Reading progress update: I’ve read 340 out of 928 pages.

Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart The Hollow Hills - Mary Stewart

(Page numbers are for the omnibus edition.)

Well, I finished The Crystal Cave (a while ago in fact) and have now moved on to The Hollow Hills, which picks up right where the first book of the trilogy ends.  Merlin is still rather unlike the wise old wizard as whom I’d so far seen him and is becoming ever closer to what I’d so far imagined young Arthur to have been … but I’m still enjoying the read as such.

For those who care, I thought I’d share a couple of photos from the location of the final chapters of The Crystal Cave and the first chapters of The Hollow Hills, Tintagel, where legend has it that King Arthur was conceived … or, well, photos of what’s left of the Tintagel castle ruins (which incidentally date from the 12th, not from the 6th century), as well as the paths that Merlin and Uther would have had to climb, first down to the beach and then back up along the face of the cliff, to get to the castle high up on the promontory:







 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1498504/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-340-out-of-928-pages

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Reading progress update: I’ve read 249 out of 928 pages.

Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart    The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

(Note: the page number is for the trilogy’s omnibus edition, which is the book I’m actually reading.)

“Thanks” to having contracted some sort of cold or flu bug and having been out of commission for pretty much all other purposes over the weekend, I’ve progressed fairly well with this book — well there has to be at least one upside to fever, perpetually running nose and clinging headache, I suppose.

Anyway, I’m enjoying this enormously, and I’m so glad I joined this buddy read, so a big thank you to Moonlight Reader for setting this up!

I confess I’m not, or perhaps just “not yet” reading Merlin as the same person as the old wizard known from most other incarnations of the Arthurian saga, though.  It actually struck me, especially in Part 1, how similar this trilogy’s young Merlin is to the young Arthur of some of the other narratives — a misfit and a loner, the kid that nobody really knows where and how to place him, entirely too bright for his own good, and intensely interested in books and learning (even though that doesn’t mean he wants to be shut up behind the walls of a monastery),

And in Parts 3 and 4 we’re now getting the one thing that I sorely miss in accounts like T.H. White’s Once and Future King, great series though that is in all other respects … a glimpse of our hero’s coming of age and (with apologies to James Joyce) a Portrait Our Hero as a Young Man.  So, yey for that, too!  The magic stuff starts when he’s still a boy, but he’s learning more about his own magical powers as we go along now, too, as well as how to deal with other people’s expectations of him (well, that’s bound to happen, I suppose, especially looking at Stewart’s source material and the story — or throw-away line — that she herself says inspired the whole trilogy).

A great read so far, in any event; here’s hoping it’s going to continue this way!

I’m reading this book both for the Merlin Trilogy Buddy Read and for The Twelf Tasks of the Festive Season (Task the Twelfth: The Wassail Bowl).

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1493893/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-249-out-of-928-pages

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The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season — Task the Sixth: The Hanukkah

Eldest (Inheritance, #2) - Christopher Paolini The Valley of Fear - Arthur Conan Doyle The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Heirloom Collection) - Bill & Martin Greenberg (eds.), Ian Fleming, Leslie Charteris, John D. MacDonald, W. Somerset Maugham, Peter O'Donnell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Erle Stanley Gardner, John Jakes, Edward D. Hoch, Cornell Woolrich, William E. Barrett, Bruce Cassiday, Mic Even Dogs in the Wild - Ian Rankin Letters from Father Christmas - J.R.R. Tolkien,Baillie Tolkien Letters From Father Christmas - J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Reading: Let the dreidel choose a book for you:

נ  Nun (miracle): Christopher Paolini – Eldest (audio version read by Kerry Shale)
ג Gimel (great): Arthur Conan Doyle – The Valley of Fear (audio version read by Simon Vance)
ה He (happened): Ian Rankin – Even Dogs in the Wild
ש Shin (there, i.e. Israel): J.R.R. Tolkien – Letters From Father Christmas

So, it’ll be Arthur Conan Doyle’s Valley of Fear!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1493020/the-twelve-tasks-of-the-festive-season-task-the-sixth-the-hanukkah

REBLOG: 15 authors to read based on your favorite drinks

Reblog of a July 2015 BookLikes post.

 

 

No matter if it’s a cup of tea or coffee, lemonade or a glass of wine, books and drinks go well together. This universal truth has been discovered not only by avid readers but also writers, some of whom became as well known for their drinking habits as for their literary achievements. Taking advantage of the summer time and the permanent feeling of thirst, we’ve gathered light-hearted recommendations of 14 well known and read authors and their drinks. Find your match, sip, read, and enjoy the summer reading time.

 

 

Truman Capote called this cocktail his special “orange drink” so if you share his taste for upgraded orange juice, go for a screwdriver drink with one of Capote’s books in your hand.

Truman Capote
In this profession it’s a long walk between drinks.

 Truman Streckfus Persons, known as Truman Capote, was an American author, screenwriter and playwright, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966).

 

Truman Capote’s most popular books on BookLikes:
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories - Truman Capote Other Voices, Other Rooms - Truman Capote The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories - Truman Capote Music for Chameleons - Truman Capote

 

 

Ernest Hemingway is known for his love for cocktails: Mohito, Martini, vermouth… Living in Havana, though, must have left a trace in his preferences and we bet Mojito was hight on the author’s top drinks list. If it’s also on yours, have a sip.

Ernest Hemingway
My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita.
– Quote on the wall of La Bodeguita del Medio, Havana, Cuba

Ernest Hemingway ranks as the most famous of twentieth-century American writers. Hemingway has been regarded less as a writer dedicated to his craft than as a man of action who happened to be afflicted with genius. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, Time magazine reported the news under Heroes rather than Books.

Ernest Hemingway’s most popular books on BookLikes
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway

 

 

Asked by a translator to explain his text William Faulkner said:
I have absolutely no idea of what I meant. You see, I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach; so many ideas that I can’t remember in the morning pop into my head.

If you’re fond of whiskey, try Faulkner’s favorite drink: mint julep.

William Faulkner's favorite drink  William Faulkner

William Faulkner
Civilization begins with distillation.

His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound and the Fury in 1929.

 

William Faulkner’s most popular books on BookLikes:
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner Light in August (The Corrected Text) - William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom! - William Faulkner As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner Sanctuary: The Corrected Text - William Faulkner

 

 

Martini IS James Bond. James Bond IS Ian Fleming. If you like martini, you ARE James Bond for us. 

 

Ian Fleming
Never say ‘no’ to adventures.
Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.

His first job was with Reuters News Agency where a Moscow posting gave him firsthand experience with what would become his literary bête noire — the Soviet Union. During World War II he served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations. After the war he worked as foreign manager of the Sunday Times, a job that allowed him to spend two months each year in Jamaica. Here, in 1952, at his home Goldeneye, he wrote a book called Casino Royale — and James Bond was born.

 

Ian Fleming’s most popular books on BookLikes
Live and Let Die - Ian Fleming From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming Goldfinger - Ian Fleming Doctor No - Ian Fleming On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming

 

 

Cosmo was named the sexiest drink thanks to Candace Bushnell who popularize the drink in her Sex and the City series. If you adore Carrie Bradshaw, the Sex and the City’s main character, grab cosmo and read/write on!

  Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell
I make mistakes. That’s what I do. I speak without thinking, I act without knowing. I drink so much that I can barely walk… I’m a fantastic lover though, and an amazing friend. God knows I mean well.

– Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Candace Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international best-selling author of Killing Monica, Sex and the City, Summer and the City, The Carrie Diaries, One Fifth Avenue, Lipstick Jungle, Trading Up, and Four Blondes. Sex and the City, published in 1996, was the basis for the HBO hit series and two subsequent blockbuster movies. Lipstick Jungle became a popular television series on NBC, as did The Carrie Diaries on the CW.

 

Candace Bushnell’s most popular books on BookLikes
The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell Sex and the City - Candace Bushnell Four Blondes - Candace Bushnell Lipstick Jungle - Candace Bushnell Summer and the City - Candace Bushnell

 

 

If you like Margarita, read Jack Kerouac who developed his love for this drink during his trip through Mexico. 

 

Jack Kerouac
Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.

Jack Kerouac’s writing career began in the 1940s, but didn’t meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. His parents had immigrated as very young children from the Province of Quebec, Canada, and Kerouac spoke a local French Canadian-American dialect before he spoke English.

 

Jack Kerouac’s most popular books on BookLikes:
On the Road - Jack Kerouac The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac Big Sur - Jack Kerouac, Aram Saroyan The Subterraneans - Jack Kerouac Desolation Angels - Jack Kerouac, Joyce Johnson

 

 

Raymond Carver was Hemingway’s mate not only in writing but also boozing. Some of the records reveal that Bloody Mary cocktail, which he named “heart starter”, made his hangover breakfast. We definitely do not recommend this kind of diet but if you’d like to give the tomatoes a good stir, choose Bloody Mary.

 

Raymond Carver
Drinking’s funny. When I look back on it, all of our important decisions have been figured out when we were drinking.
Even when we talked about having to cut back on drinking, we’d be sitting at the kitchen table or out at the picnic table with a six-pack or whiskey.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His father was a saw-mill worker and his mother was a waitress and clerk. He married early and for years writing had to come second to earning a living for his young family. Despite, small-press publication, it was not until Will You Please Be Quiet Please? appeared in 1976 that his work began to reach a wider audience.

 

Raymond Carver’s most popular books on BookLikes 
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love - Raymond Carver Cathedral - Raymond Carver Short Cuts: Selected Stories - Raymond Carver, Robert Altman The Best American Short Stories of the Century - John Updike, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Martha Gellhorn, Vladimir Nabokov, Gish Jen, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Cynthia Ozick, Tim O'Brien, Harold Brodkey, Robert Penn Warren, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, William Saroyan, Saul Bellow Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? - Raymond Carver

 

 

If you like gin and tonic read J.K. Rowling or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s. Both authors highlighted this drink as their favorite.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

J.K. Rowling
JK Rowling grew up in Chepstow, Gwent where she went to Wyedean Comprehensive. Jo left Chepstow for Exeter University, where she earned a French and Classics degree, and where her course included one year in Paris. As a postgraduate she moved to London to work at Amnesty International, doing research into human rights abuses in Francophone Africa. She started writing the Harry Potter series during a Manchester to London King’s Cross train journey, and during the next five years, outlined the plots for each book and began writing the first novel.

 

J.K. Rowling’s most popular books on BookLikes:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling The Silkworm - J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith The Tales of Beedle the Bard - Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald
First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the major American writers of the twentieth century — a figure whose life and works embodied powerful myths about that nation’s dreams and aspirations. Fitzgerald was talented and perceptive, gifted with a lyrical style and a pitch-perfect ear for language. He lived his life as a romantic, equally capable of great dedication to his craft and reckless squandering of his artistic capital. He left us masterpieces such as The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night; and a gathering of stories and essays that together capture the essence of the American experience.

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most popular books on BookLikes:
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender Is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald The Love of the Last Tycoon - F. Scott Fitzgerald Gatsby Girls - F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

Jane Austen was well known for her feminist life approach, her language was witty, actions full of determination and books ground-breaking. This also refers to her culinary preferences. She adored ices and red wine.

 

Jane Austen
But in the meantime for Elegance & Ease & Luxury . . .
I shall eat Ice & drink French wine, & be above Vulgar Economy.

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature.

 

Jane Austen’s most popular books on BookLikes
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen Emma - Jane Austen, Fiona Stafford Mansfield Park - Jane Austen Jane Austen's Letters - Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition - Michelle M. Pillow, Annabella Bloom, Jane Austen

 

 

J.R.R. Tolkien admitted to be a beer lover. C.S. Lewis is known for his love to this golden liquor as well. Not so strange then that those two spent enjoyable time in pubs reading and discussing their writing, having several pints and paying close attention to what they were drinking. Reportedly, Lewis liked a good draft bitter off the wood, disliked bottled and hated canned beer. 

J.R.R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien’s most popular books on BookLikes
The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien, Ted Nasmith, Christopher Tolkien The Children of Húrin - J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Alan Lee

 

C.S. Lewis
I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year.

 

C.S. Lewis’ most popular books on BookLikes
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes

 

 

Honore de Balzac’a coffee addiction may be too much even for a hard-core coffee lover — the author is believed to drink up to 50 cups a day! L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was much more moderate coffee drinker with four or five breakfast cups of sweet white coffee a day. How about you?

 

Honoré de Balzac
As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion.
Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered.
Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.

Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.

 

Honoré de Balzac’s most popular books on BookLikes
Père Goriot - Honoré de Balzac Cousin Bette - Francine Prose, Honoré de Balzac, Kathleen Raine Eugénie Grandet - Christopher Prendergast, Honoré de Balzac, Sylvia Raphael Lost Illusions - George Saintsbury, Honoré de Balzac, Ellen Marriage The Unknown Masterpiece; and, Gambara - Richard Howard, Arthur C. Danto, Honoré de Balzac

 

 

If you prefer a hot aromatic tea than cocktails or coffee, make sure to follow George Orwell’s golden rules of making a perfect cup of tea

 

George Orwell
One strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.

Eric Arthur Blair who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism. Commonly ranked as one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, and as one of the most important chroniclers of English culture of his generation, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945).

 

George Orwell’s most popular books on BookLikes
1984 - George Orwell, Erich Fromm Animal Farm - George Orwell The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever - John Updike, George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hobbes, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Carl Sagan, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Christopher Hitchens, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Joseph Conrad, Ibn Warraq, Martin Gardner, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, A.C. Grayling, Pe Homage to Catalonia - Lionel Trilling, George Orwell Shooting an Elephant - George Orwell

 

Sources:

 

Original post: 15 authors to read based on your favorite drinks – Themis-Athena’s Garden of Books — reblogged from BookLikes

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Birthday Monster Book Haul

…  thanks to my mom, who gave me a bookstore gift card, my best friend, who raided my Amazon wish list (isn’t it nice to know your loved ones know just what you’ll be happiest about?) and a few odd things to which I treated myself:

  • Die Briefe der Manns (The Mann Family Correspondence) — newly released
  • Anna Funder: All That I Am
  • Ilija Trojanow (or Iliya Troyanov, as he’s spelled in English): Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds)
  • George Simenon: Maigret & Co. (collection of audio dramatizations of Simenon’s mysteries)
  • Edwidge Danticat: Claire of the Sea Light
  • Jim Butcher: The Aeronaut’s Windlass
  • J.R.R. Tokien: The Lord of the Rings — the legendary BBC audio dramatization starring Ian Holm as Frodo, Michael Hordern as Gandalf, and Robert Stephens as Aragorn
  • T.H. White: The Once and Future King (audio version read by Neville Jason)
  • Christopher Paolini: Eragon (audio version read by Kerry Shale)
  • Patrick O’Brian: Aubrey / Maturin — audio versions of the first six novels, read by Robert Hardy
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Baker Street Dozen — audio adaptations of 12 stories, starring John Gielgud (Holmes), Ian Richardson (Watson), and Orson Welles (Moriarty)
  • Val McDermid: Splinter the Silence
  • Michael Connelly: The Crossing
  • Ian Rankin: Even Dogs in the Wild

… and, also courtesy of my friend, Eric Clapton: I Still Do — and a kitty coloring book!

 

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TA’s Halloween Book Bingo Reading List

La casa de los espíritus - Isabel Allende Black As He's Painted - Ngaio Marsh Haiti Noir - Edwidge Danticat, Marie Lily Cerat, Louis-Philippe Dalembert, Marvin Victor, Katia D. Ulysse, Ibi Zoboi, Nadine Pinede, Yanick Lahens, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, Mark Kurlansky, Rodney Saint-Eloi, Patrick Sylvain, M.J. Fievre, Gary Victor, Kettly Mars, Evelyne Trouil The Turn of the Screw - Henry James The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde, Inga Moore The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole, Michael Gamer The Lottery - Shirley Jackson Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19) - Terry Pratchett The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie

  • Read by Candlelight or Flashlight – E.T.A. Hoffmann: Das Fräulein von Scuderi (Mademoiselle de Scuderi) (novella)
  • Magical Realism – Isabel Allende: La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits) (novel)
  • Witches – Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters (or possibly Terry Pratchett / Neil Gaiman: Good Omens) (novel)
  • Genre: Horror – Edgar Allan Poe: The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather (short story); alternately E.A. Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart or The Masque of the Red Death (also short stories)
  • Black Cat – Ngaio Marsh: Black as He’s Painted (novel) (black cat central to the story and therefore also black cat on the cover of the stand-alone paperback edition)
  • Diverse Authors Can Be Spooky Fun – Possibly Edwidge Danticat (ed.): Haiti Noir (short story anthology); otherwise TBD
  • Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses – Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (novella)
  • Young adult horror – Oscar Wilde: The Canterville Ghost (novella)
  • Scary Women (Authors) – Daphne Du Maurier: Jamaica Inn (novel)
  • Reads with BookLikes Friends – Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles (novel)
  • Grave or Graveyard – Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado (short story); alternately Ngaio Marsh: Grave Mistake (novel) or Umberto Eco: The Prague Cemetery
  • Genre: Mystery – Peter May: The Blackhouse (novel)
  • Free Space – Dashiell Hammett: The Dain Curse (novel)
  • Gothic – Horrace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto (novel)
  • Creepy Crawlies – Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventure of the Speckled Band (short story)
  • “Fall” into a Good Book – Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher (short story)
  • Locked Room Mystery – Gaston Leroux: Le mystère de la chambre jaune (The Mystery of the Yellow Room) (novel)
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (novel)
  • Set in New England – Shirley Jackson: The Lottery (short story); alternately: Dennis Lehane: Moonlight Mile (novel)
  • Full Moon – James D. Doss: White Shell Woman (novel) (full moon on the cover, and the protagonist / investigator is called Charlie Moon); alternately Dennis Lehane: Moonlight Mile
  • Vampires vs. Werewolves – Terry Pratchett: Feet of Clay (Night Watch novel; female werewolf one of the main characters & running gag involving a vampire)
  • Supernatural – Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sussex Vampire (short story); alternately Agatha Christie: The Pale Horse (novel)
  • Classic Horror – E.T.A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman) (short story)
  • Pumpkin – Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (short story)
  • Set on Halloween – Agatha Christie: Hallowe’en Party (novel)

There are some short stories and novellas and also some rereads in this; I can typically only take straight-up horror in small doses, and given that I’ll have very little spare time in the next couple of months, I’m only going to have a reasonable shot at blacking out my card at all if I include a few faster reads.  That said, I’ve tried to include as many novels and as many new-to-me books as seemed feasible under the circumstances.  So … let the games begin!

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1456969/ta-s-halloween-book-bingo-reading-list

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Matt Ruff: Fool on the Hill

Fool on the Hill - Matt RuffIntricately spun fairy tale.

“You GOTTA read this book,” a friend and soon-to-be fellow-Cornellian said with some urgency when he learned that I had enrolled at Cornell University a couple of years ago. Devouring the book almost in one piece once I had started to read it, I soon understood what he meant.

As others have pointed out, this is not a book “about” Cornell – it just uses the campus and its own magic as a setting (although I confess there is a certain nostalgia to reading about the Arts Squad, McGraw Tower and The Hill – everyone who has walked up to the campus at least once knows why this noun deserves capitalization – and not only being able to visualize the scenery but also to drift off into your own memories of the place). This book is a fast-pace, hilarious tour de force interweaving fairy tales of modern-day humans, animals communicating by telepathy, ancient sprites and elfs and, of course, dragons – even if you’re just using Cornell as your setting, there’s gotta be a dragon in there somewhere.

Borrowing from virtually every writer from Shakespeare and Tolkien to the late 20th-century humorists, Ruff nevertheless manages to forge a style of his own and, in the process, conjures up a cast of funny, tragic and always highly unique and memorable characters – from Mr. Sunshine, the Greek Original who oversees and occasionally meddles with the development of the story, to Luther, the lovable, tragicomic canine hero in search of heaven, the Bohemian students, who enter the story with a bang in small-town Pennsylvania, and of course S.T. (St.) George, the hero and would-be dragon-slayer. – Two-dimensional characters? Predictable ending? Maybe, but who cares? This is, above all, a fairy tale and a farce, not a political satire or a high-brow tale on morals. Yes, Luther discovers that there are purebreds and non-purebreds and as a mongrel, he is not welcome in purebred society. Yes, there is the image of the monkeys in Mr. Sunshine’s library whose random and meaningless meddling with life’s stories creates chaos in everything they touch (and thus, invokes questions of fate, destiny and the meaning of life). But these are merely pieces of a mosaic; it doesn’t do the book justice to reduce it to these details alone and then deplore that they are not fully developed, or that there is a lot of black-and-white painting going on. Have you ever seen a fairy tale where that’s not the case?

So, let the book’s magic touch you and let its elfs and sprites enchant you, join Luther and his tailless Manx friend Blackjack on their journey from New York City to heaven (or its closest approximation in Ithaca, NY), root for the Bohemians in their dispute with the Rat Frat, and watch George withstand Mr. Sunshine’s meddling in his conquest of Aurora Borealis.

If it is true that Matt Ruff in later years disavowed this book, it would appear that Mr. Sunshine has done a bit of meddling here, too – ever since becoming an underground hit shortly after its publication, “Fool on the Hill” has developed an extremely loyal audience and a life of its own, and there’s an obvious reason for this. For once, Mr. Sunshine’s meddling was actually for the good… and I sincerely wish he’s going to leave it at that. This book deserves all the success it has had and more!