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review 2018-04-02 21:17
My KYD Reads ... or: Harry Potter, and What Else I read in March 2018
Harry Potter Box Set: The Complete Collection - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Gryffindor Edition - ROWLING J.K.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling,Stephen Fry
The Hog's Back Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts,Gordon Griffin
The Red Queen - Margaret Drabble
A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Mystery - Walter Mosley,Michael Boatman
Imperium - Robert Harris
The Distant Echo - Val McDermid,Tom Cotcher
Unterleuten: Roman - Juli Zeh
"A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels" by George North: A Newly Uncovered Manuscript Source for Shakespeare's Plays - Dennis McCarthy,June Schlueter

A big thank you to Moonlight Reader for yet another fun, inventive BookLikes game!  I had a wonderful time, while also advancing -- though with decidedly fewer new reads than I'd origianlly been planning -- my two main reading goals for this year (classic crime fiction and books written by women).

 

Harry Potter - The Complete Series

This was a long-overdue revisit and obviously, there isn't anything I could possibly say about the books that hasn't been said a million times before by others.  But I've gladly let the magic of Hogwarts and Harry's world capture me all over again ... to the point of giving in to book fandom far enough to treat myself to the gorgeous hardcover book set released in 2014 and, in addition, the even more gorgeous Gryffindor and Ravenclaw anniversary editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 

 

That said, particular kudos must also go to Stephen Fry for his magnificent audio narration of the books, which played a huge role in pulling me right back into to books, to the point that I'd carry my phone wherever I went while I was listening to them.

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Stephen FryHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry

 

 

As for the rest of my KYD books ... roughly in the order in which I read them:

 

Ngaio Marsh: Death at the Dolphin (aka Killer Dolphin)

Killer Dolphin - Ngaio Marsh Death at the Dolphin - Ngaio Marsh

Also a revisit: One of my favorite installments in Marsh's Roderick Alleyn series, not only because it is set in the world of the theatre -- always one of Marsh's particular fortes, as she herself was a veteran Shakespearean director and considered that her primary occupation, while writing mysteries to her was merely a sideline -- but because this one, in fact, does deal with a(n alleged) Shakespearean relic and a play based on Shakespeare's life, inspired by that relic.

 

 

The Hog's Back Mystery - Freeman Wills Crofts, Gordon Griffin

Freeman Wills Crofts:
The Hog's Back Mystery

 Part of Crofts's Inspector French series and my first book by Crofts, who was known for his painstaking attempts to "play fair" with the reader; which here, I'm afraid, hampered the development of the story a bit, in producing a fair bit of dialogue at the beginning that might have been better summed up from the third person narrator's point of view in the interest of easing along the flow of the story, and in holding French back even at points where a reasonably alert reader would have developed suspicions calling for a particular turn of the investigation.  But I like French as a character, and as for all I'm hearing this is very likely not the series's strongest installment, I'll happily give another book a try later.

 

 

Unnatural Death: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery - Dorothy L. Sayers, Ian Carmichael

Dorothy L. Sayers: Unnatural Death

Not my favorite Lord Peter Wimsey book by Sayers, but virtually the only one I haven't revisited on audio recently -- and as always, I greatly enjoyed the narration by Ian Carmichael.  That said, here again Sayers proves herself head and shoulders above her contemporaries, in devising a particularly fiendish, virtually untraceable method of murder (well, untraceable by the medical state of the art of her day at least), and perhaps even more so by hinting fairly obviously at two women's living together in what would seem to be a lesbian relationship.

 

 

The Red Queen - Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen

Ummm ... decidedly NOT my favorite read of the month.  'Nuff said: next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Mystery - Walter Mosley, Michael Boatman

Walter Mosley: A Red Death

I'd long been wanting to return to the world of Easy Rawlins' mid-20th century Los Angeles, so what with Mosley's fiction making for various entries in the KYD cards, including at least one book by him in my reading plans for the game seemed only fitting (... even if I ended up using this one for a "Dr. Watson" victim guess!). -- This, the second installment of the series, deals with the political hysteria brought about by the McCarthy probes and also makes a number of pertinent points on racial discrimination and xenophobia, which make it decidedly uncomfortable reading in today's political climate.

 

 

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe - Hugh Fraser, Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Another revisit, and in no small part courtesy of Hugh Fraser's narration, I liked the book a good deal better than I had done originally.  This is one of several entries in the Poirot canon where we learn about Poirot's phobia of dentist's visits, which obviously makes for the high point of the book's humour ... and of course it doesn't exactly help that it's Poirot's dentist, of all people, who turns out the murder victim. -- The plot features several clever slights of hand, and you have to play a really long shot to get the solution right in its entirety (even if strictly speaking Christie does play fair).  Well, that's what we have Monsieur Poirot's little grey cells for, I suppose!

 

 

Imperium - Robert Harris

Robert Harris: Imperium

The first part of Harris's Cicero trilogy, and both a truly fast-paced and a well-researched piece of historical writing; covering Cicero's ascent from young Senator to Praetorian and, eventually (and against all the odds), Consul. 

 

The first part of the book deals at length with one of Cicero's most famous legal cases, the prosecution of the corrupt Sicilian governor Verres, and Harris shows how Cicero employed that case in order to advance his own political career.  Notably, Cicero quite ingeniously also ignored established Roman trial practice in favor of what would very much resemble modern common law practice, by making a (by the standards of the day) comparatively short opening statement -- albeit a supremely argumentative one -- and immediately thereafter examining his witnesses, instead of, as procedural custom would have dictated, engaging in a lengthy battle of speeches with defending counsel first.  As a result of this manoeuver, Verres was as good as convicted and fled from Rome in the space of the 9 days allotted to Cicero as prosecuting counsel to make his case. 

 

The second part of the book examines Cicero's unlikely but eventually victorious campaign for consulship, and his exposure of a conspiracy involving Catiline, generally believed to be the most likely victor of that year's consular elections, who later came to be involved of conspiracies on an even greater scale, and whose condemnation in Cicero's most famous speeches -- collectively known as In Catilinam (On, or Against Catiline) -- would go a great way towards securing both Cicero's political success in his own lifetime and his lasting fame as a skilled orator.

 

 

Murder is Easy - Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie: Murder Is Easy

Another Christie revisit, and I regret to say for the most part I'm down to my less favorite books now.  This isn't a bad book, and the ending in particular is quite dark ... but the middle part, much as I'm sorry to have to say this, simply drags.

 

 

 

 

The Distant Echo - Val McDermid, Tom Cotcher

Val McDermid: The Distant Echo

Holy moly, how did I ever miss this book until now?!  Even more so since the Karen Pirie series is actually my favorite series by Val McDermid ... OK, Pirie herself has little more than a walk-on role here; we're talking absolute beginning of her career, and the focus is decidedly not on her but on her boss and  on a quartet of suspects involved in a 25-year-old murder case -- in fact, the whole first half of the book is set 25 years in the past, too, describing the immediate aftermath of the murder and its consequences for the four main suspects, chiefly from their perspective.  But still!  Well, I sure am glad I finally caught up with it at last ... definitely one of the best things McDermid ever wrote.

 

 

Unterleuten: Roman - Juli Zeh

Juli Zeh: Unterleuten

A scathing satire on village life, on post-Berlin Wall German society, on greed, on the commercialization of ideals ... and most of all, on people's inability to communicate: Everyone in this book essentially lives inside their own head, and in a world created only from the bits they themselves want to see -- with predictably disastrous consequences.  The whole thing is brilliantly observed and deftly written; yet, the lack of characters that I found I could like or empathize with began to grate after a while ... in a shorter book I might not have minded quite so much, but in a 600+ page brick I'd have needed a few more characters who actually spoke to me to get all the way through and still be raving with enthusiasm.  If you don't mind watching a bunch of thoroughly dislikeable people self-destruct in slow motion, though, you're bound to have a lot of fun with this book.

 

 

Von Köln zum Meer: Schifffahrt auf dem Niederrhein - Werner Böcking

Werner Böcking: Von Köln zum Meer

Local history, a read inspired by conversations with a visiting friend on the history of shipping and travel by boat on the Rhine. -- A richly illustrated book focusing chiefly on the 19th and 20th centuries, and the mid-19th-centuriy changes brought about by diesel engines and the resulting disappearance of sailing vessels (which, before the advent of engines, were pulled by horses when going up the river, against the current): undoubtedly the biggest change not only in land but also in river travel and transportation, with a profound effect on large sectors of the economy of the adjoining regions and communities.

 

 

And last but not least ...

 

 

Dennis McCarthy & June Schlueter: "A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels" by George North -- A Newly Uncovered Manuscript Source for Shakespeare's Plays

The lastest in Shakespearean research, also a read inspired by conversations with the above-mentioned visiting friend, and a February 7, 2018 New York Times article on a possible new source text for passages contained in no less than 11 of Shakespeare's plays.  The story of the discovery itself is fascinating; the research methods applied are in synch with modern Shakesperean scholarship ... and yet, for all the astonishing textual concordance, unless and until someone proves that Shakespeare not only had the opportunity to see this document but actually did (at least: overwhelmingly likely) see it, I'm not going to cry "hooray" just yet.  According to the authors' own timeline, Shakespeare would have been about 11 years old when this text was written, it was kept in a private collection even then, and there is no record that the Bard ever visited the manor housing that very collection -- which collection in turn, if the authors are to be believed, the text very likely at least did not ever leave during Shakespeare's lifetime (though it was undoubtedly moved at a later point in time).  And Shakespearean research, as we all know, has been prone to a boatload of dead-end streets and conspiracy theories pretty much ever since its inception ...

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text 2018-04-02 16:17
Kill Your Darlings - Yellow Team (Wrap-Up)

Team Yellow
Hooked on Books = 180
Witty Little Knitter = 100
Emerjas = 215
Isanythingopen = 170
Darth Pony = 105
Broken Tune = 155

Team Yellow Total = 925 
Team Yellow Individual = 154

 

 

Some Fun Stats about the Yellow Team...

Total Books Read = 93

Total Incorrect Guesses = 26

Number of Guesses/ Played Cards = 39

Number of Collected Cards = 48

Total Number of Played & Collected Cards = 87

 

 

**Special Thanks to Moonlight Reader for hosting another fantastic and fun-filled game! 

 

 

 

 

 

**Please forgive me if any of my 'Fun Stats' are incorrect. I compiled purely for fun using the KYD Round Play and Tracking threads.  I know I ended up with more books then cards played some how & I'm still trying to figure that one out. Lol : )

 

 

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text 2018-04-01 20:05
Kill Your Darlings - Team MbD / Lillelara / TA: Master Tracking Post and FINAL RESULT

 

Aaaand ... that's a wrap.

 

Round 1

Suspect

Own guess / card played: Madeleine L'Engle - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Victims

Own guess / card played: Katniss Everdeen - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess (by Nighttime Reading Center): Gryffindor Common Room

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: Mauled by a demon hound - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

 

Round 2

Suspect

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Victims

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: Green Dragon Pub - wrong - 5 points

+ claiming already correctly ID'd card: Gryffindor Common Room - 10 points

Correct new guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guesses / cards played: Dark alley beat down - correct - 20 points

                                                   Crushed in a bad tesseract - wrong - 5 points
 

 

Round 3

Suspect

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Victims

Own guess / card played: Meg Murry - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: Planet Camazotz - correct - 20 points

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Round 4

Suspect

Own guess / card played: J.K. Rowling - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Victims

Own guess / card played: Severus Snape - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: Shot with an old-fashioned hunting rifle - correct - 20 points

 

Round 5

Suspect

Own guesses / cards played: Harper Lee - correct - 20 points

                                                   Jane Austen - wrong - 5 points

                                                   Stephen King - wrong - 5 points

 

Victims

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

 

Round 6

Victims

Own guesses / cards played: Samwise Gamgee - correct - 20 points

                                                   Easy Rawlins - correct - 20 points

                                                   Ariadne Oliver - wrong - 5 points

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

 

Round 7

Victims

Own guesses / cards played: The Gunslinger - correct - 20 points

                                                    Lydia Bennet - wrong - 5 points  

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: None

Correct guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: Run over by a carriage - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

 

Round 8

Victims

Own guess / card played: Dr. John Watson - correct - 20 points

 

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: near a tor, Dartmoor - correct - 20 points

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guess / card played: stabbed with a sword - correct - 20 points

 

 

Round 9

Crime Scenes

Own guess / card played: Maycomb County Courthouse - wrong - 5 points

Correct guess: None

 

Causes of Death / Weapons

Own guesses / cards played: shot with a revolver - correct - 20 points

                                                   shot with bow and arrow - wrong - 5 points

 

 

Round 10

Crime Scenes

Own guesses / cards played: The Hob, District 12 - correct - 20 points

                                                    Pemberley - wrong - 5 points

                                                    The Orient Express - wrong - 5 points

 

 

Supplemental Round

Total additional points based on additional books read: 260 points

Individual team members' tallies:

MbD: Here.

Lillelara:  Here, here and here.

Themis-Athena: Here, here, here and here.

 

 

Points earned:

Total points based on cards played until all crimes were solved: 335 points

Total extra points based on additional books read: 260 points

=> Total number of points earned by the team: 595 points

=> Divided by number of team members: 198,33 points (= rounded: 198 points)

 

 

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text 2018-04-01 17:40
Kill Your Darlings - Team MbD / Lillelara / TA: Summary of the Team's Additional Cards & Points Claimed -- UPDATED

Lillelara:

* Severus Snape as a victim from the red game play. Book read: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. => 10 points

* Green Dragon Pub as a crime scene from the yellow game play. Book read: Cocaine Blues. => 10 points

 

=> 20 extra points

 

 

Themis-Athena:

* Val McDermid: The Distant Echo => Suspect: Arthur Conan Doyle (genre: mystery) - Red Round => 10 points

* Agatha Christie: Murder Is Easy => Victim: Atticus Finch (book with a person of strong moral character; author’s last name begins with a letter in "FINCH") - Yellow Round => 10 points

* J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  => Victim: Katniss Everdene (genre: YA) - Red Round => 10 points

* J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince => Crime Scene: Pemberley (title contains all letters in "PRIDE") - Red Round => 10 points

* J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows => Crime Scene: The Dark Tower (genre: fantasy) - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Juli Zeh: Unterleuten => Crime Scene: Watts, L.A. (one of the book's POV characters wears a blue dress at the village assembly that sets in motion the book’s major course of events) - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Werner Böcking: Von Köln zum Meer => Crime Scene: Orient Express (a book that deals with people traveling) - Red Round => 10 points

* Dennis McCarthy & June Schlueter: "A Brief Discourse of Rebellion & Rebels" by George North => Cause of Death: shot with bow and arrow (title starts with a letter in "BOW" / "ARROW") - Yellow Round => 10 points

 

=> 80 extra points

 

 

Murder by Death:

I think MbD's "extra books for extra points" posting is a work in progress; I'll update the totals after the end of the game.  Based on the team's discussions and her blog posts, here's what we've got so far (MbD, please correct me if any of the below is wrong):

 

Updated on the basis of MbD's wrap-up post:

 

* Mitch Silver: The Book Worm - Suspect: Stephen King - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Alan Bennett: The Uncommon Reader - Victim: Lydia Bennet - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Ed Yong: I Contain Multitudes - CS: Green Dragon Pub - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Sofie Ryan: The Fast and the Furriest - CS: near a tor, Dartmoor - Green Round => 10 points

* Andrea Penrose: Murder on Black Swan Lane - CoD: Run Over by a Carriage - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Patricia Wentworth: Miss Silver Comes to Stay - CoD: Arsenical toothpaste - Red Round => 10 points

* Janet Evanovitch: Hardcore Twenty-Four - CoD: revolver - Red Round => 10 points

* Alan Lightman: Einstein's Dreams - CS: The Hob, District 12 - Yellow or Green Round => 10 points

* Agatha Christie: 4:50 From Paddington - CS: Orient Express - Red Round => 10 points

* Maggie Pearson: The House of the Cats - Suspect: Arthur Conan Doyle - Red Round => 10 points

* Jodi Taylor: A Symphony of Echos - Victim: Ariadne Oliver - Yellow Round => 10 points

* Mark Twain: A Double Barrelled Detective Story - CS: The Dark Tower - Red Round => 10 points

* Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop - Victim: Dr. John Watson - Green Round => 10 points

* Patricia Briggs: Burn Bright - CS: Gryffindor Common Room - Green Round => 10 points

* Peter Godfrey-Smith: Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - CS: Watts, L.A. - Green Round => 10 points

* Anne Bishop: Lake Silence - CS. Planet Camazotz - Green Round => 10 points

 

=> 160 extra points

 

 

Total extra points: 260

Divided by number of team members: 86,67 (= rounded: 87) points

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review 2018-04-01 07:56
Lake Silence (The World of the Others, #1)
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

I wasn't even going to read this one.  I was sure I didn't want to leave Lakeside and the characters in that courtyard.  But this was one of those rare times when advance press got me to reconsider. I don't even remember what I read, but it was enough to make me think that maybe Lake Silence would be worth a read. 

 

Squee!  It was!  Much to the detriment of my sleep.  I started it yesterday afternoon and, true to previous experience, I almost didn't put it down again - I finally lost the battle at 1am, but was up again at 7am, book open, real-life rudely put on hold, until it was finished.

 

Turns out it's not Lakeside I'm attached to; it's the Others.  I'm enamoured with their morality, to put it bluntly.  Honesty and good faith keep you alive.  Shady dealings and selfishness get you killed.  Every. single. time.  No second chances.  In a world that's constantly pissing me off because people do bad things and get away with it, or dodge the consequences, if not immediately, than eventually (Pete Rose trying to get his lifetime ban lifted; Australia's cricket vice-captain caught cheating and already publicly stating he hopes to play again), I find this world of the Others refreshing.  Unfortunately, even in a work of fantasy, humans can't stop being selfish and exploitative, in spite of clear cut rules, and consequences that are meted out consistently and immediately, and brutally.

 

The setting for Lake Silence is completely different, with an entirely new cast of characters, although there are a few cameos.  This is a small town that's always been owned by the terre indigene, where the human residents fool themselves into believing the Others keep themselves to themselves.  Vicki is a new resident, trying to make a go of an old abandoned resort she got as part of her divorce settlement, not realising the true purpose of the resort and her role as caretaker.

 

As in previous books, I just got sucked in; the characters, the setting, all of it.  The only discordant note, and the reason it's not the full 5 stars, were the villains; they were the most 2 dimensional characters in the story - so much so they were caricatures, and that made it hard to take them as seriously as the story deserved.   Vicki is also an emotionally broken character, and that's starting to make Bishop's MCs feel formulaic.  While Meg's fragility was logical, given her background, Vicki's felt gratuitous; I don't think the story would have suffered at all, or worked less well, if she's been a relatively well-adjusted, independent woman getting on with her life after a divorce.

 

Doesn't matter in the end; I loved the book and lost sleep over it, and I'll gladly snap up the next one without reservations.

 

This was my final read for Kill Your Darlings, and I used it for the card Crime Scene: Planet Camazotz, as it is a book that takes place in a different world.

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