Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Re-Read for Book Club

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran - Shahrnush Parsipur, Shirin Neshat, Faridoun Farrokh

I'm behind on my reviews here because I need to add the books to the catalog.  But I re-read this one because my RL Book Club is doing it for Dec.  


I first read this after seeing the Shiran Neshat show at the Hirshhorn in DC.  Honesty, go check out her work.  Neshat did a film of this novel. 


This is magic realism and is about women in the world of Iran.  Even the one good man is actually more woman in a literary sense (he is a gardener).  


It is a short novella, but it is about the feminine and knowledge.  It is lyrical.

Hey Peeps

How come not a one of you told me that Chris Noth was in episode 4 of this season's Dr. Who?


P.S - Those Hersey Kisses candy cane flavor things are totally addictive.


P.S.S. - Loch Ness on Acorn TV is good.

Good Haunted House Story

The Family Plot - Cherie Priest

Now this is what a haunted house story should be.  Good atmosphere, creepy story.  Good characters.

My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel - Kitty Curran, Larissa Zageris

I really needed this fun choose your own adventure style romance novel.  It not only pokes gentle fun at the romance genre, but is also a good example of that genre.  You have same sex options, poc and every thing.  Quite fun.

Did anyone else follow this Tomi Adeyemi accusing Nora Roberts of stealing her title mess?  Killed the desire I had to read Children of Blood and Bone.  I'm not even a Nora Roberts fan.

The return of the nun

Jacaranda: A Novella of the Clockwork Century - Cherie Priest

One of my favorite literary nuns is in this book.  


Priest's novella is set in the Clockwork Century world and deals with the historic Galveston Hurricane.  It also concerns a haunted hotel.


This isn't going to be to everyone's taste, most of the all the ending isn't - though I enjoyed it.  



If anyone liks Morse or Lewis

This unofficial Morse book is currently free.  It is Endeavour Media so it might be good.  

Verso Books

Verso Books is having their yearly 50% off sale,   Lasts until Jan 1.


The Hangman - Louise Penny

A bit predictable.  More than a bit actually.  I read this after reading Montreal Noir, so the historical reference on which this story turns was nice.  But the Inspector seems a bit too forgiving of everything.


The Golden dog =: (Le Chien d'or) : a romance of the days of Louis Quinze in Quebec - William Kirby

I read this because I am reading up on La Corriveau, a supposed witch/ghost story from Quebec.  Kirby was one of the writers who contributed, in part, to the blackening of her name.


This is a typical Victorian romance.  The evil women are far, far, far more interesting than the flawless good girls, who nicely die before losing their virginity.  But it is does have a good sense of time and place.  The book is best when the bad guys and girls are center stage, which is undoubtedly why Kirby let them take over the story.


The Bees: A Novel - Laline Paull

When this book first came out, it was compared to Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.  I think this is because of the reproduction theme that makes up part of the book.  But such a  comparison is false.  It is actually an American The Hen Who Dream She Could Fly.


On the surface, the story is about a bee, a Flora, who might be more than just a simply Flora (a basic sanitation bee).  She finds herself tending the young, even meeting the queen.  But the hive has problems.  


The book is really about being, of not so much finding oneself but of being.  Of coming to terms with being and pushing back against injustice, to a degree.  But it is also about natural cycles (there is a wonderful framing device that is tied to folklore about bees).


Little Me: My Autobiography - Matt Lucas

Disclaimer: I received a copy via Librarything.


                This book is so morditorial.


                I didn’t know when I started watching Little Britain that I had actually seen Matt Lucas in something before.  He had a brief cameo in Plunkett and MacLean.  But when I first started watching Little Britain, I didn’t know that.  I know that it just made me laugh.


                Lucas’ alphabetized memoir will make you laugh (the Jackie Collins story) and make you cry (a story about his father).  That’s right, it isn’t in chronological order but alphabetical order.  There is even, as the book’s back notes, a song in the middle.


                It is entirely possible that the book isn’t as personal as some fans might wish.  The details about his marriage to Kevin John McGee are too personal to fully share according to Lucas’ introduction.  Yet, in many ways, it makes the book feel more honest.


                Well, that and Kimberly.


                Kimberly is very important.


                There is of course, quite a bit about Little Britain, including not only the creative process but also whether Walliams and Lucas would do anything different and pushes back against some of the criticism that has been leveled at the show.


                But the bulk of the memoir isn’t about the television series.  There is more focus on family, feelings, views, and coming to terms with one’s own sexuality.  There is grief in the memoir but also much hope.  It is one of those quiet books that actually heals the reader.

Reservoir 13: A Novel - Jon McGregor

On one hand, the nature writing in this book is wonderful.  The story is basically what happens in a town after a young girl goes missing.  The young girl is not local, so the village has the misfortune of being both setting and possible culprit.


The problem for me, though, is that there is far, far, far, far too much telling.  Even when you imagine Attenborough reading it too you, it is far too repetitive and you quite frankly don't care about anyone.

Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment, 1754-1953 - F. Murray Greenwood, Beverley Boissery

This is a quite interesting book. In general, the book is in chronological order though it does start with a modern case. The authors are looking at how Canadian justice treated women for about two hundred years. Various cases are studied in depth. The particular reason I brought this book was that I was looking at the story of La Corriveau, and this presents a very good historical context on that case.

It does help to have some basic historical knowledge of Canada, but outside of that, it is an easy enough read for the non-criminal justice major.

Still on US Kindle

The Golden and Ghoulish Age of the Gibbet in Britain (Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife) - Sarah Tarlow

Pretty much everything you want to know about gibbet usage in Great Britain. (The gibbet is the iron cage in which the body is put to be displayed). Very accessible. Not boring. Pretty of good charts.

Audio Book

The Rival Queens: Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom - Nancy Goldstone

Goldstone's book looks at the power struggle in France during the lives of Queen Catherine de Medici and her daughter Queen Margeruite (Margot) of Navarre.  In part, Goldstone pushes back against the more recent histories that show Catherine has a good politician and her daughter as a slut.  The footnotes are quite funny.  It must be said, however, that both women still seem to be in the shadows.