When I was browsing Brother Cadfael & I'm wondering if any of my BL friends are familiar with it?
It's the Sister Frevisse series, set in 1431. Anyone?
Taking more than a few cues from Murder at the Vicarage, published in 1930, Bude's 1935 mystery is quite entertaining if a bit derivative.
I love books set on the coast of Cornwall - and this one is also set in March, so it has all of the blustery, windswept charm that we might expect. The vicar and the doctor in the village of Boscawen spend their evenings reading detective novels by the fireside. When real murder intrudes, the Vicar is delighted with the opportunity to exercise his skills in assisting the local Inspector in his investigation.
I've now read several from the British Library Crime Classics series, and I've found Bude to be among the best of the writers. I also enjoyed his Death on the Riviera, and thought that this one had an even stronger mystery. I will admit, however, that none of the books, so far, have even approached Christie's mastery. The writing in them tends to be workmanlike at best, and at times positively awkward. No one manages pacing as well as she did, and her ability to describe a character using ten words is unparalleled.
I keep hoping to find another Agatha Christie, but I'm compelled, at this point, to admit that perhaps she was, in fact, the unassailable Queen, sharing her title with no one. This one is enjoyable, but it's no Poirot.
I am re-running this post this morning, to make sure I get maximum coverage! If you're playing Booklikes-opoly, note the rules change!
I've entertained a request from a player to reconsider the "odd days are roll days" rule, and I think that JL makes a good point. The purpose of the rule is to slow down speed readers from rolling every day. However, if it takes a slower reader 3 days to finish a book, they aren't able to roll until day 4, which sort of defeats the purpose of the rule.
In light of this, I am making a rules change as follows:
Players can roll no more frequently than every other day.
Example: player rolls on Monday, but doesn't finish her book until Thursday - player can roll on Thursday, because Tuesday and Wednesday are non-roll days for the individual player. If player finishes the book she starts Thursday on Friday, she still can't roll until Saturday, because Friday is a non-roll day for the player.
In other words, players are now responsible for keeping track of their own roll days!
I think that the problem with this one was actually the format. I picked it up in audiobook ages ago, and I''m not loving the narrator. In addition, I find that certain books are better to read than listen, and I think this is one of them.
McKillip's writing is lovely, but my mind wanders while I'm listening, and I found myself looking for excuses not to listen to the audiobook while I was in the car. This is generally not a great sign.
I may look around for a used copy of this one - if I could pick it up for under $5.00, I'd buy it. Unfortunately, McKillip's books don't seem to price drop on amazon, so that's a deterrent. I already spent a credit on this book, and I didn't try listening during the return period, so I'm stuck with it.
I actually have a paperback copy of her Riddle-Master of Hed series, so I might try giving that a go at some point!
I'm calling it a day on this one, & I've now concluded that Elizabeth Kostava is not for me (although I actually own her one other book - The Swan Thieves - that I've not read).
While I struggled with The Historian, I really liked Kostova's writing style and her skill with setting and history. I have decided, though, that she's just too slow-moving and navel-gazing EVEN FOR ME - and ya'll know that I love long, character driven books.
On the plus side, she set this book in Bulgaria, a country I knew little about before reading. It sounds like an amazing country, and it has now been added to my very long list of "places I want to go." She is great with setting! I wish I liked it more.
I received a free copy of the book from Netgalley.
I will be posting the complete rules of the game over the next few posts. In order to ensure that the rules/space tasks are available, I will also be putting up a Game Play and Rules Thread in the Bingo Group, I will create a game page on my wordpress blog and my booklikes blog, and I will be posting them on the BL Expats group on GR, for those of you who are over there as well as over here.
In addition, I relinquish all copyright to any part of the game and make them freely available to everyone to use them as is helpful in playing the game. Download the images to your computer and post them to your personal blog, upload them to your imgur account so you can post them on GR in your personal threads, print them and use them to wallpaper your bathroom!
Do not get overwhelmed. The game is quite simple, and is based on a monopoly board, but when I reveal it, it may sound very complicated. Part of my purpose in creating the game is to generate a fun way to do some TBR busting! You should not have to buy new books to gain dollars for your bank! If you want to buy new books, however, I am never going to stop you!
I will do a "fake" game play tutorial post at the end of this process, which should clarify things substantially! It really will make sense once you see how it works and it will be fun!
Feel free to play the game in the background. There are some spaces that involve a community activity that should be fun, so keep an eye out for friends who need help!
Basic Rules & FAQ
* Players keep track of their own game board and bank! Feel free to set up a discussion in the Bingo group to track, if you feel that will be helpful.
* Every player leaves the Start space with $20.00.
* Dice rolls are based on the honor system. You can either roll virtual dice or you can roll real dice at home. You will either roll two 6-sided dice or one 12-sided die. Up to you! Link to electronic dice.
* Virtual dollars are awarded based on the page length of the qualifying book, as follows:
0 to 100 pages: $1.00
101 to 200 pages: $2.00
201 to 400 pages: $3.00
401 to 800 pages: $5.00
over 801 pages: $10.00
*Players are eligible to roll only on odd-numbered dates.
*Like in monopoly, you can play through a space without reading a book to fill the task, the only rule is that you have to wait until the next roll date to move (so, the next odd numbered day, which is going to be either one or two days) However, if you choose to read for a space, you can't move until you finish the book and bank your payout.
*The one exception to the "you must finish the book before you move on rule" is that audiobook listeners may have one audiobook in progress while they continue moving around the board. You don't bank your payout until you finish listening.
*If you HATE your book, here's what you do! DNF's are absolutely allowed. You can count the # of pages read to get your payout - so if you read 120 pages before DNF'ing, you get $2.00 for your bank. The only caveat is that you have to read 10% of the book to get any payout.
*Game play will start on April 15th and end on July 31st, 2017.
*I will set up a Q&A thread in the Bingo group. Please post questions in that thread!
*Where a task refers to genre tags, this is based on GR genre tags. If you don't have a GR account, and can't get into a book page to determine if it has the required genre tags, you can post the question in Q&A. In addition, the genre tag does not need to be one of the book page tags - it can be on the first page of the "top shelves" if the book has a lot of shelvings.
*On the final day of game play, players need to submit the value of their bank accounts to be considered for prize money.
Trains, Plains & Automobiles!
There are some remaining spaces that I'll explain in this post!
Go to jail: Go to jail. Serve a sentence of 300 pages (or pay the equivalent bail of $3.00), unless there are enough pages in the prison library to spring you.
Jail visitor: Donate 100 pages (or $1.00) to the prison library before leaving the space. Post your donation on the group "Prison library" thread!
Free parking: roll the dice. Odd number sends you to the waterworks, even number sends you to the electric company, doubles sends you to the luxury tax.
Read a book with water on the cover, or where someone turns on the waterworks (i.e., cries) because of an emotional event.
Read a book where a main character is in STEM, or where the author's first and last name contain all of the letters in "Tesla".
Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!
Roll the electronic dice, and perform the task that corresponds to your roll!
- Let a BL friend choose your book! Post a list of 4 books - first one to comment chooses your next read.
- Give $5.00 to another player. If you don't have $5.00, roll again!
- Let a BL friend choose your next ride! Post your plight, and see where the first person sends you!
- You are in time out for two days. Wait for your chance to roll again.
- Collect $10.00 for yourself and one other player!
- It's your lucky day! Read any book for your next turn regardless of the task instructions!
- Double your dollars on your next read!
- Read in the wild! Take your book with you and find a place to read that isn't your living room for an hour!
- Post a picture or a story about a favorite vacation spot!
- Go to jail. Serve a sentence of 300 pages (or pay the equivalent bail of $3.00), unless there are enough pages in the prison library to spring you!
- Read for two! The rewards for your next book are doubled - and half of the money goes to another player of your choice!
- Wheel decide - spin the wheel to pick your next "land" and choose any property in the land for your next book!
A Brief Game Play Tutorial
I thought it would be helpful to do a few rounds of play, to help explain how it will work!
4/15/17: Rolled 7, so game piece moves to space #7, which is Toad's Wild Ride in Fantasyland. The task for that space is: read a book with anthropomorphized/talking animals or read a "classic" fantasy published before 2000. I decide to read: Redwall, by Brian Jacques to fulfill this task. My version has 333 pages, so I get $3.00 for the task, which increases my bank to $23.00. I finish it in one day.
I can't roll on 4/16/17, because it is not a roll day. On 4/17/17, I roll a 5, which puts me in space 11 - related to the opening year of Disneyland. My task is to read a book that takes place between 1945 and 1965, or that was written by an author born before 1955. I decide to read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, who was born in 1947. This book is 231 pages long, so I make $3.00 for finishing this book, which increases my bank to $26.00.
I am on vacation, so I don't roll again until the 4/21/17. I roll 10, and end up on the BL square. I roll my virtual dice, and roll a 5! I collect an extra $10.00 for myself, and for one other player. I pick someone to get the extra $10.00, and go on my way! My bank is now $36.00.
I roll again on the 23rd. I roll a 6, and I land on Adventureland 26, which tells me to read a book tagged adventure or thriller. I'm not feeling adventure or thriller, so I decide to pass on this one. My bank remains at $36.00
I roll again 4/25/17 and I roll a 3, which puts me on the boardwalk at Paradise Pier 28. The category for this one is "read a book set during Victoria's reign or tagged steampunk on GR." I decide to read Wilkie Collins The Moonstone. My edition has 510 pages, so I get a whopping $5.00 for this one. My bank is now $41.00.
And so on . . .
I have a meeting this morning, but will be able to finish up the posts so I can reveal the game later today!
Are you ready to play a game?
I will be revealing the game over the next couple of days!
This is the most ambitious game yet!
It will run from April 15 through the end of July!
There will be prizes!
There will be reading!
There will be fun!
We're going on a bookish summer adventure!
You'll have an opportunity to:
Game in development, coming soon!
Since it is almost
Is lightning fast these days
we were wondering . . .
Stay tuned and comment below!
This was way outside of my usual reading fare - I don't read a lot of non-fiction and I read very few books set in China. I am involved in a GR group, and we selected the Dowager Empress Cixi as an area of focus for the first part of the year, so I ended up reading this. It was, unfortunately, the only book I managed to read on the topic, but it was fascinating.
Dowager Empress Cixi was the last ruler from the Qing dynasty in China, and had been a concubine. Imperial China seemed very strange to me, with its rigorous and occasionally nonsensical rules for everyone based upon their birth, sex and status. The conflict with Japan is illuminated, and the scramble of the colonial powers for China was also handled through this very interesting biography.
I'd also heard of the Boxer Rebellion, but knew very little about it, so reading the sections about Cixi's ill-advised and ultimately devastating efforts to use the rebellion against western attempts to seize control of China was really interesting. The most interesting part of the book, however, was Cixi herself.
Mostly uneducated and excluded from power by her sex, Cixi managed to consolidate authority and rule China for decades from behind the throne. As a woman, she wasn't even allowed to meet directly with men. The fact that she was able to gain and retain power, and in so doing begin to modernize China much against its will is a testament to her determination and fortitude. She was utterly ruthless.
If you are interested in biographies, interested in imperial China, or if you just like to read non-fiction this is a fascinating choice.
I am caught up to the final book, which won’t be released until the 25th.
I adored this book. As far as my enjoyment goes, the pacing of this series has been remarkably effective. Although the tale is being told as a memoir, Marie Brennan has done an outstanding job letting the intellectual development of Isabella unfold. We get some of the most frankly feminist moments in this book. Lady Trent, at this point, is a woman with no fucks left to give about propriety. She has learned, in the hardest way possible, that it does not matter how amazing she is, how accomplished she is, how much BETTER she is than the man. Her womanhood forever excludes her from being part of the old boy’s club.
I highly recommend reading Brennan’s free short story, available on Tor, before jumping into this one. It is a slender thing of a tale, told in letters, between Isabella and a man who is so clearly her inferior in all things important, but who is just so smug about his superiority.
The tagline for this book could be: “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white male.”
I’m going to share a few quotes here, because they are so awesome.
“Shall we get to the point? You are afraid that I will disgrace Scirland by carrying on with an unmarried man.”
“I would never suggest that.”
No, he would only imply it. I ground my teeth, then said “Colonel, do you make a habit of querying your men about their involvement with every woman they meet? I assure you that many if not most of them have done far more to merit censure than I have. I know it may be difficult to believe, but dragons truly are my concern here. I have not undertaken their study in the hope of attracting a new husband; indeed, such a thing would be an inconvenience rather than a benefit, as there are few husbands who would accept my life as I have become accustomed to living it. As for scandal outside the bounds of marriage…that would be even more inconvenient, as people question my professional integrity quite enough without such justification to encourage them. So you may lay your mind at ease, sir: I have no intention of disgracing our nation. Not when there are dragons to be studied.”
This is a conversation between Isabella and the Colonel Pensyth, who is basically in charge of her new research project, which is an effort to breed dragons in captivity for use in military combat.
In this book, Brennan has laid bare the struggle of women to be taken seriously in their chosen field, both in the past, but as well, in the present. In a conversation with Isabella’s older brother, Andrew, they are discussing her undeniable attraction to Suhail, who reappears in this book. Andrew is commenting that Isabella need not choose between her attraction to Suhail and her work as a dragonologist. Isabella corrects him:
I felt weary, as if I were ten years older than my brother, instead of a year his junior. “Yes, it doe. You and I are not held to the same standards, Andrew. People will forgive a slip, a weakness, a minor personal folly — when it comes from a man. They may click their tongues at you, even gossip about your behavior…but at worst, it will only reflect on you.
“If I misstep, it goes far beyond me. Errors on my part are proof that women are unsuited to professional work.”
And, when Andrew goes on to say that Isabella is “not like other women,” she points out that this is a trap:
“Ah, yes,” I said ironically, “I have made myself exceptional. It is a wonderful game, is it not? Because I am exceptional, anything I achieve does not reflect on my sex, for of course, I am not like them. Strange, though, how that division seems to vanish when we are speaking instead of my shortcomings. Then I am a woman, like any other.”
One of the things that I’ve really loved about this series is Isabella’s platonic relationship with Tom Wilker. As fellow scientists, they both carry a stigma. Tom is low-born, not one of the peers who are encouraged to take up science as a hobby, and who are given opportunity after opportunity on the strength of their ancestry, as opposed to their talent or work ethic. Isabella, of course, is a woman. Tom’s lot is, actually, not so difficult as Isabella’s, although he certainly doesn’t have it easy. But even though he has to scrap and struggle, he considers Isabella to be his colleague, and there is never a suggestion by him, although Isabella does suggest it once or twice, that he take credit for her work in order to get it published. He is intent on pulling the two of them up together, and if she can’t go too, he isn’t interested.
So, when they make the scientific discovery of a generation, Isabella, Tom and Suhail (another character who defies the path laid for him by birth and sex), I literally cheered. I almost wept. Never has this book and these characters felt more real to me than in the section where they discover the “Watcher’s Heart,” as the site became known, a monumental archeological treasure of the Draconean civilization.
Near the end of the book, Tom bursts out, angrily:
“We have to achieve twice as much, in order to get half as much reward.”
There was no answer I could make to that. It was true…but neither of us could do a thing about it. Except, of course, to achieve four times as much. To be so exceptional, they could no longer shut us out, and having done that, to hope that those who came after might be judged on equal terms with those who should be their peers.
It is not a dream easily attained. We have no truly attained it in my lifetime. But I was more determined than ever to do my part.”
In The Labyrinth of Drakes is an exceptional book, which I loved. Brennan has built this series into something amazing, each book frankly becoming better than the last, which is a rare thing in series, in my experience. I am waiting for the end of the series with delight.
This isn't at all what I expected when I made the request on netgalley. I'm going to persevere, because it is engaging enough, but I was expecting something with a folklore/mythology/supernatural tinge to it, and that's not this book. So far, at least.