Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

British mysteries/comedies

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

One of my frequent indulgences is British mystery shows and the occasional period soap opera or comedy.

The OAM will put up with most of the  mysteries and likes quite a few of them. His tolerance for the soaps is almost nonexistent and the comedies have to be pretty good for him to put up with more than a few episodes in a row.

We’ve been watching Thorne lately. More like movies than tv shows, the first one, Thorne: Sleepyhead is 3 hours long but originally shown in 3 parts, so I guess a mini-series. Watching the second one, Thorne: Scaredycat, tonight. Both have actors I like. Very standardly British murder mysteries but solid stories and decently done. It would appear that there are only the 2 episodes and they are based on a series of books. Which is good – means I have another book series to pick up after I work my way through the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford books. Those are satisfying my taste for murder mysteries and WWI (along with immediate aftermath) time period. Sure, they all get formulaic after a while, but…

Also watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Fashionable lady detective in Australia in the 20s. I don’t especially feel the need to read these at this point but maybe in the future. Essie Davis is just beautiful. Of course, eventually the character becomes predictable in her outrageous society shocking-ness, but so far I don’t find that to be a downside.

Started The Vicar of Dibley as well. I like most of Dawn French’s work and the show has a couple of pretty funny characters. Female vicar arrives to shake up small English village.

Another series that I have watched through all the episodes on Netflix currently is Rosemary & Thyme.  A duo of middle-aged-or-just-past gardening detectives. Felicity Kendal was apparently known for cute roles in her younger day and I can certainly still see it. The addition of gardening to the mix adds interest for me – although I have no patience or talent for it.

Although I watched it quite awhile back, The Bletchley Circle was good. Mystery set after WWII in England. Group of women who worked in a codebreaking center during the war team up to solve a series of killings.

I also found The Land Girls enjoyable (only seen season 1 so far). Follows a group of women working the land during WWII to do their bit for the effort.

The Paradise was quite enjoyable as well (at least through the end of season 1, haven’t seen 2 yet). Shopgirl with bigger dreams working in one of the first department stores. Emun Elliot is a tasty bit of eye candy. :)

I couldn’t get into The Grand enough to watch after they switched actors for some characters I liked midway through the first season.

Gonna be on my own for tomorrow evening since the OAM is out of town on business. Maybe I’ll invite Mom up for dinner or maybe I’ll eat tacos and grab the latest season of Downton Abbey.



Monday, August 25th, 2014
Now ain’t you ashamed er yo’se’f, sur? I is. I’se ‘shamed you’s my son!
En de holy accorjan angel he’s shamed er wat you has done;
En he’s tuck it down up yander in coal-black, blood-red letters—
“One watermillion stolen by Wi’yam Josephus Vetters.”
En what you s’posen Brer Bascom, yo’ teacher at Sunday-school,
‘Ud say, ef he knowed how you’s broke de good ole gol’n rule?
Boy, whah’s de raisin’ I give you? Is you boun’ fuh to be a black villion?
I’s s’prised dat a chile er yo’ mammy ‘ud steal any man’s watermillion.
En I’s now gwiner cut it right open, en you sha’n’t have nary bite.
Fuh a boy who’ll steal watermillions—en dat in de day’s broad light—
Ain’t—Lawdy! it’s green! Mirandy! Mi-rand-y! come on wi’ dat switch!
Well, stealin’ a g-r-e-e-n watermillion! Who ever yeared tell er des sich?
Can’t tell w’en dey’s ripe? W’y you thump um, en w’en dey go pank! dey is Green;
But when dey go to punk! now you mine me, dey’s ripe—en dat’s des wut I mean.
En nex’ time you hook watermillions—you heered me you ign’ant, you hunk,

Ef you do’ want a lickin’ all over, be sho dat dey allers go ‘punk!”

I read this poem as a child.

I didn’t grow up in a racist household. My parents actually never said a word about race. It would never have even occurred to me to think anything in particular about someone because of skin color. People were people and were to be treated with respect and kindness. My community was not diverse, I’ll admit. We had one black family and one Mexican family in a town of 6000.  Otherwise we were pretty pale folks. I didn’t hang out with the kids because they were popular clique, sports clique and stoner clique and I was neither. I will also admit that I didn’t travel in large circles when I was in school. There could well have been, and undoubtedly were, people with racist outlooks.  But my family, my church, the friends I ran with – we just never even talked about it.

There are those nowadays who would point to that as evidence that I’m racist. After all, if you don’t notice race and go out of your way to make a big deal out of noticing it AND you like a poem from a racist era AND you like Brer Rabbit stories… well, isn’t it obvious?

All I know is that this is the way I still remember how to tell if a watermelon is ripe. Not that I can tell “pank” from “punk,” though… And Mom & Brother & I occasionally will reference “coal-black, blood-red letters” and we still call them “watermillions.”

I notice that a lot of the poems I loved as a kid are written in dialect. I wonder if that’s where my love of dialect in writing began.

My beef with Cormac McCarthy

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

I have now read 3 books by McCarthy. I can get over the indifferent and downright criminal neglect of punctuation. It’s irritating and lazy and disrespectful but there are things I do really enjoy about his writing.

I love reading authors who write in dialect. I have just finished Outer Dark. The dialect is a marvelous aid to imagery.

McCarthy turns a fantastic phrase quite frequently, even if it does sometimes seem that he writes with thesaurus quick to hand in order to impress the critics. He does use language beautifully, though.

They watched her sit, holding the bundle up before her, the lamp just at her elbow belabored by a moth whose dark shape cast upon her face appeared captive within the delicate skull, the thin and roselit bone, like something kept in a china mask

I admit that this next one probably appeals to me largely because I love the word “moiled.”

His shadow moiled cant and baneful over the lot below him…

But… he’s even worse than Dean Koontz about not knowing how or when to end a story He could have either ended Outer Dark a chapter or two sooner than he did or gone on with the story for another few chapters. I’m sure those who consider themselves literati and those who value symbolism more than storytelling and content would say that I am simply too stupid to comprehend the ending or grasp the genius of the author. All I know is that it seemed pointless just like the ending of No Country for Old Men. I don’t truthfully remember that much about the ending of The Road so I can’t honestly say that it ended pointlessly but I have my suspicions.

Such a shame. I really did enjoy all three books – up until the last few chapters. Since I read for enjoyment rather than to pick apart for symbolism and insightful commentary on the human condition I may or may not pick up another McCarthy in the future.

I’m fairly sure I’ve mentioned and linked to this poem before but while we are on the subject of “moiled”:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
I can just about recite this whole poem from memory. Mom introduced me to it as a tyke and it stuck fast, apparently.

A few words about more books

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

An odd story but decent. Kid finds out his grandfather was involved with some really special people and that very special nature is putting them and him in danger. Only thing I didn’t care for much was the first person narration. That is just not my favorite style. (Strangely, a lot of what I have read recently has been first person. And I’m not growing to like it any more than I did previously. ) There is a sequel to this and I’ll probably grab it eventually.

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

This one had a creepy premise but it has huge problems and never really delivers. I got impatient with the narrator for being dense. It was like watching a standard television show – you can see where the twists are coming and the characters just refuse to catch on because then there wouldn’t be a story. This had a good idea but I saw it coming a mile off and lost empathy for the character because of that. And again… first person narration along with really poor writing practices. It started life as a series of forum posts and that is pretty evident in the finished product. This one would be one big mass of red if David ever got a hold of it. :)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I had a really hard time having empathy for any of the characters in this book. Not only were they shallow and essentially unlikeable, it was like the author was trying too hard to present things one way, only to turn around and say “gotcha!” and present them another way, then do it again. I didn’t get a Hitchcock vibe at all from this and all the glowing reviews by critics are a wee bit over the top, methinks.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

This one was better than Gone Girl, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean it was awesome, though. I have a pretty high tolerance for brutish and nasty books and this is probably one of them. The characters, once again, aren’t very likeable and it almost seems like Flynn flaws them to extremes to avoid making them into real people. I thought the plot of this one was better executed than Gone Girl but it doesn’t mean I’d recommend it.

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

This one was mostly worth the read. The beginning is better than once you know what’s going on. At that point it gets a bit… simplistic in description maybe? The right ingredients are there, but in a mistaken effort to take things really “out there” the antagonists are made far too alien. Almost like Lovecraft, it seems like the author gets to the point where he just can’t figure out where to go with them and what he ends up with is as unsatisfying as “indescribable horror.” He’s a better writer than Lovecraft, don’t get me wrong. I like his characters and his idea here is mostly sound. It’s like it got away from him though. It starts out all Twilight Zoney but ultimately doesn’t live up to the expectations it builds of what is behind the curtain. If he’d gone in a more Gaiman myth direction it would have been a better book. This is okay but it is like a book that can’t really decide what it wants to be.

Hm. Seems like this is more of a cautionary list than a recommended reading this time around. I just haven’t been reading anything that has really wow-ed me lately I guess. Anyone else read these? Am I being too harsh or picky here or are they just largely meh to sub-meh books?


A book list! Whoohoo!!!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Lynn put up a book list the other day. It’s taken me a bit to fill it out but here it is. :)

1. Your favorite book: Hard to pick a favorite one. Depends on my mood at the time I’m asked. :)
2. Your least favorite book: The only book I can think that qualifies for this is the only book I ever threw away in the trash. No one ever needed to read it, it was that brain curdlingly awful. I don’t even remember what the name was. It was some werewolf book back when I was in either junior high or high school. I had a membership in a monthly horror book club (can’t imagine why my mother went along with this). For $5 a month, they sent 2 or 3 paperback horror books that couldn’t be printed or sold anywhere else for a profit I think. I did find a couple of stories that I really, really liked through this club, but then I also found this one, so that’s probably a wash.
3. A book that completely surprised you (bad or good): Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I picked it up on a Borders sale rack on a whim and truly liked it.
4. A book that reminds you of home: I’m not sure I even understand this question very well. If it’s a book that I remember reading at home, then that would be one of the good books I found through that horror club – The Hyde Effect by Steve Vance. I read it after dark when my parents were gone to the dirt track races till midnight. My little brother wasn’t home and I don’t remember why, but I was by myself. We lived in a trailer on the edge of the woods and my grandfather lived across the field out in front of our house. It was autumn and I was lying in bed with my head by the window. My bed was just the right height for breezes to blow across it but it was still below the level of the window. I heard something walking outside my window. Since we lived in the middle of nowhere, we also had the door open with only the screen door closed. It never really shut and latched… but again, middle of nowhere almost 30 years ago. So anyway, after lying there petrified (sheet over my head of course) as the footsteps sounded from one side of the house and then the other, the front door opened and shut. I was up out of bed in a dash, ran back to my Mom & Dad’s bedroom (with no exit, not my smartest move…), shut the door and called my grandfather. He came across the field in a truck and drove all around the house, with me in the bedroom the entire time, certain that whatever it was was no longer outside but inside with me!!! He finally came in and of course, there was nothing. Likely it was the wind in the leaves or a couple of wild critters, one on either side of the house. It wasn’t a werewolf, though, much to my disappointment.
5. A non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. Took me forever to get through this because it was so packed with information. I kept wanting to share little bits with people around me, but when I’d start, I’d realize that if I started, I’d never stop. It was so full of cool facts!
6. A book that makes you cry: Several have at one point or another, but most recently, Racing in the Rain – My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein. Not a book I’d normally read but Mom loaned it to me with a recommendation. She didn’t warn me I’d bawl my eyes out.
7. A book that’s hard to read: It took me years to completely read Dracula by Bram Stoker. Bored the snot out of me but I felt like it was something I had to read.
8. An unpopular book you believe should be a bestseller: No idea what books are popular so I couldn’t say. I just know what I like.
9. A book you’ve read more than once: A few of them, but don’t normally re-read books. Like Lynn says, too many good ones out there to be re-reading!
10. The first novel you remember reading: Something that was called a novel? The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I really liked it. First book that wasn’t classified “young adult?” Conan the Barbarian, the Horseclans series, the John Carter of Mars series or Elric of Melnibone. I read all of them about the same time when I was around 11 or 12.
11. The book that made you fall in love with reading: Probably Good Neighbors by Dianne Massie. I liked the “oomph on my sofa” part.
12. A book so emotionally draining you couldn’t complete it or had to set it aside for a bit: Um, yeah. This has never happened. Boring, yes. Emotionally draining, no.
13. Favorite childhood book: The Wahoo Bobcat by Joseph Wharton Lippincott. This was the book that turned my 1st grade reading lesson into going to other classrooms and reading to them and also the book that got me unfettered access to all levels of the school library once I proved I was actually reading it.
14. Book that should be on a high school or college required reading list: Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
15. Favorite book dealing with foreign culture: Hm. Not sure I have many of these in my “have read” shelf. Unless you count fictional cultures. :)
16. Favorite book turned movie: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
17. Book turned movie and completely desecrated: Mostly all of ‘em. I just try to think of them as “inspired by.”
18. A book you can’t find on shelves anymore that you love: There are several kids books that I can’t find on shelves anymore that I loved and think all kids should be able to read rather than some of the insipid junk that is out there for kids now.
19. A book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction): I don’t read much non-fiction. What I do read of non-fiction is not topics that typically one “makes up one’s mind” about.
20. A book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed-minded person: I don’t recommend anything to people like that. I don’t waste my time. Which may make me closed-minded myself… Hm.
21. A guilty pleasure book: I was a bit embarrassed to find how much I liked Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson. It’s a kind of mystery set in the 20s but it’s also very much a romance and thus very far from my standard reading. But I don’t feel guilty about enjoying a book.
22. Favorite series: So many. So hard to choose. For sheer amount of times I re-read them as a kid, the Elric series by Michael Moorcock or the Horseclans by Robert Adams. But I have others that I have never re-read yet immensely enjoyed like the Bob Swagger books by Stephen Hunter or the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.
23. Favorite romance novel: I don’t normally read romance. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson is probably the most “romance” type book I’ve read and I really, really liked it. I don’t do bodice rippers. Blech. I get more of a bodice ripping thrill reading books that probably shouldn’t excite nice girls – ones with lots of bloodshed and hardened bad guys you don’t take home to Mom killing villages.
24. A book you later found out the author lied about: I don’t set out to read Oprah recommended books so none…
25. Favorite autobiographical/biographical book: I am woefully under-read in this area, I admit. I haven’t read one since they were required reading and I don’t remember any of them.
26. A book you wish would be written: The sequel to Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell. C’mon, already!
27. A book you would write if you had all the resources: I’d write the Vampire Chronicles game that we played for years. Unfortunately, since we started with and used some plot points and NPCs from White Wolf, I’d need a lot of resources. :)
28. A book you wish you never read: That one that I can’t remember the name of that I threw away.
29. An author that you completely avoid/hate/won’t read: Stephanie Meyer & EL James
30. An author that you will read whatever they put out: So, so many authors here.

Wow, hadn’t realized I’d gone this long without a post…

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Things have been kinda busy at work. And kinda…angsty and doubt filled for me. Plus, the OAM had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled on Saturday and he’s been kinda grouchy ever since. Go figure. :)


But that’s no excuse to leave you folks without crap postings. :)


I just finished another Christopher Fowler book, Breathe. I thought it was another Bryant & May mystery. It wasn’t. That’s the other bad thing about ebooks. I can’t see the back cover. All I know is that at one point, I thought the books on my Kindle would be interesting. I hardly ever remember why until I start reading. It had one of the characters from those books, but not exactly the same. It’s like he used her name and description and dropped her into a different book. This was horror, not mystery, and seemed… less, somehow. The Bryant & May books have depth to them. He’s researched the history of London, of England, druidism, the occult, theater, Greek myth, etc. But Breathe was just kind of… standard. I do think I would like to grab Spanky and see if it’s any good. Guillermo del Toro apparently optioned it and anything he is involved in is usually something I end up liking. But otherwise I think I’ll stick with the old men who solve crimes.


King of his domain

King of his domain


A few books

Monday, February 10th, 2014

I have been reading quite a bit lately. Not a lot for some of you, maybe, but a fair chunk for what I had been reading up till a year or so ago. I used to read constantly but work and other things interfered. I may not read much of my current recreational book(s) every day, but at least some every day.


Bryant & May: Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

First in a series that follows a couple of old detectives around London, mixing past and present cases as the narrative unfolds. This is the story of the first and last case of the duo. The characters are pretty good and I liked the story. I liked the Greek mythology history and the old theater history. I also liked the juxtaposition between modern day and WWII. I actually think the WWII story is the better one. The modern one is okay but not as compelling.

Bryant & May: On the Loose by Christopher Fowler

This is the 7th book in the series. I apparently read them really out of order but I don’t think it is that big a deal. This one deals with a series of crimes in an up and coming business district that is associated with the 2012 Olympics. The British lore that Bryant contributes to the investigation is probably my favorite aspect of the book. Again, like Full Dark House, not bad. Nothing I’m going to run out and buy a copy of for everyone I know but a decent read.

Hellbound Heart & Damnation Game by Clive Barker

I don’t always like Barker’s books. Sometimes they get a little too graphic for me. But these have been on my want to read list for years and I finally got around to them. Hellbound Heart was okay. Nothing great and I’m not sure how they made a whole movie out of it. I’m always skeptical (and generally with good reason) when they turn short stories or novellas into movies. Anyway, this is what Hellraiser was based on. Been years since I saw it but if I recall correctly, it was a meh movie with some gruesomely inventive costuming and makeup that never needed sequels. I think the concept for the book is solid, there just isn’t much “there” there. It needed more fleshing out.

Damnation Game was more interesting. More of a classic deal with the devil story. Guy essentially gambles his soul and spends the last years of his life trying to avoid paying. Of the two, this one was better, but there are other Clive Barker books I’d recommend over either of these. Abarat was really good as was The Thief of Always. Both of those are YA books – shocked me to find out that Barker wrote anything not R-rated. Years ago I recorded Thief of Always as an audiobook for my mom to listen to on one of her drives down to Dallas. :)  Weaveworld was also very good.

I’ll have some more book posts up eventually.

What are you all reading?



So, so relevant to our current nanny-groupthink thing that’s going on

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

“Boys is like pups – you got ter help ’em some; but not too much, an’ not too soon. They got ter larn themselves, I reckon ef a man’s never made a mistake he’s never had a good lesson. Ef you don’t pay for a thing you don’t know what it’s worth; and mistakes is part o’ the price o’ knowledge- the other part is work! But mistakes is the part you don’t like payin': thet’s why you remember it. You save a boy from makin’ mistakes and ef he’s got good stuff in him, most like you spoil it. He don’t know anything properly, ’cause he don’t think; and he don’t think, ’cause you saved him the trouble and he never learned how! He don’t know the meanin’ o’ consequences and risks, ’cause you kep’ ’em off him! An’ bymbye he gets ter believe it’s born in him ter go right, an’ knows everything, an’ cant’ go wrong; an’ ef things don’t pan out in the end he reckon it’s jus’ bad luck! No! Sirree! Ef he’s got ter swim you let him know right there that the water’s deep an’ thar ain’t no one to hol’ him up, an’ ef he don’t wade in an’ larn, it’s goin’ her be his funeral!”

“Mostly you got ter make a fool o’ yourself once or twice ter know what it feels like an’ how t’avoid it: best do it young – it teaches a boy; but it kind o’ breaks a man up!”

Rocky in Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick as recommended by S. Weasel a long time ago.

It’s been decent so far. Initially the writing style was a bit hard to wade through but now that I’m past the introductory narrative, it’s been okay. Kind of like a Jack London book in Africa. But a true story, not fiction.

Books I have *not* known… and some I have.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

I have been reading some books off of a Scary Books list that may have been posted in Laura’s sidebar, I’m not sure. YMMV, of course, and some of you may want to read or have even read these already and liked them.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Supposed to be the tale of a teen mass murderer. To the point at which I quit reading, it was dealt with through letters the mother is writing to her estranged husband. Her relentless navel gazing, anti-American, oh so sophisticated liberal whining really was too much. I get the point and I’m sure parents of teen killers go through all of the self doubt and questioning and more. Hell, good parents who have kids that turn out just unhappy probably go through it. What did I do, what did I miss, what could I have done differently, is this my fault? But the way the book was written gives me zero empathy for this woman or her child. I skipped through a lot of it to see if the story ever introduced the kid himself (it did) but it still didn’t capture my attention. I have read some reviews since then, a couple with spoilers, and even knowing what I didn’t get to doesn’t make it a better story, in my opinion. In many ways, it makes it worse.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Another psycho young child story. Like all the others, I didn’t read any reviews. If I had, I’d probably have skipped this one from the start. As I’ve mentioned before, I apparently have few problems with humans being blown to bits, killed, etc. Oh, there is a point at which I’m uncomfortable reading/watching it but it is a country mile beyond where I’m okay with reading about cute & fuzzy animals going through the same. I was initially hesitant because I’d read Crow Road by Iain Banks and was completely unimpressed and bored with it. I didn’t read enough to say if I’d think the same about the writing here.

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Aging goth rocker and groupie fight against a vengeful ghost. This one I thought was pretty decent. The writing isn’t anything stellar and I couldn’t dredge up a memorable line if asked but the plot moved along, the characters were good enough to keep me reading and the ending wasn’t a let down. It would probably make a pretty good movie.

Hell House by Richard Matheson

I had expectations that I would like this since it was by Matheson. And I did indeed like it. Classic story of rich man on deathbed wanting proof of life after death sending team of experts to stay in haunted house and bring back said proof. There was a portion where it did drag when his leading expert spent pages explaining his pet theory of electromagnetic fields generated by every living thing accounting for all haunted or supernatural phenomena. It seems like many books where the author has spent a lot of time researching his subject tend to fall off into expounding as much as possible on the subject so all of that research doesn’t go unnoticed. Aside from that, it was a Matheson book. Decent and a pretty quick read.

Not on the scary books list:

The Guards by Ken Bruen

Based on this book Bruen isn’t worthy to empty Dashiell Hammet’s trash. The Jack Taylor books are billed as crime noir. They may be in subject matter, but in writing they are simply excreable. Or at least this one is. It is so badly written I can’t yet make myself try another one and may not ever. The Taylor novels made a good tv series. Bad book(s).


Far from the ocean…

Friday, August 30th, 2013




Who would have thought that a god belonging to a pantheon often associated with the dark and briny depths would have a monument mysteriously show up to them in Oklahoma? Much less a god who dwells outside the ordered universe in unlighted chambers beyond time and space?

Personally, I think this is just purely awesome.

And I should have expected this, but it still took me a bit by surprise that there was such a thing.


For an author who really was pretty bad at his craft (though with some pretty good ideas), he sure has left an enduring legacy. I wonder if there will be cosplay there?

The Great Gatsby

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013


I’ll say up front that it has been at least 20 years since I read the book. So I really can’t speak to accuracy. I remember liking the book.

The movie looks like a mix of Sin City, Moulin Rouge and a colorized Our Town. The sets are fantastic, the costumes gorgeous and the casting well done. DiCaprio continues to evolve as an actor. Maguire wasn’t irritating – I don’t like him much at all – and actually pretty good. Elizabeth Debicki was an absolutely perfect cast for the era and Carey Mulligan was ethereal and a fantastic cast for Daisy.

The first quarter of the movie was oddly paced and we almost gave up. The OAM didn’t like the book and he wasn’t liking the movie much, either. It wasn’t particularly capturing my attention either. However, I’m glad we stuck with it. It ended up being fairly decent.

My main complaint overall was the music. I really don’t have a big problem with modern music being used in an otherwise period piece. I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle (or Spectacular Spectacular as the case may be) that was Moulin Rouge. The problem was with both modern and period music being used. That, and if Luhrmann had just made this into a musical and had people singing the modern numbers, turning them into features of the movie, it would have been tons better.

That said, it is most definitely a Baz Luhrmann movie. I had forgotten he was the director and was thinking after the first party scene in the apartment: I wonder if Luhrmann was involved in this? Oh, and it’s a very long movie. :)

One for David

Saturday, August 17th, 2013


Sadly, we’ve all read books that made us ask this question. David just tends to ask in a more pointed fashion than most. He has high standards and sometimes those make life difficult. Or sometimes they give you blog posts.  :)

For those of us who read:

Monday, July 29th, 2013

And I know it’s most of the folks who stop by here – y’all are well read individuals. :) I bookmarked these sites awhile back but I’m just now getting around to investigating. I left my Kindle in Africa… been reading with the Kindle app on my phone but I’m getting tired of the tiny screen. Once I get my overtime check I’ll replace the Kindle but even then it is nice to know this stuff is out there.

Get (Almost) Any Book for Free

Several of the sites linked here are not downloadable books, but online books. Which is still good. Classic Bookshelf wants to run a program… I get skittish about that kind of thing so I didn’t do it. Just be cautious. :) Classic Book Library doesn’t have anything to read or download, just a list of which books are considered classics.


And for those who still deal with paper and ink books (I’ve still got a decent collection), here’s a way to trade and refresh your collection. You have to pay for shipping costs yourself. The site runs off of points. You get points for listing books you will give away and you can then spend those points to get books from others. I haven’t done anything with the site, but it looks like a good idea. You can also just list books that you will give away and give your resulting points to charities that use them to get books.



Fact & Fancy

Not a book site, but an observation on reading.






Saturday, June 15th, 2013

I have been reading tons lately. I think I mentioned awhile back that nothing was particularly recommendable. Even so, since everyone has different tastes in books, here is what I’ve read lately, along with my impressions. YMMV of course. :)


Inspector Erlendur Reykjavik Mysteries by Arnuldur Indridason. I started with Tainted Blood (also under the title Jar City) and thus far I’ve read that one, Silence of the Grave, Voices, and have started The Draining Lake.  The mysteries are fairly straightforward with sympathetic (if somewhat formulaic) characters who investigate cold cases. What I’m finding most interesting about these stories though is the view of Icelandic society. I don’t know much about Iceland, despite my father having been stationed there when he was in the Navy – never thought to ask him about it, sadly. So I’m actually learning quite a bit about that country and their society through reading fiction. :)


Reading… and snobs.

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Heard the aftermath of this NPR interview today. Apparently they interviewed Joe Queenan, an author. He claims to have read over 7000 books and reads at least 125 a year, reading 60-70 at once. He then went on to trash book clubs as essentially wastes of time for stupid people. Honestly, he came off as quite a holier than thou snob, at least in the limited transcript of the interview. Maybe the full thing was better.

“They’re just stupid. They’re just ridiculous. My problem with book clubs … is one week they discuss something like Anna Karenina and War and Peace and the next week they discuss the stupidest book imaginable. They just discover whatever book Anita Shreve just happened to write or something like that. There’s no theme.

” … The other thing is that when … you read Oscar Wilde or you read Moliere or particularly Shakespeare, I would consider it an invasion of their privacy for me to express any opinion about their work. The market has spoken. There’s nothing that we can add to this conversation. Someone once said about Emily Dickinson: The correct way to approach Emily Dickinson is on your knees.”

I don’t get that. I never have. To say that just because something was a commercial success or was well received in the literary community means that it was either good or bad is silly. Hemingway is revered beyond all reason, in my opinion, but that is my opinion. Hearing the opinion of others is a good thing. Perhaps someone else’s opinion might spark us to try something again with fresh eyes. And the whole idea of “there’s nothing we can add to this conversation” is so closed-minded it truly shocks me coming from someone who is apparently so well read. Why read if you can’t have your own feelings or idea about what you have read? So what if they align or don’t align with what has already been said? Does that make them any less worthwhile?

And as for book clubs, who cares what they read? So what if they read War & Peace and follow it with 50 Shades of Grey? At least people are reading.

On the reading of multiple books at a time, I have done it but only in a few circumstances. I was gone and didn’t have my current book handy or I was reading on Kindle and needed a paperback I could read in the tub and possibly drop in the water. I feel like one should give full attention to a book to fully appreciate it. Granted, there are trash books out there that don’t demand a lot of attention. But I feel the same way about speed reading. If you have to speed through it why bother. Speed reading is for books you have to read. Maybe Mr. Queenan is simply more intelligent than I. I’m sure he’d agree with that assessment.

His must-read list is at the link. All I can say is “predictable.”