PGMCC explores the Biblioverse in 2023: Chapter 3

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PGMCC explores the Biblioverse in 2023: Chapter 3

1pgmcc
Editado: Maio 6, 2023, 3:02 am

Books completed in 2023

Title; Author; Status; Start/end date; Number of pages
The Family Jewels by Caimh McDonnell 28/12/2022 - 02/01/2023 276 pages
Novelist as Vocation by Haruki Murakami 02/01/2023-12/01/2023 208 pages
The Tattoo Murder by Akimitsu Takagi 12/01/2023- 20/01/2023 377 pages
Once Upon A Tome by Oliver Darkshire 21/01/2023 - 23/01/2023 247 pages
Stranger Times by C. K. McDonnell 23/01/2023 - 31/01/2023 441 pages
The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas 01/02/2023 - 05/02/2023 304 pages
Under The Duvet by Marian Keyes 03/02/2023 - 674 pages
The Charming Man by C. K. McDonnell 06/02/2023 - 13/02/2023 498 pages
Love Will Tear Us Apart byC. K. McDonnell 15/02/2023 - 25/02/2023 448 pages
Richard Harris Raising Hell and Reaching for Heaven by Joe Jackson 24/02/2023 - 357 pages
Hopeland by Ian McDonald 26/02/2023 - 10/03/2023 648 pages
The Warden by Anthony Trollope 11/03/2023 - 19/03/2023 238 pages
Escape from Victory by Caimh McDonnell 19/03/2023 - 20/03/2023 66 pages
The Artful Dickens by John Mullan 20/03/2023 - 428 pages
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett 20/03/2023 - 23/03/2023 223 pages
Beyond the Reach of Earth by Ken MacLeod 23/03/2023 - 31/02/2023 334 pages
The Return of The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett 01/04/2023 - 05/04/2023 ? Pages
The Adventures of Amina al-Siraf by Shannon Chakraborty 05/04/2023 - 12/04/2023 482 pages
The Ability To Kill by Eric Ambler 12/04/2023 - 16/04/2023 220 pages
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey 17/04/2023 - 25/04/2023 561 pages
Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas 25/04/2023 - 06/05/2023 ? pages.
Faithful Place by Tana French 06/05/2023 - ? Pages

My next read list: https://www.librarything.com/topic/345713#8000096

2pgmcc
Editado: Mar 15, 2023, 8:17 pm

I have entertained myself for the past half-hour by selecting books to accompany me on my seven weeks in France. The lucky books are:

Fire in the Thatch by E.C.R. Lorac
British Library edition of an old crime novel. I picked this for a bit of crime, and also because it is probably a book my wife will read.

The Ability to Kill by Eric Ambler
I have not read an Ambler book in a while and this is the next story in publication date sequence.

Faithful Place* By Tana French
This is the next book in Dublin Murder Squad series and it is a while since I read The Likeness.

French in 3 Months by Ronald Overy
I need to improve my French.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
I came across this by chance when bookshop browsing the other day and so I want to give it a try.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
This was heavily recommended by Meredy and Sakerfalcon, two snipers who share the BB credit.

The Artful Dickens by John Mullan
I was thinking of bringing, Portable Magic, but I spotted The Artful Dickens and started reading the introduction. Mullan caught me on page one of the introduction with his Anthony Trollope quote about Dickens in The Warden. I want to learn more about Dickens' writings and technique. Many of you will know I have been fascinated by books about stories, their structure and the trials, tricks and tribulations involved in writing them. This book falls into line with the other books I have been reading on this topic.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Big recommendation from Haydninvienna.

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
I enjoyed Chakraborty's first three books a lot so I have to give this one a go. jillmwo has the honour of having introduced me to S.A. Chakraborty's work. I notice she has started using her first name rather than her first two initials. I wonder if this is to demonstrate her Irish heritage and draw attention to her work in the Irish/American community.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
Having bought the full nine book set of the Expanse stories I thought I should at least read the first one. :-)

The selection is the result of my wanting to:
- progress my reading of authors I have focused on reading and wish to read all of their books (Eric Ambler; Tana French; Chakraborty; I may slip a Daphne de Maurier in yet)
- new acquisitions I want to read to test the water (James S. A. Corey; Alex Pavesi; E.C.R. Lorac)
- Non-fiction that I think I will learn from (John Mullan)
- BBs I want to read (Angela Carter; Italo Calvino)

*e-book on Kindle

I know I have only highlighted one e-book. That is simply because I was picking physical books and when I looked for the next Tana French book I realised I only had it on Kindle, but wanted to add it to the list.

Now, I apparently have a huge number of titles on my Kindle. I am going to bring them all with me. I can squeeze all those kindle stories into my suitcase.

BTW We are going by ferry, so will have the car. This will explain the number of physical books on the list, as will the fact that we will be there for seven weeks.

3clamairy
Mar 15, 2023, 9:37 pm

Have an awesome trip! I hope the weather is conducive to reading, and consuming wine & cheese.

4haydninvienna
Mar 16, 2023, 1:38 am

Happy new thread, Pete, and safe travelling to both of you.

5pgmcc
Mar 16, 2023, 3:43 am

>3 clamairy: & >4 haydninvienna:

Thank you for the good wishes. In terms of the weather being conducive to reading, unless it is very cold one can sit on the veranda looking out at the lake or reading even if it is lashing rain.

6Karlstar
Mar 16, 2023, 7:23 am

Happy new thread. Seven weeks in France! Have a great trip, enjoy the museum.

P.S. You have no idea how hard it was not to put more ! in this post.

7Sakerfalcon
Mar 16, 2023, 7:38 am

Seven weeks in France! I am very envious! I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy your books, wine, cheese and sightseeing.

8hfglen
Mar 16, 2023, 8:30 am

Enjoy all the things >7 Sakerfalcon: listed!

9haydninvienna
Mar 16, 2023, 10:44 am

Peter, I wish both of you good reading, good wine and good, gooey cheese. I’d say more except that I’m too envious.

10pgmcc
Editado: Mar 16, 2023, 11:02 am

>6 Karlstar: !!!!!!!

>7 Sakerfalcon:; >8 hfglen:; >9 haydninvienna:

Thank you all for the well wishes for our trip.

As ever, I am not sure how the wifi will be at the base holiday village, but I will endeavour to send messages when I can.

11jillmwo
Mar 16, 2023, 12:02 pm

Good heavens, seven whole weeks in France? Who's taking care of the animals back home? And you're only just now getting around to reading French in 3 Months? You'll be back before you finish the course of language training. (And honestly, I'd always assumed you must already be fluent.)

12hfglen
Mar 16, 2023, 12:10 pm

As >11 jillmwo: says, you have a Feline Overlord, don't you? Did your Overlord give you an exit visa? For the whole period?

13pgmcc
Mar 16, 2023, 2:55 pm

>11 jillmwo: & >12 hfglen:
Feline Overlord, George, is going to a cattery for the first week as our son is coming with us for that week.

Canine furry friend is coming with us for the seven weeks.

By the way, did I mention that we are going back to France in June for another three weeks and two days? It is during that second visit that we are visiting Nantes.

In relation to French in 3 Months, I have ample room for improvement. Languages were never my forte. Shshshs...Do not tell anyone. It is the code-key book.

14Narilka
Mar 16, 2023, 5:02 pm

Seven weeks, wow! Have a great time.

15MrsLee
Mar 16, 2023, 8:42 pm

That, my friend, is how one should travel. One of the reasons I am not terribly keen on traveling is that the most vacation time I've ever had in a year is two weeks, and usually no more than one week at a time. One simply can't absorb anything in that amount of time. Enjoy!

16jillmwo
Mar 17, 2023, 12:23 pm

>15 MrsLee: I absolutely agree with you! Real relaxation of the mind requires a certain amount of time. We've made travel so frenetic and stressful, the mind is exhausted rather than relaxed when on "vacation".

17pgmcc
Editado: Mar 17, 2023, 2:17 pm

>14 Narilka:, >15 MrsLee: and >16 jillmwo:

The limited vacation time given to employees in the US is something that baffles people on this side of the Atlantic. The average annual leave here would be about twenty days with most people having more. My job gave me twenty-five. We also have the bank holidays, each country having its own set of bank or public holidays.

Bank holidays in Ireland are:

New Year's Day, 1st January. If the 1st January is a Saturday or a Sunday the bank holiday will be the Monday.

St. Brigid's Day Bank Holiday, First Monday of February. This is a new bank holiday and was introduced to mark the work effort of front-line staff during the COVID pandemic. It was first introduced in 2022 and was later in the year. It was decided to have it in February to mark St. Brigid's Day. St. Brigid's Day is the 1st of February, but in Ireland it is thought beneficial to have bank holidays on Mondays to give people a long weekend. St. Brigid is one of Ireland's three patron saints. I am sure most people know the most famous of Ireland's patron saints, now you know St. Brigid is a patron saint, without Googling, can you name the third Irish patron saint.

St. Patrick's Day, 17th March. Like other bank holidays, if St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday the bank holiday will be the Monday.

Easter Monday. The date of Easter Monday varies depending on the date of Easter.

May Day. The first Monday in May.

June Bank Holiday. The first Monday in June.

August Bank Holiday. The first Monday in August.

October Bank Holiday. The "last" Monday in October.

Christmas Day, December 25th.*

St. Stephen's Day, December 26th.*

*As with other bank holidays, if the 25th or 26th fall on a Saturday or Sunday the holiday carries over. If both Christmas Day is a Saturday, then Monday and Tuesday will be the two bank holidays.

Depending on when bank holidays fall people will try to use their annual leave to generate a decent amount of time off. E.g. I always try to use annual leave (or I used to) to give me a full week off between Christmas and New Year.

While working I was convinced a three week holiday was the best length for a break. In week one you start to unwind. In week two you have relaxed and are enjoying yourself. Now, in week three you will start to anticipate the return to week and this will generate some anxiety. However, if you have done a sufficiently good job of relaxing in week two you will be really relaxed in week three. I find that if I have managed to relax in weeks two and three that the first week back to work is much easier to face and "that holiday feeling" stays with you longer.

In 2009 we went on a four week holiday. I found that a week too long. This has me worried about our seven week visit to France, but then again, I will not have to worry about going back to work. :-)

18hfglen
Mar 17, 2023, 4:17 pm

>17 pgmcc: 20-25 working days or calendar days?

19pgmcc
Mar 17, 2023, 5:54 pm

>18 hfglen: Working days.

20Jim53
Mar 18, 2023, 9:18 am

>17 pgmcc: There was a Brother Columba in the monastery where I attended high school.

21pgmcc
Mar 18, 2023, 9:24 am

>20 Jim53:
That is akin to insider trading. :-)

He is better known here as St. Colmcille.


Jim wins the cigar.

22hfglen
Mar 18, 2023, 9:34 am

>17 pgmcc: I have to admit to being a tad bit confuzzed. Because the Presbyterian church a couple of suburbs (or about 5 km, Google says) away from where I grew up is called St. Columba's, I have always associated him with the Scots. Especially as that St. Columbas has always been home to an active Caledonian Society, pipe band, Burrrrns Nicht and the works.

23pgmcc
Mar 18, 2023, 10:02 am

>22 hfglen:
During The Dark Ages, the monasteries of Ireland where the places where Christian learning and practice were preserved, hence the description of Ireland as The Land of Saints and Scholars. It was Irish monks who started to spread Christianity into Scotland, and Colmcille established an abbey on the island of Iona. I am no great fan of wikipedia, but the article linked to below gives a good overview of the life of Colmcille and why he is acknowledged by several Christian denominations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba

24haydninvienna
Mar 18, 2023, 4:12 pm

>22 hfglen: >23 pgmcc: We had a St Columba’s in Canberra too—originally Presbyterian and then, after the creation of the Uniting Church of Australia, Uniting Church. Mildly odd that former Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational congregations that went into the Uniting Church kept their names, so that the Uniting Church congregations that had been Presbyterian congregations kept their saints’ names. The others didn’t use saints’ names before and didn’t afterwards.

25hfglen
Mar 18, 2023, 4:46 pm

>23 pgmcc: This may explain the dedication of a Presbyterian church in a suburb with mainly Irish street names: Tyrone, Roscommon, Lurgan, Ennis, Athlone, Westmeath, Kerry, Kildare, Armagh ... and a few Scots in between.

26Karlstar
Mar 18, 2023, 9:41 pm

>17 pgmcc: Where I work, new hires start with 3 weeks (15 working days) of vacation, plus 4 'personal holidays' and we have 8 company holidays. At 10 years with the company, the 3 weeks increases to 4 weeks and the rest stays the same. It isn't terrible, but very few people take more than 1 week at a time. I haven't taken a full week off in 9 years, which is not the right way to do it, I've come to realize in the last couple of years.

27pgmcc
Editado: Mar 19, 2023, 6:11 pm

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

Would I read another novel by this author?
Most definitely

Would I recommend this book?
Yes.

Who would I recommend it to?
Anyone who likes Dickens and stories that are humorous while they raise important social questions.

Did this book inspire me to do anything?
Yes. Read more books by Anthony Trollope

This book deals with the question of social justice, the practice of self-justification by long established organisations, the power of the press and the power of what, at the time, was the closest thing to mass media, i.e. the weekly fiction magazines such as the ones produced by Dickens (who features in the story under a pseudonym). All the things just mentioned are dealt with thoroughly in the book, but the core element of this story is the impact on the lives of the individuals who find themselves in the middle of a controversy not of their making, and the impact on individuals is not limited to only one side of the argument/scandal.

Trollope tells his story about serious matters, but through characterisation and phraseology he brings much humour to the tale. By use of his vast vocabulary, and keen perception of society, he presents his characters in social situations that highlight injustice in a human fashion, showing both sides of the dispute, and clearly demonstrating that there are often unscrupulous individuals who will use any unfortunate situation to gain power for themselves, their organisation, or what they perceive to be their class.

The fact that this story is focused on an alms-house under the care of The Church of England does not invalidate the general application of the lessons in the story to many situations, both at the time of the book’s writing, and the present day. The media used to spread scandal and crucify individuals has changed from the time of Trollope, but the effects on individuals, whether guilty or not, will be the same as those experienced by the eponymous main character of this story.

jillmwo, I await your comments and questions.

E.T.A. In the introduction to The Artful Dickens, the author refers to Trollope's reference to Dickens, albeit under the pseudonym of Mr. Popular Sentiment, in The Warden.

28pgmcc
Editado: Mar 19, 2023, 2:07 pm



I am going to give Caimh McDonnell's new novella,Escape From Victory, a go. It is only 66 pages long.

29pgmcc
Editado: Mar 19, 2023, 7:13 pm

I just fired up my laptop to check a delivery date and noticed an Amazon recommendation e-mail had arrived. They are usually way off beam, but this one had "The Complete Works of Josephine Tey" on Kindle for £1.99. Well, what was I to do?

You will be pleased to know I did the honourable thing and welcomed Ms Tey into my Kindle.



30MrsLee
Mar 19, 2023, 6:57 pm

>29 pgmcc: Wowser, who could resist? Hope you enjoy them. :)

31Jim53
Mar 19, 2023, 8:21 pm

>27 pgmcc: I'm three chapters in. I feel like I'm a Jan Karon novel, only slowed down and with a British accent. He certainly doesn't adhere to the idea of showing rather than telling. We don't have to consider what anyone's motives might be, since he lays them out before us. All of this sounds like complaints, but I haven't given up.

32jillmwo
Mar 20, 2023, 11:02 am

>27 pgmcc: and >31 Jim53: I am glad you've both engaged with Trollope's lovely book. To my way of thinking, you really need to read the two titles -- The Warden and Barchester Towers together. The one leads into the other. You don't know why it's such a thing in the first chapter of BT that the archdeacon and Mr. Harding greet and console each other the way they do over the dying bishop if you aren't familiar with the conflict over Hiram's Hospital. And BT ends just the right way -- with Harding and Quiverful walking together to meet with the bedesmen. I ALWAYS tell people to begin with The Warden because it's short and because it's a nice introduction to Trollope's humor and storytelling style. I happen to prefer The Warden to BT because it's a tad more focused in what Trollope was trying to do. I am aware however that critics possessed of more literary "chops" claim that BT is the better book. (I'm not sure that's true.)

The next three novels -- Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage and The Small House at Allington -- are pleasant enough reads. But it is the final volume with Josiah Crawley at its center -- The Last Chronicle of Barset -- that crowns the full set. Josiah Crawley is an unforgettable character and at the center of that is again the theme of integrity. Integrity is a key theme with Trolllops.

Of course, the Palliser novels are themselves quite a thing. I know that pgmcc has The Eustace Diamonds in his possession from one of his 2022 hauls and I found that novel to be engaging as well, although not having quite the same degree of humor one encounters in the Barsetshire novels.

I am so glad you enjoyed The Warden and if you were to launch a group discussion thread on it, pgmcc, I'd absolutely join in. I really wish more people read Trollope -- heaven knows he was a prolific author and I haven't gotten through even a third of his output. (I don't know if you recall but I found The Way We Live Now to be tremendously powerful as well. For the television adaptation, David Souchet played Melmotte quite as well as he played Poirot.)

33jillmwo
Mar 20, 2023, 11:03 am

>29 pgmcc: And YAY for the TEY. Excellent.

34pgmcc
Mar 20, 2023, 11:23 am

>32 jillmwo:
At the back of my mind I had a tinkling of a memory of having bought the complete works of Trollope on the Kindle. Last evening I searched my Kindle books and there it is. It is the Delphi complete works and I wonder about the quality. The one big advantage of having this complete works on Kindle is that I can bring it to France and not have to carry the physical books I have. I definitely prefer reading the physical books.

One thing I noticed about the Barchester books that followed The Warden is that they are pretty massive tomes. I look forward to reading them.

I am half minded to re-read Barchester Towers as I finished it in July 2016 and I feel the need to refresh my memory of it. One of the things I recall about reading it is that I was very taken by the first chapter, the politics of the situation and the characterisation, and I recall being very intrigued by what was going to happen. Throughout the book I was amazed at Trollope's ridiculing of the social norms of the time.

35pgmcc
Mar 20, 2023, 11:24 am

>33 jillmwo:
More potential reading for France. My Kindle is getting very heavy.

36pgmcc
Mar 20, 2023, 12:49 pm



I have started The Artful Dickens by John Mullan. At eight pages in I can say I am enjoying this book. The pace, the style, the eloquence and the almost conversational style appeals to me. It feels like the author is conspiring with the reader to condemn all the critics who pointed out failings in Dickens's novels, and even reaches the point that many of those failings are actually the strengths of his writing.

37clamairy
Mar 20, 2023, 1:26 pm

>31 Jim53: >27 pgmcc: >32 jillmwo: I finished it yesterday, and though I enjoyed the last few chapters I have to admit I didn't love this book. I'll be posting in my own thread.

38jillmwo
Mar 20, 2023, 2:35 pm

>36 pgmcc: I would be interested in understanding why you really prefer Dickens to other novelists of the period (Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, Mrs. Gaskell, etc.) I've never really agreed with the conventional wisdom that Charles Dickens should be viewed as the leading primary author of 19th c England.

39haydninvienna
Mar 20, 2023, 3:25 pm

>38 jillmwo: I’d like to know that too. I know Dickens somewhat, Collins a little, and Trollope and Mrs Gaskell not at all. But I think I know that Dickens could do some things that Collins apparently couldn’t: Dickens could create Mr Pickwick and Sam Weller. Collins’s characters are cardboard in comparison—although I think Collins possibly has better plots. Perhaps the critical wisdom values character over plot?

40pgmcc
Mar 20, 2023, 5:02 pm

>37 clamairy:
What a boring world it would be if we all liked the same things. Also, I understand you have other things on your mind at the moment. It is never nice when a pet has health issues. Wishing you well.

41pgmcc
Mar 20, 2023, 5:20 pm

>39 haydninvienna: & >38 jillmwo:

I am sorry if I gave the impression that I prefer Dickens to other novelists of the period. I enjoy Collins work and, as you have seen elsewhere, I am really liking Trollope.

I think Dickens's stories can be more humorous than Collins. Also, Dickens was more prolific. I think Dickens was a bigger name than others, not because he sold more books, but also because he was very adept at identifying the pulse of his reading public. In The Warden, Trollope scarcely camouflages his referral to Dickens by using the pseudonym, Mr. Popular Sentiment. His close attention to what his readers wanted was key in maintaining the high sales numbers for his weekly episodes of his serialised stories*. He was also quite the performer, and this would have added to his popularity.

By the way, the last Dickens novel I read was David Copperfield and I found it rather tedious.

Mrs. Gaskell is a writer I have not sampled to date, but I do have some of her books in my library, so she is on my target reading list.

Things I enjoy about books of that period include:
- humour where it appears
- finding that the problems of the day are no different from the problems of the day we have, simply different technologies and, in some cases, scale
- coming across words that have fallen out of use or that have morphed their meaning in the intervening years
- enjoying some of the intriguing turns of phrase

*I often think of the serialised stories published weekly in those days as the soap operas of the era. This explains the thousands of people who subscribed to the periodicals. No paper based publication of today can demand the level of demand that the fiction magazines of the day experienced.

42pgmcc
Mar 21, 2023, 9:05 am



I also started reading The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett yesterday.

43pgmcc
Editado: Mar 21, 2023, 9:27 am

By the way, I received a message from Hodges Figgis bookshop that a book I ordered is available for collection. While it was a friend in the bookshop who is really responsible for my ordering it and hence due credit for the BB-hit, many people here should share in this particular BB-hit as many of you have waxed lyrical about this book. The book in question is Legends and Lattes. You are responsible for setting me up to be hit by my friend's shot*.

This evening I am meeting two former colleagues in town for dinner and will go in early to pick up the book from Hodges Figgis.

*At a day long conference** in 1996, Eli Goldratt told attendees the difference between Marketing and Sales. He said Marketing people were responsible for ensuring there were ducks in range for Sales people to come along and shoot them. It was his view that if the hunters arrived and there were no ducks to shoot, then someone in Marketing had messed up. So, you are all successful Marketing people and my friend is a good Sales person.

**"Overview of the Theory of Constraints for Industry"

44Sakerfalcon
Mar 21, 2023, 11:17 am

>43 pgmcc: ohh, I hope you enjoy Legends and lattes! I loved it.

Enjoy your evening with friends!

45clamairy
Editado: Mar 21, 2023, 12:57 pm

>40 pgmcc: I do hope you realize there was no offense intended by my comments on The Warden. I generally enjoy books from this era. (I think Middlemarch is amazing, and loved most of the Dickens I've read.) And thank for your words about my pup.

46Bookmarque
Editado: Mar 21, 2023, 4:46 pm

OK, so all this talk of the Trollope series has made me look at a couple of dramatizations of it done with full casts. One is from last year and one is from what appears to be 2008. The first is 17 hours and the second is just over 18. I don't know which might be better since I only have about 5 minutes worth of sample to hear. But I think it will be the way to go for me rather than having the books read in their entirety.

Cast of 2022 - Hattie Morahan, Blake Ritson, Iain Glen, Maggie Steed, Tim Pigott-Smith, full cast, Una Stubbs, Pippa Haywood, Pip Carter, Douglas Booth

Cast of 2008 - Anna Massey, Alex Jennings, David Haig, Rosemary Leach, Kenneth Cranham, Emma Fielding, and Brenda Blethyn

Any thoughts there??

47pgmcc
Mar 21, 2023, 6:07 pm

>45 clamairy:
I would never take offence from anything you would say. Do not worry about anything you say. You gave an honest view on your reaction to the book.

48pgmcc
Mar 21, 2023, 6:09 pm

>46 Bookmarque:
I can see Una Stubbs being perfect in a Trollope story. It is a pity she has passed. I have loved all her work.

49Bookmarque
Mar 21, 2023, 6:36 pm

Una - of course! Mrs. Hudson! And I know her face from other things as well. Leaning toward that one. But of course if I really like it I can get both and compare.

50pgmcc
Mar 22, 2023, 6:01 am

>49 Bookmarque:
I first took note of her as Aunt Sally in Worzle Gummidge, Jon Pertwee playing Worzle Gummidge, the scarecrow. Una Stubbs roles were never high-brow, sophisticated personages, but she was perfect for the roles she played.

51Sakerfalcon
Mar 22, 2023, 6:24 am

>46 Bookmarque: There's also the 1982 BBC TV adaptation of Barchester Towers, starring a young Alan Rickman :-)

52clamairy
Editado: Mar 22, 2023, 8:52 am

>43 pgmcc: I hope you enjoy Legends and Lattes. You're going to need to have easy access to cinnamon buns, BTW. I searched the house for my mother's recipe while reading this book. (I finally got one of my siblings to send it to me electronically, but right now I can't find it.)

53Bookmarque
Mar 22, 2023, 9:31 am

Oh that would be something to watch, Sakerfalcon. Alan Rickman was so fun to watch. I'll start with the audio and see if I get on with the story. Years ago I stalled out 1/2 way through The Eustace Diamonds and have not touched Trollope since.

54MrsLee
Mar 22, 2023, 12:00 pm

>52 clamairy: I have a wonderful recipe which is made with a box of custard, so tender.

55pgmcc
Mar 23, 2023, 5:07 pm



Arrived today and started today: Beyond the Reach of Earth by Ken MacLeod.

I finished The Thin Man today having enjoyed it.

56ScoLgo
Mar 23, 2023, 5:12 pm

>55 pgmcc: I have Beyond the Reach of Earth on my Blackwell's Wish List, (cheaper than Amazon, free shipping, no VAT - the only downside is longer delivery times. Oh, whatever will I do while waiting for it to arrive? ;). It indicates today as the publishing date. How did you get it early? Was it released before today on your side of the pond? Or are you e-reading this one?

57pgmcc
Mar 23, 2023, 5:25 pm

>56 ScoLgo:
Amazon attempt to deliver books on their publication date if it has been pre-ordered.

Luckily I finished my current read at lunchtime today and was free to jump into Beyond the Reach of Earth when it arrived. Ken has cleverly included a five page summary of Beyond the Hallowed Sky to save people having to go back and read it before getting started on the second book.

58pgmcc
Mar 24, 2023, 1:17 pm

I received a gift today:



59ScoLgo
Editado: Mar 24, 2023, 1:37 pm

>57 pgmcc: Oh, right. I forgot they do the same here. The release date here in the US is not until June 20 while Blackwell's has it ready to ship now - and at nearly half the price! Amazon is not always the least expensive option so it's good to comparison shop.

60pgmcc
Mar 24, 2023, 1:43 pm

>59 ScoLgo:
I hope you enjoy it when you get to read it.

61pgmcc
Mar 24, 2023, 1:49 pm

It is always nice when you post something online about a book and someone retweets it. It is even nicer when the first person to retweet it is the author.

I tweeted about receiving Ken MacLeod’s Beyond the Reach of Earth and how it contains a five-page summary of the first book to save people rereading. Shortly after posting that I got a notification that Ken had retweeted it.

Colour me chuffed for a little while. :-)

62clamairy
Mar 24, 2023, 3:24 pm

>61 pgmcc: Oh, that is a nice surprise!

63ScoLgo
Mar 24, 2023, 3:38 pm

>60 pgmcc: I don't plan to read until the trilogy is fully published. I have three or four other of Ken's books, (not to mention a ton of other author's works!), to keep me until then.

>61 pgmcc: Very cool! I have watched a couple of YouTube interviews with Ken and he seems like a very nice, unassuming sort of person. I love the view from his home office in the Media Death Cult interview!

64grahambrett2
Mar 24, 2023, 3:40 pm

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

65pgmcc
Mar 24, 2023, 5:15 pm

>63 ScoLgo:
Thank you for telling me about the Media Death Cult interview with Ken. After reading your post I looked for the interview and have just finished watching it. It was well worth the watch. Ken is a lovely guy.

66ScoLgo
Mar 24, 2023, 5:41 pm

>65 pgmcc: Oh, that's great! I had ass-u-me'd that you had already seen that one! ;)

67pgmcc
Mar 24, 2023, 5:43 pm

>66 ScoLgo: A dangerous thing to do. :-)

68Jim53
Mar 24, 2023, 8:10 pm

>32 jillmwo: I find your assertion that "Integrity is a key theme with Trollops" fascinating. Is this the result of extensive study?

69jillmwo
Editado: Mar 25, 2023, 10:41 am

>68 Jim53: At the risk of hijacking Peter's thread, I wouldn't say I've done extensive study on Trollope, by any means. I don't remember ever reading a biography of the man (except perhaps something brief encountered on the web) and I had forgotten that I had even owned the Bloom book of criticism on him. (That particular set of essays isn't even 200 pages in length.)

BUT reading what I have read of his novels, the theme of honorable behavior (behaving with integrity) is constantly part of the plot (even in the love stories). By the time I read The Way We Live Now or The Last Chronicle of Barset, I think Trollope felt a certain sense of disappointment at seeing how concern with innate integrity had fallen by the wayside in the push towards commercial gain.

70Karlstar
Mar 25, 2023, 11:10 am

>61 pgmcc: Nice! I'll be looking for your review, since I read book one last year.

71pgmcc
Mar 25, 2023, 12:20 pm

>69 jillmwo:
Have no fear regarding hijacking any thread of mine. People are welcome to sit at this table at any time and discuss whatever tickles their fancy.

72pgmcc
Editado: Mar 25, 2023, 4:23 pm

>70 Karlstar:
I am enjoying Beyond The Reach of Earth. The five-page summary was a great aide-memoir for reminding me of the action in the last book.

Ken’s writing has brought me right into the story and his descriptions are perfect to have me visualising the locations in the story. This book is reminding me of how much I enjoy his novels.

73Karlstar
Mar 25, 2023, 2:06 pm

>72 pgmcc: Thanks, I will add it to my future reading list. I think your touchstone is missing 'Beyond'.

74pgmcc
Editado: Mar 25, 2023, 4:24 pm

>73 Karlstar: Thank you for the touchstone notification. :-) Imagine missing a "Beyond".

TO INFINITY AND...

75Jim53
Mar 25, 2023, 8:00 pm

>69 jillmwo: My question in #68 was frivolous and based on your tupo in the sentence I quoted. But thanks for the serious answer!

76jillmwo
Mar 25, 2023, 8:35 pm

>75 Jim53: Ha! I missed the presence of that typo entirely. (That said, I can easily imagine people here in the Pub whispering behind their hands to one another even now "Y'know, she gets terribly earnest about the Victorians at times...")

77pgmcc
Mar 26, 2023, 6:37 pm

>76 jillmwo:
"Y'know, she gets terribly earnest about the Victorians at times..."

Well, we all understand the importance of being earnest!

78pgmcc
Mar 27, 2023, 5:31 pm

I have just carried out a very difficult task.

A friend presented me with a retirement gift; a year's book subscription with a national chain of bookstores. I will receive a book each month for twelve months chosen by the staff in the bookstore.

I have just filled in the card telling the bookstore what books I like and the type of book I like. This was a very difficult task. As someone who has several books around the house I was worried that telling them my favourite books would tempt them to send me books I already have by the authors of the books I list. I was trying to give them examples of books and interests that would encourage them to look outside the box and surprise me with books I have not come across before. I felt I was being very dishonest.

One saving factor is that they are willing to replace the books if I am not happy with the choice.

Even without visiting bookshops or ordering books on-line I will be receiving books automatically every month. Pinch me, please!

79pgmcc
Mar 27, 2023, 5:36 pm

Amazon has notified me that the publication date for Nick Harkaway's new book, Titanium Noir, has been postponed from May 4th to May 18th. That is a full two weeks delay. What am I going to do? Please let me know any tips you have to help me endure this two week catastrophe.

80jillmwo
Mar 27, 2023, 7:22 pm

>79 pgmcc: Where will you be during the specific time frame between May 4 and May 18? Home or away? If at home, two weeks would probably allow you time to reorganize the shelves and make some additional room for the new book(s) when released. If sunbathing on the Riviera or residing elsewhere in the South of France, you could further perfect your language skills with French in Three Months.

81clamairy
Mar 27, 2023, 7:32 pm

>78 pgmcc: That is a very cool gift. Too bad you couldn't give them the link to your librarything catalog, so they could check to make sure you didn't already have what they picked out to send you.

I hope they are all gems.

82Jim53
Mar 27, 2023, 10:45 pm

>78 pgmcc: Quite a friend! I'll bet the bookstore folks will all be talking about the complex, possibly crazed new customer.

83pgmcc
Mar 28, 2023, 12:29 pm

>80 jillmwo:
As it happens I will be away. Do I have to read the language book to improve my language skills? I thought buying was the key thing; or borrowing it from the library. Having to read it takes away all the fun.

Did you see the recent cartoon on facebook that casts doubt on two weeks being sufficient time to organise bookshelves?

84pgmcc
Mar 28, 2023, 12:33 pm

>81 clamairy:
If any duplicates arise I might just give them the link. :-)

The element of surprise will be interesting.

You are interested in unusual words. Have you come across a word that means fear of receiving a gift of a book you already have? You would thing there would be a word for that. It is a real fear. “Biblioduplicatusphobia” could fill that gap.

85pgmcc
Mar 28, 2023, 12:35 pm

>82 Jim53:
I am amused at the inclusion if the word, “possibly”, in your post. I think you are just being polite. :-)

Bwahahaha…

86Jim53
Mar 28, 2023, 2:07 pm

>85 pgmcc: It's tough to make a definitive diagnosis on the first visit. Subsequent visits will probably serve to obviate the "possibly."

87pgmcc
Mar 28, 2023, 2:09 pm

I am meeting a few literary friends for a beverage or two and some convivial conversation. To maximise the utility of my day I came into town early, visited the bank to look at my gold sovereigns in the vault, posted the form to the bookshop that will be selecting books for me, had a bite to eat, went to Hodges Figgis and bought four books, and am now sitting in the grounds of Trinity College reading my book, enjoying the buildings around me, and updating my GD friends with my actions.

Life can be good.

88clamairy
Mar 28, 2023, 3:25 pm

>87 pgmcc: I'm so happy for you. And very envious. I will explain why in my own thread...

89jillmwo
Mar 28, 2023, 4:43 pm

>87 pgmcc: I am very, very jealous. What titles did you buy today from Hodges Figgis? At my end, all of the deliveries of books scheduled for this week have been completely mucked up.

90catzteach
Mar 28, 2023, 7:19 pm

>87 pgmcc: That sounds like a lovely day!

91pgmcc
Mar 28, 2023, 7:28 pm

>89 jillmwo: I am sorry about your mucked up deliveries. It would be cruel of me to head off to bed without sharing today's purchases.


Given the pivotal role played in The Moonstone by Robinson Crusoe I have to reread it. I must have been about ten years old when I last read it, and that could have been an abridged edition. Now I have the real McCoy.


Strumpet City is a book I have planned to read for a long time. There is an old battered copy in the house, but I felt a nice new one would be worthwhile. A colleague compared Plunkett with Joyce. She said Joyce was the Dublin author for the well off in Dublin while Plunkett was the author of the people, especially the poor.


This is the third book by Fred Vargas about The Three Evangelists. The first one, entitled The Three Evangelists was one of our book club reads; a read that I liked and that inspired me to seek out more works by Vargas. Hodges Figgis did not have the second book in the series, but I went ahead and bought this one anyway. Fred Vargas is a French crime writer and her books have been translated into English.


This is a book about another of Vargas's sleuths. I could not find the earlier books in the series, but am jumping in here anyway.

So, there are my Hodges Figgis purchases for the day.

92haydninvienna
Mar 28, 2023, 8:07 pm

>87 pgmcc: >91 pgmcc: What a well-spent day! I hope the weather cooperated.

93jillmwo
Mar 28, 2023, 8:45 pm

>91 pgmcc: Wow! Two (2) -- count them -- titles by Fred Vargas!! And I'm glad to see that you are giving Robinson Crusoe another whirl.

94pgmcc
Mar 29, 2023, 6:37 am

>92 haydninvienna:
The weather did indeed cooperate. Below is the view from my seat as I sat reading.

95pgmcc
Mar 29, 2023, 6:39 am

>93 jillmwo:
I enjoyed the very French feeling in The Three Evangelists and am looking forward to reading more by Vargas.

How could I not give Robinsons Crusoe another whirl after its strong recommendation in The Moonstone? It obviously contains everything one needs to get on this world. :-)

96fuzzi
Mar 29, 2023, 7:33 am

>95 pgmcc: I missed a lot of classics in my youth but finally read Robinson Crusoe a few years ago. It's definitely worth a read and not as difficult as I thought it would be.

97pgmcc
Mar 29, 2023, 7:40 am

>96 fuzzi: That is good news. I remember enjoying it when I read it all those years ago, but the mists of time may have affected my recollection. I do remember some very intricate detail, such as Crusoe's thoughts on how deadly war would be if his method of latching guns together to fire in unison were generally applied.

98AHS-Wolfy
Mar 29, 2023, 10:12 am

>91 pgmcc: The good thing about Vargas is that each of her books are stand-alone mysteries. There will however be follow-on between books for character development and will occasionally refer back to events in previous books especially to situate character's in their current thought patterns.

99clamairy
Mar 29, 2023, 11:30 am

>94 pgmcc: Aaaahhh. :o)

100pgmcc
Mar 29, 2023, 1:47 pm

>98 AHS-Wolfy:
That is good to know. Thank you!

101pgmcc
Mar 29, 2023, 1:47 pm

>99 clamairy: Precisely!

102Karlstar
Mar 30, 2023, 8:08 am

>94 pgmcc: Nice view!

103pgmcc
Mar 31, 2023, 6:59 pm

>102 Karlstar:
I am glad you like it. When you visit Dublin you should drop into Trinity to absorb the atmosphere.

104pgmcc
Mar 31, 2023, 7:03 pm



I have finished Beyond the Reach of Earth and found it an enjoyable read that progressed the overall story and avoided the pitfalls common to many second books in a trilogy. It was not simply a bridge between books one and three, but it developed both the plot and characters.

Ken MacLeod was thoughtful enough to include a five-page summary of Beyond the Hallowed Sky, the first book in the trilogy, and this saved my having to reread the first book to remind myself of the plot and the characters.

105Karlstar
Mar 31, 2023, 11:07 pm

>103 pgmcc: Sounds like a plan.

>104 pgmcc: I see you gave it 4 stars, that's good enough for me to give it a try.

106pgmcc
Abr 1, 2023, 3:03 pm

We are packing for our holiday in France. The dog is going with us but the cat is going to a cattery. George, the cat, obviously plans to stowaway and come with us.



107jillmwo
Abr 1, 2023, 3:25 pm

>106 pgmcc: Well, I think you said you might be packing The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi as part of your travel cache of reading material? I'm five chapters into it and enjoying it immensely. If you dislodge the cat, you might be able to fit the print edition into your carry-on but be sure then to zip the lid down tight. Worth any weight fee they might impose!

108MrsLee
Abr 1, 2023, 4:11 pm

That bag looks perfectly packed to me.

109pgmcc
Abr 1, 2023, 5:53 pm

>107 jillmwo:
I do indeed plan to bring The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi as part of my travel cache of reading material. For the actual sea journey I am reading a Kindle based novel (The Return of The Thin Man), but the hardback al-Sirafi will be in the car and available to me in France.

It is good to hear it is worth the effort of bringing it with me. Thank you for the update.

110pgmcc
Abr 1, 2023, 5:56 pm

>108 MrsLee:
Thank you. It comes from many missions abroad and travels to intriguing countries in search of forbidden knowledge work trips.

111clamairy
Abr 1, 2023, 8:22 pm

>106 pgmcc: Poor George... I suspect he wouldn't travel well anyway.
Nice socks!

112catzteach
Abr 2, 2023, 5:55 pm

>106 pgmcc: George is going to miss his humans.

113pgmcc
Abr 2, 2023, 6:47 pm

>112 catzteach:
He will. We dropped him to the cattery today. When he was let out of his travel box he slunk into the backroom of his enclosure, found the bed and hid under the blanket. Yes, we felt bad. Did we cancel our holiday? No.

He will be going home in two weeks when or son returns, so hopefully he will be feeling better when we get back.

114pgmcc
Abr 3, 2023, 12:01 pm

I am currently reading The Return of The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. The book contains two stories that are sequels of his novel, The Thin Man. There is a lot of preamble and introductory material describing the origin of the stories but, as is my normal practice, I will save these for after having read the stories.

From what I have gleaned from the bits of the introduction I may have inadvertently read, these stories are screenplays. Certainly the first one I read was very much formatted as a screenplay with scene directions and character dress instruction. The two stories feature Nick and Nora Charles, the husband and wife detective team. Nick was a well-known private investigator who married the rich Nora and, as he says when asked if he is still doing detective work, "I retired to look after my wife's money."

The story is very much of its age. Nora is the strongest female character, but she is still very much "Nick's wife". She is plucky and loves getting involved in his investigations, but more or less going along for the exciting ride than solving the crimes.

I suspect I have seen a black and white film of this story. Nick Charles comes across as a wisecracking Cary Grant character. I found the scenes and the wisecracks very familiar and I could not shake my mind hearing and seeing Cary Grant in the role. At times the wisecracking became a bit irritating. At the beginning it was excusable as a ploy to introduce the characters, but given that virtually every utterance from Nick Charles was a wisecrack it became a bit jaded for a while. Eventually the story dominated and I quite enjoyed the mystery.

I have yet to read the second story in this volume, and then I will read the introduction and all the historical details of where the stories came from.

115pgmcc
Abr 6, 2023, 5:36 pm

I finished The Return of The Thin Man, Introduction and all. I had thought the book was basically the two previously unreleased novellas, but it was more a book about the history of the stories and the troubled life of Dashiell Hammett.

The two novellas included in the book are the versions submitted to Hammett to MGM under contact only to be amended by others when the screenplays for the film versions were written. There is also a story idea submitted by Hammett that was rejected.

While the stories were amusing enough, they contain racist elements and while the wife of the private detective is supposed to be a strong character she is often put in the position of the little lady.

Will I read more by this author?
This book was a mix of Hammett’s original work and commentary on the pieces of work and the history of the stories and Hammett. I will read more of Hammett’s stories.

Would I recommend this book, and if so who would I recommend it to?

I would recommend it to people interested in the life of Dashiell Hammett and in particular his relationship with Hollywood.

Did this book inspire me to do anything?
I am likely to seek out the films made on the basis of the thin man stories.

116pgmcc
Abr 6, 2023, 5:42 pm

I have started and am enjoying The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi. Now, if your looking for a strong female character you will not find one stronger than Amina al-Sirafi.

Chakraborty has a great way of pulling the reader, in this case me, into her story. She did it with the Daveabad stories and she is doing now with Amina al-Sirafi.

117pgmcc
Editado: Abr 6, 2023, 5:52 pm

MrsLee said she was heading over to my thread to catch up on my adventures. I hate to disappoint her as I have had no major adventures to report apart from our overnight ferry sailing to France and our 7.5 hour drive to our holiday home. Luckily we had no major difficulties, we arrived on site about 7:30pm so it was still bright, and we managed to get our place into liveable condition very quickly. Today was mostly chores and grocery shopping, the later including the purchase of wine, whiskey and Gran Marniier. A little cheese was bought, but we intend doing a proper cheese shop at the Amboise market on Easter Sunday morning.

Today I did have a little charcuterie for lunch.

118Bookmarque
Abr 6, 2023, 6:03 pm

William Powell played Nick Charles in the movies - he's a pre-cursor to Cary Grant; well dressed, handsome and very funny. Delivers a snappy line like nobody. And Myrna Loy was perfect as Nora. My husband and I have all the movies after accidentally watching one on TV and laughing our heads off. Who knew a movie that's about 90 years old could still make us laugh like that. Priceless stuff.

119MrsLee
Editado: Abr 7, 2023, 12:29 am

>117 pgmcc: Believe me, it doesn't take much activity to be an adventure to a person mostly confined to bed. Glad you have arrived safely and are off to a good start.

120fuzzi
Abr 8, 2023, 2:36 pm

>118 Bookmarque: I loved William Powell in My Man Godfrey, what a hoot!

Great supporting cast, too.

121jillmwo
Abr 8, 2023, 4:16 pm

>120 fuzzi: My favorite line from that movie (My Man Godfrey) is when the father says that all it takes to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people. (At one point in my working life, I had that line posted on the outside of my office cubicle!)

>116 pgmcc: Yes, it is a fun read. (I'm about 275 pages through...)

122Karlstar
Abr 8, 2023, 4:46 pm

>117 pgmcc: I forgot to mention that I'm already jealous of your upcoming cheese shop trip! Eat some great cheese for us.

123pgmcc
Abr 9, 2023, 5:22 am

>121 jillmwo:
One quote that I love is, “I am not a pirate. I am a cartographer with a checkered past.”

124pgmcc
Abr 9, 2023, 5:24 am

>122 Karlstar:
We had a very brief market visit this morning and only bought a piece of compté. The proper cheese shop will have to wait.

125Karlstar
Abr 9, 2023, 11:13 am

>124 pgmcc: This is sad news.

126pgmcc
Abr 9, 2023, 11:34 am

>125 Karlstar:
I concur.

127jillmwo
Abr 9, 2023, 2:33 pm

>123 pgmcc: I quite agree. That line caught my eye as well!

128pgmcc
Editado: Abr 12, 2023, 9:52 am

>127 jillmwo:
I finished The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi this morning and loved it. The writing was tight and the characterisation strong. It was 2am this morning when I put the book down and went to sleep with thirty pages left to read. I finished the book as soon as I got up and before I had breakfast.

The book is strongly feminist, and promotes inclusion and diversity. All that and magic too.

There are several pieces of social commentary that hit home, and Chakraborty does not spare politicians in her assessment of their behaviour and actions.

I am writing this on my phone so it is much shorter than I would like it to be. There are parts of the book I will be looking through again to grab the quotes and comments I want to retain. In my first reading I was just enjoying the story and did not take notes.

129pgmcc
Abr 12, 2023, 9:52 am

I have finished The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi and started The Ability To Kill by Eric Ambler.

130clamairy
Abr 12, 2023, 9:53 am

>128 pgmcc: I am so happy to hear this one lived up to your expectations. I'll be getting to it soonish... I hope.

131pgmcc
Abr 12, 2023, 9:57 am

>130 clamairy:
I can see that the author has grown since writing her first books. She had set a pretty high standard to begin with.

132Karlstar
Abr 12, 2023, 5:03 pm

>128 pgmcc: >131 pgmcc: Sounds like a good one.

133pgmcc
Abr 12, 2023, 5:09 pm

>132 Karlstar:
I really enjoyed it.

134pgmcc
Abr 13, 2023, 6:15 am

>129 pgmcc:
By the way, The Ability to Kill is a non-fiction book containing articles and talks that Ambler wrote about his experiences as a court reporter and on his thoughts about people’s ability to kill. I hasten to add that this is neither a training manual nor a “How to” book.

135Sakerfalcon
Abr 13, 2023, 6:23 am

>134 pgmcc: Sure ....

136fuzzi
Abr 13, 2023, 7:53 am

>121 jillmwo: bwahaha! I'd forgotten that line. The movie is full of great stuff like that.

137clamairy
Abr 13, 2023, 8:49 am

>134 pgmcc: Haha! Seriously, though... what have you learned so far? Is there a killer lurking inside all of us?

138pgmcc
Abr 13, 2023, 11:05 am

>137 clamairy:
He does address that point, but concludes there is only a tiny proportion of people who have the disposition to actually carry out the deed.

He also explains how the US journalist ethos reported what people said without editorialising on the truth or otherwise of what was said. He demonstrated that this is how gross lies can be spread with no censorship from the media reporting the lies. The argument is they report fact. The fact reported is that a certain person said this; not that the content of what was said was true or not.

He also gave a few pointers on writing a newspaper article. Look for a catchy, attention grabbing headline, have an ending and a disposable middle. This is the way to get a headline on the front page where it can sell more papers. Selling more papers is the journalist’s primary objective.

139jillmwo
Abr 16, 2023, 11:36 am

>138 pgmcc: I confess I've never had much interest in reading Ambler's fiction, but I might enjoy a series of non-fiction essays such as you describe. What drives people to commit murder? IIRC, Miss Climpson asks that very question of Lord Peter in Strong Poison.

140pgmcc
Editado: Abr 16, 2023, 1:24 pm

There is a chapter in The Ability To Kill entitled “Spy-haunts of the World” in which Ambler instructs the reader in how to spot spies in different parts of the World. He covers many areas and describes the differing behaviours of spies in different places. He even presents a rating scheme ranging from 1 to 10 for rating the likelihood of candidates being spies.

When discussing Thailand he has a few sentences I thought worthy of reporting here:

”There are, in addition, numbers of sinister looking Europeans. Do not be deceived by appearances. Many of them are really sinister.”

141pgmcc
Abr 16, 2023, 1:53 pm

>139 jillmwo:
I have just finished the chapter on spy spotting. It is hilarious. I agree that you might find this book a worthwhile read.

142pgmcc
Abr 17, 2023, 10:32 am

I have started reading Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey, the first book in the Expanse series. I have watched the screen adaptation and enjoyed it.

143pgmcc
Editado: Abr 18, 2023, 3:09 pm

Cheese Report #1
I have been introduced to Pavé d’Affinois and am well pleased. It is a soft cheese and is flavoured somewhere between Brie and Camember. That does not do it justice. Also, unlike Camember, does not pong.

24 month Compté from the market has proved to be delicious. Coming close to Gruyere Suisse but not quite there. They had 36 month and older Compté as well, but the price rises exponentially with the months.

Munster is a soft cheese I like a lot. I have never seen it available in Ireland so am confined to eating it when in France. It is also delicious.

144clamairy
Editado: Abr 17, 2023, 1:23 pm

>143 pgmcc: This is even better than the book reports, IMHO.

Interestingly, I grew up eating Muenster cheese, which is not even vaguely like the French cheese you are talking about, other than that (I assume) they are pronounced the same way.

145pgmcc
Abr 17, 2023, 2:24 pm

>144 clamairy:
I am now paranoid about my book reports.

146clamairy
Abr 17, 2023, 2:30 pm

>145 pgmcc: Haha! Don't be. You know about my cheese fixation...

147pgmcc
Abr 17, 2023, 2:35 pm

>146 clamairy:
Now you have people talking.

148Karlstar
Abr 17, 2023, 2:45 pm

>142 pgmcc: Enjoy that series! We expect an outstanding report when complete.

>143 pgmcc: Good cheese report, keep up the excellent reporting.

149jillmwo
Abr 17, 2023, 3:45 pm

>141 pgmcc: I have discount credits from Kindle that will expire if I don't do something with them. I am off to acquire Ambler's book.

As to the cheese reports, are there reasons why you can't get some of those French cheeses (like the Munster) in Ireland? Is there a restriction on dairy product crossing the Channel?

150pgmcc
Abr 17, 2023, 3:55 pm

>149 jillmwo:
I hope you enjoy the Ambler. I only have my phone with me in France otherwise I would provide much broader coverage in my book reports, which may be the reason my book reports have been subjected to some recent criticism. :-)

Ireland and France are both in the EU so there are no restrictions on trading goods from one country to the other. The absence of Munster in Ireland is more likely due to Ireland having a population no bigger than a medium sized Europen city and hence the market is too small to make it sufficiently profitable to transport a lesser known French cheese to Ireland.

151pgmcc
Abr 17, 2023, 3:58 pm

>148 Karlstar:
I will try to keep my Expanse book reports cheesy. That appears to be the way to write a good report.

As I discover cheeses that are new to me I will report back to the hive mind.

152pgmcc
Editado: Abr 18, 2023, 3:10 pm

Cheese Report #2
This evening I prepared a little assiette de fromage (cheese plate) for myself. I have a picture of it to post here but I cannot see how to copy its address on my phone. I will post it later when I have access to a laptop.

The plate contains some Brie, a piece of twenty-four month Compté, Pavé d’Affinois, Rouqefort, some Munster, and a piece of baguette. There is, of course, a glass of red wine to accompany the cheese.

ETA: They were all delicious.

153hfglen
Abr 18, 2023, 3:22 pm

>152 pgmcc: Of course you leave the most important question unanswered: What was the wine?. Us foodies want to know!

154pgmcc
Abr 18, 2023, 3:24 pm

>153 hfglen:
Just look at the label on the bottle.
Oops! Silly me. The picture is not posted yet.

Saumur Champigny
And very nice it is too.

155clamairy
Abr 18, 2023, 7:40 pm

>152 pgmcc: Mmmm! I'm so happy to hear you are enjoying yourself. I can't wait to see the photo.

156pgmcc
Abr 19, 2023, 1:17 am

>155 clamairy:
I may be able to post it tomorrow evening. It is bookclub night and I am borrowing a laptop for the session.

:-)

157hfglen
Abr 19, 2023, 8:40 am

>154 pgmcc: Thank you. The omniscient Google tells me the varietal is mostly Cabernet Franc, which is grown by relatively few estates here. Our reds are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinotage (a hybrid scarcely known in other countries).

158Bookmarque
Abr 19, 2023, 8:44 am

It's hard to find a good Cab Franc - most people only grow it as a blender for Cab Sauv, but when you can get it as a varietal and the winemaker knows how to get the best from it, oh it's wonderful. Once I drove around to a half dozen liquor stores in NH to get as much as I could from a winery I love. It's long gone, but oh, it was worth it.

159clamairy
Abr 19, 2023, 10:44 am

There are a handful of vineyards (I think there are 50+ total around me now) that produce a decent Cab Franc. Including this one. This vineyard is only about ½ mile from where I swim and walk. Vivino tells me I tried the 2016 and enjoyed it. Good thing I don't have to rely solely on my crappy memory.

160haydninvienna
Abr 19, 2023, 11:14 am

Not known in Oz AFAIK. Australian reds tend to be mostly Cab Sav, merlot, pinot noir and shiraz (same as syrah), with occasional oddities like durif.

161pgmcc
Abr 21, 2023, 4:34 pm



As promised, my assiette de fromage.

From top right and moving clockwise:
- Munster
- 24 month old Compté
- Brie
- Pavé d'Affinois
- Roquefort

162haydninvienna
Abr 21, 2023, 4:38 pm

>161 pgmcc: Good show, Peter!

163clamairy
Editado: Abr 21, 2023, 7:44 pm

164MrsLee
Abr 21, 2023, 7:33 pm

>161 pgmcc: Mmmm, mmmm!

165hfglen
Abr 22, 2023, 5:55 am

>161 pgmcc: Yum! and ditto to the wine!

166pgmcc
Abr 22, 2023, 9:16 am

>163 clamairy:
It looks like the data support your hypothesis about my book posts. Just look at all the reaction generated by a few cheese posts versus the level of reaction I get for my book posts. Perhaps we should rename this site CheeseThing.

167jillmwo
Abr 22, 2023, 10:16 am

>166 pgmcc: and >163 clamairy: Ah, ah, ah! Man does not live by cheese alone. As the photo in #161 demonstrates, wine must also be considered as a critical element in the reader response rate.

Meanwhile, some of us continue to gabble to ourselves about the books, even without French wine at hand. I quite enjoyed the Chakraborthy and Ambler books. What else have you been reading, Peter?

168Karlstar
Abr 22, 2023, 10:51 am

>161 pgmcc: Good report! I'll give it an A-.

169pgmcc
Abr 22, 2023, 12:03 pm

>167 jillmwo:
Jill, apologies. The atmosphere in France meant I took it for granted that any discussion of cheese assumed the inclusion of wine. Sorry I did not make that explicitly, but then again it would appear from the responses to my cheese reports that the atmosphere in The Green Dragon also assumes the inclusion of wine in any discussion of cheese.

170pgmcc
Abr 22, 2023, 12:10 pm

>167 jillmwo:
I am glad you enjoyed the Chakraborty and Ambler books. My limitation to the smart phone is very frustrating.

I am reading Leviathan Awakes, the first book in The Expanse series. I am happy to report that I am really enjoying it even though I have seen the screen adaptation and know the story. I was apprehensive that my having seen the screen series I would not find the books a good read. I should not have worried.

I am enjoying it as space opera entertainment. It has plenty of politics but I am not trying to parse the politics and compare it to real life. I am just enjoying the ride.

171pgmcc
Abr 22, 2023, 12:13 pm

>168 Karlstar:
Thank you, sir. I hope I can maintain the standard.

172MissBrangwen
Editado: Abr 22, 2023, 4:02 pm

>170 pgmcc: I did not read Leviathan Wakes because it is not a genre I enjoy, but my husband read it some time ago and loved it. Just enjoying the ride sounds like the thing to do!

173pgmcc
Abr 22, 2023, 4:19 pm

>172 MissBrangwen:
Enjoying the ride is a relaxing way to read. Had your husband watched the screen adaptation?

174Sakerfalcon
Abr 24, 2023, 9:56 am

>161 pgmcc: You are making me crave cheese! Not that this is an unusual state for me.

175pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 12:59 pm

>174 Sakerfalcon:
Apologies for causing you any unwanted cravings. A word of warning, I am preparing another cheese report.

176pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 1:19 pm

I have finished reading Leviathan Wakes. I enjoyed it a lot and I avoided any comparisons with the screen adaptation.

I read it as a space opera romp and did not get tied up in the politics. If I wanted to get into the serious content of the book I would start talking about how the book addressed political manipulation of groups of people, the abuse of power by major corporations, the use by unscrupulous politicians of situations and incidents to promote their own agenda, the well crafted future-scoping of how prejudice could develop in a solar system wide human polity, etc… But as I only went along for the ride I will not mention those or the fact that the authors put some effort into getting physics accurate, apart from the Epstein Drive (I think I got that right).

I am reassured that I will enjoy the next eight books in the series, which is a big relief as I invested in all nine books as a retirement gift paid for by book tokens gifted to me on my starting a sequence if 365 and 366 day weekends.

177pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 1:26 pm

I have started reading Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas. It is the second in The Three Evangelist series, the first in the series, The Three Evangelists having been a book club read which I enjoyed, hence my reading more of her work.

I am finding this story quite humorous, as well as enjoying the Frenchness of the story and the setting.

178pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 1:32 pm

By the way, just to prompt more interaction, I will describe my current situation. I am sitting on the veranda, watching the lake and the various wildfowl on and over the water, nibbling on some crackers smeared with Pavé d’Affinois and sipping some 2020 Rosé de Loire. The place is silent apart from the birdsong.

179pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 2:49 pm

I have acquired a few books recently. This post is by way of explaining myself to the Denizens of the Pub.

Dog Will Have His Way by Fred Vargas.
The Three Evangelists was a book club read and I enjoyed it. The author, Fred Vargas, is French and I enjoyed the French abmience of the book as well as the story.

On one of my recent book buying excursions, prompted by my receiving a number of book tokens as gifts for my retirement, I found the third book in The Three Evangelist series, but not the second. Now, one of my objectives of my seven week stay in France (Yes, I had to get that in.) is to make progress on authors that I like. Having finished Leviathan Wakes I looked aroung at what I had on hand, but decided I really wanted to read the next Vargas book in The Three Evangelists series. I promptly ordered the Kindle version of the second book, Dog Will Have His Way.



The Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection
Eileen Gunn broadcast the message that this was available as a free e-book on Amazon. I promptly ordered it. I am not aware of his work, but Eileen appeared happy about it and I read good things about his work.



Shy by Max Porter

This is the bookclub read for the coming month. Apparently it is about a young boy. Sounds totally boring to bme,but our book club is a democratic organisation which means I have to read the crap as well as the good stuff. Who knows, it coud turn out to be a good book. I will not bet my pension on this being the case.


Multiverses: An anthology of alternate realities
This anthology contains stories by Ian McDonald and Alastairs Reynolds as well as a host of other writers. The fack that Ian McDonals has a story in it is enough of a reason for me to buy this book.



180jillmwo
Abr 25, 2023, 2:56 pm

>179 pgmcc: I thought your reading while in France was limited to those titles you'd taken with you on vacation. (I now conclude that you've found decent book shops alongside the cheese and wine shops?)

181pgmcc
Abr 25, 2023, 4:04 pm

>180 jillmwo:
I am sorry to disappoint you, but the new books came from Amazon. Three of them are Kindle and the Multiverses is a paperback.

182ScoLgo
Abr 26, 2023, 1:21 am

>176 pgmcc: I'm glad to hear that your investment in The Expanse books has turned out favourably. We have not yet watched all of the show, but we did watch several seasons. On the reading side, I am up to book #8 Tiamat's Wrath, and have it slated for later this year. I too am enjoying both versions.

>179 pgmcc: Thank you! I have just placed Multiverses on my wish list. The name that jumps out at me on that cover is Clive Barker. I don't usually associate him with the the SF/F genre, although some of his work is firmly fantasy, (almost always with a 'horror' tag though).

>181 pgmcc: I'm curious about your purchasing print books from Amazon. I am finding a UK-based company, (Blackwell's), to offer better pricing on almost every title on my wish list. For instance, I just received Beyond the Reach of Earth for $11.21, delivered. Amazon.com is asking $21.00 for the pre-order with release date of June 21. Again, I just received a physical copy all the way from the UK for what ends up being half the price after local sales taxes are added to Amazon's price. Is it the opposite on your side of the pond, where local sellers end up being the more costly alternative? (I say 'local' with tongue firmly in cheek when referring to Amazon ;).

183pgmcc
Abr 26, 2023, 4:52 pm

>182 ScoLgo:

It is heartening to hear that you are still enjoying The Expanse books when you have reached the eighth book.

I have not read Clive Barker. I first came across him when he wrote about The Weave World. This will be s good opportunity for me to sample his work.

Ireland has only about five million people and is consequently quite a small market for books. For non-Irish produced books Irish bookshops will order books from the UK. Transport costs increase the price. A new book could cost €23 in an Irish bookshop while only being €15 equivalent on UK Amazon. Also, to cut down on cost the new UK releases arrive here with soft covers rather than hardback. If you want the hardback you have to order specially through the shop, which will add an additional cost, or order direct from Amazon.

I must investigate Blackwell.

Another problem with ordering from the UK is that since the UK left the EU there is a lot more work required on the UK bookseller side to send books to Ireland. As books in Ireland are tax free this does not add tax cost, but adds administration costs. Many UK bookshops have stopped selling to Ireland because they do not understand the customs process or could not be bothered with the admin.

Long answer which basically means it is often cheaper to order from Amazon.

I do often pay the extra to buy books in Irish bookshops because I do not want them to disappear.

184pgmcc
Abr 28, 2023, 10:17 am

Quite a busy day for literary births.

Born Today
1922 Alistair MacLean, author of The Guns of Navarone
1926 Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird
1934 Lois Duncan, author of I Know What You Did Last Summer
1939 John M. Frame, author of The Doctrine of God
1947 Christian Jacq, author of Ramses: The Son of Light - Volume I
1948 Terry Pratchett, author of Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
1950 Amy Hest, author of When Jessie Came Across the Sea
1953 Roberto Bolaño, author of 2666
1960 Ian Rankin, author of Knots and Crosses
1962 Gerbrand Bakker, author of The Twin

185Karlstar
Abr 28, 2023, 10:46 am

>184 pgmcc: That's quite the day.

186clamairy
Abr 28, 2023, 10:54 am

187pgmcc
Maio 1, 2023, 11:41 am

Currently enjoying Fred Vargas’s Dog Will Have His Day. The book is full of humour as well as good characterisation and a murder mystery. I love the way she weaves French culture and way of life into the story.
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