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February and March 2021: Reading Recap

Well, go figure.  The first quarter of 2021 is already behind us, never mind that I’m still having to remind myself on occasion to write “2021” instead of “2020” … (and we’re even a week into April already, but let that go). Anyway, since I never got around to doing a “February in review” post, […]

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Literature Reviews

Robert van Gulik (transl.) & Anonymous: Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Gong An)

This was “technically” a reread, but as unlike Robert van Gulik’s series of mysteries that were inspired by this book, I had not actually revisited the original novel itself in a minor eternity, almost all of it felt as fresh and new as if I had been reading it for the very first time. Although […]

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Literature Reviews

Margaret Atwood: The Robber Bride

Margaret Atwood: The Robber Bride Double sigh.  After the disappointment of Anne Tyler’s take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew I was in serious need of a pick-me-up, and after having enjoyed two other works of this sort by Margaret Atwood — as I said in my review of Tyler’s book, I really liked […]

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Literature Reviews

Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Sandwiched between two personal accounts by modern-day black American leaders — Kamala Harris’s The Truths We Hold and Barack Obama’s A Promised Land –, as my January book for this year’s (Mostly) Dead Writers Society Literary Birthday challenge, I went back to a fictional account set in Jim Crow America: the story of Jeanie Crawford, […]

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Literature Reviews

Alexandre Dumas: Les trois mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers)

Look, here’s the deal: If you’ve formed your idea of this tale based on its numerous movie adaptations, and / or if you are expecting a saga of gloriously heroic derring-do, swashbuckling and romance, be warned: You’ll be sorely disappointed; maybe you’ll even end up hating the book, because what Dumas actually wrote has almost […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: Crooked House

  Spoiler warning: Only go on reading if you’ve read the book and know the solution to the mystery. I already own print as well as audio CD editions of all of Christie’s full length novels, but Audible last year started rereleasing them in “two for the price of one” digital packages, and who am […]

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Literature Reviews

January 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

I only finished eleven books in January, which isn’t a lot by my standards as of the last couple of years, even taking into account that two of the books were decidedly on the long side (all the more as I balanced out the two long books by two extremely short ones).  But I decided […]

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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.)     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Other Hogfather-related Posts: 16 […]

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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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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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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

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 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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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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Fun and Games Literature

A Henpecked Husband’s Revenge

24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 – Saturnalia, Task 1: According to imperial Roman sources, the Saturnalicius princeps (“Ruler of the Saturnalia”) ruled as master of ceremonies during the holiday.  His role was possibly a satire on that of the emperor; and he has been compared to the medieval Lord of Misrule at the Feast of […]

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