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Blog Literature

2020 in Facts and Figures

I already posted my main 2020 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2021 posts a while ago — only on my new blog (separate post to come) –, but I held back on my 2020 reading statistics until the year was well and truly over.  And for all my good intentions when posting my mid-year […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Sherlock Holmes

24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 – International Human Rights Day, Task 1: Nominate a (fictional) character from one of the books you read this year for a Nobel Prize – regardless which one – or for a similarly important prize (e.g., the Fields Medal for mathematics) and write a brief laudation explaining your nomination.  

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Fun and Games Literature

Terry Pratchett: Hogfather (Annual Holiday Read)

24 Festive Tasks: Door 24 – Hogswatch, Book: Read any Terry Pratchett book or a book with a pig on the cover. So, I listened to Hogfather today … and that’s my Festive Task reads done and dusted! (I may do another couple of non-book tasks tomorrow, though.)  

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Cats Fun and Games Literature

Festivus Scale of Strength: Weighty Books

  24 Festive Tasks: Door 20 – Festivus, Task 2: The Scale of Strength: Pick 3 of your weightiest tomes and place them on a scale.  Tell us the total weight. I used Shakespeare’s Complete Works, my copy of the illustrated guide to Houses of the National Trust, and Eye to Eye, a collection of […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Favorite Rainy Day Reads

24 Festive Tasks: Door 5 – Bon Om Touk, Bonus Task: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads. I suppose it only takes one look at my list of read books this year to determine my favorite rainy day books, as 2020 was essentially one extended rainy day: Golden Age mysteries and […]

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Cooking - Food - Drink Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature

Christmas Tea, a Book, and a Candle

24 Festive Tasks: Door 2 – Guy Fawkes Night, Bonus Task #2: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read. A mug of Christmas Tea with a Yuletide candle and this year’s final (recently republished) Golden Age mystery, Brian Flynn’s […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Susanna Gregory: A Killer in Winter

24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 – Saturnalia, Book: The god Saturn has a planet named after him: Read any work of science fiction that takes place in space, or a nonfiction science / popular science book.  Or read a book revolving around a large party, ball, or festival, or a story where roles are reversed, […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Santa in Literature: Theodor Storm’s “Knecht Ruprecht” and DEATH as Department Store Santa in Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather”

24 Festive Tasks: Door 6 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Task 2: Share with us a paragraph / quote / description / image of your favorite Santa Claus / St. Nick depiction in popular culture, and then tell us why it resonates with you?” E.g., here is the description of Father Christmas from The […]

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Cooking - Food - Drink Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature

Christmas Pudding

  One of my annual Christmas Eve rereads: Agatha Christie’s The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. And we actually do have one this year, too:

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

24 Festive Tasks: Door 20 – Festivus, Book: Read anything comedic; a parody, satire, etc., books with hilariously dysfunctional families (must be funny dysfunctional, not tragic dysfunctional), or anything else that makes you laugh (or hope it does).   I spontaneously decided to revisit Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest — in the 1977 […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Michael Jecks: The Mad Monk of Gidleigh

24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – St. Lucia’s Day, Book: Read a book set in Scandinavia / Northern Europe, by a Northern European / Nordic author, with a predominantly white cover (or white with red lettering), newly released in November or December of this year, or set in the candle-lit world (i.e., before the discovery […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Ellis Peters: The Raven in the Foregate

24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 – International Day for Tolerance, Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, set in Paris (seat of UNESCO), by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.   Earlier this month I reread […]

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Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature

A Bubble Bath and Books

24 Festive Tasks: Door 5 – Bon Om Touk, Task 1: Bon Om Touk takes place on the end of the rainy season with the change of the water’s flow on Tonle Sap River.  The flow direction changes twice a year.  The change in November symbols the calm of the earth that is no longer […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Ngaio Marsh: Off With His Head (aka Death of a Fool)

24 Festive Tasks: Door 10 – First Day of Carnival, Book: Read a book about starting over, rebuilding, new beginnings, etc., or a book where things go “BOOM!”, or with fireworks on the cover.   I decided on a minor Ngaio Marsh mini binge, following up Tied up in Tinsel (my NYE book) with another one […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Ngaio Marsh: Tied Up in Tinsel

24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 – New Year’s Eve, Book: Read a book about starting over, rebuilding, new beginnings, etc., or a book where things go “BOOM!”, or with fireworks on the cover.   For this square, I decided to use my reread of Ngaio Marsh’s Tied up in Tinsel, which is a book where […]

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Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature Movies

Classic Christmas Mystery Movie Binge

24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 – Christmas, Bonus Task #2: Watch a favorite Christmas movie. I binge-watched three of my annual favorite Christmas movies last night — Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The Theft of the Royal Ruby (aka The Christmas Pudding), both starring David Suchet, and the Sherlock Holmes episode The Blue Carbuncle, starring Jeremy Brett and David Burke.   […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Favorite Fictional Societies and Ingredients of a Well-Functioning Real Society

24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 – Saturnalia, Task 2: Saturnalia was originally a celebration in remembrance of the “Golden Age” of Graeco-Roman mythology, ruled over by Saturn (Kronos in Greek), and during which humanity existed in a utopian state of innocence, living off nature’s bounty without having to work. Name a book describing / set […]

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Cooking - Food - Drink Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature

Donna Andrews: The Gift of the Magpie … and Yule Candles, Candy, and Other Christmas Cheer

24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 – Winter Solstice (Yule – Dōngzhì – Soyal – Yaldā Night), Book, Task 1 and Bonus Task #2: Book: Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Round the Fire Stories

This is a group of stories originally published individually in Strand Magazine (and other magazines), and in book form first in 1908. A subset of seven stories were recently republished under the title Tales for a Winter’s Night, and I think overall the editors of the republication did pick the stronger bits of the lot. […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Georgette Heyer: Envious Casca

24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 – Christmas, Book: Read a book whose protagonist is called Mary, Joseph (or Jesus, if that’s a commonly used name in your culture) or any variations of those names (e.g., Maria or Pepe), or a book with pines or fir trees on the cover, or a Christmas book.   I’m […]

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