Sense of Time – Sense of Place

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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

S.J. Rozan: China Trade

A monumental shout-out to Hobart, aka The Irresponsible Reader, for bringing this series to my attention by reviewing some of its installments in the good old BookLikes days.  I know that I am shamefully late to the party, but now that I’m finally here, I’m here to stay. China Trade is the first book of […]

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Literature Reviews

Toni Morrison: Sula

I’d been planning to pair this book with Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, as an exercise in comparing an African American and an African coming of age story, but Nervous Conditions never materialized in my mailbox, so I’m going to have to postpone that reading experience to a later date.  Which, perhaps, isn’t such a bad […]

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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

Zahra Hankir & Various Authors: Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

One of the last books I read in the first quarter of 2021 was, at the same time, also one of my reading highlights to date — and next to the likes of Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison (as well as Agatha Christie’s multiple appearances in the area of mysteries), […]

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Literature Reviews

Patrick Radden Keefe: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

This was a buddy read with some of my BookLikes exile friends — the inside story of the Northern Ireland conflict, the “Troubles”, from (chiefly) the 1960s up to the Good Friday Agreement and (partways) beyond, inspired and based in part on taped interviews with some of the conflict’s key players recorded in the context […]

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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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Literature Reviews

Ellis Peters: Fallen into the Pit

The “Appointment with Agatha” group actually selected Dorothy L. Sayers’s The Nine Tailors as its official March 2021 side read, but as that is one of my favorite novels by Dorothy L. Sayers and one of my annual Christmas reads, I opted for the runner-up, Ellis Peters’s first “Felse investigation” instead.  And I am so […]

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Literature Reviews

John Le Carré: Call for the Dead

I discovered Le Carré as a teenager; not through any of his Smiley novels but through The Little Drummer Girl (his most recent book at the time), which, in the snobbery that characterizes the German literary scene to this very day, was characterized as a thriller and hence, “entertainment literature” (as opposed to “serious literature” […]

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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

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

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

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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Cats Fun and Games Lifestyle Literature Reviews

2020: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’re still a month away from the end of the year, but my reading will probably consist mainly of Christmas books in December, and I hope and pray that life won’t come up and throw anything else at me in the final month of the year, either.  So I might as well post my “Year […]

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Fun and Games Linked Items Literature Reviews

Book Characters Turning Over a New Leaf

24 Festive Tasks: Door 4 – Japanese Culture Day, Task 2: Japanese Culture Day was first held in 1948, to commemorate the announcement of the country’s post-war constitution on November 3, 1946, which was to make a new start for Japan.  Which book did you read this year where someone was searching for or starting […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Ian Rankin: A Song for the Dark Times

24 Festive Tasks: Door 5 – Bon Om Touk, Book: Read a book that has the moon, or an ocean, river, lake, or other body of water (larger than a puddle) on the cover, read a manga, or read a book set anywhere in Asia.   As my book for this square, I’m claiming Ian […]

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Fun and Games Literature

Quotes and Poppies for Veterans’ / Armistice Day

24 Festive Tasks: Door 17 – Veterans’ / Armistice Day, Task 1: Post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war. Here are three quotes from E.M. Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front: “Comrade, I did not want to kill you. . . . But you were only an idea […]

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Fun and Games Literature

The New “Pride and Prejudice” Edition, and Other Lockdown Book Haul Entries

24 Festive Tasks: Door 18 – Thanksgiving, Task 1: Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book – post a picture of it.  (This can be a library book.) Although being in temporary lockdown for the second time this year doesn’t exactly prove conducive to my reading (nor did most of this […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (Kenneth Branagh audio)

24 Festive Tasks: Door 17 – Veterans’ / Armistice Day, Book: Read a book with active military or veteran characters, about or set during WWI or WWII, or with poppies on the cover.   In honor of Sean Connery, who played Colonel Arbuthnot in the 1974 all-star adaptation of this book, I decided to revisit […]

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Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Brother Cadfael: An Ideal Teacher

24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – Diwali, Task 2: Goddess Lakshmi in her eightfold form is referred to as the Ashta-Lakshmi.  Vidya-Lakshmi is the 7th of her 8 forms.  “Vidya” means knowledge as well as education, not just degrees or diplomas from the university, but real all-round education.  Thus, this form of Goddess Lakshmi is […]

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