Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.

 

 

                             

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Thoughts and Prayers to London and England.

Please Read - Signal Boost for Fellow Reviewer Frank Errington

Hello peeps. If you spend any time in the horror community, you might have run across a reviewer by the name of Frank Errington. He’s simply an all-around good dude in an all-around crappy situation. He needs a kidney. Currently he’s looking for a live donor. I asked him if I could boost the signal with my blog and he said sure, so below you will find an image of Frank and a phone number. You can call Frank direct and he’ll give you info on how to find out if you’d be a suitable donor. I tried, but the transplant people told me my prediabetes automatically disqualified me. Maybe you can help.

 

Take care of each other,

 

E.

 

Reblogged from Grimlock ♥ Vision

I do have a model of Kipper

Penelope - Norman Thelwell, Norman Thelwell

What's not to like about Thelwell?

Nothing.

I want Kipper, I really do.

The secret of La Baie

The Hudson's Bay Company: The History and Legacy of the Famous English Trading Company in Colonial America - Charles River Editors

Good little history. When Charles River Editors does it right, it goes out of the ballpark.

This is a cool series

Secret Washington  D.C. - Sharon Pendana

Nice little volume. Gave me some new places to see. I love this series.  There is this cool multi house something that I want to go to next time I visit.

Why I love Reading

I know that these posts are supposed to be genre based, but that's not goint to work for me.

 

For me, reading is life.  I know it is for many of us on sites like this or Goodreads or Librarything.  Pick your poision.  You have more books than you know what to do with.  The ereader is the book haul.  Your bedroom or house is simply a place where you sleep or live with books.  It's library with an alternate function.

 

I was, am, never the out going one.  I am the shy one, the quiet one, the one with her head in the book because the best thing about human race in many class is literature.  At first, books are an escape.  There's magic.  There's horses.  There's dragons.  The underdog wins.  The unpopularity doesn't matter because the book doesn't care.  You meet people like you in books.  The characters don't give a damn what your hang ups are, and they don't betray you - at least not in the real world way.  You can forget, submerge, be on Mars, Krynn, MIddle Earth, Medevial France, the Tudor Court, a mole in a hole.  

 

And you can stop reading.  You are in control and not in control.  It's a good feeling.

 

Because books are there.  Once, you just needed a library card.  Now, you need a phone or computer.  

 

Then you get older, and you realize that books teach you.  That Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown didn't just teach about story telling but about being a woman.  That non-fiction is worth reading too, even if it is about those long dead people.  

 

Non-fiction boards your mind.  Fiction does too.

 

It keeps you sane because it is the rabbit hole and the ruby slippers.  The way out, the way back.  It can protect you from those other humans, yet educate you about them too.

 

It is a way to make friends.

 

One of my oldest friends is my friend because we both loved The Hero and the Crown.  Today, we have many books in companion, and some we don't. I went to my first protest with my book club.   Every friend I have on a site like Booklikes or Goodreads is there because of books.  Books aren't about life; they are a key to life.

 

I love reading because it helped me find my voice.

Currently Free on Kindle

House of Rejoicing: Part 1 of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (Volume 1) - Libbie Hawker Sea Monsters: A History of Creatures from the Haunted Deep in Legend and Lore - Charles River Editors Buckingham Palace: The History of the British Royal Family's Most Famous Residence - Charles River Editors

Following books currently free on kindle.  

 

House of Rejoicing

Sea Monsters Charles River Editors

Buckingham Palace Charles River Editors

Harry Potter and Muggles

While I was not the targeted audience for harry Potter when it was first released, I did eventually read the books, and one of my fondest memories is sitting outside the local coffee shop with two friends discussing horauxes.  Yet, I always felt some disquiet or something off when reading Harry Potter.  Part of it had to do with Hermione, but that wasn’t the real reason.  I could never really but my finger on it.  And then I realized that while Harry Potter starts as an outsider, the true outsiders of the book are the readers.

 

                In fact, this is true for many books.  Yet with Potter it means something different.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione work in part because they start as outsiders, as the un-cools, though as the series progresses that status shifts, as it must be considering what happens in each book.  Ron does, however, function as the least of the trilogy and thereby a latch key to the group.  But in the realm of the book, the readers are muggles, and muggles are really not that important, to anyone.

 

                Yes, anyone.

 

Read the rest here

Out in April

The Little Mermaid - Metaphrog

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

 

                “The Little Mermaid” is, perhaps, one of Anderson’s most well-known tales, though most people I would wager, do not know the source material and cling to the Disney version.  The duo of Metaphrog does not do Disney.

 

                Which is a good thing.

 

                Anderson’s tale left me conflicted when I re-read it as an adult, leaves me conflicted whenever I read it know.  It isn’t the stepping on knives bit; it’s how the prince treats the mermaid.  She sleeps at the foot of his bed, he pets her, she is his dog – faithful to the end.  But in fairness to the prince, it isn’t that the mermaid wants him; she really wants a soul.  He is a way to gain a story.  The whole relationship is strange, yet the mermaid succeeds to a degree because she has more of the “Christian virtues” that the prince should have.

 

                In some ways, this excellent adaption of the story shies away from those issues.  The Little Mermaid here is in love with the prince (and perhaps legs).  The adaption’s ending is faithful to the choice that Anderson’s character makes. Yet, the image is subtly different for the choice occurs before the wedding.  Despite the use of legs, including slit dresses, Metaphrog seem to have tamped down the sexual elements of the story as well as the idea of a soul -the term immortal is used instead, which means the original mermaid might not have had a problem with that. 

 

                Those issues aside there is much to love in this.  The artwork – blues and greens – is wonderful.  The paneling of the story is  great.  There are people of color, though the two central characters are white.  The Sea Witch is not an Ursula type and comes across as a helper.

cute

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

These are not so much short stories about but character sketches, almost as if Rowling was showing her character sheets for Umbridge and Slughorn among others. The highlights are also a list of the Minsters of Magic, which includes some funny tidbits. If you are a Harry Potter fan, these are worth a read and nicely add to the universe.

Swiss Neutrality? Psst

Nazi Gold - Tom Bower

Disclaimer: ARC of the Kindle edition via Netgalley.

 

                When I mention Holocaust Denial someone always asks how can a denier be so stupid, what could motivate someone to deny something so documented.  I usually counter with, well, you have people who believed slavery really wasn’t that bad; it’s a little like that.  It’s true that such a comment is most likely a facile respond, but it is a hard answer.  The reasons seem to run from a desire to shock to a refusal or need to defend the honor of one’s country to straight forward and outright anti-Semitism (not that you couldn’t say the first two points aren’t).

 

                One could also argue that the denial was not something that started long after the war was over.  In this book, Tom Bower chronicles the Swiss attempt to keep Nazi gold, stolen from Jewish citizens of various countries.  In some case, the gold was in fact deposited by rightful owners who were killed and whose heirs could not inherit because proper documents were not to be had.

 

                It is a maddeningly story, even if Bower’s prose is a little dull.  It does call into question how neutral the Swiss were, or how neutrality should be defined.  What is chronicled is one part sleight of hand, one part finical and bureaucratic genius, and one part a lack of gall (on behalf of some of those trying to get access to the gold).

 

                In some ways, the cynicism exhibited by the Swiss government and banking establishment seems to suggest a refusal not only of compassion but of realities of the Second World War.   A start of denial that might have a grounding in greed or covetous of a monetary gain.

Well Folks, something is going on

cause Trump tweeted Obama tapp (tapped) his phones.

Out for Kindle May 02, 2017

The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.  Open Road is doing the kindle edition of this previously released work.

 

                Ginny has a problem.  It’s a huge problem.  She doesn’t know a great many things.  She lives with her father in a town in Wales, and she is one of the few people of color in the village.  She has never met her Haitian mother from who she inherits artistic skill, talent, and interest.

 

                In many ways, while not perfect, Ginny’s life is good.  But then, as is always the case in such books, something happens and things change.  In this case, change is brought the visit of a woman, who sparks a desire or allows Ginny to give voice to questions.

 

                While race is not a huge factor in the novel, it does make an appearance, or several.  And yet this is not a novel about race.  It’s true that Ginny does deal with racism in both a family setting and a societal setting.  It is also true that she is not the only person of color to do so, yet the focus of the book is the mystery that Ginny must solve – the mystery of her past.

 

                That mystery concerns her much loved father, and that mystery is one that is not dependent on race.

 

                It sounds strange, perhaps.  But think about, how many mass market teen and pre-teen books with a poc as hero/heroine have a race as a central theme and/or driving plot point?  This book doesn’t ignore race; Ginny is called slurs, she wonders about her sense of self as a poc being raised only by a white father in a white community, and she wonders about art and race.  Yet removal those conversations or change them to reflect a different minority group, and the story is about any teenager and the search for identity.  It’s refreshing really.

 

                It’s true at some points one feels that Ginny’s mother as passionate outsider is a bit of an over played trope (poc is passionate, white family is passionless), yet Pullman does not go down that tired old road.

 

                In terms of the mystery that Ginny solves, too say too much about it would give away major spoilers.  Much of the mystery plot does work, and there are one or two places where disbelief does need to be suspended a little.

 

                And yes, this book does pass the Bechdel test.  Ginny’s best friend is Rhiannon and why they do at times talk about boys, they talk about more.  The two girls have a great and real friendship.  It is one of the charms of the book.  Ginny is not the only good woman/girl in a world of men.  She has female friends and they act female as opposed to men with boobs.

 

                There are wonderful touches in the book – in particular with Ginny’s interest in art and how it manifests in a variety of ways.   There are some wonderful passages about the scenery and places, in particular Ginny’s kingdom – a passage that details a very real connection to places. 

 

                Highly recommended. 

A boy goes to a graveyard and the president shows up

[Lincoln in the Bardo Audiobook by George Saunders]{Lincoln in the Bardo Audiobook by George Saunders} - George Saunders

Apparently this audio book has over 160 actors, and I would believe it. To be honest, I wanted the audio version because Don Cheadle was one of the performers.

He's the only reason I watched part of Iron Man something or other.

But, the handsome and talented Cheadle aside, this book. This book. This book is about grief, about life, about relationships, about sin, about . . . Lincoln coming to terms with self and death of his son.

Saunders combines history - at the least several of the sources cited in the history section of the book are real - and fiction - the bardo section, that takes place in the graveyard. The term bardo is a clue to the actual point of the novel. Critics have referred to it as modern Our Town, but I loved this whereas Our Town makes me want to throw up. There is a harshness to this, some of the language isn't present, but in the harshness lies truth.

Seriously, it is whatever says - the best book of the year.

Holds up quite well

The Nonsuch Lure - Mary M. Luke

I'm pretty sure the last time I read this was when I was in college. It just goes to show how good I thought it was then because I held on to it.

It holds up pretty well. I'm not a fan of the whole past life regression thing in general, but the historical bits in the novel are quite good so I don't mind it here.

Watch out for the Bulldozer!

Ladies of Letters - Lou Wakefield, Carole Hayman, Prunella Scales, Patricia Routledge, BBC Worldwide Limited

This is very, very funny, especially the part with the bulldozer. Lovely.