richardderus's thirteenth 2023 thread

É uma continuação do tópico richardderus's twelfth 2023 thread.

Este tópico foi continuado por richardderus's fourteenth 2023 thread.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

richardderus's thirteenth 2023 thread

Editado: Set 19, 2:15 pm

Ganesh Chaturthi (also known as Vinayak Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav) is a Hindu festival commemorating the birth of the Hindu god Ganesha. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha's clay idols privately in homes and publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stages). Observances include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts, such as prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasada from the daily prayers, that are distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modak as it is believed to be a favorite of Ganesha.

Modak or Modakam (also referred to as Koḻukattai or Kozhakattai (கொழுக்கட்டை) in Tamil) is an Indian sweet dumpling dish popular in many Indian states and cultures. According to Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, it is considered one of the favourite dishes of Lord Ganesha and the Buddha and is therefore used in prayers.The sweet filling on the inside of a modak consists of freshly grated coconut and jaggery, while the outer soft shell is made from rice flour or wheat flour mixed with khowa or maida flour.

Since a beautiful young Tamil lad told me I reminded him of Ganesha, I've always had a soft spot for him and his festival. Plus anything with jaggery gets my approval. Dumplings are also on my life-list of favorite things...hey...waitaminnit....

Editado: Out 4, 8:18 am

Reviews 018 through 025 (out of order) linked here.
Reviews through 025 linked here.
Reviews 026 through 033 linked here.
Reviews 034 up to 039 linked here.
Reviews 040 to 045 linked here.
Reviews 046 through 058 linked here..
Reviews 059 through 068 linked here.
Reviews 069 up to 075 are linked here.


076 Rouge in post #32.
077 Kill for Love in post #47.
078 The Golden Gate in post #65.
079 Recital of the Dark Verses in post #83.
080 BAYARD RUSTIN: A Legacy of Protest and Politics in post #106.
081 Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin in post #107.
082 The Words That Remain in post #123.
083 The Book of Paradise in post #144.
084 The House of the Coptic Woman: A Novel in post #159.
085 Nails and Eyes in post #160.
086 Seasons of Purgatory in post #173.
087 The Age of Skin in post #199.
088 The President’s Wife in post #218.
089 The Cipher in post #232.
090 The Secret They Hid: Gripping WWII fiction (Margot's Secret Book 1) in post #252.
091 The Black Tree Atop The Hill in post #261.
092 Menewood in post #263.

Editado: Out 1, 10:55 am

All previous Burgoine reviews linked here.


The Weight of Ghosts in post #222.

Editado: Set 19, 2:03 pm

All previous Pearl Rule reviews linked here.



Set 19, 1:56 pm


Set 19, 1:57 pm

Very well, I cede the floor to you.

Set 19, 2:09 pm

Happy new thread, Richard dear!

Editado: Set 19, 2:26 pm

>8 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita!

Something a lot like the Dutch royal sapphire tiara, only less heavy-looking, I think is more suitable for your threadqueenliness.

Set 19, 2:48 pm

Happy new one, RD.

Set 19, 2:54 pm

Second again and with a *sigh*. I shall persevere.

Meanwhile, I thought enough about David Liss to see what I had read. The answer is only The Devil's Company, and I gave it 4 stars. So I wonder why I remember not particularly caring for it. I thought I had read more and scored them lower. Oh well. I might like the *Coffee* one, and if it ever falls in my lap, I'll read it.

As to single malt..... I sipped my first as an adult, and it was a pretty horrible stab at it by a distillery somewhere in the American Northwest! I was hooked on peat. I can make a bottle last forever because I rarely get one out. That's a good thing because Lagavulin is now and probably always will be my favorite, and it's frightfully expensive.

Oh! Happy New Thread! I look forward to your posts for sure!!!!! *smooch*

Set 19, 2:58 pm

Happy new thread, Richards. I would have loved to add that beautiful crown to my collection but, alas, I've been busy this morning.

I Love the beautiful photo of Ganash. Elephants are one of my favorite animals (not the ones related to a certain political party, just the real-life ones). Those dumplings also sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing that Richard.

Set 19, 3:04 pm

>9 richardderus: Thank you, Richard dear, that is a lovely tiara. Way more artistic than that Dutch royal sapphire thing. Easy to wear, the heavy crowns are hard for the neck ;-)

Set 19, 3:14 pm

>10 katiekrug: Thank you, Katie! *smooch*

Set 19, 3:17 pm

>11 LizzieD: Hiya Peggy! I'm glad you're looking forward to more, because more's comin' tomorrow.

Lagavulin's delightful but I'm a Corryvreckan lad. *smooch*

Set 19, 3:19 pm

>12 RebaRelishesReading: Hiya Reba. Well, someone else needed a turn, I guess. It might be reasonably soon that I'll need to make another one and then all bets are off. *smooch*

Set 19, 3:19 pm

Hi Richard. Back in the threads again, after a rockin' good holiday "down on the westcoast".
I am not going to manage catch up so leaping in early to wish you a wonderful start to autumn and the amazing foliage in the city-scape.
Here's one of the huge, bushy shrubs (the most colourfull one that I saw) near where I was staying...
(even tho' the equinox is still a few days away).

Set 19, 3:20 pm

>13 FAMeulstee: Just as I thought, then. It's more wearable and (I think) even prettier for being so light.

Set 19, 3:22 pm

>17 SandyAMcPherson: Hiya Sandy! Happy to see you here. That is one gorgeous shrubbery. The precise scarlet-coral blend of redness that delights me most!

Set 19, 3:47 pm

Happy new thread!

>1 richardderus: I haven't had Koḻukattai before. Sounds delicious.

Set 19, 4:09 pm

>20 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, thank you! I think these dumpling goodies sound scrummy and I want to find some to try.


Set 19, 8:49 pm

Happy new one, dear fellow as you close in on 4,000 posts on your thread in 2023 (this is 3,956).

I also like dumplings and isn't it interesting how most societies have their own approximations to the bog-standard dumpling. I particularly like the Japanese gyoza especially dry fried and crispy.

Set 19, 9:34 pm

That was a gorgeous tiara you picked for Anita, Richard! Happy New Thread! I will try to visit more on this one.

Set 19, 11:51 pm

Happy New Thread, Richard! A gorgeous tiara, even if Anita gets to wear it!

Set 20, 7:26 am

Happy new thread Richard!

Kolukattai is also a speciality for first tooth ceremonies, when it has shards of coconut meat inserted around the edges, presumably to represent teeth. I’ll see if I can hunt up a picture for you.

>22 PaulCranswick: Paul, you should be able to find it in KL.

Set 20, 7:58 am

>22 PaulCranswick: Thanks, PC...4K posts? That's a lot for this smaller-group era. And I've got a corker of a book, so might even get past it by the end of the day.

The idea for the dumpling was, I'll bet, Gronkla needing something for Uuumf to eat while he was off looking for a red deer, that she could cook without standing over the fire the whole time. Plopped some pottage into the dough and left it on a warm rock overnight and see ya when ya get home.

Set 20, 8:00 am

>23 ronincats: It's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Etsy does throw up the occasional gem (!).

I'm delighted to see you whenever you can be here, Roni. Things're very different when you're caring for an elderly parent and settling into a new life. *smooch*

Set 20, 8:02 am

>24 vancouverdeb: snooze, you lose eh Deb? That one does, I admit, please my eye more than most. It's light and delicate, rare things for hair-jewelry to be.


Set 20, 8:03 am

Happy new thread, Richard. We've had keep-the-windows-open weather for a week already and I am loving it. Bring on the autumn!

Set 20, 8:05 am

>25 humouress: Greetings, Nina! I hadda google "first-tooth ceremonies" and what a rabbit hole that turned into! One of the staff here knows where she can get some kolukattai for me, and says next week she'll be able to bring some. I look forward to it.


Set 20, 8:06 am

>29 jessibud2: Hiya Shelley! It's that same lovely moment here, too. I adore fall.

Thank-you *smooch*

Set 20, 8:13 am

076 Rouge by Mona Awad

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny comes a horror-tinted, gothic fairy tale about a lonely dress shop clerk whose mother’s unexpected death sends her down a treacherous path in pursuit of youth and beauty. Can she escape her mother’s fate—and find a connection that is more than skin deep?

For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.

Snow White meets Eyes Wide Shut in this surreal descent into the dark side of beauty, envy, grief, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. With black humor and seductive horror, Rouge explores the cult-like nature of the beauty industry—as well as the danger of internalizing its pitiless gaze. Brimming with California sunshine and blood-red rose petals, Rouge holds up a warped mirror to our relationship with mortality, our collective fixation with the surface, and the wondrous, deep longing that might lie beneath.


My Review
: I had the kind of mother who told her daughters, "you have to suffer for beauty, girls." Noelle reminded me a lot of Mama. Deeply shallow, focused to the exclusion of all else on irrelevancies, fripperies, and appearances, Noelle's my definition of toxic womanhood. Also very much the embodiment of what women were and are told they were supposed to be, to care about, and to focus on.

How horrifying. How titanically wasteful.

And how ripe for a loud, satirical takedown, which Author Awad delivers. Adding a supernatural edge to it, no less.

This kind of dark, menacing take on consumerism's extra-toxic focus on women and the messaging aimed squarely at their money is something I wish more women wrote. I remember my mother's obsessive regimens for her skin and how many perfumey unguents and masks she would bring home from the department store. I never saw the dentist and got one pair of glasses, one pair of shoes a year...she had dozens of these things littering her bathroom counter. Yep. I know this obsession is real.

The reality of it made, for me, the supernatural element...humorous, in a very black and cynical way. Of course there must be some awful, evil outside agent making us feel this rational person would surrender to obsession so easily, you can hear the self-justifiers and excusers say. It was genius for Author Awad to make those evil outside agents the malevolent supernatural entities of La Maison de Méduse instead of the blandly corporate agents of evil called Lanvin, Coty, Revlon, et alii.

This gives her so much more latitude to poke fun, too. She's got her sights on the obsession with surfaces, and the ease of trapping women with such simple lures as beauty and youthful appearance. There's a whiff of colorism in the discussions of "managing one's skin tone" that made me cringe. It rang all the more loudly in my ears after I read her sketch of the beauty obsession that's gripped her middle-aged self in The Walrus. What a wonderful, wry way to send up one's own foibles and insecurities, I thought. What a talent this author has to make me, a certifiable man and victim of neglect by a beauty addict, read the story with such intensity and interest.

It didn't hurt that Author Awad wrote in that piece:
A bookseller once told me that when you buy a book, you’re also buying the idea of time in which to read it. A down payment on an extension of life, a shimmer of immortality. With my growing collection of serums, I was perhaps seeking something similarly existential. An illusion of control. A staving off of death.

Yep, as the saying goes, thass me.

Why I'd say to read it is that it's a great antidote to the huge ocean of mediocre man-blaming same-ol' same-ol' women's fiction. It's bracingly honest about the internal roots of obsession without ever excusing the forces outside that drive to turn it, purely for profit, into addiction.

Set 20, 9:57 am

>32 richardderus: I think I will be giving that one a pass. Just not my cuppa.

Happy new thread, RD! ((Hugs)) and **smooches** for today. Make it a wonderful Wednesday!

Set 20, 10:03 am

Hi, Richard! Happy Wednesday to you!

Karen O

Set 20, 10:13 am

>33 alcottacre: I suspect the target and the supernatural elements would about equally cause your eyeroll reflex to overheat, Stasia. Too bad, though, she writes a great sentence!


Set 20, 10:14 am

>34 klobrien2: Hiya Karen O.! Happy to see you here. The day's started off pretty well, I must say. *smooch*

Set 20, 10:40 am

Happy new thread, Richard.

Set 20, 11:20 am

>37 ArlieS: Thanks, Arlie.

Set 20, 12:02 pm

Hiya, RD, and happy new thread. Happy Wednesday, too.

From your last thread, I’m really enjoying another MM romance series, the Wake Up Married series by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths. Not saved up, not paper, but exactly what is making me happy right now.

>1 richardderus: Believe it or not, I went to Ganesha High School in Pomona CA, 1968-1971, and our mascot was an elephant for the god Ganesh… now, of course, with the whacko right-wing evangelicals out there, no high school would EVER get named that. Also reminds me of the time I spent the weekend at the ISKON Temple in LA in 1974 for a college class project and ended up chanting on Hollywood Blvd. on a Saturday night, barefoot and in a sari. *smile*

>9 richardderus: Gaw-jus.

>32 richardderus: Well, as much as I had issues with my mother, I never had to worry about … the kind of mother who told her daughters, "you have to suffer for beauty, girls." Noelle reminded me a lot of Mama. Deeply shallow, focused to the exclusion of all else on irrelevancies, fripperies, and appearances, Noelle's my definition of toxic womanhood. Also very much the embodiment of what women were and are told they were supposed to be, to care about, and to focus on.

Oh my. I’ve never thought of it this way. A bookseller once told me that when you buy a book, you’re also buying the idea of time in which to read it. A down payment on an extension of life, a shimmer of immortality. With my growing collection of serums, I was perhaps seeking something similarly existential. An illusion of control. A staving off of death. Yikes. I need to live for another hundred years, knock on wood.

Today's a relaxing day before the frenzy of the book sale. First 2-3 hours will be me as customer buying books, then the rest of the time will be as a cashier/whatever is needed without heavy lifting and more shopping. *happy dance*


Set 20, 12:59 pm

>39 karenmarie: GANESHA HIGH SCHOOL?! Wow. Only in 60s California. Wonder if it's still called that. I'm sure you were well informed about whatever it was you were researching by being out on the street barefoot (hope you bleached your feet once you got to go home). Sounds unpleasant to me.

Speaking of Awad's reading insight:

The Royal Portugese Cabinet Of Reading, Rio De Janeiro, Brasil, scraped off Tumblr.

Gorgeous tiara indeed. And such a great Thursday on your cards! Have a lovely time. Enjoy the Wake Up Married books! *smooch*

Set 20, 1:38 pm

Ganesha is my favorite Hindu god, too. I'm wondering if I'll see him in my reading of the Mahabharata. Though I think he was supposed to have written it with his tusk...

Set 20, 2:19 pm

>30 richardderus: Sorry; my iPad battery died on me as I was searching for a picture. But I managed to find one - here it is!

In Jaffna it’s made with red rice flour, hence the difference in colour. Enjoy the kolukattai. (Just remember that jaggery is date palm sugar so it will be on the sweet side. I’ve always thought of dumplings as savoury and I never thought of this being classed as a dumpling - but why not, after all.)

Set 20, 3:30 pm

>41 The_Hibernator: Hiya Rachel! I've never heard that one before, but it's a really metal myth.

Set 20, 3:36 pm

>42 humouress: They're beautiful! I've never thought of dumplings as mainly-savory, like cheesecake...darn near caused An Incident when I was served a pecorino-and-radish custard cheesecake once...but those, just going on visuals, I'd assume were savory. I don't imagine there's a lot of red rice in New York, still less red-rice flour, but one never knows does one (see: cheesecake anecdote)?

Set 20, 8:41 pm

Happy new thread, Richard!

>32 richardderus: I just noticed this title as it made the Indie Bestseller list this week, and I added it to my next book order for the library that I'll be putting in in a couple of weeks. Not 100% sure I want to read it, but it does sound intriguing. I've always been the opposite kind of woman who can't be bothered to wear makeup most days (I don't actually own any at the moment) and does absolutely nothing but clean living for a skin care routine.

Set 21, 4:32 am

Happy Thursday, Richard dear!

>32 richardderus: Dodged that BB, as it isn't translated yet.
I had the kind of mother who told her daughters, "you have to suffer for beauty, girls."
Despite all her other faults, this wasn't one of my mother. Altough many others did put it that way, and I did believe it was true for a while.

Editado: Set 21, 7:12 am

077 Kill for Love by Laura Picklesimer

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The boys on the row are only after one thing, but that bullshit’s for pledges. Tiffany’s on the hunt for something more.

Kill for Love is a searing satirical thriller about Tiffany, a privileged Los Angeles sorority sister who is struggling to keep her sadistic impulses—and haunting nightmares of fire and destruction—at bay. After a frat party hookup devolves into a bloody, fatal affair, Tiffany realizes something within her has awoken: the insatiable desire to kill attractive young men.

As Tiffany’s bloodlust deepens and the bodies pile up, she must contend with mounting legal scrutiny, social media-fueled competing murders, and her growing relationship with Weston, who she thinks could be the perfect boyfriend. A female-driven, modern-day American Psycho, Kill for Love exposes modern toxic plasticity with dark comedy and propulsive plot.


My Review
: If you have a trigger, this book will trip it. Shop elsewhere.

Is the best way to satirize something to stand it on its head, replicating beat-for-beat its abuses on those usually perpetrating them?

By my definition of "best," this time the answer's yes. Like the 2019 delight that was Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer, this book posits a vicious and cruel woman enacting sexual violence on the men...pretty, vapid young men in this case...who irritate her. We're in Tiffany's head this time, unlike Braithwaite's story of an appalled sister's responses to the aftermath of violence. It's a much more awful place to be. Not that she's unjusified in targeting her victims, you understand. It's just the glorious release and the bloody reveling in her newfound freedom to be the perpetrator, not the victim, of violence is...a bit unpleasant. A lot like the experience of reading the very accurate publisher's comp title American Psycho is. Being inside an unhinged person's head as they perpetrate unspeakable sexualized violence for their own gratification is very, very me at least. Thank goodness it is, or I'd be worried about myself.

What Author Picklesimer does that wasn't done in American Psycho is leave her character on the surfaces of things, people, thoughts...she has, and sees, and needs no depth in, to, of anything. Her world is flat and glossy with a few stark shadows and fewer ideas. Patrick Bateman reveled in what he was doing but had pseudoprofound thoughts about it. Tiffany is utterly without nuance. It works much better than some out-of-character philosophizing would have done to poke a satirical finger in the chest of the rampant blatant ever-uglier misogyny in the use of sexualized violence against women as entertainment. Women are victims and foils, you say? asks Author Picklesimer. What drove this man to do all these awful things to women, as though that was the important part because, one is led to understand, *HE* is then the main character, not his victim.

Her response to this sexist, misogynistic bullshit is to give the world Tiffany, pretty, shallow, privileged Tiffany. She revels in her bloody dispatchings of men because it feels woman on a mission, no abused-become-abuser mealymouthing. She gets off on it.

It's probably more unsettling to me that she finds Weston so lovable than that she commits the awful acts she does. The randomness of her choice, the indistinguishability of Weston from the victims, is so completely arbitrary that it gives me the heebie-jeebies when I contemplate how much of my own continued existence is down to not meeting a Tiffany when their bloodlust was up.

There were problems in the read for me. One was Tiffany's peculiarly empathetic response to her roommate, whom she professes to dislike, experiencing rape. Why would Tiffany care? She's got no empathy in her or the oceans of awfulness wouldn't happen. I wasn't entirely sure that California, where we set our scene, was meant to be satirical or reportorial. Its wasteland-of-violence presentation was deadpan enough that it didn't read as exaggerated for effect to me. That meant I was left wondering how this has only now created a Tiffany...and how it is that Authority in such a hellscape overlooked her as a potential perpetrator without her using a whole lot of effort to mislead them. I suppose that's a commentary on sexism's immensely stupidifying effect on men.

Even Tiffany has a family, though you'd barely know it. Her sister is window-dressed into one scene I can remember, which means there was either no need for her at all or there's a missed opportunity here. Weston's bestie, Dean, had a tiny role that I'd've liked more of, but the bit he was in certainly ramped up the tension so read that as a bleat of dissatisfaction not a criticism.

I've got this to say about the read: It suited me down to the ground for what I wanted it to do. It entertained me as I thought of the thousands of hours of girls (term used advisedly) breasting boobily across stage, page, and screen to titillate with their sexuality before being punished in violent awful ways for it.

How's it feel when the tables are turned, gents?

Set 21, 7:21 am

>46 FAMeulstee: It will most likely be translated soon, Anita. There's been too much buzz around it not to be. See >45 bell7:; the tastemakers like it, and that's a great predictor of international presentation. I hope it sticks in your mind against the day that its Dutch version arrives.

Thursday orisons!

Set 21, 7:28 am

Sweet Thursday, RD. Happy New Thread. The dumplings look good up there. I have eaten very little Indian food. I am hanging with Jackson this morning. If it doesn't rain, I will take him on the trails.

Set 21, 7:35 am

>45 bell7: Morning, Mary, and thanks. Rouge is a very, very interesting take-down of the cultural consequences of greed. Plus Awad can write her socks off!


Set 21, 7:42 am

>49 msf59: I hope for clear skies, then, Birddude. the indoctrination can't start early enough.

Indian foods are almost always hits for me...curry leaf, turmeric, ginger, tamarind, all fit my tastebuds well. I'm also just fine with the vegetarianness of so much of the huge variety of cultures presenting in their food.


Set 21, 10:11 am

Good morning, Richard. As usual, I have only one experience with Indian food. A group of us worked with 2 sisters and a brother lately come from the Gujarat to live with their brother, who had run a restaurant in Chicago but was now running a motel here. We used the Laubach method to teach them English, which they picked up pretty well. At the end of the course, they treated us to a great feast. I mainly remember their pointing to dishes and saying, "You can eat this. It's not too hot." It usually was, but I enjoyed the experience.

Good wishes for your day with a *smooch*!

Set 21, 10:55 am

>52 LizzieD: Hiya Peggy! Happy to see you here. Any time someone says something is not too something, I don't usually believe them. My "too something" filter is calibrated by decades of data... unless they know me well, I just take tiny little bites until I can judge for myself.

Spicy to me could be bland to others. Likewise bland to me, of course.


Set 21, 1:43 pm

Happy newish thread, Richard. After reading through it, I'm feeling kind of hungry particularly for Indian food. Chana Masala is a particular favourite and there is no problem finding a restaurant that makes it around here.

Editado: Set 22, 10:28 am

>35 richardderus: I suspect the target and the supernatural elements would about equally cause your eyeroll reflex to overheat, Stasia. Very much so, I suspect.

>47 richardderus: If you have a trigger, this book will trip it. Shop elsewhere. I will take your advice and shop elsewhere!

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Set 21, 2:00 pm

>47 richardderus: OMG no thank you, Richard -- actually thank you Richard because now I know to stay away.

Set 21, 3:24 pm

>54 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! Thanks for the thready wishes. I'm a little jealous of you being able to find Indian food so readily because no Indian restaurant delivers here, and my walking distance is so limited none are accessible. A very first-world kind of complaint, I know.

Set 21, 3:24 pm

>55 alcottacre: Very, very wise decision, dear lady. *smooch*

Set 21, 3:26 pm

>56 RebaRelishesReading: I am glad I could steer you safely past shoals that would very likely have ruined your reading day, Reba.

Set 21, 9:11 pm

Happy new one!

Set 21, 10:14 pm

>60 drneutron: Thanks, Doc!

Set 22, 1:05 am

>32 richardderus: Helluva stellar book review, RD.
Not sure that I could bear to read it, however. Too uncomfortably reminiscent of some high school-era girls I knew. I was very weird, cosmetics were so not my thing.

Set 22, 1:26 am

>32 richardderus: Thanks for taking one for the team, though I see you gave it 4.5 stars. I did have it wishlisted as I read somewhere it was an interesting read, but I think it is one for me to skip.

As for Indian food, I have Bombay marinated Chicken breast nearly every night for dinner. Unfortunately I cannot give a recipe as it come pre- marinated from the store. I do love Butter Chicken, but it is rather calori- ific. Is that a word?

Set 22, 4:56 am

Happy new thread. I popped past earlier, but must have been on my phone, so didn't post.
Love the tiara.
I got my curry fix this week - I love it, he can't stand the smell. As I was away with work, so took myself to an Indian restaurant, with a book, and stuffed myself. >:-)

Editado: Set 22, 8:44 am

078 The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Amy Chua's debut novel, The Golden Gate, is a sweeping, evocative, and compelling historical thriller that paints a vibrant portrait of a California buffeted by the turbulent crosswinds of a world at war and a society about to undergo massive change.

In Berkeley, California, in 1944, Homicide Detective Al Sullivan has just left the swanky Claremont Hotel after a drink in the bar when a presidential candidate is assassinated in one of the rooms upstairs. A rich industrialist with enemies among the anarchist factions on the far left, Walter Wilkinson could have been targeted by any number of groups. But strangely, Sullivan’s investigation brings up the specter of another tragedy at the Claremont, ten years the death of seven-year-old Iris Stafford, a member of the Bainbridge family, one of the wealthiest in all of San Francisco. Some say she haunts the Claremont still.

The many threads of the case keep leading Sullivan back to the three remaining Bainbridge heiresses, now Iris’s sister, Isabella, and her cousins Cassie and Nicole. Determined not to let anything distract him from the truth―not the powerful influence of Bainbridges’ grandmother, or the political aspirations of Berkeley’s district attorney, or the interest of China's First Lady Madame Chiang Kai-Shek in his findings―Sullivan follows his investigation to its devastating conclusion.

Chua’s page-turning debut brings to life a historical era rife with turbulent social forces and groundbreaking forensic advances, when race and class defined the very essence of power, sex, and justice, and introduces a fascinating character in Detective Sullivan, a mixed race former Army officer who is still reckoning with his own history.


My Review
: Let's deal with the baggage first: Yale Law professor; defender of indefensible scum Brett Kavanaugh; author of polarizing memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2011, and Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, an ambitious, polarizing take on why cultural identity must be considered in all political calculus, in 2018. She challenges her readers in her non-fiction, and not all y'all like that.

Ready to set all that baggage down now? Okay, let's go.

California has a long history of racist nastiness. There are strands of that history in this historical mystery. The author's own racialized identity gives her, IMnever-remotelyHO, the insight and standing to imagine the life of a half-Latino, half-Irish (believe it or not, Irishness was in that time also a looked-down-on ethnic identity) talented observer with a strong thirst for Justice to be Done no matter how that end ends up looking. Unusually for a guy from his not-WASP background, Al Sullivan (took mom's name to avoid the most easily deployed prejudice) got into and graduated from UC-Berkeley, which is how he came to the attention of the factual-but-used-fictionally police chief and "father of modern policing" August Vollmer, thus in a position to investigate this high-profile case.

Now that the detective's in front of your mental eyes, let's talk about the mystery. A polarizing politico is murdered at Berkeley's fancy hotel, the Claremont. Super-easy to come up with suspects since he was not nice to much of anyone, as well as rumored to have been intimately involved with Madame Chiang Kai-shek, then resident in Berkeley. Virulently anti-Japanese and fully on board with Executive Order 9066, to boot. There are links in all of these strands to people present in the Claremont that night, giving them motives for killing the scumbag (another mystery wherein the police just shoulda shrugged when he was found shot and said "whatcha gonna duuu" TBH). What Al discovers as he searches for the real answers is that even people officially on his side, like the DA, are ready to bury truth for expediency, and shed-loads of people whose own paths have twists and turns they want to keep hidden are also on every side. In the end, there are a lot of names and identities to keep track of, and the pace is slightly slackened by the multiplicity of strands interweaving to make a net that can only catch a certain party. These are issues common to new-to-police-procedural writers. They aren't fatal flaws, either. The author's note at the end of the book leaves little doubt about her abilities as a researcher and as a fiction writer. She details the sources and inspirations for the fictionalized people, explains her choices well, and makes a darn good case that this crime could have been solved in just this way in reality.

What kept me reading was the sense that the real world of 1944. with all its bloody horrors, its dirty deals done to serve a "greater good," its regular people struggling with their life-stuff and with the sheer, pervasive nightmare of prejudice unmuted, was just like this.

That is one of the highest compliments I can pay a writer: I believe you.

Set 22, 8:38 am

>62 SandyAMcPherson: Thank you, Sandy. It was a helluva read. I think a lot of people will feel, in varying degrees, triggered by her flensing of the cult of Beauty. It's a huge target.

Glad to see you here! *smooch*

Set 22, 8:42 am

>63 vancouverdeb: I really liked it, Deb. I loathe the cult of beauty (for clear reasons) and don't respect its dupes. Like anything, beauty is something that can cause some to lose perspective and do idiotic things; it's in most people, I think, to do so about SOMEthing.

The Bombay-marinated chicken sounds deVOON! Butter chicken, more so despite being hideously calorific. (Yep, real word there.)


Set 22, 8:43 am

Happy Friday, RD!

*psst* The touchstone for your most recent review goes to a different book...

Set 22, 8:43 am

>64 Helenliz: Hi Helen! I totally get not being able to endure some smells but am very happy you can escape to get your fix once in a way. Happy weekend-ahead's reads! *smooch*

Set 22, 8:45 am

>68 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie, to you too! *smooch*

WHEW a I glad you told me, I've fixed it now!

Set 22, 10:14 am

Good morning, Richard! In another world and time I'd likely jump on *Golden Gate*, but right now I'm about overwhelmed.
I wish you a good day with good reading, food food, good exercise, and good sleep tonight!

Set 22, 10:31 am

>65 richardderus: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the review and recommendation, RD.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Have a fantastic Friday!

Set 22, 10:37 am

>71 LizzieD: Good morrow, Goody Peggy! Hoping the same is true for you. I'm very familiar with the "overwhelmed" mode of reading existence. It's not remotely the time to try anything not utterly irresistible. The book'll be there, its time may one day come.


Set 22, 10:38 am

>72 alcottacre: It's a great pastime read, Stasia. I hope you'll like it when its turn comes.

You do the same, smoochling!

Set 22, 12:51 pm

>46 FAMeulstee: I think this kind of thing - present in the Zeitgeist, though not uttered by my parents - very much influenced my childhood determination not to take up any career where success required attractiveness to even one male - emphatically including "housewife", and for that matter most other then-current versions of "wife". Making oneself attractive was just too unpleasant - not to mention the routine conflation of "aesthetically pleasing" (i.e. beautiful) with "attractive to het men".

Editado: Set 22, 1:28 pm

>65 richardderus:
That is a BB! I remember reading the Publishers Weekly review of The Gold Gate, but I never added it to my gargantuan TBR list. Remarkably, I didn't have a single book by Amy Chua in my TBR list either. I remember when Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published and what a furor that was, but somehow I never put that title in my TBR list. I remedied that today. In the process I added Political Tribes and Triple Package to the TBR as well. So, Thank You. I added four more titles to Gargantua.

P. S. I didn't realize that she had defended the scumbag. I am guessing, because of that little tidbit, that her work falls on the conservative side?

Set 22, 1:43 pm

>75 ArlieS: A very rational decision based on clearly perceived how the hell did you end up in the computer world? :-P

Set 22, 1:49 pm

>76 benitastrnad: Hi Benita! Yeah, the vastness of my TBR occasionally gives me collywobbles. Adding to yours, however, causes me twinge level zero because I think you'll enjoy Amy Chua's more libertarian than I always like, but still commonsensical, take on The World As It Is. She defended the scum because the attacks were ad hominem, not because she agreed with least that I can find...when I think a better course of action would've been to stay shtumm. Least said, soonest mended....

Set 22, 2:02 pm

I have been indulging in binge watching the last two days. My local public library has the German TV series Babylon Berlin and I got season 1 and will finish watching it today. It is very different from a US TV series. It is so very very dark. However, my worst complaint about it, is that it is difficult to knit while watching it. Since it is in German, I can't read the subtitles, the knitting pattern, and look at my stitches, all at the same time. I need to find a different knitting project if I watch any more of this series.

Set 22, 2:05 pm

>79 benitastrnad: LOL ...or watch it on Netflix, where it's avaiable dubbed into English.

Set 23, 8:10 am

Happy Saturday, Richard. I have been getting a lot of PM reading in, which has been perfect. Jack arrives early afternoon, so that will change today but it will be worth it. Looking forward to a lovely stretch of fall weather.

Enjoy your weekend.

Set 23, 8:20 am

>81 msf59: Hey there, Birddude! i'm so glad you're gtting both Jackson and a lovely fall day today. Nothing is ever more perfect than a kid-walk on a glorious fall day.

Enjoy it all, while we get Ophelia's rains to soak a little of the water we're pumping too freely back into the earth.

Editado: Set 23, 12:27 pm

079 Recital of the Dark Verses by Luis Felipe Fabre (tr. Heather Cleary)

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: A masterful undertaking of historical literature, following 16th century religious fervor in a picaresque novel about Saint John of the Cross.

In August 1592, a bailiff and his two assistants arrive at the monastery of Úbeda, with the secret task of transferring the body of Saint John of the Cross, the great Carmelite poet and mystic who had died the previous year, to his final abode in Segovia. When they exhume him, they find a body incorrupted and as fresh as when he died.

Thus commences a series of adventures and misfortunes, with characters that seem to be drawn from mythology. The story written by Luis Felipe Fabre masterfully intertwines with the verses of the friar, as if in them he had prophesied the delirium that would surround his own posthumous transfer. Fabre's text is a highly entertaining novel, full of a sense of humor that manages to honor the mystical poetry of the Carmelite while inviting the reader to reflect on issues such as the sacred and the profane, the body and the soul, and spiritual (and carnal) ecstasy.


My Review
: This is another novel inspred by actual events. Unlike Amy Chua's fictionalized take on a horrible man's murder, this is so wildly OTT from its start to its finish that I was never sure if I should be laughing as hard as I was AT the inept thieves and their looney beliefs, not gently with their haplessness...or just shaking my damn head at how religion screws people up and over seven ways from Sunday. There's nothing to it, I thought. Pick it up and the snark will flow like spice from Arrakis.

I think there might really be a God, because that was so very not what happened.

This is a piercingly beautiful translation of what I'm sure is a glorious read in its native Spanish. The author's very clearly a poet...who else would've chosen St. John of the Cross, that queer-coding mystic (itself Catholic code for "weirdo we can't afford to ignore") poet, and his deeply hilarious and utterly inappropriate post-mortem heist-cum-road-trip from his monastery to Segovia, there to be enshrined until finally officially made a saint? The best part is that this is fictionalized, not fictional. This weirdness really happened! History is so very much more peculiar than fantasy. Humanity, in all its unpreditability, can't be bettered by one human's imagination. Just the bare facts of the saint's life...impoverished yet noble childhood, imprisonment and torture for being Too Much for his monastic brethren, summons by St. Teresa of Ávila (herself a mystically horny writer) to join her in founding the Discalced Carmelites.

The book is structured around verses of the saint's poetry. It is part and parcel of the reading experience. I, famously allergic to poetry, would rush right out to buy a copy of the translator's edition of St. John of the Cross's works. The reason is simple: This is, for all its mannered construction and sonorous linguistic register, the horniest stuff I've ever read that wasn't ab initio meant to be one-handed reading. Reading the quoted passages to my Young Gentleman Caller, I realized how very badly I miss having him in the same place as me. If you get my drift.

The thing that most surprised me about this read is its playfulness. Not one page doesn't contain something to raise a smile or a happy reflection. This is not something I ever expect from a story about a religious figure, though that was short-sighted of me...the mystics were by definition not religious figures but spiritual seekers co-opted by religion. The three stooges who are sent to convey the body of St. John of the Cross to Segovia are not religious figures but servants of power tasked with a temptingly valuable object's care. That the object is a body really isn't that important to them, as it wouldn't be in that time and place. Holy relics were objects to be traded, stolen, acquired, and coveted, not a person's Earthly remains. Holy people were of a different substance than mere mortals and were thus not treated in death as were us dirtballs.

This is completely part of the story. I am not religious (let go of your pearls, Mary, it's not the first time you've heard that) but am very much of the mindset that, once one's done with the meat of the body, it ought to go back to the earth that formed it. Every so often, as the posthumous indignities were wrought on John of the Cross's person, I found myself surprised into awareness that this was a person's flesh. The casual presumption that the problem with the things happening to the flesh were centered around others's claims to ownership of it, not the horror of doing these dreadful things to a person (even though a dead one) jolted me.

The prose in this translation is, to my soul's ear, exactly right in its register of formal, mildly archaic, still fluidly readable English. Different enough to give the effect of listening to someone with a beautiful voice speaking to you in foreigner's English...a thing I myownself enjoy...but not to everyone's taste, I know. Be aware of this fact before buying...the Kindle edition, available the tenth of October, allows one to try a sample before buying and the sensitive-to-Otherness would do well to try before committing to ownership. Alternatively, an excerpt appeared on the LitHub website.

One aspect of the English read that I found extra-pleasurable was the mental image of reading a translation of a story about a Translation was quite piquant. It's one of the more rareified pleasures of reading translations, but a deep one. In general, the Anglophone world sees little appeal in reading translated literature. This really is never more sad to me than when discovering an imagination as agile and as horny as Author Fabre's is. This story, fact-based as it is, should be on everyone's radar. The pleasures of being in the deeply, delightedly earthy and Earthly company of the three men who Translate the holy remains (though not wholly, pun intended) as they discover themselves and their Otherness in his company are readily available to you thanks to Translator Cleary and Deep Vellum.

No less a luminary than Valeria Luiselli (Lost Children Archive, The Story of My Teeth) thinks this book should make waves among Anglophone readers. Happen I agree. It certainly should, and let it start with you.
*hyperlinks to sources in the blogged version

Set 23, 11:45 am

>77 richardderus: It was pretty rational too, back when I became part of it.

Set 23, 12:28 pm

>84 ArlieS: How are the mighty fallen, I fear.

Set 23, 1:57 pm

You are tempting me again Richard!!

Set 23, 2:11 pm

>86 RebaRelishesReading: Good! Succumb, you truly won't be sorry, Reba!

Set 23, 3:31 pm

>83 richardderus: Got me! I am curious as to what is going on at LT that gives this initial description of the book: "Learning from Disease in Pets: A One Health' Model for Discovery is the first encompassing reference guide for veterinarians, researchers and physicians on conducting studies using spontaneous models of disease in animals. The study of naturally occurring disease in (pet) animals can help model … "

*smooch* for the rest of the day.

Set 23, 4:39 pm

>88 LizzieD: ...well, blow me down and call me Shorty! It's the correct cover but that could not possibly be even tangentially considered related to the Translation of John of the Cross.

Set 24, 8:21 am

Happy Sunday, Richard. We are enjoying our time with Jack. He is so darn smart. I wonder how he is going to be at 3. Bree has a horse show today, so we are all going to watch her perform. Looks to be another beautiful fall day.

Set 24, 9:12 am

Dropping off Sunday smooches!

Set 24, 9:15 am

>90 msf59: Hey there, Mark, I am NOT clutching my pearls in shock that you're enjoying the Jack-time y'all're having. You and Sue are sure taking all the opportunities available to spend memory-making time with him.

Enjoy the horse show!

Set 24, 9:15 am

>91 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! *smooch* right back.

Set 24, 10:02 am

Here's another *smooch* with a wish for a relaxing/revitalizing Sunday!

Set 24, 10:12 am

>94 LizzieD: Thanks, Peggy, it's going to be pretty smooth with my finishing touches on Monday's review of a book coming out on Tuesday: Bayard Rustin: A Legacy of Protest and Politics edited by Michael G. Long. Too long ignored for being queer and open about it, the life of a Quaker resitor of Wrong and Wickedness was a complicated one. I wish this collection of essays had been edited to reduce the repetition of basic information about him, but appreciate that it was done at all.

Set 24, 11:05 am

>95 richardderus: I read John D'Emilio's Lost prophet : the life and times of Bayard Rustin last year. I'm looking forward to your review of Bayard Rustin, A Legacy of Protest, and imagine it'll be a BB for me.

Set 24, 11:51 am

Hiya, RD! Happy Sunday. I’m back after the book sale…

>40 richardderus: Yup. Still called the same. I don’t remember knowing this at the time, but it was only ten years old when I started there in 1968. Chanting on Hollywood Blvd. was cold and embarrassing. I heard one really hot guy in a suit saying that it was too bad that so many hot chicks were Krishnas. I got a terrible, TERRIBLE, cold from that experience, and was still sick later when I had to give the report of my weekend experience.

The Wake Up Married books were absolutely wonderful. I actually got tears in my eyes… don’t want to read the after-the-fact 7th book for some reason. I’m enjoying another series, just by Blake, called the Mr. Christmas series. I've read #2 (a scorcher), am on #3, and will now possibly read #1. Of course #1's couple features in #2 and #3.

>47 richardderus: My only experience with sororities was in NOT wanting to join one in LA in 1971 and then going with friends for part of the Deltas initiation by going to LAX and running up to a man old enough to be our father and all yelling “Dad, Dad!” at him. The guy they chose to do it to was a good sport, though. But I thought it all quite silly, frankly. My friend Karen in Montana was a Delta.

Sunday *smooch*

Set 24, 12:09 pm

>96 ArlieS: I've reviewed the two together...I don't think you'll want the essays enough to buy the book, TBH.

Set 24, 12:16 pm

>97 karenmarie: The sorority hijinx at LAX sound as puerile as I remember the Greek system encouraging behaviors I really, really don't like.

Leta Blake's a corker at the steamy, ain't she?

Ganesha School was called that in 1958?! school from 1956 was Louise van Meter school after a dead teacher. In Austin, I went to brand-new schools every time. All named after Black educators in Austin's fig-leafy attempt to avoid having to actually integrate their classrooms.

Editado: Set 24, 1:19 pm

>97 karenmarie: >99 richardderus: I'm another proud GDI. I suspect that a goodly number of us here were the same. I will also note that my good friends who pledged with pride and joy as freshmen were completely tired of the whole thing by their senior year although only one went so far as to drop out.

Set 24, 3:10 pm

>100 LizzieD: We're not likely to be sodality-joiners, us readers. Too much socializing with them, the non-readers, for most of us to like all that much.


Set 24, 9:58 pm

You are much more knowledgeable that me, Richard! But then we knew that. I had no idea that Gin, Turpentine , Pennyroyal , Rue, the book I just purchased , was a list of unbannable abortifacients. I was just browsing and thought, oh, historical fiction, Vancouver , blurb sounds good. According to the blurb on the back, there is a woman who seeks out an illegal abortion. I hope it is as good at I anticipate.

I headed out to the bookstore again today, after walking the dog, and picked up a couple of Halloween books for my grandkids, aged 5 and 3. I'll check that they don't already have them with my son and DIL.

Happy Monday reads!

Set 24, 10:56 pm

May interest you to note, RD, that Hani is actually buying books for me in Sheffield. On Saturday she bought me a lovely hardback edition of In Memoriam by Alice Winn, that I have heard good things about.

She has either had too much of the Yorkshire sunshine or she is simply missing her rotund bedfellow!

Hope all is well with you, dear fellow.

Set 25, 7:33 am

>102 vancouverdeb: I was raised among women of child-bearing years. It was a topic carefully talked around. They forgot about my memory, curiosity, and access to the encyclopedia. I think I was eight when I learned the word "abortifacient".

I hope the read's as good as the title is clever, Deb. Your grandkids get books about Halloween! How wonderful! Fun time, Samhain.

Set 25, 7:37 am

>103 PaulCranswick: I'm quite sure Hani's tropical-flower self is freezing in the Yorkshire weather, PC...must be making her sentimental. Lucky you! And you're going to be there before too terribly long to enjoy her warm and smiling being. (And cooking.) (Speaking of girth.) Tell her I send fond greetings.

Set 25, 7:41 am

080 BAYARD RUSTIN: A Legacy of Protest and Politics edited by Michael G. Long

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Celebrates the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader behind the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

While we can all recall images of Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of a massive crowd at Lincoln Memorial, few of us remember the man who organized this watershed nonviolent protest in eight short weeks: Bayard Rustin.

This was far from Rustin’s first foray into the fight for civil rights. As a world-traveling pacifist, he brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the forefront of US civil rights demonstrations, helped build the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led the fight for economic justice, and played a deeply influential role in the life of Dr. King by helping to mold him into an international symbol of nonviolent resistance. Rustin’s legacy touches many areas of contemporary life—from civil resistance to violent uprisings, democracy to socialism, and criminal justice reform to war resistance.

Despite these achievements, Rustin was often relegated to the background. He was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. With expansive, searching, and sometimes critical essays from a range of esteemed writers—including Rustin’s own partner, Walter Naegle—this volume draws a full picture of Bayard a gay, pacifist, socialist political radical who changed the course of US history and set a precedent for future civil rights activism, from LGBTQ+ Pride to Black Lives Matter.


My Review
: Too long ignored for being queer and open about it, the life of a Quaker resistor of Wrong and Wickedness was a complicated one. I wish this collection of essays had been edited to reduce the repetition of basic information about him, but appreciate that it was done at all.

I imagine the experience of being friends with Bayard Rustin was pretty fraught...his stadards were very high and his judgments usually spot-on, which combination is uncomfortable for himself and others. This reality played itself out in his double invisibility in gay-rights circles: Blackness and religious belief. He felt he wasn't needed or wanted in that world so, until he fell in love with Walter Naegle at 65, he focused on Black liberation and didn't involve himself in gay rights. The sad part to me is that the man was ahead of his time in his politics, his morals, and his social beliefs, and still deeply internalized both homophobia and misogyny.

If you're utterly unfamiliar with Rustin, this collection of essays will fill you in. Read the way any collection should be, piece by piece over time, the cumulative effect is to bring an unjustly underknown man's contributions to the best things that happened in the era of Civil Rights expansion to light. He is, be aware, not critically examined in these essays. Part three of the collection, "What Rustin Means to Me," is probably my favorite to read because the legacy of this upright, intelligent, unsparing actor on the public stage is dealt with by those whom he has inspired. I suppose anyone who stood up for an unpopular belief because it was right to do so can't hope for a better legacy.

Set 25, 7:49 am

081 Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D'Emilio

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Bayard Rustin is one of the most important figures in the history of the American civil rights movement. Before Martin Luther King, before Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin was working to bring the cause to the forefront of America's consciousness. A teacher to King, an international apostle of peace, and the organizer of the famous 1963 March on Washington, he brought Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence to America and helped launch the civil rights movement. Nonetheless, Rustin has been largely erased by history, in part because he was an African American homosexual. Acclaimed historian John D'Emilio tells the full and remarkable story of Rustin's intertwined lives: his pioneering and public person and his oblique and stigmatized private self.

It was in the tumultuous 1930s that Bayard Rustin came of age, getting his first lessons in politics through the Communist Party and the unrest of the Great Depression. A Quaker and a radical pacifist, he went to prison for refusing to serve in World War II, only to suffer a sexual scandal. His mentor, the great pacifist A. J. Muste, wrote to him, "You were capable of making the 'mistake' of thinking that you could be the leader in a the same time that you were a weakling in an extreme degree and engaged in practices for which there was no justification."

Freed from prison after the war, Rustin threw himself into the early campaigns of the civil rights and anti-nuclear movements until an arrest for sodomy nearly destroyed his career. Many close colleagues and friends abandoned him. For years after, Rustin assumed a less public role even though his influence was everywhere. Rustin mentored a young and inexperienced Martin Luther King in the use of nonviolence. He planned strategy for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference until Congressman Adam Clayton Powell threatened to spread a rumor that King and Rustin were lovers. Not until Rustin's crowning achievement as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington would he finally emerge from the shadows that homophobia cast over his career. Rustin remained until his death in 1987 committed to the causes of world peace, racial equality, and economic justice.

Based on more than a decade of archival research and interviews with dozens of surviving friends and colleagues of Rustin's, Lost Prophet is a triumph. Rustin emerges as a hero of the black freedom struggle and a singularly important figure in the lost gay history of the mid-twentieth century. John D'Emilio's compelling narrative rescues a forgotten figure and brings alive a time of great hope and great tragedy in the not-so-distant past.


My Review
: So, after deciding that I wanted a biography of the complex gay man Bayard Rustin while reading essays about him, I found this hefty tome. I love library lending because I couldn't justify spending full price on a book I expected to admire not like when my $12 investment represents 5% of my total monthly spending power.

I'm going to buy it for myself now because I want to support this historian whose stylish writing and tireless researching of a crucial figure in gay and Black history has enriched my life.

Rustin's Quaker upbringing strongly influenced his social-justice compass and his anti-violence stance. He refused to serve any military or enabling function in World War II, serving instead jail time for following his conscience. He was consistently anti-war and anti-colonialist in his world view, modeling his resistance to them on Mohandas K. Gandhi's successful anti-British actions in India. Rustin, and mentor A. Philip Randolph, founder and leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, planned a mass march on Washington in 1941 for the same goals that the 1963 event had (Jobs and Justice) but called it off because President Roosevelt asked them to. The brink of war was used as an excuse to delay urgent public always...but both men were active in making sure the March on Washington took place, at last, in 1963. We remember it mostly for assassinated leader Martin Luther King, Jr.,'s rousing and glorious "I Have A Dream" speech. If, like most, you've only ever seen the highlight reel version, go treat yourself to the entire seventeen and a half minutes at the link. But Randolph, responding to ongoing scurrilous efforts to paint MLK and Rustin as sexual lovers not friends, really shone in his ringing defense of Rustin's involvement as the leader and backstage manager of this titanic event that kickstarted so many changes in US society: "Bayard Rustin IS the March on Washington." He faced down, on behalf of his gay friend and fellow life-long resistor of social and political injustice, the President of the USA, J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI...arguably the more powerful of the two men...and Adam Clayton Powell, Harlem's immensely influential Congressman, who coveted Rustin's control and directive roles.

The over five hundred pages of this story aren't a chore to read. The reason is that Author D'Emilio made the effort to make it a story. Many, if not most, biographers are excellent researchers and fans of their subjects; fewer wre storytellers with an eye for the illustrative anecdote. My best example is the moment when, during a public meeting after the Montgomery, Ala., church bombing killed four little girls, Rustin took those loudly calling for a violent response to task by accusing them of proposing to accomplish nothing.

That is some kind of drama, folks, and it perfectly encapsulates a lifetime of Rustin's moral and political learning.
What leads me to talk about this lost prophet, buried in homophobic judgment, in connection with the essays just published about him, is the fact that Rustin had so much internal-to-the-struggle opposition to cope with that his never hidden, never centered homosexuality was never the focus of his resistance to power's abuses. Bear in mind that a known, avowed homosexual Black man was principally responsible for the community activism model and playbooks that succeeded in achieving the end of the legal fig-leaf of Jim Crow laws in the US. Could he have done the same had he set his sights on axhieving the same for queer folk, when the DSM-II of NINETEEN SIXTY-EIGHT still defined homosexuality as a mental illness, and the Feds led by Hoover had barely stopped the Lavender Scare? During the latter events, do not ignore, Rustin was a victim and STILL LED THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON!

Sorry. The awfulness of his treatment during his life by his fellow Quakers and Christians, and after his death by literally everyone simply forgetting he existed, lead me to the shouting.

The man himself noted that liberals couldn't hate Blacks and Latinos anymore, but they sure could—and did—hate fags. Realist that he was, he spent his life of organizing, resisting, and inspiring in the fields where he could do the most good. Admirably clear-sighted and honestly, to me at least, movingly generous of spirit of him not to insist on perfection but work for better. Events have proven his approach was effective for QUILTBAG folk as much as for ethnic minorities.

I salute author D'Emilio for putting in the hard labor and the gigantic energy to create this readable, enjoyable story of an important and ignored man, his life and his loves and his legacy. A perfect accompaniment to Bayard Rustin: A Legacy of Protest and Politics/i>.
*hyperlinks to sources in blogged review

Set 25, 8:22 am

Morning, RD. A little rain moving through at the moment but it is supposed to be a good day. I hope to get my Trail Watch duties in. The horse show was fun but disappointing for Bree. She had a hard time loading her horse in the trailer and by the time she got to the grounds her particular event was over. Hopefully next time. She does put extra time in training.

I hope you have a good, pain-free week, my friend.

Set 25, 8:36 am

>108 msf59: What a disappointment for her. I'm so sorry. At least you had fun.

Set 25, 9:00 am

>109 humouress:, >108 msf59: what ^^^ she said

It's a blowy, rainy day, so the changeover to sunny skies hasn't come to inflict its ouchies yet. It will come, but it's inevitable, so why complain. Trail Watch well!

Editado: Set 26, 4:48 am

‘Morning, RDear, and happy Monday to you!

>103 PaulCranswick:>102 vancouverdeb: You should persuade them to join LT, Deborah, catalog the kids’ books, then give you the security to the LT account. You can then check online as you’re out and about shopping to make sure they don’t already have them. Of course they’d have to keep it up…

>103 PaulCranswick: Wow. Imagine. Hani buying books for you, Paul. Will wonders never cease?

>106 richardderus: and >107 richardderus: I’m pretty sure I went down a rabbit hole over the summer from something on your thread and ‘discovered’ Bayard Rustin… I’ve added the second book to my wish list, simply because 4.5 vs 3.5.


Set 25, 10:26 am

>107 richardderus: Got me right in the heart! I have it on my wish list, so I will maybe get it when I'm less vulnerable.

>102 vancouverdeb: Now this is getting weird. I flashed the Touchstone for the *G,T,P,R* book, and there was the same promo: Learning from Disease in Pets: A One Health' Model for Discovery is the first encompassing reference guide for veterinarians, researchers and physicians on conducting studies using spontaneous models of disease in animals. The study of naturally occurring disease in (pet) animals can help model … (more). I wonder how many books are affected this way.

>103 PaulCranswick: Cheers for you and Hani, Paul! Besides that, I tried the TS for your *inM*, and it came up Tennyson, so I guess that's OK.

*smooch* for the day and an extra for the week, Richard.

Set 25, 10:48 am

>111 karenmarie: Hi Horrible! Your advice to >102 vancouverdeb: is good. I second it.

I admit to feeling the globe wobble a bit when I read that about Hani....

Rustin's worth discovering. I'd say the choice of wishlisting item is the right one for you. I don't think the essays offer as much. The D'Emilio book is a very good choice indeed. *smooch*

Set 25, 10:50 am

>112 LizzieD: Hi Peggy! I'm glad I could pierce your vitals with such a worthy book. You'll learn a lot about who the plaster saints we remember were back when they were people.

Happy, smoochy Monday, me lurve.

Set 25, 10:54 am

Well never heard of Bayard Rustin before. Feel that ought to be put to rights.

Set 25, 11:04 am

>115 Helenliz: He was a major player in the US Civil Rights movement, Helen, but he's largely unknown even here. It won't hurt a bit to learn more about him. If you can find D'Emilio's book, it'll be a downright pleasure.

Set 25, 12:57 pm

>107 richardderus: ...and another one onto my wish list!! I don't really enjoy reading essays but the biography of Rustin sounds most interesting.

Set 25, 1:44 pm

>117 RebaRelishesReading: It really is, Reba, and so infuriating that he's been written out of history for the sin of being Black and gay. I hope you'll enjoy it when its turn at the top of the pile comes.

Set 25, 9:10 pm

Happy almost-Tuesday *smooch*

Editado: Set 26, 6:31 am

Happy just barely Tuesday, RDear!

Insomnia again. However, the house is quiet, coffee is in hand, Wordle was solved in 4, and I'll have fun cataloging the rest of my book haul today.

>113 richardderus: Fixed my reference to Deborah's message, am amused about the globe wobbling with Hani's behavior, and will keep an eye out for all books Rustin.

I read and posted about The Federalist no. 51 just now.


Set 26, 8:04 am

>119 bell7: Happy definitely-Tuesday *smooch* back, Mary!

Set 26, 8:10 am

>120 karenmarie: Morning, Horrible...hiss and boo all over insomnia! I'm sure there's an anti-Morpheus among the Greek pantheon that preys with preference on women. Biology must play a part in this...I think we should all get a class-action suit against this god person for sex-based discrimination.

I'll coddiwomple thitherward here directly to see what Federalist 51 has to rile me up. *smooch*

Editado: Set 26, 10:41 am

082 The Words That Remain by Stênio Gardel (tr. Bruna Dantas Lobato)

Rating: 5* of five

Longlisted for the 2023 National Book Award in Translated Literature
Award to be presented on 3 October 2023

The Publisher Says: A letter has beckoned to Raimundo since he received it decades ago from his youthful passion, handsome Cícero. But having grown up in an impoverished area of Brazil where the demands of manual labor thwarted his becoming literate, Raimundo has long been unable to read.

As young men, he and Cícero fell in love, only to have Raimundo's father brutally beat his son when he discovered their affair. Even after Raimundo succeeds in making a life for himself in the big city, he continues to be haunted by this secret missive full of longing from the distant past.

Now, as an elderly man, he at last acquires a true education and the ability to access the letter. Exploring Brazil's little-known hinterland as well its urban haunts, this is a sweeping novel of repression, violence, and shame, along with their flip side: survival, endurance, and the ultimate triumph of an unforgettable figure on society's margins. The Words That Remain explores the universal power of the written word and language, and how they affect all our relationships.


My Review
: When I was very young, all of thirteen, I fell in love with a football player. To my amazement, he gave every sign of returning my interest. It was all kind-of innocent, not like a giant orgiastic sexual discovery. And how beautiful I felt when he'd just...look at me. That had never happened to me before.

I did what a kid does...I wrote him notes. He wrote me notes. I kept one.

My appalling, homophobic, faux-religious mother discovered that note where I'd hidden it inside my favorite nautilus-shaped tchotchke box.

I had, not long before this, put a stop to her physical abuse of me by belting her in the belly. She retaliated by using this lovey-dovey note to cause all sorts of ugly trouble. The echoes of that awful passage in my life will likely never die down, since they haven't in the ensuing fifty years. This novel, then, was quite clearly aimed right at me, targeted on my sensitive spot for the cost of queer first love, the power of words written by someone you love to become talismans that organize your life. I organized mine by never, ever again letting anyone who could harm me have information about the man I was in love this day it's a struggle for me even to speak of my Young Gentleman Caller to an individual person, even one who doesn't and won't ever know him. Luckily (or unluckily) his own family's awful behavior towards him has left him with a similar issue and we exist in a bubble of our own.

Like Raimundo's abandonment of a home that didn't want him, I left Texas for New York; like him, I made a life for myself, one where (like him) I never had the full decoding ring to really thrive in. Like Raimundo, I never knew the end of that first-love story. Like Raimundo, my Cícero disappeared along with my ability to believe people were good.

So when I read this under-150-page blaring klaxon, my Issues were summoned from their therapy-induced comas to bring me nightmares. To evoke my life-long sadness of not ever allowing myself a Home. Because then, if I did, some vengeful demoness would come, screeching bible verses and shouting about how god hates Sin but will welcome you "home" if you'e just willing to be fake, and miserable, and change into who and what you aren't.

That therapy worked because the Issues were clubbed into unconsciousness. They gave me the clear awareness, though, that Art was happening here, that honest truth was being told to me in beautiful sentences, that one old man's early pain is a lot like another's...that Fiction is doing her blessèd work of bringing the people who read it into a closer communion than any church could ever pretend to offer.

National Translation Month is a cornucopia of excellent work, any amount of which might give you the limpidly clear and bracingly cool sense of being seen, heard, and understood. If you buy one book from the thousands that arrive on our Anglophone shelves from all points, let 2023's be this one.

Set 26, 12:23 pm

>123 richardderus: The Words That Remain sounds great, and anything that you give five stars to is certainly not to be missed. Thanks for the heads up and also for the tear-inducing personal story. Hugs and smooches to you, Richard!

Karen O

Set 26, 12:38 pm

>123 richardderus: OMG Richard!! What a sad, awful story. To be abused by one's own parent is, I think, the word kind of abuse. My heart breaks for young Richard and for the pain you must have carried for life. (((Richard)))

Set 26, 2:57 pm

>124 klobrien2: *smoochiesmoochsmooch*

I hope you're going to enjoy it when you read it.

Set 26, 2:58 pm

>125 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba, she was truly awful in many ways and is the malign "gift" that's kept on giving in my life.


Editado: Set 26, 3:35 pm

Well, I managed to get 50+ posts behind again, RD. *sigh*

>123 richardderus: Sometimes I wonder if parents do not understand how much words can hurt, even the unspoken ones. My father did not physically abuse me, but the emotional and mental distress he caused still haunt me. I am so sorry that your mother subjected you, her beautiful boy, to such abuse.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Set 26, 3:40 pm

>128 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Parents do their best, but it's all too often not good enough. Mama was one of those people who just shouldn't have had children. Your father, too. We wouldn't exist, though, so it's just not a problem that has a solution.


Set 26, 3:55 pm

>129 richardderus: Parents do their best, but it's all too often not good enough. Very true. Although I suspect parents, like your mother and my father, simply did not care to even try. I know my father would have been much happier with robots for children.

Set 26, 4:16 pm

>130 alcottacre: ...but that was OUR fault, Stasia! OTHER parents had obedient, submissive kids, so it was *us* that refused to be like the Good Children.

Set 26, 5:03 pm

Can't say much...but if you've never thought of watching GBBO/S on Netflix before, this is the one to start with...I actually hurt from laughing. US debut on the 29th.


just watch it

Set 26, 5:34 pm

>131 richardderus: Yep. I guess I should have been the robot child (and male) he so obviously wanted!

>132 richardderus: OK, I give. What is GBBO/S?

Set 26, 6:00 pm

>133 alcottacre: The Great British Bake/ing Off/Show, now in its twelfth year! There are seven seasons on The Roku Channel and five on Netflix, including the current one.

Set 26, 6:21 pm

>134 richardderus: Ah, OK. I have never even heard of the Roku Channel and never use Netflix, which helps explain (at least part of) my ignorance.

Set 27, 4:42 am

>132 richardderus: I rely on LT for my GBBO updates, as I'm not a watcher. Which always strikes me as amusing. Here am I relying on updates from over the pond for a home grown show.

>123 richardderus: et al. no words... We may have had financial issues, but I knew I was loved. In a complete sucker punch to the gut; after my dad died, my husband said he'd had more fun with my dad (in the 8 years they'd known each other) than he'd ever had with his (he was mid 30s at this point). Talk about a damming indictment of parenting. And that's nothing like your experiences.

Set 27, 4:51 am

>123 richardderus: Some parents hurt forever, Richard dear.

Set 27, 7:33 am

>123 richardderus: It is amazing how cruel some parents and people in general can be. I am sorry for the abuse you had to suffer through at the hands of someone that should be your protector. ((hugs))

>134 richardderus: I really need to watch an episode of that show. It looks like a good one to watch!

Set 27, 7:53 am

>135 alcottacre: It does explain fully...but offers no excuse...hie thee hence and get one of those apps! *smooch*

Set 27, 7:58 am

>136 Helenliz: Thank you for thr sympathy, Helen. I'm grateful as all get-out that, unlike many millions of people in need, I have access to therapy. It has, without exaggeration, saved my life. This is not my first trip through the process, but it really makes a huge difference in my life.

I'll be spoiler tagging everything as usual on my updates.

Set 27, 7:59 am

>137 FAMeulstee: Yes indeed they do, as we have cause to know. *smooch*

Set 27, 8:00 am

Happy Wednesday, Richard. Joining my birding group this AM, if it doesn't get rained out. Juno and the books in the PM. More cheery reading about British colonialism but the writing is stellar.

Set 27, 8:01 am

>138 figsfromthistle: People are scum, Anita. Just how it is. The ones who don't enact it are rare and precious (and usually readers). *smooch*

Oh my heck, yes! This is a great place to start, and if you don't enjoy it, you can be sure you're not missing anything because it's all like this only less funny.

Set 27, 8:03 am

083 The Book of Paradise by Itzik Manger (tr. Robert Adler Peckerar)

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: The raucously witty Yiddish classic about a Jewish Paradise afflicted by very human temptations and pains—a delightful new translation perfect for fans of Michael Chabon

Witty, playful and slyly profound, this story of a young angel expelled from Paradise is the only novel by one of the great Yiddish writers, which was written just before the outbreak of World War II.

As a result of a crafty trick, the expelled angel retains the memory of his previous life when he’s born as a Yiddish-fluent baby mortal on Earth. The humans around him plead for details of that other realm, but the Paradise of his mischievous stories is far from their ideal—a world of drunken angels, lewd patriarchs and the very same divisions and temptations that shape the human world.

Published here in a lively new translation by Robert Adler Peckerar, The Book of Paradise is a comic masterpiece from poet-satirist Itzik Manger that irreverently blurs the boundaries between ancient and modern and sacred and profane, where the shtetl is heaven, and heaven is the shtetl.


My Review
: A wild, funny, irreverent take on how power looks to the powerless, how memories of Home persist in the exile, how impossible it is to fit into pre-existing systems when you're not One Of Us. Manger's entire life, a Jew in the nexus of a Jew-hating country be it the Habsburg Empire, Romania, Ukraine, or Poland. Escaping certain death in France, another deeply anti-Semitic place, by running to the United States in 1939 before coming to rest in newly-founded Israel, where he died in 1969, a man without a homeland or a language to speak in. Yiddish culture, alive and vibrant in ancient Imperial Austrian lands, in independent Poland, Romania, Soviet Ukraine and their cousins in the wide-open United States, vanished entirely after the Holocaust. One of many, many crimes against humanity that occurred during that brutal time, it's one that most of us just don't even slightly realize took place. We don't, most of us, remember hearing elders speak Yiddish, don't recall the culture's last lingering gasps of the 1930s being part of even our parents' knowledge base. It was embarrassing, it was Foreign, it was lower-class. It was also the home of millions and millions of people whose passports, like Manger's, could be yanked by the issuing country because they simply didn't like the person holding it for being Other.

Does all this ring any bells yet?

Samuel Abba, as our kicked-out angel's human form is called, recalls his time in Paradise to the delight of his human mother, the fearful shushing of his human father, and the stern corrective admonitions of the Elders of their community to change his tune. Paradise can't be like that! Power dynamics are *good*for*us*! (The question of who exactly "us" consists of is answered thus.) Abusive parents, cheating lovers, Authority out of touch with lived reality, these are Earthly problems...these can't be your memories.

The standard invalidation of a thousand Nos, in other words, used to teach all of us to stay in our appointed places. Not "this isn't true" but "this can't be true," an entirely different assertion of the consensus world-view that QUILTBAG people know so very well. The translator's HUGE challenges in making the ideas of the storytelling format, harkening as it does back to the school of creating midrashim, as well as the very specific cultural usages like Abba's Paradise-bound friend "Little Pisser"'s name...literal translation of "pisher" but lacking the affectionate, dismissive, gentle put-down of the Yiddish term for a more biological and rude one...highlighted for me the sad, irreplaceable loss of the globe-spanning Yiddish culture. It's one thing to revive individual artists' work; the gestalt is still gone. Another black mark on the souls of the multinational fascist bastards whose tiny little hearts had no room for Others.

If you have even a particle of resistance to the recrudescing idea of All Must Be One, I can't encourage you strongly enough to read this story by a man who lost every single thing he'd grown up with, every sound out of his mother's mouth, the mouth itself, the music the poetry the food the films...all of it slaughtered and burned and vanished to serve the "ideal" of "One Fatherland"...and look around you at what's happening in our world today.


Set 27, 8:07 am

>142 msf59: Have a great birding wlk, Mark! The subject of colonialism is never cheery. Not for anyone. Farrell doesn't disappoint, though, you'll be glad you've read the book.

Set 27, 9:03 am

Hiya, RDear, and happy Wednesday to you!

>123 richardderus: Oh my. Sharing your parallel past – thank you. I just recently read a romance with the same backstory - appalling, homophobic, faux-religious grandmother in this case. (Mr. Jingle Bells). That a man has to become literate to read a letter from his youthful passion – well. It’s now made it onto the wish list.

>128 alcottacre: - >130 alcottacre: Parents do their best, but it’s all too often not enough. The worst I experienced was my mother’s distancing herself from us because getting married and having children was not what she wanted (she really wanted to be a concert cellist) and my father’s high expectations combined with WWII PTSD, and both of them clearly and consistently preferred my sister. However, that is nothing compared to what each of you has gone through. I forgave them when I was in my twenties – they did the best they could. My sister still hasn't forgiven our mother for things she experienced that I did not, and I don't think she ever will. I'm not sure she should, either.

>144 richardderus: Onto the wish list it goes, and I’ve also mentioned it to friend Karen in Montana.

*smooch* from your own Horrible

Set 27, 9:44 am

>146 karenmarie: I haven't gotten to Mr. Jingle Bells yet...I've just read Mr. Frosty Pants in that series...but it's Kindles up for Yule.

I hope you'll like >123 richardderus: when its turn at the top of the pile comes. It's a wonderful read.

Forgiving ≠ forgetting, nor should it...but forgiving is more for the forgiver than the forgiven. Isn't it horrifying how little what a woman wanted from life mattered to the world? Less so now, thank all the stars, but still truer than it ever should be.

You will, and I suspect Montana Karen will, really appreciate The Book of Paradise in all its trippy weirdness and sweet humor.


Set 27, 10:20 am

>123 richardderus: Another BB to the heart, Richard. That kind of hurt can be passed on through generations. I'm profoundly glad that yours has healing and that the healing continues.
>144 richardderus: Wounded again and off to research.

*smooch* for the day

Set 27, 11:58 am

>148 LizzieD: Oh goody good good, Peggy! I really hope the reads will do you proud.


Set 27, 12:03 pm

>123 richardderus: You are a brave man, Richard. I’m not sure I could bear to let my own demons from the past out like that. I felt them stirring just from reading your review and had to stop before finishing it.

Set 27, 12:07 pm

>139 richardderus: I have enough diversions in my life already, RD. If I had to live without a TV set, I could happily do so. I never use the blooming thing unless I am watching something with Kerry.

>144 richardderus: OK, the publisher got me with "perfect for fans of Michael Chabon," so even before reading your review I was tempted by that one. After having read your review, I need to get my hands on a copy!

>146 karenmarie: Thank you, Karen. I have tried to forgive my father, but I am not sure that I truly can, something that is very hard for me, as a Christian, to admit.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! ((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Set 27, 12:10 pm

>144 richardderus: Aaaand another wonderful review, this one resulting in a BB. Sounds like it might even fit into next month’s horror lineup.

Set 27, 12:38 pm

>150 Storeetllr: Letting them out's easy...shoving 'em back in is the tricky bit. But if they don't get an airing-out once in a while, the rotten-egg monsterfunk gets overwhelming.

>152 Storeetllr: Yay! That's a much easier one to sit back and enjoy, Mary.

Set 27, 12:42 pm

>151 alcottacre: TV in the old-fashioned sense I've done witthout for a decade-plus...all streaming all the time! Really different relationship to the content than old TV ever was...but that said, it won't kill you to miss out on a global happiness-building phenomenon.

I suppose.

More yay! It's a very fun, very quick read, Stasia.

Wednesday *smooch*

Set 27, 6:00 pm

>144 richardderus: Jeeez man!! My wish list really doesn't need this!

Set 28, 3:27 am

Happy Thursday, Richard dear!

We will pack today, and leave tomorrow for our vacation, so there will be no Thursday greetings next week.

Set 28, 7:28 am

>157 FAMeulstee: Thursday greetings go double today, then. I'll wish you and Frank a lovely trip, and a good homecoming. *smooch*

Editado: Set 28, 8:09 am

084 The House of the Coptic Woman: A Novel by Ashraf El-Ashmawi (tr. Peter Daniel

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Tightly plotted and taboo-breaking, this explosive story takes readers to the roots of religious strife where the smallest of sparks can start a bonfire

Nader, an idealistic public prosecutor at the outset of his career, leaves Cairo to start a new posting in rural upper Egypt. On his first night, a mysterious woman named Huda shows up at his lodgings. She is on the run from an abusive husband and, harboring a dark secret, seeks a new start in this small village and escape her harrowing past.

Nothing is to be easy for Huda or Nader, and the dramatic circumstances of their first meeting signal the disquiet to come. It is not long before tensions between Copts and Muslims, already on a knife-edge, spiral into a spate of unexplained killings and arson attacks. The locals blame the trouble on the supernatural, and Nader is thrown into a quagmire of sectarian conflict and superstition that no amount of formal training could have prepared him for. His investigations are thwarted at every turn, by uncooperative witnesses and an obstructive police force. As Nader and Huda each pursue happiness and justice, their parallel journeys struggle against the forces of ignorance, poverty, hatred, and greed.

With its echoes of Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Diary of a Country Prosecutor, this is a powerful and personal tale of conflict, crime, and upheaval in rural Egypt.


My Review
: There were several problems for me in this read. The biggest one was the sense that I was just...missing something, there were puns, wordplay, ironical quirkings of the eyebrow that I wasn't privy to but could still feel taking place.

I hate that.

The plot...runaway abused woman takes refuge with idealistic legal-eagle just having his wings clipped by the Reality of Power...isn't any great shakes but is certainly capable of carrying much more weight than it's asked to here. Nothing that happens is a surprise, no one here becomes more than a supporting character in a story that has a diffuse, generalized main character called "Life."

I rated it more highly than my pleasure in reading it would've led me to do because I really had no idea the sectarian hatreds so common in a world hag-ridden by religion were so very sharp in Egypt. Why the woman must always be punished in these kinds of stories for having the audacity to want something for herself is another source of dissatisfaction for me. I think readers interested in social-issue fiction will get more from the read than mystery/crime readers will.

Set 28, 8:02 am

085 Nails and Eyes by Kaori Fujino (tr. Kendall Heitzmann)

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: Tense, subtly disturbing Japanese literary horror perfect for fans of The Memory Police, Tender is the Flesh, Fever Dream, and The Vegetarian.

Paired with two stories of creeping tension and unsettled minds, the unnerving title novella Nails and Eyes introduces a unique new voice in Japanese literature.

With masterful narrative control, Nails and Eyes—appearing in English for the first time—builds to a conclusion of uncanny power.

A young girl addresses her stepmother, who has moved in shortly after her mother’s death in unusual circumstances. The girl shows strangely detailed knowledge of the older woman’s life, and as her stepmother settles into the house, the girl’s obsession sharpens to an ever finer point.


My Review
: A mini-collection of Japanese shorter fiction. We start with a promising novella, a very eerie, atmospheric study in female-centered horror. The narrator is a girl-child, one recalling with eerie clarity things that happened when she was three years old. A woman now lives in her mother's place, after mother dies in peculiar and suspicious circumstances. The story's narrated in the ever-chest-pokey second person to "you," who is the replacement her father brings into their lives for dead, blogger-mom mother. The problem is that "you" has terrible vision, is a terrible judge of character in trusting the father and the daughter, and never quite coheres as more than a collection of those kinds of heavy-handed symbolic traits. What really threw me out of the narrative flow was the fact that I'm somehow supposed to believe this is a child's memories. I'm just too literal-minded for that to work. Three-year-olds are still pretty iffy with object permanence and a robust theory of mind hasn't had a chance to develop. Therefore, this is not realistic. I know it's not supposed to be. But I need its hows and whys not to be unexplained if it's going to require me to suspend my disbelief from a noose twelve feet up.

What Shoko Forgets isn't very interesting as horror, being a ghastly case of elder abuse and failing memory covering up the perpetrator; far too close to my own life's circumstances for me to think anything except "WHERE IS THE CASE MANAGER?!"

Lastly there was Minute Fears which, sad to say, was an unmemorable story of a little boy's deeply off-kilter perception of and obsession with the kami-spirit of a park, told by his bemused mother; the abrupt, somewhat silly ending just reinforced how underdeveloped the whole felt to me, as well as so short I got very little impression of its players.

I liked the unsettling mismatch of the tone to the subjects. I strongly suspect, and even hope, that others with less onerously literal minds will try this very, very short (took me two hours from start to finish) Spooky-Season selection for their Oktoberreads.

Set 28, 8:03 am

Sweet Thursday, Richard. Your reviews have me pondering parenting. Mine were good ones who raised us kindly but I’m not sure that prepared me for the real world and those it is peopled by.

Set 28, 8:18 am

>160 richardderus: Thursday orisons, Meg. I don't presume to know you well enough to comment on your life's challenges, but the persona I see here on LT is one that was fully able to process and overcome the crushing unkindness of the world towards women and turn it into a very satisfying set of enrichments for yourself and others. They did something right!

Set 28, 11:51 am

I wanted to let you know that I simply LOVE your reviews. I may not be bitten by each title reviewed but I love reading them. I wish that you could read every book, so that I could have your opinion about them. I also wish that I could write about the books I read the way that you do. It is easy for me to tell people that I loved a book, but is very difficult for me to write those honest opinions down in the same manner that you do. Keep writing them, so I can have the pleasure of reading them.

By-the-way, did you ever read Singapore Grip back in the day?

Set 28, 12:28 pm

>163 benitastrnad: Thank you most kindly, Benita, that's a lovely compliment. I would *love* to be able to read All The Books! I hope the reviews I write are helpful for most people who read them. The usual run of reviews I see out-and-about are book reports, which just don't do much for me. I can read the synopsis, thanks, my decoding skills are pretty solid.

Singapore Grip, The Siege of Krishnapur and Troubles have all made it into my head, yes...thoroughly wonderful writibg, infuriating stories.
As usual, Anu Garg's A Word A Day gave me more than one ever expects for free.
There is always more goodness in the world than there appears to be, because goodness is of its very nature modest and retiring. -Evelyn Beatrice Hall, biographer (28 Sep 1868-1956)

Set 28, 12:47 pm

Hiya, RD! Happy Thursday to you.

>159 richardderus: >160 richardderus: Pass, but thanks for the reviews. *smile*

>164 richardderus: I would *love* to be able to read All The Books! Sigh. How many lifetimes would that take?


Set 28, 1:45 pm

>165 karenmarie: Thursday orisons, Horrible my dear lady. I suspect the planet, and I mean the dirtball we're walking on not the culture we're living in which will collapse utterly about the time we die if we're lucky, won't exist long enough to get through the world's supply of already-created stories still less the ones to come.

Reincarnation has always sounded like hell to me, but I begin to see its appeal....


Set 28, 2:41 pm

>154 richardderus: Well, I now have a copy on its way to me. If my husband complains about my book purchases, I am blaming them all on you. Considering you are in NY and we are in TX, I do not think you have any reason to worry, lol.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Set 28, 3:11 pm

>144 richardderus: This looks fantastic.

Set 28, 3:17 pm

>167 alcottacre: I'll assume Kerry won't care too terribly much about one more book, even at full price, given how very many come into ye olde chez vous via the library. One more won't hurt too awful terrible much in that landscape, eh what?

Set 28, 3:18 pm

>168 The_Hibernator: I expect you'd love it, Rachel, and I hope you'll give it a whirl soon!


Set 28, 4:44 pm

Happy Friday, Richard! I hope the books are treating you well! I am LOVING my current read , Gin, Turpentine , Pennyroyal , Rue. I find it's hard to put down.

Set 28, 6:10 pm

>171 vancouverdeb: Howdy do, Deb! The books are treating me very well, thanks...September's been great and Deathtober's begun well, too. Your current read makes me eager to hear what you thought of it. Such a universally interesting thing, the family saga.


Set 29, 7:32 am

086 Seasons of Purgatory by Shahriar Mandanipour (tr. Sara Khalili)

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The first English-language story collection from “one of Iran’s most important living fiction writers” (Guardian)

In Seasons of Purgatory, the fantastical and the visceral merge in tales of tender desire and collective violence, the boredom and brutality of war, and the clash of modern urban life and rural traditions. Mandanipour, banned from publication in his native Iran, vividly renders the individual consciousness in extremis from a variety of perspectives: young and old, man and woman, conscript and prisoner. While delivering a ferocious social critique, these stories are steeped in the poetry and stark beauty of an ancient land and culture.

Shahriar Mandanipour is an award-winning, exiled Iranian author and journalist who served in the Iran-Iraq war. His fiction has been published throughout the world, including two acclaimed novels published in English. He lives in California.


My Review
: Men, men, men...all men, all the time. Even when a female person appears, she isn't really given anything to do except respond to the men around her. There's a lot of that down to the war background that the stories share; a lot of serious issues in war just don't make room for women. The war happens to all the characters, in all the time-frames and settings the different stories take place in. Nothing about these particular men says they are, or feel, in control of too much in their different worlds.

The disorientation of the world as it is run by totalitarians is evident in the slightly seasick sensation of being tossed from time-frame to time-frame between and within stories. Occasionally we are placed in medias res within a thought or a sentence. It does what it's intended to do and leaves the reader unsure, not in control, just as the characters are not. The author is not yclept with "award-winning" for playing it safe, after all. He doesn't spoon-feed one's imagination but requires us to attend to the words and images we're presented in order to derive our full measure of aesthetic pleasure from them.

I've used my reasonable and customary Bryce Method of story-by-story discussion on my blog.

Set 29, 8:09 am

Happy Friday, Richard. Once this fog moves out, it should be a glorious day and will kick off an incredible stretch of weather here in Chicagoland. Nice way to bring in October. As a bonus, Sue will be scooping up Jack at some point today and bringing him back here tonight. Bourbon tastings and cigars with my buddies tonight. All good here.

I will add Seasons of Purgatory to the list. I enjoy short stories and the setting sounds very interesting.

Set 29, 8:32 am

>174 msf59: Happy Friday, he sogged from under a deluge! We're not getting pretty fall weather until Sunday, the first of October, here. I'm choosing to see it as a Good Omen.

I think you'll enjoy most of the stories, Mark, and will admire them all if not love them. It's a very good introduction to the unreported corners of the totalitarian state that is Iran.

Set 29, 8:50 am

>144 richardderus:- great review. I grew up with Yiddish in my ears, thanks to my grandmother and her generation. But that generation is gone now and I am sorry I tuned it out when I was young and had the opportunity to learn it. They spoke it among themselves all the time and in front of us when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying. And we made that easy by refusing to listen. Stupid children.

{{Hugs}} for all the rest. I'm still using my phone and barely posting, till I get home tonight.

Set 29, 9:49 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happy Friday to you.

>166 richardderus: Being reincarnated as a reader would be quite wonderful even if awareness of past lives doesn’t exist.

>173 richardderus: Men, men, men...all men, all the time. Even when a female person appears, she isn't really given anything to do except respond to the men around her. Between this comment and the fact that it’s a book of short stories, I’ll pass. I do, however, love the cover.

>176 jessibud2: My mom and dad spoke Pig Latin in front of us until we got old enough to understand it.

*smooch* from your own Horrible

Set 29, 10:04 am

>176 jessibud2: We were all stupid as children, it's the nature of the beast...but it does sting more now, doesn't it, that we let opportunities slip past us.

I'm very pleased you related to the review. Be safe and well there in Montreal.

Set 29, 10:10 am

>177 karenmarie: Ha! Igpay Atinlay is a perfect code until the kids're motivated to solve it.

I suspect that, if my karma is on the minus side, I'll be reincarnated as functionally or fully illiterate. The horror, the horror...I think I'd somehow *know* I was missing something or else what's the point of punishment?

Happy weekend-ahead's reads, Horrible! *smooch*

Set 29, 10:13 am

>163 benitastrnad: Thank you for saying this so well, Benita. I agree. I agree.

Good morning, Richard. Keep at it!!!!! *smooch*

Set 29, 10:29 am

>169 richardderus: I do not think Kerry really cares about the books at all, one way or the other, lol.

>173 richardderus: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Like Mark, I enjoy short stories.

((Hugs)) and **smooches** Have a fantastic Friday, RD!

Set 29, 10:39 am

>180 LizzieD: Good morning, Peggy me lurve. Happy to see you here! *smooch*

Set 29, 10:41 am

>181 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia! I expect you'll see the strengths of the stories in the collection, but might not exactly enjoy them....

Set 29, 1:15 pm

>144 richardderus: Started this last night, and, so far, I’m loving it.

Set 29, 1:17 pm

Only one thing to add to >132 richardderus:

I'm in love with Saku.

Set 29, 1:18 pm

>183 richardderus: I read a lot of books that I do not enjoy but I still find them worth reading (a lot of the books that I read for both my Black Studies and Jewish Studies fall into this category).

Set 29, 1:47 pm

>184 Storeetllr: Oh, all the YAY, Mary! Here's hoping you'll keep loving the read.

Set 29, 1:48 pm

>186 alcottacre: Enjoy comes in all stripes, doesn't it? We can enjoy intellectually but not emotionally quite easily.

Set 29, 3:02 pm

Well, THAT was fun! The rain's overwhelmed the 120-year-old building's defenses and our hallway flooded, and the room's ceiling started dripping in the place it was patched after a several-years-ago wiring job for emergency communication. Luckily I heard the dripdripdrip and got my 5gal trash bucket under the ceiling drip and towel-dammed the hall water.

Maintenance is out there with the wet-vac getting rid of the hall stuff; I kept most of the water off the new carpet thank goodness.

Set 29, 3:20 pm

>189 richardderus: Yikes! I would be panicking about keeping my books dry right about now, RD.

Set 29, 3:33 pm

>190 PaulCranswick: They're all in storage, PC, so I expect they'll be fine. If they were in here, they probably wouldn't be, so better for them not to be under the leaky roof but in a concrete bunker.

Set 29, 3:40 pm

>191 richardderus: Well I suppose that is a bittersweet something, RD.

Set 29, 6:50 pm

>192 PaulCranswick: It is indeed, PC.
I'm leaning in to the #Deathtober vibe for my blog and reviews...true-crime, thriller, mystery, politics, and all the other evil scary stuff all month.

Set 29, 10:16 pm

>193 richardderus: I'm terrified, RD!

Sorry about the big deluge.

Set 30, 5:38 am

For someone who likes cake (if not eating it often), I've never got into the bake off RD, but from LT I see there are many US fans.

>189 richardderus: Glad you managed to protect the new carpet.

Set 30, 8:48 am

>194 vancouverdeb: I'll do my best to unnerve, unsettle, and upset you all month've been warned!


The deluge continues outside, but the maintenance guys have contained the intrusions...for now.

Set 30, 8:55 am

>195 Caroline_McElwee: I think GBBO is my jam (!) because I can't bake or cook anymore. I love living vicariously through their creative energy. The current season has a baker called Abbi who's a forager...served a WILD poppyseed cake with WILD blackcurrants and decorated with gorse petals! And it was good! This is just fascinating to me. How did she come up with this idea?!

I'm not so much interested in the carpet as NOT interested in the mold wet carpet would bring.

Cheers, Caro! *smooch*

Editado: Set 30, 9:32 am

September in Review

I reviewed twenty-six books this month, inspired by #NationalTranslationMonth hot on the heels of August's #WomenInTranslationMonth. I get lots of DRCs, and reviewing them never happens in a timely way without some sort of external goad. But the good news is there were more hits than duds. This month, the biggest hit was without doubt The Words That Remain, probably going to be my 2023 six-stars-of-five book; followed very closely by Recital of the Dark Verses, a trippy and original take on materialism's triumph over religion.

Much as I wanted to love BAYARD RUSTIN: A Legacy of Protest and Politics, the best thing it did for me was cause me to seek out Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin at last. That was a wonderful voyage of discovery for me, to see in carefully presented factual terms the unbelivably passionate life of crusader Rustin. What a soul he had! Where is our 21st century Rustin? She needs to show up soon!

As I said in >193 richardderus: I'll be running reviews of the mystery/thriller/true crime genre for the most part in October...I get lots of those DRCs and freebies for my Kindle, so I need to take care of that backlog. Don't know if I can get to twenty-six reviews again but it won't be for lack of stuff to review. Wish me luck!

Set 30, 9:02 am

087 The Age of Skin by Dubravka Ugrešić (tr. Ellen Elias-Bursać)

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: These essays are written on the skin of the times. Dubravka Ugrešić, winner of the Neustadt International Prize and one of Europe’s most influential writers, with biting humor and a multitude of cultural references—from La La Land and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to tattoos and body modification, World Cup chants, and the preservation of Lenin’s corpse—takes on the dreams, hopes, and fears of modern life. The collapse of Yugoslavia, and the author’s subsequent exile from Croatia, leads to reflections on nationalism and the intertwining of crime and politics. Ugrešić writes at eye level, from a human perspective, in portraits of people from the former Eastern Bloc, who work as cleaners in the Netherlands or start underground shops with products from their country of origin.

A rare and welcome combination of irony, compassion, and a sharp polemic gaze characterizes these beautiful and highly relevant essays.


My Review
: There is a timelessness to the literary form we call the screed. These extended snorts of derision, grumbles of dissatisfaction, howls of anguish, form in their bulk a screed against Ugrešić's many crotchets with the modern capitalist, hyperconsumptive, obsessional "culture" that's permeated our planet and bids fair to destroy its capacity to support us.
Technology has empowered him, our former statistic, to finally take center stage. Did not he, this worm in human form, also come into the world to leave his mark?! And sure enough, the little guys have raced to leave their mark, developing in the process voracious appetites: some of them strip naked and bare their posterior, others their genitalia, some sing, others write, some dance, others paint, while some are multiplexes and do all of this at once. The little guy has finally conquered the media.

The technology to have what Andy Warhol famously predicted would be our universally available "world-famous for fifteen minutes" cultural due is in place; is being used; and exacerbates the overuse of resources by the stupid on their individual search of their fifteen-minute slice:
Where did I go wrong, a friend of mine asked, an astrophysicist. He was left jobless, and scrolled through his computer to find something, anything, to make ends meet. There before him on the computer screen loomed Kim Kardashian’s large, oiled butt.{...} Kim Kardashian’s butt came jumping off every website, the world over, wherever he clicked. My friend realized this butt was the final greeting from a civilization breathing its last, and he relaxed. The Kardashian meteorite came slowly closer, in another second it would crash into Earth and shatter into a million bits. Where have I gone wrong, asked the astrophysicist with the last vestiges of his brain.

Flaunt what you like, show what you've got, no one's paying attention because everyone's looking for their reflection in your shiny, oiled-up abs, ass, tits.
{A}ll the world looks like a beach party, bare-naked bodies chanting Gorky’s man, how proud it sounds, that everything is cool, couldn’t be cooler, the party will last till the liberated bodies are stilled by that inevitable shovelful of dirt.

Even after they pat you in the face with a spade, your selfies and your butt will be proof for so long as the bits and bytes have juice to keep them available to whoever cares to look that You Were Here, that once upon a time Granny had a slammin' beach bod, that Papaw was well-hung, that Mom and Dad liked anal, too.
Everyone is preoccupied with their own life, their own little existence. And as long as people stare obsessively at their reflection on the smooth screen, there will be no room for the lives of others, there is simply no room.

No room, no room...never enough room for all the nothing-much that people want to insulate themselves against oblivion with, the immense pile of stuff we're pretty much padded from the grim reality that all that stuff came from someone's labor, made from resources they can't access, and all you're doing with it is plonking it into a (rented) storage unit until you die and whoever has to clean up after you throws it out, sells it, donates it to the needy.
And when the victims are many, there’s no place for them in human hearts of average emotional capacity. It bears remembering that in this society of ours, rooted in an overweening happiness, empathy has been jettisoned.

"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me," says the original christian according to Matthew...and haven't his co-religionists just taken that right to heart, as written though not as it was intended. In a world padded by stuff the blows of misfortune and reversal aren't as sharp, are thye, so stuff is doing its job...dulling you to the reality that all the noise, all the "I AM, I AM, I AM" we shout onto the smooth screens reflecting the vacant spots that are the Others, is an appalling, desperate din of misery and not a joyful noise unto the lord.
Stupidity has become, over time, far too burdensome for me. I am finding it difficult to breathe under its weight and cannot shake free of it. I tried for a while with laughter, and, to be sure, that helped. But now stupidity has barged in, made itself at home, and soaked up all the oxygen. A quarter century ago, stupidity grabbed the microphone, gleeful with self-confidence, and hogged center stage. There is no hope that it will be relinquishing its position any time soon.

Bitter, disillusioned old curmudgeon that I am, Dubravka Ugrešić speaks for me more eloquently than I can mange to do for myself. Her death in March, 2023, was a huge loss of honesty, clarity, and grouchy, disappointed screed-making. I know I feel it as a loss. If you read these trenchant essays I expect you might, as well.

Set 30, 10:08 am

Hoping the rain abates soon and your room stays mostly dry. *smooch*

Set 30, 10:15 am

I'm sending all kinds of protective wards guards against water your way, Richard. I hope everything is getting settled even as I type.

>193 richardderus: Yes. October's Friday the 13th is my birthday. I was born on Friday too. I suppose y'all should be very afraid.

*smooch* anyway

Set 30, 10:44 am

>200 MickyFine: Thank you, Micky. I'm glad to report that the watery intrusions haven't repeated themselves. YAY!

The rain should be falling off here directly so the evening should be lovely. I'm hoping so, anyway. *smooch*

Set 30, 10:46 am

>201 LizzieD: Born on a Friday the 13th! Wow...the kids in your grade-school classes must've been really cruel about that. My stepmother was born on Halloween, and did she ever hear about it!


Set 30, 11:27 am

>189 richardderus: Yeesh!

Glad it wasn't worse - but double yeesh anyway.

Set 30, 11:36 am

>198 richardderus: I was notified that my copy of The Words That Remain is on it's way :)

Stay dry and have a lovely Saturday.

Set 30, 12:04 pm

>189 richardderus: Yikes! Having your place flood is awful, as I know from personal experience. Glad you managed to save the new carpet, but how stressful! Thank goodness the rain is stopping. Tomorrow's supposed to be beautiful. What a relief!

I still get flooding in the stairwell outside my kitchen door, but it stays under control due to the very expensive but worth every penny automatic pump I bought last spring. If I hadn't, I'd have had to stay up all night for the past two nights turning the not-automatic pump on and off as needed. As it is, I slept like a log all night.

>193 richardderus: Love it!

Set 30, 12:53 pm

Hiya, RDear! Happy Saturday.

>179 richardderus: Interesting take on karma and books. Sorta scares me, actually.

>189 richardderus: Wow, sorry you got flooded. I saw pics and videos of NYC and it’s awful up there. I hope things are back under control today, although it sounds like they’re going to need to re-patch.

>198 richardderus: Fantastic month! Congrats. Best of luck on your crime theme for October.

>199 richardderus: It’s in my cart because of the mention of World Cup chants and tattoos… we’ll see if I actually press Place Your Order.


Set 30, 1:15 pm

>204 ArlieS: The sun being out now, I feel glad most of the risk is gone. AND glad it wasn't a lot worse!

Set 30, 1:16 pm

>205 RebaRelishesReading: All the YAY! I hope you end up loving it, Reba. *smooch*

Set 30, 1:37 pm

Happy weekend, Richard. I’m glad the sun has come out and you didn’t float away to Massachusetts.

Good reviews. What’d you think of This is How You Lose the Time War? I can see it going love or hate with you.

I’m reading a 750+ graphic novel called The Complete The Killer. I suspect that is what you imagine hell to be. For me, it’s a bit of heaven - lots of smart noir.

Set 30, 1:48 pm

>206 Storeetllr: It's been very nice here for the last hour. I hope we'll get more of this! Good work on the pump, sleep's the best. *smooch*

Set 30, 1:54 pm

>207 karenmarie: It's darn good and scary, TBH...karma might be real, which to me means "do right even when you can't do good."

Thanks for the good wishes about my monthlies. My flooding was pissant compared to most flood victims. The chances of them repatching the ceiling are nil because there's still wallboard up there, soggy or not.

We shall see re:'s nice to come home to a familiar voice. *smooch*

Set 30, 1:59 pm

>210 jnwelch: Hiya Joe! Happy to see you here. I'm still stuck into the glacier-dropped sands from the flood of Lake Agassiz.

I didn't like the time war book...Red & Blue? really?...and yes, 700 pages of squooshed-up drawings with four or five words scattered around apparently randomly does indeed sound like hell!

Set 30, 3:59 pm

Sorry to hear about the flooding. Hope you're dry now.

Thanks for the GBBO updates. >;-)

My brother was born on 31st October. I was jealous as his birthday always fell in half term, while mine only landed in the Easter holidays of Easter is late. It's the little things that are important. Must remember to send a card next month.

Set 30, 4:11 pm

>214 Helenliz: Hi Helen...snug as a bug in a rug now, thank goodness. The GBBO season-opener seemed to me to be fun, though really it's all much of a muchness if the series hasn't gripped you before now. Alison's a good addition to the lineup of front-facing staff, and the innuend this week was side-splitting. Such a cute beaver shot!


Out 1, 7:41 am

I hope the flooding is over and all is well in your world. Happy weekend *smooch*

Out 1, 7:59 am

>216 bell7: Thanks, further rains predicted, no further water encroached...all's well. Of course the shift to nicer weather exacted its toll of pain, but that's S.O.P.


Out 1, 8:02 am

088 The President’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood

Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: The incredible story of the First Lady who clandestinely assumed the presidency

Socialite Edith Bolling has been in no hurry to find a new husband since she was widowed, preferring to fill her days with good friends and travel. But the enchanting courting of President Woodrow Wilson wins Edith over and she becomes the First Lady of the United States. The position is uncomfortable for the fiercely independent Edith, but she's determined to rise to the challenges of her new marriage—from the bloodthirsty press to the shadows of the first World War.

Warming to her new role, Edith is soon indispensable to her husband's presidency. She replaces the staff that Woodrow finds distracting, and discusses policy with him daily. Throughout the war, she encrypts top- secret messages and despite lacking formal education becomes an important adviser. When peace talks begin in Europe, she attends at Woodrow's side. But just as the critical fight to ratify the treaty to end the war and create a League of Nations in order to prevent another, Woodrow's always-delicate health takes a dramatic turn for the worse. In her determination to preserve both his progress and his reputation, Edith all but assumes the presidency herself.

Now, Edith must contend with the demands of a tumultuous country, the secrets of Woodrow's true condition, and the potentially devastating consequences of her failure. At once sweeping and intimate, The President's Wife is an astonishing portrait of a courageous First Lady and the sacrifices she made to protect her husband and her country at all costs.


My Review
: Charming historical fiction about two people of riper years whose love for each other is tested, re-tested, and ultimately short-lived due to death.

So many things about Woodrow Wilson are awful to me. A racist, an ivory-tower academic without the track record to be the strong-arming law-ramming president thr first World War demanded; but most of all the man who gave away the keys to the economy to the banksters of Jekyll Island's cabal in 1913, thus dooming us to cycles of boom and bust that would only get worse every time the banksters clawed more money from our pockets to feed their greed and gambling addiction.


That not being what this book's about, let me tell you about it, not him.

First of all, it's a novel about two older people whose lives are mostly behind them finding comfort and companionship at the end. That one of them is the president of the US is, in a strange way, tangential to their story. They had a true connection to each other as people, as a man and a woman left alone by the deaths of their spouses. Author Wood gives us the sense that, had they met without this central fact being present, they likely would've had an affair because they were so simpatico. The way their relationship played out, so very publicly, and at such high volume, meant that the end of the affair was inevitably going to be marriage...nothing less would assuage the "moral standards" of the day. Edith Bolling was, thank goodness, a practical person, aware of the world around her and its demands; also to be praised is her full belief in Wilson's political and social progressivism (as far as it went, anyway), so her voice was added to his, not in conflict with it in the battles he was waging.

The Great War, as World War One was called at the time, was only one item on Wilson's plate and isn't the major focus of the book. More weight is given to the all-important enfranchisement of women. This is the one unqualified success of Wilson's presidency. Edith Bolling Wilson was influential on the president's support for this amendment to the Constitution.

Again, more important than the history lesson of the book is the close relationship between these two people. The background of their lives together was always public, and the work they did together was consequential to this very day. But they themselves, as people, are Author Wood's focus. She does not present them as superhuman archetypes. Thy are believable characters, strong people with powerful convictions, who found each other in the last act of the play that is a human's life. Their needs and their interests matched so well that it feels, to this elderly reader, as though they each found the satisfaction of an entire lifetime's search for their best partner.

It's a fine story, about interesting people, and it's told well. Enjoy it soon.

Out 1, 8:25 am

Happy Sunday, Richard. Hope the weekend is humming along for you. It continues to be gorgeous here. It will inch up to the mid-80s but the nights will remain cool. Books & football today.

>93 richardderus: I love it!!

Out 1, 8:32 am

>219 msf59: Isn't that meme a riot? It tickled me when I found it on Twitter (still refuse to use the dirty-movie name).

Enjoy your lovely Sunday plans, Mark! I, too, will be footballing but in my case involuntarily.

Out 1, 10:03 am

‘Morning, RDear! Happy Sunday to you.

>218 richardderus: I was fascinated with Wilson in high school, still have a journal I had to keep for one class or another in which I wrote out his Fourteen Points. I’m less fascinated with fictional novels about historical figures, unless they’re peripheral to the main action. But your review is a good one of a book where the historical aspects of the people are, as you say, tangential to what the author's aiming for.

It's going to be 80F today, but the sun angles and light proclaim fall so I'm happy.


Out 1, 10:49 am

Burgoine #23

The Weight of Ghosts by Laila Halaby

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: The Weight of Ghosts is a circling of grief following the death of the author’s older son when he was 21, a horror that was compounded by her younger son’s drug use, the country’s slow eruption as it dealt with its own brokenness, and reckoning the author had to do regarding her own story. Weight is a lyrical reclaiming and an insistence by the author that she own the rights to her story, which is American flavored with an unreleasing elsewhere. Weight is an immigrant story and a love story. While it is raw and honest and tragic, it is also a hopeful, funny, and original telling that demonstrates the strength of the human spirit, while offering a vocabulary for these most unmanageable human experiences.


My Review
: I need to listen to myself. I don't like poetry, the feeling I always have of being talked at by the poet not to by the writer; and this is, make no mistake, poetry with prose's line breaks added. I relate to the lady's grief at the loss of her child and the many issues surrounding being Other in the increasingly hostile US. If you like poetry, give it a whirl, but for me it felt like many more than its two-hundred-ish pages of being told I'm defective for not "getting" the ever-so-pretty (I suppose) phrases.

Out 1, 11:08 am

>221 karenmarie: Morning, Horrible! Wilson's legacy is pretty solidly awful, but he had a few good ideas and a couple important successes. 80° is downright chilly compared to y'all's fifteen-month-long summer heat. The light is indeed slanted in a new way and NOTHING means more to me than that harbinger of darker, colder days ahead.

Out 1, 12:36 pm

Here comes the sun! Woohoo! This coming week is supposed to be perfect, weather-wise. Enjoy!

Out 1, 1:16 pm

>224 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! Gorgeous day today, and a run of 'em to come, is kind of my fall vibe...the loveliness of breezes you don't need just to keep from fainting in the heat...sunshine that doesn't feel like it's battering you...air that doesn't need chewing it's so humid...*bliss*

Out 2, 12:46 am

While you have had to deal with rain - and lots of it, we are dry as a bone here in Alabama. I have been back here for 36 days and there has been nary a drop of water fall here in all that time. Well - almost no water. We did get .25 of rain one afternoon.

It is so dry here that the state has banned all outdoor burning, and this being Alabama, that kind of ban is serious. Folks down here don't like the authorities telling them they can't burn their trash in their back yards, or back woods, or back anythings.

Editado: Out 2, 2:00 am

>198 richardderus: And I thought I was doing well writing up 15 reviews this past month. Maybe for me, good. However, I mostly don't even write in depth, so your record there at 26 is an accomplished, blow-away number 🎉 !

More than a couple of my books didn't even rate mention on my talk thread. Two were terrible books, one especially deserving of being used to wrap the garbage in...

Oh well, cheers from here. It's October and next weekend (2nd Sunday of the month ya know), I'll be making pumpkin pie.

Out 2, 6:53 am

'Morning, RDear. Happy Monday to you.

>223 richardderus: For some reason I don't remember this summer as being particularly vicious - it's become the norm or we truly had a less awful one than usual. It's 51F right now, but will get to 83F again today.

I've got a few errands planned for today and some reading and puttering.


Out 2, 7:29 am

>226 benitastrnad: Happy week-ahead's reads, Benita...hoping some of the humidity gets fat and belly-flops onto y'all's...clay....

Alabackward don't like the yankees tellin' 'em not to lynch the colored folk, neither. *eeeccchhh* No wonder von Braun picked it for his US HQ.

Out 2, 7:37 am

>227 SandyAMcPherson: Hiya Sandy! Thanks for the kind words. Well, it's more like I'm trying to keep flexing my brain after the January strokes. Without continuing effort, i wouldn't have gotten as good at typing as I am now. It takes me less than half the time as it did in May to type a post. I'm using different fingers to do it now than in December, but it's all down to bloody-minded determination to keep doing it so I can regain my skills...including thinking...and they're all slower and harder than they were. But they're getting easier, and I want that back.


Out 2, 7:49 am

>228 karenmarie: Morning, Horrible! You're out and about quite early...I hope that's because you've got appointments and not because Morpheus was off canoodling with someone else.

The summer was not, I think, unusually hot on the East Coast by enough of a margin to make us take notice. It's how long it's lasted that's the big change. Not much we can do about it that, I hope, we're not already doing. The Larger Forces want to keep their effort to a minimum and shove the problem down to those who already will suffer more for it.

Out 2, 7:51 am

089 The Cipher by Kathe Koja

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: "Black. Pure black and the sense of pulsation, especially when you look at it too closely, the sense of something not living but alive."

When a strange hole materializes in a storage room, would-be poet Nicholas and his feral lover Nakota allow their curiosity to lead them into the depths of terror. "Wouldn't it be wild to go down there?" says Nakota. Nicholas says, "We're not." But no one is in control, and their experiments lead to obsession, violence, and a very final transformation for everyone who gets too close to the Funhole.


My Review
: Republished thirty years on, this debut horror novel far exceeds my memory of it; when it came out, I wasn't interested in its eldritch overtones and dismissed its literary charms far too readily for that reason. Still not that interested in cosmic horror, as horror anyway, since the crap people do to each other every day scares me a lot more than some Evil Force somehow making people do awful stuff or, sillier still, does awful stuff to them despite being disembodied...possession and so forth come under the heading of mental illness untreated or undiagnosed in my materialist worldview.

But honestly, so what. This is a story, fiction with all that implies. Author Koja's been at this gig for decades now, and it's clear she started strong with this debut. Like all well-made fiction, this novel tells us truths about ourselves and our world. Self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression, all come into the story and are treated with due respect. This being thirty years ago, maybe not the way we'd talk about them now, but they aren't presented as reasons to become a victim.

The power dynamics of this book are very intricate. Upper hands slip. Control falters. People don't behave in reasonable ways, ever! The story unspools at a fairly brisk clip and rewards your attention to its details. Since this is a body horror novel, you know violent changes will be wrought on humans. It's part of our culture to revel in this strange obsession with involuntary body modification and/or death. Not always to my personal taste. This story's main appeal isn't its physical violence but its quieter, less obtrusive dealings with the power within a relationship, how it's used, what it does to the parties involved...and, on that level, this story *rocks*! Can't recommend it unreservedly, see the CWs, but recommend it I do to my fellow #Deathtober fans.

Out 2, 11:04 am

>188 richardderus: Yes, I have found that "enjoy" comes in a lot of different disguises. Sometimes I use the word "appreciate" instead, depending on the book.

>189 richardderus: Wow! I hope you can get everything dried out and keep it that way!

>232 richardderus: Horror is just not my thing.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Out 2, 11:55 am

>230 richardderus: Good for you!! (and you seem to be doing very well so keep it up).

>232 richardderus: -- it may be good and you may have liked it but I would never intentionally start a "horror" book or go to a "horror" film...definitely NOT my thing. Glad you liked it though :)

Happy new week kind sir.

Out 2, 2:13 pm

>213 richardderus:. 😂. I had a feeling you wouldn’t have liked the Lose the Time War book, despite the awards. The GN dislike was a foregone conclusion. What was I thinking even raising it?!

Out 2, 4:18 pm

>234 RebaRelishesReading: Reba! You STUN me! How could a cultured and intelligent woman like you *not* zip herself into her hazmat suit and wade hip-deep into the gore and perversity of a body-horror book?

Thank you for the encouraging words. It's not as easy to do stuff as it was before but it's worth thrying to make it ever incrementally easier.

Out 2, 4:20 pm

>235 jnwelch: *chuckle* Probably your dharmic best to keep me off-balance enough to see the light, if I don't miss my guess.

Out 2, 6:01 pm

Happy that my review of The Peculiarities pleased the publisher enough that they featured me in the September wrap-up blog here.

Out 2, 8:06 pm

Rewatching season 10 of Cake Week, I just now realized that Dan is heterochromic. All these years and I never once noticed!

Out 2, 10:00 pm

>230 richardderus: 👍
Positive thinking is your best friend (besides Rob).

Out 3, 2:17 am

*smooch* RD. Off to the tooth grinder tomorrow! Ugh!I'll let you know if I survive.

Editado: Out 3, 7:20 am

Hey, RD. Yep, up and raring to go. Off on an early solo bird stroll. Trying to beat the heat. Very warm here today but things really start dropping off on Thursday. I am finally finishing off The Singapore Grip. A strong and exhausting way to end this terrific trilogy.

Out 3, 7:27 am

>240 SandyAMcPherson: Positive thinking? More like yearning! I'm still determined to keep going for more and better, when most people have decided to be limited. That attitude makes me itch...if it's possible to do something about what's ailing me, I'm doing it.

Rob says I am the best role model he's ever had. I was chuffed with that.

Out 3, 7:28 am

>241 vancouverdeb: May your fangs emerge sparkly and sharp and ready to rip thr throats out of your enemies.

...hmm...that sounded weirder on the screen than it did in my head....


Out 3, 7:29 am

>242 msf59: Heat needs beating, indeed. It will get to a too-warm 75° here today, but such are the vicissitudes....

Out 3, 8:46 am

Get your pearl-clutching hands ready! about to say something christian-positive!

Out 3, 8:48 am

>246 richardderus: The 'unpopular friends' part isn't going to work here.

Delurking to wave 'hello'!

Out 3, 9:19 am

>247 humouress: Hi Nina! Happy to have my Singaporean book-Romulan delurking. *smooch*

Out 3, 9:31 am

‘Morning, RD, and happy Tuesday to you.

>231 richardderus: Morpheus was hanging out at a bar, group dancing, taking tequila shots with beer chasers, and THEN canoodling with someone else. I got less than 4 hours of sleep two nights ago, and that was including 2 short naps. Last night was much better.

I spoke with a friend of Peggy’s yesterday who I’ll probably be able to meet up with next week. She and her husband were in the NC mountains for over a week recently and all the locals were amazed that there were no mid-day rainstorms/showers AT ALL during that time. Can you say climate change?

>232 richardderus: Hmmm. Probably not, and I don’t even think I’ll put it on my wish list. However, feral lover Nakota got my attention. But, no. (peeks at the description again) No.

>246 richardderus: I know several Christians who are of this brand of Christianity here in LT and several in RL, but as a whole, Christians don’t walk the walk that Jesus talked and walked.


Out 3, 10:14 am

>249 karenmarie: ...except, of course, there never was a person named "Jesus" to emulate...a complete fabrication of some weird cultists but not even a consistent fantasy construct until Constantine realized political control was ineffective and shifted to the much more efficient religious form of thuggery.


Well, anyway, I'm glad Morpheus has amended his ways and cuddled up to you. The meetupp sounds lurvely! I think you're wise to skip >232 richardderus:, and permaybehaps tomorrow's books, too. *smooch*

Out 3, 11:49 am

>232 richardderus: Being a Deathtober fan, this one look really good. However, my library only has it in, of all things, German. Oh well. Maybe I’ll find a copy somewhere else someday.

Out 3, 12:27 pm

090 The Secret They Hid: Gripping WWII fiction (Margot's Secret Book 1) by Roberta Kagan

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: All's not fair in love and war.

As the Great War rages, two brothers, Leo and Alex, are ensnared in a captivating love triangle with the stunning Adelaide. While Leo is the unwavering protector, Alex, the enigmatic seducer, ultimately captures Adelaide's heart.

Their lives are further complicated by a baby girl of hidden Jewish lineage—a secret burden Leo chooses to bear alone. When the brothers are drafted to war, their world is torn apart, leaving Adelaide to navigate the treacherous waters of survival and betrayal.

As years go by and the landscape of their homeland changes with Hitler's rise, the family secrets become a ticking time bomb. Margot's true lineage, hidden in plain sight, becomes the very thing that may tear the family apart.

Dive into Roberta Kagan's heart-stopping saga of love, secrets, and the harsh price of betrayal during one of history's darkest times.


My Review
: Another day, another family saga.

Secrets, lies, reprobate men, stupid women who believe them; why does this plot still appeal? Because all of us like to see the struggle of life played out in such a deeply misguided way so we can feel smug, is my guess. "I wouldn't do that," we say, without thinking of the innumerable bad decisions we've made on any number of fronts.

I myownself liked the viewpoint of an ordinary, working-class family coping with the endless horrific challenges of economic and social chaos in the wake of devastating wartime losses and privations. Not so great for this reader was the writing style, which I'll characterize as "serviceable." So the focus of my attention is squarely on the way the grim costs of war and then defeat are borne by women. The role Adelaide fulfills, provider, nurturer, support and helpmeet, is frankly superhuman. The stoic resignation of the Heroic Woman was overplayed; the longing, yearning, crying out stuff wore on me.

The second part of the book is clearly the one that the author was more interested in. The three sisters raised by Saint Adelaide the Mother are coming of age just as Hitler is rising to power by promising to Make Germany Great Again. (This line never fails to get the stupids into line behind it, does it?) Of course, we know the future they're groping towards will explode a time-bomb that Alex planted decades ago, and Saint Adelaide the Mother isn't even aware of the awfulness ahead despite knowing only a little of the story.

Kitchen-sink drama and a setting we don't see often, from a viewpoint we see even less of than the setting. The one caution I'll repeat is that the writing isn't more than okay at any point, so if the time and place don't appeal, it's not likely to thrill you.

Out 3, 12:49 pm

>251 Storeetllr: GERMAN?! Why ever? Does your bit of upstate have a wormhole through to Bavaria or something?

It'll show up somewhere, I'm sure; I hope you like it when it does. *smooch*

Out 3, 12:51 pm

>246 richardderus: I love that! I do not own any pearls though - unless you count the Nancy Pearl books I own.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Out 3, 12:53 pm

>253 richardderus: Since that's how you live your life, Stasia, I'm really not surprised you enjoyed that meme.


Out 3, 1:03 pm

>255 richardderus: I try, RD. I really do.

Out 3, 1:04 pm

>256 alcottacre: You do indeed, and you're more successful than not at it.

Out 3, 1:21 pm

>257 richardderus: Thank you for that :)

Out 3, 1:28 pm

>258 alcottacre: de rien, ma amie

Out 3, 3:57 pm

>253 richardderus: I know. Weird, right?!?

I may try again another day in case this is just a glitch.

Out 4, 7:26 am

091 The Black Tree Atop The Hill by Karla Yvette

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: What came first in this Gothic Western, the ghosts, or The Black Tree Atop the Hill? Set in an alternate American old-west that is hauntingly familiar yet strangely off-putting, Marisol is the first to see the tree on the hill, but that’s only to be expected. As the witch of Jack Boyd’s ranch, her job is to notice threats, even amid a most disastrous calving season. It is up to Marisol and the ranch’s ghost to work together to stop mysteriously spreading trees from taking over their ranch, California, and the entirety of the country. But real magic requires sacrifice, and Marisol is not certain she is prepared to accept the consequences of what she must do to stop the trees’ advance.

This is a story about believing in intuition against the rain, about the violence of nature and of those who inflict it. Gothic gardeners explore the question of nature’s home in a progressing world.

Oozing with conflicting resolutions and twisty insides, this is a stunning debut by Portland artist Karla Yvette.


My Review
: I'm not sure how I got through the awful animal-horror bits. Must be because they weren't perpetrated upon the poor things after they were alive, but were part of a really awful curse that was put on this ranch—and the rest of California—in this altered Western. Folk horror-Gothic horror-tinges of cosmic horror...why the heck would I, materialist extraordinaire, like reading this?!

For one thing, it's short and succinct. Marisol's got a job to do, protecting people from the rampant ill-meant magic flowing everywhere. She doesn't dawdle around being scared or feeling put-upon, she focuses on her protection duties...thank goodness!

What worked best for me in this read was the pacing. A close second was the fact thar Author Yvette never put in any excessive "world-building" aka infodumping're where you are, get used to it...and that works best when I'm being asked to suspend disbelief for the space of a novella. If this were a full-on novel, I'd miss the infodumping. The brevity of a novella, which is the exact right length for this story, is stodged up by too much detail of the rules the characters are all playing by. They know them, and I'm happy to follow their lead...for this long, anyway.

Marisol, as expected, carries the story forward. Her ideas about the curse, about the ghost of the rancher's dead wife, and her job, are the really interesting part of the read. The thing that always engages my forward-going gears in a read is a story of underdogs who face down the Powers That Be when it would be easier, and more sensible, to give in and give up. Not being too much of a giver-upper, I like that plot. The Lodge, in this story, functions as a church of sorts regulating magic and punishing its, of course, defined by the Lodge. Marisol's magic isn't sanctioned by the Lodge yet she's the one who figures out what the heck is making things on Jack's ranch go so awfully wrong. That's always going to poke the people I don't like in their softest spot: Their hegemony.

All the way around a good tale well-told, an interestingly off-kilter from consensus normality setting, and a heroine whose power comes from her own resources. Definitely a winner for me!

Out 4, 7:32 am

>260 Storeetllr: I certainly hope it was just a glitch, Mary. It'd be a shame to have to skip over it.


Out 4, 7:36 am

092 Menewood by Nicola Griffith

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: In the much anticipated sequel to Hild, Nicola Griffith's Menewood transports readers back to seventh-century Britain, a land of rival kings and religions poised for epochal change.

Hild is no longer the bright child who made a place in Edwin Overking's court with her seemingly supernatural insight. She is eighteen, honed and tested, the formidable Lady of Elmet, now building her personal stronghold in the valley of Menewood.

But Edwin needs his most trusted advisor. Old alliances are fraying. Younger rivals are snapping at his heels. War is brewing—bitter war, winter war. Not knowing who to trust he becomes volatile and unpredictable. Hild begins to understand the true extent of the chaos ahead, and now she must navigate the turbulence and fight to protect both the kingdom and her own people.

Hild will face the losses and devastation of total war, and then she must find a new strength, the implacable determination to forge a radically different path for herself and her people. In the valley, her last redoubt, her community slowly takes root. She trains herself and her unexpected allies in new ways of thinking as she prepares for one last wager: risking all on a single throw for a better future...

In the last decade, Hild has become a beloved classic of epic storytelling. Menewood picks up where that journey left off, and exceeds it in every way.


My Review
: Pearl-clutchers get your grips ready: I'm going to say some nice things about a christian abbess.

Of course, her christian belief is...muted? inflected? yes, the ancient practices of seventh-century Northumbria (a name she wouldn't have known of or used, but firmly established in our modern idea of the time and place). Her christian belief is, by most modern standards, heretical. The Roman priests in this story don't come off that well. They're not alone. King Edwin, whose godmouth Hild is still, is singularly blind to the way his rulership's grip drives the agendas of many angry, ill-willed forces around him.

They are using deeply predictable pathways to bring his rule down, yet he needs Hild's counsel to identify the threats. It's ever thus: Power is as always its own worst enemy. Look at the extensive historical record. All dictators eventually fall, even if it's sometimes quite a lengthy process. What Griffith does brilliantly is in the construction of the story of Hild's rise and the fall of an older world. Her inventions and fictionalizations of this history make sense of some things that our few contemporary(ish) sources apply generous slatherings of handwavium to. It's not, in the end, a story with huge depths of character but rather one with immense scope and sweep of events, and actions taken, purposes found, lives changed and morphed. That being a good kind of historical epic strategy, I'm on board.

Good thing, too, as there are seven hundred-ish pages of Hild's story.

Expect action, don't expect explication. The last book's, um, meatyness and squalor as I think it's fair to characterize it, is still a major register of the narrative voice. You're going to want to bookmark the maps, the notes, and the glossary. There is also, in the ebook, a hyperlink to the author's website where there is a wealth of information about who was who and who never really was and what the hell all those freaky-deaky names mean. In fact this historical novel has more source citations than many history books claiming factuality I've read here recently. It works very much to Author Griffith's favor that she spends a goodly amount of time in her endnotes explaining why she made some choices regarding names and naming conventions, as well as giving a Cliffs Notes course in the unreliability of our best sources on the grounds of non-neutrality.

For this cranky old man reader, Hild is only coming more and more to matter as she moves from fey young girlhood to her surprisingly potent womanhood. I love the fact that this woman, this member of a group outrageously repressed and abused for the majority of the millennium-plus since Hild's death, is the only person powerful enough to change the course of the world (go look up the Synod of Whitby). That isn't in this book, but it'd better be in a future one. This character is far, far too amazing to drop now!

A hardcover of this length is pricey and hard for older and disabled people to manage as an object as well as a significant purchase. All I can say is that the read is worth accepting these obstacles to get in your head.

Out 4, 7:53 am

Happy Wednesday, RD. A cold front with rain arrives tomorrow, so I plan on getting out with my birding buddy this AM. I also have a pair of Jackson days coming up, starting tomorrow. 😁❤️

>246 richardderus: Go Jesus! I love it.

Out 4, 8:21 am

>264 msf59: Hi Birddude! I'm glad you're getting in the birding time before Jackson arrives for multiple days...I know you're hiding your actual irritation at having to do Bree's child-care very well, as a good Daddy must.

Isn't that just the best poke at the sanctimonious unchristians of the right wing?

Out 4, 10:43 am

>263 richardderus: Ooh, you got me with Menewood! Actually, I will start with Hild (I actually think I was going to read Hild back then, but never did get to it. Oops.) Time to catch up!

Have a great day, Richard!

Karen O

Out 4, 10:54 am

>266 klobrien2: Morning, Karen O.! Actually, Hild isn'tt necessary to read to get the full effect of Menewood, if you don't have it to hand. I liked it, but I like this one better. No matter which you choose, though, you're in for an immersive read with LOTS of details.


Out 4, 10:55 am

Quick hello, RD. I've gotten behind and Jenna's coming downstairs to make a Mock Apple Pie with me in 5 minutes.

I'll catch up later.


Out 4, 11:07 am

>268 karenmarie: I'm intrigued.

Out 4, 12:14 pm

Out 4, 12:17 pm

>261 richardderus: awful animal-horror bits No, no, and no. Sorry, I just cannot do it.

>263 richardderus: I just recently received Hild so I am very glad to hear that the sequel is good as well.

((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Out 4, 12:22 pm

Good morning, Richard. Hope you have a lovely day.

Out 4, 12:30 pm

>271 alcottacre: Good idea, Stasia...there's nothing in this story that makes me think you'd like the read. Avoid!

Hild,OTOH, will likely make you smile with pleasure at the history bits, if wince and flinch a bit at the, um, meatier aspects of it. Happy to see you! *smooch*

Out 4, 12:31 pm

>272 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba! I'm sure it will be a lovely rest-of day. The morning was a widge irritating.


Out 4, 12:34 pm

>274 richardderus: Bummer to a widge irritating morning. Do hope the rest lives up to your hopes.

Out 4, 12:43 pm

The Cipher - its probably not for me but I was curious about the German edtion that Storeetllr mentioned in >251 Storeetllr:. Los Angeles Public Library only has it in German as well. Weird.

Out 4, 12:48 pm

>263 richardderus: Well, heck. Now I’ve got to get the first book to read before diving into this one. Two BBs for the price of one!

Out 4, 12:54 pm

>275 RebaRelishesReading: It really was just a widge, Reba...not getting things done because others weren't ready for my needs...just delays and being spoiled enough to want to do things when and how I want to! Nothing at all serious.

Out 4, 12:56 pm

>276 mahsdad: I wonder if y'all's libraries aren't getting hacked, so the descriptions show up in German but the books are in English. Malware attacks on libraries are on the rise....

Out 4, 12:58 pm

>277 Storeetllr: Ha! Honest and truly, Mary, Hild isn't necessary to read first! The whole backstory's very interesting bur largely obvious from the context. *smooch*

Editado: Out 4, 1:29 pm

>276 mahsdad: What’s really odd is that I’ve set my language search parameter to English only, yet that German edition popped up. Very weird.

Out 4, 1:29 pm

>279 richardderus: That’s an interesting idea. I am going to double check on it.

Out 4, 2:03 pm

>282 Storeetllr: It's part of the ransomware plague hitting libraries...imagine the staff time chasing down the random substitutions, and the number of people irked, inconvenienced, and angered by something they just don't understand.

I'll be very curious to know if that's it.

Out 4, 3:10 pm

Hiya, RD!

Pie out of the oven, cook’s reward in. Dishes done by Miss J, kitchen back under control. We'll try it soon.

>252 richardderus: the time and place don't appeal, it's not likely to thrill you. Code for “Horrible, this isn’t for you”?

>261 richardderus: The brevity of a novella, which is the exact right length for this story, I’ve been reading more novellas in recent months, some that work, some that don’t. I’m almost tempted to put this on my wish list…

>263 richardderus: Glad you liked it, I’ll pass.

>269 humouress: and >270 richardderus: I’d heard of Mock Apple Pie before, in fact probably have a cut-from-a-newspaper version from the 1970s, but this is from B. Dylan Hollis’s Baking Yesteryear. He is a riot – watch him on Tik Tok or on YouTube. He tries recipes from old cookbooks, some with success, some complete failures. Pie’s out of the oven, Cook’s Reward is out of the oven. The pie needs two hours to solidify – he warns against putting a warm pie in the refrigerator.

>279 richardderus: I heard a story on NPR yesterday morning about book banning and how the Christian Right has expanded beyond preventing their children from reading books to preventing school libraries from having books they don’t like and more and more public libraries.

One woman called them the Christian Taliban. Scary, true, and getting more and more militant and pervasive.


Out 4, 3:44 pm

It was getting to be time, so I've put up the new thread.

Out 4, 3:48 pm

>284 karenmarie: These awful people are a vanishingly small minority and they're using the liberal ideal of accepting other viewpoints with respect to end the very thing they're using against us. It's like the Nazis using the trappings of electoral politics to end elections entirely. No one has the courage to stand publicly and shame them for their evil, like Joe's grandfather did with McCarthy in the 50s.

You've cracked my code, Horrible.

Hollis's YT channel's a hoot and a holler. *smooch*
Este tópico foi continuado por richardderus's fourteenth 2023 thread.