Thoughts on things, mostly books.
While this series has been on my radar for a bit, two things made me finally pick it up. One was Trump's attack on John Lewis. And the second was that I got a gift certificate to B&N. Anyway, damn John Lewis this is great. Too often books do not deserve the awards they get, but this one does. The framing device is great, the use of the chickens is wonderful, the whole package just works.
Right down the street - in my local park - stands a statue of Dickens and Little Nell. Every year, there is a Dickens celebration. On year, it was some anniversary, Miriam Margolyes showed up. She is like 21 shades of awesome.
I have a love/hate relationship with Dickens. I love some of his work, others I hate. I prefer Trollope to a degree because Trollope writes better women. Margolyes audio version of her stage show is quiet amusing, if not as critical as perhaps one would like. Still if you like Margoyles, this is well worth listening to.
Hawker's Book of Coming Forth series is about the Amarna period in ancient Egypt. This first chronicles the in-fighting that occurs as one pharaoh passes and another rises. The book is told from the relative perspectives of the women in the story (the pov is third, but the focus of each chapter shifts) making a rather good illustration about how power or its pursuit can cost one potential allies.
I have a whole book of Ladybird Books. For those of you born too late or too focused on stateside books, Ladybird published children's books - usually little hardcover books. The books were designed to introduce children to reading. In the 1970s, when those in my collection were published, it included books like Helping with Mother, Let's Visit the Zoo. They were written on the level of Jack and Jane (or simpler), but the illustrations were far nicer. There was also a series of rhyming stories, of which this volume - The Runaway - is one.
The Runaway was my favorite. The story itself is about a hutch rabbit who, you guessed it, runs away to the forest. Considering the time period, the book is somewhat ahead of its time. The illustration makes it quite clear that the rabbit is the same as a wild rabbit, so while the boy does not mean any harm by keeping a pet rabbit, there is a slight sense of wrongness. But the story ends with both the boy (who has a domestic rabbit) and the rabbit both happy.
Perhaps this story is why I love Watership Down.
Disclaimer: I know the author, but I did buy my copy.
This is a straight up sex encounter short story. This isn't a bad thing. It is a level above most such writing for a couple reasons. First, the appearance of the heroine is not really revealed, so she can be whatever. Second, there is none of this rape as romance - it is simply a woman and a man who want sex. The heroine is honest about her sexual desires, so it was quite nice to read.
This is more Barbara Vine than Rendell, so you know what you are getting. It chronicles the discovery of two hands and the challenges that brings to a group of people - children in the second World War but 60 plus in the setting of the book. Like most of Rendell's books when she writers as Vine, the emphasis is more on the impact of the crime than the crime itself. It's not the best Vine, but it's not bad. Just a bit predictable.