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richardderus eleventh thread of 2018

This is a continuation of the topic richardderus tenth thread of 2018.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 12:13pm Top

William Haefli tells it like it is.

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 9:00pm Top

My 2018 Reviewing Goals

I'll shoot for 180 reviews written again this year. It was a doable target, but the reviews could be more exciting....

BookRiot's 2018 Read Harder "Challenge"

1. A book published posthumously
2. A book of true crime
3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
4. A comic written and illustrated by the same person—My Brother's Husband reviewed below.
5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia,
India, China, or South Africa)
6. A book about nature Guns, Germs, and Steel
7. A western
8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10. A romance novel by or about a person of color
11. A children’s classic published before 1980
12. A celebrity memoir
13. An Oprah Book Club selection
14. A book of social science Everybody Lies
15. A one-sitting book Voodoo Planet
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series The Invisible Library
17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19. A book of genre fiction in translation Still Waters
20. A book with a cover you hate
21. A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author Widdershins
22. An essay anthology
23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished)

My Reviews Are Here:
Reviews 1-25 are linked there.

Reviews 26-31 are linked here.

Reviews 32-39 are linked there.

Reviews 40-54 are linked over here.

Reviews 55-70 are linked over here.

Reviews 71-101 (I misnumbered) are linked over here.

Reviews 102-110 are linked over here.

Reviews 111 - 123 are reviewed over here.

124 The Man Who Invented Christmas is...well...you won't believe me, go look at post 27.

125 A Coffin for Dimitrios delighted me with its twistiness in post 73.

126 Seize the Daylight suffered from too-long-itis in post 87.

127 And Now for Something Completely Different is the annual Christmas story from the Chronicles of St Mary's in post 89.

128 Circe is my perfect read for 2018 in post 106.

129 Moon of the Crusted Snow tells of the Apocalypse as it affects a First Nations band in far northern Ontario post 109-wards.

130 The Queen of All Crows takes us back to the universe dominated by the International Patent Office in post 120.

Dec 22, 2018, 12:06pm Top


Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 12:15pm Top

Good morning, Richard!

ETA you are missing an initial symbol

on your opening image.

Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 12:17pm Top

>3 richardderus: Hi Roni! You're first! I finally get to give you these stunning dragon bangles:

They made me swoon the first time I saw them.
ETA yeah, I fixed it.

Dec 22, 2018, 12:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Richard!

>1 richardderus: There are a few comedians I would read, and those books don't have wide margins ;-)

Dec 22, 2018, 12:25pm Top

Ha! Love the topper cartoon.

Happy New Thread, Richard!

Have a wonderful holiday time, buddy.

Lucky Roni!

Dec 22, 2018, 12:55pm Top

I'm in!

Dec 22, 2018, 1:03pm Top

>6 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! Well, there aren't a lot of comedians whose work I'd read, so I suppose I don't have a dog in this fight.

>7 jnwelch: I'd gift you a pair, Joe, but somehow I can't see them working well on you...

The YGC comes home on the 26th. I'm basically passing time til then.

>8 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hey Larry, what up li'l dude.

Dec 22, 2018, 1:30pm Top

Hiya, RD, and happy new thread.


Dec 22, 2018, 1:39pm Top

Happy new thread!

May you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Dec 22, 2018, 1:40pm Top

>10 karenmarie: I was sorely tempted to buy this but, since I can't have a tree in a space this tiny, I decided to be a grown-up and resist:

Dec 22, 2018, 1:41pm Top

>11 figsfromthistle: Thank you most kindly, Anita!

Dec 22, 2018, 1:51pm Top

Happy new thread! Hope you have a great weekend!

Dec 22, 2018, 1:58pm Top

>9 richardderus: There are two Dutch comedians who are also decent writers: Freek de Jonge and Youp van 't Hek.
For English language comedians: I think Stephen Fry does a good job writing, there should be more of them.

Dec 22, 2018, 2:21pm Top

>14 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle! You do the same.

>15 FAMeulstee: I'll second Stephen Fry as an excellent writer. I never think of him as a comedian, pace Fry and Laurie's many pleasure.

Dec 22, 2018, 4:40pm Top

Happy New Thread!

Dec 22, 2018, 4:40pm Top

>17 quondame: Ha! Love those ornaments, Susan, thanks.

Dec 22, 2018, 5:22pm Top

Previous thread, #216:
“Babies and boom boom”

Dec 22, 2018, 5:50pm Top

Happy Saturday, Richard! Happy New Thread! I am home, feeling a bit better and having a brew. Just laying low tonight, which is perfectly fine with me.

Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 5:57pm Top

>19 bohemima: ...Gail...?



I'm glad that I could give you a chuckle. Happy that you're here.

>20 msf59: Thanks, Mark, and have a lovely Sunday to rest up.

Dec 22, 2018, 5:57pm Top

Happy New thread, Richard!

>1 richardderus: LOL No, I would not.

Dec 22, 2018, 5:58pm Top

>21 richardderus: Thanks, Mary!

Dec 22, 2018, 8:48pm Top

Watched The Man Who Invented Christmas about...You Know Who...and it utterly charmed and delighted me. Dan Stevens was about perfect as ol' Chuckles and Jonathan Pryce as his useless dad was winsome. All in all, a film I'll enjoy watching again in 2019.

Dec 22, 2018, 9:08pm Top

Happy new thread, Richard. And happy holidays to you!

Dec 22, 2018, 10:14pm Top

YOU watched a film about...CHUCKLES? And LIKED it? Huh. It must be freezing in Hell right about now, and is that a pig I see flying outside my window?

Seriously, RD, you've made me curious enough to try and find the film and watch it too.

Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 11:25pm Top

124 The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford

Rating: 4* of five

I am on record for lo, these many years as Mr. Chuckles the Dick's least admiring consumer. In point of fact, I was *FORCED*AT*GRADEPOINT* to read A Tale of Two Cities, unsympathetically held to my teacher's viciously cruel reading schedule (an entire semester! A waste of the hours I could've {and did} devote to other books!) by my Dickensian-in-all-senses elder sister, and ultimately had an essay demanded of me about these tedious, seriously uninteresting people.

As a side note, that was the year I received from the Dickensian sister a copy of The Tale of Genji for my birthday, which I consumed in a week, Seidensticker's ponderous translation aside. So no, it didn't go above my head.

Subsequent encounters between me and the all-too-imitable Inimitable...in fact, imitable to the point of self-parody...went no better. A long-ago read of A Christmas Carol at the behest of my misguided sister went poorly enough that we indulged in my "family"'s favorite holiday pastime of screaming at each other. I've watched the filmed versions over the years with a smugly superior, tolerant smirk plastered on my sneering mouth. Yuck. Gooey sentimentality sludged up by being delivered as Orotund Pronunciamentoes lifted whole and entire from Chuckles's turgid prose.

Then a bookish friend watched this film and pronounced herself diverted. I'd had an annoying day. I figured I'd feel better if I snarked at the film while I've still got Prime. Plus, y'know, Dan Stevens. (see >24 richardderus: above.) Eye candy is persuasive when your significant other's away for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. (Hi honey!)

Reader, I married him. I mean, I loved it. I was completely sucked in from the start, I liked the way Stevens presented his Dickens, I was delighted by Mr. Forster, Justin Edwards, Jonathan Pryce as feckless John Dickens was deeply touching. Not one of the women was more than self-moving scenery. The film was lovely, and the story was terrific. How Dickens created the entire concept modern Westerners carry around in their heads labeled "Christmas" is, in fact, pretty damned funny since he was as anti-capitalist an old buffer as there ever was, and this story is flippin' bitterly socialist!

The end credits surprised me: The film's based on a book! Whoopee! So I hauled my gift card over to the Kindle store, bought it, and read it in a sitting. Author Standiford does a creditable job of bringing the stakes of the story's success to life; he then does what the film doesn't and can't, ties it to today's buyfest, though not as tightly as a more polemical writer would have. He does tend towards the happy, shiny people hypothesis...not one I'm naturally in sympathy with...but still, his point was to make Chuckles the Dick's contribution to (I typed "culpability for" at least three times but am compelled to be fair to Author Standiford here) the modern world fit into its context, not critique the context. Others have, and will, do that hatchet job.

So here I am, atheist Yule celebrator and anti-Dickens to my deepest core, praising a book and its superior adaptation to film, and planning to re-watch the film in 2019. Christmas miracles, anyone?

Dec 22, 2018, 11:29pm Top

>25 jessibud2: Hi Shelley! Thank you most kindly.

>26 Storeetllr: I know, I know, you thought that minor in the Aerodynamics of Pork was going to be useless...well, ta-daaa!

Dec 22, 2018, 11:48pm Top

Happy new one, RD.

Edited: Dec 23, 2018, 1:50am Top

>27 richardderus: I read and loved this one some years ago, didn‘t know it was turned into a film, must see if I find it. Very glad you liked it, and I know what it means. :))

Wishing you belatedly a Happy Solstice and a day early very Happy Holidays, filled with love, joy, great books and delicious food. (((((hugs)))))

Edited: Dec 23, 2018, 3:42am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
FYI: I have further edited the flagged post #234 from the previous thread to read as follows

On the serious consequences of online bullying:

I've made my point with the previous message which occupied this space. I'm glad it was reported and not simply ignored. That message came from a place of great suffering as opposed to petty grievances, as some small minds may think. Online bullying of a person like myself who suffers from suicidal clinical depression and extreme social anxiety and has been mentally and emotionally abused by a toxic mother since early childhood, much as the owner of this thread, should not be made to suffer a character assassination and randomly compared to a sexual abuser and oppressor because of petty grievances.

I share below my exchange with Tim Spalding. He asked me to edit this post to conform to LT TOS; I do so gladly. I have no intention of entering into further communication with the reprehensible individual who thinks attacking someone simply for expressing a differing point of view is acceptable behaviour, beyond wanting to make very clear just how much he tormented me on a mere whim. I simply wanted to restate clearly that I was originally completely innocent of wrongdoing or malice of ANY sort and was fully prepared to be a friend, and came only in peace. But RD attacked me viciously and willfully misinterpreted a simple comment I made, and immediately turned his friends and followers against me on a whim without giving me the benefit of the doubt. And then followed... the thorough character assassination which was really what sent me through the wringer: the completely random comparison to his cruel and abusive mother, while I was dealing with unbearable psychological and emotional assaults from a toxic mother of my own who constantly drove me to thoughts of suicide. For this and for the continued torment all this caused me I will never forgive him and I wanted him and all who read him to know this kind of psychological and emotional mistreatment has had very real and very serious consequences. That behaviour of this kind is given a pass in complete silence is unconscionable.

Dec 23, 2018, 7:19am Top

Good morning, RD!

>27 richardderus: I'm bemused by your love of a book and film related to C the D. A double hit - BB and an MB.


Dec 23, 2018, 11:13am Top

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, RD. In these hectic, commercial times it's important to pause a moment and consider what's truly important; what are you getting me?

Dec 23, 2018, 11:23am Top

>29 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Thank you, and have fun in the Motherland.

>30 Deern: Thanks, Nathalie. I'm planning cornbread stuffing with sausage, green apples, carrots, onions, and celery for my celebratory dinner. It's an all-time favorite meal of mine, and for holiday dress-up I eat it with cranberry sauce. Yum.

I hope your visit with mother and father is a happy one!

Dec 23, 2018, 11:27am Top

>32 karenmarie: *smooch*

>33 SomeGuyInVirginia: ...my deepest sympathy...? I dunno...I think that, given the fact you are heartlessly, heedlessly slinging book out your doors to make room for a 120" Sensurround® visual-arts-spieler, permaybehaps a book is de trop.

Edited: Dec 23, 2018, 12:18pm Top

Hehe. Welcome to the pleasure dome. I still haven't unboxed the tee-bee. It's huge, right now I use it as a backdrop for shadow puppets.

Dec 23, 2018, 12:48pm Top

I’m glad that you listened to your friend and ventured bravely into the wilds of a film of the dread C the D, and even followed it up by reading the book! Good for you on being open-minded.

Glad to be here. I may do a thread next year; not sure yet. But glad to be reading yours and a few others.

Have a peace-filled Holiday Season, and never, ever let the turkeys interfere with your flight.

Dec 23, 2018, 1:24pm Top

>36 SomeGuyInVirginia: Shadow puppets!! I'll be there at 3. Stew or roast? You do the wine and aperitif.

>37 bohemima: Heh. Luckily turkeys are too stupid to mate, still less fly.

Dec 23, 2018, 2:22pm Top

Happy new thread RD.

Dec 23, 2018, 2:38pm Top

>39 johnsimpson: Thanks, John! Have a wonderful Christmas.

Dec 23, 2018, 3:10pm Top

>40 richardderus:, And you too RD, dear friend.

Dec 23, 2018, 5:03pm Top

happy new thread, Richard

the light is born (a nativity scene from Riehen)
Wish you a happy Christmas time

Dec 23, 2018, 5:19pm Top

Happy new thread!

Dec 23, 2018, 5:34pm Top

>24 richardderus: was that... After I watched it?

>27 richardderus: and the book?

I am gobsmacked. Even if it wasn't me who called the movie to your attention originally :D

Happy new thread!

Dec 23, 2018, 5:42pm Top

Happy Sunday, Richard. Glad you are enjoying a reading day. I am currently watching a frustrating Bears game. Not exactly playing like champs...

Dec 23, 2018, 7:58pm Top

>42 paulstalder: How beautiful! Thank you most kindly, Paul.

>43 drneutron: Thanks, Doc!

>44 bell7: Next to last para. I watched the film because my Dickensian sister ordered me to, but I expect it was after you watched it. No one is more surprised than I am about this....

>45 msf59: Sorry about the Bears...A Coffin for Dimitrios is really good! Should finish today.

Dec 23, 2018, 8:05pm Top

>38 richardderus:. Silly boy. Roast!

Dec 23, 2018, 8:21pm Top

>47 SomeGuyInVirginia: Ah. Okay.

I'm assuming maple-roasted sprouts and acorn squash with the lamb is okay....

Dec 23, 2018, 8:40pm Top

>46 richardderus: ahhh okay, I can relate to sibling movie and book recommendations. Gotcha 😀

Dec 23, 2018, 9:43pm Top

>48 richardderus: I will have that....platter and all. Thank you.

Dec 23, 2018, 10:16pm Top

Happy new thread Richard!

Dec 23, 2018, 10:20pm Top

Back to your prior thread, Roni's bread stonehenge cracked me up!

(Yes, it's a cat, but it's a languorous, mellow cat with not one cute whisker. xo)

Dec 23, 2018, 10:51pm Top

>49 bell7: "Recommendations" hahahaha "recommendations" *snort* hahahaha

>50 laytonwoman3rd: Isn't that transferware scrummy?

>51 humouress: Thanks, Nina! *smooch*

>52 EBT1002: mmmf

Dec 23, 2018, 10:56pm Top

>28 richardderus: *snerk*

>48 richardderus: Okay, I'll be right over! *drool*

Dec 23, 2018, 11:24pm Top

What IS that?????

Dec 24, 2018, 12:04am Top

Dammit, I hate it when rats take acid and anthropomorphise.

Transferware! Couldn't think of the term. I love that stuff.

Dec 24, 2018, 12:37am Top

>53 richardderus: Good to see you're performing your ablutions. In anticipation of the celebrations tomorrow, I take it?

Dec 24, 2018, 12:49am Top

>55 EBT1002: A tores adorbs li'l rattykins having her a wash! So sweeeeeet, no?

>56 SomeGuyInVirginia: ...so you think it was the rat...mm hmm...

>57 humouress: Tomorrow? Oh yeah, it's Monday there. MY celebration is the YGC arriving on Boxing Day!

Dec 24, 2018, 1:15am Top

>58 richardderus: Ricardo!! Thanks for keeping my thread warm while I was buried in RL. All is good and I plan to play catch-up on LT tomorrow and on Christmas. I about keeled over after reading >27 richardderus: that you enjoyed ANYTHING Dickenish. ; )

And still on the Dickens theme, particularly food, we had reservation at a favorite restaurant, but when we showed up the whole thing was rented out for the night for a DICKENS evening and we couldn't get in!! Everyone was dressed up and there were lots of top hats. LOL. But we were running out of time before a show, so we headed next door to the bar. Since it is near our work and they know us and it is in the same hotel as the restaurant, they took pity on us and let us order off the fancy Dickens menu. It looked a lot like your photo in >48 richardderus: and it was delicious! They brought out a smorgasbord. Score.

Dec 24, 2018, 1:20am Top

Happy new thread, Richard and Happy Boxing Day!

Dec 24, 2018, 3:30am Top

>59 Berly: That sounds delightful! I think it was pretty much a minimum-decency thing, really, but it soundslike they went the extra mile on the presentation as an apology for their error. That gets them points. Presentation is all, the older I get, the more strongly I believe.

>60 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg...I hope like hell I'm not gonna expire of anticipation before the day.

Dec 24, 2018, 5:17am Top

>48 richardderus: looks delicious

Dec 24, 2018, 7:04am Top

^Whatever your plans are Richard, have a nice holiday!

Dec 24, 2018, 7:35am Top

Dec 24, 2018, 8:33am Top

>62 paulstalder: I completely agree, I'd eat every bite of that and ask for more.

>63 msf59: Thank you, Mark!

>64 Ameise1: And a Froglickin' Yawl to youse, too, Barbara!

Dec 24, 2018, 9:11am Top

Good morning, RD!

I'm in the final throes of Christmas prep - two more presents to wrap and one dessert to bake with Jenna's help.

I hope the next two days go by quickly so that your reunion with YGC is in the blink of an eye!

Dec 24, 2018, 9:59am Top

If I ever ever win the lottery I'm going to buy a transferware service for 12 from Calamityware. I love the idea.

Dec 24, 2018, 10:26am Top

>66 karenmarie: Happy desserting! I'm in a holding pattern ATM, nothing on and not interested in any options. Say...I wonder if I could find a book or two to occupy the shining hour...there's a thought, eh what? *smooch*

>67 SomeGuyInVirginia: Those are lovely indeed. If I may venture a suggestion, visit the Meaking pages at Replacements Ltd. for a mind-expanding tour of the many, many, many, many ways transferware has been made. This one was my paternal grandma's breakfast set:

Dec 24, 2018, 11:33am Top

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Edited: Dec 24, 2018, 1:26pm Top

Where's the fainting couch? You liked The Man Who Invented Christmas for more than just Dan Stevens' lovely face? I do declare! *swoons*

Dec 24, 2018, 1:51pm Top

>69 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle! Sparkly goodness goes down well around here.

>70 MickyFine: I KNOW, RIGHT?! Were I on your side of the computer, I'd be looking for the Punk'd guys about now. But it was an excellent adaptation, and Standifer's story was well-told to start with. Of course Standifer didn't try the fancy tricks that filmmaking allowed. Well, not really. Kinda. But the book was a pleasant, if very light, read.

Dec 24, 2018, 2:27pm Top

A special delivery of season's greetings direct to your thread!

Dec 24, 2018, 4:30pm Top

125 A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler

The full five stars

Excellent between-the-wars spy story that sets the bar for later entries into the genre. The tale has also given numerous parts of itself to other writers. A solid bit of Charade, that delightful 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn spies-in-Paris story, came from this 1939 tale.

But the main thing about reading the book, the primary pleasure unavailable to viewers of the 1944 film The Mask of Dimitrios, is that the movie timeframe makes the story more or less a highlight reel. It also seemed a bit off to me to make this interwar story in the midst of WWII...not a great time for the Balkan/Parisian/Greek dealings or the staunchly anti-bankster tone of the book to be filmed. So, quite naturally, they were left out.

The book unfolds, if not slowly, then at a steady pace and one that simply could not be filmed in that time. Now it would be a 4-hour miniseries, and that would work well. The story's action takes place by reports and in flashbacks, yet such is Ambler's gift with the gab that it doesn't...didn't to me, anyway...feel draggy or reported.

Skip the three-star film, read the five-star book, and never look back.

Dec 24, 2018, 4:32pm Top

>72 katiekrug: What a lovely image and sentiment, thank you!!

Dec 24, 2018, 7:02pm Top

Merry Christmas! Looking forward to a very bookish 2019

Dec 24, 2018, 7:46pm Top

>75 mahsdad: Oh how gorgeous, Jeff! I agree, a bookish 2019 for all.

Dec 24, 2018, 10:46pm Top

Happy holidays, Richard!

Dec 25, 2018, 3:11am Top

>77 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry! I love that Santa, so totally sciencey in his hot-air balloon.

Dec 25, 2018, 4:38am Top

Happy holidays, RD.

Dec 25, 2018, 7:09am Top

Happy Christmas from Santa Mouse and Rudy the Red Shelled Lobster, Richard!

Dec 25, 2018, 9:33am Top

>79 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul.

>80 kidzdoc: What the actual! What Victorian weirdness is that! Those were the days, absinthe-soaked lunches and creative hallucinations. Thanks for making the day just that little bit weirder, Darryl.

Edited: Dec 25, 2018, 11:51am Top

Seasons Greetings from Singapore! Wishing you and your friends and family joy, peace, good fortune and good health now and in the coming year.

Dec 25, 2018, 12:36pm Top

Merry Christmas, Richard!

Dec 25, 2018, 1:19pm Top

>81 richardderus: You're welcome, sir. That Victorian Era card came from, believe it or not, a Lutheran pastor who has been a lifelong friend. Marie posted it on her Facebook timeline yesterday.

Dec 25, 2018, 2:05pm Top

>82 humouress: I'll accept those wishes with great pleasure, Nina.

>83 cushlareads: Happy Merry and Bright, Cushla!

>84 kidzdoc: ...wow...Lutheran no less...those grim ol' German busters can pull a real shocker to this day. I mean, a kultur that gave us Protestants and Krampus, well....

Dec 25, 2018, 3:40pm Top

Merry Christmas, Richard!

Dec 25, 2018, 10:34pm Top

126 Seize the Daylight by David Prerau

Nice little microhistory of the struggle to save the world a little energy and a lot of frustration by making time uniform within time zones. Most countries in the world that aren't equatorial or majority rural/farming use daylight saving time. It makes lots of sense. I hate the day of the change, too, but really it's just not in question, with over 100 years of evidence, that following DST is a net benefit in energy savings and safety increases for all modes of transportation.

Needless to say, pockets of resistance in the US are GOP-led and/or religious nuts. The state of Arizona, in its desert-sunstruck glory, has a point in avoiding extra sunlight hours. Still and all, no matter what, the story of the people who created the concept and rammed it down the throats of the populace is really involving. Not sorry I read it.

The missing stars are all for the repetitive nature of telling a small story like this at too great a length. I think you'd need to be as interested as I am in the strange corners of Time to find it a good read...on balance, I liked it but expect that most others might not.

Dec 25, 2018, 10:34pm Top

>86 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thanks, Larry, I hope your day was a good 'un!

Dec 25, 2018, 10:36pm Top

127 And Now for Something Completely Different by Jodi Taylor

The Disaster Magnets go to Mars! The Time Police, poor lambs, are most unamused. There is no Yule tradition left that is more enjoyable than the St Mary's Christmas story. Now that the...carpetbaggers...in charge of Doctor Who have canned the Christmas special because "they're out of ideas."

I ask you.

But no such terror besets St Mary's Disaster Magnets! Here we are all gruntled and kempt and fully Christmased.

(The missing star is docked from Author Taylor's ratings/wages for the infelicity of flashbacking the story.)

Dec 25, 2018, 11:42pm Top

>85 richardderus: You're welcome. By the way, I hope you appreciate the dog (mainly because we don't have cats, anyway).

>87 richardderus: >89 richardderus: Not seeing any stars at the moment. They weren't that bad, surely?

Dec 26, 2018, 8:43am Top

>90 humouress: Hiya Nina, I always appreciate our fine four-fendered friends...legged, ha, yes of course, legged...and what better time to show them off than Christmas.

Oh carp. The stars are on the books' reviews not in the posts. Oh well, good enough. Jodi's story got four, the daylight book three.

Dec 26, 2018, 9:01am Top

Happy Boxing Day, RD! Happy reunion with YGC.


Dec 26, 2018, 9:05am Top

>92 karenmarie: I thank you most kindly, ma'am! Sending hugs. My smoocher's off for the duration.

Dec 26, 2018, 9:04pm Top

Initial reunion joy settled now into Being Together. A month is a long damned time to be apart. Welcome home, Rob.

Dec 27, 2018, 9:01am Top

I like the world better than usual today. I hope y'all do too.

Dec 27, 2018, 12:43pm Top

>94 richardderus: Hooray! Enjoy your time!

Sweet Thursday, Richard. Sure, I would rather been off yesterday but since it has been raining steadily here, I have no problem with enjoying my time off today. Yes, I have a few chores to attend to, but reading will be a priority.

Dec 27, 2018, 1:05pm Top

>96 msf59: It's always fun to reunite. Now we're finding a rhythm for our days. I'm contentedly working out what to feed the bottomless pit!

Jeff Helm put up a link to LitHub's list of the bestselling fiction of each of the last 100 years. Only a few of us, like Horrible, won't find our birth years on here...I'm utterly unfamiliar with seven of the top ten bestsellers of 1960 but the five runners-up are all among my most favoritrest reads! Well, okay, not so much Rabbit, Run, but the others are spiffing!

Dec 27, 2018, 1:11pm Top

>97 richardderus: Hardee-har-har, RD! 'Won't find our birth year.' You're soooo funny.

*smooch* anyway

Edited: Dec 27, 2018, 1:17pm Top

>94 richardderus: And yet you're here with us.

ETA: by the way, why are you always so mean to Karen?

Dec 27, 2018, 1:40pm Top

>98 karenmarie: *smooch*

>99 humouress: ...mean to...oh, Horrible! See, the clue's in the name: This is someone whose purpose in life is to inspire librio-concupiscence and text envy in me. I am unsure as to the precise moment when I became aware of her raison d'etre...who am I kidding, it was the day I was frogmarched to Ammy and required to procure The French Blue, a stonking wodge of paper covered in an historical novel about what we now call the Hope Diamond...but in the decade or so since, Horrible has caused a terrifying number of trees to fall as I slake my need to read the books she oh-so-casually temptingly cruelly renders irresistible.

That's why.

Dec 27, 2018, 3:53pm Top

>100 richardderus: Ah, good to have that explained, Richard. I was wondering that myself. Good to hear that your day after Christmas was as anticipated.

Dec 27, 2018, 4:03pm Top

>100 richardderus: 'Karen' seems like a perfectly nice name to me.

Dec 27, 2018, 4:50pm Top

>101 Familyhistorian: Thank you, Meg, it's a lovely thing to be back in company sorely missed.

>102 humouress: Yes, it is nice...and thence my refusal to use it explained. Besides the fact that I suspect Horrible would be completely bumfuzzled were I to address her as "Karen" at this late date.

Dec 27, 2018, 4:56pm Top

>95 richardderus: Happy to read you are happy, Richard dear!

>103 richardderus: It is horrible, but some traditions have to be kept ;-)

Dec 27, 2018, 5:07pm Top

>104 FAMeulstee: *snerk* Punny lady, you.

Edited: Dec 28, 2018, 12:55pm Top

128 Circe by Madeline Miller

Rating: 6* of five

What does it mean to be a god?

I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.
You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.
But gods are born of ichor and nectar, their excellences already bursting from their fingertips. So they find their fame by proving what they can mar: destroying cities, starting wars, breeding plagues and monsters. All that smoke and savor rising so delicately from our altars. It leaves only ash behind.

What Circe learns in this novel is that gods aren't much more than vessels crafted to serve a purpose. The gods exist relative to us humans so that they may be filled and emptied; all the roots and seeds of the universe's awareness reside in them. The gods woke, they were not born, they did not (as humans, created only in personal union, always do) represent the culmination of anything. They were not, then they were.

Where we struggle to find purpose in, a frame for, our human existence, the gods in the myths and tales struggle to find individual, personal meaning. Athena, born of her male parent's really bad headache, has shape and purpose from the instant she arrives in the world. She's got to spend human lives by the scores to perceive the dimmest outline of personal meaning in a cataclysm like the Trojan War. Her existence is framing the story of this war; her fighting for one side and against the other is what her identity, her meaning, derives from. She's defining herself through this war. Her purpose, Goddess Athena the Personification of Wisdom, was with her always.

Down here on Earth, meaning is an inevitable precondition of human life. Priam, Helen, Agamemnon represent the culmination of generations of royal births. Their meaning in life is to lead large groups of Greeks to their glorious deaths, reduced to simplest terms and presented only in the purpose or frame of the goddess's desired war. We complete patterns we cannot ever see because we are always amid them, albeit without a sense of our orientation within them. Our multivarious searches for a purpose to plop our meanings into go by many names, religion and art and philosophy and sex. The gods see, therefore create, the pattern of meaning we weave in our searches for "Personal Purpose" in the world.

The whole review, very much TL;DR for LT purposes, goes live tomorrow at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. But you get the idea; it's a six-star read because it made me think and think and think. I love books that do this. The Song of Achilles did as well. Madeline Miller's beautiful prose makes my brain click on, my heart switch from vibrate to song mode, and my eyes strangely susceptible to atmospheric contaminants requiring copious tearing to cleanse the irritants out.

That's my story, anyway. I'm stickin' to it.

Dec 27, 2018, 8:02pm Top

>94 richardderus: Glad your boy is back!! Happy days indeed. : )

Dec 27, 2018, 8:23pm Top

>107 Berly: Yep! Me too. He's puttering around cleaning the kitchen. When I go home tonight, I won't see him again until Monday morning, but that's okay...he's HERE. No border, no long-ass trip to come home. This is a piece of cake.

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 8:58pm Top

129 Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Real Rating: 3.25* of five

A tale of the end of the world as we know it. The twist of the tail: The storytellers are those left out of the world that's ending. Evan and Nicole live on the rez all the way north in Ontario, ever so close to the Inuit lands surrounding Hudson Bay. Author Waubgeshig Rice is a First Nations native from a less-northerly band than Evan and Nicole's, so I was ready to believe him when he told me the details of his novel's land. I needn't even have considered it. I felt I could go to Thunder Bay, Ontario, get in a car or on a snowmobile, and I'd find the Whitesky clan soon enough.

We meet Evan Whitesky as he's butchering his last moose of the season, field dressing the huge bull because it's too much for him to handle alone. He's lucky, he feels, to have grown up more in tune with the old hunting ways; he'd've been sad and guilty if he'd had to abandon this huge meat source from inability to move it to a truck by himself. He offers sacred tobacco...the store-bought kind, dammit, he forgot the uncured stash!...in thanks for the life he was allowed to take that he may feed his family, his citified little brother and his aging parents and the members of the band whose hunting luck wasn't as good as his.

And that's how we meet the main PoV character in a post-apocalyptic story. Yes indeed, this'll be a good read!

It was, it was...I particularly approve of the extremely limited sense we're given of just exactly *what* happened to the world of the white people. The difference between before and after is really a matter of degree for the characters in Author Rice's tender care. /irony

Much happens. Two young men come back from college in white people-land with a harrowing report of what happened when things changed, but they had no clue as to what had actually occurred. White people show up on the rez looking for safety. Several conflicting voices are heard regarding the advisability of helping strangers in the Brave New World. Shots are fired, bodies are disposed of, things get very upsetting.

But...and this is why I'm not giving the book more stars...the collapse of outer Canada and the fractures of inner reservationland aren't made much of. That means I see characters responding to...to...stress, bad people's bad actions, the atavistic pummeling of the need to protect and guard and hoard who and what you love. Great. Not enough. I, as a jaundiced old party of one, want the responses to require balancing what's lost by the rez's people not being in any way proactive against what's gained by the band acting in response to the southerners' needs...demands...at last.

I was not as invested, therefore, as I'd need to be to give this a four on up-star rating. But don't let that put you off getting this book. I'm very glad I read it. I am deeply convinced of Rice's rightness in creating the world of the rez. The words used that're not translated will get in some readers' way. I am not one of those. At every turn the meaning of the words is made clear by context or by the English response of another character to what was said.

Treat yourself to a trip to the northern forest. You and I should probably limit our stay to a book's length. This is hard country with hard living for its people. Apocalypses really only hurt those with a lot to lose, and Evan's family has more to gain than to lose from the end of the world as whites know it.

Dec 28, 2018, 6:12am Top

Good morning, RD!

>99 humouress: - >105 richardderus: I wouldn't have it any other way - Horrible is a badge of honor. And let's not forget Madame TVT. Another badge. Not official LT badges, alas - but I guess official RD badges.

I'm glad your sweetie is back.

Dec 28, 2018, 10:37am Top

>110 karenmarie: Horrible dear, so glad you're here. I am suffering today...rainy, damp, much joint pain...and need something to distract my self-pity circuits. Is #129's review in >109 richardderus: suitable for publishing? Reading that, would you form an opinion of the book's suitability for your own reading pile? Pls advise.

Dec 28, 2018, 12:18pm Top

>106 richardderus: Looks very interesting Richard. Thanks for nudging it up my list.

Dec 28, 2018, 12:55pm Top

>112 Oberon: You're quite welcome, Erik, and I hope the read is as delightful for you as it was for me.

Dec 28, 2018, 4:12pm Top

>106 richardderus: Raving review, Richard!
The Dutch translation will come next year, so I have put it on the list.

Dec 29, 2018, 3:57am Top

>106 richardderus: Isn't it good!!!! One of my absolute tops for this year. Smoochies!

Dec 29, 2018, 10:12am Top

Richard, every review you've ever written has been worth reading.

I hope you feel better today.

Dec 29, 2018, 2:11pm Top

Circe takes the top spot in my 2018 reading...so glad you loved it too.

Dec 29, 2018, 2:21pm Top

>114 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita, and get yourself on the list for an advance copy of the book if you can. It's too good to wait for.

>115 BekkaJo: *smooch* It's a beautiful piece of writing. It's an even more glorious piece of thinking.

>116 SomeGuyInVirginia: *baaawww* You're too kind, Larry. I was deeply inspired by the book, I think you can tell, so that's why I waxed as eloquent as I could.

>117 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yay, Linda3rd! We're a sizable club, I'm happy to report. *smooch*

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:52pm Top

Happy Saturday, RD! I hope you’re not suffering as much today as yesterday and I’m SO sorry that I didn’t come over to visit yesterday when you could have used the company and opinion.

I like the review and it makes me want to spend some of my special Christmas money to acquire. There are a gazillion books to acquire so I may not do so, but the intent is there.

I love post-apocalyptic books, and ones where the apocalyptic event is not specified are intriguing in an entirely different way than the ones where we know what’s happened. There is a lot of clutter in the books where people are trying to ‘fix’ the problem that caused the event, or recover from the event as opposed to the books where we have to go with the flow of the NOW. I approve, therefore, of the ‘extremely limited sense we’re given of just exactly *what* happened to the world of the white people.’

Your paragraph that begins ‘But…and this is why” makes sense until the last sentence, which I can’t grok: want the responses to require balancing what's lost by responding not being in any way proactive against what's gained by acting at last. If it’s me, please explain, if it’s a problem of editing, I’d like to know that too.

I'm perfectly happy to have words that I don't understand but can pick up on through context, too.

All in all, it’s a book review that is thoughtful and intriguing about a book that is now a brand new BB for me.


Dec 29, 2018, 8:45pm Top

130 The Queen of All Crows by Rod Duncan

Rating: 5* of five

It is not necessary to read the first trilogy featuring Elizabeth Barnabus to appreciate this novel. It would add incalculably to your pleasure in the read, but it isn't necessary.

The plot picks up where The Custodian of Marvels leaves off. Julia has vanished after embarking for America, there to join her hard-won happiness with husband Richard in his law firm's Patent-law practice there. Julia will make herself a new life by studying Patent law at Columbia University. All of that struggle and fight is now gone for naught with her airship's disappearance. Her bestie and earliest supporter Elizabeth is on the hunt for her at great personal cost. It seems, as of now, that Elizabeth's main supporter and illicit lover, John Farthing, has lost her via her betrayal of his trust as well as her disappearance.

For someone who picked this book up because of its terrific cover art, this should be enough: the friendship between the women is explicitly made the stakes of the story within two chapters. Possibly the most intriguing idea in the series is the existence of the International Patent Office. Those who have read The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire may read the spoilers that follow.
Elizabeth's journey from Patent-Office battling terrorist to one of their own is a delightful part of that series's arc, and the basis for this series's stories. In these tales we will follow the intrepid, genderfluid Elizabeth as she resumes her part-time identity as her own brother in service of, not in fleeing from, her former enemy-turned-employer the Patent Office. That by itself would make this an astounding series to follow. But the stakes are far greater than merely serving those that Barnabus once despised. Mr. Barnabus is outed as Miss Barnabus memorably and completely for the duration of this book's search for Julia when we discover the truth of a tall tale of sea monsters eating ships.

The action of the story is set largely among the all-female pirate society, the Sargassans, operating in the North Atlantic Gyre. It's a world constructed around the Unicorn, which name made me snigger as I realized it was chosen to be the center of an all-female society. But I show my juvenile sense of humor. The novella-length time we're aboard the constructed world of the Sargassans is spent politicking and coping with human nature's ickier corners. Women, it turns out, do much as men do when left to rule themselves. I wonder if this is, in fact, true; I don't know how much of the world is based on women being women and how much on women reacting to the male-dominated world they hated enough to run away from. I suspect the truth is the latter by Author Duncan's design.

Now the design itself becomes an issue. This is the first book of a trilogy, whose second book has only recently appeared. The ending of this book's two-fold story is complete only on one strand, and that dangling second strand is going to itch and niggle the entire time we're embarked on a new quest in Elizabeth's emotionally battered and physically exhausted condition. The ending of The Queen of All Crows will not resolve the Barnabus case internal to the International Patent Office. It is clear that echoes of "O brave new world..." in the ending are not accidental. And with it, the opening of vast new vistas and fresh perspectives on the Gas-Lit Empire.

Because the action of this book, airship crashes and pirate republics and long sea voyages, all takes place in 2012.

Dec 29, 2018, 8:55pm Top

>119 karenmarie: OMFG I left out some key words!! Damn. Well, thank goodness you said something, now I understand why no one got what I was trying to say! I'll go fix it, and *smooch* for being the bestest besty ever.

Long, weird day. I haven't been around much and will likely spend a good bit of tomorrow distracted as well. Sending hugs and smooches out widely!

Dec 30, 2018, 6:31am Top

Happy Sunday, Richard dear!

Dec 30, 2018, 12:30pm Top

>122 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

Dec 30, 2018, 1:06pm Top

Hi, Richard. Just stopping by to wish you a lovely Sunday and say that I've got a few more books on offer. I'll post the list over on my thread later today. They are from my daughter's bookshelves. Doing anything special for New Year's Eve?

Dec 30, 2018, 1:35pm Top

>124 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! I'll check the list out later. Rob and I will spend NYE quietly, I'll come home after the New Year's kiss, and he'll go whoop it up with some friends until who-knows-o'clock. I will sleep in, more than likely, but without the hangover the kid'll have.

Dec 30, 2018, 1:52pm Top

This is it for me over here. If y'all'd like to visit, I encourage a trip to the future that is 2019.

Dec 30, 2018, 3:27pm Top

6 stars of five! Now there's a rating. I liked Circe a lot, too. Song of Achilles grabbed me just a bit more (7 stars of five?), but they're both great.

Dec 30, 2018, 10:00pm Top

Oops sorry. I'll put up the list tomorrow. Got busy today and completely forgot.

Dec 31, 2018, 3:27am Top

Doing my last round, Richard dear, as I just finished my last book of this great reading year.

Dec 31, 2018, 8:25am Top

Hello RD, we would like to wish you a very happy new year and hope that 2019 is a good one, sending love and hugs to you from both of us dear friend.

Dec 31, 2018, 8:48am Top

Happy New Year, RD!

Dec 31, 2018, 9:33am Top

>127 jnwelch: The wonderful thing about Miller's books is how fully and completely real they are. There's really nothing to choose from between them for quality. It's down to timing whether a book is a six-starrer!

>128 Storeetllr: I'm in no rush, dear Mary.

>129 FAMeulstee: Yay Anita! Happy 2019 at last.

Dec 31, 2018, 9:35am Top

>130 johnsimpson: Thank you, John, and the same to you and Karen and all your family.

>131 laytonwoman3rd: ...it will be as soon as I marry that glorious beardy muffin...hubba hubba

Dec 31, 2018, 11:11am Top

Dec 31, 2018, 11:43am Top

>134 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori. Same to you.

Dec 31, 2018, 2:07pm Top

You know me, RD, stubborn to the end, and I shall start visiting 2019 threads and creating my own tomorrow.

In the meantime, >121 richardderus: I went back and your fixes now make the paragraph good.

>131 laytonwoman3rd: Drool. We're going to have to compete for him, I'm afraid...

and finally dear one,

Wishing you a new year filled with joy, happiness, laughter, and all the wonderful books you could wish for.

Dec 31, 2018, 2:48pm Top

>136 karenmarie: Oh good! I fell afoul of the "it's-in-my-head-so-can't-see-mistakes" disease. What was there made no sense, really.

>131 laytonwoman3rd: is all yours, I am reliably informed by an interested party, or is all yours if I want a quiet and peaceful celebration tonight.

Happy whatever-who-cares-it's-not-2018-anymore!

Dec 31, 2018, 2:51pm Top

All the very best in 2019, RD!

Dec 31, 2018, 4:01pm Top

Dec 31, 2018, 4:21pm Top

>138 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thanks, Larry, right back atcha!

>139 brodiew2: Lovely stars, thank you Brodie, and heartily returned.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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