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review 2017-12-16 16:02
Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection - Arthur Conan Doyle,Stephen Fry

"You have been reading the papers diligently of late, have you not?”

 

“It looks like it,” said I ruefully, pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. “I have had nothing else to do.”

 

“It is fortunate, for you will perhaps be able to post me up. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column. The latter is always instructive."

Ah, Holmes and Watson ... Every week, I look forward to reading a new adventure as part of this current buddy read, and every week I look forward to meeting up with our two guys at No. 221B. 

 

This week, I was particularly interested because this is another story that I mostly remember from the Granada TV adaptations. In this one, Holmes was haunted by a recurring nightmare ... it was all very "dramatic". 

 

Having read this week's instalment, I was a little disappointed that the actual story is very, very simple - no dungeons, no nightmare, no woman in black, and most of all ... no horrible, villainous baddie.

 

In fact, the story is really quite straight-forward - a bride disappears at the wedding reception and the husband engages Holmes to find her, which he does. In fact, in the original story the bride is probably the most inconsiderate character of the piece.

 

Still, there is some fun to be had with this story, too. 

 

For one, we have banter - both between Holmes and Watson and between Holmes and his client. Holmes is yet again not impressed with his client's status. This always makes for a fun setting. (Remember his exchanges with the King of Bohemia?)

 

The other is that I think ACD himself may have been poking a lot of fun at the aristocracy:

 

For example: In this story, ACD creates the Duke of Balmoral as a character - a highly powerful and, yet, severely impoverished chap (who also features in another story in the canon). 

 

Of course, in real life, there is no Duke of Balmoral. This is not altogether surprising as ACD would have made up any characters - especially members of the aristocracy. 

 
However, ....
 
Clearly and unmistakeably "Balmoral" is a real place and is the Queen's estate (about an hour west of where I am typing this) - it's a great place I love hiking there - and ACD cannot have chosen this reference by accident or without knowing of the connection with not just any aristocrat, but No. 1 on the list. 
 
So, I do not for a second believe that ACD chose the "Duke of Balmoral" on a whim. 
 
As mentioned, in this story the Duke of Balmoral is suffering from a chronic lack of funds and his son - the main character of this piece - is looking to marry into (American) money to help his unfortunate circumstances. 
The pith of mockery is that the son is being stood up...for no one less than a commoner who, once too poor to marry the lady in question, returns to ... "get the girl".
 
I know, I said this before... and still haven't done anything about it... but I really want to read a biography of ACD. Maybe 2018 will be the year for it!
 
 
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text 2017-12-15 07:05
Cover Reveal - Shots On Goal Series Boxed Set

Hockey player in blue uniform on ice rink in spotlight

 

Check out the cover for SHOTS ON GOAL by Kristen Hope Mazzola! PREORDER this complete boxed set with exclusive bonus content for only $2.99! Price goes up on release day!

 

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The Shots on Goal Series is made up of steamy, heart melting, standalone romances focusing on the New York Otters hockey team!! From the captain of the team, to his all-star boxing campion little brother, to NYPD officers - this series has it all, with tons of characters that will warm your heart and keep you turning those pages... So, grab your e-reader and yell "Ollie is my homeboy" while falling in love with this amazing group of friends, teammates, and family as they take you on one hell of a wild ride!

 

The compilation includes:

 

 

Hat Trick

Cross Checked

Low Blow

Playoff Beard

Off Duty

 

Including never before released, exclusive chapters!

 

Hockey player in blue uniform on ice rink in spotlight

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

I am just an average twenty-something following my dreams. I have a full time “day job” and by night I am an author. I guess you could say that writing is like my super power (I always wanted one of those). I am the lover of wine, sushi, football and the ocean; that is when I am not wrapped up in the literary world. Please feel free to contact me to chat about my writing, books you think I’d like or just to shoot the, well you know. A portion of all my royalties are donated to The Marcie Mazzola Foundation.

 

Author Links:

 

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1fQ2eZI

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eUz8P8

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review 2017-12-14 02:24
In one human's lifetime
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov

Well, that ended on an eerie note. And dovetails nicely into Foundation I guess (I'm always telling myself I have to read it, and balk at the commitment). Also, extra points for... is it irony? I mean, given who (and what) are the ones having this "laying it out and guessing" chat, and who each blame, and which is in favor? O maybe it is "discomfiting" the word I'm wanting.

 

This is an excellent collection that delves into different aspects on the overarching theme of Robot/human interaction, and goes for a variety of moods too. The thread is Susan Calvin on her interview, who, in her own words

 

saw it from the beginning, when the poor robots couldn’t speak, to the end

 

(And boy, do I have feelings about that one! My great-grandma was born in 1920, saw the advent of radio, cars and cinema into sleepy little towns, TV, PC's, cell-phones, and by the time she died in 2010, chatted on Skype with her daughter)

 

I had read many of the stories before, but the arrangement lends them extra weight with it's overarching view. As for each, there is for every taste, from the heartwarming, and the harrowing, often times ridiculous, hilarious (Powell and Donovan kept reminding me of my programmer brother whenever he's at testing stage), to the heartbreaking, disturbing and, like I started, discomfiting.

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text 2017-12-13 14:54
Another ILL book for Winter Break
orange: The Complete Collection 2 - Ichigo Takano

I read Volume 1 during my vacation. I'd have requested both volumes but foolishly assumed that "complete collection" meant that there was only one volume I needed to read. Ugh.

 

I still need to write my post for the first volume. It was good, although I have some reservations about the story. How I feel about the whole thing will really depend upon how the second half of the story goes, but the first half made me really sad for one particular character, who had to give up a happy future in order to potentially help a friend.

 

I suppose it's technically a sci-fi series, since it involves

parallel universes

(spoiler show)

, but it doesn't read like sci-fi at all.

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review 2017-12-12 12:55
Casting your brain into big questions
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

I went in all big eyes and heavy heart and cheating, starting with the story I was curious about after watching the movie. It was sadder in it's determinism, but it was all that (and it had emotion, lordy, did it have emotion).

 

About half way through this book (and with my brain much hurting, I get so immersed into these Big Question explorations), LeGuin's introduction for The Left Hand of Darkness (I was very much taken by them, book and intro) kept popping into my thoughts. The part where she says taking a concept to it's maximum expression is like concentrating any chemical element: it causes cancer.

 

The stories vary in nature and theme, they are interesting, and unique. And in a sense, bleak. Lacking in hope, some in sentiment, some in... something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but while amazing, thought-provoking explorations that filled me with wonder or questions, each tale left me with this vague sense of depression. Which had little to do with whether they had happy ending or not (most are a dagger), since Le Guin does that, you blubber like a fool, and still makes you love it and leave bittersweet hopeful. So, not the presence of pain. Maybe more like a general lack of joy to balance them (for the most part).

 

Anyway, it is a really good book to think about or discuss, and it delves into some interesting territories (I'm itching for some looong research and reading on some things that went over my head). Different and exhausting. Will read more of the author.

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