Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Waddle Waddle Quack

Downy Duckling - A.J. MacGregor, W. Perring

I was cataloging my Ladybirds and re-read this one. For a children's book there is a quite a bit of drama. I also like how the mother and sister are doing the rescue.

Trump should read this, but he will not

March (Book One) - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis

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.


Mr. Bounce (Mr. Men Classic Library) - Roger Hargreaves

Just as funny. It's great that these age well.

Hello Mister Richard

FREE: Classic Love Poems - William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Richard Armitage

Ah, Richard Armitage reading love poetry, what more do you want? Well, keep your x-rated comments to yourself.

Nice collection. Bonus points for including work from the Bible that was not Song of Songs. Good definition of love.


Dickens' Women - Miriam Margolyes, Sonia Fraser

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.

Feb 2017

Like Death - Guy de Maupassant, Richard Howard

Feb 2017 NYRB Book Club Selection

I enjoy Maupassant's short stories, and this was the first longer work of his that I read. At times, I felt it was almost too long, but it is an excellent look at love and value.

Good Little History

The Louvre: The History and Legacy of the World's Most Famous Art Museum - Charles River Editors

This a rather nice little history about the Louvre.

At least it is not the Flies

Paris Under the Occupation - Jean-Paul Sartre, Lisa Lieberman
Sartre and I have a history. On the one hand, I have read No Exit in French, and quite frankly, you have never experienced life until you have seen a French Professor who is a nun search for the French word for nymphomaniac and then finish the sentence with like Blanche from the Golden Girls. On the other read, my boring college philosophy teacher talked about The Flies / Les Mouches every darn day. So it's a complicated relationship.

Like many of the Occupied French Sartre's relationship with the Germans was confused as well (I think all of Sartre's relationships are confused but that is just me). Yet, I think if you are trying to understand or to reach an understanding about France during WW II, you must read this essay. In particular with An Eye for an Eye.


Amarna Historical Fiction

House of Rejoicing: Part 1 of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (Volume 1) - Libbie Hawker

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.

Full Review after Book 3 but

March: Book Two - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis

Wow. I don't know what is more compelling the true story or the artwork.

The Runaway

The Runaway - A.J. MacGregor, W. Perring

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.

Remembering The Alamo: An Erotic Short - Xio Nin, Xio Axelrod

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.

Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad - Rosemary Sutcliff, Alan Lee

Do I have say more than this is read by Robert Glenister? Oh, okay. Sutcliff's young adult/child version of Troy is actually a pretty good combination of the various Troy cycles, though she does not go into the evens after the Fall of Troy. It's actually quite good.

The House of Susan Lulham (Merrily Watkins Mysteries) - Phil Rickman

Merrily Watkins find herself at the center of Facebook. Okay, she goes to help a woman who misrepresents what happens. The story is actually quite gripping. You do not need to have read other Watkins books to follow this one.

The Girl Next Door: A Novel - Ruth Rendell

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.

Theseus and the Minotaur

Theseus and the Minotaur: The History of One of Greek Mythology's Most Famous Legends - Andrew    Scott

The book gives a detailed story of the myth of Theseus, including full background to the Minotaur. The second part of the book is a discussion of the story. It's basic and draws largely from Graves, but it is a good introduction.