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Literature Music Reviews

May 2021 Reading Recap

Still a lot of work on the back end of the blog, including on my “featured authors” pages (see the right column on the main Literature page and the introduction of my April 2021 recap post).  So, contrary to plans, still no new posts in my alphabet blogging series in May.  However, the time-consuming back end […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Mystery of the Blue Train

Agatha Christie hated this book.  While she was trying to write it, her little daughter kept distracting her and demanding her attention.  The plot is not an original idea but, for the first time (of what would eventually be multiple repeat occasions), she had chosen to expand an idea first used years earlier in a […]

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Literature Reviews

Daphne Du Maurier: My Cousin Rachel

Oh, I wanted to like this so much better than I ultimately did; for its glorious Cornish and Italian (Florence) settings alone, as well as for the fact that Du Maurier (as she herself insisted) apparently identified so much with this novel’s first person narrator, Philip Ashley, that at times she almost felt like she […]

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Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent

John Steinbeck’s final novel was one I had never gotten around to in my Steinbeck fangirl binges of yore — I knew it was reputed to be “bleak”, and after I’d seen what Steinbeck can do along those lines in The Grapes of Wrath (never mind that that actually is one of my favorite novels […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes

My May 2021 reading included one totally predictable binge: It’s Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth month, and I still had the complete Sherlock Holmes Canon as read by Stephen Fry that I’d acquired long ago sitting in my Audible app, waiting for the perfect moment to indulge … well, I figured this was it.  However, I […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sir Nigel

I didn’t quite want to limit my “birthday boy” look at Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to the predictable Sherlock Holmes binge, so I decided to take a look at one of his historical novels in addition.  Well, I suppose I have to hand it to Sir Arthur for mastering, with panache, genres as diverse as […]

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Cats Literature Reviews

April 2021 Reading Recap

First things first: The persistent bug preventing followers / readers to comment on my posts straight off the post (i.e., other than by using the WP Reader) has finally been weeded out, thanks to my hosting service’s IT team … so you can, at last, comment even if you’re not using the WP Reader.  (I […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories

As I already said elsewhere, this is one of my go-to comfort reading palate cleanser books; just reliably enjoyable: a mix of short stories featuring Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Parker Pyne, alongside a few nonseries short story mysteries.  As I’ve also noted in the past, I could do without Simon Vance being one of […]

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Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: Travels with Charley in Search of America

John Steinbeck has been a favorite author of mine ever since my teenage years, when I discovered (in short, though not necessarily precisely in this order) East of Eden, The Pastures of Heaven, Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, and The Pearl, with Grapes of Wrath, The Harvest Gypsies, and Cannery Row following a […]

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Literature Reviews

William Shakespeare: Richard II & Twelfth Night

I could of course not let April go by without paying my respects to the Sweet Swan of Avon: 2021 isn’t one of the “really big” Shakespeare years (those tend to end in -4 and -6, for the anniversaries of the Bard’s birth and death years); although I have no doubt that if it weren’t […]

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Literature Reviews

Ngaio Marsh: The New Zealand Books, plus Grave Mistake

The first book by Ngaio Marsh that I ever read happened to be her very last one, Light Thickens, which is as much concerned with a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as it is with the murder of one of the cast members.  To a mystery fan without any Shakespearean inclinations, this might have proved fatal, […]

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Literature Reviews

Terry Pratchett: Eric & Moving Pictures (and a Reprise of the 2019 Good Omens Screen Adaptation)

In the good old BookLikes days (when they really still were good days), we used to have a Discworld group and associated book club, which had committed to reading the entire series in publication order, by way of bimonthly reads.  We had gotten as far as Guards! Guards! by the time the site went down […]

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Literature Reviews

Charlotte Brontë: Villette

Villette was one of the Brontë sisters’ few mature works I had yet to read (besides Charlotte’s The Professor — which is actually the first version of what would, after a major revision, become Villette — and the opening fragment of the substantially unfinished Emma, as well as most of the siblings’ juvenalia).  It was, […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Big Four

Ugh.  Well, let’s just say this one will never be one of my favorite Christies and I’m very glad we put this one behind ourselves in the Appointment with Agatha group read project — things can only get better from here on out, and fortunately, they do.  The Big Four is one of Agatha Christie’s […]

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Lifestyle Literature Movies Music Reviews

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

Patricia Highsmith: Carol (The Price of Salt)

My record with Highsmith’s writing is a mixed one: I found the first Ripley novel (The Talented Mr. Ripley) morbidly fascinating and the sardonic put-down of the arts world in the second one (Ripley Under Ground) oddly amusing, and I obviously love any cat story of hers where a cat gets the better of a […]

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Literature Reviews

Olivia Manning: The Spoilt City

The second volume of Manning’s Balkan Trilogy, which in turn forms the first part of her Fortunes of War story arch (whose second part, equally consisting of three installments, is known as the Levant Trilogy).  The hexalogy is based on Manning’s own World War II expat experience; it was adapted for the small screen in […]

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Literature Reviews

Patrick Leigh Fermor: The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos

The third and final part of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s narrative of his three-year trek on foot, begun more or less spontaneously at the tender age of eighteen, from the Hoek of Holland to Constantinople.  Unlike the first two parts (A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water), which cover his wanderings in […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Well, talk about a book that you really cannot discuss without sticking spoiler warnings onto it right, left and center!  Christie was initially raked over the coals for its solution — and while her fellow mystery authors stoutly stood by her, it strikes me that it actually does break at least one of [Ronald] Knox’s […]

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Literature Movies Reviews

Graham Greene: The Third Man (and The Fallen Idol)

If you’re coming to this book from having watched the movie starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard (as you arguably should — Greene wrote the novella as a preliminary exercise for the screenplay), probably the first thing that is going to stand out to you is the changed perspective:  Whereas the […]

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