Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Twelve

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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Twelve

Redigerat: okt 17, 7:36 am

-Lofoten Islands, Norway. Reading the "Ingrid Barroy Series" set in this magnificent location.

-Pileated Woodpecker.

“We need the tonic of wildness... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

"The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hillsides,
The feeling of health . . . . the full-noon trill . . . . the song of me rising from bed
and meeting the sun..."

-Leaves of Grass- Whitman

Redigerat: sep 24, 8:42 am

Redigerat: okt 17, 7:39 am




57- When the World Didn't End: A Memoir by Guinevere Turner 4 stars
58- Einstein by Jim Ottaviani 4 stars GN
59- A Separate Peace by John Knowles 4.2 stars
60- The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst 4.7 stars
61- Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan 4.6 (audio)
62- The Fixer and Other Stories by Joe Sacco 4 stars GN
63- American Pastoral by Philip Roth 4.6 stars
64- The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories by Jess Walter 4.4 stars
65- Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami 3.8 stars (audio)


66- Tomorrow, and Tomorrow & Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin 4.2 stars
67- Strangers in Paradise (Book 1)- Terry Moore 4 stars GN
68- Prisoners of the Castle by Ben Macintyre 3.8 stars (audio)
69- Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje 4.3 stars
70- East of Eden by John Steinbeck 4.6 stars
71- All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby 4.2 stars (audio)
72- Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst 3.3 stars
74-The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni 4 stars (audio)
75- I Meant it Once- Stories by Kate Doyle 3.3 stars ER
76- Last On His Feet: Jack Johnson by Adrian Matejka & Youssef Daoudi 5 stars GN


77- Old God's Time by Barry Sebastian 4.6 (audio)
78- Chain-gang All-stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah 4.2 stars
79- 100 Poems That Matter by The Academy of American Poets 3.7 stars P
80- The Colony by Audrey Magee 5 stars w/Stasia
81- A Fever in the Heartland by Timothy Egan 4.3 stars (audio)
82- Dinosaurs: A Novel by Lydia Millet 4 stars
83- The Last Ranger by Peter Heller 4 stars (audio)
84- The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride 4.6 stars
85- The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson 3.2 stars
86- Trespasses: A Novel by Louise Kennedy 4.2 stars


87- Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel 4.3 stars
88- All Hands on Deck by Will Sofrin 3.8 stars (audio)
89- Juliette by Camille Jourdy 4 stars GN
90- The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng 4.7 stars
91- No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant 3.5 stars GN
92- Tom Lake by Ann Patchett 4.5 stars
93- Nowhere Girl: A Memoir by Cheryl Diamond 3.8 stars (audio)
94- Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, 1) by Rebecca Yarros 3.8 stars
95- Eyes of the Rigel by Roy Jacobsen 3.7 stars E
96- The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore 3.5 stars (audio)
97- Night and Dana by Anya Davidson 4 stars GN


98- The Singapore Grip (Empire Trilogy) by J.G. Farrell 4.6 stars w/Benita
99- This Other Eden by Paul Harding 4.7 stars
100- Almost an Elegy: Selected Poems by Linda Pastan 4.8 stars P
101- Funny Things: Charles M. Schulz by Luca Debus 4 stars GN
102- The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade 4 stars (audio)
103- Skippy Dies by Paul Murray 4.3 stars
104- Our Strangers: Stories by Lydia Davis 3.7 stars E

Poetry: P
GN: Graphic Novel

Redigerat: okt 17, 7:40 am

^ I was able to do some shared reading, this past year, with a few of my book buddies and I really enjoyed it. I would like this to continue through 2023. Primarily, I would like to read books off shelf, but I am still catching up with a few titles that I missed in the past year. I also would like to do a few rereads. I will list some titles and if you are interested, we will set a firm date.

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst w/ Jeff, Benita June
East of Eden w/Linda P, Lynda, Meg, Paul, Anita, Susan- July
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng w/Donna, Caroline, Rhonda September
The Singapore Grip w/Benita September
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray w/Stasia, Benita, Anita, Ellen?? October
Gap Creek w/ Judy, Benita November
The House of Doors w/Ellen, Stasia December


One Hundred Years of Solitude January?
The Bee Sting w/Judy Jan/Feb?

Redigerat: sep 25, 8:46 am

Something Like We Did IV

Space is the place.
—Sun Ra

Wind in the leaves
of the live oak next door

and the June bugs

hard bodies
hitting the screen.

Couldn’t tell how much
time had passed.

Light from traffic
on the ceiling.

Late that sound
in the sky soft.

Thinking out loud
then inside my head:

they were still there—
the way they walked

that bright flicker
in their chests.

Sometimes I have believed

I don’t belong
here— I mean

it’s not just
the American insanities

but everywhere: the sense
of having been left

on Earth
with no explanation—

a mouse dropped in a maze

-by Tim Seibles

Redigerat: okt 17, 7:42 am

Hello?? Great Horned Owl chicks.

sep 24, 8:50 am

Happy new one, Mark. Wonderful toppers!!

sep 24, 8:50 am

Thanks, Shelley. I like that Norway pic.

Redigerat: sep 24, 8:52 am

"The third novel in a historical trilogy that began with the International Booker shortlisted The Unseen...

The journey had taken on its own momentum, it had become an autonomous, independent entity, she was searching for love, and was still happily unaware that truth is the first casualty of peace. The long war is over, and Ingrid Barroy leaves the island that bears her name to search for the father of her child."

^Okay the plan was to finish Fourth Wing and jump into The Singapore Grip but I then decided to slip in a slimmer novel in between a pair of chunksters. The Eyes of Rigel won out. I loved The Unseen & White Shadow and wanted to complete the trilogy. It also fits in with this month's AlphaKit: V & E. If this Norway series isn't on your radar- they should be.

^And once again, if anyone would like to join us on The Singapore Grip feel free. I will start it next week and Benita has already jumped in. It is also the last of a trilogy, which began with Troubles.

sep 24, 9:11 am

New 🧵 orisons, Mark. Enjoy the Sunday ahead.

sep 24, 9:32 am

Happy new one, Mark!

sep 24, 9:39 am

sep 24, 9:54 am

Happy number 12, Mark.

sep 24, 10:53 am

>9 msf59: Mark, have you read the first two in the Farrell trilogy? I actually own an e-book of The Seige of Krishnapur but haven't gotten to it yet.

sep 24, 11:33 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy new thread and happy Sunday to you.

From your last thread, great pic of some of the camping group. Too many Paul’s – three of ‘em – for the Booker.

>1 msf59: I always love seeing Pileated Woodpeckers.

>2 msf59: Very sweet pics of the boy.

sep 24, 11:42 am

Happy new thread, Mark!

>4 msf59: You can add me for Skippy Dies in October.

sep 24, 12:46 pm

>2 msf59: So stinking’ cute! This is such a wonderful age!

sep 24, 3:10 pm

Hi Mark. I'm definitely in for reading House of Doors in December. I'll get my copy in about three weeks. It looks like we'll have a few others joining us. Yay!

I've not yet read White Shadow although I have it on my shelf. I should read it soon to keep the thread going. I loved the first in the trilogy!

I didn't realize Troubles was first in a trilogy. I loved it when I read it a few years ago and I kept thinking about it while in Ireland. Tom, our trusty hiking guide during our last week there, was a wonderful source of historical and cultural knowledge. I want to read more while his stories are still fresh.

sep 24, 3:47 pm

>2 msf59: Happy new thread, Mark! I love the Jackson pics. What a cutie!

sep 24, 4:18 pm

Hi Mark, as usual I have fallen behind with the threads. You have some great reading planned for the rest of the year. I loved Skippy Dies when I read it a number of years ago and The Singapore Grip was my first of Farrell's trilogy and it certainly encouraged me to continue. I am currently enthralled by I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, she is an amazing writer.

sep 24, 4:41 pm

Happy new thread, Mark!

sep 24, 5:15 pm

>13 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul.

>14 ffortsa: Hi, Judy. Good to see you. Yes, I have been the first 2 books in the Empire Trilogy. Loved them both. If you would like to join us on the 3rd? Just sayin'...

>15 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. Hooray for the camping group, pileated woodpeckers & Jackson time!!

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I am so glad you are joining us on Skippy Dies.

>17 Storeetllr: It certainly is, Mary. Swoons...

sep 24, 5:24 pm

>18 EBT1002: Happy Sunday, Ellen. I am glad you will be joining us for The House of Doors. Looking forward to it. I hope you continue the Empire Trilogy. Such an ambitious project.

>19 atozgrl: Thanks, Irene.

>20 DeltaQueen50: Happy Sunday, Judy. I am so glad to hear that you loved both The Singapore Grip & Skippy Dies. Very encouraging. I loved I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, although it has been many years.

>21 drneutron: Thanks, Jim.

sep 24, 5:29 pm

I have had Skippy Dies on my shelves for a few years. Perhaps I'll join the October group read!

sep 24, 5:38 pm

Happy new thread Mark!

It's so fun to see joyous Jackson pictures!

sep 24, 5:48 pm

Sunday went well, I hope?

sep 24, 7:52 pm

Happy new thread!

Lofoten Islands look absolutely enchanting!

Redigerat: sep 24, 10:09 pm

Happy New Thread, Mark! More fabulous pictures of Jack! Will he be heading out for Halloween this year? I was back at the bookstore again today, and bought a Halloween book for Melissa and Miles. I check with my son and DIL that they don't already have them. In my city (and probably yours ) we have two large shopping malls where each store has treats for the kids. and also in Steveston, there are a number of small stores and restaurants that hand out treats to the kids. so that is usually a safe bet , and that's Melissa and Miles go for Halloween.

I got out to walk the Poppy before the rain hit, so that is always a good day!

sep 24, 10:20 pm

Happy New Thread, Mark! Magnificent thread topping photo, and great photos of Jack! (What a cutie!)

I was looking at the list of things you read in July, and am happy to see that you gave 4.2 stars to the audio of All the Sinners Bleed. I just downloaded that one from the library. (And now I'm going to listen to some of it, if I can just get my Bluetooth headphones to connect to my phone . . . )

sep 25, 8:00 am

>24 EBT1002: I tentatively added you to the shared list for Skippy Dies, Ellen. I hope you can join us.

>25 quondame: >27 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Susan & Anita!

>26 richardderus: My Sunday went swimmingly, RD, other than having to watch my Bears completely embarrass themselves. Hey, I got a nice chunk of reading in.

>28 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I have no idea what Jack will be for Halloween but I am sure his parents will be taking him out. He is completely mobile now. Not sure where they will take him. I hope you got your walk in.

>29 tymfos: Thanks, Terri. Good to see you. Glad you like the pics. As you can see, I still like sharing them. I hope you enjoy All the Sinners Bleed. Beware it is pretty violent. Your first by Cosby?

Redigerat: sep 25, 8:12 am

^This was at Bree's horse show yesterday. Her beautiful horse is Vayda. She is getting Jack used to being around the mighty beast. So far he likes it. We left before she took him on the saddle but she said he liked it and kept saying "Good Girl". 😁❤️

sep 25, 9:37 am

‘Morning, Mark!

>31 msf59: Very sweet pic of Bree and Jackson. Glad he’s getting used to horses. He looks comfortable and happy up there.

We have a picture somewhere of Jenna, about 2 years or so, hugging on Aunt Ann’s horse Solar’s front leg. He was 16 or 17 hands, and Jenna was fearless. Fortunately, Solar didn’t spook.

sep 25, 10:58 am

>31 msf59: How wonderful for Jack to have the horsey life to grow up around!

Good week ahead, Birddude.

sep 25, 1:08 pm

I had a good reading day yesterday with Singapore Grip. I hope to get more reading done on it today as well. I am 200 pages into the book. Don't worry - that is not as far in as it sounds. My copy is an old mass market paperback. The kind that is pocket size. The print is extra small and the pages are yellow. It is not fun to read, so I am trying to get through it as fast as possible.

The story is much more interesting to me than Siege of Krishnapur was. I have just finished the set up to the coming story and have been introduced to most of the major characters. (at least I think they are the major characters.) The last line of the chapter I finished last night - 25, is " two or three hours from now would come the first faint drone of Japanese bombers approaching from the north-east. But for the moment all was quiet."

I did a bit of research over the weekend on this trilogy. Troubles was published first, followed by Siege of Krishnapur and Singapore Grip was Farrell's last book that was published before his death. It was published in 1978. He won the Booker Prize for the earlier novel Siege of Krishnapur in 1973. Farrell used the 1973 Booker Prize acceptance speech as an opportunity to criticize the Booker Group for its business involvement in the agricultural sector in the Third World.

Singapore Grip is the third book in what was planned to be a quartet (much like Paul Scott's examination of India in the Raj Quartet.) Unfortunately, Farrell died before he had finished the fourth book which was titled Hill Station. There wasn't enough of the book written to publish it solely under Farrell's name so it is officially edited by a John Spurling with Farrell listed as the author. It was published posthumously in 1981.

Farrell died in 1979. He was Irish and had decided to return to live in Ireland. He was living on Sheep's Head peninsula in County Cork. He had only been there a few months, when he drowned, in Bantry Bay when he fell from the rocks while he was fishing. He was 44.

Farrell was a scathing critic of British colonial policies. I can say that attitude is very evident in the first 200 pages of this novel. So far, I find it less tongue-in-cheek than Siege of Krishnapur. It is much more straight forward in its approach to the events that are happening in the novel. The novel starts in 1941. The British establishment is so rigidly focused on holding on to power in the Malay Peninsula and Burma that they ignore world events. Even the fact that Britain has been at war with Germany since September 1939.

I have been introduced to some interesting characters are not what they seem to be. The major characters see three of these people as bumbling eccentrics, when they are the ones in Singapore with the clearest idea of what is coming. I am now fully invested in this novel and can't wait to see how Farrell develops the story. Which of the truly incompetent bunglers will continue to be incompetent bunglers, and which will mature in the coming years of the story? And which of the competent people will emerge as the heroes?

sep 25, 1:28 pm

In the last year I have been reading a series of cozy mysteries by the Singaporean author Ovidia Yu. There are 6 books in this series set in Singapore starting in 1938. The sixth book in the series was published in 2022. They are historical murder mysteries and being cozies they are not heavy hitting historical mysteries. They are targeting a different audience than is J. G. Farrell. I learned about this series from Suzanne and I find them enjoyable reading. However, the picture of Singapore in 1942, as depicted by Ovidia Yu is much different from the Singapore of Farrell's book. In the Yu books, Singapore is much more provincial and a quiet backwater of the Empire. Farrell paints a picture of a teeming crowded rowdy harbor town, with multiple ships going in and out of the harbor and a multicultural Red Light District that is very active. The British of Farrell's book are rowdy and crass - even the women. The British of Yu's books are staid and steady, quiet middle class people trying to get along in a quiet backwater part of the Empire.

The heroine of Yu's book is a half caste Chinese/Japanese woman whose Chinese grandmother is the head of one of the Tong's in Singapore. Yu us ethnically Chinese and probably brings to her books her cultural baggage. Farrell is Irish and undoubtedly is bringing his cultural, historical, and social baggage with him to this novel as well. Farrell's hero is a well education rich British man in his early 30's who has very different political views than does his business partner, an older British gentleman who believes that the "natives" are lazy, indolent, uneducated, and need "direction" in their everyday lives.

Given Singapore's geographical position in the Straits of Malacca there is no doubt about the city being a crossroads of cultures and a prime place for the clash that results from that location so I understand why Farrell would pick this as the location for his novel. Singapore, in the 1940's was a city teeming with refugees from China, and was home to a huge Indian population due to the importing of cheap labor by the British right after the founding of the city. Of course, there were also native Malays and the city had multiple languages. All of this makes it a great place to be the home of a novel. I realize that both pictures of Singapore presented by both authors may be correct for that time and place, but I am finding the differences in the two pictures of Singapore fascinating and keep going back and forth between the two scenarios as I am reading.

sep 25, 3:54 pm

>2 msf59: He is just too cute!

>9 msf59: The Troubles trilogy is well worth the read. I hope you enjoy the last book as you finish it up, Mark.

>31 msf59: A budding equestrian on your hands, it looks like. I hope he continues to enjoy the horse's company!

Happy new thread!

sep 25, 5:26 pm

>32 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Glad you like the pics. As you can see Bree is quite the horse-lover so she is hoping that Jack becomes one too. Sean is not a horse-lover. LOL.

>33 richardderus: Hey, RD. All good here sir. Just kicking back with Juno and the books at the moment.

sep 25, 5:36 pm

>34 benitastrnad: >35 benitastrnad: This is why I like doing a shared read with you, Benita. You dive in deep. LOL. Thanks for all the great info. I plan on starting The Singapore Grip tomorrow. It is just under 600 pages, with small print but not as small as yours. It will take awhile. I knew Farrell was deceased but I didn't know that he died so young and accidentally.

The Ovidia Yu mystery series sounds interesting. Cool that you are reading about the same place & time but from a different perspective.

>36 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia. Yah, for Jackson. We will have to see if Jack becomes a horse-lover. His father is not. LOL. Looking forward to starting The Singapore Grip tomorrow.

sep 25, 9:23 pm

Happy new thread, Mark! Love the happy Jackson photos, and hope he continues to like horses.

sep 26, 4:47 am

‘Morning, Mark! Still dark out, so no bird report.

>37 msf59: I’m not a horse lover either, from the standpoint of riding, mucking out stalls, feeding, watering, paying for vet/farrier/food bills, and etc. I am a horse lover from the standpoint of loving them in our pastures work free and getting paid lease fees to have them here.

sep 26, 7:10 am

>39 bell7: Thanks, Mary. You know I love sharing my Jack pics.

>40 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Still dark here too. I am somewhere in between when it comes to horses. I do not mind riding them from time to time and I certainly like looking at them but the rest...

Redigerat: sep 26, 8:02 am

Memory of a Bird

What is left is a beak,
a wing,
a sense of feathers,

the rest lost
in a pointless blur of tiny

The bird has flown,
leaving behind
an absence.

This is the very
of flight--a bird

so swift
that only memory
can capture it

The Birds

are heading south, pulled
by a compass in the genes.
They are not fooled
by this odd November summer,
though we stand in our doorways
wearing cotton dresses.
We are watching them

as they swoop and gather—
the shadow of wings
falls over the heart.
When they rustle among
the empty branches, the trees
must think their lost leaves
have come back.

The birds are heading south,
instinct is the oldest story.
They fly over their doubles,
the mute weathervanes,
teaching all of us
with their tailfeathers
the true north.

-Linda Pastan

^ I am currently reading Patan's collection Almost an Elegy and enjoying it very much.

sep 26, 8:42 am

>31 msf59: Glad he is making friends with the wider family Mark.

sep 26, 9:54 am

Hoping for another lovely fall day out your way, Birddude.

sep 26, 11:35 am

>43 Caroline_McElwee: He is getting there, Caroline. 😁

>44 richardderus: Hey, RD. Rain is moving out, so I will take Juno for a walk. Otherwise, a chill day so far with the books.

Redigerat: sep 26, 11:42 am

-Harry Bliss

sep 26, 12:25 pm

>Hi Mark - I love your thread topper! I've been to Norway but didn't get that far north - it's definitely a trip I'd love to take in the future. I finished Eyes of the Rigel a few weeks ago and really loved the trilogy. I read somewhere that there's a fourth book but I don't know if it's been translated.

sep 26, 1:39 pm

>46 msf59: Hahaha. Cute!

sep 26, 2:29 pm

>46 msf59: I love that.

sep 26, 3:01 pm

>46 msf59: Yes we will. Enjoy the beautiful weather coming up.

sep 26, 3:30 pm

Have a terrific Tuesday, Mark!

sep 26, 6:04 pm

>47 vivians: Hi, Vivian. Great to see you. I hope to visit Norway one of these days, especially the far north. I finished Eyes of the Rigel today. I liked it but did not love it. A good trilogy, though. Yes, there is a fourth of there too.

>48 Storeetllr: >49 EBT1002: Glad you like the Bliss cartoon.

>50 richardderus: Hey, RD. Rain here the next 2 days but a gorgeous weekend on the horizon. Yah!

Redigerat: sep 26, 7:39 pm

"Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else...A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life."

I am glad to be finally getting to The Singapore Grip, the last book in the Empire Trilogy. I am also glad to be doing a shared read with Benita on this one. She is way ahead of me at this point. If you are on the fence about this trilogy or just haven't got to it, try Troubles, the first book and you will be hooked.

"The city of Singapore was not built up gradually, the way most cities are, by a natural deposit of commerce on the banks of some river or at a traditional confluence of trade routes. It was simply invented one morning in the nineteenth century by a man looking at a map..."

And I am off. 40 pages in...540 pages left to go. Thankfully his writing is excellent. Sadly, we lost this incredibly talented author in 1979, at the tender age of 44.

sep 26, 7:23 pm

I'm adding the Empire Trilogy to my Retirement Reading list. That list has several trilogies and other short series (e.g., Ali Smith's Seasonal quartet) and there are a few authors whose oeuvre I want to tackle (e.g., Colm Toibin).

sep 26, 10:34 pm

>38 msf59:
The Ovidia Yu mystery series is the Crown Colony series. So far all of the books in the series have some kind of tree in the title. It is a cozy series so the focus is totally different from the Farrell trilogy.

I just got to page 310 today. That is not half way in my copy. I have to make sure to read at least an hour a day just on this book or I won't have it finished by the end of the month. Skippy Dies is also a big book, so I am having to keep myself on track with the Singapore Grip.

Overall, I am enjoying this novel much more than Siege of Krishnapur. I think that might be due to the fact that this novel is the third in a series in which all of the novels are about how Britain obtained and maintained its wealth. It is very clear in this novel where Farrell's politics and sympathies lie. Even the language that is used in the book gives the reader a depth of feeling about Farrell's point-of-view. All the servants are Chinese and they are all called "boy." The refugees from China are despised, and Walter, the major character only cares about how he can use the surplus of labor to drive down wages giving his company a better profit margin. He constantly schemes about how much money he can swindle his own government out of, or how to cheat better on his taxes. All this in the face of a war that he knows the British will win because the Japs simply aren't as good of fighters as the British Army. It is unthinkable to him that the Japs even know how to fly planes, so the RAF will keep Singapore safe. When the "Prince of Wales" and the "Repulse" are sunk by Japanese airplanes he can't imagine how an airplane would be able to sink either of those ships.

In some ways this novel is very current. The issue at the heart of this novel is how Britain got its wealth and how it stacked the system to keep others from getting a piece of that wealth. It is about Colonialism and what is discussed in this novel is very much the same kind of arguments going on today about how Racism has kept minorities in the US from getting their slice of the economic pie. Even though my copy of the book carries a 1986 copyright date this novel is very relevant and current.

sep 27, 1:55 am

Yes I have gotten my walks in every day, thanks Mark. We've had rain each of those days, but I managed to escape most of the rain by walking - as luck would have it - when it was not raining - or not much . What sort of part time job are you starting ?

Redigerat: sep 27, 7:38 am

>54 EBT1002: You have some great retirement reading ahead of you, Ellen. Of course, you have all your other interests too. I predict you will not be bored.

>55 benitastrnad: For once you are ahead of me, Benita but I completely agree with your thoughts on Walter and colonialism- keeping the peasants down and profits up is their life mission. I am not sure I will be able to read more than 60 pages a day, so it will also take me a while too but the fine writing keeps the pages turning.

>56 vancouverdeb: You take good care of Poppy and she takes good care of you, Deb. We have also been dealing with a fair amount of rain but after today, it looks like clear skies through the weekend.

sep 27, 9:08 am

‘Morning, Mark, and happy Wednesday to you.

>53 msf59: I’ve just added Troubles to my wish list.

Errands, reading, puttering for me today.

sep 27, 1:50 pm

>58 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I hope you can get to Troubles one of these days. A perfect kick off point. Enjoy your reading and puttering.

Redigerat: sep 27, 1:53 pm

sep 27, 3:51 pm

>57 msf59:
I took the time to read for 1 hour this morning and I am now on page 370 of my copy of Singapore Grip. The picture keeps getting grimmer and grimmer while getting to be funnier and funnier. This morning I was laughing out loud at one of the scenes.

Yes. Indeed, this novel is fine writing. I think it is better writing than in Siege of Krishnapur. Of course, it may be that my internal knowledge of the events of 1941 and 1942 is much greater and therefore my understanding of what is going on in the wider world is better, which, allows me to understand the jokes in the novel. I also think that this novel is a much more engaging than Krishnapur on many levels. The main character is much more of a caricature of the British businessman than was the lead character in Krishnapur.

However, I can say, unequivocally that the marriageable age men in both stories are weirdo's and crackpots who are easily lead about by the lure of sex. Who would want to marry them?

sep 27, 4:24 pm

>54 EBT1002: I have been kind of doing the same thing, Ellen. Last year I tackled all of Jane Austen and this year, I read all of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I am switching it up a bit for next year. Planning the following years reads is part of the fun of retirement, lol.

>60 msf59: Lol

Happy Wednesday, Mark!

sep 27, 6:36 pm

>61 benitastrnad: Hey, Benita. You are moving right along with Singapore Grip. I am glad you are still finding it so engaging. I read a nice chunk today. Currently at the 130 page mark. Old man Webb has passed on and Matthew Webb has recently arrived, (I like his character in the early going). Joan has her sights set.

I liked Siege of Krishnapur more than you did. It worked for me.

>62 alcottacre: Happy Wednesday, Stasia. It was a good afternoon with the books. I would like to do a reread of Austen too.

sep 27, 6:37 pm

-Tom Gauld??

sep 27, 6:49 pm

>64 msf59: He wins my heart again!

sep 27, 6:53 pm

>65 richardderus: He rarely fails, right, RD?

sep 27, 9:55 pm

>31 msf59: Hi Mark! Jack's a brave boy, up on the big horse. I'm glad he likes it so far.

Singapore Grip sounds fascinating!

>64 msf59: That's a good one!

sep 28, 12:16 am

>61 benitastrnad:
I think that Farrell was getting better as a writer with each book he published. It seems to me that in Singapore Grip he has decided what message he wants the novel to blast out to the universe and he has decided on a clear incident in history to use as the vehicle.

I am finding the Colonial history in this novel fascinating. As the novel goes on, you will see more and more details of the finances of the rubber industry. It seems clear to me that Farrell is using this as a microcosm of the financial dealings (that really should say financial corruption) that was common throughout the British Empire. His message is that a government that is that corrupt should not be allowed to stand.

I am also intrigued by all of the Jim Crow type rules and regulations that keep popping up in the book. These make it easy to understand why the Colonies wanted their independence.

There is a scene at about page 350 in my copy that takes place in a Chinese Death House in which a Chinese man who worked for years as an independent rubber producer on his own land tells Matthew exactly how Blackett and Webb cheated him out of a fair price for his product.

By-the-way, did you get the pun in the name of the company? I confess - I didn't notice it until today.

Redigerat: sep 28, 7:23 am

>68 benitastrnad: Sweet Thursday, Benita. Thanks for sharing your many thoughts on SG. Yesterday, was my favorite stretch of the novel. Hoping for more of the same today. His research skills and wide knowledge is truly awe-inspiring. No, I have not caught the pun in the firm name...yet.

sep 28, 8:34 am

Thursday orisons, Birddude!

sep 28, 9:54 am

>70 richardderus: Good morning, RD. Sweet Thursday! It is going to a gorgeous day in Chicagoland. Hope to get some reading in outdoors.

Redigerat: sep 28, 9:59 pm

94-Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, 1) by Rebecca Yarros 3.8 stars

Fourth Wing is the first in a fantasy series and has been a surprise hit of the summer. This one deals with a War College for Dragon Riders and focuses on twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail, who rises through the ranks, despite the many deadly challenges that these students must overcome. The romance is a bit mushy for my taste but otherwise I found it a fun and enjoyable ride and I will probably continue the series. 3.5 stars

95- Eyes of the Rigel by Roy Jacobsen 3.7 stars

I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this historical series, set on a remote island in Norway. This novel also features Ingrid Barroy but this story, set just after WWII, is about her quest to find the father of her baby, which she also totes along, covering hundreds of miles. I preferred the series when it focused on the everyday life on these islands, so this was my least favorite of the series but I still recommend giving this one a try.

sep 28, 11:46 am

I reached page 430 this morning in my copy of the book. It is in part 4, chapter 29. I have just reached the part about the fall of Kuala Lumpur. It is pitiful that the main characters in this novel had absolutely no comprehension about what was going on back home at this time. They kept expecting to get reinforcements from the RAF and supplies. Even after the sinking of the "Prince of Wales" and the "Repulse" they had no clue that air cover was NOT coming from Britain. I keep wondering why they weren't reading newspapers from the US which would have given them a picture of the state of things in the "old country?" At this point in time, the US was not involved in the war so US newspapers and radio would have given them an idea that things were desperate in Great Britain and that there was no way they could supply reinforcements of troops or material. Walter is so blind and pompous. The only characters who has any sense is Matthew, the Major, and the French Diplomat Francois,

So much for my emotional reactions to the novel. I did want to mention that in my research over the weekend I discovered that Major Archer is the only character Farrell ever created to reappear in his novels. Archer is in both "Troubles" and in "Singapore Grip."

The other thought that has occurred to me while reading this novel, is that we seldom see these great sweeping historical epics in modern literature. We have epic fantasy (think Game of Thrones). There is epic biography, such as the one McCoullough wrote about Adams. There is epic history such as the trilogy about the Civil Rights movement that Stasia just read. The only epic work of historical fiction that I can think of being written currently is Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series - and this one gets tagged as historical romance and therefore lost lots of readers. This is a real shame as this kind of novel offers an author so much freedom in style and in approach to the subject. By that I mean that Farrell, choice to present his historical work in a satirical and cynical format. Who does that today in a 700 page novel? Very few. I think it is because readers don't want to devout the time and thought it takes to read this kind of epic. I know that I have had to set aside 1 hour a day and am trying to read 30 pages at least, and that is taking some effort on my part. (I keep thinking that finding that time should be easier because I AM retired, but somehow it isn't.) I am sure that I will be thinking about this novel for a long time into the future, but it is taking much effort on my part.

sep 28, 11:52 am

>64 msf59: I love that.

sep 28, 12:42 pm

‘Afternoon, Mark! Sweet Thursday to you.

>64 msf59: Looks like Gauld, amusing.

sep 28, 1:25 pm

Got a memoir that might interest you. it won't be published until November but it sounds like one you will be interested in. It got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. Here is the Publisher's Weekly review of it.

What the Taliban Told Me by Ian Fritz. Simon & Schuster, $29.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-6680-1069-3

Fritz holds nothing back in this raw and engrossing debut memoir about his experiences in Afghanistan as a cryptologic linguist for the U.S. Air Force. Raised by his single mother in Lake City, Fla., Fritz had to work long hours in a Chinese restaurant to help ensure that his family’s utility bills were paid. Exhaustion resulted in subpar grades, despite his academic promise and love of literature, and Fritz was rejected from every college he applied to. In 2007, he followed up on an Army recruiter’s high school presentation about becoming a cryptic linguist, and was accepted to the Air Force’s language school in Monterey, Calif., where he learned Dari, the official language of Afghanistan. In 2011, Fritz arrived in Afghanistan, and soon began listening to suspected Taliban fighters’ communications while flying above them in massive military aircraft, tasked with determining in real time who was a threat and who was an innocent civilian. Over time, Fritz grew horrified by the deaths his work facilitated and increasingly dubious about the war’s goals, having become attuned to the humanity of “enemy” forces by spending so long listening to their mundane exchanges. His mental turmoil led to thoughts of suicide and a decision to leave the military. After Fritz graduated from Columbia University, he went to medical school and became a physician. The grim subject matter is often leavened by welcome humor, and Fritz’s slow-moving evolution from soldier to healer is profoundly moving. This is a standout wartime memoir.

sep 28, 2:30 pm

>64 msf59: Hmmm, tough choice.

>72 msf59: I have Fourth Wing here to read one of these days. I will have to look for the Roy Jacobsen books.

sep 28, 3:24 pm

>64 msf59: This is true. 😂🤣

I hope all is well with you. Do you have some October camping planned?

sep 28, 6:59 pm

>30 msf59: Yes, All the Sinners Bleed is my first Cosby. I had been warned about the content prior to starting. Pretty heavy stuff, but a real "page turner" (sans pages for the audio) so far.

>64 msf59: LOL!

sep 28, 7:01 pm

>73 benitastrnad: >76 benitastrnad: I love your thoughts on Singapore Grip, Benita. "The only characters who has any sense is Matthew, the Major, and the French Diplomat Francois." I am with you completely. I just finished chapter 26, so a little behind you. I haven't got to the Kuala Lumpur part. I also agree with you on your observation that no one is writing these types of historical epics, especially with a satirical edge. A shame.

I got a real kick of "The Great World" visit and the woman being shot out of the cannon. What a hoot!

Thanks for your recommendation of What the Taliban Told Me. Sounds really interesting.

sep 28, 7:06 pm

>75 karenmarie: Sweet Thursday, Karen. It has been a good day. Hooray for Gauld!

>77 alcottacre: I think you will have a good time with Fourth Wing, Stasia. The second book in the series, Iron Flame comes out in November.

>78 The_Hibernator: Sweet Thursday, Rachel. I have an Iowa camping trip coming up. It will be the last one of the year. Our ninth.

>79 tymfos: I am glad you are enjoying All the Sinners Bleed, Terri. I am sure it is very good on audio. I hope this inspires you to read his earlier work. He is a talent.

sep 28, 7:12 pm

>81 msf59: The retired book reviewer from our county newspaper (which no longer runs book reviews) writes reviews for our library website, and I generally buy books she reviews for the collection. Cosby seems to be one of her favorites.

sep 28, 7:32 pm

>72 msf59: Hey Mark. If no one else has claimed it, I'll take your Fourth Wing copy. It seems like a fun read.

And thanks for the The Killer suggestion, its a great read so far.

sep 28, 10:05 pm

>82 tymfos: That sounds like quite an endorsement, Terri. 😁👍

>83 mahsdad: Hey, Jeff. Fourth Wing is yours. I will try to get it out next week. Glad you are enjoying The Killer. Joe is also loving it. He is reading the Complete Edition. I have Volume 2 waiting for me at the library.

sep 29, 9:16 am

"They don’t worry about Trump torching the country if he’s re-elected, because they believe that they will frolic in the ashes. They believe that whatever benefits Trump will eventually benefit them. Trump has deceived his people into believing in trickle-down tyranny."

-Opinion piece. New York Times

sep 29, 9:40 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy Friday to you.

>81 msf59: My mother’s family is from Cedar Rapids, and I still have an uncle/wife and cousins in the area. Where are you going to be in Iowa?

>85 msf59: Sigh.

sep 29, 10:56 am

>85 msf59: There is no way to make a cultist unbelieve. Atheists have been trying for a long time. Belief is immune to logic, evidence, lack of evidence, or anything else that interferes with the addiction to Being Right.

sep 29, 12:34 pm

>85 msf59: Unfortunately, all too true. Sigh.

sep 29, 1:11 pm

>85 msf59: We’ll put, and too damn true, I’m afraid.

>87 richardderus: Agree.

sep 29, 1:16 pm

>81 msf59: I may wait until it gets closer to the time of the follow up book's release before I read Fourth Wing so I do not completely forget the happenings in it before I start the second one! Thanks for letting me know, Mark.

>85 msf59: So true and so very sad.

Have a wonderful weekend, Mark!

Redigerat: sep 29, 2:06 pm

>80 msf59:
Last night I remembered that Ken Follett is writing sweeping historical fiction. But his work isn't always the biting kind of social commentary that the Farrell novels have proved to be. It is quite a talent that can tell a story with humor and outright sarcasm and yet make it social commentary without falling into screed territory.

I had hopes that I would finish Singapore Grip this weekend, but I have a heavy schedule for the weekend and don't think that will happen. I have about 250 pages to read.

sep 29, 4:50 pm

>86 karenmarie: Happy Friday, Karen. I will be camping near Iowa City. First time at this campground.

>87 richardderus: " Belief is immune to logic..." I think that sums it up right there, RD.

>88 atozgrl: >89 Storeetllr: It just never stops, right?

>90 alcottacre: Happy Friday, Stasia. Good plan on Fourth Wing. I might do the second book on audio.

sep 29, 4:55 pm

>91 benitastrnad: I really enjoyed the first 2 Pillars of the Earth books, Benita but they are in a different class than the Empire Trilogy, IMHO.

I am closing in on the halfway point in Singapore Grip. Currently on chapter 33. Japan has attacked. Matthew is coming out of his fever delirium, the Human Condition has arrived and Walter wants to put on a parade. I hope to read a nice chunk over the weekend.

sep 29, 10:03 pm

Stopping by to say hi, Mark , and enjoy Singapore Grip.

sep 30, 12:46 am

>93 msf59:
I spent a bit more time reading this afternoon than I thought I would and I am now about 200 pages from the end. It is looking grim on the front lines of Singapore - bombs, fire, and Walter still trying to find a husband for Joan.

sep 30, 7:45 am

>94 vancouverdeb: Happy Saturday, Deb. Yep, I am enjoying The Singapore Grip very much. Thanks.

>95 benitastrnad: I am so glad you are motoring along with SG, Benita. You normally don't get through such a big book so quickly, right?

Redigerat: sep 30, 8:19 am

"It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption..."

I picked up Five Wounds on Audible quite a while back. I know Jeff is a fan but I don't recall a lot of other LT activity on this one. I just started it. Reminds me a bit of Luis Alberto Urrea.

Redigerat: sep 30, 8:53 am

^Some recent acquisitions. All look promising. Joe recommended the Yeats, a poet I have never really explored. A couple of GNs I plan on enjoying. I will start This Other Eden soon. The Dayhiker's Guide I just received from ER. It looks perfect.

sep 30, 12:21 pm

Good afternoon, Mark! Happy Saturday.

>92 msf59: Iowa City is where my mother met my father – they were both in the music department at the U of Iowa @ Iowa City.

>98 msf59: Yay for acquisitions, especially with the Postal Truck stamp of approval.

I've just seen finches and Cardinals today, and somebody knocked my hummingbird feeder down. I'll put out one more, to give them some energy for their migration. I also need to put more suet out.

sep 30, 1:08 pm

Happy Saturday, Mark! I know, a rare Joe sighting. I’ll try to behave. Nice haul up in >98 msf59:. I’m very curious about the Paul Harding. Could he win the Booker twice? (Didn’t Tinkers win?)

My next is the Emily Wilson translation of The Iliad, which I imagine will take awhile. I’m almost done with the terrific GN The complete The Killer which you got me started on. Not everybody’s flavor, but it’ll be hard to beat as my favorite GN of the year, even more so than Ducks.

What beautiful weather we’re having! Poor NYC! That friend you met from there, Phil, is taking it all in with a sense of humor, sending a photo of a man floating on an inner tube in the flooded street.

We both had our Spanish lesson this morning and now Becca and Indy are visiting. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend.

sep 30, 3:06 pm

>85 msf59:. "Trickle Down Tyranny", that's a great phrase---very apt.

sep 30, 3:49 pm

>99 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I am happy with my acquisitions. I don't think I have been to Iowa City. Cool to hear that your parents met there. My feeders have been fairly active.

>100 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Great to see you over here, my friend. I am looking forward to the latest Harding. I think Tinkers won the Pulitzer, not the Booker. Good luck with The Iliad and I am so glad that you loved The Killer so much.

Bummer about NYC and that blast of rain. Yep, I am enjoying my weekend. Heading to a brewery later on.

>101 banjo123: I love that line too, Rhonda. Happy Saturday.

sep 30, 5:44 pm

>95 benitastrnad: Read a nice chunk today, Benita. I am into Part 4 and starting chapter 43. Penang has fallen, Francois has new clothes, the wedding is off, Matthew runs into Vera. Definitely keeping my interest.

sep 30, 8:16 pm

Saw the pic over on Katie’s thread. Wow, dude, you scored!

okt 1, 7:41 am

>104 drneutron: Hi, Jim. The bourbon tasting went very well. I highly recommend the Oak & Eden and it is under $40.

Redigerat: okt 1, 8:04 am

Hello October! I am happy to report that September was another terrific reading month for me, both in both quantity and quality. I read 11 books. 3 of those were GNs and 3 hovered around the 4.5 star mark. The Gift of Rain and Tom Lake were my favorites. I could also include The Singapore Grip but I won't finish that for a few more days. I read 4 off shelf, with one being an audio backlog. I hope to do better there but there are so many new books I still want to read.

October Picks:

This Other Eden by Paul Harding AlphaKit: H
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (shared read)
How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair AlphaKit: H
Our Strangers: Stories by Lydia Davis

okt 1, 8:34 am

>106 msf59: Your October picks sound very good indeed, Birddude.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather.

okt 1, 8:38 am

>107 richardderus: Hey, RD. Yep, looking forward to my October reads. Do you plan ahead in your reading or do you go off the cuff?

okt 1, 8:40 am

^At the zoo with Grandma yesterday. There was a carousel there and that seemed to be his favorite.

okt 1, 8:46 am

>108 msf59: I go by outlines...within a set parameter, I mood-read what gives me the welcoming eye at thet moment.

>109 msf59: Happy faces!

okt 1, 8:46 am

Happy Sunday, Mark! Hasn't this weather been awesome!! The coming week has sunshine and warm temps every day. Perfect for a hike, catching those birdies migrating south or just reading on the deck.
I very much enjoyed The Other Eden. One of my picks for the Booker. If I Survive You is another top pick for me.

okt 1, 9:17 am

>110 richardderus: It is interesting how many mood readers there are here. I normally have a few books in mind for the month and usually stick to it. Of course, getting books read off the shelf in always a priority for me, so these selections could be mood orientated.

>111 Carmenere: Happy Sunday, Lynda. Good to see you. Yep, I completely agree with you about our current weather. Even when it is sunny and 80-plus, it doesn't feel like August heat and the nights remain cool.

I hope to get out to do some hiking and birding this week. Looking forward to This Other Eden.

okt 1, 9:57 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy Sunday to you.

>106 msf59: Congrats on a great reading month.

>109 msf59: Sweet pic of Sue and Jackson. Both look happy to be there with each other.

>110 richardderus: and >112 msf59: I’m a mood reader and have also learned that challenges don’t work for me. Seems too much like homework. I even have trouble reading all the books for my RL book club. I just abandoned Shy by Max Porter, which will be discussed next Sunday. I’ll go to the meeting, however, because every once in a while the discussion prompts me to want to actually re-start a book I thought I’d abandoned. Plus I like the women in the group.

Right now I’m reading 5 books, switching when the mood strikes me. *smile*

okt 1, 12:32 pm

>106 msf59:/>109 msf59: My! How he’s grown! And getting cuter by the day. How fun that you and Sue got to take him to the zoo. Brookfield? My grands love carousels too.

>113 karenmarie: I’m with you on that about challenges = assigned reading = homework.

TBH, challenges of any kind stress me out. These days, I just wanna have fun.

okt 1, 12:49 pm

I have about 70 pages to read in Singapore Grip.

You are correct about my being slow to get reading done. However, being retired has helped. I now do most of my reading in the morning while drinking my coffee. I also try to read for 1 hour while I eat my lunch. It has been easier to fall into these patterns now that I am in Tuscaloosa and not in Munden doing all that other work that needed to be done. Her active times were definitely different than mine and that upset my routine.

I hope to start Skippy Dies tonight. I want to get these two books (it and Singapore Grip) off my plate ASAP as I have other reading to do for other reading groups.

okt 1, 4:10 pm

>113 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. September treated me just fine. I like that Sue & Jack pic. I knew you were one of those "mood" readers and you are certainly not alone.

>114 Storeetllr: Hi, Mary. Only the women went to the zoo on Saturday with Jack and yes it was Brookfield Zoo. It was very crowded so I am glad I didn't go. Hey, nothing wrong with comfort reading.

>115 benitastrnad: You have done a great job getting through The Singapore Grip, Benita. I will have 2 more days of reading left. You will also get a big head start on Skippy Dies too, since I am reading This Other Eden first.

Redigerat: okt 1, 5:41 pm

>109 msf59: He knows he's indulging the grand-ones!

>112 msf59: >113 karenmarie: I can do challenge reading but from time to time just go into mood read mode. And I do sometimes drop a book I picked up for a challenge if I just can't right now.

okt 1, 11:38 pm

>116 msf59:
I finished!!!! Singapore Grip was a book well worth reading.

The pun in Blackett and Webb - Black(ett) as in the color Black, or Black deeds, or Black as sin. Webb, as in spider webb, webb of lies, webb of deceit.

okt 2, 6:55 am

'Morning, Mark!

Too early for the bird report. I've got some errands today and some reading to do, of course.

okt 2, 7:47 am

>117 quondame: Hi, Susan. Jack had a good time with the ladies. Glad to hear you are a mix of mood/challenge in your reading life.

>118 benitastrnad: Hooray! Don't post your final thoughts until I finish. I should be done tomorrow. Thanks for the Blackett and Webb pun. I would have never got it. Very clever, though.

>119 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Up early, eh? Good luck with those errands.

okt 2, 3:42 pm

>120 msf59:
It came to me while I was reading one of the fire fighting scenes. Blackett was at home worrying about his rubber and why couldn't he just deal with Japs as he had been dealing with the other races? The scene switched to Matt who was fighting the fire and comparing it to spider webs, while he was thinking about economics and the failures of the European powers.

I loved the fire fighting scenes. He sure can write a battle scene - even when it is a battle between men and fire. Those reminded me of some of the scenes in Connie Willis's book To Say Nothing of the Dog.

okt 2, 6:32 pm

Mark, when are we starting Skippy Dies? Just asking for planning purposes.

Have a lovely evening!

Redigerat: okt 2, 6:40 pm

>121 benitastrnad: Good thoughts on the firefighting scenes, Benita. The fierce attacks on Singapore are intense. I did find it amusing that Monty fled on the ship with the singing group and tried to get Matthew to join him. I have less than 50 pages left. It is a bit of an exhausting read but so much of it is top-notch.

>122 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. I think Benita has started Skippy Dies. I plan on starting it this weekend, if you want to join me then. I want to bookhorn a shorter novel before I start that one.

Redigerat: okt 2, 6:41 pm

-Scott Stantis

okt 3, 2:14 am

>109 msf59: Great picture of Sue and Jack! Enjoy This Other Eden. It's a difficult read, but interesting.

okt 3, 7:08 am

>125 vancouverdeb: Glad you like the pic, Deb. I hope to dip into This Other Eden today.

okt 3, 7:09 am


okt 3, 7:44 am

>124 msf59: That is SOOO true.

Enjoy the morning's birding!

okt 3, 9:33 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy Tuesday to you.

>124 msf59: Stanis got that one right.

>127 msf59: Nice.

A Cardinal. Another on the gutter. And that's it.

okt 3, 4:06 pm

>128 richardderus: Hey, RD. I really enjoyed my solo birding this AM. Thanks.

>129 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I never saw a cardinal on my solo walk today but did see 3 Carolina Chickadees. Yah!

Redigerat: okt 3, 6:41 pm

"In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discovered an island where they could make a life together. More than a century later, the Honeys’ descendants remain there, with an eccentric, diverse band of neighbors...Then comes the intrusion of “civilization”: eugenics-minded state officials determine to cleanse” the island..."

This Other Eden is on the Booker's short list and has garnered much praise. I really liked his Pulitzer winning novel Tinkers back in 2010, giving it 4 stars. His follow-up Enon wasn't as strong. I have high hopes for his latest. I read a few pages today but will spend more time with it tomorrow.

Redigerat: okt 4, 7:20 am

^This photo was from my solo bird stroll yesterday, walking east toward the morning sun. A light layer of fog hanging above the meadow. The birds were pretty active too but mostly robins, blue jays and woodpeckers. This trail also follows along the Des Plaines River. Not much in the water but mallards and geese. I did see a pair of belted kingfishers, which are always a treat. No photos...

okt 4, 7:26 am

Happy mid week!

Excellent September stats! You had so many 4* reads. Hopefully the trend continues for you through October.

>132 msf59: Beautiful photo. What a great way to start the day!

okt 4, 7:29 am

>109 msf59: looks like a lovely time with the wee man.

>132 msf59: Gorgeous shot Mark.

okt 4, 7:43 am

>133 figsfromthistle: Happy Wednesday, Anita. I did have a good reading month in September and there is no reason that October will deliver more of the same. Glad you like the photo.

>134 Caroline_McElwee: Hi, Caroline. I get to spend the next 2 days with Jackson. Looking forward to it. Glad you like the photo.

okt 4, 8:24 am

>132 msf59: What a lovely fall morning that image presents. Perfect weather to be out and about. Enjoy it!

okt 4, 8:43 am

>132 msf59: - Nice photo! I am getting similar views in our backyard in the mornings, with the angle of the sun and the light mist at gound level. I love this time of year :)

okt 4, 11:17 am

Hi, Mark. Love your fall morning photo up there, though it reminds me that I really dislike the morning sun in my eyes!

I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on This Other Eden!

Karen O

okt 4, 12:33 pm

>123 msf59: This weekend works for me. I am also going to be reading Murray's The Bee Sting at the same time, which should be interesting.

>127 msf59: I do not listen to podcasts, but I listen to audiobooks quite a bit :)

>131 msf59: I still need to get to that one. My local library has a copy so I will be getting to it soon - probably by November.

>132 msf59: Lovely shot!

okt 4, 1:33 pm

>136 richardderus: Hey, RD. Another nice day today, with a touch more humidity. There is rain in our future. Me, Juno and the books for the rest of the afternoon.

>137 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I am glad you get views like that in your backyard. I have to venture out a distance to get mine.

>138 klobrien2: It also makes it tough to spot birds, Karen. Grins...I prefer the view going back. I plan on reading a nice chunk of This Other Eden this PM.

>139 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. I can't believe you will also be reading The Bee Sting, along with Skippy Dies. Good for you. Looking forward to reading more of This Other Eden.

Redigerat: okt 4, 1:37 pm

-Walt Handelsman

Redigerat: okt 4, 10:33 pm

>131 msf59: Hi Mark, I just picked up a copy of This Other Eden at the library yesterday and read the first couple of pages this morning. I need to read the book I just started before I sit down with it, though. It's on the National Book Award short list, too, I see. I like the cover (British?) that you posted better than the one on my book.

I loved both photos of Jackson on horseback (although that's probably not a horse he's on at the zoo)!

>98 msf59: For some reason, I initially read the top book title as "Daydrinker's Guide to the National Parks". "Dayhiker's" sounds...safer. :)

okt 4, 11:59 pm

So .... what are you're final thoughts on Singapore Grip?

I liked this novel, but I think that might have been because I had some previous knowledge of the politics and the place before I started reading. I also knew what was coming so the sense of doom was looming for all the people in the story. I didn't care for the speculative last chapter with the "you might picture Kate married ..." blah blah blah. I thought that was totally unnecessary. The book should have just ended with Matthew's final thoughts about hope for the future.

This was a totally absorbing novel. At least it was for me. This is in total contrast to Siege of Krishnapur which I had to force myself to pick up everyday. This story sucked me in by introducing people who turned out to be villains and idiots, but presenting them at the beginning of the story as being steady-as-she-goes types. They were - as long as things were going their way. I ended up loving Archer, Mr. Wu, Dupingey, and to some degree Matthew and Erhendorf.

The novel also succeeded as a statement about the vile practices of colonialism and what was wrong with that kind of mercantile empire system. The author made his statement in a fictitious way, but filled with enough facts that the truth won out. Very well done. I never got that sense in the first book. This novel succeeded, above and beyond my expectations, in doing what the first novel didn't. I definitely will not face the reading of Troubles with the same sense of trepidation that I did Singapore Grip.

For all you readers on LT, you should add this novel to your TBR list.

okt 5, 7:05 am

‘Morning, Mark! Sweet Thursday to you.

>132 msf59: Beautiful photo. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t seen a Kingfisher in many years – there used to be one that hung out at a pond that I drove by on my way into town. We still call it the Kingfisher Pond, although recently it's more like Bald Eagle and Heron pond.

>141 msf59: It would be funny except that it’s so scary, with Bannon in the background.

It's just getting light, so I don't have a bird report for you. I did see a hummingbird yesterday, a male, but that may have been the last one. Not quite sure, but the feeder's still out there just in case.

Redigerat: okt 5, 7:36 am

>142 Copperskye: Hi, Joanne. I am glad to hear you have a copy of This Other Eden at hand. It has been such a deep and interesting novel, despite the very dark and disturbing themes. Glad you like the Jack pics. Yep, that is a carousel horse.

Hey, what's wrong with "Daydrinker's Guide to the National Parks"? I think that would make a perfect companion piece.

okt 5, 7:44 am

>143 benitastrnad: Thanks for your final thoughts on Singapore Grip, Benita. I am glad we were able to do a shared read. I also thought it was an excellent novel but like you mentioned earlier, it was a bit exhausting at times too. It could have used a little bit more editing and I agree with you about the tacked on ending. I am definitely glad that Farrell had a few characters to root for. I also liked Matthew, the Major and Francois. I knew very little about this part of the world, so it was a good history lesson, along with my recent read of The Gift of Rain, which dealt with the same time period.

How far along in Skippy Dies are you?

>144 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I hope you get to see another kingfisher one of these days. Always a treat. It is dark and raining here at the moment, so nothing to see folks.

Redigerat: okt 5, 8:15 am

^ Hopefully, more than one new place a year. 😁

okt 5, 11:51 am

>147 msf59: Amen, brother...

okt 5, 7:51 pm

>147 msf59: Beaver Street in Manhattan, to claim my $1.4bn jackpot, would be a just ducky place to go for the first time....

okt 6, 12:17 am

I'll be interested to read your thought on This Other Eden, Mark. It was a disturbing read.

okt 6, 7:26 am

>148 drneutron: 👍

>149 richardderus: I hope you make it to Beaver St, RD and if you win, remember your LT buddies. You play Lotto?

>150 vancouverdeb: Happy Friday. I should finish This Other Eden today or tomorrow. It has been very good.

Redigerat: okt 6, 7:30 am

^Jackson Day. Rain or shine, he loves cruising in his jeep. There is actually a radio too, so he can jam out while navigating the backyard.

Redigerat: okt 6, 8:13 am

^There was a huge bird migration push Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, there were also an enormous amount of bird causalities. These photos are from one single Chicago building. It is incredibly sad, especially since many of these migrating birds are in decline already. I am sure Willowbrook Wildlife Rehab, where I used to volunteer is also overwhelmed with injured birds. Heartbreaking.

FYI- There is a group of volunteers called Bird Collison monitors that traverse downtown Chicago each morning. That is who retrieves these birds and brings the injured ones to rehab. A mighty and important task.

okt 6, 9:08 am

>153 msf59: - There is an organization here in Toronto that has been doing this for years. It's called FLAP:

It is truly heartbreaking, to see this but it doesn't have to be that way. Sadly, the ones who could legislate things that might help, aren't interested in doing anything... human nature

okt 6, 9:36 am

>153 msf59: OMIGAWSH

Such a terrible end for the poor birbs.

>152 msf59: *baaaw*

>151 msf59: Not regularly, but with a billion on the line, I'll risk $2. Enjoy the weekend-ahead's reads!

okt 6, 9:54 am

>152 msf59: The kid in me is so jealous of that Jeep! And that big yard to drive around in! What a great toy!

Karen O

P.s. now I feel like driving somewhere…Right now! Good thing I have errands to run later.

Have a great weekend, Mark!

okt 6, 10:03 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy Friday to you and have fun with Jackson today.

>152 msf59: Cute pics, wow.

>153 msf59: Ugh.

okt 6, 12:33 pm

>152 msf59: Go, Jackson!

>153 msf59: Oh, how utterly sad.

I am planning on starting Skippy Dies on Sunday.

okt 6, 1:45 pm

I am doing a reading for another book group right now, but hope to finish that book today. That means that I will start Skippy Dies tomorrow or Sunday.

I am scheduled to spend most of tomorrow at the local Native American Festival in Moundville, Alabama so won't get much reading done on it until Sunday.

okt 6, 1:51 pm

Oh , that is awful and shocking , all of those dead birds . So sad.

okt 6, 5:10 pm

>154 jessibud2: Happy Friday, Shelley. Hooray for FLAP! I am glad you have an organization there too, helping out the birds. I hope your city is doing better with prevention.

>155 richardderus: Hey, RD. Yep, poor birbs. A terrible sight to see. Good luck with your Lotto. I do not play but Sue does.

>156 klobrien2: Happy Friday, Karen. I got to watch Jack cruise around again today in his jeep. Born to be wild. I hope he inspired you to go for a long drive.

okt 6, 5:13 pm

>157 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I had a good day with Jack. We kept busy.

>158 alcottacre: Happy Friday, Stasia. I plan on starting Skippy Dies tomorrow.

>159 benitastrnad: Perfect timing then, Benita. I will probably start Skippy Dies tomorrow. Have a good time at the Native American Festival. That sounds awesome.

>160 vancouverdeb: It sure is, my friend.

Redigerat: okt 6, 5:41 pm

>152 msf59: Oh that is some kind of fun!

>153 msf59: Oh no fun at all. I grieve over those singles that smack into our window.

okt 6, 5:41 pm

>162 msf59: OK, I will just be a bit behind.

okt 6, 10:06 pm

>153 msf59: Oh Mark, that is heartbreaking!!!!

I started Skippy Dies this evening.

Redigerat: okt 6, 11:39 pm

>153 msf59: Tragic, especially since all they had to do was turn off the lights in the building overnight. This large migration was expected:

okt 7, 5:11 am

>153 msf59: So sad.

>152 msf59: Love it.

okt 7, 7:46 am

>163 quondame: A mix of joy and sadness there, Susan.

>164 alcottacre: You will catch up quickly, my friend. 😁

>165 EBT1002: Happy Saturday, Ellen. I was hoping you were still going to join us on Skippy Dies. Yah!

>166 kac522: Thanks for sharing that, Kathy. I wish there was a way to fine these building owners and not a slap on the wrist either.

>167 Caroline_McElwee: I shouldn't have put the sad post so close to the happy one, Caroline.

Redigerat: okt 7, 7:48 am

-Michael Ramirez

okt 7, 9:26 am

>169 msf59: So depressingly, eternally true....

okt 7, 9:43 am

‘Morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you. Enjoy your day.

>169 msf59: Got that right.

okt 7, 3:52 pm

Mark , The Bee Sting is excellent! I am loving it . I think you will want to put on your TBR list .

okt 7, 3:56 pm

Dang, I've fallen a bit behind again.

>132 msf59: Beautiful picture! Looks like a nice walk.

>141 msf59: Love it!

>152 msf59: That's a heck of a jeep! I didn't realize they came that big for small boys.

>153 msf59: That just breaks my heart. Downtown Raleigh has a "lights out" program for fall migration. I don't know exactly how successful they are in getting compliance, but every building that takes part helps.

okt 7, 5:52 pm

>170 richardderus: >171 karenmarie: Hey, RD & Karen. I hope you are both having a fine Saturday and boo to the Clown Show!

>172 vancouverdeb: That is great news, Deb. I am also enjoying Skippy Dies. Have you read that one?

>173 atozgrl: Happy Saturday, Irene. Glad you like the pics & cartoons. The good thing about the size of Jack's jeep is, that he can ride it for a couple of years but knowing him, he might be driving the real thing by then. Grins...

okt 7, 8:03 pm

>153 msf59: That's awful. Just from one building.....I think most people don't realize the impact buildings do have on birds. I know that in Toronto, at least there is a bit of effort to minimize bird deaths by installing bird friendly glass.

>152 msf59: Look at Jackson go! Just wait until he reaches driving age, he will be a pro. My best friend had a pink car but it did not have a radio!

okt 7, 11:28 pm

>168 msf59: No, I do not think so with this one. On top of the length of the book, there is the size of the printed text for me to contend with. I bet it takes me at least 10 days to get through it.

okt 8, 5:30 am

>153 msf59: How sad, so many... :'(

okt 8, 7:41 am

>175 figsfromthistle: I think what happened in this case, Anita, is that the lights were left on in this building. Something that could have easily been avoided. I wish the building owner could be ticketed and heavily.

>176 alcottacre: It is definitely another big read, Stasia. It will probably take me about 10 days too but I am liking it in the early going.

>177 FAMeulstee: I completely agree, Anita. 🥲

Redigerat: okt 8, 7:53 am

"Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the subject of this dazzling and uproarious novel, unraveling a mystery that links the boys of Seabrook College to their parents and teachers in ways nobody could have imagined...As the twenty-first century enters its teenage years, this is a breathtaking novel from a young writer who will come to define his generation."

Sometimes when a new author has a new book out, in this case Murray's The Bee Sting it gives me the right nudge to get to an earlier work that has been languishing on shelf forever. This also recently happened with The Gift of Rain and The House of Doors, (which I plan on reading in December). I am also glad to be doing a shared read with Stasia, Benita and Ellen on Skippy Dies. I am 60 pages in. Still sorting through the many characters but the writing is impressive. Another chunkster though, so this will take a while.

Redigerat: okt 8, 9:01 am

oopsy..,sorry about that

okt 8, 8:08 am

>180 jessibud2: Is this good? LOL.

okt 8, 9:01 am

OY! Sorry. Will remove it and repost it on my thread. Just call me Sieve-Brain.

okt 8, 9:36 am

>182 jessibud2: Absolutely no problem, Shelley. We all have our "seive-brain" moments.

okt 8, 11:13 am

'Morning, Mark, and happy Sunday to you.

Finches on my feeders, haven't seen a hummingbird in 3 days, not unexpected. I'll take the feeder down mid-week, just in case there's a straggler or two.

okt 8, 11:17 am

Good morning Mark.
I’m rethinking my decision to bail on Skippy. Maybe I’ll give it to page 100. Last night I was in an impatient mood and, as you say, it’s a chunkster. I’ve had it on my shelves for years — the receipt that was still in the book tells me I purchased it at Ivy’s Bookshop in Victoria, BC.

okt 8, 6:41 pm

>184 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Thanks for the feeder report. I had my first dark-eyed juncos of the season. Yes, winter is coming but I like having these cute little guys around for the next several months.

>185 EBT1002: Happy Sunday, Ellen. I can understand you abandoning Skippy Dies. It is certainly not for everyone, but I am glad you will give it another chance.

okt 8, 6:41 pm

I will start Skippy Dies in earnest tonight. I usually read about 50 pages a day. That means that it is going to take me about 12 days to finish this book. I will take a bit longer to get it read than you guys, but go ahead and discuss it at will. If it grabs me, it won't matter what is written here, as I will finish it anyway.

Redigerat: okt 8, 6:46 pm

^I am at the 130 page mark in Skippy Dies. It is still keeping my attention, although where these characters are heading, I have no idea.

>187 benitastrnad: Glad to hear that you will start Skippy Dies tonight. Until the story really comes together, there is not much to report in the early going. Kids getting up to hijinks...

okt 8, 7:06 pm

I did a little preliminary searching about Paul Murray this evening and found out that Murray is a native of Dublin. The school in Skippy Dies is based on the school he attended in Dublin called Blackrock College. I don't think that means that the novel is autobiographical. It probably means that some of the incidents described in the novel are based in actual events.
Bur first - there is the Sunday night lineup of Masterpiece Mysteries on PBS awaiting. I will start giving the novel my full book reading attention later tonight.

okt 8, 7:32 pm

Hi Mark! So sad about the migratory bird deaths. Hopefully more places will take it seriously to turn off the lights.

okt 8, 10:22 pm

>189 benitastrnad: Thanks for doing a little of the background on Murray, Benita. I didn't think of doing that. I hope to put a nice dent into Skippy Dies through the week.

>190 banjo123: Happy Sunday, Rhonda. Yes, this mass murder of birds has caused quite a stir throughout the country. I hope more changes can be made.

okt 9, 7:02 am

‘Morning, Mark. Happy day after Sunday to you.

Too early for the bird report. Not insomnia – I got a good 5 hours straight sleep so am content. The lure of coffee got me downstairs. *smile*

I saw a male hummingbird yesterday, though.

okt 9, 7:46 am

>192 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I am glad you got a nice 5 hour stretch of sleep and are enjoying that coffee. I think our hummingbirds have moved on for the season. We will see them again in April.

Redigerat: okt 10, 6:37 pm


Neon zigzag…
migraine embedded in cloud…
I draw all the blinds,
hide in the darkened basement.
The rumble of thunder
like a feared uncle threatening
from the next room.
Even the dog trembles,
the fur on a cartoon cat stands on end,
its paw caught in a live socket.
Fluorescence blinding
every window.
There was a meeting
of people struck by lightning
who lived to proudly tell of it,
and Captain Marvel wears its emblem
bright on his chest. Think
of Ben Franklin’s crazy kite probing
for answers. Still,
the barometer tumbles,
a sizzle of fear splits the sky.
It’s Zeus, high on amphetamines, aiming
his bolts in my direction.

-Linda Pastan

Redigerat: okt 9, 8:34 am

^ I recently finished Almost an Elegy: New and Later Selected Poems- 4.8 stars. Linda Pastan is an American poet, 1932-2023. I was unfamiliar with her work but this collection blew me away. I will most likely purchase a copy for my "Keeper" shelf. She will be worth returning back to.

okt 9, 10:28 am

>195 msf59: I just requested “Almost an Elegy.” Can’t pass up a poetry book that you like!

Karen O

okt 9, 10:36 am

Hoping for a less avicidal week ahead, Mark. The Holocaust of the Turkeys is yet to come here, of course....

okt 9, 4:16 pm

>195 msf59: Noted Mark. She is not a name I know.

okt 9, 5:37 pm

>196 klobrien2: I am glad I got your attention with Almost an Elegy. It is such a good collection and completely accessible.

>197 richardderus: Hey, RD. I had to look up "avicide". Yikes. Birders are not a fan. "The Holocaust of the Turkeys" is pretty damn funny though. 😁

>198 Caroline_McElwee: She was a new poet to me too, Caroline. Check her out. I think you will be impressed.

okt 9, 6:11 pm

Well, since I am a vegan, I will not be decimating any turkeys!

okt 9, 6:16 pm

Well, that saves one. Whew!!

okt 9, 6:20 pm

>201 msf59: Well, we have to start somewhere!

Redigerat: okt 9, 6:21 pm

-Clay Bennett

okt 9, 6:21 pm

>202 alcottacre: Absolutely! 😁👍

okt 9, 6:22 pm

okt 9, 7:30 pm

Hi Mark. It’s good to get caught up with you again. I enjoyed your chats with Benita about Singapore Grip. I have that one on the shelf and will try to get to it early next year. My experience with Farrell’s books has been “read slowly and ponder”. I don’t have that much patience these days so I’ll wait until we are snowed in!

Love the variety of Jackson pictures. My favorites are on the horse and cruising in his Jeep. Like all kiddos, he is growing up much too quickly. Blink your eyes and he will be going to Kindergarten. Blink again and he will be in college!

okt 9, 7:45 pm

Hey there , Mark, no I have not read Skippy Dies but perhaps one day. I am loving The Bee Sting though. I think my next chunkster will be The Covenant of Water, which I purchased some months ago for 1/2 price and it's sitting on the shelves. Maybe November ?

okt 10, 7:19 am

>206 Donna828: Hi, Donna. Thanks for catching up. You are correct- The Singapore Grip was a big book and demanded much attention. I am happy to report it was worth the time and effort, as were the first 2 in the trilogy. Looking forward to your thoughts on it.

Glad you like the Jackson pics. He is an outdoorsy kind of kid.

>207 vancouverdeb: Hey, Deb. Glad to hear that you are loving The Bee Sting. Another one, I will have to get to. The Covenant of Water is another one on my TBR. Maybe I can clear the decks and join you in November.

okt 10, 7:43 am

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy your morning walk. Hopefully you see a lot a great birds and are not hiding from the cold ;)

okt 10, 8:13 am

>209 figsfromthistle: Good morning, Anita. It is cold out but it should still be beautiful out there with all the fall color. Hoping to see more migratory birds passing through. The last week has been exceptional.

okt 10, 8:15 am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Tuesday to you. Enjoy your birding adventure this a.m.

No birds on the feeders right now. They'll come for visits later, no doubt.

okt 10, 8:15 am

98- The Singapore Grip (Empire Trilogy) by J.G. Farrell 4.6 stars

The Singapore Grip is the last of Farrell’s acclaimed Empire Trilogy. This one focuses on Singapore, from 1939-45. It follows the Brackett family. A wealthy British family and how they dealt with the approaching war and it’s aftermath. The book is incredibly smart and ambitious. I learned a lot about this part of the world and the trials of colonialism. It is also a big novel and requires much time and effort. I think it was worth it.

99- This Other Eden by Paul Harding 4.7 stars

Apple Island is a small Island off the coast of New England. Its inhabitants are a mixed-raced community, that have survived here for several generations. In 1912, a group of eugenics-minded state officials arrive to cleanse the island of these poor, misguided misfits. The prose is beautiful throughout, despite the heart-breaking story. It is based on a true story and fans of Geraldine Brooks and Emma Donaghue will find this rewarding.

okt 10, 8:46 am

I'm glad you rated the Harding so highly, Mark. I thought it was very good, too.

okt 10, 9:59 am

>203 msf59: Why is his role in the J6 nightmare not being smeared in his sex-abuser's shouthole every time he stomps onto any stage at all?


Anyway, Stasia and I will silently stare at all you avicidal diners perpetuating the Holocaust of the Turkeys as That Day approaches.

okt 10, 4:23 pm

>213 katiekrug: I have not ready any of the other Booker short-list titles but I think the Harding is worthy.

>214 richardderus: You aren't vegan, right? Just not a fan of turkey? If my memory is correct.

Redigerat: okt 10, 5:37 pm

^ I went to the Morton Arboretum today with my birding buddies. It was a chilly morning but the fall beauty kept us warm, plus the birds were plentiful. We clocked in 40 species. For October, this is a good number.

okt 10, 5:55 pm

"History, in the end, is only another kind of story, and stories are different from the truth. The truth is messy and chaotic and all over the place. Often it just doesn’t make sense. Stories make things make sense, but the way they do that is to leave out anything that doesn’t fit..."

I am at the halfway point in Skippy Dies and I am having a good time with it. It will be interesting to see how the second half plays out, now that we are familiar with most of the characters. Other than Skippy's fate, it is hard to tell where the rest of these kids and teachers are heading.

I hope it also working out for Benita and Ellen. 🤞

okt 10, 7:38 pm

Happy Tuesday. Just wanted to pop in and say that Fourth Wing arrived today. As soon as it trickles up thru the TBR pile I'll share it again and see if anyone else wants it. Thanks!

Speaking of that, I have to update my Virtual Library collection and post it to see if anybody wants anything from my "done" pile

okt 11, 12:27 am

>212 msf59:
It is the story of the Blackett family. Remember the pun on the way the family got its money? (I suspect you were a victim of spell check.) I thought that Singapore Grip was well worth the time it took to read it. If this title is languishing on your TBR shelves, and novels with lots of action, sly, and often cynical British humor is your thing, get the book down and read it. IMO Singapore Grip should have won the Booker for Farrell and not Siege of Krishnapur. Singapore is so much better of a book. I will have to get to it and read Troubles now that I have read the other two.

>217 msf59:
I am only at about page 50, but I think that Murray has done a great job of bringing the drama of life in a Middle School (or Junior High) to life. He really nailed all that Tween angst, but as I said over in Ellen's thread, he also illustrated in a very funny scene, that Tween angst doesn't end when the Tween/Teen years do. I have enjoyed reading his preliminary sketches of the major characters and am finding Ruprecht to be the most interesting. Murray has made the nerdiest kid in the class the most interesting for me.

This book is going to take me a bit longer to finish as I will be leaving at the end of the week to drive to Kansas. That will cut into my reading time. It will allow me to listen to three or four books, but Skippy Dies won't be one of them. My local library did not have a recorded version of it, and I didn't want to make a request through Inter-Library Loan. I am liking this book, and unless something really weird happens farther on, like the writing style deteriorates, I will continue to read it.

okt 11, 12:32 am

I'm glad you are enjoying Skippy Dies, Mark. I finished The Bee Sting this evening and I really loved it!

I'm not sure when I will read The Covenant of Water. Maybe November, or perhaps I will need a break from chunksters. But I'll keep it in mind.

>216 msf59: Gorgeous pictures, Mark.

okt 11, 5:59 am

>216 msf59: Beautiful pictures, Mark. Autumn atmosphere.

You make me want to read all of those chunksters!

okt 11, 6:49 am

>216 msf59: Looks lovely, Mark, and 40 species is a lot!

>217 msf59: I remember that I totally forgot Skippy's fate on my way through the book, when I read it years ago. Looking forward to read it again later this month.

okt 11, 7:19 am

>218 mahsdad: Happy Wednesday, Jeff. Thanks for letting me know that you got the book. Looking forward to your thoughts on it.

>219 benitastrnad: Oops! Thanks for catching that blunder, Benita. Spellcheck or not, I should have caught it. I have a feeling you are really going to like Troubles.

I am also very glad to hear that you are enjoying Skippy Dies. As you can tell, this is not a book for everyone. It also takes devotion to get through but his easy prose does make it go smoothly. I probably have another solid 5 days of reading.

okt 11, 7:26 am

>220 vancouverdeb: Hooray for The Bee Sting! I probably won't get to it until next year sometime, but it is on the list. I will also see if I can bookhorn in The Covenant of Water by the end of the year. It is another chunkster. Glad you like the pics, Deb.

>221 EllaTim: Happy Wednesday, Ella. So good to see you. Glad you like the pics. I hope you can fit in a chunkster or 2. 😁

>222 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita. You are right- 40 species is very good no matter what time of year. I am so glad to hear that you are doing a reread of Skippy Dies. Such devotion.

Redigerat: okt 11, 7:28 am

okt 11, 8:42 am

>225 msf59: Accurate

okt 11, 11:23 am

>215 msf59: No, not vegan or veggie, just don't like turkey. LOVE stuffing and cranberry sauce, so I take a sliver of turkey and a trencherful of stuffing slathered in cranberry sauce.

>216 msf59: Gorgeous! Just lush.

>225 msf59: ...he knows me...

okt 11, 11:46 am

>212 msf59: I had This Other Eden home from the library, but I just do not have time to read it before I leave Saturday - not with all the other books I need to read before then. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it!

>216 msf59: Gorgeous pictures!

>225 msf59: I am rather thinking that the contents of the BlackHole are taller than that :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Mark!

okt 11, 12:58 pm

I’m not a huge fans of roast turkey, but once a year it’s enjoyable. I do like turkey soup at that time of year.

Beautiful pics of the Morton Arboretum. I don’t remember ever going there when I lived in Chicago, but I might have. (I don’t remember a lot about that time in my life. On purpose, on most cases.)

Happy Humpday!

okt 11, 2:22 pm

‘Afternoon, Mark! I hope your solo birding adventure went well. Jenna saw a male hummingbird yesterday. Nobody today so far.

>225 msf59: Yup. Totally nailed it.

Redigerat: okt 11, 4:11 pm

>2 msf59: Oh, my heart hurts because those pictures of the little one are so sweet! Such a beautiful, real smile.

Karen O

I don’t know why LT started me way up top for unread posts…but I got to revisit your top pictures again!

okt 11, 5:32 pm

>226 bell7: Like minds...

>227 richardderus: Hey, nothing wrong with that Thanksgiving meal, RD. I am a big fan of the stuffing too. I miss my Mom's dressing.

>228 alcottacre: Happy Wednesday, Stasia. I hope you request This Other Eden once you get back. Glad you like the pics and thanks again for your offer of The Bee Sting.

okt 11, 5:38 pm

>229 Storeetllr: Hi, Mary. I will have to ask my wife to make turkey soup. Sounds good. The Morton Arboretum is a beautiful oasis and it is only 15 minutes from my house. If you ever make it back to Chicago...😁

>230 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I had a very good solo jaunt this morning. I tallied up 27 species. Still not bad for October. Hooray for the hummer sighting. I haven't seen one in 2 or 3 weeks.

>231 klobrien2: I like seeing my toppers too, Karen. Especially my little Jackson. I have a Jackson Day coming up tomorrow. Yah!

Redigerat: okt 11, 5:54 pm

-Steve Kelley

okt 11, 7:13 pm

>234 msf59: Awomen.

okt 11, 7:46 pm

I made significant progress on Skippy Dies. I read it while I was waiting for my car when I had the oil changed. I read it while I was waiting at the Social Security office. (did you know that some social security offices are not open since COVID? I didn't, so waited in vain.) I am now on page 80 and I am liking this book. I think I have the basic plot figured out, but not how all the pieces of the puzzle fit into the picture.

This author has a very nice writing style. He gets all the nuances of those Tweens and the angst that so many teachers have about being in dead-end jobs that nobody appreciates. I think he has the school scene exactly right. I hope to be able to spend some time with the book tonight and then tomorrow morning.

okt 12, 1:00 am

Hi Mark, I am happy to see that you (and Benita) are enjoying Skippy Dies. I am looking forward to eventually reading The Bee Sting but I probably won't get to it for some time.

okt 12, 7:56 am

>236 benitastrnad: I am so glad you are enjoying Skippy, Benita. Nice to see you have the plot figured out. I am into the second half and still haven't figured out exactly where everything is headed. Of course, I am liking it too and I am impressed at how well the narrative flows.

>237 DeltaQueen50: Sweet Thursday, Judy. I have a copy of The Bee Sting coming my way, so maybe we could do a shared read. Early next year?

Redigerat: okt 12, 8:26 am

101- Funny Things: Charles M. Schulz by Luca Debus 4 stars

"Charles M. Schulz was arguably the most influential and popular cartoonist of the 20th century, and he poured many of his own emotions and experiences into the world of Peanuts over its iconic 50-year run. Now, Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi pay tribute to the master by telling the story of Schulz’s life in the medium that made him the comic strip."

I really enjoyed this illustrated look at Charles M. Schulz, (1922-2000). I hesitate to call it a bio because much of the dialogue is imagined but it seems to have stuck very close to Schulz's life, which I knew very little of, despite growing up with "Peanuts". He was the most influential and popular cartoonist of the past century. This book may get a bit long in the tooth at times but it is definitely worth checking out.

Redigerat: okt 12, 8:36 am

okt 12, 10:14 am

‘Morning Mark, and sweet Thursday to you. Enjoy your rare a.m. book time.

>233 msf59: 27 species is wonderful.

>234 msf59: I’m studiously avoiding the news. Just.Can’t.Handle.It.

>239 msf59: We all love the Peanuts gang here in central NC.

You picked two wonderful strips in >240 msf59:.

okt 12, 12:04 pm

>239 msf59: I am going to have to find a copy of that one! I loved Peanuts.

okt 12, 1:05 pm

Howdy, Jackson's Granddad. That graphic Charles Schultz story is cool. I've been thinking of buying a copy of a graphic presentation about Ernie Bushmiller, who created the comic strip "Nancy". Read a review of it somewhere.

Trying to build momentum after September's apparent meltdown. I finished The Chocolate Cobweb for last month's AAC. I think I'll sample some more of Turgenev's Fathers and Children next.

okt 12, 2:00 pm

Hi Mark. I’m glad I’ve continued with Skippy Dies. I probably won’t get to read much until this weekend. I have a work event this evening and then tomorrow is TGIF. Yay! In ten weeks every day will be Saturday.

I liked how the Hop scene wrapped up. Skippy is a sympathetic character.

okt 12, 3:13 pm

Hi Mark. I’ve started Skippy dies as well. I like his writing style. It is a lot of pages, but you don’t feel it as much when it’s an e-book.

>240 msf59: Smile..

okt 12, 3:36 pm

Escaped your thread with only two BB's: >195 msf59: Almost an Elegy: New and Later Selected Poems and >239 msf59: Funny Things: Charles M. Schulz

Although other books sound wonderful, I am way toooooo far behind on everything (fall chores, book reviews, reading the pile from the library) to take on any others right now.

Question though: Can one read The Singapore Grip as a stand alone or is it better to have read the other two first?

Hope you had a grand time camping!

Redigerat: okt 12, 4:29 pm

>241 karenmarie: Sweet Thursday, Karen. I enjoyed my AM reading time. Thanks. Hooray for 27 species & Peanuts!

>242 alcottacre: I am sure you will enjoy Funny Things, Stasia. Such a treat.

>243 weird_O: Howdy, Bill. Great to see you. You have a bunch of lovely grandchildren and I am stuck with a measly one. 😁❤️

I am also interested in Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller: The Man Who Created Nancy.

okt 12, 4:36 pm

>244 EBT1002: Hooray for continuing with Skippy Dies and a short 10 weeks to go. How exciting, my friend.

>245 EllaTim: I am so glad to hear that you also reading Skippy Dies, Ella. I am at the 500 page mark and all I can say, is that it is worth hanging in there.

>246 streamsong: Be still my beating heart! Great to see you Janet and I am glad I at least caught you with a couple of BBs. The poetry collection and GN would be well worth your time.

Yes, you can read The Singapore Grip or any of the Empire Trilogy titles as stand-alones. There is no connection other than the "colonialism" theme. All 3 are terrific.

Redigerat: okt 12, 4:40 pm

"A spectacular escape and a man-hunt that could change the future of a nation - and lay one man's past to rest. Sean Duffy's got nothing. And when you've got nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. So when MI5 come knocking, Sean knows exactly what they want, and what he'll want in return, but he hasn't got the first idea how to get it..."

^As I have mentioned before (and will again), I am reading very little crime series fiction these days but thanks to my LT buddies who have turned me on to this excellent series, I am continuing with book 3- In the Morning I'll be Gone. These also work exceptionally well on audio.

okt 12, 6:39 pm

>249 msf59: - I've read the first 5, Mark, and am starting a re-visit via audio tomorrow with The Cold, Cold Ground before finally getting to #6 and the just-released #7. It's a great series.

okt 12, 7:50 pm

>249 msf59: Maybe I'll take Gun Street Girl (next up for me) on my Veterans' Day Readers Retreat weekend. I agree that it's a worthwhile series.

okt 13, 12:51 am

>249 msf59: I need to get to my copy of The Cold, Cold Ground, Mark. I'm currently reading a book for a library book club, which is not very interesting at all. I'd like to fit in a spooky or witchy read for Spooktember.

okt 13, 7:23 am

>250 katiekrug: Happy Friday, Katie. Glad to hear that you are already revisiting the Sean Duffy series. That definitely confirms your love for the series.

>251 EBT1002: I didn't realize you were also a fan of the Sean Duffy series. Gun Street Girl will be my next one, although I like to really space them out.

>252 vancouverdeb: Happy Friday, Deb. I am pretty sure that The Cold, Cold Ground will hook you into the series, once you get to it.

Redigerat: okt 13, 7:27 am

I see that Jon Fosse, a Norwegian novelist and playwright has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I had not heard of this author before. Is anyone else here, familiar with him and if so, what would you recommend by him? It sounds like his Septology series, is his most popular.

Redigerat: okt 13, 10:20 am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Friday/Jackson Day.

>249 msf59: I've got the first 6 in the series on my shelves. I absolutely love the titles.

Our landscape company has been here this morning, mowing and weed eating, so the birds are somewhat spooked. I do see a female Cardinal though.

okt 13, 12:07 pm

>254 msf59: I hadn't heard of him either. 🤷‍♀️

okt 13, 2:09 pm

>254 msf59:
His winning the medal is a bit ho hum. He writes in Norwegian and few of his works are available in English. He is a playwright. Or at least most of his listed work is plays.

okt 13, 3:05 pm

>254 msf59: Not familiar, Mark, but he was already on my list, as two of his books were longlisted for a Dutch prize for translated books. After hearing he had won the Nobel, we ordered his complete Septology series, and I hope to get them soon.

I started Skippy Dies today.

okt 13, 5:43 pm

>255 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I hope you can find time to start the Sean Duffy series. I think you would like it.

>256 The_Hibernator: Looks like a puzzling pick, Rachel.

>257 benitastrnad: Maybe he won for being a playwright? Kind of like when Dylan won a few years ago.

>258 FAMeulstee: You don't waste time do you, Anita? We can't wait to hear your thoughts on Fosse. Hope you enjoy your reread of Skippy Dies. I am enjoying it very much.

Redigerat: okt 13, 5:51 pm

"If someone would have been looking out for this kid this wouldn't have happened...but no one has, because no one cares, instead we pay lip-service to caring, like we pay lip-service to charity and all those Christian values we supposedly stand for while we're slumped in front of our incredibly high-resolution plasma-TVs, or we're driving off to our holiday homes in our SUVs. Like, don't you think it is a fucking joke, calling that a Christian life? Do you think fucking Jesus would have driven around in an SUV?"

-Skippy Dies

Redigerat: okt 14, 7:54 am

-Peter Kuper

okt 14, 8:29 am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you.

I've got finches on the feeders. Hummingbirds have been gone for 4 days now, I think, so I'll bring in the feeder and put it up for next April.

okt 14, 8:41 am

Morning, Karen. Thanks for the feeder report. With the rain here, not much to report. I think I saw a cardinal and a house finch.

okt 14, 3:08 pm

Just stopping by to wish you a happy (if wet) weekend!

okt 14, 3:30 pm

Happy weekend, Mark! The Schulz biography(?) sounds interesting.

okt 14, 7:30 pm

>261 msf59: So good. And too sadly true.

I have always been a big fan of Peanuts so I might keep an eye out for the story of Schultz. I have a few vintage -- original printing -- copies of early books of the comics. I just love them.

I'm past the halfway point in Skippy Dies and still enjoying it. I'm interested to see how Howard's story converges with Skippy's death.

okt 15, 7:46 am

>264 Storeetllr: Happy Sunday, Mary. I hope you are enjoying the weekend too.

>265 banjo123: Happy Sunday, Rhonda. I hope you can track down the Schulz GN. If you are a fan, it is worth it.

>266 EBT1002: I hope you can find the Shultz GN, Ellen. I think you would have a good time with it. I am glad you are hanging in there with Skippy Dies. Enjoy your Sunday!

Redigerat: okt 15, 7:55 am

"From one of the most accomplished writers of our time comes another brilliant collection of short fiction. Artful, deft, and inventive; Lydia Davis' newest collection of stories delves into topics ranging from marriage to tiny insects. These stories are a celebration of language and careful observation that once again confirms Davis' sincere love and mastery of the form."

I wanted a change of pace after reading some heavy chunksters in the past few weeks and I have also been itching to read a story collection. Well, I found it with Our Strangers: Stories, which I snagged as an e-galley a couple of months back. It was published earlier this month. Most of these stories are extremely short, some are a couple of sentences long but there is a hypnotic quality to them, which has me hooked in the first 30-40 pages. I had not heard of this author before. Has anyone here read her?

okt 15, 8:18 am

>268 msf59: Glad you got the DRC of that one...they turned me down, the rotters!

Enjoy it for me.

okt 15, 8:25 am

Morning, Richard. I think her style will not be for everyone but I am having a good time with it. Sorry, you got turned down. As many reviews that you do for these e-galleys, I am surprised that they turn you down for anything.

okt 15, 8:57 am

Happy Sunday, Mark! Will heads back to Columbus today :( but we got so much accomplished here in the past few weeks and had fun doing it. Will is a budding birder and we went on a few walks including one organized.
There's a few more things to do around the house besides keeping up with leaves but my reading time should be picking up.

okt 15, 9:00 am

Morning, Lynda. Good to see you. I bet you are sorry Will is leaving today. Glad you got so much done at the house. A budding birder, eh? That is awesome. Has he started his Life List? You live in a good area for birding.

Redigerat: okt 15, 9:04 am

102- The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quad 4 stars

This engaging family drama focuses on a Hispanic family living in New Mexico and is centered around Amadeo Padilla, a 33 year layabout and his 15 year old pregnant daughter. They are all living with Amadeo’s mother, who is the only one working. Plenty of humor to be found here but just edgy enough to keep my interest throughout. Fans of Luis Albert Urrea should enjoy this novel. It also worked really well on audio.

okt 15, 9:32 am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Sunday to you.

Good luck to your Bears today. As I wrote on my thread, I've given up on US football and am strictly an Arsenal fan.

I saw a male Cardinal earlier, but the feeders are eerily quiet right now.

okt 15, 1:33 pm

>248 msf59: Sorry, I just haven't been able to keep up much with LT right now. I miss my friends' threads and I hope to do a better job keeping up.

That's good to know that Singapore Grip works as a stand alone. It's especially interesting to me, because as my Global challenge thread indicates, I have read nothing at all from or about Singapore.

okt 15, 1:38 pm

Good morning Mark and happy Sunday. Glad you found a good collection of stories to read. I'm not familiar with Lydia Davis.

okt 15, 4:51 pm

>274 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Yep, my Bears lost again. They are 1-5. Ugh! Maybe I will start watching soccer.

>275 streamsong: Hi, Janet. I sure miss seeing you around too, my friend. Sometimes LT is a hard place to keep up with it, so I completely understand. I hope you get to The Singapore Grip.

>276 EBT1002: Happy Sunday, Ellen. So far, I am enjoying the light heartiness of my story collection. Just what the doctor ordered.

Redigerat: okt 17, 7:41 am

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

-William Butler Yeats

Joe suggested I give Yeats a try. I have read very little of him. I normally do not connect with classic poetry but this Irish poet is working for me.

okt 15, 5:51 pm

I love Yeats (maybe the majority Irish blood in me?)... One of my favorites:

"When You Are Old"

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

I also love "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death."


Sorry about your Bears. As a Giants fan, I can commiserate...

Redigerat: okt 15, 8:07 pm

>279 katiekrug: Glad to hear from another Yeats fan, Katie. Funny, I had ""When You Are Old" tagged in the collection I am reading. You beat me to the punch. Perfect!!

Yep, my Bears are awful. Good luck to your Giants tonight.

okt 15, 11:18 pm

Stopping by see what comments / review you have for Skippy Dies. I guess I'll wait another day or two. I'm glad you found a lighter read in the form of Singapore Grip. Hope you had a nice relaxing day.

okt 16, 7:10 am

>281 vancouverdeb: Hey, Deb. Just mulling over some final thoughts on Skippy Dies. I will do a mini-review soon. The Singapore Grip was definitely not my lighter read. 😄 That honor our goes to my current collection Our Strangers: Stories.

okt 16, 9:08 am

'Morning, Mark!

Sorry about your Bears. Looks like the Panthers are 2-4.

Ah, one Finch is visiting. I cleaned and filled the birdbath on Saturday but with just occasional glances in that direction haven't seen anybody using it.

okt 16, 1:30 pm

Happy Monday, Karen. Yep, the Bears! Why do I even bother? Just checked my feeders- lots of house sparrows, a couple of house finch and a pair of doves.

okt 16, 1:33 pm

-John Darkow

okt 16, 2:32 pm

I didn't get much read on Skippy Dies in the last two days. I was on the road driving to Kansas again. I listened to two books while driving, but didn't get much read. I read abut 20 pages in it this morning and am now on page 230. I have just finished reading about the events of the Hop and starting on the aftermath of that event. I am going to try to finish this book this week, but due to family obligations I may be slower than normal in my reading. It won't be because the book is hard to read, or not catching my interest. It is really the opposite of that. This is a good'un as we say here in Kansas.

okt 16, 2:37 pm

>285 msf59: Wonderful medicine, that! A trip to CVS later, and I feel renewed.Enjoy the rest of the Monday, Birddude.

okt 16, 4:44 pm

>285 msf59: Excellent idea!

Have a lovely week!

okt 16, 6:05 pm

>286 benitastrnad: I am so glad you are enjoying Skippy Dies, Benita. I hope everything goes well on your Kansas trip.

>287 richardderus: My favorite medicine, RD. I hope you enjoyed your walk. I have been having a good day.

>288 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary. It is off to a good start.

okt 17, 6:55 am

‘Morning, Mark, and happy Tuesday to you.

>285 msf59: I’m news-adverse right now. I do see headlines, but don’t dig down and actually read articles. Ignorance can be bliss.

Too early to see birds or the feeders.

okt 17, 7:26 am

>290 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Yep, nothing but chaos on the news these days. Like you, not exactly ignoring it but I also rather keep it at a distance. Dark here too, my friend.

okt 26, 11:09 am

>261 msf59: Like.

>268 msf59: I bought this recently, yet to start. I read a few random stories over the years, but not a volume. I'm waiting for her essays to land in paperback next month Mark.
Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Thirteen