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review 2017-10-17 00:14
The Zoo is Foreclosed
The Penguin Who Knew Too Much - Donna Andrews

Caerphilly has a zoo. A small zoo, but a zoo. The owner has run into money troubles and has been selling his animals and then is found dead in the basement of Meg and Michael's recently renovated home. He is found on the day that they are starting the move into the house. Things come to a grinding halt when they have to wait for the investigation. 

 

They call the chief and let him know that a body has been found in a recent hole dug by Meg's father to allow for a pond for the penguins he has been caring for because of the foreclosure. As the day progresses, more police show up, her cousin shows up and many other characters start showing up. People are dumping animals at her house for her to care for and she meets the great Dr. Montgomery Blake. He has come to town to see if he wants to be financially responsible for the zoo. 

 

The family has started to show up and the Sprockets (the family Meg and Michael bought the house from) start showing up, digging holes in Meg's yard on the premise that the body they found is their missing uncle. 

 

I already shared one of my favorite moments, from pages 86-87 where someone who was not invited to stay at her home finds a snake in the bathroom, the coroner (who has too many phobias) is terrified in the yard by Meg's brother, Rob, and all the animals being kept on her property and her father's neighboring property. 

 

Meg gets involved in finding out who murdered and buried the zookeeper in her yard and finds out all the weird things that were happening, even learning about canned hunts. I had never heard about this, until this book. This is where hunters pay to hunt rare animals in a small area where the animal cannot get away so that it is an easy target for them. I don't agree with trophy hunting, but I understand the need for food hunting from any other levels. 

 

Good story. Lots of funny moments. 

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review 2017-10-09 11:32
Detective novel with a difference – recommended to all
I Am Missing: David Raker, Book 8 - Joe Coen,Tim Weaver,Louise Brealey,Penguin Books

 

 

Part of a series about private investigator, David Raker, this novel deals with him attempting to find out as much as he can about Richard, an amnesiac, who is trying to find out who he is. Raker's investigations take him to an island in the South Atlantic where the mystery unfolds. The plot involves murder, corruption, theft and should interest anyone who enjoys a well-conceived idea.

It's a page-turner, not overlong, original and quite clever.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-10-07 18:29
Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories, by Herman Melville
Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories (Penguin Classics Edition) - Peter M. Coviello,Herman Melville

Well that took me long enough! I've been desperate to read some horror, but these Melville stories have been hit and miss, his prose sometimes impenetrable. This is my second encounter with Melville (I read Moby Dick some years ago), and it's been a while. I was prompted to pick up this collection of his shorter works by recent references to both "Bartleby" and Billy Budd.

 

I began with "Bartleby, the Scrivener," which turned out to be my favorite. Melville is an excellent comic writer, and this portrait of a law office made me laugh out loud. Yet it's also incredibly poignant. The narrator is a lawyer who hires Bartleby as a scrivener (a copier); Bartleby joins three other employees, hilariously nicknamed Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut. Bartleby goes about his copying, but when the lawyer asks him to read aloud his copy to proofread, he simply says he "prefers not to." From this point he "prefers" not to do all sorts of things, including leave when his boss attempts to fire him. The lawyer is non-confrontational and fancies himself a good man to the point where he actually changes the location of his office to avoid dealing with Bartleby (who is also found to be living there) further. Yet the problem of Bartleby persists.

 

Why does Bartleby "prefer not" to comply with requests made of him? Melville does not offer a black-and-white answer. The introduction likens Bartleby to a Wall Street occupier, someone who occupies spaces of capitalism without using them for that end, but the quote I found most insightful describes Bartleby as a man of preferences rather than assumptions. How much does our daily behavior and actions depend upon assumptions? As with other Melville works, a queer reading of the text is also possible: the relationship between the lawyer and Bartleby involves exchanges and behavior not dissimilar to those made in romantic partnerships.

 

The stories I liked next best were "The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles" and "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids." The former is a series of sketches by a sailor who has been to the Galapagos Islands; some sketches are more engaging than others. The language in the first few is lovely as Melville describes the hostile, lonely island landscape. The latter is a pair of tales told by the same American narrator, first in London then New England--a lawyer's club and paper mill, respectively. These are apparently based on Melville's own travels. I preferred the second piece, which I read as feminist and potentially Marxist. There's some fantastic prose detailing the paper machine, the women, and their work. 

 

There are five other stories, but the last I'll mention is the novella, Billy Budd, which Melville was working on at the time of his death. It's become key evidence for those who feel Melville may have been bisexual or simply held progressive views on gender and sexuality. Billy Budd is a "Handsome Sailor" who is conscripted to serve on a British naval ship. Everyone likes him, as he's pretty and good-natured. But one (also good looking) sailor envies his beauty and goodness, and it leads to tragedy. The most interesting thing about this tale for me was the fact that this is a story often told about women, to illustrate their vanity, jealousies, and pettiness or cattiness. In this context, in a time after two serious mutinies and during hostilities between Britain and France, such personal jealousy results in catastrophe.

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review 2017-09-09 02:36
Tovi the Penguin goes to the seaside - Janina Rossiter

 

A cute story with nice illustrations.

This is a very simple story. It is more of a description of events rather than a story with a plot. Not much character development, but the pictures were cute and interactive. 

 

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text 2017-09-06 04:28
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 464 pages.
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories: From Elizabeth Gaskell to Ambrose Bierce (Penguin Classics) - Various

Got this goodie in the mail today with some short stories I think will fit a few squares ^__^ 

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