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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Thoughts

Yes, I'm still reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and will be reading it for at least another week.  I'm liking the WWII parts much better than the more current story line.  I enjoy Stephenson's sly humor and there are sections that make me stop and ponder how much research he did before altering history, must have been pretty exhaustive.  This sends me to the internet to check out events and characters in actual history.  The section on Yamamoto is some of his best tongue-in-cheekiness.

Reading the Stephenson version of Yamamoto's thoughts makes me wonder what Yamamoto was actually thinking as he considered  Japan's Imperial Army vs the Americans.  Anyway, here is an excerpt of Yamamoto's fictional thoughts:
The Yanks call this type of plane "Betty," an effeminatizing gesture that really irks him [Yamamoto].  Then again, the Yanks name even their own planes after women, and paint naked ladies on their sacred instruments of war!  If they had samurai swords, Americans would probably decorate the blades with nail polish.

To say the novel is complex, however, is understating the situation.  Stephenson slips from one character to another, from one time period to another, from one location to another with little warning.  He indulges in detail that obviously tickles him, but that I often have no clue about--especially when talking computers in the modern sections of the novel.

Earlier in the novel, there was a section that most certainly referenced Operation Mincemeat (Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory).  The actual body used for the real Operation Mincemeat was not a butcher frozen to a pig, but the idea speaks loads for preservation.

In the meantime, I'm also reading Elizabeth George's Believing the Lie...an Inspector Lynley mystery which reads a whole lot faster than Cryptonomicon.

I have a third Once Upon a Time review scheduled.  I checked the library for several books I was looking for with no luck.  I guess I'll have to order a couple of them and get the rest on interlibrary loan.

The ARCs are piling up.  Most are unsolicited and many don't appeal to me, but this one looks interesting:  A Silence of Mockingbirds -- arrived Thursday.  Except this book is nonfiction about a child murder--I don't usually want that kind of reality.  An article in the Huffington Post gives the author's reasons for writing the book.  Maybe later...but not now.

At the moment, I'm looking more for escape literature, not reality.  The world is harsh, give me fictional drama, hopefully happy endings.  Fairy tales and fantasy and mysteries.

What are you reading?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Once Upon a Time)

Heartless is the 4th novel in the Parasol Protectorate series about Alexia Tarrabotti.  I loved the silliness and satire of the first book in the series, but enjoyed the next two much less.  Heartless is definitely an improvement over the last two.

 Minor characters are becoming more interesting to me than Alexia and Conall.  Mr. Floote, the butler, has such aplomb.  Professor Lyall and Lord Akadelma are both intriguing.  Werewolves and vampires and more.

While I did like Heartless better than the two previous books, I still can't say that I felt any where near the pleasure of Soulless, the introductory novel to the series.  The first one was a delight.

The Once Upon a Time Challenge.  My second book for the challenge.

Fiction.  Urban Fantasy.  2011.  374 pages.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I MUST See This!

Oh, the timing is so perfect for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.



Julia Roberts and Lily Collins in Mirror Mirror

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Summoner: Book I in the Chronicles of the Necromancer




The Summoner  recounts  a "hero's journey" a la Joseph Campbell.


Here is the formulaic plot line:  Prince Martris Drayke is the only survivor of his brother Jared's coup. When Jared has the rest of the royal family murdered,  a wounded Tris manages to escape with the help of his friends.  Always able to communicate with the palace ghosts, the trauma of his family's murders releases additional powers that Tris has been unaware of possessing.

And then:

He must find a way to control his powers and use them to defeat Jared and put an end to the senseless brutality that Jared and his own mage have forced on the kingdom.

 His friends are helpful.

 He meets new friends who join his cause.

There is a beautiful warrior princess.

 He finds tutors to help him understand his magical powers.

While there is no real depth to the novel or the characters,  it is a quick and easy read.   I don't regret having read it by any means, but neither am I inclined to  seek out other books in the series.

Once Upon a Time Challenge VI

Fiction.  Fantasy.  2009.  Print version - 644 pages.  I read an e book on my Kindle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fairy Tales and Poetry

I was looking through some old drafts and found several fairy tale poems that I'd linked to or posted for the Once Upon a Time Challenge several years back.

I love poetry, and combining poetry and fairy tales has produced some wonderful, delicious, frightening, and/or funny poems.

Here is a delightful poem "How to Change a Frog into a Prince" by Anna Denise; originally published in The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales.  I posted this poem a couple of years ago during the Once Upon a Time Challenge, and still it touches me with both humor and truth.

Another post that I've had in draft form for about a year is a poem by Jane Yolen (can't beat Jane Yolen for poetry and fairy tales).  Another transformational poem.

Swan / Princess by Jane Yolen 

1
When the change came
she was sitting in the garden
embroidering an altar cloth,
thin gold thread working the crown of Christ.
First her neck
arching like cathedral vaultings.
Dress rippling at the shoulder accomodated wings:
white-vaned, white-feathered like Oriental smocking.
Hands and feet tangling into orange legs,
inelegant, powerful as camshafts.
When her head went, she cried,
not for pain, but for the loss
of her soft, thin lips
so recently kissed by the prince.
Not even the sweet air,
not even earth unfolding beneath her
recompensed for those lost kisses
or the comfort of his human arms.

2

When the change came
she was floating in the millpond,
foam like white lace tracing her wake.
First her neck shrinking,
candle to candleholder,
the color of old, used wax.
Wings collapsed like fans;
one feather left,
floating memory on the churning water.
Powerful legs devolving;
Powerful beak dissolving.
She would have cried for the pain of it
had not remembrance of sky sustained her.
A startled look on the miller's face
as she rose, naked and dripping,
recalled her to laughter,
the only thing she had really missed as a swan.


(via Endicott Studio)

There are several lines I love, but the last 6 lines are my favorites.

Since I am, for the first time in a couple of months or more, settling back into reading mode, my nightly activities have switched from 4-6 hours of sewing, crafting, and watching tv series on Netflix as I sew and craft--to reading like someone starved for words.

I've finished Heartless by Gail Carriger, The Summoner:  Bk. I by Gail Martin,  and The Apothecary by Maile Meloy (thanks to Nan) and enjoyed all of them.  Heartless is Steampunk fantasy, but I'm undecided as to whether or not to include it as a Once Upon a Time book choice; the other two definitely fit into the Once Upon a Time category.

I've started Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, a massive and complicated tome that was not really what I intended to check out, but the library didn't have Snow Crash.  So...how did I end up reading Neal Stephenson, an author I was not familiar with until a few days ago?

I stopped in at So Many Books and read her post about optimistic science fiction (you can find the post here), then followed her links, then put Snow Crash on my list.  The library didn't have Snow Crash, but they did have Cryptonomicon, and I remembered that Stefanie had given it high praise.  I have also long been fascinated by codes and code breakers, especially anything to do with the Enigma machine and the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.

Hesitating when I saw the size of Crypto, and knowing how much I love the fairy tale, fantasy, and myth to which I intended to devote myself, I just couldn't resist the connection to Enigma and tucked the huge book in my bag.  What I didn't bargain for was the complexity of the book...it is gonna' take a while to get through these 800+ pages!  I could have read an entire book or two in the time I spent getting through about 75 pages until after midnight last night!

I like it, and I like the tongue-in-cheek-iness of it, but NUMBERS and FORMULAS are not my thing.  On the other hand, I'm always so impressed with individuals who do understand math and physics and abstractness to the most randomness possible.  I'm as captivated by these individuals as I am by David Weber's weaponry and military tactics (another realm of possibility beyond my abilities).

I am an eclectic reader.  :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lists and DNF

 Are you one of those individuals who love lists?  I am.  I make them, lose them, find them, usually too late to make use of them. And I enjoy reading lists that other people make.

Dickens now qualifies as my favorite list maker of all time.  He created this list of fake books for his library at Tavistock.  And then, AND THEN...he had a bookbinder create the fake book backs and added them to the shelves.   (found via Mary's Library--thanks, Mary!)

The first few titles from his list:

History of a Short Chancery Suit
Catalogue of Statues of the Duke of Wellington
Five Minutes in China. 3 vols.
Forty Winks at the Pyramids. 2 vols.

My embroidery interlude appears to be waning, and I'm enjoying a return to the reading cycle.  I'm so ready to immerse myself in the Once Upon a Time Challenge and have finished The Summoner: Book I of the Necromancer Chronicles by Gail Martin.

Today, I have a trip to the library scheduled to see if I can find some of the titles I've added to the list of possibilities for the challenge.  I love our library, and although they don't always have the books I'm looking for, I usually find plenty to keep me busy.

In the DNF file:  Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi.  I got half way through, sometimes thinking I'd like it, then openly bored, then a little interest...until I finally decided I didn't really like Mr. Fox, or Daphne, or Mary Fox enough to continue the strange little chapters of stories that were only vaguely connected.

I really enjoyed The Icarus Girl by Oyeyemi, and even enjoyed much of her style in Mr. Fox, but the fairy tale variations didn't engage me--or maybe they did, but they didn't satisfy.  It would have been a good read for Once Upon a Time, but just didn't work for me.

Great cover, though, don't you think?  Has anyone read this?  What did you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

How Firm a Foundation by David Weber

I have some favorite authors whose books keep me enthralled, and David Weber is my very favorite in the science fiction genre.  How Firm a Foundation is the 4th in the Safehold series; I love this series, maybe even more than the Honor Harrington books.

I read a lot of series out of order and don't usually find it a challenge, but David Weber's books really do need to be read in order.  All of his books are long, complex, and full of characters; in How Firm a Foundation there are 28 pages listing characters.  By this latest book in the series, of course, many of the characters are dead, having met their ends in previous books in the series, but new characters have been added.

But here's the thing that really makes me marvel--almost every character has a distinct personality, even if that character doesn't last long.   None are simply cardboard drones. There are a lot of major players located in different countries, and each of these have fully rounded personalities and lives.

How Firm a Foundation continues the saga of the fight for survival of the Charisian Empire as they battle The Church of God Awaiting and its corrupt and fanatic leaders.

The series begins with Off Armageddon Reef which I reviewed in 2007.  I love the way the people of Charis begin a renaissance of technology.  Now I have to wait for September for the publication of the next installment.

Fiction.  Science Fiction.  2011.  607 pages.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Once Upon a Time

It is time for Carl's annual Once Upon a Time Challenge!  It is hard to believe that this is the sixth year.  I participate every year, although I'm not always so good about posting on the review site.

I've gotten a few ideas from Marg and Kailana about some possibilities for this year's list of books.  Marg was interested in Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, but since Amazon didn't have it listed yet, and  I haven't read any Forsyth, I added Witches of Eileanan (Book 1) to my wish list.

Kailana did the worst damage to my resolution not to order anything more from Amazon this month because I downloaded The Summoner:  Book I in the Chronicles of the Necromancer to my Kindle and added several others to my wishlist.

I'll probably do













Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres. 


Carl offers several Quests for this challenge, including The Journey-- It means you are participating, but not committing yourself to any specific number of books. By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories during March 21st to June 19th period.Just one book. If you choose to read more, fantastic!

I've enjoyed this challenge every year and have read a variety of fantasy each year, but I do enjoy the retellings of fairy tales and have three picked out:

 Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
 Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
 Beauty by Sherri Tepper.

I'm not sure if I'll read all of them, three retellings of the same fairy tale may be too much in two months.  But there are plenty of other retellings-- for example, of Repunzel--that I'm interested in.  I've read Zel by Donna Jo Napoli and liked it very much.  Other possibilities here.

A favorite nonfiction Challenge read from the past:  Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales by Kate Bernheimer is a fascinating look at the importance of fairy tales in the lives of various authors and includes essays by Le Guin, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood.

Do you have any suggestions for books that fit the fantasy, fairy tale, folklore, myth categories?

I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

The Invisible Ones is an intriguing mystery about a private investigator who is half Romany. Ray Lovell's father was a gypsy who married a gorgio, a non-Romany, and who gave up the traveling life to settle down in a house.

The novel opens with Ray in the hospital after a car accident, but the injuries from the accident are not as important as the fact that when he was found, he was paralyzed and unable to talk.  The doctors are trying to discover what happened:  brain tumor, stroke, drugs?

The next chapter starts at the beginning, when Ray reluctantly takes on a missing persons case from Leon Wood, a man searching for his daughter Rose, who disappeared seven years ago.  Leon is an English Gypsy and has chosen Ray because he knows that Ray, as half-Roma, is the only investigator who might be able to  discover what happened to his missing daughter.  Ray with his half-Romany heritage is the only one who can make any headway with members of the Romany community who would refuse to communicate with outsiders.

The next chapter introduces J.J., a fourteen-year-old member of the Janko clan, whose mother is a Gypsy, but whose father was a gorgio.  J.J. is bright and caring, but he, too, is a kind of half-breed who doesn't completely fit into either community.

The chapters continue to alternate between Ray and J.J. as the author introduces information about clannish Romany life and customs and develops the characters first from Ray's perspective, then from J.J.'s.

 Ray meets one dead end after another is his attempts to find out what happened to Rose after she married Ivo Janko.  J.J. has his own mysteries and concerns to unravel.

Ray is a likable protagonist, but frankly, J.J. steals the show.  We root for each of them as the mystery deepens and twists and as both man and boy try to come to grips with some personal problems.

There are no gruesome scenes, there is no serial killer, but the mystery has some dark elements that keep it interesting.  Stef Penney is a skillful writer who doles out information that keeps you turning the possibilities over in your mind in a way that makes you appreciate her ability to keep you involved, but she is never condescending.

Fiction.  Mystery.  2021.  399 pages.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time has Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant  flat on his back in a hospital after having fallen through a trap door.  Poor Grant, reduced to examining the ceiling of his hospital room, is in a despair of boredom and needs something to occupy his mind.  His friend Marta decides to cure his boredom by presenting him with a choice of historical mysteries to solve by bringing him copies of portraits, including a portrait of Richard III.

Grant, who has made a useful habit of studying faces, doesn't see a villain in the portrait's features and is surprised to learn that the subject is Richard III.  He asks several people, including his doctor, what kind of person they would think the face indicates.  Without knowing who the portrait depicted, the answers varied--sadness, illness, suffering-- not one said they thought it was the face of a murderer.

Inspector Grant's boredom is ended:  he is on a case.  Determined to discover whether or not Richard was guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, Grant has help from several sources who provide him with history books and primary documents, but his greatest help comes from Brent Carradine, a young American, who becomes as deeply immersed in the mystery as Grant himself.

I read Daughter of Time years (and years and years) ago, but I liked it so much that I've checked the library for it in recent years, only to discover that although I originally read it as a library book (in Lincoln Parish), our Bossier Parish library no longer has a copy.  The book was published in 1951; evidently the library culled the novel when making room for new books.

Recently I watched  Looking for Richard on Netflix, the Al Pacino documentary about the preparation for a performance of Shakespeare's Richard III.

"This strange and charming documentary by Al Pacino, in which he also stars, is an exploration of several topics: Shakespeare and his hump-backed villain, the impulse to act, the way actors work--and Pacino's single-minded effort to make the Bard accessible to all audiences and not just the effete few. Over the course of the film, Pacino alternately discusses the role and the text; roams Manhattan, talking about Shakespeare with everyone from scholars to people on the street; and re-creates scenes from the play in a production staged at the Cloisters, an evocative castle-like museum on the north end of Manhattan. He assembles a cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, Estelle Parsons, and Alec Baldwin to perform the scenes, and he slips back and forth between text and discussion of the play in a way that makes Shakespeare comprehensible and fascinating to viewers who know or care nothing about his writing." --Marshall Fine

While I did find the documentary interesting (if a bit self-indulgent), I don't think it accomplished its purpose, at least as far as I was concerned.  Watching the film did, however,  persuade me to order a copy of Daughter of Time so that I could compare Tey's view of Richard with Shakespeare's character.  The actors, producers, etc. in the documentary  were only concerned with Shakespeare's Richard, the evil villain--the character in a play, not the historical king.

But here's the thing:  Shakespeare's Richard III was written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a Tudor.  It was certainly in an author's best interest to please the current ruler, and Shakespeare was no exception in this regard.  The Tudor Dynasty needed to have Richard III  considered a villain to validate the Tudor right to the throne, and Shakespeare obliged by creating a truly wicked, if fascinating, version of Richard.

Who can forget that view of Richard, the wicked hunchback, the repellent uncle who ordered the murder of the two princes in the tower, his own nephews?  History books record the facts.

Or do they?   This is one of the interesting facets of the novel:  Who writes history?  Whose version of history is accepted as fact?

Inspector Grant and Brent Carradine present evidence that contradicts the history created to oblige the Tudors--following in the footsteps of Horace Walpole, who also considered Richard innocent.  The evidence Grant and Carridine present (garnered mostly from primary documents) may change your opinion of Richard III, the last Plantagenet.

There is even a Richard III Society:

The Richard III Society was founded during the summer of 1924 by a Liverpool surgeon, Saxon Barton, and a small group of friends. They were all enthusiastic amateur historians with a particular interest in the life and times of Richard III. Their motivation was a belief that history had not dealt justly with the King's posthumous reputation and they wanted to encourage and promote a more balanced view. I

Branches of the society span the globe, including an American branch.  Interesting, isn't it, that so many people are so dedicated to this rehabilitation of Richard III.

I highly recommend this mystery if you have any interest in history, but I have to admit Tey had me within the first two pages with her humor and her deft characterization, long before the mystery was introduced.  How wonderful to discover that this book is as good as I remembered.

Fiction/Nonfiction.  History/Mystery.  originally published 1951.  206 pages.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Introvert/Extrovert?

Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or perhaps a mixture that you can't quite explain?

Has anyone read Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking?

I haven't.  After reading a review of the book page of the local paper recently, I decided it was of little interest to me.

I'm an introvert.  I'm also short.  Each quality has occasionally been a drawback (sometimes I have to ask my husband to hand me something from a high shelf-- if he isn't there, however, I have a step stool).   On the other hand, there are times and places when when being tall (or being extroverted) could be a problem.

I skimmed the review with little interest.  I'm an introvert, and I like extroverts because they pull me into conversations and activities that would otherwise pass me by; I'm not unhappy with my introversion, although I have to be careful to avoid becoming a recluse.

Today my interest in the book was revived because I read two reviews of the book in The Guardian, one by an introvert and one by an extrovert.

What I found most interesting and reassuring in reading the reviews is that both Sara Maitland, the introvert, and Miranda Sawyer, the extrovert, are offended by the book's premise.  Neither were pleased by the dichotomy set up in Cain's book.

When I checked Amazon, I discovered that reviews were overwhelmingly positive--which certainly came as a surprise to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

113 Reviews
5 star:
 (68)
4 star:
 (28)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (4)

 I'm curious...have any of you read the book?  If so, what did you think?

  I may have to read it after all. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein is the story of the year Joshua Foer spent training to be a mental athlete for the U.S. Memory Championship.

If you are looking for a book that teaches memory techniques, this is not it.  The book does mention and briefly describe some of the best known mnemonic techniques, but the focus is on the world of the competitors.  And what a quirky bunch they are!  Although Foer (and the other memory competitors) all insist they don't have special abilities, you might notice the universities several of them attended.  I suspect that, even though not all competitors had that kind of privileged educational background--they probably could have if they could have afforded or desired it.  Just sayin'

Foer  includes some excellent information about the history of mnemonics and the individuals who used it to their benefit, some of which you will probably be familiar with.    He includes information about interesting anomalies like the "Rain Man" and "S" who remember everything without using any techniques at all, whose brains are simply able to instantly recall information.  Foer discusses the Major method and memory palaces, useful memory tools.  And he emphasizes the importance of paying attention.

The focus of the book, however, is the curious world of the "mental athlete" -- those individuals who devote their lives to memorization in preparation for various national and international contests.

Remembering (in the way that these individuals do) is hard work.  The comparison can be made to Olympic hopefuls and their strenuous training; mental athletes spend hours each day in practice.  While it is true that most of the information memorized is completely useless (unless you plan on counting cards at a casino or entertaining people with parlor tricks),  Foer points out that much of the skill and effort in many sports serves no purpose in everyday life.  People like challenges; some prefer physical, some mental challenges.  The memory champions train hard and compete with gusto.

I enjoyed the book and Foer's easy, companionable writing style.  Following him through his introduction in his journalistic capacity to the world of memory competitions, his increasing curiosity about the techniques and the people involved, his first attempts to see what he could accomplish using the techniques, and finally,  his decision to compete in the USA Memory Championship provided an interesting journey.

Learning about the history, the psychology, and the methodology of the art of memory kept me involved and interested.  Even knowing that most of the mental athletes have the same difficulties that everyone else has in occasionally being unable to find their car keys doesn't detract from the idea that we all could make use of some of the techniques if we were willing to make the effort.

Most of us would not be interested in memorizing several decks of cards in a limited time or remembering long lists of random numbers, but remembering names and faces with more ease would be a useful goal, and students would certainly love to be able to remember dates, lists, and other possible exam information with less effort.

One thing that I did not like was Foer's snide, snarky remarks about Tony Buzan.  I'd never heard of the man before, but he is an established icon in the memory world, and  Foer's attitude toward Buzan was so mean-spirited that it put me off.  I was a little embarrassed for him, and his remarks did more damage to himself than to Buzan.

Final analysis-- in spite of the unfortunate sections dealing with Tony Buzan, I did enjoy the book.  While Moonwalking with Einstein does not really teach mnemonic techniques it give a nice overview, and if you want to do further research, the book gives names and titles, not only throughout the chapters, but in an extensive bibliography.

Nonfiction.  2011.  297 pages including bibliography.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

The Snowman continues the adventures of Inspector Harry Hole.  I like Harry, but I can't say that I liked this book.  The murders are senseless and gruesome.  It is less a mystery than a patchwork of murders intended for shock value.  The killer's motivation didn't work for me.

I like Harry, I really do.  He is an antihero, a flawed individual; still, I wish he'd clean up his act a little.  His character never grows within a novel; in fact, it hasn't grown from novel to novel.  Harry goes on the wagon occasionally, and he falls off, often spectacularly.  Even if alcoholism is a permanent part of his personality, it would be nice if it didn't take prominence in every novel.

So...even though I do like the character, I'm not entirely happy with him, and the plot of this novel (red herrings included) is just way over the top.  The last bit, the part with Rakel in jeopardy, was beyond my ability to take seriously.  My image of the scene with Rakel and the snowman is almost funny.

I've enjoyed the previous novels I've read by Nesbo, but this one, not so much.

Fiction.  Mystery/Crime.  Eng. trans. 2011.  400 pages.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gail Carriger's Timeless is the fifth in the Parasol Protectorate series featuring Lady Macon, vampires, werewolves, humor, and satire.  I've yet to read Heartless, # 4 in the series, so I'll have to get to that one before the latest offering.  I liked Souless, the first in the series the best because the satire was fresh and funny.  The next two were OK, but not nearly as good.
(this is just my opinion--others have felt that the series kept getting better)

Naomie Novik has a new Temeraire offering -- Crucible of Gold


But when will my favorite fantasy series by Megan Whalen Turner have a new offering?   Surely it is about time for a return of Gen, the thief of Attolia.  

Deborah Crombie (Gemma & Duncan Kincaid) has a new book out-- No Mark Upon Her.  I love this mystery/police procedural series and hope the library is quick to get this one.

I'm experiencing book lust.  The weird part is that although I'm finding dozens of books that I want to read, receiving a-plenty of ARCs from publishers, have stacks of TBR books waiting--I'm not actually spending as much time reading.

Normally, I read from 6 or 7 at night until 11:00 or even later.  That has not been happening this year.  Instead of settling into my reading chair, I'm more likely to rush upstairs to needle and thread.  My reading time has been hijacked by embroidery.  And I'm keeping up with my sewing/quilting/crafting blog much better than I am with this one.  Cycles.

I have recently finished The Snowman by Jo Nesbo and Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer and need to review them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Recently Read

The Eight by Katherine Neville.  Almost any and every character in history shows up at some point in this conspiracy/puzzle novel (think Dan Brown).  It is historical name-dropping.  Very long.  Not my thing, although I read it all.  And ask myself why.

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon.  Had this on my list for a long time.  Should have kept in on the TBR list.  Another disappointment--crossing McMahon off my list of authors.

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins.  Hmmm.  An ARC about a string of murders in a small Mississippi town and about three women who all believe they know who the killer is.  Each woman has a different suspect in mind:  a brother, a husband, and employer.  In spite of the novel not really being my cup of tea, I did like Cherrie Mae.

I'm still reading several books of essays, but I'm still not reading much because I've been so wrapped up in my crafting projects.  Embroidery and doll making have occupied most of my time.

I have, however, watched some good documentaries:

Y Yoga Movie - which I really enjoyed after getting over the flamboyant fellow at the beginning.  Many interviews with yoga teachers like Shiva Rae and Seane Corn.

Also,  Craft in America - interviews with some outstanding craftsmen and women whose work is art.  Their work is not the kind of crafting I do, but genuine art--basket makers, furniture makers, and a blacksmith.  The interviews are informative and fascinating.

I've curtailed my library visits lately because I have so many books that I need to read from my own shelves, but I'm feeling the mystery obsession taking hold again and need a bag full from the library to help ease the withdrawal.