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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-09 11:58
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 - Calan Gaeaf: Nemo Granny & Greebo Impune Lacessit*
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

Well, I guess that's what happens if you p*$$ off Granny Weatherwax (however unintentionally) and make her take to a cave in the Lancrastian mountains ... next thing you know, you have vampires moving into the castle, and into the kingdom as such.  And since they were foolishly invited in to begin with, they're near impossible to get rid of again; and let's face it, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Agnes between them might be witches; they might even meet the requirements of a proper coven now that Magrat is a mother, but they aren't Granny, not even with all their forces combined.  (Perdita, now ...) 

So all of Lancre and the reader have to jointly suffer for well over half a book before Granny decides she's let things go on for long enough and finally makes an appearance.  And of course she ultimately saves the day, even if only by the skin of her neck and with the assistance of inner voices, a few drops of blood, the general and specific allure of tea, and a meak priest discovering his inner Brutha just in time.  (Of course it also comes in handy that somebody thought of bringing a double-edged axe, and that some vampires of the older generation still have a sense of tradition left.)

(spoiler show)

 

Nice going, at any rate, on the debunking of what "everybody knows who knows anything about vampires" (including the vampires themselves, who however just don't learn ... or didn't until this new breed came around, that is), and big grins all around for the co-starring Wee Free Men.  My favorite moment, however, came courtesy of Greebo -- who by the way also has decidedly too little stage time -- with the incidental appearance of an otherwise entirely negligable vampire named Vargo:

"As the eye of narrative drew back from the coffin on its stand, two things happened.  One happened comparatively slowly, and this was Vargo's realization that he never recalled the coffin having a pillow before.

 

The other was Greebo deciding that he was as mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more.  He'd been shaken around in the wheely thing, and then sat on by Nanny, and he was angry about that because he knew, in a dim, animal way, that scratching Nanny might be the single most stupid thing he could do in the whole world, since no one else was prepared to feed him.  This hadn't helped his temper.

 

Then he'd encountered a dog, which had triled to lick him.  He'd scratched and bitten it a few times, but this had had no effect apart from encouraging it to try to be more friendly.

 

He'd finally found a comfy resting place and had curled up into a ball, and now someone was using him as a cushion --

 

There wasn't a great deal of noise.  The coffin rocked a few times, and then pivoted around.

 

Greebo sheathed his claws and went back to sleep."

(I think someone else included this in their review recently, too, but it's just too good not to do it again -- all the more since Greebo, overall, really is as woefully long absent as Granny in this one.)

 

Read for Square 1 of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Calan Gaeaf: "Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft."

 

* "Don't mess with Granny and Greebo."  Or somewhat more literally: "Nobody messes with Granny and Greebo unpunished."

 

Merken

Merken

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text 2017-11-07 18:44
Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 425 pages.
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

 

This is one of my left-over Halloween Bingo books; I'm reading it for the Calan Gaeaf part of square 1 of the "16 Tasks of the Festive Season". 

 

I started this book last night because I urgently needed a comfort read after Val McDermid's disappointing Forensics.  So far, it's not really doing the job, however ... too little Granny Weatherwax!  (And decidedly also too little Greebo, for that matter.)  I trust Granny will return in time for the grand finale, but man ... a Discworld Witches book where she scarcely even shows her face during almost the entire first half of the book?  What was Pratchett doing, trying to demonstrate what an essential part of the Witches subseries Granny is?  Thank you, I already knew that without having it jammed into my face sledgehammer-style!

 

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review 2016-11-22 19:06
Seriously funny!
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell

I read this after someone here on BL recommended it to me, and it's now one of my favorite books. What a crazy, whacky family--but I love them. Mrs. Durrell is an overwhelmed widow doing her best to raise a family of colorful characters, and she does her best to balance all their eccentricities with the harshness of reality and everything that being a widow with four children entails. PBS now has a series called The Durrells on Corfu. The series is inspired by Gerry Durrell's family's adventures recounted in this and the other two books that makes up the Corfu trilogy. The tv series is good, but yeah, the book is better. This was a great read that made me laugh out loud and has me thinking that sometimes the best way to be happy is to learn to let go and just enjoy the ride life provides. Highly recommended!

 

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review 2016-07-24 05:29
The Gentleman
The Gentleman: A Novel - Leo E. Forrest

I knew I would like Lionel Savage from the start. The poor poet's not impoverished for a lack of sales but from spending his income on books. To climb out of poverty's pit, he hatches a quixotic scheme that lands him in an unhappy marriage to a "vapid, timid, querulous creature," whom Savage accidentally ends up selling to the devil at yet another of the new bride's insufferable masquerades. One thing leads to another, and Savage and a motley cast of characters embark on a madcap adventure to Hades, Hell, Sheol, and/or the Underworld, in order to bring her back.

 

The Gentleman is Forrest Leo's first book, and I certainly hope it won't be his last as this zany, witty, light-hearted novel is entertaining, fast-paced, and fun. The illustrations are a nice addition to the plot, and I particularly enjoyed the repartee between Savage and his butler Simmons. (Think Jeeves and Wooster-- but with Jeeves willing to strip down to his skivvies for the sake of art!)

 

The Gentleman is just what I needed to help pull me out of the doldrums that this current election-cycle has me in. It was nice to be able to sit back for a few hours, drink a pot of tea, and enjoy a book that really needs to be made into a movie or Broadway show just as quickly as possible.

 

One thing this world needs more of is fun, and Forrest Leo delivers.

 

I recommend this to fans of P.G. Wodehouse and as a nice companion read to go along with "The Devil and Tom Walker."

 

(ARC, but views my own.)

 

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review 2016-07-14 20:41
Jeeve and Wooster back from the dead
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells - Sebastian Faulks

My first thought when I saw the title in the bookstore was, "How in the world did I miss this?! I've read EVERY Jeeves and Wooster in the series!" Looking more closely, of course, I realized that this is an homage to P.G. Wodehouse's beloved characters, written by Sebastian Faulks in 2013. I bought the book (of course I bought it!) feeling equally split between excitement and anxiety. I really wanted to read more Jeeves and Wooster--but I really didn't want someone screwing up something I love so much.

 

In the author's note, Faulks says he wasn't trying to imitate Wodehouse insomuch as he wanted to try to introduce Jeeves and Wooster to the younger generation. He calls himself not an expert but a fan. I decided to give him a chance, so with slitted eye like the chihuahua in the popular meme, I turned the page.

 

This was better than I had expected! Yes, there are two parts that didn't feel like Wodehouse wrote them, but that's okay because Faulks addressed that issue in his author's note. For the most part, though, he really nailed Jeeves's and Bertie's characters, and that, to my mind, is what matters. The only real issue I had is that he had Bertie use the word "bunged" at least ten times. I mean, it was noticeable, and while I know Bertie would have used "bunged," he wouldn't have used it so many times in one book. Nit picky on my part, perhaps, but there it is. Other than that minor point, Faulks nailed the dialogue, the characters' distinct tones, and he even managed, for the most part, to capture the zaniness of a Jeeves and Wooster adventure.

 

Was this Wodehouse? No. Was it humorous and enjoyable? Heck yea! I even found myself literally laughing out loud, and I could "hear" Bertie and Jeeves in my head (thanks to Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie). It was like Faulks brought my two good friends, Reginald Jeeves and Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, back from the dead and gave me the chance to spend just a little more time in their presence. For that, I truly thank him.

 

 

 

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