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Audiobook – Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen

>> Monday, June 30, 2008

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 1986
Read by: George Wilson

The Hubster and I listened to this one on our road trip this weekend. It was a good car book for us. A bit of mystery, a lot of very dark humor, a likeable hero, very odd villains and complicated, but not too involved for car listening.

This is our first Hiaasen book and will definitely not be our last. We both like the slightly twisted (and sometimes very twisted) nature of the humor. It’s not for everyone, but it was a good road trip book for us.

From the Publisher:

The only trace of the first victim was his Shriner's fez washed up on the Miami Beach. The second victim, the head of the city's chamber of commerce, was found dead with a toy alligator lodged in his throat. And that was just the beginning ...
Now Brian Keyes, reporter turned private eye, must move from muckraking to rooting out murder ... in a caper that will mix football players, politicians, and police with a group of anti-development fanatics and a very, hungry crocodile.


3rd Degree by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

Series: #3 in Women’s Murder Club Series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 339
Challenges: none

I knew I was heading into a busy weekend so I needed something fast paced that was easy to pick up if I just had a few minutes here and there. It was the perfect time for another James Patterson book. Total brain candy (“Mental Popcorn” is the new and very appropriate phrase I learned in the Books on A Nightstand group on Goodreads).

Anyway, this is the 3rd book in the Women’s Murder Club series. Set in San Francisco the series revolves around Detective Lindsay Boxer and a few of her friends (a DA, a medical examiner, and a reporter). This time the case is the hung for a serial bomber.

It was fast paced, quick and easy reading and just the thing I needed this weekend.


What do you get . . .

>> Friday, June 27, 2008

. . . when you combine :

  1. A tall scratching post
  2. A cat treat on top of the very tall scratching post
  3. A cat who is kind of a goof
You get
Crazy Climbing Monkey Cat


Pawleys Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

>> Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 316
TBR 2008 Alternate #4, Southern Reading #2

Dorothea Benton Frank’s books are the perfect summertime reading for me. I seem to pick up one of her books every May or June. Her writing style is like sitting on my porch listening to a friend I haven’t seen in ages telling me telling me about what she’s been up to since we were last together. Luckily our weather finally cooperated and provided some summer to go along with this book.

Abigail Thurmond has been living on Pawleys Island, South Carolina since retiring from her law practice. She spends her time playing golf and helping her best friend Huey with his art gallery. Their lives get a little more interesting when Rebecca Simms arrives in the gallery with some watercolors for Huey to consider. Rebecca is still reeling from a nasty divorce action instigated by her husband of seventeen years. Soon Abigail, Huey and a few other charming characters are helping Rebecca. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story of friends helping friends with a bit of sweet revenge along the way.

This is certainly not great literature, but definitely enjoyable light entertainment. Her books always make me want to start planning a trip to visit Charleston again.


American Eve by Paula Uruburu

>> Monday, June 23, 2008

Genre: Non-Fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 372
Non-Fiction Five #5, A-Z Reading #35 (U Author)

The full title is actually "American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the “It” Girl and the Crime of the Century". That’s a lot for one book, but Evelyn Nesbit had a lot happen in the first 22 years of her life. A famous face at 16, Evelyn was the ‘girl in the red velvet swing’ and the focus of one of the most infamous murders in the early part of the 20th Century. Well known architect Stanford White was very publicly murdered by Evelyn’s husband, Harry K. Thaw in the roof garden theater of New York’s Madison Square Garden. Although Evelyn was a famous artist’s model and chorus girl, she’s most remembered as the beautiful girl at the center of the murder trials.

It’s difficult to read Evelyn’s story and not compare it to other well known celebrities and many of the young women dominating the entertainment headlines today. Her life was controlled early on by a mother who used her daughter’s beauty to support the family after the death of Evelyn’s father. Not only her mother, but nearly every other authority figure in Evelyn’s life and career used her beauty and naiveté to their own advantage or nefarious end.

I have to confess that I nearly gave up on this book in the early stages. The writing style is a bit overblown, particularly in the introduction and first chapter. After that, however, it settles in to telling Evelyn’s story which I found to be interesting and troubling all at the same time.



>> Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stoopid Mariners


In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson

>> Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Series: #10 in the Inspector Alan Banks Series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 420
Challenges: none

This is actually a re-read for me. This book was my introduction to Peter Robinson and Inspector Banks several years ago. It was so good that I had to go back to the beginning of the series and read them all. I had read the first nine books and decided to re-read this one before moving on with the rest of the series.

It’s definitely the best of the series up to this point. In addition to the primary mystery, this one also delves quite a bit into Inspector Banks’ past, so it’s really not a bad place to start the series if you choose to do so.

Hobb’s End was a small town that in the 1950’s was abandoned and intentionally flooded by a reservoir. A particularly dry summer has dried up the reservoir revealing the ruins of the town. It has also revealed a skeleton. The story is told in alternating segments of present time and past. The present time story follows Banks and Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot as they investigate the probable murder. The flashback portion of the book is told by Gwen Shackleton, who lived in Hobb’s End during World War II.

It’s a fairly slow paced mystery, so don’t expect a high speed page-turner.


This is the reason you bought this, right?

>> Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You really did buy the roadster because the top of a convertible makes a perfect little hammock like bed for a tired kitty. Didn't you??
It is my preferred place to nap.

I'm an excellent napper.


What a lovely Sunday Afternoon

>> Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is where The Hubster and I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours reading this afternoon. Our front porch.

The view from over the top of my book:
Just a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Clearly we have one renegade privet that seems to want to grow antlers. The Hubster is going to have to deal with that soon.


Graph Jam

My newest favorite time wasting website:
Graph Jam: Pop Culture for People in Cubicles

This particular example is the one that gets posted simply because The Princess Bride is one of the best movies EVER.

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes


The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

>> Thursday, June 12, 2008

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 1918 originally, (1989 this edition)
Pages: 516
Decades 08 #8 1910’s), TBR 2008 #9, A-Z Reading #34 (T Author),

I’ve had this Pulitzer Prize winning novel on my TBR list for years. I’m glad I finally read it. It’s a family saga of three generations of a once powerful family in a Midwest town during 1870’s through the beginnings of the 20th century.

The decline of the aristocracy and the growth of the middle class, along with the massive changes that the automobile, industrialization and urbanization brought to the country form the background to this family saga. The main character is rather unlikable, but the focus is on him because it’s primarily his world that is being turned upside down. The expectation that he didn’t have to ‘do’ anything as mundane as have a profession is something that he’s unwilling to give up. He is the child of the wealthy class and his family’s decline is contrasted with the rise of what he considers the “riffraff” of the less than aristocratic members of society.

The book read like a historical novel to me, but when it was written it was quite contemporary. I enjoyed it a lot.


Summer? Someday (maybe)

I just needed a reminder that there is occasionally blue sky out there. It's been a cold and damp June. We typically say that in Portland, summer doesn't really start till July 5th, but this year it's REALLY not summer yet.

This picture was actually taken in April of 2005 - the same weekend at Cannon Beach that I took the sunset photo in the header. Non Pacific Northwesterners take note - the jackets worn by the people in the photo are typical beachwear for Oregonians.

It was fun to watch this guy - he showed up in the morning and started that watercolor - I really enjoyed watching the progress of the painting throughout the day.


Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

>> Monday, June 9, 2008

Genre: Humor
Publication Date: 1925 (this edition 1999)
Pages: 245
Initials Challenge #3

This was my second Wodehouse book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a collection of stories about Bertie Wooster a wealthy, not-to-bright, but completely likeable fellow and his valet Jeeves.

Among the stories in this collection are one about Bertie’s first introduction to Jeeves and another that is the first one I’ve read that is told from Jeeves’ viewpoint. Most of the stories involve Bertie or one of his friends getting caught in a dilemma. Jeeves usually has a plan that inevitably has unintended consequences. Somehow (usually due to further intervention from Jeeves) everything manages to work out.

I love how the humor written over 80 years ago is still light enjoyable reading that can make me giggle.


Flickr Photo Meme

>> Sunday, June 8, 2008

I love how images can say so much. I've been playing with this photo meme this morning. I found it on Sheri's blog. She, in turn found it at Bookpusher. It takes some time, but the results are fun.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name - Or online handle.

Here's my resulting mosaic:


Some modifications

>> Saturday, June 7, 2008

Note the new second tab in the header. The reason for that is that I really try to keep this blog about books and reading. That's why you won't see memes or other non-book related posts here.

There are times, however, when a girl just needs to post about other stuff. Therefore:

The name pretty much says it all - it'll be occasional posts and it'll be about other stuff that I don't want to post here.
It's barely anything yet, but who knows what will end up there. Some of it will be fun, some will be silly, some will be serious (but not too serious because after all it IS me!), and some will just be pictures.
Stop by occasionally and see what other stuff shows up.


Some things just don't fit

Another blog? Yes, another blog.

I've already got Blogging My Books - which I really try to keep strictly about books and reading.

Then there's The Adventures of Pirate Bendy - which is pure silliness from the viewpoint of a yellow piece of plastic.

Let's not forget Stuff I Made - which has been woefully neglected (mostly becuase I haven't been making stuff).

So where do I put all that other stuff running around in my brain and all those other pictures that don't have a pirate in them?

Here be the place.

Stay tuned

and I'm sure Howie is going to help because "Helpin's what Howie's do best!"


Private Practices by Stephen White

>> Friday, June 6, 2008

Series: #2 in the Dr. Alan Gregory Series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 426
Medical Mystery 2008 Challenge #1

I really enjoyed this second Dr. Alan Gregory book. He’s a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado. As the book opens, there’s a hostage situation going horribly wrong right in the office Dr. Gregory shares with his friend and colleague Diane Estevez. Before long the reader is following many different story lines and many characters and trying to figure out how all of this is going to intersect because you just know it has to somehow.

The side stories of Alan and his friends and colleagues continue to develop and evolve from the storylines started in the first book in the series (Privileged Information). Because of that, it’s not a series that I’d want to read out of order.

This one was complex and although I figured some things out pretty early, other things kept me guessing until near the end. I read the first of this series for last year’s Medical Mystery Challenge, and the second for this year. I doubt I’ll wait another year to read the next book in the series.


The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

>> Monday, June 2, 2008

Genre: Non-Fiction (sort of – a memoir with a healthy dose of imagination a la A Christmas Story)
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 268
Non-Fiction Five #4

I have a hard time classifying this one as a strict non-fiction memoir. There’s a lot of childlike imagination and hyperbole instilled in it. It certainly did not keep me from enjoying the book, though. I giggled my way through this and continually read bits and pieces to The Hubster. I’m a few years younger than Bryson, but there was a lot of what he described about growing up in 1950’s Iowa that I also experienced growing up in 1960’s Oregon.

His vivid imagination and writing style puts the reader right in the mind of a kid who is convinced, (after reading the comic books in the kiddie corral at the grocery store) that either he or his parents are really from another planet and that his true identity is The Thunderbolt Kid. After all, why else would there be an old football jersey with a lightning bolt on it in the basement?

I laughed so hard at the description of electric football that I thought I was never going to regain my composure and I still get the giggles when I think about it. I’m keeping this book out from the library and have told The Hubster that he has to read it (there are actually a few parts that I resisted reading to him already).

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a nice look back at a simpler time that probably wasn’t really so much simpler, just another time. Through the eyes of an imaginative child, it’s mostly just fun with a bit of nostalgia and history thrown in.


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