Whatever it is that stands behind him sighs: a long, slow, drawn-out sound of grief.
This wasn't a creepy story, so much as a tale of supernatural crun Whatever it is that stands behind him sighs: a long, slow, drawn-out sound of grief.
This wasn't a creepy story, so much as a tale of supernatural crunching. I can still hear the snow being stepped upon, by the "wolves", by the whatever-it-is, by Tom, by Thom. Crunching. Nothing in this ebook was what I expected. And I loved that. Primeval spirits, the others who we can no longer relate to because we are too obsessed with progress.
Sometimes an aeroplane goes past, its metal body buzzing, no bigger than an insect. When his mother sees this, she looks weary, and says, “Thank God the war is done.”
What war? Is it the future? Or just a reflection of the past? I was hooked from beginning to end and still want more.
Goddesses and drownings and business meetings and sterile hotels. Right.
This is what I wanted to do after finishing this story:
It's simply flummoxingGoddesses and drownings and business meetings and sterile hotels. Right.
This is what I wanted to do after finishing this story:
It's simply flummoxing. A group of "employees" meet with their "boss", but not really. Or yeah, or no. I'm not really certain. Again, confusion and the state of being flummoxed.
Here are my thoughts on this strangeness, because I need to justify what I think it's about or tidal waves and jellyfish will invade our lives.
THE QUEEN BEE SYNDROME There is a current trend in workplace leaders who use their position to bully and build their empires. Nominally women, they want to be worshipped and thought of as the only sun in the sky, even though their ethics are not where they should be. I thought of this when reading about the story's "leader", who has the business group under her thrall.
OPIOD SYNDROME The usage of prescription drugs as though they were candy has become a societal problem over the last twenty years, and when reading this tale, I thought of the group becoming so absorbed in their "fix" that they can't remove themselves from the leader because that would mean losing their ongoing high.
Then again, I may have been reading too much into it.
The words are lovely, but I wanted more. SO MUCH MORE. Serialisation, please? And where can I get that poster?
Never take your eyes off your children. Don't let them walk home alone, don't let them walk to the store alone. Your children may never return. Or, ifNever take your eyes off your children. Don't let them walk home alone, don't let them walk to the store alone. Your children may never return. Or, if somehow they do, they may not be what they were before they disappeared.
When the Irish were transported to the wilds of Australia, something else also made the journey.
I read this at night, in the dark, under the covers with a book light. Tor does that to me.
What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morninHow does that song go?
What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor What do you do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morning.
It relates to this Tor.com novella, because I was a tizzy and needed someone to throw some water in my face after I reached the ending. Reeling. Not from a boat ride but from Trains that go off the track. Instead of whales, thar be Trains with dragon souls here.
Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Stick him in a barrel with a hosepipe on him Ear-ly in the morning.
A woman with a son who learns the secret of Trains (capital T). Or is he? Or is she? Reeling. When the gods left Greece, I thought they went to Iceland, but apparently not. They took a turn into Finland and darkness.
That's what we do with a drunken sailor That's what we do with a drunken sailor
The surprise ending was fine with me, and the ending that I thought was going to occur would have been fine with me also. Nor did I seem bothered by the translation. I do know that Finns control the winds, so why not Trains?
That's what we do with a drunken sailor Ear-ly in the morning.
Each morning, I leave in darkness to walk to the transit station to begin my commute. Each morning, the Train toots me in greeting, as we arrive at the station at the same time. It's like it's looking out for me. I've always felt that about Trains. If the Train is not feeling well, I take the bus. If the Train is feeling jolly, I hop aboard.
So, this story was perfect for me. Still reeling, though.
This was a fairly quick read, as it is a short, short-story. Goblins always cast a spell upon me, so I gobbled up this tale of the wood-stealing GobliThis was a fairly quick read, as it is a short, short-story. Goblins always cast a spell upon me, so I gobbled up this tale of the wood-stealing Goblin.
I'll keep this short...perfect for a winter's eve, preferably when the moon is out, because that's the best way to see a Goblin at midnight. It is both an adult read and one that can be told as a child's bedtime story. I wanted more, but why should the world take notice. 'Tis just a winter's tale.
Book Season = Winter (crackle of boots on snow)...more
Let me preface this by explaining that December of 2015 has been a snowman month for me.
1. Received a snowman stocking to hang for St. Nick to fill. 2.Let me preface this by explaining that December of 2015 has been a snowman month for me.
1. Received a snowman stocking to hang for St. Nick to fill. 2. Received a separate snowman stocking for my kitten from the vets. 3. Received a locally made beer with a snowman label. 4. Received a little music box that plays "Walking In The Air" from The Snowman animated short. 5. Received a scarf with an embroidered snowman. 6. Received several snowman Christmas cards. To better define, 80% of the cards had snowmen. 7. Received a set of drinking glasses with snowman artwork. 8. Received a vinyl LP of holidays songs sung by Burl Ives, who voiced a snowman in the Rudolph the red-Nosed Reindeer tv special.
Someone is trying to tell me something, I think.
So, of course, my Christmas Day book review will be about...wait for it...snowmen. This is a Christmas stocking stuffer book, small enough to fit in a larger stocking and quick to read before the milk gets cold (I warmed the cup for St. Nick, then I drank it...another story).
I have never read any "Mitford" books, nor do I frequent Hallmark stores to purchase snowman ornaments, so I thought I had a child's book in my hands. Turns out it's about a small town where the local characters compete to build snowmen for a prize of doughnuts. Nothing special, nothing bad. Christmas-y.
As for doughnuts, I took my elderly father out for a Christmas Day drive, expecting everything to be closed. We happened upon an open, but empty, doughnut shop where we enjoyed the fresh creations and quite possibly the best latte breve I've ever tasted (it was cold today). This all relates to this book, because after about ten minutes, other people driving by saw us eating, and then they stopped. Then more stopped, and before we knew it, the little shop was crowded. Strangers came over to thank my father for his service in the war (he was wearing a WWII cap), and strangers were shaking hands and saying "Merry Christmas" all over. All because we chanced upon an empty shop which needed someone hungry enough to sit down and eat.
Like this book states, doughnuts make a better world. And Merry Christmas to all.
...he was susceptible to taking the wrong advice from the wrong people at the wrong time.
Spot-on description of Henry III. These occasional sentences ...he was susceptible to taking the wrong advice from the wrong people at the wrong time.
Spot-on description of Henry III. These occasional sentences from author Dan Jones made this book a lively read, although given the subject matter, any re-telling of the illustrious Plantagenet family would probably not be on the boring side.
And let me plant my flag right now: I am a Plantagenet-ista. Loved this dynasty, from Henry II to Richard III. Not the selfish Tudors or the Teutonic Hanovers or the wilty Windsors for me. No Sir, I stand firmly behind the family of Edward Longshanks, Richard The Lionheart, and John Lackland. Damn you, Henry VII!
The book begins with the infamous White Ship disaster, which sent Henry I's heir and the next-in-line heir to the bottom of the sea. Since Henry had very likely been the murderer of his older brother William II, this was the old sins of the father revisited on the sons. In any case, the "Age of Shipwreck" had begun, as chaos ruled the land when Henry III passed away. At this point, we speed through the whole Stephen-or-Matilda as ruler to get to Henry II, the first Plantagenet King.
And yes, I always think of Mr. O'Toole when I read about Henry II.
This is where the wild ride starts, as Henry and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine created the devil's brood, out of which arise Richard I and John (who doesn't need a numeral after his name because there will never be another King John). Here the book does try a bit to give John some credit for something, but boooo-hisss-snarl, he really was the Darth Vader of his time.
Henry II came next, followed by the majestic Edward I, the Steve Jobs of his day. You want to rescue a country from its incompetent overseers? Produce kick-ass Edward. Exciting stuff.
I enjoyed the book, but I deeply disagree with the author's contention that Richard II was the end of the Plantagenets. Not! The Lancasters and Yorks were Plantas also, but I get the idea that the book should end with the downfall of another wonky family member (and so Jones can write separate books on that Roses thing). In fact, I found my knowledge of Richard II was not that good, so the last chapter was rather enlightening.
And yes, I think of Mr. Whishaw when I read about Richard II.
All in all, a very good book on an extraordinary family. The writing involved me and made history more accessible.
How can you not like a title that has the word, "Dickens" in it? How can you not like a book about tooth fairies? How can you...
Okay, I didn't like itHow can you not like a title that has the word, "Dickens" in it? How can you not like a book about tooth fairies? How can you...
Okay, I didn't like it. Just as I was pulled in and disappointed by Maguire's previous work, I found this book rather boring, which, given the "Dickens" and the Tooth Fairies, should not be.
The story unfolds as a story within a story. While waiting out some kind of bad weather situation (which should have led to something else, but not), we get the story about the Tooth Fairies as a story told by a babysitter. Yup, that's about it. Whoopee.
I also disliked the modern-day usage of language that is apparently used by suburbanites. Like, totally. Really? It dates this book immediately. There is little suspense, characters don't seem to serve a purpose. How can you screw up such a great premise? Tooth Fairies, for bloody sake!!
The languages of animals were kept secret from human and skibbereen alike.
The idea is great (Maguire has that going for him), but it desperately needs a Potter or a Barrie or a Rowling to make the magic happen. One star for the title (which, by the way, is not Charles related, but Shakespeare originated) and one star for the idea.
Maybe I should just move to the suburbs. Like, OMG.
Book Season = Winter (when the magic should happen) ...more
This is one of those books where my outlook differs from others. Actually, it really differs from others. For many children and teenagers growing up iThis is one of those books where my outlook differs from others. Actually, it really differs from others. For many children and teenagers growing up in the 1980s, this was THE book, much as the next generation had the Harry Potter books.
Alas, I just never became involved with the story and became rather bored by it all, which surprised me as I was one of the first purchasers (yup, I bought the hype). I have always liked the colour text, with the green and the red, and it is a very nicely formatted edition (not sure if later editions have that first edition look). I have wanted to like this book. Really. But, no. It somehow passed me by. Inevitably, I will meet another book person who will tell me how important this book was to them, and I always try to steer the conversation to other areas.
In Saint Petersburg, the icebreaker ship Krasin still survives. That sentence may not mean much to most folks, but for anyone interested in Arctic expIn Saint Petersburg, the icebreaker ship Krasin still survives. That sentence may not mean much to most folks, but for anyone interested in Arctic exploration, it's very important. It was the Krasin which came to the rescue of the survivors of the famous Italia airship crash. As the world flies by, an old ship remains a connection to the madness of the men who attempted feats of craziness in their quests to conquer the Arctic.
The book opens with the story of the doomed Franklin Expedition, a tale which never fails to amaze me. Setting forth from England in 1845, Sir John Franklin was a bit old in the tooth for such a strenuous voyage. He and his men vanished. After nine years of fruitless searching, the admiralty struck the missing men's names from the books, as though they were ghosts who had simply left for another country. When clues were finally found, it was revealed that Franklin's men had struggled to find their way south while dying from scurvy, lead poisoning, starvation, and frostbite. Most likely, the lead-poisoned food made the men insane, and murder and cannibalism can never be ruled out of the final struggle. So not cool.
Yet the fierce rush to conquer the North Pole and to find the Northwest passage meant more men were to risk and lose their lives. Now that Commander Byrd's flight over the Pole is considered to be fraudulent, Umberto Nobile is possibly the very first man to have flown over Santa's home. When his blimp crashed, the stranded passengers were rescued by an airplane...which then crashed. The Russian icebreaker finally came along to pick up the survivors. There was also the story of Andrée's balloon. This Swedish expedition left for the North Pole in 1897 and they, too, vanished. When the bodies were finally found, thirty-three years later in 1930, the final days of these 'icemen' became revealed. It is now known that as they struggled to live, they lived almost exclusively by killing and eating polar bear meat. That meat harbored trichonosis, tiny parasitic worms which ate away at the starving men's muscles from within. Their film negatives survived the decades and show the crash of the balloon which would lead to their deaths.
The Arctic craze is always fascinating, yet some authors have made it incredibly boring. Not so Mick Conefrey, who describes the explorers, their travails, their tragedies, and their results with flair which makes for fast reading. Ironically enough, as climate change hits, the Arctic Ocean is more of a true ocean now, with less of the deadly ice. Those daring men in their daring air machines and sea ships would have had a much easier time of it. But then, we wouldn't have these memorable stories of courage and bizarre risk-taking.
Book Season = Winter (don't eat the polar bear)...more
On December 28, 1908, a massive 7.5 earthquake struck the area around Messina in Sicily. It was not a quick shake. The rocking continued for 40 secondOn December 28, 1908, a massive 7.5 earthquake struck the area around Messina in Sicily. It was not a quick shake. The rocking continued for 40 seconds. When it finally stopped, hardly a building was left standing. The 'lucky' survivors then had to run for their lives from a forty foot tsunami that bore down on them. Not much was left. The Calabria region of mainland Italy was also devastated and current estimates place the total number of victims at around 200,000.
While the 1755 Lisbon quake was of a greater magnitude, the 1908 Messina quake is still considered the most destructive European shaker, due to the higher density of population. Whole families were obliterated. Many bodies were never recovered, their bones still buried today. One of the results of this catastrophe was the massive migration of Sicilians and Calabrians to the United States of America. If you want to blame someone for the foundation of the Mafia in America, point your little Corleones at Mother Nature. It was her fault.
This well-made original edition was published just a few months later, in 1909, and it was a hot-seller. They didn't have Instagram in those days, so the combination of reporting and photographs made this the first explanation of what happened for the American audience, many of whom had relatives from the scorched area. The black-and-white stills are heartbreaking and the information is relayed with urgency. However, that's not the entire book. To fill it all out, there is also a section on the phenomena of earthquakes and volcanoes, as Sicily also had Mount Etna doing a bit of belching. Some now believe it was the 1908 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (my most favourite volcano) which triggered the eventual plate movement further south. Chilling.
A rare book, still in wonderful shape. As a reader who lives in Quake Country, I would like to remind everyone, again, about the capriciousness of Mama Natura. She has a tendency to surprise us with 5 AM quakes. Then, when the shaking finally stops, we have to look seaward to see if the waves are receding, because guess what's coming next! If you can survive all that...fire. At least, we don't have volcanoes. Sicily is so screwed.
I really enjoyed this read. Imaginative and oh so winterish, it came at the perfect time, on a rare gloomy California day. As the sky darkened, this tI really enjoyed this read. Imaginative and oh so winterish, it came at the perfect time, on a rare gloomy California day. As the sky darkened, this tale grabbed me and I forgot about everything else (including the ManU vs. Liverpool game). I'd say that's a pretty good way to countdown to Christmas.
Unlike most folks, I believe in fairyland. When the earth shakes here, and it shakes so often we don't always feel it, I know the Trolls are stomping around in their living quarters below. It's a given. If humans had more respect for the Trolls, we wouldn't have so many quakes. Well, that's what they say.
My only unhappiness with this read is that it ended far too quickly for my liking. Magic endures.
Christmas came early this year! A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books. RLS! This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolChristmas came early this year! A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books. RLS! This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolls. Shazam!
I have already reviewed the story itself here, so I will use this review for the actual physical book. As we increasingly turn to e-books in the current century, it is always a pleasure to hold a book which was made when printing presses were considered to be state-of-the-art and most folks couldn't even afford a book, let alone a set.
Those Scribner sons did a mighty fine job with this volume. Red cloth with gold lettering and the type of paper one doesn't see anymore. This is a well-brought-up book, the kind you can introduce to others with pride. Gorgeous. The previous owner(s) took good care of this baby, and I hope to continue the tradition.
Book Season = Winter (it's a winter's tale)...more
Winter, 1941. Winston Churchill was on his way to meet the President of the United States.
He was going to spend Christmas at the White House. He wouldWinter, 1941. Winston Churchill was on his way to meet the President of the United States.
He was going to spend Christmas at the White House. He would not be stopped by a mere storm. He would not be stopped by a hurricane.
So begins the story of the Christmas meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt, where the two leaders of the free world partnered to establish the greatest military alliance in history. History and Christmas in one package, beautifully illustrated by the great Barry Moser.
I enjoyed the text and the illustrations, as Wood and Moser make almost as good a team as FDR and Winston. Adults should enjoy reading this to children at holiday time, and the little ones will love Moser's transparent watercolours.
Trust me to the bitter end.
Book Season = Winter (blood, toil, tears, and reindeer)...more