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A sudden pile of books

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 Hey everybody!  I disappeared for a while there, and I'm not quite sure what I am going to do, but I'll tell you about it.  My reading mojo disappeared; I mean, it took a long vacation and I wondered if it was coming back.  I think it had mostly to do with my husband's layoff back in January; worry took up most of my brainspace and there was not much left over.  I could read the fluffiest mysteries, and Diana Wynne Jones.  I read something like eight of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, would you believe -- I liked those when I was around 13.  But I couldn't seem to keep up with blogging, or anyone else's blogs, or read anything new or in the least challenging.  I saw the CC Spin and I just couldn't do it!  Instead I embroidered things and played too much on my phone. A couple of weeks ago, my husband got a nice contracting gig, and I instantly felt much better.  Pretty soon my reading came back, and with renewed energy -- I read two Shakespeare plays yesterday

CC Spin #36: Rob Roy

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 Success!  I had a little trouble with this one, because I was trying to read it on my phone, and that was just not working very well.  I was less than halfway through and March was looming, but a nice Penguin copy came across the donation table and I took it home.  After that, it was easy to read 50 pages a day and zoom through... Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott When I read The Heart of Mid-Lothian , I was surprised that it wasn't about Jacobites adventuring all over the highlands, but that turns out to be Rob Roy.  Honestly I preferred Jeanie Deans, but this was quite fun.  I can see why stay-at-home English folks of the mid 1800s loved reading this! It's 1715, and our narrator is Frank Osbaldistone, whose father is a London businessman.  Young Frank prefers art and poetry to accounting (and doesn't quite see why he should work hard when his dad has plenty of money), and his exasperated dad sends him off to cousins in Northumberland, pointing out that he who does not work do

Agatha Christie SS24: February

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 February's stories are "The Pearl of Price," a Parker Pyne story, and "The Affair at the Bunglalow, featuring Miss Marple. "The Pearl of Price" is set on a group tour of Egypt, a nice little closed group of people who do not know each other well and who come from all over.  The rich American's daughter has valuable screw-on pearl earrings, which she is forever losing.  Pretty soon one of the pearls is lost, and though it ought to be easy to find...it isn't there. Who took the pearl and where did they hide it?  Parker Pyne figures it out. This is a fun short piece, and brings up the eternal question: how does anyone ever stand wearing screw-on earrings?  I've tried them!  They hurt! In "The Affair at the Bungalow," we have a dinner party that includes some retired military and police men, a lovely and famous actress, and a clever modern writer along with his elderly aunt.  As they trade stories of crime and try to fool each other, the

Ozathon 3: Ozma of Oz

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 Well, I've spent most of this month doing things besides reading.  I guess you could call it a reading slump.  But I did read Ozma of Oz, which was a familiar book of my childhood! In this installment, we go back to Dorothy, who is accompanying her Uncle Henry on a voyage to Australia for his health -- an amusingly transparent method of getting Dorothy on a ship, since there is no way a Kansas farm family would send anybody to Australia when they could just go to Florida or someplace.  Nevertheless, to Australia they go, and Dorothy is swept overboard in a storm.  Luckily she manages to cling to a chicken coop, and pretty soon she and the chicken come to shore.  The hen starts talking, so we know that we're somewhere near Oz! Dorothy and Billina discover that they're in Ev, a land next to the desert that surrounds Oz, and they find the mechanical man Tik-Tok and wind him up, so he joins the team. The queen and all her children have been captured by the Nome King, and a nie

This Book is Full of Spiders

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This Book is Full of Spiders (Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It), by David Wong/Jason Pargin  I found the title irresistible, though I'm not sure this is really quite my style of novel.  It's #2 in John Dies at the End -- there are 4 in total -- and I've liked them fine, but I'm not sure I like them enough to read more.  (Which is pretty common for me these days; there have been lots of series where I read and liked the first one, but never felt the need to keep going.) Story: David and John, who live in Weirdsville USA, can see critters from other dimensions because they took the 'soy sauce' drug.  A horrifying spider-esque parasite invades David's house, tries to eat him, and then breeds, turning quite a few of the town's residents into hosts -- and the whole place into a zombie apocalypse scenario.  Amid military lockdown, panic, flailing, and way too many guns in the hands of guys who have no idea how to use them well, it's up to David, Amy, an

The CC Spin Number is....

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And the lucky Spin number is...   20! So I'll be reading Rob Roy , by Sir Walter Scott.  I've never planned to read all, or even most, of Scott, but I've kind of had this one in the back of my head for many years, despite knowing nothing whatsoever about it.  I gather that the protagonist is a young man who appeals to the (in)famous Rob Roy for help, and it all takes place in about 1715, just before the second Jacobite rebellion.  Rob Roy was a real person, and was also the kind of person who attracts legends, so that he ended up a sort of Highlander Robin Hood figure.  We'll see!    

Revelations of Divine Love

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 Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich In 1373, a 30-year-old nun was dying of an illness.  Instead of dying, she had a series of visions and got well.  Over the next 15 years or so, she composed two narratives of the visions she had seen -- a short version, and a long version containing everything she felt like she'd learned about her revelations since.  Julian of Norwich was an anchoress attached to -- surprise -- Norwich cathedral and she became quite well known.  Margery Kempe visited her, which means two of the earliest women writers we have in English knew each other.  These visions were about the Crucifixion and about God's infinite love for His creations.  Here are a few of my favorite bits, some of which are very well-known:   'It is true that sin is the cause of all suffering, but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.' 'Since I have set right what was the greatest harm, it is my will that you should kno