realthog: (leavingfortusa)

. . . on the other hand, if you can't face these hastily scribbled notes, go here for yet one more example of Ann Coulter making a complete fool of herself. Apparently you can tell liberals a mile off because of their habit of raping hotel maids. Seriously.

Or maybe Coulter's nuts.

Anyway:

DeKok and the Corpse at the Church Wall (1978; trans 1994 by H.G. Smittenaar) by Baantjer

A couple of weeks ago I came across one of the movies based on Baantjer's work and realized that I'd never read anything by one of the world's bestselling mystery writers -- a situation I should obviously redress. I assumed there'd be a few of his novels in the local library; in the end I obtained this one through inter-library loan.

A man is found dead propped against, as you'll guess, a church wall in Amsterdam; at first it's thought he might have died naturally, but very soon it's realized this is a case of murder. Inspectors DeKok and his sidekick Vledder unravel what proves to be a fiendishly complicated tapestry of deceit, corruption, greed, false identification, further murders and premature assumptions before the mystery is solved and various killers brought to book. Everything rattles along at a jolly pace, even though the translation isn't marvelous and the copyediting and proofreading are execrable. I enjoyed the book enough on a good-for-a-bus-ride level but really it was the lightest of light reading: there was nothing to arouse the passions or the intellect.

In the Dutch originals the veteran detective is called De Cock, and a running joke is that, whenever introducing himself to someone, he spells it out -- C-O-C-K. Apparently this was regarded as unacceptably saucy for the anglophone world, and so the translations render his name DeKok and he spells it out K-O-K.


Ferney (1998) by James Long

I read Long's second novel, Silence and Shadows (2002), for review when it first came out, and liked it enough that I went out and bought myself a copy of its predecessor. Shamefully, it's taken all this while for Ferney to jump off the shelf and into my hands. More or less, the wait has been worth it.

Young couple Mike and Gally Martin are searching for a new house somewhere in the country to offer Gally a change of scenery so she can forget a miscarriage and the subsequent breakdown. They find a cottage in the English Southwest, in rural Somerset; it's a fixer-upper that's more fix than currently up, but Gally is instantly drawn to it As By An Arcane Force and insists that none other will do. Associated with the house is an elderly local called Ferney, who seems to recognize her; and soon Gally is drawn to him, too, as if she has known him for a long time . . . a very long time.

Reincarnation fantasies are comparatively scarce and good ones even more so, so Ferney is a fair treat. That said, there were occasional longueurs; I'd have been happier had the book been some 25% shorter. At the same time, the slow build does definitely add to the power of the later sequences, so who knows? The characters of Gally and to a lesser extent Ferney are pleasingly complex and real; I wish the same could be said of Mike's. (The book's essentially a three-hander; all other characters are peripheral, although their influence on the plot may not be.) Overall, then, the book's not a masterpiece -- and there are a few resoundingly Thog's Masterclassish lines -- but it certainly has enough by way of the very good to be worth the reader's time. A keeper.


The Canceled Czech (1966) by Lawrence Block

"Author of Eight Million Ways to Die" blares the cover of the Jove edition I read -- a 1980s reissue -- not mentioning that this isn't Block in the noirish mode that has made him so renowned but a relic of the years when he was apparently still trying to find his voice . . . and his commercial audience. The Canceled Czech is a piece of fluff -- a spy caper distinguished from so many others of its era solely through being far better written than most, and with a gimmick or two; it's as if Ian Fleming and Donald E. Westlake had collaborated in an attempt to write a Quiller novel, to an effect that's quite often fine but sometimes uncomfortable.

Evan Tanner suffered an injury while serving in Korea that eliminated his brain's "sleep centre" (yeah, right); he thus has 50% more time than the rest of us to have fun exploring the world of conspiracy theorists and crank causes. These are connections he puts to good use in his occasional assignments on behalf of a US Government agency so secret it doesn't have a name -- not even a name you'd have to be killed if anyone told you it. This time he's been sent to rescue a disgusting old Nazi from jail, trial and inevitable execution in Prague, because that old Nazi, Kotacek, is unknowingly of greater use to the US if kept alive rather than surrendered to the gallows. So off goes polyglot Evan (plenty of time to learn languages if you never sleep) and -- with the aid of a nymphomaniac neo-Nazi and a bunch of bumbling Stern Gangers -- springs Kotacek from the jug and spirits him out through the Iron Curtain. There's no spoiler there because it's obvious from the outset that this is going to be the outcome; the book's surprises come in the twists and wrinkles of the plot to achieve that outcome. I giggled a few times; I kept turning the pages happily enough; this time next year I may accidentally pick up the book without realizing I've read it before . . .


Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming (2009) by James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore

In their excellent book Merchants of Doubt Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway expose the whole, horrendous corporate strategy of paying scientists to deny science that threatens corporate profits, from the tobacco companies hiring scientists to "doubt" the evidence through to our own time when degree-laden corporate shills -- often the very same individuals -- try to pretend the science of global warming is unproven or unsound or whatever dishonest description they choose to use this week toward the end of confusing an undereducated and often irresponsibly self-indulgent public. If you read the Oreskes/Conway book you'll reach the end of it horrified and dismayed; they offer the kind of evidence that would have any court of law rushing to a conviction.

Climate Cover-Up, by contrast, is not nearly such a weighty tome; yes, there are citations, but at the level where some chapters have only an essential one or two. Overall, it reads at the pace of a thriller. And, by the end of it, I was hopping mad . . . which is precisely what we all ought to be with those scientific charlatans and the corporate masters at whose teats they shamelessly suck, and precisely the aim of the the authors of this book. Yes, your library is incomplete if you don't have Oreskes/Conway on your shelf; but if you want a blazing polemic that covers much the same ground (and contains probably as much of the essential information) then you should choose this book also, and perhaps you should choose it even in preference to Oreskes/Conway.

For obvious reasons -- I was writing a book called Denying Science after all! -- I read a lot of good nonfiction books in 2010 (yes, I'm a bit late catching up in these notes), but this was one of the very best, and quite possibly the best: certainly among the most important. Please read it.


Johnny and the Dead (1993) by Terry Pratchett

Of course, I've read the Johnny Maxwell books in the wrong order, starting (correctly) with Only YOU Can Save Mankind (which I liked) but then going on to #3 in the series, Johnny and the Bomb (which I thought was absolutely splendid). My opinion of Johnny and the Dead falls roughly midway between. Johnny has developed the ability (as would the kid in M. Knight Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense a few years later) to "see dead people" -- notably those in the local cemetery which the council wants to sell off to developers. Johnny's pals are for the most part unimpressed, but they go along with him as he tries to save the cemetery from the bulldozers and thereby the ghosts from "eviction". As you'd expect from Pratchett there are plenty of laughs along the way; Johnny isn't far off a reincarnation of Richmal Crompton's William. Also as you'd expect from Pratchett, there are moments of more serious insight. And of course the book reads like a rocket.


The Good Thief (2008) by Hannah Tinti

I'm a fan of the old-fashioned picaresque novel -- the kind of tale in which, as in (say) most of Dickens's early stuff, the end doesn't depend too much on the beginning, even though the course from beginning to end is a logical or at least comprehensible one. (Most of our lives are picaresque in structure.)  Recently a few authors seem to have rediscovered the picaresque mode, and one of these is Hannah Tinti.

Ren's stuck in a late-19th-century northeastern orphanage and unlikely ever to get out, because one of his arms ends not in a hand but in an unsightly stump. Yet the day comes when Benjamin Nab arrives to claim Ren as supposedly his long-lost brother. Of course, that's false; Benjamin's a thief and conman who thinks Ren's disability could be put to good use in gulling the gullible. Soon Benjamin, Ren and Benjamin's habitually drunken pal Tom are committing criminal acts, including graverobbing, all over the northeastern USA; one of the occupants of a grave they rob, the monstrous Dolly (a male Dolly), proves to be a hitman, and he too fits conformably into their gang. There's a lot of good humour and a fair amount of genuine physical and emotional pain in this rollicking tale.

The whole time I was reading this I kept thinking of F.E. Higgins's The Black Book of Secrets, which I loved and which was published the previous year and written in similar style (and with a couple of similar preoccupations, like the monetary value of stolen teeth). I think in the end I probably preferred the Higgins book, especially since it didn't, as does Tinti's (see p317, for example), suffer the occasional rash of outright sloppy writing. But this book too has its merits. Recommended.


Catalyst (2002) by Laurie Halse Anderson

Kate Malone -- who makes an attractive narrator -- is in her final year of high school and awaiting a reply from the only college to which she has replied, M.I.T.; her boyfriend has already been accepted for Harvard. Everything seems ti be going just fine until the Malones' ne'er-do-well neighbours' house burns down and the Malones take in the luckless family -- one of whom just happens to be the seemingly near-retarded girl whose main hobby is bullying Kate at school; won't the two girls have fun sharing a bedroom? the adults gush. Everything begins to fall apart fast for Kate . . . but when everything finally resolves itself she finds she's a far better, less self-absorbed person than she could ever have imagined. A highly engaging coming-of-age novel.


The Last Woman in his Life (1969) by Ellery Queen

According to Wikipedia, this Ellery novel was, despite its lateness in the canon, written by Dannay/Lee rather than being among the ghostwritten ones. It's also, I'd say, one of the weakest; I bought it on the basis it must be that rara avis, an Ellery novel I hadn't read, then halfway through realized I had read it, and not in fact all that many years ago. That's more or less a literary judgement in itself.

John Benedict invites his three ex-wives to a weekend at his country retreat, where he breaks it to them that in future they're not going to enjoy the same financial benefits from him as heretofore; not surprisingly, he gets bumped off before too many hours have passed. Luckily he'd also invited Ellery and the Inspector to join the party, and so we know the solution to the mystery can't be too very far away. The trouble is that the first of the mystery's two solutions is a rebarbative piece of contrivance (it depends on how a combination of the three women's names could be misheard) and the second -- genuine -- solution relies on a piece of social prejudice that happily most of us regard as history . . . as would the majority of enlightened readers in 1969, I'd have thought. So, while the writing has the trademark zip of the Ellery novels, whoever wrote them, the setup seems artificial and the mystery more-or-less likewise. Not the Queens' finest hour.


The Tenth Man (1985) by Graham Greene

In 1944 Greene was desperate for money and unsure of his future as a writer, so when MGM commissioned a novella from him to use as the basis for a movie he was only too happy to oblige: it put food on the family table and walls around them for a couple of years. The movie was never made and he more or less forgot the project until in the early 1980s MGM decided to auction the manuscript to publishers for what proved a healthy chunk of money -- of which none went to Greene. Reading his long-forgotten text, he was both pleased and chagrined to find that he thought it was a ripping yarn of which he could be proud; hence his willingness to write an introduction setting the text in context. (Or maybe this was a way devised by publishers Anthony Blond and the Bodley Head to give Greene some financial reward for the publication of this work.)

The trouble is that, despite the glowing review quotes on the cover, this is really only something for Greene completists; it's the first of his fictions I've read that hasn't gripped me. During the war a bunch of imprisoned Resistance fighters are given the option by their Nazi captors of choosing by lot who among their number will go before the firing squad the next day. One of the unlucky ones cheats, so that another man dies in his place. After the war is over, the cheat is a hunted man; yet with bureaucracy in shambles, identity is something relatively easy to fake. So who among our cast of characters is the guilty man; and, more interestingly, does his crime matter any longer now that years have passed? It's a premise that just about sustained my interest for 30,000 words . . . but only just about. Paradoxically, had it been longer -- had Greene been writing it as a full-length novel rather than as a movie outline -- perhaps it would have worked better, in that he'd have had the space to deploy typical Greene prose mastery. This, though, reads more like a detailed synopsis than a completed work.


The Case of the Duplicate Daughter (1960) by Erle Stanley Gardner

To a child reared on the Perry Mason TV series it came as something of a shock to discover the novels upon which it was based, in which Perry isn't nice respectable Raymond Burr but a flamboyant figure, more P.I. than lawyer, who spends much of his time on the fringes of legality, not infrequently straying beyond them. Likewise, Della seems to be a bit of a vibrant gal rather than the almost demure Barbara Hale. I've lost count of the number of the novels I've read since that discovery; these days I regard them as an entirely different entity than the TV series and later movies.

They're also all fairly interchangeable; I don't know how often I've been partway through a Mason novel and realized I've read it before. But, and this is the great thing about my enjoyment of Mason novels: it hasn't mattered. Assuming sufficient time has elapsed, I won't remember how the crime was achieved or who did it any more than I might remember a two-year-old cricket result: I had great fun at the time, and that's all that's needed.

So, even though it's been just a few weeks or months since I read this book (I'm catching up on a lot of unwritten book notes), all I can remember is that (obviously, from the title) a confusion of identity plays a part and that the setup is genuinely puzzling -- a father disappears into thin air while his daughter is briefly in the room next door cooking the breakfast second helping he's asked for -- and that the solution, for once in a Mason book, is likewise. So back on my shelf it goes to wait for that precious moment when I spot it there, read the blurb, flip through the pages, and think, How come I haven't read this one before . . .?


One Across, Two Down (1971) by Ruth Rendell

Layabout Stanley is good for nothing except solving and even composing crossword puzzles; certainly he's not good at holding down a job. He's stuck in a small house in London with his colourless wife Vera and his truly ghastly mother-in-law Maud, praying for the day when Maud will shuffle off this mortal coil and he and Vera -- which, in Stanley's mind, means just he -- can get their hands on Maud's money. On the day that Maud's if anything even ghastlier friend Ethel arrives to stay there starts a chapter of accidents that seems, suitably manipulated by a guileful Stanley, to be set to bring about his fondest wish. And for a while everything goes according to his fetid little plan. But then his house of cards collapses: fate takes a vengeance upon him that's disproportionate to his undoubted crimes.

This is an early Rendell work, and hasn't yet the power and the sure touch her psychological thrillers would soon come to have. On the other hand, it's often very funny, which most of her later novels haven't been; Stanley is such a frightful apology for a human being that his attitudes frequently had me chuckling -- not just because they're reprehensible, which they undoubtedly are, but because they're understandable. There's enough validity in them that I found myself reluctantly beginning to root for him: who wouldn't, after a few years in the company of Maud, become fixated on the anticipated inheritance?

Far from Rendell's best -- it doesn't convey that brooding awareness of imminent malevolence she would become so skilled at conjuring -- but an enjoyable piece.

realthog: (darwin)

A few more books written up . . .


The Lighthouse (2005) by P.D. James


On a remote island off the coast of Southwest England, used as a getaway by the influential, the famous novelist Nathan Oliver is found one morning murdered -- hanged from the topmost railing of the island's fastidiously restored lighthouse. Since there were fewer than a dozen people on the island at the time, and since it's unlikely anyone could have come ashore secretly, the task of solving the murder would seem a simple one for Alan Dalglish and his crew. Yet lots of old coals have to be raked over, and a great deal of James's cumbersome prose negotiated, before the fairly unsurprising solution is revealed. There's plenty of clumsy dialogue, too, of the "You know all this already but I'm going to tell it to you anyway" variety. Aside from a rock-climbing sequence that's genuinely suspenseful, events just sort of . . . lumber on. Even so, the book's moderately enjoyable; just a shame that all the time I was reading it I was thinking it could have been done far better at half the length.


Bite Me: A Love Story (2010) by Christopher Moore

The infuriating Goth Abby Normal, whom I first encountered in Moore's A Dirty Job -- a novel I liked very much -- here takes more or less centre stage in a tale of vampirism, narrating a good deal of the book in her own inimitable style. Others of the characters from A Dirty Job reprise here (and, I sense, have already done so in the intervening novel You Suck). The tale is very funny -- I laughed a lot -- and quite extraordinarily smutty, yet I came away from it dissatisfied: where A Dirty Job was one of those triumphs that would have been a fine fantasy novel (and in fact a very ambitious one) even without the jokes, Bite Me seems to exist almost solely as a vehicle for the jokes. There are some great comic scenes -- as when Abby is "turned" and tries to impress her boyfriend with her Awesome Powers, or when the Emperor of San Francisco is used as bait for an aeons-old vampiress in a Safeway store -- but overall the book's a bit forgettable.


The Last Resort: A Mystery (1996; trans 2005 by Kristina Cordero) by Carmen Posadas

Elderly, gay Spanish Londoner Rafael, knowing that there is nothing left in life for him, decides to spend a few weeks in a remote, luxury Moroccan hotel, then put an end to it all. Just before he departs, his gossipy niece tells him the latest juicy details about a Spanish crime passionel, and when he arrives at the hotel just whom should he find there but the delectable widow everyone assumes killed her husband in that scandalous case. Slowly, slowly, glacially slowly, Rafael decides he might as well kill one of the other adulterous, duplicitous guests at the hotel before making his own planned exit. This unbearably mannered, arch book offers fairly solid tedium up to about the 30% mark, shows a few flickers of wit and interest thereabouts, and then settles back into tedium for the long haul. I found it quite a struggle to get to the end.


Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (1992) by Ruth Rendell

Reg Wexford (described pompously on the cover of the US edition as "Inspector Reginald Wexford", f'r gawd's sake, as if they were hoping to make you think he was another goddam Brit cop-with-a-knighthood, or at least an "Hon" to put to his name) has to tackle one of the goriest cases of his career, when an internationally renowned local author has her head blown apart by a gunman or gunmen who also slay her husband and daughter; only her granddaughter Daisy survives. Doing his usual bluff best to tread the path of goodness while yet solving the crime as efficiently as possible, and trying to cope at the same time with his increasing estrangement from his daughter over her latest disastrous choice of lovers, Reg Wexford pushes aside countless red herrings until finally the solution becomes obvious. I got there a little ahead of him, in fact, which means either that I am Very Very Clever or that, years ago, I saw the British TV adaptation (with the great George Baker), even though I have no memory of having done so. It's ironic that, Rendell having made her name with the Wexford books, these now seem among the lesser of her books; at the same time, they can sometimes, depending upon my mood, seem more approachable than her psychological thrillers. I enjoyed this one more than the past few Wexfords I've read.


Ravens (2009) by George Dawes Green

A Nawth Carolina family, the Boatwrights, who win a huge jackpot in the lottery are descended upon by an opportunistic psychopath, Shaw, and his increasingly reluctant sidekick who terrorize the Boatwrights into splitting the winnings with them; more than that, the Boatwrights must publicly declare how much they love Shaw and regard him as almost one of the family. The public of course swallows tis wholesale, and a cult builds up around Shaw; worse still, the Boatwrights, with the exception of teen daughter Tara, in Stockholm-Syndrome fashion begin to swallow the bullshit too.

I really like the movies based on this author's two earlier novels, especially The Caveman's Valentine, so, even though I've not read those two, I leapt upon this. I found it, alas, pretty lightweight.


The Supernaturalist (2004) by Eoin Colfer

Colfer is best known for his humorous fantasies -- like the Artemis Fowl series -- and I expected this to be more of the same. Although this has some humour interspersed, especially early on, in fact it's a pretty dour -- and really fairly damn' fine -- piece of science fiction. In a future dystopian city, young Cosmo escapes from the sadistic clutches of those who run the orphanage in which he's been incarcerated and used as a guinea pig for various potentially lethal drugs and allies himself with a gang of outcasts who, like himself, can see the ethereal parasites that, Valkyrie-like, cluster to any scene of death, the grosser the better, and feast upon the souls of the dying. Using technology they have developed, the outcasts slaughter as many of these being as they can, despite the ignorant efforts of the city authorities to stop them. But is everything the way Cosmo and his buddies think it is? This is a surprisingly serious, surprisingly good piece of work.


Corpse Whisperer (2007) by Chris Redding

Grace Harmony, like her mother before her, has a strange parapsychological talent: the corpses of the murdered can speak to her, and she then can whip back through time either to avert the murder or to solve the crime. It's always worked out well before; in this most recent instance, however, everything is much more complicated, and not just because she falls in love with one of the men involved in the case. Again and again Grace finds herself looping back through time and, as in Ken Grimwood's Replay, finding herself unable to do much about the way she's changing it simply by doing this. It's a great premise, but . . .

Corpse Whisperer bears all the hallmarks of a self-published novel: the basic grammatical errors, the typos, the Thog's Masterclass howlers, the double letter spaces in strange and unexpected places, you name it. A major character is sometimes a cop, sometimes a retired-cop-turned-private-eye. On a couple of occasions we're readied for major plot features that are then dismissed in a few lines, as if the relevant part of the synopsis had been substituted for the heralded several pages of dramatic narrative. That the setup should surely create dozens of time paradoxes is simply ignored. And so on. All in all, there's a feeling of careless haste about the text, as if the author cared more about filling the pages than telling the tale -- a great shame, since the premise offered so much.


The Prince of Mist (1993; trans 2010 by Lucia Graves) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

It's hardly a secret that I'm nuts about Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind and very fond indeed of his The Angel's Game. Apparently he published four novels in Spanish before those, all for a YA/adult audience, of which this was the first. During WWII young Max's dad decides the family would be safer living away from the big city, and so he rents them a house in a seaside village, dominated by a huge lighthouse. Even before they get there, strange things start happening: the station clock runs backwards, a malign cat attaches itself to the family, and so on. Soon Max discovers an isolated sculpture garden filled with effigies of circus characters that seem to change position when no one's looking and one of which seems to be the embodiment of evil -- which indeed he proves to be: the satanic Prince of Mist, Dr. Cain. Along with his older sister and the adoptive grandson of the lighthouse keeper, Max succeeds in driving back Dr. Cain -- at least for now, and only at a very great cost.

This book's an astonishingly fast read -- despite having to contend with a full workload, I started it one afternoon and had it finished by the time I put the light out the next day. As seems to be the case with almost all modern Spanish-language novels, there were occasional plot conundra, but I waved those merrily away as I continued on the helterskelter ride. The tale doesn't have the sheer storytelling, mythopoeic power of The Shadow of the Wind, but it certainly has me panting for the translated publication in May of Zafon's next YA adventure, The Midnight Palace.


The Pyramid, and Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (1999; trans 2008 by Ebba Segerberg with Laurie Thompson) by Henning Mankell

Pam and I have watched and enjoyed several of the Kenneth Branagh Wallander mysteries, and so I thought it was about time I read some of the Real Thing; as chance would have it, what I picked was not one of the novels but a sort of later adjunct to the series, a fat volume containing two short novels, a novella, and a couple of novelettes.

I was left very much in two minds as to whether I wanted to read any more. Segerberg's translation really plods; there are countless sentences that exhibit a sort of magnetic fridge poetry effect -- you know all the components are present and correct, but no one's taken the trouble to put them in the right order. I assume it's not the translator's fault that the prose style consists largely of lots of single-clause sentences, so that no proper rhythm can ever be built up. It's a fact. Like this. See what I mean? On and on it goes. And obviously it's not the translator's fault that in two consecutive stories the bad guy points a gun at Wallander for a long moment, Wallander waits to die, and the bad guy then blows his own brains out. The first time it was moderately suspenseful; the second time, not so much.

One of the novelettes, "The Man with the Mask", is quite extraordinarily slight. The other, "The Man on the Beach", has more of a tale to tell -- where could the murdered man have gone to those days he went to the seaside, walked along the beach, and then seemed to vanish beyond anyone's ken? The first story in the book, the short novel "Wallander's First Case", held my attention perhaps best of all; the young Wallander's neighbor dies in suspicious circumstances and Wallander sets out to solve the crime even though he's not yet a detective, just a humble plod. "The Death of the Photographer" focuses on the disparity between a person's public image and the reality of them; and the same is true of the final, longer short novel "The Pyramid", in which the core mystery concerns the execution-style killings of two supposedly sweet old ladies who run a sewing-accessories shop.

None of these tales is outright bad -- with the arguable exception of "The Man in the Mask" -- but none of them much moved me, either . . . and, as I say, I found the style extremely rebarbative. So maybe I'll try one of the novels. Someday. Maybe. Or perhaps not. It's like that. Yo?


July bukes

Aug. 2nd, 2010 07:34 pm
realthog: (Default)

I haven't finished writing up my notes the books read this month, and it'll be some days before I can do so. I don't know if I'll hold my notes on the five books concerned (four nonfictioners, one truly excellent novel) over until next month or do a mid-month update: I suspect this is a matter of supreme indifference to all.

There's lots, so it's

bEhiND thE cuTT )







realthog: (Default)

And here's the other half . . .


there are *even more* saucy pix in this half! )

One of these days I must get round to cross-posting all these to GoodReads -- I still haven't posted my April notes there, so I'm well behind . . .

realthog: (Default)

It's been a busy month. Although I took time out to visit BookExpo in NYC last week and to go see friend Janis gigging not far from here (or maybe that was in late April?), most of the rest of the while I've been hard at toil. In particular, I've been reading for both Denying Science and the time-travel essay; beneath the cut (because of length and spoilers) are my hasty, unedited informal notes on the books I read in their entirety -- I've not mentioned the ones where there's been just a chapter or three of concern to my research.

Anyway, here goes . . .


lots of text and saucy pix )



Aaargh! LJ has just refused this posting on the grounds that it's too large. I didn't know there was a limit. Anyway, I've now split my ramblings into two smaller chunks, so with luck . . .

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