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text 2018-12-19 15:55
24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 - Festivus, Task 3 (Book Stack / Scales Feat of Strength)
Die Romane: Buddenbrooks. Königliche Hoheit. Lotte in Weimar. Der Zauberberg. Joseph und sein Brüder. Doktor Faustus. Der Erwählte. Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull. - Thomas Mann
The Collected Jack London - Jack London,Steven J. Kasdin
Deadly Pleasures: The Black Tower / Death of an Expert Witness / The Skull Beneath the Skin - P.D. James
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

The books I picked for this task:

 

* My hardcover boxed set of Thomas Mann's complete novels (7 books)

* My one-volume omnibus of The Collected Jack London,

* A three-novel book club P.D. James omnibus edition named Deadly Pleasures (and containing the novels The Black Tower, Death of an Expert Witness, and The Skull Beneath the Skin)

* ... and, of course, my Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works.

 

Altogether, they came to a weight of 8.5 kg (= 18.7 pounds).

 

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text 2018-12-18 20:38
24 Festive Tasks: Door 18 - Winter Solstice / Yuletide, Task 1 (Bibliomancy)
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

I was just going to do an "Ask Auntie Jane (Austen, not Marple)" ... but as BT pointed out, you can never really ask Will Shakespeare for his comment too often, so I've decided to call upon him for a second opinion.  Not that I mistrust Miss Austen of course, but these are serious questions, after all, so it seems justified to make doubly sure.

 

So, here we go:

 

  • A.   Will I read all the books on my TBR?  (page 378, line 29)

Jane Austen's response (from Pride and Prejudice):

"... their vice.  He was fond of the country and of books, and from these tastes ..."

William Shakespeare's response (from Romeo and Juliet):

"Prodigious birth of love it is to me"

Umm.  This is seriously spooky.  You guys can't possibly mean my entire TBR --  or if you do, you've both answered this one completely blindly.  So I'm going to interpret this as meaning I'll at least read all the books on any TBR I might create for a special purpose in 2019 (e.g., for my new spin on the Women Writers challenge).

 

 

B.   Will any of my 2019 reads be 5 stars? (page 227, line 31)

Jane Austen's response (from Sense and Sensibility):

"... judged it wisest, from the experience of the past, to submit -- and therefore, ..."

 

William Shakespeare's response (from Venus and Adonis):

"At this Adonis smiles as in disdain"

What?!  I'm supposedly going to finish off my TBR, but not a single book is going to be a 5-star read?  You've got to be kidding me!  That's some motivation to keep on reading ...

 
 

C.   Will I discover a new favorite book / author / series? (page 309, line 23)

Jane Austen's response (from Pride and Prejudice):

"... be soon down again and soon dining at Longbourn, and the conclusion of ..."

William Shakespeare's response (from Love's Labours Lost):

"Suscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it, too."

That sounds like another "no" from both of you -- both answers are along the lines of "stick to what you already know."  You're really not explaining very well how this "finishing off my TBR" thing is supposed to work, you know?  Again, not really a tremendous amount of motivation you're giving me ... unless you mean I'll finish off that TBR because I'll DNF a whole lot of books.  I'll have you know that I typically don't count DNFs towards a reading challenge, though ... Oh well.  Moving on:

 

 

D.   Will I discover that a major twist (hopefully, for the [even] better) has occurred in one of my favorite series? (page 459, line 16)

Jane Austen's response (from Pride and Prejudice):

"'I can easily believe it.  You thought me then devoid of every proper ..."

William Shakespeare's response (from The Merchant of Venice):

"Content, in faith.  I'll seal to such a bond"

Aha!  This makes more sense.  A new twist, especially one for the even better, is surely going to keep me reading, because I'll want to know how it ultimately plays out.  Seems now we're (finally) getting somewhere.

 

 

E.   Will I finish all of my reading challenges in 2019? (page 69, line 7)

Jane Austen's response (from Sense and Sensibility):

"... regret that they were only eight altogether."

William Shakespeare's response (from Henry VI, Part II):

"... holden at Bury the first of this next month."

Err ... and by that you mean ... what, Will?  I can see that Miss Austen thinks I'll embark on eight reading challenges (no "only" about it, though, I can assure you, Jane!) and I'll easily make mincemeat of them.  But what's the reference to Bury St. Edmunds supposed to mean, Will?  Or do you mean I'll "bury" those challenges?  It doesn't really make sense since you're clearly referencing the place and not the verb, but I think I'm just going to write this one off as one of your lesser known (and, um, I'm sorry to say, less succesful) witticisms.

 

 

F.   Will I stay within my book budget in 2019? (page 98, line 5)

Jane Austen's response (from Sense and Sensibility):

"... pleasure at seeing them in London, making the usual enquiries about their ..."

William Shakespeare's response (from Henry VI, Part III):

"And were I strong, I would not shun their fury."

Uh, oh.  I think this doesn't bode well for my book budget.  Miss Austen has me touring my usual London book haunts (which invariably ends up disastrously as far as any budgetary plans are concerned).  And Will Shakespeare thinks I'm just going to cave in to pressure ... which, I'm afraid, just may turn out a rather astute assessment, when faced with shelves and shelves of shiny, sparkling new books in a favorite store ... or on the website of an online seller.  OK, I guess I had better rethink the size of that book buying allowance ...
 
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text 2018-11-02 01:50
24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 - Día de los Muertos, Task 2 (Favorite Epitaph)

Task 2:  Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one).

 

To a Shakespeare fan, there can be only one ...

 

 


Good friend for Jesus' sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

 


(Photos mine.)

 

And yes, he wrote that one himself. Apparently he had a premonition just what might happen after his death ...

 

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text 2018-09-05 13:46
My August 2018
The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena
Romeo and Juliet - Crystel S Chan,William Shakespeare
Wilde About The Girl - Louise Pentland
The Couple Next Door - 3.5 stars
Romeo and Juliet - dnf
Wilde About The Girl - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: Wilde About The Girl

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Harry Potter, Moxie

 

Apparently the less books I read, the more time I need to actually post my wrap up. When it comes to reading this year, I just feel off. I love reading, I read all the time, but I don't finish any books and it's driving me up the wall. I mean I'm still one/two books ahead on my reading challenge, so I'm not THAT bad, but it still bothers me a lot.

 
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review 2018-08-28 17:33
The Spy of Venice / Benet Brandreth
The Spy of Venice: A William Shakespeare Novel - Benet Brandreth

When he's caught out by one ill-advised seduction too many, young William Shakespeare flees Stratford to seek his fortune. Cast adrift in London, Will falls in with a band of players - but greater men have their eye on this talented young wordsmith.

England's very survival hangs in the balance, and Will finds himself dispatched to Venice on a crucial embassy. Dazzled by the city's masques - and its beauties - Will little realises the peril in which he finds himself. Catholic assassins would stop at nothing to end his mission on the point of their sharpened knives, and lurking in the shadows is a killer as clever as he is cruel.

 

***2018 Summer of Spies***

William Shakespeare as a character was the hook that persuaded me to pick up this historical espionage novel, but really virtually any well-known man from the period could have substituted successfully in the role. I kind of turned off the “Shakespeare detector” in my brain in order to enjoy the novel as much as I did.

Picture Shakespeare as kind of an Elizabethan James Bond, learning his way around Venice and Venetians and trying to fulfill the mission that he inherits from the assassinated nobleman who recruited him to travel to Italy. The plot was decent—twisty enough to be interesting, but with a few thin spots. For example, I think two actors from a ragged company would be hard pressed to impersonate the English ambassador and his aide. But once you’ve allowed yourself to accept those unlikely situations, the novel is simply fun.

Brandreth seeded a lot of phrases throughout the novel that would presage some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and sonnets. Most of the time, I found them amusing, but occasionally they grated on me a bit. The author is an actor and a specialist in Shakespearean language and history, so his choice of Shakespeare as character makes sense. I also found the language used in the writing to be appropriate—not too obviously 21st century, for example.

I certainly liked this tale well enough to read Brandreth’s sequel, The Assassin of Verona.

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