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Kaethe

Kaethe

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

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

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

 

Penguins of America - James Patterson,Jack Patterson,James Madsen,Florence Yue  

Penguins of America - James Patterson, Jack Patterson, James Madsen, Florence Yue

Exquisitely -executed reproductions of iconic images of USian paintings and photography. Only with penguins instead of people. And one-liner captions.

 

It might have been amusing had it been poorly-drawn, amateurish, or childish cartoons. The internet Is mostly humorless jokes. But there is no amusing caption that can withstand such painstakingly art: these pictures, which are lovely, demand captions that take them seriously. Where it is charming to frame your child's kindergarten art and story, hiring pros to jazz it up is just creepy and sad and disappointing for everyone.

 

Library Copy

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words - Randall Munroe  

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words - Randall Munroe

I had two hours reads going today, The Thin Man and Real World by Natsuo Kirino for the Terrifying Women square, and I got to feeling a tad oppressed by the dark and the existential dread. It was bad: I had two hours to kill by myself in Target and I walked out with nothing, because there was just no point. So the two options for lightening my mood that were to hand were Amphigories or Randall Monroe. It was a good choice. Now I am both amused and well-informed. A NASA roboticist who quit to draw stick people and made a successful career as the ubiquitous comic of technology. His family must be so proud! There isn't a lab that doesn't have at least one XKCD up.

 

But I think that's enough reading today. Ikea catalog is next.

 

Personal copy of the Offspring, graciously loaned to me.

Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett

Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett

  I've only read this one once before, and that ten years ago, so I didn't remember much, and didn't remember the Mac Mac Feeble were in it. And Greebo. Plus the whole Omnian question, and the christening. A delight, but by no means a simple one. Is there another writer who makes me feel so kindly toward other people? Dickens, Austen, Vonnegut all appeal to the same part of my brain, but none of them puts me in such charity with humanity, although Christmas Carol comes a close second.

 

Personal copy

A Friday Update

 

White has been called

Green has been read, but not called

Red has been read and called

 

So I haven't been acting as if this was Bingo, at all. Which is only a little embarrassing. I tend to be a this-is-what-I-feel-like-now sort of reader; I'm not at all good at following the curriculum, even when I get to choose all the books on the list. 

 

But as noted elsethread, I am having a great time. My rereads, Echoes from Macabre and The Thin Man, are holding up well to the passage of a great deal of time. The books by authors I already know well have remained every bit as pleasing as others (Paper Girls by Vaughan, Overbite by Cabot, Incorrigible #5 by Wood, Thieves by Turner). And the new-to-me-authors have become instant hits (Hilton and Morton and Stross. Okay, maybe not the Stross. We'll see when I'm done).

 

And yesterday I actually managed to pick out books that I will maybe read for the remaining blocks. I bailed on reading from my own shelves; instead I used this as an excuse to acquire copies of books I wanted to read anyway. 

 

Square Called Book Planned
Murder Most Foul 9/11 Penny
Gothic   shortest of the Horrid Novels
Terrifying Women 9/19 Kirino
Ghost 9/1 Aaronovich
Haunted Houses   Lockwood #3 - The Hollow Boy - requested
Modern Masters of Horror 9/17 The Fireman - requested
Genre: Horror 9/7 Salem's Lot -overdrive
The Dead Will Walk   Burning world - requested

 

Square Called Book Read Date read
Monsters   Paper Girls vol 3 9/17
Supernatural   Thick as Thieves 9/16
Demons   Atrocity Archives started 9/12/2017
Classic Noir   The Thin Man started 9/16
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5 The Lost city of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery   The Lake House 9/19
Classic Horror   Echoes from the Macabre 9/9
American Horror Story   Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Vampires   Overbite 9/21
Witches 9/13 Carpe Jugulum started 9/21 
Chilling Children   Incorrigible #5: The Unmapped Sea 9/15
Terror in a Small Town   Death by Halloween started 9/21 
Romantic Suspense   Looking-Glass Portrait

9/14

A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices - Terry Pratchett 

A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices - Terry Pratchett

Pratchett held a keen understanding of academia, as well as of politics, policing, law, assassination, and another myriad subjects that his background wouldn't suggest he was properly educated to address. Clearly the man Terry Pratchett was insufficiently educated to produce such brilliant witty novels. He was no doubt a front for some other writer who had an extensive advanced education in various specialties. It's the only reasonable explanation.

 

Hmmm. I wonder if I can get a grant to research the possibility?

 

Story available online.

Sunday, September 17th

A few updates. If I can manage to update my card I will add it. I find the Kindle Fire to be great for reading, and for looking stuff up, but just too, too annoying for any real work. I need to get a new computer so I can write long pointless reviews again.

 

All I really need to do is fix some breakfast and finish at least one of these books. Any of them. Everyone else is reading so much and posting great updates, but I'm much too contented on the sofa with the Enos, surrounded by (I counted) seven stacks of books to read. There isn't a dedicated library in this house, and I don't have a fireplace, but ten-year-old me would be ecstatic over all these books. Thank you, 21st century! Now, about the robot house cleaner: let's see some progress.

 

Square  Called   Book Read Date Read
Monsters     Paper Girls vol 3 9/17
Supernatural     Thick as Thieves 9/16
Demons     Atrocity Archives started 9/12
Amateur Sleuth        
Classic Noir     The Thin Man started 9/16
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5   The Lost City of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery        
Classic Horror     Echoes from the Macabre 9/9
Aliens        
American Horror Story     Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Diverse Voices        
Murder Most Foul 9/11      
The Raven (free)        
Vampires        
Witches 9/13      
Terrifying Women        
Gothic        
Chilling Children     The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unmapped Sea started 9/4
Ghost 9/1      
Haunted Houses        
Modern Masters of Horror 9/17      
Terror in a Small Town        
Genre: Horror 9/7      
Romantic Suspense     Looking-Glass Portrait 9/14
The Dead Will Walk        

With my apologies

 

Square   Book Planned Book Read Date read
Monsters        
Supernatural     Thick as Thieves  
Demons     Atrocity Archives  
Amateur Sleuth        
Classic Noir     The Thin Man starts 9/15
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5   The Lost city of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery        
Classic Horror     Echoes from the macabre 9/9
Aliens        
American Horror Story     Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Diverse voices        
Murder Most Foul 9/11      
The Raven (free)        
Vampires        
Witches 9/13      
Terrifying Women        
Gothic        
Chilling Children     Incorrigible #5  
Ghost 9/1      
Haunted Houses        
Modern Masters of Horror        
Terror in a Small Town        
Genre: Horror 9/7      
Romantic Suspense     Looking-Glass Portrait 9/14
The Dead Will Walk        

 

Life is being terribly annoying this month, making it hard for me to read and hard for me to post. So I apologize for the hideous appearance of my card and my list, but rushing was the only way I was going to get anything posted. The four books I've finished have all been delightful in their very different ways. The three I'm currently reading are also great fun, so I'm having a fabulous  run after a lackluster August.

 

I have also been watching Documentary Now with the Offspring and laughing so hard I may have caused permanent bodily harm to myself. At this rate, though, it's going to be next Halloween before I catch up with everyone 's posts. Oh, and there are now give different editions of The Thin Man in our house, which is convenient when one of the cats decided to lie on my current book and osmosis it. At least the cats will absorb books with me.

Weekend Update

Woohoo! I've now managed to finish two books. I can't decide which square to assign them, and I can't figure out a way to update my card from my kindle, but these setbacks will be overcome. None of that matters because it is Autumn and we're going to be hit by a hurricane maybe, and that throws everything else off. So I am not thinking about any of that. I am thinking that the older I get the more disturbing Du Maurier is to me. So much contempt for everyone. But "The Birds" is a brilliant story. That's some world class horror.

 

Echoes from the Macabre (9/9)

Paper Girls vol 2 (9/2)

 

Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories - Daphne du Maurier

I love DuMaurier's stories, starting way back when with this collection.  That title story is brilliant and creepy.

Sunday, September 3rd

I am already behind.

 

The eldest of the Offspring started college this week, so there was a goodbye dinner out at the same Mexican restaurant we discovered at graduation, which was tasty and over before the entire fraternity arrived (party of eighty), and then there was packing the car with nearly everything, and then packing a last minute bag for myself, which there almost wasn't room for. Then the Road Trip of Epic Proportions: 1461 miles in 48 hours with an audio package of eighties tunes and Talk the Talk podcasts, donuts and coffee too hot to drink for an hour, attractive Philly streetlights on the highway, a surprisingly clean and green New Jersey, and four straight rush hours. Then pizza delivery to the hotel and Lethal Weapon 3 for mindless entertainment. Up bright and early the next morning with a craving for fruit that lead to Whole Foods, and not actually finding fresh fruit until it was too late and I was committed to a sort of homemade strawberry Poptart that was weirdly much sweeter than the regular kind, then check in where there was a selection of local organic produce, and the best apple I've ever tasted. Then moving in, lunch, and a requisite visit to the local Target which had been denuded of clothes hangers and lighbulbs. Then a much longer drive home taking the scenic route, and seeing way more trees and nothing much else except Scranton, and those aesthetically pleasing highway street lights, and it was the most boring trip ever, because I had to listen to directions and the radio was lousy when I could pick something up, and in cleaning the car for the trip I removed all my cds, D'oh. 

 

So the only reading I managed this week was Paper Girls #2, loaned by the youngest Offspring, and wonderfully weird as it was, I don't think it fits any of the squares. And now I need coffee and headache relievers, but the cats have forgiven me finally, which means lying all over me, not hiding in the sock basket, and the only family member who is awake is now much too far away to fix me a cup of coffee. I feel that I should have planned this out better. 

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

  

I read the title, and I wanted to read this book. I read the blurb and I wanted to read this book now. I signed up for the giveaway, then I checked my local library; they have it in Overdrive, so I immediately checked it out to my Kindle. But my Kindle is at home. When I said "now", I meant "give me total instant gratification, damnit". So I also sent it to my phone.

And then I had to quit by the time they arrived at the scene of their crime-solving. That last case was closed, but the experience deeply wounded each of the four kids in completely believable ways. All of them broken and alone.

And I wouldn't pick it up again because it's a good book, the characters, setting, it's a good straight book and I wanted a light-hearted comedy, and right now I just couldn't give it the time, or seriousness, or respect it deserves. Probably I can't until my children are in their thirties, the sadness is too overwhelming.

Library copy.