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topaz: (arrr!)

I had no idea that Dumas could be so, well, juvenile:

Milady was no longer for him that woman of fatal intentions who had for a moment terrified him; she was an ardent, passionate mistress, abandoning herself to love which she also seemed to feel. Two hours thus glided away. When the transports of the two lovers were calmer, Milady, who had not the same motives for forgetfulness that d'Artagnan had, was the first to return to reality, and asked the young man if the means which were on the morrow to bring on the encounter between him and de Wardes were already arranged in his mind.

But d'Artagnan, whose ideas had taken quite another course, forgot himself like a fool, and answered gallantly that it was too late to think about duels and sword thrusts.

Oh yeah, I bet it was.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

topaz: (Morgan - 4 days)
This short interval was sufficient to determine D’Artagnan on the part he was to take. It was one of those events which decide the life of a man; it was a choice between the king and the cardinal--the choice made, it must be persisted in. To fight, that was to disobey the law, that was to risk his head, that was to make at one blow an enemy of a minister more powerful than the king himself. All this young man perceived, and yet, to his praise we speak it, he did not hesitate a second. Turning towards Athos and his friends, "Gentlemen," said he, "allow me to correct your words, if you please. You said you were but three, but it appears to me we are four."

I read a lot to Morgan and Quinn, particularly at bedtime. We've read all the Harry Potter books, of course, and the Lord of the Rings and Watership Down and The Cricket in Times Square and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and lots of others.

A while ago I started downloading books from Gutenberg to read to them. I read them Gulliver's Travels, and was surprised when Morgan followed the whole story all the way through. I read some of Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes. I tried reading them Treasure Island, which I loved, but Morgan begged me to stop about halfway through because he found the language too difficult.

Recently they were asking for science fiction stories, so I looked and found Realtime. This is a schlocky old story that I loved all to pieces when it ran in IAsfm when I was in middle school. It's a yarn about a future without books, in which an old woman who teaches her personal computer to love the old stories finds that it has adopted the identity of d'Artagnan and thinks of her as Queen Anne. The author, Daniel Keys Moran, put the whole text on the web, and I read it to the boys.

After we got through Realtime, Morgan asked if we could read The Three Musketeers.

I warned him that the language might be a little difficult but he insisted. We've been reading it for the last week or so and have finished ten chapters, with no sign of his enthusiasm flagging. (Quinn is less devoted to it, but listens to it and asks intelligent questions.)

How did I end up on this crazy train? I'm still not sure, but this is why. These moments. When your kid begs you to read more of The Three Musketeers and asks if he can have a rapier for his birthday. When he kneels before you with a Nerf sword and calls you "my liege." When he curls up next to you with a cold and says, can you read some more, dad. Read some more. More. More. More.
topaz: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] keyne bought this for me the other day: Crasswords: Dirty Crosswords for Cunning Linguists.

Crasswords I was dubious at first. Books of gimmicky crosswords never seem to work out well, because they're more about the gimmick than the puzzle. Parnell Hall's "Puzzle Lady" books are a great example. Mediocre puzzles and a mediocre mystery add up to not a whole lot of anything.  But I figured I'd give it a shot anyway.

I shouldn't have worried.  The book is edited by Francis Heaney, he of the Holy Tango of Literature.  (If you have not read that, you should go do it now.  No, I mean right now.  Really.  It's okay, I'll wait.)  Heaney also turns out to be a former editor-at-large of GAMES Magazine, which is even more reassuring.

And the puzzles are really very well done.  [livejournal.com profile] keyne can confirm that I spent my first evening with the book cackling at every other clue I found.  It's true that there is a bit of a thrill just to read a clue like "Smear with shit", or simply filling in FUCKIT or BLOWJOB into the answer grid.  But if the theme were that shallow, the puzzles wouldn't hold up well.  The puzzles take full advantage of the crossword format.  You get bawdy clues with demure answers, innocently-worded clues with bawdy answers, and everything in between.  So when you get a clue like "They're usually black and 12 inches" you don't actually have any inherent idea of where to go with the answer.  The themed clues go even farther, making puns I never would have thought of.  (So far my favorite is "Anilingus in the ocean?")

I get the impression that this is the sort of thing crossword constructors do to blow off steam at 2 a.m. when they're up against a deadline: write puzzles that would get them thrown out of any editor's office in the country.  I suspect that Heaney just called up all of the constructors he knows and told them to do their worst.  And oh lord, you can see how much fun they had.
topaz: (Default)
This is the "unread books" meme that's been going around. The list is the 106 books most often listed as "unread" by LibraryThing users.

Titles in bold: I've read.
Titles in italics: I started but never finished.
Titles underlined: School assignments.

Following [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly's lead, the ones that I couldn't put down, did not want to be over, or otherwise filled me with unspeakable glory are in purple.  Some comments about selected books at the end.

books! )


Read more... )
topaz: (human dalek)
Someone out there has our copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I can't remember who.  If it's you, can you let me know?  I'll have just enough time to finish recapping before we get our copy of Harry Potter and the Final Royalty Check.


EDIT: Apparently I lent it to [livejournal.com profile] keyne! All set now.
topaz: (Default)
I just want to make sure everyone understands that I was proud to be from Brooklyn before Jonathan Lethem made it cool.  Got it?  Okay.  Thanks.

Speaking of Jonathan Lethem, I should thank [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory for making sure I read Fortress of Solitude. Lethem grew up in Cobble Hill a few blocks from where I lived.  (Indeed, my mother knew his parents, at least in passing.)  This book, without a doubt, captures the experience of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s better than anything else I have read.  Reading it on an icy subway car in Cambridge last February, I could almost smell the heat coming up from the asphalt on Pacific Street in August.  It was just that close.

As a book, though, I have to say that it overreached a lot.  It made me want to go back and reread Motherless Brooklyn, one of the best books I have read in years.  It still brings me up short of breath just to think of some of the writing.  ([livejournal.com profile] annaoj, did you ever get around to reading this one?  Do I need to send you a copy?)  The rumors are apparently true that he sold the film rights for Motherless Brooklyn to Edward Norton.  I absolutely can't wait to see how that turns out.
topaz: (Morgan bike)
Finished Book 6 on Sunday at 2am. (Ow. I'm not the boy I used to be.)

This one is definitely a winner. [livejournal.com profile] keyne will testify that as soon as I was done I said I thought it was one of the best yet. Rowling has left a lot of loose ends lying around (a lot) in the last few books. I was doubtful that she could tie them up convincingly, but this installment did a beautiful job, and my hopes are very high for the final book.

abandon suspense, all ye who enter here... )
topaz: (Default)
As long as I'm putting down my Harry Potter predictions, I also decided I know what's going to happen to Harry by the end of the series: )
topaz: (Default)
I've been saying this for months, but I wanted to get it down in writing before tomorrow:

I think the half-blood prince is going to turn out to be Draco Malfoy.

If I got runner-up guesses, I would have said Snape or Hagrid. But my money's on Draco.
topaz: (Default)
I've read at least ten books by each of these people:

Stephen King
Dr. Seuss
Robert Parker
Janet Evanovich
Isaac Asimov
Piers Anthony
Michael Crichton
Robert Heinlein

A shabby list compared with most of my peers. I don't think I've read ten books by Dean Koontz -- it is hard to remember and I can't distinguish any of them by reading the plot synopses. If I have read ten Dean Koontz books I think I will have to eat my spleen.

April 2012


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