Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“The Fall of the House of Escher” by Greg Bear
Card picked: Nine of Hearts
From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination
Review: I could not get through this story, despite its intriguing title. Maybe it was because I was reading it during my 17th straight hour of readathon-ing yesterday. Maybe it’s because I have trouble with allegories, which, with character names like Cant, Shant, and Musnt, this probably is. Or maybe I’ve been reading an anthology of speculative fiction stories that are so deftly written that this story felt very clumsy in comparison. If you’re going to allude to Poe and spend time describing architecture, man, you need to be lush in your language. This fell short.
I feel bad bailing on a story which is obviously challenging, but I’m also an adult who can put it aside for a day when I’m not actively annoyed by it. Some other time, “House of Escher.”
About the Author: Greg Bear is an SF writer that I’ve been aware of for years, but have never read.
Readathon Celebration Giveaway!
To celebrate a day of reading, I’m giving away a book from Entangled Continua Publishing. Readathon participation not required! The prize is winner’s choice of:
- (1) signed trade paperback copy of Lucinda at the Window by Katherine Nabity
- (1) signed trade paperback of PHYSIC by Eric Nabity
- (1) signed trade paperback of Luck for Hire by Katherine & Eric Nabity
- (1) ebook combo pack including the expanded editions of Model Species *and* Divine Fire (available in most major formats)
Book descriptions can be found on the sidebar. US shipping only I’m afraid for the physical books.
Readathon Stack & Updates
Also “The Fall of the House of Escher” by Greg Bear, this week’s Deal Me In story.
I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature. I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.
Part 1 of a performance from the delightfully creepy Rob Zabrecky:
What Am I Reading?
Looking forward to Dewey’s this Saturday! What will I be reading this week?
- Under Stars by KJ Kabza
- The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard
- Penn & Teller’s Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends
- The Surprise Party by R.L. Stine
I’m planning on a giveaway raffle during the readathon too, so check back on Saturday!
What Am I Writing?
Last week was light on words. I cleaned up my character and place bibles for the Luck books, rewrote a couple scenes, and am generally doing a read-through/re-organization of scenes.
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“Eagle” by David Copperfield
Card picked: Ace of Hearts
From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination
Thoughts: Each of the Copperfield anthologies opens with a story by the man himself. After starting both anthologies in January for Deal Me In, it’s taken me *this* long to end up reading one!
Adam is a loner. While other third-graders are playing kickball and other sports, Adam is content to make up stories and build things. A favorite among the others is the tale of Adam’s invisible eagle. To avoid being overly teased, Adam tells a lie: The invisible eagle is real. Now all Adam has to do is prove it to them.
While Adam isn’t labeled as such, this is sort of a quintessential magician story. Magicians tell the lie and then make it seem true, whether it’s making cards appear and disappear or devising ways to make an invisible eagle seem real.
The other question, of course, is did David Copperfield really write the story? I’m going to say ‘yes.’ It’s short and simply told. In his intro to the story, Copperfield admits that the story is very much like what happened to him as a kid. If it wasn’t written by David Copperfield, the illusion is pretty good.
Is This Your Card?
I figured it was appropriate to linked up Copperfield’s version of the four aces. I believe I’ve included Ricky Jay’s four queens in the past, but I’m not sure about Copperfield’s aces. In any case, this performance includes a bit about Copperfield’s childhood which dovetails nicely with the story.
I missed the R.L. Stine/teen horror phenomena in the nineties. For me, the nostalgia of these books, or at least The New Girl which I read last week, is in the setting. Published in 1989, it is just *so* 80s. At least in the original printing I have. I’ve heard that new editions have updated references as well as grittier covers. I’m glad my Fear Street editions have the ditto machine still intact! Honestly, I was surprised at how much fun The New Girl was to read. Cory Brooks, our smitten hero, is a bit of a bone head, but still likeable. The plot twist was appropriately sensational and I enjoy the concept of horror novels that are all set in place. I’ll be reading Fear Street #2 next week, probably during Dewey’s Readathon.
Actually, what is up with the new covers? They’re a little racy for book that only has kissing and non-graphic “excitement.”
The Kiss Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer, Kenneth Dakan (Translator)
Bestsellers in Mehmet Murat Somer’s home country of Turkey and set to take the world by storm, the arrival of the Hop-Çiki-Yaya mysteries is cause for excitement (and lip gloss!) here in the United States. A male computer technician by day and a transvestite hostess of Istanbul’s most notorious nightclub by night, the unnamed heroine of The Kiss Murder is the most charming and hilarious sleuth to debut in recent memory. When Buse, one of the “girls”at her club, fears someone is after private letters from a former lover, she comes to her boss for help. The next day Buse is dead and our girl must find the murderers before they find her. Fortunately, she is well armed with beauty, wit, the wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn, and expert Thai kickboxing skills. With a page-turning plot and an irresistibly charming protagonist, The Kiss Murder is sure to attract mystery lovers and nightlife mavens alike. (via Goodreads)
I was intrigued by the main character of this mystery: a transvestite amateur detective looking into crimes within her community.
First, I have a couple of issues:
Issue #1 – Somer isn’t a transvestite or transgendered. While obviously a writer doesn’t *have* to have first-hand knowledge of what they write about, I’m taking it on faith that he’s giving me an accurate portrayal of the cross-dressing and trans community in Turkey. It’s a tricky thing when writing outside yourself to get it right.
Issue #2 – The translation. In relation to the above, the concepts of cross-dressing and being transgendered are munged together and used semi-interchangeably in the novel. I wonder if this is a problem in the translation. In general, I found the writing choppy. In the case of dialogue, it weirdly felt like a bad dub, a problem I’m never encountered when reading.
On a story level:
Our narrator’s voice felt a little forced sometimes. Maybe I’m just not enough of a girl, but the continual swooning over fashion and hot-bodied men was tiring. The plot was okay, but the end seemed inevitable despite the main character’s actions. This was an okay book, it read quickly, but it wasn’t super-awesome.
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: December 30th 2008 (first published 2003)
This book was provided to me by Quercus Publishing via Edelweiss.
Film in Five Seconds by Matteo Civaschi & Gianmarco Milesi
In today’s jet-fuelled, caffeine-charged, celebrity-a-minute world, who actually has the time to watch a film from start to finish? Let’s face it, life’s too short. Now, Film in Five Seconds lets you fast-forward to the best bits so you can enjoy all your favourite movie moments in – literally – moments.
Design studio H-57 have taken over 150 iconic films and cut away all the useless details, boiling them down into ingenious pictograms and creating hilarious visual snapshots that are witty, provocative and to the point.
From Batman to Bridget Jones, Grease to The Godfather, King Kong to The King’s Speech, via slapstick, sci-fi and superheroes, you’ll laugh out loud as you identify some of the greatest screen moments of all time. This is the perfect book for film buffs and anyone with a sense of humour or a short attention span. (via Goodreads)
Less a book to read and more a solo party game, Film in Five Seconds presents classic and popular current movies in the form of pictograms. Sometimes the pictogram shows plot, sometimes an iconic movie moment. The fun is obviously in trying to figure out what movie is being represented. After a few “easy” ones, I started to learn some of the pictogram vocabulary, but it might have been nice to have a minor “glossary” of what certain arrows and equal signs meant. On the whole, I think the short-attention-span pitch sells this book short (no pun intended, for once). These puzzles are quite clever, take more than five seconds to solve, and deserve more than five seconds of appreciation. This would be a fun gift for a film buff.
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
Publication date: October 7th 2014
Why did I choose to read this book? Fun during a readathon.