Charlotte's (charl08) reading light(houses) 2

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Keskustelu2023 Category Challenge

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Charlotte's (charl08) reading light(houses) 2

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 6:17 pm

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

I was trying to think of a theme linked to something positive and uplifting (for me) and decided I'd go with lighthouses. I'm a fan. Most of these images won't be mine. Actually, most are mine.

I'll keep the categories from last year, with an additional one for reading my own books. Because that one is so needed!

Image by Quint Buchholz

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 5:32 pm

Books read by month

Lighthouse, Burnham on Sea

January 20
1. I want to be a wall (Manga)
2. Asadora vol 2
3. Asadora vol 4
4. Murder After Christmas (New to me)
5. Days on Fes (Manga)
6. The Crane Wife (Essays)
7. Ex Libris (books about books)
8. Follow Me In (GN)
9. Did She Kill Him? (History)
10. Eileen Mayo (Art / Reading my own books)
11. The Maid at my House (1-11) (GN)
12. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (1)(GN)
13. West (New to me)
14. A Guest at the Feast (Lit Crit/ familiar faces)
15. Godmersham Park (familiar faces)
16. A Side Character's Love Story 13 (manga)
17. Seventh Time Loop (Vol 1) (manga)
18. The Madness of Grief (memoir/ my own books)
19. Asadora! Vol 5
20. Mamo (GN)

Library books read in Jan: 9

February 24 (44)

1. Bleeding Heart Yard (crime / familiar faces)
2. Dear Life: a doctor's story of love and loss (Memoir)
3. The Book of Goose (Novel / familiar faces)
4. Georgie, All Along (novel/ familiar faces)
5. Thames Mudlarking (history/ geography)
6. Flèche (Poetry)
7. Jews Don't Count (Politics / antiracism)
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Familiar faces)
9. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (New to me)
10. Ducks: Two years in the oil sands (GN)
11. The Savior's Book Cafe in Another World 1 (GN)
12. The Savior's Book Cafe in Another World 2 (GN)
13. A Conspiracy of Tall Men (New to me)
14. On Grief: voices through the ages on how to manage death and loss (Literature)
15. Siblings (Women in translation)
16. On Connection (Reading my own books)
17. The Escape Artist (History/ the Holocaust)
18. Euphoria (fiction / new to me)
19. The Quest for the Missing Girl (GN)
20. The Year of Magical Thinking (Memoir)
21. A Side Character's Love Story 14 (Manga)
22. Cocoon (in translation/ my books)
23.There's Been a Little Incident (New to me)
24. Diary of a Void (Reading my own books / Women in translation)

Library books read in February: 13

March 20 (64)

1. Old Rage (Memoir)
2. Hear no Evil (crime / historical fiction/ new to me)
3. Notes On Grief (familiar faces)
4. Summer Fires (GN / in translation Italy)
5. All of You Every Single One (fiction, new to me
6. A Cosmic Kind of Love (fiction)
7. Drama King (fiction)
8. Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Essays)
9. Death of Jezebel (crime)
10. Demon Copperhead (familiar faces / prize longlists)
11. House of the Sun (manga)
12. The Way of the Househusband 1 (manga)
13. The Unseen (Lancaster online bookclub / in translation)
14. Komi Can't Communicate 1 (manga)
15. LDK 1-10(manga)
16. Love Will Tear Us Apart (Fantasy/ familiar faces)
17. Children of Paradise (fiction / new to me / prize longlist)
18. Wandering Souls (fiction / prize longlist)
19. Acting Class (GN)
20. Boy Meets Girl (reread)

Library books read in March: 12

April 9 (73)

1. Fire Rush (Women's Prize longlist)
2. Ayesha at Last (fiction, new to me)
3. Lucy by the Sea (fiction, familiar faces)
4. The Cheat Sheet (fiction)
5. Kiss Him Not Me 1-3 (Manga)
6. Trespasses (Women's Prize Longlist)
7. The Dog of the North (Women's Prize longlist
8. If Only You (Bergman)
9. Bandit Queens (Women's Prize Longlist)

Library books read this month: 3

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:08 am

Familiar faces

Lighthouse, Mull.
1. A Guest at the Feast (Lit Crit/ familiar faces)
2. Godmersham Park

1. Bleeding Heart Yard (crime / familiar faces)
2. The Book of Goose (Novel / familiar faces)
3. Georgie, All Along (novel/ familiar faces)
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Familiar faces)
5. On Connection (Reading my own books/ familiar faces)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:11 am

New to me (authors)

Souter Lighthouse


1. Murder After Christmas (New to me)
2. The Crane Wife (New to me / Essays)
3. West (New to me)


1. Flèche (Poetry / new to me)
2.Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (New to me)
3. A Conspiracy of Tall Men (New to me)
4. Euphoria (fiction / new to me)
5. The Year of Magical Thinking (Memoir/ new tomme)
6.There's Been a Little Incident (New to me)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 6:20 pm

Prize winners

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 6:20 pm

African writers (loosely defined)

Harbour & lighthouse Kalk Bay, South Africa

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:13 am

Women in translation

Picture from visit to Lighthouse Books (Edinburgh)

1. Siblings Germany (Women in translation)
2. Cocoon China (in translation/ my books)
3. Diary of a Void Japan (Reading my own books / Women in translation

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:17 am

Reading my own books

Bass Rock Lighthouse


1. Ex Libris books about books
2. Follow Me In (GN)
3. Eileen Mayo (art)
4. The Madness of Grief (memoir)


1. On Connection (Reading my own books)
2. Cocoon (in translation/ my books)
3. Diary of a Void (Reading my own books / Women in translation)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:22 am

Graphic Novels & Memoirs

To the Lighthouse Emrys Williams

Read in January:
1. I want to be a wall (Manga)
2. Asadora vol 2
3. Asadora vol 4
4. Days on Fes (Manga)
5. Follow Me In
6. The Maid at my House (1-11)
7. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (1)(GN)
8. A Side Character's Love Story 13
9. Seventh Time Loop (Vol 1)
10. Asadora Vol 5
11. Mamo


1. Ducks: Two years in the oil sands (GN)
2. The Savior's Book Cafe in Another World 1 (GN)
3. The Savior's Book Cafe in Another)World 2 (GN)
4. The Quest for the Missing Girl (GN)
5. A Side Character's Love Story 14 (Manga)

helmikuu 13, 6:28 pm

Adding "History and Memoir" back in as I forgot it on the last thread!

Wikipedia image of J M W Turner's painting of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
Built by Stephenson, off the coast of Angus, Scotland, it is the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse.

helmikuu 13, 7:00 pm

What fabulous and wonderful pictures Charlotte. It is a treat to visit your new thread and see all the lighthouses.

helmikuu 13, 7:07 pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I may have mentioned this in your first thread, can't remember, but your opening pic is the cover to a book I read a few years ago, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. I enjoyed it, and that cover was memorable!

helmikuu 13, 7:48 pm

>10 charl08: That Turner painting is gorgeous!

helmikuu 13, 8:17 pm

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I love the lighthouses.

helmikuu 14, 3:09 am

Happy new thread, Charlotte. The Turner is indeed gorgeous!

helmikuu 14, 3:54 am

Happy new thread, Charlotte!
Lovely to see all lighthouses. Like others I admire the Turner, and the Emrys Williams is intriguing.

helmikuu 14, 7:22 am

Happy new thread! There's something so solid and calming about lighthouses. That one in >2 charl08: looks slightly bonkers though!

helmikuu 14, 7:24 am

Happy new thread, Charlotte. I like looking at your lighthouses.

helmikuu 14, 7:40 am

Happy new one, Charlotte.

helmikuu 14, 10:06 am

Happy new one, Charlotte! Love all the images you have chosen, but I think ># is my favorite - something very restful about it.

helmikuu 14, 3:22 pm

Happy New Thread, and I love all of these images! Especially >3 charl08: because Scotland, and >10 charl08:. Very powerful!

helmikuu 15, 7:09 am

>11 mdoris: Thanks Mary.

>12 jessibud2: Since you mentioned it I have looked at the book, Shelley. What a great image for a cover.

>13 rabbitprincess: I wonder how he did it in the age before photos, as the Lighthouse is eleven miles off Arbroath.

>14 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I was in a bank last week doing sadmin and they had a giant photo of a beautiful local lighthouse I'd not seen before. I'm keen to visit/ photo more of those locally, maybe a walking project.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 7:24 am

>15 MissWatson: Thank you. I'm always amazed how artists do what they do.

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I think the Williams is a fun image, I'd not come across him before.

>17 Jackie_K: I agree. The one in Burnham is unusual: apparently because the traditional one couldn't be seen from some angles. It's even listed, which I didn't realise until just now!

>18 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I guess there aren't many in your part of the world?

>19 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.

>20 Crazymamie: Not sure which is your favourite, Mamie, but glad you like them.

>21 MissBrangwen: Mull is gorgeous, I'd like to go back and stay for longer. We just stayed for a night and were so lucky with the weather.
Just realised that photo was taken nearly fifteen years ago. Yikes. Where does the time go?

I am on strike today and have told myself I must mop the kitchen whilst my dad is out the way enjoying a senior dinner at my mum's church. So far I've drunk a cup of coffee and watched Nicola Sturgeon resign, so this is going well.

helmikuu 15, 7:46 am

>23 charl08: Oh, dear! The image in >3 charl08: is my favorite.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 1:09 pm

>24 Crazymamie: No worries!

Well the floor is mopped, at least. Although I'm not sure it's made much of a difference!

On Grief: voices through the ages on how to manage death and loss
I've been reading my way through a few recommendations on grief. This one was available at the library. It's a short book, under 200pp, with short introductions to poetry and prose by the author. Some were familiar to me (Elizabeth Bishop on loss). Some were particularly moving (Thomas Gunn on the death of a friend with AIDS). I want to read more by Meghan O'Rourke and have already got a copy of a book by Kathryn Schultz to pick up. But plenty more, from Donne to Nick Cave, that I imagine there is something here for most readers.

From Schulz
All of this is made more precious, not less, by its impermanence. No matter what goes missing, the wallet or the father, the lessons are the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external con- science, urging us to make better use of our finite days. As Walt Whitman knew, our brief crossing is best spent attending to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, denouncing what we cannot abide, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.

helmikuu 15, 12:52 pm

"We are here to keep watch, not to keep." I like that.

helmikuu 16, 7:12 am

>26 katiekrug: Me too Katie. I am looking forward to reading her book.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 16, 8:17 am

Siblings (Women in translation)

This was fascinating, but I'm not sure how well it works as a novel. The author was an East German citizen, and a successful writer. She died young, of cancer before she was 40. The book suggests the idealism of many of those living on the communist state just after the war. That idealism is contrasted with those disillusioned by the state's failures and seeking to emigrate to the capitalist west. Elisabeth, a young artist, is told by her brother Ulli that he wants to emigrate. He's been frustrated as he feels his talents at work, having trained as an engineer, are ignored in favour of party members. At the same time, the main character is also dealing with corruption from "old guard" members of the party. Initially I couldn't work out how this would pass DDR censorship, but "the party" ultimately, when it has "all the facts" does the right thing. Leaving is presented as another kind of corruption , breaking the family unit forever. On one hand it's like a window into a world now vanished when (some) people believed an alternative to capitalism was not only possible but tried to implement it. On the other, the ending felt like a Communist formula rather than a reflection of the siblings ' relationship.
"...I know my dear Comrade Ohm. The man has a ticklish spot under his jacket, on the left where he keeps his wallet.'
'He wants to make up for lost time,' I said. 'He suffered terribly under the Nazis - he was banned from painting.' The foreman rubbed his stomach and laughed.
'I've nothing against wanting to make up for lost time, my dear, but I was behind bars for three years.' He turned towards the window.
'Comrade Ohm spent his winters in a fishing village on the Baltic Sea. He didn't move with the times. His own fault? Maybe. Twelve years is a long time, dear girl... The man's lost his touch, he just hasn't realized yet. But sympathy? No.'

"I didn't know you were in prison.'

I don't run around advertising my past,' said the foreman angrily. He squinted at Lukas and grinned. "This complicated generation! One minute too cheeky, the next too respectful...."

helmikuu 16, 12:33 pm

>28 charl08: A BB for me! I like books about Eastern Bloc countries.

helmikuu 16, 2:46 pm

>29 Tess_W: I am fascinated by the period, sometimes wonder what I would have done facing a similar decision re migration.

helmikuu 16, 11:40 pm

>10 charl08: That's an amazing painting. Scary how high the waves could reach, might know the sea was in Scotland, though.

helmikuu 16, 11:50 pm

I love all the lighthouse painting and photos!! Favorites are >10 charl08: and >8 charl08:. Happy new thread!!

helmikuu 17, 6:55 am

>31 Familyhistorian: I can only imagine how cold it must be for the lighthouse keepers.

>32 Berly: Thanks Kim. I'm enjoying hearing who likes which one. I'll try and add some new pictures for the next thread.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 17, 2:21 pm

On Connection
A very short book, that I put down after the first 50 pages months ago as it just wasn't suiting my mood. I really like Tempest's work, for me they often observe things about communities which are insightful. Here they are much more reflective on their own experience, but where the emphasis moved from their own connection with others to wider observations I found myself more engaged.
Every shouted greeting, every stalling car, every siren, every screaming kid, dog, fox, radio. All that sound out there is life and people living. Not background sound. But close up. Front and centre. See all those windows in all those buildings? Look up. There's life in there. Put yourself away. Let go of yourself. Tune in to other people. To the movement the branches, the sudden coming of rain or the patterns in the waves. To how those two lie on the grass. To how that one sits on the bench with their hands clasped, looking up. To how those three stand at the crossing, playing with each other's hair. To how that young one shifts the weight of those shopping bags and tries to keep up with their mother's strong legs. This is it. This is the thing. This is the beautiful thing.

helmikuu 17, 9:26 am

>34 charl08: I enjoyed this volume Charlotte.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 17, 2:23 pm

>35 Caroline_McElwee: I am a fan, but this one didn't work as well as some of her others (for me).

Some intriguing ones in this new longlist:

helmikuu 18, 10:44 am

>36 charl08: Thanks for the list, Charlotte. There are some titles that look great: The Sun Walks Down especially.

helmikuu 19, 7:03 am

Happy new one, Charlotte.

helmikuu 19, 7:41 am

>37 BLBera: I've put a request in at the library. Fingers crossed!

>38 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I need to find your thread. Everything is much slower this year.

helmikuu 19, 9:44 am

>36 charl08: I have the Boyd Charlotte. Not read yet.

helmikuu 19, 12:28 pm

>40 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara.

>41 Caroline_McElwee: I've not read it either, although I've enjoyed several of his novels this one hasn't called to me yet.

Cleaning out and sadmin have paused as both my dad and I have picked up a lurgy.

helmikuu 21, 4:39 am

The Escape Artist
Finished this one last night as couldn't sleep (it's flu bug season at work again, it seems). Fascinating biography of a man who as a teenager managed, with a friend, to escape from Auschwitz and report on the deliberate industrialized killing taking place. Carefully before they escaped they documented what was taking place. They raced to share their story to prevent the extermination of Hungarian Jews, in the process contributing to the survival of up to 200,000 people.

I admired the way Freedland manages to incorporate into the book both the personal story of one teenager who faced something no one should, and the wider story of those who received the report and had to decide how to share it.
It's that discussion, of how to share with people the worst kind of knowledge that I thought that the book asks questions that still relate to today. How (if they do?) do people convert information that they don't want to believe, into a practical understanding that everything about their life needs to change in order to survive. Rudi Vrba believed throughout his life that had more Jews known about Auschwitz the Nazi project of extermination would not have been so successful.

Freedland argues compellingly that the reason this young rebel's story is not as well known as others eg that of Levi or Weisel, was his continued refusal to fit the expected narrative for Holocaust survivors. In Israel he continued to criticise the Hungarian elite who had survived but not shared the report into Auschwitz with ordinary people when they (arguably) had the chance. Decades later in Canada he continued to work with Simon Wiesenthal, even as IG Farben refused to pay compensation to those who died as slave labourers, and holocaust memorial events ignored him as too difficult.

The statistics are so overwhelming it is hard to comprehend, I think. The personal cost to the escapees I can somehow grasp.
More than 600 Jewish men from Trnava had been deported to Auschwitz from Slovakia in 1942. By the spring of 1944, only two were still alive: Walter Rosenberg and Alfréd Wetzler. All the rest had either been swiftly murdered, like Fred's brothers, or suffered the slow death in which Auschwitz-Birkenau specialised, worn down by disease, starvation and arbitrary violence, a group that almost certainly included Fred's father. Fred and Walter had grown up with those 600 boys and men - as teachers and schoolmates, family friends and acquaintances, playground enemies and romantic rivals and now every last one of them was gone. From the world they had both known, only Fred and Walter were left.

helmikuu 21, 11:45 am

Great review.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 6:24 pm

>44 Ameise1: It's a great book.

Well, before I fell asleep this afternoon and had weird dreams about whitewater rafting in a canoe in Uganda*, I finished a book.


Recommended by Megan (Lovinglit) this short novel inspired by (some of) the experiences of Margaret Mead in the Pacific Islands. Three anthropologists with very different ideas about how to understand different communities support each other and discuss the people they meet and the customs they (don't) understand.
"I'd been frightened out of my mind every day for two years,' he said.
I wouldn't have lasted half that,' I said, but it occurred to me that the Dobu sounded a lot like him: his paranoid streak, his dark humor, his distrust of pleasure, his secrecy. I couldn't help questioning the research. When only one person is the expert on a particular people, do we learn more about the people or the anthropologist when we read the analysis?
As usual, I found myself more interested in that intersection than anything else.

ETA Obviously still a bit out of it. I left out the key point that I thought it was brilliant - definitely worth reading.

*Never done this in real life. No idea where this came from.

helmikuu 21, 9:59 pm

Happy new thread! I just finished browsing through the posts on the previous thread and thought I'd mention that I also loved Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.

Good luck with the decluttering. I've been trying to do some of that myself at my parents' house. They're 86 and 88 and have 40 years of accumulated stuff.

helmikuu 22, 4:03 am

>46 mathgirl40: Thanks for visiting, Paulina. I am feeling pretty sorry for myself (blaming flu-depression) so appreciate the hello even more than usual. I liked the way the author in Ducks asked readers to think about *why* the mining communities were so toxic, as well as the fact that they were (are still?).

The decluttering / clearing is not an easy thing. Roni (ronincats) recommended a book/ website's approach on her thread and I think I might try that, as I feel like we've done a chunk of the obvious stuff, but are still left with so much.
But not now. Now, more napping and paracetamol and chicken soup.

helmikuu 22, 5:59 am

Charlotte, I am so sorry that you are not feeling well. I hope you are feeling better very soon.

Those last two reviews are great - I love the quotes that you chose. Onto The List they go.

helmikuu 22, 6:18 am

>47 charl08: I hope you feel better soon! I have a cold or infection as well and couldn‘t read at all yesterday, but today I can. But apart from that, napping, paracetamol and soup it is.

helmikuu 22, 7:36 am

Feel better soon, Charlotte!

helmikuu 22, 9:04 am

>47 charl08: Please take care of yourself! I hope you'll be feeling better soon, and thanks for the pointer to the book on ronincat's thread.

helmikuu 22, 10:06 am

>48 Crazymamie: Oh crumbs Mamie. I am just being self-pitying. This will definitely pass. I feel very embarrassed given everything you have going on at the PP. Thank you for being so kind.

>49 MissBrangwen: Oh no! Feel better soon. I was worried about missing the choir I literally just joined, but it turns out so many have called in sick the rehearsal has been cancelled. I was blaming the poor students at work but...

>50 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. I thought I'd want to read romance but haven't been able to find anything that makes me want to pick it up right now.

>51 mathgirl40: Thank you for visiting - and please do let me know if you come across anything helpful too re the clearing. I'd be grateful.

helmikuu 22, 12:58 pm

Whitewater rafting in Uganda? Maybe you have an adventure in your future.

The Escape Artist goes on my list. It sounds wonderful. Great quote. It really emphasizes the loss.

I also loved Euphoria.

helmikuu 22, 5:17 pm

>52 charl08: I had read this book several years ago and liked it very much: They Left Us Everything: A Memoir. The author, Plum Johnson, writes about her family's experience in cleaning out their parents' home.

helmikuu 23, 4:43 am

>52 charl08: I cleared out my mother's apartment in the summer of 2021. The situation was different because my mother moved to a care home. She moved there straight from the hospital - she had a fall in her apartment, was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and never came back to her apartment because of the staircase. She made a short list of things she wanted in her room in the care home, but apart from that it was all my decision. It was difficult because on the one hand, I was afraid of throwing or giving away anything that she might want later, and on the other hand my grandmother had only died in 2019. My mother is a hoarder who cannot part with anything, so I basically cleared out all of her things and my grandmother's things on top.

What helped me was a little bit of a Marie Kondo approach - spark joy. Of course Marie Kondo is a bit questionable, but it helped me to ask myself if I wanted to keep something for joy or just because of guilt or sense of duty. Would I look at that thing at a later point and have a positive feeling? If not, it had to go.

helmikuu 23, 4:30 pm

Hope you're recovering well.

helmikuu 24, 4:28 am

>53 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I hope plenty of adventures - not sure about the white water though.

>54 mathgirl40: Thank you - I'll look for that one.

>55 MissBrangwen: That must have been so hard Mirjam, I can't imagine. I've still not read Kondo. I did like that she said recently that having kids made the system impossible.

>56 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. The paracetamol and rest seems to be doing the trick. Only 16 books left to read from the library, so it better had!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 9:08 am

Treated myself for my birthday!

How to Read Now
Poetry Unbound
Toy Fights

The bookshop also had some '22 special edition book totes. Obviously, I really don't need any more bags, and yet...

helmikuu 24, 9:14 am

I'm reading a novel by Elaine Castillo, author of How to Read Now at the moment, America is Not the Heart. Will have to look up the essays.

Happy birthday, or at least hope you have a birthday with happiness as well as sadness (I find various birthdays and anniversaries a bit hard still)

helmikuu 24, 9:22 am

Belated happy birthday, Charlotte.

What a lovely bag.

helmikuu 24, 9:32 am

>58 charl08: Best wishes for your birthday, Charlotte! Love the tote. I think that just like books, you can never have too many bookish totes :-)

helmikuu 24, 10:12 am

Happy birthday!

helmikuu 24, 10:58 am

Happy birthday, Charlotte. I notice that the quote on the bag is by Jackie Morris. She of the *Lost Words* illustration fame? Wonderful!

And while, like you, I truly don't *need* more totes, that has never stopped me from acquiring the right one at the right time 😉

helmikuu 24, 1:47 pm

Can you ever have too many tote bags?
Happy birthday, Charlotte.

helmikuu 24, 2:21 pm

Oh my! I hope there is no limit on tote bags!;)

helmikuu 24, 4:04 pm

Sending big happy birthday wishes to you Charlotte!

helmikuu 24, 8:40 pm

Hope your birthday was a happy one! Love the tote bag choice.

helmikuu 25, 7:08 am

>59 elkiedee: It was pretty miserable, but the post helped. And this time last year we went to the spa, so that was a nice memory.

>60 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Wonderful news about Frank.

>61 MissBrangwen: I like your thinking Mirjam!

>62 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.

>63 jessibud2: I'd not made the link, but yes. They have a different artist every year. I haven't got any of the other bags. Honest.

helmikuu 25, 7:10 am

>64 Helenliz: The extras have certainly come in handy since the charity shops started asking to keep the bag!

>65 Tess_W: I'm in trouble if there is one...

>66 mdoris: Thanks Mary.

>67 bell7: Thanks Mary. I always mean to go and ask for one in the shop on Indy bookshop day, but have never got it together. Perhaps 2023 is the year...

helmikuu 25, 7:25 am

I've added How to Read Now to my wishlist. I'm a sucker for a good essay collection, and this is one of my favourite subjects!

Fox Lane Books do a £5 hardback sale on their website where they sell hardbacks with damaged covers or no dust jackets for £5 each. Must admit I succumbed to a couple this morning. They update the list every Friday. I saw a twitter thread recently saying that they were struggling a bit, so buying a couple of books that they wouldn't otherwise be able to sell is my good deed for the day.

I hope you and your dad are starting to feel better from the dreaded lurgy.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 7:33 am

The Quest for the Missing Girl
Manga that I picked up due to my library's collection. A mountaineer goes looking in urban Tokyo for a missing schoolgirl. He feels a debt to her father, who died on a climb in Nepal. This does get pretty dark quite quickly, explicitly referencing young girls caught up in the fringes of the Japanese sex industry.

The Year of Magical Thinking (Memoir)
Difficult to say anything new about this short memoir, I'm sure most on LT have come across it - nearly 10,000 copies on the site. I've come across some commentary about her elite status (the name dropping, multiple homes, flights around the world). For me that's kind of reassuring though: as Didion herself says, the resources that usually enable 'managing' difficulties in life (her high level networks) can't protect anyone from grief and mourning. I liked this quote.
After my mother died I received a letter from a friend in Chicago, a former Maryknoll priest, who precisely intuited what I felt. The death of a parent, he wrote, "despite our prepa- ration, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago. We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean's bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections."

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 7:38 am

A Side Character's Love Story 14
I continue to read this gentle manga series. The main character takes on her first graduate job, and finds it really tough.

That moment where you arrive at a new iob and you're told to "just read at your desk"....

helmikuu 25, 7:42 am

>70 Jackie_K: That does sound like a good idea - and a good deal. I don't like to think of how many books must get pulped.

Beth (BLBera) put me on to the essay collection with her review, I'm looking forward to reading.

helmikuu 25, 10:19 am

Happy Birthday, Charlotte. Great selection of birthday "gifts."

Castillo has an interesting essay about Didion in How to Read Now - it will be fun to see if your ideas about Didion change after reading it.

helmikuu 26, 8:04 am

>74 BLBera: OK, I'll have a look at that one first I think. Thank you!

helmikuu 26, 8:22 am

Happy birthday, Charlotte. I hope it was a good day for you.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 8:49 am

Dad's thuggish ways could be traced back to his childhood. Before graduating from elementary school he was already hanging out with the Red Guards, doing all kinds of horrible things. Even after the Cultural Revolution had ended, he found he couldn't stop, but kept picking fights with people. Rather than getting a proper job, he found ways to cheat or extort money.... Behind his back, they called him Death-Defying Cheng.

I read this for a new (to me) online bookgroup. Embarrassingly, I've been finding the timing of the other translated fiction bookgroup, I joined during lockdown, too late. I just haven't been able to stay awake listening to an hour of the translator / book organizer talking after a day at work now we're back 'in person'. However, I then got sick last week and missed the new group's meeting on Monday. I had previously heard the translator, Jeremy Tiang, speak about one of his previous books, and I have his own novel on the shelves to read.

I found this book heavy work, for me I think it tried to do too much. Two childhood friends reunite at the start of the book and in alternating accounts describe how their childhoods intertwined and then divided. Along the way, Zhang Yueran covers the war against the Japanese, the Cultural Revolution, the collapse of the USSR and China's move to a new economic approach. For me, the narrators' experiences of Chinese merchants racing into Moscow to go trade were the most interesting (if you can 'race' via a train journey of almost a week). Reviewers point to the way in the novel politics has warped characters' lives over generations, from struggle sessions to schoolchildren evaluating each other on the basis of their parents' seniority at the university.
"Are you going to tell me you found a new clue about your father's past, so you had to meet up with someone from long ago?"

"It's not like that. Last night was the end."

"That's the only way you can feel alive, am I right? The rest of the time, you're a walking corpse."

"Please stop. It's all over, Tang Hui."

"Do you know what I think of your life, Jiaqi? You insist on occupying a history that doesn't belong to you. It's a form of escape, because you can't deal with your actual life. You don't know why you exist, so you hide in your father's era. You feed on that generation's scars. Like a vulture. You pick up scraps of his life, and piece them into a love story featuring him and Wang Luhan. A shame it's all imaginary, Jiaqi. Do you even know what love is?"

A much more enthusiastic review here:

helmikuu 26, 8:53 am

>76 MissWatson: Thanks Birgit. It was hard: but glad to get the first birthday without my mum out of the way.

helmikuu 26, 11:18 am

>43 charl08: That one is on my list Charlotte. I like Johnathan Freedland's journalism, and saw one of his talks a couple of years back.

Belated happy birthday Charlotte. No doubt an odd feeling being the first without your mum. Hugs.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 6:48 pm

Happy belated birthday, Charlotte!

It is a difficult thing, being without your mom on important days like this.

helmikuu 27, 6:17 am

>79 Caroline_McElwee: He makes the story really go with a cracking pace, Caroline. Still hard to believe she's not just temporarily away.

>80 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I am going through a patch of finding things that have changed (or need to change) since she died, and feeling bothered by it.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 12:44 pm

There's Been a Little Incident
Funny book that reminded me of Marian Keyes: a host of characters in a large and rowdy family take alternating chapters, along with an occasional chorus. In the course of the book family members discover there is more to each other than they knew. Lots of great one liners and sharp observations. It's saved from tweeness by the twin threads of the delayed grief of one of the young characters and a matched narrative of a missing young woman in the news.
'Hey, at least you learnt something.'
'Not to sleep with Swedish vampires who have wives and children and a dog called Mimmi?'
'I was going to say the name of every piece of furniture in Swedish but, yeah, that too.'
'That's the best bit - it turns out IKEA don't name furniture by its Swedish name. They name furniture after things like rivers and islands and towns. Apparently, I walked into his living room with a smug smile on my face and did the equivalent of pointing at his couch-"Blackpool" - nodded knowingly at his coffee table - "Hull" - then sat down, chuffed with myself, in his armchair slowly repeating "Luton, Luton, Luton".

helmikuu 27, 1:12 pm

>82 charl08: - This one sounds really good. Neither of my library systems has it, but it's not too pricey to purchase, and I have a $3 credit, so BOOM! It is now in my (digital) possession.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 5:36 pm

>83 katiekrug: Hope you like it Katie. It made me smile, which is even more valued than usual.

Oof I'm tired. My step thing says I walked 5 miles today, so maybe that's why. I came home and my dad's eyes are really sore, and I phoned the specialist clinic today and found out they're not going to see him for weeks. Missing my mum who was much better at managing this than me. I sewed up a seam on his trousers though, so at least I'm good for something. (Self-pity party of one over here!)

Diary of a Void
Odd book, to put it mildly. Woman is annoyed by the petty sexism in her Japanese office that means she's the unofficial office "mum". So she pretends to be pregnant, and soon is enjoying leaving early, leaving the tea making to others, and socializing with other mums-to-be. I found myself getting really tense as I was reading this, waiting for her to be caught out in the lie.
Except it didn't come, and she is shown going to the doctor and the phantom baby somehow having become real. Except then the afterword suggests the kid is not real, as she's showing a child's photos from Instagram to her colleagues... On balance not for me. Although I do want a reheating bath, which a friend who taught in Japan assures me are not a figment of the character's imagination.
Looking at the weeks just before and after where I was, I saw week twelve was the one in which my belly would start to show, just a little. This was also when women started to put on weight-their appetite would return as their morning sickness waned. At week fourteen, the fetus measures around nine centimeters from head to butt and weighs just about 1.5 ounces. Right now, the app told me my baby was the size of a small plum. This app apparently put the size of the baby in terms of a different fruit each week. At week thirteen, an apricot. At week fifteen, a grapefruit.

So it was about time for my belly to start showing a little. Higashinakano was right. A quick search online turned up fake baby bumps, like the kind that actresses use when they play expectant mothers. For some reason, though, I couldn't find any to buy. I checked Amazon and Mercari, but got nowhere.

maaliskuu 2, 2:14 am

Old Rage
Sheila Hancock is an actor approaching her 90s, who had a best selling memoir following the death of her husband (famous for playing Morse). Here she starts off talking about how she has intended to write a positive book, passing on the wisdom of old(er) age. However, COVID and lockdown hits and she becomes increasingly furious at - well, many things. A reminder of just how confusing, aggravating and worrying everything was through the pandemic. I thought her early experiences were the highlights of the book - she was evacuated as a child and has worked as an actor for decades. Her memories of touring theatre productions and growing up after the war were fascinating.

On diaries and the end of life:
I am intending to destroy mine. But how? It is not an easy task burning flame-resistant, bulky, page-a-day booklets - as I discovered in one of my rows with John when I packed my bag to leave him, and on the way out attempted to dramatically destroy all evidence of our life together, in preparation for the new start I told him I was making. He sat chuckling in his armchair as I flung my diaries onto the log fire, only to see them curl and char slightly as they put out the flames.

I must get rid of them, though, in the process of trying to tidy up my life before I die. I have always used diaries to pour out my feelings at the end of each day....
I am appalled by the content of my old diaries. Maybe this vicious, moaning, frightened, lustful, verging-on-insane woman is the real me, but if it is, I don't want my daughters to know.

maaliskuu 2, 3:51 am

>84 charl08: No wonder you are tired after walking 5 miles, Charlotte.
Sorry you miss your mother so much, when your father needs to see a specialist (((hugs)))

maaliskuu 2, 9:28 am

>85 charl08: Shelia Hancock is 90. I really like her. I wish she wouldn't destroy her diaries. Maybe it's the effect of reading about Jane Austen recently (Lucy Worsley's biography and Gill Hornby's novel Miss Austen - a lot of which is about old letters and what they might give away.

And then there's the amusement in the news of a conservative journalist "betraying" Matt Hancock's confidences about health policy during the pandemic.

Of course you're missing your mum - I hope your dad doesn't have to wait too long. Is this delayed appointment a referral from a GP or an optician? Can you go back to the GP or whoever made the referral and ask if they can help further while he waits?

maaliskuu 2, 3:08 pm

>86 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

>87 elkiedee: I didn't realise she was 90 last week! Happy birthday Sheila.
Dad is apparently on the "urgent" list. Average wait figures for the hospital are *nearly a year*.

maaliskuu 3, 4:20 pm

>85 charl08: Another on my list. I read her earlier book. I saw her reading in the London Library some years back Charlotte.

maaliskuu 3, 6:24 pm

>89 Caroline_McElwee: I have been enjoying her contributions to just a minute on my walks to work recently. It must have been fun to hear her speak live.

I've managed to pull a muscle in my right arm/ shoulder. Not quite sure how, as it's not like I've been doing much exercise. I'm going away next week so I have to remember not to buy heavy thingsI have to carry home.
Like books. Hmm.

Hear No Evil
I love historical crime set in Edinburgh and this one was fascinating. Based on a real case where a deaf woman was accused of killing her baby by throwing it into the river. The author was frustrated by the lack of historical information about the accused, so made it up. Lots of detail about 1817 Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the first school for the Deaf.
....from hence, meadows stretched all the way to the Firth of Forth, a landscape dotted with hamlets of loosely grouped cottages and the odd large estate house. To the north-east lay Leith, with its jumble of ships' masts crowded into its small harbour.

The sea was a broad blue sword, splitting the Lothians from the Fifeshire coast. A raft of clouds hung heavy like rows of billowed sheets ready to be folded. In the foreground, machines and plant stood idle - no work being undertaken on a Sunday. At the far side of the Nor Loch, stakes had been hammered into the ground, and ran the length of the south bank. The city was in the process of being redrawn - an orderly grid in the manner of that at Bath had been promised to Edinburgh's denizens. Rows of elegant, light buildings with expansive roads and gardens would be an antidote to the medieval crush of the steps and vennels that emitted from the skeleton of the High Street.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 4, 6:34 am

>90 charl08: I just looked up Hear No Evil to add it to my Kindle wishlist and discovered that it's on sale at 99p. Bought it.

maaliskuu 4, 6:56 am

>91 elkiedee: Wow, that's a good deal. She's a first time author, so hoping for more to come.

maaliskuu 4, 4:44 pm

>90 charl08: She was just reading to herself Charlotte. Over the years I've seen a number of well known members just enjoying quiet library time.

maaliskuu 6, 8:19 am

>93 Caroline_McElwee: I think I would find it hard not to disturb someone like that. I would want to tell them they were appreciated. I should probably not ever become a member!

maaliskuu 6, 10:11 am

Notes On Grief (familiar faces)
A very short book, more of an essay really, on Adichie's reaction to the loss of her elderly (but very active) father. Compounded by the pandemic which cut her off from her parents and siblings based in Nigeria. She writes beautifully about the incomprehensibility of loss (even when your parent was "a good age").
On the Zoom calls, we are flailing, unprepared, uninformed on practical things. It is also an emotional floundering. We have been so fortunate, to be happy, to be enclosed in a safe, intact family unit, and so we do not know what to do with this rupture. Until now, grief belonged to other people. Does love bring, even if unconsciously, the delusional arrogance of expecting never to be touched by grief? We stumble; we veer from an extreme forced cheer to passive aggressiveness, to arguing about where guests are to be served.

maaliskuu 6, 5:30 pm

In case anyone is free and wants to support on March 9th ( online event).

Words for Relief: A Reading for Victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake
Organized by Words Without Borders, this virtual benefit event features readings by Orhan Pamuk, Maureen Freely, Elif Shafak, and others.

maaliskuu 7, 12:59 am

I hope you're feeling better, Charlotte, and a happy belated birthday.

I checked out the long list on >36 charl08: and was surprised that I'd actually read one, Act of Oblivion it was really good. I'd never thought of what happened to the men who signed Charles I's death warrant before. Of course I picked up a BB for another book on the list, Ancestry.

maaliskuu 7, 2:08 pm

More books for me to read:

(Women's prize longlist)
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris

Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Homesick by Jennifer Croft

I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel

Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

Pod by Laline Paull

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

maaliskuu 7, 2:21 pm

I'm a Fan and Trespasses are 99p each on Kindle right now. I borrowed Trespasses from the library and then snaffled a Kindle deal last summer, I think. Have just bought I'm a Fan.

maaliskuu 7, 8:08 pm

I have a hold on Stone Blind at the library! Looking forward to it.

maaliskuu 7, 8:29 pm

Thanks for listing the Women's Fiction Long list. I've read Demon Copperhead, and I think it deserves a place on the long list. I have The Marriage Portrait and Trespasseswaiting on my TBR shelves. Interesting list . A lot of books I've never heard prior to the list.

Sorry you are missing your mum so much . Big hugs from Vancouver. I hope your dad gets into see the specialist soon for his eyes.

I was pleased to get A Spell of Good Things in the post today from the Book Depository. I enjoyed Stay With Me, her debut novel so much, I hope this one is comparable.

maaliskuu 9, 1:24 pm

Yesterday I read The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken before taking it back to Kentish Town library as someone else had reserved it. This is a short novel about a woman remembering her mother who died recently, while wandering around central London.

maaliskuu 11, 11:39 am

>97 Familyhistorian: It looked like an intriguing list to me Meg. I've ordered a couple from the library but they've not turned up yet!

>99 elkiedee: That looks like a great deal, thanks for the heads up. I've bought both.

>100 rabbitprincess: It's brilliant. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Not sure if it's because I saw her speak about the book, but it's been a memorable read for me.

maaliskuu 11, 12:12 pm

>101 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I am still not very good at remembering she's not here anymore. Was shopping yesterday in some nice gift/ souvenirs type shops and almost bought her something. Hey ho.

I loved The Marriage Portrait - so atmospheric, and lots of lovely period detail.
Dad has just been given an appointment at the end of the month, hoping it resolves the problem.

I'd love to hear what you make of A Spell of Good Things.

>102 elkiedee: Sounds good. I think I might give grief lit a miss for a bit. I went from finding it helpful to finding it difficult.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 1:09 pm

I got about a third of the way through Günter Grass' book Too Far Afield, a book that has been on my shelves since 2014. I was in Edinburgh with a friend whose husband was away for a week - she has a toddler and a two month old, so there wasn't much time for reading!

I did go for a bit of a wander one afternoon and picked up a couple of second hand books. And popped into one of my favourite libraries, where they had a women's day display that made me wish I was still a member!

I managed to leave the Grass at her place today, and I can't seem to find an e copy, so that will have to wait for my next visit. Talk about a confusing book though: Two characters in approaching-reunification-Germany who also think they are characters from the 19th century. I was just about beginning to think, 200 pages in, I roughly understood what was going on.

maaliskuu 14, 8:18 am

Came across this study today, they're looking for UK based readers. And who (here) doesn't like talking about reading?!

What happens when we read fiction? Despite a substantial body of research demonstrating that our general knowledge, language and literacy skills improve over time, fascinating questions remain about whether, in what instances, and how, reading fiction can support our wellbeing.

In this qualitative research project, similarities and differences across the life span, and across different social contexts, will be explored through interviews with children (aged 9-11), young people (aged 15-17) adults (aged 30-45) and older adults (aged 65+). Through these interviews, we will explore readers’ perceptions of whether, in what instances, and how, narrative fiction contributes to their wellbeing, focusing specifically on positive affect, feelings of connectedness and personal growth.

maaliskuu 14, 9:26 am

>106 charl08: Oh that sounds fascinating! Makes me wish I lived in the UK so I could participate ;)

maaliskuu 14, 9:59 am

>106 charl08: I might be about to lie about my age. >;-)

maaliskuu 14, 12:47 pm

>108 Helenliz: Yes, I feel left out here!

maaliskuu 14, 5:28 pm

>106 charl08: >108 Helenliz: That does sound fascinating, but I don't fit any of the categories either! I suppose I should be relieved I'm not yet an 'older adult' - and I am glad that the views of the over-65s are being included, they're so often not.

maaliskuu 15, 12:35 pm

>107 bell7: >108 Helenliz: >109 elkiedee: >110 Jackie_K:
Well, the researcher emailed me and they're just looking for over 65s now, they've had such a great response.

maaliskuu 15, 2:37 pm

>111 charl08: That's good, I think.

maaliskuu 16, 5:30 am

>112 Helenliz: I think so too. Not sure whether to "interfere" and send to my local branch of the U3A, or not.
Thinking about it my mum would have been a great subject for this study I think. She read so much. My sister has taken three boxes of her religious books and only scratched the surface. I haven't had the oomph yet to look at her travel books. She loved Dervla Murphy, Colin Thubron, Patrick Leigh Fermor.
And then there was crime fiction, which came from the local charity shop(s), was read and then returned 'whence it came' for someone else. She loved a book bargain, and the library of course.
I would sometimes buy her a new book (not as often as I wish I had now) and she would never be able to take it without telling me I 'shouldn't have'.
Not surprising I became a reader, really.

maaliskuu 16, 5:35 am

>113 charl08: You're in for a treat if those are her travel books! They'll be there when you're ready for them. I've not read any Dervla Murphy, but I love the other two authors.

FWIW I don't think it would be interfering to send the details of the study to the U3A. They've put out the advert for the study, so are actively looking for participants. They haven't specified where they should or shouldn't come from.

maaliskuu 16, 6:19 am

>113 charl08: Such lovely memories, Charlotte.
I have enjoyed both Colin Thubron and Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 16, 7:01 am

>114 Jackie_K: I have read a few of them (pre LT). I also loved the Fermor. I was lucky enough to see the cafe where he ended the first book (I think? Now doubting myself - maybe the second one?)on a trip to Romania about 20 years ago. Somehow the building had escaped the communist "improvements".

Thanks for saying it's not interfering. I am never too sure with this kind of thing.

>115 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I think she would have loved your book week tradition. I am just laughing to myself now thinking about the time we went to a book festival in Wales, and my dad persuaded us to go to an event about the history of the potatoes. The author was so enthusiastic he barely covered his introduction in the hour allotted! It was all really interesting, but he just couldn't seem to stop himself. We enjoyed the humour of the situation, and laughed about it afterwards.

Death of Jezebel
Read for a litsy crime themed shared read. A bit too wordy, with what I found to be overdone twists for me, right now I think. Set in a "ideal home" type exhibition in the 1940s (and published in 1947). Some fascinating period detail to me. Some of the characters were from Malaysia, so the police can't prove who they are as all the records are missing due to the war. Housing is in such short supply the home event is more wish fulfilment than anything else for attendees. There's also a reasonably sympathetic portrait of a character suffering through (what I think we'd now call) PTSD. However there's also some language typical of the period, both in terms of "foreigners" (anyone not British), mental illness and gender/ sexuality (and I'm sure more for a more careful reader).
But also quite funny too: a policeman from Kent who really doesn't much care for the London force. Or younger officers who don't respect him. Or pubs where the staff don't know his order.
'And, funny thing, sir,' said Sergeant Bedd, eyeing Charlesworth for permission to speak in front of the old boy in the comic mackintosh-obvious police of some kind, all the same 'what's more no bedroom slippers: if you see what I mean.'

Charlesworth saw what he meant at once. 'Done a bunk, eh? Oh, by the way, Sergeant, this is Inspector Cockrill Kent police.'

Sergeant Bedd's large face took on a look of mingled excitement and awe. 'Good lord, sir: not Inspector Cockrill? Not that affair of the sanded paths down at Swansmere? And them decapitations at Pigeonsford?'

'And the anaesthetic deaths at Heron's Park hospital,' said Inspector Cockrill, grimly.

'Ah, yes: you was unfortunate there, sir. These things do happen: you'll remember, Mr. Charlesworth, we had a bit of a slip-up ourselves in that yachting business down in Devonshire?'

An extraordinarily pleasant fellow, really, for a Londoner...

maaliskuu 17, 1:29 am

Charlotte, I thought I let you - and any one else would like to weight in - there is rate the Women's Fiction Longlist books set up here.

I've only read Demon Copperhead so far, but I think I am just starting Trespasses, and I have The Marriage Portrait waiting for me on the shelves.

I just finished Weyward by Emilia Hart and I loved it! I'll let you know what I think of A Spell of Good Things when I get to it.

It's so hard missing your mum. I am sorry. It was so sudden. My dad passed of cancer when he was 65, and hard as it was, our family had 2. 5 years as he battled it, and so I think his passing was a bit easier, as we had time to get used to the thought. I remember how sort of shocked I was to see my very bigger than life character of a dad so still and silent after he passed away at home. That was he wanted, and me and my siblings and my mom were able to manage to that for him. It was certainly a hard time. (((((( hugs)))))

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 4:44 am

>117 vancouverdeb: Thanks for sharing the list Deborah. I've read three of the women's prize longlist, and just on Demon Copperhead now. My library has a lot of the nominated books but most of them I'll have to wait for (not necessarily a bad thing, as I have plenty out to read already. )

I think one of the things this has shown me (that I should have known, really) is how much grief so many people are carrying, all the time. I've had several conversations at work with folk who have also been caring for family members who were very sick before they died - very aware of just not knowing what stuff people are coping with internally (Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 5:04 am

Demon Copperhead (familiar faces / prize longlists)

Nudged to pick this up by the carrot of the thread set up over on the 75ers and the stick of having maxed out my loan (due today!). I read David Copperfield at school, I think for my exams (it's all a bit vague though). I think I read it on the train going back and forth for work experience. I guess the school thought there was a link there between David's world of work and our two weeks deciding that we definitely did not want to work in a music shop.
Or maybe that was just me?
Kingsolver takes Dickens' anger about abandoned poor kids in Victorian England and shows a broken welfare system in Appalachia, followed by the devastation of the opioid crisis. Demon's voice is compelling and despite the book being 500+ pages, I felt the book went very quickly. I can remember thinking how conveniently (for the main character) Dora died in the original book, and there's no change on that here. I'm not sure what that says about my continuing thread of cynicism since I was fifteen! (Knowledge of Dickens' personal life makes this worse, I think.)

maaliskuu 18, 8:27 am

>119 charl08: Sounds sort of like a more sophisticated Hillbilly Elegy to me.

maaliskuu 18, 10:07 am

>120 Tess_W: From a very different political perspective. I haven't yet read Hillbilly Elegy but I own a copy, but I understand the author is a Republican. I would describe Barbara Kingsolver as a socialist (this is one of the reasons I love her work).

I also thought a lot when reading of Empire of Pain which was serialised on the radio here not long before I read Demon Copperhead, an account of the opioid crisis/Oxycontin (not just of the Sackler dynasty, the family that made money from aggressively marketed opioid prescription medication that has become an addiction epidemic in the US). This is a book I plan to read properly at some point.

>119 charl08: I'm not really a fan of Charles Dickens, though I'm more interested in his work than I was because there are so many interesting adaptations and books/dramas etc drawing in his work. and I can't disagree with your spoiler comments.

maaliskuu 18, 2:08 pm

>120 Tess_W: I've not read it, so no idea.

>121 elkiedee: I haven't read Empire of Pain either! I hadn't thought of her politics: I liked the discussion at the end re taxes/ work. I was reminded of colonialism: taxes to make people have to have a reason to participate in the cash economy (rather than farm for themselves/ trade).

maaliskuu 18, 2:10 pm

Visited a National Trust house (Dunham Massey) this afternoon. Spotted in one of the (many) kitchen rooms.

maaliskuu 18, 3:30 pm

I think reading biscuits are an innovation we could all get behind!

maaliskuu 18, 7:28 pm

>113 charl08:. what sweet memories!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 8:30 pm

>121 elkiedee: I am perplexed why an author's political persuasions or voting tendencies would be mentioned. Perhaps you would be good enough to explain.

I have read Hillbilly Elegy and recently Empire of Pain and thought they were both excellent.

HI Charlotte, love following your thread!

maaliskuu 19, 6:09 am

>121 elkiedee: I hadn't considered politics when reading Hillbilly Elegy. Story of a family in crisis in Appalachia. I went back and reviewed the book in my mind and I still don't see partisanship........I could be dense! I find it to be a story of how the American dream is not alive and well in most of Appalachia, and that makes me sad.

maaliskuu 19, 11:01 am

>124 Jackie_K: I like to think chocolate was involved somewhere.

>125 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. It's Mothering Sunday here today. Mum was one of the people at her church who would be helping distribute flowers/ plants to mark the day.

>126 mdoris: >127 Tess_W: I am not going anywhere near this debate, apologies.

I clearly need to read Empire of Pain though.

maaliskuu 19, 11:09 am

>123 charl08: What a beautiful box, and of course I love the idea of reading biscuits (I am writing this while eating chocolate). I have always loved visiting National Trust houses when being in England, the houses itself and also the gift shops.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 19, 11:11 am

Women's prize longlist update

Read so far (in order of preference)
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Still to read:
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh - just started (from the library- someone else has requested it though, so I better get on with it.
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
Homesick by Jennifer Croft
I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (online copy)
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow on loan from the library
Pod by Laline Paull
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy - online copy to read.
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

maaliskuu 19, 2:08 pm

Sorry Charlotte, I had no intention of starting a fight on your thread. As others have asked me to explain what I meant, in a way I find a bit more confrontational than I normally expect here, I'm going to say more, but please let me know if you'd like me to delete this post.

>126 mdoris: and >127 Tess_W: I believe that the political views of a writer often inform her or his work, and it may also affect how each reader reads it. I have had Hillbilly Elegy on my Kindle TBR and still intend to read it some time in the next few decades - not a comment on the author but on how long it may take me to get round to any particular book, particularly if I'm not worrying about finishing it before returning it to a library. It might well be interesting to read something from a political perspective which is way out of my comfort zone. I've also heard parts of Empire of Pain last year on the radio and have a library ebook copy on loan at the moment, but it's been a few months since I borrowed it and it's very very long. I will probably need to see how well the ebook footnotes work and consider whether I need to see a paper copy.

maaliskuu 19, 2:38 pm

Sorry to disappoint, Hartley & Palmer's factory was in the town of Reading. So they are Reading biscuits, not reading biscuits.

Mind you, I'd happily have a biscuit while reading, so maybe they were on to something...

maaliskuu 19, 2:58 pm

>132 Helenliz: Awwww, but it's a very nice looking biscuit tin.

maaliskuu 19, 4:39 pm

>129 MissBrangwen: As I was with my mum's friends, I managed to swerve the gift shop. Probably a good thing.

>131 elkiedee: Thank you. I appreciate the kid glove treatment. Especially today. I didn't think it would bother me but it has a bit.

>132 Helenliz: >133 elkiedee: Ha! It did occur to me (but I prefer my version!)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 22, 2:18 am

The Unseen
I picked this up as I've signed up for another online book group. The one I was in, I'm struggling to stay awake for the meetings as they start at 8pm with an author interview and we don't get to discuss anything until 9pm. It's really prosaic but despite best attempts I just can't keep my eyes open.

This one starts at 6.30 and is based in a town that (at least theoretically) I could get to if they had a big event in person. The last meeting I was unwell so I was looking forward to last night, which was linked to the Lancaster Literature Festival. Roy Jacobson was due to speak about his book The Unseen. Unfortunately we got a message to say that he was stuck at a border crossing coming out of Ukraine, so the session has been postponed.

I enjoyed the book, set on a remote island occupied by a small family. Living with very little, the father goes away to fish for several months of the year. Much of the story we see through the eyes of the young daughter Ingrid as she grows up. Winter in particular is brutal on the island, but it's beautifully described.
In February the sea is sometimes a turquoise mirror. Snow-covered Barrøy resembles a cloud in the sky. It is the frost that makes the sea green, and clearer, and calm and viscous, like jelly. Then it can completely congeal with a translucent film on the surface and change from one state to another. The island has acquired a rim of ice, which also surrounds the closest islets, it has increased in size.

Ingrid stands in woollen lugg boots on a floor of glass midway between the island and Moltholmen and beneath her she can see seaweed and fish and shells in a summer landscape. Sea urchins and starfish and black rocks in white sand and fish darting through a swaying forest of kelp, the ice is a magnifying glass, as clear as air, she is floating on the water and six years old, it is impossible not to walk on the ice once it has formed.
As Ingrid grows up, she leaves the island for school, and then to work for a family on the mainland. However, the appearance of wealth held by mainlanders turns out to be less secure than it appeared, and Ingrid and her family have to deal with even more dramatic challenges than before.

maaliskuu 21, 11:14 pm

Charlotte, I am nearly finished Trespasses by Louise Kennedy. I hope to finish reading it later on this evening. I ordered Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin , but it won't be here until Friday. Trying make a little more progress on the Women's fiction Prize Longlist. I'll take a break after this, I think and read something light. But I am enjoying Trespasses. It took me a little while to get into the book.

maaliskuu 24, 4:23 am

I hope you are doing well, Charlotte, and looking forward to the weekend. I did finish Trespasses and I wrote a short review on the main page, It was a tough choice, but I decided I preferred it to Demon Copperhead. I've just cracked open The Bandit Queens, so I think while be my next read. The Women's Longlist has me a bit excited.

Reading biscuits - I love that idea!

maaliskuu 24, 8:56 am

>130 charl08: You are doing well with the Women's Prize, Charlotte. I've only read two: Demon Copperhead and The Bandit Queens. I hope to get to more soon.

maaliskuu 24, 5:55 pm

>123 charl08: Like. Even if it is Reading rather than reading ha.

>130 charl08: All new writers to me Charlotte. Although I love to meet new fine writing, I also like to see old favourites rewarded/supported. Balance.

maaliskuu 25, 6:36 pm

Charlotte, I just wanted you to know that I started a new thread in the 75's . My first thread in some three years, I think. Do stop by when you get a chance. You are doing really well with the Women's Prize! Thanks for weighing in on the thread with the dynamic rating.

>138 BLBera: Beth, thanks to you also for participating in the Women's Prize thread. I'm quite happy with the books this year.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 25, 7:36 pm

>136 vancouverdeb: Thanks to Luci and a 99p kindle deal I have Trespasses to read. >137 vancouverdeb: I think this is the most tempting of the WP novels. But that may just be because I am going to have to be patient and wait for it to come in at the library. >140 vancouverdeb: I will come and check out your new thread. Thank you for the heads up.
I checked out the list page too: should be interesting to see if the rankings match the shortlist at all!

>138 BLBera: Glad to have you back Beth. I was reading Didion in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. The critical essay you mentioned in How We Read Now highlighted her lack of awareness / acceptance of the neocolonial status quo. I wonder how Didion would respond if she were alive and writing now.

ETA Didion was in Hawaii. Sadly not me.

>139 Caroline_McElwee: Hey Caroline. I thought it was an interesting mix as Haynes, Kingsolver, and O'Farrell have such a prize track record, and Bulawayo's book has received so much attention already via the Booker. I do like hearing about new authors through this Prize. I'm hoping their non-fiction plans also get off the ground.

maaliskuu 25, 7:48 pm

Love Will Tear Us Apart
I really like this series, set in a fantasy version of Manchester (it still rains, but there is a supernatural order of creepy people trying to take over the world). The editor of the Stranger Times, a newspaper dealing with the supernatural, is convinced his dead wife is not dead. He abandons his team to try and follow ghostly messages. Meanwhile his assistant editor is deep undercover in a suspiciously successful "retreat" for the super wealthy.

If you like Pratchett and bad puns you might like this series.
'Are we sure this is safe?' asked Grace, who was steadying the other side of the ladder.

'We've sent a stoned Rastafarian up a six-foot ladder to try to corral a floating statue,' replied Stella. "This feels like the start of a weird Hallowe'en special of Casualty.'

maaliskuu 26, 1:29 pm

>141 charl08: Ha, I missed your read ones Charlotte, and of course have heard of all of those and read the O'Farrell, and other books by Kingsolver and Haynes.

maaliskuu 26, 4:08 pm

>143 Caroline_McElwee: Ah, that explains it! Thanks for clarifying.

maaliskuu 27, 4:09 am

>142 charl08: thanks for the prompt. I read the first and quite enjoyed it. meant to look out the second, which I have now placed a reserve at the library. No sign of the third yet in the catalogue.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 27, 5:11 pm

>145 Helenliz: Hope you can find a copy of the latest one too.

Finished Children of Paradise which won't be getting any shortlisting from me! Someone on Litsy describes it as "grubby" and that summed it up well for me.

There was a Paradise legend that the original owner had built a second screen, a small one, somewhere hidden where he and his friends would watch more risqué films, often in the company of prostitutes.

It wasn't long after I started watching all of Pasolini's films that Lydia suggested we should all do another search for 'The Second Screen'.

It was past 2 a.m., and we were slouched in the cinema seats. We had found a whole unopened packet of prescription codeine on the floor that day, and turned it into a powder we poured into water, and drank it while watch- ing Night of the Hunter.

Otto said, 'I know every inch of this building,' and that it was a ridiculous idea.

maaliskuu 27, 11:36 pm

>145 Helenliz: Thanks for taking one for the team with Children of Paradise, Charlotte. I was not planning to read it, anyway, but good to know to skip it. I'm about 125 pages into The Bandit Queens and can confirm it's a good read. I'm quite sure you will like it. Interesting and quite fast paced. I'm feeling quite sympathetic to Geeta, which I did not necessarily expect.

maaliskuu 28, 2:35 pm

>147 vancouverdeb: I suspect others will like it more than me. I'm just not a fan of detailed descriptions of dirty places!

maaliskuu 28, 8:02 pm

Hi Charlotte! So glad you read The Unseen. I would love to hear Jacobsen speak.

maaliskuu 29, 8:07 am

>149 banjo123: I've just had a message saying the session has been rescheduled, so fingers crossed it can go ahead smoothly this time.

Wandering Souls
I thought I would like this more than I did. The themes (Vietnamese refugees who settle in GB in the early 1980s) made for rich material, but I found the structure off-putting. Pin mixes a conventional narrative from the perspective of a teenager who lost her parents, with another reflecting on how to tell a story about the 'boat people', with another from the perspective of a ghostly sibling, from US soldiers who fought in Vietnam and extracts from official letters and (I assume) recreated news reports of the refugee crisis at the time and at present. Although there's a 'reveal' at the end that does some work to justify the pomo reflections on how to fictionalise a real story, there didn't seem to be enough space given to allow the characters much depth or even a sufficient interest in the characters lives after resettlement (we jump from mid-80s poverty to 21st century affluence). In particular I thought the ghost subplot suffered in comparison to the recent Booker winner. I've seen enthusiastic reviews elsewhere though, so I think I'm a minority view here.
There is a proper way to grieve in the eyes of others: not too little and not too much. But there is a part of grieving that occurs behind the curtains, a part that is just for us and the deceased. And I suspect it is this private communion, away from the crowd and the judgement, that we can find solace.

maaliskuu 29, 9:24 am

>150 charl08: Perhaps I liked Wandering Souls a little more than you did but I have some reservations. I'd like to see what she does next. I notice that she grew up in the US but has since settled in London, and there are some details which don't ring quite right here - I think an editor should have picked up on this. One of Anh's brothers is probably about my age, and there's a reference to his A level grades not being enough to get financial aid. I'm pretty sure the grades referred to would have got him in to a degree course somewhere in the 1980s, possibly a polytechnic, especially I think they were in sciences and not oversubscribed subjects. Assuming he qualified for a local authority grant, that was based on a higher education place and financial circs, not grades. Tuition would be paid for everyone and his circumstances would have probably meant a full maintenance grant, which would probably have been more than what they were living on a lot of the time. You wouldn't be rich on an 80s student grant but it was possible to get through without running up massive debts.

maaliskuu 30, 7:11 am

>151 elkiedee: I had no idea how things worked during full grants - they phased them out altogether after my first year after giving only a small £.
Funny how something like that can be distracting. The previous book I read referred to cash as "bills" instead of "notes". Not happy!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 30, 1:43 pm

Acting Class
Creepy graphic novel in which a free acting class turns out to have a high cost.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 31, 12:45 am

Nearly finished The Bandit Queens. I hope to finish it tonight. I also have Wandering Souls , but I think I may go for something light and fun to read next. My brother mentioned Slow Horses based on Mick Herron 's books, which I have read. I do have Apple TV, but an currently watching another series. I enjoyed the books in the series, so I think I will enjoy the Slow Horses TV series too.

huhtikuu 2, 9:01 am

You're making progress on the Women's Prize list, Charlotte. Too bad the last two have't worked for you. I've only read three so far, Demon Copperhead, The Bandit Queens, and Memphis and liked all of them.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 3:26 am

>154 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah: you're really showing some commitment to the longlist.

I decided I liked the book version of Slow Horses too much to watch it on TV.

>155 BLBera: Glad you had such a good break, Beth. Hope you're fully recovered from the bug. I'm still waiting for Bandit Queens to come in at the library. With my usual patience.

I've had a slow week of reading: not sleeping very well and generally feeling like things are a bit much to deal with. Not helped by going along to two medical appointments with my dad which leave me feeling frustrated and powerless at the glacial pace of treatment.

Hoping this week is better. Went to the beach today which helped. Hoping to finish Fire Rush soon. The book reminds me of Marlon James. (I'm a big fan of his podcast: just checked and I have a new one to listen to.)

huhtikuu 3, 6:47 am

>156 charl08: What a lovely place to walk around, Charlotte.
I hope the week ahead is a better one.

huhtikuu 3, 8:20 am

>157 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Sun is shining, which is a good start.

huhtikuu 3, 10:01 am

>157 FAMeulstee: What Anita said, Charlotte. That photo is lovely.

huhtikuu 3, 2:58 pm

Thanks Mamie. The sun shone today and I came home and made a not-awful risotto. I feel like the balance is OK for today (but that could just be because it's a 4 day week!)

huhtikuu 3, 5:31 pm

>176 charl08: I hope the beach helped Charlotte. Looks lovely.

huhtikuu 3, 6:59 pm

>156 charl08: Hello Charlotte, what a wild and beautiful place. Thinking of you!

huhtikuu 4, 1:56 am

>161 Caroline_McElwee: The beach is such a powerful place for me, it always makes me feel better: and with a long chat with an old friend it made all the difference, I think. Obvious really, but I forget when I'm buried in worries.

>162 mdoris: Thanks Mary. It's amazing - ten minutes in the other direction is a busy town, but you wouldn't know it.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 4, 2:21 am

Fire Rush
Another one from the Women's Prize list, inspired / drawing on the author's own experiences. Yamaye has a boring job and lives for dancing with her friends in a club for dub music based in a church crypt. The club is a hotbed of intrigue, a centre for a community linked by music, seeing and being seen. This is 1970s/80s England and Yeyele's life is dramatically impacted by police (babylon) brutality. Crooks weaves "traditional" beliefs into her story. Duppies haunt the characters along with the institutionally racist state. Characters go down fighting (but generally still go down).
She hums, dredging her voice up from her gut, and spins me round and round in circles. I feel the vibrations of other feet from long ago, oiled with red copper earth, encircled by fire. Asase looks at us from on the wall, looks across time, bloodlines. My face is burning, my tongue dry. The record stops and Oraca drops to the floor, gasping, 'Asase, my daughter, Asase."
'Easy, easy,' I say.
She heaves several times and catches her breath.
'Your muma loved the ocean and the mountains. There was a day we went to the seaside together when she was pregnant with you. She carried you to the coast in her belly. We took a train. Spread a blanket on the sand. It was autumn. The beach wasn't full, but it was warm enough. Your muma said water soothed her soul. She wanted peace for herself - and you. Heaven help her. The man was hitting her when she was carrying you. The sound of the sea was her gift to you."

In terms of the longlist, I was struck by how it reads as an interesting pair for the account of experiences growing up in London in Pin's book Wandering Souls.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 4, 4:57 am

Women's prize longlist update

Read so far...

Ones I want to be shortlisted
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Not my preference for the shortlist:
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova

Still to read:
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh - (had to return to the library- unread, darn it. Have requested again.)
Homesick by Jennifer Croft (out from the library, not started)
I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (online copy)
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow (on loan from the library)
Pod by Laline Paull
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy - online copy to read.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 4, 3:23 am

Just started to read Memphis but as it's my own Kindle copy and library books take precedence it's at the bottom of my reading pile (which includes library and own Kindle ebooks as well as physical books).

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 4, 6:17 am

>156 charl08: What a beautiful place, Charlotte!I am sorry to read that you are having trouble sleeping and with life in general. It's so hard when someone we love passes away.
I hope your dad's medical issues will be resolved soon.
Excellent progress with the Women's Prize Longlist. I've just read the three so far, with Trespassesas favourite, next Demon Copperhead second and lastly The Bandit Queens . I hope to see Trespasses and Demon Copperhead on the short list , and I'm less certain about The Bandit Queens, though I am glad I read it. It was a good read.

Great comments on Fire Rush. That's one I may look into - I'm sure if it available here yet or not.

I'm currently reading and loving All The Broken Places.

Wishing you a very Happy Easter, though I am sure I will be back to visit . I hope the Easter Bunny treats you well, and if not, do it yourself! :-)

huhtikuu 5, 1:21 pm

>166 elkiedee: I felt the same about not prioritising one on my kindle - Trespasses- but at about 30% in I got hooked and now don't want to put it down for the library books!

>167 vancouverdeb: Thank you for the Easter wishes. I have started my annual mini-egg celebration. Although not as early as usual!

I think the thing with dad's health is that it just seems to be one thing after another, so it never seems to be 'sorted'. It is of course, free (at least at the point of need). I cannot imagine trying to persuade him to the doctor if he had to pay for it!

huhtikuu 6, 12:04 pm

It was dangerous to be a man of letters in the eighteenth century. All that rumination; such single-minded concentration; countless hours hunched over the escritoire. “Some men are by nature insatiable in drinking wine, others are born cormorants of books”, wrote the Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot in An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Literary and Sedentary Persons (1768). As with the reckless consumer of claret, an overindulgence in books could have devastating consequences for the mind and body.

Across his essay, Tissot offers hundreds of examples of men who read too much, studied too hard, and consumed knowledge to the point of madness. There is the young man who developed an allergy to reading: “if he read even a few pages, he was torn with convulsions of the muscles of the head and face, which assumed the appearance of ropes stretched very tight.” And the man whose laser focus effected hair removal: “his beard fell first, then his eye-lashes, then his eye-brows, then the hair on his head, and finally all the hairs of his body”.....

And there “have been many instances of persons, who thought themselves metamorphosed into lanterns, and who complained of having lost their thighs.”

huhtikuu 6, 2:22 pm

Born cormorants of books....

Did he have anything particular to say about female readers?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 6, 2:42 pm

>170 elkiedee: Ha, I noticed that absence too.

huhtikuu 8, 3:35 pm

>156 charl08: I love the photo, Charlotte.

You're making good progress on the longlist. I need to get going on that!

huhtikuu 9, 12:27 pm

>172 BLBera: I've just finished another one, Trespasses. Wonderful book: really hope it gets shortlisted.

Davy stood up, always the first to volunteer. His red jumper was dark with damp at the shoulders and neckline.
There was a bomb in Belfast, he said.
He says that every day, said Jonathan, who sat beside him.
Well, today he's right. Thank you, Davy, said Cushla.
Jonathan got to his feet. It wasn't in Belfast, he said. A booby-trap bomb that was intended for a British Army foot patrol exploded prematurely, killing two boys near the border. They died instantly.

Booby trap. Incendiary device. Gelig- nite. Nitroglycerine. Petrol bomb. Rubber bullets. Saracen. Internment. The Special Powers Act. Vanguard. The vocabulary of a seven-year-old child now.

Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Cushla's Catholic and her family runs a bar in a mostly Protestant small town near Belfast. She teaches in the local Catholic school, where the kids hear and witness things they shouldn't. The bar offers some protection for Cushla and her family: most Catholics face discrimination and unemployment. A man walks into the bar one night and asks her to help him with an Irish class. Things rapidly become more personal than that.
Terribly sad, but also blackly funny.
I hope it wins.
And Fidel. One day, Cushla set out with Gina to visit her father's grave. Just before the entrance to the cemetery, someone had blocked the road with a tractor. The car ahead of Cushla's was waved through but hers was stopped by two men with tartan scarves tied around their faces, one of whom was holding a shotgun. A third man, in a balaclava, stepped forward and made a rolling motion with his hand. Cushla opened the window and he bent to speak to her.
Gina leaned across Cushla. Fidel, she said. Are you taking the hand out of me?
How did you know it was me? he said, glancing over his shoulder at the other pair, who were now reclining against the front of the tractor, smoking.

huhtikuu 9, 3:40 pm

Ones I want to be shortlisted
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Not my preference for the shortlist:
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova

Still to read:
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh - (had to return to the library- unread, darn it. Have requested again.)
Homesick by Jennifer Croft (out from the library, not started)
I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (online copy)
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow (on loan from the library)
Pod by Laline Paull
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff - online copy from the library
The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

The shortlist announcement approaches: 26th April. With that as a deadline, it's not looking likely I'm going to finish the list, as I don't think that I'm going to get hold of Pod or Black Butterflies (let alone read all the ones I have got to hand).

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 1:05 am

Amazing commitment to the Women's Prize Long list, Charlotte! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed Trespasses. That is my favourite of the three I have read so far. I hope you having a wonderful Easter Weekend! I just came home a large family dinner and had a great time.

Excellent review of Trespasses.
I'm sorry to read that your dad's health problems are ongoing. Best wishes to you, Charlotte.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 12, 3:12 am

I don't know that it's that commited Deborah. Spent most of the long weekend being very lazy! Made up for it (in my head anyway) with a walk in "the Lakes" yesterday. Back to the desk today.

Now reading The Dog of the North.

huhtikuu 12, 4:45 am

>176 charl08: You're very lucky to have the Lakes so close! Looks like you had a good day for a walk!

huhtikuu 12, 7:53 am

>177 Jackie_K: Yes, I nearly cancelled because it was supposed to be steady rain from noon, but it held off until we were done. Lucky indeed!
The 'tips' at the end of this piece made me laugh.
Tips to get back into books
If you are having difficulty choosing between your phone and a book, here’s a simple tip proven by behavioural science. To change behaviour it also helps to change your environment.

Try the following:

Carry a book at all times, or leave books around the house in convenient places.
Schedule reading time into your day. 20 minutes is enough. This reinforces the habit and ensures regular immersion in the book world.
If you’re not enjoying a book, try another. Don’t force yourself.

huhtikuu 12, 8:04 am

Hooray for a lazy weekend, Charlotte! The photo in >176 charl08: is full of gorgeous.

Birdy and I loved the 'tips' for getting into the reading habit - made both of us laugh out loud.

huhtikuu 12, 8:44 am

>176 charl08: - Oh, wow. Beautiful.

huhtikuu 12, 10:06 am

>176 charl08: What a stunning picture!

huhtikuu 12, 2:10 pm

Mamie, I've unknowingly been following this advice all my life. Like most of us I would guess.

>179 Crazymamie: >180 katiekrug: >181 MissBrangwen: It would probably be swarming with hikers in the summer, but it is always beautiful. I did laugh a bit when a group of young teenagers passed us with a teacher / youth worker, looking as grumpy, cool and unimpressed with the views as they could manage.

huhtikuu 12, 3:04 pm

I am reading Stone Blind right now and thoroughly enjoying it. I'd vote for it. And WOW -- That's such a beautiful place to have nearby for a walk! Totally jealous. Oh, and thanks for the reading tips, LOL.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 13, 2:53 am

>183 Berly: I read it a while back (Haynes did a book event so I read it in time for that). She's brilliant, have you heard her speak?
The Lakes is beautiful: My mum's family is from that part of the world, and my gran lived there when we were growing up, so we usually went for the school holidays to visit. So it felt quite emotional being there with my sister: my mum loved it very much.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 13, 4:22 am

What a beautiful place to walk , Charlotte. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I see there are Belted Galloway Cows in one of the pictures . I see them occasionally when I am walking . An elderly fellow keeps Galloway cows and lets them graze along the dyke area where I sometimes walk . How nice that you and your sister were able to walk together in such a special area .

huhtikuu 13, 4:53 am

>176 charl08: >184 charl08: What beautiful views, Charlotte, thanks for sharing.
A walk down memory lane (((hugs)))

I wondered about the cows, but Deborah answered ^ that one.
Here we have a similar cow breed red or black with white in the middle, called Lakenvelder (link to Wikipedia).

huhtikuu 13, 7:29 am

>184 charl08: - How gorgeous, Charlotte!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 13, 8:39 am

The Dog of the North

I think I'd describe this book as "quirky". I am not sure that I would have kept reading if it wasn't longlisted for the Women's Prize. Set in California and Australia, the narrator has just split up from her husband and is attempting to deal with a hoarding grandmother as the book opens. Things get progressively more complicated: the grandmother is sure she is right but likely to forget what she was right about (and what she agreed to). Penny's underlying grief over the disappearance of her parents leads to an impromptu roadtrip in Australia with her grandfather (who also happens to be escaping a partner).

Funny in places rather than continually making me laugh, one for those who like their novels to be difficult to categorise.
After dinner we played an old board game called Squatter. The aim of the game is to have the most successful station with the greatest number of healthy sheep. Upon taking your turn and moving around the board you might be told to vaccinate your flock for pulpy kidney or drench for liver fluke, that your bore had dried up, that you had to pay for fencing repairs or flood damage. Alternately, you could land a windfall at a wool sale or pick up a prized stud ram. I had Emu Plains Station, Arlo had Coolibah Creek, Wilhelmus was at Wanbanalong, Margaret at Mount Mitchell, Bram at Coorumbene, and Boaz at Warramboo. Boaz kept hitting all the disasters and couldn't improve his paddocks. Bram won a Soil Conservation Trophy. Arlo received a bonus for sale of his Fat Lambs, and Wilhelmus, by careful management, eradicated foot rot. Quite unfairly, at least karmically, Margaret was injured by a tractor and missed two turns.

huhtikuu 13, 8:43 am

>185 vancouverdeb: I was quite surprised to see them: far more common to find sheep in the field. My sister is much fitter than me so I was very achey yesterday!

>186 FAMeulstee: Yes, they do look very similar - I think the Galloway ones are fluffier though?
It was a bit emotional thinking about how mum loved to walk with us (or with anyone, tbh!) in the Lakes.

>187 jessibud2: We were very lucky with the weather - I've spent weeks there where it seemed to rain every day.

huhtikuu 13, 8:45 am

Hello, Charlotte. I'm hoping that Thursday has been kind to you.

>184 charl08: That is just staggering - so very beautiful.

>188 charl08: That quote made me laugh - what a board game!

huhtikuu 13, 12:30 pm

Beautiful pictures Charlotte.

huhtikuu 13, 4:31 pm

Great photos, Charlotte.

I will be reading Stone Blind and Trespasses soon -- book group and library book. :) I am so glad I have some great ones to look forward to.

I've heard Dog of the North described as quirky, as was The Portable Veblen, which I read a while back. I would agree that the later was quirky.

huhtikuu 14, 5:26 pm

Lovely photos Charlotte.

huhtikuu 18, 2:31 am

Well, I didn't get as much reading done over the weekend as I hoped. Ah well.

>190 Crazymamie: Yes, a quirky book with some good jokes: like this one.

>191 mdoris: >193 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Mary and Caroline.

>192 BLBera: I did think the tone was very similar. It's been a while since I read Veblen but from memory the two protagonists had a lot in common too (rather lost young women making unexpected choices).

huhtikuu 18, 2:54 am

Bandit Queens
I liked this a lot, another book I was glad to read because it was on the Women's Prize longlist. Set in a rural Indian community, Schroff uses black comedy to sweeten the medicine of a novel that is at its heart about domestic abuse against women and patriarchal power. Geeta's the victim of community gossip after her husband disappeared five years before. Her apparent skills in getting rid of unwanted husbands leads to reluctant involvement in murder conspiracies against other women's abusive husbands. However as with all these plots, their plans develop a momentum of their own as more women ask for her help.
"Let's play a game.'
"Okay!" He stopped near the Amin home. "Ram Ram!" he greeted Mrs. Amin. Outside their shanty lay a bedsheet of desiccated chilis, the skins bright but shriveled. Mrs. Amin nodded, then squatted to sift the peppers. "It's not the quiet game, is it? Adults always wanna play the quiet game with me."
"I can't imagine why."

If I have a quibble, it's that sometimes the women's language seemed too colloquially American (but think this says more about me as a British reader, given that it's made clear that they aren't speaking English most of the time).

huhtikuu 18, 2:57 am

Ones I want to be shortlisted
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Not my preference for the shortlist:
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova
The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

Still to read:
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh - (had to return to the library- unread, darn it. Have requested again.)
Homesick by Jennifer Croft (out from the library, not started)
I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (online copy)
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow (on loan from the library)
Pod by Laline Paull

The shortlist announcement approaches: 26th April!

huhtikuu 18, 7:20 am

Last night was the delayed online 'bookclub' discussion with Roy Jacobsen following reading The Unseen.

Genuinely fascinating session, not hurt by the way he sounded (to me, anyway) like Stellan Skarsgard.

Jacobsen talked about his recent trip to Ukraine, the way the book draws on his own, and his family's, experiences of remote coastal life, and his plans for another book in the series. The bookgroup really liked the book (unlike me, who found it a bit long). Several people said it was the best book they'd ever read (I was on mute for this bit, fortunately). As always with a bookgroup I felt I gained a lot in understanding listening to the other readers talk about it, and more so this time as the author was so willing to talk about the roots of much of the novel.

There was quite a bit of discussion over the universality of the novel: he said that he had had many people from different rural / isolated communities come up to him and talk about how the book also spoke to their experiences of struggle and labour. One of the attendees works on history projects in Cumbria and said the book felt connected to those experiences and authentic, as did another attendee talking about Brazillian literature about working in the countryside. For people who've read the novel, there was also a lot of discussion around the arrival of chairs for the women: which I'd thought seemed so extreme, but apparently not at all.

huhtikuu 18, 4:20 pm

Wow! You are doing great with the longlist, Charlotte. I am reading Stone Blind right now. I am glad you liked THe Bandit Queens; I thought it was a very good debut novel, original.

The Jacobsen discussion sounds good.

huhtikuu 18, 4:53 pm

>198 BLBera: Thanks Beth. A great mix of novels this year: even the ones I haven't liked have had interesting things about them, plenty to talk about.

huhtikuu 19, 4:44 pm

> You are doing so well with your long list reading, Charlotte. I currently about 1/2 way through Wandering Souls, so I'll reserve judgement for now. Went to the dentist because I had a chipped tooth, got that sorted out yesterday, but she found two cavities. Well, more appointments ahead.

I'll have to consider The Unseen. Sounds like your bookclub had a great discussion.

huhtikuu 20, 3:16 am

>200 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I'll wait to hear your verdict on Wandering Souls.
Time for a new thread, I think.

huhtikuu 22, 1:14 pm

>197 charl08: I like Stellen Skarsgard. Glad it was a good evening Charlotte.
Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: Charlotte's (charl08) reading light(houses) 3.