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review 2017-04-25 18:21
Booklikes-Opoly

At last I can begin! Very excited to join you all. Thanks to Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for creating this. You guys rock!

 

 

 

 

Roll 1: 25th April

 

Bank: $20

 

Dice: 1 + 1  = 2

 

This took me to Frontierland 2. I had my book all picked out (hurray!) but I rolled a double and realised I was to roll again *slaps head*. I got:

 

Dice: 3 + 6 = 9

 

This took me to:

 

Main street 10:

 

 

 

The book I've chosen is: Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

 

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review 2017-04-25 07:42
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Carla D. Hayden,Library of Congress

 This is probably the most pleasant, and by extension, interesting, history of something as mundane as a card catalog as I'm likely to ever run across.  From the first example of a book catalog, pressed into clay in cuneiform, to the modern day usage of MARC records, the text flows in a tight, succinct narrative that is neither chatty nor dry (and I'm sure nowhere near comprehensive).

 

Where the book truly shines is in its photographs and illustrations.  The author and publisher were generous with the photographs and they fill at least 1/3 of the pages.  Most of them are photos of the old cards and the books they belong to, but there are many old pictures of the Library of Congress and other related images.  The number of cards the Library of Congress had to deal with daily in the mid-50's is staggering.  I can't even imagine the logistics.

 

Did you know that the Library of Congress still has their old card catalog and it's still in use?   (Most of it.)  I think that's wonderful and the perfect example of how old and new methodologies can complement each other instead of competing.  

 

This isn't the kind of book that's going to have wide appeal, but for those that find the subject interesting, it's a beautiful book, thoughtfully put together.

 

 

Page count: 220
Dollars banked: $3.00

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review 2017-04-25 00:06
Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
Yarned and Dangerous - Sadie Hartwell

Series: A Tangled Web Mystery #1

 

I picked this up because I just couldn’t resist the title and I fully expected to have to write a rant review. I expected to want to throw my ereader across the room or to be tempted to beat myself in the head with it. Much to my surprise, this didn’t happen. Oh, it wasn’t perfect: it was a bit light on the mystery side, some of the family banter stuff came off as a bit forced, and some of it was a little implausible, but I enjoyed it. There is a mystery here, but the investigation by the main character was light. Admittedly this also means that she’s not doing incredibly stupid things chasing after criminals, and she does help to solve the mystery in the end.

 

The background to the story is that Josie’s great uncle, Eben, has broken his leg in a car crash that killed his wife, and Josie (who is from the big city and works in fashion) has to go visit him in this small town to help look after him because her mother has booked a cruise and she can’t cancel. Eb is very crotchety and has a long-standing feud with his neighbour. Josie brings her cat Coco with her, naturally, who gets along great with Eb’s giant dog (not really).

 

The deceased wife, Cora, had a yarn shop called ‘Miss Marple Knits’ that Josie is supposed to help close up. And then a dead body shows up, apparently strangled with an I-cord or some yarn. Josie tries to investigate a bit but mostly gets laughed out of the police office and thinks a lot about going back to the big city while simultaneously being drawn to the yarn. The mystery took a weird turn at one point that was a bit silly but also quite amusing.

The little old ladies that Josie finds are acting so suspiciously are actually spying on one of the other women in the Charity Knitters Association using equipment they bought online to try to blackmail her out of her prominent position in town because they don’t like her. And they ask Josie for tech help because Cora was their “tech whiz”.

(spoiler show)

 

So, it was pretty cute and it didn’t make me want to throw anything across the room. Yay!

 

I read this for square #10 “Read a book that takes place in a small town in the U.S.A.” for the booklikes-opoly game because Dorset Falls definitely fits the bill. Amazon tells me the paperback is 288 and Kobo tells me the ebook is 258, so I’m counting it as $3 to add to my bank, bringing my total to $40.

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review 2017-04-24 23:53
Death Comes as the End
Death Comes As the End - Agatha Christie

“All life is a jest, Imhotep - and it is death who laughs last. Do you not hear it at every feast? Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”

Death Comes as the End is Dame Agatha's only historical mystery and she makes full use of her in-depth knowledge of Ancient Egypt. The detail of Egyptian artefacts and religious beliefs Dame Agatha weaved into this was delightful and made up for the odd dalliances with annoying love triangles. What it didn't quite achieve was to give some authenticity to the characters which still seemed as if they had been copied out of an English country house setting. 

 

I guess, in a way one could argue that the relationships between Christie's characters and their issues are universal, but I could not help imagine some of the characters having a strong London accent. 

 

Never mind, it was a fun read.

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review 2017-04-23 22:07
The Victorian Chaise-longue
The Victorian Chaise-Longue - Marghanita Laski,P.D. James

"Will you give me your word of honour," said Melanie, "that I am not going to die?"

I love it when a book starts with a first sentence that packs a punch. With this one, we immediately know that what follows will be a story of life and death.

 

The Victorian Chaise-longue is a very short (99 pages) novel about a woman in the late 1940s or early 1950s that is recovering from illness and suddenly finds herself in a most precarious situation - it appears she has woken up in 1864.

 

I will not reveal anything else about the plot (and the above is pretty much revealed on all general descriptions of the book), other than that the plot takes on a different shape depending on how you approach it.

 

Sounds mysterious? Well, it isn't. It's just that the plot is one thing if you read it with the expectation that everything in the book happens just as it is described. If, however, you begin to doubt the narrator, you may start to wonder what is really going on. 

 

Do I know the answer to this question. Nope. 

 

However, I really enjoyed the conjectures that this question of whether "here" is "here" or whether "here" is really "there" allows. In fact, by the end of the book I could not help but draw parallels to one of my all-time favourite novels A Tale for the Time Being, only of course that Marghanita Laski published The Victorian Chaise-longue in 1953, 60 years before Ozeki's book. Do I think that Ozeki borrowed from Laski? Absolutely not. 

The comparison merely came up because both authors seem to base their ideas on a similar question about what time really is, and how we live in time.

 

And both books look at people in their time, and really caught up in time and other circumstances. In Laski's novel, this leads to illustrate the state of women in society - Victorian society and that of the 1940s/50s. Is there much change? 

 

The Victorian Chaise-longue seems to be listed as gothic or horror in the same vein as Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is but I have issues with this classification. In my mind, tagging works as "gothic" or "horror", seems to pass them off as works of the imagination when, in fact, they are quite real. Scary and horrible they may be, but the connotations of the "horror" genre seem to deny such works the sense of veiled realism that truly punches the gut.

 

While I loved the book for its content and delivery, there were a few quibbles I had with the writing, which seemed to jump about a bit (But then, this may have been a way to show the MC's state of mind.) and with one element that left me puzzled - had the treatment of TB in the late 1940s/early 1950s really not moved on from the 1920s?

 

I mean, Laski makes mention of penicillin, yet, no antibiotics seem to be part of the treatment and the MC herself still believes that fresh air, sunlight, and milk will provide a cure - much like prescribed in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain (1924). Again, this is not a real criticism of the book, just an additional question I derived from it.

 

I am very much looking forward to reading more by this author.

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