Showing posts from January, 2015

Slow Horses and Dead Lions: Two Entertaining Spy Novels from Mick Herron

Check out Mick Herron's spy novels Slow Horses and Dead Lions for a good read.  The spies here are washouts from British intelligence; agents who've bungled badly and, in true bureaucratic fashion, rather than being fired for their mess, are exiled to London's Slough House to work on tedious, meaningless tasks in the hopes that they will simply quit the job.
But these spies - ambitious, well trained and highly skilled - seek action, redemption, and to return to the big show. In Slow Horses, the Slough House agents get involved when extremists kidnap a Muslim teen and threaten to execute him live on the web. And an intriguing and clever hunt begins.
In the second book, Dead Lions, an old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus. Slough House's chief, Jackson Lamb, knew the agent from back in the day. Lamb finds the death suspicious and sends his agents into action to investigate.
The plot is clever in both books and the development of the characters at Slough House is e…

It's Burns Night - January 25

Today, January 25, is the annual celebration of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. Whether you are a fan of poetry or not, you've undoubtedly mumbled through a bit of Burns' work on New Year's Eve: Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne.

Even if you don't have any haggis on hand for supper, perhaps tonight you can nonetheless pour yourself a drop of whisky, download the Robert Burns app, and read a bit of poetry.

A Red, Red Rose Robert Burns
O, my luve is like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June; O, my luve is like the melodie That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun; And I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee well, my only luve, And fare thee well a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho' it were ten thousand m…

Recommended Reading: The Secret Place by Tana French


New Books

The January 19 edition of The New Yorker briefly reviews several intriguing books: Sophia by Anita Anand, The Seventh Day be Yu Hua, and Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet.

I am going to check out all three, starting with Sophia, the biography of Sophia Duleep Singh. Sing, born in 1876, was the daughter of the last maharaja of the Punjab. According to The New Yorker's description of the book, Sing "was a trendsetter in everything from clothes to dog training. But by her early thirties she had joined the suffragettes, and she became a key figure in the movement." It sounds like an interesting life and I'm looking forward to reading this book.

A "meow" moment from Amazon?

Catty or informative? "This price was set by the publisher."