Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a day off...

I almost forgot to do this tonight. Happy Halloween. I don't know what was going on in our neighborhood, but last year we had over 30 at least but tonight I only had 8 trick or treaters and only three were little kids. Those little kids came to the door at quarter to 8 -- at 20 after 8 I turned off the light. Ten minutes later I was looking out the window and a trailer decorated with orange lights went down our street loaded with kids. They probably would have come to the door if the light had been on but I think 8:30 is too late to be out trick or treating so I'm not feeling too badly about missing them.

I've been watching the live tv of Ghost Hunters. There was early on a very distinctive voice saying "You're not supposed to be here." Twice. Unexplainable as of yet. And just now they caught on thermal Grant's collar being pulled and you could see it -- not heat but the pulling.

I didn't have a very productive day, however I did pay some bills and emailed someone regarding a job application (not available anymore, unfortunately). I did watch a movie -- that sounds like such a waste of time but I decided to let myself off the guilt hook and do something fun because I was feeling down again. I'm going to have to muscle through that emotional stuff.

I watched Nim's Island -- very family oriented. Jodie Foster, Abigail whosywhatsit, and Gerard Butler (hoo boy, I love that man). It was silly and squeaky clean and I did enjoy it. I've always admired Jody Foster and I think Gerard Butler is just a fine man.

Then I took Tug for a walk. After that, I went to M&Ds to visit with them and Lisa and Scott. So not a bad day really all around. I finished the Alys Clare last night so I'm ready for something new. Somehow the Clare series just doesn't have the histmyst heft I like best but I will probably still continue with reading it.

Tomorrow I'm going to go to the library to pick up a couple holds: TRIGGER CITY by Sean Chercover (2nd in a good series) and the newest CS Harris histmyst which ended on a cliff hanger so I'm definitely looking forward to those. After that I'll be heading back to M&D's.

Maybe I'll get a chance to post tomorrow but I'll have to play it by ear.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Didn't get as much done today as I would have liked. I did get the student loan application filled out so that will help eventually. I received the unemployment paperwork in the mail to sign and return. I had lunch with Woody which took a big chunk of time.

We had lunch at a restaurant on the 20th floor of the Crowne Plaza called Montana Sky. I don't think many people know about it because it was sparsely populated with diners. I had the reuben sandwich (of course) but it was made with turkey ... not bad but not the same. I got there at 11:30 like he suggested but Woody didn't get there until almost 12 which kind of put me in a anxious mood. He did say that unless something changes, he's going to have to let someone go, too, by the end of the year. This early in the economic downtown, nonprofits are feeling the crunch so much they're laying off personnel. This put me in a down mood. Also, I ran the film society by him and while he didn't exactly shoot it down he did say that he had been looking to show movies at the ABT himself (he had told me that previously). Now, I don't know what to do about my idea. It seems to be an almost impossible idea and too big and with tough times coming it would be even harder to get going. And he wasn't too positive about my website (again he didn't shoot it down) but I don't think he sees the value of it, plus he said economically he's telling all his staff they can't renew mags or anything perhaps suggesting that it may be a difficult sell. Maybe I was just seeing the down side of things. I mean he didn't mean to put me in a down mood it just sort of happened; it's just me.

So I got home with a big bit of the afternoon gone and feeling a bit low. I'm going to have to get used to good days and bad days and learn how to work past the low ones. So I walked Tug because I couldn't get the energy to tackle any projects and he was LOOKING at me the way dogs do when they want to go for a walk and nothing else will do until that happens. It's a beautiful day out. Tug got to do some fence racing with the three chocolate labs.

Survivor is on tv tonight. I'm making taco salad for something fun to eat and Steve likes it. I think I'm just going to do some reading tonight after that. Tomorrow will be better emotionally I think.

Tomorrow is Halloween and Lisa and Scott will be arriving in the afternoon. Will have to get any work done and walking of Tug before then.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A new day....

I've been busy today. Actually I haven't had time to get everything done yet that I wanted to. First, I went to Walmart to get Steve's prescription and some dog food and stuff. Then I dropped said prescription to Steve at work. Upon coming home, I jumped on the computer and have pretty much spent the day here.

The largest chunk of time has been spent working on my website. I am determined to make this a go and a viable business because now I have a focus and a purpose behind it. It just took me a while to get back in the swing of things again on html stuff. I'm going to need help from my webhosting company to do some things but hopefully I can be running soon.

If I would be able to really indulge in what I wanted to do with myself as a next step in my career? I'd like to do this website, teach online, and be executive director of a film society nonprofit here in Billings. Period.

I also did homework due today from the class I have to take. And I walked Tug this afternoon, a nice Fall day. We came across a house that had a sprinkler going (why?) and oh how he loved that. Not many of those anymore but he still gets hot and needs a drink and the pump he gets a drink from is toward the end of the walk.

Tonight is somewhat of a tv night. No, I'm NOT watch the Obama infomercial - pathetic. Not that what I'm going to watch is ground breaking or even educational. No, I'm spending two hours this evening watching America's Next Top Model and Stylista, both on the CW who won't be interrupted by wanna-bes. And then maybe the repeat of the Ghost Hunters on SCIFI channel. Pure, little-grey-cell killing entertainment. Steve is shooting tonight so I have a bone for Tug to chew on while his mama stares at another screen for hours on end, the poor dog.

Then maybe I'll read some more Alys Clare. Haven't been doing much of that.

I'm having lunch tomorrow with Woody to gather some info for the film society. And then some more computer work. Gotta fill out student aid for this class I'm taking, el quicko. And I have to work on the syllabus for the class I'm teaching next summer - Gary wants it by November 17th. Work work work. :)

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Won a book

Forgot to mention that I won a book from the Baltimore Sun. It's ANGEL'S TIP by Alafair Burke. I won it by participating in a comments section of the online paper so not bad at all, eh? It's a book I had wanted to get to eventually.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Second day of the new world

Steve and I had an appointment with an RN in association with Steve's diabetic doctor. He got a new blood sugar tester and Steve said he's going to do the checking 3 or 4 times a day. He goes back in three weeks. I'm very proud of him.

I got signed up for unemployment benefits. I just hate that I'm adding to the statistics for the week of jobless claims. I had to give a statement of the facts from my side. Benefits won't kick in for a couple weeks and they have to investigate the claim now with the dumper. I've got a line on another job so I'll be sending a resume. So day two is winding up.

Still a lot of things to do and I think tomorrow will be a better day to do so.

Right now I'm outside on the deck and Tug is lying here and keeping on eye on the backyard neighborhood, occasionally barking or aroo-ing. Tonight I'm making scallops for dinner. I don't think there's anything on TV so I can get my homework reading done (fingers crossed). Otherwise, I will continue reading the histmyst by Clare.

Tomorrow, I've got a lot to cross off my list of things to do. Not working, but I'm busy busy busy!

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting a lot of things accomplished, won't go into detail much. I did get into the one last class I need to complete before they'll let me teach. It started today and so I'll be a busy girl for the next eight weeks. Plus I need to rewrite one paper; I want to get that out of the way quickly. And I need to apply for student loan one more time. Thought I could have been done, but oh well.

Currently reading ASHES OF THE ELEMENTS by Alys Clare, second in a series of eleven featuring Abbess Helewise and Sir Josse d’Acquin, a French knight, at the Hawkenly Abbey in England during the 12th century. It was published in 2000 and has 416 pages. Here's a description from Publisher's Weekly:

One summer night in the Wealden Forest, an expertly thrown spear with a well-chiseled flint point pierces the heart of a poacher. Abbess Helewise of neighboring Hawkenlye Abbey sends for the sheriff, who dismisses the murder as the work of the "Wild People," a strange band of wanderers who come to the forest every June, according to local lore. The abbess thinks the sheriff a fool, but until the arrival of her friend, enlightened knight Sir Josse d'Acquin, she must remain content with the official version of events. Determined to discover what really happened that night, Sir Josse finds evidence that the murdered man and his cohorts had more to poach than small game, and that life in the forest and life in the abbey are not as separate as they may seem. A missing novice and a second body deepen the mystery. Sir Josse's respect for the abbess's intelligence and integrity is just one of his charms, while the struggle both characters go through to reconcile their religious convictions with the superstitions surrounding the night forest adds more than usual interest.

It is suiting my histmyst mood right now.

Television tonight should bring Chuck and Paranormal State.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday...

I almost forgot to do this today. I have a running dialogue with myself all the time so that I guess I thought I had already done this. Not much to report; it's been a nice Sunday. I got up at 7:30, got my egg boiling, took Tug for a ride while we got the local newspaper and toured the neighborhood. Was on the computer for a couple hours while Steve slept. Did another load of laundry. The Cowboys won in a game they could have lost easily. Steve went to help a couple guys sight in their guns for hunting season while I went to Albertsons for some groceries. I jumped back online to check out availability of the last class I need to take and if I can make it work (though financing isn't there yet) I could maybe start the class tomorrow and get it all over with before the end of the year. I then took Tug for a walk while Steve worked out and then screamed at his Steelers for losing their game. We had chinese food from Jade Palace for dinner and watched the end of a silly sappy movie called August Rush that could have had potential because of so many good actors in it. And then found some good scenes from Casino Royale to watch to make up for it.

Now it's 8:30, Steve is on the computer downstairs and I'm upstairs with Tug sleeping at my feet after whining at me because I was staring at a screen again. He is definitely my furry baby.

I don't want to go to work tomorrow, only because of Sandi. I wish I could do something to fix that. There is a large part of me that is a fixer - i.e, there is a problem and it must be confronted and a solution found.

(sigh) I just need to focus on everything that I need to accomplish and keep my eyes open.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home again, home again/ ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS

Got home just fine last night. The flight came in at 7:30. Didn't get sick on landing -- better weather maybe, less turbulence, a smaller jet -- all could have been factors. It's good to be home. We picked up some dinner on the way home from Pita Pit. Tug was happy to see me. My own bed felt wonderful.

The meeting went well. It was good to see the Regis campus (beautiful) and to meet people. I met with one of the systems people, Joyce, and then I met with Shawna, who taught a summer intensive last year and had some great advice. We had lunch at a little Italian place and I had spaghetti. Gary gave me a couple hours to do some brainstorming on the class I'm going to teach which was helpful. I'm excited, a little scared, but this is the step toward my future. Gotta do it. I also have to do some things in order to get to the teaching part: I need one more class so I can officially graduate, I need to write one paper in order to get one grade up from a previous class, and I'll have to attend two weeks of training sometime in the Spring.

So...more things to add to my list of things to do along with Billings Film Society, the website, the workbook, etc.

So today I've been doing the weekend chores and got Tug walked. Steve was doing some scrapping and stuff but is home now.

I read a book while I was waiting in airports and flying and in the hotel room. ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS by JT Ellison. This is a book I got at LLC-Denver after I saw on a panel I attended. The author is very smart and snappy.
The reviews are mixed:

The body of a young girl discovered by the side of a Nashville highway puts homicide detective Taylor Jackson and her lowdown boyfriend, FBI Agent John Baldwin, on the trail of the Southern Strangler, a playful, brutal killer who likes to carry his victims across state lines before murdering them and removing their hands. Before long, however, Taylor's reassigned to the suspicious death of a prominent TV personality, leaving John struggling to keep ahead of the Strangler's mounting body count. Meanwhile, Taylor is still recovering from a near-fatal neck injury earned in her last case and worrying over her own demons—not the least of which is John's threat to marry her. The real victim is Ellison's plot, strangled by slow pacing, egregious subplots (a serial rapist, a crooked officer, a pregnancy scare) and a clich├ęd cast of characters: the shady Southern belle, the veteran detective pushed over the edge, the evil genius who stays a step ahead of everyone—even the appealing Taylor strikes a numbingly familiar tough-yet-vulnerable pose.


"With this debut thriller, Ellison puts her mentoring by Lee Child to good use. Ellison does a nice job of laying the groundwork and creating suspense. Equally well done are the refreshingly realistic procedural details." Library Journal


"Ellison does a skillful job of capturing the city and its flavors, while taking the police procedural out of its usual New York/Los Angeles/Chicago big-city milieu and placing it in a mid-sized, vibrant Southern city. She's populated her novel with believable players, on both sides of the law." BookPage


"Ellison’s debut novel is relentlessly paced and intricately plotted – and it features a villain who will have readers looking over the shoulders, even in the daylight." (4 Stars) Romantic Times


"Ellison paints a disturbing picture of a deranged serial killer, and the atmosphere of the book is taut, tense and suspenseful. The author's other forte is characterization . . . TV reporter Whitney Connolly leaps off the page, as does her twin sister, Belle Meade socialite Quinn Buckley. Even the murdered girls are quite vivid in the short time the reader has with them. Realistic descriptions of Nashville landmarks . . . add to the pleasure of reading this book. For the erudite, poetry snippets offer clues from the savage killer. The best part of All the Pretty Girls, though, is it's breathless pace." The Tennessean


For me, it was okay but there were plot elements including the kitchen sink that shouldn't have been there. I will read her next one, 14, down the road. She actually has a third one due out in January it looks like. Her website can be found at : http://www.jtellison.com/. She shares blogging duties at http://www.murderati.typepad.com/. It was enjoyable enough to keep me interested the last couple days.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Visiting Denver

I'm writing from Denver. The flight was good until landing. Denver always has turbulence and always gets me. I was fighting getting ill so much that my face was breaking out in sweat. I was probably a little pale too. But I stare at the seat ahead of me, breathe deeply, and tell myself it will be over soon (though never soon enough). And then they turned off the air early. But that is landing in Denver every time.

I met up with Gary Smith, the head of the MNM dept., pretty easily. He drives a yellow VW bug and has Obama stickers on the back. Luckily, I'm a good talker so we were able to have discussions during the long drive to the hotel. I'm staying at a Hampton Inn and is very nice. Gary and his wife Barbara then picked me up at 5 and we had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant. I can't remember the name but it was something like Hacienda. The place smelled wonderful and the food was good; I had a chimichanga. I was back at the hotel by 6:30. The front desk had still-warm chocolate chip cookies -- that's a sign of a good place.

My day will still tomorrow with Gary picking me up at 7:30 and it will be go go go all day meeting people and discussing the class I'm going to teach as a week-long summer intensive next summer. I think my plane leaves at 6 tomorrow night. I get into Billings at 7:15.

I'm a bit tired with a full belly from dinner and dramamine probably still in my system.

So I'm catching up on emails and news and websites. I've got Foxnews and now Survivor on tv.

I didn't want to bring a hardback along on the trip so I started ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS by JT Ellison. This is first of a two book series thus far. A serial killer has visited Nashville; Taylor the homicide leiutenant and her boyfriend the FBI profiler are on the case.

I hope tomorrow goes well but quickly. It will be good to be home and have a weekend.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday the middle of the week...

I spoke with Gary at Regis today to confirm him picking me up at the Denver airport tomorrow afternoon. I hope this trip goes well.

I'm waiting for the library to come through for me on the new Penman. It is now showing that it is in the library building but not released yet. It would be nice to be able to pick it up on the way home from work today. They've got two more hours....

Steve shoots tonight. I've got Tug walking and America's Next Top Model to watch. Then I'll read something.

Otherwise still reading THE WATER ROOM by Christopher Fowler. I didn't read it last night so not much progress being made. Here's the author's official website: http://www.christopherfowler.co.uk/. He has a blog on his site which looks to be up to date. This is a unique series with quirky characters. Good stuff.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christopher Fowler THE WATER ROOM

Put in an application for another Exec. Dir. job. This one would be bigger but it's been open for a long long time so maybe they're desperate. :) I spoke with JodyB last night as we were leaving; I can't get out of my mind what she told me someone said. I can't go into detail publicly, sorry.

I started the second of six in the Arthur Bryant and John May, detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit, in London, England series by Christopher Fowler, THE WATER ROOM. Here's the blurb:

A former colleague asks the eccentric Bryant, whose lack of polish coupled with a razor-sharp mind will remind many of Carter Dickson's Sir Henry Merrivale, to investigate his sister's death. Incredibly, the victim was found dead in her basement, apparently drowned, despite the absence of any moisture on her body or her surroundings. Bryant rapidly loops in his more down-to-earth partner, May, who has also been looking into a mystery with a personal connection—the unusual nocturnal ramblings of a disgraced academic who has begun probing London's underground rivers. More strange deaths follow before the unmasking of the surprising murderer.

It has 356 pages and here is the first couple paragraphs:


Chapter One
A change in the weather
Arthur Bryant looked out over London and remembered.
Fierce sunlight swathed Tower Bridge beyond the rockeries of smouldering bomb-sites. A Thames sailing barge was arriving in the Pool of London with a cargo of palm kernels. Its dusty red sails sagged in the afternoon heat as it drifted past Broadway Dock at Limehouse, like a felucca on the Nile. Dairy horses trotted along the deserted Embankment, empty milk cans chiming behind them. Children swam from the wharves below St Paul’s, while carping mothers fanned away stale air from the river steps. He could smell horse dung and tobacco, meadow grass, the river. The world had once moved forward in single paces.
The vision wavered and vanished, displaced by sun-flares from the sealed glass corridors of the new city.

Tonight I'll walk Tug, dinner, I've got Fringe to watch and then I'll read...either this book, the nonprofit nonfiction, or the WSJ.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reading auditions

I haven't picked anything to read next. I have a couple contenders: Ian Rankin next in series for me, MARCH VIOLETS by Phillip Kerr, or Aline Templeton. Last night I read the WSJ which took a couple hours. I need to read it every night but that is obviously such a huge time commitment.

Today is the deadline for the job I applied for. I hope I will be hearing from them this week. Its time.

Not really in the mood to post. Maybe later I'll update...

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Round Two at the Friends of the Library Sale

I went back to the Friends of the Library sale today with my mom. This was the last day of the sale therefore things were half off and they want to get rid of stuff so they don't have to pack up as much. I have to say, it had been hit hard over the past two days; there were empty tables. But, of course, I always manage to find books to buy. It wasn't looking so good the first 15 to 20 minutes as there was nothing catching my eye but then I decided to really widen my net to things that looked interesting to me not just must haves.

Here are the trade and paperbacks:

SOME DEATHS BEFORE DYING by Peter Dickinson
JACKSON PARK by Charlotte Carter
BLUE LIGHTNING edited by John Harvey
JOHNSON AND BOSWELL by Hesketh Pearson
THE MCDEAD by Ken Bruen
THE DEATH YOU DESERVE by David Bowker
PLAYING SHAKESPEARE by John Barton
CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson
LAW & ORDER by Courier & Green
THE ACCIDENTAL HUNTER by Nelson George
THE LONG GOODBYE by Raymond Chandler
MASTER'S MATES by Peter Corris
FOREVER BLUE by Suzanne Brockman
LEGAL BRIEFS edited by William Bernhardt
TRAUMA by Graham Masterson
PORTRAITS OF GUILT by Jeanne Boylan
REQUIEUM FOR MOSES by William X. Kienzle
A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN by Virginia Woolf (I have a copy, one can never have enough)
3 LIVES by Gertrude Stein
HARD TIMES by Charles Dickens
CLANDESTINE by James Ellroy
DEADLINE BY Gerry Boyle
DEAD END GAME by Christopher Newman
BELOW THE SALT by Thomas B. Costain

The hardbacks:
BLOOD ON THE WOOD by Gillian Linscott
THE PERFECT DAUGHTER by Gillian Linscott
THE INSIDE RING by Michael Lawson
PRIVILEGED INFORMATION by Terry Lewis
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury
THE DEVIL'S ACRE by David Holland
STREET FIGHTER by Bill Kent
MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH by Arianna Frankling (read it and loved, wanted to own)
THE OBSERVATIONS by Jane Harris
TOUGH CHOICES by Carly Fiorina
DESERT NOIR by Betty Webb
PAR FOUR by Elizabeth Gunn
MORTAL SIN by Paul Levine
TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD by Paul Levine
THE JEKYL ISLAND CLUB by Brent Monahan
SO SHALL YOU REAP by Marilyn Wallace
SHALLOW GRAVE by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
CASTLE ROUGE by Carole Nelson Douglas
LAST TO LEAVE by Clare Curzon
THE BODY OF A WOMAN by Clare Curzon
A WEEKEND TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE by Joan Anderson (hey, just a weekend!) :)

... And that's it! Okay, 45 books, but they were dirt cheap at 50 cents for hardbacks except for three "new" ones at $1.50 each. And paperbacks were a quarter. Again, I do this in the event that the publishing industry will collapse (look what happened to the financial markets and they said THAT wouldn't happen) and I will be prepared. I am the book apocalypse bunker.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly


I started THE BRASS VERDICT yesterday and finished it this morning. Yes, it's that good. This is the second in the Mickey Haller, Lincoln lawyer, series. I'll give you the run down in a moment but I have to say something. There is a thing called "voice" in writing. In this instance, I will use the image of acting to convey what I'm going say. When watching someone act you can tell if they actor is just going through the motions. Sometimes reading a book is like that. I just doesn't have the zing of voice. Michael Connelly has *voice.* It is similar to knowing you are watching a great performance by actor who is command of his skills. It just sings. I'm not saying it is great literature; I'm saying the words just come together *right.* And when the writing is good, you do actually make more time to read the book. I was up until a little after 11 last night reading and at it again this morning until I was done.

Here's the blurb from the Library Journal:


Mickey Haller, last seen in The Lincoln Lawyer, returns to the courtroom in an unusual way here. Former colleague Jerry Vincent is murdered, and his caseload is dropped in Haller's lap. One of Vincent's high-profile cases involved a movie mogul accused of killing his wife and her lover in a jealous rage. As Haller prepares the mogul's defense, he discovers that Vincent's killer might have chosen him as the next target. Haller must trust Harry Bosch, the police officer investigating Vincent's murder, if he is going to survive and trust his instincts if he is going to succeed in convincing a jury of his client's innocence.
Just published; it has 432 pages. Here's the first chapter:



Everybody lies.


Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.

A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this. Even the jury knows this. They come into the building knowing they will be lied to. They take their seats in the box and agree to be lied to.

The trick if you are sitting at the defense table is to be patient. To wait. Not for just any lie. But for the one you can grab on to and forge like hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that blade to rip the case open and spill its guts out on the
floor.

That's my job, to forge the blade. To sharpen it. To use it without mercy or conscience. To be the truth in a place where everybody lies.


Michael Connelly's website can be found at http://www.michaelconnelly.com/ where he has book trailers for THE BRASS VERDICT and other goodies like interviews and signing up for his newsletter.
For mystery readers, this is a must read.
Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dinner/ It's a Saturday / Crombie

Last night's dinner at the Johnsons was lovely. I'd say about a dozen people showed up. And somehow it usually segregated into men vs women in groupings even while eating dinner. As you know, Steve goes shooting on Wednesday nights at the gun club of which he is pistol director. Over the year I believe they put some money in a kitty for this dinner at the Johnsons who've graciously volunteered to host it for two years now. With the petty cash they purchase steaks to grill and potatoes, etc., and the rest bring things like salads, deserts, and appetizers. Their house is beautiful; big open floor plan upstairs (I've not seen any other portion of the house) and very relaxed with music playing and people talking up a storm. We got there at about 6:30 and got home at 10. This is something Steve really enjoys doing and I don't mind at all.

Today, Steve is doing a couple projects outside the house so I don't expect to see him until this afternoon. I've been doing some cleaning; I'm having a fit of "ugh, this place is a mess" but I'm not tipping over into full blown "must clean everything" mode but rather it's been seeing a mess here and there and trying to do something about that little bit. For instance, I've got a huge stack of newspapers that need to be dealt with and there's empty plastic bottles here and there and my bedside table needs organizing, etc. It will pass soon as I give up to the hugeness of it and figure I'd rather be reading. :)

So I've got my second load of laundry in the wash and I've cleared the rooms for vacuuming but I thought I'd take a break and do this post and check some email. I need to go to Walmart for a couple items I couldn't get yesterday at Albertsons. I'll walk Tug around 3 or 4-ish. Maybe I'll get a nap in, too, since I didn't get one yesterday. Ah, so much to accomplish!

I'm pages away from finishing the Crombie and then I'll start the Connelly. I also have a text on being an Executive Director for an NPO that I'd like to get going on. I don't think there's a whole lot of tv to watch tonight but I did find on the Internet the full episode of Crusoe that I missed last night so I'll have to make time for that. The Penman at the library still hasn't had any movement from on order to in the building. It'll be coming up on two weeks soon since it's been released. Bothersome, but I can wait.

Tonight for dinner I'm planning taco salad; that's usually a guaranteed hit.

Update: finished the Crombie, ALL SHALL BE WELL. I don't know; maybe I'm a little disappointed. There was investigation of suspects going on but the ending almost seemed to come out of the blue even though there was mention of some of the things happening in the past but the perpetrator was never mentioned in any connection until the confrontation and accusation and confession It's a let down in a way. And I swear, if I read another reference to Gemma's "copper hair" I'll do something evil. Need a month or two before reading the next in series.

On to the Connelly...

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, October 17, 2008

Connelly/Book sales (partly cross posted on 4MA)

The new Michael Connelly arrived today, THE BRASS VERDICT. I have just a few more chapters in the Crombie so I'll be starting this one hopefully tomorrow.

I went to the Friends of the Library sale last night. I always manage to spend a lot of money there but I have to complain for a moment. There were very few mysteries actually there. When I was checking out, I commented on that the lady said that one of the FOL volunteers has a used book store and he took all the good stuff. I don't think that's right that he can cherry pick throughout the year leaving just crumbs for regular folks. That's just plain wrong. That happended at the estate sale I went to this morning too. The owner was going to point out all the mysteries on the shelves but then said, oh the man from the used book store got them last night. Wrong wrong wrong!

My biggest find last night at the FOL sale were records. A couple years ago I got a great set of Shakespeare on record so I had to go buy a player. Since then I always check the record selection. This year was amazing. You know those Time/Life collections of say four records in a box set? This was a collection of great composers, one box set per composer, **THIRTY** of them for 25 cents each. I also got some Van Cliburn and rag time records. Another score were some great movies on VHS. I don't mind VHS that much as the bedroom tv's DVD player doesn't work anymore but the tape player does. I got great movies like The Big Sleep, Gosford Park, Touch of Evil, The Third Man, Dark Passage, Grand Canyon, etc.

Okay, now the books. I've never found Pronzini's there EVER but I found three this year. I mean this selection was picked over - no Perry Masons, Rex Stouts, very few of anything. I usually clean up on those pocket books. Nothing there.

paperbacks:
THE ROMAN by Mika Waltari
DEATH IN THE DEVIL'S ACRE by Anne Perry
FUNERAL MUSIC by Morag Joss
THE ABBOT'S GIBBET by Michael Jecks
THE WAY THROUGH THE WOODS by Colin Dexter
DEAR OLD DEAD by Jane Haddam
THE CHINESE SHAWL by Patricia Wentworth
THE KILL by Allison Brennan
MURDER FANTASTICAL by Patricia Moyes
BURIED BY BREAKFAST by Claudia Bishop
THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE by Ed McBain (Hardcase Crime)
SOMEBODY OWES ME MONEY by Donald Westlake (Hardcase Crime)
SPEAKER OF MANDARIN by Ruth Rendell
A GUILTY THING SURPRISED by Ruth Rendell
LIVE FLESH by Ruth Rendell
WITCH HUNT by Ian Rankin
DEAD SOULS by Ian Rankin
EPITAPHS by Bill Pronzini
THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham (nonfiction)

hardbacks:
QUICKSILVER by Bill Pronzini
BOOBYTRAP by Bill Pronzini
FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE by Rhys Bowen
DEATH OF RILEY by Rhys Bowen
THE WHITE CROW by Cynthia Peale
THE DEAL OF COLONIAL MAN by Cynthia Peale
DEATH AT SAINT JAMES PALACE by Deryn Lake
THE KING'S SECRET MATTER by Jean Plaidy
SOUL CIRCUS by George Pelecanos
THE SECOND STAIRCASE by Christopher Fowler
HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill
NO NIGHT IS TOO LONG by Barbara Vine
THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS by Jasper Fford
SOMETHING ROTTEN by Jasper Fford

And a handful of nonfiction things. Yes, I managed to pick up plenty. But this was only because I paid the FOL membership fee to go to the sneak preview sale the night before opening to the general public. And there were a lot of people there last night. I saw more than one person with shopping carts from grocery stores filled up. So I'm glad/lucky with what I got. I'm going back on Sunday with my mom for their "fill a bag for a buck" or whatever sale.

Tonight Steve and I are having dinner at a the house of some friends. They did this last year too. This is a group of shooting buddies and we go to Dan's house in a very posh neighborhood for steaks, etc. Very nice place and usually good company. The only regret I have is...

...tonight is the premiere of a new series I'd like to check out, Crusoe. Here's their website for more info http://www.nbc.com/Crusoe/ .I don't think I can tape the whole thing with what I've got set up. Grrr. And I can't find a full episode online. Not happy here. Plus I'll miss Say Yes to the Dress. Bother.

It was nice having today off. I had lunch with JodyO at Olive Garden and got my hair trimmed. I love Sanctuary Spa: they give you a massage before your haircut and wrap your hair in a warm towel after they wash it. Nice. Then I got groceries and walked Tug.

The rest of the weekend will be the usual: cleaning and so forth. I hope to do some reading and movie watching too.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Book sale/ Estate sale

I have tomorrow off because of working on Saturday. I plan to make much good use of it. A bookaholics dream.

The Friends of the Library sale is this weekend. It officially starts tonight for members of the Friends of the Library in a sneak peak before opening to the general public tomorrow morning. For a couple years now I've considered joining just for this perk and this year I intend to do so. It came down to logistics: tomorrow I would only have an hour to look at things before having to go meet a friend for lunch and then get my hair cut; tonight I would have two hours. It will cost $10 to join but I think it is a good cause and I should have been a part of them a long time ago since I believe so strongly in libraries.

So I won't be home until after 8:30 probably tonight so Steve will have to walk Tug and deal with dinner himself. He doesn't get to be home alone very much so he'll enjoy it too.

One of our board members is having an estate sale starting tomorrow. She says she has tons of books and lots of mysteries. I haven't heard back from her but I emailed her offering to buy her mystery stock sight unseen. I'm sure there will be ones I like I'd keep and the others I'd take to the used bookstore for credit. Otherwise I'll be at her sale bright and early in the morning.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Day/Deborah Crombie

I got the second AF letter mailing out today. It's off my list now. Phew. The office has been really warm the past couple days with the heater going full blast (and we have no control over it's operation) so I've had the window open most of the day to try to balance it out.

Tonight I have the debates to watch and I'll be taping America's Next Top Model so I can watch it afterward.

Steve is shooting tonight so I'll be walking Tug and doing dinner and tv alone. I don't know yet what to have.

I'm still reading ALL SHALL BE WELL by Deborah Crombie. I'm halfway through if I remember right. The link to her official website is http://www.deborahcrombie.com/index.html. She has a blog on the site but it looks like it hasn't been updated since July of this year. What surprises people the most about her is that she writes about UK police investigations when she is actually an American, a Texan to be more exact. Though why that is surprising should be surprising because anyone can write about anywhere, any time, etc., with the right amount of research, for goodness sake. She's been nominated for several mystery awards including the Edgar and won the Macavity in 1997.

She has a wikipedia page which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah_Crombie, so I'm assuming that's the *unofficial* information. And her publisher webpage is here: http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/25295/Deborah_Crombie/index.aspx . It lists her books with a nice feature of being able to browse inside all of them.

I don't know in which book it happens but I know that Kincaid and Gemma hook up. I have mixed feelings about that. In general, I prefer a professonalism in police procedurals and I don't think that every man and woman are attracted to each other as so often happens in books, tv, and movies. I mean, look at what happened to Moonlighting after Dave and Maddy finally did it. It killed the story. I don't know yet if this occurance weakens the Crombie books or not. How can they work together? They can't; that is one of the givens in the story's world and it gets taken away. Not smart. It would be like Ben and Diane in Stephen Booth's books getting it on together; destroys the premise of the world. In this one, the second in the series, you can kind of get an inkling for what may happen and cringe a little. He's starting to notice her as a person with golden/red hair and not just a sargeant assigned to him. Ah well.

I don't know if I'll have a chance to read tonight after tv watching. Maybe a little. :)

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

PS. I probably shouldn't write my entries in the late afternoon. I'm so brain dead that I can't think of anything entertaining to write.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vote; Crosby, Crombie

I voted today. My absentee ballot was somehow not coming to my house I discovered after I called the election office to inquire why mine was late when they were mailed out early last week so I walked to the courthouse (it's just around the corner from where I work) and picked it up and filled it out and turned it in (because I know I sent in the form in August but theysay they didn't receive it so I'm not trusting the mail service right now). Whichever side anyone is on, please do what is constitutionally your right, have a voice and vote. It matters.

I finished THE CHARDONNAY CHARADE by Ellen Crosby last night. Even though sometimes the crime solving isn't the strongest element of a book, if the world that the author created is so interesting that I don't want to leave it, I count it as a good book. This is such a book. I liked the Virginia winery world that Crosby built and I sometimes wish I were more into wine while reading it.

Now I'm reading another book out from the library, ALL SHALL BE WELL by Deborah Crombie, second of twelve in her long-running series featuring Duncan Kincaid, a Scotland Yard superintendent, and Gemma James, a sergeant, in London, England. This was published in 1994 and has 243 pages. Here is a blurb about the book from Publisher's Weekly:

``Morphine coats the mind like peach fuzz,'' thinks Jasmine Dent, a 50-year-old spinster born in India who is dying in London of lung cancer. Her death resembles suicide but leaves her friend and neighbor from the flat above, Scotland Yard Supt. Duncan Kincaid, uneasy. The postmortem he orders reveals an overdose of morphine, prompting him and his sergeant, hot-tempered, copper-haired Gemma James, on a thorough investigation. Suspects include 30-ish, disheveled Meg Bellamy, a timid friend with whom Jasmine had considered suicide, and the downstairs neighbor known as the Major, a veteran of the Muslim-Hindu clashes in Calcutta in 1946 and an avid gardener with whom Jasmine had often sat ``like two old dogs in the sun.'' Others include Meg's stunningly handsome, bullying beau Roger, who urged that she help Jasmine end her life; Felicity Howarth, Jasmine's faithful home-care nurse who slaves to keep her brain-damaged son in an institution; and Jasmine's weak-willed brother Theo, owner of a village junk shop who has failed at every venture he's tried. Helped by Jasmine's journal and a visit to a mental hospital, the clues finally click into place to reveal the culprit. Meg makes a decision that promises hope for two people, while Gemma and Duncan, both unlucky in love, move closer to each other.
Here's the first two paragraphs:

Jasmine Dent let her head fall back on the pillow and closed her eyes. Morphine coats the mind like fuzz on a peach, she thought sleepily, and smiled a little at her metaphor. For a while she floated between sleeping and waking, aware of faint sounds drifting in through the open window, aware of the sunlight flwoing accross the foot of her bed, but unable to rouse herself.

Her earliest memories were of heat and dust, and the unseasonable warmth of the April afternoon conjured up smells and sounds that danced in her mind like long-forgotten wraiths. Jasmine wondered if the long, slow hours of her childhood lay buried somewhere in the cells of her brain, waiting to explode upon her consciousness with that particular lucidity attributed to the memories of the dying.

I've decided to read this series in order. I've neglected it for a very long time like so many other series and good authors. So much to catch up on but the good thing is that there will always be something for me to read. I'm not reliant upon new authors or the next new thing.

Looks like the library is still not moving on the new Penman histmyst -- it's been a week now people -- and the new Michael Connelly is scheduled to be delivered to me on the 20th. So a little chance to breathe and read some from the TBR pile.

I've got Fringe to watch tonight on TV. If you ever liked X-Files; this is the show for you.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goofing off Monday

Enjoying my Monday off. Got Steve off to work and then headed back for bed to close my eyes for a bit. I have to get up early with him because he makes so much noise getting ready for work so it's better to get up and then head back when he leaves. However, Steve came back after about an hour because he forgot his shot and I couldn't convince him to play hooky so off he went again. So then I headed downstairs to jump on the computer and see what's happening in the world. So far the Dow is up quite a bit.

I finished THE WHISKEY REBELS by David Liss last night. Very full of intrigues and counter-intrigues based on actual history shortly after the signing of the Constitution. The two storylines met up right when I was getting to the point of wanting to skim ahead in the story thus bringing my attention and interest back. I wonder if there will be another book featuring Saunders and Lavian down the road? This book was also interesting in talking about how the banking system was brought into being in the US and how speculating on the markets was abused even from the beginning reflecting perhaps what is going on now with too much credit and playing with money that isn't really there and catering to the wealthy at the expense of the working class.

So now I'm back to THE CHARDONNAY CHARADE by Ellen Crosby. If you recall an earlier posting, this is the second in the series featuring an amateur sleuth in Virginia wine country. Not too cosy-ish but definitely not hard boiled.

Tonight I've got Chuck and Jon & Kate Plus 8 to watch on tv. I've got to vacuum still today and clothes laundry to get done. I was so wiped out yesterday after the long day and then shoveling that I didn't get much done chores-wise other than bedding and towels laundry.

I don't have anywhere to go today as far as I can tell. Tug and I will probably take naps and then go for a walk this afternoon. It's cold again today though I think the snow has stopped. It seems like there was some melting going on yesterday but I'm sure it was slick driving this morning for travelers. It's supposed by 60 by Friday. Crazy.

I don't know yet what to make for dinner but I suppose if anything needs to defrost I'd better decide soon. Otherwise, I'm surfing the Net and then doing some reading ... all. day. long. Bwahahahhaa!

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tired but Wired

Yesterday was one long fricking day. Concert day. This one was called Harvest Home and guest artists were Jay Unger and Molly Mason. The concert was really wonderful but my day started at 9am and I got home at quarter to 1 am and then couldn't sleep because I was wired with adrenaline. It has snowed over a foot here and all day the roads weren't bad but last night they were terrible. I drove 25 miles an hour the whole way and still felt some slipping but some cars were blowing by me. I don't get it. Do they have different tires or some kind of non-fear of crashing? I'm not a bad driver but when you feel control going away and you have a hard time stopping at lights and then getting going again you slide sideways you drive slower.

Jay and Molly play fiddle and guitar and are well known apparently through Prairie Home Companion radio and they did the music for Ken Burns' Civil War and will be doing his next one too. This is the link to their website: http://www.jayandmolly.com/index.shtml. My favorite of their performance was Harvest Home Suite, an amazing piece of music. The theatre had several ushers not show up so I wound up selling their merchandise and I did buy one of their cds that had that piece on it.

Tug got me up between 7:30 and 8 so there is definitely a nap in my future. I shoveled half the driveway this morning because Steve never does it. Never has, never will. He grew up in the country where apparently they don't shovel. I did "his" side of the driveway since I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday and I'm not going anywhere for two days (we are having Columbus Day off for some reason). Tug was out frolicking in the show while I shoveled; he looooovvvvves snow. So he was trying to scope out bunnies in the usual holes. I didn't go get a newspaper this morning so he didn't get his Sunday morning car ride so I thought he could enjoy romping around out front where he likes it best. And I figured there wouldn't any other dogs running around. It's supposed to be in the 40s and 50s by Wednesday or Thursday so this white stuff will be gone soon but we haven't had this much snow in a long long time.

I've got to do the weekend cleaning now: laundry, vacuum, etc. I've got a turkey roast in the crockpot for dinner tonight. I don't really plan to do much else these two days off except Interneting and reading and maybe some tv/movie watching. Reading will be the priority; I'd like to finish the Liss very soon.

Getting kinda hungry for some lunch here soon. I think I hear Steve walking around now so I'd better pop upstairs and then get some laundry going. Then .... a lovely nap!

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, October 10, 2008

THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE

I probably won't be doing an entry tomorrow, Saturday, because of working all day at the concert.

Very quickly today, I'm listening to the audiobook THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE, a nonfiction account of the serial killer that terrorised Florence, Italy, for decades. I know I've listed it before but here is the blurb again:

In 2000, Preston, the best-selling coauthor of thrillers with Lincoln Child (e.g., The Relic) moved to Florence, Italy, to research a new mystery and fell headlong into the case of the Monster of Florence. Between 1968 and 1985, seven couples had been murdered in their cars in secluded lovers' lanes in and around Florence. (The murders took place near Preston's 14th-century farmhouse.) Intrigued, Preston teamed up with Italian journalist and "Monsterologist" Spezi to write an article—and became part of the story. The investigation of these serial murders had taken on a surreal edge, with wild conspiracy theories involving satanic cults being seriously considered by desperate investigators. At one point, Spezi himself was accused of the murders, while Preston was accused of planting evidence and even suspected of being an American spy. Eventually, the authors came to believe they knew the identity of the Monster, but nothing has been proven. Truth is truly stranger than fiction, as lives are destroyed, reputations are ruined, and evidence is manufactured to fit the suspect-of-the-month.

There are numerous websites to find out more. I'll list a few:

this is the official site by the authors
http://www.prestonchild.com/solonovels/preston/monsterofflorence/

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/predators/monster_florence/1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monster_of_Florence

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200607/florence-murder

Happy reading!
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reminder for me to check these books later

LJ, you're a dangerous person to know. We must share some reading DNA

MIDNIGHT COME (Ama Sleuth-Richard Harrison-Cambridge, UK-Cont) - VGAnthony, Michael David - 3rd (final) bookHarperCollingPublishers, 1998

THE SEPTEMBER SOCIETY (Ama Sleuth/Trad Mys-CharlesLenox-England-Victorian) - G+Finch, Charles - 2nd in seriesSt. Martin's Minotaur, 2008, US Hardcover

FITZEMPRESS' LAW (Hist/Mys/TT-Len, Pete, Sal-England-Cont/1100s) - G+Norman, Diana (aka Ariana Franklin) - 1st novelSt. Martin's Press, 1980, US Hardcover

THE BIRTH OF BLUE SATAN (Hist. Mys- Gideon Fitzsimmons/HesterKean-England-1715) - VG+Wynn, Patricia - 1st in seriesPemberley, 2001, US Hardcover

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

THE WHISKEY REBELS - author and history

You will be hearing a lot about David Liss's THE WHISKEY REBELS as this is being my current read and I'm not progressing through it very quickly. Normally, I'm a rather quick reader but lately I haven't had a lot of time to read.

David Liss's website can be found at http://davidliss.com. His biography states he was born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, and was a one-time encyclopedia salesman. He received his B.A. from Syracuse University, an M.A. from Georgia State Universty and his M.Phil from Columbia University, where he left his dissertation unfinished to pursue his writing career. David lives in San Antonio with his wife and children.

THE WHISKEY REBELS went on sale September 30 of this year and is already in its second printing.

Today, also, I thought I'd look up what exactly the Whiskey Rebellion was. In a nutshell, here's the scoop from wikipedia.com:

The Whiskey Rebellion was a popular uprising that had its beginnings in 1791 and culminated in an insurrection in 1794 in the locality of Washington, Pennsylvania, in the Monongahela Valley. The rebellion occurred shortly after the Articles of Confederation had been replaced by a stronger federal government under the American Constitution in 1789.

The new federal government, at the urging of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, assumed the states' debt from the American Revolutionary War. In 1791 Hamilton convinced Congress to approve taxes on distilled spirits and carriages. Hamilton's principal reason for the tax was that he wanted to pay down the national debt, but he justified the tax "more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue." But most importantly, Hamilton "wanted the tax imposed to advance and secure the power of the new federal government."

Congress designed the tax so smaller distillers would pay by the gallon, while larger distillers (who could produce in volume) could take advantage of a flat fee. The net result was to affect smaller producers more than larger ones. By the summer of 1794, tensions reached a fevered pitch all along the western frontier as the settlers' primary marketable commodity was threatened by the federal taxation measures. Finally, the civil protests became an armed rebellion. As word of the rebellion spread across the frontier, a whole series of loosely organized resistance measures were taken, including robbing the mail, stopping court proceedings, and the threat of an assault on Pittsburgh. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, remembering Shays' Rebellion from just eight years before, decided to make Pennsylvania a testing ground for federal authority. Washington ordered federal marshals to serve court orders requiring the tax protesters to appear in federal district court.

This marked the first time under the new United States Constitution that the federal government used military force to exert authority over the nation's citizens. The military suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion set a precedent that U.S. citizens who wished to change the law had to do so peacefully through constitutional means; otherwise, the government would meet any threats to disturb the status quo with force.

The hated whiskey tax was repealed in 1803, having been largely unenforceable outside of Western Pennsylvania, and even there never having been collected with much success.


I love history. There's a biography of Alexander Hamilton that came out not too long ago I seem to remember that painted him as a hero of banking, etc. I've read/watched other things that depicted him as being hated. He hasn't shown up in THE WHISKEY REBELS as a character though his name is bandied about quite a bit and not favorably.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Liss, new forum found, Wynn & Finch, new Penman

I made headway last night into the David Liss, THE WHISKEY REBELS. Okay, two chapters before I caved in to sleepiness. This book is told by two protagonists in alternating chapters each in first person POV. A male in 1794 and a female a few years earlier. The female is interesting in that she is one of the priveledged - not raised in wealth but she had indulgent parents who educated her and fed her passion for reading. She is intelligent and precocious which is probably heading into some kind of hubris and downfall. The male protagonist is down on his luck years after being named a traitor in the war -- we'll probably learn more about that as the story progresses -- and has learned that the woman he loved but lost needs his help finding her husband. He will do anything for his love. I picture the sets of the miniseries John Adams for this.

As is well known, my first love in reading is crime fiction. The subgenre I favor first is historical mysteries -- I don't think that is a secret. :) So I'll be mentioning websites and blogs from time to time focusing on those and others that I find interesting.

I've come across this forum of historical novels in general:

http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/forums/index.php

The topics of discussion break into such subsections as historical mystery, historical romance, etc. You have to register in order to post but that's not such a big deal. Not a lot of activity yet in the histmyst section but that may change soon. I'm planning on jumping in on the conversation.

Hmmm, reading today's digest of Yahoo group Crimethrutime, the author Patricia Wynn has come up as a good author. I'm not familiar ... ohhh yeah but the title of the first book is familiar, THE BIRTH OF THE BLUE SATAN, about Gideon St. Mars, a viscount who becomes the highwayman Blue Satan, and his friend Mrs. Kean, in early 18th century England. I don't know. I don' remember being interested when this first came out but it's three books into the series, maybe it's gotten better.

Another one I need to check because it's mentioned so frequently now is THE SEPTEMBER SOCIETY by Charles Finch. There are two in this series now featuring Charles Lenox, a gentleman sleuth, in 1860s London, England. Actually that book is the second, the first is A BEAUTIFUL BLUE DEATH.

The new Sharon Kay Penman should have been released yesterday but the hold I have on it at the library hasn't changed status. I hate being delayed. Of course, I don't really need it right this minute but you know what I mean. This is fifth in the series featuring Justin de Quincy, the bastard son of a bishop in 12th century England who is the Queen's Man (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine).

I ordered the new Michael Connelly that is due out Tuesday and the next in the series by Susanna Gregory from Amazon. I can't get the Gregory locally and I know I can get the Connelly at 40% off. Again, I'm not in any rush really to get it because of so much to read otherwise but these are ones that I want to have so I'm splurging a little. It's been a rough week and will continue to be a long week for the next three days so I'm pampering myself with a gift. So there.

If all goes well, I'll have a couple hours of reading time tonight after 8:00. Must. make. good. use. of. this. And not to get distracted by other things.

Happy reading,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

THE WHISKEY REBELS/ Flashback to 2004

Focusing more on reading and movies than anything else from here on.

I started THE WHISKEY REBELS by David Liss last night. Before getting too tired for the night (and it hit early unfortunately) I read the first chapter and maybe a page. Here's the first two paragraphs:

Chapter 1
Ethan Saunders
i
It was rainy and cold outside, miserable weather, and though I had not left my boardinghouse determined to die, things were now different. After consuming far more than my share of that frontier delicacy Monongahela rye, a calm resolution had come over me. A very angry man named Nathan Dorland was looking for me, asking for me at every inn, chophouse, and tavern in the city and making no secret of his intention to murder me. Perhaps he would find me tonight and, if not, tomorrow or the next day. Not any later than that. It was inevitable only because I was determined not to fight against the tide of popular opinion—which is to say, that I ought to be killed. It was my decision to submit, and I have long believed in keeping true to a plan once it has been cast in earnest.


It is a principle I cultivated during the war—indeed, one I learned from observing General Washington himself. This was in the early days of the Revolution, when His Excellency still believed he might defeat the British in pitched battle, Continental style, with our ill-disciplined and badly equipped militias set against the might of British regulars. It was the decisive military victory he wanted; indeed, in those early days it was the only sort he believed worth having. He would invite the officers to dine with him, and we would drink claret and eat roast chicken and sip our turtle soup and he would tell us how we were going to drive the Redcoats back at Brooklyn, and the unfortunate affair would be over before winter.


I've enjoyed this author in the past, especially 2001's Edgar winner for best first novel A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER featuring Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish ex-pugilist hired by gentry to pursue debtors and thieves, in 18th Century London, England. Why do I like Liss? Not only does he typically write historical mysteries, he takes on complex subjects like the South Sea bubble and makes it learnable and interesting. This new novel, THE WHISKEY REBELS, is set in America a bit after the Revolution about the actual 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. I may have had a fleeting encounter with this bit of history in school but definitely it has not stuck.

Liss's writing, I think because of his subject matter, is a little denser therefore takes longer to read. When I picked this book up at the library -- this will be strange -- the book itself was HEAVY. And it isn't because this book has a huge number of pages (519 pages). Okay, that's more than the average but I've read books with close to 1000 pages and they weren't heavy like this one is. Perhaps they used a thicker paper for the pages although that wouldn't be cost effective, would it.

I like this time period in American history. For some reason, American history I find rather boring -- except for the Revolution and the Founding Fathers. I'm more attracted to European history up until Edwardian time period. Perhaps because kings and queens are more interesting to read about but probably not so interesting to live through.

Here's an interesting tidbit -- October 2004, these were the books I read four years ago:

  • The Bishop's Tale - Margaret Frazer (Historical Mystery)
  • Crewel Yule - Monica Ferris (Cozy Mystery)
  • The Queene's Ransom - Fiona Buckley (Historical Mystery)
  • The Tidal Poole - Karen Harper (Historical Mystery)
  • Face Down Among the Winchester Geese - Kathy Lynn Emerson(Historical Mystery)
  • The Boy's Tale - Margaret Frazer (Historical Mystery)
  • Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay (Mystery)
  • A Murderer's Tale - Margaret Frazer (Historical Mystery)
  • Slip Cue - Joyce Krieg (Mystery)
  • Death at the Door - K.C. Greenlief (Police Procedural )
  • Mansions of the Dead - Sarah Stewart Taylor (Mystery)
  • Murder on the Flying Scotsman - Carola Dunn (Historical Mystery)
  • A Gentleman's Game - Greg Rucka (Espionage Thriller)
  • Burnt Orange Sunrise - David Handler (Procedural/Mystery)
  • Body Double - Tess Gerritsen (Medical Thriller)

I look at this list and think first Wow! I read a lot that month! I also see that I was into my historical mystery love. I also see some authors that haven't had anything out lately like the Sara Stewart Taylor and Jeff Lindsay that I miss reading and wish they would write again; Greg Rucka hasn't written a book in the Town & Country series lately and those were good; a couple authors that haven't written but I remember their last book being a letdown so I'm not feeling to bad about that; and some authors that I need to get back to eventually like Carola Dunn, Harper, Buckley and Emerson.

It's interesting to look back on what one's read. I have a reading book that has most of what I've read in the oughts. It helps to look it over to check if author's are still writing or if they have something forthcoming. I look over my lists and mostly smile at the memory of good books. Occasionally I look at a book listed and and think I wish I hadn't wasted my time, but only occasionally thank goodness. Mostly I don't waste my time on books that aren't clicking with my mood at the time. Life's too short and there are too many good books to read.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, October 6, 2008

100608

Work: AF letter and spreadsheet; called Energy Night sponsors regarding their tickets, conversed with June regarding post-concert reception.

Reading: Haven't really settled on anything yet. Will probably pick tonight. Other than one show, it will be nice to sit in the living room upstairs and read. I still have Weekly Standard and WSJ so it's not like I'm hurting. :)

TV: Chuck - love that show.

The Dow was interesting (and scary) to watch today as it dropped and dropped and then came back about halfway at the end.

I applied last night for another position (I turned down the opportunity to interview with Habitat because the upheaval in my world wasn't worth it dollar-wise). I won't go into detail but this new one doesn't close until the 20th so it's on the back burner.

Will walk Tug, deal with dinner (chicken), etc. Been listening to the radio today.

Sorry so boring...
Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, October 5, 2008

100508

Sunday

A mostly lazy day. I've got laundry going.

Reading: I've been reading a lot last night and today. I finished the Maitland, A COMPANY OF LIARS. Well done. Not a mystery per se but more of a gothic-ish low-level suspense thing with members of the troup dying (and not by the Black Death that is engulfing the country) and the perpetrator who is indeed very fiendish and manipulative. Glad I read it. Next up, either the David Liss or maybe STRANGE BLOOD by Lindsay Jayne Ashford or maybe back to the Crosby.

Listening to THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE. Here's the blurb from Publisher Weekly:
United in their obsession with a grisly Italian serial murder case almost three decades old, thriller writer Preston (coauthor, Brimstone) and Italian crime reporter Spezi seek to uncover the identity of a vicious serial killer in this chilling true crime saga. The murders took place outside of Florence where Preston had moved with his family. From 1974 to 1985, seven pairs of lovers parked in their cars in secluded areas were brutally killed. With all of the chief suspects acquitted or released from prison on appeal, the authors began to snoop around, although witnesses had died and evidence was missing. Preston and Spezi's sleuthing continued until ruthless
prosecutors turned on the nosy pair, jailing Spezi and grilling Preston for obstructing justice. Only when Dateline NBCbecame involved in the maze of mutilated bodies and police miscues was the authors' hard work rewarded. This suspenseful procedural reveals much about the dogged writing team as well as the motives of the killers. Better than some overheated noir mysteries, this bit of real-life Florence bloodletting makes you sweat and think, and presses relentlessly on the nerves.


Though I'm listening to the audio read by Dennis Boutsikaris, the book has 322 pages, the audio is 8 cds long. Here's the first paragraph:
The morning of June 7, 1981, dawned brilliantly clear over Florence, Italy. It was a quiet Sunday with blue skies and a light breeze out of the hills, which carried into the city the fragrance of sun-warmed cypress trees. Mario Spezi was at his desk at La Nazione , where he had worked as a reporter for several years, smoking and reading the paper. He was approached by the reporter who usually handled the crime desk, a legend at the paper who had survived twenty years of covering the Mafia.

TV: The Cowboys are playing now (and better win) and the Steelers play tonight so that's probably the tv we've got going on for the rest of the day really.

In a little bit we'll go walk Tug. It is only supposed to get up to 60 today and maybe some showers this evening like last evening and has been cloudy most of the day -- little bit of sunshine earlier. I'll make hamburger rice later; that will be good to give Steve some leftovers for lunch a couple days.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

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Steve wound up coaching the shooting class only this morning, not in the afternoon too because they had more than enough coaches. He was very tired -- he's not used to getting up so early on a Saturday! -- so now he's napping. Plus he worked way late last night; he didn't get home until after 8. Two of his guys didn't show up for work so he had to do the out of town job himself. Owning a business is rarely fun and games. We'll walk Tug after he gets up. It was supposed to get up to 71 today; I don't know if it made it since it's been overcast all day and sort of cooler-ish I thought. A front is moving in tonight and the high is in the 50s tomorrow. Yay Fall!! This is the beginning of stews and soups and cups of hot drinks and it will be dark sooner and sooner. Love it. Actually, when I walk Tug after work the sun is already rather angled; and it's not even Daylight Savings yet.

I was up early this morning -- just BINK! awake at 6:20. I did lay down again and read for a bit and then snoozed a little after Steve left and I had vacuumed upstairs. I still need to vacuum downstairs. Laundry is going all day.

I went to Linens N Things to get pillowcases. Ours have pretty much fallen apart I think from the period of time that Steve had the softener valve turned off. The towels, too were unraveling so I got more of those. Those suckers are expensive! I found a comforter I like but was too much for me to get now. Ours, we've had for at least 11 years and is definitely showing it's age and wear and tear. Looks like I'm stuck in a dark blue phase still in my choices.

Reading: Made a little progress in the Maitland, COMPANY OF LAIRS. I finished the Ruth Rendell audiobook A SLEEPING LIFE and I'm now listening to MONSTER OF FLORENCE by Douglas Preston, nonfiction.

I subscribed to the Weekly Standard magazine and was able to download this week's issue so I have that to read. I stopped by Borders after shopping since it was in that same area in order to check the magazines. I got the new Cineaste (movies) and found a magazine I'd not heard of before, Geek, that had some interesting articles about Mystery Science Theater 3000 and something about Fringe, and just looked like the eclectic stuff to jump around in that I find interesting. Giving it a shot though with magazines anymore they're as much as paperbacks which is just crazy.

Upcoming book releases include the new Sharon Kay Penman on Tuesday (on hold at the library) and the new Michael Connelly the week after. Yay!

TV: Steve will want to watch Cops and I suppose I'd be able to flip from channel to channel. I need to just pick a night to watch a movie and stick to it.

Movies: I'd like to go see An American Carol sometime this weekend, maybe tomorrow. Looks funny.

Okay, can't think of anything else.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster


Friday, October 3, 2008

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Work: I've accomplished a lot this week so I wasn't feeling overly ambitious on a Friday. I did go over the AF letter and tweaked it a little; went over the spreadsheet of AF donors, and worked on the insert for the AF letter. Can't print them yet because the letterhead won't be ready until next week.

TV: I have to remember to watch Say Yes to the Dress. I keep forgetting. I could also watch online episodes of Fringe or fancast stuff.

Reading: I didn't get any reading done last night because of watching the debate and then commentary afterward and then the last half hour of School of Rock movie with Jack Black. I'm liking the Maitland; the words flow very well. One of the reviews likened it to Canterbury Tales mixed with M. Night Shamalan (or however you spell his name). There is a definite feeling of impending doom or danger lurking. Must make significant progress in this.

I've been reading 4MA digests of end of the month reads for members, nothing is really striking me as must reads from the lists that I haven't heard about so that's safe. Phew! I have plenty to read already, believe me.

I need to get some things accomplished this weekend. I really need to get something going on my website. Forget the whole logo thing and just start putting it together and getting going with Constant Contact. And cleaning has to happen and I should do a deeper level of it than the usual. Operative word here is should. (sigh). Steve is coaching a shooting class tomorrow and would be out of the way.

Tonight (Friday!!) I'll walk Tug and I think we'll have fish and chips for dinner. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be the last really warm days for a while. As I was driving to work today I noticed that a lot more trees are yellow and orange. I love Fall!!

There's stuff going on in this country and the world and I could comment on them all but I just want to escape troubles so I hope I'm not being deficient in my blogging duties. I don't feel very clever today so I'll stop now.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, October 2, 2008

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Thursday ... closer to the weekend but does seem to be dragging.

Work: Invoices, AF letter, etc.

Reading: The Maitland about the plague.

TV: The VP debate is tonight. Should be good viewing.

I have much to be thinking about for the next 12 months. I need to figure out my goals are and if the steps I'm taking so far are toward these goals and what steps need to happen in the next little while are toward them as well.

JodyB got back from France and brought us some chocolate. I swapped with Candy who didn't like dark chocolate so now she's got the milk chocolate and I've got the dark. Should save for a special occasion.

I need to go to the grocery store; should probably do that tonight. We're having taco salad tonight which we both like and doesn't take that long to make. Steve will have to walk Tug.

More later...

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Work: Got the mailing of invitations to the post-concert reception and rehearsal out. Filling in for Sandi at the Cultural Partners meeting.

Reading: I think I'll be sticking with the Maitland. Publisher's Weekly says this:
Desperate to outrun the Black Death ravaging England during the sodden summer of 1348, nine disparate souls band together in this harrowing historical, which infuses a Canterbury Tales scenario with the spectral chill of an M. Night Shyamalan ghost story. Maitland (The White Room) gives each of the travelers a potentially devastating secret. How did narrator Camelot, a glib-tongued peddler of false relics and hope, really come by that hideously scarred face? What is magician Zophiel hiding inside his wagon? And just who is Narigorm, the spooky albino girl whose readings of the runes are always eerily on target? As the nine strangers slog cross-country through the pestilential landscape, their number shrinking one by one, they come to realize that what they don't know about each other might just kill them.

Library Journal Review says this:
In England, 1348 was a very bad year: rains fell from Midsummer's Day to Christmas, causing crops to rot in the fields, and the plague swept through the country, killing and displacing high and low alike. Told from the viewpoint of Camelot, a peddler of relics, Maitland's story twists and turns deftly as a motley crew of travelers seek to hide their secrets from one another. Held together more by fear than comradeship, they wend their way across the south of England, seeking lasting refuge from the uncertainties of life. Like the pilgrims of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, to which this book has been likened, each of the travelers has a tale to tell. Those tales intertwine and unfold in a page-turning novel in which hope seeks to balance despair despite everything. Maitland, whose previous novel, The White Room, was released in the United Kingdom 12 years ago, has put the intervening years to good use. This novel vividly evokes the landscape of 14th-century England without putting too many 21st-century interpretations on actions and events.

This book was just published and has 465 pages. Here's the first paragraph:

The Midsummer Fair
They say that if you suddenly wake with a shudder, a ghost has walked over your grave. I woke with a shudder on that Midsummer's Day. And although I had no way of foreseeing the evil that day would bring to all of us, it was as if in that waking moment, I felt the chill of it, glimpsed the shadow of it, as if something malevolent was hovering just out of sight.

TV: America's Next Top Model and Ghosthunters. Yes, I know I'm killing little grey cells.

Just finalized plans to go to Denver Oct. 23-24 to talk to Regis people about the class next summer. They're paying for plane ticket, hotel, chauffering me around and some kind of honorarium. Good thing because I'll be out a day and a half of pay (leaving the afternoon of the 23rd). I hope this is a good thing. A little bit nervous. And it will mean a lot of work; writing the workbook probably for sure.

Tonight Steve is helping a shooting class. I'll walk Tug and do the regular evening stuff. Hope to have time to do some reading as I'm a bit overwhelmed right now.

Gotta go...
Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster