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text 2018-09-06 20:43
Reading progress update: I've listened 120 out of 396 minutes.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley, Emilia Fox

"'What's up, Dogger?' I asked lightly, trying to make it sound a little bit -- but not too much -- like Bugs Bunny."

Take note, Ms. Wright: This is how you do pop culture references -- you want them to have a topical and period adequate connection to whatever events you're in the process of describing.

 

And then, just a little later, we get to:

"Then there was curare.  It , too, had an almost instant effect and again, the victim died within minutes by asphyxiation.  But curare could not kill by ingestion; to be fatal, it had to be injected.  Besides that, who in the English countryside -- besides me, of course -- would be likely to carry curare in his kit?"

Flavia is 11.

 

And a certain teenage boy comes to mind whose story Kathryn Harkup tells in A Is for Arsenic ... and who, like Flavia, also owned his first chemistry set before he'd actually turned "-teen" and used it to poison his stepmother.  I guess it's a good thing Flavia is the narrator and heroine of this series ...

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text 2018-09-01 00:02
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 336 pages.
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

Also starting this one -- which in addition to it being the Flat Book Society's September group read, Moonlight also OK'd for the Doomsday bingo square (and by extension of course, also the Free / Center / Raven square).

 

 

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text 2018-08-31 11:52
Reading progress update: I've listened 273 out of 422 minutes.
The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter, Emilia Fox,Richard Armitage

@Jennifer (of Jennifer's Books), have you listened to this?  If not (yet), you absolutely need to ... for Richard Armitage's rendition of this version of Puss in Boots alone.  He completely had me in stitches last night!!

 

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text 2018-07-07 16:19
Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 343 pages.
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Oh, wow.  I'm only a few chapters in, but this is feeling mighty topical already -- even more so given that it's not historical fiction but was actually published in 1941 (note: it's set in the summer of 1939):

 

"'It is really very sad for a German to find how misjudged and abused his country is.  Of course, our enemies control the Press in foreign countries, and they have been very busy.  They have clever tongues.'

'Have they?  It is strange, isn't it, how criticism of Germany has grown even in countries which were once really very close to her.  I wonder how it could have happened.'"

(P. 25)

 

"'You are a very prejudiced person, I can see.  I suppose you will now lecture me gravely on the wickedness of Germany's claims to natural Lebensraum.  It is easy to talk when you have a large Empire.'

'On the contrary, Herr von Aschenhausen, I like to think of all people having their Lebensraum, whether they are Germans or Jews or Czechs or Poles.'

His voice grated.  He was really angry.  'It is just such thoughts as these which have weakened Britain.  In the last twenty-five years she could have established herself as ruler of the world.  Instead, she makes a Commonwealth out of an Empire, and they won't even fight to help her when she has to fight.  She leaves the riches of India untapped; she urges a representative government on Indians who were about to refuse it.  She alienates Italy with sanctions.  She weakens herself all the time and she thinks it is an improvement.'"

(P. 27)

 

"'Well, I suppose if a nation allows concentration camps, it will find it hard to believe that other people don't use similar methods.  Cheeer up, old girl, who cares what a lot of uncivilised people think anyway?  It's only the opinion of the civilised that really matters.'

'Yes, but it looks as if a lot of the civilised will be killed because they ignored the thoughts of the uncivilised.  Ignoring doesn't expose them, you know, Richard.'"

(P. 32)

 

"[...] And then bastards like von Aschenhausen come along all smiles and bows.  And wonder why people are not enthusiastic about them.  They blackmailed us with bombers one year, and go back on the agreement they had extorted out of us, and then expect to be welcomed as friends.  All within nine months."

(P. 33)

 

"There's nothing like self-pity for thoroughly dissipating a man.  And when a nation indulges in that luxury it finds itself with a dictator.  Wrongs and injustices come in at the door and reason flies out of the window.  It's a solution which does not flatter the human race."

(P. 43)

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text 2018-05-17 12:16
Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 320 pages.
A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie - Kathryn Harkup

Phosphorus and Ricin -- two particularly nasty ones.  And the way she's describing the discovery of phosphorus, it sounds like something straight out of a sorcerer's lab ... byproduct of the search for the philosophers' stone.  Why stop at gold, anyway?!

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