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It's the May is busting out all over reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


May 8, 3:04pm

Post #1 of 22 (1314 views)
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It's the May is busting out all over reading thread! Can't Post

Yes, I know the song from Carousel is "June is busting out all over", but here in Texas it's already bright and hot. As the TV weather guy said a couple of days ago, "It'll cool down again in, oh, October..." Smile

I'm still listening to The Aloha Quilt and am enjoying the material on quilting and the insider's view of Hawaii. The heroine's soon-to-be-ex-husband is nasty piece of work, but if not for him, there would be very little conflict in the story. I trust everything will work out in the end.

I read part of a novel, The Extra Man by Jonathan Ames. The blurb on the cover reads: "A sure-footed exploration of sexual confusion and a loopily elegant, surprisingly moving urban comedy of manners." The New York Times Book Review.

Okaaaayyyy. I get the confusion part---boy, do I get the confusion part---but by the time I gave up on the book, no more than a third of the way through, I saw no evidence of elegance or manners. And here I'd thought reading the Carl Hiaasen book about the underbelly of Miami celebrity life was like landing on an alien planet. At least that book was entertaining. This one was, well, distressing.

Now I'm reading a British natural history book titled On the Origin of Teepees (a play on Darwin’s On the Origin of Species) with the subtitle, "Why some ideas spread while others go extinct". The author, Jonnie Hughes, travels to the American Plains states to examine how natural selection works in humans. I’m not sure how the latter ties in with the former---I mean, why not study natural selection in, say, Birmingham---but then, I’ve barely started the book.

I love the way Hughes writes. He refers to a type of bat with: “'Village idiot’ is its default facial expression”. Which is much too good a description to waste on a bat. Tongue

So 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....


Annael
Half-elven


May 8, 10:06pm

Post #2 of 22 (1234 views)
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Mariana by Susanna Kearsley [In reply to] Can't Post

another work of historical romance/fantasy involving time travel. Enjoyable and well written . . . apart from the author having her character describe her own expression, for instance "I looked up at him, my eyes startled" - how can she see her own eyes? Another section for the book of writing tips I may or may not be writing now.

Off to the library to pick up "Raven Black" by Ann Cleeves, my new mystery writer find. (She wrote the books that the mystery series "Vera" are based on, but this is the first in her books set in the Shetland Islands, which also inspired a TV show.)

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 … 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

(This post was edited by Annael on May 8, 10:06pm)


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


May 9, 2:38pm

Post #3 of 22 (1171 views)
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I like her Shetland books... [In reply to] Can't Post

...better than her Vera books, not that I've read copiously in either series. They seem better paced to me. Likewise with the TV shows. Of course it's hard not to like Shetland when it's, you know, SHETLAND Smile

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....


Attalus
Lorien


May 9, 6:33pm

Post #4 of 22 (1150 views)
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There are... [In reply to] Can't Post

ponies there, I hear.Pirate

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


May 9, 9:34pm

Post #5 of 22 (1145 views)
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Three interesting books [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust", by Edith Hahn Beer. She lived in Vienna, and was forced into a ghetto and then a slave labour camp. She managed to return to Vienna and went underground. She met a Nazi party member who fell in love with her, and despite her confession of being Jewish, married her and kept her secret. Her detailed account of the war years, filled with constant fear of discovery, is enthralling. She kept detailed records, every document and photograph and are now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.

"The Heretic Queen", by Michelle Moran. This is a novel based on the life of Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti. As such, she is branded heretic due to her links to Nefertiti and her hsband Amunhotep IV. Once grown, she becomes the second wife of Ramesses II, known as "the Great". I had recently read another of her books, "Cleopatra's Daughter" which I also enjoyed.

"The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life" by Charles Higham. This is a biography of Wallis Warfield Simpson, for whom Edward VIII gave up his throne. I have always known about their Nazi sympathies, but admit to being shocked and appalled at the extent of them. Apparently Edward fiercely resented being ostracized by the royal family, and was persuaded by Hitler that he would be reinstated as king 'when' Germany won the war. The author had access to heretofore unreleased documents both in Britain, Germany, Italy and the US, and many are compelling reading.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Annael
Half-elven


May 10, 3:32pm

Post #6 of 22 (1107 views)
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we've been watching "The Crown" [In reply to] Can't Post

and the documentary "Spying on the Royals" about how the British and American governments spied on the Windsors. One has to wonder how the war would have gone had Edward not abdicated; Hitler was playing him for years, and he seems to have been a weak & stupid man. Bertie may not have wanted the job but he was much better at it . . . possibly because he didn't want it, had no desire for power or being in the spotlight?

I toyed with the idea of a story about Wallis actually being a secret agent with the mission of getting Edward off the throne . . .

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 … 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


Annael
Half-elven


May 11, 4:24pm

Post #7 of 22 (1073 views)
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finished Mariana [In reply to] Can't Post

greatly annoyed by the twist at the end which was NOT set up at all and so easily could have been with the addition of 4 or 5 sentences sprinkled throughout the book. As it was I felt blindsided.

Tolkien's method of rewriting the book backwards to make it all tie together would have helped.

Fortunately "Raven Black" by Ann Cleese was much better. I was reminded of Ruth Rendell.

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 … 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


Attalus
Lorien


May 11, 5:28pm

Post #8 of 22 (1068 views)
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Manchester and Reid... [In reply to] Can't Post

...are pretty brutal about Edward and Wallis (The Last Lion, vols 2 and 3). I loved the portrayal of him in "Chariots of Fire."

Me, I'm still working on Lindsay Davis' Saturnalia and looking forward with mixed feelings to Nemesis. Unsure

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


May 11, 6:36pm

Post #9 of 22 (1065 views)
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"Macbeth" by Jo Nesbo [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a retelling of Shakespeare's story as a gritty noir crime drama. Not my usual choice of genre, but I was intrigued after hearing the author interviewed on NPR. And the writing is great.

The setting is the present or possibly a dystopian near-future in a town that reminds me of Gotham City, dark and crime-ridden. Duncan is the police commissioner and Macbeth is an up-and-coming young officer. Lady Macbeth, whose given name seems to be "Lady", runs a casino. A drug lord named Hecate is in charge of the three witches, who have a special skill in making "brew", the potent drug that many of town's inhabitants are addicted to.

It's really intriguing and gripping. It's been decades since I read Shakespeare's Macbeth or saw Polanski's movie, so I don't remember all the ins and outs. I plan to finish this first, and then go back and re-read the play (but not see the movie; once of that was enough.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on May 11, 6:39pm)


Starling
Half-elven


May 11, 8:22pm

Post #10 of 22 (1063 views)
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Have you seen [In reply to] Can't Post

the excellent 70's series 'Edward & Mrs Simpson'? It's brilliant. It covers the period when they first met and then the abdication crisis.I find Wallis and Edward fascinating and horrifying, in equal measure.
On a rather different tack, I found this book really interesting.




Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


May 12, 2:23am

Post #11 of 22 (1044 views)
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Yeah, that fascinating and horrifying thing. [In reply to] Can't Post

South-central Pennsylvanians can admit that Wallis was born in our neck of the woods, but you won't see or hear much evidence of it outside of a local historical society or library collection. Pride vs. shame. It's kind of cool to have a such a famously scandalous person connected to the area...but we're also very glad that she wasn't a "real native". ;) We'd rather brag about the Civil War battle and destruction of the retreating Confederate wagon train as it passed close to the spot where she was born, for some reason.

**********************************

NABOUF
Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon
Knitting Knerd
NARF: NWtS Chapter Member since June 17,2011


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


May 15, 7:00pm

Post #12 of 22 (1005 views)
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It's the middle-of-May reading thread! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've finished listening toThe Aloha Quilt. I'm sure it's marketed as a romance, but the actual romantic parts are very mild. Most of the book is concerned with the middle-aged Shocked heroine making her life over after a divorce by helping to organize a quilt school in Hawaii. I enjoyed the local color immensely, and while I at one point became irritated with the heroine acting like a pill, everything ended up well, if utterly predictably.

I'm still reading and enjoying The Origin of Tepees, which is, as sub-titled, a nicely quirky examination of the evolution of ideas, with the British author using the history of the United State in general and of certain Native American tribes in particular as his examples.

I also dipped in and out of the Shakespeare biography, Will in the World, but between that and Tepees my brain is getting a bit overstuffed Crazy. I need to find something else as light as Quilt.

So 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....


Attalus
Lorien


May 15, 9:53pm

Post #13 of 22 (986 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

I just finished Saturnalia, and, cowardly enough, have not taken up Cold Welcome. I find I like Ky too much to want to read about Ms. Moon torturing her again. But I will, I will read it, if I have to go a chapter at a time.
Meanwhile, I have taken out my well-worn copy of The Right Stuff Sigh

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!

(This post was edited by Attalus on May 15, 9:54pm)


Annael
Half-elven


May 16, 4:16pm

Post #14 of 22 (945 views)
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some light, some heavy [In reply to] Can't Post

I finished Mariana by Susanne Kearsley and while I enjoyed it (another of her time-travel series, but each time she does them a bit differently), there's a twist at the end that she did not set up at all. And it would have been so easy to do so, just a sentence here or there, no more than a half-dozen scattered throughout would have done it. But she didn't do that, and so I was blindsided and resented it - and didn't believe it. Sloppy.

I'm almost done with The Paris Key by Juliette Bakewell, an author new to me. Although some of her themes are heavy - terrorism, infidelity, coming to terms with one's lot in life - she skips over the surface only, so it comes across as a bit fluffy. She also annoyed me by stepping out of the story to instruct the reader in how to pronounce French and also by providing translations after each French phrase:

Quote
Then he says, "Ah, les Americains. Tres gentil."
Which meant, "Ah, the Americans. Very courteous."


On the more intense side, a friend's friend has developed ALS and has had to move to a nursing home. He left her all his books, and she brought some to me that she thought I'd like, including several by Northrup Frye, the noted literary critic and theorist. I've not read a lot of literary theory (I asked one of my professors who has a doctorate in it if I needed to for my dissertation, and he snorted and said "don't bother!"), but I'm enjoying Frye's lectures on romantic fiction and look forward to reading the other books.

She also gave me a translation of Schleiermacher, one of the founders of the hermeneutics school of philosophy; I love the later phenomenological hermeneuticists like Gadamer, but I haven't read that far back down the lineage. I've only peeked into it and it will be heavy going, so I'm going to take it in very small doses.

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 … 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


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


May 19, 6:54pm

Post #15 of 22 (858 views)
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A parable. [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read this last October, and revisited it today.


Quote
A village has been built in the deepest gully of a floodplain.

At regular intervals, flash floods wipe away houses, killing all inside. Less dramatic—but more lethal—is the steady toll as individual villagers slip and drown in the marshes around them.

After especially deadly events, the villagers solemnly discuss what they might do to protect themselves. Perhaps they might raise their homes on stilts? But a powerful faction among the villagers is always at hand to explain why these ideas won’t work. "No law can keep our village safe! The answer is that our people must learn to be better swimmers - and oh by the way, you said ‘stilts’ when the proper term is ‘piles,’ so why should anybody listen to you?"

So the argument rages, without result, year after year, decade after decade, fatalities mounting all the while. Nearby villages, built in the hills, marvel that the gully-dwellers persist in their seemingly reckless way of life. But the gully-dwellers counter that they are following the wishes of their founders, whose decisions two centuries ago must always be upheld by their descendants.


At first, I couldn't even remember what event occasioned the writing of that piece, so inured have I become to similar stories.

(Source.)

Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


May 19, 8:58pm

Post #16 of 22 (849 views)
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Thank you, NEB // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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....


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 19, 10:00pm

Post #17 of 22 (848 views)
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Answer to the Parable [In reply to] Can't Post

The obvious answer: Move the village, Stupid! Your founders were idiots.

Perhaps this isn't a perfect metaphor, if that was the intention. Wink Our situation here is a little more complicated. Suffice to say that SOMETHING at the heart of the issue probably needs to be either abolished or amended for clarification. I will say no more lest we digress into the ugly world of politics.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 19, 10:09pm)


Attalus
Lorien


May 19, 10:31pm

Post #18 of 22 (835 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

Pirate

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


May 20, 2:50am

Post #19 of 22 (822 views)
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cape cod [In reply to] Can't Post

somehow I got a copy (probably a freebee from somewhere) of Thoreauauauauauaua er whatever's Cape Cod.

Read bits of it randomly, and it's quirky, oddball, and full of 1865ish humor, some of which goes right over...eh...waht????

Also kind of like getting into a tardis and taking a spin along the New England seacoast.

The second chapter is an in depth dissection of a shipwreck as seen from the shore...the seaweed harvesters raking up valuable seaweed in the aftermath of a severe storm, never sure if that pile of weed was gonna have a body under it...

Isn't he the Walden Pond guy?

Cool

also lots of motivational youtube

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Mýl 'lain nallol, I sûl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...






N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


May 20, 3:01am

Post #20 of 22 (820 views)
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Same guy. He'd been dead three years. [In reply to] Can't Post

At the time Cape Cod was published.

So the humor was 1862-ish at the latest.

Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.


-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


May 20, 3:07am

Post #21 of 22 (817 views)
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ah yes [In reply to] Can't Post

it is amusing and interesting

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Mýl 'lain nallol, I sûl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...






Meneldor
Valinor


May 21, 10:50pm

Post #22 of 22 (699 views)
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By Fire Above [In reply to] Can't Post

by Robyn Bennis. Sequel to The Guns Above, her novel about a woman commanding a war zeppelin in a vaguely Napoleonic-era world. Good characterizations and dialog, great action scenes, and surprising plot twists. Sign me up for the next one.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. -Psalm 107

 
 

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