The landmark week

This has been a week of landmarks, mostly small but still notable and one big one….

  • I got to the end of Little Women. It took me nigh on three weeks to read this dratted book. I loved the
    character of Jo March when I was young – she is the element of the book that has stayed with me for years and it seems I am not alone in finding her the most interesting of the four March sisters. But I had forgotten how preachy this novel is strongpoisonwith its initial device of making the sisters follow the course of Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress and then the wise homilies of the saintly Marmee inserted every few pages.  If it were not a required text for my children’s literature course – and there is an essay due on it – I would have abandoned it long before the first book was completed. By way of an antidote I started to read one of the series of detective stories from the 1930s by  Dorothy L. Sayers which feature the aristocratic private investigator Lord Peter Whimsey. Strong Poison is the fifth in the series and sees Whimsey try to save a woman from the hangman. It’s a welcome light relief after Alcott but not too frothy.

 

  • My official TBR has now passed the 200 mark. Despite good intentions at the start of the year and some concentrated effort to read what I already possess, it’s higher now than it was in January. I could winge and moan but its actually a pleasure to know I have books to suit every mood right at my fingertips (providing I can find the book without the piles tumbling over).  Book number 200 is The Conservationist by the South African writer and political activist Nadine Gordimer who received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Conservationist was joint winner of the  Booker Prize in 1974 (sharing the prize with Stanley Middleton’s Holiday). I knew that her writing dealt extensively  with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid. What I didn’t know was that she gave Nelson Mandela advice on his famous 1964 defence speech at the trial which led to his conviction for life.
  • Inspired by another blogger – I think it was Lisa at ANZlovers –  I have finally started to make Goodreads work more effectively for me at keeping a list of books I want to read. I had these in so many formats and places beforehand that it was impossible to keep track. I had links to reviews, emails, Evernote notes. But few of them actually said where i had learned about the book. Now I have a wishlist in Goodreads and have started to post comments to track where I heard about the book or who recommended it. Bliss….
  • I know in some homes the word Christmas is banned until December 1 and that was the case with me for years but this year its starting earlier than planned because of a health issue. I’ve just launched a 12 days of Christmas game  and giveaway which starts on December 1 – its the first time I’ve ever done this on my blog. Hope it works. Also hoping lots of people join in…..
  • And finally, the biggest landmark of them all. I finished my course of chemotherapy. I’ve been fortunate and the side effects haven’t been too debilitating but still its good to know from the tests that it had the desired effect in halting the progress. I have a lot more of the mountain to climb before my health is back on track but I’m now beyond base camp. Next milestone is radiotherapy which begins on Nov 28. Cause for celebration I think don’t you?

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

35 thoughts on “The landmark week

  • November 25, 2016 at 3:20 pm
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    I love this post of milestones. The most wonderful here of all is that you completed your round of chemotherapy and didn’t suffer a lot of ill effects.
    Like you, my TBR is bigger now than at the beginning of the year. I have learned to accept it. I make every effort to only add books that I legitimately want to read, but there are many. Your right, we should just be thankful that we have so many to choose from.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 10:23 am
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    I had no idea about the chemo, well done for that and the radiotheraphy (from people I know) won’t be nearly as debilitating. And well done on LW. I’m kind of nervous about re-reading that now, as a few people have not liked it recently!

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  • November 21, 2016 at 9:52 pm
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    congrats on getting through Little Women and all the other little landmarks. A great big hooray for finishing chemo and it being successful! I hope the next part goes well too!

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  • November 21, 2016 at 6:31 pm
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    Add me to the list of those who hadn’t a clue about your chemotherapy. It’s a cause for celebration indeed that they are finished AND halted the progress of the cancer. I do hope all goes well with the next roiund of treatment. Treat yourself well.

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  • November 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm
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    I had no idea you were undergoing chemo treatments, Karen. Congratulations on finishing and hopefully things will continue to look good as you move on to the next step!

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  • November 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm
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    Good luck with the next part of your treatment. I always look forward to reading your blog. KBO as, I think, Churchill said!

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  • November 21, 2016 at 2:32 pm
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    First and most importantly: hot dang, congrats on finishing up chemo. That stuff is no joke.

    Secondly, I also recently added ‘The Conservationist’ to my to-read list! Embarrassingly, my to-read list is a leeeettle (*cough*, a LOT) longer than yours, so who the heck knows when I’ll get to it. But I look forward to seeing our thoughts!

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    • November 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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      *YOUR thoughts, sorry. Unless we have some kind of telepathic connection I don’t know about.

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  • November 21, 2016 at 8:32 am
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    Wishing you well for the next round of treatment, and a speedy recovery. Am also amazed that you continued blogging during the process. Giver that woman a gold star, a Noddy Badge, and a big hug!

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  • November 21, 2016 at 8:23 am
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    I hope all goes well for the next stage of your treatment. I hadn’t known that you were undergoing chemo and am amazed that you’ve kept blogging through it, A solace, I hope. As for Marmee, even as a child I had to grit my teeth…

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  • November 21, 2016 at 1:32 am
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    I am sorry I did not already know you were undergoing chemo. Congratulations for coming through, wish you all the best for your recovery

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:41 am
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      I didn’t talk about it earlier because it didn’t seem to me something others would be interested in knowing

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      • November 22, 2016 at 1:36 am
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        Maybe, but we’re getting to know you and that makes us care

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  • November 20, 2016 at 9:43 pm
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    Congratulations on finishing the chemo, and I hope it is successful, as it so often is.
    I’m pleased to hear that the Goodreads shelving is working for you!

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:42 am
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      Still have a way to go to clean up my goodreads lists – mine are nowhere as organised as yours are.

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  • November 20, 2016 at 8:22 pm
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    I hope the radiotherapy goes well and that you regain your full health as soon as possible.

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  • November 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm
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    well done on finishing ‘Little Women’, it’s so saccharine when read as an adult. I’m really looking forward to your 12 days of Christmas game – I’ve already started jotting down ideas as they occur to me. Finally, congratulations of getting through chemo. That’s no picnic, and definitely cause for celebration. Good luck with the radiotherapy 🙂

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:44 am
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      God to know someone is so keen they are already thing of links for 12 days. I just started with the first one and already thinking “what have I starts here”

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  • November 20, 2016 at 7:48 pm
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    Congratulations on finishing chemo and good luck with the next stage.
    I had similar problems with the preachy nature of Heidi which had entirely passed me by as a child but made me cringe when reading it to my daughter – unfortunately she loved it so I had to plough through.

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:46 am
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      Most of the early children’s books had this high moral tone which today we find intrusive and spoils the story. Fortunately it did eventually go away…

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  • November 20, 2016 at 7:01 pm
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    I “only” had radiotherapy, also at this time of the year, the fatigue and the darkness is not a good combination. I was pleased to have a light-therapy-lamp, which I still use during the dark months. And remember to be good to yourself and give yourself treats – like a new book :). I’m impressed that you have been able to keep up the blog during your treatment. Good luck in the future

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:48 am
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      Good advice. I’m already following the treats idea. Sometimes it’s a book but it could also be a manicure or a facial. The other thing that helps is to have a few tasks for each day so I don’t end up just spending all day on Facebook etc…

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  • November 20, 2016 at 6:59 pm
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    Definitely cause for celebration! Good prospects to start the new year ! And yay on ending Little Women. I haven’t read that one yet, and I don’t plan to really ;-).

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:49 am
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      You will not be missing too much if yiu avoid Little Eomen in my view but I know other people love it.

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  • November 20, 2016 at 6:59 pm
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    Oh, wow, that chemo finish sounds good! Sending positive thoughts!

    I do recall loving and rereading Little Women in childhood…and then again as an adult. I had forgotten about the moralistic aspects, or perhaps they fit into the world I knew back then. But hard to stomach now, I agree.

    The only thing that keeps my stacks from toppling over onto me: they are mostly on my Kindle. Safely tucked away in the Cloud, with a few on the device.

    And my stacks are smaller than they were. I keep track on Curl up and Read, and reviews are linked to Goodreads, which is helpful, when trying to remember if I’ve read a book. Amazing how I can forget!

    Thanks for sharing…and I must read Dorothy Sayers!

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    • November 21, 2016 at 7:49 am
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      Maybe as a child reader we didn’t notice those things so much but as a more experienced adult reader they are obvious?

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  • November 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm
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    Ah wow, well done you for getting through the chemo! The radiotherapy is tiring (that’s what my mum had) but the side effects aren’t as debilitating as for chemo, I think, so if you got through that, you can definitely handle this.

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    • November 20, 2016 at 6:29 pm
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      I hope that proves to be the case. A counsellor at the Macmillan centre described radiotherapy like microwaving food – not sure I really like the idea of being ‘cooked’

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      • November 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm
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        No, it’s not the most appealing of metaphors, is it!

        Reply

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