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text 2018-04-19 20:13
A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles $1.99
A Seditious Affair - K.J. Charles

Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

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quote 2018-04-16 04:08
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens,Stephen Koch

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Chapter 3, page 11

Source: www.gutenberg.org/files/98/98-h/98-h.htm#link2H_4_0004
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text 2018-04-15 03:00
Learning (edited)
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens,Stephen Koch

I finally decided to start reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  I have had it on my TBR list forever.  I didn't go to a normal school so I didn't read the classics like most people did.  I have noticed a lot of things I didn't learn.  Some things, like government and economics, was my fault because I wasn't interested in that at the time.  However, other things like Science and English were things I was interested in and finished early and I'm finding so many things I just wasn't taught or were skimmed over so I didn't really learn it well.  Of course, some things I've just forgotten.  

 

I started reading and got stuck right away on the first sentence.  

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

 

su·per·la·tive
səˈpərlədiv/
adjective
 
  1.  
    of the highest quality or degree.
    "a superlative piece of skill"
    synonyms: excellentmagnificentwonderfulmarveloussupremeconsummateoutstandingremarkablefinechoicefirst-rate, first-class, premierprimeunsurpassedunequaledunparalleledunrivaledpreeminent
    informalcrackacewickedbrilliant
    "a superlative photographer"

 

I found someone else who had the same problem I did with understanding the last part of that sentence.  Here is the best answer they were given on Stack Exchange.  

 

"Basically, what he had just finished saying. That people of the day were not ambivalent about their opinion of the times. They loved it or they hated it. There was no middle ground.

By "superlative degree of comparison" he means using the extreme form of the adjective, typically using the -est (fastest) or pairing with the word most (most expensive).

So when he says, "for good or for evil" he means people would only have used these extreme forms to describe the period. But that some would have thought things the best they could be and others would have thought the complete opposite." 

 

I also found this on Cliffnotes.

 

"The year is 1775, and life in England and France seems paradoxically the best and the worst that it can be. The rulers and ruling classes of both countries may have the best of life, but they are out of touch with the common people and believe that the status quo will continue forever."

 

I have a feeling this is going to be a slow read as I look up every line trying to understand it. 

 

I just found this site which explains a lot about the history of the period and helps to explain the text in a way I can better understand.  It is VERY helpful and I really like the pictures of the kings and queens.  

 

con·flate
kənˈflāt/
verb
gerund or present participle: conflating
  1. combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.
Source: english.stackexchange.com/questions/59190/charles-dickens-for-good-and-for-evil-and-superlative-degree-of-comparison?newreg=38383a62f82c49b6b97492c0dfe7646b
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review 2018-04-12 01:05
The Oracle Year : A Novel - Charles Soule

Most fiction about the gift/curse of prophecy focus on how/why the individual can do this, what the prophecies are, and whether or not it's possible to change the future if you know it in advance. While those themes are in "The Oracle Year", most of it doesn't matter. What pulled me into this novel and kept me interested was how different individuals and groups of people reacted to the existence of the Oracle. Greed, desperation, joy, power, love, hatred, fear, curiosity, faith, trust, mistrust, and other emotions and motivations abound as everybody perceives the possibilities differently.

 

At the end a lot of questions are still unanswered for both the characters and the reader, just like in real life. And I didn't need those answers. Because what matters in this book is what people do, not what they know.

 

P.S. I read this because I've liked Soule's storytelling in comic books, so was certainly willing to give his first novel a try. I'm now looking forward to reading his second and beyond.

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review 2018-04-06 17:22
NOT FOR FEMALE READERS
Cockfighter - Charles Willeford

I have absolutely no idea how this book and its movie came back to the surface of my mind. I watched the film in 1975, I think, and I'm sure it was with Paul the film student. (He was also a drunk, and to date the only lover I've ever had that I allowed to hit me.)

 

Come to think on it, he's also the source of one of my most enduring pleasures, that of watching films whose books I've read or plan to read, and of making fantasy films of the books I read that haven't got films. Thanks, Paul, for growing me a spine and for giving me that deeply satisfying fantasy life. (He died in 1986, so this is more in the nature of valediction than praise.)

 

Anyway...I recommend the book to men because it's about us at our most male and least woman-centered. It's brutal and tough and awful. It's a clarion call to the smarter ones of us to look at what's actually going on in our heads and fucking stop it already. Not because women don't like us for what they've done to us, but because hurting ourselves is just damned stupid. The cult of macho is a male reaction to rejection and judgment, as Willeford presents it; this being what I've observed, it had me nodding along as I read the book.

Where the film falls down, I think, is in the nature of the storytelling medium. On its surface, this film's about how a man decides not to live with a woman but to sell every-damn-thing he owns and double down on the world of cockfighting. Ultimately this works out, in the sense that his cock wins the championship.

 

Not one single human female would watch this movie and think, "oh that was fun." The image of women in it is as emasculating damaging emotional black holes. Yeah, great date-night flick, eh what? And men come off as damnfool eedjits without a lick of sense. That both these things are true doesn't make them any easier to swallow. And on film, there are lost nuances because actors speaking lines aren't readers absorbing language use on multiple levels. So it's no wonder to me that this film tanked.

 

But it's a misunderstood work of art, Cockfighter is. Its darkest moments and grimmest interpretations are all true and accurate. That's intentional on Willeford's part, based on the entirety of his ouevre. (Go here to read a really, really interesting academic take on Willeford as writer and man manqué.) The levels and ideas that this brutal, cruel, emotionally stopped body of work contains are rewarding to unpick and enjoyable to contemplate.

 

For Y chromosome bearers.

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