Baker aspires...

Members try to read 50 books in 2013. Anyone can participate. Keep track of your progress with your own thread.

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Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 16 Jan 2013, 06:46

Two lightweights to start the year this time:

1) My man, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Enjoyed it.


2) Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Enjoyed it.

Full rating system to come later.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 01 Mar 2013, 07:03

Misogyny the Oldest Prejudice by Jack Holland

Definitely worth a read for anyone and everyone. Holland was a journalist (he died before the book was accepted for publication), so his approach is for a general reader. He covers a lot of ground and hits some low points vis a vis the way men treat women throughout history. Warmly reccommend this for everyone.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Nurse Jo » 01 Mar 2013, 07:08

Looks interesting. I shall investigate.
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby wildlx » 01 Mar 2013, 13:39

Ditto!
A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. “The Woman-Identified Woman” Radicalesbians (1970)
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 19 May 2013, 09:43

Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

2+stars

I have been having trouble getting into the non-fiction books I've been reading, and I have recently had two brushes with really poor lesfic, so I turned to the library ebook catalogue and picked a book (based solely on the blurb and its availability) to read to recalibrate my expectations for fiction from a mainstream book. The writing was fine, and the quality was generally better than the two lesfics (how could it not be?), but the story itself was horribly flawed by some large liberties the author took wtih history. This resulted in him--wildly improbably and unconvincingly--having the 16 year old Vespasion as a brand new tribune instrumental in the crushing of the Thracian revolt, including a wildly improbable rescue scene involving a Thracian chieftain and the amulet Vespasian's slave girl squeeze had given him. In reality, Vespasian arrived at his first military posting several months after the end of the revolt, and spent 3 or 4 years on rather boring garrison duty in a subdued province. Fabbri also played fast and loose wtih Antonia, and completely vanished Livia!
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby wildlx » 19 May 2013, 10:11

So, it seems that your recalibration didn't go well ;-).
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 21 May 2013, 07:41

:) Actually, I think it served its purpose. The prose was competent, the structure was fine, but the plot had a few glaring holes. Average.


The Princess Affair by Nell Stark
notrated because I didn't get beyond chapter 7. To that point, it would be a <img src='http://www.lesbianfiction.org/images/review_stars/1.gif' alt='half star'>

Immature, unlikeable, self-centred characters, contrived plot, and some risible errors in setting. Couldn't finish.



One Fine Day by Erica Abbott
<img src='http://www.lesbianfiction.org/images/review_stars/1.gif' alt='half star'>

What a waste of eyesight. Flimsy, contrived plot. Paper thin characters. The opera details were poorly used and not always correct. Author had a habit of totally diffusing any tension in the plot by either showing the scene from the wrong POV character or not showing the scene at all and having one character remember a summary of what happened for us afterwards. This book would work as an example to guilty authors for why the urge to keep details back from the reader (that the characters know) and spring surprises is a poor way to present a story. The lawyer bits were good but were like raisins studding a meringue made with salt.
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 11 Jun 2013, 07:16

Elizabeth I by Alison Plowden

2+stars

This is that 700+ page, 1.6 kg behemoth of a book, so it might seem strange that my biggest complaint is that the book is not detailed enough. It felt terribly sketchy, with little raisins of detailed accounts now and then, but I didn't come away from the book with the feeling that I'd had a decent account of the life of Liz One. Plowden did give me buttloads of details about William Allen and the Douai lot, but while that was a certainly interesting facet of the religious kefuffle of the time*, it didn't really cast much light on Liz herself. Also, the volume I have is actually three books combined, with the result that there is a tonne of overlap, which was pretty annoying. For example, when I got to part three (page three hundred and something), we were back to young Liz and her adolescent indiscretions with Thomas Seymour. Crikey.

Not one I'd recommend to anyone who wants a one book biography of Liz One (the not-gnome).



-------------------
*As a side note, I do find reading about religious kefuffles fascinating on the level of "if two factions of Lord of the Rings enthusiasts started persecuting and burning each other because of disagreements over the nature of Elrond or the meaning of the Tom Bombadil passages, how sane is this?"
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby wildlx » 11 Jun 2013, 07:19

Baker wrote:Not one I'd recommend to anyone who wants a one book biography of Liz One (the not-gnome).

:snigger:
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Re: Baker aspires...

Postby Baker » 18 Jun 2013, 07:48

Catherine de Medici by Leonie Frieda
4stars

Yes, I moved across the ditch to France for about the same period as the previous book. This is a less weighty tome--at only 500 pages--but is a far better book than the Liz One one. Frieda treats her subject with sympathy but not rose-coloured glasses. I prefer biographies that present a fallible human being. Catherine certainly comes through as intriguing. She had a lot of shit to cope with, starting with her husband's open preference for his mistress. Then she more or less ran France at a time of incredible instability, and despite the general uselessness of three of her sons who became successive kings. My goodness, France was a complete basket case during this time. Think: St Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The protestants and catholics tore the country apart in no less than eight civil wars in three decades. Ugly stuff. And, again, I couldn't help the thought that all this fighting, killing, and misery was insane. The two parties differentiated themselves not even in terms of which god(s) they chose to believe in and worship, but slightly different rites for the same god. :no: People died, peasants starved, because of these slight differences in choice of what to believe. Incredible. To top it off, when an assassin's blade killed off the last of the Valois, Henri IV found it convenient to convert to catholicism because "Paris is well worth a mass". Which is a pretty graphic illustration of how artificial and futile these differences were to the principal protagonists.

Anyhow, I would recommend this to anyone interested in this fascinating woman and period in France.
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