nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (oops)
I've posted it before, too, but it was *checks* FOUR years ago. So enjoy anyway!

This is an excerpt from a spy story by Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll). It's the middle of the night, and the protagonist is on a short grass landing strip, near the enemy base (a private castle on a Scottish island).

The strip was smooth and flat and I made good time without having to use the big rubber torch I had with me. I didn't dare use it anyway, not so close to the castle. There was no light to be seen from there but that was no guarantee that the ungodly weren't maintaining a sleepless watch on the battlements. If I were the ungodly, I'd have been maintaining a sleepless watch on the battlements. I stumbled over something warm and soft and alive and hit the ground hard.

My nerves weren't what they had been forty-eight hours ago and my reactions were comparatively fast. I had the knife in my hand and was on him before he could get to his feet. To his four feet. He had about him the pungent aroma of a refugee from Tim Hutchinson's flensing shed. Well might they say why stinks the goat on yonder hill who seems to dote on chlorophyll. I said a few conciliatory words to our four-footed friend and it seemed to work for he kept his horns to himself. I went on my way.

This humiliating sort of encounter, I'd noticed, never happened to the Errol Flynns of this world. Moreover, if Errol Flynn had been carrying a torch a little fall like that would not have smashed it. Had he been carrying only a candle it would still have kept burning brightly in the darkness. But not my torch. Not my rubber encased, rubber mounted bulb, plexiglass guaranteed unbreakable torch. It was kaput. I fished out the little pencil torch and tried it inside my jacket. I could have spared myself the caution, a glowworm would have sneered at it. I stuck it back in my pocket and kept going.

I didn't know how far I was from the precipitous end of the cliff and I'd no intention of finding out the hard way. I dropped to my hands and knees and crawled forward, the glowworm leading the way. I reached the cliff edge in five minutes and found what I was looking for almost at once...

I heard a slight noise behind me. A moderately fit five-year-old grabbing me by the ankles could have had me over the edge with nothing I could do to prevent it. Or maybe it was Billy the Kid back to wreak vengeance for the rude interruption of his night's sleep. I swung around with torch and gun at the ready. It was Billy the Kid, his yellow eyes staring balefully out of the night. But his eyes belied him, he was just curious or friendly or both. I moved back slowly till I was out of butting range, patted him weakly on the head and left. At this rate I'd die of heart failure before the night was out.
nuranar: (reading)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] ladyneferankh. :)

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haha, LibraryThing to the rescue! Although I don't have everything in there yet. Hmph.
Andre Norton, 49.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 37.
Erle Stanley Gardner, 30-40.
Margery Allingham, 27.
Leslie Charteris, 20-30.
Agatha Christie ought to be up there, too, since between my mother and I we own all but a couple of her 70+ novels. But I did most of my buying in junior high and early high school, and we never kept track of them.

More behind the cut! )
nuranar: (reading)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] ladyneferankh. :)

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haha, LibraryThing to the rescue! Although I don't have everything in there yet. Hmph.
Andre Norton, 49.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 37.
Erle Stanley Gardner, 30-40.
Margery Allingham, 27.
Leslie Charteris, 20-30.
Agatha Christie ought to be up there, too, since between my mother and I we own all but a couple of her 70+ novels. But I did most of my buying in junior high and early high school, and we never kept track of them.

More behind the cut! )
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (MHI)
Hmm, interesting meme.  The hard part is limiting myself to only 15, because I pick at least one favorite character in everything I read. And I'm just now over 600 books on LibraryThing, and not finished cataloging. >.<

List fifteen of your favorite characters from different series, and ask people to spot patterns in your choices, and if they're so inclined, to draw conclusions about you based on the patterns they've spotted.

Which means YOU, my dear friends list, get to play psychoanalyst. Enjoy! :p 


1. Albert Campion (author Margery Allingham)
2. Nhi Vanye i Chya (Cherryh's Morgaine books)
3. Kelly Robinson (I Spy)
4. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Shaara's The Killer Angels)
5. Lord Peter Wimsey (author Dorothy Sayers)
6. James Eckert (Dragon Knight series)
7. The Duke of Sale, a.k.a. "Gilly" (Heyer's The Foundling)
8. Sir Gareth Ludlow (Heyer's Sprig Muslin)
9. Simon Templar, the Saint (author Leslie Charteris)
10. John Carter (MacLean's The Golden Rendezvous)
11. Tuppence Beresford (author Agatha Christie)
12. Tyrel Sackett (L'Amour's Sackett books)
13. Donald Lamb (author Erle Stanley Gardner)
14. Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
15. Kimball Kinnison (Lensman series)

I used a random sequence generator, so don't make anything of the order. I will volunteer that except for Tuppence, these are all men. :p

(Note - it says "series," but that may be geared toward TV series and I don't do many of those. I'd rather focus on favorite characters, period. Which is hard enough... I know I'm leaving off some dillies...)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (MHI)
Hmm, interesting meme.  The hard part is limiting myself to only 15, because I pick at least one favorite character in everything I read. And I'm just now over 600 books on LibraryThing, and not finished cataloging. >.<

List fifteen of your favorite characters from different series, and ask people to spot patterns in your choices, and if they're so inclined, to draw conclusions about you based on the patterns they've spotted.

Which means YOU, my dear friends list, get to play psychoanalyst. Enjoy! :p 


1. Albert Campion (author Margery Allingham)
2. Nhi Vanye i Chya (Cherryh's Morgaine books)
3. Kelly Robinson (I Spy)
4. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Shaara's The Killer Angels)
5. Lord Peter Wimsey (author Dorothy Sayers)
6. James Eckert (Dragon Knight series)
7. The Duke of Sale, a.k.a. "Gilly" (Heyer's The Foundling)
8. Sir Gareth Ludlow (Heyer's Sprig Muslin)
9. Simon Templar, the Saint (author Leslie Charteris)
10. John Carter (MacLean's The Golden Rendezvous)
11. Tuppence Beresford (author Agatha Christie)
12. Tyrel Sackett (L'Amour's Sackett books)
13. Donald Lamb (author Erle Stanley Gardner)
14. Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
15. Kimball Kinnison (Lensman series)

I used a random sequence generator, so don't make anything of the order. I will volunteer that except for Tuppence, these are all men. :p

(Note - it says "series," but that may be geared toward TV series and I don't do many of those. I'd rather focus on favorite characters, period. Which is hard enough... I know I'm leaving off some dillies...)
nuranar: (reading)
This one from [livejournal.com profile] seawasp


1) What author do you own the most books by? Not sure. With the weekend's acquisitions, I have 32 Saint books, so that's probably the highest.  The Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew collections surpass that, but both are jointly owned by my mother and I. And the majority of the Louis L'Amours are Nathan's.

2) What book do you own the most copies of? With far too little space for the books, I don't like having multiple copies of many things unless there's a reason for a particular edition. I have duplicates of some Austens and Sherlock Holmes, but I think the winner is Bibles, with five. In length-of-ownership order, I have the Living Bible I was given for Christmas in... 1989, I think; the NIV I got for Xmas in 1992 or 1993; a slimmer NIV, this time from the church, upon my high school graduation in 2001; an 1855 pocket-sized KJV I bought on ebay while in college to use for 1860s reenacting, and which I often carry to church because it's the smallest; and the NIV study Bible given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Klob when I graduated from college in 2005.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Nope. Sometimes I try to avoid it in my writing, but only when it doesn't sound too contrived.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Oh, I love Richard Diamond, but that's hardly a secret; and he is a radio character, not a book character. There's plenty of others I could love, but none come to mind right now when I want them.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life? Err.  I never keep count. The Bible, Ben-Hur, Alistair MacLean's Where Eagles Dare and The Golden Rendezvous, Rifles for Watie, maybe Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime and The Man in the Brown Suit; probably lots more. I love to re-read.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old? Nothing stands out; probably a Nancy Drew. I read all of Mom's before I was 8, and I added to the collection for years.  I also loved The Black Stallion; it's one of the earliest books I remember reading, certainly before first grade.  I would have read it to death except that I never owned it.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Not sure. Probably the book I stumbled across on Project Gutenberg that ends unhappily, with the central character going rather nuts - after the reader's been suckered into really really rooting for him and the woman. I loathe books wherein the main character(s) really, truly are insane.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? Impossible to say. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and Google Books, it's a choice among hundreds.

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? I can't think of one. People tend to hate what they are forced to do. I sure do!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature? Not a clue.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie? There was something I was thinking about recently, but I'm dashed if I can think of it now... I would love to see the Lensman books made into good movies, but there's No Way In The Universe that's going to be done acceptably.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie? There's an ocean of drivel that should never be given the shred of dignity conferred by movie release. And then there's the Lensman books, as I just mentioned; honestly, I would cringe if I heard they were being filmed, because they wouldn't be right.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character. I don't remember my dreams. This phenomenon has long been a cause for passing puzzlement and frustration.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult? I have no pretense to any brow. This question and all its implications annoys me.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? Maybe the textbook for discrete mathematics, although I don't remember a thing about it. It's more likely the first programming text I had, since it hopelessly confounded me for the first fourteen minutes and put me to sleep within the fifteenth.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? Neither The Tempest nor King Lear is obscure, methinks.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians? As authors, neither. Judging from what I've read, French, for the sake of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne.

18) Roth or Updike?  Who?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Who?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare. I haven't read enough Milton to know for sure, though.

21) Austen or Eliot? Austen.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? The biggest gap would probably be the so-called "Lost Generation" writers, both American and British. I have little-to-zero interest in the worldview of those writers or the content of their writings, and no plans to ever close that "gap" in my reading.  I'm not embarrassed about this gap.  I do wish I had read more 19th-century literature back when I had more time and less tired brain cells, but it's still a strength in my reading and I'm planning to continue.

23) What is your favourite novel? Another impossible question. I'd probably have a list of 50, even if I limited favorite authors to one book. The ones I've read multiple times are there.

24) Play? The translation of Molière's Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite in my high school lit book is hilarious and made of awesome. (So is Wishbone's version of The Hypochondriac!)  I want to find out which translator did it and get Tartuffe, and others if possible, by him.

25) Poem? Not sure. Maybe If.

26) Essay? Either "On Faerie Stories" or one of C. S. Lewis's writing ones, such as "On Writing for Children" or "On Science Fiction."

27) Short story? I have no idea. There are way too many to tell, especially considering the SF ones.

28) Work of non-fiction?  The Bible. Aside from that, Costume in Detail. I've pored over the drawings in that book for years, and it still never fails to fascinate me.

29) Who is your favourite writer? I can't pick one. Alastair MacLean is waay up there.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? No idea. I read little that was published in the last 10, 20, or 30 years.  I'd take a stab at Stephanie Meyer, but for all the raving I haven't heard anyone actually building up her writing.  (I don't seek out such discussion, though.)

31) What is your desert island book? Swiss Family Robinson.

32) And… what are you reading right now? LJ, with forays to Wikipedia (drama on the Lost Generation talk page, ahoy!), Amazon, and my tags list, to garner links.
nuranar: (reading)
This one from [livejournal.com profile] seawasp


1) What author do you own the most books by? Not sure. With the weekend's acquisitions, I have 32 Saint books, so that's probably the highest.  The Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew collections surpass that, but both are jointly owned by my mother and I. And the majority of the Louis L'Amours are Nathan's.

2) What book do you own the most copies of? With far too little space for the books, I don't like having multiple copies of many things unless there's a reason for a particular edition. I have duplicates of some Austens and Sherlock Holmes, but I think the winner is Bibles, with five. In length-of-ownership order, I have the Living Bible I was given for Christmas in... 1989, I think; the NIV I got for Xmas in 1992 or 1993; a slimmer NIV, this time from the church, upon my high school graduation in 2001; an 1855 pocket-sized KJV I bought on ebay while in college to use for 1860s reenacting, and which I often carry to church because it's the smallest; and the NIV study Bible given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Klob when I graduated from college in 2005.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Nope. Sometimes I try to avoid it in my writing, but only when it doesn't sound too contrived.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Oh, I love Richard Diamond, but that's hardly a secret; and he is a radio character, not a book character. There's plenty of others I could love, but none come to mind right now when I want them.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life? Err.  I never keep count. The Bible, Ben-Hur, Alistair MacLean's Where Eagles Dare and The Golden Rendezvous, Rifles for Watie, maybe Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime and The Man in the Brown Suit; probably lots more. I love to re-read.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old? Nothing stands out; probably a Nancy Drew. I read all of Mom's before I was 8, and I added to the collection for years.  I also loved The Black Stallion; it's one of the earliest books I remember reading, certainly before first grade.  I would have read it to death except that I never owned it.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Not sure. Probably the book I stumbled across on Project Gutenberg that ends unhappily, with the central character going rather nuts - after the reader's been suckered into really really rooting for him and the woman. I loathe books wherein the main character(s) really, truly are insane.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? Impossible to say. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and Google Books, it's a choice among hundreds.

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? I can't think of one. People tend to hate what they are forced to do. I sure do!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature? Not a clue.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie? There was something I was thinking about recently, but I'm dashed if I can think of it now... I would love to see the Lensman books made into good movies, but there's No Way In The Universe that's going to be done acceptably.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie? There's an ocean of drivel that should never be given the shred of dignity conferred by movie release. And then there's the Lensman books, as I just mentioned; honestly, I would cringe if I heard they were being filmed, because they wouldn't be right.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character. I don't remember my dreams. This phenomenon has long been a cause for passing puzzlement and frustration.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult? I have no pretense to any brow. This question and all its implications annoys me.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? Maybe the textbook for discrete mathematics, although I don't remember a thing about it. It's more likely the first programming text I had, since it hopelessly confounded me for the first fourteen minutes and put me to sleep within the fifteenth.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? Neither The Tempest nor King Lear is obscure, methinks.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians? As authors, neither. Judging from what I've read, French, for the sake of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne.

18) Roth or Updike?  Who?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Who?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare. I haven't read enough Milton to know for sure, though.

21) Austen or Eliot? Austen.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? The biggest gap would probably be the so-called "Lost Generation" writers, both American and British. I have little-to-zero interest in the worldview of those writers or the content of their writings, and no plans to ever close that "gap" in my reading.  I'm not embarrassed about this gap.  I do wish I had read more 19th-century literature back when I had more time and less tired brain cells, but it's still a strength in my reading and I'm planning to continue.

23) What is your favourite novel? Another impossible question. I'd probably have a list of 50, even if I limited favorite authors to one book. The ones I've read multiple times are there.

24) Play? The translation of Molière's Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite in my high school lit book is hilarious and made of awesome. (So is Wishbone's version of The Hypochondriac!)  I want to find out which translator did it and get Tartuffe, and others if possible, by him.

25) Poem? Not sure. Maybe If.

26) Essay? Either "On Faerie Stories" or one of C. S. Lewis's writing ones, such as "On Writing for Children" or "On Science Fiction."

27) Short story? I have no idea. There are way too many to tell, especially considering the SF ones.

28) Work of non-fiction?  The Bible. Aside from that, Costume in Detail. I've pored over the drawings in that book for years, and it still never fails to fascinate me.

29) Who is your favourite writer? I can't pick one. Alastair MacLean is waay up there.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? No idea. I read little that was published in the last 10, 20, or 30 years.  I'd take a stab at Stephanie Meyer, but for all the raving I haven't heard anyone actually building up her writing.  (I don't seek out such discussion, though.)

31) What is your desert island book? Swiss Family Robinson.

32) And… what are you reading right now? LJ, with forays to Wikipedia (drama on the Lost Generation talk page, ahoy!), Amazon, and my tags list, to garner links.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Nhi Vanye i Chya)

[livejournal.com profile] jordannamorgan just posted about the cold snap her part of Florida will be having, and that reminded me that my mother mentioned that our forecast said we'd be getting cold again later this next week.


Okay, I'm cold now. )

Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Windy, with a south wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north between 20 and 25 mph. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

Thursday: Partly sunny and windy, with a high near 32.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 15.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 31.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 16.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 37.

15?! 
ACK!!  And the lowest high in December was still above 40!  Days entirely below freezing do happen, but it's usually wet and yucky and doesn't get a whole lot colder at night.  Helloooo Arctic airmass!  (No, I won't die, and I know it. :p  But notice this is another cold "snap" that doesn't go away quickly, even with full sun. Most unusual.)


Ooh, this is interesting; it's our "climate narrative" for December, verbatim from the National Weather Service:
FREQUENT COLD FRONTS KEPT TEMPERATURES BELOW NORMAL THROUGHOUT MUCHOF DECEMBER. AT DFW AIRPORT...THERE WERE 19 DAYS WITH HIGHS IN THE40S. THE NORMAL HIGH FOR DECEMBER IS 59.1 DEGREES. THE MONTHLY MEANTEMPERATURE WAS A FULL 4 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL...PLACING AS THE 11THCOLDEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.
ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS...WINTRY PRECIPITATION ACCOMPANIED THE COLDWEATHER. SNOW FELL ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTH TEXAS ON DECEMBER 2 ANDACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL TEXAS ON DECEMBER 4. MORE EVENTS FOLLOWEDFROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO NEW YEARS EVE.ON DECEMBER 24...RARE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS IMPACTED AREAS MAINLYNORTHWEST OF THE DALLAS/FORT WORTH METROPLEX. SOME LOCATIONSRECEIVED AS MUCH AS 9 INCHES OF SNOW...FROM JACKSBORO...TO BOWIE...TO NORTHWESTERN COOKE COUNTY. WINDS GUSTED OVER 50 MPH...WITH DRIFTSAS HIGH AS 3 TO 5 FEET. PORTIONS OF HIGHWAY 287 BETWEEN DECATUR ANDWICHITA FALLS WERE IMPASSABLE FROM CHRISTMAS EVE INTO THE MORNING OFCHRISTMAS DAY. FOR DALLAS/FORT WORTH...THE OFFICIAL SNOWFALL FOR THEEVENT WAS 3 INCHES...SMALL IN COMPARISON TO TOTALS JUST 50 MILES TOTHE NORTHWEST. BUT THIS WAS THE FIRST MEASURABLE SNOW ON RECORD FORCHRISTMAS EVE...AND MANY AREAS HAD CONSIDERABLE SNOW REMAINING ONTHE GROUND THROUGHOUT CHRISTMAS DAY.ADDITIONAL SNOW EVENTS FOLLOWED ON DECEMBER 29 AND 31. PORTIONS OFMONTAGUE COUNTY MAINTAINED SNOWCOVER FROM CHRISTMAS EVE THROUGH NEWYEARS EVE.FOR DALLAS/FORT WORTH...THE 3.2 INCHES FOR THE MONTH WAS THE 2NDHIGHEST TOTAL ON RECORD FOR DECEMBER...BESTED ONLY BY THE 5.5 INCHESRECORDED ON DECEMBER 9, 1898.
DESPITE THE ABUNDANT SNOWFALL...THE PRECIPITATION TOTAL FOR THEMONTH WAS BELOW NORMAL. IT WAS THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE MONTH WITHBELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION...BUT DFW AIRPORT ENDED THE YEAR ABOVENORMAL.

Wow! We set a record for December snowfall, and are only behind a record set back in 1898!


I've got MacLean on the brain, mostly thanks to Jordi already. (Yay for more MacLean movies!) It doesn't help that Daddy put down "Ice Station Zebra" as an answer to the category "Things That Are Cold" when we played Scattergories on New Year's Eve.  So I'm thinking this may turn out to be our Ice Station Zebra winter. :P

 

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Nhi Vanye i Chya)

[livejournal.com profile] jordannamorgan just posted about the cold snap her part of Florida will be having, and that reminded me that my mother mentioned that our forecast said we'd be getting cold again later this next week.


Okay, I'm cold now. )

Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Windy, with a south wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north between 20 and 25 mph. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

Thursday: Partly sunny and windy, with a high near 32.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 15.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 31.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 16.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 37.

15?! 
ACK!!  And the lowest high in December was still above 40!  Days entirely below freezing do happen, but it's usually wet and yucky and doesn't get a whole lot colder at night.  Helloooo Arctic airmass!  (No, I won't die, and I know it. :p  But notice this is another cold "snap" that doesn't go away quickly, even with full sun. Most unusual.)


Ooh, this is interesting; it's our "climate narrative" for December, verbatim from the National Weather Service:
FREQUENT COLD FRONTS KEPT TEMPERATURES BELOW NORMAL THROUGHOUT MUCHOF DECEMBER. AT DFW AIRPORT...THERE WERE 19 DAYS WITH HIGHS IN THE40S. THE NORMAL HIGH FOR DECEMBER IS 59.1 DEGREES. THE MONTHLY MEANTEMPERATURE WAS A FULL 4 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL...PLACING AS THE 11THCOLDEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.
ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS...WINTRY PRECIPITATION ACCOMPANIED THE COLDWEATHER. SNOW FELL ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTH TEXAS ON DECEMBER 2 ANDACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL TEXAS ON DECEMBER 4. MORE EVENTS FOLLOWEDFROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO NEW YEARS EVE.ON DECEMBER 24...RARE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS IMPACTED AREAS MAINLYNORTHWEST OF THE DALLAS/FORT WORTH METROPLEX. SOME LOCATIONSRECEIVED AS MUCH AS 9 INCHES OF SNOW...FROM JACKSBORO...TO BOWIE...TO NORTHWESTERN COOKE COUNTY. WINDS GUSTED OVER 50 MPH...WITH DRIFTSAS HIGH AS 3 TO 5 FEET. PORTIONS OF HIGHWAY 287 BETWEEN DECATUR ANDWICHITA FALLS WERE IMPASSABLE FROM CHRISTMAS EVE INTO THE MORNING OFCHRISTMAS DAY. FOR DALLAS/FORT WORTH...THE OFFICIAL SNOWFALL FOR THEEVENT WAS 3 INCHES...SMALL IN COMPARISON TO TOTALS JUST 50 MILES TOTHE NORTHWEST. BUT THIS WAS THE FIRST MEASURABLE SNOW ON RECORD FORCHRISTMAS EVE...AND MANY AREAS HAD CONSIDERABLE SNOW REMAINING ONTHE GROUND THROUGHOUT CHRISTMAS DAY.ADDITIONAL SNOW EVENTS FOLLOWED ON DECEMBER 29 AND 31. PORTIONS OFMONTAGUE COUNTY MAINTAINED SNOWCOVER FROM CHRISTMAS EVE THROUGH NEWYEARS EVE.FOR DALLAS/FORT WORTH...THE 3.2 INCHES FOR THE MONTH WAS THE 2NDHIGHEST TOTAL ON RECORD FOR DECEMBER...BESTED ONLY BY THE 5.5 INCHESRECORDED ON DECEMBER 9, 1898.
DESPITE THE ABUNDANT SNOWFALL...THE PRECIPITATION TOTAL FOR THEMONTH WAS BELOW NORMAL. IT WAS THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE MONTH WITHBELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION...BUT DFW AIRPORT ENDED THE YEAR ABOVENORMAL.

Wow! We set a record for December snowfall, and are only behind a record set back in 1898!


I've got MacLean on the brain, mostly thanks to Jordi already. (Yay for more MacLean movies!) It doesn't help that Daddy put down "Ice Station Zebra" as an answer to the category "Things That Are Cold" when we played Scattergories on New Year's Eve.  So I'm thinking this may turn out to be our Ice Station Zebra winter. :P

 

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Chris, have you read Breakheart Pass yet?

It's got an amazing tie-in to another favorite fandom of ours.  That's all I'm going to say about that for now.

:D
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Chris, have you read Breakheart Pass yet?

It's got an amazing tie-in to another favorite fandom of ours.  That's all I'm going to say about that for now.

:D
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
This time I'm quick with another Alistair MacLean review!  In the past year I've pretty much exhausted his pre-1970 books.  Now I'm working my way through the later ones. (Complete list and links here.)  I'm not bothering to read them in order, since by most accounts their quality, although uniformly poor in comparison to his previous excellence, varies.  I'd rather go in with poor expectations and be surprised.

To be entirely frank, I'm getting this review out of the way because I'm wanting to ramble. As I've read more and more MacLeans, I'm really beginning to grasp the depth and variety and consistencies of his work.  In addition, there are certain allegations on the Wikipedia MacLean article that I want to address.

Athabasca )
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
This time I'm quick with another Alistair MacLean review!  In the past year I've pretty much exhausted his pre-1970 books.  Now I'm working my way through the later ones. (Complete list and links here.)  I'm not bothering to read them in order, since by most accounts their quality, although uniformly poor in comparison to his previous excellence, varies.  I'd rather go in with poor expectations and be surprised.

To be entirely frank, I'm getting this review out of the way because I'm wanting to ramble. As I've read more and more MacLeans, I'm really beginning to grasp the depth and variety and consistencies of his work.  In addition, there are certain allegations on the Wikipedia MacLean article that I want to address.

Athabasca )
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Dangerous Books)
I've had a few friends-list additions (Yay!) since I last wrote about Alistair MacLean, one of my Favorite Authors Evah. To sum up, since explaining would take too long, he wrote action/adventure/spy novels from the 1950s to the 1980s. They particularly appeal to me because they (1) are really exciting, (2) are complexly and carefully plotted, (3) have really good characters, (4) are written with exquisite and delightful language and wording, (5) have no more profanity than would be found in a typical 1930's mystery, and (6) have the perfect touch of romance while lacking any sexual language, double entendres, or escapades whatsoever.

The primary drawback to MacLean's writing is that reasons (1)-(4) are not consistent throughout his books. He became an alcoholic, and I understand that's the primary reason why his writing declined so strikingly. I am a compulsive, extremely fast reader of fiction, but my experiences with his work range from I'm-staying-up-til-4-to-finish to I'm-finally-finished-and-I-can't-remember-what-happened. It's really sad. Thankfully, the good stuff outweighs the bad, and even his "bad" is bad only in comparison.

Below I freely adapt text and lists from Wikipedia, where I learned just why my reader experiences varied so widely when I was first trying to find his stuff. (I don't think it's in print - go for used paperbacks and the library.) The breakdown into periods and styles are generalizations, but reasonably accurate and fairly useful.  The links are to my reviews.  I have read all the ones in bold.



Now that I've set the stage, here are two more reviews. Bro. No. 1 gave me a gift certificate to the used book store for Christmas, so a couple weeks ago I went on a spree and got about a dozen books. Among them were When Eight Bells Toll and Puppet on a Chain.





nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Dangerous Books)
I've had a few friends-list additions (Yay!) since I last wrote about Alistair MacLean, one of my Favorite Authors Evah. To sum up, since explaining would take too long, he wrote action/adventure/spy novels from the 1950s to the 1980s. They particularly appeal to me because they (1) are really exciting, (2) are complexly and carefully plotted, (3) have really good characters, (4) are written with exquisite and delightful language and wording, (5) have no more profanity than would be found in a typical 1930's mystery, and (6) have the perfect touch of romance while lacking any sexual language, double entendres, or escapades whatsoever.

The primary drawback to MacLean's writing is that reasons (1)-(4) are not consistent throughout his books. He became an alcoholic, and I understand that's the primary reason why his writing declined so strikingly. I am a compulsive, extremely fast reader of fiction, but my experiences with his work range from I'm-staying-up-til-4-to-finish to I'm-finally-finished-and-I-can't-remember-what-happened. It's really sad. Thankfully, the good stuff outweighs the bad, and even his "bad" is bad only in comparison.

Below I freely adapt text and lists from Wikipedia, where I learned just why my reader experiences varied so widely when I was first trying to find his stuff. (I don't think it's in print - go for used paperbacks and the library.) The breakdown into periods and styles are generalizations, but reasonably accurate and fairly useful.  The links are to my reviews.  I have read all the ones in bold.



Now that I've set the stage, here are two more reviews. Bro. No. 1 gave me a gift certificate to the used book store for Christmas, so a couple weeks ago I went on a spree and got about a dozen books. Among them were When Eight Bells Toll and Puppet on a Chain.





nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

Since I have to. I guess.

;-)
 

 



[profile] roses_for_ann, I have you to thank for this dilemma:



Blue. And silver. And deco.  My winter coat is navy. And it's on (sort of) sale for this week, plus free shipping.  But it's still not a steal, and I certainly don't need it.  Agh! What to do?
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

Since I have to. I guess.

;-)
 

 



[profile] roses_for_ann, I have you to thank for this dilemma:



Blue. And silver. And deco.  My winter coat is navy. And it's on (sort of) sale for this week, plus free shipping.  But it's still not a steal, and I certainly don't need it.  Agh! What to do?

Circus

26 July 2007 09:08 pm
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I found this book waiting for me in a PaperBackSwap package when I got home one day last week.  By lunch the next day, I'd finished it.

Alistair MacLean's Circus

Published in 1975, Circus is one of MacLean's last, and poorest, set of novels.  I'm glad to report, however, that it was a very enjoyable read.  It's not up to the technical standards of his earliest novels, but I liked it better than The Way to Dusty Death.

Bruno Wildermann and his two younger brothers are known as the Blind Eagles, a group of extremely skillful trapeze and high-wire experts who perform blindfolded.  Bruno is the linchpin of the act, being in addition borderline clairvoyant and having a literally photographic memory.  The Wildermanns were refugees from Eastern Europe, an unspecified country that seems to be either East Germany or Poland. His combination of skills and his background bring him to the attention of the CIA.  Bruno agrees to break into a high-security prison and research center in the city of "Crau" and memorize/destroy certain plans.

The major criticisms of MacLean's latest period are excessive dialogue, "sagging" prose, poor characterization, and lazy description.  These are the technical standards in which Circus does not measure up; however, it is a long way from being the worst example.  The dialogue is not excessive; I found none of it boring, and some quite amusing.  The quality of the prose did not bother me or lose me, although it could have been sharper.  My biggest criticism is that the antagonists do not quite live up to their menace and their knowledge.  There is a definite reason to account partially for this, albeit is one I cannot reveal.  Nonetheless, they do not even approach the terrifying efficiency and genuine brilliance of their counterparts in The Secret Ways.

MacLean handles the circus setup with quite a bit of skill; I found his descriptions fascinating in and of themselves.  His characters are a little more nebulous than I like, yet they're interesting and I cared about them.  Especially when they... never mind.  Several of Bruno's fellow circus men are quite good creations. Their banter is reminiscent of Hansen, Zabrinkski, and Rawlings in Ice Station Zebra.

Circus might be held up as an example of the old "male writers write helpless females" trope.  I won't go into a discussion of this, since it would be long and rife with spoilers.  Let me just say once again that MacLean uses layers of deception in his work.  In Circus, there are excellent reasons for what he does with his characters (and I'm saying this generally, too), no matter how long it takes to see or how clichéd it seems in the meantime.  In the specific instance, it's unfortunately not shown nor explained as skillfully as it was in the earlier novel that used the same idea.  But it makes very, very good sense.  MacLean is not an author to judge quickly.  Even in 1975 he could be a master of subtlety.

After the initial exposition, things get menacing fast with two murders.  I'll warn you - one is quite grisly, not for the descriptions but for the imagination.  *shudder*  Nonetheless, after Fear Is the Key and The Satan Bug, the relative lack of grimness in Circus is a relief.  It gets worse, trust me, but it's not a numbing grief or paralyzing fear that permeate the entire book.  He hasn't lost the humorous touch by any means.

A very minor aside: I'm amused that the highest-up CIA man shown is an admiral.  In The Hunt for Red October, James Greer of the CIA (played by James Earl Jones) is also an admiral.  Note: It's a departure for MacLean to use the CIA, although he used quite a few Americans in Ice Station Zebra and did them well.  I think the whole premise necessitated it.

I think I'd like to start including excerpts in my reviews.  It's always great to get an idea of an author's style, even at its less-than-brilliant moments.  In this excerpt (not necessarily the best, just the one that came to mind), a certain Colonel Sergius is having to deal with Alex, a less-than-successful... employee.

Sergius sighed.  "Alas, it was ever thus.  I am left to fight on virtually alone.  All the decisions have to be made, all the thinking has to be done by a senior officer, which is no doubt why I am a senior officer."  A false modesty was not one of Sergius's besetting sins.  "Our Bruno Wildermann is clever, he may also be dangerous.  He suspected, only he knows how, that he was under surveillance and put his suspicions to the test.  He had this man Roebuck standing by to follow whoever might follow him.  This would make Roebuck--and, by implication, the other two--something just a little bit more than friends.  Roebuck followed Alex.  He didn't go to borrow money, he went to inform Bruno that he, Bruno, had been followed by a man with a black coat, black moustache, very stupid."  He bestowed a pitying glance on the crest-fallen shadower.  "I don't suppose it ever occurred to you, Alex, to look over your shoulder?  Just once?"

"I'm sorry, Colonel."

Sergius gave him a look more commonly associated with a starving crocodile which has just spotted lunch.

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