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review 2018-01-16 19:47
Tales of Ancient Egypt / Roger Lancelyn Green
Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) - Heather Copley,Roger Lancelyn Green

These stories include the great myths - of Amen-Ra, who created all the creatures in the world; of Isis, seaching the waters for her dead husband Osiris; of the Bennu Bird and the Book of Thoth. But there are also tales told for pleasure about magic, treasure and adventure - even the first ever Cinderella story.

 

  If I have ever read a book of Egyptian myths before, I don’t remember it. This little volume was a very pleasant introduction to the Egyptian mythos—something that I’ve learned by osmosis while reading books about the land’s history and art and reading fiction set in Ancient Egypt. As in most mythologies, there are unexpected treasures.

The man who polished these little tales was a friend of C.S. Lewis and seems to have made his reputation on rewriting myths and legends for the children’s market. I realize now that the vocabulary of this volume was probably suitable for children, but it did not detract from my enjoyment as an adult reader. He blends history and myth to make both clearer for the reader.

I have always found the Ancient Egyptians to be fascinating—this volume merely reinforced my obsession.

 

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review 2018-01-16 03:48
GIOVANNI’S ROOM Review
Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin’s controversial second novel, is a clenched fist, a bucket of sour grapes, a weeping work of art. A compact little tale of societal alienation and forbidden love (and lust), time has not dimmed its lights or smoothed its edges. Not one iota.

 

Baldwin’s most well-known work is sensual and thrilling and tragic; I closed my paperback edition with tears in my eyes. The tale of Giovanni and Butch is universal, yet special, shimmering; it is the Romeo and Juliet for gays. What should be humdrum — pining for one’s love, an affair, adventures in a new city — is rendered fresh in this author’s hands.

 

Oft considered one of the finest LGBTQ novels, this is a groundbreaking, rambunctious work that was far ahead of its time. Its lessons should be considered and remembered in the current year, as a matter of fact. I have left that room, but I am grateful for the short visit.

 

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text 2018-01-14 23:15
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
Murder of a Lady (British Library Crime Classics) - Anthony Wynne
The Tales of Max Carrados - Ernest Bramah,Stephen Fry
Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon
Lonely Magdalen: A Murder Story - Henry Wade
Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham

 

1. A New Era Dawns: Ernest Bramah - The Tales of Max Carrados

2. The Birth of the Golden Age
3. The Great Detectives:
Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke
4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!'
5. Miraculous Murders:
Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady
6. Serpents in Eden
7. Murder at the Manor:
Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch)
8. Capital Crimes
9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder
11. Education, Education, Education
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries
14. The Long Arm of the Law:
Henry Wade - Lonely Magdalen
15. The Justice Game
16. Multiplying Murders
17. The Psychology of Crime
18. Inverted Mysteries
19. The Ironists
20. Fiction from Fact
21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic
23. Cosmopolitan Crimes: Georges Simenon - Pietr le Letton (Pietr the Latvian)
24. The Way Ahead

 

Free Square / Eric the Skull: Martin Edwards - The Golden Age of Murder

 

The book that started it all:

Martin Edwards - The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

 

The Detection Club Reading Lists:
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: The "100 Books" Presented
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 1-5

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 6 & 7
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 8-10
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 11-15
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 16-20
The story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 21-24

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review 2018-01-14 22:42
Well, I can see the appeal to movie directors ...
The Lady Vanishes & the Spiral Staircase (Wordsworth Classics) - Ethel Lina White,Keith Carabine
The Lady Vanishes - Ethel Lina White
Some Must Watch - Ethel Lina White

... but in written form, this isn't really my cup of tea.  Which isn't necessarily the fault of White's writing is such -- she has a fine eye (and ear) for characterization and language -- but rather, of her chosen topic.  I've never been much of a fan of "women in peril" stories; they tend to be replete with fevered agitation and hyperbole, and however understandable the protagonists' fear and excitement may be in a given situation, the situation as such is almost invariably so unrealistic as to be the literary equivalent of "B movie" material.

 

That being said, Hitchcock definitely milked The Lady Vanishes (which was originally published as The Wheel Spins) for all it was worth and then some -- in fact, this is one of the rare examples where I decidedly prefer the movie over the book: not only because Hitch gave the story a spin that isn't present in the literary original at all (even if that doesn't make the story one iota more realistic -- it's just plainly more fun), but chiefly, because Michael Redgrave's version of Iris's (the heroine's) knight in shining armour is decidedly more likeable than the character from the book, who -- even though he's meant to be likeable -- to me just comes across as one hugely condescending a$$hole, hardly any better than the professor in whose company he travels.  Similarly, Iris herself is more likeable as portrayed by Margaret Lockwood in the movie: whereas there, I am genuinely sympathetic to her strange plight, the book mostly elicited my rage at her fellow passengers' reactions -- however not on Iris's behalf specifically but on behalf of womanhood generally, against a society that automatically disbelieved and put down as hallucinations and figments of an overactive imagination any woman's assertions that weren't supported -- or that were even directly contradicted -- by other witnesses, especially men and / or figures of authority.  (In fact, if I hadn't read Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, biographical background information included, I'd have dismissed the whole premise of The Lady Vanishes as wildly improbable.  Sadly, at the time of its writing, it wasn't.)

 

The Spiral Staircase (originally published as Some Must Watch) combines a remote country house setting on the Welsh border with a serial killer story; and if the isolation of the house and the prowling maniac weren't enough in and of themselves, the whole action takes place over the course of somewhat less than 12 hours, mostly after nightfall.  I haven't seen any of the several movie adaptations of this story, but I can see how a clever director would be able to ratchet up the tension quite skillfully here, what with the dwindling down of effective defenses against the maniac and a cast of fairly outlandish (and unlikeable) characters inside the house -- if you buy into the premonition that this house is where the serial killer is headed next, and that he is after the book's heroine, to begin with.

 

I liked The Spiral Staircase a bit better than The Lady Vanishes -- 3 1/2 vs. 2 1/2 stars, respectively, which averages out to 3 stars for both together.

 

The Spiral Staircase (under its original title Some Must Watch) is mentioned as an example of a country house mystery in Martin Edwards's The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, so I'll be counting that towards the corresponding square of my Detection Club bingo card, and both books, in addition, also towards the Women Writers Bingo.

 

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review 2018-01-13 02:52
Don't dismiss children's literature just because you're an adult
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult - Bruce Handy

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy showed up on my radar through a footnote in another book that I read last year. (Just one more reminder that I am 100% a nerd especially in regards to children's literature.) Handy splits the chapters into different books considered 'classics' of children's literature and he explains why they've had a lasting effect and endured as long as they have. He makes an argument that there is a reason books become classics but there is also a clarity in realizing that a difference of opinion will most certainly occur. A good example is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I know this is a classic and it is still read by kids and parents now but I have never (and probably never will) consider this one a favorite. In that same vein, there were quite a few books that he mentioned that I had not heard of or had never read and I promptly added them to my TRL. (You may recognize some of the titles if you decide to read this book.) One of the best things about Wild Things was the organization of the chapters. It's quite obvious that Handy has not only done thorough research on the topic but has a real passion for the topic. This made it have an academic feel which I really appreciated. Interspersed throughout the book are personal anecdotes about the books he loved as a child as well as his experience introducing books to his children. (Get those tissues out, parents with small children. It's fairly sentimental.) I doubt this would be of as much interest to someone not in the field of children's literature but if you're looking for inspiration about what books to read to your kids at night then this would be an excellent source for you. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham (Coincidentally, I'm watching Midsomer Murders which is based off of the book series.)

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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