*Scratches head* Alright...
I'm reading this one in Spanish for two reasons:
- It's closer to the original Italian. Logic says translation should work better (I'm crossing my fingers).
- It is a book infamous for being a difficult read. I read about 1 in 20 books in my mother tongue now, usually those originally published as such, or copies I own jointly with mom, but early grasp of a language is never to be discounted as an advantage in understanding.
I'm one page in and I already fired a notes-file to untangle that first paragraph. And my understanding of Latin only extends to what I can elucidate from modern similar words.
This will be a challenge
I've always enjoyed Agatha Christie whenever I picked one of her books, though the level fluctuated somewhat. Now I know why this one is held up there with "And then there were none", and it deserves the praise.
The mystery is a good one: closed quarters, and it keeps getting more intricate and tangled with each chapter. This, I expected.
What I did not expect, was the emotional charge. I felt intrigued and amused for most of it.(show spoiler)
I felt awe, kinship and compassion in the end.
So, yeah. Full stars.
“In my opinion, M. Poirot,” he said, “the first theory you put forward was the correct one"
Audiobooks leave my hands and eyes free, so I tend to find myself repetitive, drone work when I get engaged in one.
Sooo... I've been cleaning up my TBR. Some things bothered me.
My sympathies for the next librarian that checks the data-base notifications.
My name is Hercule Poirot.” If he expected an effect he did not get one. MacQueen said merely, “Oh! yes?” and waited for him to go on. “You know the name perhaps?” “Why, it does seem kind of familiar. Only I always thought it was a woman’s dressmaker.” Hercule Poirot looked at him with distaste. “It is incredible!” he said. “What’s incredible?” “Nothing.
I've always loved how delightfully conceited Poirot is. Righteous or outrageous, it's always entertaining.
Ghostly, entertaining jaunt. Foreign setting, lots of fantasy, family intrigues and romance. Teens and young adults would be a good audience for this one.
I liked it well enough, though I wanted to thump some sense into Li Lan several times. And she does the distressed damsel quite a bit. And some issues are managed in somewhat simplistic ways. But it was a speedy read, and I had a good time.
We Chinese did not like to give or receive certain gifts for superstitious reasons: knives, because they could sever a relationship; handkerchiefs, for they portended weeping; and clocks, as they were thought to measure out the days of your life. If any of these were presented, the recipient usually paid a token amount to symbolize that it was a purchase and not a gift.
Interesting. Except for the clock one, my half Italian grandfather held those too. And it might have been the full set, and the occasion for him mentioning it never arose.
This my first stab at Howard, of Conan fame, and I don't know how to rate it, or if I'll ever read something by him again.
In favor it has the fact that it has no compunctions about pulling in elements from any source, and mimic any style to flavor and serve the current story. Makes for diverse settings and background mythos, always an entertaining plus.
The downside: It is so heavily male. I'd call it misogyny (and it is), but women so seldom make even a peep appearance in this volume, and affect the stories none at all, it goes past contempt or hate to total disregard territory (I went into minute detail here, so scant they are). It is a man's world he writes, and what makes it worth it are guns, swords and fighting monsters so you can tell a tale *eye-roll* White man's world. Blond white man's world... yeah, you get the drift.
So, the run of the stories:
- The Black Stone: Cthultuish account, with a nice dash of bookish love for ancient tomes. The name Xuthltan comes up.
The flogged dancer, and the sacrificed girl.
- Valley of the Worm: Norse myth flavored epic (Aesirs). Big on white and man.
Some mention of women being fierce too. None named, one appeared a second without lines.
- Wolfshead: Swashbuckling European nobles in Africa, and a werewolf. Reminded me of Quartermain's adventures.
One pretty virgin, one flirtatious twit (who might be the best female character of the whole book, for what it is).
- Fire of Asshurbanipal: Hunting for treasure in the dessert turns Lovecraftian. Another mention of Xuthltan.
- House of Arabu: More blond male. If nothing else, the pretty pictures it painted in my mind and the hour reading on Sumerian mythology it spurred may make it worth it. Aesirs' world. Fits the demon square.
One assassin courtesan (that sounds like it could be sooo cool, but no), one backstabbing, abused slave girl, one demoness, geee, we are overflowing.
- Horror from the Mound: Vampires in the old west.
Again, not even mentioned.
Since it's an anthology that runs the gamut, this one could fit Vampires, Demons, Supernatural, Monsters, Classic Horror, likely a couple more if you squint, and my pick: