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review 2017-11-11 21:17
For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley #5) - Elizabeth George
For the Sake of Elena
Elizabeth George
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Bantam Books (first published 1992)
ISBN 0553561278 (ISBN13: 9780553561272)
 
  I am reading these out of order. Yes, there is some backstory to Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers, but each case can be read on its own. I do enjoy reading this series. I would like to go back and read #2-#4 just to get the backstory. This one is set in Cambridge, and I like the way E. George describes the colleges and the towns.
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review 2017-10-30 23:40
Quite boring.
The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Per... The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance - George S Mumford

I don't quite remember what drew me to the book other than the the connection to mindfulness. While I'm not an athlete at all (I work out regularly and that's it), the book sounded intriguing if even an amateur like myself might gain some benefit. I like meditating after finishing my workouts so it seemed like this could be a good book.

 

There isn't much here that I thought was new. As other reviews say, there are a lot of stories. His personal life wasn't all that interesting, despite the attempts to tie it all together into the mindfulness. If you're already familiar with the concept there's probably not a lot here that would totally amaze you. 

 

Maybe if you're an athlete that has hit a sort of mental barrier or plateau of some sort and need to find something to focus or quiet your mind or want to adjust your attitude/routine then this might have some benefit. As it was, it seemed like a book filled with a lot of empty platitudes or stuff that you could find elsewhere, and probably for cheaper too. 

 

I regret buying it as a bargain buy and would recommend library unless you're someone who might really fit the author's targeted audience.

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review 2017-10-28 19:39
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, 1-3)
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and His Squire, Egg - George R.R. Martin

I didn't know what to expect from these novellas except that they occurred around ninety years before A Game of Thrones and featured a knight named Dunk and his squire named Egg.

 

First thing: I love the illustrations! They're reminiscent of the books I read as a kid, and I wished they were in color. They fit tonally with the stories and the illustrator picks great moments to highlight.

 

The novellas were originally written for anthologies, and so spaced out over time. Reading them one after the other shows some repetition in some of the exposition, and some similarities in the tales are more obvious, but those are the only issues I had and they were minor. 

 

The stories aren't as grim or dark as the ASoIaF stories, so if you've been avoiding those because you don't want all the murder, pillaging, raping and child endangerment, these might be more your speed. Of course, this is still George R.R. Martin, so they're not fluffapalooza, but they are lighter in tone and Dunk and Egg are very sweet with each other.

 

Dunk is one of those rarities in Martin's writing: a genuinely good guy who stands by his convictions, does what's right and doesn't get horribly killed because of it. Egg is irascible and sheltered, but more than game for following Dunk around the kingdoms and proves receptive of everything Dunk has to teach him, whether it's how to care for armor, how to treat others better or how to hold his tongue. ... Ok, maybe not so much that last one. ;) 

 

There's also still plenty of politics and intrigue, as these stories occur about a decade after the Blackfyre rebellion and the realm is still feeling the aftermath of it. Dunk might not be very good at avoiding getting tangled up in events, but he's so far proving good at getting out of them. :D

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review 2017-10-28 03:57
Death of a Busybody (British Library Crime Classics) - George Bellairs

Okay, it's true that I am giving this a very high rating, considering that I had big chunks of the solution to the central Mystery solved well before all was revealed. I mean, for me to top out at a whopping 4 stars in the face of beating the main detective to the punch, is a pretty big deal. But I can't bump this exhilarating read down to that demon-dullest of all ratings, the painfully-vanilla 3.5.

 

First of all, I did say "big chunks". I figured out "big chunks". But he got me with a few surprises, as regards some of the glue that holds the big bits together; in fact, I would say one thing I didn't figure out wasn't glue--it was more like the chunk that got away. Let's just say that overall the Mystery content is a bit transparent and not likely to make your favorite Agatha Christie title seem amateurish and uninspired...but George Bellairs obliterates demerit points at will with: (a) lots of funny stuff; this is a laugh-out-loud Crime novel, (b) a hoard of entertaining characters all deciding that most interaction with each other should qualify as hypocritical or just ridiculous, (c) a truly amazing Chapter XI--amazing, because of the change in mood, but it's like seeing the dark, tragic and bloody side of what was making me laugh up until then; Bellairs saying, in a few scenes "this is what happens when people who behave like this are suddenly very unfunny", and yes...

 

...(d) the whodunit chunks and whodunit glue that was just enough to keep me from saying " I figured out the whole shebang. Well, I didn't. I didn't figure out ALL of his fairly transparent Mystery...so there.

 

Anyway, this was indeed the "death of a busybody", as advertised. And yah, she was a pain, and the whole village felt persecuted by her nosiness, her arrogant meddling and judgements, and her quiet attempts at spiritual extortion. There was inevitably a bludgeoning and a cesspool waiting for her, in a village full of teeth-gritters and look-the-other-wayers. But...a bit of text from early on in the novel stuck with me the whole way through: Husbands, raising their hands or voices against their wives, paused at the thought of her. Scolding wives pitched their nagging at a lower key, lest Miss Tither should be in the offing. The lecherous, adulterous, drunken and blasphemous elements of the population held her in greater fear than the parson and looked carefully over their shoulders lest she be in their tracks.

 

The above passage in italics is from page 8 of my edition of Bellairs' wonderful and bizarrely challenging novel. In fact, I've stopped short with the quote; more examples of the doomed Miss Tither's snooping, looming, eavesdropping, and busybodying are given, and like what I did quote above, it's a matter of people holding off on unseemly behavior because the Tither tiger has prowled into range. Well, if you read that text, this murdered busybody stopped at least one husband from abusing his wife. Plus, others at least thought twice for a little while about their crap behavior. I'm left wondering who Bellairs wants me to scrutinize more closely, with a bit of disgust: the snoop or the two-faced snoopees who change spots when someone is watching?

 

I want a better whodunit from this author next time, and there will be a next time. Even if he doesn't manage that--well, it won't be me in a forgiving mood by the end of the ride--if this book is any indication--it will once again be me thoroughly charmed, challenged, and entertained anyway.

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text 2017-10-28 01:19
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 199 pages.
Death of a Busybody (British Library Crime Classics) - George Bellairs

wow, things got real serious all of a sudden, in Chapter XI, and I'm blown away. I've been riding the wave of great humor, and laughing at all the hypocrites, the know-it-alls, the human puffer-fish of this little village--and loving the sleek pace--and then tragedy, dark and severe. and brilliantly done, I might add--jarring, yes, but in a brilliant way. because this horrible thing has blossomed out of all the hypocrisy and judging that has gone before.

 

the book is a treat that I will finish up tonight, and try to Review today or tomorrow. lots to think about...including what kind of ending the author has set up for me. it will be hard to top the shocking events of the chapter I just finished--and I'll be a bit sombre, no matter how effective the humor may be from here on in--but I have faith.

 

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