Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chunkster Challenge Wrap-Up

For the Chunkster Challenge, participants could choose to read any number of chunksters from any genre. A chunkster was defined as 400 pages or longer. I didn't do so well with this one. Of my original picks, I only read one:
Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee.
I substituted two of the others out for two I did read:
Olympos by Dan Simmons
Illium by Dan Simmons
And I just ran out of steam and never got through a fourth one.

I don't feel all that bad though, because I read 30 books that were 400+ between January and June. So, somehow I think I still fulfilled the challenge!

The best book: Lee's biography of Virginia Woolf. I felt like I lived at Bloomsbury!
What book could I have done without? Illium by Dan Simmons
Any new authors? Both :)
Books I did not finish: Che Guevara, a biography of Jon Lee Anderson. I'm very interested in the subject, and in Anderson's writing style, but at that point I'd been reading so much non-fic for school I just needed a break.
What did I learn from this challenge? To put Hermione Lee on the top of my kickass biographers list! Also, that it's ok to fail. :)

(Note: thanks to Nyssaneala for the idea to have questions!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Out of the Doldrums!

I want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and advice. :) Indeed, I think it took a combination of things to snap me out of my reading slump! First, I sat down with The Economist and truly read it. Usually, I keep on top of the news (at college, I studied international relations), but lately I had let all the books I was reading take precedence. Then, I took a very brief walk through the neighbourhood (usually, I try to take at least a half hour walk, but the last few days there'd been thunderstorms) to the mailbox, where more bookmooches awaited me. I swear, I'm feeling positively gluttonous lately about my book acquiring! After happily admiring the new pile (pics to come tomorrow), I decided to crack open French Lessons: a Memoir by Alice Kaplan. It's a book I've been wanting to read for awhile now, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I'm about half way through it-I'm spreading it out in order to savour it. Then, rejuvenated, I picked up Some Danger Involved and finished that today!

So, I'm definitely feeling cheerier about reading. :) Don't forget to check out my review of Death at Bishop's Keep below this; it was a Summer Mystery Challenge read. And stay tuned for an imminent review of The Secret Life of Bees. I loved the book, and I can't wait to review it and try to figure out why I loved it! Until then, I'll be diving back into Dangerous Liaisons...I feel I'm horribly behind on my classics list!

Death at Bishop's Keep (thoughts)

I read Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige a couple of weeks ago for the Summer Mystery Challenge. I chose it because I enjoy historical detective novels, especially of the cozy type. And, I especially like ones with a feisty heroine! My view of the book is summed up with Anne Perry's quote on the back: "I read it with enjoyment." It wasn't a stunning piece of literature; it didn't bring about any paradigm shifts; but it was fun.

Robin Paige is, according to the back cover, the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife team who lives in Texas hill country. Now, Texas hill country is very close to my heart, but I thought it odd that a couple of Texans were setting their books in Victorian England. The blurb on the back gave a website (, so I decided to check up on their bios to see if they've lived in England. That would be a no. The wife has lived in California, Texas, and Louisiana; the husband New York and Texas (although at least he's done some travelling). I feel that this lack of first-hand experience with England really shows through in their writing. When I wasn't living in Texas as a kid, I was in England. Part of what I like about British mysteries (especially Agatha Christie) is their ability to remind me of bits of my past. This book simply didn't ring true: both the setting and the British characters were just off.

Now that I've pinpointed what was wrong with the book, I'll point out that I still enjoyed it. The plot was fast-paced and attention-getting. The main character, Kathryn Ardleigh, is barely surviving as an author of penny dreadfuls in New York City. So, when she gets an offer to be a secretary/companion to her long-lost aunt in England, she's on the next boat over the Atlantic. Upon arriving, she makes friends with the local gentry and realises that her aunt's situation is more complex than it appears. It falls upon her to figure out who is responsible for a rash of murders. Meanwhile, she forms allies with everyone from the cook to Sir Charles.

The writing is pretty much what you'd expect from someone who brags they've written 90 books in the last 20 years. That works out to more than four novels a year, which doesn't leave much room for impressive writing. None of the characters felt like they had any depth; instead, they all pretty much lived out their stereotypes. I doubt I'll be reading more of this series; I enjoy mystery novels, but I prefer the ones that are really well written. There are very few authors who can stand up to Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayer, even Ngaio Marsh. Unfortunately, this husband and wife team doesn't make the bill. I'd only recommend this series to people who have low expectations from murder mysteries; if you're used to contemporary authors like Laurie King and Anne Perry, whose historical novels have that ring of authenticity, you'll be disappointed in Paige.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I've been meaning to get some reviews up and just can't seem to find the motivation. So, I thought that I'd just put it out there: I want to have reviewed The Bishop's Keep, The Secret History, and the Secret Life of Bees by Sunday. They're all challenge reads, and I feel like they deserve some air time. :)

In the meantime, I think I'm tiring of challenges. They used to be a fun way to direct my reading, but right now with all of my new bookmooch acquisitions, I don't like feeling so hemmed in! Oh well-it's my own fault. :D And really, I do enjoy them. I think it's more that none of my reads are really grabbing me. An Instance of the Fingerpost, while I'm sure it's quite historically correct, has the most repulsive narrators ever. The first one calmly talked about vivisection and killing animals. The second one raped a girl. I can only imagine what the third and fourth are going to do to piss me off. It makes it rather difficult to read; I'm about a third of the way through it, but it's an effort to pick it up.

I'm in that mode where I pick up a book, read for a couple hours, and then don't want to go back to it. Most of the books I'm reading are good, but they're just not grabbing me. *sigh* I don't know what to do to get out of the reading doldrums either. Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Odds and Ends

I wrapped up the Once Upon a Time Challenge with a rereading of "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream." It's just as good as I remembered it! I won't bother with a review; however, if you haven't read, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Lately, my reading has been quite erratic. It feels like a start a new book, get a few chapters into it, and then move on to another one. I've given up attempting to complete Che Guevara for my Chunkster Challenge. It feels like assigned reading, and I'm not in college anymore. :) So, I'll just accept having read three books; I know that I've read many books over 400 pages since January, so I don't really feel that bad. Plus, reading Lee's Virginia Woolf was such an accomplishment, I think I've gotten quite a bit out of the challenge.

I'm not sure if I'll get through all of the classics before the Summer Reading Challenge ends (I didn't realise it ended August 1), but I intend to keep reading them regardless. I'm about half way through Dangerous Liasons, and it's still a lot of fun. I also just bought a new journal, since I've decided to take it up again. When I journal, I love making kind of scrap book pages: I cut pictures out of magazines, and then I find favorite poems or quotes and arrange a page with it. My new journal is pretty small (I'd guess 8" x 5"), so it's sometimes difficult to fit the longer poems, but I've been enjoying an outlet for my creativity. I have no drawing ability, so I take solace in collages! :)

Of course I have to mention my latest book mooch arrivals. I have nine books to send out on Monday, but it's worth it for book stacks like this (there're 11 books in it-one is hiding between The Scarlet Pimpernel and French Lessons)!

Edited to add: here's a fun meme I stole from Bookie. Use the first letter of your first name to answer the following.

Famous singer/band----um, how about Mr. Elvis Presley?
4 Letter Word ----- I don't think there are any swear words, but regular four letter words...exit
Street Name -----
Color ------ Eggshell
Gifts/Presents ----- earrings
Vehicle ------ Eclipse
Things in a souvenir shop ---- enamelled boxes (I think I spelled that wrong)
Boy name ----- Erik
Girl name ----- Elizabeth
Movie Title ----- Emma (great movie!)
Drink ------- Eggnog (gross)
Occupation ------- English teacher
Flower ----- English rose
Celebrity ------ Ewan McGregor
Magazine ---- E! Weekly (I think that's what it's called)
U.S. city ------ Eugene, OR
Pro sports team ---- the Eagles
Fruit/vegetable ----- Eggplant
Reason late for work ----- Excuses, excuses ;)
Things you shout ----- Eureka!
Cartoon character ---- Elmer Fudd

Friday, June 22, 2007

Once Upon A Time Challenge Wrap-Up

The Once Upon a Time Challenge, developed at Stainless Steel Droppings, allowed participants to choose a combination of four books from the four different genres of fantasy. They could also choose to finish the challenge with "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream." I completed my five selections for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, with no substitutions...
Widdershins by Charles de Lint
The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clark
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstick (didn't review, because I didn't enjoy it)
"A Mid-Summer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare (didn't review, because it's Shakespeare)

The best book: Widdershins by Charles de Lint (although I feel blasphemous not putting Gaiman here).
What book could I have done without? Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstick.
Any new authors? de Lint and Holdstick
Books I did not finish: none! I considered abandoning the Holdstick.
What did I learn from this challenge? That de Lint is a great author! Also, I realised how many other people really love fantasy, through the challenge community. It reminded me of how important the genre was to me in high school. :)

(Note: thanks to Nyssaneala for the idea to have questions!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cane River (thoughts)

I chose Cane River, by Lalita Tademy, as the first book for my Southern Reading Challenge. I wanted to start off with an exploration of slavery; when I was younger, I was rather enchanted with Gone With the Wind. Now, after four years at a very liberal college, I have a guilt complex about that (of course, not so strong that I've given up my huge poster and four-dvd special edition). So, I thought that by taking an unflinching look at slavery, and the prejudice in the South, it would help me remember not to romanticise the region.

As you may or may not know, Tademy was a business executive who quit her job in order to research her ancestors. It turns out she's descended from slaves who lived in the Creole region of Louisiana, around Cane River. The novel is based in historical fact, and follows the lives of three generations (although an older fourth is always present) of women: the youngest generation is Tademy's great-grandmother, Emily. The book is divided into three parts, and three points of view: Suzette, Philomene (her daughter), and Emily (her daughter). Tademy took everything she could find out about these women (as well as Suzette's mother Elisabeth) and then imagined the rest. At times, she almost flirts with magical realism: Philomene has visions that come to fruition. It does feel somewhat Latin American in its epic scope and focus on one family through the generation.

However, Tademy does not have the literary skill to pull off magical realism. In fact, her writing is quite straight-forward; even when she's describing the landscape, or weather, she never waxes lyrical. This was the disappointing aspect of the book: Tademy didn't create Cane River in my mind's eye. Part of the reason I chose this book was its setting: I've always been fascinated by Lousiana. I didn't really get the descriptions I expected.

Nevertheless, this was the biggest drawback in a very good book. My favourite part is how well Tademy incorporates the Creole culture into the book. She shows Suzette practicing her French and taking First Communion; in fact, at a party scene, some English-speaking guests are osctracised since no one else can talk with them. Before I read this book, I had never pictured slaves speaking French; it was quite a revelation.

The other part that opened up my eyes was how "white" these African American women were. Throughout the book, Tademy includes real pictures (which is a huge plus), and by Emily and her children, you would never think they were African American. This progressive belaching of the family line is actually a major aspect of the book; its usually accomplished with either out-right rape, or at least coercion on the part of the French white men. These were difficult passages to read, but they were presented quite straight forwardly.

In fact, I think Tademy's greatest strength lies in her ability to present the difficulty and oppression of being a slave, or recently-freed African American, without becoming political or reactionary. Her straight-forward writing style is a good thing for passages like this. And she can write: it's just that she can't write like Rushdie or Marquez. After all, who can?

I think anyone who enjoys family narratives, and who is interested the French Creole community, or African Americans would really enjoy this book. It shows enough research to be grounded, and Tademy's invented narrative rings true. A very good book, which was obviously written with a lot of love and respect.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Good Book Day

I sent out my first batch of book mooches; seventeen books in all, including a really big hardcover-thank God for media mail! And then, upon arriving home, what was waiting in the mailbox for me? My very first mooched book. :)

Of course, the post office is right next to the library. So, I ducked in "just to grab some audio books." Yeah, right.

If you click on the picture, it should be big enough to see the various books I got. I doubt that I'll read them all, because some of them I wasn't sure if they'll actually be good. I have two medieval mysteries: Mistress of the Art of Death and The Traitor's Tale, as well as the historical The Virgin's Lover (Gregory seems to be popping up everywhere and I've never read her). Wizards is a collection of short stories I got because Neil Gaiman has one in there. I've already looked through Hidden Kitchens: I thought that it would be a bookbook w/ some stories, but in fact it's a lot of stories about cooking and barely any recipes. Rather disappointing. On the other hand, I've started A Sense of the World, about the most adventerous eighteenth century explorer who happened to be blind, and it's very intriguing so far. Dancing in the Streets seems like another interesting non-fic: it's supposed to be a history of joy and ecstasy. Oh, and on my way out I saw Heart-Shaped Box, which I've heard good things about!

The best part was when I was checking out-the librarian was a fellow book lover, and gave me the heads up about a great used bookstore downtown. I can hardly wait for an excuse to go that way!

Arriving home, I began Les liaisons dangereuses while enjoying the sun. I'm finding it great fun so far! As far as blogish things go, expect a review of Cane River, my first Southern Challenge choice, tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (thoughts)

I finished Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall last night. I read over 200 hundred pages compulsively, through my tiredness. I guess I was just on a roll.

Bronte arranged the book in a pretty complicated fashion. At first, the story is told through letters from Gilbert Markham to his friend (and brother-in-law) about events that occurred twenty years ago, in 1827. Markham is a "gentleman farmer" (his words) in a somewhat remote English county. His small, comfortable world is shaken up by the sudden arrival of a mysterious widow, Helen, and her young son, who live as tenants at (you guessed it) Wildfell Hall. Markham becomes more and more interested in the lady, but she is quite reclusive and reticient. Without giving away too much, things come to a head, and the lady gives Markham her diary. In my book, the diary begins on page 120 and ends on 365 (with the book ending about one hundred pages later).

Therefore, a little over half of the book is told from a pious woman's point of view, in diary format, while the other half is told from a middle-aged man recalling his younger, histronic self in letter format. You can see how this can become complicated.

It works, however. I enjoyed the letter half of the book for the subtle, but definitely present, sense of humour. You get the idea that Markham is quite amused at the strong passions and black-and-white world view of his younger self, and through this Bronte allows the reader to be quite amused as well. I feel like Anne's writing is more tongue-in-cheek than either of her sisters, at least for this part of the book.

The diary portion is quite serious, however; it's being written as events happen, and Helen does not have the benefit of hindsight to lighten her strong emotions. And yet, despite its lack of humour, this portion is quite impressive. The diary spans a period of six years, and Helen goes from being an innocent and fun-loving young woman to an adoring newly-wed to a wife who loves her husband despite his daults to an utterly estranged and desperate runaway. Bronte handles the transformation magnificently; slowly, bitterness begins to replace love and resignation to replace hope. And yet, through it all, Helen's core character remains the same: her piety and her strong sense of honour never leave her. To me, this is a pretty realistic portrayal of how people mature: while much about them migh change, there's always that kernel of who they are that simply cannot.

But what, readers may ask, is the cause of Helen's sad deterioration? Well, simply that her husband (Arthur Huntingdon) is a gentleman scoundrel. He drinks too much, gambles too much, and makes love to other women. While its bad enough that he does this in London, he soon decides to invite his friends to the country estate where Helen lives, thereby bringing all the debauchery under her nose. Bronte doesn't pull her punches, either. She addresses adultery, wife abuse, and enough disfunction to satisfy any tv drama. It's painful, but powerful. In fact, she's at her strongest when portraying the husband and his friends as complete blackguards. In this scene, one of the friends (Hattersley) is drunk, and trying to force another friend (Lowborough) who has become a teetotaler to drink.

"By heaven and earth, you shall resemble us all!" cried Hattersley, starting up and rudely seizing him by the arm. "Hallo, Huntingdon!" he shouted;"I've got him! Come, man, and help me! And d--n me, if I don't make him drunk before I let him go! He shall make up for all past delinquencies as sure as I'm a living soul!"
There followed a disgraceful contest: Lord Lowborough, in desperate earnest, and pale with anger, silently struggling to release himself from the powerful madman that was striving to drag him from the room. I attempted to urge Arthur to interfere in behalf of his outraged guest, but he could do nothing but laugh.
"Huntingdon, you fool, come and help me, can't you!" cried Hattersley, himself somewhat weakened by his excesses.
"I'm wishing you God-speed, Hattersley," cried Arthur, "and aiding you with my prayers: I can't do anything else if my life depended on it! I'm quite used up. Oh-oh!"-and leaning back in his seat, he clapped his hands on his sides and groaned aloud.
"Annabella [his wife], give me`a candle!" said Lowborough, whose antagonist had now got him round the waist and was endeavoring to root him from the doorpost, to which he madly clung with all the energy of desperation.
"I shall take no part in your rude sports!" replied the lady coldly back. "I wonder you can expect it."
But I [Helen] snatched up the candle and brought it to him. He took it and held the clame to Hattersley's hands, till, roaring like a wild beast, the latter unclasped them and let him go." (254)

That was one of the most sensational passages in the book, but I think Bronte does a great job and showing the various kinds of drunks. Furthermore, she doesn't fall into the trap of making all of the bad guys bad and the good guys good. Indeed, several of the characters reform, or reveal themselves to be bad despite their good exteriors. While the book definitely has a moral, it isn't really beaten into your head like a public service accouncement. Instead, it feels like Bronte wanted to explore how men and women can become wicked, and how they can turn that wickedness around. While it was written in the mid-nineteenth century, it still feels pretty modern. Sure, at some points the characters become a little silly (esp. Markham), but that happens in real life as well. :)

So, I would recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to anyone looking for a timeless classic. Bronte's characters ring true, and the plotline is Gothic enough to satisfy anyone. I hadn't read Anne Bronte before this, and now she's become my favourite of the three sisters! In fact, I plan to track down a copy of Agnes Grey after I'm through with my summer challenges!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Internet Goodies

I've finally 'discovered' Book Mooch and Library Thing. I'd known about them for sometime, but I figured that they weren't for me. Boy was I wrong.

I'm using Library Thing since I have to rearrange my bookshelves anyway. Coming home from college, I have about 50 more books to fit in, and I want to do it in an orderly manner. So far, I've gotten through all of my non-fiction (including having to hand-enter my Russian books...a little frustrating) and my mysteries. So, I'm maybe a third of the way through and already have about 150 books in the catalog. Honestly, I knew I had a lot of books, but I'm still surprised. :)

As far as Book Mooch...I can sense the danger already. I signed up for it last night, and I already have 13 books to send out and 11 that I'm mooching. So much for clearing the shelves. ;) I can't wait to take a pic of the stack of mooched books, though! So far, I've requested Cousin Bette (for my summer reading challenge), An Instance of the Fingerpost (for the mystery challenge), Bel Canto (I've been wanting to read this forever), The Little Country (another de Lint novel), The Pope's Rhinoceros (read about on Eve's Alexandria), The Witching Hour (because everyone needs trashy summer reading sometimes), and some non-fic to jumpstart my interest in the area: Death at the Priory, French Lessons: A Memoir, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. Anyway, if you're on book mooch as well, feel free to check out my inventory. :) There's a lot of philosophy in there, but some fiction as well!

Finally, I'm mooching a three-in-one book of Mary Roberts Rinehart. I realised that I have read Kate Atkinson before (I read Behind the Scenes at the Museum years ago), so I'm substituting Rinehart's The Door in the Summer Mystery Challenge.

I'm going to try to reread Turn of the Screw before I review it. I don't think I can give it a fair review right now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Challenge Diaries

I just realized that I need to get a move-on on two of my older challenges! The Chunkster Challenge ends on the 30th, and I had yet to begin my last book. However, I've resolved to read at least two chapters a day (starting three days ago), which will allow me to finish in time. It's a biography, in fact "the definitive biography," of Che Guevara. It's interesting, and after my Latin American politics class last fall I feel that I have more of a context for it, but it's just not what I'm in the mood for right now. Oh well. Two chapters a day is manageable. I thought about giving up, but I just couldn't bring myself to do so.

In brighter news, I also need to get a move on in reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to top off the Once Upon a Time Challenge. I really enjoyed that one, and it'll be good to finish it. I think I'm going to read the play while watching my DVD-it makes the experience much more fun!

I'm behind on reviews for my current challenges, so I'll try to get a review of The Turn of the Screw up later tonight. I'm really enjoying Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but since I was sun-bathing today I went for the light The Secret History. I've raced through the first four hundred pages of it, but I'm saving the rest for tomorrow. That'll put me half way done with the Summer Mystery Challenge.

I need to start reading more non-fic again, however. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm open to anything other than self-help books and anything really, really depressing (i.e.-memoirs about death, abuse, etc.). I know that there are people out there who prefer non-fic to fiction...they need to come out of the woodwork and give me some ideas!

Oh, and as a housekeeping question, does anyone know how to make the cute pics for all my challenges links in the new blogger? I'm comfortable with html, but the new blogger doesn't like me playing with it. :(

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

From Doon With Death (thoughts)

Ruth Rendell's From Doon w/ Death was one of my Summer Mystery Challenge picks. In How Novels Work, Mullan used another of Rendell's books (Adam and Eve and Pinch Me) to explore some of his points. She seemed like such a good writer, that when I decided to do the challenge, I knew I wanted to read some of her. I picked From Doon w/ Death because it was the first in the Inspector Wexford series.

So, during my huge B&N splurge last week, I picked it up. I must admit that the cover was disappointing. It's a mass market paperback (although a trade one is forthcoming), and it has this ugly magenta lipstick on the cover, Then, the author's name is written in a lurid lime green. To top it off, beneath the title it says "She was a prim and proper wife-until her death revealed a dark secret..." Could it get any trashier looking? In fact, I considered changing my selection.

Fortunately, I decided not to judge it by its cover. ;) I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. So, without giving away too much of the plot, a housewife disappears and is found dead in the woods. Inspector Wexford must figure out why a woman who barely ever went out ended up murdered. To do so, he must delve into her past and find out old secrets in the small town.

Rendell is most powerful when she's describing emotions. The story deals a lot w/ upper and lower-middle class interactions. Rendell captures perfectly the ability of the upper class to snub people, and the ability of non-upper class people to become super-sensitive. She's good at evoking powerful emotions with images. My favourite examples of this: the first one is when the inspector visits the husband of the victim at home (when she's still missing)
"The tea-cups they had used the night before had just been washed and were draining on a home-made rack of wooden dowel rods. Burden marvelled at the ingrained habit of respectability that made this man, at a crisis in his life, spruce himself and put his house in order." (15)
The second describes the husband on his way to the funeral
"Parsons was dressed in a dark suit. His black tie, not new and worn perhaps on previous mourning occasions, showed the shiny marks of a too-hot, inexpertly handled iron." (174)
I just love how spot-on that is: you can picture the poor husband, ironing his suit for his wife's funeral, staring blankly into space, letting the iron sit too long on the tie. It's exquisite.

Of course, in a mystery, plotting is everything. Rendell does a pretty good job; I guessed the twist and the killer about half way through, which is pretty standard for me on mystery novels. It's a good twist, though, and there are quite a few red herrings. Plus, it's always satisfying to watch the story spin out once you know you're right. ;)

I suppose Rendell's weakness is Inspector Wexford. The label on the book, "an Inspector Wexford mystery," implies that Wexford is the central character. However, he's barely in the novel; he's the boss of Inspector Burden (gotta love that surname). And, when he is in the novel, he's lugubrious. He kind of reminds me of Adam, the original D.A. on Law and Order. Intelligent, but tired of life, and seemingly never shocked by how low people steep. However, he's not in the book enough for me to really care about him. The mystery series I truly love-Christie's Miss Marple, Sayers' Lord Whimsy, King's Mary Russell-I consider the detective a personal friend. I read the books almost as a substitute for a tete-a-tete with them. After finishing From Doon w/ Death, I'm not interested in meeting Inspector Wexford for tea; if anything, I feel he'd have a stiff Scotch.

All in all, I might read more of her books later, but I don't feel a burning desire to go out and buy the rest of the series. Her descriptions are second-to-none; if only her ability to fashion sympathetic, intelligent detectives equalled it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


As the last post might have shown, I was feeling quite stressed. So, I did the only logical thing to do: pretended that some of my graduation money was a Barnes and Noble gift card, and went out and bought tons of books. :) In fact, twelve books, from my list of challenge reads. But, pictures speak better than words!

Since then, I've gotten back into the groove of reading. I've read one each for the Southern and Summer challenges and two for the Mystery one. Look for reviews up soon! In the meantime, I hope that everyone's summer is off to a great start. I know that mine is!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Quick Check In

I haven't been able to post much....funny how ten relatives in town, graduating from college, moving across the country, and living with your 16 month-old niece will have that effect. :)

I've barely been able to read either, though I have a couple more books to add to the "read in 2007" list. For now, however, I'm just writing to ask everyone to have patience. I have so many comments to try to catch up on! And so many blog entries! However, over the next week I'll try to work my way back into the swing of things. Until then, happy reading!