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text 2017-07-10 17:54
Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 272 pages.
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine,Joseph Conrad

Il Conde.
Another mysterious character introduced at the dinner table.

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review 2017-06-29 17:56
Puns, Puns, Puns,
Away with Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions - Joseph Berkowitz

Putting this in literary criticism because puns do pop up in quite a few books. 

I can honestly say this is not something I would have picked up on my own, and it was included in My Book Box for this month. Berkowitz takes the reader on a tour of Pun Competitions and brief history or look at puns in general. There is also a bit how puns are different than other comedy.

It's an interesting book, and give more respect to puns. Funny at times. If you like wordplay, read it. If you don't, you can skip it.

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review 2017-06-29 01:15
Free-Wrench by Joseph R Lallo
Free-Wrench - Joseph Lallo

Series: Free-Wrench #1


Some cataclysmic event created a toxic gas that covers the globe (but not the oceans?) killing off a bunch of people and driving the survivors to mountain ranges and so on and forcing people to travel by airship between clear areas. Nita Graus is from Caldera, named from the volcanic caldera that somehow protected her people from the toxic fug. The Calderans broke off contact with the rest of the world and so there’s pretty much only blackmarket trade with outsiders. Nita’s mother has a deadly degenerative disease so she’s driven to go off in an airship to try to find a cure or a treatment.


The author admitted in his author’s note that this novella only took about 3 months to write and publish and I’d say it shows. Some of the ideas could have been neat but a lot of them didn’t seem all that well thought through. Enemy airships immediately succumb to the same type of projectiles that barely scratched their own airship (there was some handwaving about strengthening the shell, I think, but it was pretty patchy to begin with) and a lot of the fight sequences were hard to visualize. I called the big “twist” almost immediately and found it to be extremely telegraphed. And it was weird and abrupt to see the captain go from “no, we cannot possibly jeopardize our trading position” to “yes, let’s attempt a heist”.


It was pretty well wrapped up so I’m not sure whether I’ll read the next one. I picked them both up in a bundle at some point, so I’m glad I finally got around to reading this one. It wasn’t terrible, but due to the issues mentioned above, I didn’t feel like I could rate it more than “okay” or two stars. Oh, I forgot to mention that a lot of the viewpoints or philosophies felt kind of preachy which bugged me even though I didn’t necessarily disagree with them. They just felt over the top, I guess, and Nita’s “I know better” attitude was grating.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square #29 The Monorail “Read a book that involves travel by air, has an airplane on the cover or is set in a city with a subway”. Nita joins the crew of an airship which travels around, so I think that covers the “travel by air” part, and there’s also an image of the airship (dirigible) on the cover (not an airplane, but close enough it probably counts). I’ve seen page counts of 152 (paperback) and 178 (Kindle) but either one adds another $4 to my bank, bringing my total to $160.

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text 2017-06-24 11:28
Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 272 pages.
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics) - Keith Carabine,Joseph Conrad

Anarchists have featured in two stories in a row. Were they a contemporary concern?

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review 2017-06-24 03:04
[REVIEW] The Letters of a Portuguese Nun by Mariana Alcoforado
The Portuguese Letters: Love Letters of a Nun to a French Officer - Gabriel Joseph De Lavergne Guilleragues,Mariana Alcoforado
“[…] you gave me evidence of a great passion for me. I was overjoyed at it, and I gave myself up to love you to distraction. You were not blinded as I was. Why then did you let me fall into the state in which I now am?”

The text was very hard to read at the beginning. The "f"s that were really "s"s confused me 98% of the time.

However, I immediately felt for Marianna and her plight. I was not annoyed or exasperated by her mad attachment to her unworthy lover. I believe she was a victim of love and considering that she had been living in a convent at a young age, it is sadly unsurprisingly she was taken advantage of.

She was not properly prepared by anyone on what to do when it came to falling in love and the artifices of men. Her love is genuine, honest and even manipulative once her lover disappeared from Portugal. I was moved by her lament and the sincerity of her words. To throw your life away for someone who is unworthy of you is terrible and to see Marianna come to terms with that in her own letters was heartbreaking.

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