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text 2017-11-21 21:40
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 8 - Hanukkah - and Square 3 - St. Martin's Day
The Shaman Laughs - James D. Doss
The Devil's Acolyte - Michael Jecks
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
A Darker Shade: 17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense Including a Short Story by Stieg Larsson - John-Henri Holmberg

Tasks for Hanukkah: Light nine candles around the room (SAFELY) and post a picture. –OR– Play the Dreidel game to pick the next book you read.

Assign a book from your TBR to each of the four sides of the dreidel:

נ (Nun)
ג (Gimel)
ה (He)
ש (Shin)


Spin a virtual dreidel: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
– then tell us which book the dreidel picked.

 

OK, here we go:


נ (Nun)     =  James D. Doss: The Shaman Laughs
ג
(Gimel)  =  Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte
ה (He)
      =  Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World
ש (Shin)
   =  John-Henri Holmberg (ed.): A Darker Shade

 

 

Alright -- Ishiguro it is.  And this will also give me my book themes for St. Martin’s Day (square 3): Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

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text 2017-11-21 17:11
Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 294 pages.
File M for Murder - Miranda James

I’m having a lot of feelings about this one, mainly not good. Gonna keep reading for Deisel but so far I’m disappointed in this one.

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review 2017-11-20 21:02
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 2 - Bon Om Touk: Murder on a Secret Island
The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh, #13) - P.D. James
The Lighthouse - P.D. James,Michael Jayston

P.D. James's penultimate Dalgliesh novel, revisited courtesy of the splendid unabridged reading by Michael Jayston (known to fans of John le Carré as Peter Guillam from the adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley).

 

I am, bit by bit, working my way through the Dalgliesh series, though not in chronological order but in the order I can get hold of the Michel Jayston CDs.  This book is one of my favorite entries in the series, not least because Kate Miskin finally gets to show her mettle when Dalgliesh is temporarily out of commission.

 

The story takes Dalgliesh and his team to Combe Island on the Cornish coast, a secret retreat for small select groups of government officials and VIPs, to investigate the murder of a an author who is (well, was) as arrogant and egotistical as he was brilliant as a writer -- in other words, your textbook classic mystery murder victim.

 

As I revisit this series, I am becoming downright nostalgic -- they just don't make 'em like P.D. James and Adam Dalgliesh anymore.  Probably Baroness James was wise to bring the series to an end when she did, going out on a high note with The Private Patient (2008), but man ...this is so head and shoulders above the vast majority of mystery writing published these days, it's not even funny.

 

Since this book fits the theme for Bon Om Touk -- read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover -- I decided to apply my audio excursion down memory lane to that square.

 

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review 2017-11-20 20:58
Good quick regency
Talk of the Ton - Eloisa James,Jacqueline Navin,Julia London,Rebecca Hagan Lee

I think Random Number generator thinks it is Friends' Recommendation month because it picked another one! Thanks to Nia for the enjoyable recommendation :)

This collection of short regency stories seemed to be connected by having a little bit steamier tone and jealous women. With no stories rated below 3 stars, I quite enjoyed this anthology. 


A Proper Gentleman by Eloisa James 
3.5 stars

It was good for a man to know straight off that there were times when he might---be obeyed, and there were others when he should understand his place. 

My favorite of the collection and the hottest (funny how that worked out, huh ;). A long standing betrothal, hero who gains a reputation for liking French women a bit too much (really spent a couple months in Paris drowning his sorrows because his brother died), fervent gossip, and a forgotten fiancée who decides to take charge. 

The heroine decides to go to a masque ball and pretend to be French and entice the hero. The reasoning involving a Shakespeare quote the hero supposedly said mixed with some gossip is all a bit forced but I'll let it go because the heroine taking the reins was fun. There's some hot flirting, sexual tension, and disrobing. The hero and heroine both give as good as they get and I was there for it. 

The Vicar's Widow by Julia London 
3 stars

"Nefarious?" She laughed. "Lord Montgomery, how you tease me! I'd wager you've not a wicked bone in you body!"
He gave her a look that suggested she knew better than that, leaned slightly toward her, and said low, "You'd be quite wrong, madam, were you to wager. I've more than one wicked bone in this body."
 


Probably my least favorite with us getting a decent amount of pov from the villain of the piece; a jealous girl who spreads reputation hurting gossip. Heroine and hero have a forbidden kiss but then heroine's vicar husband dies a year later and hero hasn't forgotten her. 

Hero was a bit drab with his overly calm ignoring, not caring about the gossip circulating about him having serious intentions about the jealous girl and how heroine's reputation was getting dragged through the mud as jealous girl started rumors. 

Hero and heroine were sweet together but too much town gossip focus for such a short story. 

Clearly a Couple (Free Fellows League #4.5) by Rebecca Hagan Lee
3 stars

"You belong to yourself now, Lady India, you're not obliged to service any man in order to survive." 

The most intriguing with our heroine being captured by pirates and forced to live in a harem for five years (we only get told, not shown this). Hints of steamy naughtiness because heroine knows every which way Sunday to pleasure a man and has a jewel in her belly button that hero can't look away from. Hero somewhat stumbles upon her and must escort her to London but the majority of story is their one night in cabin.

I was completely interested in this one but it was hurt by the short restrictions and our hero and heroine fall in love within a night and are married within a head spinning time. The hero seemed calm, cool, and sexy and our heroine would have given him a great run for his money (she sort of does anyway) if given a full length novel. 

Miss Jenny Alt's First Kiss by Jacqueline Navin
3.5 stars

"Why, I get the distinct impression that you do not approve of me." 

Back to the jealously, our heroine is the poor relation cousin who has spent her life making sure her cousin shines, making cousin turn out to be a spoiled little bi…umm, miss. Recluse earl cousin comes to stay in London to find a wife, jealous girl wants him but he is intrigued by shy cousin. 

Look, I eat shy miss, only guy to see the hidden gem trope up with a spoon. I liked hero and heroine back and forth with their challenging each other's comfort zones and their blossoming sexual tension. Hater girl hates but gets a little comeuppance in end and our bluestocking gets her happily ever after. 


Satisfying quick regency stories if in a time crunch or looking for a quick fix. 

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review 2017-11-16 20:16
Academic Side-Shows: "Owning Shakespeare” by James J. Marino
Owning William Shakespeare: The King's Men and Their Intellectual Property - James J. Marino

“Those who have taken Heminges and Concell at their word, hoping for some unmediated record of the authorial intent, have made a serious miscalculation. The writer, William Shakespeare, is not to be found in the Folio pages. The figure critics have embraced is an actor.”

 

In “Owning Shakespeare” by James J. Marino

 

Mediocrity has always ruled. And it still rules today, but in a different form. Someone once said that great poetry can no longer be written because we are now all democrats, aren't we? Mediocrity is good these days because it is 'democratic', not because it is aristocratic or Oxbridge elitist. But what we mean by "democracy" here is really bureaucracy. The plethora of creative-writing scholarships and courses promoting the most mediocre work is just one expression of this. For me, I think some of the great Shakespeare debates are side-shows (in Marino’s case the so-called “Sincklo/Soto Problem” in the play “The Taming of the Shrew”, or, should I say “The Taming of a Shrew”?) distracting us from the fact that mediocre values continue to be triumphant in our present poetic culture. I’m sure books and “problems” like these contribute to a true appreciation of Shakespeare unlike the ones dealing with the ill-reputed Authorship Question...Everyone is dancing round their handbags at this party... Once you get into the core truth of what Shakespeare is about - the philosophy, the language, the breathtaking understanding of human nature, the poignancy, you have to concede to a greater power somewhere within. Yes a genius, there's no other word, but surrounded by a core group to feed ideas, information, tales from Italy, the classics, translations (and works not yet translated). But there are so many questions and interrogations regarding Shakespeare: The Authorship Question I mentioned above, Who Edited the 1623 FolioWho Shortened King Lear, etc.

 

If you're into Shakespeare, read on.

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