Helenliz sends a 2nd postcard

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Discussão2021 Category Challenge

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Helenliz sends a 2nd postcard

Mar 22, 11:39am

I'm Helen and I'm a quality manager in a small firm that makes inhaler devices for delivery of drugs to the lung. In my spare time I am secretary of the local bellringers association, which has been interesting in 2020, I can tell you! When not working, reading or ringing, I enjoy crafts. I tend to resort to cross stitch, but have tried quilting and other machine and hand sewing over the years. I also try and keep in some form of shape, as I prefer food to dieting. >;-)

This year's challenge is taken from a book of postcards. I spent years 1997 to 2001 living in London while holding a post-doctoral position in the Univeristy of London. As we were not far from the centre of London, I made a point of , at least once a month, going out on a Wednesday afternoon and visiting some fo the great museums and art galleries that are scattered across the capital. And from each place I visited, I sent my parents a postcard. What I didn;t know at the time was that Mum collected them up and saved them in a photo album, which she gave to me later. I'm not sure it's complete, but it's nice to see where I went at different times. So all my images this time are copies of the postcards I sent.

Where are we going today?

I know it isn't quite the end of the first Quarter, but I find myself with a bit of spare time, so figured I may as well move onto thread number 2. I'll do a first quarter round up at the end of the month.

Editado: Jun 26, 11:28am

Currently Reading

Currently reading
Mr Loverman
Summerwater (audio)

Loans: To try and keep track of the library books I've got out.
Library books on loan:
On the Floor
Borrowed from Cathy

Book subscriptions: To try and make sure I don't fall tooooo far behind
Tyll (MrB's May)
Yesterday (Pierene Press)
Mr Loverman (Shelterbox May)

Book Bullets Who got me, with what, things I want to try and find at some point.
✔️Pandora's jar (susan, but I was primed to take this one already!)
✔️The Yellow Wallpaper (Mamie & Charlotte, in quick sucession)
Fools and Mortals (Birgit)
A is for Arsenic (Mamie got me with this one)
Love and Other Thought Experiments (The radio & Caroline)
The Man Who Walked Through Walls (Pam)
Death walks in Eastrepps (Liz - and it's one I can get a copy of!)
Why We Sleep (Jackie_K)
The Great Typo Hunt (Cindy)
Alone in Berlin (Tess)
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stacy)
Cain (Annamorphic)
I will never see the world again (Charlotte)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Charlotte - again).
Whitefly (DeltaQueen)
Wakenhyrst (Susan) (again)
Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible JackieK
Your life in my hands JackieK (again she's got me with the non-fiction)
A Jury of her Peers (Liz - and this one's not in the library - or at least not the short story)
The Seventh Cross, (Charlotte - a prolific bulleteer!)
Rummage: A History of the Things We Have Reused, Recycled and Refused to Let Go by Emily Cockayne (another hit by Susan)
From Crime to Crime by Richard Henriques (Deadeye Susan) (check title)
Life in a Medieval Village (Tess because it's local)
Endell Street (Susan)
What is not your is not yours (Elizabeth M)

Editado: Jun 26, 11:26am

The List: 2021

1. An Unsafe Haven, Nada Awar Jarrar, ***
2. Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir, ***.
3. It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan, ***
4. Help me!, Marianne Power, ***
5. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis, ****
6. The Reluctant Widow, Georgette Heyer, ****

7. Square Haunting, Francesca Wade, ****
8. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr, ***
9. Mordew, Alex Pheby, **
10. The House of Splendid Isolation, Edna O'Brien, ***
11. Alexa, what is there to know about Love?, Brian Bilston, ****1/2
12. We, the Survivors, Tash Aw, ***
13. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren, ***
14. Crossed Skis, Carol Carnac, ****
15. Why Willows Weep, Ed Tracy Chevalier, ****

16. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke, ****
17. The Last man Who Knew Everything, Andrew Robinson, ***
18. What Lies Beneath, Adam Croft, ***
19. Fire in the Thatch, ECR Lorac, ****
20. Simon the Coldheart, Georgette Heyer, ***

21. Jane Austen made me do it, various, **
22. A Woman is no Man, Etaf Rum, ***
23. Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes, *****
24. The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths, ***
25. The Foundling, Georgette Heyer, ****
26. D A Tale of two Worlds, Michel Faber, **1/2
27. Island Dreams, Gavin Francis, ***
28. Death of a Ghost, Margery Allingham, ***

29. Dear Reader, Cathy Rentzenbrink, ****
30. Sicily, John Julius Norwich, ****
31. Snow in May, Kseniya Melnik, ***
32. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, ***
33. On Borrowed Time, Adam Croft, ***
34. The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex, ***
35. Beauvallet, Georgette Heyer, ****1/2
36. The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark, ****1/2
37. Her Father's Daughter, Marie Sizun, ****

38. The Woman in Blue, Elly Griffiths, ***
39. The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes, ****
40. Mantel Pieces, Hilary Mantel, ***
41. There but for the, Ali Smith, ***
42. Arabella, Georgette Heyer, ****1/2
43. An Imaginary Life, David Malouf, ****
44. Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell, ****

Editado: Jun 19, 7:45am

Challenge 1 - Women Authors
Portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin by Maggi Hambling from the National Portrait Gallery

The NPG houses portraits from the Tudors through to modern sitters and artists. I like it because while the museum as a whole is arranged chronologically (oldest on the top floor, newest on the ground), you can pick a period and go for that in detail as well. It is also not afraid of a bit of controvery. This portrait is of the scientist Dorothy Hodgkin. She's been painted with more than the usual number of arms, in an attempt to show visually her mental swiftness and energy. I like it, I like that her desk is messier than mine.

As a portrait by and of a woman, this category will house female authors. I want to read at least 50% of books by women authors this year.

1. An Unsafe Haven, Nada Awar Jarrar
2. Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir
3. It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan
4. Help me!, Marianne Power
5. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
6. The Reluctant Widow, Georgette Heyer
7. Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
8. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr
9. The House of Splendid Isolation, Edna O'Brien
10. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
11. Crossed Skis, Carol Carnac
12. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
13. Fire in the Thatch, ECR Lorac
14. Simon the Coldheart, Georgette Heyer
15. A Woman is no Man, Etaf Rum
16. Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes
17. The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths
18. The Foundling, Georgette Heyer
19. Death of a Ghost, Margery Allingham
20. Dear Reader, Cathy Rentzenbrink
21. Snow in May, Kseniya Melnik
22. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
23. The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex
24. Beauvallet, Georgette Heyer
25. Her Father's Daughter, Marie Sizun
26. The Woman in Blue, Elly Griffiths
27. The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes
28. Mantel Pieces, Hilary Mantel
29. There but for the, Ali Smith
30. Arabella, Georgette Heyer

Editado: Jun 25, 7:19am

Challenge 2 - New Authors
Entrance to the new British Library site

The British Library Reading Rooms used to be housed in the rotunda in the middle of the British Museum. It had long since outgrown this space and was moved to the St Pancras site not long before I started working in London. Some people don't like it, but I did. Once you're past the foyer and actually in the reading rooms (which you need a readers pass to do) it's a really good working environment. My favourite table was on the side of the building, in an alcove that was windowed and jutted out over the street a little. Really good spot to watch the world go by while ideas formed.

As this was new when I was there, this will house those authors that are new to me. I'd like to manage 1/3rd of new authors this year.

1. An Unsafe Haven, Nada Awar Jarrar
2. It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan
3. Help me!, Marianne Power
4. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
5. Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
6. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr
7. Mordew, Alex Pheby
8. Alexa, what is there to know about Love?, Brian Bilston
9. We, the Survivors, Tash Aw
10. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
11. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
12. The Last man Who Knew Everything, Andrew Robinson
13. What Lies Beneath, Adam Croft
14. A Woman is no Man, Etaf Rum
15. D A Tale of two Worlds, Michel Faber
16. Island Dreams, Gavin Francis
17. Dear Reader, Cathy Rentzenbrink
18. Snow in May, Kseniya Melnik
19. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
20. The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex
21. The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark
22. Her Father's Daughter, Marie Sizun
23. An Imaginary Life, David Malouf

Editado: Maio 30, 6:35am

Challenge 3 - Translations
The Ambassadors by Holbein from the National Gallery

This is one of those paintings that everyone knows, but who is it? Well they are ambassadors to the court of Henry VIII, but that's not the painting's title. Hanging in the National Gallery, this is one of my favourites to sit in front of and see something new each time.

As the gentlemen in the painting were ambassadors from a foreigh court, this will be where I put my books read in translation. I'd like to read 6 this year. More than 4 is a win.

1. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
2. Her Father's Daughter, Marie Sizun

Editado: Maio 25, 3:55am

Challenge 4 - Book Subscriptions
Tromp l'Oeil. Board Partition with Letter Rack and Music Book by Cornelius Gijsbrechts, from the National Gallery

The idea of painting something so perfectly that you think you can pick it up amazes me (who cannot draw a straightline with a ruler). This was, I think, part of an exhibition of Tromp l'Oeil (which translates roughly as trick of the eye) and the idea of letters on a postcard appealed to me.

As my book subscriptions come through the post, the letter rack can house these. I'd liek to keep roughly up to date...

1. An Unsafe Haven, Nada Awar Jarrar
2. Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
3. Mordew, Alex Pheby
4. We, the Survivors, Tash Aw
5. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
6. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
7. A Woman is no Man, Etaf Rum
8. Island Dreams, Gavin Francis
9. The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex

Editado: Jun 26, 1:14pm

Challenge 5 - Heyer Series Read
Wimbledon tennis championships

Georgette Heyer was born in Wimbledon, so this makes the perfect match for her books. I'm reading the romances (both Georgian & Regency) and the history novels in publication order. I'd like to get 6 read.

Heyer romances:
(r) Set in Regency Period
(g) Set in Georgian Period
(h) Set in prior historical Periods.

✔️ The Black Moth (g) 1921 Finished 01Jan18, ****1/2
✔️ Powder and Patch (g) 1923 Finished 05Feb18, ***
✔️ The Great Roxhythe (h) 1923 Finished 30Apr18, ***
✔️ Simon the Coldheart (h) 1925 Finished 7May18, ***
✔️ These Old Shades (g) 1926 Finished 31May18, ***
✔️ The Masqueraders (g) 1928 Finished 17Jul18, ****
✔️ Beauvallet (h) 1929 Finished 08Sep2018, ****
✔️ The Conqueror (h) 1931 Finished 25Dec2018, ****
✔️ Devil's Cub (g) 1932 Finished 31Jan2019, ****
✔️ The Convenient Marriage (g) 1934 Finished 12Mar2019, ****1/2
✔️ Regency Buck (r) 1935 Finished 08May2019, ****1/2
✔️ The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer Finished 10Aug2019, ***
✔️ An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer Finished 13Oct2019, ***
✔️ Royal Escape, Georgette Heyer Finished 14Feb2020, ***
✔️ The Spanish Bride, Georgette Heyer Finished 28Mar2020, ***
✔️ The Corinthian, Georgette Heyer Finished 17Jun2020, ****
✔️ Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer Finished 25Aug2020, ****
✔️ Friday's Child, Georgette Heyer Finished 10Oct2020, ****
✔️ The Reluctant Widow, (r) Finished 24Jan2021, ****
✔️ The Foundling (r) 1948 Finished 21Apr2021, ****
✔️ Arabella, (r) 1949 ****1/2 Finished 19Jun2021

To be Read
The Grand Sophy (r) 1950
The Quiet Gentleman (r) 1951
Cotillion (r) 1953
The Toll Gate (r) 1954
Bath Tangle (r) 1955
Sprig Muslin (r) 1956
April Lady (r) 1957
Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle (r) 1957
Venetia (r) 1958
The Unknown Ajax (r) 1959
Pistols for Two (short stories) 1960
A Civil Contract (r) 1961
The Nonesuch (r) 1962
False Colours (r) 1963
Frederica (r) 1965
Black Sheep (r) 1966
Cousin Kate (r) 1968
Charity Girl (r) 1970
Lady of Quality (r) 1972
My Lord John (h) 1975

Editado: Jun 11, 12:32pm

Challenge 6 - Short Stories
Mini poster, British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, from a visit to Haynes Motor Museum

I have a fondness for the original Mini. They're cute and cheeky and drive like a go-cart. Just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

And as they're little, this will be where I put my short story reading. This tends to be what I listen to when commuting to work, so I'm not sure how many will end up in here.

1. It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan
2. Alexa, what is there to know about Love?, Brian Bilston
3. Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
4. Why Willows Weep, Ed Tracy Chevalier
5. Jane Austen made me do it, various
6. Snow in May, Kseniya Melnik
7. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
8. Mantel Pieces, Hilary Mantel

Editado: Jun 19, 8:21am

Challenge 7 - Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize)
English Court dress 1755/60 Victoria & Albert Museum

The Women's Prize for Fiction is the UK's foremost prize for female writers. The (tenuous) link here is that the V&A houses an impressive collection of costume, with this being an example of female dress. Not at all practical, imo. the V&A having a female foremost in the title makes that just about a match.

I'd like to read 6 in the year.

1. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
2. There but for the Ali Smith

Editado: Jun 16, 3:56am

Challenge 8 - Lists

I love a list. Any list, I find them irresistable. So here's where I'll put books I read from the 1001 btrbyd and Guardian 100 best novels (a more manageable amount on this list.). So why put them here with this picture? Well the picture is in 2 parts, the left is the young man, in army kit, as he heads off (you presume) to fight in WW1. The right hand side is the old man. The assumption is that they are the same person. The title is a quote from the bible about the second coming, but in this case is, I believe, being applied to death. The young man had no expecation of becoming the man on the right, as death could ahve been lurking around any corner, and yet he has and still faces that uncertainty as to when death will make itself felt. Probably before I've finished a list.

I didn't do too well on this last year, so setting sights low with 3.

1. There but for the, Ali Smith (1001)

Editado: Jun 11, 12:33pm

Challenge 9 - Non-fiction
Dippy the Diplodicous from the Natural History Museum

Dippy and I have history. I first went to the NHM when I was 5 or 6, on a school trip. We were doing dinosaurs and I hated them. They gave me nighmares. So seeing this thing looming over me didn't exactly settle my fears. To the extent that I would not walk under its head. I went the full length of its body, round by its tail and back up the body - which is a big ole detour when you've only got little legs. I can't find it in myself to be upset that Dippy has been replaced by a Blue Whale.

This will be where I put my non-fiction. This used to be a regular category, but fell out of favour a year or so back. With the Non-Fiction Cat in 2020 as a prod, my non-fiction reading increased again, and I've enjoyed it. So we'll see how we go with the Non-fiction this year.

1. Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir
2. It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan
3. Help me!, Marianne Power,
4. Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
5. The Last man Who Knew Everything, Andrew Robinson,
6. Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes
7. Island Dreams, Gavin Francis
8. Dear Reader, Cathy Rentzenbrink
9. Sicily, John Julius Norwich
10. Mantel Pieces, Hilary Mantel

Editado: Jun 26, 11:26am

Challenge 10 - CATs
The Wellington Arch

Yes, you've seen this structure before, I love it that much. In 2020 it housed my CATs on the grounds that cats arch their back. I can't even find a connection that tenuous this year. I just like it, and you can admire it again.

Yearlong: X and Z
January..............P M Help me!, Marianne Power,
February............T K When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr
March.................U R The Last man Who Knew Everything, Andrew Robinson,
April....................A W Death of a Ghost, Margery Allingham
May.....................I N Sicily, John Julius Norwich
June....................C D Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell
July......................S O
August................V J
September.........F L
October..............H E
November.........B Y
December..........G Q

I'm going to try and pick books I already own to meet this. Probably picking by author's name.

Random CAT is always fun

I may dip into the others, I'll see how it goes.

Random CAT: LOL To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis Didn't make me LOL, but did make me smile any number of times.
Genre CAT: Non-fiction Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir
History CAT: Middle ages Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir

Random CAT: Fruit & veg
Genre CAT: Memior, biography & autobiography Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
History CAT: 1800 to present Square Haunting, Francesca Wade

Random CAT: Surprise Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
Genre CAT: Action & Adventure Simon the Coldheart, Georgette Heyer
History CAT: 1500 - 1800 The Last man Who Knew Everything, Andrew Robinson,

Random CAT: Some else's library The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths
Genre CAT: literary fiction D A Tale of two Worlds, Michel Faber
History CAT: Ancient Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes

Random CAT: Let's play Monopoly The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Genre CAT: Short Stories or essays Snow in May, Kseniya Melnik
History CAT: Dynasties, Civilisation & Empires Sicily, John Julius Norwich

Random CAT: A retelling The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes
Genre CAT: Historical fiction Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell
History CAT: Military, war & revolution Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell

Random CAT: Summer
Genre CAT: Romance
History CAT: Social History

Editado: Jun 19, 7:46am

Challenge 11 - Bingodog
The Balbi Children by Van Dyck, National Gallery

I almost picked Van Dyck's portrait of the children of Charles I, which has the future Charles II with his hand on a large hound - only I think these children are even better. Van Dyck paints children like no other painter, they're real, they're lively and they're about to fly out of the frame. It's not known exactly who these children are, the painting was in the Balbi family, but the children and their ages are apparently wrong for it to be that family. Regardless, these three boys are real and will never loose their energy and youth.

BingoDog card to go here.

✔️ 1. One-word title Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
✔️ 2. By or about a marginalized group It's not about the Burqa, Ed Miriam Khan
✔️ 3. Dark or light in title The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex
✔️ 4. Book with a character you think you'd like to have as a friend The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths
✔️ 5. Arts and recreation Square Haunting, Francesca Wade
✔️ 6. Book with a title that describes you Her Father's Daughter, Marie Sizun
✔️7. Book you heartily recommend Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes
8. A book about nature or the environment
✔️ 9. Classical element in title (Western: earth, air, wind, fire, aether/void. Chinese: wood, fire, earth, metal, water) Fire in the Thatch, ECR Lorac
✔️10. Book by two or more authors Why Willows Weep, Ed Tracy Chevalier,
✔️11. Impulse read! Dear Reader, Cathy Rentzenbrink
✔️12. Book with a love story in it The Reluctant Widow, Georgette Heyer
13. Read a CAT
14. Set in or author from the Southern Hemisphere
✔️15. A book that made you laugh Arabella, Georgette Heyer
✔️16. Suggested by a person from another generation The Foundling, Georgette Heyer
✔️17. Author you haven’t read before Help me!, Marianne Power,
✔️18. Set somewhere you’d like to visit There but for the, Ali Smith (Greenwich)
✔️19. Book about history or alternate history Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir
✔️20. Book you share with 20 or fewer members on LT An Unsafe Haven, Nada Awar Jarrar (8 members at the time of reading)
✔️21. Book less than 200 pages Nordic Fauna, Andrea Lundgren
✔️22. Senior citizen as the protagonist A Woman is no Man, Etaf Rum
✔️23. Book with the name of a building in the title The House of Splendid Isolation, Edna O'Brien
✔️24. Time word in title or time is the subject To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
✔️25. Book with or about magic Beauvallet, Georgette Heyer

Editado: Maio 16, 6:49am

Challenge 12 - Miscellaneous
The Wilton Dyptych, National Gallery

This is probably my favourite painting, I love the detail, the contrast, the fact that this is the earlest known English painting, this is us, this is where we come from. If you take a magnifying glass to the bauble on the top of the staff in the right hand panel it depicts a small island, with a tiny castle on it, set in a silver sea. Sound familar? I couldn't have a challenge of pictures and postcards without including this one, so the best has been saved to last. This will be for the miscellaneous books. There might not be many, but I get to scroll past this every so often and sigh in delight.

1. On Borrowed Time, Adam Croft

Editado: Abr 24, 9:36am

I'm reading Alan Moore's Jerusalem. Where this might take some time (understatement) I'm going to keep track of thoughts each week, so I can try and make sense of it.

Finished the Prologue, chapters 1 & 2 this week. Prologue has me thinking mystical vision of some sort, be interesting to see what that results in. Chapter 1 the imagery of the painting coming to life was amazing. Poor Ginger. Chapter 2, I found myself both feeling sorry for and repelled by Marla and her world.

Chapter 3 Rough Sleepers. Took me a while to work out what was going on, but I got there. This is the first time you suspect that the past and the present are not separate, with Marla making an appearance in his story. I thought he was quite sweet in some ways.

Chapter 4 X Marks the Spot. Peter the Monk returns from a long journey carrying something that needs to be returned to the heart of the land, in Hamtun. What it is remains unknown. He has some spectral help (re chapter 3).

Chapter 5 Modern Times. Charles is loitering on a street corner outside the theatre, before he goes in to do his act - the inebriate. He sees a beautiful girl and an even more beautiful baby. The baby being May Warren, who we've already met as Alma's grandmother. Has the feeling of setting something up for later.

Chapter 6. Blind, but now I see. "Black" Charley's story, takes place on the same day as chapter 5. We meet the May Warrens again. Charlie's backstory and Amazing Grace.

Chapter 7 Atlantis. Lots of poetry as Benedict, poet who hasn't published in 20 years, spends his day in and around the Burroughs. Alma turns up and we're in the middle of her art launch, so this sits at the end of the Prologue. We first meet the Asylum in some detail.

Chapter 8. Do as you damn well pleasey. Snowy (John) Vernall expands on his view of the world, time and life itself while his wife gives birth to their first child, May, who we have previously met. He sees sadness associated with her first child, I'm assuming that's the May Warren we've met as a baby

Chapter 9 The breeze that pluck her apron. The life and times of little May Warren, from birth and her angelic appearance through to early death.

Chapter 10 Hark the Glad Sound. Tommy Warren is musing as his wife is in labour with his first child. We learn more of the Warrens as they move into the 50s, about May's 5 children, and the madness that affected his cousin Audrey.

Chapter 11 Choking on a Tune. Mick Warren has an industrial accident, is knocked out. When he comes round he has a clear memory of the previous occasion he was knocked out, when he choked on a cough sweet and was carried to hospital not breathing. He thinks he may have died, in which case what is he doing here.
And that's the end of book 1, which feels like an achievement, even though I'm only ~ 1/4 of the way through.

Book 2 Chapter 1 Upstairs. Mick Warren again, and this time it folows him as he leaves the earthly realm and goes "Upstairs" to the second borough. It's a very odd experience, reminding me a bit of the inbetween world in the first of the Narnia books. No one is there to meet him, so is this all a mistake?

Mar 22, 12:09pm

Happy new thread, Helen!

Mar 22, 12:21pm

Happy new thread and thank you for reminding me of how much I miss museums right now!

Mar 22, 12:44pm

Happy New Thread!!!

Mar 22, 12:57pm

Thank you all my visitors.
>18 RidgewayGirl: I know what you mean, I might have to gon on a binge of all my favourites once we're allowed out again...

Mar 22, 12:57pm

Happy new thread!

Mar 22, 12:59pm

Good luck with your epic undertaking of Jerusalem!

Mar 22, 1:26pm

>21 Jackie_K: Thank you!
>22 spiralsheep: Thank you. I am doubting my sanity with that one...

It's hive mind time again. At the end of the month I celebrate my Thingaversary. And 2 weeks later I have another birthday. In which case the only thing to do is a list of books.

What books would you get you for your birthday and what should I get me for mine?

We'll ignore the fact that I've not yet finished all of last year's Thingabirthday pile...

Mar 22, 1:50pm

>16 Helenliz: I've never heard of this book! Should I read it?

Editado: Mar 22, 2:07pm

>24 charl08: At present, not sure. I'll let you know in 3 months time! It's a huge thing, my copy is in tinsy weensy type and still almost 1200 pages. I usually read in bed, without my specs, but I have to wear them to read this, the type is that small. It took him a decade to write and is set in his home town of Northampton. Which is why I thought I'd try it, it's local.
Reviews are mixed, some love it, others think it needs a ruthless editor. There was a group read in last year's category challenge, some people finished it, others not so much.

That really sold it, didn't it?

Editado: Mar 22, 5:11pm

>24 charl08: Or read one of Moore's shortest classic works Skizz, set in Birmingham, for a completely different Alan Moore experience.

Mar 22, 2:33pm

>23 Helenliz: You've asked a difficult question, because I have 2300 books on my wish list! But let's say I could buy 5 today:
Laws of Migration
Ugly Love
Richard III: The Road to Leicester

Now, I can suggest for you (based on the number of 5 star reads and my own assessment:
The A. B. C. Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Original Classic Edition): An American Slave
The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Discovery
The Song of Achilles

Happy new thread. I know that I've seen those pics before, but they are still exquisite!

Editado: Mar 22, 4:43pm

>27 Tess_W: Well I knew I followed you for a reason, I have got, or read, 3 of your 5 suggestions and I loved Song of Achilles!
I've not read the Frederick Douglas or Columbus, so I will scurry away and have a look at those.

>26 spiralsheep: Yeah, that'd be cheating... (and possibly far more sensible)

Mar 22, 7:57pm

Happy new thread and early birthday and early Thingaversary!

I keep an Excel spreadsheet with my TBR list and mark the books on the list that my library doesn't have. If I had a book-buying pretext I'd probably buy a few of those books. Or I'd go to the British Library website and order a bunch of Crime Classics, because I'm not going to be able to splurge in person for quite some time :(

Mar 23, 1:17am

Happy new thread!

Like >29 rabbitprincess:, I try to check if my library has books before buying them. So for my birthday, I bought myself General Practice by James White because it had Code Blue - Emergency in it (the only book in the Sector General series I hadn't read because I couldn't get it from any of my libraries). If I am buying print books these days, I tend to go for books I think that I will read more than once; that isn't such a high bar with me as it is with some folk as I do tend to reread my books.

Mar 23, 3:56am

Book: 19
Title: Fire in the Thatch
Author: ECR Lorac
Rating: ****
Why: Thought I;d better read last year's thingaversary books before buying more...
Challenge: Woman Author, Bingo,
TIOLI challenge #8: Read a book to help me celebrate my 60th birthday

There is a really quite noticable sense of place in in Lorac's books, this is set in a WW2 Devon and it has a feeling of the open spaces and undulations of Devon about it. It's set on an estate and concerns the letting of a small holding, Little Thatch. This opens with the letting of Little Thatch to Nicholas Vaughan and sets up the main persons in the vicinity before jumping ahread 4 months the after Little Thatch has been burnt to a cinder and a verdit of accidental death brought in by the coroner. That doesn;t satisfy Commander Wilton, Vaughan's last naval captain, and he tells MacDonald in no uncertain terms. And so we find MacDonald in Devon, poking around for facts in the ash of Little Thatch. He gets a bee in his bonnet about a couple of things that don't fit the picture and seeks a motive. There is one, but it's hidden pretty deeply.
It's inventive enough, although the resolution turns out to be tricksy enough that it needs a fair bit of explaining, with petrol rations and fire and refuelling going on. This is one to read for the setting rather than the solution.

Mar 23, 4:12am

Happy new thread!

Mar 23, 4:36am

Thanks for the Moore explanation. Maybe I'll wait for your final review to decide (!)

As for books for your Thingaversary. I am very pleased with my haul from penguin of six books. The covers are very pretty.

And to echo the BL shop comments too. I splurged on their women writing series.

Editado: Mar 23, 4:39am

>29 rabbitprincess: I fear that would be a very loooong list! Our library has stopped exchanges between branches for the last year, so I've been limited to a small branch stock. And I think we've probably got as many books as they do...
>30 leslie.98: I think that going for books you expect to read more than once is not an unreasonable buying strategy
>32 MissWatson: thanks.
>33 charl08: you're a temptress... I'm going to use the bookshop, so I'll look at your 6 penguins.

Mar 23, 7:25am

>31 Helenliz: "Why: Thought I'd better read last year's thingaversary books before buying more..."

Ha! :D

Mar 23, 1:39pm

>35 spiralsheep: you've got to give me credit for honesty >:-)

Mar 23, 3:07pm

>36 Helenliz: Fully credited! ;-)

Mar 26, 12:56pm

No further finished to report, but I couldn't help wanting to share this:
What Happens When Bookstore Employees From The Librairie Mollat In France, Get Bored


Mar 26, 12:59pm

>38 Helenliz: - Oh, how fun!

Mar 30, 2:51am

Book: 20
Title: Simon the Coldheart
Author: Georgette Heyer
Rating: ***
Why: Sgared read with Liz
Challenge: Woman Author, CAT
TIOLI challenge #8: Read a book to help me celebrate my 60th birthday

Re-read. I think the previous review still stands. There's plentry of adventure in here, and enough archaic language to satisfy those who want their history to look and sound different. The romance remains slightly weak, in that it is Margurite who yields to Simon. Although you can see it coming, it feels a little like surrender when it does. So it remains as a 3 star book, good but not great.

Mar 30, 3:43pm

>40 Helenliz: I'd missed this one, and am going to read it on the grounds that a second-rate Georgette Heyer is likely to be better than any book by an imitator. Her adventure books are the only ones I have left to read.

I see that you have The Foundling and Arabella coming up next. Arabella was one of my favourites.

Mar 30, 4:01pm

>41 pamelad: It's quite different from the Regency or Georgian romances. She wrote a couple that don't fit that timeframe. I decided to read them all in order, Liz is going back and catching them separately, so this one's a re-read for me.

In the copy I have, printed after her death, her son writes that it was one she wanted suppressed as not being good enough. It's not up to her usual standard, no, but it's certainly not awful.

The next two are both re-reads, so I know I'm onto a good run. >:-)

Mar 31, 4:59pm

So that's the end of March, where does the year go. I'm not going to finish any of the books I have on the go, so here it is, the forst quarter review.

1/4 Review:
Number of books: 20 is heading for 80 in the year, which is about peak reading speed for me. I'm usually somewhere 70 to 80 ish, so nothing out of the ordinary there. My read of Jerusalem may slow that dosn in the next quarter...

The best book of the year so far was Alexa, what is there to know about love, a book of poetry, read by the author. Really enjoyed it. Meriting a really sold 4 stars, we have Fire in the Thatch, Crossed Skis, Piranesi, Why Willows Weep, Square Haunting, The Reluctant Widow and To say nothing of the dog, which is a pretty broad cross section of reading material! Also 8 books at more than 4 stars out of 20 is a not too shabby reading experience.

The only bum note is sounded by Mordew which just didn't float my boat and earnt itself a measley 2 stars.

Challenge 1: Women Authors: 14 books read by women authors out of 20 books is almost 2/3rds. !!! I wanted to aim for at least 50% so I'm doing more than OK on this one so far.

Challenge 2: New Authors: At 13 out of 20, that also well above the target of 1/3rd. I have a backlog of series I want to get on with again once the library starts doing inter-site transfers, so I can see this falling as the year goes on.

Challenge 3: Translations: Just the 1 in here at the moment, so some work to do to hit the 6 for the year.

Challenge 4: Subscriptions. This isn;t about the 6 I have read, more the 2 that are currently unread. But that isn't awful, I'm keeping up - just about.

Challenge 5: Heyer series read. Just the 1 so far. And 1 re-read, but that doesn't count. Need to try and get to these more often. Not sure it helps that they're shelved away from most of the others, so they don't catch my eye in the same way.

Challenge 6: Short Stories. 4 here. Which is fair. 2 of which were read, ragther than listened to, which is slightly unusual for me.

Challenge 7: Women's prize: Just the 1 so far, in that I'd read Piranesi before it was announced as being on the longlist. But that counts, so I'm adding it.

Challenge 8: Lists: None here, but that's again a limitation of the lack of library access. This one will pick up, I hope.

Challenge 9: Non-fiction: This has done surprisingly well, with 5. That's more than 1 a month. I used to read a lot of non-fiction, then it dropped off, I'm glad that's back,

Challenge 10: CATs: So far I've completed 15 out of 16 - the fruit & vege for February's random cat being the only miss. It's just for fun this one.

Challenge 11: Bingo: Again, so far I have just used women authors. I'm at 12 finished, so almost half way. Some of them, I suspect, may get more challenging from here on in.

Challenge 12: Misc: Nothing here yet.

So how's the first quarter of 2021 been? Well not too bad, really. A good range of reading, and a fairly positive scoring set. No 5 star reads, but I don't expect one of those every year. Lack of library access has hit some of the list categories, so I can only hope that we start being able to recieve books form other library branches sometime soon, so I can start to make a move on those. And, you never know, we may be allowed out by the time I do this for the half year. >:-)

Editado: Abr 2, 9:03am

Book: 21
Title: Jane Austen made me do it
Author: Various
Rating: **
Why: Audio
Challenge: Short stories
TIOLI challenge #8. Rolling Challenge - Based on the Number of Words in the Title

Most short story collecitons end up being a bit of a mixed bag, this is more mixed than most. They are all short stories about, inspired by or generally riffin on the themes and narratives of Jane Austen's life and works. And while some of them are inventive and well constructed, others are, frankly, dire.
I fail to understand how an author can set a contemporary novel and still have a woman as being worthless without a man in her life. It's backward and outdated. I don't claim to see eye to eye with Austen, but I think she was a sufficiently shrewd observer of the world to not be stuck in an outdated attitude to marriage and a woman's place in society.
The other gripe is that there are too many that seem to think that just because she wrote Elizabeth as being able to move into Darcey's life and sphere that Jane, herself, hob nobbed with the nobility. I think it highly unlikely.
So, having got the grim out the way, onto the good. The best of the bunch was the one that had Jane meeting her own creations and finding out that what she'd intended wasn't always how the characters themselves felt about the role they had been alloted. There couple of Jane ghost stories were fun enough and the re-enactment of Persuassion had a lot of merit.
But for the few good ideas, I'm not sure it was worth ploughing through the rest of it.
I listened to this and one of the narrators had the most bizzarre accent. Avon being pronounced as Ah-von, not Ay-von being just the easiest to type. I have no idea of her origin, but it was entirely offputting throughout.
In short, unless you are a died in the wool Jane Austen devottee, give this lot a miss.

Abr 2, 9:08am

>44 Helenliz: - Oh, that's too bad :(

Abr 2, 10:33am

Ah von. Yikes! That kind of thing is usually enough to put me off an audio altogether.

Editado: Abr 2, 10:37am

>46 charl08: Yup. It is most distracting. We also had a very strangulated Longbourne. Fortunately she wasn't narrating all the stories. I'm not sure my patience could have borne that.

>45 katiekrug: You win some, you loose some. Look at it this way, it's one less book you want to read. >;-)

Abr 2, 4:26pm

On the last thread, there were some nice comments about the baby blanket, so you can now be bored with my latest 2 items.

The heart is a pattern of my own design, and I'm incredibly pleased with the way it turned out. I long ago ran out of places to put stitching, so now I stitch for a charity that makes embriodered quilts for children who are ill or have life long difficulties. It means that sometimes I stitch things that are not my taste (unicorns being a case in point), but I can cope with that.

Abr 2, 4:32pm

So very talented!

Abr 2, 4:57pm

>48 Helenliz: I'm sure there's someone who is going to be very happy with those unicorns!

Abr 2, 5:02pm

>50 charl08: I know. They're not my thing, but I don;t have to look at them once I've stitched them. Someone will think them everso cute - I thought they'd passed that stage and were best described as twee.

>49 Tess_W: It requires no more talent than an ability to count. Although there are times when that becomes quite challenging...

Abr 2, 5:03pm

>48 Helenliz: Those are gorgeous, such intricate work! And I love the heart design.

Abr 3, 9:01am

>48 Helenliz: Those are so full of fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I love the heart design.

Abr 3, 9:46am

I really like that heart pattern too. You should publish it and make tons of money :)

Abr 3, 12:02pm

>48 Helenliz: You do beautiful work - that Heart design is gorgeous!

Abr 4, 8:03am

Thank you all.

Abr 4, 9:07am

Chiming in belatedely with appreciation of your gorgeous handiwork!

Abr 5, 10:13am

>48 Helenliz: You certainly should be pleased with the heart, it's lovely. I'm not a unicorn fan either but some child will treasure that. I'm amazed that during the pandemic I haven't felt like stitching, obviously it was a perfect time for it. I had hoped for my next project to be a big one and I think that may be the problem, I'm not up for the challenge of managing a lot of thread colors right now. You will probably be surprised to know I love the hoop you're using. The old fashioned clamp type is my favorite because it holds the fabric so tight. Lots of people say don't use them over stitching but I've never had a problem, I don't leave the hoop on when I'm not stitching and if the thread is a little creased I just lie the piece down in water a short time and it puffs right back up. I think some people like to make too many rules for too many things!

Abr 5, 11:29am

>48 Helenliz: - Nicely done!

Abr 5, 12:08pm

Happy new thread! Your lists always manage to add substantially to my wishlist.

Beautiful stitchery! I'm not a fan of unicorns either, but your work is lovely and will be appreciated.

Abr 5, 5:24pm

>48 Helenliz: I like the unicorns, possibly because they remind me of naughty Thelwell ponies. The heart design is lovely. I like the way the graded colours manage to be both interesting to the eye but also soothing.

Editado: Abr 6, 11:52am

Book: 22
Title: A Woman is no Man
Author: Etaf Rum
Rating: ***
Why: Shelterbox book club discussion next week
Challenge: Woman author, new author, Subscriptions, Bingo
TIOLI challenge #11. Read a book listed for an award or on a recommended list to improve representation

Told by 3 female voices, all of Palestinian origin, living in America, this is an unflinching representation of their life and culture. Fareeda & Isra were born in Palestine and travelled to the US, Fareeda with her husband to start a new life, Isra to marry Fareda's eldest son, Adam. They then had Deya, who is in her late teens in the story begins. Each woman tells her story in individual chapters, with the scene shifting from Fareeda's young married life, to Isra's marriage & Deya's teens. The story doesn't progress linearly, so you jump about between timeframes and don't hear about the early stages of Fareeda's marriage until quite late in the book.
The thing that sticks out for me is how each woman wants better, for themselves, but they are trapped in a culture that doesn't allow them that freedom, and even start imposing those restrictions on the next generation. There is a sense of a vicious cycle at work here. That is what makes Sarah so interesting, she may describer herself as a coward, but she broke out of the circle. She doesn't come across as well as the other women, as her story is told second hand. Deya is tempted to follow the same path, but eventually finds her own path. It was inter4esting that Fareeda's sons also all break away from the family, in one way or another, but they are never faced with the same censure that the girls are. I found the acceptance of some pretty ropey male behaviour to be well nigh unforgivable, especially taking into account the outcome. It's an eyeopening account of a culture that oppresses women and elevates men in a way that I simply have no parallel to compare with. Isra seems to be suffering from post natal depression, and yet receives no help or support from the family, she is just further dammed by them for having borne girls - which is not something she has any control over - that's the man's sperm that indicates gender, this is Adam's failing, not hers.
If I were to criticise, it is that I would want to know Sarah's story, as the first to break the cycle, she faces the harder task. It's not a book you can say is enjoyable, but neither is it one that you are able to put down.
And I found the last chapter to be very strange, as it doesn't fit the facts of the story as we have discovered them so far, was that wishful thinking?

Abr 6, 12:02pm

>57 rabbitprincess:, >59 katiekrug:, thankyouthankyouthankyou.

>58 clue: I barely picked up any cross stitch for the first 6 months of lockdown. I have to be relaxed to stitich, I can't start het up and then relax while stitching. I had a lot on and it simply didn't fit my mind set. Back at it now though.
I love my hoop. It's a seat stand, so I tuck it under one thigh and it leaves both hands free to work with. I've never had a problem squashing stitches, and I've done some fairly large projects with it. A good swirl about in some warm water and an iron usually gets rid of any evidence of stitches being squashed. I think you're right, it can be made a lot more complicated than it actually is.

>61 spiralsheep: I hadn't looked at themn that way, but now you mention it, there is something about them... >;-)

Abr 6, 1:02pm

I do love that you keep obvious track of BBs. I need to do that, sigh.

Abr 6, 5:28pm

>38 Helenliz: LOL!!! Thanks for that link - it was both bookish & funny.

Abr 7, 3:50am

>64 majkia: I'm always worried that there are just too many of them...

>65 leslie.98: It tickled me, so I thought it might find some appreciation here. I thought it quite amusing, which is what we need at times.

Editado: Abr 9, 5:52am

Book: 23
Title: Pandora's Jar
Author: Natalie Haynes
Rating: *****
Why: Audio
Challenge: Woman author, non-fiction, Bingo, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book with a title word or author name beginning with a letter in "April"

This is simply fabulous. At a basic level it aims to describe how 10 women in Greek myths have been variously represented through the ages. And it takes its selection across a range of famous and infamous women, looking at how they were presented in different plays, poetry and graphical representations of the Greek times, moving forwards to Roman authors, then into more modern times. They have changed as different ages have re-interpreted them, and not always for the better.
And it is so much more than that. This is told by a highly intelligent woman who wears her learning lightly. She uses intellect as well as wit and snark to make her points about these various women and their different representations. And she is not afraid to tackle some really difficult areas, murder, infanticide, rape and false rape accusation are all covered in here as illustrative of different points. These women were not 2 dimensional, they were marvellously complex and human (even when semi divine) with motives, desires, fears and emotions that are immediately relateable. That later tellings have often diminished their role is not the myth's fault - and it points to we need more modern retellings that explore these women in full again, not just the cardboard cutout representations that we are generally faced with. She also makes some very telling points about language use and translation choices that tend to present certain women in certain ways when there may be multiple meanings to the phrases employed.
It felt to me a lot like that point early in the evening with some close friends, when the wine is in the glasses, but you're all still sober enough to ask a question and discover that you have an expert in your midst, and the next 15 minutes are some of the most illuminating in your week. You all learn something, but it's enjoyable - that is this book. It was not at all highbrow or difficult to follow, she makes no apology for using examples from cinema as well as from art and ancient plays. I listened to this and it was brilliant. Probably my favourite line: "to a classicist, Marlowe is modern"

I think I might have found my latest bookie best friend.

Abr 7, 2:33pm

>67 Helenliz: I'm waiting for this one in paperback, I am going to be patient. (If I repeat it enough times, maybe it will be true?) I follow her on instagram, she's great.

Abr 7, 2:45pm

>67 Helenliz: What a great review - that's one for the wishlist!

Editado: Abr 7, 4:09pm

>68 charl08: I saw it was on BorrowBox, so snapped it up. She reads really very well. I'm sure you'll be able to hold off for the paperback.

>69 Jackie_K: It was goooood. It's my first 5 star book since April last year, when I awarded ***** to A Thousand Ships, by the same author!

Abr 7, 8:20pm

>67 Helenliz: That is certainly a great review. On my wish list it goes!

Abr 8, 3:21am

>67 Helenliz: Fabulous review. This is one for the shopping list.

Abr 9, 5:52am

>71 Tess_W:, >72 MissWatson: My work here is done >;-) I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Abr 10, 10:46am

>73 Helenliz: I am holding off on Pandora's Jar, waiting for the paperback, but I have found A thousand ships to tide me over the waiting.

Editado: Abr 11, 7:36am

Book: 24
Title: The Ghost Fields
Author: Elly Griffiths
Rating: ***
Why: Audio
Challenge: Woman author, CAT, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #14. Read a book by an author whose first name starts with a vowel

The next in the Ruth Galloway series. In this one, a digger driver uncovers a WW2 plane in a field being prepared for housing. He stops to investigate and gets the fright of his life when he finds the pilot inside. Only it's not quite as simple as that. Turns out that it's not the pilot, it was a tail gunner of a bomber who had been shot down over the sea a week before this plane crashed, and the dental records & DNA prove that. So where's the pilot been all these years? Especially when Ruth comes along and excavates, discoveing that he hadn't been in the plane for almost 70 years, but had been buried somewhere else first. The plane is on land that used to belong to the Blackstock family, a down at heel branch of the landed gentry who have owned the hall since, well, forever.
It all gets complicated, as these things do. The story of who the pilot is and where he has been in the meantime is followed by a family funeral that draws Blackstocks from near and far and results in an attack on one of them. That's followed up by a couple mnore attacks, only it is fortunate that our attacker is more enthusiastic than efficient.
There's a lot going on in here. Kate starts school, Ruth generally frets about her, the delectable Frank make a re-appearance and there's some dodgy dealings that are a bit close to home (saying no more).
The downside of this one if that it does rely on confession to seal the deal. Nelson may have his gut tell him who dun it, but it takes a went night and a confession to bring it to the open.
It's all great fun.

Abr 11, 7:33am

>74 MissWatson: ohhh! Enjoy. That was the last book I gave 5 stars to, just on a year ago.

Abr 14, 12:50pm

It's the time again, which of these do I want to read?

Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo
All Men Want To Know by Nina Bouraoui

Any opinons welcomed, although I reserve the right to ignore any opinion. >:-)

Abr 14, 12:55pm

As usual all these books look interesting but as a Canadian I am going to vote for Funny Boy.

Abr 14, 4:36pm

My Loverman is BRILLIANT. I don't know anything about the other two though, so they may also deserve shouty caps.

Abr 16, 2:26pm

>79 charl08: I like the enthusiasm. >:-)
>78 DeltaQueen50: it's as good a reason as any.

Abr 21, 8:35am

Great review of Pandora's Jar, Helen - you hit me with that one so onto The List it goes. I will also add my thumb to your review if you posted it.

I vote for Mr. Loverman because I loved Girl, Woman, Other by her so much - her writing is full of fabulous. And I love that Charlotte accidentally typed MY Loverman instead of Mr. Gave me a giggle.

Abr 21, 9:34am

>81 Crazymamie: oh dear... whoops.
Should I fix it, Helen?

Abr 21, 11:27am

*breaking news* I've been jabbed. I'm a Moderna girl.

>81 Crazymamie: excellent, glad it got you too. Review should be posted. >:-)

>82 charl08:. No, leave it, I didn't even notice. And now Mamie's pointed it out, it's made me smile quite a lot.

Abr 21, 11:35am

>83 Helenliz: - I'm a Moderna girl, too :) Glad you got the first one done!

Abr 21, 1:04pm

>83 Helenliz: Moderna girl, twice!

Abr 21, 1:04pm

>83 Helenliz: Congratulations Thoroughly Moderna Missy (a pun which probably only works for Julie Andrews fans).

Editado: Abr 21, 1:16pm

>86 spiralsheep: ohhh that's goood! Certainly better than my Material/Moderna girl pun.

>84 katiekrug:, >85 Tess_W: That's good to know, It's the most recent approved in the UK, so has only just been rolled out in the last week. I was asked if I minded which one, I said I really didn't care either way. I was going to have it, whatever it was.

Abr 21, 2:24pm

>87 Helenliz: I had mine in Feb/March and other than a sore arm in March, nothing!

Abr 21, 3:56pm

Book: 25
Title: The Foundling
Author: Georgette Heyer
Rating: ****1/2
Why: Shared read and next in the series
Challenge: Woman author, Heyer series, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book or work with a two word title in the format "The ----"

This stands up on a re-read as well. Nothing wrong with spending a few hours with this one.
Previous review quite a bit longer. >;-) Not sure that I'd give it the full 5 stars for a re-read, the surprise is gone, but it remains very good.

Abr 22, 2:18am

Morning after the jab before report. Feel like someone's punched me really hard in the arm, and my shoulder/neck is a bit stiff on that side. But apart from that I'm currently feeling OK. Fingers cross that continues.

Abr 22, 3:20am

>90 Helenliz: Hope it wears off Helen. I reached for the paracetamol.

Abr 22, 1:44pm

Book: 26
Title: D: A Tale of Two Worlds
Author: Michel Faber
Rating: **1/2
Why: Audio
Challenge: New author, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a title containing at least 3 words that start with the same letter

It's possible that not having read A Tale of Two Cities, I've missed some of the Dickensian references. Some I spotted, but I'm not sure that they were enough for the subtitle. It seems to be written for a YA audience and so has all the requisite plot holes that seem to accompany that genre. The Letter D starts to vanish, from written words and speech. Dhikilo seems to be the only one who can still say her D's. Until she meets Professor Dodderfield and gets sent on an adventure through a portal shaped like a large book cover into the frozen land of Liminus. She's not alone, she's accompanied by a sphinx that can turn into a chocolate labrador, both called Mrs Robinson.
In Liminus she meets various peoples and is greeted with everything from kindness to be arested and threatened with execution. She manages to survive, with the help of the sphinx. Sometimes it all just felt a bit too unlikely, that a school girl, even one aided and abeted by a sphinx, would be able to outsmart all the different people she meets along the way. There are also loads of qursitons that asensible person should have asked, and no-one does, so that it all ends up wrapped up with a bow, but the how is left somewhat murky and unexplained.
The best thing about this was the narration, pronouncing words without their required D but still making the understandable is some skill and the narrator deserves some praise for achieveing the necessary vocal contortions.
It wasn't awful it just really isn't my thing.

Abr 22, 6:44pm

>89 Helenliz: This was one of the few that I didn't re-read. I started, but it was too familiar, a bit lifeless, and I had no patience with Gilly. It was probably the third read, and some stand up to repeated reading better than others do.

Now, having read a lot of imitators, I'm considering going back and raising the ratings of some of the originals.

Editado: Abr 24, 6:11am

It is possible that I might have slightly overdone the birthday book list... I collected this pile today

I can reliably attribute any number of them to you lot, so my guilt is assuaged.

Abr 24, 6:16am

>94 Helenliz: Happy birthday! I remember A Is for Arsenic going on my wishlist, as well!

Abr 24, 7:18am

Only one book for each month of your birthday year? Seems rather stingy to me. ;)

Abr 24, 7:39am

>95 NinieB: Thank you.
>96 ELiz_M: I like your thinking! >:-)

I'd ordered them via e-mail, then got a call yesterday to say they were in. So when I went in today and said I had some books to collect, she asked name, then opened her eyes a bit wide when I said and she realied that it was half the reserves shelf and all for me. >:-)
Like I said, what else am I supposed to do for a borthday present. Can't have a day out, can't have a nice meal out; it's books or chocolates and I've had both this year.

Abr 24, 8:16am

>94 Helenliz: Nice haul! I've got the Natalie Haynes book on my TBR as well, and I rather liked Cornwell's visit to Shakespearian London.
>97 Helenliz: Yes, what else is there? I need to avoid chocolate (too many calories, alas), so I treat myself to books.

Abr 24, 8:38am

>97 Helenliz: "Like I said, what else am I supposed to do for a borthday present. Can't have a day out, can't have a nice meal out; it's books or chocolates and I've had both this year."
Exactly!!! :-)

Abr 24, 9:20am

Happy birthday! Over do it, nawwwwwwwwww!

Abr 24, 9:27am

>98 MissWatson: I've listened to 2 of her books, and given each 5 stars. This me working through her back catalogue.

>98 MissWatson:, >99 MissBrangwen:, 100. Thank you. I knew if I were to find validation anywhere, it would be here. >:-)

Abr 24, 9:32am

Happy birthday! Excellent haul! I think that birthday books shouldn't count in overall figures (similar to how birthday cakes don't have calories).

Abr 24, 10:26am

>94 Helenliz: - I fail to see the problem.

Abr 24, 2:54pm

>102 Jackie_K: ohh, that's inventive! I like your thinking. And lockdown birthdays don't count at all, and that's my second.

>103 katiekrug: >:-)

Abr 25, 4:59am

Book: 27
Title: Island Dreams
Author: Gavin Francis
Rating: ***
Why: Non-fiction
Challenge: New author, Subscription, Non-Fiction
TIOLI Challenge #2. Read a book whose title includes a woman's name

This is a survey of islands how they reflect and refract the view of the world. Are you isolated on an island for good or ill?
The author is clearly well travelled, lots of the Scottish islands, but also Antarctica and various tropical islands make an appearance, he also uses literary references to islands, in fact and fiction - Both Alexander Selkirk and Robinson Crusoe make several appearances.
At times it feels like he skips from topic to topic like a stone skimming on water. This is at its best when he spends a few pages on one topic or experience.
The illustrations are epic, though.
I'm not an isle-o-phile like the author, my obsession would be the sea, I'm happy on the mainland by the sea, knowing it's there.

Abr 25, 5:10am

>105 Helenliz: I suppose I'm an isle-o-phile, so that's a BB for me, even if it's only three stars!

Abr 25, 5:12am

>105 Helenliz: Unlike you I am obsessed with islands (especially the kind one can intermittently walk to) such as those in Tiny Islands by Dixe Wills. Island Dreams : mapping an obsession sounds like a book I might want from the library.

Abr 25, 6:50am

Belated Happy Birthday Helen. Nice book haul too.

Abr 25, 8:50am

>108 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you. If one must have a birthday, one may as well profit from it. >;-)

>106 MissBrangwen: it had some very good parts, but the whole was just a bit too shallow to be really interesting, to me. Having said that it is extensively illustrated with maps of all ages, and they were a delight.

>107 spiralsheep: It was enjoyable, it just didn't quite hit the spot for me.

Abr 25, 9:43am

>94 Helenliz: What a great haul, Helen! I am thrilled to see A is for Arsenic, The Yellow Wallpaper and Medieval People in the mix - I loved all of those. And is that The Haunting of Tram Car 015? If so, I also enjoyed that one and am looking forward to reading his A Master of Djinn.

Hoping that Sunday is kind to you.

Abr 25, 10:07am

>110 Crazymamie: Yup you have correctly identified all 4 of those titles. I think you had something to do with at least a couple of them. Blame happily spread a little bit wider. >;-)

Abr 25, 10:11am

Well, they are all full of fabulous, so I am happy to accept any of the blame. What a fun birthday haul!

Abr 25, 11:48am

>109 Helenliz: I love birthdays Helen. Decade birthdays I celebrate all year, though last year's was somewhat restricted. Numbers... pick one. Some days I feel 90, other days 19 and anything in between, so I only have to deal with the number for the day.

Abr 25, 12:15pm

>113 Caroline_McElwee: I'm not a fan of birthdays, well not mine. Mostly as one year mine was the last time I saw dad before he died. It gets a bit mixed up. For a number of years I'd just throw the cards straight in the bin, I simply didn't want to know. I do now at least acknowledge that I have a birthday, so that's progress. I even bought cake this year. Any excuse for cake works. >:-D

I usually reckon to be ~ 26, I liked being 26. You're got things just about sorted, have some idea of who you are and where you're going in life. Next birthday is half century and it's a work day. Options are just go to work or do something about it. I think I prefer the former.

Abr 25, 12:48pm

>114 Helenliz: Sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. It was the third anniversary of the loss of my own on 1 April. Maybe you can see your birthday going forward as a celebration of two lives Helen.

I never work on my birthday, in fact take two weeks annual leave at that time of year, May, every year now. Pre-pandemic I went away for a week with my sister each year. Our main, annual get together. Fortunately I can visit her this year the week after my birthday.

I'm not sure what year I'd settle on. I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. Each decade has had some special moments. My second lockdown birthday puts me at 61.

Abr 25, 4:42pm

When I turned 40 I decided that, in lieu of a mid-life crisis, I'd run a marathon. I am NOT contemplating anything so stupid for my 50th. I've reached an accomodation with my birthday, I will have one, but don't expect a party or anything.

Abr 25, 10:06pm

That looks like exactly the right size of birthday haul. Quantity and quality. I particularly liked A is for Arsenic and hope you do too!

Abr 26, 5:45am

Nice group of books for your birthday. I'll have to keep that idea in mind.

Abr 26, 9:44am

>105 Helenliz: I'm another isle-o-phile, and if this book wasn't already on my wishlist I'd have been adding it (despite the 3* review). The author is a GP based in Edinburgh, and his latest book, Intensive Care, is about his experiences last year in the pandemic.

Abr 27, 8:18am

>117 rabbitprincess: Why thank you.

>118 dudes22: Thank you. Seemed like a sensible pressie to me.

>119 Jackie_K: It had passages that were really good, it just didn't sustain that. I hope you enjoy it regardless.

Abr 27, 8:22am

Today's excitement was going into the library!!!
I've had a bit of a sort out, so had a box of books to donate. So they can go to the library book sale and I have a smidge more space for new acquisitions (as if!).

Just the 1 book, as the library service still hasn't started transfers between library branches.

Abr 27, 10:35am

>121 Helenliz: Feel my jealousy at your library visit. Mine is still a covid-19 testing centre!

I did manage my first book donation of the year yesterday though. Eight paper books and one audiobook to Oxfam. I hope the library book sale goes well.

Abr 27, 4:03pm

>122 spiralsheep: It was quite nice, even if their stock is pretty limited.

In other news, I'm ~ a year overdue my eye test (silly covid) and my glasses have decided to give up the ghost. Being too vain to accept that I wear glasses, I've got rimless varifocals, and one lens has decided it no longer wishes to associate with the nose piece. So I'm back to my previous glasses. Which are fine for distance. But for reading they're so not! Laptop magnification up a few notches, but it does put the kibosh on making much progress on Jerusalem for a bit and no stitching.

Editado: Abr 27, 4:14pm

>123 Helenliz: Booo to broken glasses.

Abr 27, 11:31pm

>89 Helenliz: Glad to find another fan of The Foundling (though not my favorite Heyer)! Gilly is sweet :)

And belated wishes for both a happy birthday & the vaccination shot.

Abr 28, 12:04am

Happy Birthday and enjoy those wonderful books!

Abr 28, 2:09am

>123 Helenliz: I've increased my magnification on the work computer screen recently. Not a great sign!

Abr 28, 5:17am

>124 spiralsheep: I'm not sure I'd realised how much I rely on the varifocals. Just things like my dinner plate being in focus without having to take my glasses off. It's the little things...

>125 leslie.98: He certainly comes into his own as the story progresses, no matter that it is hugely unlikely! And thank you.

>126 DeltaQueen50: Thank you!

>127 charl08: I'm hoping to put it back once I get the specs sorted. At present I've got the magnification up and the glasses on top of my head. It's working, sort of.

Abr 28, 8:58am

>123 Helenliz: I wear Varilux (no line bifocals) and I love them. However, while reading at night lying in my bed, I just use a cheap pair of readers, because no lines don't work so good when lying down!

Editado: Abr 29, 3:01am

Book: 28
Title: Death of a Ghost
Author: Margery Allingham
Rating: ***
Why: Why not?
Challenge: Woman Author, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book with a title word or author name beginning with a letter in "April"

This is pleasantly convoluted. The painter John Lafcardio wanted to put one over on a fellow painter, so he arranged to have a series of his paintings crated up and unveilled one a year after his death. That way the fellow would not eve be able to escape from under his shadow. So far, so much fun. Only this year at the unveilling, an artist who has been engaged to the painter's granddaughter but now married his model to bring her to England is stabbed with a really ugly pair of scissors. Campion is present and so follows the detection os a mystery where the artistic temprament gets in the way quite a lot. This is an interesting case in that the murder is identified long before the case can be solved, due to lack of evidence. It's an interesting side to the problem, you know whodunit, but can't prove it.

Abr 29, 4:11am

>123 Helenliz: Grr re glasses. Would cross the counter reading glasses do for the time being Helen? I don't find them any different from optician bought ones, and keep them in every room - no more 'where are my glasses'.

Editado: Abr 29, 9:09am

>130 Helenliz: - I liked your reason "Why."

Abr 29, 10:35am

>132 katiekrug: sometimes I have a positive reason why I've read it and at times I just don't.
>131 Caroline_McElwee: the local optician has sent them away to their workshop, to see if they can repair them enough to last a month. Hopefully they'll just hold together that little bit longer.

Anyway, *drum roll please* I have had my hair cut!!!!
*runs around like a loon in excitement*

I have a fringe back again and I'd forgotten how much they tickled my forehead.
And my lovely hairdresser put my hair in dutch plaits for me, which is something I have no idea how to even start.

Abr 29, 4:22pm

>133 Helenliz: Oh great news re the haircut. I have 23 more days to go till mine - not that I'm counting or anything.

Editado: Abr 29, 4:45pm

Just had to google Dutch plait. I've learnt something... Hoping I get organised enough to have a haircut next week.

I read about a women's prize box which included a donation to the group that runs the prize. I think I like the idea of a book themed box more than the actual thing- especially as not sure what I'd do with the two I didn't like!

Abr 30, 3:28am

>135 charl08: I had to have the difference between a French and Dutch plait explained to me as well, so you're not alone there.

I know what you mean. I had a bit of a book cull and found getting rid of books that I know I won't read again quite hard. I don't know why that should be.

>134 Jackie_K: The time will fly by, I'm sure *crosses fingers hopefully*

Maio 5, 12:45pm

You will all be delighted to know that the opticians was able to repair my glasses and I can see again! No more fuzzy books and holding my mobile phone at arms length to read it.
*does a happy dance*
I hate the idea of being old enough to need glasses, but having them is a lot better than not.

Maio 5, 1:06pm

>137 Helenliz: - I need to make appointments for The Wayne and me with the eye doctor. I have a phobia about the eye doctor for some reason. I'd much prefer to go to the dentist.

Maio 5, 1:42pm

Maio 5, 3:30pm

>138 katiekrug: I have the optician for an eye test (and probably a new prescription) then the dentist on consecutive days in a fortnight's time. I don't like the air puff test they do for something or other, but that's the only bit that I object to.

>139 spiralsheep: >:-)

Maio 5, 4:18pm

I really hate that air puff test - it freaks me out every time. I am also overdue for a visit to the eye doctor - your thread is reminding me that I really need to schedule one of those.

Hooray for the repair of your glasses! Most excellent!

Maio 5, 6:15pm

>140 Helenliz: Glaucoma. Glad you can see again.

Maio 6, 2:23am

>142 pamelad: that's the stuff. I know it's important and needs doing, but that doesn't make it any more ejoyable!

>141 Crazymamie: Off you go, missie. Book that appointment.

Is eye doctor the usual US term? We'd use optician for someone who does eye tesst and prescribed glasses.The wonders of language.

Maio 6, 6:50am

Yes, ma'am. I always say eye doctor, although the official term here is optometrist. I think most people in the US Midwest and in the Deep South say eye doctor. I don't know about other regions of the US.

Maio 6, 8:09am

>137 Helenliz: Congrats on the repaired glasses. Like you said, life without is hard.

Maio 6, 9:00am

>144 Crazymamie: - Here in God's country - the Northeast - I hear most people say "eye doctor."

Hi Helen!

Maio 6, 9:46am

I (living in the southeastern US) usually say "eye doctor" because it's the most comprehensive term, covering ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians.

Maio 6, 10:02am

Re the lack of glasses: I am spending a lot of time in shops with things looking blurry as I can't find a mask that doesn't blur them up. Hoping to come across an affordable invention re this soon...

Editado: Maio 6, 10:10am

>148 charl08: bizarrely, not a problem a I suffer from.
I used to have to wear a mask at work, and I think that you learn how to wear one in a way that doesn't steam yourself up. I can't explain it any better than that. I keep my glasses really clean, put my glasses on top of the mask, so that they lenses are further away from the top of the mask and I breathe out slowly through my nose. The husband steams up as soon as he looks at a mask, so it's not a universal panacea, but it works for me.

>147 christina_reads:, >146 katiekrug:, >144 Crazymamie:. Interesting.
I think an eye doctor as a surgeon specialising in eyes, and that's not at all the same thing as going to the opticians!

>145 MissWatson: I admit, I did miss them... The world looks a lot nicer in focus.

Maio 6, 12:02pm

>146 katiekrug: Well, I knew I wasn't in God's country.

Maio 6, 12:10pm

>150 Crazymamie: - Despite what they think... :-P

Maio 6, 12:10pm

Maio 6, 4:53pm

Regarding the glaucoma test -- the newer machines do not have that disconcerting puff of air.

Maio 6, 5:54pm

A bit late to the party but congratulations on the haircut, glasses, birthday, and vaccine! Your birthday haul is excellent.

Maio 7, 3:44am

Book: 29
Title: Dear Reader
Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink
Rating: ****
Why: Audio
Challenge: New Author, Woman author, Non-fiction, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book set in a country that starts with a vowel

This is a life told by and through books. They can bring comfort, they can stretch you, they can take you off to other worlds and they can reflect life right back at you. And in here they do all of that and more. This starts with the author having just moved house looking at her book shelves and deciding what to read first, she then decides to start at the very beginning. And so the memoir begins. As a child she was entranced by books and reading; like her, I have no memory of not being able to read. Each chapter of her life is concluded by a short list of books about some element of the section of memoir that you have just read. In many cases I had read the same books and found myself nodding along. We are of an age and so I could relate, in some ways, to her story. In some ways I envied her the ability to recommend a book - that leaves me uneasy - what if someone doesn't like the recommendation, have I just badly misjudged them? However I recognise the tendency to try and see what book someone else is reading (e-readers are impossible in this regard).
Her current role as a literacy advocate is an interesting one and she is clearly passionate about books and reading - long may that continue.

Book: 30
Title: Sicily
Author: John Julius Norwich
Rating: ****
Why: Fitted CAts and off the shelf.
Challenge: Non-ficiton, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #4. Read a book with a title with three or more words containing at least one article

This is a thoroughly readable history of Sicily, putting the island into a European and Mediterranean context. There are lots of asides and anecdotes that, while not strictly necessary for the history, help bring the different people to life across the centuries. Unfortunately for Sicily, her heyday appears to have been in the 12th century, and therefore the bulk of the book has the sense of being a location in decline. The Sicilians are not exactly innocent in this, the nobles act disgracefully, the poor are horribly downtrodden until the rise up and revolt, which they do frequently. unfortunately, little seems to change for the better. This is as much a story of what might have been as what was.
At one point, Norwich is describing the mosaics and interior of the Palatine church and goes in detail for a paragraph, At the end of which he says that this is not a guidebook and he'll get back to the history. However the description was as beguiling as a guidebook and I was googling holidays to Sicily - assuming we're ever allowed to go anywhere ever again. From this is appears to be a fascinating place.

Maio 7, 3:45am

>150 Crazymamie:, >151 katiekrug: *snort* you two...

>153 RidgewayGirl: oh, interesting.

>154 VivienneR: Never too late to join the party and thank you on all counts. >:-)

Maio 7, 6:03am

>155 Helenliz: - book 29 - BB.

Maio 7, 6:44am

Dear Reader goes on my WL!

Maio 7, 11:44am

>155 Helenliz: Dear Reader is currently just $2.99 on Kindle, so I snagged it - thanks for the book bullet. And oh, dear, because you also hit me with Sicily, which is just $4.99 on Kindle. To buy or not to buy?

Hoping your Friday has been full of fabulous, Helen!

Maio 7, 1:19pm

You hit me first with a book bullet for Dear Reader then Mamie closed the deal with the news about it being $2.99 on Kindle. :)

Maio 7, 2:35pm

Excellent, my work here is done. >:-)

Maio 7, 4:35pm

And I had a credit I could use so it was only 1.99 - great deal.

Maio 11, 4:01pm

Book: 31
Title: Snow in May
Author:Kseniya Melnik
Rating: ***
Why:Shelterbox book club
Challenge: Woman author, new author, short stories, subscriptions
TIOLI Challenge #2. Read a book with the same 3 letter sequence repeated in title/author's name

I didn't realise that this was a set of short stories when I started it, which took me by surprise. They're all set in or about people from the Gulag city of Magadan, and that hangs heavy over the book in different ways. Each short story features people who are trying, in some way, to be someone or somewhere else. The stories are set in different times but there didn't seem to be a logic to their ordering. They weren't choronological or necessarily connected, although some names appear multiple times. There is a slightly melacholy air to the pieces, no one seems entirely happy. A bit like the weather, it has a slightly threateneing or gloomy air. The ones I enjoyed most, for entirely different reaons, were the first and last.

Maio 14, 3:24am

Book: 32
Title: The Yellow Wallpaper
Author:Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Rating: ***
Why:Mamie hit me with a bullet
Challenge: Woman author, new author, short stories
TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book where a color or shade of color is named in the title

I'm not sure what to make of this collection. Some of them speak powerfully of the human condition and state of mind. Others are so much of their time and place that they seem to be period pieces, divorced from a current reality. The second piece, in particular, contains reactions that I think the modern mind finds difficult to catch. The title piece seems to capture a descent into madness, told through the pattern on the yellow wallpaper of their bedroom. The colour appears to change with the mood of the viewer and it's really quite haunting. It is certainly worth reading.

Maio 14, 4:04am

>163 Helenliz: I want to read these stories, sounds intriguing. I'm on a bit of a Russian theme, have read a few recently. I've just picked up a library book which is translated from Hebrew but set in 19c Russia - very atmospheric!

Maio 14, 7:05am

I'm so glad you found it worth reading, Helen. I only read the title story - I listened to it on audio, which was fabulous, several years ago. Then, this year I reread the story in graphic novel form and thought the illustrations matched the narrative perfectly. I do have the entire collection of stories now, having purchased that gorgeous Penguin Vitae edition, so I will have to read the others.

Maio 14, 10:27am

>164 Helenliz: I read the title story years ago Hellen, and agree it is very haunting. Will revisit this year.

Maio 14, 2:01pm

>165 charl08:, well blame Mamie, it was her fault I put it on the birthaversary book buying list. These are all very American, no doubting where they are set.

>166 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie for the bullet, it was certainly an interesting read. Some of them were very of their time and place.

>167 Caroline_McElwee: The title story is certainly one the the stonger in the collection. The cover of my new copy is very yellow.

Editado: Maio 14, 11:09pm

>164 Helenliz:: Which selection did you read of Charlotte Perkins' Gilman's work?

I collect Virago Modern Classics and have a VMC edition of the standalone short story/novella which is the book you have a touchstone for. and another VMC book The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected writings, and it looks as if you read a selection because you mention other stories. As it's a 19th century classic and seen as an American and a feminist classic, there are of course multiple editions. I've just realised I have catalogued a different edition of Gilman's other most famous work, Herland.

I think I wrote about this short story among lots of others in my dissertation and that I read an introduction to a selection of stories (not either of the ones I own now, as one wasn't even published) which raised some quite thought provoking questions about her work. But that was more than 30 years ago so I don't remember much detail.

Maio 15, 3:43am

>169 elkiedee: short answer: a very yellow one! The cover title was "The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories"
I will find it on the shelves and let you know.

Maio 15, 3:55am

We read the titular short story for a book group and it made for a good discussion. I was sad to read of her far less than stellar views on race. It rather put me off reading Herland.

Maio 15, 6:40am

My copy was published by Legend Press, and features the following:
The Yellow Wallpaper
If I were a Man (who hasn't thought this!!)
An Unnatural Mother
Three Thanksgivings
The Cottagette
When I was a Witch (hilarious!)
Making a Change
A Middle-sized Artist
Martha's Mother
Mr Robert Grey Sr
The Permanent Child
Two Storks
Their House
Mrs Merrill's Duties

Maio 15, 7:33am

>172 Helenliz: When I was a Witch free online:


(I'll read it later. Thank you for the rec.)

Maio 15, 8:15am

Thanks. I found the Virago selected stories volume and will have to have a look and see what else is in it.

Yes, I certainly read things on questions of racism in relation to CPG and her work all those years ago.

Maio 15, 7:40pm

>164 Helenliz: I once read that The Yellow Wallpaper is a Victorian story about post-partum depression. Has anyone else had this view?

>171 charl08: I read Herland as well but hate to hear about her racist views. I've meant to re-read it since it was so formative in my past feminist development. Now, I'll have a much more racially aware view of this book when I do pick it up.

Maio 16, 4:43am

Book: 33
Title: On Borrowed Time
Author: Adam Croft
Rating: ***
Why: I bought it and the husband wanted to read it after me.
Challenge: Misc (yay! finally!!)
TIOLI Challenge #6. Read a book where at least some of the book takes place within 50 miles of your home

I think this is a little better than book 1. The attraction remains, as in the first, the setting. Rutland is England's smallest county and is a little old fashioned - it was the last county in England to have a McDonalds - last year. This entry in the series starts with a train driver narrowly avoiding hitting a hanging man - he was already dead, but I doubt that made the driver feel any better about it. So was it suicide? Maybe, maybe not. Enter DI Caroline Hills and the investigation is afoot. It turns into something interestingly twisty, with the crime being solved this time before the confession is extracted. In terms of character, we have a lot less Dexter and more Caroline, but this time we find out a lot more about her and she seems more human. Maybe a better balance could be struck between the two, they both have baggage form the past, but it is of an entirely different nature. I could be tempted by book 3.

Maio 16, 4:58am

>175 threadnsong: The short intro to my book said that this was written after she had suffered from post natal psychosis. I'm not sure it matches my experience of depression, far too colourful.

Maio 23, 5:34am

Not much in the way of reading to report, but it's been an eventful week - in a good way. The gym has been open for a few weeks now, but this week was the first for group classes, so I did HIIT & Spin and narrowly esacped expiring in both (God! I'm unfit!!). I also had a trip to the dentist (and a clean bill of health for the next 6 months). And finally we went to see his mother on Saturday, went out to a pub for a meal with her, his sister and her husband and rounded Saturday off with dinner at friends. It's been so long since we did anything so normal as eating a meal with friends and chatting and it was lovely.

Nice lazy Sunday is planned. Have a happy day everyone.

Maio 23, 6:00am

>178 Helenliz: Glad you have fun. It is often the little things........

Maio 23, 6:46am

>178 Helenliz: I'm finding those "usual" things really knackering Helen - and that sounds like a full programme! Hope the rest of your Sunday is suitably relaxing.

Maio 23, 11:55am

>178 Helenliz: Wow that would have been an action-packed week even under pre-pandemic conditions! Enjoy your lazy Sunday.

Maio 23, 2:20pm

>181 rabbitprincess: Next week it's 3 gym classes. I'm fast approaching 50, too fat and unfit. Lockdown 2 was not good for me and I need to reverse the effects of too little exercise asap.

>180 charl08: The pub was a bit strange. The staff in masks while you're not feels wrong. But dinner with friends was lovely.

>179 Tess_W: Yup. Just sitting and chatting felt like such a luxury.

Maio 24, 3:33am

Monday morning spin done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyIDxpUJ10Q This is always the final sprint track, and I always sing my way through it (not very well, but that's not the point). I love this song, despite never having seen the film!

Happy Monday one and all.

Maio 24, 9:26am

Yay for the gym and seeing friends and family!

Maio 24, 12:47pm

Hooray for getting back into a semblance of normal life. I need to find a new gym. The one I'd been using, primarily because it was so convenient, was so careless with safety protocols during covid and refused to allow memberships to be put on hold once they reopened last summer, that I need to find a new one. I have no trust that they aren't breaking more safety regulations that I can't see.

Maio 24, 12:52pm

>185 RidgewayGirl: it has to work for you, I agree. We had membership put on hold while they've been shut, and they've extended membership when they've only been half open as well. The spin bikes are all spaced out and the other gym classes have a taped box for each person, so that you're spaced out across the room. In the weights room, they spaced the machines out, and provided additional cleaning materials. I reckon those machines have never been so clean!

Knowing that you can trust the space you're in is important and once lost it's gone.

Maio 24, 1:13pm

>185 RidgewayGirl: "I have no trust that they aren't breaking more safety regulations that I can't see."

Better safe than sorry!

>186 Helenliz: "gym classes have a taped box for each person"

I'm visualising a cardboard box like the ones in cat vids with paws appearing through random holes. Don't spoil this image for me. >;-)

Maio 24, 4:17pm

>187 spiralsheep: If that's what you want to imagine, you carry on. >:-)

For everyone else, the taped squares were tape on the floor.

Maio 24, 9:33pm

>183 Helenliz: An inspiring video and song!

Maio 25, 3:47am

Book: 34
Title: The Lamplighters
Author: Emma Stonex
Rating: ***
Why: MrB's subscription
Challenge: New author, woman author, Subscription.
TIOLI Challenge #1. Read a book with the letter X in the title or author's name

This is an intriguing book. Taking inspiration from the famous case where 3 lighthouse men vanished off a light in the last 1900s, this is the same idea, set in 1972, with an author trying to find out what happened 20 years later. Arthur, Bill & Vince are the lighthouse men who go missing, Helen, Jenny & Michelle their partners. Told in two timeframes, the men in 1972, the women in 1992, each person has some internal turmoil. What that is is not always clear and new information is revealed each time. However it did get a little repetitive, the way each person hinted each time. An example of a book in which everyone would have been better off for an honest conversation with the ones they love (or at least live with).
There were a few things that didn't quite work for me. The author is curiously absent, the chapters where he is interviewing the women are written as if you only hear the women's side of the conversation. It is almost a stream on consciousness. The way the author is missing from the narrative is clearly a decision, and his connection is revealed in the final chapter. It felt like a strange device to use, to absent the catalyst.
I'm also not convinced that in presenting an answer to the mystery that the author necessarily does the right thing. The final 50 pages felt, to me, to be the weakest. I wasn't entirely convinced by the sequence of events she presented. I also can't help wonder what happened to Sid, or did 3 people each hallucinate him into being at once? This might have been an instance where it would have been better not to provide an answer, but to leave each person to decide themselves.

Editado: Maio 25, 4:51am

Re: your request elsewhere for books with magic

Lolly Willowes or Travel Light are both VMCs by female authors that include magic (and are both good reads imo, although for differing reasons).

ETA: And after reminding myself what you've been reading this year, if you want something a little grimmer then Angela Carter has written several classics with magic.

Maio 25, 8:28am

>190 Helenliz: - The premise of that one sounds good, but yours is the second lukewarm review I've seen of it, so I think I will pass.

Maio 26, 7:53am

>190 Helenliz: I'm not tempted either! Thanks for letting me know this is one I can avoid picking up.

Maio 27, 1:45am

>191 spiralsheep: thanks.

>192 katiekrug:, >193 charl08:. It sounds really intriguing, I'm just not sure the execution carries it through. I thought it good, but not excellent.

Editado: Maio 29, 7:06am

Book: 35
Title: Beauvallet
Author: Georgette Heyer
Rating: ****1/2
Why: Shared read with Liz
Challenge: Woman author, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #3. Read a book set in a country that starts with a vowel

Swashbuckling pirate meets lady, follows lady. Sweeps her off her feet. Not a typical regency setting, Elizabethan, and a bit more obvious a romance than usual.

Re-read review. This being a re-read, you already know that Nicholas Beauvallet, pirate and heir to an estate, is going to get his lady. To be honest, that's pretty obvious on the first reading of it as well. What this allows you to do on a re-read is to enjoy the ride, knowing that the end arrives safely. The pair of them spar from the first, when he captures the ship she is traveling back to Spain in. He promises to come and find her in Spain and take her to be his bride. There are then any number of schemes and escapades as he enters Spain, traces the lady and follows her to achieve his aim. Its is a load of fun, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

PS: Liz has a far more structured and erudite review here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/331261#7513784

PPS: I'm claming this as a book about or with magic, as the Spanish keep claiming that Nick uses witchcraft, when he is, in fact, just very very lucky. And English, which is almost the same thing. >;-)

Editado: Maio 29, 2:13pm

Book: 36
Title: The Haunting of Tram Car 015
Author: P. Djèlí Clark
Rating: ****1/2
Why: Bullet
Challenge: New Author
TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book that has the word 'novella' on its cover or is tagged 'novella' in LT

This is quite fantastic - in both meanings of the word. The setting is Cairo in 1912, although it's a Cairo that has harnessed the power of the Djinn and so has made itself and Egypt a power to be reckoned with in the world. One manifestation of this use of magical powers is that Cairo has a tram system that is suspended from aerial wires and is run by sentient machines.
Somehow, when you describe it like that, the fact that Tram car 015 turns out to be haunted by a malevolent spirit seems a lot less odd than might otherwise be the case. To solve this we make the acquaintance of Agent Hamad and his novice partner in the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, Onsi. Hamad is less than thrilled at Onsi, but the younger man soon proves his worth.
The case is set against the backdrop of a vote for female sufffrage and the feminist sprit runs through the book a lot.
I don't read a lot of science fiction or fantasy - I have an annoying habit of objecting to the breaking of rules of physics just because it suits the author to do so at that point. However, in this world, while there is magic, it doesn't seem to break the rules at will. In fact the solving of the case relies on the fact that folklore retains a grain of truth at its core.
This seems to be part of a series and I can certainly see myself siging up to read more of this fascinating place.

I can't remember who hit me with that bullet - I saw it a couple of times in the weeks before I bought it in April. So whoever you were, THANKS!!!!

Maio 30, 4:30am

OK gang, decision time again. Which one do I want to vote for?

The Wife's Tale by Aida Edemariam
The Wife's Tale chronicles a century of Ethiopian history as seen through the eyes of a courageous and extraordinary woman. Yetemegnu was born in the city of Gondar in 1916 and is described as "a bewitching and resilient figure whose life-changing moments often intersect with the tumultuous history of her nation".
From over 70 hours of interviews Aida Edemariam exquisitely reconstructs the life of her grandmother. Drawing out the beauty in the everyday, we follow Yetemegnu as she becomes a wife aged eight, gives birth to ten children, and campaigns for justice. Aida brings to life the culture and communities Yetemegnu inhabited in beautiful, lyrical prose.

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah is an author, a human rights activist, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for children affected by war, and for good reason. For two years in the 1990s he was a child soldier for the government army of Sierra Leone. A Long Way Gone is his celebrated memoir which tells that story; giving voice to a voiceless group of nearly 300,000 child soldiers fighting around the world today.
Beah's book is a powerful look at a life lost, a life distorted, and a life rebuilt. You cannot come away from reading this book with anything but complete admiration and a humbling sense of gratitude for your own life. A Long Way Gone is the story of one inspiring man and a call to change the world.

In My Dreams I Dance by Anne Wafula Strike
Struck down with Polio at the age of two, this is the story of how Anne Wafula Strike overcame prejudice, physical disability, and hardship to live out her dreams.
Anne is a Paralympian, a teacher, a mother, and a special envoy to the Commonwealth. Her story takes us from Mihuu, the small village in Kenya where she was born, to a school where she excelled despite the military coup happening around her, to the United Kingdom where she qualified as a teacher and found love, and finally to a new life as a sportswoman. Anne's remarkable autobiography is nothing short of inspiring, showcasing a determination that knows no bounds.

Maio 30, 6:33am

Book: 37
Title: Her Father's Daughter
Author: Marie Sizun
Rating: ****
Why: Bingo fit.
Challenge: New Author, woman author, Bingo
TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book with the same 3 letter sequence repeated in title/author's name

This is quite a short story of a young child and the conflict that love causes.
France is not called that, she'd referred to as "The child" almost throughout doesn;t know her father, who left Paris to fight before she was born. She's now 4 or so and is happily living life with her mother, who she loves intensely. Things start to change when she hears that her Daddy will be comming home. She asks a prescient question of her mother, will mother love the child more than the father - to which the mother say yes. To the child, love is a bit like a cake, and that any love given to the father is love taken away from the child. I'm not sure love works like that, but it is one possible conclusion.
The father returns home and the child suffers as the parents restablish a relaitonship that seems to have little time for the child. She balances between them, seemingly not the centre of attention of either. The father is also suffering the aftereffects of having been a POW (we assume) and is somewhat volatile. Gradually things settle and she is able to establish a relationship with him - one that supercedes the relationship with her mother.
And then the child, unknowingly, tells her father a secret, wanting to bring him even closer, and ends up changing everything for ever.
The story is told somewhat disjointedly, the child can't always remember timing or events in detail, there is a sense of things happeneing and then there are details that go on to be memories. That rings true to me, I have a number of very details freeze fram memories from my childhood, accompanied by a more general sense of the period. There is, layered on that, a more adult understanding of the time and what happened, such that you're almost seeing the story in stereo.
The final chapter is haunting and beautiful and heart rending all at once and brought a lump to my throat.
A girl's relationship with her father is usually formative, in this you see it formed and fractured in a short period of time, and regret that it was out of the child's hands to repair.

I'm using this to fill the Bingo Square the title described you. Un fact, this is the book that inspired the square. My mother has descibed me as being my father's daughter on multiple occasions, and I'm not going to dispute it.

Maio 30, 2:34pm

>197 Helenliz: I read A Long Way Gone in university, so might vote for that one.

Maio 30, 4:06pm

I vote for A Wife's Tale. Ethiopia is such a fascinating, troubled place.

Maio 30, 8:35pm

I have read A Long Way Gone and it was truly a powerful story but I think I would vote for A Wife's Tale as the description has really caught my attention.

Maio 31, 3:02am

I'd go for the third one. I've read the first and seen the second in bookshops, so think that's the one you're least likely to come across easily.

Maio 31, 7:11am

>202 charl08: The third one's a BBC promoted book so I'd be surprised if it doesn't become easy to find when it's not so new.

Jun 1, 7:41pm

>190 Helenliz: I started reading this, based on other people's good reviews and the fact that I am interested in lighthouses, but it didn't click for me and I returned it to the library after about three chapters. It was helpful to see your review and be reassured that some of the stuff I wasn't liking stayed a problem through the whole book.

>196 Helenliz: Now that sounds great! I read a different novella by P Djèlí Clark for the same challenge and enjoyed it but it's in a different universe to his other books, so I didn't know where to go next. Now I do :-)

Jun 2, 2:55am

>204 wandering_star: I wanted to like The Lamplighters but I'm not sure that it quite held up well enough. There are some rave reviews, I'm not sure it deserved them. Good but not great, imo. If it didn't click by then, I'm not sure if ever would.

>204 wandering_star: >:-) Happy to hit you with a bullet someone hit me with.

Thanks all, that's a fairly split decision. We'll see what gets picked later in the month.

Jun 2, 4:26am

Book: 38
Title: The Woman in Blue
Author: Elly Griffiths
Rating: ***
Why: Something a bit light for reading in the bath after gardening.
Challenge: Woman author
TIOLI Challenge #12. Read a book where the first name of the writer comes alphabetically before the last name

Another entry in the series that sees nelson having to deal with a murder of a beautiful blonde in Walsingham. There's a shrine to the Virgin Mary there and Cathbad, who is house sitting for a waistcoat wearer, at first wondered if the person he saw was a vision of Our Lady. Ruth gets involved when someone she was at university with, and is now a woman priest, is visiting Walsingham on a course and has been receiving threatening letters. Are these related or is is just co-incidence? There's a whole lot going on in here and at times it seems that the police are baffled. There is also some progression in the Tim/Michelle story, although I hope that the threatened action doesn't take place - Tim's too interesting a character for that.

Jun 7, 12:12pm

Book: 39
Title: The Children of Jocasta
Author: Natalie Haynes
Rating: ****
Why: I bought it....
Challenge: Woman author, CAT
TIOLI Challenge #11. Read a books whose title take the form "The xxx of yyyy"

This is an interesting attempt to tell the Oedipus story in a very different way. it is told in 2 timelines, by Jocasta and by their youngerst daughter Ismene. There is probably a decade between the latest events of Jocasta's story and that of Ismene.
The things about retellings is that while we know that Oedipus killed his father and married his mother, they didn't know that at the time, so we have a foreshadowing of what is about to come that the story's characters do not. And in that instance, it os how the current telling fits into the framework of what we already know that is the interesting part, what twists does the author put on the known story. It is also worth noting that the story does not stay the same each time it is told, even the Greek tellings end in different ways.
Jocasta starts the story as a shy young girl married off the the King. Isolated in a palace whose workings she knows nothing of, she struggles to find her feet. The depressionw hen her child is born dead (she is told) and removed is all enveloping. And then the King is brought back dead ans she comes into her own, tackling all hurdles with poise and control. And a bit of advance notice never did anyone any harm.
In parallel, we have the children of the marriage, and the fact that they are living under a curse, or is the city cursed? It's hard to separate the two.
There is an author's afterward where she discusses what is present in the earlier tellings and what she has changed to fit a different structural approach. Having purely female voices narrating makes for a very different sense, Oedipus is more of a bit player when he is usually centre stage. The denoument and what happened to both parents is quite startling, even when you already know the outline. it is well done.

Editado: Jun 11, 12:30pm

Book: 40
Title: Mantel Pieces
Author: Hilary Mantel
Rating: ***
Why: It looked interesting
Challenge: Woman author, Short stories
TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book where at least two of the title words start with the same letter

A selection of reviews and other book related writings by Mantel that have appeared in the LRB over the years. I felt that she was always more engaging on the reviews of the books related to the Tudor period. At times she can be quite cutting and, without knowing if there is cause to be so, it can feel quite cruel. I'm not sure that this has necessarily inspired me to read more of her reviews, nor, if I'm honest, the books she was reviewing!

Jun 15, 9:17am

Just checking in, Helen....

I have yet to read anything by Mantel. I have several gathering dust, both real and electronic.

Jun 15, 9:24am

This user has been removed as spam.

Jun 15, 11:37am

>208 Helenliz: I've read a few of her essays, Helen. She does seem quite spiky, but then her views are at least interesting in that they are original rather than repeating what everyone else seems to be saying. Some of the royal ones the papers just seemed to run with a quote out of context (surprise surprise) rather than reflect what was actually written!

Jun 15, 11:44am

>209 katiekrug: I keep thinking about tackling the Thomas Cromwell series, but too many books, not enough time.

>210 LouisGoodwin: f**k off, pesky spammer.

>211 charl08: There was one in this collection that had, apparently, provoked questions in the House of Commons. It really didn't seem that outlandish. She did describe Diana as being a "fatal non- reader" at one point.

Jun 16, 3:15am

Book: 41
Title: There but for the
Author: Ali Smith
Rating: ***
Why: 1001 books list and the library had it
Challenge: Woman author
TIOLI Challenge #10. Read a novel written by a politician or journalist

This starts with a dinner party and a man shutting himself in the spare bedroom. The 4 different chapters are then told from the persepctive of 4 different people who knew Miles, over the course of his life. They knew him as a teenager, most recently and they met hiom at the dinner party. They all reveal something about him, but not why he shut himself up in someone else's spare bedroom. In once sense it is a fascinating story, each person giving a different perspective of Miles and who he might be. The third is the most revealing in this regard. The story I want to read is the one that Miles gives Brooke and she pastes into the history she writes...

Jun 16, 4:01am

Well today has dawned bright and sunny and is due to be a scorcher. So we're having our annual work away day. We work hard, but we play hard too. There will be much food consumed, too much drink drunk and very little work done tomorrow. The only slight fly in the ointment is that we're staying in tents and it is due to pelt with rain tomorrow. I'm packing sun tan lotion and wellington boots. Never knowingly underprepared...

See you sometime tomorrow evening, assuming we survive...

Jun 16, 8:53am

Have fun!

Jun 16, 9:15am

Enjoy (if that is your thing!)

Jun 16, 2:53pm

>214 Helenliz: Rain and tents go together in my experience. It never put me off though. Have fun!

Jun 16, 3:33pm

>214 Helenliz: I think I prefer camping in the rain to camping in the boiling heat. Too much rain is miserable, but if it keeps the temperature down a bit then it's all good - being under canvas in the heat is unbearable. Hope you have a great time!

Jun 16, 4:50pm

>214 Helenliz: The thought of colleagues, alcohol and an overnight stay would fill me with fear. You're a strong woman!

Jun 17, 8:00am

I'm home. Can't decide if I want a nap or a shower first. I really don't "do" camping. Great fun was had by all.
But I am very glad it's only twice a year...

Jun 17, 9:28am

Welcome home.

Jun 19, 7:25am

Book: 42
Title: Arabella
Author: Georgette Heyer
Rating: ****1/2
Why: 1001 books list and the library had it
Challenge: Woman author, Heyer series read,
TIOLI Challenge #7. Read a book in honor of Morphidae's 56th birthday (rolling)

Ahh, Arabella is a girl after my own heart. She's outspoken, hot headed, not always wise in the way of others. She gets sent to London for a season, sponsored by her godmother. She's a country lass, from somewhere in the vicinity of Knaresborough & Harrogate - which was where I was while reading this! It didn't take us a week to get down the Great North Road (we came down the A1 in a few hours), and we didn't have our carriage break north of Grantham. At that point she meets Robert Beaumaris, who will play an important role in her story. She overhears him sets her down and she takes umbrage. This causes an unwise boast that she spends the rest of the book trying to sort out. Her heart and her loyalty to her family come into conflict and it nearly ends in tears - but not quite. Thoroughly satisfying.

Re-read 2017. Yup, still a very good book. some of the detail is just sparklingly good. Robert's conversations with the dog, Ulysses, are just such fun. He's talking to this mongrel in such adult language and getting doggy responses that he interprets to suit. I know I used to have conversations with the cat, it's such a recognisably human touch. The detail are what make this good second time round.

Re-read 2021. This remains such fun, even after another revisit. It stands up well.

Jun 19, 11:28am

>222 Helenliz: - Glad you enjoyed the re-re-re-(re?)-read!

Jun 19, 12:24pm

>223 katiekrug: That was the third read. So a re-re read (I think)

Jun 19, 12:35pm

>224 Helenliz: I think you've coined a useful term "re-re" for multiple re-reads.

Jun 19, 5:29pm

>222 Helenliz: This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyers. Glad you enjoyed your re-3-read.

Jun 20, 3:06pm

>222 Helenliz: Sounds like fun. Might just have a look for a copy!

Jun 24, 1:11pm

Book: 43
Title: An Imaginary Life
Author: David Malouf
Rating: ****
Why: Audio
Challenge: New Author
TIOLI Challenge #12. Read a book where the first name of the writer comes alphabetically before the last name

I don't know what I was expecting, but this is quite unusual. It starts out with the poet Ovid, having been exiled from Rome to the edge of the known world finding himself an unwilling guest of a people who don't speak the same language and who exist in a very different environment to that which he is used to. In chapter 1 he is full of self doubt and there is a cry from the heart of the poet asking if any of his work will survive him, if any of his lines will exist, even if in the quotations of others. We know that this is the case, hos work wasn't all destroyed and he has survived many centuries.
Thereafter, he perks up a bit and we start to know more about the people he is living with, he starts to learn their language and to understand them, while remaining an outsider. As he begins to participate in the life of the village, so we learn more about them, but that also sparks memories in him of his earlier life, his childhood as the second son, his brother and his early death, the relationship with his father. We never quite find out what prompted his exile.
And, somewhere along the way, he sees a wild boy, a human child living with the animals on the plain. He wonders how the child survives and determines to bring him back to the world of men. However this too brings a memory, when he was a child himself he seems to have had an invisible companion, and he can;t decide if the child is this invisible companion brought to life. It takes several seasons before the village combines to bring the boy in and Ovid takes over his care. The village remain sceptical and the events of the penultimate chapter, again, bring to the fore the doubt as to what this child actually is. Is he human, is he a devil, or might he be something else entirely?
There's something supernatural about the close, when the narration has changed tone entirely from the first, no longer worrying about his writing or reputation, Ovid ventures out on one more journey and finds his place in the universe, while the spirit and physical worlds remain merged in an inseperable whole.
I really had no idea what to expect of this from the brief synopsis, and I'm not sure how you go about describing it. There's something lyrical about the prose, something indefineable about the mingling of the physical and the imagined and something entirely enchanting about the care expressed by two such alien beings. I listened to this and really enjoyed it.

Jun 24, 5:05pm

>228 Helenliz: Sounds fantastic! Definitely a BB for me!

Editado: Jun 26, 5:05pm

I should have read The Fort for a catrick of GenreCAT (Historical fuction), History (war/military) and alphaKit (C/D). But for some reason it just didn;t grab me, so I read Azincourt again.

Book: 44
Title: Azincourt
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Rating: ****
Why: Catrick time!
Challenge: CATs
TIOLI Challenge #9. Read a book where The title is shorter than the author's name

This remains a real page turner, even on a second reading. The battle of Agincourt is one that strikes a chord, even now. It shouldn't have happened, it shouldn't have played out the way it did. This book gives an impression of why it's stayed in the imagination long after it ceased to have any relevance. And Shakespeare's version of it ignores the archers who were its pivot point. In this book, our lead is one of the archers.
This starts with a back story, the battle only takes place in the final 1/4 of the book. Nick Hook is a Forester & archer. There is trouble on the estate that follows him as he goes to London with his lord as part of a contingent of men at arms and archers. From here he ends up in the siege of Soissons and manges to escape to tell of the fate of the garrison and town. From there he returns to London and forms part of the army that Henry V that sails to france, lays siege to Harfleur and captures it (eventually) before aiming to marh on Calais - for no good reason. And then it all goes a little bit wrong. The army finds itself unable to corss the Somme and so has to turn inland before finding an undefended crossing. Only the French army has finally stirred itself and it knows exactly where to find the ragtag bunch that form the English army. Agincourt. It blocks the road to Calais, the English need to pass, the French could sit there and stop them for as long as necessary.
And yet a battle is fought. And I'm fairly sure I don't need to tell you the result...
Being a book with 3 significiant military actions, you should be prepared to read a lot of battle talk. It's not pretty, lots of blood, injury, maiming, torture and rape ensue. It's not told in excessive graphic details, but neither is it for the faint hearted. Even when they're not actually fighting there are any number of incidents that show that the mediaval world was not a nice place to be.
Hook is an engaging character, he has a past and a holds a grudge. He also hears voices, which he believes to be the saints. It's something that his peers take entirely in their stride, to the modern viewer it's far more unusual and worthy of note. Apart from that he functions as an everyman character, talking truth to power and yet acting as a leader that barely knows that he is one.
Being told by one of the archers, this is told from the bottom up. To the French, the archers were both feared and looked down on, they were armed with the mighty long bow and yet were not nobility, they weren't peasants, but they were common folk.
Unusually for a Cornwell book, this is a standalone.

Jun 26, 5:05pm

Time for a new thread - see you on the other side. >:-)
Este tópico foi continuado por Helenliz sends a 3rd postcard.