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Richard's Thread for 2017

This is a continuation of the topic My Thread for 2017.

This topic was continued by Richard's Thread for 2017 #3.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

Join LibraryThing to post.

1richardderus
Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 1:47pm Top



Catherine Klein, German watercolorist, made this spectacularly lovely image of my favorite fruit in my favorite season. I adore it.

2richardderus
Edited: Nov 20, 2017, 4:11pm Top



I've reviewed 156 books this year, of 180 planned.




***See post 196 for my 2017 ANZAC Reading Challenge choices!***

Despite appearances, I am still alive. I am now reading:

137 13 Oct 2017 Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller--4 stars, a good read. I need to review this for the On The Southern Literary Trail group post 120.

138 14 Oct 2017 The Very First Damned Thing 5 stars, always fun, down in post 124.

139 15 Oct 2017 A Perfect Storm was my second delightful visit this week with the Disaster Magnets of St Mary's! W00t! in post 125.

140 23 Oct 2017 The Autobiography of James T. Kirk dull writing, familiar stories, fans only! in post 182.

141 23 October 2017 Gyrfalcon delicious 4-star space opera with gay male leads, truly my jam, in post 176.

142 24 Oct 2017 Free and Other Stories is a re-read of stodgy old Theodore Dreiser's short-fiction collection in post 188.

143 30 Oct 2017 The Tradescants' Orchard is a gift book of surpassing beauty teased in post 250.

144 1 Nov 2017 The Forever War is a reread of the terrifically unsuccessful variety maligned in post 278.

145 1 Nov 2017 Bandersnatch is a terrific study of the Inkings, illustrated delightfully and told absorbingly, teased in post 21.

146 3 Nov 2017 Cravings is a memoir of celebrity addiction teased in post 21.

147 5 Nov 2017 Cloudsplitter is just a stunner, a beautiful telling of a foundational American myth in post 61.

148 6 Nov 2017 The Enchanted Hill is a serendipitous reminder of a 1970 read about race in a tense, desegregating world in post 81.

149 6 Nov 2017 Peppers of the Americas is a gorgeous illustrated book that belongs in the kitchen not on the coffee table in post 89.

150 11 Nov 2017 Option B is a useful self-help guide to grieving reviewed in post 133.

151 12 Nov 2017 Heart Scarab is the second book in a space-opera series featuring my new book-boyfriend Bennet in post 145.

152 13 Nov 2017 You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack needs no introduction to the initiate but here's a review in post 154.

153 16 Nov 2017 Makepeace is the third entry in the Taking Shield series in post 199.

154 18 Nov 2017 Mooncop delights the senses in post 224

155 19 Nov 2017 The Chains of Their Sins is the fourth Taking Shield book, one to go, in post 243.

156 20 Nov 2017 The Prey of Gods is so good you need to go buy it now, no need to read reviews, there's one in post 244 if you're feeling stubborn.

I found the 2017 ANZAC Reading Challenge! I'm going with a 12-entry choice, but I'm starting out with a big advantage: Text Publishing, out of Australia, sent me a dozen books to blog about that I'm going to be reviewing for November as well as one or two in my planned book-gifting guide from 24 November to 24 December.

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.
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'm *finally* reviewing this book!

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.

3Crazymamie
Nov 3, 2017, 1:41pm Top

Happy 2nd thread, BigDaddy! I'm not at all surprised that you needed a second one.

4richardderus
Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 1:52pm Top

>3 Crazymamie: Mamie darling! Let's celebrate my new thread with some apple blossoms, shall we? I've got curried toast and shrimp coming.



5Crazymamie
Nov 3, 2017, 1:54pm Top

*grabs a seat*

6Berly
Nov 3, 2017, 1:56pm Top

I brought something...

7richardderus
Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 1:57pm Top

>5 Crazymamie: I made the curried shrimp and rice last night from that recipe and I'm here to tell you it was THE BOMB. I allow myself shrimp 3 times a year and I couldn't not have it when the weather was so perfect for curry and shrimp was on sale for $4.99 for 21 aka a pound.

>6 Berly: Glorious!! Yes please.

8PaulCranswick
Nov 3, 2017, 2:11pm Top

Happy new one, dear fellow.

This is Malay/ Indonesian style Kari Udang Kering (Dry Curried Prawns)

9karenmarie
Nov 3, 2017, 2:28pm Top

Happy new thread RD!

Yum for the food pics.

10katiekrug
Nov 3, 2017, 2:40pm Top

Happy new one, Richard! From your previous thread, I don't think I ever saw any of those autumnal pretties in Texas. I may have been too distracted planning my escape from the state to notice ;-)

11drneutron
Nov 3, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Happy new thread! Now I want some shrimp curry!

12jnwelch
Nov 3, 2017, 2:43pm Top

Happy New Thread, Richard!

Beautiful apples by Catherine Klein up there, and I like the nymph (?) below.

We just lots of Granny Smith and Jonathan Gold apples to make applesauce this weekend.

13richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>8 PaulCranswick: Ooohhh yes please now please more please! Gorgeous things.

>9 karenmarie: Thanks, Mme TVT du Horrible, and ain't they all just lip-smackin' good?

>10 katiekrug: You lived in Dallas, or as real Texans call it, "Baja Mobilhoma." That don't count. *smooch*

14katiekrug
Nov 3, 2017, 2:52pm Top

Baja Mobilhoma = brilliant.

15richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 2:53pm Top

>11 drneutron: Thanks Jim. That's the hazard of coming around here, leaving hungry or at least hankerin' after some specific taste treat. #sorrynotsorry

>12 jnwelch: Applesauce! Yes and yum. That combo is a good'un, too, the tart clarity of Granny Smith melded with the mellow sweetness of Jonagold. Happy to see you!

The Mucha illustration is one of his seasons, so not explicitly mythological but a personification of the essence of Fall-ness.

16richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 2:56pm Top

>14 katiekrug: I can't believe I've never used that one on you before! My Goodreads friend Steve, may he rest in peace, was my first target for that. He lived in Tulsa, of all the impossible places. (So did I, it behooves me to add, for over a year! Seventh across the street from Memorial Park. Nice enough place, I guess. Just not...ya know...*flails*)

17jnwelch
Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 3:04pm Top

>16 richardderus: Mucha! I was trying to think of that. (I kept thinking of Maxfield Parrish). And the personification of Fall-ness - perfect.

18FAMeulstee
Nov 3, 2017, 3:06pm Top

Happy second thread, Richard, and you are at 12 x 12 books already :-)

19richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 3:09pm Top

>17 jnwelch: That art appreciation course in 1982 has really stuck with me. To good effect, I hope, not merely as "mansplaining" fodder. (A nasty and sexist term I find used a lot more frequently than the social-justice warriors who use it should.)

>18 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita! More reviews of non-Booksgiving books are a-comin'.

20EBT1002
Nov 3, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Hi Richard and Happy New Thread.

I love the Mucha illustration; new for me.

I took an art appreciation class in 1978. I think it stuck with me less than yours did with you. But I remember enjoying it and feeling that it shortened the distance between me and the art I was viewing (which, of course, was the point).

21richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 4:32pm Top

Two new reviews this week at my blog, Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud:

Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer, author of the also-excellent The Company They Keep, is a combination of cautionary tale for writers' groups, group biography of the Inklings, and meditation on what creativity, in the end, costs, means, and does. I love the illustrations.

Cravings: How I Conquered Food is Judy Collins's memoir of battling alcohol and food cravings her entire adult life. I gave it 3.5 stars because, while inspiring, its ideas for what and how to fight the fight are untenable for someone of average financial and social resources.

22richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 4:34pm Top

>20 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Happy you found me so soon. I'm sure you're reveling in sister time as well as Asheville's stunning fall colors...I hope they've begun and not ended, as I recall now is a great time to appreciate them. In the 90s I had a place on Fontana Lake and loved the falls.

23johnsimpson
Nov 3, 2017, 5:49pm Top

Happy new thread Richard dear friend.

24msf59
Nov 3, 2017, 5:53pm Top

Happy New Thread, RD. I like the Klein topper. Not familiar with this artist but she now has my attention.

Remember the merry old dial-up days, when our threads could barely go 200 posts? Glad that shit is over. Grins...

25richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 6:06pm Top

>23 johnsimpson: Hi John! So happy you found me again!

>24 msf59: UGH yes I remember dial-up all too well. In fact I think I have nightmares about the 9600-baud modem I used to have.

26laytonwoman3rd
Nov 3, 2017, 6:08pm Top

That curried shrimp looks scrumptious. Hope there were no untoward consequences of the eating. 'Cause nobody should have to deny themselves shrimp forever and always. And what "that recipe"???? Is it around somewhere?

27richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 6:16pm Top

>26 laytonwoman3rd: Hi Linda3rd! Happy to see you here. I am so abstemious when it comes to potential gout-causing dietary treats that when I do indulge I'm pretty confident I won't suffer. I didn't this time, delighted to report.

The normal-people recipe for curried rice and shrimp is here, though I have to adapt it to crockpottery. It just means slowly sweating of the Holy Trinity and substituting instant rice.

28johnsimpson
Nov 3, 2017, 6:21pm Top

>25 richardderus:, so glad I found you again dear friend, you were badly missed on here and now we can all embrace your lovely posts. Hope you are having a good day dear Richard.

29bohemima
Nov 3, 2017, 7:08pm Top

SHRIMP!

And the lovely Michael.

Beautiful thread.

30richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 7:21pm Top

>28 johnsimpson: I have had a lovely day indeed, John, thank you for asking. Gorgeous weather, a wee tiny bit warmer than usual; I treated myself to shrimp last night so I got to eat leftovers this afternoon; I'm loving Potiki. What else can a man hope for in life? Tell Karen I hope her adjustment to gall bladder-less-ness is working out well, and pinch Hannah's little apple cheek from me.

>29 bohemima: Hi Gail! Michael who?

31ronincats
Nov 3, 2017, 9:21pm Top

Happy New Thread, Richard! I'm salivating too much to say more.

32richardderus
Nov 3, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>31 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! You'll drown if you go look at the leftovers I rustled up for you.

33ronincats
Nov 3, 2017, 10:01pm Top

Already got them, tyvm!

34LovingLit
Nov 4, 2017, 12:10am Top

Well, this is a food and book and art laden thread. Just my scene. *settles in*

35Deern
Nov 4, 2017, 6:13am Top

Happy New Thread and Happy Apple Season!
Did I mention that where I live is Europe's biggest continuous apple orchard or at least it's what the tourist board claims? It's a very long valley, so the fields add to the scenery and leave enough room for other plants. Plenty varieties, though Golden Delicious is still the most-cultivated type.

Is Apple Blossom a cocktail? And what's on that curried toast, apple slices?

36karenmarie
Nov 4, 2017, 6:19am Top

Good morning, RD! Wishing you a frabjous day. I hope your wake up time is much later than this disgusting 6:18 a.m. insomnia-ish time. Why my brain had to kick in at 5 a.m. is beyond me. And then, of course, the siren call of coffee started in. Sigh.

37richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 7:41am Top

Good Saturday. one and all. The buffet is still coming out, please be patient:

the coffee bar is (unsurprisingly) fully operational

sweet potato bacon-egg "muffins" and y'all know I detest sweet potatoes but this is scrummy!
There will be pastries and suchlike, but later.

38richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 7:47am Top

>33 ronincats: Oh good! Enjoy guilt-free calorieless snacking, Roni, before your El Cajon jaunt.

>34 LovingLit: Happy to have you, Megan my friend. Your kiwi corner of springtime is always ready for you.

39richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 7:54am Top

>35 Deern: Hello Nathalie! I'm happy to see you here. Apple Blossoms are made of apple cider, a splash of limoncello, and cava to fill. They're delicious!

The toast has thin apple slices over a chutney-and-cheese mound on top of thin white bread slices soaked in butter-and-curry before toasting in a hot oven.

Apple orchards are happy things in the world, blossoms in spring, leaves in summer, fruit in fall, and the lovely geometry of branches in winter. Adore it.

>36 karenmarie: Ugh for brain on switches without timers. Here's a virgin cup of coffee to make it better.

40bohemima
Nov 4, 2017, 8:00am Top

>30 richardderus: Damn you, autocorrect!

I meant the lovely Mucha. His work is a gorgeous burst of color.

Ah, coffee...

41richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 8:34am Top

>40 bohemima: LOL Of course, silly of me not to think of that considering how often I text the word "ducking".

More coffee, dear lady?

42bohemima
Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 8:49am Top

Ohhh...please, Sir, may I have some more?

ETA: forgive me for that one.

43richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 8:54am Top

44Crazymamie
Nov 4, 2017, 10:45am Top

Oh! I see I am just in time for feasting. Most excellent.

45richardderus
Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 11:16am Top

>44 Crazymamie: Caramel-cinnamon coffee cake muffin, my dear?

46Crazymamie
Nov 4, 2017, 11:17am Top

YUM!

47richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 11:21am Top

Surprise Fact for Satyrday:
Muffins "bake" beautifully in a hot-water environment inside a crockpot! One only need remember to take the lid off after 1 hour (yes, it's slow) to make sure they don't stay too wet. Streusel toppings like the above, well, they don't do so good. *smacks tongue* Gooey streusel = blech.

48jnwelch
Nov 4, 2017, 12:46pm Top

>45 richardderus: Oh man, it all looks good, but I'd like ten of these, please.

49richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>48 jnwelch: ...these...?

50LovingLit
Nov 4, 2017, 5:50pm Top

My coffee this morning was poorly made in the extreme (I now have a full day ahead of me with coffee disappointment and regret)
Oh woe is me.
SO I guess Ill head back up to that breakfast buffet and score me a fresh one!

51richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>50 LovingLit: Megan darling!! BAD COFFEE is absolutely the most disappointing substance the Universe can contain! Go on and vacuum up some freshly brewed perfection.

52richardderus
Nov 4, 2017, 6:26pm Top

Okay y'all, here's a name yinz need to learn: Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, a young SF literary critic of quite acute perceptions, quite sharp critical faculties, and quite deft analytical chops.

His 2014 LA Review of Books essay on Norman Spinrad—he of The Void Captain's Tale on the high side and The Iron Dream on the low—came to my attention for the first time today. It was perfect for me, in that it gave me a perspective on Spinrad's works through the lens of three of the five books of his that I've read and introduced me to two I hadn't previously known existed. My larger issue with superheroes was, quite offhandedly, made crystal clear using a Thomas Disch quote I'd heard before placed in a context where it was fresh and new to me.

I. LOVE. THAT.

Now I am coveting in a serious way, longing for, desiring most unhealthily intensely...is my hinting getting through here?...his current book, Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg. I've enjoyed every Silverberg work I've ever read, and probably should do a Jay Lake-like premortem review-fest similar to the one I did for Shelf Inflicted (Rocket Science was the one Jay liked best http://tinyurl.com/q2cgajr but the public liked best was Escapement by an order of magnitude...my first review ever to go over 2,000 views! It's here http://tinyurl.com/m32m7wo). An idea to ponder in 2018, though I'm at a bit of a loss how I could make it into #ReadingIsResistance material.

53tymfos
Nov 5, 2017, 12:03am Top

Happy new thread, Richard! You have quite a banquet here.

>45 richardderus: Those look especially delicious!

54mckait
Nov 5, 2017, 9:38am Top

I can't keep up with you rd.

55richardderus
Nov 5, 2017, 10:16am Top

>53 tymfos: Don't they, TLo? I would love a half-dozen of them now. Sadly I must make do with maple cinnamon oatmeal submerged in butter. Come back soon!

>54 mckait: *smooch* There there, pat pat

56msf59
Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 11:20am Top



^This is my plan for the rest of the day, although I will probably substitute the tea with beer, a bit later on.

Happy Sunday, RD. Enjoy those meditative pauses.

57richardderus
Nov 5, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>56 msf59: Oh my, yes please! Gorgeous.

I'm doing much the same thing today, and it feels great...but dayum I'd love one a them toddies.

58johnsimpson
Nov 5, 2017, 4:23pm Top

Hi Richard, hope you are having a really nice weekend dear friend, sending love and hugs from both of us, I will pinch Hannah's cheek when I see her next.

59richardderus
Nov 5, 2017, 4:58pm Top

>58 johnsimpson: I am enjoying today's fall overcast and drizzle from the comfort of my reading spot, thanks John, and am chowing down on panettone with butter while sipping a latte.

I would say, wouldn't you?, that this constellation of activities constitutes "really nice" no matter the day!

60johnsimpson
Nov 5, 2017, 5:01pm Top

Definitely my friend.

61richardderus
Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 6:37pm Top

147. Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks

Rating: 5* of five

On my birthday in 1999, I got a call from a childhood friend informing me that my mother had had a debilitating stroke. I started planning my trip back to my hometown, calling in favors and loans and generally mobilizing my support system. I was on a plane two weeks later, accompanied by this book.

It was a godsend. A story I knew told by a storyteller I trusted. My next two months were complicated and unpleasant, involving upheavals, betrayals, endings, and beginnings that contained the seeds of their endings. Throughout, I was ministered to by Russell Banks. The time I spent reading this book, so extremely slow by my personal standards, was time well spent and deeply savored. Our mutual friend Mark/msf59 recently picked this book up and decided to read it, so I thought I'd revisit some of my favorite moments.
It was like a dream, a beautiful, soothing dream of late autumn: low, gray skies, smell of woodsmoke, fallen leaves crackling beneath my feet, and somewhere out there, in the farmsteads and plantations ahead of me, swift retribution!
Freedom! The bloody work of the Lord!

How I wish today's christians thought this way, and acted on the principles they claim to venerate.

Of all the animals on this planet, we are surely the nastiest, the most deceitful, the most murderous and vile. Despite our God, or because of him. Both.

Because this is the simplest statement of a truth I've held dear all my life.

“You must not obey a majority, no matter how large, if it opposes your principles and opinions." He said this to each new volunteer and repeated it over and over to him, until it was engraved on his mind. "The largest majority is often only an organized mob whose noise can no more change the false into the true than it can change black into white or night into day. And a minority, conscious of its rights, if those rights are based on moral principles, will sooner or later become a just majority.”

Yes indeed. As we saw a year ago.

Father argued that society as a whole must come to be organized on a different basis than greed, for while material interests gained somewhat by the institutionalized deification of pure selfishness, ordinary men and women lost everything by it.

I'd like to see this printed on the hundred-dollar bill.

So my trip back through the book, even though it falls short of a full re-read, has been deeply and satisfyingly full of moment and meaning. Thanks, Mark, for inspiring this satisfying, enriching trip through a wonderful book.

ETA fatfingers

62PaulCranswick
Nov 5, 2017, 9:31pm Top

>61 richardderus: That one has been on my TBR pile for far too bloody wrong, obviously.

What about this on the 50 dollar bill?



Assam Prawns. Hot and sourish with liberal use of tamarind.

63richardderus
Nov 5, 2017, 10:37pm Top

>62 PaulCranswick: Great suffering zot, NO! Things that *inspire* greed, concupiscence, covetousness, should never be on money! Look at Betty Windsor's portrait on UK money: Nothing stops lust, covetousness, desire colder than Her Frigidly Icy Maj. This is salubrious.

64PaulCranswick
Nov 5, 2017, 10:41pm Top

>63 richardderus: I think that you have something there. Why oh why would you let something like that out of your hands to pay fuel or buy milk. The QEII or Abraham's ugly mugs does at least give divesting some crumb of comfort.

65PaulCranswick
Nov 5, 2017, 10:44pm Top

By the way dear fellow. This clunky little limerick was produced to order - your order:

'Trump' is, in common parlance, to break wind
It is a word whose meaning we had to rescind.
Now it seems to fart
Is no very great art
And all because America's voters sinned.

66Berly
Nov 5, 2017, 10:44pm Top

>147 Ah! I have so missed your reviews. And the book bullets. ; )

67richardderus
Nov 5, 2017, 11:23pm Top

>64 PaulCranswick: See?

>65 PaulCranswick: *snort* Oh so very true.

>66 Berly: Thanks, Berly-boo! *smooch*

68LovingLit
Nov 6, 2017, 3:28am Top

>61 richardderus: *dodges left, dodges right*. Uh oh, I'm hit.
And here I was just showing off on my thread how my latest book was a near miss BB for you!!! That'll learn me.

69BekkaJo
Nov 6, 2017, 7:02am Top

I'll be interested to see how you like the Channel Islands WWII book :)

70laytonwoman3rd
Nov 6, 2017, 8:30am Top

>45 richardderus:, >47 richardderus: Clearly you need to get yourself one of those itty bitty butane blow torch thingies to crisp the top of stuff. Like a giant Bic lighter...sorta.

71richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 8:52am Top

>68 LovingLit: *there there, pat pat*

>69 BekkaJo: Me too! It'll be interesting indeed.

>70 laytonwoman3rd: The fire marshal would have an aneurysm! This place is full of oxygen-dependent forgetful folks, and the fire alarm goes off far too regularly as it is because the idiot smokers think they can stand in the bathroom with the fan on and get away with puffing one down.

72bohemima
Nov 6, 2017, 8:52am Top

Wonderful review, Richard. I do love someone who pays attention to what they’re reading.

73richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 9:01am Top

>72 bohemima: *smooch*

I started out on the "hoover it in" path but was corrected by my elder sister, the bookshop lady. "Here's a new book!" *read it in three hours* "What was it about?" *ummm* "Why would I want to give you more books when you don't remember what's in them?"

Threaten an addict with supply cut-off, see how fast stuff changes.

74SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 6, 2017, 9:39am Top

I'm a slow reader and it drives me nuts. I envy people who can zip through a book. Rahlly I dew.

75richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 9:49am Top

>74 SomeGuyInVirginia: Heh, you'd detest me, Tracy Lord. I don't review most of what I read and I'm up to review 151 of the year.

76Berly
Nov 6, 2017, 10:37am Top

>75 richardderus: Not only do you read them fast, but then you can remember them in detail much later on! If I didn't like you so much I could really dislike you! Detest might be a tad strong though. LOL

Happy Monday!

77richardderus
Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 11:10am Top

>76 Berly: *smooch* My sister Winter gets all the credit. She was *appalled* that I couldn't remember the ending of A Tale of Two Cities. I really couldn't. I hated it, and I read it for a junior-high English class, and wrote my paper...got a C+ because the teacher said I wrote a book report not a review...see where this is heading?

78Deern
Nov 6, 2017, 12:36pm Top

>39 richardderus: The toast has thin apple slices over a chutney-and-cheese mound on top of thin white bread slices soaked in butter-and-curry before toasting in a hot oven. *faintshappily*

>61 richardderus: Fat BB caught, it's on my list for the next order of paper books (no e-book version).
We don't have people on those Euro bills, there are buildings, probably famous ones I should recognize but don't.

>59 richardderus: The big festive panettones and pandoros (softer, without fruit) grin at me whenever I go grocery shopping, but I'm still avoiding them. I almost killed my liver with pandoro over Christmas 2015, I was addicted to their softness and their buttery taste. My excuse is I was heartbroken then. Haven't touched them in 2016, but maybe this season I'll handle them better....?

>77 richardderus: I almost immediately forget names and places, but plot and atmosphere can stay with me forever.

79richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 1:02pm Top

>78 Deern: Hi Nathalie! Happy to see you here. The pandoros I can live without. Wheat does bad things to my digestion, so I save my wheat-eating for things I love like panettone.

I think you'll enjoy Cloudsplitter. It's something special.

80richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 2:28pm Top

81richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 3:42pm Top

148. The Enchanted Hill by Ruby L. Radford

Rating: 3* of five

I read this as a 10-year-old whose best pal was a Negro. How I flinch to write it that way! It was the term of the times. My mother, a weird amalgam of socially progressive and insanely, unhingedly conservative, thought Dougie (who lived down the block, another thing Mama, bewilderingly, was just fine with) was a sweet boy and encouraged me to invite him home for snacks and the like.

I read this book with Dougie, and wondered why he was so quiet about it. "Why does the white girl save the Negroes? Can't they do it?"

Um.

Well.

I had no answer, and even plucked up the courage to ask Mrs. Darling (Dougie's mom) what that could mean. She was patient and kind but whatever she said made no sense to me because I still remember feeling utterly at sea. The Darlings moved back to Georgia over that summer and I never saw Dougie again, but this book lurked in my little punkin head waiting and smiling a Pennywise smile.

I found it among the library discards and *bam* Pennywise reared up outta the sewer and grabbed my ankles to pull me in. Flipping through the Theosophical Publishing House edition, I'd forgotten the illustrations completely...they're forgettable...and man oh mighty have times changed, this clanking clunking mess wouldn't pass muster today:
Her aunt turned from the sink and looked deep into her eyes, saying softly, "I understand, my dear."
So Aunt Eleanor knew how lonely and starved for attention she had generally been. How wonderful it was to have someone take time to answer all her questions!
Suddenly Aunt Eleanor's mood changed as she said with a little gurgle of laughter, "Let me tell you something funny that happened when Connie brought you home for my wedding."

Trust me, it wasn't funny and it was really, really arch and absurd.

But a book in my segregated Texas school library, one about a little white girl, had Negroes in it! That sticks with me as a surprise. That it hasn't aged particularly well is no patch on its surprise value in 1970. I'm still glad I found it all those years ago. I wish I'd paid more attention to Dougie's concerns, it would've saved me a lot of missed connections and hurt feelings in later life.

82EBT1002
Nov 6, 2017, 5:59pm Top

My sister and I were driving around today and commenting on the lovely fall colors. She said that "the experts" (you know who they are!) say that October 21 is the usual peak date for fall leaves in western North Carolina. This year the peak is more like, well, now. But climate change is a myth (and yes, I know that one year does not a trend make, but really....).

xo

83richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>82 EBT1002: Oh heavens yes, that ol' myth about climate change is as stupid as the one about gun control laws with teeth saving lives.

Better to think and pray about the dead. In both cases.

84PaulCranswick
Nov 6, 2017, 7:29pm Top

>80 richardderus: Is that because the Republicans don't blow, they just suck?

85LovingLit
Nov 6, 2017, 8:47pm Top

>80 richardderus: well, when you put it like that....
As in LIKE THAT being the ACTUAL TRUTH of the matter. *stomps off in a huff*

86richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 8:59pm Top

>84 PaulCranswick: They suck as hard as they blow. It's a finely balanced shitshow.

>85 LovingLit: That huffy stomp is the most familiar sound in my world. It is a primary reason I left Trumpbook.

87msf59
Nov 6, 2017, 9:11pm Top

>61 richardderus: I am so glad you shared your thoughts on, Cloudsplitter. It landed at a very difficult time for you, but I am sure that helped sear it into your memory. Is is quite an artistic achievement and a total labor of love. I think 5 stars is just about right too. There is some repetition here and some excessive wordiness, but his craftsmanship is top-notch.

88richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 9:25pm Top

>87 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I'm amazed at how the right book appears at the right time in my world.

I expect the repetition and wordiness is less here than in, say, a "short" story by, say, Chuckles the Dick.

89richardderus
Nov 6, 2017, 10:28pm Top

149. Peppers of the Americas by Maricel Presilla

Rating: 5* of five

The simple glory of eating peppers is their surprising, underutilized versatility. Nothing is more delicious than a juicy piece of cantaloupe sprinkled with a salt, sugar, dried pepper blend. Oh wait, squeeze some lime juice on it first! The pass out from the pleasure of savoring the sweethottart explosion in your brain.

I grew up on the Texas/Mexico border and was indoctrinated early in the ways of hot and spice, to my resolutely Anglo mother's mild horror and refined disgust. (She also disapproved of fried foods, another thing I can't get enough of; her goddesses were Elizabeth David and MFK Fisher, worthy objects of veneration, but not to the exclusion of Madhur Jaffrey and Maria Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo.) I was thrilled with the recent rise of the sriracha cult, I am a huge fan of Tabasco, pretty much if it's under 250,000 scovills I'm on board and above that if there's a pitcher of milk nearby.

This volume is a gorgeously illustrated single-subject encyclopedia. It is history, sociology, mixology, on and on, in an oversized trim and printed so beautifully you won't want to use it in the kitchen. Resist this impulse. Make turkey in mole coloradito (p317) to shake up your American Thanksgiving table with a truly American dish. Besides, it's so delicious it slips under my no-turkey table rule which is a major feat.

Live in a pepper desert? Page 330 has you covered...Author Presilla gives you her online sources for all things pepper. There's a gallery of fresh peppers for the aesthetes, complete with potted histories and good guidance on what to expect from each.

I would give this beautiful item to a coffee-table cook without a second thought. I'd far prefer to give it to someone with a need for heat whose sophistication of palate has gone beyond a squirt of something red from a bottle, whose horizons need broadening, and who can benefit from a thorough, well-organized "Cooking With Peppers" guide to comfortable handling and effective preparation of these magical, savory, versatile fruits.

90BekkaJo
Nov 7, 2017, 8:22am Top

I suddenly want really hot chillis... nommm. I suspect my current bout of heartburn (anything I eat ffs) would disagree, but I love chilli heat.

Melon with chilli/peppers? Not something I've come across but it sounds awesome.

Sorry for chilli referencing - peppers to me are the non-spicy bell pepper variety.

91richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 8:31am Top

>90 BekkaJo: I have no issue with your misspelling of chili, dearest. Many of my countryclods spell it "chile," which is either a country in South America or a dialect spelling of Southern US pronunciation of "child" and not a fruit.

When I use the term pepper, it's either the unrelated condiment or the sweet peppers as well. The book uses a different system and the discussions of the relative merits of each system can get tedious.

92Berly
Nov 7, 2017, 9:46am Top

I know you are talking about peppers, but this is where I am at culinarily...

93richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 9:48am Top

>92 Berly: And a good place it is to be! I'm always up for a cuppa joe.

94PaulCranswick
Nov 7, 2017, 10:04am Top

We do like to think we know a thing or two about chilis in Malaysia. We normally buy them at the nearest pasar malam
or night market which are an experience on the senses in every perspective.

95mckait
Nov 7, 2017, 10:29am Top

Didn't you hold on to any of those cider donuts?

Just passing through. . . trying to get inspired to work on a photo album :P

96SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 7, 2017, 10:42am Top

>94 PaulCranswick: Wow, those are gorgeous.

I put Scorpion sauce on lunch once and spent the entire night in agony, it's hotter than the Ghost Pepper. I like peppers, but I has me limits. When it comes to Dare Food, I've learned to say uh-uh.

Remember a few years ago when bell peppers were 5 bucks a pop? I'm really glad they came down because I love sliced red bell pepper. In fact, I'm going to have some at lunch today.

97laytonwoman3rd
Nov 7, 2017, 11:32am Top

Bell peppers have their place, but I much prefer hot ones. IN MODERATION. My current addiction is to jalapeno-stuffed green olives. Thank you, my little brother, for introducing me to those babies. (My brother has a "holster" on his belt for a bottle of Tabasco sauce...just in case.)

98jnwelch
Nov 7, 2017, 11:59am Top

Peppers are fine, RD, but I'm with Kath - where are the cider donuts?

99Deern
Nov 7, 2017, 12:19pm Top

>89 richardderus: Now THIS one exists as Kindle version and the sample is on the way. I know paper copies are nicer to look at (and the number of food stains shows if the recipe was made often), but I have lots of American cookbooks on my ipad already, a special holder in my kitchen and I got used to it.

I'm terribly hungry now, but my Indian-style eggplant tomato curry with no-name Italian dried peperoncini is still more than an hour away. :(

100richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 12:35pm Top

So I voted today...local elections...and a referendum on a state constitutional convention that has local conservatives in a whirling tis-was. Needless to say I'm fer it. :->

Total distance: 3mi, including a stop at the library to pick up How to Find Love in a Bookshop which A Certain Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless in Case of "Accidental" Death or Dismemberment warbled onto my WL. I am now *knackered*. So I decided to get lunch out, prepared kielbasa and sauerkraut. It's steaming in the crockpot now. Yum.

101richardderus
Edited: Nov 7, 2017, 12:40pm Top

>94 PaulCranswick: Gorgeous spread! I love market shopping. Our city farmer's market takes food stamps, so I go at the end of the day once a week to get fresh veggies they don't want to carry home for cheap. Yes, they're bedraggled, but I'm cooking them immediately so I don't care.

>95 mckait:, >98 jnwelch: Oh golly, y'all, the time to take is when they're passed...today was lemon-blueberry donut day. Hope they'll do.

102richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 12:46pm Top

>96 SomeGuyInVirginia: OOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW

That stuff is torture. Massive amounts of milk AND milk of magnesia needed after that. Bell peppers didn't get that high here, blessedly, since the aforementioned farmer's market keeps me supplied with red ones at ~$1 each or ~$5 a bag if I wait.

>97 laytonwoman3rd: Them olives is da bomb. I love garlic-stuffed ones, too. I love olives. All of 'em, ripe or green or brined or pickled or oil-pressed cold, oil-pressed hot (gold colored), cooked or saladed or snacked or still on the beautiful tree.

>99 Deern: I hope you're lunching away by now, Nathalie. That book's cooking section is great, but the photos and artwork are *stellar*!

103EBT1002
Nov 7, 2017, 1:18pm Top

>83 richardderus: Yep. Exactly.

They really need to put you and me in charge. I'm just sayin'.

>96 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hotter than Ghost Pepper? Yowza. I love spicy food but that would kill me.

104richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>103 EBT1002: Wouldn't that be awful?! Wanting to do commonsensical, right-thinking instead of right-winging, things to benefit the real sufferers from neglect and victimization, and having to deal with THEM blocking each and every good thing.

You get to be President. You're prettier and smarter. I'll bust heads and use blackmail in the Senate.

105katiekrug
Nov 7, 2017, 1:33pm Top

I just discovered the nearby Montclair Bread Company ("A bread bakery with a doughnut addiction.") has apple cider donuts. And I just took tomorrow as a personal day, so I will be treating myself.

All your fault.

(Thank you!)

106richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 1:48pm Top

>105 katiekrug: *smooch* Happy to be the Near Occasion of Sin (culinary sector). I'm hoping for a full report on their other donut varieties. Oh, and do encourage them to spell the word correctly. One needn't be left to wonder what it is they're addicted to, duffnuts or downuts or doonuts?

107katiekrug
Nov 7, 2017, 1:52pm Top

Ooh, I rather like "duffnuts."

108richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 1:54pm Top

Something very Homer Simpson about combining "duff" and "donuts" eh what?

109katiekrug
Nov 7, 2017, 1:56pm Top

Exactly!

110jnwelch
Nov 7, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Whipped up a batch of duffnuts:

111richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>110 jnwelch: If there was a place that delivered duffnuts in this place I'd be in such horrible trouble...type II diabetes, high Lousy Damn Lipids, tipping the scales at over 300lb...these look too good to say no to!

112drneutron
Nov 7, 2017, 6:34pm Top

Mmmm, peppers and donuts! Ok, maybe not at the same time...

113PaulCranswick
Nov 7, 2017, 6:39pm Top

>112 drneutron: Well, could be.....

114msf59
Nov 7, 2017, 6:42pm Top

It looks like Donut Fest going on over here. I don't eat much pastry but these all look mighty tasty. I want a damn apple cider donut! Is that so much to ask, for crying out loud?

115richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>112 drneutron:, >113 PaulCranswick: Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream


Most delicious!

116PaulCranswick
Nov 7, 2017, 6:46pm Top

117richardderus
Nov 7, 2017, 6:47pm Top

>114 msf59: I found one, only a little gnawed:

Still some lemon-blueberry ones up there...

118drneutron
Nov 7, 2017, 7:03pm Top

Oooo, chocolate-jalapeño donuts! Man, that sounds good.

119LovingLit
Nov 7, 2017, 10:20pm Top

*stomping back in to sample the delightful food on offer*
Ah heck, I guess I'll stay ;)

120BekkaJo
Nov 8, 2017, 5:03am Top

* bangs head against wall*

Bad Bekka, bad spelling. Sigh.

121Berly
Nov 8, 2017, 5:32am Top

Or if you like green better...

122karenmarie
Nov 8, 2017, 8:40am Top

Good morning, RD!

Just eeewwww for mixing donuts with hot peppers, philistine that I am.

MY brekkie is thick cut bacon and whole grain bread with a bit of butter. And a fresh cup of coffee, of course.

123Crazymamie
Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 9:06am Top



Morning, BigDaddy! I brought you a little something since you have been so generous with the YUM. Butter pecan pancakes!

124richardderus
Nov 8, 2017, 11:00am Top



Okay y'all, thanks for that dose of deliciousness! I brought out my coffeemaker. Line up for some hot'n'zippy!

125richardderus
Nov 8, 2017, 11:05am Top

>118 drneutron: Yup! Chocolate plus chili = excellent, speaking from experience., and NOT as a chocoholic.

>119 LovingLit: Wherever my table is, there you are wanted.

>120 BekkaJo: Good Bekka, good friend. Sit thee down and partake of some sweetness, sweetness.

126richardderus
Nov 8, 2017, 11:09am Top

>121 Berly: I love candied jalapeños! Though I prefer them without the seeds, that can get...challenging.

>122 karenmarie: It's a taste experience. I don't care about chocolate qua chocolate, so putting something interesting like chilis with it makes me less cringe-y while eating it. Plus Aztec-style hot chocolate has jalapeño powder in it, so that's a part of my furniture.

*smooch* for dropping by.

>123 Crazymamie: *faints*

ooooooooohhhhhhh yes please pleasepleaseplease

Mamie! You temptress you!

127SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 8, 2017, 4:01pm Top

Where, pray tell, in this garden of earthly delights is the booze?!



Oh, there it is. Lovely.

128richardderus
Nov 8, 2017, 4:28pm Top

>127 SomeGuyInVirginia: This thread is traditionally BYOB for all comers, unless it's champagne or similar sparkling wines. The bourbon looks warm and luscious!

129BekkaJo
Nov 10, 2017, 2:43am Top

I'll have some coffee please! Actually I do have a coffee in front of me, but I'll have another.

November is becoming increasingly Novembery - it's just after 7.00 am, I'm at work and it's raining and galey. Sigh.

130laytonwoman3rd
Nov 10, 2017, 4:51pm Top

>115 richardderus: Needs bacon.

131richardderus
Nov 11, 2017, 11:30am Top

Winter clamped down with rain and wind at the end of the week. I had an oral surgeon's appointment, and in the end a little cold caught from being pinned to the bed by pain prevented me from venturing out as I was already miserable. Next Friday, Dr. Shah, I won't breathe virus into you face.

Today is positively sun-struck and there's a fresh breeze and I'm going to romp and gambol along the boardwalk or die tryin'.

Fuck Trump. That is all.

132richardderus
Nov 11, 2017, 11:34am Top

>129 BekkaJo: You can have it if you can take it.


>130 laytonwoman3rd: EVERYTHING needs bacon. It is the food algorithm: "plus bacon."

133richardderus
Nov 11, 2017, 11:46am Top

150. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

Rating: 4* of five

Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband before he was fifty. I lost mine when he was not quite 34. I connect with her pain on every imaginable level.

I also understand why she wrote this survivors' manual. She had to do something positive with her agony or it would sink her, and she was now a single mom. She couldn't afford the luxury of sinking because it would take her children down as well. That is a great reason to do the horrible, painful, disconcerting work of growing around your grief.

Make no mistake: It's awful work, hard and thankless and lonely. Your successes feel fleeting, your failures eternal, and with the best will in the world outsiders (parents, children, siblings, friends) will say, do, preach things at you that will make you furiously angry and hurt inexpressibly.

All normal.

And if you're wondering, we will all lose spouses in our lives, not necessarily to death. Grief is grief. Your loss is not unique, and your loss is not anyone else's so no one else gets to tell you how to go through it. But those who have walked the walk before you have some ideas on what you can do to make this hideous amputation work *for* you.

Yes, that's possible. I promise you that it is. And this book, with its combination of the deeply personal and the professionally informative strands of information, is a great, a wonderful, a tremendously valuable resource for someone experiencing the involuntary transformation that is grieving.

But the best thing about Option B is the fact that it excludes no one from the helping, healing conversation about grief and grieving. No matter the genesis of your trauma, grieving is a process with known parameters. All sources of trauma produce grief in their wake, and that fact...while on its face horrible and grim...is actually, in the end, incredibly hopeful. Your grief is unique to you, but grief is universal and grieving is ever-more-completely understood; this is one of the key realizations in the book. It is also the key realization that many people, lost in the fog of grief, need most to hear as it can offer them Ariadne's clew to get away from the devouring Minotaur of misery in their lightless, timeless labyrinth.

Now, the stuff I wasn't crazy about. Sandberg is astoundingly successful. Her world doesn't have survival challenges. She makes more than enough money to do whatever the hell she wants to do even if she stops going to work today and never goes back again. The other 99.99% of us do not have that luxury. If your purpose in reading this book is to figure out how the hell you're going to keep the lights on, cans of beans in the pantry, and a box of rice to go with, this isn't a helpful tome. In fact it will probably make you livid, so pass it up. But if survival isn't the problem for you, there are ideas in here to use...especially some of the out-of-the-box ones. You're likely to have a low bullshit tolerance when grieving, and Sandberg advises going with the flow here. I tend to agree with her.

BUT. Do not think, as Sandberg apparently does, that your grief will insulate you from the consequences of your newfound unwillingness to suck it up. She can tell her boss to do shit right and get away with it because she's a powerful, successful woman with oodles of money. Your manager isn't going to give you the same rope hers does, make no mistake. Adapt this concept to your circumstances. Maybe, if your desire to speak truth to power becomes overwhelming, crank up that job search and get outta Dodge before the sheriff makes you. Remember that Sandberg's journey is her own. Use the ideas though not necessarily the techniques.

Sandberg's discovery that she could find and feel happiness again is the important take-away here. You might not find a good man to have fun with. You might, in fact, not *want* to find a good man to have fun with. Here's the thing Sandberg's saying: Be available to happiness, not sewn to the shroud of wretched miserable loneliness that comes with grieving. However it looks to you. Take roads you haven't been down. Do different things, do them differently. This book isn't a prescription, it's a supplement shelf, and it can lead you back into lighter, brighter, happier life.

Let it.

134msf59
Nov 11, 2017, 1:37pm Top

Happy Saturday, RD. Good review of Option B and I like your closing words.

Hope you are kicking back with the books on this cold and raw Veteran's Day.

135karenmarie
Nov 11, 2017, 1:45pm Top

Hi RD. Happy romping and gamboling.

>133 richardderus: Wonderful review. Ya done good!

136Crazymamie
Nov 11, 2017, 1:57pm Top

Happy Saturday, BigDaddy! A most excellent review there in >133 richardderus:. I love how you write.

137Ameise1
Nov 11, 2017, 2:26pm Top

Happy weekend, Rdear.

138jnwelch
Nov 11, 2017, 2:30pm Top

>133 richardderus:, >136 Crazymamie: What Mamie said, Richard. Very enjoyable review.

139richardderus
Nov 11, 2017, 3:43pm Top

>134 msf59: Thank you, Mark, it was a heartfelt plea to those in grief's clutches to look for a way out. I've been there, I don't wish it on anyone, but there is hope.

I'm in the middle of Heart Scarab, the second installment of a space opera series that I love.

>135 karenmarie: *baaawww* you too nice, Mme TVT du Horrible, too too.

Romping achieved, gamboling on hold.

>136 Crazymamie: *shucks* how sweet of you to say so, Mamie dearest. Makes me all warm and smooshy inside.

140richardderus
Nov 11, 2017, 3:48pm Top

>137 Ameise1: Barbara my friend! I'm so pleased to see you here. It's lovely to have visits from someone whose RL demands that she ration her time. I am honored to be among those you choose to come to.

>138 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, it's a really relevant topic now. I've been on a fragile edge about 45, the election, the "governance," and so on. The direct budgetary ICBM lobbed at New York in the form of slashing Medicaid payments to safety-net hospitals has caused a great deal of scrambling to figure out how we're going to plug the hole blown in the already-listing Titanic of State.

I fucking hate that orange shitgibbon with each and every fiber of my being.

141benitastrnad
Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 10:00pm Top

#133
I listened to a podcast where Cheryl Sanderberg was interviewed and I was impressed. Impressed with how she grieved and how she managed to rebuild a life without her lover. However, I was also struck by the fact that she had so much money that she had avenues of resources that are not available to everybody else and that included a company that let her take brevement leave. What the heck is that? Most of us don’t even get paid sick leave. For the take away from that interview was that the rich are different. They have more benefits.

I may read the book, but I will do so with that caveat in mind.

142Deern
Nov 12, 2017, 1:18am Top

Wow, a big thank you for the review and the wise words about grief. "Your grief is unique to you" is so very true.
And then the closing paragraph, you don't think you'll ever get there, but it's true as well. Grief can be transforming in a good way if we allow it.
Sending {{{hugs}}}, hoping you'll have a sunny Sunday!

>132 richardderus: I saw someone put bacon in a cannolo on Master Chef US yesterday, I'm sure every Italian watching it along with me shuddered in horror. I don't eat bacon anymore, loved it in my meat eating days with almost everything. Cannoli -I don't know. ?? I can only imagine them the classic way. And now will have to go and find one for breakfast....

143Ameise1
Nov 12, 2017, 7:08am Top

Happy Sunday, Rdear. I just refilled your coffee cup.


144PaulCranswick
Nov 12, 2017, 11:00am Top

Now Richard with the weather slowly regressing to winter, I thought you would appreciate some single malt and cake - single malt cake in fact:



Happy Sunday.

145richardderus
Edited: Nov 13, 2017, 12:59pm Top

151 Heart Scarab by Anna Butler

Rating: 4* of five

Author Butler takes us deeper into the life of Shield Captain Bennet, eighteen months following the events on Maess-held planet T18 and on board the Gyrfalcon. As Bennet performs his duty to evacuate illegal religious-fanatic colonists on Telnos, soon to be behind Maess—the faceless, unknown aliens winning a war of annihilation against humanity's great-to-the-10th-power grandchildren—lines, he obsesses over his failing relationship with his elegant, worldly lover Joss; his burgeoning love for Pilot Flynn stationed on his father's ship the Gyrfalcon; and his patient, long-suffering Lieutenant Rosie listens to him and moons and pines for him completely unheeded, unnoticed, unconsidered for the position she (along with the rest of humanity, I'd guess) craves: Bennet's lover.

But that's just the beginning of Bennet's troubles at Author Butler's hands.

And that's why I read space opera: Pile the troubles on with the highest-possible stakes! Then make the stakes personal! Then by gawd create some scary aliens with a baseless grudge and an attitude, some super-advanced tech that is actually just like what we have now on steroids so I can believe it.

Why I read this space opera is simple: gay guy. Bennet flies in the face of humanity's one apparently eternal character flaw, religious belief, to live his truth as a man who loves men. Add to that his father's strong religious convictions and his family's long tradition of military service, his older lover's patrician disdain for exactly *how* his luxurious lifestyle is maintained, and military anti-fraternization rules that Bennet takes very seriously and that prevent him from pursuing his new love for Flynn and you have a witches' brew of good drama.

Still very little sex. Very little indeed. And what there is is non-graphic by today's standards. More than in Gyrfalcon, I think, though I haven't done a statistical analysis. I can assure the eww-ick squeamish that no unpleasantly meaty words are used and with a small effort of intentional misunderstanding the import of the few sexual scenes can be contextualized as emotional intimacies that can't be expressed in any other way without falseness. Who here hasn't had what you *knew* was break-up sex while pretending the pleasures of a familiar touch were, after all, enough? Yeah, me too, and so does Bennet when the flypaper and prayers that've kept Joss in his life finally blow apart under the final assault: Death.

Bennet, you see, has the bad taste and rude vigor to return from the dead. It's just...unseemly. And after Joss, in the manner of their people, has made sacrifices of his and Bennet's favorite artwork, the perfect and glorious antiquities Joss (archaeologist by training) offered up to the gods for Bennet (ancient historian by academic training) to use in the Field of Reeds, back comes Bennet hale and hearty and not in the Field of Reeds at all! The...the...joy? embarrassment? confusion? of it all.

And that "hale and hearty" is solely a valid description when matched against "dead and rotting on an alien-held planet." Bennet is in shards, physically and psychically and emotionally. His body will heal slowly, his psyche and emotions might or might not heal at all ever, and he might well never get to use his new bionic knee back in his deeply loved Shield role. A soldier who's too broken to soldier is by definition A Very Unhappy Man. Add to this soldier's woes the emotional mismatch between himself and his partner. The immense, irresistible force of falling in love with the right one. The awful reality of wartime military service meaning unavoidable separation from your lover.

*happy sigh*

I will say my wish (expressed in my review of Gyrfalcon) to get to sympathize with poor overmatched Joss came true. I was sad for him as he was hollowed out by loss and the hideous, regret-charged acid bath that is grief. All the times one falls short, one is unkind impatient unwilling to understand or empathize...oh gods and goddesses those will keep a soul awake and agonized as they replay unchanging and unchangeable in the darkness! But far more painful is the way they play out like movies on a screen while living, breathing people are making noises meant to distract console *reach* you in the locked projection booth of your failings.

Yes, Joss, I know that one. Author Butler was cruel to you. Goodness knows you deserved it, but...well...don't we all.

And the ending of this story is fascinating. It is unusual within the genre of gay-male-centered fiction. I will read the next installment of Taking Shield, called Makepeace, as soon as I've caught my breath and begun to accept the changes wrought on my feelings already.

Which, if I need to say it, is the hallmark of a really good read.

146richardderus
Nov 12, 2017, 11:26am Top

>141 benitastrnad: I'd say that's a most sensible response to the book, Benita. I think you're just as happy not reading it at all, unless its advice is of immediate personal relevance, given what you already know about it.

>142 Deern: I've grown around my griefs, Nathalie, like a tree grows a gall that, later in the tree's life, becomes the basis of a beautiful, turned bowl. I don't know that the bowls I've turned from my woody wounds are particularly beautiful but they're mine and I'm proud of them.

147richardderus
Nov 12, 2017, 11:29am Top

>143 Ameise1: Oh my! I **NEED** to possess that mug! Thank you, dear Barbara, for your kind thought. I send my transAtlantic hugs.

>144 PaulCranswick: I am morally certain that the Highland Park people didn't use their delicious product to make that cake. It would be a mortal sin. And still I want one inexpressibly. Thanks for stopping in to torment me with slobbery lusting desire for unobtainable goodies!

148Berly
Nov 12, 2017, 11:35am Top

149richardderus
Nov 12, 2017, 11:45am Top

>148 Berly: How beautiful, Berly-boo...and I suspect accurate. My beloved Tentacled Americans seem to me to be built on the perfect plan to be actual space-traveling aliens.

Happy Sunday, dearest.

150LovingLit
Nov 13, 2017, 2:50am Top

>133 richardderus: A lovely review, for what counts like a touching read for you.
...and with the best will in the world outsiders (parents, children, siblings, friends) will say, do, preach things at you that will make you furiously angry and hurt inexpressibly.
Good god, and we don't even know we are doing it! I hate to think of the inappropriate things I have said to people. I remember a friend of my sister's wife was seriously ill, and she had come over for a cuppa (the not ill one), and I completely ignored the elephant in the room, for fear of saying something trite or offensive, or just plain wrong. I felt bad for not "talking about it", but she later told my sister it was a relief NOT to talk about her dying wife, and she really appreciated it. Maybe a simple hand on a shoulder or knee is a good start!

Well, in other news, it didn't take our PM long to hook up a meeting with Mr Canada (or the Canadian PM, or whatever you wanna call him)! They talk! He listens! They stand and shake hands!



Apparently, according the the Labour Party, "they had a wide-ranging discussion, talking about climate change, CPTPP, plastic pollution in the oceans, Canada's UN Security Council bid, feminism – and more."

151richardderus
Nov 13, 2017, 10:58am Top

>150 LovingLit: And that's why there is no one way to treat grieving. The friend needed exactly what you gave: A cuppa and some chat. In another mood it would've been insensitive and cold to do exactly that. It is simple: Go with your gut because it's 100% certain that you'll get it wrong at some point no matter what you do.

Jacinda and Justin
sittin' in a tree
k.i.s.s.i.n.g.
first comes love
then comes marriage
then comes Justin
pushin' her baby carriage!

Hadn't thought of that playground taunt since 1969, but it seems so apt for the pair of obnoxiously young world leaders.

152SuziQoregon
Nov 13, 2017, 2:19pm Top

Happy Monday Richard. Just scrolled through your thread and now I'm hungry and it's an hour and a half till lunch.

153richardderus
Edited: Nov 13, 2017, 2:23pm Top

>152 SuziQoregon: Ha! thanks for visiting, Juli. Lunch is served:

154richardderus
Nov 13, 2017, 2:53pm Top

152 You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld

Rating: 5* of five

Tom Gauld, he of The Guardian's pages, brought out this collection in 2013. He is a Serious Intellectual with an Impish Streak, as his 2015 photo attests:



Easy on the eyes, funny to the bone, smart and wry and a lot of fun and game-changingly talented:







Before Gauld, very little humor and even less comic ink was spilled in such a way about books as cultural objects and not items of celebrity or nonce-memes. If these images did not make you laugh out loud in real time, you should not bother with this book.

Also? Might be a good idea to unfriend me. Tom Gauld makes me guffaw so hard my abdomen cramps.

156LovingLit
Nov 13, 2017, 3:00pm Top

>154 richardderus: most excellent! Love the bottom one :)

157SuziQoregon
Nov 13, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>154 richardderus: Oh that just looks fun (and my library has it!!!)

158richardderus
Nov 13, 2017, 3:27pm Top

>155 jnwelch: I'm putting the expanded review in my Booksgiving blog series, Joe, because I think it's the perfect gift for the bookish friend whose wishlist is dauntingly enormous, whose taste is impeccable, and whose undertree is largely devoid of books for that reason. Plus it's a can't-miss proposition, even assuming the bookish friend isn't amused (!!) by it, because it's eminently coffee-table-able.

>156 LovingLit: I know, right?!

>157 SuziQoregon: Oh my heck, Juli, run over there and grab it now! It's a delight not to be denied oneself.

159SuziQoregon
Nov 13, 2017, 4:52pm Top

>158 richardderus: Stopping on my way home from work!

160Deern
Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 1:43am Top

You're all just jealous of my jetpack is now in my amazon shopping cart and I'm looking forward to having it as a nice paper copy, but Baking with Kafka was available as e-book, is already downloaded and half-read and so far made my Tuesday! Especially loved his take on town mouse and country mouse (adding hipster mouse) and "Mrs Tittlemouse joins the Suffragettes by Beatrix Potter". Thank you for this BB, Richard! :)

161Berly
Nov 14, 2017, 1:48am Top

Bedtime. 'Night.

162karenmarie
Nov 14, 2017, 7:01am Top

>154 richardderus: Ya got me! I've added it to my wishlist and included it on my list of books for daughter to choose from for Christmas.

I hope you have a lovely day, RD! *smooches* from TVT du Horrible.

163BekkaJo
Nov 14, 2017, 8:19am Top

On the list for hubby for Xmas. Well, it is now anyway :)

164vancouverdeb
Nov 14, 2017, 8:27am Top

Enjoy your day! *smooches*

165richardderus
Nov 14, 2017, 10:29am Top

>159 SuziQoregon: Excellent. I hope you'll come by to tell me what you thought of it after you've savored.

>160 Deern: Baking with Kafka is on request through my county library system, though it will be awhile before I get it. My city's library doesn't buy Gauld's books, and this is the new one, so it has to exit the "new-books-only-for-locals" part of its library life before I can have a crack at it. *smooch* Thanks for visiting!

>161 Berly: Holy cats, you layabed, it's...wait...oh I see. Morning, punkin blossom, have some coffee.

166richardderus
Nov 14, 2017, 10:35am Top

>162 karenmarie: Hey Horrible. Yep, that's gonna be under your tree, I'm positive. Your daughter will take one look at it, say "Mom" under her breath and Bobbie Sue's your uncle.

>163 BekkaJo: Bekka darling! So happy you visited me! See above for prediction re Yuletide, only put "Husband" in place of "Daughter."

>164 vancouverdeb: DEB! You're a welcome sight indeed around these parts. Thank you for the good-day wishes, and I'm acting on them even as we speak.

167SuziQoregon
Nov 14, 2017, 1:09pm Top

>165 richardderus: I need that mug

168richardderus
Nov 14, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>167 SuziQoregon: That ?Etsy? vendor has a whole line of 'em. Too pricey for me, but they're great!

169SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 14, 2017, 3:11pm Top

I just don't get the coffee/books thing, but to me coffee is what I do in the morning so that I can move.

170richardderus
Nov 14, 2017, 4:25pm Top

At the minimum level, me too, Larry. But the exquisite delight that is coffee improves any shining hour. Then again, I don't use a Keurig or buy $11 half-calf biggiesmalls with horseradish creme and a soy lecithin drizzle, so my coffee tastes like coffee.

171SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 14, 2017, 5:21pm Top

Ugh, Poodle Coffee. The only exception is the three days leading up to Christmas when the house is packed and we're using Hazelnut cream, or peppermint or some other really kind of heinous coffee creamer. I don't make the rules, I just live by them.

172SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 14, 2017, 5:23pm Top

OK, wait. I have to ask. How fast can you read 100 pages of nonfiction? I've braced myself, let 'er rip. Me, as long as it's not math, it would take me 300 minutes, or 5 hours.

173richardderus
Nov 14, 2017, 5:33pm Top

Poodle coffee! How date you insult poodles, noble hunting dogs that they are. Or did you mean *toy* poodles, the wretched things and abominable humans for breeding them that way?

Academic nonfiction: 3-5 years. Depending on who's holding the deadly weapon and how susceptible they are to bribes.

Stuff like The Radium Girls or Grant: A biography: an hour, maybe two if I get peckish and need me a snack.

174karenmarie
Nov 14, 2017, 6:54pm Top

>162 karenmarie: Daughter got How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman for me for Christmas 2013, so I see a happy Christmas with You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack.

175msf59
Nov 14, 2017, 8:11pm Top

>154 richardderus: I also LOVED Jet-Pack. I think this was my first Gauld. I also liked Mooncop but my other favorite is Goliath. Have you read that one?

Happy Tuesday, RD. Hope your week is off to a good start.

176Berly
Nov 15, 2017, 1:54am Top

>173 richardderus: Radium Girls was indeed a quickie. A Grant biography? Uh, not so much.

177Deern
Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 7:57am Top

>174 karenmarie: This title fits my current situation at home so perfectly that I just bought it. :)

>165 richardderus: I looked through all the ones in the Guardian yesterday and about half of them come from Baking with Kafka. Very enjoyable, thanks for the BBs! :)

178PaulCranswick
Nov 15, 2017, 5:12am Top

>172 SomeGuyInVirginia: to >173 richardderus: Interesting and you are right RD it depends on the subject matter and style. If it is something which really grabs me and if the print is not too dense then 2.5 hours could do it. If the print is dense and the writer is denser then I would struggle to read it in more than 10 page clumps.

179richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 9:31am Top

>174 karenmarie: I really hope so! *smooch*

>175 msf59: I haven't read either, Mark, but I'm getting Mooncop from the library this week. I'll venture a GN in order not to let my mind slam shut and lock behind me, but only one by Gauld.

>176 Berly: But Grant was so fascinating, Berly-boo! How can one not be intrigued and beguiled by the man who, in his own time, was hailed as the valorous hero who Saved The Union, and then was reviled for the most patronage-spoiled presidency yet? (Neither was an accurate assessment of the man, but they were the dominant memes derived from his life.)

180richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 9:38am Top

>177 Deern: Ha! The cat allergy is cumulative, Nathalie, the longer you're around kitty-kins the worse it will become. Also, whatever soft things...pillows, cushions, upholstery...kitty has appropriated or rested his dander-laden self on must be washed in hot water, dry cleaned, and/or steamed as soon as his pollutant-bearing carcass is no longer in the house or the symptoms will persist.

>178 PaulCranswick: A partial list of MEGO words:
--ontological
--casuistry
--epistemology
--samizdat
--hydrophilic
--any use of the Greek alphabet or mathematical operators
...and most dreaded, most likely to cause aneurysm, uncontrollable weeping, and/or a ride in the back of the ambulance to the nice, quiet rooms:
--Bayesian

*flees weeping*

181SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 15, 2017, 9:39am Top

182PaulCranswick
Nov 15, 2017, 9:44am Top

>180 richardderus: & >181 SomeGuyInVirginia: Well maybe Larry unless RD throws all those unlovely words into the mix.

183richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 1:27pm Top

I miss Gord Downie so much today.

Ahead by a Century

Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)

184Crazymamie
Nov 15, 2017, 4:07pm Top

>173 richardderus: Oh, dear. We have had four toy poodles, and all of them were delightful and incredibly intelligent creatures.

It's Wednesday, BigDaddy, will there be alcohol? Please say yes.

185richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 4:14pm Top

>184 Crazymamie: I've never met a toy poodle of such stellar disposition, Mamie, so will note that you're possessed of experience I'm not and smile big.

Scotch? It's single-malt.

186Crazymamie
Nov 15, 2017, 4:16pm Top

Well, okay then. *sniff*

And yes to the scotch, thank you, very much. Your generosity is duly noted. Lawd, how I have missed you!

187katiekrug
Nov 15, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Not a big Scotch fan, but I want those tumblers!

188richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 4:24pm Top

>186 Crazymamie: *smooch* Here, let me top that up...some cool spring water to open it up, hm?

>187 katiekrug: The decanter and tumblers are on Ammy, dearest. A measly $60.

189TheWorstOffender
Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 5:06pm Top

...

190katiekrug
Nov 15, 2017, 5:00pm Top

>188 richardderus: - For a mere $30, I can just get the glasses! The decanter would be wasted on me...

I might put the glasses on my Christmas list for the in-laws who refuse to just buy me books like I ask for... *sigh*

191richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>190 katiekrug: I will never understand that. "Let me give you a gift!" "Okay, here's my Ammy wishlist." "But you *have*so*many*books* already!" "...and your point would be...?"

Not everybody wants stuff, folks. Some of us don't really like stuff. It needs dusting or washing or clipping or what-have-you, and books don't! (I don't dust mine, just point the sucker at 'em every now and again.)

192mckait
Nov 15, 2017, 6:29pm Top

That's why gift cards are the answer. Some people think that I give them because I hate shopping, and they aren't wrong. But I just want the recipient to have what they want. The right color, size, genre, flavor whatever.

193katiekrug
Nov 15, 2017, 7:30pm Top

>191 richardderus: and >192 mckait: - It makes no sense to me, either. I would happily take a gift card if purchasing a book from a list is too much... :-P

My family tends to just exchange gift cards, which is getting silly. Here's $50 for you and here's $50 from you, so why did we bother in the first place? When my family asks what The Wayne and I want this year, I am going to ask them to just pool whatever they would all spend on us and make a donation to the rescue shelter in Dallas where several of us have found our companions. I really don't need more stuff, and Operation Kindness is in chronic needs of funds.

I don't think the approach would work with his family because we will be with them for the holiday and they will want us to have things to open...

194richardderus
Nov 15, 2017, 7:51pm Top

>192 mckait: Yup. Definitely agree.

>193 katiekrug: I don't think the approach would work with his family because we will be with them for the holiday and they will want us to have things to open...
...whether you want them or not.

*sigh*

195katiekrug
Nov 15, 2017, 7:55pm Top

Yep.

196ronincats
Nov 15, 2017, 8:55pm Top

The library doesn't have that one, but it does have Mooncop so I'll give that a try. Yet another book bullet!

197richardderus
Nov 16, 2017, 11:09am Top

>195 katiekrug: I'm sorry. It sucks when people won't learn and adjust reciprocally.

>196 ronincats: I'd say I'm sorry but I'm not. I got Mooncop this morning and raced through it already. You're very likely to get it, which I suspect a lot of younger readers really won't.

198richardderus
Nov 16, 2017, 11:10am Top

Everybody! Hey!!

Today's Google Doodle honors Chinua Achebe!



Go look!

199richardderus
Nov 16, 2017, 2:11pm Top

153 Makepeace by Anna Butler

Rating: 4.almost-five of five

Okay, I surrender. I am officially Author Butler's fanboy. I'll be reviewing the entire series at my blog this Booksgiving.

A warning for those who follow me down this rabbit-hole: Do not buy the books one at a time. When you get to the ending of this book, you will be *very*frustrated* if the next book isn't already queued up.

I am an old-time fan of space opera. I like the sweep of a long story. I adore space battles (I'm a guy, shut up). Tech talk isn't up there with dirty flirty but it's close. I want to be told stories that make sense (not necessarily in a straight line you understand, just make sense please) and I like 'em set in space because SPACE my goddesses what could possibly be more interesting?! I mean in fact as well as fiction. And I'm also a big old mushball and want my heroes to find love because heroes have hearts too. Sexytimes are fine, but I *need* my men to fall in love as well as get 'em some or why not just watch porn. (For the sake of argument, you understand.)

So here I am telling you to buy the series, ye fans of SF and ye readers of love-novels but not expecting sex or romance-novel level involvement in our hero's world. He is the hero, the story isn't totally about him, and his world is rich and densely packed with great stuff.

200benitastrnad
Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 7:45pm Top

Two years ago when my professional life went to hell I started reading hardcore Sci/Fi space operas. I haven’t really stopped. I like them and I learn from them.

For instance, I read the Jenny Casey series by Elizabeth Bear that was written back in the early aught’s and I thought all that talk of space elevators was light years away. Then I watched something on PBS and the NASA geek started talking about - you guessed it - space elevators.

201richardderus
Nov 16, 2017, 8:05pm Top

>200 benitastrnad: The wonderful hidden gem in space operas is science, Benita. I am a science nerd and love the PBS digital channels on YouTube, Scj Show with Hank Green, the endless loops of The Universe and How The Earth Was Made, etc etc. It keeps me looking forward instead of as far back as I can go. The future has promise, even though I wonder how it will surmount the issues of the present to bring them to life. Every generation has wondered that, and I suppose always will.

202PaulCranswick
Nov 16, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>199 richardderus: Never read any space opera but I guess it ain't over until the fat lady sings..............going off to find me a fat lady.

203richardderus
Nov 16, 2017, 8:32pm Top

>202 PaulCranswick: Search no more:

204karenmarie
Nov 17, 2017, 4:56am Top

Good morning, RD! Insomnia has reared its ugly head and I'm LTing for a bit before doing some reading. Coffee is involved, of course.....

*smooches* from TVT Horrible

205PaulCranswick
Nov 17, 2017, 4:59am Top

>203 richardderus: Fine looking............horse.

206richardderus
Nov 17, 2017, 10:42am Top

>204 karenmarie: Oh dear, Horrible, I'm so sorry about the insomnia. I took two benadryl last night so I could sleep longer than usual. I have a dentist appointment in a couple hours. It pays to be over-rested and therefore sluggish when I have to go let a stranger poke around my mouth.

>205 PaulCranswick: Looks kinda spavined to me, though that's no surprise given the load.

207msf59
Nov 17, 2017, 10:46am Top

Morning, RD. Happy Friday. Chilly and breezy here in Chicagoland but I am an old-schooler and can handle it.

Good luck at the dentist.

208richardderus
Nov 17, 2017, 10:48am Top

>207 msf59: Hiya, Mark...it's the same here, though less chilly I'm sure. Lovely if you don't work outdoors.

The dentist will be fine, he's a good doc, but I cordially loathe any kind of messing about with my teeth.

209SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 17, 2017, 11:58am Top

Oh man, so do I. I had one dentist years ago whose fix for everything was to give me a root canal, so I'm looking at a lifetime of propping up failing teeth. Man was a gawddamn crook, anyway.

210richardderus
Nov 17, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>209 SomeGuyInVirginia: It only took 20min from first shot to done deal, so I am now Dr Sagar Shah's fanboy. Now I'm sore but not in agony, and let's face it...after having had root canals, agony has meaning.

211Crazymamie
Nov 17, 2017, 5:46pm Top

So glad you came through the dental visit fine and that it was reasonably quick. Hoping your weekend is full of fabulous!

212Berly
Nov 17, 2017, 5:50pm Top

Yay for a good dentist and the deal over and done with! On to the weekend. : )

213karenmarie
Nov 17, 2017, 6:03pm Top

*smooches* and gentle hugs, RD!

Your own TVT Horrible

214PaulCranswick
Nov 17, 2017, 7:04pm Top

I think the soft chiffon delight of apricot brandy cake is in order, RD, to wish you a speedy recovery and to lament your poor departed tooth.
More brandy than apricot of course required.


215PaulCranswick
Nov 17, 2017, 7:49pm Top

RD, saw your post over at Karen's thread about your Stepmother.

Hugs to you dear fellow.

216richardderus
Nov 18, 2017, 9:17am Top

As I was walking out the door to go to the dentist, my Facebook notification chimed on my phone. I checked the message, which is unusual...if I'm going somewhere I'll leave it til later...but understandable since I was headed somewhere I didn't want to go.

My stepmother, Jan, died yesterday, only a few hours before I got that message from her grandson Paul. I had no idea he remembered me, but he did and he knew I'd want to know.

She was 85, she smoked until the day she died, and she was the only friend I had in my family circle from the day I met her in 1967. She understood before I did what my problem was, she got it and never made me feel bad or shamed about it or anything else. When I told my father I was gay for the fourth or fifth time (his brain could not encompass such a possibility so he simply forgot it every time I said it), she shouted at him, "what does it take to get through to you, Dick? You want him to fuck that boy in front of you?" ("That boy" was neighbor Scotty on whom I'd had a crush since I was 6.)

It was his problem, not mine.

She knew my mother's filthy secret, too, because her first husband had molested their oldest daughter. She knew before anyone else, including me, since I was repressing like a madman, and Mama was a past mistress at deflection and denial. She told my father to keep me there when I visited them in 1975 and she was very, very adamant about it. He refused because "Old Vicious would make my life a living hell."

I lost all shred of respect for my father right then and there. The conversation took place in their bedroom on a summer night, windows open, and my room directly under theirs. It's not a coincidence that 1975 was the year I took my life back from Mama, the year I started actively seeking the men she'd always taught me wouldn't want the likes of me, the year I went from a 98/100 grade point average to 67/100 because older boys could get me drunk, high, and laid.

So not everything she started was perfect. Oh well. At least my mistakes, my many many mistakes, have been my own since 1975.

Thank you for my life, Jan. Safe journey home, my oldest and bestest friend.

217PaulCranswick
Nov 18, 2017, 9:24am Top

>216 richardderus: Lovely post dear fellow and friend. Hugs a plenty from these tropical climes from yours truly and from my good lady wife.

Jan sounds like a beacon of common sense amid pitch black insensitivity.

218karenmarie
Nov 18, 2017, 10:05am Top

Thank you for sharing the details, RD! So much trauma for you, so glad Jan was there for you.

219katiekrug
Nov 18, 2017, 11:54am Top

Richard, I'm so sorry. But also so glad that you had Jan in your life.

220drneutron
Nov 18, 2017, 12:13pm Top

So sorry you've lost someone special to you.

221Crazymamie
Nov 18, 2017, 1:32pm Top

Holding you in my heart, Richard. I am so very sorry for your loss.

222FAMeulstee
Nov 18, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Sorry you lost your stepmother, Richard.
(((hugs)))

223richardderus
Nov 18, 2017, 8:44pm Top

>217 PaulCranswick:, >218 karenmarie:, >219 katiekrug:, >220 drneutron:, >221 Crazymamie:, >222 FAMeulstee: Thank you all for the kind words of sympathy. I'm sad, of course, but it's a familiar sadness. It's odd to me that Jan would die the same year my father did. I think they were more in love with each other than any other two people I've ever known. But they'd been apart since 1986! Still, correlation doesn't require causation, so... ya know what, nope. I think she quit caring when she found out he died.

224richardderus
Nov 18, 2017, 10:46pm Top

154 Mooncop by Tom Gauld

Rating: 4* of five


All cops in noir stories eat donuts and drink coffee.


Of course they buy them from the local shop.

Mooncop is 96 pages of Gauld's quiet storytelling. He isn't aiming for humor and he doesn't shy away from silence. It is deeply satisfying to be taken by the hand and led to the place that Gauld wants to go: Human hearts that are quieter than most fiction lets on. What happens between peaks is only a valley by comparison.

Paying $20 for this book would, I admit, make me panther-screechingly furious. The library gets my thanks for having a graphic novel section. I enjoyed this gently sad exploration of endings and their occasional happy discoveries.

225Deern
Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 2:56am Top

As Paul said, a lovely and heartfelt post. It makes Jan come to life in our imagination. I am sorry she is gone and glad you had her! Sending {{{hugs}}}

Gauld is a real discovery! Adding Mooncup to the shopping basket.

226karenmarie
Nov 19, 2017, 7:27am Top

Good morning, lovey!

I hope you're feeling well today and have some good books on the go.

227Crazymamie
Nov 19, 2017, 8:06am Top

Morning, BigDaddy! It's Big Breakfast day her eat the Pecan Paradisio, so I brought you a plate:

228msf59
Nov 19, 2017, 8:11am Top

>224 richardderus: LIKE!!

>227 Crazymamie: LIKE!!

Morning, RD. Happy Sunday. I hope you can kick back with the books today.

229richardderus
Nov 19, 2017, 11:02am Top

>225 Deern: Thank you, Nathalie. I'm so pleased that you're discovering Gauld! I'm a big fan. *smooch*

>226 karenmarie: I'm finishing The Chains of Their Sins, Horrible, and it's quite good. Fourth and latest volume in the Taking Shield series. I am going to expire of sheer unconsummated book-lust before volume 5 comes out next year, and could quite easily become unhinged and begin throwing books onto ugly beachgoers from the roof of my building. Oh wait...it's winter...another tragedy averted despite the lack of gun control. *smooch*

>227 Crazymamie: cant talk gobbling

*smooch* (after careful beard-grooming)

>228 msf59: Oh, what a great painting! It's a still life, only I think there's so much more we can do with that phrase.

Still. Life.
Still, life?
Still...life.
Still? Life!
etc etc

230jnwelch
Nov 19, 2017, 12:01pm Top

Hiya, Richard. mainly stopping by to say hello. We're improving at Casa Welch.

Thanks for the nudge re Mooncop. I've been wondering, and I'll request it from the library.

231richardderus
Nov 19, 2017, 12:17pm Top

>230 jnwelch: I'm so pleased to hear that the Plague recedes from the shores of Casa Welch. It's a miserable bastard, that bug, and kept me down two separate times. (But I live with 200 other people, so kinda inevitable I'll get those bugs.)

Mooncop beckons with its quiet and deep pleasures.

232SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 19, 2017, 1:26pm Top

>216 richardderus: Your oldest and bestest, but not your only friend Ricardo.

I collect comic books, and I love comic books. Graphic novels make me want to puke like that girl in the movie.

233richardderus
Nov 19, 2017, 1:45pm Top

>232 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thank you, Larry. That's the reason I came back.

234johnsimpson
Nov 19, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Hi Richard, so sorry for your loss dear friend but glad you had Jan in your life and what a lovely post >216 richardderus:, sending love and hugs from both of us my friend.

235johnsimpson
Nov 19, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Hi Richard, so sorry for your loss dear friend but glad you had Jan in your life and what a lovely post >216 richardderus:, sending love and hugs from both of us my friend.

236msf59
Nov 19, 2017, 7:40pm Top



^Thinking of RD...

237Crazymamie
Nov 19, 2017, 8:02pm Top

>236 msf59: *belly laugh*

238BekkaJo
Nov 20, 2017, 4:37am Top

#216 Hugs. Just so many hugs. X

239drneutron
Nov 20, 2017, 8:19am Top

>236 msf59: *snerk*

240richardderus
Nov 20, 2017, 9:01am Top

>235 johnsimpson: Thank you, John, it was a sad loss for me.

>236 msf59: *stiffly* I beg your pardon, sirrah, what are you implying?

>237 Crazymamie:, >239 drneutron: I know, right?!

>238 BekkaJo: Thanks, Bekka, hugs are appreciated.

241jnwelch
Nov 20, 2017, 9:33am Top

Somehow I originally missed your post in >216 richardderus:. My condolences, too, buddy. I'm glad she was there for you when few were.

242richardderus
Nov 20, 2017, 10:14am Top

>241 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe. Losses mount with the years, don't they.

243richardderus
Nov 20, 2017, 3:11pm Top

155 The Chains of Their Sins by Anna Butler

Rating: 5* of five

Yes, yes, yes, I get it, you're tired of Noble Self-Sacrifice and Dutiful Self-Abnegation.

But these are real responses to having your back against the ultimate wall: Extinguishment. Erasure. End as final as it gets. Not your personal death, nothing so small as that; the end of your world and your culture, the death of untold numbers of your friends and family and lovers and all the strangers you can't hope to meet, know, love.

It's that or catatonic dissociation, and there's way too much to do for such self-indulgence.

244richardderus
Nov 20, 2017, 4:08pm Top

156 The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

I am not going to pretend this is a review. I read this book at least three times in different incarnations before it was accepted by Harper Voyager because Nicky's my bud. I was knocked on my fat spreadin' butt by her warm, deluded thanks addressed to me in the Acknowledgments. But I can tell you the simple, god's-honest truth: If I didn't like this book, I'd send her a nice email thanking her as prettily as possible and let the matter rest.

This book, y'all? This book is THE SH...STUFF. This is what you hope to find when you go shopping, vaguely dissatisfied by everything, critical of every cover, impatient with the puffery that probably isn't much to do with the contents. This is what happens when you're just taking a risk...c'mon, $2.99 on Kindle, you spent more than that on your coffee admit it...and stumble upon gold.

A setting that feels as real as your cube-neighbor's garlicky lunch. A premise that feels as right as walking in on your mom snogging your dad, be damned with that gross old bore she's married to. A story that doesn't say hello, just grabs your earlobe and drags you along behind it wherever the hell it damned well pleases.

Nicky's voice is her own, her story is her own, and her love for the craft of writing is just her. You probably won't have a chance in this life to have tea and turkey jerky *retch* with her, poor bastard, but this book is the next best thing.

Buy it, read it, love it.

245Berly
Nov 20, 2017, 4:33pm Top

Hi Richard. I am way behind on all the threads, and, obviously behind on my condolences. I am sorry you lost your long-time friend, but ever so glad that you had her. Big hugs.

Love your "review" and how awesome to be noted in the Acknowledgments! Hope it brightens your day a little.

Or how about this? I haven't the foggiest what it is, but it looks scrumptious!

246richardderus
Nov 20, 2017, 4:44pm Top

Thank you, Berly-boo. It's not like losing someone 85 is a shock, but it still rots.

I think that's either the paneer-iest saag paneer I've ever seen or a really, really good chicken curry. Luckily I have more fresh cilantro to go over top, that's a bit mingy for my love for the stuff.

247ronincats
Nov 21, 2017, 12:30am Top

(((((Richard)))))

248richardderus
Nov 21, 2017, 12:45am Top

Thank you, Roni dear.

249richardderus
Nov 21, 2017, 9:47am Top

Sad to learn that John Gordon, author of the spooky adventure story The Giant Under the Snow that I shivered in delighted and amazed fear to as a junior high schooler, has died of Alzheimer's complications. He was 92, so it wasn't shocking, but another little brick in the edifice of my reading life crumbled.

What is sadder, to me at least, is that he was a storyteller and he lost his mind...literally...and all the untold stories in it at the end. The fortunate part is that he didn't know that.

250SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 21, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>244 richardderus: OK, I'm in. Just bought it at Amazon.

251richardderus
Nov 21, 2017, 12:14pm Top

>250 SomeGuyInVirginia: Oh goody good good! I hope it works for you the way it did for me.

252richardderus
Nov 21, 2017, 12:14pm Top

253Berly
Nov 22, 2017, 3:38am Top

Laughing loudly!!

254msf59
Nov 22, 2017, 7:04am Top

>252 richardderus: LIKE! I hope I do not have to implement this list on any of my future reads.

Morning, RD. Happy Wednesday. Only 35 today. I will be layered...

255karenmarie
Nov 22, 2017, 9:09am Top

Good morning, RD! Happy Wednesday to you.

>252 richardderus: Very good.

*smooches* from TVT Horrible

256SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 22, 2017, 9:19am Top

Happy Thanksgiving, RD!

257drneutron
Nov 22, 2017, 9:25am Top

>252 richardderus: Nice! I tucked that one away for future use.

258richardderus
Nov 22, 2017, 10:42am Top

>253 Berly: I know, right?! So honest, so forthright.

>254 msf59: Happy Wednesday and hip hip hooray for layers. 35° sounds unfun. It's almost 60° here, but plopping with rain. Either way, outside = nuh uh.

>255 karenmarie: *smooch* Hiya, Horrible, what's new?

259richardderus
Nov 22, 2017, 10:44am Top

>256 SomeGuyInVirginia: Happy Avian Holocaust! I hope you survive intact. Maybe The Prey of Gods will salvage your sanity.

>257 drneutron: I love the definition of "Languid" the best, I think. Have a great holiday dinner!

260tymfos
Nov 22, 2017, 4:44pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, RD.

There's enough food displayed on this thread for ten holiday dinners . . .

261EBT1002
Nov 22, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Swinging by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, RD!
One thing for which I am grateful is that I'm not a turkey.

Well, some would say that I am a turkey but ....

>252 richardderus: Funny. I also like "languid" best.

262sibyx
Nov 23, 2017, 9:03am Top

Have a lovely day and some good food!



Words not needed!

263richardderus
Nov 23, 2017, 11:08am Top

>260 tymfos: Thank you, TLo! Sending hugs and punkin pie wishes.

>261 EBT1002: Amen, Sister Woman, A-bloody-Men! And no, you're far to refined, gracious, and elegant to be a turkey. A pheasant, perhaps.

I love that graphic.

>262 sibyx: Thank you, Lucy, and a happy Holocaust of the Avians to you as well. Miss Po is clearly nobody's fool of a canid. Give her the skin from a slice as a present from afar for me, will you please?

264richardderus
Nov 23, 2017, 11:11am Top


Heh.

265karenmarie
Nov 23, 2017, 11:32am Top

Hi RD and Happy Holocaust of the Avians to you! Many smooches from your own TVT Horrible

266PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2017, 12:55pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

267Berly
Nov 23, 2017, 12:56pm Top

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, one of them being my



Thank you for being so wonderful! : )

268msf59
Nov 23, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>264 richardderus: LIKE!

Happy Thanksgiving, RD! Hope you enjoy the holiday, my friend.

269ronincats
Nov 23, 2017, 1:14pm Top

One of the things I am thankful for this year is your return to active participation in our group, Richard! Hope you are enjoying your crockpot Thanksgiving dinner.

270richardderus
Edited: Nov 23, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>265 karenmarie: Thank you, dear Horrible, for the welcome reminder that thanks needs to be given for the *good* friends in our lives.

>266 PaulCranswick: Herr Führer von und zu Cranswick.

271richardderus
Nov 23, 2017, 2:29pm Top

>267 Berly: *baaawww* Thanks, Berly-boo. *smooch*

>268 msf59: I'm enjoying it immensely, thank you Mark, and I hope that you and yours are as well.

>269 ronincats: Roni, how dear and sweet you are, thank you! I am happy to be home. Eleven years on LT! How is that even *possible*?

272johnsimpson
Nov 23, 2017, 3:48pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving Richard dear friend.

273richardderus
Nov 23, 2017, 4:07pm Top

Thank you very much, John, and happy Thursday to you, Karen, and my little dote Hannah.

274johnsimpson
Nov 23, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>273 richardderus:, Thank you Richard.

275mahsdad
Nov 23, 2017, 6:27pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, mon ami!

276richardderus
Nov 23, 2017, 11:39pm Top

>275 mahsdad: Happy right on back, Jeff! Thanks for coming by.

277karenmarie
Nov 24, 2017, 9:54am Top

'Morning, RD! Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Did you eat splendid things made in your crockpot?

*smooches*

278richardderus
Nov 24, 2017, 3:14pm Top

>277 karenmarie: Hey Horrible! I spent a lovely day with the Young Gentleman Caller, who showed up unannounced. He didn't want to deal with his homophobic family. We ate sausage cornbread stuffing and green goddess brussels sprouts with sharp cheddar sauce and rice. Then we read books and chatted until he went to meet his buddies to do some boring sports-watching.

*smooch*

279jnwelch
Nov 24, 2017, 4:04pm Top

Sounds like an enjoyable Thanksgiving, Richard. Hope the rest of the weekend treats you well, buddy.

280Berly
Nov 24, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>278 richardderus: That sounds like a lovely day, spent with a yummy man and food. I guess yummy could apply to the food as well. ; )

281richardderus
Nov 24, 2017, 4:52pm Top



Wikipedia gives us a wee bit of background on the Icelandic custom of giving a book as a gift to your family and friends at Yuletide. Like here, at least my friends and family...the difference is the Icelandic friends and family like the custom. Decidedly not like people I know.

Iceland isn't like the US in any way that I can think of: no mass shootings, low poverty, socialized medicine, but most importantly the fact that, in a lifetime, one in ten Icelanders will write and have published at least one book. Appearances and Kindle sales to the contrary, that can't happen in the US or there would 35 million writers getting their stuff published. Think of the deforestation implicit in that thankfully unrealized statistic. Agents and publishers will sigh exasperatedly and moan "there already ARE 35 million Americans writing books and they all have MY address!"

It only feels that way.

Iceland also has an Icelandic Literature Center, according to a 2013 BBC News report, which quotes Agla Magnusdottir (head of the Center as of the article's writing in 2013):

"Writers are respected here," Agla Magnusdottir tells me. "They live well. Some even get a salary." Magnusdottir is head of the new Icelandic Literature Center, which offers state support for literature and its translation.

"They write everything - modern sagas, poetry, children's books, literary and erotic fiction - but the biggest boom is in crime writing," she says.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Arnaldur Indriðason, Ragnar Jónasson ring any bells, mystery series lovers? All Icelandic. A book I adored, Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón, is Icelandic historical gay fiction. There's a niche for you.

Now think about it. Those writers have achieved popularity in the US market, easily ten times the absolute size of the Icelandic home market, and largely thanks to their government. Pause a moment. Think about that. Writers getting a state-supported salary so they can write. Translators of foreign-language books getting the same. Holy puppy dogs, it sounds like heaven.

But is the US actually so different? Most books in our market are published around gift-giving holidays, too. Look up any statistical source you can think of and you'll see the jaw-dropping surge in sales in each and every segment around Yuletide. Black Friday got its name from more than the salesdroids' moody misery on the horrible, horrible day; it's the day that almost all retailers stem their losses and go into black balance-sheet ink.

And it's not like there are no initiatives to encourage the bookish to share their addiction in the Holiday season. Take #GiveBooks, which is described in this Publishing Perspectives piece. It's admirable, and I suggest that you all put some money into the outreach for underserved children to get books. After all, the Jesuits' founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, famously said, "Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man." Knew his onions, did that old guy. He stole from the best, seeing as Aristotle said it first. You can tell because there's neither hide nor hair of "woman" in there, nor any sign that either of those old white men even sensed their absence. I'd recast it as "...I will give you the adult," but purists would be as vocal as feminists in their scorn. One cannot win.

But let's dream big. The tradition of giving a book as a much-desired present...the encouragement to read it that very night...there are some of us who want that family life and now we have a model for how it should look.

Why shouldn't we, book lovers, embrace this vaguely distasteful-in-the-aggregate behavior of being good little consumers? Let's repurpose it. Let's take one tiny facet of Iceland's excellent book culture and bring it here. The Christmas Book Flood isn't directly translatable, and anyway focuses on the end of the process, the gifting that's always so fun.

Let's celebrate the process, shall we? Let's have Booksgiving! Starting on *shudder* Black Friday, let's think about what books we'll flood the tree skirt with on Book Flood Eve. I'll give you some ideas from my 2017 reading to include in your purchases.

Happy Booksgiving!

282richardderus
Nov 24, 2017, 4:54pm Top

>279 jnwelch: It was, Joe, and a surprise to me as well. I had no thought that Rob would show up so that was lovely.

>280 Berly: Berly-boo! I am so happy to see you. *smooch*

283karenmarie
Nov 25, 2017, 7:10am Top

Happy Saturday to you, RD!

I'm glad you had company on Thanksgiving, RD. It sounds like a lovely time.

>281 richardderus: I've heard of Jolabokaflod, but read your entire post with interest. Fascinating stuff. I finally had an epiphany several years ago and when people ask me what to get me for Christmas I have a few books on each of several different lists so I don't get duplicates.

284cameling
Nov 25, 2017, 10:04am Top

How lovely that the YGC came by and spent part of the Thanksgiving day with you, Rdear. So... what books were you discussing on that beautiful Thursday afternoon? (curious minds want to know.... well, ok ... I want to know) ;-)

285Crazymamie
Nov 25, 2017, 10:16am Top

>281 richardderus: Loved this!

Morning, BigDaddy! We are having these for brunch today, so I brought you one:

286SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 25, 2017, 6:32pm Top

>281 richardderus: Honestly? I'd rather take an Icelandic hottie to bed.

I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, dear friend.

287vancouverdeb
Nov 25, 2017, 7:23pm Top

>281 richardderus: Hey there Richard, I just want you to know that I have the " distinction " of being 50% Icelandic. My mom is 100 % Icelandic, but my dad was 100 % Scottish. I must confess that the Icelandic side of the family did not give books as gifts, at least not exclusively. However, I was regularly regaled with tales of the literary abilities of the Icelandic people and the fact that they had the first parliament. We did open our Icelandic side of the Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. My son and his wife visited Iceland for about 10 days earlier this year and told me that they loved it. They said if they could not live here, they'd take Iceland- assuming on could afford to live there . A simple life, they said, with great geography.

I'm a fan of Arnaldur Indriðason, Ragnar Jónasson but not so much Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Booksgiving would be fine by me.

All that said, my parents and grandparents and most of my great grandparents were all born here in Canada, so the Icelandic part of us was diluted. But my grandparents could speak and read Icelandic.

288richardderus
Nov 26, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>283 karenmarie: It was a lovely day, Horrible. Rob surprised me, being perfectly willing to be bored all day. I did nothing to make stuff interesting, apart from feeding him, and he still hung out and made conversation. I did not expect that.

I suggest people give gift cards to the serious bookaholic. Duplicates are all on them after that!

>284 cameling: The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy. He saw it, picked it up, and was done in about three hours. I liked it a lot, and my review comes up on the blog tomorrow, with some additional comments made by Rob after reading.

289richardderus
Nov 26, 2017, 12:56pm Top

>285 Crazymamie: I am nomming that bad boy down! Glorious.

>286 SomeGuyInVirginia: This is not an either/or proposition, Larry. Hottie + good book = pretty much as good as it gets, no? Especially if said hottie will read good book to you...*happy sigh*

>287 vancouverdeb: An impeccable pedigree, Deb! I'm envious.

I'd live in Iceland in a heartbeat, except I'd never be a citizen as I lack even a whisper of Icelandic blood.

290LovingLit
Nov 26, 2017, 7:47pm Top

>270 richardderus: I have this episode of Tom & Jerry on DVD. Just saying. (bragging/not bragging, who can tell?)

Hope you had a happy TG, and a merry Jolabokaflod. (ps I am all for more jolobokaflodding , and less walkmartaramaing)

291richardderus
Nov 26, 2017, 8:30pm Top

>290 LovingLit: *smirk* I'm all about co-opting consumer culture for bookish ends.

Tom & Jerry on DVD...there's something I'd've bet money against ever happening, and lost big.

292richardderus
Nov 26, 2017, 9:55pm Top

This topic was continued by Richard's Thread for 2017 #3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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