Reading progress update: I’ve read 331 out of 474 pages.

Heresy (Giordano Bruno #1) - S.J. Parris

Well, that went to hell in a handbasket (or close to it) pretty fast — and it had such a promising beginning!

But either there is a major flaw in the plotting, or it’s clear ever since page 95 who was responsible for the death occurring on pages 91-94.

[spoiler]

Shades of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Silver Blaze.

[/spoiler]

And yet, this fictional version of Giordano Bruno, an eminent scholar and scientist who in real life would, himself, eventually come to be burned at the stake for heresy, has spent the majority of the last 235 pages traipsing around Oxford like a headless chicken, ignoring even the most blatant clues — and all the while I can’t shut up the voice of Sherlock Holmes in my head:

And it certainly also doesn’t help that in the very first scene following the first death the guilty party is getting rid of a witness (of sorts) in the same way that the murderer does

[spoiler]

in Ellis Peters’s fourth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, St. Peter’s Fair.

[/spoiler]

  Nor that this person is conspicuously absent during one of the novel’s key events, where they should have been present along with all of their peers — and during which time, in fact, a second murder is committed.  Nor that for this second murder, the murderer is providing himself with an alibi

[spoiler]

in the same way that it’s done in Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage.

[/spoiler]

  Nor that the whole “forbidden book” subplot has distinct overtones of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.  (I know forbidden books were a dime a dozen in the Middle Ages and the Tudor Era, but dear God, can we please have something more inventive than

[spoiler]

allegedly nonexisting / destroyed books being secreted away by a librarian of a closed community (a monastery in Eco’s book, an Oxford college here)?

[/spoiler]

  C.J. Sansom showed in Lamentation that it can be done …

So no, Mr. Iggulden, contrary to your laudatory blurb, not only can Brother Cadfael easily hold a whole chandelier to this — he’d also have solved this case in a fraction of the time it’s taking this book’s fictional version of Giordano Bruno.  So would Miss Marple.  So would William of Baskerville.  So would Matthew Shardlake — don’t anybody tell me that this is anywhere near legitimate competition for that particular series, either. (Looking at you, cover blurb writer Sam Bourne.)

And did I mention Sherlock Holmes?

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1616458/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-331-out-of-474-pages

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November 11 in the Rhine Valley — Yet Another Sort of Holiday … and Party! (Also: Task for Square 11 of the “16 Festive Tasks”: Soyal)

In the Rhine Valley, where I live, November 11 has yet another meaning, in addition to (and even more so than) the two holidays we included in the “16 Festive Tasks”:

11/11, 11:11 AM marks the opening of the carnival season, which ends roughly three months later on Ash Wednesday (this season: Feb. 14, 2018), which in turn marks the beginning of the six-week lent period leading up to Easter.  While the Thursday and the weekend immediately preceding Ash Wednesday are the high points of the Rhineland carnival celebrations, the opening of what is known hereabouts as “the fifth season” on 11/11 at 11:11 AM is a major first highlight which essentially turns the complete centres of the area’s cities — and none more so than Cologne, the Rhine Valley’s “carnival capital” — into one big party zone, complete with people dressing up, the popular carnival music bands’ first big stage appearances of the season, the first appearances of the “carnival princes” (three representatives of the major carnival clubs that preside over the whole season’s events), and their honor guards (the members of the carnival clubs, dressed up in uniforms initially created to mock those of the Prussian militia — e.g., see bottom row of photos from Bonn), etc.  To wit (all pictures of today, chiefly taken from the website of our local TV station, WDR):

Cologne


More Cologne photos here — as well as a short video, courtesy of a Cologne newspaper (Youtube link here; on BL, the video won’t show in dashboard view but only if you open this post in blog view)

 

Bonn:

Bottom row: representatives of the “Bonn City Soldiers”

More Bonn photos here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Addendum: It just occurs to me that this matches the requirements of the Tasks for Soyal: Like many Native American festivities, Soyal involves rituals such as dances. What local / religious / folk traditions or customs exist where you live? Tell us about one of them. (If you can, post pictures for illustration.)

(Hah.  Talk about game hosts not knowing their own games …)

 

Original post:

http://themisathena.booklikes.com/post/1615870/november-11-in-the-rhine-valley-yet-another-sort-of-holiday-and-party-also-task-for-square-11-of-the-16-festive-tasks-soyal

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The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Third Square: St. Martin’s Day and Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day

St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux, a Roman soldier turned monk after his baptism), and it is celebrated on November 11.  This is the time when autumn wheat seeding was completed, and when historically hiring fairs were held where farm laborers would seek new posts. – The best-known legend associated with his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying from the cold.  In a dream, St. Martin saw the beggar revealed as Jesus Christ.

 

St. Martin’s Day processions – which typically end up with a bonfire – are held in the evening, with participating children carrying colorful lanterns (often homemade).  The goose became a symbol of St. Martin of Tours, because legend has it that when trying to avoid being ordained bishop he hid in a goose pen, but was betrayed by the cackling of the geese.  (St. Martin’s feast day falls in November, when geese are ready for killing.)  He is also credited with helping spread viticulture in the Touraine region.  A pastry associated with St. Martin’s Day in parts of the German-speaking world is the “Weckmann”, a sweet yeast dough figure with raisin eyes clutching a white clay pipe.  (Elsewhere, it’s more commonly eaten on St. Nicholas’ Day.)

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better. –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background. –OR– Bake a Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live. Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

 

Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WW I, which took effect at 11:00 AM – the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth and Veterans’ Day in the U.S., both public holidays.  The poppy became the international symbol of the day as a result of its being mentioned in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, which commemorates the fallen soldiers buried under the Flanders poppy fields.

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks:

Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615714/the-16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-third-square-st-martin-s-day-and-armistice-day-veterans-day

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 3 – Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day

Tasks for Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day: Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

 

 

“A man of importance had been shot at a place I could not pronounce in Swahili or in English, and, because of this shooting, whole countries were at war. It seemed a laborious method of retribution, but that was the way it was being done. …

A messenger came to the farm with a story to tell. It was not a story that meant much as stories went in those days. It was about how the war progressed in German East Africa and about a tall young man who was killed in it. … It was an ordinary story, but Kibii and I, who knew him well, thought there was no story like it, or one as sad, and we think so now.

The young man tied his shuka on his shoulder one day and took his shield and his spear and went to war. He thought war was made of spears and shields and courage, and he brought them all.

But they gave him a gun, so he left the spear and the shield behind him and took the courage, and went where they sent him because they said this was his duty and he believed in duty. …

He took the gun and held it the way they had told him to hold it, and walked where they told him to walk, smiling a little and looking for another man to fight.

He was shot and killed by the other man, who also believed in duty, and he was buried where he fell. It was so simple and so unimportant.

But of course it meant something to Kibii and me, because the tall young man was Kibii’s father and my most special friend. Arab Maina died on the field of action in the service of the King. But some said it was because he had forsaken his spear.”
― Beryl Markham, West with the Night

 

 

“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King  

 

 

In Flanders Fields

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you, from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
― John McCrae

 

 

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
― Thomas Mann, as quoted in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of One Hundred Thoughtful Men and Women

 

 

“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

 

 

People who prefer to believe the worst of others will breed war and religious persecutions while the world lasts.”

― Dorothy L. Sayers, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers. Vol. 1, 1899-1936

 

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Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615702/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-square-3-armistice-day-veterans-day

Reading progress update: I’ve read 42 out of 474 pages.

   

 

Started last night; I’m reading this for Square 2, Guy Fawkes Night:

Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover.”

This seems to tick off all the categories — Tudor Era political and religious conspiracies; even on the first pages, the Inquisition and the notion of burning heretics has already reared its ugly head … and it’s even got fire on the cover, too!

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Updates

I’ll be tracking my completed books, tasks, and points comprehensively here.

 

 

The Markers:

 

Stack of Books: Books read
Red Bows and Ribbons: Other Tasks completed

 
 

The Squares, Books and Other Tasks:

Square 1: November 1st: All Saints Day / Día de los Muertos & Calan Gaeaf

Book themes for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day: A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.

Book themes for Calan Gaeaf:
Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft –OR– read a book with ivy or roses on the cover, or a character’s name/title of book is / has Rose or Ivy in it.

=> Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum

1 point.

Tasks for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day: create a short poem, or an epitaph for your most hated book ever.

=> Epitaph for 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight

1 point.

Tasks for Calan Gaeaf: If you’re superstition-proof, inscribe your name on a rock, toss it in a fire and take a picture to post –OR– Make a cozy wintertime dish involving leeks (the national plant of Wales) and post the recipe and pictures with your thoughts about how it turned out.

 

Square 2: November 5th: Guy Fawkes Night & Bon Om Touk

Book themes for Guy Fawkes Night: Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover.

Book themes for Bon Om Touk: Read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover.

Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night: Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers. Or: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read. Which kind of tea is your favorite? Tell us why.

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you’re living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.
=> Norfolk Coast / Rhine Valley at and near Bonn

1 point.

 

 

Square 3: November 11th: St. Martin’s Day & Veterans’ Day / Armistice Day

Book themes for St. Martin’s Day: Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

Book themes for Veteran’s Day / Armistice Day: Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

Tasks for St. Martin’s Day: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better. –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background. –OR– Bake a Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live. Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

Tasks for Veteran’s Day / Armistice Day: Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

 

 

Square 4: November 22nd and 23rd: Penance Day (22nd) & Thanksgiving (23rd)

Book themes for Penance Day: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher, priest or other representative of the organized church as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).

Book themes for Thanksgiving Day: Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need. –OR– Books with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover.

Tasks for Penance Day: Tell us – what has recently made you stop in your tracks and think? –OR– What was a big turning point in your life? –OR– Penance Day is a holiday of the Protestant church, which dates its origins, in large parts, to Martin Luther, who published his “95 Theses” exactly 500 years ago this year. Compile a catalogue of theses (it needn’t be 95) about book blogging! What suggestions or ideas would you propose to improve the experience of book blogging?

Tasks for Thanksgiving Day: List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book – post a picture of it.
 
 

Square 5: December 3rd and following 3 Sundays: Advent

Book themes for Advent: Read a book with a wreath or with pines or fir trees on the cover –OR– Read the 4th book from a favorite series, or a book featuring 4 siblings.

Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.)

=> TA’s Advent calendar.

1 point.

 

–OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.” Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to? (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)

Bonus task: make your own advent calendar and post it.

 

Square 6: December 5th-6th and 8th: Sinterklaas / Krampusnacht (5th) / St. Nicholas Day (6th) & Bodhi Day (8th)

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

Book themes for Bodhi Day: Read a book set in Nepal, India or Tibet, –OR– which involves animal rescue. (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)

Tasks for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: Write a witty or humorous poem to St. Nicholas –OR– If you have kids, leave coins or treats, like tangerines, walnuts, chocolate(s) and cookies in their shoes to find the next morning and then post about their reactions / bewilderment. 😉 If you don’t have kids, do the same for another family member / loved one or a friend.

Tasks for Bodhi Day: Perform a random act of kindness. Feed the birds, adopt a pet, hold the door open for someone with a smile, or stop to pet a dog (that you know to be friendly); cull your books and donate them to a charity, etc. (And, in a complete break with the Buddha’s teachings, tell us about it.) –OR– Post a picture of your pet, your garden, or your favourite, most peaceful place in the world.

 

Square 7: December 10th & 13th: International Human Rights Day (10th) & St. Lucia’s Day (13th)

Book themes for International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue), –OR– a book written by anyone not anglo-saxon, –OR– any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused.
–OR– Read a book set in New York City, or The Netherlands (home of the U.N. and U.N. World Court respectively).

Book themes for Saint Lucia’s Day: Read a book set in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland for the purposes of this game) or a book where ice and snow are an important feature.

Tasks for International Human Rights Day: Post a picture of yourself next to a war memorial or other memorial to an event pertaining to Human Rights. (Pictures of just the memorial are ok too.) –OR– Cook a dish from a foreign culture or something involving apples (NYC = Big Apple) or oranges (The Netherlands); post recipe and pics.

Tasks for Saint Lucia’s Day: Get your Hygge on — light a few candles if you’ve got them, pour yourself a glass of wine or hot chocolate/toddy, roast a marshmallow or toast a crumpet, and take a picture of your cosiest reading place.

Bonus task: Make the Danish paper hearts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jur29ViLEhk

 

Square 8: December 12th – 24th: Hanukkah (begins 12th, ends 20th) & Las Posadas (begins 16th, ends 24th)

Book themes for Hanukkah: Any book whose main character is Jewish, any story about the Jewish people –OR– where the miracle of light plays a significant part in the stories plot.

Book themes for Las Posadas: Read a book dealing with visits by family or friends, or set in Mexico, –OR– with a poinsettia on the cover. –OR– a story where the main character is stranded without a place to stay, or find themselves in a ‘no room at the Inn’ situation.

Tasks for Hanukkah: Light nine candles around the room (SAFELY) and post a picture. –OR– Play the Dreidel game to pick the next book you read.

Assign a book from your TBR to each of the four sides of the dreidel:

נ (Nun)
ג (Gimel)
ה (He)
ש (Shin)

Spin a virtual dreidel: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
– then tell us which book the dreidel picked.

–OR–
Make your own dreidel: https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make-a-dreidel, –OR–
Play the game at home, or play online: http://www.jewfaq.org/dreidel/play.htm and tell us about the experience.–OR– Give some Gelt: Continue a Hanukkah tradition and purchase some chocolate coins, or gelt. Post a picture of your chocolate coins, and then pass them out amongst friends and family!

Tasks for Las Posadas: Which was your favorite / worst / most memorable hotel / inn / vacation home stay ever? Tell us all about it! –OR– If you went caroling as a kid: Which are your best / worst / most unfortettable caroling memories?

Bonus task: Make a piñata (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pi%C3%B1ata), hang it from a tree, post, basketball hoop, clothesline or similarly suitable holder and let your neighborhood kids have a go at breaking it.

 

Square 9: December 21st: Winter Solstice / Mōdraniht / Yuletide & Yaldā Night

Book themes for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book of poetry, or a book where the events all take place during the course of one night, or where the cover is a night-time scene.

Book themes for Mōdraniht: Read any book where the MC is actively raising young children or teens.

Book themes for Yuletide: Read a book set in the midst of a snowy or icy winter, –OR– set in the Arctic or Antartica.

Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night – in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR– Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf. Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page. Post your results. –OR– Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!.

=> Bibliomancy: William Shakespeare’s answer (9th line of p. 40 of the Complete Works, Illustrated Stratford Edition)

1 point.

Bonus task: Read a book in one night.

Tasks for Mōdraniht: Tell us your favourite memory about your mom, grandma, or the woman who had the greatest impact on your childhood. –OR– Post a picture of you and your mom, or if comfortable, you and your kids.

Bonus task: Post 3 things you love about your mother-in-law (if you have one), otherwise your grandma.

Tasks for Yuletide: Make a Yule log cake — post a pic and the recipe for us to drool over.

 

Square 10: December 21st: World Peace Day & Pancha Ganapati begins (ends 25th)

Book themes for World Peace Day: Read a book by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.

Book themes for Pancha Ganapati: Read anything involving a need for forgiveness in the story line; a story about redemption –OR– Read a book whose cover has one of the 5 colors of the holiday: red, blue, green, orange, or yellow –OR– Read a book involving elephants.

Tasks for World Peace Day: Cook something involving olives or olive oil. Share the results and/or recipe with us. –OR– Tell us: If you had wings (like a dove), where would you want to fly?

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR– Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books. (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

Square 11: December 21st-22nd: Soyal (21st) & Dōngzhì Festival (22nd)

Book themes for Soyal: Read a book set in the American Southwest / the Four Corners States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah), –OR– a book that has a Native American protagonist.

Book themes for Dōngzhì Festival: Read a book set in China or written by a Chinese author / an author of Chinese origin; or read a book that has a pink or white cover.

Tasks for Soyal: Like many Native American festivities, Soyal involves rituals such as dances. What local / religious / folk traditions or customs exist where you live? Tell us about one of them. (If you can, post pictures for illustration.) –OR– Share a picture you’ve taken of a harvest setting or autumnal leaf color.

Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival: If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite desert. (Recipes, as always, welcome.)

 

Square 12: December 23rd Festivus & Saturnalia ends (begins 17th)

Book themes for Festivus: Read anything comedic; a parody, satire, etc. Books with hilariously dysfunctional families (must be funny dysfunctional, not tragic dysfunctional). Anything that makes you laugh (or hope it does).

Book themes for Saturnalia: The god Saturn has a planet named after him; read any work of science fiction that takes place in space. –OR– Read a book celebrating free speech. –OR– A book revolving around a very large party, or ball, or festival, –OR– a book with a mask or masks on the cover. –OR– a story where roles are reversed.

Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR– post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR– Perform the Airing of Grievances: name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you – tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.

Tasks for Saturnalia: Wear a mask, take a picture and post it. Leave a small gift for someone you know anonymously – a small bit of chocolate or apple, a funny poem or joke. Tell us about it in a post. –OR– Tell us: If you could time-travel back to ancient Rome, where would you want to go and whom (both fictional and / or nonfictional persons) would you like to meet?

 

Square 13: December 25th Christmas & Hogswatch

Book themes for Christmas: Read a book whose protagonist is called Mary, Joseph (or Jesus, if that’s a commonly used name in your culture) or any variations of those names (e.g., Maria or Pepe).

Book themes for Hogswatch Night: Of course – read Hogfather! Or any Discworld book (or anything by Terry Pratchett)

Tasks for Christmas: Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR– a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him. –OR– Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit. Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)? If so, what did you wish for? A teddy bear or a doll? Other toys – or practical things? And did Santa always bring what you asked for?

Tasks for Hogswatch Night: Make your favourite sausage dish (if you’re vegan or vegetarian, use your favorite sausage or meat substitute), post and share recipe.

Square 14: December 25th Dies Natalis Solis Invicti & Quaid-e-Azam’s Day

Book themes for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Celebrate the sun and read a book that has a beach or seaside setting. –OR– a book set during summertime. –OR– set in the Southern Hemisphere.

Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam: Pakistan became an independent nation when the British Raj ended on August 14, 1947. Read a book set in Pakistan or in any other country that attained sovereign statehood between August 14, 1947 and today (regardless in what part of the world).

Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Find the sunniest spot in your home, that’s warm and comfy and read your book. –OR– Take a picture of your garden, or a local garden/green space in the sun (even if the ground is under snow). If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, take a picture of your local scenic spot, park, or beach, on a sunny day. –OR– The Romans believed that the sun god rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. Have you ever been horseback riding, or did you otherwise have significant encounters with horses? As a child, which were your favorite books involving horses?

Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam: Pakistan’s first leader – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was a man, but both Pakistan and neighboring India were governed by women (Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi respectively) before many of the major Western countries. Tell us: Who are the present-day or historic women that you most respect, and why? (These can be any women of great achievement, not just political leaders.)

 

Square 15: December 25th-26th: Newtonmas (25th) & St. Stephen’s Day / Boxing Day (26th)

Book themes for Newtonmas: Any science book. Any book about alchemy. Any book where science, astronomy, or chemistry play a significant part in the plot. (For members of the Flat Book Society: The “Forensics” November group read counts.)

=> Provisorially: Val McDermid: Forensics

1 point.

Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.

Tasks for Newtonmas: Take a moment to appreciate gravity and the laws of motion. If there’s snow outside, have a snowball fight with a friend or a member of your family. –OR– Take some time out to enjoy the alchemical goodness of a hot toddy or chocolate or any drink that relies on basic chemistry/alchemy (coffee with cream or sugar / tea with milk or sugar or lemon, etc.). Post a picture of your libations and the recipe if it’s unique and you’re ok with sharing it.

Tasks for St. Stephen’s Day / Boxing Day: Show us your boxes of books! –OR– If you have a cat, post a picture of your cat in a box. (your dog in a box works too, if your dog likes boxes) — or any pet good-natured enough to pose in a box long enough for you to snap a picture.

BONUS task: box up all the Christmas detritus, decorations, or box up that stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of, or donate, etc. and take a picture and post it.

 

Square 16: December 26th-31st: Kwanzaa (begins 26th, ends 31st) & New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day

Book themes for Kwanzaa: Read a book written by an author of African descent or a book set in Africa, or whose cover is primarily red, green or black.

Book themes for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day: a book about starting over, rebuilding, new beginnings, etc. –OR– Read anything set in medieval times. –OR– A book about the papacy –OR– where miracles of any sort are performed (the unexplainable – but good – kind).

Tasks for Kwanzaa: Create a stack of books in the Kwanzaa color scheme using red, black and green and post your creation and post a photo (or post a photo of a shelfie where black, red and green predominate).

BONUS task: Create something with your stack of books: a christmas tree or other easily identifiable object.

Tasks for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day: Make a batch of shortbread for yourself, family or friends. Post pics and recipe. –OR– Light some sparklers (if legal) and take a picture – or have a friend take a picture of your “writing” in the sky with the sparkler. –OR– Get yourself a steak pie (any veggie/vegan substitutions are fine) and read yourself a story – but take a pic of both before you start, and post it.–OR– make whatever New Year’s Eve / Day good luck dish there is in your family or in the area where you live or where you grew up; tell us about it, and if it’s not a secret recipe, we hope you’ll share it with us.

MASSIVE HUGE BONUS POINTS if you post a picture of yourself walking a pig on a leash. (Done to ensure good fortune of the coming year.)

 

 

The Bonus Jokers:

Surprise, Surprise 1: Melbourne Cup

My “ponies”:

1. Marmelo
2. Almandin
3. Johannes Vermeer

 

2 bonus points (Johannes Vermeer)

 

 

Total Points, to Date:

8 points.

Merken
Merken
Merken
Merken
Merken

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615040/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-updates

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 2 – Bon Om Touk

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you’re living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the last couple of days of my trip to England back in July on the Norfolk coast, so here are a few impressions from that part of the trip:

 


Snettisham Beach


Wells next the Sea

 


Cromer Hall (inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Baskerville Hall)

 


Norfolk Broads — cruise in a historic steam boat

 


Horsey Windpump & Horsey Mew

 


Happisburgh beach & church (inspiration for the setting of P.D. James’s Devices and Desires, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Dancing Men)

 


King’s Lynn (town center, purfleet, and guild hall)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

And since I am blessed to live (and have grown up) in a beautiful part of the Rhine Valley, here are a few of my favorite spots on the Rhine in and near my home city:

 


Views of Bonn’s city center from “our” (= the opposite) river front

 


Historic flood marker on the river front, and a replica of “the Bridge Manniquin”, which used to be on a pillar on our side the main bridge connecting both sides of the Rhine, pointing its backside in the direction of Bonn.  Other places have city rivalry — we have river bank rivalry!

 


Sunset on the Rhine, looking towards Bonn

 


Looking towards the “Seven Mountains” (“Siebengebirge”), south of Bonn

 

Drachenfels, the best-known of the “Seven Mountains”

 


Arp Museum, a modern arts museum south of Bonn (designed by Richard Meier, the architect who designed the L.A. Getty Center) — and looking back towards the “Seven Mountains” from the patio of the museum restaurant (the lower of the two buildings in the left picture; a former train station)

 


Remagen and the ruins of the bridge (now a peace museum)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615481/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-square-2-bon-om-touk

The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare - William Shakespeare

 
Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night – in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR– Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf. Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page. Post your results. –OR– Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!.
 
Who better to turn to for this than Shakespeare?
 
I asked a question on behalf of Teddy: Will he remain the only cat around this place, or is there another (of course, also FIV positive) feline in our joint future?
 
I think the Bard’s answer is unequivocal — and I’ll make a note of that new nickname for Teddy, for whenever we find out who “she” is going to be):
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615412/post

Paris, Frankfurt Try to Grab Lucrative Legal Action From London

As Brexit looms, European cities move to poach corporate litigation from the U.K. Coming soon to Paris: lawsuits en anglais.

 

The Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Photographer: Alamy

 

For decades, London has been the place to go for big commercial disputes in Europe. Even when companies based outside Britain sue one another, the cases are argued in London, such as one brought by UBS AG against Leipzig’s water utility and another by Franco-Belgian bank Dexia SA against the Italian city of Prato. With Britain preparing for Brexit, European judicial systems are trying to lure those cases to their own courts—by copying some U.K. legal practices and even offering proceedings in English. “At least one European country has to be able to process international commercial litigation,” says Guy Canivet, a former chief justice of the French Supreme Court who wrote a report on Paris’s jurisdiction post-Brexit. “It’s a matter of sovereignty.”

Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Brussels are stepping up efforts to get a greater share of court levies and lawyers’ fees from corporate squabbles, setting up special panels that will work in the lingua franca of global business. When signing deals, companies typically agree on the jurisdiction that will hear potential disputes, and London became a leading destination because of its role as the capital of global finance and because its rulings are valid across the European Union—an advantage that could evaporate once Britain leaves the bloc. “London is stepping into the shadows,” says Roman Poseck, president of the appeals court in Frankfurt, where officials plan to have an English-language panel in place by January. “Frankfurt wants a piece of the pie.”

The Europeans say theirs are faster and cheaper than British courts, in part because they allow many proceedings to be conducted via written briefs. In London, virtually all arguments must be made orally, which takes time and adds to billable hours. And after Britain leaves the bloc, the Europeans say they’ll offer speedier decisions in cases that require fast action—say, the seizing of assets that might be spirited out of the country. While London rulings could still stand across the EU, they’ll likely need to be certified by a national court of an EU member, which will inevitably slow things down. Companies once chose London “as a matter of reflex,” says Peter Bert, a lawyer at Taylor Wessing in Frankfurt who’s also admitted as a solicitor in England. “We don’t see that anymore. There’s much more reflection before making a choice.”

Frankfurt says it’s considering features inspired by U.K. tribunals, such as more extensive court transcripts and a stronger role for attorneys in the pacing of proceedings. Amsterdam was already working on a special chamber for international disputes before Britain said it would quit the union; the Brexit vote gave the idea a big boost. And Brussels and Paris are touting courtrooms staffed by business-savvy former bankers and engineers. “In England, it’s the best lawyers who become judges,” says Jean Messinesi, president of the Paris Commercial Court. In France, “it’s top entrepreneurs and senior managers at companies.”

The Continent’s fight isn’t only with London, since many cases heard in the U.K. involve non-European companies. Those might well stay in London or move to other global litigation hubs, such as New York, Singapore, or Dubai. Dublin, which of course already offers proceedings in English, is another potential rival, with officials there emphasizing that once Britain quits the EU, Ireland will be the largest English-speaking country remaining.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, is urging the British government to negotiate a Brexit deal that would protect the status of U.K. courts. And in September the group launched a campaign extolling London’s advantages for litigants that includes video testimonials to the quality of British courts. “The international language of business will remain English,” says Simon Davis, deputy vice president of the Law Society and an attorney with Clifford Chance in London. “And English law will remain the law of choice, particularly in relation to financial institutions.”

In a bid to maintain London’s leading role, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in August backed off a vow that EU courts would not be given any say in U.K. matters. The goal now is to maintain strong ties to the EU legal system, perhaps similar to those of non-EU members Switzerland and Norway, whose court rulings are enforceable across the bloc. Even that could be unacceptable to Eva Kühne-Hörmann, justice minister of the German state of Hesse, home to Frankfurt, who’s argued against being too accommodating to the British. “We can’t allow the U.K. to cherry-pick in Brexit negotiations,” she says. “We need rules that favor our own courts.”

BOTTOM LINE – As Britain prepares to quit the EU, the Continent is betting English-language courts will spur companies to shift their legal squabbles away from England.

via Paris, Frankfurt Try to Grab Lucrative Legal Action From London – Bloomberg

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

… and it’s about time, too.

In fact, Paris and Frankfurt aren’t the only jurisdictions making this sort of move, either, see Creation of an English-speaking international Commercial Court in Brussels – lexgo.be

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 – Calan Gaeaf: Nemo Granny & Greebo Impune Lacessit*

Review:

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

Well, I guess that’s what happens if you p*$$ off Granny Weatherwax (however unintentionally) and make her take to a cave in the Lancrastian mountains … next thing you know, you have vampires moving into the castle, and into the kingdom as such.  And since they were foolishly invited in to begin with, they’re near impossible to get rid off again; and let’s face it, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Agnes between them might be witches; they might even meet the requirements of a coven now that Magrat is a mother, but they aren’t Granny, not even with all their forces combined.  (Perdita, now …) 

[spoiler]

So all of Lancre and the reader have to jointly suffer for well over half a book before Granny decides she’s let things go on for long enough and finally makes an appearance.  And of course she ultimately saves the day, even if only by the skin of her neck and with the assistance of inner voices, a few drops of blood, the general and specific allure of tea, and a meak priest discovering his inner Brutha just in time.  (Of course it also comes in handy that somebody thought of bringing a double-edged axe, and that some vampires of the older generation still have a sense of tradition left.)

[/spoiler]

 

Nice going, at any rate, on the debunking of what “everybody knows who knows anything about vampires” (including the vampires themselves, who however just don’t learn … or didn’t until this new breed came around, that is), and big grins all around for the co-starring Wee Free Men.  My favorite moment, however, came courtesy of Greebo — who by the way also has decidedly too little stage time — with the incidental appearance of an otherwise entirely negligable vampire named Vargo:

“As the eye of narrative drew back from the coffin on its stand, two things happened.  One happened comparatively slowly, and this was Vargo’s realization that he never recalled the coffin having a pillow before.

 

The other was Greebo deciding that he was as mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it any more.  He’d been shaken around in the wheely thing, and then sat on by Nanny, and he was angry about that because he knew, in a dim, animal way, that scratching Nanny might be the single most stupid thing he could do in the whole world, since no one else was prepared to feed him.  This hadn’t helped his temper.

 

Then he’d encountered a dog, which had triled to lick him.  He’d scratched and bitten it a few times, but this had had no effect apart from encouraging it to try to be more friendly.

 

He’d finally found a comfy resting place and had curled up into a ball, and now someone was using him as a cushion

 

There wasn’t a great deal of noise.  The coffin rocked a few times, and then pivoted around.

 

Greebo sheathed his claws and went back to sleep.”

(I think someone else included this in their review recently, too, but it’s just too good not to do it again — all the more since Greebo, overall, really is as woefully long absent as Granny in this one.)

 

Read for Square 1 of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Calan Gaeaf: Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft.”

 

* “Don’t mess with Granny and Greebo.”  Or somewhat more literally: “Nobody messes with Granny and Greebo unpunished.”

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1615360/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-square-1-calan-gaeaf-nemo-granny-greebo-impune-lacessit