Paul's Books and Stuff in 2013 Part 31
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"Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.”
― Hồ Chí Minh
1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
2. Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
3. Promised Land: A Northern Love Story bt Anthony Clavane
4. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
5. A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block
6. That Awkward Age by Roger McGough
7. If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler
8. Coffee, Tea or Me? by Trudi Baker
9. Among the Cinders by Maurice Shadbolt
10 Viper's Tangle by Francois Mauriac
11 Phantom by Jo Nesbo
12 When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Penman
13 The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by M.G. Vassanji
14 An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah
15 The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst
16 Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo
17 The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
18 The Green Hat by Michael Arlen
19 V by Tony Harrison
20 The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell
21 This Sporting Life by David Storey
22 Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
23 A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins
24 Back When We Were Grown-ups by Anne Tyler
25 On the Road to Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk
26 Island in the Centre by Rex Shelley
27 Andris Apse : Odyssey and Images by R.D. Crosby & Andris Apse
28 I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson
29 50 Amazing Places in China by Dong Huai
30 Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson
31 Fallen Angel : The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham
32 Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva
33 Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
34 After Rain by William Trevor
35 Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol
36 He (Shey) by Rabindranath Tagore
37 Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
38 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
39 Little Big Man by Thomas Berger
40 Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother by Bill Brown
41 Rhodesia by Nick Carter
42 The Mersey Sound by Adrian Henri, Roger McGough & Brian Patten
43 The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri
44 Crimsoned Prairie by SLA Marshall
45 Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
46 The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
47 History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell-Hart
48 Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro
49 Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley
50 A Slipping-Down Life by Anne Tyler
51 Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol
52 Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist
53 One Hand on the Claret Jug by Norman Dabell
54 A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr
55 Loving Sabotage by Amelie Nothomb
56 The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books by Elif Batuman
57 My Michael by Amos Oz
58 Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
59 What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
60 East of the West by Miroslav Penkov
61 In the Penny Arcade by Steven Millhauser
62 Drifting House by Krys Lee
63 Ten Sorry Tales by Mick Jackson
64 Stay Awake by Dan Chaon
65 Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner
66 Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson
67 The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo
68 A Wanted Man by Lee Child
69 After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 by Ben Shephard
70 Tinkers by Paul Harding
71 Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole
72 Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
73 The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson
74 The Captain's Verses by Pablo Neruda
75 What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
76 We Might as Well Win by Johan Bruyneel
77 The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
78 Redemption aka A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen
79 The Albemarle Book of Modern Verse Volume 2 edited by FES Finn
80 This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
81 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
82 Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
83 A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell
84 The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
85 Salvage by Robert Edric
86 The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen
87 Waiting for Anya by Michael Morpurgo
88 Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood
89 The Clock Winder by Anne Tyler
90 Licence Renewed by John Gardner
91 The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden
92 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
93 Among Others by Jo Walton
94 On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
95 The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
96 Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
97 Charles Dickens by Jane Smiley
98 The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black
99 In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa
100 The Natural by Bernard Malamud
101 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
102 In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
103 The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
104 The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
105 Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice
106 World War One : A Short History by Norman Stone
107 This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jalloun
108 Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men by Colin Bateman
109 Wodehouse at the Wicket by P.G. Wodehouse
110 I'm Not Really Here by Paul Lake
111 A Bloody Field By Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter
112 Human Chain by Seamus Heaney
113 In the Darkness : An Inspector Sejer Novel by Karin Fossum
114 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
115 Field Work by Seamus Heaney
116 A Question of Proof by Nicholas Blake
117 Sharpe's Gold by Bernard Cornwell
118 Season of the Beast Andrea H. Japp
119 The Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden
120 The Collection by Harold Pinter
121 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
122 Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong
123 Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill
124 Dominion by C.J. Sansom
125 Chancy by Louis L'Amour
126 Selected Poems by Derek Walcott
127 A.A. Gill Is Further Away by A.A. Gill
128 Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
129 The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
130 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
131 The Nazis : A Warning from History by Laurence Rees
132 The Moon's a Balloon by David Niven
133 The Chef at War by Alexis Soyer
134 Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan
135 Kid by Simon Armitage
136 A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton
137 Silesian Station by David Downing
138 Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
139 For Crying Out Loud! by Jeremy Clarkson
140 The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto
141 Family Values by Wendy Cope
142 1913 by Florian Ilies
143 That Near Death Thing by Rick Broadbent
144 The Cloud Corporation by Timothy Donnelly
145 The Flanders Road by Claude Simon
146 The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
147 Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End by Leif G.W. Persson
148 Bulldog Drummond by Sapper
149 Shallows by Tim Winton
150 Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
151 Song and Dance by John Fuller
152 Harvest by Jim Crace
153 Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal by Daniel Friebe
154 Grain by John Glenday
155 The Summer Before the Dark by Doris Lessing
156 A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
157 District and Circle by Seamus Heaney
1 Promised Land : A Northern Love Story by Anthony Clavane
2. A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins
3. After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 by Ben Shephard
1 The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
2 The In-Between World of Vikram Lall
3 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4 Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
5 What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
6 Among Others by Jo Walton
7 The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
1 Phantom by Jo Nesbo
2 Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
3 A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr
4 A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen
5 Dominion by C.J. Sansom
1. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
2. Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice
3. Human Chain by Seamus Heaney
4. Field Work by Seamus Heaney
5. Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
6. Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
1 Works Originally in French
2 Historical Fiction COMPLETED
3 Poetry/Plays COMPLETED
4 Works by Anne Tyler
5 Books on Sports
6 Books on Travel or Places
7 Short Story Collections COMPLETED
8 Between the Wars
10 Old Friends COMPLETED
11 Then and Now COMPLETED
12 Prize Winners
13 Asia Pacific
Total Number of Challenges 169
Basically to finish off what I've been reading.
Add another sports book. A Tim Winton book because I promised Mark. A Doris Lessing book because Kerri wanted me to join a neglected TIOLI challenge on an author I have traditionally chosen to neglect and who sadly passed last month.
Poetry too of course.
Books at Start of Year on KL Shelves - 1,676
Added in 2013 - 1,168
Read in 2013 - 154
Revised TBR Total - 2,690
Pages to read at start of year - 639,135
Pages added in 2013 - 375,898
Read in 2013 - 41,354
Revised Pages to read - 973,679
3 Kindle books read: Kindle stats in prep.
let's make the coffee so I can believe I am awake:
pff, darn the coffee, i got taken :(((
Liliana - Wow a minute out only my dear but not valued any less. I got Checkov and Goethe but couldn't make out the third volume. Does it go well with the coffee? xx
Congrats on #31! Hope the work week is going well and you are enjoying the swinging bachelor life.
The quote by Hồ Chí Minh is lovely, except that I'm currently novel that is set in the aftermath of a HUGE tornado in Illinois in 1925 and the storm images are a bit haunting.
I hope you're having a good week on your own, Paul.
Are you and the clan all back together yet and have all the book hauls been safely hidden away from SWMBO's eyes?
As you know, I am terribly behind, so I am congratulating myself on the fact that there are only 32 posts here and trying not to think about how many I have missed. Lovely photo up top. I hope you are having a great week.
Well, well, another thread! I don't know how you keep up with all of this and still manage to work, have a full family life, and actually read books as well. It's amazing.
Paul - Actually gaps have narrowed a fair bit in the posting league. I don't think I'd be running top three for the last quarter and Joe, Mark and RD's threads have posted more than mine recently and all three have splendidly enjoyable threads for different reasons.
Mark - Miss the tribe in truth but I have been having fun chatting with people here, girls and boys, but mainly girls of course. The people are so open, honest and refreshingly unspoilt by modern life. One young lady yesterday with a fairly obvious false tooth was telling me in english more broken than her dental work how she fell from the family buffalo in her family village 50 miles from Hanoi and lost the tooth. Despite appeals to her family, her daddy was unable to afford the repairs necessary to cover it up. She told me that when she fell inlove in High School "with the handsome boy" she was not able to catch his eye. Touching. I think the ladies know full well when our intentions are honourable enough and it makes for very interesting incidents.
Mamie - Glad to see that you are feeling much better and, like me, have set your illness aside!
Morphy - I did say possibly my dear. The more posts the happier I am! I always get a very childish buzz when I open the group page and see unread numbers against my name. LT has opened up a new world for me and the 75ers are, to a man/woman, my compadres for whom I am immensely grateful every day that I was lucky enough to stumble upon.
Joe - Improbable but very entertaining isn't it? Peterson is a good villain and some of the minor characters are exceedingly well drawn. I don't get the anti-semitism Sapper had been accused of and that may be in later books but as a slice of European attitudes immediately after the Great War it is very interesting.
Surprisingly I have noticed an obvious warmth for British and Americans here but they don't seem to much like the French. Seems the English and the Vietnamese have plenty in common.
Thanks Nora. I do recall that you set standards for thread photos in the early part of the year as well as many pulses racing with your homage to North American manhood.
Lori - Yes the stores here certainly have plenty of character. The sidewalks are perma-blocked with parked motor-cycles and people, bikes and cars meander through the narrow streets without touching like bats in a pitch-dark cavern. The tooting of horns accompany your shopping and the people bargain and negotiate without rancour to make their purchases. I bought Hani a lovely jewelry box made of local stone for around $8. The motor-cylce is still the predominant mode of transport but as wealth increases, cars are becoming far more numerous and the streets of the Old Quarter are struggling to cope.
Ellen - Ho Chi Minh seems to be revered here still to an almost sychophantic level. His mausoleum is still well visited, though not by me, and his picture is still easily seen around the town. I have read The Sorrow of War in the 90s and remember it being slim and affecting.
Thanks Abigail. I have enjoyed my trip here I must say and will be back quite often all being well as business opportunites seem manifold.
Nina - Singapore, it is not. It has none of Singapore's order but it has an earthy charm that appeals to me more than the island-city states sanitised glories.
Bekka - Please do make yourself comfy. I have enjoyed your FB photos of your charming kids in all their nativity splendour. It must be the milk in Jersey because you really do have the most beautiful children.
Calm - I am back to KL today (I leave for the airport in a couple of hours) and Hani is back on Monday. I have given my loyal coffee-maker, Erni, strict instructions to find ways to stash my latest buys and check on her progress shortly.
Thanks Anne. One of my best weeks in a while actually. Fourth floor hotel with no lift so plenty of exercise; new friends; almost certainly new business and a new place to remember fondly.
Gail - hahaha how pictures can deceive! Peaceful is not a word you would associate readily with this vibrant city.
I am not sure how I keep up myself.
Linda - Pleased to see you slow down a touch as you passed through. xx
RD - I am hopeless at getting photos from phone to computer but I have taken a couple of photos that I'll try to get my team of geeks in KL to help me with. They show the old alongside the new, the crmbling alongside the shiny new.
John - Thanks mate, I have enjoyed it here enormously.
Morphy - hahaha I am not at my sharpest so early in the morning but I think I see a pattern here. xx
RD - I saw your post and had a look myself! In touch with here via pretty constant texting on her part. They do look like they're having a ball and Hani seems to be lapping up the reflected attention from the pride of Egyptian manhood. Mmmmm.
Prue - I couldn't resist posting the picture as a thrad topper mainly for its incongruity. Cairo was a city I visited from Alex many times in the 80's and I always preferred the second city. Mad and often bad place.
Tam - Thanks. I have to be hopping now. Into the shower and getting ready for Bon Voyage from Vietnam.
Happy Thursday Evening, Paul! Are you back home safe and sound?
>59 katiekrug: holy guacamole. That looks.......busy!
Judy - I had a book of his called Beatniks and as I remember he is a bit off the wall.
Alex - It is Friday already so I don't know whether I'll hold out or not.
Diana - I am now back to the relative normalcy of Kuala Lumpur. Liu my friend lost his luggage yesterday and proved my addage that, for short trips, never ever check in luggage.
Faith - I will admit that it is one of the most misleading photos I have posted up as yet.
Morphy - Hahaha I am back now so the numbers will probably go down still further.
Amber - Top Gear is a programme that is only incidentally about cars isn't it? Clarkson, Hammond and so on are so much fun.
Joe - I am a little relieved that your view of the book is the same as mine as I was quite taken aback when in the afterword the anti-semitic elements were mentioned - because I didn't find any either.
Katie - Nothing has changed believe me! Nice photo. They are looking to build a metropolitan train system above ground which looks certain to be chaotic. The method of casting of the columns to support the track means that I may not be overkeen on using it when it is opened and I am back there.
Mamie - But it does seem to work ok surprisingly enough.
RD - Our only deviancy is books and feverish posting dear fellow and I am proud to be as deviant and feverish as you.
Reba - But they do cope amazingly. The power is remarkably stable and there doesn't seem to be a need for generator use much.
Benita - The Kansas Plains? Say "hi" to Dorothy and if you hit the yellow brick road tell Elton that it remains his best album. Have a safe journey.xx
Lori - For me Kansas and Mississippi sound exotic in the same way Malaysia and Vietnam probably do to you. Have a great trip and I can almost smell the baking.
Mark - Don't worry mate, I'm here and I cannot stay away for too long.
Megan - It is very pleasant in the cool early hours. It is vibrant in the full of the day and just as enchanting, only differently so.
John -She is enjoying Egypt a lot I think mate. Says she's missing me but I don't believe a word of it.
WahHOO for you on passing 150 books read. We are officially tied!! And just for the record, I do think that Hani probably misses you - how could she not?! And Yasyme WILL miss you by the time the trip nears its end. Guaranteed!
Happy Friday, Paul!
Hey, have you read Of Mice and Men? I just did and liked it a lot.
Here is a live version of the Bread song from the end of the 1970s
Here is the latter song - classic love song stuff from the deep South.
Paul, thank you. I have done a little better this year than the last two but I still need to pick up the pace somewhat.
Calm, I have bought or been given 7.16 books for every book I have read this year which is fairly disastrous in space planning terms. At least I have speeded up a little bit or it could have been a lot worse.
Thanks Morphy. I have read Of Mice and Men, I think, four times, and always enjoyed it. The very first time I read I was blown away. With a couple of hours to burn you can pick it up and race through it breathless and wishing for a different ending for Lenny et al.
Celebrate the return of the light with feasts, merriment, and gratitude for all the wonders of this wide green earth.
I hope to be able to call upon some of the wonderful friends I have made in this group when I reach stateside in 2014 and a trip to Long Island is high on the list of priorities.
Long Island offers many advantages to the international traveler, like three international airports and a MULTITUDE of transportation options! (And me, with my baking fetish and sweet doggie.) Hani might even like it...Roosevelt Field mall is nearby and quite enormous, though I have no thought that it compares to the retail paradises of the East.
I have had the pleasure of several meet-ups with Caro, the last of which we gorged ourselves together with Hani. You may not be entirely surprised that she (Caro) sings the praises of your culinary aptitude as well as making fond referrals to your pooch. Ysabelle is an ardent dog-lover in a country that is as narrow minded when it comes to canines as it is towards equality in race, religion or sexuality. She will go far, I am sure.
I won't be telling Hani about "enormous" malls, but she does have a nose for these things.
I figure you and I can stay busy at The Strand.
But ask Caro...I give very good driving instructions.
Anyone who can stop Clumsy bumping into things must be savvy at directions.
Hmm. That's not what she told me.
Paul, be very careful when Richard tells you to "turn right here!"
Darryl - hahaha. With a typical Carolean luncheon preceding the mini-vans conversion to air travel - that sucker is not going to float.
I have received
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting from dear Jean (majkia) from my wishlist.
1081 physical books added in 2013.
1081 physical books added in 2013 I'm pretty sure you're the kind of guy my mother warned me about when she said to look out for the ones who don't know when to stop!
Tamara, feel free, it's such a wonderful sentiment isn't it?
I completed my 100th book and I gave it five stars. Life is good.
"It became the second largest shopping mall in total area and largest in total store vendors in the United States when it opened. Mall of America is the most visited shopping mall in the world with more than 40 million visitors annually (or roughly eight times the population of the state of Minnesota). The Mall employs over 12,000 workers."
Congrats on 150.
Mary Beth - I will, of course, keep you up to date when I get dates firmed up.
Ellen - Good reading year for both of us isn' it? This is a genuine post in saying what a pleasure it is to see you in these parts, always.
Morphy - You are tempting the wrong family member! Does it have good bookstores!? My reason for visiting the Twin Cities would be a simple one. A certain big hearted lady whose opinion on all things always matters to me even when we don't agree always on books. xx
John - Thanks to you mate. I know that you are distracted immensely at the moment but I do think we'll win the next cricket test. I think they need to shuffle the pack and give Ballance, Bairstow, Rankin and Finn games, but they probably won't do so.
Nina - I am going to ensure that SWMBO does not browse these pages!
"All I have to say is that Minnesota has the Mall of America." Just remember to bring your snow-boots. Yes, even in July.
Lori - ah but the day here is far from over. xx My bookstore will not sound as tremendously upbeat as yours for sure. "Chattanooga McKays", best bookstore name in ages.
Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's
"Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore opened for business on March 2, 1974. Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore opened for business in a nearby location on December 1, 1980. Both stores moved to our current shared location in September, 1984. Customers from all over the world tell us that we have the best selection of new and used science fiction, fantasy, and mystery books anywhere on the planet."
I so enjoy your photos and posts regarding places you visit. It provides a lot of joy!
Paul, do you know that, before LT, I really did not know that there were other people who relished and needed time in bookstores as much as I? I mean, I knew there were people who loved to read, and people who loved to spend an hour now and then browsing a bookshop, but to really crave time in a bookstore, to be able to happily spend upwards of 2 hours in a bookshop on any given day, I thought I was the only one. Clearly, I had just not yet found my people. xo
I am green. Also you get to meet Richard & others. I am greener :P
have your morning (afternoon) coffee anyway :)
Linda - I also love sharing my experiences, even the ones that don't throw me in the best of lights!
Ellen - I have certainly found "my people" in this group. You were one of the first I found too my dear. xx
Stasia - I will admit first that I have slipped. Have to feed the kids and I then shall confess my sins in full.
1. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
2. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
3. Ask Alice by D.J. Taylor
4. Electric Light by Seamus Heaney
5. My Son's Girlfriend by Jung Mi Kyung
6. First Love by Ivan Turgenev
7. The Diary of a Superfluous Man by Ivan Turgenev
8. Amerika by Franz Kafka
9. Once a Jailbird by Hans Fallada
10. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
11. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson
12. Erewhon by Samuel Butler
13. The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy
14. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
15. England's Lane by Joseph Connolly
16. The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
17. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
18. The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins
19. Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
20. Solo by Rana Dasgupta
21. More Bitter Than Death by Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff
22. Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss
23. The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers
24. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
25. Ulverton by Adam Thorpe
26. Fear of the Dark by Trevor Baxendale
27. La Reve by Emile Zola
28. The Famished Road by Ben Okri
29. Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute
30. Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay
31. Slow Man by JM Coetzee
32. America America by Ethan Canin
33. Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami
34. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
35. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
36. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
37. Train by Pete Dexter
1118 physical books in 2013.
But, well, 1118 is not a good number, 1133, 1199, 1221 would be better numbers to stop, wouldn't it?
My selections were a bit more Middle Europe this time with Fallada, Mann, Kafka, Turgenev, Tolstoi, Zola, Calvinoall being represented.
I missed the Korean Mi-Kyung at first - a friend of us has the same name, that's the one who brought me into teaching the Korean alphabet to German speaking spouses in her (Korean) church. But now she got cancer, too, and doesn't show up anymore (well, with chemotherapy, no wonder).
Sorry to see that your friend also has cancer. The Koreans are fighters though which can only help in the circumstances.
Blew right past 1100, sailing into the middle of the next rank...so now where will it all end? Hmmm
Okay, I'm plumping for 1131.
he went past 1112 with such ease... off, Paul! I will never believe you again regarding buying books.
That is the famous Green Tiger of Dobrogea (the region I am now living in. Transylvania is about 10-12hrs away from me :P)
Liliana - I am definitely not to be trusted when it comes to promises regarding abstaining from adding books. 10-12 hours is at least safe from the creatures of the night as I would have thought it beyond their range.
Poetry - Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
Thrillers - Dominion by CJ Sansom
Fiction - The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
Fantasy/Sci-fi - Among Others by Jo Walton
Non-Fiction - A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins
I have tried to select from the most up to date stuff I've read this year.
*raises a defiant fist*
Tam - Thanks my dear. In truth I hadn't anticipated buying quite so many but it just sort of got a momentum of its own out there.
Alex - I have only read If on a Winter's Night a Traveller and found it difficult, perplexing and occasionally brilliant. One of the most innovative writers of the last century without a doubt and a real shame he didn't win the Nobel prize.
Hahaha Morphy, I thought about that to but was pleased in a way to cop out so I don't have to decide whether to include The Luminaries or Harvest in the list.
Mark - He is good, Winton, isn't he? I have finished an earlier work of his Shallows and there are sublime passages in it.
I didn't make it home. Tonight I am safely ensconced in a hotel room in the heart of the Flint Hills - the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas. I am warm and dry and ready for bed. It is snowing outside and apparently has been doing that most of the day in these parts. After diligently staying glued to the steering wheel and driving through pouring rain from the south side of the Ohio River all the way through St. Louis and half-way across Missouri only to have it start to freeze, then driving the rest of the way across Missouri and the eastern third of Kansas on ice, when the white stuff started coming down in quantity I packed it in. Four inches of snow so far and still counting. (Abilene, Kansas - home of Dwight D. Eisenhower has 9 inches of the stuff on the ground and it is about 40 miles west of here.) Found a hotel room and will call it quits for tonight. It will be a white christmas - at least in this part of Kansas.
Benita - Very vivid description of your trip. I can feel those wide open spaces and the slip slide of the car as it attempts to overcome natures' attempts to foil your onward path. Very smart move to snuggle down in a warm hotel room and see what tomorrow brings. Sleep tight.
Bekka - Waters is a Yorkshire born teller of tall tales which are often engaging but usually slightly flawed. Hani would probably think I was describing myself. xx
Shallows by Tim Winton
We are dropped into a West Australian whaling community struggling to cope with both past and future in the award winning (Miles Franklin Award early novel by Tim Winton.
There are passages of supreme lyricism and eloquence in the description of place and in the detailing of the lead characters' idiosyncracies which elevate this above the workaday.
The squaring of future and past, of progress against tradition, of conservation against livelihood is handled proficiently in this work which misses being truly exceptional by a ponderous manner of plotting.
A writer well worth discovering.
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jilian Lauren
This has been reviewed on LT with very varied opinion on whether it is worthy and engrossing or not.
I am unfortunately in the "not" camp. I just didn't like her very much and found her more than a tad whiny. The title is an absolute misnomer as she spends a few months only in Brunei and is hardly held hostage there.
I live and work in the region and have been to Brunei on business several times, including work for one client undertaking a project for the slightly rehabilitated Prince Jefri but there was no sense of place in these pages.
Song & Dance by John Fuller
Technically very proficient, I got the feeling that these were mere exercise in style without the emotional attachment that makes great poetry.
Clever and well crafted but neither profound nor inspiring.
I am glad you think so highly of Among Others. I am currently reading that one myself.
Found that I have read 221 of them so far and have a further 229 unread on the shelves. There will be a score or so more on the kindle too I am sure.
Want to read at least one a fortnight next year.
Have a lovely Sunday evening!
I am having a very relaxing Sunday, recovering from much too much activity, work, and drama in my life recently. The only sad piece of news from me is my having broken a rib or two doing the laundry the other day. I'm feeling the pain today but should be able to read and ignore it. Only chores today are walking the dogs. The nearby YMCA has a lovely hot tub which I will visit. Otherwise, I'm reading today. It has been too long.
I am impressed by your haul of books, and your accomplishments of reading this year. Excellent. I also enjoy reading about the travel adventures of yourself and your family. Best wishes for the beginning of a new year of accomplishments!!
I do have to throw a bone to Richard and confirm that he gives very very good directional instructions to direction challenged drivers. I couldn't find my way out of a paperbag without my trusty GPS but with Richard beside me, I'm pretty sure he could direct us to the deepest depths of the Amazonian jungle ... intentionally.
Are you sprucing up to welcome Hani and Jasmyne back? They come home tomorrow, right, Paul?
In twenty years of traveling back and forth from Alabama to Kansas I have only had to stop and spend the night 4 times. Not bad.
I told my sister that as a driver I am intrepid, indomitable, and indefatigable. However, I am also not stupid. A nice night sleep was a good thing.
You amaze me with your book-aholic ways!! I'm almost a normal person sitting next to you! ;)
And a very hearty congratulations on 150!!
How long til the family returns? You just might break 1200 if it's long enough... teehee!
Faith - She didn't spare herself to be fair but in doing so came across as amazingly self-centred and shallow. She made references to herself as an actress with little to justify the name and was the detail about the vaginal tattoo absolutely necessary?
Karen - The mundane does not include the breaking of ribs. My lord, be careful! I didn't realise that ladies delicates were as dangerous to the health of ladies as they are to the peace of mind of gentlemen.
Benita, please drive carefully. "A cup of Joe" - love that! I think it shows excellent sense to know when to stop and, being your own boss, able to stop at will and put down snugly until conditions improve.
Caro - You may be clumsy, you may be directionally challenged but you remain my favourite Bostonian. May soon get to sample RD's prowess as co-pilot.
Style was a bit cramped at the airport. Firstly they were 40 minutes late landing and secondly the Malaysian football team were returning from Myanmar at roughly the same time and a small crowd (about ten folks in truth) turned up with drums and barely in-tune songs to welcome them home. I think Hani and Yasmyne thought I had set up a band especially for them. You would have been jolly proud of them as they insisted on me stopping for food on the way back.
Tina - No they're back. Only a little less normal than you perhaps my dear but if I can manage to be half as nice I'll be one heck of a nice fellow!
Glad Cleopatra is home safe and sound.
The Vietnam photo at the top is beautiful.
You had 133 books last year so have comfortably passed that figure as have I.
May your holiday be merry and your lovely wife's book tracking device get lost or broken.
WOW! I am most impressed that you acquired so many books this year. The age old question persists...Where in the world do you store them?
Thank you for your warmth, your kind spirit and the wonderful way in which you make every person special.
Here is the top 25 presently:
1 PaulCranswick (Paul) 9000
2 richardderus (Richard) 8478
3 msf59 (Mark) 7156
4 jnwelch (Joe) 6411
5 Crazymamie (Mamie) 5769
6 EBT 1002 (Ellen) 4517
7 mckait (Kath) 3966
8 Ape (Stephen) 3806
9 kidzdoc (Darryl) 3765
10 ireadthereforiam (Megan) 3686
11 scaifea (Amber) 2992
12 cameling (Caro) 2601
13 katiekrug (Katie) 2552
14 Whisper1 (Linda) 2514
15 brenzi (Bonnie) 2476
16 ronincats (Roni) 2476
17 norabelle414 (Nora) 2405
18 sibyx (Lucy) 2381
19 bahzah (Cee) 2362
20 LizzyD (Peggy) 2338
21 Donna828 (Donna) 2303
22 Morphidae (Morphy) 2262
23 TinaV95 (Tina) 2207
24 SandDune (Rhian) 2140
25 Chatterbox (Suz) 2107
Dear Linda - Hani didn't seem to notice that the reading room was pretty much knee deep. I'll put it down to being pleased to see me and to jet lag.
I certainly don't have the monopoly on warmth and kindness in this wonderful group. Following the lead of yourself and Kath amongst others sets an example I can only aspire towards. xx
I will be along of course to wish you a happy christmas nearer your time there.
I have so much to catch up with everybody
Paul, have a marvelous week. A friend of mine comes to visit her mother in KL for the holidays, I hardly wait for her to tell me all about it so i have an idea of your life there. Seems so exotic at times :)
exotic is what you got used to and take it for granted now ;) - colors, smells and incredible views. I would die to be in an Asian market, they all look incredible with all the strange fruits and the people are so colorful and look so full of life all the time.
Maybe is my prejudiced opinion based on reading and photos, but that is what I imagine when I think off all the countries like Malaysia, India etc. ... I probably would not be able to take the heat and noise, and tons of people for too long but still they look exotic to me :)
I'd like to wish you and the family .. a Merry Christmas? Or if you don't celebrate a very "Happy Year-End"!!
And I promise I'll really do my best to be a better follower in 2014!
I love Christmas. It is in my culture and I cannot really identify with islamic festivals for the same reason. The kids prefer Yuletide too in truth and Hani is not averse to a tree and the presents that go with celebrating the birth of Jesus!
Lynda - Great Lakes Christmas Ale looks good to go all-year-round! Thanks for the thoughtfulness of getting across here early andit is Christmas Eve here already.
Harvest by Jim Crace
Reading this I understood why it was shortlisted for literary honours but having finished it I understand why, ultimately, it fell just short.
Crace, in purportedly his farewell to fiction, pits us into an agrarian community on the cusp of shattering change. The village squire is about to lose his grip as his right to overlordship was predicated upon spousal inheritance and the wife has died leaving him childless and dispossessed.
This is a book about intrusion. Of the new meeting the old; of land held in commons meeting the enclosure system; of tradition meeting order; of belonging being shattered by the interloper. There is a wonderful evocation of place and detail and the depiction of the village rent asunder as it meets and fails to confront the changes it encounters is wonderfully drawn, if slowly effected.
Where the book is less effective is in its denouement which meanders onto a different path entirely and largely undoes some of the impression of its foregoing majesty. Can be seen in many ways as an allegorical tale with progress, oppression, prejudice, superstitions and displacement all being key themes and as relevant in a changing society today as it was in the era in which this seeks to re-create.
A very worthy signing off and almost a great work, but not quite so.
Have a wonderful holiday!
Congrats on reaching 150 books and beyond!
My very, very best wishes to you and your family for a merry Christmas!
There were no complaints at all!
Had a nice surprise when I did get home in that Sleeper's Wake awaited me courtesy of my Xmas Swapper, dear Jean. I have to say I am very pleased that she took the time to go through my wishlist and pick off a couple of the less obvious choices. xx
1119 physical books in 2013.
I'm off with Yasmyne to buy vegetables (carrots, cabbage, parsnip and the ubiquitous (but gip-inducing) brussel sprouts) and stuffing for the turkey.
Alex - You are one of the goos guys of the group; the drinking and merry parts sound like my cup of tea mate.
Paul - Thanks for the Christmas collage.
Cushla - Thanks my dear; I'll be along shortly to see how my antipodean friends are bringing in the Yuletide season.
Julia - I'll wear the mad-cap in keeping with the back-handed compliment from which I'm sure it was intended. xx
let's face it Paul, compared with some of us you are like the 40ish dashing Prince Charming who married Sleeping Beauty and now has the time of their lives leaving happily ever after and traveling the world, missed to mention the perfect beautiful children to step in their footsteps :P)
Have a nice coffee to take the stress off and get you going through a new year of "shopping hardship";). Cause we need the updates and you have to have your strength for it:
pff, i just cannot resize it, sorry for the size :(
I am a lucky fellow; I'll not deny it and my luck held out long enough to find this group. Hani is not sleeping beauty at present still suffering as she is from jet lag. More bear-with-sore-head in fact.
By the way you can re-size it by typing "width=400" straight after you type "src"
Paul- I hope you have a great holiday with the family. Once again, it's been wonderful, following you around this year, with books and various shenanigans. Glad you liked Harvest. The guy is really a strong and inventive writer.
Seems pretty small and insignificant next to your fine accomplishments, however, this is why we love this group, isn't it. No pressure to meet any externally imposed goals. To each his or her own, and much mutual admiration and enjoyment. So it shall be for 2014 also I am sure! Happy New Year, dear man, to you and your family!
Anyway, Happy Holidays to you and your family, Paul!
Linda - Thanks; I found his Quarantine quite incomprehensible so I was pleasantly surprised by the book for the most part.
Calm - That is a warm and welcoming great room for the season. I could see myself perched up on that book-balcony feeding my senses with a worthy tome. xx
Lucy - Now I know what Santa should bring me. Half a dozen corgis to pull my sled down to the bookstore and back!
(I know you don't have snow, so here's some to look at!)
dank u mijn vriend
Thanks Kerri - And I of course love everything written by Lessing; so much so that I have started one just for your TIOLI challenge.
Wishing you and your family the best for the festive season, Paul, and for a wonderful 2014!
Ho bloody ho bloody ho, there, Cranswick you lucky sod.
Wishing you all the best at this holiday season. I'm so looking forward to your eventual U.S. Tour. :-)
I hope you and your family have a lovely and peaceful Christmas and new year. I'm not sure the peaceful part is possible with two teenagers!
Nina - Yeah Christmas morning is a little like that over here isn't it? Belle is by the pool already and I see you will be having a barbeque with friends (don't barbeque the friends mind).
Richard - And for some masochistic reason your pad is still very high on my list of priorities for our Stateside trip.
Ellen - The Yellow Birds just about took home the prize for best fiction that I have read in 2013. I have read some good stuff too, I think.
I agree with you too; you are the star!
Linda - Thank you. That i one heck of a tail on the bird in the tree.
Caro - Drizzle fills me with foreboding. It has rained quite steadily over the last few days, although thankfully we have little sun but no drizzle this morning as yet. xx
Lori - I would recommend to read it. The first three-quarters of the book are excellent, if slow moving. I didn't really like the way it ended but overall it was better than the average bear.
Bekka - In fact I thought I saw him yesterday. I have heard that he is now almost completing his rounds and will be returning to his new base in Long Island before long.
Thanks for your kind words, my dear.
Katie - Thanks. For some reason SWMBO was in an aggressive mood yesterday which my attempts to irritate only fed. Got my arms pummelled in the car on the way home from a Christmas Eve party for suggesting that perhaps her and Yasmyne might tone down there disagreement about something or nothing. C'est la vie. The home for battered husbands I'm sure wouldn't accept someone who actually finds such incidents funny and laughs gaily with his wife in the immediate aftermath.
I've been horrible about keeping up with threads this year, but I'm not oblivious to the fact that I somehow still make your lists.
My love to you and yours!
Katherine - Your visits are all the sweeter for being rationed! xx
Roberta - You have kept up well this year all things considered. Always a pleasure to see you here.
Roni - So San Diego gets snow and you escape....to Kansas! Have a lovely stay there my dear. I have a client based in Wichita and I hope to get an excuse to visit there on a paid excursion some time soon.
Chelle - Nice to see you poppoing in from New Scotland. Hope the bump is also enjoying the festivities.
I have whizzed across the threads during the last day or so imparting festive greeting but I am mindful that I may have inadvertently overlooked or missed out a friend or two. To all my LT friends and I guess it is Christmas Day pretty much everywhere now: Have a wonderful festive season however, wherever and with whomever you are celebrating. Thanks to all who have visited my threads in 2013 and know that in doing so you have added immeasurably to m existence. Hyperbole to one side: this really is a great group.
Hope you're enjoying a sunny, balmy vacation week, and have a Merry, book-filled Xmas!
ETA: deleted extra posts. Dunno why it came up three times -- exuberant good wishes, perhaps??
Suz - I'll also vow to do much better on the reading front next year but 450 is not a target - half of that would be nice. You're posts are like a London bus my dear, not seen for a goodly time and then two come along at once. xx
Kerry - Thank you. I'll be interested to see where you are bringing in your new year.
Cee - We had a very non-traditional but excellent chinese meal at the Intercontinental Hotel this evening. Hani's favourite food. I made a turkey curry for lunch but only Kyran and I were awake to eat it.
I am sure I will repeat this again next week, but what a wonderful year we had on LT. Regardless, of our posts being up or down, or how many books being bought or read, this place continues to grow in our hearts. I think we are part of one of the best places, in the cyber-world and your participation, only adds to that joy.
Have yourself a merry little book-filled Christmas!
By the way, qebo gets the prize for first joiner!
Mary - Great minds and all that.
Jim - Now I wonder.....should I join or not? Hahaha I'll be along anon.
Just dropping off some Christmas Crackers for the man who has everything. Merry Christmas, Paul! You are such an integral part of this lovely group that I truly cannot imagine this place without you. Thanks for all stats and figures, all the humor and wit, all the charm and poetry. Hoping you know how very much we love you. Looking forward to doing it all over again in 2014.
Thank you dear Bonnie. I see the snowman is sufficiently rotund as to be mistaken for yours truly but at least the scarf would be a fashion first for me.
I have been oftimes labelled droll
By those thread police on patrol
But when heavy irony takes a toll
I cease for fear of vitriol.
Mamie - Blushing at your wondrous words kindly received. I think you know full well how much I cherish your company in the group and the small share we all get in the life at the Pecan Paradisio. Saw you made a quick dash over to the 2014 group already and look forward to more of Mamie and Mamie junior too in the coming year.
Alex - Already splitting my time between the two groups. Thank heavens it is only for a few days. Looking out for your pad over there too.
OK Morphy, Caro does this much better than I but I'll try. It was the Tao Imperial Chinese restaurant in the Intercontinental, KL (formerly the Nikko Hotel).
Hot & Sour soup.
A type of whitebait
Spring roll with soft shell crab filling
Prawns flavoured with nutmeg mayo in oatmeal
Slow cooked duck breast
Chicken Sichuan Style with dried chilis
Bean Curd with seafood in Claypot
Cod fish baked in orange with thai seasoning
Broccoli steamed in garlic
Tao Special Fried Rice
Chinese Pancake with lotus paste
Mango Pureed Cream with Pomelo
mmmmmmm, I want one of those meals, sometime soon....
Roberta - Thanks. Hani is a stickler for organising photographs. She seems to want to document every single day of our existences.
Lori - Lotus paste is a sweet filling in pastry a bit like a fruity tasting caramel. Pomelo is a local fruit whose edible bits are akin to grapefruit only much sweeter.
The fruit on the tree looks like this:
Faith - Thank you. Warmer here for me than it is in your neck of the woods I would hazard.
Roni - I would always be delighted to find a vacant chair for you dear lady. There was more than enough food to go round too.
1. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
2. The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
3. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
4. The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
5. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
6. Rogue Male by Geoffrey Househld
7. Summer by Edith Wharton
8. Dangerous Visions by Harlan Ellison
9. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
10. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
11. The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper by Jonathan Wilson
12. Twirlymen by Amol Rajan
13. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
14. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
15. Stone Junction by Jim Dodge
16. Fire Down Below by William Golding
17. Jacobs Beach: The Mob, The Garden & the Golden Age of Boxing by Kevin Mitchell
1136 physical books in 2013
Another good book splurge my friend.
Tam - Thanks they get their looks from SWMBO and the milkman.
Give me a chance with The Thirteenth Tale as it has only been in my possession a little over 12 hours! xx
Kathy - The joy and the books seem to be interlinked somehow don't they just. xx
RD - Second one of Household's I've managed to pick up this year. Ghana Must Go - well I am actually going there in January on a business trip so it could prove topical.
John - One of the rare good days in this series, mate. Broad has bowled well throughout in fairness but Anderson finally got his stuff together and Bresnan was parsimonious. I like having five bowlers in the team long term. Hopefully Stokes can develop into a permanent solution in the all-rounder position.
The tail is terrified of Johnson isn't it?
Never mind at least they you don't have the torture of watching Blackcaps ...
We had English (maybe) Christmas dinner. My MIL actually boiled the ham. :) I think I vote for your kind of Christmas dinner next year...
It's been a pleasure getting to know you over the past year, buddy! Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
Alex - But a pretty pathetic start this morning as the Aussies have added almost 40 to their tally already.
Jenn - A NZ christmas next year? Oyster's fresh from the sea and roasted lamb with rosemary, I'm
Joe - Likewise mate. Your hospitality in the group is legendary.
I think not, right? I mean, why would you?
Ellen - It is a rare occurrence that I don't bypass the mosque and head off to my temple of books.
I also enjoyed most of The Little Stranger so if it is better still than I will definitely enjoy it.
Eddy Merckx: The Cannibal by Daniel Friebe
No this is not an obscene or perverted book about strange culinary experiences but the biography of the greatest road racing cyclist to have entered the sport.
As a devotee and one-time
Friebe's book, written without the co-operation of the great man, is admiring withoutbeing fawning. Concentrates largely on his racing career which is after all what he is famous for and draws on some of the great racing characters of his time such as De Vlaeminck, Van Looy, Thevenet and Gimondi.
Grain by John Glenday
I get a sense reading this one slowly as to why RD is irritated so much by 'poultry'.
Poetry needn't rhyme but it needs to sing but this in most part clunked and jarred.
Glenday is a talented arranger of words but often his points are either too undeveloped or too obscure.
That said this fairly short anthology, which was nominated for the Ted Hughes Prize (I didn't know there was one), does still have its moments of perspicuity as in the title poem or here in
I cannot see my mother's face;
no longer know my father's name.
It's the forgetting of the world
keeps me sane.
A stranger's laugh, a neighbour's death;
My wife's despair, my daughter's grief.
It's the forgetting of the world
Gives me breath.
The hungry, old, surrounding sea,
Heaves at a field's worn edge in me.
It's the forgetting of the world
Sets us free.
If only there were more like that in the collection.
John Glenday was born in 1952 and hails from Dundee in Scotland. Grain was his third collection of poetry.
Hi, Paul. Hope your weekend is going great!
Lori - The image on the thread doesn't do the actual cover justice either. It has a clarity that is really quite striking.
Faith - I think it is quite new to celebrate either a movie or more probably a BBC dramatisation.
Something I very rarely do is mistakenly buy the same book twice but I realised this morning that I bought a different version of The Broken Shore by Peter Temple only three months earlier so my next meet-up will probably been the beneficiary of a pristine extra copy. So minus one on the yearly accumulation down to 1135 physical books in 2013, edited above to strike it off.
Secondly another confession:
Always throws me that and gets me thinking about making amends. We went to the Pavilion mall for supper as a tribe and Belle insisted we have japanese food. After that there is a coffee place I like and seems to like me called Espresso Lab. It is situated conveniently, some might say, in the heart of the Times Bookstore. So I had to pass the shelves to get to the coffee and, of course I stopped.
1. Monsieur Le Commandant by Romain Slocombe
2. If This is a Man by Primo Levi
3. The Truce by Primo Levi both of these in one volume
4. Mission Flats by William Landay
5. Three Dog Night Tre Hundes Nat by Elsebeth Egholm
6. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (Had it many years ago)
7. Hard Twisted by C. Joseph Greaves
8. While We Still Live by Helen MacInnes
1143 physical books in 2013.
Linda - I am a bit particular with what grabs me poetry wise. Most of that collection didn't do it but for a few of the poems towards the close.
Off to visit my FIL in the hospital and hoping for a quick dive into a book shop. I got a gift card and it's burning a hole in my pocket.
That was the *best* in the collection. Ew.
Jenn - I am hopeless with gift vouchers especially vouchers given out by stores based on what you've bought because I always lose them.
RD - Yep, thought you'd like it. Most of the stuff is close to gibberish.
Julia - There were a lot of poems that I couldn't make head or tail of including a couple written in an incomprehensible dialect. There is hope for my poetry to get a publisher after all.
You put a smile on my dial, Paul. There's always room for a few more books, right!? But can you really get that many past Hani!? (my regards to your beautiful family too, btw).
Happy Holidays! (you do get some right?)
She wasn't around for the first haul Megan. The second one was difficult and the third one she was busy stuffing her face with cake.
Lovely to see you back from the canvas christmas - must go and see what the boys were doing.
Hoping to finish three more books before the close of play.
Mark - I got defeated by a changed book cover. Sometimes changed titles North America/Europe throws me a little but I don't normally take the plunge and get the sam one twice.
Caro - My friend (yes it was a friend) said my ability to remember my entire collection of books and cds was due to a form of autism. Not sure that I am not doing the autistic a disservice but if painfully attentive and retentive storage of facts is a sign of the condition that I'll have to accept it.
Megan - Best cover is to turn it into a gift. Quite right.
Todays additions (all at $3 and under)
1. The Drowner by Robert Drewe
2. Saturday by Ian McEwan
3. A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
4. The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson (WWI related)
5. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
6. Among the Dead Cities by A.C. Grayling
7. The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata
8. The Life and Times of a Teaboy by Michael Collins
9. A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
10. All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie
11. Sun Dog by Monique Roffey
12. The Biographer's Tale by A.S. Byatt
13. The Other Family by Joanne Trollope
14. Bad Day in Blackrock by Kevin Power
15. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
16. Somme: The Heroism and Horror of War by Martin Gilbert (WW1 Related)
17. The Glade Within the Grove by David Foster
18. Everyman by Philip Roth
1161 physical books in 2013
The Summer Before the Dark by Doris Lessing
I read this for Kerri's TIOLI challenge and it proves how much I like her because I didn't care at all for this one.
High blown and highly improbable tale of a ladies mid-life crisis.
Kate is married with four children. They all have plans for the summer, she has none. Being half-Portuguese she ends up being persuaded by her husband to take a job as an interpreter whilst he gallivants to the USA. Thereafter with trips to Turkey, a strangely passionless affair in Spain, an unexplained illness and strange dream sequences involving a seal that I am in no part smart enough to comprehend, the story meanders to a pointless conclusion.
When Lessing was good she was nearly great. The Grass is Singing must be a top ten first novel. So much else would never have made the publisher without that. This is one.
I would try her short stories. She does Africa very well and has a collection of stories all set there, The Sun Between Their Feet, that I will read the next time Kerri flutters her eyelashes at me.
Kerri - Martha Quest was one I was slightly tempted by actually starting from the same African roots as The Grass is Singing. I don't know why but with Lessing I don't get any emotional attachment to the characters at all. They seem like empty vessels that she moves around and causes them actions and feelings that are never explainable or logical.
Lori - I was saved from the store by one of my staff, my darling secretary Nik Norul, presenting me with a book for the new year. So I added In the Kitchen by Monica Ali as my 1162 nd and last physical book addition of 2013.
I have said that I want to take a two week break from book buying but I am itching to check out WWI books for a bit of a readathon on the subject this year.
Tina - Yeah wonders will never cease. Where the heck are you by the way over at 2014?
Alex - Don't understand it at all mate, I really dont. Hopefully the tribe won't suggest going near the mall this evening.
Thanks for your kind wishes, Alex. It has been a pleasure chewing the fat with you as always and long may it continue.
Mary - There were probably 4 really good poems in the collection and the rest were, well, not. It is lovely though, isn't it, just to cocoon oneself sometimes and let the world wend its aimless way beyond our door? Wish that was me tonight but SWMBO needs to be entertained!
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
District and Circle by Seamus Heaney - my third anthology of his this year and I think, given my love of the genre and Heaney's passing earlier this year leaving us bereft of his uniquely poetic voice, it is an appropriate place to sign off reading wise.
I'll be back of course to review these and put up end of year stats and a round up, etc.
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone who visited me here whether you posted or not and all your loved ones a wonderful, prosperous and peaceful new year.
This group inculcates the best in all of us and I have made some wonderful friends via this thread and those I visit. Life would be a lot less full without all of you in it.
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Fermor walks through Holland and Germany into Austria and on through Central Europe on a journey to Constantinople. He does so whilst turning his pen into a wand weaving wonderfully constructed sentences and descriptions of the places around him and the people he encounters.
Without peer in the evocation of place, he casts an eye on a Europe long gone. One with Germany where Hitler is in power but the country is still not in thrall to his ways and whims. One where hospitality reigns supreme but on the cusp of great change. One of poverty mixed with kindness and unrest mixed with hope. One filled with an abundance of differing peoples of discernible character - the jewish quarter in Bratislava is described as lovingly as the underlying malevolence in Munich is warned of.
There are some great vignettes in this book; his losing his passport in Munich and particularly his chum who gets embroiled in smuggling saccahrine of all things.
Great stuff as a period piece and breathtakingly good writing.
District and Circle by Seamus Heaney
I thought it appropriate to end the year with this great poet, no longer with us.
It doesn't hit the peaks of some of his other work and there is an element here of contentment not really evident in some of his other anthologies.
There is a nostalgic and playful feel here as Heaney covers some of the landscapes of his youth and formative years, some of his influences and some of the experience that have marked and made him.
The title poem recreates the atmosphere of the London underground splendidly and its wonderful closeout:
"And so by night and day to be transported
Through galleried earth with them, the only relict
Of all that I belonged to, hurtled forward,
Reflecting in a window mirror-backed
By blasted weeping rock-walls.
Good but not what made him great.