Book Bullets From The Dark Side - Darth Heather's 2019 reads
This is a continuation of the topic Book Bullets From The Dark Side - Darth Heather's 2018 reads.
This topic was continued by Book Bullets From The Dark Side - Darth Heather's 2020 reads.
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A new year, but same old bad aim. Don't worry if none of the book bullets hit you... pewpewpew!
Happy New Year.
I shall come along attempting to dodge the bullets as they whizz towards me.
Happy new year! I'll sit here in the corner just in case ... though I think some of your bullets found me anyway last year!
>1 Darth-Heather: Happy new year, I'm looking forward to following your thread for another year. :)
Happy new year (said as I cower behind the nearest set of bookshelves...)
Wishing you a happy new year filled with lots of book bullets ready for you to fire at anyone nearby! :D
The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood
well, this was splendid. I have a new favorite character - Ona, who is 104 years old and delightfully sassy. She accepts assistance from a local Boy Scout to help with household chores. She begins to grow attached to the boy (who I keep picturing as Russell from Up).
Ona gets caught up in reminiscing about memories from her long life that she hadn't thought of in years, but then one day the boy doesn't show up, and she learns that he died suddenly. (this isn't a spoiler, it's right on the back cover). His father comes to break the news to her and ends up promising to finish his son's chores. This is when the plot really gets going, and adventures ensue.
Recommended to everyone who enjoyed A Man Called Ove.
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
this is a story about filoviruses, species-jumping killer machines that invade blood cells, bursting them to the point where the soft tissues of a mammal become liquified in a gruesome and devastating death within days of infection. The original outbreaks of a virus called Marburg eventually evolve into the Ebola filovirus which devastated human villages in Sudan and Zaire in 1976.
This type of virus wasn't widely known in the US until in 1989 monkeys in a Reston, Va., research lab began dying with Ebola-like symptoms....
This is impressively well written. It takes a very skillful author to present this information in a story format, with characters and a plot and a climax. He introduces technical concepts in a clear and visual way without overdoing the jargon and gives such a in-the-moment feeling of the situation.
>12 Darth-Heather: I loved this one. Give me MORE Non-Fiction written this way!
>12 Darth-Heather: I remember reading that book years ago. I remember its being excellent. It was recommended to me by the father-in-law of one of my nephews.
>12 Darth-Heather: That is on my shelf of epidemic books that I want to read.
I'm glad to hear that others have enjoyed this also. I hope >15 SylviaC: will find it as engrossing as I did.
My brother and I send each other various sorts of non-fiction books for christmas; he sent me this one at the same time that I mailed him a copy of The Sixth Extinction so I guess he and I will both have new things to fret about :)
I just finished The Last Detail by Darryl Poniscan. I added it to my kindle list because it involves the navy yard here in Portsmouth NH. It's been on my TBR for awhile and finally got it's turn.
Until just now when I looked it up I had no idea that there was a movie version made in the 70's with an amazing stellar cast: Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Michael Moriarty and Carol Kane.
I'm going to need to see this...
The Element of FIre by Martha Wells was a very pleasant surprise. I don't know how long I've had this battered hardback with no dust cover, and I didn't realize until I finished it and looked up the author to see if this is a series that it is the same author of the Murderbot books some of you have been talking about.
I really enjoyed this one a lot. The characters are interesting, fallible, and believable, and I like her skillful way with the medieval fantasy setting. I was also surprised to learn that this was her first book, since it is just so well written. I plan to search out more of the Ile-Rien series and maybe explore some of her others as well.
>21 Darth-Heather: I still haven't got around to trying any of her works yet despite multiple shots fired in my direction. Id however have that particular book on my tbr shelves which I'm hoping to get to at some point soon so it's good to see more positivity aimed towards it.
>23 Sakerfalcon: have you read any of her other series'? The wikipedia article alluded to there being quite a few, of various genres.
>24 Darth-Heather: I've read the trilogy that begins with The cloud roads and have the later books lined up to read. They were very good, novels where all the characters are of non-human species but are very relatable in their concerns. I need to read the Murderbot series as they sound terrific, but I keep waiting in the hope that Tor will publish all 4 of them in 1 print volume.
I just finished Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, and have to say honestly that I loved every bit of it. There's not one thing that I would change.
I know some people mentioned that they weren't very interested in the inclusion of Arthurian legend, and maybe that happens if you are more familiar with those tales than I am? I haven't been exposed to enough of that to be over saturated but I think I can see how that could happen.
In this case I thought it was a brilliant way of tying this larger story of the endless battle between light and dark to a connection in our own world, which is where the five main characters are from. They are current-day Canadian college students who get recruited to travel to the mythical land of Fionvar, the first of all worlds created by The Weaver of the Tapestry. All other worlds are loosely connected to this first world, with some myths and legends in common among all the worlds in various forms.
In addition to the original five main characters, there are many other significant characters, each with their own part of the overall plot. Some how this author managed to make me care about each of them, and I got pretty emotional at the end as each destiny comes to pass.
I loved this as much as anything else by this author. It's certainly a bit less polished than some of his other later works, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment at all. What an ambitious project for a first work! This is a huge story with many expertly woven threads, and I will think on it for a long time.
The Summer Tree
The Wandering Fire
The Darkest Road
>26 Darth-Heather: I was one who wasn’t too crazy for that trilogy, but I’m very glad you enjoyed it so much! I’ve had barely any exposure to the Arthurian legend, aside from one TV show that completely misrepresented the legend to the best of my knowledge but amused me anyway. For me, it was mostly the
I didn’t hate it, though. I gave the three books a rating of 4, 3.5, and 3 stars respectively, so I did enjoy them well enough while I was reading them. They live in my memory with slightly lower ratings, though.
>29 YouKneeK: Actually, the part you mention in your spoiler is what I liked about having those characters in this story, :)
I guess I didn't really see them as historical Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere, so much as archetypes of people who live in prisons they've made for themselves and the joy when they finally break free. Also I liked all the other characters so much that the Arthurian bit just seemed like a side plot.
Also, I visualize Diarmuid as Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride :D
Crazy Cat Lady Achievement Unlocked!
I've been feeding a stray cat, but have now attracted this guy:
>31 Darth-Heather: Very cool photos, but I'm afraid that fella might feed on stray cats, too.
>35 MrsLee: yeah... I didn't worry so much when we were attracting opossums and skunks, but now that predators are showing up I've stopped leaving food out.
I've named the stray 'Cyrus'. He won't let me close to him, but does show up every night for dinner. So I just wait until I see him and give him the food directly, then bring the bowls back inside when he is done.
The bobcat and foxes are also attracted by the birds and squirrels that come to my birdfeeder, so I'm not sure if this will work out.
>35 MrsLee:, >36 Darth-Heather: Well, that's the way of things. At our cabin we have a lot of birds of prey. As a result we have no rodents to talk about, and they keep the population of mid-sized birds down as well.
Took the neighbour's rabbit as well, which was kind of sad, but hey - that's nature.
>31 Darth-Heather: Very cool! I didn’t even realize what it was in the 1st picture; I thought it was just a very regal looking cat.
That's quite the cat achievement! We have foxes, turkeys, deer, raccoons, stray cats, but nothing that awesome.
P.S. I'm glad you liked the Fionavar Tapestry. I'm a big fan of it, flaws and all, though the Arthurian parts always make me wish he hadn't gone there.
>40 YouKneeK: I did the same thing - the first photo is from my dining room window. I walked by and thought "huh, that's a different cat.... OH! Thats a DIFFERENT CAT!"
I'm used to seeing Cyrus, who looks like this:
>44 Darth-Heather: LOL! I hope Cyrus has enough sense to keep his distance from “Bob”.
Glad you enjoyed Fionavar. I have various quibbles about it--I only need to be told that something is the saddest of all tales told so many times--but on the whole I like it a lot. I particularly like the dwarves.
>48 catzteach: yep we are deep in the woods. I originally put leftover cat food outside for the opossum, and was surprised to attract a cat. Cyrus is learning that I"m not a threat, but he's still very shy and skittish. It doesn't seem like he's going to become friendly, but that's ok. I can go along with whatever his needs are, and it seems all he needs from me is a few kind words and some Fancy Feast.
>51 hfglen: I should probably admit that I'm known to be a sucker for cats, and as such had purchased a heated cat hut for Cyrus... Several times I saw him getting covered in snow while waiting for me during a snowstorm, and I just can't have that. It took him a little while to test out the hut, but eventually he realized that the floor mat is heated. Now he waits in comfort for me to come out and feed him :)
Los Nefilim by Teresa Frohock
A set of three novellas published as one volume. I picked it up from Kindle Unlimited, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is fairly well written. It is sort of urban fantasy set in Barcelona. The Nefilim are crossbreeds of angels and humans, serving as soldiers in a war against demons. The main characters are really interesting and believable.
I will probably seek out the next two novellas.
>53 Darth-Heather: That sounds interesting. And hey! My library system has several of her titles in print form, including that one. Ordered.
>52 Darth-Heather: Very nice of you! Reminds me of when we got our first great dane... I built a huge heated dog house for him in the back yard. He used it for about half a week before we realized that danes are mostly indoor dogs that need to be with their people. That thing still came in handy whenever I got in trouble tho... ;-)
>55 ScoLgo: oh, I hadn't thought of contingency plans. I should have bought the larger cat hut... I won't fit in this one :)
My niece has a dane who is just an enormous lapdog. She knits him scarves and hats and he wears them with pride :D
I should probably also confess that I bought Cyrus a heated food dish... A few times I saw his prints in the snow and realized that he had come and gone without me seeing him, so I wanted to be able to put his food outside and keep it from freezing until he could get to it.
Hmmm... I wonder why I have so many wild animals visiting my yard....
>54 2wonderY: I'm glad you can get it from the library; the print version is a bit high priced. The three novellas in this volume are all one story arc, so I hope you can get the combination volume?
I am hoping to get a copy of the fourth one if I can find it at a good price. It is an interesting premise and I really liked the characters and want to find out what happens next.
Clearly the bobcat has visited you with the expectation to get a heated cat house, too ;-)
>58 Busifer: I'm wondering what happens when the bobcat decides that the hoomins' bed is the right place for a bobcat to sleep ;-)
I'm thinking the animals in the woods are spreading the word about Spa Darth-Heather. A terrific retreat with timely meals and every convenience. :D
>59 hfglen: I'm ok with that, as long as he doesn't snore, but I'm pretty sure my two indoor cats, who already rule the People Bed, would object. (and yes, the indoor cats already have heated cat beds...)
>61 MrsLee: word has apparently spread among the squirrels and turkeys to check my front yard for cracked corn. We have a lot of oak trees and usually a lot of acorns, but last fall was a dormant year for the oaks and there's almost no acorns at all so the creatures depending on that food source are struggling.
I did learn an important lesson about NOT putting out in-shell peanuts. They are cheap and seemed like a good idea, but engendered a very fierce Raging Turkey Battle all over my yard.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
I've been meaning to read this for many years. He is one of my most favorite authors, and I want to eventually read all of his works. I'm glad I finally got around to this one.
Some of his novels, like Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes, are classics and have inspired countless other writers with his subtle writing style, but I prefer his short stories like those in The Illustrated Man and especially The October Country, Bradbury at his eerie best. The Martian Chronicles is something like a series of vignettes placed around a central idea of mankind travelling to Mars, written in a time when we had only visited there in our imagination
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
This is the third book in the Gentleman Bastards series, and while there are a few slow bits it is mostly enjoyable. The second and third haven't really reached the same level of plot twist that the first book did, but the characters are fun and their dialogue is very entertaining.
Butcher's Hands by Ron Ripley
Third book in the Haunted Village series. i have been receiving these books from the ER program, and I'm not sure they are something I would have chosen on my own but it is a clever premise and I want to see what happens next. The plot involves an eccentric rich guy with a strange idea about the nature of fear. He is obsessed with hauntings, and has devised a plan to study the human fear response by building a Village comprised of 'haunted' buildings brought from other locales. Then he abducts various people and sticks them in this village and studies how they behave when confronted by the ghosts. There are some gruesome scenes, but the main characters are interesting enough to keep my attention.
The publisher sent me the 4th one already, so I will get to that one soon so I can write the review. I do want to see what happens, but I hope there aren't too many more installments - this is already a bit dragged out and the third book really didn't contribute anything new to the overall storyline. I think there are two more, and I hope that is the end.
I posted some photos to my member gallery. If anyone is interested in seeing them, go to my profile page and click on my gallery. They are tagged Alaska 2019. I took 947 photos, but selected a couple dozen to share. Those who get my calendar might be seeing some of them again :)
I didn't want to post them to a thread because it's difficult sometimes to open a thread that contains a lot of photo files, depending on what browser you use. But do let me know if you try to view them in the gallery and have any trouble with it and I will find a different way. Or if you want to see any of the other 900+ pics :D
>66 Busifer: thanks! It was wonderful. Alaska is a magical place.
>67 Darth-Heather: It looks like it. Somewhat looks like northern Norway, but with more (visible) wildlife. And more ice. But similarly austere, and with fantastic lighting. Alaska was once in my plan, but long-haul flights doesn't agree with me anymore and so I've had to strike it :(
Twice as lovely to see some of it through your pictures!
>65 Darth-Heather: Those are great pictures! I'd love to visit Alaska someday.
I'm finally catching up on your thread. Loved the photos, both here and on Facebook.
How was that reindeer meat?
>70 clamairy: actually the reindeer hotdogs didn't taste very much different than regular ones, but the texture is denser. We ate reindeer sausages in several places around the inland part of the state on a different vacation and those taste a lot like the venison we get here. It's probably farm-raised though, not wild caught.
>69 YouKneeK: I hope you get to go there sometime. Alaska is amazing.
We went on our honeymoon, 20 years ago. Flew into Anchorage and drove around sightseeing for a week. Every year when it comes time to plan our summer vacation, I am torn between going someplace new and going back to Alaska. I can't wait to go again!
Farm-raised reindeer?! I didn't know it existed. Here (Sweden) all reindeer are free range, though every single one has an owner.
(I enjoy reindeer meat, especially the dry salted and smoked kind that we call "souvas"... yum! Also dried. Goes very well both with beer and bubbly.)
>73 Busifer: I had to look up souvas to see a photo. That looks really good. Do you like it with the lingonberries?
My husband hunts white-tailed deer - our state has a wildlife management program that tracks the herd sizes and allows a certain amount of hunting permits to keep the population to a healthy size. I've learned a lot about cooking venison, but haven't tried it in our smoker yet. Do you know what kind of wood is used to smoke reindeer?
>74 Darth-Heather: Husband and son has it with lingonberries. Me, I don't think it goes to well with the smokey flavour. We actually eat quite a lot of it, though most people down in Stockholm doesn't: it's typically northern inland fare.
Visited Great Bay Estuary on the coast of NH.
I've never seen horseshoe crabs before; apparently this is their migration season and a good time to encounter them.
I also saw a great blue heron:
>76 Darth-Heather: Awesome pics. The horseshoe crabs are doing the love dance on our beaches as well! 'Tis the season! (It's mating season. I don't think they migrate too far, other than that they head to shore to mate every Spring, and then back out to deeper water. It's not 1,000s of miles like other species.)
>76 Darth-Heather: As Clam says, awesome pics. Here horseshoe crabs only live in evolution textbooks.
>78 clamairy: er, yes, lots of hanky panky but the Discovery Center is geared toward children so they were referring to "migration season" :D I didn't realize they just live further out in deep water.
>79 hfglen: they are amazing little prehistoric creatures. I have never encountered them before. What kinds of rare critters live in your part of the world?
>80 Darth-Heather: Lots. Two kinds of rhinos, several antelope and more. Possibly closest in habitat requirements (if nothing else) to your amazing horseshoe crabs, would be a colony of coelacanths that live in some very deep water (sensibly, out of reach of scuba divers) off the iSimangaliso world heritage site, a short distance south of the Mozambique border.
ETA: I've put a picture of one of our prize rarities at #137 in my thread.
>80 Darth-Heather: they are amazing little prehistoric creatures.
I doubt any that were in that photo were actually prehistoric.
>83 jjwilson61: Ha! True, but that family of critters is one of the few to have survived all five mass extinction events, so they are designated 'living fossils.'
>84 clamairy: They may look the same, but that species has been subject to the same evolutionary forces as any other over that time and it's inconceivable that the horseshoe crabs of hundreds of millions of years ago, so that designation is more illustrative than scientific.
>85 jjwilson61: Yup, might be subject to the same forces, but they have altered very little in hundreds of million years.
"Despite existing for hundreds of millions of years, horseshoe crabs are nearly identical to their ancient relatives." https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/crustaceans/horseshoe-crabs/facts/
"Seemingly archaic creatures such as the duckbilled platypus, lungfish, crocodiles, and the horseshoe crab had not changed very much from their prehistoric forerunners because they were able to find a cozy spot, seemingly free of competitive pressures that would require them to change. Just as natural selection accounted for major evolutionary changes, the theory also explained why some lineages might persist with few alterations." https://www.wired.com/2011/11/in-evolutions-race-horseshoe-crabs-took-a-slower-p...
>86 clamairy: Make that "tens of millions of years" and you could say the same for the coelacanths in #81 ;-)
>88 hfglen: Very cool! Aren't they the beasties that were thought extinct until a fisherman pulled one up in his net?
Quite correct! That one was landed in East London in 1938; it took until 1952 to find the next one -- in the Comores.
I finally finished The Mill On The Floss but I'm really not sure it was worth the time investment. The writing style is beautiful, but there are lengthy passages that are overlabored and unnecessary. Nevertheless, I persisted, out of interest in watching Maggie develop and in seeing how she would solve her love triangle conundrum. She seemed a thoughtful character and I was rooting for her to make a choice for her own happiness, although I couldn't quite see how that would work out. After 701 pages, I came to the final shocking end and at first felt a bit cheated, as though the author played this out so long only to avoid a real resolution. Upon reflection I sort of see how this ending is an interesting writing choice where the author avoided a more conventional closure, but it is still a bit of a let-down.
>92 Darth-Heather: I wonder if the ending was considered shocking at the time it was published. I read this almost 40 years ago and was not impressed. But it wasn't as terrible when I listened to it a couple of decades later. I absolutely adored Middlemarch, however.
>92 Darth-Heather: Can I know the "shocking" end in some spoiler tags? I love spoilers. :)
>94 MrsLee: Curiosity got the better of me about that too! Since I am not really in the mood for dramas about blighted lives right now, however beautifully written, I gave in and Googled it. My curiosity was adequately satisfied - several literary debates about it came up for me.
>95 -pilgrim-: Yes, I am past the age of reading something "because I should," but I do like to read about why I should, and then skip the read if the content doesn't appeal. :)
>96 MrsLee: I find the difficulty with that is that the people who write cogently about why s book is worth reading, often begin by dissecting the plot in such detail that it becomes impossible to then experience the book in a manner that remotely approaches the way that the author expected and intended!
>94 MrsLee: spoiler away!
Maggie becomes close with a young man, Philip, who has strong feelings for her but Tom disapproves of a relationship between the two because firstly, Philip is physically disabled and Tom considers that unseemly for his sister, and secondly, Philip is the son of a business owner that was involved with the loss of the family's mill business.
Maggie develops more romantic feelings for another young man, Stephen, who is the betrothed of her closest friend. Stephen contrives to get Maggie alone on a boat trip in the hopes that she will be forced to marry him to save her reputation, but she can't bring herself to do so and cause so much hurt to her friend.
Hundreds of pages are dedicated to Maggie's conundrum, trying to choose between both men who she loves. Stephen is handsome and rich and a bit vain, but seems truly enamored. Philip is not handsome, but is rich and intelligent and offers her a good life. Either choice will bring disruption to the relations she has with her friend or her brother.
In the final few pages, there is suddenly a great flood. Maggie manages somehow to get a rowboat, and then implausibly rows it by herself through raging flood waters to the mill where her family lives. She finds her brother Tom, and they attempt to row to safety but are overcome by the flood and drowned together. Their bodies are found entwined and buried in one grave.
I waited for hundreds of pages to see if Maggie would eventually make a choice between the two men. She is presented as a thoughtful character so I expected some soul-searching, but couldn't really see how she could choose either without repercussions that she didn't want to face. Ultimately the author avoided having her actually make a choice. There is something true about the resolution involving her finding her way back to her brother, but it did feel a bit of a cop-out.
>99 Darth-Heather: Ah, the classic dilemma of which suitor. I think that calls for a thread in the Tattered group.
>99 Darth-Heather: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will not worry about reading that. I wonder if there was an underlying message of
>101 MrsLee: It seemed that the underlying message was more about
>103 Sakerfalcon: I think that's the whole point. She was numbed/dulled by life. :(
>104 clamairy: Yes. She deserved better, but the time in which she lived didn't offer her what she needed.
I am sorry to say that my beautiful Cherise lost her battle with kidney cancer last night. After 13 months of treatment, her little body just couldn't do any more. Nine years together went by in a flash. I don't know how I got so lucky to get such wonderful kitty companions - I am the luckiest because she was the best girl in the world.
>106 Darth-Heather: (((((Heather))))). Loads of sympathy -- Cherise looks like a splendid companion.
I am sorry. She is lovely. May you find healing and comfort in her memories. So glad she blessed your life for nine years.
So sorry for your loss. What a beauty, and sounds like she had a temperament to match.
I'm so sorry for your loss. My sympathies. It's so hard to let them go.
I appreciate all your kind words. Cherise was a bright soul and is sorely missed.
She and her brother Reuben were rescues from a hoarding house where they spent the first six years of their lives with 40 other cats, many of whom were euthanized after rescuing due to various illnesses and medical issues. These siblings survived that, but came to my home with serious emotional issues. Eventually we bonded, and the past 9 years have been happy ones for them.
Poor Reuben is very sad. His sister was a bully to him, but she was also his constant, and he is still looking all over the house for her.
Cherise is the one in the box. It's too small for her, but she certainly was not going to allow him to have it... I have a bratty little brother too, so I sympathize with her. :)
I'm so sad to hear your news. It's always hard to lose a family member.
Darth-Heather, My commiserations to you on the loss of your furry friend.
I finished The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden, and found it delightful. I love the fearless main character and the mythology.
Has anyone read the rest of the trilogy? Are they worth pursuing? I got the first one on a good Kindle deal, but the next one is $12.99.
>119 Darth-Heather: I've read book 2 and it was just as good. Maybe your library has a copy?
>120 Sakerfalcon: I have yet to join my local library; I live in a tiny town and our library is very small and most of the books are historical town records :) I do need to join, though, because they will get ILL from other libraries for me and also I will be able to use Overdrive. Hopefully I will manage to get there during the odd hours they are open.
>121 Darth-Heather: - does your library have a website? If all you want is Overdrive you may not need to even turn up in person.
Late condolences on Cherise's passing. They leave such holes in our lives, those furries.
Dune by Frank Herbert is a classic in the sci-fi realm, and now I understand why. It is beautifully written, with fabulous world building and fascinating character development. It is basically like a medieval succession story where the son must avenge the father and reclaim his birthright to rule, only set on a desert planet where water is the most precious of resources. There is a bit of Arabian flavor to the culture, and a bit of mysticism to some prominent characters.
I loved it. I have been advised that the next books in the series don't live up to the promise of the original, so I'm not sure if I will continue with the books, but I do plan to seek out one of the movie versions.
I read Dune for the first time last October. I had seen and enjoyed the original film many moons ago. Having read the book I hunted down a DVD of the film and watched it again. It only scratches the surface of the book but it is still enjoyable, but you have to make allowances for dreadful special effects. I was amazed at the cast. I will leave you to investigate that aspect yourself.
There is a book called The Leopard which was written about a prince in Sicily at the time of the Garibaldi rising that united Italy in the first place. I read it only a few months before reading Dune. It is about politics, both local and broader afield, and I felt Dune reflected the content of The Leopard very closely. You might enjoy The Leopard.
>126 Darth-Heather: - it's one of the few classics that has actually aged well and is still worth reading. I haven't re-read it for some time, but would certainly consider doing so.
>128 reading_fox: I picked up the fifty year commemoration edition but was disappointed to find there were typographical errors in it. I suspect scanning technology was used in the rush to get the edition out and to contain costs. It is a book that deserves greater care in its production, especially if it is a special edition.
The errors were not that numerous as to put me off the book; or should I say the story was sufficiently excellent to make the errors a trivial affair.
I need to reread Dune. One of my young coworkers is reading it and she's really loving it.
>126 Darth-Heather:, >132 pgmcc: The second book is fairly weak (although necessary to set up the later books) but the later books by Frank Herbert are far from derivative. He takes the story is some really strange and (particularly at the time) innovative directions. I strongly agree with >133 clamairy: on this.
All continuations by other hands, whether relatives or not, should be avoided at all costs, however.
>127 pgmcc: I bought a copy of The Leopard ages ago, after finding it repeatedly referenced, particularly in The Prisoner by Thomas Disch. I really should try to find and read it.
>127 pgmcc: pew pew pew! you got me with The Leopard. I found a copy on the used book site that I frequent, so it will be added to my TBR shelf soon. thank you!
We adopted a new friend for Reuben this weekend, after I noticed that Reuben was still bringing cat toys to put in Cherise's cat bed. He needs someone to hang around with, so we chose a mild-mannered adult male from the local shelter.
Now New Cat just needs a name of his own. We have considered several choices and now have narrowed it down to two: Phinneas or Cedar.
this is the best photo i was able to get so far of this shy guy. He's getting more friendly though, so hopefully soon we will get him to come out from hiding.
>140 hfglen: Master Leo is gorgeous! I have such a soft spot for orange tigers.
Phineas doesn't have tiger stripes, his markings are mackerel tabby circles. Once he is less shy I will get a better photo of him.
He is supposed to remain quarantined for a few more days - he has had some digestive distress and I want to be sure that is just from anxiety and new food and not something Reuben can catch. They have been singing at each other through the door though, in mild conversational tones, so I expect it will be fine when they do finally get integrated and Phineas can officially join Clan Feline Marmorstein.
>143 Darth-Heather: Thank you! Sir Leo also thinks he's wonderful (what cat doesn't?).
You mean Phineas is like a Gumbie Cat, whose "coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots". Leo has his fair share of leopard spots, as well.
I suspect that if you were to give Phineas a quick tickle or stroke from every Dragoneer wishing him well, you'd have precious little time for anything else.
>138 Darth-Heather: He's gorgeous! I wish you many years of feline lovin'.
>138 Darth-Heather: he’s beautiful! Don’t be surprised if it takes them a while to get along.
You can see his tabby spirals in this one:
>146 catzteach: yeah. cats don't really like change very much. they are both mild-mannered boys, so I'm hopeful that they can at least co-exist peacefully, if not become actual friends. Phinny is much younger and more playful than Reuben, so he is likely to either worship Reuben or ignore him for being no fun. We plan to find out tonight...
Good luck. I've had everything from peace and quiet to several days of fighting when I've forced cats to live together.
I hope you'll have the former.
It took a year for our two adult males to start being friends. When Scooter died, though, Grey would walk around the house and yard looking for him. It was really sad. And it’s why we have Ekho.
>150 catzteach: awww, it breaks my heart when they mourn. Reuben lost his buddy Hobo over a year ago, and he was sad then, but losing his sister last month was really sad to watch. I wasn't really ready to get a new cat yet, but I kept seeing Reuben rummage around in the toy box and dig out Cherise's favorites and bring them to her bed... :( He clearly needs a distraction.
>147 Darth-Heather: That and fast asleep as posted at #140 are Leo's most frequent activities. Phinny could so easily be Leo's twin!
>151 Darth-Heather: oh, he definitely needed another friend! Poor guy. We weren’t really ready to get a new one either, but Grey really needed a buddy.
Phinneas and Reuben update:
Day 20: still some hissing and staring contests. Reuben sniffs when Phinny enters the room, and reacts as though Phinny is being aggressive when he isn't acting that way. I think the problem is that Phinny was only neutered about 8 weeks ago, and it usually takes a few months for the pheromones to change, so to Reuben he smells like Alpha Male. I got one of those Feliway Multicat pheromone plug-ins and it seems to help a little but I guess it's just a matter of waiting it out.
Phinny is settling in to everything else pretty well though, and has made some human friends. He is a goofy little dork and we love him.
I used those pheromone plug ins for about 6 months, and I thought they helped as well. By that time, the cats could tolerate each other enough that they started figuring out how to play together. They have a strange friendship, and happily lots of room between indoors and outside for avoiding each other, but they don't go all hackles at each other now unless they are playing.
>157 MrsLee: that is reassuring, thank you. I'm hoping for the same; neutral ignoring is preferable to hissing arguments so hopefully they will get to that stage soon.
>157 MrsLee: When I read the first sentence of your post it took me a few moments to realise you were talking about the cats.
E.T.A. The first time I read the second sentence I thought, "What have the cats got to do with anything?"
Too bad there isn't a similar product for humans! Lord knows those things need a calming influence.
>156 Darth-Heather: I’ve used the Feliways as well. They helped. It took about a year before Scooter (the existing male) and Grey (the interloper) got along. Years later when Scooter passed away, Grey went around the house and yard meowing like he was looking for Scooter. So we got Grey a kitten.
I must be lucky. When we adopted two kittens a few years ago, our old cat (then aged 13) spent some time grousing at her pet humans about The Youth Of Today, but there was no serious objection and, come winter, she would sometimes condescend to share a bed with one or other of the young (tough on the human already in the bed).
I finally finished Shogun by James Clavell, and it was amazing, surpassing all expectations. Now I can't seem to get into reading anything else, but my first library loan book is due to return tomorrow...
>165 Darth-Heather: Similar to >166 MrsLee:, though many details have faded, I read the book several decades ago and remember really enjoying it. I also liked a few of his other 'Asian Saga' books. Both Tai-Pan and King Rat were good reads for me. I began to lose interest during Noble House and then could not get through Whirlwind, DNF'ing it about halfway through.
>166 MrsLee: I saw the TV mini-séries (with Richard Chamberlain) of Shogun many years ago. Can anyone tell me how closely it followed the plot of the book?
>169 -pilgrim-: yes, please! I've been wondering the same. I remember there being a series, and am interested in getting ahold of it but worry that it might be unfulfilling compared to the book, which was so rich with culture and subtle character development.
It's been a long time but I remember it as being pretty close. The mini-series may have had more emphasis on the romance.
>172 MrsLee: ... thanks for that! Tai-pan is now mine.... (rubs hands with glee)
The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
This seems like what happens when an author is hoping to get picked up for a tv series - there are several main characters and the first-person view rotates through them even during the same chapter. it does allow for the story to unfold from various perspectives contiguously but it takes a long time for the plot to get rolling as each viewpoint has to get established first.
This 600+ page book is the first installment in the Traitor Son cycle, and the characters and plot twists were interesting enough that I think I would read the next one if it crosses my path, not necessarily that I will pursue it deliberately.
I'm so glad all is going as smoothly as possible with the boys. I had no idea about those plug-ins and I wonder if they'll help when both of my kids show up with their cats for the holidays. There haven't been problems when they visited in the past, but last month my son visited with his new kitty that had never been introduced to my cat before and she wasn't thrilled. She was yowling and stalking 'the interloper' at one point.
>165 Darth-Heather: Ah, I read this back in the mid-80s, and I loved it so much. I used to be a huge Clavell fan, and this was by far my favorite book of his. I recently snagged a copy for my Kindle when it was on sale, but I have been worried about a visit from the Suck Fairy. Glad to hear it's stood the test of time.
>175 clamairy: I believe that the pheromone plugins take a week or two to be fully effective. You might get your kitty a bit more receptive by plugging them in early?
>176 MrsLee: I'll put it on my Google calendar for early November then. Thank you.
>178 Darth-Heather: You are now officially Owned By A Cat. Lots of happiness.
>178 Darth-Heather: LOL, very cute, he definitely does look settled! How's Reuben doing with the change?
>179 hfglen: yeah.... I've always been owned by at least one cat. They are the boss of me. When I was younger I used to raise purebred Somalis, and at times was owned by 15-20 cats at once.
>180 YouKneeK: Reuben is Not Happy. He is a subordinate type, and his big mean sister used to bully him. He's waited 15 years to finally make it to The Top and be the boss, only to have this bratty young whippersnapper who won't stay in his place. Phinny is a rowdy boy - he shakes the house playing One Cat Stampede - and he really wants Reuben to at least pay attention to him.
At least there is somewhat less hissing going on; Reuben now just turns his head away when walking by Phin. He also makes a facial expression of Absolute Disgust when he hears Phinny rampaging around. They crack me up.
>181 Darth-Heather: LOL, poor Reuben, it sounds like they are very funny to watch!
Your experiences with Phinny and Reuben are like our experience with George, our six year old cat, and Willow, our two year old dog. They have been getting better with one another but they still have their moments. George is like Reuben in that he was dominated by his brother Shadow. When Shadow died George came out of his shell but he has been stymied in his efforts to be "The One".
He's a very handsome boy! I hope the two of them start to get along better as time goes by. Though I agree, cats' power struggles are hilarious to watch.
A very "cat" pose and picture - I love it! I hope Reuben and Phinney will settle eventually. As hilarious as cat power struggles can be to watch it is not that fun in the long run. At least not in my experience.
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
This fit perfectly as my spooky-themed read for October, and it was great fun. The main character is an Aztec priest, actually the High Priest of a temple dedicated to the god of death. He becomes embroiled in solving a murder mystery involving magic, monsters, and a whole cast of interesting characters.
There is a wonderful amount of information about Aztec culture, but at no time did I feel like the details overwhelmed the story, as is the case sometimes when authors get too involved in the research and then want to work every single thing into the story somewhere.
I am very interested in going on with this series - has anyone read the next one? Are there more after that?
>187 Darth-Heather: Never heard of that series before. Your review makes it sound interesting. Adding to my wishlist.
>187 Darth-Heather: I came across Aliette de Bodard for the first time last year, and was very impressed by her The Tea Master and the Detective. You have added to my wishlist also.
>192 Darth-Heather: That sounds intriguing too, but she is not an author that I have heard of before. Do you recommend?
>191 -pilgrim-: You can notch up a hit. I feel like I was a fish swimming around in a barrel.
>193 -pilgrim-: I really enjoyed it, and I hadn't heard of her before either. I think I got it as a kindle deal but there are hard copies out there too. I liked how she took this implausible concept - Nefilim are children of angels and mortals - and made the characters relatable.
>195 Darth-Heather: Thanks. I may look that out then, after the House of Shattered Wings.
>187 Darth-Heather: I read the sequel and enjoyed it. There are 3 books in the series, but I haven't managed to get the third one yet. I found House of shattered wings a little disappointing - great concept and world building but I felt like I was kept at a distance from the characters. However I went on to read the sequel, House of binding thorns anyway and loved it. I'm now looking forward to the third book.
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