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It's the Martin Luther King Day reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 21, 3:37pm

Post #1 of 13 (366 views)
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It's the Martin Luther King Day reading thread! Can't Post

Yesterday was the MLK Day holiday here in the US. He was a quintessential American figure, and yet many of his stirring words apply to all of us as human beings. For example, doesn't this sound like something from our beloved Professor? "But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars."

This last week I found myself re-reading a small collection of Sherlock Holmes stories written by the late (and greatly lamented) Bill Crider. His tales do a good job of picking up Conan Doyle's/Watson's voice, although the plots aren't quite as intricate. Still, the stories were entertaining and soothing both.

I finished listening to The House of Unexpected Sisters, a recent Precious Ramotswe book by Alexander McCall Smith. This installment in the series has more plot than many do, but still, I read for the voices of the characters and their gentle, positive outlook.

I'm now listening to a complete change of pace, Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore, which was originally published almost thirty years ago. It reminds me of a California version of Carl Hiaasen's Florida books---noir and funny at the same time. Except it has fantasy elements based on genuine myth and legend. It's not necessarily my thing overall, but still, it's entertaining.

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
Immortal


Jan 21, 10:10pm

Post #2 of 13 (332 views)
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been struggling a bit to find something good [In reply to] Can't Post

I was going through a bit of a bad patch there, and needed something light. So I tried reading The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan, which from the cover looked like one of those fairly fluffy romances with a bookstore in it - just the ticket I thought! But it's not light-hearted; the people in it are all struggling with very real problems that don't get solved easily. She's a good writer, and I will pick it up again, but it didn't suit my mood at the time.

Then I tried Lady Takes the Case by Eliza Casey, which is fluffy in the extreme. But it annoyed me because even I as an American knew that people in the "county" social sphere of early 20th-century England would not act like that, say that, etc. It just kept jarring me with wrongness. Plus, the mystery is poorly handled; mostly the lady would-be detective has a series of conversations with people who know nothing beyond gossip; there are very few actual clues, people necessary to the story show up only as needed in contrived ways. . . I could go on, but suffice it to say I was mostly bored AND irritated.

So I turned to nonfiction and read Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, who is a superb writer. It's the story of how she found out that she was not the biological daughter of her beloved "father" - and the rabbit hole she went down trying to figure out how that came to be (both her parents were dead), who her real father was, and what it all meant to her. The major shock was that she always considered herself Jewish, but she was blonde and blue-eyed in a dark family and never felt quite like she belonged there, and finding her very WASP father made sense--while calling into question her very identity.

Halfway through I found myself thinking "well, clearly she is Jewish because oy vey, the kvetching!" A good deal of the book is her obsessing over 'who am I really" - when it's a moot point, because if your mom is Jewish, you're Jewish (and because Dani is Jewish, so is her son). I came to feel that it was a question of race more than religion, of looks rather than inner sense of self, and that bothered me.

But as she comes to terms with her new reality, the book gets more interesting. She talks a lot about medical ethics, the ethics of privacy (when her sperm father donated, he was promised absolute anonymity, but DNA testing made that impossible), and what makes a sense of identity, anyway? And she writes it as a story, so that my attention was held throughout. In fact, one of those books that I had to tell myself "it is midnight, put the book down and go to sleep!"

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
my blog: https://jodybower.com/myths-archetypes-in-film/


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 22, 12:08am

Post #3 of 13 (319 views)
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If you want a change of pace, [In reply to] Can't Post

have you tried Agent Zigzag? It's the true story of an English thief during WWI who became first a German spy, then a double-agent for England. The story would be ludicrous if it was false, involving various girlfriends and even a magician at one point. Highly recommended.

If you want something that's light fiction, try Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan - a woman is claimed as the spoils of war but she forges her own way among the enemy. It's a guilty-pleasure read and really quite well done. Smile

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.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Annael
Immortal


Jan 22, 1:27am

Post #4 of 13 (312 views)
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thank you for the recs! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've done very well with recommendations from the TORn hive mind - and I think you & I like similar things, so I will follow up with both of these.

Hope you're feeling more the thing these days.

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
my blog: https://jodybower.com/myths-archetypes-in-film/


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 22, 2:37am

Post #5 of 13 (306 views)
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Ask me again after tomorrow [In reply to] Can't Post

when I've had my first full Pilates lesson. Tongue

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.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Annael
Immortal


Jan 23, 4:23pm

Post #6 of 13 (192 views)
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and so? [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't ask yesterday, the boards seemed to be down . . .

Sat up half the night reading "Warprize." I have a few quibbles - seriously, a warrior culture never figured out how to set broken bones? - but otherwise am enjoying it very much.

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
my blog: https://jodybower.com/myths-archetypes-in-film/


Ginger
Lorien

Jan 23, 5:54pm

Post #7 of 13 (187 views)
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My favorite place for book recommendations [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't read all the posts on TORn, but I do read all the reading thread posts.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 23, 7:44pm

Post #8 of 13 (176 views)
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A little stiff [In reply to] Can't Post

but not as much as I expected. Smile And I can definitely feel my core muscles this morning. I'm going to have a cycle to get the blood flowing again.

I'm glad you're liking Warprize. It's not great literature but that's not why I read it - sometimes, you just want to be taken away and this story does the trick.

ETA: you'll find out in the next books why medical care isn't known by the warriors, and why Keir is determined to break the hold that the Warrior-Priests have over them.

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.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jan 25, 12:27am)


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 23, 11:10pm

Post #9 of 13 (169 views)
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Witch and Wombat, The Saga of Erik the Viking [In reply to] Can't Post

Witch and Wombat, by Carolyn Cushman, doesn't have the most polished writing, but it's been a favorite of my daughter's for over 20 years, so much that now she has rebound her old battered paperback in a new, hand-made hard cover. I realized I'd never read it, so I got the kindle version and am enjoying it.

It's a rather silly story about a witch and her wombat familiar who lead a group of gamers from our world on an adventure in her world. They think it's all virtual reality. Her world is dying because people aren't interested in it anymore, so she's trying drum up interest. It's a quite a pastiche, and reminds me a bit of some of Terry Pratchett's earlier work, though not with his great writing.

On the other hand, if you want amazing writing, Terry Jones had a perfect ear for fairy tales. He wrote the Saga of Erik the Viking for his little son. I read it out loud to my kids probably 30 years ago, and for some reason hadn't re-read it recently, though I loved it. Terry Jones' passing yesterday reminded me of it, so I'm re-reading it now.

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



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 23, 11:14pm

Post #10 of 13 (165 views)
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Oh, I've also been reading some Jane Austin [In reply to] Can't Post

The new Sanditon series on PBS prompted me to read that unfinished work, as well as The Watsons. I enjoyed both of them, but am not a fan of the adaptation. Somehow incest and masochism are not what I want to see when I watch Jane Austen adaptations.

Then I had my kindle read Persuasion to me while I was cleaning the kitchen one day. I've read it before but it had been awhile.

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



ElanorTX
Grey Havens


Jan 24, 12:35am

Post #11 of 13 (164 views)
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An oldie but a goodie [In reply to] Can't Post

The Scarlet Pimpernel, an espionage novel set in revolutionary France. No magicians, though.


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



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 24, 1:51am

Post #12 of 13 (157 views)
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No, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...in the Scarlet Pimpernel we do see (along with Zorro and the Count of Monte Cristo) one of the literary grandfathers of such characters as the Shadow, the Green Hornet and Batman.

#FidelityToTolkien


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 24, 3:48pm

Post #13 of 13 (108 views)
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I, too, pick up some great recommendations here.// [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....

 
 

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