Spain In Our Hearts, by Adam Hochschild (copyright 2016; quote is from pages 83-84 of the Mariner Books trade paperback edition, 2017) (note: try as I might, I could not type 'Bronte" correctly, but author Adam Hochschild, in tandem with whoever typed his book, is much more intelligent than I am, making sure the two dots are included above the "e" in 'Bronte', and he probably knows what those two dots are actually called. I did, however, learn how to ø today--doesn't help here, though.)
the Spanish Civil War is always stunning to read about--I love this author's style, I love the way the book is structured, I love the heroes he's focusing on...but I'm betting that the subject itself, no matter what book, what angle, can almost never be boring. when I visualize in my head what's being described--and that it actually happened--I'm just flabbergasted by the bravery, and the strangeness of it all! this book makes me want to read ten more books about this War, fiction, nonfiction...any good graphic novels, by chance? if you can imagine it happening in Spain between 1936 and 1939, it probably did happen. an amazing read, recommended to everyone.
my second Nonfiction pick for this month...because I did not get to one in May, and oh, the guilt, the guilt. plus this book calls to me. Spanish Civil War stuff has an especial attraction for me, after Hemingway, and a Spy novel, a while ago, that went there and rocked. text that I would actually read in a straight line only goes to page 376, then it's into Notes (when I need them), and then the Index etc. here I come again, Spain!
whenever a writer seems to be pushing me, strongly, into suspecting one particular character of malfeasance, I naturally form a wild side-suspicion to hedge my bets. I'm not even sure my "wild suspicion" in this instance would even make logical sense...but one little detail about a character's past has been gnawing at me, without much more to support suspecting murder, but we'll see. should finish this tonight!
a shocking development, caught me by surprise (then again, that's what shocking developments do, so I guess I'm not surprised that I'm surprised...); the only thing is: if the accident wasn't really an accident, it's hard to see how one particular character couldn't be guilty of something terrible. or things terrible. so, with something seeming sort of obvious, but with scads of pages yet to go, it now remains to be seen if there will be any big twists that stick a pin in the obvious.
I'm kinda loving this book now. I mentioned some early concerns about style, but I think maybe the author was guilty of a slightly stiff start-up--setting things up, introducing a lot of characters early (school reunion) while also hinting at a complex, tragic back-story, not having a beginning that allowed for emotional content, having to instead lead into scenes like that. now there's been a funeral and a scattering of ashes, people showing some cruelty in how they treat each other (whether they know it or not), a forbidden but completely understandable romance blooming, bitter characters trying to keep secrets...this author works best with scenes that force her to deal in emotions--emotions in characters, and emotions as they must be generated in the reader at this stage of the game. the overall whodunit aspect, and everything attached to it, is compulsive reading. and I love all the Scottish locales--Portobello, Edinburgh, Lewis, an island of the Outer Hebrides (I think I've got that right, the Outer Hebrides) called Eriskay, bairn/cannae/wee and other cool words floating through the dialogue. all this, and a dark nasty feeling to what lurks just under the surface...
her style of writing in this book lacks flair--the sentences, at times, just kind of hand stuff to you without seeming to come alive and shine--but I've kind of gotten used to that, and occasionally she snaps out of it. there's a sort of YA-style bluntness to it all. anyway, enough about that--what really works is the plot. there's nothing wrong with the story, the Mystery that is building up, as a guy who was convicted of the central "cold case"murder has been announced as released from prison because revisiting the evidence proves he didn't do it (sounds like a loathsome guy, though)! this, and other twists and hints, plus characterization, have got me hooked. addendum: Rory is a complete sod...but did he kill, all those years ago?
I sampled just a bit of this tonight, even though I'm a bit tired and already read a lot earlier, because it was just too tempting to leave alone. really wanted to go at least 50 pages, but my attention span is juuust starting to flag, so I'll do the book a fair turn before things stop registering. I can say that, even this early on in the page count, I must know what happened to Shona all those years ago, I must see what happens between Tom and Sarah, and I must keep an eye on all these other supposedly nice people who came to the weird class-reunion (who were all mostly around way back when something terrible happened; time for the truth to come out at last, methinks).
more of this lunacy--Vaughan seems to perpetually sabotage any deep meaning I can find in this by just having fun and bumping off characters. the most thoughtful immaturity you can find out there. and the art is swell!
off and running along the streets, ledges, rooftops, and secret passages of Radiant City...with Mister X! a number of people contributed to this character's adventures over the years, so I've got Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, and Seth chiming in later. right now, it's all about Jaime, Gilbert, and Mario Hernandez--best known for Love And Rockets. I really love the look of films like Brazil and The Trial, plus anything Fritz Lang, so visually, this is a treat for me.
I'm conflicted; not sure whether it'll be this, or Mister X, to get tomorrow morning started. this does sound great, though...
going strong--I should get this all wrapped up tonight. when it comes to the Fredric Brown In The Detective Pulps series--at least of those I've sampled (mainly way back in the past, when they were first available)--I would not, so far, rate this collection of short stories ahead of Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter, or The Freak Show Murders. those contained beauts! this one ranks around the level of Homicide Sanitarium, which was full of terrific material, and I would say definitely better than Before She Kills which I recall as being merely above-average. some of these collections--and pondering whether to acquire them now that they are rare collectors' items--are a bit outside my price range, so I was rather shocked to get this one for a reasonable price...relatively speaking. still have Madball stashed, and that's a novel. supposed to be a great one; but then, he's Fredric Brown! lastly: the story in here called "Thirty Corpses Every Thursday", which lends its title to the whole book, is so far the creepiest and the best. a very disturbing murderer.
Mister X! calm, cool, and now...collected into this volume by Dark Horse. always was curious about this material, always passed it by, and now it's back!
SOOO much fun! loving my return to this world--only something like this could make me put off Fredric Brown short stories for another day.
shall wander away from the Russian countryside later today; it's been a strange but entertaining experience.