Bekka's back for 2021

Conversazioni75 Books Challenge for 2021

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Bekka's back for 2021

Gen 1, 5:09am

Hi all. I'm a serial awoler but hope to be around more this year.

Happy New Year from the Channel Islands and here's to a happy and book filled 2021.

Modificato: Gen 4, 3:56am

Reading plans!

Broadly my reading plan for each month (which I never seem to stick to and am useless at but love making a list of...) boils down to four categories.
ATIR - Always think I've read - Novels I've been looking at, starting, thinking about for so long I presume I've read them
Leftovers - Previous year challenges that I've kept on the list
BAC - British Author Challenge - where it fits/there is something I want to add
6+ - Authors with more than six books remaining unread on the 1,001 list

As always, much focus on 1,001 reads, and my new extra list which is my version of Paul's Vic/Liz list.

Jan plan:
ATIR - Madame Bovary (Vic 1857)
Leftover - The Forest of the Hanged
BAC - White Fang
6+ - Old Masters (Thomas Bernhard)

Also to finish Black and Blue (Book bingo), The Gunslinger, and The Castle of Crossed Destinies (Liz 1973)

Gen 1, 6:53am

Happy reading in 2021, Bekka!

Gen 1, 9:12am

Welcome back!

Gen 1, 9:15am

And keep up with my friends here, Bekka, Have a great 2021.

Gen 1, 10:24am

HERE you are. Goodness, took your time didn't you.

Well, good that you're here at last, anyway.

Gen 1, 10:38am

>3 FAMeulstee: Thank you :) Will be trying to get round some threads soon!

>4 drneutron: Thank you - and thank you as always for getting us set up!

>5 PaulCranswick: Hola Paul - I'll definitely try and do more of the keeping up bit... yeah I may say that every year!

>6 richardderus: Well pardon me for being tardy :P Being very gentle with this fragile new year of ours...

Modificato: Gen 1, 10:40am

Oh and I finished a book. I've been full of a streaming cold with a nasty cough (no I don't have the virus, test results came in this morning, thankfully!). I failed to get to midnight, which sucked.

But I have been able to start the year with a read - yes, it's a YA, but dang is it worth a read!

#1 A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

A true mascara thinner. Excellent.

Gen 1, 10:43am

Best wishes for a better 2021!

Gen 1, 10:59am

>8 BekkaJo: Wow, you've started the year off with a bang! Loved that one.

Gen 1, 11:33am

Happy new year, Bekka! Hope the cold hits the bricks very quickly!

Gen 1, 4:34pm

Serial AWOL-er ;)
Me too.
Happy New Year.

Gen 1, 7:11pm

Have a great year in books!

Gen 1, 7:13pm

Gen 2, 10:48am

Happy New Year, Bekka.

Gen 4, 12:37am

>8 BekkaJo: ooohhh you got me with that one Bekka, sounds like something I would enjoy.

Happy New Year.

Gen 4, 3:44am

>9 DianaNL: Thank you - you too :)

>10 scaifea: Hi Amber - it was very good. I've liked all the ones of his I've read so far.

>11 MickyFine: Thank you - unfortunately it's reluctant to do one. I'm sitting in my office unable to focus as it's decided to sit behind my eyes. :(

>12 LovingLit: Cheers! I am trying not to be but it's already been a few days...

>13 thornton37814: You too - may there be books for every occasion :)

>14 Berly: Happy New year!!!

>15 BLBera: Thank you - and right back atcha.

>16 fairywings: I hope you like it :)

Gen 4, 3:46am

4 Jan
It rained on me on the way to work and I have wet feet.
I have forgotten my mask so I couldn't buy any breakfast.
My head is pounding and I can't take any more painkillers for another few hours.

Happy Monday everyone!

I will cheer up shortly - I haven't had any coffee yet.

Gen 4, 8:17am

>18 BekkaJo: I hope your day got a bit better after coffee, Bekka!

Gen 4, 8:18am

>18 BekkaJo: Oh no!
*brings in warm, woolly socks and a dry pair of shoes, a breakfast sandwich, and a ginormous cup of coffee*

I hope your headache eases up soon.

Gen 4, 1:00pm

>18 BekkaJo: Wow, that's definitely a Monday!

Gen 5, 3:15am

Thanks all :)

My hubby very nicely drove in and dropped me a mask. Which led to breakfast (naughty croissant cos, Monday). Which put me in a much better mood!

Head is somewhat better this morning which is a relief as it was grim last night. Fingers crossed tomorrow is even better! I'm in the office which is freaky as there is a work from home order on - I'm only in as I am training a new person for my old job. It's completely empty and dark - and the lift moves on it's own occasionally!

The headaches have severely impacted my reading, but I got an hour in last night. But i'm doing my trademark 8 books at a time so I think it'll be a while before I finish any of them.

*broaches this mornings vat of coffee*

Gen 10, 10:03am

Happy weekend all - currently trying to juggle a degustation meal with paired wine for husband from home! He turns 40 tomorrow and all restaurants etc are closed. He's a bit bummed out, so we are trying to do something from here - my daughter however wants to do most of the cooking / plating. Wish me luck!!

Gen 10, 10:06am

Also books;

#2 Black and Blue - Rankin (Book bingo)

Took me ages to get into this, but I finally did and now I miss it. Darn!

#3 Department of Mind Blowing Theories - Gauld

I love his comics! I know it's a very slime thing to be added to my list but I don't care! Just a wonderful fun thing to read (may have been a present to my husband that I wanted too).

Dr Neutron - if you haven't read, you should :)

Gen 10, 10:12am

Will do!

Gen 11, 8:00pm

>24 BekkaJo: that sounds like a lovely thing to do for your husband :) I hope it goes/went well!

Gen 12, 3:53am

>25 drneutron: Hope you like it :)

>26 LovingLit: Thank you - it did. I'm rubbish at pictures on here, so I won't inflict them on you. The pairing of the Chardonnay and the Parsnip soup (pre-appetiser) was specially good. And the Mint Granita and Rioja (which I thought was going to be very wrong) turned out to pair wonderfully!

I think hubby appreciated the effort :)

Gen 13, 5:59am

#4 N or M? - Chrstie (Book Bingo)

Another Tommy and Tuppence - no, my Christie addiction has not ended just yet. This also played nicely into my book bingo, as a book set in WW2. Undercover shenanigans with secret Nazis.

Gen 13, 11:33am

>28 BekkaJo: I've been working my way through Marple but I'm nearing the end of them and I think I'll do Tommy and Tuppence before I tackle Poirot.

Gen 13, 7:07pm

>28 BekkaJo: Is the Christie catalog coming on sale for y'all Frenchified Englanders? Cuz they keep shoving The Man in the Brown Suit at me for 99¢ and honestly I just don't need to re-read that one.

Gen 14, 3:11am

>29 MickyFine: Poirot is still most definitely my favourite :)

>30 richardderus: Ha! No idea why - that one is free on Project Gutenburg anyway!?

Gen 14, 3:12am

Also, morning all. I hope everyone elses is a little less damp and dark than mine. Plus after an extra week off over Xmas (bloody Covid restrictions) trying to get the kids out the door in the morning is like herding cats. Le sigh.

Headaches getting in the way of reading yet again. Unimpressed.

Gen 14, 6:28am

>32 BekkaJo: Sorry to hear you are still having headaches. Your birthday cooking for your Hubby sounds delicious!! Good luck juggling your 8 reads. : ) ( I tend to max out at about 4.)

Gen 15, 3:18am

>33 Berly: Thank you - it is really starting to get me down to be honest. Just keep reminding myself that it could all be far far worse!

On the food side we are so lucky over here - my Dad fishes as a hobby, so the scallops etc are just a case of calling him and finding out what he has in the freezer :) Then driving up and staying at least two metres away. I hadn't been up to the house in months as we are staying away from them - and whilst my Mum sounds okay on the phone, she's looking a little frail in person. Obviously they couldn't get away anywhere last year and they usually have a few weeks in a dry heat which helps her over the winter. I really hate this virus - even putting aside the big things, it's all the little things that keep being chipped away that are undermining everyone.

Gen 15, 3:22am

That was a bit more of a downer than I meant it to be!

Happy Friday all (Huzzah!)

On the book front I'm struggling to a) read and b) focus on any one thing. Sound familiar, yes I know, I suck.

So I'm about 1/3 through Madame Bovary, a 1/3 through In a Free State (which I wasn't supposed to read till May for BAC), just over 1/2 through The Gunslinger, 1/2 through The Castle of Crossed Destinies, a tiny bit into Old Masters, 1/8 into the massive The Swarm - oh and last night I started another Christie...

Also, yes, there are other books which I have started but I felt the above list was sufficient to make my point ;)

Gen 15, 5:04am

Hi Bekka, I am sorry to hear about your parents. The whole situation is very hard - especially for older folks it is strainful.

How do you like "Madame Bovary" so far? I have made too completly different reading experiences with that one. And "Old Masters" has been on my reading list / shelves for years. I really need to fill that gap, as Bernhard is even Austrian and I haven't managed to read his books.

Happy reading weekend!

Gen 15, 11:23am

Sending wishes for a thoroughly restful weekend, Bekka.

Gen 16, 8:57pm

>35 BekkaJo: Made me smile because we are so alike!

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Bekka.

Gen 17, 1:54pm

>36 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you - most of the time I'm fine, I mean my Mum doesn't go out much anyway! But sometimes it's just that there is something missing.

Really liking Madame Bovary - in fact so much so that I don't understand why I'm not getting through it quicker :(

>37 MickyFine: You too - though I suspect yours is as near over as mine (possibly more so). It's been a productive, but not restful one tbh.

>38 PaulCranswick: One of the reasons I love this site so much :)

Busy weekend, got some useful stuff done - new pan rack up in the kitchen, load of stuff that needed to go into the loft finally up there. Then I went to the beach to meet a friend of Will's and his parents. We are not able to go into houses at the moment, so beach is a great meeting point. Boys played and rock climbed for 40 mins whilst we chatted. Then we thought we'd wander along the beach as we were getting cold standing around. Now this beach has a big freshwater spring that runs down to the sea.

You see where this is going, right?

Picked my way carefully across the rocks in the stream, right up to the last one. Over-reached myself and slipped off a big sandy rock. Stepped straight into the freezing water, the slipped again and ended up on my bum in the water. FFS!

Bruised elbow and, when I got home, realised badly bruised and cut ankle. But all of that pales in comparison to the humiliation. Owwww my pride!

Hubby got me a load of books for my e-reader to make me feel better. Maybe I should make an arse of myself more often...

Gen 17, 4:15pm

>39 BekkaJo: *smothered chuckles*

Your husband clearly knows the exact salve for Wounded Prideitis.

Better new week ahead!

Gen 18, 4:37am

>40 richardderus: Doesn't he just :) I got The Fifth Season, Six of Crows, Piranesi and Girl, Woman, Other. Oh and The Midnight Library :)

Week hasn't started great - I'm pretty badly wrenched from my ridiculous antics. Plus both kids have stomach ache. They've been packed off to school and I'm just hoping not to get the call from either of them!

Gen 18, 5:04am

>39 BekkaJo: Have you ever watched the movie "Amadeus"? There is a scene where the Emperor tells him "too many notes". That's a little bit how I feel about Flaubert. :)

>41 BekkaJo: Piransi; Girl, woman, other and the Midnight Library are all on my to read list...

Gen 18, 12:24pm

Yoicks, sounds like quite the weekend, Bekka. Hopefully your ankle is feeling better and the kids stayed at school.

Gen 19, 4:17am

>42 PersephonesLibrary: I haven't no - but I totally get what you mean! I do have rather a liking for Flaubert though :)

>43 MickyFine: Yeah I definitely need another one! Unfortunately Kid No.1 did not and spent the afternoon in bed. She seems fine today though - I think a lot of it is growing. 9cm last year and a couple of show sizes...

#5 Why didn't they ask Evans? - Christie

Not one of my favourites, though entertaining as always.

Note to self: finish somethign other than Agatha Christie!!!

Gen 19, 6:47am

>40 richardderus: Not even able to follow RD and smother the chuckles; a hearty guffaw in fact!

Gen 19, 7:26am

>45 PaulCranswick: Duly earned! The water was bloody cold though - and man do I hurt still today. I am obviously well past the point when one can fall down with impunity.

I had some money left on an Amazon gift card (from leaving my old role). So I just treated myself to a few second hand purchases - so on order Lumberjanes (because Amber keeps saying how good it is), Kindred (because I need to read some Butler) and A Tale of Love and Darkness (because I loved the Oz I read last year).

Happy sigh.

Gen 19, 11:48am

Yay for Lumberjanes!

Gen 19, 12:47pm

>46 BekkaJo: The Lumberjanes Train has lots of conductors around here, but Amber is the engineer for sure! Enjoy them.

Gen 19, 2:16pm

>44 BekkaJo: Oh, I like him, too. He just sometimes overwrites. :) (To be honest, "Madame Bovary" made much more sense to me when I read it during my literature studies when the time and his motivation when it was written was explained to us. At 16 I couldn't grasp that - and the teacher didn't help us with that.)

Gen 20, 5:33am

>47 MickyFine:+>48 richardderus: I'm hoping to like it :) Been a while since I read any GNs - I also need this for a Bingo category (of course).

>49 PersephonesLibrary: Ooof - I don't think I would have tried him at 16. But then I was mainly just reading pure Fantasy at that point!

Gen 20, 5:39am

Ah - Book Bingo help - that's what I meant to ask for.

So each year I write out a book bingo (cos I don't have enough challenges on the go, right?). It's a 7 by 7 square and really my aim is to complete all of it (never happens). Last year I did a new one in May, so I have a few months left.

Unfortunately my daughter got in on the act, so some of my categories are &&&&ing insane.

Some of the categories I have left are pretty easy to tick off - for example, A graphic novel, A banned book, A book of poetry.

Some are not so easy. Help!
Two Faces on the Cover (I know that shouldn't be that hard)
Protagonist is called either Rebecca or Graham

Gen 20, 8:20am

>51 BekkaJo: Well, that last one could be Rebecca!

Gen 20, 8:31am

>52 drneutron: Unfortunately I've read it :) And Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (which used to be a favourite when I had it on cassette as a kid).

Gen 20, 8:46am

I did a quick search on "Rebecca" in Common Knowledge and it came up with 124 books with a character named Rebecca. One of them may work, though it looks like from the title list some really naughty titles came up!

Modificato: Gen 20, 11:49am

>51 BekkaJo: If you want to sneak in some picture books Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! are fun.

Gen 21, 2:49am

>54 drneutron: That does conjure up some images of swirling peticoats and heaving bosoms...*shudder*. I'll give the seach a try and see if anything more palatable comes up - thank you :)

>55 MickyFine: I think I may have already ready the Pigeon one ;) I'd be tempted, but with the library closed it's more awkward.

So this morning's trauma was picking a new school book for Will. Normally these are picked at school out of set boxes etc. But with Covid they are all home reading. My boy has always been a reader, but I'm now struggling to make him push himself a bit. Tends to lead to a melt down. Grrrr. He's just finished both Frostheart books so after some stropping I basically picked for him (which led to tears about me being mean of course) and picked The Wizards of Once. He likes the How to Train a dragon stuff, so hopefully he'll enjoy this.

TBH I want to read it.

Gen 21, 2:50am

#6 The Gunslinger - King

Well finally. For a short book that took a long time. And I can't work out if I want to read the next one or not. I think I do...

So sod's law I have books 1, 3,4,5 and 6 on the e-reader, isn't it!

Gen 21, 8:30am

Aw, sorry about the melt down, but I bet he'll love The Wizards of Once. Very cool book and a great choice for a kiddo who likes How to Train Your Dragon. Seems like an excellent bit of parent-librarianing to me!

Gen 22, 3:00am

>58 scaifea: I'm pretty used to the meltdowns - he has real anxiety issues. School are helping with special assistance, but there so many triggers I sometimes lose track. Poor scab - he's a smart cookie, he's just himself really. He's lucky because the boys in his class know him by now and they are really good with him. His teacher last year made us laugh at parents evening - apparently when a history question used to come up, the boys would turn to Will rather than her! He's a conundrum.

Gen 22, 8:28am

>59 BekkaJo: Aw, I love him already - he sounds like an amazing kiddo. Charlie has inherited some of my own anxiety issues, but he internalizes everything and just goes quiet when he gets bothered. It's worrisome in its own way, that. I *love* that Will's classmates support him and know his strengths! That's wonderful.

Gen 22, 1:39pm

>56 BekkaJo: Hani has a friend from a different book club who she sort of ridiculed for reading the Grimm Brothers' Complete Fairy Tales only to be told that Belle and I had read them together a few years ago and that they are actually quite dark. I have respect these days for YA books but am far more likely to have a meltdown than is Belle!

Gen 22, 2:51pm

>50 BekkaJo: It was for a book report and I had to read it. Which is usually not working in favour of the book. When you feel like you MUST read it, it's work and sucks all the joy of it. And at 16 and quite feminist already she just seemed whiny to me. But during my studies a few years later I loved it (maybe reading it in French has got to do something with it, too.) Happy reading weekend!

Gen 24, 10:34am

Weeeeell. In 12 hours (nearly exactly) I will have a 13 year old.

a) how did I get that old?

b) Seriously, how did I get that old?

c) how on earth did she get that old???

Gen 24, 10:39am

>60 scaifea: Specially as it's a boys prep - I mean it could have been baaaad. We've had problems with one of the other classes (it's a three class year). But it turns out the main culprit has serious form :( Bless Charlie - my two tend to take after their Dad, so it comes out one way or another! Not always in a helpful way though.

>61 PaulCranswick: Very dark - and very awesome! We're living on the edge a bit with the pre-teen/soon to be teen and her hormones, the anxiety boy and the locked down cinemaless Dad! And Mum not being able to ever get time with no one in the house... Love how calm your Belle is - any tips?

>62 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you :) And I can see why it might grate at that time in life! I've read too many way more misogynistic works to be too affected! But I definitely have similar texts from Uni that I loathe, probably without due reason, because I had to cram them.

Gen 25, 10:05am

#7 The Grand Babylon Hotel - Bennett

Randomly picked up at the library and been hanging around for ages. So glad I didn't just return it without reading it! Excellent fun - imo a must for any Christie fans ;)

Gen 28, 3:10am

Happy birthday to Cassie, Bekka.

Gen 28, 5:26am

Thanks Paul :)

Gen 29, 9:49am

#8 White Fang - Jack London - BAC

Hmmm. Possibly a bit much doggy violence for my liking.

Gen 29, 9:53am

Also, thank goodness it's Friday. It's not been a great week, mood wise. Trying to work my way out of the slump but, well, not great.

Finally - after 4 or so days of gales and rain, a blue sky outside. Hoping that bodes well for the weekend and we can at least get out about a bit. Though still no 'unnecessary' shopping - shops were supposed to re-open on Wednesday but it was pushed back a week after a cluster in a supply chain - turns out some idiots went to work symptomatic without PPE and did a load of retail deliveries. FFS! My poor bratty boy desperately needs new school shoes that doen't eat his feet :(

Gen 29, 1:23pm

>68 BekkaJo: Oof, yes. I made the poor choice several years ago after having just had to put down my cat to read Call of the Wild and man did that lead to some ugly crying.

Hope you can shoes for your kiddo tout suite!

Gen 31, 10:57am

>70 MickyFine: Thanks - but no luck so far! Really really hoping they open as planned on Wednesday.

FYI, it's raining. Again. I went for a walk along the sea front this morning, so so foggy, it was like walking through a cloud. A very cold cloud...

#9 Orphans of the Tide - Struan Murray

Cassie's new favourite book that she insisted I read. Good fun - though I don't think it's as good a YA as Malamander. More fantasy based, and a good rollicking adventure.

#10 The Castle of Crossed Destinies - Calvino (1,001)

Finally finished a 1,001 this year! Been a bit tardy on them. This is... well, it's VERY Calvino. Premise being that the characters have all ended up in an Inn and have lost the power of speech - then attempt to tell their stories using a pack of tarot cards. All the tales intertwine. The narrators chapter was hard going. If reading this, I'd strongly suggest the paper back illustrated version (it has pictures of the tarot cards down the sides of the page). I had an e-pub version that didn't and I think you'd lose out without the images.

#11 Lumberjanes - Ellis

Excellent GN, thoroughly enjoyed it. I cannot afford to buy the series but I'll keep my eyes open for them. Maybe I can persuade the library...

#12 The Sittaford Mystery - Christie

Another standalone Christie - this one was fun, though there were a couple of lose ends that it doesn't follow through or close off that confused me.

Gen 31, 11:04am

So my January plan...

ATIR - Madame Bovary (Vic 1857)
Leftover - The Forest of the Hanged
BAC - White Fang
6+ - Old Masters (Thomas Bernhard)

Also to finish Black and Blue (Book bingo), The Gunslinger, and The Castle of Crossed Destinies (Liz 1973)

I finished the finish off ones at least! I have about 100 pages to go on Madame Bovary so need to pick that back up.

February reading plan:

ATIR - Humboldt's Gift
Leftover - Regeneration
BAC - The Years
6+ - Something by Philip Roth

Not really looking forward to the Woolf or Roth :/

Others to read... Refugee Boy (Book Bingo, authors surname starts with a Z), Out of Africa and the most recent two Dresden novels.

Gen 31, 12:47pm

Your January ended well! (Except the whole teenager part. You poor lamb.)

My January went astonishingly close to plan! I'm not accustomed to that....

Gen 31, 12:48pm

>72 BekkaJo: Great reading month for you. I enjoy Roth's books a lot (not everything, but most of them). Have you got already an idea what you want to read?

Feb 1, 4:08am

>73 richardderus: I've been admiring - well done you!

I did have a bit of a roll - but it's been a bit of a fluffy month. I'm just lacking in the mental capacity to really dig into anything deep at the moment, so I've decided that I just have to roll with that.

>74 PersephonesLibrary: Noooo *wail*. I've only read Operation Shylock and I was not fan. I was thinking American Pastoral?? Thoughts?

Feb 1, 5:48am

>74 PersephonesLibrary: I haven't read that one yet. But I enjoyed The Human Stain or Portnoy's Complaint a lot. I would recommend to start with one of them.

Feb 1, 9:03am

>76 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you - I haven't cracked a cover yet and I think I have The Human Stain. TBH I'll be shocked if I get to it this month, but we have to have goals, right? ;)

Feb 2, 10:18am

#13 Madame Bovary - Flaubert (1,001 + ATIR + Vic/Liz - Vic 1857)

A couple of days late, but done. I'm not sure about it in the end. It felt a bit... thin? I mean, if I'm going to have debauchery in my text I want a bit more - oomph I guess. Which I suspect was what Flaubert was getting at. Too much of everything ad not enough of anything.

So, that done, I'll carry on working on Humboldt's gift, Out of Africa, The Tin Drum (all Paul's fault), The Fifth Season (I blame PopSugar) and try and get round to the rest. Eeep!

Island C-19 sit rep... fingers crossed non-essential retail (i.e clothes shops and book shops - and I know, I know, I didn't make the definitions) re-open tomorrow. Which, again hopefully, means I can pick Will up and get him school shoes and we can go to the library. Luckily I have to do some work in the Jersey Archive in the afternoon and its a minute from his school :)

Feb 2, 1:36pm

>78 BekkaJo: Now, I can tell you. When I was reading Madame Bovary as a teenager for the first time I cheered when Emma Bovary took the poison because now the book couldn't take much longer. ...20 pages later and she is still dying! The ending presented his Realism in particular.

>77 BekkaJo: Setting goals is good! But if not this month, then next month. :)

Feb 3, 3:34am

>79 PersephonesLibrary: Just snorted my breakfast yoghurt onto my work desk... luckily there are a lot of cleaning products around! I have to agree - I was a bit cross with the downward spiral by that point, but man that section was longer than needed.

I may have started another Christie last night - just to dip into in between the heavy stuff I'm reading.

Feb 3, 3:40am

Library, library library! Library, library, library!

You need to sing and dance that to the conga song by the way, otherwise it's not going to sound right.

Hoping against hope that the boy and I get to go today. I don't need more books. I know that. But I do need, as previously mentioned, to be surrounded by books from time to time. Fingers crossed!

Feb 3, 8:13am

When I read Madame Bovary in college I both loved and hated it. Loved it for the stunning language and hated it for the bleak pointlessness of it all (which, as you mention, is part of Flaubert's point, of course, but still).

Modificato: Feb 4, 2:28am

>82 scaifea: Well put - it's another where I get stockholm syndrome - I'm glad I have finished it, but miss it!

Poor reading day yesterday - I was in the office and re-learning to be around people is exhausting!! But I got to go to the library :) I only got half an hour, but it'll do for a bit. I'm in the office, Tues,Wed and Thurs next week so I can pop out at lunchtimes (I don't take very long for lunch but it's luckily pretty close to my office).

Feb 5, 1:12pm

>80 BekkaJo: I am sorry you had to clean up. ;-) Have a lovely reading weekend, Bekka!

Feb 5, 3:25pm

Oh, Emma. Really, you silly chit, anyone with half a grain of sense would've used Vronsky as a lever to pry herself out of that stultifying rut and gone to Paris to be a grande horizontale.

Feb 6, 4:33am

>84 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you - the sun is shining for once too!

>85 richardderus: hahaha! Yes that is the role she'd have been happiest in, for sure!

I've had a terrible couple of reading days - read barely anything. Been trying to work through an unusual scenario at work and it's used all my brain power up! Hoping to get some done this weekend.

Modificato: Feb 6, 4:55am

>86 BekkaJo: Don't blame me for the reading rut, Bekka! Tin Drum is going to take some concentrating upon.

Feb 8, 2:50am

>87 PaulCranswick: Oh definitely no blame - just my head :(

Bit better this weekend, randomly picking up and getting into High Rise.

I also took Will to the Zoo and the book hut was open again! YAY! So I picked up (all in nearly new condition paperback and for the grand total of £2.50 - or it would have been except I had no change and had to put a fiver in the honesty box);
Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
The Monogram Murders - Sophie Hannah (thought I'd give a faux Poirot a go)
Looking for Alaska - John Green

The only problem is that now it is Monday and I must work...

Feb 8, 11:43am

>88 BekkaJo: Pesky Mondays. Hope you survived it, Bekka!

Feb 8, 1:49pm

>88 BekkaJo: This reminds me of that Christmas, when I got gifted several books - including an apology letter for my boss that I won't be able to take part in the stocktaking. :) If you need a letter for work, hit me up.

Feb 9, 4:08am

>89 MickyFine: Barely - I'd forgotten about parent teacher meetings!

>90 PersephonesLibrary: Please! Dear Boss, Bekka is tired and does not want to work today, Yours Sincerely...

Feb 9, 1:31pm

>91 BekkaJo: That sounds like the Monday-est of Mondays.

I have to admit the only thing getting me through this week is the fact that it ends with a long weekend. No Monday next week!

Feb 11, 3:04am

>92 MickyFine: It's been a bit of a week so far I have to admit.

Long weekend sounds lovely :) I'm very tempted to try and get tomorrow off, but it involves moving some meetings, so it's dubious. The kids are off for half term from end of today, so it wouldn't be terribly peaceful, but at least I could stay in bed past six.

Book sit rep. Reading struggle continues. Exhaustion + low mood =very little read.

Feb 11, 6:58am

My weekend starts now! I have now three days off because of the Lunar New Year and I am going to binge read if possible.

Feb 11, 7:45am

Sounds lovely Paul - enjoy!

Feb 11, 10:59am

>93 BekkaJo: Does Jersey celebrate the Lunar New Year, Bekka? Maybe that's a fight that could lift you out of lethargy? Nothing stirs the blood like a Crusade, after all....

Feb 11, 4:12pm

>93 BekkaJo: Oh, I feel that... Have you tried doing a puzzle, knit/crochet, draw... and at the same time listen to an audiobook? That helps me sometimes to get over those tired phases.

Feb 12, 3:34am

>96 richardderus: Ha :) No, at least not most of it. I don't think I'm quite in the mood for a crusade right now... plus as I work in Government, it's frowned upon...

>97 PersephonesLibrary: I'm not great with audiobooks tbh. Hubby loves them but I have never been able to get into them. I do listen to some comedy - Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore, Natalie Haynes stands up for the classics - that sort of thing. Mostly whilst I'm cooking.

Feb 12, 3:37am

Oh I did finish a book last night. Very much the easy read solution...yes, you guessed it...

#14 Murder is Easy - Agatha Chritie

I actually dithered about on who the murderer was, till right towards the end. Rather fun.

Feb 12, 3:39pm

>99 BekkaJo: "Murder is easy, if no one suspects you...."

Always felt that was one of Dame Ags's best outings. Spang in the middle of her Best Years, and Honoria Waynfleet's ever-so ever-so 'tude...and I even liked Battle this time!

Feb 13, 4:06am

>100 richardderus: Summing it up perfectly as always :) Happy Saturday *smooch*

#15 The Midnight Library - Haig (Think was a popsugar challenge one? Must check)

Quick read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, it's basically a YA (possibly why I enjoyed it) and yes, at times it's very twee/obvious. But I enjoyed the idea and the delivery and it has made me think about how much I cling on to all my regrets in life - I am a terrible 'what if' person. So, yes, thumbs up from me.

Feb 13, 4:35am

>99 BekkaJo: Murder is Easy.....well easier than sleeping by all accounts.

Get your pillow and nightie out, I have ordered Pawn of Prophecy.

Feb 13, 12:26pm

>98 BekkaJo: I see. I hope you can reenergize enough to focus on reading again.

>101 BekkaJo: That reminds me that my ACR still hasn't arrived. Oh my, I can relate - I am very good at clinging to regrets and to overthinking...

Feb 15, 2:57am

>102 PaulCranswick: *Hugs* Sorry for being a crazy lady!

>103 PersephonesLibrary: Want to say I had a better night, but hubby tweaked his back yesterday adn was rolling around trying to get comfortable all night! I need coffee stat!

In other news, I now have a 10 year old boy. Just insane. My Valentine baby is in double digits... Spent most of the weekend making cake, then met three of his mates down on a beach so they could climb around on the rocks adn stream and generally be boys! Since we aren't allowed in each others houses at the moment, and venues are all still shut, it seemed a good way to meet on his birthday. It did involve the Mums standing in the cold for a couple of hours though - soooo chilly!

The boys were all soaked to the knees and we were standing shivering. Youth and all that! But he had fun which is all that matters.

Also, my parents finally got their first Covid jabs on Saturday - they'd had to wait for the 65-69 bracket to open up. But at least it's a step forward. I distance dropped them some birthday cake on the way home yesterday, closest I've been in ages.

Feb 15, 3:00am

>104 BekkaJo: No apologies required - it is entirely endearing.

I have similar problems worrying about my pals so I can empathise. x

Feb 15, 8:05am

Happiest of birthdays to the 10yo!!

Charlie's 12 but so tall and deep-voiced that Tomm jokes about him being 27...

Feb 15, 11:57am

>105 PaulCranswick: You'll make me blush. It is always a fear though - sort of like hoping people will like your children!

>106 scaifea: Thank you - I think he had a good one :)
Charlie does look tall - Cass is too (and has bigger feet than me already!), but Will has dropped to the very average height for his age. Looking at how his Dad grew, he's going to double in height in a few years and likely get awful growing pains to boot. He's really nervous about secondary school in a few years time because he feels like a shrimp - the senior school go all the way to 18 and there is a world of difference between an average height 10 year old and an 18 year old! It's the same uniform nearly all the way up to it is a bit terrifying.

Feb 16, 6:08am

#16 High Rise - Ballard - 1,001

Weirdly compelling writing. Lord of the Flies meets a tower block - but more icky. The ease in which human nature disintigrates to it's base functions.

I feel a bit like I need a shower.

Feb 16, 7:54am

>107 BekkaJo: Yeah, when I help Charlie tie his mask on I have to reach up to do so, and that seems so nuts.
Aw, poor Will being nervous about school! I bet he's not the only one, though, and maybe he'll shoot upwards a bit before then. Charlie is loving online school and wants to stay with it past this year. We'll see...

>108 BekkaJo: I kind of loved this one (which may have mostly to do with the fact that Tom Hiddleston read the audiobook), but I agree that it's weird and slightly skeezy.

Feb 18, 12:38pm

>109 scaifea: Will did really well with online as well - though it was, at times, very traumatic for all involved! But he was very glad to be back at school (and away from the evil strict Mum teacher).

Slightly skeezy? I think I upgrade that to very :)

Slump again. Why can I not focus on the things I've got on the go at the moment? Heck, I couldn't even focus on a Christie last night. It's been a really intense and meeting filled week, so maybe it's that. Friday tomorrow!!

Feb 18, 3:42pm

Ten years? And time will pass by even faster now....

I think everybody is overwhelmed at the moment. My resolution is to go outside and to nature for at least 1/2 hour per day. I hope you'll find a way to get back to normal. And Friday seems to me as the perfect starting point. Which Christie have you been reading?

Feb 19, 4:38am

>111 PersephonesLibrary: It will :( I keep doing a double take on the 13 year old - she's growing up by the day. I want my babies back!

There is a strong sense of fatigue for everyone, I thoroughly agree. I think it's as we come ot the year mark - no one anticipated that things would not be back to normal by now. But they aren't and can't be - and won't be for some time yet.

I'm reading Endless Night - so far definitely not catching me. I'm also reading Humboldt's Gift, Maus and Plague Dogs. Trying to read The Tin Drum and City of God.

It's entirely possible I need to read something a bit lighter for a while!

Feb 20, 6:40am

I also put the very dark reads aside for the moment. Currently, I am reading a BB: Furiously happy which is fun to read. And the cover is great:

Happy reading weekend, Bekka!

Feb 20, 9:58am

>108 BekkaJo: If I have a criticism of Ballard and he did this in several novels, it is the extent of the rapid descent of man. I would like to think we could hold on to a semblance of civilised behaviour a little longer than he generally predicts.

Feb 22, 3:21am

>113 PersephonesLibrary: I've seen that in a few places - not really got round to investigating. Glad it's good :)

>114 PaulCranswick: Indeed! Though I suspect he may be quite right. Sorry - still feeling a little dark.

Well, Saturday was exceedingly unbrilliant. Sunday, bit better and trying to pull myself out of the bog. Finished a couple of books;

#17 The Marlow Murder Club - Thorogood

From the guy who created the Death in Paradise TV series (which I adore, it's just so relaxing to watch!), this is an easy read but a really amusing one. Quirky enough to capture my attention. Plus you have got to love an elderly female protagonist who drinks whisky, writes crosswords and swims naked in the Thames...

#18 Endless Night - Christie

Huh. Somehow I didn't see that coming. An un-Christie like Christie, this is a first person narrative for a start. The usual Christie tropes are there - love, money, gypsy curses, big houses etc. But you have to wait rather a while for the murder...

Feb 22, 11:27am

>115 BekkaJo: Plus you have got to love an elderly female protagonist who drinks whisky, writes crosswords and swims naked in the Thames...

Well you snagged me with that phrase. BB for me.

Feb 23, 1:47am

>116 MickyFine: It's pretty gentle fun - hope you enjoy :)

Mar 1, 2:35am

Well, it's finally been a sunny weekend. And I spent most of it... shifting junk and making the spare room into a new office space with lots of bookshelves. The room now make me feel very happy!

Finished a couple more books this weekend, the last sliding in just before the end of the month :)

#19 Hard Time - Taylor

2nd book in the Time Police series - and as entertaining as one would expect from her. Very enjoyable reading for a stressful week.

#20 The Man in the Brown Suit - Christie

Quick Saturday read.

#21 Maus - Spiegelman

The first Maus book, wonderful, heartbreaking. I have the second one lined up.

Mar 1, 5:00am

Darn just lost a whole message. Pout...
Basically I was mocking myself for being so rubbish with my challenge reads so far - and giving up on Jan/Feb challenges where I haven't started the book.

So this month;
Old Masters (Jan 6+)
Humboldt's Gift (Feb ATIR)
The CHildren's Book (March leftover category)
City of God (March leftover category)
Something by Henry Green (6+)

Plus finish off the following;
King of Elflands Daughter
Maus II
The Fifth Season (Popsugar)
Out of Africa
The Plague Dogs

Mar 1, 9:26am

>118 BekkaJo: Oh, yay for the new office space! It's such a great feeling to completely repurpose a room, I think.

Mar 1, 9:31am

>120 scaifea: It is lovely :) Though it would be more lovely if next door weren't having scaffolding put up to sort their roof, and I was therefore able to open the window! The sun swings round the house so in the afternoon it's full into this room and rather toasty - but today, rather drilly!

I am having one issue with having moved the books. I feel like I've been robbed!! There were three piles in the downstairs loo - about 40 books ish. Now there is just one pile and it feel bare. Worse for my piles in the bedroom. Robbed I tell you, robbed!

Mar 4, 2:54am

#22 Maus II - Spiegelman

OOOf! I mean it's excellent, and necessary and heartbreaking. I wouldn't want to read it again but then I don't need to read it again - it will stay with me for a long time I think.

Mar 4, 6:52am

>116 MickyFine: Especially if she can manage all three at the same time!

>122 BekkaJo: Yes, they are very affecting books, aren't they Bekka?

Mar 4, 3:59pm

I have read MAUS, too - and I remember it was deeply troubling. But on the other hand - just so well done. It was one the first graphic novels I have read and it influenced me to read more.

New office space? Brilliant! New bookshelves? A reason to celebrate! :)
My walls are full - and I'd need to install rolling shelves like they use them in archives.

Mar 4, 5:08pm

>122 BekkaJo: Truly a miserable topic about which to read. But so well done!

Mar 5, 4:17am

>123 PaulCranswick: I think the second got to me more, plus there were large elements of his relationship with his Dad that struck a painful chord. Very different situation of course but parental relationships are always complicated (imo).

>124 PersephonesLibrary: They are lovely. I keep turning and looking at them. *Happy sigh*
When we moved to this house we had moved from a very small property and I'd had to get rid of so so many books. I kept a core chunk, but wouldn't buy any more. Then a couple of years ago I had a bit of an epiphany and realised 'I have space' and allowed myself to start picking up second hand paperbacks again. We are lucky to have some great charity shops.

>125 richardderus: Isn't it just! Certain images are haunting me a bit though.

Mar 5, 7:32am

It is a superbly effective piece of work, Bekka.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 8, 5:01am

>127 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul - hope you had a good oone too? With all the birthday shenanigans etc!

#23 Mr Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore - Sloan

Fun, silly, all about books and bookshops and secret codes. What's not to enjoy?

Mar 9, 2:49am

#24 They came to Baghdad - Christie

I had a nasty bout of (what we think was) food poisoning at the weekend. Incredibly unpleasant. So I picked up another Christie during the bits I could read. Sunday afternoon I had to give up and just lie in bed and watch TV and occasionally cry a bit.

But finished this off yesterday - see above re fun, silly and all about secret codes. Less book shops, more Baghdad.

Mar 9, 3:24pm

Ooof food poisoning is brutal, Bekka. Hope you're feeling much more the thing now.

Mar 10, 2:49am

>129 BekkaJo: Thank you - getting there! Working Monday was not great, brain fog etc. One of those days when you are very grateful to be working from home.

Slowed my reading though. I don't seem to be getting anywhere with anything. Le sigh.

Mar 15, 5:30am

I got to hug my Mum yesterday - they relaxed the household mixing rules in time for Mother's day.
She only lives about 5 miles away - but I haven't been able to hug her in at least 6 months.
Happy sigh.

Mar 15, 1:23pm

>132 BekkaJo: Oh that's wonderful, Bekka! May there be plenty of long Mom hugs in the coming months. :D

Mar 17, 3:57am

>133 MickyFine: Thank you :) TBH I don't think she got why I was so huggy... life has really just carried on fairly as normal for them - she doesn't go into town or to any big shops anyway. And my Dad has worked through out - he's pest control so it was considered an essential (plus he rarely sees anyone when working and only works outside). Ah well - it was good for me anyway!

So continuing my 'I can't seem to read/focus on anything difficult or challenging' situation (not loving that feeling by the way, though I am thoroughly enjoying the books!);

#25 A Discovery of Witches - Harkness (Popsugar challenge)

Okay, so there is nothing new new about this. But it's good fun. The 'naughty' side of it I could probably do without - it feels like it's put in very much to satisfy certain reader groups. At nearly 700 pages, it reads quickly.

Mar 17, 11:29am

I loved the house in A Discovery Witches but could not get into the second book and abandoned it. I haven't tried the TV series though and with Matthew Goode in it I might have to give it a whirl at some point.

Mar 18, 2:46am

>135 MickyFine: I watched the first season, I liked it well enough. Been having trouble getting interested enough in the second season.

Mar 18, 3:52am

>135 MickyFine: I have to agree - the house is one of the best characters :) I have the second one out the library so I'll give it a whirl at some point.

>135 MickyFine: >136 fairywings: I haven't tried the series - I'm always dubious on adaptations.

Mar 18, 3:53am

So today, hubby and I have been married 15 years.

15 years! Heck.

Mar 18, 9:50am

Happy anniversary!

Mar 18, 11:50am

Happy anniversary! 15 years is an impressive milestone!

Mar 19, 3:27am

>139 drneutron: >140 MickyFine: Thanks both :) It does make me feel very old.

We went out for a celebratory dinner. Baring having to wear a mask on entry and exit it was very normal. First time I've been out for dinner in a very long time. I think the starter took it for me - pan seared scallops with textures of cauliflower and smoked apple balls.

Smoked apple balls sounds weird but they were amazing and went beautifully with the scallops. The smoke on them was odd, possibly hickory, but it all worked so well.

I ate wayyyyy too much.

Mar 22, 4:16am

And just like that the weekend is gone... sigh. Though there were quite a large amount of teenage strops, so maybe it's a good thing for her to be back at school!

Teen and I did have a nice evening together on Saturday - Hubby and Son were at my sisters for a Cubs Space Camp. Everything is still remote but the Cubs got to do loads of crafts, some Zoom camp calls, the boys (son and nephew) slept out in a tent etc etc.
So teen and I headed home, she made chocolate orange brownie muffins, we made our own pizzas, played scrabble, watched Brooklyn 99. Lovely.

#26 The Invisible life of Addie La Rue - Schwab

The Gaiman quote on the covour is 'joyous'. He's not wrong. HIghly recommended.

#27 The Pale Horse - Christie

This one is a wee bit silly. But fun none the less!

Mar 22, 4:44am

So, congratulations on the hug and the 15 years! Both great moments! :) I have heard of the Discovery of Witches series but I wasn't aware that there are books as well. Hm... I'll keep that in mind.

Chocolate orange brownie muffins sound delicious. And sleeping in a tent always sounded like fun to me but I am not the camping type. Have a lovely week, Bekka! The next weekend will come soon.

Mar 22, 1:49pm

>142 BekkaJo: Happy to see another fan of Addie La Rue!

Mar 22, 3:50pm

Fifteen years! And no one's dead. That is one helluva win all the way around.

Mar 23, 6:22am

>143 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you :) The muffins vanished very quickly...

>144 MickyFine: Isn't it good!

>145 richardderus: Reminds me of my Dad's comment - every year - 'I'd have got less time for murder'. I hasten to add this is in jest and they are happily married - I think it's 45 years this year!

Mar 23, 6:23am

So - we finally got a rough time frame for vaccines. Hubby is 40 so early April. I'm still under 40, so it's May. Darn my yoooth!

If they went on how old I feel/look I'd have had it months ago.

Mar 25, 4:19am

#28 Closed Casket - Sophie Hannah

I still have a few Christie to go - but I thought I'd try my hand at a faux Poirot. Not bad... I feel like I'm damning with faint praise there. It was an entertaining read, a good story. Just lacked that ease of Christie - and Poirot felt somewhat wooden. I also had some issues with the conclusion.

Darn it - I'm still being unfair I think. I wanted to know what was going on, wanted to find out the ending and it therefore gazumped my other books last night. That's praise for me :)

Mar 25, 4:39am

Just realised as Paul logged his new acquisitions, that I hadn't popped mine down. Hubby and I were off together last Friday and pottered round a load of charity shops. It's not quite a Cranswickian splurge... but it's a big one for me (total cost c. £7)

My Sister, the serial killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite
Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell
Stormbreaker - Horowitz (mostly for Will)
Mrs Bridge - Evan S Connell
The Unwomanly face of War - Svetlana Alexievich
The Bone Clocks - Mitchell
Harvest - Crace
A spool of Blue thread - Tyler
Use of weapons - Banks
Smiley's People - Le Carre
Specials - Westerfield

And a lovely Faber and Faber copy of Auden's Selected Poems.

*Happy dance*

Mar 28, 11:13am

>149 BekkaJo: Ohhh, lovely lovely haul! I hope they all light the firmament of your mind with fireworks of rapture.

(just finished a 19thC read, can you tell?)

Mar 28, 11:46am

>146 BekkaJo: That I believe you! :)

>147 BekkaJo: Ha, same as me. If you would go for the level of tired, I'd be the first up front. But at least you have got a time frame. That's awesome. And time flies by, anyway! Congrats to you and your hubby!

>149 BekkaJo: Amazing choice of books! Braithwaite, Orwell, Alexijevich... What I have read from them so far I liked a lot.

Have a great start of your week, tomorrow!

Mar 29, 8:36am

>150 richardderus: It might be a touch noticeable. But thank thee, kind sir. Insert bow here

>151 PersephonesLibrary: There were several that I'd never head of, but at 50p more mint paperbacks, I wasn't arguing!

It's been a... well, a start to the week. I'll give it that. Desperately need a quiet day at work to get some things finished - doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

#29 The Tower of Nero - Riordan

I needed something even easier than Christie this weekend. This was fun, but very much just the last of the series - that feeling when it's just the end and could probably have been dealt with in the last one? That. Still, escapism and quips.

Apr 1, 9:16am

And that's March done. OOof.

I have catastrophically failed to hit my reading targets. I'm officially stopping posting what I want to get through, on here. It's becoming embarrassing!

FYI, the above is 50/50 tongue in cheek. I'm a bit bummed with my reading this year but I'm trying to be rationale - especially as I have thoroughly enjoyed so much that I have read :) It's idiotic of me and I know it - it's that whole 'guilty pleasure' thing - it's just pleasure for goodness sake!

Anyway, happy long weekend everyone - I hope you are all getting a long weekend too. Been so so busy I'm looking forward to it very much. The kids are going to enjoy a couple of weeks off as well.

Apr 1, 1:42pm

Have a great Easter break, Bekka! Whether you manage any reading, I hope it's thoroughly enjoyable and restful.

Apr 1, 2:23pm

>153 BekkaJo: Oh, Bekka - don't worry. Life is too demanding to put that pressure on yourself. :) We'd still be interested what you're reading. Hopfully, April will be nice to you! Happy Easter weekend to you! I have to work tomorrow and on Saturday, but I'll try to take it easy.

Apr 4, 5:34am

>154 MickyFine: Thank you - I actually had a lie in till *gulp* 10 o'clock on Friday. That's the latest I've been in bed in years!

>155 PersephonesLibrary: Aww - thanks :) I did get a couple of hours of reading yesterday - earned by taking my daughter on a long Evie bike ride (rentable part electric bikes). My bum bones hurt!

I finally found a book to fit in the 'bus' category of my book bingo. Even better it's something my son is reading and that he really wanted me to read - The NIght Bus Hero. It's rather good.

Happy Easter all!

Apr 6, 9:06am

#30 The Night Bus Hero - Rauf (Book Bingo)

A solid 4/5 book for the 9-11 age bracket. Tackles Bullying and Homelessness.

#31 The Mysterious Mr Quinn - Christie

An unusual Christie, this one. Each chapter is a short story in which Mr Satterthwaite meets, and is influenced into action by, the Mysterious Mr Harley Quinn...

Apr 6, 4:27pm

>157 BekkaJo: #31 I've never read that one. It really doesn't fit my concept of Christie so I've just never made the effort. Might be needin' to here soon.


Modificato: Apr 13, 6:23am

>158 richardderus: Tis definitely a bit different. But good in it's own way :)

Sit rep.
Work is busy, kids are on Easter hols, everything I'm reading seems to have over 500 pages so I'm not finishing anything, sun is shining and I have another four day weekend coming up (two days annual leave with the kids next week).

Apr 13, 6:26am

Finished a couple of my chunk comfort reads over my long weekend;

#32 Shadow of Night - Harkness

Book 2 of the Discovery of Witches series. Not as good as book one, I felt. I'm sufficiently hooked in that I'll finish the series though.

#33 Magpie Murders - Horowitz

That was excellent fun :) Ideal follow on from all the Christie I've been reading (and tbh am still reading). Started the next one already.

Apr 13, 9:15am

>160 BekkaJo: I'm 3/4 of the way through Moonflower Murders and am enjoying it as much as the first!

Apr 13, 12:15pm

>160 BekkaJo: I couldn't get through Shadow of Night and abandoned it but I'm impressed you made it through.

But I share your opinion on Magpie Murders. :)

Apr 14, 4:10am

>161 drneutron: It is good, isn't it! I'm about 1/4 through so far. Bonus is that my library copy is shiny and brand new (think I'm the first to have it out).

>162 MickyFine: It was definitely draggy in many places. I've started the last, but got diverted into Moonflower Murders :)

Apr 14, 5:27am

#34 Sonnets from the Portuguese - Browning

I'm a sucker for a sonnet. Nuff said.

Apr 19, 3:15am

#35 Moonflower Murders - Horowitz

Once again, excellent. Taking Christie to a whole new level - and I was completely on the wrong track re the murderer too!

Apr 23, 4:06am

#36 Humboldt's gift - Bellow (1,001, Vic/Liz 1975, ATIR)

Heavy going, moments of wonder, moments of irritation, ultimately capturing.

"Indoors and outdoors fell into each other through a picture window, garden and bedroom mingling."

Worth it's Pulitzer? Not sure. But I think probably it is.

Apr 23, 10:12am

Had a sneaky trip out today as the States sitting (elected government) finished at lunchtime. It was already a continuation as they weren't expecting to sit today, so I'm impressed they managed to get through all outstanding business this morning.

Anyway, it meant I got a lunch hour and snuck off to the big charity shop with hubby. Minor book splurge.

Actually, can it be called a splurge when you get 9 paperbacks for £2,70???

Some YA, and then Americanah (Adichie), Brooklyn (Toibin), Brida (Coelho) and Thirteen Reasons why (Asher).

Happy nearly the end of the week to me!

Apr 23, 12:45pm

#37 The Book of Life - Harkness

Third and final book in the series. Better than book two, and an easy read. I do like her world building, but still missing some of the magic of book one.

Apr 24, 8:23am

>166 BekkaJo: Well done wading through Bellow's book, Bekka. I think you summed up the experience of reading him well because he does eventually reward the persistence needed to read his bigger works.

Apr 24, 8:24am

By the way, I trust that all is well and that you'll have a great weekend. x

Apr 24, 2:43pm

>169 PaulCranswick: I'm having that feeling when you finish a long and hard read - now I miss it! I preferred Henderson the Rain King ... I think.

>170 PaulCranswick: Thank you :) However... I'm cleaning :( Four loads of washing done - thankfully a sunny and windy, perfect drying day. A LOT of junk binned. Tomorrow is scrubbing/hoovering/mopping.

I may have been letting things go a bit lately :/ (read last year).

Apr 24, 10:35pm

>171 BekkaJo: I would have said scrubbing, hoovering, moping. Cleaning the house is not my idea of the ideal weekend! Thanks be to God that I have the uncomplaining Erni who keeps our place pristine with the aid of Major-Domo Hani and I merely have to suffer usually mild though often rebukes to tidy books away.

Apr 25, 3:12pm

>166 BekkaJo: It isn't a particularly joyous read...but good gracious what a wonderful job of writing!

Happy week-ahead's read.

Apr 26, 3:39am

>172 PaulCranswick: 8 loads of washing. 8!!!!

Eventually I got fed up and retreated to my study to read.

>173 richardderus: That sums it up brilliantly - as always. I think I still have 3 or 4 Bellow's on the list to get through though!

Happy reading week to you too :)

Apr 28, 2:23am

Half price brand new copy of Shuggie Bain? Why it would be rude not to...

Darn you WHSmith! This is how they got me with Hamnet last week. But at £4.50 you can't really refuse.

I also picked up a copy of My Family and Other Animals (99p) yesterday. I had it pencilled in for next months BAC (not that I'm managing many challenge reads). I'm a) sure I have another copy in the house somewhere, but b) definitely should have read it before now, due to Durrell's links to the island. His Zoo is still one of my favourite places to be.

Apr 28, 4:41am

>153 BekkaJo: I have catastrophically failed to hit my reading targets
Targets schmargets ;)
I find that I do way more of all the things when I don't try and make myself reach a certain number.

Apr 29, 6:35am

>176 LovingLit: Made me chuckle :) TBH my main enjoyment is the planning and making of the lists at the end of each year. I've failed awfully to hit them the last few years - but I still thoroughly enjoy the lists!

#38 Chain of Iron - Clare (Popsugar - published in 2021 + Book Bingo - Element)

Latest Shadowhunter book. Brain candy...
May have to do a chronological re-read at some point - I'm getting confused, as she jumps back and forth through time with her characters. And as they are all the same family names...agh!

Apr 30, 10:46am

#39 The Elsewhere Chronicles - Books 1-5 (Book bingo, main character named Rebecca)

Picked these kids comics up at the library to fulfil my book bingo - and ended up loving them. Too short, but thoroughly enjoyable. Book 6 is out there somewhere but my library doesn't have it. And apparently they stopped writing them so didn't complete the series. Wah!!

Maggio 1, 6:04am

#40 City of God - Doctorow (1,001)

Finally!!!! It's taken me a very, very long time to get through this. No further comment at this time.

Modificato: Maggio 6, 3:00am

Huh. We made the national newspapers :(

FYI - you could see the French Fishing boat 'blockade' from my bedroom window!

Maggio 6, 4:39am

>179 BekkaJo: I like Doctorow and especially his book Ragtime which is a particular favourite but City of God was a tough and fairly unrewarding read for me.

>180 BekkaJo: Thank goodness Napoleon is still at his slumbers.

I was one of the vast majority whose views were not hard or fast on either side of the Brexit debate but who felt that the wishes of the Referendum must be respected. Having done so then we have to find our new role in the world which I'm sure involves protecting our coastal waters from overfishing.

Maggio 6, 7:24am

It's all a bit fraught to be honest! There is a blockade of around 70 fishing boats in the harbour, UK Navy vessels on the horizon and now French naval vessels on their way...

The French have threatened to turn off our electricity, the UK are getting involved when they need/should not, and essentially it boils down to the French fishermen not having done their paperwork.


Maggio 6, 10:03am

>182 BekkaJo: French sailors and farmers do have a rep for being a law unto themselves and with our Public School twit running things in Whitehall heaven knows how it will escalate.

Modificato: Maggio 10, 6:22am

>183 PaulCranswick: They will definitely strike at the drop of a hat!

SO... Monday morning sit rep...

1) We are not currently at war with France (this is a good thing)
2) I had my first vaccine injection on Saturday (also a good thing)
3) I felt rotten/off colour/burning up all weekend (not a good thing)
4) It was Liberation Day yesterday and the celebrations were still mostly on line (but at least we got them).

Also I finished a couple of books last week/over the weekend but it erased my message and I'm now cross about it and too lazy to re-type it.

#41 Gathering Blue - Lowry
#42 The Children of Green Knowe - Boston

#43 Hyperbole and a Half - Brosch
Mixture of comic and text from the webcomic/blog writer. Excellent - just so so funny. Love her dogs. Also one of the best depictions of depression that I've come across in a long time.

Maggio 10, 7:25am

>184 BekkaJo: Glad about the good things, Bekka, sorry you didn't feel well all weekend.

I haven't read Hyperbole and a Half, but I used to follow her blog. I could really relate to her, as at the time I had dogs myself and was fighting depression. No dogs anymore, and the depression is gone. Not directly related, although the need for a dog is less for me without the impact of depression.

Maggio 10, 11:38am

>184 BekkaJo: Glad to see you enjoyed Hyperbole and a Half, Bekka. I enjoyed her new book, Solutions and Other Problems as well.

Maggio 13, 4:43am

>185 FAMeulstee: At least it was feeling grotty in a good cause :) If you like her blog, I highly recommend it - plus as a former dog owner I'm sure you would relate.

>186 MickyFine: I have the next one lined up ;) A friend actually bought it for my daughter for xmas, but I've pinched it for now.

#44 The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany (kids 1,001 + fantasy 1000)

Urgh. I mean, I love fantasy and I love kids books. But this was just a trudge.

Maggio 13, 11:20am

>187 BekkaJo: Nice to have a convenient copy nearby. ;)

Maggio 14, 7:58am

>188 MickyFine: I do tend to theft from her. Though her tastes are diverging from mine a lot recently. Unlike the boy, she's not a big reader - I'm hoping she'll come back to it later though, as she always loved reading when she was younger.

Maggio 14, 8:03am

*Cranswickian splurge warning*

So another big charity shop warehouse thing opened at the Zoo the other day. Very nicely done, some lovely clothes - provided you are smaller than me :( But also some very lovely books. Some of these are absolutely perfect unread condition! At 50p each it would be hard to say no, right?

The Rest of us just live here - Ness
A visit from the Goon Squad - Egan
Earthsea The first four books in one volume - Le Guin
Six of Crows - Bardugo
The Periodic Table - Levi
Wide Open - Barker
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - Mitchell
Cryptonomicon - Stephenson
A Kind of Anger - Ambler
Master and Commander - O'Brian

And a volume of Bletchley Park brainteasers too. Happy dance!

Maggio 14, 5:04pm

>190 BekkaJo: *gobsmacked*

You've gesumpte the Cranswickian Haul! And on a non-wartime weekend.

All the yay!

Maggio 16, 10:23am

>191 richardderus: Yay! I get Cranswickian haul status. I'm rather proud of that.

Finished a couple of Library books;

#45 The Killings at Kingfisher hill - Hannah

Faux Poirot. Enjoyable but several things in there that I do NOT thing Poirot would do.

#46 Manon Lescaut - Prevost

Well isn't she a little hussy!

Maggio 16, 5:30pm

>192 BekkaJo: #46 no wonder Puccini wove a magical net of sound to catch her, innit?

Maggio 18, 2:49am

>193 richardderus: Oooh - I didn't know that. I'll have to dig out a recording. I'll admit to not being well up on my Puccini.

I have a horrible headache. It's 7.47 in the morning and I'm in work and I can't concentrate because of my head. Booo! Hoping the painkillers kick in in the next few minutes as I have stacks to do.

Maggio 18, 7:27am

Oh no! I know the feeling of needing to work even though your head is killing you - here's hoping it's already gone!

Maggio 19, 2:59am

>195 scaifea: Unfortunately it was a persistent all dayer. Bah. I suspect it's my sinuses and reaction to some new allergy spray I'm trying. Which is working on the rhinitis so I really really hope the headaches die off - it would be lovely not to be streaming constantly!

Head is not great again, but better than yesterday morning - so fingers crossed.

It also led to peaceful dim light reading till quite late last night.
#47 The Monogram Murders - Hannah

Actually the first faux Poirot she wrote - which was sitting on my shelf (no idea why I started in the middle, but there is no real chronology, just a couple of references to previous cases). Entertaining, though it does have a trying too hard feel - I hope she's going to relax into it all a bit more.

I really really need to finish some of the mountain of half read novels I have on the go!!

Maggio 19, 8:07am

>196 BekkaJo: Well, dang. I'm sorry you're still dealing with the headache. I've been fighting those all-dayers recently, too, so I sympathise.

Maggio 20, 3:14am

>197 scaifea: Thanks Amber - it sucks doesn't it! Hope yours do one soon too. I was okay yesterday and today is horrible again, so I'm super frustrated with the world in general.

Maggio 20, 7:21am

>198 BekkaJo: Oh no! Still?! Yoicks.

*gentle hugs*
*hands you a cuppa tea and a cool cloth for your head*

Maggio 20, 8:57am

Nice to see you stepping into my well worn shoes with entirely discriminate book acquisitions!

Less nice to see you struggling with headaches.

Gentle hugs to you and Amber. xx

Maggio 20, 10:42pm

Hope your headache has gone because it is :

Happy birthday, Bekka!

Maggio 21, 6:10am

>199 scaifea: Thanks Amber - definitely better today. I wonder if that's Friday helping out ;)

>200 PaulCranswick: It was a good book splurge day I'll admit! My head is dumb.

>201 PaulCranswick: Awww thanks Paul!

I'm supposed to be off but I found I'd agreed to go on a two hour international forum call thingy - and my boss is in another meeting so can't cover. Ergo, logged on to do the call - only to find they hadn't sent the link to the actual call. FFS! Now waiting for them to send it.

May read a bit whilst I wait...

Maggio 21, 7:36am

Maggio 21, 11:57am

Happy birthday, Bekka!

Maggio 24, 4:13am

>203 richardderus: Thank you - and that's my next project right there!

>204 MickyFine: Thank you :)

I had a lovely day in the end - finally got on my call and it was very useful, pottered around the charity shops with hubby, bought myself a saxophone (needs some mending but woop!), had a Chinese takeaway with the kids and my friend. Plus Eurovision madness on Saturday night.

And now I really should read something!

Maggio 27, 2:52am

Still not reading a lot. Not sure why... really exhausted so that's playing into it a lot. Plus a busy week at work has left me somewhat brain dead. I finished off one which is really a novella tbh;

#48 The Carter of La Providence - Simenon

See the touchstone comes up with a much better title for this - The Crime at Lock 14. Because (and I figure if people haven't read this they are unlikely to?), putting the culprit in the title is rather silly and makes it obvious throughout. Le Sigh. It's no Poirot but it was a bit of fun. I may try another Maigret or two.

I'm also halfway through Their Eyes were watching God which is wonderful. And The Fifth Season which is growing on me.

Maggio 27, 3:00am

In other news. I'm actually leaving the island tomorrow!! First time in nearly two years. Longer than that since Alex has seen his parents and they have seen the kids.

UK is 'green' on our travel categories - and we are considered part of a common travel area. Which means we don't have to do anything when we get to the UK. On the way back we get tested on arrival and isolate till the results come through - then tested again at day 8 (I think). But we don't have to isolate between the tests which is good. We're also only going to Dorset and won't exactly be going out much - unless it's in Wareham forest :)

I'm still anxious though. I wasn't. Then I had a horrible shopping trip where the shop was really full and people seem to have forgotten about common courtesy, let alone distancing. For me it's less about virus worries and more about social anxiety. Ah well. It's not like Southampton airport is busy - its basically a portacabin with delusions of grandeur in a field with a Costa and a WHSmith...

Maggio 27, 8:36am

Ooof, I get the social anxiety part - I've got that in spades, too. Good luck with your traveling!

Maggio 27, 12:16pm

Hope the trip is a good one, Bekka. How many books are you bringing? ;)

Maggio 27, 6:08pm

>207 BekkaJo: Safe travels, lovely visits, and joyous homecoming!

Maggio 28, 3:19am

>208 scaifea: Thanks Amber - it's not helped existing issues, that's for sure! The island is nearly back to normal, high street is full etc. But I suspect there are a lot of people like me who are exhausted by it all and just not ready for people.

>209 MickyFine: Thank you :) And only three paperbacks. I've gone very holiday read with them too! I mean I'm also taking me e-reader which has c.1000 on it...
I am only going for five days. But do we think I need another paperback just in case?

>210 richardderus: Aww thanks Richard. Looking forward to seeing my nieces - one of whom is now 7 months and I haven't met. But for me, I'll have to admit the joyous homecoming will be getting back to the island. I woke up in a much sweat last night after having a nightmare about being stuck off island. Though, as dreams are wont to do, I was wandering in a barren dusty wilderness (Mad Max style) - which from my last recollections of the UK, would not be the case ;)

Maggio 28, 1:23pm

>211 BekkaJo: Three paperbacks and the ereader are probably enough but it never hurts to have one more. ;)

Giu 4, 3:39am

>212 MickyFine: See that's what I thought! Hubby disagreed :(

Back on my own rock. I have to admit the travel was pretty darn smooth. Arrived back, collected luggage, had our tests and were in the car (which my Dad had kindly dropped to the airport), within half an hour. And most of that was waiting on the luggage... Test at 4.00pm, results by 11.30pm. All negative I hasten to add.

So that's that. Barring a follow up 8 day test next Thursday - but we don't need to isolate.

Still extraordinarily glad to be home.

Giu 4, 4:12am

>213 BekkaJo: Am a little bit jealous that you have managed a whole trip!

Will get my first jab on 20 June as the first step in my ambitions to get travelling again too. Hani has had her first one.
I really want to get back to the UK for an extended visit soon if not for relocation purposes.

Glad that you had a safe travel experience and that you are safely back.

Giu 4, 4:37am

>214 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul :) UK was surprisingly normal to be honest. Given they are only just easing restrictions I expected it to be quieter still. The amount of people heading down to the Dorset beaches for the bank holiday was insane - we couldn't get out anywhere because of the traffic. Hoping it doesn't lead to another spike in cases.

Giu 4, 4:58am

I got some decent reading time in - though very light reading in some cases! It also accidentally turned out I had themed my reads;

#49 The Fifth Season - Jemisin (Pop Sugar)

#50 The Thursday Murder Club - Osman

#51 August is a wicked Month - O'Brien (1,001)

#52 How to stop Time - Haig

Giu 4, 11:33am

Glad the trip went smoothly, Bekka. Hope you have a relaxing weekend at home before you have to get back in the groove.

Giu 4, 5:22pm

>216 BekkaJo: #49 was an excellent read for me, hoping it was for you as well.

#51 was pretty unhappy, but I loves me some Edna O'Brien. So sharp-witted, so unsparing!

Happy weekend's reads.

Giu 10, 2:40am

>217 MickyFine: Thanks Micky - unfortunately the trip to the UK came with additional germs. Not Covid germs, but urghhhhhh.

>218 richardderus: See I went back and forth on it. I think I ended up really enjoying it? But I found it a slow starter. Possibly a case of wrong book wrong time, because the second half I devoured.

And totally agree re O'Brien. Isn't she good!!

#53 The Mystery of three quarters - Hannah

More faux Poirot. Relaxing reading - and whilst it's not the real thing, it's definitely not bad.

Giu 10, 2:44am

So. English germs.

Well this week has sucked! Horrible streaming cold with sinus/chest issues. Yay! Finally starting to feel normal again, but I have SO SO SO much work to get done before the end of the week, it's making me panic somewhat. I guess I can only do what I can do.

I would like to read at some point though! I've felt so rubbish I haven't been reading. This week I just want to finish off (only between 50-80 pages left of each FFS);
Their eyes were watching God (wonderful but it keeps upsetting me)
In a Free State (also keeps upsetting me)
Pietr the Latvian (Maigret)

Not a big ask.

Giu 10, 4:10am

>220 BekkaJo: I didn't get along with In a Free State. The first part of three was OK but the other two sections did not grab me. Sort of extended short stories so I don't know how it won the Booker.

Hope you feel better soon, Bekka.

Giu 10, 11:17am

Aww. Summer colds are the worst. No one should feel miserable when it's actually nice outside. Hope you kick it to the curb (or kerb, as you prefer) and have a good weekend.

Giu 10, 2:00pm

Sucky about the summer cold, Bekka, and about that awful clenchy panic of too much to accomplish in too little time to accomplish it.

Edna O'Brien isn't a writer I go to when I'm less than chirpy because she'll smack the happy right outta your head by p20. But I do so love the sinuous prose she uses to do it.

Giu 11, 3:02am

Thanks for all the well wishes! I officially don't have Covid so that's a good thing (Day 8 test for returning to the island), especially since I was starting to feel paranoid every time I coughed. Feeling much better today, just really tired and a headache, but much better.

>221 PaulCranswick: Agreed - I really liked the first short story and hadn't realised that it was just a short. This last bit just seems to be so filled with appalling people :(

>222 MickyFine: And I could see the glorious blue sea out the window yesterday and was not able to go play in it! Which was, to be fair, mostly because I was working, but still! Back in the office finally today, so no sea view to make me yearn. Not sure it's a positive though...

>223 richardderus: Panic is full in the front seat this morning. Obviously why I'm prevaricating on here rather than staring at the blank presentation on the other screen that I need to write as I have to give it on Tuesday to the whole department and only have one slide and oh bleeep, help!

And you do describe it so well - I probably won't read another of hers for a year or so, but thoroughly enjoy them when I do, mostly due to the language. Have you read In the Forest?

Giu 11, 3:03am

Oh, also;

#54 Pietr the Latvian - Simenon

Better than the other Maigret I read, but still a little disjointed. And one section which was painfully anti-Semitic and nearly got the book thrown across the room...

Giu 14, 2:30am

#55 In a Free State - Naipaul

Paul was quite right - really don't get why this won a booker. That said, there are elements of the final, main story which are painfully vivid. Naipaul is always exceedingly good at making a reader feel the hatred, the fear, the downright panic of Africa at that time.

Giu 14, 10:12am

>224 BekkaJo: I have read In the Forest, Bekka shortly after it came out originally and it is powerful but did not surpass The Country Girls trilogy for excellence for me.

Giu 14, 12:57pm

>226 BekkaJo: Sir Vidia's Shadow was enough to convince me not to read more of his stuff.

I haven't read In the Forest...I'm not presently in the market for a day-darkener. It sounds unusually grim even for Dame Edna of the Doomsayers.

Giu 15, 4:07am

>227 PaulCranswick: I still have the final volume of the Country Girls to go. I'll admit I do think I found In the forest - and actually August is a wicked month, both captured me more. But that's always the brilliance of books isn't it :)

>228 richardderus: It is indeed pretty dark. More an autumnal/winter book, I agree!

#56 Peace Talks - Butcher

Catching up on my Dresden...

Giu 17, 2:56am

#57 Their eyes were watching God - Hurston

Sorry, just be a moment, seem to have something in my eye... *sob*

Giu 21, 3:00am

#58 Battle Ground - Butcher

Latest Dresden. Which has quite the death toll by the way. Also one particular section that (having read it before me) hubby knew I was coming up to - which at least prepared him for me shouting NOOOOOOOO at the top of my voice.

And still, a day and a half later. NoooooooooOooooo!

Giu 21, 9:52am

>230 BekkaJo: *sob* indeed! Poor Janie.

Hoping for less angsty reading soon...hey, I know! Re-read August is a Wicked Month! heh

Giu 21, 9:55am

>232 richardderus: I think it may be time for another Christie!

Giu 21, 4:10pm

Appointment with Death. No one anywhere ever more deserved to die than that awful Boynton creature. I wanted them to get away with it!

Giu 22, 3:22am

>234 richardderus: Read that one - and yes, totally!

Oh and I watched the last Poirot - Curtain, last night. Heartbreaking!

I'm actually really struggling to get into a new book. I went through my e-reader, bookmarking things I want to read or might slightly fancy. Which left me with about 40 bookmarks and too tired to read. But then I did have a decent sleep which was massively needed, so we will see what happens later.

Giu 24, 9:46am

So yesterday our Government announced you don't have to isolate if you are contact traced - provided you have both jabs. But they haven't decided what to do about schools... and since our numbers are rising rapidly (again), it has got back in the schools.

So at the moment the kids have to isolate but the adults don't? What are we supposed to do about younger kids? Just leave them on their own???

Or you get to fret about it like me - I have my second jab booked for 6pm on Tuesday. And there are now two cases in Cassie's year at her school. It just takes a few more/any in other classes in the year and her year will need to isolate. If it happens before Tuesday night I am going to be so unconscionably cross!

Giu 28, 3:10am

#59 Ordeal by Innocence - Christie

Stand alone Christie - which I do tend to find less satisfying than her series. There are just a number of holes in this one. For me anyway.

Giu 29, 2:48am

#60 Whose Body? - Sayers

Continuing my classic crime run...

Giu 29, 1:25pm

>237 BekkaJo: It was very, very holey to me, too. Felt like a tatting project that she got sick of, then guiltily finished in crochet.

Happy Wednesday, or whatever it is over there.

Giu 30, 4:03am

It is Wednesday.

And I'm all double jabbed and full of Pfizer.

And I am so exhausted it's possible I'm going to fall asleep at my desk.

Giu 30, 11:19am

>240 BekkaJo: Congrats on your second shot. Fingers crossed that being tired is your only side effect!

Giu 30, 2:40pm

>240 BekkaJo: Yay for doubly-jabbed future immunity!

Lug 1, 2:49am

Thanks both. Seems to be the only thing so far. But it is debilitating. I've made it into work again today but it is taking every ounce of self control to stay here and not fall asleep.

Self control? I don't mean that do I. Stubbornness really.