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Kaethe

Kaethe

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I haven't added the Robot Noir yet: I'm still not settled. Really I don't want to read this book, I just want to watch Blade Runner again. These two things are not actually equivalent, so that's unlikely to end well.

 

Only eight more to pick! More importantly, I already have 6 from the first group standing by, ready to go. Is it September 1st yet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about now?

Titles Planned So Far

I used my lunch time to start on my list. I'm aiming for an even mix of male and female authors, although I haven't managed it so far. My method this time is to take the first title off the Halloween Bingo 2018 list that I already had on my regular to-read list. And then it had to be something I already owned (not that I ever seem to get around to reading those) or could request from one of my libraries. So far it's a very white Anglophone list, so I'm going to try to add some diversity in my remaining choices.

 

My precious!

 

Such a lovely card. Now to start narrowing down my lists (cackling with glee). Thanks to the conspirators again for putting this together!.

 

Hmm, same marker or new marker?

The Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover - Jason Hazeley

The Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover - Jason Hazeley

  Free for Kindle today.

 

Not only did I grow up surrounded by books of this ilk, I still have a few. This might not be so funny if you didn't read in this style as a child, but I enjoyed a wry chuckle. The art is magnificent. There are several pictures that killed me, the cover is one. Some of the art, framed, would be awesome in the library next to my childhood Nancy Drews, or arranged above the drinks cabinet.*

 

 

 

*These are a purely theoretical library and drinks cabinet. Currently the shelves are randomly distributed throughout the house, decorated with too many books and ten years worth of dust, and I haven't hung any art in the fridge over my box of wine, but I can envision a minimalist modernity above with both.

 

Thanks to Chris' Fish Place for the hot tip!

Stepdog Nicole Galland

Stepdog: A Novel - Nicole Galland

I like Galland's writing: not too showy, a light touch, a zippy plotline. And a romance with a dog is appealing. But this book made me work for my pleasure. The narrator, Rory, is charming as hell, but also disorganized, and impulsive. So he's too much like me to let me like him, despite his charm. Seriously, he has all my worst traits. But, here's the thing: he doesn't like his wife's dog. I don't have a dog, just several cats, but I love petting other people's dogs, and in fact, cannot drive down the street without saying "good dog" whenever I see one. My lack of self-control is so embarrassing, and no doubt annoying as hell if you're in the car with me anywhere except an interstate. It's not that I distrusted the character, or thought he was a bad guy, but he was just so wrong. I loved Cody, and couldn't help but feel that there was something fundamentally wrong with Rory that he didn't instantly love Cody too. I mean everyone else falls in love immediately. My dislike was deep-seated and strangely physical for an imaginary character.

Otherwise the book is a mash-up of Green Card and Basic Instinct and Galland makes it work. There was no way I was putting this puppy down until I was done: road trip, NC, characters with some deep and ugly issues, actors, and a really good dog. Next up from Galland for me will be I, Iago, because I really feel like she could make me sympathetic to one of the most purely evil characters in western literature.

Library copy

 

 

Roof Octopus - Lucy Branam, Rogério Coelho  

Roof Octopus - Rogério Coelho, Lucy Branam

The art is amazing, and the story is a clever surprise. It's so pretty, and it would make a fabulous and challenging colouring book. I don't believe that thought has ever occurred to me before.

 

Library copy

 

So I pulled up the book by the ISBN, but the picture didn't come with, and since my review is mostly "cool art" it seemed like adding the cover image was a good and helpful thing, right? But it's been too long since I last did this and/or I'm tired and stupid, because instead of uploading the cover image, I uploaded a picture of one of my cats. Sorry everyone. And thanks to the librarian who will fix this, in advance.

You might remember me

Hi, I just wanted to let folks know I am back online and trying to tidy up my shelves, and dust, and what not. Life got all over the place, very messy, but now I'm here and it's a delightful homecoming.

Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford  

Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford

How much do I love these? You can find me sitting in a bookstore or library, unwilling to check out because I'd have to put them down for a few minutes. Surprisingly, the PandaBat didn't really burn out on them.

We Found a Hat - Jon Klassen

We Found a Hat - Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen

The three books in the Hat trilogy are a single perfect entity: the same story (essentially) told from three different points of view. So simple, in tone and art, so nonjudgemental.  Klassen makes Hemingway and McCarthy look like poseurs.

 

Library copy

Peace On Earth, Good Will To Dogs - Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

Peace On Earth, Good Will To Dogs - Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

Despite weird punctuation (what are all those dashes supposed to indicate?) and obvious period details this book feels remarkably modern. You could turn it into a modern story in about 15 minutes. You could turn it into a modern movie rom com script without a great deal of effort. Dogs! So cute. Oh, go on: it's free, it's short, it's amusing, it'll get you feeling jolly.

 

 

Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde 

Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde

I don't read a lot of poetry as such because my favorites rhyme and are silly; so nothing since Old Possum really. (In my defense, I pay a lot of attention to song lyrics, and enjoy a slant rhyme or an unusual rhythm, otherwise, as you may have noticed, I read a lot of children's books which meet both my criteria but aren't usually labeled "poetry"). I honestly can't remember if I read this in its entirety back in the day: there were a lot of English literature classes, and a lot of reading, only a small portion of which actually stuck, although I can usually guess the age and author within a hundred years or so, so, you know, I learned context, and that's something, right? (Please Mr. Edwards, don't feel that your teaching was in vain.)

Whatever got me thinking about Wilde got me reading up on him in Wikipedia, and got me wondering about the validity of Ellman's biography (which I dearly loved, but it's been more than 20 years, so it is a bit vague now) and from one thing to another down the rabbit hole until I read the Ballad of Reading Gaol. Despite it's complete lack of silliness I quite enjoyed it, and found it very moving. But the real shocker was how many of its lines I had seen quoted, without recognizing the source before. Woah.

Wilde was foolish to file the suit, but damn, no one deserves what he endured (he and others, so many others) for love.

personal copy

 

Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Courtney Milan,Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner 

Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan

I picked up the book for Milan, but also, Hamilton! Three charming stories that explore three different couples with different connections to the the war. All three of these do what I love most in an historic setting: create a realistic scenario, but focus on characters who are traditionally overlooked: Jews in the Revolutionary war, slaves and freedmen of color, and the ways in which women serve both in uniform and not during wartime. And also, three different but concordant pictures of Eliza Hamilton and her great work.

 

Personal copy

When We Were Very Young (Pooh Original Edition) - A. A. Milne  

When We Were Very Young (Pooh Original Edition) - A. A. Milne

I'm not sure what it says about me that I don't really like any poetry written in the last fifty years. But it is no doubt some kind of meaningful that I have always loved Milne.

***

Now I read it and think about a soldier coming back from WWI and choosing to immerse himself in domestic life, writing about and for children, and I feel tremendous pity for all those poor bastards, both the ones who made it back and the ones who didn't. I'm totally down with writing poetry and imagining the real lives of stuffed animals, and really looking very closely at a child too young to go to school. Everyone always says to parents "those years fly by so fast" which is true, but not helpful. It doesn't actually clear your life of any of the other things you have to do so that you can really soak in it. It doesn't give you a minute more of sleep in those years when you are chronically deprived. It certainly doesn't buy you an hour out of work to do something pleasant with a child. You go, Milne. I'm sorry that your use of his name and likeness wrecked Christopher Robin's life, but what are you going to do? Everyone's life sucks somehow. At least something good came of it. That's enough.

This Wicked Gift (A Carhart Series Novella) (Entangled Edge) - Courtney Milan 

This Wicked Gift (A Carhart Series Novella) (Entangled Edge) - Courtney Milan

7 January, 2017

It's a snowday, which is only a delight on schooldays, not on weekends, which are properly devoted to doing a vast number of things. Not me, I'm perfectly happy to spend a day reading and napping with cats. But for two highschool students who have active social and extracurricular lives, there is consternation. All day long.

 

And then, after supper, there was terrific drama: a loud noise, cats running, blood on the floor. It was necessary to catch the cat, and hold him still, and find a clean washcloth, and run warm water on it, and try to get him to hold still by constant bribes of cat treats, and try and locate the source of the blood, and try to put a spot of antibiotic ointment on a twenty-two pound cat, and then trying to figure out a way to bandage the tail, which clearly wasn't bothering the cat, but was leaving tiny blood smears every where.

 

Fortunately Calder did not lose half his tail in a violent accident, just the merest square centimeter of skin and fur from the pointy tip. It's only funny if he's fine. But now I have a moment of quiet and I don't have the energy to hunt down something new. So this is good.

10 July, 2015

The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett 

The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett

8 August, 1997

As Kat says, a tasty mystery novel, indeed, with vivid characters. Nick and Nora are the coolest couple ever. Two, smart, charming people who just happen to be ridiculously wealthy and having a fabulous life in Manhattan, with their dog. Solving the mystery is beside the point. Drinking and being witty is the point.

***

So I looked up "badger game" because I had to find out what was in the woman's past. "Ah", I thought, reading the Wikipedia explanation, "like Hamilton got caught in" and indeed, Hamilton is the case study. Most of us will never be tempted by pros, so there's no way of knowing, but I wonder how many marks fail to fall.

Lockwood & Co. Book Three: The Hollow Boy - Jonathan Stroud 

Lockwood & Co. Book Three: The Hollow Boy - Jonathan Stroud

I hate the fat-shaming and the cliche of girls competing for a bit as plot, because of course that's going to be the most important thing to terms engaging in nightly mortal combat with ghosts: who's hair is shiniest. Stroud can't imagine girls choosing to wear pants with pockets*, so take it as read that he's crap at treating female characters like people. But put all that aside and the mystery and the ghost-fights are quite fun.

The hell? The boys get to wear pants, but the girls have to wear skirts into battle, and never once complain. I suppose I should be grateful he lets them fight, or that he doesn't make them fight backwards in high heels, but really? Why are British authors so weirdly mired in sex roles of 1950s? Rowling does it too, and I just don't get it.

 

Library copy