George V. Reilly

Review: Flashman's Lady

Title: Flashman's Lady
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1977
Pages: 330
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 24–29 June, 2016
Flashman Papers VI: 1842–45

Flashman's Lady takes place between the two parts of Royal Flash, making it the third book chrono­log­i­cal­ly of the Flashman Papers and the sixth book published.

Flashman and his wife, Elspeth, become friendly with Don Solomon Haslam, a rich merchant from the East Indies. Losing a wager to Haslam, who is smitten with Elspeth, Flashy has to let Haslam take Elspeth and her father on a trip to Singapore. As things have become hot for him in England, he sails east with them. Haslam's feelings continue.

Review: Royal Flash

Title: Royal Flash
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1970
Pages: 256
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 19–22 June, 2016
Flashman Papers II: 1842–43, 1847–48

Having made an enemy of Otto von Bismarck a few years earlier, Flashman now finds himself compelled by Bismarck to im­per­son­ate a Danish prince in a German duchy, taking his place in a marriage to the duchess. Flashman is a dop­pel­gänger for Carl Gustaf and with his talent for languages, he's able to pull it off. At first he believes that Carl Gustaf is re­cu­per­at­ing from an em­bar­rass­ing case of the pox, and he settles into enjoying his role. Then he learns that continue.

Review: Flashman

Title: Flashman
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1969
Pages: 256
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 13–18 June, 2016
Flashman Papers I: 1839–42

Brigadier-General Sir Harry Flashman, celebrated Victorian soldier, winner of the Victoria Cross, survivor of the charge of the Light Brigade, the battle of Little Big Horn, and the raid on Harper's Ferry, reveals himself in this frank memoir published long after his death to be “a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward—and, oh yes, a toady.”

The central conceit of the fictional Flashman Papers is that Flashy, writing frankly in his old age about his remarkable set of adventures, is perfectly willing to put continue.

Review: Jimmy the Kid (audiobook)

Title: Jimmy the Kid
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Narrator: Brian Holsopple
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Highbridge
Copyright: 1974
Keywords: crime, humor
Listening period: 27–31 May, 2016

I rarely listen to audiobooks, except on long driving trips. We listened to another Dortmunder book on our drive down to and back from Portland for PyCon.

Dort­munder's jinxed associate Andy Kelp spends a few days in jail and reads a book called Child Heist by Richard Stark, which Kelp believes to be the blueprint for a perfect crime. Dortmunder, always wary of Kelp's schemes, doesn't appreciate having a plan brought to him, since he's always been the planner of the crew. Some of the crew aren't continue.

Review: Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

Title: Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Arrow
Copyright: 1954
Pages: 256
Keywords: humor
Reading period: 18–21 April, 2016

Good old Bertie Wooster's got a spot of bother and so has his aged relative, Aunt Dahlia. A young lady authoress has grown tired of her tedious fiancé, one “Stilton” Cheesewright by name, and set her sights on our hero. Dash it all, she'd want to improve a chap's mind, when he'd rather take a cigarette for a walk and enjoy Jeeves' cocktails. And Cheesewright's a hulking brute threat­en­ing to break B.W.'s spine in five places. But Jeeves comes through in the end, saving Bertie and Aunt continue.

Review: Ways to Die in Glasgow

Title: Ways to Die in Glasgow
Author: Jay Stringer
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 289
Keywords: crime, tartan noir, black comedy
Reading period: 7 December 2015—25 February 2016

New private in­ves­ti­ga­tor Sam Ireland is hired to track down a gangster-turned-memoirist. She can't find him, but she's not the only one looking. His lethal nephew also wants to find him, after dealing with two hit men. All of this searching is drawing unwelcome attention to long-held secrets, and more blood will be shed.

A darkly amusing, frenetic tour through Glasgow's underbelly.

No Spoilers for Star Wars

I can't decide whether I should be amused or ex­as­per­at­ed by all the cries of NO SPOILERS! NO SPOILERS! for Star Wars: The Force Turns Over in Bed and Goes Back To Sleep.

Review: The Ax

Title: The Ax
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 352
Keywords: crime, dark humor
Reading period: Nov 7, 2015

Burke Devore is a middle-aged middle manager at a paper mill, who's been laid off for some time. There are too many others like him and they're beating him out for the few positions in his field. In des­per­a­tion, he decides to eliminate the com­pe­ti­tion by placing a fake job ad­ver­tise­ment for others with similar skills and by killing them off.

Westlake is known for a variety of crime novels, including the light-hearted, humorous Dortmunder books. There's humor here, but in a very dark vein, and continue.

History of Toilet Paper

Let me tell you, people go on and on about what a great idea electricity was, but I'm going to put toilet paper right next to the wheel and say those are the best ideas anyone's ever had. Scoff at it if you will, but try living for two millennia without it and then we'll talk. - Kevin Hearne

At Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters tonight, Kim gave a talk on the History of Toilet Paper. It was inspired by the quote above from the Iron Druid Chronicles, by a 2000-year-old druid.

She got much of her in­for­ma­tion from wikipedia. I found the toilet paper FAQ while writing this post.

At FSTM, after the speech evaluator gives the speaker a formal evaluation, we have five minutes of open evaluation from the audience.

My father has a hundred or so sayings that he trots out again and again and again—much to the annoyance of those who know him well. When he moved from the Dublin to the London office of his


Review: Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves

Title: Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves
Author: Dave Lowry
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Mariner
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 288
Keywords: crime, cooking, humor
Reading period: 26 February–7 March, 2015

Tucker may be a white guy but he's been cooking Chinese food since he was a child, and he's good at it—good enough to get a job at a Chinese restaurant as a cook. Then there's Corinne, trying to avoid the Chinese gangsters who are convinced she has their diamonds.

Lowry shows a light touch in this quirky and en­ter­tain­ing boy-meets-girl story.

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