Rachel Verinder, a young Englishwoman, inherits a large Indian diamond on her eighteenth birthday. It is a legacy from her uncle, a corrupt English army officer who served in India. The diamond is of great religious significance as well as being extremely valuable, and three Hindu priests have dedicated their lives to recovering it. The story incorporates elements of the legendary origins of the Hope Diamond (or perhaps the Orloff Diamond). The Moonstone was published in 1868 and is considered by most people to be the first detective novel. Given the novels place in the history of the genre, that alone should put this book on most people's reading lists. To sweeten the pot, the plot is compelling, the last hundred pages I couldn't have put the book down for anything. I was caught up in the case and wanted to find out the why and the who in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the MOONSTONE. The novel is narrated by several different people. My favorite was Gabriel Betteredge, the head servant at the Verinder house, who becomes a reluctant Watson for Detective Cuff during the investigation. He is a man convinced in the spiritual guidance of Robinson Crusoe and believes that any disruption in his life can be explained by reading and interpreting passages from his dogeared copy of Defoe's classic. "In this anxious frame of mind, other men might have ended by working themselves up into a fever; I ended in a different way. I lit my pipe, and took a turn at Robinson Crusoe."
It's 1967 East Los Angeles. Duffy Chavez is ten years old and from a large, mixed-race, single-parent family. Growing up is never easy, but for young Duffy Chavez, whose childhood is anything but innocent, the journey is particularly painful. Swimming against the tides of her troubled family as well as her own cultural identity, she struggles with the cards she has been dealt. Buoyed up by the belief of a select few, she strives to achieve the kind of self-knowledge that comes so naturally to the 'real girls' all around her. As gaps in the narrative begin to fill, and the truth surrounding Duffy's birth is unearthed, her determination to succeed is rendered all the more astounding. Told in uncompromising clarity through the eyes of a child, A House of Light and Stone is at once full of heartbreak and hope, offering respites of warmth in the coldest of places.
Inscribed Minoan stone vessels are ritual gifts that index their dedicants' intention that both their gift and their name should survive permanently at the place of dedication. These vessels contained offerings, yet the vessels themselves were also offerings, serving as permanent records of a ritual act. These rituals were most likely communal, incorporating group feasting and drinking. The seasonality of these rituals suggests that they were focused on the cycle of life: fertility, birth, death and renewal. Offerings left with the vessels suggest that these rituals also addressed other, more personal concerns. As for Linear A itself: the language behind the script appears to contain a fairly standard phonemic inventory, though there are hints of additional, more exotic phonemes. The morphology of the language appears to involve affixation, a typical mode of inflection in human languages. The presence of significant prefixing tends to rule out PIE as a parent language, while the word-internal vowel alternations typical of Afroasiatic verbal inflection are nowhere to be found in this script. In the end, Linear A appears most likely to represent a non-IE, non-Afroasiatic language, perhaps with agglutinative tendencies, and perhaps with VSO word order.
This 60 page ruled notebook will make a great practical alternative to a birthday card, as it can be used and appreciated long after the birthday is over! Each page is headed with a significant event that happened in 1995 and the flyleaf bears the inscription 'with love and best wishes on your birthday.'
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