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text 2017-06-25 01:06
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 438 pages.
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 - Adam Hochschild

my second Nonfiction pick for this month...because I did not get to one in May, and oh, the guilt, the guilt. plus this book calls to me. Spanish Civil War stuff has an especial attraction for me, after Hemingway, and a Spy novel, a while ago, that went there and rocked. text that I would actually read in a straight line only goes to page 376, then it's into Notes (when I need them), and then the Index etc. here I come again, Spain!

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url 2017-02-07 01:54
This Town in Spain is Filled with Bookstores

Travel 2 hours northwest of Madrid and you will find Urueña - a tiny town beside a medieval castle wall in Spain. In 2007, Urueña decided to become a Villa del Libro (a town of books) and joined the International Organization of Book Towns

 

Urueña

Source: www.bookstr.com/article/this-town-in-spain-is-filled-with-bookstores/3093?utm_campaign=658564_newsletter_170206&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Book%20Str&dm_i=2P56,E45G,Z2B5Q,1FIPW,1
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review 2017-01-30 02:33
Beggars in Spain
Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress uses speculative fiction to explore two fundamental questions – What happens if you genetically engineer a group of people  so that they are radically different from the rest of the humans – in this case by eliminating the need to sleep in a group of children (potentially accompanied by other intelligence enhancing modifications)?   What do the strong/wealthy/more intelligent owe to those they deem lesser? 

 

I don’t remember if I read the Hugo and Nebula winning novella that forms the first section of the book, but I did read Beggars in Spain in print when it was new.  Somehow I missed that Ms. Kress had written two sequels.  So I picked up the audiobook of Beggars in Spain 23 years after the original publication of the full length novel.  Some books hold up to time and to re-reading and others quickly become dated. Beggars in Spain belongs in the first category. 

 

I enjoyed my reread, though it’s been a bit surreal reading this story of xenophobia with its extended musings on what society owes to those deemed non-productive at this specific moment in US History. 

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review 2016-12-28 16:22
The Devil's Prayer
The Devil's Prayer - Luke Gracias

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review.

 

In the 13th Century, in order to save his life, a monk did a deal with the Devil, and as a result the Codex Giga, the Devil's Bible, came into being. It was lost for centuries, then rediscovered, but by this time, twelve pages of the original manuscript were missing, the twelve vitally important pages known as the Devil's Prayer.

 

It is said that one day a woman will give birth to the child of the Devil. And if this person ever gets his hands on the pages of the Devil's Prayer, then all Hell will be let loose on the world.

 

When the story opens, we are in the convent of Sancta Therese, a few miles north of Zamora, Spain. There, during the Semana Santa (Easter Week), a secret ritual is enacted, as it has been every year since the 1200s, but this time, at its climax, a nun commits suicide by hanging herself from the bell-tower.

 

Meanwhile, in Australia, in a world as different as it can well get, a young woman called Siobhan Russo is informed by a priest that her mother, Denise, who has been missing from home for six years, has committed suicide in Spain. That she was a nun going by the name of Sister Benedictine. And that she, Siobhan, must travel at once to Spain, to collect in person a message her mother left for her.

 

It turns out that Denise, the mother, had done a deal with the Devil years earlier, in order to get revenge and healing after she had been raped and left paralysed. This rape and its consequences form a vivid short story which stands out as rather different from the rest of the book, and after reading it we identify with Denise quite as much as we do with her now grown-up daughter Siobhan. At that time, the Devil had healed Denise in exchange for the souls of her attackers. But her dealings with the Devil had not stopped there. The Devil later brought the child Siobhan back to life after she had drowned in their swimming-pool.

 

But I am telling you too much of the story. Read it for yourself. It is brilliantly researched and replete with fascinating details. And don't be put off by all this about "the Devil". This is a very real, very evil, Devil, a Devil it is almost impossible to say No to - and as the author says in the book, "God and the Devil - one does not exist without the other." It is a story I shall never forget, and full of characters I shall never forget.

 

I visited the website www.devilsprayer.com and found some marvellous photos of the scenes where the more bizarre sections of the story are set. Here is one of them:

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review 2016-09-06 19:36
BEGGARS IN SPAIN by NANCY KRESS
Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress

First off Cassandra Campbell did a great job with the narration of this very, very long book with a whole host of characters. Secondly, did I mention this was a very, very long book? At first I thought it was an omnibus because the chapters would end and then start with "Book 2", etc. But nope, this author turned a novella into a tome. I never really became invested with any of the characters, even Drew who would usually be drawn to. Thank goodness this was an audiobook! 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.

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