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Currently Reading

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Alexandra Fuller, Lisette Lecat
Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea
Teffi, Irina Steinberg, Anne Marie Jackson, Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Edythe C. Haber
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee, Bob Reed
Collection: The Tailor of Panama / Our Game / The Night Manager
John le Carré
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life
Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani
Progress: 127/304 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry
The Woman In White
Wilkie Collins
Merlin Trilogy
Mary Stewart
Progress: 340/928 pages
Quartet in Autumn
Barbara Pym
Progress: 99/186 pages

Recently Added

The Saltmarsh Murders - Gladys Mitchell
Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers, Mark Meadows
Women Warriors - Pamela D. Toler
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." ― Mae West


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"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." ― Robert A. Heinlein


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Around the World in 80 Books Mostly by Female Authors: Master Update Post

[World map created with Mapchart.net]

 

The aim: To diversify my reading and read as many books as possible (not necessarily 80) set in, and by authors from, countries all over the world.  Female authors preferred.  If a book is set in a location other than that of the author's nationality, it can apply to either (but not both).

 

On the map I'm only tracking new reads, not also rereads.

 

The Books:

Africa

Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Purple Hibiscus (new)

 

Egypt

Elizabeth Peters: Crocodile on the Sandbank (new)

 

 

 

 

Americas

USA

Michelle Obama: Becoming (new)

Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Red Lamp (new)

* Puerto Rico

Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon (new)

 

Canada

Stef Penney: The Tenderness of Wolves (new)

 

Brazil

Clarice Lispector: The Hour of the Star (new)

 

 

 

 

 

Asia

China

Xinran: The Good Women of China (new)

 

Japan

Shizuko Natsuki: Murder at Mt. Fuji (new)

 

North Korea

Hyeonseo Lee: The Girl with Seven Names (new)

 

Sri Lanka

Michael Ondaatje: Anil's Ghost (new)

 

Turkey

Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve (new)

 

 

 

 

 

Australia / Oceania

Australia

Joan Lindsay: Picnic at Hanging Rock (new)

 

New Zealand

Ngaio Marsh: Vintage Murder and Died in the Wool (both revisited on audio)

 

 

 

 

 

Europe

United Kingdom

Lorna Nicholl Morgan: Another Little Murder (new)

Stephen Fry, John Woolf, Nick Baker: Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets (new)

P.D. James: A Taste for Death (revisited on audio)

Agatha Christie: The Big Four, Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, The Unexpected Guest, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and The Secret Adversary (all revisited on audio; The Unexpected Guest also in print); The Lost Plays: Butter in a Lordly Dish / Personal Call / Murder in the Mews (new)

Elizabeth Ferrars: Murder Among Friends (new)

Barbara Pym: Excellent Women (new)

Terry Pratchett: Equal Rites (revisited on audio)

Georgette Heyer: Why Shoot a Butler? (new)

Nicholas Blake: A Question of Proof (new)

Joy Ellis: The Murderer's Son (new)

Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death (new)

Elizabeth Gaskell: My Lady Ludlow (new)

Various Authors / Contributors: Agatha Christie Close Up: A Radio Investigation (new)

Virginia Woolf: The String Quartet (new)

John Buchan: The 39 Steps (revisited on audio)

Oscar Wilde: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (new)

Ellis Peters: The Hermit of Eyton Forest (reread)

Patricia Wentworth: The Alington Inheritance, and The Gazebo (both new)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Whose Body? (reread)

Martin Fido: The World of Sherlock Holmes (new)

 

Ireland

Tana French: The Witch Elm (new)

 

Greece

Stephen Fry: Mythos (new)

Madeline Miller: Circe (new)

 

Sweden

Astrid Lindgren: Die Menschheit hat den Verstand verloren: Tagebücher 1939-1945 (A World Gone Mad: Diaries, 1939-45) (new)

 

France

Emmuska Orczy: The Elusive Pimpernel (new)

 

Croatia

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (revisited on audio)

(Note: Yugoslavia at the time of the writing -- but the action is set after the train has passed Vinkovci, aka "The Gateway to Croatia".)

 

 

 

 

 

The "Gender Wars" Stats:

Read to date, in 2019:

Books by female authors: 37

- new: 26

- rereads: 11

 

Books by male authors: 9

- new: 7

- rereads: 2

 

Books by F & M mixed teams / anthologies: 1

- new: 1

- rereads:

Finally an audio version that does justice to this particular book.

Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers, Mark Meadows

I don't know if this January 2019 release signals a new series of audios of all of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, but if it does, please God let them all be narrated by Mark Meadows.  Although my overall favorites still remain the Ian Carmichael audios (not the BBC full cast dramatizations, but those where Carmichael actually narrates the unabridged novels themselves), there doesn't seem to be a full set of those available any longer, and the alternatives produced in the interim are of -- putting it gently -- extremely varied quality.** 

 

This is particularly true for the first Wimsey book, Whose Body?, where those looking for an audio version so far have had the choice between two ridiculously over the top, trying-too-hard (and thus failing) British versions -- one male, one female -- and an American version failing even worse, for incongruously incorporating what the narrator obviously thinks Wimsey's nasal upper crust voice would have sounded like into an otherwise unabashedly American accent. 

 

Imagine my delight, therefore, in listening to this Mark Meadows recording and finding that Meadows quite literally hits all the right notes; chiefly with Wimsey's own voice, but actually with those of all the characters and, notably, also with Sayers's own narrative voice ... and with extra brownie points for also getting the occasional French and German bits right, with only a slight English accent to boot.  So even if this recording doesn't usher in a full series of new Lord Peter Wimsey recordings -- although I hope it may -- it's definitely the one I'd recommend as the one to turn to for those audio- rather than print-edition minded.  Who knows, you may even end up finding you like the usually shrugged-on Whose Body? better -- or at any rate not any worse -- than some of the later Wimsey novels.  (Five Red Herrings and Unnatural Death do come to mind in that department ...)

___________________________________

 

** The one notable older, "non-Carmichael" audio I have yet to listen to is Patrick Malahide's recording of Five Red Herrings.  Even with, as BT reports, his Scots accent somewhat regionally "off", I can't imagine it to be anywhere near as awful as the so far exstant versions of Whose Body?, however.

Looking For Reviews

 

 

As many of you have realised, most of my posts are of book reviews, fiction and non-fiction.

I am always looking for reviews for my 7 books. So if you would like to do a review swap, please send me a message.

My reviews are posted on Goodreads, Booklikes and Book Pleasures, only.

Have a great week.
Wesley.

 

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Reblogged from Wesley Britton's blog

This is more like it.

The Gazebo - Patricia Wentworth, Diana Bishop

(More than The Alington Inheritance, that is.) -- Still a bit too much of a whiny heroine, but at least we're firmly back in true and trusted Maudie territory.  And it has to be said, while the victim is no Mrs. Boynton (cf. Agatha Christie, Appointment With Death), by the time she finally meets her end few would argue that the world is not a better place without her in it.

 

There are some shades of Grey Mask here (broken off engagement sends the hero to "forn parts", where he roams the wilderness for a few years until he starts missing the old country and returns, only to be plunged straight into his former / still beloved's latest messy circumstances: if there's one trope Wentworth can be said to be overusing, it's probably this one; e.g., it's also the premise of Miss Silver Comes to Stay, and with a twist, of The Traveller Returns / aka She Came Back, and a key character's surprise return also features importantly in The Watersplash, albeit minus broken off engagement) -- and although this is emphatically not an inverted mystery, both the whodunnit and the core "why" is pretty obvious from the get-go.  (Or I've just read too many stories of that type.  But Wentworth really isn't exactly subtle about this particular bit.)  Despite a valiant attempt on Wentworth's part at creating a plausible back story for the "who" and "why", the motive still feels a bit contrived ... or let's say, it's the kind of thing that pretty much only Arthur Conan Doyle could get away with (or the creators of mysteries for young readers, where it's a particular favorite).  But at least Wentworth's attempt here is not any worse than those of other authors using this particular trope.

 

Most of all, though, Wentworth's fine eye for character(s) and human interactions shines once again -- in the portrayal of abusive relationships (there are several here) as well as the creation of the comic relief, in this instance, three gossipping old-maidish sisters -- who in another book might easily have had a different role (and indeed the local gossip is portrayed extremely negatively in The Alington Inheritance) but here it's clear that they are essentially harmless and, indeed, ultimately even helpful to the investigation.  And of course, watching Maudie and her most devoted fan (Frank Abbott) is always a joy.

Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 186 pages.

Quartet in Autumn - Barbara Pym

Is this the fate that would have awaited Pym's heroine from Excellent Women, Mildred Lathbury, if she had decided upon permanent "spinsterhood"?

 

So quintessentially late 1970s -- cheap drabness (the cityscape and office life mirroring the four protagonists's personal lives), occasionally contrasted with and punctuated by the visceral shocks of the psychedelic age.  Pym (1913-1980) quite obviously more than empathized with her protagonists -- but unlike other writers born before WWI and still publishing books in the 1970s (looking at you, Dame Agatha and Ms Marsh), she seems to also have looked upon the concerns and attitudes of the representatives of younger generations with quite a fair amount of sympathy.

 

Now that the two female protagonists have retired (and I'm about halfway through the book), it seems a good moment to take a break.  I wonder how Pym is going to keep the "quartet" together, though -- the office so far having provided their only, albeit persistent, point of contact.  I guess I'll be finding out tomorrow!

If you thought Wentworth couldn't go any lower than "Grey Mask" ...

The Alington Inheritance (A Miss Silver Mystery) - Patricia Wentworth The Alington Inheritance - Patricia Wentworth, Diana Bishop

... don't go anywhere near this one.

 

Whiny, immature, TSTL special snowflake heroine.  Insta-love.  Completely implausible, "fortuitous" (*major headdesk moment*) first encounter between hero and heroine.  Weak plotline that is further weakened by an "inverse mystery" structure -- it certainly does NOT help that we know whodunnit from the get-go.

 

One star for Maudie being Maudie.  Half a star for de-facto street urchin Dicke's occasional comic relief.

 

So much for the much-needed comfort reading I was hoping for ...

 

Next!!

Reading progress update: I've read 127 out of 304 pages.

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani

 

Almost done with chapter 3 and so far, so fluffy and easily digestible.  It reminds me a lot of some of the animal-related science programs on TV that I used to be glued to as a kid (and that I sometimes still enjoy watching) -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing; they did / do get quite a bit of interesting information across, even if somewhat superficial in actual science terms.  As a result, there are a number of things I already knew going in (e.g., the Komodo dragon's bite and the garter snakes' fake-female pheromenes featured in a program I watched just recently), but there's enough that I hadn't heard about before to keep me interested.

 

The humor was funny for about 5 pages, then it got a bit much and I started getting a sort of "one-upmanship" vibe between the two authors as to who could come up with the funnier turn of phrase, and it began to intrude into the text.  I'm glad that by the beginning of chapter 3 they seem to have been over it and are now keeping it to more bearable levels.

 

Props for mentioning a scientist from my (German) alma mater, Bonn University!  (Prof. Helmut Schmitz, he of the scorched-wood-detecting fire beetles -- whose actual research paper can incidentally be read HERE, in case anybody is interested.)

 


The building where Bonn University's Institute of Zoology is located (an erstwhile palace of the Archbishop / Electoral Prince of Cologne)

A Poor Man's (or Woman's) "House of the Spirits"

The House on the Lagoon - Rosario Ferré, Silvia Sierra

Ugh.  If this hadn't been my final "Snakes and Ladders" book I'd have DNF'd it.  This is essentially a Puerto Rican version of House of the Spirits minus magical realism, plus a plethora of characters and episodes that don't greatly advance the plot (think 500-episode telenovela) and a whole lot of telling instead of showing.  That isn't to say I learned nothing at all about Puerto Rico, its people and its history -- indeed, the island itself was by far this book's most interesting, believable, fully elaborated and just plain likeable character -- but by and large, I'd have accomplished more by reading a nonfiction history book or a travel guide about Puerto Rico ... or by going there to see it for myself.  (Which I'm still hoping to do at some point.)

 

Nevertheless, I've enjoyed my "Snakes and Ladders" run enormously -- a huge thanks to Moonlight Reader for her spur-of-the-moment inspiration in initiating this game!

 

(Charlie and Sunny also say thank you for the exercise and all the snacks along the way.)

 

BookLikes Snakes and Ladders: Done and Dusted!

I finished my last book -- hooray!

 


Charlie and Sunny helped me keeping track of my progress on the board. 

They got to take a break and have some refreshments whenever we reached a new square and I started a new book.

 

 

1. Author is a woman -- Emmuska Orczy: The Elusive Pimpernel

 

 

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

 

6. Title has a color word in it -- Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Red Lamp

-- ladder square, so skipping the next ones ...

 

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

 

... and shortcutting to:

27. Set during WWI or WWII

Well, I happen to also just have finished Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans? ... which is set just between the two wars, so:

 

 

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

 

30. Someone travels by train

And there can be only one response to this one: Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express.  My umpteenth reread, but who cares.  Screw Mt. TBR!

 

 

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

 

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

Hmmm.  I just said I'd pick Ngaio Marsh but probably not this particular book, but what the heck -- I only read this once, long ago, so it can definitely do with a dusting.  So:

Ngaio Marsh: Vintage Murder

 

 

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

 

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death

 

 

 

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

 

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

Elizabeth Gaskell: My Lady Ludlow

 

 

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

 

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

Virginia Woolf: The String Quartet (the words "string quartet" -- as in "music for the bridal waltz", plus there is an embroidered pattern and the color blue on the cover of my audio edition, as in "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" for the bride to wear) ... combined with

Agatha Christie: The Lost Plays and

Agatha Christie - Close Up: A Radio Investigation into the Queen of Crime

 

-- another ladder square, so again skipping the next ones ...

 

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

 

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

Ngaio Marsh: Died in the Wool

 

... aaaand how's that for a perfect finish?  (Even though as per the rules I wouldn't even have needed it ...) So:

 

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!

My four choices were:

 

Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi: Sister of My Heart

Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon

Alexandra Fuller: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve

 

-- and of these, the winning selection was

Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon.

Finished March 11, 2019, ca. 10:30 pm CET!

 

 

 


My little helpers -- also helping me pick books!

(And who'd have known ... they're both mystery fans!)

Those old cheating dissembling tricks ...

 

This (originally from Pepys's diary of March 8, 1666) was the first tweet showing up in my timeline yesterday morning -- very fitting in light of what I started having to work on / against, just yesterday, and what will keep me occupied for the next couple of weeks.

 

I hope I'll be able to stick around for the upcoming group and buddy reads, but I may not contribute a whole lot otherwise.  Here's hoping it won't be too bad, but going by prior experience, I'll likely be in the mood to wring a few people's necks in a couple of weeks.  Oh well -- I guess I'm just going to have to keep telling myself this too shall pass!

 

Armageddon is coming to a screen near you on May 31!

Snakes and Ladders Poll: TA's Final Book to Read?

Sister of My Heart - Julia Whelan, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni The House on the Lagoon - Rosario Ferré, Silvia Sierra Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood - Alexandra Fuller, Lisette Lecat Three Daughters of Eve - Elif Shafak, Alix Dunmore
OK, executive decision time then!

 

Of the two books that are ahead of the others by just about a nose (1 vote) at this point -- namely, Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi's Sister of my Heart and Rosario Ferré's House on the Lagoon -- Ferré's House on the Lagoon is calling more to me at this point.  So that one it will be.

 

Here's the complete result:

 

 

 


 

I've made it to square 100 (yey!), which calls for letting the BookLikes crowd decide my next read.  So, please vote:

 

Which book should I read next?
Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi: Sister of My Heart
                Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon
Alexandra Fuller: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve
 
Created with Quiz Creator

 

The Blurbs:

 

Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi: Sister of My Heart

From the award-winning author of Mistress of Spices, the best-selling novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the family secrets and romantic jealousies that threaten to tear them apart.

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died -- mysteriously and violently -- Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged.

But when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to.

Set in the two worlds of San Francisco and India, this exceptionally moving novel tells a story at once familiar and exotic, seducing listeners from the first minute with the lush prose we have come to expect from Divakaruni. Sister of My Heart is a novel destined to become as widely beloved as it is acclaimed.

 

 

Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon

Finalist for the National Book Award: A breathtaking saga from Puerto Rico's greatest literary voice.

This riveting, multigenerational epic tells the story of two families and the history of Puerto Rico through the eyes of Isabel Monfort and her husband, Quintn Mendizabal. Isabel attempts to immortalize their now-united families -- and, by extension, their homeland -- in a book. The tale that unfolds in her writing has layers upon layers, exploring the nature of love, marriage, family, and Puerto Rico itself.

 

 

Alexandra Fuller: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches. Narrator Lisette Lecat reads this remarkable memoir of a family clinging to a harsh landscape and the dying tenets of colonialism.

'Told with all the intensity of Lorna Sage's Bad Blood ' -- The Times.

 

 

Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve

Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground -- an old Polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past -- and a love -- Peri had tried desperately to forget. The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University, as an 18-year-old sent abroad for the first time and to her dazzling, rebellious professor and his life-changing course on God. It also takes her to her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about Islam and femininity and, finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart.  

 

 

Reblogged from Themis-Athena's Garden of Books

Snakes and Ladders Poll: TA's Final Book to Read?

Sister of My Heart - Julia Whelan, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni The House on the Lagoon - Rosario Ferré, Silvia Sierra Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood - Alexandra Fuller, Lisette Lecat Three Daughters of Eve - Elif Shafak, Alix Dunmore
OK, executive decision time then!

 

Of the two books that are ahead of the others by just about a nose (1 vote) at this point -- namely, Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi's Sister of my Heart and Rosario Ferré's House on the Lagoon -- Ferré's House on the Lagoon is calling more to me at this point.  So that one it will be.

 

Here's the complete result:

 

 

 


 

I've made it to square 100 (yey!), which calls for letting the BookLikes crowd decide my next read.  So, please vote:

 

Which book should I read next?
Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi: Sister of My Heart
                Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon
Alexandra Fuller: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve
 
Created with Quiz Creator

 

The Blurbs:

 

Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi: Sister of My Heart

From the award-winning author of Mistress of Spices, the best-selling novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the family secrets and romantic jealousies that threaten to tear them apart.

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died -- mysteriously and violently -- Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged.

But when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to.

Set in the two worlds of San Francisco and India, this exceptionally moving novel tells a story at once familiar and exotic, seducing listeners from the first minute with the lush prose we have come to expect from Divakaruni. Sister of My Heart is a novel destined to become as widely beloved as it is acclaimed.

 

 

Rosario Ferré: The House on the Lagoon

Finalist for the National Book Award: A breathtaking saga from Puerto Rico's greatest literary voice.

This riveting, multigenerational epic tells the story of two families and the history of Puerto Rico through the eyes of Isabel Monfort and her husband, Quintn Mendizabal. Isabel attempts to immortalize their now-united families -- and, by extension, their homeland -- in a book. The tale that unfolds in her writing has layers upon layers, exploring the nature of love, marriage, family, and Puerto Rico itself.

 

 

Alexandra Fuller: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches. Narrator Lisette Lecat reads this remarkable memoir of a family clinging to a harsh landscape and the dying tenets of colonialism.

'Told with all the intensity of Lorna Sage's Bad Blood ' -- The Times.

 

 

Elif Shafak: Three Daughters of Eve

Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground -- an old Polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past -- and a love -- Peri had tried desperately to forget. The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University, as an 18-year-old sent abroad for the first time and to her dazzling, rebellious professor and his life-changing course on God. It also takes her to her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about Islam and femininity and, finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart.  

 

 

What a Nice Discovery

The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie The Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie Agatha Christie Close Up: A radio investigation into the Queen of Crime - Julian Symons, Jessica Mann, Allen Lane, Richard Attenborough, Peter Saunders, Cliff Michelmore, Margaret Lockwood, Agatha Christie, Nigel Stock

I was listening to the Agatha Christie Close Up CD while adding covers to some of the books imported by MbD earlier this afternoon -- and guess what I discovered?  Penguin Random House is publishing a new series of Christie editions under the Vintage imprint!  And very pretty covers they have, as well ...

 

For Linda: Richard III / Leicester


"The" parking lot

 


Commemorative / explanatory plaque on a wall near the parking lot gates (right-click on image and select "display" for a larger view)



The parking lot is down a narrow alley from Lincoln Cathedral

 


The Tomb in Leicester Cathedral
(Usually surrounded by people -- luckily I was travelling alone, because I had to wait so long to get a shot clear of any people that any travelling companion of mine would have ground their teeth to fine powder waiting until I was done)



The gold-decorated chancel of Leicester Cathedral right behind the altar, where Richard's tomb is located

 


The coffin in which Richard's bones were carried into the cathedral for reburial (the cloth is hand-embroidered)

Reading progress update: I've listened to 160 out of 160 minutes.

The Lost Plays: Butter in a Lordly Dish / Murder in the Mews / Personal Call - Agatha Christie, Ivan S. Brandt, Richard Williams, Full Cast

Sigh.  One of the things we learn in the interviews on CD 1 is that when writing for the stage (or for radio), Christie preferred to write plays "as (original) plays", rather than adapting her own novels; and she only started doing the latter after she found that she didn't much like what other people did to her work when adapting it.  (Hear that, Mr. Osborne?)  Now guess what is one of the first things we learn upon switching to CD 2?  The version of Murder in the Mews included here -- the longest of the three radio plays in this set -- was not actually written by Dame Agatha herself but by someone else and commissioned by the BBC.  Grrrr.

 

Also: How can you possibly have an adaptation of this particular story without its glorious conclusion on the golf links?!