24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 – Festivus: Task 2

The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren, Michael Chesworth, Florence Lamborn, Gerry Bothmer Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy, John Bayley, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear

Admittedly I wrote this quite a while a go, but since anything involving Pippi Longstocking will almost automatically be a match for a holiday featuring “feats of strength” … here is, rather unapologetically, my Goodreads Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament entry of long ago featuring the match-up of Pippi Longstocking vs. Anna Karenina (spoiler: Pippi wins hands down):

 

Girl Power, or:

Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament Review:
Anna Karenina (12) vs. Pippi Långstrump (21)

  

A countryside railway station in indistinctly northern surroundings. Count Vronsky and Anna Karenina are standing together, both looking into the distance but in opposite directions.

 

VRONSKY (contemplative): Now, look at that … a girl carrying a horse …

ANNA (turning): What’s that you said – a girl?

VRONSKY: … carrying a horse.

ANNA (talking over him): Of course, I should have known – you’re looking at another woman. Again. So what’s so special about this one, huh? (She takes a closer look at the figure in the distance and curls her lips in contempt.)

Her freckles? Those ridiculous reddish braids of hers? Or – or – her shoes? Oh my God, they must be at least two sizes too large!

VRONSKY (to himself): Here we go again. – (Soberly, to Karenina): Anna, please …

ANNA (still not listening): I bet you can’t wait to take those shoes off her and clothe her feet in some sort of delicate slippers. Silk, or damast, or something. Or velvet. Or nothing – and then just kiss them. And go on kissing her all the way up her legs, and then … and then … (She breathes heavily, unable to continue.)

VRONSKY: Anna, for God’s sake, she’s just a girl! She can’t be more than, what, nine or ten … or, well, at least she doesn’t look … (He casts a doubtful glance at the horse, which is now standing on solid ground again.)

ANNA: Ah, but you don’t know, do you? And I am sure you would love to find out …

VRONSKY (exasperated): Anna, please! Do you seriously think I’d be interested in a woman who can carry a horse?!

ANNA (pouting): Oh, so she’s a woman now to you already, is she? A few seconds ago she was still merely a girl … I should have known I would never be able to trust you! You’ll always find a way to betray me! I should never have followed you! Why, oh why did I ever abandon my beloved son for your sake? Oh, Seryozha … (She bursts into tears.)

VRONSKY (after contemplating her for a long moment): Look, Anna, I don’t think this is going anywhere. I …

ANNA (howling): You’re leaving me! (After a pause, with a baleful look at the figure in the distance): For HER!

VRONSKY (through his teeth, struggling for composure): I am going to my club.

(He turns on his heels and leaves.)

ANNA (sobbing uncontrollably): I’ve lost him. And after I gave up everything for his sake. I am nothing without him! Oh, what shall I do??

 

A humming from the tracks, first gentle but with a steadily increasing volume, announces the arrival of a train. With a desperate sob, Anna Karenina throws herself onto the tracks. The sudden, harsh squeal of the train’s breaks alerts Pippi Longstocking, who up to now had been blissfully unaware of the scene at the station. She comes rushing over, placing herself in front of the train, and tries to stop it with her bare hands. All she manages, alas, is to slow it down; but not before it has severed Anna’s head, which rolls sideways and comes to a stop at Pippi’s feet. Pippi contemplates it with a half-sad, half puzzled expression.

 

PIPPI (bemused): It’s a pity she never knew my Pappa. He would’ve told her just to sing to herself. Whatever it is, there’s nothing so bad that it can’t be made right again by singing a song, he always said …

 

(Alerted by a monkey’s chatter, she looks to the roof of the station house.)

 

PIPPI: Mr. Nilsson! What are you doing up there? Come down at once!

 

Laughing, Pippi climbs onto the roof herself to retrieve her monkey, leaving Anna’s severed head and body behind on the tracks.

 

(Task: Battle of the Books:  pick two books off your shelf (randomly or with purpose); in a fair fight, which book would come out on top?  The fight can be based on the merits of the book itself, its writing, or full-on mano a mano between two characters.  Which would win the feat of strength?)

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006126/24-festive-tasks-door-19-festivus-task-2

24 Festive Tasks: Door 16 – St. Lucia’s Day: Task 2

 

On the minus-twentieth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …
Two Christmas carols, one orchestral dance, one fairy tale, and one novel:

 

Two Christmas Carols:

* Jingle Bells

* Sleigh Ride

 

One Orchestral Dance:

* W.A. Mozart: Three German Dances Dance No. 3 (“Sleigh Ride“)

 

One Fairy Tale:

* Hans-Christian Andersen: The Snow Queen

   (The snow queen’s preferred mode of travel … and abduction.)

 

One Novel:

* Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

   (Rostov and Sonya’s Christmas Eve troika ride.)

 

(Task: Compile a list of five or more carols, poems, short stories, novels or other pieces of writing that feature sleigh rides.)

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006118/24-festive-tasks-door-16-st-lucia-s-day-task-2

24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Book

Five Bloody Hearts - Joy Ellis, Matthew Lloyd Davies

 

Well, this may be stretching the spirit of the holiday a bit (unless St. Nick should count either murderers or policemen among the many groups of people whose patron saint he is), but the dominant color of the cover definitely qualifies, and I might as well get caught up with everything Joy Ellis (sans Nikki Galena) before the year is out.

 

Plus, I now have an inkling why Ellis picked a cop on the brink of retirement for this new series … I’d been wondering what she was doing, creating a third Fenland series focused on yet another detective, but this one looks like it’s going to take a bit of a different direction eventually.  Intriguing!

 

(Task: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006109/24-festive-tasks-door-14-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-book

24 Festive Tasks: Door 12 – St. Andrew’s Day: Book

White Nights - Ann Cleeves White Nights - Ann Cleeves, Kenny Blyth

Rather easy choice, this one …

And notwithstanding the fact that there’s a fairly obvious giveaway to the “who” very early on — and I’m beginning to clue in on Cleeves’s approach in terms of construction, writerly perspective and character POV — I actually liked this at least as much as the first book in the series, if not more.

(Task: Read a book set in Scotland.)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006099/24-festive-tasks-door-12-st-andrew-s-day-book

Some thoughts on dealing with Spam

Reblogged from: Peregrinations

(Updated 12/4/19 with additional thoughts shared in the comments)
 
I’ve been thinking about this.
 
Spam is the bane of our existence. We all hate it. We all want it to go away.
 

Spammers love our attention, whether it be positive or negative. The more we respond to spammers, the happier they are and the more they want to keep posting here.
 
In light of the fact that for all intents and purposes this community is entirely without moderators who can deal with spam and delete spam accounts, here is what we should do with spammers: We should make this place as uninviting as possible for spammers, a place where they are entirely ignored.
 
 

1. DO NOT respond to them. Do not add a comment to any discussion.Do not comment on any post. Do not engage. Period. (Yes, I know this is hard but don’t do it! Not even to warn others that we have a new spammer; we are smart enough to figure it out for ourselves.) 
2. DO NOT block them unless they are following you, because to block them you have to follow them first and following is engaging. 
3. Check your follower page regularly and block spammers. 
4. The only reason to visit a spammy looking discussion is to change the notification setting to “no notifications” — and then only when you receive a notification. Out of sight, out of mind. 
5. DO NOT keep returning to spam discussions. Do not add to the visitor count. Do not feed the spammer ego. Make this place as unfriendly as possible.
6. Report spammers here. It is not an official list but it can’t hurt.  Do it without opening the blog you want to report; copy the link/URL that takes you to the blog. (Thanks to Themis-Athena for this addition to the list).
7.  The administrator of any discussion group can delete spam discussions & block spammers from the group. If you recognize the administrator of a group or discussion as a legit member (such as the admins of BL Bookish Bingo Club), use PM (private message) to report the spam to the administrators. Include the URL for the discussion and the post# for the spam. DO NOT respond to the spammers or plus/minus them; just report them. (Thanks to Moonlight for this addition to the list).
 

 
The more of us who follow the non-engagement plan, the less inviting we will become.
 
If you think this plan will work, please feel free to pass it along. The more times this is re-blogged, the more active members will see it –and maybe even a few spammers.
 
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006039/some-thoughts-on-dealing-with-spam

Some thoughts on dealing with Spam

Reblogged from: Peregrinations

I’ve been thinking about this.
 
Spam is the bane of our existence. We all hate it. We all want it to go away.
 

Spammers love our attention, whether it be positive or negative. The more we respond to spammers, the happier they are and the more they want to keep posting here.
 
In light of the fact that for all intents and purposes this community is entirely without moderators who can deal with spam and delete spam accounts, here is what we should do with spammers: We should make this place as uninviting as possible for spammers, a place where they are entirely ignored.
 
 
1. DO NOT respond to them. Do not add a comment to any discussion.Do not comment on any post. Do not engage. Period. (Yes, I know this is hard but don’t do it! Not even to warn others that we have a new spammer; we are smart enough to figure it out for ourselves.)
 
2. DO NOT block them unless they are following you, because to block them you have to follow them first and following is engaging.
 
3. The only reason to visit a spammy looking discussion is to change the notification setting to “no notifications” — and then only when you receive a notification. Out of sight, out of mind.
 
4. Check your follower page regularly and block spammers.
 
5. DO NOT keep returning to spam discussions. Do not add to the visitor count. Do not feed the spammer ego. Make this place as unfriendly as possible.
 
The more of us who follow the non-engagement plan, the less inviting we will become.
 
If you think this plan will work, please feel free to pass it along. The more times this is re-blogged, the more active members will see it –and maybe even a few spammers.
 
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2005245/some-thoughts-on-dealing-with-spam

24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 – Kwanzaa: Task 2

Doktor Faustus - Thomas Mann Amadeus - Peter Shaffer The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany - Martin Goldsmith Dancer - Colum McCann The Speech of Angels - Sharon Maas The Sanctuary Sparrow  - Ellis Peters An Accidental Death: A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 1 - Peter Grainger, Gildart Jackson Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice Overture To Death - Ngaio Marsh Piano - Jane Campion

In no particular order, books (of all genres, except for artist biographies)* that I love where music plays an important role:

 

Thomas Mann: Dr. Faustus

Mann’s gut-punch take on Faustian bargains; in this instance, by a composer who pays the price of syphilis-induced madness for a few years of success — and whose deal with the devil simultaneously symbolizes that of the German people with Adolf Hitler.

 

Peter Shaffer: Amadeus

The play that reached an even wider audience when adapted for the screen by Miloš Forman: all about the punk rock genius of classical music and his rival, the “patron saint of mediocrity”, Antonio Salieri.

 

Martin Goldsmith: The Inextinguishable Symphony

Goldsmith’s biography of his musician parents (and their families), who met in Nazi Germany and, after much hardship, eventually managed to emigrate to the U.S. and establish a new life for themselves and their children there.

 

Colum McCann: Dancer

McCann’s novelized biography of Rudolf Nureyev — from the time before McCann moved to the U.S. and went all politically correct.  Lyrical, muscular and visually powerful prose to match the art of its protagonist.

 

Sharon Maas: Speech of Angels

The story of a musically gifted orphan who is taken to Europe from the streets of Bombay and has to find out who she is (Indian, European or …?) and what exactly music means to her life. 

 

Ellis Peters: The Sanctuary Sparrow

A young musician takes sanctuary in the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul after having falsely been accused of murder, and it is up to Brother Cadfael to find out what really happened.

 

Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death

Music may not exactly be central to the mystery, but blues music is definitely key to the protagonist’s (D.C. Smith’s) personality.

 

Anne Rice: Cry to Heaven and Violin

Cry to Heaven, a novel set in the world of the baroque castrati, just might be the best thing Rice ever wrote (when she was still listening to her editors).  Violin was the last book of hers that I liked; it occasionally borders on the melodramatic, but the translation of the (autobiographically-based) mental anguish of losing a loved one into music is by and large very well done.

 

… and Ngaio Marsh‘s mysteries set either in the world of opera or otherwise involving (performances set to) music:

 

     Overture to Death

     * Death and the Dancing Footman

     * Off With His Head (aka Death of a Fool)

     * Photo Finish

 

Honorary mention to two movies (and screenplays) focusing on music:

 

     * Jane Campion: Piano

     * Andrée Corbiau: Farinelli

 

… and to the movies which I discovered and / or love twice as much solely because Mark Knopfler (fomerly of Dire Straits) wrote the score:

 

     * Local Hero

     * The Princess Bride

     * Cal

_______________

* If I’d include artist and composer biographies, this list would be endless.

 

(Task: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration.  Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?)

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2005201/24-festive-tasks-door-21-kwanzaa-task-2

24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 – Hogswatch: Task 3

Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett Lords and Ladies (Discworld, #14) - Terry Pratchett

Now, this one really is a no-brainer.  The one Discworld subseries I’d like to spend some time in is the Witches — simply because any place that includes (and listens to the opinions of) Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick just has to be worth looking into.  And I guess being ruled by a Duke who has had his moral frame of reference and his sense of decency shaped by being the former ruler’s fool (and butt of his jokes) can’t exactly hurt, either …

(Task: If you could spend time in the world of one of the Discworld sub-series (or one of the standalone Discworld novels), which one would you pick – and why?)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2005176/24-festive-tasks-door-23-hogswatch-task-3

24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 – Hogswatch: Task 2

Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett Pyramids - Terry Pratchett Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett Men at Arms (Discworld, #15) - Terry Pratchett

Hmmm.  Until I read Pyramids two months ago, this one would have been a no-brainer.  Then I met You Bastard …

OK.  This may be slightly unfair, since Granny simply gets more page time than You Bastard, but:

1. Granny Weatherwax

2.  Runners-up, on an equal footing:

* You Bastard
* DEATH
* Angua
* HEX

Total badasses and hilariously funny, the lot of them — and all of them can expose humanity’s (and society’s) utter inanity more effectively with a single word, facial expression or gesture than most other characters even by Pratchett himself.

(Task: Who is your favorite Discworld character and why?)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2005159/24-festive-tasks-door-23-hogswatch-task-2