The better to see you, my dear
Review
5 Stars
I was a feminist before I knew what that meant
Mujercitas: Eran Las de Antes? y Otros Escritos: (El Sexismo En Los Libros Para Chicos) - Graciela Beatriz Cabal

I loved these essays when I was 12, and I loved them all over again 20 years later. Part of it is that I've never read something of this author that I did not love. Part of it is that I happen to agree with much of what she present here.

 

Mostly, is how she writes this: The subtitle is "Sexism in children books"

 

She proceeds to write about her primary school experience, interspersing it with textbook and the accompanying "pseudo-literature" (that's what she calls it) quotations and bibliography. She never says "this was sexist", "this was racist", "this was unfair". But boy, does it come across. At points it's so ridiculous, you can't help but laugh.

 

She talks about the roles of women in fairy and traditional tales. She talks about explicitly (and sometimes either horrifyingly or hilariously, or both, missing the point) tacking on moralizing end-lines to fables. There are also among the pages pictures of old advertising posters geared toward women. OMG, those posters.

 

The last essay is one that is dear and near to my heart (and my mom, as a die-hard librarian): this pervasive idea (that needs to be killed with fire) that children literature is "a women thing", because it is more about children (clearly, a province of the female) than about literature, and on this triple insult of "women write badly" "children do not understand much" "bad literature produced by women is therefore a perfect match".

 

It is a very short book. It can be read in an hour. But is a powerful one, that charms you as you read, that stays in your mind, that makes you squint your eyes at what you read after (and oh, boy, did I tear though some fairy tales collections afterwards).

Review
5 Stars
Srong Collection
The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier

There are six stories in this volume and they all work on that eerie maybe-normal-maybe-fantastical/grothesque/horror line.

 

The Birds is excellent at suspense and the daily made unnerving. And it leaves you there.

 

Monte Veritá reads almost like one of those non-Cthulthu's Lovecraftian tales. I really like the beginning, and the maybe-magical-maybe-mundane and expansive tone. The thing is, though, that much like in Lovecraft's writings, I had issues... I don't know, it was not... It felt like it was written by a man trying to be fair-for-his time but still...

 

The Apple Tree was a perfectly done unreliable narrator. He makes you despise the dead woman, but at the same time, you can read between the lines his own "polite" chauvinism, and so you feel for her. And then the layers peel, and oh my. Another that treads the line between the real and the fantastical for disquiet, and it's a gruesome poison study that you can see coming and still...

 

The Little Photographer ... Well, talking about poison-study. Ennui does not make good councilors. A bit of tragedy with some karma.

 

Kiss Me Again, Stranger was the eerie of prototype modern goths with some sauce.

 

The Old Man is interesting because you don't question it.

Reading Challenges for 2019

25 female authors

 

I'm focusing on new-to-me for the most part, but there is a mix.

 

A

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor

Tomi Adeyemi: Children of Blood and Bone

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

Sarah Addison Allen: The Peach Keeper

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

Poul Anderson: People of the Wind

 

B

Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising

Katherine Blake: The Interior Life

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Charlotte Brontë: Shirley and Villete have been there some 10 years on my tbr but I've been procrastinating because I did not care for Jane Eyre when I was a teen.

Lois McMaster Bujold: I owe to myself to try her. Almost did for Bingo (twice), but couldn't get my hands on one of her books on time.

Octavia E. Butler: Ditto

Fanny Burney

 

C

Trudi Canavan

Rae Carson

Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Joy Chant: Red Moon and Black Mountain

Jo Clayton: Diadem from the Stars

Susan Cooper: Over Sea, Under Stone

 

D

Pamela Dean: The Secret Country

Daphne Du Maurier: The Birds (leyendo)

Diane Duane: The Door into Fire

Tananarive Due: My Soul to Keep

Marguerite Duras: The Lover (*grimace* I did not care for her shorter work, but since I own it...)

 

E

Phyllis Eisenstein: Sorcerer's Son

George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans): Middlemarch keeps popping up (Chist, it's massive)

Kate Elliott: King's Dragon

Sylvia Engdahi: Enchantress from the Stars

 

F

Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Cornelia Funke: Inkspell (we bought the whole series! Further heartbreak here I come)

 

G

Elizabeth Gaskell: Wives and Daughters

Jessica Day George: Dragon Flight

Molly Gloss: The Dazzle of Day

Lisa Goldstein

Mira Grant

 

H

Shannon Hale

Jenny Han: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Cynthia Hand: Unearthly

Victoria Hanley: The Seer and the Sword

Kristin Hannah

Georgette Heyer

Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm)

Alice Hoffman

 

I

 

J

Elfriede Jelinek: The Piano Teacher

N.K. Jemisin

Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle

 

K

Phyllis Ann Karr: The Idylls of the Queen

M.M. Kaye: The Far Pavillions

Maggie Shen King: An Excess Male

Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible

Nancy Kress: Beggars in Spain

Ellen Kushner: Swordspoint 

 

L

Mercedes Lackey: Arrows of the Queen

Selma Lagerlöf: (Nobel)

Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise Longue

Clarice Lispector: I think mom added one of her books to our library

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice

Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb)

 

M

Juliet Marillier: I've heard so amazing things about her, and fantasy is my love

Carson McCullers: scared to, but have The Heart is a Lonely Hunter somewhere around

Collen McCullough: The Thorn Birds (... yeah, another scary prospect)

Sandra McDonald: The Outback Stars

Vonda N. McIntyre: Dreamsnake

Toni Morrison: Funny thing here: I've had it on my "author to try" list for a long while, but thought her male

Anchee Min: Empress Orchid

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Judith Moffett: Pennterra

Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Blue Castle

Ann McCaffrey: Dragonflight

 

N

Linda Nagata: Vast

Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife

Anais Nin: Delta of Venus has been waving at me, but... another massive one

Amelie Nothomb: another on mom's wish-list that I can't remember if we bought

Naomi Novik

 

O

Joyce Carol Oates: Bellefleur is one I took a stab at when I was 14 and never finished. Might rectify this year (and how did I come to the conclusion Joyce was a male name then? maybe my brain associated James Joyce?)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge... Or maybe The Housekeeper and the Professor

Lauren Oliver: Liesl & Po

Wendy Orr: Nim's Island

 

P

Ann Patchett: Bel Canto

Katherine Paterson: Bridge to Terabithia... if I'm feeling brave or wanting a good bawl

Barbara Paul: Pillars of Salt

Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz): Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody 1)

Rachel Pollack: Unquenchable Fire

Eleanor Porter: Pollyana

Katherine Anne Porter

Barbara Pym: Excellent Women (Pymalong starts the 25th! Yay!)

 

Q

Amanda Quick

 

R

Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho

Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

Veronica Rossi: Never finished her saga. Might go for it if in the mood for YA

Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow

Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

 

S

Jessica Amanda Salmonson: Tomoe Gozen

Sofia Samatar: Stranger in Olondria (read a short story of hers in Clarkesworld magazine, and oh, my!)

Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis (reading)

Dorothy L. Sayers

Alice Sebold: maybe. The Lovely Bones did a lot of noise

Lisa See: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (some group discussed a buddy read when I was still on goodreads, and the movie renewed my interest)

Mary Shepard: Mary Poppins

Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle

Wen Spencer

Mary Stewart: The Crystal Cave

 

T

Amy Tan

Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar was brought to my attention during the games, and will read as soon as I can get a copy

Megan Whalen Turner: The Thief

 

U

 

V

Catherynn M. Valente: In the Night Garden is one I want to buy and savor

Sara Varon: Robot Dreams

Joan D. Vinge: The Snow Queen

 

W

Sarah Waters

Winifred Watson: Mrs Petigrew Lives for a Day

Martha Wells: All Systems Red

Edith Wharton: pure author faith (even if she rips my heart)

Connie Willis: keeps popping up on my radar

Virginia Woolf: sure I have a couple of hers back at home

 

Y

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen is a book that keeps popping up and haven't gotten to yet

Jane Yolen: I had Tam Lin on my list, but reading up on her... over 365 books! Woman!

Marguerite Yourcenar: Have Memories of Hadrian on my bed-table

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

 

Z

 

Other Original Languages

 

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

Jorge Amado: Gabriela, Clavo y Canela

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Roberto Arlt: Los 7 locos

Honoré de Balzac: Pere Goriot

Erique Barrios: Civilizaciones internas (leyendo)

Simone de Beauvoir: El segundo sexo

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Ítalo Calvino: Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore

Fernándo de Rojas: La Celestina (this one I have on hand, but it's such an archaic Spanish, it gave me head-aches the one time I attempted it. We'll see)

Marguerite Duras: L'Amant

José María Eça de Queirós: El Crímen del Padre Amaro

Umberto Eco: El Nombre de la Rosa (bought it too, will have leisure to read)

Gabriel García Marquez: El amor en los tiempos de Cólera

Juan Ramón Jiménez: Platero y Yo

Clarice Lispector:

Cixin Liu: The Three-Body Problem

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Facundo Manes: Usar el Cerebro (reading)

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Haruki Murakami: Kafka en la Orilla

Kezaburo Oe: Memushiri kouchi (Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge

Ovid: Metamorphoses

Tulsidas, Ramayana

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen

Marguerite Yourcenar: Memorias de Adriano

 

... Those are over a 100 books I'm hyped to read... doubling my challenge already... Lol, I always bite more than I can chew

My 2018 year, reading-wise (and some more)

Because, as we all know, life gets in the way of reading, so it's only fitting that a summary of my reading year would be peppered with some RL facts. Conversely, I find that a lot of my reads influence my life too, so it all balances somehow.

 

It happens that this is a bit of a late posts, but just now I'm finding myself with some time back at my PC for something other than work, work, work, moving, and family, friends, travel, family, moving.

 

All this because the 20th of December I moved back to my hometown after living 14 years in the capital and surrounds.

 

The reasons are varied and long-spanning, but the decision itself was taken on middle November, during a long conversation with my dad on his car, coming back from a family pilgrimage to a doctor appointment of my aunts over yet another health scare. Given the tone and MO of my extended family these last years, it was a weird mix of emotional and logical, and much like I tend to do with my "upend your whole life" choices, followed through pretty much immediately. Historically, it has worked for me splendidly, and this is shaping up to not be the exception.

 

What it did translate, though, was into over 200 hours of work plus a long-distance move packed into 3 weeks. And then a huge amount of work over my grandparents belongings mixed in with the end-of-years-festivities and job-hunting when I landed. I'm still cleaning, boxing, tagging, selling, giving and throwing, basically living at mom's from a couple of suit-cases and not yet really sure that I'll adapt back to life in a little town, but I'm inexplicably happy.

 

Now, if I could make myself some time to read....

 

Anyway, huge introduction aside, looking back to my 2018, it is no wonder that I terribly failed or barely squeaked by on some of the challenges, but I find that I'm satisfied with the over-all haul.

 

I did manage over 12 new-to-me classics (though I wiggled a bit over picking titles already on my tbr). Depending on how you define "classic", I likely doubled this.

 

  • Eugenie Grandet by Honerè de Balzac (22/1)
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (16/8)
  • The Tennat of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (22/8)
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (25/8)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1/9)
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (8/9)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (11/9)
  • The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle (11/10)
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (19/10)
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (21/10)
  • La Divina Comedia by Dante Alighieri (26/10)
  • His Last Bow, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (9/11)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy (29/11)

 

As for 25 female authors, I managed 25 that I had chosen, and some extras. Then again, I usually find that without looking into it too much, my reading is quite balanced among the male/female line. The interesting part is all those I ear-marked that I did not got to, and so am bumping up for this 2019.

 

A

  • Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey (16/8)
  • Margaret Atwood: The Penelopiad (24/8)

 

B

  • Anne Brontë: The Tennat of Wildfell Hall (22/8)
  • Natalie Babbitt: Tuck Everlasting (21/7)

 

C

  • Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (17/10)
  • Willa Cather: O Pioneers! (25/8)

 

D

  • Marguerite Duras: Los Ojos azules, pelo negro (25/11)
  • Jeanne DuPrau: The City of Ember (4/8)

 

F

  • Carrie Fisher: The Princess Diarist (9/8)

 

G

  • Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South (11/9)

 

H

  • Patricia Highsmith: Strangers on a Train (4/9)
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Shuttle (26/1)

 

I

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods (29/7)

 

J

  • P. D. James: Children of Men (27/8)

 

K

  • M. M. Kaye: The Ordinary Princess (5/8)

 

L

  • Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle in Time (9/1)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: The Dispossed (4/1) The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (24/1) The Word for World is Forest (26/1) Four Ways to Forgiveness (18/4)

 

M

  • Robin McKinley: Deerskin (12/7)
  • Marissa Meyer: Cinder (26/9)

 

N

  • Naomi Novik: His Majesty's Dragon (5/9)

 

O

  • Emma Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (29/11)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Akata Witch (10/9)

 

P

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper (1/9)

 

R

  • Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase (23/10)

 

S

  • Elizabeth George Speare: The Witch of Blackbird Pond (20/10)

 

Language-wise, I failed catastrophically. Mostly because it was a hectic year and my books in English are digital and so forever on hand on my phone, but still, 6 out of 20... I have 3 more half-way, so I'll have a headstart this year (and my mom's library on hand*grin*)

 

  • Dante Alighieri, La Divina Comedia (26/10)
  • Honerè de Balzac, Eugenie Grandet (22/1)
  • María Brandán Araoz, Vecinos y detectives en Belgrano (3/9)
  • Marguerite Duras, Los ojos azules, pelo negro (25/11)
  • Pairault, Suzanne, Verónica, ¿Estrella de Cine? (31/8)
  • Lisbeth Werner, Puck y la Fierecilla (28/10)

 

Bingo was huge help and had me busting my yearly challenge by September, plus introducing me to many authors, some of which have become favorites, so even more positives. So yeah, upheavals and all, it was a good reading year.

Reading progress update: I've read 46 out of 160 pages.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi, Blake Ferris, Mattias Ripa

 

Damn. What a book.

8/24 Tasks: 21st of November: Day of Penance

Task 1:  “Confess” your book habits.  Dog-earring?  Laying books face down?  Bending back the spines? Skimming?  OR: Confess your guilty reading pleasure, or comfort reads.

 

Oh, my. I do all of those. Plus taking a pencil to those books I own, marking good passages or bad translations.

 

Task 2:  It’s “Pennants” day according to MbD’s husband:  post a picture of your favorite team’s logo / mascot and the last time they’ve won a championship (or not).

 

Task 3: In centuries gone by, penance would often end up in what might be described as a very extended bad hair day (complete with sackcloth and ashes). Tell us: What’s a bad hair day to you – and what (if anything) do you do about it?

 

 

Since I've got the good luck of very fine, straight hair, most of my issues are around frizz and little else. When it's long enough, I just pull it into a bun. It's actually more of a hazzle now that I wear it short, lol.

 

Task 4: Early Christian spiritualists would sometimes do penance by spending time in the desert. If you’ve ever visited a desert region (or even live there), post a picture and tell us about it. Alternatively, post a picture of sand dunes (NOT with water in the background!).

 

Book:  Read any book concerning a man / woman of the cloth, a book about a character hiding a guilty secret or searching for absolution.

Review
3.5 Stars
Fun romp
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy

Very easy and fast read. It would have been the type of book I would have adored as a kid in that liminal space where high reading skills put you beyond children's books but maturity does not really afford you adult reads. So yeah, classic adventures for the win.

 

The devise of telling the story from the third limited of a character other than the Scarlet Pimpernel allows for a show of his BAMF qualities that would have sounded boastful otherwise, so that's another good bit.

 

Most of my gripe comes from the ever moronic woman (I'll leave the political and racial alone this time). We are constantly told she's the cleverest woman in Europe, but either that's a huge fail of informed quality, or the author was taking the mickey on it by drawing a contrast of what the world says of a characters intelligence vs what happens behind curtains of a person's life. Still, the fact that she's absolutely useless and most times an obstacle, continued to bother me. I thought the story would redeem her when she decides to go to France, that we would be shown her being resourceful and clever and see her save the day right alongside the Pimpernel. Hell, for a bit there I was prepared to be blown out of my mind by a turn of the XX century female author writing a woman saving the hero. Alas, no dice.

 

The other bit that is a bit weak (beyond several un-reveals, duh), is the constant over explaining. Orczy does an excellent job of showing the pieces so that you can puzzle it out. It is a pity she wastes pages and belittle her readers intelligence by spelling it all out yet again in expository dialogues and what not.

 

Anyway, if you are not nit-picking like I've been, it is good entertainment.

 

7/24 Tasks: 20th of November: Mawlid or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif

Task 1:  Make two “prophesies” you think will come to fruition in 2019 in your personal or reading life.

 

I'm moving back to my home-town in 10 days, so everything is a bit up in the air, but:

1- I'll start a vegetable garden

2- I'll sell a lot of stuff (crossing my fingers)

 

Task 2: The Five Pillars of Islam include almsgiving and the pilgrimage to Mekka. Tell us: Have you ever donated books or rescued them from (horror of horrors) being trashed? Alternatively: Is there a book-related place that is a place of pilgrimage to you?

 

Beyond practically every public library and book-store I've ever encountered, right?

- Buenos Aires annual International Book Fair: we used to travel 300miles just for a day at it with mom.

- The Ateneo Grand Splendid. As in, people all over the world actually come and see it (lord, I used to live some 10 blocks from it, and passed it almost every-day, and still entered at least twice a month just to bask in the lovely). I mean. look at it:

 

Task 3: Prophets are messengers. Tell us: Which book characters are your favorite messengers (no matter whether humans, angels, (demi)gods, etc.)?

 

Gandalf (I did mention before that I was a hardcore Tolkien fan before, right?). Hedwig! (yeah, childhood companion book series ftw). Cassiopea from Ende's Momo.

 

Task 4: Muhammad was a merchant before becoming a religious leader. List 5 books on your shelves in which a key character makes / undergoes a radical career change.

 

- Mary Malone from His Dark Materials saga. From nun to quantum phisics doctor... Yeap, that one is the one that stayed top of my head. Will have to think on others.

- Erik, from soldier to ghost writer (heh) and the eponymous Phantom of the Opera

- Richard Mayhew from Neverwhere, from desk-jockey to... uhm... BAMF unemployed street dweller? It's one of those things that really only make sense in context (like most of this list, lol)

- Jean Valjean, from bread-thief to convict, to trader, to mayor, to fugitive, to gardener, to idly wealthy/fugitive... between the upheavals of the world and those of his soul, the poor guy saw some drastic career changes.

- I was thinking about every career woman in The Handmaid's Tale. And almost every character from Darkfever's 3rd book on. And those in The Host... and likely any going through an apocalyptic story, really... But I'll go with Chantal from L'Impure, by Guy des Cars, who goes from unapologetic whore to nun because it feels like a cop out.

 

Book:  If you can find a copy, read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.  Or read any book about a leader of a movement, nation, religion or large group, OR read a book with a green cover OR with a half moon on the cover.

6/24 Tasks: 16th of November: International Day for Tolerance

Task 1:  Find some redeeming quality in the book you liked least this year and post about it.

 

I had a pretty good reading streak this year, but looking at stars, I'd go with the four PP novellas. They were bland, but they got me out of a reading slump.

 

Task 2: Tell us: What are the tropes (up to 5) that you are not willing to live with in any book (i.e., which are absolutely beyond your capacity for tolerance) and which make that book an automatic DNF for you? (Insta-love? Love triangles? First person present narrative voice? Talking animals? The dog dies? What else?)

 

Oh, boy! I rarely, if ever, DNF books, and most times is because I loose interest, so this one is a bit difficult. I don't know that I have true deal-breakers... no, wait, there is one...but I doubt there are so much as five. Will have to think on it.

 

Task 3: The International Day for Tolerance is a holiday declared by an international organization (UNESCO). Create a charter (humorous, serious, whatever strikes your fancy) for an international organization of readers.

 

Task 4: UNESCO is based in Paris. Paris is known for its pastries and its breads: Either find a baker that specializes in pastries and bring home an assortment for your family, or make your own pastries using real butter and share a photo with us.

 

I happen to work at a bakery/cafe, and pastries on Sunday is something like a tradition around here. Will upload a pic later.

 

Book:  Read any fiction/non-fiction about tolerance or a book that’s outside your normal comfort zone.  (Tolerance can encompass anything you generally struggle with, be it sentient or not.) OR Read a book set in Paris.

24 Tasks of the Festive Season (Masterpost)

Decided to make one of these because tracking is getting unwieldy. Ah, wow, am I behind or what, lol. Between moving out and pulling a short second job, I'm starting to think I'm way over my head.

 

Door 1: Dia de Los Muertos (November 1): points 1

Book:  Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico:

 

Door 2: Guy Fawkes Night (November 5): points 4

Book:  Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy review

 

Door 3: Melbourne Cup Day (November 6): points 2

Book: about horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

 

Door 4: Diwali (November 7): points 5

Book: Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’: Latest Hidden Legacy Book: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews review

 

Door 5: Veterans/Armistice Day (November 11): points 2

Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover: I might go with the second Temeraire if I get the time.

 

Door 6: International Day for Tolerance (November 16): points 1

Book:  Read any fiction/non-fiction about tolerance or a book that’s outside your normal comfort zone.  (Tolerance can encompass anything you generally struggle with, be it sentient or not.) OR Read a book set in Paris.

 

Door 7: Mawlid or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif (November 20): points 3

Book:  If you can find a copy, read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.  Or read any book about a leader of a movement, nation, religion or large group, OR read a book with a green cover OR with a half moon on the cover.

 

Door 8: Day of Penance (November 21): points 2

Book: Read any book concerning a man / woman of the cloth, a book about a character hiding a guilty secret or searching for absolution.

 

Door 9: Thanksgiving (November 22)

 

Door 10: Bon Om Touk (November 24):

 

Door 11: Russian Mother's Day (November 25):

 

Door 18: Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21):

 

Door 19: Festivus (December 23): 

 

Door 20: Christmas (December 25): 

 

Door 21: Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1):

 

Door 22: New Year's Eve (December 31): 

 

Door 23: Hogswatch (December 32)*:

 

Door 24: Epiphany (January 6):

5/24 Tasks: 11th of November: Veterans/Armistice

Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.

 

Snow Crash - Neal StephensonStrangers on a Train - Patricia HighsmithCrash - J.G. Ballard

El Golpe y Los Chicos - Graciela MontesHalf of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieA Bend in the River - V.S. Naipaul     

 The Lovely Bones - Alice SeboldMen Explain Things to Me - Rebecca SolnitThe Phantom Tollbooth - Jules Feiffer,Norton Juster

 

Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.

 

Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?

 

I'd say Tolkien's. I have not yet read The Unfinished Tales, but the amount of times I've gone over The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion ought to count. My mom opted to buy me a luxury hard-cover edition when I was a teen so I'd stop checking them out of the library.

 

Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of poppy seedcake and post a photo.

 

Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

 

I might go with the second Temeraire if I get the time.

 

 

 

Review
2 Stars
Errrhhhh
Los Ojos Azules Pelo Negro - Clara Janés, Marguerite Duras

This one was one weird cookie. And for my first forage in Duras, not an auspicious one.

 

The premise, such as there is one, is interesting (when we finally get to glimpse wtf, but hey, if you made it to page 3, you know the writing is... hard to get used to would be my kind assessment), and some of the way it's approached rings true. But 90 pages of it in a weird literary flight and such a dreary tone? Big pass.

 

It's like taking a Nîn short story, stretch it 5 times it's length, take all the joy of it till the erotic label barely applies, add some strange (maybe theatric cues? Maybe meta? Who even knows!) paragraphs, and presto, depressing incomprehensible shit for you.

 

*sigh* We bought an extra book of hers this august. Wonder if I'll ever read it.

Review
3.5 Stars
Jewel of a family
Diamond Fire -  Ilona Andrews

I had so much fun.

 

I did not expect to engage much with 18-year-old Catalina, and picked it up mostly out of author faith a desire for some fast entertainment. I was pleasantly surprised. The passing of the torch was done well, and the humour and length helped a lot.

 

Blast! Now I want to go over the whole saga again.

Reading progress update: I've read 111 out of 197 pages.
Diamond Fire -  Ilona Andrews

“Mmm, delicious cyanide. Old school. Histotoxic hypoxia on you, histotoxic hypoxia on your house, histotoxic hypoxia on your cow. Wait.”

 

LMAO! The poison tester rocks

4/24 Tasks: 7th of November: Diwali
Anna Karenina - Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear, Leo Tolstoy Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry The MacKinnon's Bride (Highland Brides, # 1) - Tanya Anne Crosby El oso de karantania - Cristina Loza Heidi - Johanna Spyri Anne of Avonlea - L.M. Montgomery Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw Reforming Lord Ragsdale - Carla Kelly Her Sister's Baby (Harlequin Superromance No. 627) - Janice Kay Johnson

Task 1:  Share a picture of your favorite light display. ~ I might be reaching here, but no man-made display has ever captivated me as much as the night sky (though lantern festivals come close).

Task 2:  Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos.  OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information.

 

Well, since I can never help myself, while searching for the girl with flowers covers I ended up merging one of my books into it's proper author, and I bet I'll end up doing some more, lol.

 

As for my physical library, I plan on an overhaul around Christmas, so I'll post pictures then.

Task 3: Eating sweets is also a big part of Diwali. Either select a recipe for a traditional sweet, or make a family favorite and share a picture with us.

 

Dulce de Leche!!

 

This is not an easy one to make, actually. I think we only attempted it once, it took a looooong time, and the consistence was not that firm (plus, I think we got a bit enthusiastic with the sodium bicarbonate)


Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.

 

I'm among those having a lot less difficulty finding women brandishing weapons than carying flowers among my covers, but children and classic books came to my rescue. Clearly, I might want to "make love not war" more reading-wise. If only I could find more romances that treaded better the line between crazy drama and blandness.

Book: Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series)

3/24 Tasks: 6th of November: Melbourne Cup

Task 1: Pick your ponies!  MbD has posted the horses scheduled to race; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order).  

 

I made 0 points here. I love it that my surprisingly brilliant luck in games always deserts me as soon as any betting is involved.

Task 2:  Cup day is all about the hats.  Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not.

 

I need to come back to this one. I have the hat, and the photo, but will need to find and upload

Task 3: The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello. What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across?

 

I know I joked around with aspiks, but I have one better:

 

While running around in Peru, we found a traditional desert in Cusco is sweetened natural jelly. For northerners, this might sound perfectly normal, because their jellies, now mostly synthetic, used to come traditionally from mallow. For us, old school jelly comes from extracting the collagen by boiling bones and cartilage. Not many people outside culinary circuits know this, the instant dust fruity types being so ubiquitous, so a lot of my companions took a bit to catch why I was grimacing to the idea. Our guide laughed quite a bit when he explained that it therefore had a bit of a soupy taste.


Task 4: Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)? Tell us about it. Photos welcome, too!

Book: about horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

currently reading

Progress: 189/366pages
Progress: 27/260pages
Progress: 46/160pages
Progress: 140/288pages
Progress: 69/264pages
The Two Princesses of Bamarre - Gail Carson Levine