Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Kinrowan Estate story: An Estate Ramble

It’s early one morning, barely past dawn, when I head down to the Kitchen for an early breakfast of tea and a buttermilk biscuit (as the Americans called them) with cheddar cheese and ham in it. After that, I pack … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of April: a tale about a book that doesn’t exist, Sandy Denny live, some British folk rocker bios and just maybe a bit more…

Come all ye rolling minstrels, And together we will try To rouse the spirit of the air And move the rolling sky. ‘Come All Ye’, composed by Sandy Denny So you want to know about the Sandy Denny bio that Reynard was … Continue reading

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A Story Abroad: Travels in Tea Land, The Next Part: A Treehouse Cafe

In Indonesia, we found a most unusual cafe when Ingrid and I were travelling. It was a cafe that was built around an enormously large banyan tree. Now, I can’t tell you where it is, as the proprietor prefers that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 12th of March: The Word of God, boys’ love manga, tomatoes, a must-catch music festival, another classical tradition, and more

There is a similarity, if I may be permitted an excursion into tenuous metaphor, between the feel of a chilly breeze and the feel of a knife’s blade, as either is laid across the back of the neck. I can … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 5th of March: Tull live, Nils Økland Band US tour, Cuban music, a fictional travel guide, Tobias Buckell on Tolkien, a graphic novel by Maurice Sendak, a bio of Jim Henson and other neat stuff too

One day I walked the road and crossed a field to go by where the hounds ran hard. And on the master raced: behind the hunters chased to where the path was barred. One fine young lady’s horse refused the … Continue reading

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Christopher Fowler’s The Victoria Vanishes

The trick to enjoying Christopher Fowler’s The Victoria Vanishes is to avoid thinking too hard about it. Bear in mind that there is indeed plenty to enjoy here, much of it residing in the rich characterization of the members of … Continue reading

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A Seasonal story: Jennifer Stevenson’s ‘Solstice’

A small-time rocker named Dawn breaks up with her boyfriend in the car one winter night. Dumped off on the side of the road, she storms angrily across an icy field until she trips and falls. A jolly, round woman … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Porridge

Englishman Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary once slammed porridge by defining oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ Obviously he never had a good bowl of hot porridge with apple … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Memories

Hello, there. I know what you’re thinking — you might as well say it out loud. You’re thinking, “What’s a grubby teenager doing wandering around the Hall?” There once was a grubby teenager who lived in this building — I … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Venison Stew (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria to her friend, who was staying in Constantinople as of this letter. Alex, as she was known, copied her personal … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Guy Fawkes Day (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, It’s nigh unto Guy Fawkes Day and Iain’s Library apprentices got the jones to put on a full-blown celebration, which The Steward agreed to fund, provided that Iain gave them a full lesson on what Guy Fawkes Day really means in … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 27th of March: Franco folk music, organic chocolate, a black sea otter puppet, ‘Tennessee Flat Top Box’ is performed by Rosanne Cash, a bevy of books and films on witchcraft and other goodies!

Under the earth I go, On the oak-leaf I stand, I ride on the filly that never was foaled, And I carry the dead in my hand. Scots Traditional, author unknown (maybe) We had a party here last week to … Continue reading

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John Fogerty’s The Long Road Home: In Concert

Though Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the best bands of the Sixties, I’m more fond of the recordings of post-CCR carrier of vocalist John Fogerty. And his best recordings are by far the concert recordings, both the legit ones … Continue reading

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Paul Harding, Kim Hutchins, Charlotte Orr, and Christopher Pitts (editors) and various Lonely Planet travelers (writers): The World’s Best Street Food

I’ve seen a lot of Europe, the Middle-east, and the now disorganized polities of the former USSR, some as a busker in younger days, lately accompany my wife Ingrid, the Estate Buyer, on her travels on behalf of the Estate. … Continue reading

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Heather Arndt Anderson’s Breakfast: A History

So if you’re really interested in all things breakfast down the centuries, Breakfast: A History is ideal for you and why this is so what I’ll detail here. The bio for her in the book says she has the creds … Continue reading

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Fairport Convention’s Myths And Heroes

Having lived with ‘Myths And Heroes’ for a few days before reviewing, in order to gather various ideas about it, there are a couple of things I think need to be said at the outset. First, the title track – … Continue reading

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The New Mastersounds’ Made For Pleasure

The New Mastersounds is a funk and soul-jazz band that came out of the northern English city of Leeds in the mid-1990s. Made For Pleasure is their 10th album, but the first time I’ve heard about them was when a … Continue reading

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Thomas Godfrey’s English Country House Murders

Back some twenty years ago, I went looking for novels that involved murders set in English country houses. It was, in those days before search engines indexed damn near everything on the Net, far more difficult than it would be … Continue reading

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John Connolly and Declan Burke’s Books To Die For

I’ve been reading mysteries, mostly ones that are set in the British Isles, Ireland, and Europe for well over forty years now. My favourite series are set between The Wars, but I’m willing to read a well-written contemporary ones as … Continue reading

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Kristin Hersh’ Don’t Suck, Don’t Die — Giving Up Vic Chesnutt

Kristin Hersh has had a problematic relationship with music for most of her life. The co-founder of the influential post-punk band Throwing Muses and erstwhile folksinger has made music while dealing with diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but in … Continue reading

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Van Morrison’s The Essential Van Morrison

Millions of people in the English-speaking world pick up a guitar, sit down at the piano or take up some other instrument to sing and play songs of their own devising. Thousands of them are good enough to get people … Continue reading

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Kelley Armstrong, Led Astray

Kelley Armstrong’s Led Astray hits all the notes it’s supposed to, and quite a few higher ones as well. A short story collection featuring both original tales and smaller bits and bobs related to Armstrong’s various ongoing continuities, it’s an … Continue reading

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Michael Newton’s Victorian Fairy Tales

Fairy tales weave a complicated dance between children’s stories and sophisticated adult commentary, often within the same story. Pinning down a definition of what constitutes a fairy tale can sometimes feel like nailing water to a tree, but certain elements … Continue reading

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Gothard Sisters’ Mountain Rose

The Gothard Sisters (Greta, Willow and Solana Gothard) are three young sisters from the U.S. Pacific Northwest. They started out as a classical violin trio. Their first album was released in 2006 with them playing Christmas songs as a trio. … Continue reading

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Summer Queen S. J. Tucker on Books and Reading

What was the first book that you remember reading? My middle name is Jane. My mother gave it to me in honor of my great aunt Jane, whom I remember from my childhood as the beautiful redheaded relative from Louisiana … Continue reading

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Our Summer Queen, S.J. Tucker, An Interview

The shelves and windowsills were crowded with ravens; the hedgehogs took the first row of seats; even a few of the local fae could be seen peeking shyly around corners now and again. The Jacks and the Annies were in … Continue reading

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S. J. Tucker and Trudy Herring’s Rabbit’s Song

Children’s books like Rabbit’s Song often have reviews that are much longer than the text within them. And this review shall be so. We haven’t reviewed a lot of books of this nature here, but ofhg the ones we have reviewed A … Continue reading

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Our Summer Queen, S.J. Tucker: The Summer I Know

I grew up in the Mississippi River Delta in southeast Arkansas, where the state lines blur near the tops of Louisiana and Mississippi, and life still moves at a very calm pace for most folks. I spent half my summers … Continue reading

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Banditos’ self-titled release

With a name like Banditos, you might expect this band to be from, say, Texas. But all six members are from Birmingham, Alabama, though now firmly ensconsed in Nashville. The alternative Nashville, that is, where you can still twang and … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Whisky Tastings

Have I mentioned that twice a year we have a high-end whisky tasting here? Each is hosted by, quite naturally, the Estate Librarian, Iain Nicholas Mackenzie, a Scot born and bred. It’s limited to a mere dozen participants, each of … Continue reading

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Robert Heinlein’s The Number of The Beast

“He’s a Mad Scientist and I’m his Beautiful Daughter.” That’s what she said: the oldest cliché in pulp fiction. She wasn’t old enough to remember the pulps. The thing to do with a silly remark is to fail to hear … Continue reading

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Robert Heinlein’s All You Zombies

In a scant handful of pages, Heinlein creates the perfect time travel story of all time and laid the foundation for his World as Myth novels that were written much later than as this was written in in 1958. He … Continue reading

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Sound Bites — Francophone folk and rock roundup

North America has a sizable contingent of French speakers, including much of the Canadian province of Quebec, and much of southern Louisiana. The two regions are connected by history, too; the ancestors of the Louisiana Cajuns were driven out of … Continue reading

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Calexico’s Edge of the Sun

Calexico’s Edge of the Sun is packed full of the kind of music that made me a longtime fan of the Tucson band. To me it’s one of Calexico’s more successful albums in quite a while. The songs have strong … Continue reading

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Charles Stross’ The Rhesus Chart

Warning: here be spoilers. Lots of them. There are no such things as vampires. Everyone knows that, including Bob Howard and the other members of The Laundry, the secret agency that protects the British from the eldritch horrors that are … Continue reading

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A Gathering of Stitchers

I was watching the new reading group that had sprung up this Fall as they met in the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room, who call themselves “A Gathering of Stitchers.” It was, not surprisingly, a reading group devoted to books … Continue reading

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Tim Powers’ Nobody’s Home

Tim Powers is well-known for taking an actual historical setting and taking that into something much more fanciful. So listen up as Richard Dansky tells us about his latest review: Returning to the world of a much-beloved story doesn’t always … Continue reading

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Christopher Priest’s The Islanders

First thing to note is that this is not a novel. It’s more like notes that travelers put together on exotic (to them, not people who live there) locales they visited. Think of it as akin to something the publishers … Continue reading

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Tad Williams: The Very Best of Tad Williams

Not every collection has to be earth-shattering. Not every story has to be a mind-blower. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that’s just amusing and easy to read and straightforward, without challenge or morally fraught situations. And that’s where The … Continue reading

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Seanan McGuire’s Fairy Tale Survival Guide, and notes on The Border at Kinrowan Estate

Seanan McGuire, author of one of my favorite novels of the year, Indexing, which has its premise that all fairy tale archetypes, be they Sleeping Beauty or the Wicked Witch, are tropes that manifest in certain people and there’s nothing … Continue reading

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Seanan McGuire’s Indexing

Upon upon a time, Robert Heinlein based most of his writing (some considerably long after he wrote it) on the idea that all realities were equally possible, so that Robin Hood truly existed in some realty and in another reality … Continue reading

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Charles Stross’ Saturn’s Children

Once upon a time, 1992 if you must know, the late Robert Heinlein published a spiffy novel called Friday about an Artificial Person, a clone to be precise, named Friday who was genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and … Continue reading

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Glen Cook’s The Tyranny of the Night and Lord of the Silent Kingdom

I’ve been an admirer of Glen Cook’s writing for many years, ever since I read Shadowline, the first book of the Starfishers series, way back when. I had never run into anyone who had quite that mix of myth and … Continue reading

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Alma Alexander’s 2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens

December 20th, 2012. The end of the world, some might say. Five friends meet up twenty years after college, at Spanish Gardens, an old and favorite gathering spot. Olivia. John. Quincey. Ellen. Simon. Over Irish Coffees, they’ll hash out old … Continue reading

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Kelley Armstrong, Brazen

Billed as a manhunt (for certain values of “man”), Brazen is really a character piece. Officially labeled volume 13.1 in author Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series, it focuses on the thus-far underwhelming Nick as its main protagonist. Handsome … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Yurts (A Letter to Anna)

G’Morning Anna, Sometime ago I remember you asking about how the yurts out towards the north meadow came to be. It’s an interesting story, as they were here a decade before I arrived here thirty years ago this year. It … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Carols and Other Matters (A Letter to Ekaterina)

G’Day My Dear, We don’t do Thanksgiving here except in those years when one of the Several Annies, Iain’s Library apprentices, is from America and that’s an interesting circumstance as we don’t raise turkeys here so we barter for one … Continue reading

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Martin Simpson: Vagrant Stanzas

I remember seeing Martin Simpson at a festival in England in the early 1980s. He was then one of the bright new hopes in English folk music, and had released his first album. I liked him, bought a few albums, … Continue reading

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Leona Wisoker’s Fires of the Desert

Fires of the Desert is Book Four of Leona Wisoker’s series, Children of the Desert, and, just when you thought things couldn’t get more complex and difficult, they do, although thankfully the darkness of Bells of the Kingdom is ameliorated. … Continue reading

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Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy is inarguably one of the seminal works of modern science fiction. It was one of the first to take its inspiration from the social sciences rather than the physical sciences (Gernsback’s formula of “better living through … Continue reading

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