The 19th Bosch

It took me all of six hours to read the 19th Harry Bosch novel The Burning Room, published last year by author Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch is the police detective main character of most of Michael Connelly’s novels, but nobody calls them Michael Connelly novels. Even the book cover of The Burning Room calls it a Harry Bosch novel.

The Burning Room is a good Bosch novel; there is no dumb trip overseas to China, no tiresome scenes of Harry lamenting his wife and daughter. A few books in the Harry Bosch series were bogged down in bullshit one cannot imagine halting a Philip Marlowe or Lew Archer. Harry still has a daughter, but she’s a snarky teen now, with no time for dippy dad. Harry’s got a new partner Lucy Soto and she is good at her job. The crime(s) in The Burning Room are interesting, and riding along with Bosch and Soto makes for a good time. And the last chapter surprised me; surprise is as rare as cactus in Vermont in genre novels like The Burning Room.

I don’t remember much of the previous 18 Bosch novels but I enjoyed reading most of them and look forward to the future novels. These are slick books made to go down easy, beach reads, summer books, whatever. Great books offer more than fleeting enjoyment, and they tap the parts of the brain a book like The Burning Room cannot. Connelly is the best alive at this sort of writing, perfect for when the brain needs a break.

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Don Quixote part 2 chapter notes

  1. Barber and Priest wait a month and check on Don Quixote. They find he is still mad, insisting knights errant can right the wrongs in modern Spain.
  2. Sancho gets past the niece to see the Don. Don asks him about the reception of their adventures in town; Sancho relates that all their adventures are mocked and ridiculed in town. But also, a recently returned college graduate has informed Sancho that their adventures appear in a book (Part 1). Don Quixote asks Sancho to bring the graduate to him.
  3. Sanson the graduate arrives and tells of the novel of the two; he describes how it has become part of the region’s nature, and how errors-aspects of part 1 were superfluous—namely the interpolated chapters (like The Man Who Was Recklessly Curious) and the mishandling of Sancho’s donkey, who disappears and reappears without explanation.
  4. Sancho and Don Quixote and the bachelor continue their discussion and plan a third adventure.
  5. Sancho returns home and tells his wife of his new plans; they argue over the type of ruler he will be when he gets his island, and what will be expected of the Panza children.
  6. Don Quixote’s niece and housekeeper pester the Don to not have another adventure. He tells them of the glories of knights errant, and that he is not a stay-at-home knight. The women think he is nuts. Sancho arrives again to meet with Don.
  7. Sancho asks the Don for a salary, Don threatens to abandon him. The graduate arrives and wishes them well on their way, offers his service as squire. Sancho relents and becomes squire once more.
  8. Don and Sancho head out for Toboso to meet up with Dulcinea. Sancho of course lied about meeting her in Part 1 and can’t figure his way out of this ruse as they approach the town at midnight.
  9. In Toboso they reach the church and discuss how to find Dulcinea. A laborer tells them the priest has a list of everyone in town. Sancho convinces Don to wait two miles outside town, and he will return alone to Toboso and find Dulcinea.
  10. Sancho decides to deceive Don; three peasant women approach and Sancho and Don kneel before them, extolling their royalty. Don doesn’t believe at first they are royal, then states the enchantress has turned his Dulcinea into an ugly peasant. The girls berate the pair and scamper off. Sancho and Don make their way to Zaragoza.
  11. Sancho and DQ meet a troupe of actors dressed as rogues. DQ threatens to battle them but is calmed by the troupe leader’s explanations. Sancho has his donkey pilfered for a bit but gets him back.
  12. Don and Sancho discuss theater and Rocinante and the donkey become friends. A new knight appears on the scene, lamenting. He is the Knight of the Wood. Don befriends him and the new knight’s squire takes up with Sancho.
  13. Sancho and the Squire of the Wood move off and discuss life with their respective mad knights errant. The wood squire has much the same complaints as Sancho; both are eager for rewards, but the wood squire wishes to return to his family. They eat a lot of rabbit and drink wine and pass out.
  14. Don and Knight of the Wood (the bachelor graduate in disguise) talk, and Wood Knight informs Quixote that he has bested a knight from La Mancha called Don Quixote. Quixote suggests Wood has been done in by an enchantress and challenges Wood at dawn. Wood knight becomes Knight of the Mirrors once his finery is seen in daylight. Quixote bests him in a duel, and discovers that beneath the mask the knight is the bachelor graduate, and that the Wood Squire is Sancho’s friend and neighbor Tome.
  15. Sanson, the bachelor graduate, had planned with the priest and barber to confront Quixote in disguise, best him and order him home to La Mancha. But having lost he now plots revenge against Quixote.
  16. Don and Sancho meet up with Don Diego de Miranda, The Gentleman of the Green Coat. Don Diego is a man of wealth and property saddened by his son’s decision to become a poet. Quixote assuages Diego with a monologue on the greatness of poets.
  17. Quixote, Sancho and Don Diego encounter the king’s coachmen delivering two lions. Quixote calls for his helmet, which is filled with Sancho’s cheese curds, and orders the lions set free so that he may battle them. The lion doesn’t come out of his cage, shows Quixote his ass, and Quixote chalks it up to adventure, the purpose of all knights errant. Don Diego invites Quixote and Sancho to his home.
  18. Don Quixote and Sancho enjoy the hospitality of Don Diego for four days. Deigo’s son relays his poems which Quixote declares the best. Quixote also calls knight errantry the greatest art. Don and Sancho quit the house to continue adventures.
  19. Don and Sancho meet up with a couple graduates on their way to a wedding. The graduates bicker about fencing and fight a duel which impresses nobody. They invite Don and Sancho to the wedding.
  20. The wedding includes a huge feast prepared by 50 cooks. Sancho goes nuts and takes a cauldron filled with chickens and rabbits to munch on. Don watches a staged play of poetry and drama that recounts the history of rich Camacho besting poor Basilio for the lady’s hand in marriage.
  21. Basilio falls on his sword lest his lady marry Camacho. Dying, he convinces his lady to marry him so he may die in peace; she agrees as does Camacho. But Basilio faked the sword passing through him and his marriage is set. A battle between respective men on each side is halted by Don Quixote, who sides with poor Basilio.
  22. Don Quixote and Sancho and Basilio’s cousin travel to the cave of Montesinos. Sancho and the cousin lower Don into the cave and after a while they raise him up.
  23. Don Quixote recounts his adventure in the cave, of meeting the wise Montesinos and his crystal palace, where he is taken to Montesino’s rival who had his heart removed but who still speaks as a zombie. Montesinos states he has waited for Don to show so he can show him this realm.
  24. Travels continue, a boy and an arms dealer are greeted
  25. At the inn Master Pedro arrives with a soothsaying monkey and a puppet show. The monkey tells Pedro the history of Don and Sancho. All are amazed. Don suspects the monkey is in collusion with the devil. They settle in for the puppet show.
  26. The puppet show is narrated by a boy, who tells of romance under threat. Two of the puppets try to escape to France; to aid them Don Quixote attacks the puppet show and hacks the rival puppets to pieces. The monkey flees in the carnage. Afterwards the enchantment is realized and Don and Sancho pay Pedro for the loss of his puppets and monkey.
  27. Gines (a freed slave from part 1) is revealed to be Master Pedro; so the monkey can’t talk. Don and Sancho come across the braying town who is set to fight the town that makes fun of them. Sancho makes a braying noise and they beat him and send Don and Sancho off.
  28. Sancho talks of his beating and wishes he was back home. He tallies up all he as lost as a result of being a squire. Don agrees to pay him recompense and tells him to quit if he wants to whine. Sancho declares that he is a jackass and will stay with Don.
  29. The two encounter a tethered boat and Don orders Sancho to set it and them adrift in the river so that they may find adventures. They approach a watermill and Don thinks it’s a castle where a knight is being held. The mill workers run out to save the boat and Don and Sancho tumble into the water. The boat is crushed in the mill. The fisherman who owned the boat demands money from Don Quixote, who quits the mill, declaring it is another knight’s adventure.
  30. Don and Sancho meet a Duke and Duchess who know them through the publication of Part 1.
  31. Don and Sancho visit the Duke’s castle and sit for a meal. Sancho makes trouble with his donkey and a bad dinner table joke.
  32. Don tells of Dulcinea at length, admitting that she may or may not exist, even though he has seen her enchanted horrid form as a dim peasant.
  33. Sancho retires with the Duchess, who asks him about Dulcinea and of matters in the cave. Chapter ends with Duke and Duchess thinking up ways to fool Don Quixote.
  34. Duke Duchess Don and Sancho go boar hunting. Sancho gets hung up in a tree. The Duke’s trick is underway; a procession of disguised coachmen approach and one (Merlin) professes a way to end the enchantment of Dulcinea.
  35. Merlin tells the crowd that Dulcinea can be freed if Sancho gives himself 3000 lashes to his butt. Sancho objects, Don threatens to give him 6000 lashes. Laughs follow. Sancho agrees to lash himself at his pleasure. They return to the castle.
  36. Sancho writes to Teresa telling him of his governorship of the promised inusla, which the Duke has promised.
  37. A Duenna appears and discussions of Duennas begin; Sancho is not fond of them.
  38. Countess Trifaldi begins her tale of woe in the distant land of Candaya
  39. The countess tells of a giant that has cursed all her Duennas; the curse is that they all have beards.
  40. The countess asks Don and Sancho to fly on a wooden horse to Candaya and slay the giant. Sancho is against the idea. Don tells Sancho to shut up.
  41. The wooden horse is constructed and Sancho gets on it, threatened by the Duke to rescind his governorship. Don turns the peg on the horses head and blindfolded they fly (the Duke’s servants blast bellows to convince them). Then the Duke lights the horse on fire and it blows up as it is filled with fireworks.
  42. Don Quixote advises Sancho on how to govern his insula.
  43. Don offers more advice to Sancho regarding the behavior of a governor.
  44. Sancho departs for his insula; Don Quixote mourns his leaving and loneliness, and later his poverty and his torn socks. While in the castle he overhears a maiden pining for the valiant Don (this is another trick of the Duke).
  45. Sancho arrives at his insula Barataria; he quickly rules on three grievances of his people. All are amazed at Sancho’s deft statesmanship and judgment.
  46. A lute is place in Don’s room and he sings a song to the maiden, telling her he can’t love her because he is for Dulcinea only. A bag of cats is lowered into Don’s room and one scratches Don badly; he is laid up for 5 days. The duke feels remorse at this trick.
  47. Sancho tries to eat from the table for of food but his court doctor forbids gluttony, so Sancho fires the doctor and threatens to break a chair over his head. Another petitioner comes before Sancho begging for money and restitution and Sancho tells him to get out or risk a beating.
  48. The Duchess’ Duenna asks Don Quixote to convince a young man to marry her daughter, a daughter who is pregnant by the young man. Don agrees, and then the duenna and Don are beaten up by mysterious phantoms.
  49. Sancho the governor avoids petitioners and eats supper. He goes out on patrol with his men and adjudicates three so-called crimes.
  50. A page visits Teresa Panza with news of her husband’s governorship and a letter and gifts from the Duchess. Teresa is beside herself, dancing and dreaming of riches, as is her daughter Sanchica. The priest and graduate Sanson find Teresa and ask what’s up. They question the page about Sancho’s governorship and can’t believe it.
  51. Sancho receives a letter from his friend Don Quixote and Sancho dictates a letter back. Touching chapter, best yet on the friendship between the two.
  52. The duenna Dona Rodriguez and her daughter beg Don Quixote for justice against the man who won’t marry the daughter. Don agrees to see to it before he sets out for the jousts at Zaragoza. Teresa Panza’s letters arrive and the Duchess has them read aloud for all to hear.
  53. Sancho’s men fake an attack on Barataria and Sancho gets battered in his shield. He quits the governorship saying it is not for him. He greets his donkey and packs up bread and cheese to return to the Duke and Duchess.
  54. Sancho meets his old neighbor Ricote on the way back to the Duke’s. Ricote tells him of a treasure buried in their town, and invites Sancho to come dig it up with him. Sancho declines, saying he has had enough of wealthy adventures like his governorship.
  55. Sancho and his donkey fall into a cave but they’re okay. Sancho starts digging them out. Don Quixote rehearses his battle with the duenna’s daughters’ offender and hears Sancho calling out. Thinks Sancho might be a spirit but then hears the donkey bray. Ropes pull the two out of the cave and Don and Sancho return to the Duke and Duchess. Sancho admits he wasn’t cut out for governing, that 10 days in charge was enough.
  56. Don Quixote prepares to battle the stand-in offender of the duenna’s daughter. But the stand in, a footman, sees the daughter and falls in love with her and doesn’t fight. He tells the Duke he wants to marry her and they agree it’s a good match. The daughter sees it’s not her scoundrel lover under the armor and Don explains it is an enchantment. All agree to wait to see if the footman turns into the lover.
  57. Don and Sancho quit the castle and set out for new adventures. His ‘scorned’ maiden sings an angry song as he leaves, accusing him of stealing her garters. She discovers she is wearing the garters.
  58. Don and Sancho meet a group carrying wooden relief carvings of an altar; the reliefs are of saints known throughout Spain. Then they meet up with shepherdesses and shepherds who found land to create a new Arcadia. They know who Don and Sancho are from their history and invite them for a meal. Don thanks them by standing in the road for two days daring anyone to deny the beauty of the shepherdesses. Don and Sancho are overrun and battered by a cattle drive.
  59. Don Quixote and Sancho find lodgings at an inn where Quixote overhears two dons talking of Part 2 of Quixote’s adventures. They are reading the second part not authored by Cervantes, and Quixote declares it all nonsense. The dons tell Quixote it contains information of the jousts at Zaragoza, and suggest to Quixote he not go there to prove the imposter part 2 edition wrong. Don Quixote agrees and he and Sancho out for the jousts in Barcelona.
  60. Don attempts to lash Sancho to end the enchantment Dulcinea is under, but Sancho fights him off. They find themselves in a grove of trees filled with hanged thieves. Roque Guinart, a bandit, and his men capture Quixote but Roque gives them their goods back once he realizes it is Don they have found. A brief aside story of a wronged maiden who commits a wronged revenge takes place. Roque’s men capture a party and Roque takes some but not all their money and splits the head of one insolent captive. He writes a letter to his men in Barcelona telling of Don Quixote’s pending arrival.
  61. Roque leaves Don and Sancho at Barcelona, where they admire the ocean, unseen until this day. They are greeted by a mass of people and knights and led into the city.
  62. Don and Sancho become known in the city. They walk around and Don Quixote encounters a print shop wherein all matters of book publishing are discussed.
  63. Don and Sancho visit the galley ships and take part in the capture of a renegade Turk vessel. Aboard is a Mosica woman dressed as a man. She is Ricote’s daughter. Sancho affirms their tale and father and daughter are reunited.
  64. On the shoreline Don Quixote encounters the Knight of the White Moon who challenges him, demands that once defeated Don give up arms for a year. The knight bests Don Quixote with a fierce charge and spares his life. Dejected and bruised, Don is morose. Rocinante is stunned.
  65. The Knight of the White Moon is revealed to be Sanson, who has battled so that Quixote might return home and regain his sanity. The Barcelona nobles think this will not work and that it is no good for Don Quixote to live without adventures. Quixote recuperates for 6 days and then he and Sancho leave Barcelona, the Don dressed in normal clothes and Sancho walking, his mule laden with armor.
  66. Sancho settles a bet at an inn, and they encounter the Duke’s footman, who tells them of what befell the duenna and her daughter.
  67. Don Quixote imagines in his life without arms that he will become a shepherd. He invites Sancho to do the same, and he is pleased with the idea. They imagine that bachelor Sanson and the barber and the priest will join them in the shepherd business as well.
  68. Don and Sancho discuss life and are trampled by 600 pigs being driven to market. Then they are captured by a band of men who demand silence of their captive. They are shocked to find that they are brought to the Duke’s castle.
  69. The Duchess’ maiden who wooed Quixote is in a coffin and a candlelit ceremony is underway. It is proclaimed that the maiden may be revitalized if Sancho is given slaps and pinpricks. Sancho objects when duennas appear to offer the slapping services. All join in and the maiden arises. Don and Sancho retire to their old quarters.
  70. The castle nonsense is revealed to have been set in motion by Sanson and the Duke and Duchess. The maiden tells Don Quixote and Sancho of her time in hell. A bunch of people come into Don’s room to talk to him and after a meal Don and Sancho quit the castle.
  71. They continue the journey home. Sancho decides to get his self-inflicted lashing over with and sets off with a switch and beats his backside while the Don keeps count. After a short spell Sancho starts whipping trees instead of his backside and Don asks that he not do too much and injure himself. They retire that night at an inn and ponder the history of their adventures and how they might be remembered.
  72. Don and Sancho meet a man at the inn who took part in the fake Part 2 of Don Quixote. He agrees he has not met the real Don until now. Sancho completes his lashing and the two men arrive at the hilltop above their village and prepare to enter it.
  73. Sancho is greeted by Teresa and Don Quixote by the priest and Sanson. He tells them of his pastoral plans to become a shepherd and that they should join him. They see these plans as a new madness, and Don’s niece and housekeeper warn him that shepherd life is hard. Don asks them to leave him to his bed as he is tired and unwell.
  74. Don Quixote regains his sanity and apologizes for his knight-time behavior. He prepares his will leaving Sancho his money and his niece his estate. He dies.

Terrific paragraph from Don Quixote Part 2

By this time a thousand different kinds of brightly colored birds began to warble in the trees, and with their varied and joyous songs they seemed to welcome and greet the new dawn, who, through the doors and balconies of the Orient, was revealing the beauty of her face and shaking from her hair an infinite number of liquid pearls whose gentle liquor bathed the plants that seemed, in turn, to send forth buds and rain down tiny white seed pearls; the willows dripped their sweet-tasting manna, the fountains laughed, the streams murmured, the woods rejoiced, and the meadows flourished with her arrival. But as soon as the light of day made it possible to see and distinguish one thing from another, the first thing that appeared before Sancho Panza’s eyes was the nose of the Squire of the Wood, which was so big it almost cast a shadow over the rest of his body. In fact, it is recounted that his nose was outlandishly large, hooked in the middle, covered with warts, and of a purplish color like an eggplant; it came down the width of two fingers past his mouth, and its size, color, warts, and curvature made his face so hideous that when Sancho saw him his feet and hands began to tremble, like a child having seizures, and he decided in his heart to let himself be slapped two hundred times before he would allow his anger to awaken and then fight with that monster.

from Part 2 Chapter XIV of Don Quixote

Stories within Don Quixote

Part 1 of Don Quixote features a few interpolated stories within the main novel–these are tales of love and betrayal, of escape and daring, which feature secondary characters, and don’t directly involve Don Quixote or Sancho Panza.

I favor the Zoraida story, of Zoraida’s soliciting Christian prisoners to help her escape from her father and be delivered to a Christian land. Zoraida was converted to Christianity by a beloved nanny and kept the secret from her pious Moor father. The planning and escape from Algiers to Spain is great adventure, and the tale of it, told at the inn, where all matters of confluence have brought together all the parties from all the stories within Don Quixote, including all the beautiful damsels in distress, never tires.