#6Degrees — What I Loved to …

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This month we are starting with the book What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.

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So, this book.  The author’s name is Siri Hustvedt. I’m no apple user, but I’m sorry, Siri only suggests one thing to me: invasive robots who will eventually control everything we do. The Rise of the Machines has to start somewhere, right?






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Obviously, Siri is the direct progenitor of Skynet, everyone’s favorite psycho-killer AI. Rise of the Machines gave us more details than we cared for about that. This book was written by David Hagberg. All I can see in his name is “HAG”.






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Sophie, the main character in Howl’s Moving Castle, is turned into a hag by a jealous witch. Sophie is a real trooper though and doesn’t let her circumstances get her down. She’s no crybaby! You know who IS a crybaby though?





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“Wah”nakin Sky”Wah”lker is the universe’s biggest crybaby. In Attack of the Clones it seemed impossible for Darth Vader, the meanest, most bad-ass villain ever, to have come from this pile of pustulent poo. However, George Lucas waved his magic hand and “made it so”. George is hard on franchises.

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Willow was a fun movie, but this sequel in book form, Shadow Moon, which has George’s name PLASTERED all over it, was bad enough that I stopped at page 3. The knight on the cover is pretty cool looking though. A Knight who isn’t cool is John Ross.




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John Ross is A Knight of the Word. What that means is that he eats whatever shit is given him with a little sad face and then asks for more. This series, The Word and the Void, showcases the absolute worst of the philosophy of Dualism. Ross is no hero.



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Once A Hero. I think the title speaks why I chose this.  While Esmay doesn’t think she’s a hero, that doesn’t stop her from acting like one.




And that is how you go from What I Loved to Once A Hero in 6 easy steps!

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

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#6Degrees — Normal People to …

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This month we are starting with the book Normal People by Sally Rooney. The Librarything  blurb is as follows:

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

 

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The last several books have all been award winners of some sort or another. And as far as I’m concerned, they’ve all been nothing but utter trash, a waste of the readers time and a showcase for the arrogance and stupidity of the authors.  I don’t feel very strongly on this though, as I’m sure you can tell 😉

 

 

 

 

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Another book I “didn’t” feel strongly about was Torchship Captain.  When I look at that cover, I see the Captain’s face in her little space helmet. It looks pretty cool actually.

 

 

 

 

 

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A book, or series of books really, that stood out for their interesting “face on the cover” was the Necroscope series by Lumley. I picked Deadspeak to showcase the flavor of the art. Screaming metallic skulls are cool. As long as they aren’t anybody I know anyway.  Sometimes knowing people isn’t a good thing.

 

 

 

 

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It is definitely not a good idea to know someone when you are reading their book. Interphase was just such a book. I was way too nice in my review.  I probably should have known better as well, since the authors talked about nothing but gaming in the short time I interacted with them.

 

 

 

 

 

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A non-fiction book about gaming was Masters of Doom. A quick and dirty look at the co-creators of the video game Doom, that was such a hit in the 90’s. It brought back all the nostalgia feelz for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The books based on the video game, sadly, elicited no such feelz. Knee-Deep in the Dead was a novelization of a walk through of the first Doom Game.  In my review I said that to call this cardboard’y was to insult cardboard. It was that bad.

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you go from Normal People to Doom in 5 easy steps!

 

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6Degrees — The Road to…

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This month we are starting with the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Post Apocalyptic fiction with complete disregard for punctuation of any kind or quotation marks. “Little” things like that are why I’ll never read that jackass’s books.

 

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You know what they say, The Road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Priests, pastors and vicars talk about hell and what you have to do to NOT go there (ie, don’t read this book! hahahaaa)

 

 

 

 

 

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The Vicar of Wakefield, surprisingly enough, is about a vicar! Amazing how that works!!!  What I noticed about this cover was the little dog curled up in the bottom right of the cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That reminds me of the book, Prince of Dogs. These dogs, however, look pretty scary and nothing could get me to try to pet them! I bet each of those dogs could eat a whole horse, maybe even two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course, they’d have to catch that horse first. Horses can run pretty fast and no horse was more wild, or ran faster, or was more “betterer” than the Black Stallion.  I’m not an animal person and even I enjoyed reading about this horse.

 

 

 

 

 

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Somebody who doesn’t like horses, is Garrett, Private Investigator. He hates them and is convinced they are out to get him. He’ll tussle with trolls, effervesce with elves, drink with dwarves but horses? No thank you!
When you think of Private Investigators, who does everyone naturally think of?

 

 

 

 

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That’s right! Jimmy Kudo, better known as Detective Conan!!!
Gotcha.  As a long running mystery manga, Case Closed is up to 75 volumes here in the United States and close to 100 in Japan. That takes some hard work to keep that kind of momentum going.

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you get from The Road to some Mystery Manga. My advice would be to read some manga, take a chill pill and relax, or you’ll end up like ol’ Cormac.

 

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6Degrees — Wolfe Island to…

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This month we are starting with the book Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar. I looked it up AFTER I wrote what follows. NOT EVEN CLOSE, hahahaha! The Devilreads synopsis makes it sound like a piece of trash, even though I know that isn’t what they were going for.

 

wolfeisland (Custom)I imagine that Wolfe Island is a paranormal romance (which is even worse than regular romance in my opinion as it gets as close to bestiality as it can) in which our heroine has been fired from her job as a cop in Big Town X by her sexist boss. Wolfe Island is a small community and she becomes sheriff and meets Hunky Wolfy AND finds out that her ex-Boss is a Warlock. In the end, I would gladly kill them all.  One of my issues with PNR is that the male characters are never real men, but are just assholes with good looks.

 

 

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A book about Real Men, as opposed to just macho testosterone, is The Mark of a Man by Elizabeth Elliot. In it she writes to her nephew about what a Christian Man should be. She uses the example of her dead husband Jim (he was a missionary who was eaten by cannibals). She gets specific about just how Jim exhibited the best and worst of Manhood, all to show her nephew something important. She shows him what a Man should look like from a Woman’s Perspective.

 

 

 

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How to be a Man, from a Man’s Perspective, is what Mark Batterson’s book Play the Man is all about.  Men aren’t just boys that have reached a certain age, boys have to be taught what it means to BE a man. Just like soldiers. You don’t throw a civilian into a combat situation and expect good results. It takes training AND experience.

 

 

 

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A book about a real life soldier getting experience is Joker One. A young LT in Iraq tells of his tour. Not my favorite book but it was good to be reminded just what our boys have gone through for us. With a title like Joker One,  there is really only one direction I can go, right?

 

 

 

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I, Joker is one of the very few Elseworld graphic novels to get 5 stars from me. The role reversal between the Batman and Joker persona worked for me. I doubt it will ever work for me again in another book. It is a very red cover, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

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The final book in this chain also has a red cover. The Brothers Karamazov. I only gave it 3 stars back when I first read it in ’07. I wonder what I’ll give it the next time I read it?

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you get from Wolfe Island to The Brothers Karamazov.

 

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6Degrees -Fleishman Is In Trouble to…

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This month we start with Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman is in Trouble.

 

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I know nothing about this book, not even a synopsis. I just did a quick google search and it was some sort of 2019 Best Of thing. But my goodness, is that cover B-O-R-I-N-G!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Another book with a boring cover is Iain Banks’ Player of Games.  A staircase with some guy’s shadow? Come on, a kindergartner could have come up with something more exciting! In this book species make games, not war, because they’re so advanced and everyone knows that the more you know the less you’ll kill other people. Hitler is a great example. Highly educated, smart, intelligent and just a big cuddly bear who loved everyone.

 

 

 

 

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However, for those species who actually exist and live in reality and don’t pretend that their own anuses smell like flowers, there is Sun Tzu’s Art of War.  Sun Tzu’s wisdom is truly timeless and can be used by various and sundry in all kinds of situations. Plus, he doesn’t have his head up his own backside like Banks does.

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyone who fights someone else, on any level, should be familiar with The Art of War. The caped Crusader, better known as Batman, I am sure has Sun Tzu memorized. However, Batman is a fictional character and fictional characters are only as good as the chuckleheads who write them at any given moment. One particular bad time for Batman was the Elseworlds graphic novel, In Darkest Knight. A poor mashup of Batman and the Green Lantern.

 

 

 

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We don’t need Lanterns nowadays but back when they built the House of Seven Gables, you sure needed one for that monstrosity. 7 Gables is a lot! Makes me wonder if it had seven lanterns, one for each gable?

 

 

 

 

 

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Another book about a House is Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker’s House.  And THIS House is trouble, with a capital T. You go into this house and you are in WAY more trouble than Fleishman could ever get into, or even know the meaning of. Take THAT Fleishman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you get into trouble and then get into even more trouble! Don’t blame me though, it’s all Fleishman’s fault, the doity rat.

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6Degrees — Daisy Jones and The Six to…

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This month we are starting with the book  Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ve never heard of this book nor this author, but that doesn’t surprise me. A lot of the starting points are at complete odds with what I typically read.

 

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I’m actually writing this little blurb before even looking at the cover or any blurbs so that it won’t influence what I write here. An author that uses their middle name has always struck me as pretentious. Unless your name is John Smith or Jane Jones,  MOST authors don’t need to include their middle name.  *insert time travel* And now I’ve perused the wiki and read some of the associated links.  I’ve got nothing to say, which is more than enough I think.

 

 

 

 

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Another author who I can’t say anything good about is Thoreau and his book Walden & Civil Disobedience.  I would gladly have drowned Thoreau IN Walden pond and I believe it would have been a Crime that nobody would have Punished me for.  I’m guessing you’re smart enough to see where this is going?

 

 

 

 

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Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky!!! Who would have thunk it? A book so good it made it onto Bookstooge’s 100 Book List. C-R-I-M-E is a 5 letter word. Once you subtract time for good behavior though, you might get away with just two.

 

 

 

 

 

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IT is a book with a two letter title. IT did NOT get time taken off for good behavior.  In fact, IT was such a naughty book that Stephen King had to punish it by making it almost 1600 pages (449,000 words). I don’t think IT is getting parole any time soon!

 

 

 

 

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The word “parole” makes me think of Prisons and inside of Prisons are Prisoners. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is what springs to mind with that word association! This was the last good book in the series as far as I was concerned.  It all went downhill after this.

 

 

 

 

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Speaking of going downhill, David Eddings and his formulaic writing REALLY went dowhill. The first time I really realized it was when I read The Redemption of Althalus. I grew up on Eddings in the 90’s so to make this realization hurt even while being part of the inevitable growing up process.

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you get from a girl named Daisy Jones to a man named Althalus. Goodness, I should give myself an Honorary Degree in Gender Studies for this post! Dr. Bookstooge has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Of course, Dr. Lord Bookstooge is a bit of a mouthful and a little awkward. Hmmm, I’ll have to give this honorary degree thing a bit more thought.

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6Degrees – Sanditon to…

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This month we start with Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript, Sanditon.

 

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I read Sanditon back in ’13 when I read Austen’s Minor Works. Honestly, I don’t remember a thing about it. Not a clue what it was about. It obviously didn’t make much of an impression on me.

 

 

 

 

 

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A book that did make quite an impression on me was Hard Magic. I know this because I shelled out quite a bit of money to get some special edition versions which I’ll be show-casing in one of my book hauls later this month. Totally worth the money and almost worth the aggravation. You’ll get the full story in the book haul. Hard Magic is noir’ish and while I hate Noir, I liked this trilogy.

 

 

 

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Another noir’ish series I liked was Cook’s Garrett, PI novels. The first one, Sweet Silver Blues was just a lot of fun. I’m pretty sure these books were offered by the SFBC in the 90’s as omnibus editions but I never bought them because even back then I knew noir’ish stuff wasn’t my thing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another SFBC only offering was the Republic Commando omnibuses by Karen Traviss. I enjoyed them immensely, right up to the point where Traviss let her hatred of everything the Jedi stood for take over the story telling. Man, she eviscerated the very idea of the Jedi Order. If you read any of her other books, that won’t come as a surprise to you.  HATRED is hard to read.

 

 

 

 

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Adrian Tchaikovsky, on the other hand, LOVES bugs and his love shines through most of his books. The Empire in Black and Gold is the first of his 10 book Shadows of the Apt series and from the first page you get that Tchaikovsky and bugs get along like pigs and mud.

 

 

 

 

 

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As a fan of science fiction, when I think of bugs, there is one classic book that springs to mind. Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers! I read this in college and this was the cover and it has stuck in my head for the last 2 decades. It doesn’t get much more “buggy” than this book.

 

 

 

 

 

And that is how you get from Jane Austen to Giant Alien Space Bugs, hahahahaa. If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6 Degrees – Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland To…

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Everyone is Connected to Bookstooge by a maximum of 6 Degrees! 

 

 

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This month we start with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A wonderful book for young and old. A classic that I believe will stand the test of time like Shakespeare and Dickens.

 

 

 

 

 

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As wonderful as the above book was, a re-imagining entitled The Looking Glass Wars was just as bad. I wasn’t familiar with the term YA back in ’08, but this was most definitely YA in all its infamous glory. For some reason, those creatures on the cover remind me of some of the droids from Star Wars, especially those featured in the Clone War era books

 

 

 

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One of the better books in that series was Shatterpoint, starring Mace Windu as the main character. Or course, saying it was one of the better books is damning it with faint praise indeed. Mace Windu is the only Jedi that I know of who has a purple lightsaber. Purple is a very unique…color. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

 

 

 

 

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You know what else is purple? PROSE! Bad prose at that. The Scorpion was book that had some potential but it was filled with more purple prose than a Forgotten Realms trilogy. Being based on a Collectible Card Game, I had hopes it would turn out better. Sometimes games just need to stay games. And games have rules, even Calvinball.

 

 

 

 

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And who can play Calvinball better than anyone else? Why the creators, Calvin and Hobbes of course! This comic was executed perfectly and the artist, Bill Watterson chose to end the comic before it ran into the ground. A wise man and wise men have fears.

 

 

 

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Wise men with fears also don’t go about publicly lying to their audience.  Because a wise man knows that a fan lied to is easily turned into a lifelong enemy, who holds enmity deep within his heart. A man with enmity in his heart is capable of almost anything, even gutting a lying sack of excrement author with a dull spoon. Thank goodness Patrick Rothfuss didn’t do something so insane with his first book, The Name of the Wind.

 

 

 

And there you go, a journey from a delightfully wonderful little girl to a lying sack of excrement that dares to claim it is a man. Ha, I just love these little journeys. They give me all the feelz!

 

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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#6 Degrees – Three Women To…

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I’ve decided that since I plan on doing this #6Degrees series of posts on a semi-regular basis that I should have an image that warns you all. I’m as much a visual person when it comes to online stuff, so a picture gets associated with a person or a particular line of posts just as easily for me as reading the title.  I plan on using the above image as my stock photo for this series from now on. So It Is Written, So It Shall Be!

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month.

 

 

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This month’s chain begins with Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I made the mistake of reading what this non-fiction book was about and that colored my choice of covers. The other 2 readily available covers were bland, blase pieces of pablum with some colored circles on the cover. NOT representative at all of what was inside. This tells the story of 3 women and their very broken sex lives.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Blood Mirror is the first book that sprang to mind when I thought about broken sex lives in the realm of books I read. The author explores a little known sexual disorder with one of the main female characters.  I found it handled as best as could be, but honestly, could have done without it altogether. I can handle decapitations, disembowelings, maimings, burnings, etc, but gross biological things about women? Not so much.

 

 

 

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Another book with “mirror” in the title is Mirror of Opposition.  This was one of the first books where I dealt with an Indie author. I paid him about $10 for 2 of his books and generously gave them both 3 stars, I think.  Today, I’d be much harsher in my critique.

 

 

 

 

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And yet ANOTHER mirror book is The Mirror of Worlds.  This was book 8 in a 9 book fantasy series by David Drake. Just about the only books by him that I liked. He deliberately wrote tropish’ly and I liked it.  Not a series that is going to stick around for the ages though.

 

 

 

 

 

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And apparently I’m stuck on the Mirror theme here. I just can’t avoid it. The False Mirror is a SF book about humanity in the far future. As one of the few races that is warlike, Humanity is trained and treated like an attack dog. But never trusted.

 

 

 

 

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A mirror shows us a reflection of something. A snapshot of a moment in time.  Such a book was the Kinta Years.  Autobiography of Janice Giles showed a time much different than the one we live in now.

 

 

 

 

 

And thus the circle is complete. From 3 broken women, through the realms of fantasy, to a young girl growing up around 1900.  Strange the paths I wander as I do these posts 🙂

 

 

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#6degrees – A Gentleman in Moscow To…

This month’s #6 Degrees of Separation chain kicks off with A Gentleman in Moscow.

 

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I have not read this book, nor to be honest, even heard of it. I don’t know a thing about it. I’m guessing it is some sappy piece of crap about a bloke who is feeling lost with his life and goes to Moscow and gets drunk, has numerous affairs and suddenly his life has meaning. Or more likely, he’s french and has already done all that before and realizes his life has no meaning and kills himself. My goodness, glad I never read THAT book 😉

 

 

 

oblomov

 

The word “Moscow” makes me think Russia, like I hope it would all good educated people of the world. A jolly good Russian book is Oblomov.  Happy go lucky, full of spirit and pluck, Oblomov is everything you’d expect from a Russian novelist.

 

 

 

 

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Ok, so while I might have been joking just a teeny bit about a Russian novelist writing an inspirational and happy character, this next selection makes even Pollyanna look like a sad sack of glumness. Gandhi. Now there was a man who knew how to party and have a good time! If anyone was going to Rock the Casbah, Gandhi was that man.  He wasn’t going to let The Man get him down.

 

 

 

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Now, I live in the United States. Back in Gandhi’s day you couldn’t travel from the United States to India on airplanes because they didn’t exist. You had to sail, on a boat, like The Coronet.  Shockingly enough, this book was also non-fiction. Two non-fiction books in a row? Sounds like a conspiracy to me! (almost like those “facts” I made up about airplanes!)

 

 

 

 

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A book filled with conspiracies is the Sound and the Furry.  Little alien teddy bears that think our literature is real and act out our books, all the while possessing greater intelligence than humanity? It takes every ounce of conspiratorial’ness that the main character has to sidetrack the Hoka from going on some galactic jihad, like in Dune.

 

 

 

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When I think of jihads, I think of the Last Jihad. A political thriller about Saddam Hussein getting a hold of some nukes. It was a fun read even while not aging well.

 

 

 

 

 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you go from an (imaginary french) gentleman to Saddam Hussein.  Talk about worlds apart! If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

 

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ps,

on a side note, I can’t use the #6degree tag, it automatically just goes to 6degrees. Anyone have any ideas why that might be?