Jeeves and Wooster

Any PG Wodehouse fans out there? I’ve been on a Jeeves and Wooster kick this past week, I think I’ve read all the books and short stories now, (what I don’t own is in the public domain so they’re easy enough to find online). My roommate has the first season of the show with Stephen Frye and Hugh Laurie, so I’ll probably¬† waste a bunch of time watching those next… I’m such a slacker…

Fry and Laurie!

Sadly I can’t even use Wodehouse’s stories for any of my challenges since it’s not a genre I usually read, and since he’s not a new author. But hopefully now that it’s out of my system I can work on some of my challenge stories.

If you’ve never read any Wodehouse you absolutely should. Jeeves is brilliant and from the moment he goes to work for Bertie he basically runs his life. Bertie is hilariously oblivious to just how much control Jeeves has over him, (Jeeves has some very strong feelings about some of Bertie’s wardrobe choices) but since his valet also keeps getting him out of all the pesky engagements and other trouble he finds himself in he at least knows he couldn’t last long without him, (proven when Jeeves briefly quits! Gasp!).

Anyone interested should probably start with Jeeves Takes Charge, at least that’s the one I like to read first since it’s in this short story that Bertie first hires Jeeves. After that I just read them chronologically as they were published. It’s found in Carry on, Jeeves, a book of short stories about Jeeves and Wooster.


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Review: Scout’s Progress

Why is it that I always leave the monthly scifi challenge book down to the last minute? I picked this one up randomly in a used bookstore, probably because when I read the back it mentioned her being a brilliant mathematician, and I have a thing for smart people. Also I’ve never read a space opera before, or at least nothing that’s actually labeled as a space opera, so it was new and exciting territory for me.

The book’s by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, neither of whom I’d ever read before, but since this seems to be part of a series and I did enjoy it I’ll probably hunt down more of them.

From the first page we’re thrown into a whole different culture, at first I thought it was one where women were considered inferior, but when I noticed that the head of Aelliana’s house is a female I realized it was just the relationship between herself and her brother that was like that. It’s because her brother is so abusive, and on top of that will one day be the head of the family, or Delm as it’s called, that she decides to run away. But being both practical and not very self confident she realizes that she has no means of escaping to a Terran world.

Then she wins a space ship. Realizing this could be her means of escape she decides to learn to pilot it, keeping it a secret from her brother, (who she knows will take it away if he finds out) until she gets her license.

Aelliana’s character is interesting. As mentioned before she’s not very self confident most of the time. But every once in a while her real personality, before it was beaten down by her brother, comes through. When she’s teaching she’s confident enough because she knows her stuff, and a scene with her teaching is shown early enough in the book that you realize there’s still some spunk left in her, confirmed in the scene at Chonselta Port when she’s had a bit to drink and takes the bet of her quarter share against a ship.

The culture on Liaden is also well developed. You realize right away that the customs are going to be different when the book starts with a conversation at the breakfast table in which Sinit, Aelliana’s younger sister mentions how strange Terran’s are to be able to marry who they want and not have a Delm to tell them what to do. Each family, (or clan, or House) is controlled by the Delm, the Nadelm is the person next in line to be the Delm, in Aelliana’s case her sadistic older brother, Ran Eld. The Delm’s generally control the household and make the decisions.

The difference when it comes to marriage is an important point in this book, since Daav is arranging a marriage through most of it, and Aelliana was married to a brutal friend of her brother’s when she was younger. For Liaden marriage is just another transaction, a way for a clan to get more income or an heir. They aren’t permanent, they last as long as it takes for a child to be born, (in this way houses get heirs from each member of the family) and the family not keeping the child¬† is given compensation. In fact we’re told right off that Aelliana’s older sister Voni has been married five times and was expecting a sixth proposal any day now. Despite Aelliana’s bad experience most people are fine with the way marriage works.

Though her current Delm had promised Aelliana that she wouldn’t have to marry again, her brother makes it clear that that promise will only last until he become Delm, at which point he’ll be free to marry her off to whoever he likes. Realizing this is what first makes her decide to run away.

There is one clan, a High House, that is different from the others, the Korval, or Dragon. Some of it is explained in the second chapter by Daav to his sister in law, who is a Terran that became lifemates with his brother. Though I found that whole part of the book a bit clunky, as though Daav is explaining everything for the reader, not as part of the story, their family origins are interesting and seem like they might be from one of the other books in this universe, (but I have no idea if that’s true)

All in all I enjoyed the book, a lot of thought was clearly put into the society Lee and Miller created, and they emphasized the differences with the Terran Anne and the Scouts that Aelliana works with and ends up befriending. This will probably end up being one of those books I go back to regularly and I’m definitely planning a trip to the used bookstore where I got this one to see if they have any others.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I just came across this on youtube… How did I not hear about this before!

Now I’m pretty sure I heard about the book a while back but I never got around to reading it. Of course now I’ll have to, though according to IMDb it doesn’t come out until June so I have a bit of time.

Also, read this Cracked article to understand why I totally find that movie plausible. Yes I’m a total Cracked addict.

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Story Starter Saturday

Did I miss a weekend while I was in England? I know I remembered the prompts one Saturday that I was there, but looking at the calendar I notice I was gone for two… anyways sorry about that, I have a hard enough time keeping track of days of the week when I’m at home.

Daily ones first:
1. No one in town could deny that on nights like this, with the moon at its fullest…
2. He stared at the handcuffs in disbelief…
3. When I started all this I never intended…
4. I remember…
5. Hurrying away, and looking directly at no one…
6. The red feathers of a cardinal against the snow
7. A cloud passed over the sun and the light started to die…

And from Seventh Sanctum, from the Character Scrambler (this one made me smile): The mysterious yet totally ineffective magical knight who follows the protagonist anywhere and whose odd ideas are actually true.


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Book Review(ish):Casino Royale (with a spoiler alert to be safe)

Has anyone else noticed that I never seem to read the books I say I’m going to? I mean, this isn’t new to me, but I was kind of hoping that telling people what I was planning on reading would help me stick to the plan. Since that doesn’t seem to be working I think I’ll just stop making any promises about what I’m going to read next, (I get around to everything eventually…).

So anyways I’m back home now, which mean a lot of boring travel time and I happened to have Casino Royale with me. I’ve never seen it as a movie, I’ve actually only seen a few James Bond movies, but this is the first of the Bond books and I like to start at the beginning of series. Also since I’ve never read anything by Ian Fleming this one counts as one of my New Author Challenge books, hooray!

Also did anyone else know that he also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? I didn’t even know that was a book, so now I have yet another on my list of books to track down.

I didn’t really have any expectations when I started reading this, like I said I’ve only seen a couple of the movies, and none of them recently, and the author’s also new to me. Still there were a few surprises. For one thing it was pretty short, though I was expecting it to end at one point, (after they escape from le Chiffre) only to realize there was still another forty pages left, (there’s only 212 to begin with). The other thing is that Bond gets tortured by le Chiffre at one point, and while it wasn’t hugely graphic or gory I still wasn’t expecting it since the book is from the 50s which apparently in my mind means it’s on par with the 1800s in how much of the gruesome details I expect to be included.

So while it wasn’t what I expected it was still a fun light read. It didn’t take me long to get through it, but I enjoyed it and was pretty engrossed while reading. I’ll probably hunt down the rest at the used bookstore at some point. Now it’s time to go unpack (ugh).

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Katie and I went to some charity shops around Hayes yesterday, got some clothes (mostly sweaters, I think I was cold) and books! 50 pence each! Two I’d heard of before, Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire who most people probably know from his book Wicked, (and whatever came after it in the series) and Alastair Reynolds was an author I’d heard of but I’ve never read anything by him before.

The other two I’d never heard of at all, but they both sounded interesting. And now I have a bunch of books for the new author challenge!

They actually had four book by Alastair Reynolds, the one I bought and the three that come after it, (not sure yet if that’s the whole series) so I was torn about whether or not I should get all four since I didn’t know if I even liked him yet. I ended up getting just the first one and Katie said we can go back on Monday.

I probably didn’t need to buy more books, but there is a bit of room in my suitcase for them since three of the presents I brought for my sister were books.

Anyways today I’m going to be reading books, probably Revelation Space so I can see if I like it. Also I have a cold now and most things are closed on Sunday so a day off is good.

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Saturday Story Starters

Huge fail on my part, I totally forgot to link the other blog I started. But I guess it hasn’t been going all that long, so it is here. I started doing the art prompts over there, and I’ve been posting a bit about my traveling too.

That’s also why I haven’t had time to get much reading done so no reviews this past week. But I do have another flight in a few days so I’ll probably get something finished then.

Anyways, here’s the daily story starters:
1. love letters
2. I try not to…
3. I squinted against the glare off the snow as something moved through the trees towards us. Fast.
4. Writing a letter.
5. I hate…
6. “Fiddlesticks.” she snapped
7. Cool night air.

And the weekly one from 7th Sanctum, taken from the Alien Race Generator: The spindly, feline race. They are a race of entertainers. They are extremely patronizing. They were once a dead people – what brought them back to life is a matter of speculation. They come from a low-gravity, desolate world that has many rings surrounding it and is known for being home to powerful diseases.

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