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Search tags: 6-book-club
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review 2017-12-05 13:45
Duck the Halls ★★★☆☆
Duck the Halls: A Meg Langslow Mystery - Donna Andrews

A very cute, very light holiday mystery that starts with a series of silly pranks where a person or persons unknown are filling various places of worship with animals – skunks, snakes, ducks, etc – that eventually turns dark, and then someone is dead and it’s not a joke to anyone. Our protagonist isn’t a professional detective or sleuth for hire. As far as I can tell, she’s just an unashamedly nosy mom. But then, this is book #16 in the Meg Langslow series and there is probably a whole lot more to this character and her history than I was able to grasp in this one short book. Certainly there is a whole history to her extended family dynamics, which come into play throughout the story and bring us a really adorable holiday scene at the conclusion. This does work okay as a standalone, but I suspect the pleasure in it would be enhanced for readers who are already familiar with the series.

 

Many thanks to Themis-Athena and Murder by Death – I can’t remember which of you recommended this one to me, but you were right, this was a fun antidote to the string of unfinishable holiday-themed books that I kept trying to use to put myself in a holiday mood.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible, with a very good performance by Bernadette Dunn, although I think she does a much better job on all the Shirley Jackson books – maybe she needs that darker material to really sink her teeth into.

 

I’d have liked to use this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, but I already have books lined up for all the book tasks and I already have a Christmas book for the Holiday Book Joker.

 

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review 2017-12-03 17:50
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ★★★★☆
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Sijie Dai

This was an interesting story with an unusual setting – China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s – following two teenaged boys who are being “re-educated” in the country for the crime of being part of the bourgeoisie, as part of the Down to the Countryside Movement. In a political and social atmosphere that punishes independent thought and romantic ideals, celebrating ignorance and encouraging violence against dissenters, the boys discover a stash of forbidden classic Western literature and are transformed. Perhaps the best part of this story is the twist at the end, where they discover its true power that is so feared by the authorities: that this transformative power can’t be leashed to serve their own needs alone.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive, with an excellent reading by BD Wong.

 

I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season; Square 7: December 10th & 13th: Book themes for International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue), –OR– a book written by anyone not anglo-saxon, –OR– any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused –OR– Read a book set in New York City, or The Netherlands (home of the UN and UN World Court respectively). This book fits several of the requirements: written by a Chinese author in French, with a theme of human rights and civil liberty abuses.

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text 2017-12-02 19:53
Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 414 pages.
The Science Of Discworld - Terry Pratchett,Jack Cohen,Ian Stewart

Sometimes scientists change their minds. New developments cause a rethink. If this bothers you, consider how much damage is being done to the world by people for whom new developments do not cause a rethink. 

 

  

I'm reading this for the book theme for Hogswatch Night: Of course - read Hogfather!  Or any Discworld book (or anything by Terry Pratchett) and saving Hogfather  for the holiday book joker. I'm already reading The Arm  for Newtonmas:  Any science book.  Any book about alchemy.  Any book where science, astronomy, or chemistry play a significant part in the plot. 

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text 2017-12-02 14:01
Hogfather - 85/364 pg
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett

And Susan was bright enough to know that the phrase "someone ought to do something" was not, by itself, a helpful one. People who used it never added the rider "and that someone is me." But someone ought to do something, and right now the whole pool of someones consisted of her, and no one else.

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text 2017-12-02 13:15
Duck the Halls - 68%
Duck the Halls: A Meg Langslow Mystery - Donna Andrews

Okay, there's lots of ducks now. Meg sure is nosy, isn't she?

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