SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 11

Això és la continuació del tema SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 10.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2020

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SusanJ's 75 Books Challenge - Thread 11

oct. 25, 2020, 5:30 am

Assuming that 2020 ever ends, this will be my final thread.

Editat: gen. 1, 2021, 5:48 am


1. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
2. Imperial Twilight by Stephen Platt
3. Chances Are by Richard Russo
4. With Child by Andy Martin
5. Saint Peter's Fair by Ellis Peters
6. Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie
7. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy
8. Tyrant of the Mind by Priscilla Royal
9. In The Frame by Dick Francis
10. The Emperor Far Away by David Eimer
11. Daughters of Chivalry: The Forgotten Children of Edward I by Kelcey Wilson-Lee
12. The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau
13. The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope
14. Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne
15. China Road by Rob Gifford
16. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu


17. Mudlarking by Laura Maiklem
18. The Grid by Nick Cook
19. Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain
20. China's Great Wall of Debt by Dinny McMahon
21. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
22. The Quest for Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy and Hugo Vickers
23. Foreign Deceit by Jeff Carson
24. Uncrowned Queen by Nicola Tallis
25. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
26. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
27. The City of Brass by S A Chakraborty
28. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
29. Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
30. The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray
31. The Other Hand by Chris Cleave


32. Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
33. A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
34. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
35. The Self Delusion by Tom Oliver
36. Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper
37. Furious Hours by Casey Cep
38. Independence Square by A D Miller
39. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
40. Red Hail by Jamie Killen


41. The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty
42. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Mariah Ankenman
43. Belt and Road by Bruno Macaes
44. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
45. Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch
46. The Secret Guests by B W Black
47. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
48. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel


49. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
50. Servant of Death by Sarah Hawkswood
51. The Kingdom of Copper by S A Chakraborty
52. The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
53. Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
54. The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak
55. A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson
56. The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz


57. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
58. Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz
59. The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
60. Beach Read by Emily Henry
61. The Harvest by Sarah Clancy
62. Chasing the Dead by Tim Weaver
63. Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner
64. A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott
65. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
66. The Far Field by Madhur Vijay
67. Aue by Becky Manawatu
68. Zucked by Roger McNamee
69. The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
70. Maid by Stephanie Land


71. Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
72. Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi
73. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
74. Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden
75. The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands
76. The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis
77. In The Castle of My Skin by George Lamming
78. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
79. Deadiest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker
80. The Glossy Years by Nicholas Coleridge
81. Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
82. Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
83. The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare
84. The Son and Heir by Alexander Munninghoff
85. One Year of Ugly by Caroline MacKenzie


86. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
87. Don't Be Evil by Rana Foroohar
88. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
89. The Black Prince by Michael Jones
90. Modern Ireland 1600 - 1972 by R F Foster
91. Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
92. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
93. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
94. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
95. Circe by Madeline Miller
96. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
97. Halsey Street by Naima Coster
98. Three Weddings and a Scandal by Wendy Holden
99. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
100. Don't Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
101. House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild
102. The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths


103. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
104. The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton
105. The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon, Duchess of Marlborough by Hugo Vickers
106. The Other Side of the Coin by Angela Kelly
107. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
108. The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
109. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
110. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
111. The Empire of Gold by S A Chakraborty


112. The Poppy War by R F Kuang
113. Passing by Nella Larsen
114. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
115. The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
116. Middlemarch by George Eliot
117. Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
118. Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates
119. The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin
120. Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler
121. The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray


122. To The Lions by Holly Watt
123. The Jamestown Brides
124. Following Fish
125. The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin
126. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
127. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
128. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
129. The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis
130. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee
131. The Professor and the Parson by Adam Sisman


132. Burning The Books by Richard Ovenden
133. Court No. 1 by Thomas Grant
134. The Mountbattens by Andrew Lownie
135. Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
136. The Human Tide by Paul Morland
137. The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall
138. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
139. The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn
140. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
141. Rummage by Emily Cockayne
142. From Crime to Crime by Richard Henriques
143. The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury by Sean O'Connor
144. The Order by Daniel Silva
145. City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
146. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
147. His Wife's Sister by A J Hills
148. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
149. The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce
150. Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford

Editat: oct. 25, 2020, 5:48 am

oct. 25, 2020, 5:38 am

119. The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin

This is the first book in the Broken Earth trilogy, and it's a complex read with separate strands following different characters for quite a while until it all comes together. And of course there are many questions to be answered in book 2, which I have reserved from the library...

Today I'm going to read Redhead by the Side of the Road and some more of The Jamestown Brides, which I started yesterday.

oct. 25, 2020, 5:52 am

Happy new one!

oct. 25, 2020, 6:10 am

Happy new one from me Susan.

oct. 25, 2020, 6:12 am

And from me Susan.

oct. 25, 2020, 6:52 am

Happy new thread, Susan.
I see you're ahead on your fiction ticker. >:-)

oct. 25, 2020, 12:33 pm

Happy new thread!

oct. 25, 2020, 1:01 pm

Thanks everyone :-)

>8 Helenliz: Helen, yes I am slightly ahead on fiction but it's been that sort of year.

120. Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

This was a lovely read, like all of Tyler's books. It didn't seem that long, though - I've read the whole thing today and it hasn't taken me hours and hours.

Tonight there's a book club on Sky Arts (Freeview channel 11) which looks interesting. It's a live programme that runs for two hours. And anyone looking for something good on the iPlayer should watch the "Inside Museums" episode on the Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition at the National Gallery, which is probably the closest most of us will get to it...

oct. 25, 2020, 2:08 pm

>10 susanj67: I am hacked off about missing that exhibition. Also the one at the British Library about equality campaigns. I realise it's not a big deal in the scheme of things, but still.

oct. 25, 2020, 2:10 pm

Happy new one, Susan!

oct. 25, 2020, 2:45 pm

>11 charl08: Charlotte, yes, we have missed a lot. I feel sorry for the curators, too, who must work so hard to get all the exhibits together for their big shows and then...nothing. However, it is on until 24 January next year so there's maybe a chance, if you're allowed to travel again by then. Are you in tier 2 or 3?

>12 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba!

oct. 25, 2020, 10:34 pm

Happy new one, Susan!

oct. 26, 2020, 2:53 pm

>3 susanj67: :)

Happy new thread, Susan.

Yes, 2020 needs to be done, the sooner, the better.

oct. 26, 2020, 4:54 pm

>13 susanj67: Three. Fun times.

But our local Aldi has installed a traffic light on their front door, so there are plus sides...

oct. 26, 2020, 6:39 pm

Happy new thread, Susan!

>3 susanj67: Yes, I know I am way over 40 ;-)

oct. 27, 2020, 5:42 pm

Happy new thread, Susan. I agree about 2020, let's just hope that 2021 is an improvement.

oct. 30, 2020, 9:18 am

Thanks everyone!

>16 charl08: Charlotte, tier 3 sounds grim. I see the idiot Raab has ruled out having a tier 4 today, so that should be rolled out in the middle of next week. There are rumblings that London should also go to 3, although the useless mayor also wants the 10pm curfew abolished, proving, if proof were needed, that he just wants the opposite of whatever the government is doing at the time. But it's not all gloom - my local MP has just been charged with three counts of housing fraud, as she mysteriously got a free flat right on the river within six months of applying, despite being (a) single (b) childless and (c) apparently in good enough health to be an MP. There are 18,000 people on the council housing list and single people are, I think, usually told that they have no hope of ever getting a flat. The electorate has wondered for ages how she did it. So now we have the court case to look forward to :-)

oct. 30, 2020, 9:27 am

>19 susanj67: Yikes.

I'm thinking of signing up to support Caroline Lucas' case against the covid contracts that mysteriously went to (some) companies that never produced any PPE (despite being paid), but had -allegedly- links to the cabinet. I still have School Scandals waiting patiently to be read, about corruption in school management in the UK. Fun reading (which is probably why I finished the intro and haven't picked it up again).

oct. 30, 2020, 10:11 am

>20 charl08: I'm reading Douglas Murray's The Strange Death of Europe at the moment, which is taking up all of my anger, particularly after yesterday.

oct. 30, 2020, 11:02 am

I'm sorry to hear you're all experiencing things that make you angry. I tend to think of the U.K. as a beacon of sanity in contrast to the mess we have here in the U.S. :(

oct. 30, 2020, 11:36 am

>22 RebaRelishesReading: we wish. Feels like we're all up shit creek without a paddle. Maybe a different shit creek, but still shit nonetheless.

Escape into a book, Susan.
Or you can tell me all you know about artist copyright and derivative works. Which might make me more confused, but hopefully not about to be sued!

oct. 30, 2020, 11:45 am

>22 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, well, we don't have white supremicists marching in the streets (usually) but today Sky History has cancelled its series "The Chop" (a woodworking competition) after viewers spotted a number of problematic tattoos on the face of one of the contestants. He has "88" (i.e. HH = Heil Hitler) and also "23/16" (WP = White Privilege). He said the 88 was a reference to the year his father died but then the Daily Mail found the father alive and well...So no more woodworking programme, which must be very annoying for all the other people in it.

>23 Helenliz: Helen, sadly I know nothing about derivative works and copyright - that's a different department. Are you taking up writing fan fiction of some sort? :-)

oct. 30, 2020, 12:44 pm

>23 Helenliz:, >24 susanj67: Sad. I'm sad, the world is sad.

oct. 30, 2020, 1:00 pm

>25 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, the world is. Well, the civilised world. The Islamo-barbarians (actually, I think that's a tautology) are having a jolly good time protesting outside the French embassy in London this afternoon:

Apparently they feel hurt that the French are saying mean things about the religion of peace, because they only beheaded, like, three people. And that's hardly any people at all.

Note the social distancing. Oh, but wait. There's also no word from the Mayor. Fancy that! The other things that are missing are:

1. Water cannon
2. Deportation flights. If I was Priti, I'd round them all up, have them taken out to Brize Norton, put on all the RAF planes that are available and flown immediately to somewhere sandy with an RAF base. Then herded off the planes so they can enjoy the rest of their lives in their apparently superior countries, without having to resent white people paying for them. It would be win-win, really.

oct. 31, 2020, 5:38 am

>24 susanj67: nothing so exciting. It relates to a cartoon that someone produced that was an affectionate homage to a previous cartoon, but updated to reflect current sensibilities. Only artist's partner (artist now dead) was upset by it. She phoned and told me so. Didn't answer the question so what did she want us to do about it? Just wondering how far I ought to go with the mea culpa act.

oct. 31, 2020, 6:08 am

>27 Helenliz: Helen, the UK Copyright Service has this factsheet: It seems like the original copyright owner might also own the derivative work if permission wasn't given, and that could be the partner if the artist has died. If she does, she could presumably say it shouldn't be used.

It looks like we're headed back into proper lockdown this coming week, if the papers are to be believed. Announcement on Monday, massive dip in the country's mental health on Wednesday. I've decided not to go out and panic-buy. But this morning I cut my hair, as it may not matter what I look like. I've chopped about three inches off the bottom, and I really like it, particularly as I can't see the back...

oct. 31, 2020, 6:41 am

121. The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

Douglas Murray is about the only person in public life today who actually talks SENSE. His recent book, The Madness of Crowds, was superb, and this slightly earlier book is just as good. It was originally published in mid-2017, but the Kindle edition has an afterword bringing it up to date to 2018. If you've ever wondered why Western Europe seems to be heaping up its own funeral pyre when it comes to immigration, then this book is for you. Why ARE we expected to be responsible for everyone else in the world? Who thought that importing millions from the third world was ever going to end well, particularly when so many of them are from a religion fundamentally opposed to everything the West stands for? Why is "diversity" something that is foisted on Europeans, but not on countries like, say Japan? And even if *some* diversity is good, does that mean that even more diversity is better?

Despite the "official" policy of Western European countries to let in all and sundry and close their eyes to all the crime and disorder, opinions show that the voting public has NEVER agreed with it. But they can't vote out the people who throw the gates open, because the other parties are just as bad. Anyone daring to suggest that perhaps life was better before rape gangs were assaulting young women at New Year's Eve celebrations in Europe (Cologne, 2015, still not properly acknowledged) are immediately said to be racist bigots. And the media colludes with this by often saying that criminals are e.g. "German", or "Swedish" when they are actually from overseas, or are foreigners born in Germany or Sweden. We've seen this in the UK too, when suicide bombers or the members of Muslim gangs who rape British children are "British". Except they're not. They're also foreigners born here to parents who've brought them up to hate the very people who pay for their free life in the West. (Douglas doesn't use the term "grooming" to describe the child-rape gangs, like most of the UK media does. It's yet another example of making excuses for the inexcusable)

Murray also investigates the claim that immigrants pay more taxes than they take in benefits. Living where I do, I have NEVER believed this. And it's not true. The claim comes from a paper looking at well-educated, mostly white, EEA immigrants. And they do indeed pay more in taxes than they take in benefits. But the paper fails to take into account the half the population of Somalia that now seems to live here, or Bangladesh, Pakistan, Eritreia...They take out BILLIONS of pounds and contribute virtually nothing. And I've always thought taxes v benefits isn't the whole equation, anyway. How much does it cost to investigate all the sickening crime committed by the "religion of peace"? The suicide bombings, the "honour killings", the FGM, the forced marriages, the child rape and all the other throat-cutting and mayhem? And what about all the dead *actual* British people whose families will never recover? What about all those happy girls at the Ariana Grande concert killed by a Libyan who should never have been in the country? And, of course, the materials for his bomb were bought with the £1000 per month in benefits going into his mother's UK bank account even though she had gone back to Libya but just not told anyone.

This book is enraging, but on the other hand it gave me some comfort that I'm not going mad - that this really is the problem it appears to be, even though no-one but the very bravest dares to say it.

Editat: oct. 31, 2020, 7:37 am

>26 susanj67: Well, Susan, my family and myself are muslim and I hope to escape being labelled as barbaric.

No sane person can ever defend the killing of anyone for expressing opinions irrespective of whether they hurt sensibilities or not. There are so many evil or at the least very bad things done in the false name of religion my own no exception. The Islamist extremists are not alone in perpetrating atrocities although they do seem to be doing a good job of cornering the market in the last few years.

>29 susanj67: I can certainly agree though that this one would infuriate me too. It is time that decent muslims (I think there are a few of us) stood up to be counted and denounced some of the terrible things done by extremists tarnishing religion.

I am an advocate of giving shelter to refugees but I have to say that I don't honestly believe that the vast majority of people coming to Europe fit that bill. The thousands of Syrian men streaming across the Med or land borders into free Europe should have been helping to overthrow the tyranny they were running from. The points system is needed to ensure a country imports the talents that are in otherwise short supply as is the case in so many countries these days as our welfare systems are not infinite in their bounty. This does have to be tempered such that we do not cast a cruel eye at those who really do need our protection - our problem or not.

Have a lovely weekend, Susan.

oct. 31, 2020, 7:55 am

>28 susanj67:, mmm I found that as well, didn't make me feel a whole lot better... Feels like I might just have cocked up.

nov. 3, 2020, 1:57 pm

People in Europe killed by the religion of peace so far this week: 4

Number of statements by Muslim leaders condemning the murders in Austria: 0

It's almost, *almost*, like they thoroughly approve.

And now the UK threat level is back up to "severe" because of course it is.

In book news, I've finished a thriller:

122. To The Lions by Holly Watt

This was ridiculously far-fetched and also sanctimonious. But the author is, or was, a journalist with the Guardian, so that's not so surprising. This is apparently the first in a series, but I won't be reading any more.

There are two reserves waiting at the library for me, but no news as to whether they're going to stay open after tomorrow. However, the rules on leaving the house don't seem to include going to the library even if they *are* open. I'm pondering a quick trip up there tomorrow morning, depending on the weather. I could take a half day and go to the supermarket on the way home. I've been WFH for the last couple of days, and already I'm craving a bit of outside.

nov. 3, 2020, 2:03 pm

October wrap-up

Books read: 10 (But chunksters. Including Middlemarch)

Male authors: 3
Female authors: 7

Fiction: 7
Non-fiction: 3 (poor)

Books acquired: 1 (give me a *medal*!!) Also, I bought nothing for my Kindle. My sole purchase was a hard copy to buddy-read this month:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Books read of books acquired: 0, but I didn't intend to.

nov. 4, 2020, 6:45 am

A quick trip to the library got me:

The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee
The Mountbattens by Andrew Lownie
Burning the Books by Richard Ovenden

The first two were reserves and the others jumped out at me from the New NF. They had lots of new fiction too, but I was strong. That was mostly because I had to go to the supermarket. I asked one of the library staff whether they were closing from the end of today and he said they didn't know. Tower Hamlets: Total Shambles. However, I've already got two hard copies out, so I think I'll be OK. Eek.

Waitrose was fully stocked (although I didn't get as far as the toilet roll aisle, where things might have been different) but the mall had mountains of security staff, which confused me until I remembered the raised security alert level.

Editat: nov. 5, 2020, 1:00 pm

I saw an article in The Week yesterday about what shortages we are likely to experience in the U. S. in the near future. It said that toilet paper and most food stuffs should be OK because manufacturers have successfully changed their operations to cope. They predict, however, that paper towels, wipes, and baking components may become scarce again and that there will be periodic shortages in some soft drinks due to insufficient cans. Coke has apparently stopped making Tab in order to use the cans for more popular sodas (like my favorite, Dr. Pepper, which disappears from time to time lately). With spices the problem is getting enough household size containers. Not sure what the problem is with the rest.

nov. 5, 2020, 10:09 am

Hello, Susan! Catching up with you, and you have been doing a lot of good reading. I am impressed with your read of Moby Dick - I have not tackled that one yet. And hooray for Middlemarch - I loved that one. Have you started on The Moonstone yet? I am currently reading that one, and it is very good. I am about half way through and enjoying it immensely.

>35 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, that is so interesting about the spices. The last time I was at the market, all the small size spices were completely sold out, and I was standing in front of the empty space for them with my mouth hanging open because it looked so weird to see them just gone. I had to buy the larger sizes.

nov. 5, 2020, 12:56 pm

>35 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I'm not sure what the baking ingredients situation is here, but it could be that people are going to try new things this time. I've seen a few articles proposing a different approach to lockdown 2. I'll pay more attention at the supermarket next time I go :-)

>36 Crazymamie: Mamie!!! So lovely to see you again :-) I was thinking about you when the news was talking about voting in Fulton County, Georgia, yesterday. I think of US states now in terms of where LTers live. Georgia: Where Mamie lives; Wisconsin: Where Amber used to live (and there's a cheese shop in every town); Washington: Where Reba is moving to soon :-) Anyway counting had a way to go in Georgia at the time of the report. And now I see that the President has filed a court challenge before the count has even finished. I started The Moonstone a couple of nights ago and I love it (12 chapters in). Gabriel Betteredge is quite the snark :-) I'm considering The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for next month, and not just because it's also available in the Penguin English Library edition, which I now seem to be collecting. No deckled edges, but I'm enjoying having real books again.

nov. 5, 2020, 1:00 pm

>34 susanj67: Interested to know if you like The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books. I really, really enjoyed it.

nov. 5, 2020, 1:03 pm

>38 Oberon: Erik, it does look interesting! Sadly, although it was only published in 2018, my copy is pretty grubby. I'm tempted to get it for the Kindle instead but I'll give the hard copy a try first. I can't remember now where I saw it reviewed but it was on my library wishlist...

nov. 5, 2020, 1:04 pm

Does Lockdown 2 mean you'll be working from home again? We just (yesterday) moved over to a higher level here but I don't know what it all means. Maybe a good thing I got my pedicure yesterday though :)

nov. 5, 2020, 1:14 pm

>40 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yes it does. I've been WFH this week, in fact, although I could have gone in to the office Monday - Wednesday. I'm trying to stay positive and be grateful for things. It helps (so far) that this lockdown has an end date (2 December*). I suspect there will then be a new lockdown, but it will have to be debated in Parliament and voted on, so it doesn't feel as endless as the first time round. There is quite a group of Tory MPs opposed to country-wide lockdowns because of all the damage done in other areas - business failures, the collapse of health care for anything other than Covid, mental health issues and so on.

*That's the date for England. Wales is currently having its own "firebreak" lockdown, which finishes on 9 November and Scotland has a "tier" system but isn't in lockdown. It may be moving up to tier 4 (of 5).

nov. 5, 2020, 1:30 pm

>41 susanj67: I can imagine that having an end-date makes it feel less ominous. I hope it helps enough that it can expire on the end date.

nov. 5, 2020, 1:33 pm

I liked this one too. Good pictures.
>38 Oberon: >39 susanj67:

nov. 5, 2020, 1:35 pm

>42 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I hope so too. We also have the advantage this time that we've "unlocked" before, so businesses have all their procedures in place for operating in a Covid-secure way. Last time there was a partial unlocking in July but a lot of businesses didn't feel ready to reopen when they were officially allowed to and people were stuck at home for much longer. Very good news about your pedicure, by the way!

nov. 5, 2020, 1:36 pm

>43 charl08: Ooh, goody - two recommendations! Also more pressure...:-)

nov. 6, 2020, 8:20 am

Finally! I have found the remote for the Fire TV stick. It's been missing since 4 October, and had somehow got itself into the mechanism of my reclining chair. I suspected this, as sometimes I would recline and the TV would behave strangely, but couldn't see it or feel it. Today I tipped the chair over (intentionally) and dislodged it. The remote app on my phone worked fine, but I'd have to wake it up every time I wanted to use it, and by that time Netflix had usually started the next episode and sucked me in for another hour.

I've just subscribed to Disney+, which I need for a couple of months, and once again I was *amazed* at how easy it is to get All The Stuff. It's like magic, and as a Gen-Xer I will always say that. When I was a kid we had a black and white TV with only *two* channels, and *kids* were the remote controls ("Just hop up and change it over, would you?"). We got a colour TV after a while, but NZ still only had two channels until I was at University, and there was no satellite or cable. Now I have *three* streaming services, although I'm not going to keep Disney+ for long, and I think I'll give up Prime next year when my paid-for year is up. I've mostly used it to watch Modern Family, but that's now also on Netflix. But in the meantime, I'm a three-streaming-services household. Amazing :-)

nov. 6, 2020, 9:12 am

>37 susanj67: "Gabriel Betteredge is quite the snark " Right?! I love how the story is unwinding.

I have been slightly obsessed with watching the math in Georgia - I really want it to go blue. It would be good for my soul.

If you do read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall next month, I will join you - I have that one in the stacks and have been wanting to get to it. My copy is the Penguin clothbound edition. Alas, it also does not have deckled edge pages.

>46 susanj67: Hooray for locating the remote!!!

"...once again I was *amazed* at how easy it is to get All The Stuff." Yep. This is always magic for me, too. We had three channels when I was growing up and a tiny black and white tv that had its own little stand on wheels (so we could move it around to get better reception!). We got our first color tv when my aunts bought a new tv and gave us their old one - it seemed like a giant compared to the previous one, and to our delight it arrived at our house on a Saturday morning, just in time for Saturday morning cartoons. SO my sister Nora and I were able to view Super Friends for the first time in color - most exciting!

nov. 6, 2020, 10:59 am

What is on Disney+ that made you subscribe? Inquiring minds....

We got it so The Wayne could watch The Mandalorian, but I'm thinking that's probably not your reason, too :)

nov. 6, 2020, 11:05 am

>47 Crazymamie: Mamie, I was surprised at how modern the writing seemed to be (at least in Gabriel's (first?) part which I finished last night). It's a real page-turner, which isn't what I expect from Victorian novels. It's a date for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall! I've just added it to my Amazon basket as a reminder. I'm glad you're also amazed by modernity - there *have* been a lot of changes in our lifetime, even though Elon hasn't got to Mars yet. And even if he did, it may still be more useful to humanity to have the internet :-) When we went on holiday in the days of black and white TVs, we would always try and stay somewhere with colour TV, and they used to advertise it outside, with "Swimming Pool!" or whatever other amazing things they had. "Colour TV" was always the most exciting, though :-) Even typing that I'm giggling at how backward it sounds now.

nov. 6, 2020, 11:11 am

>48 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I need it for something I'm doing at work. But I have heard about The Mandalorian, so I'm going to give it a go. And I'm also hoping they have Finding Nemo, because (whispers) I've never seen it. They've also got a series on National Geographic with Mike from Suits in it. It seems to be about space people of some kind. I don't know how (or even whether) the UK catalogue differs from the US one, but it has only been available here since March. They brought the UK launch forward once we went into lockdown, and earned the thanks of thousands of frazzled parents :-) And then there was Hamilton, which got a new audience a bit later. I think you've had it a while longer in the US.

nov. 6, 2020, 11:27 am

I wish my work meant I could subscribe to the Disney channel. I got to attend a series of webinars on the MHRA and medicinal product post 1Jan2021. It wasn't anything like as exciting as watching Nemo* I can tell you... More likely to leave you wanting to slit your wrists.

* which I've also never seen

nov. 6, 2020, 11:39 am

>51 Helenliz: Helen, I've been attending quite a few of those, on legal subjects. Representatives of the DCMS say they're sure we'll get a data protection adequacy decision from the Commission before the end of the year, and the audience all mutters, from various living rooms and home offices, "OMG you are *literally* the only person in the country who thinks that." We're really going to struggle to listen politely in seminar rooms when we can congregate again.

Editat: nov. 6, 2020, 12:06 pm

>52 susanj67: In our case it is highly likely we'll see a reduction in the number and variety of medicines and medical devices available within the UK, because of the regulatory hurdle that's been added. No two ways about it, I can see companies deciding not to bother applying for UK market registration, or at least putting it off to see if the product's successful in the EU first.

Editat: nov. 7, 2020, 10:04 am

>53 Helenliz: Helen, yes it's depressing how much things could change and no-one in authority seems to care. *Four and a half years* they've had to get ready, but nothing much seems to have been achieved. The civil procedure issues are going to make things difficult as well. Jurisdiction for disputes, service of proceedings in Europe, the taking of evidence from witnesses in Europe (or in the UK for cases in Europe), enforcement of judgments in Europe - the rules from 1/1/21 are all up in the air at the moment. Even if there's a "deal" it won't include those things.

123. The Jamestown Brides: The Untold Story of England's 'Maids for Virginia' by Jennifer Potter

This book focuses on the "maydes" who travelled from Britain to Virginia in 1621 on the Marmaduke, the Warwick, the Tiger and the Bona Nova to join the settlement established there by the Virginia Company. The author researches how they came to be chosen, and then follows them on the voyage and into their new life. It's a fascinating look at really early European history in the US (I'm not even sure it's correct to say "colonial" history that early, because Virginia didn't officially become a colony until the company failed a few years later). There is very little about most of the women, but a few traces of some of them appear in official records. Some married men who were pretty new to the country, while others married "ancient planters" (meaning anyone who was in Virginia before 1616, which made me giggle). A lot seem to have died pretty quickly, including in 1622 during an event which I won't spoil here for people unfamiliar with the history. But some had children and the surnames of their husbands live on in place names in Virginia and in surnames in the US more broadly. If you're call Wilkins and you hail from the eastern part of Virginia, for example, you may well be descended from one of the "maydes". I'm not sure how much new information there will be in this book for specialists in the area (there seems to be a huge amount of research carried out in the US and various societies for settler descendants) but I'd never read about it before and I thought it was great.

nov. 7, 2020, 10:11 am

I watched episode 1 of The Mandalorian last night, and it was fun. I can see why it's so popular. It's set in the Star Wars universe but so far it seems to be a standard bounty-hunting type of story with various eccentric characters along the way. I also watched The Right Stuff, which is a drama about the astronauts in the Mercury programme at the end of the 1950s. It's very good. And they had something called Drain the Oceans, I think, which looks at wrecks and treasure and things, imagining the oceans drained and al the things available for inspection. The first episode involved Nazis (it's like every series of everything has to have Nazis) but the others look better. And they do have Finding Nemo! Also The Incredibles and various other things I've never seen. My cultural literacy has a bit of a hole in it when it comes to Disney films. Not having kids means that I haven't had years of people singing theme songs and collecting toys/books/games, so a lot of it is something of a mystery. I watched Frozen on TV last Christmas but I could do better. Today, though, I want to watch the Saqqara Tomb documentary on Netflix, and maybe a bit more of The Haunting of Bly Manor.

nov. 7, 2020, 10:25 am

Happy Saturday, Susan! Thank goodness for streaming - it has saved my sanity this year, I think.

>49 susanj67: So true about the writing not feeling old. And hooray for a date for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - I am very excited!

SO funny about the color tv and vacation - we never went anywhere on vacation, so I used to love to stay at my aunts' apartment and watch theirs. You would have loved my aunts - my mom's older and younger sister, one widowed and one never married; they were a hoot. They had these gorgeous wooden bookcases with glass fronts and inside...wait for it...they kept their collection of Harlequin Romance books! They belonged to that mail service where they got new books in the mail every month, and they kept them in pristine condition in the fancy bookcases organized by the number on the spine.

nov. 8, 2020, 4:59 am

>56 Crazymamie: Mamie, I've read the next two narratives now, and I love the way that the style changes. I'm up to Franklin Blake. Your aunts sound lovely - I do indeed approve of keeping (a) romance novels (b) in proper order (c) in a glass-fronted bookcase :-) I don't remember any of my family having books (or lots of books, anyway). What were they thinking?!

Today I need to make some progress with The Obelisk Gate, which I started a few nights ago. I'm not sure I'm going to finish it, as the plot seems very complicated, but I'll give it another try. Following Fish just arrived at the elibrary, so that's another NF one for the stack. Hard copy library books are now checked out until 2 December (which will be extended, I'm sure) so the elibrary books take priority.

nov. 9, 2020, 4:44 am

124. Following Fish by Samanth Subramanian

This was a lovely read. The authors travels around the coast of India, writing about fishing and fish, which naturally brings in history and also food. There's a lot of food. And toddy. And other specialities of the various regions (or specialties, for US readers. *That's* why the UK word has a wiggly line). If you like travel writing with lots of food, this is for you :-)

I think I saw one of the author's later books reviewed, looked up his name in the elibrary and this book was the only one they had. It was published in 2010 so wouldn't have been the subject of a recent review. Maybe it was This Divided Island which is about Sri Lanka. And I see the elibrary now has it too. Yay :-)

nov. 9, 2020, 5:48 am

Things I did not buy at the supermarket on Saturday: biscuits (cookies).

Things I did buy: crumpets. *Sourdough* crumpets, if you please. I thought What on earth is a sourdough crumpet? And suddenly I had six. And a brand new jar of jam.

nov. 9, 2020, 7:34 am

It's Monday, Susan. You know how I feel about those.

We are at the same place in The Moonstone, well, you are probably ahead of me now, and I am loving it. The changing narratives are so well done - I am listening to it and following along in the print book, and the narrators are excellent.

>58 susanj67: You got me with this one - adding it to The List. Nice review!

Have you tried the sourdough crumpets yet?

nov. 9, 2020, 8:04 am

>59 susanj67: Are the crumpets the Tesco finest ones? They were the only ones Tesco had (honest) when I ordered last week. I have had to put the last two in the freezer so that I eat my porridge instead.

Following Fish sounds good. I think I've only read Michael Ondjaate about Sri Lanka, and I think it was only in one of his books.

nov. 9, 2020, 8:09 am

>60 Crazymamie: Mamie, I'm half-way through Monday now, and I can report that nothing terrible happens. In fact, there seems to be some good vaccine news. Someone once gave me some very sensible advice about Mondays - don't look directly at them, and just do the best that you can :-)

I have tried the crumpets, and they don't seem any different than ordinary, common-or garden crumpets to me. Waitrose may just be jumping on the sourdough bandwagon. They do like the fancy things. They're widely giggled at for having an "Essentials" range of tinned vegetables that includes artichoke hearts :-)

nov. 9, 2020, 8:11 am

>61 charl08: Charlotte, the crumpets were from Waitrose, but maybe sourdough has become normal now. That had passed me by, like so many other foodie things. I think I'll get This Divided Island once I've finished some more things. I don't know anything about Sri Lanka.

nov. 10, 2020, 9:33 pm

Hey Susan,

Allow me to hijack your thread for a moment. Just wanted to spread the word. The Christmas Swap thread is up. To anyone that's interested, come on by...

nov. 11, 2020, 9:28 am

>62 susanj67: Well, you were right about Monday - nothing terrible happened. And what excellent advice! *blinks*

Bummer about the crumpets. The tinned "Essentials" made me laugh - too funny!

How are you coming with The Moonstone? I am hoping to finish it today. SO good. And I think I will have to read Robinson Crusoe soon, since Betteredge thinks so highly of it.

nov. 11, 2020, 10:26 am

>64 mahsdad: Hi Jeff! I hope the swap goes well :-)

>65 Crazymamie: Mamie, I thought you'd like that advice :-) I've passed it on to several people in the office and they've all appreciated it. That was back when we could go to the office. And the crumpets were great, as crumpets (I do love crumpets). But they just weren't *different*. Still, I'm not usually one for new things, so in a way it all worked out :-) I've paused at the Third Narrative so that my reading buddy can catch up, but I don't think he's even started it yet. I might give up on him and finish it so I can talk about it with you. I am also considering Robinson Crusoe - I have read it before and didn't love it but maybe I need to read it again. I might benefit from some reading *about* it before I tackle it again as that worked really well with Moby-Dick.

nov. 12, 2020, 12:14 pm

125. The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin

This is book 2 in the Broken Earth trilogy. It's very well done, but also incredibly complicated to keep track of everyone. I don't think I'll read book 3, as it will either work out OK in the end or it won't, and I don't really want to spend another 400 pages finding out.

nov. 12, 2020, 12:26 pm

>67 susanj67: I have the first book in that series in the stacks, but I have not attempted it yet.

Hello, Susan! I did not finish The Moonstone yesterday as I got busy with birthday adventures, but I am hoping to do so today. Instead I finished The Bride Wore Black in the wee small hours of the morning because that was my insomnia book. Now I need to decide what's up next for my insomnia reading.

nov. 12, 2020, 1:02 pm

>68 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! It's worth giving The Fifth Season a go - lots of people love it and I think the concept is excellent, but I've been reading a lot of fantasy/sci-fi and I may just need a bit of a rest from it. I plan to continue with The Moonstone tonight too. My friend here has finally started it (and loves it) so now I have *two* people to discuss it with!

nov. 15, 2020, 11:24 am

Hi Susan, I haven't commented here for awhile. But I do like visiting!

We're sharing many similar authors/titles-read this past while. I read The City We Became earlier this fall (my first taste of NKJ). I wondered about the Broken Earth books but having not especially enjoyed the CWB book, I haven't made it a priority.

I think you've read Middlemarch but I can't find it on your talk thread. I wanted to see what kind of chatter that title elicited. George Eliot is a writer I've wanted to read, but can't seem to persevere. Mill on the Floss might be a better story to try, yes?

nov. 17, 2020, 2:19 pm


nov. 17, 2020, 2:28 pm

Mamie and I had the same thought...

Just checking in, Susan!

nov. 18, 2020, 9:39 am

Not sure my version of hide and seek is helping...

nov. 19, 2020, 8:25 am

>70 SandyAMcPherson: Hey Sandy! Middlemarch is on my previous thread, but I haven't read any others by Eliot so I can't say whether The Mill on the Floss is better or not. I have added it to my list, however.

>71 Crazymamie:, >72 katiekrug:, >73 charl08: Hi ladies! I'm here, living in my office (a more accurate description than working from home). I finished 126. The Moonstone and loved it. Mamie, your review was excellent and I gave it a thumb. Then I read 127. The Family Upstairs and 128. In a Dark, Dark Wood. I'm just over half-way through The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, which is fascinating although my grimy library copy is spoiling it for me. And I've also started The Professor and the Parson, which is a fun read but not particularly monumental. It's about a ratbag who seemed to turn up at every academic institution in the Commonwealth in the 1940s and 50s, pretending to have degrees from various others, and the efforts made by an Oxford historian to try and warn others off employing him. It seems to be a side-project by the author of a biography of the historian. It's the type of thing that would never happen these days with the internet.

nov. 19, 2020, 8:54 am

It's Susan! And with a couple of intriguing titles there...

nov. 19, 2020, 9:14 am

Well, thank goodness! I thought we were going to have to put together a search party, Susan. And a thumb!! Thank you so much - most exciting. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books sounds good, but yuck to the grimy library copy. I'm also sorry that you feel like you are living in your office instead of WFH - I recommend a cocktail. Or two.

nov. 19, 2020, 9:18 am

What did you think of #127 and #128? Both are on my library WL...

Editat: nov. 22, 2020, 7:49 am

>75 Helenliz: Helen, I think you'd like The Professor and the Parson.

>76 Crazymamie: Mamie, I love that gif! I've got at least eight more days of WFH, as lockdown finishes on 2 December, so I assume it's the end of 2 December. Assuming that we are then allowed back to work, I have to wait and see whether the firm will let us back into our own offices on 3 December. During this lockdown there has been emergency space available but in a hot-desking area. And that's pointless if you want all your own stuff around you, including the hand lotion that you left in your drawer, and various charging cables that you wish you had. And items of knitwear. And shoes.

>77 katiekrug: Katie, they were both good. Keep 'em on your list! (Or, you know, borrow them)

I went to the supermarket this morning and *I had to queue*. It's been months since that's happened, and there was no sign of a queue at the Canary Wharf Waitrose yesterday. But at my local one there was a ten minute wait to get in. At least I've got some steps in two days running, and two free weekend newspapers. The papers are free with a £10 spend, and my Brexit stockpile won't construct itself.

Yesterday I watched Toy Story 4, thanks to my Disney+ subscription, so now I've seen the whole set. The animation of Bo Peep was just gorgeous and Gabby Gabby and the sinister dummies were excellent. I'm also four episodes into The Right Stuff, which is also excellent. And I'm considering watching some of the Marvel films. There are tons and tons, plus series that go with them, but it occurred to me that somewhere on the internet there would be a list of the Right Order to watch them in. And I found it! It's good to know that Order nerds exist everywhere, and not just in the book world. On Netflix I've started Dirty John series 2, and on Prime I've started Parks and Recreation. I must write to Elon about those two extra days he should invent instead of bothering with Mars.

129. The Queen's Gambit by Walter Trevis

This popped up as a Kindle Daily Deal a couple of weeks ago, and I bought it because the TV series has just come to Netflix. I really liked it, even though there's heaps of chess in it and I've never played chess.

I've now started Rotherweird, which was 99p a few days ago (although not a Daily Deal). It's written by a Queen's Counsel I have instructed in the past, so that's exciting. It's odd so far, but I'm only 15% of the way in, and it's blurbed by Hilary Mantel so it must have something. But today I want to make progress with The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, which I want to finish so I can move on.

nov. 22, 2020, 8:44 am

Oh, I hope you are enjoying Parks and Rec! It's a favorite here. The first few seasons are especially good.

nov. 22, 2020, 12:55 pm

>79 katiekrug: Katie, I've seen you mention it on your thread, which is what made me try it :-)

130. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee

This book is about Hernando Columbus, son of Christopher, who was a book collector among his many other occupations. And he didn't only collect - he tried various ways of cataloguing, which is something we pretty much take for granted these days, but was once quite new, with no "right" way of doing it. It's very well written and definitely worth a look if you like historical NF and/or things about books. I had a library copy which was disgusting even though it's pretty new. As always, I wish I lived among more respectable people.

Editat: nov. 22, 2020, 1:37 pm

>80 susanj67: - Oh, the pressure!

nov. 22, 2020, 2:28 pm

>81 katiekrug: Katie, don't worry! If I don't like it I won't hold it against you for *that* long. So far I like it - particularly the stroppy intern who's supposed to be documenting everything.

nov. 23, 2020, 12:56 pm

131. The Professor and the Parson by Adam Sisman

This is a strange story about a man who pretended to be far more qualified than he was, who was defrocked as a vicar (the last known case) and sent to prison for bigamy. And not all at the same time. He seemed to spend his entire life lying and cheating his way around the world, while academic and church institutions learned the hard way that he couldn't be trusted. A thick file on him was kept by the Oxford historian Hugh Trevor-Roper (later Lord Dacre) and this book is by Trevor-Roper's biographer, Adam Sisman, who found the file in Trevor-Roper's papers. Trevor-Roper met Robert Parkin Peters in 1958, realised that he was a bit odd and started to try and warn others that he shouldn't be believed. He became the hub of a network of academics who did what they could to stop universities and others employing Peters, but he somehow continued to work, and to add to his list of fake degrees from esteemed institutions.

I said in a post above that this wouldn't happen today with the internet. Sisman says, however, that it easily could, given the confidentiality requirements and data protection threats relating to personal information these days. And that's true - employers may not be able to spread the word about a wrong 'un. But so many people are on Twitter and other social networks these days that fakers would quickly be found out by other users, even if their employers couldn't say anything. A potential employer could see the stream of nonsense on someone's Twitter feed and draw their own conclusions.

That leaves me The Mountbattens and Burning the Books from the library now, and they are both due back on 2 December as things stand. However, I expect that date to change, particularly if London isn't in tier 1 on Thursday when they announce the new tiers.

nov. 25, 2020, 4:23 am

>83 susanj67: that does sound like a read I'd enjoy.

nov. 25, 2020, 9:46 am

>84 Helenliz:, Helen, it has a real sense of place and time about it, somehow. There are even photos of articles from the tabloid press when Peters got caught out from time to time. I hadn't appreciated how Hugh Trevor-Roper eventually came to grief (don't Google if you don't already know) so that was also a surprise.

I'm having a day of holiday today, which has only involved answering a *few* emails from the office. I've started Burning the Books, which is very good. I've also been out for groceries, done some laundry and resisted the temptation to binge-watch Disney princess movies. I now have a ten-year-old penpal via a scheme run by a local education charity with which my firm is involved, so I need to get up to speed, stat.

In her last letter, my penpal listed her favourite foods, which included "lozania". That stumped me for a bit, until I tried pronouncing it and then the penny dropped. The scheme is supposed to help kids whose reading and writing needs practice, or those without many friends at break-time. Mine wrote two pages of proper joined-up writing with only the one spelling mistake, so she doesn't seem to need that much help. Her favourite hobby is reading, which made me wonder whether they matched us up randomly or gave it some thought. Naturally I included the names of some books she might like to look out for when the libraries open again :-)

nov. 25, 2020, 10:08 am

Hello, Susan! You have been very busy today. It's the day before Thanksgiving here, so loads of prep to do soonish, but for now I am enjoying catching up on the threads.

Your current read sounds excellent, so I will be awaiting your final thoughts. No pressure.

I love that you have a ten year old penpal who enjoys lozania. Daniel was just asking if I would make that soon and invite them to dinner. And you have already given her reading suggestions!!

I don't know if you saw on my previous thread that I am reading Moby Dick - this is totally your fault, so thank you because I am loving it.

nov. 25, 2020, 11:26 am

Took me several tries for the penny to drop -- but it finally did. I'm really fond of lozania myself :)

nov. 25, 2020, 11:37 am

>:-) Love the spelling of her favourite food. We're having that tonight as well. We usually say it as it is spelt, so we're actually having lass sag knee.

nov. 25, 2020, 12:32 pm

Now I'm craving lozania, which is a shame as the gluten free kind seems to have vanished from my local store's gf pasta stash (lockdown mysteries...) Glad to hear letter writing is not dead!

nov. 26, 2020, 12:27 pm

>86 Crazymamie: Happy Thanksgiving, Mamie! I had seen you were reading Moby Dick, and you made it past chapter 32! Apparently that's the point at which most people who give up give up. But it's just a list of whales...I'm so glad you're enjoying it :-)

>87 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I have a M&S one in the fridge for the weekend :-)

>88 Helenliz: Helen, it's always a good choice :-)

>89 charl08: Charlotte, I hope it reappears soon.

In my last letter I said to my penpal that she had lovely handwriting. Today's response: "Thank you. I get a lot of compliments." :-)) This week we have to write about changes in our job over the years, to get the kids used to the concept of change. Apparently 65% of current primary school pupils may go on to have jobs that don't even exist yet.

nov. 26, 2020, 12:52 pm

Susan, I'm listening to Christmas music on Spotify and "Fairytale of New York" just came on, and it made me think of you, because I'd never heard of it before a mention on your thread a few years ago :)

nov. 26, 2020, 4:34 pm

>91 katiekrug: Hi Katie! Happy Thanksgiving! I wonder whether Spotify is playing the original version or the new one with a couple of...problematic words taken out. There is currently a small row going on about it here.

nov. 27, 2020, 1:43 pm

>92 susanj67: - It was the original version, bad words and all. The on-screen information (there are little factoids and things that pop up while a song plays) mentioned the "controversy" which the band, apparently, found amusing.

nov. 27, 2020, 3:53 pm

>93 katiekrug: Hmmm, interesting. Maybe the snowflakes haven't caught up with Spotify yet. BBC Radio 1 (aimed at the yoof market) are playing the "revised" version, but Radio 2 and Radio 6 (both for older people) have the original. It's slightly ironic that a song which is *about* an alcoholic and a heroin addict insulting one another has to have the insults taken out in case they cause offence.

The elibrary just emailed to say a reserve was ready...but I hadn't reserved it. Most strange, but not the first time it's happened. There were six books in my Holds section even though the limit is five. I didn't try downloading it to see what happened.

nov. 30, 2020, 2:00 pm

Too bad about the grubby copy of The Library of Shipwrecked Books, Susan. I read it last year and enjoyed it. My library copy was in fine condition, fortunately.

We're in our version of lockdown now too which is supposed to end December 7 but I'll believe that when I see it. Our last one was supposed to be done by November 23 but instead was rolled into our current lockdown and the affected numbers keep going up.

Editat: des. 1, 2020, 6:43 am

>95 Familyhistorian: Meg, I think I would have enjoyed it more without the "yuck" factor of the hard copy. This is the benefit of ebooks...Our lockdown finishes tomorrow and is supposed to be replace by tiers, but there is a rebellion going on and the vote will take place later. My firm has decided not to let us back into our own offices after lockdown, but only into an open-plan area, so I think I'll be at home for many more months. But another national lockdown will probably be necessary in January anyway after everyone spends Christmas running around breathing on one another.

132. Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge by Richard Ovenden

I saw this on the new NF trolley at the library, and it was very new and lovely and I'd seen it reviewed somewhere, so I got it. The author is the Bodley's Librarian, which is the senior position at the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, and he explores various terrible losses of knowledge at times from ancient history until fairly recently. It's a fairly short book but it's very good.

I've nearly finished Court Number One, but today my buddy-read of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall starts, with Mamie. (Hi Mamie!). I've downloaded a library copy to keep me focused.

In other news, it's Advent! I have a Pukka tea-bag calendar and today's tea was "Feel new", which is "a clean fusion of aniseed, fennel and cardamom". It was excellent, particularly with a chocolate heart from my Divine calendar (70% cocoa, so it's basically health food). I was talking to one of the girls from work this morning and she said that her five-year-old woke her up at 5am clutching his Advent calendar and announcing "IT'S TODAY!" She may be in for a long December.

des. 1, 2020, 9:17 am

Welcome to December, Susan! The whole month for us will be one big "Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out" party for 2020. I am not usually one to hurry along December, but let's get going. I am most excited about reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall with you. My copy is the lovely Penguin clothbound edition which I know Charlotte would approve.

I'm adding The Burning of the Books to The List.

Hooray for Advent calendars - I love the story you shared! I still buy Advent calendars for the kids, and when I got up this morning Rae and Birdy were waiting to show me what was in their calendars, so some things never change. *grin* Your calendars sound decadent. I have an espresso calendar this year and the flavor today was "Ispirazione Genova Livanto", which made me giggle. I mean it's just an espresso pod, it needs to get over itself already. I will report back after I have tasted it - I had already made coffee, so first things first.

des. 1, 2020, 10:16 pm

>96 susanj67: Well, you got me with number 96 there...

Editat: des. 2, 2020, 5:30 am

>97 Crazymamie: Mamie, that is a gorgeous copy! I read eight chapters last night, as I forgot to ask whether we were having a Plan or just reading it at our own pace. I love the idea of Advent calendars for all ages, and I'm glad that Rae and Birdy loved what was in theirs :-) I hope your coffee was excellent too. My tea today is "Mint refresh", which is "A spring {sic} of peppermint, fennel and rose". And it's very good. My chocolate calendar is a small one and was £4 at the supermarket, so not that decadent but the chocolate is excellent.

>98 drneutron: Jim, I think it's one that most LTers would enjoy :-)

133. Court Number One by Thomas Grant

This is about Court No.1 at the Old Bailey in London - the Central Criminal Court (the building, not just court No.1). The author looks at some of the highest-profile trials in that courtroom over the last century, and this is a great read. It's full of legal nerdery so if you're not familiar with how the English criminal courts work, start with Appendix 2, which explains it.

I've never been to the Old Bailey, as I'm not a criminal lawyer, but one of my favourite geeky facts is the announcement made when the judge enters the court at the beginning of the day. In civil cases, one of the court staff says "All rise" in a loud voice and everyone stands up. But at the Old Bailey the announcement is:
"Be upstanding in court! All persons who have anything to do before my Lords and Ladies the Queen's Justices at the Central Criminal Court draw near and give your attendance. God Save the Queen."

Just perfect. I enjoyed this a lot, and I can also recommend the author's Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories which I think was his first book.

des. 2, 2020, 8:53 am

It is gorgeous, and I love how the paper feels. I also read the first eight chapters yesterday - look at us coordinating even without A Plan! I am fine either way - with A Plan or just reading on our own. The writing is most excellent - she has a deft hand at description of both person and place. And I might have a slight crush on Gilbert. This made me laugh:

"Mrs. Wilson was more brilliant than ever, with her budgets of fresh news and old scandal, strung together with trivial questions and remarks, and oft repeated observations, uttered apparently for the sole purpose of denying a moment's rest to her inexhaustible organs of speech. She had brought her knitting with her, and it seemed as if her tongue had laid a wager with her fingers, to outdo them in swift and ceaseless motions."

des. 2, 2020, 9:20 am

>97 Crazymamie: This is very lovely.

I am resisting. I still haven't picked up Middlemarch again.

Quote away...
Thinking I might make next year the no purchase year, and see how much "notional" £££ I save. Maybe give it to a good cause (my holiday fund?!)

des. 4, 2020, 9:46 am

>100 Crazymamie: Mamie, I like Gilbert too :-) It's completely different from what I thought it would be. I'm not sure what that was, however. I need to catch up a bit as I haven't read any for a couple of days. I had a library book to finish.

>101 charl08: Dear Santa, Please could I have enough popcorn to spend 2021 watching Charlotte try not to buy any books? :-)

In fabulous news, the library is open again at the Wharf. Yaaaaay! Further, there is no need to book, and we can look at ALL THE BOOKS instead of just the displays at the front. I popped over earlier to return my six books, and brought home A Fistful of Shells and The Pulse Glass (ironically, both from the displays at the front, but I did walk around the rest of the shelves *because I could*). One of the assistants waved at me and came over to explain the new rules, and then I saw FLA. I have a reserve to pick up at the branch I've been using since July, so I'm planning to go and get that tomorrow. I've switched the pick-up library for all the others back to the Wharf.

des. 4, 2020, 10:06 am

Hooray for the library opening!! Our library is open, too, but I have not been back there yet, so I have no idea what the rules (if any) are.

ToWH is completely different from what I was expecting, too. I was trying to think what I had been expecting, and I guess a bit more gloom and doom. And there is more humor, I think. I have now read through chapter 18. Craig and Rae have been off work, so we have been busy with All the Christmas Things.

des. 4, 2020, 10:06 am

Oh, wait! What was the tea today?

des. 4, 2020, 10:14 am

>99 susanj67: That does sound good. I have been to the Old Bailey, but only on a heritage open day in about 2000.
>96 susanj67: and another that sounds worth a read.
See you're on top form!

Glad your library is back open. Our is, but only 2 people in at a time, so best to book. From my perspective the worst thing is that they're still not moving reservations between branches, and the local library's stock is, um, limited. I have this bizarre thing that I will only go to my local branch. Mainly as when they were planning on cutting back on library provision not long after we moved in, one of the factors they looked as was number of visitors libraries had. But if you visited 2 libraries, they assumed that it was equally easy to get to both, so I have only ever visited the one branch since then. I'd have to drive to go anywhere else. No idea what impact that has, but if every little does help, then that's my little.

Wishing you better luck with A Fistful of Shells than I had.

des. 4, 2020, 10:15 am

134. The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves by Andrew Lownie

If you like royal(ish) history, or the history of the UK in the 20th century, this is a must-read. The author notes at the beginning that there are "official" biographies of both Lord Mountbatten and his wife, but that lots of new documents have become available more recently and this is an updated look at the couple. They both come across as awful people, and there's a truly shocking ending. All very different from The Crown. I didn't know much about Mountbatten before I read this book, but there's definitely an argument that he only got as far as he did because of the "chumocracy", as we now call it - jobs being given to the friends of those in power regardless of whether they're capable or not. The date for Indian independence was picked by him, seemingly at random, when he was giving a speech one evening, and we know what happened because of the lack of proper preparation. Yes, it might have happened anyway, but still. Somehow I doubt that Mountbatten will have the same reputation he does now in 50 years' time, when even more documents are available.

This was so good that I immediately started Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire, which I had on my Kindle after I saw the author speak at the Jaipur Literature Festival. And it, too, looks very promising.

des. 4, 2020, 10:22 am

>106 susanj67: Oh dear! Another BB! The books are all packed so I can't add another one right now so I guess it'll just have to go on the Wish list. Soon though I'll only be 30 minute or so from Powell's...

des. 4, 2020, 10:26 am

>103 Crazymamie: Mamie, I think I thought it would be darker too. Maybe I was expecting a Wuthering Heights sort of thing. I will make some more progress tonight!

>104 Crazymamie: Today's tea was English Breakfast, which was fine, although not very exotic. Yesterday's was Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey. I even kept the empty sachets so I could record them on my thread...and then forgot. How are your coffees?

>105 Helenliz: Helen, we're lucky that reserves are moving between branches, but very slowly. Still, I've moved from 29 to 15 on the list for the latest Jack Reacher, so that's something. I was the only one there looking at the books today, followed around by a cleaner. I didn't touch any books that I wasn't going to borrow (I now look at the titles and Google for the Amazon page to read up on them) but when I checked out she swooped on the machine with a cloth and a spray. Noted re the Fistful of Shells! At least it's a new clean copy, so things could be worse. All lockdown I thought that I should have borrowed The Age of Decadence, which was on the new NF in March, but it was still there today and I didn't. It's very long and that's my excuse.

des. 4, 2020, 10:27 am

>107 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I'm sure you'll find it at Powell's - maybe it could be the first on your 2021 list! I think you'll love it.

des. 4, 2020, 10:31 am

I'm glad you've been reunited with FLA (and all the books)!

You and Mamie are making me want to read ToWH. And I may have snorted some Diet Coke at your request to Santa for popcorn...

Have a good weekend, Susan!

des. 4, 2020, 10:38 am

>110 katiekrug: Katie, it was nice to see FLA again. I said how great it was to be able to look at all the books, because at Chrisp Street "there was so much goodness upstairs and I couldn't get to it". He may have moved back a pace or two at that point, but maybe I was imagining it. I wasn't sure how much access we would have, but for next time I will make a list of Dewey numbers and be more methodical. Their new books collections seemed to have some actual new things, so it seems they kept buying. Lots to explore! The no-touching rule does mean that I can't move things around when I see disorder, but I'm being brave. Happy weekend to you too!

des. 4, 2020, 10:38 am

>109 susanj67: Jack is first on my list but this may well be second :)

des. 4, 2020, 1:30 pm

The Age of Decadence looks awfully good, Susan. Can't get it from the library - nary a one to be found anywhere. Purchase is my only option, requiring an outlay of around $17 or so for second hand. I'm still sitting on top of gift card from last Christmas, though. Decisions, decisions.

des. 5, 2020, 6:49 am

>112 RebaRelishesReading: Second place is pretty good, Reba!

>113 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, it's pretty new so maybe wait a while and it might show up at the library.

I am sitting in a Caffe Nero with a coffee, which is my first one Out since the end of August. Exciting! So far my morning is not going to plan but I'm going to walk up to the other library branch to pick up a reserve shortly. And if all their stock is browsable, yee-hah!

des. 5, 2020, 8:44 am

Well, the stock wasn't all browsable, but I picked up my reserve, which was The Human Tide and found Wild Silence on the new NF trolley. So that's my last encounter with the man on the door who still asks "What can I do for you?" At no time did I say "Three guesses" or "I've come to get married", so I'm proud of myself for not giving into temptation.

At the Wharf my Google Pay wouldn't work for the coffee, but fortunately I had my card. Then I saw the Christmas issue of the Radio Times at News at the Wharf, so I got that with a paper and their credit card machine wasn't working but fortunately I had cash. No luck with the Wharf gift card I tried to spend at Waitrose, though. It's been declined at two shops now despite a balance check yesterday which confirmed that it (theoretically) has £30 on it. At the first shop the assistants seemed pretty clueless but I thought Waitrose/John Lewis might have more clues. Alas, they didn't. They thought it could just be faulty.

des. 5, 2020, 8:51 am

135. Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

Apparently this book defies categorisation. That makes sense as I still can't decide what it was trying to be. There were enough eccentric characters in a small corner of England allowed self-rule to give it a Midsomer Murders feel, but there was also travel through a portal to another land...I couldn't follow the story and by the end I still didn't really understand what it was all about.

No-one tell Mamie, but I'm not making great (or indeed, any) progress with our buddy-read. I'm determined to do better this afternoon. Today's tea is Supreme Matcha Green ("The finest green tea and matcha blended to be supremely smooth"). Hmmm. I'll give it a try as I read some more chapters.

des. 5, 2020, 9:24 am

I can't wait to see what you think of Wild Silence - it doesn't come out here until April. Good for you for resisting the temptation to snark the door man.

Technology is so great until it doesn't work, and then it is Most Frustrating. Is there a number you can call to be issued a new one?

I did not get far with ToWH yesterday, so I am just into Volume II. Today is Craig's birthday, so I am doubtful of much reading time, but hopefully Sunday is waiting for me and the books.

What was your tea today? I have loved all of the coffees so far - today is Venetia, which has an "aromatic profile that is harmoniously balanced of elements with a delicate acidity, caramel notes and a hint of bitterness". This is already a favorite of mine, so today is a sure thing. And hooray for Cafe Nero - I have not had coffee out in ages. BUT Craig has gone out to a favorite breakfast haunt called Pearly's and is bringing us back breakfast sandwiches, so that will be full of delicious.

des. 5, 2020, 9:29 am

>116 susanj67: No worries, as I am only up to chapter 21 and will not make any progress today.

I have never tried matcha tea, and Abby really hates it, so I will be awaiting your thoughts. I just read your tea description aloud to Abby, and she said, "Ew." Wishing you luck.

des. 5, 2020, 9:43 am

>115 susanj67: I doff my cap, you're by far a better person than I am, I'd have given in to the temptation to be snarky a long time ago.

Boo to technology, it probably all needs a stern talking to. My card went through a phase of not doing contactless. That was annoying.

Editat: des. 6, 2020, 5:36 am

>117 Crazymamie:, >118 Crazymamie: Mamie, I'm all caught up! I finished chapter 21 yesterday and I'll read some more today. The second narrative is hard to read - you can see it all going wrong but there's no way to make Helen understand...Yesterday's tea didn't really taste of anything. I'd grade it "meh" rather then "ew", but it might have more of a taste if it's stronger. I won't be rushing out to buy a box :-)

>119 Helenliz: Helen, yes, it's annoying. It was from work last Christmas and it expires next weekend, so I wanted to spend it. However, if it's always been faulty then in a way I've never had that money to spend. At least I tried.

Today's tea is Three Ginger ("A warming swirl of ginger, galangal and golden turmeric") and it's pretty good. I steeped it for about five minutes, so possibly it could be stronger (the wrapper said up to 15 minutes but by then it would be cold). I'm pottering, with Holiday Baking Championship on the Food Network. I assume it's last year's - it's series 6, anyway. Yes, Wikipedia says that it's the 2019 one. And, in a spooky coincidence, one of the contestants has just started doing something with matcha. Ooh. This is the final episode, it seems, so someone will win in the next half an hour.

des. 6, 2020, 11:33 pm

>116 susanj67: I struggled with it in similar ways to you, Susan. Too clever by half really but an interesting premise. I don't think I will get the next two.

des. 7, 2020, 4:18 am

Hi Susan - de-lurking/catching up/trying to come out of hibernation. Glad your library is back open :)

des. 11, 2020, 6:49 am

The Three Ginger tea sounds lovely - but up to 15 minutes?! Wow. You are right that the tea would be cold. Craig makes tea every weekday morning, and he just leaves the tea bag in there, which cracks me up. My favorite calendar coffee so far has been the one from Ethiopia - Ethiopian Arabica coffee with an orange blossom aroma.

Hoping Friday has been kind to you.

des. 11, 2020, 7:29 am

>121 PaulCranswick: Paul, yes, it was a shame.

>122 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka! Lovely to see you again.

>123 Crazymamie: Mamie, yes, 15 minutes seemed odd to me. Pukka is priced about the same as Twinings, but Twinings' teas are noticeably stronger, I think. This week's have been:

Three Fennel ("Soothing sweet & wild fennel seeds with fennel leaf") - best drunk with an Advent chocolate, frankly
Turmeric Gold ("A golden blend of finest turmeric, lemon fruit and green tea") - Twinings' Turmeric with Orange and Star Anise is much better
Blackcurrant Beauty ("Deliciously deep purple fruits to help you glow inside and out") - this was good
Elderberry and Echinacea ("A rich embrace tingling with fruity warmth") - a bit insipid
Revitalise ("A burst of warming cinnamon, cardamom and ginger") - OK but nothing startling

des. 11, 2020, 7:47 am

136. The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World by Paul Morland

This is a fascinating read. It's about demographics, and how the modern world has been shaped by the rise and fall of different populations at different times. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in the subject.

I now have three hard copies from the library, and Rummage as a NF ebook, as well as The Bear and the Nightingale (reserved for ages) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in ebook format. I want to finish at least one more hard copy this weekend as I'll go to the library next week and it would be good to return two things.

des. 11, 2020, 1:11 pm

The Bear and the Nightingale is a treat. I would recommend the remaining two in the series as worth the time as well.

des. 13, 2020, 6:32 am

>126 Oberon: Erik, I'm pleased to hear that! The BookTubers seem to love the series, but sometimes I don't really "get" their choices...

137. The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall

From Amazon: "A toy train. A stack of letters. A tiny pulse glass, inherited from her great-great-grandfather, which was used to time a patient's heartbeat before pocket watches... Gillian Tindall, one of our most admired domestic history writers, examines seemingly humble objects to trace the personal and global memories stored within them, and re-animate the ghostly heartbeats of lost lives."

This is gorgeous and I loved it. That is all :-) This is the third book I've read by this author, and I intend to look for all the others.

138. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Hmmm. This one I didn't like. Mostly I didn't like the construction of the narrative, which saw the main character, Gilbert, explaining to his brother-in-law how he'd come to marry his wife (the "tenant" in the title), *by sending with his letters copies of her diary detailing all the abuse she'd suffered from her first husband*. Who would do that? Yeesh. It surprised me that a female writer would choose to write it that way.

But it's finished now, and I returned it to the elibrary last night. I had five books on loan, which is the limit. Two reserves came in much faster than the system indicated that they would, so I'm a tiny bit over-booked. I have:

The Bear and the Nightingale
How Innovation Works
The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury

And in hard copy:

The Wild Silence
A Fistful of Shells

I was going to walk over to the library today but it's raining, so I've changed my plans to, um, staying inside. I'm going to start The Wild Silence and then when I do go over there I might have three books to return.

Today's tea is Warm Apple and Cinnamon and yesterday's was Ginseng Matcha Green. Both are pretty good, but not so good I'd buy a box of teabags.

des. 13, 2020, 6:48 am

Book #137 sounds good. Not sure I'll be rushing to read the Tenant (despite the temptation of the beautiful penguin edition in the shops!) Hope you have a good day reading.

des. 13, 2020, 9:34 am

Adding The Pulse Glass to The List, Susan.

I also finished up The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - not my favorite but I did like the writing. I thought Helen was so stupid and too righteous. It gnawed at me. First she goes to all that trouble to escape her husband in order to save her son, and then she goes right back in there taking the boy with her. And she risks her own life and neglects her son in order to care for the husband who mistreated both of them, never seeming to ask herself what will happen to the boy if she dies. And don't get me started about her failed first attempt at escape because she was writing all of her plans in her diary in the same room that her husband was in - WHAT?! I was expecting a strong-willed heroine that was flawed but also intelligent and intrepid. Instead we get pious and dutiful. Also, why wasn't she at her brother's wedding? He married one of her closest friends and yet she and the aunt don't attend the wedding? I was disappointed that the first volume held so much promise and charm and then the narrative took a nose-dive and never recovered. I'm still trying to decide how to rate it.

des. 15, 2020, 11:41 am

>128 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! It was a pretty booky day in the end.

>129 Crazymamie: Mamie, I agree with your comments. There was a lot about it that irked me, and I'm a bit surprised it's survived as a classic for so long really.

139. The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

This is the second book by Raylor Winn, and follows her story after The Salt Path, in which she and her husband walked around the coast of south-west England. This is just as good, with maybe a bit more woo-woo in it, but overall it's an excellent read. And I'm sure the cover designer (Angela Harding) also did the cover of my e copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, above, which is a coincidence.

I've started The Bear and the Nightingale, which is good (40% in) and also Rummage, which isn't what I thought it was going to be but it's nevertheless a good read. I thought it would be about specific objects (a bit like The Pulse Glass) but it's more about how we as a society deal with waste, recycling and so on. There's an interesting chapter about WWII and the calls for aluminium and iron railings, which produced loads of stuff that was never used and was eventually quietly buried near the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames, where apparently it sent compasses haywire. And there are some good letters reproduced from householders who thought it was all a waste of time and said they had no intention of recycling anything but would burn it all. The official story of the WWII Home Front is everyone pulling together, but the primary sources suggest otherwise.

I wonder whether, in 70 years, people will think that 2020 was also everyone doing the right thing, when in fact a lot of people refused even to believe there was a virus, and insisted on congregating regardless of endless warnings. London moves into tier 3 tonight, and there are calls for Christmas to be cancelled. Currently the government is letting everyone rush around the country for five (specific) days, which will no doubt be followed by another full lockdown in January.

des. 15, 2020, 1:22 pm

Our Christmas 'guidance' is just madness. You can meet in groups of less than six, but six or more you can meet three times in the period but NOT on the same day and, in any case no more than ten people and children under three don't count because they won't be walking (wtf) and if you live in a council flat by a river but are not blind...

The last bit may have been a Black Books quote...

So yup. I see lockdown in January looming.

You've also reminded me that I have the second of the Bear and the Nightingale lined up to read at some point :)

des. 15, 2020, 1:25 pm

We will be spending Christmas a deux. As we've spent most of the rest of the year, in fact. I can see us all back in tightest lockdown in January, which will be massively depressing. January's bad enough as it is.

des. 15, 2020, 1:35 pm

>130 susanj67: and onward - Your holiday guidelines sound very confusing. Of course, I am not totally sure what ours are here, as TW and I are just avoiding other people full stop. We're just hunkering down, foregoing Christmas with family, and trying to do our part. If people weren't such garbage humans, we could rely on each other to stay safe rather than on nonsensical government edicts, but here we are.


des. 15, 2020, 2:08 pm

>131 BekkaJo: Bekka, that does sound odd! I think here all the rules are suspended for the five days, although there is pressure on the government to cancel Christmas, and that might happen tomorrow. In tiers 2 and 3 there is no household mixing indoors unless you're in a support bubble and no groups of more than six outdoors. And in tier 3 all the pubs and restaurants have to close save for takeaway food/drink.

>132 Helenliz: Helen, yes, January is going to be grim, particularly if the death figures go up again. But I did read something the other day saying that GPs were seeing very little flu compared to this time last year, which suggests that hospitals may not have a lot of flu to deal with. This is what happened in the southern hemisphere flu season, so fingers crossed.

>133 katiekrug: Katie, this is definitely a year for hunkering down. Some of the pictures of our shopping streets make me want to yell at the TV. And for some unknown reason the authorities went ahead with traffic-free Regent Street on Saturday, which encouraged even more people to pour into the West End. The scientists now seem to have broken away from the government and are saying don't mix at Christmas - just stay home.

des. 16, 2020, 11:48 am

New library books!

East West Street, which was on the shelf and in pretty decent condition.

From Crime to Crime, which was a reserve that came in today. It's by Sir Richard Henriques, who prosecuted a lot of high-profile crimes as a Queen's Counsel and was then the judge on more trials. I've read great reviews of this. It's subtitled "17 cases that shocked the world".

des. 16, 2020, 11:49 am

Just a little light reading for the holidays, eh, Susan? :)

des. 16, 2020, 12:14 pm

>136 katiekrug: ha! I was thinking "Busman's holiday".

des. 16, 2020, 12:20 pm

>136 katiekrug: Katie, yup :-) I have two glorious weeks off and I've deleted all but one silly game from my phone, so I'm all ready!

>137 Helenliz: Helen, maybe :-) I really enjoyed The Ratline earlier in the year, and put East West Street on my list afterwards. And there it was, sitting on the shelf, just as the catalogue suggested it would be.

Tonight I'm attending my first online social thing, which is for a team I'm working with at the office. Well, not *at* the office. Tomorrow there's another one, for the whole department, but I don't have to turn my camera on for that one. I think I'll do tonight's with my phone as I can't be bothered dragging my laptop over to the other side of the room where there's a respectable background. I'll make a phone holder of some sort with boxes.

des. 18, 2020, 6:30 am

Well, Zoom socialising isn't my thing. I've now completed my two events for 2020 and that was more than enough. We had a "comedian" last night but she mostly just made fun of people's names. Lame. And she laughed at her own jokes, which weren't even funny. Today is my last day at my desk for two whole weeks! Exciting. I'm going to aim to read 300 pages on each of the 16 days of my holiday (three weekends, two working weeks) and see how I get on. I've nearly finished The Bear and the Nightingale so I should be able to send that back by tomorrow. The Pull of the Stars came in yesterday at the elibrary but I sent it away again (I *love* that feature, still) due to overbooking. I think a lot of people are using it, because I've received at least three things very soon after reserving them when the system suggested they were weeks away.

Today's Advent calendar tea is Licorice and Cinnamon ("A deliciously exotic blend of cocoa, cinnamon and licorice" - no, really) but I'm saving it for this afternoon. I'm also saving Relax ("A deeply soothing fusion of chamomile, fennel & marshmallow root") from a couple of days ago as I had a gazillion documents to review and couldn't afford to feel relaxed. I'm currently drinking a Marks & Spencer Christmas blend that came in a gift box - ahem - last year. I need to stop buying tea and drink what I have. That said, I couldn't resist one of the new Twinings "dark" teas I bought a box of No. 22 at the supermarket and it is *gorgeous*. It really does taste like toffee/golden syrup but without the sweetness. A 200ml cup without milk has just 1 calorie. I don't know how they do that, but it's an instant favourite. I'd be tempted to get the whole set, but that would be another 200 tea bags...

des. 18, 2020, 9:37 am

Here's a UK vaccine queue calculator.

It will be June for me, based on 1 million doses per week and a 70% uptake. We're nowhere near a million doses a week, but there are quite a number of anti-vaxxers so the uptake might not be 70% and then it will be faster (assuming the relevant number of doses is available). Somehow I think I'll be WFH for most of next year.

des. 18, 2020, 10:46 am

>140 susanj67: - The New York Times had a similar type calculator, but it only told you how many people were ahead of you. No timing was estimated, but this was before the vaccine was released, so maybe they'll update it. I don't expect to be able to get before June at the earliest...

Your Zoom social sounds super lame. My boss asked me if he thought our department should get together over Teams for a holiday thing and I said no. Rather firmly :) I think he was secretly relieved...

des. 18, 2020, 11:06 am

>139 susanj67: I'm really enjoying the Zoom Genealogy Chats I'm hosting. Since I live alone (except for cats), these Zoom chats with friends are filling a void the pandemic caused. They actually keep me sane!

des. 19, 2020, 8:13 am

>141 katiekrug: Katie, I hope 2021 is the year of no more compulsory video calls. I don't turn my camera on if I can possibly get away with it. One of my pals, who is a partner at another firm, does all her calls on one day of the week so she only has to put her face on that one day :-) I see that the US has approved the Moderna vaccine, which is great news. The Oxford vaccine may be approved by the end of the year here, which would be great as it doesn't need the very cold temperatures and batches can be split up. That should allow them to do the care homes.

>142 thornton37814: Lori, I think it would be different if it was friendly people and an interesting subject :-) But right now it's just another thing on the list.

Eek - the Prime Minister is giving a press conference later this afternoon. That doesn't sound good for people with Christmas plans. I'm betting on lockdown straight after Christmas if people are still allowed to travel. I went to the supermarket this morning and they had plenty to buy, though, so people no longer seem to be hoarding. I'll do a final shop on Tuesday, maybe, and that will be it till after Christmas. I still don't understand the couples and entire families that feel the need to shop together. The shop would have had half the number of customers if it had just been one person per household. If people need help carrying stuff home, their plus-one could go and have a socially-distanced coffee outside and come and meet them at the end.

des. 19, 2020, 8:19 am

140. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This was a very good read. It's based on a Russian folk tale and was very atmospheric. Much was set in winter and the cold was really well done. There are two more in the series so I'll get one of those after I've finished my current things. (Hahahahahaha)

Another reserve has arrived at the library but they don't open till midday on the weekend so I plan to pick it up on Tuesday, if it's still open by then. I hope to have a book to return by then.

The PM is going to be speaking at 4pm. They have just announced it on Sky News.

des. 19, 2020, 9:13 am

141. Rummage: A History of the Things We Have Reused, Recycled and Refused to Let Go by Emily Cockayne

This book is quite different from what I thought it would be. It's really a history of recycling in the UK, and it's fascinating. The author starts with wartime recycling drives, but goes right back to the 1500s and looks at how people coped with reusing and recycling various materials and finished products. There wasn't masses to recycle in the far-off olden days because people didn't have as much stuff, but the Victorians really got into it as the consumer society took off. The book doesn't look at modern efforts, but that's an enormous subject and we're not doing that well at it anyway.

des. 19, 2020, 11:51 am

Well, I think my library reserve is now trapped. London will be in a new tier 4 from tomorrow with all non-essential retail closed and roaming around outside London banned. It seems that 60%+ of new London cases are the new variant, which is a bit alarming, although they don't think it's any worse, just much easier to catch.

Editat: des. 20, 2020, 6:25 am

142. From Crime to Crime by Richard Henriques

This is very good. Sir Richard Henriques is a retired judge, writing about 17 high-profile cases in which he appeared as a barrister or heard as a judge. Some of the chapters are very short, but the Harold Shipman chapter is 80 pages long. It's all very readable, though. Highly recommended if you like things about the criminal justice system or true crime.

Editat: des. 20, 2020, 4:50 am

This is dangerous! I like books by experts, so I've half an eye on >147 susanj67:. And I do like the idea that we're not learning how to do this for the first time, it's just re-learning how to do it again and better, so >145 susanj67: is on the list. BTW - I think your touchstone is pointing to the wrong book.

Well Boris isn't popular. Made no change to our plans, it was going to be just the two of us. we had discussed dinner with another couple later in the week, but it had never progressed byond the vague idea stage, so no plans actually made. Allowing us all out for 5 days never looked like a good idea - a nice idea yes, but never a good one.

des. 20, 2020, 6:44 am

>148 Helenliz: Helen, I've just fixed the touchstone - they're slippery little things! They are both good reads and Sir Richard finishes his book with ten points that he thinks should be put into action to improve the criminal justice system.

I agree that no change should ever have been made for Christmas. And those pictures of people at the train stations in London last night - holy cow. *This is why we're in this mess*. People just will NOT stop running around infecting one another. I saw a tweet last night which said "Oh, but what about New Zealand where life goes on as normal". But they closed the border to foreigners in March (and it is still closed) and every single Kiwi arriving back home has to do 14 days of quarantine in a government-run facility, which costs £1,500 per person (paid for by those people, not the government). So it's not super-surprising that they don't have it there, save for a few incoming cases that are picked up in quarantine. Just imagine if they tried something like that here - there would be a queue around the block at the Royal Courts of Justice as people filed judicial review claim forms.

This morning I've read a chapter of A Fistful of Shells, which is good so far. It's very heavy on place names and I'm considering pulling out an atlas to follow as I read, but it's interesting. I'm going to read a chapter a day and it will take me ten more days. I started How Innovation Works last night and I might read a bit more of that today. It seems quite long but a lot may be notes.

I've also opened my Christmas Radio Times, which has *ten pages* of listings for each day. Holy carp. A lot is cable and satellite, but still. There's plenty of Freeview there too, and streaming things. They even have a page on what streaming means and how to do it :-) I started the Cosmos series on Disney+ yesterday (that's right - I still haven't cancelled it) and it's very good. Looking at the Fire stick I saw that they've added Now TV and Apple TV, which are new (or newish - I didn't see them last time I looked at the apps available). I'll have to make a list of the Sky things I want to see and get a Now TV pass for a month and binge :-) After I cancel Disney+.

des. 20, 2020, 7:06 am

>147 susanj67: I must look for that if I ever get the chance to visit the UK again!

>149 susanj67: We largely closed our borders here too but Malaysia has its two main territories - the mainland and the part of Borneo which is Malaysian (Sabah and Sarawak). The stupid politicians here held an election in Sabah in October and the idiots brought COVID-19 back with them not bothering like everyone else to quarantine. Needless to say they are not the most popular.

des. 20, 2020, 2:04 pm

>149 susanj67: There is a current consensus that we opened ours too early. Seemed okay at first - and then... there were a couple of major super spreader parties and it all went arse up. I think Jersey currently has one of the highest infection rates - not a great win for my island. They keep telling us it's because they are testing way more that the UK and therefore the numbers are bound to be higher, but the panic is growing by the day. It's a bit rubbish - I can't go near my parents (and wouldn't if I was allowed due to health issues with my Mum) and, despite being classed an essential worker, can't really go into work.

Floop. Sorry - longer rant than intended!

des. 23, 2020, 8:33 am

Hope all is okay in lockdown London?

des. 23, 2020, 10:34 am

>149 susanj67: I do like the Xmas Radio Times. I've got my highlighter pen out! Hope the Disney channel continues to deliver.

Editat: des. 24, 2020, 6:48 am

>150 PaulCranswick: Paul, yes, it only takes one slip and then it's chaos.

>151 BekkaJo:, >152 BekkaJo: Bekka, I'm sorry you can't see your Mum. Zooming must be wearing very thin for everyone. We are all going to be locked down here indefinitely after Christmas, I think.

>153 charl08: Charlotte, every day starts like a little exam with the Radio Times - pages to leaf through, things to circle :-) I've watched the first part of Mother Love (BBC4) and it's *so good*! I'll try and finish it today, if I can look away from Sky News and the deal/no deal cliffhanger.

143. The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury by Sean O'Connor

This popped up as a new book at the elibrary, and the cover and title made me reserve it. It's about an (in)famous murder trial of the 1930s, and it's really well done. There are reasons why Alma Rattenbury isn't as famous as, say, Edith Thompson or Ruth Ellis (it would be spoilery to say any more) but, at the time, this was the most famous case in the country and a large part of the world. The case has been written about before, but in this book there is new material only recently made available in the National Archives. As I knew nothing about it, it was all a surprise to me, and I'd recommend not reading about the case before starting it. The author has another book called Handsome Brute, which is about another case from the same time, and I'm going to keep an eye out for that.

A Fistful of Shells is coming along, although I'm not managing a chapter a day. I've read a chunk of East West Street too, but I could do better. The library is now only allowing pick-ups and returns, so I'm not planning a trip any time soon. I think the due dates of the books I have out will be extended, which is not helping me focus.

des. 24, 2020, 11:12 am

Susan, I hope you enjoy a peaceful and bookful holiday!

des. 25, 2020, 12:17 pm

I hope you get some of those at least, Susan, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

des. 25, 2020, 12:41 pm

Merry Christmas, Susan. Hoping lockdown in London has been suitably quiet.

des. 26, 2020, 7:06 am

Thanks everyone!

144. The Order by Daniel Silver

This is the 2020 Gabriel Allon novel, which was published in July. I've been saving it for a Christmas treat and it was excellent. The Allons take their first holiday and go to Italy, but almost immediately Gabriel is caught up in intrigue at the Vatican...

des. 26, 2020, 10:22 am

Wanna help me kick 202 to the curb? 2021 group is here

des. 26, 2020, 1:54 pm

Have a great holiday, Susan, and let's hope for a better 2021. Stay safe.

des. 27, 2020, 7:07 am

>159 drneutron: Hey Jim!

>160 BLBera: Thanks Beth - you too!

145. City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

This is book 3 in the Rain Wilds quartet, and a lot happens. The dragons surprise everyone, Thymara finally decides between Tats and Rapskal and Leftrin heads back to Cassarick to report to the Traders' Council that the dragons have been successfully resettled. I want to read book 4 very soon, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo came in as a reserve at the elibrary so I'll read that first.

des. 27, 2020, 7:23 am

PSA: From Crime to Crime, which I mentioned in post 147 above, is just 99p in the current Kindle sale. Extraordinary.

My sale haul is:

Enid (no touchstone, so here's a link )
The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes (nerdy legal stuff galore)
The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce (the author of Blood Orange)
Thirteen: The Serial Killer Isn't on Trial. He's on the Jury by Steve Cavanagh (I mean really)
His Wife's Sister by A J Hills (a snappier title than "His Sister-in-Law", I suppose)
Black 13 by Adam Hamdy

I found several others but the elibrary had them. And one, um, I already owned. Ahem.

My plan for today is some more of A Fistful of Shells and East West Street

des. 28, 2020, 2:52 am

146. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The buzz about this was so good that it could probably never have lived up to my expectations. It was OK but it's not a patch on Daisy Jones and the Six, which I read recently. I see the author has a new book out in 2021 so I'll keep an eye out for it, but I don't think I'll join the (inevitably) giant reserve list at the elibrary.

des. 28, 2020, 6:34 am

£25 to 99p seems like a lot of saving. Have downloaded it now in case I decide to do the no shopping thing for 2021 (!!)
We've had a tiny amount of snow. I've defrosted the bird bath, but even the roads look fine already, so not exactly snowman weather.

des. 28, 2020, 7:08 am

>164 charl08: Charlotte, that's exciting about the snow! It is freezing down here (I've been out for a walk) but unlikely to snow, I suppose. One of the newspaper reviewers on Sky News was in Shropshire this morning and it was snowing quite heavily in the garden behind him.

des. 29, 2020, 5:23 am

147. His Wife's Sister by A J Wills

This was a recent book from the Prime Reading scheme.. The central premise was good - a woman (the wife's sister in the title) found alive having been kidnapped 20 years before - but it didn't work as a story. There were two central characters but one of their stories was told in the third person and the other in the first person. So of course the reader will believe the third-person narrative, because it's being told by someone other than the person being written about. And there's a reason for that, but it just doesn't work. A shame, but it was a pretty quick read.

Still no snow here, but it's freeeezing. I'll be doing my steps on the stepper today.

Editat: des. 29, 2020, 6:11 am

PSA: Jung Chang's Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is just 99p as a Kindle Daily Deal today. This is very new, so a great one to pick up. Which I just have.

des. 29, 2020, 12:31 pm

Just checking in, Susan... Nothing much to say - vacation is making me lazy ;-)

des. 29, 2020, 3:21 pm

>168 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I know what you mean - I'm having trouble keeping track of the days again. I'm even considering doing a bit of work tomorrow morning, just to get back into the habit :-)

148. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

The tagline "The serial killer isn't on trial. He's on the jury" made me click on this in the Kindle sale, and it's excellent. But it's also - ahem - book 4 in a series, which wasn't made clear when I bought it. So obviously I can't say start with this one, but it's very well done and super-twisty.

des. 31, 2020, 1:48 am

Hope you had a nice birthday, Susan. I would have wished you one on the day but for the lack of internet access :( Here's to a better coming year!

des. 31, 2020, 4:58 am

>170 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba! I hope MrReba also enjoyed the day :-)

149. The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

I really enjoyed Blood Orange by this author earlier in the year, and this is her second novel. Very twisty again, and a solid read. The only thing I didn't like was that it revolved around a private school with incredibly bitchy mothers at the school gate, and that's pretty dull to me.

Hmmm, 149 books. And one day of the year to go. I think I can see how today will pan out.

des. 31, 2020, 9:09 am

>169 susanj67: I liked that one, too, Susan. I have not read any of the others, though.

And I missed your birthday. Hoping it was full of happy.

OH! You just need one more for 150! Most exciting. My grand total will be 84, but I'm fine with that as it is more than I thought I would get this year.

des. 31, 2020, 10:18 am

I also didn't realize you had a birthday! Bad Katie.

Happy Belated!

des. 31, 2020, 11:20 am

More belated birthday wishes from me too. Did you see the British Library have a sale on their books (3 for 2). Just in case you were short of reading material...

des. 31, 2020, 1:43 pm

Hoping that the reading to hit 150 is going well...
And another belated birthday wishes. But you know the rules, lockdown birthday's don't count, although you can, of course, have cake.
When you do set up a home for 2021, do post it here, as I know I'd like to carry on following your reading.

des. 31, 2020, 1:58 pm

>171 susanj67: He did. This one was a "milestone" birthday for him so we would have had a major celebration were it not for Covid. As it was the daughter and family who now form part of our "bubble" picked up take-out from a favorite Chinese restaurant and surprised him by coming over with it. She also baked a cake. Very low key but actually very nice little celebration -- and a thought went your way too, of course :)

des. 31, 2020, 2:19 pm

>172 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie! 84 is excellent given your busy year. Also, Charlotte says it's not about numbers :-)

>173 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! I'm not thinking of it as another year older - more another rung closer to the top of the vaccine list :-)

>174 charl08: Thanks Charlotte :-) I think I'm OK at the moment but I didn't buy as many Kindle books in the sale as I thought I might. I have actually read three already though - go me!

>175 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I've got about a hundred pages left to go, but I've just finished five episodes of Mayans MC (the Sons of Anarchy spinoff) which I probably shouldn't have watched. I will finish my book tonight, though.

>176 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, that sounds nice anyway. Maybe you could do the "big" celebration on his half-birthday, when it will be summer, you'll have been vaccinated and Quinn will be a bit older and maybe able to stay up a bit later :-) My "little" brother was 50 a few days ago (I'm still in denial) and even though things are normal in NZ they still only had a couple of low-key events and he enjoyed himself.

I think I'll go to bed early to get away from all the distractions in the living room and finish my book. Happy New Year, y'all!

des. 31, 2020, 9:45 pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

gen. 1, 2021, 5:45 am

>178 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

150. Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford

Seeing The Pursuit of Love on Charlotte's thread reminded me that I'd never read Wigs on the Green, despite having a hard copy and an e version. This is Nancy Mitford's third novel, originally published in 1935 but never republished in her lifetime because of its subject-matter. In fact it was out of print for 75 years. Pre-internet I always kept an eye out for it in second-hand bookshops but I never found it. And then, in 2010, the estate allowed it to be reprinted and I bought a copy at Waterstones, which felt like cheating.

The main character, Eugenia, is based on Nancy's sister, Unity. Eugenia is an enthusiastic member of the Union Jackshirts, a fascist group based on Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Diana Mitford was involved with Mosley at that time and later married him. There are several references to Hitler, and various other fascist ideas of the time, although the book is mostly a satire and there are characters who disapprove of the Jackshirts, including one who says "When you find schoolgirls like Eugenia going mad about something you can be pretty sure that it is nonsense." Nancy and her husband, Peter Rodd, were members of the BUF for a while, but, as she later wrote to Evelyn Waugh, "...we were young & high spirited then & didn't know about Buchenwald." The novel caused all sorts of family disruption as well as being in poor taste post-war, so it's not hard to see why Nancy always refused permission for republication. As I read it I wondered what the estate would think now, with the rise of the far-right again. Would it have been republished in 2020 if it hadn't been in 2010? I wonder.

My hard copy has an introduction by Charlotte Mosley, who was Diana Mitford's daughter-in-law and who has written quite a lot about the family, and it's an interesting read. Nancy's first four novels aren't particularly well-known, and nowhere near as good as the more famous four, but if you're a Mitford fan then you'll want to read this.

gen. 1, 2021, 5:46 am

>179 susanj67: Congratulations on reaching 2 x 75, Susan!

gen. 1, 2021, 5:47 am

>180 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita!

gen. 1, 2021, 6:32 am

>179 susanj67: Nice going on clearing 150. And that's an interesting book to finish the year with. I've not read any of her works, and keep meaning to.

Editat: gen. 1, 2021, 7:11 am

>182 Helenliz: Thanks Helen! I'd recommend starting with The Pursuit of Love, which is the first of the more famous four novels (The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate, The Blessing and Don't Tell Alfred). They have recurring characters and they should be read in order (obvs). I've been a Mitford fan since I was at university, and in those days I collected hard copies of whatever I could find by Nancy, which included some non-fiction.
There's also something of an industry of books about the family and particularly the sisters. Now everything's available with a click, the thrill of the chase has disappeared, which is a bit sad.

gen. 1, 2021, 6:00 pm

The vaccine calculator was interesting. Made me search for one for where I live but there wasn't one. I'm trying to cut down on my library holds for this year but I think your thread already took care of that pie in the sky resolution, Susan.

gen. 2, 2021, 10:13 am

Susan, are you going to set up a thread in the 2021 group (please say yes, please say yes, please say yes)?

gen. 2, 2021, 10:20 am

>185 katiekrug: What she said.

gen. 2, 2021, 12:48 pm

>184 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! I'm hoping the vaccines speed up a bit now we have two approved here. But still, I'm expecting to WFH for most of the year. I'm one of the older ones at work and I don't think they'll reopen the office fully until all the younger ones have been vaccinated.

>185 katiekrug:, >186 Crazymamie: Hi ladies! This year I am not joining the 75ers. People don't seem to be able to click that red cross when they disagree with me, so I'm saving them the effort of explaining why I'm wrong all the time.

gen. 2, 2021, 12:55 pm

>179 susanj67: I'm not sure I'm a Mitford fan but I do find the family interesting and I've enjoyed the books I've read. It is indeed interesting that they've chosen this moment to republish. Hmm. I'll give it some thought.

>187 susanj67: NO-O-O-O-O!! I, and many others, would miss you too much. Just ignore "them" and stay with us. Please?

gen. 2, 2021, 12:59 pm

>187 susanj67: Oh. I'm sorry you feel that way. I will miss your reading adventures and the random book bullets you throw my way. I'll offer to blow raspberries in their direction, if that would help.

gen. 2, 2021, 1:03 pm

>187 susanj67: - WHAT??? Say it ain't so, Susan. How can I add to my collection of you-reads if you are not here to recommend them. My life is ruined!!!!!!!!!!

gen. 2, 2021, 4:43 pm

>187 susanj67: O no, Susan! I'm so sorry you feel that way. I've been eyeing the group for your new thread repeatedly.

Will you be anywhere we can interact? Please?

gen. 4, 2021, 1:28 am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

gen. 8, 2021, 10:00 pm

>187 susanj67: Really sad to see that, Susan.

It is a boring world when everyone's opinions are the same. Your insight into many things books and London wise have kept so many of us entertained and thoughtful over the years.

I think people should be able to disagree with each other over certain issues, clarify them, move on and still be friends. I do hope you reconsider having a 2021 thread as you will be sorely missed - not least by myself.

març 18, 2021, 6:13 am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.