The Kid from Cleveland

Thanks, Jim! I’m not a fan of short stories in general, but Harlan Ellison wrote some great ones – very memorable.

tarnmoor

Of Course, It Helps If You Have Harlan’s Imagination

No, not me, but a much more talented writer. Harlan Ellison (1934-2018) was born in Cleveland and raised there and in nearby Painesville, Ohio. It is a pity that Ellison is almost as well known for his legendary abrasiveness as for his speculative fiction, which ranks with the best ever written. As he himself wrote in Danse Macabre:

My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket.. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, ‘He only wrote that to shock.’ I smile and nod…

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The Grand Babylon Hôtel by Arnold Bennett

Book Around The Corner

The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett (1902)French title:Le Grand Hôtel Babylon.

I’d never heard of Arnold Bennett before Tom from Wuthering Expectations (or Les Expectations de Hurlevent during his stay in France) recommended The Grand Babylon Hotel to me. Published in 1902, it’s a funny novel set in a luxury hotel and full of twists and turns.

It starts as Mr Racksole, an American millionaire, stays at the Grand Babylon Hôtel in London with his twenty-three years old daughter Nella. The hôtel is a palace that caters for the aristocracy, royalty and millionaires. It was founded by Felix Babylon in 1869 and its staff prides itself for the impeccable style of the hôtel, always spelled à la French, with a ^ on the o, for the Swiss chic.

If there was one thing more than another that annoyed the Grand Babylon—put its back up, so to…

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The Typesetters, the Proofreaders, and the Scribes

Very interesting post by WebRover, a volunteer at Distributed Proofreaders.

Hot off the Press

scribeAt Distributed Proofreaders, we are all volunteers. We are under no time pressure to proof a certain number of pages, lines or characters. When we check out a page, we can take our careful time to complete it.

We can choose a character-dense page of mind-numbing lists of soldier’s names, ship’s crews, or index pages. We are free to select character-light pages of poetry, children’s tales or plays. Of course these come with their own challenges such as punctuation, dialogue with matching quotes or stage directions. We can pick technical manuals with footnotes, history with side notes, or  science with Latin biology names. We can switch back and forth to chip away at a tedious book interspersed with pages from a comedy or travelogue.

Every so often though, I stop and think about the original typesetters.

They didn’t get to pick their subject material, their deadline or their quota. They…

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Quote: Justine by Lawrence Durrell

justine

 

At night when the wind roars and the child sleeps quietly in its wooden cot by the echoing chimney-piece I light a lamp and limp about, thinking of my friends–of Justine and Nessim, of Melissa and Balthazar. I return link by link along the iron chains of memory to the city which we inhabited so briefly together: the city which used us as its flora–precipitated in us conflicts which were hers and which we mistook for our own: beloved Alexandria!

I had to come so far away from it in order to understand it all! Living on this bare promontory, snatched every night from darkness by Arcturus, far from the lime-laden dust of those summer afternoons, I see at last that none of us is properly to be judged for what happened in the past. It is the city which should be judged though we, its children, must pay the price.

Justine (The Alexandria Quartet #1) by Lawrence Durrell

RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Join us at RMFAO !

Heena Rathore P.

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WHH!

Raising my glass, Sam! Thank you for reminding us to celebrate William Hope Hodgson today.

william hope hodgson

10814120_10204187319942175_909688874_n William Hope Hodgson portrait by Dave Felton

Today, November 15th, is Hodgson’s 139th birthday!

It was on this day in 1877 that William Hope Hodgson was born to Samuel , an Anglican priest, and Lissie Lissie Hodgson. The second of twelve children, three of whom would die in infancy, Hope and his family had a hard life. They were often poor and reliant upon the charity of Samuel’s parishioners. A controversial figure, Samuel was moved about frequently by the church, serving 11 parishes in 21 years before his death in 1892.

In 1890, Hope was apprenticed into the Merchant Marine and he would spend the next 10 years at sea sailing around the world several times and receiving the Royal Humane Society medal for heroism after saving a shipmate who had fallen into shark infested waters. During his time at sea, Hope would also develop his life-long interests in physical…

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Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Astor Place
(Gaslight Mysteries #1)
by Victoria Thompson

MurderAstorPlace

FirstChapFirstPara

 

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

At first Sarah thought the tinkling of the bell was part of her dream. It sounded so sweet and soothing, and she was following it across a sunlit meadow, as if it were a golden butterfly. But then the pounding started, and she knew this wasn’t a dream at all. Dragging herself away from the meadow and out of the depths of sleep, she forced her reluctant eyelids open. Sure enough, someone was pounding on her office door.

“Hold your horses,” she muttered as she threw off her covers. The night air was chilly for early April, and Sarah recalled the freak storm that had stuck yesterday, dropping several inches of snow on the city. Shivering, she felt around in the dark for her slippers but failed to locate them. Padding barefoot through the darkness toward where she knew the bedroom door to be, she snatched her robe from the foot of the bed and shrugged into it as she went. “Coming!” she called, wondering if whoever was knocking could hear her over the racket he was making.

 

BooksBeat

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s Books and a Beat or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

 

You’ve wasted a trip and bothered us for nothing, and I must say, I plan to complain to Teddy about this. That’s Police Commissioner Roosevelt to you. His mother is a dear friend of mine, and I used to dandle him on my knee when he was a boy.

 

*****

This is the first book in Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries which is now up to number nineteen. I’ve been meaning to try this series for a long time and am so glad I finally got around to beginning it. Have you read any of them?

 

 

Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen

Royal Flush
(Royal Spyness #3)
by Rhys Bowen

RoyalFlush

FirstChapFirstPara

 

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

 

Rannoch House
Belgrave Square
London. W.1.
August 12, 1932

It is my opinion that there is no place on earth more uncomfortable than London during a heat wave. I should probably qualify this by confessing that I have never gone up the Congo River in the Heart of Darkness with Conrad, nor have I crossed the Sahara by camel. But at least people venturing to those parts are prepared to be uncomfortable. London is so seldom even vaguely warm that we are always caught completely unprepared. The tube turns into a good imitation of the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta and the smell of unwashed armpits, strap-hanging inches from one’s face, is overwhelming.

 

TeaserTuesdaysADailyRhythm

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s Books and a Beat or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

 

I do usually try to avoid the tube, however. For a country-bred girl like myself the descent into that black hole has always been a cause for alarm–and more so since I was almost pushed under a train by a man who was trying to kill me.

*****

What are you reading now? Do you have anything to share?