Jackie's 2022 ROOTs Part 2

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Jackie's 2022 ROOTs Part 2

1Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 6:20 am

Welcome to my second 2022 thread! My name is Jackie, I have lived in Scotland since 2005 (I was in London before then), and I work in the NHS – part-time for the past few years, but I’ll be back full-time in 2022, at least for several months. I am married with an 8 year old daughter. I joined this group in 2014, just after she was born, so this will be my 9th year of ROOTing (and also, how the flip do I have an 8 year old?!). I have loved the book chat here, and have even managed to make a dent into Mt TBR after many years of the book-buying being a bit out of control! I also feel like I have made some really lovely friends here in this group.

For the last few years I have tried to get Mt TBR down by acquiring fewer new books compared to TBR books that I read. I did that by (roughly) aiming to only buy 1 book for every 2 ROOTs finished, and 2021 in particular that worked really well. For the first time in some considerable time I got Mt TBR down below 400 books (current number on 1st Jan 2022 is 382). As this has worked so well for me, I’m going to carry on with the 2:1 into 2022 (I did consider making the ratio even harder, but chickened out! 2 for 1 it is). As per usual, book gifts are excluded from this ratio because I am human and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t manage it if I included them. I’m going to see if I can get Mt TBR to 360 books by the end of the year – let’s see how close I can get!

***Update on the TBR totals: let's just say the first half of this year wasn't as successful in the reducing acquisitions department as last year was. As of 1st July my current number on Mt TBR was 384, so 2 more than 1st Jan. I'm therefore going to revise my challenge and try and get down to 370 books by the end of the year.***

My reading happy place is narrative non-fiction (and within that, nature, place & environment writing in particular), but I do try to include a good sprinkling of fiction in my reading too. I’m continuing to write as well (I stalled on that in 2021, but hopefully will find my writing mojo again this year), and hope to self-publish a book in 2022.

Thank you for reading my thread, and I can’t wait for more book chat!

Note to self so I don't have to look everywhere - code for inserting a picture (surrounded by less than and greater than signs): img src="URL" width=200 length=150

Ticker 1 – ROOTs read:


Ticker 2 – acquisitions:


Ticker 3 – books left on Mt TBR:

2Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 6:24 am

ROOTs read (1st thread):

1. Julian Barnes - The Porcupine. Finished 5.1.22. 3.5/5.
2. ed. Hugh Hillyard-Parker - News of Great Joy: The Church Times Christmas Collection. Finished 7.1.22. 4/5.
3. Robert Macfarlane - Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Finished 10.1.22. 5/5.
4. Cassandra Alexander - Year of the Nurse. Finished 15.1.22. 4.5/5.
5. Sarah Wilson - First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. DNF 17.1.22. 2/5.
6. Jacob McAtear - An Engagement with Nature. Finished 19.1.22. 3.5/5.
7. Robin Wall Kimmerer - Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Finished 31.1.22. 4.5/5.
8. Ian Carter - Human, Nature: a naturalist's thoughts on wildlife and wild places. Finished 9.2.22. 4/5.
9. Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other. Finished 18.2.22. 4.5/5.
10. Fredrik Backman - A Man Called Ove. Finished 18.2.22. 4.5/5.
11. Peter May - Hebrides. Finished 21.2.22. 4.5/5.
12. Lucie Fremlova - Queer Roma. Finished 2.3.22. 4.5/5.
13. Narine Abgaryan - Three Apples Fell From the Sky. Finished 3.3.22. 4.5/5.
14. Various authors - In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing. Finished 5.3.22. 4.5/5.
15. Goscinny & Uderzo - Asterix chez les Bretons. Finished 15.3.22. 3.5/5.
16. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild. Finished 24.3.22. 4/5.
17. Didier Fassin - When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa. Finished 27.3.22. 4.5/5.
18. Harriet Harman - A Woman's Work. Finished 31.3.22. 4/5.
19. Dan Richards - Outpost. Finished 9.4.22. 4.5/5.
20. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal. Finished 14.4.22. 5/5.
21. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain. Finished 15.4.22. 4/5.
22. Nina Mingya Powles - Small Bodies of Water. Finished 17.4.22. 4/5.
23. Josephine Woolington - Where We Call Home. Finished 19.4.22. 4.5/5.
24. Pragya Agarwal - SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias. Finished 29.4.22. 4.5/5.
25. Jane Bentley & Neil Paynter - Around a Thin Place. Finished 4.5.22. 3.5/5.
26. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places. Finished 16.5.22. 4.5/5.
27. Tim Severin - The Spice Islands Voyage. Finished 21.5.22. 4/5.
28. Monisha Rajesh - Around India in 80 Trains. Finished 23.5.22. 4/5.
29. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites. Finished 30.5.22. 4.5/5.
30. Jennifer Eremeeva - Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia. Finished 3.6.22. 2.5/5.
31. Camille T. Dungy - Trophic Cascade. Finished 10.6.22. 4/5.
32. Miranda Hart - Peggy and Me. Finished 12.6.22. 3.5/5.
33. ed. Christine Homburg, Stuart Blume & Paul Greenough - The Politics of Vaccinations. Finished 19.6.22. 4.5/5.
34. David Long - A History of London in 50 Lives. Finished 20.6.22. 3/5.
35. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes From an Island. Finished 25.6.22. 5/5.

3Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 31, 2022, 5:31 pm

ROOTs read (2nd thread)

36. Garth & Vicky Waite - Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale. Finished 30.6.22. 4/5.
37. Arundhati Roy - The End of Imagination. Finished 10.7.22. 4/5.
38. Pragya Agarwal - (M)Otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman. Finished 15.7.22. 4.5/5.
39. Kathleen Jamie - Findings. Finished 26.6.22. 5/5.
40. Corinne Fowler - Green Unpleasant Land. Finished 23.7.22. 4.5/5.
41. Fintan O'Toole - Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain. Finished 24.7.22. 4/5.
42. Stephen Moss - Skylarks with Rosie: A Somerset Spring. Finished 25.7.22. 4.5/5.
43. Bernd Stiegler - Traveling in Place: A History of Armchair Travel. DNF 25.7.22. 1/5.
44. Various, ed Josephine Greywoode - Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction. Finished 31.7.22. 3.5/5.
45. Ed. Hardeep Matharu - Wokelore: Boris Johnson's Culture War and Other Stories. Finished 6.8.22. 4.5/5.
46. Mike Parker - On the Red Hill. Finished 13.8.22. 5/5.
47. Frank Cottrell-Boyce - Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth. Finished 20.8.22. 4/5.
48. ed. Maija Jappinen, Meri Kulmala & Aino Saarinen - Gazing at Welfare, Gender and Agency in Post-Socialist Countries. Finished 28.8.22. 4.5/5.
49. Georgi Markov, tr Dimiter Keranov - Two Essays. Finished 7.9.22. 4.5/5.
50. J.P. Nettl - Rosa Luxemburg. Finished 24.9.22. 3.5/5.
51. Lucy Jones - Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild. Finished 26.9.22. 4/5.
52. Alison Richard - The Sloth Lemur's Song. Finished 1.10.22. 4.5/5.
53. Diana Wynne Jones - Howl's Moving Castle. Finished 8.10.22. 3.5/5.
54. Elspeth Thompson - Urban Gardener. Finished 14.10.22. 4/5.
55. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland. Finished 22.10.22. 4.5/5.
56. Nicola McGirr - Nature's Connections: An Exploration of Natural History. Finished 30.10.22. 3.5/5.
57. Stephen Rea - Finn McCool's Football Club. Finished 7.11.22. 4/5.
58. Lucy Mangan - Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading. Finished 14.11.22. 3.5/5.
59. Suzie Edge - Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths. Finished 19.11.22. 5/5.
60. Gareth Lewis - Tales of the Thief-City. Finished 26.11.22. 4.5/5.
61. Diane Ackerman - The Zookeeper's Wife. Finished 7.12.22. 3.5/5.
62. Russell Jones - The Decade in Tory. Finished 16.12.22. 4.5/5.
63. Jasper Fforde - The Well of Lost Plots. Finished 30.12.22. 4/5.
64. 'BB' - The Little Grey Men. Finished 31.12.22. 3.5/5.

4Jackie_K
Redigerat: aug 7, 2022, 4:58 pm

Non-ROOTs read:

1. Bill Bryson - At Home: A Short History of Private Life. Finished 12.2.22. 4/5.
2. Nowick Gray - Flutes Jam: A Guide to Improvisation. Finished 25.4.22. 2.5/5.
3. Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest - How to Change the World. Finished 19.5.22. 4/5.
4. Claire Dunn - Rewilding the Urban Soul. DNF 22.6.22. 2.5/5.
5. Barry Hutchison - Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip. Finished 7.8.22. 3.5/5.

5Jackie_K
Redigerat: aug 7, 2022, 10:24 am

Acquisitions (1st thread):

1. Cathy Rentzenbrink - Write it all Down. Acquired 6.1.22.
2. Andrew Rumsey - English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal. Acquired 7.1.22.
3. J.M. Carr - The Wonder Girls Resist. Acquired 26.1.22.
4. Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Acquired 31.1.22.
5. Cal Flyn - Islands of Abandonment. Acquired 5.2.22.
6. C.K. McDonnell - This Charming Man. Acquired 17.2.22.
7. Kathleen Jamie - Findings. Acquired 21.2.22.
8. Mary Austin - The Land of Little Rain. Acquired 21.2.22.
9. Camille Dungy - Trophic Cascade. Acquired 21.2.22.
10. Robert Macfarlane - The Wild Places. Acquired 21.2.22.
11. Kathryn Aalto - Writing Wild. Acquired 16.3.22.
12. ed. Hardeep Matharu - Wokelore: The Johnson Culture Wars & Other Stories. Acquired 16.3.22.
13. Laurie Lee - As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Acquired 3.4.22.
14. Noo Saro-Wiwa - Looking for Transwonderland. Acquired 3.4.22.
15. Garth and Vicky Waite - Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale. Acquired 3.4.22.
16. Josephine Woolington - Where we call Home: Essays from the Lands, Seas and Skies of the Pacific Northwest. Acquired 4.4.22.
17. Tom Bowser - A Sky Full of Kites. Acquired 15.4.22.
18. Tim Clare - Coward: Why we get Anxious and What we can do about it. Acquired 5.5.22.
19. ed. Una Mullally - Repeal the 8th. Acquired 6.5.22.
20. Maxim Peter Griffin - Field Notes: Walking the Territory. Acquired 20.5.22.
21. Hope Jahren - Lab Girl. Acquired May 2022.
22. Gideon Defoe - An Atlas of Extinct Countries. Acquired May 2022.
23. Matthew Green - Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain. Acquired 3.6.22.
24. Catherine Munro - The Ponies at the Edge of the World. Acquired 3.6.22.
25. Richard Fortey - The Wood for the Trees. Acquired 3.6.22.
26. Margaret Atwood - On Writers and Writing. Acquired 3.6.22.
27. Claire Walker Leslie - A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace. Acquired 3.6.22.
28. Pamela Petro - The Long Field. Acquired 3.6.22.
29. ed. Jessica Vincent, Levison Wood, Monisha Rajesh & Simon Willmore - The Best British Travel Writing of the 21st Century. Acquired 3.6.22.
30. Various - Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction. Acquired 3.6.22.
31. Christy Lefteri - Songbirds. Acquired 3.6.22.
32. Dave Goulson - The Garden Jungle. Acquired 3.6.22.
33. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland. Acquired 8.6.22.
34. Sophie Pinkham - Black Square. Acquired 14.6.22.
35. Tom Chivers - London Clay. Acquired 17.6.22.
36. Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietila - Notes from an Island. Acquired 23.6.22.
37. Jackie Morris - Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone. Acquired 23.6.22.

6Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 31, 2022, 5:33 pm

Acquisitions (2nd thread)

38. Gavin Van Horn - The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds. Acquired 1.7.22.
39. Mark Stay - The Ghost of Ivy Barn. Acquired 7.7.22.
40. Peter Mayle - Toujours Provence. Acquired 26.7.22.
41. Paul Theroux - The Kingdom by the Sea. Acquired 26.7.22.
42. Nigel Barley - A Plague of Caterpillars. Acquired 26.7.22.
43. Nina Riggs - The Bright Hour. Acquired 11.8.22.
44. Richard Milne - Rhododendron. Acquired 16.8.22.
45. James B Nardi - Life in the Soil. Acquired 16.8.22.
46. Anna Penrose - The Body in the Wall. Acquired 18.8.22.
47. William Germano - On Revision. Acquired 20.8.22.
48. Lisa Schneidau - Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland. Acquired 20.8.22.
49. Alison Richard - The Sloth Lemur's Song. Acquired 31.8.22.
50. Georgi Markov - Two Essays. Acquired 7.9.22.
51. Annie Dillard - Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Acquired 27.9.22.
52. Amanda Thomson - Belonging: Natural histories of place, identity and home. Acquired 27.9.22.
53. Suzie Edge - Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths. Acquired 29.9.22.
54. Dr Joshua Wolrich - Food Isn't Medicine. Acquired 4.10.22.
55. Stanley Tucci - Taste: My Life Through Food. Acquired 8.10.22.
56. Mya-Rose Craig - Birdgirl. Acquired 13.10.22.
57. Charlie Corbett - 12 Birds to Save Your Life. Acquired 18.10.22.
58. Russell Jones - The Decade in Tory. Acquired 20.10.22.
59. Claire Lynch - Small: On Motherhoods. Acquired 23.10.22.
60. Nick Baker - ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature. Acquired 23.10.22.
61. Gordon Brown - My Life, Our Times. Acquired 30.10.22.
62. Joe Donnelly - Checkpoint. Acquired 5.11.22.
63. Stephen Mullen - The Glasgow Sugar Aristocracy. Acquired 10.11.22.
64. Various, ed. Ada-Charlotte Regelmann - The Crisis and Future of Democracy. Acquired 10.11.22.
65. Jim Crumley - Seasons of Storm and Wonder. Acquired 18.11.22.
66. Simon Barnes - Rewild Yourself. Acquired 21.11.22.
67. Jung Chang - Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister. Acquired 22.11.22.
68. Billy Connolly - Tall Tales and Wee Stories. Acquired 24.11.22.
69. Marilee Foster - Dirt Under My Nails: An American Farmer and her Changing Land. Acquired 26.11.22.
70. Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen - The Importance of Being Aisling. Acquired 29.11.22.
71. Andrew Gulliford - Bears Ears: Landscape of Refuge and Resistance. Acquired 29.11.22.
72. Suzanne Simard - Finding the Mother Tree (audiobook). Acquired 1.12.22.
73. Ai Wei Wei - 1000 years of Joys and Sorrows. Acquired 3.12.22.
74. Rachel Lichtenstein - Estuary. Acquired 3.12.22.
75. Adam Kay - Undoctored. Acquired 4.12.22.
76. Mike Shackle - We Are the Dead. Acquired 5.12.22.
77. Adam Higginbotham - Midnight in Chernobyl. Acquired 7.12.22.
78. David McKittrick & David McVea - Making Sense of the Troubles: A History of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Acquired 10.12.22.
79. Angela C Nurse - Bloody Snow. Acquired 12.12.22.
80. Adam Rutherford - The Book of Humans. Acquired 17.12.22.
81. Nina Stibbe - Reasons to be Cheerful. Acquired 17.12.22
82. GB Ralph - Murder on Milverton Square. Acquired 17.12.22.
83. Julian Barr - The Seven Hills. Acquired 18.12.22.
84. TE Scott - Murder on the First Date. Acquired 18.12.22.
85. Madeline Miller - Circe. Acquired 22.12.22.
86. Penelope Lively - Life in the Garden. Acquired 24.12.22.
87. Rosemary Mosco - A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching. Acquired 25.12.22.
88. Geoge Seton - St Kilda. Acquired 25.12.22.
89. Joanne Parker - Britannia Obscura: Mapping Britain's Hidden Landscapes. Acquired 25.12.22.
90. Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones. Acquired 25.12.22.
91. Madeleine L'Engle - Walking on Water. Acquired 25.12.22.
92. Rutger Bregman - Humankind. Acquired 25.12.22.
93. Isabel Hardman - Why we get the Wrong Politicians. Acquired 25.12.22.
94. Ann Patchett - These Precious Days. Acquired 25.12.22.
95. Henry Marsh - And Finally. Acquired 26.12.22.
96. Miriam Margolyes - This Much is True. Acquired 27.12.22.
97. Ed Yong - An Immense World. Acquired 27.12.22.
98. John Green - The Anthropocene Reviewed. Acquired 30.12.22. (***note to self: All titles up to and including this one in the Jar of Fate***)
99. Ed. Kateryna Kazimirova & Daryna Anastasieva - Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Voices from Ukraine. Acquired 31.12.22.

7Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 31, 2022, 5:34 pm

The Nerdy Stats post

ROOTs (total: 64)

fiction: 10
non-fiction: 53
poetry: 1

female author: 31 (%)
male author: 31 (%)
non-binary author: (%)
mixed anthology: 5 (%)

paper book: 21 (%) (***check these figures, not accurate!***)
ebook: 41 (%)
audiobook: 3 (%)

completed: 62
abandoned: 2

ratings (4* and above): 49

Non-ROOTs (total: 5)

fiction: 1
non-fiction: 4
poetry:

female author: 3
male author: 3

paper book:
ebook: 5

completed: 4
abandoned: 1

Acquisitions (total: 99)

fiction: 14
non-fiction: 83
poetry: 2

female author: 48
male author: 49
non-binary author:
mixed anthology: 6

paper book: 37
ebook: 59
audiobook: 3

Amount spent overall: £356.76 + $21.60

Source:

kobo - 45
SCM Press - 1
Kickstarter - 1
Waterstones - 1
hive.co.uk -
Unbound - 5
amazon marketplace -
birthday presents - 12
LTER - 3
Verso -
Barter Books - 7
amazon.co.uk - 4
Christmas presents - 4
Outwith -
Book Depository -
random gift - 3
University of Chicago Press - 4
bookshop.org - 2
Fox Lane Books - 1
404 Ink - 1
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - 1
University of London Press - 1
Book Nook Stirling - 1
Cancer Research Campaign charity shop - 2

(via Bookbub - 11)

2 for 1 progress (minus presents)

ROOTs 64
acquisitions 80

8Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 6:32 am

Welcome to my new thread!

9Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 4:34 pm

ROOT #36



I was very chuffed to pick up Garth & Vicky Waite's Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale on my most recent trip to Barter Books, because up till then I'd only seen it online second hand for over £120! It's quite old now (published 1985), and in parts that showed, but it was still delightful. The authors retired to the Scottish island of Easdale (one of the so-called Slate Islands, near Oban on the mainland) and this is the diary of their first year, with Garth's words and Vicky's drawing and calligraphy. They also intersperse it with relevant poems, by both themselves and more famous poets.

The calligraphy probably hasn't dated as well, but the drawings are lovely (Vicky didn't have any formal art training), and give a really good sense of the wealth of wildlife and nature on the small island. There were one or two places where I cringed slightly - they wrote of picking up some frogspawn and tadpoles from a pond in the neighbouring island of Seil and transplanting it to a pond on Easdale (that sort of thing is discouraged nowadays due to the risk of transferring potential infections), and at the end they talked about wanting to bring over hedgehogs from the mainland to eat their slugs (again, introducing a species that is not native to such a small and fragile ecosystem can have all sorts of unforeseen consequences, eg for ground nesting birds). I've no idea if they did that or not, but it's definitely not something I'm used to seeing in my more recently published reads about nature and the environment!

Despite those misgivings though, this was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and I definitely want to add the Slate Islands to my (ever growing) list of islands I want to visit. 4/5.

10Robertgreaves
jul 2, 2022, 7:04 am

Happy new thread, Jackie

11rabbitprincess
jul 2, 2022, 7:20 am

Happy new thread!

12karenmarie
jul 2, 2022, 8:00 am

Hi Jackie, and happy new thread.

From your previous thread, I was able to get The Politics of Vaccination for USD.01 – yes, one cent – and put Notes from an Island on my wish list.

>1 Jackie_K: Wow, full time at the NHS for at least several months. And A is 8!! Whew. Wait ‘til you can say how the flip do I have a 28-year old? That’s where I am. 🤗

13MissWatson
jul 2, 2022, 10:45 am

Happy new thread, Jackie. Do you think you can stay below the goal for new acquisitions?

14Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 1:34 pm

>10 Robertgreaves: >11 rabbitprincess: Thank you both very much!

>12 karenmarie: Thank you! Time is really marching on, isn't it? This evening I took A to the fair which is in our local park, and on the way back I bumped into a mum I was health visitor for a few years ago. I visited her when her daughter was a new baby for (I think) about a year. She pointed out this very grown up looking 6 going on 7 year old, and I couldn't believe it. They really don't stay babies for long, do they?

Also, I have to say that you still paid more for The Politics of Vaccination than I did :D

>13 MissWatson: Thank you! I'll try not to go mad on new acquisitions, but I'm not optimistic I'll stay below 50 (given that I'm now at 38 and still have half a year to go!). As long as I end the year with fewer acquisitions than ROOTs I'll consider it a success, and if I can get Mt TBR below 370 I'll be satisfied.

15FAMeulstee
jul 4, 2022, 9:59 am

Happy new thread, Jackie!

I have never dared to count the ROOTs I want to read.
Like you, I am pleased as long as my acquisitions are fewer than the ROOTs I read. Going well this year, with 34 ROOTs read, and 24 coming in.

16detailmuse
jul 5, 2022, 4:49 pm

Happy Part 2, Jackie! From your June reads -- I like to think about reading another by Tove Jansson.

17Familyhistorian
jul 6, 2022, 4:47 am

Happy new thread, Jackie. Easdale looked like a very familiar name. I was just up in the areas around Oban on a tour.

18mstrust
jul 8, 2022, 1:23 pm

Happy new thread!

19connie53
jul 10, 2022, 11:31 am

Happy New Thread, Jackie! Your the first oen with a second thread. I hope to follow you soon somewhere late this month.

20Jackie_K
jul 11, 2022, 6:52 am

>15 FAMeulstee: >16 detailmuse: >17 Familyhistorian: >18 mstrust: >19 connie53: Thank you all! Looking forward to another 6 months of good reading :)

ROOT #37



After publishing her first book, The God of Small Things to great acclaim in the late 1990s, author Arundhati Roy wrote no more fiction for several years, instead finding herself more and more involved in political and environmental activism. The End of Imagination is a collection of essays and speeches published between 1999 and 2004. Mostly she covers Indian politics, but imperialism is never far away, so there's plenty of writing on America and the UK (amongst others) too. I learnt lots, and have to say I really admire her powerful voice, especially in matters of environment and social justice. 4/5.

21Jackie_K
jul 16, 2022, 5:12 pm

ROOT #38



(M)Otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman by Pragya Agarwal is a terrific book which is part memoir, and part exploration of the current landscape of women's reproductive choices and rights. She looks at societal and political attitudes to motherhood and reproductive choice, and shows how it is a much more complex, less black and white issue than it is often portrayed. Her own story, incorporating unexpected pregnancy within an arranged marriage, abortion, infertility and surrogacy, is a really interesting way of exploring all sorts of issues, and I really liked that as well as discussing the usual Western scientific and psychological and religious canon, she also incorporated the worldviews prevalent in India, where she is originally from, which made the account even richer. And of course, given the news from the US and elsewhere recently, this was an extremely timely read. 4.5/5.

22Jackie_K
jul 17, 2022, 8:42 am

ROOT #39



I've just realised I completely forgot to add this book to last month's ROOTs (it should be #36, I think), I can't think what I was thinking as it was a 5* read!

Findings is a set of non-fiction essays by writer and poet (and Scotland's current Makar) Kathleen Jamie. It's a wonderful collection, rooted deeply in Scotland's nature and landscape, earthy and poetic. I loved her subsequent essay collection Sightlines, but I think I like this one even more. I love how she brings the beauty from the ordinary, and shows how even in the midst of normal, ordinary life (filling the washing machine, ferrying her children around), she can still find beauty in the peripheral views even as she can't necessarily always take time out to undertake epic expeditions. 5/5.

23RemiWhite
jul 17, 2022, 9:11 am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

24Jackie_K
jul 24, 2022, 8:18 am

ROOT #40



Green Unpleasant Land: Creative Responses to Rural England's Colonial Connections by Corinne Fowler is a fascinating academic book revisiting the English countryside. The author was the lead academic involved in the National Trust's recent review of the slavery and colonial links with its properties, and she has had a huge amount of criticism from the type of people who complain to the BBC when Countryfile show a segment about Muslim hikers or Black people accessing the countryside. I expected this book to be a look at particular landscapes or country houses and an account of how they're linked to slavery and colonialism, but actually it was much more interesting than that, using literature (classic and modern) to show that the English countryside has always had more diverse populations than the foaming at the mouth rightwingers would have us believe. She looks at various types of rural landscape - moorland, country houses, gardening etc - and finishes the book with a short story and a number of poems that she wrote inspired by the material she was gathering. Not an easy read, but really important. 4.5/5.

25elkiedee
jul 24, 2022, 2:03 pm

>21 Jackie_K: and >24 Jackie_K: It's a good thing I'm not seriously trying to get rid of books or shrink my wishlists/lists of ideas for books I'd like to read. These both sound really interesting.

26Jackie_K
jul 24, 2022, 2:16 pm

>25 elkiedee: Haha - I live to serve! :)

27Jackie_K
jul 24, 2022, 3:18 pm

I'm going to be away for a week and a bit from Tuesday, and am pretty sure that a wee stop-off at Barter Books is on the cards. I've bitten the bullet and thought of a handful of books that I'm likely never ever going to read (up till now I've kept all books thinking I'll read them eventually and then give them away) - 5 books in total, all fiction - which I'll take to Barter Books, hopefully to exchange for fewer books!. I'm not going to count them as ROOTs, as I haven't read them, but I have reduced my starting total of ROOTs, which means that my goal of ending the year with 370 or fewer ROOTs is looking more obtainable!

For the record, the books I'm going to be bartering are:

1. Sebastian Faulks - Charlotte Gray.
2. Peter Carey - Oscar and Lucinda.
3. Charles Frazier - Cold Mountain.
4. Chris Cleave - The Other Hand.
5. Glen David Gold - Sunnyside.

28rosalita
jul 24, 2022, 3:37 pm

>24 Jackie_K: This one sounds very interesting!

29elkiedee
jul 24, 2022, 4:04 pm

>21 Jackie_K: The Pragyar Agarwal and several other books by her that all look interesting are available from Islington Libraries, in this case as an ebook (I haven't checked the others). It's published by Oneworld, which is helpful as their books pop up in public library catalogues quite a lot.

30Jackie_K
jul 25, 2022, 10:58 am

>24 Jackie_K: It wasn't always an easy read, but it was fascinating.
>29 elkiedee: I've got all her books so far (there's another one, called Hysterical, coming out in September). She's well worth reading, I think.

ROOT #41



Heroic Failure: Brexit and the politics of pain by Irish journalist Fintan O'Toole, is a book looking at Brexit - what led to it, why we are where we are (NB it was published in 2018). I've always enjoyed the journalistic pieces he's written, he's a very astute observer, and this book is no exception. He looks at the contradictory but equally powerful lures of the British love of heroic failure (Scott of the Antarctic, kind of thing), and sense of British exceptionalism. Using a number of literary references (including, somewhat unexpectedly, Fifty Shades of Grey), this is an entertaining but also close-to-the-mark account from an external observer, and it shows Brexit for the whole Emperor's New Clothes farce it always was. It would be funny if it wasn't so pointless and utterly damaging. 4/5.

31Jackie_K
Redigerat: jul 25, 2022, 3:55 pm

ROOT #42



Skylarks with Rosie: A Somerset Spring is an account by nature writer Stephen Moss of the first covid lockdown spring in 2020, and the nature and wildlife he encountered locally. This was just lovely, a gentle account, but with the politics underlying and giving context to the time. 4.5/5.

I'm away from tomorrow till the end of next week, so won't be visiting threads till I'm back. Happy reading everyone :)

32rabbitprincess
jul 25, 2022, 4:48 pm

Have a great time away!

33curioussquared
jul 25, 2022, 4:52 pm

>31 Jackie_K: I feel like this is the first COVID-related book I've actually been interested in reading! Whenever I see media that actually engages with the pandemic, I shy away from it, because reading and watching for me is generally an escape from the stress of real life and the ongoing COVID problems. But this sounds like a lovely way to write about lockdown.

Enjoy your trip!

34Jackie_K
aug 5, 2022, 12:56 pm

>32 rabbitprincess: >33 curioussquared: Thank you! It was a lovely time away, although I now feel like I need another break to recover!

As is always the way with trips away, I always think I'm going to read and write loads, and then do much less of both than I intended. I did manage to give all 5 of the books I'd dug out to Barter Books though, got some credit and 3 books in return, so all in all it was definitely worth doing - I have both a net reduction in books owned, and some new-to-me books! Win-win. :D

I do have a few books on the go, but these are the two that I can cross off the list and add to my ticker:

ROOT #43



Traveling in Place: A History of Armchair Travel by Bernd Stiegler was a book I picked up several years ago from the University of Chicago Press free monthly ebook email. I thought it sounded fascinating - looking at literature that doesn't leave the room, it seemed like a really good partner and counterpoint to all the travel books I love from around the world.

I'm afraid I Pearl-ruled it. I found it very dry, and although I did try, I didn't really follow what what he was saying, and never understood why I should care. 1/5.

ROOT #44



Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction, edited by Josephine Greywoode, does what it says on the tin - short essays (1-5 pages) by 70 non-fiction writers explaining why they read. Some were really interesting, others a bit dull, many of them I'd never heard of (I recognised about 20 of them), and the majority were men (around 2/3 men, 1/3 women, roughly). So a typical anthology really. I'm glad I read it though, and will definitely dip in and out of it again. 3.5/5.

35Jackie_K
aug 5, 2022, 1:13 pm

My July recap, better late than never: 9 ROOTs on the list (2 were actually finished in June though, but didn't make it into the June numbers in time), plus 5 acquisitions (3 from Barter Books). I've also rehomed 5 books to Barter Books that I was never going to get round to reading. So I'm just back in the black as far as Mt TBR numbers go (44 ROOTs and 42 acquisitions overall this year), and 5 away from my year-end total of 370 TBRs left to read.

The 9 ROOTs are:

1. Garth & Vicky Waite - Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale.
2. Arundhati Roy - The End of Imagination.
3. Pragya Agarwal - (M)Otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman.
4. Kathleen Jamie - Findings.
5. Corinne Fowler - Green Unpleasant Land.
6. Fintan O'Toole - Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain.
7. Stephen Moss - Skylarks with Rosie: A Somerset Spring.
8. Bernd Stiegler - Traveling in Place: A History of Armchair Travel.
9. Various, ed Josephine Greywoode - Why We Read: 70 Writers on Non-Fiction.

And the 5 acquisitions are:

1. Gavin Van Horn - The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds.
2. Mark Stay - The Ghost of Ivy Barn.
3. Peter Mayle - Toujours Provence.
4. Paul Theroux - The Kingdom by the Sea.
5. Nigel Barley - A Plague of Caterpillars.

36rosalita
aug 5, 2022, 2:27 pm

>35 Jackie_K: I'd say a month where you finish 9 and only bring in 5 new is a good one, Jackie! I am struggling with balancing those two metrics myself this year ...

37Caramellunacy
aug 6, 2022, 5:50 am

>34 Jackie_K:
As is always the way with trips away, I always think I'm going to read and write loads, and then do much less of both than I intended.


Same here - just had a lot of travel this past month and thought I would read SO MUCH. Nope...

38Jackie_K
aug 6, 2022, 8:14 am

>36 rosalita: Excuse me while I polish my halo :)
>37 Caramellunacy: Yeah, I'm a bit disappointed. Trying to make up for it now I'm home though!

ROOT #45



Over the past few years, The Byline Times has established itself as a hard-hitting alternative to the UK mainstream media. An online, subscription-based newspaper, it is unashamedly left-wing, and as it is not owned by shareholders or random rich blokes, it is refreshingly free of the tiptoeing round issues that is far too common in the news media these days. Edited by the paper's editor, Hardeep Matharu, Wokelore: Boris Johnson's Culture War and Other Stories is an anthology of articles from the first couple of years of the paper, from 2019, incorporating the aftermath of the Brexit vote, as well as the impact of the covid pandemic, the end of the Trump presidency, and other foreign stories too. This is a compelling account of the politics of the last 2 or 3 years, refreshing in its honesty, and depressing in the picture it paints of political corruption, incompetence, and love of power. 4.5/5.

39Jackie_K
aug 7, 2022, 5:04 pm

Non-ROOT #5



A quick library book, Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip by Barry Hutchison is the second in a fun series about a boy who (it turns out in book 1) visits a magic shop and is rendered unable to lie. In this book, having always got into trouble for lying, he's now getting into even bigger trouble for telling the truth. He has to partner the school bully, Wayne, on a school trip. Wayne has it in for Beaky at the best of times, even more so when Beaky can't not tell everyone about the time Wayne wet himself in fright at a clown on a previous school trip, so Beaky spends the whole trip waiting for the moment that Wayne will finally beat him up. But then he sees the woman, Madame Shirley, who was responsible for the truth-telling magic. Can he reach her in time to undue the magic, and escape Wayne? A fun read for early, newly-confident readers. 3.5/5.

40detailmuse
aug 13, 2022, 10:26 am

Jackie, very nice -- a line of very good reads then a vacation, and now some more good reads! I've wishlisted Findings. Also noted your Peter Mayle acquisition -- I'm currently reading French Lessons, the last TBR I have by him.

41Jackie_K
aug 14, 2022, 6:07 am

>40 detailmuse: Thank you MJ! I hope you enjoy French Lessons (which is called 'Bon Appetit' in the UK, or at least my copy is!). I didn't love it as much as A Year in Provence, but it was still fun. And yes I've had some good reads, including the one I've just finished which I LOVED.

ROOT #46



Mike Parker's On the Red Hill is a beautiful book of place, love and landscape. He ties together the lives of two gay couples (an older couple Reg and George, and then himself and his partner Preds) and the house in Wales that binds them to each other. Rhiw Goch is an old farmhouse, owned by Reg and George from the early 1980s, which they then bequeathed to Mike and Preds. The book is the story of lives of the four men, the house, the local landscape (both literal and figurative, as it also looks at rural attitudes towards, and acceptance of, gay people in Wales), and the importance of identity and home. Loving but uncompromising, beautiful but not shying away from the harsh realities of rural life in west Wales, I thought this book was wonderful, and it will definitely be in my top reads of the year. 5/5.

42Robertgreaves
aug 14, 2022, 8:12 am

>41 Jackie_K: I loved this as well when I read it earlier this year - 4 seasons, 4 directions, 4 elements, and 4 men.

43Jackie_K
aug 14, 2022, 10:09 am

>42 Robertgreaves: Yes, the structure was interesting, and worked really well (and I note he linked that to a particular pagan ritual). Also, wasn't young Reg so beautiful?

44Jackie_K
aug 20, 2022, 2:26 pm

ROOT #47



Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce is a fun children's fantasy, where foster child Pres and alien Sputnik (who appears to Pres as a boy with goggles and kilt, but to everyone else as a cute dog) have a few weeks to find 10 reasons why Sputnik's alien race shouldn't shrink the Earth to oblivion. Madcap adventures merge with more serious themes - dementia, fostering, family, home - and the audiobook, narrated by the wonderful Peter Capaldi, made it even more fun. (I also really enjoyed, and bet he did too, the narration of the quasi-Dalek scene involving a supermarket self-checkout). 4/5.

45Jackie_K
aug 20, 2022, 3:52 pm

Just for rosalita here is my haul from this week's University of Chicago Press ebook sale:

46rosalita
aug 20, 2022, 4:12 pm

>45 Jackie_K: Very nice! Especially that last one. :-)

47Jackie_K
aug 29, 2022, 1:45 pm

>46 rosalita: I thought so :)

ROOT #48



I must admit from the outset that this will be a biased review, because (*whispers*) I wrote one of the chapters in Gazing at Welfare, Gender and Agency in Post-Socialist Countries. Edited by Maija Jappinen, Meri Kulmala & Aino Saarinen, this academic book came out of a conference held at the Aleksanteri Institute in Helsinki in late 2008, which I presented at during my PhD studies. Of course I'd read my chapter before, but to my shame I'd never actually got round to reading most of the others, so the last couple of weeks I've enjoyed going back to my old research interests and reading some really interesting research. (I was also very relieved that my chapter was, though I say so myself, pretty decent. I was worried with the passing of time that I'd think it was really amateur compared to the others, but I think it held its own!). Most of the chapters deal with research in Russia, but there are a few diversions to the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Romania/Moldova (which is my chapter). Fascinating research looked at issues like migration, informal care, domestic violence, hospital volunteering, elderly care, sexual & reproductive health, amongst others. As I say, I'm biased, but I do think this is a great addition to academic work in central/eastern Europe/former Soviet Union looking at issues around gender and welfare. 4.5/5 (because even I'm not brazen enough to give a book I've contributed to 5/5!).

48Familyhistorian
sep 2, 2022, 1:28 pm

>47 Jackie_K: Interesting to read what you'd written a while ago in the context of the other essays written for the book. Nice that it stood up well, Jackie.

49curioussquared
sep 2, 2022, 2:04 pm

>47 Jackie_K: Very cool!

50Jackie_K
sep 2, 2022, 3:56 pm

>48 Familyhistorian: >49 curioussquared: Thank you so much! It goes to show how strong and long-lasting imposter syndrome can be - every time there was a review of the book in an academic journal (it was published in 2011, so there've been a few), I dreaded reading it because I was fully expecting it to say "fascinating book, but what was the chapter by jackie_k doing there, it was so weak compared to all the others" (of course, none of them ever said that!). This time, 11 years later, I read the book from start to finish, and as mine was ch13 out of 15 chapters I had a good sense of the overall standard by the time I reached mine, and I was still surprised that it felt like it justifiably belonged there. Sometimes we're just our own worst critics, aren't we?

51Jackie_K
sep 2, 2022, 5:03 pm

My August recap - it's been a harder reading month this month, I haven't really settled to reading much, although having said that On the Red Hill is going to be one of my top books of the year. Although the monthly ROOT thread says I read 6, it was actually 4, with a couple of the July ROOTs which I didn't manage to record in time for the end of the July thread included in my August total up in that thread. Plus I managed one (very short) library book. I've got a few books on the go, but I'm not sure how well I'll do in September. I was also (thanks to rosalita) tempted beyond my feeble willpower's ability to resist by the University of Chicago Press ebook sale, so acquired a few more books than I otherwise might have.

The 4 ROOTs were:

1. Ed. Hardeep Matharu - Wokelore: Boris Johnson's Culture War and Other Stories.
2. Mike Parker - On the Red Hill.
3. Frank Cottrell-Boyce - Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth.
4. ed. Maija Jappinen, Meri Kulmala & Aino Saarinen - Gazing at Welfare, Gender and Agency in Post-Socialist Countries.

The non-ROOT library book was:

1. Barry Hutchison - Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip.

And my 7 (whoops) acquisitions were:

1. Nina Riggs - The Bright Hour. (Thingaversary treat, even though I've already acquired way more than 11 books!)
2. Richard Milne - Rhododendron. (UoC Press sale)
3. James B Nardi - Life in the Soil. (UoC Press sale)
4. Anna Penrose - The Body in the Wall. (book written by a friend)
5. William Germano - On Revision. (UoC Press sale)
6. Lisa Schneidau - Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland. (irresistable bargain)
7. Alison Richard - The Sloth Lemur's Song. (audiobook, would have bought in UoC Press sale but they don't have UK rights)

52rosalita
sep 2, 2022, 5:24 pm

>51 Jackie_K: I can sympathize with the reading struggles, Jackie, and I hope we both manage to stay out of that rut for the rest of the year.

Nice list of acquired books you have there. :-D

53Jackie_K
sep 8, 2022, 8:13 am

>52 rosalita: Thank you Julia, I hope so too. I'm reading a whopper of a biography at the moment, so sneaked in a short book yesterday to keep my numbers up.

ROOT #49



Two Essays (there are lots of touchstones to books called Two Essays, funnily enough, but none of them are this one. I'll have to remember that in my future publishing plans) is a short book with two translated broadcasts by the Bulgarian writer and dissident, Georgi Markov (the translation is by Dimiter Keranov). Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the day that Markov was attacked on Waterloo Bridge in London with a poisoned dart from an umbrella, an attack from which he died a few days later, aged 49. My parents always had the news on every day, so although I was only 9 I do remember this happening. It also cropped up in the news again in 2006 when Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium in his tea.

Markov was a writer and journalist who was originally feted by the Bulgarian Communist authorities. Increasingly disillusioned, he defected to the West in 1969, eventually settling in London where he worked for the BBC World Service. He also produced bulletins about the realities of life in Bulgaria for Radio Free Europe, and it is thought that these bulletins are the reason why he was assassinated, for revealing the every day mundanity and mediocrity of life under Bulgarian Communist rule. This book is the translation of two of those bulletins, 'Prostitution' and 'Wastewater', and it gave a fascinating insight into the everyday corruption and realities of life (along the lines of From Our Own Correspondent or Letter from America bulletins). I'd love for some more of them to be translated. Apparently the translator is working on a biography of Markov, which I for one would be really interested to read. 4.5/5.

54connie53
sep 12, 2022, 6:03 am

>47 Jackie_K: That's great, Jackie. You must be very proud to see your work in print and justly so.

Great reading too.

55Jackie_K
sep 12, 2022, 4:22 pm

>54 connie53: Thank you Connie, yes, it's a good feeling! Hopefully it won't be the last time.

56Jackie_K
sep 24, 2022, 6:00 am

I was really sad to see on Twitter this morning that an independent bookshop I've been buying from the last few years is now closed, as trade is so uncertain. Their bookshop.org site is still open till the end of the month, and they've said that any sales there will really help (even though they've now closed they'll still have final bills to pay). So I thought I'd go along and do some Christmas shopping to help them out a little.

About that Christmas shopping. Er, happy Christmas to me. Whoops.

(if you want to help them out too, and are in the UK, the bookshop link is here: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/outwithbooks )

57rosalita
sep 24, 2022, 10:17 am

>56 Jackie_K: It's always sad to hear of another independent bookstore going out of business, Jackie. It seems like a business category with such thin profit margins that temporary downturns can be fatal.

58Jackie_K
Redigerat: sep 24, 2022, 12:20 pm

>57 rosalita: Yes, I think you're right. So many people have a dream to own and run a bookshop, but the business environment seems to be pretty brutal, sadly.

ROOT #50



Rosa Luxemburg by J.P. Nettl is a huge book that I've had on the go for a few weeks. It was first published in 1966, and reissued a few years ago by Verso, and remains a comprehensive biography of a fascinating woman - Marxist economist, theorist and committed revolutionary, key in both Polish and German socialist/communist parties in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and endlessly fought over and reinterpreted by the Communist thinkers that followed her. She certainly led a passionate and committed life.

This book is kind of strange for me to process. I feel like after all those pages (over 1000 pages, with notes) I still don't entirely have a handle on Rosa the woman, and there were so many people and parties and comrades that were quite hard to keep a handle on, so although I feel like I know infinitely more about her life and politics than I did before, if you asked me to explain in detail I'd struggle. I might go back and read Kate Evans' graphic biography, Red Rosa, I suspect that now having read Nettl's biography I'll get even more out of that (Red Rosa is a really excellent book), and it'll probably help me place some of the people and events better. Her eventual murder, just after the end of WWI, was truly a tragedy, although I can't help thinking that had she survived, Stalin would have got her eventually. A fascinating woman, and fascinating life. 3.5/5.

59elkiedee
sep 25, 2022, 2:25 pm

>58 Jackie_K: Really interesting.

I have 3 biographies of Rosa Luxemburg, and I've only read one, which I asked for from my mum's Women's Press bookclub catalogue when I was about 16 or 17. My A level History teachers have a lot to answer for - they were quite close friends I think, with possibly similar political views, and my course was European History 1870 up to WWII and 18th century British Political History, so we had a school trip to London with two A level groups (depending on other subjects and timetables), which included going to see a newish biographical film (in German with English subtitles) about Rosa Luxemburg at the Prince Charles cinema. The one I've read is by Elzbieta Ettinger, Rosa Luxemburg: A Life. I have my grandfather's two volume edition of the Nettl bio and Red Rosa. I also read a volume of letters between Luxemburg and Jogiches (?), her long term political partner as well as her lover, I think, which I borrowed from the library. I'm sure a lot of the discussions about political stuff were totally over my head though. I think I bought a volume of letters in one of Verso's amazing ebook sales. I might have to investigate what I have in dead tree and ebook form from Verso.

I've always wondered how long she would have survived, given the continued rise of far right forces even before Hitler came to power in 1933, Stalin in Russia etc. There weren't many places that could have been safe for her and I don't think most of them would have granted her asylum even if she had wanted it. Also she had long term health issues and disabilities, no doubt made worse by long periods of imprisonment and not taking care of herself well when not in a cell.

60Jackie_K
sep 25, 2022, 4:40 pm

>59 elkiedee: Yes, I got this version (ebook version of the two Nettl volumes in one, with a new introduction) in one of Verso's ebook sales, I definitely got a lot of pages for my not very many £££s! This book referred a lot to her letters, and I think a volume of the letters would be really illuminating, and give a much clearer idea of Rosa the woman. Maybe if I'd read that volume I'd have had more idea what she saw in Leo Jogiches, because I found him much less clearly painted in Nettl's book than many of the other political figures of the time (eg he spent much longer on people like Karl Kautsky) and Jogiches came across quite unsympathetically.

Nettl does speculate what might have happened had she survived, but just gives a series of alternatives, including teaching in the US. I'm not sure she'd have settled for that sort of comfortable intellectual life - she struck me as never happier than when she was in the thick of the debates and playing a huge role in both Polish and German parties. And I think you're right about her health - prison (particularly her last long imprisonment, not that long before she was murdered) aged her and exacerbated her health issues, and the fact that she never seemed to stop to draw breath and relax can't have been good for her either.

61elkiedee
sep 25, 2022, 5:23 pm

>60 Jackie_K: I don't remember Leo Jogiches coming across in the film or whatever reading I did do as a very sympathetic character. This seems to have been a problem for women of the time active in politics (perhaps not just then....).

I've read biographies of Karl and Jenny Marx and of his youngest daughter Eleanor, and particularly in the Marx family one, Love and Capital, as the 3 surviving daughters are growing up (Eleanor was quite a lot younger than her sisters) Marx was quite critical of aspiring lovers or even would be sons in law, as if he just wanted them to find someone with a reasonable income/job. I fear that he was right to be concerned.

62rocketjk
sep 26, 2022, 12:58 pm

>47 Jackie_K: - >50 Jackie_K: "I was still surprised that it felt like it justifiably belonged there. Sometimes we're just our own worst critics, aren't we?"

Really interesting comment. First of all, it's great that at this point you feel that your work stands up after several years gone by. But as to the imposter/worst critics aspect, sometimes when I look back at some of my old published articles, my first reaction is, "That's not bad. I wish I could do that."

63Jackie_K
sep 26, 2022, 3:40 pm

>61 elkiedee: This is spectacularly shallow of me, but although the pictures of older Jogiches (relatively speaking, given that he was killed at 51, a few months after Rosa) look like your average communist politician - glasses, moustache, you can picture him for sure), younger Jogiches was very handsome. And I must admit that he did redeem himself somewhat in my eyes in how he tried to look after Rosa when she came out of prison. I fear you're right about Marx's concerns for his daughters though.

>62 rocketjk: Thank you! Yes, I know that feeling! When I was reading my PhD thesis through in preparation for the final viva, I remember (once I'd got over the mortification over just how many typos had got through) thinking that wow, this was pretty good, did I write that?! Which was a good feeling to go into viva preparation with. I am not in academia any more, but hope I have my best writing still in me.

64Jackie_K
sep 27, 2022, 1:55 pm

ROOT #51



Lucy Jones' Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild looks at the research and projects looking at tackling our disconnection with the natural world and the impacts of this disconnection on our mental health. Rooted in personal experience, but open to what the research says, this is readable and thought-provoking. 4/5.

65Jackie_K
okt 1, 2022, 4:32 pm

ROOT #52



My first book for October is Alison Richard's The Sloth Lemur's Song: Madagascar from the Deep Past to the Uncertain Present, which I listened to in audiobook form. She is an academic, who from her PhD in the very early 1970s to today has lived and worked extensively in Madagascar. This book is a magnum opus, looking at all the evidence for Madagascar's emergence as a country and landscape, and the various changes it has undergone over deep time. As well as her own discipline (anthropology - her research is on lemurs), she draws on zoology, botany, geology, ecology, archaeology, climate science, and history, in order to complicate the simplistic narratives of Madagascar's virgin environment being destroyed by local human inhabitants, as well as how the unique habitats and landscapes and flora and fauna of the island emerged. She highlights local Malagasy research as well as international scholars, and also includes anecdotes from her own extensive experience of living and working in Madagascar, and this is a highly respectful and loving as well as meticulously researched account. The book was narrated beautifully by Lucinda Roberts. 4.5/5.

66Jackie_K
okt 3, 2022, 3:53 pm

I forgot my September round up. Not a reading slump, exactly, but I didn't finish much. 3 ROOTs, and 4 acquisitions. I think I'm going to abandon the aspiration to get below 370 TBR books by the end of the year. If I'm anywhere near my year's (adjusted) starting point of 377 books I'll be happy.

The 3 ROOTs were:

1. Georgi Markov, tr Dimiter Keranov - Two Essays.
2. J.P. Nettl - Rosa Luxemburg.
3. Lucy Jones - Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild.

And my acquisitions for September were:

1. Georgi Markov, tr Dimiter Keranov - Two Essays.
2. Annie Dillard - Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
3. Amanda Thomson - Belonging: Natural histories of place, identity and home.
4. Suzie Edge - Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths.

67connie53
okt 4, 2022, 6:52 am

Hi Jackie, I hope you will end near the 377 you started with and preferably less than that. Keeping my fingers crossed.

68curioussquared
okt 4, 2022, 12:39 pm

>66 Jackie_K: Good luck in sticking with your acquisitions goal! I'm glad I don't remember how many unread books I had at the beginning of the year because I did NOT do well in limiting the acquisitions this year...

69Jackie_K
okt 5, 2022, 4:42 pm

>67 connie53: >68 curioussquared: Thank you both very much! I would be more confident about not acquiring too many more books, if it wasn't for the fact that Christmas is still to come! I'm currently 2 over (total 379), although I'll hopefully finish a ROOT in the next day or so. Even though knowing the totals means a stark reality check, the alternative is that I would just get more and more and more books without stopping to think if I didn't know how many I had.

70Jackie_K
Redigerat: okt 14, 2022, 4:58 pm

ROOT #53



I've really struggled to get into much fiction this year, but have had slightly better luck with fiction aimed at younger readers. Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle is a modern classic (of course also made even more famous by the Studio Ghibli animated film), and after a slow start I have to say I really quite enjoyed it. Sophie Hatter, the eldest of 3 sisters, is put under a spell by the Witch of the Waste and suddenly becomes a very old woman, and ends up taking refuge in the moving castle of Wizard Howl while trying to remove herself from the curse of the spell. The Wizard is thought to live on the souls of young girls, but it turns out he has secrets of his own, as well as an unusual cast of characters in and around the castle. It's not always obvious to me when authors change the pace in their writing, but this book was a masterclass in how to accelerate the pace of a story to a frenzy by the climax. Lots of fun. 3.5/5.

(also: I really really like this cover)

71connie53
okt 12, 2022, 7:01 am

When you start reading a newly bought book, you just prevent them from becoming ROOTS!

72curioussquared
okt 12, 2022, 12:19 pm

>70 Jackie_K: Diana Wynne Jones is probably my favorite children's author; I devoured her books when I was the proper age for them and regularly reread them as an adult. Glad you liked Howl!

73Jackie_K
okt 12, 2022, 1:53 pm

>71 connie53: Except that I still count my newly bought books as ROOTs! (it's my way of not feeling guilty about sometimes reading the new and shiny)
>72 curioussquared: Do you know, I never came across her as a child/teen, it's only as an adult that I'd heard of her at all. Isn't that awful?! Just think of who else I may have missed out on!

74curioussquared
okt 12, 2022, 2:15 pm

>73 Jackie_K: I do the same thing, Jackie. I feel like if I don't, then all my new books just end up becoming ROOTs anyway, so why not count them as a ROOT from the beginning?

Sorry to hear you didn't come across DWJ as a kid but I'm glad you found her now!

75Robertgreaves
okt 12, 2022, 7:47 pm

>73 Jackie_K: I'd never heard of her either until comparatively recently but then I was way past the proper age to read her books by the time they were published.

76elkiedee
okt 13, 2022, 1:53 pm

>75 Robertgreaves: No such thing as a "proper age" to read DWJ. Or alternatively, all ages are the proper age. I'm glad to have discovered her at 8, but she'd only written a small amount of her best work by 1977.

77Jackie_K
okt 13, 2022, 3:50 pm

>75 Robertgreaves: >76 elkiedee: I can't speak for any of her books other than Howl's Moving Castle, but I certainly thought there was quite a lot there for adults to enjoy too. Actually I'm starting to think I find it much more enjoyable reading middle-grade fiction than fiction aimed at adults. There have been some really brilliant middle-grade books released these last few years.

78curioussquared
okt 13, 2022, 4:20 pm

>76 elkiedee: Yes!

>77 Jackie_K: Agreed, Jackie. Nothing better than a kid's book when you want to escape.

79Jackie_K
okt 14, 2022, 1:59 pm

ROOT #54



Urban Gardener by Elspeth Thompson has been on my shelves for the best part of 20 years; it was a birthday (or maybe Christmas) gift from my sister when I moved into my house in London in the early 2000s and first got serious about gardens and gardening. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to it, but I'm happy I got there eventually!

The author was the gardening correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, and this is a collection of 3 years of her weekly columns of the same name, from 1996-1999, detailing her efforts and discoveries and disasters working in both a new, small urban garden, and sharing a large allotment plot. As is often the case with these collections of journalists' columns, the book is great for dipping in and out of (which is why it's probably taken me a couple of months to finish), but it is certainly delightful and even though some of the garden fashions she describes are somewhat dated now (especially the obsession with decking), I still enjoyed reading and dreaming about my fantasy garden. 4/5.

80curioussquared
okt 15, 2022, 6:01 pm

>79 Jackie_K: That's a very very deep ROOT!

81detailmuse
okt 16, 2022, 2:49 pm

>47 Jackie_K: Too few visits to LT lately...but was so happy that the first unread post when I caught up on your thread was your deserved pride in the lasting quality of your published writing! Well done!

>73 Jackie_K: I still count my newly bought books as ROOTs! (it's my way of not feeling guilty about sometimes reading the new and shiny)
I'm going to give that some thought for 2023.

82Jackie_K
okt 20, 2022, 5:08 pm

>80 curioussquared: Thank you, I'm reading another of the same vintage now, and I've still got plenty more from that era to go! Hooray for the Jar of Fate!

>80 curioussquared: Hello MJ, thank you very much! And I have to say, counting new books as ROOTs hasn't meant that I've kept the older books abandoned in favour of the new - I still buy more than I can immediately read, so plenty of them end up as ROOTs in the traditional definition too!

In other news, I've just discovered that the complete novels of Charles Dickens is a free audiobook on kobo (no idea if it's a one day thing or longer). I'm not sure if that also goes for Audible/amazon, but thought I'd flag it up in case anyone felt they needed 407 hours of new audio (!).

83Jackie_K
Redigerat: okt 30, 2022, 1:51 pm

So it turned out that 407 hours of new audio was too much for my tablet, and I've had to banish the complete novels of Dickens to my audiobook archive. I'm kind of relieved that that means I won't count them as new books (for now) - if I figure out a solution then I'll add them to my totals.

Since my last post I've finished a couple of ROOTs, had a couple of visits to Barter Books (which resulted in the grand total of just 1 new-to-me book), and pretty much abandoned any attempt to finish the year with fewer books than I started. I mean, I'm not at bragan's epic level of acquisition, but I can dream. Um, I mean, I can try better next year.

Anyway, here are my two latest ROOTs:

ROOT #55



Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie is the extraordinary true story of a young Togolese man who, after a horrific encounter with a snake while hunting for food, reads of the Inuit of Greenland in a random book in an evangelical bookshop run by missionaries, and has a lifelong dream to live in this (snake-free!) magical land. Unlike most of us who dream, he makes his dream a reality, albeit spending 8 years to travel through west Africa and Europe before finally making it. He ends up living there for around 18 months in the mid-1960s, and this book is the result. His observations of both the extreme differences and the similarities between the people and their lives in Greenland and back home in Togo are profound and beautifully described - I felt like I was there with him. I have to say, as a vegetarian the thought of living on whale and seal blubber, including eating a LOT of raw offal, was not the most comfortable experience I've ever had, but I was honestly full of admiration for this man who threw himself so completely into the life of his chosen new home. A terrific read. 4.5/5.

ROOT #56



Nature's Connections: An Exploration of Natural History by Nicola McGirr is another book that's been on my shelves for the best part of 20 years. It is published by the Natural History Museum in London (which is where I bought it, in the museum's gift shop - you can tell it's old by the price tag stuck to it which says £5; a book this size in a museum bookshop these days would probably be closer to £20). It is, in effect, the history of natural history, richly illustrated with pictures from the Museum's collections and anecdotes from contemporary researchers. It was published in 2000, so in places is a bit dated (it talks about future missions to Europa and Mars, for example, and also the discussion about adding details of the Museum's holdings to databases definitely aged it!). But it is also overall a fascinating insight into the history and debates and contemporary and future challenges for the study and practice of natural history and conservation. 3.5/5.

84elkiedee
okt 30, 2022, 5:18 pm

>83 Jackie_K: Who is reading this Dickens collection? If that's one download it does sound rather overwhelming. I have a tablet which is full just of Kindle ebooks and I don't know how to do what I do with my ereaders which is just remove some downloads - not delete them - they are still generally available from my Amazon account apart from a couple I annoyingly deleted by mistake.

85Jackie_K
okt 30, 2022, 5:23 pm

>84 elkiedee: Yes, it is just one download - it's this one: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/audiobook/charles-dickens-collection-the-complete-nov... (I couldn't find it on amazon when I took a quick look). When I was downloading it to my kobo app on the tablet it would get to about 25% downloaded then just stop, and eventually it gave me a message that it couldn't download unless I removed other things, and I just didn't want it that much! So it's in my kobo archive now, and if I figure out a way of getting it to download without crashing everything else around it then I'll try again. But it's not like I haven't got hundreds of other books to be getting on with meantime! :D

86Robertgreaves
okt 30, 2022, 7:03 pm

>84 elkiedee: On my tablet Kindle app, the way to remove downloads is to hold my finger on the thumbnail and then Remove Download is one of the options. However although the download is removed, the thumbnail still remains on the opening screen. You then have to hold your finger on the thumbnail again and then press Remove From Home

87rosalita
okt 30, 2022, 7:23 pm

>85 Jackie_K: There might be a way to download it to a laptop or desktop computer and then split the audio file into the separate books, but I don't know enough about it to be able to advise you, unfortunately.

88Jackie_K
okt 31, 2022, 1:38 pm

>86 Robertgreaves: >87 rosalita: Thanks - I'm sure I'll work it out in the end! Like I say, I've plenty of others to be getting on with, I somehow don't think I'll be running out of books any time soon!

89Jackie_K
okt 31, 2022, 5:33 pm

My October round up: I read 5 ROOTs, and acquired 8 new-to-me books. I'm not in a reading slump exactly, but I think I've got too many part-started and can't always settle on what I want to read. I need to get on with the books I've already started, without starting even more new shiny ones.

Anyway, what I read this month:

1. Alison Richard - The Sloth Lemur's Song.
2. Diana Wynne Jones - Howl's Moving Castle.
3. Elspeth Thompson - Urban Gardener.
4. Tete-Michel Kpomassie - Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland.
5. Nicola McGirr - Nature's Connections: An Exploration of Natural History.

And the marvels I acquired in October (4 via bookbub, 1 from Barter Books):

1. Dr Joshua Wolrich - Food Isn't Medicine.
2. Stanley Tucci - Taste: My Life Through Food.
3. Mya-Rose Craig - Birdgirl.
4. Charlie Corbett - 12 Birds to Save Your Life.
5. Russell Jones - The Decade in Tory.
6. Claire Lynch - Small: On Motherhoods.
7. Nick Baker - ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature.
8. Gordon Brown - My Life, Our Times.

90rabbitprincess
okt 31, 2022, 7:58 pm

>89 Jackie_K: Oof, I can relate on the lots-of-partly-started books front. Trying to tackle some of those this week.

91detailmuse
nov 6, 2022, 4:03 pm

>89 Jackie_K:, >90 rabbitprincess: Me too! I've managed to finish a few, but only because I persevered not because they captured me.

92Jackie_K
Redigerat: nov 8, 2022, 3:42 pm

>90 rabbitprincess: >91 detailmuse: It probably won't surprise you to know that most of those I've left hanging on are fiction books. I've been less and less inclined to read fiction this year, for some reason. I know that I'm a non-fic heavy reader in any case, but the part-read books are building up, so I'm going to make an effort for the rest of the year.

ROOT #57



Finn McCool's Football Club by Stephen Rea is a fun memoir of a pub football team with a difference - Finn McCool's is an Irish bar in New Orleans, and the team, largely made up of expats, formed the team just before Hurricane Katrina hit the city. It's a fond memoir of the team and the very big characters who formed it, and also a powerful eyewitness account of Katrina and her aftermath. There's a LOT of drinking involved (as you would expect from Irish, Scottish and other European team mates), and a lot of football talk, but even though I'm not actually that interested in football I really enjoyed reading this. 4/5.

93Jackie_K
nov 15, 2022, 12:28 pm

ROOT #58



Lucy Mangan's Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading is a lovely look at classic (and not-so-classic) children's literature. She's the same generation as me, so we had quite a lot of crossover with our reading (Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, etc), so it was a nice trip down memory lane. I was mildly irritated by the writing style (taking the mickey out of her parents' Northern roots, exaggerating some people's personality traits for laughs), but could mostly look beyond that at the good points she was making about how literature opens us up to learning about not just the world, but how to be in the world. 3.5/5.

94Jackie_K
nov 20, 2022, 6:32 am

ROOT #59



Suzie Edge's Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths is popular history at its very best. The author is a medical doctor, but also has a Masters in History, and combines the two to look not only at the deaths of English and Scottish monarchs over the last millennium, from King Harold to King George VI, providing medical interpretations from the reports of what happened before and after the various deaths, but also reflecting on the ways in which we treat bodies after death has changed over the years, whilst remaining light-hearted and interesting. She's very prolific on TikTok, and I'd highly recommend her channel there, which is fun and informative. 5/5.

95rabbitprincess
nov 20, 2022, 8:34 am

>94 Jackie_K: That's an immediate add to the TBR list!

96Jackie_K
nov 20, 2022, 8:35 am

>95 rabbitprincess: I really enjoyed it - it's eminently dippable-into! Each chapter covers a different monarch, they're only a few pages long, but I feel like I learnt such a lot!

97Jackie_K
Redigerat: nov 26, 2022, 2:49 pm

And here's me hitting my target! Later in the year than I usually manage it, but hooray anyway!

ROOT #60



As anyone who reads my threads knows, I am not a big fiction reader. And this year I've found fiction even harder work than usual. So I am really delighted to say that Gareth Lewis' Tales of the Thief-City knocked all that on the head and provided a fictional fantasy world that I found myself totally immersed in. The city in question is Nexi, which somehow steals people from neighbouring worlds, and rearranges itself in order to accommodate them. Rax Darkthorn is a knowhound who can 'see' peoples' secrets, and so is often employed to solve mysteries. As he moves through the city he gradually learns the biggest secret of all, the secret of Nexi itself. 4.5/5.

98Robertgreaves
nov 26, 2022, 6:30 pm

>97 Jackie_K: Congratulations on reaching your target, Jackie. Your final book does sound quite intriguing.

99rabbitprincess
nov 26, 2022, 7:10 pm

>97 Jackie_K: Hurray congrats on hitting your goal!

100Jackie_K
nov 27, 2022, 4:09 am

101FAMeulstee
nov 28, 2022, 5:54 pm

>97 Jackie_K: Congratulations, Jackie!

102curioussquared
nov 28, 2022, 6:03 pm

Congrats on hitting your goal, Jackie!

103Jackie_K
nov 29, 2022, 4:39 pm

104MissWatson
dec 1, 2022, 1:09 pm

Congratulatuions, Jackie! And such an interesting book, too!

105Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 1, 2022, 5:22 pm

>104 MissWatson: Thank you Birgit - it really took me by surprise!

It's December (eek) so here's my November round up. 4 ROOTs and, er, 10 acquisitions (I've abandoned any attempt at restraint, I'll start again in January).

The 4 ROOTs I read were:

1. Stephen Rea - Finn McCool's Football Club.
2. Lucy Mangan - Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading.
3. Suzie Edge - Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths.
4. Gareth Lewis - Tales of the Thief-City.

And my acquisitions (9 down to my lack of willpower, and 1 a lovely random gift from a fellow LTer who read the book and thought I'd like it):

1. Joe Donnelly - Checkpoint.
2. Stephen Mullen - The Glasgow Sugar Aristocracy.
3. Various, ed. Ada-Charlotte Regelmann - The Crisis and Future of Democracy.
4. Jim Crumley - Seasons of Storm and Wonder.
5. Simon Barnes - Rewild Yourself.
6. Jung Chang - Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister.
7. Billy Connolly - Tall Tales and Wee Stories.
8. Marilee Foster - Dirt Under My Nails: An American Farmer and her Changing Land. (gift)
9. Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen - The Importance of Being Aisling.
10. Andrew Gulliford - Bears Ears: Landscape of Refuge and Resistance. (LTER)

106detailmuse
dec 4, 2022, 4:48 pm

Congratulations on goal, and hooray for new acquisitions!

107Jackie_K
dec 6, 2022, 9:32 am

>106 detailmuse: Thank you MJ, and hooray indeed :D

108karenmarie
dec 7, 2022, 6:40 am

Hi Jackie!

Thank you for visiting me on my 75 Book Challenge thread since I haven’t been reading any ROOTs recently.

>14 Jackie_K: Haha – yes, free is cheaper than USD.01. I’ve acquired 346 books this year. I’ll probably post the breakdown of source when the year has ended.

>94 Jackie_K: Edge also has a channel on YouTube.

>97 Jackie_K: Yay! Congrats to you.

109Jackie_K
dec 7, 2022, 10:40 am

>108 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I'm glad to see you're enjoying your (naughty) reading, even if they're not ROOTs, and that you're still keeping up the tradition of buying heaps of books! And thank you - I've had some good reads this year, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to discovering more new and old books in 2023.

ROOT #61



Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife is the fascinating true story of Antonina Zabinska, the wife of the head of Warsaw Zoo before and during WW2. Her husband, Jan, worked for the Polish Underground movement against Nazi occupation, and together with their young son Rys the family ended up housing over 300 Jews - most of them temporarily, on their way to a more permanent safe house, but some longer-term - in their villa on the zoo grounds and in some cases in the remains of the animal houses. This well-researched account draws heavily on Antonina's own memoirs, as well as interviews with Rys many years later, and with people who were involved with the family at the time. It gives a dramatic and vivid picture of life in occupied Warsaw, and the every day risks and dangers that this high-profile family faced. Much of it reads like historical fiction (I mean this as a good thing!), although I did feel, especially in the first half of the book, that there was quite a lot of 'look at all the research I've done for this book' that sometimes interfered with the narrative flow, and that could probably have been more strictly edited. This is definitely a good read though and I would recommend it for its perspective on life under occupation and one (of many) families who risked so much to help Jews to flee the Nazis. 3.5/5.

110curioussquared
dec 7, 2022, 11:44 am

>109 Jackie_K: I read this one years ago and really enjoyed it! Agree with you that it read like historical fiction, in a good way :)

111Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 16, 2022, 2:19 pm

>110 curioussquared: Yes, it's the kind of amazing story that if it was fiction you'd think it could never happen in real life!

Speaking of "if it was fiction you'd think it could never happen in real life":

ROOT #62



The Decade in Tory by Russell Jones is the book-length version of his wildly popular Twitter threads, #TheWeekInTory. Its subtitle is "An Inventory of Idiocy from the Coalition to Covid", and it meticulously (and hilariously) covers, month by month, the pronouncements and policies of our Tory leaders and what was going on behind the headlines between David Cameron becoming PM in 2010, and the end of 2020 (and a bit beyond). Anyone familiar with the Twitter threads will know he has a fine line in creative insults, and I'm glad that "Pee Wee Herman reflected in a table spoon" (Matt Hancock), "Boris Johnson's comfort turbot" (Michael Gove), and "Witless Dickington" (Boris Johnson), which were particular favourites of mine from the original threads, made it into the book. I'd give a trigger warning that it's very sweary, but to be honest I think I should give a trigger warning that it's full of grifters, corruption, indifference and weapons-grade incompetence. I'm not sure if I should say that it's grimly hilarious, or hilariously grim. I'd certainly recommend it to any non-Brits who are despairing of the calibre of their own leaders, to give them a bit of encouragement that their country doesn't have the monopoly on terrible politicians. Obviously if you're a Tory voter you'll probably hate this, and it makes absolutely no claims to being an unbiased account. But I honestly think everyone should read it. 4.5/5.

112rosalita
dec 16, 2022, 3:24 pm

>111 Jackie_K: That sounds amazing! What is Russell Jones' Twitter handle?

113Jackie_K
dec 16, 2022, 4:12 pm

>112 rosalita: He's @RussInCheshire on Twitter. Well worth a follow.

114rosalita
dec 16, 2022, 4:32 pm

>113 Jackie_K: Thanks! I'll give him a click, at least until Twitter implodes. Which could be any day now...

115Jackie_K
dec 16, 2022, 4:41 pm

>114 rosalita: Yes - I've been holding my breath for a few weeks now, but it doesn't feel like somewhere with a long-term future, does it? I must admit that, like the masses, I've joined Mastodon, although I've posted very little there yet.

116rosalita
dec 16, 2022, 4:45 pm

>115 Jackie_K: I am on Mastodon and also on Post (jlabua in both places). So far I'm getting better engagement on Post but really I've hardly used either so too soon to tell how it will all shake out.

117Jackie_K
dec 16, 2022, 4:53 pm

I'm @ jackie.kirkham @ mastodon.scot (without the spaces). I need to spend some time getting more of a feel for mastodon, but the thought of investing time does make my heart sink a bit (it's not a mastodon thing, it's a time thing!).

118rosalita
dec 16, 2022, 5:47 pm

>117 Jackie_K: Yeah, it's been difficult trying to find all the people I follow on Twitter. I should have given you the rest of the mastodon address — I keep forgetting you have to do that — I'm jlabua @ mastodon.social

119Jackie_K
dec 18, 2022, 10:17 am

>118 rosalita: Have followed! Don't hold your breath, I've hardly posted at all there yet, but when I get in my stride expect health research, nature, Scotland and writing (and rants/moans about UK politics, because it turns out I can't help myself).

In other news, I was feeling smug yesterday that I went into town and did my last bits of Christmas shopping and errands, *and* remembered to take a bag of old cookery books I'm never going to use again to the charity shop. But then I remembered that I always feel guilty donating stuff to the charity shop and not at least looking while I'm there, and I came away with two more books. So my Mt TBR is now sitting at 397 unread books - I think unless Santa is very stingy with books (which never happens) and/or I read a storm between now and the new year (isn't going to happen) I'm going to finish the year back over 400 unread books. Oh well. #sorrynotsorry and all that.

120rosalita
dec 18, 2022, 1:48 pm

>119 Jackie_K: I never post much on Twitter, and I except the ratio of reading/posting to be about the same on Mastodon. Right now few of the people I want to follow from Twitter are there. I'm finding more of my follows over on Post, but even that is pretty quiet still.

You are just destined to have a 400+ TBR, I reckon. Feeling #sorrynotsorry is the right response. :-)

121connie53
dec 22, 2022, 6:04 am

Hi Jackie, Too many posts since my last visit and I'm to blame for that. I did not visit threads for some time and trying to mend that right now.

I hope you are doing fine and all is great with the family. Wishing you all the best for 2023 and Happy Holidays. See you in 2023.

122Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 24, 2022, 7:19 am

>120 rosalita: Well, I just hit 401 and it's still not even Christmas! So there we are. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just flip my attempted discipline on its head - I've now hit 86 acquisitions for the year, maybe I should just see if I can reach 100 by the end of the year?!

>121 connie53: You've had lots of more important things to be doing and dealing with than visiting me, Connie! We are all doing well, thanks - looking forward to Christmas and having a good rest (although I do have to work a couple of days, one in the Christmas week and one in the New Year week, as I didn't quite have enough leave left). I just have A's presents left to wrap (we always do it on Christmas Eve after she's gone to bed - it's a surefire way of actually getting her to go to bed!!). The food is in, the tree is up and decorated, I've called my sister already (she lives in Germany and always goes to her in-laws on Christmas Eve, so this is the closest we get to a Christmas conversation), and am looking forward to the festive calls throughout the day tomorrow. I hope you have a lovely time too with your family, Connie, and especially a terrific break with Vera!

123karenmarie
dec 24, 2022, 7:15 am

Hi Jackie! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to keep in better touch with my LT friends.

>122 Jackie_K: I was wildly unsuccessful at reining in my book acquisitions this year – we’re talking 364, with possibly a few more as Christmas presents plus I’m auditing my book acquisitions on the adds I keep track of on my 75ers thread AND my acquisitions on Amazon to add books that I truly acquired in 2022. Probably a couple more, there, too. I think you should just let go and do what your budget and bookshelves allow, all in the name of mental health and joy!


124Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 24, 2022, 7:19 am

Wishing all my visitors the happiest and most book-filled Christmas yet!



(royalty-free photo from Dreamstime.com)

125Jackie_K
dec 24, 2022, 7:18 am

>123 karenmarie: Wow, that's one book a day for a year, give or take - excellent work, Karen! :D I hope you have a terrific Christmas, and peaceful and restful holidays.

126rosalita
dec 25, 2022, 1:57 pm

>122 Jackie_K: I say go for it, Jackie! I bet you can get to 100 acquisitions in the next week. I'm rooting for you. ;-)

127Jackie_K
dec 25, 2022, 3:01 pm

>126 rosalita: Haha, well I'm now at 94 so I'm closing in on that goal, baby!

128Jackie_K
dec 27, 2022, 10:42 am

129rosalita
dec 27, 2022, 2:49 pm

>128 Jackie_K: Three more days, three more books to go. You can do it!

130Jackie_K
dec 30, 2022, 1:19 pm

>129 rosalita: I'm closing in, I'm at 98 now!

ROOT #63



The Well of Lost Plots is the 3rd in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. In this one, Thursday is sent to the Well of Lost Plots (where plot lines and characters wait to be allocated to novels) where she continues her investigations against literary interference with Miss Havisham, struggles to not forget her (currently eliminated, but we hope not permanently) husband, Landen Parke-Laine, and has various literary scrapes in both literary and genre fiction. I really appreciated this one, now that I've had a few years spending time discussing writing with authors of many different genres, there were a lot of publishing/writing in-jokes, as well as specific book storylines. There was also an extremely prescient (given this was published in 2003) sub-plot about the introduction of a new book generating system called UltraWord which very much made me think of current debates about AI story generation. Another solid addition to the series. 4/5.

131rocketjk
dec 30, 2022, 1:57 pm

>131 rocketjk: Nice review! I love the Thursday Next books.

132curioussquared
dec 30, 2022, 2:04 pm

>130 Jackie_K: You can get to 100! So close 😂

I loved the Thursday Next books in high school and am tempted to do a series reread next year...

133Caramellunacy
dec 31, 2022, 8:09 am

>130 Jackie_K: Love Thursday Next! I should really think about doing a re-read... Is this the one with the footnoterphone?

134Jackie_K
dec 31, 2022, 5:43 pm

>131 rocketjk: >132 curioussquared: >133 Caramellunacy: Glad to see so much Thursday Next fandom here - they're such funny, clever books. And yes, this is the one with the footnoterphone!

I managed to squeak one more ROOT in before the new year:

ROOT #64



'B.B.' is the pseudonym adopted by Northamptonshire schoolmaster D.J. Watkins-Pitchford, and The Little Grey Men (which won the Carnegie Medal in 1942) is probably his best-known work. The story is of the last four gnomes in Britain who live on the banks of Folly brook. One of them, Cloudberry, has wanderlust and sets off to follow his dream of adventure and finding the source of the Folly. When he doesn't return, the other three - Dodder, Baldmoney and Sneezewort - have to set off to try and find him. On the way they face danger from stoats and foxes, a giant trigger-happy gamekeeper, a shark-like pike and a curious boy, amongst others. But they also make friends, have an adventure like no other, and live to tell the tale. But do they ever find Cloudberry?

What I loved about this book were the lush descriptions of the local nature, which really brought the landscape alive. I was a little disappointed towards the end with the description and outcome of the fox hunt - I guess if the book was written nowadays that would have been written some other way. But of course nowadays is a very different time from the early 1940s, and this is definitely a delightful way overall to spend a couple of hours. 3.5/5.

135Jackie_K
Redigerat: dec 31, 2022, 6:03 pm

And with that, I wish all my thread visitors a happy new year! I'll sum up the month and the year in the next day or so, but meantime I hope you all have a peaceful and happy end to the year and start of the next one.

(oh, and rosalita, I ended up with 99!)

136rosalita
dec 31, 2022, 6:33 pm

>135 Jackie_K: So close! Maybe next year ... :-D

137readingtangent
dec 31, 2022, 8:51 pm

Happy new year, Jackie, and congrats on reaching (surpassing!) your goal! :)

138floremolla
dec 31, 2022, 9:15 pm

Happy New Year, Jackie! Hope 2023 is a good year for you and yours.

139Jackie_K
jan 1, 2023, 5:47 am

>136 rosalita: Let's see! :D
>137 readingtangent: >138 floremolla: Thank you both very much! Happy new year to you too!

I think it's fair to say that my December figures somewhat skew my overall totals. I read 4 ROOTs, but also made the most of Christmas - I got 4 gifts from lovely people, and 23 gifts from, er, me (what can I say, I'm a generous gift-giver!). Plus one LTER book.

The December ROOTs were:

1. Diane Ackerman - The Zookeeper's Wife.
2. Russell Jones - The Decade in Tory.
3. Jasper Fforde - The Well of Lost Plots.
4. 'BB' - The Little Grey Men.

And strap in, here's my December acquisitions (books with * are my Christmas gifts from people who aren't me):

1. Suzanne Simard - Finding the Mother Tree.
2. Ai Wei Wei - 1000 years of Joys and Sorrows.
3. Rachel Lichtenstein - Estuary.
4. Adam Kay - Undoctored.
5. Mike Shackle - We Are the Dead.
6. Adam Higginbotham - Midnight in Chernobyl.
7. David McKittrick & David McVea - Making Sense of the Troubles: A History of the Northern Ireland Conflict.
8. Angela C Nurse - Bloody Snow.
9. Adam Rutherford - The Book of Humans.
10. Nina Stibbe - Reasons to be Cheerful.
11. GB Ralph - Murder on Milverton Square.
12. Julian Barr - The Seven Hills.
13. TE Scott - Murder on the First Date.
14. Madeline Miller - Circe.
15.* Penelope Lively - Life in the Garden.
16.* Rosemary Mosco - A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching.
17.* Geoge Seton - St Kilda.
18.* Joanne Parker - Britannia Obscura: Mapping Britain's Hidden Landscapes.
19. Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones.
20. Madeleine L'Engle - Walking on Water.
21. Rutger Bregman - Humankind.
22. Isabel Hardman - Why we get the Wrong Politicians.
23. Ann Patchett - These Precious Days.
24. Henry Marsh - And Finally.
25. Miriam Margolyes - This Much is True.
26. Ed Yong - An Immense World.
27. John Green - The Anthropocene Reviewed.
28. Ed. Kateryna Kazimirova & Daryna Anastasieva - Voices of Freedom: Contemporary Voices from Ukraine. (LTER)

I have to say, even though my TBR has gone some way back over 400 books, this haul has given me so much joy and I haven't even started reading any of them yet!

140rabbitprincess
jan 1, 2023, 11:04 am

Ooooo lots of great gifts from you to you! Midnight in Chernobyl, Circe, This Much is True... loved them all (although not sure "loved" is the right word for Midnight in Chernobyl... hope you know what I mean!)

141rosalita
jan 1, 2023, 11:24 am

>139 Jackie_K: That is a fantastic haul, Jackie! I see several that appeal to me — the Lively, the Stibbe, the Yong. I have Circe on my own TBR, so maybe 2023 will be the year I actually read it.

Well done!

142rocketjk
jan 1, 2023, 12:48 pm

Happy New Year! I'll look forward to following your reading in 2023. My reading group read the Ai Wei Wei memoir this year. We all found it quite interesting. Cheers!

143Jackie_K
jan 1, 2023, 1:55 pm

>140 rabbitprincess: Happy to hear your positive reports! (and yes, I do know what you mean about Midnight in Chernobyl!).

>141 rosalita: The Lively book was a Jolabokaflod Secret Santa present, I was really happy with it! And the Stibbe book has appeared on my recommendations so much, and then the other week when I donated some old stuff I found it in the charity shop, so it would have been churlish not to! The Yong is currently (or at least was last week) on sale, at least in ebook format.

>142 rocketjk: Glad to hear a positive report of the Ai Weiwei book - I have been aware of him for several years, but will be interested to see his take on things. I've got it lined up for a reading challenge later in the year.