After the heroics of Desolation Island I just had to keep going for the next Aubrey-Maturin adventure ... Patrick Tull narrating as always.
I'm especiAfter the heroics of Desolation Island I just had to keep going for the next Aubrey-Maturin adventure ... Patrick Tull narrating as always.
I'm especially interested in this one since the Americans are going to war with the British. There's a nice set up bridging from Desolation Island to this book where you find out that neither Lucky Jack nor Doctor Maturin approve of war with America, for varying reasons. So that leaves us free to watch as the inevitable war looms nearer and nearer.
I'm in the early chapters and really wish that O'Brian (or his publisher?) hadn't felt the need to recap the entire series up to this point. You've either been reading or you haven't. However, one hopes that things will pick up after this tedious info dump....more
I'd give this 2-1/2 stars if the system allowed it.
I had high hopes for this book, written by an editor with an inside look at the publishing industryI'd give this 2-1/2 stars if the system allowed it.
I had high hopes for this book, written by an editor with an inside look at the publishing industry, whose protagonist is likewise an editor. The first third was interesting and surprisingly funny.
Anything to do with publishing remained humorous and interesting. Unfortunately, the mystery was less successful. The middle of the book sagged alarmingly under the weight of a lot of characters who were confusingly alike, financial details which likewise were confusing, and the protagonist succeeding in most of her difficulties by letting her anger help her come alive. Also, her romantic situation was, I believe, supposed to be refreshingly modern but felt completely unrealistic to me. I never cared about it at all. In fact, for some time it was so unrealistic that I suspected her lover as the murderer.
It was disappointing overall because I enjoyed the beginning so much. ...more
For those who feel this is too long to face, take heart. I'm not actually reading the 264 page book formatted by the Vatican and released as a pdf. IFor those who feel this is too long to face, take heart. I'm not actually reading the 264 page book formatted by the Vatican and released as a pdf. I was able to copy and paste it into my own document which came down to 50 pages. The pdf's tiny pages, large type, and big margins are what made it so long in published form.
I'm reading it a little each day and finding it a complex, thoughtful, and rich work. It is especially interesting to consider that the Pope keeps mentioning the other contributing bishops from the synods on the family. This is not just one person's vision. It is that of many of those who serve families around the world....more
Hell's Marshal was an engaging riff on a popular theme, using Dante's Inferno as a launching pad for other adventures. Although Dante isn't mentionedHell's Marshal was an engaging riff on a popular theme, using Dante's Inferno as a launching pad for other adventures. Although Dante isn't mentioned specifically here, I'd just finished rereading the Divine Comedy and some of the hellish inhabitants seemed striking familiar.
I found Frank Butcher to be an interesting character since he made the unusual choice to stay in Hell even though he could be sent on to ... well, I'm not sure whether to Purgatory or Heaven. Theological questions aside, Frank's dogged pursuit of the escaped Jesse James makes for generally entertaining adventure. Ultimately, I found the focus on adventure and battles was the main emphasis, at the expense of a deeper story development. Problems were solved too easily and the human story was ignored in order to move the action along.
This book was provided by Net Galley. Obviously, my opinions were unswayed by that fact....more
This book makes me think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Or maybe I'm thinking of Tom Sawyer. Although these are vignettes of Appalachian life instead of aThis book makes me think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Or maybe I'm thinking of Tom Sawyer. Although these are vignettes of Appalachian life instead of a novel, the reader is carried into 1940s West Virginia through a mischievous child's vivid memories of what was then "everyday" life. Drema's stories pull us into her world with turns of humor, poignancy, love and discovery.
Above all, I came away loving her Grandma and Grandpa. Their common sense, resilience, ingenuity, and steadfast faith were the anchors of the Drema's life. They provide the anchors for the book too, and the underlying themes which make the book much more than simply the sum of its parts. One of my favorite chapters was when the gypsies came to town and Grandpa caught two of their children who'd been raiding the vegetable garden and henhouse.
The big boy said he was ten but his brother was only seven and wasn't allowed to be out at night. Grandpa took both boys by the hand and walked through the garden, the little one dragging a burlap bag behind.
"You tell me what you want, and I'll show you how to harvest so it won't damage the crop," Grandpa said.
Soon the boys filled the bag with potatoes and onions and carrots and ears of corn. Grandpa showed them how to tie their sack in the middle of a long pole so they could share the heavy load on the way home.
"A load is always lighter if it's shared. I want you to remember that. You want more, you knock and I'll give you what can be spared. I want to show you something else before you leave," he said, leading the boys over to where Queenie was tied.
He unhooked the leash, and Queenie, grateful for freedom, ran to the boys and started jumping up. Grandpa gave a hand signal and the dog sat down, watching Grandpa and waiting.
"This dog is part of our family, and I won't stand for her being tormented. She wants to be your friend. Go on over there now and get acquainted with her." ...
Every week or so after, always just before dawn, we heard a tapping at the front door, getting a little louder if Grandpa didn't hurry down. He pulled pants and suspenders over his long johns and went out to help his new friends fill their bag. Grandma followed him downstairs and put a pot of coffee on the stove. Sometimes she gave the boys a sack of oatmeal cookies or a pint of damson preserves, and a time or two she gave them a basket of eggs.
We never had another chicken disappear.
Running on Red Dog Road shows us a slice of life that doesn't exist any more, while reminding us that such a life is still right here to be grasped — in our families, friends, and the things we share along the way.
I received a Kindle version of this book from NetGalley. My opinion is my own. I'll be buying this in print for myself and as gifts. I know I'll be rereading this one....more
My NetGalley copy of this book is called Not My Mother's Kitchen. It's a good title because it makes you think that perhaps this author is putting a mMy NetGalley copy of this book is called Not My Mother's Kitchen. It's a good title because it makes you think that perhaps this author is putting a modern twist on his mother's old Italian-American specialities. Actually, what makes this book funny and also relatable is that the author's mother was a terrible cook who spent as little time as possible in the kitchen. Talk about the anti-Italian mother stereotype! It turns out that Rob Chirico grew up with Velveeta, Wonder Bread, and frozen dinners. It was only when he was in other people's homes that he got classic home cooking of any sort.
There is no sneering here. It is is all told with a loving touch. When the recipes start coming, we get to see Chirico's true love for authentic Italian food. He learned how to cook and never looked back. The headnotes have a nice combination of amusing memories, cuisine history, and the excitement that comes from having found a dish you love to share. I didn't try any of the recipes but they read as if they're gonna cook up great in the kitchen.
As I said, this was from NetGalley. My opinions, however, are my own....more
Oh my word, what a terrific book. It was wonderful fun to see Stephen in full espionage mode combined with Jack's handling of the tricky cat-and-mouseOh my word, what a terrific book. It was wonderful fun to see Stephen in full espionage mode combined with Jack's handling of the tricky cat-and-mouse pursuit toward the Antarctic. The image of the two ships battling in the gigantic waves was vividly described and I was on tenterhooks the entire time. It probably helped that I'd just read Endurance last year so I had those equally vivid descriptions in mind as a possible future for the Leopard's crew.
There are so many great elements to this story. Highly recommended....more
Heavens to Betsy! Three chapters in and I have never read a more fascinating book. No wonder this professor has been teaching Dante's Comedy for decadHeavens to Betsy! Three chapters in and I have never read a more fascinating book. No wonder this professor has been teaching Dante's Comedy for decades and was selected for Open Yale Courses video. Whoever translated those videos into these chapters also deserves praise. I can feel the force of personality as well as the depth of knowledge — all communicated in a very understandable way. I've already been marking up the book.
Final - I am in no way qualified to comment knowledgeably upon Guiseppe Mazzotta's scholarship except to say I wish I had taken his classes. This was simply wonderful in deepening my appreciation of the magnificent work Dante did upon The Divine Comedy. ...more
I never heard of this but received it as a gift today. The only flaw is that I can't read German, but the art speaks for itself.
Classic art, from cavI never heard of this but received it as a gift today. The only flaw is that I can't read German, but the art speaks for itself.
Classic art, from caveman days forward, documents a mysterious tribe of ducks known as the interDucks who once lived very public lives in a society parallel to that of mankind. (I picked this up from the website.)...more
I rewatched Master and Commander and was surprised at how much more I loved it than when I first saw it at the movies. Partly, I'd say, this is becausI rewatched Master and Commander and was surprised at how much more I loved it than when I first saw it at the movies. Partly, I'd say, this is because I am a different sort of viewer than I was back then and partly I think it is because I'd read the first three books of the series. I really could appreciate how skillfully the director/writer brought together the necessary elements to represent the books well.
At any rate, it was this successful: I decided it was time to read the next book. So here we are. I'm listening to Patrick Tull's masterful reading. (In this matter, I realize there are die-hard Vance fans and die-hard Tull fans. Count me among Tull's. It's like having your old sea-faring uncle settle down by the fire, groping for the pipe in his pocket, while leisurely telling you a wonderful tale.)
I'm greatly enjoying the humor and how very different Lucky Jack and Stephen are while still remaining good friends. Plus the adventure and history, natch.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way this broke the pattern of the earlier books in a couple of ways. Jack is named a commodore and so we get to see him commanding several other ships in a campaign. The way he does this is a new facet of his personality. We also see several battles from Stephen's point of view on a ship other than Jack's. This gives insights into another captain's personality and, despite his deficits, I became fond of him also and mourned the way his faults caused him to cut off his nose to spite his face. The contrast between him and Jack gave insights into both Stephen and Jack.
The other things that series' fans love are here - the humor, the camaraderie and contrasts between Jack and Stephen, the clear and fascinating descriptions of battle and politics, and so forth....more
I chose this from the April offerings for the Kindle First program. It grabbed me from the beginning with a likable protagonist and interesting mysterI chose this from the April offerings for the Kindle First program. It grabbed me from the beginning with a likable protagonist and interesting mystery. The legal setting proved to be fascinating with Samantha using the media as well as more expected methods to achieve her goal of getting a fair trial for an almost universally disliked client.
This book provoked an unusual response from me thanks to a plot twist at the very end. It is rare that I give a book such a high rating while simultaneously swearing to never read another in the series. (view spoiler)[Basically the client reveals he did deliberately commit a tangential murder to the one under investigation. The lawyer does not tell his secret, not only because he is actually her father, but because she thinks, "I can use this monster." And then she reveals that she herself deliberately killed someone who was stalking her office manager/best friend. In fact, after the hit and run, she ran over the body twice more. She never felt guilt but just empowerment for doing the right thing and protecting the little guy.
I felt betrayed by the heroine and the author, who seemed to be espousing vigilante justice when someone is really bad enough to deserve it. Yes, both the victims were ugly customers, but these murders and the lack of guilt left me feeling let down.
On the other hand, after consideration, I could see that the lawyer is truly a psychopath, albeit a high functioning one. We'd had clues toward the end of her tendency toward being a sociopath, using the legal system to dispense her own brand of justice to a gang member, for instance. And it is a clever device by the author because we'd been watching the lawyer continually mistrust her client's warm, caring ways. She worried that he was a psychopath because that is how they fool people. It turns out that the author used those very tendencies on the readers, revealing at the end how taken in they were.
I'd like to think that was the author's intention. And intention, for me, is the key to everything. Unfortunately, to my way of thinking that would demand a stand alone book. There is a series planned, with the second book coming out this fall. And that seems to point to the glorification of vigilante justice which struck me when I first read the ending. And in this sort of book it just feels wrong. (hide spoiler)]
I do recommend it but the ending demands more thought than one expects.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Having listened to Heathcote Williams' narration of the first two-thirds of the Divine Comedy, of course I have to fly to Heaven with Dante with his vHaving listened to Heathcote Williams' narration of the first two-thirds of the Divine Comedy, of course I have to fly to Heaven with Dante with his voice in my ears....more
Reading this for an April discussion on SFFaudio podcast.
This was a favorite in high school but I haven't read it since then. Listening to Tim Curry'sReading this for an April discussion on SFFaudio podcast.
This was a favorite in high school but I haven't read it since then. Listening to Tim Curry's fine narration I was surprised to see, yet again, how funny Jules Verne can be. The story is told by a teenage boy who embodies so many qualities that we still see in teenagers today. I never noticed that before, possibly because I was a teenager myself or, more probably, because I was reading so fast to get to the adventure. At any rate, it is a wonderful way to begin this story of the eccentric scientist uncle and their great "lost world" style discovery.
FINAL Having reread several Verne books lately I am beginning to think that I was better suited to his style when I was in high school. This was good in some ways but, as is often the case, I find the long technical descriptions boring, as well as the long geographical descriptions. My favorite in these later decades is Around the World in 80 Days....more
I'm a big fan of Edgar Wallace who at one time was one of the most popular British mystery writers. This is not one of his best although it was enjoyaI'm a big fan of Edgar Wallace who at one time was one of the most popular British mystery writers. This is not one of his best although it was enjoyable enough. I'd give it 2-1/2 stars probably but it was more dated than many of his books, most notably with the strong anti-Hun bias, and that made me round it down. ...more