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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. Just given up on the first Harry Dresden book. I was prepared for it being a bit lame, having been warned that it was written for an assignment as a joke, but I couldn't find anything to like about it, and the way the female characters were described gave me the creeps. Ugh. I'm glad it wasn't my introduction to urban fantasy. (Thank you, Ben Aaronovitch).
  2. The original Greek, according to Wikipedia, is: ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτὶ, hōs kleptēs en nykti Latin Vulgate: "sicut fur in nocte" Wycliffe (late fourteenth century) goes with "as a theef in the niyt". Tyndale (early sixteenth century) translates the Greek to "as a thefe in the nyght". KJB has "as a thief in the night." I don't know Greek, but I think the translation has got to be pretty straightforward - I mean, I'm sure there's a thousand page scholarly dispute about precisely how to translate "kleptes" floating around somewhere because religious scholars have to pass the time somehow, but the early translators all seem to have been happy keeping it simple. Bonus translation from William Morgan's Welsh Bible (published in 1588, twenty-three years before the King James Version): fel lleidr yn y nos. None of the above really answers your question about when the phrase entered vernacular English: when a phrase is first written down is one thing, when it's recognised and used by people from outside monastic/literate circles is another. Monks and priests would have been reading the Bible in Latin for a thousand years prior to the KJV. Presumably some of that found its way into their native language, and possibly out into the broader community, even if there isn't textual proof of it relating to that particular phrase.
  3. Agreed. Zaheer was a great villain - the best in either Korra or Avatar. The third season of Korra was strong across the board.
  4. Don't think so. They had light brown skin and blue eyes. I hope this series turns out to be good - the cast looks promising, especially Aang (Gordon Cormier). But I'm more interested in the new animated project from Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, though it'll be ages before it arrives, I expect. Fingers crossed that they'll announce the era/central character soon.
  5. Ditto. She had real charisma. Was disappointed that she was removed so finally and quickly from the series. I found a the lead love interest a bit bland, but okay. After reading some reviews of the books online, it turns out that he was bland because in the books he was a jealous, hypocritical arsehole that none of the readers liked, so the show did him the favour of removing his personality.
  6. On the one hand, I'm sorry that perhaps things have been quite difficult if you have felt prompted to get a life coach. On the other hand, it could be a really good experience - it's great to feel supported.
  7. Yes, I love the final bit of the Bill Door section when, back in the day job, he returns to his house and changes the exterior decor. It's been about twenty years since I read Reaper Man, and I still remember that bit.
  8. Pyramids was the first Pratchett I remember. I think I was about seven or eight, and my dad read aloud the passage where Teppic elaborately preps for his final exams before falling over. Funniest thing I'd heard at that age. I read Hogfather a year or two later, and then started working my way through all the Discworld books.
  9. This looks like it's going to be fun; I'm glad the reviews are promising. Looking forward to it plus Shadow and Bone. There's been a dearth of fairly brainless adventure shows over the last few months.
  10. I hope things are going a bit better at the moment, LizardQueen. [more venting] BTW, does anyone know how to hide text without using spoiler tags? I've tried using [hide]artichokes[/hide] but it's not getting me anywhere.
  11. Yesterday was my dad's funeral. I had been dreading it - afraid I'd cry, afraid I'd be bad-tempered, afraid I'd find it all pretty horrifying - and in the end it wasn't so bad. I think I was fairly polite by my grouchy standards. My mother arranged everything. She's Church of England to the bone; I'm an atheist, CofE stuff almost gives me a rash, and I feel tempted to drop-kick most of the mild-mannered, faintly self-satisfied-seeming Anglican vicars I've met into the Irish Sea. But I oddly enjoyed the ride in the funeral car with a woman in a top hat leading the way in front on foot, and I didn't feel much of anything during the ceremony itself, which was good. My dad was about as religious as I am, though he described himself as an agnostic, and I didn't really feel the funeral had much to do with him. Kind of funny, since he was its subject. But my mother loves CofE rituals, and had more than earned the right to them after being his carer for years. Today I was able to flee back to my own accommodation, leaving the city of my birth and family home behind me. Although I didn't touch alcohol on the day of the funeral until it was well over, I spent rather too much of last week in a tipsy haze. Looking forward to not drinking anything beyond a glass of beer in the evening now that Christmas + funeral + habitation chez ma mèère are over. Starting to feel I can breath again.
  12. In tribute to St Andrew's Day, I'm listening to Karine Polwart sing The Freedom Come All Ye - lyrics by Hamish Henderson set to pipe tune The Bloody Fields of Flanders.
  13. So far I haven't been able to finish The Boys. Got to the bit where John Noble turns up as Butcher's dad with the whole family doing improbable cockney accents and just felt that the naff now outweighed the awesome. Whereas S1 felt so new and and extreme that it was just awesome. I will soldier on with it at some point to get to the next big event, but I'm not feeling it at the moment. Think it's partly just me though. I also started watching the original series of Utopia, loved it at first, got a few episodes in and the shine wore off.
  14. I'm a bit late to the party, but I'll mention the Murray of Letho and Hippolyta Napier series by Lexie Conyngham. The first Murray of Letho book is uneven, but it gets into its stride in the second book. Both series are historical murder mysteries set in nineteenth century Scotland - the Murray series in Fife and Edinburgh, principally; the Napier series in Ballater, a spa-town in Aberdeenshire. Both series are I think quite hetero-normative, but I don't think they are in an aggressive/intolerant way. A couple of coded-gay characters appeared in the penultimate instalment of the Letho series, and both managed to survive. (Big achievement in books with a high body count). The protagonists are thoughtful and kind, and tend not to be judgemental. The author is a history lecturer with an interest in period food, so both series are great if you enjoy detail of that kind. I loved Sansom's Shardlake novels, but wouldn't describe them as cosy. The last one in particular was (while not without hope) a tough, bleak read. It was great, of course, and after it I almost packed my bags and cycled to Norwich mid pandemic, still - the Shardlake novels don't really have the sense that deeply unpleasant things aren't going to happen to the recurring characters, and the atmosphere of oppressive political intrigue means there isn't such a safe sense of "home" which I'd associate with the cosy mystery genre.
  15. Starting to feel my interest in professional cycling reviving a bit. I haven't checked out the route yet. I wonder what it'll be like in the Alps at this time of year? It'll be strange to have a Tour without irritating fans dressed as giant chickens. Have to admit that watching the peloton trying to negotiate the barmy masses on mountain stages has been a big part of the attraction for me. I only really started watching the Tour/Vuelta/Giro to keep my dad company in the summer five/six years or so ago, printing out a big list of all the riders with their team colours, and then completely failing to identify anyone. Feeling my age now that the generation I first started watching (Contador, Froome, Quintana) have retired or seem past their best. ETA: Col de la Madeleine currently 10 degrees with a warning for thunderstorms.
  16. Was always a bit dubious about Avatar going live-action anyway. I'd be delighted if we got a new animated show instead. Though I do hope the creative team read this article first.
  17. Also, character change is something people currently tend to see as a compulsory feature of good literature, but it isn't necessarily so. Is Ulysses a different person with new understanding at the end of The Odyssey to the one at the start? I don't think so. Though as others have pointed out, there is character change in LotR. The hobbits and sundry as already mentioned. In the case of Denethor and Saruman, we don't see the change happening, but they join the story at the nadir of their arcs.
  18. Thanks for all the suggestions. It was pay day today so I went ahead and ordered the first in various series - Ruth Galloway, the Seeker, Inspector Gamache, Sam Wyndham, Siri Paoboun. That should keep my dad occupied for a bit and give my mother a break from trying to find things for him to read.
  19. I read the the Brunetti books as they come out so I don't get glutted on them, as I imagine could happen if I tried to read the whole series at once. It's true that they tend to revolve around the same themes, though in fairness, these themes - the environment, pollution, political corruption - are huge ones that deserve exploration. And unfortunately these things will be with us for a very very long time. Plus I can't afford to get to Venice, probably never will, and even if I could, I'd just be adding to the city's problems with mass tourism, so it's nice once a year to check in with Brunetti and go have bruschetta in his local trattoria with a shot of grappa to wash it down. Maybe catch the vaporetto at San Marco.
  20. Gamache, Cotterill and Griffiths are all new to me. I think Gamache especially might appeal to my Dad, but at the rate he goes through books, I can try him with the others as well. I loved the Cadfael books when I was in my early/mid teens. My mother had a shelf full of them, so I just read my way through them. When I see Shrewsbury Abbey Church from the train, my heart still gives a little leap.
  21. Wow, that's great! He definitely hasn't read Akunin, Mukherjee, Rubenfeld/Tallis or Janes. This should keep him happily occupied!
  22. Then Zorral needs to think through the implications of what he posts. Of maybe he can just tell me that the sky is blue and pat me on the head next time. Thanks, Wall Flower. That's a great recommendation. I haven't seen anything by her in the house, and it sounds just like the kind of thing my Dad would go for. He loves Civil War era stuff.
  23. Oddly enough, Zorral, the thought that there might be websites out there for recommendations has struck me. I may even have used some of them. But over the years I've picked up a lot of great tips for TV series and books on this board. That's why I'm asking here. Not at some other site full of total strangers. Sorry if I sound snarky. I feel snarky. I have an obliviously condescending boss at work who I just have to endure, and can't cope with the same behaviour here as well.
  24. I think he may have read them since I can certainly remember seeing them round the house, but I'll check with my mother. If he's still writing them, then we may not be up to date with the most recent ones. Thank you. : )
  25. I have a feeling I'm going to be told off for putting this in the wrong thread - anyway... My mum and I are going a bit mad trying to find stuff for my elderly housebound father to read. He likes crime. He's read all of: Lindsey Davies (Falco/Flavia Albia), Donna Leon (Brunetti), C. J. Sansom (Shardlake), Lexie Conyngham (Murray of Letho and Hippolyta), Susan Hill (Serailler), Andrew Taylor and many other authors that I've forgotten. He sits and reads all day. He's especially fond of historical crime. For some reason, he hates Agatha Christie. Could you help us out with recommendations for fairly recent (i.e. published post millennium) crime fiction? Ideally, for a crime fiction series.
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