richardderus fourth thread of 2018
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My 2018 Reviewing Goals
I'll shoot for 180 reviews written again this year. It was a doable target, but the reviews could be more exciting....
BookRiot's 2018 Read Harder "Challenge"
This is ALL KATIE KRUG'S FAULT.
1. A book published posthumously
2. A book of true crime
3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
4. A comic written and illustrated by the same person—My Brother's Husband reviewed below.
5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia,
India, China, or South Africa)
7. A western
8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10. A romance novel by or about a person of color
11. A children’s classic published before 1980
12. A celebrity memoir
13. An Oprah Book Club selection
14. A book of social science
15. A one-sitting book
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series
17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19. A book of genre fiction in translation
20. A book with a cover you hate
22. An essay anthology
23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished)
My Reviews Are Here:
Reviews 1-25 are linked there.
26 28 Jan 2018 God Stalk begins a 9 volumes-and-counting series of fantasy novels discussed in post 61.
27 28 Jan 2018 Widdershins introduces a Lovecraft-flavored paranormal crime-solving series discussed in post 68.
28 29 Jan 2018 Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness explicates the scientific and philosophical state of the thought on my dotes, the Tentacled Americans, in post 80.
29 29 January 2018 Eidolon expands the silly, frothy universe of Whyborne & Griffin, gay equivalents to Peabody & Emerson, in post 87.
30 30 Jan 2018 The Messiah of Stockholm does what Ozick does best but I'm tired of in post 124.
31 4 Feb 2018 Four-Day Planet tells the tale of a 45-esque dictator's downfall at the hands of The People in post 244.
I forgot to do my 2017 ANZAC Challenge because I'm just like that when it comes to challenges. So here it is again, since I need to get these books off the TBR!
Oooh, I just found the 2017 ANZAC Reading Challenge! It's October, so I'm going with a 12-entry choice, but I'm starting out with a big advantage: Text sent me a dozen books to blog about that I need to review this year for sure.
ANZAC Bingo 1x12
1) Read a book about love--I'm going with The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong because the love/hate relationship of these brothers is riveting.
2) Read a coming of age novel--Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Sloan a Text Classics entry that I've never heard of, which is exciting.
3) Read a historical fiction--Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley from Text, set in 1950s Outback Oz.
4) Read a book set on a Pacific Island--Pitcairn Pending by Kenneth Bain which it seems I'm the first person on LT to own. Hm.
5) Read a children's classic--The Fire-Raiser by Maurice Gee which you gifted me with on my 50th birthday Kerry!
6) Read a refugee story--The Road to Winter by Mark Smith is post-apocalyptic but the female lead is a "Siley" or asylum-seeker, so I think it fits.
7) Read a scifi novel--Dark Space and Darker Space by Lisa Henry, two very good gay-male led novels by Aussie romance powerhouse-cum-legend in that niche Henry. Excellent, if a small bit grim; together about 100,000 words and directly sequential, so I count them as one novel.
8) Read a book with a place name in the title--Potiki by Patricia Grace, another 50th birthday gift from Kerry whose 5-star review is here.
9) Read a bestseller--Reckoning: A Memoir is, I'm assured, an Aussie bestseller by Magda Szubanski about her Polish WWII spy father's life and how it impacts her to this day.
10) Read a black comedy/noir--Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan combines comedy and suspense in approximately equal measure.
11) Read a debut novel--When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea is set on Jersey during WWII, written by a Jersey native who has, I gather, expatriated to Oz.
12) Read a book of short stories--Dead Americans by Ben Peek, these are thematically linked short stories and I really like Ben so I've *finally* reviewed this book! 4 stars
I'll edit this post to add links to reviews here on LT as they appear. Thanks to Kerry for making this challenge as I needed a spur to make me write the darned reviews already.
God stalk group read with Roni—reviewed here.
The Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald group read on Goodreads
The Odyssey translated by Stanley Lombardo group read on Goodreads
The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson group read on Goodreads
I am here!
(I used this in case you were far away from your computer.) : )
>9 Berly: Hiya Berly-boo! *smooch*
ETA number, cuz apparently I cain't count
Happy new one, Richard!
Dustin or Will?
>1 richardderus: Excellent topper as usual!
>14 brodiew2: It made me smile, Brodie, the familiarity and the friendship it embodied were heartening.
Good morning, RD and happy new thread!
Oh my heavens! Benedict Cumberbatch looking very good. Ditto what Megan said.
BTW, please skip post 248 on my 2nd thread. My reply to your comments in post 247 is Cats, RD! Sorry, but there it is. Toxic spit creatures that they are. ATD, right? precedss horrific pictures of my five favorite toxic spit creatures - couldn't resist.
*smooches* from Madame TVT Horrible
Happy New Thread, RD. Love the toppers. Enjoy your weekend.
Last work day. We will be at the airport, in exactly 48 hours. Grins...
Happy new thread, Richard!
And filled with eye candy: men who are reading! You sure know how to lure me ;-)
Do you like religious iconography? I just found a group of Ukrainians that are doing some sweet 3D wood carvings on eBay. I've always been a fan of icons.
Not all religious. One item they have for sale is a credenza. The left side is hyper ornate rococo, and it transitions into angular cubism on the right. I think the future holds marvels.
>17 mahsdad: Hey there Jeff! Thanks for coming by.
>18 Familyhistorian: Isn't it, Meg? I'm glad you enjoy it as much as I do. I confess I want to snatch that poor paperback out of the evil clutches of the guy in front. That bending of the spine will ruin the book!!
>19 LovingLit: I know, right?! Basically all he has to do is breathe and occasionally say something in that glorious voice and I'll be mooning about pining for him.
>20 karenmarie: *CHOO*
Thagks fr thuh wardig.
>21 msf59: Fifty-one hours from now wintertime will be only a bad memory. Yay!!
>22 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! It's a gorgeous day, though tomorrow marks a short redescent into wintertime with rain and falling temps. It will bottom out at about 0.5C so not really awful.
>26 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hi Larry! I'm okay with ikons. I look at them as art, and when they get into gruesomeness (the open-heart-surgery Jesus pics) I just look away.
The Black Madonna of Czestochowa is a favorite ikon of mine:
So elegant, so deeply loving.
The Infant Jesus of Prague is also amazing:
A symbol to me of the sheer appalling vampiric greed of the church, the lavish and absurd decoration of a doll!
>27 richardderus: But that is part of what makes it so realistic and, at least, he is actually reading the book.
>31 Familyhistorian: No doubt about that! I am so protective of books as objects, though.
A quick *smooch* and hope you're having a good weekend.
One of these days I will get through the 3 BookPages I have at home and send them along.
RD, I must add to the veritable chorus of acclaim for your topper. Very expressive. I read more like the guy in the corner.
Have a great weekend.
>2 richardderus: JUST the section of the paper I'm wanting....hand it over, please, Benny!
Happy new thread Richard.
From the previous one - You got me with Ubik. Requested it from the library and tagged “Richard’s Fault”.
Happy new thread Richard, fourth thread already I can hardly keep up dear friend.
It's fajita night at the Pecan Paradisio, so I brought you some of what we'll be making.
>40 Crazymamie: Yummmm! I love my fajitas inside corn tortillas, unlike the rest of the world, so I brought them out:
Richard, dearest, could you possibly see your way to sharing those yummy looking fajita nachos? Pretty please?
Happy Saturday smooch and congrats on your fourth thread (and January isn't even over yet). I, like others have said, cannot keep up.
>16 richardderus: Nice. I don't recognize their faces. Who are they?
>44 katiekrug: *smooch*
>45 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! No "keeping up" guilt allowed here. You're here when you're here, and that's good enough for me. You have a thread, too, as well as an actual life. It all needs time and attention.
They're no one special...I follow a Pinterest board that features same-sex couples in photographs from all eras. The board owner finds these gems in different places and scans them and posts them. It's a reminder to gay folks that we've always been here, just rendered invisible by the intolerance and/or indifference of straight people.
Good reminder! I love old photos and that one is very evocative. My favorite reminder is from the Diver's Tomb of Paestum, Italy from the 5th Century BC. It's even more stunning in person.
>47 Storeetllr: Erastes and Eromenos. A long, long tradition. Aren't they sweet? The tenderness of that hand behind the head...quite lovely. I'm so glad you shared it.
Ooooh, fajitas! Mmmmm. I made steak gyros on naan tonight. Kinda the same thing...
An ethnic reorientation of a basically SUPERCALAFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS concept: meat, bread, salad.
I am *so* in.
>48 richardderus: I was so taken by the paintings on the tomb, I couldn't tear myself away and missed my train to Sicily and had to go back to Rome where I almost had to sleep in the street for the (3-day bank holiday) weekend. Luckily, a Chinese Roman family I had met took pity on me and gave me a place to stay. Good memories!
>51 Storeetllr: Yes indeed, Italy is one of the mothers of good memories in my life as well.
>52 richardderus: - Gorgeous! I bet those benches open up to store more books, too! ;-)
>56 humouress: Heh. Kid after my own heart.
That's a great use for otherwise unusable space. A long hallway is sometimes necessary for proper functioning of a house but otherwise useless. This way its problem becomes a solution!
>57 richardderus: Hmmm.
>57 richardderus: Unfortunately, the only hallway in our house is neither that long nor that wide and has more doorways. But I'm sure I can find a landing or something... somewhere.
I seem to be posting a lot recently. I think that's because I've got to tidy up my study. But my new computer is in the study. And it's much more fun to see what everyone else is doing on LT than to tidy up. Oh, well.
>58 humouress: *snerk* Oh the pitfalls of instant access to the entire planet, eh Nina?
26 God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: In the first book of the Kencyrath, Jame, a young woman missing her memories, struggles out of the haunted wastes into Tai-tastigon, the old, corrupt, rich and god-infested city between the mountains and the lost lands of the Kencyrath.
Jame's struggle to regain her strength, her memories, and the resources to travel to join her people, the Kencyrath, drag her into several relationships, earning affection, respect, bitter hatred and, as always, haunting memories of friends and enemies dead in her wake.
My Review: I read this 35-year-old fantasy novel because my good LibraryThing friend Roni ran a group read of it. She contended that the book was underfamous and underappreciated. I don't know about you, but I'd say any first-in-series book that's followed by eight others (to date) set in the same universe, and which has an 816 page fandom wiki, isn't exactly a concealed target.
Reading older books in the speculative fiction genre is an education in revised expectations and their invisibility until challenged. Modern fantasy nonillionologies, each volume a minimum of a jillion pages densely packed with made-up language vocabulary and/or Randomly capitalized normal Words that indicate they're being used as something More Than their mundane meaning, are now the minimum standard. This book predates that trend. As a result, its brevity can feel...unfinished...to a 21st century sensibility. There were many, many moments that the author moved through hastily or simply glided past entirely that would, in modern times, be entire novels.
I've complained about book bloat and editing fails so often and so publicly that I expect someone will quite soon point this out with a smug "gotcha!" of some sort. To those legions of carping natterers, I say "oh shut up" and remind them that 1) consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds and 2) there's such a thing as a happy medium.
I'm not a huge consumer of fantasy novels at the best of times because magic makes me itch. It seems so nonsensical, so counter to the realities of physical laws under which we live; it flies in the face of experiential existence; but it satisfies a deep need in many people, just not me. Also, almost always, the protagonist is An Exceptional Adolescent (usually female), and that's very much not my favorite kind of person. Adolescence stank, and so do adolescents. Just not where I want to be, or to stay for any length of time.
This novel's magical system got in under my radar because it feels to me, like the magic in Kai Ashante Wilson's marvelous Africa-set fantasy stories, as though any second we're going to be told that it's a form of technology we don't recognize as such. I can hang with that. Most of what the main character does isn't terribly magical, and the city of Tai-Tastigon itself is the source of the overall magic. We're teased with the notion of the city's magic being the reason there are so many gods in it; in fact, there's a truly delicious idea that temples to the gods are actually ways for the mundane people to *trap* the gods, to limit their scope for activity, instead of mere places of worship.
Jame, our main character, even targets one of these gods in an experiment to test the limits of its power. She causes the god to lose its worshipers in the process, and the results prove to Jame that there is something very hinky about the way the gods function. This subplot is played for comedy, but I was happy to note that the very real consequences for this god and its priest were later sources of shame and remorse for Jame. She goes out of her way to fix the damage she's done, and in the process discovers an amazing library of knowledge that this god's temple has hidden for ages. It is one of the wonderful things about the tapestry of Tai-Tastigon created by Author Hodgell.
The city and its quirks, its societal and legal peculiarities, are incredibly enough left to one side as soon as they're revealed! Inconceivable, and that word does mean what I think it means, in today's publishing world. I was intrigued by the Cloudies, a subset of society that's decided to take to the rooftops and not touch the ground: whence came they, what do they do for a living, how come they're not subject to groundling law, and so on and so forth. Never answered. Never addressed. The Thieves' Guild that Jame enters without the smallest tiniest bit of effort on her part is an entire multi-volume storytelling universe! The history that Jame barely skates over with her sort of accidental Thieves' Guild master, one Penari the ancient master thief, is another multi-volume series of novels. I am all for rich texture in a story, and I got it here, but there are way too many delicious side trails that lead nowhere in this book.
At the end of the book came my personal biggest disappointment as Jame left Tai-Tastigon for parts unknown. This was inevitable, given the fact that she enters the city from parts only slightly less unknown and for reasons utterly unclear and unclarified. This is a fantasy novel, and the first in a series. Of course there will be a quest, and of course it will lead away from any one location. That doesn't make me any happier about it. The textures of Tai-Tastigon's tapestry are involving and exciting, and I'd like to stay here please.
Which is how I know Author Hodgell created a wonderful thing in this book, and why it's no real surprise that her fantasy universe has spawned an 816-page wiki. She understands her readers' need to feel immersed and invested in more than a simple, surface-gleaming world. She delivers those goods. My various dissatisfactions with the execution of this tale aside, I admire her ability and her vision. I won't continue reading the series because I'm less interested in Jame than I am in Tai-Tastigon, but I will likely pick up any future book that returns to this setting.
I love that hallway. Our old house had bookshelves going up the stairs on one side and I loved them so much. In this house, space for books is a real problem. Drives me half mad. A new bookshelf simply fills up. One good thing is that two of the three books I've picked up for my ROOTS reading have fallen apart on me. As you know Richard, as you will be the recipient of one. The other I might have to burn (yeah, Jude, the Obscure.
And back to say, riveting and thoughtful review of God Stalk. Really good. All sorts of things I noted and even reacted to but then just moved on from.
I enjoyed reading that very thoughtful and thorough review, Richard. Thumb from me. I love how you write. Just saying...
>60 Crazymamie: Ugh! It's mizzledrizzling here, and it's 40°, and that combination is abominable. Just wretched. So guess who's staying inside, reading, drinking coffee and eating oatmeal? Hmm?
>62 sibyx: I know how the ROOTs Rot happens, oh my yes I do! Late last year I found a bunch of public-domain movies on YouTube that were adapted from novels. I dug out the ones I had in a bin, read them, and then tossed the books out because 1940s/1950s paperbacks were not made to last this long. At least I finally read them!
Space for books...oh yes indeed...I dream of unlimited space just for books.
>63 Crazymamie: *smooch* You're an angelflower for saying such nice things to me!
Happy Sunday, RD!
>52 richardderus: Book porn! And Triple X-rated book porn - empty shelves for more books!
Hello Richard! I hope your Sunday is going well. I'm really stumbling out of the gates trying to find something compelling to read in print. I've tried a few different things but I guess I'm kind of a finicky reader when it comes to print. Even popcorn like Star Trek and Clive Cussler and such are not doing the trick. Although I do have my 4th annual Camino de Santiago Memoir to get to. But the one I really want to read is 1299 for the Kindle, a little more than I'm willing to spend.
27 Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
My Review: I finally bought this bagatelle for myself, after literally years sitting on my wishlist, this past birthday. I figure at *mumbletymumble* years old I can finally let go of the fear that They Will Not Approve and read whatever the heck I darned well please. Including paranormal romps with scads of gay sex and significantly smaller helpings of logic.
Uh huh. Like I can publicly admit how old I am in the context of reading *blush*shame* a, um, y'know, a book like this one is.
Fine. No really. FINE.
It's *deep breath* a smexy silly romance with True Luuuv and Evil Monsters and Supernatural Creatures! It has No Redeeming Social Value! I read it because it was A Good Story!
There, are y'all happy now? Whatever tiny scrap of credibility I ever had as a book reviewer is gone.
And that, my chick-a-biddies, is how romantic fiction readers of every stripe are made to feel. It's complete crap and it's indicative of a nasty, judgmental streak in the culture of literacy. *What* are you reading, philistine, tut the superiority addicts, don't call that literature, don't sully our ever-so-pure air blathering about your, your, lesser, baser, frankly uninteresting...books (so called) that do nothing but entertain those of, frankly, limited intellectual capacity. I wonder what these reviewers, these Guardians of the Gates, would do if their precious darlings of Literature were subjected to the eighteenth century's test of worthiness in reading matter: "Novels?! Men do not read novels. The weaker sex read novels because they are not capable of processing True and Fine Thinking such as scholars read! Men who write entertainments such as novels are merely pandering to the feeble and inferior baser instincts of the ladies. Shame! Shame on you, sir, for hastening the decline of Our Noble Culture!"
This is how it always goes through the generations. So let's stop judging what each other read and be happy that some people enjoy reading more than staring at screens. Although to be fair, I did read this on Kindle, so....
Having had my rant about the foolishness of judging others, I continue to the book at hand, first of a series of paranormals set in fictional Widdershins, Massachusetts. This town was settled after its founding father escaped from Salem during the Witch Hunt. He was, unlike the other poor sods tried and judicially murdered for witchcraft, guilty as original sin of the crime. Theron Blackbyrne was a beautiful, hunky blond Sodomite as well as a witch. His reach, sadly, exceeded his grasp, as certain essentials needed for the grand spell he wanted to cast, the one that would buy him immortality, eternal youth, and all the boy booty he could dream of, were simply unavailable in the New World. So he left some explicit instructions with his acolytes on what they needed to procure and when they needed to use it to resurrect him in order that he be able to complete his spell.
Several centuries elapse. The acolytes, surprise!, weren't at all eager to resurrect the master in whose service they'd become rich...poor followers are useless, ask any politician...in order to hand over all their worldly acquisitions. Um, no thanks, I'm good. He molders in the grave, they use the bits and bobs they got from Blackbyrne to acquire more bits and bobs, time passes and the town of Widdershins grows in prosperity as a port city, the local worthies open themselves a museum with an Egyptian antiquities focus...the items needed for Blackbyrne's resurrection accumulate, almost in spite of the great and good...and then a tragedy occurs that properly starts our story.
Percival Endicott Whyborne, wimpy bookish kid turned scholarly shirt-lifting introvert, introduces himself to us as the second son of an overbearing Widdershins magnate. He is also, in his own mind at least, the murderer of his childhood crush object who also happens to be his father's best friend's son. His unnatural lust for this friend is bound up in his survivor's guilt based on his inability to rescue the boy who drowned in a lake.
It is Whyborne's fate to act as the catalyst for Blackbyrne's resurrection. It is his good fortune to have the esoteric knowledge, the robust support systems, and the steely moral center to offer resistance to the terrible forces Blackbyrne would like to harness in his quest for immortality...including Yog-Sothoth, mentioned by name! Luck is on Earth's side, since Whyborne went to Miskatonic University in Arkham and learned all sorts of useful philological tricks.
H.P. Lovecraft's Mythos has long, long, long tentacles.
Whyborne, who detests being called Percy, has the excellent fortune to meet and fall in lust, in love, then into the arms of, strong, capable, experienced Griffin Flaherty. Another lad of the time whose Sodomitical tendencies were the catalyst for his exile from his only home and then his worst nightmare coming true, Griffin likes cats (an entire star off my rating of the book for that horrible lapse in authorial judgment) and goofy, gawky men, which makes him the best possible partner for Whyborne. The worst nightmare part is the bit that's most important. Griffin, you see, has experienced the dark and terrifying reach of the Mythos into ordinary life first hand. Its indelible mark on his soul means he will go to any length to combat the entry of those from Outside into our safe little home. Whyborne is embroiled with the Blackbyrne followers by virtue of birth and constitutionally unable to tolerate their wickedness by nature. He and Griffin must combat the actual demons and face their personal ones simultaneously and together.
The remaining half-star was lost to this book by the sheer improbability of a multi-century evil cabal surviving in Puritanical Massachusetts, the improbably used facets of Lovecraft's Mythos with Egyptian mythology, and assorted anachronistic speech patterns. My standards for entertaining fiction aren't all that high, but Griffin's invented nickname for Whyborne (since he understandably dislikes Percy) flew straight into my craw and stuck there."Ival"? How is that even pronounced?!
The next entry in the series is a short work called Eidolon. I'll be reviewing it soon..
>68 richardderus: Not my cup of tea - more because of the the Lovecraftish stuff than the gay sex. But I can't resist a question...
If pronounced like the end of Percival, Ih-val. But it's amazing how easy it is for the pronunciation (in my head, anyway) to slip over to Ee-val...wonder if it will be a plot point later on? (His friend calls him Evil! He must be (useful, important, whatever) to the cult...).
>67 lycomayflower: Hi Laura! Good to see you.
I know, right?! That is one fine use of a useless space.
>69 jjmcgaffey: ...
...hmm. I will bet you're right, Jennifer. I will cogitate upon it, but there is always a predetermined arc to a series of books and that kind of early-days throwaway mention of something *off* is more likely to be a depth charge planted by a cunning author.
Despite you wishing airplane malfunctions and fruit bat invasions, on me, I appreciate your kind, holiday wishes. Grins...
Happy Sunday, RD. Hope you had an R & R weekend. I won't be able to visit much, while I am gone, but I m sure you guys will keep the home-fires burning, until I return, next Saturday.
Books are like people. They come in all varieties. That's what makes them fun. Something for everyone!:)
>61 richardderus: Hail, hail the word MASTER!! I know this genre isn't your bailiwick and I feel your review is way more than fair. Not to mention being your usual entertaining read. I'm happy that you found the story entertaining.
To be fair, until Baen picked Hodgell up in 2010, it was VERY difficult to find her books, so that is 28 years of the 35 year old series where her fans were terribly frustrated. And she still isn't a big name although she does, as the wiki shows, have incredibly loyal fans.
Yes, Jame is off to find her people in the next book, and then finding a way to fit into the structure of their society (would it surprise you to discover that she doesn't?) over the remaining books. They are also much more linear, although we pick up Tori as a pov character as well. The one that Hodgell is working on now does take Jame back to Tai-tastigon, and the selection I've seen has Cleppity in it. I'm hoping that archive comes into play.
Sorry I'm late - wishing you a Happy Thread #4 and a good week!
>52 richardderus: Just beautiful, that's what I wanted to do with a 9m hallway back in Frankfurt, but then the walls were so old and softish the first shelf almost came down without a single book on it.
Four threads and 76 messages already unread?! Maaaan, I need to get in shape. *dons sweatband and something vaguely approximating athletic gear* *stretches energetically* Yeah, no. *lies down for a bit*
LOOOOOVE the pic(s) up top, I'm a sucker for photos and GIFs and videos and paintings of people reading. Makes me want to read, every time.
>52 richardderus: I LOVE bookshelfy hallways like that. 1) You get to roam up and down looking at books, and 2) You've got a built-in Perambulation Zone for reading, thinking or general rainy day movement.
>68 richardderus: *nods feverishly along with book snob rant*
Some of my least favourite customers at the shop were the ones who would stick their noses in the air and sneer openly at whatever I was reading at the time, as if I could not possibly sell books if I wasn't AT THAT VERY MOMENT reading the complete works of Shakespeare, or a giant tome on the military history of Ancient Rome, or a two hundred year-old book on local land ownership, or... you get it. Whatever their personal area of interest was, basically. Even worse were the ones who would loudly pass comment on what other customers were browsing, upsetting everyone in the vicinity. Ugh.
Aaaanyway, Widdershins sounds kinda awesome. WISHLISTED. :)
Happy belated new thread, Richard! I feel compelled to bring food so I've brought a plate a crepes we had for dessert last night. They're great for breakfast too!
>30 richardderus: That is pretty absurd in the decorations of the "doll". Although, I admit that I have a fascination for crèches. I think different artistic depictions of the manger scene is interesting. Luckily, the priest at my church has a collection of hundreds of crèches from around the world. I do kind of wonder where he got the money to buy them all, since each crèche may have cost upwards of $100. But I still love looking at them. Art is art. :)
28 Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Rating: 3.5* of five
A deeply (!) enjoyable look at cephalopod minds, not brains but minds, in parallel to our own mammalian ones. I was absolutely enthralled by the author's discoveries made at a site he calls "Octopolis," a community of octopuses on the seafloor near Sydney, Australia.
One of the most interesting facets of the book to me was its explanation, in terms of existing evolutionary thought, of how and why cephalopods, animals that live a single mating cycle on average, developed the astoundingly complex signaling behaviors and apparent cognitive abilities they have. It's a wonderful and involving story.
That makes this sound like a four-and-a-half star book, doesn't it? I'm not going to beat about the bush, it would have been had it not wandered waaay too far down the human-mind-brain-consciousness rabbit hole without reaching any sort of conclusion that felt solid. In the space of this book, just over 200 pages of text plus index and notes, there is no chance that this could occur. So say "listen, there's about a bajillion petaflops of data I can't begin to pretend to digest for you, but here in 500 words is what *I* want you to know so you can see where I'm going with the parts about cephalopods."
The glossy-magazine version, in other words, would've served this book better and been less simultaneously overinforming and underrepresenting a hugely complex and contentious area of human-consciousness study. But I recommend reading the book because damn it feels good to learn about something unique from someone so warm, wise, and witty as Peter Godfrey-Smith.
>72 msf59: ...and there he goes! Mark is off to sun and sand and mezcal!
>73 jolerie: Books are like people in that regard, but better than people because they ain't judgin' on ya.
>74 ronincats: Thank you for the kind words, Roni, I appreciate it. I'm glad that my desire to represent the real appeal of the book came across.
I'll read the newest book for Tai-Tastigon, but the rest of the series...no, on balance, I think not. If Hodgell gains goodly fame now, I won't be surprised. I also plan to make a lot of angry noise if that archive vanishes!!
Deeply enjoyable, eh? Watch out for thrown anti-pun tomatoes, my friend (I speak from experience).
Too bad Other Minds wandered down the human rabbit hole, but it still sounds good. I read The Soul of an Octopus and came away a little disappointed. Maybe I'll try this one. A smart animal who is so different . . .
>75 Berly: Thank you, Berly! I appreciate the kind words. *smooch*
>76 Deern: Oh my, how frustrating for you! All that wall space and no way to use it!! I'd go mad. Sending happy week wishes back to you.
>77 elliepotten: Ha, I thought that you would find that appealing Ellie. The book snobs are so irksome. I was one once...I know how they think and I do not like it. It's an ugly, mean, judgmental mindset.
>78 Carmenere: Ooohhh, thank you! Crepes!! You do bring the best comestibles Lynda.
>79 The_Hibernator: You know, Rachel, I'm unable to separate the religious meanings from art like that ridiculous doll. The complete idiocy of religious belief slams my forehead into the walls when I see those sorts of fetish objects. Holiday decorations, well...my mother had a nativity scene, a beautiful thing, that I threw away the second she died. Creepy damned things.
>82 jnwelch: The weirdest development of intelligence on the planet! This book might well be more intriguing than The Soul of the Octopus as a factual exploration of the nature of consciousness in other creatures.
Pun warnings noted. :)
Good morning, RichardDear!
>80 richardderus: I have been more interested in octopuses since hearing that podcast on NPR on January 9th. I'm perfectly happy to read a 3.5 star book, so have added it to my wish list. While on BookMooch to see if there was a copy available, I saw that Kindred by Octavia Butler was but only internationally (3 points, not 1). Being a sucker for books about time travel, I immediately went to Amazon and bought it and downloaded it to my Kindle. I wasn't going to buy any books today.
*smooch* from your own dear Madame TVT Horrible
29 Eidolon by Jordan L. Hawk
Rating: 3* of five
That missing half-star is due to a tenuous, unexplored use of the wonderful concept of the eidolon of the title. What a missed chance to deepen the mythos of Widdershins! (And how deeply unlikely it is that a town in Puritan Massachusetts could survive with such a witchy name as this old one for "counterclockwise.")
The wonderful and fun aspect of this quick hit of a tale is the narrative voice shifting from Whyborne to Griffin. The series protagonists are charmingly convinced that they each are the lucky one, the one whose existence their beloved had no special reason to notice. It is as Iris Murdoch once said: “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.”
I think Author Hawk is amazed at their luck in having this idea for a romantic suspense series. I suspect that the men are in for many fun times ahead, a kind of gay version of Peabody and Emerson in Elizabeth Peters' tremendous series of mysteries.
>85 karenmarie: Hey there, Horrible! *smooch*
Tentacled Americans are fascinating to me for so many reasons but, I think, the main one is the brevity of their lives in comparison to the complexity of their brains. I'm continually astonished at the brilliance of their solution to the body plan problem as well. And let it be known throughout the land that I Regret Nothing re being the near occasion of bibliosin!
>86 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! *smooch* Happy new week!
Good morning, Richard! I hope all is well.
Have you seen 'Counterpart' on Starz? The first episode is free. I liked and it seemed like it might be up you alley, too.
>89 brodiew2: Sadly, Brodie, I'd have to do a 7-day free trial of Starz to get to watch Counterpart. I'm willing to do that if I can commit the time to watching the whole series to date during the free period, and that time isn't now.
I got the fist ep free knowing I wouldn't see more for some time. It was good.
It's on the watchlist. It sounds like the kind of story I'm going to take to like a duck to water.
Have you ever read the Mortdecai books by Kyril Bonfiglioli? You'd probably get a kick out of them.
As for book snobs, a book with an interesting story is always worth reading and needs no justification. I even started a list about it, Cheesy Pleasures and Odd Lots. Given enough time, all books become classics, anyway. The Satyricon was a gay caper throwaway, a George Baxt novel of its time, and now they teach it at Notre Dame.
Hello Richard, hope you had a good weekend my friend and that you have a good week ahead. Sadly Karen still has the lurgy and is in her sick bed, poor love. Sending love and hugs dear friend from both of us.
*Attainable* book porn. Any 10x12 room in a tract house can be this room. And it RAWKS.
We just watched the first three episodes of PKD's Electric Dreams, and really enjoyed them, Richard. As you said, "Human Is" was the major standout. Great performances by Bryan Cranston and Essie Davis.
My book wall isn't nearly as neat and tidy...and it does contain some things that aren't books. Not much, though. Note that these are double-shelved. And I have two and a half walls like this - I love me my Elfa shelves.
They're hanging from a bar screwed in at the top of the wall, not touching the floor (so there's a faint chance of my being able to clean the floor), nice and solid, and almost infinitely adjustable. And can carry an impressive amount of weight.
Book wall jealousy.
When the kids finally leave home I am having a book wall. May be some time :)
>27 richardderus: Basically all he has to do is breathe and occasionally say something in that glorious voice
Benedict has a lovely voice, it is true.
Also, all of the bookish pictures are making me wildly jealous!!!
ohhh, lots of book porn here!
My book shelves are much less lovely and surrounded by kids toys.
>98 Familyhistorian: - Oh, Meg, I want that chair!!! It looks so comfortable!!!
Good morning, RD! Wishing you a happy day filled with coffee, books, and etc.
>100 BekkaJo: When I retired 2 years ago, I took over my daughter's rec room. It's now known as Karen's Retreat. Except for 1 shelf out of 16 (her Breyer horses are still on it and she seems to have a need for them to stay out), it's all books all the time. 64 linear feet of bookshelves, 2.5 feet deep. I double- and triple-stack books. I never considered it as book shelves since we built this house when Jenna was 5 and she's now 24, but hey! I'll take whatever shelves I can get.
Retreat Book Porn
Richard - I may have just drooled on your thread...
#105 I am lucky to have a little study off our bedroom but it only has room for two low shelves and the computer. None of which are accessible at present time as there are a lot of sheets and towels that haven't made it to the cupboard. Which they are next to.
Mentally edit out all the tchotchkes and fill the shelves to capacity. Add a mug of steaming whatnot to the side table. Send Perkins the butler for your spectacles and there it is, perfect book porn.
I'm still a nomad so I use Ikea Billy bookcases, books two deep and stacked top to bottom. The colors don't even match. I've since gotten a comfy reading chair, to boot.
If they still looked as neat as they did when I took this, I wouldn't be getting rid of books.
>97 jnwelch: Oh, I am so glad that Electric Dreams has made a favorable impression, Joe! It's a wonderful time that SFnal storytelling is in. There are lots of terrific options for addicts like me to get our fix from.
>98 Familyhistorian: The shelves are lovely, Meg, but the *chair*...!! So comfy, so inviting. A lovely reading space.
>99 jjmcgaffey: That's a perfectly gorgeous space, Jennifer, and the anchored bookshelves are my personal favorites. I feel rooted when my bookshelves don't fold when empty.
>100 BekkaJo: At least a decade, Bekka, which is barely enough time to plan. After all, there's a spousal unit to be won on side.
>101 LovingLit: Hiya Megan! Being surrounded by books makes everything better, even heat waves.
I know, I know. There's another in the bedroom, the shade's a two-tiered thing, and on Sunday a book fell from the shelves and smacked it good. It came apart, dust flew everywhere, and I thought 'Damn. There goes three months at the end.'
It's a look.
It came apart, dust flew everywhere, and I thought 'Damn. There goes three months at the end.'
If it was just at the end, so what? It's the slow, agonizing death part that worries me. The end? Pshaw. That can take care of itself.
>118 richardderus: Pretty cool name for sure. And Eleven is indeed adorable. I guess that answers the next question: Max or Eleven? :-P
>119 brodiew2: Max, for whatever reason, irks me to no end. I find the child intolerable.
30 The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick
Rating: 3* of five
The Publisher Says: In The Messiah of Stockholm, Cynthia Ozick brings her extraordinary artistry and intelligence to bear on a wry and wildly inventive, heart-breaking tale of one man's comically desperate struggle with an illusory identity.
The man is Lars Andemening: orphaned in Poland during World War II, brought up in Sweden by a begrudging foster family, "seized in infancy by an unnatural history" that has followed him into middle age. Divorced twice, estranged from his only child, an ultraliterary book reviewer for a decidedly unliterary newspaper, he is more comfortable in the "wilderness of his quilt" than in the company of people. And he is obsessed with an impassioning notion: that he is the son of Bruno Schulz, the legendary Polish writer killed by the Nazis before his magnum opus, The Messiah, could come to light. Lars has no proof of his lineage, but he has "the orphan's terrifying freedom to choose," and it is Schulz he has chosen, entering the phantasmagoria of the mind he finds in the writer's work in order to extract from it the fullness of a life.
Lars reveals his profoundly imagined identity to Heidi Eklund—self-exiled from Germany, owner of a dark, labyrinthine bookstore, the only one in Stockholm to have Lars's "father" in the original Polish. Heidi has her own imagined identity (or so Lars interprets the stories she tells of herself), and it is this shared status as "refugee imposter" that draws him to her. She becomes a source for Lars, offering up obscure Schulz letters and photographs and generous doses of her own sardonic enthusiasm, which succeed in driving Lars deeper and deeper into his obsession. Until: Heidi brings him the most astounding piece of Schulziana—a woman claiming to be Schulz's daughter and claiming, as well, to have, in the ratty white plastic bag she carries everywhere, the original manuscript of The Messiah....
My Review: Like every Cynthia Ozick book I've ever read, this is a series of gorgeous sentences describing i acute, sharp-edged clarity the existence of Jews whose inner lives are bound to a vision of amorphous Jewishness. It is protean, this sense of Jewishness, it refuses to settle into a single defining characteristic while imbuing the entire story with its unique but barely detectable presence.
This is an astonishing achievement. It is also the thing that Ozick does. It is, therefore, susceptible to aesthetic fatigue. I've read this book...The Shawl, The Puttermesser Papers...and am full up on Ozickishness. I am glad I read this short novel, I am delighted with the conceit of Bruno Schulz's unknown son, I was delighted with the richly imagined bookshop world Ozick sets so much of the action within. But I am done now, I've been there and I've done that and there isn't a lot of reading time left in the next 20-ish years so I'll be moving on to other delights.
>125 jessibud2: Sitting. Of course, Shelley, sitting! What else could clearing off flat surfaces be in aid of?
>127 Crazymamie: Oh HECK yeah! That looks delish. Especially after my ONE LOUSY HOT DOG.
>115 richardderus: Better living through chemistry. When I hear statistics that half of all adults are on psychotropic meds, I think that's hardly enough. Screw fluoride, you want to help people, put prozac and xanax in the water.
Strangely, I'm dead set against medicating kids except for depression. If Tyler's a hyper little bastard or a day dreamer, then let him wear himself out or dream something up. (He said, without having to be around kids except as a kindly, fun loving uncle.)
I was going to share a picture of my book shelf but my computer is not playing ball. so sorry about that.
>129 SomeGuyInVirginia: There's Prozac and Xanax in the water already. We pee it out, and untold numbers of people still dispose of meds by flushing. I'm pretty much in favor of leaving kids unmedicated, assuming they aren't suicidal or self-harming. Learning to control one's own moods and cope with the reality of life's pointless viciousness is still the job of growing up.
Mummy and Deaddy should be there to help. Two-career couples need to make sure they factor in the mental health costs to their children along with the bank balances. And no, I don't think women should stay at home, I think the parent least likely to cause harm should stay home. In my case it would've been my father. Mama outearned him over the course of her lifetime....
>130 BBGirl55: Another day, Bryony. *smooch*
I also have the Elfa shelves in my office directly over my sleeper (reading) sofa. They are great!
Put up some new info on the God Stalk thread, Richard!
>132 ronincats: An awe-inspiringly complete use of shelf space, Roni! Amazing.
>129 SomeGuyInVirginia:, >131 richardderus: - Well, I think medicating anyone, especially kids, must be done judiciously and with great care and knowledge and absolutely not indiscriminately. But, during my over 26 years as a teacher for special needs kids, I can attest to the fact that some kids truly need meds to enable them to function. Having parents at home, or wherever, has nothing to do with it. A chemical imbalance is a chemical imbalance and if meds are what's needed to address that, then it must be. Other medical conditions require meds to keep a person in balance, why should this be different. *Learning self control* or wearing oneself out just doesn't cut it, sometimes. And ignoring this fact affects not only the child, but everyone else in his/her orbit, through the days. It is a real problem that for some reason, doesn't get taken as seriously as it ought to, in my humble opinion.
Ok, off my soapbox now....
I have the picture in my junk draw here but can't get it on to your thread for some reason.
>134 jessibud2: I agree with your points, Shelley; I add to them one about it being the parents who should be noticing the child's struggles, not being told about them by school staff in periodic meetings.
>135 BBGirl55: I am at a loss, Bryony, I haven't done anything like that in a very long time. Have you been to this thread for advice and succor?
>136 SuziQoregon: I am not to understand this "tidy" is word of English?
>137 richardderus: - Agreed 100%, but it simply doesn't always happen that way. And also, it's not always that *the teacher needs to be in better control over classroom behaviour*. Blame is half the problem; the other half is recognizing and addressing it appropriately.
This conversation can go in circles for ages, while nothing gets resolved. Been there, done that. It's exhausting.
I am retired now.
>135 BBGirl55: Once it's in the junk drawer, right-click on it and Copy Link Location (that's Firefox - Chrome and IE, and probably Edge etc, have different terms. But it's something like that). Once you've got the actual URL of the picture (which has nothing to do with its URL in your junk drawer),
<img src="url of picture" height=whatever (400 is usually good)>
will put it into the thread.
Preview to check size, adjust height as necessary.
>111 richardderus: I'm afraid Mom Mode will probably not end until I go back to work in September. It will be weird to be around adults again but it will be lovely to drink coffee while it is still hot!
Gooooood Moooooorrning, RichardDerus!
Things that make you go hmmmm: Why is Mike Wheeler such so interesting. He is a central character, but fairly bland. What say you?
>144 brodiew2: "Good" morning, Brodie, although returning to consciousness on a day where the windchill is 12° isn't my idea of good.
I think Mike's appeal is in his earnest, kind, stolid nature. He's not voluble or outgoing; he's the kid in the corner, the one no one feels bad for leaving out because he sorta prefers it that way; yet he's always got his friends, he's always ready for whatever they do together.
I like the kid.
>145 richardderus: If it makes you feel better, RDear, the windchill in my neck of the woods today is -32C (-25.6F according to the Google). Feel free to point and laugh while I crawl out of the snowsuit I wore to walk to work. ;)
>146 MickyFine: -26° makes my sinus cilia sore even to contemplate! OWOW
Any temperature that makes it painful to breathe...say below 20°/-6C or above 85°/30C...is anathema to me.
>147 richardderus: No visits to Edmonton in the winter for you, my friend. -6C is pretty balmy from about mid-November through mid-March. *sips tea and cozies into bulky scarf*
No continental climate visits for me any time, TBH. I huddle here next to the ocean and chuckle up my sleeve at y'all.
>145 richardderus: Nice assessment, Richard. I don't dislike him, but like Frodo and his bad, the action happens around him much more than directly to him. Hmmm. Perhaps that's not entirely true either.
Joyce or Hopper or Jopper? :-P
I crack myself up sometimes.
Edit: That is truly cold. Sorry to hear it, man.
Maybe you could photoshoot a copy of PAPAL SIN into the doll's hands...
I'm feeling Micky's chill!
Today is a nose hair freezes instantly the minute you breath kind of day. It's wonderful especially when you need to lug three kids in and out of cars. :/
>150 brodiew2: I empathize with Hopper, having lost a child. I am not at all empathetic with his interest in Joyce, who seems to me a manipulative dislikeable wack job.
>151 m.belljackson: Not a bad idea, Marianne. I haven't got the skills, but I could find someone who does.
>152 jolerie: There is not one single thing in that sentence that I think of as "wonderful" Valerie, but then again I'm old.
We watched the PKD Electric Dreams with the teeps,
I do like the way they're consistently using more female characters than PKD did.
>153 richardderus: I am sorry to hear that you lost a child, Richard.
Hopper is my favorite, but I disagree with you on Joyce. Jittery and possibly unbalanced, with emotional issues? Yes. But I never pegged her as manipulative or necessarily unlikable.
>154 jnwelch: Agreed re episode; agreed heartily re female characters! I am so pleased that his daughters are the ones in control of the direction of the series. Isa Hackett is the one whose public shaming of Amazon Studios' head got him kicked out for being waaaaaayyyyy outta line.
I have to say that the world is better for Black Mirror having some competition. I have enjoyed both series! I'm glad there's more now, though, since the mine is pretty much inexhaustible.
>155 brodiew2: It seems to me that the character uses her issues as weapons...but I'm not hugely sympathetic to female characters by nature. It could be my anti-woman bias shining through.
All the bookcase porn makes me want all new bookshelves/bookcases.
>158 richardderus: Yes -- and I need to be "downsizing" on those. ;-)
>147 richardderus: I generally don't have trouble breathing unless it's under 0 Fahrenheit, but after having the flu in the beginning of January, you're absolutely right about 20 degrees!
>124 richardderus: Cynthia Ozick brings her extraordinary artistry and intelligence to bear on a wry and wildly inventive, heart-breaking tale of one man's comically desperate struggle with an illusory identity..
Too may adjectives. I'm out.
>161 richardderus: cold air exacerbates the wheezy hacking? Day-um! Hope you find some warm and not too dry (or moist) breathable air asap. I have the oppressive heat, which I (almost kind of) prefer to the freeze...
Richard - 48 new messages. Sigh. Late visit, but I was busy today and then had to finish you-know-what by you-know-who.
Happy end of Wednesday and happy early Thursday.
*smooches* from your own Horrible
I somehow managed to unwrap this thread and got 90 posts behind! But I am caught up now and all is right with the world ;-)
>162 LovingLit: Hi there Megan! I'll take cold over heat. Always. I will suffer untold agonies of cold in preference to the nightmare of enervation, sweating, and drooping hairs weighed down with fatbergs my skin has calved.
>163 karenmarie: Thanks, Horrible! *smooch*
Remember: Those who dabble with Dickens dice with the demon dog of depression.
>164 katiekrug: Equilibrium is restored. The Force be with you, Obi-Kate.
>164 katiekrug: - Obviously, that was meant to be "unstar" not "unwrap"... Oy.
>166 katiekrug: Star, wrap...the meaning was clear. You don't love me, your attention has wandered, this thread is no longer worth your time and effort. See? Message received.
Oh, yes please. I'll have just a big piece, please. Coffee's over here:
A Bryony sighting! Must be a haint...she's in England...
I just don't like books about Exceptional Adolescent Females. I was in high school with a lot of them and I got very tired of their attitude. Whatevs...
>170 Crazymamie: Oh, if Richard left ANY, may I have a morsel? (I brought my own coffee, as you do.)
You're lucky I'm torpid from overindulging in cake on Mamie's thread. My arms won't stretch past my belly to smack your fork away from that luscious pie.
Hello Richard. I hope all is well with you.
1. Who is your favorite Richard (outside of yourself, of course) in
2. Steve or Billy (LOL)
Hi there, Brodie, I'm not dead and not incarcerated so we're calling it a win.
1-A: Richard III, the nephew-killing hunchback. I am his reincarnation, I'm quite sure.
B: Dick Van Dyke. Never afraid to make fun of himself, always generous in his praise for his fellow thespians, left-wing politically.
2. Billy, cuz I wanna do him. (To be specific, the actor Dacre Montgomery. He's closer in age to my first grandson than to my daughter but he's cute.)
Well, ok, then.
My kingdom for a horse!
I cant's say there is anyone on ST that I wanna do. But I do love it.
>180 richardderus: I hope you have a better fate then to end up under a car park sir.
If I wasn't married, and she was desperate enough, I'd take Winona Ryder. She has aged well, you're right.
Someone somewhere mentioned Lady of Hay in a favorable light. Luckily for them, I don't remember who. It was Pearl Ruled at p42. U. G. H.
>180 richardderus: If you think Richard III killed the boys we have to have "The Talk".
Or you could go and read The Daughter of Time} for the short and simplistic version
>188 magicians_nephew: Of COURSE he killed them! Who *wouldn't* kill two barely pre-adolescent noise factories if given a free pass by society for any and all crimes committed? The wonder is how many royals made it through adolescence! Lookit Ivan Groszny killing his son when he was what, twenty-seven or so? You think that hadn't been building for at least fifteen years?!
>187 richardderus: It wasn't me, I never heard of Lady of Hay. There is a Dutch translation, but after reading some reviews & your comment, I will happely skip it!
>190 FAMeulstee: An excellent plan, IMO. I'd eve say borrow it from the library and accidentally dump it into the nearest canal.
Third try, Talk is acting up, sorry if it appears 3 times in slightly different shapes...
>191 richardderus: *Laughing out Loud*!!!
I doubt the library would like that, lucky me, my library doesn't have a copy ;-)
>165 richardderus: I'll take cold over heat. Always. I will suffer untold agonies of cold in preference to the nightmare of enervation, sweating, and drooping...
Yeah, well, you've been in Texas, so you would say that. My heat may be unusually warm, but it ain't no Texas heat (of the nightmarish variety you describe so eloquently). It is heat that at night, is like an invisible light blanket that keeps you warm in every place, but not sweaty or oppressed. THat's the type I like.
In any case, the heat has departed (I saw it leave on a change of wind) and the rain came, and now it is cool. Last night I mistook not being hot for being cold, it was such a change!
>193 richardderus: even his ears are moving! I can do that too, just saying. (it is one of my only special talents)
eta: wayward underlining!
>196 richardderus: Ew. I complain about being cold and having too much snow but 30c in the middle of the night would be terrible!
In fact, I totally have a crush on Colson Whitehead and Carl Hart.
>193 richardderus: Very cute :-)
I am totally with you on 30C at night should be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The summers are much more bearable since we have an airco. In summer the sleepingroom is now always a steady 18C and a bit cooler in winter.
>197 ChelleBearss: Yep, it is indeed terrible. Truly vile.
>198 The_Hibernator:, >199 The_Hibernator: Never been much interested in hair. It's just sort of there, doesn't do much for me.
>200 FAMeulstee: 18C/65° is perfect sleeping temperature. I'll go as low as 15C/60° without too much complaint. Below that it gets hard to endure.
>201 richardderus: In winter I sleep comfortably down to 13C, with an exta blanket. Even the living room isn't heated more than 16C in winter.
Back from doctors appoitment, it went very good!
>202 FAMeulstee: Below 15C it's too unpleasant to leave my warm comfy bed for the cold cruel world...I want a less jarring transition to reality as a rule.
YAY for good doctor appointments!
>194 SomeGuyInVirginia: I love that book shelf. I do have a couple more but this is the one that contains most of my books.
It is currently -20 over here...which would be -4 in Fahrenheit...just sayin' :/
>207 brodiew2: Happy Friday, Brodie! Foul Deeds Will Rise, being a TOS book, clearly has the edge from my PoV. I have often wondered why it is that Paramount won't use any of the squintillions (it is TOO a number, pedants) of TOS novels and stories as fodder for film/TV projects. *sigh* Greed, who am I kidding, pure greed. They don't want to pay creators if they don't absolutely have to.
>208 richardderus: That's the one I'm reading now. I have not read a novel set after The Voyage Home. It is an interesting process to age up Kirk and crew in a reading experience. The plot of this one is not entirely original, but it is pulling me along none the less. It elements of the Centauri/Narn conflict from Babylon 5.
And, agreed. It would be cool to see some of the novel elements appear on screen.
Happy Friday to you.
>193 richardderus: Who is that? I don't get the reference. Sad, isn't it?
>211 karenmarie: *smooch*
Oh, no worries about not following the pop-culture reference, Horrible dear. Really, he's no one important.
I am heading out for the day. Bundled right up. The weather right now in Toronto:
Feels like: -19
except that, at least where I am, the sun is shining brightly. Still BRRRRRRRR
>211 karenmarie: - Right there with you, Karen. Looks vaguely familiar but that's it.
Hi there, Richard. Cold enough for ya? Bwahahahaha!
We are taking a day trip "down the shore" tomorrow. Crazy? Us?
Sorry to hear Every Heart a Doorway didn't strike your fancy, RDear. Hopefully you've moved on to something more your speed.
>213 jessibud2: Oh YIKES!! That's ghastly. Current "realfeel" is -15C here and that's why I'm firmly indoors.
>214 katiekrug: No really, y'all, it's nothing important. Just, y'know, pop culture reference. No bigs.
The SHORE, dearest, is where I live 24/7/365, so not crazy to me at all. Well, except today when it's like being in Siberia.
>215 MickyFine: It's here glowering at me, Micky, waiting for me to recover my patience and finish it up. *sigh*
The Wayne's mother is from the Joisey shore so we are going to check out the Motherland. I just meant crazy to go in early February, given the weather :) But I am hoping to find a hole in the wall seafood place with excellent chowder to warm me up!
Cape May Fish Market! Or is she that far south...Schellenger's in Wildwood's also right tasty.
Anyway you slice it, whatever gets you out of the burbs for a while is a good thing, right?
We're not going as far south as Cape May. At least, we're not planning to, but sometimes we get carried away. MIL is from Sea Bright.
I'm looking forward to a change of scenery and some salt air.
>219 katiekrug: Ohhh that's near Rumson, where Undici is! *slobberdripdrool* I went there once and was knocked out by the elegant Italian fare contra the slapped-together decor. Loved that.
There's a winery in Cape May that had decent wines, can't remember the name off the top of my head, so later in the year might be better to visit there.
>220 karenmarie: Google "Merlin TV show blond" and have the joy of discovery!
5 C and rainy in patches. Patches of glorious blue winter sun. All those glorious blue sunny patches happened whilst I was at work by the way.
Just checking in to say Salut! with a glass in hand. Very happy it's Friday :)
>222 BekkaJo: Still pretty durned chilly, but a lot better than -15C!
Happy Friday! Thanks for stopping by.
The Mad Batter was a nice brekker place in Cape May if its still open.
Yes the hole in the wall seafood places - family run - are the ones to seek out not the big overpriced touristy ones
Happy Saturday Richard! :)
I'm another one who prefers the cold, in eternal discussion with Italian colleagues during coffee break outside when I happily exclaim "finally winter" while they're shivering or lament weakly "way too hot" in summer, retreating into the shadow. I live in the North, but it's actually one of the hottest places in summer, a kettle-like valley where the heat stays, and of course no sea-breeze as in the south. The only way in summer is up the mountains to get some relief.
>224 magicians_nephew: I love that name. So whimsical.
>225 Deern: Bleurgh! Sounds ghastly, Nathalie.
I don't know how she did it, but Seanan McGuire made a 174-page book into the literary equivalent of the Bataan Death March. Every Heart a Doorway will NOT defeat me!! I am *determined* to finish this dull, lifeless wodge of prose.
Happy Saturday, RD. I hope you have been staying warm & snug and in good health, while I was basking in the tropics.
I appreciate all the visits to my thread, while I was a way, which always put a big smile on goofy mug.
Hi RichardDear and happy Saturday to you. We are freezing down here again - 16F this morning and only about 31F now. Tomorrow we might get freezing rain. Even I, who love fall and winter best, am ready for some warmer weather.
>221 richardderus: Okay. Thank you. I admit that he's a hottie. Merlin. Should I watch it?
>227 humouress: Not in the summer, Nina! Aussie summers make me shudder.
>228 msf59: I'm grateful to you for affording me the opportunity, while you were basking in the tropics and absorbing the magnificence of Mayan cultural relics, to refine my fruit-bat controlling whammys. I am clearly in need of practice in wielding them. When are you going back?
>229 karenmarie: I can't be sure about that show's appeal. I watched it for the hot young men and barely noticed the "plot" as it is so OTT ridiculous...filming in castles! that had windows! with glass! and fireplaces with chimneys!! ROFLMAO...as to strain my brain when I paused for even a moment to contemplate it. For historical accuracy, I watch Netflix's The Last Kingdom, which is based on Bernard Cornwell's books and is actually very enjoyable.
Of course it has *nothing* to do with the star being quite nummy:
>230 richardderus: Of course it has *nothing* to do with the star being quite nummy: Of course it doesn't. 😂
Um...sweet apple pulled pork with bourbon cheese sauce sliders? I think yes.
>233 Crazymamie: I think yes as well. In fact I think "oh GAWD yes now now now".
>234 richardderus: - Am I interrupting a private moment?
Just peeking in to say hello.... :)
>161 richardderus: It's the possibility of trying to merge two libraries that partially makes this necessary. I really have no problem discarding fiction books I've already read. I just need to read some of the stash instead of all the shiny new ones and library books, etc. so the goal is achieved. I would never get rid of some things. I probably need to begin downsizing cookbooks, getting rid of ones that I know I'll never use--or duplicates between the ones that were in Mom's collection and my collection.
I'm still working on uncovering the chair that you saw in the photo but in the meantime I took all the stuff off my weight bench which is in the same room. Not sure what that says about my priorities.
>230 richardderus: As I'm back in Singapore, I'm guessing that makes it ... never? :'(
>230 richardderus: Ah! Now HE'S my type. Of course, I just spent 6 hours yesterday watching this:
>230 richardderus: YES! He is one of the main attractions in The Last Kingdom!!!
>235 katiekrug: There are a half-dozen dirty jokes and several double entendres I can use here, but for once in my sad little arrested adolescence, I'm going to say:
>236 thornton37814: Duplicates, I can see culling. But the answer to larger, merged library is clearly "bigger house."
>237 Familyhistorian: That the weight bench is a larger flat surface to refill?
>238 humouress: Singapore!! NEVERNEVERNEVERNEVER. Y'all might've planted two million-plus trees in the past half-century and be the greenest city on the planet, but to call Singapore "socially regressive" re LGBT rights is to understate the case. This matters to me.
>239 The_Hibernator: My goodness, Rachel, you and Johnny have...excellent...taste in filmed entertainment.
>240 FAMeulstee: *whispers* you got that right Anita
31 Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: Four-Day Planet . . . where the killing heat of a thousand-hour "day" drives men underground, and the glorious hundred-hour sunset is followed by a thousand-hour night so cold that only an Extreme Environment Suit can preserve the life of anyone caught outside.
Fenris isn't a hell planet, but it's nobody's bargain. With 2,000-hour days and an 8,000-hour year, it alternates blazing heat with killing cold. A planet like that tends to breed a special kind of person: tough enough to stay alive and smart enough to make the best of it. When that kind of person discovers he's being cheated of wealth he's risked his life for, that kind of planet is ripe for revolution.
My Review: Fenris might not be the Garden Spot of the Galaxy, sort of like the future's equivalent of a "shithole country" in fact, but the men there are a hardy, self-sufficient lot. Yes, I said "men" and made no attempt to be inclusive. H. Beam Piper, the author, was born in 1903 and died of self-inflicted starvation due to absurd, overweening pride in 1964. He was a gun nut. He married once, and was divorced or separated from his wife in short order because he was convinced that she married him for money.
Not a likely feminist icon's profile. His writing and his attitudes show that. Strangely enough, though, there's an admixture of Powerful Woman hints that make me think his was a late-life learned misogyny.
So anyway, this 1961 tale from the Terro-Human Future History of Piper's creation never called to me. I assumed it would be all about the great-man theory of history that libertarians tend to like. It is, in a way; Steve Ravick, the successfully ensconced ruler of the economy on Fenris, is a master manipulator and born gangster, an exceptional man in all the wrong right ways. He lied successfully to the economic engines of Fenris, the workers, telling them how things were terrible and he'd have to fight Those Others just to give them half of what their labor got them before. He did this by cutting them off from any source of information he didn't like and insulting and belittling the one outlet he allows to remain in business. He reminds me of the Koch brothers and their stooge 45. Like, a lot.
What I didn't expect was to feel so nostalgic for the narrator of the story being a journalist. A young lad very eager to seek out The Truth and to be the one who, in H.L. Mencken's memorable definition of a journalist's job, "afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted." As a result he breaks the story of a lifetime. At seventeen! Of course, his dad owns the paper, but he's the one who found, followed, and shaped the story, which is the central trait of a born reporter.
Ultimately, the reason I enjoyed the read was the ending, wherein Right(s) and Reason prevail over caddish, greedy oligarchy. I was amused by the sixty-year-old vision of future technology, but charmed by the sixty-year-old faith in the ability of The People to rebel against unjust, unprincipled rulers. Piper's writing was serviceable, failing to ignite my passion in this book's telling. I was ignited by what was told. In a different political and economic climate I would've been pretty much uninterested in the tale.
Piper tends to lard his story with way too many names...characters we'll never meet have first and last names like one Oscar Fujisawa, the tall, blond Viking action hero of part of the story. Piper wants to make the point that, away from Earth and far into the future, names are just handy labels. Ethnicity is a relic, a distant and fading social construct. Like the idea, at least insofar as it makes plain the social system doesn't discriminate based on superficial qualities, but to give *every* minor character a first and last name with such a heavy significance makes this reader tired.
Still and all, despite low expectations, reading this elderly writer's surprisingly sanguine take on Humanity's future was a tonic. I'm glad I did it, and since the book is a whopping 99¢ on Kindle, I think you would be as well.
>243 humouress: No; nor was it any individual. Invidious, ugly laws are made by anonymized bodies of legislators. Anyone can plausibly deny personal responsibility for a law's hatefulness. But there the law is. And in places where that kind of lawmaking doesn't lead to protests and shouting, I do not want to be, and I won't spend my money in, or on the goods and services that come from them.
You're certainly innocent of personal involvement in the formation of that law. I'm not blaming you. I just won't go someplace where that law's existence is okay with the average citizen...which is also why I don't go to the religious, hateful parts of this country.
>246 jnwelch: Today's the annual Polar Bear swim in Long Beach, so there's much amusement to be had.
I'd strongly encourage prioritizing Sea of Rust over Four-Day Planet, though adding the latter to the Kindle at 99¢ won't endanger the retirement funds. I got it in the H. Beam Piper Megapack, which is *stuffed* with his works and was also a nosebleedy 99¢.
>244 richardderus: Okay, I'll give it a whirl. As always, your review was both informative and entertaining. Thumb from me.
Happy Sunday, RD. Hope you are enjoying some R & R today. We have snow and falling temps. I am so glad to be back.
We watched the first episode of Electric Dreams last night. "Real Life"? We liked it and will watch more.
>248 Crazymamie: I expect you'll enjoy it when you get around to it, Mamie. I'm not overselling when I say it's enjoyable with lowered expectations!
*smooch* for that lovely compliment.
>249 msf59: I'm so glad y'all liked that episode! Electric Dreams is a good series and I'm eager for it to come back.
I have managed to miss most of your thread and my excuse is that work has pushed itself into my at home time for the last couple of weeks. Next week will be the culmination and then it should get better so that I can really read all of your reviews and look at the book porn. I have a continuous wall of book shelves in my living room that are packed full of books.
Next weekend I am off to Denver and the ALA mid-winter conference where I hope to add several boxes of books to my collection. The problem now is that the spaces under my bed and the bed in the spare bedroom are full. Where will I put the new books?
Instead of watching the football game tonight I am baking a King Cake for a Mardi Gras party on Tuesday. I am going to bake a baby into it.
Ive made advances towards H. Beam Pipers "classic" hard science fiction a number of times and have always come away disappointing. Doesn't work for me.
>244 richardderus: I love H. Beam Piper - not much female presence in his stories, but the ones that are there are real people (mostly) rather than the all-too-common cardboard cipher and (all too often) prize for the male lead. I find him (for that) less annoying than E.E. Doc Smith. And his ideas are often wonderful - try Omnilingual, or Crossroads of Destiny. I do enjoy Four-Day Planet, and many others. Love the Fuzzies - the funny thing is that no one who's tried to continue the story (three different people I can think of) have noticed that it is in fact a legal drama, which only happens to feature intelligent, cute aliens.
Note, however - as far as I can see, the Megapack consists of all and only the Piper books and stories that are on Project Gutenberg. Which annoys me, because I thought Wildside was a good lot. I already have all those from PG, plus quite a few more in paper, and a couple more ebooks from Ace.
I haven't gotten Neogenesis yet, but want it. I don't think I'll try Sea of Rust - post-apocalyptic and noir (from the reviews) are two negatives, for me.
>257 Familyhistorian: I've heard of it, but never experienced it - bake a little plastic baby doll into the cake, and the person who gets it hosts the next party. Or has luck for the next year, or something.
>258 EBT1002: The baby is too obvious in that one. It's supposed to be inside the cake! LOL
Finished the second episode of Altered Carbon. Netflix takes advantage of the subscriber base being there voluntarily and by choice for an absence of excuses for public prudish fantods. And the show presents a great deal of nudity (James Purefoy, aged 53, has NOTHING to be shy about and he isn't). Plenty of suggestive scenes implying sexual contact, always staying firmly this side of porn.
The man is Joel Kinnaman, a fortyish Swede playing Takeshi Kovacs's new sleeve. He does a creditable job being world-weary but still noble, though I confess I'm more shocked that they left in tobacco use than that they left in naked body parts.
The aesthetic is very Blade Runner. I like the show, but...something...I think it's the lack of memorable dialogue? or the very visible budget? something isn't quite making this a rush-to-Netflix-and-binge experience. Yet? Ever? I'm not sure.
>255 LovingLit: In mufti, he's the poetry-reading hot geeky reader boy; in costume, he's the rawr-inducing cougar bait. There. I explained it all for you.
Try him out. Project Gutenberg is your friend.
>256 magicians_nephew: Heh, I know what you mean, Jim. I loved Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen and care a great deal less for his Terro-Human future history tales. Paratime is fun when he goes a-wandering but in the Home Time Line, well....
>260 thornton37814: Yes, I thought that, as well, Lori, but if the baby is inside the cake where it belongs, you can't see it in the photo! LOL
>257 Familyhistorian: Part of New Orleans's Mardi Gras traditions. The baby, the King or Christ Child, was once a dried bean. Now it's a little plastic doll, or in fancy-shmancy private parties, a teensy little porcelain figurine.
>259 jjmcgaffey: Hey there Jenn, it's a pretty solid deal...99¢ and all 33 tales properly formatted for your Kindle with fully shareable notes and highlights. But the content is readily available on PG, so....
Sea of Rust won't be your best choice, I can see. I liked it for the reasons you're giving as turn-offs.
>260 thornton37814: Hi Lori!
'Morning, RD! I hope you're off to a great start this morning. I have already fed the you-know-whats and had several sips of my first cup of coffee.
I'm making note of Netflix options. Right now we're watching The Librarians.
>268 karenmarie: Good Monday, Horrible, it's a dreary-looking but warmish one here. I'm ensconced in my usual librocubicularist's haunt.
I'm up to episode 6 in Netflix's Altered Carbon, and I have to say I feel the need to re-read the source material. I'm keeping up with the plot twists just fine but I wonder about the average viewer's level of commitment. It takes some focus to keep clear the differing faces with the same "stack" or personality within.
All in all, a satisfactory day ahead.
Librocubicularist. Damn. You always have the perfect word. I was one last night, reading A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.
Lots of catching up today after being away and mostly offline for three days. The weather at the beach was dreary so we got lots of reading time.
I like the TV version of The Last Kingdom much better than the books. I couldn't even finish the first. The Hubster has read all of them and is eagerly awaiting the next.
Bless his heart.
The aesthetic is very Blade Runner. That I like. But you're being given pause by . . . something . . . about the Netflix Altered Carbon gives me pause, too. I'll be watching closely your trailblazing.
Post-apocalyptic and noir are positive for me, too. Sea of Rust will probably be my next sci-fi when the mood strikes. Right now I'm reading Lillian Boxfish which is . . . none of the above.
Hulu has just posted season 3 of Fear the Walking Dead, so you'll know what I'll be doing tonight.
>274 jnwelch: I've finished the series. I cannot say don't watch it. I can say no one who does should watch the fourth episode, it's torture porn like the Saw franchise, and adds nothing to the value of the show.
Stylish and involving; very deeply disturbing look at human nature's darker, danker basements. As I recall the book, and I've only ever read the first one of the three, this is pretty faithful to the plot and spot-on as to characterization. Strong acting but pretty ~meh~ screenwriting IMO. Nudity (considerable nudity) skews female though we are shown male genitalia on more than one occasion; sex is entirely heteronormative.
Yer on yer own, grownups. I am not sorry I watched it.
>275 SomeGuyInVirginia: See you Wednesday!
Hi, RD! Hope your Monday went well. I had a very lazy and sleepy afternoon with the books, enjoying my last day, before heading to the frigid grind tomorrow.
On the fence about Altered Carbon. I'll watch for your final thoughts.
Have you watched Mindhunter? We finally finished it and it is a very strong series, if you can stomach the serial killer yuckiness.
My current Netflix addictions are "Godless" and "Longmire" (to a lesser degree but it's companionable to sit and watch with Prudence - she prefers cozy to gory) "Miss Fisher's Mystery Series."
>282 EBT1002: I like all three! And Travelers. Well, since it's totally at my whim, I'll watch anything for 5-10min. I've made pleasant discoveries. If I had to remember to sit in front of the TV at a particular time, I'd just go back to not watching at all. That, and commercials, kept me away from TV for decades.
>283 Familyhistorian: The very first Carnival celebration on this continent was in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1701 when that city was the capital of French Louisiana. Upstart Nawlins wa'n't even dreamt of until 20 years later.
Cousin Garner was a big Biloxi booster. His house got squooshed by a casino during Katrina.
>284 richardderus: Carnival is still big in Biloxi, but it isn't as widely known as the NOLA version.
>282 EBT1002: I love Phryne Fisher, for the costumes alone. Well, and Jack. Have you tried Dr. Blake? It's somewhat in the same mold, also Australian.
Rd, do you know how many books you've read? I'd be interested in knowing.
>279 Crazymamie: That's remarkable!
>285 thornton37814: It's always a big draw to have a drunken bash, isn't it!
>286 laytonwoman3rd: The Doctor Blake Mysteries is a very good show, I agree.
>287 SomeGuyInVirginia: I have no idea...I got my own library card in 1969 and have been reading steadily since. Take a conservative average of 200 books a year for 49 years...cut it in half for re-reads...4900 books, thereabouts? Since joining the bookish internet, I've posted over 1500 reviews.
So that's as close an average as I can get.
HI Richard. Just so you know the Vote on my thread was tied, so please go vote again. Thanks.
Good morning, RichardDear! I hope this Wednesday finds you in a good mood, with coffee and good books at hand.
*smooches* from Madame TVT Horrible
Morning, BigDaddy! Sorry about the bad night. How about some of this to cheer you up:
Lemon blueberry loaf
Someone I know liked the TV series Shetland and now I know there's going to be a season 4 of it. The trailer teases the season's plot.
>292 karenmarie:, >293 Crazymamie: Ugh blergh ickyptooptoo all over this rotten day. It's 32°/0C and raining. That is more heinous, more vile, more unnatural than voting Republican even. I need to pick up holds at the library, get groceries, ride herd on my roommate to get him to doc appointments, etc etc etc.
>294 richardderus: Hooray! I love that show almost as much as the books.
Sorry about the day of yuck. It is pouring buckets here, but luckily I do not need to go anywhere. Birdy and I have been doing a Big Clean, and the house is looking great.
I am not setting one single phalange outside in this, this, mishegas, this dreck.
I texted the Young Gentleman Caller and ordered grocery delivery of instant white rice. He sent back a salaam. I'm assuming that means I'll have something to make for dinner.
Boo flunk on 32F and raining. Inside, warm, coffee- and book-infused times. I myownself did those two things PLUS a donut, so am feeling full of evil carbohydrates and fats. *smile*
I thought you'd want a reminder, RD. Today is Charles Dickens' 206th birthday. Chuckles would be great entertainment for the kids at the party.
>302 weird_O: And to cheer you up after that, I'll add that also, he's still dead.
>301 karenmarie: The donut sounded good...I was about to text the YGC...he walked in with the requested rice and a box of Koffee Kup lemon zest donuts! I could kiss him. Well, I did. He enjoyed that. So did I. Life isn't boring with his youthful zaniness around, even though I want to clip his ear about twice a day.
>302 weird_O: You know what makes that statement just *perfect*, Bill? As I read it, the vicious vile beotch of a gawd delivered...SLEET! Oh boy oh joy!
>303 Crazymamie: Say hallelujah, brethren and sistern! Bring the jubilee!
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