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.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Nowhere is the white standard-setting more outrageous than when it comes to history. When the topic is about anybody other than white folks, it has to be labeled: Black, Latino, Native American, etc.; but white folks have been allowed to own “history”. As this planet’s original people, there is no history without us. Further, even when we moved outside of Africa, from ancient Greece and Rome to the Russian Empire to the start of the American Revolution to today, black folks have touched all of humanity’s most significant events. Neither the world nor America would be what they are today without the contributions of people of African Ancestry; let us be clear once and for all that black history is “history”.
(from Defining Moments in (Black) History by Dick Gregory)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Monday, June 15, 2020
“Since when do you open your own front door?”
“It is a luxury to feel so secure that I don’t need armed men to welcome old friends.”
“You’re taking a damned fool chance,” said Janson.
“A luxury by definition is an indulgence.”
“You’ll get yourself killed. Or snatched.”
“There are four concealed cameras over the alley.”
“I saw them. And the gas port. It would not be easy to take you, but not impossible.”
“Will I get a bill for security advice?”
(from The Janson Command by Paul Garrison)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020
“We need something with which to protect ourselves, too,” Arturo mentioned. “They have sharp teeth, and claws.”
“I’m hungry,” Robert whined, rubbing his sizable stomach. He caught a few glances and grimaced. “What? It’s a valid concern.”
“He’s right,” Joe remarked. “This probably isn’t gonna clear up in an afternoon, and we’ll need food. It’s like ‘Nam all over again. We need weapons, we need protection, and we need food. We should split up.”
“Then I need more booze, too. I’m not gonna do this sober.”
(from The Missing Link by Brandon Meyers and Bryan Pedas)
5*/10. The complete review is here.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
Monday, June 08, 2020
Sunday, June 07, 2020
Saturday, June 06, 2020
“I can’t forgive him for what he did to those poor prisoners of ours, of course, but I suppose some capricious cruelty is probably necessary in a ruler. All in all, I think, and judging him by the standards of our own monarchy, we should have to give the Tippoo fairly high marks.”
“So why the hell are we fighting him, sir?”
McCandless smiled. “Because we want to be here, and he doesn’t want us to be here. Two dogs in a small cage, Sharpe.”
(from Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell)