From Bookriot: 15 Small Tasks to Encourage a Bookish New Year

Happy New Year! I don’t do resolutions, but I always like the fresh start of a new year to make goals. Reading more and keeping track of my reading better (or at all, it seems!) is always a goal.

From Bookriot’s list I like #2, #4, #12, #14 and for number 15, I think I’ll make sure if I do a Goodreads reading goal, I list something super easy to get, like 10 books read! At one point when I logged in Goodreads told me I was 40 Books Behind! Daunting! I don’t think that sort of reminder is helpful or encouraging. Even if it just said ” you’re at 20 of your goal of 50″, it’s more encouraging.


A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I’ve just finished the first novel in Edgar Rice Burroughs series of novels about John Carter of Mars.

I have the edition which includes the first five novels in the series. I will be tracking down every book in the series, I loved this novel so much.

Written in 1911, it is full of adventure, non stop with every chapter. It was serialized in All Story magazine, and I can imagine people reading and waiting eagerly for the next installment.

The mechanism for John Carter, a former Confederate officer, transferring his person and consciousness to the dying planet Mars is a bit loose–perhaps more explanation comes in another book. Once he’s there, he has immense strength and can leap rather amazing distances, explained by the gravitational differences between Earth and Mars. As an ex-soldier, he is an adept fighter with a wide knowledge of weaponry who is often unbeatable.

He is captured by impossibly tall, multi-limbed Green Martians whose lives are ruled by fighting prowess and concepts of honor and tradition which allow John to prove himself and become a champion among them.

One day, a fleet of scientific vessels from far off Helium is brought down by the ever warring Tharks, and Deja’s Thoris, Princess of Helium is captured.

John is smitten on sight, and vows to find a way to free Dejah. She is wise, intelligent, and full of honor and bravery.

I loved the Thark society for all it’s barbarity. They exist in dead cities full of beautiful ornamentation. They appreciate it, but create nothing themselves. They have a scientific system of choosing traits that will be passed on to next generations. Love and romance have no place in their scheme of survival.

Characters such as Sola and Tars Tarkas stand out all the more for their willingness to be compassionate.

The thin atmosphere of Mars is maintained at a huge fortress which can only be accessed by particular thought patterns. Martians are able to read each other’s minds, but can’t read John’s. What he learns during a short respite there can save the world.

John himself is often a fine scientific observer. He marvels at all he sees and is fascinated by Mars and it’s societies just as the reader is.

While not indifferent to lives lost in the many huge battles that take place–with hundreds of thousands of lives lost, he takes it in stride.

He often prides himself on being a “Virginia gentleman”. He never gives up, and once he realizes he loves Dejah Thoris, he’ll do everything he can to free her and get her home.

I am hoping to find editions of the books with the original illustrations, the scenes and characters are so vivid, but I’d love to see more.

I also would like to know more about Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created these astonishing stories.

To Be Read Notes From the Notebooks Of…

Time to get in blogging form as fall comes along. On my DOA blog I’m gearing up to get in 100 posts for the year (and I’m perilously behind, current at 29!). I’m digging through my ever handy notebooks for material to use to pad that post count, and I’m going to keep separate the book stuff that I could use there to be posted here instead. Voila, as I go through those notes I’ll put right here all the books I jotted down as being of interest for my to-be-read list.

I have been reading, lots of good things, but of course my thoughts don’t make it here or on Good Reads where I said I’d read 50 books this year. Somehow I need to list those and see how close I am, goal and deadline oriented person that I am.
Edit: This is great! I’m going through my notebook from earlier this year and it’s loaded with book notes. I also happen to have scraps of paper and little reading notebooks I’ve had for ages. I’m going to get those books on this nice virtual To Read List and toss all those scraps and notes and get a few inches of space reclaimed in my craft room for crafting 🙂

Ongoing list of things that sound good:

Added 4/19/18
Spoonbenders Daryl Gregory
All the Birds in the sky Charlie Jane Anders
2312 Kim Stanley Robinson

From Bookish
Magpie Murders Anthony Horowitz
She Rides Shotgun Jordan Harper
The Weight of Lies Emily Carpenter
Persons Unknown Susie Steiner
Ruth Ware The Lying Game
The Amber Shadows Lucy Ribchester

Random Source:
Soleri Michael Johnston
The Great Library Series by Rachel Caine Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill
Bannerless Carrie Vaughn
Tomorrow’s Kin Nancy Kress (First in a new trilogy)
Afterlife Marcus Sakey (2 FBI agents on a case, one alive, one dead)
Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Book 2) David D. Levine
Killing is my business (series) Adam Christopher (robot PI turned hitman
The Punch Escrow Tal M Klien
Strange Practice Vivian Shaw

Sleep Well, 2016

This was a good year for books in my corner of the universe.  I wish I had done what people do, and kept nice little notes about what I was reading as I went along.

As you’ll recall, blogs were originally described as “online diaries”.  Although I like reading novels sometimes that are told in the format of a personal journal, I am not necessarily interested in reading or writing diaries.  Unless they’re garden diaries. Those are fascinating.

I think this blog needs a little more personality, or something.  One of the reasons I don’t write here often is because it seems as if has to be sort of formal. A “review” site.

The blog was started because an author whose books I love sent me an advance copy of a new book, and I wrote about it, but when the next in the series came out, the publisher asked the author to only send copies to “Book Review Blogs”.  Awkward for the author who had already promised copies to bloggers of not necessarily book blogs.


I created a Merlyn Perilous Goodreads account today, and I’ll link to it in the sidebar once I get it set up just so.

It was a little weird, the setup, as it had me check off a bunch of reading categories, then popped up pages of children’s and YA books for me to rate. No mysteries or science fiction or historical novels.

I was having fun, and only checked things I loved and had read, giving each five stars.  In my Facebook days, when I followed a ton of wonderful authors, I’d see them feeling bad that someone had given their book four or eek, three stars, and it made them feel awful.  As we know, Authors Are My Heroes, so it’s going to be five or nothing from me.

Look for a more casual Merlyn in 2017, more DOA-ish, more me-ish.

Happy Reading, Happy 2017

Merlyn Perilous

Answer Merlyn’s First Line Rebus Week of February 15

From Katherine (Kit) Kerr’s novel Daggerspell:

In the hall of light, they reminded her of her destiny.

Merlyn Rebus Week of February 15

Daggerspell is the first of fifteen novels set in the land of Deverry.

Daggerspell cover

The Bristling Wood
The Dragon Revenant
A Time of Exile
A Time of Omens
Days of Blood and fire
Days of Air and Darkness
The Red Wyvern
The Black Raven
The Fire Dragon
The Gold Falcon
The Spirit Stone
The Shadow Isle
The Silver Mage

Katherine Kerr

Merlyn’s First Line Rebus Week of January 18

I’m bringing back my ever popular first line from a book rebus here. I usually use the Festisite Rebus maker which has simpler icons, but it would not get the last few words of the sentence right. I find the My Rebus rebus maker to be a bit more challenging (and I used normal mode). I plan to post a rebus on Mondays and the answers on Thursdays. Best of luck!

Click To Enlarge

Merlyn Rebus Week of January 18