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review 2018-03-08 00:35
Sleuthing for a new mystery series
The Killings at Badger's Drift - Caroline Graham

It might come as a surprise that I had never heard of the writer Caroline Graham until my mom got me into watching a show called Midsomer Murders. (It's on Netflix if you're interested.) What does one have to do with the other? Well, the tv show is based off of a book series by Graham that begins with The Killings at Badger's Drift which also happens to be the first episode's name. As this is the first in the Chief Inspector Barnaby series, you can expect the usual character introductions and some growing pains as the reader decides if they actually want to throw their hat into the ring of a somewhat grumpy detective in the English countryside. In the show DCI Tom Barnaby is a fatherly figure accompanied by a somewhat bumbling underling named Gavin Troy. It's not quite the same in the book. Firstly, Troy (who is one of my fave characters) is not at all likable. The reader is treated to somewhat of an inner monologue of his and he's not what I'd characterize as a a good dude (he's misogynistic, arrogant, and a cheater). Secondly, Barnaby is bordering on being a full-blown hypochondriac with an extensive knowledge of horticulture which at times seems to nearly distract him from the case at hand. (Get ready for a lot of plant descriptions.) However, looking beyond these very different versions of the characters the 'feel' of the mystery is the same if somewhat more overtly sexual. (This is an adult novel.) The crime centers around a small village called Badger's Drift and the victim is an older woman who everyone can agree was very likable. There aren't any concrete leads on suspects and Troy is ready to write it off as a bizarre accident when another murder occurs right up the road. Onward, super sleuths! Like Christie, Graham is able to write characters extremely well and the feel of the village comes completely to life on the page. This was an extraordinarily fast read for me because I was enjoying it so much and wanted to see whodunit (even though I already knew). Mystery fans who want to visit what has to be the deadliest county in the UK must get their hands on this book because I strongly suspect (see what I did there?) you won't want to stop there. 9/10 but lost a point because Troy made me grind my teeth in sheer frustration.


What's Up Next: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Others Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty


What I'm Currently Reading: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-03 01:06
Poor execution
Mine own executioner, - Nigel Balchin

I have to confess that I did a thing which I am always telling people they shouldn't guilt themselves into doing...I read a book that I wasn't really all that interested in reading. My rationale was that I had gone out of my way (interlibrary loan from a different state) to get this book and I didn't want to admit that it wasn't worth the effort. *sigh* 


The book that I'm referring to is Mine Own Executioner by Nigel Balchin. I want to give you a central theme or something to succinctly explain it but the closest I can manage is saying that it's about a man who is battling an inner turmoil while also trying to be a competent psycho-analyst. There's a lot of discussion around the validity of a medical degree vs hands-on training which leads to our main character, Felix Milne, taking on a very difficult case to 'prove' that he is just as capable as a medical professional. His patient was recently involved in a traumatic experience in the war and as a result he experienced a psychotic break from reality and tried to murder his wife. While Milne tries to uncover the root of this man's troubles he continues to ignore the cause of his own marital problems. He has a strained and virtually platonic relationship with his wife and actively struggles with his feelings for her best friend. I guess there's an irony there that he is able to ascertain and ultimately help heal what ails his patients but he can't clearly see that he is the cause of his own misfortunes and unhappiness. Milne is an acerbic and not altogether likable character who plays God with those he seeks to help (and his wife). He justifies this by saying that it's a necessary part of their treatment that they come to see him this way. I don't think I can say with any conviction that I liked this book. The characters were one dimensional, the plot was fairly predictable, and the ending was highly unsatisfactory. I can't even say that I recommend it to ________ or ________. 0/10


PS They made it into a film. Why?


What's Up Next: Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman


What I'm Currently Reading: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-02-08 03:31
Probably getting this in the near future
Erased, Vol. 1 - Kei Sanbe

I'm tempted to buy it so that I don't have to deal with waiting for each volume via ILL, but I need to remember that I have zero shelf space. So, ILL it is. Maybe after I get through all four volumes of Yukarism?


I'm currently watching Netflix's live action TV series based on this. There are moments when some of the acting is unconvincing, but mostly I'm enjoying it, even though I already knew going in who the murderer was. I'd have actually preferred my introduction to the series to be the anime, which I'd seen (spoiler-filled) clips of and thought looked gorgeous, but I'm not buying that at its current price of at least $15 per 25-minute episode.


The basic premise of this series: a twenty-something loner has the ability to go back in time and make situations that originally got someone killed work out for the better. It isn't something he really has control over, and he's usually only able to go back a few minutes into the past. Then his mother is murdered and he becomes a suspect. The one thing he wants most is to fix whatever it was that led to her being killed, so he's suddenly transported 15 years into the past, to a time in his childhood when several kids he knew were kidnapped and killed. Somehow those murders had something to do with his mother's death in the present. He thinks that if he can figure out how to stop them, then he can save his mom.

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text 2018-01-17 02:08
Notes on Adaptation: Call Me by Your Name, Alternate Casting Edition
Call Me by Your Name: A Novel - André Ac... Call Me by Your Name: A Novel - André Aciman

Sometimes, when I read a book, a particular actor who might certain a character gets in my head and totally takes over. 


When I read "The Martian," it was absolutely Matt Damon as Mark Watney. Of course, that casting had already been announced. You can read more about my thoughts on that here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1264907/notes-on-adaptation-the-martian-casting-edition.


A while before "Gone Girl" went into production, Ben Affleck - but blonder and younger - totally took over Nick Dunne's voice as I read. You can read more about that here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/766885/some-thoughts-on-gone-girl.


Yesterday, I read Andre Aciman's "Call Me By Your Name," which, of course, has been adapted into a highly-regarded movie. I hope to see the film still this awards season. But it's possible I'll have to wait, as our small-town movie theaters often don't bring in "art films." Or perhaps it came and went during the period I was completely distracted with my recent move and the holidays. 


Either way, I'm well aware that Armie Hammer plays the 24-year-old professor, Oliver, who becomes the obsession of the 17-year-old Elio. But Mr. Hammer was NOT the face and voice who completely invaded my reading. 


Oliver was, for me, almost from his initial introduction, a (much) younger Jon Hamm - or perhaps a younger, '80s version of Hamm's "Mad Men" character Don Draper. Subtract 20 years and make him look a little bit more "ethnically Jewish" - maybe closer to the novelist Nathan Englander, for example - and that's who I saw. 


Sorry, Armie Hammer. I'm sure I'll enjoy what you did with the character. But for now, you're my "alternate casting." 



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review 2018-01-06 02:19
The last story strengthened my resolve to never go on a cruise
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Dahl, Roald (2012) Paperback - Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories was a must-have for me for 2 reasons: 1. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors and I want to read everything he's ever written and 2. I love ghost stories. I have to admit that going into this one I was very much under the impression that this was going to be a book filled with stories written by Dahl himself. I clearly hadn't read the synopsis or book jacket because that is not what this book is about. This is a collection of some of Dahl's favorite ghost stories written by other people. He compiled this list when he was working on a project for American television and his preparation was extensive. He read 749 tales of the supernatural by different authors and from that large number he whittled it down to 14 of his favorites that he felt were not only excellent examples of writing in this genre but that would make for good television. (He also discovered that women are experts in this field and until the 11th hour he thought they would beat out the men with a hard majority.) Since there are 14 different stories in this collection, I will only talk about 2 that I found particularly chilling (and yes they are written by women). 


The first is called 'Harry' and was written by Rosemary Timperley. It bore a striking resemblance to The Imaginary in that its primary focus was on a little girl who had a strong friendship with an imaginary boy. The biggest difference here is that the mom tried very hard to squash this relationship because she had a deep and abiding fear...of the name Harry. Yes, I too found this odd. Nevertheless, while it may seem irrational this fear was quite powerful and instead of ignoring the interactions of her child and her invisible playmate she let it consume her until...well you'll have to read the story.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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