Saturday, October 24, 2020
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
The Forum had that look it always gets when everyone knows there is bad news in the air. Instead of the usual drifting, shifting mass, people gathered in tight little knots, each one feeding the other’s ignorance with rumors and omens. I overheard talk of military disaster, civil war, invasion by foreign enemies, plague, famine, earthquake and wondrous visitations by the Olympian deities, all before we reached the steps of the Curia.
(from The Sacrilege by John Maddox Roberts)
8*/10. The full review is here.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
“You clumsy idiot,” said the Prince of the Nibelungs, “you’ve broken my leg.”
It occurred to Malcolm that this served Alberich right, and he said so. In fact, he suggested, Alberich was extremely lucky to get off so lightly, since presumably he had broken in with the intention of committing murder.
“Don’t be stupid,” said Alberich. “I only wanted the ring.”
He made it sound as if he had just dropped by to borrow a bowl of sugar. “Now, about my broken leg…”
“Never mind your broken leg.”
“I mind it a lot. Get a doctor.”
(from Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Friday, October 09, 2020
Thursday, October 08, 2020
“Some fools will claim these creatures washed up from the depths of the arctic sea.”
“I know,” Naomi answered. “No one will believe it at first. But if enough people see it, a few reputable scientists might come forward to challenge what they think is a fake. You’ve just got to do whatever you can to get it in front of the media. And keep yourselves alive.”
Mikhailov snorted. “The first should not be difficult. I am not so certain about the second.”
(from Season of the Harvest by Michael R. Hicks)
7*/10. The complete review is here.
Tuesday, October 06, 2020
Monday, October 05, 2020
Sunday, October 04, 2020
Saturday, October 03, 2020
Friday, October 02, 2020
A McDonald’s popped up in front of me, and the car automatically turned into the drive-through lane. I ordered a vanilla milkshake and asked the kid in the window if they were hiring.
“Sure,” he said, “we’re always hiring. You want an application?”
“Do you get held up a lot here?”
“Not a lot,” he said, passing the application through with the straw. “We get a few crazies, but usually you can buy them off with extra pickles.”
(from Hot Six by Janet Evanovich)
8*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, October 01, 2020
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
“What’s true? What’s false? In case you haven’t noticed, the world has pretty much given up on the old Enlightenment idea of piecing together the truth based on observed data. Reality is too complicated and scary for that. Instead, it’s way easier to ignore all data that doesn’t fit your preconceptions and believe all data that does. I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe, and we’ll agree to disagree. It’s liberal tolerance meets dark ages denialism. It’s very hip right now.”
(from The Nix by Nathan Hill)
9*/10. The complete review is here.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
All the time. Tricky words like banal, concomitant, and paean. Names like Cthulhu, Ng, and Gaiman (long "a" or long "i"?). Weird words like mambaskin, lich, or oenophile. Slang such as pwn. British places such as Lancaster and Worcestshire. Foreign words such as etagere, hors d'oeuvres, vichyssoise, or anything Welsh.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
I live in an apartment. I could never live anywhere but in an apartment. I love apartments because I lose everything. Apartments are horizontal, so it’s much easier to find the things I lose – such as glasses, gloves, wallet, lipstick, book, magazine, cell phone, and credit card. The other day I actually lost a piece of cheese in my apartment. Also, apartment buildings have doormen, a convenience if you’re having things delivered to you, which I often am, sometimes to replace the things I can’t find.
(from I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron)
8½*/10. The complete review is here.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
“These are about one day old.” Peck points out a cluster of maggots, maybe twenty or thirty, feeding side by side, packed in close. They’re easy to miss, because all that can be seen of them is their tail ends. Insects take oxygen through openings in the exoskeleton called spiracles. In the larvae, there are, specifically, anal spiracles. On top of its other charms, the maggot breathes through its ass. It is a handy evolutionary adaptation if, as Peck puts it, “you spend your whole day with your head buried in slimy dead flesh.
(from Grunt by Mary Roach)
9*/10. The complete review is here.