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review 2020-09-04 19:53
I love “Chubby” Vish Puri!
The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri #3) - Tarquin Hall

I will never not love Vish Puri. These are the mysteries I read when I just want to chuckle, relax my mind, and forget about all the crap that’s going on in the world today. Vish Puri never disappoints. His usual cast of vagabond associate detectives are on hand in The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, and of course, Mummy-ji has her own little investigatory adventure going on the side. Actually, we get to learn some of Mummy-ji’s backstory, and it’s not what you might expect—but it certainly goes a long way toward explaining why she’s so tough and fearless, and why she refuses to stay quiet and sit still in her dotage, or spend all her time at kitty parties like all the other mummy-ji’s. To my mind, this series is one of the very best cozy mysteries out there. I can’t get enough Vish Puri!

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review 2020-06-02 22:24
Verily, a Great Entertainment
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Jonathan Davis,Marc Thompson,Daniel Davis,January LaVoy,Ian Doescher

As our scene to space, so deep and dark,
O’er your imagination we’ll hold sway.
For neither players nor the stage can mark
The great and mighty scene they must portray.
We ask you, let your keen mind’s eye be chief –
Think when we talk of starships, there they be."


Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears
Wish not we had a single fighter more,
If we are mark’d to die, we are enough
To make our planets proud. But should we win,
We fewer rebels share the greater fame.
We have all sacrific’d unto this cause.
For with the Force and bravery we win.
O! Great shall be the triumph of that hour
When Empire haughty, vast and powerful
Is fell’d by simple hands of rebels base,
Is shown the might of our good company!
And citizens in Bespin now abed,
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.
For never shall rebellion see a time
More glori’us then our strong attack today!"

Well, of course Doescher channels the Bard's great speeches, but this is not just parody (of either Shakespeare or Star Wars); it's a cleverly-executed synthesis, transposing the complete screenplay(s) into Shakespearean iambic pentameter -- and somehow managing to remain faithful to both.


I am glad that I opted for the audio version, though: Just as Shakespeare's plays are best experienced in performance (and, well, George Lukas wrote movie scripts, not novels), Doescher's synthesis of the two really comes to life when performed.  And I have to give huge kudos to the actors who, while they are clearly having more fun than should be permitted, take the work seriously and give it their full attention, all the way from R2-D2's "beep, squeak, squeeeaak"s (Death of Rats, anyone?) and Han Solo's "hey, I'm just here for the money" attitude to the weightier interactions between Obi-Wan, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader.  (Interestingly, the total length of Doescher's text also falls squarely within the average range of that of a Shakespearean play.)   I'm not one of those who can do Star Wars marathons, nor will I typically watch more than one play by the Bard at a time, so I don't see myself bingeing on Doescher's syntheses of the two sources. But I'm glad there is more than one of these -- they just may turn out to be the things to turn to when my life needs a bit of brightening up.

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review 2020-01-01 22:59
So much fun to read!
The Case of the Reincarnated Client (Vish Puri #5) - Tarquin Hall

I actually laughed out loud reading this! I love, love, love the indubitable detective Vish Puri and the indomitable Mummi-ji, along with the rest of the zany cast of characters that made this book (and all the others in the series) so much fun to read, and every time I read one of these books, I get an insatiable hunger for Indian food, and without fail, I end up making the long drive to my not-so-local Indian buffet to satisfy it! Good book + good food = good fun!

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review 2019-12-25 16:18
Bloody Stupid Johnson
Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett

"'It's a bathroom,' said Ridcully.  'You are all acting as if it's some kind of a torture chamber.'

'A bathroom,' said the Dean, 'designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson.  Archchancellor Weatherwax only used it once and then had it sealed up!  Mustrum, I beg you to reconsider!  It's a Johnson!'

There was something of a pause, because even Ridcully had to adjust his mind around this.

The late (or at least severely delayed) Bergholt Stuttley Johnson was generally recognized as the worst inventor in the world, yet in a very specialized sense.  Merely bad inventors made things that failed to operate.  He wasn't among these small fry.  Any fool could make something that did absolutely nothing when you pressed the button.  He scorned such fumble-fingered amateurs.  Everything he built worked.  It just didn't do what it said on the box.  If you wanted a small ground-to-air missile, you asked Johnson to design an ornamental fountain.  It amounted to pretty much the same thing.  But this never discouraged him, or the morbid curiosity of his clients.  Music, landscape, gardening, architecture -- there was no start to his talents.

Nevertheless, it was a little bit  surprising to find that Bloody Stupid had turned to bathroom design.  But, as Ridcully said, it was known that he had designed and built several large musical organs and, when you got right down to it, it was all just plumbing, wasn't it?"

Somehow, this read slightly differently this year.  I mean, I know it's supposed to be punning Leonardo da Vinci, but please ... B.S. Johnson?!

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text 2019-12-23 22:53
24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 - Hogswatch: Book
Hogfather: Discworld, Book 20 - Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer


Aaaand off we go for the grand finale of this year's Festive Tasks reads!

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