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Walking Through the Fire by Laurel LeeWalking Through the Fire by Laurel Lee

As you can tell from the cover of this book it was written back in the day. This book was written by a woman named Laurel Lee. It’s her journal of her hospital stay and struggle with Hodgkin’s disease.

Laurel is still quite young. She’s pregnant with her third child. The doctors do not have good news for her. After some tests they have diagnosed her with Hodgkin’s disease, which we now refer to as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They suggest that she get an abortion at seven months pregnant, but she refuses. This pushes heavy treatment back until after the birth of her child, but some treatment is started before hand.

Laurel researches everything she can about her disease. She is listed as stage II when first diagnosed. She knows all the figures of the day. Her labor is induced and her baby is born healthy even with some doubts from the medical community. Laurel has no time to rest from her labor. Heavy medical treatment is started right away. Laurel receives both radiation and chemotherapy. She is in and out of the hospital with a variety of roommates and fellow sufferers. The staff all come to know her very well. Her doctors develop close relationships with her.

In the meantime her young daughter must go and live with her grandmother because Laurel cannot take care of her and her husband cannot care for three young children by himself. Laurel’s older two children play doctor at home and some stuffed animal or doll always has Hodgkin’s disease. She comes home from a particularly long hospital stay to find everything rearranged around her house. Nothing is the same. Her husband spends all his time with the baby sitter.

Laurel continues her treatment. There are surgeries, tests, and biopsies. Laurel’s hair falls out. She is very weak. She pretends to be pregnant in the hospital just to get out of her room for a little while. Her children grow to live with her absence, but her husband does not. He tells her they are living in different worlds. Laurel soon finds herself staying with friends instead of her family. She is disappointed when her husband doesn’t show up to take her out on a country drive. One day he asks for a divorce. Laurel doesn’t have anywhere to go really, but someone offers her a scholarship to a bible study school. Laurel decides to go and live her life as a single mother in remission.

What I liked

Laurel’s journey is a difficult one. She has to choose between getting treatment for herself and having an abortion or choose carrying her pregnancy to term and not getting treatment right away. If Laurel had terminated her pregnancy maybe she wouldn’t have had to have gone through so many procedures, but she also wouldn’t have her daughter Mary. Laurel is stubborn and I like that about her. I liked learning about the things she went through even if they were difficult. This was a time when our treatment of cancer wasn’t as advanced as it is now.

Laurel is a creative person. I really liked that she illustrated and wrote about her treatment. I think it probably made it easier for Laurel and it let other people know what the world of cancer treatment was like. At the time it wasn’t something that was overly discussed.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like Laurel’s husband. What kind of a jerk divorces his wife after she has cancer treatment? Wedding vows do actually say, “In sickness and in health.” Laurel’s jerk of a husband took up with the baby sitter.

I get that sometimes illness is too much for people to handle. I know these people hurt because their family member is ill and they don’t want to watch them suffer and potentially die, but, I really don’t sympathize with them. You are supposed to be there for your family members no matter what. That means if they’re puking up their guts because they’re having chemotherapy then you’re supposed to be there helping them hold their hair out of the toilet, if their hair hasn’t already fallen out from chemotherapy.

I’m sorry, I think you’re kind a jerk if you leave a family member with an illness like this. I used to work in a nursing home. I knew the absences of family members as their grandparents gradually slid into decline and eventually death. People try to distance themselves from the suffering. You not only hurt your family member when you do this, but you hurt yourself as well. One day you’ll regret not being there for a family member going through cancer treatment or spending their last days with them.

Laurel is alive at the end of this book. She also wrote another one, which I’m going to read as well. We’re going to see how Laurel does with life after her husband divorces her at probably the worst time ever.

Overall

I think Laurel is quirky and strong. I’m looking forward to see how she handles the rest of her life.



cancer, divorce and cancer, hodgkin’s disease, hodgkin’s lymphoma, laurel lee, pregnant with cancer, three children, walking through the fire, Walking Through the Fire by Laurel Lee
Health, Lee-Laurel, Memoir, Non-Fiction
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The Drawing of the Three by Stephen KingThe Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

I am continuing on with this journey into the world of Stephen King and getting even deeper into weirdness. This book is the second installment of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. In the first installment we met Roland, who lived in a strange world and lived by the law of the gun. He met a man in black and that man said he would draw three. Roland isn’t entirely sure what this is yet.

Roland is on a lonely beach. Roland is attacked by giant lobsters. They take some fingers. They injure him, but Roland goes on. He soon finds a door standing on the middle of beach. When the door opens it is not the other side of the beach, but a completely different place. Roland can see through someone else’s eyes. He has been told that this man will battle a demon named heroin. Roland can tell. The man is shaky. The man is looking for a fix. The man is running drugs on an airplane.

Roland knows he will get caught if he doesn’t have help. Roland speaks to the man in his mind. The man is named Eddie. Roland is able to instruct the man on getting past security safely, if a bit detained. He then goes with Eddie to the drop off point. They have Eddie’s brother, Henry. Things get hairy real fast. Roland is able to walk out of Eddie’s mind and into the world. He helps Eddie vanquish all the drug lords and brings Eddie back with him to the beach.

Roland is sick and Eddie takes care of him. They walk and walk. They come to another door. There is a woman in this world. She’s shop-lifting. She is almost caught, but Roland brings her back just in time. She’s in a wheelchair. When she comes back on the other side she is not the same woman. Roland warns Eddie that there are two women inside of one body. The woman switches between Odetta and Detta. Detta is violent and threatens to kill both Eddie and Roland. Terrible things have been done to Odetta in her life. Those terrible things made her who is she is today, two people. When she was a child someone hit her in the head with a brick, which caused two people to grow inside of her mind. Another time, Odetta was pushed in front of a subway car and lost the use of her legs.

Upon arrival at the third door, Roland goes through and Detta is on the prowl. She catches Eddie while Roland is away. Roland meets his final person. He’s vile and it turns out he plays an important role in not only Eddie’s life by Odetta’s as well. Roland finds a way to make this man pay for what he has done. In the end Roland continues on towards the tower.

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen KingWhat I liked

I liked this idea of being in someone else’s head. What would you see if you could jump inside of someone else’s brain? To what extent could you control that person? These are all really interesting scenarios. Roland was essentially able to see the demons that possessed these people that no one else could see. Sure, someone might have been able to tell that Eddie used heroin, but why did he do it? What logic followed his actions? Someone might have suspected that there was something wrong with Odetta, but there was no way they could truly know without being inside her brain. Nobody knew of the last man’s terrible secret. Each door Roland meets has a demon.

I think it’s an interesting concept. We all have our own personal demons, some are more obvious than others. We try to hide the things of ourselves that we think may cause others to look down on us. Eddie didn’t really want anyone to know he was using heroin. Odetta didn’t even want herself to know that she had multiple personalities. The last man was never going to tell anyone his secret. It would have made him appear cruel to those he was trying to appeal to.

Stephen makes fighting personal demons a literal fight in this book. Roland is kind of like the Psychologist Terminator of mental illness. You’re going to get over this mental illness whether you want to or not. He’s kind of like a personal trainer for your brain.

What I didn’t like

I’m tired of weird lobsters. I’m actually wondering if Stephen had gotten some bad lobster before writing this book. I hate lobsters! I’m going to make them the bad guys in my story! I’ll show you food poisoning Red Lobster!

I haven’t read the whole series yet so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t necessarily think this story furthered Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower. It really seemed like this was more of a spirit journey rather than any real progress to the Dark Tower. Maybe Roland really did need to learn whatever these three people had to teach him. I’m just not seeing the practicality of it yet and I may be wrong on this.

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen KingOverall

Da-da-chum?

da-da-da?

da-da-da?

How bizarre, how bizarre, ooohh baby,


 
detta, Eddie, gunslinger, lobsters, new york, odetta, roland, stephen king, subway, the dark tower, the dark tower by stephen king, the dark tower series, the drawing of the three, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King, train
Fantasy, Fiction, King-Stephen, Mystery, Science Fiction
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The Greek Interpreter

The Greek InterpreterThe Greek Interpreter

This isn’t exactly what I signed up for. How many times have we said that in our lives? In this tale an interpreter really has no idea what he has gotten himself into.

John and Sherlock are talking one day, blah, blah, blah, when Sherlock mentions that his brother really is much smarter than he is. John is a little surprised because he had assumed that Sherlock had congealed in a puddle of goo somewhere. He didn’t really think that Sherlock had parents or family in the traditional sense. Sherlock says he is related to the French artist Vernet.

Sherlock says that, yes, he has a brother. His name is Mycroft. He’s smarter than Sherlock, but he is lazy and he never exercises.  He works for the government on a special basis. He lives at a special club where smart men go to not talk to each other. If you speak three times, you are expelled from the premises. Sherlock asks John if he wants to meet Mycroft and John is all up for it.

At the Diogenes club they meet Mycroft outside, because you’re not supposed to talk on the inside. They’re all like how do you do, blah, blah, blah, but then Mycroft says that maybe John and Sherlock could assist him in a mystery of one of his friends. Mycroft brings another man to the conversation. His name is Mr. Melas. Mr. Melas is Greek, but is very good in many languages and acts an interpreter for tourists in the area, the government area as it happens to be. Mycroft and Mr. Melas have already taken out an ad in the paper, but it hasn’t really come to much and the police really can’t be of any help.

As it is, Mr. Melas was hired to be an interpreter by a man who giggles nervously. He was told he would be going to Kensington, but it soon appeared that they were not in fact going to Kensington. When Mr. Melas remarked on this fact the man in the cab with him took out a bludgeon and put it on the seat. Mr. Melas took this as a sign to shut up. The man’s name was supposedly Mr. Latimer.

Mr. Melas soon realized that he was a prisoner in this carriage. The windows were blacked out. He was going somewhere else entirely than he had been told. Mr. Latimer does not mix words in saying that Mr. Melas might as well go ahead and cooperate. They drove on for about two hours, but soon arrived at a house.

Inside the house there is another man. Mr. Melas’ purpose at the house was soon revealed. They needed him to translate for a Greek associate they had, who didn’t speak any English. Mr. Melas was brought to this man, but he had plaster all over his face, as to not be recognized. He was asked to sign a paper, but refused every single time, even after repeated requests. Melas soon snuck in other questions in his translation. Where was he from? Why was he here? The man never lets up and Melas is not able to learn the most important details about him, but does learn that his last name is Kratides.

A woman rushes into the room who is identified as Sophy. Sophy seems to be related to the man and calls him Paul, but everyone is soon broken up. Melas is taken away, paid, and then dumped far away from home. He has to take a train to get back to his own area of London. He was sworn to secrecy, but spoke with Mycroft.

Sherlock says that he will try other channels of obtaining information that Mycroft has not used because he is lazy. The group parts ways. Sherlock sends a bunch of telegrams, but they go home to find Mycroft waiting on them sitting comfortably inside the Baker Street apartment. He says that someone has contacted him about the newspaper ad. The reply says that Sophy Kratides lives in Beckenham in a house called The Myrtles.

They decide to call inspector Gregson and then go to The Myrtles. They wanted to also pick up Mr. Melas, but he was gone. Someone said a gentleman had come for him.

They arrive at the house, only to find it seemingly empty and evidence that a heavily laden carriage has departed from the property recently. They go into the house anyway. There they find in a room, lots of smoke. It seems it’s smoke or some kind of poisonous gas. Inside the room are two men. When they are pulled out, one man is Paul Kratides and the other is Mr. Melas. The two men were injured and sick.

The story finally comes out. Sophy was visiting England, she found a boyfriend in Harold Latimer, who convinced her to stay with him. He wanted to get her wealth, but her brother would not sign for her. They had plastered his face to make him unrecognizable, but his sister saw through the disguise. When the villains learned that the man would not sign anything over, they tied them up and left. Months later a newspaper had an article about two Englishmen who had apparently stabbed each other in quarrel and were dead. There was no word about Sophy.

The Greek InterpreterObservations

Sherlock mentions a concept called atavism. This concept basically means generations down a line pick up a trait from generations previous. As an example, let’s say seven generations back one of your ancestors was born with six fingers on each hand and then your baby was born with six fingers on one hand. This concept is both a biological concept and a cultural concept. You could choose to wear the same type of clothes that your great-great-great-great-grandfather wore or adopt practices or traditions you know the family used to have.

There is actually a French artist named Vernet. The Vernet family actually held several generations of artists. So there is not one Vernet, but at least three. From the dates, I would assume that Sherlock’s grandmother was sister to the youngest Vernet, Carle Vernet. Now here’s the thing about Vernet’s real-life sister, she was executed, by Guillotine, during the French Revolution. After his sister was killed, he no longer practiced art. So, again, Arthur just supposed about some of the things he mentions. He didn’t actually research them. I don’t think Sherlock’s grandmother was executed during the French Revolution. I also don’t think Arthur would choose to have Sherlock extol the virtues of a painter who quit painting after his sister died.

There are a lot of roads and locations mentioned in this story, so we’re going to have a list.

  1. Pall Mall-real. It’s in the Charring Cross area and Convent Garden, which has been previously mentioned in the Sherlock tales.
  2. Whitehall-real. It’s one of the streets the branches off of the Charing Cross Circle.
  3. St. Jame’s-real. St. Jame’s is actually the region of London that contains Pall Mall Street. There is also a St. Jame’s Square and a St. Jame’s Park.
  4. Carlton-The Carlton Club is a real thing, but is not on Pall Mall Street. It was founded in 1832, serves an exclusive clientele. It serves as a house for some of its members as well, just like the Diogenes Club.
  5. Diogenes Club-not real. Arthur made this one up, perhaps to mimic something like the Carlton Club. In fact, Arthur states that Mycroft was instrumental in founding the Diogenes Club. Diogenes was a Greek philosopher.
  6. Northumberland Avenue-real. It’s another road that branches off the Charing Cross Circle. It was named after the Dukes of Northumberland and is home to many governmental offices.
  7. Kensington-real. Kensington is a region of London. It’s on the other side of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Remember the story about the Serpentine? It’s in that area.
  8. Charing Cross-real. Charing cross isn’t only a traffic circle, but a monument. Today there is a statue of Charles I, but there used to be an Eleanor cross there. There were twelve Eleanor crosses in total. They were built in commemoration of Eleanor the wife of King Edward I. Each cross memorialized the nightly resting place for Eleanor’s body upon its burial journey. The monuments were originally wood, but later replaced with stone. Only three of the monuments remain in England.
  9. Wandsworth-real. Wandsworth is another area of London. It’s next to Wimbledon. Wimbledon is where my road is at.
  10. Clapham Junction-real. It’s a train station in Wandsworth.
  11. Victoria-real. Victoria is another small area of London and probably would have been the closest train station to Pall Mall street for Mr. Melas to get to.
  12. Beckenham-real. It’s another area of London.
  13. Lower Brixton-real. It’s another area of London, but not before mentioned in any of our Sherlock stories.
  14. The Myrtles-not real. Arthur made this one up.

The Greek InterpreterThemes

Sometimes your choice of partner can affect your entire family.

In theory, your choice of boyfriend/girlfriend/Smizmar/whatever, shouldn’t affect your family; it really shouldn’t. You date this guy and your family is not affected. Your family doesn’t have to change the way they do things. They don’t start eating different foods. They just set one extra place at the dinner table when you come over to visit. In theory, you would think that’s how it worked. They just accept that this new guy is here. They don’t bother him. He doesn’t bother them. The only person that really has to change their habits is you, but that’s not how it always works.

Maybe your boyfriend is a jerk. Maybe he calls you names and gets in arguments with you all the time and your family has to spend hours comforting you after one of his rampages. Maybe he’s got a criminal record and can’t get a job so your family is helping to support you two. Maybe he’s a registered sex offender so he can’t be around little kids and someone else has to be present at all times if you’re baby-sitting your nieces and nephews. Maybe he’s a kleptomaniac and your family has to lock up all their valuables when he comes over. Maybe he’s an alcoholic and he drinks the mouth wash at your mom’s house.

Sophy had no idea what she was getting herself into, but according to Sherlock’s theory, she’s pretty good with a knife. Her brother was kidnapped, tortured, and then he was almost murdered. Why? Would this have happened otherwise? If Sophy had dated a nice olive oil salesman would her brother have been kidnapped? No, unless olive oil salesman belonged to the mafia, then maybe there would be a kidnapping. Her brother was in this situation because of her choice in partner. She picked this guy and it turns out he’s a d…despicable person.

You really do have to consider your extended family sometimes when you’re picking out a guy or a girl to start dating and potentially marry and/or shack up with. My family is awful at this. Criminal records, the possibility of being married to more than one woman at once, illegal aliens, no job, no driver’s license, and alcoholism are just a few of the things members of my extended family have had to put up with in the partner choices of my cousins. Who suffers with these choices? My cousins, that’s for sure, but also my cousins’ siblings, my cousins’ parents, sometimes even me. One bad boyfriend can have far-reaching effects on a family.

We all have that person in our family, who has that boyfriend or girlfriend who is different, but when the boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous in some manner, lots of family members suffer, sometimes in very bad ways. So think about that the next time you want to date that guy who is a sex offender, but it was just that one time in college. He may talk the talk and seem like an ok guy, but that sex offender charge is going to affect you and your family. Do you really want Grandma living with all the worries of having her granddaughter dating a sex offender? You may not care, but when you grow up and wise up a few years, you might really regret what you put your family through.

Overall

He’s  bad news, honey. Don’t go out with him.



brother, charing cross, diogenes club, greek, john watson, london, mycroft, mycroft holmes, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, sister, The Greek Interpreter, The Greek Interpreter sherlock holmes, The Greek Interpreter sir arthur conan doyle
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes
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The Resident Patient

The Resident PatientThe Resident Patient

What happens when a suicide isn’t really a suicide? That’s the easiest way to murder someone and get off right? Make it look like a suicide; put the gun in their hand; make it look as if they hung themselves. We see this practice not only on tons of television shows, but in real life.

Sherlock and John are sitting in Baker Street on a rainy day in October when they decide to go out for a walk. They return several hours later to find a carriage waiting at Baker Street for them. Sherlock determines the man waiting is a doctor. They go up and find a man named Percy Trevelyan and he is a doctor. This doctor has a strange case that he comes to present to John and Sherlock. John recognizes the name and asks if Percy has written a book on lesions. It turns out that Percy has written a book on lesions, but being smart doesn’t pay the bills.

Percy gives the story that he could not open his own practice after completing medical school and writing his book. A man approached him with an offer. This man’s name was Blessington. He proposes that he will front the money to set up Percy’s practice. He will rent the building. He will buy the supplies, and Percy should return to him 75% of his fees and Percy is to keep %25 in order to repay the loan. Percy really doesn’t have any other options and he is in fact set up rather nicely with Blessington.

Blessington becomes one of his patients. It seems he suffers from a heart condition. He lives on Brook Street with Percy. Percy also lives there and sees his patients there. The arrangement has worked out really well for both of them over the past several years.

In the days past it seems that Blessington is unnecessarily concerned about a robbery quite a ways away from the house. Percy doesn’t really think anything of it. One day two men come in. One claims to be a patient, while the other claims to be his son. They claim to be some sort of Russian aristocracy and the story is that the older of the two suffers from epilepsy. While in the examination, the older gentlemen suffers from what sounds like a petty maul seizure. Percy goes away to find some nitrite of amyl because he heard that might help a person who is having a seizure. When he returns, no one is there.

Blessington had been out on a walk, but comes back. The two men come back again on a following day, again, while Blessington was out. The men say they apologize for leaving. It was a misunderstanding. They leave again. Blessington comes back and declares that someone had been in his room. It’s true there are large footprints in the carpet there.

This is the point that Percy is at. John and Sherlock go to Brook Street to see Blessington. Blessington pulls a gun on them and threatens them. Percy says they’re friends and the gun is put away. Blessington has a box and he says it’s where he keeps his life savings because he doesn’t trust banks. Sherlock says he’s not telling the truth and says he can’t do anything unless Blessington wants to tell the truth. Sherlock and John go home.

Sherlock says it’s clear the two supposed Russian men are after Blessington for some reason and that the seizure was a fake. John suggest that maybe Dr. Percy is in on all of this, but Sherlock doesn’t really think so.

The next morning John and Sherlock are summoned to Brook Street very early in the morning. There they find Percy who says that Blessgington has committed suicide. It seems he has, but Sherlock says he was murdered. There are some odd objects in the room, a screwdriver and some screws. Several cigars have been smoked in the room, seemingly by different people. Sherlock says there had been three people there. Two of them were the supposed Russian men, while another worked inside the house. He had learned that the page had only recently come into employment at the household. He was also nowhere to be found. Sherlock says if the identity of these men can be figured then the crime will be solved.

Sometime later three men are named. Their names are Biddle, Hayward, and Moffat. They’re members of the Worthington bank gang, of which there used to be five members. One man was hanged on conviction of his crimes, but that was only because one of the men in the group turned informer, a man named Sutton, who up until recently called himself Blessington. It seems it was a crime of revenge. The three murderers are never heard from again.

The Resident PatientObservations

Arthur wasn’t really short on his descriptions of crime scenes. He by no means makes them as bloody as some of our books and television shows do today, but he’s still graphic. I had kind of a hard time reading the scene in which Blessington is found, supposedly having committed suicide, because there has been a recent death in my circle of people and the whole idea of it is just really fresh in my mind. I’m actually kind of glad Blessington turned out to be murdered rather than having committed suicide.

John Watson uses a phrase I’ve never heard before, ” Between Scylla and Charybdis,” which is basically a fancy way of saying, “between a rock and a hard place,” or, “choose the lesser of two evils.” In mythology Scylla and Charybdis were sea monsters, but not really. Scylla was a rock shoal on one side of the strait of Messina and Charybdis was a whirpool on the other side of the strait of Messina. Basically this was a fabled dangerous strait to navigate for sailors. If they tried to avoid one danger, they would most assuredly have to face the other.

Arthur actually refers to Edgar Alan Poe in this story, which is interesting. Many say that Arthur may have very well based Sherlock Holmes off of Poe’s character C. Auguste Dupin from The Murders of Rue Morgue.

The Resident PatientJohn has two portraits in his possession that are mentioned by Sherlock in this story. One is of General Gordon and the other is of Henry Ward Beecher. General Gordon was a famous British war hero essentially. John formerly belonging in the military, would most likely have admired someone like General Charles Gordon very much. Charles Gordon was something like the Chuck Norris of his day. Henry Ward Beecher was a famous abolitionist. His sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. John is apparently of the abolitionist sentiment, that was before his time though. These stories take place in the later 1800s, not the mid-1800s when abolition was a thing that was actually going on. Most likely, these two men were something like John’s most admired people.

Brook street is a real street in London. It’s not in one of the vicinities that we’ve been reading about before in the Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s near Grosvenor Square. It’s also not too far from Cavendish Square, which has been mentioned in the Sherlock stories before, including this one.

At first, while reading this story, I thought that catalepsy was just another name for epilepsy. It’s not. Catalepsy is not a condition in and of itself; it’s a symptom characterized by muscle rigidity and decreased sensitivity to pain. The person in question also may not respond. Think catatonic. The description of it very much sounds like a petty maul seizure. Catalepsy does actually manifest itself in relation to epilepsy, but might also be present in Parkinson’s disease sufferers, people who are going through cocaine withdrawal, people treated with certain antipsychotic medications, and people going through a large emotional shock.

The drug Percy wants to treat this supposed Russian noble with is what we today use to treat heart attacks. We call it Amyl Nitrite these days and not nitrite of amyl. It’s a vasodilator, which means, when administered, it’s going to lower your blood pressure and relax your muscles.

I don’t think the Bruce Pinkerton Prize as mentioned in this story is a real thing.

Now, you may think it weird that Percy decides to move into his new position on Lady’s day. Is this guy trying to insinuate that Percy is somehow a woman and therefore needs a womanly discount? Nope, that’s not it. Lady-day used to be a fairly common practice in England. It happened four times a year. This was the day your hired your servants on. This was the day that contracts between landowners and tenants would be up. The days roughly coincided with the equinoxes and solstices. Basically, there used to be four busy days a year in which England did a heck of a lot of business. It makes sense that Percy would start his new business on Lady’s day.

There was actually a ship named Norah Creina. It was a paddle steamship. It didn’t tragically sink, but was scrapped.

The Resident PatientThemes

We make up all these crazy stories about the witness protection program, but it turns out there is actually a need for it. If Blessington had such a thing as the witness protection program, he wouldn’t be dead right now. The authorities in question should have done a better job at thanking him for turning informer on this gang. No wonder the man had a heart condition. He was constantly worried that the other gang members were going to seek revenge and murder him, which they did.

They also chose a very prominent method of murder. They wanted to make it look like a suicide. How many times have you been watching a movie and the investigators find a gun placed in the hand of the deceased only to find out that there is no way they could have shot themselves at said angle with that hand? Some theorize that perhaps Lewis Merriwether’s(of the Lewis and Clark expedition) death was a suicide, but if so, he shot himself twice. People who are committing suicide usually don’t shoot themselves twice. For all the times this method doesn’t work, there are plenty of times in which it does work. Sometimes a death is a ruled a suicide when it was really murder.

It can be very difficult to tell that a person hasn’t actually committed suicide. If the perpetrator has the fingerprints in the right places and other things in the right angles, then it can be very, very difficult to tell that this person was murdered. This is where our modern-day understanding of forensics and physics come into play. Was this person really strong enough to do this? Is someone else’s DNA on the crime scene? What’s that bloody looking stuff under the deceased’s fingernails?  The deceased had a bad knee and couldn’t climb X number of steps, why was he found at the top of more than X number of steps?

Sherlock helped this man’s death be written as a murder rather than a suicide. You may not think that’s a big deal, but it is. The 1800s were still an age in which people were really superstitious about suicide. They would cover it up. They would make up a story. Oh, she’s so clumsy, leaving the stove on when she was cleaning it, always so forgetful. She didn’t mean to kill herself. At one point in time, people who committed suicide weren’t allowed to be buried in the graveyard with everyone else. If you died of good old-fashioned syphilis, doesn’t matter what you did to get it, you could still be buried in the fenced graveyard with everyone else, but if you were bi-polar and hung yourself, you had to be buried in the cemetery outside of the fence.

There are real-world connotations and superstitious connotations to being buried outside of the fenced graveyard. In a superstitious sense, your former peers believed that you had lost your immortal soul by taking your own life. You would not be with them in heaven. You would go to Hell or limbo, or whatever it is you believed in. They would shun your family. Something just wasn’t right about that guy, maybe the rest of the family is like that too, maybe they caused it. In a real-world sense, graves outside of the fenced in graveyard were more likely to be robbed, remember, we’re still in a time when people went grave robbing for not only your valuables, but also for your body itself. There was a very large black-market for dead bodies in the medical community at one point.

Of course, our poor Blessington isn’t around to reap any of the benefits of being buried in the church yard, but if he had had family, Sherlock would have helped them out a great deal. As it is, Percy will probably be making all of Blessington’s funeral arrangements.

Overall

Poor, poor Blessington. I’m glad he at least found a sort of friend in Percy towards the end. It seems he was living a somewhat noble life and had repented of his days of crime.



amyl nitrite, blessington, brook street, c auuste dupin, catalepsy, cavendish square, doctor, edgar alan poe, faked suicide, general charles gordon, harriet beecher stowe, henry ward beecher, john watson, murder, percy, russian, sherlock, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, suicide, The Resident Patient, The Resident Patient sherlock holmes, The Resident Patient sir arthur conan doyle
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes
One-elevenbooks

The Crooked Man

The Crooked ManThe Crooked Man

“We’ve caught you in the act Mr. Wood, no use trying to deny it.”

“Maybe you should have knocked first. This is my apartment. You two weirdos just barged in here.”

“We’re investigating. We don’t need to knock.”

That’s not what happened.

Here’s what happened. John is sitting at home; it’s getting pretty late. He’s smoking a pipe and reading a book, when there is a knock on the door. John expects it to be a patient, but it’s not. It’s Sherlock. Sherlock wants to spend the night because he knows John has a guest room built for a bachelor. There is no hat on the hat rack, so Sherlock knows that John does not have any guests. Sherlock asks John if he can go to Aldershot the next day. John says he can; screw being a sensible hobbit–he wants to go on an adventure. Wrong story.

Sherlock says if John is not too sleep he will tell him about the case he’s working on. John says, “No, Sherlock it’s only midnight. I’m not tired at all. I had about five-hundred patients today whining about this or that, but I’m not tired.” Sherlock says, “That’s just dandy,” and he begins. He obviously doesn’t get sarcasm. Ah, Sherlock and Sheldon Cooper would get along really well sometimes.

Sherlock starts off by talking about an Irish army regiment called the Royal Munsters. I immediately thought of the TV show, The Munsters, but apparently that’s not what Sherlock is talking about. Sherlock goes on about how one man from this group married another military man’s daughter. The man, Barclay, seems devoted to his wife, Nancy, but Nancy doesn’t necessarily seemed devoted to him.

The other night Nancy went out to a local meeting with a neighbor. When she came back, the maid heard an altercation in their room. She went to find the key to unlock the door but could not. Soon they heard screams and shouts. Someone finally managed to climb in through the window because nobody could find the key. Inside they found Nancy senseless and Barclay on the floor dead. There was a large wound at the base of his skull. The key could not be found in the room. A locksmith was called. Barclay’s body taken. Everyone assumed that Nancy killed her husband.

It was determined that Mr. Barclay died from…blunt force trauma. Hahahaha oh Arthur! Mr. Barclay apparently had an assortment of weapons in the house and it was assumed that maybe the murder weapon came from within his own house. Sherlock has already been to Aldershot once. There he questioned all the servants. The maid says she heard her mistress say the name David. Nobody in the room was called David.

Mr. Barclay does not look peaceful in death and, in fact, looks as if he might have died of a terrible fright. It is assumed he saw his death coming, but if he died from blunt force trauma…hahahaha–to the back of the head, how would he have seen it coming?

Sherlock examined the outside of the house. It appears there had been man standing outside when this fight went on. Maybe he was the murderer. It also appears he had some sort of strange animal with him which was low to the ground and long. Nobody can place the animal.

Sherlock learned more. He learned that Nancy went out with a woman named Miss Morrison that evening. Sherlock tracked down Mrs. Morrison and questioned her. She said she swore not to tell anybody but if it helps Nancy get off of murder charges, she’ll tell. That evening when she and Nancy went out, they walked down a road named Hudson Street. There they ran into a man who appeared crooked and disabled. He looked at Nancy and recognized her for who she was. He knew she was Nancy. Nancy and this man talked for a bit, but the conversation was not long.  She did hear Nancy say that his name was Henry and she thought he had been dead for thirty years.

The next step in Sherlock’s case is to track down this man, who happens to be named Henry Wood. He makes his living by conjuring tricks and keeps a strange animal with him. This is why John is going back to Aldershot with Sherlock.

Sherlock and John go straight to Henry’s apartment. He lives on Hudson Street. They ask him to spill his guts. Sherlock already knows that Henry used to live in India. Henry finally agrees to tell the truth. He used to serve in the same regiment with Barclay. Both of them loved the same woman, Nancy, but she did not love Barclay. Henry used to be the better looking man. While out on a mission, Barclay caused that Henry should be sent out for help, but instead, he was delivered into the hands of an enemy through a trap. The regiment was rescued later, but Henry was left for dead. He wasn’t dead though. He was traded as prisoner through various peoples and eventually escaped. He learned a trade in his conjuring tricks. His animal is a mongoose named Teddy. Teddy catches a de-fanged cobra every evening for the entertainment of the local soldiers.

Henry was surprised to see Nancy. He was at the house on the night of the murder. He did go into the room when Barclay and Nancy were fighting. Apparently, she had confronted Barclay about Henry. She recalled the story of David and Bathsheba from the Bible in her accusations. Henry entered the house because he feared for Nancy’s safety. When Barclay saw Henry he fell down dead and hit his head on the way down. Henry had absent-mindedly taken the room key with him when he left. He feared incrimination if he stayed on the scene of the crime.

Later on the medical evidence showed that Barclay did in fact die of a heart attack.

The Crooked ManObservations

Aldershot is a real place, which is probably obvious to people from England, but I’m writing to a world-wide audience.  I want to make sure my readers can know what is fact and what is fiction. The reason Aldershot features so prominently in this military story is that Aldershot has been home to the army in England for quite a while. It’s a big military town. Active military men would have been stationed there, thus the reason why Henry felt he could make a living entertaining soldiers there. Barclay probably retired there, if he was retired, because it was a military town. He may have still held some small position in the military, probably clerical, and Aldershot was probably the best place to serve.

As far as the two streets mentioned in the story, Watt Street and Hudson street, I cannot find any record. It may be that A) I would actually need to be in country to obtain this information, B) Arthur made the streets up because he was not familiar with Aldershot, or C) the streets did exist at one time, but due to expansion of other streets and growth of the city and/or military community the streets are no more. Basically, we’ve come up on a dead-end as far as street names, so I can’t show you any maps of where these events took place, well, took place in the fictional world.

The Royal Munsters has a long and interesting history. I cannot recount all of it here. The group was formed when England took control of the private army belonging to the East India Company. The East India Company was a big deal. Don’t forget that name. The Royal Munsters were disbanded in 1929, officially, but some of the members went on to fight in the Irish Civil war. I don’t know that these guys were any particular brand of “badass,” but maybe they were.

Mongooses do actually get snakes. I don’t know that the snake would still be alive afterwards, but mongooses do kill snakes. They’re a ferret-like creature. Mongooses were actually imported into Okinawa to combat the local Habu population. A Habu is a poisonous snake. A mongoose doesn’t care what type of snake it is, but they’re famous for killing cobras, because both cobras and mongooses are from India; the idea has also been immortalized in the short animated film, but also story, called Rikki Tikki Tavi. The problem with the mongooses and the Habus in Okinawa is that the operate on different shifts. When one is awake, the other is not. So the mongooses don’t do as much Habu killing as expected. While living in Okinawa, it was not uncommon to see a mongoose run across the road.

There used to be a theme park, it wasn’t really a theme park, but it was a local tourist attraction that would have a  mongoose grab a habu every day. Someone decided that the practice was a bit barbaric and it eventually changed to just a video. One place even races a mongoose and a habu against each other in a swimming contest.

I doubt that Henry’s cobra would still be alive after all those mongoose attacks. They may look like a ferret, but they’re fierce little creatures. Sure a cobra is pretty scary, but it has a worthy foe in the mongoose. I’m also not sure you can de-fang a snake, but I’m not a herpetologist.

The Crooked ManThemes

This story refers to a Biblical story and that is the story of David and Bathsheba. Some of you may not be familiar with it, so I’ll summarize. David was up on his roof. He looked over and saw a beautiful woman bathing on a nearby roof(nobody had indoor plumbing). David decided she was hot stuff and took her for his own, even though he already had several wives. Bathsheba was already married though. David ordered her husband, Uriah, to the front lines of a battle, where he was killed so Bathsheba would be free to officially marry David. While David could marry more than one woman, Bathsheba could not marry more than one man. David didn’t want to share anyway.

This story is a bit of a more modern-day David and Bathsheba story. There are historical rumors that this sort of thing has also happened in relation to Marie Antoinette and Mary Boleyn, but they’re historical rumors and haven’t been verified to be any sort of fact.

Our Mr. Barclay thought he sent another man to his death and his reappearance was enough to give him a heart attack. Well, serves him right. You can’t go around sending people to their deaths because you want their girlfriend/wife/fancy terrier/whatever.  Don’t you think that is a stupid reason to end a life? You want their stuff, so you kill them. You didn’t actually do the killing so you think your hands are clean, but they’re really not. You did it intentionally. You knew it would be likely that they would die. It’s your fault. You are to blame. If you like their stuff so much, go get some of your own, and make sure it doesn’t belong to anybody else already. Pay for it honestly. Go find your own girlfriend.

Mr. Barclay is not a nice person. He’s one of those people who look nice on the outside. You think he’s great. He’s so handsome. He’s got so much money. He has this hot wife. He has it all. What you don’t see is what he really is. You don’t see that he stole his wife from someone else. You don’t see that he sent a man to his supposed death. You don’t see that he has deceived his wife for thirty years. This man was admired in his community. He was a big cheese.

Obviously, there were problems in paradise because Nancy didn’t return the same affection to her husband and also they didn’t have any children. Now, you may think that means that Nancy is infertile or that Barclay is infertile. That may not be the case. Nancy may have went down the road a few times to get more traditional birth control methods or she may have even chosen to end pregnancies because she couldn’t imagine having children with Barclay. Nancy may have had money, but due to societal expectations she couldn’t have just ran off. She thought Barclay was her only option; so she lived with it. She probably never felt right around him, but made up her mind to make the best of it.

I have no respect for someone like Mr. Barclay. He willingly sent a man to what could have been his death, stole his girlfriend, dragged her around for thirty years, lied to her, and robbed her of the person who she actually cared for. He turned her entire life upside down. He turned Henry’s entire life upside down. Is there anywhere in Henry’s story where he says he settled down with a nice Indian woman and had some babies? Nope. He lives in an apartment with a mongoose and a toothless cobra. That’s not a happy life. He did this all because he wanted to satisfy his needs and wants alone. What a jerk.

The lesson here that even if that upstanding member of the community seems pretty awesome, there may be some nasty secrets lurking around in their past.

Overall

I hope Nancy went out and bought herself some new dresses, sold that stuffy old house, and got herself a makeover, a vacation, whatever. That woman deserves some me time. Henry also deserves compensation, but I don’t know who would be morally obligated to give him any.


 
aldershot, barclay, cobra, flying munsters, henry wood, india, john, john watson, moongoose, nancy, sherlock, sherlock holmes The Crooked Man, sir arthur conan doyle, The Crooked Man, The Crooked Man sir arthur conan doyle
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes
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The Reigate Puzzle

The Reigate PuzzleThe Reigate Puzzle

Sometimes your neighbors are just really bad neighbors.

Sherlock is recovering for a very large strain after completing and solving an international case. John goes to visit him and finds him somewhat fine; he does need his rest though. John suggests that he and Sherlock go and intrude on a friend of his for a week or so. The friend says it’s ok if they just barge in and stay at his house. They go to Reigate in Surrey where they stay with John’s friend, the Colonel, not the one from KFC, his name is Hayter, because he’s a hater(not really).

Hayter apparently has an entire room full of weapons. Sherlock, John, and Hayter are in there one night while Hayter says something to the effect of, “I’m glad I have a sub-machine gun because the neighbor’s got their stuff pinched the other night. I’ll blow their darn heads off.” He doesn’t really have a sub-machine gun, I was making that up, he does, however, have a large Gatling gun, I’m also making that up.

Hayter goes on to say how this was such a peaceful neighborhood. The neighbor, Old Acton, had his house broken into. What was stolen was a random assortment of items. Sherlock doesn’t think this makes any sense at all, but he’s supposed to be resting. There are some particulars about a court case between Acton and the Cunninghams, but it doesn’t seem to relate to the robberies.

The next morning a servant bursts in and says it hasn’t been a robbery, but a murder. William the coachmen has been murdered; he works for the Cunninghams. The burglar didn’t take anything, but broke in through the pantry window. Then all of a sudden, the local law enforcement shows up. He asks for Sherlock’s assistance. The suspect was seen through the window by Mr. Cunningham and the other Cunningham also saw him through a window on the other side of the house. They rushed downstairs to see what the deal was. The murderer rushed away and over the hedge.

Nobody knows anything about why William was up. His mother is old and deaf and his death has sent her into shock. A piece of paper was recovered from the dead man. It states the time of night in which the robbery was committed and is clearly part of a larger piece of paper. Maybe there was some collusion between the burglar and William?

Sherlock says he wants to know more and leaves with the local inspector. He says he’ll be back in thirty minutes; he’s not. He wants John and Hayter to join him. They go to visit the Cunninghams.

Sherlock has determined from his wanderings with the inspector that the possessor of the rest of the piece of paper will be the murderer. William didn’t really get any letters. It was obvious that the paper was taken because it was incriminating. The Cunninghams don’t seem to be very pleased by the visit of Sherlock and several other people. They’re complaining about something when Sherlock falls over in a faint on his face. He was carried into the kitchen. He recovers soon afterward.

Sherlock asks the son where he was at. The burglar never got into the house. Alec says he was sitting in his dressing room(walk-in closet) smoking. He asks where the room is located in the house. He asks about the older Cunningham’s room. He asks if the lights were lit. Sherlock says that it seems nothing has been taken, but that the Cunninghams should offer a reward. Sherlock has already written up a statement saying that information about the robbery and murder committed at a quarter to ten Tuesday evening would be rewarded with fifty pounds. The older Cunningham says that’s wrong it was a quarter to twelve. He corrects this on the piece of paper himself.

Sherlock then asks to be shown over the house. It does look as if someone tried to force their way in. Sherlock says he wants to look out the windows of the bedrooms. When they go into the older Cunningham’s room, Sherlock knocks over a bowl of oranges and a pitcher of water. He blames it on Watson. When everyone looks up, Sherlock is gone.

All of the sudden everyone hears Sherlock yelling for help. They run to the source of the commotion and it’s inside Alec’s dressing room. There the two Cunninghams are trying to strangle Sherlock.

Sherlock says to arrest them because they’re guilty. He even says they look guilty. He also has the rest of the piece of paper. The piece of paper was found in Alec Cunningham’s dressing gown. Sherlock knew the handwriting of the older Cunningham matched up with the piece of paper because he received a sample when the reward was written out. He wrote the wrong time on purpose. They wrote the letter because they did not trust each other. The two Cunninghams had been arguing. He says the handwriting also says the two men were related, because there are two sets of handwriting on the paper.

He then determined that William was shot from a distance and not in a struggle. There were no powder marks. The case between the two families now comes into play. The break in at Acton’s house was in search of something specific. The court case between the two families was one of property lines, apparently, Acton actually owns a large part of the Cunningham property. They broke in looking for a document that would erase Acton’s claim on their land. They then grabbed random objects to make it look like a regular robbery.

Sherlock faked his faint. When the Cunninghams realized Sherlock was pilfering for clues they attacked him.

Sherlock says he will be much invigorated upon his return to Baker Street the next day.

The Reigate PuzzleObservations

Reigate is a real place in Surrey. It’s classified as a commuter region, which I think means that people will live there and go to work in London by train or freeway. The region has an interesting archeological significance, which could add an entirely new dimension to this Sherlock story if it were mentioned at all, but that significance may not have been known to Arthur. See, Arthur, if you had done a little more research you could have made this story about a family trying to protect a potentially history changing archeological find that had been found on their property, but the property lines were in dispute. They know the neighbor in question wants to take the land and make a golf course out of it thus losing the relics. That’s a heck of a lot more interesting than a simple land feud.

Back to Reigate, the name might mean roe-deer gate, because there was a deer park in the area. Deer parks are apparently a European thing. If you want a deer in the US, you go out into the woods and you shoot one.

More on Reigate, it’s been inhabited a long, long time and has some quarries. Stone has been quarried in the area, including flint that was used in Neolithic creations found in the area. Active quarries would have been a big deal to both the Cunninghams and Acton. If a quarry was to be lost to the Cunninghams and it was actively providing them with income, I can see why they would be so upset about this court case going on between them.

I have to wonder what has worn Sherlock out. John never points to a specific case that has gotten Sherlock down on his health, way to tease us Arthur.

Who sits in their closet smoking? Granted, a dressing room was not like our closets today. It was true that your clothes were in there, but there was probably also a window. There may have been a basin and ewer for you to wash your face in. If you lived in the days before indoor plumbing, you probably had a chamber pot in there. There was probably a settee for you to relax on. There would have been mirrors. It would have actually been a pretty nice space. I wish I had one. I need a dressing room.

I’ve read this story in its entirety once and I skimmed over it again while writing this. I don’t really get why these two men murdered William. I’m not getting if he was just in the way or if he had been part of their plan and backed out or maybe they just murdered him to make their household look like the victimized household. They definitely threatened him into doing whatever part of their plan that he did, or didn’t do. He mostly seems like an innocent bystander that these men murdered.

 

The Reigate PuzzleThemes

Ah, land feuds. A land feud, that’s exactly what is going on in this story. Ever since people have started claiming land for themselves, there have been people arguing about who it really belongs to. If you look at a map of the Eastern United States, you will notice something about the state lines. They’re all squiggly and in many cases do not appear to have any logic to their design. Why is this? Well, land feuds, that’s why. The Easterners of the United States argued, piece meal, over what farm was going to be in which state, and how much of that farm really belonged to which farmer. Those arguments spawned the crooked state lines you see on any map of the United States today. The Western states were not nearly so disputed. Disputes still happened, but not as often. Squiggly lines in the west are more apt to indicate a river or stream rather than an argument over property lines, but that’s not always true.

People will kill you over land. There is something going on in the middle east right now that involves a land feud. Lots of people have died. Calais has been fought over about a million times. Okinawa has belonged to several countries. Antarctica belongs to many different countries, sort of. There are islands up in the North Atlantic where you’re not entirely sure if they belong to North America or if they belong to Europe. Wars, big wars, have been fought over land. It’s not something you joke about at all. It’s no small matter.

The idea of what land belongs to who is a bigger cultural ideal in the United States these days than in Europe, at least that’s how I gather the whole thing. If you walk on someone else’s land in the States, they can shoot you, dead. It’s called trespassing and police officers don’t take to kindly to it, especially when you get up into the mountainous regions of the Eastern United States. So if you think you can walk freely through the Appalachian mountains, think again. You better stick to designated park land if you don’t want a face full of bird shot, buck shot is more likely though.

The idea of land seems to be most disputed with people who live off of the land. Your land used to be your food, your shelter, and your source of income. These days our land, if we have any, is mainly our source of shelter. Back in the day everything  came from your land. You hunted deer there. You dug your copper out of the ground there. You grew your corn there. You built your house there. Less land meant less room to survive. By the 1800s, the usage of land was beginning to change. These wealthy families of Britain didn’t necessarily need their land to survive. They had enough money to pay other people for their food and such. The land became more of a status symbol. They would get their buddies together to go fox-hunting and duck hunting. They would go up to the country estate for the weekend.

The Cunningham family wasn’t concerned about their ability to survive if this land was taken away, they were concerned with the status of having X amount of land. The younger Cunningham was probably more concerned with the fact that once Daddy Cunningham kicked the bucket, he would inherit less land, therefore inheriting less money value. On the family name of Cunningham they were willing to commit some pretty terrible deeds to keep the land in their possession.

Overall

Get off my land!



acton, cunningham, hayter, john watson, land feud, murder, reigate, sherlock, sherlock holmes, sherlock holmes faints, sherlock holmes The Reigate Puzzle, sir arthur conan doyle, surrey, The Reigate Puzzle, The Reigate Puzzle sir arthur conan doyle
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes
One-elevenbooks

Book Haul: 13 September 2014

Book Haul: 13 September 2014Book Haul: 13 September 2014

Why, yes, I did Britishcize the date, get over it. This way I don’t have to use a comma. Commas are often symbols of breaks in information in the programming and data-processing worlds. If you use a comma, it’s because you’re trying to separate information in a way, which is what we actually use commas for, but programming and computer languages might see a comma as a total break in information rather than just a short break in information. The programming that rules tags in WordPress sees commas as a complete break in information. That means that if one of my tags is a sentence with a comma in it, or a date, I have to take the comma out to keep the idea in tact through WordPress tags.

So, now you know. The next time you plug a bunch of information with a bunch of commas into some kind of data processing or parsing application, just be aware that your information may be spliced in the incorrect manner.

Enough talk about programming, grammar, and robots trying to take over the world…let’s talk about my trip to the thrift shop. On Saturday, I went to the thrift shop; I was also looking for finishing pieces for my Halloween costume, yes, I’m dressing up this year. It will be the first time in many years that I have done so. It’s a group dress-up; it’s going to be great. I ended up with five books at the thrift shop.

What I got:

Book Haul: 13 September 2014Elske by Cynthia Voight

I have never heard of this book. I have been reading Cynthia Voight books since my childhood, but I’ve never heard of this one. I’m not sure what the Girl with the Pearl Earring tie-in is, but I’m willing to find out. Cynthia Voight has written such young people classics as Dicey’s Song and A Solitary Blue.

I do enjoy Cynthia. I think she injects real-life into the world of childhood. This book seems to be something of a fantasy. I don’t think it takes place in the timeline of our world. I think it’s set in some other land, which is interesting to me, because I don’t know of Cynthia ever writing anything fantasy-like, but Cynthia has been writing a long time and I by no means have read everything of hers. I’m looking forward to seeing what Cynthia writes of fantasies.

Book Haul: 13 September 2014A Good House by Richard Manning

I live in a house; you probably live in a house. Each house is a story, some are better than others. My grandfather built this house with his bare hands with timber he felled himself versus a contractor built this house and it looks exactly like all the other houses on the street. This is the story of Richard’s house and how it came to be.

I like houses. I like architecture. I was even accepted into architecture school. I like buildings. I like all the logistics of how a house comes into being and the stories about that house. My uncle and cousin built a house in Southern Arizona a few years back. They built it themselves. It was unlike many of the other houses in the area. One of the things they incorporated into their house was a brick from the largest whorehouse in Arizona, now abandoned(the whorehouse). You can’t say my family isn’t interesting. I tell this story to illustrate the point that each house is a story, not to state that my family is weird.

Richard built his house himself, but he had friends helping him as well. This is the story of the knowledge they brought into his project and also the story of Richard’s life while building the house.

Book Haul: 13 September 2014Dinosaur in a Haystack by Stephen Jay Gould

I just couldn’t pass up a book called Dinosaur in a Haystack. It’s an absurd thing. A dinosaur couldn’t even fit in a haystack. It would have to be a really, really big haystack.

This book is a book of essays about natural history. This book isn’t all about history though. It includes essays about other subjects. I like books like this. I like learning about various aspects of the world in short bursts. It’s so much better than watching some boring three-hour long documentary that must have been written by dead people who were asleep.

Hopefully, Stephen and I are going to get along just fine.

Book Haul: 13 September 2014Being Mrs. Alcott by Nancy Geary

I bought this book because it sounded interesting. I have no idea who Nancy Geary is. I have known people with the last name Geary before, but no Nancys.

Basically, this book is mainly about the wife of a man who decides to upheave his entire family and way of life. Mrs. Alcott, whatever her first name may be, has grown to be unassertive and finds it almost impossible to make her will known.

Will this book be interesting? I hope so. I think part of me bought this book because it says Cape Cod in the description.

Book Haul: 13 September 2014Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

This is Rita’s story. She leaves her life, after getting divorced and roams practically penniless and without possession around the world. It’s a very Eat, Pray, Love type of book, as far as I can tell. I do really like memoirs. Part of me wonders if this book is riding the coattails of other memoirs about people traveling the world.

I’ll read it anyway. I like learning more about the world. I like seeing the world through other people’s eyes. We all know I’m not seeing much of the world at present; this is really the only way I’m seeing much of anything until I find a way to talk some company into hiring me and paying for me to travel all over. Call me.

What I spent: $1.00

(the five books for a dollar sale was still going on)

//

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