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review 2018-01-14 22:42
Well, I can see the appeal to movie directors ...
The Lady Vanishes & the Spiral Staircase (Wordsworth Classics) - Ethel Lina White,Keith Carabine
The Lady Vanishes - Ethel Lina White
Some Must Watch - Ethel Lina White

... but in written form, this isn't really my cup of tea.  Which isn't necessarily the fault of White's writing is such -- she has a fine eye (and ear) for characterization and language -- but rather, of her chosen topic.  I've never been much of a fan of "women in peril" stories; they tend to be replete with fevered agitation and hyperbole, and however understandable the protagonists' fear and excitement may be in a given situation, the situation as such is almost invariably so unrealistic as to be the literary equivalent of "B movie" material.

 

That being said, Hitchcock definitely milked The Lady Vanishes (which was originally published as The Wheel Spins) for all it was worth and then some -- in fact, this is one of the rare examples where I decidedly prefer the movie over the book: not only because Hitch gave the story a spin that isn't present in the literary original at all (even if that doesn't make the story one iota more realistic -- it's just plainly more fun), but chiefly, because Michael Redgrave's version of Iris's (the heroine's) knight in shining armour is decidedly more likeable than the character from the book, who -- even though he's meant to be likeable -- to me just comes across as one hugely condescending a$$hole, hardly any better than the professor in whose company he travels.  Similarly, Iris herself is more likeable as portrayed by Margaret Lockwood in the movie: whereas there, I am genuinely sympathetic to her strange plight, the book mostly elicited my rage at her fellow passengers' reactions -- however not on Iris's behalf specifically but on behalf of womanhood generally, against a society that automatically disbelieved and put down as hallucinations and figments of an overactive imagination any woman's assertions that weren't supported -- or that were even directly contradicted -- by other witnesses, especially men and / or figures of authority.  (In fact, if I hadn't read Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, biographical background information included, I'd have dismissed the whole premise of The Lady Vanishes as wildly improbable.  Sadly, at the time of its writing, it wasn't.)

 

The Spiral Staircase (originally published as Some Must Watch) combines a remote country house setting on the Welsh border with a serial killer story; and if the isolation of the house and the prowling maniac weren't enough in and of themselves, the whole action takes place over the course of somewhat less than 12 hours, mostly after nightfall.  I haven't seen any of the several movie adaptations of this story, but I can see how a clever director would be able to ratchet up the tension quite skillfully here, what with the dwindling down of effective defenses against the maniac and a cast of fairly outlandish (and unlikeable) characters inside the house -- if you buy into the premonition that this house is where the serial killer is headed next, and that he is after the book's heroine, to begin with.

 

I liked The Spiral Staircase a bit better than The Lady Vanishes -- 3 1/2 vs. 2 1/2 stars, respectively, which averages out to 3 stars for both together.

 

The Spiral Staircase (under its original title Some Must Watch) is mentioned as an example of a country house mystery in Martin Edwards's The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, so I'll be counting that towards the corresponding square of my Detection Club bingo card, and both books, in addition, also towards the Women Writers Bingo.

 

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review 2017-12-29 01:48
Her Final Watch - Book 2 in the Detective Blanchette Mysteries
Her Final Watch (A Detective Blanchette Mystery Book 2) - Marguerite Ashton

Her Final Watch a well-written, fast-paced crime thriller. The story picks up where book one left off, and while it can be read as a standalone, there are things mentioned from the first book and I would recommend reading them in order. Like the first Detective Blanchette book, this one has loads of twists and it seems everyone has a secret. The story's heroine, Lily, is a likable, strong woman. I love that we see that along with her vulnerable side and her fears. It's refreshing to see such a strong female character that doesn't fall back on sarcasm to hide her insecurities. All-in-all, another solid addition to the Detective Blanchette Mysteries.

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review 2017-12-18 14:08
India, yoga and meditation
InDia: Watch dreams cautiously - Olga Dia

This book offers a lucid and beautiful introduction to India, yoga and meditation.
It is an interesting and honest account of a woman's search for life's purpose and meaning.
There is so much love and spiritual goodness between the words, making the book be like a personal conversation with a close friend remembering us about so many of our lives profound, and subtle similarities, when no matter where we are, we can experience things so differently but can find the same questions and discover the same answers.

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text 2017-11-23 07:32
The fashion pineapple trend

The Christmas day is coming, dozens of photos about Christmas pineapple started to emerge on Instagram, some users are innovating and replacing the traditional Christmas tree with a pineapple. A funny pineapple trend that gives way to creativity on different decorations such as the bulk bells, fashion wholesale watches, colorful ribbons.

Just arm yourself with your imagination and adorn your pineapple in the same way as a traditional Christmas tree. Glittering garland, light garlands, Christmas balls, transparent balls to fill, pineapple watches, stars, and frills. Anything is allowed! Some do not hesitate to supplement their pineapple with sunglasses, transforming it into a happy and funky Christmas man.

We love a lot, but no offense to the conservatives, this year the trend is pineapple. The fruit that has been seen all summer on bags, jewelery, pineapple watches and sweatshirts, is becoming the new trendy tree.

For these holidays 2017, it continue to amaze us with the tropical fruit pineapple to warm Christmas day.

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review 2017-11-04 01:34
The Night Watch ★★★★☆
The Night Watch - Read by Juanita McMahon, Narrated by David Chandler,Sarah Waters

I really hate when I put off writing a review for a book that I truly enjoyed. Once the immediate afterglow has faded and I’ve started on other books, I just can’t summon all the specific thoughts and feelings I had at the time. So I’m afraid this will sound much more tepid than I really felt about it.

 

Sarah Waters has a real genius for drawing characters and setting scenes and parceling out the information on both, that I hardly minded that absolutely nothing seems to happen, events-wise, over at least the first third of the book. The story has a strange construction – it starts at the end, wallows in the after effects of all the previous years’ events, then works backward so that you find out the events that led to the outcome on the characters and their situations. And of course, 

there is no resolution, because the characters are not in a happy place at the beginning, which dims your pleasure in their happiness at the end, knowing that the beginning is their future.

(spoiler show)

And that makes so little sense to me writing it now, even though I already read the whole thing and understand it.

 

But this is a wonderful book for people who like to read moody character studies. I already know that I’m going to listen to it again, and it will be a new experience, because this time I’ll know *why* and *what happened*, and it will be again a different sort of book. I do have one recommendation to prospective readers, though. Start this one in bound format, then do it on audio the second time around. Juanita McMahon’s performance is fantastic and is not to be missed, but the story structure makes it very hard to follow on audio the first time around.

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