Thursday, 28 September 2017

Future Reading - Part Trois (oder Drei, o tres..... ) and on and on... how about Three

This will be a relatively short post, I think. In the past two entries, I've looked at possible future reading for my Individual challenges for the rest of the year. So far I've covered my Mystery, Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction selections. Today I'm going to look at my Modern Fiction choices. If you click on 'modern fiction' in the previous sentence, you can see what my original thoughts on this challenge were back in November of 2016. When I said Modern Fiction, I meant books published after 1900. My plan was to read 15 books in this category. So far I've read 5. (I will add that in my second 12 + 4 challenge, I have read other books that would fit into this category.) I don't know that I'll manage to read 10 more in this category with my other challenges.

Of the 8 books I proposed as possibles I've only read 2 so far. I will try to read a few more of the six below books but will also look at some other possibles. If you want the synopses of the six below books, click on Modern Fiction above.

1. Daphne du Maurier - My Cousin Rachel (1951).

2. Iain M. Banks - Walking on Glass (1985).

3. Matthew Pearl - The Dante Club (2003).

4. Carson McCullers - The Member of the Wedding (1946).

5. Evelyn Waugh - Scoop (1938).

6. Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway (1925).

Below are some other possible options in this genre. The field is WIDE OPEN!

1. P.G. Wodehouse - Leave it to PSmith (1923).

"Ronald PSmith (“the ‘p’ is silent, as in pshrimp”) is always willing to help a damsel in distress. So when he sees Eve Halliday without an umbrella during a downpour, he nobly offers her an umbrella, even though it’s one he picks out of the Drone Club’s umbrella rack. Psmith is so besotted with Eve that, when Lord Emsworth, her new boss, mistakes him for Ralston McTodd, a poet, Psmith pretends to be him so he can make his way to Blandings Castle and woo her. And so the farce begins: criminals disguised as poets with a plan to steal a priceless diamond necklace, a secretary who throws flower pots through windows, and a nighttime heist that ends in gunplay. How will everything be sorted out? Leave it to Psmith!"

2. George Orwell - A Clergyman's Daughter (1935). 

"Intimidated by her father, the rector of Knype Hill, Dorothy performs her submissive roles of dutiful daughter and bullied housekeeper. Her thoughts are taken up with the costumes she is making for the church school play, by the hopelessness of preaching to the poor and by debts she cannot pay in 1930s Depression England. Suddenly her routine shatters and Dorothy finds herself down and out in London. She is wearing silk stockings, has money in her pocket and cannot remember her name. Orwell leads us through a landscape of unemployment, poverty and hunger, where Dorothy's faith is challenged by a social reality that changes her life." 

3. Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). 

"Antoinette Cosway is a Creole heiress - product of an inbred, decadent, expatriate community - a sensitive girl at once beguiled and repelled by the lush Jamaican landscape. Soon after her marriage to Rochester rumours of madness in the Cosway family poison Rochester's mind against her."

4. Patricia Highsmith - Carol (originally titled The Price of Salt) (1952). 

"Arguably Patricia Highsmith's finest, The Price of Salt is story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover."

So there you go. Another look at future reads. I guess I'd better finish my current books so I can start some of them eh? Oh, there are still a couple of other genres to cover. More to follow. 


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Future Reading (Part Deux)

In yesterday's entry, I highlighted two of my Individual Challenges for 2017, Mysteries (Cops vs Sleuths), and provided some ideas of what I might read in those sub-genres for the last 3 months of 2017. Today, I'll cover three more genres; Horror, Science Fiction (SciFi) and Fantasy.


My plan for the year was to read 5 books in this category. Of the three books that I highlighted as possibles, I have read two so far. I plan to read the remaining book in October. In fact, since October is Halloween month, I plan to read as many horror books as I can; one of the 4 that I usually have on the go. The remaining book is -

1. Gaston Leroux - The Phantom of the Opera (1911). The synopsis can be found if you click on 'three' above and then scroll down to horror.

Possible other books were listed in a previous BLog.


Like Horror and SciFi, I plan to read 5 books at least in this category. So far I've read 3 and am currently reading my fourth. I've read two of the three proposed books so far. The remaining book is -

1. Rick Riordan - The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1 - 2005). The synopsis can be found if you click on 'three' above.

Possible other books might include -

1. Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1).

"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequalled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend."

2. Charlaine Harris - Day Shift (Midnight, Texas #2).

"The #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels returns to the one-stoplight town from 'Midnight Crossroad,' a place where no one is quite what they seem. There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. When psychic Manfred Bernardo finds himself embroiled in a scandal and hounded by the press after one of his regular clients dies during a reading, he turns to enigmatic, beautiful, and dangerous Olivia Charity for help. Somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight."

Science Fiction

I have read quite a few Science Fiction stories this past year. My initial 12 + 4 Reading Group challenge was all Science Fiction novels. Click on 12 + 4 if you'd like to see what I have read. I also had hoped to read 5 more as part of my Individual challenge. I have read 2 books in this genre so far. I have read one of the three proposed books so far, that being The Martian by Andy Weir (excellent book and now that I've finally seen it, excellent movie.) 

I hope to read the other two proposed books as well. The synopses for these books can be read if you click on 'three' above.

1. Dmitri Glukhovsky - Metro 2033 (2007).

2. Ursula K. LeGuin - The Beginning Place (1980).

Possible other selections might include -

1. Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game (Ender Saga #1).

"Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military's purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine's abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth - an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails."

2. Madeline Ashby - Company Town

"Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered enhancements, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. But she’s an expert in the arts of self-defence, and she’s been charged with training the Family’s youngest, who has been receiving death threats – seemingly from another timeline. Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability – serial killer? Or something much, much worse...?"
I'll continue this with my next BLog entry. I hope you're enjoying or maybe getting some good book ideas.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Future Reading

We're almost at the final 3 months of 2017.... egad! In my last couple of BLog entries, I've mentioned a few possibilities for my future reading; October Horror, continuing my exploration of Thrillers. Today, I thought I'd take a look at my Individual Challenges and see what I might read until the end of the year.

I hope to finish three or more books before the end of this month, mainly the four I'm currently trying but I'm guessing that might be unlikely with only 4 days left in the month. I hope that I might be able to read 10 books a month for Oct - Dec, which should mean I can achieve my overall Goodreads aim of 120 books for 2017. I have finished two 12 + 4 challenges this year and now I'm just working on my Individual Challenges. Back in November 2106 I did a few BLog posts outlining my challenges and what I hoped to achieve. So let's see how I've been doing so far. You can click on the title of each section and it will take you back to the original post.

23 November - Mystery Series, The Cops

 My plan was to try and read 25 books in this category. I listed a potential 10 books I was interested in trying in my entry. So far, I've read 16 in this category. (Having said that I did read some Cop - related stories in my second 12 + 4 challenge, but I'll not count those) So, I've read 17 so far. Of the ten suggested books, I've read 7 of them. The books I haven't tried yet are -

1. Kate Ellis - Armada Boy (DI Wesley Peterson #2)

2. Peter Robinson - A Dedicated Man (DCI Banks #2)

3. Eliot Pattison - The Skull Mantra (Inspector Shan #1)

(You can read the synopses for the above books by clicking on the title of the thread.)

If I finish those three I will have read 20 books in this challenge. If I have time, I might include a couple of more, like -

1. A.C. Baantjer - DeKok and the Dead Harlequin (Inspector DeKok #6)

"This latest Baantjer mystery delves into a grotesque double murder in a well-known Amsterdam hotel. Inspector DeKok must unravel clues from two unexpected characters: a six-year-old girl who has trouble sleeping and a respected accountant who seeks DeKok's advice on committing the perfect crime. In a surprising twist, DeKok meets with the murderer and tries everything possible to prevent the man from giving himself up to the police. Risking the anger of his superiors, DeKok goes so far as to disappear in order to prevent the perpetrator from being found. With Dead Harlequin, Baantjer has created yet another intelligent, absorbing tale.

2. Mark Billingham - Lazybones (DI Tom Thorne #3) 

"The first corpse was found hooded, bound, and naked, kneeling on a bare mattress in a seedy hotel room. This was no ordinary murder but rather the work of a killer driven by something special, something spectacular. The fact that the dead man was a convicted rapist recently released from prison only increases the bizarre nature of the gruesome crime ... and the police's reluctance to apprehend the perpetrator. It's the body count that troubles Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, as brutal slaying follows brutal slaying, each victim more deserving than the last. Though he has no sympathy for the dead, Thorne knows he must put an end to a cruelly calculating vigilante's bloody justice before time runs out  and a horrifically efficient serial killer targets a life worth fighting for."

 24 November - Mystery Series, The Sleuths 

I've finished 16 books in this category as well. Of the ten suggested books, I've read 7. Sounds familiar. The books below are the remaining three that I plan to read. As before you can read the synopses by clicking on 24 November - 

1. Robert Galbraith - The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)

2. Kyril Bonfiglioli - After You With the Pistol (Charlie Mortdecai #2) 

3. Clive Cussler - The Wrecker (Isaac Bell #2)

Other possibilities if I have time might include - 

1. Nero Blanc - The Crossword Murder (Crossword Murders #1)

"Nero Blanc's crossword mysteries have been creating a buzz up, down, and across the aisles of bookstores-and now, the series debut is available in mass market paperback for the first time. Join P.I. Rosco Polycrates as he fills in the blanks of an investigation into a flamboyant crossword editor's death...."

2. Victoria Thompson - Murder on Mulberry Bend (Gaslight Mysteries #5) 

"Sarah Brandt, a midwife in turn-of-the-century New York City, has seen more than her share of joy and sorrow, birth and death. Now she will see for the first time how the squalor of the streets can breed madness and murder…


The Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend stands as a refuge for girls who otherwise would have to live by selling the only thing they have of value—themselves. The work being done there so impresses Sarah that she volunteers to help out however she can—with clothes, with medical assistance, with the organisation of a benefit dinner. And when one of the girls is found dead and refused burial because of her former life, Sarah’s passion for justice is aroused.

Reluctantly, Sergeant Frank Malloy agrees to look into the death, if only to keep Sarah from endangering herself by pursuing the matter. But Sarah cannot be kept out of the investigation—and just as Malloy feared, her attempts to find the cause of the unfortunate girl’s death in the circumstances of her life put her in deadly danger—from an unexpected source"

Well, that's a start. I have a few other challenges and will go over them in future entries. See any books you might find interesting? 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Thrillers and Thrillers

Just Finished

Yesterday I finished the second Dr. Fu-Manchu thriller by Sax Rohmer. My review of the book is below.

"The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu is the second book of the Fu-Manchu thrillers by Sax Rohmer. Originally published in 1916, it is true pulp fiction at its best and the stuff that those old Hammer movies were made of and could have been one of those Saturday matinee serials I used to enjoy as a kid. (Do you remember those? Before the main feature started, they would show a 10 or 15 minute 'serial' and it would end with the hero hanging off of a cliff or facing twenty gunmen. How would he survive? Wait until next week!)
Fu-Manchu is a cunning, evil genius trying to take over the world and to destroy his arch enemy Nayland Smith and his faithful companion, Dr. Petrie. Smith has been back in Burma and has heard that Fu-Manchu is still alive and has returned to England to get his revenge on them. The book is a series of incidents that find Smith and Petrie trying to find Fu-Manchu and battle his Dacoits and other implements of his terror. The beautiful Karamaneh, the woman of mystery from the first book, returns. Whose side is she on? Can Petrie and Smith trust her? Petrie definitely wants to, as she is forever on his mind and a constant distraction. The steady Inspector Weymouth of Scotland Yard also assists when he can. All in all, it's a wandering thriller and Smith and Petrie find themselves in dangerous situation after situation. How will it all end up? Wait until next week. (3 stars)"

After I finished it, I realised that I've read a few of these thrillers in the past few weeks, series that I've slowly been collecting over the past few years. What genre are they really? Well, they're definitely thrillers. The heroes / heroines can be larger than life. They battle powerful, evil villains, or maybe they are the villains? They are entertaining, action-packed and often unrealistic, but for all that, enjoyable escapes from reality and mindless entertainment. I usually have 4 books on the go, so I've decided that at least one will continue with this genre.

Currently Reading

My next book will feature Peter O'Donnell's heroine, Modesty Blaise. Peter O'Donnell wrote 13 books featuring Modesty and her partner, Willie Garvin. They were written between 1965 and 1991. I've bought 10 so far, all published by Pan Books. Modesty is the ex-leader of a criminal organisation who has turned good. She is independently wealthy and she regularly is asked by the English Secret Service to help solve cases that they don't have the wherewithal to sort out themselves. She is put in dangerous situations, life-threatening, of course and must rely on her skills in armed combat or with weapons, plus her wits to survive and be successful. Very entertaining stories so far. I've completed 3 so far and enjoyed them all. The description of A Taste For Death is below.

"In their fourth exhilarating caper a whirlwind of action sweeps Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin from the underworld of Panama to the blast furnace of the Sahara as they tangle with enemies old and new...
Gabriel - who needs Dinah, beautiful but blind, to trace the treasure of Domitian Mus, Tribune of Rome...
Wenczel -  a master swordsman in chain mail with whom Modesty must fence for her life, stripped to black briefs...
Delicata - the grotesque giant with a taste for death - Garvin's in particular."

Other Series

These are some of the other series that might fall into this genre, or is it a sub-genre? I've read some of them this past year and hope to start or continue some of the others over the next three months.

1. John Buchan (Richard Hannay series).  John Buchan was a prolific writer. He was also a popular Governor - General (the Queen's representative) of Canada. The Hannay books start with The Thirty-nine Steps, a book that has been made into at least two movies, the one with Robert Donat is a favourite of mine. When I found out that it was a book, I got it as soon as I found a copy and enjoyed it immensely. Then as I researched Buchan a bit more, I realised that Hannay was the main character in five books -

1. The Thirty-nine Steps (1915)
2. Greenmantle (1916)
3. Mr. Standfast (1919)
4. The Three Hostages (1924)
5. The Island of Sheep (1936)

Hannay is an average man, a mining engineer, who finds himself caught up in many dangerous, action-filled situations and uses his wits to overcome the odds and often saves his country. I've read four of the books, finished The Island of Sheep this past year. It remains only The Three Hostages to finish the series; maybe this year or next year for sure.

2. Edgar Rice Burroughs (John Carter of Mars / Tarzan of the Apes, etc). American writer, Burroughs, was also a prolific writer. As a kid, I enjoyed his John Carter of Mars series of 10 books at least twice. In fact I wore out the original series and had to replace all but the two featured books later on. It was an excellent series, John Carter, a Cavalry officer, finds himself on Mars and ends up sorting out all of the issues as he battles enemies of all sorts. Fascinating, unique series. This past year I finally decided to try the Tarzan books. Burroughs wrote 25 books in this series between 1912 and 1965. I finally read the first book, which introduces Tarzan, this year. I have the second book, The Return of Tarzan, on my bookshelf, awaiting my attention.

3. Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe). I've been reading this series since early in the 2000's. I've also enjoyed the TV movies based on the books very much. Sharpe's Tiger, the first book was written in 1997. It introduces Soldier Sharpe, part of the English army in India, who saves Wellington during a battle. Sharpe not only faces off against England's enemies; whether in India, or in Europe where he battles Napoleon's forces, but also against his purported allies, many of whom are jealous of his success or just plain hate him for one reason or another. Sharpe becomes an officer over the course of the books and must forever have to prove himself to other officers. It's an excellent series. I've read the first twelve so far, having finished Sharpe's Battle this year. Still lots to go, although I do have to find quite a few more. Next in line will be Sharpe's Company.

4. Clive Cussler (Dirk Pitt / Isaac Bell, etc). Cussler is another prolific writer. He has written about the adventures of Dirk Pitt, the NUMA files, the Oregon files and Isaac Bell. I have purchased the first book in each of these series, but thus far have only read the first book in the Isaac Bell series, The Chase. Bell is a Pinkerton's agent in the early 1900s, smart, technically proficient and just a darn great agent. I liked the first story and hope to read another of Cussler's books before year end. The question is, do I continue with The Wrecker (Isaac Bell #2) or do I try one of his others?

5. Ian Fleming (James Bond, 007). I read a few of the Bond books as a youngster; they were sexy and full of action.... at least to a 12 year old like me. Since 2001, I've been buying the series and have all 14 on my bookshelf. I love the Pan editions. I've read 10 so far, next in line will be On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963).

6. C.S. Forester (Horatio Hornblower). Forester has written so many more books than his Hornblower series, such as The African Queen, but this series fits the category. Another series that I started in the 2000's. Jo and I also enjoyed the TV series based on the books, which starred Ioan Gruffud as young Hornblower. He's a unique character and the stories are all entertaining sea adventures. There are 11 books in the series, published between 1937 - 1967. I've read eight so far and am still trying to find two more of the books. I finished two books in the series this past year, including The Happy Return.

7. George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman). Flashman is a direct counterpoint to Sharpe. He is basically a coward who looks out only for himself. But, he also manages to come out smelling like a rose at the end of his adventures, sometimes to his own surprise. Now I say this having only read the first book so far, Flashman (1969). I have slowly been collecting this series of 12 books (I have 8 so far, but not the 2nd yet). I want to continue with the series, I guess the question is do I dare skip the second book or wait until I find it?

8. John P. Marquand (Mr. Moto). Mr. Moto is an anti-hero, a Japanese spy during WWII, very pragmatic and willing to do anything to achieve his aims. From 1935 - 1947, Marquand wrote 6 Mr. Moto books. I have found 4 so far and completed the 4th this past year. My search for the remaining two continues.

9. Anthony Morton (The Baron). Creasey was an English writer who wrote under many pseudonyms; JJ Marric (Inspector Gideon), Anthony Morton (The Baron), John Creasey (Doctor Palfrey / Department Z), etc. I've had three of his Baron books for many years and have yet to crack one. He wrote the Baron books from 1937 - 1979. I plan to read The Baron and the Stolen Legacy (1962) as my first try at the series.

10. Peter O'Donnell (Modesty Blaise). I mentioned this series at the beginning as I am reading the 4th book.

11. George Revelli (Commander Amanda Nightingale). Call this series erotic pulp fiction. Amanda is a British spy who works against the Nazis and must avoid torture and other abuses. There were 5 books in the series and they are difficult to find. I have managed to read the first three; Commander Amanda Nightingale, Resort to War and Amanda in Spain. The books were written between 1969 - 1978.

11. Kenneth Robeson (Doc Savage). This was another of those series that I used to read in high school. Doc Savage is almost superhuman, muscular, golden flecked eyes and at the same time, a genius. Accompanied by his gang of unlucky assistants, all scientific geniuses but also more than capable of putting up a good fight, Savage battled evil geniuses from all over; and who wanted to destroy the earth. It was an entertaining series, as I recall. I found 3 books in the series back last year and am looking forward to trying one to see if it is as entertaining as I remember it.

71. Murder Mirage
79. The Devil Genghis
94. The Hate Genius

12. Sax Rohmer (Dr. Fu-Manchu). I also highlighted this series at the beginning. It started the whole conversation. I have purchased 7 of the series so far and have just completed the 2nd book.

So there you go, a bare minimum for this category. There are so many more possibilities but maybe this might give you some ideas on books to start with.

Enjoy your week!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Hallowe'en Month Books and Other Stuff

It's never a good thing to plan ahead to far what you are planning to read as, I find anyway, that it doesn't always work out that way. However, with that caveat, as I sit here in the study watching the sparrows fighting over the bird seed we put in their little bird house outside the window,.. um, where was I?.. Oh yes, with that caveat, my UK Book Group is picking Horror as the genre for October, it being the month of Hallowe'en and traditional spooky month of the year. I've been looking through the list of books I have in the horror genre on my Goodreads' library and have a couple in mind. I'd like to read two or three horror books in October. So here are a couple of my ideas..

Possible Horror Selections

1. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. One of the classics, that I purchased last year. It was originally published in 1911.

"The story of the Phantom of the Opera, a half-crazed musician hiding in the labyrinth of the famous Paris Opera House and creating a number of strange and mysterious events to further the career of a beautiful young singer, is today regarded as one of the most famous of all horror stories: widely mentioned in the same breath as Frankenstein and Dracula. Yet the fame of this novel, first written by the French journalist turned novelist Gaston Leroux, in 1911, is based almost entirely on the various film versions which have been made over the years. Remarkable performances by two actors, Lon Chaney and Claude Rains, helped to make the Phantom an immortal figure. The original book, however, has been largely ignored, rarely in print, and the first edition (in either French or English) is now a collector's item."

2. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz. This is the second book in the Odd Thomas series and I enjoyed the first very much.

"I see dead people. But then, by God, I do something about it. Odd Thomas never asked for his special ability. He’s just an ordinary guy trying to live a quiet life in the small desert town of Pico Mundo. Yet he feels an obligation to do right by his otherworldly confidants, and that’s why he’s won hearts on both sides of the divide between life and death. But when a childhood friend disappears, Odd discovers something worse than a dead body and embarks on a heart-stopping battle of will and wits with an enemy of exceptional cunning. In the hours to come there can be no innocent bystanders, and every sacrifice can tip the balance between despair and hope."

3. The Bad Seed by William March. This was William March's last novel, published in 1954. He died before he saw it translated into a stage production and also two movies.

"What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William march's classic thriller. After its initial publication in 1954, the book went on to become a million–copy bestseller, a wildly successful Broadway show, and a Warner Brothers film. The spine–tingling tale of little Rhoda Penmark had a tremendous impact on the thriller genre and generated a whole perdurable crop of creepy kids. Today, The Bad Seed remains a masterpiece of suspense that's as chilling, intelligent, and timely as ever before."

So there you go, a few ideas. There are some other books I might also consider; The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, Someone Like You by Roald Dahl, The Guardians by Andrew Pyper, etc. I've a few to choose from on my bookshelves. :)

Great Historical Events

In today's excerpt let's take a look at the First Prez of the US of A.

"The First President.

April 30. - Inauguration of George Washington as President, and John Adams as Vice-President.
John Carroll the first Catholic Bishop in the United States.
First Temperance Society formed in the United States by 200 farmers in Litchfield county, Connecticut.
1790. Laws passed - ordering a census to be taken; to provide for payment of foreign debts; naturalization law; patent law; copyright law; law defining treason and piracy; penalty for both, hanging; status of slavery question settled; State debts, etc.
Congress moved to Philadelphia.
District of Columbia ceded to the United States by Maryland, for the location of the National Government. Oct. 17 - 22. - Harmer defeated by the Indians on the Maumee in Indiana, near Fort Wayne. Gen. Harmer, with a force of 1453 men, attacked the Indians with small detachments of his force, and was twice defeated with great loss.
First rolling mill introduced into the United States.
April 17. - Death of Benjamin Franklin.
May 29. - death of Major-Gen. Israel Putnam at Brookline, Conn., aged 72 years. Gen. Putnam, although an illiterate man and a backwoodsman, was one of the bravest and most truly patriotic Generals in the American Army."

We move on to the first census and other things in the next excerpt.

Science of Common Things

Today's excerpt from Prof. L.G. Gorton discusses mirages.

"What is the mirage and what is its cause? Mirage is the appearance in the air of an erect or inverted image of some distant object which is itself invisible. It is most frequently seen on the water, where it is termed looming, but has also appeared to persons traveling through deserts with such vividness as to make them believe that they saw trees and springs before them in the distance. Captain Scoresby, while cruising in a whaling ship, recognized his father's vessel when distant from him more than thirty miles (and consequently below the horizon) by its inverted image in the air, though he did not previously know it was in that part of the ocean. Mirage is caused by the rays of light from the object being bent differently by different layers of the atmosphere until they are curved so as to strike the eye."

In the next excerpt from Prof. Gorton's scientific encyclopaedic knowledge, we cover twilight (no, not the movie) and sunsets, etc.

The Birth Date Thing 10 November 2011

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 2011

Someone Like You by Adele. English singer / songwriter, Adele, is one of those artists known just by her first name, a true talent in the music business. Someone Like You was her second US #1 and her first UK #1. It was for her second studio album, 21 and was written by Adele and Dan Wilson of the band, Semisonic.

UK #1 Single 10 November 2011

Read All About It by Professor Green ft. Emeli Sandé. Stephen Paul Manderson, AKA Professor Green, is an English rapper, singer, songwriter, etc. Read All About it was his first UK #1 single.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 2011

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. This is the 2nd novel by Nicholas Sparks to be #1 on my birthday, the last one being At First Sight in 2005. It was adapted into a film in 2014, starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan.

Pulitzer Prize Winner 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I've seen it, heard of it, but honestly have no idea what it's about. Part of me thinks it's about the Goon Squad show with Spike Milligan, but I also think that I'm so totally wrong about this. So let's look, eh?

"Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa."

So I was totally wrong..

Nobel Prize Laureate 2011

Tomas Transtromer (Sweden). Swedish poet and psychologist Transtromer lived from 1931 to 2015. He was awarded his Nobel Laureate 'because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.'

Hugo Award Winner 2011

Blackout / All Clear by Connie Willis. Blackout / All Clear comprise two novels by American author, Connie Willis. They are the most recent of four books and a short story involving time travel from Oxford during the mid-21st century.

Edgar Award Winner 2011

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton. American crime writer Hamilton is one of only two mystery writers to win Edgar Award for both the best novel and best first novel. The Lock Artist was one of his four standalone mysteries. He is also known for his Alex McKnight series.

"Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe ... he can open them all.  It's an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever close to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long."

Man Booker Prize Winner 2011

The Sense of Ending by Julian Barnes. The Sense of Ending was British author Barnes's eleventh novel.
"The Sense of Ending is narrated by a retired man named Tony Webster, who recalls how he and his clique met Adrian Finn at school and vowed to remain friends for life. When the past catches up with Tony, he reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken."

It was adapted for a film by Ritesh Batra and had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. It stars Michelle Dockerey, Emily Mortimer and Jim Broadbent.

Giller Prize Winner 2011

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. Esi Edugyan was born and raised in Calgary Alberta and raised by Ghanaian immigrant parents. Half-Blood Blues was her second novel.

"The book's dual narrative centers around Sidney "Sid" Griffiths, a journeyman jazz bassist. Griffiths' friend and bandmate, Hieronymus "Hiero" Falk, is caught on the wrong side of 1939 Nazi ideology, and is essentially lost to history. Some of his music does survive, however, and half a century later, fans of Falk discover his forgotten story."

So there you, something to chew on over the upcoming weekend. Have a great one!

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