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text 2017-06-19 17:58
U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics - James Herriot
Jack of Shadows - Roger Zelazny
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic - Randy Shilts,William Greider
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson,Linda Lear,Edward O. Wilson
Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.,Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Currently $1.99: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers.  The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman.  Jack of Shadows, by Roger Zelazny.  Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.


Currently $2.99: Three James Herriot Classics (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful), by James Herriot.  Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.


Currently $3.99: And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts.  Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

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review 2017-03-31 21:18
An Old-Fashioned Thriller, but what a Thriller: "Kolymsky Heights" by Lionel Davidson
Kolymsky Heights - Lionel Davidson,Philip Pullman

I’m not much of a classic thriller reader myself but I loved that icy photo on the cover. That was what drew me in! "Kolymsky Heights" really is a cracker. Page turning narrative, and the writing of place is superb; Davidson takes me to the Siberian wilderness every bit as much as any travel writer ever has. This is my first novel from him. I came across this first novel, from a friend of mine. Davidson has two deep traits: how sentences and how characters work. Both are deployed superbly in the Story: the syntax drew me into the very thought processes, what it is to be the fascinating characters he depicts. It’s old-fashioned in a good way, it’s full of drama and adventure, exotic locations, goodies and baddies, as every spy Book worth its salt should be. For most of the books I read, I always write lots of notes to allow me, later on, to breeze through the review. That’s close reading for you! This time round, I didn’t write a single line. And that is actually not a bad thing.



If you're into Spy Fiction of the Ian Fleming variety, read on.

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text 2017-03-17 21:16
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

There's nothing even vaguely similar to Harry Potter here, but I'm really enjoying it. Even though the characterisation isn't fantastic, I'm still liking Lyra a lot.

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text 2017-03-05 22:04
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

My friend mentioned this to me recently and said she'd always loved it, so I decided to give it a try, even though fantasy (apart from Harry Potter of course) isn't really my thing. I'm not in love with it yet, but I'm hopeful it'll pick up.

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review 2017-03-01 22:40
Out for Kindle May 02, 2017
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.  Open Road is doing the kindle edition of this previously released work.


                Ginny has a problem.  It’s a huge problem.  She doesn’t know a great many things.  She lives with her father in a town in Wales, and she is one of the few people of color in the village.  She has never met her Haitian mother from who she inherits artistic skill, talent, and interest.


                In many ways, while not perfect, Ginny’s life is good.  But then, as is always the case in such books, something happens and things change.  In this case, change is brought the visit of a woman, who sparks a desire or allows Ginny to give voice to questions.


                While race is not a huge factor in the novel, it does make an appearance, or several.  And yet this is not a novel about race.  It’s true that Ginny does deal with racism in both a family setting and a societal setting.  It is also true that she is not the only person of color to do so, yet the focus of the book is the mystery that Ginny must solve – the mystery of her past.


                That mystery concerns her much loved father, and that mystery is one that is not dependent on race.


                It sounds strange, perhaps.  But think about, how many mass market teen and pre-teen books with a poc as hero/heroine have a race as a central theme and/or driving plot point?  This book doesn’t ignore race; Ginny is called slurs, she wonders about her sense of self as a poc being raised only by a white father in a white community, and she wonders about art and race.  Yet removal those conversations or change them to reflect a different minority group, and the story is about any teenager and the search for identity.  It’s refreshing really.


                It’s true at some points one feels that Ginny’s mother as passionate outsider is a bit of an over played trope (poc is passionate, white family is passionless), yet Pullman does not go down that tired old road.


                In terms of the mystery that Ginny solves, too say too much about it would give away major spoilers.  Much of the mystery plot does work, and there are one or two places where disbelief does need to be suspended a little.


                And yes, this book does pass the Bechdel test.  Ginny’s best friend is Rhiannon and why they do at times talk about boys, they talk about more.  The two girls have a great and real friendship.  It is one of the charms of the book.  Ginny is not the only good woman/girl in a world of men.  She has female friends and they act female as opposed to men with boobs.


                There are wonderful touches in the book – in particular with Ginny’s interest in art and how it manifests in a variety of ways.   There are some wonderful passages about the scenery and places, in particular Ginny’s kingdom – a passage that details a very real connection to places. 


                Highly recommended. 

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