Sunday, January 1, 2017

What I Read And What I Rejected In 2016

I've done this every year since 2007.  It seems that "normal" for me is 10 books a month or 120 per year.  I know lots of people do more than that, but I have lots and lots of papers to grade, which definitely cuts into my reading time.
I still read mostly mysteries for fun and plenty of YA -- but then again, my job sort of pushes me that way.

Here's the list of what I read: (It looks like the numbers didn't copy over. Bummer.  There are 137 in total here.)

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom *** YA realistic/romance (blind protag) 1/1/16
Rebel Mechanics: All Is Fair In Love And Revolution  by Shanna Swendson  YA steampunk adventure ***** 1/4/16
Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith ***** romance 1/6/16
Murder In Grosse Pointe Park by Steve Miller ** true crime  1/9/16
Death By Darjeeling by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/11/16
Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/13/16
Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/15/16
English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/20/16
The Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/25/16
 Chamomile Mourning by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/29/16
 Blood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs **** cozy 1/30/16
 Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs **** cozy 2/2/16
 Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley YA historical fantasy 2/4/16
 Pirate Hunters by Robert Kudson ***non-fiction 2/5/16
 Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel ***** crime/mystery 2/6/16
 Paper Play Crafts by Shannon E. Miller **** non-fiction, crafts 2/7/16
 Worldwide Ward Cookbook by Barton *** non-fiction, cooking 2/8/16
 Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti ** non-fiction, crafts 2/11/16
 The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester *** historical crime/mystery 2/12/16
 The Mangle Street Murders by MRC Kasasian **** historical crime/mystery 2/13/16
 Silver Needle Murder by Laura Childs **** cozy 2/14/16
 Oolong Dead by Laura Childs **** cozy 2/15/16
  The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders cozy **** 2/17/16
 The Obituary Society by Jessica l. Randall cozy **** 2/20/16
 The Teaberry Strangler by Laura Childs cozy **** 2/21/16
 These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas ***** YA paranormal 2/23/16
 Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman ***** YA paranormal historical fiction 2/26/16
 Even Dogs In The Wild by Ian Rankin ***** tartan noir crime 2/28/16
 The Curse of the House of Foskett by MRC Kasasian **** historical crime/mystery 3/2/16
 Scones and Bones by Laura Child * cozy 3/4/16
 Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons *** non-fiction 3/5/16
 Front Lines by Michael Grant **** alternate history (WWII) 3/7/16
 Zero Day by Jan Gangset **** a/a YA 3/10/16
 Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto *** Old West/Paranormal steampunk, 3/12/16
 The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig **** time travel/fantasy/action- adventure 3/13/16
 Flunked by Jen Calonita MG reworked fairy tale. *** 3/15/16
 The Mormon Cookbook by Julie Jensen **** non-fiction, cookbook 3/17/16
 The Agony of the Leaves by Laura Childs **** cozy 3/18/16
 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary. non-fiction about fiction **** 3/24/16
  The Sherlock Holmes Book by DK publishing non-fiction about fiction ***** 3/28/16
 How Did It Really Happen? by Readers’ Digest non-fiction **** 4/1/16
 Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan **** YA high fantasy 4/8/16
 Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan ***** realistic (YA-like, quest) 4/9/16
 Steep And Thorny Way by Cat Winters *** YA historical/racial Hamlet re-telling 4/15/16
 Top Secret Cover-Ups by Jon E. Lewis ** non-fiction 4/15/16
 Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs **** cozy 4/19/16
 Ceremonies of the Seasons by Jennifer Cole **** beautifully illustrated non-fiction 4/22/16
 Steeped in Evil by Laura Childs **** cozy 4/23/16
At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie ***** (really good!) cozy 4/26/16
 The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories by Agatha Christie *** cozy, short stories 4/28/16
 A Tyranny of Petticoats ed. by Jessica Spotswood **** short story collection/historical/paranormal 5/1/16
 Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (period 3B) ***** tragedy 5/2/16
 The Hollow by Agatha Christie ***** cozy, mystery 5/4/16
 Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (Period 4B) ***** 5/4/16
 Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (Period 4A) ***** 5/5/16
 The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie ***** cozy mystery 5/8/16
 After The Funeral by Agatha Christie ***** cozy mystery 5/10/16
  Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie **** thriller 5/12/16
 Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North *** choose your own adv. YA 5/14/16
 Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke **** cozy 5/18/16
 Candy Christmas by Joanne Fluke ** Christmas novella 5/19/16
 Everland by Wendy Spinale **** Peter Pan retelling/steampunk 5/24/16
 Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher **** non-fiction/psychology 5/27/16
 Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor **** YA sci-fi time travel romance 5/30/16
 The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman **** mystery/thriller 6/1/16
 I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork **** crime 6/2/16
 The Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/3/16
 The Listening Woman by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/4/16
 The People of Darkness by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/8/16
 The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/9/16
 The Ghost Way by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/10/16
 The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead **** alternate history YA romance 6/13/16
 Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/15/16
 A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman ***** crime 6/17/16
 Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld ***** romance/P&P re-write 6/18/16
 Talking Gods by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/21/16
 Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/23/16
 Sacred Clowns by Tony Hillerman **** crime 6/24/16
 Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman ***** crime 6/27/16
 The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman ***** crime 6/29/16
 Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys **** YA historical WWII 7/1/16
 Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (14th time) YA fantasy 7/6/16
 Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman (semi-historical 20s mystery) **** 7/7/16
 Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (13th time) YA fantasy ***** 7/8/16
 The Watchmaker’s Daughter by CJ Archer **** YA historical urban fantasy 7/9/16
 The Transatlantic Conspiracy by GD Falksen ***young YA, older MG 7/12/16
 Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (15th time) YA fantasy ***** 7/13/16
 Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (15th time) YA fantasy ***** 7/17/16
 A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn YA historical mystery***** 7/18/16
 And I Darken by Kiersten White ***** YA alt hist (Vlad Tepes is female) 7/22/16
 Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Antsey **** YA pseudo-Austen silly romance 7/26/16
 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ***** YA fantasy (11th time reading) 7/29/16
 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ***** YA fantasy (11th time) 8/5/16
 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ***** YA fantasy (7th time reading) 8/7/16
 Superfoods for Children by M. van Straten & B. Griggs ** non-fiction cookbook 8/10/16
 Extraordinary Tales of Victorian Futurism: Steampunk ed. Mike Ashley **** 8/11/16
 A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro YA mystery **** (too many drugs) 8/14/16
 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling et al *** YA fantasy, drama 8/14/16
 Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers **** mystery 8/25/16
 Clouded Witness by Dorothy Sayers **** myster 8/30/16
 Fifty Plants That Changed The Course Of History by Bill Laws **** non-fiction: history, botany 8/31/16
 The Perilous Journey of a Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham **** YA steampunk 9/3/16
The Perilous Journey of a Much-Too-Spontaneous Girl by Leigh Statham **** YA steampunk 9/5/16
 A Shakespearean Botanical by Margaret Willes **** non-fiction, historical botany 9/9/16
World of Shakespeare:Plants by Alan Dent *** non-fiction, historical botany 9/10/16
 Short Stories From Hogwarts: Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists by JK Rowling et al *** YA fantasy 9/11/16
 Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling et al. *** YA fantasy 9/13/16
 Hogwarts: Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies by JK Rowling et al *** YA fantasy 9/15/16
 The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins ***** Gothic mystery 9/22/16
 Imprudence by Gail Carriger ***** Steampunk/paranormal 9/28/16
 Thrice The Brinded Cat Hath Mewed by Alan Bradley ***** 9/30/16
 A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Ziegleman and Coe **** Historical non-fiction 10/9/16
 Becoming Brigid by Lisa Shafer YA paranormal ***** 10/12/16
 Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova YA paranormal *** 10/14/16
A Season of the Witch: Magic & Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachussets by JW Ocker **** non-fiction, travel 10/20/15
 Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Clearly ***** (read many times as a child) MG historical 10/29/16
 Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake YA fantasy *** (non-ending) 11/3/16
 Cross Talk by Connie Willis ****** (fabulous!) sci-fi romance 11/6/16
 Inking by Carol Hepner *** non-fiction, crafting 11/7/16
 Scrapbooking Techniques for Beginners by Rebekkah Meier **** non-fiction, crafting 11/7/16
 Handmade Scrapbooks by Country Living **** non-fiction, crafting 11/12/18
 A History of Ambition in 50 Hoaxes by Gale Eaton **** non-fiction 11/25/16
 A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley **** cozy mystery 11/26/16
 Us Collector’s Edition: Fantastic Beasts **** non-fiction, film 11/26/16
 Cheddar Off Dead by Julia Buckley **** cozy mystery 11/27/16
 The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis **** cozy mystery 11/30/16
 Murder on the House by Juliet Blackwell **** cozy mystery 12/2/16
 Herald of Death by Kate Kingsbury **** cozy 12/15/16
 Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook by Rick Barba **** MG non-fiction, film 12/6/16
 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander (JK Rowling) **** MG/YA fantasy. 12/17/16
 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Original Screenplay by JK Rowling ***** YA fantasy, drama 12/8/16
 Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin (2nd time) **** YA alt history WWII 12/19/16
 Iron To Iron by Ryan Graudin **** YA alt history WWII 12/21/16
 Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco *** YA historical slightly steampunk 12/2716
 Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Pablo Hidalgo ***** non-fiction, film 12/28/16
 Readers’ Digest Extraordinary Uses For Everyday Things (92nd time) ***** non-fiction 12/30/16
 Desolation Flats by Andrew Hunt ***** historical mystery 12/31/16

Here's the list of manuscripts: (not a big list this year. Too many job changes affected my writing.)
Nerissa MacKay and the Secrets of the Seventeen Scrolls 7/3/16
Nerissa MacKay and the Secrets of the Seventeen Scrolls 10/2/16

Here's a partial list of books I tossed aside.  Often I didn't bother to write them down.  I'll try to do better at that in 2017.  (There are 9 books listed.)


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.  All the action happens in the chapter headings.  Seriously.  Chapter one is in present tense, a few teenagers lying on grass discussing the homework they’re not doing, and way too few dialogue tags -- so it’s confusing who’s saying what.  They disinterestedly watch some super-hero type kids run past, but they’re too bored to care much.  And I’m too bored with this book to continue reading it.  1/4/16
Serafina’s Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. It’s condescending and childish, more MG than YA.  The book trailer was way better than the book. 29 pgs. Jan, 2016
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Confusing. Unlikeable characters.  I can’t bring myself to care what happens to them.105 pages and the main conflict has as yet to be presented. Jan., 2016 YA fantasy.
The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher. non-fiction about Houdini’s exposing spiritualism.  ZZZZZZZ. 50 pages. 2/14/16
 The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. Pyle glorifies a life of crime, not adventure. Robin is a total rich, entitled, immature douchebag and the merry men are basically frat boys drunk in the forest, fighting each other and every other man who comes near in one huge testosteronefest. 38 pages. 2/16/16
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’d read multiple reviews raving about this book. But the first 30 pages are about an alcoholic girl who calls her ex-boyfriend and can’t remember it.  She’s stupid, the book is dismal.  Nothing happens in 30 pages.  Why should I keep reading?
Exit, Pursued By A Bear by EK Johnson.  A Winter’s Tale is a depressing enough story, but this one adds rape, so it’s really depressing.  I read a few chapters, then skimmed a few.  Ugh. 6/8/16
Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart. I’ve loved her non-fiction, but I found I couldn’t get into her characters at all.  Too annoying. 6/16/16
Before the Awakening  (Star Wars) by Greg Rucka. Sometimes a movie should not be made into a book.  about half the book. 7/10/16

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rogue One -- A Shakespearean Tragedy (SPOILER ALERT)

Today I went to see "Rogue One." I have come to the conclusion that the script is really a long-lost Shakespeare play -- because MORE FREAKIN' PEOPLE DIE IN THE MOVIE THAN IN HAMLET!!!! (In Hamlet, Horatio lives. Not gonna happen in this show.)
Holy crap!
If you haven't seen the movie yet, and if you tend to get emotionally involved in movies, this thing will wipe you out.
It's worse than Gandalf's dying (because we all knew he was coming back anyway), worse than Dumbledore's dying, worse than Han Solo's dying.
Important characters who die in Hamlet: (OH-- Uh, SPOILER ALERT, just in case you're not up on a 400-year-old play) King Hamlet, Claudius, Ophelia, Polonius, Laertes, Gertrude, and Hamlet.
That's 7. Horatio lives.
Important characters who die in Romeo and Juliet (Sigh: SPOILER ALERT): Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, Tybalt, Paris, and Lady Montague.
That's 6. Benvolio lives.
Important Characters who die in MacBeth (yes, all right SPOILER ALERT):
MacBeth, Lady MacBeth, Lady MacDuff, Banquo, several unnamed MacDuff Children, and Duncan.
That's at least 8. But MacDuff and both princes live.

Important characters who die in Rogue One (SPOILER ALERT)
Saw Gerrera, Bodhi Rook, Jyn Erso, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, General Merrick, Galen Erso, Lyra Erso, K-2SO, Cassian Andor, and Orson Krennic (but you want him to die).
That's 11. Nobody lives. Not unless you count the cameo of Princess Leia at the end, which is pretty gut-wrenching to see the day after Carrie Fisher died.
See? Rogue One could be a Shakespearean tragedy.

(By the way, I'd love it if someone could tell me how they did that. There's a clip of Leia that looks so much like 20-year-old Fisher that it's unbelievable. Was it really good CG? Was it an old, unused clip from 1977? Was it time travel? it was spiffy.)

I am now ready to huddle in a fetal position while I recover from this emotionally devastating movie.

UPDATE: at this source I found this interesting info about the Leia cameo: 

This is the big one, as it comes in the very last few shots of the film. The plans make it to the Tantive IV space-corvette and are delivered into the hands of a person wearing pristine white robes. The person turns around and, obviously, its Princess Leia Organa. And just like Tarkin, young Carrie Fisher has been recreated for her few seconds onscreen via CG. This shot is a big deal as it establishes even more about Leia Organa’s backstory; we now know that Leia was present during the entire battle over Scarif, and that she escaped on board the Tantive IV by the skin of her teeth. Even before we see Leia for the first time in “A New Hope” as she uploads the plans into Artoo, she’s already survived one harrowing space battle. We’ve always known that Leia’s tough as nails and a survivor, and this one scene in “Rogue One” just confirms that. And on top of all that, Leia gets the final line of the movie as she states, a smile on her face, that the rebels now have a new hope.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Thoughts On "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" (No Spoilers)

1. This is a LOT better than Cursed Child!  I think I'll have to nose about into some research and see if Rowling had a bigger hand in writing this script than she did Cursed Child.  Beasts does not have the plot holes or problems of breaking the rules of Rowling's magical world.
2. Love the 1920s setting!!  Fun!
3. There are very few children in this movie, and only one of them has even any significance.  Does this mean that the intended audience is adults?  Or that Rowling did not worry about having adults be the main characters in a show for children?
Newt is childlike enough, shy and unlikely to look people in the eye.  (That bothered me, incidentally.  I kept wanting him to look at people instead of past them!)  And, of course, there's no sex (a couple of kisses and one slightly sexual reference).  Still, it's weird to have a Harry Potter story without kids in it.
4. It was very interesting seeing a story from this world without knowing the plot first, and knowing that it was MADE to be a movie, not just a book ADAPTED (usually poorly) into a movie.  It will be interesting to read the script.
5. Rowling's distrust of government comes through in this tale again.  Was it her idea or someone else's to make the corrupt government official look like Mitt Romney?  I found that highly amusing. :D
6. There was no Easter egg at the end. :(
7. What happened to Modesty?  We last see her hiding in a corner, and then..... BIG CLIMAX SCENE.... and we never find out what happens to her. 
Unless, of course, her story continues in the next movie....... bump-bump-PAH!
8. Messages which were inserted into the film:
    A) Don't trust politicians.
    B) Beating kids is bad -- especially if they rebel and decide to get even.
    C) Religious extremists are evil cloaked in a facade of self-righteousness.
9. I liked how the wizarding world in America in the 1920s had women in powerful positions, which certainly was not true of the real world at the time.

Overall, it's a good show.  I will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out.

Friday, October 7, 2016

In Which I Rant Against Benevolent Patriarchy And Everyday Sexism

Warning: Rant Ahead. Do not read if you cannot handle feminism (i.e. the belief that women are people too).
Right now, I'm not disgusted with Trump after the leak of this video clip wherein he talks about married women as objects. After all, why is that really so much worse than all the rest of his talk about women? I think we all know what he thinks of women.
No, what's angering me right now is all these self-righteous men who've suddenly declared Trump over the line because of his comments about married women. Apparently, to them it was OK when he called other women bimbos and fatties and various other words that I think I won't type just now.
Get this tweet:

Mitt Romney Verified account
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world.

So lovely Mr. Morality Mittens is shocked... shocked! at Trump. But notice that Mitt uses POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES about women? "OUR wives and daughters." Obviously, he's talking to MEN in this tweet -- because it's the MEN who OWN these wives and daughters who should be shocked! Mittens Dearest doesn't actually acknowledge women in this tweet -- because they are objects and cannot feel.
Benevolent patriarchy is just as sickening as Trump's sexist remarks. I loathe Trump, but at least he admits he has no real respect for women; he's fairly up front about it. Mitt, however, clearly thinks he's on higher moral ground because he doesn't use "vile" words; he doesn't even realize that speaking about women as objects owned by men is sexist and repulsive.
Then there's wimpy Gov. Gary Herbert. He just tweeted that he is shocked... shocked!... by Trump. And he will not vote for him. But in the same tweet, he says he cannot vote for Hillary. Of course not. After all, she IS a woman! Gasp!
So, he'll vote for some libertarian wacko ... and the vote will help Trump. Disgusting. He can't bring himself to vote for the most qualified candidate we've had in ..... well, really EVER (who else has been a senator, Sec. of State, AND a President's wife to see the ups and downs of the office? NO ONE else who's ever run)... because she's a woman. Oh, and a Democrat. Her other sin.
Sexist crap.
I'd seriously rather listen to Trump's sick tape than listen to these hypocrites pretend they're better that Trump because they don't use ugly words against women, when if fact they are clearly putting themselves above women anyway.
End rant.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Sequel to Nerissa MacKay is ready for beta readers!

I just finished the last pre-beta reader edit of Nerissa MacKay and the Secrets of the Seventeen Scrolls!
As soon as I can make a decent cover (this is proving difficult; I've taken hundreds of pics, and I'm not happy with any of them), I'll have a proof made up and send it out to beta readers.

Here's the blurb for the back.  Comments/constructive criticism would be appreciated:

 Just hours after her discovery of an ancestor’s workshop, Nerissa sets the whole town on fire with gossip by using a refurbished automaton to announce some long-hidden secrets during opening weekend for her Auntie Jane’s Haunted Zoo.  When the automaton is stolen and the wife of the sheriff might know too much about the crime, Nerissa goes looking for justice on her own.

Keeping her dalliances with witchcraft to herself becomes harder when she must turn herself invisible more often.  Does Auntie Jane suspect anything?  And just how well can that strangely pale Eric see in the dark?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: My Thoughts As I Read It For the First Time

Before beginning: I can't wait!  After nine years, Rowling has given us MORE to the story, a part we never expected to get!
Oh wait. It says she didn't really write it; it's based on a STORY she wrote, so, probably one of those plot summaries she's been putting on pottermore.  Hmmm... That's not so exciting.
Also, is it "Curs├ęd Child" or "Cursed Child"?  No one seems to know.  I like the former better.
Act I:
First few scenes:
This is like a skimpy version of the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, only they're changing details.

Several scenes in:
What is it with Rowling at ages of characters?  Amos Diggory is an old man in a wheelchair?  Why?  Even if we assume he was 35 when Cedric was born, then add 18 years for Cedric's life and the 25 years since Cedric's death, that still only make s him 78.  Why is in he in a care center?  Why is he in a wheelchair?  He's not THAT old!  McGonagall's got to be pushing 90 -- at least!  And she's still teaching at Hogwarts!
This is like the whole "What happened to Harry's grandparents?" bit.  Both James and Lily were born in 1960 and had a child at age 20.  If their parents had them that young, then their parents should only be in their early 40s by the time James and Lily are killed in 1981, yet they are apparently ALL dead.  Even if their sets of parents were older -- let's say the parents were 35 when  they had kids -- that still means that all Harry's grandparents -- muggle and magical -- are only in their late 50s when he becomes an orphan.  Why are ALL of them dead so young?
And now Aunt Petunia has died.  Her age is never specified in the books, but she can't be more than a couple of years older than Lily, based on her naive reactions to Lily's abilities and her own jealousies.  So, if Petunia was born in 1958 and we've now got the Cursed Child script up to 2020 when her death is mentioned, then she's still only 62 at the time of her death.  Why so young?!

Still in Act I:
Wait.  Is Hermione the Minister of Magic?  Cool!  Or wait.  Maybe she isn't.  It's not very clear.

OK.  This is lame.  Some scripts are beautiful to read: Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde.  Some less so but still with great depth of character: Tennessee Williams.  This stuff, however, is like reading really bad fan fiction.  I've seen junior high kids who can write more engaging stuff than this.  It's positively sketchy, and there is ZERO characterization.
It's like a cartoon.  No wait.  I think Scooby Doo had more characterization going on than this script has.

The only reason for its existence is that everyone's desperate enough for more Harry that we're willing to stoop to this.  I certainly hope the actors are talented enough to bring life to this miserable script.

More to come........ (I WILL finish this!  I will!)

UPDATE: 8/14/16
I put off reading this because I was so disappointed, but I have now finished it.
It did get a bit better, but not much. It was like reading fan fiction.  And all the magic was dead.
I'm pretty sure I wish it had never been written.  Bleah.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


As the school where I have taught for the last 28 years prepared to be absorbed into the local high school, there was a great deal of moving, and we teachers stacked unwanted items into our Large Group Instruction Room (Note: if you're older than 35, it's what a multi-purpose room is now called.).  We were allowed to scavenge out anything we wanted before the rest was sent to the DI (Deseret Industries, the LDS thrift stores).   Mounds of books were there for the taking, and I took plenty!
Among the books were some from our teachers' library, and I grabbed a large pile of crime novels by Tony Hillerman.  With the help of the local public library's filling in the gaps for the novels missing in the stack, I've now read the nearly the first 10 in the series, so I've got a good feel for the recurring characters and the setting, as well as Hillerman's style.
Overall, it's a pretty good series -- obviously, or I wouldn't still be reading it ten books in and prepared to read the rest.  But Hillerman, in trying to make Navajos always the heroes, goes a little overboard with racial stereotyping of every non-Native American race.
Mostly, whites are stereotyped.  The white characters in the books are usually either portrayed as foolish for their wannabe Indian ways or else angry and unappreciative of the desert or of other cultures.  This is forgivable, I suppose, as the whole purpose of the series is to make readers more aware of Navajo life and culture, so I guess making whites the "Other" works.
But one of the main things of which Hillerman makes fun in nearly every book is that white folks can't tell one tribe from another, that "all Indians look the same."  (OK, fair enough.  I'm not sure I could tell a Cherokee from an Iroquois, but Navajos are usually pretty easy to spot.  One gets to be familiar with their genetic traits when one sees them around in Southern Utah enough.) He really pounds this theme.
This is why I found it hilarious that Hillerman totally and completely misses his own stereotyping -- probably actually racism at this point -- of Latinos in book 9, Talking God.
In the story, a middle-aged man has been murdered and his body has been left in the brush near a train track.  All identification has been removed from the body -- even his dentures have been taken -- so that the murderer cannot be traced through the victim.
Hillerman's two protagonists, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, are both working on the crime from separate angles.  Leaphorn learns from the Amtrack people that among the victim's possessions recovered from the sleeping compartment of the train were a couple of books in Spanish.  He also learns that the Amtrack employee who gathered up the victim's things is a man named Perez, who speaks Spanish and apparently had some conversation with the victim at a point or two before his murder.
Leaphorn, desperate for clues as to the victim's identity, grills Perez for two pages about everything the victim said or had in his room.  (Note: this book was written in the 1980s.  Apparently, it was not normal for people to have their names on their train tickets or to reserve sleeping compartments at the time, because Hillerman never has Leaphorn ask about that.)
Now, Leaphorn supposedly speaks some Spanish (later in the book he manages some fairly complex sentences, including the irregular formal command tense of the verb "to come"), but  he speaks only English to Perez.
Now, here's the irony: Hillerman, who for 9 novels has made fun of whites who think all Indians are the same, clearly thinks all Latinos (he calls them "Hispanos") are the same.  At no point does Hillerman have Leaphorn ask Perez or Perez volunteer his opinions as to where the murder victim is from.  Hillerman seems completely unaware that a Spaniard doesn't speak like a Mexican who doesn't speak like an Argentine who doesn't speak like a Cuban who doesn't speak like a Chilean (which is, incidentally, what the victim turns out to be, whereas Perez is likely to be Mexican if he's from the West or Puerto Rican or Cuban if he's from the East; either way, he'd have been able to tell by the victim's speech alone that the man was from Chile or Venezuela and from his looks that he was unlikely to be Peruvian -- as the victim was quite tall).  But Hillerman, he who makes fun of "all Indians are the same" clearly has "all 'Hispanos' are the same" in his own belief system.