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text 2019-11-29 16:15
24 Festive Tasks: Door 6 - Veterans' / Armistice Day: Task 2

Here's hoping this year won't see any more authors' deaths, because too many of the great ones have already left us in 2019.  Those that stood out most to me:


Toni Morrison

(Feb. 18, 1931 – Aug. 5, 2019)

Toni MorrisonToni Morrison was the Nobel Prize-winning author of best-selling novels including Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye.  She died at the age of 88.


Of all the great authors who died in 2019, she stood head and shoulders above the rest.  I reread her novel Beloved for Halloween Bingo and came away devastated and heartbroken all over again.  If you only ever read one book by Morrison, make it that one.  What a literary voice, and what an advocate for racial and gender equality the world has lost in her.



Judith Kerr

(June 14, 1923 – 22 May 2019)

Judith KerrJudith Kerr, who created the Mog picture books series, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and the semi-autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, died at age 95.


Even before I had first seen the images of children gassed at Auschwitz, Kerr's book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit brought home to child-age me that genocide and persecution stops at no-one -- rather, anybody, regardless how young, can become a victim.  once learned, it was a lesson I never forgot.



Herman Wouk

(May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019)

Herman WoukHerman Wouk, who wrote the classic novel The Caine Mutiny, died at the age of 103, only 10 days before his 104th birthday.


What an age to have reached -- a true witness to a whole century!  I've yet to read more of his work (yeah, I know ...), but The Caine Mutiny was one of the first literary works to truly make me think about the nature of justice (and "justice" vs. "the administration of the law") ... and who could possibly not be left stunned with the gut-punch screen adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart?



Mary Oliver

(Sept. 10, 1935 – Jan. 17, 2019)

Mary OliverMary Oliver was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet beloved for her poems about nature and animal life. She died at the age of 83.


And instead of any further words, I'm just going to leave this here (I think BT may already have quoted it in her post for this task, too, but it definitely bears quoting twice):


Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.


(Task: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.)


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review 2018-12-18 19:16
The Granular Success Egg: " The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes
The Death of the Author - Roland Barthes

Another piece of advice you of want to succeed in writing a novel:

1) Be youngish and photogenic;
2) Lure an agent with your headshot - or be well-known already;
3) Get a PR who is at least as good as your agent;
4) Include some mildly kinky sex scenes in your book and market it as being aimed at middle-aged women;
5) Live on Facebook with a thousand-selfie-a-day habit;
6) Praise god for your God-given talent then adopt atheism;
7) Tell everyone to get fucked.

To quote Somerset Maugham: "There are only three ways to write a novel ....unfortunately, no one knows what they are .... "



If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-04-21 00:00
Death of a Cookbook Author
Death of a Cookbook Author - Lee Hollis Death of a Cookbook Author - Lee Hollis I received and ARC of this book from Netgalley and Kensington Publishing for my honest review.

Hayley Powell is a food columnist for The Island Times in Bar Harbor, Maine. While at a book signing by Penelope Janice, one of the top stars for the Flavor Network for her latest cookbooks. Penelope asks Hayley to participate in a celebrity potluck contest as a last minute fill in for a no show guest at her estate over the Fourth of July weekend to be filmed for her cooking show. Hayley gets food poisoning from some bad mussels the first night, then she overhears a man, who she believes to be Penelope's husband Conrad, and a woman plotting a murder of who she thinks is Penelope. When Hayley tells Penelope what she'd overheard, Penelope doesn't believe her. Things get even more complicated when Conrad is found dead at the bottom of a cliff after a night of heavy drinking. Hayley now has to find out if Conrad's death was an accident as everyone believes it to be, or if it was murder like Hayley suspects. Hayley call Bruce, the crime reporter for the paper after an attempt is made on her life, the two team up to work on figuring out the mystery.

With a house full of suspects it's hard to narrow down who killed Conrad until the surprising reveal. We don't have the usual characters in this book as Hayley's children have both left home and her two best friends only make the briefest of appearances so we are introduced to some new colorful characters. It was nice to see Hayley's and Bruce's relationship take a turn towards them being a couple after being coworkers and friends since book 1. The author does a nice job of drawing you into the story with her characters, well plotted mystery, and her well paced story line.
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review 2014-12-29 22:38
[BuchBlubb] â–º Bitten To Death (Jennifer Rardin)
[(Bitten to Death)] [ By (author) Jennifer Rardin ] [September, 2008] - Jennifer Rardin
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text 2013-10-30 05:28
Historial fiction, an essay.

Man I did not mean for this to turn into an essay. Wrote this as a response for the GR m/m group in their surprisingly contentious Historical Gay Romance thread:

I think you and me are talking about three or four different things. To clarify I'll explain how I see magic as it relates to historical settings.

First of all, before I start, anachronisms. This is a problem with all historical novels, not just ones with magic. An anachronism in a magical historical setting would be something like a Victorian werewolf referring to his pack leader as his "Alpha". The term "Alpha" (as it relates to wolves) was invented just a few decades ago to refer to dominant animals (it's also incredibly inaccurate terminology based on some terrible experiments, but that's another rant for another time). In Victorian times it would have simply meant the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and any Victorian werewolf would have just confused the person he was speaking to. "Alpha" is a modern anachronism. Other anachronisms would be a proper society lady who refuses to wear corsets, or crossing the Atlantic in a matter of days prior to the age of the steam engine. This right here is (generally) what I am talking about when I'm saying "I want the book to be historically accurate." I am talking about a book not having modern anachronisms. If there is a difference it has to be explained (like magic sails that make the ship go fast) otherwise I'm going to assume that it is a mistake on the author's part.

Now I've gotten that out of the way. In my opinion magic DOES NOT have to change history! Whether or not the author decides that magic changes history is completely up to them. There are:

1. Novels in which magic does not change history. Magic is part of the world, but it is often 'hidden' or perhaps weak to modern technology, or limited in some way. Or it is used in such a way that the results are the same. Generally when I read these I'm expecting that history is going to flow in more or less the same way, allowing me to imagine the current modern world just as it is (but with magic). These can be historicals (in my opinion, perhaps not for others) because they deal with a history that could potentially be ours.

2. Alternate histories. This is actually an entire genre of its own. Sometimes it's magic that changed history, sometimes it's a new technology. Harry Turtledove is a master of this genre, and I say this a person who does not particularly like his books (generally waaay too many view points for me to keep track of!) These can be really good, but the author has to understand the era he is writing about in order to write a good alternate history in my opinion. What's the point of fighting the US's Civil War on unicorns if the author doesn't understand what happened at Gettysburg? Alternate histories can be a really good way to examine history from another angle and to think 'what if'. What if the South got AK-47s from some time-traveling racists? What if aliens invaded during WWI? etc. But they aren't historicals, because they deal with a history that isn't ours.

3. Fantasies with a historical dressing. I think this is what you are talking about. I honestly have nothing against them, I've read quite a few that I've enjoyed. Most fantasies are of the Medieval European variety, which is a historical setting to be sure. However, these are not true historicals. They are fantasies that take place in a world that is not our own. Again, nothing wrong with that.

A historical, to me, means a novel that takes place in our history. When there is magic the author's intent is important to consider when deciding whether or not the book is supposed to be a historical. Is it clear that the author meant for the novel to be part of our history? Then the book is a magical historical and should adhere to historical accuracy. If the author intends to write an alternate history or a fantasy then fine, I have enjoyed all of those, but they should not (in my opinion) be called historicals.

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