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review 2017-07-08 04:45
Review - Sea of Rust by C Robert Cargill
Sea of Rust - C. Robert Cargill

There are not enough stars to indicate how much I love this book! We're only half way through 2017 but I'll go so far as to say that this is my favourite book this year and I honestly can't imagine anything that would knock it off that spot. I loved this from the very first chapter and literally couldn't put it down. I cracked it open within 10 minutes of it falling through the letterbox and didn't look up from it again until the last page was turned.

It's very rare for me to gush about a book but this one is just made of awesome. I'm all about Post Apocalyptic fiction and I can't get enough of it. It's usually zombies that I favour but really it doesn't matter how the world ends, just so long as it DOES end. Nuclear, aliens, plague, climate change...it's all good. Apocalypse by robot though is rare enough to get bumped up the TBR list every time. I thought Robopocalypse was good when I read it a few years ago but Sea Of Rust just blows that one out of the water.

I was hooked right from the get-go when Brittle's (great name) interaction with Jimmy got me right in the feels. Gah, my heart broke a little bit. Best introduction to a character I've read in a long time. All of the characters were easily pictured though, even the very short lived secondary ones, due in part to absolutely pitch perfect dialogue. Mercer is the best kind of villain, the kind you love to hate without really hating them, and the interactions between him and Brittle never got old. I was on the edge of my seat more than once when things looked bleak for Brittle and I alternated between racing to the end to see how it all came together for her, and trying to pace myself and spin it out so it lasted as long as possible. It was a thing of beauty to watch it all unfold and I could happily have read on for another 400 pages. I marvel at the mind that brought this concept to life and made me forget at times that I was reading about robots while at the same time ramming it home that this was a world populated by machinery. Mr Cargill is a very talented man.

I would LOVE to see this made into a movie and have no doubt that it won't be long until I get my wish. It's just crying out to be on the big screen and I can't wait! This fellow can definitely write and I'll follow him wherever he goes from now on. Hugely enjoyable story and I can highly recommend it without hesitation. Best book of 2017!

*I received this paperback from the publisher*

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text 2017-06-26 22:06
Howards End - E.M. Forster

"It will be generally admitted that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man. All sorts and conditions are satisfied by it. Whether you are like Mrs. Munt, and tap surreptitiously when the tunes come— of course, not so as to disturb the others—; or like Helen, who can see heroes and shipwrecks in the music's flood; or like Margaret, who can only see the music; or like Tibby, who is profoundly versed in counterpoint, and holds the full score open on his knee; or like their cousin, Fräulein Mosebach, who remembers all the time that Beethoven is “echt Deutsch”; or like Fräulein Mosebach's young man, who can remember nothing but Fräulein Mosebach: in any case, the passion of your life becomes more vivid, and you are bound to admit that such a noise is cheap at two shillings. It is cheap, even if you hear it in the Queen's Hall, dreariest music-room in London, though not as dreary as the Free Trade Hall, Manchester; and even if you sit on the extreme left of that hall, so that the brass bumps at you before the rest of the orchestra arrives, it is still cheap."

Oh! Was Forster a fellow Beethoven fan? How fun!

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text 2017-06-25 23:45
Reading progress update: I've read 692 out of 692 pages.
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough

2nd re-read and it still has not lost anything.


A more review-like compilation of thoughts will be forthcoming in a few days.  

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text 2017-06-25 19:56
Reading progress update: I've read 429 out of 692 pages.
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough

“I can’t see success at the end of the road,” said Archbishop Ralph. “I think the result will be what the result of impartiality always is. No one will like us, and everyone will condemn us.”

“I know that, so does His Holiness. But we can do nothing else. And there is nothing to prevent our praying in private for the speedy downfall of Il Duce and Der Führer, is there?”

“Do you really think there will be war?”

“I cannot see any possibility of avoiding it.”

His Eminence’s cat stalked out of the sunny corner where it had been sleeping, and jumped upon the scarlet shimmering lap a little awkwardly, for it was old.

“Ah, Sheba! Say hello to your old friend Ralph, whom you used to prefer to me.”

The satanic yellow eyes regarded Archbishop Ralph haughtily, and closed. Both men laughed.

Even though this book is mostly known as a romance novel, there is a lot more to it than a soppy love story. I love the discussions of church politics. Now that I have read McCulloch's First Man in Rome, I get a how skilled she was in packing a lot of information into dialogues rather than hitting the reader over the head with long explanations.

So, yeah, soppy love story and all but it also has bite, fun, smarts to it.


The only thing right now is that it feels kinda weird reading this at the same time as a book about Pope Francis... 








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text 2017-06-22 23:52
Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 692 pages.
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough

"Until 1776 over a thousand British petty felons were shipped each year to Virginia and the Carolinas, sold into an indentured servitude no better than slavery. British justice of the time was grim and unflinching; murder, arson, the mysterious crime of “impersonating Egyptians” and larceny to the tune of more than a shilling were punished on the gallows. Petty crime meant transportation to the Americas for the term of the felon’s natural life."


Well, I learn something new every day. The phrase "impersonating Egyptians" caught my eye and I had to look it up. Apparently, the phrase refers to "gypsies" and "vagabonds" and essentially just poor people, who had been criminalised under the vagrancy laws.


The 1744 Vagrancy Act listed the following who could be prosecuted under the law:


- Patent gatherers, gatherers of alms under pretence of loss by fire, or other casualty

  • - Collectors for prisons, goals, or hospitals
  • - Fencers and bear wards (those who travel with a bear or dancing bear)
  • - Common players of interludes
  • - All persons concerned with performing interludes, tragedies, comedies, operas, plays, farces or other entertainments for the stage, not being authorized by law
  • - Minstrels and jugglers
  • - Persons pretending to be Gypsies, or wandering in the habit of Gypsies
  • - Those pretending to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or fortune telling
  • - Those using subtle crafts to deceive and impose, or playing or betting on unlawful games
  • - All persons who run away and leave their wives and children
  • - Petty chapmen and pedlars, not duly licensed
  • - All persons wandering abroad and lodging in alehouses, barns, outhouses or in the open air, not giving a good account of themselves
  • - All persons wandering abroad and begging, pretending to be soldiers, mariners, seafaring men, pretending to go to work in harvest
  • - All persons wandering abroad and begging

"There is little evidence that strolling players and Gypsies were prosecuted with any regularity under the Vagrancy Acts, but prostitutes, seasonal workers, street pedlars and aggressive beggars certainly were. The inclusion of a separate provision for the punishment of individuals who simply threatened to desert their families, also ensured that almost anyone lacking property or position might be prosecuted under the title of a vagrant." (Source: London Lives 1690 to 1800)

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