 10:22am

Now is not the time to panic

I read this on Kay's recommendation (Ridgewaygirl) - really enjoyed this novel that took a teenager's empty summer and imagined things spiralling out of control (pre-internet).
"Do you feel bad about the poster?" I asked. "Why are you so upset?"
"It's not the poster. Like, well, you know, I love the poster. I think it's cool. It's just, I'm really scared because nobody else seems to understand it."
"I guess I kind of thought that we didn't want anyone else to understand it, right? Like, it's just us. We're the only ones who know what it is."
He thought about it for a second. "I mean, yeah," he continued, "but, like, I kind of wanted other people to not understand it in ways that they assumed a really cool artist had made it. I didn't want them to not understand it in a way that they think we're devil worshippers who abduct kids."

Dec 17, 2022, 10:31am

I look forward to the Atkinson, Charlotte. The only one of hers I haven't read is Emotionally Weird; I guess I'll save it for when she is retired from writing. I have loved all of them.

I'm happy to see that people are being helpful and kind. Take care. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Dec 17, 2022, 12:41pm

I'm thinking of you and your family, Charlotte.

Dec 17, 2022, 1:06pm

>60 charl08: I didn't realize there was a new Atkinson out. Thanks for that, Charlotte.

Dec 17, 2022, 1:44pm

>65 charl08: I've read Life after Life, Transcription and one of the Jackson Brodie series. I like that they manage to be quite different. I know she's written a lot more than that.

Edited: Dec 18, 2022, 6:39pm

>67 BLBera: I did enjoy it. I was going to make another comment about not knowing where it was going, but I seem to be a bit of a stuck record about that at the moment.

>68 MissBrangwen: Thank you. Mum's niece came to visit today so she was so glad to see her. We're having some trouble persuading my mum (a nurse/ midwife of x years, plus the one who has chased/ supervised all of my dad's medication for the last 20 years) that she doesn't have to do it herself in the middle of the night.

Dec 18, 2022, 2:41pm

>69 Familyhistorian: I was so pleased to find it had been published - I'd missed it completely until I read a review on Litsy.

>70 Helenliz: I'll let you off, Helen. ;-)

Edited: Dec 18, 2022, 2:53pm

The Snow Was Dirty
This is by Simenon. It made me laugh as there was a typo re the publication date (given when Simenon died, 1984 was an unlikely first publication). Someone had corrected it (in pencil, I approve.)
That was just about the only funny thing in the book though. About an awful young man during WW2 who helps his mum run a brothel. He takes advantage of a young woman in his apartment block, robs an old family friend, and kills a soldier. There's no resistance heroism beyond the periphery, observed as pointless. Then it turns as a corrupt German is caught and the awful boy is brought in for questioning linked to his thefts. Kind of reminded me of Brighton Rock - a book read wondering how it can get any worse. I didn't like it much.

I didn't like this much either! Seedy manga about a manga writer going through a divorce. He hates his job, and is cynical about publishing and writing trends. It felt a bit too meta for me, as well as a grim picture of sex for sale in Tokyo.

Dec 18, 2022, 3:25pm

>66 charl08: I'm glad you liked it -- it's the kind of book I end up feeling kind of protective about although I'm sure the author is doing just fine.

Dec 19, 2022, 10:21am

>74 RidgewayGirl: Definitely did, and wouldn't have requested it from the library without your review. Thank you!

Factory Girls
The problem was, the time between launching a mortar and it landing was just seconds, so nobody issued warnings about mortar attacks, not even the nod and wink kind of caution you sometimes got before an ambush, warning you to avoid a certain road at a specific time or to stay indoors longer than you might usually do on a particular morning. That meant that "The Parish Hall Mortar Attack' (so christened in order to differentiate it from 'The First Mortar Attack' and 'The Really Bad Mortar Attack') came as a surprise not just to the RUC, but also to Father Goan, the residents in the nearby old folks' home and everyone who had been involved in the dress rehearsal of the Christmas show.
Darkly funny look at life as a teenager just finishing school in small town Northern Ireland. Three friends get a job in the local factory, supposedly a trailblazing cross-community initiative. They're waiting for A Level results which will (if passed) let them leave NI and The Troubles behind. Along with the humour there's lots here, not least about the impact of trauma on children and their families. I liked too the author's awareness of gender and class on how the Troubles hits you. I think may appeal if you liked Derry Girls, and with some overlap with Milkman (if not as literary).

Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 10:25am

Dec 21, 2022, 10:52pm

I'm sorry to hear the news about your mum. My thoughts are with you and your family.

>30 charl08: I've been looking for more mystery series set in India and will make a note of Vaseem Khan, whose books I've not tried yet!

Dec 22, 2022, 4:11am

That's less than a book a day, that must be doable!
I've got 3 to finish in 9 days, that's a lot less likely!!

Dec 23, 2022, 1:45am

300!!! You go girl. I have one left to make my magic 100. We can do it!!

Edited: Dec 23, 2022, 6:45am

>78 mathgirl40: Thanks for the good wishes. Mum's having a biopsy today after a rough week, so I am sitting in a (surprisingly nice) hospital cafe drinking a (surprisingly nice) cup of coffee.

I tried to think of other Indian crime fiction - Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line plus Abir Mukherjee's series.

>79 Helenliz: I'm not sure!

>80 Berly: Cheers, things are chugging along.

Dec 23, 2022, 9:35am

With every good wish of the season Charlotte. I hope you have an extra special Christmas with your family.

Dec 23, 2022, 11:21am

Happy Christmas from my Christmas gnome!

Dec 23, 2022, 4:32pm

>81 charl08: Thanks for the mystery recommendations, and I hope things go well for your mum.

Dec 25, 2022, 9:52am

>82 Caroline_McElwee: >83 SandDune: >84 mathgirl40: Thank you. We're watching the Great Escape. Xmas traditions...

Dec 25, 2022, 8:23pm

Dec 26, 2022, 2:13am

LT makes the world smaller and better. Have a good holiday, Charlotte.

Dec 26, 2022, 3:25am

Thanks Kim and Paul.

Not a great Xmas, but taking what we can get while my mum is still with us. Mum spent most of yesterday evening asking "when can we go home?" which was pretty sad-making.

Dec 26, 2022, 3:34am

Hi Charlotte. Wishing you and your family all the best.

Edited: Dec 26, 2022, 5:40pm

I finished some books though, still providing distraction which I am appreciating - and hoping will last.

Flights (Prize winners - Nobel)
This was my second book by Tokarczuk, and I'm hoping to follow up with The Books of Jacob. But maybe not straight away. It's very loosely structured, with short (sometimes paragraph length) chapters loosely themed around travel and the body. Within these broad themes, there are many stories. She explores/ fictionalises the life and work of early anatomists, asking about what it must have been like for those initially trying to work out the foundations of modern medicine. In another strand she follows a woman asked to help a friend end his life, whilst in another a man tries to come to terms with his wife's disappearance - and reappearance. I can't say this was a favourite, but I did enjoy the writing and some of her reflections on the feelings and emotions around travel were lovely.
Am I doing the right thing by telling stories? Wouldn't it be better to fasten the mind with a clip, tighten the reins and express myself not by means of stories and histories, but with the simplicity of a lecture, where in sentence after sentence a single thought gets clarified, and then others are tacked onto it in the succeeding paragraphs? ....

Tales have a kind of inherent inertia...

Edited: Dec 26, 2022, 5:38pm

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
This was an LT recommendation - thanks to Birgit (Miss Watson) for mentioning this one. I'd not come across the author before. I really enjoyed this imagined world, which used a similar conceit to Noughts and Crosses. Orhan is left as the last man standing in the leadership of an empire. What made the book for me was how it took it beyond the heroics (and mechanics) to ask the inconvenient questions about the costs of 'winning'.
'Take it away " I said to him in Alauzet-I knew he was from the Old Country by the colour of his hair. "I'm Orhan, colonel of the Engineers. And you could put an eye out with that thing."

He grinned and put it down. He'd heard of me, the only Alaz to have made good in the big city, I'm famous. Sold out is the term they generally use, but I'm sure they mean it kindly.

Dec 26, 2022, 3:48am

This was the first Ernaux I've read, more of an essay than a book (under 100 pages). Ernaux excavates her experience of abortion in 1960s France. As a young student Ernaux hid her pregnancy from her parents, found a back street abortionist, suffered a life-threatening haemorrhage and life-saving, but begrudging, traumatic treatment in a state hospital.
A reminder about the importance of women's access to these services.

Dec 26, 2022, 3:51am

>89 humouress: Thanks Nina. She wants to stay home so everyone is trying to do that for her. I really appreciate all the kindness of everyone here.

Dec 26, 2022, 6:12am

>91 charl08: I really enjoyed Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City as well. Keep meaning to get around to its sequels.

Dec 26, 2022, 6:49am

>91 charl08: I'm always a bit hesitant about fantasy, but I've been seeing a lot of love for this one.

>93 charl08: All I can offer is hugs and sympathy.

Dec 26, 2022, 1:30pm

>94 SandDune: They sound great, I didn't realise there were other books set in this "world". Thanks for mentioning them!

>95 Helenliz: I wouldn't have found this without LT, but would read more by him.
And thank you.

Dec 26, 2022, 5:14pm

Best wishes to you and your Mum.

Dec 29, 2022, 1:18pm

Thanks Kim. We had a visit from the lovely hospice team today, they have sorted out her drugs again so we are hoping for less pain.

Edited: Dec 29, 2022, 1:27pm

The Return of Faraz Ali
Great book! My sister took over last night so I got to stay up late and read this one to the end. Kind of a crime novel, but it doesn't stick to (most of) the genre rules. Faraz was removed from his mother as a young boy. He returns to Lahore as a police inspector, asked by his father to intervene (cover up) a murder case. The book jumps forward and back in time through Pakistani (and then Bangladeshi) history, as Faraz reflects on his choices in resisting police corruption, wondering how much of a choice he actually had.


Edited: Dec 29, 2022, 2:27pm

>99 charl08: I have The Return of Faraz Ali TBR, initially via Netgalley but then it was one of the Kindle monthly deals this month so I bought it for 99p.

My mum had amazing end of life care. One of the district nurses and her GP were trying to buy copies of her books on China, though my sister did try to suggest the more accessible to a general reader ones rather than the very dry academic stuff. I hope they all came through the last few years ok.

Dec 29, 2022, 11:18pm

Hello Charlotte, thinking of you and your mum. Very glad you are getting some help.

Just started the new Nikki McClure book You Are Not Too Late and see that you have read it too. It is a beauty!

Dec 30, 2022, 5:16am

>100 elkiedee: I hope you like Faraz Ali as much as I did. Lucky you to get a Netgalley!
Your mum's carers sound wonderful.

>101 mdoris: It's a mixed bag - am counting my blessings that my brother and sister have both had the time to come stay with my parents. My dad is doing his best but (as anyone who has been through this will well know, sorry) it is just a lot on your own. We've been offered more support but it's just been nice to have us doing most of it, obviously with help on the meds and so on from the experts. I'm going to have "a conversation with work" next week. Not too sure whether that'll be more working from home or something else, but hoping the HR gods continue to be kind.

Dec 30, 2022, 8:08pm

Charlotte I sure hope the conversation goes well at work and there can be some kindness shown and needed flexibility. This is not an easy time.

Dec 31, 2022, 2:33pm

Wishing you luck with the HR gods Charlotte. More places have learned it is the right thing for all to be compassionate and flexible. I hope something that works for you all evolves.

Jan 1, 3:28pm

Good luck with your HR, Charlotte. My thoughts are with you. I wish you the best for the new year although it will be a hard one.

Jan 3, 2:07am

Hi Charlotte - just found your thread for the first time in a year and have seen the news about your Mum. I'm so sorry. It's so exhausting. Sounds like you are all doing as well as you could be.

Jan 3, 10:47am

Charlotte, I was also checking in to see how you were and was saddened by the news about your Mum. I am so very sorry. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

Jan 4, 9:58am

I know you have more important things to occupy your mind but if you set up home somewhere for 2023, do let us know. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to see what you read going forward and to, you know, be here for you.

Jan 4, 10:11am

I echo what Helen says.

Jan 4, 11:13am

Charlotte's set up a new thread for when she's ready to add detail and post on it.

Jan 4, 11:31am

>110 elkiedee: Thank you so much for that!

Jan 4, 6:13pm

I have been wondering about that too and grateful to have Charlotte's new thread link.
Thinking of you and family Charlotte!