BrokenTune

Reviews & Rants - Blogging about books, authors, and generally 

Sometimes...

Wyrd Sisters: A Novel of Discworld - Terry Pratchett

...you just need a bit of Granny and Nanny.

 

I woke up way too early this morning, and the only things making this unprovoked state of being awake more pleasant are a great cup of tea and listening to Celia Imrie narrating Wyrd Sisters. 

 

This is my third (or fourth?) re-read, and I love this story even better than when I first read it.

And Granny Weatherwax, striding home alone through the midnight forest, wrapped her shawl around her and considered. It had been a long day, and a trying one. The theatre had been the worst part. All people pretending to be other people, things happening that weren’t real, bits of countryside you could put your foot through . . . Granny liked to know where she stood, and she wasn’t certain she stood for that sort of thing.

   The world seemed to be changing all the time. It didn’t use to change so much. It was bewildering.

She walked quickly through the darkness with the frank stride of someone who was at least certain that the forest, on this damp and windy night, contained strange and terrible things and she was it.

 

‘Let him be whoever he thinks he is,’ she said. ‘That’s all anybody could hope for in this world.’

The Flat Book Society: September Vote Winner!

Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe - Bob Berman

UPDATE: We have official approval from Moonlight Murder that this Flat Book Society buddy read can be used in Halloween Bingo - either the "Truly Terrifying" or "Raven" squares would be appropriate! Thank you, Moonlight Murder!

 

Well, I did say I was going to announce the September read tonight, and after a few days of sustaining a four-way-tie, we have a winner by one vote!

 

From the blurb:

 

"A heart-pumping exploration of the biggest explosions in history, from the Big Bang to mysterious activity on Earth and everything in between

The overwhelming majority of celestial space is inactive and will remain forever unruffled. Similarly, more than 90 percent of the universe's 70 billion trillion suns had non-attention-getting births and are burning through their nuclear fuel in steady, predictable fashion. But when cosmic violence does unfold, it changes the very fabric of the universe, with mega-explosions and ripple effects that reach the near limits of human comprehension. From colliding galaxies to solar storms, and gamma ray bursts to space-and-time-warping upheavals, these moments are rare yet powerful, often unseen but consequentially felt. 
Likewise, here on Earth, existence as we know it is fragile, always vulnerable to hazards both natural and manufactured. As we've learned from textbooks and witnessed in Hollywood blockbusters, existential threats such as biological disasters, asteroid impacts, and climate upheavals have the all-too-real power to instantaneously transform our routine-centered lives into total chaos, or much worse. While we might be helpless to stop these catastrophes-whether they originate on our own planet or in the farthest reaches of space-the science behind such cataclysmic forces is as fascinating as their results can be devastating. 
In Earth-Shattering, astronomy writer Bob Berman guides us through an epic, all-inclusive investigation into these instances of violence both mammoth and microscopic. From the sudden creation of dazzling "new stars" to the furiously explosive birth of our moon, from the uncomfortable truth about ultra-high-energy cosmic rays bombarding us to the incredible ways in which humanity has harnessed cataclysmic energy for its gain, Berman masterfully synthesizes some of our worst fears into an astonishing portrait of the universe that promises to transform the way we look at the world(s) around us. 
In the spirit of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carlo Rovelli, what emerges is a rollicking, profound, and even humbling exploration of all the things that can go bump in the night."

 

The Club read will start on 1st September!

 

 

 

As always, Huggins above, our mascot, is liked to the book club page. Click on Huggins to be directed to the club page. 

 

And of course, if you haven't heard of the Flat Book Society before or are intrigued by September's book choice, or both, then please feel free to join our group read. It's low pressure, and everyone is welcome. 

The Flat Book Society: September nominations! - AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!

Reblogged from BrokenTune :

Hello,

 

I'm late! I'm late! I'm so, so late!

 

Many thanks to TeaStitchRead for the timely reminder that I totally forgot to post about the September nominations for the Flat Book Society!

 

So, yes, please vote for any of the current nominations that appeal to you!

Voting will be open until Monday, and the book with the most votes will be announced on Monday night (UK time). 

 

And if you haven't heard of our Flat Book Society and are intrigued, check it out! Everyone is welcome. 

 

PLEASE DO NOT BE SHY!  If you want a title there, please add it - even if it's been

added and voted on before.

 

Huggins below links to the current list of nominations/votes.

 

 

 

Note to group: Please remember this is a science book club and we try to stick with books whose primary subject matter is science. Not science fiction, history, or, politics etc. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those subjects, they fall outside the agreed upon scope of this group.

Bumble has a new home

@Lillelara,

 

Bumble, the Hoptimist, hopped, skipped and jumped along my shelves and selected the "mountaineering section" for his new hangout. It's very fitting.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 202 out of 303 pages.

Woza Shakespeare!: Titus Andronicus In South Africa - Gregory Doran, Antony Sher

No quotes, but this book is still such a joy to read. 

 

It won't make me love Titus Andronicus, or even like the play, not even a little bit, but I love reading about how Greg, Tony, and the rest of the cast are approaching the play and interpreting the characters. I don't have to agree with everything - I don't have to agree with anything in their approach but even thinking about their different view is eye-opening.  

 

It is such a great example of how when plays - or poetry, or any work of literature, art, music - are taught in a classroom setting, it should encourage people to seek out different performances, adaptations, etc. 

 

Anyway, I'm loving this book. 

Halloween Bingo - Card & Books - Planned Reads & Tracking Post

 

Many thanks to Moonlight Murder for my lovely card for this year's Halloween Bingo.

As with previous years, I will update this post as we go along - with Harriet & Peter covering squares I have read, and The Gang popping up on squares that have been called.

I am also listing the books I plan to read / have read for each square - with () being planned reads, Italics being books in progress, and bold being books I have read:

 

Row # 1:

 

Southern Gothic: 

Cozy Mystery: 

Dark Academia: (Gaudy Night? Again. OR The Secret History?)

Diverse Voices: (Beloved - Toni Morrison)

Full Moon: (Does Meet Mr. Mulliner count? It does contain at least one proper ghost story - Honeysuckle Cottage.)

 

Row # 2:

 

Genre: Horror: (Dracul - J.D. Barker & Dacre Stoker)

Amateur Sleuth:

Halloween: (Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie)

Darkest London:

Black Cat: 

 

Row # 3:

 

Cryptozoologist:  

Locked Room Mystery: 

Free Space:  

Gothic: (The Monk - Matthew Lewis)

Film at 11: (Bell, Book and Candle? or Trilby?)

 

Row # 4:

 

Ghost Stories: 

International Woman of Mystery: (Highsmith of Jackson)

Relics and Curiosities: 

13: (Farjeon?)

Truly Terrifying: (The Remedy)

 

Row # 5:


Spellbound: 

Sleepy Hollow: (Blood Rubies - Michael McDowell)

Creepy Carnivals:

Fear The Drowning Deep: (The Fishermen)

Monsters: (re-read Frankenstein?)

 

 

Unallocated but in progress: n/a

 

Transfiguration Cards available: 3

Halloween Bingo - The Gang Receives a Letter

It is the time of year and the Gang is getting excited about the upcoming Halloween Bingo season. This is always a special time of year. Not only are the Gang excited about the upcoming reading challenges, drinks, snacks, and general merriment caused by the Booklikes community, but this is also the time of year when the Gang meets up with friends and the Weresheep. It's true that the Weresheep has been rather elusive and hardly made any appearances last year, but from what I have been told, the runes foretell a busy season for sightings this October.  

 

 

As you might remember from my last Halloween Bingo post, I believed that the Gang had asked one of their friends to join us for the bingo festivities. This has become a bit of a tradition: two years ago, the Gang was joined by Baron Samedi in the Halloween Bingo celebrations, and last year, our cher ami Hastings added some extra excitement to the game. 

 

 

This year, I was not sure whom the Gang invited. All I knew, was that a letter had been drafted and that I was missing some stamps. 

 

Anyway, as the Gang engaged in the annual tidying of the barn and preparation of the pumpkin patch this morning, a letter arrived:

 

 

 

 Hah! This should be splendid!

 

I have posted the holiday snap behind the "Spoiler Tags". 

 

 

 

(show spoiler)

 

The Flat Book Society: September nominations! - AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!

Hello,

 

I'm late! I'm late! I'm so, so late!

 

Many thanks to TeaStitchRead for the timely reminder that I totally forgot to post about the September nominations for the Flat Book Society!

 

So, yes, please vote for any of the current nominations that appeal to you!

Voting will be open until Monday, and the book with the most votes will be announced on Monday night (UK time). 

 

And if you haven't heard of our Flat Book Society and are intrigued, check it out! Everyone is welcome. 

 

PLEASE DO NOT BE SHY!  If you want a title there, please add it - even if it's been

added and voted on before.

 

Huggins below links to the current list of nominations/votes.

 

 

 

Note to group: Please remember this is a science book club and we try to stick with books whose primary subject matter is science. Not science fiction, history, or, politics etc. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those subjects, they fall outside the agreed upon scope of this group.

@Locus Amoenus & @TA

Der Gesang der Wellen - Manuel Vicent

Fyi, I'll start this after Home is the Hunter (and keep Circe for last).

Reading progress update: I've read 34%.

Home is the Hunter: A Comedy in Two Acts - Helen MacInnes

I ended up starting MacInnes' take on Odysseus' homecoming before work this morning. I have no idea why I was up so early but I managed to read a fair chunk of the play. 

 

The interesting thing about this one is that the setting includes clear references to 20th-century war scenarios. 

I was particularly gripped by her showing Odysseus from three different angles:

 

1. From Odysseus point of view,

2. From the pov of his son, Telemachus, whose perception of the man is solely based on tales and legend; and

3. The pov of Penelope.

 

I really want to pick up the Iliad to compare notes about the circumstances of Odysseus going off to war, because MacInnes version of Penelope's telling sees Odysseus as a trying to evade the draft, which seems an interesting approach. It's certainly at odds with Telemachus image of his father as a hero-warrior.

 

Can't wait to get back to this one tonight.  

Reading progress update: I've read 201 out of 325 pages.

The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

Oh, here we go again: It's my bedtime but I really want to know how the story ends...

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 325 pages.

The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

Did we need the change in narrator?

Why change the narrative point of view? 

It somehow distracts from Briseis' story, which is, I guess, what this book is supposed to be about, right?

Reading progress update: I've read 63 out of 325 pages.

The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

Smintheus Apollo, hear me!

Lord whose arrows strike from afar, hear me!

Lord of mice, hear me!

 

Lord of mice? I'd forgotten - if I ever knew - that Apollo is the god of mice. And suddenly, I knew where all the prayer were leading. Apollo isn't the lord of mice because they're sweet, furry little creatures and he quite likes them ... No, he's the lord of mice because mice, like rats, carry the plague; and Apollo, the lord of light, the lord of music, the lord of healing, is also the god of plague.

As the priest's great prayer for vengence mounted to the skies, I found myself praying with him.

 

Lord of mice, hear me!

Lord of the silver bow, hear me!

Lord whose arrows strike from afar, hear me!

 

Until, finally, the forbidden words erupting from my mouth like blood or bile:

 

God of plague, hear me!

 

That's pretty powerful writing. 

Ancient Greece

Heroes - Stephen Fry House of Names - Colm Tóibín The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker Circe - Madeline Miller Home is the Hunter: A Comedy in Two Acts - Helen MacInnes Der Gesang der Wellen - Manuel Vicent

I had not planned this, but sometimes books just work out this way. 

 

As I'm in the middle of the third book this month that is a re-telling of Greek myths and history, I might as well make a month of it. 

 

My library reservation of Circe became available and I recently picked up Home is the Hunter, which should be interesting as MacInnes is better-known for the thrillers, and Der Gesang der Wellen (tr. The Song of the Sea/Waves), which was a recommendation by a fellow BookLiker, Locus Amoenus. I had no idea what Der Gesang der Wellen is about but the back cover tells me it features Odysseus. 

 

So, there we have it, I'm going to spend much of August in Ancient Greece.

Heroes

Heroes - Stephen Fry

Oedipus is a detective who employs all the fields of enquiry of which the Athenians were so proud – logic, numbers, rhetoric, order and discovery – only to reveal a truth that is disordered, shameful, transgressive and bestial.

What I loved best about Heroes were Fry's summaries and general commentary how the stories related to each other and how different Greek playwrights treated the same stories in different ways. 

 

Other than this, Fry's retelling of the stories is probably better for readers who are new to the Greek tragedies. And I am not saying this because I'm an expert on Greek tragedies or mythology or have some sort of snobbish attitude towards the material. I'm purely surmising this because I was quite bored by a lot of the stories. 

Sure, the stories were re-told in their substance, but I think I was missing some depth that I found in other adaptations, or even the originals.

 

For example, Colm Toibin's House of Names, which I read last week, was riveting and made me think quite a bit about the characters and the implied expectations of character development. 

With Fry's stories, I didn't get a sense of complex characters at all. And the stories didn't have the same sense of unexpected plot development as the stories in Mythos - as far as well-known stories can be "unexpected". 

Maybe the heroes are to blame for this. Maybe the heroes just aren't as interesting as the Gods, but...gee, I was bored even favourite stories such as the one about Orpheus, Jason and Medea, and Oedipus. Atalanta's story was good but it somewhat fizzled out at the end.

 

Anyway, the audiobook is still a fun way to spend some quality time immersed in Greek mythology.  

Halloween Bingo - Preparty - Day # 10 - Most Anticipated Reads

The Fisherman - John Langan The Monk - Christopher MacLachlan, Matthew Gregory Lewis Dracul - Dacre Stoker, J. D. Barker

Halloween Bingo has become a Booklikes tradition. Along with the game itself, there are also some other traditions that have emerged: the celebration of markers and pre-game planning, the forming of group reads, the adornment of blogs with all things seasonal. 

 

For my own taking part in Halloween Bingo, there are three small reading-related traditions that have evolved over the past four years and that, even tho I don't do tradition much elsewhere, I wouldn't want to miss:

 

1. Reading something totally out of my comfort zone. 

2. Reading a Gothic classic.

3. Reading something recommended by Char. 

 

The Fisherman was a book that Char recommended, and that is the only thing I really remember about the book. But anyway, look at that cover...isn't it gorgeous?

 

The Monk is a Gothic Classic that has been on my list for ages. I nearly picked it last year for the Gothic square but then ended up with Mary Shelley's The Last Man, which I have no regrets about at all. However, when Darth Pedant mentioned The Monk the other day, I had to make sure the book would end up on this year's Halloween Bingo TBR. 

 

Dracul by Barker and Stoker is a book I would not have picked up other than for the game's purpose. I got a copy in May at my local bookstore - mostly because the cover is fabulous...and Char liked it - but much of the proposed story is outside my usual reading. The story is based on a real person (Bram Stoker) but plays fast and loose with the biographical facts...I guess...or hope...from what I read in the description. 

 

So, three books I am very much looking forward to that fit my three Halloween Bingo  reading traditions. 

 

Currently reading

Circe by Madeline Miller
Der Gesang der Wellen by Manuel Vicent
Perseus in the Wind by Freya Stark
Woza Shakespeare!: Titus Andronicus In South Africa by Gregory Doran, Antony Sher
Progress: 200/303pages
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor
Progress: 424/1344pages
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, H.M. Parshley, Deirdre Bair
Wyrd Sisters: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Progress: 18%