The King of Navarre and his travelling companions swear to stay away from the company of females and it is a rollicking ride after that. Based on trueThe King of Navarre and his travelling companions swear to stay away from the company of females and it is a rollicking ride after that. Based on true historical figures (Henri IV of France), this is one of the earliest Shakespeare comedies and one of the least performed of his plays.
The first time I read this, it was a required reading (school), so as with anything 'required', I paid little heed. Later, when life provided opportunities for voluntary reading, I went back and gave it a whirl and found it far more enjoyable. Rather like french fries, in fact.
Others can review the actual writing of William S. far better than I, so instead let me focus on the actual book. As part of the fun Immortals series, it has the trim red cloth with top edge gold gilt. Measuring 7"x5", it fits neatly in one's hand for solitary walks down canal lanes. My type of book and the type of quality publication no longer seen these days.
I must also add that the characters remind me of the common Frat Boys seen on the Vegas Strip on any night. Mr. Shakespeare was always ahead of his time.
By the time the Great War had ended, the world was a bit tipsy. Perhaps the strongest survivors were the women who had worked in the factories and fouBy the time the Great War had ended, the world was a bit tipsy. Perhaps the strongest survivors were the women who had worked in the factories and found themselves with extra money, more freedom, and a yearning for more rights. The 1920s brought somewhat liberated young women to the forefront, as they were the remaining half of the wiped-out generation. This book is really a reflection of that new fast-moving world, as young Lolly Willowes decides to start doing her life the way she wants it done and not pre-war style.
But the satisfaction was there, a demure Willowes-like satisfaction in the family tree that had endured the gale with an unflinching green heart.
Lovely sentence to describe the protagonist's family and why she needs to define herself as herself and not someone's sister or aunt or daughter. Is this how one becomes a witch? And what is a witch in the scheme of it all? Lolly strikes out on her own and meets the Sly One and it's all involved page-turning from there.
He left his pipe and tobacco pouch on the mantelpiece. They lay there like the orb and scepter of an usurping monarch.
I enjoyed the economical writing and the fluid storyline. The NYRB catalogue seems to be making its way into my collection because of such wonderful selections and such wonderful printed books. This trade paper was set in Trump Mediaeval, with an elegant frontpiece. Hard to ignore, easy to read.
Quiet desperation. Lonely lives played out against cups of tea and marmalade. Elizabeth Taylor wrote of the 'silent majority', those (us) who go to woQuiet desperation. Lonely lives played out against cups of tea and marmalade. Elizabeth Taylor wrote of the 'silent majority', those (us) who go to work, raise their children, pay their taxes...yet have issues and yearnings, all kept hidden behind tidy front lawns. This is what it is to be middle-class in a 'nation of shopkeepers'.
For the sake of a tan, she was wasting her holiday - just to be a five minutes' wonder in the bar on her return, the deepest brown any of them had that year.
There are eleven short stories in this collection, probably her best. Each story has its own angle, of course, but never far from tea rooms and shy, sheltered living. The oddy is The Fly-Paper which is a bit of a horror story. Macabre. Taylor was first a governess and then a librarian. After getting married, she began the stories based on her comfortable life in a comfortable English village.
“I dislike much travel or change of environment and prefer the days … to come round almost the same, week after week,” she said. Her writing is a reflection of this.
I first read this while holidaying on North Caicos, where I found the book sitting outside a general store. Boaters would drop off the books they had read and take the ones they hadn't. No one had touched Taylor's book, the proprietor said, so I gladly adopted it. Luck was with me. Taylor was a lovely writer, extremely under-rated. Crafty prose, clear details, and that constant craving.
Tor.com has some nifty short stories in the fantasy realm and when I noticed another GoodReader (Bettie) with this title, I decided to give it a shot.Tor.com has some nifty short stories in the fantasy realm and when I noticed another GoodReader (Bettie) with this title, I decided to give it a shot.
There be dragons here along with wolves and witches and other strange beings. The setup was enticing as we learn about a world controlled by angels and demons (who seem to work together, not really certain). The narrator is hiding her true self, a self that explodes when hunted by the elfenkin (or something like that). Anyway, lots of the stuff that we all loved when younger, before the grown-up stuff took over (I live in a world controlled by Googlekin and Applekin and Governmentkin).
If this was a serial, I would be interested. The characters need more fleshing out, but as a reader I was starting to get into the entire concept. It reminded me of the lyrics of an old 1960s song...
We won't be coming around For to kill-a your snakes no more My love
Something like that.
Book Season = Year Round (mongoose has gone)...more
As a rule, the American voter has preferred candidates of seeming straightforwardness and homely virtue to men of eloquence and elegance.
This does see As a rule, the American voter has preferred candidates of seeming straightforwardness and homely virtue to men of eloquence and elegance.
This does seem to be the case (cough, cough Mr. Dubya), but occasionally a man of words did slip through, which was the case with James A. Garfield. Surprisingly enough, Garfield was one of the few men in post-Civil War America who did NOT seek office. The fates had something else in store for him.
The young Garfield barely resembled the older President, a leader who was known for his brilliant oratorical skills. Having truly grown up in poverty, he started working very early, as his father died when he was but two years old. He would eventually become a Congressman, but one without great political ambition. He simply enjoyed the art of debate. His Presidency came about because the Republicans needed a compromise candidate. He didn't last long in office. In the summer of 1881, a disgruntled office-seeker shot Garfield in the back. The poor man lingered in agony for two months while the doctors did more to hurt him than help him (his wound had created its own protective cyst but the docs kept poking around). Garfield is now simply known as the second President to be assassinated.
Chester Alan Arthur, as Garfield's VP, succeeded as the next President. Known as "The Gentleman Boss", Arthur was known more for his sartorial attire than any great accomplishments. As a lawyer, he became rich by handling Civil War claims cases.
Arthur's Presidency focused on continuing Garfield's reform of the civil service, but he would wind up being stuck in the middle between two warring political parties. Exhausted by his time in office, Arthur would pass away just twenty months after his term ended.
Next up was The Big Man (literally). Grover Cleveland.
The heaviest man, to that point, ever to have served as President, he was also the only Democratic President between Lincoln and Wilson. Known for his honesty and inability to be corrupted, he acquired the nickname of "His Obstinacy". At the time, Americans preferred to make fun of Cleveland's weight, but he is now considered one of the 'near-great' Presidents, thanks to his fight to save the gold standard and his great accomplishment of leaving his first term with a surplus in the Treasury. He also served two terms in office, but not right after the other.
The man who disrupted Cleveland's continuous terms was Benjamin Harrison. He is mostly remembered for allowing Cleveland's wise use of money to be, well, looted. He did much better with foreign policy. Thankfully, Cleveland was elected again.
Once again, I enjoyed another volume in this series about the American Presidents. While I had known of Garfield, it was Cleveland who grabbed my attention here. Although the book itself is not lengthy, there is detail galore packed between the covers, along with a changing map of the States showing its growth along each man's term. Highly recommended for teens with short attention spans who need to learn some history.
Carol White had a brief star rise during the 1960s British cinema boom, but then she found drugs and a lifestyle that seemed to be a constant whirlpooCarol White had a brief star rise during the 1960s British cinema boom, but then she found drugs and a lifestyle that seemed to be a constant whirlpool of drama. The actress best known for Poor Cow (which I have yet to see) wrote this tell-all memoir after her career was kaput and nine years later she was dead.
This is one of those ghost-written exercises that make for good reading on the morning train ride. She describes her rise during the kitchen-sink film era, followed rapidly by her relationships with Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, and Frank Sinatra. She definitely got around. She drank a lot and did enough drugs to make her unemployable. Basically, it's the type of read that says...well, if you live fast, you won't live very long.
In three years, I had earned nearly one million dollars, money that was running through my hands like water.
Book Season = Summer (when money apparently grows on trees) ...more
I sure do have a bunch of books about Frank Sinatra. It's not as though I grew up having this as a defined goal in life. Inevitably, I would be in a uI sure do have a bunch of books about Frank Sinatra. It's not as though I grew up having this as a defined goal in life. Inevitably, I would be in a used bookshop somewhere and another Sinatra volume would go home with me. That's how this one hitched a ride home and it's been with me for a while. Published in 1976, when The Man was still very much alive, it aims to be one of those tell-all biographies that ends up being a bit sensationalistic (is that even a real word). Perfect book for summer pool parties or languid days at the beach.
Here's Sinatra, for real, baby! Can you dig it?
Did people talk like that in the 1970s? It seems more in tune with the Swinging Sixties. Anyway, the author is described as a top investigative reporter who has "dug deep" into Frank's life to get at the truth. Of course, with Frankie, one will never really know the full truth, but that's why this mass market puppy is soooo perfect for summer. Read about the Frankster, sip a Mint Julep, put your toes in the water, sigh, then read some more about Mr. S.
A two-fisted, four-letter man in expensive clothes.
For any Sinatra fans, this can be in the collection on the 'for realsies?' side.
Book Season = Summer (don't splash me, baby)...more
It's time to play the Royal Feud! Queen Mum and the Duchess of Windsor...c'mon down!
In 1936, Edward VIII gave up his throne for Wallis Simpson, a twicIt's time to play the Royal Feud! Queen Mum and the Duchess of Windsor...c'mon down!
In 1936, Edward VIII gave up his throne for Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American. At the time, it was a scandalous (well, still is) way to abdicate responsibility given that he was raised to be a King. It all turned out all right for the free world. But let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
He was born as David, eldest son of the stern George V, who must have looked at his sons and thrown up his hands in dismay. David loved the good life and bloomed during the freewheeling 1920s. His younger brothers all looked up to him, perhaps in relief that he would have to shoulder the burden of kingship. But David just never could get into the whole swing of...what's that word..."responsibility". Yes, that's the word. Think George IV.
When the old King died in January of 1936, David became Edward VIII. Unfortunately, it was not a good year for a weak-willed Windsor to come to power given the whole world situation at the time. Worse, he was infatuated with an American divorcee named Wallis Simpson. A striving, ambitious me-first fortune hunter, Simpson already had the King wrapped around her finger. She expected to be a Queen.
Thankfully, the British people had a bit more common sense than their besotted 'leader'. The combination of angry popular opinion and a stubborn government forced Edward VIII into abdication. THANK YOU, GREAT BRITAIN. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU (the Americans would have put her picture on a postage stamp). The new King (George VI), always dutiful toward his older brother, made Edward the Duke of Windsor and tried, in vain, to push him out-of-sight.
Now we get to the gist of this book. Although the whole ex-King thing is mighty interesting (what does one do with an ex-King), the story here is of the battle between the hungry Wallis and the don't-even-go-there resolve of the new Queen. Unlike the unlikable Duchess of Windsor, Queen Bess (that was always my name for her) had Scottish nerves of steel and an obsession with doing one's duty. Neither she nor her shy husband ever expected to be rulers of a country, a country about to enter a terrifying war. Meanwhile, the Windsors hung out with Hitler.
Fast forward to WWII, the Brits with their backs to the wall, and the King and Queen staying put amidst the bombs and destruction.
While the Windsors cavorted in the Bahamas (sent there because Churchill knew of the ex-King's pro-Nazi sympathies), the war played out, albeit to the detriment of George VI, who aged rapidly as the stress of ruling his beleaguered country and being the King who had to see the break-up of the once-great empire became too much. Queen Bess never forgave the Duke of Windsor and his haughty wife. Especially the Duchess.
"The woman who killed my husband."
The Queen Mum went on to instill a sense of duty in her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The work you do is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth. The royal family did their best to keep the Windsors at bay, upset that they were living a life of carefree celebrity while the British people were still on rations during the 1950s. The Windsors received tax-free housing from the French government and never stopped complaining about their lot in life.
As the Duchess of Windsor aged, she had more and more plastic surgery to ward off the reaper (with her angular looks, she could have been a medieval playing card). The Duchess of Windsor aged rapidly anyway and ended her days in an Alzheimer's fog. Alone. Sometimes Karma does its job.
The Queen Mum continued to work and lived until the age of 101. I call that success.
So, that's the story. As one might tell, I am a bit biased here. As a child in Australia, I remember the hatred toward the Duke because of unkind remarks about Aussies (who fought and died for his good life). He was already dead, but I just didn't like him or his Yankee wife. In this book, the author doesn't take sides right away. Instead he drives the reader crazy with notes and a constant back-and-forth between the two leading ladies. Also, it was sometimes hard to figure out which Elizabeth he was referring to in certain passages.
Anyway, after about 1/3 of the way through, the story gets really going and I was hooked. But, it took too long to get there. Still, it's a good read for anyone wanting to learn about the Windsors and the not always heralded Queen Mum. This is War of the Roses, with the Duchess as the red rose of Lancaster and the Queen as the white rose of York.
Christopher Lee as Dracula. Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein. Oliver Reed as the Werewolf. Hammer Films had all three along with outstanding directorChristopher Lee as Dracula. Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein. Oliver Reed as the Werewolf. Hammer Films had all three along with outstanding directors and cinematographers. The little studio managed to produce some of the best horror films of the second half of the twentieth century, becoming a worthy successor to the Universal Pictures' monsters.
The low-budget movies that Hammer produced were usually in blazing colour, although they made some terrific B&W flicks, too. Like, The Quartermass Experiment, in which a lone surviving astronaut returns to earth with...something.
And The Damned, where radioactively-bred children are accidentally discovered by Oliver Reed's gang...all to the sounds of "Black Leather, Black Leather, rock, rock, rock".