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review 2018-04-16 17:17
Unbuttoned / Christopher Dummit
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt

When Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King died in 1950, the public knew little about his eccentric private life. In his final will King ordered the destruction of his private diaries, seemingly securing his privacy for good. Yet twenty-five years after King’s death, the public was bombarded with stories about "Weird Willie," the prime minister who communed with ghosts and cavorted with prostitutes. Unbuttoned traces the transformation of the public’s knowledge and opinion of King’s character, offering a compelling look at the changing way Canadians saw themselves and measured the importance of their leaders’ personal lives.

Christopher Dummitt relates the strange posthumous tale of King’s diary and details the specific decisions of King’s literary executors. Along the way we learn about a thief in the public archives, stolen copies of King’s diaries being sold on the black market, and an RCMP hunt for a missing diary linked to the search for Russian spies at the highest levels of the Canadian government. Analyzing writing and reporting about King, Dummitt concludes that the increasingly irreverent views of King can be explained by a fundamental historical transformation that occurred in the era in which King’s diaries were released, when the rights revolution, Freud, 1960s activism, and investigative journalism were making self-revelation a cultural preoccupation.

 

If you are picking up this book to read the salacious details of the private life of William Lyon Mackenzie King, set it back on the shelf. There are precious few details about our 10th Prime Minister’s dabbling in spiritualism or his probable visits to prostitutes. Instead, this is an analysis of the way Canadians have viewed/judged/responded to these revelations about WLMK.

It’s an examination of our changing attitudes towards politicians, about the limitations of privacy, and what is acceptable behavior in Canadian society. Basically, the psychological changes as we moved from Victorian to modern sensibilities. Much of the text deals with the history of the voluminous diaries kept by WLMK and how they were a thorn in the side of his executors. King was notorious for doing just enough to get through a crisis and not another thing more—so of course he had wanted certain excerpts of his diary available to historians and the rest destroyed. However, he never got around to specifying which parts were which. The upshot is that all of his diary is now available for perusal and today you can search them online through Library and Archives Canada. His executors only destroyed the binders which detailed séances WLMK attended.

Looking backward from the 21st century, King’s foibles seem pretty tame, but they caused a sensation when they were first revealed to the public after King’s death. With no social media to out him, he was able to conduct his psychic research without penalty during his time in office. I’m not sure that Canadians are interested in more than the broad strokes of their politicians’ lives and beliefs even yet. We are much more likely to leave them alone when we encounter them in the community, because we respect private life, even if we don’t respect the politician his/her self.

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text 2018-04-12 19:19
TBR Thursday
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami,Alfred Birnbaum
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters
Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Høeg,Tiina Nunnally
Tithe - Holly Black
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran

My TBR pile has got a bit out of control!!

 

First ones due at the library are Heir to the Empire, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Unbuttoned.  There are also holds on Smilla's Sense of Snow and Tithe, but those dates are further away.  Plus The Good Women of China is an interlibrary loan, so I will have to pay attention to it.

 

Heir to the Empire, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Magic's Price are all part of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project, which I am enjoying getting back into.

 

My guilty pleasures are Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peacock, I want to see what you're doing in Egypt this time) and Tithe (Holly Black's world of the Fae is calling to me).  But neither of them will count towards any of my reading challenges for 2018.

 

My other task for this weekend is to take a load of books to the used book store to trade and to sort out books to donate to the Calgary Reads Book Sale which will happen in May.  I've got to find some boxes that I can part with to pack, too.  (And then in May I'll attend the book sale and undo some of the good that I have done for my bookshelves).

 

I've also got to bake something to go to brunch on Sunday--I'll probably either make a tried-and-true Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (http://www.lazyglutenfree.com/2013/06/gluten-free-cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread.html) or I'll try an experimental Pumpkin Pie Crumble (https://www.calgarycoop.com/cooking/pumpkin-pie-crumble). 

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

 

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review 2018-04-12 07:07
Eine keltische Legende super umgesetzt
Sieben Pfeifer - Christopher Golden,Amber Benson,Bernhard Kleinschmidt

Inhaltsangabe

In alten Legenden heißt es, man höre in stürmischen Nächten manchmal ein seltsames Pfeifen, gefolgt vom Erscheinen riesiger schwarzer Hunde. Aber dies sind keine gewöhnlichen Kreaturen, sondern dämonische Wesen, entfesselt von der wilden Jagd auf verlorene Seelen. Nur selten sieht man mehr als einen von ihnen zur selben Zeit, doch wenn alle sieben gemeinsam erscheinen sollten, sei das Ende der Welt gekommen.

In der malerischen Stadt Kingsbury mitten in Vermont betrauert Rose Kerrigan den Tod ihres Großvaters, eines liebenswürdigen, aber seltsamen alten Mannes. Schon bald wird sie von der Legende der Sieben Pfeifer erfahren, denn die gespenstischen Hunde sind nach Kingsbury gekommen und jagen eine Seele, die man vor ihnen verborgen hat. Zuerst ist es nur einer, doch es werden mehr, je länger sie nicht finden, wonach sie suchen.

Und wenn alle sieben Dämonen zusammenkommen… 

 

Meine Meinung 

Die Novelle „Sieben Pfeifer“ von dem Autorenduo Benson und Golden ordnet sich im Genre Mystery- Horror ein.

 

Als ich vor Erscheinen von dem Titel hörte, hatte ich keinerlei Vermutung, was da inhaltlich auf mich zukommen wird. Christopher Golden‘s Händchen fürs Schreiben und dem Erschaffen einer passenden Atmosphäre kenne ich bereits aus dem Horrorroman „Der Fährmann“, mit dem der Buchheim Verlag sich in der Buchszene etablieren konnte. Nun war ich sehr gespannt auf das Ergebnis der Zusammenarbeit mit der Autorin und Schauspielerin Amber Benson.

 

„Der Tod ist auf der Jagd nach mir, Rose“ (S. 18)

 

Dies sind die Worte des völlig verschreckten Walter Hartung zu seiner Enkeltochter Rose Kerrigan. Walter lebt in einem Pflegeheim in Kingsbury und als Leser wird schnell klar, dass die beiden Autoren den Leser sofort in die Haupthandlung einführen. Es geht los…

 

Als Rose an diesem Tag das Pflegeheim verlässt und sich auf den Weg zu einem Treffen macht, hört sie dieses Geräusch zum ersten Mal. Sie kann es zuerst kaum in Worte fassen, aber es klingt nach einem Pfeifen.

Parallel hört auch ihr Großvater das Pfeifen, der allerdings eine ganz andere Reaktion zeigt als seine Enkelin.

 

Nach diesem Abend macht Rose eine weitere seltsame Entdeckung.

Von der Hütte ihrer Eltern aus sieht sie einen silbernen Hirsch und hört wieder dieses Pfeifen. Was hat das alles nur zu bedeuten. Plötzlich schlägt Lucy, der Hund ihrer Eltern, auf etwas an. Folgen tut ein schreckliches Szenarium, welches Rose nicht mehr loslässt.

 

Im Mittelteil der Haupthandlung konnte das Duo mit einer Auflockerung der Rahmenhandlung punkten. Nicht nur Rose wird von seltsamen Ereignissen verfolgt, in ganz Kingsbury geschehen den Einwohnern seltsame Dinge. Dass dies in die Geschichte mit eingeflossen ist, machte die ganze Thematik für mich nur umso schauriger.

 

Was es mit diesem Pfeifen auf sich hat, erfährt Rose erstmals häppchenweise von ihrer Großmutter Isobel. Eine keltische Sage besagt, dass es sich bei den Sieben Pfeifern um Unheilsbringer handelt, welche von der Hölle ausgesandt worden sind.

Ein persönlicher Besitz ihres Großvaters lässt Rose weitere Rückschlüsse ziehen, aber schafft sie es, das Rätsel noch rechtzeitig zu lösen?

Vier Pfeifer wurden bereits gesichtet. Sollten alle sieben zusammenkommen, wartet Schreckliches auf sie.

 

Ich hätte niemals damit gerechnet, dass mir Hunde in Kombination mit einem schrillen Pfeifen eine Gänsehaut verschaffen können. Die Covergestaltung vom Illustrator John Howe versetzt den Betrachter und Leser in die gewünschte Stimmung. Man weiß nicht was kommt und die beiden Autoren schaffen es, den gewünschten Höhe- und Wendepunkt in die 165-seitige Novelle perfekt einzuarbeiten. Mich konnten vor allem das provozierte Kopfkino und die Grundidee um die existierende Legende begeistern.

 

Meiner Meinung nach fehlt diesem Buch nichts.

Es bringt einen mysteriösen Start mit sich, einen schaurigen und spannenden Mittelteil und ein alles klärendes Ende mit sich.

Die Autoren beschränken sich auf ein Mindestmaß an Charakteren, welche alle auf ihre Art und Weise zur Geschichte beitragen.

 

Mein Fazit

Wieder einmal erschafft Christopher Golden, hier in Zusammenarbeit mit der Autorin Amber Benson etwas Großes. Über eine wiederholte Kooperation der beiden würde ich mich sehr freuen. Die Chemie passt einfach, dass merkt man beim Lesen, und auch bei dem eingefügten Interview vorab der Geschichte, sofort.

Die Legende um die „Sieben Pfeifer“ wird mir noch lange im Kopf herum schwirren und wieder ist dieses Buch der Beweis dafür, welche tollen Geschichten aus mythologischem Hintergrundwissen entstehen können.

Der Buchheim Verlag hat in dieses Werk wieder sehr viel Herzblut und Arbeit hinein gesteckt und ich freue mich bereits auf das kommende Projekt.

 

 

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review 2018-04-09 16:59
Ararat by Christopher Golden
Ararat - Christopher Golden, Robert Fass

I went into this book with a wee bit of stink eye because although most of my friends loved Snowblind, I really didn’t love that one. I enjoyed the setup but when the novel decided to time jump 12 years into the future it tested my memory and my memory failed. I am so glad to say that Ararat didn’t hurt my brain, is genuinely chilling and the pages fly.

 

It’s about a couple who take the trip of a lifetime and leave for Turkey in order to be the first to document a discovery that will quite possibly shake up the entire world. They are on a search for Noah’s Ark. But what they find on the dig is so much more than proof that Noah and his Ark may or may not exist. They find a coffin with something inside that is most definitely not a man and terrible things start to happen soon after it’s unearthed. The least of them being a treacherous storm that traps them and their team with this monstrous thing!

 

This is one of my worst nightmares. My son loves hiking and it terrifies me. I always have visions of him falling off the mountain and dying or I fear he’ll stumble across some human monster lurking in the woods. Now I have some brand new nightmare fuel to add to my head thanks to this book. The feeling, on this high summit, is claustrophobic and pretty damn terrifying in and of itself but then a blizzard hits. Imagine being so far up on a mountain that you’d have to tromp back down if anything truly terrible happened to you in order to get proper medical care? Break a leg and you are pretty much screwed. This is not my idea of a fun time. The situation reminded me a little of those fools in The Ruins by Scott Smith who climbed a mountain in a foreign country to discover ancient ruins who only managed to get ruined themselves. Only this time there are no fools. Thank whoever. These people are intelligent and driven and the story is very, very scary.

 

There’s action, lots of characters that didn’t get me all mixed up but in all honesty none who I cared all that much about. Some of them, most of them actually, were very selfish, so minus a star for that because I like to feel something when someone is slaughtered and I didn’t get an emotional gut punch here. But did I mention there’s a monster that these people are trapped with on top of a mountain during a blizzard?! Ahhhh! I loved that part.

 

I listened to this book on audio, narrated by Robert Fass who does a good job with the male characters but left a little to be desired with the females and their accents. But you can’t have everything, right? I’d recommend reading this one in paper.

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review 2018-04-07 16:15
A well-rounded introduction to the great architect
Christopher Wren - Kerry Downes

Much as his most famous building does over the skyline of central London today, Christopher Wren towers over the history of British architecture. Yet as Kerry Downes reminds us, he was so much more than that.  Born to a High Anglican minister, he demonstrated a scientific aptitude that led to appointments to a chair of astronomy at first Gresham College, then to the Savilian chair at Oxford.  He came to architecture almost incidentally, yet his genius led to his appointment as surveyor of the king’s works at the age of 36, a position he would hold for nearly four decades. Coming in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London, the disaster not only paved the way for the reconstruction of St, Paul’s Cathedral but work on churches in dozens of parishes throughout the city, all of which bore the hallmark of his genius.

 

In assessing Wren’s architectural achievements, there are few better guides than Downes, a longtime architectural historian and the author of several books on the architect.  Taken from the entry he wrote on Wren for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, it is a good overview of his life and achievements.  While it suffers from the absence of images of the buildings Downes describes, it offers a well rounded assessment of Wren’s accomplishments, one that does not overlook his scientific work as all too many other studies tend to do.  For anyone seeking an introduction to the man and his achievements, this is the book to read.

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