Barbara Vine: The Brimstone Wedding

24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day, Book


Tedious, predictable, and boring beyond belief.  I’d never have thought I’d actually ever say this about a book by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell in her standalone thriller writer incarnation), but there we are — and not even Juliet Stevenson’s lovely narration could do anything about it.  The tedium of unhappy marriage and an ultimately equally unhappy adulterous affair, experienced by two women of different generations and different social classes who tell each other their respective stories … yawn.  Been there, done that, all probably pretty realistic, especially the present-day story, but by the same token that narrative strain in particular is just utterly predictable.  OK, OK, the “marriage” bit was perhaps foreseeable given this book’s title, but in view of the author and since the title also has the word “brimstone” in it, I really was expecting a bit more of the hellfire and demonic machinations that Vine normally so excels in.  But even in the older woman’s story, which is marginally more interesting, the “big reveal” at the end had been telegraphed pretty much from the start, and the book ends with a twist intended to tie both stories together even more firmly which (1) also was not exactly a surprise, given the amount of foreshadowing in that particular direction, and (2) is in itself, never mind the foreshadowing, artificial to the nth degree and as unnecessary to the storyline as an extra limb.  Shame, Baroness Rendell; I’d have expected so much better from you!

However, since this book is literally brimming (bad pun intended) with people searching their souls, hiding guilty secrets — not only of the adulterous kind — and seeking absolution, I’m claiming this as my read for Penance Day so as to at least get something out of it after all.  This is incidentally also the only reason why I finished it.

 

 

Original post:
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24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day, Task 3 (Bad Hair Day)

Another member of Team Unmanageable Hair here.

 

It actually started somewhat inauspiciously …

… until age 2, I didn’t have any hair at all.

When it did start to grow, though, it soon became clear that it was going to be a challenge to keep in check — it’s both frizzy and curly (and the curls and general frizziness multiply with the level of humidity they’re exposed to).  When I was little, my mom tried the “keep it short” approach …

… but that ultimately didn’t really help, either — the only thing it achieved was to make me profoundly hate going to the hairdresser’s (to this day, in fact).  So ever since my childhood, the struggle has been real!

1970s

 

1980s

1990s

 

Original post:
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24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day, Task 2 (Favorite Sports Teams and Pennants)

QUIDDITCH

 

First things first (though I’m not the first here to post about this) — as a proud Gryffindor, I obviously support my house team … and I salute my fellow Gryffindors Darth Pony and XOX

 

I’ve been able to verify that the house’s last victory of the Hogwarts Inter-House Cup took place in the 1996-1997 season.  They also had a solid winning run in the seasons prior to that one, winning the cup both in 1993-1994 and 1995-1996 (in 1994-1995, the Inter-House Cup tournament was replaced by the Triwizard Tournament).

 

That said, outside the wizarding world and in no particular order:

 

FOOTBALL / SOCCER

 

Borussia Dortmund

Most recent successes:

German national cup (DFB-Pokal) winners: 2017

German national league (Bundesliga) champions: 2012
— also national cup (DFB-Pokal) winners that same year

German supercup winners: 2014

UEFA Champions League winners: 1997
(finalists last time in 2013)
 

German National Team – Men

Gosh, am I glad this task is asking about the team’s successes … let’s just forget about 2018, shall we?!  So:

 

Most recent successes:

World champions: 2014
(4th time total)

European champions: 1996
(semi-finalists 2012 and 2016)

Confederation Cup winners: 2017

 

German National Team – Women

Most recent successes:

World Champions: 2007 and 2003

Olympic Champions: 2016
— also 3 Olympic bronze medals (2000, 2004, and 2008)

European Champions: 2013
(8th time total)

 

 

… and a few competitions where team and individual events are equally important, and where the individual competitors are drawn from the ranks of the team:

 

HORSEBACK RIDING

German National Equestrian Team

Most recent successes:

Olympic Games:

* GOLD MEDALS: 2016 team dressage; 2012 team eventing***; 2016 and 2012 eventing individual – Michael Jung / Sam

* SILVER MEDALS: 2016 team eventing; 2012 team dressage; 2016 dressage individual – Isabell Werth / Weihegold

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2016 team show jumping; 2016 dressage individual – Kristina Bröring-Sprehe / Desperados; 2012 eventing individual – Sandra Auffarth / Opgun Louvo

Overall, in 104 years (1912 – 2016), with 41 gold, 23 silver and 27 bronze medals the most successful equestrian team in the history of the Olympic games.

 

 

World Equestrian Games:

* GOLD MEDALS: 2018 and 2014 team dressage; 2014 team eventing
— Plus individual team members:
2018 dressage, Grand Prix Special (no dressage freestyle competition in 2018) – Isabell Werth / Bella Rose; 2018 show jumping – Simone Blum / Alice; 2014 eventing – Sandra Auffarth / Opgun Louvo

* SILVER MEDALS: 2014 dressage, Grand Prix Special and 2014 dressage, freestyle – Helen Langehanenberg / Damon Hill (both); 2014 eventing – Michael Jung / Rocana 

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2018 team show jumping
— Plus individual team members:
2018 eventing – Ingrid Klimke / Hale Bob; 2014 dressage, Grand Prix Special – Kristina Sprehe / Desperados

 

 

European Championships:

* GOLD MEDALS: 2017 and 2013 team dressage; 2015 and 2013 team eventing
— Plus individual team members:
2017 dressage, Grand Prix Special and 2017 dressage, freestyle – Isabell Werth / Weihegold (both); 2017 eventing – Ingrid Klimke / Hale Bob; 2015 eventing – Michael Jung / Takinou; 2013 eventing – Michael Jung / Halunke

* SILVER MEDALS: 2015 and 2013 team show jumping
— Plus individual team members:
2017 dressage, Grand Prix Special and 2017 dressage, freestyle – Sönke Rothenberger / Cosmo (both); 2017 eventing – Michael Jung / Rocana; 2015 dressage, Grand Prix Special and 2015 dressage, freestyle – Kristina Bröring-Sprehe / Desperados (both); 2015 eventing – Sandra Auffarth / Opgun Louvo; 2013 dressage, Grand Prix Special and 2013 dressage, freestyle – Helen Langehanenberg / Damon Hill (both); 2013 eventing – Ingrid Klimke / Escada

* BRONZE MEDAL: 2015 team dressage

 

(Can ya’ tell I’m kinda vicariously proud of the German equestrian team?)

 

*** Eventing is a three-day competition formerly known as “military,” which combines a cross country parcours on day 1 with a dressage and a show jumping competition on days 2 and 3.

 


 

NORDIC SPORTS

My mom first took me skiing before I’d even started school, so winter sports are a big, lifelong favorite of mine … even though my own skiing days are unfortunately over, as a result of a completely messed-up bone structure in my feet, which has made skiing boots the equivalent of Spanish torture boots to me ever since I was in my early 30s.

 

Downhill skiing races are events dominated by individual, not team competitions, of course, so I won’t include those here and only note that they’re still one of my all-time favorite competitions to watch, ever.  That said, in recent years I’ve also become a big fan of the Nordic competitions, where team events have always played an important role … and where, go figure, it turns out the German national teams are actually doing pretty well.

 

All German Nordic sports teams are united (together with the downhill skiers) in the German Skiing Association (Deutscher Skiverband).

BIATHLON

Biathlon evolved from Nordic ski hunting; it combines cross country ski racing and target shooting (and is, incidentally, the only context in which I can countenance the use of guns, because here the focus is entirely on a civilian competition hinging on the athletes’ fine motor skills — with bodily control made decidedly more difficult by the fact that they’ve got several kms of cross country ski racing in their bones by the time they get to the shooting arena — and gun safety is taken extremely seriously).  I find it spellbinding, not only because it requires proficiency in two vastly different skill sets, but also because even after a race lasting anywhere from 7.5 to 20 km (4.7 to 12 miles),  the outcome frequently turns on a single failed shot — or mere fractions of seconds of running time.

 

Most recent successes:

Olympic Games

* GOLD MEDALS: 2018 sprint, women and 2018 pursuit, women – Laura Dahlmeier; 2018 sprint, men – Arnd Peiffer

* SILVER MEDALS: 2014 team relay, men; 2018 mass start, men – Simon Schemp; 2014 individual race, men – Erik Lesser

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2018 team relay, men; 2018 individual race, women – Laura Dahlmeier; 2018 pursuit, men – Benedikt Doll

 

 

World Championships

* GOLD MEDALS: 2017 mixed (= 2 men, 2 women) team relay; 2017 and 2015 team relay, women; 2015 team relay, men
* SILVER MEDALS: 2016 mixed team relay; 2016 team relay, men
* BRONZE MEDAL: 2016 team relay, women

 

 

Biathlon World Cup

(= one entire season’s worth of events)

– 2017-18 SEASON: best team women (all events, aggregate); best relay team, women; third best team men (all events, aggregate)

– 2016-17 SEASON: best team women (all events, aggregate); best relay team, women; best team men (all events, aggregate), best mixed relay team

– 2015-16 SEASON: best team women (all events, aggregate); best relay team, women; second best team, men (all events, aggregate); second best mixed relay team

– 2014-15 SEASON: best team women (all events, aggregate); second best relay team, women; second best team, men (all events, aggregate)

– 2013-14 SEASON: best relay team, women; third best team men (all events, aggregate); best relay team, men

 

… plus a host of world championship medals as well as world cup race and seasonal victories won by the individual team members in their solo races.

 

With 23 Olympic gold, 27 silver and 18 bronze medals since 1960, when biathlon first became an Olympic sport, as of 2018 the German national team is the most successful Olympic biathlon team (surprisingly even more successful than Norway, where the sport originated).  Ditto in the world championship rankings since the first biathlon world championships in 1958 (82 gold, 57 silver and 47 bronze medals).

 

 

SKI JUMPING

I admire the sheer chutzpah of these guys … and ladies (!); even more so, after having myself stood at the tops of the Oberstdorf and Calgary jumps and looked down.  It’s a truly awe-inspiring view: in and of itself, but even more so if you consider that by the time you reach the bottom of the jump — by which time my heart would have dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of my feet — you’re not actually done but you’re propelled into free flight for another 100 – 230+ meters (330 – 755+ ft), depending on the hill size,*** during which you’re sustained in the air by nothing other than your own skill, technique and body (and a bit of headwind if you’re lucky), and you’re supposed to land gracefully when gravitation ultimately gets the better of you after all.

 

*** “Normal hill” => results in the 100 m (330 ft) range

“Large hill” (men only) => results in the 125 – 140 m (410 – 460 ft) range

“Ski flying” (men only) => results in the 200+ m (650+ ft) range

 

Most recent successes:

Olympic Games

* GOLD MEDALS: 2014 large hill, team (men); 2014 normal hill, women / individual – Carina Vogt; 2018 normal hill, men / indiviual – Andreas Wellinger

* SILVER MEDALS: 2018 large hill, team (men); 2018 normal hill, women / individual – Katharina Althaus; 2018 large hill / individual – Andreas Wellinger

 

 

Ski Jumping World Championships:

* GOLD MEDALS: 2017 and 2015 normal hill, mixed team; 2015 large hill, men / individual – Severin Freund; 2017 and 2015 normal hill, women / individual – Carina Vogt

* SILVER MEDALS: 2013 large hill, team (men); 2017 large hill, men / individual and 2017 normal hill, men / individual – Andreas Wellinger; 2015 normal hill, men / individual – Severin Freund

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2013 normal hill, mixed team; 2017 normal hill, men / individual – Markus Eisenbichler

 

 

Ski Flying World Championships

* GOLD MEDAL: 2014 team

* SILVER MEDAL: 2016 team

* BRONZE MEDAL: 2018 individual – Richard Freitag

 

 

Ski Jumping World Cup

(= one entire season’s worth of events)

– 2017-18 SEASON: second best, individual (all events, aggregate) – Richard Freitag

– 2016-17 SEASON: second best, ski flying / individual – Andreas Wellinger; 3d place, Raw Air 2017 – Andreas Wellinger

– 2015-16 SEASON: second best, individual (all events, aggregate) – Severin Freund

– 2014-15 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Severin Freund

 

 

NORDIC COMBINED

The so-called “royal” or “crowning” Nordic event, consisting of the two most traditional of all Nordic sports, ski jumping and cross country skiing.  I’m not a major fan of cross country skiing as such, but the jump at the beginning of the competition — and the combination of the two things — adds a considerable amount of spice, as this event, too, requires proficiency in two different kinds of skill sets … and although the results of the jumping competition are “translated” into time handicaps (the shorter your jump, the more your start into the cross country race will lag behind the start of the winner of the jumping competition), it’s by no means certain that the ski jumping winner will also win the competition overall: in fact, a top Nordic combined athlete may well win despite going into the cross country race with a time lag / handicap of a minute or more.

 

The members of the German team managed “clean sweeps” (securing all 3 medals) in the 2018 Olympic large hill / 10 km individual and the 2017 World Championship normal hill / 10 km individual races.

 

Overall, with 11 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze medals, they’re the second most successful Nordic combined team (after Norway) in Olympic history; ditto in World Championship history (21 gold, 17 silver and 13 bronze medals).  In addition, 3 German athletes (Johannes Rydzek, Eric Frenzel and Ronny Ackermann) rank as nos. 1, 3 and 5 in the list of the all-time most successful Nordic Combined athletes.

 

However, as women have only recently (and much belatedly) been admitted to ski jumping competitions, it may be a while yet until we’ll be seeing the first major Nordic Combined women’s events; for the time being, this is unfortunately one of the last remaining “men only” sports events.

 

Most recent successes:

Olympic Games

* GOLD MEDALS: 2018 large hill / 4×5 km, team; 2018 large hill / 10 km individual – Johannes Rydzek; 2018 and 2014 normal hill / 10 km individual – Eric Frenzel

* SILVER MEDALS: 2014 large hill / 4×5 km, team; 2018 large hill / 10 km individual – Fabian Rießle

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2018 large hill / 10 km individual – Eric Frenzel; 2014 large hill / 10 km individual – Fabian Rießle

 

World Championships

* GOLD MEDALS: 2017 large hill / 2×7.5 km team sprint; 2017 and 2015 normal hill / 4×5 km, team; 2017 large hill / 10 km individual – Johannes Rydzek; 2017 and 2015 normal hill / 10 km individual – Johannes Rydzek; 2013 large hill / 10 km individual – Eric Frenzel

* SILVER MEDALS: 2015 large hill / 2×7.5 km team sprint; 2017 normal hill / 10 km individual – Eric Frenzel

* BRONZE MEDALS: 2013 large hill / 2×7.5 km team sprint; 2017 and 2013 normal hill / 10 km individual – Björn Kircheisen; 2015 large hill / 10 km individual – Johannes Rydzek

 

Nordic Combined World Cup

(= one entire season’s worth of events)

– 2017-18 SEASON: third best individual (all events, aggregate) – Fabian Rießle

– 2016-17 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Eric Frenzel; second best individual (all events, aggregate) – Johannes Rydzek

– 2015-16 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Eric Frenzel; third best individual (all events, aggregate) – Fabian Rießle

– 2014-15 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Eric Frenzel; third best individual (all events, aggregate) – Johannes Rydzek

– 2013-14 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Eric Frenzel; second best individual (all events, aggregate) – Johannes Rydzek

– 2012-13 SEASON: best team (all events, aggregate); best individual (all events, aggregate) – Eric Frenzel

 

Original post:
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24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day, Task 4 (In the Desert: Egypt, with an Addendum for Moonlight)

As many here know, I’ve lived in Southern California for a while, which is of course largely a desert region, and traveled throughout the American Southwest from there — but the last time I visited a desert was when I took my mom to Egypt a few years ago:

 

Gizah:


Saqqara:

Abu Simbel:

Sunrise in the desert, and our “caravan” of 40 or so tourist buses (as a prevention against armed attacks — by terrorists or robbers — the only way, other than flying, that you were permitted to travel to Abu Simbel at the time; the “caravan” was heavily guarded by police)

Entrances to the temples of Ramses II and his wife, Queen Nefertari

Temple of Ramses II

Temple of Nefertari
(photography not permitted inside either temple)

 

Temple of Hatshepsut:

Hatshepsut depicted as a pharaoh, in the traditional manner … and in a rare instance, as a woman

Head sculpture of the goddess Isis

Wall paintings, depicting Hatshepsut’s army (glorifying her military conquests), as well as the 3 sacred symbols: Uas (salvation, the sceptre of the gods), Djet, or Zet (stability, the backbone of Osiris), and Ankh (life, eternity)

 

Valley of the Kings:

Model of the Valley of the Kings: each of the dots represents a tomb … and excavations are still continuing

“KV 62” — the most famous of them all

Tutankhamun’s burial chamber (not my own photo: source here)

 

Karnak:


Entrance to the temple compound and Alley of Rams

Great Hypostyle Hall
The photo doesn’t really do the height of these columns justice (no photo could); they totally dwarf us humans … we don’t reach much higher than the bottom pedestal and the lower part of the actual column

Toppled obelisk of Hatshepsut, and scarab altar (for luck, you’re supposed to circle it — seven times IIRC)

Statue of Sekhmet, the lion goddess, and colored relief of Ankh with two falcons (or eagles — not sure)

Looking back towards the main compound from the other end of the temple district

 
 

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

 

For Moonlight, as a follow-up to her Day of Penance post: San Xavier del Bac, way back when I visited … and without trying to touch up or re-colorize the photos in any way.  Though they’re not quite as ancient as they look; they were just taken with a cheap camera (my very first one).  So you’ll just have to take it on faith that the sky was as brightly blue as in your photos and the church as gleaming white! 🙂

 

Original post:
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24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day, Task 1 (Comfort Reads)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 2 - Agatha Christie Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers A Man Lay Dead / Enter a Murderer / The Nursing Home Murder (The Ngaio Marsh Collection) - Ngaio Marsh The Clock Strikes Twelve  - Patricia Wentworth Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham The Great Detectives - JULIAN SYMONS, TOM ADAMS The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards

It’s probably no secret that my comfort reads are Golden Age mysteries — I’m slowly making my way through the works of the members of the Detection Club, including the forgotten and recently republished ones, but most of all, I keep coming back to, again and again:

 

Arthur Conan Doyle / Sherlock Holmes: Still the grand master — both the detective and his creator — that no serious reader of mysteries can or should even try to side-step.  I’ve read, own, and have reread countless times all 4 novels and 56 short stories constituting the Sherlock Holmes canon, and am now making my way through some of the better-known /-reputed Holmes pastiches (only to find — not exactly to my surprise — that none of them can hold a candle to the original), as well as Conan Doyle’s “non-Holmes” fiction.

 

And, of course —

 

The Golden Age Queens of Crime

Agatha Christie: Like Sherlock Holmes, part of my personal canon from very early on.  I’ve read and, in many cases, reread more than once and own (largely as part of a series of anniversary omnibus editions published by HarperCollins some 10 years ago) all of Agatha Christie’s novels and short stories published under this name, as well as her autobiography, with only those of her books published under other names (e.g., the Mary Westmacott romances) left to read.

 

Dorothy L. Sayers: My mom turned me onto Sayers when I was in my teens, and I have never looked back.  I’ve read all of her Lord Peter Wimsey novels and short stories, volume 1 of her collected letters (which covers her correspondence from childhood to the end of her career as a mystery writer), and some of her non-Wimsey short stories and essays.  Gaudy Night and the two addresses jointly published under the title Are Women Human? are among my all-time favorite books; not least because they address women’s position in society decades before feminism even became a mass movement to be reckoned with, and with a validity vastly transcending both Sayers’s own lifetime and our own. — Next steps: The remainder of Sayers’s non-Wimsey stories and of her essays, as well as her plays.

 

Ngaio Marsh: A somewhat later entry into my personal canon, but definitely a fixture now.  I’ve read all of her Inspector Alleyn books and short stories and reread many of them.  Still on my TBR: her autobiography (which happily is contained in the last installments of the series of 3-book-each omnibus volumes I own).

 

Patricia Wentworth: Of the Golden Age Queens of Crime, the most recent entry into my personal canon.  I’d read two books by her a few years ago and liked one a lot, the other one considerably less, but Tigus expertly steered the resident mystery fans on Booklikes to all the best entries in the Miss Silver series, which I’m now very much looking forward to completing — along with some of Wentworth’s other fiction.

 

Georgette Heyer: I’m not a romance reader, so I doubt that I’ll ever go anywhere near her Regency romances.  But I’m becoming more and more of a fan of her mysteries; if for no other reason than that nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did viciously bickering families as well as her.

 

Margery Allingham: I’m actually more of a fan of Albert Campion as portrayed by Peter Davison in the TV adaptations of some of Allingham’s mysteries than of her Campion books as such, but I like at least some of those well enough to eventually want to complete the series — God knows I’ve read enough of them at this point for the completist in me to have kicked in long ago.  I’ve also got Allingham’s very first novel, Blackerchief Dick (non-Campion; historical fiction involving pirates) sitting on my audio TBR.

 

Original post:
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24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 – Penance Day

Guy Fawks Night

veteran's and armistace day

Diwali
Penance Day

dio de los meurtos

International Day of Tolerance

Melbourne Cup Day

Mawlid

 

The tradition of repentance and prayer is rooted in the biblical Book of Jonah, where God sends out the prophet Jonah in order to announce to the inhabitants of Nineveh that God is to overthrow the city (Book of Jonah 3:4-10).  In mediaeval times Christians practiced two kinds of days of repentance, those scheduled on particular events of emergency and those celebrated on the Ember days.  After the Reformation the Protestant congregations continued that tradition.  The first day of prayer, scheduled by Emperor Charles V, was celebrated in 1532 by Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire in Strasbourg on the occasion of the Ottoman invasion at the eastern border of the Empire. In the following centuries different feast days of repentance and prayer were fixed within the many different Holy Roman German states of Protestant population.  Buß- und Bettag (Penance Day) was a public holiday in Germany until 1994, and is still a public holiday in Saxony and a school holiday in Bavaria.  In Germany and Switzerland, Protestant church bodies of Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist) and United denominations celebrate a day of repentance and prayer on the penultimate Wednesday before the beginning of the Protestant liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent (i.e., the Wednesday that falls between November 16 and 22).  In the year 2018, the holiday falls on November 21.

 

Tasks and Book

Penance Day

Task 1:  “Confess” your book habits.  Dog-earring?  Laying books face down?  Bending back the spines? Skimming?  OR: Confess your guilty reading pleasure, or comfort reads.

 

Task 2:  It’s “Pennants” day according to MbD’s husband:  post a picture of your favorite team’s logo / mascot and the last time they’ve won a championship (or not).

 

Task 3: In centuries gone by, penance would often end up in what might be described as a very extended bad hair day (complete with sackcloth and ashes). Tell us: What’s a bad hair day to you – and what (if anything) do you do about it?

 

Task 4: Early Christian spiritualists would sometimes do penance by spending time in the desert. If you’ve ever visited a desert region (or even live there), post a picture and tell us about it. Alternatively, post a picture of sand dunes (NOT with water in the background!).

 

Book:  Read any book concerning a man / woman of the cloth, a book about a character hiding a guilty secret or searching for absolution.

 

 
(Click “Read More” for the previous days’ tasks and books.)
 


 

Previous Doors’ Tasks and Books

 

Mawlid

Door 7:  Mawlid

 

Task 1:  Make two “prophesies” you think will come to fruition in 2019 in your personal or reading life.

 

Task 2: The Five Pillars of Islam include almsgiving and the pilgrimage to Mekka. Tell us: Have you ever donated books or rescued them from (horror of horrors) being trashed? Alternatively: Is there a book-related place that is a place of pilgrimage to you?

 

Task 3: Prophets are messengers. Tell us: Which book characters are your favorite messengers (no matter whether humans, angels, (demi)gods, etc.)?

 

Task 4: Muhammad was a merchant before becoming a religious leader. List 5 books on your shelves in which a key character makes / undergoes a radical career change.

 

Book:  If you can find a copy, read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.  Or read any book about a leader of a movement, nation, religion or large group, OR read a book with a green cover OR with a half moon on the cover.

 

International Day of Tolerance
Door 6:  International Day for Tolerance
 
Task 1:  Find some redeeming quality in the book you liked least this year and post about it.
 
Task 2: Tell us: What are the tropes (up to 5) that you are not willing to live with in any book (i.e., which are absolutely beyond your capacity for tolerance) and which make that book an automatic DNF for you? (Insta-love? Love triangles? First person present narrative voice? Talking animals? The dog dies? What else?)
 
Task 3: The International Day for Tolerance is a holiday declared by an international organization (UNESCO). Create a charter (humorous, serious, whatever strikes your fancy) for an international organization of readers.
 
Task 4: UNESCO is based in Paris. Paris is known for its pastries and its breads: Either find a baker that specializes in pastries and bring home an assortment for your family, or make your own pastries using real butter and share a photo with us.
 
Book:  Read any fiction/non-fiction about tolerance or a book that’s outside your normal comfort zone.  (Tolerance can encompass anything you generally struggle with, be it sentient or not.) OR Read a book set in Paris.

 

Armistice/Veterans' Day
Door 5:  Veterans’ / Armistice Day
 
Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.
 
Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.
 
Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?
 
Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of seedcake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake
 
Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

 

Diwali
Door 4:  Diwali
 
Task 1: Share a picture of your favorite light display.
 
Task 2: Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos.  OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information. (If in doubt, see here: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/1782687/state-of-the-database-booklikes-database-halloween-bingo-and-a-mini-rant-with-pictures).
 
Task 3: Eating sweets is also a big part of Diwali. Either select a recipe for a traditional sweet, or make a family favorite and share a picture with us.
 
Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.
 
Book: Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series)

 

Melbourne Cup Day
Door 3:  Melbourne Cup Day
 
Task 1: Pick your ponies!  MbD has posted the horses scheduled to race; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order).
 
Task 2:  Cup day is all about the hats.  Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not.
 
Task 3: The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello. What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across?
 
Task 4: Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)? Tell us about it. Photos welcome, too!
 
Book: About horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

 

 
Guy Fawkes Night
Door 2:  Guy Fawkes Night
 
Task 1: Burn a book in effigy.  Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)?
 
Task 2: List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books.  Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst.
 
Task 3:Share your favorite / most memorable BBQ recollections or recipe, or your favorite recipe of food “flambé” (i.e., doused with alcohol which is then set aflame and allowed to burn off).
 
Task 4:Find 5 uses of the word “gunpowder” in book titles in contexts other than for blowing up things or shooting people (e.g., Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs = tea).
 
Book:  Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.

 

 
Dia de los Muertos

Door 1:  Día de Los Muertos

 

Task 1: Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice.

 

Task 2: Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one).

 

Task 3: Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it.  Inclusion of book cover encouraged.

 

Task 4: If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it.

 

Book: Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1809625/24-festive-tasks-door-8-penance-day

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 4 – Penance Day

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?

1. Be honest.  Ultimately, you’re not going to do anybody any favors by holding back on your opinion or by sparing anybody out of misunderstood politeness.  That doesn’t mean, “be rude”.  But honesty is, largely, what book blogging is all about.

Keep things varied and diverse.

2. By the same token, also be courteous and appreciative of / responsive to the people who read your blog.  Remember they don’t have to — they could be doing something else instead.  (Like, writing their own blogs … or playing with their pets.)

3. Say at least a little bit about the reasons why you like / dislike a given book, or care about a given topic.  Nobody likes Amazon-style “this rox” or “this sux” reviews (for an obvious reason), and if you’re going to the trouble of writing a blog post to begin with, you might as well doing it right.

4, And most of all, in a community like BookLikes: Participate, participate, participate!!

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1626380/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-square-4-penance-day

Anne Meredith: Portrait of a Murderer

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 4 – Penance Day

Soul searching … or is it?


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).

Judging by Dorothy L. Sayers’s lavish praise when reviewing this book upon its original publication, Portrait of a Murderer would seem to be the ideal book for this particular square: This isn’t a whodunit — the identity of the murderer is known from the moment the deed is done, and what is more, we’re even witnessing the murder from the perpetrator’s perspective.  Rather than puzzling out clues, the book is concerned with the psychological effect that the deed has on the murderer and on the family concerned.  (The setting is another Christmas country house party, btw.)  And, Sayers reasons, since we’re invited inside the perpetrator’s head, we get to experience that person’s feelings and thought processes, and thus, come to sympathize with them.

Um, no — not me, I’m afraid.

In fact, for me this book is a variant on the old adage that “it’s better to keep silent and be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” — only replace “idiot” by “arrogant, selfish bastard.”  (That, actually, applies to the majority of the characters here, which, in the absence of the deceptively light touch of a writer like Sayers herself or, for that matter, Georgette Heyer, doesn’t exactly provide added incentive to finish the book.)

If you do persevere, however, you ultimately come across a character towards the end who does struggle mightily with his conscience: the murderer’s brother in law, a young lawyer (and, together with his wife — the murderer’s sister — one of the few normal and likeable members of this cast of characters), who ultimately stumbles onto the solution and is mightily tempted to just let it all slide and let another person (who is seemingly so much more “deserving” of a death sentence, and onto whom the murderer has craftily shifted the blame) go to the gallows instead.  So for that reason, I’m getting to count this book towards the Penance Day square after all.

The above notwithstanding, though, Meredith’s writing is excellent — she was an author better known under her male pseudonym Anthony Gilbert (though Anne Meredith was  a pen name as well), and I’m definitely going to take a closer look at how she fared with other types of mysteries under her main pen name.  Also, it’s a pity she didn’t write more books under the Anne Meredith name, because as a result we also don’t see more of the policeman investigating this particular case, and whom Meredith initially seems to have planned to set up as a series detective figure; at least judging by the amount of background information we’re getting about him, which ultimately doesn’t really go anywhere in this particular book, but which the reader of a series might have appreciated.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1626071/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-square-4-penance-day-soul-searching-or-is-it

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Updates / Blackout

I’ve yet to read at least one book for some of the squares, but I’ve completed a minimum of either one book or one task for all of the squares, and in several cases, more.

 

 

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.
=> Bami Goreng
1 point.

 

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.
=> S.J. Parris: Heresy
1 point.

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.
=> P.D. James: The Lighthouse
1 point.

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.
=> Tea and book
1 point.

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).
=> Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World
1 point.

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.
=> Quotes and poppies
1 point.

 

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.
=> 5 things to be grateful for.
1 point.

 

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.)
=> Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger
1 point.

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.
=> Pet & peaceful garden
1 point.

 

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).
=> Patrick Senécal: Le vide, part 1 – Vivre au Max
1 point.

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.
=> Hygge!
1 point.

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.
=> Dreidel pick: ה (He) – Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World 1
point.

–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.
=> Henry Wade: Lonely Magdalen
1 point.

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?
=> Spaghetti and tomato sauce
1 point.

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!
=> Most and least favorite books of 2017.
1 point.

 

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.
=> Carneval in the Rhine Valley — 11/11, 11:11 AM Kick off
1 point.

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.
=> Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise
1 point.

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.
=> Most and least favorite books of 2017.
1 point.

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)
=> Terry Pratchett: Hogfather (buddy read)
1 point.

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.
=> Ian Fleming: The Man With the Golden Gun
1 point.

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.
=> Cats in (and on) boxes.
1 point.

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.
=> Margery Allingham: Traitor’s Purse

1 point.

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:

30 points.

 

 

 

 

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

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Fourth Square – Penance Day and Thanksgiving

Apologies; this post was intended to go up earlier, but I was stuck in a meeting almost all day long.

 

Buß- und Bettag (Penance Day, or Day of Repentance and Prayer) (November 22)

Buß- und Bettag was a public holiday in Germany until 1994, and is still a public holiday in Saxony and a school holiday in Bavaria.  In Germany and Switzerland, Protestant church bodies of Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist) and United denominations celebrate a day of repentance and prayer on the penultimate Wednesday before the beginning of the Protestant liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent (i.e., the Wednesday that falls between November 16 and 22.

The Reading Tasks:

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).

–OR–

Other Tasks:

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?

 

Thanksgiving (November 23)

To most of this community, this is going to be carrying turkeys to Plymouth, but just in case …

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in the United States, Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia.  It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year; similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan, albeit not at the same time.  Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.  Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well; in the U.S. the First Thanksgiving is believed to have been held by the Puritan settlers in the early 17th century.  Traditions associated with Thanksgiving in North America include family gatherings for a dinner of roasted turkey, potatoes, squash / pumpkins and gravy, as well as spiced pumpkin or apple pie for desert.

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need. –OR– A book with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover.

–OR–

Other Tasks:

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.

Bonus task: share your most hilarious turkey-day memory.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1617707/16-tasks-of-the-festive-season-fourth-square-penance-day-and-thanksgiving