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text 2018-07-23 08:46
Book Towns
Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word - Alex Johnson

A travel itinerary for all bibliophiles, bound in hardcover for easy reference.

 

All kidding aside (if I am kidding), this is a gorgeous book filled with 3-4 page spreads on towns that have dedicated their existence, or tried to, to the joy and importance of the written word in all its forms.  Except digital.  Because digital is evil (now I'm definitely kidding.)

 

The bittersweet part of this is the success rate of some of the towns.  At least half, by my very loose and statistically inaccurate count, have struggled, or find themselves with far fewer bookshops than they started with.  Some of this is the natural atrophy of any business category; there are always those that failed to prepare themselves adequately for the roller coaster that is small business ownership, but the ever shifting market of bookselling and the control of the market by big business, of course, bears the brunt of responsibility.  

 

There are success stories too, and those success stories are significant.  Hay-on-Wye (my personal nirvana/paradise/heaven), Wigtown, and embarrassingly enough, Clunes here n Victoria.  The one that's only 90 minutes from my doorstep and I haven't been to yet!  Boy, is my face red.  Anyway - these towns as well as others all over the world are proof that the concept is important and chock full of possibilities.

 

Johnson does a good job generally, giving a solid overview of each town, featuring the shop names you hope are solvent enough to be around by the time the reader figures out how to get there. He even occasionally mentions (especially for the French towns) the concentration of languages shops focus on.  My only complaint is that I'd have liked this thoughtful touch to be more consistent.  At least one reader of this book does see it as a bucket list (me), and, while most of the towns in this book would stand on their aesthetic merits, it would be helpful to know whether I'd be unlikely to find much in the way of reading material if I'm to visit.

 

Definitely a book to put off reading if you're trying to avoid the travel itch.

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text 2018-07-23 05:53
The Flat Book Society: Reminder to vote (again) for September book

Just a quick reminder for all members of The Flat Book Society to check in with the voting list to vote for a new September read (one that's hopefully easy to source for most of us).  There are some very good suggestions, if I do say so myself (and that's unbiased, since the titles I seeded the list with are all at the bottom of the voting, lol).  

 

Get in there and have your say.

 

Huggins says Vote!

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review 2018-07-23 05:27
The Fires of Heaven, The Wheel of Time #5
The Fires of Heaven: Book Five of 'The Wheel of Time' - Robert Jordan

Jordan's epic continues to thrive, but there are signs of it faltering under its weight. 'Fires of Heaven' finds our victorious Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom, and Julien making their way out of Tarabon assured that they had left it better than they found it. Alas....but that's another plot-line. Nynaeve is hardly a fan favorite, but I've always liked her and a tonal shift in her narration is Nynaeve at her most enjoyable. She also scores a major personal victory.

Anyway, Rand, Jasin, Mat, Aviendha, Moiraine, and Lan are headed out of the Waste after the villainous Shaido, who have quickly become a menace to the 'treekiller' nation of Carhien and everything and everyone else they run into. The changes to Mat and Moiraine's characters are particularly noteworthy.

Perrin, Loial, Faile and Three Aiel....nothing. They don't appear, so readers must presume that domestic bliss and the flowering of the Two Rivers just wasn't interesting enough. Considering how toxic Faile and Perrin's relationship can be...I probably agree with Jordan on that.

Min, Siuan, Leane and Logain are still traveling incognito to find where rebel Aes Sedai may be gathering, but run afoul of someone who could help their plans or simply drag them back to a farm in chains.

Meanwhile, in Caemlyn, some really icky stuff is going on, and one of the most depressing character arcs in the series is swanning on down into the mud.

That last may be why this book has some tarnish. I've been loving the reread much more than I anticipated, but there's no getting around some unpleasant and barely plot-necessary happenings. Then again, the series still has some great moments (I for one loved the circus), more information from the Forsaken, big sea-change moments as Rand achieves more victories and yet also suffers great losses, and another spectacular finish. Though the plot-lines no longer converge, Jordan had a knack for pulling together enough of his plots to make gripping reading.

The Wheel of Time

Next: 'Lord of Chaos'

Previous: 'The Shadow Rising'

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review 2018-07-23 02:28
ARC Review: Bad Influence by K.A. Mitchell
Bad Influence - K.A. Mitchell

This is Silver's book. You may remember Silver from Bad Boyfriend (he's one of Eli's oldest friends). Silver hasn't had an easy life. Fleeing from a gay conversion camp, selling himself on the streets to survive, after having suffered a massive betrayal by someone he loved - yeah, Silver is done with allowing anyone to get close enough to hurt him. 

While I could appreciate him as a character, I never really connected with him, beyond feeling sorry for him for all that he had to endure. And I didn't connect with Zeb either, because we only get to see Zeb through Silver's eyes, and those eyes are biased as fuck. Which made me biased against Zeb too, to some extent. Silver is prickly, standoffish. Zeb is... I don't really know how to describe Zeb. Bland. Wimpy. Wet noodle. He tries, but he sounds judgmental off and on, and he had no right to judge Silver for the choices he was forced to make. 

There was no grand romance, there was no believable attraction, there was nothing that made me think these two men were really in love. Silver is angry at Zeb and pushes him away, understandably so. Zeb's pursuit of Silver felt more like a guilt trip to me than any kind of real romantic emotion, and the story spends too much time on the other couples from previous books. I already know them, and while the author may have written so much of them into this book to make it work as a standalone, that only served to bore me - because I already know these people. 

So, out of the series, this is not my favorite book at all. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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text 2018-07-22 23:17
More Old Photos and Chuckles

I'm not able to adjust these the way I would like to until I get the laptop back, but I came across something amusing.

 

This is the high school graduation program of the Eighth District School in I think Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

 

 

I guess back then people thought cellophane tape was great stuff, but they didn't know the damage it would do to ephemeral items like paper programs.  That's what left the stains.

 

Anyway, my Great-Great Aunt Gussie, Augusta Peterson, was a member of the Class of 1893.

 

 

I have pictures of some of the other Peterson siblings as children but haven't found one of a younger Gussie . . . yet. 

 

 

What brought a chuckle, however, was reading the scheduled events.

 

 

It's the Essay that caught my eye. 

 

 

I'll send Ms. Trout a Tweet.

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