Escape The Crazy Open Book Thread

Phryne Fisher

I’m burned out on race card politics. Spent the week in escapist fantasy worlds.

I’m going to link to my (very short) reviews instead of copying them in here.
I read through all the Sarah Hoyt books I could borrow from the library:
Magical British Empire Trilogy ( Heart of Light, Soul of Fire, Heart and Soul) which is a alternate-history Victorian romance series.
Darkship series (Darkship Thieves, Darkship Renegades) which is Heinlein-tribute space opera
Shifters (Draw One In The Dark) – just read the first book in this paranormal series, waiting to get the rest from the lib.

Also read a great YA sf: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards. Never heard of her, just grabbed it off the new books shelf on impulse at the library.

The “also read’s”: Midnight at Marble Terrace , The Caged Graves.

Oh, and we borrowed Series One of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and did a marathon at home. I follow the Phryne Fisher books books, and I am quite happy that it’s been made into a tv series. There’s a lot of differences though, so I just pretend it’s an alternate universe series.

So, whatcha been reading or watching lately?

Goodreads search seems wonky – they may be doing a site update or something.

Update : New members take note – Goodreads has a giveaways section – you can enter to win books.

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40 Responses to Escape The Crazy Open Book Thread

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Ii have been reading Tim Powers all week. I need new copies of Drawing of the Dark and On Stranger Tides.

  2. As noted earlier, I finished all three of Imogen Robertson’s Crowther-Westerman historical mysteries series. She started this series when she won the BBC’s First 1,000 Words of a Novel contest.

    From that award came the first book, Instruments of Darkness. That books was interesting, but the climax and ending were, IMO, a total dud. Annoying as hell, actually. She broke every single rule of endings, especially and including getting all telly via some unbelievable acts and dialogue on the part of the villain. Most annoying.

    Luckily, she got a lot better at endings between book 1 and the second book, Anatomy of Murder. I had read the third book first, and I thought she had done poorly at that ending as well, using what I thought was a Deus ex Machina device, but the second book cleared up my mistaken impression there. Anatomy of Murder was very well done, and the characters of Crowther & Westerman are truly wonderful. She really has a gift for character, and is building her talents in the others areas of fiction writing as she goes. She’s a fast learner.

    Now I need to go back and read the third book again, which is Island of Bones. It was great the first time through, but I’m sure it will be much better now that I have all the background in place.

    Before I do that, however, I have checked out a copy of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which I am truly looking forward to reading after checking out the first paragraph in the bookstore. That paragraph is all about the narrator wishing he could train his anus to talk when farting. In French. ♥

    • votermom says:

      I have Instruments of Darkness now – haven’t started it yet.
      Thanks for the warning – I will be wary of the ending. 🙂

      • But don’t give it too much power, because the other two books have MUCH better endings. Still, the whole story in the first book is quite intriguing.

    • Erica says:

      I enjoyed EL&IC. It’s quirky and a bit dense at times, but also unusual and worth reading.

  3. Did I mention last time that I had finished an odd little book called Dead Man in Barcelona? It’s by Michael Pearce, who apparently has done a lot of Dead Man in ______ books featuring a detective from Scotland Yard all over Europe just prior to WWI. I found it at this bookstore in Indy called Good Reads, in an art installation by a student. The installation invited readers to borrow books and return them, as well as donate them, to a decoupaged book shelf s/he had installed outside the bookstore. The book was an Galley edition–advanced readers edition, before the final edits were made.

    Anyway, it’s an odd little book, also an historical mystery, set in Barcelona about the mysterious murder of a wealthy Englishman during a thing called Tragic Week, when the Spanish military fought against anarchists, Islamists, and fishermen in the streets. I loved how it was told, because it’s a lot of dialogue that is very fast and bouncy, and a little ridiculous. Much of it has Greek Chorus feel to it. But it all comes together in the end. It was a really fun read, and I might pick up more of Michael Pearce stuff. He has an odd history himself.

  4. elliesmom says:

    I keep a book on my Kindle for reading when “waiting”. Elliesdad is doing some physical therapy so I’ve been doing a lot of it. But when I really get into a book, I have to finish it. I can’t wait for the next appt. I finished “A Prayer for Owen Meany” this week. I was able to get to the 60% mark before I couldn’t put it down. I’m currently reading “Labor Day”. It’s been made into a movie starring Kate Winslet. It was filmed locally. The house they used in the film was the childhood home of my daughter’s best friend, and I have been inside of it many times. The street was blocked off for days while they filmed, and we all got to gawk when Winslet was filmed outside our local movie theater. I want to read the book before I see the movie because the book is always better. But I anticipate go fishing it tomorrow so I’m looking for some new suggestions. I have discovered bookbub.com, but most of what I’ve searched for isn’t available.

  5. votermom says:

    Did any one see that news item that J K Rawling wrote a new book under a pen name?
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16160797-the-cuckoo-s-calling

    • I saw that. Also saw it went from a few thousand copies to over a million as soon as it was announced.

      • votermom says:

        If you’re on goodreads you can sign up this week for a raffle of a free copy (they are giving away 50 copies). So far almost 5000 people signed up.
        It’s on my to-read list but I am not that excited – I could not finish reading Casual Vacancy – just got bored.

        • elliesmom says:

          I finished Casual Vacancy, but I didn’t like it very much. But I didn’t like Judy Blume’s first novel for adults either. I think sometimes when a children’s writer makes her first leap into writing for adults, she thinks she has to write about sexual deviance and use a lot of vulgar language for it to be a clear break with the kidlit. But I loved Blume’s second adult novel, “Summer Sisters” so I have hope for Rowling. I must confess, however, to not having read any Harry Potter books.

  6. helenk3 says:

    have any of you read any W.E.B. Griffith books? he has several different series. one is the beginnings of the OSS, another is about the US Army, another the Philadelphia Police Force.
    they are all good. I learned a lot of what went on in South America during WW2 that I never knew.

    • votermom says:

      Never heard of him – which is your favorite series by him?

      • helenk3 says:

        naturally the Philadelphia Police one. but I really like all of them. there is a new one coming out in August in the badge of honor series. (the Phila Police series)
        The first series I read was the brotherhood of war.

    • 49erDweet says:

      Yep. I think I’ve read almost all his work. Excellent for in depth details and twisted plots, too.

  7. helenk3 says:

    I just discovered James Swaine a couple of months ago. His Tony Valentine series is good reading. Learn a lot about casinos and gambling

  8. helenk3 says:

    off topic
    my kind of justice

    AN ACTUAL CRAIG’S LIST PERSONALS AD

    To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last.
    I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend’s purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.
    First, I’d like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn’t expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket.. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.. my girlfriend was happy that I just returned safely from my 2nd tour as a Combat Marine in Afghanistan .. She had just bought me that Kimber Custom Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head … isn’t it?!

    I know it probably wasn’t fun walking back to wherever you’d come from with crap in your pants. I’m sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].

    After I called your mother or “Momma” as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you’d done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, — on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 153 gallons and was extremely grateful!
    I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go’s, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]

    I then threw your wallet into the big pink “pimp mobile” that was parked at the curb ….. after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver’s side of the car.
    Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA’s office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target.
    The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.).
    ;In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you … but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you’ve chosen to pursue in life.. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky. Have a good day!

    Thoughtfully yours, Semper Fi

  9. insanelysane says:

    It happens.

  10. yttik says:

    LOL, last time I had to escape the crazy I sat down and watched…..Silence of the Lambs. Kind of funny, that movie and The Shining cheer me right up. I guess when you’re scared to death, you stop thinking about the petty things.

    I haven’t had time to read anything, but the kid and I read Beautiful Creatures together, so we rented the movie. I actually really enjoyed the book and I can’t even explain why. The movie was fun too, but the casting wasn’t very good. Kid and I have a tradition of reading the same books and then seeing the movie together. I have suffered through the whole Twilight series, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings. Do they even write books for adults anymore? 🙂

  11. SHV says:

    “Did any one see that news item that J K Rawling wrote a new book under a pen name?”
    ********
    Started listening to it while driving 1800 miles to Bar Harbor. So far it is a good English detective novel. I can understand why early reviewers, who thought it was a first novel by an unknown author, were confused by how well it is written. We now know that the author has had some practice putting words on paper.

  12. myiq2xu says:
  13. 49erDweet says:

    All things to all people. Gotta love the strength of character.

  14. swanspirit says:

    When I need an escape, sometimes I reread old tried and true friends, like The Hobbit and LOTR , I also read Cold Mountain , and there is a very little known but exquisite experience titled The Song Of The Forest by Colin Mackay
    http://www.amazon.com/Song-Forest-Colin-Mackay/dp/0345346475 here is an excerpt :

    THE TALE OF THE UNEXTINGUISHED MOON ( from the Song of the Forest by Colin MACKAY )
    January 31, 2010 at 1:28am

    THE TALE OF THE UNEXTINGUISHED MOON

    A tale told in the bothies . A tale of the long nights of winter– but one that was never told in the hearing of any priest.

    Once upon a time the Moon fell into the earth .This was after the mountains had been created, and the seas,and the straths, and the forests, but there were no men or women. This the folk on the bothies said , was how men and women had come into the world.

    It was the Bog King who caused it. When the straths were made, many wee glens were made with them, and the water from the mountain burns got trapped in some of these glens and became stagnant,and the earth there became soft and the two blended together water and earth , and so the bogs were made,and the black Bog King sat at the bottom under the reeds and the mud and the sticky green slime, and ruled it all ,and the bogs became full of ghoulies and bogles and dead things and horrors that crept in the night . The all walking creatures learned to fear the bogs, because whenever a fawn or a boar , a badger or a cuddie, or even the harmless little hedgehog entered them in dark moonless nights, the bogles would rise up wailing out of their holes and the wisp lights would flicker , and the slimy hands of of all the dead horrors beneath the mud would grasp at the poor creatures legs, and pull it screaming piteously down into the terrible death that waited grinning in the Bog Kings court.

    Now the sun was distant and wouldn’t stir himself for the sake of the animal-kind , but when the moon heard of all the evil that was going on in bogland whenever her back was turned, she decided to go down herself and see what could be done. So she covered her shining body with a dark cloak, and pulled a hood over her gleaming hair, and entered the bogland, stepping easily from tussock to tussock by the light of her white feet; and whenever the ghoulies and bogles came wailing and gnashing at her, or the horrors and the dead things rose and scrabbled at her with their cold fingers, she threw back her hood and the light of her beautiful face flooded the whole country side, and the dead things fled shrieking away.

    But it was a huge bog,and the squelching mud seemed to stretch away for ever and ever, and at length the Moon began to weary of picking her way across it. So she sat down to rest on the trunk of an old tree that was lying half submerged in the ooze. She sat back thankfully and rested her feet on one branch and laid her head on another . Then the tree began to move! Aaah

    but it wasn’t a tree at all ! No, it was the Bog King himself lying basking there like a hippopotamus in the slime , and the two branches were his arms . He grabbed her feet in one hand and threw the other round her neck and struggle thought she might the Moon couldn’t get free. Then the Bog King drew her down, down into the clart, down under the peat and under the very roots of the reeds; down into his own dark kingdom, and a black bubble or two burst on the surface , and the Moon was gone.

    I need hardly tell you how great was the rejoicing among the bogles when they realized that their hated enemy was gone, and that every night would now be a black night with only the faintest starfire from heaven to watch their evil doings. They jumped and skirled and screeched with joy. They made the very branches of the forest dirl and ding with their clamour.

    The grew bolder in their forays from the bog; they crept by night over the moorland tearing and butchering any living creature they met; and the owls and the eagles and the ravens perched higher and higher on the branches for safety; and the squirrels and the badgers burrowed deeper, and the deer and the boars, the otters and the beavers, even the smallest beasties, the very beetles glow-worms and spiders retreated further and further yet from the marches of the bogland,and darkness and death were on the face of the world.

    Then Goban the creator stamped his hoof, and the trees, the real trees of Scotland began to talk and move. In the wind their leaves whistled to each other; in the still their bodies creaked and groaned tree language.Where is the Moon? they asked. The swiveled their heads, turning from side to side. Where is she? The sent out their leaves in the days the world would later know as autumn, Find her! they said to the leaves, and the leaves went fluttering and whistling across the straths. The birds took to the air, the burrowers took to the earth, and the fish plummeted the lochbeds; the all sought her. But the Moon was nowhere to be found.

    Beside the bog grew a small hawthorn tree. She was so close to the bog and so small that the bogland folk had forgotten all about her. Well the hawthorn held her wheesht until all the other trees had had their say .Then she piped up . “Ahem folks, I think that maybe I just might ken where our Moon is ” though she had to repeat her self several times before they all heard her. Where ?? said the rowan Where? said the birch, Where? said the yew and the pine, the fir and the alder. Where? rumbled the old oak, last of all. And so hawthorn told them how she had seen the Bog King pull the moon down below the surface. When they heard this, the trees marched in a great mass– yes the entire forest moved–down the mountain slopes and along the straths until they had surrounded the bog on all sides. Then they sank their roots down under the reeds and into the slime and mud until they found the hall of the Bog King, and began knocking on his roof. Ar first it was a gentle tap,and then louder, then louder still, until it sounded as though thunder had sunk under the earth in pursuit of the vanished Moon, so loud did that hammer sound.

    And that is exactly what the Bog King thought it was.

    “Who’s that banging on my roof he called and the pine answered “ME GUITHAIS, with the thunder in my roots wanting our Moon” “Away to hell,” said the Bog King, and laughed.

    “Who’s that thumping in my loft, he shouted next, and the Alder replied , Me FEARN , with the thunder in my roots wanting our Moon” “Ach away and boil your heid”, grumbled the Bog King.

    “Who’s that skirling down my lun ?” he growled a while later , and the oak said ME DARACH, with the thunder in my roots wanting our Moon ”

    And then the Bog King fearing that the roof and walls were going to fall in about his lugs, broke the twining chains that held the Moon, and the trees saw the strange beautiful face of their lost Moon rising up through the foul waters of the bog, and a moment later she was shining down on them again from heaven, and all the bogles and ghoulies and dead things fled shrieking away . But from that day to this the Moons face is pitted with dark shadows whenever she remembers her stay in the Bog Kings hall.

    Now the Moon had twin bairns by the Bog King , and the laddie’s name was Nechtan, and the lassies name was Mongfinn, and they were bonny to look on, but as they were made in part of the cold black mud of the bog,they could not fly up to heaven with their mother . So they stayed right here on middle earth, in this world of ours, and whiles they would look up to heaven to see their mothers shining face, and whiles they would look down below into their fathers darkness; and they were the first humans, because they were tall and and slender and supple as young trees, but their roots were not anchored so deep in their earth ,nor were their heads held so high to heaven; and they had legs like the deer, and eyes like the hawk, and a throat like the song birds, and and appetite like the wolf,and pride like the the eagle,and cunning like the fox.

    That was how man and woman first came into the world, they said in the evening in the peat firelight.

    Well grass grows and water flows, folk lust and one day Mongfinn was heavy with her brother’s child. A boy it was; but looking at the wee squalling thing with the pride and joy that all parents have felt since,

    Mongfinn and Nechtan had a sort of premonition that things were not as they should be. And as there was this shadow lying over them which they couldn’t understand or explain in any way that is what they called the bairn . Shadow because he had come between them like a shadow in the night.

    The mountains were still moving in those days, the thunder giants still rolled boulders for sport, and cast great slabs of warm rock at each other across yawning ravines. One bright forenoon when the rainbow was standing high among the clouds and the water was dripping from the heather flowers,a hundred and more young firs fell to their knees and bowed themselves like young novices,and when the earth closed again it closed around their topmost branches and all below was gone back into the earth once more, tree and leaf, squirrel and nest, and Mongfinn and her Nechtan who walked no more in the light of the world.

    What became of the son? Human, he had the appetite of a wolf, and the wolf folk found him hunting. Strangely enough they didn’t kill him, because they thought he was a wolf, so they raised him as one of their own, a young wolf cub.

    Shadow grew strong and forest wise and stealthy. He killed for food,and he killed for pleasure too; but then sometimes a feyness would come on him, and he would take a scunner to himself and his bloody hands and his dripping jaws and then he would wander away into the solitude, away from the blood and the stink of blood, and talk gently to the trees and beasts,and while he would press his face into the soft moss round the tree roots and weep. Then the forest folk looked at him and wondered.

    All except the corbie. The corbie is a wise bird, and understood things better left unspoken. One day, as Shadow walked disconsolately beneath the branches, the black corbie perched above his head and spoke to him. “Shadow , Shadow, what makes you so sad?” And Shadow answered her ” O It’s all alone I am sister and no one to share the burden of life with me ”

    So the corbie spoke to him again and told him to go to certain birch tree,and to take the tree and to make from it a woman of white wood, and Shadow did so; and because her body was white as the heartwood of the tree, and because her hair was fair as the shoots of it, he called her Bas Barra Geal , which is Princess Bright Palm; and from their loving line the folk of he Scotland and of all the world are descended.

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