Mstrust's 11 in 11 Pt. 2!
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Pulling a Pint with the Irish
1. I Am Mary Dunne
2. The Magician's Wife
4. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception 3.5 stars
5. The Lonely Girl
6. The Snapper 2 stars
7. The Book of Lost Things
8. The Book of Irish Weirdness
9. Girls in Their Married Bliss
10. The House in Paris
Why the empty slot? I started to read The Sea but found the writing too florid for my taste and so abandoned it. Something will come along.
The serial novels of the fantastic British show, The Professionals.
1. The Professionals Annual 1983 3.5 stars
2. The Professionals 4: Hunter Hunted 4 stars
3. The Professionals 5: Blind Run 4 stars
4. The Professionals 6: Fall Girl 4 stars
5. The Professionals Annual 1982 4 stars
6. The Professionals 7: Hiding To Nothing 5 stars
1. Stuff:Compulsive Hoarding 4 stars
2. Marie Antoinette: The Journey 5 stars
3. Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara 3.5 stars
4. Hetty: The Genius and Madness 4.5 stars
5. Libraries of the Ancient World
6. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher 4 stars
7. Take The Cannoli 4 stars
8. In Cold Blood4.5 stars
9. Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax
10. Eats, Shoots and Leaves
11. Sundays with Sullivan 2.5 stars
Mysteries, noir, suspense
1. On What Grounds 2.5 stars
2. Cover Her Face 4 stars
3. The Mystery of the Blue Train3.5 stars
3. Cream Puff Murder 3 stars
4. Over My Dead Body 4 stars
5. The Murder Room 4.5 stars
6. Wild Town 4.5 stars
7. Let's Kill Uncle 4 stars
8. The Big Four 3.5 stars
9. Poirot Investigates 3 stars
10. The Secret of Chimneys 2.5 stars
11. Last Bus to Woodstock 4 stars
12. Unnatural Causes 4 stars
13. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist 3 stars
14. Partners In Crime 3 stars
15. Solomon's Vineyard 4 stars
16. The Big Sleep 5 stars
17. The Mysterious Mr. Quin 3.5 stars
18. Bimbos of the Death Sun 4 stars
19. The Murder at the Vicarage 4 stars
20. Peril at End House 3.5 stars
21. Queenpin 4 stars
1. The Best Things to do in New York: 1001 Ideas4 stars
2. Britannia in Brief 3.5 stars
3. 101 Places Not To See Before You Die 3.5 stars
4. Lost on Planet China 5 stars
5. The Kingdom by the Sea 4 stars
6. Something to Declare: Essays on France and French Culture 3 stars
7. New England's Favorite Seafood Shacks4 stars
8. Frommer's San Francisco 2011 4 stars
9. Adventures on the High Teas 4 stars
11. Hay-On-Wye: Blue Guide 5 stars
12. Living and Working in London 3 stars
13. Walking Seattle 3.5 stars
1. Count Karlstein3 stars
2. Doctor Faustus
4. Arabat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
5. Lives of the Monster Dogs
6. The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children 4 stars
7. The Turn of the Screw3 stars
8. The Woman in White 5 stars
9. The Graveyard Book 5 stars
10. Autumn: A New England Journey 5 stars
11. Quiet As A Nun 4 stars
12. Come Along With Me4.5 stars
13. The Strain
14. Bone Soup3 stars
15. Robe of Skulls3 stars
18. In Cold Blood 4.5 stars
19. Halloween: An American Holiday 3 stars
20. All Hallow's Evil3.5 stars
21. Sleepy Hollow 4 stars
You Never Know What It'll Be
1. The Gourmet Cookie Book 5 stars
2. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 4.5 stars
3. Simple Times:Crafts for Poor People 4.5 stars
4. The Most Beautiful Libraries of the World 5 stars
5. How To Be A Complete Bastard 3 stars
6. Cocktail Time 5 stars
7. Interior Desecrations 4 stars
8. You Are What You Eat 3.5 stars
9. The Uncommon Reader 4.5 stars
10. Alice Waters and Chez Panisse 4 stars
11. Minnesota Fats On Pool 3 stars
12. Tropic of Cancer 3.5 stars
13. Fahrenheit 451 4 stars
14. The Deep 3 stars
15. Smooth Operators 3.5 stars
16. What I Hate from A to Z 4 stars
17. The Worst Noel 3.5 stars
18. A Christmas Story 4 stars
I'm going to get through at least a couple of the Dalgliesh mysteries this month, and Cover Her Face was the first, published in 1962. It's properly English, with an old estate, the secret between the maid and the family heir and the calm and polite detectives in charge. It's a good one, with realistic characters and an ending that kept me guessing. 4 stars
I place this one firmly in the middle of Christie's work; it isn't one of her greats (And Then There Were None) and it certainly isn't one of her stinkers (hello, Elephants Can Remember). It's a solid Poirot that is difficult to figure out, mainly because the reader isn't given a vital piece of evidence until 20 pages from the end.
I detect the beginnings of her later Murder on the Orient Express here, with a murder of a wealthy, entitled person on a train, though that's where the similarities end. MotOE is a masterpiece. 3.5 stars
Dalgliesh is looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation during his holiday at the seashore with his aunt at her cottage. She lives in a small village that seems to house nothing but writers, a place where everyone enjoys their solitude. But as soon as he arrives a writer is murdered,the corpse mutilated and Dalgliesh finds himself at odds with the local Inspector, who seems to resent Dalgliesh's presence.
A good one. Dalgliesh's moods swing between irritated and depressed, yet he always is cool. The suspects are well-written and unlikeable. 4 stars
I ignored James for many years, but then I saw her speak and was so impressed that I had to read one, The Murder Room, and was hooked.
If you're like me and discovered Thompson through The Killer Inside Me, you'll be thrilled to find that he's plucked some of his characters from that amazing book and dropped them here. While this isn't a sequel, Lou Ford is again the creepy sheriff of a small Texas town and he is again engaged to sweet Amy and messing around with Joyce the Hooker ( her status is just slightly more elevated in this go-round), but the book is narrated by nervous Bugs, who just knows that somebody and everybody is out to get him.
Everything Thompson wrote oozes gritty noir. 4.5 stars
Yes, this would be a good follow-up to TKIM, but so would Pop.1280. Thompson clearly saw sheriffs as demonic. I'd be interested in getting a bio on him.
Anyway, rather than ruin the cool weather seasons later this year by reading about hot climates, I thought I'd pack all of my heat-related subjects into the next couple of months. I'm already miserable so why not rub it in?
So, this summer I'll be going through a surprisingly big stack of books that are broadly related to the season: set in hot climates, traveling to warm areas, ocean voyages, pirating...
Not all my reads will be from this category, but I'll do as many as I can. And I'm starting off with:
44. New England's Favorite Seafood Shacks by Elizabeth Bougerol. This thick book must account for every restaurant, diner and dockside shack in New England that serves any kind of seafood. It's almost 250 large pages with photos, descriptions of the menus, atmosphere and the owners, and if warranted, the history of some historic shacks. If you're traveling in this area and love seafood, you'll want this book.
Oh, to attend Jawsfest in June and eat lobster rolls every day. 4 stars
Your strategy might work. Remember to drink a nice, hot mug of tea while you read.
I see that you've lived here, Alison, so you know. My blinds will remain closed until it's time to put up the Halloween decorations.
That "dry heat" thing is a lie. Above a certain level, humidity plays no roll at all. And I'm now in the Old South, home to humidity.
I usually just throw whatever fresh fruit I have into a blender with ice and vodka, maybe a shot of Midori.
Yes, since so many people have put in lawns and pools, Phoenix is nice and sweaty. But I've spent summers in Texas and Florida so I know what you're in for. Makes my hair curl so bad I look like Little Orphan Annie.
Thirty-eight years old and married for seven years, Richard Sherman's wife and boy leave him alone with his vivid imagination for the summer. What no one was expecting is that a new girl has taken the upstairs apartment for the summer and Mr. Sherman can't stop thinking about his waning youth or his marriage, which has become so comfortable.
Funny, charming and not as innocent as the movie. Not to compare it to the movie, which I really love, but the whole play takes part in the Sherman's apartment, with Sherman's fantasy scenes played out with "dream lighting" and actors offstage providing the inner dialogue. Also, the relationship with the girl upstairs is more complicated.
Some of my favorite characters in the movie, such as the janitor and Sherman's boss, are only referred to here, but the brusque psychiatrist has a bigger part.
If you like the movie, you'd like the play. 4 stars
Well, I'll say this for dry heat. At least it kills off a lot of bugs. Wet heat, you're steam cooked perfectly for the mosquitoes. Ah, and rent Body Heat when you need a break from reading.
I've never seen Body Heat so I'll have to check it out. I have seen Jaws about 40 times now. One of my favorites.
For anyone who doubts that meeting with pirates could be really scary, this is proof that surviving often came down to pure luck. 4.5 stars
This is my second read of Sixpence House and I love Collins' writing and also his perspective, as an American whose parents are English.
This book was my introduction to Hay-On-Wye and to book towns when I first read it a few years ago. But it isn't all about books- it covers the strange methods of British real estate, the realization in a grocery store that he is no longer in the land of plenty and a visit to his dying grandmother. But a lot of it is about books. Yea! 5 stars
I think there are other book towns around the world too.
>40 DeltaQueen50: Delta, hope you find it and love it.
It begins with Waters' childhood and I really thought that there was no need to go back quite that far, but as you go through her college years and the beginnings of her interest in food, and the fact that her father figures into the later success of the restaurant, it makes sense to have the background.
Chez Panisse has repeatedly been voted the best restaurant in America, but its rise happened slowly and in a way that probably wouldn't happen these days. Who could get away with being backed by drug dealers? And the success happened despite Waters' utter lack of business skills, and her confusing desire to attend the Sorbonne, to cook for her friends, to open a restaurant, but not to be the chef. I found it really strange that she built her life around food and held the title of chef while avoiding the actual cooking most of the time. Which brings up another thing about the book; I thought it would be a kind portrait of Waters and for the most part it is. But about halfway through McNamee begins showing cracks in the Panisse family and it gives a more realistic view of what it's like to have had such a group effort that benefits one person more than the others. 4 stars
Agatha leaves her thatched English cottage to track down James, the man who left her, in Cyprus. He doesn't seem thrilled to see her, and in fact he spends much of their time yelling at her and she spends her time cowering.
They both spend a lot of time with a group of fellow Brits- the upper class bunch led by snotty Olivia and the working class bunch led by slutty Rose. Murders among the tourist attractions give Agatha and James time to work together and fight a lot.
This is a quick read and I liked it much better than the other I had read, Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death. 3 stars
This was written in 1965 and besides explaining every variation of the came and how to execute the shots, there are some great black and white photos of Fats, hair greased and wearing a natty suit, showing how to hold a cue and take a shot. Even explains how to re-cover your pool table, if you're into that sort of thing. 3 stars
Everybody remember reading this at about eleven or twelve? That was the last time I read this book and I expected to have that feeling of ,"Oh, it was good for a kid." I'm actually surprised at the complexity of the characters here, especially that of Patty's brutal father juxtaposed against the gentle Anton. The theme that someone could be forced to represent an ideology they don't believe in is subtle yet effective. If you haven't read this since childhood, try it again. 4 stars
My copy is a 2000 printing (there must be a more recent edition) so much of it can be expected to be outdated by the world financial crisis, but there's still valuable information such as the explanation of the various boroughs and their populations.
This book would be of interest only for those making the move or for people like me, who are armchair residents. 3 stars
This is a first-person story, probably much of it true, about Miller's years of poverty and perversion in Paris. He walks the streets, eats little, drinks a lot, picks up many, many prostitutes, calls women by the c-word, lives with bed bugs and meets a dog with worms.
This book is pretty shocking, so it's no big surprise that it was banned for years. Yet, even with a plot so slim that I'm not sure there actually is a plot, Miller is a good writer. He's brutal, sometimes funny and every once in a while he's tender-hearted. 3.5 stars
My only criticism is that I thought the essay "What I See When I Look at The Face On The $20 Bill" is like a warm-up for her later book The Wordy Shipmates, as Vowell gets on her soapbox, loses her sense of humor entirely and scolds America as she reminds us how horribly Native Americans were treated two hundred years ago. Other than those moments, I like her. 4 stars
BTW, did you know there's an episode of the t.v. show on Youtube?
This book, written by pirate expert Cordingly, covers all aspects of women and the sea- girls who sailed disguised as boys, female pirates, the lives of prostitutes in port towns and the wives of sailors and ship captains. There are many women here that I had never heard of, and I've read lots on pirate and sea history.
A standout is the story of nineteen year-old Mary Patten, the wife of a ship captain who became ill in 1856 while sailing from New York to San Francisco. The first mate was unable to navigate, but Mary's husband had taught her how on a previous journey, so rather than pull into a foreign port and cause her husband's employer to face a heavy fine, she took the wheel, navigated the ship for 4 months and completed the voyage.
Also surprising is the number of women who were able to collect a sort of pension from the Royal Navy after being discovered and removed from duty. It seems that in many cases, if a woman could prove that she had served honorably, even though in disguise, she received her pay for services rendered. 4 stars
& I have to say, so there has been more than one person in the world who wanted their body made into ammo??? I can see wanting your iron peg leg being made into a canon ball but...
And, yeah, I think there's a type of person who finds that type of memorial appealing. I can't explain it.
While I wouldn't call this one a great Christie, I liked it. Some would point out that there isn't much build-up to the cases, but I'd say this is a good choice for just going along with T&T, a young, hip 1920's bantering couple. 3 stars
This is an ER and I'm really glad I won it. It's a truly original book, full of vintage photos as "proof" of who Jacob meets and the events that happened in his grandfather's time. Clearly there will be sequels. 4.5 stars
To find out at the end that the photos were all real (I had thought that some of them were too strange to not be staged) was great. You just wonder why someone would want a photo of a teenage girl smoking a pipe and peeling potatoes.
I do feel that I'm the last one to the boat with this iconic novel. There's so much here.
America as a television-obsessed society (what? that would never happen) with t.v.s the size of walls. Guy, with Faber in his ear, fighting for the rights of the individual. The demolition of a society that needs to be demolished and the chance that it can be re-built into something better. 4 stars
Glad you found Fahrenheit 451. I'm not a Bradbury fan, but I love that book.
This book was written in 1941 but banned from publication in the U.S. until 1988, though I can't figure out why. The "kinky" sex scenes are brief and almost laughable, but no more graphic than any other pulp writing at the time.
The writing can be flat as a pancake for a few paragraphs here and there but Latimer is good at action, with gangland shoot outs and fistfights being plentiful. So are double-crosses and deaths; this detective gets everybody involved in his problems.
My beef is with the publisher, Black Mask. This book takes sloppy editing to new lows. Paragraph structures are often wrong, dialogue is attached to previous dialogue so that the reader has to guess which character is speaking and the spelling mistakes are too numerous to count. For some reason, the word "off" is replaced with "oil" in almost every instance.
However, I really enjoyed the exciting story with all its intrigue and it's a a true example of hardboiled pulp. 4 stars
I'm hoping that as ereaders take off, readers will demand a certain standard and that publishers will decide to take pride in what they release again. It's come to the point where a well-designed book is a surprise. We expect to endure the medium to get the story, rather than expecting the medium (whether nook or bound copy) to enhance and increase the pleasures of reading.
I just read a small press book published by an award winning author, and it hadn't been proofread at all! I'm not just guessing that. I had it confirmed by one of the author's writers group members. Painful! Authors have started hiring proofreaders on their own now in some cases. We should start demanding books that have been properly proofed.
Hey, I used to be a proofreader too.
And yes, I do think we should warn others of lazy publishing.
BE WARNED, THIS PUBLISHER CANNOT SPELL, PUNCTUATE OR LINE UP A PARAGRAPH!
I'm surprised we aren't finding more books that have been marked up by an enraged reader doing their own proofreading.
61. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. L.A. private detective Phil Marlowe is hired by a very wealthy and very sick old man to see who is trying to blackmail him. But Marlowe quickly figures out that the old man knew Marlowe would be led into a quagmire of rotten people all trying to get their hands on the same money.
This is my first Chandler and I loved it. The writing is excellent, very much along the lines of Dashiell Hammett, so if you liked The Maltese Falcon, you'll probably like Chandler. 5 stars
62. The Mysterious Mr. Quin. This is a series of short stories in which an elderly and sometimes regret-filled Mr. Satterthwaite moves among his wealthy acquaintances to figure out various murders, save lives and generally ferret out their deepest thoughts. In what seems to be a case of mutual worldwide stalking, Mr. Satterthwaite runs into Mr. Quin like clockwork, and it's is the discussions between the two gentlemen that point the way to an answer.
Though these stories usually run to about twenty pages each, they are satisfying. Characters are fleshed out enough to keep the readers attention, and Mr. Quin becomes more mysterious with each tale. I don't know if it's just me, but there were times when I could picture Satterthwaite as Poirot. 3.5 stars
I do remember liking that book and thinking that she had written some good female characters there.
If you've read Benchley's Jaws, you would know why I began reading this one with more than a little scepticism. I'm a huge fan of the movie, but it turned out that scriptwriters, Robert Shaw and Spielberg had taken the bones of the novel and built something way better.
So I expected more of the same here, but it seems that Benchley's writing improved quite a bit by the time this was published in 1976. It's an easy thriller that hangs on scary things happening underwater and in the dark night, with a police force so incompetent that the protagonists have to go it alone. A decent summer read. 3 stars
I've never read fantasy, unless you count Harry Potter, and I don't read science fiction or play wargames. Doesn't matter, this is a fun book. I was happy enough with the cast of misfit characters who think they're Norse warriors or Vulcans that I forgot to be on the lookout for a murder. This is a 1988 Edgar Allan Poe award winner and it really hasn't aged that much. The computer stuff has changed, but a hotel of outcasts enjoying the company of their own is timeless. 4 stars
The Woman in White reading with Dianna, Start date 9/30.
Howl's Moving Castle
Come Along With Me
The Turn of the Screw- reading with Julie
The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien
The List of 7
Quiet As A Nun
Halloween: An American Holiday, An American Tradition
The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children
Robe of Skulls
The Strain -reading with Julie. Starts 9/14
Sleepy Hollow by Time Burton.
This is the third Bony mystery I've read and I like this series a lot. It occurred to me as I read this one that Upfield wasn't all that cozy. The violence isn't graphic and the Australian Outback locales give the books a rather rugged, wholesome feeling, but there are transvestites and perverts and even a brief reference to a gay couple. There are drunks and female killers. If Bony wasn't so faithful to his wife, these might have been called hardboiled. Or maybe I've still got Chandler on my mind. 4 stars
>99 pamelad: pam You're welcome and I'm glad to have a part in your finding the series! I haven't read The Bone is Pointed yet. I've read Man of Two Tribes and The Bachelors of Broken Hill and I have The Mystery of Swordfish Reef on the shelf.
For some reason the editions I want to collect, tie-ins from the 70's t.v. series, are really expensive.
67. Autumn: A New England Journey by Candace and Ferenc Mate. If you love the sight of maple trees in Autumn, you'll want this large book of photography that covers all the New England states. The pictures are big and gorgeous, displaying rolling Vermont farms, New Hampshire waterfalls and forests of trees so brightly red and orange that they look like they're on fire. Included are poems by Dickenson, cummings and Frost and many excerpts from novels placed in New England, such as Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of Pointed Firs. And the back of the book has a guide to identifying the trees of the region. Lovely, lovely. 5 stars
This is part of a series of Jemima Shore books written by Fraser, but this is the only one I've read so far. It was turned into an episode of the old "Armchair Thriller" t.v. series in the U.K. and I'd really love to see this. The character of Jemima is interestingly flawed- she's in love with a self-absorbed married man and admits that a previous affair led to her success. Yet she's likeable and always looks for the reasonable explanation, even when she's creeped out. 4 stars
I hadn't seen the film based on this book and only knew that Capote had pioneered the true crime genre with this. The research, much of it in the form of interviews with law enforcement, the murderers and the people who had known the Clutter family, bring the crime into focus. The fact that the Clutters and the two men who took their lives should have never met, that the victims played no part in what happened to them, is clear. Capote includes testimony from the attending doctors and includes much of the personal history of the murderers, while never attempting to draw sympathy from the reader. Much of the book is about the amount of hard work the police had to put into tracking the two drifters across the country. 4.5 stars
A quick tale suitable for young children, but I bought it because the cover is adorable. 3 stars
This is the first appearance of Miss Marple and how funny to see that she's almost disliked for her alertness and gossiping. This book is a good example of how much fun Christie could be. Here is the vicar narrating:
A ribald rhyme concocted by Dennis shot through my head.
"Miss Cram doesn't give a damn."
I had a sudden yearning to say it out loud and observe the effect, but fortunately I refrained.
>120 RidgewayGirl: RGirl Proof that there are experts in every subject.
Prince Marcus misbehaves, which means that he can't join all the other royal children at the celebration, the one that the sorceress Lady Lamorna hopes to ruin with her dark magic. Gracie and Marcus join together to cut back the number of evil creatures in the vicinity.
The story here is adventurous and the drawings, especially the cover, are fun. I have to say that the plot is better than the actual writing, which could do with some tightening. And I couldn't figure out why the bat is the only character that speaks like an American in the 1940's. But then a speaking bat should be taken as is. 3 stars
by the dread pirate Patrick Rothfuss. It's a children's book masquerading as an adult book that is masquerading as a children's book. I think it is your sense of humor.
75. The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan. In this re-telling of Hansel and Gretel, the children are science wiz Sol Blink and his younger sister Connie. When their family moves into the apartment building next door to Fay Holaderry, Sol notices that the old woman's dog is chewing on a bone that looks rather alarming. And when the children manage to steal Holaderry's journal, all their suspicions are confirmed.
This book is listed for young readers, but I think that refers to the fact that the story is written in a style that is somewhat fairy tale-ish. It's a clever modern version of two children having to outwit an evil witch who has embraced the internet and movie theaters. 4 stars
To give it even more of a fairy tale feel, there are some illustrations showing the children with big, sad droopy eyes.
In "The Summer People", an elderly couple refuse to listen when the locals tell them their vacation is over, and "The Beautiful Stranger" describes the eerie feeling of detachment a young woman gets when she thinks of her husband. All of the stories in the book aren't creepy, but the central theme is isolation. Missing from the collection is Jackson's most famous short story, "The Lottery", but I have that in another collection of her work, and this was great for seeing her progression as a writer. 4.5 stars
Have to be happy with the knowledge that there's another Cake Wrecks book out for Christmas. 5 stars
78. Mommy Knows Worst by James Lileks. I'll tell you how this works: you read one of Lileks books and laugh and you're in a good mood. So you you say to yourself, think I'll re-read that other one too, 'cause it's hard to stop at one. That's my theory.
This book gathers all the terrible advice that has been printed by "experts" in the field of child care. Makes you wonder how a baby born in the 1930's survived. 5 stars
Now I'm back to the scary Halloween reads.
Written in almost a folklore style, this story has a bit of the supernatural, a little tension, and some humor. 3 stars
Susan Henshaw is the local amateur sleuth of the small town of Hancock. While visiting the library on Halloween morning she literally stumbles across a dying man, which brings to her notice that the new police chief is an old friend who is happy to have Susan along for the investigation. A second murder the same day fills Susan's house with strangers and gives her more suspects to check out.
This is a easy, fluff read, something I would categorize along with all the culinary mysteries that have flooded the market, with one big difference: I liked this one. It has it's flaws. The main character is often a doormat and the phrase "I don't understand" is used too much. Many points of the story turn on the fact that nobody knocks on a door before entering. Yet I liked the characters and I liked that a married mother of teenagers, Susan, has a wandering eye when it comes to the police chief. 3.5 stars
Still, I'm so surprised at how long it has taken me to get through this 120 page novel.
82. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A young woman is hired to be the governess of two siblings at a country estate. To her relief, she finds the children beautiful and charming, though there are hints that things aren't always that way, and that the children may have been taught some bad habits.
I struggled with this book. Reading English Victorian novels is hardly new to me, but Uuugh! James is a master of vagueness, of stacking up qualifiers one on top of each other until a single sentence may as well have been written in a foreign language. Add in some colloquialisms I've never come across before and I found myself going over paragraphs and even whole conversations trying to figure out what information was being conveyed and coming up none the wiser.
But I don't mean to imply that it's all bad. For me, his best writing here concerns the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose. Up until the last, it's unclear whether Mrs. Grose believes the young governess or is humoring her out of fear and the fact that the younger woman holds a higher position. In this relationship, vagueness works well. 3 stars
I have never been able to get through a Henry James book so I just made the decision that he and I are just not meant to be.
And now for the books I've brought home from the sale:
Up in Honey's Room
The Monsters of Templeton
The Big Over Easy
The Complete Jack the Ripper
Maigret and the Madwoman
Jemima Shore's First Case
The Scoop & Behind the Scenes
The Floating Admiral
Death and the Dancing Footman
The Bone is Pointed
Stories of the Supernatural by Sayers
The Gondola Scam
The Clothes They Stood Up In
Tender at the Bone
The Sea Hawk
The Blackpool Highflyer
The Necropolis Railway
More Sand in My Bra
Hmmm, didn't notice how many mysteries I grabbed.
Yes, the first chapter of The Woman in White is quite a slog-thru. It gets better though, although perhaps Walter should also be told to be more sparing in words in the end too. Sorry about Turn of the Screw. James is dense, but I personally think Turn is absolutely masterful!
I can see why James' story has been filmed so many times. I recently watched The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr as the governess. A great sense of isolation.
This was a re-read for me and it's an imaginative and very entertaining story. I looked forward to revisiting this one. 5 stars
84. Smooth Operators by Richard Jarman. This is a novelty book from England about the things a cool guy of the seventies had to have: permed hair, polyester slacks, gold medallions and chest hair. Jarman starts off with the cringe-worthy memories of watching his own father after his parents divorced. So many hideous pictures. 3.5 stars
Anyway, on to #85. The Gourmet Cookie Book. I've wanted this for a long time and finally it's mine. Divided by decade and year, each recipe has a little history about how it came to Gourmet magazine and is printed in the format of its publication, meaning that there was a time when ingredients and directions were written all together in a paragraph. There is one recipe for every year between 1941 to 2009, when the magazine folded. The biggest surprise for me are the cottage cheese cookies, which read and look quite tasty. 5 stars
86. The Professionals 7: Hiding To Nothing by Ken Blake. This time round, Bodie, Doyle and Cowley have to figure up what is with Meredith, an agent who reappears after being pronounced dead two years before. It's tough to tell if he's still loyal to the British crown or if the Russians have got him on the payroll.
In another case, Doyle's new girlfriend happens to have the wrong sort of friends. 5 stars
So that's just the basics. This story has so many locales, characters and narrators to the story that this short summary barely scratches the surface. It's a remarkable story. With all these twists, the reader is still hanging on waiting for the next big surprise, and there are plenty. The characters, particularly the fat evil Count Fosco, are unforgettable and I'm sure if I meet a man of his physical description I'll be thinking "Count Fosco" in my head. Though I sometimes got diverted by other books and this one runs over 500 pages, which might explain why it took me longer than I'd like to admit to finish it, it was never dull. In fact, it has the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. 5 stars
This is a good one- nearly impossible to figure the entire thing out (I only figured out the matter of the will) until Poirot explains it. 3.5 stars
Fourteen year-old Artemis has taken steps to become the youngest person to ever steal a certain painting, and that's how he defines himself ever since the underground leaders had his mind wiped after he helped save them from destruction. Now Captain Holly Short, who along with Artemis, stopped Opal last year, finds that she's the target for revenge when everyone thinks she's a murderer.
This is the fourth book in the series and Artemis is still globe-hopping: Munich, Ireland, Italy. 3.5 stars
A weird book and a quick read, this one is a giggle, especially as the drawings have a frantic quality. 4 stars
I love Wodehouse, especially Jeeves and Wooster, but these plays do suffer somewhat from a silliness that modern audiences just wouldn't appreciate. There are bits of the Wodehouse snarkiness to be found, but romance, confusion and mistaken identities are the main focus. 3 stars
Fifty years on and this is still a script that jolts with its brutal outbursts, confessions, brief flashes of gentleness and non-stop drinking. How do they remain standing, let along speaking coherently?
I heard Albee on NPR about a year ago and they were taking calls. I don't know how old he is now but he had lost none of his forcefulness and corrected each person who mispronounced his name, telling them, "It's All-bee!" 5 stars
This isn't just a crime story with female characters substituting for the traditional males. The characters do everything in a feminine way, from leaning on casino owners to murder to sniping over a boyfriend. The writing can be a little rough here and there, but my only complaint is with the heavy reliance on slang, as there's hardly a sentence without it. Bit like actors chewing the scenery, but an enjoyable tale, especially for noir fans. I'll be picking up Abbott's others. 4 stars
97. The Professionals:8 Dead Reckoning by Ken Blake. This one contains one of the best episodes of the show, "Mixed Doubles". Bodie and Doyle are put through rigorous training to prepare for the arrival of a controversial president from the Middle East who promotes peace. As they spend each moment preparing for the worst, the assassins are training in almost the same way. I wish I had been able to finish the series this year, but that just leaves more for next year.5 stars
98. Savage Night by Jim Thompson. Carl Bigelow arrives in the small college town of Peardale and finds there's a problem with the room he has rented in the Winroy house. First, the Winroy's have a bad reputation, secondly, Mrs. Winroy's too good-looking and friendly, and third, Mr. Winroy is a paranoid drunk who sicks the sheriff on Carl right away because he thinks his young, five foot tall lodger is a hitman come to kill him. Add in another lodger who sees promise in Carl as a baker and scholar, and the deformed kitchen help who falls in love and you have a seething mess of longing and disappointment.
As with most of Thompson's books, the ending to this is surprising, violent and bizarre. 4 stars