Saturday, 8 July 2017

Update on books, the Music Challenge and other things.

Yesterday was another hot, sunny day. They have a number of big fires on the mainland, but nothing here. I hope it stays that way. I spent part of the afternoon up a ladder cleaning out more gutters, so many pine needles from the winter. Yes, I do take my time getting around to these things. Ladders and I don't necessarily get along. :)

Last night, since the Blue Jays were in the process of getting clobbered by Houston, Jo and I finished watching Season 2 of The Indian Doctor. Love that show. We do like a well-done period series and this is one of them. We then watched 2 episodes of Game of Thrones, Season 6, trying to catch up a bit. I think after that we'll finish watching the final season of Penny Dreadful. It's lots of fun catching up on these shows in the summertime.

New Books

Received a parcel in the mail yesterday from Awesome Books. There were 4 books I had on order. One more still to come. The books I received are below.

1. The Pusher by Ed McBain. This is book 3 in the 87th Precinct series. I've enjoyed the first two books very much. It won't be long for me to get to this one.

"Hernandez's face wasn't glue with cold. He was a pusher, or had been. A rope around his neck and a spent syringe showed that.
Detective Kling, promoted off the beat, helped Steve Carella - more than Hernandez's sister, anyhow. She was a prostitute in a self-service vice dive. (She split nothing...except her own blood, and that later.)
In the face of an unholy complication Carella got himself right across the dope route and right on to the hospital danger list."

2. Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong. This is the first book in the Inspector Chen Cao mystery series. I'm looking forward to giving it a chance. I have liked other mysteries set in China, especially David Rotenberg's Inspector Zhang Fong mysteries.

"A young 'national model worker,' renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done."

3. The Hand of Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer. I've read the first book in this series so far and have been slowly collecting the others. It's one of those classic series of pulp fiction that I've gotten interesting in the past few years. The Hand of Fu-Manchu was originally published in 1917 and is the 3rd book in the series.

"Dr Fu-Manchu is back once again! His very existence seemingly proves him immune from natural laws, a deathless incarnation of evil!

And this time the Devil Doctor is not alone. Sir Denis Nayland Smith and his associates learn of a deadly organisation that stalks the shadows. Their goal is to undermine the balance of global power, and they allow no one to stand in their way. They are the terrorist assassins known as the Si-Fan.

"The hand that held my arm was bony and clawish; I could detect the presence of incredibly long finger nails - nails long as those of some buried vampire of the black ages! Choking down a cry of horror, I opened my eyes... and looked into the face of my guide. It was Dr. Fu-Manchu!" 

4. Death at Dawn by Caro Peacock. This is a new series for me by Peacock, a writer of historical mysteries. This is the first book in the Liberty Lane mystery series.

"Thomas Jacques Lane - radical, romantic, scholar  and devoted father - had led an unconventional life but of one thing his daughter, Liberty, is certain: he would never have taken part in a duel. So when she receives a note informing her of his death in just such a manner, Liberty ignores all advice and sets off in pursuit of the truth.

With no resources bar her wits, she travels to the Continent and back in search of her father's killer. And as the nation prepares for the ascension to the throne of a young Victoria, Liberty uncovers murder and treachery at the very highest levels."

The Missus's Music Challenge, Part Deux

Today I'll explore some of the songs chosen for Days 46 and 47.

Day 46 - Favourite Holiday Song. I chose one from a trip I took many years ago. I went with the Air Cadets from Germany back to Canada to attend a two-week summer camp, 1969 or 70. Afterwards I stayed for a couple of more weeks, visiting relatives with my older brother. I think he drove a yellow Datsun back then. Anyway he had a bunch of cassettes that we listened to as we drove around. This song is one that pops into mind when I think of that trip, Christie - Yellow River. Jo picked Here Comes the Night by The Beach Boys a song that reminds her of a school ski trip she took back in 1980. Some other remembrances included Long Hot Summer by The Style Council, Is This Love by Bob Marley,  Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, etc.

Day 47 - Novelty Song. If you're not sure what this means, my song was They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha Ha by Napoleon XIV. (Yes, exactly, neat little fun songs). Jo chose a song I'm sure my Dad liked, Benny Hill and Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West). Some other choices Monster Mash by Bobby 'Boris' Picketts and the Crypt-Kickers, Three Wheels on my Wagon by The New Christy Minstrels, Whispering Grass by the Ink Spots, etc.

Today's challenge is a song from a favourite concert. More next entry. :)

Great Historical Events

We move on to 1778 today.

"Jan. 5. - Capt. Cook explored the coast of Alaska.


'Battle of the Kegs.' A contrivance of the Americans to destroy the British fleet. It was composed of a large number of little machines resembling kegs, containing explosive materials which they thought would set the British shipping on fire. The British were very much astonished at their appearance, and called out their forces to meet their new and mysterious enemy. It resulted in little harm to the fleet, but much consternation to the British, which caused great merriment to the Americans.
Bills were passed by the British Parliament granting all that the colonies had asked, but Congress rejected the offers."

We'll continue with 1778 next entry.

Science of Common Things (Further scientific questions answered by Prof. L.G. Gorton)

Why does a lamp chimney increase the brilliancy of the flame? (Ed. Comment. I'm not sure I know what a lamp chimney is.) Because it conducts an increase of air to the flame. (Further Ed. comment. And that didn't help...) What has become of the candle when it has burned? It has changed to carbonic acid and water, the latter escaping as vapor. Why does friction produce heat? Heat being a mode of motion of the particles of a body, friction or anything else that increases that motion produces heat. (Ed. confusion. Say what??)

Next entry we explore that age old question about why moisture collects on the outside of an ice- pitcher on a warm day.

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1994

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 1994

I'll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men. The Boyz were hot, this was the 2nd #1 single on my birthday in the three years. The song was written by Babyface.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1994

Baby Come Back by Pato Banton. Banton is a reggae singer from Birmingham who has been performing since 1980. Baby Come Back was a cover of Eddy Grant's single with The Equals.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1994

Insomnia by Stephen King. I used to read Stephen King like crazy then I went through a period where I didn't read very many at all, except The Green Mile and The Gunslinger books. I've never read Insomnia. Like many of his books, it's set in Derry. Check it out if you're interested. It may be time for me to give it a try.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1994

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. I enjoyed both the book and the movie based on the book. Both were unique, quirky, interesting stories. It tells the story of Quoyle, a newspaper editor from New York, who returns to Newfoundland to restart his life. The community is peopled with strange and wonderful people and it's a fascinating story. The movie starred Kevin Spacey, Judi Dench and Julianne Moore, just a few of a fantastic cast. It's the only story of Proulx's that I've read. I will have to read more of her work.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1994

Kenzaburo Oe (Japan). Kenzaburo Oe was born in 1935 and is a novelist and a major figure in contemporary Japanese literature. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature as a writer 'who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.'

Hugo Award Winner 1994

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. I'm just starting to explore American writer, Robinson. Green Mars is one of a series of novels about the exploration and colonisation of Mars. Green Mars is the 2nd book and deals with the terraforming of the Red planet. Other books in the series include, Red Mars (colonisation), Blue Mars (long term results) and The Martians (short stories).

Edgar Award Winner 1994

(Correction - In my last post about 1993, I said that the Edgar Award winner was Lawrence Block's A Dancer at the Slaughterhouse. In fact it was the 1992 winner. The 1993 winner Margaret Maron's Bootlegger's Daughter.)

The Sculptress by Minette Walters. English writer Walters is one of my favourite writers of standalone mysteries. Her stories are intelligent and interesting to read. My favourite so far was Disordered Minds. I've also enjoyed Acid Row and The Ice House very much. The Sculptress was Walter's second book, written 1993. It was also turned into a TV movie in Britain. I currently have 6 of her books on my shelf awaiting my attention, including this one. I try to read at least one a year just to make them last.

Man Booker Prize Winner 1994

How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman. This book is a stream of consciousness novel by Scottish writer Kelman. It is set in Glasgow and centres around Danny a shoplifter and ex-convict.

Giller Prize Winner 1994

This is a new category. The Giller Prize is an award to a Canadian writer of a novel or short story published in English. The prize was established in 1994. The first winner follows.

The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji. Vassanji was born in Kenya, raised in Tanzania and moved to Canada 1878. He has published six novels and two collections of short stories. The Book of Secrets was his third novel and is set in Dar es Salaam.

Well there you go. Some new books for you to consider maybe. I hope you have been enjoying the journey through my Birth Days.. :)

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