Paul's Books and Stuff in 2013 Part 31

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Paul's Books and Stuff in 2013 Part 31

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Dic 18, 2013, 4:07am

Closing out from Hanoi's Old Quarter:

Editado: Dic 18, 2013, 4:18am

Ho Chi Minh is the father of Vietnam. He is the father of a hardy and determined people. Not afraid of hard work or who fear not being able to prevail in adversity.

"Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.”
― Hồ Chí Minh

Editado: Dic 18, 2013, 4:31am

2013 Books Read January-June 2013

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

Editado: Feb 17, 2015, 9:58pm

2013 Books Read - SECOND 75 and hopefully beyond a bit


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

Editado: Dic 18, 2013, 4:59am

Best of 2013

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

Editado: Dic 20, 2013, 10:29am

Category Challenge

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
9 Scandi
10 Old Friends COMPLETED
11 Then and Now COMPLETED
12 Prize Winners
13 Asia Pacific

Total Number of Challenges 169

Editado: Dic 20, 2013, 10:32am

December Reading Plan

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.

Editado: Dic 31, 2013, 9:57pm

Physical Books TBR

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.

Editado: Ene 1, 2014, 3:22am

Current and Upcoming Reading

Dic 18, 2013, 4:09am

At the movies

Dic 18, 2013, 4:09am

Series lists

Dic 18, 2013, 4:09am

Nobel Lists

Dic 18, 2013, 4:37am

Hi Paul - long time no chat!

Dic 18, 2013, 4:38am

Oops, just realised I may have messed up your system....

Editado: Dic 18, 2013, 4:42am

oh, my... am I the first on this new one?? I cannot believe.
let's make the coffee so I can believe I am awake:

pff, darn the coffee, i got taken :(((

Dic 18, 2013, 4:49am

Dear Orlaith - Lovely to see you posting and that your first up this time. Not spoiled anything - made my day rather. If you've been following there is a prize (a book via Book Depo) for the first up on my threads - so PM me your address and I'll try to choose something for you you'll like. This will almost certainly be my last last thread of the year and the last prize giving.

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

Dic 18, 2013, 5:00am

That's extremely generous and throughtful Paul, thanks! I feel undeserving as I haven’t been on LT in an age (though I'm having a cheeky sneak back through the threads now). Unfortunately, new job & wedding planning make me a terrible reader. All my reading these days seems to be work related – informative, but maybe not quite as gripping as it could be! I’m excited for the holidays though, and am looking forward to gaining some traction with the books I have on the go – particularly Matterhorn, which I'm really enjoying. The descriptions in the novel are so vivid; I sometimes feel when I’m reading it like I’m crawling on my hands and knees through the jungle....makes a break from office life! Hope all is well with you and yours.

Dic 18, 2013, 5:34am

Hej Paul, you are well ahead in the posting league - and again, a nice picture up front.

Dic 18, 2013, 7:20am

"This will almost certainly be my last last thread of the year. " And you certainly underestimate yourself, my friend.

Congrats on #31! Hope the work week is going well and you are enjoying the swinging bachelor life.

Dic 18, 2013, 7:59am

I got caught up on your previous thread to find myself just in time for your new one! You have snagged some very good reading material in the past few weeks - INCREDIBLE hauls!! And I love the opening photo that you have chosen for this latest thread. Hoping that Wednesday was kind to you - mine is just beginning.

Dic 18, 2013, 9:04am

I think we need to prove Paul wrong and make him do one more thread. Chat it up, people!

Dic 18, 2013, 9:23am

I'm enjoying Bulldog Drummond, Paul. He sure has an upbeat outlook, doesn't he? No matter how dire the circumstances. I was reminded at one point, as Peterson sends him up the dangerous stairs in the dark, of Dr. Evil's son Scotty trying to talk Dr. Evil into just shooting Austin Powers, rather than arranging an elaborate setup with sharks wearing lasers on their heads (!) - from which Powers inevitably escapes. Of course, just shooting Bulldog would have made for a much shorter and less enjoyable book.

Dic 18, 2013, 9:37am

Very interesting to see your Hanoi photo, especially since I read and loved Bao Ninh's The Sorrow of War earlier this year. I've also read a biography of Ho Chi Minh by William J. Duiker that I thought was very good, although apparently I never entered it into LT because it is on my sweetie's shelves.

Dic 18, 2013, 9:55am

Lovely photo, Paul!

Dic 18, 2013, 9:58am

Love the photo of Hanoi topping the thread. It looks like motorcycles are the most popular form of transportation. I really miss the days when there were thriving Main Streets and downtowns in the United States. Shops back then had character. Now we just have cookie cutter stores in malls and shopping centers. Downtowns are either dead or just filled with shops that you have only occasional need for -- the type for a gift. There's really no need to visit on a regular basis. Back in the old days, the dollar stores, grocery stores, and drug stores were all down there so you would visit frequently.

Dic 18, 2013, 10:11am

Here is my (first) contribution to elevating Paul to 32 threads for the year!

Dic 18, 2013, 10:14am

I love the photo of Old Hanoi, Paul. I would like to do some reading by Vietnamese authors. I'm thinking I'll add The Sorrow of War to the wish list based on Rebecca's post above.

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.

Dic 18, 2013, 10:42am

That's a lovely photo of Hanoi, Paul!

Dic 18, 2013, 10:57am

Love the tread topper! Beautiful.

Dic 18, 2013, 11:34am

Gorgeous photo at the top.

Dic 18, 2013, 11:36am


Dic 18, 2013, 11:38am

Great thread topper Paul.

Are you and the clan all back together yet and have all the book hauls been safely hidden away from SWMBO's eyes?

Dic 18, 2013, 12:01pm

Dear, dear Paul,

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.

Dic 18, 2013, 12:02pm

Great photo of Hanoi for your thread topper, Paul. so one more week to go before to go on mad book buying sprees before Hani returns to find...even less room than was available before she had left?

Dic 18, 2013, 12:04pm

Beautiful photo of Hanoi, Paul. It's so peaceful.

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.

Editado: Dic 18, 2013, 1:18pm

*Passing through, waving at Paul and everyone else, admiring the calm street scene, adding to the post total, assuring that I don't miss out on this one as I did the last one two*

Dic 18, 2013, 1:53pm

How very very different from the images of Hanoi I grew up with, a place in fire from the bombs the US was dropping on it. What a relief to see the beauty wasn't totally eradicated.

Dic 18, 2013, 3:58pm

Great thread topper Paul, enjoy Vietnam.

Dic 18, 2013, 4:09pm

I also love the thread topper. I don't usually comment on them but it looks like a lovely street I'd like to visit.

Dic 18, 2013, 6:19pm

#39 - Thinly veiled attempt, Morphy. Thinly veiled, indeed. :-)

Dic 18, 2013, 6:25pm

I also loved the thread topper, but I believe I commented on that already.

Dic 18, 2013, 6:47pm

Orlaith - Karl Marlantes is definitely on the radar for next year both of his books are on the shelves and I don't recall a negative review about either. I get immense pleasure from sending my friends books although I can be slothful in getting around to sending them they'll not get forgotten.

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.

Dic 18, 2013, 6:56pm

Been on FB admiring Hani and Yasmyne's vacation photos! Looks like they're having a wonderful time.

Dic 18, 2013, 7:15pm

Hello Paul - love the photo of Hanoi - and chuckled at the comment that it was so 'peaceful'. Hanoi is probably the least 'peaceful' city I have visited. Loved it though. And loving the pics that Hani is posting on FB of Egypt - Cairo is another chaotic city - it was love at first sight for me!

Dic 18, 2013, 7:29pm

Wow, this thread is already hopping! Beautiful picture up top. :) *waves*

Dic 18, 2013, 7:31pm

Rebecca - That photo is obviously an early morning one and I have to say it is not representative of the teeming matrix of streets in the Old Quarter with motorcycles in all directions and cars being added to the mix. It is vibrant, chaotic but extremely friendly and safe. I was in one of the thousands of small stores in the old quarter yesterday looking for trinkets for Hani and came across a shop selling Poster Art on scrolls. They were almost exclusively of Ho Chi Minh and mainly dedicated to "their struggle for liberation". There was one particular poster with Nixon's head on a pole talking about a blood debt that was as graphic as it was chilling. Some of the others about agriculture and giving homage to their leader I was tempted to buy (they were selling at $3) but I figured it was a chancy undertaking as some of my American clients may have been offended.
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.

Dic 18, 2013, 7:55pm

Julia - The photo is not exactly representative of Hanoi during most of the day. This shady nook is an exception to the rule believe me.

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.

Dic 18, 2013, 8:01pm

Caro - I do have the weekend of course but I will, believe it or no, try to restrain and resist. I usually fail miserably so let's see.

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

Dic 18, 2013, 8:06pm

Ellen & Mamie - Yes indeed, precisely.

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.

Dic 18, 2013, 8:59pm

Yes, I know. I'm working on increasing your numbers. But it was an honest comment!

Dic 18, 2013, 10:39pm

Checking in to your newest (and I highly doubt your last) thread, Paul. I have been quite busy getting ready for the holidays and haven't spent a lot of time on LT lately. I am reading lots however. Have you ever come across an author called Toby Litt? I am reading his Corpsing and really enjoying the experience.

Dic 19, 2013, 2:46am

51 posts already ...... & no more acquisitions must have visited the wrong place

Dic 19, 2013, 5:31am

Hanoi in the first posting looks peaceful, Paul. I love the stories about your adventures in Vietnam!

Dic 19, 2013, 8:15am

Seeing the photo at the top of your thread reminds me of the Top Gear episode when the boys rode motorcycles through Vietnam... what an episode that was! Looks like a fascinating place to visit (though that street is suspiciously empty, which I assume you've commented about earlier in the thread and I have simply missed seeing as I'm not yet done my first morning coffee, and visual acuity is somewhat lacking...).

Dic 19, 2013, 8:54am

Almost twelve hours and only four posts? That's sad...

Dic 19, 2013, 9:18am

That is sad. I'll help.

Happy Thursday Evening, Paul! Are you back home safe and sound?

Dic 19, 2013, 9:18am

>54 dk_phoenix: Faith: Ha! One of my favorite episodes. I especially love the bit about the punishment of having the backup bike painted with the American Flag!

Dic 19, 2013, 10:14am

>42 PaulCranswick: Yeah, my wife and kids are Jewish, so I've been on the lookout for the anti-Semitism, but haven't seen it yet in Bulldog Drummond, Paul. He's hard on the Germans, but it's post-WWI and tied to that. The action never stops, and it's been a fun ride. Improbable but entertaining - you got it.

Dic 19, 2013, 10:23am

I took this photo in Vietnam and it's one of my favorites - the crazy power lines. When something goes wrong with one, it's not fixed, they just throw up another one.

Dic 19, 2013, 10:31am

WOW! That is just so bizarre, Katie. YIKES!

Dic 19, 2013, 11:56am

Dear lord, that's crazy! Wouldn't that many wires cause a fire?

Editado: Dic 19, 2013, 12:04pm

Dic 19, 2013, 12:15pm

Katie, I took a photo just like that in Phuket last spring -- wouldn't you love to have to track down which one has the problem? lol

Dic 19, 2013, 12:16pm

I know I have been absent for the last several days and will be absent again. I am leaving tomorrow for the colder climes of the Kansas Plains and will be gone for two weeks. During that time I will have some access to LT, but not much. I hope to spend my time baking pies and other Christmas delights. Plus I will be working on our family history DVD. Last night I got a call from my cousin and he is getting ready to make sauerkraut and needed my expert advice, since I am not yet there. Looks like by the time I get home we will have cabbage and then I get to supervise cutting it and making the kraut. I will be taking some books home with me and of course, I have the Nook books.

Dic 19, 2013, 1:58pm

Sounds like several of us have travel plans for the next couple of weeks. I'll be leaving for Mississippi soon. I'll be doing some baking, cooking for Christmas, working on genealogical research, attending my nephew's wedding, and probably ringing in the New Year before I return home. Oh, yes, I have a stash of books to read too! Now, I need to get off LT and go address Christmas cards. Some will probably arrive late as it is, but at least I can make the effort!

Dic 19, 2013, 2:57pm

Still no Paul? Now, I am sad and sick...

Dic 19, 2013, 3:44pm

Hi Paul- I reckon early morning Hanoi would be lovely, before the hubbub and the fumes :) It makes me want to eat some Po

>59 katiekrug: holy guacamole. That looks.......busy!

Dic 19, 2013, 4:25pm

Hi Paul, loving the photos taken by Hani and Yasmyne of Egypt, you all seem to be having a good time, not jealous, lol.

Dic 19, 2013, 9:41pm

Morphy - I did guess so! Tq. xx

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.

Dic 19, 2013, 9:48pm

Mamie - Yes, I'm back but a little tired. Spoke to Hani yesterday who professes to be missing me although I have to say I don't get that impression much from the facebook pictures - even less sincerely Yasmyne also said she missed me too.

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.

Dic 19, 2013, 9:54pm

Your mention of Facebook pictures made me go over to Facebook and search. I think I found you because I spotted pyramids and the Nile River. It looks like Hani has taken over your profile for the moment.

Dic 19, 2013, 9:58pm

Morphy - Unlikely to cause a fire in truth but more likelihood of power failures. They tend to switch off the heating or air-cons in hotels after 10 pm so I dread to think what the summer months are like.

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.

Dic 19, 2013, 9:59pm

Lori - No, she has permanently purloined my facebook page! She doesn't want her own page and, I am sure, wants to monitor my own!

Dic 19, 2013, 10:01pm

I have passed the 150 books mark!!
Finished Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jilian Lauren, Shallows by Tim Winton and Song and Dance by John Fuller whilst in Vietnam. I have another 7 or 8 bubbling to be finished by the year's end so revised target is 160.

Dic 19, 2013, 10:27pm

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!

Dic 20, 2013, 6:49am

congratulations for you going 150...

Dic 20, 2013, 7:07am

Congratulations on reading 150 books this year Paul.

Dic 20, 2013, 8:11am

Congrats on 150!

Hey, have you read Of Mice and Men? I just did and liked it a lot.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:02am

Thanks Mamie, actually I know the big 'un is missing me and I will let slip that it is a wee bit mutual. Just been playing a few soppy songs that both of us like and getting a tad maudlin. Bread's "She's the Only One", Van the Man's "Crazy Love" and Alabama's "Why Lady Why". Great stuff but not the best way to start my weekend in an upbeat mode!

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.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:04am

In sheer amazement at your continued survival despite biblioholism so profound as to merit international intervention, Paul:

Celebrate the return of the light with feasts, merriment, and gratitude for all the wonders of this wide green earth.


Dic 20, 2013, 10:17am

Thank you RD - that is the Pagan Way to happiness for sure; looks one heck of pomegranate I must say.

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.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:21am

It's a "Dellarobbia"-style tree ornament...isn't it gorgeous?

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.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:42am

It is indeed a Bobby Dazzler, Richard.

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.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:49am're coming to NEW YORK. Up there with London, Paris, and HK as shopping destinations. Resign yourself. I have a district-by-district shopping map for Hani, with major handbag-purveying venues marked in red, under construction.

I figure you and I can stay busy at The Strand.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:52am

RD - Your final paragraph saved what was left of my busily gnashing teeth. We will waltz through the strand even if Kyran and I have to carry you there between us.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:56am

If you rent a vehicle while you're here, and the vehicle is a minivan like a Chrysler Town & Country, I can even ride in the front seat! Normal cars are impossible, too low and too many folds to make in things that don't want to fold anymore.

But ask Caro...I give very good driving instructions.

Dic 20, 2013, 11:21am

Anywhere we go RD, Hani insists on a people carrier type of vehicle which is always quite high up. So it hsould be fine.

Anyone who can stop Clumsy bumping into things must be savvy at directions.

Dic 20, 2013, 11:26am

All those years teaching youngsters to drive. I'm an expert now.

Editado: Dic 20, 2013, 12:09pm

But ask Caro...I give very good driving instructions.

Hmm. That's not what she told me.

Paul, be very careful when Richard tells you to "turn right here!"

Dic 20, 2013, 12:12pm

Ah! I can see this is some sort of Ricardian irony or dare I say tomfoolery.

Darryl - hahaha. With a typical Carolean luncheon preceding the mini-vans conversion to air travel - that sucker is not going to float.

Dic 20, 2013, 12:18pm

Glad to see you back Paul and congrats on 150!

>62 richardderus: Stealing this, Richard!

>89 kidzdoc: Richard is really a CIA operative and he found a bomb so he is really just saving us all. :)

Dic 20, 2013, 12:21pm

Thanks Tam - I think RD lost his head when Caro put on the Chuckles audio book on the sound system with Chuckles reciting his favourite passages of Poultry.

Dic 20, 2013, 12:24pm

My report of no more intended additions for the year pre-supposed the Xmas swap books would not arrive until January......glad to say; WRONG.

I have received
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting from dear Jean (majkia) from my wishlist.

1081 physical books added in 2013.

Dic 20, 2013, 12:42pm

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!

Dic 20, 2013, 12:45pm

Hahaha Linda, I thought I showed tremendous abstemiousness in the bars of Hanoi which is surely more akin to the dangers your mother was afeared of.

Dic 20, 2013, 1:51pm

*huff* I shall take this matter up with the appropriate party tout suite!

Tamara, feel free, it's such a wonderful sentiment isn't it?

Dic 20, 2013, 3:10pm

Yay! Paul! Yay! I can get to New York if there is a LT get-together planned when you are here in 2014. Please let me know as it would be my first LT get-together and it would mean the world to me to see any and all of those who can make the trip there to see you and Richard and the rest of the LT contingent.

Dic 20, 2013, 3:46pm

This is a genuine post and not an attempt to escalate your numbers.

I completed my 100th book and I gave it five stars. Life is good.

Dic 20, 2013, 3:53pm

All I have to say is that Minnesota has the Mall of America.

"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."

Dic 20, 2013, 3:54pm

Congrats on reaching 150 mate.

Dic 20, 2013, 4:14pm

So you won't want to know about the factory outlet villages just outside NYC?

Congrats on 150.

Dic 20, 2013, 8:58pm

RD - Cringing for poor old Darryl but I can't see if you're at the bottom of the Hudson with an obliviously munching Bostonian......

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!

Dic 20, 2013, 9:01pm

I have to admit to a craving for the bookstore and I am going off to meet one of my business partners this morning in KLCC, the home of Kino, my own second home. Will try and fight the urge but I have an awful feeling that I may be posting again soon confessionally.

Dic 20, 2013, 9:06pm

Hi Paul- Darryl cracked me up with post #89! That is damn funny. Everyone wants Sir Paul to visit! You can make all the promises you want, my good friend, as long as you show up here.

"All I have to say is that Minnesota has the Mall of America." Just remember to bring your snow-boots. Yes, even in July.

Dic 20, 2013, 9:31pm

It sounds like I picked up more books today than you did, Paul. I'm shocked. I got 5 at the Chattanooga McKays as I passed through. They are still out in the car so I haven't added them to my library yet.

Dic 20, 2013, 9:37pm

Mark - Snow boots in July? The kids will love that mate. Chicago is a definite; a non-negotiable part of the itinery.

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.

Dic 20, 2013, 10:04pm

Not at Mall of America sadly. However we do have...

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."

Dic 20, 2013, 10:11pm

Dear Friend

I so enjoy your photos and posts regarding places you visit. It provides a lot of joy!

Dic 21, 2013, 12:41am

"I have to admit to a craving for the bookstore..."
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

Dic 21, 2013, 5:32am

#103: Tapping fingers waiting for the confessional. . .

Dic 21, 2013, 5:44am

good morning Mr. Cranswick... ah, you are going to NY, shoppers paradise but also book lovers heaven :)
I am green. Also you get to meet Richard & others. I am greener :P

have your morning (afternoon) coffee anyway :)

Dic 21, 2013, 6:09am

Morphy - Nice names for specialist shops and sound just my thing as I have lists in most genres of stuff I'd like to add.

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.

Dic 21, 2013, 6:11am

Liliana, what a graphic! The famed green tiger of Transylvania!

Dic 21, 2013, 7:17am

OK time to 'fess up. Figured this was my last chance to have a binge without being in the least bit concerned as to how I get them beyond SWMBOs tracking devices.

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.

Dic 21, 2013, 7:26am

Oh, good, Paul, you got Heaney, Fallada and Thomas Mann, Tolstoi, Zola, and Murakami and Ishiguro. Great

But, well, 1118 is not a good number, 1133, 1199, 1221 would be better numbers to stop, wouldn't it?

Dic 21, 2013, 8:26am

Ha! Paul, I didn't bother to say this time that I have stopped. I think I might have but then again.....
My selections were a bit more Middle Europe this time with Fallada, Mann, Kafka, Turgenev, Tolstoi, Zola, Calvinoall being represented.

Dic 21, 2013, 9:04am

I didn't bother to say this time that I have stopped. and I didn't think it...

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).

Dic 21, 2013, 9:51am

Paul - As you know I have a great affinity for Koreans having worked with and alongside them for the best part of 20 years. Chaebols such as Ssangyong, Lotte, Hyundai, GS and POSCO are clients of long standing and some of my very best friends are from that hardy country. The series of modern Korean literature is just too good to miss and I have managed to bag half of the ten already.
Sorry to see that your friend also has cancer. The Koreans are fighters though which can only help in the circumstances.

Dic 21, 2013, 10:02am dog is Korean...a Jindo...

Blew right past 1100, sailing into the middle of the next now where will it all end? Hmmm


Okay, I'm plumping for 1131.

Dic 21, 2013, 10:50am

Richard too late, I lost the bet too :(((
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)

Dic 21, 2013, 10:55am

RD - There are apparently 2 more xmas swap books imminent so 1,120 is likely. Who knows SWMBO might bring back a gross of books from her travels.

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.

Editado: Dic 21, 2013, 12:43pm

BOOKS OF THE YEAR (Home Page Request)

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.

Editado: Dic 21, 2013, 1:39pm

Like that books of the year list, Paul. Hadn't thought of doing it by genre. The Yellow Birds and Among Others were hits with me. I want to read that Simon Jenkins at some point.

Like your last pre-Hani return haul, too. Does my heart good to see you stocking up on Kafka and Murakami.

Dic 21, 2013, 1:58pm

>114 PaulCranswick: Nice list! Still wending my way through it.

Dic 21, 2013, 3:14pm

Very nice haul there, calvino Kafka Murakami Ishiguro ..... Invisible cities is still in my wish list

Dic 21, 2013, 3:56pm

I am refusing to do any "of the year" lists until the year is actually over!

*raises a defiant fist*

Dic 21, 2013, 8:44pm

Hi Paul- I like your Books of the Year List. I agree with you on the Yellow Birds and Among Others. I am still extremely poetry shy, so that is a literary barrier I need to overcome.

BTW- I LOVE Dirt Music. This dude speaks to me...

Dic 21, 2013, 10:43pm

Joe - I think I would have struggled more to hone down a list without doing it by genre. Don't like reading the same type of stuff all the time and qualitative analysis between genres is not helpful.

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.

Dic 21, 2013, 10:46pm

I have been working on the supposition that SWMBO would be arriving back on Monday evening. Called her yesterday and she reminded me to make sure I was there at the airport on Monday the 22nd. I double-checked her in that Sunday is the 22nd and she has apparently hurriedly packed and is probably already airborne. Not the best of travellers, obviously. She got confused by the flight being 3 in the morning on 22nd - she actually gets in 9 pm on Sunday evening in KL. Happy and bemused at the same time.

Dic 21, 2013, 10:51pm

Clearly, Hani needs you to "make the trains run on time", so to speak, Paul. I'm sure you will both be glad to be reunited very soon.

Dic 21, 2013, 11:10pm

Julia, hahaha wasn't it Mussolini that got the trains running on time? I am afeared that she would fit those shoes far more adequately than I in normal circumstances!

Dic 21, 2013, 11:16pm

Ha, well as we know Mussolini for all his faults was very popular with many Italians of the era, as I suspect Hani is in fact very popular around your house despite your occasional grumbles to the contrary. :-)

Dic 21, 2013, 11:22pm

Well when she tends to go on a little too much I do have a tendency to say "Finito Benito" so you may have something there. xx

Dic 21, 2013, 11:26pm

132 > Nicely said !

128 > If on a Winter's Night a Traveller was brilliant & rewarding - I agree it is a challenging read. I have The complete cosmicomics on my TBR waiting for my attention.

Dic 22, 2013, 1:19am

I agree with you regarding Elton John's Yellow Brick Road. His best.

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.

Dic 22, 2013, 2:23am

#114 Great haul as always! Some great ones in there - loved Never Let Me Go and Tipping the Velvet. I hope the family make it back safe and sound (and on time ;)).

Dic 22, 2013, 3:03am

Alex - I also have his Our Ancestors. I am sure to read something of his next year.

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

Dic 22, 2013, 3:28am

*Snarf* I always think that a flawless person would be unbearable.

I think I preferred Fingersmith to Tipping the Velvet but I did love both. I keep meaning to read more of her work.

Dic 22, 2013, 4:02am

Bekka - I have read The Little Stranger which, for the most part, I greatly enjoyed too. I must be quite bearable having far more flaw than less.

Dic 22, 2013, 4:17am

Oops I forgot my reviews:


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.


Dic 22, 2013, 4:26am


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.


Dic 22, 2013, 4:32am


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.


Dic 22, 2013, 4:54am

#114: Wow. That is quite a list!

I am glad you think so highly of Among Others. I am currently reading that one myself.

Dic 22, 2013, 5:34am

Not my genre normally, Stasia, but it doesn't seem to matter with Jo Walton as she has such an inclusive and engrossing way of telling her stories.

Dic 22, 2013, 5:38am

Today I checked my progress against the original edition of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die

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.

Dic 22, 2013, 6:51am

O dear, you slipped past the 1100 :-) Nice book haul, Paul. And what a nice surprise that Hani will be home early.

Have a lovely Sunday evening!

Dic 22, 2013, 8:36am

>141 PaulCranswick:: I remember reading Some Girls and also being underwhelmed, despite the intriguing and promising premise of her memoir. I don't know if I ever got around to reviewing it, but yes, I agree with you -- very little sense of place, and she certainly didn't seem to be fighting for her life at any point, so I felt more like she was capitalizing on a travel experience. And not a very interesting one, at that. Or maybe it was very interesting, and she's just a poor storyteller...?

Dic 22, 2013, 9:05am

Good morning from the western coast of the US of A, which I note you did not mention in the possible places you might visit in 2014. We have the advantage of no huge shopping venues, no impossible traffic snarls (well, that might be an exaggeration), and several good LT friends.

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!!

Dic 22, 2013, 9:23am

The Bostonian was indeed munching obliviously away in the last couple of days. Darryl's truck falling off the pier was just one of the trucks carting the amount of food and drink that will be required in the next week .... I guess the fishies are going to have a good Christmas this year .. if they can get the doors to the truck open, that is.

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?

Dic 22, 2013, 9:32am

I'm getting ready to leave the warm comfy confines of my hotel room and venture out to start the car. It is very cold today and very white. Newspaper said the snowfall was 5 inches total. It finally stopped snowing around midnight. I need a cup of Joe and then will hit the road. By that time the snowplows should have made it down some of the roads and I only have another 100 miles to go to get home.

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.

Dic 22, 2013, 10:27am

Ahhh... no I see that your troop is all intact once again, Paul. Welcome home Hani and Jasmyne.... bet they were glad to see you leaping like a loon with glee at the airport.

Dic 22, 2013, 11:38am

You know, I may not get here as often as I'd like because of life stuff, but I always have a smile when I finish reading your thread!

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!

Dic 22, 2013, 11:50am

Cleopatra has returned to her Antony!

Dic 22, 2013, 12:03pm

Diana - I looked happier about it than dear Erni (my housemaid) did. Ten days of no rules is about to come to a resounding end.

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!

Dic 22, 2013, 12:06pm

As always, things move with lightning speed here - but lots of fun. Congrats on making 150 - I'm at 148 and closing in!

Glad Cleopatra is home safe and sound.

The Vietnam photo at the top is beautiful.

Dic 22, 2013, 12:11pm

Lucy - The troupe has generally done better this year with reading and slightly less posting. Final figures for posting are of course subject to change but Richard and I will be short of last year's figures. Mark about the same. Joe down and Kath well down on last year. Mamie, Ellen and Megan up a little. The reading though has improved numbers wise.
You had 133 books last year so have comfortably passed that figure as have I.

Dic 22, 2013, 12:18pm

>149 cameling: HA!! See?! See?! I toldja!

Dic 22, 2013, 12:46pm

RD - I will have no qualms whatsoever with you riding shotgun in NYC. In Hanoi we got a taxi to the airport and, as I always do I got talking to the driver as much as the language barrier would allow. Angling for a tip before even setting off he told me how poor he was with an enormous gap-toothed grin. I asked him his name and it was apparently "Soon". He certainly lived up to his name with a hair-raising trip across town depositing us at the airport ahead of schedule. He got his tip.

Dic 22, 2013, 12:55pm

Congrats on your double 75. Still hoping for my single this year.

Dic 22, 2013, 9:18pm

Thanks Nina - you have 10 to go in ten days - a tall order but hopefully the holidays will give you a fair bit of reading time whilst your waiting that turkey to cook.

Dic 22, 2013, 10:29pm

137 > Dam you know that's now going to go on my wish list .... it does look very good though

Dic 22, 2013, 10:41pm

Alex - It is apparently one of his stranger works. It being Calvino that isn't saying much.

Dic 22, 2013, 10:43pm

162 > which probably means its right up my street .......

Dic 22, 2013, 10:43pm

Dear One

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.

Dic 22, 2013, 10:46pm

With 10 days or so to go this year the thread/posting is trying to close on last years figures.

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

Dic 22, 2013, 10:49pm

Alex - hahaha. You and me both.

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.

Editado: Dic 23, 2013, 3:38am

offf, i am green again. I am shooting for 50 this year and hope to graduate to 75 next one, my New Year resolution will be to have at least 2 hrs of reading daily.
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 :)

Dic 23, 2013, 6:20am

Thanks for my daily jolt of caffeine Liliana. I suppose exotic is what you are not used to. A fortnight in that would be exotic. xx

Dic 23, 2013, 6:43am

oh, god.. nooo. Bucharest has just one thing that is special and not found other places - the people. The rest is all better in the rest of the country :)

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 :)

Editado: Dic 23, 2013, 7:10am

I was lost in the threads, sorry.

* Hi Paul * ;-)

Editado: Dic 23, 2013, 7:55am

Liliana - Malaysia is like India mixed with China and Thailand but without the crowds. The night markets (pasar malam) here are a wonderful experience. Our local one is tonight and Erni is there presently buying dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and local fruit and vegetables.

Dic 23, 2013, 7:56am

Diana - I have been lost in RL today as I had to attend one tender interview regarding a project that has to be undertaken in time for the Formula 1 event in KL in March. Will be a challenge if we win the order.

Dic 23, 2013, 12:15pm

Checking in once again this year, after missing maybe 15 threads...

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!

Editado: Dic 23, 2013, 6:20pm

Hi Paul, Since Christmas will greet you before a lot of others, I thought I'd drop in and wish you and yours a very merry Christmas. Merry Christmas...........

Dic 23, 2013, 7:54pm

Nathalie - What a nice surprise this Christmas Eve morning. I am pleased that the last year has brought far more stability in your working life and, of course, you've read tons as usual. I have been slightly less attentive to all my favourite threads in the last quarter of the year as health and life issues have given me pause too. I shall also strive to be back more to my old self 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.

Dic 23, 2013, 10:28pm


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.


Dic 23, 2013, 10:39pm

#176: Nice review, Paul. You remind me that I have one of Crace's books here to read. I wonder where I put it? . . .

Have a wonderful holiday!

Dic 23, 2013, 11:23pm

Thanks Stasia - I'll be around the threads on the cusp of Christmas Day to wish all my friends Happy Christmas.

Dic 24, 2013, 12:15am

Dear, dear Paul, I see now that you were not in Egypt -- sheesh, I have to get out more! I loved following your family's adventures:)

Congrats on reaching 150 books and beyond!

My very, very best wishes to you and your family for a merry Christmas!

Dic 24, 2013, 12:34am

Anne - Thank you so much. I didn't get to cramp the ladies' style this time around but cut my own swathe, so to speak, across Hanoi at approximately the same time. xx

Dic 24, 2013, 12:38am

I let the troupe away half-day today, it being Christmas Eve and in keeping with the tradition here of celebrating everyone's festivals.
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.

Dic 24, 2013, 3:12am

Paul, have a very happy Christmas and New Year!

Editado: Dic 24, 2013, 3:29am

Nearing Xmas eve eve here ..... Here's to a great day where we can celebrate with family & friends : eat, drink & be merry

Dic 24, 2013, 3:34am

A blessed Christmas, Paul, some quiet days for you and your family

Dic 24, 2013, 3:35am

Paul, have a lovely Christmas with your family!

Dic 24, 2013, 3:59am

Paul, I hope you and your lovely family have a very merry holiday season indeed. Thank you for letting me hang around the edges of your madcap life!

Dic 24, 2013, 4:24am

Rhian - I'll be along to yours soon to wish you the same and to the ingleborough thingie of Alan's for likewise.

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

Dic 24, 2013, 4:33am

Wait, back-handed compliment? I must have typed it wrong. I'll try to do better in 2014.

Dic 24, 2013, 5:09am

Hahaha, Julia. I am grateful for the great existence I have here in Malaysia and for the opportunities this group provides for me to share selected slivers of it.

Editado: Dic 24, 2013, 5:55am

good morning :)

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 :(

Editado: Dic 24, 2013, 6:14am

Liliana - When you put it like that. hahahaha.

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"

Dic 24, 2013, 7:26am

^Yep, that is a BIG coffee! I could use one of those.

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.

Dic 24, 2013, 7:31am

Mark - My pleasure completely to be part of this group. Thanks for the kind words, I'll be along soon to impart a few of my own upon your thread.

Dic 24, 2013, 8:15am

Good morning (she says from her hotel room bed, cozied down with two dogs, one under covers, the other pressed firmly against her thigh, just under the lap top computer). We woke early on this Christmas Eve day and I'm plotting my course through the day. There are chores to be done, including some final gift wrapping, and some reading also. I'm trying to finish reading Pearl Buck's The Good Earth before the end of the year. I'd like to pick out a couple-three really short books to finish off my year with reading 36, and average of 3 per month, even though I've had a year which has militated against any large reading accomplishments.

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!

Dic 24, 2013, 8:28am

Great review of Harvest, Paul. I think you articulated the essence of the book perfectly. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

Dic 24, 2013, 8:30am

May you have a book filled Christmas.

Dic 24, 2013, 9:18am

Merry Merry to you and your delightful family!

Dic 24, 2013, 9:39am

Dear Paul,

Dic 24, 2013, 11:15am

Nice review of the Crace! It's still not calling my name. Hrm.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to you and your family, Paul!

Dic 24, 2013, 12:04pm

Karen - Your visits here and elsewhere throughout the group are always a pleasure. You are right; it is not the quantity or even quality necessarily of the books we all read - it is the shared love of books and a certain something else that makes the chemistry of the 75ers so special.

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!

Dic 24, 2013, 12:07pm

Best wishes to you, Paul!

(I know you don't have snow, so here's some to look at!)

Editado: Dic 24, 2013, 12:08pm

Diana - my dutch is only good doubled normally but I'll try:

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.

Dic 24, 2013, 12:09pm

Terri - Thank you so much. A sparkly graphic from a sparkling lady.xx

Dic 24, 2013, 1:06pm

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Paul.

Dic 24, 2013, 1:24pm

Wishing you and your family the best for the festive season, Paul, and for a wonderful 2014!

Dic 24, 2013, 1:45pm

>190 tigerlyly: Jeesh, Lyly, now I hate the man. I'll have to slip a little somethin' deadly into his beer while he's here.

Ho bloody ho bloody ho, there, Cranswick you lucky sod.


Dic 24, 2013, 2:22pm

Your comments about Harvest by Jim Crace resonated well with my own reactions to the novel, Paul.
And I must read The Yellow Birds soon. It's in the stack, and it is making a few "top of 2013" lists around here....

Dic 24, 2013, 2:23pm

Wishing you all the best at this holiday season. I'm so looking forward to your eventual U.S. Tour. :-)

Dic 24, 2013, 4:02pm

Can't go wrong with Peace on Earth at this time of year…or at any time. I have done my best to keep up with you this year, Paul. I'm so happy for you making your goal of reading 150 books…at least I think that was your goal. That is phenomenal. And you're still reading, not to mention buying books. Good for you.

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!

Dic 24, 2013, 4:13pm

Happy Christmas, Paul!

Editado: Dic 24, 2013, 4:15pm

Happy holidays, dear Paul and a very merry Christmas to you and your beautiful troop. May Blessings continue to drizzle down on you for the year to come.

Dic 24, 2013, 4:26pm

I have considered reading Harvest. Maybe it will eventually make its way home with me from the library.

Dic 24, 2013, 4:49pm

Just a quick message to wish you and all your family a wonderful Christmas. I've been obligated by the 5 year old to track Santa on NORAD so I have it one good authority that he's already been to see you all ;) Anyway, wishing you all the joy and happiness you deserve in return for all the happiness you spread here on LT.

Dic 24, 2013, 6:45pm

Best wishes of the season to you and yours, Paul!

Dic 24, 2013, 8:22pm

Nancy, thank you. That flickering candle flame is fascinating.

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!

Dic 24, 2013, 8:29pm

Dear Paul, just want to wish you Happy Holidays. No energy to do the rounds today, but just enough to work on a drawing and say hi to my dear friend, so I'm off to it! xx

Dic 24, 2013, 8:33pm

Donna - My goals as always were unobtainable. I had actually aimed for 200 books and come predictably well short, but in reality I am pleased with my haul this year. With the aura of calm spread by your thread I think you'd be a prime candidate for group Peace Ambassador.

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.

Dic 24, 2013, 9:20pm

Dic 24, 2013, 9:22pm

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.

Dic 24, 2013, 10:33pm

Paul I lost your thread. I knew you could not be this quiet my friend. Thank you for the Christmas wishes and most especially your kind words. They mean the most.

Happy Holidays!

Dic 24, 2013, 10:47pm

I haven't been on much for the last week, Paul, due to traveling to Kansas and then time with family and the 11" snowfall. Due to careful planning, we arrived here the day BEFORE the snow. Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear fellow!

Dic 24, 2013, 10:53pm

Dearest Paul... I hope you and your family have had a wonderful Christmas! (I saw you post elsewhere that it was already Christmas day where you are!).

My love to you and yours!

Dic 24, 2013, 10:58pm

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

Dic 24, 2013, 11:23pm

Tam - Thank you. Thanks also for enlivening the group and giving it a wee bit of impetus this last couple of months.

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 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.

Dic 24, 2013, 11:29pm

Tina - We had a late night party and the whole tribe are still sleeping whilst I have been up and about for four hours already. I have curried the remains of the turkey and grabbed plenty of time to catch up with my LT friends.

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.

Dic 25, 2013, 2:26am

Merry Christmas, Paul, and warmest wishes for a wonderful New Year filled with good books, good friends and good times!

Editado: Dic 25, 2013, 3:35am

You may not be able to keep up with my reading, but I can't keep up with your threads! 2014 resolution is to do better on the latter front, at least...

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??

Editado: Dic 25, 2013, 3:34am

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Dic 25, 2013, 3:41am

Dropping by to wish you all the best for the New Year.

Dic 25, 2013, 3:46am

Mary - I would like to get at those books behind the tree! Thanks for your kind wishes.

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.

Dic 25, 2013, 6:45am

Seasons greetings Paul, Hani, Kyran, Yasmyne and Belle from John and Karen.

Dic 25, 2013, 7:48am

Hoping you and your beautiful family are enjoying a fantastic Christmas full of wonderful surprises!

Dic 25, 2013, 9:16am

John and Karen - thanks so much from all of us.

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.

Dic 25, 2013, 9:39am

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.

Dic 25, 2013, 9:56am

Thanks for that Mark. I agree entirely with all the parts of that that don't tend towards immodesty! Books and numbers of posts are incidental aren't they compared to the fast friendships made virtually and really.

Dic 25, 2013, 10:02am

Great point about these friendships going beyond the internet. I am looking forward to my first Meet-up of 2014. I am meeting a few LT pals in Portland OR, at the end of next month. My sister lives in Salem, OR and I NEED to visit her.

Dic 25, 2013, 11:17am

Hahaha Mark. I have had several meet-ups; Caro, Megan, Prue, John, Rhian and her husband Alan and I have always come away from them feeling that my devotion to this group has been justifiably re-affirmed. I really look forward to the chance of meeting up with many more of my LT friends in 2014.

Dic 25, 2013, 12:50pm

I really have loved the 75ers group. I'm so glad I joined up with all of you! I've met some of the loveliest people, including yourself, Paul!

Have yourself a merry little book-filled Christmas!

Dic 25, 2013, 1:55pm

>226 Storeetllr:, 230 Haha, Paul, that was my thought exactly! What a wrong place for the tree, right in front of the BOOKS! :)

Dic 25, 2013, 4:18pm

So. There's this new, shiny group just begging for folks to join in. Any takers?

By the way, qebo gets the prize for first joiner!

Dic 25, 2013, 6:14pm

Thanks for that Morphy; I remember thinking when I first opened your thread and you'd read a couple of hundred books with months of the year left....."and this is only the 75ers!"

Mary - Great minds and all that.

Jim - Now I wonder.....should I join or not? Hahaha I'll be along anon.

Dic 25, 2013, 8:38pm

Hi Paul. I fear I have missed your Christmas Day but please accept my wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Looking forward to (trying to) keep up with you in 2014!

Dic 25, 2013, 9:15pm

Wishing you everything wonderful for the holiday season Paul.

Dic 25, 2013, 9:28pm

>241 PaulCranswick: You're such a comedian!

Dic 25, 2013, 9:32pm

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.

Dic 25, 2013, 9:39pm

I see the 2014 group has appeared already .......

Dic 25, 2013, 9:47pm

Yup. Come join us!

Dic 25, 2013, 9:55pm

Pat - We celebrate so far ahead of everyone else that I am surprised anybody remembers at all! It has been lovely keeping up with you and your idyllic views of Idaho this year. xx

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.

Linda -
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.

Dic 25, 2013, 10:01pm

Jim - You were wisely, I think, a little later in forming the group for the next year. There have been plenty chomping at the bit, me included, but I don't want to forget the old place too soon either. I feel a bit like Doctor Who about to metamorphosize into another incarnation.

Editado: Dic 25, 2013, 11:13pm

Ilana - Just saw your comment on your thread. We cross-posted an I did indeed miss your message. Thanks both for the message and for reminding me that I missed it! xx

Editado: Dic 26, 2013, 3:24am

This is us ready for our Christmas Day evening meal:

Dic 26, 2013, 7:47am

Hope your meal was enjoyable. My brother's family has a tradition of eating country ham and a breakfast style meal on Christmas night. That's what we had.

Dic 26, 2013, 8:18am

Lovely, where were you eating? What did you have?

Dic 26, 2013, 9:47am

It was a lovely meal Lori. I had joked with Hani that I wanted to go to an open air restaurant selling arab food and her long face told me that she has had quite enough of that for awhile and I know she prefers Chinese food to all others.

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.
Wanton 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

Dic 26, 2013, 10:47am

*mouth waters profusely*

mmmmmmm, I want one of those meals, sometime soon....

Dic 26, 2013, 11:04am

Paul what a lovely photo of the family on Christmas.

Dic 26, 2013, 2:13pm

Yum! I'm not quite sure what lotus paste or pomelo is, but the rest sounds good.

Dic 26, 2013, 2:51pm

Karen - Make my first million then I'll host a little gathering and treat you my dear.

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:

Dic 26, 2013, 5:48pm

Stopping by with humble belated Christmas wishes for your and your lovely family, Paul and to wish you a

Dic 26, 2013, 7:42pm

Merry belated Christmas, Paul! All the best!

Dic 26, 2013, 7:44pm

Lori - It didn't feel like Boxing Day yesterday as I had to work but your message remains a lovely one nonetheless.

Faith - Thank you. Warmer here for me than it is in your neck of the woods I would hazard.

Dic 26, 2013, 9:08pm

Dear Paul, message acknowledged. I left you a lengthier one on 2014. No hope of keeping up with you two different years at the same time! Mind boggles just trying to imagine it. So glad you are you and we get to share you for another year. xx

Dic 26, 2013, 10:42pm

Is that empty chair in the picture above for me? Yes, I accept!

Dic 26, 2013, 10:52pm

Ilana - Having struggled with high blood pressure for the first time ever recently I am trying desperately not to blush as it could have repercussions. xxx

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.

Dic 27, 2013, 3:27am

#254 That looks like an amazing meal - the bean curd aside I'd probably eat till I was sick!

Dic 27, 2013, 9:21am

Bekka - The bean curd doesn't actually taste of too much. It is in a sort of broth with seafood and vegetables and overall fairly palatable.

Editado: Dic 27, 2013, 5:31pm

There are not so many days left in 2013 and this was the last Friday until the new year. As regulars here will know Friday is book day so I couldn't let the last one go by completely.

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

Dic 27, 2013, 9:56am

#266 Okay - I'll have the bean curd as well please :)

Dic 27, 2013, 11:44am

Lovely family, Paul and yummy food! Also, have you read Thirteenth Tale? It is one of my recent favorites.

Dic 27, 2013, 1:34pm

Happy happy holidays, Paul! May your new year be filled with joy and books and even more joy and books. ♥

Dic 27, 2013, 1:38pm

Geoffrey Household!! The only novelist I can recall my father ever mentioning at all in any context. I think I have Rogue Male around here somewhere.

Ghana Must Go? Hmmm....

As always, a fascinating haul.

Dic 27, 2013, 4:36pm

Hi Paul, finally we are showing that we can bowl well but we need to get a decent tail end. Let's hope that when we bat again we can give the bowlers a decent target to play with because that track is going to be a swine to bat last on.
Another good book splurge my friend.

Dic 27, 2013, 5:24pm

Only 98 more books and he'll meet my estimate.

Dic 27, 2013, 5:29pm

Bekka :) It is Yasmyne's favourite and she is notoriously difficult to please.

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?

Dic 27, 2013, 5:30pm

Well Morphy - on Monday I have a meeting conveniently arranged in an office next to the mall I found with the discount book store.

Dic 27, 2013, 5:47pm

Paul, was a good day yesterday .... pity this fight came so late in the day for an Ashes result.

Never mind at least they you don't have the torture of watching Blackcaps ...

Dic 27, 2013, 6:07pm

A belated Merry Christmas, and warm wishes for you and your family in the New Year!
We had English (maybe) Christmas dinner. My MIL actually boiled the ham. :) I think I vote for your kind of Christmas dinner next year...

Dic 27, 2013, 6:53pm

It's been a pleasure getting to know you over the past year, buddy! Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.

Dic 27, 2013, 7:14pm

Linda - I have the 1,600 + from years previous to also go at as well as this years haul. Bit daunting really just to choose what to read. It will be fun though seeing how we progress. xx

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 drooling thinking.

Joe - Likewise mate. Your hospitality in the group is legendary.

Dic 27, 2013, 9:58pm

I think we still have Ghana Must Go in the lease book program at the library. It sounded somewhat interesting. I am going to have to read The Thirteenth Tale sometime. I have heard wonderful things about it.

Editado: Dic 27, 2013, 10:01pm

Paul, have you ever let a Friday go by without a book purchase?
I think not, right? I mean, why would you?

Dic 27, 2013, 10:16pm

Lori - I love the cover of The Thirteenth Tale. That and a 20% store discount sang loudly to me.

Ellen - It is a rare occurrence that I don't bypass the mosque and head off to my temple of books.

Dic 27, 2013, 11:12pm

#283: I have not seen that cover of The Thirteenth Tale before. Cool beans! I hope you enjoy the book.

Dic 28, 2013, 12:51am

Ooooohhh..... nice book haul! Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale was a five star read for me and scored higher than Sarah Water's The Little Stranger as a good old Gothic suspense. You are in for a real treat with the Setterfield book, Paul!

Dic 28, 2013, 12:55am

Stasia - It really caught my eye yesterday I must admit and I remembered all the positive reviews..........................Yours included Lori.

I also enjoyed most of The Little Stranger so if it is better still than I will definitely enjoy it.

Dic 28, 2013, 2:36am


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 plodding budding cyclista myself I grew up in awe of Merckx but could never spell his name properly. The Cannibal was his nickname and appropriate for the way he devoured and destroyed his opponents along the way.

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.

Enjoyed it.


Editado: Dic 28, 2013, 3:11am


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
"Island Song"

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.

Dic 28, 2013, 7:09am

It jars me to see an accomplished author, published and all, who is "younger" than I. Of course, once one is an adult the actual years mean very little, don't they; but, as a kid we were always worried about who was older and who was younger. And now, here comes this man who is 8 years younger and yet he looks quite respectably old. Ha ha ha. Silly musings from me in a very early Saturday morning romp through the threads. I should go read my book, I think.

Hi, Paul. Hope your weekend is going great!

Dic 28, 2013, 8:36am

The cover of The Thirteenth Tale in the U.S. Was mostly brown with just letters if I remember correctly. Boring!

Dic 28, 2013, 9:00am

^ yes, it was! I've not seen that other cover before, either.

Dic 28, 2013, 9:45am

Karen - I don't think age matters too much once you pass 40! At 47 I feel privileged to still feel connected to the generation below and comfortable with the generation above. Most of the time, in absolute truth, I like my age.

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.

Dic 28, 2013, 10:23am

Firstly a confession:

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.

Editado: Dic 28, 2013, 11:14am

2 days and 107 books to go for my money to come in. I think he could still make it ...

Dic 28, 2013, 11:22am

Poetry needn't rhyme but it needs to sing I like that a lot. I may quote you. I'll even credit you, if I remember where I heard it!

Dic 28, 2013, 11:23am

Mine is more likely - 91 books

Dic 28, 2013, 11:32am

Nina / Morphy - There will be a few more additions on Monday but numbers depends on what I see in the discount shop.

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.

Dic 28, 2013, 11:58am

>296 Morphidae:: Ha! You don't know Paul.

>297 PaulCranswick:: Oh, did you hear us? Post-Christmas sales; there must be loads of discounts ...

Dic 28, 2013, 12:09pm

I can go for the proposed Christmas menu - but I might make the oysters into stew. Not particularly fond of uncooked oysters...
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.

Dic 28, 2013, 12:19pm

>288 PaulCranswick: YUCK

That was the *best* in the collection. Ew.

Dic 28, 2013, 2:22pm

Paul, the Glenday poem you quoted sounds quite lovely to me. It is a pity there aren't more of those in the book. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Dic 28, 2013, 10:06pm

Nina - The shop is called Excess Books and it takes the books from other stores that couldn't sell them. The normal price of books there is about $3 so I have a tendency to fill my boots.

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.

Dic 29, 2013, 12:18am

That's a tame book haul! You showed restraint. And we've all bought second copies of books by mistake. Hasn't happened to me since I started Library Thing, but it's only a matter of time.

Dic 29, 2013, 3:27am

>114 PaulCranswick:/267/293 LOL
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?)

Dic 29, 2013, 4:27am

Katie - Granted but SWMBO was in tow. I had Kyran and Yasmyne hold a carrier bag each and pretend that they had bought piles of stationery for school time. I don't think she believed any of it but she also likes Espresso Lab and was distracted by its Sesame Crepe Cake.

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.

Dic 29, 2013, 8:18pm

I am half tempted to do another thread just for the heck of it but I will probably desist. I'll be back this evening to wrap up the year.

Hoping to finish three more books before the close of play.

Dic 29, 2013, 9:13pm

You can do it!!!!!!!

Dic 29, 2013, 9:15pm

"Something I very rarely do is mistakenly buy the same book twice". I find that absolutely amazing. LOL. You are one focused young man.

Dic 29, 2013, 10:11pm

Ditto what Mark said. I don't know how you can not buy the same book twice by mistake. I don't even own 1 tenth of your library and I recently found 2 copies of the same book.

Dic 29, 2013, 11:49pm

I have only ever bought one book twice....DonDeLillo's Americana. I gave the extra one to my Dad for his 70th. He was pleased but hasn't yet called me up to do the group read I suggested with both our copies ;)

Dic 30, 2013, 2:33am

Lucy - I am almost there actually and will definitely finish the Doris Lessing book later this evening and two more District and Circle by Seamus Heaney and A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor tomorrow before the big 2013 send-off.

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.

Dic 30, 2013, 9:51am

Today I miscalculated my books at the sale and will have to add at least one book tomorrow to put me straight as I did say I didn't want to finish the year on an odd number.

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

Dic 30, 2013, 10:18am

Oh, just toss Everyman, and you're at evens!

Dic 30, 2013, 12:30pm

Hahaha Linda, Let's see how he shapes up against a certain Mississippian this year. xx

Dic 30, 2013, 7:06pm


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.


Dic 30, 2013, 7:31pm

Sorry Summer before the Dark wasn't very good. :(

Dic 30, 2013, 8:48pm

Tam - As is my wont, I also read the other reviews on the work page (this time after writing my own truncated missive, or should I say dismissive) and saw that the reviews were mixed. One found that she showed remarkable insight. Better eyes than me because I couldn't see it, I thought it a confused mess.

Dic 30, 2013, 8:52pm

Paul, I just read "The Grass Is Singing" and loved it. I want to read more Lessing, so what else of hers would you recommend?

Dic 30, 2013, 9:15pm

#315 - Oh, dear. Well, you tried. :-) I've not read that one, but my current Lessing read (Martha Quest) is taking a while to get off the ground. I'm about 1/3 though, so we'll see how it goes...

Dic 30, 2013, 10:34pm

We all know that you will not end up with just 1 book tomorrow when you go back. I'll try to keep track of my acquisitions next year, but I can guarantee you that mine will be miniscule in comparison to yours.

Dic 30, 2013, 10:41pm


Dic 30, 2013, 11:36pm

Just one?????


Dic 30, 2013, 11:59pm

There seems to be some non-believers on the 'one book' scenario, I can't imagine why .........

Dic 31, 2013, 12:08am

Before you all indulge in your substance of choice - Happy New year! - Have a great night & even better year to come - remember its the little things that make life what it is .....

Dic 31, 2013, 12:09am

>321 richardderus: LOL! (My only Lessing, I found it very...weird, I guess, and never tried another. Maybe I should give The Grass Is Singing a shot?)

>288 PaulCranswick: "It's the forgetting of the world
keeps me sane."

Resonates strongly with me.

Dic 31, 2013, 4:19am

Julia - I have read The Good Terrorist and just about enjoyed it. Love, Again was bland and The Golden Notebook is apparently her masterwork but hellishly hard going I have been told. I don't often venture into science fiction but I have been told her sci-fi stuff is, well, weird.
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.

Dic 31, 2013, 4:30am

RD - I'll bear that fully in mind. I have read the reviews of that one and believe it is everything about her work that irritates the hell out of me. Claptrap and confusion incoherently clad around codswallop.

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!

Editado: Dic 31, 2013, 4:48am

Just finishing off my last two reads of the year:

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.

Editado: Dic 31, 2013, 4:46am

Touchstones seem to have gone down of a sudden.

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.

Editado: Ene 1, 2014, 3:23am

Last 2 reviews of 2013


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.


Ene 1, 2014, 3:33am


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.


Ene 1, 2014, 10:22am

A Time of Gifts sounds like an enjoyable read. I will add it to my huge TBR list.

Editado: Ene 1, 2014, 2:20pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Ene 1, 2014, 8:28pm

Lori - It was excellently written. Found myself wondering how on earth he had sufficient free time to walk from Holland to Turkey but still.

Katherine - I am intrigued now as to what the message had been.