Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where Are You Reading?: Update

I haven't updated for awhile; but I am still working on the challenge!

GA: A Quiet Belief in Angels (by R.J. Ellory; narrated by Mark Bramhall)
Other Person (male): So, what have you been listening to?
ME: A Quiet Belief in Angels
OP: So how do you like it?
ME: [Long pause] Ummm, er...
OP: What?
ME: I finished it like two weeks ago and I still haven't written the review. I don't know what to say. There's so much to recommend it and yet it was, well, disturbing.
OP: Why do you say that?
ME: Well, it has to do with a serial killer of little girls...
OP: Oh.
ME: Yeah.
OP: How bad was it?
ME: I almost fainted in the grocery store parking lot at that one scene where he discovers a body.
OP: Hunh. [Pause] Should I pick it up?
ME: I don't know.
OP: Well, I'll try it.

Two weeks later:
OP: [Standing in my doorway for a very long time]
ME: What's up?
OP: I finished A Quiet Belief in Angels.
ME: And?
OP: Yeah... no.
ME: Do you need to sit down?
OP: Uh, yeah.
ME: [After a few minutes filled with long pauses and struggling to articulate how he/we felt about the book] I don't think I can go there again.
OP: Yeah, me either. I mean, I couldn't stop listening to it because I had to know how it turned out; but I wasn't having any driveway moments either.
ME: I'm having a hard time "putting it away." I've listened to two other audiobooks since then; but [sic] A Quiet Belief in Angels still looms in my mind as the last audiobook I listened to. I don't don't know if I can handle any more Ellory. We've got Anniversary Man; but I think I'll pass for awhile. It's another serial killer.

Two weeks later:

I got assigned to be the studio engineer for A Simple Act of Violence (by R.J. Ellory) :-/

Bracing myself, I picked up a copy and settled down to pre-read this puppy before we headed into the studio. It turns out that, even though it features another serial killer, it's not as intense as A Quiet Belief in Angels. Set in Washington, DC, it's more of a thriller and conspiracy revelation than a whodunit. So, despite the numerous typos and Briticisms that were supposed to have been edited out, I was relieved and happy to head into the studio.

Now, remember a couple sentences ago, when I said it wasn't as intense as A Quiet Belief in Angels? Well, that was when I was in my 1950's ranch house living room while I was slouched on the ugly green couch; NOT while Kevin Kenerly was murmuring those same words into my headset! I mean I knew what's going to happen next and I still got a chill down my spine and got rachetted up in the suspense of it!

Alright, now let's go back to the second conversation I had with Mr. Other Person in which I mentioned that I had listened to two other audiobooks since finishing A Quiet Belief in Angels. One of those books was The Last Striptease (Joseph Kozmarksi first-in-series; by Michael Wiley; narrated by Johnny Heller.) A noir novel set in present day Chicago and read by a native Chicagoan and noir aficionado, I thought this would be stylistically different enough from A Quiet Belief in Angels that I could move on from Ellory's dark tale. Well, to be honest, I just couldn't focus on The Last Striptease sufficiently to evaluate it. I still felt rather traumatized by A Quiet Belief in Angels; So, in all fairness to both Michael Wiley and Johnny Heller, I passed on reviewing The Last Striptease. That doesn't mean you should skip it though. AudioFile Magazine gave it an Earphones Award and Johnny Heller cites the title as "The Best Book I Ever Narrated" ( promotion.)

IL: Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5; by Jim Butcher; narrated by James Marsters)
Eventually, I did rise above my bad mood and I got around to listening to an audiobook set in Illinois. Death Masks is the fifth in The Dresden Files series and incredibly well narrated by James Marsters. Jim Butcher is not the most careful of writers however. Stuff like naming a character Larry and them calling him Jerry; not keeping track of where the gun is and, having a character wear a short sleeve and then a long sleeve shirt in the same scene are irksome; but it's a testament to Marsters' talents that I keep returning to this series and consider them a personal favorite.

MS: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (by Tom Frankin; narrated by Kevin Kenerly)
So, while I was pre-reading A Simple Act of Violence, I was also listening to Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. Going straight from "Crooked Letter" to "A Simple Act" left a rather strange impression in my head that Silas "32" Jones had left Mississippi had headed up to Washington, DC to become a detective up there! I haven't written a review for this one yet; but for now I will say that it was really, really good; probably a B+ if I were a rating/grading kind of girl! It's not your classic police procedural; but rather the revealing of different layers of a situation in which a girl has disappeared and suspicion has fallen on Larry Ott. Unfortunately for Ott, his date disappeared on him decades earlier... I'm not sure why I wouldn't grade this in the "A" range; but maybe that will come out in the review when I write it!

I'm a bit behind on keeping up with the challenge and in the end I may end up posting print book reviews of titles that qualify for the Challenge.

Congratulations to Her Royal Orangeness at Only Orangery for completing this challenge! I'm seriously in awe and envy :-) Check out her map!

Hosted by Sheila at her blog, Book Journey

View dogearedcopy map 2011 in a larger map

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wreck of the Hesperus

The Wreck of the Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

IT was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax, 5
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.

The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth, 10
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailòr,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
‘I pray thee, put into yonder port, 15
For I fear a hurricane.

‘Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!’
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he. 20

Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable’s length.

‘Come hither! come hither! my little daughtèr,
And do not tremble so; 30
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow.’

He wrapped her warm in his seaman’s coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar, 35
And bound her to the mast.

‘O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
Oh say, what may it be?’
‘’Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!’—
And he steered for the open sea. 40

‘O father! I hear the sound of guns,
Oh say, what may it be?’
‘Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!’

‘O father. I see a gleaming light,
Oh say, what may it be?’
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies, 50
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That savèd she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave, 55
On the Lake of Galilee.

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow’rds the reef of Norman’s Woe. 60

And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool, 70
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank, 75
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast. 80

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown seaweed,
On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman’s Woe!

English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman. Vol. XLII. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14;, [Date of Printout].