Wednesday, 12 July 2017

New Books, the Music Challenge, Great Historical Events and the Birth Date Thing.

A nice surprise yesterday when I checked the mail. I received a book I'd ordered from Discovery Books. It's the 3rd book in Australian mystery writer Garry Disher's Hal Challis police procedural series. I've read the first two books so far; Dragon Man and Kittyhawk Down and enjoyed them very much. I like a well-written police mystery and these have definitely fit the bill. I'm looking forward to starting this one. At the moment, there are only 7 books in this series but he has written other mysteries, including the Wyatt series, who is a professional thief and burglar, so lots of time to continue enjoying his writing. The synopsis is below.

"It had taken months for Janine McQuarrie to succumb to her husband's pressure to have sex with strangers at suburban spouse-swapping parties. But after attending a few such events on the Mornington Peninsula, this Australian social psychologist rebels. And then, driving with her young daughter one day, she gets out of the car to ask for directions and is shot and killed. The child escapes.
The case falls to Inspector Hal Challis of the Mornington Peninsula Police Force and his homicide squad. But the dead woman was Police Superintendent McQuarrie's daughter-in-law and the boss seems more interested in protecting his son than in finding her murderer.
The husband is always a likely suspect. So, too, are the dead woman's clients and the swingers she met at the parties she attended. But this could also have been a random crime, or one in which the actual victim was not the intended one.
Challis and his squad have solved a lot of cases but this time the villain turns out to be someone they never would have suspected."

The Missus's Music Challenge

Just one category for today's music challenge.

Day 50 - Your Favourite TV Theme. This was another popular category. Everybody who participated had fond memories of various TV shows; being a mainly British crowd, the majority were British shows, but that made it more interesting for me. I had two choices, one from the '60s and one from the late 90's / early '00s. I chose the them from the Man from U.N.C.L.E, a favourite show of mine back then. I even quit Boy Cubs because it was the same night. My second choice was the theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as if I hadn't been so fixated on the show and the discussion groups on line, I'd never have met Jo. :0)

Other picks included the Theme from True Blood, Theme from The Professionals, Theme from Van der Valk, Hawaii 5-0 theme, Hill Street Blues theme (Jo's sister, Sue's pick), St Elsewhere Theme (Jo's pick). There were so many more, as I said, it was very popular

Today's pick has been as popular so far, a song from an artist not your home country. She further said you couldn't pick a song from an American artist as there were just too many.. :)

Great Historical Events

September 1778 is our focus today.

"Sept. 3. - Paul Jones' great navel victory off the coast of Yorkshire, England. This was the first American naval victory, and was the most sanguinary battle ever fought between two ships. Paul Jones was commander of a squadron of 5 ships. The Bon Homme Richard, his own ship - an old and clumsy vessel of 42 guns - engaged a British man-of-war, the Serapis, a new ship of 50 guns, commanded by Commodore Richard Pearson, and manned by 320 picked men. A desperate fight ensued. The Serapis swung around, by the force of the wind, square alongside of the Bon Homme Richard, and their yards being entangled. Jones lashed the two ships together. Then began the most fearful encounter recorded in naval history. The cannon of each ship touching, and amid their incessant war and crashing of falling masts, both vessels took fire. At this terrible crisis, the captain of the Alliance, one of Jones' squadron, began firing broadsides into the stern of the Bon Homme Richard, causing her to leak at a fearful rate. This dastardly and traitorous act was caused by personal hatred toward his superior commander. The fire increasing in the ship, Jones' officers endeavoured to persuade him to strike his colors, but he refused to yield, and soon the Serapis surrendered." (Ed. Comment. Wow, that was fascinating. I knew about Jean Paul Jones, but didn't know much about the battle. Described excellently)

Science of Common Things (Today we learn more about dew from Prof. L.G. Gorton)

"Why is dew heavier on some objects than on others? Because some objects are better radiators of heat than others. Why is but little dew formed on cloudy nights? Because the heat radiated from the earth is reflected back by the clouds and the earth is thus kept at nearly the same temperature as the air. Why do heavy dews foretell rain? Because they show that the air is well charged with moisture."

Next entry we'll move on to hoar frost and other natural phenomenon.

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1996

Billboard US #1 Single 10 November 1996

No Diggity by Blackstreet. Blackstreet are an American R&B band formed in 1991 in New York City. No Diggity, from their second album, Another Level, was their first US #1. Besides band members, Bill Withers is also credited with writing the song.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1996

What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted by Robson and Jerome. Robson and Jerome are British actors Robson Greene and Jerome Flynn (check out Grantchester and Game of Thrones if you want to see some of their work). Their songs are all covers but they also released 3 singles which reached #1 in the UK, so not to bad. What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted was first performed by Jimmy Ruffin in 1966.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1996

The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacqueline Mitchard. This is the first novel by American writer, Mitchard. It is about an American middle class family that is torn apart when the youngest son is kidnapped and raised by a mentally ill woman, until he appears at the front doorstep of his real mother and asks if he can mow the lawn.

It was made into a movie in 1999 and starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1996

Independence Day by Richard Ford.  Independence Day is a sequel to Ford's The Sportswriter and two other novels followed it; The Lay of the Land (2006) and Let Me Be Frank with You (2014).

It tells the story of Frank Bascombe, ex-sportswriter and now real estate agent as he visits his ex-wife, troubled son and current lover over the Independence Day weekend.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1996

Wislawa Szymborska (Poland).Wislawa Szymborska was a Polish poet and essayist who lived from 1923 - 2012. She was awarded the Nobel Laureate "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality."

Hugo Award Winner 1996

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson is a Science Fiction author I'm just beginning to explore. I have one of his books, Anathem, awaiting my attention. Stephenson is an American writer who has been writing since 1984, specialising in speculative and historical fiction.

The Diamond Age is his fifth novel and focuses on a young girl, Nell, who lives in a future world dominated by nanotechnology.

Edgar Award Winner 1996

Come to Grief by Dick Francis. This is the 3rd time that Dick Francis has won the Edgar Award since 1955. Come to Grief is the 3rd book in his Sid Halley series.

"When ex-jockey Sid Halley becomes convinced that one of his closest friends--and one of the racing world's most beloved figures--is behind a series of shockingly violent acts, he faces the most troubling case of his career."

I think I said this before but I will have to try Francis before too long.

Man Booker Prize Winner 1996

Last Orders by Graham Swift. Swift was born in London in 1949 and published his first novel, The Sweet Ship, in 1980. Last Orders was his 6th novel. It tells the story of a group of war veterans who live in the same corner of London. It was turned into a movie in 2001, starring Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins, etc.

Giller Prize Winner 1996

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. Alias Grace is a novel of historical fiction by Atwood. The story is about the notorious murder in 1843 of Thomas Kinnear and of his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Two of the servants in the household, Grace Marks and James McDermott were convicted of the crime.

I've enjoyed many books by Atwood over the years; The Handmaid's Tale is a long-time favourite of mine. I thought I'd read this one before, but, nope, I was wrong. So now I'll have to get a copy.

The book has been adapted into a mini-series by Sarah Polley and will be released in September 2017. Amongst cast members are Sarah Gadon (Murdoch Mysteries) and Anna Paquin, who seems to be doing a fair bit of work in Canada. I'm looking forward to checking this mini-series out. I should read before, eh?

So there you go, a new book and a few more to check out. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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