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It's the first reading thread of 2021!

Lily Fairbairn
Asgardian


Jan 5, 3:23pm

Post #1 of 16 (389 views)
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It's the first reading thread of 2021! Can't Post

I hope everyone had an enjoyable December with all its holidays and managed to stay safe at the same time.

I'm listening to The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis, one of her lengthy series of mysteries set in ancient Rome. She's moved on from her original hero, informer Marcus Didius Falco, and her main character is now Falco's adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, who is British by birth. In this installment, Flavia and her fiance (a magistrate and contractor) investigate half a dozen skeletons buried in the garden of a rather sleazy bar/pub. The narrator has almost too light a voice, making Flavia sound rather like a breathless child, but, as always, the story moves right along and incorporates much enjoyable historical color.

On paper I'm reading Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parcak, about her work using satellite imagery to find sites on the ground. I've seen her on several TV shows and thought at the time she's quite good-humored as well as knowledgable, and so the book proves. Her main area of interest is ancient Egypt but she's worked with Viking sites as well.

I'm sure she's cringeing at the typo that changed Cleopatra's date of death from 30 BC to 30 AD just as much as I'm cringeing at the typo in one of my novels that changed the date of the Armada from 1588 to 1688. Shocked

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
Avenger


Jan 5, 5:27pm

Post #2 of 16 (339 views)
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oh those typos [In reply to] Can't Post

And the oh-so-helpful readers who point them out to you . . . I have a cousin-by-marriage who fancies herself an editor and who immediately writes me as soon as she reads a book of mine to tell me all the errors she's found. Never a word about if she liked the book or not.

I have just finished Daniel Mendelsohn's marvelous An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic. I loved this book on so many levels. First, I've studied the Odyssey, but Mendelsohn, who teaches classes on it, pointed out so much I'd missed (or my former professor missed!). Second, he talks about what it really means to earn a doctorate in the humanities, what that experience is like and how it changes you, in words I'll probably be sharing with others who still don't get why I spent so many years and so much money in that pursuit. And finally there's the story of him and his father, interwoven cleverly using the same techniques Homer (or whoever) used to craft the poem, so that you get to listen to Mendelsohn explain those techniques to his students and observe them in action all at once. A lovely and loving book.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/...id=1590637780&sr=8-1



Aragorn the Elfstone
Justice League


Jan 5, 11:05pm

Post #3 of 16 (331 views)
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Hello, all! Currently reading "The Last Wish". [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, friends. Once again, I must apologize for not being around much. 2020 was a very atypical year for me, even outside of the pandemic. I started hosting my own YouTube channel (and co-hosting another) and made a whole slew of new friends from that community. So it's all kept me very busy.

But I'm trying to better balance things this year. And part of that is making time for me to read for fun. I'm starting out by reading the first Witcher book "The Last Wish". I just read the first story in the book last night, and continuing on today. Really enjoying it so far! It's interesting to see the differences between the original stories and the Netflix series.

After this, I'll be reading the new Star Wars novel "Light of the Jedi" (the first High Republic book). Can't wait! I have a lot of SW books on the back burner (that I meant to read last year), but I'm going to plunge into this one first, as I'm really interested to get a glimpse into this new corner of the SW universe.

Other books I'm hoping to get to this year: Shadows of the Dark Crystal YA series, Dune, Outlander, Leviathan Wakes.

Fingers crossed I do better this year than last year. Wink

Hope you're all doing well! Heart

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that." - Viggo Mortensen

Come join me in discussing all things cinema and television on my YouTube Channel John Webster Film.


Otaku-sempai
Avenger


Jan 6, 3:41am

Post #4 of 16 (321 views)
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Do No Harm - A Nathan Heller Thriller [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm currently reading Max Allan Collins' Do No Harm where private detective Nate Heller looks into the Sam Sheppard conviction. This was the criminal case that was the inspiration for the television series (and much later movie) The Fugitive.

I have on order Better Dead, about an attempt to put to a stop the execution of the Rosenbergs.

#FidelityToTolkien
#DiversityWithFidelity

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 6, 3:45am)


Greenwood Hobbit
Justice League


Jan 6, 2:14pm

Post #5 of 16 (301 views)
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I'm a Falco fan [In reply to] Can't Post

and have read a few of the Flavia Albia books, but haven't settled to them quite as well. I enjoyed them, but wouldn't regard them as 'keepers'. The same hand wrote them, but the voice is different. I've just been reading a charming paperback (non-fiction) called 'Forgotten Fruits' - stories behind some of Britain's traditional fruit and vegetables that are no longer grown or very hard to find. In these days of mass retail, we've lost so many good varieties because they don't keep for long periods, fruit every other year, bruise easily etc. It's a great shame.


noWizardme
Asgardian


Jan 6, 6:44pm

Post #6 of 16 (294 views)
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In theory, I'm reading Piranesi [In reply to] Can't Post

Piranesi is by Susanna Clarke, who is probably best knows for 'Strange and Norrell'. (Review: https://www.theguardian.com/...nt-study-in-solitude )

But in fact I haven't got started on it. That's about me and not the book, which I expect will be excellent. But I'm finding it hard to concentrate on works of fiction at the moment, so I keep on deciding to start it later.

Is there anyone who has read it and can offer encouragement?

~~~~~~
"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016 https://the-toast.net/...-a-jrr-tolkien-book/


Annael
Avenger


Jan 8, 5:15pm

Post #7 of 16 (247 views)
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I want to read it [In reply to] Can't Post

It sounds so interesting. But I really struggled with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. The BBC adaptation was excellent - one of the rare times an adaptation is better than the book. May get it from the library & see if I can get through it. After I've read the several other books on the pile.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/...id=1590637780&sr=8-1



N.E. Brigand
Asgardian


Jan 9, 5:32am

Post #8 of 16 (233 views)
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Reading the latest by young blue eyes. [In reply to] Can't Post

Disturbing and with echoes of the plot at the heart of the film that won Spike Lee an Oscar.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Asgardian


Jan 9, 2:31pm

Post #9 of 16 (223 views)
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Do you mean Ronan Farrow? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had to look the reference up - didn't know it was a thing.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Lily Fairbairn
Asgardian


Jan 9, 3:52pm

Post #10 of 16 (217 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

The Flavia Albia books just don't have---something, a spark, maybe---that the original Falco books have. Personally, I suspect Davis is tired of the series but understandably enough want to put food on her table.

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....


Lily Fairbairn
Asgardian


Jan 9, 3:56pm

Post #11 of 16 (218 views)
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I did not expect to like Strange and Norrell... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but found myself drawn in and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had more than one friend, though, who couldn't make it past 100 pages. You just never know what's going to work for your particular brain, do you?

The adaptation was well done but of course had to skip over a lot of lovely details.

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....


N.E. Brigand
Asgardian


Jan 9, 8:11pm

Post #12 of 16 (213 views)
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Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is bizarre. I wanted to look up who wrote that song, so I entered it into Wikipedia, which took me to a disambiguation page where 20 different things called "The Best Is Yet to Come" are listed, including nine songs, but not one of them is what I take to be the most famous piece with that title (it's on his tombstone!); instead we get:


Quote
"The Best Is Yet to Come" (Clifford T. Ward song), 1981
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a 1987 song by Samantha Fox from the album Samantha Fox
"The Best Is Yet to Come" (Grover Washington Jr. song), 1982
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a 1998 song on the Metal Gear Solid Original Game Soundtrack
"The Best Is Yet to Come" (Donald Lawrence song), 2002
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a song by Kids In Glass Houses from the 2010 album Dirt
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a song by Scorpions from the 2010 album Sting in the Tail
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a song by Anneke van Giersbergen from the 2013 album Drive
"The Best Is Yet to Come", a song by Sheppard from the 2015 album Bombs Away


There actually is a page just for the 1959 song written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Lee, but I had to work my way to it roundabout via an Ella Fitzgerald album.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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


Greenwood Hobbit
Justice League


Jan 9, 10:58pm

Post #13 of 16 (208 views)
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Yes, it all feels slightly contrived somehow - [In reply to] Can't Post

Falco and Petronius were a brilliant double act, backed up by the rest of the dramatis personae! I admire the author for attempting to write from a female viewpoint for a change. At 71 with that many popular books under her belt, I hope she doesn't have any trouble putting food on the table!


squire
Asgardian


Jan 9, 11:41pm

Post #14 of 16 (211 views)
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Again, grasping for not plums but semi-obscure references. [In reply to] Can't Post

Guessing by now where we were heading, I googled "the best is yet to come sinatra" and was immediately shown the wikipedia page for the Coleman and Leigh song that was, I've just learned, one of Sinatra's signature pieces. Nice trivia point about the headstone epitaph!

The first line of the song -- again just now finding this out -- is your otherwise enigmatic but evocative post heading, "Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum."

Circling back desperately to the thread's actual topic, I've read one or two books by Ronan Farrow. He's a facile, even glib, writer who knows how to organize his material. Coincidentally, I just read this afternoon his latest New Yorker article on this week's current events - I was surprised to see his byline after I'd read it, because it was relatively impersonal reporting, with none of his own personal life inserted into the story at all.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


cats16
Wakandian


Jan 10, 8:30am

Post #15 of 16 (199 views)
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Ronan [In reply to] Can't Post

He very quickly jumped into action this week on Twitter - it was only a couple of hours after he asked for "tips" on that subject that the aforementioned article was published.

He's out for tips on another one or two similar subjects, so we very well may see some more bylines from him this week.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




N.E. Brigand
Asgardian


Jan 10, 7:09pm

Post #16 of 16 (184 views)
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Troilus and Cressida [In reply to] Can't Post

Not quite halfway through Shakespeare's rarely performed play on the Trojan War. It's sometimes hard to follow; the writing gets pretty dense. Tolkien praised Chaucer's Middle English poem on this suject, I believe.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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

 
 

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