Monday, May 30, 2005

Not much reading going on...

I haven't updated this blog because I haven't been reading much. I'm halfway through "Death Below Deck" and I seem to have lost interest. I'm spending more time watching the French Open tennis tournament and knitting. I've read a few knitting magazines. So until I find something to interest me again, this blog may be slightly quiet. I don't think it'll be for long, though. I can't go very long without reading.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sporadic reading...

I was going to wait until tomorrow to update this but after seeing how many people had visited this site, I decided I should get something new posted here today.

Don't you hate it when you wait and wait for a book and once it comes, you find you don't like it? That's what happened with "Buried Stuff" by Sharan Fiffer. It's been on order from the library for months. I have read the first three in this series and enjoyed them even though they are a little light. I love reading about her picking adventures since I used to own an antique and collectibles store. Her descriptions of the things Jane Wheel finds make me salivate. So I started this book with pleasant anticipation. And couldn't get past page 20. I just didn't care what happened to the characters. So after waiting for months, it's going back to the library after having it for two days.

Now I'm reading "Death Below Deck" by Douglas Kiker. And enjoying it very much. I think this is the third in the series about Mac McFarland, out of work investigative journalist from Chicago who finds himself on Cape Cod. He has a wife he's trying to divorce, a drinking problem, and a smart mouth. Because Cape Cod is one of my favorite places to be, I like reading these books. The author, Douglas Kiker, is a former NBC television correspondent and was a White House correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune when Pres. Kennedy was shot. I like his characters and his writing style.

The Hitchhiker's Guide is still on the treadmill. And I haven't read it since Thursday. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe I'll see the movie before i finish rereading the book. I know, I should be on the treadmill. Maybe tomorrow.

Update coming...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Summary of HOMS

I finished reading House of Many Shadows for the umpteenth time. And it's still good.

Yesterday I posted a picture of my two copies of this book. The older copy is not really indicitive of the book. It makes it look like a "fem jep" (female jeopardy), Gothic type tale. Not so.

I don't enjoy summarizing books so I'm going to try to hit the high points. This book has an injured heroine, a troubled caretaker, a rich cousin, a two century old house that comes complete with ghostly inhabitants, a manic junkie, a bucolic town and Barbara Michael's own special blend of setting, character, and romantic suspense. A quote on the back of the book reads "Barbara Michaels's thrillers are always a satisfying blend of earthly terrors and supernatural suppositions." ~Publishers Weekly. Who am I to try and outwrite Publishers Weekly?

In spite of my feelings of inadequacy, the book discussion is going quite well. Once I start typing a question, all sorts of things pop into my head to add to it.

Next up, I'm going to read "Buried Stuff" by Sharon Fiffer. It's the fourth book in the series about antique picker Jane Wheel. These mysteries are light but fun.

I'm also supposed to be reading "Mortal Stakes" by Robert B. Parker for a discussion at the 4 Mystery Addicts group. I have it but I'm not if I'm going to start it or not.

And "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams is on my treadmill waiting for me to pursue getting in some kind of shape. And that's where I'm heading now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Here are my two copies of House of Many Shadows. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

How to go about it.

I'm supposed to post the first question for discussion of Barbara Michael's "House of Many Shadows" tomorrow. The only problem is that I've never led a book discussion before. And I've participated in very few. So I'm not sure how I want to lead this one. I don't think I want to do a chapter by chapter discussion. I'll probably go with posting questions on setting, plot, characters, etc. I've only read through chapter 5 but I've read it so many times that I don't think that will be a problem. And I'll finish it soon. I hope the discussion goes well especially after confessing how ill prepared I am to lead it.

I have started rereading Douglas Adam's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I'd like to get it read before I see the movie. I'd forgotten how funny this book is. I've read it once and listened to it on audiobook once. As a matter of fact, whenever I think of the audiobook, I flashback to weeding the asparagus and rhubarb patches. Unfortunately, the asparagus patch is no more but the rhubarb is still there. Ever flashback to what was going on around you the first time you read a book? They say that smell is one of the strongest memory inducers but for me, it's can be the memory of what I was reading, too.

I think I'll put this book on the treadmill. My rule is if I put a book on the treadmill, I can only read it while using said treadmill. And since lately the pounds have been creeping up, I need some real incentive to use it. The book that currently has that place of honor is Sara Paretsky's "Bitter Medicine". It's not a bad book but it hasn't induced me to do any exercising. Summer is fast coming upon us and I'm not going to have any clothes that look half way decent. So HG2G is going into the basement.

And now I have a book to read for discussion. Ta!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"House of Many Shadows"

I finished "Shadows on the Ivy" last night. It was a good book and I enjoyed it. And when the author revealed the vital clue that made no sense to me, I googled it and figured out who the killer was before the end of the book. That was satisfying. And the killer didn't come out of left field either. Once I figured it out, there were signs pointing to the killer all over the place.

Now I'm on to "House of Many Shadows" by Barbara Michaels. Actually I've read this book many, many times. It's a comfort read for me as are most of her books. But this time I'm leading a discussion of "House of Many Shadows" for the
Barbara Michaels yahoo group. I joined the group because I love her books but not much discussion goes on there. I figured the best way to get people to talk about her books was to lead a group discussion. I'm supposed to post the first question on Monday, May 16th so this book is next on my reading list. Now I hope I can think of some interesting questions to ask.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Shadows on the Ivy

I am reading "Shadows on the Ivy" by Lea Wait. This is the third in the Maggie Summer "Antique Print" mysteries. The first two are "Shadows at the Fair" and "Shadows on the Coast of Maine".

Maggie Summer is a college history professor and also has an antique prints business called "Shadows". SOTI takes place at the community college where she teaches and involves the poisoning of two single mothers who live in a communal home on campus. The house is an experiment in allowing single parents to earn scholarships and have a place to live while they attend college. Of course, they must be 'students in need'.

I have read all three Shadow books. While Wait writes a good mystery, I find Maggie to be a little too needy. She is a young widow and while she seems to want a man in her life, she tends to keep any who are interested at arm's length. She also wants children so desperately that she is considering adopting as a single parent. Her agonizing and internalizing over this tends to get a little annoying. Having said that, I do recommend her books as an interesting read. Her descriptions of the antique prints are very informative and make me want to run out and find some to put in my house. And, as I said earlier, the mystery aspect is good.

I haven't quite finished SOTI so I hope I don't have to report a bad ending tomorrow. But from past readings of Wait's books, the conclusion should be logical and satisfying.

Shadows on the Ivy by Lea Wait. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Book buys

My daughter and I went to Cooperstown, NY yesterday for lunch and to shop. I mentioned in my previous post that there is a great used bookstore there. Naturally, we stopped in to browse. I bought two books there - "Anonymous Rex" by Eric Garcia and "The Tidal Poole" by Karen Harper.

The first was mentioned on the 4MA group. A quote by Dave Barry on the inside book cover reads "What would the world be like if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct? As this very funny book shows, for one thing, L.A. would be even weirder than it is now." The protagonist is a L.A. PI who is also a Velociraptor. I figure even if I don't like it, it will probably appeal to Alek.

The second book is a historical mystery that takes place in 1559 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Since the last two historical mysteries I've read have taken place in 1139 and 1538, I thought I'd take a chance on it. And if I like it, there was another book in this series at the shop. Both books are hardcovers in almost mint condition and cost $5.00 each. Not bad, huh?

Cooperstown also has another small bookstore. This store has new books, jewelry, and cards. While the selection isn't very large, they have some interesting books there. I bought a paperback titled "Take the Bait" by S.W. Hubbard. This is a mystery that takes place in the Adirondack Mountains. Scott's family owns a camp in the Adirondacks and we have camped in various places in the Adirondack Park so I'm always interested in books that take place there. I'm not sure yet where in the Adirondack Park it takes place. I just hope it's written better than the last Adirondack mystery I bought. It is one of a series and was written by a former New York State trooper. He should have stayed with catching criminals and not tried to write about them. They are printed by a small publishing company. The one I bought yesterday was published by Pocket Books so I have hope for it.

And now it's time to pick up a book and read.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Historical mysteries

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom

I read this book in order to participate in a discussion of it on the 4 Mystery Addicts group. When I first read the description of the book, I was going to pass on the discussion. Historical mysteries are not my first choice of reading material. But, on a whim, I ordered it from the library. Even then, it was a couple of days before I went down and checked it out.

I'm very glad that I did read it. This book was well written and very informative. It takes place during the English Reformation at the time when Thomas Cromwell was calling for the dissolution of all monasteries. I have, of course, heard of the Reformation but that was about the extent of my knowledge. If asked about it before I read this book, I don't think I could have answered any questions at all. Now I have a basic knowledge of the English Reformation. And, I'd like to learn more about it.

Dr. Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer who works for Thomas Cromwell. He believes strongly that the Catholic Church needs to be stripped of much of it's wealth, political power, and religious rites. When a commissioner for Cromwell is murdered while trying to coerce the closing of a monastery in Scarnsea, Cromwell sends Shardlake and his clerk to investigate the murder and get the abbott to surrender the monastery.

I can't say that this story had me on the edge of my seat at any point but the historical detail, the well drawn characters, and the intricate puzzle Shardlake has to solve were more than enough to keep my interest throughout this book.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Yes, another blog

So, this blog is about my reading habits and preferences. Books have been my passion and my refuge since the second grade. They took me through the awkward teen years and the years of being a young mother at home with toddlers. They are my escape from the realities of the every day world.

My idea of a great shopping trip is to be in a used book store for hours with no one bugging me to leave. There is a bookstore in Cooperstown that only has hard cover used books. Some are really old, some are rare and some are more recent but the selection is amazing. The mystery section is quite large which makes me happy. There's a similar store in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts that I found this past October and didn't have anywhere near enough time to look through. That one had a large selection of knitting books. It was attached to a restaurant. I hope to get back there this fall. When we were on the Cape in August, the Brewster Public Library had a large book sale in their basement. I bought quite a few books but again didn't have enough time to see everything I wanted to.

I will be talking about my reading habits, likes and dislikes in this blog. And I'll be adding some links, etc. Right now I'm tired so I'm ending this post.