2019 List Of Books Read

Take Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,, stir well, blame it on Shakespeare, and claim you read it all, last year.

In no particular order:

Abaddon's Gate

One of the big books that ‘The Expanse’ TV series is based on. They broadcast one book per year, so I have to read two, to get ahead of the story arc, and stay ahead.

 

A Brief History of Time

It’s been available for several years, so I thought that I would educate myself. It’s not Dr. Seuss level, but Hawking does a good job of making a complex theory comprehensible to non-mathematicians.

 

alien-earth

Possibly only ever published as a pulp fiction, not paperback, I didn’t have a copy of this, along with my other Hamilton books. I found this, perhaps inadvertently attached to another article that I was researching..

 

Ballistic

A men’s’ action/adventure book, good for passing time in retirement. This is the third in a series. The first was terrible. The second was so-so. The story arc is improving. If I hadn’t already bought this one, I might never have.

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. I’ll post a book-review later.

 

Chromosome 6

Like John Grisham’s work, Robin Cook’s is also dense. I read Coma, and liked it, but this one took me a while to struggle through.

 

Cibola Burn

This is the second of the Expanse books that I read last year. The next TV series became available on December 18/19, but I’m saving it till summer.

 

Duty And Honor

Tom Clancy’s ghost keeps pumping these out, and I keep reading them.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

I’ve already done a book-review on this one. Interesting enough, but too old to be relevant.

 

Fledgling

Fun but formulaic Science Fiction. The daughter of a University professor grows up with enhanced cognitive powers.

Galileo Goes to Jail, And Other Myths

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Research into Christianity vs. Secularism.

 

Jesus Interrupted

more research into Christianity vs. Secularism. The author has more than 20 books about the New Testament. I just can’t believe that he points out all the mistakes and contradictions…. yet says that he still believes.

 

Magic Stars

One of two I that I read, that are the last in this series. Magic in Atlanta. I’ve already started on another series by the same authors, Magic in Red Deer, Texas.

 

Monster Hunter Memoirs Saints

One well-known author butted into another’s series, and wrote two books. It took the first as much time and effort to edit them, and assure that they fit in the canon, as if he’d written them himself. The other title is Sinners, which I’ll read this year.

No Middle Name

A collection of Jack Reacher short stories.

 

Origin

Dan Brown’s latest – unless he’s released another one while I was publishing this list.

 

Paradox Bound

This author likes to play with alternate timelines & realities.

 

People Named Smith

It wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped – but then, perhaps people named Smith just aren’t interesting.

 

Recruit

A story about space marines. The blurb sounded good, but the book was Young Adult – nothing wrong, just nothing right.

Redshirts

A book about how the original Star Trek was real…. or was it??!

 

Small Magics

The last in this sword and werewolves series – unless the rabid fans convince the author couple to write another. They are quite prolific, with four concurrent series, and a couple of stand-alones.

 

The Bone Labyrinth

Not “Great Literature,” but a great time passer.

The Midnight Line

I’m reading these faster than Lee Child can write them. I will regret when the series ends. There are still two more ahead of me.

 

The Psychology Of Time Travel

Science Fiction and time travel from a woman’s point of view. More suspense than action, but interesting.

 

True Faith And Allegiance

I started this in Dec. but the need to read and return that next big Expanse book to the library in Jan. means that I’m just finishing it now.

Why Are You Atheists So Angry

Yet more Christians vs. Atheists research. Christian Apologists can be so irritating – unintentionally amusing and interesting – but irritating.

Even if you don’t have the time/energy to list all the books you read last year, do you have any specials that you’d like to mention?

’19 A To Z Challenge – W

AtoZ2019letter-w

 

 

All right everyone, put down your Magic Potions texts, grab your Butter Beer, and we’re off to visit Harry Potter’s friends

Butter Beer

Witch

a person, now especially a woman, who professes or is supposed to practice magic or sorcery; a sorceress. Compare warlock
a woman who is supposed to have evil or wicked magical powers:

Wizard

a person who practices magic; magician or sorcerer.
a conjurer or juggler.

Also whiz, wiz. a person of amazing skill or accomplishment:

Warlock

a man who professes or is supposed to practice magic or sorcery; a male witch; sorcerer.

a fortuneteller or conjurer.

Wyvern

a two-legged winged dragon having the hinder part of a serpent with a barbed tail.

It is one of the vagaries of the English language, that many of the things in Harry Potter’s world begin with the letter W. Aside from the examples above, there are also his magic Wand, his friends and support, the Weasley family – whose forebears came from the village of Westleigh – one of whom, Ginny, (Virginia) became his wife.

Want to know what I’ve dreamed up for the letter X?? You’ll have to wing back over in a couple of weeks. Don’t make me get out my Attraction Spells scroll. 😉 😀

***

Last year, for my Q for quilts challenge post, I showed a picture of the winner in the local Mennonite Relief Auction.  While complex and impressive, I much prefer the recently announced winner of this year’s contest. I like bold blues and geometric shapes, and this one has both.  It’s called Fire Island Hosta Queen.  Here’s a picture of it – do you like it too?

’19 A To Z Challenge – O

Tattooed Lady

This blog-post will be short and sweet, just like its inspiration

OLIVIA

Olivia, Olivia, have you seen Olivia,
Olivia, the tattooed lady?

Oh, wait! That should be Groucho Marx singing about Lydia, The Tattooed Lady, (Click if you’d like to hear it.) full of racy, risqué, double entendres. The song was first sung in 1939, and it’s easy to include extra little references. When Americans got off their lazy, isolationist asses, and got into WW II, Groucho included the verse, “When she stands, the world gets littler. When she sits, she sits down on Hitler.

I can’t figure out how to make any portion of this post about me, so I’ll just include a link to the one where I debated getting a tattoo myself, for any of you who didn’t see it – and are desperately bored. At least Groucho is dead, and can’t compose a derogatory song about a Grumpy Old Tattooed Dude.

Olivia, as a name, means “Peace.” It comes from ‘olive’, both the tree and the fruit, which comes from the Italian, olea, which is the oil that middle-eastern people learned early to squeeze out. Christians like to claim that the phrase ‘Extend an olive branch,’ which is an offer of peace, comes from the Bible story of the dove returning to Noah with an olive leaf, or twig. But Greeks and Egyptians were using the olive branch 500/700 years B.C.

Olivia was not a common name for centuries. William Shakespeare is often credited with inventing it, but it existed at least 300 years before he included it for a character in Twelfth Night. He only made it a little more well-known and popular. Even a century ago, it was the 2285th most (least) common girls name.

All that changed in 1986, when Disney Studio released the animated movie, The Mouse Detective, with a cute little female mouse named Olivia Flaversham, and impressionable young mothers began naming their daughters Olivia. More recently, the Disney Channel compounded the interest by offering an animated series named Elena of Avalor. It’s an historic magic story-line, with a young female named Olivia, as assistant to a wizard. As a result, in 2018, the name Olivia was the 3rd most common girls’ name in The United States, and the 2nd most popular in Australia.

I luvya Olivia. Please come back in a couple of days, for some more useless trivia. 😀

Flash Fiction #197

Harry Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

OVER THERE

They both diligently saved from their wages, determined to see at least a little bit of the world, before they settled down to careers, marriage and family.

London was fantastic, and they did all the touristy things. Being nerds, they located a Harry Potter store, bought wands, and enjoyed butter beer. They couldn’t find a platform #9-3/4, but they booked a tour on this old steam train, like the Hogwarts Special. The views of the countryside, the quaint little railway stations, and even a castle on a hill, were delightful.

Happy, but resigned, they returned to face the workaday world.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

On a personal note, this is my 1100th published post since Nov. 2011. Also, if you note, it’s FF #197. If all goes well, in a couple of weeks, I’ll reach another milestone of 200.   😀

I Really Must Stop Doing That

Thumbs Down

I really must stop reading Christian Apologetics’ blog-posts. While many of them are mind-bogglingly irritating, yet in their own way, they can be so interesting and humorous that I feel that I should share them with my readers. I recently realized that I’ve been posting about one a month, when I really should be focussing on more serious issues, like whether the recently imposed tariffs mean that Donald Trump will run short of macaroni and cheese-flavored hair-dye.

Like my That’s Not Funny post, I recently read this one.

A father was reading a story to his young son about cosmetology and likened the earth to a ball sitting on the back of a huge turtle. The young boy replied “but dad who made the turtle and what is holding up the turtle” “The father replied its, “turtles all the way down.” Young children may ask, “Who made the turtle,” grown men do not.

It’s nice to be shown in the very first line, that the author doesn’t even know the difference between Cosmology – and Cosmetology, which is the science of producing, or applying makeup. Perhaps he was trying to put lipstick on that ‘Creation’ myth pig. Who reads to a ‘young son’ from a book on Cosmology?? And what Cosmology book has the Earth sitting on a turtle??  Even the Bible has it sitting on four pillars.

How can you tell a Christian Fundamentalist? You can’t! They only believe what they want to believe. I hit a post titled ‘Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?’, and commented, ‘Not only did Jesus drink alcohol, but he changed jugs of water into wine so that everyone at the wedding could drink also.’ I got back, That wine couldn’t have been alcoholic. All I’m trying to say is that we should always be on duty for Jesus.

A local woman’s Op-Ed letter said

Wicca is a dark art

It’s easy to see why Wicca is growing in popularity among young women today. It worships the “goddess” and the sacred feminine, which feels like a celebration of womanhood. It offers power and control over the spiritual world through its magic, spells, and divination. It also treats nature with great reverence, an appealing idea to a generation that grew up with wanting to “save the Earth”.

But while these things sound good, anyone with long-term involvement in this complex religion (associated with witchcraft, occultism and neo-paganism) knows what this story failed to reveal – there is more to Wicca than meets the eye.

Wiccans want you to believe that it’s all fun, unrelated to evil, Satanism and dark forces, but many ex-Wiccans tell a different story.

Though popular movies and books like ‘Harry Potter’ would have you believe otherwise, there is no such thing as “white magic.” Interacting with spirits and spiritual forces any way one chooses eventually leads down a path of destruction.

I could have written that she had nothing to worry about. Black, white, polka-dot or plaid –MAGIC DOES NOT EXIST! Perhaps she hadn’t noticed that all the Harry Potter books are sold in the Fiction section. I refrained from submitting a letter of rebuttal because, as Jim Croce said, “You don’t spit into the wind.”

A writer claimed that “Atheism Proves God’s Existence” with this….

I can’t answer that question for you, but I do know that when I was an atheist, I wanted nothing more than to kill it; kill creationism. Especially Christianity! Why? Because my biggest fear was that it was all true. I knew there was a God and that his existence was axiomatic, but if I could just stamp out the flame of Christianity, maybe it will become less real. If I hung out with likeminded individuals that supported my claims, maybe I could drown out the evidence with their baseless words. If I can deny the creator, maybe I could be free of him. So, for me, the greatest evide

***

Your final, unfinished, incomplete paragraph proves that you are/were lying….to others, and apparently, to yourself. By definition, an Atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of God (or gods). “I knew there was a God and that his existence was axiomatic,” “If I can deny the creator, maybe I could be free of him.”
If you ‘knew’ there was a God, and tried to be free of him, then ‘by definition’ you were not an Atheist, no matter what you thought, or claimed to be to others. You were just a rebellious, failed Christian and linguist.

***

This is the exact response I was expecting. 

Look how offended you are? Why? Because I don’t believe what you believe? Because I’m attacking your religion? What’s the reason for you to attack my use of the English language? Because your hurt over the fact what I’m saying is true, obviously.

If what I was saying wasn’t true, you’d have ignored it. Thank you for proving my point. The bottom line is, atheist reject God because they know full well he exist and you might not like that he has a standard of objective morality they do not subscribe to. As the bible says, they love darkness. If your hostility doesn’t show you that, then nothing will.

God bless.

***

I wasn’t so much ‘offended’, as dismayed and depressed by the language misusage, and the obvious contradictions. I don’t know how he thinks that he’s attacking my religion. He doesn’t even know, from that comment, what my religion is. What I am offended by is idiots, and liars, and lying idiots. I just love that, after laying an illiterate bitch session on me, he signs off with that self-righteous “God bless.”

I sometimes wonder what color the sky is, in the tiny world that these people inhabit. I’m off to do some non-religious research. I’ll see you soon in my world of sunshine and bright blue skies. 😀

Halcyon Days

Kingfisher

My ears threatened to go on strike.  We almost starved because I couldn’t stand to go into stores.  Within ten minutes, in one shop, I heard the song “Santa On The Sand”, and then “Christmas in Hawaii.”

We have entered the Festival of Conspicuous Consumption – otherwise known as the Christmas Season.  It began in November, right after Black Friday, a vile American ritual which has oozed into Canada like toxic waste.  It has even floated across the Atlantic like an oil spill, to infest the U.K.

This is the time of year when even the Good Christians forget the Christ Child, and enter into the frenzy of Too Much – too much food, drink, cooking, buying, spending, wrapping, visiting, travelling, and stress.

I was researching the word halcyon, when I came upon the term ‘Halcyon Days’.  There once (allegedly) was a minor Greek goddess, Alcidine, whose name has come down to us as Halcyon.  She fell in love with a minor god, and they shacked up together.  They were enjoying immortal life, and having so much fun, that they compared themselves to Zeus and Hera.

Zeus, whose Grumpy-R-Us franchise I inherited, threw a giant snit-fit.  He huffed and he puffed, and he blew up a powerful storm, and a huge wave crashed onto her lover and drowned him.  When she saw his dead body in the surf, she threw herself into the waves and also drowned.

Some of the other gods felt sorry for them.  Zeus’ magic could not be reversed, but it could be modified.  They were brought back as birds – kingfishers.  The modern scientific name for kingfishers is Alcidines.  The ocean kingfisher builds a little raft of a nest, safe from most predators because it floats upon the waters like Moses’ Magical Basket.

Aeolus was the god who controlled the winds and storms – except when Zeus used them to bump somebody off.  Because kingfishers breed and brood about the winter solstice, he promised two weeks of calm waters, so that the eggs would safely have time to hatch – one week before the solstice, and one week after – the Halcyon Days.

Inspired by this tale, I went into my back yard, and found a small nest-building-type stick that my new pair of Scottie Terrier puppies had wrenched off a shrub.  I brought it into the house, and jammed it into a bowl of semi-precious gemstones.  I printed off the photo above, cut out the outline, and hung it from the twig.

I have no giant, overstated Christmas tree that takes me three days to assemble and decorate, and another three days to put away.  It’s just a little tribute to peace and quiet, something which I feel many of us need during this frenetic time.  Give it a try.  You don’t have to believe in, or worship Greek gods – or any God – you just have to believe that you deserve a couple of weeks of tranquility, “while all about you are losing theirs.”  Peace be unto you – and peace on the rest of the idiots, too.  😉

Flash Fiction # 168

Ali Baba

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

UPON FURTHER REFLECTION

I won’t tell how I came into possession of Ali Baba’s magic lamp.  Let’s just say that I found it before it got lost.

“Oh great, another master, and what will you want?”  Where was the respectful genie from the stories?

First of all, I want a grand mansion.

“Never fear, Master.  I will provide everything you deserve.”

While it appeared spacious, it always felt claustrophobic.  I preferred being outside.  I was doing some decorating.  As I knelt to pick up the new bathroom mirror, I caught the reflection of the real ‘Emperor’s new mansion’ that he felt I deserved.

***

This fanciful Fairy Tale retelling is all the fault of Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site.  Visit there, and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers