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shanaqui

shanaqui

Joined December 2016

Eternal dabbler: BA Hons (Eng Lit), MA (Med Lit), BSc Hons (Nat Sci/Bio). Crochets, cross stitches, blogs at breathesbooks.com. Occasionally sleeps.
blurb
shanaqui

Interesting enough so far, but it wanders quite a long way from the chessmen themselves. It's relevant, e.g. in discussing the material used, but... some of this doesn't feel so necessary.

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shanaqui
Dreadful Company | Vivian Shaw
Pickpick

Reread complete! Still in love with all of it. Still adore Greta calling Corvin an edgelord.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

Not as good as The Emerald Planet, I think. Less clear, and less... boundlessly enthusiastic? It's been a while since I read TEP, but I was so enthused by it, and much less so for this. It has plenty of interesting info, don't get me wrong... but the enthusiasm I hoped for wasn't there as strongly, and honestly that's most of why I read it.

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shanaqui
Fire in the Thatch | E.C.R. Lorac
Pickpick

Aaaah, I loved the character of the victim as described in the first couple of chapters, so I got surprisingly invested in this one. Lorac's good at a slow unfolding of the mystery that ends up satisfying anyway; definitely more in the procedural line, detective-wise.

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shanaqui
Unnatural Death | Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Pickpick

I've probably told the story about when I had my gallbladder out: I had a panic attack while coming out of anaesthesia. The nurses could not calm me down and I was hyperventilating so badly my blood oxygenation was dangerously low. So they called my mother in, and she put on an audiobook... I don't think it was Unnatural Death, but it was one narrated by Ian Carmichael. That's why this series is so comforting for me.

It worked this time too.

shanaqui Not that I needed comforting now as badly as I did back then! 3d
8 likes1 comment
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shanaqui
Unnatural Death | Dorothy Leigh Sayers

Rereading because I feel bleh. Dorothy Sayers is always good for that! I never think of this as my favourite, but it has so many good bits with Miss Climpson, and the dialogue between Peter and Parker.

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shanaqui
Bailedbailed

I read this about ten years ago, and I keep vaguely intending to go back, read more of the series, etc. Then I reread the first two chapters of this and remembered why Harry annoyed me the first time. Racing a woman to the door because you have to open it for her isn't ~chivalry~, Harry, it's being a jerk. Open the door for everyone, and accept having it opened for you; that's just politeness.

Gezemice I read the firs four then I got tired of Harry‘s self-aggrandizing and constant whining. 1w
13 likes2 comments
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shanaqui
Pickpick

Ooof. Off this book goes. Atlanta can never catch a break, but at least they have Kate and Curran.

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shanaqui
The Red House Mystery | A. A. Milne
Pickpick

It's funny to think of the author of Winnie the Pooh writing a mystery novel! It's not a bad crack at it, either. It doesn't stand out as being especially good, but it's enjoyable enough and I do enjoy that the Watson character isn't *too* silly.

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shanaqui

This is very sweet so far! I'm rooting for them, and also hoping they don't do anything stupid like stop communicating. >_>

(I hate the trope where everything goes wrong because people don't talk to each other. I've been with my wife for 14 years, married for three; we have never argued. That works because we COMMUNICATE. Healthy adult relationships ftw.)

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shanaqui
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I went "shopping" on my own bookshelves today. ? These were books I had left at my parents' house, and want to read or reread soon. I loved The Paradise War trilogy as a kid, I do hope it hasn't been visited by the suck fairy.

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shanaqui

So far this is more a biography of Mary Shelley than anything. The science is there, but mostly in the background; it's more about the formational influences. Not as interesting as Harkup's book on Agatha Christie's poison plots, so far, but there's time!

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shanaqui
October Man | Ben Aaronovitch
Pickpick

I found this surprisingly meh? Part of the disappointment is just that it's so like a Peter Grant book, even though it's supposed to be a different character! So much of it was predictable, even down to the way the narrator expressed himself. It was enjoyable in and of itself, but... still.

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shanaqui

So far they've presented no proof, but I think I see some of the angles of attack. For example, they've noted that the first burial recorded as being due to plague in this town they're using as a case study was on its own, followed by 11 days without any burials marked as being due to plague. The incubation period of bubonic plague is only a few days, and pneumonic as little as a single day. Where did it go for 11 days?

(Cont in comments...)

shanaqui However:

1) The modern strain of Yersinia pestis is not the same as the medieval strain, so we can't draw too many conclusions about that.

2) The first death may have been from something else and attributed to plague from fear. There may have been other unrecorded deaths in between, possibly the first person to die was isolated and the next person to be infected only developed the disease days after they were buried, and had a long illness.
2w
shanaqui ...Needless to say, if they're going to argue from the incubation period, I'm going to be sceptical.

They've also listed out symptoms which were reported, which sound EXACTLY like pneumonic and bubonic plague. These are the same disease, presenting differently depending on where it is localised in the body. Septicaemic plague is also possible and can account for even more of the variation seen in the plague.
2w
11 likes2 comments
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shanaqui

Seanan Mcguire posted on twitter that one of her opinions she will never change her mind about is the idea that the Black Death was not due to bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis). I asked her for a source and she referred me to this book.

I'm not impressed by the idea of referring to a disease as a serial killer (it's true in a figurative sort of way. sure, but agency is totally lacking in the disease!), but I'll give it a chance.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

It's so much fun seeing more of the Lilywhite Boys. It is also great to read a cute ace romance. And Christiana is trans, as well! The romance is adorable, but the Lilywhites kind of steal the show. That defenestration scene, omg.

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shanaqui
Mehso-so

Lovely book full of colour reproductions, but more a vague tour through art and history than something directed, so it felt very vague.

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shanaqui
The Documents in the Case | Dorothy L. Sayers
Pickpick

A fascinating format. Lots to side-eye when it comes to Agatha Milsom, whose institutionalisation is never shown to us directly. Hard to judge if she's actually mentally ill to a great degree, or (more likely) mostly just inconvenient.

I do love that the resolution leans so hard on chemistry, though! Bit rambling as it gets toward the solution, but overall entertaining.

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shanaqui
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Okay, I don't need much encouragement. 😆 Here's the latest progress pic of the #bookblanket. That's our queen size bed it is spread out on. Nearest the camera is the start of the year.

(Quick project description: for each book I read, I make a hexagon. The colour of the center tells you the genre, the outer ring tells you whether I bought the book this year, in 2017-18, in 2011-16, or got it from the library/other.)

@rabbitprincess TADA!

llwheeler It looks awesome! 3w
Samplergal Great idea! And beautiful! 3w
rabbitprincess WOW! That is amazing!!! 3w
See All 6 Comments
AnneCecilie That‘s so cool. It looks gorgeous 3w
ljuliel Great idea, and nice work. Are you going to quit at year‘s end, or keep going til it‘s the size you want? 3w
shanaqui Thanks guys! 😊😊

@ljuliel Just to the end of the year -- it's already a very good lap blanket, and I'm pretty sure with my projected reading speed, I'll get to a good size at the end!
3w
23 likes6 comments
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shanaqui
Brightfall | Jaime Lee Moyer
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They're not for me, they're for Norman and Hogglestock! Well, I'll read them while putting my feet up on him...?

The blanket is my #bookblanket! It's getting big, around 150 motifs. Shall I post a full progress pic?

rabbitprincess Yes to progress pic and YES! to more BLCCs 😄 3w
16 likes1 comment
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shanaqui

I'm enjoying this so far, though the bits on the fly-bys are quite similar -- it must have been fascinating to watch and follow at the time, and especially exciting to work on, but it loses some of the wow when it's just words on a page.

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shanaqui
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He says autism may be caused by parental neglect. This is Bettelheim's theory and has been disproven -- Bettelheim's cure rates were proven fraudulent by 2000 at the latest. God, this author is irresponsible.

Clare-Dragonfly 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️😡 3w
13 likes1 comment
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shanaqui
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This is from 2005, and refers to a chemist who happened to be female as a "woman chemist". Temptation to bail, increasing...

Megabooks Well, I‘d hate to think that there are woman pharmacists or woman engineers. Oh, there are? You mean women can do anything but pee standing (easily). Wow...🙄 3w
11 likes1 comment
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shanaqui

Sold as a history of poison, but kinda more like a biography of elements which have been used as poison. Other poisons aren't even in the contents, so no digitalin here. Very dry so far; might bail.

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shanaqui
Mehso-so

Meh? I don't think I enjoy John Dickson Carr's books, really. The locked room mystery thing he does is just so contrived and constrained, and then everything around it feels like melodrama.

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shanaqui
Smallbone Deceased | Michael Gilbert
Pickpick

Since @rabbitprincess mentioned enjoying it, I picked this one up first. I have some questions about the series editor's claims of this being THE best crime book ever, but it's an enjoyable read. The real killer is produced with a sort of TADA once you've got confused suspecting everyone else, of course, and there is a convenient left-handed criminal... But like Sayers in Murder Must Advertise, Gilbert writes entertainingly about his home turf.

rabbitprincess Yeah, I think it certainly deserved being on the list of top 100 crime novels, but I wouldn't call it the best crime novel ever. And I loved how delightfully gruesome the discovery of the body was -- just the right level of EWW. 😝 3w
12 likes1 comment
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shanaqui
Death In Captivity | Michael Gilbert
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I have been trying to ignore lists and guilt trips about "you should be reading X" or "you shouldn't buy new books till you read X number of old ones" (that kind of thing has been killing my love of reading), so today I dropped by Waterstones to grab a pile of British Library Crime Classics, which always seem to suit my mood!

rabbitprincess Smallbone Deceased was great! 3w
shanaqui @rabbitprincess I took that as a recommendation on where to start, and am now halfway through it! 😁 3w
15 likes2 comments
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shanaqui
Pickpick

This didn't work as well for me as The Black God's drums, but it's enjoyable and the setting is great -- early 20th century alternate reality, where supernatural beings have become an everyday occurrence. I feel like I'd have liked it more with a more substantial plot; it wrapped up rather suddenly, and I have such questions about stuff that was barely featured!

Still, it was fun.

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shanaqui
Desdemona and the Deep | C. S. E. Cooney
Mehso-so

Hm. Chaz's pronouns should have been she throughout -- Desdemona (in dialogue and in tight third POV) misgenders her repeatedly until she is physically changed, but then says she has always been a woman. Ew, bad friend. (Also worrying implication about what is "real" transness.)

I was actually hoping for more genderfluidity. Meh.

Anyway, I didn't like Desdemona and found the plot otherwise pretty same old stuff. I didn't adore the prose either.

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shanaqui
Desdemona and the Deep | C. S. E. Cooney

Not sure what I make of this so far. I don't like Desdemona, but I don't think I'm meant to. I do like Chaz and hope there's a lot more of him*.

*I read that Chaz's pronouns change, but I don't know what the preferred pronouns are so I'll stick with the ones presented to me for now by this point in the story.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

I didn't like this as much as the first book -- some of the gender role flipping just feels, well, too flippant somehow; I didn't believe in it, so it's harder to invest in seeing the gender roles re-subverted. But the Harwood family's relationship does work and kept me reading.

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shanaqui

I have the sneaking suspicion that this book is mostly just washing over me without me taking much in, and I find it annoying. I loved The Emerald Planet, not sure why this isn't working for me.

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shanaqui
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My bookmark storage solution! I collect bookmarks, especially Book Depository ones, but it can be hard to keep them tidy but accessible in a way that looks nice. Tada! Available in a range of colours from Etsy: https://tinyurl.com/y4tpzt6m

Yes, that is a hedgehog with a Library Monitor badge. His use-name is Librarian Hog, his true name a secret known only to his books. He has guarded my bookshelves faithfully for ten years.

Hooked_on_books Those rock! 4w
17 likes1 comment
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shanaqui
Spectred Isle | KJ Charles
Pickpick

Pretty delightful. I require more in the same world, and thankfully it exists! I might even buy it now and read it next, just 'cause.

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shanaqui

Lord of the Rings, but with a lot more grey areas. This is a reread: I believe I've only ever read this duology once, and 200 pages in I almost want to stop because aaaah I know things can't work out okay.

I'll admit to being an instant and total sucker for Taranos: bitter, vengeful, and loyal to his new lord, with love ultimately at the heart of all he does.

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shanaqui
The Reluctant Widow | Georgette Heyer
Pickpick

I knew I enjoyed this before, but I'd forgotten 90% of the plot! Edward is, like many of Heyer's romance heroes, rather high handed and sure of himself in a way that is enjoyable to read but goes rather too far for my liking. The banter between him and Elinor is hilarious, though, and poor Nicky is too much fun.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

In some ways, here Fox uses Conan Doyle and Oscar Slater to take the temperature of the times in which they lived; it's not just about either of them, though there's a fair bit of biography; it's not just, even, about Conan Doyle's method of detection -- it's also about the social climate that found Oscar Slater so terrifying, as a Jew and a socially slippery person, that he had to be blamed for a crime he had no actual link with.

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shanaqui
Secrets of the Human Body | Andrew Cohen, Chris van Tulleken, Xand van Tulleken
Pickpick

As expected, I didn't learn much I didn't already know, but that fact was somewhat restful, really. The brothers write very clearly, though it's always odd when without a word it switches, from 'my brother Xand' to 'my brother Chris'!

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shanaqui
Secrets of the Human Body | Andrew Cohen, Chris van Tulleken, Xand van Tulleken
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Wife's out at a crafting class so I have snuck back to bed with a book and my good friends Helen Hippo and Edwin Bear. #TeddiesofLitsy

This book tells me a lot of things I already know, with some facts I didn't and a very easy-to-digest way of putting things.

16 likes1 stack add
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shanaqui
Song for a New Day | Sarah Pinsker
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New books: Song for a New Day and The Ten Thousand Doors of January! I was in a book group on Goodreads with Sarah Pi, back in the day, so this is especially exciting.

No particular reason for using that shelf and my wedding bouquet (paper daffodils made by my wife -- yes, we are romantic as heck) for the backdrop; it just makes a nice picture.

14 likes1 comment
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shanaqui

Starting on this properly for today, since I've been meaning to for a while! I know a little about Conan Doyle, but mostly his fiction writing and his interest in spiritualism, so this is fascinating.

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shanaqui
Pickpick

Felt ill tonight, so I was up late. At least I finished a book!

This is really readable, and though I don't know enough to tell whether the sources are reliable, the footnotes and references are extensive (usually a good sign). The author is clear when he's guessing and putting forward his pet ideas.

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shanaqui
Gideon the Ninth | Tamsyn Muir

Some of my friends are struggling/did struggle with the beginning of this, but I'm pretty intrigued? Only 50 pages in for now, but still... I'm wondering where everything's going. I'm not a big fan of Gideon, though! Okay, Harrow's not great to her, but it doesn't sound like she's exactly a ray of sunshine herself.

Clare-Dragonfly This sounds amazing. I mean, all you have to say is “lesbian necromancer” and I‘m interested. 1mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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shanaqui
Pickpick

Pretty enjoyable -- nothing special, but I read it in a day and was very curious about some of the characters' behaviour. I do find these classics restful!

(And hey, Yorkshire! Where I grew up, and now live.)

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shanaqui
Wonder Woman: Warbringer | Leigh Bardugo
Bailedbailed

Yep, nope, not for me.

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shanaqui
Hekla's Children | James Brodgen

A friend gave this a glowing review, so I picked it up a while back and I'm giving it a try now. So far it's very readable but pretty sure I know what's going to happen, at least in broad strokes.

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shanaqui

I do not normally read tie-in novels -- I prefer my comics to be comics, my movies to be movies, and my novels to be novels. But I'm giving this a go, because I got it in a subscription box and it always pays to give new things a try, and I do like Bardugo's other books. We'll see!

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shanaqui
Panpan

I... didn't get the appeal of this. I forced myself to finish it because people assured me they enjoyed it, but something about the narration was really lacking in affect, and it felt like a lot of 'this happened, then another thing, and then to everyone's surprise, a third thing also occurred!' -- that's the exact tone.

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shanaqui
Bailedbailed

I grimly stuck to this for a while out of a sense of duty, but... nope, I'm bailing.

The thing is, if you already know the topic, it's probably fine. I don't know the topic, that's why I'm reading the darn book, and I need some definitions and context. The book doesn't offer that, and is furthermore completely bone dry in tone and style.

If anyone's got a good rec for understanding partition in Ireland, the Troubles, etc, let me know...

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shanaqui
Any Old Diamonds | KJ Charles
Pickpick

Very enjoyable; I loved the way Jerry took care of Alec, and Alec's constant honesty and decency.