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text 2018-08-31 09:00
Friday Reads - August 31, 2018
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright
Khobar Towers: Tragedy and Response - C.R. Anderegg,Perry D. Jamieson,Air Force History and Museums Program (U.S.)
Rockets' Dead Glare (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon
A Touch of Midnight - Lara Adrian
The Demon of River Heights - Stefan Petrucha,Sho Murase
Miss Frost Solves A Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost Book 1) - Kristen Painter
A Deadly Brew (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon
Hollywood Scandals - Gemma Halliday

2 TBR piles for September and October - 1) Regular reading and 2) Halloween Bingo.

 

Regular Reading: Starting Tuesday, I will be listening to the audiobook version of The Flat Book Society September's pick, Get Well Soon, as that is the only copy of the book my library system had. Next on the non-fiction que is Khobar Towers, which is only 153 pages so it should go quickly. I am hoping to finish Hollywood Scandals soon.

 

Halloween Bingo Reading: A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon (Free Space - will be released Sep 4th), Rockets Dead Glare by Lynn Cahoon (Amateur Sleuth), A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian (Relics and Curiosities), The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #1) by Carolyne Keene, Stefan Petrucha and Show Murase (Baker St. Irregulars), and Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristin Painter (Cozy Mystery). All are short books that I can get through quickly over the weekend. 

 

Because my husband was denied leave (vacation time) and was TDY to Iceland for a month this summer, he has spent little time with the kids, who are now in school. So we are taking a day trip to Legoland Windsor on Monday as an end of summer surprise. HEE HEE HEE Adam and I can't wait to see their faces when we drive through the arch into the park.

 

Happy Labor Day my fellow Americans!

 

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review 2018-08-26 05:41
Love for a wild land
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather

This one tugged at my heart.

 

All of the ingredients did: the hard life on new countries, the stubbornness of immigrants, the strong girl and all the quirky people you may find around her, the small town tragedies.

 

Most of all this love for the land, and the strange, difficult to explain ties one develops to it when you fight it and work it and live it.

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text 2018-08-05 08:19
Reading progress update: I've read 3 out of 464 pages.
Four Revenge Tragedies: The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy - Cyril Tourneur,Thomas Kyd,Thomas Middleton,George Chapman,Katharine Eisaman Maus

The Introduction observes that Elizabethan-Jacobean Revenge Tragedy has antecedents in Classical Tragedy and descendants in Holywood revenge movies - however the latter often allow the protagonist to get away with mass murder entirely consequence-free which is a distinct evolution away from the English Renaissance dramatic genre.

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review 2018-07-22 17:34
The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila
The Ultimate Tragedy - Jethro Soutar,Abdulai Sila

In 2017, this book apparently became the first novel (though more of a novella really, clocking in around 180 pages) from Guinea-Bissau to be translated into English. It doesn’t do too well in the storytelling department, and despite being first published in 1995 it is a simplistic criticism of Portuguese colonialism (Guinea-Bissau became independent in 1973-1974), so I can see why there wasn’t a rush to translate. But of course there’s something to be said for reading voices from a particular place even if their literary merits are weak.

There will be SPOILERS below, though no more than are found in the book description (which gives away most of the story).

The book begins with a teenage girl, Ndani, traveling from her village to the capital city, Bissau, with hopes of becoming a domestic servant in a Portuguese home. After a few chapters, it skips abruptly to a village chief, smarting over an insult from a colonial official and thinking at great, repetitive length about the paramount importance of thinking. The stories come together when the chief marries Ndani (who has somehow learned to be a great lady by being a housegirl, yet is somehow the only such woman available even though the earlier chapters show that there are plenty of housegirls, and Ndani is not the brightest bulb on the tree). Then she falls in love with a local teacher, a young man trained by priests but questioning the righteousness of colonial rule. Tragedy, naturally, ensues.

The story is kind of a mess, unfortunately. It skips long periods of time without giving any sense of what Ndani’s life was like in the interim, leaving unanswered questions in its wake. Ndani’s abrupt shift from housegirl to fancy lady is not particularly convincing, nor did I find her cheerful willingness to jump right into sex believable from a woman whose only sexual experiences were rape. There’s a prophecy about Ndani that causes people to shun her, until they don’t, with no reason I could see for the change of heart other than that this plot device was no longer needed. Being in the chief’s head is tedious due to the long-winded repetition, and the teacher’s realization that the reality of colonial rule is inconsistent with Christian principles is painfully obvious; decades after colonial rule ended, I doubt this was a new idea to the book’s readers.

The translation is fairly smooth, but a number of words and concepts are left untranslated, and these are not always immediately obvious from context; most of these words appear to be from a local African language and were probably untranslated in the Portuguese original too, but a glossary would help foreign readers understand the references to local culture better.

Ultimately, this is a fairly quick and easy read, but the simplistic political commentary dominates over the story; I missed more of Ndani’s life than I saw, never got to know who she was as a person, and had no particular reason to care about her or anyone else in the story (her mistress was perhaps the most interesting character to me - a Portuguese woman who, after a near-death experience, devotes herself to "improving the natives" - but this character doesn't have the space to fully develop). I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you are specifically looking to read a book from Guinea-Bissau. If you are, this is a readable option.

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quote 2018-06-18 07:20
“Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.”

 F. Scott Fitzgerald

― F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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