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richardderus's first thread of 2019

This topic was continued by richardderus's second thread of 2019.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Dec 25, 2018, 2:16pm Top

1949 Packards with those amazing, beautiful stainless-steel chrome-plated cormorant sculptures on the hoods. Seventy years ago, cars had character! Now I can barely tell 'em apart. Nostalgia for the fun parts of the Good Old Days is my 2019 topper theme.

Edited: Jan 13, 1:12pm Top

1949 Packard Super Eight 7-passenger limousine. Yes, please.

Damn, it's almost the end of the Teens. The days may drag, but the years WHOOSH by! I'll shoot to write 200 reviews for my blog, meaning real reviews not impressions or squibs. My ancillary goal will be to create some sort of post about the Pearl-Ruled books explaining why I am abandoning ship; I'll set an arbitrary count of 100 of those since goodness knows I abandon a lot of books.

My 2018 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.

Reviews 124-127 are there.

2019's Reviews Are Here:
1 The Clock Strikes Twelve and I rang in the New Year if imperfectly, see post 58.

2 My Brother's Husband set in train some interesting things in my life in post 200.

3 Snapshot is the third entry in the Australian Hal Challis mystery series, which I enjoy, see post 238.

4 Our Man in Havana is sixty this year and still timely, see why in post 292.

Edited: Jan 8, 2:20pm Top

Via Bookish, here's a list of challenges to #KillYourTBR (note that I've modified a few entries to make them possible for me to meet):

  1. A book you bought for the cover

  2. A book by an author you’ve met

  3. A book you’re embarrassed you haven’t read yet

  4. A book that is under 220 pages

  5. A book that came out the year you were born

  6. A book whose title uses alliteration

  7. A book in your best friend’s favorite genre

  8. A book from an independent publisher

  9. A book you borrowed from the library

  10. A book featuring a fictional language

  11. A novel that includes a recipe (Bonus points for making the recipe)

  12. A book won in a raffle/giveaway

  13. A book about going on a quest

  14. A book set in a city you’ve visited

  15. A book with a dust jacket

  16. A book by two or more authors

  17. A book that is over 1000 pages

  18. A book that’s been out for less than a month

  19. A book with a name in the title

  20. A book from a genre you want to read more of

  21. A book written by a Native American author

  22. A book with an asexual character

  23. A book you were given as a gift

  24. A book translated from Spanish

  25. An award-winning graphic novel

  26. A book featuring a false confession

  27. A book you meant to read in 2018

  28. A book featuring a memorable companion animal

  29. A book set in South America

  30. A book with a cover you kind of hate (but a story you love)

  31. A book by an author you’ve never heard of before

  32. A book of short stories

  33. A book featuring a nonbinary protagonist

  34. A book you’ve been waiting for forever

  35. A book about intersectional feminism

  36. A book with a place in the title

  37. A book bought at/from a physical bookstore

  38. A book by an author you’re thankful for

  39. A book with gorgeous descriptions

  40. A book signed by the author

  41. A book set in Africa

  42. A book about mental health

  43. A book written by an immigrant

  44. A retelling

  45. A book about incarceration

  46. A book recommended by an author

  47. A book with a person of color on the cover

  48. A book by an author who uses a pen name

  49. A book whose title includes a verb

  50. A book recommended by a librarian

  51. A book being adapted in 2019

  52. A book you found in a Little Free Library

Okay, your go.

Dec 25, 2018, 2:45pm Top

Welcome back! Love the cars.

Dec 25, 2018, 2:47pm Top

Fast off the mark, Richard! I of course like the Packards, and I'll be interested in seeing your other toppers through the year.

Dec 25, 2018, 2:52pm Top


Dec 25, 2018, 3:04pm Top

>4 drneutron: Hi Jim! Thanks for doing the heavy lifting another year.

>5 harrygbutler: Hey Harry, I somehow knew the Packards would please you. To Come: DeSoto, Hudson, Studebaker, Fraser, Kaiser, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury, Willys, Tucker, Davis...all makes no longer made.

>6 katiekrug: Yo, you.

Dec 25, 2018, 5:04pm Top

Love your idea for 2019 Toppers! Don't forget the Rambler.

Dec 25, 2018, 5:18pm Top

Hello, Richard.

Dec 25, 2018, 7:55pm Top

>8 laytonwoman3rd: Nash! I'd forgotten Nash. The Rambler was a 1950 model, IIRC, so might not get into the mix.

>9 bohemima: Gail. I trust you're well.

Dec 25, 2018, 8:50pm Top

>10 richardderus: Yes, and the early ones were not exactly beautiful. We had a 1960 or '61 black and white Ambassador station wagon. It was pretty classy.

Dec 26, 2018, 9:38am Top

Sweet rides, Richard! I look forward to seeing more of those classic cars.

Dec 26, 2018, 10:01am Top

>11 laytonwoman3rd: They were spiffmobiles indeed. I liked the way the rear windows were cut back...well, you remember.

>12 kidzdoc: I'm planning to use all 1949s. Lots of forgotten stuff from that year!

Dec 26, 2018, 10:35am Top

Nice cars. A little before my time but still love the way they looked back then.

Dec 26, 2018, 10:37am Top

>14 crazy4reading: Hi Monica, glad to see you! I hope you'll enjoy the weird old wonders as the year slides by.

Dec 26, 2018, 11:04am Top

>13 richardderus: That luggage rack....how my father loved that luggage rack!

Edited: Dec 26, 2018, 11:13am Top

I saw an excellent movie yesterday: Green Book. It takes place in 1962 and a fair bit of it is driving in a car that looks like a sedan version of >13 richardderus:. I am not enough of a car person to tell you what car it was but it had those back *wings* and looked pretty snazzy.

The film was based on a true story of a Black concert pianist and the NY Italian former bouncer he hires to be his driver, as he decides to do a tour in the deep south. In 1962. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in the lead roles. In my humble opinion, Oscar material. I spent a good hour or more googling when I got home. I had never heard of Dr. Don Shirley (the pianist) before and more's the pity. What a story!

Sorry for the hijack; the car made me do it...;-)

Enjoy your day(s), Richard!

Dec 26, 2018, 12:27pm Top

>16 laytonwoman3rd: AMC always understood the wagon market. Today's equivalent is Subaru. They make sedans, but no one wouldever know that from looking around.

>17 jessibud2: Ah...that is a 1962 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. The film is a knockout, all right, a really great watch. *smooch*

Dec 26, 2018, 1:17pm Top

Just dropping off a star for now.

Dec 26, 2018, 2:02pm Top

Dec 26, 2018, 2:13pm Top

>18 richardderus: I drove Subaru wagons for years and years. And I kind of wish I still had one, although I love love love my zoomzoom Mazda.

Dec 27, 2018, 3:05pm Top

Hi Richard, love the thread topper photos dear friend.

Dec 27, 2018, 4:19pm Top

Dropping off a star for you, RDear. I know I'll be hopelessly behind on your zooming threads in less than a blink of an eye but for the moment I'm here and caught up. *smooches*

Dec 27, 2018, 5:06pm Top

>21 laytonwoman3rd: My late bestie Betsy was a Subaru buyer for decades. Her final car was a PT Cruiser, which was TBH the most Subaru-in-spirit choice next to an actual Subie! But change can be very good for one's soul. So I'm told.

>22 johnsimpson: Hi John! Glad the cars gladden your heart as well as mine.

>23 MickyFine: How do, Micky! Enjoy this last tiny instant in time where one can get the entire group under one's eyes. Five days from now, it's pedal to the metal again.

Dec 27, 2018, 6:04pm Top

Happy new thread for a new year! xo

Dec 27, 2018, 6:29pm Top

>25 ChelleBearss: Hey Chelle, thanks for the good wishes! *smooch*

Dec 27, 2018, 8:04pm Top

Dec 27, 2018, 8:25pm Top

>27 Berly: YAY!!!

Dec 27, 2018, 9:06pm Top

Happy New Year Thread!

Dec 27, 2018, 9:13pm Top

>29 quondame: Thanks for the star, Susan!

Dec 27, 2018, 11:26pm Top

*quietly sneaks in and smooches richardear*

Dec 28, 2018, 1:45pm Top

>31 AuntieClio: **gobsmacked**

Dec 28, 2018, 3:52pm Top

Hi Richard, stopping by to drop a star. I love your nostalgia thread topper idea! Wishing you a wonderful New Years now just in case I don't stop back before Jan 1st.

Dec 28, 2018, 4:02pm Top

>33 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori! I can not WAIT for 2019. "It's not 2018" leads my reasons for looking forward to it.

Dec 29, 2018, 8:07pm Top

Happy New Year, Richard! I'm dropping off my star and looking forward to the new year. I think your topper theme sounds like fun and I'll be interested to see what treasures emerge in those images.

>34 richardderus: Amen to that.

Dec 30, 2018, 5:54pm Top

Love the cars up top, RD! My dream car is the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, but that is going WAAAYYY back (~1907, I think?)

Dec 30, 2018, 6:08pm Top

>35 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Happy to see you're back for 2019.

>36 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! A Silver Ghost!! The orginal Brass Era models are 1906 forward, but you're most likely thinking of the 1920s iteration:

A 1920 limousine. Happy to say goodbye to 2018, as I'm sure are you, so let's just pull for 2019 to be a better year.

Dec 30, 2018, 6:49pm Top

>37 richardderus: ::drooling::

Dec 30, 2018, 7:03pm Top

I'm in! Love the woman reading in the back of >37 richardderus:.

Edited: Dec 30, 2018, 7:04pm Top

>38 fuzzi: They're drool-worthy machines, all right. Lovely things.

>39 SomeGuyInVirginia: *blink* What else would one do in the back of a Rolls-Royce?

Dec 30, 2018, 7:18pm Top

Dropping my Star.....let the Flags begin

Edited: Dec 30, 2018, 7:36pm Top

Dec 30, 2018, 7:57pm Top

Here you go!

Dec 30, 2018, 9:41pm Top

>43 drneutron: ::going for a mop::

Dec 31, 2018, 2:47am Top

Happy New Year Richard!

Dec 31, 2018, 6:11am Top

Happy New Year ! Really going to enjoy all of your automobile photos.

Dec 31, 2018, 7:50am Top

>43 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! I appreciate the help!

((Hugs)), RD

Dec 31, 2018, 9:39am Top

>42 alcottacre:, >43 drneutron:, >44 fuzzi:, >47 alcottacre: Yep, that's a beautiful machine! A Dawn not a Ghost, and a fabulous addition to any driveway.

>45 The_Hibernator: Thank you, Rachel, and I return the sentiment. Happy reading!

>46 cindysprocket: Hello Cindy! Thanks for stopping to say so. I've got some dillys lined up.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:25am Top

Happy reading in 2019, Richard dear!

I arrived just in time in the 2019 group, over here we have 6 1/2 hours left in 2018.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:42am Top

>49 FAMeulstee: I'm taking the position of the dedicated drinker, It's five o'clock somewhere," in regard to 2019: It's 2019 somewhere, so I'll draw a line under this dumpster fire of a year. Happy 2019!

Dec 31, 2018, 12:30pm Top

I’m with you, Richard. Here’s to a peaceful, healthy, optimistic 2019!

Dec 31, 2018, 1:10pm Top

>51 bohemima: *smooch*

Dec 31, 2018, 7:57pm Top

Edited: Dec 31, 2018, 8:22pm Top

>50 richardderus: Nevermind 5 o'clock somewhere....It is midnight somewhere! Happy new Year!!

Dec 31, 2018, 8:54pm Top

Hi Richard! Are you looking forward to the Doctor Who New Years special?

Jan 1, 2:37am Top

Happy New Year and Happy Reading in 2019, (((((Richard)))))

Edited: Jan 1, 10:43am Top

>53 quondame: Thanks, Susan!

>54 Berly: *smooch* Berly-boo, happy 2019

>55 brodiew2: Hi Brodie! Nope. I am bored with the bad stories, and moving the special to New Year's Day so there wouldn't be an entire year before the next season starts was a cheap trick.

Happy New Year!

>56 Deern: Thank you, Nathalie, and the same back to you.

Jan 1, 9:52am Top

1 The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: 3.5* of five

Formula One: Hero and heroine kept apart by Forces
Formula Two: Murdered person has pots of money
Formula Three: Women Are Just As Good As Men (until they find The Man when they become soft, pliant cuddlebugs)
Formula Four: Servants know all. Fear them.

Mixed properly, a light froth of story cocktail goodness is now served. (I typoed "swerved" and had a long stare at it before changing it.) This outing is less frothy, fruity Mai Tai than Boilermaker made with Everclear.

Miss Silver appears at the 39% mark, hacking away in her usual chronic-bronchitis bark, to solve the family crime of grumpy old tyrant-with-a-heart-of-gold James Paradine's defenestration. (Close enough, go with it.) Family secrets, lies, and half-truths are revealed in all their ugly, warty glory.

The Women, now, the women are utterly uninspired and uninspiring. Controlling Old Maid, Fretful Mother, Domineering Spinster, Breathless Insipid Heroine, and Plucky Babe are joined by a small assortment of Servants, loyal but uneducated and, to a woman, unattractive.

The Men are, this being World War II, Doing Their Bit as wealthy industrialists. But they're still handsome and manly! The exception is the Club Bore, a *distant* cousin with body odor. Okay, Author Wentworth doesn't actually say that, but the implication is clear. Other than him, we have the Heir Apparent with girl trouble, the Oily Seducer without money, the Spiffy Stud whose marriage to Breathless Insipid Heroine is under serious siege, the Solid Brick whose Loaf of Happiness in Life is getting moldy with Fretful Mother's eternal dampening tears.

The Plans. They disappear, are noticed to be gone, reappear, and provide Author Wentworth the chance to garnish the plotroast with some wartime paranoia and xenophobic references to The Germ-ans. As it was mid-war when the book came out, I can understand the urgency to use these tropes since Author Wentworth would not be able to as soon as the war was over and no matter how it ended. I still wish they'd been more, I don't know, heartfelt? Organic to the story?

Because this story isn't a World War II story. It's the story of Phyllida Paradine Wray (B.I.H.), adopted daughter of Grace Paradine (C.O.M.). Grace is the sister of James, the murderee. Grace is the tragically unmarried and rigidly controlling universal confidante. Those two things don't make the third without serious alchemy. That alchemy is missing in this book. She's just a controlling old horror. Everyone says how much they rely on Grace, how her common sense and her insight help them through problems. But we never see this, never experience Grace in helper mode. Nor do we even get a clear sense of the conditions that would lead a person in trouble to summit Mount Bosom to seek the oracle.

My vision of Grace Paradine, a Helen Hokinson cartoon character/caricature referred to as "The Club Lady"
So that central failing of character-building renders the rest of the plot flatter, rougher, and less cocktail than carbonated beverage. Then the B.I.H., Phyllida, whose act of rebellion in marrying the Spiffy Stud is frankly unbelievable given Grace the C.O.M.'s harridanity, has no realitymdash;she exists to be the stakes in a frankly distasteful and overheated game played, apparently, over her head. She's just, well, insipid and not a little masochistic.

It is the Dom/sub nature of the relationships in this book that provide the depth charge. It's flavorless as Everclear, since it's uninflected and nuanceless, but like Everclear it's pervasive and powerfully mind altering. Our carbonated beverage was already a disappointment. We were promised a Mai Tai when we got sold a Miss Silver mystery. But then we got (in effect) a good beer spoiled: A bunch of nasty abusers masquerading as Doms, a story of surpassing sordidness with no one to invest in. That makes the resolution of the story, while clearly arrived at by traveling through the plot, unsatisfying.

But the saving grace, for me, why I got as high as three and a half stars, was the grace notes that make Miss Silver's world: Her aesthetic of bog-oak brooches and beaded kid slippers, the country-house splendor that Author Wentworth clearly sees vanishing before her eyes, the frustrations of wartime rationing that are organic to the milieu presented without fuss but with reason.

Miss Silver's idea of loveliness
This isn't top-drawer Miss Silver but it's still Miss Silver and thus possesses certain charms. By the end of the story I was ready for it to be over, but I wasn't ever bored. That counts for a lot.

Jan 1, 10:18am Top

I wish you from my heart a healthy 2019 filled with happiness, satisfaction, laughter and lots of good books.

Jan 1, 10:43am Top

Happy New Year, Richard!

>57 richardderus: My comment at the time I read The Clock Strikes Twelve was that I found the culprit obvious but other aspects of the plot fairly engaging. However, I lost patience with the series and gave up on it last year, after The Traveller Returns; I've boxed up the rest of the series in case I should care to revisit it sometime in the future.

Jan 1, 10:47am Top

>59 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara, and sentiments returned with interest.

>60 harrygbutler: Happy happy!

Boxing a series up is a clear statement of uninterest. Stick to it. Revisiting series hasn't been terribly successful for me....

Jan 1, 11:04am Top

Jan 1, 11:16am Top

>62 Storeetllr: Same to you, my dear old pal!

Jan 1, 11:22am Top

Happy New Year, Richard and Happy New Thread. Love the Packards! Looking forward to sharing another year of books with you!

Jan 1, 11:26am Top

Happy New Year, Richard!

Jan 1, 11:31am Top

>64 msf59: Hi Mark, good reads be with you.

>65 jessibud2: Hi Shelley, thank the goddesses it's not-2018!

Jan 1, 12:32pm Top

Happy new year! My oh my! You have been busy already posting your first book read of 2019!

Jan 1, 1:25pm Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 1:35pm Top

>68 crazy4reading: Thank you, Monica, may 2019 bring you nothing but good reads.

Jan 1, 3:07pm Top

Hi RD!

Happy first thread of 2019.

I love old cars, so your topper theme this year is bonaroo.

I also am thrilled with your Pearl Ruled ticker and goal although you've posted it twice and perhaps haven't posted your 200 reviews ticker... you know me, literal to the end.

*smooch* from Madame TVT Horrible

Jan 1, 5:04pm Top

Dropping off my star, Richard!

I am of an era where the 1956 extravaganzas were our dream high school cars--long enough ago to be nostalgic but not so long ago as to be unavailable either physically or financially.

Jan 1, 5:15pm Top

>70 karenmarie: Howdy, Horrible, happy to see you.

>71 ronincats: Oh my, Roni, that's a tricked-out 56!

Jan 1, 6:26pm Top

Happy 2019
A year full of books
A year full of friends
A year full of all your wishes realised

I look forward to keeping up with you, RD, this year.

Jan 1, 6:27pm Top

I've long meant to read something by Patricia Wentworth...

Jan 1, 6:39pm Top

>74 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Start with In the Balance, then. Must be the first real Miss Silver mystery.

Jan 1, 7:07pm Top

>75 richardderus: Added to the wish list. with note that you recommended it. xo

Jan 1, 7:10pm Top

>75 richardderus: Never heard of Miss Silver Mystery. In the Balance is my first BB of the year. Thanks :)

Jan 1, 9:02pm Top


Jan 1, 9:09pm Top

Happy New Year Richard from a happy Subaru Forester owner😁

Jan 2, 12:49am Top

Happy New Year and happy new thread, Richard. The classic cars are drool worthy. A Miss Silver mystery as a first read? I really must get to one of those soon.

Jan 2, 4:19am Top

Happy New Year Richard! And happy new thread!

Wishing you and your friends the best for 2019.

Jan 2, 9:52am Top

>76 EBT1002: I aspire to be that organized in 2019. Filing things better = finding things better.

>77 figsfromthistle: Always happy to BB my visitors.

>78 AuntieClio: Hi Stephanie! *smooch*

Jan 2, 9:57am Top

>79 brenzi: Hi Bonnie! Spread the Subie love. Tough and practical machines.

>80 Familyhistorian: Hey Meg, thanks for stopping in. I will say to all Miss Silver's future fans: Start with In the Balance aka Danger Point in some markets. The first three aren't much in today's terms, and Miss Silver's presence as a solver-of-crimes isn't at all important. Plus the plots of the first three are dull and predictable.

>81 humouress: Hi Nina, how's 2019 going there in equatorial hot and sticky Sg?

Jan 2, 9:58am Top

Morning, Richard!

I'm back at work. Boo.

Jan 2, 10:24am Top

>84 katiekrug: Boo AND hiss! Sorry we can't yet agree as a society that reading books is enough of a net social good that we should be exempted from the tedium and drudgery of nonsense like paying rent and cleaning house.

Jan 2, 2:16pm Top

Driving by honking the horn and wishing you a very happy and healthy new year.

"And oh let me dream tonight of the chosen hero"

Jan 2, 2:25pm Top

'Morning, RD! I hope the blechs have dissolved away with your coffee intake.

Jan 2, 2:36pm Top

>86 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim! Thanks for the good wishes.

>87 karenmarie: Hey Horrible. The weather is unpleasant which as usual means aches, but the general mood I'm in is good because I spent almost all the past two days with Rob. It's been lovely, he's been a sweetheart, and Old Stuff doesn't live with him so I haven't had to see the old bore for most of two days. B.L.I.S.S.

Jan 2, 5:03pm Top

I am very late to the party, BigDaddy, so I brought you a little something:

Love the topper, by the way. *smooch*

Jan 2, 5:27pm Top

>89 Crazymamie: Mamie!! Daaarrrliiinnnggg! I don't know whether to hide the scotch from all these tacky people or cover you in smooches first!

Edited: Jan 2, 7:50pm Top

* Peeks head in ... *

May I join the party?

Jan 2, 7:57pm Top

>71 ronincats: oh, my. That reminds me...my father bought a 1954 Chevy Belair CONVERTIBLE brand new before he married my mom. I learned to drive on that car: 3 on the column, no power steering or power brakes, but I loved it. I had my first wreck in it, too (not my fault).

Jan 2, 8:13pm Top

>91 michigantrumpet: *checks bourbon label*considers*

Suuuure, Marianne, the more the merrier! *snatches bottle* I'll just put this someplace safe.

>92 fuzzi: Oh my! Bet the other vehicle suffered more than the old Stovebolt Six did.

Jan 2, 8:17pm Top

>93 richardderus: yep, his whole back bumper was ripped off. The Chevy’s driver’s side qtr panel just needed to be pulled out a little, and the headlight repaired. He was trying to pass and cut back in front of me too closely.

Jan 2, 8:24pm Top

>94 fuzzi: Serves his road-ragey self right!

Jan 2, 9:25pm Top

>93 richardderus: I think I am going to learn how to break into safes....

Jan 2, 10:14pm Top

Happy new year, Richard! I like the shiny metals on this thread and I've popped in at the right time because bourbon has recently become our drink of choice. hic*

Jan 3, 9:33am Top

>96 Berly: Ha! Rodney has held off armed guards, think a li'l TKD lady will scare him?

>97 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! Bourbon? Hmm? I don't see any bourbon.
Rodney two targets to guard over

Jan 3, 10:49am Top

Happy reading in 2019 Richard

Jan 3, 10:54am Top

Morning, BigDaddy! How about a little mid-morning snack?

Lemon pound cake

Jan 3, 11:02am Top

>99 calm: Hi calm! Happy to see you here.

>100 Crazymamie: Ooo yes please. I had some apple-maple oatmeal for breakfast so this is a good cleanser.

Jan 3, 11:07am Top

Oh! I want the oatmeal.

Edited: Jan 3, 11:30am Top

Good morning, RichardDear!

>100 Crazymamie: *whimper* I should have let Jenna take the lemons home with her yesterday. Now I've got things coming to room temperature on the counter.

Jan 3, 11:35am Top

Happy Thursday, RD!

Edited: Jan 3, 12:49pm Top

Happy 2019, Richard!

I love seeing all the old cars. Seventy years ago, cars had character! Now I can barely tell 'em apart. I know - why is that? Why doesn't anyone come out with a car that doesn't look like all the others? It baffles me.

Fun review up there of the Miss Silver mystery. "Garnished the plotroast"!!! How great is that line?!

Forgive me if I asked you this before, but which Miss Silver would you recommend starting with?

Jan 3, 12:58pm Top

>105 jnwelch: Not long ago I saw a Bentley with the most screamingly awesome metallic diffraction grating flaked candy apple red paint job you can't imagine tooling around my neighborhood, which admittedly is thick with Tesla's and all other edgy vehicles. But yes, white, silver, & black ordinary vehicles are the overwhelming tide. Mine are bright blue and what Toyota calls opalescent walnut.

Jan 3, 2:31pm Top

>103 karenmarie: Now, if only you lived next door, Karen.

Jan 3, 3:17pm Top

>102 Crazymamie: It can be yours for the price of one can apple pie filling, one bottle maple syrup, one stick of butter, and 4 cups of oats.

>103 karenmarie: Hey Horrible. How goes it? When do I get my vig, ie a loaf of lemon pound cake?

>104 alcottacre: Hey Stasia!

I shopped. I have a cold, so getting the stock-up shopping done was miserable and took 2x as long to do as it should, but it's done! At least 2 more weeks before it must be done again.

Jan 3, 3:21pm Top

>105 jnwelch: Heh. I'm glad you enjoyed that one, it was another typo that I loved too much to erase.

>105 jnwelch:, >106 quondame: Bland colors make the other problem, identical wind-cheating shapes, worse. There's a reason the cars look alike, they've converged on the optimum aerodynamic shape for efficiency. Like almost all things efficient, the result is bland blah boring to look at...but the efficiencies are so important one can't reasonably whine too loudly about their blandifying effect.

>107 Crazymamie: *whines* What about meeeeeee?

Jan 3, 3:51pm Top

Only more red with sparkles!

Jan 3, 3:58pm Top

>110 quondame: *drool*

So gorgeous. So lush. So incredible it costs over $300K.

Jan 3, 4:54pm Top

>110 quondame:, >111 richardderus: Ha! A mere pittance. 'Tis beautiful.

Jan 3, 5:11pm Top

>112 jnwelch: SUSAN!! JOE'S BUYIN' US BENTLEYS!!

Jan 3, 6:49pm Top

>113 richardderus: I can't afford the insurance.

Jan 3, 6:53pm Top

>114 quondame: Oh yeah, that dratted insurance. Scary expensive.

Jan 3, 7:39pm Top

Jan 3, 8:20pm Top

Okay, now I have to bring a body guard or two with me when I break into the safe and I might as well bring them with me when I go to steal the car.

Jan 3, 8:24pm Top

>116 kidzdoc: Uh oh. I sense the Bentley owners' club will have a new member soon.

>117 Berly: I'll give you the safe if I can have Ryan Reynolds.

Jan 3, 8:42pm Top

>118 richardderus: Not happening. I am now a skilled safe cracker and just need some protection. Bwa ha ha!!

Jan 3, 8:43pm Top


Jan 3, 8:45pm Top

Jan 3, 9:34pm Top

I’d settle for a nice old-time T-Bird, myself.

Jan 3, 9:39pm Top

>120 Berly:, >121 Berly: *belly laugh*

Jan 3, 10:49pm Top

>122 bohemima: I so want(ed) the '57 coupe. Blue. Do you remember which year Dan Tanna drove?

Jan 4, 12:39am Top

>119 Berly: - >121 Berly: You are SO goin' to h-e-double-toothpicks!!

>123 Crazymamie: Don't encourage the evillest ex-bestie in the country!

>122 bohemima:, >124 quondame: He drove a red '57:

Gawjuss. Simply gawjuss.

Jan 4, 12:44am Top

And just for you, Susan, a blue '57 with Continental kit:

Jan 4, 3:36am Top

I heard there was bourbon going?

And if it's already gone, I expect you'll be laying on some more, Richard.

Jan 4, 9:21am Top

'Morning, RD!


Jan 4, 9:52am Top

Popping in to say hello as I make my initial rounds. I'm so far behind! It's always that way at the beginning of the year. I can't keep up. I will soon take a break from thread visiting to do some actual reading.

Jan 4, 10:17am Top

Morning, BigDaddy! We made it to Friday - my favoritest day.

Edited: Jan 4, 11:06am Top

>127 quondame: I know, right?!

>128 humouress: Your wish is my command, International Supervillainess.

Just your basic $140-a-bottle plonk, I fear.

Jan 4, 11:08am Top

>129 karenmarie: *smooch* What's new?

>130 thornton37814: Hi Lori! "Caught up" is an unhelpful delusion, makes us feel a demand is being made that can't be refused. So please take my example and refuse it!

>131 Crazymamie: Hey Mamie, happy Friday to you. Here's to hoping that the weekend will not disappoint us. I'm deep into The Rise of Io. Fun!

Jan 4, 12:56pm Top

>133 richardderus: Happy Friday, RD. Wesley Chu is a favorite of mine too. I have the the first 3 Tao books on the shelf (read 2), got to get more. :)

Jan 4, 1:06pm Top

>125 richardderus:
Mercy! To me that will always be The Car of All Cars. Thanks for sharing it!

Jan 4, 2:26pm Top

>134 mahsdad: Thanks, Jeff, and I'm here to warble you into the Io series. I love Chu's writing, simple and unadorned and direct; I also love his storytelling, clear and well-built. One day soon I ought to go back and re-read the Tao books to write a series review.

>135 bohemima: I know, right?! The 1957s were the epitome of the 2-seaters, everything came together to make them just as crisp and clean-lined and elegant as a car can be.


Jan 4, 2:43pm Top

Ermagerd! Am I too late for a Bentley?

Jan 4, 2:44pm Top

>132 richardderus: Excellent, thank you. Looks like the weekend will be a good one.

Jan 4, 2:52pm Top

>137 SomeGuyInVirginia: Well, >110 quondame: brought that gorgeous convertible around on a test drive, and >112 jnwelch: said it was cheap at $300K so >113 richardderus: we were looking forward to getting our new wheels when >120 Berly: DRANK ALL MY WHISKY and stole my Bentley, so yeah.

>138 humouress: With that stuff on board, a good weekend is *assured*.

Jan 4, 3:12pm Top

There there. Drink this, I'll be right back.

OK, I've got the keys let's go. Like right now!

Jan 4, 4:43pm Top

>135 bohemima: >136 richardderus: And all this time I was thinking everyone else preferred the '56.

Jan 4, 5:32pm Top

>140 SomeGuyInVirginia: I'm gone, where we headed?

>141 quondame: Maybe many do, I ain't one of 'em. The 1955 and 1956 iterations were handsome, but a little portly for my tastes. I like the edges and shapes of the 1957 best.


And on a separate note, LitHub's list of the bestselling non-fiction books the year you were born (except those born before 1918, sorry Horrible) is...enlightening. Better Homes & Gardens had a banner year the year I was born. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for different decades.)

Edited: Jan 4, 6:24pm Top

>139 richardderus: Okay, okay. I'll bring back the car, and there's a little bit left of the bourbon. You might want to change the combo on the safe. Not that I can't crack it again, but you know. ; ) Smooch.

Edited: Jan 4, 6:25pm Top

>133 richardderus: Since you ask, RichardDear, I made a lemon pound cake. It's cooling, and then I will make a glaze of lemon zest, lemon juice, buttermoo, and powdered sugar, pour it on the cake, and then cut pieces for Bill and moi. I made turkey meatloaf for supper - it's much better than it sounds, moist and flavorful, and got brownie points with Bill for actually cooking. And, best of all, I fought the righteous battle with Chase bank/Amazon Prime Visa earlier today to get the money I paid from our checking account on 12/31, which was removed from said checking account on 1/2 but on hold by Chase until the 6th, actually applied to my Chase account. We had to have a 3-way conversation with my bank, but I emerged victorious. 8-15 days is absolute crap when it's done automatically within 24 hours at the latest. I didn't cuss, though, which is pretty darned nice of me, right?

How's your day gone?

Jan 4, 6:59pm Top

>143 Berly: mmm

We'll see how altered your actual behavior is before granting absolution. I believe you mentioned some residual whisky...? *smooch*

>144 karenmarie: It went. A fellow resident gave me a funny Yule gift today, I'll fight with the phonecameraputer device to download the pics somewhere I can post them from. My throat's still scratchy and I'm damned good and grateful that's all! Several people here are quite ill. Loves me some flu shot.

Turkey meatloaf. Atoning for some heinous sin? As to the lemon poundcake, that sounds wonderful! I made chocolate cake with peanut-butter icing because the YGC was heading over for a sympathy visit and the InstantPot makes cakes easy and quick. The peanut-butter buttercream was delish and chocolate's endurable with peanut butter, raspberry, and mint.

Banks. That's a ridiculous interest-free loan to their greedy profiteering selves by your tiny consumer self. So glad you prevailed. Fight the power!

Edited: Jan 4, 7:47pm Top

>142 richardderus:. We're two gentlemen of the road in a tiny bit stolen Bentley. Wherever we want to. And by 'wherever', I mean Las Vegas.

>144 karenmarie:. Ugh. Really annoying. Oceans of money are transferred everyday, and Chase wanted to put a 10 day hold on the couple hundred I got as a Christmas gift. Good for you!

Jan 4, 7:42pm Top

When I was a teenager, my dad and his best friend restored a '56 Chevy Bel Air. Still remember that car!

Jan 4, 8:36pm Top

Love the nostalgia theme!!! I used to go around second hand shops and collect old National Geographics for the advertisements. I would have the coolest ones printed on to t-shirts and wear them. A lot of the coolest ones were cars :)

Here's to a grand year of reading and octopuses ;)

Jan 4, 9:23pm Top

>146 SomeGuyInVirginia: Ooo, Vegas! Haven't been in years, that sounds terrific.

>147 alcottacre: That's a wonderful memory, Stasia, the closeness bred by doing that kind of work together is a great memory all by itself but add in a 1956 Bel Air...!

>148 LovingLit: Oh. My. GODESSES. I did the same thing, although not with that aim. This year's the big year, Megan, so yay hooray to being done with the masters degree at last.

Edited: Jan 4, 9:36pm Top

Hello Richard!

>125 richardderus: Oh, the memories! I know the discussion is about the car, but what about Robert Urich. Maybe we talked about this. My show was Spenser: for Hire, but I remember VEGAS! as a kid as well. Did you ever see 'Lazarus Man'?

1965 Ford Mustang Fastback

Jan 5, 6:36am Top

Lemon drizzle cake and bourbon please!!

Belated Happy New year wishes and smooches.

Jan 5, 7:40am Top

Happy new year.
I wish, that you may find a good and solid path in 2019

Edited: Jan 5, 7:54am Top

‘Morning, RD! I hope your scratchy throat is a thing of the past this morning – I was fighting something between Christmas and New Year Day and won. I do want to see the funny Yule gift – my curiosity is up.

No, not atoning. It’s very tasty and moist – ground turkey, S&P, Beau Monde seasoning, cubed bread, eggs, onion, celery. Shape into two ¾” tall loaves on a foil-covered sheet, slather with BBQ sauce, bake 1 hour. A recipe I got from my sister.

The lemon pound cake is very good – especially with a cup of coffee for brekkie. PB&Choc cake sounds wonderful, too.

Oh yes, they get interest-free loans all the time. I’ve done as much as I can with electronic funds transfers, but this type of payment doesn’t work that way. Now I know, and now I can always make them take the time to get me my money after they get it.


>146 SomeGuyInVirginia: I was on the phone for upwards of ½ hour total, across two calls, but…. So were they. *smile* And they paid for the call. *smile*

Jan 5, 12:06pm Top

No words necessary, I think?

Jan 5, 12:48pm Top

>154 laytonwoman3rd: Ahh; that’s my poison.

Jan 5, 1:14pm Top

Happy weekend, Rdear. Your thread is a gorgeous place.

Jan 5, 2:09pm Top

Happy Saturday, BigDaddy!

>154 laytonwoman3rd: Agreed.

Jan 5, 3:23pm Top

>17 jessibud2: Omigod. I have Don Shirley on vinyl! In 1964 I lusted after a young lady who was impressed with Mr. Shirley (didn't know he had a doctorate). If she was impressed, I was impressed. So I bought an album. Still have it. Gonna play it right now! I remember reading in the NYTimes some years ago that Shirley was living in an apartment in Carnegie Hall.

Jan 5, 3:45pm Top

Hello, RD. I'm getting into 2019.

Edited: Jan 5, 8:26pm Top

>158 weird_O: - Bill, so have you seen the film, Green Book? I was so impressed with Mehershala Ali's playing on the piano, I wondered if it was really him or a stunt double type of thing. In one of the interviews I watched on youtube, he said that the guy who was the music consultant for the film, gave him some lessons. But if you read about Don Shirley, he was quite amazing. Lucky you, to have a record!! And if you haven't seen the film, GO!!!

Hey Bill, where's your thread?

Jan 5, 7:19pm Top

Happy New Year Richard!!
Sorry to read you've had a cold. Hope you're feeling better soon but good for having the stock up shopping done.

Jan 6, 12:58am Top

>160 jessibud2: It's there somewhere on the Internet or the World Wide Web or someplace. I just put it up yesterday.

I'll see about the film.

Jan 6, 2:12am Top

Late, I know, but happy new year and new thread, Richard! Dropping a star to keep up with the fun.

Jan 6, 10:48am Top

>150 brodiew2: Hi Brodie, love the Mustang. Yeah, Robert Urich's too-early death was very depressing. He could've done a lot more work and it's always cause for sadness when that opportunity is taken from all of us.

>151 BekkaJo: I don't think I've ever thought of that particular combination before! Intriguingly, it sounds good...sort of a desserty Manhattan.

>152 paulstalder: Thank you most kindly, Paul. Sentiments heartily returned.

Jan 6, 10:57am Top

>153 karenmarie: Hi Horrible. Yesterday was lost to sleep. Best cure there ever was for a cold: sleep. Wake up, drink water, sleep. There you go. Today I feel a lot better, can actually speak without squeaking, and breathe without Vadering. Rob was sweetly attentive and made cider-vinegar toddys for me.

There's more for you and Bill, since I'll smile gratefully and pass the turkloaf without partaking. You might not see much of the lemon pound loaf, though.

Infuriating. I loathe the banksters. *smooch* Happy Sunday!

>154 laytonwoman3rd: Ferrari, fellow, all good. Excellent taste, Linda3rd.

>155 humouress: Really! I'd think you were more a Brad Pitt person, somehow.

Jan 6, 10:59am Top

>156 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara, I like the way things are headed. Happy week ahead!

>157 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! *smooch*

>158 weird_O:, >159 weird_O: Funny what we'll do to impress our targets, isn't it. Happy new year, Bill!

Jan 6, 11:02am Top

>160 jessibud2:, >162 weird_O: *scribbles notes furiously*

>161 SuziQoregon: Hi Juli! *smooch*

>163 swynn: Hey Steve, well it IS still the first week of January, so it's kinda not late, just not quick. Whatever, that's the fun of making the internet our home. Time's malleable here.

Jan 6, 1:13pm Top

I'm so happy to see you are feeling a bit better today, dear. I brought you a wee snack:

Loaded cheese fries

Jan 6, 2:33pm Top

Enjoying all the car nostalgia. I drove a 1969 MG Midget after college. When it wasnt in the garage being serviced it was fun to drive:-)

Jan 6, 4:40pm Top

>168 Crazymamie: I'm better indeed. Now all I need is to feel capable of focusing on a plot long enough to read! It's 3-1/2 days since I could comprehend written words. Netflix = some story intake, so I'm not reduced to *shudder* ad-based TV. But I am ready for this crap to be gone!

>169 brenzi: Ooo Bonnie! You started car ownership with a delightful, if challenging, ride. They're fun on wheels, aren't they.

Edited: Jan 6, 5:20pm Top

>142 richardderus: My, that was a trip,down Memory Lane. Some of those titles: ridiculous. It’s amazing to me what people will buy, in all senses of that word.

How about a Ford Fairlane 500?

ETA That retractable hardtop was the major attraction for a brief high school fling in 1966. Oh, what a car!

Er, the car was a 57.

Jan 6, 9:23pm Top

>171 bohemima: Ain't that the truth! Silliness abounds.

The retractable was always a crowd-pleaser. Broke down so often that they were disproportionately scrapped. A crime, in my opinion.


Jan 6, 9:56pm Top

Happy Sunday, RD! Sadly, my Bears choked today but I am not letting it ruin a fine, long weekend. The only thing that suffered was my reading time but I hope that comes roaring back this week. Hope you had a good one.

Jan 6, 10:25pm Top

>173 msf59: Thanks, Mark!

Jan 6, 10:39pm Top

I didn't realize you were too sick to read! I'm so sorry, RD. extra *smooches* from your own Madame TVT Horrible

Jan 6, 11:49pm Top

Good lord, 99 posts since I last visited. I'll sneak in quick before it hits triple digits.

Sorry to hear you were so under the weather. I trust you are on the mend. It's not $140, but this stuff is still my bourbon of choice:

Jan 7, 12:23am Top

>165 richardderus: That's the method my youngest used to use to get through colds (although he also included throwing up the water when he was very young). He also used to hug people (me especially) when he was a bit older just so he could wipe his nose on their tummies - I assume you're not doing that to Rob, because I assure you, it's not endearing. ('Scuse grossness; your thread was getting too full of sweetness and light, I thought.)

Hot toddies, the very thing, thanks. Though I'd rather mine without the vinegar.

>165 richardderus: You mis-read me :0/
Or maybe you think I'm younger than I look :0)

Jan 7, 12:45am Top

Classic cars and whisky, what a great combination! Hope you are feeling better, Richard.

Jan 7, 12:57am Top

>178 Familyhistorian: That combination may be why so few of the great old cars remain.

Jan 7, 9:10am Top

>165 richardderus: I hope your day of sleep helped! What I would pay to have a whole day to just sleep! I wonder if I could talk Nate into taking the kids to his parents and letting me sleep, and read, a whole weekend?! Doubt it :-p

Jan 7, 9:16am Top

>175 karenmarie: Hello sweetness, it's a brand new week and I've slept the darn cold away. Now I've got a LOT of reading to catch up on. Poor, poor pitiful me, eh what?

>176 EBT1002: It is a busy time every New Year, so I'm not that surprised to hear it's been NINETY-NINE POSTS?! Holy Mother of Virginia Woolf!! Now that you say it, this thread's near to 200 posts, and that with one whole review. Good gravy.

Never had that bourbon before, but it's fun...distilled at/in Heaven Hill and named for the protestant minister who's credited with accidentally inventing bourbon. Gets respectful reviews, too.

>177 humouress: Ew. Kids. Ewewew.

I thought you had a daddy thing goin' on! After all, y'all ladies under 35 tend to go for us oldsters.

Jan 7, 9:22am Top

>178 Familyhistorian:, >179 quondame: Ha!! Agreed on all counts. And yes indeed, the infallible cold cure worked again. Three and a half days of benadryl to sleep through the night, no coffee, and sleeping whenever my eyes closed, has resulted in a wee tiny bit of hoarseness without a drip or a schnerkle this morning.

>180 ChelleBearss: Hey now, how do you know unless you ask? Talk about it, use my cure as a starter! Nate's a lovely man (he had to be to catch you in the first place) so don't sell him short.

Jan 7, 9:31am Top

No coffee?!! But...but...*sob*...when can you have it again?

Jan 7, 9:34am Top

Hope you get better soon!!

Jan 7, 9:47am Top

Yay for no drips and schnerkles. Is it a coffee morning? I'm halfway through my second mug.

*dripless and schnerkle-less smooch*

Jan 7, 10:12am Top

>183 Crazymamie: Now!

I'm well enough to want to remain conscious and read.

>184 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! I'm over the cold bit, now have a little scratch in my throat. Nothing big.

>185 karenmarie: I've just finished my french pressful. 36 ounces plus 8 ounces of milk. These 16-ounce mugs make measuring easy. Happy Monday-but-who-cares! *smooch*

Jan 7, 10:36am Top

And on a Pre-Tuesday, even. Most impressive! And thank goodness.

Jan 7, 11:15am Top

Jan 7, 11:19am Top

Morning, Richard!

I am in need of some motivation... I have a feeling LT is not the place to look for it :)

Jan 7, 11:31am Top

>189 katiekrug: It might not work as well for you as it does for me, but try this:

It inspires me when someone with a lot to lose risks it all to be real, fully real, in public. Happens all too seldom in this world.

Jan 7, 11:35am Top

>190 richardderus: - Ah, that's lovely, Richard. But I need motivation to get some work done :D Though maybe it's just time to finally admit that working is not for me and I should retire...?

Jan 7, 1:37pm Top

>191 katiekrug: Oh, well, there's that kind of motivation...what got me going out the door was the mortgage and the utility bills. (I haven't had credit cards since the early 1990s.)

Jan 7, 1:55pm Top

Contributing to the household is so overrated... :-P

Jan 7, 1:57pm Top

*snerk* So is adulting. We soldier on.

Jan 7, 2:11pm Top

*heavy sigh*


Jan 7, 5:22pm Top


Jan 7, 5:29pm Top

>195 katiekrug: :-|

>196 AuntieClio: *smooch* back
On page 55 of My Brother's Husband volume 2, Yaichi *shudder* W-verbs at Mike!! *urp* What has happened to the safe, sane, w-bomb-less world I once knew and failed to appreciate?

Jan 7, 5:39pm Top

Hey, RD. I'm glad you slept the cold away. Happy Pre-Tuesday!

Jan 7, 8:29pm Top

Hope you're on the upswing, RD!

Jan 7, 10:04pm Top

2 My Brother's Husband by Gengoroh Tagame

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The concluding volume in the story of Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and how their meeting Mike Flanagan--Yaichi's brother-in-law--changes their lives and perceptions of acceptance of homosexuality in their contemporary Japanese culture.

As Mike continues his journey of discovery concerning Ryoji's past, Yaichi gradually comes to understand that being gay is just another way of being human. And that, in many ways, remains a radical concept in Japan even today. In the meantime, the bond between Mike and young Kana grows ever stronger, and yet he is going to have to return to Canada soon--a fact that fills them both with impending heartbreak. But not before more than a few revelations come to light.


My Review
: Yaichi's gay twin, Ryuji, married Canadian bear Mike after emigrating to escape his repressive, hidebound culture. He promised, swore!, he would have his twin—his only remaining family—know Mike as his husband. Then, as is the way with sworn promises, Ryuji died. Mike, to make his dearly beloved husband's promise come true, visits Yaichi and his daughter Kana in their home.

We pick up the story in medias res, this being a two-volume omnibus edition of the manga. Yaichi, a lovely man (for legal purposes), has his most acute attack of the collywobbles yet. Mike mentions that it's possible Kana will be a lesbian. These two pages made me laugh so hard I almost choked:

Poor Yaichi! What's a traditional Japanese father to think? My daughter with a woman?! HEEELLLP!!!!

The rest of the story is Yaichi coming to value and care for Mike, whose love for his brother is strong. They've lost so much, they've got to come to peace with each other. Mike has no problem with this, since he's been out a long time; Yaichi finds himself saddened that he didn't try harder to connect with Ryuji while he was alive because now he can't. All while being a divorced custodial dad to a little girl. Who has fallen utterly in love with her big Canadian bear-uncle.

A very telling scene comes when Mike goes to Kana's school, to be met with hostility and suspicion. It's really amusing at first because Mike doesn't see it, but it becomes a major Thing between Yaichi and his inner demons. It provides Yaichi with a chance to work through what he thinks about Mike's gayness and what Japan as a whole thinks about gayness. The men resolve their desire to be close to each other over a look at Mike's photo album, including wedding pictures. Yaichi realizes how much he will miss Mike as he's about to leave, and Kana asks for a sworn promise that Mike will visit again, or she gets to come to Canada to visit Mike.

And now I venture into personal territory. My Young Gentleman Caller, Rob, is 34 (thirty-four) years younger than I am. We might as well be Canadian and Japanese, since I understand his culture about as well as he does mine. The Moon landing was 50 years ago. I remember it vividly. I had to YouTube footage for Rob, who had sort-of heard about it. His FATHER was born two years after it happened. So we both relate to the "...say what now?" moments between Yaichi and Mike.

We talked at some length about the way it feels to be so different from someone you care very much about, and how that puts strains on one's inner sense of peace and quiet. We both worry about the other's feelings being hurt when we're being our separate selves...we both worry about the way our beloved handles the need we have to be understood. Am I trying hard enough, too hard, do I even know what he means? And it was this manga that called that conversation into being.

If you don't read the series for any other reason, read it for that one. It is good enough to start a life-altering conversation between people too different to know where or how to begin to do that for themselves.

THAT's good storytelling!

Also! Extra! May the US be blessed with the live-action TV series! Here's a promo photo of the amazing casting:

Jan 7, 10:06pm Top

>198 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, it was a most interesting day. See review above.

>199 alcottacre: *smooch* Thanks, Stasia! Glad to see you here.

Jan 7, 10:09pm Top

Hello Richard. I saw your post about 'Travelers' over at Karen's thread. I watched half of season 1 and stalled on it. I just saw that S3 was released. I will have to give it another look if you think it is engrossing! Have a good evening.

Jan 7, 10:12pm Top

>202 brodiew2: Hi Brodie, yes indeed that halfway point has some major pacing issues. Two episodes with minimal forward story movement? Bad idea. But once the second half gets the bit in its teeth, we start to experience the wheels within the wheels, and there's more to the show than riding in cars and slamming doors.

Jan 7, 10:20pm Top

>200 richardderus: That's a double BB.

Edited: Jan 7, 10:40pm Top

>181 richardderus: So, no offers to babysit from you, then?

(And, for the record, I still think Monica made the wrong choice in Friends)

Jan 8, 12:39am Top

>204 quondame: *preens* My aim is true.

>205 humouress: Nope. None. Changed my last diaper, child or adult; blown my last not-my nose. Didn't like it, don't wanna anymore.

*chuckle* There's an old argument. *smooch* Happy Tuesday-to-Wednesday.

Jan 8, 1:57am Top

>200 richardderus: I am so prickly extra sensitive these days, your story about you and YGC made me tear up. Out of happiness for you. And well .... I'm sure you know the rest.

Jan 8, 8:28am Top

Good morning, RichardDear!

>200 richardderus: Thanks for sharing the paragraphs about you and Rob and the age gulf. *smooch*

Jan 8, 9:09am Top

>194 richardderus: Adulting is the worst!

Jan 8, 10:15am Top

>190 richardderus: That IS motivating. You're right, when someone has a lot to lose and decides to go ahead and be himself/herself anyway, that's real courage.

Jan 8, 10:30am Top

>207 AuntieClio: You have so very much going on that I'd be surprised if your every nerve ending *wasn't* on the surface of your skin. Tears aren't warranted, we spent lots of time talking through what the end of our idyll (my word) will mean. He was quick to assure me he wasn't in any hurry to reach it, which was sweet and very agreeable to hear.

>208 karenmarie: *smooch* Hey Horrible, what's new? It's an age abyss! But that's what keeps Rob interested. He's a bright guy, he's in an unchallenging environment, and I don't dumb anything down for him. He appreciates that, it keeps him involved instead of encourages floating.

>209 ChelleBearss: Amen, Sister Woman, a-bloomin'-men!

>210 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! I agree. His ex-wife isn't his biggest fan, but they seldom are a man's biggest fan.

Jan 8, 10:47am Top

>200 richardderus: Thanks for sharing the personal perspective on that one, Richard. I'm Midwest white dude married to a Southern black girl, and though we don't have the age gap we certainly have very different experiences of the world. It's been both blessing and oh my yes challenge, and the things that spark communication about that are precious.

Jan 8, 10:52am Top

>212 swynn: Vive la difference, I say. Whatever leads to deeper knowledge of the Party of the Second Part is precious. Knowing Rob more fully, hearing him articulate things I suspected were true, makes me more able to ask questions instead of assume I know the answers. (Because most of the time I do, but keep that under your hat.)

Jan 8, 11:59am Top

I added my thumb to your latest review - very well done and I loved the personal insight. Happy Tuesday, BigDaddy!

Jan 8, 1:10pm Top

>214 Crazymamie: Thank you, Mamie darling. I'm not one for formal lit-crit reviews. If you as the reader don't know why and how I responded to a story, why are you reading a review I wrote? And there are textual analyses of many many books aplenty. Why bother adding to the mass of things I don't read? That niche is filled.

Jan 8, 2:03pm Top

Good to hear you're feeling better.

>200 richardderus: Lovely review and personal story

and yes - love the casting for the TV version.

Jan 8, 2:22pm Top

>216 SuziQoregon: Thanks, Juli, it's a relief to have spent 3-1/2 days being wretched when I wasn't asleep over at last. Considering people who had this cold before me still have it, I'm thrilled to be done!

Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate the appreciation.

Jan 8, 2:37pm Top

Hello Richard!

I went back to Travelers last night and it turns out I was further on that I thought. I watched episode 10, 'Kathryn'. Have you you seen it yet?

Jan 8, 3:00pm Top

>218 brodiew2: I'm done with the whole first season. I found my problems with the season came with episode 7, "Protocol 5," and 8, "Donner." They were flat for me, moving us very little forward. I am consistently unhappy with the characters quoting protocols by number alone. I realize that this is perfectly logical...they don't need to explain the protocols to each other...but I'd like a chyron or something to refresh us as the audience what they mean.

By episodes 11, "Marcy," and 12, "Grace" I was back to being riveted by the show.

Jan 8, 3:07pm Top

>219 richardderus: I enjoyed 'Kathryn' and excellent use of the visual device of opening and closing doors. I look forward to the final two of the season. I may try to get them in tonight. Although 'Manifest' returned last night. That show needs a bit of a mythology boost.

Jan 8, 3:11pm Top

Happy Tuesday, Richard!

Edited: Jan 8, 3:11pm Top

>220 brodiew2: I've never watched it since it's on NBC but it sounds too close to Supernatural for me to take it seriously. I'm going to dabble in Lucifer this year, now that it's on Netflix.

>221 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, thanks for the happy-day wishes! *smooch*

Jan 8, 3:45pm Top

>190 richardderus:, Hi Richard, Keegan Hirst made big news in the Rugby League heartland when he came out as Gay, he played with Batley Bulldogs at the time and now plays for my club, Wakefield Trinity and is an asset to the side and has helped LGBT community and done a lot for good links between Rugby League and the LGBT community.

Jan 8, 4:04pm Top

>223 johnsimpson: I follow Keegan on Twitter, so I keep current on his doings. He's a terrific role model.

Happy Wednesday, John! (well, in 3 hours)

Edited: Jan 9, 9:44am Top

So here we are at humpday. I had my weekly wound-care nurse visit to check on my right knee's progress. She measured the wound, which is just the accumulated tophus wearing away the skin from the underside, and cooed and ooohed over the way it's healed. She went on to praise my wound-care skills. That was nice.

A half hour or so later, I was upstairs getting mail and overheard her saying to one of the staffers here that I'd be better off doing her job than "rotting away in a room."

For some reason, that makes the compliment ring sort of hollow for me....

And in other news, I've officially blogged my 2019 TBR reduction goals.

Jan 9, 2:49pm Top

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Well, you are rotting away, in half a room...at 59 years old...in a Facility....you do ring hollow

****Let the Flagging begin****

Jan 9, 3:28pm Top

>205 humouress: Yup. Of course the writers kind of had to keep the six-some intact, I suppose. I knew it was winding down when Phoebe got really serious about a guy who wasn't one of the crowd.

Edited: Jan 9, 4:45pm Top

Helllo Richard. I hope I'm not bugging about Travelers. It certainly help to know there is another person watching. I wrapped up S1 last night and those last two episodes definitely upped the ante. I will catching up for sure. I did not see Marcie 2.0 coming.

Jan 9, 4:10pm Top

>227 laytonwoman3rd: Drama demands the writers obey structural needs before character ones.

>228 brodiew2: Not in the least. I'm with you on that *major* development. The series is very interesting and I'm quite hopeful they'll get a fourth season.

Jan 9, 6:09pm Top

>225 richardderus: Now I really hate you ... ::smooch::

Jan 10, 1:16am Top

>186 richardderus: I'm pretty sure the hug in a cup was tea, Richard.

Very interesting and personal review of My Brother's Husband. I didn't realize that being gay was not well accepted in Japanese society but I had never thought about it and now that I have it makes sense given what I know of their culture.

Jan 10, 6:30am Top

Hi have a *

Jan 10, 7:00am Top

Morning, RD! Sweet Thursday. Hope you are having a good week. Becoming was my first 5 star read of the year and Asher Lev just might be my second. Have you read the latter?

Jan 10, 8:56am Top

>230 AuntieClio: Why ever? What'd *I* do?! (in full teenager whine)

>231 Familyhistorian: It is always possible for, nay incumbent upon, one to repurpose the tools of evil for the purposes of good.

>232 BBGirl55: Hi Bryony! Happy to see you.

>233 msf59: I have. It was over 40 years ago, and I'd finished The Chosen, so it was the next logical step. I can't say I've ever been interested in a re-read of those wrenching books. Potok was a fine writer, very deft at making images to define his view of the world. I'm just not all that drawn to it.

Jan 10, 9:01am Top

'Morning, RD!

>225 richardderus: Good luck on your TBR Reduction goals. I have a goal of 45 this year. My only problem is that I end up keeping most of them, just transporting them from the Sunroom or Library where they lived in TBR status up to the Retreat where they live in "READ" splendor.

Edited: Jan 10, 9:09am Top

Happy Thursday, Richard. Any exciting books on your to-do list today?

Jan 10, 9:23am Top

>235 karenmarie: Hey Horrible, what's new? I'm cozy in my den of iniquity here, listening to the wind howl in from the North Atlantic. I'm looking for some extra shelf space, so the library book sale will get a bunch of new stuff. Can't afford postage any more, so no BookMooch sharing I regret to say.

>236 ChelleBearss: Morning, Chelle, I'm going to finish an eat-your-spinach book called It's Even Worse Than It Looks. Not an uplifting read, permaybehaps, but an energizing, even galvanizing, one. What about you?

Jan 10, 10:07am Top

3 Snapshot by Gary Disher

Rating: 4* of five

Third outing in the Hal Challis series of Australia-set crime novels. I was taken by the crimes in this book, their casually brutal execution (!) and their grimdark motivation...greed. That said, there wasn't one victim of whom I did not think, "about damned time" or "yeah, well..." which to me means I'm in tune with Author Disher's choices. Far from glorifying murder and desensitizing the reader to its unspeakable cruelty and awfulness, this made me think extra hard about how I myownself respond to murder mysteries.

It's axiomatic that victims "R" us, or there'd be no more murder mysteries. We need to identify with the sleuth and the victim, as in recognize each one's ambiguous human qualities. Caricatures are seldom satisfying in this world of oft-told tales. Series mysteries are prone to that kind of series sag, the kind where a character becomes a caricature, because the entire charm of a series is familiarity. The setting, the sleuth, the choice of victims and perpetrators. The challenge for a writer of this genre's limited range of plots is to fit the skin of Series onto the bones of Plot without stretching either too hard, too far, too awkwardly. Any of these will lead to series sag, in addition to fatiguing the reader's suspense of disbelief muscles.

I'm an old hand at reading in this genre. I've been doing it for over 40 years. I'm not likely to miss the clues the author plants, though I'm far from infallible at connecting the dots as the author does. In this read, I had the right address but the wrong resident as the perpetrator of these cruel crimes. That's more than enough for me to feel a sparking pleasure in being fooled! I want to re-experience the pleasures of puzzling out a solution without the numbing almost-certainty of being correct each and every time. An Aussie friend clued me in to the way South African whites who emigrated to Australia in the Nineties are viewed. Likely fearful of retribution from the new government and/or the newly empowered black majority. Likely perpetrators of and/or sympathizers with violent, terroristic acts against the black people of their homeland, they run to a racist and safe haven. There wasn't a lot of doubt in my mind about the killer's motives, but my identification of them was pleasurably off.

The setting of these stories is one I like as much as I do the plots. I am always interested in fiction set in Australia because it's so hugely different from the US. The plants and animals are all like something out of science fiction, the people are startlingly diverse, the politics revoltingly familiar. The Mornington Peninsula has the agreeable quality of being familiar, the morphing from working communities to leisure centers is happening to my own South Shore of Long Island. The tensions between haves and have-nots are eternal and relatable. Inspector Challis and his struggles to do as much or more than ever with less and less in the way of support and resources rings sadly true fourteen years after this book was written.

Eternal and relatable as well are Challis's relationships, and that's really what hooks readers on particular series mystery reads. If we don't care about the people the sleuth cares about, we're not involved enough in the world they inhabit to come back for regular visits. Hal's relationships are interesting, a woman or two plus his colleagues; given the history Hal has, it's no surprise that he's undergoing big changes in this novel. One of those changes is forced by actions from without; it's the biggest change, and will have ramifications for a long time.

That bloody Dragon Rapide got a tiny thread as well. I'm ready for that to stop. But overall I'm a reader now, a happy consumer of these familiar-yet-different exemplars of ma'at.

Jan 10, 11:10am Top

>238 richardderus: - Great review. I will check out the series.

SO cold and windy here! I imagine the wind is even worse where you are... A good day to stay inside if at all possible.

Jan 10, 11:18am Top

>239 katiekrug: Thanks! I predict it will be a pleasant experience, though I'm not sure you'll end up gaffed through the gills the way I was. Give the series a couple-three book chance and the experience will likely grow on you.

It's not urgently necessary for me to go outside today, as in no food or drink needs procuring, so No Effin' Way are my tootsies gettin' shoved into shoes. Nope.

Jan 10, 11:25am Top

Me. Exactly and precisely the way I act and think. A little scary, in fact, to be so thoroughly identified.

Jan 10, 11:33am Top

>241 richardderus: Me, too.

Morning, BigDaddy! I also loved the review - adding the series to my list.

Jan 10, 11:49am Top

>241 richardderus: - Yup. Sometimes I just stand in front of my shelves and fondle the spines with my eyes.


Jan 10, 2:12pm Top

>241 richardderus: - Me too. To a T

Jan 10, 2:42pm Top

Hello Richard! I hope your day is going well.

>241 richardderus: I do not acquire as many as I would like (The wife is not a accumulation fan), I use and peruse the library and Barnes and Noble regularly. My happy places.

Jan 10, 3:36pm Top

>242 Crazymamie: Oh goody! I'm a regular Disher's Warbler now. *smooch*

>243 katiekrug: #noitsnotcreepyatall

>244 jessibud2: Hi Shelley! Why am I not surprised?

>245 brodiew2: Thank you, Brodie, I'm indoors and fed and warm so it's a damn sight better than millions are having.

My roommate's not an accumulation fan either, but since I don't care what he thinks or wants, it all works out fine.

Jan 10, 7:40pm Top

>234 richardderus: Don't forget I know where to find you.

Jan 10, 7:55pm Top

Jan 10, 8:22pm Top

>241 richardderus: I do have that feeling about all my collecting vices.

Jan 10, 9:46pm Top

>237 richardderus: Well, RD, it's freaking cold here, going down to 23F tonight. We keep the house coolish, otherwise our propane bill would more ridiculous than it already is. We've been watching more Outlander, and now I'm going to go off to read a bit - Clouds of Witness, or possibly The Laughing Policeman. Haven't decided yet.

>241 richardderus: Me, too. A bibliomaniac, in fact.

*smooch* from Madame TVT Horrible

Jan 10, 9:49pm Top

>241 richardderus: Ditto. Of course, my wife doesn't exactly get it. But I still love her.

Jan 10, 10:31pm Top

>249 quondame: Heh. Don't we all, Susan, don't we all.

>250 karenmarie: *smooch* Have a lovely read!

>251 weird_O: Happy that's the case, Bill.

Jan 10, 11:04pm Top

A *smooch* back at you, Dear Man.

Forgive me if I’m chewing old cabbage here, but did (or do you still) like the Three Pines series? Some of the gilt has fallen off that particular lily for me, but I’m open to persuasion.

And thank you (no, really) for the Aussie mysteries tip.

Jan 10, 11:19pm Top

I'm so glad you are starting to feel a bit better, Richard dear!

Edited: Jan 10, 11:42pm Top

>253 bohemima: Hi Gail! Your memory is correct, I liked the Three Pines series until How The Light Gets In. That one blew it and I gave up on it. I hope you'll enjoy the Hal Challis books.

>254 ronincats: I'm well and delighted to be so, thanks Roni!

Jan 11, 9:16am Top

>237 richardderus: I'm working on a guilty pleasure book after finishing two Willis books this month Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea. I've been working my way through this series for years whenever I need/want something fluffy

Jan 11, 9:26am Top

'Morning, darling Richard!

>255 richardderus: I am still following the series, but it's become a love-hate relationship, I'm afraid. Her newest, Kingdom of the Blind is the first decent one for me since the one after How the Light Gets In, The Long Way Home. That's three stinkers in a row, The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, Glass Houses. They moved the story forward, but her writing has become sloppy and almost too much to bear. I didn't buy the new one. A friend loaned the ARC to me, but I was happily surprised. Still lots of sloppy and erratic writing, but not so much.

Jan 11, 9:42am Top

My wife has read and enjoyed every single book in the Three Pines series. Nevertheless, I still love her.

Jan 11, 11:03am Top

Dropping by to wish you a wonderful weekend.

I have not been reading the three pines series in order. I've had a few duds and some stellar reads from the series. Ah well, it can't be perfect all the time :)

Jan 11, 11:23am Top

I've almost given up on series, the backstory tends to really bore me. Jo Nesbo is a a great example, I just didn't care that his daughter was a druggie, etc. Plus, come on, was 'Harry Hole' supposed to be a joke?

Jan 11, 3:20pm Top

>256 ChelleBearss: Aunt Dimity! There's a series with legs. I looked it up, she's got 23 installments in the can and doubtless more to come. That's so impressive. *smooch*

>257 karenmarie: Horrible dearest. We've talked about this. There's a time to let go, and three no-good reads in a row is past it!

Sam Claflin's dimples allow him to perpetrate the w-verb this one time.

Jan 11, 3:27pm Top

>258 weird_O: Hi Bill, well, one's spouse is always granted leeway that others can only dream of earning. Nonetheless, a gentle hint or two that she might seek other, happier reads...?

>259 figsfromthistle: Thank you, Anita, I wish the same for you. The order of the books would seem to me to be likely responsible for your dud reads...so much of the series is about the unfolding relationships among the Three Pines crew and the Surete crew. But I won't be honkin' for you to fit them into that mold since I gave up!

>260 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hey there, Dudester, I can't get past his name either despite some...shall we say tutting...I've endured for being an adolescent male with no class since "Harry Hole" makes me laugh out loud.

Edited: Jan 11, 5:03pm Top

*sulks* I should at least get points for not buying the newest one. Part of me wants to ditch the 13 Louise Penny books on my shelves in order to improve my cull-to-acquire ratio this year but ... not yet.

But now that we've mentioned Harry Hole (pronounce ha'-ree ho-luh'), the only one I really liked was #7, 4 *s, then #1 was 3.5 *s, then #2 was 2.5 *s. I just might donate them to the Friends for the spring sale.

Jan 11, 5:23pm Top

>263 karenmarie: +0.5 for unpurchased series book; +1.5 for donating (in theory) unloved Hairy Hole (nope, don't care, yes Norsk blahblahblah, he's Hairy Hole) series books. Should your donator squeeze out the Pennys entire, +10.

But you needn't feel unloved because you certainly aren't.

Jan 11, 6:46pm Top

>261 richardderus: *squee* dimples

Jan 11, 6:47pm Top

Jan 11, 6:51pm Top

>261 richardderus: I know, right?!

Plus his are world-class scrummy dimples.

>266 BBGirl55: Soul sibling!

Jan 11, 6:58pm Top

>267 richardderus: cake solves everything.

Edited: Jan 11, 7:09pm Top

^Happy Friday, Richard. It sounds like you are having a tough day. I hope that has improved. If you can, have a tumbler of some fine scotch. I am more of a bourbon/rye fan but I can appreciate a good single malt now and then.

Jan 11, 8:19pm Top

>268 BBGirl55: Amen!

>269 msf59: What a man! Yes, please...a lovely Scot on the Rocks'll do me just fine, thanks. It's just a day I'm glad to see the back of; not catastrophic, just...yuck. It's almost over now, so I'm callin' it good.

Jan 12, 10:09am Top

I'll be applying myself to Our Man in Havana's review today.

Jan 12, 1:31pm Top

>271 richardderus: Kindle++, glasses++, fork++, pillow++, dog--.

Edited: Jan 12, 4:54pm Top

>271 richardderus: Yep. My current bookmark is the SEPTA Regional Rail ticket I bought to travel from PHL Airport to the suburb my parents live in last week. I haven't purchased a bookmark in decades.

Jan 12, 2:14pm Top

>271 richardderus: For one I am uesing a book mark!

Jan 12, 4:11pm Top

>271 richardderus: Never have used the fancy ones, but do use bookmarks. Always happy when I get a bookmark, when I buy a book. I have used my kobo-reader for a bookmark occasionally.

Jan 12, 4:29pm Top

Cold outside when I went to the library and met the YGC for a make-up coffee. He felt bad about snarking at me, I felt bad about raising my voice, we agreed not to be perfect or require perfection.

>272 quondame: Dogs make poor bookmarks, in my experience, being lumpy and inclined to resent the demand.

>273 kidzdoc: I bought myself a silverplate bookmark once. I wonder what ever happened to it.

>274 BBGirl55: Oh, I use them, I just don't think the fancy-schmancy ones are worth it.

>275 FAMeulstee: If the book is fat enough it can be a lifesaver to have an ereader to hand!

Jan 12, 4:52pm Top

>276 richardderus: Glad you guys made up. I am sure the coffee helped. ; )

I have actual bookmarks. I have also used event tickets, Bookdarts, foreign money, and even once, a napkin (not used, of course).

Happy Saturday! Smooch.

Jan 12, 6:12pm Top

starred... and I may need some tutoring. I may have forgotten how to do a few things here.
Also, it's snowing.

Jan 12, 6:13pm Top

As for bookmarks, anything clean and flat will do me. Fancy ones wander off and disappear. But Kindle.

Jan 12, 6:27pm Top

Ask away. I agree re: Kindle...no need for one there, but the device makes an excellent bookmark in fat books.

Jan 12, 6:28pm Top

>276 richardderus: All of that, and worse, they move. 2 of our 3 won't usually step on our reading material when we are reclined with it, but the third, even before she went blind, often insinuated herself between reader and reading material with demands for attention.

Jan 12, 6:33pm Top

>281 quondame: Oh, the nose of the animal dodge, well do I remember..."it's just my nose I'm making sure you're my hoomin say it's warm over here see my ears I still can't hear you saying 'down' but here they are wouldya lookit that it's my front paw! hi daddy!"

Jan 12, 7:23pm Top

Jan 12, 8:33pm Top

I bought bookmarks this week ... always the rebel

Jan 12, 9:08pm Top

Were they the *gorgeous* Persephone ones that Ellen collects?

Edited: Jan 12, 9:45pm Top

>277 Berly: Only once? Paper serviettes are my go to emergency bookmark when I’ve picked up a book to read at the club while I wait for the kids to finish classes (and then finish mucking around with their friends and then meander over to the changing rooms ....).

>281 quondame: I’ve never tried dog. Our dog is most definitely not getting near my precious books.

I’ve recently started buying bookmarks (again) for my younger son; it drives me batty when I see his books open and face down or dog eared.

I also buy for myself because I realised (a while ago) that he had more bookmarks than me (apart from freebies I get from bookshops - but they don’t seem to give those in Singapore). Of course, some of mine ‘disappear’ because they’re marking my spot in books I’m partway through, like omnibus volumes. And some of my fancy-schmancy ones are still in the packaging so I use it as is, packaging and all.

Edited: Jan 12, 10:57pm Top

Jan 12, 10:55pm Top


>286 humouress: I keep improvising them, cutting up cardbord, decorating it, just to be sure I'll still be able to reach out and get one at need.

>287 AuntieClio: ...well...?

Edited: Jan 12, 10:59pm Top

>288 richardderus: see >287 AuntieClio: I had to swirl off to find pictures. The celestial one did not arrive with its sleeve, so is on its way again. Sposedly

Jan 13, 8:11am Top

>200 richardderus: Lovely post, (((((Richard))))). Wishing you both all the best, always!

Didn‘t know part 2 is avilable, I‘ll get to it asap! And I want the TV show here as well, the Italians could use it! Though the Lega is trying to put a break on the little that has been done here in recent years.

>241 richardderus: Yes to that *sigh*
Which remainds me I‘ve got TA no 11 coming up by the end of Jan, which means I can buy 12 more books, yay! :)

I think I never used a real bookmark... Had one in my last advent calendar, no idea where it is. Not in a book...

Jan 13, 11:42am Top

>289 AuntieClio: OOO those are lovely indeed! I'd never use 'em for fear I'd fuck 'em up somehow.

>290 Deern: I'm unsurprised that Lega Nord has its sights on QUILTBAG people's rights along with immigrants (from Africa) and the social safety net. I wasn't aware that too much had been achieved, though, because I remember marriage equality failing. There was an ad for it...two guys going about their lives together to the background of Jovanotti's "Ti sposerò"...and then the word stopped coming in.

To every birth its blood, but the forces of reaction are really desperate this time and I worry they might succeed in stomping my grandkids' faces into the dirt for far too long.

Jan 13, 1:08pm Top

4 Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

Graceless, gormless Wormold, a British sales agent for an American vacuum cleaner company in barely pre-Revolution Havana, has a problem. His adolescent daughter Milly, a manipulative and materialistic minx, spends well beyond his paltry earnings in her quest to ensnare the Red Vulture. That's a person, not a bird, one Captain Segura, who is the police torturer and possessor of a cigarette case covered in human skin. (An assertion Milly makes but Segura denies.) Wormold is fighting a losing battle, trying to sell a home appliance that's less useful than a broom in a country that's teetering on the brink of collapse. The power goes off too often to make it a sensible purchase, despite Wormold's trips to Cienfuegos (the Cuban Navy's main port) and points east (where the Revolutionary Army is strongest) to drum up business. What he *does* drum up is the interest of the state security apparatus. You see, Wormold is a British spy.

Good heavens, not a real one! He was worrying his way through a daily daiquiri with his German friend Dr. Hasselbacher when a Brit called Hawthorne inveigles him into the bathroom. That sounds, well, louche is I suppose the least offensive term, but it's what happens so have a séance and take it up with Greene if it's too sordid for you. What Hawthorne wants, I suppose, is a reason to visit Havana from his base in more-staid Kingston, Jamaica. (In 1958, when the book takes place, Havana was the Las Vegas of the Caribbean.) It also doesn't hurt his standing with MI6 to have a sub-agent in uneasy, revolution-bound Cuba. Wormold gets the nod, though to be honest I don't see a single reason why...oh wait...Milly the Minx is spending Daddy into bankruptcy (her initial salvo when we meet her is to demand a horse to go with the saddle she's just bought) so of course Wormold is in need of funds. Money always talks to men with debts.

From that match-to-fuse moment, a farce of atomic power begins to whirl from one end of the world to the other. Some sage adivce given to Wormold by WWI veteran Hasselbacher, to make his reports to London out of whole cloth on the principle that no one can disprove a lie, leads to Wormold's entire life being turned upside down. As he hurries from fire to fire atop an ever-increasing reactor fire of anxiety-into-terror, Wormold's lies begin to morph into the truth. Hawthorne's sub-agent becomes London's Agent of the Month, so to speak, as the wildly inventive reports he files bear fruit. As the book was written long before the events of the Missile Crisis, it really seems as though Greene was prescient: He has Wormold invent secret bases where mysterious equipment (drawings attached to his report were actually of a scaled-up vacuum cleaner) was being assembled. MI6 wants photos, of course; Raul the pilot (an invented sub-agent of Wormold's) suddenly dies in a crash. This is evidence that Wormold is onto something, obviously.

More and more of Wormold's fabulous reports are borne out as his "contacts" begin to suffer for his lies. Wormold himself comes in for assassination by the Other Side! He averts his fate, being a devout coward, and then has to do the worst-imaginable thing to escape his fate. (Read it, you'll see.) In the end, Greene can't design a better fate for Wormold and Milly than the one he puts on the page. It's perfect, it flows naturally from what's happened in the story, and it's hilarious. The humor of this book, like most of Greene's work, is dark to black. Be warned that there is little of this sixty-year-old send-up of National Security run amok that isn't viewable as critical of the State from 2019's perspective as well. Is that sad or inevitable, or perhaps both?

My favorite moment in the story comes when Wormold, busily inventing actions for his fictitious sub-agents to get up to, muses on the creative process:
Sometimes he was scared at the way these people grew in the dark without his knowledge.

Beautifully said, Author Greene. Just beautiful. And so very true.

Jan 13, 1:43pm Top

Good ... yikes... afternoon, RD! Where did the morning go? I hope you're having a Very Nice Sunday.

>264 richardderus: Two points! .5 for Louise Penny not bought and 1.5 for removing Hairy Hole from my shelves - 10 books and one audiobook. Whoo-yah! I spent 15 minutes tracking 'em down in 3 rooms and will now get rid of 'em.

>271 richardderus: Post its used to be my favorite bookmarks but I now use FoL bookmarks - they're 2.75" x 8.5" and the backs are completely blank and therefore perfect to note page numbers/quotes for reviews. We always have 'em since they're used to promote the "next" book sale so I have lots of old ones.

>292 richardderus: One of the few by Graham Greene I don't own, drat it.

Edited: Jan 14, 1:35pm Top

>293 karenmarie: Sunday sugar, Horrible dear, and a hearty shove towards the Kindle store to get Our Man in Havana. It's $8.57 well spent.

Bookmarks with blank backs are so useful! Once I use them for notes, they stay with the book so I won't be suspected of selling nuclear secrets or using some sort of code to hide illicit activities for when 45 cranks up the SS.

I don't know how it got to be the end of the second week of January, let alone afternoon. I'm shocked at how my clock has been reset to make hours last but days get their speed skates on.

The YGC and I had a brief chat today. I stopped by his workplace. He lit up when I walked in, which was lovely, and we said exactly nothing but felt so delightfully connected for a few minutes that it made the walk in the unsnowy cold worthwhile. I got a text a minute ago saying "heart emoji" and that was more than enough.

Jan 13, 3:44pm Top

>292 richardderus: ok now I have to read this book. Reviews this enticing should be banned Richard. Happy Sunday

Jan 13, 4:18pm Top

>295 brenzi: Heh. #sorrynotsorry

New thread is up!

Jan 13, 4:28pm Top

>241 richardderus: Oh, I can so relate to that one.

>292 richardderus: I need to read more of Greene's books. I have read a few and enjoyed them. I have one sitting on my bedside table at the moment - pretty much the kiss of death since the books there rarely actually get read, lol.

Jan 13, 4:33pm Top

>297 alcottacre: I know...it's just so very true. Greene's writing is so subtle...so many things not explicitly stated but quite readily seen if one cares to look at them. Not strictly speaking necessary to see in order to get the full bang for one's buck.

Jan 13, 4:37pm Top

>298 richardderus: I much prefer his subtlety to the author's who take you by the hand and point out every possible thing to the reader!

Edited: Jan 14, 2:26am Top

>294 richardderus: Saying...? Saying what?

>292 richardderus: Humour - good. Black humour - hmm. Think I dodged that BB, sorry.

Okay. Trudging over to your new digs.

Jan 14, 1:36pm Top

>300 humouress: Oh damn, I forgot about LT and emojis. Saying "heart emoji"

Today, 1:51am Top

>301 richardderus: Ah, thanks. got it.

Did not know that about LT and emojis; I've just assumed they wouldn't work. Now I know not to bother trying.

This topic was continued by richardderus's second thread of 2019.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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