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text 2018-03-22 08:21
Reading progress update: I've read 36 out of 291 pages.
The Book Worm - Mitch Silver

I don't know about this one; I was 100% sucked in at the prologue, but Silver's choice to mold his fictional president along the lines of the current orange wonder idiot, and a scene that involved... *ahem*, a renewal of his mile-high-club membership in Air Force One, damn near had me DNFing the book and left me with a dangerous impulse to gargle bleach.


Nobody of any political affiliation wants a mental image of that flabby, saggy, nasty mess getting it on stuck in their head.  That's just not o.k.  

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text 2018-03-22 06:33
Vintage (mostly) book haul

Mysterious Books in New York sucked me in again with their newsletter.  They have a list of used books at the end of each one and most of the time they're heavily noir/thriller/hard-boiled, but once in awhile they have titles I can't refuse.



The bottom one is a new release - I have NO idea if it's good, but the title is The Book Worm and its protagonist is a Russian historian nicknamed Lara the Bookworm.   About the only thing this author didn't include to entice me specifically is cream puffs popping out when I opened the cover.


finally found a copy of The Circular Staircase by Anna Katherine Green, which I've been hunting for a while.  I know I could get a reprint copy easily, or if I liked ebooks (I don't) get it for free on Gutenburg, but here's my feeling on old titles: if I can get an original edition for a reasonable price, I'd rather have it.  (Reasonable being less than than the price of a new HC.)  Something about having an old copy of an old title just feels right.


I also grabbed The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow by AKG - I don't know much about this one except it takes place in a museum.


The little pamphlet on the top is a tiny surprise (pun intended):  I knew it was small when I ordered it, but it's tiny.  Like prize at the bottom of a cereal box tiny.  But the bonus is that it also includes The Raven and Annabelle Lee, along with 2 other titles whose names escape me at the moment, though one has to do with a haunted house.


But the big win of the bunch is the top one.  I thought I'd lost out on it to someone who lived local to Mysterious Books, but while I was chatting with Tom at the bookshop via email, it came out that my original request actually arrived in their inbox (the wrong inbox, so went unseen) before the local guy claimed it.  He still would have gotten it, except he put off showing up to pay/pick it up.  Tom came through for me and I could not be more excited.  Why?  Because:

 - it's a detective mystery

 - it's a detective mystery written by Mark Twain

 - it's a detective mystery written by Mark Twain as a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes!!


'nuff said.

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review 2018-03-22 01:55
The Gate to Women's Country
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper

If I had read this when it was first published, in the 80s, I think I would have really liked this book. Alas, I read it now and it mostly made me angry.


This book channels second wave feminism pretty heartily, and unfortunately it also falls into some of the movement's pitfalls. Powerfully negative attitudes towards men lie the foundation for this story - an idea that men are innately violent and aggressive, and women are not, is the true dividing line. This book pretends that personality is based purely on nature with nurture making little difference. Bodily autonomy and emotional connectivity fall to the wayside in favor of eugenics and manipulation. And to make it even worse the lack of gender non-conforming or non-heterosexual individuals in this world is not an oversight - the book flat out states that queer characters were bred out (see page 76 in my edition). To say that the story is misandrist, gender essentialist, and aggressively heteronormative would not be inaccurate nor unfair.


As much as I wanted to throw this book across my room at times, or to give it a half star rating, I will give it some credit where credit is due. This book is of its time, and it came from an angry place. And I get that. I've felt that. A lot of people have. It is interesting to use science fiction to play around with thought experiments, and our book club had an excellent discussion about this one. Tepper quite obviously put a lot of thought into her world, and the world-building was fairly intricate. The characters were drawn well enough that I truly hated many of them, and some mirrored individuals I've known in my past. There are some really excellent insights in here, and even passages that I reread because they struck a chord with me. However, I just couldn't get past the politics. It's a great book to talk about and critique, but it is not a book I feel I can recommend outside of that capacity.

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review 2018-03-22 01:19
Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
Seriously... I'm Kidding - Ellen DeGeneres

Seriously… I’m Kidding has been on my to-read list for a while now. When it finally came available to borrow from my library I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version.


Narrated by Ellen herself, this audio book was just like listening to the opening monologue on her talk show. I enjoyed her observations on the world around her and admire her for keeping her jokes clean. Unlike most comedians, Ellen’s humor is suitable for all ages.


Although an enjoyable listen, I did find some of the rambling to be a bit much and settled on a 3 star rating. I would recommend Seriously… I’m Kidding to fans of Ellen DeGeneres.

Source: mlsredhousereviews.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/seriously-im-kidding-by-ellen-degeneres
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review 2018-03-22 00:58
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles #1) - DNF @ 19%.
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles Book 1) - Alex Westmore, Designed by Rock Mallory,Rachel Stanfield-Porter

I was promised swashbuckling and crossdressing shenanigans, and there certainly was that. Like, a lot. Almost nonstop really. As soon as any hint of a plot started to take shape, more swashbuckling came along to nip it in the bud. Quinn was fun, even if I couldn't figure out how she could possibly keep her true identity a secret whilst on a pirate ship. Even if you assume pirates don't bathe that often, at some point, someone's got to notice something, right?


If all you're looking for is swashbuckling and shenanigans, this is the book for you. I just needed something more.

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