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text 2018-08-07 10:43
Germany & Central Europe, seen from the International Space Station

Tweet by the current commander of the ISS, German Alexander Gerst.


I'd been planning to shut up about the weather, but this just came too pat ... Will finally be shutting up now, though.

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text 2018-08-06 22:53
Let the Cult Begin ...

So here's my super-shiny, super-pretty, brand-spanking new card, with very many thanks to Moonlight Reader, um,  Madness:



First -- still very vague -- book ideas:


Country House Mystery: No specific idea yet, but I'll try to combine this one with my Detection Club quest, if possible.

Cryptozoologist: Probably either a book from Terry Pratchett's "Night Guard" Discworld subseries, or Patricia McKillip's Fantastic Beasts of Eld.

Romantic Suspense: I still haven't gotten around to the book I was planning to read for this square last year, Candace Robb's Apothecary Rose.  Either that or something by Mary Stewart.

Terrifying Women: If I don't come up with anything more specific, likely either Shirley Jackson or Patricia Highsmith.

Terror in a Small Town: Another one to combine with my Detection Club quest.

A Grimm Tale: Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber (Richard Armitage audio).

Genre: Horror: Michael McDowell: Gilded Needles (R.C. Bray audio).

Gothic: I've been planning, for quite a while, to do a comparison listen & review of the two audio versions of Du Maurier's Rebecca that I own on CD (read by Emma Fielding and Anna Massey, respectively) -- this just might be the moment to finally get around to doing that.

Murder Most Foul: ... and another one to combine with my Detection Club quest.

Doomsday: If MM OK's it, Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora.  Otherwise, possibly one of Sheri S. Tepper's dystopias.  Or if I feel like I need some comic relief, I might just revisit Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, what with a screen adaptation now in the works and all.

13: You guessed it ... The Detection Club: Verdict of 13.

Supernatural: Patricia McKillip: The Riddle Master.

Free Space: TBD.

Amateur Sleuth: Amateur sleuths are a golden age mystery staple, so ... another category suggesting itself for combination with my Detection Club quest.

Southern Gothic: Either Barbara Hambly's Free Man of Color or Michael McDowell's Blackwater saga (Matt Godfrey audio).

Ghost Stories: Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (Nigel Anthony / Susan Jameson audio).  (Might switch this one with "Classic Horror", though, see below.)

Cozy Mystery: Yet another possible combination with my Detection Club quest.

New Release: C.J. Sansom, Tombland.

Diverse Voices: Esi Edugyan: Washington Black.

Creepy Carnivals: Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (Adjoa Andoh audio).

Fear the Drowning Deep: No idea yet -- I'll probably be revisiting a classic here.

Classic Horror: Edith Wharton's or Charles Dickens's ghost stories (but might switch this one with category "Ghost Stories," see above).

Darkest London: If I feel up to yet another 600+ page whopper (besides the new C.J. Sansom), J.K. Rowling aka Robert Galbraith's Lethal White. Or Andrew Taylor, The American Boy (Alex Jennings audio).  Otherwise, obviously one more category that suggests itself for combination with my Detection Club quest.

Genre: Suspense: Ditto here (Detection Club), also obviously.

Relics and Curiosities: Probably one of the Medieval Murderers books I haven't read yet.


On a related note, I was planning to use the audio version of Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis for "Modern Noir" -- since I didn't happen to end up with that category, I'm pretty much hell-bent on working it into another category.  It's read by Richard Armitage and I already downloaded it (had, in fact, before MM even posted her first "Halloween Bingo" alerts) ... there is no way I will not be using it as part of the bingo!


Though all told, it's probabably just as well we have another three weeks to go until the start, because with temperatures like these, who actually needs to read about horror?  (Sigh.)




(And now I promise I'm done bitching about the weather ...)


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text 2018-06-26 00:59
Reading progress update: I've read 42 out of 208 pages.
The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs - Peter Wohlleben

Obviously, I'm on a weather kick, but I'm a sucker for applied knowledge and this book claims to be full of it.  I learned two new things in the first 4 pages and more than a few useful things in the other 38.  The narrative voice feels like it's aimed at people much younger than I am, but it is a translation, so I'm cutting it some slack.

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review 2018-06-03 21:16
A Student of Weather
A Student of Weather - Elizabeth Hay

A Student of Weather was today's choice read to recover from travel, jet lag, and the unpacking and laundry tasks that come with it. 


I had high hopes for the novel: It's set during the 1930s in depression-hit dust bowls of Saskatchewan and the New York of the 1960s, and it's by a Canadian author.


The last one, the Canadian factor, may have worked against the book. I'm only half kidding. I love Canadian writing. However, I am also reminded of Will and Ian Ferguson's summary of the Canadian literary novel (found in How to be a Canadian):

"Handy tip! Write about a family gathering, a funeral or some sort of homecoming. That's the easiest way to bring characters together without having to construct a plot. And make sure to include the free-spirited sister, the recovering alcoholic brother, the other sister (the one who gave up on her dreams and is married to an abusive and/or aloof man) and - last but not least - the standard-issue abusive and/or aloof father figure. Add to the mix some cryptic dialogue about a past betrayal, maybe a dark secret or two, and half-bake at 40F. Do you see how these things just write themselves?"

The thing is, my assessment of every Canadian novel I have read since the Fergusons' above summary has started with a categorisation: either the book fits the description or it doesn't.

The ones that didn't fit the Fergusons' description were, on the whole, much more enjoyable and interesting reads.


Sadly, A Student of Weather fits the above description to a T (except there was no recovering alcoholic brother, tho there was a brother who died early on... I am counting this as half a point.). What is even sadder, is that I could not find any other aspect that made this book compelling or that kept me from skim-reading some parts.  


It didn't help that the centre premise of the book is based on a love triangle that features some selfish asshat of a guy and two sisters who fight over his affections (which are always engaged elsewhere and for some reason the sisters just cannot see it)... Ugh.


The writing, tho, was very accomplished and I do look forward to trying the other book by Hay on Mt. TBR, Late Nights on Air.


Seriously, if that one also has a love triangle in it, I will DNF it faster than than I can type out the book title.

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review 2018-05-01 19:27
Another quick listen...marriage and family gone awry
Rough Weather - Robert B. Parker

Interesting conclusion, I am thinking, to Spenser's relationship with the Gray Man.  A spoiled rich girl's wedding gets ruined when Gray Man comes to shoot her would-be husband and then you find out he is the father who kidnapped his daughter.

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