Oct. 28th, 2015

highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Not much. Slowly working through Portrait of a Lady again.

Recently Finished:

Things You Get For FreeThings You Get For Free by Michael McGirr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This had been on my TBR list for a few years: I think I kept putting it off because closer inspection reminded me it was by a Jesuit priest. At any rate I was craving travel books recently, and ordered a copy. It made *excellent* plane reading, but was not actually a very good travel book. The tour of Europe was pretty standard and not the focus of the book: rather it ranged over McGirr's family and his early experiences in the priesthood. In that respect, I liked it a lot: he was surprisingly honest about the mix of noble and unhealthy drives that sent him into the priesthood in the first place. His narrative is not shy of his faith but not preachy, either, and when it comes to Europe and the places he and his mother went, it's massively nerdy. McGirr was a Jesuit, they tend to be nerds. It was like talking to the best kind of minister: yeah, a bit uncomfortable in places because we no longer share certain common assumptions of christianity, but also fascinating.

I left my copy with my Mum, who will probably puzzle over the religiosity, and it might also have been terrible timing, since it deals with the death of parents in some depth. Still, it's a book about a bloke who loves his mum, she ought to like it.



Fire from Heaven: A Novel of Alexander the Great: A Virago Modern Classic (Alexander The Great Trilogy)Fire from Heaven: A Novel of Alexander the Great: A Virago Modern Classic by Mary Renault

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hmm. I found this really engaging: I liked young Alexander from the bratty start, and the childhood scenes built into a fascinating character plot as the young adult alexander was continually torn between his parents. I'm not sure the adult scenes would have *worked* without the childhood ones.

I adored Hephastion. Sweet pining darling. I'm a bit sad about moving on to the next book, since it does not promise a vast amount of Hephastion. Speaking of which, I did very much love Mary Renaults snark in the afterward about the pointlessness of trying to claim Alexander as 'gay' or indeed straight. You go, Mary Renault.

My quibble remains, as with The Last of the Wine, with Renault's peculiarly euphemistic handling of sex. In 'Fire from Heaven' it got better as it went on, but the opening sex scene was a bizarre hash of metaphors involving forests and vixens and I literally did not realise we were supposed to assume the Great Consummation of Hephastion's Pining Passion had taken place until the narrative moved on to their friends paying up bets.



The Shepherd's CrownThe Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a good last hurrah. I was worried it'd be a disappointment, like Raising Steam, but I think Pratchett's late-stage writing was better suited to Tiffany and the voice/style he'd set up for her. A bit more linear than the adult discworld novels, a bit simpler and less prone to totally left-of-field swerves.

I wasn't expecting to cry at this, and no doubt my fellow plane travellers thought I was quite odd. But I did cry, at wee bit spoilery )



Also two Kerry Greenwoods that I'll catch up reviews of later.

Up Next: IDEK
highlyeccentric: Manly cooking: Bradley James wielding a stick-mixer (Manly cooking)
So I accidentally tipped WAY TOO MUCH rosemary into the first stage of this recipe and the result was amazing.

Diet and accessibilty notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

Adapted from a recipe in Jack Monroe's 'A Year in 120 Recipes'.

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