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Showing posts from December, 2022

Whither Howling Frog Books?

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 Sorry, I couldn't resist the pretentious title.   Taking the last few months off has been really nice, but I've also missed the blog and all of you nice folks out there in book-blog land.  I've decided to slow down from my previous posting rate -- I was aiming for 2/3 a week but then I'd skip a while because I was tired.  I'm going to try for fewer posts, and will probably cover groups of books and/or the titles I really want to talk about.   In 2023, I'm going to sign up for my usual challenges (see below), which don't really cost me any thought, and skip pretty much everything else.  My TBR shelf is far overladen, and so is my library pile, so I'm going to concentrate on those.  In 2021, I focused on WWII and aimed for one book a month.  In 2022, I was going to try for chunksters but didn't really succeed much there.  In 2023, I'm going back to the idea of a historical focus, and I'm going to work on making a dent in my large Russian/Easte

My Year in Books and 2022 Wrapups

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We're getting down to the wire, so here's one big long wrap-up post for 2022: Using only books you have read this year (2022), answer these prompts. Try not to repeat a book title… (Links in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist) In high school I was a Goblin People might be surprised by a Runaway Robot I will never be [one of the] Model Children My life post-lockdown was: Being Seen My fantasy job is The Prince of Morning Bells At the end of a long day I need Celestial Bodies (I like stargazing!) I hate being The Seventh Bride Wish I had a Chess Set in the Mirror My family reunions are A Sudden Wild Magic At a party you’d find me with Our Mutual Friend I’ve never been to The Lost Island A happy day includes The Secret of Zi Motto I live by: "We Never Make Mistakes " (ominous!) On my bucket list is The Gate of Horn In my next life, I want to have a Cathedral of Mist My kid assures me that this is a good meme for the Gen Z students I want to appeal t

The Female Quixote

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 The Female Quixote, by Charlotte Lennox This is my Spin title, so I want to save the 'real' post for January 29th.  I'm posting now just to say that I have finished the novel, it was a lot of fun and not too difficult or crazy-making (despite the innumerable Capitals applied to Nouns), and indeed Arabella needs some help in understanding modern (to her) mores and letting go of ideas gleaned from bad translations of old French romances about ancient princesses.  What may be appropriate for a fictional Thracian princess is not necessarily correct for the maiden of 1750!  

The True Believer

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 The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, by Eric Hoffer My sister lent me this fascinating short book, which was published in 1951.  Eric Hoffer was not an academic or famous intellectual; he was self-educated and worked as a longshoreman, and he was a thinker with plenty of experience of the world.  He wrote ten books, apparently mostly "in his spare time while living in the railroad yards."  This book is a collection of observations and thoughts on, well, the nature of mass movements -- not just in the 20th century, though that's a lot of it, but all over the place.  Religions, rebellions, and takeovers through history are the grist for his mill.   Though there are footnotes, this is not what we would think of as an academic treatise.  It's Hoffer giving us his thoughts, and he doesn't expect us to agree with everything; indeed some things are overdone to make an interesting point.  Because I'm reading it with 70 more years of history go

A Winter Riffle of Reviews

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I'm hoping to get this year wrapped up in this final week.  Which is kind of a lot to leave undone until December 26, so wish me luck! I've read some neat books and a good bit of fluff in the last couple of months, and I'm just going to run through some of the ones I want to count for challenges...    Mink River, by Brian Doyle Doyle writes the story of a town: Neawanaka , a tiny place on the Oregon coast where a river meets the sea.  It's beautifully written, and I highly recommend it. Read Dangerously, by Azar Nafisi Written as letters to her (deceased) father, Nafisi discusses the importance of reading literature, especially in troubled times.  I wanted to save a couple of quotations: It is when you cast off the mantle of victimhood that you become a menace, a danger to your oppressor.  It it intriguing that in order to cease being a victim, you must accept responsibility for who you are and who you might become -- thus, ironically, acknowledging your enemy an

My Spin number is...

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 It's the number 6! This gives me probably the most intimidating book on the list, The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox, published in 1752.  It's the story of a girl, raised in too much solitude and with too many romance novels to read, who thinks the novels are accurate descriptions of life.  Her adventures were admired by Henry Fielding and Samuel Johnson, and of course Jane Austen used them for inspiration in Northanger Abbey . So it's probably not super-difficult to read -- though every Noun has a Capital Letter, which can be irritating to the Spirits after a While, at least my digital Copy does not poſseſs the long ſs that undoubtedly adorned the Original.  It does seem to be -- like almost every Georgian novel -- very long indeed, so we'll see how it goes.  I'll report back on January 29th.

CC Spin #32!

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 Well, I told you I'd be back for Spins.  I've been enjoying my break and am not yet ready to come back, but... .Spin!  You know the rules, so here we go:  First Love and Other Stories, by Turgenev Bluebeard, by Kurt Vonnegut It is Acceptable (Det Gaar An), C. J. L. Almqvist  The Black Arrow, by R. L. Stevenson Diary of London, by Boswell The Female Quixote, by Charlotte Lennox Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott Second-Class Citizen, by Buchi Emecheta The Leopard, by di Lampedusa  Madwoman on the Bridge, by Su Tong   I Served the King of England, by Bohumil Hrabal It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich Thus Were Their Faces, by Silvina Ocampo  Motl, the Cantor's Son, by Sholem Aleichem Conjure Tales, by Charles Chesnutt The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster  Amerika, by Kafka The Well at the End of the World, by William Morris The Annotated Flatland, by Edwin Abbott In other news, I've finished my 12 TBR books for Adam