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Madonna and Child with Angels, Giovanni dal Ponte (Giovanni di Marco), ca. 1410-19
The voters have spoken our winning book series to read in November 2018 is the Renaissance Faire cozy mysteries by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the last month to choose the category for the readathon, the authors and books series to vote on, and the suggestions to make this as fun as it will be. Since there are 8 books in the series, we cannot easily read them all in one month. We probably could, but there are many of us with other ARCs or pre-scheduled reads, so I think we should do 50% essentially the first 4 books. Below is our schedule and the books:...
is the world less real
if I can't see it clearly
does it blurrily exist
or pale with custom
seasons less thrilling
the umpteenth time
or do I need to sit
in the sun with a pad
by the babbling brook
the prehistoric me
loves running water
dams desert creeks
a river system under
the backyard hedge
and the way brilliance
falls through shallow
rushing liquid crystal
over tumbled pebbles
shining in late light
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I began reading the Stephanie Plum mystery series years ago and got through number eighteen around 2012 when I stopped. I am not really sure why, but I was in a reading slump for a few years. When that ended, I didnt go back now Im on a kick to close out all series I used to love so Im fully caught up. I picked up Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich at the library last week and finished it last night. Why did I stop? I asked myself ten pages in when I had to hold my bladder to prevent spontaneous bursting. Maybe its a good thing I waited so long as it was like reading the series all over again this time had me nearly wetting myself a few times! It might be formulaic, but it works.
Stephanie Plum is a disaster. Shes smart and feisty, but she just always gets herself in trouble. Thats why we love her. When it comes to capturing bond breakers, or dealing with her new bestie, Lula, a former ho, to use her terms, you cant not laugh out loud. Between their trips to Cluck in a Bucket (chicken joint) or misusing guns and shooting people or their own toes, its hilarious. I also love the back and forth between Ranger and Morelli, but I know it might get old again soon. Either way, picking the series back up after almost 7 years was a good decision.
In this one, shes got 3 different perps shes trying to capture. Evanovich is politically-incorrect and non-apologetic about it but in a good way. Some might be offended, but its done in a way where hopefully its not about calling out a certain thing or personality or race / creed / religion / disability / style to make fun of it. That thing or person being focused on could be ANYTHING, Its just about laughing at a situation for instance, Lula the ho is a few pounds overweight or possibly 100 pounds overweight (we never really know) but she constantly gets into situations where her weight poses an issue. Lula herself laughs about it, but there are also a few lines about how she feels great and she looks sexy and she knows she needs to check that shes healthy and not hurting herself long-term by binge eating et al. Theres a balance. Stephanie does the same thing with her hair or apartment or car being blown up or caught on fire. Its just about exaggeration. That said, I can...
Ancient Egyptian amulet (faience with gilding) depicting an ankh, djed-pillar, and was-scepter atop a neb-basket. Artist unknown; ca. 664-30 BCE (Late Period or Ptolemaic). Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Banquet of Cleopatra, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1743-44
Delineations of the Ox Tribe: The Natural History of Bulls, Bisons, and Buffaloes, Exhibiting All the Known Species and the More Remarkable Varieties of the Genus Bos (London: G. Biggs, 1851), by George Vasey (stable link)
Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee: A Bee Keeper's Manual (Northampton, MA: Hopkins, Bridgman and Co., 1853), by L. L. Langstroth (stable link)
Grotesque Architecture, Or, Rural Amusement: Consisting of Plans, Elevations, and Sections, for Huts, Retreats, Summer and Winter Hermitages, Terminaries, Chinese, Gothic, and Natural Grottos, Cascades, Baths, Mosques, Moresque Pavilions, Grotesque and Rustic Seats, Green-houses, The Whole Containing Twenty-eight New Designs, with Scales to Each: To Which is Added, an Explanation, with the Method of Executing Them (London: Printed for I. and J. Taylor, 1790), by William Wrighte (stable link)
Guano: A Treatise of Practical Information for Farmers, Containing Plain Directions How to Apply Peruvian Guano to the Various Crops and Soils of America, With a Brief Synopsis of Its History, Locality, Quantity, Method of Procuring, Prospect of Continued Supply, and Price; Analysis of its Composition, and Value as a Fertilizer, Over All Other Manures (New York: The author, 1853), by Solon Robinson (stable link)
On the Threshold of the Unseen: An Examination of the Phenomena of Spiritualism and of the Evidence for the Survival After Death (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1918), by William Barrett, contrib. by James H. Hyslop (stable link)
The Round Towers of Ireland: or, The History of the Tuath-De-Danaans (new edition; London: W. Thacker and Co.; Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and co, 1898), by Henry O'Brien, ed. by W. H. C. (stable link)
Two New Worlds: I. The Infra-World; II. The Supra-World (London et al.: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907), by E. E. Fournier d'Albe (stable link)
Psychical Research (New York: H. Holt; London: Williams and Norgate, ca. 1911), by William Barrett (page images at HathiTrust)
New Light on Immortality (London et al.: Longmans, Green, and co., 1908), by E. E. Fournier d'Albe (stable link)
Rudimentary Treatise on Agricultural Engineering (3 volumes; London: J. Weale, 1852-1853), by G. H. Andrews (stable link)
Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained: Being a Complete Analysis of the Whole Subject, Consisting of the Natural History of Bees, Directions for Obtaining the Greatest Amount of Pure Surplus Honey With the Least Possible Expense, Remedies for Losses Given, and the Science of "Luck" Fully Illustrated--the Result of More Than Twenty Years' Experience in Extensive Apiaries (New York: C. M. Saxton, 1853), by M. Quinby (stable link)
On the Threshold of a New World of Thought: An Examination of the Phenomena of Spiritualism (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1908), by William Barrett (stable link)
The Lost Million (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1913), by Winthrop Alden (page images at HathiTrust)
Dark Deleuze (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), by Andrew Culp (illustrated HTML with commentary at umn.edu)
The Celebrity Persona Pandemic (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), by P. David Marshall (illustrated HTML with commentary at umn.edu)
Deep Mapping the Media City (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, c2015), by Shannon Christine Mattern (HTML with commentary at umn.edu)
The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), by Joanna Zylinska (HTML and video with commentary at umn.edu)
Le Monde Invisible (in French; Paris: E. Flammarion, ca. 1902), by Jules Bois, contrib. by Sully Prudhomme (stable link)
Rural Architecture: Being a Complete Description of Farm Houses, Cottages, and Out Buildings (New York: C.M. Saxton, 1852), by Lewis F. Allen, illust. by John William Orr (stable link)
An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the United States: 2018 Statutory Enforcement Report (2018), by United States Commission on Civil Rights (PDF at usccr.gov)
The Seasons (based on the 1847 edition, with added material from other editions), by James Thomson, ed. by Bolton Corney, contrib. by Patrick Murdoch, John Aikin, and William Collins, illust. by John Bell, Charles West Cope, Thomas Creswick, John Callcott Horsley, John Prescott Knight, Richard Redgrave, Frank Stone, Charles Stonhouse, Frederick Tayler, Henry James Townsend, Thomas Webster, William Kent, and Thomas Stothard (illustrated HTML with commentary at fiftywordsforsnow.com)
Attic black-figure krater depicting the scene in the Odyssey in which Odysseus escapes from the Cyclops Polyphemus cave beneath the belly of a ram. Artist unknown; 2nd half of 6th cent. BCE. Now in the Getty Museum, Malibu, CA.
There are several things I miss about living in Louisiana, one of them being its proximity to Mississippi and the strange wonder of the Ohr-OKeefe Museum of Art, the Frank Gehrydesigned pottery museum across the street from the Gulf in the south of the state. There resides a permanent collection of George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Biloxi, an artist who did strange and amazing things with form (some critics say he anticipated abstraction), wonderful and wonky things with color (see the shimmering multicolor glazes), and generally elevated mud into fine art. Lucky for melucky for all of us within spitting distance of West ChelseaKathy Butterlys ceramics are on display at James Cohan Gallery through October 20 (with an artist talk this Saturday). Citing Ohr as an influence, Butterly takes familiar formsshe starts by pouring clay into casts made from store-bought vesselsthen she smashes and smooshes them, layering on more clay, adding arms and antennae and other bits until shes crafted a different sort of delight. Note the nooks and crannies of her pieces, the piping and edging and little leaflike appendages that dress her human-scale ceramics. And the colors: I held my nose close to a piece that was bubble gum and seafoam and moss, with these little rivulets of Gatorade orangea swirl of glazes achieved by firing her creations again and again (sometimes upwards of thirty times). Pro tip: dont miss the nail polishits another way into the head of a master colorist. Emily Nemens
Inflatable pools, plastic flamingos, tea leaves, and trains: all these objects (and wait, theres more!) are packed into David Orrs debut poetry collection, Dangerous Household Items. With his trademark drollery and endlessly perceptive wit, Orr explores the more sinister aspects of suburban life. Abandoned tools are imbued with nefa...
In 1905, the Swedish female artist Hilma af Klint began cleansing herself, in preparation for a series of artworks that would be executed at the directives of someone named Amaliel. More than a century later, those paintings would force a rewriting of the history of abstraction. According to the notebooks the artist left behind, Amaliel was one of several guiding spirits who spoke to her from above (and within), instructing her and even leading her hand. During her lifetime, at the behest of the spirits, af Klint produced more than one thousand works, but they remained largely within the confines of her studio. Even though she toiled as a commercial artist, painting portraits and landscapes, she exhibited only a few of the abstract paintings and drawings she created. She worried that the world wasnt ready to see them, and when she died in a tram accident, in 1944, at the age of eighty-one, her will ordained that they not be shown for at least another twenty years.
Af Klint got her wishand then some. She remained unknown until 1986, when she was included in the show The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I first encountered her art at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin in 2013 as a traveling retrospective, which began at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. A number of her furtively made paintings were shown there for the first time, almost seventy years after her death. Now, finally, five years later, an American institution is holding the first major exhibition of af Klints work in the U.S. In Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future, opening October 12, the Guggenheim is presenting a hundred and seventy-five of her paintings and drawings, and seven of her notebooks.
Wassily Kandinsky has long been widely regarded as the forefather of abstraction, but a...
Still Life with Figs and Apples, Johann Matthias Wurzer, ca. 1810
It has been said of Anthony Trollope that as soon as he finished a novel, he turned to a fresh page and started on the next, and its tempting to think that Javier Maras enjoys a similarly unstoppable flow of invention. The Spanish author has published more than a dozen novelsone of which, Your Face Tomorrow, comprises three volumesplus a book of stories, countless translations, a work of literary biography, and a weekly column for El Pas. Because his digressive, intellectual, and liquid style is among the most consistent in contemporary literature, and because his fiction shares characters and thematic concerns, it sometimes seems as if Maras has been writing one very long book for his entire career. But in fact, as he told me in our recent conversation, his process of writing is far from preordained. I always feel as insecure as if it were the first book Id written, he said.
His most recent novel is Berta Isla, which will be published in an English translation by his longtime collaborator, Margaret Jull Costa, in the UK this fall and in the U.S. next spring. Partly narrated by its eponymous heroine, Berta Isla returns to the milieu of espionage from Your Face Tomorrow. Maras has a persistent fascination with those who renounce their lives in order to work in the shadowy wings. As in several of his recent novelsThe Infatuations and Thus Bad BeginsBerta Isla probes the nature of historical memory, asking what should be remembered, and what forgotten. Those questions are ultimately unanswerable, but as in the best of Marass fiction, its captivating to watch the minds of Berta Islas characters work them over.
I reached Maras by phone at home in Madrid on the eve of his sixty-seventh birthday. His characters can speak at length on virtually any topic, and while this is a literary effect he achieves painstakingly, its true that I had no difficulty in prompting him. Our conversation wandered from Brexit to Balzac, from his apartments balconies to the distant kingdom of Redonda, a barren island off the coast of Antigua that through a series of bizarre events (catalogued in his ...
Based on last months poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: Cozy Mystery Series. Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. Im very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. Ive also chosen authors Ive never read before but have on my TBR.
You can choose your top 3 series to read. The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, Ill announce the book series with the most votes. Well have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and se...
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