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Humouress is here once more for 2019 (thread 3)!

This is a continuation of the topic Humouress is here once more for 2019 (quarter 2)!.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

Join LibraryThing to post.

1humouress
Edited: Nov 4, 12:54am Top



I'm Nina. I'm from England but living in tropical Singapore surrounded by guys - my husband (who tolerates my reading but is starting to make comments about my book acquisition habits), my two sons who are 15 years old and 10 years old (who also loves to read and to be read to) and their 2 year old golden retriever, Jasper.

I've introduced my 10 year old to LibraryThing; he's firelion and he's joined the Ranger's Apprentice group read.

I lean heavily towards fantasy (preferably high) with a smattering of sci-fi (space opera), mysteries (pre-war), young adult and juvenile fiction and school stories - or whatever else catches my fancy at the time. I'm trying to read books off my shelf, since my reading hasn't kept up with my acquisitions (anyone else have that problem?). I try (try) to review and rate all the books I read (which doesn't help my reading speed) and I don't put spoilers in (I hope). If you want to jump to a review, click on the relevant number in my monthly lists (>2, >3 & >4).

I tend towards the lighter side of things (hence my screen name) - because if you look at the dark side ... but why would you want to? Life’s hard enough. I tend to lurk more than post on LT, but I'm around, so please don't feel shy about joining me and posting here.

I am still trying to reach that elusive '75 books read in a year' target, for the tenth year. Not looking good for this year so far ....

75 Book Challenge 2018 thread 3

75 Book Challenge 2019 thread 1
75 Book Challenge 2019 thread 2

Green Dragon 2019 thread

ROOTs 2019 thread

2humouress
Edited: Aug 25, 11:50pm Top

December
review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

(I'm not hopeful about filling this thread before the year end. Three threads have always been my limit)

3humouress
Edited: Nov 4, 2:06am Top

November
review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

33) The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
34) The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

4humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 6:42am Top

October
review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

  32) Magic Casement by Dave Duncan
31) The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
      30) A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
  29) The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czernada

Happy birthday to me!

5humouress
Edited: Oct 13, 2:51am Top

September
review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

  28) The Hundredth House Had No Walls by Laurie Penny
27) Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George

6humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 12:46am Top

August
review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

          26) Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood
25) Tashi Lost in the City by Anna & Barbara Fienberg
24) To Ride a Rathorn by P.C. Hodgell
23) Tintin Land of Black Gold by Hergé
22) Emil and the Detectives by Eric Kästner
21) The Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Thingaversary!

7humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 6:40am Top




Covers:
October
29. 30. 32.

September
28.

August
26.

8humouress
Edited: Sep 7, 2:13pm Top

The constellation:

  You have got to read this one!                          
  Really good; worth reading                                ​
      Good, but without that special 'something' for me  
       Very nice, but a few issues                                   ​
           An enjoyable book                                                   ​
           Um, okay. Has some redeeming qualities                  
                Writing is hard. I appreciate the work the author did    
               (haven't met one - yet)                                               ​
                     Dire                                                   ​                         
                     Rated only as a warning. Run away. Don't stop.               

Purple stars, from Robin's thread:

5.0
4.5
4.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Unfortunately, the coloured stars I usually use come from an insecure website and no longer show on LibraryThing, so I'll have to hunt down another source. Robin has made coloured stars for me (happy dance) so I'm back in business. The codes are now enshrined in my profile.

9humouress
Edited: Yesterday, 10:38pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

July
      20) Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George
  19) The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen
  18) The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
      17) Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
      16) Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George
      15) Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

June
          14) Any Way the Wind Blows by Seanan McGuire
      13) The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  12) The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  11) The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
10) Tashi and the Royal Tomb by Anne and Barbara Fienberg

May

April

Nada :0(

March

      9) Dr. Eleventh originated by Roger Hargreaves
      8) Dr. Tenth originated by Roger Hargreaves
7) The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
      6) Dr. Ninth originated by Roger Hargreaves

February

nothing to report :0(

January
      5) The Ghostly Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
      4) Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
  3) The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
2) Tashi and the Haunted House by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
  1) All Systems Red by Martha Wells

10humouress
Edited: Aug 12, 3:08am Top

Reading at home : Ship of Magic

‘Waiting for the boys to finish classes’ book : The Ruins of Gorlan

Bedtime reading :Tashi series, Emile and the Detectives

Kindle : Trebizon series, Castle Glower series

Downtime : Skulduggery Pleasant

Overdrive :

Book club Six of Crows

online story

11humouress
Edited: Sep 2, 4:11pm Top

Reading inspirations

Ongoing series:

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
Chronicles of the Cheysuli - Jennifer Roberson
Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell (group read, started January 2018; thread 2)
Tashi - Anna Fienberg
The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (2014-2017 group read - savouring it before I run out of these glorious books)
**Farseer (group read starting March 2018)
***The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan (relaxed group read starting January 2019)
{Tor read https://www.tor.com/2018/02/20/reading-the-wheel-of-time-eye-of-the-world-part-1...

Planning to read with the kids:
A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snickett
Ranger's Apprentice - John Flanagan (group read starting January 2019)

Ooh, what about...

Miss Fisher mysteries
Cinder
Vatta/Honor Harrington
*Ready Player One
Earthsea book 1

12humouress
Edited: Sep 2, 3:34pm Top

(Note to self: Trying to tidy up loose ends from last year )

Still hoping to do:

60) Dr. Thirteenth originated by Roger Hargreaves
54) The Thirteen Storey Tree House by Andy Griffiths
52) Crazy Rich Asians
49) To Ride a Rathorn by P. C. Hodgell
46) Dr. Twelfth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(embarrassing, I know, and probably won't happen. Just copying stuff across from thread 2)

13humouress
Edited: Aug 12, 2:36am Top

Welcome in!

14figsfromthistle
Aug 12, 5:46am Top

Happy new thread!

15humouress
Aug 12, 5:51am Top

Thanks Anita!

I'm finally doing some rounds on LT. I'll pop by yours in a sec.

16jnwelch
Aug 12, 8:16am Top

Happy New Thread, Nina!

Oh, I hope your 10 year old likes the Ranger's Apprentice books. I sure did.

17foggidawn
Aug 12, 8:49am Top

Happy new thread!

18humouress
Aug 12, 10:11am Top

>16 jnwelch: He does, thanks Joe; he reads faster than I do and he's up to book 4 (I think he said). He's got several series on the go though. Most recently, he devoured the Harry Potter series.

19humouress
Aug 12, 10:11am Top

>17 foggidawn: Thanks foggi!

20drneutron
Aug 12, 12:10pm Top

Happy new thread!

21curioussquared
Aug 12, 12:18pm Top

Happy new thread! You've inspired me to read the Ranger's Apprentice books at some point :)

22humouress
Aug 12, 1:15pm Top

>20 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>21 curioussquared: Thanks Natalie! I've only read the prologue to the first book (The Ruins of Gorlan) myself. I was supposed to be reading it to my kids one chapter at a time for bedtime (my voice doesn't last more than that) but one son couldn't wait for me and is up to book 4 while the other didn't show any interest. (Though I'm hoping he was secretly listening.)

23humouress
Edited: Aug 12, 1:17pm Top

Litsy notes for Six of Crows:

Similar to ‘Lies of Lock Lamorra‘; gangs in a port town. Main characters are similar age to my kids but these are far, far older. Kaz Brekker is not a sympathetic character. Not a YA book. Didn‘t really grip me until about half way through, when we got some background as to why/ how each of the six joined the Dregs gang, but am enjoying it more now. Reading this for my book club as a stand alone (duology) in the ‘Grishaverse‘ series.

There‘s been a big build up to the secret of Kaz‘s past with ominous hints. Now it looks like I‘ve got to that part ... and I‘m dreading it :0/

...It was okay, I survived; I held my breath and read as quickly as I could. At least there weren‘t any torture scenes.

24humouress
Edited: Aug 12, 1:19pm Top

21) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

To be honest, this one didn't grab me but it did keep me reading.

It bears some similarities to The Lies of Locke Lamora in that it involves gangs in a port town though it is possibly not quite as dark. Still, there were some disturbingly grisly details that I wouldn't want my children reading so I wouldn't label it as YA.

Kaz Brekker (whose moniker is 'Dirtyhands') is second in command of the Dregs, a gang in the city of Ketterdam in the country of Kerch (based on the Netherlands). He runs The Crow Club, a gambling den designed to fleece sailors coming into the harbour of their money. A rich merchant offers him a fortune to rescue an asset from the Ice Court in Fjerland (Scandinavia) and so he gathers a crew of six to help him. Hence 'Six of Crows'.

The book's strength is that it is character driven. Each chapter is named for one of the six and is told from that character's distinct point of view. The point at which I became more invested was, once they had set off on their journey, when we learned each character's background and reason for being associated with the Dregs.

Kaz is a native of Kerch and is something of an anti-hero, being driven by a thirst for revenge.

Inej is a dark-skinned Suli (Romany) and is also known as the Wraith due to her acrobatic talents and ability to go anywhere undetected.

Jesper

Nina

Wylan

M

This book is the first part of a stand alone duology within the Grishaverse. It does not end on a cliff hanger but wraps up the story-line somewhat and then shows a new direction that the second book will take. I have already bought it and will be continuing with the story at some point.

3.5*** stars

Still working on polishing this review ...

25humouress
Edited: Aug 12, 2:10pm Top

22) Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

bedtime reading for the boys

still reading with a chapter to go; and it's been so long since I started it, I'll probably re-read it to remind myself of events. Fortunately, it's a slim volume. Enjoying the references to between the wars Berlin (it was published first in 1931) and the way it's been converted to British currency while maintaining the German landmarks. Also appreciated the background on Kästner (who wrote himself into the story) at the end of this Vintage (?) edition.

£50 in 1931 = ? now = £3,377.78 = 4,079 USD

26SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Aug 12, 3:33pm Top

Hi there. A shiny new thread and looks like you're off to a great start.

May I suggest for your boys (if you haven't read it yet): The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket

Such a nearly 5★ read! Great illustrations! There were definitely other opinions about this book, but as I wrote in my updated review:

I re-read this story again recently to a young audience of 4 kids, between 2 and 6 years-old, mixed ethnic backgrounds. They laughed and laughed. They chanted, 'Read it again.' So we did. And guess what? These kids don't pick up on all that political, adulty correctness stuff. They just see people having bad mood experiences and then having fun. And ice cream, big hit. The illustrations fascinated them and a lot of bad-mood, good-mood cloud art followed.

Edited!
Ooops! Just noticed that your boys are 0lder and reading YA. Well, I'll leave my comment anyway, in case someone else with that 4 to 6 yo age group likes some ideas.

27FAMeulstee
Aug 12, 5:17pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

I just got Ranger's Apprentice 10 from the library.

Glad you enjoyed Emil. I can't believe a book would cost 50 pound in 1931. The few books I have from that time were all well under 5 gulden. I thought the crazy inflation was only on Germany at the time.

28richardderus
Aug 12, 6:04pm Top

Handy-dandy money/value converter: 25 to 50 years ago = {amount} x 10

50 to 75 years ago = {amount} x 100

75 to 100 years ago = {amount} x 250

Longer ago than that = {amount} x 1000

Imprecise but workable.

29ronincats
Aug 12, 9:40pm Top

Happy New Thread, Nina! I'm with you on Six of Crows--didn't really engage me and a lot of violence.

30PaulCranswick
Aug 12, 9:56pm Top

Happy new thread, neighbour. xx

31humouress
Aug 13, 1:34am Top

>28 richardderus: Thanks Richard.

Emil had about £5 (that's GBP, in case our computers aren't talking) to give to his grandmother from his mum. While that would have been a lot of money for me to carry around when I was that age, it wouldn't have been a lot for a working daughter to send to her aged parent.

And 5 SGD now wouldn't cover a cup of coffee from Starbucks (although it could get you two if you went to the coffee shop on the corner; bags, that is. Take-aways are served, for convenience, in a plastic bag with a plastic twine carrying handle and a straw).

32humouress
Aug 13, 1:38am Top

>26 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks Sandy!

I'll still look out for it, especially if it got such rave reviews. And if it's a shorter book, it might save my voice of a night.

Last night before I started, my younger son requested a chapter from Emil as well as two Tashi stories. Just one Tashi is long enough for me to read out aloud! But that particular chapter, which he had assumed would be boring, had a little twist to it which made him want to keep listening, and so I got away with just one more chapter of Emil :0)

33humouress
Aug 13, 1:39am Top

>27 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

Oh, sorry; I was just doing some maths to work things out for myself. Please see >31 humouress: for the explanation.

34humouress
Aug 13, 1:41am Top

>29 ronincats: Thanks Roni!

Well, I've bought the second book as part of my Thingaversary haul (still have to get that onto here), so I'll finish the duology.

35humouress
Aug 13, 1:42am Top

>30 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul!

If you've still got that rain up in KL, my garden would appreciate it if you could send it down here. It still hasn't rained since last we discussed it and my hibiscus plants (which I now regret asking the gardeners to relocate) are looking quite sorry for themselves.

36MickyFine
Aug 13, 12:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

37richardderus
Aug 13, 5:19pm Top

>31 humouress: it could get you two if you went to the coffee shop on the corner; bags, that is. Take-aways are served, for convenience, in a plastic bag with a plastic twine carrying handle and a straw

*boggle*

What a great idea! Carrying out means taking someplace where you'll have a mug, obvs...and most of the time that's true. I like that.

38humouress
Aug 15, 1:20am Top

>36 MickyFine: Thanks Micky!

39humouress
Edited: Aug 15, 3:09am Top

>31 humouress: >37 richardderus:

ETA: unfortunately it does add to all the plastic waste flying around.

40charl08
Aug 16, 2:50am Top

>39 humouress: Smart solution. Hopefully there are some boffins working on recycling the plastic.

Glad Emil was a hit. Like you, I really enjoyed the picture of Germany between the wars.

41SandyAMcPherson
Aug 16, 12:33pm Top

>39 humouress: Better to ban single-use plastics altogether (just mho).
The energetics and resulting air/water/soil pollution from 'recycling' plastics is beyond inefficient or pollution-free.

I'd love to see this issue become a big deal in the federal election (in Canada, this coming October).

42humouress
Aug 17, 3:42pm Top

>40 charl08: >41 SandyAMcPherson: *resigned sigh* I hope we get this plastics business sorted out.

I try to take my own shopping bags and coffee cup with me but I don't always remember. I read an article the other day that said while it helps for each person to do their part, it's not nearly enough. We really need governments and big companies to seriously kick into this.

43humouress
Edited: Aug 18, 5:15am Top

I've been promising to list my book haul. First, the books I bought for the kids:

Skulduggery Pleasant; Bedlam
Tintin; Land of Black Gold
Tintin; volume 6
The Bad Guys; the Big Bad Wolf

as well as, from the book fair in school, for Book Week

Five Nights at Freddies: The Silver Eyes

And for myself (at the previously trumpeted sale):
1) The Princess Bride
2) The Bear and the Nightingale
3) Crooked Kingdom
4) The Book of Magic 1
5) The Book of Magic 2

44humouress
Edited: Aug 18, 5:27am Top

As it's my eleven year Thingaversary, I suppose I should have 12 books. I'll add in the books my dad transported from Sydney for me a few weeks ago.

6) Urn Burial
7) Raisins and Almonds
8) Death Before Wicket

Ho hum ... four more. Hmm.

I'd better add in the books I asked my husband to bring back from London for mea couple of months ago, too.

9) Muse of Nightmares
10) Erak's Ransom
11) Halt's Peril
12) The Siege of Macindaw

Exactly 12!

45PaulCranswick
Aug 18, 5:22am Top

Happy Thingamyjig Nina. 12 books would be great, neighbour - no cheating!

46humouress
Aug 18, 5:33am Top

Thanks Paul! Technically, it was on the 2nd but I waited for the sale to raid Books K and took a few days before I've listed them here.

Cheat? Never!

What a terrible dilemma to be in; the perfect excuse to buy more books but for the lack of shelf space. Which means I have to be super-selective about what I do get. Although I have a list of books that the completist me wants to get, to fill in gaps in my series, they're not available here. I did try to order a couple, but the suppliers are apparently out of stock.

I may have to resort the Amazon. (dun dun daah..)

But I'll hold on for a few months, since we're planning a visit to the States.

47humouress
Edited: Aug 18, 7:46am Top

23) Tintin Land of Black Gold by Hergé

Just to bump my reading numbers I 'happened' to read this as I was entering it on my kids' LT account.

The usual romp with the famous boy reporter and his brave dog, Snowy, along with Captain Haddock and the Thomson (Thompson?) twins. This time the adventure sees them on a tanker to the port of Khemikhal in the Middle East where Tintin investigates a case of sabotage to the world's oil supply which is causing cars to explode, oil prices to fall and threatening to result in a world war. Needless to say, there are lots of inflammatory double entendres.

There's a bit of slapstick, as usual, which even Tintin and poor old Snowy don't escape, bumping into things for instance. And there's a six year old spoiled son of the emir who inadvertently saves the day, despite his best intentions.

While you do have to bear in mind that it was first published in 1950 and is to some extent a product of its time (cars, radio operators, phone boxes, aeroplanes) it still has relevance in this day and age.

Fun. A pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

4**** stars

48richardderus
Aug 18, 11:20am Top

>46 humouress: Plan ahead for your Stateside visit! Pack a small suitcase then pack *it* inside the next bigger one in the set!

>47 humouress: Tintin and Asterix never caught on in the US, and I've never really understood why that is.

49fuzzi
Aug 18, 12:31pm Top

>47 humouress: I remember tackling Tintin in my French class, have never read the books in English.

>48 richardderus: I discovered Asterix also in French class, owned three books in French for years, but they were lost at some point, too many moves.

I love the artwork, and the puns, which the English translations manage to convey adequately.

50humouress
Aug 18, 4:53pm Top

>48 richardderus: Great idea! And sometimes they come in sets of three, so ... Only flaw is that I tend to start out by packing the kitchen sink - you know, just in case. (D’y’all have sinks out there?)

Maybe they were to European-centric when they came out?

51humouress
Aug 18, 4:55pm Top

>49 fuzzi: I’ve never tried Tintin in French. I don’t know if my French is up to it.

I’m sure the kids would be thrilled if I bought their next Tintin in French instead *evil grin*

52richardderus
Aug 18, 4:59pm Top

Oh, I should see if my long-neglected French will recrudesce if I read Asterix in the original! Good idea, fuzzi.

...kitchen...sink...hmmm I can't rightly say as to how I ever saw me one o them...

53humouress
Aug 18, 5:02pm Top

>52 richardderus: ... better pack two, then ...

54fuzzi
Edited: Aug 19, 2:36pm Top

>52 richardderus: ooh! Nice word, "recrudesce".

It's funny, but when I see French words, sometimes they define themselves for me even though my last French class was over 40 years ago. And my mind does the same thing with German, too.

Wie gehts?

>51 humouress: ooh, do it! :D

55SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Aug 25, 5:48pm Top

>48 richardderus:, Tintin and Asterix never caught on in the US ...

Weird! The cartooning was (is) marvellous.

The satire is splendid ~~

Both titles were popular in Canada (at least AFAIK). I wonder if the fact that Tin Tin came out in French as well was a factor?

My kids had the whole set (at the time) for both. We passed them onto a cousin who wasn't interested in reading and bingo, he improved dramatically!

56humouress
Aug 25, 10:39pm Top

>54 fuzzi: je ça fis

(is that right?)

57humouress
Edited: Aug 26, 12:00am Top

Gosh; it looks like I last read To Ride a Rathorn exactly a year ago (and then tried to review it in January). These are my notes from last time:

'49) To Ride a Rathorn

I’m going to have to collate my notes and actually write my review of To Ride a Rathorn.

Jan 2019 - collating:

Going onto “To Ride a Rathorn” in the Baen omnibus “Seeker’s Bane”. The action continues 1 day after the end of “Seeker’s Mask” though the first was published in 1994 and the second in 2006. Only a chapter in but Graykin’s personality seems more unpleasant in the intervening day/ decade.
Several typos jumped out at me in the first book and already in the second there are missing words.
But I’m looking forward to reading more of Jame’s adventures.

Finding To Ride a Rathorn a bit awkward in patches. I have the omnibus Seeker’s Bane and this second book was written 12 yrs after Seeker’s Mask. H seems to have reinterpreted some of her characters/ events in the intervening time or explains events from the previous book(s). As I’m reading straight on (and also have recently read the 1st 2 books for the group read of the series ) this can feel cumbersome. H also has a tendency to quote phrases from the previous books which I did find very funny the first time but also don’t fit comfortably in this narrative.

Also : so many typo issues in this Baen edition!!

Don’t get me wrong - still loving the story ( except getting a bit bogged down in soulscapes at the moment) but I’m holding H to the same high standards she’s set with the previous books.

more notes on to Ride a Rathorn ; hope to review it tomorrow

Enjoyed it, but some quibbles (as noted above). Starting to get a bit lost with the supernatural elements of the planet, but it still does make sense. Answered most questions about Jame’s ancestors past, but still one or two. I think.

ETA: it maybe that I read the last few chapters in a rush, but I’m feeling that the first two books had that 20th century fantasy vibe that I love, but this one, not so much. Could be wrong. Only way to find out is to keep reading!'

58humouress
Edited: Aug 26, 12:08am Top

Back to the present day; Litsy notes:

Re-reading ‘To Ride a Rathorn‘ because I didn‘t review it last year. A small thrill just picking up ‘Seeker‘s Bane‘; love Hodgell. I love her instances of quirkiness. A page in and I know I‘m on Rathillien. I‘m pretty sure catfish don‘t head for the hills on our earth when there‘s an earthquake.

Two chapters in and Jame‘s new quarters have already been set on fire. This time, not her fault, for once.

(To Ride a Rathorn pg 796

Sheth Sharp-tongue to Jame:

‘Now, did I or did I not request that you not break any more instructors?‘

59fuzzi
Edited: Aug 26, 7:04am Top

>56 humouress: I'm going to have to cheat on that phrase...I recall je and ca, but am drawing a blank at fis.

Addendum: yes!! That's right.

60humouress
Aug 26, 11:49pm Top

>59 fuzzi: Well, I had to cheat to find 'fis'.

I'm actually still reading To Ride a Rathorn but I think I'm in the final stretch (if I suspend all other activities for the day).

In the meantime, son number 2 is absent on camp but the school has sent photos back and they look like they're all thoroughly enjoying themselves and not missing us here at home at all. I took both boys to school yesterday morning at 6.30 am and while number 1 son looked suspiciously moist around the eyes as the coach pulled out, I couldn't even glimpse his brother (or any of the kids) looking back at us. Mind you, when I saw him off not long after that, he blithely walked away without a backwards glance too.

61humouress
Edited: Today, 10:04pm Top

24) To Ride a Rathorn by P.C. Hodgell

I am trying to review this without giving away spoilers for previous books. This series, and especially 'To Ride a Rathorn', does need to be read in order.

I read To Ride a Rathorn, the second book in the omnibus Seeker's Bane, last year and noted: 'the action continues one day after the end of Seeker’s Mask though the first was published in 1994 and the second in 2006. I am only a chapter in but Graykin’s personality seems more unpleasant in the intervening day/ decade. Several typos jumped out at me in the first book and already in the second there are missing words. But I’m looking forward to reading more of Jame’s adventures'.

Since I didn't review it last year, I've just re-read it now and didn't find the differences between the two books quite as uncomfortable after the intervening gap. The typos, unfortunately, are still there.

The three peoples of the Kencyrath have fought Perimal Darkling down the chain of creation, retreating from threshold world to world with each defeat as the darkness advances. Thus they arrived on Rathillien three millennia ago and are still sometimes considered outsiders by the native inhabitants. They await the birth of three Tyr-ridan in one generation who, they hope, will help defeat Perimal once and for all.

In the meantime the houses of the highborn Kencyr seem to have forgotten this higher purpose and have devolved into political infighting between many of the houses, attempting to assume temporal power without remembering what it actually represents and denying the truth of their legends.

The training in the Women's Halls at Gothregor having disagreed with her, and she with it, Jame moves on to a different kind of training at Tentir - one more to her liking. Here too, though, she finds that old history waylays her. There are mysteries at Tentir that date back to around the time that the Knorth house was decimated and the answers, as at Gothregor, lie in the world of dreams. Jame has to contend with her dreams, the Kencyr soulscape and the sacred space of Rathillien itself while she struggles to prove herself in the mundane world.

Meanwhile, although Kencyr politics are supposed to be put aside at Tentir, the lords of several of the houses have an interest in seeing Jame fail at Tentir, for various reasons, and encourage their people to see that she does. Cool, enigmatic Sheth Sharp-tongue, the Commandant, can only hope that Tentir will survive Jame.

I enjoyed this book as much as the others and I'm enjoying Jame's journey of discovery. This book fills in the tapestry of the Kencyr's history since the Fall and especially of their more recent history of the past two generations.

Rathorns are near mythical creatures that the house of Knorth has taken for its banner. The phrase 'to ride a rathorn' is a Kencyr one which means James adventures in the soulscape and means you need to suspend disbelief and ride!

However the humour, while it did always make me chuckle, occasionally it felt a bit forced. Hodgell also has a tendency to quote phrases from the previous books which I did find very funny in their own stories but don’t fit quite so comfortably when repeated in this narrative. But that's a small quibble; I'm still loving this series!

4.5*****

62fuzzi
Aug 27, 6:52am Top

>60 humouress: that's a good thing, being independent. I tried to raise my own children to stand on their own feet and think for themselves, and they have done well with their lives.

63humouress
Aug 27, 9:36am Top

>62 fuzzi: Ah well.

Now I just need to train myself. And stop singing ABBA’s ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ on school mornings before bursting into tears.

64richardderus
Aug 27, 10:47am Top

>61 humouress: You're persuasive, La Overkill, but I'm overbooked and can not take on Hodgell's series. Can. Not.

65fuzzi
Aug 27, 12:23pm Top

>63 humouress: I cried when my daughter left home, but I didn't let her see it.

Little birds have to fly sometime.

66humouress
Aug 27, 1:38pm Top

>64 richardderus: Suppose you gave up the poetry? I’ve really been enjoying this series.

67humouress
Aug 27, 1:39pm Top

>65 fuzzi: Oddly, I’m alright dropping them off (for big trips). I’m just banned from picking them up when they come back again :0)

68humouress
Aug 28, 1:37am Top

25) Another Tashi story from The Great Big Book of Tashi by Anna and Barbara Fienberg.

I will look up the title and write the review later......

69humouress
Aug 28, 1:38am Top

And, now that we are two thirds of the way through the year, I have reached one third of the 75 quota. I'm beginning to sense I may not make it this year, either.

70charl08
Aug 28, 8:02am Top

>69 humouress: Short books! Short books!

(but it really doesn't matter, does it?)

'Slipping through my fingers' makes me cry and I don't *have* any kids.

71humouress
Aug 29, 8:32am Top

>70 charl08: I do have a couple of Dr. Mr. Whos to finish...

I can make myself quite maudlin sometimes :0)

72humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 12:42am Top

26) Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood



{Eighth of 20: Phryne Fisher mysteries. Golden age crime, Australian}

It was a dark and foggy night deep in the Victorian countryside when someone screamed, a shot rang out and the Hon. Phryne Fisher was thrown into another mystery as she was on her way to stay for a house party. Always one to buck convention Phryne took along her lover and his man servant (as well as her maid Dot) even though they knew they would face prejudice. Soon Phryne, and we, were introduced to other members of the house party and the stage was set for an Agatha Christie-style country house party whodunnit with a very Australian flavour. Apart from the dishevelled house maid Phryne et al rescued and who was too distressed to name her attacker, the head of the house has been receiving threatening letters; things escalated from there and the situation was exacerbated by a nearby river tributary flooding, thereby increasing the isolation of the house from outside help.

The title comes from a 17th century book Phryne borrows from the Cave House library to pass the time and which Greenwood quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It also refers to the urns with which the house's previous owner and builder has liberally decorated the edifice.

There is lots of action to go with the mystery and the clues are all there. I didn't solve it (although I did get some things right) but then I never do, so that wasn't my real focus.

The Phryne Fisher stories can easily be read as stand-alones as each crime is committed and solved within the book. There are references to Phryne's own history and also to a couple of previous cases but I must have started reading this series more than a decade ago so I don't remember the details (or even some of the crimes) and didn't feel that 'Urn Burial' suffered from it. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers for previous books.)

Since Greenwood is writing in the present day about events taking place after the Great War, she can highlight differences between manners and conventions of the day and now for effect - for instance, acceptable topics of conversation in the drawing room or Phryne's unconventional love life. However, since I don't read much period fiction apart from Jane Austen, I still found 1920s Australia more liberal than Georgian England. It was interesting to see the way that Melbourne high society fluctuated between sticking rigidly to the ways of the 'home country' and defiantly marking its own path. I did think Phryne played a bit fast and loose with her lover's heart, though.

I suspect Greenwood may have had a dose of P. G. Wodehouse before writing this one. There was a Beech (of Blandings) type character and several phrases amused me; the description of Phryne's party's first sight of Cave House had me giggling.
It was too much for the end of a long drive. Lin Chung sat as though stunned, every canon of design known to him, both Chinese and Oxford, thoroughly outraged. Li Pen reflected that even the legendary Yellow Emperor on an overdose of hallucinogenic mushrooms had never conceived anything like this. Dot thought it was overdone, but interesting.
As always, a thoroughly enjoyable adventure with two strong female leads and a sojourn into Australian society of a century ago.

PS: I did think the ending was a bit awkward, though, especially as there was only one actual murder. Be warned - there are the occasional steamy scenes.

3

73richardderus
Aug 29, 1:23pm Top

>72 humouress: All the way up to #8! They're pretty good...I OD'd on Girls In Jeopardy. But Phryne is delicious!

74humouress
Edited: Sep 2, 12:11am Top

>73 richardderus: It's taken me a while but I'm getting there. I recently got my dad to bring over the next three instalments in the series that I was missing, of which this is the first.

ETA: girls in jeopardy? Pshaw!

75Berly
Sep 3, 2:06am Top

I have several of the Asterix books, in French!! My kids loved them and I remember reading them years ago when I took French in HS. I should pull them and and have a reread. : )

Congrats on your LT anniversary and your selective purchases. Happy reading!

76humouress
Sep 3, 2:55am Top

>75 Berly: Thanks Kim!

My son got excited when he saw Tintin au Congo and then ... he wasn't quite as excited. I can read it, more or less, but I think I'll (use it as an excuse to) get it in English, too, to read alongside. For comparison, you know.

77curioussquared
Sep 3, 11:39am Top

This thread is reminding me that I keep acquiring French Harry Potter books and I keep not reading them. Maybe I'll do my next rereading at Poudlard instead of Hogwarts :)

78humouress
Edited: Sep 3, 11:06pm Top

>77 curioussquared: Did they rename ‘Hogwarts’ for the French version? That’s funny. (Now I shall have to look up the translation.)

Years ago when I was at school instead of doing an exchange program I did a 3 day trip to a town outside Paris where we stayed in pairs with local families for the duration. We watched ‘Dallas’ and while I was trying to work out what on earth they were saying, my friend was crying with laughter and had to stuff a hanky in her mouth because she found their dubbed voices so hilarious. J.R. Ewing, for example, was given a deep, husky voice but Larry Hagman, if you remember, didn’t have an especially deep voice.

ETA: Larry Hagman was the actor who play JR in the original 'Dallas'. Yes, I am that old.

79curioussquared
Sep 3, 4:44pm Top

>78 humouress: They did! As far as I'm aware it's just a kind of nonsense word with a similar feel to Hogwarts :) Also, I believe the French version is the one where they had to make Voldemort's middle name Elvis to make the anagram work, which gets me every time :)

The Half-Blood Prince movie came out while I was in high school in France on a homestay for the first time. I went to see it by myself and was very surprised when Dumbledore commanded Harry to take out his wand by saying, "Ta baguette, Harry!" That was the first time I learned a baguette can be anything long and skinny and not just a type of bread :)

80humouress
Sep 3, 11:08pm Top

*sigh* You're obviously a lot younger than me. Not only were the Harry Potter books not written when I was learning French but J. K. Rowling would have been at school at around the same time I was.

81FAMeulstee
Sep 4, 11:29am Top

>77 curioussquared: >78 humouress: In Dutch Hogwarts became Zweinstein, the houses Griffoendor (Griffindor), Huffelpuf (Hufflepuff), Ravenklauw (Ravenclaw) and Zwadderich (Slytherin). It is always a difficult choice for a translator if and how names should be translated.

>78 humouress: On Dutch tv subtitles are common, so I mainly remember dubbing from the German TV, there JR also had a very different voice ;-)

82humouress
Sep 5, 2:32am Top

>81 FAMeulstee: 'Zwadderich' looks vaguely snake-like (I'm thinking of adders) but does 'Zweinstein' have a direct translation?

I wonder if authors have any contribution when it comes to translating names?

83charl08
Sep 5, 9:08am Top

>79 curioussquared: Learning French and Dutch on LT. Good times...

(I love the Elvis tidbit. That is totally going be used in conversation...)

84humouress
Sep 5, 6:54pm Top

>83 charl08: I aim to educate :0)

85FAMeulstee
Sep 6, 3:57pm Top

>82 humouress: I think you are right with "adder" as the snake in the word Zwadderich.

Zwijn is a Dutch word for Hog, Zwein has no meaning itself but sounds the same (ij and ei are same sounding vowels in Dutch), -stein is a common end for castle names, like the castles Loevenstein, Wayenstein, Goudenstein. The combination Zweinstein sounds good and has inner rhyme.

I don't know if authors have a say. I have heard J.K. Rowling did follow translations closely. She also waited with publishing a new Harry Potter book, until all translations were ready, so all different language editions were published on the same day worldwide.

86PaulCranswick
Sep 6, 9:01pm Top

>85 FAMeulstee: Fiendishly clever lady that Ms Rowling.

To another clever lady I wish to wish a happy weekend wish.

87humouress
Sep 6, 11:12pm Top

>85 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita; that's a comprehensive explanation!

88humouress
Sep 6, 11:14pm Top

>86 PaulCranswick: *blush* Why thank you Paul! You've made my day.

I shall meander around the threads shortly and visit yours to say hello - although I confess I've been lurking a lot lately (although not in a creepy way, obviously).

89humouress
Sep 7, 2:48pm Top

Thinking ahead, if anyone knows Seattle, what's the best bookshop you would recommend to look for Fantasy books? We plan to visit Seattle later this year, but our time there will be limited (and one wants to spend as much time as possible looking for books rather than looking for bookshops).

Google brings up Elliott Bay Books; can you endorse it?

90richardderus
Sep 7, 4:40pm Top

I don't know, but I know two people who will: EBT1002 (Ellen) and maggie1944 (Karen).

91curioussquared
Sep 7, 10:26pm Top

>89 humouress: My stomping grounds!

Elliott Bay is a big, gorgeous bookstore. I don't think they have an especially huge selection of fantasy books, but they probably have as many as any other bookstore in the city. Worth a visit as it's a nice space and in a popular part of town.

My absolute favorite bookstore in the area is Third Place Books just north of Seattle in Lake Forest Park. It's a huge book space joined with a community gathering space including a couple of restaurants and a coffee shop, and they have a good fantasy section. If you can't make it that far north, Third Place Books has a couple of smaller outposts in north and south Seattle. Both are great but the LFP location has my heart. Also, they have both been and used books on the shelves, which I like.

Secret Garden Books in Ballard is a cute little shop specializing in kids and YA books with a limited adult selection. Good selection of YA and middle grade fantasy.

Left Bank Books and Lamplight Books are little shops both in Pike Place Market -- fun visits and a fun location.

Finally, I haven't been (it's on my list!) but Magus Books in the University District has a reputation as a great used bookstore.

Let me know if you have other questions!!

92humouress
Edited: Sep 8, 2:39am Top

>90 richardderus: Thanks Richard. (PS: knew you'd come through)

I used to keep track of them but they've both dropped off my radar; Ellen's thread moves too fast for me and Karen probably posts (or used to, when I was following her) even less than I do.

I'll go and look for them and bug them.

93humouress
Sep 8, 2:38am Top

>91 curioussquared: Thanks Natalie! That's a lot of choice; while I'd be happy to explore all of them, I suspect my family might not be so forbearing. I think we'll be to the south of Seattle a bit (staying with family) but I'm sure we can get in. I've been promised I can do some book shopping.

I'm guessing Third Place Books would be the best on your list for fantasy, if I had to choose only one? And presumably better than something like a large Borders (are those still around)? Though I'm sure my younger son would be right in there too, if we visited Secret Garden.

So ... meetup? We'll be in Seattle in mid-December, if you're around then.

94curioussquared
Sep 8, 12:52pm Top

>93 humouress: Hmm. I think if you can make it to the Third Place Books north of Seattle, that would be my top recommendation for fantasy, but otherwise, Elliott Bay or even the Barnes and Noble downtown might be better choices just based on sheer size. The other two Third Place Books locations are great, just smaller.

Yes, I should be around and available! Let me know as your schedule gets refined and we can set something up :)

95EBT1002
Sep 8, 6:47pm Top

Nina, I'm not sure there is a bookshop in Seattle solely dedicated to fantasy/SF works. I mentioned on my thread that Elliott Bay Books is worth a visit. In addition, Third Place Books, either in Ravenna (north) or Seward Park (south) is worth a visit for the ambiance and selection. The Seward Park location is in my old neighborhood. Oh, I see that Natalie recommended Third Place Books up in Lake Forest Park. It's also a nice venue worth visiting.

Magus Books in the University District is a terrific used bookshop and they might have some more obscure titles. And they are just around the corner from the U Bookstore which, despite being the "university bookstore," is actually a very well-stocked independently owned bookstore. I used to walk there from my work on a regular basis and I almost never left empty-handed.

96humouress
Sep 10, 2:56pm Top

27) Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George

97humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 5:38am Top

28) The Hundredth House Had No Walls by Laurie Penny



(No touchstone yet, but this is the link: https://www.tor.com/2019/09/11/the-hundredth-house-had-no-walls-laurie-penny/?ut...)

This is a gorgeous little short-story at Tor.com which I liked anyway, because it had all the whimsical hallmarks of modern fairy tales that I love and it's light and it's funny. And then it made me cry (happy tears; I don't do sad).

5 stars

Oh - what's it about? How the King of the land of Myth and Shadows, who could conjure up anything he wished for (which was how he was chosen to be King) found the love of his life and learned how to woo a princess.

98SandyAMcPherson
Sep 13, 9:26am Top

>97 humouress: That's a BB for me!!

99humouress
Sep 15, 1:23am Top

>98 SandyAMcPherson: I'm so glad. I hope you like it as much as I did. It reminds me of the type of story I used to read all the time but I can't pin down any particular author or even if it was any one author.

100humouress
Edited: Sep 17, 2:11pm Top

.... Aaaaand the haze is back.

Probably my fault for feeling complacent that the folks ‘in charge’ of the environment had got their acts together and clamped down on those folks polluting it and setting illegal fires just because we had two or three years with no haze warnings.

Outdoor activities are being curtailed, my throat and eyes itch and my ten year old has requested tomorrow off school because he’s feeling poorly. I am not a happy bunny.

101MickyFine
Sep 19, 4:06pm Top

Sorry to hear about the air pollution, Nina. Fingers crossed it doesn't linger long.

102richardderus
Sep 19, 6:03pm Top

>100 humouress: That's awful. I'm so sorry! I hope things go back to being abnormally clear soon.

103SandDune
Edited: Sep 20, 3:34am Top

>100 humouress: So sorry to hear that Nina! I’ve found the reports of so many fires around the world deeply unsettling this year.

104humouress
Sep 20, 5:47am Top

>101 MickyFine: >102 richardderus: >103 SandDune: Thank you for the sympathy Micky, Richard and Rhian. We were all irritable and grumpy that day. My younger son had two days off school but went back today though he's still sounding wheezy. My older son went in on Wednesday for his GCSE cooking practical but he's been off school for the last two days.

And we still have it better than the Indonesians who are in the thick of it, almost literally. The front page of our paper today showed an orange-black cloud and only by looking closely do you realise that there are buildings in there. My trusted BBC WS tells me that they need the lights on in the day time to see anything indoors. We are not down to those dire straights, thank goodness; the sun is an orange ball in grey skies and we watch the PSI readings incessantly to see whether after school outdoor activities will go ahead or not. They're fluctuating all over the place so it's a last minute thing as to whether they're on - which does nothing to help my barely-existing planning skills.

Anyhoo; I posted it on the First World Problems thread because it's a slightly hazardous annoyance for us, as opposed to the life threatening danger it is for those in the immediate vicinity of the fires and smoke. The sad part is that a lot of it is due to Singaporean and Malaysian companies and I really thought that the past couple of years had sorted the issue out. Personally, I would like to put those responsible for taking the decision to burn the land right into the middle of the thickest part of that haze; I'm sure they're rich enough to have jetted off by now to where the air is clearer.

105humouress
Sep 21, 11:42am Top

I’ve just read a chapter and a half of The Magician’s Nephew to my boys. My younger son was falling asleep but he asked me to carry on with chapter 2 because he said ‘This is a good book’. Though he did fall asleep before the end of the chapter. Even my 15 year old was listening because he seemed to think that when Polly said ‘I’m game if you are’ it was slang. (Unless it means something in the modern world I’m not aware of and don’t want to know.)

Hopefully we’ll have greater success with this one than with Anne of Green Gables - but then, we didn’t even get as far as meeting Anne that time; only Mrs. Rachel Lynde and Marilla.

106richardderus
Sep 21, 11:43am Top

>105 humouress: ...and so you shall remain benighted...

107humouress
Sep 21, 11:53am Top

>106 richardderus: (Ooh, cross-posted) Not me; the kids.

But I shall keep working on them with both books, never fear *rubs hands together, much like Uncle Andrew*

108humouress
Sep 22, 11:14am Top

Phew! Just finished reading a chapter and a half of The Magician's Nephew out loud and I'm a bit hoarse.

In the meantime, I'm getting ever more frustrated and my computing speed is halved or less because my Magic Trackpad is on the blink; it's suddenly, for no discernible reason, super sensitive - so it randomly highlights tracts of text, tries to give me dictionary definitions I haven't asked for, acts as if I've clicked on things I've merely passed the mouse over, pulls tabs out of my browsers into separate windows so I have many windows open rather than two with many tabs (not useful when I try to shut down and re-open and recover previous sessions).

I've tried cleaning it up and blowing out any dust between the clicking surface and the base (which, I think, was what worked the last time) and the only fix I've come across so far on-line is to press down really hard on opposite corners. I've tried that with minimal improvement; but that was for MacBook trackpads and the old style Magic ones. Mine has (I think) got glass on it so throwing it agains the wall will only be last resort and I am (for a wonder) not at that point yet.

Any advice gladly welcomed. Maybe it's just another victim of the Haze.

109jnwelch
Sep 23, 9:23am Top

How great that you're reading The Magician's Nephew to your boys! I bet you'll all treasure that experience. That was my first Narnia book, after I found it at a relative's house.

Sorry about your computer troubles. I hope someone has a helpful suggestion. Re-boot is pretty much the extent of my expertise. Although throwing it against the wall would certainly be in my skill set.

110SandyAMcPherson
Sep 24, 9:02am Top

>108 humouress: I have a Mac and use 'private browsing' for the settings on my internet activities, so have never seen this happen.

At our house, The Man has a Windows machine (OS) and if he hasn't rebooted for awhile, has that same problem.

Our brilliant CS kids tell us it's some kind of script (usually from a website) that's interfering. So yes, rebooting usually fixes the problem because that restart cleans out all the temp files.

Hope the restart worked for you!

111humouress
Sep 25, 3:34am Top

>109 jnwelch: It's mainly my younger boy who's excited about it, because it's Narnia, which he knows from the film; but he was expecting to jump straight to Narnia and we haven't got there yet. We started chapter 5 (I think) last night and though he managed to wake up a couple of times, he just couldn't stay awake. It is quite an important chapter though.

I'm starting with The Magician's Nephew because I like to read chronologically. My first Narnia was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it was, after all, the first one written. Though I'm not old enough - of course - to have read the books when they were first published.

I'm thinking I might write my review for the book now because to say very much about it would be to fill the review with spoilers :0)

112humouress
Sep 25, 3:40am Top

>110 SandyAMcPherson: Ah! I was thinking it was a physical problem.

I haven't been on the computer for a while and it's behaving itself so far today (all of two minutes). I have switched it off and on again, rather than just putting it to sleep ... let's see how it goes.

113The_Hibernator
Oct 5, 9:24pm Top

>111 humouress: I've read them in publication order. If I reread them, I'd probably do chronologically, as you are.

114humouress
Oct 6, 4:17pm Top

>113 The_Hibernator: I had to go back in time in my head to connect the first story to the rest of them when I read them the first time. I must have re-read several of them because we did have a few of them at home but I don’t think I’ve read them in chronological order before. Let’s see if it makes a difference.

I read almost to the end of chapter 6 before he nodded off (in spite of the fact that he begged for a Tashi story because they’re longer and he ‘wasn’t feeling sleepy’). (But shhh ... I’m going to count it for the September TIOLI because I don’t have a book for my own challenge otherwise.)

115richardderus
Oct 6, 4:32pm Top

Good gracious, I just saw the story about y'all's little haze problem...a million-plus respiratory issues requiring some kind of treatment! Of course that means several million who simply couldn't go to a hospital or doctor. Awful!

Hope your silly half-bit-fruit brand electronics aren't swooning or having fantods today.

116humouress
Edited: Oct 6, 4:38pm Top

So life is keeping me busy and reading is going even more slowly than usual; I don’t think I finished any books last month despite having started quite a few. My mum has come over from Australia, my son will be sitting his IGCSEs this month and we spent the entire day out yesterday with friends on a birthday cruise and had a fabulous time!

On Christmas Day last year we had a visit from a baby monitor lizard and s/he or, more likely, a larger relative paid us a visit this week. The poor thing got stuck in a corner behind a glass door and it could see its escape but not get to it. Fortunately it was quite slow moving when it was exploring but apparently it could be quite zippy. My younger son said he went downstairs in the morning and saw it, it hissed at him so he ran one way (up the stairs) and it ran the other.

Jasper, our dog, was apparently sleeping a few feet away from it and never noticed it - until much later when we had all gone down and were calling various animal rescue entities and he suddenly raised a ruckus (‘Look! There’s something there! I must warn you! I will save you’ though, of course, we were more concerned with not letting him near it in case it bit him). The lizard had been trying to find a way out through the grille at that point; I stepped out to try and hear the person on the other end of the phone and when I came back in, the lizard had disappeared. Probably Jasper’s barking gave it the necessary impetus to find some way out, no matter what and it whisked itself out of the house, out of the garden and down the road.

117MickyFine
Oct 7, 12:33pm Top

>116 humouress: Stories like this are one of the reasons why I live where the air hurts my face for a third of the year. ;)

118humouress
Oct 7, 1:00pm Top

>117 MickyFine: I’m quite happy with the air not hurting my face, although the climate takes its toll in other ways. Besides, stories like this are far more fun! ;0)

119ronincats
Oct 8, 12:00am Top

Such fun, living in the tropics! Glad the lizard made its way out. We have a Santa Ana coming in so I expect some heat in my near future, although it will be dry heat.

120humouress
Edited: Oct 9, 7:45pm Top

>119 ronincats: Tropical living has its moments; on the one hand, one of our doors is out of commission with suspected termites but on the other, Saturday was a fabulous day out.

My husband booked a catamaran and a caterer and invited friends to go out for a birthday cruise to one of the nearby islands, where we anchored for the afternoon and were met by a jet ski and dinghy which towed a small banana boat and a 'flying fish' - a kind of inflated mat contraption with handholds to hang onto as you were towed at high speed over the waves. I went out as the adult with two of the smaller kids and though they said they didn't come off the mat, I was suspended in the air several times. And then the guy in the dinghy banked steeply - and off I flew altogether! I didn't do much better staying on the banana boat. My mum, at 82, wowed everyone by going for a ride on the banana boat. And she didn't fall off.

We had good weather, fortunately, though we had a rain shower just at lunch time, which cooled things down nicely. And then we cruised back along the Singapore shoreline at sunset and got some nice photos of a tall ship against the setting sun. Though one of our friends commented that it was a bit spoiled by the Shell refinery in the distance (guess which company he works for?). Altogether a wonderful day, the 'kids' especially loved jumping into the water and the men even more so. The best part was spending it with a wonderful group of family and friends. I'm still on a high three days later.

121charl08
Oct 9, 7:36am Top

>120 humouress: Went to a climbing tree zip wire thing that was held in the same place as one of these (well, next to the Lake). Lots of fun watching other people come off, but I wasn't convinced to give it a go myself. Very impressive! It was lovely and green (The Borders) but no stunning sunsets like yours which sounds like a beautiful setting. Any pictures?

122humouress
Edited: Oct 9, 6:31pm Top

>121 charl08: Oddly enough, we don’t get many spectacular sunsets in Singapore but in Sydney they seem to be guaranteed. Similarly for rainbows; I’ve seen only two and a half in the nearly 20 years I’ve been here but in Sydney there’d be doubles and triples.

I’ll try and post some photos soon - but don’t hold your breath. Getting my own pictures onto LT isn’t my forte ;0)

.... try this:



This is the best sunset photo that has the tall ship in it. (Ignore the aforementioned refineries in the distance.)

123humouress
Oct 9, 6:36pm Top

>115 richardderus: Sorry Richard, I missed you. Looks like we cross-posted.

The haze has improved without having got as bad as it did a few years ago and life is back to almost normal.

The electronics... shhh (don’t want to upset them) seem to be okay for now.

124richardderus
Oct 9, 7:03pm Top

>123 humouress: whispers we won't remind them then ssshhh

125humouress
Oct 12, 11:09pm Top

126humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 5:49am Top

29) The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czernada

 

{Standalone, fantasy}

Magic has been lost to the world except in the carefully isolated land of Tananen which is guarded by an entity her people call the Deathless Goddess or the Lady. Only some women can hear the Lady and speak Her Words and they safeguard them for the mages in case they are lost. Only some men can write those words with intent and create magic but the Deathless Goddess exacts a price with each creation and mages age a little each time. Maleonarial, the foremost amongst them, does not enjoy seeing loved friends and young students age and die before their times and, twelve years before the beginning of the book, left the mage school at Alden to wander Tananen and find a way to avoid that cost.

Now there is a magic that works in a different way, creating abominations and the hermit mage must be found in time to stop it doing more harm.

Czernada has created a cohesive world with hold lords in charge of holds with other towns and villages under them. Hold Daughters are the representatives of the Lady; there is one Daughter to each hold but she has many other ladies in the hold who can also hear the Lady. Similarly, each town and village has their own daughters who report back to their own Hold Daughter as necessary.

This one made me cry; she writes the mother-child bond beautifully, not with sentimentality but with a no-nonsense love. Absolutely spot on.

Leksand ducked his head, giving his mother a worried glance. Kait carefully didn’t smile. “Go on, then,” she advised her son. “It’ll be a longer trip if you don’t talk.”


Some issues with half sentences, but I can live with that. And while I love the tattoo-like curlicues they unfortunately obscure several of the words in my library e-book.

5 stars

127humouress
Edited: Oct 13, 2:58am Top

AAAGGGGHHH. Wrote half a perfect review, decided to save it before I lost it ... and guess what?

Hmph. Will have to try and remember it ....

ETA: okay, I got something down that seems quite similar. It occurs to me, looking at my last two reviews, that I'm getting quite maudlin in my old age.

128humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 5:39am Top

30) A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen



I read quickly through the Project Gutenberg e-copy of this play to help my son with his upcoming English exam. It is a three act play, originally written in Norwegian in 1879 with all three acts set in the Helmer family's front living room.

The play is set just before Christmas one year and Nora (Mrs Helmer) is happy that soon her husband is to be promoted and they won't have to scrimp and save so much. Torvald (Mr. Helmer) scolds her for being a spendthrift while at the same time he is unable to refuse her requests for money. Act I is a scene of domestic bliss even if the family is not very well off. Nora seems to be quite flighty, without a care in the world despite their three young children - but she has a secret she hasn't told her husband which comes back to haunt her at the end of the first act.

Apparently this was quite a controversial play when it first came out because it showed that far from being pampered and talked down to by their husbands and treated like dolls who have no self-purpose, as Nora is by Torvald, women of that time could think and act for themselves although limited by the constraints of society and the law.
Nora. What do you consider my most sacred duties?

Helmer. Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your husband and your children?

Nora. I have other duties just as sacred.

Helmer. That you have not. What duties could those be?

Nora. Duties to myself.

Helmer. Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.

One aspect of the play is the way Torvald and Nora have put each other up on the pedestals of what they imagine the other is but, as Nora points out, they have not really communicated with each other in all their eight years of marriage. The play (while especially driving home the way Torvald treats Nora like a child or a doll for him to spoil) is the build up to the revelation of Nora's secret and how they deal with discovering that those pedestals are not real.
Helmer. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora--bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.

Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

Helmer. Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.
Honestly! It's hardly surprising that Nora reacts the way she does at the end of the play.

Although she knows that what she did was illegal, Nora is proud that she could do something to save her family and it was not wrong of itself. Her secret, when there was little chance of it being discovered, has buoyed her up and kept her the happy heart of the family but Torvald tears that down with a few sentences that show (although he is not told - and doesn't bother to check - the necessity and circumstances that drove her to do what she did) that he doesn't understand his wife.

I'm happy to see there is redemption for a couple of the other characters; I think it is partly because they do decide to confess to each other whereas I thought Nora and Torvald could have talked things through more. Of course, that would have spoiled the drama and thus the impact of Ibsen's play. But there is a glimmer of hope for them in the closing line.

Ibsen based the idea for this play on something that happened to a friend of his; Laura Kieler was in financial difficulties and asked for his help which he refused and consequently she ended up in legal trouble. Ibsen felt guilty about this and wrote the play but Kieler, who went on to become a successful novelist, was not happy that he used her life story for it.

4 stars

129richardderus
Oct 13, 9:30am Top

>128 humouress: A deeply sad play. Poor Torvald.

*chuckle*

130PaulCranswick
Oct 13, 9:50am Top

>128 humouress: There is the reason Ibsen wasn't given a Nobel Prize. He was a feminist!

131charl08
Oct 13, 3:44pm Top

I am impressed at son (and you) studying Ibsen. Have always thought of him as rather hard, and consequently never been tempted to go see one. Maybe I should!

Love the sunset and the tall ship - very atmospheric. Thank you for posting it!

132humouress
Oct 13, 9:35pm Top

>129 richardderus: There's a possible flash of hope at the end of the play.

Poor children!

133humouress
Oct 13, 9:36pm Top

>130 PaulCranswick: *sigh* Probably ;0)

134humouress
Edited: Oct 14, 11:03pm Top

>131 charl08: Well, it's his set text for his IGCSE English (world literature) so he didn't get a choice. This is the first time I've read anything by Ibsen; apart from the Shakespeare we did at school (and some I read at home, having been gifted The Complete Shakespeare many decades ago) I don't tend to read plays.

I did rush through reading it, time being of the essence (he's doing the October/ November batch of exams) but it's fairly easy to read. There are some aspects I was unsure of because it was written nearly a century and a half ago - several of the characters have done 'something dreadful' that is so awful they can't come right out and say it, only drop hints and then recant and it's hard to tell if it's awful just in their minds and Ibsen is teasing us or if they really were awful at that time. For one, Nora - the main character - has taken out a loan without her husband's knowledge which, as a woman, she couldn't legally do.

135humouress
Oct 16, 12:58am Top

30 down, 45 to go. That's 15 a month; possible but improbable.

136humouress
Edited: Oct 29, 4:40pm Top

31) The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

In The Eye of the World Rand seemed to have won a great victory but he, Mat and Perrin have been forever changed by the expectations and cannot go home to the Two Rivers now. The girls, on the other hand, are looking forward to becoming Aes Sedai. Moiraine takes them to Tar Valon to begin their training and there they meet two characters from the previous book.

In the meantime the Seanchan, said to be the descendants of the part of Artur Hawkwings army that sailed to the west, have landed on the west coast of the continent and are imposing their strange customs and animals on the locals their.

And we discover that rumours of a Black Ajah are true and yet more seals on the Dark One’s prison have given way.

Rand finds more people who claim he may be the Dragon Reborn - the man who, in saving the world, will break it and has done in past lives. Resist as he may, events swirl around him and he understands that he and his two friends are at least ta’veren - those who force the Pattern to change its weave around them.

I found this book slow to start; Rand spends the first four chapters running around the fortress of Fal Dara trying to escape from the Amyrlin Seat (the head of the Aes Sedai)

The Wheel of Time universe starts to expand in this book. The cast of characters gets larger, secondary characters return (I enjoyed seeing Bayle Domon again, amongst others) and we get more points of view as important things happen to people other than Rand and his friends and the scope of the universe expands as Rand and his friends visit the realms of What If.

Nynaeve has gone from being ‘the Wisdom’, a position of authority despite being only a few years older than Rand and his friends, to showing a softer side. It was interesting to see a completely different structure of society in the Seanchan and the politics versus the (frustrating) implacable dedication to perceived duty of the Children of Light (who, to me, have shades of the KKK).

4.5 - 5 *****

137humouress
Edited: Nov 3, 6:41am Top

32) Magic Casement by Dave Duncan



{First of 4: A Man of His Word series. Fantasy, magic, YA}

The world of Pandemia is inhabited by imps, jotuns, goblins, fauns, djinni, faery and so on - but this fantasy is no fairy-tale. The tiny island kingdom of Krasnegar lies in a forgotten corner of Pandemia, strategic only in that in neither belongs to the Impire nor the jotnaar. It is not much more than a rock in the icy northern sea with only a causeway, which shuts down in winter, connecting it to the mainland. Princess Inosolan has grown up here and, necessarily, her childhood friends have been those destined to become chambermaids or herders. Or stableboys, like Rap. But now she is growing up so her father and aunt decide to send her to Kinvale, her cousin's elegant estate in the Impire, to polish her manners - and possibly find a suitable prince.

Meanwhile, Rap is growing too and discovers he has strange new powers which make his friends uncomfortable around him. Then he discovers that there is danger to Inos and he is persuaded to undertake a journey overland in the depths of winter to warn her. But will he be too late?

The magic system Duncan has created for this world is innovative although we only discover it gradually along with Rap; in this book, we only uncover the basics. The title of the series is a pun - but to say more would be to spoil things.

The races who inhabit Pandemia are based on the fairy-tale creatures we know but they are human rather than magical. Each race has its idiosyncracies such as the height of jotuns, goblins' green skin and cruel customs or the hairy legs of fauns. In Inos, Rap feels, all traits are blended to perfection.

My son is currently in the middle of sitting his GCSE exams and I remember when I was his age, not long before I first read this book, I had to learn Keat's Ode to a Nightingale for my English Literature exam. I can still quote 'My heart aches and a drowsy numbness stills My sense as though of hemlock I had drunk...' . Duncan uses phrases from the penultimate verse as the titles for this four book series.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that ofttimes hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.


I like the way Duncan uses phrases from other poets' poems as the chapter headings and is kind enough to include the lines at the end of that chapter.

I would say that this is a YA book but it has a grittiness to it that readers at the younger end of the spectrum might not appreciate; the inhabitants of Krasnegar wrest their living from the land immediately across the causeway in summer and then hunker down on the rock to wait out the winter and goblins are very enthusiastic about their methods of torture, which they use to test prisoners and cull the weaker of their own boys.

But I like Rap; he has a steadfast loyalty and he's learning as he goes. And I love the colourful cover on my book which is by Don Maitz and has Inos opening the magic casement of the title to be surprised by what lies beyond (although we can't tell what it is).

4.5 stars

138richardderus
Oct 29, 10:26am Top

>137 humouress: How cool, I never knew that. Makes me more interested in reading the books, thanks Nina!

139humouress
Oct 29, 3:52pm Top

>138 richardderus: You mean I’ve tempted you with poetry?

140Ape
Nov 2, 11:39am Top

Just stopping by to say HIIIII! :D

141humouress
Nov 2, 9:14pm Top

Hi Stephen!!

Your Hallowe'en costume looks a lot like my son's; he went as a vampire hunter but he just wore track pants and a T-shirt. He did carry a bow, although my older son claims he should have worn a cape too.

142humouress
Edited: Nov 4, 1:58am Top

33) The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

{First of 7; The Chronicles of Narnia. High fantasy, children's}

I have the boxed set of the Narnia books (originally published 1950-1956) and this is the first chronologically although it was the last to be written and was published second to last in 1955. I had several of the books as a child and read them many times over, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe being the first I came across.

I read this to my sons, mainly my ten year old, as bedtime reading. He has seen the films and it made me smile to hear his gasps of realisation as he put together events that influence the stories of the other books.

Now, how to review this without giving away spoilers?

The story starts in London long ago when your grandfather was a child as Lewis puts it, at a time when Sherlock Holmes was still active. At the beginning of the summer holidays, Polly meets Diggory, who has just moved in next door to stay with his aunt and uncle while they look after his terminally ill mother, and the children decide to try and explore the empty house further down by going through the connecting attics of their terraced houses. Unfortunately, they get things wrong and open the wrong door and so fall into an adventure - which is quite scary at times - which leads them, and us, to Narnia.

Although the protagonists are not the ones we are most familiar with from the other books (if you've read them first or seen the films first) and the 'flavour' of this book is a bit different, the adventure is quite gripping. I do feel that Lewis has got the friendly bickering between the children right - even if it is jolly old fashioned (which I, personally, relish). Though Lewis did not have children of his own at that point, he had hosted three schoolchildren who had been evacuated from London in 1939 in anticipation of the war.

Short and sweet (by todays standards) but still covers a lot of ground.

5 stars *****

143PaulCranswick
Nov 4, 1:43am Top

>142 humouress: Yes, Nina, my experience was also of reading these books to the kids. The films came later and they got them straight away.

144humouress
Nov 4, 1:51am Top

>143 PaulCranswick: (How odd; both our posts are currently numbered 142, but I suspect it'll sort itself out soon)

Hi Paul! How nice to see you here. I've been going slow on LT again - my older son is going through his IGCSE exams at the moment and we're all going through them with him - I'll have to drop by your place soon. My kids being younger than yours, the films came out before I decided to read the books to them.

It's only recently that I've started reading my own precious books to the kids rather than books from their shelves. We (parents) rarely wander into their room these days for fear we might get lost and never find our way out again, so I'd rather not risk my books ;0)

145humouress
Nov 4, 2:05am Top

34) The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

146SandDune
Nov 4, 2:28am Top

>142 humouress: The Magician’s Nephew was one of my favourite books as a child, even more so than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

147richardderus
Nov 4, 1:12pm Top

>139 humouress: Less the poetry itself than the origin story. But sorta kinda.

148humouress
Nov 4, 9:37pm Top

>146 SandDune: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was my first, so it’s always been the standard bearer for me; I think, when they’re all similar, it’s your first that’s your favourite. The Narnia books are a staple of lots of people’s childhoods.

But it was also one of a heap of books that drew me to fantasy - I suspect. I can’t identify exactly when or how it happened to be honest.

150PaulCranswick
Nov 4, 9:42pm Top

>148 humouress: We always remember the first one!!

151MickyFine
Nov 5, 12:07pm Top

>145 humouress: I just read that one too!

152humouress
Nov 9, 12:50am Top

>151 MickyFine: Book jinx!

Oh, no - MickyFine, MickyFine, MickyFine. There; now you can read again.

153humouress
Nov 9, 12:50am Top

>150 PaulCranswick: We do, don't we Paul.

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