Archive for April, 2021

FF: The Bough Breaks

April 9, 2021
Roary Could Be One of Jenny’s Friends

Well, not really a bough, but the device on which I was playing the audio of The Age of Faith by Will Durant, so I guess my electronics have decided I’m not ready for the Dark Ages yet.  Instead…  Agatha Christie does P.G. Wodehouse.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Recently Completed:

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet ConantAdequate, but the temporal/associational organization style doesn’t do the material much good. 

In Progress:

The Hotel  Cat written and illustrated by Ester Averill.  A before bed read.  I loved Pickles and Jenny and all the rest as a kid, and see no reason not to now!

Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  An English country house, spy thriller mystery with characters who would have been bright lights of The Drone’s Club.  Great fun.

Also:

I have an Big Announcement that I’ve saving for the WW this coming week, so I’ll just say that my research reading is joyfully scattered.

And A Very Short Story

April 7, 2021
Toad By Night

Lately, on my social media, I’ve posted happy comments about the return of toads to our pond, as well as about quail returning to our yard, which they did for the first time on Monday.  Many of my regular readers responded with comments about Spring finally being here.

And they’re right…  Spring is here, with toad and quail song.  Soon, instead of the light rain showers and pale greens of a stereotypical Spring, we’ll have high winds and fifty degree temperatures shifts.

Different ecosystems.  Different symbols.  Different worlds.  I wish more writers thought about these things.

Last week, what you could term either a very short story (or not) occurred to me.  I’ll gift it to you all today…

Two gamblers at a racetrack are narrowing down their choices.

Happy Harry says, “I’m torn between the black with the white star, Pride of Place, and the chestnut with the blaze, A Fall Beauty. But I think I’ll put my money on Pride of Place”

To which his pal, Horsey Harriet says, “Why?  A Fall Beauty has a good odds, and a better chance of winning.”

To which Harry says” Oh, it’s simple: Pride always goes before a fall.”

Later!

FF: The Shift Has Happened

April 2, 2021
Roary Has Reached A Year Old

As this week ends, I have made the shift to non-fiction, pretty much entirely.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Recently Completed:

The Renaissance by Will Durant.  Audiobook.  Moving into the end of the Italian Renaissance.  A balanced look at how many of the wonders (both of art and of thought) we remember were purchased in a fashion that led to the fall.  Some of Durant’s terminology is dated (he genders qualities as “male” and “female” for example), but if you can get around that, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser.  Victorian imperialism told from the point of view of an anti-hero.  Not PC.  Great prose, and liberally footnoted both in text and with appendices.  I enjoy Flashman, but he’s not to everyone’s taste.

In Progress:

The Age of Faith by Will DurantAudiobook.  I was about half-way through this one before I decided I need a break from the history of an age often termed “Dark.”  I’m giving it another try.  Looking at some of the smaller Balkan realms.

The Irregulars by Jennet ConantI read reviews of this when it came out, then promptly forgot it until one of my sisters mentioned reading it.  A look at, as the subtitle says “Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.”

Also:

A variety of scattered magazine articles, from scattered sources.