Halloween Bingo 2020: TA’s Game Preparation Post

Note

When updating this post during the game, the books actually selected will be highlighted in bold print and with a check mark (√) next to them.

Updates

Spell invoked: Bingo Flip with Lora — STONE COLD HORROR replaced by READ BY FLASHLIGHT OR CANDLELIGHT

Also, as our game hosts have made it clear that (like in most previous years) the center square won’t be called (but rather, can be claimed as soon as we’ve read a book for it), I’ll be adding a fourth marker for that square (read = called), featuring Charlie’s brother Sunny!

 

The Card

My Markers


Read             Called                   Read & Called   Read = Called

 

The Spell Pack

Authors (and books) possibly to be used with Amplification Spell:
Preet Bharara: Doing Justice
Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak!, Breath, Eyes, Memory
Emma Donoghue: The Sealed Letter, Kissing the Witch
Aminatta Forna: The Devil That Danced on the Water
Gabriel García Márquez: Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (No one Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories)
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable
Orhan Pamuk: My Name Is Red
Various Authors: Trinidad Noir
Oksana Zabuzhko: The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

Wild Card Author:
Agatha Christie

Possible squares for Bingo Flip and / or Transfiguration Spell:

Bingo Flip:
  
Spell invoked: Bingo Flip with Lora –“Stone Cold Horror” replaced by “Read by Flashlight or Candlelight”.

 

The Squares

SLEEPY HOLLOW
Most likely:
Alice Hoffman: The River King

Alternatives:
Stephen King: Pet Semetary, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Talisman
Robert B. Parker: The Godwulf Manuscript, School Days, Chance, Hush Money, Small Vices
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford: The Amber Gods and Other Stories
Ellery Queen: Calamity Town
Sofie Ryan: The Whole Cat and Caboodle
Donna Tartt: The Secret History
Joel Townsley Rogers: The Red Right Hand

 

FILM AT 11
Most likely:
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice

or: Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped

Alternatives:
Marie Belloc Lowndes: The Lodger
R.D. Blackmore: Lorna Doone
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
Raymond Chandler: The Little Sister
Erskine Childers: The Riddle of the Sands
Agatha Christie: Endless Night, The Pale Horse, Curtain, Halloween Party
Ann Cleeves: The Crow Trap
Michael Crichton: The Great Train Robbery
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist, Bleak House, David Copperfield
Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers
T.S. Eliot: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
Michael Ende: Die unendliche Geschichte
Thomas Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Craig Johnson: The Cold Dish
Stephen King: Misery, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Talisman
Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Dennis Lehane: Shutter Island
Philip MacDonald: The List of Adrian Messenger
Mario Puzo: The Godfather
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter series
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, Richard III
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Joan D. Vinge: Ladyhawke
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
R.D. Wingfield: A Killing Frost

 

SOUTHERN GOTHIC
Most likely:
Sharyn McCrumb: The Ballad of Tom Dooley

Alternatives:
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Carolyn G. Hart: Death on Demand
Michael McDowell: Blackwater
Herman Melville: The Confidence-Man
Julie Smith: Louisiana Hotshot
Various Authors: New Orleans Noir

 

MURDER MOST FOUL
Most likely:
Michael Connelly: The Night Fire

or: Jason Goodwin: The Janissary Tree
or: Anna Katharine Green: The Leavenworth Case
Oo. Robert van Gulik: Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee
or: Margaret Millar: The Listening Walls

Alternatives:
Gary Corby: The Ionia Sanction
Deborah Crombie: Dreaming of the Bones
Martin Edwards (ed.), Various Authors: Setting Scores or The Measure of Malice (British Library Crime Classics anthologies)
Ian Fleming: Goldfinger or Moonraker
Graham Greene: The Confidential Agent
Ellen Kushner: Swordspoint
Donna Leon: The Jewels of Paradise, The Golden Egg, Friends in High Places, or Fatal Remedies
Mystery Writers of America Presents: Odd Partners
George Pelecanos: Hard Revolution
Otto Penzler (ed.), Various Authors: The Big Book of Female Detectives
Ian Rankin: Rebus Audio Box Set 1
Ruth Rendell: Some Lie and Some Die, A Demon in My View, Thirteen Steps Down, Harm Done, A Sight for Sore Eyes, End in Tears, Simisola, Road Rage, A Dark Blue Perfume and Other Stories, An Unkindness of Ravens, Shake Hands Forever, A Guilty Thing Surprised, or The Speaker of Mandarin
J.D. Robb: Naked in Death
Georges Simenon: Maigret: Die spannendsten Fälle
Various Authors: Classic Crime Short Stories (audio collection)
Various Authors: Classic Railway Murders (audio collection)

… or any of the murder mysteries listed as options for other squares on my card.

 

SPELLBOUND
Most likely:
Naomi Novik: Spinning Silver

Alternatives:
Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales
J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan
Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Lois McMaster Bujold: The Curse of Chalion
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
Emma Donoghue: Kissing the Witch
Michael Ende: Die unendliche Geschichte
Stephen Fry: Heroes
Neil Gaiman: Fragile Things
Tessa Gratton: The Queens of Innis Lear
Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
Stephen King: Carrie, The Talisman
Katherine Kurtz: Deryni Rising
Ursula K. Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea
Anne McCaffrey: Dragonsong
Alexander McCall Smith (ed.): The Girl Who Married a Lion (African Folk Tales)
Vonda N. McIntyre: Dreamsnake
Christopher Paolini: Inheritance
Terry Pratchett: Jingo, Maskerade, Small Gods, BBC Dramatizatons (Mort, Wyrd Sisters, Guards! Guards!, Eric, Small Gods, Night Watch)
Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter books
William Shakespeare: Macbeth
Mary Stewart: The Last Enchantment
Michael J. Sullivan: Theft of Swords
Judith Tarr: Alamut, The Isle of Glass
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Children of Húrin, Tales from the Perilous Realm
Aimée & David Thurlo: Second Sunrise
Various Authors: Magicats
Joan D. Vinge: Ladyhawke
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Janny Wurts: Stormwarden

 

INTERNATIONAL WOMAN OF MYSTERY
Most likely:
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable

Alternatives:
Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace, The Robber Bride
Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak!, Breath, Eyes, Memory
Emma Donoghue: The Sealed Letter, Kissing the Witch
Sarah Dunant: Blood & Beauty
Tana French: Broken Harbour
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Hannah Kent: Burial Rites
Barbara Nadel: Land of the Blind
Edna O’Brien: House of Splendid Isolation, The Little Red Chairs
S.J. Rozan: China Trade
Julie Smith: Louisiana Hotshot
Oksana Zabuzhko: The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

 

TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN
Most likely:
Michael Jecks: The Malice of Unnatural Death

or: Ann Cleeves: Red Bones
or: Peter Grainger: Songbird or But for the Grace
or: Cyril Hare: Death Walks the Woods or Untimely Death
or: Michael Jecks: The Templar’s Penance, The Mad Monk of Gidleigh, The Chapel of Bones, or The Butcher of St. Peter’s

Alternatives:
Rennie Airth: River of Darkness
Margery Allingham: Blackkerchief Dick
Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace
Simon Beaufort: Deadly Inheritance
Francis Beeding: Death Walks in Eastrepps
E.C. Bentley: Trent’s Own Case
R.D. Blackmore: Lorna Doone
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
Carol Carnac: Crossed Skies
John Dickson Carr: Castle Skull
Erskine Childers: The Riddle of the Sands
Agatha Christie: Endless Night, The Pale Horse, Curtain, Halloween Party
Ann Cleeves: The Crow Trap
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White
Lesley Cookman: Murder in Midwinter
Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Edmund Crispin: The Case of the Gilded Fly
Brian Flynn: The Billiard-Room Mystery
Tana French: Broken Harbour
Elizabeth George: A Place of Hiding, Careless in Red, This Body of Death
Anthony Gilbert: Death in a Fancy Dress
Friedrich Glauser: Wachtmeister Studer
J.M. Gregson: Murder at the Nineteenth
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Carolyn G. Hart: Death on Demand
Reginald Hill: A Clubbable Woman
Alice Hoffman: The River King
Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings
P.D. James: Unnatural Causes, Devices and Desires
Ianthe Jerrold: Let Him Lie
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable
Craig Johnson: The Cold Dish
Mons Kallentoft: Midwinter Sacrifice
Mary Kelly: The Spoilt Kill
Hannah Kent: Burial Rites
Stephen King: Pet Semetary, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie
Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
John Le Carré: A Murder of Quality
Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Dennis Lehane: Shutter Island
E.C.R. Lorac: Murder in the Mill-Race, Fire in the Thatch
Sharyn McCrumb: The Ballad of Tom Dooley
Michael McDowell: Blackwater
Michael McGarrity: Tularosa
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
Patricia Moyes: The Sunken Sailor
Gil North: The Methods of Sergeant Cluff
Edna O’Brien: House of Splendid Isolation, The Little Red Chairs
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice
Joyce Porter: Dover One
Amanda Quick: The Girl Who Knew too Much
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford: The Amber Gods and Other Stories
Ellery Queen: Calamity Town
Ruth Rendell: A New Lease of Death
Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase
Peter Robinson: Gallows View, Wednesday’s Child
Priscilla Royal: Tyrant of the Mind
James Runcie: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death
Sofie Ryan: The Whole Cat and Caboodle
Diane Setterfield: Once Upon a River (?)
Mary Stewart: This Rough Magic
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Julian Symons: The Colour of Murder, The Players and the Game, The Plot Against Roger Rider
Donna Tartt: The Secret History
Aimée & David Thurlo: Second Sunrise
Joel Townsley Rogers: The Red Right Hand
Various Authors: Magicats
Various Authors: Feline Felonies
Various Authors: Trinidad Noir
Patricia Wentworth: Lonesome Road
T.H. White: Darkness at Pemberley
R.D. Wingfield: A Killing Frost

 

TRULY TERRIFYING
Most likely:
Kathryn Harkup: Death by Shakespeare

Alternatives:
Preet Bharara: Doing Justice
Humphrey Carpenter: The Inklings
John Curran: Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks, Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making
Judith Flanders: The Invention of Murder
Aminatta Forna: The Devil That Danced on the Water
Neil Gaiman: The View from the Cheap Seats
Christopher Hibbert: The Borgias and Their Enemies
Sebastian Junger: The Perfect Storm
Ulrich Lampen (ed.): Die NS-Führung im Verhör
Adrienne Mayor: The Poison King
W. Stanley Moss: Ill Met by Moonlight
Terry Pratchett: A Slip of the Keyboard
Friedrich Reck-Malleczwewen: Tagebuch eines Verzeifelten
Philippe Sands: East West Street
Julian Symons: The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Works of Edgar Allen Poe
Bob Woodward: The Last of the President’s Men, The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat

 

AMATEUR SLEUTH
Most likely:
Anthony Gilbert: Death in Fancy Dress

or: Philip Gooden: The Salisbury Manuscript
or: Mary Kelly: The Spoilt Kill
or: Priscilla Royal: Tyrant of the Mind

Alternatives:
Margery Allingham: More Work for the Undertaker, Coroner’s Pidgin
Simon Beaufort: Deadly Inheritance
Lauren Belfer: City of Light
E.C. Bentley: Trent’s Own Case
Nicholas Blake: Minute for Murder, The Beast Must Die
Jan Burke: Eighteen
Christopher Bush: The Perfect Murder Case
John Dickson Carr: It Walks by Night, Castle Skull
Arthur Conan Doyle: The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow
Michael Connelly: Fair Warning
Lesley Cookman: Murder in Midwinter
Edmund Crispin: The Case of the Gilded Fly
Jeffery Deaver: The Bone Collector, The Cold Moon
Francis Durbridge: Paul Temple
Brian Flynn: The Billiard-Room Mystery
R. Austin Freeman: The Adventures of Dr. Thorndyke, The Cat’s Eye
Jacques Futrelle: The Thinking Machine at Work
Elizabeth Gaskell: Mary Barton
Elizabeth George: A Place of Hiding
Michael Gilbert: Death in Captivity
Robert Goddard: Sea Change
Sue Grafton: A Is for Alibi
Cyril Hare: Death Walks the Woods, Untimely Death
Carolyn G. Hart: Death on Demand
Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Anthony Horowitz: The Word is Murder, The House of Silk
Ianthe Jerrold: Let Him Lie
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Laura Lippman: By a Spider’s Thread
Philip MacDonald: X v. Rex, The List of Adrian Messenger
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
Orhan Pamuk: My Name Is Red
Robert B. Parker: The Godwulf Manuscript, School Days, Burt Reynods Reads: Chance / Hush Money / Small Vices
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice
Ellery Queen: Calamity Town, The Chinese Orange Mystery
Amanda Quick: The Girl Who Knew too Much
Clayton Rawson: The Great Merlini
Candace Robb: The Riddle of St. Leonards’
Gillian Roberts: Caught Dead in Philadelphia
Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase
S.J. Rozan: China Trade
James Runcie: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death
Sofie Ryan: The Whole Cat and Caboodle
Frank Schätzing: Tod und Teufel
Julie Smith: Louisiana Hotshot
Mary Stewart: This Rough Magic
Jay Stringer: Ways to Die in Glasgow
Barbara Vine: Asta’s Book
Edgar Wallace: The Four Just Men
Patricia Wentworth: Lonesome Road

 

RELICS AND CURIOSITIES
Most likely:
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies

Alternatives:
Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales
J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan
Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers
Sarah Dunant: Blood & Beauty (?)
Michael Ende: Die unendliche Geschichte
Neil Gaiman: Fragile Things
Philip Gooden: The Salisbury Manuscript
Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Stephen King: The Talisman
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Anne McCaffrey: Dragonflight
Robin McKinley: The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword
Naomi Novik: Spinning Silver
Orhan Pamuk: My Name Is Red
Christopher Paolini: Inheritance
Robert B. Parker: The Godwulf Manuscript
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice
Ian Rankin: Knots and Crosses
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter books
S.J. Rozan: China Trade
William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice
Michael J. Sullivan: Theft of Swords
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

GENRE: HORROR
Most likely:
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White

or: Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven & Annabelle Lee

Alternatives:
Marie Belloc Lowndes: The Lodger
R.D. Blackmore: Lorna Doone
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
Agatha Christie: Endless Night
J.J. Connington: Nordenholt’s Million
Stephen King: Pet Semetary, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Long Walk, The Talisman
Michael McDowell: Blackwater
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford: The Amber Gods and Other Stories
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

DYSTOPIAN HELLSCAPE
Most likely:
J.J. Connington: Nordenholt’s Million

Alternatives:
Ben Elton: Identity Crisis
Stephen King: The Long Walk, The Talisman
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
Ian Rankin: Westwind
James Tiptree Jr.: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

 

CENTER (RAVEN) SQUARE
Read: Agatha Christie: The Thirteen Problems

 

 

 

 

 

FULL MOON
Most likely:
W. Stanley Moss: Ill Met by Moonlight
or: Patricia Moyes: The Sunken Sailor

Alternatives:
Margery Allingham: Blackkerchief Dick (?)
Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales (?)
Jeffery Deaver: The Cold Moon
Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Mary Stewart: The Last Enchantment
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Barbara Vine: The Blood Doctor
Joan D. Vinge: Ladyhawke

 

THIRTEEN
Most likely:
Margery Allingham: More Work for the Undertaker
or: Terry Pratchett: Small Gods

 

 

 

 

  

Spell invoked: Bingo Flip with Lora — STONE COLD HORROR replaced by READ BY FLASHLIGHT OR CANDLELIGHT

Read: Colin Dexter: The Dead of Jericho

Ugh. I’m going to have to give this one some further thought — currently it’s looking like a candidate for the application of one of my spell cards.

(This is going to be was a spur-of-the-moment selection … it’s not like my book pool (of everything BUT horror) is in danger of running low, after all!

 

PSYCH
Most likely:
Nicholas Blake: The Beast Must Die

or: Vera Caspary: Laura
or: C.S. Forester: Payment Deferred or Plain Murder
or: Tana French: Broken Harbour
or: Patricia Highsmith: Ripley Under Ground
or Michael Jecks: The Chapel of Bones or The Mad Monk of Gidleigh
or: Donna Tartt: The Secret History

Alternatives:
Charles Warren Adams: The Notting Hill Mystery
Rennie Airth: River of Darkness
Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace, The Robber Bride
Francis Beeding: Death Walks in Eastrepps
Marie Belloc Lowndes: The Lodger
Jay Bonansinga: The Sleep Police
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
Christopher Bush: The Perfect Murder Case
John Dickson Carr: It Walks by Night, Castle Skull
Jane Casey: The Burning
Agatha Christie: Endless Night
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White
Michael Connelly: Fair Warning
J.J. Connington: Nordenholt’s Million
Lesley Cookman: Murder in Midwinter
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Jeffery Deaver: The Bone Collector, The Cold Moon
Emma Donoghue: The Sealed Letter
Sarah Dunant: Blood & Beauty
Joy Ellis: They Disappeared
Ben Elton: Identity Crisis, The First Casualty
Hugh Fraser: Harm
Neil Gaiman: Fragile Things
Elizabeth George: What Came Before He Shot her, This Body of Death, Believing the Lie
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Thomas Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Cyril Hare: Untimely Death
Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Alice Hoffman: The River King
Roy Horniman: Kind Hearts and Coronets (aka Israel Rank)
Anthony Horowitz: The Word is Murder, The House of Silk
Richard Hull: Excellent Intentions
P.D. James: Unnatural Causes, Devices and Desires, A Certain Justice
Ianthe Jerrold: Let Him Lie
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable
Hannah Kent: Burial Rites
Stephen King: Pet Semetary, Misery, Carrie, The Talisman
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
John Le Carré: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Tailor of Panama, Our Kind of Traitor
Dennis Lehane: Shutter Island
Philip MacDonald: X v. Rex, The List of Adrian Messenger
James MacManus: Black Venus
Val McDermid: Insidious Intent
Vonda N. McIntyre: Dreamsnake
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
Herman Melville: The Confidence-Man
Margaret Millar: An Air That Kills, Beast in View
Jo Nesbø: Macbeth
Anne Perry: Seven Dials, Southampton Row
Ellis Peters: The Devil’s Novice
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford: The Amber Gods and Other Stories
Steven Price: By Gaslight
Amanda Quick: The Girl Who Knew too Much
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ian Rankin: Knots and Crosses
Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase
Priscilla Royal: Tyrant of the Mind
Diane Setterfield: Once Upon a River
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Richard III
Julie Smith: Louisiana Hotshot
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Julian Symons: The Colour of Murder, The Players and the Game, The Plot Against Roger Rider
Aimée & David Thurlo: Second Sunrise
Joel Townsley Rogers: The Red Right Hand
C.J. Tudor: The Taking of Annie Thorne
Various Authors: Helsinki Noir
Various Authors: Los Angeles Noir
Various Authors: New Orleans Noir
Various Authors: Trinidad Noir
Barbara Vine: The Blood Doctor, Asta’s Book, A Dark-Adapted Eye
Minette Walters: Disordered Minds
Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests
Patricia Wentworth: Lonesome Road
Mary Westmacott: Giant’s Bread, The Burden
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
R.D. Wingfield: A Killing Frost
Oksana Zabuzhko: The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

 

DOOMSDAY
Most likely:
A.S. Byatt: Ragnarok

Alternatives:
J.J. Connington: Nordenholt’s Million
Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
Stephen King: The Long Walk, The Talisman
Anne McCaffrey: Dragonflight
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
Ian Rankin: Westwind
Candace Robb: The Riddle of St. Leonards’
James Tiptree Jr.: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
Catherynne M. Valente: Space Opera
Janny Wurts: Stormwarden

 

BLACK CAT
Most likely:
T.S. Eliot: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Alternatives:
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General (?)
Stephen King: Pet Semetary
Sofie Ryan: The Whole Cat and Caboodle
Saki: Tobermory (?)
Various Authors: Magicats
Various Authors: Feline Felonies

 

DIVERSE VOICES
Most likely:
Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings

Substitution:
Aimée & David Thurlo: Second Sunrise √

Alternatives:
Preet Bharara: Doing Justice
Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak!, Breath, Eyes, Memory
Aminatta Forna: The Devil That Danced on the Water
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (No one Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories)
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable
Orhan Pamuk: My Name Is Red
Oksana Zabuzhko: The Museum of Abandoned Secrets

 

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
Most likely:
Christianna Brand: Fog of Doubt
Brian Flynn: The Billiard-Room Mystery
Dennis Lehane: Shutter Island
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford: The Amber Gods and Other Stories

Substitution:
Patricia Moyes: The Sunken Sailor

Alternatives:
Margery Allingham: Blackkerchief Dick (?)
R.D. Blackmore: Lorna Doone
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
A.S. Byatt: Ragnarok
John Dickson Carr: It Walks by Night, The Hollow Man
Vera Caspary: Laura
Erskine Childers: The Riddle of the Sands (?)
Agatha Christie: Endless Night, The Pale Horse
Ann Cleeves: Red Bones
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White
Michael Connelly: The Night Fire (?)
Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak!
Jeffery Deaver: The Cold Moon
Charles Dickens: Bleak House
David Dodge: To Catch a Thief
Sarah Dunant: Blood & Beauty (?)
Francis Durbridge: Send for Paul Temple
Nino Haratischwili: Die Katze und der General
Thomas Hardy: The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Michael Jecks: The Butcher of St. Peter’s, The Mad Monk of Gidleigh
Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
Sebastian Junger: The Perfect Storm
Stephen King: Pet Semetary, Carrie
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
John Le Carré: The Tailor of Panama
Val McDermid: Insidious Intent
Medieval Murderers: The Lost Prophecies
W. Stanley Moss: Ill Met by Moonlight
Jo Nesbo: Macbeth
Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven & Annabelle Lee
Terry Pratchett: Small Gods, BBC Dramatizatons (Mort, Wyrd Sisters, Guards! Guards!, Eric, Small Gods, Night Watch)
Steven Price: By Gaslight
Christopher Priest: The Prestige (?)
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho
Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase
Diane Setterfield: Once Upon a River (?)
William Shakespeare: Macbeth, King Lear
Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped
Mary Stewart: The Last Enchantment
Bram Stoker: Dracula
Michael J. Sullivan: Theft of Swords
Aimée & David Thurlo: Second Sunrise
Joel Townsley Rogers: The Red Right Hand
Joan D. Vinge: Ladyhawke
Edgar Wallace: The Four Just Men, The Terror
Janny Wurts: Stormwarden

 

PAINT IT BLACK
Most likely:
James MacManus: Black Venus

Substitution:
Julie Smith (ed.) & Various Authors: New Orleans Noir

Alternatives:
Margery Allingham: More Work for the Undertaker, Coroner’s Pidgin, Blackkerchief Dick
Vera Caspary: Laura
Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Michael Connelly: The Black Echo
Hannah Crafts: The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak!, Breath, Eyes, Memory
Francis Durbridge: Send for Paul Temple
C.S. Forester: Payment Deferred
Aminatta Forna: The Devil That Danced on the Water
Jacques Futrelle: The Thinking Machine at Work
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (No one Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories)
Kathryn Harkup: Death by Shakespeare
Taylor Jenkins Reid: Daisy Jones and the Six
Marie-Elena John: Unburnable
Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian
George R.R. Martin (ed.), Various Authors: Dangerous Women
Mario Puzo: The Godfather
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ian Rankin: Knots and Crosses, Watchman
Michael J. Sullivan: Theft of Swords
Donna Tartt: The Secret History
Various Authors: Helsinki Noir
Various Authors: Los Angeles Noir
Various Authors: Trinidad Noir
T.H. White: Darkness at Pemberley

 

NEW RELEASE
Most likely:
Joy Ellis: They Disappeared

or: Roseanne A. Brown: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
or: Michael Connelly: Fair Warning

Alternative:
Martin Edwards (ed.), Various Authors: Setting Scores

 

 

GENRE: SUSPENSE
Most likely:
Patricia Highsmith: Ripley Under Ground

or: Patricia Highsmith: Carol
or: John Lanchester: Fragrant Harbour
or: Derek B. Miller: Norwegian by Night

Alternatives:
Ken Follett: Eye of the Needle
Maurice LeBlanc: Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes
John Le Carré: A Perfect Spy, The Little Drummer Girl, The Russia House, The Honorable School Boy, Call for the Dead, The Secret Pilgrim, or Absolute Friends
Mary Westmacott: Unfinished Portrait or Absent in the Spring

… or virtually any and all of the mysteries, horror and fantasy books listed as options for the other squares on my card.

 

DARKEST LONDON
Most likely:
Christianna Brand: Fog of Doubt

or: Charles Warren Adams: The Notting Hill Mystery
or: Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests

Alternatives:
Marie Belloc Lowndes: The Lodger
Nicholas Blake: Minute for Murder
Anthony Boucher: The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1
Christopher Bush: The Perfect Murder Case
John Dickson Carr: Death Watch
Jane Casey: The Burning
Agatha Christie: The Pale Horse
Rory Clements: Martyr
Arthur Conan Doyle: The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow
Michael Crichton: The Great Train Robbery
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist, Bleak House, David Copperfield
Emma Donoghue: The Sealed Letter
Francis Durbridge: Paul Temple — Complete Radio Collection, Volume 1
Ken Follett: A Dangerous Fortune
C.S. Forester: Plain Murder
Andrew Forrester: The Female Detective
R. Austin Freeman: The Adventures of Dr. Thorndyke, The Cat’s Eye
Robert Goddard: Sea Change
Anthony Horowitz: The Word is Murder, The House of Silk
P.D. James: A Certain Justice
Philip MacDonald: X v. Rex, The List of Adrian Messenger
Arthur Morrison: Martin Hewitt, Investigator; Detective Stories
John Mortimer: Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
Anne Perry: Seven Dials, Southampton Row, A Sudden Fearful Death
Steven Price: By Gaslight
Christopher Priest: The Prestige
Ruth Rendell: Portobello
John Rhode: The Paddington Mystery
Stella Rimington: Dead Line
Barbara Vine: The Blood Doctor, Asta’s Book
Edgar Wallace: The Four Just Men, The Terror
Oscar Wilde: Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

Crowdsourced BookList: A Shorthand Quickie Towards the 1001 (Part 2: Mysteries / Crime Writing)

Patricia Wentworth: Miss Silver series (The Clock Struck Twelve, Latter End)
Sharyn McCrumb: The Ballad of Frankie Silver
Georgette Heyer: Envious Casca
Martha Grimes: Man With a Load of Mischief, Old Fox Deceiv’d, Jerusalem Inn, Old Silent (Inspector Jury)
Elizabeth George: A Great Deliverance, For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley)
John Grisham: A Time to Kill
Rex Stout: Nero Wolfe series
John Gregory Dunne: True Confessions
Caroline Graham: Midsomer Murders
Ngaio Marsh: Roderick Alleyn series
Robert van Gulik: Judge Dee
Henning Mankell: Wallander (Faceless Killers)
Chandler: The Big Sleep / Hammet: The Maltese Falcon
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
Tana French: Faithful Place
John Dudley Ball: In the Heat of the Night
Cornell Woolrich: Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black
Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye
Colin Dexter: Morse series
John Dickson Carr: The Hollow Man
Anne Perry: The Cater Street Hangman, Christmas Novellas
Val McDermid: Karen Pirie series
Ellen Wilkerson: The Division Bell Mystery
Anthony Rolls: A Family Matter
Neil Simon, H.R.F. Keating: Murder by Death
Dennis Lehane: Kenzie & Gennaro series (Gone, Baby, Gone), Mystic River
James Ellroy: L.A. Confidential
George Pelecanos: Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series, D.C. Quartet
Walter Mosley: Devil in a Blue Dress
E.W. Hornung: Raffles
Graham Greene: The Third Man
Sara Paretsky: V.I. Warshawski (Guardian Angel, Tunnel Vision)
Bodies from the Library
British Library Crime Classics anthologies (esp. Christmas)
Christie: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

 

 

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Crowdsourced BookList: A Shorthand Quickie Towards the 1001 (Part 1)

While I’m working on completing the spreadsheet, for the time being I’m going to do a quickie and just list my “towards the 1001” additions — I’ll come back and comment on the individual books later; but there’s only so much I can accomplish at any given time.  So here goes: Part 1, General Fiction and Nonfiction:

FICTION
Molière: Le malade imaginaire
Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband
Savyon Liebrecht: The Banality of Love
A.A. Milne: Winnie the Pooh
Gustav Schwab: Griechische Götter- und Heldensagen / Stephen Fry: Mythos
Terry Pratchett: Discworld: Witches subseries
Alexander Pushkin: The Queen of Spades
Sharon Maas: Of Marriageable Age
Debbie Lee Wesselmann: Trutor and the Balloonist
Samantha Wilcoxson: Plantagenet Embers, esp. Faithful Traitor
Tony Riches: Owen Tudor
Robert Graves: I, Claudius / Claudius the God
Shusaku Endo: Shibumi
Margaret Edson: Wit

NONFICTION
Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts
James Herriot: All Creatures Great and Small
Miles Bredin: The Pale Abyssinian
Thoreau: Civil Disobedience / Emerson: Self-Reliance
Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Joyce Tyldesley: Daughters of Isis
Antonia Fraser: The Weaker Vessel
Mary S. Lovell: Bess of Hardwick
Carola Stern / Hannah Arendt: Rahel Varnhagen
Helen Keller: The Story of My Life
Beryl Markham: West With the Night
Lee: The Girl with Seven Names
Anne Frank: Diary
Hans J. Massaquoi: Destined to Witness
Milton S. Mayer: They Thought They Were Free
Eugen Kogon: Der SS-Staat (The Theory and Practice of Hell)
Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
Richard Goldstone: For Humanity
Louise Arbour: War Crimes and the Culture of Peace
Clea Koff: The Bone Woman
Joachim Gauck: Freiheit
Kofi Annan: We, the Peoples (Nobel Peace Prize acceptance address)
Willy Brandt: Erinnerungen (My Life in Politics)
C.S. Lewis: A Grief Observed
Stephen King: On Writing
Smithsonian Book of Books
Will & Ariel Durant: The History of Civilization (series)

 

 

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Crowdsourced: More Books with a Difference — Fiction

You asked, Moonlight Reader?  To quote from one of my additional entries below:  “As you wish …”

Without any further ado:

Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
When Lillelara added A Place of Greater Safety to her list, I could have kicked myself —  because Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell books were definitely among the most impressive books I’ve read in the past couple of years.  (A Place of Greater Safety as well, but the Cromwell duology even more so.)  They’ve changed my perception of Cromwell from that of a ruthless schemer to an incredibly complex and astute person (and politician): perhaps still not somebody I’d have wanted to be around all the time, but definitely someone for whom I’m caring from afar and back across several centuries.  And I’m both looking forward to and dreading the release of book 3 (now apparently scheduled for 2020).

Ben Jonson: The Alchemist
Speaking of scheming, the best evidence (if such a thing was needed) that get-rich-quick schemes are not the invention of the likes of Ponzi, P.T. Barnum, Madoff et al. — they’ve always been around.  A ribald, laugh-out-loud satire that’s best experienced on the stage rather than on the page … Philosopher’s stone, anybody?

Ellis Peters: Brother Cadfael series
MbD has already listed this series’s first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones, but really, the whole series is absolutely canon for me.  Peters condenses the complexities of the first English Civil War down to installments of roughly 200 pages, and she does so not only with great knowledge and insight but also with great empathy, through the eyes of one of literary history’s most engaging and worldly-wise characters.

Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night
And it’s the exact reverse here: I’ll be the first to get behind anybody’s adding all of Sayers’s writing to the list by way of a blanket reference, but the simple fact is that you haven’t really read Sayers until you’ve read Gaudy Night.  It’s the crowning achievement not only of her Lord Peter Wimsey series (and Wimsey / Vane subseries) but of all of her writing, not only until then — no wonder she was essentially done writing mysteries after this one.  MR rightly asked yesterday how come nobody has added Gaudy Night by name to the list, yet … it shall be so no longer!

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express, Murder at the Vicarage, Crooked House, Witness for the Prosecution, and The Mousetrap
We already have “all of Christie” (minus Passenger to Frankfurt) and several individual titles on the list, and I swear I’ve tried to really keep a lid on things, but … look, I just don’t think I want to look at a crowdsourced BL list that doesn’t at least contain the above-named books as well.

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
My personal tetralogy of must-read dystopias consists of George Orwell’s 1984, Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  Orwell’s and Atwood’s books are already on the list.  I’d (very grudgingly) be willing to live without  Huxley (even though the opening chapter alone should send a chill down everybody’s spine, particularly in light of the recent advances in genetic engineering).  But Fahrenheit 451 just has to be included — it’s never been more relevant than today, and it completely blows my mind that it was written in the 1950s.

Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger
I was initially going to include this in my first list, but took it off again after seeing that it was on the infamous published “1001 books” list.  Given that we’ve since clarified that this is not necessarily an exclusionary criterium, I’m happily listing it again: This is one of the funniest, most acidly satiric tough-love letters to one’s own country (packaged as a letter to a visiting foreign potentate) that you’ll ever come across.  Your laughter may be sticking in your throat a couple of times when you realize that you’ve just exposed your vocal chords to a razor blade hovering a nano-inch right above them, but even that won’t keep you from laughing out loud again and again on the very next occasion.

Louis de Bernières: Birds Without Wings
As book lists go, an exercise in contrasts vis-à-vis The White Tiger:  Just as panoramic in scope, just as searing to your various and assorted body parts, though in this instance, your guts (individually and collectively): a foray into early 20th century Turkish history as showcased in one particular community and by the friendship of two boys; Turkish-Greek (Muslim-Christian Orthodox) relations, Galllipoli, women’s roles, displacement, diaspora and all.  As gorgeously written as utterly devastating.  (Some of the characters, I’m told, resurface in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — which I’ve yet to read, though.)

T.C. Boyle: The Tortilla Curtain
Like Adiga’s, Boyle’s sword is satire first and foremost, but there is a good deal of anger here, too:  Upper middle class gated community meets illegal Mexican immigrants — the quintessential Southern Californian culture clash.  This book, too, has never felt more relevant than today.

Edna O’Brien: In the Forest and Down by the River
O’Brien caused a stir and got herself onto her country’s censorship index with her Country Girls trilogy (and given 1960s’ morals, at least in  Ireland, that sort of figures), but it’s these two books by her that have left an indelible impression on me; on account of their topics (the prohibition of abortion — even in cases of incestual rape — in Down by the River, and a serial killing spree in In the Forest) and even more so because I’ve never before or since seen topics like these discussed in prose like O’Brien’s, with a brutal and yet lyrical immediacy that grabs you by the throat and never lets you go.

Bernard MacLaverty: Cal
If you only ever read one book on the (Northern) Irish “Troubles”, make it this one — simple as that.  Short and profoundly heartbreaking, and if afterwards you still don’t have a sense of what’s (been) going on there, you never will.

Heinrich Böll: Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum) and Irish Journal
Böll’s two sides: One, an angry polemic on one woman’s loss of privacy, employment, security, and pretty much everything else as a result of a vicious tabloid campaign following on the heels of her being falsely accused of being a member of a gang of terrorists; the other, a humorous, upbeat and downright serene account of his life in Ireland (or at least, some of its episodes).  Böll at his best in both instances, and taken together they showcase both the breadth and the depth of his writing.

Bertolt Brecht: Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui)
Brecht is best known for The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and, perhaps, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, but I’m not aware of any play that satirizes a demagogue’s rise to absolute power as trenchantly as this one, set in Chicago and written after Brecht had emigrated to the U.S. (There is no question that Arturo Ui is meant to be Hitler.)  Like all plays, obviously best experienced on the stage; and I swear Ian McKellen took more than a page out of Brecht’s book when transposing Richard III to a fascist version of 1930s Britain in his 1995 movie — characterization, set decorations and all.

Su Tong: Raise the Red Lantern (aka Wives and Concubines)
The first narrative actually by a Chinese author set in the world that I had previously only known through Pearl S. Buck’s novels; and it completely broke my heart.  (So did the movie starring Gong Li.)  It’s not easy being a rich man’s young minor concubine … in fact, it may clean drive you insane.

Amy Tan: The Kitchen God’s Wife
The Joy Luck Club is a good book, but it’s here, in her second novel, that Tan really gets up, close and uncomfortably personal with married life in early 20th century China.  Like most of her writing, partially informed by her own family’s experience, which adds ever so much more immediacy to the storytelling.

Colleen McCullough: The Thorn Birds
People may have watched the TV series for the romance (and, um, for Richard Chamberlain), but I’ll take any bets you like that you will read the book for the history, the sweeping canvas of Australia, and all of the characters — though there is, of course, only one Mary Carson, and that’s probably a good thing, too.

Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind
Speaking of romance tearjerkers, though … Look, I know, it’s racist to the core and Ashley is the wettest of wet towels (even if he’s played by Leslie Howard in the movie).  But Scarlett is a complete and utter badass, and that alone means she has every right to be on a list bearing that very word in its title; Rhett and Scarlett have more memorable lines of dialogue between the two of them than a whole other library’s worth of romance novels, and Mellie almost certainly is one of literary history’s most underappreciated characters.  (Also, Rhett Butler will of course always be Clark Gable.)

Elizabeth von Arnim: The Solitary Summer
MbD listed this book’s prequel, Elizabeth and her German Garden, but I think the two should be read together; and though I haven’t read everything by von Arnim yet I’ve read enough to know that her books are absolutely part of my personal canon.  Charming, witty, here also frequently contemplative — and way ahead of her time in terms of her insights on society.  (Also, there’s an obvious reason why she nicknamed her husband The Man of Wrath.)

John Mortimer: Rumpole of the Bailey
This has to be one of very few examples of storylines first developed for a TV series later being turned into book form and making their central character an icon both on the page and on screen.  Rumpole will always look like Leo McKern to me (it’s no coincidence that some of the book covers are cartoons mimicking him in the role, either); and I’ve learned more about common law criminal trials and about the differences between British and American criminal procedure than from many a textbook.  Also, the manifold ways in which Mortimer kept Rumpole from actually “taking silk” (i.e., becoming a QC — queen’s counsel — in his own right and allowed to first-chair trials), and thus keeping him safely in the disdain of his wife Hilda, aka “she who must be obeyed”, never cease to astound me.

Peter May: The Blackhouse
I’m fairly late to May’s books and, based on what I’ve read to date, I’d have no hesitation in blindly recommending the entire Lewis Trilogy and everything else he’s written that is set on the Hebrides as well.  As it is, I’m going to content me with one of the two books I actually have read so far, the first installment of the Lewis Trilogy.  (The other book by him I’ve read is The Coffin Road, which is every bit as good.)  Darkly atmospheric, gripping; just all around phantastic writing.

James D. Doss: White Shell Woman and Grandmother Spider / Tony Hillerman: Leaphorn & Chee series
Two  series focusing on Native American cops and making the most of their Southwestern U.S. setting and the culture and mythology of the Native people at their core: Hillerman’s Navajo mysteries, I’ve been aware of for a long time (though not quite from the time of its actual beginning), but Doss’s Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon, his best buddy sheriff Scott Paris and his shaman aunt Daisy Perika are fairly new to me, and boy am I glad I finally discovered them!  I’ve read all of Hillerman’s mysteries — those by him, not the sequels by his daughter, that is — and love (or at least like) most of them well enough to recommend the entire series; my favorites are probably some of the first books after Leaphorn and Chee were first lumped together (after having initially worked alone in three books each): Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time, Coyote Waits, and Sacred Clowns, as well as the final book written by Tony Hillerman himself, Skeleton Man. — By contrast, I still have quite a bit of catching up yet to do with Mr. Doss, but he’s definitely a new favorite already, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of my journey through his catalogue.  Of the books I’ve read so far, Grandmother Spider and White Shell Woman are far and away the best.

John Le Carré: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes — who will spy on a spy; who’ll guard the guardians?  The eternal question, ever since rulers first figured out that it might be worthwhile keeping tabs on their friends and enemies, abroad as well as at home (and also keep tabs on the people keeping those tabs); and nobody before or since nailed it the way Le Carré does here.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold may have been his breakout success (and for a reason), but to me, in setting, characters, story arc and everything else, Le Carré’s writing will always come down to this one book.  Even Stella Rimington (former head of MI 5) grudgingly acknowledged that he gets it right … and even if he had written no other book at all, his would still be one of the most important contributions to the genre — and to a wider understanding how secret services operate –, for this one book alone.

Edgar Allan Poe: The Masque of the Red Death
Heaven knows I’m no horror fan, and Poe creeped the heck out of me when we read The Tell-Tale Heart way back when in high school.  While I acknowledge his mad genius, I admire some, but not all of his writing (The Black Cat is not a story I ever want to go near again in my life, and the Dupin Tales, though of course groundbreaking in terms of genre, leave me somewhat unimpressed from a storytelling perspective); but you’ll have to look long and hard to find another as spine-chilling portrayal, in the brief span of a short story at that, of a society literally partying itself to death in complete oblivion of the peril it has conjured right into its midst.

Stephen King: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
Even more than Poe, Stephen King is able to creep me out like nobody’s business, but even if you’re not into horror, if there’s one piece of fiction writing by him that I think everybody should read it is this one, for its middle finger salute to adverse fate if nothing else.  (Also, Edmond Dantès has nothing on Andy Dufresne.  And I’m saying this as a big fan of The Count of Monte Cristo.)

James Goldman: The Lion in Winter
Modern TV has discovered the Tudors as soap opera material (and there’s a point to that, obviously), but if there’s one family in the centuries-long history of the (immediately preceding) Plantagenet dynasty, it’s Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their sons, not coincidentally known as “the devil’s brood”.  If you don’t believe me, watch this play … or the movie based on it.  It gives a whole new meaning to the term “family feud” — and this all actually happened!

William Goldman: The Princess Bride
This, on the other hand, is a fairy tale.  (Or is it?)  Well, at least the best bits are; “S. Morgenstern” my foot.  This one is of course worth it for the one-liners alone (as is, again and even more so, the movie — the Goldman brothers really had a run in Hollywood).  And seriously, how can we possibly have a “favorite 500” crowdsourced list without this book on it?

Jules Verne: Mich(a)el Strogoff (aka The Tsar’s Courier)
One of the first adventure novels I was seriously hooked on; a ripping great yarn set in Tsarist Russia.  It helped that there was a TV adaptation when I was in my most impressionable years in terms of hero worship, but who hasn’t ever wanted to be chosen to carry a secret message from the Tsar’s Moscow court all the way to Irkutsk in Siberia, fight bandits and Tartars on the way and have all sorts of other adventures (romantic, with a killer partner, included)?

Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped
Before there was Michael Strogoff (for me), there was David Balfour.  Replace Russia by Scotland, and you had me at “adventure”:  Jekyll and Hyde came later, but neither it nor The Treasure Island has ever occupied even remotely the place in my heart that is firmly reserved for the adventures of David Balfour.  Als, note to Mr. Dickens: See, I really like your larger than life characters, but this little book is proof positive that you can deliver this sort of story in the space of a little less than 300 pages and even include a sea voyage and some nifty swashbuckling.  It doesn’t have to be a 950-page brick like Nicholas Nickleby

Giovanni Guareschi: The Little World of Don Camillo
Another book that I discovered via its TV adaptation, starring French comedian Fernandel as Don Camillo: The daily feuds of the local Catholic priest and his friend and rival, communist mayor Peppone, in small-town post-WW II Italy.  Cheeky, funny and an all-around feel-good book — and always with an upbeat, hands-on solution to whatever problem has arisen in the course of the narrative (even if occasionally a somewhat … unusual one).  If only all politics would work like that, village setting or not!

Francis Hodgson Burnett: Little Lord Fauntleroy
Yes, it’s sentimental (then again, so are The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, which tend to get somewhat more play when it comes to “must read” lists), and I know it’s not even a Christmas novel as written — it was only tweaked that way in the TV adaptation starring Alec Guinness and Ricky Schroder –, but it’s been one of my feel-good go-to books, around Christmas especially, since practically time immemorial.

T.S. Eliot: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
Most people know it because it’s provided all except one of the song lyrics and feline characters for the musical Cats, but seriously, people — whether or not you are a cat person yourself, just read it, laugh and enjoy.  Eliot wrote this for his godchildren, and he obviously had a ball.  He also knew cats really, really well.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Letters from Father Christmas
Tolkien’s letters to his children, responding to their letters and wish lists to Santa Claus (Father Christmas) — do yourselves a favor and get the hardcover edition, which is illustrated with Tolkien’s own drawings.  This is where The Hobbit came from … and probably parts of Lord of the Rings as well.

Otfried Preußler: Die kleine Hexe (The Little Witch)
Otfried Preußler, in Germany, is sort of Frank L. Baum, Dr. Seuss and Lewis Carroll rolled into one — he is, or used to be, one of the most popular children’s authors for decades.  Many of his stories were inspired by the myths and legends of his native Sudeten region (today: chiefly in Poland and the Czech Republic); including this one, which has always been my absolute favorite.  Talk about a middle finger to adversity ending … —  Preußler was also the first author to whom I ever wrote a fan letter … in first grade, when I had barely learned to read and write!

Bill Watterson: The Complete Calvin & Hobbes / René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo: Asterix the Gaul
Hobbes forever. — And you couldn’t grow up in Europe when I was a kid without knowing about (and loving) Asterix and his village of crazy Gauls.

 

And since books that are on “those lists” are no longer absolutely taboo, I’m hereby also offering the following additions from the “I know they’re on all of ‘those lists’, but they’re canon to me and there’s nothing to be done about that” department:

Jane Austen: Mansfield Park and Persuasion
All of Austen, really, but if I have to pick individual books, it’s always going to be Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.  Since Moonlight Reader has already added P&P, I’m obviously going to go with the other two.  Of course you can’t help but love Lizzy Bennet (and Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy, period), but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Austen’s quieter heroines; not least because they’re having so much more of a hard time sticking to their guns and they persevere nevertheless.

Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
Not the only badass among the Brontë sisters’ heroines, but however much I may like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Jane still takes the cake.  We first met when I was barely a teenager — I guess that kind of lengthy acquaintanceship is just a bit too long to upend, even by charracters from the pen of another member of the same family of writers.

Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford and North & South
It’s not hard to see how Gaskell and the Brontës (especially Charlotte) were friends.  But where CB kept things essentially to a personal level, Gaskell took it to a wider scope (also, I can’t read North and South without seeing Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton).  Her greatest jewel, though, is Cranford and the microcosm of its village life — nowhere else does Gaskell’s wit and insight into human nature sparkle as much as there.  Besides, how can you resist a book about a village where men are merely tolerated and nobody really dare dispute that women are the infinitely superior sex?

William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet
For obvious reasons I’m tempted to list half his catalogue, but even if you’re not into Elizabethan theatre at all, the three plays by the Bard that you absolutely ought to see are Macbeth, Richard III, and Much Ado About Nothing.  Since Tea, Stitch, Read thankfully already listed Much Ado, I’m going to stick with the other two — plus my personal favorite (after many meanderings), Hamlet.  Nobody does the ruin of a human being — and his complete entourage — as the consequence of a single destructive character flaw like Shakespeare, and these three plays are among his very best.

Alexandre Dumas (père): The Three Musketeers
We already have The Count of Monte Cristo on the list, and I totally agree with that of course, but I met M. Dantès at around the same time as D’Artagnan and his friends, and they’ve been an item in my mind ever since.  Besides, Artos, Portos and Aramis totally rule at wisecracking while swashbuckling.  So onto the list they go!

John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck wasn’t on my high school curriculum, and that was perhaps fortunate, as no teacher had the opportunity to ruin him for me and I could discover him all by myself and in my own time.  My two “must read” entries by him are East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath; since we already have East of Eden, obviously I’m going to go with his pull-no-punches, kick-in-the-gut Depression Era masterpiece.

Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Williams named his fictional world “Dragon Country” and described it as an uninhabitable place of pain that is nevertheless inhabited — that’s really all you need to know about his plays.  These two hit me the hardest by far.

Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence
Wharton won the Pulitzer for this novel, and even if perhaps she’d already deserved one a lot earlier, there’s no question that it’s justified here.  Social conventions were never so stifling, scheming never so vicious — and all hidden under a perfect, completely scratch-proof, shining veneer.  In equal parts chilling and heartbreaking.

Virginia Woolf: Orlando and A Room of One’s Own
The first of these, Woolf’s tongue in cheek but heartfelt love letter to Vita Sackville-West (also one of the most approachable among her novels), the other one her feminist manifesto.  It’s hard, indeed, not to recognize both Sackville-West and her beloved Knole in Orlando‘s title character and key setting, and this is one of the few books where both time travel and a gender swap really work for me.  A Room of One’s Own, on the other hand, contains the famous “anonymous poet(ess)” quote, but it shouldn’t be reduced to that — it’s really quite a trenchant analysis of the history of women’s literature, and much of it still rings very true today.

Aristophanes: Lysistrata
A sex strike to prevent a war … maybe we should revive that idea, what do you think?

Sophocles / Jean Anouilh: Antigone
Antigone has been one of my heroines ever since I first came across her story, and not even a French teacher who almost managed to ruin Camus for me (whom, in turn, I had to rediscover on my own after having graduated from high school) could muddy those particular waters.  In fact, in a way I’ve even come to love Anouilh’s version of the play just a tiny bit more than Sophocles’s original.

Jean-Paul Sartre: Huis Clos (No Exit)
L’enfer, c’est les autres — hell is other people.  I didn’t have to see this play to form that particular conviction, but Sartre really nails it — and all he needs is three characters and a stage set with three chairs and a locked door.

George Orwell: Animal Farm
Yes, it’s manipulative to the nth degree, yet, “all pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others” and “four legs good, two legs bad” are far and away no longer applicable to the communist dictatorships that Orwell aimed this at.  A worthy companion to his masterpiece 1984 (which is already on our list anyway).

Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go
Ishiguro’s big theme is the unreliability of memory — and indeed, nobody does unreliable narrators like him.  He deserved the Lit Nobel for these two novels alone.

Thomas Mann: Doktor Faustus, as well as Mario und der Zauberer (Mario and the Magician) / Klaus Mann: Mephisto / Heinrich Mann: Der Untertan (Man of Straw, aka The Loyal Subject)
The Mann family’s individual and collective takedown of the Nazi regime and the society that made the Nazis’ rise to power possible.  Thomas Mann’s seducer (in the novel) and magician (in the short story; in both instances, an obvious parable for Hitler — with the novel’s Faustus standing in for the German people), aided and abetted by charismatic opportunists like Klaus Mann’s Mephisto, who mesmerized a people conditioned for centuries to obey and even slavishly adore authority without question, like the eponymous protagonist of Heinrich Mann’s novel.

E.M. Remarque: Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)
In a sense, the prequel to the above-mentioned Mann family’s writings: the story of the lost generation bamboozled into joyfully rushing into the slaughter that would be WW I.  This will make you angry, and it will also break your heart (several times).

And with that, I’ll leave it for the time being … nonfiction additions (if we still have space for them) to follow tomorrow!

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1906574/crowdsourced-more-books-with-a-difference-fiction

Books With a Difference

Responding to Moonlight Reader’s “call for papers (= titles / authors)” — there are quite a number of excellent lists out there already; anyway, here’s my contribution … or a first draft, at least.  Links go to my reviews (or status updates / summary blog posts / author pages) to the extent I’ve posted any.

Not necessarily in this (or any particular) order:

Dorothy L. Sayers: Are Women Human?
Sayers didn’t like to be called a feminist, because she was adverse to ideology for ideology’s sake, but nobody makes the case for equality and for the notion that a person’s qualification for a job depends not (at all) on their sex but solely — gasp — on their qualifications and experience more eloquently than she did in these two speeches.  (I gave up on the attempt to review this little book when I realized that I was basically fawn-quoting half its contents, but the BL book page lists two very good reviews by others.)  Sayers’s crime fiction is legendary, of course, but she’d totally be short-changed if she were ever reduced to that … even to a brilliant book like Gaudy Night (which transforms into fiction much of what she addresses here).  This should be taught and listed right alongside Virginia Woolf’s Room of One’s Own and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Moderata Fonte: The Worth of Women
If you thought women in the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance didn’t know how to speak up for themselves, think again.  There’s Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, Christine de Pizan … and then, there is 16th century Venetian Moderata Fonte.  The Worth of Women is, essentially, a witty, pithy conversation among several women preparing one of them (the daughter of another one of their number) for her wedding, and it covers everything from women’s daily life and struggle (as such, but in particular vis-à-vis the stupidity and inferiority of the other sex, which without any justification whatsoever has been declared “superior”), their wishes, desires, etc.  The young bride, who actually doesn’t much feel like marrying to begin with, is consoled over the fact that she really has to (the only alternative being the cloister) by the assurance that every effort has gone into finding her a good husband (i.e., the best specimen from an inherently inferior selection), and receives manifold advice on how to get around him.  The whole text reads refreshingly contemporary, very much to the point — and in part, it is just laugh-out-loud funny.  (“Moderata Fonte” was, incidentally, the pen name of a lady actually named Modesta Pozzo, which means … exactly the same thing: Modest Fountain.  [Or Fountain of Modesty.]  And yes, I probably should review this book at some point, too — God knows, I added enough quotes from it on Goodreads back in the day …)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun
One of my highlights of 2018 and the book that (in large parts) inspired my personal “Around the World in 80 Books” challenge; an insightful, heartbreaking, unflinching, and just all around amazingly written look at the 1960s’ Biafra war, post-independence Nigerian society and the human condition as such, by one of today’s most brilliant writers, period.  Eye-opening in so many ways.  (And yes, admittedly this one is on several of those published “must read” lists, too, but in this one instance I don’t care.  This really is a book that everybody should read.)

Aminatta Forna: The Memory of Love
My Half of a Yellow Sun of 2019; the book which alone would have made that “Around the World” challenge a winner even if I’d hate every other book I’ve so far read for it (which I don’t).  Trauma, fractured lives and society, love, betrayal, war and peace in post-independence Sierra Leone (1960s-70s and present day).  Forna is Adichie’s equal in every respect and then some.  For a bonus experience, get the audio version narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith: He transforms a book that is extraordinary already in its own right from a deeply atmospheric and emotional experience into visceral goosebumps material.

Xinran: The Good Women of China
Before she emigrated to the UK, Xinran was a radio presenter in Nanjing: Inspired by the letters she received by women listeners, she started a broadcast series dedicated to their stories, some of which she tells in this book.  Her broadcasts gave Chinese women — firmly under the big collective male thumb for centuries and still considered beings of a lower order today — a voice that they hadn’t had until then; now her books give non-Chinese readers a pespective on an aspect of Chinese society that most definitely doesn’t figure in the pretty picture of a modern high-tech society that China would love to present to the world.

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Longstocking and Lindgren’s Wartime Diaries (“A World Gone Mad”)
Pippi Longstocking taught me, when I had barely learned to read, that girls can go anywhere and do anything they set their minds to. — Lindgren’s wartime diaries are tinged with the same sense of humor and profound humanity as her children’s books, in addition to containing a spot-on analysis of the political situation in the years between 1939 and 1945 and many insights into her daily life.

Lion Feuchtwanger: Die Jüdin von Toledo (Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo, aka A Spanish Ballad)
A bit hard to come by in translation, but absolutely worthwhile checking out (and an indisputable evergreen classic in the original German): Set during the medieval Spanish Reconquista (the era when Christian princes and armies were wresting the Spanish peninsula back from the Muslims), in Toledo, during a phase when Christians, Jews and Muslims were living together peacefully in Castile; the true-life story of — married — (Christian) King Alfonso of Castile and his love for a young woman of Jewish faith.  Lots of food for thought on multicultural societies, tolerance, broadmindedness and responsible choices that applies today just as much as it did then.  I first read this decades ago and it has stayed with me ever since.

Iain Pears: The Dream of Scipio
More on multicultural societies, tolerance, conscience and choices; set in the Avignon area of Provence during three distinct historical periods: the end / breakdown of the Roman empire, the medieval schism of the Catholic church (when the popes were residing in Avignon), and the Nazi occupation of France.  All three periods are linked by a mysterious manuscript, and in all three periods the (male) protagonists are guided by a woman who is their superior in wisdom and who becomes their inspiration.  Another one of those books that have stayed with me for years and years.

Wallace Stegner: Remembering Laughter
MR mentioned Angle of Repose, and I’d agree that is Stegner’s best novel (it’s also far and away my favorite book by him); but I do also have a soft spot for his very first novella, written as his (winning) entry in a writing competition, in which all of the hallmarks of his fiction are already present, most importantly the backdrop of his beloved Western Plains and the topic of people’s isolation from each other (even when they’re ostensibly in company).

Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)
100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera may be the books by García Márquez that the creators of those “must read” lists tell you to read (and I don’t exactly disagree), but this brief novella set in a small Columbian seaside town is every bit as worthwhile of notice: A deconstruction, in a mere 100 pages and in reverse chronology, of an honor killing and the society that has allowed it to happen.  Completely and utterly spine-chilling.

Salman Rushdie: Joseph Anton
Actually, any nonfiction by Rushdie (for my money, most of his fiction writing as well, but part of that is on “those lists” anyway, and I know Rushdie’s style of fiction writing isn’t everybody’s cup of tea).  I’ve read some of his essays, but not enough of them yet to make for a full collection, so I’ll go with the one nonfiction book of his that I actually have read cover to cover: His memoir of the fatwā years.  Unapologetically personal and subjective, even if oddly — and to me, jarringly — written in the third instead of the first person; but definitely one of my must-read books of the recent years and one that I have every expectation will stand the test of time.

For completion’s sake: His essays are collected in two volumes entitled Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 and  Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002.  I’m hoping to complete both of them, too, some day soon.

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana and John Le Carré: The Tailor of Panama
Two takes on essentially the same topic — corruption, Western espionage and military shenanigans in Central America –, both redolent with satire and featuring a bumbling spy against his own will as their MC.  I’m not a fan of either author’s entire body of work, but I find both of their takes on this particular topic equally irresistible … and unfortunately, they seem to have regained consiiderable topicality in recent years.

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: Good Omens
By which I do not mean the recent TV adaptation but the actual book, as well as (by way of a companion piece) the full cast BBC audio adaptation.  Armageddon will never again be as much fun — but Pratchett and Gaiman wouldn’t be Pratchett and Gaiman if there weren’t a sharp-edged undercurrent, too: Unlike the TV adaptation with its squeaky-clean looks, the book does not shy away from taking an uncomfortably close look at religion and society.  And then, of course, there’s Crowley and Aziraphale …

(Honorary entry from Pratchett’s Discworld series: Hogfather.  Just because.)

Michael Connelly: Harry Bosch Series
One of the two ongoing crime fiction series that I’m still following religiously and have been, from very early on.  Connelly nails L.A., to the point that it becomes a character in its own right in his novels rather than merely a backdrop.  Harry Bosch is a Vietnam vet, your quintessential curmudgeonly loner with a big heart, fiercely loyal (motto: “Everybody counts or nobody counts”) and hates corruption, grift and nepotism in the LAPD more than anything else.  One of my all-time early favorite entries in the series is book no. 6, Angels Flight (which deals with the Rodney King riots and their fallout), but really, Connelly just keeps getting better and better.  The TV series starring Titus Welliver as Harry makes for great companion material, but to me the books will always come first.  (Even more so now that some of them are actually narrated by Mr. Welliver in the audio versions.)

Ian Rankin: Inspector Rebus Series
The other long-lasting crime fiction series that I’ve been following since pretty much forever; for similar reasons as Connelly’s Harry Bosh series: Edinburgh is a character of its own rather than mere backdrop; John Rebus (ex-S.A.S.) is Harry Bosch’s brother in spirit in virtually every respect — except that Bosch has a daughter, whereas Rebus has (or had, until recently) his booze — and like Connelly, Rankin does not shy away from addressing the social and political topics of the day in his novels.  For me, Rankin had found his Rebus legs, oddly enough, also in book 6 of the series, Mortal Causes (which deals with the “white supremacy” /  neofascist brand of Scottish nationalism), but he, too, just keeps getting better and better.

P.D. James: Inspector Dalgliesh Series
From the waning years of the Silver Age of detective fiction (post-WWII through the 1960s) all the way to the New Millennium, James was the reigning queen of British mystery writers, and for a reason.  Her friend (and rival for those honors) Ruth Rendell may have been more prolific, but every so often gave in to populism and cliché — not so James.  She was unequaled at setting a scene and creating a suspenseful atmosphere, and in the best tradition of the Golden Age masters, her mysteries always turned on psychology first and foremost.  Means and opportunity were important, but it was humans and their relationshp that she was chiefly interested in.   I have no doubt that her books will stand the test of time just as well as those of Conan Doyle, Christie, Sayers and their generation of mystery writers.

Joy Ellis: Their Lost Daughters
The second book in Ellis’s Jackman and Evans series; an absolute stunner in every single way.  Mike Finn and Jennifer(‘s Books) weren’t that enchanted with Ellis’s other series (Nikki Galena), and I have only read one other book by her so far (Jackman & Evans no. 1), but be that as it may, this one is completely worth it and then some.  Set in the Fen Country, dripping with dark atmosphere, with a likeable and fully rounded pair of detectives as MCs — and a veritable jaw-dropper of a finale.  Oh, and the audio version (of the entire series) is narrated by Richard Armitage.

Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death
New Fen Country crime fiction series no. 2, and every bit as atmospheric and well-written as Ellis’s Their Lost Daughters.  This is the first book in the DC Smith series, which centers on a formerly higher-ranking policeman who has chosen to stay on the job as a detective sergeant (rather than go into retirement), so as to be able to actually do hands-on crime solving work instead of being shackled to his desk dealing with police administration.  Again, highly recommended, and I am very much looking forward to continue reading the series. — With this series and those by Ellis, I’m also really, really happy to have found not one but several new series set in a part of Britain that has not yet been written to death.

Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Series
I am not anywhere near a reader of modern cozies (and though Golden Age mysteries are often lumped into that category, to my mind few of them really belong there) — I quickly get bored by trademark kinks and similar forms of repetitive humor, and I often find their plotlines, characters and settings unconvincing, shallow and overly sugarcoated.  Donna Andrews is the exception to the rule: I probably still wouldn’t read too many of her books back to back, but visits to the crazy but comfortable world of her small-town Virginia have become a Christmas reading tradition in the last couple of years that I’ve really come to look forward to.  Favorite entries to date: Duck the Halls, The Nightingale Before Christmas, and Six Geese A’Slayin’.

Jennifer Worth: Call the Midwife
Midwifery in London’s East End, in the mid-20th century.  I’m not even a mother myself, but man, I’ve never been more grateful for the advances in modern medicine than after reading this book.  Well, and other social advances obviously.  Gotta love the Sisters, though …

 

Jared Diamond: Collapse and The World Until Yesterday
Diamond won a Pulitzer for Guns, Germs and Steel, but these two books (particularly: Collapse) are, to my mind, much more relevant to the world in which we’re living today; in analyzing both the state of our modern, globalized world (and its chances for a sustainable future) and the lessons to be learned from past societies: those whose choices led them to failure as much as those whose choices led to success and long-term survival.  Diamond is anything but a prophet of disaster, but being a scientist, he cannot and of course does not shrink from simple, indisputable facts and realities.  At no time have voices like his needed to be listened to and taken seriously as much as today.

  Full disclosure: I know Jared Diamond personally; he’s a longtime friend of my mother’s.  That doesn’t however impact my belief that his voice, and those of scientists like him, need to be heard now more than ever.

Stanley Wells, James Shapiro, Tarnya Cooper and Marcia Pointon: Searching for Shakespeare
Hard to believe this started life as a National Portrait Gallery exhibition catalogue, but it did: A lavishly, gorgeously illustrated, supersized, book-length (240 p.) showcasing of Shakespeare’s life and times; companion to the 2006 exhibition on the NPG’s examination of the authenticity of six portraits then believed to be of the Bard (of which only one, the Chandos Portrait, in addition to the famous First Folio cover of Shakespeare’s works and the statue in Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church survived that scrutiny).  More informative in both text and images than many a Shakesperean biography or a book on the history of the 16th / 17th century.

Stanley Wells: Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story
The world of Elizabethan theatre, by the grand master of British Shakespearean scholars and long-time chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  Equally engaging, informative and entertaining — and I’m pretty sure the Bard would have appreciated Wells’s not just occasionally pithy turn of phrase.

Antony Sher and Gregory Doran: Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus in South Africa
The future artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and one of Britain’s greatest contemporary Shakespearean actors (himself born in South Africa) — off stage, a couple — take the Bard’s most controversial and violent play to Sher’s home country … in the middle of Apartheid.  Judging by their tour diaries (in essence, this book), it must have been quite a trip.

Final note, for those who are wondering: Golden Age mysteries have been covered by several other list creators here on BL already, so I decided not to replicate that (obviously, otherwise the better part of the entire canons of Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and others would have shown up on my list, too).  Similarly, while Jane Austen, the Brontës, and several other 19th century writers are unquestionably part of my personal canon, they’re also on just about every published “must read” list out there, so there hardly seemed any point in including them here.  Ditto Greek mythology.  Ditto William Shakespeare (the plays themselves, that is).  Ditto Oscar Wilde.  Ditto John Steinbeck.  Etc. …

And now that I’m finally about to hit “post”, I’m probably going to think of a whole other list of books that I really ought to have included here!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1903597/for-moonlight-reader-books-with-a-difference

Introducing the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season!

Reblogged from: Murder by Death

 

Themis-Athena’s Garden of Books and I have put together a little something to celebrate the festive season we hope you’ll like.  Our goal was to represent as many of the festive holidays and traditions that happen at this time of year around the world as we reasonably could, and boy have we packed it in!  But don’t worry, we’ve also tried our hardest to make this as easy, or as challenging, as each player wishes it to be.

So enough introduction… here’s the card:

(full rules to follow in a seperate post) – we’ve created book themes and holiday tasks for each holiday – but you can do as few or as many as you want, so don’t stress if this seems like a lot.  In the spirit of the “Silly Season” we’ve tried to spoil you for choice!

 

Brief Card Key:

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

Square 2: November 5th:
Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night/Fireworks Night) / Bon Om Touk (Cambodian Water Festival)

Square 3: November 5th & 11th:
St. Martin’s Day (5th) / Veterans’ Day / Armistice Day (11th)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Square 13: December 25th
Christmas / Hogswatch

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

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

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

 

Holiday book themes and tasks

Square 1: November 1st:

All Saints Day is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Día de Muertos focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey, while Calan Gaeaf is the name of the first day of winter in Wales.

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.

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

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 (also known as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night) is an annual holiday, primarily in Great Britain, commemorating the events of November 5th, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Bon Om Touk (the Cambodian Water Festival), marks a reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River.

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.

 

Square 3: November 5th & 11th:

St. Martin’s Day (November 5th), also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, as well as Old Halloween and Old Hallowmas Eve, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux).  Veterans’ Day, or Armistice Day (November 11th), marks 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 World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  In the United States, Veteran’s Day is expanded to include all military veterans from any military action.

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 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 Verteran’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, or Buß- und Bettag (November 22nd), is a Protestant holiday and a public holiday in the state of Saxony and is an occasion for Protestant Christians to pray or reflect on quiet thoughts, and while Thanksgiving (November 23rd) started out as a purely US holiday (and Canadian! on October 9th), it’s now well-known around the world for its feasts, family togetherness, and a holiday that strikes fear in the hearts of turkeys everywhere.

Book themes for Penance Day: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher or priest 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.

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

 

Square 5: December 3rd and following 3 Sundays:

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

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.) –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, also known as St. Nicholas Day, celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6th of December. The feast is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas’ Eve (5th of December) or on the morning of 6th of December, Saint Nicholas Day.  Krampusnacht (December 5th) is the day when Krampus, a companion of St. Nicholas, arrives to punish the children who have been naughty during the year, and in Asia, the 8th of December is Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment.

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 [more common in Germany] 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 (December 10th) commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  St. Lucia’s Day (December 13th) is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasising a different aspect of Saint Lucia’s story.

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 UN and UN 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) is the Jewish Festival of Lights.  It commemorates the rededication of the Holy temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that a one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days. Las Posadas (begins 16th, ends 24th) is a novenario (nine days of religious observance) celebrated chiefly in Mexico and by Mexican-Americans in the United States. The novena represents the nine-month pregnancy of Mary, the mother of Jesus celebrated by Christian traditions.

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 is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, also known as Yaldā Night in Iran. The same day is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, giving them the longest day of the year. / Mōdraniht is “Night of the Mothers” or “Mothers’ Night” in old English and was an event held at what is now Christmas Eve by the Anglo-Saxon Pagans.  Yuletide is a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.

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!.

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 is the day the United Nations General Assembly has declared as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Pancha Ganapati, is a modern five-day Hindu festival in honor of Ganesha that comes to an end on the 25th. The festival was created in 1985 as a Hindu alternative to December holidays like Christmas by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (born Robert Hansen), a Westerner who embraced Hinduism.

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 (December 21st) is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopi (Hopitu Shinumu), The Peaceful Ones, also known as the Hopi Indians. It is held on the shortest day of the year to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber. The Dōngzhì Festival (December 22nd) also celebrates the winter solstice and is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians.

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 is “The Festivus for the rest of us!”; originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe, who worked on the US sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the theme of a Seinfeld episode. Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, comes to an end.

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 – I don’t think anyone needs an explanation of this one, but Hogswatch Night is the festival celebrating the winter solstice and the New Year across much of the Main continent and some other areas of Discworld. It falls on the 36th of December, the new year beginning on the 1st of Ick.  If this all sounds like nonsense, you’re not yet read Terry Pratchett.  What better time to give his books a try?

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:  So. many. options.  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  (‘birthday of the unconquered sun’) – Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers.   Quaid-e-Azam (‘Great Leader’) Day is the Pakistan holiday celebrating their founder’s -Muhammad Ali Jinnah – birthday.

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, on the 25th of December is the celebration of Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday. St. Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day commemorating Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  Anyone who reads any British historical fiction will be familiar with Boxing Day, but there are competing theories for the origins of the term, none definitive.  When in doubt, I say fall back on the OED, which defines it as “[…] a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.

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.)

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 – I’m looking at you WhiskeyintheJar) – 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 honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1.  Is there any place in the world that doesn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve?  But Hogmanay is the unique Scottish take on New Years Eve and Day and might be new to many of us, as might be St. Sylvester’s Day, the feast day of Pope Sylvester I, and Watchnight, a late-night Christian church service that starts late on New Year’s Eve, and ends after midnight.

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.

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.)

We will be setting up threads in the Bingo group later today with the tasks, card and rules, as well as a thread to report your points.  Links to those will be announced in a seperate post.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1613180/introducing-the-16-tasks-of-the-festive-season

REBLOG: The Flat Book Society: 6 more days until our first offical group read!

Reblogged from: Murder by Death

Just a reminder that in addition to all the Halloween Book Bingo fun, The Flat Book Society’s first read starts September 1st.   Thankfully, it’s a 60 day read, something I think all us Bingo participants will appreciate.

Anyone seeing this for the first time – you’re welcome to join us for this read or any others. We’re a group newly formed to read what most people would call ‘popular’ science books; the ones that don’t make your eyes glaze over (hopefully) or put you into a coma.  There’s a list of books in the club in a continuous state of voting, so there’s no draconian group moderator (me) deciding what we’re reading next.

And now I think I’ve extended that welcome out long enough that there’s room for our club mascot, Huggins (whom you can click to go to the club).

 

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1592492/the-flat-book-society-6-more-days-until-our-first-offical-group-read

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Merken

REBLOG: The Flat Book Society: Our First (and Second) Reads!

Reblogged from: Murder by Death

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

Voting for the first two books came to an end today and we have two books tied at 7 votes each, so they’re our first two reads.

Starting September 1st and running through October 31st:

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary RoachThe irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. 

The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars.

Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?

In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

 

And Starting November 1st running through December 31st:

Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermidThe dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died – and who killed them. Forensic scientists can use a corpse, the scene of a crime or a single hair to unlock the secrets of the past and allow justice to be done.

Bestselling crime author Val McDermid will draw on interviews with top-level professionals to delve, in her own inimitable style, into the questions and mysteries that surround this fascinating science. How is evidence collected from a brutal crime scene? What happens at an autopsy? What techniques, from blood spatter and DNA analysis to entomology, do such experts use? How far can we trust forensic evidence?

Looking at famous murder cases, as well as investigations into the living – sexual assaults, missing persons, mistaken identity – she will lay bare the secrets of forensics from the courts of seventeenth-century Europe through Jack the Ripper to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

Reminders will definitely go out closer to our starting dates, and threads will be setup beforehand.  (There is one thread for each in the club now for general comments).

If either (or both!) of these books sound good to anyone not already in The Flat Book Club, our door is always open and everyone interested is welcome.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1589141/the-flat-book-society-our-first-and-second-reads

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Nonfiction Science Book Club Reading List

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - Val McDermid Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution - Rebecca Stott

You may have seen MbD’s posts on the new nonfiction book club and the suggestions for future reads floating down the dashboard in the last couple of days:

There’s now a list containing all the books that have been suggested so far:

http://booklikes.com/apps/reading-lists/799/nonfiction-science-book-club-reading-list

The discussion group is currently still named for the buddy read that inspired it, “The Invention of Nature” — the group page is here:

http://booklikes.com/groups/show/980/buddy-read-for-the-invention-of-nature

— and the corresponding book club page is here:

http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/90/buddy-read-for-the-invention-of-nature

Do take a look and see if you’d be interested in joining!

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1578949/nonfiction-science-book-club-reading-list