A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard, Alice Provensen (Illustrator), Martin Provensen (Illustrator)

bookshelves: published-1981, summer-2014, art-forms, poetry, kiddlewinks, paper-read

Read on July 31, 2014

 

Description: Inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, this delightful collection of poetry for children brings to life Blake’s imaginary inn and its unusual guests.

Perfect example of a nursery book in the mode of Lear and Carroll. Beautiful images and fun poems and although it would not be fair to copy over complete entries, I shall give you a snippet of my favourite:

THE MAN IN THE MARMALADE HAT ARRIVES

The man in the marmalade hat
arrived in the middle of March,
equipped with a bottle of starch
to straighten the bends in the road, he said.
He carried a bucket and mop.
A most incommodious load, he said,
and he asked for a room at the top.

Now all I need is a grandchild.

Lovely fayre so I went through twice.

Black Man by: Richard K. Morgan

 

Home read. Hard Cover 546 pages AND the audio file.

Description: Marsalis is one of a new breed. Literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth’s distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back – and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man before a police sting landed him in prison – a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous.

Luckily, his “enhanced” life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He’s another Thirteen – one who’s already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there’s no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane – and alive – long enough to succeed?

First Sentence: He finally found Gray in a MarsPrep camp just over the Bolivian border and into Peru, hiding behind some cheap facial surgery and the name Rodriguez

Now if the story unfolds along the same lines of this brilliant first sentence I will have a damn fine read, don’t you think?

After a quick skim down through the community ratings this seems to be a marmite read and I am already (in chapter three) fed up with the f bomb.

Throwing in the towel at 40%. Life is too short for this annoyance.

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

 

Read by Danika Fairman

Description: In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited and East Germany ceased to exist. In this book, Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany, including the story of Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III.

Read her two books the wrong way around. This non-fiction is superbly written, and she really does have stories that need relating to help us understand DDR because let’s face it, no matter how many time the history is read the subject remains hard to get one’s head around.

DDR was a paranoid place and awful things happened to ordinary people and Funder has pinned the subject matter smack, bang to the , erm, wall.

I mentioned that I read her books the wrong way around – ‘All that I Am’, a novel based on factual events, did not resound so well, maybe I am just a non-fiction kind of girl at heart.

Astounding read worth five checkpoint-charlies even though there are some flaws.

Surfy Googling yields some interesting piccies:

Alexanderplatz. We stayed in the Hotel up those stairs on the left, and that square was full of Christmas market. How it looks today:

Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac, Johanna Ward (Narrator)

bookshelves: published-1846, france, winter20092010, classic, fraudio, revenge

Read in January, 2010

 

– James Waring, Translator
– Unabridged
– 12 Tapes = 17 Hrs. 30 Mins
– Blackstone Audiobooks
– January 2000

BLURB – “Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is, as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying,” wrote V. S. Pritchett. A late masterpiece in Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine, Cousin Bette is the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.”

——

FROM WIKI – French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec depicted lesbian relationships similar to (though more explicit than) that of Bette and Valérie, as in his 1893 painting “In Bed”

Lisbeth Fischer (Cousin Bette) is described as “maigre, brune … les sourcils épais et réunis par un bouquet … quelques verrues dans sa face longue et simiesque” (“lean, brown, with … thick eyebrows joining in a tuft … and some moles on her narrow simian face”)

The Quincunx case by William Dent Pitman

bookshelves: published-1904, summer-2014, canada, books-about-books-and-book-shops, mystery-thriller, public-domain, adventure, families, filthy-lucre, nutty-nuut

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Wanda
Read from January 25 to July 29, 2014

Description: Determined to win the respect of his industrialist uncle and thereby the hand of his cousin, penniless writer Philip Adrian sets himself to unraveling the mystery of the chemist Joseph Balsamo, employed by his uncle but killed before he could deliver the formula of his life’s work. Piecing together clues from scraps of Balsomo’s journal which feature a mysterious five-dot figure (the quincunx), Philip travels to Quebec, where he quickly falls into the clutches Balsamo’s companions, a group of smugglers who come to believe Philip knows far more about their operations than is good for him.

Download here: https://archive.org/details/quincunxc…

Opening: “My suggestion is”, she began, eyeing the heap of notes and silver before us on the table, “an automobile hansom to the Waldorf (we’ve a moment to stop on the way for a bunch of violets) and after dinner and hour or two at the theatre. Then another hansom to – anywhere – for supper…”

My, she has an appetite, this woman, and it is not surprising, given the circumstances. Enjoyable romp, great writing. Thanks for the heads-up Wanda. Three and a half Franklin Stoves.

 

Narrated by Davina Porter

Description: Prudence Barrymore, a talented nurse who had worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, is found strangled to death in a London hospital. Private inquiry agent William Monk is engaged to investigate this horrific crime. Gradually, Monk assembles the portrait of a remarkable woman. Yet he also discerns the shadow of a tragic evil and a frightening glimmer of his own eclipsed past . . .

Whoah! this was a bloated, soap box of an episode. Really not a favourite.

3* The Face of a Stranger (William Monk, #1)
2* A Sudden, Fearful Death (William Monk, #4)
3* The Shifting Tide (William Monk, #14)
4* Dark Assassin (William Monk, #15)
4* Execution Dock (William Monk, #16)

3* Death in the Devil’s Acre (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #7)

2* The Sheen on the Silk
3* A Christmas Guest (Christmas Stories, #3)
3* A Christmas Beginning (Christmas Stories, #5)

Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky

 

rosado mp3 on the road.

Description: Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits compelled to venture illegally into the Zone and collect the strange artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered there. His whole life, even the nature of his daughter, is determined by the Zone.

Picnicers from SPAAAAAAACE!

Our poor human ego takes rather a pounding with the idea here. So insignificant are we that an alien ship stops off on planet for a minimal amount of time and fails to announce arrival. Same sort of discourtesy that anyone of us shows the ants etc. when we take out the ACME red-checkered picnic cloth over their pitch and squash the grass, drop our crumbs and wrappers, take a dump behind a bush.

There is a film loosely based on this book: Stalker (1979)

Three gold spheres as rating:

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

 

** spoiler alert **

RELEVANT QUOTE – “I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”
― Primo Levi

From wiki – On 11 March 1944, neighbors of a house owned by Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot at 21 rue Le Sueur in Paris, complained to police of a foul stench in the area and of large amounts of smoke billowing from a chimney of the house. Fearing a chimney fire, the police summoned firemen, who entered the house and found a roaring fire in a coal stove in the basement. In the fire, and scattered in the basement, were human remains.

General Information
===============
Narrator…………………..Paul Michael
Abr/Unabr………………..Unabridged
Genre………………………True story of a brutal serial killer
Total Runtime……………13 Hours 54 Mins

BLURBS: Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.

The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.

Who was being slaughtered, and why? Was Petiot a sexual sadist, as the press suggested, killing for thrills? Was he allied with the Gestapo, or, on the contrary, the French Resistance? Or did he work for no one other than himself? Trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness.
When Petiot was finally arrested, the French police hoped for answers.

But the trial soon became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. His attorney, René Floriot, a rising star in the world of criminal defense, also effectively, if aggressively, countered the charges. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.

Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.

This book should have come face to face with an active editor to whittle it down to ten hours max. Georges Simenon, Sartre, Camus, Fleming, Picasso and de Beauvoir’s lives overlap with this grisly tale.

Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980 to 1988 (Palin Diaries, #2) by Michael Palin

bookshelves: summer-2014, nonfiction, amusing, epistolatory-diary-blog, published-2009, radio-4x

Read from July 22 to 28, 2014

 

R4x

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q9d5c

After listening to the first book of his diaries, it is lovely that R4x is continuing on.

1/5 Recalling his frenetic 1980s, Michael Palin tells of Monty Python, challenging railway journeys and his daughter starting school.

2/5 Michael Palin recalls bedroom frolics in The Missionary and confusion at an ear specialist

3/5 Michael’s mum making it big in America, grappling with a pig in ‘A Private Function’ and a crucial meeting with George Harrison.

4/5 Recalling the 1980s, Michael Palin shares fond recollections of his sister Angela and the germ of A Fish Called Wanda.

5/5 Lots of kissing, the rushes look good, and a career swerve into world travel beckons. Michael Palin concludes his memoirs.

4* Around the World in 80 Days
3* Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979 (Palin Diaries, #1)
3* Pole to Pole
2* Hemingway’s Chair
3* Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980 to 1988 (Palin Diaries, #2)
1* The Truth

Frustrated Falcons: The Three Children of Edmund of Langley by Brian Wainwright

Frustrated Falcons: The Three Children of Edmund of Langley - Mr Brian Wainwright BA (Ho

bookshelves: summer-2014, history, published-2013, biography

Read on July 27, 2014


Description: This is a biography of the three remarkable children of Edmund of Langley, first Duke of York: Edward, his successor, Constance, Lady Despenser and Countess of Gloucester, and Richard, Earl of Cambridge. This is first time that the facts of their lives have been assembled all in one place, and is based largely on the research the author did for his novel, Within the Fetterlock, with some new information added more recently.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot. See that biography description? What really is happening here is a few paragraphs that seems to be just an aide memoire for authors. You can tell by the Contents page:

P4…Authors Note
P6…Historical Background
P10… The Parents – Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, and Isabella of Castile, Duchess of York
P13…Son and Heir – edward, Earl of Rutland and Cork, Duke of Aumale, 2nd Duke of York
P26…Daughter of York – Constance, Lady Dispenser, Countess of Gloucester
P39…Richard the Obscure – Richard ‘of Conisbrough’, Earl of Cambridge
P47…Select Bibliography