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It's the happy belated Baggins birthday reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn

Sep 26 2017, 3:10pm

Post #1 of 6 (275 views)
It's the happy belated Baggins birthday reading thread! Can't Post

Well, I'm back Smile. I was in beautiful Quebec on September 22nd but did remember to raise a glass in honor of our favorite hobbits.

I also remembered to keep a list of print and e-books I read since I was last here. Plus I'm still listening to Moll Flanders, which is long-winded enough I can fall asleep and wake up again and still follow the drift of the story and its wonderful 300-year-old language.

On Silbury Hill by Adam Thayer. This is a small volume ostensibly about Silbury Hill, one of the complex of ancient features around Avebury, England. It's both a personal reminiscence of Thayer's school days wandering the area and musings on poetry, landscape, and history. I enjoyed it so much I'm going to look for his novel, Ulverton

The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch, fifth in the Rivers of London series. Fortunately I'd read the first in the series, also titled Rivers of London (unnecessarily changed to Midnight Riot in the US) so when I fell over this installment I already knew the conceit of the stories. I thoroughly enjoyed its cleverness and sf/fantasy references (several to LotR) as well as its plot, a supernatural thriller in a very real London.

Forbidden Fruit, by Kerry Greenwood, fifth in the Corinna Chapman series. I have the series on my ereader and mistakenly read five when I haven't yet read four, but no matter. I love these light mysteries featuring Corinna, a baker in Melbourne, and the repertory company of her friends, neighbors, and cats. Like the voice of Peter Grant in the Aaronovitch series, Corinna's voice is so strong and amusing I'll put up with all sort of excesses in the plot Tongue

Eight Sherlock Holmes Stories by Bill Crider, who is also the author of the delightful Sheriff Dan Rhoads series. These are stories collected from different publications, and, taken all at once, show a bit of overlap, not that I had a problem with that. They're written exactly in the original Conan Doyle style and work well as small mysteries. My only issue was with a bonus story included at the end of the (electronic) book, not written by Crider, which was based on a supernatural premise completely alien not only to the original Holmes stories but also to the stories in this volume.

No Cunning Plan: My Story, an autobiography by Tony Robinson, best known to me at least as Baldrick in the Blackadder comedies and as the host of Time Team. Of course the man has done many, many other things and led quite an interesting life. He tells his story with a becoming humility and sense of humor.

And that's me. What have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....

(This post was edited by Lily Fairbairn on Sep 26 2017, 3:11pm)


Sep 26 2017, 3:29pm

Post #2 of 6 (254 views)
on an Austen-related kick [In reply to] Can't Post

after reading The Austen Project, I ordered The Younger Sister, Catherine Hubback's attempt to complete her aunt's unfinished novel The Watsons. However, she didn't use the actual first five chapters, instead rewriting them from, apparently, Cassandra's tellings of the story, in a much more heavy-handed way than Austen's deft use of irony.

Nearly done with my third re-read of the Godstalk series by P.C. Hodgell, which continues to unveil the amazing depth and breadth of her 'verse. Would love to see Studio Ghibli take this series on - I think only they could capture the world and the ideas adequately.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around Ö The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

Aunt Dora Baggins

Sep 26 2017, 4:43pm

Post #3 of 6 (251 views)
Buried Desire: Soulbonded Book 1 by A.E. Wasp [In reply to] Can't Post

The author is a friend of mine who has written several gay-romance books, so I wanted to read one. Most of them are realistic; there's a whole series called "Veterans Affairs", for example. But this series is fantasy. Book one is a ghost story that takes place at an ordinary kids' camp (the heroes are camp counselors).

But near the beginning is a wonderful storytelling episode within the story, where the two brothers (who are Roma) tell where they came from, and it's pure fairy-tale, with a witch and a princess and a changeling. The two brothers become lovers, which may or may not be incest, since one of them may have begun life as a wooden doll.

I haven't read Book 2 yet. She said it ends on a terrible cliffhanger, but she promised she would write Book 3 soon.

The sex scenes are very explicit. They don't exactly embarrass me, but I confess I skim over them because I've always found written explicit sex scenes kind of boring. But the rest of the story intrigued me, and I read it in an afternoon.

GNU Terry Pratchett
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com


Sep 26 2017, 5:13pm

Post #4 of 6 (246 views)
Nachman Kataczinsky [In reply to] Can't Post

In 2005, at the commemoration of 65 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, a large military delegation from Israel came to pay its respects. Israeli jets flew over the camp and soldiers presented arms. The commander of the Israeli Air Force gave a speech and said, among other things "If only we could be here 65 years ago..."
This made me think. What could they have done? The result of this process is my first book.

-Nachman Kataczinsky, from a Smashwords interview published 7-29-2014.

The Shield: A Novel by Nachman Kataczinsky. An experimental missile defense force field powered by zero-point energy malfunctions and sends the entire nation of modern day Israel back to June 20, 1941, just before the systematic mass execution of Jews by the Nazis begins in full force. The Israeli government hastily puts together a campaign of subterfuge, diplomacy, and brute force to attempt to save the millions of lives that in another time would be lost. They must form an uneasy alliance with a Great Britain that is quite surprised that a technologically advanced nation of 8 million Jews has suddenly sprung up in their mandate territory. Indeed, Israel must deal cautiously with a world which in the lead up to WWII showed itself unsympathetic if not outright hostile to Jews. As for the leaders of Hamas brought along in the West Bank, they see an opportunity to destroy the Jewish state once and for all by smuggling nuclear information to the Nazis.

The writing is journeyman, but the subject and narrative hold oneís interest quite well. And though it shares the characteristic of most alternative history novels of an abundant number of characters and frequent POV shifts, it holds together well.


Beyond the Shield by Nachman Kataczinsky. Sequel to The Shield. Transplanted in time Israel tries to use its technological advantage to guide WWII to an end that doesnít result in the apocalyptic threat of the Cold War. Simultaneously, Israel turns to offering a haven for Jews from the Soviet Union, the United States, and anywhere else in the world where Jews are persecuted. (i.e., everywhere.) The narrative adds personal drama as 21st century Israelis meet and interact with their rescued 1940s relatives. How does a middle-aged man react to a great aunt who had died in Auschwitz but has been saved and is now a living teenager? Indeed, how does a Holocaust survivor react when he meets his young self who hasnít been mentally scarred by the horror of a concentration camp?

Again, the writing is serviceable, and the subject and narrative compelling, but the addition of more characters and more POVs makes it a bit confusing at times.


Some thoughts: Like with Takumi Yanaiís Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There!, itís illuminating (and a bit disconcerting) for me as an American to read accounts where the USA, and the West in general, is not necessarily seen as an ally, and could even be considered an adversary. Makes one think. (Speaking of which, I'm still looking for translations of any novels in that popular genre of Chinese speculative fiction featuring war with the US.)

Then thereís the theodicy of The Holocaust. In our world many struggle with the reason God allowed it to happen. What possible plan could God have for justifying such evil? Of course we as mere mortals can never understand the motivations of God. But what are the consequences in Kataczinskyís imagined world when The Holocaust is averted? One might argue that it is averted in Kataczinskyís world only because the transplanted Israelis know that it happened in their world so maybe that was Godís plan all along.

In the end, thoughts to make oneís head spin.

Queen Beruthiel, Queen Beruthiel, there's no one like Queen Beruthiel,
She's broken every Gondor law, she breaks the law of Earendil.
Her powers of feline-ation would make Aiwendil stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Queen Beruthiel's not there!
You may seek her in the Hallows, you may search throughout the square Ė
But I tell you once and once again, Queen Beruthiel's not there!

- Old Tollers' Book of Fat Cats on the Mat

Superuser / Moderator

Sep 26 2017, 6:16pm

Post #5 of 6 (243 views)
I gave up on Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd. [In reply to] Can't Post

A telling of the history of Salisbury in England from hunter-gtherer times to the modern day. An interesting premise and packed with interesting information, but it's necessarily episodic and I found it hard to stick with.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Sep 27 2017, 5:21pm)

Grey Havens

Sep 27 2017, 6:34am

Post #6 of 6 (222 views)
I enjoyed it but found it [In reply to] Can't Post

sexist and in some places unnecessarily contrived

"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."


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