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The Halloween Creatures Book Tag

Rules: Answer all prompts. Answer honestly. Tag 1-13 people. Link back to this post. ( For me it was SnoopyDoo!) Remember to credit the creator. (Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward)< Have fun!   Witch A Magical Character or Book Terry Pratchett’s witches, particularly Granny Weatherwax. And DEATH (preferably in his Hogfather incarnation). No contest.   […]

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Literature Reviews

Kathryn Harkup: Death by Shakespeare

Hmmm.  After having read and liked — though not loved — Harkup’s book on Agatha Christie’s use of poisons in her mysteries (A Is for Arsenic), it took the Shakespeare fan in me about a millisecond to snatch up this third book of hers when I came across it earlier this year … only to […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Halloween Bingo 2020: The Second Week (+1 Day)

Posting this on Monday instead of Sunday again … oh well. I guess after a near-phenomenal first bingo week it was only to be expected that the second week would not be quite as fabulous. Mind you, I’m not complaining — my card is coming together nicely, and none of the books I read this […]

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Halloween Bingo 2019: Tracking Post — Blackout! (And bingos Nos. 12 and 13.)

  Many thanks to Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for hosting this game for the fourth year in a row, bigger and better than ever before! Witih today’s call, I’ve blacked out my card, in addition to collecting my final bingos (nos. 12 and 13). Somewhat to my surprise, after completing my books for my […]

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Halloween Bingo 2019: Tracking Post — Bingo No. 3 and Reading Blackout

* Triple Bingo Happy Dance * Well, that went by much faster than I had anticipated … Many thanks to Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for hosting this game for the fourth year in a row, bigger and better than ever before! I’ll continue tracking my bingos of course — and since we now have […]

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Halloween Bingo 2019: The Second Week

A day late (though hopefully not a dollar short), here’s my “second bingo week” summary; and it’s a summary of a much better week than the first one turned out to be.  (So, yey!)  For one thing this is due to the books, all of which were either outright winners or at least enjoyable on […]

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Literature Reviews

Bob Berman: Earth-Shattering

Neither as “epic” nor as “profound” as the blurb promises, and definitely higher on the “popular” than on the “science” part of “popular science writing”.  Based on his style of writing, I can very well imagine Berman as a personable guide at his local observatory or as a host of popular radio science programs; the […]

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Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty — Question for 08/09 (Day 9): Book Suggestions for the New Squares? Part 1: “Paint It Black”

Today’s prompt is for favorite horror reads; that not being much of my thing (outside, perhaps, the gothic classics and anything more edifying or funny rather than scary), I think I’m going to leave that prompt to Char, Bark’s Books (aka Bark at the Ghouls), and the site’s other horror fans.  Instead, I’m going to […]

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Jan Zalasiewicz & Mark Williams: Skeletons — The Frame of Life

Less Than What It Could Have Been OK, so I admit I didn’t check on the authors’ scholarly credentials before picking this up — if I had, I might not have been so disappointed to find that this is not, after all (not even in part) a book dealing with the way in which skeletons […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman

War Crimes Laid Bare from Beyond the Grave Some 15+ years ago, towards the end of the years when I was practicing law in the U.S., I was asked to represent a young woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, the former Zaire) in an immigration case.  My client was a Tutsi, in her […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 5: Kosovo

Reading progress update: 256 of 277 pages. The airport of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, is called Kosovo Polje — roughly translated, “blackbird field” (“kos” is blackbird in Serbo-Croat).  Kosovo Polje is also the name of the battle (and battlefield) which, in 1389, opened the door for the Ottoman conquest of large chunks of the […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 4: Croatia

Reading progress update: 194 of 277 pages. Vukovar and Eastern Slavonia: a notorious bone of contention between Croats and Serbs, and a necessary reminder that: 1)  The Serbs weren’t the only ones to commit war crimes, drive out their neighbours or profit from ethnic cleansing.  All sides to the conflict had blood on their hands.  […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 3: Bosnia

Reading progress update: 157 of 277 pages. Srebrenica: The monster of all Bosnian massacre sites, with 8,000 men of all ages taken away from their families and killed in various locations in the Srebrenica area, or picked up and killed on their way to (believed, relative) safety in nearby Tuzla.  The team to which Koff […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 2: Kigali (Rwanda)

Reading progress update: 112 of 277 pages. Second section, Kigali. This part begins with a detail I’d have liked to see mentioned right at the beginning of the book itself: The so-called “Tutsi” and “Hutu” “ethnicity” is anything but that — in fact, it’s not an indigenous African thing at all, but an artificial classification […]

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Clea Koff: The Bone Woman — Part 1: Kibuye (Rwanda)

Reading progress update: 79 of 277 pages. A buddy read with Elentarri and Ani.  As Elentarri says in her first reading status update, Clea Koff was a member of a team of forensic anthropologists who worked on several of major war crimes sites in Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, collecting evidence to be used in […]

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Stephen Brusatte: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Yet another overhyped book Reading Status Updates 8% Flat Book Society November read, and also my read for the New Year’s Eve square in the 24 Festive Tasks game. So far, it’s sounding good — at least you can tell the author is a scientist writing about the subject matter he’s studied.  This makes me […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic

Should come with several prescriptions / warning labels The first caveat, obviously, being “don’t ever try this at home.”  Most of the poisons Harkup discusses are much harder to obtain these days than in Agatha Christie’s time, so for most of them the risk of being used as a murder weapon may have been mitigated […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapters 10 & 11: Phosphorus & Ricin

Phosphorus and Ricin — two particularly nasty ones.  And the way she’s describing the discovery of phosphorus, it sounds like something straight out of a sorcerer’s lab … byproduct of the search for the philosophers’ stone.  Why stop at gold, anyway?!       Overall Review and Comments on Other Chapters: Overall Review Introduction and […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapters 7-9: Monkshood, Nicotine, Opium

What does it say that I read the opium chapter this night, after having woken up at 4:00AM (against all habit)? I can see the temptation in using Sad Cypress as the anchor book for this chapter, and I’m glad Harkup gave an unambiguous spoiler warning this time around before proceeding to give away the […]

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Kathryn Harkup: A Is for Arsenic — Chapter 6: Hemlock

Oh, FIE.  Major spoiler alert. In the “Hemlock” chapter, Harkup gives away — without any prior warning whatsoever — the identity of not one but two of the key suspects in Five Little Pigs who ultimately turn out to be innocent, and she also reveals the answer to the question that Poirot is chiefly asked […]

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