Kidzdoc Reads Black Male Writers for Our Time, Chapter 1

DiscussãoClub Read 2019

Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Kidzdoc Reads Black Male Writers for Our Time, Chapter 1

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "adormecido"—a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Pode acordar o tópico publicando uma resposta.

Jan 2, 2019, 5:45pm



The December 2, 2018 of T: The New York Times Style Magazine featured an article titled Black Male Writers for Our Time by the novelist Ayana Mathis, which focused on "32 American men, and their peers, {who} are producing literature that is essential to how we understand our country and its place in the world right now." To my surprise and disappointment I had only read books or seen plays by a small number of these men, although a few of them are début or as yet unpublished authors. I was greatly inspired by this article, and vowed that I would read at least one book by each novelist and poet and see at least one performance by each of the playwrights by the end of 2020.

In the online version of the article each author is asked to name his favorite work of literature by a Black American female writer, and the men came up with an impressive list of authors and their books. I also plan to read at least one book or see one play by each of these women in three years' time.

The issue of T Magazine has four different covers, which I've shown here, and several other photos are featured in the article, which were taken at the Brooklyn Historical Society. From left to right, top to bottom, are James McBride, Kevin Young, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gregory Pardlo, Jeremy O. Harris, Ishmael Reed, Jericho Brown, and George C. Wolfe.

Editado: Out 4, 2019, 1:45pm

Currently reading:


An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
What Dementia Teaches Us About Love by Nicci Gerrard
The Tradition by Jericho Brown

1. Happiness by Aminatta Forna
2. The Queen of Harlem by Brian Keith Jackson
3. My Struggle: Book Three by Karl Ove Knausgaard
4. The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World, Part 1 by Livraria Lello
5. The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World, Part 2 by Livraria Lello

6. An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden by Mary Schmidt Campbell
7. Survive FBT: Skills Manual for Parents Undertaking Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Child and Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa by Maria Ganci

8. Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard
9. Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar
10. Hardheaded Weather by Cornelius Eady
11. Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery by Arnold Thomas Fanning
12. Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man by Thomas Page McBee
13. Juice! by Ishmael Reed
14. The Face: Strangers on a Pier by Tash Aw

15. Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre
16. The Moor’s Last Stand: How Seven Centuries of Muslim Rule in Spain Came to an End by Elizabeth Drayson
17. Second Lives, Second Chances: A Surgeon's Stories of Transformation by Donald R. Laub

18. The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
19. The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán
20. Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney
21. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
22. The Face: Cartography of the Void by Chris Abani
23. Queen of the Sea: A History of Lisbon by Barry Hatton
24. Small Island (NHB Modern Plays) by Andrea Levy
25. The Firm by Roy Williams

26. Lanny by Max Porter
27. Lord of All the Dead by Javier Cercas
28. Picasso: An Intimate Portrait by Olivier Widmaier Picasso
29. True Remarkable Occurrences by John Train
30. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
31. Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey by Robert G. O'Meally
32. Now and at the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques

33. My Struggle: Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard
34. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

35. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

36. The Secret River (NHB Modern Plays) by Kate Grenville
37. Typical (Oberon Modern Plays) by Ryan Calais Cameron
38. Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

39. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
40. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
41. The Doctor by Robert Icke
42. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
43. Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 6:52pm

Literature from the African Diaspora

Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott
The Drift Latitudes by Jamal Mahjoub
The Emigrants by George Lamming
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Happiness by Aminatta Forna
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye
Maps by Nuruddin Farah
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Rotten Row by Petina Gappah
Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau

Nonfiction from the African Diaspora

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Beyond Black and White: From Civil Rights to Barack Obama by Manning Marable
Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
BRIT(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith
Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil by W.E.B. Du Bois
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
If They Come in the Morning … : Voices of Resistance, edited by Angela Y. Davis
In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture by K. Anthony Appiah
Known and Strange Things: Essays by Teju Cole
Letter to Jimmy by Alain Mabanckou
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs from the African Diaspora

Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Frantz Fanon: A Biography by David Macey
I Never Had it Made by Jackie Robinson
The Last Holiday: A Memoir by Gil Scott-Heron
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mingus Speaks by John F. Goodman
Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford
Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood
Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 6:42pm

Iberian Literature and Nonfiction

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective by Simon Harris
The Crime of Father Amaro by José Maria Eça de Queirós
The Dolls' Room by Llorenç Villalonga
Fado Alexandrino by António Lobo Antunes
The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
The Inquisitors' Manual by António Lobo Antunes
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina
The Moor's Last Stand: How Seven Centuries of Muslim Rule in Spain Came to an End by Elizabeth Drayson
The New Spaniards by John Hooper
Obabakoak by Bernardo Atxaga
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
Queen of the Sea: A History of Lisbon by Barry Hatton
Things Look Different in the Light by Medardo Fraile
What's Up with Catalonia? by Liz Castro
The Word Tree by Teolinda Gersão
The Yellow Rain by Julio Llamazares

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 6:46pm

Voices of Color/Social Justice

Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner
Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America by Tiny, aka Lisa Gray-Garcia
To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War by John Gibler
Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid by Joseph Nevins
The Ethics of Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America, edited by Rubén G. Rumbaut and Alejandro Portes
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
For the Muslims: Islamophobia in France by Edwy Plenel
The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla
A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America by Óscar Martínez
The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah
How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
Howard Zinn on Race by Howard Zinn
Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation by Ray Suarez
Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South by Mary E. Odem
The Mosaic of Islam: A Conversation with Perry Anderson by Suleiman Mourad
The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture by Hisham D. Aidi
Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties by Karen L. Ishizuka
Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques
Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move by Reece Jones
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness by Alice Walker
What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam by John L. Esposito
Who Are We: And Should It Matter in the Twenty-First Century? by Gary Younge

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 6:49pm

2019 Wellcome Book Prize longlist:

2018 Wellcome Book Prize longlist:

*Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
*The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli
Plot 29: A Memoir by Allan Jenkins
The White Book by Han Kang translated by Deborah Smith
*With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty onglist:
+*To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell
*Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
Behave: The Biology of humans at our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
*The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman

*shortlisted title
+prize winner

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 6:52pm

Books to Read in January:

Cornelius Eady: Hardheaded Weather
Aminatta Forna: Happiness
Brian Keith Jackson: The Queen of Harlem
Allan Jenkins: Plot 29: A Memoir
Tayari Jones: An American Marriage
Karl Ove Knausgaard: My Struggle: Book Three

Jan 2, 2019, 6:59pm

Wow, this looks like the beginning of an amazing thread, I am definitely going to have to keep a close eye on it ...and add about fifty million more books to my want-to-read list!

Editado: Jan 2, 2019, 7:08pm

>11 .Monkey.: Thanks, Monkey! I hope to do much better with my reading, prompt review writing, and participation in Club Read in 2019.

On a different note I received an Instant Pot as a Christmas gift, and the last four print books I bought in 2018 were all cookbooks, so I'll try more new recipes than I usually do, and I'll post them to La Cucina, including ones for the Butter Chicken and the Beef Borscht that I made a couple of weeks ago.

Jan 2, 2019, 7:47pm

Hi Darryl. Good luck to your Eagles. I missed that article in the NY Times, but understand your interest in reading something from each of those authors. Your thread makes me want to do the same - except... well, I’ll look forward to what you find interesting.

Jan 2, 2019, 9:51pm

So much inspiration... Happy reading!

Jan 2, 2019, 10:00pm

Very interesting lists. I was particularly interested to note for myself that I've only heard of 4 of the black male authors, but 14 of the black female authors. Not sure if this is a reflection of my reading interests (I do read a vast majority of female authors in contemporary works) or if this has something to say about how books are published and marketed.

Editado: Jan 3, 2019, 12:51am

>13 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan. I'm currently en route to Philadelphia on a Delta flight from Atlanta, and I'll miss nearly all of Sunday's game, as my flight is scheduled to depart at kickoff time.

That article was in the T Magazine, but the online version of it has more information about the authors, both the ones pictured and others who weren't present, along with the female writers that the male authors honored.

I started reading The Queen of Harlem by Brian Keith Jackson, one of the Black Male Authors for Our Time, yesterday, and since it's a quick and relatively short read I may finish it as early as today. I'll probably finish Hardheaded Weather by Cornelius Eady this weekend.

>14 Dilara86: Thanks, Dilara! Hopefully my reading output will come close to matching my reading plans.

>15 japaul22: Right, Jennifer. Many of the male authors are completely unfamiliar to me, whereas I've heard of most of the female writers. I've read books by 10 of the men, and 12 of the women.

Jan 5, 2019, 2:15pm

Happy New Year! Always a pleasure to look over your thread-topping lists and to look forward to the reviews. I now (finally!) own all six volumes of "My Struggle" and may even read them....someday.

Jan 5, 2019, 4:17pm

Hi Darryl, and Happy New Year! I've got you starred and will be checking up on your great reading suggestions.

Jan 5, 2019, 6:35pm

>17 ELiz_M: start them! You'll love them.

Jan 6, 2019, 11:51am

>17 ELiz_M: Thanks, Liz. I'll try to write reviews of the first two books I've read, Happiness by Aminatta Forna and The Queen of Harlem by Brian Keith Jackson, one of the Black Male Writers for Our Time, soon. I'm visiting my parents in suburban Philadelphia and my mother was admitted to hospital on Friday, so I'll probably review these books after I return to Atlanta this evening.

Well done on getting all six books in the My Struggle series. I haven't purchased Book Six yet, but I'll do so soon, as I intend to complete the series by next year at the latest.

>18 auntmarge64: Happy New Year to you, Marge! I'll follow your reading as well.

>19 AlisonY: Agreed. I've read Books One and Two, and both were outstanding.

Jan 18, 2019, 1:50pm

>15 japaul22:, >16 kidzdoc: I too have read far more female authors from the lists than male. I wonder if it isn't in part that some of the male authors are recently published or not yet published.

I am also so impressed with both the quality of your reading and the amount of reading you do. I wish I read more. I especially would like to read from the medical lists.

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I hope she is doing better. You haven't been on your thread lately, and it makes me worry. Do you think you will accelerate your plans to move there?

Jan 18, 2019, 8:30pm

I sincerely hope everything is OK with you.

Just stopping by to hang my star and, as usual, am so impressed with your reading list and goal. My son brought home a copy of Teju Cole's Open City, which is definitely on my reading list this year.

Mar 7, 2019, 6:24pm

Finally...a book review!

Book #7: Survive FBT: Skills Manual for Parents Undertaking Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Child and Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa by Maria Ganci

My rating:

The pediatric hospitalist group I work for provides care to dozens of children each year who require inpatient care of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, which affects approximately 30 million people in the United States at some point in their lives and has the highest mortality of any mental illness, as one person in this country dies every 62 minutes as a result of an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorders (, from organ dysfunction due to the effects of prolonged starvation, or from suicide. Eating disorders were thought to be illnesses that mainly affected Caucasian female teenagers and young adults from middle and upper class families, but, thanks to an increased awareness of these conditions by pediatricians, family practitioners, other health care providers, parents and the lay public, they are being recognized more frequently in boys and young men, preteens, and in people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Those who are fortunate enough to survive serious cases of eating disorders may be left with permanent sequelae of the condition, including an increased risk of osteoporosis and stress fractures in women, potentially fatal cardiomyopathy and heart rhythm abnormalities, increased risk of infertility and bearing low birth weight babies, decreased cognitive function due to brain shrinkage when the body is starved of nutrients, chronic kidney disease, permanent digestive abnormalities, and hormonal dysregulation, particularly involving the thyroid gland and reproductive systems.

Children are admitted for inpatient care of eating disorders to the hospital I work in if they are medically unstable, with low resting heart rates, low resting blood pressures, significant blood pressure changes, dizziness or fainting spells with standing, or electrolyte abnormalities that indicate that they are at risk of multisystem organ failure. Once a child meets criteria for inpatient admission she or he is admitted to our service, unless they are critically ill and require stabilization in our PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). A team consisting of a pediatric hospitalist, a psychiatrist, a clinical nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders, the patient's nurse, a case manager, a social worker, and a child life specialist is assigned to the patient, and within one weekday a care conference is held, in which all members of the team and the child's parents participate to discuss the team's findings and recommendations, and to obtain input, guidance and approval from the parents.

Shortly after admission to hospital the parents are provided a copy of the book Survive FBT: Skills Manual for Parents Undertaking Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Child and Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa by Maria Ganci, a registered clinical mental health social worker and child & adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and one of the founding members of the Specialist Eating Disorders Program at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The goal of hospitalization is medical stabilization of the patient, but the harder part comes after discharge, when the child is transferred to a dedicated inpatient eating disorders facility, or is discharged to the care of their parents to participate in an outpatient program. In either case, family based treatment is the core ingredient in the successful recovery of all patients afflicted with eating disorders.

In Survive FBT, Ms Ganci provides invaluable advice to parents of children caught in the grasp of an eating disorder, based on research, experience and input from the families she has worked with during her career, in a direct and clear manner that is easy to read and understand. She mentions that most parents describe their attempt to cure a child with an eating disorder at home is the most difficult thing they have ever experienced, which dozens of parents have mentioned to me as well, and this book is an essential guide to helping them navigate this difficult and, for them, uncharted terrain. Ms Ganci also provides resources to these parents, and helps them understand and appreciate that their struggles are not unique or unusual.

I found Survive FBT to be very helpful to me in my approach to managing patients with eating disorders, and I'll use the lessons that Ms Ganci taught me when I converse with these children and their parents. This book should be required reading for anyone who interacts with people afflicted with eating disorders or their families.

Mar 7, 2019, 6:35pm

>23 kidzdoc: very interesting, Darryl. When I've watched documentaries about people with eating disorders I've come away thinking how utterly horrific it must be for parents and family members to go through this with a loved one (and needless to say horrendous for the person affected).

Editado: Mar 7, 2019, 7:03pm

>23 kidzdoc: So glad you're back!

>23 kidzdoc: >24 AlisonY: My older cousin battled anorexia for most of her high school years and I remember what a struggle it was for my aunt (especially) and uncle to deal with. Back then (early 80s) it seemed like eating disorders were a "new" thing. Glad that there is more awareness and help out there now than back then.

Mar 8, 2019, 2:21pm

>24 AlisonY: Right, Allison. It can be gut wrenching to watch the anorexic patients' struggles with eating, as it goes against the strong signals that their brain are sending out to them. It's not unusual for me to see teenagers break down and sob uncontrollably in the first few hospital days, and not infrequently their parents do as well. Even with medical stabilization the chance of relapse is high, with rates of 35-40% or more, and multiple hospitalizations prior to cure are not uncommon occurrences.

>25 avidmom: Thanks, avidmom! I'll try to catch up with everyone else's threads this weekend, and post a few more book reviews by Sunday.

Eating disorders certainly were a new thing in the 1980s. Karen Carpenter's tragic death in 1983 was the event that led to greater appreciation and knowledge of the extent of eating disorders in this country, within the medical community and the lay public.

Abr 8, 2019, 6:08pm

Book #16: The Moor's Last Stand: How Seven Centuries of Muslim Rule in Spain Came to an End by Elizabeth Drayson

My rating:

This meticulously researched and very well written book is a compelling biography of Abu Abdallah Muhammad XI, better known in the western world as Boabdil, the last ruler of the Emirate of Granada, whose surrender to King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile on January 2, 1492 marked the end of the Reconquista and the final chapter in the over 700 year rule of most of the Iberian Peninsula by Muslims from North Africa, dating back to the first invasion of what is now southern Spain by Berbers of the Umayyad caliphate in 711. Boabdil has been widely portrayed over the centuries as a weak and ineffectual leader at best, a pawn of the Christian king, and a traitor to his people at worst, who was thought to have conspired with the relentlessly advancing army of Ferdinand and Isabelle for his own gain, while condemning the Muslim Granadans to Christian rule and the ultimate expulsion of true believers from Spain. However, Drayson uses original sources to demonstrate that the young Boabdil, though not a flawless sultan, grieved for his people and the loss of the last Muslim stronghold on the peninsula to the King and Queen, surrendered to them to avoid an all but certain slaughter that would have cost thousands of lives, and was severely hampered by his treacherous father and uncle, along with the cunning and calculating King.

The Emirate of Granada was created in 1230, and was centered in the Alhambra, the palace and fortress that was built on the ruins of a former 9th century compound on a hilltop overlooking the city and the nearby elevated Albaicín, the Moorish Quarter of the city of Granada. The 250+ years of the emirate were mostly ones of prosperity, although the rulership was marked by increasing instability due to frequent changes in leadership, as the sultans were frequently overthrown and murdered by their closest relatives, including their own sons and fathers. Boabdil's father, Abu l-Hassan Ali, preceded him as sultan, and proved a constant threat to him when he became the leader of the Granadans in 1482, along with his uncle El-Zagal, who both sought to depose and kill the young ruler. Boabdil's mother, Aixa, who was discarded by her husband for a young Spanish woman who he captured, was his only reliable source of support within the family. After he embarked on an unwise expedition to the Christian town of Lucena in 1483 to demonstrate his strength to his people and was captured in an ambush, Boabdil's power was greatly diminished, as he had to agree to harsh conditions to gain his release, which included a substitution of his son for himself as a prisoner of Ferdinand and an agreement of loyalty to the King. Ferdinand used Boabdil cunningly and expertly toward his own goal of reclaiming Spain for the papacy, and manipulated the younger man against his father and uncle, which ultimately weakened the emirate and led to its progressive demise at the end of 1491, leaving Boabdil with only two choices: surrender to the Christians, or fight with weakened and demoralized troops against overwhelming forces who were adept at the latest fighting technologies, with the certainty that he and his people would be slaughtered en masse by the ruthless invaders.

Boabdil left the city shortly after the conquering forces entered, lived briefly in exile in Andalucía, the former al-Andalus, and left the following year to spend the remainder of his days in Morocco.

Drayson examines and evaluates the numerous accounts and depictions of Boabdil and the fall of Granada, in history, literature, poetry, and the arts, and through her research she portrays him more fairly and favorably, and provides the reader with a far more complete picture of this intelligent, complicated and troubled man.

The Moor's Last Stand is an outstanding work of scholarship, which provided me with a much fuller understanding of the last sultan of Granada, and the end of Muslim rule in Spain. My only regret is that this book was published after my visit to Granada, Sevilla, Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera three years ago, but reading it has made me much more eager to return to Andalucía in the very near future, with a new sense of awareness and inspiration to learn more about the Moors in Spain.

Abr 8, 2019, 6:17pm

Oops. I forgot to post an earlier book review here.

Book #13: Juice! by Ishmael Reed

My rating:

O.J. says that he wants to go to Nicole's graveside and commit suicide by blowing his brains out with a Magnum. Part of me says yes, yes, please do. But this is a brother. Am I so concerned about my own safety that I wish a brother who is a suspect in a murder of a blonde kill himself rather than put the rest of us in jeopardy by our being associated with him? Giving the enemy ammunition to harass us with their demonic media equipment forever. Naomi Campbell is right. When they do O.J., they're doing us.

Sure, it's The Juice on trial, but his trial becomes a ritualistic mock lynching of all black men, the same way that Willie Horton was used to signify on the brothers.

This biting and witty satire about the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial and the reaction to it by the U.S. media is narrated by Paul "Bear" Blessings, a middle aged African American cartoonist employed by KCAK, an alternative television station in NYC that has recently been purchased by a new owner and run by his son, who has replaced the station's former progressive programming with hosts who are more appealing to a conservative audience of viewers. Bear is kept on staff mainly to appease the station's critics, who accuse the new ownership of discrimination and fanning the flames of hatred against racial and religious minorities and women. The station's most popular program is Nigguz News, which portrays the worst elements of African American culture, to show its viewers what black people are really like.

Bear and his fellow members of the Rhinosphere, a group of African American professional artists, are outraged by the coverage of the trial by the media, particularly its prejudicial treatment and condemnation of O.J. (whose nickname is The Juice), who is portrayed as a rich and uppity black man who has committed two unspeakable crimes: marrying a beautiful white woman (and, even worse, a blonde), and viciously murdering her. In response, Bear draws a satirical cartoon (shown on the book's cover) in which he portrays O.J. as a quarterback about to receive a football from a woman who is meant to represent the U.S. media, to demonstrate that O.J. is running plays for the trial obsessed radio, television and newspaper broadcasters and columnists. However, one of his conservative colleagues at KCAK, a Hispanic woman whose popularity is based on her rants against her fellow Latinos, is aghaist when she first sees it, as she interprets it as O.J. sodomizing a white woman, and Bear is condemned by the new ownership and put on probation.

Bear continues to follow the O.J. murder trial obsessively, as he recognizes that all black men are, in essence, also on trial, and are being held guilty by association with him. His narrative provides an excellent summary of the details of the trial, along with prejudicial comments made by well known members of the media, along with its aftermath after O.J.'s acquittal. Reed makes the case that this post-trial outrage led to the rise and popularity of right wing media outlets such as Fox News, which commenced operations in 1996, and of conservative talk radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, along with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that allowed companies to own more stations and for some programs to become nationally syndicated and exposed to a wider audience. He also demonstrates that the fallout from the O.J. trial explains the harsh, prejudicial and hypocritical treatment of Barack Obama by the right wing media during his eight years in the White House, who continue to largely ignore and overlook the current president's innumerable moral sins and personal shortcomings.

Juice! is one of the best satirical novels I've ever read, and it is a great introduction to Ishmael Reed. I'm ashamed that it took me this long to get to one of his novels, but I'll read the other books I own by him in the near future, starting with Mumbo Jumbo, his most acclaimed work.

Abr 8, 2019, 8:06pm

>27 kidzdoc: That sounds really interesting- thanks! Noting it because I’ve got also homework to do before visiting Andalusia later this year...

Abr 8, 2019, 8:15pm

>28 kidzdoc: Sounds great. I need to read something by Reed.

Abr 8, 2019, 8:47pm

>29 thorold: You’re welcome, Mark. What cities and towns in Andalucía will you be going to?

>30 dukedom_enough: Thanks, Michael. I need to read more of Reed’s work as well.

I’m finished with my intense late autumn to early spring work schedule, so I’ll have more time to read, catch up on reviews, and see what everyone else is reading.

Abr 8, 2019, 9:07pm

>31 kidzdoc: The plan is to do Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada, ten days in late October. I’m looking forward to it - although my gloomy Spanish friends say it will still be horribly busy even then...

Abr 8, 2019, 9:16pm

>32 thorold: That sounds great, and late October is a far better time to visit southern Spain than late June. A fellow LTer and I spent a week in Andalucía, after spending a week in Barcelona, and it was blazing hot, especially in Granada, when the high temperatures ranged from 37 to 42 C.

We didn’t go to Córdoba, but I should be able to provide you with some restaurant and other recommendations for Granada and Sevilla, if you’d like. One place that comes to mind immediately is Hicuri Art Vegan, a restaurant near the Universidad de Granada that we dined in two or three times. Bianca had grown tired of Spanish cuisine after a week and a half of it, and that excellent spot was a welcome relief for her.

Abr 9, 2019, 9:12pm

>33 kidzdoc: Yes, please! Further veggie advice for Spain would be much appreciated. Fortunately we’ll be catering for ourselves at least part of the time, but of course we’ll want to sample some local cooking, and it would be nice if that didn’t mean omelette every night for me...

Abr 9, 2019, 1:14am

>33 kidzdoc: My sons' friend's wife just surprised him with airline tickets to Barcelona for his birthday! Any tips I can pass on to the kids would be appreciated.

Editado: Abr 9, 2019, 2:44am

>34 thorold: You got it, Mark. Hicuri Art Vegan ( was the only vegan or vegetarian restaurant that Bianca & I dined in during our two weeks in Spain, but there were other ones that we both liked. I'll go through my Facebook timeline for the second half of June 2016 to find out what other places I'd recommend. We met in Barcelona, as I flew there from Amsterdam shortly after we had that LT group meet up in Leiden, stayed there for a week, traveled to Sevilla by train, spent two or three nights there, drove to Ronda by way of Jerez de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera, stayed in Ronda for one night, drove from there to Granada, spent two nights there, spent a full day driving from there to Barcelona (bad move), and departed Spain the following morning. We definitely ate in Sevilla, Granada, and in a fantastic restaurant in Ronda, and we must have dined in Arcos de la Frontera, as we spent several hours walking through that lovely town, although I can't remember where at the moment.

Ooh, omelettes...or, as the Spaniards say, tortillas. I came across a recipe for tortilla de patatas from Spanish Sabores (, and I'm now completely hooked. After making five or six tortillas in the past two months I think I have it down pat, with my preferred version being a tortillita de patatas con cebollas y espinacas y hongos (small potato tortilla with onions, spinach and mushrooms):

>35 avidmom: Will do, avidmom! I'll send some recommendations your way this weekend. How long will they be in Barcelona? If they have enough time (more than five days) I'd recommend two day trips, one to Montserrat to see the famous monastery, and another to go to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and the location of the museum that is dedicated to his work, and the ancient city of Girona, which was home to a large Jewish population and has a fabulous historical museum set in a largely untouched 15th century synagogue, the Museu d'Història dels Jueus de Girona. Both day trips can be easily done by train from Barcelona. Barcelona has several great museums, with my favorites being the Museu Picasso, the Museu d'Història de Catalunya, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, and the Fundaciò Joan Miró, along with stunning architecture by Antoni Gaudí, especially his masterpiece, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Lluís Domènech i Montaner (the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau), and Josep Puig i Cadalfach (the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the Casa Martí). There's also plenty of great architecture in the Eixample and along the Passeig de Gràcia, and the Gothic churches are stunning, particularly the Catedral de Barcelona, and the much less crowded Santa Maria del Mar and the Santa Maria del Pi. I'll think of more places to go, especially restaurants and shops, this weekend.

Maio 6, 2019, 5:17pm

Book #18: The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated by Anne McLean


2019 Man Booker International Prize Shortlist

My rating:

There are two ways to view or contemplate what we call history: one is the accidental vision, for which history is the fateful product of an infinite chain of irrational acts, unpredictable contingencies, and random events (life as unremitting chaos that we human beings try desperately to organize); and the other is the conspiratorial vision, a scenario of shadows and invisible hands and eyes that spy and voices that whisper in corners, a theater in which everything happens for a reason, where accidents don’t exist and much less coincidences, and where the causes of events are silenced for reasons nobody knows.

What you call history is no more than the winning story, Vásquez. Someone made that story win, and not any of the others, and that’s why we believe it today.

There are truths that don’t happen in those places, truths that nobody writes down because they’re invisible. There are millions of things that happen in special places, and I repeat: they are places that are not within the reach of historians or journalists. They are not invented places, Vásquez, they are not fictions, they are very real: as real as anything told in the newspapers. But they don’t survive. They stay there, without anybody to tell them. And that’s unfair. It’s unfair and it’s sad.

This historical novel by the award winning Colombian author begins with the arrest of Carlos Carballo, a shadowy man caught breaking into a glass case containing the suit worn by Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the leader of the Colombian Liberal Party, when he was assassinated in the capital of Bogotá on April 9, 1948. Gaitán was the leader of the country's socialist movement, a leading candidate to become the president of Colombia in the upcoming election, and a charismatic politician who was beloved by his poor and working class countrymen, although he was reviled by conservatives, especially those who supported Francisco Franco's fascist government in Spain, and by the Catholic Church. He was shot in broad daylight by a young Nazi sympathzer, who, like Lee Harvey Oswald, was officially determined to be the sole assassin, despite evidence suggesting that others may have been involved in a plot to murder him. Gaitán later died of his wounds, and his death led to massive riots in the capital with the deaths of as many as 5,000 people in a 10 hour period, which became known as El Bogotazo, and La Violencia, the subsequent decade long civil war between the Liberal and Conservative Parties that claimed the lives of an estimated 200,000 Colombians, which continues to affect the country to this day.

Carballo was introduced to the novel's narrator, a young writer named Juan Gabriel Vásquez, who recently moved back to Bogotá from Barcelona with his pregnant wife, by a mutual friend. Carballo has devoted his adult life to uncovering the source behind the murder of Gaitán and General Rafael Uribe Uribe, another popular and influential Colombian socialist politician, who was reportedly killed by two craftsmen in Bogotá in 1914 that were suspected, though never definitively proven, of being sponsored by high ranking conservative politicians and religious officials. Carballo doggedly pursues the young Vásquez in an effort to get him to write a book about the unsuccessful independent investigation into Uribe's murder by a young lawyer, Marco Tulio Andoza, and to draw a link between that crime and the assassination of Gaitán. Vásquez and their mutual friend view Carballo as a half cocked conspiracy theorist, whose motives for his tireless pursuit of these apparently solved murder cases are unclear to them. Eventually Vásquez is coerced into taking Carballo's bait, and he learns more about the two assassinations, while he secretly learns more about Carballo's past and his reasons for being so interested in them.

Most of the novel is spent in descriptions of the two victims, their place in the country's 20th century history, the murderers, and those who favored, if not supported and benefitted from, their deeds. A revelation by Carballo at the end of the novel provides a sense of closure, and we learn why he was so devoted to uncovering the truth behind the murder of Gaitán.

The Shape of the Ruins is written in a similar fashion as the recent novel The Impostor by Javier Cercas, in which Cercas serves as the narrator and writes about a controversial figure in post-World War II Spain. Vásquez's scope is more broad, as much of his country's history in the past century can be linked to these two murders, and a more detailed explanation is required to inform the reader about his less well known homeland. This novel dragged in spots, at least for me, and it could arguably have been a bit shorter, but overall it was a superb book that was highly educational and entertaining, and it's my favorite of the four novels I've read by Vásquez so far. The Shape of the Ruins is an excellent choice for this year's Man Booker International Prize longlist, and is highly recommended to anyone interested in the literature and history of South America.

Maio 7, 2019, 1:02pm

Book #19: The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes


Shortlist, 2019 Man Booker International Prize

My rating:

This darkly comic story about three children of ex-militants who opposed the regime of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is set in the capital of Santiago, a city in a valley surrounded by volcanoes that is encased in ash, a fitting metaphor for the political and social fallout during the last days of the regime and the years that followed. The novel opens in December 1989 during a party hosted by Consuelo, one of the former militants who has changed her identity and her name to remain hidden in public view, and her husband, as their friends gather to watch the coverage of the election that would remove Pinochet from power and restore Chile to a democracy that ended with the assassination of Salvador Allende in 1973. Iquela is the teenage daughter of Consuelo, and she is tasked with welcoming Paloma, the moody and defiant daughter of Consuelo's exiled militant in arms, who has come from Germany with her parents to witness this momentous event. The girls bond over cigarettes and alcohol, and Iquela is fascinated by Paloma's European style and self confidence.

The story then fast forwards to modern day Santiago—which is still covered in ash. Paloma's mother has just died in Germany, and Paloma arrives in Santiago in advance of her mother's coffin, as she intends to bury her in her homeland. Paloma arrives safely, but the plane carrying her mother is diverted to Argentina, due to a heavy ash cloud that covers the capital and prevents flights from landing. The two women enlist the help of Felipe, Iquela's disturbed adopted brother and the son of ex-militants who were disappeared during the Pinochet regime, in a half baked and surreal road trip to claim Paloma's mother and bring her back to Santiago.

The three main characters are meant to represent the post-Pinochet generation, who were only children when he was deposed in 1990 but continue to be affected by his regime, and the sacrifices that their parents made during that time for them. Consuelo repeatedly tells her daughter, "I did this all for you", and Iquela is trapped by a daily sense of duty to her mother, and is seemingly more of a post-adolescent who has not yet matured into an independent adult 25 years after Pinochet's downfall. The story is told in alternating chapters, in which Iquela and Felipe are narrators, while Paloma is cast as a secondary character despite being the center of this account.

The Remainder is a very enjoyable and impressive début novel, which is another worthy selection for this year's Man Booker International Prize shortlist.

Editado: Maio 7, 2019, 3:17pm

Book #20: Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney


My rating: 😴😴 (DNF)

A young African American man from an upper middle class family in Chicago moves to West Berlin in the early 1980s to stay with his fellow bougie cousin, a former classical pianist who has married a German man and lives a life of contented leisure. He is hired by an up and coming German architect, and is brought on more for his race than his talent, as he works to overcome alcohol and drug addiction and to become an established writer. He enjoys the party scene in West Berlin and mingles with bored, and boring, young Germans, Europeans and Americans, and engage in inane discussions about their tired existences.

Ugh. This novel bored me from the beginning, and I gave up after 68 dreadful pages. I may give it another go in the future, but not anytime soon.

Editado: Maio 7, 2019, 5:07pm

I just created a thread in the Booker Prize group dedicated to this year's Man Booker International Prize, which changed its format in 2016 from a biennial award given to an author's body of work to a prize given to the best work of fiction that was translated into English and was published in the UK, and replaced the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize:

I intend to read the entire six book shortlist by May 21st, the date of the award ceremony.

Maio 7, 2019, 5:29pm

Catching up - great reviews! Sounds like your last few reads have been excellent.

Maio 7, 2019, 6:11pm

>41 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison!

Maio 7, 2019, 9:44pm

So many political novels seem to come from South America, but probably all better than that German one.

Maio 7, 2019, 10:18pm

>43 baswood: Right. Iberia is another rich source of superb political novels as well. Black Deutschland, on the other hand, was as enjoyable and fulfilling as a pint of Miracle Whip.

Maio 8, 2019, 3:15pm

LOL. A return negative book bullet!

Maio 8, 2019, 11:16pm

>45 wandering_star: 😂 As you said, we need to come up with the antonym of a book bullet.

Maio 9, 2019, 12:56pm

>44 kidzdoc: "a pint of Miracle Whip" LOL!

Maio 15, 2019, 7:46pm

>47 labfs39: IMO the biggest cultural divide in the United States is not conservative versus liberal; it's Miracle Whip versus mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann's.

Maio 15, 2019, 8:12pm

>48 kidzdoc: Those are fighting words. We are a Duke's household here.

Editado: Maio 15, 2019, 8:13pm

>48 kidzdoc: I’ve often thought that the real divide between European and American culture lies in all those trivial details of everyday life that are too small to bother looking up - that seems to be a case in point. After years of assuming that something called Miracle Whip must be a dessert, it turns out that it was a salad dressing all along. I don’t think I’m going to bother going back to look for all the books it was mentioned in to work out whether that difference was crucial to the plot, though...

(Wikipedia tells me, it’s even sold in Germany, so it could certainly have been Pinckney’s source of inspiration!)

Maio 15, 2019, 8:51pm

>49 RidgewayGirl: Ha! I need to try Duke's, as I've heard great things about it. I'll buy a jar the next time I go to Publix.

>50 thorold: Miracle Whip is an abomination, and it's a perfect example of a horrible food or condiment that many people in small town and rural America love, along with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Hamburger Helper, Stove Top Stuffing, and Beefaroni. I have yet to meet anyone who likes both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, and no one I know well keeps Miracle Whip in their homes.

Maio 16, 2019, 2:40pm

>51 kidzdoc: I always thought Miracle Whip was sweetened, whipped "cream" in a can. No idea why.

Maio 16, 2019, 3:13pm

>52 rhian_of_oz: You're close, Rhian; what you're referring to is Cool Whip, another artificial American product.

Maio 16, 2019, 3:25pm

>53 kidzdoc: Aah, thank you!

Maio 18, 2019, 7:36pm

>51 kidzdoc: Velveeta? Cheese in a spray can?

Editado: Maio 19, 2019, 10:21pm

>55 labfs39: Yes! That's another great American invention. 🙄

Maio 19, 2019, 9:42pm

Always enjoy catching up with your thread, Darryl.

Maio 21, 2019, 2:09pm

>57 auntmarge64: Thanks, Margaret!

Editado: Maio 21, 2019, 2:26pm

I'm on holiday in London this week, which I'll mainly spend in the company of LT friends. I spent a lovely Sunday in Cambridge having Sunday roast at the home of Rachael (FlossieT), her husband Rupert, a physician researcher at Cambridge and the Crick Institute—and a fantastic cook—and Fliss (flissp), with a stimulating and free flowing eight hour conversation about books, politics, music, medicine, biomedical research, food, wine and travel. I met Rachael again yesterday at the London Review Cake Shop, the café within the London Review Bookshop, one of my two favorite bookstores in the capital. She works at the nearby London Review Bookshop, and before we met, I bought a few books:

Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell: This book, published by the nearby Wellcome Collection, was one of the London Review Bookshop's books of the week, and is the only one that wasn't on my list of books to buy during this trip. The author is an art historian at the University of East Anglia, and his book explores the different ways in which people in the Medieval Era experienced, thought about and portrayed their own and other people's bodies:

"In literature and politics, hearts and heads became powerful metaphors that shaped governance and society in ways that are still visible today. This striking and unusual history brings together medicine, art, poetry, music, politics, cultural and social history, and philosophy to reveal what life was really like for the men and women who lived and died during the Middle Ages."

This book looks fascinating, and will definitely be one I'll read this summer.

Lord of All the Dead (El monarca de las sombras) by Javier Cercas: The acclaimed Spanish author turns his gaze onto a long dead relative, his great uncle Manuel Mena, who chose to align with the falangists, the conservative party that supported Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, at the age of 17, joined Franco's Nationalist Army, and died in battle two years later. This death was deeply traumatic to his family, given that they were living in Catalunya and supported the left wing Spanish Second Republic, along with most Catalunyans, especially Cercas's mother, who deeply admired her uncle as a child, and affected Cercas's own childhood and adult life. I'll definitely read this next month, as Cercas has become my favorite living novelist.

Spring by Ali Smith: I wanted to buy the UK edition of this book, as it matches my copies of Autumn and Winter.

Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti: This autobiographical novel by the famed Beat Poet and co-founder of City Lights Book Store in San Francisco, my favorite bookshop, was published on March 24th, his 100th birthday.

Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love by Naomi Wolf: The latest book by the famed third wave feminist and public intellectual was released yesterday, to coincide with her talk about the book last night which was sponsored by the London Review Bookshop. Oddly enough it won't be published in the US and Canada until June 18th.

I met Meg (FamilyHistorian) for the first time, who joined me for a quick dinner of quiche and salad at the Cake Shop before we made a short walk to Logan Hall on the campus of University College London to attend the conversation about Outrages, which featured Naomi Wolf and Erica Wagner, an American writer who lives in London and was the long time literary editor of The Times of London. Her latest book is Chief Engineer: The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge.

I didn't think I would be allowed to take a photograph of Wolf and Wagner during the talk, so I took this one beforehand, and by the time I thought about doing so at the conclusion it was too late.

Outrages is centered on the life of the English poet and critic John Addington Symonds (1840-1893), who Wolf described as the first modern advocate of male love as a normal behavior and choice, who first recognized his homosexuality when he fell in love with a man while he was a student at Oxford. He wrote about homoeroticism in Greek literature, and was inspired by Walt Whitman's great but controversial poetry collection Leaves of Grass. In the book Wolf discusses the Obscene Publications Act of 1857, in which authors could have their works seized and destroyed and could face prosecution if anyone found their works to be morally offensive. The book describes the aftermath of this act and subsequent ones in the UK and the US, and their societies' actions to legalize what is normal and "deviant", which continues to the present. It was a very interesting talk with superb questions by the audience afterward, and I look forward to reading this book over the summer.

I'll meet two of my closest London friends tomorrow, Bianca (drachenbraut23) and Claire (Sakerfalcon), over breakfast and lunch, respectively. I'll pay a visit to Daunt Books in Marylebone, my other favorite bookshop in London, either before or after lunch with Claire, who works nearby. Having friends who work close to great bookshops has its benefits.

Maio 21, 2019, 3:20pm

I always enjoy hearing about your travels Darryl. It’s lovely that you’ve made so many LT friends.

Maio 21, 2019, 3:38pm

>60 NanaCC: Thanks, Colleen. I've met nearly 70 LTers in person in, including roughly a dozen past and current members of Club Read, in at least seven different countries, several of whom are amongst my closest friends.

Editado: Maio 21, 2019, 4:49pm

>59 kidzdoc: Have fun in London!

I'm sure you'll enjoy Spring and El monarca de las sombras as much as I did (you seem to have misunderstood the background of the Cercas more or less the same way I did at first - it becomes clearer when you actually read it, but the key point is that they were not living in Catalonia during the war, but in Extremadura); I think Outrages is one I'm going to have to put on my list. Symonds is one of those people who pops up in the early chapters of lots of queer history, but rarely seems to get into full focus.

Maio 21, 2019, 5:41pm

>62 thorold: Thanks, Mark!

Thanks for the clarification about El monarca de las sombras. You're absolutely right, and I should have realized that Cercas's mother was still living in Extramadura during the Spanish Civil War, as they moved to Catalunya when he was a young child.

Maio 21, 2019, 8:53pm

>61 kidzdoc: 70 LTers !! (I’ve met two. Was really nice.)

Maio 21, 2019, 9:32pm

>64 dchaikin: I count 68 LTers that I've met so far. I keep a private list of LTers I have met in the Member Connections section of my profile page, to which I added FamilyHistorian from the 75 Books group yesterday. I'll meet Julie Mintern, whose LT username I can't remember, on Thursday, when a group of us meet to see the Edvard Munch exhibition at the British Museum and have lunch afterward.

I hope to add your name to the tally in the near future, Dan!

Maio 21, 2019, 10:00pm

Oh, enjoy the Edvard Munch exhibit!

Maio 21, 2019, 10:35pm

Thanks, Kay! I'll report on it, and the meet up, on Thursday.

Maio 22, 2019, 5:30pm

Interested to read about the Naomi Wolf talk in particular. She's coming over as part of the Belfast Book Festival in a few weeks to give this talk, but I haven't booked into it as yet. Sounds interesting.

Maio 22, 2019, 5:43pm

>65 kidzdoc: would be really nice if we could work that out sometime.

Maio 23, 2019, 7:06am

>68 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison. Naomi Wolf was a very passionate and interesting speaker, and I look forward to reading Outrages this summer.

>69 dchaikin: Agreed, Dan. My mother's two sisters recently moved to a retirement community in Pearland, so I can all but completely guarantee that I'll fly to Houston later this year.

Maio 23, 2019, 7:12am

I met two of my closest LT friends yesterday, one (Bianca) for breakfast and one (Claire) for lunch. Just before lunch I visited the flagship branch of Daunt Books, which is on Marylebone High Street, and came away with the following books:

Journey to Portugal: A Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture by José Saramago: I had purchased a copy of this book from Stanfords, which like Daunt is a superb travel bookshop in London, although I seem to have lost that copy of it. In this book the Nobel Prize winning author travels in his ancient motorcar to villages and isolated areas well off the beaten path, in order to portray the country that tourists and casual visitors rarely experience.

The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago: I can't find my copy of this novel, either, which means that it and Journey to Portugal will either turn up together or were both lost at the same time. A lowly proofreader inserts the word "not" into a historically important book about the Siege of Lisbon in 1147, in which the Portuguese permanently reclaimed the capital after more than 400 years of Moorish rule, and in doing so the proofreader alters the narrative of the siege. His editor, upon discovering the mistake, encourages him to write an alternative history of the siege and its aftermath, which transfigures the present along with the past.

The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat: This historical thriller, recommended to me by Richard (RichardDerus), is set in 1888 during the World's Fair in Barcelona. The main character has returned home from Oxford after the sudden death of his father, and after he received a mysterious letter. Upon his arrival he learns that the city is experiencing a series of murders, which seemed to be linked to the famed 16th century anatomist Vesalius. He must discover the secret of Vesalius's ancient curse and solve the crime quickly, as he learns that he is also on the hit list. This would seem to be a great book to take on vacation, as the UK edition is nearly 600 pages in length, and it has been compared to The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which I absolutely loved (and need to re-read soon).

Lanny by Max Porter: Rachael (FlossieT) recommended this book to me when we met for afternoon tea at the London Review Cake Shop on Monday. This short novel is set in a rural village not far from London, which is filled with a variety of mysterious characters that include Lanny, a precocious young boy who talks to trees and enchants and baffles his parents and fellow villagers. Based on what little I've read this would seem to be a strong candidate for this summer's Booker Prize longlist.

God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis: Lewis was a professor of history at Rutgers when I was an undergraduate student there in the mid to late 1980s, and he won two Pulitzer Prizes for his two part biography of W.E.B. DuBois (I own both books, but I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read either one yet. I also didn't take any of his classes, which were nearly impossible to get into if you weren't a history major.) This book is about the history of Islamic Spain and the formation of modern Europe, which are both highly interesting to me, especially after Bianca and I visited Andalucía in 2016 and learned about that region's rich Islamic history.

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: I mentioned this author and book in the opening of my new thread, and I'll read it in June.

Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored by Jeffrey Boakye: I hadn't heard of this book before, but it was displayed amongst the new works of nonfiction at Daunt. It explores 21st century Black British identity, and it would seem to be, as Claire said, a good companion piece to the book Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga. I intend to read that book, and watch the BBC Two series based on it, this summer.

Maio 23, 2019, 1:11pm

I've got Lanny on my wishlist - Grief is a Thing with Feathers is an extraordinary book and I'm so eager to read this next one.

If you're reading Friday Black in June, I'll do the same.

Maio 23, 2019, 4:58pm

>71 kidzdoc: looks like some great reading. I’m tempted by several per your little blurbs

>70 kidzdoc: let me know! And thank your aunts. : )

Maio 23, 2019, 8:30pm

An LT group meet up took place in London today, which began at The British Museum, as six of us met to see the exhibition Edvard Munch: Love and Angst. We took this selfie after we saw the exhibition, and just before we left the museum to have lunch:

Front, left to right: Bianca (drachenbraut23), Rhian (SandDune), Julie (juliette07).
Back, left to right: Heather (souloftherose), Claire (Sakerfalcon), me.

After the exhibition we had lunch at the Bloomsbury branch of Tas, a Turkish restaurant which is located on the corner of Great Russell Street, where the main entrance of the museum is located, and Bloomsbury Road. Bianca had to return to her flat to finish packing, but Genny (gennyt) joined us:

This was the first time that I met Julie, who hasn't been active on LT for several years, although everyone else, save for Bianca, knew her well. It was a great pleasure to finally get to talk to her in person. I've met everyone else on numerous occasions, and it was great to spend a short while with them.

LT meet ups are special and memorable occasions, and this one was no exception.

Maio 23, 2019, 8:56pm

That sounds like a fantastic day. It even looks like the English weather is being kind.

Maio 23, 2019, 10:15pm

Looks fun. Terrific photos!

Maio 23, 2019, 11:18pm

>72 RidgewayGirl: Excellent, Kay. I'll read Lanny soon, probably in July. I plan to read Friday Black next month, so I look forward to your thoughts about it.

>73 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan. I'm not sure when I'll visit my aunts, although I'm very close to them and have an open invitation to see them, along with my youngest cousin and his family, who also live in Pearland.

>75 RidgewayGirl: Right, Kay. I've been in London since Saturday morning, and I haven't seen a drop of rain so far. I think the maximum temperature today was 25 C, so it's quite warm as well.

>76 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan!

Maio 24, 2019, 9:12am

That's so lovely actually getting to meet people you've been discussing books with here on LT over the years. I often wonder what many of our Club Readers actually look like - you know it's never how you've actually imagined people in your head!

Maio 24, 2019, 10:00am

>75 RidgewayGirl: Right, Alison. If there is one thing I've learned it's that LTers are almost always sociable, warm and diverse in their interests and hobbies, and not socially awkward bookworms as some people might characterize us as. It helps that most of thee LTers I've met for the first time, including two this week, were friends with me on Facebook, so I knew what they looked like ahead of time.

Maio 24, 2019, 11:17am

That looks and sounds like a great time! (And those are some great-looking books.) I made it a point to meet as many people as possible from, the online literary forum I was part of for many years until it folded. I must have met, I don't know... 50 folks over the years? Some of whom remain really close friends. A few women and I are on a regular online chat group where we talk daily/weekly. Oh, and one guy I married—one way to keep the face-to-face going!

Let me know when you're in NYC again. I tend not to have much in the way of free time lately, but if anything you're up to matches with a gap in my own running around, I'm happy to show up at something.

Maio 24, 2019, 1:26pm

Hope you are still enjoying London.

I have seen a couple of things on your thread that I didn't expect: >59 kidzdoc: John Addington Symonds is one of my favourite Victorian critics. He wrote much good stuff on the Italian renaissance and I have just downloaded his Shakespeares predecessors free on the net. Symonds isn't to everybody's taste he easily wanders off subject but I find a delight in following him.

The Jack Hartnell book looks interesting. I envy your visit to the London Review Bookshop. The London Review is my favourite english language magazine.

Maio 24, 2019, 2:20pm

Thank you for sharing your meetups with us, Darryl. :-)

Maio 24, 2019, 8:37pm

Looks like a great meet-up!

I see there’s already a war starting about the Naomi Wolf book:

Maio 25, 2019, 9:59am

>80 lisapeet: Thanks, Lisa. It was another great meet up, although far too short, as usual. My London visits are different than typical vacations, as I've become very close friends with several LTers who live in London, Cambridge, and other nearby cities. I spent nearly the entire month of June three years ago in the company of one London LTer and her sister during a 10 day vacation in the Netherlands, which was followed by a 15 day vacation in Spain with another London LTer. I'll almost certainly return to London twice more this year, in late July/early August and in mid September, and spend most of my time in the company of close LT friends.

Well done on marrying a member of that literary forum! If I ever do get married I think it's more likely than not that my partner will be a member of LT.

I'll spend two weeks in the middle of June visiting my parents, who live just north of Philadelphia, very close to Sesame Place, the Sesame Street amusement park in Langhorne. I have a membership to the Museum of Modern Art, and I intend to see the Joan Miró exhibition there before it closes on the 15th. I need to touch base with NYC area LT friends to see if we can organize a group to go; I'll get working on that this weekend, or no later than Monday, after I return to Atlanta. I'll keep you posted.

>81 baswood: Thanks, Barry. Today is my last full day in London, and I'll meet a close LT friend for lunch and an afternoon play at the Hampstead Theatre, and then see the play based on Andrea Levy's bestselling novel Small Island at the National Theatre this evening.

I knew nothing about John Addington Symonds prior to Monday, when I read the introduction of Outrages and attended Naomi Wolf's talk at Logan Hall on the UCL campus. I'm eager to read this book, which I'll probably get to in June, and learn more about Symonds.

The London Review Bookshop is an absolutely delightful place, which is my second favorite bookstore after City Lights in San Francisco. The London Review Cake Shop, which is connected to the bookshop, is a great place to meet for tea, dessert or lunch, and the outdoor patio is a great place to spend reading, as I did on Monday. Rachael (FlossieT), the first LTer I met in 2009, works for the London Review of Books, which is a stone's throw away, and we often meet there for lunch or tea when she's working there.

Editado: Maio 25, 2019, 10:13am

>82 NanaCC: You're welcome, Colleen. There will be more LT individual and group meet ups this year, in the US, UK and hopefully Portugal again. I'd love to spend another long weekend in September in the Netherlands and visit Dutch LT friends again, similar to last year.

>83 thorold: Thanks, Mark. I did read that Guardian article about the error contained in Outrages, in which Naomi Wolf misinterpreted the term 'death recorded' to indicate that dozens of British subjects convicted of sodomy were executed during the Victorian Era, when the opposite was true; very few people lost their lives, but many were persecuted and jailed after the Obscene Publications Act was enacted in 1857. Wolf has admitted her error, and she and her publisher plan to publish a corrected version of the book soon. I plan to keep my flawed copy for now, read it in July, and see what Virago plans to offer for those who purchased the first edition of Outrages.

ETA: Here's a link to the BBC Radio 3 program, in which the presenter informs Naomi Wolf of her error:

Jun 6, 2019, 3:54pm

Congratulations to native Atlantan and Emory University faculty member Tayari Jones, whose novel An American Marriage was chosen as the winner of this year's Women's Prize for Fiction yesterday. I saw her speak at the Decatur Book Festival just outside of Atlanta last year about her book, along with Kay (RidgewayGirl) and her close friend Pattie (sophroniaborgia). I haven't read it yet, but I'll plan to get to it next month.

Women's prize for fiction goes to 'utterly moving' Tayari Jones novel

Jun 6, 2019, 4:00pm

>86 kidzdoc: The Women's Prize shortlist was strong this year. Congratulations for Jones - this will certainly have an impact on publishing seeing work by black women as something that can be successfully sold to a wide audience.

And I also still have a few books that I picked up at the festival that I have not yet read. I'm hoping to get to King Zeno by Nathaniel Rich this month.

Jun 7, 2019, 9:41am

Just popping over to see what you are reading these days and it's interesting, as always. And you have met an amazing amount of LTers in your travels! I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. You are a great emissary for LT, Darryl.

Jun 7, 2019, 3:37pm

>87 RidgewayGirl: Right, Kay. Several major literary awards have gone to books written by authors from the African diaspora, as you're undoubtedly aware, and it's good that these writers are gaining widespread recognition for their work.

Hmm. I need to look back to see which books I bought at last year's Decatur Book Festival, to find out which ones I haven't read yet. Checking...

My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty and Racism in the American South by Isaac J. Bailey
An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden by Mary Schmidt Campbell

Minority Leader by Stacey Abrams
Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement by Janet Dewart Bell
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover's Paradise by Marti Buckley

I think I'll read one book from the unread list per month this summer...and try at least one recipe in the Basque cookbook!

I submitted a request to be off on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so that I can attend the Decatur Book Festival again this year; once I get confirmation I'll let you know. If I go I'll be a bit more assertive in asking my local book loving friends if they would like to join us. One of my partners lives in downtown Decatur, is an avid reader, and is quite socially conscious (she just spent a good chunk of her vacation serving as a volunteer physician in a Rohingya refugee camp), so she would probably like to join us, and the nurse practitioner who I cooked dinner with on Sunday recently moved to East Lake, an Atlanta neighborhood which is very close to Decatur; she's also socially conscious and is an avid reader.

>88 avaland: Thanks, Lois. LTers are absolutely lovely people, who are far from being just bookworms, and I enjoy their company immensely, even when our tastes in books have little or no overlap.

My reading has slowed down lately, but I'm currently about 1/4 of the way through Picasso: An Intimate Portrait by Olivier Widmaier Picasso, the grandson of the great artist, whose grandmother was Marie-Thérèse Walter. I bought it at the main bookshop in the Edinburgh International Book Festival this past August, in advance of a talk about Picasso given by this author and James Attlee, who spoke about his book Guernica: Painting the End of the World. I'm kind of reading the latest novel by Javier Cercas, Lord of All the Dead, but I'll put it aside for the moment and start a book that Rachael (FlossieT) recommended to me last month, Lanny by Max Porter, a contemporary novel about a boy whose family moves from London to a village which is both modern and steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition. I hope to finish both books by Sunday.

Jun 7, 2019, 3:50pm

>89 kidzdoc: Both of those women sound like excellent additions to the dinner conversation, which I am already looking forward to.

Jun 9, 2019, 8:42pm

>89 kidzdoc: I'll be sorry to miss you all at this year's Decatur Book Festival. I will be in France on the D-Day tour. I'm sad the two overlap, as I enjoyed the festival, and meeting up with you, a great deal last year.

Jun 10, 2019, 4:12am

>89 kidzdoc: I'm sorry that we won't see you this year at the Decatur Book Festival, Lisa, but your trip to France sounds great.

Jun 12, 2019, 1:20pm

Book #26: Lanny by Max Porter

My rating:

Lanny is a young boy whose parents have recently moved from London to a village an hour's train ride away. His father works in the City, and his mother is a former actress who is trying to reinvent herself as an author of grisly mystery novels. He is an unusual child, who is wise beyond his years, more than a little odd, and in touch with nature and his environment, especially in the woods at the outskirts of the town. His best friend is a well known artist, an older man who lives a hermetic existence and is considered to be "mad. The long time residents of the village are small minded, conservative and generally disdainful of the new residents, who they view as ostentatious and immodest, and Lanny and his mother struggle to find their place amongst their new neighbors.

Overlooking the village and its people is Dead Papa Toothwort, a somewhat malevolent spirit who lived there centuries ago and spends his days observing the residents in their homes and listening to their intimate conversations. The spirit, like the artist, is very fond of Lanny, who is aware of the legend of Toothwort, and both the boy and the spirit actively seek out the other, which results in a fateful meeting.

Lanny is a highly inventive, multilayered and daring work of experimental fiction that completely captured my attention from the first page to the last. This review is intentionally vague, as I want to avoid giving too much information that would spoil the plot and the book's surprising and imaginative ending. This novel would seem to be a shoo in for this year's Booker Prize longlist, and if it is chosen I'll read it again this summer. Highly recommended!

Jun 12, 2019, 8:41pm

Grief is a Thing with Feathers was a book I liked so much that I bought a copy after reading the library's copy. I'm going to save myself a step and just buy a copy of this one.

Jun 12, 2019, 11:39pm

>94 RidgewayGirl: Sounds good, Kay. After reading Lanny I'll at least read, if not purchase, Grief is the Thing with Feathers.

Jun 14, 2019, 10:26am

>93 kidzdoc: sounds great. I've not read either Lanny or Grief is the Thing with Feathers, so will keep a look out for these.

Jun 14, 2019, 10:47am

>96 AlisonY: Sounds good, Alison. I look forward to your thoughts about both books.

Jun 14, 2019, 6:24pm

Enjoyed your review of Lanny - modern experimental fiction that seemed to work for you. I read a review in the LRB of Lanny, Max Porter which I suspect was written in a style that was meant to ape the novel, I was not impressed, but your review is so much better.

Editado: Jun 14, 2019, 9:26pm

Your review of Lanny has me intrigued. Magical/experimental is very hit or miss for me, but that sounds like it’s done well.

Editado: Jun 14, 2019, 10:44pm

>98 baswood:, >99 lisapeet: Thanks, Bas and Lisa. The experimental fiction I've read has been more miss than hit for me. However. Rachael has been an uncanny and nearly perfect source of great book recommendations, and given her track record I was more eager to give Lanny a try than I otherwise would have been.

Several members of the Mookses and the Gripes group's Booker Prize Speculation Thread in Goodreads (the folks who were booted off the Booker Prize web site's discussion thread after they vociferously complained about the dreadful 2011 longlist) have mentioned Lanny as a strong candidate, if not a shoo in, for this year's longlist, which will be announced on July 24. Other books mentioned by several members of that group include:

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (I won a LT Early Reviewers copy of it at the beginning of the year, but I still haven't received it)
Spring by Ali Smith
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardino Evaristo
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (I would have to guess that she wrote it in English, as a translated version wouldn't be eligible)
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James
Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt

I created a speculation thread for this year's award in the Booker Prize group now, to see if anyone has thoughts on these books or any others they would like to see on the longlist.

Jun 17, 2019, 12:45pm

Book #27: Lord of All the Dead (El monarca de las sombras) by Javier Cercas, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean

My rating:

What I realised was that the protagonist of The Odyssey was the exact opposite of the protagonist of The Iliad: Achilles is the man of a short life and glorious death, who dies at the youthful peak of his beauty and his valour and thus achieves immortality, the man who defeats death through kalos thanatos, a beautiful death that represents the culmination of a beautiful life; Odysseus, on the other hand, is the polar opposite: the man who returns home to live a long life blessed by fidelity to Penelope, to Ithaca and to himself, although in the end he reaches old age and after this life there is no other.

I thought: Uncle Manolo didn't die for his country, Mamá. He didn't die to defend you and your grandmother Carolina and your family. He died for nothing, because they deceived him and made him believe he was defending his interests when he was actually defending other people's interests and that he was risking his life for his own people when he was risking it for others.

In his latest work of auto-fiction, the acclaimed Spanish writer Javier Cercas turns his gaze for the first time on his own family, namely his maternal great-uncle Manuel Mena, who was killed at the age of 19 while fighting for the right wing Falangists in the Battle of Ebro in 1938, during the height of the Spanish Civil War. Manolo's death was and remained devastating to Cercas's mother, and because Mena fought for a group that was later aligned with the fascists led by General Francisco Franco, it proved embarrassing to Cercas and cast a shadow over his life as well.

Javier Cercas was born in Ibahernando, a small village in the autonomous community of Extremadura in western Spain, close to the country's border with Portugal. His mother Blanca met her future husband there, and when he was a child they moved to Girona, a moderate sized city in Catalunya, which suffered greatly for five decades under Franco's rule due to its role in the Republican resistance during the war. The Mena and Cercas families held some degree of status in Ibahernando, although they were far from prosperous, but they were anonymous strangers in Girona, and Blanca could not talk about her beloved uncle Manolo to any of her neighbors, as he was on the "wrong side" of the war.

After resisting repeated requests by his mother and other relatives to investigate Manolo's life and write a book about him, the narrator Javier Cercas ultimately and reluctantly decides to do so, by speaking with his family, visiting Ibahernando, where his mother still had a house, talking with people there who knew his great uncle, and exploring the battle sites where Mena was wounded, along with the former hospital where he died. During his travels Cercas re-reads translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey as a diversion, and in doing so he realizes that his uncle is viewed as a tragic hero by his mother and many older people in Ibahernando, as he was an idealistic young man who was studious and hoped to study law, but chose to postpone his plans to fight with the Falangists against the Second Spanish Republic, in the cause of national unity, order and equality for all Spaniards.

As Cercas slowly uncovers more about Mena from those who knew him best, he learns that, toward the end of his life, Manolo became more disillusioned about the Falangist cause and the great toll that the war was taking on the country. However, he returned to the battlefield one last time, in an act of familial obligation, and was killed shortly afterward in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Cercas uses Manolo's death to demonstrate the futility of the Spanish Civil War and most other wars, which have been fought by untold millions of young men and women who gave their lives not for freedom or better lives for themselves, their families and their neighbors, but rather for the wealthy and powerful, whose massive egos on both sides of this war led to hundreds of thousands of deaths that ultimately benefitted no one save for Franco, the fascist leadership, and the Generalíssimo's most loyal supporters.

The ultimate question that Cercas struggles to answer is: "What is a hero?" Did Manolo act heroically in fighting alongside the Falangists? Was his death in vain? Did his family or community benefit from his sacrifice? Is it better to be Achilles, the lord of all the dead, who is celebrated by many but whose life is cut short before he can fully enjoy it, or Odysseus, who returns from battle to lead a long but mediocre life?

I found Lord of All the Dead to be a thought provoking novel, which was a bit of a slog at times in the overly detailed descriptions of battles that Manuel Mena fought in, but the analysis of his life at the end was very well done, as were the descriptions of Cercas's mother, his family, the few remaining residents of Ibahernando, and himself. The book isn't as much of a page turner as his two most recent novels, Outlaws and The Impostor, were, but it was ultimately very rewarding and did provide much food for thought, about the Spanish Civil War, postwar and post-Franco Spain, war in general, and the present political climate in the western world.

Jun 17, 2019, 1:54pm

My all time favorite recipe is strawberry rhubarb pie, and earlier this month I found a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Pie that looked tasty and incredibly easy. After several failed searches I finally found rhubarb at one of the Whole Foods Markets near me on Saturday morning, and I made this pie, the first homemade dessert I've ever cooked, yesterday afternoon:

* 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
* 3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/4-inch thick
* 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
* 3 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 tablespoon butter, diced
* 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
* 1/4 teaspoon water

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place rolled-out pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
* Combine rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl; transfer to the pie crust, distributing evenly.
* Whisk eggs, sugar, milk, flour, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Slowly pour filling over rhubarb mixture until it just reaches the top edge of the crust. Scatter diced butter evenly over the top of the filling. Lightly tap and shake the baking sheet to remove any air bubbles.
* Transfer pie to the preheated oven and bake, turning halfway through, until rhubarb is tender and custard is set, about 1 hour.
* Mix strawberry jam and water in a small bowl; heat in the microwave until warm, about 15 seconds. Glaze the top of the pie with the jam mixture and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The video in this link mentioned that a frozen pie crust was an acceptable substitute, so I used one instead of making it from scratch. I bought just enough rhubarb, as six stalks produced exactly three cups. I followed the directions exactly, although I probably used more nutmeg (nearly half of a nut) than the recipe called for. I let it cool in the oven for a little over an hour before I cut a small slice of it: it tasted amazing! I'm still surprised that such a simple recipe could taste this good, and now that it's the peak of rhubarb season in the US (mid June to early July) I'll make at least a couple of pies later this week after I arrive at my parents' house.

Jun 17, 2019, 2:21pm

>101 kidzdoc: Fascinating review, Darryl. I'm still not sure how I feel about the autofic trend, even after having read a few. It's an interesting way to approach one's own past as well as one's family, but if there's any narrative drive to it, I tend to read it as fiction, and judge it as such as well, rather than as a work of non-fiction.

Jun 17, 2019, 2:38pm

>103 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. Two of my favorite authors, Javier Cercas and Juan Gábriel Vásquez, are known for their auto-fictional works, Cercas much more so. I've greatly enjoyed their recent novels, although I can't necessarily say that I like the genre of auto-fiction.

Jun 17, 2019, 2:56pm

>102 kidzdoc: Your pie certainly looks fantastic, I'm glad it tasted as good as it looked.

Jun 17, 2019, 3:25pm

>105 rhian_of_oz: Thanks, Rhian!

Jun 20, 2019, 4:35pm

>101 kidzdoc: Beautiful review of Lord of All the Dead, Darryl. As I finished reading Circe a few weeks ago, Odysseus has been in my mind. In Circe, the author writes a fair amount about Odysseus's post-war state of mind, both during his travels home when Circe and Odysseus meet and after he arrives home. Miller portrays him as struggling to fit in, not only to the humdrum after the excitement of war (although he brings his warrior ferocity home as evidenced by his slaughter of the suitors), but also as a husband to a wife who has become independent and strong and father to a son he barely knows and who is very different from him. Thinking about the young, celebrated death of Achilles versus Odysseus's long, uncelebrated post-war life adds another layer to my ponderings.

Your subsequent comments about auto-fic immediately brought to mind what is, to my mind, the best example of the genre that I have read: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Like in Lord of All the Dead, there is an important literary connection, in this case to Percival.

P.S. Strawberry rhubarb pie is my favorite, as long as it's not too sweet. My grandmother grew rhubarb and my uncle strawberries, and strawberry rhubarb pie brings back memories of my childhood. Aren't smells (and tastes) supposed to be strong evokers of memories?

Editado: Jun 20, 2019, 5:54pm

>107 labfs39: Thanks, Lisa. I'll have to buy and read Circe, as I loved The Song of Achilles.

I'd somehow forgotten about Karl Ove Knausgaard as another favorite writer of auto-fiction. I'm halfway through his six book My Struggle series, which I intend to complete by the end of the year.

Strawberry rhubarb pie reminds me of my teens living in suburban Philadelphia, where my parents still live, as an orchard between their house and the high school I attended sold those pies that were sold in the store on the property. It immediately became my favorite pie after the first slice of it that I ate. That pie also reminds me of San Francisco, as a farm in the Napa Valley grows strawberries and rhubarb, makes organic pies with those ingredients, and sells them at the Farmers' Market in front of the Ferry Terminal Building on Tuesdays and Saturdays when rhubarb is in season.

Jun 20, 2019, 11:54pm

>108 kidzdoc: Oh yes you have to read Circe! I loved The Song of Achilles too but I thought Circe was operating at a completely different level.

Editado: Jun 20, 2019, 2:43am

Circe is wonderful.

Jun 21, 2019, 5:46am

>109 wandering_star:, >110 lisapeet: Thanks for those glowing recommendations of Circe. I'll pay a visit to my favorite Intown indie bookshop early next week and buy a copy of it while I'm there.

Editado: Jun 21, 2019, 3:54pm

Yesterday I ran across an article about a relatively new British literary prize that I had not heard of before, the Jhalak Prize:

"Awarded annually, this prize seeks out the best books by British/British resident BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) writers and awards one winner £1,000. The prize is unique in that it accepts entries published in the UK in 2017 by a writer of colour. Entries can be fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres. The prize is also open to self-published writers. The aim is the find the best writers of colour in the country.

"Started by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla and Media Diversified, with support from The Authors’ Club and a prize donated by an anonymous benefactor, the prize exists to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour."

This year's Jhalak Prize longlist consisted of the following books:

Roma Agrawal, Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures
Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire
Raymond Antrobus, Perseverance
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (ed.), Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children
Yrsa Daley-Ward, The Terrible
Aminatta Forna, Happiness
Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City
Afua Hirsch, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging
Damian Le Bas, Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain
Roy McFarlane, The Healing Next Time
Onjali Q. Rauf, The Boy At The Back of The Class
Sharlene Teo, Ponti

The books by Agrawal, Akala, Antrobus, Forna, Gunaratne and Rauf were chosen for the shortlist, and In Our Mad and Furious City, which was also selected for last year's Booker Prize longlist, was awarded the prize last month. I read and loved it, along with the books by Akala and Forna, and I just started reading Brit(ish) early this moring. I'll look into the other books on this year's longlist and ones in the previous two years, and pay close attention to this prize in the future.

The Guardian: 'The London book of our lifetime': Guy Gunaratne wins Jhalak prize

Jun 23, 2019, 9:28am

Very interesting list. I actually own four of them - Natives, Brit(ish), In Our Mad and Furious City and Ponti but haven't read any of them. I did see Afua Hirsch speak at the Edinburgh book festival last year and I thought she was great. She also writes columns for The Guardian. Considering they're obviously the result of an editor saying "I need 600 words on {controversy of the moment}" they are generally pretty interesting.

Jun 23, 2019, 11:29am

Very under the radar prize, and an interesting longlist—thanks for posting. I'd like to read the winner.

Jun 23, 2019, 5:47pm

>113 wandering_star: Thanks, Margaret. I didn't know that Afua Hirsch wrote columns for The Guardian, so I've now signed up for her articles on the paper's app. I must have bought Brit(ish) at the bookstore within the Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, as LT tells me that I entered information about it on 18/8/18, and I probably did so based on your comments about her talk, as I hadn't heard of her before. BTW she is one of the judges for this year's Booker Prize along with Xiaolu Guo, whose novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers I read and enjoyed several years ago.

>114 lisapeet: You're welcome, Lisa. I'd definitely recommend In Our Mad and Furious City, which may have been my favorite book from last year's Booker Prize longlist.

Jun 25, 2019, 12:55pm

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night which I saw on my Facebook timeline last week, Tomato-Poached Fish With Chile Oil and Herbs, which I had with crispy roasted asparagus and a slice of tortilla de patatas con cebollas (Spanish tortilla with potatoes and onions):

¼ cup (4 T) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 pound small, sweet tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 ¼ pounds fluke, halibut or cod, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 cup cilantro, tender leaves and stems
½ cup mint, tender leaves and stems
Limes, halved, for serving
Tortillas, toast or rice, for serving (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large skillet (use one with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook, swirling the skillet constantly until they are starting to toast and turn light golden brown, 2 minutes or so. Add red-pepper flakes and swirl to toast for a few seconds. Remove from heat and transfer all but 1 tablespoon of the chile oil to a small bowl.

Add tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until they burst and start to become saucy and jammy, 5 to 8 minutes. Add fish sauce (if using) and 1 1/2 cups water, swirling to release any of the bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet.

Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened but still nice and brothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and gently lay the pieces in the brothy tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes (slightly longer for a thicker piece of fish, like halibut).

To serve, transfer fish and brothy tomatoes to a large shallow bowl (or divide among four bowls). Drizzle with reserved bowl of chile oil, more olive oil and the crispy shallots and garlic. Top with cilantro and mint, and serve with limes for squeezing over the top. Serve with tortillas, toast or rice, if you like.

I used two orange roughy fillets that I bought from the frozen seafood section at Publix, so I halved the recipe, except that I used four cloves of garlic, and I prepared everything in a medium sauté pan. I didn't add salt to the thickened tomato broth, as it seemed like overkill. The amount of red pepper flakes didn't seem like much, but the fish had a serious kick to it. Anyone who doesn't like hot food should consider leaving it out, and if I were to make this for my parents I would use half of the pepper. I cooked the fish for six minutes on medium high heat. It was absolutely perfect, as the fish was flaky, tender and moist. I don't think I've ever had orange roughy before, but I love it! I ate one of the fillets yesterday, and I'll use the other one to make fish tacos for lunch today or tomorrow. If it tastes as good as I think it will this will be my preferred method to make fish tacos.

I intend to eat much more fish than I have in the past, and continue to minimize my consumption of red meat and eat more vegetarian meals; I haven't had any red meat so far this month. I'll be on the lookout for more fish recipes, so if anyone has ones that they particularly like I'd love to hear about them.

Jun 25, 2019, 3:12pm

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country, which features over 250 authors who will appear from Friday through Sunday of Labor Day weekend (August 30 to September 1). Decatur is a charming town immediately east of Atlanta and close to the campus of Emory University, the sponsor of this year's festival. Talks take place in a variety of venues in downtown Decatur, which are within walking distance from each other, and there is easy access to the festival by car or public transit, as there is a MARTA subway station in the middle of the Square where the festival is centered. There is a section dedicated to children's and young adult authors, along with a centralized food stand, and downtown Decatur has numerous superb restaurants as well. Over 80,000 people attended last year's festival, which featured local, regional, national and international authors, including award winning and nationally prominent writers.

Some of the notable authors who will appear at this year's festival include Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor; Téa Obreht, winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction; Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia and a rising star in the party; Dr Louise Aronson, a geriatrician whose new book Elderhood is a valuable guide for the elderly and those who care for and know them; Richard Blanco, the author of the poem read at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration; and numerous others. The lineup of authors is as diverse and as interesting as any book festival I've ever attended, and when I went last year my main challenge was deciding which author to see during a particular time slot, as several times there were multiple talks that I wanted to attend simultaneously.

This year's festival features an opening talk on immigration, and several authors will discuss the topic on Friday.

Best of all, the festival is free!

Five of us met to attend last year's festival, and in the 22 years I've lived in Atlanta that was the best weekend I've ever had here. Kay (RidgewayGirl) and I, at least, will go again this year, as I found out earlier this morning that I'll be off those three days. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let us know!

Jun 25, 2019, 5:10pm

Book #28: Picasso: An Intimate Portrait by Olivier Widmaier Picasso

My rating:

Olivier Widmaier Picasso is one of Pablo Picasso's many grandchildren, as he is the son of Picasso's second child Maya, who was born to Marie-Thérèse Walter. Despite his close connection to the 20th century's most influential artist he was only aware of his grandfather's passing on the day of his death on April 8, 1973. Olivier was a small child at that time, and although Pablo loved his children and grandchildren dearly he was too ill at the end of his life to be able to spend much time with them. His mother had distanced himself from Pablo as well, which provided further space away from him.

Despite these distances from his children, grandchildren and former lovers Pablo was an immense and overshadowing presence on all of their lives, both while he was alive and in the immediate years after his death. Olivier, in an effort to learn more about his famous grandfather and to address the rumors and misinformation about him that was published, talked to his mother, other relatives and close friends of the artist, in order to understand him as a man, and what he meant to his family.

The book is divided into chapters: Women, Politics, Family, Money, Death and Eternity. Olivier provides details about the women who were most important to him, most notably his grandmother Marie-Thérèse, his at times shameful treatment of them, and how he used them as inspiration for his development as an artist. He implicitly demonstrates that he would have been a forgotten bourgeois artist had he stayed with his first wife Olga Khokhlova, although she provided him initially with a stable home environment in which to work; Marie-Thérèse was an essential element of his annus mirabilis of 1932, when he broke through a fog of increasing irrelevance and torpor and regained his creative energy; and Dora Maar was critical to his development as a political artist and to the creation of his most famous work, Gurernica. Olivier also reveals the trauma that some of the women, Olga and Dora in particular, experienced due to Pablo's infidelity and mistreatment of them, which carried over to his four children by three different partners.

The book is filled with photos of Pablo's works, and especially ones of his home and family. Despite his dalliances Olivier portrays his grandfather as a more traditional man that one would expect, who loved children and family traditions. The most compelling chapters to me were the first three, as I had much less interest in details about Pablo's children and grandchildren and details about his finances.

I purchased Picasso: An Intimate Portrait during the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2018, just before I attended a talk about the artist that featured its author and another who wrote a book about Guernica. This book is an excellent and balanced addition to the works written about Picasso, which provided me with a greater understanding of and appreciation for his work, and helped me view him more favorably as a man, albeit a flawed and unfaithful one.

Jun 25, 2019, 9:08pm

>117 kidzdoc: I'm not going to pretend that I haven't already carefully scoured the presenting authors lists and noted that they keep adding to it. I'm glad you're going! There are several authors whose books are already on my list of books to look for and I'll put off getting copies until the festival. And a few authors who have previous books on my tbr (Aleksandar Hemon and Tupelo Hassman), so I'll be reading those beforehand. Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips has had some great reviews and I'm hoping that the schedule will allow me to hear Ocean Vuong (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous), Mary Miller (Biloxi), Nicole Dennis-Benn (Patsy) and Rion Amilcar Scott (The World Doesn't Require You). And, of course, Sonia Sotomayor and Stacey Abrams. It looks like this year's festival will be as jam-packed as last year's.

Jun 26, 2019, 12:37pm

>119 RidgewayGirl: Ha! You're way ahead of me, Kay; I didn't realize that the list of presenting authors was available until you mentioned it. There are plenty of authors whose talk I'd like to attend, perhaps none more so than Louise Aronson, a geriatrician who teaches at UCSF and was a recent guest of Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air, as they talked about her new book Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life. The interview was fascinating and, for me, highly informative, and I was planning to look for it in my favorite indie bookshop (Posman Books in Ponce City Market, where Lisa and I first met (the market, not the bookshop, which wasn't there at that time)), but after I saw that she would be speaking I thought I would wait to buy it...on the other hand, it would be more useful if I read it first, so that I could ask her any questions I had during the talk. Yep, I'll do that.

I think I'll post the message in >117 kidzdoc: to the Atlanta LT group, even though it's as dead as trump's soul.

Jun 26, 2019, 12:52pm

The winners of the Orwell Prizes were announced yesterday:

The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction: Milkman, Anna Burns
The Orwell Prize for Political Writing: Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe

Jun 26, 2019, 8:25pm

Book #29: True Remarkable Occurrences by John Train

My rating:

PHILADELPHIA—A former Philadelphia fireman, in Federal Court here trying to overturn his dismissal for long hair, set his head on fire.
"It must have been the hairspray I used," said the sheepish ex-fire-fighter, William Michini, who apparently tried to dramatize that his locks were not a safety threat to his job.
"Hair is self-extinguishing. It doesn't burn," he boasted.
With that he struck a match and held it to his head, which caught fire.—Associated Press

This is an extremely short collection of excerpts of personal anecdotes and short newspaper and magazine stories, such as the one listed above, about supposedly true but hardly believable events of marginal interest and minimal humor that the author collected in the 1970s. Train was an editor of The Paris Review along with George Plimpton, who wrote the book's preface, and his literary connections probably explain why this book, which nowadays could have written by a middle school student with access to the Internet over a weekend, was ever published.

True Remarkable Occurences, which can be read in half an hour, is recommended only to those who need to add a quick book to their annual total, or budding authors who doubt that their manuscript is good enough to warrant publication.

Jun 26, 2019, 8:50pm

>122 kidzdoc: recommended only to those who need to add a quick book to their annual total :-)
- Sadly, that would only help me if I had it on the TBR already...

Try Thomas Bernhard’s The voice imitator - the same sort of thing, but by a former hack journalist who also happened to be a literary genius.

Jun 26, 2019, 9:02pm

Book #30: Friday Black by Nana Kweisi Adjei-Brenyah

My rating:

Friday Black is an impressive début collection of short stories set in a dystopian version of contemporary America, which touches on race, what it means to be an African American man in this country, and the consumer driven culture we live in. The first story, 'The Finkelstein 5', is narrated by a young man who can adjust his blackness level to fit his dress, attitude and emotional state, who is outraged by the verdict of a trial involving five young black kids and a white man and struggles to balance his rage with his responsibilities. In 'Lark Street', a young man who has gotten his girlfriend pregnant is forced to face the consequences of their decision to abort the pregnancy, in a wholly unexpected manner. 'Zimmer Land' is narrated by another young man who works in a virtual reality amusement park, where he portrays a black man who walks in an unfamiliar neighborhood and is confronted by an offended and usually armed resident who challenges his right to be there. The title story is a brilliant and hilarious parody set in the early morning hours on Black Friday in a suburban shopping mall, as store employees face a crazed mob who will bite, maim and even kill their competitors and the staff for a PoleFace winter jacket or other item that will ensure the continued love of a spouse or child on Christmas Day.

The best of the short stories in Friday Black are amongst the best and most unique ones I've ever read, as Adjei-Brenyah has his pulse firmly on the contradictions and absurdities of American society. The remaining stories are good ones, but pale in comparison to the best of them. Friday Black is a superb and highly entertaining book, which is deserving of the high praise and recognition it has received.

Jun 26, 2019, 9:06pm

>123 thorold: Right, Mark. I received a copy of True Remarkable Occurrences from my father recently; otherwise I would never have purchased or read it.

Thanks for recommending The Voice Imitator, which sound like an infinitely better book. I've added it to my watch list, and I'll look for it at my local library.

Jun 27, 2019, 8:03pm

Book #31: Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey by Robert G. O'Meally


My rating:

"A Picasso or a Miró will use Spanish background and culture—this is what they grew up with, it is a source of strength to them. But we must remember that people other than Spaniards can appreciate Goya, people other than Chinese can appreciate a Sung landscape, and people other than Negroes can appreciate a Benin bronze...An artist is an art lover who finds that in all the art that he sees, something is missing: to put there what he feels is missing becomes the center of his life's work." (Romare Bearden)

Between 1945 and 1948 the acclaimed African American artist Romare Bearden created four solo series of paintings based on written texts: The Passion of the Christ in the New Testament, the poem Lament for a Bullfighter by Federico Garcia Lorca, a series of poems by the 16th century French writer François Rabelais, and Homer's Iliad. He sought to visually illuminate the mythical figures represented in these works, and to give them a universal appeal and relevance to a society traumatized by war abroad and turmoil at home.

Three decades later, Bearden returned to this idea by creating a series of 20 collages based on his interpretation of the hero of The Odyssey as a black warrior/blues man who embarks on a long and trying search for home, overcoming numerous obstacles but bolstered by female lovers and mother figures who guide him to his ultimate destination, where his wife Penelope awaits him.


(Circe; Cattle of the Sun God)

Bearden puts his own spin on the Greek epic, as he draws parallels with Ithaca and Harlem and with the quest of Odysseus and his men and slaves and freedmen who must navigate a migration to a place of acceptance and comfort, while many lose their way. In his view The Odyssey is a tale that that should be read and appreciated by all, and his series is an effort to extract Homer from the ivory towers of academia: "It's universal. So if a child in Benin or Louisiana...sees my paintings of Odysseus, he can understand the myth better."

In this companion catalog that was shown in several galleries and museums, including the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, where I saw it, the exhibition's curator Robert G. O'Malley, the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, significantly enhances the viewer's understanding and appreciation of Bearden's overall effort, in an essay at the beginning of the book, and in his subsequent interpretations of each collage, as a full page image of each work is paired with O'Meally's comments about it, and the artist. I gained a new appreciation for the series thanks to O'Meally's insight, and those who were unable to see this exhibition in person would have almost the same experience by reading this excellent catalog, which is a worthwhile addition to the written word about this essential artist.

Jun 27, 2019, 8:04pm


Maurice Carlos Ruffin, one of The New York Times' Black Male Writers for Our Time, was born into a large and supportive family in New Orleans East. After he married his high school sweetheart he graduated from the University of New Orleans, and the Loyola University School of Law, also in New Orleans, and he currently works an attorney with the Social Security Administration. His desire to write led him to enter and graduate from the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop, and he is a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. He is a recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction and a winner of the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas.

Ruffin's début book We Cast a Shadow is a dystopian novel set in a segregated American city, whose main character is a successful African American lawyer with an 11 year old biracial son who has a birthmark that identifies him as black, which puts him at risk for discrimination and failure and makes him a target to be eliminated. In a desperate attempt to save his son he engages in a risk filled endeavor to raise money for an expensive procedure that will remove excess melanin from his skin and turn him white. This book has received glowing reviews by NPR and in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Herald, The Nation, Kirkus Reviews and elsewhere. I'll read it in July.

Jul 16, 2019, 12:30pm

>117 kidzdoc: I may be able to make the Decatur Book Festival this year after all. I'll watch your thread and let you and Kay know when my plans solidify.

Your reviews are always an inspiration, Darryl, well-written and thoughtful. I am exposed to many new and interesting titles through your thread. An example is Friday Black. I am not usually a reader of short stories, but your review has me wanting to read more. Enticing. I also looked at some of Romare Bearden's art online. In addition to the literary-based works, I particularly liked the jazz ones. I found myself zooming in to appreciate small details. Thanks as always for sharing!

Jul 21, 2019, 11:26am

>128 labfs39: It would be great to see you in Decatur again, Lisa! I'll definitely be there, as I'm off from Friday through Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The festival schedule should be published soon, although the list of authors who will be appearing is already available on the festival's web site.

Thanks for your very kind comments about my reviews and the books I'm reading! I sometimes wonder if the reviews are too long or the books are uninteresting to most people in this group, so I'm glad that you like them.

Jul 22, 2019, 9:42am

>127 kidzdoc: looking forward to your review of We Cast a Shadow when you get to it - sounds fabulous.

Also looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Knausgaard's Book 4. I'm scared to pick up Book 6 as (a) I don't want to finish the series, and (b) I'm worried the 400 page Hitler segue might spoil a wonderful run of reading in this series.

Jul 22, 2019, 11:50am

>129 kidzdoc: I also love your reviews and Club Read thread! I'm not one to comment frequently, but I read all of your posts (and really everyone's in Club Read) and very much enjoy them.

Jul 22, 2019, 12:07pm

>129 kidzdoc: I don’t always comment, but I read everyone’s thread in Club Read, the same as Jennifer. Your reviews are always enjoyable. I also enjoy your trip logs.

Editado: Jul 23, 2019, 10:19pm

>130 AlisonY: Will do, Alison. I should get to We Cast a Shadow this weekend. My week of nights ends on Friday morning, so I'll review My Struggle: Book Four this weekend as well.

I'll still read Book 6, despite my reservations, although I may skip the 400 page diversion on Hitler.

>131 japaul22:, >132 NanaCC: Thanks, Jennifer and Colleen! I also don't often comment on others' threads, although I follow most of them. Now that I know for certain that others are reading my posts that's good enough for me.

Editado: Jul 23, 2019, 3:17am

This year's Booker Prize longlist was announced at midnight BST (1900 EST):

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities
Max Porter (UK), Lanny
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein

I've only read Lanny from this list, which was very good, and I don't yet own any of the others.

I've created a thread in the Booker Prize group to discuss this year's longlist (, and I'll make threads for the longlisted books no later than tomorrow.

Jul 24, 2019, 9:33am

>5 kidzdoc: I just started the forthcoming Petina Gappah, Out of Darkness, Shining Light, I had not come across her before. And I picked up the new Helon Habila.

>134 kidzdoc: The Atwood isn't out until September here, but I am looking forward to it (I think. A sequel to classic...not sure how I feel about that). I've seen the Luiselli mentioned before because it reminded me that I had one of her books in my immense TBR pile.

Jul 24, 2019, 2:38pm

>134 kidzdoc: I've got the Barry and the Luiselli, though I lent that one to a coworker--haven't read either. There are a few from the list I want to read, notably Lanny because of your good review, and a few that I have zero interest in. We'll see where I go with that.

Jul 24, 2019, 9:46pm

Daniel Callahan, one of the most prominent and influential bioethicists in modern history, died on July 16th at the age of 89. He taught at Harvard for many years, and founded The Hastings Center, the first organization in the world dedicated to "social and ethical issues in health care, science, and technology". I've read excerpts from at least two of Callahan's books, What Kind of Life: The Limits of Medical Progress and Setting Limits: Medical Goals in an Aging Society, as an undergraduate student and a medical student, and I would imagine that every health professions student who has trained in the past 30 years has also been influenced by him.

New York Times: Daniel Callahan, 88, Dies; Bioethics Pioneer Weighed ‘Human Finitude’

Jul 24, 2019, 10:48pm

>135 avaland: Sounds good, Lois. I attended Petina Gappah's talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, bought her book Rotten Row, and chatted with her about it for a few minutes...but I haven't read it, or anything else by her, yet. I look forward to your thoughts on the new book by Helon Habila; I haven't read and don't own anything by him yet.

I haven't read The Handmaid's Tale yet, so I'll plan to get to it next month. I liked Valeria Luiselli's earlier novel Faces in the Crowd, and I'll almost certainly read Lost Children Archive next month.

>136 lisapeet: The Barry sounds interesting...actually all of them do, as this looks to be a particularly strong longlist. I'll go to my favorite bookshop in Philadelphia on Monday and look for the longlisted books that are available in the US.

Ago 2, 2019, 10:12am

>138 kidzdoc: I have read the first few pages but in the last week something seems to always interrupt my reading. Will let you know.

Ago 4, 2019, 4:30am

Daryl, I live in Tucker and am planning on attending the Decatur book festival. I'd love to meet up with some other LTers.

Ago 4, 2019, 3:47pm

>139 avaland: Sounds good, Lois.

>140 markon: Hi Ardene, I'm glad that you'll attend the Decatur Book Festival, and I look forward to meeting you. Kay (RidgewayGirl) and Benita (benitastrnad) appear to be definitely going, and hopefully Lisa (labfs39) will be able to make it as well; I'll also invite a few of my book loving work colleagues who aren't working or out of town that weekend. I'll send you a PM shortly with contact information.

Ago 4, 2019, 6:59pm

Monday's meet up with Dan was a very enjoyable one. He, his son and I took commuter trains to 30th Street Station in Center City Philadelphia, had a quick breakfast at Au Bon Pain, and walked to the Mütter Museum, one of the finest museums of medical history, located within the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. From there we walked a few blocks to Joseph Fox Bookshop, a small indie bookstore close to Rittenhouse Square that has a superb collection. The three of us could have purchased far more books than we did, and I left with only four:


Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing by Victoria Sweet, MD: I first became familiar with Dr Sweet after I read her book God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, a superb story about Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, which provides long term rehabilitative care to patient, and the years she spent in practice there. This book is a follow up to that one, in which she elaborates on the concept of slow medicine, a holistic and deliberate approach to the patient that runs counter to the administrator driven concepts of cost effective, client driven and inefficient "health care system" (truly an oxymoron) that currently exists in the US. I didn't know that she had published this book, and once I saw it I immediately added it to my growing pile.

Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor's Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji: I watched a story about Dr Virji from a story on the PBS NewsHour last year. He decided to practice family medicine in a small town in rural Minnesota, and became angered after the 2016 election and the rampant Islamophobia that resulted from trump's campaign and "election" to office. In an effort to educate those communities around him he gave a series of talks to their residents about Islam and Muslims living in America, which was only partially successful in combating their prejudices against his faith. This book describes those meetings, and other encounters with his patients and fellow Minnesotans.

Two books from the Booker Prize longlist:
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

After we left the bookshop it was just past noon, and since it was a hot day we popped into the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop that was located next door to Joseph Fox Bookshop, which ended up being our lunch. Dan's preteen son was getting bored listening to the adults chatter about books, and after we asked him what he wanted to do we walked to The Franklin Institute, the science and technology museum for children close to the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia and not far from the Barnes Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was in his element there, and proceed to run himself and us ragged! After a couple of hours there we walked to Suburban Station, and took separate commuter trains out of the city. It was a great first meeting, and we'll definitely get together in the near future, especially since Dan and my mother's sisters all live in metropolitan Houston.

Ago 6, 2019, 1:19pm

>142 kidzdoc: Sorry if I'm being obtuse, but is this Dan LT's dchaikin?

Ago 6, 2019, 1:56pm

Ago 6, 2019, 1:56pm

Ago 6, 2019, 2:12pm

>142 kidzdoc: as I commented on Dan's thread, I think it's brilliant that you guys got to meet up, and always lovely to see some photos.

Ago 6, 2019, 11:01pm

>146 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison! There will be plenty more LT meetups and photos over the next six weeks, starting with the Decatur Book Festival just outside of Atlanta at the end of this month, and in London in the first half of September. I'll post them here, in addition to my 75 Books thread. Unfortunately severe thunderstorms this past Wednesday kept me from meeting Laura (lauralkeet) in Philadelphia, but hopefully we'll get together later this year.

Ago 10, 2019, 9:57pm


Jericho Brown, one of The New York Times's Black Male Writers for Our Time, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1976. He earned a bachelor's degree at Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orlreans, a MFA at the University of New Orleans, and a PhD at the University of Houston. He has taught at the University of Houston, San Diego State University, and the University of Houston, along with the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa. Since 2012 he has taught at Emory University in Atlanta, where he is the Winship Distinguished Research Professor in Creative Writing and the director of the Creative Writing Program.

Dr Brown was the recipient of a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2009-10, a fellowship for poetry by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011, and a Guggenheim fellowship in 2016. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. His poetry collection Please won the American Book Award in 2009, and The New Testament won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2015.

His latest book is The Tradition, which was published earlier this year:

Beauty abounds in Jericho Brown’s daring new poetry collection, despite and inside of the evil that pollutes the everyday. The Tradition questions why and how we’ve become accustomed to terror: in the bedroom, the classroom, the workplace, and the movie theater. From mass shootings to rape to the murder of unarmed people by police, Brown interrupts complacency by locating each emergency in the garden of the body, where living things grow and wither—or survive. In the urgency born of real danger, Brown’s work is at its most innovative. His invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is an all-out exhibition of formal skill, and his lyrics move through elegy and memory with a breathless cadence. Jericho Brown is a poet of eros: here he wields this power as never before, touching the very heart of our cultural crisis.

Jericho Brown will appear at this year's Decatur Book Festival just east of Atlanta on September 1st, and I will attend his talk and buy his newest book.

Set 3, 2019, 9:36am

This year's shortlist has just been announced:

Margaret Atwood, The Testaments
Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport
Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities
Salman Rushdie, Quichotte
Elif Shafak, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

Set 3, 2019, 3:17pm

>149 kidzdoc: And I've read exactly none of those. I'll have think about whether to dive into the shortlist in a hurry or just enjoy the enormous stack of books picked up at the book festival.

Set 4, 2019, 9:32am

>149 kidzdoc: it's going to be a hard one to call this year. Some big punchers in there.

Set 4, 2019, 11:21am

>149 kidzdoc: I have to say this isn't the most exciting Booker short list I've ever seen, though I'm in the same boat as Kay and haven't read any. And at least half I'm not super interested in, either—including the Atwood, which I know is kind of apostasy, but I don't love sequels and I feel like The Handmaid's Tale has to be an almost impossible act to follow, even for her.

Set 4, 2019, 8:06pm

>149 kidzdoc: I was planning to read the new Rushdie anyway, and Shafak is a writer who seems to be growing on me - not sure about the others. The Nigerian one looks like the most interesting of the bunch, going purely on summaries.

Set 4, 2019, 10:43pm

>150 RidgewayGirl: I haven't read any of the shortlisted books, either, although I was nearly 50 pages into 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World before I left my copy of it in the car of one of my partners last Tuesday, who picked me up on the way to dinner and an Atlanta United FC match with other work mates. I arrived in London this morning, and I'll probably buy a copy of Quichotte at the Foyles bookshop in Southbank Centre before I meet three LTers for dinner and a play at the National Theatre based on Kate Grenville's Booker Prize winning novel The Secret River.

It was great to see you and Pattie this past weekend, and to meet Benita for the first time. I'll post meet up and book festival photos and descriptions tomorrow. I bought eight books on Sunday; how many did you get?

I'll be in London for the next two weeks, and will meet a dozen LTers, see at least six plays, at least one performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Saturday, and make visits to my favorite museums, starting with Tate Modern, also on Saturday.

>151 AlisonY: Right, Alison. Although I haven't gotten far into yet this looks to be the strongest year for the Booker Prize in a very long time. Now that the shortlist is out, and since I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, I should be able to dive into these six books with relish.

Set 4, 2019, 10:56pm

>152 lisapeet: Ooh, I'll have to disagree with you, Lisa! I'm eagerly looking forward to sinking my teeth into this year's Booker Prize shortlist, starting tomorrow. Although I have a very full schedule of meet up and plays I'll have plenty of time to read during the mornings and afternoons, and I'll avail myself of the parks and cafés in London to get to these books. Ideally I'll read at least the books by Ellman, Evaristo and Rushdie during the next two weeks, along with The Handmaid's Tale, which will be the first book I'll have read by Atwood.

>153 thorold: I'm very eager to read Quichotte, as I'm a fan of Rushdie's work, I loved Don Quixote, and the description of this novel is very enticing. I enjoyed Obioma's earlier novel The Fishermen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015, and especially the play based on it that I saw at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year, which I understand is being performed in London now. I have a copy of An Orchestra of Minorities at home, so I'll read it after I leave London in two weeks.

Set 4, 2019, 12:11am

Enjoy your two weeks in London! Buy several books! I ended up buying eight books at the festival, but this gives a more moderate picture of my festival books than is warranted as I had already picked up four before I even reached Decatur.

Pattie and I have decided to make the festival a regular event. Hope to see you there next year!

Set 7, 2019, 11:17pm

>155 kidzdoc: Glad to see you still enjoy tackling those award lists. I will be interested in your take on Handmaids Tale, especially as it is decades old now. It was/is an important book in my reading life and made me a lifelong Atwood fan.

Just as a matter of note, I'm currently reading Helon Habila's new novel, Travelers: A Novel. His prose in this book exudes a kind of longing; it's seductive. It's the story of a Nigerian grad student from the US interacting with a community of African immigrants in Berlin. Did you ever get to read any of his novels?

Set 7, 2019, 1:11am

>155 kidzdoc: Ah, but that's what makes horse races! Or something. At any rate, I look forward to hearing what you think of them.

Set 7, 2019, 1:56am

Enjoyed your Decatur fb posts. After our meeting, and talking about the Booker list, I thought about it some more and I'm seriously considering going through the whole Booker long list on audio...assuming I can maintain my perspective of no expectations (if I start thinking, "how did this make the Booker?", then my mindset is wrong.) Also, assuming they all come out on audio, as four still aren't available by at least pre-order. In any case, I'm working the An Orchestra of Minorities, got into early and I'm completely entangled in it and wherever it's going now.

Out 4, 2019, 2:05pm

>156 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay! I bought plenty of books (roughly 20), saw three plays, along with a performance of Alvin Ailey at Sadler's Wells and a bit of the Africa Utopia Festival at Southbank Centre, ate plenty of great food, and had nearly daily meetups with LT friends. I'm supposed to be in Lisbon, but I pickd up a nasty viral infection in England or during the flight from Heathrow to Atlanta two weeks ago, which developed into bronchitis, a moderate asthma exacerbation, and a secondary bacterial sinusitis and bronchitis. I cancelled my trip, and instead will stay in Atlanta all of this week and next week.

I'll post book purchases, and theatre, dance and restaurant reviews next week. At the moment I'm on a book reading frenzy, as I've already read three novels and two play scripts since Tuesday. I'm on a mission to complete the Booker Prize shortlist by Sunday of next week, the day before the award ceremony. I've finished three of the six books so far, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak, and Quichotte by Salman Rushdie. I (finally) completed The Handmaid's Tale last night, so I'll read The Testaments next week, and I'll complete the shortlist by reading An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma this weekend and Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann next week.

I need to report on the talks and books I purchased at the Decatur Book Festival last month. I'm thrilled that you and Pattie have decided to go to it every year! I'll plan to do the same as well.

>157 avaland: I just finished The Handmaid's Tale last night, and I absolutely loved it. I started reading it in earnest yesterday afternoon, and blew through the last 250+ pages almost nonstop.

I haven't read anything by Helon Habila, and I don't own anything by him, either. I'll be on the lookout for Travelers: A Novel; thanks for letting me know about it.

>158 lisapeet: So far I've been very pleased with this year's Booker Prize longlist, Lisa. I've only read four books so far, three from the shortlist, but all of them have been Booker worthy IMO.

>159 dchaikin: That's great, Dan! I'll have to see how you're doing with the Booker Prize longlist so far.

Out 20, 2019, 11:20pm

>160 kidzdoc:
I'm glad you enjoyed the Handmaid's Tale; I think it was one of my first Atwood reads. (I like her short stories better than her novels, though I'm not usually a short story fan.)

Unfortunately, I thought The Testaments was the weakest Atwood I've read. I liked it just fine while reading it, and enjoyed the elaboaration of Aunt Lydia's story and character. It was on reflection that I decided it wasn't up to par.

I've read and enjoyed Helon Habila's Oil on water, so I'm looking forward to Travelers as well.

Editado: Dez 29, 2019, 4:05pm

My reading unfortunately went off the rails in 2019, as I'll end up reading only 46 books, the smallest total since 2003, and I hardly participated in Club Read this year. I intend to make this group my primary LT home in 2020, and to do a much better job reading and staying active here, even though it promises to be a busier year. I had to work all of last week and will work all of this coming week, but I'll create a thread next weekend, if not sooner.

I'm currently reading Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Dr Louise Aronson, a geriatrician on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, which has been superb so far. I'll probably finish and review it next weekend.

>161 markon: Apologies for my extremely tardy reply, Ardene. Your opinion about The Testaments has been shared by most other LTers who have read it. I'll probably get to it next year, but I'm in no rush to do so.

I would like to read either Travelers or Oil on Water in 2020.

Dez 29, 2019, 5:26pm

Good to see you here, Darryl, regardless of the number of books you're reading.

Dez 29, 2019, 8:00pm

>163 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay.

Dez 30, 2019, 1:26pm

I’ll have managed 46 books as well, strangely enough, but that’s quite good for me compared to recent years; I like to think that I am slowly getting back to my pre-motherhood volume of reading (slowly being the key word there). I’ve missed you around here this year, so whether you’re reading your usual high numbers of books or not, it will be good to have you here more in 2020.

Dez 30, 2019, 1:59pm

This is a good home, Darryl. I’ve missed you around here too.

Dez 30, 2019, 2:31pm

Good to know that you are still around, Darryl! When life gets in the way of reading there’s usually not much you can do about it except wait for things to calm down. Wishing you a good start to 2020!

Editado: Dez 30, 2019, 10:15pm

>162 kidzdoc: Well, I'm of the opinion that the number of books read have so little to do with the quality of what you take in and the ways you talk about it—"you" in general, meaning all of us, but definitely you, Darryl. I love reading your thoughts on what you've read, and watching the reading projects you've taken on unfold. It's what I like best about this place: the conversation, the back-and-forth (even if I don't always participate, I'm definitely reading along), and the character of people's reading paths. Your thread is full of riches—as are so many around here—and the number of books is the very smallest part of that.

(edited to try to sound a bit less preachy, probably with no luck)

I'm interested to hear your thoughts about Elderhood. I'm dealing with my mom's end stages (after a long and busy life, so not a tragic thing), but the whole trajectory of her elderly life has been a real revelation. I'm thinking about what I wish she'd done differently to prepare for her elder years and what I can do as I near my 60s to make that stage of life better for myself and easier on those around me.

Dez 31, 2019, 9:48pm

>165 rachbxl: Thanks, Rachel. Wow...I would have thought that you read more books than that, but you're probably at least as busy as I am. I'll certainly create a thread in the Club Read 2020 group by this weekend, but if it's quiet tomorrow (I'm on hospital call on New Year's Day from 8 am to 8 pm) I might get to do it then.

>166 dchaikin: Likewise, Dan. I miss not keeping up with reviews and conversations here, so I vow to do better in 2020.

>167 thorold: Thanks, Mark! I hope to return to Amsterdam next year, and if I do I'll let you know.

>168 lisapeet: Thanks for your kind and supportive comments, Lisa! I greatly appreciate them. Preach away!

Elderhood has been a good read, but ultimately a disappointing one, as I thought it would provide more practical guidance to me to help me help my elderly parents. I have a little less than 100 pages to go, so I should finish it no later this weekend, and I'll make it my business to write a review of it ASAP, hopefully by Sunday.