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review 2017-03-24 00:20
A.S. Byatt: The Children's Book - DNF
The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt

Ok, this is not for me.


70 odd pages and no hint of a plot, just a lot of scene setting and Victorian historical information. 


I get that this is likely to be character or society study rather than a plot-driven novel, which is fair enough, but I'm not digging the writing. There is a lot of info-dumping, telling rather than showing, and circular writing:



And again, a pre-teen / early teen questioning their "capability to love"?

Not for me.


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text 2017-03-23 21:50
A.S. Byatt: The Children's Book - Reading progress update
The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt

Alright, this is the next book for the RL book group I kinda "joined". 


I am finding it really hard to find some interest in this. It's just not working for me to have children in Victorian London - the oldest of whom seems to be 11 - have such a developed understanding of social politics. 




Has anyone read this? I have a mind to DNF this. 

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text 2016-12-15 20:48
Possession - A.S. Byatt

Last night, drowsy with a suppressed but not vanquished cold and the OTC generic medication I'd taken to suppress it, I tried yet another of the thousands (literally) of novels downloaded to my long-suffering Kindle.  Two or three sentences into the narrative, my sensibilities rebelled at the combined insult of slovenly grammar and immature style.  I pressed the tiny button to retun to the main menu screen, then slid the device back into its faux suede sleeve.  On the verge of self-pitying tears, over both the annoyance of my illness and the disgrace of the chosen novel, I turned out the light and gave myself up to drug-induced sleep.


After too much sleep and still under the effects of the nasty-tasting red liquid, I dragged myself out of bed this morning and tended to the usual chores.  When they were done and I could settle into my usual reading location without too much guilt, I went in search of something less than terrible to read.  Even the search, however, was more than my befuddled brain and achy body were up to.  I allowed my mind to drift for a few moments, randomly, unrestrained, giving it free rein to prance and canter and even gallop where it would, with or without a planned destination.


When it came to rest, when it halted and bent its head to graze, I was not surprised at the location.  The novel I had started to read two nights ago -- not last night, but the night before that -- had brought others to mind, others that were better written and more encouraging of the willing suspension of disbelief.  No, not that silly Da Vinci fiasco that began with the slashed canvas of a portrait everyone with any awareness knows is painted on a wooden board.  Rather I was reminded of Barbara Michaels' Houses of Stone, an oft-read favorite with flaws of its own.  And of another, read only once but with immeasurable delight.


I have need of a good book today.

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review 2016-08-08 16:40
I think I want a dress
Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny - A.S. Byatt

This is really more of an essay than a book, a fact that Byatt does acknowledge. There is quite a bit of Byatt in here. It's more of a mediation on the two artists than anything. Still a fascinating read.

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text 2016-06-29 20:32
Summer Reading - the Cool List
The Complete Elfquest Volume 1 - Wendy Pini,Rick Pini
Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice - A.S. Byatt
The Icewind Dale Trilogy Collector's Edition - R.A. Salvatore
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic - Jennifer Niven
The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 - Pierre Berton
The True Deceiver - Tove Jansson,Thomas Teal,Ali Smith
Winter's Tales - Karen Blixen,Isak Dinesen
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Høeg,Tiina Nunnally
Folktales of the Amur: Stories from the Russian Far East - Dmitri Nagishkin,Gennady Pavlishin,Emily Lehrman

I know its summer, and we are all suppose to be talking about beach reading, but screw that.  If you are like me and live in a place that gets muggy and hot, nothing is better than reading a book where people freeze.  So here's a list.


1. Elfquest - I know that this seems to be a rather strange book and series, but part of it does take place in frozen north.  And you can feel the cold because unlike certain comic book illustrators, the Pinis have characters dressed for the cold.


2. Elementals by A. S. Byatt.  Both hot and cold in this one.  And what happens when they meet.


3. Icewind Dale Trilogy - what can be better than D&D in the far, frozen, North?  Ice dragons included.  As well as an elf that should be played by a man named Elba.


4. The Terror by Dan Simmons - slow paced but engrossing story of the Franklin voyage.


5. Ada Blackjack- the true story of a seamstress who survived alone in the arctic


6. The Arctic Grail - Breton's wonderful story of the search for the Northwest Passage.  Lots of people freeze to death here.


7. Snow Angels - an underloved mystery set in Finland.  This book deserves more attention than it gets.


8. The True Deceiver - In Jansson's short novel, it is unclear which is colder - the people or the environment.


9. Winter's Tales - Dinesan's short story collection is wonderful.


10. Smilia's Sense of Snow - a whole novel and mystery centering around snow.


11. A Cold Day for Murder - the first book in the Kate Shugak series.  Takes place in Alaska, and free for kindle.


12. The Dead of Winter - a interesting murder mystery with an unusual choice of teller.


13. Folktales of the Amur - you know that section of Russia that has those beautiful tigers?  These tales are from there.



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