Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Bit of History and 2017 Reading Group Challenges

Continuing my perusal of Treasures of Use and Beauty, I move on to the 1100's in the Section entitled Great Historical Events. Clearly as I look at this period of North America's history, the original inhabitants were living relatively peaceful lives, uninterrupted by explorers that would begin hitting their shores and disrupting their lives in future centuries. There is one entry for the 1100's;

1170 - A Welch (as it is spelled in the book) prince, named Madoc, supposed to have discovered America.

(Next entry will cover the 1400's)

Letters of Affection

I had posted some correspondence between Napoleon and Josephine in my previous posts. This next letter was written Feb 8, 1813, from Andrew Jackson's wife to Andrew, himself.

"My Dear Husband

Your letter of 18th January from the mouth of the Cumberland River came safe to hand. It was everything to  me. I rejoiced, I was happy to hear you were in health. It was my nightly prayer to the Almighty God. My thoughts are forever on thee. Where'er I go, where'er I turn, my thoughts, my fears, my doubts distress me. Then a little my hope revives again, and that keeps me alive. Were it not for that I must sink; I should die in my present situation. But my blessed Redeemer is making intercession with the Father for us to meet again, to restore you to my bosom, where every vein, every pulse beats high for your health, your safety, and your wishes crowned. Do not, my beloved husband, let the love of country, fame and honor make you forget you have one. Without you, I would think them all empty shadows.
May the Almighty God of Heaven shower down His blessings, His mercy on you, assist you in the ways of life, in the ways of righteousness, be your shield in the time of danger, support you in all things and keep you in the paths of wisdom, - the ways thereof is peace afar. Well, think on me, your dearest friend on earth.

Rachel Jackson"

(I believe Mrs. Jackson loved her hubby. :))

2017 Reading Group Challenges

 I've progressed very nicely with my 12 + 4 Reading Group challenge. I've read all but the final 2 Alternates. I'm about to start The Wrong End of Time by John Brunner next. Since it's so early in the year, I've been going through my book lists to see what books I might pick for a follow-on 12 + 4 challenge for the 2nd half of the year. At the moment, I've got two in mind. I'll pick one or the other when I finish my last book in this challenge.

Option 1 - Continuing my Science Fiction book challenge

 My current challenge features Science Fiction novels, my oldest published to one of the more current. If I decided to continue with Science Fiction books. This time I thought what I would do is make a Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror challenge, with 6 fantasies, 5 Science Fiction and 5 Horror books. These are the books I've tentatively picked if I go with this challenge. (If I go with the other, I would read these anyway in my Individual challenges.


1. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris. This is one of the Sookie Stackhouse series.

2. King Kull by Robert E. Howard. I've read all of the Conan books by Howard. I thought it would be worthwhile to try one of his other series.

3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I got this book for Christmas a few years back and have heard very good things about it.

4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed the movie very much. I've also enjoyed other books by Gaiman.

5. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files is one of my favourite fantasy series. This is the 4th book in the series.

6. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have previously read Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series a couple of times and enjoyed very much. I've avoided the Tarzan books, for some reason, but I'm looking forward to starting the first one.

Science Fiction

1. Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard. I've read quite of few of Ballard's unique views of Science Fiction. This is one of two or three awaiting my attention on my book shelves.

2. The Kingdom of the Cats by Phillis Gotlieb. Canadian writer has become a favourite Science Fiction writer of mine. The Cats series are especially fun reads.

3. Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks. The Culture series is one of the great Science Fiction series. I've read 3 or 4 so far and enjoyed them all.

4. Venus on a Half Shell by Kilgore Trout. Trout was a character in books by Kurt Vonnegut, supposedly based on his friend Theodore Sturgeon. This book was written by Phillip Jose Farmer using the pseudonym of Trout. Interesting eh? I hope the book is as well.

5. The Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock. I read this many years ago and just want to see if it's as good as I remember it.


1. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton. It's been a few years since I picked up an Anita Blake horror adventure. At one time I used to read one after the other. I think when you've got to wait for a couple of years for the next one that your patience is tested somewhat. At least in my case anyway.

2. Cold Streets by P.N. Elrod. I've read three or four books in The Vampire Files. It's a combination hard boiled detective story / vampire story, set in Chicago during Al Capone's time there. A neat concept and interesting stories so far.

3. Someone Like You by Roald Dahl. This is a collection of horror short stories by a talented writer. I've read others and enjoyed.

4. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz. Forever Odd is the 2nd book in the Odd Thomas series. I read the first one last year and was very impressed. I hope this sequel is as good.

5. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry. Super zombies... woo hoo!! I read the first book in another Maberry's series a couple of years ago and liked his style. This one sounds cool.

Option 2

I'm leaning toward Option 2 for my next challenge. This challenge would be books published between 1900 and 1950, including 1950. As well, I vetted against how long I've had the books on my shelves. The 16 books below have been waiting my attention for a very long time.

1. Night Walk by Elizabeth Daly (1947). This is one of the Henry Gamadge mystery series.

2. Death and Letters by Elizabeth Daly (1950). Another of the Gamadge books.

3. A Wreath for Rivera by Ngaio Marsh (1940). Another of the classic mystery writers, Marsh wrote one of my favourite mystery series, that featuring Inspector Alleyn. I usually try to read one or two a year.

4. Most Secret by Nevil Shute (1945). Some of my favourite books of all time have been written by Shute; On the Beach, Pied Piper and The Far Country. I've been collecting his books for awhile now; I'd like to read everything he's written eventually.

5. Maigret in Exile by Georges Simenon (1940). Simenon wrote so many of the Inspector Maigret books. I've enjoyed the ones I've read so far.

6. Maigret Meets a Milord (1931). An earlier Maigret mystery.

7. To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey (1950). Josephine Tey was one of the female mystery writers who made up the golden age; Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, etc. She wrote the Inspector Grant mysteries.

8. The Chequer Board by Nevil Shute (1945). Another of Shute's war period books. I am really looking forward to catching up on his stories.

9. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1905). A self-explanatory book. The continuing adventures of one of the world's most famous sleuths.

10. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1902). One of Holme's most famous cases.

11. The Commodore by C.S. Forester (1945). Forester has written so many excellent stories; the Hornblower adventures, mysteries and many excellent war stories. I'll get a chance to read a few of his books if I do this challenge.

12. The Happy Return by C.S. Forester (1937). The continuing adventures of the intrepid Horatio Hornblower.

13. Blondie and Dagwood's Secret Service by Chick Young (1942). This is a bit of fluff that I found many years ago in an antique store. Based on the comic serial that used to show up in the daily newspapers.

14. The Isle of Sheep by John Buchan (1936). This is the 4th book in the John Hannay adventure series that started with The 39 Steps.

15. A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene (1936). Besides Nevil Shute, I hope to eventually find and read all of Greene's stories. I've enjoyed all of Greene's books so far whether fiction or non-fiction.

16. The African Queen by C.S. Forester (1935). My 3rd Forester book in this challenge, this was also a classic movie.

So there you go, my two options for my next 12 + 4 challenge. Of course, I've still got to finish my first one.. Take care.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails