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The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

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This dictionary is over 100 years old and it is still very current and worth a look. It’s not a normal dictionary and  the definitions are often ironic or sarcastic. It will at least make you smile.

Ambrose Bierce was an American journalist and critic born in Ohio in 1842  who died in 1914 during a trip to Mexico. From the dictionary we have chosen some definitions to give you a taste of it.  You can download The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, which you can find for little or nothing in ebooks format. 

Ambrose Bierce

AUSTRALIA, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to whether it is a continent or an island.

DAY, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper—the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of social activity overlap.

FEAST, n. A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the Roman Catholic Church feasts are “movable” and “immovable,” but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by the Greeks, under the name Nemeseia, by the Aztecs and Peruvians, as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters.

EMOTION, n. A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from the eyes.

INTERPRETER, n. One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter’s advantage for the other to have said.

ADMIRATION, n. Our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves.

BELLADONNA, n. In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

NOSE, n. The extreme outpost of the face. From the circumstance that great conquerors have great noses, Getius, whose writings antedate the age of humor, calls the nose the organ of quell. It has been observed that one’s nose is never so happy as when thrust into the affairs of others, from which some physiologists have drawn the inference that the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.

CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth—two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.

EDIBLE, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

DANCE, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your neighbor’s wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.

ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.

DIE, n. The singular of “dice.” We seldom hear the word, because there is a prohibitory proverb, “Never say die.” At long intervals, however, some one says: “The die is cast,” which is not true, for it is cut.

AIR, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Books

Book Review: All for You by Louise Jensen

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Louise Jensen is by now a fairly well-known author in the psychological thriller/domestic noir thriller genre but I think this was her first book I read. It is about a family of four, Ellen the mother an orthopaedic surgeon who is currently not working, Aidan the father a vet and the two boys Connor and Kieron. Kieron has some rare possibly terminal disease while Connor is a sensitive 17 years old. In the picture, there are also two of Connor’s good friends: Ryan and Tyler. We know that something happened to Connor’s girlfriend Hailey’s but we don’t know what. First Tyler then Ryan disappear and everyone fears that Connor might be the next as the three were always together and they were together the night something happened to Hailey.

Connor disappears as well but it is not what it seems. It’s a complex thriller with several punchy twists, I couldn’t work out who could be the kidnapper and the ending was genuinely surprising although a bit far fetched and very dark. You can tell that Jensen is a bit more accomplished in writing thrilling plots than other authors. Overall it took me a while to get into this book but then I was engrossed in it and read it late at night. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery with lots of family secrets. I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This book will be out in October but you can pre-order it now. 

All For You: don’t miss the next thrilling and shocking psychological thriller from best selling author of The Date and The Sister in 2021!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jensen, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 10/28/2021 (Publication Date) - HQ (Publisher)

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Books

Keeping Up Appearances; from Hyacinth Bucket to Eleanor Rigby

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Keeping Up Appearances was a British sitcom that ran on BBC television from 1990 – 1995. It featured a woman called Hyacinth Bucket, which she insisted was pronounced Bouquet. The humour lay in watching her attempts at social climbing. She lived to impress her unfortunate neighbours, who tried to avoid her! 
Coincidentally, at that time, I was in contact with relatives, who erroneously insisted on a French pronunciation of their surname, and were oblivious to their ridiculous behaviour.
 
While the programme was enjoyed for its comedic effect, some people in real life struggle to keep up appearances and it is no laughing matter. People who have social status, such as by being a home owner, but lack actual income, are said to be in genteel poverty. This leads to reduced  spending and failing to replace things that are broken. By keeping up appearances, others are not aware of the true state of affairs.
 
 
The March family in the novel Little Women, by Louisa M Alcott, are an example of genteel poverty. They gave up their Christmas dinner to take to a family, who were in absolute poverty. Today, people who have very little themselves, may leave an item to be collected for the food bank, on their way out of the supermarket.
 
Another sort of keeping up appearances, is the disguising of emotions. This may extend to hiding actual physical or mental abuse. Victims of controlling behaviour may show no sign to the outside world, suffering at home in silence. 
 
In “Eleanor Rigby”, the song by Paul McCartney, the woman disguises her loneliness by appearing cheerful, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door, as the song says. She is an example of all the lonely people,  who keep up appearances.
 
 Footnote : As a tribute to the Beatles, Tommy Steele commissioned a statue of Eleanor Rigby, (a fictitious person, although the name is found in a Liverpool graveyard) It is placed not far from the site of the club, the Cavern, where the Beatles first performed.
Bestseller No. 1
Little Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh (Actors)
  • Greta Gerwig (Director) - Amy Pascal (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)
SaleBestseller No. 2
Little Women: Louisa May Alcott (The Penguin English Library)
  • Alcott, Louisa May (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 06/07/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

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Books

Book Review: All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

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I have read many psychological thrillers but this was something else. Many books say they have unpredictable twists but very few deliver on that promise. This one does. It all starts when Marissa Irvine goes to collect her kid Milo from a playdate. But at that address, no one knows the kid or the family that was supposed to live there. What follows is 7 days of police search for the four-year-old boy, quite quickly it becomes obvious that he was taken by the nanny of the kid he was meant to play with. But the question is why? Why would a young woman kidnap a little boy?

 

The plot was quite watertight and when the twist arrived, it made sense. The characters were interesting and everyone was a bit suspicious, But to understand this crime, we need to know the motive and I can’t say much more without spoiling the book. If you like psychological thrillers, not scary ones but well thought out, this book is for you. I was given a copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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