What’s More Scary?

I have been in physical therapy for my hip for more than a month now and here’s the sad, sad thing. I don’t feel much different. I still have trouble sleeping a night (last night I woke up every two hours) and runs haven’t been that much easier. I managed over sixty miles for the month and finally finished the dreaded half (the one I have been babbling about for months now. Yeah, that one). I definitely made more time for the books. Here is the ginormous list:

Fiction:

  • Aristotle Detective by Margaret Anne Doody (finished in a week).
  • All Hallows’ Eve by Charles Williams.
  • Discarded Duke by Nancy Butler (finished in a week).
  • Beautiful Children by Charles Bock (AB / print). Word to the wise, don’t do it!
  • Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe

Nonfiction:

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison (AB / print; finished in less than a week).
  • Sense of the World by Jason Roberts (AB / print).
  • I Will Bear Witness: a Diary of the Nazi Years (1933-1941) by Victor Klemperer ~ in honor of Mr. Klemperer’s birth month.
  • In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy

Series Continuations:

  • We are Betrayed by Vardis Fisher.
  • Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman ( finished in four days).
  • Henry James: the Treacherous Years by Leon Edel (Can you believe I actually finished this within the same month?).

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina (read in four days).

Discarded Duke

Butler, Nancy. The Discarded Duke. New York: Signet Book, 2002.

Reason read: In the spirit of romance novels, I am reading The Discarded Duke in recognition of Jane Eyre being published in October. I know, it’s a stretch…

Confessional: I am not a fan of romance novels.

Like any good romance, there has to be a love triangle. Here’s Discarded Duke‘s triangle of love: point A. = Beautiful widow Ursula Roarke, looking for a new husband, point B. = pretty Damien Danover (the Duke of Ardsley), looking to finally settle down with a suitable mate and, point C. = the ruggedly handsome shepherd, William Ridd, who just wants to take care of wool producing sheep in peace and quiet. As you can guess, Beautiful widow wants to seduce rich duke but can’t help the animal attraction she feels towards poor rough-around-the-edges shepherd. Can you see where this is going? Like any good romance the characters are stereotypical in attractiveness and sex appeal. The Widow Ursula, despite being a widow, is still a young and voluptuous, willful and fiery redhead determined to get her way. The dainty Duke is powerful, attractive, wealthy, slightly persnickety and described as a man who can look like he’s smelled a week old fish or behave like a dry old stick. William the innocent, minding-his-own-business sheepherder is bronzed by the sun, doesn’t own the beloved sheep he tends (one guess who does!), has a wry sense of sunny humor but has a dark and stormy past. Of course he does. What decent hero does not? Except Ridd has the scars to prove the violence. Of course Will and Ursula exchange barbs like two elementary school kids on the playground. But, like any good romance, there are secrets galore and assumptions to be made on all sides of the isosceles.
But wait! There’s a fourth point to the triangle. Huh? Now, technically, it’s a rectangle of love. Judith Coltrane, former friend and potentially past love interest of Ardsley’s from back in the day. She has waited in vain for the Duke to return after he ran after from a tragedy on the home front twelves years ago. See, everyone has a secret. So when the Duke rolls back into town with Lady Ursula all this time later…

Probably the best element of Butler’s story is the character development. Yes, they are all slightly stereotypical in their socioeconomic positions (everyone looks down on poor, come-from-nothing William Ridd, obviously. Insert eye roll here.). But every single character has a dark and vulnerable side. And. And! And, they are all likeable characters.

Okay, okay! Having said all that, I admit it! As far as romances go, this one wasn’t that bad.

Probably the best cringe-worthy quote, “It was difficult to have a proper argument when one was naked” (p 209).

Author fact: Nancy Butler’s real name is Nancy Hajeski.

Book trivia: this is the kind of book I would hide at the bottom of my bag and would never, ever be seen reading in public. The cover is of a passionate couple in a lovers’ embrace. It could be worse. Neither individual is in a state of partial undress. Not even in the least. No glistening chest, no bared shoulder. No exposed thigh…Adding to my good fortune is the fact I had to request this book from outside my network so it arrived with a book strap and a warning, “do not remove!” Wouldn’t think of it!

Nancy said: The Discarded Duke is “a good example of well-developed characters and a gripping plot” (p 207). I would agree completely.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Romance Novels: Our Love Is Here To Stay” (p 203).


Boo to You October

The month had finally arrived for the half marathon, my first and only of 2017. Enough said about that.
Here are the books I have planned:

Fiction:

  • The Aristotle Detective by Margaret Anne Doody ~ in honor of Greece’s Ochi Day
  • All Hallows Eve by Charles Williams ~ in honor of what else? Halloween.

Nonfiction:

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison ~ in honor of the first safari leader’s birth month (Major Sir William Wallace Cornwallis Harris born October 1848. How’s that for a name?) (AB / print)
  • Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts ~ in honor of James Holman’s birth month (AB)

Series Continuations:

  • The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman ~ to continue the series started in September in honor of Grandparents Day.
  • Henry James: the Master by Leon Edel ~ to continue (and finish) the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month
  • We are Betrayed by Vardis Fisher ~ to continue the series started in August

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina ~ and we are back to nonfiction.

If there is time:

  • Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe (fiction)
  • The Discarded Duke by Nancy Butler (fiction)
  • In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy (nonfiction)
  • I Will Bear Witness (vol.1) by Victor Klemperer (nonfiction)