Finished with Inferno and in Purgatory now.
I forgot to mention before, but I'm having a blast with the all encompassing syncretism.
The last circle was interesting by how much less horrifying I found it in relation to the eight. I think it's the corporeal and visceral nature of the Malebolge, while a frozen plain has something of the unfathomable in it (and yeah, I got the contrast idea of virtues and the Holy ghost being depicted as fire).
Maybe there is something about horror vs terror in there too? The knowable bad vs the impossible to comprehend?
The descriptions, for such short things, are epic.
12 classics from my TBR
Most years I manage to read a dozen or so of some form of classic, but just to keep on track and maybe try to stay within of what's ALREADY THERE in my TBR
Other Countries, Other Languages
I've noticed I'm reading a lot of works originally written in English (somewhere around a 9 in 10 at least). A bit because England and USA have a long and healthy publishing history, with a lot of classics and pop-culture exponents to their soils. Some, because English is an easy common ground language-wise, and forums like these tend to exchange in it, either opinions or recommendations. A good deal because the market is flooded with them.
But I want more perspectives, different styles and backgrounds.
So I'll start shooting for 20 or so from my TBR and we'll see (availability might be an issue)
25 female authors (22/25)
I'm not much for cozy mysteries. The vaguely acerbic nosy middle aged men and women that populate them tend to annoy me. As do the comedy of errors that people being secretive cause. I get it, the very human petty selfishness that makes one try to keep hidden personal peccadilloes even in the face of serious matters and even possible danger to loved ones. Doesn't mean I enjoy reading about it, or stop me from wishing to strangle the character even if I'm enjoying it.
With all those caveats, where this one wins is in the humour department. People are ridiculous and inconsistent, and the amount of bits I saved where Ray observes it plainly (and when in her, somewhat obliquely) are legion, and made me laugh quite a bit.
I still think the Innes family took a trip down blanket stupidity where useful communication was concerned.(show spoiler)
The casual oh-so-benevolent racism also made me cringe so hard.
I own another of Rinehart's novels, so I might revisit. This not being my genre at all, the tone was fun.
And there goes my 4th Bingo. Now for black-out.
I don't know whether I read a satire written as a self-challenge to pack as much over-the-top drama in as few pages as possible, or an over-the-top dramatic tragedy on rocket fuel.
I feel a bit like when I watched Venezuelan TV novelas, only those tend to stretch, and barely come to the ankles of this... unholy (heheh) mess. So, pretty much the same reaction: either you unapologetically immerse in the guilty pleasure, or you laugh and mock with abandon. I might have canted for the first as a kid (hell, I was tempted for the beginning pages), but I confess that by Frederik's reveal and Theodore's story I just straight started giggling and could not take anything seriously any more.
And if it resembles history a bit too much at points, well, it comes to show that reality will always prove to be more ridiculous than any fiction, even this.
And double bingo for me! (not like I can really keep avoiding them at this point, lol)
Did... did Hippolita just say she'd acquiesce to divorce her husband so the men could exchange daughters and exhort the girls to trust providence and be obedient... ?
I think there is such a thing as taking piety so far as to cross the line twice into stupid and evil territory and here I have my proof.
I was not expecting to find such a flawed, three-dimensional cast and a sad grim tone in a short, children's book. I don't know why, really, since I've come across both of those separately often enough in them (Dark Materials, Little Princess) paired with the big questions too. Specially given the fact that I've been a heavy reader since my tweens, and a firm believer in that Cabal's quote "when I want to write something that I think adults will have trouble understanding, I write children books" (I'm paraphrasing, I don't have that good a memory, and she likely borrowed too).
Here is the deal: this was way dramatic than I expected. And when I say dramatic, I mean angst, grief, homesickness, the loneliness of being an outsider. Really sad. Also maddening.
It is maddening because human nature is maddening. And because everyone, MC included, are flawed people with some good qualities and reasonable ideals and opinions and stances, and some appallingly wrong mixed in, so even with the best intentions they rub the wrong way and clash, misunderstand, work at cross-purpose. And there is always a little bitch witch shit ready to hate.
It was an interesting read even before the context of publishing-time kicks in (though I suspect there were some interesting witch-hunt related things coming out then... wasn't The Crucible a contemporary of McCarthyism too?)
At any rate, it was a really good book (totally deserves those awards), and it ended all sweet, happy and neat.
Hey! I keep missing my read for making another bingo. At this point, I'm not even pretending to curve my mood-reading. (There is also the bit where there is no magic here, but I'll let the title excuse my being misled)
I'd never read this collection before, and I'm happy to say I liked this one about as much as Adventures (which is to say, among favourite Holmes').
There is this sense of deep friendship that permeates it and also growth. Holmes has changed as time passed, taking more care of what he divulges once he solves the mystery, he's more... empathetic I guess. Oh, and he has stopped doing drugs.
It might be that I was primed by the first story. I felt angry at the detective for concealing his continuing living from Watson, even as I grasped his pragmatism, but I reached dismay when I realized Watson was now a widower. Holy shit, the man had to have had some terrible three years there.
But whatever I though of Holmes, I could read in Watson's frame his care, and maybe the same tether that saved him in A Study in Scarlet. And if I got fanciful, I might imagine Watson's bereavement is recent, and Sherlock picked a good time to show himself.
Because those are some long years of friendship folks (my maths say 16 from A Study to Abbey Grange), and the bits where Watson points to them being middle aged men have their bittersweet culmination in the mention on the final story of Holmes having retired.
And hell, I'm feeling like bumping Memoirs' stars now.
Gertrude came out was nothing but a succession of sitting up late at night to bring her home from things, taking her to the dressmakers between naps the next day, and discouraging ineligible youths with either more money than brains, or more brains than money. Also, I acquired a great many things: to say lingerie for under-garments, "frocks" and "gowns" instead of dresses, and that beardless sophomores are not college boys, but college men. Halsey required less personal supervision, and as they both got their mother's fortune that winter, my responsibility became purely moral. Halsey bought a car, of course, and I learned how to tie over my bonnet a gray baize veil, and, after a time, never to stop to look at the dogs one has run down. People are apt to be so unpleasant about their dogs.
Oh, my God! I laughed so much at this page! I got some funny looks at the train-station.
This was bloody amazing!
The writing was gorgeous, the braided in stories colorful and as bizarre as you could expect, and even when at their most tragic, always running this underground hilarity out of sheer cynicism and pragmatic pizazz. All seasoned with a good dose of feminism and magical realism.
I laughed a lot, but it actually ran me through the whole gamut of emotions and I did not want it to end. Loved it, will read more by the author, and will buy whatever of hers I can find around here.