Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ah, I'm too knackered to do a Sunday Seconds today. I've been working on Premeditated for most of the day. I'm up to "S" in the authors, so about nine more pages (18 authors). I was hoping to be close to finished today but it looks like I'll need to put in a big chunk of time on Tuesday, around my scheduled activities. So far, though, no new-to-me the books I'm coming across have really jumped out and said "buy me!" Phew, for my checkbook.
Well, I'm assuming that trick-or-treating will begin around 6:30-ish. I don't plan on going beyond 8:00 because 1) they're usually big kids by that time who shouldn't be doing that in the first place and b) Psychic Kids comes on then. I've got to do an earlier dinner and I still haven't thrown any clothes laundry in the wash. Or seen Steve around now that I think about it....
Much love (and have a safe and happy Halloween),
PK the Bookeemonster
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I'm currently reading THE MISCHIEF OF THE MISTLETOE by Lauren Willig. This is 7th of 7 in series featuring Eloise Kelly, a Harvard grad student writing her Ph.D. dissertation on spies of the late 18th and early 19th century, in the Pink Carnation romantic thriller series. Only this time Eloise isn't in it (and I'm with with that). Here is a description:
Arabella Dempsey's dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls' school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies... Reginald "Turnip"Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation- has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, "Meet me at Farley Castle," the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens'modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate twelve-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella's and Turnip's hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?
Even though "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" is on tonight, I don't think I'll take the time to watch it this time around. Otherwise, nothing is on tv for me so I may just read.
I've still got the flu or whatever but I think I've figured out the dizziness is from being dehydrated so I'm drinking a lot of water. If I'm not better after the weekend, I'll go to the clinic on Monday. What a bother.
Tomorrow at work they're having a costume contest for Halloween. I'm not dressing up but was somewhat tempted by coming as a "book worm" and digging up a sleeping bag and bringing a pile o' books. Ah well, not for me.
All right, off you go.
PK the Bookeemonster
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"The sitting room looked as familiar as the back of his hand, and immediately Lenox took a liking to the young man who inhabited it. He saw several small artifacts of the missing student’s life---a frayed piece of string about two feet long of the sort you might bind a package with, half of a pulpy fried tomato, which was too far from the breakfast table to have been dropped, a fountain pen, and lastly, a card which said on the front The September Society". . . .In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle’s problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate, he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to the September Society.Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play.What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of his devoted friends in London’s upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
"Ten Little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self, and then there were nine."
Drinks are served, and one guest chokes, turns blue and falls over dead. The tension builds, the fright of the stranded people is palpable as one by one, they are picked off, each in accordance with the nursery rhyme. As the number of victims increase, the survivors' suspicions of each other reach a frantic pitch.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I'm not getting a whole lot done today. This flu thing I've had all week is making me dizzy so I've been resting a bit today. I did get Tug walked, doing laundry, vacuumed upstairs, and worked a little on the newsletter. Just not as much as I wanted to on the newsletter. I'm so far behind.
We're going to see RED tonight. Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich... how can you go wrong? And being able to hold hands with Steve for a couple hours. :)
Tomorrow, I have to sit at my desk and work on Premeditated. The clock is ticking. Oh, and the Steelers' game is on tv as well. Tomorrow night is the Vikings versus the Packers which would be a good game but I have Paranormal State and Psychic Kids to watch. And maybe check out the "re-imagining" of Sherlock Holmes on Mystery. We'll see.
PK the Bookeemonster
Friday, October 22, 2010
Back when Mitch was a chubby thirteen-year-old living in Stuyvesant Town, Beth Breslauer, a lovely blond single mother, lived across the hall with her son, Kenny. These days, she’s a wealthy widow who owns a condominium in the Captain Chadwick House, the Dorset Historic District’s most exclusive condo complex. Kenny is engaged to marry Mitch’s yoga teacher, Kimberly Farrell. Kimberly’s parents are Beth’s neighbors. They are also social pariahs. Her father was one of the Wall Street power brokers responsible for the sub-prime home loan meltdown and her mother is praying that Kimberly’s elaborate engagement party will endear them to their lost friends. Meanwhile, Augie Donatelli, a retired police detective who manages the Captain Chadwick House, is positive he’s figured out the identity of the infamous Dorset Flasher, an elusive, ski-masked figure who has been terrorizing wealthy widows after dark. He also believes that Beth is the proud descendent of a long line of professional thieves. He demands that Des do something about it, but Des dismisses his charges as the wild rants of a lonely, bitter drunkard, which is rather unfortunate---because when Augie turns up dead, Des is included in the round-up of suspects. That leaves it up to Mitch to find out what really happened, even though it means he’ll have to find out more about the people in his life than he ever wanted to.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday the panels began. At 10, I went to “Most Likely to Succeed” with Ali Karim as moderator and Chris Adrich, Sarah Byrne, Janet Rudolph and Andi Schecter talking about their favorite books. This kind of topic can go on for hours. Names and more names. Fortunately, I was familiar with the majority and got away Scot free.
At 11:30, I attended … nothing. I don’t have anything marked and nothing looks familiar. I think we had a long lunch break.
I didn’t attend Toastmaster Eddie Muller being interviewed by Jacqueline Winspear at 1:30. Again, I think lunch was going long. I remember having a slice a pizza that day in the mall-like space next door.
At 3, I attended “The Year of the Locusts” Books to Screen. Ken Bruen wasn’t able to attend Bcon. Kelli Stanley was moderator with Derek Haas, Paul Levine, replacement Alexandra Sokoloff and Val McDermid. Let me say, I’ve always liked McDermid’s books. After hearing her Scottish accent and her wit, I’m in love. She is awesome.
At 4:30 was Maddy’s Fan Guest of Honor interview with Barfly (Barbara Fister). Word was that Maddy was nervous of all the attention but she was fabulous. The room was full of her friends so there was nothing to be nervous about. It turned into a fun give and take with the audience answering questions about our favorite book of the year or with whom we’d have dinner.
At 6:30 was the opening ceremonies and reception. The Guests of Honor were introduced. A free copy of James Rollins’ book was on all the chairs. There was a cool video montage of films featuring San Francisco as setting. The reception had food but the lines were long so Barfly found an Asian restaurant nearby called The Unicorn. That was a nifty place with the new Star Trek film projected on one of the walls. I ordered trout which came with its head attached and a sprig of parsley sticking out of its mouth. I should have taken a picture because it was funny and startling at the same time. Tasted good (no, I didn’t eat the head, yuck).
Then I think we hung around the bar/lobby/restaurant area. Maddy chided a couple of us (me) for not staying up until dawn.
The first panel was at 8am. Kim from Minnesota and I by this time had established we were on the same wake-up-early schedule and had had breakfast. I attended “Endgame” which was about endings of books. Hank Phillippi Ryan was moderator with Bryan Gruley, Kevin Guilfoyle, Sam Reaves, and John Shannon. Hank is a fabulous moderator – you can tell she really listens to the panelists and asked questions in response.
At 10, it was “A String of Puppets” for me which was about graphic novels. This was moderated by Jon Jordan with Gary Phillips, Jason Starr, Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin. My husband, Steve-the-Nonreader will read graphic novels so I was looking for some ideas. A lot of graphics are gritty and urban therefore crime writers are drifting into this genre. There was an annoying guy in the front who seemed to think he knew everything. I called him “comic book guy” from then on because he showed up in other panels I attended.
At 11:30, I was at “Death and the Favored Few” (titles by the way were from episodes of The Streets of San Francisco we were told) which was one of two historical mystery panels and I had volunteered to be monitor. This was moderated by Keith Kahla with Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts and Gary Corby. This was played as the three “Romes” versus the lone “Greece” guy. This was a nice panel, disturbed at the end by another author in the audience standing up to announce that Corby’s wasn’t the only book set in Greece because *his* was, etc., etc. Ugh.
I was going to attend the bonus session at 12:30 with Declan Hughs and John Connelly talking about the 10 crime novels you have to read before you die but it was too crowded.
Lunch back at the mall. Asian place this time. Didn’t see US Guest of Honor Laurie R. King being interviewed by Dana Stabenow at 1:30 but I probably should have.
At 3:00, the second historical mystery panel, “Bitter Wine” with Oline Cogdill as moderator and Rebecca Cantrell, Candace Robb, Caroline/Charles Todd, and Roger Hudson. I volunteered as monitor in that one too. This was standing room only. Interesting.
Kim and I skipped the 4:00 panel to begin walking to the pier for the Sunset Cruise. And the adventure begins. DJ, Kim, her daughter Erin and her roommate, Stina, Lesley, Ann, and Jane were on this cruise.
Okay, about the Sunset Cruise: first off, despite what others say, I wasn’t “lost.” **I** knew where I was. More on that later. The Cruise was around the Bay, past Alcatraz and Angel Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Did you ever see the movie “The Fog”? I always scoffed at how the fog was depicted, rolling in so fast and menacingly. Well, the fog really does that there. And it got cold quickly. I have a problem with motion sickness but I really wanted to do this cruise. The boat departed and immediately we were in heavy rocking and I darted outside to the prow for air and looking forward. It was a toss up (if you’ll forgive the phrase): get embarrassingly sick or be really cold outside. I opted for cold. So I had on my black fleece with the hood up so I think I looked like the Unabomber (he was from Montana, too). I was chatting away with some people up there when my name was announced over the speaker to check in with my friends. I guess they didn’t know where I had gone, didn’t know to be looking for the Unabomber, and were afraid I had fallen overboard. I checked in and then went back on the deck. **I wasn’t lost.** Approaching Alcatraz, the boat had music over the loudspeaker so now I’ll forever associate The Rock with Bread’s I Want To Make It With You. Somehow, not a fitting soundtrack. It was bizarre that the wind would blow so hard before the islands, calm as you passed them and then get blown away again when you got by it. By the time we got to the Golden Gate Bridge it was dark and foggy so the pictures that people took were a dark blur of red lights. Riiiight, that’s the Golden Gate Bridge. Actually, Kim has the best ones I saw. Plus taking photos on a moving boat didn’t help. It was a really neat experience and I didn’t get sick. Yay! So off the boat and the plan was to catch a cable car back to the hotel, about a mile, a mile and a half away. We waited. And waited. Then it sort of became an episode of Survivor. Two peeled off right away, so we were down to seven people. Three decided to stay at that cable stop; four took off on foot for the hotel. Halfway there, another two decided to wait for the cable stop at that point. Two continued walking. Ultimately, as I hear it, cable cars didn’t stop for anyone and everyone had to walk back to the hotel and we all had aching feet. Okay, that’s not true. Throbbing feet of complete pain from which you never recovered the rest of the weekend. But you only do this once, right?
Lee Child was holding his Reacher Creature party, open to everyone. We just wanted to sit down. But we had a good time. I actually stayed up until midnight, Maddy, and you missed it. We just couldn’t find you.
End of Day Two. Friday.
Ah, a good day for panels. First up at 8:30 were the Goddesses: Rhys Bowen, Deborah Crombie and Louise Penny. They had re-arranged the front so that they weren’t behind tables but just sitting together for a discussion. I much prefer the discussion format. It was like listening in on friends. I’ve liked Louise Penny’s books and now I’m very impressed with her in person. Just a wow.
Next at 10 was the interview of International Guest of Honor Denise Mina (pronounced with a long “I”) by Val McDermid. TWO Scottish accents and strong wits. I was in heaven! Val did very well in covering Denise’s life/history. I just wanted to stay there and listen all day.
At 11:30 I attended The Drop – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Mark Billingham was moderator with John Connolly, Denise Mina, Karin Slaughter and Martyn Waites. Talk about intelligent banter! Whoa. Zing, zing back and forth. Loved it. Mostly they talked about experiences out on the road. Interesting discussion at the end between Connolly, Slaughter and Mina debating fiction and crime fiction. That really felt like overhearing a conversation and we were all bystanders. Very well done.
I didn’t attend the interview of Guest of Honor Lee Child. Robert Crais was supposed to be the interviewer but couldn’t attend. I think I heard that Jacqueline Winspear stepped in. We went to lunch across the street at the Pier. We walked around the Farmer’s Market a bit, got split up, and wound up eating at a place called Sinbad’s where I had fish and chips. And got made fun of for having milk. I had been guzzling pop all day trying to stay awake, I needed something healthier! It was nice to sit down in a quiet place.
At 3, I attended Monkey is Back. Reed Farrel Coleman was moderator with Daniel Woodrell, Michael Wiley, Steve Hamilton and my beloved Val McDermid (told you I’d follow her anywhere). Reed started out saying that David Thompson was supposed to have been moderator and Maddy wasn’t lying when she said Val got teary. I don’t know if that affected everyone, but the panel’s pace was off. It was ok. At the Q&A part at the end, a woman stood up and asked why there weren’t more teachers in mystery novels and why with such talented writers up there, why did they have to use such bad language that she couldn’t use their books for her students who were aged 14-16. Steve Hamilton offered to kill her off in his next book which got a laugh. Reed said he had finished reading THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy and rhetorically asked why such violence was okay for that age group but not the language that they all use anyway. Interesting.
At 4:30, Kim and I attended a reading of a play written by Declan Hughes and read by him, Clair Lamb, Megan Abbot, Brett Battles, Mark Billingham, Christa Faust, Alison Gaylin, and Martin Waits. They said it was going to go a little long, like around 90 minutes to two hours. We stayed for about a half hour or so before moving along. The play incorporated the lives of Dashiel Hammett and Lillian Hellman and the story Hammett was writing, THE RED HARVEST. Enjoyable to an extent, but would probably be better performed rather than read and done by actors.
Dinner, dinner, what did we do? Oh, ate at the hotel. I just didn’t want to walk anywhere anymore. There was a short live auction that I didn’t attend and then a disco dance thing (Bookeemonsters don’t dance). So I think we just hung around the bar and chatted. I didn’t make it to midnight. I think it was 11.
End of day three.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years.With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Middle-aged journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who publishes the magazine Millennium in Stockholm, has lost a libel case involving damaging allegations about billionaire Swedish industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström, and is sentenced to three months in prison. Facing jail time and professional disgrace, Blomkvist steps down from his position on the magazine's board of directors, despite strong objections from Erika Berger, Blomkvist's longtime friend, occasional lover, and business partner. At the same time, he is offered an unlikely freelance assignment by Henrik Vanger, the elderly former CEO of Vanger Enterprises. Blomkvist accepts the assignment — unaware that Vanger commissioned a comprehensive investigation into Blomkvist's personal and professional history, carried out by gifted private investigator Lisbeth Salander.
Blomkvist visits Vanger at his estate on the tiny island of Hedeby, several hours from Stockholm. The old man draws Blomkvist in by promising not only financial reward for the assignment, but also solid evidence that Wennerström is truly the scoundrel Blomkvist suspects him to be. On this basis, Blomkvist agrees to spend a year writing the Vanger family history as a cover for the real assignment: solving the "cold case" of the disappearance of Vanger's great-niece Harriet some 40 years earlier. Vanger admits he is obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to Harriet, and expresses his suspicion that Harriet was murdered by a member of the vast Vanger family, many of whom were present in Hedeby on the day of her disappearance. Each year on his birthday Harriet gave Henrik a present of pressed flowers. On his birthday every year since Harriet's murder, Vanger explains, the murderer torments him with a present of pressed flowers.
Blomkvist uproots himself from his life in Stockholm, moving to Hedeby in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record, and begins the process of analysing the more than 40 years worth of information Henrik Vanger has obsessively compiled around the circumstances of the day Harriet disappeared. Hedeby is home to several generations of Vangers, all part owners in Vanger Enterprises. Under the pretext of researching the family history, Blomkvist becomes acquainted with the members of the extended Vanger family, most of whom resent his presence, worried that he seeks to take advantage of the obsession of a sick old man.
Blomkvist fulfills his contractual obligations by immersing himself in the case. After discovering that Salander has hacked into his computer, he persuades her to assist him with research.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Fools' Guild Mysteries series:
- THIRTEENTH NIGHT (1999). Set a decade after the events of Twelfth Night, Feste returns to investigate the murder of the Duke of Orsino.
- JESTER LEAPS IN (2000). Theophilos (aka Feste), along with his new apprentice Viola, has been sent by the Fool's Guild to investigate the disappearance of some agents in Constantinople.
- A DEATH IN THE VENETIAN QUARTER (2002). Theophilos and Viola (now a fool, and going under the name Claudia) are investigating the death of Bastiani, a silk merchant and informant.
- THE WIDOW OF JERUSALEM (2003) is set in Tyre during the Third Crusade, and is set as a story being told in 1204 of events that took place prior to the events recounted in the first three books. Theophilos is trying to broker peace between the various participants. It is based on actual events involving Isabella of Jerusalem and her husband Conrad of Montferrat.
- AN ANTIC DISPOSITION (2004) is based on Hamlet, but more than that, it is a window into Theo's background.
- THE LARK'S LAMENT (2007), in which Theophilos is sent to persuade Abbot Folquet, a former troubadour turned monk, to help the Fools' Guild. Whilst Theo is there, a monk is killed and a threatening message left on the monastery walls.
- THE MONEYLENDER OF TOULOUSE (2008). Theophilos is sent to Toulouse to convince the current Bishop to retire, to be replaced by one more amenable to the Fool's Guild (Abbot Folquet, seen in the previous book). A moneylender who had argued with the Bishop is found dead.
- THE PARISIAN PRODIGAL (2010) a swashbuckling stranger shows up at Count Raimon VI's chateau in May 1205 claiming to be the count's hitherto unknown brother, Toulouse's ruler taps one of his court's best minds to investigate—Theophilos the fool.
This is one of my favorite historical mystery series. I think the concept is brilliant: court jesters are always present but invisible in the power centers of kings and rulers. The Jester's Guild is a medieval CIA -- keeping a hand in to made sure things go politically advantageously. Gordon's writing and characters are funny but astute.
If you're going to read this series, do start with the first one; it will make more sense and the payoff in AN ANTIC DISPOSITION is much sweeter read in order. That book in particular is rather expensive to get even used.
I've got to keep truckin' on the newsletter but also to walk Tug, do laundry, etc.
Last night we watched most of The Blind Side, the movie that Sandra Bullock won her Academy Award for. It was actually a very good story. Tonight on tv, I'm loaded up: the series finale of Ice Road Trucker, Rubicon, and PBS Mystery as Wallender II with Kenneth Branagh. I probably won't be able to watch them all.
PK the Bookeemonster
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I've been plugging away at the Anna Dean. I really need to finish it so I can move on to other things. Uff da.