richardderus's eighth 2024 thread

É uma continuação do tópico richardderus's seventh 2024 thread.

Este tópico foi continuado por richardderus's ninth 2024 thread.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2024

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

richardderus's eighth 2024 thread

Abr 3, 8:01 am

Ship in the Stormy Sea by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1887
(State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
...seems appropriate...

Editado: Abr 15, 8:41 am

Reviews 001 through 008 are linked here.
Reviews 009 on thru 017 are linked here.
Reviews 018 to 026 are linked there.
Reviews 027 to 033 are linked there.
Reviews 034 through 040 are linked here.
Reviews 041 to 045 are linked here.
Reviews 046 unto 050 are linked here.


051 No Son of Mine: A Memoir in post #11.
052 Someone You Can Build a Nest In in post #59.
053 Clear: A Novel in post #74.
054 These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart in post #78.
055 The Mission House in post #130.
056 The House of Being (Why I Write) in post #138.
057 Snake Island: a novel in post #171.
058 Prescription for Pain: How a Once-Promising Doctor Became the "Pill Mill Killer" in post #184.
059 Henry Henry (link, not touchstone because the title does not appear in the menu) in post #250.

All my threads in the 75ers linked somewhere here
My Last Thread of 2009 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2010 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2011 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2012 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2013 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2014 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2015 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2016 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2017 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2018 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2019 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2020 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2021 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2022 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.
My Last Thread of 2023 Is Here:
Reviews are back-linked there.

Editado: Abr 17, 8:28 am

All previous Pearl Rule reviews linked here.


@ 28% No Charity in the Wilderness: Poems in post #282.

Editado: Abr 3, 8:07 am

Seriously...not a great venue for normies here.
My 2023 goals are here, for reference.
2024 GOALS
If I reviewed 222 books in 2023, why not go for at least 250 in 2024?

So I will.

All but 36 of 2023's reviews were from NetGalley and Edelweiss+, the DRC aggregators I use to get my biblioholism fixes. That's 16% of the total actually read and reviewed. In 2024, I think that percentage is just fine to maintain, so I'll settle on 41 reads not from those two sources as my soft goal...I don't much care if I hit it exactly, but I do need to leave room to read and review books I've been gifted over the years!

2023's #Booksgiving review blast resulted in my blog views for the month being 177% of November's total. So that worked. I only used Twitter for all of November, then for #Booksgiving, added Bluesky and Tumblr. That worked, too. The sadness of my #PrideMonth limp, flaccid performanceless unblast made me realize that, if I'm going to get a big project done, I need to break it down into steps. This is new for me, and a result of the actual limitations that the strokes have imposed on me. Like no longer being able to read handwriting or decode graphics like Wordle, this acquired dyslexia is a limitation I need to acknowledge. Not to say I won't keep pushing against it...but it's real, and planning needs to be based in reality.
End of Q1 thoughts on goals
I've had to drop Tumblr from my review-posting because the owner/president/head jerkoff posted transphobic maunderings, then the trans employees said "y'all CTFD he didn't mean it" which well totally relate to needing the gig, but no. THEN announced Tumblr would sell to AI scrapers everything users have posted that, plus their porn ban, means they get axed from me creating anything there, posting or boosting things there. And they don't care, or notice, but I get to keep my own moral high ground.

I don't see, or feel, any reason to adjust any of my annual goals. I've posted 51 blog posts in 2024, or on track for 200 annual posts; but that does not account for the heavy months of June and #Booksgiving to come, and there are already eleven reviews banked for those two.

Editado: Abr 3, 8:05 am

See >5 richardderus: for 2023 achievements & 2024 goals.
My January 2024 summary is here.
My February 2024 summary is here.
My March 2024 summary is here.

Abr 3, 8:02 am

Very well, the floor is yours.

Editado: Abr 3, 8:07 am

‘Morning, RDear! Happy Wednesday to you. Happy new thread.

From your last thread:

I so relate to having mind-numbing TV on in the background. Bill doesn’t watch the crap OS does, but if Bill’s in the Living Room, the TV is on. The only time it’s tolerable is when I’m there too and we’re watching something I like – soccer almost exclusively now, but we’re going to watch A Gentleman in Moscow when we can binge watch it.

Yup, BBs everywhere. *smile* I do have to work a bit harder to find new authors. I have, however, finally figured out that I can follow an author on Amazon to find out about new releases – some I know about any way, but it’s nice to get reminders. God knows I get enough emails from Amazon, so a few about authors/releases don’t bother me.

Sorry about the physical woes, sounds like the tech is somewhat under control.

>1 richardderus: Love the painting. I saw on Mark's thread that April is Poetry Month. Poetry and I are usually oil and water, but I just posted O Captain! My Captain! and she being Brand on my thread.

*smooch* from your own Horrible and now Wicked Woman

Abr 3, 8:08 am

Happy new thread, RD.
I am mildly concerned that the ship seems to be sailing towards what I presume is an existing shipwreck. That's not going to end well...

Editado: Abr 3, 8:12 am

Happy new thread, Richard. Your topper looks like what it sounded like outside my window all night. Still quite dark out there but seems a tad more calm at the moment....hopefully the worst is behind us.

Abr 3, 8:24 am

051 No Son of Mine: A Memoir

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Jonathan Corcoran was the youngest and only son of three siblings in a family balanced on the precipice of poverty. His mother, a traditional, evangelical, and insular woman who had survived abuse and abandonment, was often his only ally. Together they navigated a strained homelife dominated by his distant, gambling-addicted father and shared a seemingly unbreakable bond.

When Corcoran left home to attend Brown University, a chasm between his upbringing and his reality began to open. As his horizons and experiences expanded, he formed new bonds beyond bloodlines, and met the upper-middle-class Jewish man who would become his husband. But this authentic life would not be easy, and Corcoran was forever changed when his mother disowned him after discovering his truth. In the ensuing fifteen years, the two would come together only to violently spring apart. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged in 2020, the cycle finally ended when he received the news that his mother had died.

In No Son of Mine, Corcoran traces his messy estrangement from his mother through lost geographies: the trees, mountains, and streams that were once his birthright, as well as the lost relationships with friends and family and the sense of home that were stripped away when she said he was no longer her son. A biography nestled inside a memoir, No Son of Mine is Corcoran's story of alienation and his attempts to understand his mother's choice to cut him out of her life. Through grief, anger, questioning, and growth, Corcoran explores the entwined yet separate histories and identities of his mother and himself.


My Review
: Y'all remember my four-star review of The Rope Swing? The man who wrote that, wrote this. What I noted then was that I felt removed from the people in his stories, like something I'd expected to be immediate and intimate was not quite that.

Objection overruled, eight-years-ago me.

The story of a Southern son...and Appalachia, where Author Corcoran hails from, is its own thing but is also The South...of a religious Mama who, in firm in her Faith, rejects her child whom she bore, nurtured, and loved, is not new nor is it underrepresented in the literary scene. UPK made the book available to me; I respected the author's chops; I started the read cautiously optimistic that it would be a Good Read. And that it was.

Being raised by a religious mother is often troublesome for a son. She often uses faith as a punishment. Her efforts to parent are more likely to be aimed at one's religious well-being and not quite concerned enough with the problems of being an adolescent. What Author Corcoran does in his memoir is to make you part of the fabric of the troubled (and frankly troubling to my atheist eyes) family he came from, and overcame. His education at elite Brown University, where my own eldest sister graduated from, drew him away from the limited life of his borderline impoverished, uneducated, Bible-believing family; not coincidentally, it introduced him to his desire's fulfillment in the gay demimonde, so to speak, of university life.

Once that genie's out of the bottle, that is that. Gawd stops being The Big Bad, and sex becomes possible to imagine as part of one's life without thunderation and guilt. Until, of course, one goes home.

It might be this bit that truly hit home hardest for me: That fracturing of the idea of Home. The title of the book gives the game away. "No son of mine" is harsh, unforgiving, and stone-cold. Those are words I heard as well. They sever the taproot of family brutally and irreparably. The rest of one's life they resonate, drowning out the less-resonant words of lovingkindness one attracts. One day, if one is VERY lucky, a voice will say "I love you" in the exact canceling resonance to that thunderous rejection...and that good luck came to Author Corcoran, or I simply could not have borne to read or write about this book. I knew that going in, as I follow him on Facebook, so I was in no doubt that this would be the case. Even being uncertain of this facet of his present-day life would have rendered me unable to read the book, so strongly do I feel about it.

What made Author Corcoran write this memoir now is the pandemic just past. His mother died in the pandemic without the two of them being able to reach mutual forgiveness. That is an incalculable agony. Staying silent, not howling one's pain to the world, is just flat imposssible. Being a writer meant that he chose to make this hegira from belief, to education, to rejection, to sad, grieving acceptance of one's losses in words. His life today is a materially and emotionally better one, his loving partnership is a source of acceptance and self-worth support, it is in short a story of succeeding without forgetting his beginnings. What pleased me, as a reader, the most was the fact that I never once felt that he belittled or looked down on his mother, or the world he left behind; that is a spiritual generosity that I can but envy.

In his evocation of a life left behind, Author Corcoran leaves the reader with the sense that he looks on his mother and the life she led, the teachings she imparted, and the world she lived in as a chrysalis from which he emerged, not a trap from which he escaped.

That is the best gift a parent can receive from an adult child. I am deeply saddened that the author's mother is not alive to receive it.

Editado: Abr 3, 8:52 am

>8 karenmarie: Morning, Wicked Horrible! *smooch* I was, in fact, aware that *horripilation* this was National...that...MONTH, as though seven days wouldn't've been ten days more than enough but at least it's a short month, thanks for reminding me. Fiend.

Physical woes just solutions in sight. After my program of PT with our trainer resulted in much worse crystal formation, I have cut my exercise way back and am hoping like hell that it won't do it again. If it starts to, I'm going into full slug mode. I bled all over the bathroom last night from a crystal pushing out of my foot, but at least I felt it coming and got there instead of soaking my bed.

Aivazovsky is an artist whose seascapes made him hugely rich from US sales alone. I went looking for Ukrainian artists to boost and found glorious! Enjoy your Humpday, smoochling.

ETA resize crown

Abr 3, 8:47 am

>9 Helenliz: Morning, Helen! Thanks. That's a rock...the ship's boat is going out to get something, goodness knows probably a previously foundered ship's crew (or cargo, if we're being dark). Clearly not abandoning ship because there's too few of them.

Interesting painting, no?

Abr 3, 8:47 am

Happy new thread, and happy Wednesday, Richard!

>11 richardderus: That sounds like a really powerful read, and one I'll be adding to the ever-growing TBR list.

Abr 3, 8:48 am

>10 jessibud2: Gracious, Shelley! It must've been wild. I hope the dratted storm's blown itself out. *smooch*

Abr 3, 8:50 am

>14 bell7: Morning, Mary! Thanks re: thread, and all the YES for >11 richardderus: onto your TBR. It was so so moving, and he's such a lovely guy on FB, that I really had to pull out all the stops. *smooch*

Abr 3, 8:51 am

Happy new thread Richard!!

Abr 3, 8:58 am

>13 richardderus: this, in the bottom left corner, is not a rock, that's a spar or mast. Hence me thinking there must be a shipwreck there already...

Yes, it's a great sea. As a bad sailor, I could feel slightly ick.

Abr 3, 9:03 am

Here it is Hump Day. I guess it's Hump Day there too. Having my annual eye inspection this morning. The overcast weather is something of a blessing when the eyes are dilated for the checkup. New specs? I don't know.

Gotta go.

Abr 3, 9:04 am

>17 Owltherian: Thank you, Lily.

Abr 3, 9:05 am

>20 richardderus: You're welcome. How is your day? Mine isn't going so well.

Abr 3, 9:06 am

>18 Helenliz: I think any bad sailor would look at most any Aivazovsky painting and feel ill! He is better at conveying the reality of the sea than most any other painter I've ever seen.

Abr 3, 9:09 am

>19 weird_O: It is, as you so trenchantly observe...quite amazing a feat for a dilated eye, in fact...Humpday and I wish it wasn't. Weeks are *flying* by and it's scarin' me a little. Good luck getting the corpus to and from on this gloomy day.

Abr 3, 9:10 am

>21 Owltherian: Some days don' will be over at some point. Just one foot in front of the other until then.

Abr 3, 9:11 am

>24 richardderus: Its my algebra class...i got a 3/24 on an assignment

Abr 3, 9:30 am

>11 richardderus: I am not sure that I can stand to read that one as it hits so close to home for me, given the fraught "relationship" I had with my father.

Happy new thread, RD! ((Hugs)) and **smooches** for today

Abr 3, 9:34 am

>11 richardderus: - I'm going to keep my eye out for this one.

Happy new thread!

Abr 3, 9:40 am

>25 Owltherian: Not great...algebra is very picky, detail oriented stuff.

Abr 3, 9:41 am

>26 alcottacre: Maybe not one for you, Stasia. Best to leave things to settle since your dad's passing is so recent. *smooch*

Abr 3, 9:41 am

Happy new thread, Richard dear!

Abr 3, 9:42 am

>28 richardderus: My friend wasn't even there at school yesterday & understands it better than I do! It's like I can never get things as quickly as other people and while everyone understands it...I don't.

Abr 3, 9:43 am

>27 katiekrug: Thanks,'s a good read indeed. UPK doesn't put Kindlebooks on sale like, ever, but maybe the library....

Hoping your river stays calm today. The northern tier's getting hammered with snow and wind, so at least we're not them.

Abr 3, 9:44 am

>29 richardderus: Thank you, Anita my dear friend...hoping you're feeling some reading mojo coming back.

Abr 3, 9:45 am

>31 Owltherian: The only solution to that is more studying. There's no other way to get stuff in your head when it doesn't come naturally to you. Sad but true.

Abr 3, 9:50 am

>34 richardderus: I study as much as i can- but yet i still fail...

Abr 3, 9:55 am

>35 Owltherian: then the issue is getting help, studying with someone who is good at it. That worked for me, and still does.

Abr 3, 9:56 am

>36 richardderus: I try, but the person who is good at it is always busy with work, and if anything I'm way too busy to get i have to struggle

Abr 3, 10:03 am

>37 Owltherian: no, you have to make a different schedule, and find some other help. This is important enough to bother you so find another helper who is available at regular times and then show up at those regular excuses.

Abr 3, 10:05 am

>38 richardderus: My friend whom lives down the street understands it so i may ask her to see if we can study together on her porch or something

Abr 3, 10:09 am

>39 Owltherian: Good start. But make a schedule with them, a day of the week when you will both be available.

Abr 3, 10:09 am

>1 richardderus: Looks ominous!

Happy new thread, Richard

Abr 3, 10:09 am

>40 richardderus: I think possibly today would work, but I'm not sure

Abr 3, 10:16 am

>11 richardderus: No Son of Mine: A Memoir is now firmly on my TBR list! As is probably any book to which you give 5 stars (see how I avoided ending the sentence with a preposition? Although McWhorter says don’t worry about that anymore—it’s language, evolving). Thanks for the review!

Have a great day, Richard.

Karen O

Abr 3, 2:00 pm

Happy new one, Richard!

Abr 3, 2:18 pm

Happy new thread, Richard.

Abr 3, 2:21 pm

>43 klobrien2: Glad for that, Karen O.! *smooch* Thank you for the kind wishes.

Abr 3, 2:22 pm

>44 drneutron: Thank you, Doc!

Abr 3, 2:22 pm

>45 ArlieS: Thanks, Arlie!

Abr 3, 5:09 pm

Happy new thread, RD!

>1 richardderus: Striking painting. And it does make me feel a bit seasick, looking at it.

Abr 3, 5:21 pm

>49 atozgrl: Thank you, Irene! Happily I am not a seasicker, so all I get is *amazed* by the thing.

Abr 3, 6:56 pm

Happy New Thread, Richard. Love the stormy topper. Excellent review of No Son of Mine: A Memoir. Onto the obese TBR it goes.

Abr 3, 7:07 pm

>1 richardderus: Happy new thread!

Abr 3, 7:43 pm

>51 msf59: Heh...your TBR and mine could set off weight warnings on Interstate bridges!

Aivazovsky's art is so gorgeous. It makes me happy every time I look at it.

Abr 3, 7:44 pm

>52 ocgreg34: Thank you, Greg!

Abr 3, 8:16 pm

Happy New Thread, Richard! I look at your topper and fall into the light. Wow!

You know that I wish better health for you, and that wish, which is a prayer, doesn't change. *smooch*

Abr 3, 8:20 pm

>55 LizzieD: Thank you, Peggy me lurve. I know there's great power in a loving heart like yours.

Abr 4, 12:20 am

Salutations on your new thread, RD, and I will add to those wishes of my peers hoping for good health to you dear fellow.

That is an impressive topper.

Abr 4, 7:06 am

>57 PaulCranswick: Thanks, PC! I love that painting, really all seascapes get a + from me. There's a reason I live where I do....

Abr 4, 7:22 am

052 Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.

Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?

Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.


My Review
: I really hoped that I'd find something that recalled for me the affect and effect of Mrs Caliban in this book.

Not so much.

This being the twenty-first century, I get it; that kind of quiet exploration of repressed rage and thwarted love is not the way this louder, more boisterous time copes with Life. Also, the author's an ace man. We aren't much for writing quiet women unless they are silenced by our power and privilege over them. (Look at the mind-numbing abundance of male-authored "thrillers" centering sex crimes against women sometime.) What this book does, then, is entirely unlike what I was prepared for.

This is a large pipe organ's keyboard. The stops, those round thingies, are the way the organist chooses the kind of sound...brash blaring trumpets, quiet soft woodwinds...the instrument will send into your ears. Author Wiswell pulled the "Strange" stop on his book's keyboard all the way out and then used the loud pedal.

The idea of this being reproducing in the same unspeakably horrifying way that wasps do is nightmarish enough for me. I absolutely abominate wasps. But then to be confronted with Shesheshen, the wasplike alien's, twisted psychology...finding its parasitic fatal-for-Homily (her intended victim) reproductive strategy LOVING!...and I thought, "that's me out!"

And then...

The reason I kept going, pushing past the extreme horripilation induced at the mere notion of this, this travesty on Love was the strength of my horror. If I am this repulsed and infuriated, the author is saying something loud and clear, and however much I don't *like* hearing it I should listen. I am honestly surprised to say I am glad that I did.

Female-presenting monsters are having A Moment, it seems...Alasdair Gray's Poor Things, a book I did not like but a film that was a note-perfect adaptation of it most recently....and Author Wiswell's more SFnal take on it surpasses that deeply strange story. In imaging an alien just trying to exist, as "Bella Baxter" does, as Frankenstein's monster does, but in such a revulsion-evoking way, Author Wiswell makes his readers stop and think: "where is my horror coming from?" Survival by consuming one's host is appalling! When one is the host, yes; but really, are we any different? We are using up the planet, we are complicit in the slave labor that provides us the benefits of food to eat, as well as the devices you're reading and I'm writing this on, and that offers the laborers nothing but early graves.

Some people who reviewed the book on Goodreads had some reservations about the nature of a man writing a love story between a woman and a female-presenting alien, when the love was not sapphic but asexual. To me, this felt like a feature, not a bug (!), because the point was asexuality. That was something I found moving, once I wrapped my head around it; the lovers are genuinely in love and they cannot deny or repress their feelings, nor are these feelings physiologically expressed through sex. If this is something you are unfamiliar with, I recommend reading the excellent Ace by Angela Chen. It was that book that, for the first time, presented me with information about the experience of asexuality, by an asexual person; it is extremely illuminating for someone not asexual.

The attentive have noticed my rating lacks a star despite my laudatory comments. This is not due to its sexual challenge to the allo overculture. It is due to the frankly peculiar pacing, too slow then zooming through character-building opportunities; it's due to the amount of body horror exceeding my personal limits; it's due to my very old-fashioned purseylipped response to the amount of lying Shesheshen does to Homily, that never causes any comment or evokes any sense of betrayal, nor causes Homily to require some assurance that she *can* trust Shesheshen.

Also I kept reading her name as "Hominy" and, considering she was being assessed as a meal by Shesheshen, it made me giggle most immaturely.

None of my minor crotchets should stop you from getting this deeply affecting and very peculiar story into your eyeholes. Soonest.

Abr 4, 7:23 am

Happy Thursday, Richard dear!
Returning to weekly habits ;-)

Abr 4, 7:29 am

>60 FAMeulstee: Thursday orisons, Anita! I'm very glad to see you out and about. I really hope this means you'll be increasingly feeling yourself again. *smooch*

Abr 4, 9:40 am

53 new messages... I need to do quite a few things before heading off to a massage in 50 minutes so will return and actually post a message here after I return. *smooch*

Abr 4, 9:52 am

>29 richardderus: Thanks, RD.

>59 richardderus: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

((Hugs)) and **smooches** for today

Abr 4, 10:32 am

>63 alcottacre: I'm so pleased you like the sound of it, Stasia! *smooch*

Abr 4, 10:34 am

>64 Caroline_McElwee: That was extraordinary! What a great moment to live. She got a rare treat indeed. Thanks, Caro.

Abr 4, 3:43 pm

Hi Richard dear friend, Happy New Thread.

Abr 4, 5:28 pm

Happy new thread!

Abr 4, 5:35 pm

>67 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!

Abr 4, 5:35 pm

>68 thornton37814: Thank you most kindly, Lori!

Abr 4, 7:06 pm


Porn: An Oral History by Polly Barton

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: How do we talk about porn? Why it is that when we do talk about porn, we tend to retreat into the abstract? How do we have meaningful conversations about it with those closest to us? In Porn: An Oral History, her extraordinary second book, Polly Barton interrogates the absence of discussion around a topic that is ubiquitous and influences our daily lives. In her search for understanding, she spent a year initiating intimate conversations with twenty acquaintances of a range of ages, genders and sexualities about everything and anything related to porn: watching habits, emotions and feelings of guilt, embarrassment, disgust and shame, fantasy and desire. Soon, unfolding before her, was exactly the book that she had been longing to encounter - not a traditional history, but the raw, honest truth about what we aren't saying. A landmark work of oral history written in the spirit of Nell Dunn, Porn is a thrilling, thought-provoking, revelatory, revealing, joyfully informative and informal exploration of a subject that has always retained an element of the taboo.


My Review
: I really wanted a deeper experience of this read, something that didn't simply slip into my eyeholes frictionlessly, leaving behind a vaguely dirty, slightly disappointed emptiness.

Quite a part from the awful wordplay, that is my sincere opinion. Where the idea was a very interesting opportunity to dive into the deep end of a human obsession with porn with ample evidence that dates back to dynastic Egypt, five thousand years!, it left my old-man self instead with the skeevy sense of having eavesdropped on my grandchildrens' drunken dissection of what they and their friends thought about sex. I guess it would open up a young, or a sheltered, person's eyes, but for me the conversation I wanted to participate in was not here.

Abr 4, 8:50 pm

I haven't been by to wish you a Happy New Thread, Richard, until now. Sorry to read about those physical woes. That sucks. Imagine exercising and finding that leads to worsening out the gout crystals. Bugga! Well, here is to better days ahead and better reads ahead.

Abr 4, 9:35 pm

>72 vancouverdeb: Thank you, dear lady. I'm working a big toe-crystal out just now...gettin' icky.

Come back for tomorrow's happy read!

Editado: Abr 5, 10:07 am

053 Clear: A Novel by Carys Davies

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: A stunning, exquisite novel from an award-winning writer about a minister dispatched to a remote island off of Scotland to “clear” the last remaining inhabitant, who has no intention of leaving—an unforgettable tale of resilience, change, and hope.

John, an impoverished Scottish minister, has accepted a job evicting the lone remaining occupant of an island north of Scotland—Ivar, who has been living alone for decades, with only the animals and the sea for company. Though his wife, Mary, has serious misgivings about the errand, he decides to go anyway, setting in motion a chain of events that neither he nor Mary could have predicted.

Shortly after John reaches the island, he falls down a cliff and is found, unconscious and badly injured, by Ivar who takes him home and tends to his wounds. The two men do not speak a common language, but as John builds a dictionary of Ivar’s world, they learn to communicate and, as Ivar sees himself for the first time in decades reflected through the eyes of another person, they build a fragile, unusual connection.

Unfolding in the 1840s in the final stages of the infamous Scottish Clearances—which saw whole communities of the rural poor driven off the land in a relentless program of forced evictions—this singular, beautiful, deeply surprising novel explores the differences and connections between us, the way history shapes our deepest convictions, and how the human spirit can survive despite all odds. Moving and unpredictable, sensitive and spellbinding, Clear is a profound and pleasurable read.


My Review
: What a simple, joyful story. A pair of souls are separated and so each is dissatisfied with Life. Neither knows the other exists. As the wheels of Fate catch and shudder away in the eternal darkness of chimrie (Heaven in Norn), bringing Ivar the endling of his people, and John the prodigal son of the Presbyterian faith, into their close communion, the story moves its calm inexorable way forward. Every time Ivar speaks in his dying tongue (Norn went extinct around 1850 in reality), John strains to learn what his words mean, what they describe and therefore come to form in John's mind.

The fact that John, clergyman, does this work is very telling. That he does it with the man he's been sent to dispossess of his lifelong home is...crucial. That he does this work with this man after taking this job to support Mary, his newly-wed wife, left behind on mainland Scotland; that he has sided with the anti-capitalists in the Disruption of 1843 and reluctantly took this job anyway; all these details add up to an ending that I found deeply moving, satisfying, and intensely soothing. I'm not going to spoil it for you because Author Carys makes it into quite the reveal.

I do not for a second believe it could have ended this way. I am sure it could have happened this way, though. But...well...1843, Presbyterians, human was a huge stretch for me to get over even one of those hurdles to accept that situation as presented as the ending of the story.

I will not downgrade this beautifully written fairy tale for lacking verisimilitude. I will go with the logic that Author Carys employs, and recommend the same course to you in your own read of the story.

Which, it being a short, fast read with the kind of language use that makes me wish this is what y'all called poetry, should be done soonest.

*NB: the blogged review has links to sources of more information

Abr 5, 7:28 am

Happy Friday, Richard. Did you get hammered with snow? I know it hit the upper east coast. Finally drying out here.

Clear: A Novel sounds like another winner. I remember enjoying West: A Novel a few years back. On the list it goes...

Abr 5, 8:15 am

>75 msf59: You will not be sorry to get to this read, Mark! I am going to do a catch-up review of The Mission House this Sunday...spoiler: I didn't hate it.

It's sunshiney and lovely outside, and from last night it's been steadily clearing up. The northern tier got slammed by it, but that's 400 miles from me. It exited over the Maine coast. We just got a drenching, and that'll do nicely thanks.

Abr 5, 8:39 am

>74 richardderus: - Excited for this one!

(Psst - your touchstone goes to the wrong book....)

Abr 5, 9:04 am

‘Morning, Rdear. Happy Friday to you.

>59 richardderus: Pass, but as always, a great review. I love your analogy of the organ stops/pedals to the author’s pulling out the ‘strange’ stop and using the loud pedal. Sorry it isn’t up to the level of Mrs. Caliban, which I adored.

>71 richardderus: I started this review with the idea of getting this book since, as you know, I’ve been reading what I amusingly call smut. However, your review screamed ‘Pass!’

>74 richardderus: Not quite a BB, but definitely added to my wish list.

*smooch* from your Wicked Horrible

Abr 5, 10:09 am

>77 katiekrug: I should hope you are! It is a beautiful read.

Thanks for letting me know, I've fixed it. *smooch*

Abr 5, 10:10 am

Hiya Richard, hope your having a good day!

Abr 5, 10:13 am

>78 karenmarie: Hi Wicked Horrible! I think you're very wise to pass on >59 richardderus: and >71 richardderus:, and I suspect you'd be lukewarm about >76 richardderus: because historicals ain't you. If it comes into the booksale, or goes on KU, that'd be the time to snag it.

Happy Friday, and happier settling in with your new white goods. *smooch*

Abr 5, 11:21 am

RD, did you feel it? :) Did it bring back memories of your time in CA. LOL.

If you didn't apparently there was a 4.8 in NJ somewhere. My company is based in Central PA and our Slack channels were all abuzz with it. It was cute.

but then out here we freak out when it rains. Which its doing right now. We have April showers now, I guess.

Happy Friday!

Abr 5, 11:26 am

Richard, I lurked last night and didn't even have a good-night in me at the time. Good Morning!! Hope you're improving with the day, but EARTHQUAKE????? How did you fare? 4.8 is significant!

I've never heard of Carys (Greek "Grace"?) Davies, but I'm in pursuit. My thanks. *smooch*

ETA: Nope for Greek. Internet says it's Welsh for "care" or "love."

Abr 5, 11:34 am

Hiya, RD!

Guess you felt Katie's earthquake, too.

I was in quite a few in SoCal, and I really didn't like them but was never in danger, fortunately.

Abr 5, 11:59 am

>74 richardderus: >83 LizzieD: Definitely adding that to the WL. I read West by her last year. I quite enjoyed. Seems like this one might be better.

Abr 5, 1:16 pm

>82 mahsdad: Oh yes, we got a wee bit shook. The distance from epicenter means it was very mild. My first earthquake was almost exactly 60 years ago, Good Friday 1964...the HUGE one that ruined Alaska, and broke our chimney in Los Gatos. I got weirded out!

Editado: Abr 5, 2:35 pm

Wow, amazing that you felt it so far away. But then it was absolutely enormous, a 9.2 According to Wiki, it was the largest ever recorded in North America.

The USGS has a comparison calculator. It said that a 9.2 is 25,000 times bigger in magnitude to a 4.8. But is 3,981,071 times stronger in terms of energy released. OMG

My biggest was Northridge. It was a 6.7. It released 707 times more energy than a 4.8

Abr 5, 3:39 pm

>74 richardderus: You hit me with a book bullet.

Abr 5, 4:10 pm

>80 Owltherian: Hi Lily, I lost you earlier...doing fine, thanks.

Abr 5, 4:11 pm

>89 richardderus: Thats good, im not doing so hot, i have a temp of 99.4 and am dealing with a few things before i end up taking a nap.

Abr 5, 4:15 pm

>83 LizzieD: Hiya Peggy! I'm calm about the quake because I know the geology of the area well enough to know that the Ramapo fault is not a big threat. My head hit the wall and my water glass sloshed a bit...that's more unsettling than dangerous.


Abr 5, 4:17 pm

>84 karenmarie: Yeah I felt it but really it wasn't scary. The fault that concerns me is offshore and hasn't moved since 1883. So that could get ugly one day....


Abr 5, 4:19 pm

>85 mahsdad: I liked >76 richardderus: better than West but the margin wasn't even close, so factor that in... enjoy it when you get to it.

Abr 5, 4:21 pm

>87 mahsdad: That was the scariest moment of my life to that point...our huge house rocking back and forth scared me witless...I was outside so I saw it whole not in parts. Still scares me!

Abr 5, 4:21 pm

>88 thornton37814: All the YAY!!

Abr 5, 4:22 pm

>90 Owltherian: Rest and relax over the weekend. You will feel better really soon if you do that.

Abr 5, 4:24 pm

>96 richardderus: I bet, im probably going to take a nap soon

Abr 5, 4:35 pm

>74 richardderus: I saw a review of Carys Davies’s book in The Guardian recently and it looked like something i might like. I enjoyed West.

Abr 5, 5:31 pm

Hey do Ho, RD.

Happiest of the weekend to you :)

Abr 5, 5:40 pm

>97 Owltherian: Good idea.

Abr 5, 5:41 pm

>98 SandDune: It is a very, very good book, Rhian. I recommend it to you for reading sooner not later.

Happy weekend ahead's reads.

Abr 5, 5:43 pm

>99 LovingLit: How do, Megan! Glad to see you visiting. Have a good weekend's reads yourownself.

Abr 5, 7:35 pm

>100 richardderus: I have taken a nap & i was honestly surprised i slept so long, i even thought it was Saturday lol.

Abr 5, 8:13 pm

>103 Owltherian: I hope you can still get your nights' sleep too...helps when you get plenty of sleep.

Abr 5, 8:24 pm

>104 richardderus: But my tempature went up to 100.0

Abr 6, 12:54 am

You sold me on Clear, Richard. I put a hold on it at my library.

My first earthquake was back in 1964 in Victoria BC. My mom and me and my sister were visiting Victoria and I recall the shaking and rattling. We were eating breakfast and my cereal and milk tipped out of the bowl. I asked my mom " what was that?" and she said - just worms dancing in the earth. So at the age of 4 , I was fine with that answer. I still live on that fault area , but knock on wood, it's been fairly quiet.

Editado: Abr 6, 1:02 am

>86 richardderus: I just looked up where Los Gatos is. So you felt the same earthquake as me, but that much further away. Wow! And it broke the chimney. I think I recall the furnace or something shaking - and of course the table I was sitting at, but I don't think it broke anything. The scariest earthquake for me happened when I was about ?? 15 or so. I was babysitting about a mile from home. I think it happened at about midnight, but I was watching TV by myself downstairs, and all of sudden I heard all of this rattling and the lights went out. I thought someone was breaking in upstairs. So I headed upstairs in the dark, less out of courage and more so I could be with the kids for comfort. That scared me. My sister was also babysitting , and she told me later she a car had hit the house.

Editado: Abr 6, 7:10 am

054 These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart by Izzy Wasserstein

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In a queer, noir technothriller of fractured identity and corporate intrigue, a trans woman faces her fear of losing her community as her past chases after her. This bold, thought-provoking debut science-fiction novella from a Lambda Award finalist is an exciting and unpredictable look at the fluid nature of our former and present selves.

In mid-21st-century Kansas City, Dora hasn’t been back to her old commune in years. But when Dora’s ex-girlfriend Kay is killed, and everyone at the commune is a potential suspect, Dora knows she’s the only person who can solve the murder.

As Dora is dragged back into her old community and begins her investigations, she discovers that Kay’s death is only one of several terrible incidents. A strange new drug is circulating. People are disappearing. And Dora is being attacked by assailants from her pre-transition past.

Meanwhile, it seems like a war between two nefarious corporations is looming, and Dora’s old neighborhood is their battleground. Now she must uncover a twisted conspiracy, all while navigating a deeply meaningful new relationship.


My Review
: There are some tropes in the noir genre I love more than others. One is the private dick with a complicated love history. Rick and Elsa in Casablanca. Marlowe and Ruth in The Maltese Falcon. Jake and Evelyn (and her daddy) in Chinatown. Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity. Not one tiny shred of honest, forthright communication and commitment to any relationship's future in the lot. This being my deeply cynical belief about the reality of all marriages' basis and fates, I thought I'd got a solid bead on the way the genre will work on this topic.

Laddies and gentlewomen, Izzy Wasserstein blew the (closet) doors off this one.

Dora, our protagonist, lives in a deeply dysfunctional dystopian near-future (a couple decades) post-apocalyptic USA. We don't explore the apocalypse much, just live day-to-day with Dora...Theodora, né she tries to survive in the wreckage of hypercapitalism. She (chosen pronoun) spent years in a hardscrabble anarchist commune with her pretransition Theodore-self's lover and commune co-founder, Kay. The pair split up, and Dora left the commune, over Kay and the others' rejection of her desire to tighten the commune's security about new members and the commune's handling of data. The others felt it was not in the spirit of the effort to be so closed and paranoid; she did. So she closed the door behind her on the way out. Maybe slammed is fairer; maybe slammed the damn door so hard it splintered, even.

And now Dora has to return to the commune, using all her skills acquired while she was Theodore, to solve the murder of Kay. Why was Kay murdered? What did Dora tell the communards about security? Is this thing on? So begins a fast-lane tour of the hellscape that is Kansas City in this deeply divided world, as Dora ferrets out facts and confronts Big Bads. Naturally, there are ties in the story Dora unfolds to the Theodore past...and, not coincidentally, Dora is confronted with the cruelest, most cinema-friendly enemies imaginable: clones of Theodore.

This, then, is the heart of the story. The world, and the world-building, are not deep because you're not here for the wrapping paper but for the gift. Dora has to battle Theodore-faced enemies bound and determined to kill her! Can there be anything more visually appealing than that?! Can the cruelty of deadnaming be more bluntly portrayed?

I really doubt it can. The setup, the story, the world...all part of the point of the read: Identity, its power, its costs, and the sheer nightmarish house of mirrors the trans person must live with, and through, simply to claim what cisgender people walk around blissfully unaware that they possess.

Themselves. Their unquestioned selfhood, unimpacted by the feelings, opinions, judgments of others, unquestioned by the self-appointed guardians know, I just don't know what they are guarding. No one's attacking my maleness by being transmasc or transfem. What needs guarding about that? Anyway, I exist in a bubble of privileges of many sorts, and reading books like this that take me into the unprivileged side of my life do me a gigantic service. Perspective is something I treasure, even when I don't unreservedly enjoy getting it.

I did not read the book with unalloyed pleasure. There'd be a fifth star on my rating had that been the case. I enjoyed the pace; the author starts fast and doesn't slow down. I enjoyed the message; see above. I was squirmy about the echoes of The Man Who Folded Himself. That wasn't unnecessary; but I had to read the author's Afterword to get why it was not gratuitous. I was a bit unconvinced by the Big Bad's motivation. Not eyerollingly so, but in that niggly little itch that says, "really? all this because of that?"

I default back to, readers aren't here for just one experience, just one focus, a single reward for their time spent in Dora's world. It's just a thing I felt vaguely unsatisfied by, and should try to explain to others in advance of their reads.

I think Author Izzy deserves your afternoon and evening to get this involving story into you. I'm glad it's in me now.

Abr 6, 7:18 am

>105 Owltherian: I hope you're better, and cooler, today, Lily.

Abr 6, 7:35 am

>106 vancouverdeb:, >107 vancouverdeb: That was indeed the same quake, Deb. Los Gatos is built on the Loma Prieta fault that unleashed hell in 1989. That's why the shock was greater there than in other places...the 9.2 in Alaska woke up that fault. Seeing your house dance around in front of you is, well, a peculiar experience for anyone. Highly formative for a kid.

Enjoy Clear: A Novel! It's a lovely piece of writing telling a very good story.

Abr 6, 8:43 am

>109 richardderus: I hope so, i just woke up and i will take my temperature in a moment.

Abr 6, 9:24 am

>74 richardderus: I have another of Davies' books in the BlackHole, but not that one. Fixed that now. Thanks for the review and recommendation, RD!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, RD! ((Hugs)) and **smooches**

Abr 6, 10:06 am

>111 Owltherian: Stay well!

Abr 6, 10:07 am

>113 richardderus: I hope i do but my temp is a little on the rise still, although its now at 98.6 and at exactly 9am it was 98.1

Abr 6, 10:08 am

>112 alcottacre: I'll be reviewing The Mission House tomorrow, Stasia, is that the one you have?

Enjoy Clear: A Novel when its turn comes. *smooch*

Abr 6, 10:09 am

>114 Owltherian: Normal...good news. Now stop taking your temperature and stressing yourself out.

Abr 6, 10:11 am

>116 richardderus: I'll try my best, probably just gonna stay in bed all of today & hope i don't get another fever, although i do have Ibprophen in my room.

Abr 6, 10:23 am

‘Morning, Rdear! Happy Saturday to you.

>92 richardderus: So, which fault?

>108 richardderus: Some of the plot devices interest me, some don’t. Pass, but great review, as always.


Abr 6, 10:34 am

Mary & George, y'all. Watch it. This is what I will miss most about the presently-ending era of Peak TV. This show, based on The King’s Assassin by Benjamin Woolley, which I MUST READ!! now that I know it exists, is's on Starz via one of Murdoch's UK channels. That kind of splintering of resources is costing more than the hypercapitalists want to spend to reach relatively few eyes. It portends the re-concentration of entertainment venues, like the triopoly of ABC/NBC/CBS of my youth, in order to get more eyeballs onto the ads that they care about. The shows are the sop they throw at you to make you look at the ads.

It was fun while it lasted but we're going back to the deadly dull days of fewer options that cost even more money than the plethora we have now does.

Abr 6, 10:34 am

>117 Owltherian: Good plan.

Abr 6, 10:36 am

>120 richardderus: Im eating candy instead of actual food today due to it being the only thing that goes down without pain (Mini M&M's), although even if i wanted real food i couldn't get it due to the fact i have to isolate myself.

Abr 6, 10:46 am

>118 karenmarie: The Ramapo fault in NJ has an offshore cousin that caused NYC's biggest quake in 1885. Manhattan is on a huge fault that goes east-west and that quake was almost certainly on it.

The basic idea of >108 richardderus: isn't much in your readerly wheelhouse, is it. It's a good story but, as always, I don't push anythin noiresque at you.


Abr 6, 10:48 am

>121 Owltherian: Isolation in case of infectiousness is a good plan...M&Ms are not. Jello or pudding would be better than those sugar pellets.

Abr 6, 10:53 am

>123 richardderus: My friend said jello would be good, and i can text my father to see if we have any he could make me.

Abr 6, 1:37 pm

Abr 6, 5:47 pm

Dropping off weekend smooches and hoping you're doing OK today.

Abr 6, 5:58 pm

>124 Owltherian: Great idea, I bet it helped, too.

Abr 6, 5:59 pm

>127 richardderus: Sadly we didnt, but i am now having chips & guac which i am happily enjoying before having dinner.

Abr 6, 6:00 pm

>126 MickyFine: Hiya Micky! Doing fine, thank you, a lovely day and a walk in it made me contented. *smooch*

Abr 7, 7:01 am

055 The Mission House by Carys Davies

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In The Mission House, Hilary Byrd flees his demons and the dark undercurrents of contemporary life in England for a former British hill station in south India. Charmed by the foreignness of his new surroundings and by the familiarity of everything the British have left behind, he finds solace in life’s simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town with his driver Jamshed and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery where, after a chance meeting, the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla take Hilary under their wing.

The Padre is concerned for Priscilla’s future, and as Hilary’s friendship with the young woman grows, he begins to wonder whether his purpose lies in this new relationship. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems


My Review
: Hilary Byrd is coming unglued. He's in the early stages of a mental breakdown, he's fast departing the middle-aged years with their gradual loss of the pleasant illusion of a limitless future, and he's at odds with modern England at every turn. His rock of a sister can't seem to save him from this sense of being cut off, so for once in his life he takes a decision. He decides, about his own life's direction, that he will go Find Himself in India.

She disapproves of this, really for quite sensible reasons, but the time to be sensible is past.

I was ready, at that point, to stop reading for good. After all, I liked—a lot—but didn't love Author Carys's novella West, with its gorgeous sentences and its superbly concentrated plotting. I thought this read would be a similar exercise. So I put it down at this rather mundane point, and didn't pick it up until I read this year's glorious paean to Love, and lovingkindness, Clear.

This turbocharged my willingness to look further into this take on self-discovery through travel to "exotic" locale...a drearily bourgeois genre that I really, really do not like. Elizabeth Gilbert and Peter Mayles ruined it for me with their icky Othering search for "Authenticity" which comes across to me in this elder stage of my life as "authentoxicity." I am shocked at anyone, in the twenty-first century, who can make it all the way through a story like those without thinking, "interrogate your privilege, or at the very least recognize it!" That is, of course, the person of the Twenties talking to people of the Nineties...societal advances do not travel against time's arrow.

But this story isn't of its time...its time is now...nor is it about another time, it's set now. Just not here. Ooty, the old British "hill station" where the book is set, is in South India. Are your feelies itching as much as mine right now? I mean...hill station! That really übercolonial concept of "place the colonizers go to escape the commonfolk when it gets too hot." And a British guy rents a mission house, where the imperialists of the spirit retired from their efforts to screw up the indigenous population's relationship to their own souls with the caustic bleach of christiainty!

The icks are building steadily.

This, then, was not the most satifying of follow-up reads to my joyously absorbed Clear. I'm not revealing my dark corners when I say that all things christian leave me coldly hostile. Hilary isn't much of a christian, demonstrating a glancing awareness of but no familiarity with the mythos. His occupancy of a younger colonialist man's living quarters that were built as, and still serve as, a locus for slopping this terrible blighting thought pollution all over poor India (which, not coincidentally, has its own history of exporting religious intolerance). That young man's rush home to Canada is, permaybehaps, intended to serve as a kind of Divine Will's invitation for void-of-course Hilary to come be a white savior. I got that vibe as his relationship with Priscilla deepened, mostly because of "the Padre," who I took against from giddy-up to whoa.

Nonetheless, I can say that my tonal twangs where I was likely meant to thrum instead, were idiosyncratic to me. I think a person less repulsed by christian overtones might not even see them in this story. My discomfort with the ableist misogyny, the colonialist-Finding-Himself in the former colony, and that really terrible Padre, means all my stars are for the beautiful sentences, unfolded with the inevitability of flower petals obeying Bernoulli's spiral.

Not my most resounding recommendation, I fear.

Abr 7, 7:21 am

>128 Owltherian: Chips and guac? I'm glad the tum issues had receded.

Editado: Abr 7, 8:32 am

Morning, Richard. I requested "Clear". I will take a pass on The Mission House. Looking forward to a chill day with Juno and the books.

Abr 7, 8:36 am

‘Morning, RDear! Happy Sunday to you.

>122 richardderus: As always, a font of information. Thx. Yes, as a rule, noir isn’t in my readerly wheelhouse. I have 15 books that LT deems match the search for noir in all fields, but I discount Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and The Black Beauty books, so that leaves only 8 out of almost 6000.

>130 richardderus: Gorgeous paragraph in a book I’ll definitely pass on because of it. Nonetheless, I can say that my tonal twangs where I was likely meant to thrum instead, were idiosyncratic to me. I think a person less repulsed by christian overtones might not even see them in this story. My discomfort with the ableist misogyny, the colonialist-Finding-Himself in the former colony, and that really terrible Padre, means all my stars are for the beautiful sentences, unfolded with the inevitability of flower petals obeying Bernoulli's spiral.

*smooch* from your own Wicked Horrible

Abr 7, 10:13 am

>132 msf59: Great priorotization, Mark. The beauty of Clear: A Novel is unalloyed with the irks and crotchets of the other. Splendid Sundaying to you and Juno!

Abr 7, 11:04 am

>133 karenmarie: Thank you, smoochling, that is nice of you to say.

I can definitely think the people who will enjoy the read most are less 21st-century cuck than I am.

Abr 8, 1:26 am

Finally caught up with you, Richard. I have been behind in visiting the threads lately. Happy newish one. You got me with a BB for Clear: a Novel the latest one of the author's that you reviewed does not appeal.

Abr 8, 3:05 am

>130 richardderus: I will definitely look out for that one, dear fellow.

Editado: Abr 8, 8:06 am

056 The House of Being (Why I Write) by Natasha Trethewey

Rating: 4.8* of five

The Publisher Says: An exquisite meditation on the geographies we inherit and the metaphors we inhabit, from Pulitzer Prize winner and nineteenth U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey

In a shotgun house in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the crossroads of Highway 49, the legendary highway of the Blues, and Jefferson Street, Natasha Trethewey learned to read and write. Before the land was a crossroads, however, it was a a farming settlement where, after the Civil War, a group of formerly enslaved women, men, and children made a new home.

In this intimate and searching meditation, Trethewey revisits the geography of her childhood to trace the origins of her writing life, born of the need to create new metaphors to inhabit “so that my story would not be determined for me.” She recalls the markers of history and culture that dotted the horizons of her the Confederate flags proudly flown throughout Mississippi; her gradual understanding of her own identity as the child of a Black mother and a white father; and her grandmother’s collages lining the hallway, offering glimpses of the world as it could be. With the clarity of a prophet and the grace of a poet, Trethewey offers up a vision of writing as of our own lives and the stories of the vanished, forgotten, and erased.


My Review
: Her mother sang her John Brown's Body as a means of soothing the Chernobyl-level burn of racism as the mixed-"race" (how I hate that we still use that horrible, divisive pseudoscientific calumny by default!) family drove past confederate battle flags! (Frequently, then, in her home state of's on their state flag.) Now, how horrifying an image is that, when that damn dirge that starts with the words "John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave" is soothing?! This is the absolute most powerful statement of the horrors the convulsively dying Jim Crow system of the US South inflicted on people of color (another digression: This locution is deeply uncomfortable to white people like me who, in the 1960s, were loudly excoriated for calling African-Americans either "black" or "colored" in the South).

Returning to my scheduled review: Poet Trethewey was unique, then, from birth forward. She was the product of miscegenation (that horrifying term I'm glad I need to define) as her parents were not legally married in her home state until Loving v. Virginia was decided a year after she was born. Her Black matrilineal line was stuffed with women who had embodied what can only be called triumphs of the will, and all the merrier to say that when I know that this application of that phrase will horrify Nazi true believers. The influence of her poet/professor papa is no doubt there somewhere, but Poet Trethewey does not work on one cylinder, she fires on all of 'em.

I can imagine some astute observers wondering what the devil is going on here. Mudge HATES poetry!some are thinking. Some are quite correct. I loathe the experience of reading poetry the same way I loathe the experience of riding the bus. It's crammed with stuff I don't want to know about, it's uncomfortably tight to sit in and in no way offers me enough room or seats designed for my spatial dimensions, it sways and janks and judders over each crack in the road, and the air conditioning almost never works until it suddenly blasts January-on-the-Siberian-steppe gales for a few seconds.

That does not mean I am insensible to its influence on most people. I see it, I get it, I am not of that group but they are quite clearly expressing their approval. And, lest we lose sight of this, the book is Poet Trethewey's *writing about writing*; that is always interesting. As I suspect all good writing must be, the life led by the child-poet became the matter of the adult; in her experiences of racism, white supremacy, and Southern culture, she speaks with a voice that reaches deep into the National Conversation of the US as well as into the emotional cores of many, many, many people.

At under 100pp, this is an afternoon's read for me. It was a pleasure to read...if you've read Memorial Drive, her memoir, you'll know that Poet Trethewey is gifted in prose writing, and if you haven't what is wrong with you?!...and measures her life against her need to write, like a learner sounding out words in a new language. The essay is part of Yale University Press's terrific series of writerly essays. I have only one cavil to report. I felt the origin of the essay as a lecture rather more than I would have liked. I put it down to the poet's innate aurality of expression. I ended up needing to read passages aloud to understand what was being said, and that was also the only way I felt I *got* the Southernness of the Trethewey household. (This also got me very dark glowers from my roommate who is hostile to things literary.)

Hardly a sin, but for this reader a discomfort I could've done without. So can I recommend it to you? Absolutely, and I do. I think anyone interested in writers as entities who transmute life into Art, people intrigued by the shocking dichotomies of Southern culture, and women who batten on reading the success and happiness of their fellows, will all be especially gruntled. I hope men who wonder what hell the fuss about this poetry thing is will give it a read, too, as well as any and all people of color looking to gladden themselves on the success of their own.

Abr 8, 8:13 am

>136 Familyhistorian: Good morning, Meg, happy to see you here on Eclipse Day. I think you will enjoy Clear: A Novel, and am fairly sure The Mission House won't. Hoping you'll get a decent view of the partial eclipse later on...our view will be something like 80% coverage.

Abr 8, 8:15 am

>137 PaulCranswick: Happy to bullet you with a book, PC! Sorry y'all won't have a slice of the coolness of the eclipse.

Abr 8, 8:54 am

>115 richardderus: No, the one I have in the BlackHole already is West. My local library has a copy of it - and that is the only book by her that they have.

>125 richardderus: Thanks for the mention, Richard! I picked it up although there is no telling when I will actually get to it.

>130 richardderus: I am surprised that one got 4 stars from you, RD. I am going to give it a pass (which isn't saying much since my local library does not have it anyway!)

>138 richardderus: if you've read Memorial Drive, her memoir, you'll know that Poet Trethewey is gifted in prose writing, and if you haven't what is wrong with you?! Well, a lot of stuff, but primarily because there is only one of me and billions of books? I will try to get to it in May.

((Hugs)) and **smooches** and wishes for a pain-free Monday!

Abr 8, 9:36 am

>141 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Happy eclipse day. Pain-free will not be happening, but it isn't awful and that's enough.

>130 richardderus: isn't my taste, but it isn't a *bad* book. I just didn't like it.

>138 richardderus: Well, go read it! Chop-chop!


Abr 8, 9:59 am

Well if troubles come in three, what's next after earthquake & eclipse? Hoping you survive it.

Abr 8, 10:06 am

>143 Helenliz: Tsunami. That volcano in the Canarys will blow up and inundate the entirety of the East Coast if 45 gets reinstalled by the fascist fucks who really, really want him there so they can pillage the economy and create an even larger slave class.

Abr 8, 10:44 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happy Monday to you.

>138 richardderus: Gads. A BB when I’ve only had one cup of coffee. I’ve pre-ordered it on Ammy using some of my precious credit, and it is supposed to arrive on the 13th. Wicked man to write such an enticing review.

>142 richardderus: Pain not being awful is sometimes enough – definitely.

*smooch* from BB'd Horrible

Abr 8, 11:47 am

Richard, I guess at my advanced age I think of 'some' pain as the new normal. I'm sorry for yours though because at your age 'not awful' would have been an intrusion on my privileged life.

I don't even know Trethewey's name, so I'm nursing the BB wound for later. I'm going to go ahead and get Poor Deer on my Kindle, and that should be plenty for both of us right now.


Abr 8, 1:31 pm

>145 karenmarie: Those first-cup hits are The Worst, aren't they? I got ripped by one at 7.45: UR, a multiverse-spanning story of all the Hemingways there ever could be.

Enjoy the Trethewey when it comes. I think you'll get it down in one gulp because it's so good. #sorrynotsorry about the review's effect ::eville laugh::

The pain's worse now because I've climbed the stairs twice more than I should've had to to go see the doc. *sigh* There are no systems in this place. I should go get in when I have an appointment but it absolutely never happens that way.

Abr 8, 1:35 pm

>146 LizzieD: Hey there Peggy! I have lived with some level of pain over 5 on the 10 scale daily since 1981. It's just never gone away, and perish forbid you want actual effective pain relief! "ADDICTED!!!! YOU'LL BECOME ADDICTED!!!" There is no cure for my condition, I'm on the only medications that exist that do not cause an allergic reaction, so fucking what if I'm addicted.

Not your fault, and not your problem to solve. I'm grouchy. Sorry, smoochling.

Abr 8, 5:04 pm

Sorry that your pain has got you to the grouchy level. I don't know how you deal with it on a daily basis at such a high level. Mine comes and goes and shoots from 0 to 5-7 , but I get some days of relief in between and I can recover. Hang in there my friend. Smooch.

Abr 8, 6:23 pm

>149 Berly: Thanks, Berly-boo. I don't talk a lot about it because nothing new is coming along to treat it and that means it is what it is...for now. All I can do is endure, so I do.

Anyway the doc told me he wants to add gabapentin to turbocharge my pain relief. I hope it works.
The eclipse was amazing! The sky cooperated, the glasses worked exactly right, the eerie light change creeped me out, and the North Atlantic changed colors very very oddly. I enjoyed it, thank goodness, as I expect to be dead by the next one in 2044.

Abr 8, 6:43 pm

>150 richardderus: I am jealous. We had only a partial eclipse completely covered by clouds. But at least I got to see the total one last time and it came right over Portland. Glad you got the full effect including eerie colors today. : ) Well see about 2044. Who know?!

Hope the gabapentin works. Smooch.

Abr 8, 7:51 pm

>151 Berly: our cover was a bit over 80%, and the day was spectacular! It went down a good 15° during the event, probably 40° or so; There were some clouds but not a deck of cloud cover, so we saw the whole thing.

I hope it does, too.

Abr 8, 7:59 pm

>152 richardderus: Sadly the clouds obscured everything for us.

Abr 8, 8:17 pm

How ridiculous if the doctors will not give you proper pain relief, but they are worried about addiction. I think that is wrong. I hope the gabapentin works for you. John Simpson uses fentanyl patches and NSAID as well as an antidepressant that is supposed to act as pain relief. But unfortunately he is finding himself still in pain too. Very cool that you saw the eclipse today. I think way back in 1979 I was able to see the full solar eclipse since it was in my area then. Not much happened here today. Nothing that I could discern.

Abr 8, 8:28 pm

>153 thornton37814: Oh how awful, Lori! I'm so sorry you couldn't see it.

Abr 8, 8:34 pm

>154 vancouverdeb: It's another Moral Panic after the Oxycontin scandal reminded people that Drugs Are BAD!!!

Fentanyl patches now augmented with gabapentin will be the new regimen. I think it's better than just upping the opioids because that really makes me sleepy and dimwitted. I am just irked that it's taken YEARS to get to this point, though in fairness those years were ones before Dr. W was on the case. He proposed this solution and corrected what he says is my misapprehension about the way gabapentin works. I'm glad he did. I'd rather have correct information to decide on treatments by. This is the way I prefer to be treated.

Abr 8, 10:03 pm

>156 richardderus: Good news!! And I always want a doctor willing to explain pros and cons to me and not just prescribe. I'm smart and I get a say!! As should you. : )

Abr 8, 10:56 pm

>156 richardderus: I hope that turns out to be much better treatment than you have maybe expected. *smooch*

Abr 9, 7:20 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happy Tuesday to you.

>148 richardderus: Chronic pain is so awful, and I’m a firm believer in using pain meds. My lower back and right SI joint have given me grief and heartache for over a year, ironically because of my left knee replacement. (correcting my knock knee made my left leg 3/8” longer). The other knee surgery on May 2nd will get me back to legs the same length. Sheesh. I’ve had back pain on and off again since 1974 when I was rear-ended by a drunk driver in SoCal. You’re entitled to be grouchy. (((hugs)))

>150 richardderus: I take gabapentin and it has helped a lot with nerve pain. I hope it helps you.

*smooch* from your own Horrible

Abr 9, 7:48 am

Morning, Richard. I hope they get you on the right meds, my friend. You deserve as much relief as you can get. I am hanging out with Jack this AM too, while Sue attends a job seminar. Another lovely day in Chicagoland.

Abr 9, 10:01 am

>157 Berly: Perzackly, Kimmers. I'm fully capable of learning, and if I am factually incorrect I'm always going to want to know the facts.

Abr 9, 10:03 am

>158 LizzieD: Morning, Peggy...the good thing is that it cannot make anything worse, and we're doing this pre-crisis so it's not going to be somehow horrible to be on this regimen. *smooch*

Abr 9, 10:06 am

>159 karenmarie: The medical profession is beholden to the puritans who make the laws...the same people who criminalize bodily autonomy in all its forms. Tiresome twats.

I'll be very vocal about the gabapentin's efficacy. Today is Day One, so we'll see next Tuesday what effect it might have. *smooch*

Abr 9, 10:08 am

>160 msf59: Thanks, Mark, we'll see if this is The Way. I like that this doctor tells me that I have the wrong end of the stick, when I do, so I can learn.

Enjoy your Jackson time! That will set your mood to "glow" for the rest of the day. Good luck to Sue today, too.

Abr 9, 5:52 pm

I didn't get to see the partial eclipse in our part of the country. (It would have been about 80% here in Alacrazy.) I was at the dermatologist getting a piece of my face cut out because it was cancerous. I didn't care for this plastic surgeon. He seemed to totally ignore me and talked to the nurses like I wasn't even in the room. Ignorant twat. He also seemed to not think much of the work the previous plastic surgeon had done 14 years ago. (This spot was very close to a previous spot.) How is it that so many physicians are so arrogant?

Abr 9, 6:33 pm

>165 benitastrnad: That is APPALLING behavior. I know you must be really really ready to leave Alabackward in the rear-view mirror. Ghastly experience made worse by insensitive jerkery! As is so very often the case.


Abr 9, 7:32 pm

If anyone's looking for me after I die, I'll be here.

Abr 9, 8:55 pm

>156 richardderus: Glad you have a doctor who treats you the way you should be treated and makes the effort to explain.

>167 richardderus: Looks like a great place to spend eternity!

Happy ( almost) mid week * smooch*

Abr 9, 9:24 pm

>168 figsfromthistle: Doesn't it look fabulous, Anita? I'd be really glad to awaken there.

Dr. W does the doctoring right, thank goodness. I'm always pleased when one of those comes around on life's lazy susan. Most people don't want to do that thinking so I get why so many default to the "shut up and scribble" school.


Abr 9, 11:16 pm

>167 richardderus: Oh, I love your Eterna-library! It might need a little better reading light, though. But it’s just gorgeous.

Hope your week is going well and your health issues keep improving!

Karen O

Abr 10, 7:42 am

057 Snake Island: a novel by Ben Hobson

Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: For fans of Cormac McCarthy, Phillip Meyer, Fargo, and Justified, a gritty rural noir thriller about family, drugs, and the legacy of violence.

In an isolated town on the coast of southern Australia, Vernon Moore and his wife, Penelope, live in retirement, haunted by an unspeakable act of violence that sent their son, Caleb, to serve time in prison and has driven the couple apart. Ashamed, they refuse to talk about him or visit, but when a close friend warns Vernon that Caleb has been savagely beaten, he has no choice but to act to protect their only child.

The perpetrator of the beating is a local thug from a crime family whose patriarch holds sway over the town, with the police in his pay. Everyone knows they trade in drugs. When Vernon maneuvers to negotiate a deal with the father, he makes a critical error. His mistake unleashes a cycle of violence that escalates to engulf the whole town, taking lives with it, revealing what has been hiding in plain sight in this picturesque rural community and threatening to overtake his son.

Told from shifting perspectives at a sprint, in language that sometimes approaches the simple profundity of parable, this gritty debut was hailed on its Australian publication as “a darkly illuminating thriller that soars across genre constraints . . . and engages with pressing contemporary issues while exploring timeless questions. Hobson writes as if his life depends on it” (The Australian).


My Review
: The comps in the first line of the description are spot-on. This is a very *Australian* book, though. It could not have happened in the US or Canada in the way it's presented here. For one thing Author Hobson is careful to set his scenes in rural Victoria state, not some generic hot dry small town. The action is intense, and it's really the point of the read.

By which I mean a compliment...the violence in the story isn't pointless, purposeless activity to distract the reader from something...and a knock: The characters are, to be polite, thin. It is a feature of the majority of high-violence stories that the characters are not the most thoroughly fleshed out. I didn't expect them to be. I was, to my surprise, not particularly able to see how I would've known these were retirees, and their son an older man, had I not been explicitly told so once in a while. Many older couples have that kind of relationship that doesn't look very active from the outside. These two, estranged by their shared shame in their son's terrible actions, barely even register as a unitary family. I'm not implying this is unrealistic, only that it makes the course of the story less comprehensible. Penelope in particular comes across as...detached.

This not being what I was reading the book for, I mention it to others who find the absence of a character to root for a deal-breaker. This is a book about a couple living in an Australian coastal town whose lives are upended in a violent, shaking wind; they then go on to ignore their feelings in that very Australian way; then as the violent wind morphs into a whirlwind, they are forced to find a new and better response to their awful, transformed lives.

The mystery is, will they? I won't tell. I will tell you that I left this thriller entertained and glad for its availablilty in the US.

Abr 10, 7:53 am

>170 klobrien2: Morning, dear lady! I'm still slightly shell-shocked by how very perfect that library is for my æsthetic. I'm assuming, this being the afterlife, there will always be sunshine in from that window.

It's my first morning waking up after a gabapentin dose, and no notable difference yet. Honestly I'd be stunned if there was! This isn't an opioid. We shall see what we shall see...but may it be better soon.

Abr 10, 7:55 am

Happy Wednesday, Richard. I enjoyed hanging out with Jack the past 2 days. I took him to the park yesterday. It was beautiful here. He wore me out but I also could not stop smiling.

Abr 10, 8:02 am

>173 msf59: Well, that makes all the energy issues worth it! There is nothing to beat that sense of happy-tired, is there? Be restful today and read something new, and I'll bet this will be the best day yet.

I'm hoping my next new read will blow my socks off: UR by Stephen King. All the Hemingways in all the multiverses....

Editado: Abr 10, 11:01 am

Did other people know that CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries were coming to TV? Dissolution was an excellent read. Disney+ will offer it, I am told by their Twitter account. Let me know if it's any good...getting anything Disney is not gonna happen but who knows where it might end up and if it's good I'll watch for it.
So in the US Disney's putting it on Hulu. One question answered.

Editado: Abr 10, 12:18 pm

>175 richardderus:
That is thrilling news. I love the Shardlake series! I was just looking at that behemoth Lamentation yesterday and it has begun whispering to me. I put it in the bag of books to take with me in May. By-the-way, have you read Act of Oblivion? I picked up a used library hardback for $4.00 yesterday.

Abr 10, 12:32 pm

>176 benitastrnad: I hope the Mauschwitz machers make a good hand of it. I have never heard of that book, and still have not heard of anything like it. *lalalalalala* I can't heeeaaarrr you

Abr 10, 1:32 pm

Hiya, RD! Happy Wednesday.

>163 richardderus: Tiresome twats. In cahoots with big Pharma, all in cahoots with the Gang of Psychos. Good luck with the gabapentin.

>171 richardderus: Onto the wish list. The Kindle price makes me twitch, and I’m not sure I want it in hardcover. I’m a sucker for most things Australian book-wise.


Abr 10, 3:45 pm

>175 richardderus: With Jacob and Caroline having moved in with us we are able to use Caroline's Disney account! So I will keep an eye out for the Shardlake.

Abr 10, 4:15 pm

>178 karenmarie: Thanks, Horrible. I hope like hell it works. Tomorrow's review is of Prescription for Pain: How a Once-Promising Doctor Became the "Pill Mill Killer" chosen to read because the issue's so very close to my own life.

Scary, scary stuff, and I know a lot better why there's such paranoia in the regulatory system...and how it gets subverted.

Enjoy >171 richardderus: when its turn comes! I thought Hobson did a creditable job, a little more exciting that Garry Disher and a little less lyrical than Jane Harper.

Abr 10, 4:18 pm

>179 SandDune: First of May, Rhian. The debut is set. The actors are out flogging it on social media, there's a trailer floating around, etc etc.

Happy to have you visit!

Abr 10, 11:11 pm

OOoooo! Shardlake! I don't know when I'll have access to it, but I'll be all over it when I do.

You know all the good stuff I wish for you! *smooch*

Abr 11, 3:51 am

Happy Thursday, Richard dear!

You had some week with an earthquake and the eclipse.
In other times many would be sure these were signs...

Crossing my fingers that the gabapentin gives some relief.

Abr 11, 8:40 am

058 Prescription for Pain: How a Once-Promising Doctor Became the "Pill Mill Killer" by Philip Eil

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: An obsessive true crime investigation of a bizarre and unlikely perpetrator, who’s serving the opioid epidemic’s longest term for illegal prescriptions — four life sentences

Written in the tradition of I'll Be Gone in the Dark and True Crime Addict, combining Dopesick's heart rending portrayal of the epidemic's victims with Empire of Pain's examination of its perpetrators.

This haunting and propulsive debut follows a journalist’s years-long investigation into his father's old former high school valedictorian Paul Volkman, who once seemed destined for greatness after earning his MD and his PhD from the prestigious University of Chicago, but is now serving four consecutive life sentences at a federal prison in Arizona.

Volkman was the central figure in a massive “pill mill” scheme in southern Ohio. His pain clinics accepted only cash, employed armed guards, and dispensed a torrent of opioid painkillers and other controlled substances. For nearly three years, Volkman remained in business despite raids by law enforcement and complaints from patients’ family members. Prosecutors would ultimately link him to the overdose deaths of 13 patients, though investigators explored his ties to at least 20 other deaths.

This groundbreaking book is based on 12 years of correspondence and interviews with Volkman. Eil also traveled to 19 states, interviewed more than 150 people, and filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration that led to the release of nearly 20,000 pages of trial evidence.

The American opioid epidemic is, like this book, a true crime story. Through this one doctor’s story, an era of unfathomable tragedy is brought down to a tangible, and devastating, human scale.


My Review
: Greed, selfishness, and vanity are unholy siblings in this unnerving true-crime book.

The fact that I am treated for a very painful chronic condition, gratefully enough not by a pill-mill doctor!, meant I very much had a dog in this fight. Doctors who prescribe regular doses of strong pain meds are subject to a lot of scrutiny. After reading this horror story, I understand why.

I have a really hard time thinking about the kind of sociopathic ideation that goes into knowingly ruining people's lives on an industrial scale. A person with medical-school training who prescribes the cocktail of opioids, depressants, relaxants, that this man fed patients is well aware that the probability of disaster is very high. Anyone on these drugs, still less all these drugs in a cocktail, needs to be under close medical scrutiny. I'll mention here that, unlike many of the patients in this story, I am physically seen and extensively interacted with by my doctor every time I renew my pain medication. He interacts with me on multiple levels, conversationally determining if I am more or less impaired each visit; checking all vital signs, quizzing me on what I am doing with my medications; in short testing my level of cognitive ability to manage the use of all my meds. It makes my visits longer than most people's visits but that is what I need so it's what he does.

None of that happened for the pain patients caught in this doctor's pill mills.

When people seek pain relief, as a result of this doctor's and the many doctors like him prescribing pain drugs solely for their earning capacity, they often do not get it. People who need it are denied it because the possibility of abuse is so very present in our cultural consciousness due to the horrible, greedy, often fatal and always destructive issues caused by doctors turned drug entrepreneurs.

I wanted to read this book because I thought I'd read some overzealous puritan's exaggerated rage-filled hatchet job on a particular bad doctor. I assumed I'd come out of it like I did from Dopesick, thinking that I wanted a less judgmental and overemotional tone that would help me see the problem with greater clarity but not expecting to find it. This is, after all, the time of who shouts loudest sells best and controls the conversation...however briefly.

That made my surprise on finding exactly what I had hoped to find all the sharper. Eil's journalistic approach is to do the research and present the evidence, then go into an analysis of it that includes consulting with experts as well as speaking with the affected people. The emotional and judgmental stance I was expecting and dreading was vitiated by the careful framing of it inside contexts of the times and places, and most importantly people, involved.

Perhaps the most important context was that of the doctor himself. Only he knows why he did what he did. The people consulted by Eil give us the impression he left on those who knew him personally and professionally. That left me, as a reader who never met him, with the impression that psychological screening should be mandatory for anyone seeking a medical degree. It would help to identify narcissists and get them, as a condition of their future licensing, into counseling. It could also keep sociopaths out of the field entirely because, unlike narcissists, they lack empathy entirely instead of misplacing it in relationships, and can not be trusted to give actual help to patients in their uncaring care.

The entire grim saga of the pain mills run by this doctor, and yes I am not using his name because it is a bad idea to spend time in this hyperconnected era saying unkind things about narcissists in public, is one of societal subversion, too. The expectation that consumers of medical services have of their use is that a licensed professional will be trustworthy because the issuers of the license have done their research into the person and deem them credible and qualified. The system in his area let the people it's meant to serve down in pursuit of money. A hypercapitalist system is not going to result in good care for the ill and the needy. This book never smacks the reader with this conclusion; it presents a case that, unless one is dimwittwed or a sociopath, this is the only conclusion one can draw.

That's all I feel I need to say about that. That is, in fact, all I really want you to know that I got from the read. Was it fun? No it was not. Did I enjoy it? Not in any healthy way. My hope is that you will read this terrible tragic tale of dishonesty, greed, and cruelty, not because I dislike you but because I want you to be extremely alert to the real dangers of casually accepting "doctor knows best."

Editado: Abr 11, 8:59 am

>182 LizzieD: Do you have Hulu? It's the only place we can see it in the US.

Happy Thursday, Peggy me lurve *smooch*

Abr 11, 8:59 am

>183 FAMeulstee: Yes, and the earthquake was centered under Trump's precious golf course...AND the Statue of Liberty was struck by lightning between those two other omens. God is really, really angry that Trump is still free, it is clear.

Abr 11, 9:44 am

Good morning, Richard dear! I am finally up to date here and so I am going out to work in my garden. *smooch*

Abr 11, 9:47 am

>187 ronincats: Morning, Roni! Glad you visited me. Enjoy the gardening...anything that results in more greenery makes me happy. *smooch*

Abr 11, 10:38 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happy Thursday.

>184 richardderus: Ugh. You’re written more than enough for me to be able to avoid this one. The entire grim saga of the pain mills run by this doctor, and yes I am not using his name because it is a bad idea to spend time in this hyperconnected era saying unkind things about narcissists in public... Scary, and true.

And, I stopped assuming “Doctor knows best” decades ago. Gotta challenge ‘em.

*smooch* from your own Horrible who is side-eyeing you for BB'ing me on my own thread this morning.

Abr 11, 11:18 am

Well, after several books that I had to add to the TBR list, the last couple have not called my name.

>138 richardderus: I missed that there's a new book by Natasha Trethewey! As you know, I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but I do like what I've read by her, both prose and poem. Book bullet for me.

Thursday *smooch*

Abr 11, 12:08 pm

>189 karenmarie:
Count me in the group of the Doctor Doubters. I almost always go home and do some research on my own. If I mention the words "Research shows ..." in a doctor's office strange things happen. Not always good, but what I says gets noticed.

PubMed is a free government database. It isn't always easy to interpret what you find there, but combine it with popular secular web sites and you can at least deal with medical personal on a better footing. It is almost always a footing about which I feel much better. Most importantly, the decisions made are my own.

Editado: Abr 11, 12:32 pm

What I have always contended, science supports: Y'all create gawd in y'all's own image. Religion for Breakfast guy is deffo a xian, and dresses it up some, but it's there in decades...nay, centuries...of research:

Abr 11, 12:37 pm

>189 karenmarie: You're among the growing number who *do* challenge your doc, and you're also better able to do so than most because you're smarter, better trained in logic, and more reasonable than most.

I? Meriting a side-eye? Pshaw, madam, and faugh on such fustilugging piffle! I merely minisculely redistributed Ma'at's feather *ever*so*slightly in your favor after months and months and months and months of your biblio-AR15 spraying me with round-upped mustreads.

Side-eye indeed. The very idea.

Abr 11, 12:41 pm

>190 bell7: Well, at least I found one you will enjoy. I certainly would find it shocking if you were tempted in any way by the Hobson, and would do my best to dissuade you from making the attempt. The Eil, well...I think you'd get a lot out of the read but it would do nothing to make your day brighter. You know your levels of tolerance best.


Abr 11, 12:42 pm

>191 benitastrnad: PubMed is a brilliant resource, though it can lead one down some very organic-chem-course paths that, frankly, hurt my brain to try to figure out.

Abr 11, 1:25 pm

>186 richardderus: Added to favorites. Made this atheist wish I were wrong.

Abr 11, 2:01 pm

>196 ReneeMarie: LOL

Well, Renee, there's a gracious plenty of christians darn good and sick of him being out of jail and subverting their belief system for his own profit...I'm related to one of those, who has even been known to mutter darkly about "antichrist" and other such Revelation-related silliness. Welcome! I hope to see you come again soon.

Editado: Abr 11, 2:10 pm

>197 richardderus: Saw the piece of sh*te on a clip about Arizona. Working on a new idea for a hat, possibly white. It would say

Make US Safe from
Red-Hatted Fascists

The first line would be blue paint/thread. The second, red.

Abr 11, 3:06 pm

>198 ReneeMarie: Punchy and succinct! I hope your design will take the world by storm.

Abr 11, 4:44 pm

I do not understand how a doctor can go down that dark, hurtful path. And I am so very grateful that I do not have a propensity for addiction. Because sometimes I need the pain relief and sometimes I don't and I can stop when I don't. Not judging -- thankful.

Abr 11, 5:45 pm

>200 Berly: I know exactly what yoy mean, Kimmers. I'm very glad we live without the uncontrolled NEED for something. I had one pain doc who tried to get me on morphia, but it made me so stupid I couldn't function at all. I got away from her as fast as I could.

Abr 11, 9:00 pm

>167 richardderus: Oh, yeeesssss…

Abr 11, 9:12 pm

Abr 12, 8:32 am

Happy Friday, Richard. Prescription for Pain sounds excellent. I will add it. We have a busy weekend ahead, with a friend's wedding. It will be beautiful here too. Sunny and 70s. Yah!

Abr 12, 10:06 am

‘Morning, RD. Happy frīġedæġ to you.

>193 richardderus: I love challenging my doctors in all the good ways. Heh. Biblio-AR15. I like it. We’re quite the BB-spraying pair, aren’t we?


Abr 12, 10:32 am

Trump Asks Advisers for ‘Battle Plans’ to ‘Attack Mexico’ if Reelected
Trump and his MAGAfied Republican Party are pushing plans for military action against drug cartels in Mexico — with or without the Mexican government's consent

I really do not know what else to say. This is the single most consequential election of our lifetimes. Don't stop at "I don't like it" and think that's okay. Donate to political campaigns against every Republican in your state, for every office, even if you LOATHE the person you're donating to because these morons are not to be trusted with any level of power. They believe 45's lies and love his insanity.

Abr 12, 10:34 am

>204 msf59: Friday orisons, Birddude! Enjoy the wedding. We're too warm here so it's foggy and dank. Blech.

Abr 12, 10:37 am

>205 karenmarie: Welcome, Horrible. I'm quite, quite innocent of book-bulleting anyone...not a soul pays the slightest attention to my sad, lonely little posts...I am woefully uninteresting ::chinwobble:: to the high-powered readers *teardrop* that surround me.

I shall go sob in a corner for a while. Pay me no mind.

Abr 12, 11:28 am

>184 richardderus: Another chronic pain sufferer here, and one who can’t take NSAIDS which make my blood pressure high. I’ve been lucky in my doctors who don’t prescribe opioids except for a short time post op, even though Tylenol, which is really all I can take for pain, doesn’t help much. This looks like one I need to read.

Happy damp Friday!

Abr 12, 1:26 pm

>206 richardderus:
It wouldn't be the first time that the US invaded Mexico on a pretense. The second time would likely be as much of a disaster as the first. In the first case all we got was Texas.

Abr 12, 2:30 pm

>209 Storeetllr: Righteous anger at the drug industry resides in that, Mary. The amount of pain relief one gets is wildly variable because each person's body is different and responds differently...and there's no recognition of that among the corporate makers.

Abr 12, 2:31 pm

>210 benitastrnad: Depressing. Let's hope they get Texas this time.

Abr 12, 3:41 pm

>212 richardderus: Can we keep Austin?

Abr 12, 4:13 pm

>213 ReneeMarie: mmmmm....
...from 38th Street down to Ben White Blvd, and from Mo-Pac to 35, okay.

Abr 12, 4:18 pm

The last time I was in Austin (2014 maybe?), it didn't feel that much different from Dallas, sadly.

Abr 12, 4:47 pm

>215 katiekrug: It isn't...which is why Texas can keep most of it. The good ol' days of the '60s and '70s are long, long over.

Abr 12, 6:09 pm

>215 katiekrug: Dang. Between the music and the university, I thought Austin was supposed to be the decent, human(e) part of Texas. If it's not, it can all go.

Abr 12, 6:59 pm

>208 richardderus: I'm glad you didn't spend long in the corner. LOL. Happy Friday!

Abr 12, 7:07 pm

>217 ReneeMarie: Alex Jones is from Austin...the Sandy Hook denier. That is Austin.

Abr 13, 12:04 am

Good weekend salutations from your pal from the humid verdant scapes of SE Asia.

Abr 13, 9:09 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happiest of Saturdays to you.

>210 benitastrnad: and >212 richardderus: Well, except for Stasia and other LTers I can’t think of offhand or don’t know, I can’t think of a single thing in Texas that is worthy except a few graves in Emery on my dad’s side.

(>138 richardderus: I started this short and sweet book yesterday. it's a stunner for sure.)


Abr 13, 9:54 am

>221 PaulCranswick: Don't mold or mildew while you're there, PC.

Abr 13, 9:57 am

>222 karenmarie: Oh great! I hope you keep loving >138 richardderus:

I have little affection for the place now. My family there should, IMO, move away soonest. It's turned out to be an exemplar of what happens when there's power going to the lowest and least able.

Anyway. *smooch*

Abr 13, 10:04 am

>221 PaulCranswick: Hahaha I'll try not to you, RD.

Abr 13, 11:23 am

Dear Richard, I can't even think about doctors right now. My DH is facing some issues in which the evidence online, from the docs, and even the nurses, is contradictory. In this little place we're more or less obliged to try what the current doc says since it's pretty non-invasive and see whether it works.

>186 richardderus: I'm not reading right now but have started The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory in which the evangelical author says (what I had always thought) that his branch of the church has long viewed Trump as God's instrument for punishment along the order of Nebucch - you know and Cyrus. He says he's going to show how their thinking has evolved into their taking umbrage at any criticism of the man as a personal affront. I'm interested to see it.
(I know your tongue was in cheek with that post, but I have been looking to say this somewhere.)

You know all my wishes for your weekend and every day! *smooch*

Abr 13, 3:51 pm

>226 LizzieD: I personally think that Trump is an avatar of the entity worshipped by certain people who call themselves Christians. (I'm not going to call that entity a god, let alone God. Nor am I going to call those loudmouths more than self-labelled Christians. )

Abr 13, 8:49 pm

Saturday *smooch*

Abr 13, 9:28 pm

>226 LizzieD: *smoochiesmoochsmooch*

Doctors are only as good as their willingness to be flexible. I hope you and your DH have a good one.

That idea about 45 is completely nuts. I know, I pearls, my pearls. I take umbrage that their fandom for that bad Bronze Age fantasy novel has guided them into supporting an actual traitor as a means of *punishing* their country.

Abr 13, 9:30 pm

>227 ArlieS: Calling themselves christians is about as effective as me calling myself straight...doesn't change the essential lie at the heart.

Abr 13, 9:30 pm

>228 bell7: *smooch* for a lovely not-Sunday.

Editado: Abr 13, 9:52 pm

Finally read The Magpie Lord and really liked it a lot. 8/10

Is the rest of the trilogy worthwhile? I want to read it but only if it's as good or close.

Abr 13, 10:50 pm

Abr 14, 12:11 am

I'm pretty cautious with the doctors I deal with and I will never hesitate to say something or make a complaint if I need too. I think that is necessary. My now retired GP ( aka PCP) used to say - Here is my suggestion - and what is the " Deborah Method" and I usually had one. Somethings are fairly cut and dried, but often times it's best to know what you want yourself and ask for it.

Happy Sunday! *smooch*

Abr 14, 10:17 am

'Morning, RD, and happy seventh day of the week according to ISO 8601.

Arsenal plays, I have books to catalog, books to read, and etc.


Abr 14, 10:53 am

>233 Morphidae: Gets better...KJ Charles does that a lot.

How lovely to see you here, Morphy me lurve!

Abr 14, 10:53 am

Abr 14, 10:56 am

>235 vancouverdeb: I approve the "Deborah Method" wholeheartedly. Unless I do not know what's wrong with me, I tend to be specific in my requests..."does an antibiotic exist that knocks this specific thing out?"


Abr 14, 10:57 am

>236 karenmarie: Seventhday Advent happiness back, Horrible. Enjoy the puttering!

Abr 14, 3:22 pm

Well, I seem to have missed a whole thread so I’ll just putter around here until you start the next one.

Abr 14, 4:14 pm

>241 humouress: I might just leave this one to be the rest of 2024's thread since no one ever visits me.

Abr 14, 4:51 pm

Had not heard Shardlake was coming to TV. I enjoyed the books I read, but I think I still have one or two to go. It's a series I think I just forgot to get back to.

Abr 14, 5:51 pm

>243 thornton37814: Well, that doesn't sound like it was a resounding success, then...maybe the TV version will thrill you more, though, who knows. Happy week-ahead's reads, Lori.

Abr 14, 5:59 pm


Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies (The Vacation Mysteries #1) by Catherine Mack

Rating: 3.25* of five

The Publisher Says: Ten days, eight suspects, six cities, five authors, three bodies . . . one trip to die for.

All that bestselling author Eleanor Dash wants is to get through her book tour in Italy and kill off her main character, Connor Smith, in the next in her Vacation Mysteries series―is that too much to ask?

Clearly, because when an attempt is made on the real Connor’s life―the handsome but infuriating con man she got mixed up with ten years ago and now can't get out of her life―Eleanor’s enlisted to help solve the case.

Contending with literary rivals, rabid fans, a stalker―and even her ex, Oliver, who turns up unexpectedly―theories are bandied about, and rivalries, rifts, and broken hearts are revealed. But who’s really trying to get away with murder?

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies is the irresistible and hilarious series debut from Catherine Mack, introducing bestselling fictional author Eleanor Dash on her Italian book tour that turns into a real-life murder mystery, as her life starts to imitate the world in her books.


My Review
: Funny. Goodly quantity of witty fourth-wall-breaking zingers, pleasant travelogue-y feel of the my friend texted me from Italy variety. Cozy atmosphere, by which I mean the amateur sleuth never being in any believeable danger.

Too long, a bit too fond of its own wit...the comedian who stays one joke too long...and lacking suspense; the right combo for those who miss Joan Hess or Katherine Hall Paige. Will amuse and entertain when that is what is needed.

Abr 14, 9:08 pm

>244 richardderus: I think that the real problem was that I had too many things in cue to read. I really enjoyed them. I will get back to them at some point.

Abr 14, 9:13 pm

>246 thornton37814: Overcommitted neglect befalls a lot of series I start. More than I finish, TBH.

Abr 14, 10:40 pm

>242 richardderus: I noticed. I'll be back next year then.

>245 richardderus: This sounded tempting until the last line.

Abr 14, 10:54 pm

>248 humouress: Oh dear, not a good thing? Being entertained? What else could I have said?

Editado: Abr 15, 8:39 am

059 Henry Henry by Allen Bratton (link, not touchstone because the title does not appear in the menu)

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Henry Henry is a queer reimagining of Shakespeare's Henriad, transposing the legend of Henry V's wayward youth into 21st-century Britain in the years leading up to the Brexit referendum.

Henry Henry follows Hal Lancaster—22, gay, Catholic—as he spends his first years out of Oxford floating between internships, drinking with his actor friends, struggling through awkward hook-ups, and occasionally going to confession to be absolved of his sins.

When a grouse shooting accident—funny in retrospect—makes a romance out of Hal's rivalry with fumblingly leftist family friend Harry Percy, Hal finds that he wants, for the first time, to be himself. But his father Henry is an Englishman: he will not let his son escape tradition. To save himself, Hal must reckon not only with grief and shame but with the wounds of his family's past.


My Review
: So, the plot's not a big mystery...Shakespeare did the set-up half a millennium ago, if you haven't read it that's on you and your life choices...but brings the subtect of queerness into full textual focus.

This will make some homophobic numskulls very angry. Good.

I was sexually abused by my mother the way Hal was by his father. The many shamings and abuses, the cruel holdings-up to those gone by, of Hal as a person by his father; and maybe more importantly as a sexual being by the idiocy of religion; and the nastiness of steadily belittling him, all poured acid into my eyes. The playbook of controlling mechanisms are all right here: These awful things happened to me, too, Hal, and I really, really want to hug you while murderering your father. The ugly shadow, dirty smudgy tobacco-smoky brown-grey, that will always separate you from your deeply belovèd Percy who can, in the miraculous way of one truly and purely loved, make Hal clean again, can't be banished. Not with his abuser and the filthy miasma of their god suspended in Hal's breath and between the red blood cells in his veins.

What worked best, then, was the reality of a psychologically abused son in the grip of a sexually jealous and sociopathic parent who expresses their power by coercing the child into sexual servitude and then blaming the child for not being strong enough to live a normal life. What was not necessarily so easy was the mapping of the story onto Shakespeare's "Henriad." It's been a while since my Shakespeare days, but the whole point of the Henriad wasn't to map out Prince Hal's survivorhood, was it? It was meant to explain how, after his rebellious rageful youth, he snaps into focus when he hears the strumpet shriek of Power. Of course, if you don't know the outline of the Henriad, none of this matters because it will sail past you. Suffice to say that book-Hal is a nasty piece of work (though for a reason), and play-Hal is a nasty piece of work too (though for different ones). The father/son conflicts, the verbal cruelties each inflicts, are all in the plays. The thing that isn't in the plays is Hal's self-awarness, or so I recall. Play-Hal is nasty and abusive to kinder people than he deserves to have around him and then, when he attains Power, he changes; book-Hal is more reflective, more aware that he is in fact wrestling with demons that have warped him and could kill him if he does not get the upper hand.

What that meant to my reading of the story was that I half-hoped there would be some mercy for the lost and the left behind. What it actually meant was the book ended before I got a sense that the story was over and all the threads dangled.

Not my favorite kind of ending. Appropriate to the subject matter. Truthful and completely honest. Just...dissatisfying, a lot like the life it limns for Hal. He is not satisfied; he cannot be satisfied; he can only dimly conjure any awareness that satisfaction could exist but can in no way craft any kind of response to those around him that would result in anyone feeling satisfied. It is, as a novel, bitter and hateful and cruel; but it is beautifully said and spoken in clear, unhistrionic tones.

A very big ask, this read. Go in with your Shakespeare goggles on and come away shocked at what a new generation of response to him has uncovered. Go in unaware of the Henriad and the dangling ends might bother you more. Shakespeare took three plays (four, if we're stuffy about it) to resolve the Lancastrian dynasty's fate. Author Bratton tried to squeeze it into less than four hundred pages so no wonder he wasn't all the way successful.

Fully successful or not, the clarity and honesty about the pain that abuse and hateful religiosity of Hal's world make it a highly rewarding read.

Abr 15, 8:23 am

Happy Monday, Richard. Henry Henry sounds like a tough read. It has been a beautiful few days in Chicagoland. May it continue...

Editado: Abr 15, 8:43 am

>251 msf59: It is a tough read, but a good one, and rewarding. Try it!

Enjoy the beautiful. It's that here right now, too.

Abr 15, 10:16 am

>249 richardderus: Fine, be nitpicky. The second last line.

Abr 15, 10:31 am

Hiya, RDear. Happy Monday to you.

>245 richardderus: Sounds way too busy. I have other books that are amusing and that entertain me.

>250 richardderus: One of your best reviews ever. Got shivers reading it. On my wish list, I may get it. Not quite sure yet. Wow.


Editado: Abr 15, 12:19 pm's like this...

Abr 15, 12:20 pm

>253 humouress: OIC

Yeah, I can see those caveats being deal-breakery.

Abr 15, 12:22 pm

>254 karenmarie: *blush* Thank you, Horrible dear. It wasn't an easy read but it was an easy review. I suspect you'll like it okay if you get to the read. I don't think it'll be tragic if you don't, though.


Abr 15, 12:42 pm

Unh. Ow! BOING!

Three BBs hitting in quick succession? Richard, have a little mercy. I can't read what I have now before I die.
Anyway, Good day/good week to you. *smooch*

Editado: Abr 15, 12:55 pm

>243 thornton37814: What??? How did I miss this news??? (Sorry for the overuse of the ?s. I am *that* excited.) One of my favorite series that includes a couple of my favorite books. I’ll be back after I google it to find out where I can watch it.

Happy Stormy Monday, Richard!

ETA I’m not sure I can watch it. (It’s on Disney+.) I love Sean Bean, but wasn’t Shardlake working for Cranmer in the first couple of books? Bean is playing Cromwell. I can’t stand it when books get butchered. I’ll have to look at Dissolution (which I reread last year) to be sure I’m remembering it correctly.

Abr 15, 1:20 pm

>258 LizzieD: IJBOL

Never forget that Death is a story addict. Use the size of your TBR to dazzle her!
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Pity that I don't think of myself in Shakespearean terms, innit?

Abr 15, 1:28 pm

>259 Storeetllr: Go Stormy! Go Stormy!

I'm more than a little disgruntled that Mauschwitz has Shardlake, as well. It does show how very inept their marketers are that we are not aware of ad on Goodreads, a review push on Netgalley for Dissolution, some think pieces on LitHub...energize the base you nimrods, don't just go looking for normies to woo.

If it goes into a longer series, they'll end up at Cromwell anyway and he has name recognition that a dead Archbishop of Cantrbury doesn't (since Becket anyway). Can you picture Sean Bean as CRANMER?! hahahaha

Abr 15, 4:16 pm

I am reading a poetry book for my annual self-test of intolerance to the stuff. No Charity in the Wilderness: Poems from the University of Nevada Press...I'm sure as heck not gonna BUY one, and these good folk have auto approved me on Netgalley, so...they, in the long run, get the blame or the praise. So far I do not loathe it but do not see what the point of breaking up your sentences all funny is.

Abr 15, 4:22 pm

>262 richardderus: I already did my annual self-test of my poetry intolerance. Whew! I still do not care overmuch for the stuff.

((Hugs)) and **smooches** and wishes for a marvelous Monday!

Abr 16, 1:39 am

>262 richardderus: So I'm guessing it still ranks above cats?

Abr 16, 7:19 am

>263 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia! I don't care for it much either. Still don't much see the point. Tremendous Tuesday tubas blare wherever you go and whatever you do, smoochling.

Abr 16, 7:20 am

>264 humouress: mmmmmmmmmm

Abr 16, 9:57 am

‘Morning, RDear. Happy Tuesday to you.

>255 richardderus: *smile*

>262 richardderus: Ah. Your poetry comment on my thread makes sense now. You and poetry are oxymorons as a general rule.

I stand by the two poems I published on my thread earlier this month, but also mostly don't bother.


Abr 16, 10:49 am

>267 karenmarie: Morning, Horrible. Have you installed/powered up/assembled your "ant moat" yet? I am really curious to see what the heck it is.

I'm not wowed by this guy's poetry, it feels like text messages he printed out and gave titles to. He seems like a nice guy and very well-intentioned but not my kinda folks. Bit on the sappy sentimental side and that makes my nose hairs itch.

Abr 16, 10:50 am

>266 richardderus: Or not. 🤗

Editado: Abr 16, 11:00 am

>234 laytonwoman3rd: Linda!

>237 richardderus: Better? Well then I'll get right on them!

I lurve ya too, ya big lug.

>238 richardderus: I might even *gasp* start my own thread. It's going to be a bit though. I'm sick as a dog.

>242 richardderus: *gives the hairy eyeball* REEEEEally.

>255 richardderus:

>262 richardderus: >263 alcottacre: I'm in agreement with you both when it comes to poetry. So I was EXTREMELY surprised at how much I loved The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.

I borrowed it from Kindle Unlimited and want my own copy to highlight and scribble in.

A minion of hell called and said we should bring warm clothes and our skates.

I don't know how much you'd get out of it though,

The most important tag is feminism* followed by women, romance, and relationships.

* Not bra-burning type (ugh) but women's empowerment.

Abr 16, 11:00 am

>269 humouress: Really kinda six of one, half dozen of the other....

Abr 16, 11:13 am

>270 Morphidae: re: >238 richardderus: Now don't go all crazy mad gonzo just yet, Morphy, it's still busy and chatty up in here and that tends to give you completion anxiety. Take care of you first.

re: >242 richardderus: ...except here, where cobwebs grow over my review posts and no one pays me even the slightest modicum of attention ::chinwobble::

re: >255 richardderus: HA!

Rupi Kaur, eh? She's wormed her way into your brainbox? I don't really relate because poetry but the subjects addressed are well worth amplifying. Why it should be so wildly popular when done in blah little blobs of prose snippeted into shapes I do not know.

But as I am not the audience she's addressing, I avoid discussing it. And isn't it a better solution simply not to buy the expensive foundation garment in the first place rather than contributing to global warming by igniting it?


Abr 16, 11:17 am

>260 richardderus: At least I inspire laughter and Shakespeare - not bad for not even trying. And I did just download The Magpie Lord to my Kindle at a price I can afford, namely nothing. Nice!

>271 richardderus: I always like to quote my mama's friend Madeline, who always said, "Six of one, 13 of the other."


I say again, "At least TRY The Never-Open Desert Diner for good Utah, which is sort of close to Nevada."

Abr 16, 11:24 am

>272 richardderus: Hmm. Rereading some of the poems, it's not so much that they are the greatest poems in themselves, but rather how relatable they are to my experiences. They evoke so many emotions in me.

Abr 16, 1:00 pm

>273 LizzieD: You do indeed invite comparisons and ideas snagged from the planet's deepest thinkers, me lurve.

Well, Peggy, it's like this: straight people longing for each other is up there with reading about women being sexually abused for my amusement on my list of "not a damn chance" reads these days. Utah is so beautiful and so infested with Mormons that I have a ghastly time trying to fit it into my world...think of Zion National Park and up bobs the rotting corpse of that fascist gothic Tabernacle. Most troubling to me because I can't ever enjoy the good without the horrifying evil blocking it.

Enjoy your KJ Charles reads! *smooch*

Abr 16, 1:00 pm

>274 Morphidae: True words.

Terrible "poetry".

Abr 16, 9:23 pm

>262 richardderus: I like playing with words. Thus getting rhyme, meter, and/or alliteration right for a particular form is fun. But that, I'm told, is mere doggerel. True poetry may have those things - though rarely in modern times - but it also has something else that I don't appear to be intellectually equipped to either recognize or appreciate.

It would of course be cynical of me to suggest that what true poetry has is the blessings of a clique I'm not part of, and/or so much non-obvious context that one must study for years to understand it or its critics, thus making poetry appreciation useful as a shibboleth to identify those from high status backgrounds, who attended the very best of schools.

Abr 17, 1:52 am

>277 ArlieS: It might be, if you were to suggest it.

Abr 17, 7:23 am

>277 ArlieS: The Anglo-Saxon way of making poetry, that. I don't like it much, to me all that faffing about is like making fart jokes for nine-year-olds. The "formal" stuff is the last echoes of The Academy drowning out the yawps of the hoi polloi.

There is, in short, no good poetry, it all fails to impress. Some poems make it harder to snark, like Beowulf which is an impressive feat of storytelling, but mostly it's just someone wanting to say something to look clever and condescend to you for not understanding The Deeper Meanings.

No, Poet-pooh, that is on you: It's entirely and solely your job to make yourself understood. If you haven't you have failed, or you are speaking to a teensy slice of erudite snobs.

Abr 17, 7:24 am

>278 humouress: I'll state it outright. No suggesting. Just, here are the facts; don't like 'em? They're still facts.

Abr 17, 7:29 am

Happy Wednesday, Richard. I hope you are having a good week. I got some Jackson time in yesterday afternoon. The kid is a hoot but can be exhausting.

No Charity in the Wilderness: Poems has some interesting themes, that I normally enjoy. We will see...

Editado: Abr 17, 10:47 am

PEARL RULE #008 (28%)

No Charity in the Wilderness: Poems BY Shaun T. Griffin

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: No Charity in the Wilderness is a book of poetry focused on the Great Basin and on the Mexican/American border, along with family and the people with whom the author, Shaun T. Griffin, works. A tender observation of the natural world and our place in it, the collection invites readers to open their hearts to offer tolerance and understanding.


My Review
: Okay. Read this:
By a Fire in Ballyhinch Castle
She lies close—the hydrangeas
folded in rainy abandon,
this fall day in the roadside wet,
the Celt below this bog, and last night
in the pub of poets and singers
who luted and tin-whistled
at the Alcock and Brown—

to burn the moisture from
the wood, from she who
dries beneath a canopy
of nerine lilies and fuchsia.
On the road home, she picks
blackberries from the thicket
and licks the sweet wine from her hands.

What. The Actual. Fuck. Is. This.

They're all pretty much like this. Text messages that he sent when he was drunk and has now printed out and then gave titles to. I still hate poetry. I rate this three stars because, for all I know or can tell, this could be genius and I, as always with this form of expression, am insensible to its charms.

Abr 17, 8:30 am

>282 richardderus: I don't get it either *shrug*
I can safely avoid that one as a potential future read. Sounds like you and I had pretty similar reactions to our National Poetry Month choices this week.

Wednesday *smooch*

Abr 17, 8:41 am

There's some poetry I would defend, that not getting it is fine, it's the sense behind that words that is being communicated.

And then there's that.

Abr 17, 8:43 am

>281 msf59: See below.

I'm glad to hear you got extra Jackson time! It's a lot of fun to be with kids that age, but very, very energy-intensive. Hoping you can recover before your full turn comes on Friday!

Abr 17, 8:45 am

>283 bell7: I'm glad I'm not alone, Mary! That is just crummy, at least to me it is. *smooch*

Abr 17, 8:47 am

>284 Helenliz: Oh, you mean I'm not the problem here? I'm glad to hear it.

What sense? If it's behind something, bring it up front and let's talk about it. Talking around stuff is a fast way to get misunderstood.

Abr 17, 9:55 am

Drive by mid week *smooch*

Abr 17, 10:04 am

‘Morning, RD. Happy 3rd day of the ISO week.

The ant moat is installed and I posted a pic of it and the hummingbird feeder it’s attached to.

>268 richardderus: I looked ‘this guy’ up, and won’t be reading any of his stuff. Heh. Itching nose hairs… vivid image.

>272 richardderus: except here, where cobwebs grow over my review posts and no one pays me even the slightest modicum of attention ::chinwobble:: Blatant.

>282 richardderus: Gaack.


Abr 17, 10:28 am

>288 figsfromthistle: *smooch* back, Anita!

Abr 17, 10:33 am

>289 karenmarie: Blatant?! I merely commented upon the self-evident complete neglect of this, my sad and lonely little eighth thread, that no one but you ever bothers to wander through or say anything to enliven a poor old shut-in's days. Why, it's taken two whole weeks for me to need a new thread!

>282 richardderus: is pretty dire, no?


Abr 17, 10:48 am

>282 richardderus: I got five lines read then noped.

>291 richardderus: *side eyes rd-dear* You know, folks. I think a certain someone doth protest too much. A little lesson is in order, hmm?

I'll go create a party thread and we can all go hangout until *someone* learns to appreciates us.

*adds sad puppy-dog eyes, glistening tears that gently spill out of her eyes, and a lip quiver for good measure.*

Abr 17, 11:18 am

>282 richardderus: No, no, absolutely not.

((Hugs)) and *smooches** for today

Abr 17, 11:37 am

>291 richardderus: Oh, poor baby. Two whole weeks.

>292 Morphidae: I'll be right over.

>282 richardderus: You Pearl-ruled it, slammed it and yet gave it 3/5 (despite claiming you didn't understand it). Looks like you liked it.

Abr 17, 11:46 am

>282 richardderus: I read some poetry but not that. I guess I don't go much beyond mid-20th century to say true.

>275 richardderus: *SMOOCH*

I'm no longer trying to persuade you to give Utah a chance. I will say in Anderson's defense that there's not a Mormon on the ground that I remember. Our hero is a half-breed Indian orphan, to take his Indian school's characterization of him. He is barely maintaining his semi with which he delivers water and the other necessities to the few desert dwellers who can make the place their home. He does achieve a relationship with a single woman and lends his support to a pregnant teen who is putting herself through school to become an accountant. Lots of angst. I liked it. I'll believe you when you say you wouldn't. *smooch* again!

Abr 17, 12:25 pm

>292 Morphidae: *I* got 28% read before I said, "I hate this more than usual." ::nailbuff::

The lipquiver's a great touch...I'll have to remember that one for the next time I go trawling.

Abr 17, 12:28 pm

>293 alcottacre: No? But you usually eat up all the poetry, Stasia! Surely you'll need a couple copies for your shelves and as gifts! I sent a case to you, charged to your credit card, so you can repent in leisure. *smooch*

Abr 17, 12:31 pm

>294 humouress: Yeah, I know! Two weeks to get to three hundred posts! It's like I suddenly turned invisible or something.

I only gave it three because I know nothing about poetry and this crap could be a bestseller among y'all weirdos who read the junk. Then I'd have people lining up to bash my philistinism and I can do without.

Abr 17, 12:33 pm

>295 LizzieD: You make it sound better than the blurb does, you terrible talking snake! Get thee behind me!


Abr 17, 3:40 pm

>296 richardderus: "The lipquiver's a great touch..."


Wasn't it just?
Este tópico foi continuado por richardderus's ninth 2024 thread.