Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The History and the Birth Day Things and Various Miscellaneous Items

Barking at visitors is very tiring. And I always seem to get in trouble for it!
It's a nice day outside so far. We've had a nice relaxing morning. The rug guy came over a little while ago and measured the family room with the intent of quoting on new rugs there. Now the ladies are off on a trip up Mount Washington. They may have lunch and they also head out to Campbell River, depending how long they spend on the mountain. I'm staying home with the pups, taking time to get my BLog done and also to do a bit of reading. I've been neglecting it for the last month or so.

Yesterday I went down to my local used book store, Nearly New Books, and managed to find a few that interested me. Well, there were more than a few but I was very good about not buying too many. These are the four books that I purchased.

The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami. Anita Badami is a new writer for me. I first heard of her when I read a book on Canadian fiction. (I have mentioned this book in previous posts). The Hero's Walk is her second book, originally published in 2001. She is currently writer-in-residence at Athabaska University in Edmonton. She was also announced as the Chair for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury. The synopsis for The Hero's Walk is below.

"In the dusty seaside town of Toturpuram on the Bay of Bengal, the modern world is fast encroaching upon Sripathi Rao. His mother is disappointed that he never became a doctor; his sister, longing for love, is the bane of local matchmakers; his only son prefers embarrassing student activism over employment; and his wife, though ever-dutiful, has become disillusioned and bitter. But the small disasters of everyday life wither when his beloved daughter - long-estranged because of her marriage to a white Canadian - and her husband are killed in a car crash.
Nandana, their surviving seven-year-old daughter, is about to become Sripathi's reluctant ward and the wayward catalyst that forces him to come to terms with the pain of his loss."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. I've read many of Philip Dick's books, with his unique vision of science fiction. I've enjoyed Blade Runner many times as a movie. But, for some reason, I've never read the book on which the movie was based. Well, that's going to change!!! Androids was originally published in 1968 and this is the synopsis.

"By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, sheep....
They even built humans.
Emigrants to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to 'retire' them. But when cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results."

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill. I've enjoyed the books I've read by Hill, so far. The Woman in Black was a fantastic Gothic horror novel. I have also read the 2nd book in her Simon Serrailler mystery series. I've purchased most of the books in the series but up until now haven't been able to find the first book. I've been hesitant to read any more until I could read the rest in order. Well, now I can. This is the synopsis of the first book.

"A woman vanishes in the fog up on 'the Hill', an area locally known for its tranquillity and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man and even a dog disappear no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet cathedral town. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case; she's new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, dedicated and needs to know - perhaps too much.
She and the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler have the task of unravelling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events. From the passages revealing the killer's mind to the final heart - stopping twist, The Various Haunts of Men is a masterly crime debut."

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. In my BLog post two days ago, I listed The Hollow Hills by Stewart as the New York Times #1 Fiction Best seller for 10 November 1973. The story sounded interesting and I discovered the first book in the Merlin trilogy, The Crystal Cave at Nearly New Books. The Hollow Cave is the 2nd book. I figured I should try the first before I delved more into the trilogy. This is the synopsis.

"The Crystal Cave plunges the reader deep into Fifth Century Britain, a country in chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal, where minor kings plot and intrigue against each other in draughty, fog-bound settlements.
This is Merlin's world. The illegitimate son of a South Wales princess, his young life precariously in balance as the shifting tide of events wash over his homeland, he is aware at the earliest age of a great natural gift - the Sight.
Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, we see his emergence into manhood equipped with learning and wisdom far in advance of his years and his time (which some were to call magic) and his dramatic role in the New Beginning - the coming of Arthur."

Great Historical Events

Yesterday I left you on tenterhooks waiting to see what George Washington's perilous mission was!

Today's excerpt starts at that point in 1753.

"Washington's Perilous Mission.
1753. George Washington, at the age of 21 years, was sent by Go. Dinwiddie of Virginia, to the French commander, on the banks of the Ohio, to confer in regard to a settlement of rights of territory. Unsuccessful in his mission, he returned on foot, a distance of over 500 miles, through a wild and dangerous country, with but one companion. The Indians followed him and attempted his life by shooting at him from an ambush.
1754. Tennessee first settled.
April 2. - Col. Frye was sent with a regiment of Virginia troops, aided by George Washington, who was second in command, to occupy the fort of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Finding the French had already erected a fort, calling it 'Du Quesne,' they hastened to attack the French, surprising and defeating them. Col Frye dying, Washington took command of the regiment, and, collecting his troops at the Great Meadows, he erected a stockade, calling it 'Fort Necessity.'
1755. April 14. - Gen. Braddock arrived from England in Virginia with a large force.
1756. May 19. - War declared with France by Great Britain."

We'll leave it on that note. The excitement mounts! (I'm going to forego my usual post about Business Laws today as my initial comments on my book buying was fairly long. So without further ado, we move along to the Birth Day thing!

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1975

US #1 Billboard Single 10 November 1975

Island Girl by Elton John. There is not a lot to say about Elton John, one of the most successful songwriters ever. He was born in Middlesex in 1947 and along with writing partner, Bernie Taupin, produced more than 30 albums. For 31 consecutive years (1970 - 2000), he had at least one song on the Billboard Top 100. Island Girl was his 5th Billboard #1.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1975

Space Oddity by David Bowie. Another great British song writer and performer, it's appropriate, I think, they would both have the #1 song on my 20th birthday. :) Oddly enough, considering the singles he had previously released in the UK, such as Fame, Rebel Rebel, Young Americans, etc, Space Oddity was his first UK #1 single. And it was the 2nd time it had been released as a single, the first being in 1973.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1975

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. What a great novel this was. The story is a historical novel set in New York City during the period 1902 - 1912. What added to the interest of the tale was the mixture of factual personages with the characters created by Doctorow.

E. L. Doctorow lived from 1931 - 2015. A number of his books, including Ragtime, were turned into film; Billy Bathgate and Welcome to Hard Times. He wrote 12 novels from 1960 to 2014, as well as short story collections and a play.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1975

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. Another book with which I'm unfamiliar. It is a historical novel that tells the story of the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War (Jun 30 - Jul 3 1863).

Michael Shaara lived from 1928 - 1988 and wrote four novels and numerous short stories. The Killer Angels was used as the basis for the film, Gettysburg and his last novel, For the Love of the Game, was turned into a film of the same title.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1975

Eugenio Mantale (Italy). Eugenio Mantale was an Italian poet who lived from 1896 - 1981. He was awarded the Nobel Prize 'for his distinctive poetry, which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions.'

Hugo Award Winner 1975

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Leguin. This is the 2nd book by Ursula Leguin to win the Hugo Award, since 1955, the first being The Left Hand of Darkness. I did read The Dispossessed around the same time I first read Left Hand, but I can't remember the story. I just remember that I enjoyed it as much as the former.

It is, chronologically, the first story in the Hainish cycle. It was actually the 5th story published. I plan to find the complete series and reading them sometime in the next couple of years. The novels include -
Rocannon's World (1966)
Planet of Exile (1966)
City of Illusions (1967)
The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
The Word for World is Forest (1972)
The Dispossessed (1974)
Four Ways to Forgiveness (1995)
The Telling (2000)
The Birthday of the World; and other Stories (2002)

Edgar Award Winner 1975

Peter's Pence by Jon Cleary. Peter's Pence is a novel by Australian mystery writer, Cleary. It deals with an IRA plot to steal treasure from the Vatican and ends up with the kidnapping of the Pope.

Cleary lived from 1917 - 2010. He's another author I'll be checking out. Amongst his many works, he wrote the Scobie Malone novels. Malone is a fictional police detective working out of Sidney.

Man Booker Prize Winner 1975

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. This novel tells the story of a woman who visits India to find out more about her step-grandmother.

Prawer Jhabvala was a German - born British / American novelist. She lived from 1927 - 2013. She is probably best known for her collaborations with noted film makers Merchant and Ivory.

Whew! Well, there you have it. Time to relax a bit and try and catch up on some reading. Have a great day!!!

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