Insightful and fun. Paglia's myth-busting analyses delivered in her trademark un-P.C. style will trigger the callow but thrill the more sophisticatedInsightful and fun. Paglia's myth-busting analyses delivered in her trademark un-P.C. style will trigger the callow but thrill the more sophisticated thinker.
I finally understand The Birds. The super glamazon of the world is put in her place on the pecking order by other lesser woman. Tippi is brilliant as the goddess cut to size by the women of Bodega Bay....more
Real hit or miss for me. Like most anthologies, I guess. I got it for the Hoch story as I'm a big Carr fan and indeed his story was my favorite. FuturReal hit or miss for me. Like most anthologies, I guess. I got it for the Hoch story as I'm a big Carr fan and indeed his story was my favorite. Future me, don't worry about tracking this one down again....more
Between this and The Lottery I wonder what kind of neighbors Jackson had?
I went into this expecting more of a creepy, haunting mystery but it turned oBetween this and The Lottery I wonder what kind of neighbors Jackson had?
I went into this expecting more of a creepy, haunting mystery but it turned out to be more of a tragedy about the mentally ill. A strange, sometimes maddening, dark fairy tale with two mad princesses (and one douchey prince) pursuing their own unique happiness.
I just finished it and really I don't know what to make of it yet. (Even the evil mob turned out to be kind in the end.) This one's going to stay with me....more
Not my favorite Carr, by far. The setup was so melodramatic it made me question whether the book was worth my time. This is coming from a great Carr fNot my favorite Carr, by far. The setup was so melodramatic it made me question whether the book was worth my time. This is coming from a great Carr fan. He's very probably my favorite mystery writer. Here, the atmosphere, the ingenuity, and the characters just don't seem to be on par with some of his better--never mind best--work. Even the title let me down (no Egyptology) and Fell annoyed this reader for the first time.
It's not all bad. If you like golden age mysteries and golden age romances, this book's for you.
(That said, this is first fiction book I've entirely read using Spritz. I finished it in a matter of a couple hours. Next time I'll time myself. I did slow down in a few revealing spots, though.)
(Oh, and the moving coffins idea is used better in a much better Carr book.)
*I changed my rating from a 3 to a 2. Is it better than some other writer's 3 star book? Sure. But this guy judges books differently for each author. This is a JDC 2....more
Not the best Hare I've read, honestly, but still I give it a 4.5. The beginning is very dry but once things kick off it's a pretty fun read.
I was expNot the best Hare I've read, honestly, but still I give it a 4.5. The beginning is very dry but once things kick off it's a pretty fun read.
I was expecting more, I must say. It sort of feels like an Agatha Christie written by her rather staid guy friend. Which is probably close to the mark. Other Hares didn't feel this way to me--maybe it's the setting. There is some solid prose and great characters here but in my opinion the mystery is a little too dependent on timetables and maps instead of characters and plot.
If you like fly fishing or if you're curious about fly fishing, and if you like whodunits not just with maps but with a map you will reference about fifty times, then this book's for you. If you love Golden Age mysteries, this book's for you....more
Fans of John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie will very much enjoy this Cryil Hare. His books, the ones I've read so far, lack the atmosphere of the fFans of John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie will very much enjoy this Cryil Hare. His books, the ones I've read so far, lack the atmosphere of the former and the humor of the latter, but they more than make up for both with their fairplay, reasoning, and straightforwardness.
If that sounds a little dry, maybe that reflects the workmanlike quality of these well-written stories. That's a good thing for those looking for a good puzzle in which to escape.
But speaking of those masters of mystery supra, the last chapter of Suicide Excepted is definitely very Dickson Carr. The thunder of a satisfying conclusion is stolen by a yet more satisfying conclusion. You don't often get that in whodunits but when you do it reminds you why you read them in the first place.
Suffice it to say, this reader is more than pleased to discover the author of An English Murder isn't a one-hit wonder--quite the opposite. In fact, because I want to savor the rest of his mysteries, I'm in no rush to fly through the remainder. I heartily recommend Hare. He's a wildly, wildly underrated mystery maker....more
Somehow not as fun as the first one, The Act of Roger Murgatroyd. Both were well-written breezy fluff, but this one seems less a pastiche or parody anSomehow not as fun as the first one, The Act of Roger Murgatroyd. Both were well-written breezy fluff, but this one seems less a pastiche or parody and more like an honest comic mystery set after the war. I can't say it succeeds as either, really, but it's a decent enough way to kill an afternoon.
Agatha Christie diehards, don't bother going to great lengths to acquire this one. It's promise isn't delivered. But if you have money to spare by all means.
(Also, the ending was a straight up cartoon, and what's up with the romantic pairing? I thought she was...)
EDIT: I think it is necessary to combat ignorance whenever I see it, so in that effort I am addending here a comment I left on another review that complained this book's anti-Semitism, however "vintage," was not "cute":
The anti-Semitism, and the homophobia, for that matter, aren't vintage. This book was published in 2007, actually. And certainly those aspects of the book were not meant to be vintage or even "cute," they were meant to lampshade and deride the anti-Semitism and homophobia in mysteries from the Golden Age that were very much commonplace in that period of time. It is extremely silly and small-minded of modern readers to judge authors for expressing contemporary views but it's astonishingly ignorant to mistake disapproval for anti-Semitism and homophobia for the real thing.
Disappointing, disappointingly. A John Dickson Carr mystery called "Castle Skull" promises so much, but it's missing that spooky atmosphere and the woDisappointing, disappointingly. A John Dickson Carr mystery called "Castle Skull" promises so much, but it's missing that spooky atmosphere and the wow ending of his best books. Not Bencolin's finest outing but a pretty decent mystery story overall.
Okay, okay; the last chapter bumps it up to a 3.5....more
The Beginning = 5 Stars An old gentlemen's club, a story within a story, a mysterious manuscript, the promise of scary mirror stuff. Very MR James. RicThe Beginning = 5 Stars An old gentlemen's club, a story within a story, a mysterious manuscript, the promise of scary mirror stuff. Very MR James. Rich, evocative prose.
The Middle = 4 Stars The protagonist grows bored with the plot and spends a boring Christmas at a random woman's house, basically?
The End = 3 Stars The suspense and dread are released like a whoopee cushion. The story just peters out, no explanations, no terrifying climax. Not really. And what there is is so predictable you hardly believe it.
Afterthoughts = 2 Stars What a waste of time. This book needs to be rewritten starting at the halfway mark. Miss Hill? Why did you give up on this? It was going so well. Still, I won't give up on you. I will still read The Woman in Black, confident that book is much better based on reviews. But what a disappointing read....more
Essential reading in this age of "listen and believe," where feelings are just as important as facts.
Many lives are ruined by internet activists andEssential reading in this age of "listen and believe," where feelings are just as important as facts.
Many lives are ruined by internet activists and clickbait "journalists"--some with good intentions--upset when the truth doesn't fit their ideology's narrative or when today's Copernicuses wear the wrong shirts when making history. Unfit for the intellectual rigors of science, they're only recourse is to accuse their enemies of misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc, and if "necessary" they even trump up a rape charge or two. The media never follows up on the outcomes of these accusations. They don't have the time, resources, or conscience. We live in Salem, everybody. A charge is a sentence.
Funnily enough, this book will be buried under the weight of ideological propaganda. Shame.
"People don’t really get that good intentions can’t save you from hell. So long as we believe that bad acts are committed only by evil people and that good people do only good, we will fail to see, believe, or prevent these kinds of travesties. Nowadays I feel as though 90 percent of my time talking to academics and activists is spent trying to convince them of this: The people who are against you are not necessarily evil, and your own acts are not necessarily good. That’s why we still need both scholars and activists. It’s not easy to see what’s what in the heat of the moment, and we need people pushing for truth and for justice if we’re going to get both right.
But most people I run into aren’t like us historians. Most people I meet seem convinced that the goodness of their souls will keep them from committing bad acts. When they look back at history, they don’t see what we historians see—dumb tragedies. They see simple moral dramas, with predictable characters enacting easy stories of good and evil. They don’t understand that the Nazis probably didn’t think they were “Nazis.”
Everybody knows the most famous line about history—Santayana’s “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But if this project has taught me anything, it’s this: People don’t want to listen to us historians and our warnings. People don’t believe us when we come in at the start or the middle. They believe us only way after the end, if then. I’m learning to accept the fact that we are almost always too late. We can bear witness afterward, of course. And witnessing matters. But so many days, I find myself selfishly wishing that witnessing felt like enough."...more
House of Leaves is a haunted house story with moderate potential ruined by hilariously self-indulgent "experimental" text and meta-text and fake meta-House of Leaves is a haunted house story with moderate potential ruined by hilariously self-indulgent "experimental" text and meta-text and fake meta-text, and poems, collages, photographs, footnotes, endnotes, lists and more. This, everyone, is probably the likeliest explanation for the suicide of David Foster Wallace if there ever was one.
Danielewski, at least at the time of writing House of Leaves, was at best too lazy and stupid to kill his darlings and at worst too self-important and narcissistic. This book--book, not novel--reads like a desperate dilettante wanted to create his own Blair Witch Project and, paying more attention to form than content, combined one part Haunted House-screenplay draft with one part Hunter S. Thompson Riff-novella draft, and to obscure the hack writing he jumbled it all together with the flotsam and jetsam from his personal journal. To rave reviews and a cult following, of course!
Embarrassing. For everyone.
The best worst part is how almost every page explicitly promises some earth-shattering revelation or scare, or astonishing fact or some such BS that never surfaces. "This here is the scariest most beautiful haunting story in the Universe, you guys! Stanley Kubrick is freaking out about it, okay? And it's not just a stupid ghost story, it's deep! It's so deep it's unfinished!"
*And this is coming from a big Radiohead fan. Let's leave Radiohead out of this....more