RichardDerus third thread of 2015!

Això és la continuació del tema RichardDerus second thread of 2015!.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

RichardDerus third thread of 2015!

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

1richardderus
oct. 3, 2015, 12:21pm

What am I, about 25 behind 2013? Shows to go ya, time spent in the bin can't be made up...and you should SEE the list of books I read that all y'all sent me. Over 90!

And now back to our regularly scheduled procrastination program.

2ronincats
Editat: oct. 3, 2015, 3:36pm

*waves cast--2 more days!* xoxox

ETA just read final messages on last thread--you were ahead of me.

3rocketjk
oct. 3, 2015, 12:35pm

October is always a good reading month. Cheers, RD

4PaulCranswick
oct. 3, 2015, 1:02pm

From another one stuttering along this year - best wishes always and congratulations on a new thread dear fellow.

5johnsimpson
oct. 3, 2015, 2:14pm

Happy new thread Richard my friend.

6maggie1944
oct. 3, 2015, 2:52pm

There seems to be a little group of us who for one reason or another did not get as many books read this year as might be hoped for. Oh, well. What the Hell. I don't think I'm going to worry about it an I imagine you do not either! Happy weekend, dear sir.

7tututhefirst
oct. 3, 2015, 9:08pm

Checking in with an echo that this has NOT been a good reading year for Tutu IF (and only IF) you define good as "lots of". Various emergencies, physical limitations, and crap have gotten in the way. I'm also convinced that after 5 years of non-stop reading/reviewing/blogging and "keeping up" my mind rebelled. So I've settled into reading whatever the hell I feel like, whether it's a re=read, pulp fiction, a hefty bio, a dark history or whatever. I'll list it here, and probably give it some stars on the book page, but I'm not going to be writing reviews. Want to read the book cause I want to, not cause I have to review it.

Nuf of that....it's so good to have you back. I hope your new abode is sufficiently innoculated against any coming water/weather events. Smooches.

8benitastrnad
oct. 3, 2015, 11:53pm

I don't suppose that there is anyway you let us know about the best of those 90 you read while you were out of touch with us? I confess - I am curious about what you liked.

9Ameise1
oct. 4, 2015, 3:23am

Happy New Thread, Rdear. I'm more than happy that you're back here. So don't feel sad your presence is like bithday/x-mas and Eastern all together. xoxoxo

10LovingLit
oct. 4, 2015, 3:35am

Happy new threadness RD! I'd love to see the lists of recently read books given to you by the awesome LT crowd. Any Dickens or *shudder* poetry amongst it? Too cruel! Even for jokesies.
(now I am imagining return to sender envelopes containing shredded paper!!)

11mckait
oct. 4, 2015, 7:53am

much better

12luvamystery65
oct. 4, 2015, 10:21am

Happy new thread Richard! xoxo from me and The Devilles.

13jnwelch
Editat: oct. 5, 2015, 1:06pm



Congratulations on the new thread, RD! Comfy chair?

14richardderus
oct. 4, 2015, 1:56pm

Review: 16 of seventy-five

Title: WHAT MAKES YOU DIE

Author: TOM PICCIRILLI

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: To see more is to find oblivion…

Tommy Pic’s hallucinations come and go and leave sticky notes for him during his bipolar swings. Coming out of a blackout in an unfamiliar psychiatric ward, Tommy Pic awakes to his missing childhood love, his dead brother, his alive family, and a message from his agent that his latest screenplay may yet be his ticket back to Hollywood fame and fortune. If only he could remember writing it.

Searching out the hallucinations that will write Acts 2 and 3 of the screenplay that will oust Zypho as his best-known work, Tommy goes chasing his kidnapped childhood love, a witch from the magic shop, the komodo dragon he tried to cut out of his gut on Christmas Eve.

… This is what makes you die.

My Review: This book is bittersweet because its author died of a brain tumor last July. His career output was good-quality suspense and horror fiction, and a brief note from his widow posted on Facebook suggests that there could be posthumous goodies.

Let no one speak ill of the dead, runs the Roman maxim, and I have no ill to speak. I enjoyed this read, found it compelling, finished it in a day or so. The problems that knocked a whole star-and-a-half off my rating were all about the cohesion of the events in the book. A man having blackouts and talking to dead people is bound to have a continuity issue or two in his brain. On paper, these come across more as scattershot than as planned and placed pieces of the one story: Tommy Pic's life.

It's a good book, give it a try, just don't expect too much formal structure and all will be well.

15drneutron
oct. 5, 2015, 9:04am

Shiny new thread and a good review to start the morning. Excellent!

16scaifea
oct. 5, 2015, 12:06pm

Happy new thread, Richard!

18richardderus
oct. 5, 2015, 3:05pm

>2 ronincats: It's off-with-the-cast day! YAY!

>3 rocketjk: I have happy expectations, too, Jerry.

>4 PaulCranswick: Thank you most kindly, Paul, and a busier reading year for us both in 2016.

>5 johnsimpson: Many thanks, John, and my greetings to Karen and (of course) Hannah!

19ronincats
oct. 5, 2015, 3:09pm

*waves cast--2 hours!*

20richardderus
oct. 5, 2015, 3:12pm

>6 maggie1944: Exactly right attitude to have, Karen44. We're here to enjoy ourselves and add a little spice to our friends' reading lists, right? Stress and anxiety don't make that easier, so off the boat with 'em.

>7 tututhefirst: *applause, applause* I'll see what I can do about aiming BBs at you more accurately and temptingly. Because I'm evil like that.

>8 benitastrnad: Here's one.

>9 Ameise1: Awww! Barbara, that's so sweet. Thank you most kindly!

21richardderus
oct. 5, 2015, 3:19pm

>10 LovingLit: Howdy there, Maudie! I'll be putting more and more up as time goes by. I just need to find the whole list, wherever I've put it.

>11 mckait: Good. *smooch*

>12 luvamystery65: Howdy, Roberta! Ear schmoozles all around!

>13 jnwelch: *fantods* It...it...perfect...it...I...OOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOO

22richardderus
oct. 5, 2015, 3:22pm

>15 drneutron: Nice to see you visiting a humble and useless drone such as me, Jim. How's the rocket-scientist thing going?

>16 scaifea: Thank you, Amber! *smooch*

>19 ronincats: Triple-YAY for only two hours!!

23Oberon
oct. 5, 2015, 3:55pm

>1 richardderus: It is nice to have you back nonetheless.

24drneutron
oct. 5, 2015, 4:37pm

>22 richardderus: Today, not so good. We're trying to get our mechanical structure built up and it's fighting us. :)

25laytonwoman3rd
Editat: oct. 5, 2015, 5:00pm

>13 jnwelch: Perkins!! Have the lads move this chair into Mr. Dear's boudoir at once, please. And find the matching footstool. Then they can shove that tacky Naugahyde monstrosity he's been using right to the curb.

26ronincats
oct. 5, 2015, 10:18pm

*smooches* It is great, simply great, to have you back!

27scaifea
oct. 6, 2015, 6:28am

Morning, Richard!

28msf59
oct. 6, 2015, 7:31am

Hey, RD! Good to see you posting and reviewing again. Nice to see you getting plenty of reading in. It is my favorite medication.

29richardderus
oct. 6, 2015, 11:10am

>23 Oberon: Thank you, Erik!

>24 drneutron: Ain't it always the way...and time is short for a 2018 launch...

>25 laytonwoman3rd: *offended silence* You have no idea how many naugas lost their hides to make that "monstrosity," madam. A little respect for their sacrifice is in order.

>26 ronincats: That's so lovely to hear, o castless one.

>27 scaifea: Hey Amber! Is tomorrow still library-volunteer day for you?

>28 msf59: Mine too, Mark, and when it gets to be too hard to organize my thoughts on a book, it's painful. So glad this nastiness is evaporating at last.

30bell7
oct. 6, 2015, 1:53pm

Richard! Soooo glad to see you posting and reviewing a little more regularly! I hope you're enjoying the cooler autumnal weather and are starting to feel more settled in every way. Once I go through it, I have another BookPage coming your way (unless you're getting tired of ogling new & coming bookish attractions?). *smooch*

31richardderus
oct. 6, 2015, 1:55pm

...tired...ogling...*bwaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaahaaaaaa*

*smooch*

32maggie1944
oct. 6, 2015, 2:12pm

I, too, am celebrating some liberation to return to reading as much as I can. House is sold, and now I can sit and read without being nagged about all the work I should be doing. Yay!

33scaifea
oct. 7, 2015, 6:31am

>29 richardderus: Nope, this year is a bit different - I'm volunteering in the school library on Tuesday afternoons, which is the librarian's busiest day, book-return-wise, this year. And it's still heaven for me, shelving those books, listening to her read stories to the classes and getting the occasional "Hi, Mrs. Scaife!" or "Hi, Charlie's mom!" or quick hug from the kids. Absolute heaven.

34richardderus
oct. 7, 2015, 1:32pm

>32 maggie1944: Oh the heavenliness of not having must-do lists...house, car, job...buh-bye, boys, will not miss ya one eentsy bit.

>33 scaifea: It sounds tailor-made for you, Amber. Could not be better. So happy for you!

35richardderus
oct. 7, 2015, 7:15pm

Review: 17 of seventy-five

Title: HARD TO BE A GOD

Author: ARKADY AND BORIS STRUGATSKY

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Don Rumata has been sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler, and a brawler, he is never defeated, but yet he can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play? This long overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience.

My Review: It's hard to review a world-famous classic. I have to think the translation is faithful because it captures a voice that lesser translators more often than not miss entirely. The standard adventure plot is fun. In common with a lot of SF written in that era, we don't get a lot of well-drawn characters; in this case only one, Don Rumata himself.

What makes this a classic, then? It would raise few eyebrows today, if it was a new publication. That it is 52 years old makes all the difference; that it is an excellent example of its niche solidifies the place History has given it.

But anyone not already caught in the tentacles of the SF Cthulhu monster might want to pass by without slowing down too much.

36tututhefirst
oct. 7, 2015, 7:53pm

thanks for the advice to pass. Definitely not for me, but wow is it good to see you reading and happy.

37richardderus
oct. 8, 2015, 11:29am

>36 tututhefirst: I don't recall ever recommending anything SFnal to you, Tina, and it strikes me as a bad bet in general. Who knows, that could change. But it's not hugely likely.

*smooch*

38richardderus
Editat: oct. 8, 2015, 8:23pm

Review: 18 of seventy-five

Title: HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA

Author: MOHSIN HAMID

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.” It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else: on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hope it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.

My Review: An internationally flavored mash-up of Death of a Salesman and The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.

I liked both of those stories, and this one too. I got tired of the second-person gag way early, and it took most of a month to read the book because of that.

39Berly
oct. 9, 2015, 3:47am

Ricardo is back! Reviewing and teasing and ogling and smooching!! Life is good. : )

40maggie1944
oct. 9, 2015, 6:20am

I agree that it is good fun to have you back, Richard. Fun to read your refreshingly candid comments!

41katiekrug
oct. 9, 2015, 8:03am

My, my, look at all this activity! Good to see you reading, reviewing, and chin-wagging :)

*smooch*

42jnwelch
oct. 9, 2015, 9:44am

Helpful review of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Richard, thanks. Good to have you back.

43richardderus
oct. 9, 2015, 10:40am

>39 Berly: Ahhh, there you are. Shenanigans may resume. *smooch*

>40 maggie1944: Hmmmmmm..."refreshingly candid" usually equals "mean but funny." I didn't mean to be mean!

Well, mostly anyway.

>41 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Glad to see you here. FINALLY.

>42 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe, it weren't much but it were sincere.

44katiekrug
oct. 9, 2015, 3:13pm

>43 richardderus: - I've been mostly AWOL for a couple of weeks thanks to stupid work!

45lkernagh
oct. 9, 2015, 8:57pm

Lovely to see a new thread up and with you back posting your wonderful reviews, RD! *smooch!*

46Ameise1
oct. 10, 2015, 8:27am

Happy weekend, Rdear.

47maggie1944
oct. 10, 2015, 8:35am

OH! I do not see "Candid" as a synonym for mean. I rather like candid communications from people, let's me know what they are thinking, gives me good information to perhaps alter what I'm thinking. I think being tactful often means "I don't tell you what I think for fear you'll take it wrong". Oh, little respect for the listener, assumes the listener is hyper sensitive.

I guess you can tell I have been candid all my life, blunt and to the point. Some people love me for it, some people don't, and some people get used to it and are more candid themselves as they see the value.

Ah, enough pontification for this Saturday morning. We're having a typical October rainy day here, typical except for the fact that it is warmer than we are used to in October. I'm looking forward to Halloween. A fine night for broom riding.

I am listening to The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy about JFK's father, and more. His time as Ambassador to Great Britain is very interesting as he and FDR did not see eye to eye, and yet he remained in England. I think FDR liked having him away from the political scene at home. Politics have not changed all that much, really.

Also, reading Riding Freedom, a kids' book illustrated by Brian Selznick when he was young. And I have The Marvels, a newer book by Selznick. Loving his illustrations. He is a master at pencil, or charcoal, or whatever it is that he uses.

I think I probably have gotten away with posting information which properly belongs in my thread. I'll go over there and finish my prattling along.

Great to see you here, and active, again. Yay!

48karenmarie
oct. 10, 2015, 8:46am

Hello RD! Drive-by hello and smooches from Horrible.

49laytonwoman3rd
oct. 10, 2015, 11:11am

Naturally this made me think of you. Hope you're getting all the juice you require these days and that it isn't too dreadful.

50rocketjk
oct. 10, 2015, 11:54am

#47> "OH! I do not see "Candid" as a synonym for mean."

I agree, but I cannot help thinking of a cartoon I saw recently on Facebook. A woman is sitting for a job interview before a panel of interviewers. One of the interviewers asks, "What would you say is your biggest flaw?" The woman says, "I'm too honest." The interviewer replies, "I don't think that's a flaw." The woman responds, "I don't give a damn what you think."

Happy weekend!

51jnwelch
oct. 10, 2015, 1:29pm

>49 laytonwoman3rd: Ha! Good one.

52richardderus
oct. 12, 2015, 6:38pm

Review: 19 of seventy-five

Title: MISTER BLUE

Author: JACQUES POULIN

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: By the Governor General Award and Quebec-Paris Prize-winning writer, a novel about a struggling writer and Mister Blue, his cat and sole companion until the day they discover a copy of The Arabian Nights in a cave along the beach. Tinged with melancholy, Mister Blue is at once playful, understated, and deeply human.

Jacques Poulin (1937-) is the author of twelve novels. Among his many honors are the 1978 Governor General’s Award, the 1990 and 2000 Molson Prize for the Arts, and the Gilles-Corbeil Prize in 2008. He lives in Québec City.

My Review: This book arrived in a surprise package from my sister, and we must be sharing some aetheric connection: Two days before I got the package, I was dithering between this Poulin title and Translation is a Love Affair to put in my Amazon cart for Money Day! Heh. Now I can read both!
'Books contain nothing, or almost nothing, that's important: everything is in the mind of the person reading them.'

If you were trying to find an idiotic remark, that one took the cake!

Thus speaks Jim, addressing an intimate audience, and self-talking his own, self-defined failure as a writer. You see, his (probably) imaginary love object won't show him her face, only leaving traces of herself in a riverside cave and a moored sailboat that slowly, steadily is repaired and painted and generally tarted up in the course of Jim's summer obsession.

By the end of the story, Jim's first novel-writing project has been abandoned, a love story that contains no lovers only friends. His second project, just begun as we leave the ramshackle house of Jim's youngest years, gains wind in its sails by his first, possibly first ever, emotional risk-taking act. It's not exactly a stunning shocking pearl-clutching shock, but it is amazing nonetheless. It is a pitch-perfect end to a beautiful chamber opera. I can't wait for the next one to arrive!

53maggie1944
oct. 12, 2015, 8:59pm

Oh, man, if I had the time, and no long list of books I must must must read soon I'd add this one to the pile. But not to be....

54Copperskye
oct. 12, 2015, 9:47pm

Hello Richard, I've had Mister Blue on my shelf for a couple of years now. Thanks for the reminder to get to it. I really liked Translation is a Love Affair.

55jnwelch
Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 9:32am

I really enjoyed Mister Blue, too, Richard. Beautiful writing, and also a cool-looking book.

56richardderus
oct. 13, 2015, 3:08pm

>53 maggie1944: That's always a rotten feeling. I get it too. I'm browsing the facility's library shelves, see something that's mildly interesting, and remind myself I have maybe 20, maybe 25 years left. Mildly interesting goes right back on the shelf.

>54 Copperskye: It's worth moving up the list, Joanne. Such a lovely experience, reading and admiring how beautifully made it is.

>55 jnwelch: The look of all the Archipelago books is distinctive and lovely. They put effort into their well-thought-out designs.

57richardderus
oct. 14, 2015, 12:27pm

Review: 20 of seventy-five

Title: ANNIHILATION

Author: JEFF VANDERMEER

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

My Review: Winner of the 2015 Nebula Award for science fiction novels and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for horror novels, this novel earns accolade after award heaped on top of praise for a good reason: It is eerie, atmospheric setting plus glimpsed monsters plus the recrudescence of the inner evil in all humans. And it's very well written.

We're well into this short book before something truly scary happens; before that, it was all spooky suggestions. The first truly scary thing was the discovery of one woman's mutilated, fungus-laden corpse...an intense impact!

One thing I must note about Mr. Vandermeer's work is that he seems inordinately interested in fungi and molds. **shudder** The shroom-o-phobic members of the audience are warned. Everyone else, I recommend the book with mild reservations, but only mild ones, about the SF-resistant ladies. I myownself would say try 50pp, for what that's worth.

58bell7
oct. 14, 2015, 12:36pm

>57 richardderus: Oh hurray, you're reading the Southern Reach trilogy! I loved that it was creepy and atmospheric without being unbearably Horror (at least for me - I'm a wimp). I hope you enjoy the rest!

59maggie1944
oct. 14, 2015, 1:14pm

Richard, your reviews are nearly irresistible. *rushes away in a panic*

60benitastrnad
oct. 14, 2015, 7:01pm

There has been lots of buzz about this series. I purchased it for the library, but so far I haven't seen much action on them. Perhaps an old fashioned bulletin board on horror novels?

61richardderus
oct. 14, 2015, 7:52pm

>58 bell7: It's a unique blend of suspense and creepshow atmospheric nervewrackingness. I hope the other two are as good.

>59 maggie1944: buuuuy it buuuuuuy the book

Hi Karen44! I do encourage acquisition and perusement of the book soon.

>60 benitastrnad: We spent this past weekend ordering the shelves and fronting seasonal books. They're all gone now. User population of under 100. For what that's worth....

62maggie1944
oct. 14, 2015, 9:28pm

****closes her eyes tight******

63drneutron
oct. 15, 2015, 8:18am

Ok, that one just popped to the top of my list...

64richardderus
oct. 15, 2015, 11:05am

>62 maggie1944: Heh. Foolish mortal, to think The Unstoppable Book-alanche can be resisted.

>63 drneutron: All three, Jim, remember it's a trilogy and one will NOT be enough.

65lkernagh
oct. 16, 2015, 9:03am

>52 richardderus: - Great review of Mister Blue! The only Poulin book I have read so far is Translation is a Love Affair, which I thought was beautifully written.

66richardderus
oct. 16, 2015, 1:00pm

>65 lkernagh: Thank you, Lori! I've got Translation queued up. I expect to love it, given my feelings about MISTER BLUE. Happy to see you here!

67BekkaJo
oct. 16, 2015, 2:22pm

Recently got hold of the latest St.Mary's and thought of you. Hope all is well with you :)

Saying that... I recently had my 3rd bounce back on post. Pls could you pm me your address so I could send a book (albeit 2nd hand and now VERY well travelled to you?)

68richardderus
oct. 17, 2015, 1:37pm

Review: 21 of seventy-five

Title: TRANSLATION IS A LOVE AFFAIR

Author: JACQUES POULIN

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: A quietly affecting modern fairy tale told with humor and warmth, Translation is a Love Affair is a slender volume of immense humanity. A Quebecois novelist with a bad back and his vivacious translator discover a stray cat with an SOS attached to its collar. They embark upon a search for its owner, and when they discover a young girl with bandaged wrists they are drawn into a mystery they don't dare neglect. The world Poulin creates is haunted by dark memories, isolation, and tragedy, yet it is one in which languageand love are the most immediate and vital forces, where one human being hearing a cry of distress of another is compelled to shed one's own inhibitions to respond.

My Review: What a joy it is to discover such a famous novelist, he said with irony dripping onto his keyboard. In a properly order world, Poulin would be as well known in the US as in Canada, and just as justly celebrated.

This tale was a joy to read from "Naked as a trout, I was stepping out of the pond..." to the last spoilery paragraph. I finished it in a few hours, and read about half of it a second time. I am a sucker for stories of made families, as opposed to birth families; I love the idea of the love affair consummated by the intimate connection and tender caring actions of both people despite the long lifetime's difference in their ages. (Well, I would, wouldn't I, being a single mumble fiver now?)
After work he often called me to talk about this and that, or because he'd forgotten a word or the title of a book, or to ask me a question, such as: 'How can I keep brown rice from tasting like shrimp shells?'

Simple and direct, no ornamentation, a short passage sums up the flavor of a deep and cherished connection. That is fine philosophizing as well as deep thinking.

69lkernagh
oct. 18, 2015, 12:52am

>68 richardderus: - YAY....you loved it! Of course, I shouldn't be surprised, but you know.... YAY, you loved it!

70richardderus
oct. 18, 2015, 12:52pm

>69 lkernagh: Yay indeed, I loved it quite a lot! I'm going to search up bargains on his previous books, too. Amazon one-penny ex-library will do fine, since I ain't flush with cash no more.

It's cold here, not much over 40°, sunshiney and barely breezy. So wonderful!

71jnwelch
oct. 19, 2015, 10:48am

>68 richardderus: Yay for the review, too! Added to the WL.

72bell7
oct. 20, 2015, 2:25pm

>68 richardderus: Well that sounds truly lovely. You have convinced me to place my fifteenth library hold on it (don't worry, six are suspended so I won't be breaking my nightstand just yet). You're lucky it's a short book or it would've been moved to the ever-growing TBR list instead.

73richardderus
oct. 21, 2015, 10:25am

>71 jnwelch: Whooppee!!

>72 bell7: DOUBLE whooppee!!

74LovingLit
oct. 22, 2015, 4:54am

>57 richardderus: well, I like that part about the inner evil in all humans. That is the kind of horror I can see myself reading.
Oh, and HI RD!
You'll be pleased to hear that I am tapping away at my latest essay, getting in as many words per day as my slow-moving brain will allow.....and it's not even NaNoWriMo yet!

>68 richardderus: what was that you said? I couldn't get the mumbled part ;)
(see, I was reading your review)

*smooch*

75PaulCranswick
oct. 22, 2015, 6:25am

Well it looks like Jacques Poulin hits all the spots in all the right places dear fellow.

I have missed you this year and have had my own spell of absence with life related crud, only just getting a semblance of my old enthusiasm back. It is not the same tearing up the threads without trying to hang onto your coat tails at the same time.

76richardderus
oct. 22, 2015, 1:01pm

>74 LovingLit: OMG You're going to do NaNo this year?! I am so impressed!

I was merely giving my age, inattentive lassie. Of course, it is a bit difficult to follow for the uninitiated when expressed as a ratio of the ogee curve to the golden mean.

>75 PaulCranswick: We have both had such challenging years, and I think we're both lucky as marshmallow duckies to be standing at the end of all this mishegas. Let's just call this Samhain "New Year's Day" and skip the rest of this miserable year. Okay?

77PaulCranswick
oct. 22, 2015, 1:08pm

>76 richardderus: Happy New Year!

78richardderus
oct. 22, 2015, 1:56pm

>77 PaulCranswick: Happy New Year!

79LovingLit
oct. 22, 2015, 5:36pm

Inattentive lassie!? *oomph* A fist to the guts.
Now that I am in my 5th decade I oughta challenge you to a duel for that ;)

>77 PaulCranswick: >78 richardderus: Here's to a better (new) year for the pair of you!

80richardderus
oct. 22, 2015, 6:00pm

Review: 22 of seventy-five

Title: THE GOOD LIFE ELSEWHERE

Author: VLADIMIR LORCHENKOV

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: The Good Life Elsewhere is a very funny book. It is also a very sad one. Moldovan writer Vladimir Lorchenkov tells the story of a group of villagers and their tragicomic efforts, against all odds and at any cost, to emigrate from Europe’s most impoverished nation to Italy for work. The Good Life Elsewhere aims to present the complexity of a new Europe, where allegiances shift but memories are rooted in place. The book integrates small-scale human follies with strategic partnerships, unification plans, and the Soviet legacies that still hang over the former Eastern Bloc. Lorchenkov addresses the vexing question of what to do when many formerly pro-Soviet/pro-Russia countries want to link arms with their Western European brethren. In this uproarious tale, an Orthodox priest is deserted by his wife for an art-dealing atheist; a mechanic redesigns his tractor for travel by air and sea; thousands of villagers take to the road on a modern-day religious crusade to make it to the promised land of Italy; meanwhile, politicians remain politicians.

Like many great satirists from Voltaire to Gogol to Vonnegut, Lorchenkov makes use of the grotesque to both horrify us and help us laugh. It is not often that stories from forgotten countries such as Moldova reach us in the English-speaking world. A country where 25 percent of its population works abroad, where remittances make up nearly 40 percent of the GDP, where alcohol consumption per capita is the highest in the world, and which has the lowest per capita income in all of Europe – this is a country that surely has its problems. But, as Lorchenkov vividly shows, it’s a country whose residents don’t easily give up.

Russian critics have praised Lorchenkov’s work, calling this novel “a bleeding, wild work, grotesque in every twist of its plot and in every character, written brightly, bitterly, humorously, and – paradoxically, as we’re dealing with the grotesque – honestly.” In The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov shows himself to be a fearless critic, an enduring optimist, and a master stylist. And he does it all “in vivid colors, with a pamphleteer’s spite, and a good-humored smile.”

My Review: When I was a tot, I loved the Warner Brothers-Merrie Melodies cartoons. My mother, vigilant on the subject of what and how much TV I could watch, wrinkled her nose and pursed her lips like last night's prune whip was disagreeing with her, but ultimately gave in.

Joy! Unrestricted access to the Meep-Meep Duck!

"...the...Meep...Dick, what have you been telling the boy? And what does that mean?"

As everyone my age knows already, it was the Roadrunner, and how I loved those gravity-defying falls Wile E. Coyote took, the razzberry the Roadrunner invariably blew at him, and of course MEEP MEEP!!

The entire book, I felt like the Moldovan people one and all were the collective reincarnation of Wile E. Coyote. "All the poor bastard ever wanted was some lunch," was my father's summation of the cartoons. Yeah, I thought every time another hare-brained scheme to get to Italy failed, all the poor bastards want is some food!

And somehow, through some collective karmic deficiency, not one success story leavens this heavy dough. But the icing of absurdity and dreamy impracticality kept me smiling and turning pages.

I wanted to send the poor guys contact information for the Acme Corporation, but couldn't figure out how.

81karenmarie
oct. 23, 2015, 1:32pm

Hello, special marshmallow duckie! Happy New Year indeed.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

(I'm just starting Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling - it's hammock swinging weather here in central NC!)

82richardderus
Editat: oct. 23, 2015, 3:04pm

>79 LovingLit: Thanks, Maudie! *smooch*

>81 karenmarie:

*smoochings* and swing a chapter in that hammock for me!

83maggie1944
oct. 23, 2015, 7:59pm

I love rubber duckies. I want one of those >82 richardderus:!

Happy weekend, dearie!

84avidmom
oct. 23, 2015, 9:47pm

85Ameise1
oct. 24, 2015, 9:27am

Happy weekend, Rdear. I hope it's a good one.

86bell7
oct. 24, 2015, 4:33pm

Quick weekend *wave* and *smooch*

Hope all is well!

87Ameise1
Editat: oct. 27, 2015, 1:34am

Hi Rdear, just to let you know that Diana (Wilkiec) is back with her new username DianaNL.

88tututhefirst
Editat: oct. 26, 2015, 11:56pm

>68 richardderus: Oh what a wonderful review. I want to read this one!

89FAMeulstee
oct. 28, 2015, 4:11am

joining your being back party a little late, but anyway: hooray!

ssri's don't limit my readings no more, but sadly the morphine does the job now, not as bad as the seroxat did, but have to keep it at rather simple books...

loved the last review, wrote down the title, no dutch translation yet, but might be worth to wait for :-)

90ronincats
oct. 29, 2015, 10:32pm

*Drive-by smooches*

91LovingLit
oct. 30, 2015, 1:23am

>82 richardderus: mmmm, wowwy pop.
Icing pop? Nev mind what pop it is I know it's got sugar and that is what is important.

>80 richardderus: funny and sad. Sometimes a good combo, I find. Sounds good in this instance anyhoo.

92maggie1944
oct. 30, 2015, 10:29am

Hey! Happy Friday, to us!

Tomorrow I am trying a totally new experience: standing in rain to watch 10 year old kids play "football". Yikes, I'd rather be reading but Logan REALLY wants me to watch him😃

I will go home and bury myself in a boo!

93bell7
oct. 30, 2015, 10:42am

Thought you'd like to know I started Translation is a Love Affair the other night and so far it's lovely. Today is busy with work and a retirement party (not mine), but I expect I'll be relishing it over the weekend.

*smooch*

94richardderus
oct. 30, 2015, 2:10pm

Review: 23 of seventy-five

Title: THE HEART OF A DOG

Author: MIKHAIL BULGAKOV

Rating: 4*of five

The Publisher Says: A new edition of Bulgakov’s fantastical precursor to The Master and Margarita, part of Melville House’s reissue of the Bulgakov backlist in Michael Glenny’s celebrated translations.

A key work of early modernism, this is the superbly comic story of a Soviet scientist and a scroungy Moscow mongrel named Sharik. Attempting a medical first, the scientist transplants the glands of a petty criminal into the dog and, with that, turns a distinctly worryingly human animal loose on the city. The new, lecherous, vulgar, Engels-spouting Sharik soon finds his niche in governmental bureaucracy as the official in charge of purging the city of cats.

A Frankenstein fable that’s as funny as it is terrifying, The Heart of a Dog has also been read as a fierce parable of the Russian Revolution. It was rejected for publication by the censors in 1925, and circulated in samizdat for years until Michael Glenny translated it into English in 1968—long before it was allowed to be officially published in the Soviet Union. That happened only in 1987, although till this day the book remains one of Mikhail Bulgakov’s most controversial novels in his native country.

My Review: Anyone who's ever read The Master and Margarita already knows that Bulgakov is a rebel, an anarchist, and damn good and funny with it. His thoughts were, based on the novels I've read, contrarian in the extreme as well as profoundly sensitive to practical concerns:
“The rule apparently is – once a social revolution takes place there’s no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when this whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over them to prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from the front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases carpeted? Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov House in Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go round and come in by the back door? What good does it do anybody? Why can’t the proletarians leave their galoshes downstairs instead of dirtying the staircase?’
‘But the proletarians don’t have any galoshes, Philip Philipovich,’ stammered the doctor.”

And the simple truth about revolution that probably contributed heavily to the book's suppression in the Soviet era:
“People who think you can use terror are quite wrong. No, no, terror is useless, whatever its colour – white, red or even brown! Terror completely paralyses the nervous system.”

He saw the terror around him, saw the results, and distilled a response into a short phrase. That's writing that's a joy to read.

But we can't leave revolutionary-era Moscow without hearing from the eponymous heart-haver. Early in the book, we're told the sad tale of an unwanted dog whose people-savvy beats that of most of the humans I've ever met:
Eyes mean a lot. Like a barometer. They tell you everything-they tell you who has a heart of stone, who would poke the toe of his boot in your ribs as soon as look at you-and who’s afraid of you. The cowards – they’re the ones whose ankles I like to snap at. If they’re scared, I go for them. Serve them right..grrr..bow-wow…”

All hail Michael Glenny, of blessed memory since dying in 1990. Without him, Bulgakov's banned and suppressed works might remain out of the English-speaker's reach.

95connie53
oct. 30, 2015, 2:17pm

Just passing and waving, Richardmydear.

96jnwelch
oct. 30, 2015, 2:53pm

>94 richardderus: Nice review! Thumbapalooza from me.

I loved The Master and Margarita, and I've been meaning to read this one for forever. Gonna bump it up the tbr.

Hope you have a great weekend, Richard.

97laytonwoman3rd
oct. 30, 2015, 3:10pm

>94 richardderus: Must, must, must read that one.

98karenmarie
Editat: oct. 31, 2015, 10:28am

Book bullets got me, RD!

Smooches for a Saturday from your own Horrible

Ooh! Just zoomed over to Amazon and got the Kindle edition of The Heart of a Dog for $1.

99LovingLit
nov. 2, 2015, 11:22pm

>94 richardderus: a funny anarchist? Sounds ideal.
*quickly checks to see if it's not my own second-born son who these days is a bit of both of those*
Nope, all good :)

100richardderus
nov. 5, 2015, 3:31pm

I've reviewed the fifth Shetland Islands mystery, DEAD WATER by Ann Cleeves.

101tututhefirst
nov. 5, 2015, 8:22pm

>100 richardderus: Now that I've abandoned my Hafta Read list, I'm going to give this series a try. I have the first one on hold with the li-berry. We'll see what all the excitement is about. In the meantime, at your suggestion, I'm curling up with the St. Mary's Chronicles series.. Love them.

102richardderus
nov. 6, 2015, 9:10am

*happy sigh* Ah, St Mary's. Delicious puddings.

The Shetland series is one I predict will suit your serious reader side.

103drneutron
nov. 6, 2015, 10:03am

Yep, I concur on the Shetland series. By the way, there's a sixth, Thin Air and I hear there may be a seventh in the works!

104johnsimpson
nov. 6, 2015, 5:09pm

Hi Richard, wishing you a very happy weekend dear friend.

105richardderus
nov. 6, 2015, 7:32pm

>103 drneutron: ...and Amazon is out! *waaah*

>104 johnsimpson: Thank you most kindly, John, and hugs for Karen and Hannah!

106karenmarie
nov. 7, 2015, 6:39am

Another Saturday's worth of smooches for you, RD!

Horrible

107maggie1944
nov. 7, 2015, 10:06am

I vote for ditching the "hafta read 'em" piles, or shelves, or stacks.... no matter what they are called or where they sit it is better to read what meets ones fancy, in the moment. Zen reading!

Hip hip hooray!

108LovingLit
nov. 12, 2015, 12:01am

Hi RD, I got a letter in the mail today, previously addressed to you, and returned to me, the sender. (Too many commas? Maybe.)
Anyway, it was sent in January!!! So it has been traipsing about the place between now and then, probably having the time of its little life. And meanwhile, I need a current address for you, pretty please. PM me if you are inclined. I promise to forward it with updated news :)

109jnwelch
nov. 12, 2015, 12:46pm



Reading the Great Tentacled-American Novels

110richardderus
nov. 12, 2015, 3:30pm

Everyone may have my snail-mail addy:
Long Beach Assisted Living
Richard Derus, Room 4
274 West Broadway
Long Beach, NY 11561

111richardderus
nov. 12, 2015, 3:33pm

>108 LovingLit: JANUARY! I do believe that's the record for missing mail, previously held by Heidi at five months. Looking forward to a yearly summary of life chez Maudie.

>109 jnwelch: Go team go!

112LovingLit
nov. 12, 2015, 11:05pm

>111 richardderus: I once had a book depo book come to me after quite a few months, it had got to Canada...hung around for a bit, made its way slowly back down to the lower latitudes eventually.

I shall prepare a handwritten letter forthwith! Some people may not know what they are, but I love letters :)

Bye for now!

113richardderus
nov. 14, 2015, 11:37am

Review: 24 of seventy-five

Title: AUTHORITY

Author: JEFF VANDERMEER

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X--a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization--has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka "Control") is the Southern Reach's newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he's pledged to serve.

In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Area X's most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.

My Review: We're not in Area X anymore, Toto, and therein the problem. Control, our PoV character, is hastily tossed together to provide a camera platform for the bureaucratic machinations and clandestine-agency wars.

It's so frustrating to read a good book that's encased in a less-good book. Like those canned hams from the 1960s, the meat is tasty but who put this weird spoodge all over it?

After much hither-and-thithering, not to mention an amazingly large amount of dithering for an executive, Control runs away from (almost) everything...and the ending makes up for most of the beginning. But really, editor, couldn't a few of those go-nowhere side trips have been pruned? (eg, Whitby's art project, Cheney's existence)

114ronincats
Editat: nov. 15, 2015, 4:00pm

Bookcase porn!

115richardderus
nov. 15, 2015, 7:09pm

Lovely! I need the trash bag, though, for those...geewgaws...infesting the shelves.

116Familyhistorian
nov. 15, 2015, 8:23pm

>114 ronincats: Great bookcases - but it doesn't look like an LTer lives there - only 3 shelves with a few books - wouldn't happen here!

117benitastrnad
nov. 16, 2015, 12:05am

Those are nice bookshelves ... for people who hate books.

118ronincats
nov. 16, 2015, 12:07am

I think I was just thinking of how I could work in an extra bookcase using the door--which I of course would have overstuffed with books!

119LovingLit
Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 12:38am

>114 ronincats: that is either on a boat, or in an earthquake zone! Our supermarket shelves now feature wires to stop wine bottles, in particular, from dropping :)

Eta spelling! Or, I should say, auto correct spelling :/

120jnwelch
nov. 16, 2015, 11:14am

>113 richardderus: Good review of Authority, Richard. That kind of mixed reaction is what is giving me pause about reading it, even though I liked Annihilation.

121richardderus
nov. 16, 2015, 1:01pm

>120 jnwelch: And wait for the review of ACCEPTANCE.

I think the bookcases are decorator-designed and not really for books. They're attractive enough, it's true, but look carefully and you'll see some aren't even rectangular, but bowed. Silliness.

122richardderus
Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 12:45pm

Review: 25 of seventy-five

Title: THE HEN WHO DREAMED SHE COULD FLY

Author: SUN-MI HWANG

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command, only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild—and to hatch an egg of her own.

An anthem for freedom, individuality and motherhood featuring a plucky, spirited heroine who rebels against the tradition-bound world of the barnyard, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a novel of universal resonance that also opens a window on Korea, where it has captivated millions of readers. And with its array of animal characters—the hen, the duck, the rooster, the dog, the weasel—it calls to mind such classics in English as Animal Farm and Charlotte’s Web.

Featuring specially-commissioned illustrations, this first English-language edition of Sun-mi Hwang’s fable for our times beautifully captures the journey of an unforgettable character in world literature.

My Review: Jonathan Livingston Seagull meets Babe. To compare the book to Charlotte's Web is damned near heresy. In every generation, there's another fable of Independence Declared by ____ and the Struggles of _____ to xxxx. This is the 21st century's international publishing phenomenon in the genre, which the provincial, smugly self-satisfied Murrikin Megapublishers got 15 years after most places did.

If you're 14 and a sad, lonely, misunderstood girl, this is ideal to stuff into your locker. Also a grandmother's ideal gift for same. Older folks who've just become grandparents, adoptees and their mommies, those who are sentimental as all get-out, queue up for your copy.

The illustrations are so very spare and lovely and evocative that I gave the silly text 3 stars. But my serious objection to the book is that the hen's one true dream, the longing of her soul, the reason she's ready to fight a weasel fagodsake is:
She want to become a real hen and hatch an egg.

So, in other words, Motherhood Makes the Hen.

This is not a message I think needs further spreading. It has metastasized in our various cultures to the point that rich first-world folks go buy themselves a baby girl at the Chinese Baby Bazaar, or spend absurd amounts of money doing medical hoo-hah and get themselves their very own genetic descendants.

With seven billion people on the planet, this obsession, this personal value marker, needs to be re-thought and revised.

123benitastrnad
nov. 18, 2015, 7:54pm

I saw on another thread that you are not a big fan of Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer. That is interesting, as this series has been checked out a few times from the library. The people who read zombie books are liking this series. However, I have to say that I didn't find the blurbs on the book to interest me much, so I have not even been tempted by them.

124rocketjk
Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 8:25pm

"So, in other words, Motherhood Makes the Hen."

I think I know a certain elephant who would beg to differ!

125karenmarie
nov. 18, 2015, 9:14pm

Hallo RD!

Quick drop by with smooches from your own Horrible.

126FAMeulstee
nov. 19, 2015, 4:35am

>122 richardderus: Motherhood is sometimes overrated (said she as she could not have kids with her beloved one, so they decided not to go into expensive medical treatments or adoption... and did live happely together).

127maggie1944
nov. 20, 2015, 9:51am

Good Friday morning to you, kind sir. So glad to see you posting some great reviews.

128jnwelch
nov. 20, 2015, 10:46am

Happy Friday, Richard! Hope you have a good reading weekend ahead of you.

129Ameise1
nov. 21, 2015, 7:33am

Hi Rdear, I finally find time to do some weekend greetings. Wishing you a most lovely weekend.

130benitastrnad
nov. 25, 2015, 5:48pm

I saw over on the other thread that you have read the first two in the Last Policeman series. I like the first one and have been unable to get my hands on book two. I will have to put in an ILL request for it, but I very much enjoyed the first book and agreed with your comments about it. I wonder what the author has in store for us in book 2? Your review gave me a hint.

131Berly
nov. 26, 2015, 2:49am

Book Porn!!! I have missed that so much. Shhhh! It's my dirty little secret. : ) Smooches. And Happy Thanksgiving.

132richardderus
nov. 26, 2015, 11:59am

No spiffy giffies today, no JPEGs to obscure my simple message: Without each and every one of you, your friendship, your support in every conceivable and inconceivable form, I would not have made it past the horrifying trip I took into the pit of despair this past year. While I was locked up in the goofy garage, I was clothed, entertained, and enabled to leave a place of help and healing a bit better than I found it from the book donations I made after reading your gift-books.

I am alive, and happy, and living this better-than-I-thought-possible life. And I thank you each and all for it.

133maggie1944
nov. 26, 2015, 12:18pm

Richard, you to are a gift in my life. I never fail to appreciate your wry words and good recommendations. Happy day, dear friend.

134mahsdad
nov. 26, 2015, 3:05pm

RD, I am glad that I might have had the slightest benefit to your journey back.

Glad you're still in the world and this group

135johnsimpson
nov. 26, 2015, 3:49pm

Hi Richard, sending love and hugs dear friend.

136katiekrug
nov. 26, 2015, 7:30pm

Xoxo

137rocketjk
nov. 26, 2015, 8:33pm

Glad you're so firmly on the upswing!

138drneutron
nov. 26, 2015, 8:58pm

Yup, I'm glad you're back!

139richardderus
nov. 26, 2015, 9:25pm

140benitastrnad
nov. 26, 2015, 10:37pm

It is good to have you back and writing with wit and verve.

141LovingLit
nov. 26, 2015, 11:45pm

>132 richardderus: *mwa*
Still working on my letter....yikes. Before Xmas, surely!

142Familyhistorian
nov. 27, 2015, 12:28am

>132 richardderus: Sometimes it is the bad things that happen to us that make us reach out to others for help. It is then that we realize how supportive people are and how much really need them. The journey can be hard but the payback enormous.

143Ameise1
nov. 27, 2015, 12:42am

Rdear, it's great to have you back. Love your photos on FB.

144FAMeulstee
nov. 27, 2015, 11:12am

You make me happy when I see a msg here or on FB :-)

145jnwelch
nov. 27, 2015, 12:35pm

Great to have you back with us, Richard, and so glad to hear about the upturn.

146ronincats
nov. 27, 2015, 2:34pm

Richard, I'm away from home so only checking in infrequently but had to check out your thread. I am thankful for you! I'm so glad you are in a better place now.

147Berly
nov. 27, 2015, 2:52pm

I am so glad that you are in a happier place. It only seems fair since you bring happiness to so many of us!! Big hug and a nice fat smooch. xoxo

148scaifea
nov. 29, 2015, 8:04am

Hugs to you, friend!

149richardderus
des. 1, 2015, 8:25pm

Review: 26 of seventy-five

Title: EUROPE IN AUTUMN

Author: DAVE HUTCHINSON

Rating: 4.5* enthralled stars

The Publisher Says: Europe in Autumn is a thriller of espionage and the future which reads like the love child of John le Carre and Franz Kafka.

Rudi is a cook in a Krakow restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he's trapped in, a new career - part spy, part people-smuggler - begins.

Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested, beaten and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him.

With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws, Rudi begins to realise that underneath his daily round of plot and counter plot, behind the conflicting territories, another entirely different reality might be pulling the strings...

My Review: If book 2 is out, I'm orderin' it for myself for Xmas.

This isn't a uniformly kinetic book. The characters, by whatever names their current legends require, (oh, and "legend" here is a term of art) are shown thinking, strategizing, reflecting on their world and its insanities as much as they're shown whizzing around with cool spy stuff and lots of ways to blow people up and steal their money.

My favorite piece of spyware in the book is a towel that rolls out into a computer. WANT. NOW.

Rudi, by various names, does many reprehensible things and feels...remorse is too strong...as if he's failed when he has to resort to reprehensibility to get what he's been sent after. He meets and re-meets many folks from his pasts. He is a darn good, fun hero-on-the-border-of-antihero-ness, and I want to see him in book 2, Europe at Midnight.

And now I'm going to do something really, really mean: At the end of the book, Rudi makes a complete worldview-changing discovery that is, at least for me, unexpected to the point of jaw-dropping. It makes some oddly rough, even poorly fitting, facts make absolute sense.

I really, really liked this book. I hope there's no let-down coming!

150bell7
des. 1, 2015, 8:35pm

>149 richardderus: Yeah, definitely got me with that one. I won't get it right away, but I put a "suspended" hold on my library account to remind me to read it soon.

151Berly
des. 2, 2015, 2:00am

4.5 ENTHRALLED stars, huh? Okay. I am in! Added to my WL. Thanks.

152richardderus
des. 2, 2015, 1:53pm

>150 bell7: You will be fascinated, especially by the late-breaking revelation, Mary.

>151 Berly: Eight bucks, Berly-boo. Eight lousy bucks. Give in, my dearest, you know you want to.

153LovingLit
des. 2, 2015, 6:11pm

>152 richardderus: oooh, so mean to link to the purchase place ;) An evil genius!!!

154laytonwoman3rd
des. 3, 2015, 11:53am

Some octo-porn to brighten your day

155richardderus
des. 3, 2015, 3:45pm

>153 LovingLit: ...someone said I was nice?! Who is this prevaricating poltroon? I shall not endure such calumnies!

>154 laytonwoman3rd: *aaahhh* nothing brightens a day like octoporn. Thanks, Linda3rd.

156benitastrnad
des. 3, 2015, 6:34pm

#155
I am not the prevaricating poltroon who can't endure such calumnies! but I very much appreciate the wordsmithing. Good job Richard.

157richardderus
des. 3, 2015, 8:00pm

>156 benitastrnad: Grazie mille, signora.

158karenmarie
des. 4, 2015, 3:44am

Hallo RD! Insomnia has reared its ugly head..... I would so much rather be sleeping! Happy Friday to you. I have a vacation day today, hooray!

*smooches from your own Horrible*

159richardderus
des. 4, 2015, 11:43am

Insomnia ROTS, I'm so sorry...but I made up for you, I had somnia or whatever and slept 10hrs!

160Ameise1
des. 5, 2015, 7:13am

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Rdear.

161maggie1944
des. 5, 2015, 7:23am

And I went somewhere in between you two, went to bed way to early, RA pain in shoulders makes sleeping somewhat of an uphill trek, so I took some Tylenol Sleep and did well until 3:30 this morning. According to my "Tracker" that was over 6 3/4 hours. Not bad. Better do some reading so I'll feel the early morning well used.

Does anyone here know of which Christian churches are asking what and where is radicalization happening with Christians? Isn't the attack on Planned Parenthood an example of Extreme Christian terrorism?

162laytonwoman3rd
des. 6, 2015, 12:10pm

MORE octoporn. My word, what graceful, amazing creatures they are.

163benitastrnad
Editat: des. 6, 2015, 12:20pm

#161
I would suggest that you read Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. That book is a study of the history of radicalism in the three great religions. It was a book that taught me to look at Christianity differently and in relationship to the three other religions of the Book: Judaism, and Islam.

164benitastrnad
des. 6, 2015, 12:18pm

#161
I would suggest that you read Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. I learned much about the radicalism of Christianity in relation to the three other religions of the Book, as Armstrong terms them. Come to think of it, many of the books Armstrong has written are about this very subject.

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166tututhefirst
des. 8, 2015, 9:14pm

>164 benitastrnad: I've got the Armstrong book on my TBR shelf. As soon as I finish the current Maine Readers Choice panel (early 2016) I'm going to dive into a pile of Non-fiction books I've been pushing aside. My brain needs the exercise.

167maggie1944
des. 9, 2015, 6:17am

Benita, I have read Armstrong. She writes very well and covers important topics. My question is more focused on whether any of the media, or political leaders, are taking on the extremism in Christianity. Seems a bit hypocritical to be so freaked out about Muslim extremes without being concerned about the same tendencies in the Western nations.

168benitastrnad
des. 9, 2015, 1:17pm

In Battle for God Armstrong talks about the extremism in all three of the religions. Where they started from and how they keep recycling back to them. Some people think that extremism in Christianity died out in the Middle Ages due to the rise of Rationalism, but Armstrong disputes that and talks about extremism in Christianity in the 1820-40's. She also talks about geographic pockets of extremism and how that occurs, but I can't remember if that is in Battle for God, or one of her other books. Anyway, she is one of the writers today who deals with this topic. I should look up her TED talk on the subject of compassion. A colleague told me that it was really good.

As an aside, it seems that in the last few days some media personalities are taking on the recent Trump tirade. This morning on NPR there was a piece by the reporter who is covering the Presidential candidates, in which he talked about why Trump is getting away with talking like this.

169benitastrnad
Editat: des. 9, 2015, 6:47pm

#167
I just ran across this review today in Publisher Weekly. This might be the kind of book you are looking for.

Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (Schocken, Oct. 13) by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explores the reasons behind religious extremism, calling people of goodwill from all faiths to confront it. Sacks writes, “Until our global institutions take a stand against the teaching and preaching of hate, all their efforts of diplomacy and military intervention will fail. Ultimately the responsibility is ours. Tomorrow’s world is born in what we teach our children today.” Discussing the book with PW, Sacks explained that a solution to religious violence could lay in a new reading of the Book of Genesis.

I also found that Armstrong has a newer title that I did not know about. Her book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence has just came out in paperback. In the book Armstrong discusses Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, including Sharia law, which she described as “counter-cultural.”

170Ameise1
des. 12, 2015, 6:18am

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Rdear.

171richardderus
des. 12, 2015, 1:05pm

>170 Ameise1: How breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you, my dear Barbara!

172richardderus
des. 12, 2015, 1:12pm

>163 benitastrnad: ff What an interesting discussion! I've learned so much from the Karen Armstrong books I've read. I think she's a national treasure.

173Ameise1
Editat: des. 19, 2015, 7:47am

Hi Rdear, I love your postings on FB. Wishing you a lovely weekend.

174richardderus
des. 21, 2015, 8:06am

I MUST HAVE THAT CANDELABRA OR MY LIFE WILL BE MEANINGLESS!!

Hi Barbara!

175Ameise1
des. 21, 2015, 11:16am

Glad you like it. *smooch*

176richardderus
des. 21, 2015, 1:44pm



May all the joys of Yuletide be abundant for you and all of those you love.

177Ameise1
des. 23, 2015, 10:37am

178ronincats
des. 23, 2015, 3:27pm



For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

179Copperskye
des. 24, 2015, 2:11am



Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, RD!

180johnsimpson
des. 24, 2015, 8:26am

Hi Richard, sending Christmas greetings to you dear friend, hope you have a lovely day. Sending love and hugs and a hug from little Hannah.

181FAMeulstee
des. 24, 2015, 8:40am

Happy holidays!

182karenmarie
des. 24, 2015, 9:45am

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, darling RD!

**smooches** from your own dear Horrible

183lkernagh
des. 24, 2015, 11:25am

Wishing you the very best this holiday season, RD!

184katiekrug
des. 24, 2015, 2:04pm



Warm wishes for a magical holiday season, Richard!
xo

185maggie1944
des. 24, 2015, 3:11pm

It is so lovely to see your threads alive and well, and I'm sure wishes for more of the same as the year becomes 2016. How did that happen, any how?

186PaulCranswick
des. 24, 2015, 3:27pm



Have a lovely holiday, dear fellow

187roundballnz
des. 24, 2015, 4:38pm

Seasons Greetings
whatever you may be doing today - make it awesome in deed & mind .....

Been a bit absent in your house great to see you loved Europe in Autumn ... been a bitty wary on the Southern Reach Trilogy .... esp when the zombie fan club love them (def not a member there)

188mahsdad
des. 24, 2015, 8:03pm

Merry Christmas! Hope its a great one!

189luvamystery65
des. 24, 2015, 11:10pm



Merry Christmas

190ChelleBearss
des. 26, 2015, 9:14am


Merry Christmas, Richard!

191Berly
des. 26, 2015, 3:38pm


192jnwelch
des. 28, 2015, 2:18pm



Happy Holidays, Richard!

193LauraBrook
des. 28, 2015, 10:38pm

An early Happy New Year to you, dearest Richard. I may not have been around much, but you were always in my head and heart. *smooch*

194richardderus
des. 29, 2015, 1:11pm

My first 2016 thread is up.

>192 jnwelch: HA!! Cthulhu Claus is perfection.

195roundballnz
des. 31, 2015, 4:52pm

May we all make the best of what 2016 brings us .....