Henry Tilney, The End of Daenerys

It’s nearly the end of Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney still hasn’t declared any feelings for Catherine Morland, but self loves loves loves this him: his diffidence, his wit, his tenderness towards his sister Eleanor. So far, this is her favorite Jane Austen ever (a close second: Emma)

Still reading about Game of Thrones‘ final season because it hurt self to the core. Still more from yesterday’s USA Today (the first thing self grabbed during afternoon tea at the hotel yesterday):

  • Much like Cersei’s death last week, Dany’s demise felt like a dull, anticlimactic end.
  • Bran “hasn’t had a personality since Season 6 and is the least-helpful all-seeing magical reason ever.”

Self is still bitter that they brought Gendry back in Season 7 just to function as Arya’s boy toy in Season 8 (also, if you really want to know, she thinks Ed Sheeran’s pointless cameo in Season 7 should have warned her: You’re not going to like the way this ends.) Cleganebowl happened too late to really matter. Bronn stayed on-brand as the No. 1 Advocate for Brothels. Nice job, Sansa Stark, becoming Queen of the North. The melting down of the Iron Throne was whatever. Jon got to keep his melancholy look. And Davos was sitting right next to Gendry during the gathering of all the remaining families of Westeros, so these two will get to become each other’s family.

Self thinks the wriers’ interest in the story ended with Season 6. After, they were just making sure they dotted their “i’s” and crossed their “t’s” per contractual basis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

.

Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, Day 2

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Fowey: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Have attended two talks, both of them brilliant. The one this morning was delivered by Kate Aspengren, an American playwright (from Iowa!): Where’s the Fire? A Playwright Considers the Plays of Daphne du Maurier.

Loved knowing about this other aspect of du Maurier. The woman tried her hand at everything: novels, short stories, plays — even poetry!

Aspengren talked about three du Maurier plays:

  • The Years Between (first staged 1944, in Manchester)
  • September Tide (first staged 1948, in Oxford)
  • her own adaptation of Rebecca

Because self has read Tatiana de Rosnay’s Manderley Forever (one of her favorite reads of 2018), she knows of Daphne’s fraught marriage. Her husband was General “Boy” Browning who was mentioned (not flatteringly lol) in the book self just finished reading, Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944. It was a very strained marriage, exacerbated by long absences. And du Maurier seems to have drawn on that for The Years Between.

As for September Tide, trust du Maurier to come up with this wickedly entertaining plot: A woman falls in love with her daughter’s husband. According to Aspengren, “the mother and son-in-law have an instant attraction to each other” despite an age gap of seven years.

Daphne du Maurier brings it.

Stay tuned.

Bridges: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

At last! Am able to do a post on a new Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week!

The prompt is BRIDGES.

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A Bridge in Dublin, 28 April 2019

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Another Bridge in Dublin: 28 April 2019

The last picture isn’t really a bridge: it’s a stop on the London Underground. Which means it IS a bridge of sorts!

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London Underground, Russell Square Station: 27 April 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Books, Sunday Observer, 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Self is interested in reading the books on the list below:

  • Small Days and Nights, by Tishani Doshi (novel)
  • Don’t Touch My Hair, by Emma Dabiri (nonfiction)
  • The Road to Grantchester, by James Runcie (mystery)
  • Hey! Listen! by Steve McNeil (a journey through the golden age of video games)
  • The Price of Paradise: How the Suicide Bomber Shaped the Modern Age, by Iain Overton (history)
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (debut novel)

Three

Self picking her favorite reads so far, 2019. All three happen to be novels. They’re arranged according to the month she read them.

  • November Road, by Louis Berney – read February

The Setting: America post-John F. Kennedy Assassination

  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers – read March

Science Fiction

The Setting: Earth and Outer Space (The Future, of course)

  • Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday – read April

The Setting: America post 9/11 to the time of the First Gulf War

2019 Hugo Awards Finalists, Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Annihilation, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Black Panther
  • A Quiet Place
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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FOUR

Looking back, self’s February was LIT.

LIT.

She read two of her four Best So Far 2019 in February.

Currently, she’s reading Milkman and she loves it. It is so fraught.

April, BE LIT.

Stay tuned.

Thomas Cromwell, A Revolutionary Life: England in 1536

  • “Anne Boleyn died on 19 May, beheaded in the Tower of London before a thousand spectators . . . Like her brother a couple of days before, she died with dignity . . . ” Thomas Cromwell, who hated her (though being careful to appear an ally in the early part of their acquaintance), was seated “close to the scaffold.”
  • One of Thomas Cromwell’s servants was overheard saying in a London inn “that, while the Queen was beheaded, the King ‘consoled himself with another woman in a secluded country house, the gates shut on royal orders to all except councilors and secretaries.”
  • “On 30 May 1536, eleven days after Anne Boleyn’s execution, King Henry married Jane Seymour . . . “
  • “A day after the King’s new wedding,” spoils were “distributed from the wreck of the Boleyn fortunes”: a property belonging to Anne’s brother, Hatfield Park, was forfeited and given to his father-in-law.

This all seems so barbarous and cruel.

Stay tuned.

 

Opioid Addiction

According to The Economist of 23 February 2019,

  • The states with the highest opioid death rates are: Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
  • Drugs kill an estimated 70,000 Americans every year. “In 2017, 47,600 of those deaths were caused by opioid overdose — a five-fold increase since 2000.”
  • Alexander Wood invented the hypodermic needle in 1853. He “touted it by claiming that morphine would not cause addiction if injected rather than smoked or swallowed.”
  • “Needles and morphine were deployed in the American Civil War . . .”  leaving “as many as 100,000 veterans” addicted.
  • Heroin was first manufactured by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company. “To market it, they called it heroin from the German word meaning heroic.”
  • In 1996, a private pharmaceutical firm launched Oxycontin, an opioid “that, like heroin, is twice as strong as morphine.”
  • “Opioid sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2011.”
  • In 2012, the number of opioid prescriptions was 255 million.
  • In 2015, “Americans were still getting four times as many opioids per head than Europeans.”

These stats are terrible.

1954: Brown vs. Board of Education

Self is still slogging through Leadership in Turbulent Times. Nothing Doris Kearns Goodwin writes can be dull. But there is a formula in this one: each section has to show how the subject truly deserves the descriptor “great.” And that makes the sections feel a little predictable.

Nevertheless, there are some surprises. She did not know that the four presidents written about — Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson — were Republicans. Ha!

Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother died within a day of each other. Subsequently, he turned on his baby daughter, because her birth hastened her mother’s demise.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt married for love.

Lyndon Johnson built “a substantial fortune.”

Of the four presidents, self is most interested in Lyndon Johnson, because of the crucial role he played in the civil rights movement.

The Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision prohibiting racial segregation in public schools had quickened the civil rights movement, incited a violent reaction in the South, and prompted the Eisenhower administration to send a bill to Congress expanding federal authority to protect black citizens in a wide range of civil rights, including voting rights.

Johnson, according to Goodwin, grasped at once that “if the South accepted the inevitability of small, incremental progress on civil rights, it might well become one of the most prosperous regions in the country. If it refused to move forward, it would remain an economic backwater.”

When the civil rights bill came along, Johnson was Senate majority leader. He cannily saw that the civil rights movement could not be stopped, and therefore he worked to build coalition among his peers, adding amendments to greatly soften its sting. He worked at blunting “extreme statements” on the Senate floor, “preventing the conflict from being cast in irreconcilable terms.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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