Look!! Isn’t it pretty? Thank you so much, MR!!

Now, as for filling in all those beautiful squares …

I think my brain will be going full tilt tonight!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1589507/look-isn-t-it-pretty-thank-you-so-much-mr

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REBLOG: Halloween bingo: game format

Reblogged from: Moonlight Reader

Game Format Changes!

We’re going to be playing our game a bit differently this year!

The first difference is that all of the players will play with a different bingo card! OB & I have come up with 31 reading “squares” that are focused in four broad categories: mystery/murder, horror, Stranger Things (the television show) and supernatural/creature feature. Each card will have a combination of 24 squares, with a free space!

Custom Cards!

So, how do you get your card? You ask me to create you one! I’ll be announcing all of the categories in tomorrow’s post, and you will be able to request your card with as much or as little specificity as you desire! You can give me the list of 24 squares that you want, you can identify specific squares that you don’t want, you can ask for a focus on one or two of the four broad categories, or you can just let me surprise you! The easiest way to request your card will be in the bingo group, where there will be a thread created for just this purpose!

Bingo Calls!

Next – we’re adding bingo calls to the game! Every other day, starting on September 1, 2017, OB or I will post the “square” that we are calling for the day. You do not need to finish the book before the next call & books can be read in any order. However, to “fill” a square, two events must both have occurred – the square must be called & you must have finished the book! Every square will eventually get called, so everyone will be able to “black out” their card by the end of the game!

Group Reads!

Group reads are optional, but are a lot of fun! We’ll be doing two group reads this year, one in September & one in October. The September read will be a classic noir mystery & the October read will be classic horror. Further details will be announced on this later – but the good news is that the group reads will operate as universal matches. You can fill any square with the group read if you participate by reading the book and posting in the group discussion at least once!

Bragging Rights!

This game is just for fun – so no prizes. But the winners get full bragging rights, and reading and playing is its own reward!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1589158/halloween-bingo-game-format

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Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol (performed by Patrick Stewart)

 A Christmas Carol (Audiocd) - Patrick Stewart, Charles Dickens   A Christmas Carol

A “Christmas Carol” for the 21st Century

Part of my annual Christmas ritual – and since this year I’m indulging by way of Patrick Stewart’s splendid audio version and the TV adaptation it inspired, here’s my review of the latter … with the added note that my comments on Stewart’s performance in the movie also apply to his reading, where he also does a splendid job getting under the skin (or whatever it is that ghosts have) of all the story’s other characters.

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

Given the enormous potential for failure, it takes either a lot of guts or a big ego to remake a classic and step into a pair of shoes worn so well by the likes of George C. Scott and Alastair Sim — you don’t have to have grown up in an English speaking country to take those two names and their portrayal of Dickens’s miserly anti-hero for granted as part of your Christmas experience. And I suspect a good part of both guts and ego was at play in this production; but let’s face it: after years of bringing Scrooge to the stage in a much-acclaimed one man show and after also having recorded the audio book version of “A Christmas Carol,” a movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart was probably due to come out sooner or later. Yet, while it does sometimes have the feel of another huge star vehicle for Stewart (even without the self-congratulatory trailer and brief “behind the scenes” features included on the DVD), his experience and insight into the character of Scrooge allow him to pull off a remarkable performance, and to make the role his own without letting us forget who originally wrote the tale. From a “humbug” growled out from the very depth of his disdain and his audible desire to boil “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips” with his own pudding and bury them with a stake of holly through their heart, to the “splendid” and “most illustrious … father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs,” coughed up and spit out after years of having been out of practice, this is the Scrooge that Dickens described; and Stewart obviously has the time of his life playing him.

This made-for-TV production is sometimes criticized for its use of special effects; I don’t find those overly disturbing, though — in fact, they’re rather low-key and for the most part used to show nothing more than what Dickens actually described. (This is a ghost story, remember?) Scrooge really does see Marley’s face in his door knocker; we all know that Marley’s ghost does indeed walk through Scrooge’s doubly locked door … and last but not least Dickens himself describes the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as “shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand.” (Granted, no gleaming lights for eyes, though.) The script could have spared a modernism here and there, but again, mostly the lines are exactly those that Dickens himself wrote. Even where the characters don’t actually speak them, they are part of their reflections — such as Marley being buried and “dead as a door-nail” (which, after all, is the tale’s all-important premise) and Scrooge’s rather funny musings how the Ghost of Christmas Past might be deterred from taking him for a flight (where citing neither the weather nor the hour nor a head cold nor his inadequate dress would do). Richard E. Grant, known to TV audiences as Sir Percy Blakeney in the recent adaptations of “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” moves to the opposite end of the social spectrum in his portrayal of gaunt, downtrodden Bob Cratchit; and he is a very credible caring father and husband, albeit a bit too well-educated — unlike the rest of his family, who speak and come across as decidedly more cockney. Joel Grey, whose Master of Ceremonies in “Cabaret” stands out as one of those “one of a kind” performances that are few and far between in film history, is almost perfectly cast as the Ghost of Christmas Past, combining the spirit’s wisdom of an old man with his child-like innocence, frail stature and luminous appearance. A great supporting cast and solid cinematographic and directorial work round out an overall very well done production.

Many actors are remembered either for one career-making role or for a certain type they have cast. No doubt Patrick Stewart, who as a teenager had to face an ultimatum between a steady job and the theater and chose the latter, will go into film history as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Treck’s “Next Generation.” But I would not be surprised if the other major role he will always be remembered for will be that of Ebenezer Scrooge — on stage, in audio recordings and in this movie adaptation, which successfully brings Dickens’s timeless tale of bitterness, sorrow, redemption and the true meaning of Christmas to the 21st century, and which before long, I think, will attain the status of a classic in its own right. I know that I, for one, will be watching it again with renewed pleasure next Christmas.

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BookRiot: Cracking the Names Behind A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Most of us have grown up with Scrooge’s Christmas Eve escapades. We know the plot, the catch phrases, the every “bah, humbugs!” like the back of our hands. The names Ebenezer, Jacob Marley and Bob Cratchit are now as deeply familiar to us as Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty. We know it all. Or do we? What is it about those Victorian names that haunt our yuletide imagination? What are they hiding about the characters we re-invite into our homes every year? And what, moreover, do they say about Dickens’ supposedly simple tale that may not be so simple after all?

 

 

 

Original posts:
bookriot.com/2016/12/14/115478
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1505786/bookriot-cracking-the-names-behind-a-christmas-carol

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The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season — Task the Ninth: The Happy New Year

A Christmas Carol (Audiocd) - Charles Dickens,Patrick Stewart   

– Every year you get a little bit older! Read a coming of age novel or any old favorite comfort read to start the new year right.
– If you’re feeling brave, post a holiday picture of yourself from your childhood or misspent youth.

For Part 1 of this task I listened to the audio version one of my annual holiday reads, Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, performed by Patrick Stewart.  I reviewed it, and the TV adaptation starring Mr. Stewart as Scrooge, in a separate post – but it really can’t be said often enough what a phantastic reading this is.  Nothing like RSC training, coupled with enormous acting sensibility and empathy for all the story’s characters, for bringing this classic to life!  No doubt I’ll be revisiting Messrs. Scrooge and Stewart again for Christmas … and for many years to come.

As for Part 2 of this task, eh voilà!

Age 4:

Christmas 1968
With my mom and my grandpa (and a new favorite doll)

Christmas 1968
With my grandma (and the selfsame doll)

Christmas 1968:
With my then-best friend: I actually had piano lessons at the time, but unlike the adults in attendance we thought it much greater fun to just hammer away at those keys wildly, at random, and as loud as we possibly could!

Age 6:

Christmas 1970:
What a difference two years make … and oh, how I hated those glasses.

Age 8:

Christmas 1972
Glasses gone again.  For the time being … alas, they’d come back with a vengeance in my adult years, and there’s unfortunately no way I’m getting rid of them again now.

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1500646/the-twelve-tasks-of-the-festive-season-task-the-ninth-the-happy-new-year

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

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

(Page numbers are for the omnibus edition.)

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

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







 

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

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

Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart    The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Reading: Let the dreidel choose a book for you:

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

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

 

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