Sunday, August 02, 2020
Saturday, August 01, 2020
“We have beauty, too. We call it ‘scenery.’”
“’Scenery,’” Mhoram echoed. “The word is strange to me – but I do not like the sound.”
Covenant felt oddly shaken, as if he had just looked over his shoulder and found himself standing too close to a precipice. “It means that beauty is something extra,” he rasped. “It’s nice, but we can live without it.”
“Without?” Mhoram’s gaze glittered dangerously.
And behind him Foamfollower breathed in astonishment. “Live without beauty? Ah, my friend! How do you resist despair?”
“I don’t think we do,” Covenant muttered. “Some of us are just stubborn.”
(from Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson)
5*/10. The full review is here.
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Patriotism as a word and deed has made a comeback. At Halloween, costume shops did a brisk business in Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross getups. Teen pop bombshell Britney Spears took a breather during her live telecast from Vegas’s MGM Grand to sit on a piano bench with her belly ring glinting in the spotlight and talk about “how proud I am of our nation right now.” Chinese textile factories are working overtime to fill the consumer demand for American flags.
(from The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell)
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Monday, July 27, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Saturday, July 25, 2020
Serge reached in a paper sack and pulled out a piece of fruit.
“I didn’t know you liked to eat bananas.”
“I’m not eating it.” Serge held it in front of his face and stroked the yellow skin. “I’m having a religious experience. All life is connected, and I just heard last night on TV that humans possess half the DNA of a banana, so I’m checking it out to see if I can pick up a family vibe.”
(from No Sunscreen For The Dead by Tim Dorsey)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Monday, July 20, 2020
“I like it. Very much. I’ll take it.”
“Would you have references?”
“I’m awfully sorry, but I haven’t. I just arrived in New York, and don’t know a soul. Except you.” I smiled but she didn’t smile back. She stood hesitating, and I said, “It’s true that I’m an escaped convict, an active counterfeiter, and occasional murderer. And I howl during the full of the moon. But I’m neat.”
“In that case, welcome.”
(from Time and Again by Jack Finney)
7*/10. The complete review is here.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Grant sighed dramatically. “Ah, San Diego.”
“Oh, my God. You’re not going to get all mushy about what happened, are you? You were just there at the right time.”
“Mushy? Hell no. Can’t a guy reminisce about a fun afternoon?”
“Good. Because that’s all it was.”
“Fine with me.”
They scanned for a few more minutes before Grant said, “But just for the record, I wouldn’t mind having another afternoon like it.”
Morgan smiled. “Maybe we’ll find the right time again.”
(from The Roswell Conspiracy by Boyd Morrison)
4½*/10. The complete review is here.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Because, Mordak reflected, what’s the defining experience of Evil, taken as a whole, throughout three Ages of recorded history? It loses, that’s what. It gets hammered. It gets the stuffing bashed out of it, every single time. A Dark Lord rises, for a while everything goes swimmingly, vast swathes of territory fall under the Shadow; and then a handful of pointy-ears or a bunch of uppity humans or even a solitary furry-toed, knee-high hooligan stops us dead in our tracks and it’s straight back to square one, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred zlotyl.
(from An Orc on the Wild Side by Tom Holt)
Friday, July 10, 2020
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
By 1800, the British thought they had found a perfect solution to their tea-trade deficit, the ideal product to give China something to do with all its British silver: Indian opium. The Chinese government thought otherwise, banning opium in 1829 and, when drug-smuggling increased, dispatching a commissioner, Lin Zexu, to Canton to stop the illegal trade. After neither Chinese nor British merchants took any notice of his order to destroy opium stocks, he took action himself and flushed a year’s supply of opium into the sea. The British retaliated by shelling Canton; war was declared.
(from The Great Wall by Julia Lovell)
Monday, July 06, 2020
Sunday, July 05, 2020
Saturday, July 04, 2020
It would be better for them not to be sentient, Holloway thought. Just because they were sentient wouldn’t be a guarantee they’d be recognized as such. Not when so many people had such a vested interest in them not being so. Better to be a monkey and not be able to understand what’s been taken from you, than to be a man and be able to understand all too well – and be helpless to stop it.
(from Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi)
Friday, July 03, 2020
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
Bester sat and scribbled away at the back of the room, while I tried to keep in mind simultaneously 39 kids, lesson-plan, room passes, boardwork, Frost, troublemakers, scraps of paper on the floor, correcting their English, and enlarging the scope of the lesson to include moral and ethical concepts.
I didn’t have time to cover half of the things in my Plan Book, and I forgot Summary and Windows, but I did ask “pivotal questions,” linking the poem to their own experiences. Bester says I’m a born teacher! Congratulate me!
(from Up The Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman)
Friday, June 26, 2020
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
“Before I left England, my father received a letter from Grandda telling him not to worry, for my grandfather was making a vow to find me a husband. You, sir, seem to be the candidate for groom.”
Matthew smiled broadly at the nonsense of that last sentence, but when Berry’s face remained steadfastly serious he felt his smile collapse. “That’s ridiculous!”
“I’m glad we’re of a single mind on the subject.”
“I don’t plan on being married to anyone, anytime soon.”
“And before I marry I plan on making a living from my art.”
An impoverished spinster for life, Matthew thought.
(from The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon)
9*/10. The complete review is here.