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review 2019-01-09 15:28
A Massacre in Mexico - John Washington,Anabel Hernandez

In September 2014, 43 students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Normal School of Ayotzinapa were disappeared in Mexico.  They literally vanished.  They group was largely first year students.  They have never been found.  At time, it made the headlines even outside of Mexico.  Today, ever so often an international news report will mention the status of investigation.

                Anabel Hernández’s book details not only the night of attacks when the 43 students disappeared but also the cover-ups that followed.  On one hand, the writing is dry.  Hernandez is reporting. She is trying to prove the cove ups. 

                The important thing is that she does.  The detail and information she has gathered and presented makes her case.

                If you live in the US, this is really a book you should read because it does have impact on way there are refugees and the impact of the war on drugs.

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review 2018-12-11 15:11
"Washington Black", by Esi Edugyan
Washington Black - Esi Edugyan

This is both a gripping and ingenious tale that has all the elements of a 19th century adventure.” Washington Black” depicts slavery — unsparingly — but it’s about freedom. The narrative focuses on its main character, Washington Black, who tells his own story.

In 1830, 11 year old Washington Black is a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation and is watched over by an older woman named Big Kit. His master is shockingly cruel till one day the master’s brother comes for a visit. Wash’s life is changed for ever when eccentric Titch who is devoting himself to science takes Wash under his wings….a partnership, of sorts, is born.

As in her previous novels, the themes of genius and betrayal are revisited but in “Washington Black” this is far more complicated. The relationship between Wash and this white scientist and abolition advocate is complex. When Titch sends Wash across the globe on a journey mythic in scope….Ms. Edugyan transforms her story from horrors into a lush and exhilarating travelogue full of improbable events. 

This plot is aptly written within the constraint of the time period. The narrator is articulate, precise to the point of fussiness. The tone is melancholic and emotional. This is one adventure powered by the helium of fantasy…..quite unconventional. 

No doubts that Esi Edudyan being the Winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize has penned a polished story filled with imagery but I was quite disappointed by its conclusion….

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text 2018-11-25 22:02
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Task 4 (Characters Who Made a Career Change)
A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) - Ellis Peters
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie
Washington Black - Esi Edugyan
Trial and Error (Arcturus Crime Classics) - Anthony Berkeley
The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown
Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth

1. Brother Cadfael: A career change can hardly get any more radical than going from crusading soldier to herbalist monk (with a sideline of detection).


2. Captain Arthur Hastings: From soldier in WWI to London detective (of sorts) to cattle rancher in "the Argentine".


3. Washington Black: From child slave on a sugarcane plantation to explorer to painter (supporting himself by working as a delivery boy) to scientist and scientific illustrator -- all in the space of barely 20 years.


4. Mr. Lawrence Todhunter: From philantropist and occasional literary columnist to murderer (which btw is not a spoiler -- it's the book's explicit premise).


5. Ed Hunter: From printer's apprentice / assistant to amateur detective to "carnie".


Special mention:


Miss Maud Silver: From governess to private investigator.


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text 2018-11-16 22:05
I'm not sure where I'm going, but this is probably a good guidebook
Gem Trails of Washington - Garret Romaine

Actually, it's just an excuse, at least for the moment.  ;-)


In 1996 I bought an estate collection of rocks for $50.  There were so many, they weighted down our little S10 pick-up to the point that I wasn't sure we'd make the 7-mile trip home.  We did, however, and I've been having fun with these rocks ever since.


At the time, I didn't know what most of them were.  Many were obvious -- obsidian, petrified wood, quartz crystals -- and some were nicely labeled, but most were unknowns.  Over the years I've learned about more of them, but there are still mysteries.


One of those mysteries got solved today!


In the collection were a lot of miscellaneous small stones, obviously water-rounded.  Whether they came from a lake, a river, or an ocean beach, I had no idea.  I could easily identify some of them as agates and jaspers, but beyond that I knew nothing.


A few, maybe a dozen out of this truckload of stones, were orbicular jasper.  They had little circular spots of red or orange or yellow in a background matrix material of black.  There are lots of different kinds of orbicular jasper, and I didn't know any more about these than that.  A few were polished, but most were just rounded.


Three weeks ago, I threw a couple handfuls of these mixed stones into the tumbler.  I had no idea if they'd come out looking like anything worthwhile, but what the heck.  Today I took them out of the third grind cycle, ready to go into the pre-polish cycle.  Of course, I checked them over while cleaning them up in preparation for the next round, and I found some pretty interesting specimens.


I knew there were some of these orbicular jaspers in the batch, so I looked at them in particular.  To my surprise, the black matrix was kind of sparkly, as though there were tiny crystals or specks floating in the black.  Because they'd gone through three grind cycles, I knew this sparkle was inside the black matrix, not on the surface.  That means it should -- should -- remain sparkly after the final polish.


Intrigued, I started some online research to see if I could find out more about these particular stones.  And BINGO!


I went looking for some more of those pieces and found a couple that, even though they aren't fully polished, demonstrate that they're almost certainly from Rialto Beach, Washington.




Whoo hoo!  I love it when I learn something new!


I especially love it when I can add some personal connection.


Rialto Beach, Washington, is just north of La Push, on the Olympic Peninsula.  During a visit to my son and his family on Whidbey Island, WA, in 2009, we took the long drive to La Push.  I can't say I was impressed with the Pacific Coast at that location!


The monstrous driftwood was impressive, but the beach sand felt dirty and oily, and there weren't ANY rocks worth picking up. 



But in 2009 I didn't know there was orbicular jasper a few miles to the north!


Now I do.

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text 2018-11-09 18:04
Door 4 - Diwali; Task 4
Washington Square - Henry James,Lorna Raver
A Little Princess - Tasha Tudor,Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mostly Monsterly - Tammi Sauer
The Dark Tower - Stephen King
A Knight in Shining Armor (Montgomery Saga, #10) - Jude Deveraux

Task 4: Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.


I squinted at over 1700 thumbnails on my shelves, and this was the best I could do. If I stretched the definition until it squeaks, I could say these five  are "persons" holding or wearing flowers. 


I could have gone a step farther and gone with young women with flowers in near proximity, and I'd have had plenty of covers to show for it, but I decided to stick with this. And yes, I realize that the last one is technically a knight's gauntlet holding a flower, and doesn't actually have the knight's hand *inside* it. 

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