Archive for the 'ReadersImbibingPeril' Category

The Woman in White

Thoughts   The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Barnes & Noble Classics 2005  (orig 1859-1860), 635 pages

MOTIVATION for READING: I was enticed to read this after reading so many glowing reviews during RIP last year (and likely the year before that.)      I borrowed a print copy from my friend Holly but was caught up in a reading-slowdown in October when I got a puppy to chase after.   Reading went out the window;  I only read 2 books that month!      And then…   I was in Western Kansas with my iPad when I decided to check the free books available for my iBook application.    Hot Diggety – this novel was available.   I somehow found the place I had left off during that slump the month before and this classic was my companion under the bitter end.

LOVED IT!      

Thus, being of lax mind and out of review practice, I will point you to my favorite review of this favorite story.     Chris at BookARama captured it best, in my opinion.     And do seek out the Book Blog Search for many many more.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Thoughts   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dover Publications 1994 (orig pub’d 1831), 166 pages  (or 9 CDs)

Genre:  Classic?   Horror?!    Challenge:  RIP V.

I was listening to the audio* of this but it was due back to the library before I made it even 2/3 of the way.   I returned it.   I was having trouble focusing on it anyway or I was laughing at all the “WRETCHEDNESS!!!”-esses so floweryly** expressed.

I still own the book so maybe, someday, I’ll pick it up again.   I have this funny feeling that in a class with the right teacher, this would be a fascinating look at ‘humanity.’

DNF = Did Not Finish.

* If you missed my bad poetry review that I wrote awhile back, you didn’t really miss anything.
** What?  Don’t like floweryly?   flowerily?  oh well.   It seems to be the best word I could invent that fit.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tis October… or “Livid With the Hue of Death”

An original poem penned (typed?  digitally created?) by yours truly on a late afternoon while wishing I could call and yap about this book to someone:

Between and betwixt
the cartwheeling leaves flee down the street at dusk
on a cruel sharp breeze.
yet bouts of calm sinisterness seem in hiding,
in waiting between breathes to inflict upon the senses.

Oh woe is me, this confusion these horrors!
of listening to the self-important ramblings and prolongations of the start of a story
that is the listening experience
of an audio book
called Frankenstein.


So.   Earlier this afternoon; it’s raining.   I’m on my way to Plymouth Mass to go to the nearest Petco dog-washing station to give Oscar a bit more scrubbing and deskunking and I’m listening in the car, right?   Are you with me?   And I’m only three quarters paying attention wondering if I probably shouldn’t have the cruise-control on since the road is wet and  it’s blowing pretty good and how to get this rambling old dude to just hurry up already about the studies of the ancient silly scholars and just tell me about the creature when my mind must have wandered off and then, I’m listening to …

“I had worked nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.  For this I had deprived myself of rest and health.  I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”

Um wait.  Just like that?  you study this and that and work in your lab and all the sudden you have a real live IT-thing wake up on you and you’re…    UPSET about it?


I must tell you that when I first began this audio, I had to pop out the CD and make sure I was really listening to Frankenstein.   What’s with the Russia stuff and planning a trip, and expedition to the North Pole?      I was confused.

Why is the year “Seventeen ____ (pause/blank line/dash)” on the correspondence?  Which character is narrating this?

Finally, I figured out that the sailing Captain wasn’t Frankenstein but that they picked up Mr. Frankenstein near death and certainly without chance of survival/rescue, but.

We aren’t really even told the guy is Frankenstein until further in and quite gently ‘dropped in’, in my opinion.

Actually, I’m having fun with the language – all a bit flowery and pretentious to my ears but then I’m not ‘of’ the early 1800’s.   I’m of the late 1900’s.    Groove on, dude.

Have you ever wondered about the word CREATive and the word CREATure?     Interesting, no?   no?

Help me if I begin to start talking like this:    (I almost told my husband when he called just now that)

“Yes, the rain is falling, yet at varying intensities;  I dare say it does not seem to threaten harm to our abode.  Still, do take care when embarking on your journey homeward.”

The narrator of my audio book is Jim Weiss.  He’s good; very dramatic.   He reads lots of classics.

So I play with the forward and retreat or rather the de-advance of the audio to hear what I miss and I get to:

“It was on a dreary night of November, … With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.”

Well DON’T DO IT  if you don’t want to!!!!

And my title?    Don’t you just love the imagery “livid with the hue of death”?  Here’s the full quote on page 35 (yes, I have the book in hand right now, but not while I’m listening in the car, don’t worry.)

“Delighted and surprised, I embrace her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form , and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of flannel.”

Now if THAT isn’t a R.I.P. worthy quote, I don’t know WHAT is!

Got any creepy-crawly quotes gathered from YOUR RIP experience so far?

And so we begin the month that is October.   Dewey’s Read-a-thon is coming up! (Oct 9) Boston Book Fest is the weekend after that!  

I’m currently reading a library book Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster which was my BBAW Forgotten Treasure but golly is it long – at 548 pages, hardback, not tiny font but small enough.     Luckily, it is just the right amount of captivating.

My September Summary is SIX books, most for RIP (4), two being for my Real Life Book Club, The Bookies.   No nonfiction.    I think my nonfiction count is down from last year.   I just ordered Hermione Lee’s Virginia Woolf which I want to read to finish up the Women Unbound Challenge, which is winding down (and miserably ignored of late) and due to end on November 30, 2010.    REMIND ME to post something over there…

I’m rather bummed that I didn’t read a Banned Book for this week’s Banned Book Week (whoa – was that redundant?) especially when my niece asked me on Facebook if I did.     Surely some idiots with too much time on their hands banned The Maltese Falcon at some point, right?  But I couldn’t find it on any list during the 10 minutes I searched.   Happy BBW if you are celebrating.

This should give anyone more than enough fodder for something to comment on.   or I’ve overwhelmed you all!    Blog at you next week…


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Neverwhere Audio Experience

Thoughts   Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Harper Audio Unabridged 2007 (orig pub’d 1996), 12 1/2 hours on 10 CDs

Genre:   Fantasy
Challenge:  RIP v
Setting:   London, above and below

“Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him.”    – Stephen King

I’m going to stray from my typical review template and just ramble.

I bought the audio because I had that 33% coupon from Borders AND a 10% off above and beyond coupon and thought an audio would be the best deal since I’m usually a bit hesitant to spend the higher prices for audios even though I understand that the costs to produce might be more (plus supply and demand and other such economic considerations?) and this was the only choice in the store that I wanted to ‘read’.

Neverwhere is well-loved so I had already had it on my to-be-read list.  The fact that the author was the voice AND was highly recommended as a terrific voice, I knew that would not be disappointing.

I was not disappointed.   I loved it.

I do think the time to load all the disks onto my Mac and then transferring all to my iPad was a bit disappointing.    I was also disappointed that when one disk concluded and sometimes within chapters on the same disk, it would jump to who-knows-where.   Yes, I was very disappointed by this and wonder if it is something I do wrong in setting it up but I haven’t figured that out yet.    Seriously?   Often I would be listening and not even aware what chapter I was on when it would jump to disk 10 and then I would have to HUNT which chapter was supposed to be next.

But the experience of listening – when in the correct order – was wonderful!   Gaiman is an excellent reader/voice for audio!   He does accents well.   It was very easy to know which character was talking.

I carried my iPad around everywhere.   Everywhere.   Upstairs, downstairs, out to get the mail…    and when I found earpieces to listen privately so it wouldn’t bug my husband, I was able to listen in the car when hub drove!    Yippee!

However, before earpieces (they have a name but my brain won’t retrieve it;   earBUDS?) I was sad that the volume on the iPad was not sufficiently loud enough to listen while driving.   Big bummer.   I realize I could spend another $50+ to get some kind of device that will plug into my car and allow the car’s stereo system to blast it, but I hate to spend money on such stuff.

The story of Neverwhere is fun and enthralling.    I was rooting for Richard Mayhew from the get-go.    Of course, I realized he was going to be just fine.  I’m pretty sure it was the standard story of ‘regular nice guy gets himself thrust into an adventure of magic and other worlds and REAL DANGER and only wants his boring life back and when he gets it, wishes for the exciting crazy life of adventure again’ etc and then some, but it was still very fun.

Someone somewhere said that a good book is enhanced by a terrific narrator and I agree.    Now that I’m days away from listening, I can’t recall all that much of why I liked it so much – thus the 4 pie slice rating – but I would definitely sign up to listen to Gaiman read me another book any day.

I  just need to get better at the technology of listening to an audio book so the experience wasn’t so disruptive.

MORE AUDIO REVIEWS:   OK, I just typed that and went to Fyrefly’s book blog search, entered ‘Neverwhere Audio’ and didn’t get any specific reviews of this particular book.  I found a lot of Graveyard Book and one for Neverwhere and Beyond – which is news to me that there is a sequel, so I’ll just invite anyone to comment with links if they reviewed it.     For a terrific review of the actual book, click this link to Nymeth’s from 2007 which I’m sure was the catalyst for me to figure out who and what this Neil Gaiman dude was all about…

And then when I found out that this is a mini-series?     AND available on Netflix instant-play!?!   Just might watch it tonight…  :)


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Maltese Falcon and Woman in the Dark

Thoughts   The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Vintage Books, div of Random House 1992 (orig pub’d 1929), 217 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:    for R.I.P. V!   and for Book to Movie Challenge.  And my husband also read The Maltese Falcon; he doesn’t read many books so we are both now looking forward to watching the flick.

FIRST SENTENCE: “Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    Our Sam Spade, Private Investigator, comes to work one day to find a beautiful woman in his office who wants to hire him.   Trouble, trouble, trouble.    He has to avoid getting arrested (and getting beat up – a lot) while trying to track down the source of the trouble, the lost artifact called The Maltese Falcon.

WHAT’s COOL:   Mr. Hammett writes in an extremely descriptive style with lots and lots of colors.   It really stands out how many times he mentions ‘her jade-colored dress’, ‘her green dress’, ‘the flash of emerald’, etc and then some.     The pace of the action picks up as the story lines unfold – it’s a fun ride.    The dialogue is quite good and I can see that this might have been quite easy to adapt to the big screen.

RATING:    Four slices of pie.


Thoughts   Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett, Thorndike Press Large Print 1990 (orig pub’d 1933) Introduction 1988 Robert B. Parker, 128 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   More Hammett!    Found this at the Home for the Aged where I volunteer.

FIRST SENTENCE:  “Her right ankle turned under her and she fell.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   Late one stormy night, a foreign woman escaping her husband?  benefactor?  sugar daddy?    (It’s unclear) happens to knock on the door of a man recently out of prison.  He agrees to help rescue her but it’s all just ‘trouble, trouble, trouble.’   It’s somewhat of a love story, believe it or not.  (I’m not altogether sure about this, either.)

WHAT’s COOL:    Parker’s Intro is a great segue from The Maltese Falcon to this short story.    He describes common threads to all the ‘tough guys’ Hammett uses for his protagonists and he explains how this story was a departure in theme, thus the ‘love story’ component explained.    I would assume if you are a fan of Hammett, this story WITH the Introduction is a must.

But I didn’t like the story.    It didn’t have the frantic “Oh no!  What’s going to happen next?”  suspenseful tension.   And come on, women should not fall in love with the tough guy when he forcibly kisses them.    It’s definitely a book that lacks respect for women; I don’t care what time period it is set in.

RATING:  Two slices of pie.

WORDS:   p.144 of TMF – lathy … = lathlike; long and thin. [I could not, however, find ‘lathlike’ in the dictionary.]

151 of TMF – swart …  =  swarthy or of dark complexion.

******  Both of these books are available in ******


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

R.I.P. V (oh my!)

I’m in again for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril!    In fact, I’ve been hoarding books all year that are suitable for a Fall read and want to commit to Peril the First:

The Likeness by Tana French

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (yes, I have this cover!   I love it.)

Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin

Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White

Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett

and, in audio, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman



I also have to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for my bookclub and I’m taking it on an upcoming trip so I will be trapped with only this to read.   It willbe my third attempt to get past page 35.     Do you think I can count it for R.I.P.?     Suspense,maybe?


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Multi Book Thoughts to Cross Off List

We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, PLUME Penguin Grp 1996, 454 pages

I was given this by a friend whose maiden name was Mulvaney.   I had always wanted to read a JCO and could never quite pick which one to start with.   With this, the decision was made for me.         I did enjoy the author’s skillful descriptive style.    I can say that even if I suspected my emotions were being played, I loved it while in the middle of it.    However, about 3/4 of the way in, I wanted to un-invest myself of the characters but I was too far into it to quit.   I gave this 4 pie slices but in the end and now that I ‘m thinking about it, I was just glad the book was finally over.     I’m even tempted to say that JCO and Picoult have a similar feel to me – – or can evoke the same reaction from me:    not quite overwrought but skilled in emotional pull; tackling the heavy stuff but then leaving me not quite sure what to think about the experience when it is done.       As to the story?   I was extremely pissed off at the father.  and the mother, too.   and the poor girl turned out …   perfectly lovely and sweet?   too sweet.    I liked the narrator best.      The situation was just terrible, terrible.

Shooting the Boh   by Tracy Johnston, A Vintage Departures 1992, 256 pages

There is NO WAY I could ever have signed up to do what this lady did;   first humans down a river that even the natives won’t traverse?    Leeches and constant swarming of bees and FEAR of dying with no rescue plan in place?    NO.  WAY.    but she is a good writer.      I read this for Women Unbound and could also possibly count it for World Citizen since it is set in Borneo.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, Yearling Paperback 1999 (1stPub 1972), 145 pages

I read this for RIP IV and because my dear friend Nymeth sent it to me (and Chris sent it to her so it gets even more special!)    But.     As much as I recognize the talents of Mr. Bradbury, his style isn’t for me.   I enjoyed the clever wordplay but I’m too impatient for it.      Like too many toppings on a pizza – sure, they taste good and look pretty but but I can take them or leave them.   Sometimes you just want a simple cheese on the right crust.    Now I’m hungry.

I gave this book to the 10 yo boy next door and he told me HE LOVED IT.    If I ever pin him down to an interview, we will discuss this book.     He’s got a busy life, ya know…

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, Harcourt Paperback 2003 (1stPub 1988), 168 pages

I read this for the New Zealand Challenge in October but it spilled over into November so I want to count this for the Women Unbound Challenge, too.

This is about a girl who was born into a family that would have preferred a boy to carry on the traditions.     She ends up meeting a most amazing destiny and earns the love and respect of everyone.     I enjoyed this book but I loved the movie a bit more.    It’s been years since I’ve seen the flick so I’m ready to view it again.

The Mandarin by EÇa de Queiroz, 84 pages

WOW!   I loved this wonderful story (novella?) – it has drama and comedy and playful language!   and it has tragedy and loneliness and sorrow.      A moral lesson without any overhanded wham of a hammer to the head.  It is, and I quote from the back cover:

… told with Eca’s irrespressible wit and originality.

I’m still getting through the other stories; I want to savor them rather than rush thru just to get reviewed.    Thanks again to Nymeth for sending me this charmer of a book.     I’m still in awe that it was written in the 1800’s.

Happiness would arrive one day and to hasten its arrival I did everything that a good Portuguese and a constitutionalist could do:   I prayed every night to Our Lady of Sorrows and bought lottery tickets, the cheapest available.

New Books in the House! New Books in the House! (and where I continue to procrastinate on reviews…)

So – did I get a DOOZY of a wonderful book present gift last week!

I’ll back up.

You need to know the story.   NO.   Maybe I only need to share the story.  Whatever, here we go.

SOMETIMES when I review (actually it should be ‘give thoughts on’) a book, when a commenter shares that they would LOVE to get the book  and the book in discussion is in my possession, I offer to send said book.

It happened with Oliver Sacks book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.   Nymeth wanted it.   I sent it.   To Portugal.   Not a big deal to me, but she made a big deal of it.       OH!!!   see the postnote!!!!


She sent me a sweet thoughtful considerate thank you package!!!






She sent me books.    A book by a beloved Portuguese writer and one that apparently traveled from New Orleans across the pond and now back to me via Chris.  THANKS!!

edqtm rbthtI suppose I should read The Halloween Tree for Rip IV since it’s still October but…   well.  maybe.   I’m actually a bit more anxious to try The Mandarin first.      TOO MANY BOOKS!!!

However, the “piece-of-the-can’t-resist”  (I don’t speak French – do you know what I’m trying to say here?)  is this adorable creature:


If you are new to my blog, then you must reach back to my archives in a past Weekly Geek post where I yap about my lobster mania…

Which brings me to other new books in the house:

From bookmooch:   The Giver (already read and to be reviewed soon) by Lois Lowry,  Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier.

and from the library:

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (already read AND reviewed)

The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox (also read and reviewed)

(both of the above for the New Zealand Book Challenge!  I’m not overdosing; don’t worry!)

and Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (blame Softdrink in a comment somewhere – I think to a post on an Alexie Sherman review….)

I think that’s all.

I got Whale Rider from bookmooch, too and YES!  I KNOW!!   goodreads shows it as a currently-reading but I haven’t started.    I’m reading the Boyden book since it’s a library book.   I’ve already had to renew it, SHHhhshsssssh.

so I absolutely love Nymeth – isn’t this internet thing just the coolest?    Did you see her vlog?    so darling.   I love having an image and a voice to go with the thoughts in my head for what you are.    :)

I thought I had an additional postpostnote but I’ve forgotten it!   woe is me.

oh!   I remember:    I have review/thoughts to post on:

Lolita (scratch)

The Wednesday Sisters

The Giver



I prefer pi.


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