Susan's ROOT Project for 2021 (3)

É uma continuação do tópico Susan's ROOT Project for 2021 (2).

Discussão2021 ROOT CHALLENGE

Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Susan's ROOT Project for 2021 (3)

Jul 31, 2021, 9:17 am

Hello, I'm Susan. I did this challenge a few years ago, when it was called BOMBS, I think, but it didn't go well due to all the shiny new stuff at the library. But onwards!

I'm going to try and read 50 books of my own - hard copy (not many) and Kindle (hundreds). I'm going to include books bought in 2021 - I wouldn't have such a stack of TBRs if I actually read them as I bought them. I tried to do that in the second half of 2020 and it did cut down the amount I bought.

I'll include everything I read on this thread, but only the ROOTs will have numbers next to them and those are the ones included in my ticker.

Shamelessly copying Julia's idea (Hi Julia!) I'm going to list my acquisitions too.

Editado: Dez 29, 2021, 4:06 pm

2021 Acquisitions

1. The Once and Future Witches
2. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
3. West With Giraffes (a Kindle First Read)
4. The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths
5. Long Bright River by Liz Moore
6. Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
7. The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica
8. Dead Famous by Greg Jenner
9. The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn
10. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
11. Jews Don't Count by David Baddiel
12. Bloodline by Jess Lourey
13. The Coppersmith Farmhouse by Devney Perry
14. Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes
15. Red Heat by Alex von Tunzelmann
16. The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia
17. Written in Bone by Sue Black
18. Airhead by Emily Maitlis
19. Blitzed by Norman Ohler
20. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
21. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
22. The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda
23. Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan
24. The Burning by Laura Bates
25. Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
26. The Darkest Flower by Kristin Wright
27. Love in the Blitz by Eileen Alexander
28. The Pinocchio Brief by Abi Silver
29. Frostquake by Juliet Nicolson
30. The Survivors by Jane Harper
31. The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan
32. The Appeal by Janice Hallett
33. The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths
34. Trouble in Nuala
35. Built on a Lie by Owen Walker
36. The World for Sale by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy
37. Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
38. The Sleeping Beauties by Suzanne O'Sullivan
39. Divine Lola by Cristina Morato
40. The End of the World is Flat by Simon Edge
41. Material Girls by Kathleen Stock
42. Darkness of Light by Stacey Marie Brown
43. Henry 'Chips' Channon: The Diaries 1918 - 38 ed Simon Heffer
44. Britain's War: Into Battle by Daniel Todman
45. Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists by Joan Smith
46. The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Editado: Jul 31, 2021, 9:52 am

Editado: Jul 31, 2021, 9:46 am

July has been my most-finished-books month so far, with 15 books finished. The most recent was this one:

Blood Legacy: Reckoning with a Family's Story of Slavery by Alex Renton

This is an excellent look at the author's ancestors who owned a half-share in a plantation in Jamaica and a smaller one in Tobago, which was set up by a younger brother of the pair who had the Jamaican interests. I always envy people with a giant family archive from which they can write books, but it's not exactly a blessing in this case.

The author struggles to understand how his family could have become involved with slavery in any way, even though there is information in the book showing just how widespread investment in the Caribbean was throughout the UK population and how popular sugar became here. I think the question is more accurately "Why was anyone involved with slavery?" rather than why specific people chose to invest when so many others were doing it. Much like the fads for shares in various types of companies today, investing in the West Indies was the "thing do do" for people with enough cash to risk it and potentially made a fortune. And, again like today, when it's so convenient to ignore modern slavery and other human rights abuses because they produce so much that's cheap and shiny, people see what they want to see. Companies convince themselves that their supply chains are fine and stick to that even when clearly they're not. Shareholders rely on the dividend cheques. It's not an excuse, but it's an explanation.

Anyway, the book is really well-written, based on correspondence between the original plantation-owning brother and those working for him in Jamaica and his younger brother in Tobago, with a very clear explanation of what was going on in the Caribbean at the time and how the campaign for abolition was going on in the UK. but that was the abolition of the transatlantic trade - slave owners in the West Indies were free to continue trading slaves they already had as long as they stuck to selling then in the West Indies or to the US.

The author travelled to Tobago and Jamaica to visit the sites of the plantations and talked to quite a few locals about what countries like the UK could do. Interestingly, most of them said that slavery couldn't be blamed forever and everyone needed to move on. But he also attended a press conference at the University of the West Indies on the subject of reparations. I hadn't previously realised that the campaign doesn't just mean the payment of money but also a right to go back to Africa for people who want to.

As I mentioned on my last thread, the theme of this book is the same as Mr Atkinson's Rum Contract. They're both very good, but I think this is has the edge. Certainly I flew through it, which is always the sign of a great (if disturbing) read.

Jul 31, 2021, 10:12 am

Happy new thread, Susan!

Jul 31, 2021, 10:52 am

Happy new thread! I have Know My Name on the TBR pile too - I think it will be an important and vital read (I remember her statement after the trial), but it won't be an easy or comfortable one.

Jul 31, 2021, 10:59 am

Happy new thread.
I'm intrigued by Imperial Mud. As someone with fenland heritage there is something about that corner of the world. The scale of the sky is like nowhere else. And, no, I don't have webbed feet >;-)

Jul 31, 2021, 11:19 am

>6 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

>7 Jackie_K: Thanks Jackie! I've read 23% of it and she has a really good writing style. The subject-matter is bleak but there has already been one very funny bit about her childhood.

>8 Helenliz: Thanks Helen! I'd never heard of the book until it appeared in the elibrary but it looks good. As with Know My Name I've been on the waiting list for ages so I hope it's good.

Jul 31, 2021, 11:39 am

>9 susanj67: Thanks for that - that makes me feel a bit less trepidatious (is that a word?) about reading it!

Jul 31, 2021, 12:26 pm

Doing very well with your ROOT reading! Happy new thread :)

Ago 1, 2021, 8:12 am

Happy new thread!

Ago 1, 2021, 10:00 am

Happy new thread, Susan and congratulations on your most-finished-books month stat!!

Ago 1, 2021, 10:19 am

>10 Jackie_K: Jackie, don't feel too trepidatious (I think it is a word - if not then it is now!). I'm half-way through now and the trial is nearly over.

>11 rabbitprincess: Thank you!

>12 MissWatson: Thank you!

>13 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba! For the year overall I've read 72, which isn't too bad although lower than my usual total, I think. But I've been trying to do some other things this year.

The Inheritors by William Golding

This was mentioned in Kindred as one of the novels looking at the Neanderthal/modern human interaction in the very far-off olden days. And it was right there on the shelf at the library, so I borrowed it. It's fairly short, and told mostly from the point of view of a small tribe of Neanderthals who are minding their own business when the "new people" appear in logs (on the river), and everything starts to go wrong. I found it a bit bewildering, and was pleased to see in the introduction (which I read at the end) a reference to "feats of language that are at first bewildering" (not just me, then!) as Golding accepts the "colossal stylistic challenge of seeing everything from a Neanderthal point of view." And I think that's what I struggled with - working out how the Neanderthals' minds worked. But I'm glad I read it.

Ago 2, 2021, 4:26 am

Happy New Thread, Susan.

Ago 4, 2021, 4:41 am

>15 connie53: Thanks Connie :-)

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is amazing, and everyone should read it. Miller is the "Emily Doe" of the Stanford rape case that was in the news a few years ago. You may have read her victim impact statement (anonymous at that stage), which went viral. It must have taken a huge amount of courage for her to give up that anonymity and write this book, but it would have been a different book if she hadn't.

Miller has no memory of the assault, so the book is about trying to piece together what happened while being trashed by the defence team (and public opinion, under a lot of articles about the case). She'd been drinking a lot, which somehow made her *more* culpable (as the VICTIM, if you please) while her attacker (also intoxicated) was *less* responsible because of that. It's just one of the many ways the system is rotten, and it's the same in the UK as it is in the US.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of the book was about why and how a woman has to say "no" to men who think they can do what they want to her. A woman's body is viewed as having a default setting of "yes", so that men can do whatever they want unless she tries to stop them. So drunk you've passed out? Well, you didn't say "no", so... (The law in England has changed on this point but only recently). It's the same for everything associated with women - their bodies, their safe spaces, their homes, even facilities in which the state houses them.*

It's all part of men's entitlement to women - their sense that they can do whatever they want and women's rights have no place in the world.

This book will enrage you, but it's also beautifully written. I don't suppose women can ever really move past an experience like this and it's heartbreaking that Miller's first book has to be about the awful situation she found herself in rather than something she chose to do, but I'm sure she'll write more.


*We're currently in the middle of yet another story about men invading women's spaces here in the UK, as the NHS has apparently issued guidance to hospitals that men who "identify" as women should be housed in women's wards of hospitals even if they're sex offenders. Men should not be housed in the same wards as women, period, regardless of how much drag queen make-up they've trowelled on. That's after the case a couple of weeks ago saying that men can be housed in women's prisons if they have the ladyfeelz. And the evil twist in both these stories is that if women say "no", they'll be reported to the police for a hate crime. So women are, on the one hand, required to say "no" to men invading their bodies or taking away other rights, but at the same time they're not allowed to say it.

The BBC said on Monday that it would *report people to the police* if they complained on the BBC's social media channels about the New Zealand man who stole a young woman's place in the Olympics weightlifting. The BBC is the UK's *state broadcaster*. So thank goodness for the amazing Sarah Robles in that press conference yesterday. #NoThankYou indeed.

Ago 4, 2021, 12:19 pm

Wow! That sounds powerful.

Ago 6, 2021, 12:39 am

Happy new thread, Susan. There are many potential BB's on this thread already but I'm safe because my library doesn't have most of them.

Ago 6, 2021, 8:39 am

Susan, I could have sworn I had posted, but I must have just been lurking. My apologies. Happy new one. Adding Know My Name to The List, but I am not up for it right now.

Ago 8, 2021, 5:28 am

>17 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it certainly is.

>18 Familyhistorian: Meg, well, you never know what will turn up!

>19 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! It's definitely an important read, but you'd have to be in the right mood for it.

The System by Ryan Gattis

This is amazingly good. Set in Los Angeles in 1993, it's about the attempted murder of a small-time drug dealer and it's told from multiple points of view in 100+ short(ish) chapters as the case goes through the criminal justice system. I must have read about this in the Times book review section as I've never read anything by this author before, but now I'll be hunting down his other books.

The Wolves of Savernake

This is the first in a series set 20 years after the Norman Conquest, and it's just the sort of thing I shouldn't be reserving from the elibrary as it takes me away from my own books. It was a decent-enough read, though, and I think I'll continue with the series.

Ago 8, 2021, 6:32 am

>20 susanj67: Adding both of those Susan. I'm listening to Conspiracy of Violence set during the restoration period, which has lots of detail about how ordinary people in London coped with the shift back to a monarchy. There's a coffee shop setting too. I like to think I'd want to go back and check one out if I had a time machine, but possibly without the smoke/smells. And the bit about women not being able to go in, too.

Ago 8, 2021, 7:54 am

>21 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I've only read a couple in Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew series, but the restoration one looks good. And it's the first in the series OMG! :-) (ooh, and just £1.99 for Kindle). I'm with you on the time machine minus smells.

I signed up for Discovery+ this morning, which means I now have four streaming services, which is either ridiculous or the way of the future. I keep seeing things in the streaming guide in TV Choice which are on Discovery+, and they have a special offer on until 22 August which is just £29.99 for a year of the entertainment and sports package. Entertainment by itself was £49.99, so now I have sports. Heh. There's something I never expected to write. But as it's rained for nearly three days here there's a lot to be said for staying in and watching TV and doing crosswords. I need to diarise the date it auto-renews and I'll see then how much time I've spent watching it and whether it's worth continuing with. Maybe I should keep a record. Ooh, or a ticker! So far I've watched the new Jimmy Savile documentary, some talking heads dissecting the Epstein/Maxwell interviews and the first episode of "Nerducate". They seem to have a lot of reality stuff, which isn't really me, but there are some good documentaries too.

In other bargain news, The Silence of the Girls is 99p on Kindle today and so is Material Girls. They also have some kids' and teen classics on special for anyone with young people who are BORED. I was often bored as a young person, but then I did live in New Zealand.

Editado: Ago 8, 2021, 1:37 pm

>22 susanj67: Book bargains are not going to help my ROOTing! My TBR is swelling enough as it is! I think I’m going to have to add The System to my TBR, but I am trying to resist outright purchasing anything today!

Ago 9, 2021, 4:54 am

>23 Charon07: Yes, today's Kindle Daily Deal in the UK has *sixteen* books in it, which is very unusual. We typically get four or five. I think I'm safe for the time being, though...

Ago 9, 2021, 6:18 am

Recently the usual daily number has been 7, but There are lots of books that have come up on offer before. There have been some quite good offerings over the last few days, including a couple that I've awaited being published, reserved from the library etc. And also some that I've already bought but are good reads/buys if people missed out on previous occasions.

Ago 10, 2021, 1:20 pm

Know My Name is definitely going on the you-list. And I am wildly attracted to The Wolves of Savernake's cover (even though I know I am forbidden to yield to impulsive purchases based solely upon a cover). And even The Inheritors is looking kind of interesting.

I'd better go do some laundry before I break down and buy something...

Editado: Ago 15, 2021, 11:32 am

>25 elkiedee: There do seem to have been a lot of repeats lately, but at least it's less tempting to buy them!

>26 Fourpawz2: Hi Charlotte! I hope you didn't break down and buy anything. Also that your laundry got done :-)

Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens by James Boyce

This was an odd read. I think I was put off when I realised that the author is an Australian historian. So what would he know about the history of the English fens? This is something that he addresses in an afterword to the book (so too late). And he did visit the fens as part of his research, although nowhere in the book does he talk about his personal experience of them. The whole book reads like it's written from secondary sources. So overall it's a "no" from me, although the subject is really interesting, and one of the issues is about the taking away of common property from the masses in favour of a monied elite, which is still an issue today.

Second Sleep by Robert Harris

This was a impulse-borrow from the library because I'd read about the premise ages ago, but what a snooooze.

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

This was mentioned quite a bit in the book I read recently about the real-life psychopath, so I borrowed it from the library. I can see why it's a classic, and it whizzed past. Very good indeed. The are four others featuring Ripley so I want to read them too. But this afternoon I watched the film, which I knew I'd have on one of my many streaming services (Netflix here in the UK). It's very poor in comparison to the book, not least because the story is changed so much.

Now I have three NFs from the library, although I'm picking up two of them tomorrow. I might try to make some progress on King Richard this evening.

Ago 15, 2021, 11:44 am

Hello, Susan! The Talented Mr. Ripley is what I recently picked to fill the "A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction" slot in the classics challenge I am doing this year. Glad that you liked it as it makes me think I will also like it. The only other thing I have read by her is Strangers on a Train, which was pretty good.

Too bad about Second Sleep - I loved his The Ghost, which was made into a movie that I also love. It has an excellent Hitchcock vibe running through it.

Ago 15, 2021, 12:44 pm

Oh, In that case I will not rush around to find the Fen book. Shame it wasn't better.
Never read any Highsmith. Ought to. The Talented Mr Ripley featured in the recent travel series featuring Richard E Grant that I watched 1 episode off while doing some ironing.

Ago 15, 2021, 1:11 pm

Pity the Boyce book wasn't better. My partner is from the Fens.

I heard a couple of bits of Second Sleep when it was serialised on Radio 4, and I was a bit confused. I might buy it if it comes up on offer for Kindle (as a lot of his other books have) or borrow it if I ever get a grip on my library pile.

I did borrow The Appeal by Janice Hallett from the library but had to return and rejoin the reservation, as there is only one hardback copy and it's in demand. I'm trying out library ebooks on my phone and Islington has a copy so in that form but I may try that.

Ago 15, 2021, 1:55 pm

Oh I liked The Second Sleep. Hopefully you were able to use it as an insomnia cure though?

Ago 16, 2021, 4:55 am

>28 Crazymamie: Mamie, I think you will *love* Ripley. The book is far, far better than the movie (if you've seen that). I'll look for The Ghost - it's another one I've heard about as there was a lot of to-do at the time of publication that it was based on Tony Blair. Oh my word, there's a copy "On the shelf" over the road, according to the library catalogue. And I happen to be going there at lunchtime...

>29 Helenliz: Helen, definitely try Ripley! It's one of those modern classics that I'd never got around to, and it's a great read.

>30 elkiedee: Luci, it is a bit confusing. I found myself flipping back to check things but eventually it makes sense. I saw The Appeal in the window at Foyles over the weekend and it's quite chunky. I can't believe I read it so quickly.

>32 susanj67: Charlotte, I did actually try that :-) I really liked the premise, but I didn't feel that it ever really got going as a story. Or maybe I was just expecting a more amazing ending.

I started King Richard last night and it's going well so far, but I switched to a Kindle novel after a while and Kindle announced that I'd read every day for a week and woo-hoo! Go me! I was bemused, and I see now why Super-Fit Friend doesn't see the need for a FitBit - there's really no "achievement" in something that you do all the time anyway :-). The book I'm reading is a YA one (The Burning by Laura Bates, who wrote Men Who Hate Women - a must-read, particularly right now) and up popped a window telling me about Word Wise, which you can use to "show hints above challenging words". Weirdly, though, the choices of "Language for hints" are "English" and "Chinese".

Ago 16, 2021, 5:01 am

The Appeal has come up at £1.79 again this morning. Now on my Kindle, and will cancel the library reservation.

Ago 16, 2021, 5:12 am

>33 elkiedee: Luci, that's good news!

On the subject of Kindle deals, I forgot to mention in my earlier post that volume 1 of the Chips Channon diaries (edited by Simon Heffer) is just 99p today. Henry ("Chips") Channon appears frequently in books about British social history in the mid-20th century, but his diaries have previously only been published in an abridged form.

I've also bought Britain's War: Into Battle, which looks good.

Ago 16, 2021, 7:03 am

I bought Britain's War - not sure about the Chpis Channon diaries but hey, they wouldn't take any more space in the house! Just had a bookalanche - it's books that really need to leave the house but I'm filling some empty cardboard boxes with them in the meantime.

Ago 16, 2021, 9:31 am

>32 susanj67: I have not seen the movie.

I love reading diaries - don't know what that says about me, but...I have never kept one myself because I don't have the perseverance to carry it off. Also letters - all those beautiful letters that people used to write to each other that were full of gossip and current events and the daily grind. I recently read The Man With the Golden Typewriter which is a collection of letters to and from Ian Fleming about the Bond books - I had not realized how very charming and witty he could be, but it comes through in his correspondence.

Ago 16, 2021, 11:55 am

>35 elkiedee: Luci, I have a bag of books that needs to go somewhere too. I'm hoping that once the office reopens fully, the collection bin for Prisoners Abroad will be back!

>36 Crazymamie: Mamie, I like diaries and letters too. The Nancy Mitford/Evelyn Waugh correspondence is lovely and I also really enjoyed the collected letters of the Queen Mother ( ). The collection of letters was published after Shawcross's official biography of the QM but you don't have to read the biography first.

Ago 16, 2021, 12:21 pm

One bag? I think I might have to start taking out a bag of 6/10 or whatever books with me whenever I know I'm going to pass an open charity shop, and get Mike to do the same. A lot of them are books that I've acquired on Kindle, in a few cases I have more than one paper copy by mistake. There are a few exceptions where I'm holding on to paper copies for various reasons even though I have Kindle versions but those mostly aren't involved in this particular book avalanche - I also have problems with books I'm mostly keeping in my bedroom, but that's another day's issue.

Ago 16, 2021, 12:26 pm

>38 elkiedee: Well, it's a very heavy bag. I couldn't lift it right now. I plan to take some clothes up to the Salvation Army shop in Hackney when my tube line is running and it's not pouring (it's rare to get a weekend with both of those requirements met) so maybe I could take a few then too.

Ago 16, 2021, 1:43 pm

>37 susanj67: Thank you so much for that, Susan! I have snapped both of them up.

Editado: Ago 18, 2021, 4:33 am

>40 Crazymamie: Mamie, I hope you like them! I'd start with the Queen Mother :-)

Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality by Helen Joyce

There are rumours on Twitter that Waterstones shops won't display this book and you have to ask for it. Then they fetch it from the stockroom and judge you. And that, really, sums up the bat**** craziness we have reached on this issue. If you wonder how we got here, why no-one noticed and whether it's too late for women to reclaim their own sex from creepy middle-aged men with fetishes who've redefined themselves as an oppressed minority so they can terrorise women from a position of POOR ME (that's my description, not the author's), this is the book for you. There are so many quotable bits that I could include the whole thing. But this, really, says it all:

"Some high-profile men have taken up the cause of gender self-identification with vigour. Though they profess deep concern regarding transwomen's safety in men's spaces, they have none for female people who can no longer keep men out of theirs. Such a man is the most profound type of misogynist: the type that, perhaps unconsciously, sees women as supporting actresses in men's lives. When a woman's words or actions reveal that she regards herself as the lead character in her own story, he is outraged by her stepping out of what he regards as her proper place - the background. It is also worth noting that his empathy with transwomen is the clearest possible evidence that he does not truly see them as women. If he did, he would not care about their well-being at all."

This is a really important book, and it's well worth braving the social justice warriors in your local bookshop to get a copy. Or, you know, you could borrow it from the library. I was pretty amazed that it came in brand new and not with bits ripped out for wrongthink, but it did.

Ago 21, 2021, 8:29 am

Hi Susan! Yes, I did resist, but that won't last for long now that I have received my latest book purchase (and that was a hellish experience).

Glad to hear that The Talented Mr. Ripley is a good one. I have rushed right by that book every time I have seen it mentioned before strictly because I did see that movie when it came out and did not care for it. Now that I know that the book is very different and very good, I'm putting it on a list.

Ago 21, 2021, 1:19 pm

>42 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, oh no - what went wrong with your book purchasing? It's not supposed to be a hellish experience. Ripley is much better than the movie and I want book 2 now but it's at the library a slightly longer walk from the office so I'll have to make a whole-lunchtime trip at some point.

However, yesterday was the best day of the year, because I got an email from the library to say that this was waiting, and I already had the day off!

The Cellist by Daniel Silva

This was only published last month, but I reserve the Gabriel Allon novels as soon as they hit the library catalogue, which is usually a few months before publication. This one was excellent, as always (although I see some LTers disagree). It has quite a twist at the end, and Silva says in the afterword that events in the US in January made him rewrite much of the book in six weeks. All the usual cast is there, though, and every year it's like catching up with old friends. But now I have to wait months for the next one. Sniff.

Ago 22, 2021, 8:29 am

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate - An American Tragedy by Michael Dobbs

Watergate is one of those subjects, like the Titanic and the Kennedys, that is so enormous it's hard to find a way in. But I read a good review of this book so I reserved it and now I finally know what Watergate was all about. The author makes use of a lot of newly-released tapes from the White House and Nixon's office in the building across the street which captured a lot of his meetings and calls at the crucial time.

I have All the President's Men on my Kindle so I'll try and get to that soon. But first I need to read Fallen Idols by Alex Von Tunzelmann, which is about "Twelve Statues that Made History". Very timely!

Ago 22, 2021, 8:58 am

>44 susanj67: Adding this one to The List, Susan. And I still need to read All the President's Men.

I finished The Talented Mr. Ripley yesterday, and you are right that I loved it. Very fun and Highsmith does a good job of getting the reader to root for the villain.

Editado: Ago 23, 2021, 8:21 am

>45 Crazymamie: Mamie, I'm so pleased that you loved The Talented Mr Ripley! We could do a buddy-read of All The President's Men if you like - I know our last one didn't go that well, which was my fault, but we could try again.

I returned two books to the library at lunchtime and took nothing out. Go me! I've got about 150 pages to go of The Ghost which was Mamie's fault (Hi again Mamie!) and then somehow I have The Cuckoo's Calling which I picked up from another branch last week (exercise at lunchtime, although as SuperFit Friend isn't here I can sneak back on the DLR).

Security is high at the Wharf this week because two weeks of climate protests are kicking off. Last time someone glued themself to the roof of a DLR train, which was embarrassing for the security people but the protesters don't care about anyone but themselves, so it's not that surprising.

Ago 23, 2021, 9:18 am

I would love to do a buddy-read of All the President's Men! Just let me know when you are ready for it - any time works for me.

Nothing out?! Did you check for fever? I am thrilled you are reading The Ghost. The Cuckoo's Calling is one I have read several times - I love that series. I have the latest one out still to read because I have been hoarding it. I am thinking of rereading the entire series first and then finally getting to it. I'll probably listen to them - they are great on audio.

Ago 23, 2021, 9:24 am

>46 susanj67: *dials a detective*
"Hello? Yes, I'd like to report an alien abduction. Susan claims to have returned books and not taken anything else out. It's clearly not her"

Hope the security isn't needed.

Ago 23, 2021, 12:23 pm

>47 Crazymamie: Mamie, that's great! What about from 1 September, which is *suspends disbelief* next Tuesday? That will give me time to finish my statues book.

>48 Helenliz: Helen, I think it's me...I did see a couple of things that looked interesting but I marched on past.

The climate protesters have brought the West End to a halt, according to the Mail. Meanwhile, 200 anti-vaxxers have gathered outside the Channel 4/ITV HQ, chased Jon Snow down the road and demanded Robert Peston. So there's crazy everywhere today. Maybe there's a full moon tonight.

Ago 23, 2021, 12:34 pm

>49 susanj67: Works for me!

Last night was a full moon - maybe it's still at work.

Ago 23, 2021, 12:39 pm

>49 susanj67: - Point of order. 1 September is next Wednesday.

Hi Susan!

Ago 23, 2021, 1:10 pm

>50 Crazymamie: Mamie, excellent! Although it *has* been brought to my attention that 1 September is actually Wednesday.

>51 katiekrug: Hi Katie! Um, Mamie didn't notice either. So - so - so - well, OK then, Wednesday it is :-) We may have questions about the White House btw...:-)

Ago 23, 2021, 1:16 pm

>49 susanj67:. hmmm, well we'll see.

Why would you want Robert Peston? Isn't he an economics expert? #Igiveup

>52 susanj67: We may have questions about the White House btw. Quite right too. No point knowing an insider and not making use of them. It's about good use of resources. And knowing people who know stuff.

Ago 23, 2021, 1:22 pm

>52 susanj67: and >53 Helenliz: - That's a lot of pressure. ALso, Watergate was several years before I was born so things might have changed :) But I'll do my best!

Ago 23, 2021, 2:19 pm

>49 susanj67: and >53 Helenliz: I was wondering about what the demand was in relation to "demanding Robert Peston".

Editado: Ago 24, 2021, 4:36 am

>53 Helenliz: Helen, I don't know why anyone would want Peston, but he was asking questions during all those 5pm briefings that the government used to do, so they must think he's responsible for something in some way. Not asking questions, asking too many questions, believing what he was told - who knows?

>54 katiekrug: Katie, here's an example of my level of knowledge. The Nixon book had photos in it, and one of them was an aerial view of the White House at the relevant time. I noticed a curved wall in one place and then it dawned on me - that must be the Oval Office! I'd never realised it was oval on the outside too. In fact it could only *be* the "Oval Office", on account of being oval. They had to call it that.

>55 elkiedee: Luci, when Piers Corbyn is involved, nothing makes any sense at all.

Ago 24, 2021, 4:19 am

The Ghost by Robert Harris

I loved this :-) Thanks to Mamie for the recommendation! The main character is a ghostwriter, hired to help former British PM Adam Lang write his autobiography, but nothing goes to plan. Although most of the characters are British, it's mainly set on Martha's Vineyard in winter. And I was delighted to learn (and I hope it's true) that the people whose families have lived there for generations refer to the mainland as "America."

That leaves me Fallen Idols and The Cuckoo's Calling and then I've finished the library books. There may be a few forthcoming releases on my reserves list, but at least they're not out yet :-)

Ago 24, 2021, 9:13 am

>52 susanj67: Yep. I did not notice, either. The days of the week have a way of blending together especially when Craig and Rae are off. And I have yet to look at the month of September.

>57 susanj67: I am so happy that you loved it!! I might do a reread of it soon and then watch the movie again. How are you liking The Cuckoo's Calling?

Ago 24, 2021, 9:42 am

>58 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! I haven't started The Cuckoo's Calling yet - it's next. I might turn some pages tonight. I've had a peek at September as our new bunch of trainees starts the week after next and I'm part of the induction programme, but that's about it. (This will be my 41st of trainees since I started here, though, so I no longer feel bad that I can't keep up with what they're all called).

I'm very tempted by all the "back to school" stationery hauls on YouTube, even though (a) I am no longer at school and (b) I don't need any stationery. Or a fancy pink keyboard that looks like a typewriter (look how pretty, though: I went to Ryman at lunchtime for some envelopes and managed to get out of the shop with only a pack of the new Sharpie S gel pens, which were half price. They only have black, blue and a three-pack with a blue, a black and a red, but I'm hoping they catch on because I'd love gel pens in all the colours of the Sharpies.

Ago 24, 2021, 10:27 am

41st?! Yowza!

I am always tempted by stationery and pens and pencils and all that kind of stuff - I have a great weakness for Sharpies and journals even though I have never kept a journal. Birdy and Abby also have Big Love for all of it. I LOVE the keyboard that looks like a typewriter!!! How cool is that?! Mamie want. The young lady in the video reminds me so much of Abby and her reference to Violet Evergarden made me catch my breath as that is a favorite of Abby's.

I might have ordered some fo those Sharpie S gel pens. Heh.

Ago 24, 2021, 10:56 am

>60 Crazymamie: Yes - they spend six months in four parts of the firm as part of their training contracts. And Tuesday next week is my 20th anniversary of starting here. Hooray for the Sharpie pens! My all-time faves are the Pentel Energel but I like to try new things sometimes. I was amazed in that video that there's a whole programme for changing the look of apps on your iPad, and that's apparently a thing. On the weekend I discovered the "mechanical keyboard" community, which is also a thing. I've got this keyboard sitting in my Amazon basket (in purple), but it does seem totally unnecessary. Still, that's no way to think in this capitalist world :-)

Ago 24, 2021, 12:44 pm

Wow! 20 years at your firm. I'm dizzy just thinking about it. My longest run ever was 13 years but it often felt more like 100 :( Congratulations to you and to them for having the good sense to hire you and then keep you!!

Ago 26, 2021, 8:29 am

>62 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba! I'm a bit dizzy thinking about it too...

My pal in our library is letting me update the looseleafs as a special treat because I'm not super-busy with so many people on holiday. She asked me why on earth that would be a treat and I said "Because I love putting things in order." She said "That *is* true," but she still thinks it's a strange treat.

Ago 26, 2021, 8:46 am

Hello, Susan! I did not know that changing the look of the apps on one's iPad was a thing. Huh. You will love to know that Abby bought that keyboard featured in the video - I showed it to her, and she went crazy. There was a link with a coupon and a discount code, so she ordered it, and is very happy about it. I cannot wait to see it in person. The keyboard you have picked out is also pretty - I think you should go for it.

The story about the looseleafs made me laugh!

Ago 26, 2021, 10:58 am

>64 Crazymamie: Mamie, oh my word - good for Abby! It's a gorgeous keyboard. And apparently it works with multiple different gadgets and you just have to flick a switch or something. I was discussing the app thing with my friend here, and we agreed that we are of the generation where the whole internet and everything on it is basically magic. So we look at a large red N for Netflix and think "Wow! That's so cool!". But the young ones, who've grown up with the internet and the big red N as normal, think "Hmmm, maybe this N could be improved so it fits my aesthetic." We don't care about aesthetics because *look at the magic right there*.

I've sorted out three huge boxes of updates and I'm about to start Aircraft Liens & Detention Rights. There's more to say about them than you might think. Certainly enough for eight updates since March last year. Yee-ha! I should totally start an ASMR channel for looseleaf updating. The crinkle of the shrink-wrap, the sound of tissue-thin pages being counted with a rubber thumb, the clunk of the binder as it's closed - it has everything.

Ago 26, 2021, 12:03 pm

>65 susanj67: So true! I tell the kids when I went to college you brought your typewriter and needed change for the payphone at the end of the hall. No cell phones. No internet. There was one laser printer for the entire campus, and you had to queue for it. BUT the music was great - it was the 80s, baby!

Have fun with the looseleaf updating - you sound practically giddy.

Ago 26, 2021, 2:58 pm

>66 Crazymamie: Mamie, yes, there was no better decade for music :-) I finished Aircraft Liens and started Aircraft Finance. I do worry when the looseleafs aren't up to date. It hasn't been as much of an issue with no-one in the building to look at them, but more people should be coming back from 6 September. However, no outside contractors are allowed into the building yet, so the person who comes and does them can't come in. I suppose eventually everything will go online but there are still quite a few resources in hard copy and they're pretty popular.

Ago 26, 2021, 3:08 pm

>67 susanj67: I've always assumed law offices would be on of the last places to go paperless, given what I assume to be a heightened sense of security and privacy and also just plain tradition. But that opinion is, as the popular public radio duo Click & Clack used to say, "unencumbered by the thought process."

Ago 26, 2021, 3:23 pm

>68 rosalita: Julia, I think that we will be one of the last, but the lockdown really forced people to do without hard copy textbooks (and printing things out), so I think it may have sped up the eventual end of the looseleafs. We switched everything that we could to an online version but for some reason not everything is available in that format (yet). I still prefer a hard copy of any textbook, but when I say to the young ones that e.g. a copy of Chitty on Contract is available in the library they look slightly alarmed, as if maybe it isn't available online too. Fortunately it is :-)

Ago 26, 2021, 3:41 pm

>69 susanj67: Chitty on Contract

I heard the rest of that sentence in the bad Cockney accent of Dick Van Dyke. :-D

Ago 28, 2021, 1:47 pm

>70 rosalita: OMG I should totally say it like that!

Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues that Made History by Alex von Tunzelmann

This is a great read :-) It looks at what statues mean and the current controversy all over the world about what should be celebrated and what should not. It starts with a statue of George III, pulled down in New York after George Washington read out the Declaration of Independence, and ends with a statue of, um, George Washington pulled down in Portland much more recently. I love Alex von Tunzelmann's writing style and I'd recommend this to anyone interested in current affairs.

It's a Bank Holiday weekend here so three glorious days of reading things and watching Netflix. I've just finished Clickbait, which was very good.

Ago 29, 2021, 3:37 am

>71 susanj67: Silly, but I'd forgotten it was a bank holiday weekend until I read your post, so that was a nice surprise. (I'd like to claim I once had a good memory, but I'm not sure it was ever that good re the practical things!) I still prefer to print & read a journal article on paper (something about being able to write a comment in the margin) but I'm pretty sure I'm in a decreasing minority.

I'm reading about Japanese life in the 1800s - Stranger in the Shogun's City.

Ago 29, 2021, 3:59 am

>72 charl08: Charlotte, I know what you mean about printing and reading in hard copy, but we are in the minority :-( The young ones all run around with their Surface Pros in tablet mode, writing things on the glass with the special pen. I think that's how they annotate things these days but it's all beyond me. I saw Stranger in the Shogun's City at the library a while ago but I had too many things already (no, really). I'll look for your review as it's never too late to find it again!

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

I found this brand new thriller on a display shelf at the library so I snagged it before someone reserved it and it disappeared. It's really good :-) I thought I'd read all of this author's books, but there are more listed in the "Also by" section than I thought, so perhaps I still have one or two to look forward to.

Ago 29, 2021, 4:35 am

Hi Susan, just trying to catch up on threads. Yours is one that moves very quickly! You read some good books!

>63 susanj67:. That could be me! I love lists and getting things arranged on the right order.

Ago 29, 2021, 5:00 am

I'm another person of a certain age who prefers reading on paper. I find that I am far more accurate in picking up errors or corrections on paper than I am on screen.
I also find that I have a sort of spacial memory, I might not know which page number the reference is on, but I know where on the page it was. The same doesn't seem to work for electronic reading.

>71 susanj67: that one's tempting.

And yay for bank holidays. We've had a week off, so at least I start my week back at work with only 4 days to get through!

Ago 29, 2021, 8:22 am

>75 Helenliz: I'm with you on the paper books. I will read on my kobo while on the train or when a book I want to read is not available here. My brother has a lot of digital books so that's easy to get access to them that way. And I have the same ability to know where on the page something was or notice a spelling mistake or error!

Ago 29, 2021, 9:32 am

Hey Susan!

Bank Holiday - lucky you! Of course Labor Day is coming up here next weekend, but as it is usually a hot, sweaty sort of day that messes up my work week, I find that it is not anything that I've ever looked forward to.

>43 susanj67: - the "horrendous" book-buying experience involved my purchasing of a book recommended by the husband of a friend - The Reason Why by Cecil Woodham-Smith. The way he spoke about it, it sounded like a book I might like to own as well as read. So, I ordered it. Thank goodness I actually took a look inside as it is usually my way to just add a new book to one of the stacks of unread books without even cracking the cover. (I have designated piles for different types of books - the bookcase of unread fiction, the two chests of unread series books and then there are eight piles of books on a small table for the non-fiction books.) When I peeked inside TRW I discovered that it was actually a book called The Ice Museum - a book about the search for "the lost land of Thule" instead of the book about the Charge of the Light Brigade that I was expecting. The cover was right but the inside was definitely not the book I bought. It was a used book, of course; I almost always buy used books. Guess Penguin screwed up big time. I can understand about things getting bollixed up at the printers, but then to have it sent out into the world for purchase by the unwitting is so very, very wrong. Luckily the seller refunded my money immediately and I now own a book I never wanted. The seller certainly did not want it back. It is utterly useless - unless one day I want to know about the Lost Land of Thule. (Never knew it was missing.) Can't donate it to the library and I don't want to throw it away. I could encourage Jane to throw up on it, but you know how cats are - they never throw up where you want them to. I did hunt around for another copy of The Reason Why, but I had to get a hardcover copy as I did not want to risk anything with the same cover as the one I received the first time. Maybe horrendous was the wrong word to describe the experience, but as bad book-buying experiences go it was right up there at the top.

Ago 29, 2021, 3:37 pm

>77 Fourpawz2: I have a copy of The Ice Museum - presumably bought in a charity shop - apparently in 2013. I've read and reviewed a novel by Joanna Kavenna which I quite liked, and I'm attracted to travel books about that part of the world. The 5 LT reviews are mixed but the one by a friend Lyzzybee is a 5* one.

Ago 29, 2021, 11:09 pm

>41 susanj67: What a refreshing, wonderful response of yours to Trans. i am just about to start it. Had to order it from the U.K. but know I will really be impressed by it. I have watched lots of interviews of Helen Joyce and she is a smart cookie.

Ago 30, 2021, 4:37 am

>74 connie53: Hi Connie! Yes, there is something very satisfying about everything being orderly :-)

>75 Helenliz: Helen, I agree that it's easier to proof-read on paper - I still like printing things and there's now a little printer outside my office, which is handy. Not as handy as the printer that used to sit on my desk, but hey-hol

>76 connie53: I've been surprised at how much I still read in hard copy despite having a Kindle. Most of the hard copies are library books, but I remember in the early days of Kindle thinking that ebooks were the way of the future.

>77 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, that's so weird! I'm tempted now to double-check my hard copies, just in case. I'm intrigued by The Ice Museum, though - I've added it to my Kindle wishlist so I'll let you know if I get it and it's any good :-) I'm sure Jane will be pleased that she doesn't have to throw up on it :-)

>78 elkiedee: Luci, if you get to it first then do let us know what you think :-)

>79 mdoris: Hi Mary! Trans is excellent and I'm sure you'll whizz through it. It too me two evenings but that was only because I stopped to watch something on TV. The big media outlets have ignored Helen Joyce, so thank goodness for YouTube and podcasts.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

I'm late to the party with these novels, written by J K Rowling as everyone now knows. I enjoyed this one a lot, though, and read it all yesterday. It's well-plotted and I didn't guess whodunnit.

The Burning by Laura Bates

Bates wrote Men Who Hate Women, which is superb, and when I was looking at what else she'd written I came across this on Amazon. It's a YA novel (which I knew when I bought it) about "revenge porn" and it's very well done. Being a teen in the 80s was hard but I don't know how girls cope these days with the addition of social media to all the usual teen angst and awfulness.

There's an interesting part of Abigail Shrier's book Irreversible Damage which says that teen girls who think they're "transmen" are not running *towards* being men but rather *away* from being women, and when you read about modern misogynist culture it's not hard to see why.

Ago 30, 2021, 6:12 am

>80 susanj67: All books by Robert Galbraith are excellent and most, maybe all, are made in to a tv series.

Editado: Ago 30, 2021, 8:42 pm

>80 susanj67: Hi Susan, Before I start Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality I am going to polish off Andrew Doyle's wonderful book Free Speech and Why it Matters. He is so smart, such a big thinker and so articulate. Have you read Abigail Shrier's book? It is a must! Again much maligned like Helen Joyce by the captured media.

Ago 31, 2021, 4:07 am

>81 connie53: Connie, the library over the road has The Silkworm, which I *must not* borrow at lunchtime :-)

>82 mdoris: Mary, yes, I have read the Abigail Shrier book and it's superb. We're waiting for the Court of Appeal judgment in Bell v Tavistock NHS Trust here, which is the claim brought by a detransitioned young woman against the NHS's only gender clinic (where she was treated, although "treated" is inaccurate as she was encouraged straight away to go onto puberty blockers). She wanted a declaration that children couldn't consent to treatment that would have such a profound effect on their lives. The High Court judgment found in her favour and the NHS had to stop sterilising children, but naturally they appealed. The High Court case was heard by three judges, which is incredibly rare as judicial review cases are usually heard by a single judge and occasionally two judges, and they said three times in the judgment that they were "surprised" that there was no data on various issues that they thought were important, like how many children attending the clinic were autistic, or why the number of girls seeking to "transition" was so much higher in the last few years than it had been in the past. So I hope the Court of Appeal will agree. Shrier refers to the High Court judgment, I think, or at least the fact that the case had been heard, so the book is pretty up to date. You might also like to read Douglas Murray's The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity which is excellent.

Today Marion Millar goes on trial in Scotland. She said that biological sex is real, which is a hate crime in Scotland now. But Scotland is redefining "women" to include "men" so maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Anyway, if any of y'all are recruiting biologists, I wouldn't pick anyone with a degree from a Scottish university. Twitter thingummy for anyone who wants to follow the hearing: #IStandWithMarionMillar

Ago 31, 2021, 7:18 pm

Hi Susan, I have followed Keira Bell's hardships closely (what a brave and courageous soul) and also read both of D. Murray's books which were fantastic. I love watching his interviews! Also finished recently Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book Prey also looking at immigration like Murray's one but from a female's point of view. Very good book as well. Have you read K.Stock's book Material Girls? I would like to get my mitts on that one! Please let me know any books you might think helpful. What got me reading many of these books years ago was J Haidts book Coddling of the American Mind. it was excellent. He is a social psychologist interested in morality. Also have been following Marion Millar and what is going on in Scotland (unbelievable) but lots is going on in Canada in that regard. Bill C-16 has created much turmoil and other bills are waiting to create more.

Set 1, 2021, 4:46 am

>84 mdoris: Mary, I have Material Girls on my Kindle as it was a Daily Deal recently but I haven't read it yet. I think an important book is Laura Bates' Men Who Hate Women. It's not about the "trans" issue, but it's very interesting on the subject of Men's Rights Activists, who I think are behind a lot of the current nonsense. They have such a narrow, pornified and disgusting view of what a woman is that it's only a short step to saying that anyone who doesn't conform can't be a woman and must therefore be a man. I'm sure it's what's driving a lot of teen girls to try and escape womanhood. And conveniently it allows a lot of failed middle-aged men to think "Well, hey, I *feel* like a woman so therefore now I am one." Being a woman now is a performance rather than biology. The Millar case has been adjourned until 4 October but apparently there was quite the gathering at court yesterday with all manner of "triggering" ribbons and t-shirts. Maybe some of the snowflakes melted clean away with shock. There was also an incident over the weekend where a gay man was ousted from a Pride march because being gay is transphobic, apparently. In twenty years people won't believe this happened.

Set 1, 2021, 11:57 am

>85 susanj67: Very well said Susan and my local library has the Laura Bates book so I will get it promptly. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I think what you refer to is in fact at the bottom of the trans issue at least for some like the highly verbal and aggressive (bullying) activists. Yes, I am following the news about the gay man, who was concerned for his life at the parade and have followed the news of lesbians greatly pressured for sex by trans women while still being fully biological males. We are now so confused (intimidated) by gender that these situations are presenting. I'm not sure that people in 20 years won't believe this. We seem to be getting further down the rabbit hole. Have you read Debra Soh book The End of Gender? She is a very sensible Canadian (are there any other types?) who had to get out of academia for her views based on science. I will follow your thread to see what you think of Stock's book. I have watched many of her interviews and she is a brave and courageous one too!

Set 3, 2021, 8:18 am

>86 mdoris: Hi Mary! I think things may be changing in the UK (well, England. Scotland and Wales are crazier at the moment). The Forstater decision was a huge boost for people who wanted to talk about the issue but felt too scared to. It's starting to get coverage when previously it wouldn't have. I think a lot of people are waking up to what "trans rights" actually means. As Helen Joyce explains in her book it's not like gay rights, which were mostly about leaving gay people alone to get on with their lives. Gay rights don't impinge on the rights of people who aren't gay. But "trans rights" are about taking things away from women and people are starting to realise that crucial difference. I've just seen a great tweet which says "If your ideology means you insist a woman is just an identity, reduce women to body parts, tell children there are pink and blue brains and gender stereotypes are innate, advocate to remove sex based protections and ignore violent abuse your ideology is men's rights activism." So true. I haven't read the Debra Soh book, but I will look for it.

In climate protest news, there is apparently a large group of people outside the entrance to the tube station right now, which explains why the security people in the mall looked nervous at lunchtime. I expect it's the doomsday cult, unless another group has picked today to harass taxpayers. Twitter says they're up in the City too, gluing themselves to things. Police are unsticking them. I'd let them stay glued.

A reserve arrived out of the blue from the library, because I had *forgotten* about BorrowBox so now I have to read Fall as well as all the other things I have. Eek! I may also be getting The Road to Wigan Pier tomorrow but BorrowBox gives two different dates for it, so who knows? I'm not going to say there are *too many* ways to get books from the library now, but it's possible I might be thinking it.

Set 3, 2021, 1:07 pm

>87 susanj67: Thanks Susan. I hope you are right!

Set 3, 2021, 1:24 pm

>88 mdoris: Mary, only time will tell, but I hope not too much time.

We had *two* lots of protesters at the Wharf today. There was a "die-in" outside JP Morgan, no doubt by people who'd driven to the protest in their diesel vehicles after dropping their kids at school, and then a bunch of anti-vaxxers showed up and tried to get into the MHRA HQ. There are even pictures on the news. Protesters also caused the Science Museum and Natural History Museums to close their entrances on Exhibition Road but they've reopened now. The Science Museum has a vaccination centre, which is why they were targeted. But also science. I'm not sure whether the NHM was actively targeted or just caught up in it all (they are next door to one another) but you can see science there too, so maybe it was also a target.

Set 4, 2021, 11:57 am

Conclave by Robert Harris

Must. Stop. Borrowing random books from the library. But overall I enjoyed this one, although it's not the thriller that I thought it might be. It's about a conclave to elect a new Pope and I thought that maybe the main contenders would all die in mysterious circumstances, but no. However, there is an excellent twist at the end :-) I think my next Harris reads will be the Rome trilogy, but I need to get to a few other things before those. The library has them all, though, and they're even in order on the shelf. Now.

Editado: Set 5, 2021, 4:36 am

Fall by John Preston

This is excellent. Robert Maxwell had died before I came to the UK, so I've mostly only seen news items about how he stole the pension fund of the Mirror Group. There's also a famous case about what sort of notice you have to give people who are being criticised in an official report. (The process is called "Maxwellisation"). But this book starts from the very beginning and makes you wonder how he ever got as far as he did. John Preston also wrote A Very English Scandal and both books are compelling reads. I read this in a couple of days.

The Road to Wigan Pier appeared on Borrowbox this morning so I've read the first chapter and I think it will be another good read. Borrowbox is supposed to sync across devices, and so far it seems to work. That's one feature I wish Overdrive had. I'll read a bit more when I'm out today. Yes, I am finally leaving the house on a weekend!

Set 5, 2021, 7:53 am

In the John Lewis cafe: "Would you like a glass with ice for your drink?" Speechless.

Set 5, 2021, 4:34 pm

>90 susanj67: I have liked all Robert Harris books, Susan. My favorite was An Officer and a Spy, and the Cicero trilogy second best.

Set 5, 2021, 4:53 pm

>92 susanj67: Do they serve a lot of Americans there? (My answer to that question would be "yes please")

Set 6, 2021, 4:45 am

>93 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! I'll definitely look out for An Officer and a Spy.

>94 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I wouldn't have thought so, but it was a welcome change. The bottle felt like it had been in a fridge some time before, but wasn't "cold". So the ice was quite a treat :-)

The West End is pretty sad, with lots of shops closed (on the north side of Oxford Street there are tons of hoardings between Selfridges and House of Fraser - very sad to see). I walked down Charing Cross Road, along the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill (McDonald's seems to be over the milkshake shortage, btw), past St Paul's where the bells were ringing like crazy and up to the Museum of London, which is where my bus route starts. I think that's the most steps I've done since 14 March last year when I took my brother and his colleague on a walk around London. Until yesterday my brother had been to Oxford Street more recently than I had and he lives in New Zealand. I don't think I'll rush back - while the shops themselves were pretty quiet there were lots of people about and a lot fewer masks than I expected. I kept a mask on all the time, even outside, so I hope that helped.

I read an article in Time Out recently about why there are so many American sweetshops in central London, so I was interested to see whether they're still there. And they are! I don't understand it at all.

Set 6, 2021, 1:20 pm

When Hubby and I were there 3 (?) years ago, we walked down Oxford street from Selfridges to Hyde Park Corner. I used to love shopping there (back in the dark age when I lived in London) and I was somewhat dismayed by what we found. I don't think I'll visit again if/when we get back to London (except maybe to pop into Selfridges).

Set 6, 2021, 2:26 pm

>96 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yes, it's pretty tatty. You may have seen the big new Zara store (opposite Marks & Spencer) but after that it's mostly all old. And now, at Marble Arch, there is the Marble Arch Mound, which was supposed to be a hill with greenery and an amazing view. In fact it's just a pile of dirt and Westminster Council has had to waive the entry fee so £6 million of public money has been totally wasted. Who comes up with this nonsense?!!

We got a "Welcome back" email this morning and at the end there was a reference to swag bags downstairs, so everyone rushed to get one. I got the backpack (the other option was a sports bag) and in it was a fancy water bottle (I've never had one before), a tote bag, a powerbank and a wireless phone charger pad. I'm not sure how long the powerbank is supposed to take to charge up but I may be doing something wrong. I'll try again tomorrow. Tonight I think I'll stop playing with my new things and finish The Road to Wigan Pier.

Set 6, 2021, 2:48 pm

>97 susanj67: Those sound like some nice "welcome back" gifts!! Is everyone working from the office now?

Set 6, 2021, 3:00 pm

>98 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, yes the gifts were a really nice idea. I took the tote to the library at lunchtime to return a book, so it's going to be my library bag. We now have an "agile" working policy in place, which means that everyone is supposed to do 50% of their time in the office. There were a lot of empty desks and offices today, though, so some people might be starting their 50% tomorrow. Or Wednesday...I plan never to work from home again so help me G*d, so it doesn't really affect me but I think having to have video conferences as part of meetings (some people in person, others via video) will soon start to wear thin. It's one thing when everyone's at home, but now it seems to be a forever thing.

Set 7, 2021, 4:32 am

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

This is excellent, although the section on socialism being the cure for all the world's ills is a bit tiresome. But the first section, about real life for poor families in the north of England, is really well done. In the second (socialism) section there's an interesting discussion of machines taking over human work and the rush to mechanisation meaning that there will be fewer jobs (people could retrain, but those jobs will eventually be taken over by machines too) but I can see why the publisher originally deleted that second section for fear of offending the "juice-drinking" "vegetarian" classes (and feminists), among others. If Orwell was writing today he'd have been cancelled, but it's quite thrilling, in a way, to read his politically-incorrect views :-)

Set 8, 2021, 2:53 am

Hi Susan, just popping in to see what you have been reading.

Set 8, 2021, 3:58 pm

SO I had typed a whole big post and then managed to disappear it. *sob* It's a funny story or I would not bother retyping it. Birdy and I were sitting on the screened-in porch when I started reading All the President's Men, and something made me laugh right away - the descriptions of Woodward and Bernstein, I think. Anyway, I said to Birdy, "Listen to this," and read off a quote to her. Birdy has big love for the movie version, and is also a bit of a political news junkie. She said, "Don't stop; just keep going." And so I did. We have continued reading in this way and are now ready for chapter 8. I went to track down that podcast that you had mentioned on my thread and found that they had made it into a six part documentary, so we have been watching that - we have done the first three episodes, and it is excellent! Craig happened to be in the room when we were viewing, so he watched it with us, and then came and joined us for our latest read aloud. SO our buddy read has turned into Story Time at the Pecan Paradisio. How funny is that?!

>92 susanj67: YES, please!! Hooray for ice!

>100 susanj67: I have this one in the stacks. Currently I am reading Homage to Catalonia. I also just purchased that brand new Penguin Clothbound edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four because I needed another copy. *blinks*

Editado: Set 8, 2021, 4:39 pm

>100 susanj67: "but I can see why the publisher originally deleted that second section for fear of offending the "juice-drinking" "vegetarian" classes (and feminists), among others."

Ha! I read The Road to Wigan Pier back in 2017 and found the first section, in particular, extremely powerful. My review is here, if you've an interest:

Regarding that second section, the quote that amused me most was this one:

"Of course, as I have suggested already, it is not strictly fair to judge a movement by its adherents; but the point is that people invariably do so, and that the popular conception of Socialism is coloured by the conception of a Socialist as a dull or disagreeable person. ‘Socialism’ is pictured as a state of affairs in which our more vocal Socialists would feel thoroughly at home. This does great harm to the cause. The ordinary man may not flinch from a dictatorship of the proletariat, if you offer it tactfully; offer him a dictatorship of the prigs, and he gets ready to fight."

Set 8, 2021, 6:46 pm

>102 Crazymamie: Love it -- sometimes reading Story Time fashion makes a book all the better

Editado: Set 9, 2021, 7:48 am

>100 susanj67: The impression I got from a biography was that Orwell quite enjoyed annoying people! Glad you had fun with this one. The "Wigan Pier" area of Wigan (by the canal) is in the process of being converted into an eco development, with lots of claims to sustainability/ low emissions etc. It used to be a rather lovely museum with a Victorian schoolhouse, clog dancers, barge tours and a working mill. My dad and sister got into trouble with the (actor) teacher for trying to write on their slate with their left hand.

Set 9, 2021, 4:12 am

>101 connie53: Hi Connie! Always nice to see you :-)

>102 Crazymamie: Mamie, I *love* that the Pecan Paradisio is now obsessed with Watergate :-) I had a quick look for the TV documentary series of the Slow Burn podcast, but I can't see it so far. However, I'm going to do some spelunking on the Fire Stick tonight. I'm sure it's there on one of my many streaming services. I was telling the ice story to a pal at work yesterday and she confessed that she doesn't like drinks with ice in them. "OMG," I said, "you're so British". I do intend to read some more Orwell. I only read Nineteen Eighty-Four a few years ago and *whispers* I've never read Animal Farm. But my new elibrary has a lot of his work reissued with pretty covers like the one above, so they're tempting.

>103 rocketjk: Jerry, I like your review and I agree with you. It was odd that he thought there was no future for most British workers, who would just trundle along largely unemployed or underemployed until they died. He reminds me a bit of a partner I used to work for who didn't have a good word to say about anyone. It made for a strangely level playing field. No-one could complain that he hated group X and they were therefore disadvantaged, because groups A, B and C were in exactly the same position.

>104 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba!

>105 charl08: Charlotte, the eco development sounds good but then so did the clog dancers and the working mill. (Was it a dark satanic mill? On my first trip up North soon after I arrived in the UK I was looking out of the train window for dark satanic mills, much to the amusement of the partner I was travelling with.)

Set 9, 2021, 8:47 am

>104 RebaRelishesReading: It's a hoot, Reba. Who woulda thunk?

Susan, I searched through Amazon Prime video, and saw that it was available from EPIX, which we don't have. I could have done a seven day free trial, but we opted to just purchase it because I know we will watch it again because Birdy. It explains a lot of things about the last administration here when you find out that Roger Stone worked for Nixon's CRP (the Committee to Re-Elect the President). Gotta love that they called themselves CREEP!

No ice in a cold drink is a travesty.

On Orwell, as you know, I have a slight obsession with him. I am completely shocked that you have not read Animal Farm. His essays are his best stuff, IMO, but I think you would appreciate Down and Out in Paris and London - I thought the Paris part was better than the London part, and he does tend to get bogged down in the details, but it is so interesting. His writing changes after he fought in Spain, so Homage to Catalonia is a pivotal force in his canon. I love this quote:

"The fact is that every war suffers a kind of progressive degradation with every month that it continues, because such things as individual liberty and a truthful press are simply not compatible with military efficiency."

The Road to Wigan Pier was written the year before Homage to Catalonia, so his views change, and there is a brilliant quote somewhere that I can't quite remember where he says that he did not set out to become a political writer but that the times demanded it of him. Anyway, I have a deep respect for his integrity even though we do not agree on a lot of things. His voice is still relevant. If you do read Animal Farm somewhere down the road, than I would recommend two books (both are excellent) for you:

The Last Man in Europe, which is fiction but very well researched and tells of how Orwell came to wrote both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, which is non-fiction. Churchill and Orwell both kept diaries throughout their lives, and this book tells their stories into and through WWII in alternating chapters. Interesting fact: Orwell's very last writing was a review of the second volume of Churchill's memoirs.

Set 9, 2021, 9:12 am

Animal Farm is a favorite of mine, but *Whispers* I haven't read Nineteen Eighty-Four. And I listened to Homage to Catalonia earlier this year and found much of it to be rather boring. I plan to read Down and Out in PAris and London sometime soonish.

Set 9, 2021, 9:17 am

>108 katiekrug: I heard that! Please to read Nineteen Eighty-Four, which you will probably also not like, but it is iconic. I honestly don't know how you listened to Homage to Catalonia - I can't imagine how it would be not boring unless Alan Rickman was reading it.

Set 9, 2021, 10:32 am

>107 Crazymamie: Thank you for that detailed post, Mamie! I will definitely look for those books about Orwell and do my best to read Animal Farm very soon. I also want to reread Nineteen Eighty-Four. I read an e version of it but then I received the Penguin Modern Classics paperback as part of a gift from a client (a client who gives books! My favourite kind :-) ) so I have it in my own collection. On the subject of Watergate, EPIX isn't an Amazon channel here, but I'm sure the series will be available somewhere, even if not immediately. It's the sort of thing the BBC would buy.

>108 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I think there's so much fame and learning about the books that it feels a bit overwhelming. Maybe we should buddy-read, but with different books? That way Mamie need never find out.

>109 Crazymamie: Oh, um, hi Mamie! Well, this is awkward...

This time last year I was buddy-reading Moby-Dick with a friend and we *loved* it. I bought the Penguin English Classics version which was beautiful, so I thought I'd reread it. But I wanted to read more *about* it first, so I reserved Nathaniel Philbrick's Why Read Moby-Dick? and I picked it up from the library at lunchtime. It's tiny! I was expecting something much larger but I'm looking forward to starting it.

Set 9, 2021, 12:24 pm

Ahem. *stern look over top of glasses*

I remember that your buddy read lead to me reading Moby Dick and loving it. And I have read that Philbrick book, and it is good. I can't believe I am saying this, but I just might reread Moby Dick with you - I remember being surprised by how readable it was. And how good!

And when you do read Nineteen Eighty-Four let me know, and I will join in - I do have that lovely new Penguin Clothbound edition with the adorable creepy eyeballs on it:

I love that you got your newest version as a gift from a client - how full of fabulous!!

I also bought this one:

Set 9, 2021, 12:36 pm

>111 Crazymamie: Mamie, those are both so pretty! I know that's not a reason to buy books, except why isn't it?

There's a little discussion happening on Lissa Evans' Twitter about people buying books by the yard or by colour (for decor purposes). Someone said that she used to work in an Oxfam bookshop and someone came in and bought classic Penguin paperbacks as wedding favours :-)

I need to make some progress with All the President's Men tonight, and also Thinking Fast and Slow which is good but very long. Then maybe some of the Philbrick. And inspect the Fire Stick for Watergate documentaries. And maybe watch some YouTube. And work out whether it was be rude to ask my new roomie to stop her phones from going CLINK and PLONK and DING all the time. Why do young people have all these phones and why do they have to turn them up so loud?

Set 9, 2021, 12:37 pm

I'd love to read 1984 along with either or both of you, Susan and Mamie!

Set 9, 2021, 1:17 pm

>112 susanj67: That discussion sounds entertaining, Might to have a look. Old Baggage is the subject of this month's episode of Radio 4 Bookclub which I heard repeated this afternoon - but those episodes are available in a permanent online archive if you missed it. It was an interesting discussion though I found some of Lissa Evans' historical claims a bit odd (that the movement for women's suffrage was very unified until they got the vote).

I do think buying decisions are affected by the appearance of books. Although I buy a lot of books on Kindle now, where I don't have them on Kindle I'm easily tempted by nicer copies than the ones I own in charity shops. (I won't mention keeping a tiny number of books in multiple editions). Yesterday I completed a survey asking me what I thought of a book cover I think is hideous - I actually read the book via Netgalley because the subject interests me - but I don't like the colour of this cover or the layout of the longer title, and the title is printed with a full stop at the end - just so wrong - and the book is about teaching! It's Re-Educated by Lucy Kellaway.

Set 9, 2021, 1:19 pm

On Netgalley this afternoon I noticed that Janice Hallett has a second novel coming out in the New Year, The Twyford Code.

Set 9, 2021, 2:35 pm

>112 susanj67: Wedding favors?! Yes, please! And I would love to buy books by the yard - I'll take two yards of Penguin Clothbound classics but hold the Dickens.

>113 katiekrug: FUN!

>114 elkiedee: I actually have more than a few books in various editions.

Set 9, 2021, 3:00 pm

I'm in favour of books a presents from clients, that's a client I'd work for.

Wedding favours - now there's an idea. I did party bags for all the kids at our wedding (and there were quite a lot!) Each one had a book, a colouring book and a toy. It was bribery to keep them quite in the speeches and I seem to remember it worked.

Editado: Set 15, 2021, 6:21 am

>113 katiekrug: Katie, maybe we could do it in October?

>114 elkiedee: Luci, I think Instagram and YouTube have been responsible for the huge increase in amazing book covers - the predictions about ebooks taking over didn't account for the need for something to show in posts or videos. Even stationery is in on it - I was amused to see the other day a long pack of highlighters in a rainbow of colours - very different from the three or four in a pack that used to be the norm. But they look so pretty in a YouTube haul.

>115 elkiedee: Ooh, that's one to look forward to!

>116 Crazymamie: Mamie, we regret to inform you that our books by the yard are a random selection and we cannot guarantee no Dickens. You may be interested in our books by the *letter*, in which case you could exclude "D". And maybe "C" to be on the safe side, as shelving order is a mystery to many of our staff.

>117 Helenliz: Helen, yes, the gifts were lovely. Far better than wine, which I don't drink.

I was stuck on Thinking Fast and Slow, so last night I deleted it. I was 80% of the way through the text but it was very long. I'm reading The End of the World is Flat now, which is a satire about Stonewall (represented in this book by a charity trying to make people agree that the world is flat) and I liked this bit, in which a UK member of the charity is meeting a squillionaire in Palo Alto:
His host pulled a bottle out of a fridge in the cabana, along with a plate of ready-cut lemon wedges. "Ice? Yes? I wasn't sure. I know you guys don't have ice cubes over in Europe, do you?"

Set 15, 2021, 8:12 am

>118 susanj67: That quote made me laugh.

Most unfortunate about the books - your reply cracked me up. I read it out loud to Birdy, who says you are da Bomb.

Set 15, 2021, 10:18 am

>118 susanj67: - I could do October.

Editado: Set 17, 2021, 5:11 am

>119 Crazymamie: Mamie, I am flattered to be da Bomb!

>120 katiekrug: Katie, that sounds like a plan!

30. The End of the World is Flat by Simon Edge

This doesn't seem to have a touchstone, and the cover picture won't show up, but it's very new. And just £2.84 for Kindle in the UK at the moment.

It's a (timely) satire of Stonewall, the UK campaign group that added the "T" to LGB in 2015 and now persecutes gay people as well as anyone who doesn't support its mad gender identity theory. In the book, the campaign group is the Orange Peel Society, which campaigned successfully for the world to use a different map projection (the "orange peel" projection is a real thing: the society is not). And it was fabulously successful. Its mission was accomplished! It could close. But various highly-paid interests decided that perhaps the answer was to move on to a *new* campaign. It would be very chuckle-worthy if we weren't living in the middle of madness. There are lots of sly digs at barely-disguised real people, and it's well-paced, with new lunacy appearing on nearly every page. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I realised just how easy it is to get up a head of steam and get people to believe anything you want (or to be too scared to disagree), as long as you have enough money to do it.

Set 17, 2021, 8:26 am

I would like to read Nineteen Eighty-Four with you and Katie in October, please.

Birdy and I have finished our read aloud of All the President's Men - how are you coming with it? We thought it was very well done - amazing everything that was going on behind the scenes that only comes out because of that bungled burglary. We were so thankful for your mention of that podcast Slow Burn because watching the documentary of it really helped us to keep all the characters straight, and there were A LOT of characters.

Set 17, 2021, 9:09 am

>122 Crazymamie: Excellent re Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mamie! I haven't finished All the President's Men yet - I've read nine chapters and I plan to finish it over the weekend. I'm glad you found the documentary! I found one from 1994 on the BBC iPlayer, which I think must have been made for the 20-year anniversary of Nixon resigning. It's so old that the picture is square, but the voiceover is old-school BBC "Received Pronunciation", which is fun. It has interviews with some of the key players who I suppose are all dead now. It is good to be able to put faces to names.

Set 17, 2021, 4:11 pm

Today's news of the appeal case for Keira Bell is a stunning set back.

Editado: Set 18, 2021, 7:14 am

>124 mdoris: Mary, it was a disappointment, but the Court of Appeal seemed to say that the lower court had gone further than it should given the question it had to answer. The lower court held that the Tavistock's policies were not unlawful and that a court order was not required before treatment of children could start, so it should not have gone further and said what it did about younger teens being unlikely to be able to give consent. According to gender-critical legal-nerd Twitter, the appeal was "lost on a technicality". Keira says that she's going to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, so we'll have to see what happens next. Apparently there are some bits of the judgment which acknowledged the point that puberty-blockers have potentially unknown side-effects, which may be useful for future damages claims. The vested interests won't be able to argue that no-one had a clue about the issue in the early 2020s if the point has been made in a Court of Appeal judgment. I haven't read the whole judgment yet but it's here, with a summary for anyone who's interested:

Set 18, 2021, 7:25 am

Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

I reserved this from the library as prep for my Moby-Dick reread and it's a great little book (127pp and pretty small. I had the version in the picture, which looked very olde-worlde even though it was published in 2012, I think). Philbrick writes short chapters on different aspects of the book and how it related to the time it was written in and what was going on in Melville's life. I learned a lot.

I seem to be slightly over-booked now due to reserved ebooks coming in. I have:

A Short History of the World in 50 Animals*
Yours Cheerfully (this is a follow-up to Dear Mrs Bird and it was an impulse-borrow yesterday)
Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600 - 1850 (I thought this might be short, like Acts of Union and Disunion but typing that sub-title I'm not so sure)

And the latest CJ Box is waiting in hard copy at the library.

*I was *delighted* to read in this book that "dinosaurs became extinct". Everyone seems to say "went extinct" these days, which is just - no. NO. And before that happens, animals may be about to BECOME extinct (not "go extinct").

Set 18, 2021, 12:06 pm

>125 susanj67: Thanks Susan for the explanation. Sounds like it has to wind its way through the various court levels and sure hoping that Keira Bell and her posy will keep up the momentum on this one. It is critical for the future health of children. Sure hope she is able to make her appeal and head to the Supreme Court.

Set 18, 2021, 12:06 pm

Um, Captives is not that short. Has lots of footnotes though.
Oh, and is a good read too, in case that helps! (Pirates, no? Or are these the wrong kind of pirates?) Have you read her Elizabeth Marsh one already, or have I misremembered that.

Set 19, 2021, 5:01 am

>127 mdoris: Mary, this good analysis appeared in my Twitter feed this morning:

>128 charl08: Charlotte, I looked up the Amazon version for a page count and it's 464 pages. Really good so far, though. (Who knew Tangier was an English colony in the 1600s?!) I hadn't realised what the title actually meant, so I love the premise! I haven't read Elizabeth Marsh (yet).

Also on Twitter was a post from Lissa Evans saying how much she'd enjoyed The Man on a Donkey, which I'd never heard of before but apparently it's famous. Tempting.

Set 19, 2021, 5:19 am

Misogynies by Joan Smith

Joan Smith is a feminist who was co-chair of London's Violence Against Women and Girls board at City Hall. She recently lost that post after saying that men had no place in rape and domestic abuse refuges. Ten years ago that would have been obvious but no-one's allowed to say it now because all women's spaces must be open to creepy men who want to find new victims to torment and abuse. I reserved this one from the elibrary and it's a good read, although it's depressing to realise that the situation in 1988 hasn't improved for women, and in many ways has got worse. There was no internet in 1988, after all.

There's quite a bit about the Yorkshire Ripper in the book, and how hopeless the police were at catching him (and actually not that interested when he was killing prostitutes, saving their sympathy for "innocent" girls and women). There are also some examples of appalling sentencing comments made by judges who blamed women for being raped/murdered etc. There was an eerie echo of this a couple of weeks ago when a man who murdered a woman by choking her during sex was jailed for fewer than five years, as the judge accepted that he didn't really mean to do it. This despite the fact that (a) the "rough sex" defence has been banned and (b) he'd woken up to find her unconscious, left her flat and sat in his car for 15 minutes thinking about what he should do instead of calling an ambulance to see whether she could be helped. That sentence rightly created an uproar and it's been referred to the Attorney-General. (The A-G can then ask the Court of Appeal to review the sentence. Anyone can ask the A-G to do it, although that's not widely known. There's a link here:

Anyway, the book is an important one and I'd recommend it but you *will* feel furious. As I feel furious all the time, that didn't really bother me.

Editado: Set 19, 2021, 6:57 am

>130 susanj67: I haven't read Misogynies but there was an excellent BBC Four documentary series a couple of years ago, and repeated at least once - not sure whether it's currently available on Iplayer - about the distrastrous police investigations into this. It's not just that the police weren't very concerned about murders of prostitutes, they took very little interest in murders and the accounts of surviving victims when they dismissed the women as prostitutes. Some of the women were involved in sex work, but there was no evidence that all the women described in media reports that way actually were. Several women who survived an attempt to murder them actually reported the attacks to the police and gave them information that the police ignored because it didn't fit their pet theories, and also perhaps because the women were too working class, too black, too female? to be believed.

I did read Joan Smith's first 3 books in her crime fiction series set in Oxford and featuring a sleuth protagonist called Loretta (?) - in the last one I read she was living on the same street as my grandparents (and the house where my mum and her sisters grew up).

Set 19, 2021, 12:39 pm

>130 susanj67: Hi Susan. This sounds like a very upsetting book to read but a necessary one. Same problem in Canada with the deaths of many Indigenous women (MMIW). There is a REDress Project to raise awareness for missing and murdered women.

Set 20, 2021, 9:28 am

>131 elkiedee: Luci, I saw that documentary and I think Joan Smith was one of the people interviewed for it. It was shocking the way the police blamed women for being out late, as if no decent woman should do that.

>132 mdoris: Mary, it really makes you realise that virtually no progress has been made. Next week the police officer who kidnapped and killed Sarah Everard will be sentenced, and if the words "whole-life tariff" aren't included then I think the Attorney-General may need to add a new email server for all the requests for a stronger sentence.

I picked up the new C J Box at lunchtime and couldn't resist Traitor King, which is subtitled "The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor". It's gorgeous to look at - a 1930s tealy-blue colour with gold foiling for the title. It's long-ish (363pp) and I do still have Captives but I've read 25% of that so I decided to give in to temptation. I bet this one reads up super-fast. I suppose I'll find out this evening.

Set 22, 2021, 11:09 am

Julie Bindel's new book, Feminism for Women, came in to the library for me so I went over to get it at lunchtime. They had FOUR copies of the The Man Who Died Twice on the new books shelf too, so I snagged one of those. The machine beeped at me about holds and ordered me to go to the desk, but the assistant fixed the problem and let me take it. I imagine there *are* a gazillion holds on it, so I was surprised to see four copies.

Now I have too many books. No, really.

Set 23, 2021, 12:30 pm

>134 susanj67: It seems surprising that there were 4 copies of the book put out together in one branch, especially if there are holds. I expect you'll read the book quite fast and return it in a few days though. I'm going to have to choose a couple of my in demand library books to hold on to and return the rest soon, though I'm hoping that during the 3 or 4 months that Central Library is closed for renovation and book stock isn't available for reservation, that Central Library books returned to N4 (for example) can be sent to the next borrower's choice of branch for collection, and that they can continue to go along the queue. Rather than - you can't renew this book because it's reserved, so it has to go back to a temporarily closed library for a few months where no one has access to it.

Editado: Set 23, 2021, 12:45 pm

I'll follow your thread Susan to see how you like the new J Bindel book. I watched her interviewed recently by Andrew Doyle.

Set 23, 2021, 2:06 pm

>135 elkiedee: Luci, I think the holds are consortium-wide but Tower Hamlets tries to keep its new stock within the borough for six months before they let it go to other places. So "the system" recognises a hold but the desk can override it. As they try to make everyone use the machines that's a bit annoying, and frankly I thought there would be lots of holds within the borough. I hope your library looks amazing once it's renovated!

>136 mdoris: Mary, I've read about half of it and it's excellent so far. Julie Bindel has tweeted a couple of times urging people to buy it so that it stays at the top of Amazon's "Ancient Mayan History" list :-) So far there are no Mayans in it, though, ancient or modern. That Amazon algorithm comes up with some very odd results! I'll try and finish it tonight so I can take it back tomorrow as I want as many people to read it as possible.

Editado: Set 23, 2021, 8:22 pm

I "attended" a Zoom meeting with Joan Smith as the invited speaker tonight.

Set 27, 2021, 4:31 am

>138 elkiedee: Luci, I bet that was interesting!

Feminism for Women by Julie Bindel

I am a Julie Bindel fangirl, so this review may be biased :-) But it's an excellent reminder of what feminism actually *is*. It's not being "empowered" by "kinks" and being choked to death in bed. It's not reciting "Sex work is work" because it's not - it's abuse. It's not about cheering on rich gay men who buy babies from surrogates. And it's definitely not about pretending that men are women just because they demand that we do. If there's a young woman in your life who says that she's not a feminist, or a man who says that he *is*, buy them this book.

Dark Sky by C J Box

This is Joe Picket #21 and a very good instalment, as it included Nate Romanowski and his giant guns and much running around in Wyoming.

Traitor King by Andrew Lownie

This is an excellent look at the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, starting from the day of the abdication. If you like British history, particularly royal history, this is a must-read. New documents are being released into the public domain all the time, so there always seems to be something new to find. My overall impression (which I think the author shares) is that Edward VIII would have been a terrible king. Lownie says that, although the abdication was a huge shock at the time, in a strange way it preserved the monarchy because both George VI and the present Queen did (and are doing in the Queen's case) a much better job.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

This is the second instalment in the Thursday Murder Club series, set in a retirement village in Kent. The plot of this one, as with the first one, was far-fetched and overly detailed, but the characters are a delight. I particularly liked Kendrick, the eight-year-old grandson of Ron who was visiting while his parents went overseas, and who helped to solve the mystery.

All in all a busy weekend with the books, but I'm now down to just two ebooks from the library, which is a relief.

Set 27, 2021, 8:29 am

Well, plus The White Ship, which was in the new books at the library at lunchtime. Heh :-)

Set 27, 2021, 1:55 pm

Wow, you can sure knock off a few books on a weekend!
Great review of the Julie Bindel book!

Set 28, 2021, 10:34 am

>141 mdoris: Hi Mary! They weren't all weekend reads (I finished Feminism for Women on Thursday night) but I did turn a lot of pages :-)

A Short History of the World in 50 Animals by Jacob F Field

This was another random library ebook but it was a good read. The title pretty much describes it, so if you like natural science-y things, this might be a good choice.

I need to focus on Captives now as it's due back in 11 days. But I've finished the first section, about the Barbary pirates. The next section is about North America.

This morning I had a flu vaccine, which is super-quick now that the escalator to the mall is open again. Boots has added a vaccine centre and they're doing flu shots as well as Covid, and I heard them say to someone that they'll be doing the Covid booster shots too, so that will be handy. It's now free for 50+ rather than 65+ (I think last year it was eventually free for 50+ but not until much later in the season) so that was nice. And, unlike the shot last year, this time they asked for my NHS number so it will appear in my GP's records in a day or two. I hope they continue doing that, as otherwise GPs chase people up and it's a waste of their time. So far I don't seem to have any side effects, which is just as well as I had to do a presentation using Teams at lunchtime, and let's just say I am *never using it again*.

Set 28, 2021, 10:54 am

I hate Teams. I don't love Zoom but Teams always seems to have more problems in terms of meetings being disrupted.

Set 28, 2021, 11:03 am

>143 elkiedee: Yes, it's far too complicated. Today no-one joined my meeting and I wondered where they were and then found them in another part of the site. The attendance register was empty afterwards and the recording appears to have started part-way through. Seventeen people attended but I'm still not sure who they were. Back to LoopUp next time! It may only do one thing, but at least it does it properly.

Out 3, 2021, 12:17 pm

Hi Susan, just scrolling through your thread.

>102 Crazymamie: made me laugh out loud.

Out 3, 2021, 1:05 pm

>139 susanj67: mmm. I'm undecided on the second Osman book. I read the first and it was fun, but not great. And it did that thing I find really irritating about a lot of current crime fiction - it resorted to confession.

As an antipodean I'm hoping you can answer a word usage question. Does "lightweight" have the same negative connotation in NZ/Aus as it does here? I might be about to cause some (necessary, imo) trouble and so far the defence I've had is that the author is an antipodean, so wouldn't have known. I find that hard to believe, so am attempting to verify first.

Out 3, 2021, 1:30 pm

>146 Helenliz: I'm really intrigued by your question to Susan and the context. Is this about a book (you mention an author) or something else?

Out 3, 2021, 2:08 pm

>147 elkiedee: Sorry, yes it was a bit abstract, wasn't it. Long explanation follows. (sorry)

In church bellringing it is usual to conduct the piece of ringing while ringing the heaviest bell. Convention going back a couple of centuries. The downside of that being that it discourages people from conducting who think they would struggle to ring the heaviest bell and conduct. So there has been a move to try and explain conducting and how to go about it from lighter bells. All well and good. Only the educational series on this subject has the title "The Lightweight Conductor".

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. It makes it sound like a ringer wanting to conduct from a lighter bell is a dilettante who needs to man up, ring a heavy bell and do it properly. On querying it, I was told that the author of the series is Australian and wouldn't have known the negative connotation.

My initial thought was b**llocks, but I thought a spot of research to prove it was b**llocks was needed.

Then I will proceed to make entirely justifiable trouble.

Out 4, 2021, 4:15 am

>145 connie53: Hi Connie!

>146 Helenliz:, >147 elkiedee:, >148 Helenliz: "Lightweight" has the same negative meaning if you use it to describe a person (as in your example). But a "lightweight coat", for example, is just a coat that isn't a heavy coat. It's still a proper coat :-) I think the book in your case might be better titled "Conducting from a lightweight bell".

Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600 - 1850 by Linda Colley

This is good, but I'm just not really in the mood for reading at the moment. Still, I finished it six days before it expired.

Out 4, 2021, 4:27 am

> 149 thanks. >:-)

Hope the reading slump clears soon. Sunny here, which is a small positive for a Monday morning.

Editado: Out 15, 2021, 4:15 am

>150 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. I've finished some more books, so that's something.

The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I's Dream by Charles Spencer

One of the cover blurbs says "Game of Thrones but in the real world" and I'd say that's accurate. This is the story of the White Ship, which sank off the coast of France in 1120, taking with it the son of Henry I and eventually leading to "The Anarchy" as Stephen and Matilda fought for the throne. It's very well done, and not the author's fault that so many people were called Henry and William. As with much history from Ye Olden Days, details of the wars have survived more than other things, so it's battle-heavy but, again, that's what men considered important and they were the ones writing it all down.

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

This is about fungi. And there's far more to say about it than I had previously appreciated. This is really well done, and very thought-provoking. It also goes well with the BBC documentary "The Blob" which is available on the iPlayer. While the blob isn't a fungus (it's Physarum polycephalum) it raises equally interesting questions about the importance of things that we tend not to notice or pay attention to.

Breath by James Nestor

This is another good one, about the importance of how we breathe. I'm going to investigate some of the ideas on YouTube, and start practising.

I've now got only one library book in progress, and that's A Net for Small Fishes, which I'm undecided about half-way in. I should be getting Tim Spector's Spoon-Fed early next week, though, and that's supposed to be very good.

Out 15, 2021, 6:18 am

Entangled Life is on my wishlist, it looks fascinating. The author is from such an interesting family too - his brother Cosmo is a musician, and his father is the parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake.

Out 15, 2021, 8:51 am

Hello, Susan! I was here yesterday, and I decided to give you one more day before getting together a search party. You have been missed.

The White Ship sounds like one for The List. Your last sentence with "...that's what men considered important and they were the ones writing it all down. " hit home. I recently listened to Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser, and although the entire book didn't deliver what I was expecting, the first part was excellent.

Spoon-Fed sounds intriguing.

I have started my reread of Nineteen Eighty-Four - I'm trying to read the print version and the new GN version together chapter by chapter, so I can see what got edited out to make the book fit into GN format. Interestingly enough, a lot of it is description of smells. In a bit of serendipity, I am also currently reading Orwell's Nose, which talks about his preoccupation with smells - seems he had a sensitive nose that could separate smells into their component parts. I am blanking on the official term for that, but it explains why smells are so prominent in all of his work.

Hoping the weekend is kind to you and that at least part of it is full of fabulous!

Out 15, 2021, 10:32 am

I'm game for any book about food so have put Spoon-Fed on reserve at the library with thanks! I used to do a lot of reading about food and have missed it of late!

Editado: Out 16, 2021, 7:46 am

>152 Jackie_K: Jackie, I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you get to it!

>153 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! Cassandra Speaks sounds very interesting. There's no sign of it at the library yet, but I'm going to keep it in mind. I'm not going to get to the 1984 reread but I like the sound of your comparison project!

>154 mdoris: Mary, it's got a lot of good press over here. Tim Spector is the head of the King's College/ZOE Covid symptom study so he's quite high-profile here at the moment. I report in the app every day (not that I've ever had anything to report, save for my vaccines) and he does a video every week about what's happening, Covid-wise. This book sounds closer to his real field of interest, uninterrupted by pandemics.

A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago

This is a historical novel about real people, and it was good although there's a major flaw in the way that the story is told, which always annoys me when authors do it. That's all I'll say because I don't want to give anything away, but mostly it's a good read and it's about the early Jacobean period, which at least is a change from all the Tudor stuff out there :-)

And now...drumroll...I have no library books. None! Nothing needs finishing. There are no deadlines. I can get back to my own things again, and I'm going to start by finishing All The President's Men, The Sleeping Beauties and The Once and Future Witches. But not today. Today I'm watching telly, doing crosswords and generally futzing around. I don't need to go out and I don't want a paper anyway, as all the news is about an MP murdered yesterday by yet another person who shouldn't have been in the country in the first place. Awful.

Out 16, 2021, 8:50 am

>155 susanj67: No library books? How does that feel?

Out 16, 2021, 11:33 am

>156 charl08: Hi Charlotte! It's a bit like the end of exams at university - suddenly there's nothing left that I have to do. I'm free. So far I've used the time to watch the first four episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer (new on Prime) and I may spend the rest of the day finishing Squid Game. I'm half-way through it, and I've turned off the terrible English dubbing in favour of subtitles :-)

Out 16, 2021, 12:53 pm

You have no library books?!? How can that be? Have they shut down all of the libraries in London?

Hope you enjoy your futzing, etc.

Out 18, 2021, 6:14 am

>158 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I think I've finally read all the books in London :-) I have some reserves I'm waiting for, but in the meantime I'm going to try and get to my ROOT goal of 50 books. I've just finished #31.

31. The Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories of Mystery Illness by Suzanne O'Sullivan

This was an interesting popular science read (or popular medicine, if that's a thing). The author looks at various outbreaks of inexplicable illness and what might really be behind them.

Out 18, 2021, 2:29 pm

Out 18, 2021, 4:13 pm

>160 RebaRelishesReading: :-))

32. The Once and Future Witches by Alix A Harrow

Ehhh. If I'd borrowed this from the library I think I'd have given up on it, but I must have bought it as a Kindle Daily Deal and for some reason I stuck with it. It's another example of an interesting premise spoiled by everything having to be extremely woke and all the correct boxes ticked. I pity students of English literature in years to come - there will be so few interesting books to write about. Anyway, it's finished now so I can move on to something else. Kindle has just introduced an excellent new feature that groups books together by series and says which books you have. It's all very orderly and I've just discovered a quartet by Susan Mallery that I'd forgotten about, so I think I'll have a romance binge :-)

Out 24, 2021, 11:34 am

33. Perfume of Paradise

Sometimes you need an old-fashioned pirate bodice-ripper, and this is just such a book :-) Elene is the daughter of a landowner in Saint-Domingue, about to be married to a man she doesn't really care for, when suddenly there's a slave uprising and she has to flee, with only her loyal maid (and half-aunt) into the cane fields. Danger threatens even there, until they're saved by Ryan Bayard, a pirate privateer, and whisked to safety. But what then? As this is book 5 in the Louisiana History Collection, it's not really a spoiler to say that it involves New Orleans, and the story includes the Louisiana Purchase.

I've had this collection on my Kindle forever, so I was pleased to get back to it. All the stories are stand-alones, but yes, I did read the first four before this one :-) There are two more in this collection, and then I have the author's Love and Adventure Collection, which is three books, and a couple more single novels. But I see there are a few more out there to collect. I'll resist the temptation, though, as I haven't bought a thing for nearly *two months*.

Nov 2, 2021, 5:23 am

34. Sweet Release by Pamela Clare

Another romance from the depths of my Kindle, and this one was also a good read. From what I can make out it was originally published in 2003, but this is a republished edition from 2011 after the author got the rights back. There may be some changes from the original, which I think is the case with book 2 in the trilogy. Set in 1730 in London and Virginia, it features a wealthy English hero accidentally (from his point of view) transported to Virginia as indentured labour, and his indenture is bought by the heroine as she needs more workers for her family's plantation, and prefers not to use slaves. Except of course there are also slaves, and that's one of the points of tension in the book. There's a villain who reminded me of George Warleggan in Poldark, and he is possibly a bit too villain-y. But I liked this, and I'll definitely read the other two just once I get through some more stuff that I already have.

I'm also reading Heiresses and Spoon-Fed but they're library ebooks.

Nov 2, 2021, 6:26 am

Look forward to hearing about Heiresses - I have her book about the Mitfords on my TBR pile. I have quite a big collection of Mitford books, including Nancy and Jessica's own work and non fiction/fiction about them.

Editado: Nov 6, 2021, 9:11 am

>164 elkiedee: I also have Take Six Girls but also haven't read it. I have lots of Mitford-related books, several found in second-hand bookshops in Auckland in the Olden Days before things were available at a single click. And, in a strange co-incidence, Noblesse Oblige features in a Lynn Truss crime novel I've just finished.

The Man That Got Away by Lynne Truss

This is book 2 in the Constable Twitten series, set in Brighton in the 1950s. Twitten is a new recruit to the force - he's only been in the job for three weeks in this second book - and he seems to be the only one with a clue about solving crime. This is an interesting mix of crimes based on real life, and a good farce. Book 4 is sitting on the shelf at the library but I need to get book 3 down from Whitechapel first.

Heiresses by Laura Thompson

As this is subtitled "The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies", I thought it would be about the "dollar princesses" who married into the British aristocracy. But, although it does include some of them, the heiresses are a much wider group, starting with the 15-year-old whose dowry gave much of central London to the Grosvenor family. The stories continue into the 20th century, but the author doesn't just tell them as pure history. Rather, she compares and contrasts with rich young women today, and the very different route that their lives can take because they have control of their own money. It was a bit odd to see a reference to the Kardashians, though - I think I prefer a straight "historical" rendering of what happened rather than asides about the modern day.

Spoon-Fed is going well, and I've just had a notification to pick up In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End In Murder from the library on Monday. It's a newish book from Jane Monckton-Smith and an important read. Recognising the signs can help us to help others. Cathedral arrived on Thursday after I saw a newspaper review and reserved it so I'll start it this afternoon and see what I think. The TLS says it's a "sprawling gothic epic", which is not a phrase you can say over and over.

Yesterday was exciting for (a) the new Abba album coming out and (b) Narcos Mexico 3 dropping on Netflix. I had a day of holiday so I've already watched the first two episodes and I'm back into all the gore and bad behaviour now.

Nov 8, 2021, 9:14 am

Many reserves arrived at once. Now I have:

Spoon-Fed (nearly finished)
Cathedral (about 10% through - not wowing me so far)
One True Loves
In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End In Murder (just picked up but I'm going to prioritize this because I want to return it ASAP so it can go to more people)
The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery
Animal, Vegetable, Junk
Murder by Milk Bottle (rather than get this in hard copy from Whitechapel I decided on the audiobook version, and so far so good although I seldom listen to audiobooks due to difficulties concentrating. Yesterday I was chopping up vegetables for soup and it was good company for that).

I managed *not* to borrow Constable Twitten book 4 from the library when I went at lunchtime, although it's right there and brand new. But I did reserve the new Jack Reacher (which I should have done months ago) and there are 250 reserves on 2 copies, so that is unlikely to come in for a while.

Nov 9, 2021, 4:51 am

In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder by Jane Monckton-Smith

This is a very important book. We often read news reports of killings in which the defendant says they (usually he) "just snapped". But that is virtually never the case. Most intimate partner violence has been going on for a long time before a murder, and there are ways to recognise it. As the author says, foresight and hindsight use the same facts. But we need to know what to look for. She has created an eight-step "Homicide Timeline", which you can see in this slide presentation as well as the book: (the timeline starts at slide 10).

Some police forces in the UK are being trained using this timeline, so if there is someone in your life who you think be may the victim of coercive control, it can be a useful starting point if you want to discuss your concerns with the authorities or with the victim themselves.

There are a lot of case studies in the book, all of which are chilling. Two points stood out for me:

If a couple has been married for a long time and "never argues" and is "always together" that may be a sign that coercive control is going on. Those murder-suicides of elderly couples are not usually "mercy killings" but likely to happen because the victim is ill and outside agencies may come into the house, disrupt the control and mean that the victim is focused on someone other than their (usually her) abuser.

People exerting coercive control may threaten suicide if they don't get their way. Always take these threats seriously, but as threats of *homicide*, as that's what usually happens.

I've always struggled to understand why people don't just leave these types of relationships, particularly in the early days, but the author explains how hard it can be, particularly with children involved and a lack of money or somewhere to go. Step 2 of the timeline in the book is the "commitment whirlwind" - tying the victim down by moving in together very quickly, getting married or getting her pregnant so that she has even fewer options and is then tied to the abuser by the child, potentially forever. One of the abusers in the book made sure that his girlfriend was constantly pregnant until, when she was 24 (with four children) he stabbed her to death in a shopping centre.

I'd recommend this to everyone, and it's something that should be taught in high school as well, so that people know from their teens how this type of abuse works, and can be on the lookout for it, not just in their own relationships but those of friends and family.

Nov 12, 2021, 4:24 am

Spoon-Fed: Why almost everything we've been told about food is wrong by Tim Spector

Professor Spector is best-known in the UK now for his work on the Covid symptom-tracker app, and he pops up on YouTube once a week with insights from the data they're collecting. I think it may be the biggest public health project of its kind in the world, because they have a million people logging various health data. (Download it now if you haven't already - they're interested in boosters and flu shots at the moment). But before Covid he was better-known for his work on nutrition, and specifically the gut microbiome. This book, written before the Covid, focuses on the microbiome and how it is affected by what we eat. Mostly, though, he debunks food and health myths like the eight glasses of water a day, eggs being full of cholesterol, red meat being terrible and so on. He also says that 10,000 steps a day is just a marketing ploy, and exercise doesn't help with weight loss (although I think he overlooks the point that if you're out doing your steps, you're not sitting on the sofa watching Netflix and eating biscuits). It's a really good read, and certainly popular at my elibrary as it took ages to come in.

I've given up on Cathedral as I'm just not in the mood for 600+pp about the building of a cathedral in Germany in the middle ages. It's going back today. Constable Twitten is coming along in Murder by Milk Bottle, although I'm never going to be an audiobook fan. And The Interest and Animal, Vegetable, Junk are both started and look good. That leaves One True Loves, which I'd like to try and read this weekend. But - gasp - I might also GO OUT and see an exhibition at the British Museum. "Peru: A Journey in Time" opened yesterday. And the tube all appears to be running well this weekend. Maybe it's a sign...

Nov 12, 2021, 9:12 am

>168 susanj67: That sounds good, I'm going to add it to my wishlist. I've been logging onto the ZOE app for some time, it's a brilliant bit of citizen science that is so easy to participate in.

Editado: Nov 12, 2021, 10:10 am

>169 Jackie_K: Jackie, yes, every day I hope that I'm helping science in some way, although as I've clicked "I feel physically normal" every single time, maybe not! Today's video is interesting, as it includes a bit about their new research into the likelihood of symptoms being a cold or Covid:

I returned Cathedral to the library at lunchtime, and was on my way out when I thought I'd just check the new books... And I found Noble Ambitions: The Rise and Fall of the Post-War Country House which definitely wasn't there on Monday, and which I snaffled immediately. I saw a review recently but never thought I'd find it at the library. It's a heavy book with that thick glossy paper used for colour photos, but for every page (also lots of photos).

ETA: I've booked my ticket for the British Museum for tomorrow morning. It will be my first booked museum outing since lockdown started. I went to the Museum of London Docklands to see the Havering Hoard a while ago, but that didn't require booking. This time, however, I have a timed ticket and I'm wondering how long it will take to get through the bag check. I'm going to walk up as the roads in the City are closed tomorrow for the Lord Mayor's Show, and I could do with the steps. Last time I did it, it took about 90 minutes I think.

Nov 12, 2021, 2:02 pm

>170 susanj67: I had some (non-covid-related) health shenanigans a few months ago, so even though I knew it wasn't covid I clicked 'I don't feel quite right' for most days for several weeks because I really really didn't. They take a random sample of people who've clicked that after a previously long stretch of 'I feel physically normal' and get them to do an extra PCR test. I think I've done 2 ZOE-related PCRs this year, along with the ones I do for a research study at work (the SIREN study).

Nov 12, 2021, 8:04 pm

>168 susanj67: Oh that one sounds good. On to the library list it goes....

Nov 16, 2021, 8:10 am

>171 Jackie_K: That's interesting about the random sample. I had the AZ vaccine but the booster is Pfizer, so I'm sort of hoping for some (mild) side effects so I have something to log...

>172 mdoris: Mary, it's a good one!

I have a new penpal, as the school writing scheme has started again. This one listed some of her friends but not all of them "because we would be here till Christmas" :-).

In other news, the Peru exhibition at the British Museum was good in terms of the exhibits but (as always at the BM) very crowded. I don't know why they let in so many people per time slot, particularly at the moment. There's a sign outside on the street that says you need a booking to go in to see anything at all, but I noticed that no-one was being asked for their booking for general entrance, only the exhibition. So if you're in the area and you want to see some old things, it seems that you can actually just go straight in. This weekend I'm going to the new Faberge exhibition at the V&A, which opens on Saturday. They tend to be much better with the number of people per time slot. The website says NO PHOTOGRAPHY, which is excellent, as tiresome people with giant cameras always annoy me, and there is also a limit on bag size which looks pretty small. Maybe they should do what the Guildhall Library did for one exhibition I went to, and search people on the way out to make sure they haven't stolen anything.

The terror threat level is back to "severe" after Sunday's attack on the Liverpool Women's hospital by an adherent of the religion of peace who should never have been let into the country, which isn't great for the run-up to Christmas. It's also not going to do much to make coming back to the office look attractive.

Two finishes:

Murder by Milk Bottle by Lynne Truss

I listened to this as an audiobook which saved me having to reserve a hard copy. I still don't like audiobooks, but this was OK although the narrator didn't do Mrs Groynes properly. But there are lots of sly little digs at things, including quite a few at the BBC.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I keep hoping for another book as good as Daisy Jones and the Six, but this isn't it. Nor did I like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo that much either. But at least it was a pretty quick read.

Editado: Nov 22, 2021, 4:37 am

Animal, Vegetable, Junk by Mark Bittman


Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child

This is Jack Reacher 26 (!) and once again the body-count was high. But Jack never kills anyone who doesn't need killing. This has a first-person narrative, which I don't think works as well for Jack as the usual one, but it was still a good instalment.

The Faberge exhibition at the V&A is a good one for anyone in London or likely to be in London. I think tickets are selling fast, though. But they have fewer people in per time slot, and the rooms have very high ceilings. I won't spoil the surprise of the last room, but there's a staff member standing in the middle of it with SECURITY in very large letters on her jacket. Evidently middle-aged women in sensible shoes are the new crime supremos. Afterwards I went to the Jameel Gallery to see the Ardabil carpet, which lights up for ten minutes on the hour and half-hour. I really missed it during lockdown, but it's just as lovely as ever. Unlike the British Museum, which says you have to book a slot to get in for any reason but then doesn't check to see that you have, the V&A was checking. You also have to enter via the Exhibition Road entrance (opposite the Science Museum) and exit via Cromwell Road (the main entrance with the Chihuly sculpture in it). The entrance in the tunnel from the tube station is closed. They also have a one-way system around some of the galleries, I think. I think my next outing will be to the Elizabeth and Mary exhibition at the British Library But I'll leave it a few days before I book for the weekend just in case the Covid catches me.

Nov 22, 2021, 4:21 pm

I have the Mark Bittman on reserve too at the library. Looking forward to some new "food' books!

Nov 23, 2021, 4:17 am

>175 mdoris: Hi Mary! I thought the subject was interesting, but he did seem to include all of his hobby-horses, which is just annoying.

The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor

This is excellent. But the author felt the need to apologise at the beginning for being white and writing about slavery. He said that at least he was writing mostly about white men. This seems to be the new thing with books - the Mark Bittman book above was similarly apologetic. That aside, this was a very detailed look at "The Interest" (the West Indian planters) and how it worked to try and keep slavery going, despite abolitionist campaigns in the UK and elsewhere.

Nov 23, 2021, 9:26 am

>176 susanj67: For another very interesting take on this issue, you might be interested in Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams. Williams was a history professor from Trinidad and Tobago who was also the country’s president for the last four decades of his life. His work on slavery in the British Empire was first published in 1944. If I remember correctly, some of his conclusions have been superseded by subsequent research, but still the book is considered important source material by current historians (and was in fact recommended to me by just such a person).

Editado: Nov 23, 2021, 4:02 pm

>176 susanj67: I know what you're saying and it is no fun to be annoyed when reading a book but one of his books Vb6 had a big influence on me when I read it, how he was able to lose lots of weight and regain his health (pre-diabetic) with a shift in thinking and of course consuming. I did look at the associated cookbook and was NOT impressed though!

Have you been following the outrageous story of Material Girls author Kathleen Stock? I am watching many of her recent interviews and plan to purchase her book.

Nov 24, 2021, 4:35 am

>177 rocketjk: Hi Jerry! I've heard of the Eric Williams book but haven't read it yet. I hate to think what sort of state the library copy will be in, if it was originally published in 1944 :-) But in fact, looking at the catalogue, they have it as an ebook, so I've added it to my list at the elibrary.

>178 mdoris: Mary, I'm glad that VB6 worked for you! I have been following the Stock story, and I'd just started Material Girls before a clutch of library books showed up. Now J K Rowling is in the spotlight again after some TRAs posed with their stupid slogans outside her house. But it's notable that suddenly comment is everywhere, and mainstream. The papers, at least, have given up appeasing the ridiculous, and decided to speak up for women. It's almost like someone realised we're half of the population.

I'm now down to two library books, so I might get back to my own things within a few days. I'm not going to reach 50 ROOTS, though. But I think keeping a list of my purchases has been useful. I've only bought one book in the last 2.5 months, which is definitely a record.

Nov 28, 2021, 7:25 am

Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II by Adrian Tinniswood

I was very surprised to find this on the new books shelf at the library, as it's all about rich people and their country houses, which doesn't reflect the, um, lived experience of most of Tower Hamlets, but it's an excellent read. It's a beautiful book, too, with glossy paper and tons of photos (although there could have been more photos). Tinniswood looks at what happened to country houses between the 1950s and the 1970s, as owners struggled with death duties and a lack of servants, because no way can these houses be run by just a family on their own. This will appeal to anyone who likes British social history, and there are lots of anecdotes about owners as well as the houses. Many times I recognised quotes from other books I've read (all footnoted) but other times I had to stop and Google people to find out what had happened to them.

The elibrary added more books and now I have more loans, which is naughty. I'd like to finish The Heights today and then start one of the new ones.

Nov 28, 2021, 9:49 am

>181 elkiedee: We have some equally improbable posh family/big house books in my local branch library, and we don't even have City or Canary Wharf offices nearby. And maybe you or I aren't the only people who end up borrowing such things. They don't much relate to my day to day life or those of many of my neighbours either.

Nov 28, 2021, 8:07 pm

Noble Ambitions sounds like something I would enjoy but I doubt it would be easy to find on this side of the ocean.

Nov 29, 2021, 6:29 am

>181 elkiedee: Luci, there must indeed be others (or someone doing the buying that loves these books!). I'm returning it today and I'm sure it will go back on the new NF display, so I'll see how long it takes to disappear again. Not that I'm supposed to be going to the library with all my own things to read...

>182 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I think you would, but you might struggle to find it in the US. I'd say wait until you come over to the UK again, but it's a very heavy book so maybe not the best to buy and take home. It's available on Kindle, but I can't remember where you're a Kindler or not. (Looking it up I found another new book that looks excellent - it's like there's a conspiracy to keep me away from Mount TBR!)

I made no further library book progress yesterday due to watching series 2 of Tiger King and then eight episodes of Heartland. But I did finish a chapter of Material Girls.

Nov 29, 2021, 1:23 pm

>183 susanj67: I am a Kindler but not for a book with a lot of lovely photos. A heavy book would be OK to bring home if purchased just before packing for the flight home. Not sure when we'll be in UK again though. Margie and I are thinking the Netherlands for our next walking trip. I would like to meet up with my son and d-i-l in London since she's never been and is dying to visit but they(he) keep booking cruises that don't begin or end any where near so who knows if that will ever happen.

Nov 29, 2021, 3:00 pm

I came across this history prize and wondered if you had seen it already?

I am tempted by all three finalists!

Nov 30, 2021, 4:40 am

>185 charl08: Oh you temptress! Last year's winner is right up my alley. And I've got the finalists on my wishlist. This year's finalists too.

Editado: Dez 5, 2021, 11:13 am

>184 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, London is pretty empty at the moment, although everything is open again and there are some good exhibitions to see. So it might not be a bad time to come, if the omicron panic turns out not to be warranted. I wonder when we'll know...

>185 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I hadn't seen that list, but I was excited to see Professor Foner as one of the judges. I did his Civil War course on edX and it was fabulous. I think I'd like to read the book about Ghengis Khan, so I'll look out for that one.

>186 MissWatson: Temptress is so accurate!

The Heights by Louise Candlish

This is Louise Candlish's new thriller, but frankly it's not that thrilling and I was able to put it down for days when I was half-way through it and at no point did I wonder what was going to happen. But I've finished it today, so that's something.

I have three more library ebooks, although my Kindle seems to think there's an internet issue and it can't download them. I think I've fixed it by turning it off and on again, but who knows? First up is going to be The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, which I've had on hold for ages and finally it arrived.

Dez 4, 2021, 12:24 pm

>187 susanj67: We have too many other things booked for 2022 but maybe 2023

Editado: Dez 5, 2021, 11:13 am

>188 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, it's only 13 months away :-)

Today we've had sleet here - I'm not going to go as far as "snow" but it's supposed to be the first of five very cold days (by UK standards, anyway). I've spent the weekend at home so I didn't catch anything as my booster shot is tomorrow morning at 9am.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

If you've got this reserved at the library and you're way down a long list, don't despair! It's not worth the wait. The story made no real sense, there were far too many characters and the lead character was an insipid, unsympathetic character anyway. I'm mystified as to why it's got such great blurbing on the cover and how it was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick.

Meanwhile, on Netflix I've watched Dig Deeper, which is a German true-crime series and also not worth the four hours that the story takes. I'm eking out Selling Sunset by watching some other things, but I'm wondering now whether I should just give in and finish it.

Dez 7, 2021, 6:03 am

Moderna booster shot report: Ow. Ow. Ow. My arm! Still aching after yesterday. But at least I had a side effect to report in the Zoe/Kings College app, so that was exciting. A pal had Pfizer last week and reported a couple of days of tiredness, a mild headache and no appetite. I think I prefer the sore arm to a headache. I had no side effects at all with the Astra Zeneca jabs earlier in the year. In fact I think the last time I had pain was the dreaded TB injection in the first year of high school. It was "well-known" that the older kids would come and hit us on the arm, except no-one actually did...

Dez 7, 2021, 8:02 am

I had Moderna for my first shots and that gave me a sore arm first time, but that was it.
Hope it feels better soonest.

Editado: Dez 8, 2021, 7:48 am

>191 Helenliz: Thanks Helen. It's a lot better today, but I'm glad I don't need to use it for anything strenuous.

Nomadland arrived at the elibrary overnight, and Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588 - 1688 is waiting for me in hard copy, so that's some, um, light Christmas reading.

ETA: Oof, it's an uber-chunkster. 512 pages of text + nearly 200 pages of notes. Fortunately I have it until 7 January 2022. I managed not to borrow anything else, so I'm proud of myself.

Dez 8, 2021, 1:07 pm

>192 susanj67: I really enjoyed Nomadland. Hope you will too. Have you seen the film? It's interesting but not nearly as good as the book imo.

Dez 8, 2021, 2:30 pm

>193 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! Yes, I have seen the film. It was on one of my streaming services - Prime, I think.

The Prime Minister has just held a press conference and said that we should WFH if possible from Monday. But it's not going to be a law, so work might still let us go in if we can't "effectively" from home, as they have in the past. I'm waiting to hear. The office is nearly empty at the best of times, so we're not exactly breathing all over one another. One of my pals had the Pfizer booster today so she's waiting to see what side effects she gets, if any.

Dez 8, 2021, 4:11 pm

>194 susanj67: Good luck with office going. Hope your pal doesn't have a bad reaction. I was encouraged today by an article in the NYTimes that says blood tests show that Pfizer with booster is very effective against omicron. I'm happy to get a booster as often as necessary as long as I can live a semi-normal life as a result.

Dez 8, 2021, 4:54 pm

>168 susanj67: Hi Susan, thanks I just finished Spoon Fed and thought it was good. I was surprised that he did not take on manufactured vegetable oils (seed oils). I agreed with his point that it is shocking and shameful that doctors have little to no training in nutrition as diet is obviously a big influence in healthy living. Have you read Toxic Oil? It is very good although now older (2013).!

Dez 9, 2021, 4:20 am

>195 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. I'm in the office this morning and it is busier than I thought it would be. The guidance to WFH kicks in from Monday, but it's only guidance and we all have a contractual requirement that we're in the office at least 50% of the time, so no doubt management is working out what it all means. They'd already suspended the 50% requirement from 20 Dec to 3 Jan, but that still leaves next week. And after 3 Jan, for that matter.

>196 mdoris: Hi Mary! Glad you enjoyed it. I was also surprised about the lack of nutrition training, particularly now when people are eating so much processed food and suffering because of it. Maybe it wasn't as necessary when food was just food instead of a huge list of E-numbers and other additives (most of which are just different ways of saying "sugar"). I haven't read Toxic Oil - one to look for!

Dez 11, 2021, 7:38 am

Work said we should WFH from Monday, so I stayed home yesterday as I'd already done my required 50% in the office for the week. Heaven knows when it will all stop, but maybe if omicron doesn't see lots of hospitalisations/deaths we will be allowed back in the New Year. Work has said we can come in if we can't work "effectively" from home, but in the run-up to Christmas it's clear that people are trying to stay well for family get-togethers, so I'll leave them to it and if people catch it in the office then it won't be from me.

The rules are nuts, though - no going to work to sit alone in an office, but it's OK to have parties and go to carol concerts. Well, the government says that. The scientists don't. It's interesting that they seem to be speaking out against the government now in a way that they haven't before (or so much). Much of this week has been taken up by a huge row over a staff party at Downing Street last Christmas, and it was also the subject of most of the questions at the press briefing on Wednesday. But when one of the journalists asked why anyone should follow the rules if even the government didn't bother, the Chief Medical Officer more or less said that just because the government was a shower of idiots didn't mean we all had to act like them. Not in those words, obvs, but he would never have said that in the olden days of Covid.

I started Devil-Land yesterday and it is superb right from the first paragraph. Still enormous, but I've read the introduction and chapters 1 and 2 so far. I'll read some more today but I want to finish Psycho by the Sea first. I'm pretty close to the end, and then I'll be up to date with the Constable Twitten series.

Dez 11, 2021, 3:11 pm

Psycho by the Sea by Lynne Truss

This is book 4 in the Constable Twitten series, and something in the afterword made me wonder whether it's the last one. But a lot of strands of the wider story come together in this one, which is centred around a planned heist at Gosling's department store. Will Twitten save the day? We'd bally well hope so :-)

I've also read today's chapter of Devil-Land. It seems that in the 1600s, people in Europe thought of England as a failed state - a 'perturbed and disorderly machine'. That's why I like reading history - we know how it all turned out in the end. Right now there's a lot of comfort in that.

Dez 11, 2021, 7:55 pm

>2 susanj67: How do draw a line through text?

Dez 12, 2021, 12:13 pm

>200 Coach_of_Alva: You use the "greater than" and "less than" keys with "strike" typed in between them to start the strikethrough and then "/strike" between them to stop the strikethrough.

Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

This is a really compelling read and I whizzed through it, but what a disgrace that people have to live like this in the richest country on earth. And what happens to them when they can't drive all over the country and camp out while they're working for Amazon? It's a thought-provoking read.

Dez 12, 2021, 3:48 pm

Indeed, Susan, indeed!

Dez 25, 2021, 11:39 am

Hello Susan!

Trying to catch up on threads again. I want to wish you

Dez 30, 2021, 9:20 am

>203 connie53: Hello Connie! Thank you for the good wishes. I saw your lovely Christmas photos on your thread.

I've finished some more things.

35. The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda
36. The Darkest Flower by Kristin Wright

I think these were Kindle First Reads or whatever they call the freebies at the beginning of each month. They were thriller-y types of books, and they were OK but nothing marvellous.

Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town by Lamorna Ash
Patch Work by Claire Wilcox

These are memoirs, and Dark, Salt, Clear was apparently a Radio 4 Book of the Week. It was better than Patch Work, but neither really worked for me.

Devil-Land by Clare Jackson

But this one was FABULOUS and I loved it. It's long and very dense and fact-y, but beautifully written. The author looks at why England was considered by outsiders to be a "failed state" in the seventeenth century, and the story is told mostly from things written by foreign ambassadors and other visitors who reported back to their own countries. Many of them could find no logical explanation for why various things had happened, so resorted to "but this is England, where anything could happen". (They reminded me a bit of President Macron's recent description of Boris Johnson as "a clown in charge of a circus"). There's a good review of it here: Because it's such a huge and detailed book, I read a chapter a day for three weeks and that worked really well. Also the library gave us a month on everything for Christmas, so that helped.

Now I have just three library books left:

Merchants of Doubt
The Zong
The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown from Victoria to Diana

The first two are relatively new to the elibrary but published about ten years ago. The Secret Royals is brand new and I have the hardback, which is due back on 12 January. It's another huge read, but I'm getting through it at a reasonable speed.

I doubt I'll finish anything more before the end of the year, so my total of books read is 124 and 36 of those were ROOTs. I missed my goal of 50 ROOTs, but never mind.

Dez 30, 2021, 2:28 pm

I think you were too disciplined about not buying so many books, but thanks for all your informative and interesting reviews/reports on your reading.

Dez 31, 2021, 6:49 am

>205 elkiedee: Thanks Luci! I think I was more restrained on the purchases than I have been in the past :-)

I'm starting to think about January's reads, and I want to prioritise Frostquake as it's winter. UK peeps interested in the book should look up the iPlayer for the "Winterwatch" programme broadcast on 23 December because, while the start and end are Chris Packham, the middle 45 minutes is a documentary from 1963 about that very cold winter, made just after it was over. It's *superb* - tons of interesting footage and the presenters all spoke in received pronunciation, which is lovely. It's a great time capsule of a programme and possibly the best thing I've watched over Christmas.

Work emailed yesterday to say that we should all continue to WFH. We were sent home a couple of weeks before Christmas and I was very much hoping that things would return to normal by the 4th, but it seems not. I suppose the government won't alter its WFH advice until the Christmas infections of omicron have fed through the system. I left the house yesterday for the first time in seven days for groceries but fortunately the Wharf was pretty empty so it was a quick trip.

Dez 31, 2021, 6:54 am

>206 susanj67: I'd agree with the Winterwatch, it was excellent. And makes you wonder how we'd cope now. The same programme was on last year. I recorded it and watched the section on the ice sailing several times, it looked a lot like my home town - - turns out I was right, it was!

Dez 31, 2021, 7:25 am

>207 Helenliz: Helen, I think all we can say about coping now is that at least we'd be all stocked up on toilet roll, having learned our lesson in 2020. Now the shops seems to have run out of tissues, which is odd because you'd think they were made by the same people.

Jan 6, 2022, 9:50 pm

Hi Susan, Please let me know if you set up a thread for 2022. Hope you do!