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text 2018-04-22 20:05
Women Writers Bingo / Project: Tracking Post

 

Read:

A - Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke (all new); The Man With the Sack (revisited on audio);

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun (new)

B - Anne Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (revisited on audio)

C - Helen Czerski: Storm in a Teacup (new);

Agatha Christie: The Moving Finger, One, Two, Buckle my Shoe, and Murder Is Easy (all revisited on audio), Crooked House (revisited on audio and DVD) and Destination Unknown (new)

D - Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen (new)

E -

F -

G - Elizabeth George: For the Sake of Elena and Playing for the Ashes (both revisited on audio)

H - Radclyffe Hall: The Well of Loneliness (new);

Mavis Doriel Hay: Death on the Cherwell (new)

I -

J - P.D. James: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories (new), Original Sin and Death of an Expert Witness (all revisited on audio)

K -

L -

M - Val McDermid: The Distant Echo (new);

Ngaio Marsh: Death in a White Tie, Off With His Head (aka Death of a Fool), Clutch of Constables, Death at the Dolphin (aka Killer Dolphin), and Hand in Glove (all revisited on audio)

N -

O - Emmuska Orczy: The Old Man in the Corner (new)

P - Anne Perry: A Dangerous Mourning and The Whitechapel Conspiracy (both new)

Q -

R - J.K. Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith): The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil (all new);

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (all audio)

S - Dennis McCarthy & June Schlueter: "A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels" by George North -- A Newly Uncovered Manuscript Source for Shakespeare's Plays (new);

Dorothy L. Sayers: Unnatural Death (revisited on audio)

T - Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair (both new);

Amy Tan: The Chinese Siamese Cat (new)

U -

V -

W - Ethel Lina White: The Lady Vanishes (aka The Wheel Spins) and The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch) (both new)

X -

Y -

Z - Juli Zeh: Schilf (English title: Dark Matter) and Unterleuten (both new)

 

Free / center square:

 

On the card, I am only tracking new reads, not rereads.

 

Read, to date in 2018:

Books by female authors: 50

- new: 27

- rereads: 23

 

Books by male authors: 19

- new: 18

- rereads: 1

 

Books by F & M mixed teams / anthologies: 1

- new: 1

- rereads:

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text 2018-04-21 11:41
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 75 pages.
Murder Off Miami - J.G. Links,Dennis Wheatley

I have no idea how  many pages are in this book, as there aren't any page numbers, but I'm up to the point of the blueprint floorplan of the boat.  I'm stopping here for the night because my copy is too fragile to read in bed.  So far, it's only just been determined that a murder has been committed, so there's not a lot of information to go on.  But my first recurring though it is (put behind spoiler tags in case Themis-Athena wants to avoid any influence on her own investigating): 

 

Nobody on that boat knows what Bolitho Blane looks like - are we sure he's the one that's dead, and not the secretary?

(spoiler show)

 

 

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review 2018-04-21 10:06
The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search the World's Rarest Species
The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species - Carlos Magdalena

This book is mostly what it says on the tin, anecdotes about Magdalena's travels seeking out the world's most endangered plants, and his subsequent conservation efforts to stave off their extinction.

 

It starts off a little rocky, as my first impression of Magdalena was more evangelical than messianic, and the mini-biography at the start sometimes ventured into very self-satisfied prose.  The biographical information was helpful, though probably could have been edited a bit.

 

Once chapter 2 begins though, all of that is quickly forgotten.  As someone who is deeply interested in conservation of both plants and animals (except roaches), I was enthralled as I read about efforts to save species plants on Mauritius and Rodrigues Islands, in Bolivia, and Australia (water lilies!).  As the daughter of an orchid grower who very often had to MacGyver solutions for tricky breeding problems, I genuinely enjoyed the parts where he had to think on his feet, or think outside the box to overcome perceived roadblocks to cultivation.

 

There's no denying his enthusiasm and his passion for his work; neither is there any denying the need for it, in a world where 2000 unknown plants can be identified in a given year, only to have many of them go extinct before they can even be named.  I learned a great deal reading this, and hesitated to put it down, always wanting to know where he was going next and what he'd find when he got there.

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review 2018-04-20 15:07
The Good Women of China / Xinran
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran

When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within the constraints imposed by government censors, “Words on the Night Breeze” sparked a tremendous outpouring, and the hours of tape on her answering machines were soon filled every night. Whether angry or muted, posing questions or simply relating experiences, these anonymous women bore witness to decades of civil strife, and of halting attempts at self-understanding in a painfully restrictive society. In this collection, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Xinran brings us the stories that affected her most, and offers a graphically detailed, altogether unprecedented work of oral history.

 

This is a heartbreaking book which I would never have picked up except I was looking for an X author for my Women Authors A-Z reading challenge this year. I never know how to rate books like these because it’s important to know about the situations in countries other than our own, but I always feel helpless and angry when I know that women are having such frightful difficulties.

I have to bear in mind that this book was published in 2002 originally, the author having moving from China to England in order to be free to do such a thing. A lot can and probably has changed in 16 years, plus many of the stories related in this book are from earlier years yet.

The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) seems to have disrupted relations between men and women and the nature of family relationships to an extreme. Survival was top of mind for everyone and each did what they had to. Xinran reveals the painful stories told to her by Chinese women—of having children horribly injured, daughters gang raped, husbands treating them like servants (or livestock), work denied, promotions skipped over, you name it.

As China seems to be heading into another iteration of their authoritarian regime, there will undoubtedly be more issues for women. I hope there is still someone like Xinran to listen to women’s voices and to articulate what they are able to (Xinran herself had to walk a fine line so as not to offend the Communist Party).

In the era of the Me Too and Time’s Up campaigns here in North America, we have to hope that our sisters on other continents are able to achieve some gains as well.

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review 2018-04-19 11:29
Dead Calm (Mattie Winston, #9)
Dead Calm - Annelise Ryan

With the exception of one book, this has always been a strong series; it started off a bit slapstick, as the MC, Mattie, had one Stephanie Plum-like disaster after another, but this was quickly tamped down and the humor became much more subtle.

 

I started off impatient with Dead Calm because there was an obscene amount of info dumping going on at the start, far more than usual.  I was just about getting fed up when I remembered that the last book left off in the midst of a larger murder mystery (not a cliff hanger though) and this was the author's way of picking that story up and continuing with it, while also introducing new murders to be solved in parallel.

 

Once I got past all that, it was great; the murder mystery confined to this book was excellent and boy, I did not see that end coming.  The larger story arc was wrapped up beautifully too; nobody trying to be heroes and unrealistically saving the day, but justice prevails nonetheless; I like that Mattie and Hurley recognised that the case was bigger than their capabilities, and I thought their solution clever and realistic.  A smaller sub-plot, concerning an alien skeleton found on property Mattie and Hurley are trying to build on, started off silly but the solution was heartbreaking and touching.

 

This is just a good book (aside from the info dumping; it was necessary, but annoying).  I enjoy reading a mystery that involves true investigation, collecting the evidence and putting things together to build toward a solution. I hope Ryan can keep it going.

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