Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kathrin's Series Challenge Completed

Reading a series is like falling into step with a good friend and walking alongside him or her, sharing in the ups and downs, as we journey together through this thing we call life. Whether we are running for our lives, chasing down the bad guy, commiserating over a relationship gone wrong or enjoying a cup of tea, series characters and I get to know each other over time in a way that a stand alone character and I cannot. There is something familiar and comforting about visiting a favorite series again, not to mention that it is exciting to see the characters grow with each book.

I was thrilled when Kathrin first mentioned the idea of a series challenge. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of my series reading. Fearing overcommitment, I decided not to make a list, but to read what I could and count whatever I could manage as a success. I was not going to let myself feel guilty if I barely managed to make a dent in any of my series reading at all. Alas, I do feel a tad bit of guilt. I wanted to read more; I meant to.

As many of you know, my reading mood shifted as the new year began. Whereas last year I was caught up in the challenge frenzy, this year I took a keen interest in ARE's and some of the newer books coming out. Not so good news for my already bulging TBR collection, true, but I decided to follow my mood's lead and see where it would take me. The only disappointment I have is that I have not been able to fit in some of the wonderful books on my challenge lists, all books I still very much want to read. On the other hand, all of my challenge choices are books sitting in my TBR room--they aren't going anywhere. So they wait a little longer. I don't think they will hold it against me.

Honestly, I'm just glad to be able to say I actually completed the challenge!

Kathrin's Series Challenge began on December 1, 2007 and ended on May 31st. I managed to complete three series during that time--at least to the point of catching up until the next books in the series are released.

  • The Alexandra Cooper Series by Linda Fairstein
    Linda Fairstein and I go way back. There are ten books in her series featuring prosecuting attorney Alexandra Cooper. One of my favorite features of the series is the side stories that the author sprinkles throughout each book, real life cases she has heard about or encountered in her own career as a sex crimes prosecutor.

  • Byrne and Balzano Series by Richard Montanari
    I was first introduced to Richard Montanari in 2005 when I read The Rosary Girls. I was thrilled to finally pick up and read more of his books this year. Homicide Detective Byrne and his partner Detective Balzano always seem to land the most violent and twisted of cases. The author acknowledges the weight such experiences has on his characters, a natural progression which adds to the depth of his stories. The city of Philadelphia is just another character in the series--and what a character it is!

  • The Theda Krakow Mysteries by Clea Simon
    It was inevitable that this cat lover would eventually have to break down and read a cat mystery. Clea Simon's books are not your typical cozy cat mysteries, however. The author takes relevant and sometimes hard hitting issues and sets them as a backdrop for her entertaining novels. I especially like that the series is not all about the mystery itself, but ventures into Theda Krakow's life on a more personal level.

  • I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite among these three series. They each have much to offer and I will continue to seek out future books by all three authors.

    Many thanks to Kathrin for hosting the challenge!

    Note: Kathrin is hosting the Series Challenge Season 2 for anyone interested. It runs from June 1st to November 30th. Participation in this first season is not a requirement to join in on the fun!

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    TGIF: Friday Fill-Ins

    Questions courtesy of MindFul Mimi who had some thought- provoking ones this week; thank you, Mimi!

    1. For me monotony is the opposite of creativity.

    2. Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos was the last excellent book I read. (based on a look back of my last 5 star rating)

    3. I like fill-ins because they are simple yet thought provoking and are a great way to sign off the work week.

    4. In nature I like looking at all there is to see! I especially love being surrounded by trees near a mountain lake with little critters and deer wandering about.

    5. The best candidate should win the US election.

    6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was I was pretending to be Santa Claus.

    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing a little blog hopping and reading; tomorrow my plans include figuring out how to hook my laptop up to the printer; and Sunday, I want to laze around the house and read in typical Literary Feline fashion!

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Booking Through Thursday: What Is Reading, Fundamentally?

    What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books,
    audio books —which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only
    some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be
    “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it
    impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the
    sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal
    definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

    --Suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

    Several years ago, a sales person from the Los Angeles Times called just about every day to try and talk me into buying a subscription to the paper. It was always the same man, and usually I would not bother answering the phone when he called, but I decided it was time to put a stop to it. When I told him I was not interested, he politely asked why, and I blurted out, "I don't read." After a stunned silence, he cleared his throat and said, "I'm so sorry." He said it in such a sad way, and I instantly realized his mistake. I had not meant to imply that I didn't know how to read; I simply wanted him to know that subscribing would be silly because I wouldn't read it.

    There was a time in my life when I could not read. It's true for all of us. Reading is something we all had to learn. For some it came more naturally than for others. Reading can be as simple as making sense of the symbols and combination of symbols we call letters and words. Language, written and oral, is an amazing invention. I have never been very good at languages no matter how hard I try, but I am fascinated by the variety of different ones out there and admire those who can read and speak more than one.

    I place a high value on literacy. I know people who cannot read and, while they are able to get by, not being able to read comes with serious limitations, especially in today's society. I cannot fathom not being able to read. It is such an integral part of my life. It is a skill that is easy to take for granted.

    When I say I love to read, that it is one of my passions, I am not just referring to reading on a basic level but more in terms of enjoying a good story. There are some people who read books and only see words on a page. When I read a book, I am transported into another time and place. I am a visual reader in that I can see a story unfold before me as I read. I remember once watching a movie and being so sure I had seen it before, and yet I hadn't. However, I had read the book. The images and descriptions from the book were so real to me that when I saw them on the TV screen, I was sure I had seen them before. Furthermore, I become connected to the characters in a book, even becoming a part of their lives in a sense. I laugh and cry with them, share their pain and celebrate their successes.

    It does not matter whether a story is nonfiction or fiction or whether it is told mostly through artwork or solely in words. Length is insignificant. A short story can pack as much punch as a door stopper of a novel. While there may be book types or formats that I prefer not to read, it does not make them any less worthy as reading materials.

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    The Tuesday Thing on Wednesday

    I have extolled the virtues of LibraryThing here in the past. The site has proven useful not only as an online catalog for my books, but it also introduced me to yet another community of book lovers, many of whom share my peculiarities and passion for the written word. I admit that my online world seems to evolve mostly around books and reading related topics, be it when I am visiting one of the yahoo groups I belong to, stopping by my favorite blogs, or spending time wandering around the LibraryThing site. I do not have to worry about where to go to get my next bookish fix.

    Last week's Tuesday Thing's question dealt with discussion groups. Marie of The Boston Bibliophile wanted to know:

    Do you belong to any? Approximately how many? Are there any in particular that you participate in more avidly? How often do you check?

    The answer to the first question is a resounding yes. At least online. I have not yet been a part of a face to face reading group. For many years my work schedule made any sort of participation in face to face meetings impossible. A few years ago, I discovered that Yahoo had a long list of online groups, some of which focused solely on reading and books. I also found a couple of MSN groups. I could not believe my luck! Since that time, I have been a part of many different groups, floating in and out depending on the direction my reading has taken, sometimes being a part of themed or genre based groups while others were more broad in scope. I go through periods of high participation to times when I lurk in the background, poking my head out once in awhile to say hello. Much depends on the books being discussed, the direction of conversation and what is going on in my own life at any given moment. Not only did online groups like these provide me with the opportunity to talk about books, I also made a few new friends. It opened doors for me that I never imagined.

    I never would have discovered the book and lit blog community had it not been for those Yahoo groups. Who would have thought I would find a place in such a community for myself? I have mentioned before that it was a big step for me, putting myself out here like I did. Yet here I am.

    It was through the blogosphere that I first learned of LibraryThing and added it to my growing list of book related communities. I had not intended for LibraryThing to be anything more than a place for me to catalog and organize my books. I was not particularly interested in the social aspects, although that was a nice perk. The advent of the Early Reviewer Program changed that, however. I took a closer look at the discussion groups on the site and have enjoyed taking part in a few of the discussions there.

    All of these avenues have provided me with invaluable opportunities. I have met people from around the world that I never would have met otherwise. I have discovered books and authors I most likely would not have come across, and I have grown not only as a reader but as a person.

    There have been a handful of discussion groups unrelated to reading that I was a part of at one time: a couple of music groups, a support group for Weight Watchers and a handful of pen pal groups. I do not belong to any of these groups anymore, but they served a purpose in my life during the time I was a part of them much like the book and reading discussion groups I belong to today.

    * * *

    This week's Tuesday Thing's question is:

    How many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include-everything you have, everything you've read-and are there things you leave off?

    As of right now, I have 2,155 books cataloged in my LibraryThing account. My objective in creating the account was to catalog all of the books that my husband and I own. Part of it was curiosity in seeing just how many books we did own and another was a desire to have a listing of all those books. There are a few books that have not found their way onto my catalog unfortunately. The books are hidden in the corner of a closet, and I just haven't gotten around to adding them in. There are also a few reference books that I probably have not logged in for one reason or another. My husband was not too enthused about my adding in all of his graphic novels--although I did offer!

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    In Remembrance: Memorial Day

    It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men [and women] who goes into battle. ~ Norman Schwarzkopf

    It is actually quite fitting, the book I am reading today. Although the soldiers in my book are not American, they are no less noble and courageous. I think that Chapman, the main character, would take issue with my referring to him as noble and courageous. He did what he had to do; there was no thought to being brave or even of being a hero. Like his real life counterparts, he fought to survive and to protect and defend his friends and family.

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Words Fail Me

    I have started this post several times only to delete it each time. I considered ranting about my recent computer trouble and how it prevented me from keeping up with my blog this past week, much less visiting all of yours, but decided against it. I then began with a whine of sorts, complaining about how my reading is not quite going the way I would like it to, how I am neglecting the reading challenges I signed up for and am not able to squeeze in as much reading as I would like. I wrote about the two boxes of books that sit in my TBR room, one filled with my challenge books and one with my "read now" books, both of which I had carefully filled at the beginning of the year with the intention of structuring my reading--and how little they've been touched since that time. I also mentioned that I have a shelf full of books I committed to reviewing, which is beginning to bulge from the weight. I suddenly have this image of Irina Spalko at the end of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in my head.

    Not only was the computer problem resolved, but my husband surprised me by taking me shopping for a new one, a laptop to replace my desktop. We had been talking about it for awhile and I had done a bit of research, and so the purchase was not completely impulsive. I just did not expect that we would be taking the plunge so soon, especially with our big vacation coming up near the end of the summer season. I am thrilled and enjoying my new toy quite a bit.

    As for my reading, I would rather be overwhelmed than fretting about having nothing to read at all. I will worry when the spark of joy at seeing a book I want to read disappears and I decide it might be more fun to weed the flower box outside than to open any book regardless of what it is.

    In a nutshell, I cannot think of what to write about today. Maybe I will be more inspired next week.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James

    Celluloid is about dreams, movies are about fantasy, and motion pictures are about things you couldn’t possibly even imagine in your wildest dreams, brought vividly to life in front of your eyes. Cinema is about capturing the good and bad things that are pivotal in people’s life. [pg. xv]

    Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James
    Wheatmark; 2007
    Nonfiction (Memoir); 198 pgs

    I cannot remember which movie I saw first in the theater. Tootsie or Annie. Seeing Annie on the big screen was part of my birthday present one year, and, oh, I could not wait! The music, the singing, the dancing . . . All of it was like magic to me. I wanted to be Annie or better yet, her friend Molly. I memorized all of the lyrics to the songs and drove everyone around me crazy for years singing It’s the Hard Knock Life and Tomorrow. Be glad you cannot hear me as I write this—I’ve serenaded my husband, cat and dog with a few of my favorite songs from the musical, including Let’s Go To the Movies (not to mention made them watch YouTube videos). Tootsie was the first “grown up” movie I went to see that year. A friend and I went together, chaperoned by my friend’s mother. Dustin Hoffman was amazing—and I loved how it all turned out in the end.

    Emmett James’ book, Admit One: A Journey Into Film, elicited many such memories from me. I imagine it helped too that he and I are not so different in age and many of the films that touched him early in his life were also ones that meant a lot to me. As an avid movie fan, I was quite excited at the opportunity of reading this book. Online publicist Lisa Roe was kind enough to arrange for me to receive a copy, and the author personally inscribed it (you probably disregarded by squeal of glee as a rather obnoxious bird flying by).

    In Admit One, Emmett James takes readers on a journey through his life as it was defined by the movies he so loved. He dreamed of one day becoming an actor himself, a dream he has fully realized in his adult life.

    Each chapter is titled after a movie that touched his life in one way or another. He describes how the movies influenced his early life as well as those of his friends, from digging a hole to Australia to hoping to get to first or second base with a girl in the back of a darkened theater. He took a job washing cars in the Miyagi style, honing his karate skills. Emmett got into trouble like many boys his age, endured sibling rivalry and his parents’ attempts at reform. Later in life, as he struggled to get noticed in the acting community, he proved himself to be quite clever and bold, even if a bit too eccentric for the times and not always being successful.

    Not only is Admit One a book about the influence movies can have on our lives, even in the smallest of ways, but also about one man’s journey to making his dream come true. It was not an easy journey for Emmett James. He could barely make ends meet, took on shady jobs just to eek out a living, and was not always proud of the acting jobs he was given. He also had his successes, landing a role in a major movie and a staring role on a TV show, at least while it lasted. He makes a distinction between being a celebrity and being an actor. A big celebrity he may not yet be, but he has definitely earned his stripes as an actor.

    Movies are not just a form of entertainment and escape (well, some arguably are). They can be influential, open lines of communication, make people think as well as feel compassion. Movies encourage the use of one’s imagination. Is it any wonder than that I am drawn both to movies and books?

    Reading Admit One: A Journey Into Film was like a romp in the park, entertaining and humorous. The author does not let the reader too close into his own life, barely skimming the surface it seems like at times, but that approach suited the book just fine. Now I’ve got the urge to go out and rent Titanic for a glimpse of Mr. James.

    Rating: * (Very Good)

    Learn more about the author through his website.

    Read what others had to say about this book:
    50 Book Challenge
    Errant Dreams Reviews
    Kay's Bookshelf
    Ticket to Anywhere

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese

    He saw himself dead upon rising in the morning. A box need not be ordered. It was built in.
    [pg 92)

    Down to a Sunless Sea
    by Mathias B. Freese
    Wheatmark, 2007
    Fiction (ss); 134 pgs

    Just over a month ago I came across a review of this book by Heather at Errant Dreams Reviews and knew I wanted to read Mathias B. Freese’s short story collection, Down to a Sunless Sea. I had already placed the book in my shopping cart at when I received an e-mail from the author offering a copy of his book if I would review it on my blog. Now that I’ve said that he’s probably wishing he had waited a little longer before contacting me.

    What drew me to this particular book was the description of it as a book that “plunges the reader into uncomfortable situations and into the minds of troubled characters.” That and the fact that the author is a social worker. The description on the back cover is true to its word; the stories are in fact ones that offer glimpses into the human condition and are at times disturbing, each one shining a light on someone’s life, revealing truths that many of us can relate to on some level—even if we do not want to admit it.

    The story that most struck a personal chord with me was “Billy’s Mirrored Wall” about a boy growing up, at first indifferent to the class difference between he and his friend, Billy, as they play ball and have fun together. Later in life, perhaps in part because of his mother’s own insecurities, such differences became more obvious. I think back to my own childhood and being a part of a lower middle class family with our second hand clothes and toys while my playmates had all the latest toys and wore name brand clothing. At the time it didn’t bother me, however, it did bother my parents, who could not help but compare themselves to our neighbors, wishing they could give my brother and me more than they were able. It wasn’t until I was older that I had a better understanding of how my parents viewed the situation. To children it did not matter so much but to adults it made a world of difference.

    Another of my favorite stories was “Alabaster.” I happened to be reading this particular story during my lunch break at work, which was probably not the best place to be at the time. The story touched me deeply, and I had to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. A holocaust survivor reaches out to a nine-year old boy. Their meeting is brief and while the boy does not quite understand what the moment meant for the older woman, he does know it was somehow significant for both of them.

    Each of the fifteen stories in Down to a Sunless Sea take the reader into the hearts and minds of the characters, each one a case study, each one unique. Nicholas does not think much of school while Adam struggles against his fears. There is the frustrated and angry boy who just wants to be normal as well as a man who has trouble committing. The reader enters the mind of a dying man and walks in the shoes of a man suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The author touches on topics such as fear, apathy, hate, and frustration. While each of the characters the author writes about is wrapped up in their own lives, the characters in the periphery play just as important a role. We are influenced by our friends, children and parents as well as by our experiences. Such influences can affect the direction our lives take and the decisions we make. This comes across in nearly every story.

    Mathias B. Freese writes beautifully. His wry sense of humor comes through in his writing, but this is not a funny book. The author deftly captures the raw emotion that flows from the pages, and I could not help but to empathize with the characters, . It is complex and haunting, just as it should be.

    Rating: * (Very Good)

    You can learn more about the author by visiting his blog.

    Read what others had to say about this book:
    Bold. Blue. Adventure
    Book Chase
    Bookfoolery and Babble
    Errant Dreams Reviews
    J. Kaye's Book Blog
    Kay's Bookshelf
    Melody's Reading Corner
    My Own Little Reading Room
    Puss Reboots
    Tip of the Iceberg

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Sunday Salon: What I've Been Reading

    I love the diversity books have to offer. All in one day I can go from reading a heart wrenching short story about a boy who only wants to please his father and ends up getting badly beaten for his efforts to a memoir of a man whose family made weekend trips to the movies while he was growing up and who would later reach for his dream to be an actor.

    Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese, with its beautiful language and dark and thought provoking stories, couldn't be more different from Emmett James' memoir, Admit One: A Journey Into Film, a fun romp down memory lane. One book made me cry with sadness while the other had me laughing out loud. Two very different books and yet each one remarkable in its own way.

    Shortly, I will be stepping back in time to World War II and onto the battlefield of the African desert. I will join the British in a fight against the Germans, hoping to turn the tide of the war. From haunting to charming and onto suspense, I would say my reading has been quite satisfying of late.

    What have you been reading lately?

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Friday Night Fill-Ins and a Late Night Meal

    Questions courtesy of Jennifer this week.

    1. There is absolutely NO way you can get me to bungee jump!
    2. These triple digit temperatures we have been having lately remind me that summer is almost here!
    3. I cannot live without my heart.
    4. Snorkeling and going to a hockey game are two things I'd like to try.
    5. When life hands you lemons make a lemon pie.
    6. Playing soccer in the rain is one of my favorite childhood memories.
    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting a good night's sleep, tomorrow my plans include seeing the second Chronicles of Narnia movie and Sunday, I want to catch up on Lost and Grey's Anatomy!


    What is the nearest big city to your home?

    Los Angeles, California


    On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?

    I am supposed to keep secrets? Oops.

    Some secrets I refuse to keep. Others I keep quite well, except maybe from my husband. Most people say he doesn't count when I warn them that I share just about everything with him. I suppose though that since they know I'm likely to tell him, it really isn't breaking a confidence, is it?


    Describe your hair (color, texture, length).

    My hair is dark brown in color and falls just below my chin in a bob style cut. I have slightly wavy hair.

    Main Course

    What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?

    I tend to fall on the courteous side of the spectrum, however, it does not pay to be too courteous on the roads in Southern California or else you will not make it very far--too many other drivers are quite aggressive, you see. I also admit that sometimes I will drive slow when someone is riding my bumper in the slow lane when the fast lane is open and clear. I sometimes do speed. Don't tell anyone though, okay?


    When was the last time you had a really bad week?

    A better question would be when have I had a really good week. I guess the worst of the worst recently would have been that awful week in March. Heck, the entire month of March was rotten.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Booking Through Thursday: Manual Labor Redux

    Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

    Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

    Do you ever read manuals?

    How-to books?

    Self-help guides?

    Anything at all?

    Part of the excitement of getting a new gadget, be it a car, a new cell phone, or a book case needing assembly, is reading the instruction manual. Perhaps my dedication to reading such manuals before fully putting together or using a new object like those mentioned comes from my upbringing, my parents always encouraging me to know all the facts ahead of time. I tend to learn best when given structure and guidance. That isn't to say I cannot learn how to use something without instructions--I most certainly can and have. Sometimes you do have to experiment. When it gets right down to it, I am not a very impulsive person; rather, I am a flexible planner.

    I have a bookshelf dedicated to "how to" books. There are a couple of home repair type books, a gardening book, and several cookbooks. There are also animal care books offering advice on various animal emergencies or situations that may arise. I tend to read these books as needed rather than try and read them straight through. The animal care books are the most used of the lot. They have come in very handy sometimes.

    I have read a handful of self-help books throughout the years. These kind of books are not ones I generally gravitate towards, however, occasionally one will catch my interest. As a matter of fact, I am slowly making my way through one related to health issues at the moment. The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner was one of the most influential self-help books I have read. It was assigned reading for a college sociology course, but it proved to be quite useful in my life and in my thinking.

    Self-help guides, manuals and "how to" books are not books I usually count among my leisure reading. They serve their purpose and hopefully I am able to get out of them what I need most.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    The Arthurian Omen by G.G Vandagriff

    First Sentence: Brother Gruffyd’s old heart trembled with excitement.

    The Arthurian Omen by G.G. Vandagriff
    Shadow Mountain, 2008
    Crime Fiction (S/T); 322 pgs

    When I first entered my name for a chance to read and review The Arthurian Omen through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program, I had certain expectations for this book. As the reviews began to trickle in, I did my best not to pay too close attention, but at the same time it was hard not to pick up on some of the criticism. I then took a closer look at the back of the book. “In the tradition of Mary Higgins Clark . . .” the back cover reads. Ah ha! I suddenly understood. It isn’t recommended that a reader believe author and book comparisons that may be mentioned in blurbs or elsewhere on the back of or inside a book. I learned my lesson in that regard awhile ago. It has been a long time since I picked up a novel by Mrs. Clark, but I do think of her books fondly. She was one of my favorite “comfort” authors for many years and while maybe not the best written, they certainly were quick and entertaining. Taking all that in when I finally settled in to read G.G. Vandagriff’s novel, I had a better grasp of what I was getting myself into, and I truly think I was better for it.

    Maren and her sister Rachael have been estranged for a number of years, and so it came as quite a surprise when Rachael, a Celtic scholar, telephones Maren to ask Maren's assistance in locating a sacred fifth century manuscript relating to the history and legend of King Arthur. Maren is looking forward to reconnecting with her sister and desperately wants to get away from her failing marriage. The man she married on the rebound after the suspicious death of her first husband is not the man she thought he was.

    Upon her arrival in Oxford, Maren learns that her sister, Rachael, has been murdered, and Maren is sure it must be over the Arthurian manuscript. What follows is a fast paced adventure from Oxford, England to Northern Wales as Maren, accompanied by Chief Inspector Llewellyn and Sergeant Cole of Scotland Yard, begins the search for the manuscript and a killer. She is not alone in wanting to get her hands on the manuscript, and those on the same trail prove to be much more unscrupulous and deadly.

    Maren comes across as reckless at times, jumping into situations feet first. She seems to be a woman who attracts trouble while the men around her cannot help but adore her. G.G. Vandagriff does a good job of keeping the characters a little off center so as to keep the mystery at bay from her main character, even if not this reader. There are plenty of twists and turns as the many plot threads begin to come together.

    If you are expecting a novel that is rich in Arthurian or Celtic history and of a more scholarly nature, The Arthurian Omen is probably not what you are looking for. The writing is simple, at times repetitious and stating the obvious, but it does make for a quick read. This really isn’t the type of book that can be taken too seriously. It’s purely for fun and entertainment. I had a good time racing through the pages alongside Maren and her traveling companions.

    Rating: * (Good)

    Be sure and stop by G.G Vandagriff's website for more information.

    Read what others had to say about this book:

    Back to Books (Nicola)
    Tip of the Iceberg (Terri B.)

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Lost Prince by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

    First Sentence: Oh the flames were glorious, competing with the splendor of the sunset as it faded over Valladolid.

    Lost Prince
    by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
    Borderlands Press, 2008
    Fiction; 316 pgs

    The Spanish Inquisition was a dark time in Spain’s history. Religious persecution for those who were not Catholic was common practice during that time and the monarchy and Church leadership were intolerant of any deviation from their strictures. Originally written in 1983 under the title, The Godforsaken, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s tale of the Lost Prince is completely fictional, however, there are threads of truth that run through the novel that are more horrific than the horror story she sets out to tell.

    Don Rolon carries the burden of his father’s curse, a curse that was laid upon El Rey Alonzo, the king of Espana, by a woman burned at the stake for being a heretic. The king ostracized his son, fearing the curse and feeling repulsed by it. Don Rolon spent his life living in the shadow of his bastard half brother, Gil, who was highly favored by the king. It is no wonder then that Don Rolon has a sadness about him. He wants nothing more than to please his father and earn his love and approval, and yet his father wants little to do with him.

    Realizing, however, that his son is the only rightful heir to the throne, El Rey arranges for Don Rolon’s marriage to a noble woman from Venezia. The marriage will create a welcome alliance and strengthen both countries’ positions in the world. It is with great reluctance that Don Rolon agrees to his fate, knowing he has little choice in the matter.

    His reluctance to marry comes from the weight of the curse. He worries about fate of any children he might father as well as a certain madness that seems to befall him each time the moon is full. Although he does not fully understand what is happening to him at first, he does know that a change overcomes him on those nights, one that transforms him into a beast that wrecks destruction and creates fear in its wake.

    Don Rolon is limited in who he can trust and so his friends are few. The friends he does have are devoted to him and will do what they can to protect and keep their prince safe from those who wish him harm. Those who are greedy and power hungry are the greatest external threat to Don Rolon and they will stop at nothing to bring him down.

    Don Rolon is a sympathetic character; a lost soul who has taken many licks throughout his brief lifetime. There is a wary intelligence about him. He is resigned to his life and his fate, struggling to come to terms with what is going on around him. It is his friends who truly move the story forward as they do what they can to protect their friend and future king. The court jester, Lugantes, is one such friend, a dwarf who knows what it is like not to be taken seriously. He is both clever and tough.

    The religious tenor in Spain at the time was oppressive and strict. The church leadership in the novel used their position to gain power, claiming righteousness where there really was only ambition and greed. The real horrors were in the actions of the Church and the abuse of that power. Lest it be thought that this book disparages the Catholic Church in general, that is not so. There were Catholic monks and priests in the novel who were not caught up in the power struggle and who did not abuse their power.

    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is careful to keep most of the violence and destruction off of the page, while at the same time alluding to it in such a way that it cannot be overlooked. Perhaps though the greatest horrors in the novel are not what may happen when Don Rolon is no longer himself, but the ease in which accusations and condemnations of those in power are used against those without it and in what becomes of those accused.

    It is a shame this book was so wrought with typographical errors and the like. The story itself is quite intriguing. The author is formal in her writing, but it serves the tone and setting of the book well. Lost Prince is a haunting and dark tale, one that kept me entranced even beyond the last page. Originally published at Front Street Reviews.

    Rating: * (Good)

    Visit the author's website for more information about this and other books.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Sunday Salon: Typos and The Next Book

    I spent time this morning polishing off my review of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Lost Prince, a book that I finished last night. The cover is not the most attractive, at least not to me, and probably not one that would attract my attention at first glance. The story between the covers, however, was one that definitely held my attention.

    As a frequent reader of advanced reader editions, I occasionally do run into typesetting errors. Because the book is unfinished, it is easier to dismiss such mistakes and move past them without further thought. Sometimes these mistakes are corrected before the final product comes out, but not always. Or so I have heard. It is more difficult to ignore such mistakes when made in the final copy, the one sold to the public, especially when the errors are more than just a few. If the errors are minor and the story is good, I sometimes do not notice the mistakes at all in a marketed copy, but it is hard not to notice when they are so glaring and frequent, as they were in this book.

    The story itself was interesting enough to get me past the errors in this instance, but they were sometimes glaring ones: names misspelled or misplaced, an entire section printed twice, "rn" turned into "m", an offense which made me giggle a couple of times in the beginning, but had me rolling my eyes as it continued throughout the rest of the book. Such mistakes can pull a reader out of the story, out of the action, and dampen one's enthusiasm for a book. I find it sad, really. This is a book I enjoyed reading and think others who like a bit of the old fashioned kind of horror novel might like too. However, some of those readers will be turned off immediately by the errors and may not bother with it at all.

    I will be posting my review of this book in the near future, with only a minor mention of my complaint. Had the book been an ARE, I would have been less likely to say anything at all. I felt it best to focus more on the story itself and the writer's skill in this case. It really is a book worth reading for those who might find the subject matter to their liking.

    What do you think? Do typographical errors and the like immediately turn you away from a book or do your persevere if the story is engrossing enough? For those who write reviews, how do you address this issue, if at all? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

    Earlier in the week I posted a review for Jordan Dane's No One Heard Her Scream, a romantic suspense novel, which is both sexy and fun. I also reviewed The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, a new-to-me mystery author who is going straight onto my favorites list.

    As for today's reading, I am about to begin reading G.G. Vandagriff's The Arthurian Omen, a book I received through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program. The premise sounds fascinating, a lost fifth century manuscript, murder, a puzzle to solve, all promising suspense. I have yet to read the other reviews posted about this particular book, wanting to read the book myself first, however, I have caught snippets and seen ratings which have lowered my expectations a bit.

    I will probably not delay too much longer in reading The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, a novel a coworker loaned me earlier this week. She asked that I read it so that I can tell her whether she liked it or not.

    Recently added to my TBR collection (if you have read any of these, please do share your thoughts--without spoilers, of course.):
    Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
    American Woman by Susan Choi
    Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese
    20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
    The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
    House-Keeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby
    What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
    Admit One: A Journey into Film by Emmett James
    Absolute Friends by John Le Carre
    Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
    Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield
    The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendell
    Devil's Cape by Rob Rogers
    The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
    The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer

    Now to start on my next book . . . Happy reading!

    Friday, May 09, 2008

    Broken Windows and Frequent Smiles

    Questions courtesy of Julie this week; if you'd like to leave some for future use, I'd love it!

    1. The Christmas cookies my family made every holiday season while I was growing up had an extra secret ingredient; it was, and still is, a well kept secret!
    2. The baseball went right through my window.
    3. Right now, I need something to eat. I haven't had anything to eat since a tiny bit of breakfast eaten while I was running out the door.
    4. The Yard House is where I went Thursday night; it was not too crowded and the food was delicious.
    5. Why does a paper cut hurt so much?
    6. All I can think of is dinner tonight.
    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to punishing my cat with a lot of corporal cuddling, tomorrow my plans include whatever comes to mind that day and Sunday, I want to catch up on my reading!


    When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?

    Yes, I do. I am naturally a friendly person, and if I catch someone's eye, I usually will smile.


    Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?

    I have beige carpeting throughout my house. Linoleum covers the floors in my kitchen and bathrooms.


    Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.

    We went without warm water.

    Main Course

    Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?

    Oh yes! Quite a few people, both in my personal and professional lives. I suppose I could even say that my own life has been touched by adoption as a result.


    Name 2 blue things.

    My tissue box and the flowers on a bell which are both sitting on my desk.

    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Booking Through Thursday: Manual Labor

    Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?
    My father was the kind of person who often directed me to reference books when I had a question about the spelling or meaning of a word or wanted to know more information about a particular topic (do people still keep a set of up to date encyclopedias in their house?). I learned very early on how to use a dictionary. One of my best friends in high school was my trusty thesaurus. It was a most welcome gift from my parents that was well used, a sure sign of love. I used it quite religiously through college, along with a dictionary to ensure I was using my chosen words properly (Those who have read Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated know why this can be important). The Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) writing guides proved to be necessary evils for many of my college courses. Footnotes, annotations and bibliographies had to be just so, depending on the class and the professor. Remembering which was which was the hard part.

    Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss is the only grammar related book I have read since graduating from the university all those many years ago. The closest I come today is keeping up with Deb's Punctuality Rules! blog, which I not only enjoy but have also used during grammar emergencies. More often than not, when I have a question about the use of a certain word, spelling, or definition (and I frequently do), I am more likely to turn to the internet for answers as opposed to looking anything up in any of the reference books sitting on my shelf. It is faster and often more convenient.

    I have quite a few reference books, some placed neatly on a shelf and others crammed into a corner in my closet (like the MLA and APA writing guides). On the shelf outside the kitchen door, I have a giant Webster's dictionary, a couple of English/Spanish dictionaries, an Italian/English dictionary, my trusty thesaurus, and several reference books full of quotations. Many sit on the shelf untouched these days, but it is nice to know they are there. You never know when the power will go out or the internet might go down.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

    First Sentence: “Bob Barnes says they got a dead body out on BLM land. He’s on line one.”

    The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

    Viking, 2005
    Crime Fiction (MYS); 354 pgs

    I love a good mystery. I remember the first time I read a Sue Grafton novel; I knew there was no going back. Kinsey Milhone had an edge about her and there was a grittiness and realism to the novels that instantly pulled me in. They were funny in on offbeat sort of way, just the kind of humor I like. Michael Connelly’s novels also come to mind. I had the same experience reading Craig Johnson’s The Cold Dish. That isn’t to say the series are alike—if you don’t like one, don’t count out the others until you have given one or the other a try.

    Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming, a relatively quiet and mostly rural community with only an occasional disturbance. Not many people mourn when the body of Cody Pritchard is discovered. He, along with three of his friends, had been convicted of brutally assaulting a young Native American girl, Melissa Little Bird years before. The boys were let off with suspended sentences at the time, something that did not sit well with quite a few people. Could Cody’s death have been a hunting accident or was it murder, perhaps an act of revenge or something else altogether?

    Walt is joined by a cast of supporting characters that stand out on their own. Among them is Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear, who is determined to get Walt back in shape and moving on with his life, realizing his friend has fallen into a rut. Walt’s foul-mouthed but extremely competent deputy, Victoria Moratti is a good match for the sheriff. The former sheriff, Lucian, despite his penchant for throwing political correctness out the window, was among my favorites as was the mother-like Ruby, the dispatcher/secretary at the sheriff’s office. She said what was on her mind and let Walt have it when he deserved it most. As for Sheriff Walt Longmire himself, he has seen a lot in his lifetime, having served in the military during the Vietnam War and more recently losing his wife to cancer. There’s a strength about him as well as a generosity of spirit. He seems like the kind of man I would want to have as sheriff in my own town as well as a friend.

    Craig Johnson paints a breathtaking picture of Wyoming with the harsh wintry weather, the beautiful mountains and lakes as well as the ranch and reservation lands that are stretched out over the county where the novel is set. He shows the diversity of the land as well as of the people. He also touches upon the past and current tensions between the Native Americans and the white folk, weaving it throughout the book.

    It is a rare treat when I can read straight through a mystery and not figure out the end before the protagonist does. Craig Johnson succeeds in doing just that though. The Cold Dish had me both chuckling now and then and, near the end, shedding a tear or two. I am looking forward to spending more time with Sheriff Longmire in the near future.

    Rating: * (Very Good +)

    Be sure and stop by Craig Johnson's website for more information about his books.

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane

    First Sentence: Somewhere in her heart, Danielle Montgomery knew this was wrong, and her guilt had a face.

    No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane
    Avon, 2008 (ARE)
    Crime Fiction (S/T); 354 pgs

    Detective Rebecca Montgomery is hanging by a thread emotionally and career wise. Her sister’s disappearance and the lack of progress in the investigation have the grieving San Antonio detective on edge. Her coworkers are tired of her butting in and jeopardizing the investigation, one that involves more than just Becca’s sister. Other girls have gone missing across the country with possible ties to the San Antonio area.

    In order to divert her attention and keep her busy, Becca’s superior assigns her to a case involving the discovery of skeletal remains in the old Imperial Theatre, which had just recently burned down in an arson fire. When Becca’s investigation takes her to the doorstep of a shady wealthy businessman, she is suddenly pulled off that case as well, and the FBI takes over. Not ready to give over the reins completely, Becca decides to continue with the investigation on her own. Becca must decide if she wants to try to enlist the help of an insider, Diego Galvan, whose own motives are questionable.

    Billed as a romantic suspense, it is easy to see why. Sparks fly the moment Becca and Diego first lay eyes on each other. She is not sure which side he is on, but it’s clear he has a dangerous streak that she must not underestimate. While at first I questioned the believability of her falling so fast for Diego despite common sense and the walls she had built around her, I came to recognize that her toughness was only a fa├žade. She wanted—needed—a connection with someone and her mysterious stranger was able to get under her defenses from the very first moment. In addition to the physical attraction, he showed an interest in her and listened to her, filling a void in her heart. She had been living a relatively lonely existence since her sister’s disappearance and apparent murder.

    I tend to shy away from books with heavy romance overtones as a matter of preference, and I had been hearing here and there that this particular novel might be too much in that direction for my tastes. While the sex scenes were certainly sizzling in content, they did not overwhelm the overall story, one that exposes a very dark and ugly criminal underworld that unfortunately is very much a part of our world today.

    The players in the novel become obvious fairly quickly as I am sure the author intended, but where all the pieces of the puzzle will fall remain unknown for most of the book. No One Heard Her Scream is predictable in some respects, but not in all. Jordan Dane is off to a great start with her first novel. It is suspenseful and fast paced, always a good combination for a book like this. Jordan Dane’s No One Heard Her Scream came to me through the Harper Collins First Look Program.

    Rating: * (Good)

    Be sure and stop by Jordan Dane's website website for more information about her recent books.

    Read what Bookgal and April had to say about this book:

    Books, Memes and Musings (Bookgal)
    Cafe of Dreams (April)

    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    Sunday Salon: Binging and Purging

    When I get a little money, I buy books;
    and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    ~ Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536 ~

    My reading this past month was dismal, to say the least. I do not believe in reading slumps; lulls in reading are merely a shift in priorities, a chance to dive into other interests long neglected for the book. Or so I tell myself, sometimes even convincingly. I do not remember doing much at all of those other hobbies either. I have been working a lot. Although, I am not sure that is the reason either. Whatever the reason, it did not quell my interest in books. I had a blast last weekend at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, was energized and became excited about trying several new authors and reading more books by familiar ones. It spurred on a book buying binge I told myself I would refrain from for the next several months. I suppose I should be glad I did not go on an eating binge, adding on the pounds as opposed to books to my house.

    I gave away quite a few books this past week, finding a home for the books I no longer need to keep around. Saying goodbye was difficult but necessary. It might be more meaningful if there were not books already to take their places.

    I rediscovered a used bookstore I had not visited in a while and wondered why I had stayed away so long. The staff were busy collecting books on the shelf to take to a friend in the hospital, making everyone who came in sign the get well card. It was a homey sort of atmosphere where everyone knew everyone and returning was like visiting an old friend.

    My reading plan for May is to make up for lost time in April. I guess that means I should get started! Happy Reading!

    Recent Book Acquisitions:
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
    Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan
    The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
    Sweet Dreams, Irene by Jan Burke
    Dear Irene, by Jan Burke
    Still Water Saints by Alex Espinoza
    As If Love Were Enough by Anne Taylor Fleming
    The Runes of the Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson
    House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
    When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Goodwin
    Chocolat by Joanne Harris
    Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris
    The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
    In the Pond by Ha Jin
    The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
    After Dark by Haruki Murakami
    The Conquest by Yxta Maya Murray
    Piece of Heart by Peter Robinson
    Aftermath by Peter Robinson
    Close to Home by Peter Robinson
    Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
    The Clovis Incident by Pari Niskin Taichert

    The worst thing about new books is that
    they keep us from reading the old ones.
    ~ Joseph Joubert ~

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    Saturday Fun: Weekly Geeks, The Best Kind of Binge & A Meme

    Dewey who is hosting the Weekly Geeks Challenge has just announced the second week's theme, which she's borrowed from Darla at Books and Other Thoughts . Darla offers to link bloggers' reviews on her site of books she has also reviewed. I know that others have also adopted the practice as well. It's a great way for readers to quickly find other opinions on books they are considering reading. I like the idea personally and would like to incorporate it here on my blog. So, if you happen to review a book that I have reviewed, please e-mail me or leave me a comment to let me know (and a link to your review), and I will add it to the bottom of my review as time allows. Disclaimer: I am more than willing (and think it would be quite helpful to readers) to post links to reviews with differing and similar opinions to my own, however, I will not post links to reviews that I deem to be offensive.

    book bingeMy friend Florinda pointed me in the direction of MaryP's annual Book Binge event which is being held this month. It sounds like a fun idea, and technically not too far off from what I do already. I do not usually post a summary of my monthly reading here on my blog, but I do keep track of what I read. It's an excuse to try and read more, anyway. How could I pass that up?
    Here’s how it goes: For the month of May, participants keep track of each and every book you read. At the end of the month, everyone will blog their list of books. Simple, no?

    For simplicity’s sake, and to allow people time to hear about it and sign up if they want, we’ll start on Monday, May 5th. We will all publish our lists on June 1.

    Other rules:

    - You can include books you re-read, so long as you re-read them in between May 5 and 31.
    - You may also include books you start but don’t finish, just note the page at which you gave it up. Something like, “Quit, page 47 of 322″.
    - You may only include books you read aloud to your children if they are at least 125 pages long.
    - Students may include textbooks (if they’re at least 100 pages long).

    It's not too late to sign up!

    Both Tracee and C.B. James tagged me for the 6 Random Things About Me Meme. I never know what to say when I first sit down to compose my list, much less if anyone will find it interesting.

    1. As a child, I always preferred paper dolls to Barbie dolls.
    2. I got a flat tire the first time I ever drove a car.
    3. My guitar's name is Molly.
    4. I hate talking on the phone. I do enough of that at work and tend to avoid doing so at home.
    5. I like to sleep all bundled up and I can't leave a window open at night or my allergies will torture me come early morning.
    6. I have two favorite poems: Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman and Emily Dickenson's I'm Nobody! Who are you?

    I won't tag anyone, but if you want to play along, please do! This is one of those you can do more than once or twice and still find something new to say.

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Friday: Fill Ins and A Day for Feasting

    1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are lemon and ice! Ice water with a touch of lemon is perfect on a warm spring day like this. Or maybe even a tall glass of lemonade . . . Yum!
    2. The things I encounter at work often amaze me. And not necessarily in a good way.
    3. You can keep doing that (throwing the ball) forever, the dog is obsessed with playing fetch.
    4. Hot water and cocoa powder, mix it all together and voila! You have hot chocolate!
    5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow anything at all that might live longer than a week or so. I have a brown thumb, remember?
    6. Steaming hot biscuits are best au naturel.
    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the third episode of The Dresden Files, tomorrow my plans include possibly taking in a movie and Sunday, I want to do a little reading!


    What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?

    Saturday morning cartoons were always a favorite of mine. My brother and I would wake up early and fight over which cartoons we would watch (He always wanted to watch the Smurfs). We watched a few cartoons during the week, but not many. Sundays were slim pickings for cartoons, but we always managed to find one or two to keep us occupied. My favorite cartoons included Mighty Mouse (I had such a crush on him!), Tom and Jerry, Tweety and Sylvester, Woody Woodpecker, Richie Rich, the Super Friends, and the Flintstones. My eighth grade year, my friend and I were big fans of She-Ra. We used to watch it every morning before catching the bus to go to school. And to think I couldn't think of any when I first came across this question!


    Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?

    My first inclination would be to add a new cat to the family, but I do think a dog might be better able to adjust to my motley crew. A lot would depend on the animal's temperament and how he or she gets along with my other animals. My husband and I often joke that we follow the (unintentional) tradition of naming our pets after Buffy the Vampire Slayer's leading men. We still need a Spike and an Angel.


    On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?

    As long as I have something to wear, I enjoy getting dressed up now and then. A lot would depend on what I was getting dressed up for. If it's dinner, I would take casual over fancy any day. If it's a wedding or some other important event, then I'll dress up happily. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably say my enjoyment for getting dressed up is about a 6.

    Main Course

    What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?

    I am a frequent radio channel changer, especially when I am alone in the car (I don't usually flip channels when in the company of others). I go between a couple of country music stations and three rock/pop stations that play a variety of music from oldies on up to more contemporary music.


    When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?

    I love timepieces. I collect miniature clocks, as a matter of fact. Most are gifts I have received over the years. It has been awhile since I actually bought a clock for myself, and so I could not tell you when that was. I bought a watch last year around this time, I know. I really like watches too.

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Booking Through Thursday: Mayday!

    Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

    And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember . . .

    Setting aside the fact that I carry a book in my purse more often than not, something I'd likely not forget when going to the grocery store, for the sake of this exercise, what would I do?

    It's really quite simple what I would do. I would buy a book to read. Airports have come a long way over the years, many sporting mall like stores--at least the ones I frequent. In particular, I remember passing time before my flight home in the San Francisco Airport where there's a decent sized bookstore. I took special notice of the Kurt Vonnegut books at the time because I was considering giving his books a try. The selection was broad and diverse, and there was just about a little of everything available. While the closest airport to where I live isn't quite to well endowed, there is a little magazine shop that sells a small collection of varied books. I imagine that if no books tickled my fancy there, I would simply buy a couple of magazines to tide me over.

    I have heard the term airport book before, but frankly, I'm not sure what that means exactly. Some people refer to it as a bestseller while others deem it to be something light and without substance. Of course, that's all relative, isn't it? The without substance part, I mean. I read just about anything as it is, and so it wouldn't make a difference to me whether I read Kurt Vonnegut or the latest James Patterson novel.

    Truth be told if it was a family emergency, I might be too worried and upset to concentrate on reading anyway. There are always plenty of people around in an airport so perhaps I would prefer to engage in a round or two of people watching.