Booking Through Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday:
What’s the most romantic book you’ve ever read?
(Mind you, I don’t mean the hard-core stuff you hide in plain wrappers under your mattress. I mean True Love, Romance, deeply emotional, heart-tugging, and all that stuff.)
And, secondly, did you like it? Is it your usual kind of reading, or did it take you by surprise?

I have to go back to the Kushiel saga by Jacqueline Carey. Specifically, the story of Phedre and Joscelin, although the Imriel/Sidonie love story is incredibly romantic, too. The book has explicit sex in it, yes, but it's so much more than that. It's a spy novel. An historical fantasy. An alternate reality. An epic. A romance. From the description, I was expecting a fantasy with some sex in it, but I got so very much more than I bargained for. The whole series is right up at the top of my "Best Books I've Ever Read" list.

Start with Kushiel's Dart. You won't regret it. 

I wish I could forget that I had read them, and then read them for the first time all over again. They're that good.

Ten on Tuesday

This week's 10 on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Non-Knitting Blogs

Here we go:
Whatever - Author John Scalzi's blog
Mystery Writing Is Murder - Author Elizabeth Spann Craig, aka Riley Adams, writes mysteries and has tons of excellent writing advice and links
Shorpy - Historic photo archive, you will get lost in this blog
Sprite Stitch - Videogame-themed arts and crafts
Pioneer Woman - Life on a ranch with an amazing family - food, shopping, food, family, food, animals, food, etc
Barefoot Kitchen Witch - Food, kids, quilting, animals, gardening, homemade cheese - she does it all
Serious Eats - All food all the time
WWdN - Wil Wheaton's blog, yes, that Wil Wheaton. Uncle Wil is the best.
Zooborns - Baby animals
APoD - Astronomy Photo of the Day - awesomeness

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011 - Letter E - Evil Under the Sun

Author: Agatha Christie
Title: Evil Under the Sun
Published: June 1941
Paperback, 208pp
ISBN: 0425129608

Back Cover Blurb:
The Jolly Roger Hotel on Leathercombe Bay is where the wealthy partake of the salt air, the sea breezes, and the sun's tanning rays. For the beautiful and spoiled Arlena Marshall, it's the place to be desired by handsome men, envied by jealous women, doted upon by her new husband,...and strangled to death on the beach. Unfortunately, the murder of the flirtatious young bride doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who knew her. Only Hercule Poirot can unravel the strange secrets of her life that now shroud each guest of the Jolly Roger in deadly suspicion.

My Thoughts:
Another Poirot that just rocks. I admit, I am biased. I love the little Belgian detective and I love Agatha Christie. But this is a really good story, all bias aside. It features her trademark intricate plotting and Poirot's ever-present commitment to justice. Even for those victims who are not wholly admirable.

I think that might be one of the things I like most about Christie. Often, her victims are not perfect pillars of society, loved by all. They're humans, flawed and marred. But everyone is deserving of justice.

Also, check out the ITV production with Suchet. There was also a feature film with Peter Ustinov as Poirot. Apparently there's a computer game, as well. I'd like to get my hands on it and give it a go.

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011 - E

Booking Through Thursday

 This week, Booking Through Thursday asks: 
There’s something wonderful about getting in on the ground floor of an author’s career–about being one of the first people to read and admire them, before they became famous best-sellers.
Which authors have you been lucky enough to discover at the very beginning of their careers?
And, if you’ve never had that chance, which author do you WISH you’d been able to discover at the very beginning?

Jacqueline Carey. I stumbled across Kushiel's Dart at my local Borders when I lived up in Wheeling, IL, and was intrigued by the artwork and picked it up. The book basically ate my life until I finished it. She's still one of the few authors that is on my must have list. As soon as she has a new work out, I must have it. I will put aside whatever else I'm reading to read her work.

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is 10 Favorite Oscar Winning Movies. I've restricted myself to Best Picture winners, otherwise I'd spend years trying to narrow down the list. As it stands, from earliest to latest:
  1. It Happened One Night - Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable being their witty, charming, funny, gorgeous selves.
  2. An American In Paris - This film alone is reason enough to justify Gene Kelly's reportedly ginormous ego. Leslie Caron is fantastic, too. Add in Oscar Levant and music by George Gershwin and you've got paradise. And rhythm.
  3. Lawrence of Arabia - David Lean. Peter O'Toole (I dare you not to fall in love with him in this movie). Alec Guinness. Omar Sharif. Anthony Quinn. Warning: have plenty of water handy when you watch this movie (letterbox, of course) because you will be thirsty.
  4. Annie Hall - Well la dee da.
  5. Driving Miss Daisy - Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman are beyond brilliant.
  6. The Silence of the Lambs - I just watched this the other night and it still scares the bejesus out of me. Anthony Hopkins is a shark. Watch him. He's a shark.
  7. Chicago - One of my favorite musicals brought to the screen with style and verve.
  8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - "My friends, you bow to no one." = instant sobbing for me. My husband always says, "Gandalf! You had eagles this whole time and we WALKED to Mount Doom?!?!?"
  9. Shakespeare in Love - Gwyneth Paltrow is gorgeous in this movie. And then you have Tom Stoppard's amazingly sharp and witty words and it's just pure magic.
  10. American Beauty - I bow down to Kevin Spacey

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011 - D is for Dumb Witness

Author: Agatha Christie
Title: Dumb Witness
Published: 1937
Paperback, 272 pp
ISBN: 0425098540

Back Cover Blurb:
At first Hercule Poirot found Miss Emily's letter quite typical -- a dramatic, somewhat hysterical appeal for confidential assistance. What piqued Poirot's interest was that it was dated two months prior. Who would wait so long to postmark a life-and-death plea? A visit to Miss Emily's estate reveals that the wealthy mistress of Littlegreen had been dead for some time, leaving behind a bitterly contested will, and a pack of greedy heirs with motives for murder. What Poirot really wants to know is who mailed the letter? And why so late?

My Review:
Yet another story I adore from Agatha Christie. Okay, so it's not her most expertly plotted book. And, yes, all right, there are some holes and pockets necessitating willing suspension of disbelief (which I am always ready to hand over). But this book is fantastic.

I have three words to back up my claim: Bob the Dog.

The ITV version of the story is quite good as well. You can find it in Series Six, filmed under the same title.

The Alphabet in Crime Fiction - Letter D

Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot

Originally posted by ladyqkat at Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot
(Post originally seen in this post by ramblin_phyl. I have been notified that it was originally posted by suricattus in her journal post. The story and words are hers, but I do believe that it needs to go viral and that as many people as possible need to get their stories out there. Only by making a noise about this can we make a change in our society.)

There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP - to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of "socialism!", and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.

This movement is killing people.

Think I'm overstating the fact?

Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn't go see a doctor who could have saved her life.

From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance -- I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I'm not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor's appointment - a routine physical - can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something's terribly wrong? I won't go.

My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can't pay all the medical bills.

Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn't afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.

It's our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.

EtA: Nobody is trying to put insurance companies out of business. They will always be able to offer a better plan for a premium. We simply want to ensure that every citizen - from infant to senior citizen - doesn't have to choose between medical care, and keeping a roof over their heads, or having enough to eat.

We're trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.

I'm going to post my story as the first comment to this post if anyone would like to read it. If anyone wants to tell their story, please tell it on your own journal and post a link in the comments. Maybe, just maybe, TPTB will listen to the slaves peons who clean their toilets before they have to clean their own.

Ten on Tuesday

This week's Ten on Tuesday:

10 Things On Your Nightstand/Bedside Table
  1. Books! I think I have around ten to twelve books on there. This is my immediate TBR pile.
  2. Knitting needles. A bucket full.
  3. DVDs. Mostly Poirot and MST3K collections.
  4. Remote controls.
  5. Yarn.
  6. Measuring tape that looks like a sheep.
  7. Lotion. Burt's Bees Honey and Shea Butter Body Butter
  8. Jar o' Buttons.
  9. Jar o' Embroidery Floss.
  10. Pens and Paper.
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