SIBR: The Last Six Weeks of Reading

It’s been six weeks since I wrote my previous book post.  I’ve really been tearing through the titles since then.  I’ve read so many, in fact, that my Books to Read Shelf is completely empty for the first time in over five years.  I clearly need to get to a bookstore.  I also need to write a post so that the backlog of titles doesn’t get too overwhelming.  Here we go:

The Unmapped Sea–Maryrose Wood
This is the fifth book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.  I wish it was the last.  The new illustrator is far inferior to the original one, the Incorrigibles are no longer incorrigible, and the numerous mysteries surrounding the children and their governess are getting solved at a snail’s pace.  Just finish the dang thing, Maryrose…and with a lot more Nutsawoo.  The squirrel is your best character.

Kickback–Ace Atkins
This is the author’s fourth book in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series.  Ace Atkins continues to handle the series better than Mr. Parker did in the years immediately prior to his death.  This fine addition to the collection has Spenser investigating a small town judge with a reputation for sending kids to a private island jail for the slightest offenses.  Make a fake Twitter account for your principal?  Go to jail!  This kind of dishonorable behavior riles Spenser, Hawk, Susan, Rita, and me.  I had trouble putting this one down as I really wanted to get to the part where Spenser busted up the crooked judge and his backers.

The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories–George Pelecanos
George Pelecanos was once one of my favorite authors.  For reasons I can’t recall, I stopped reading his crime novels around 2004.  Well, I was in Port Townsend a few months ago and saw this collection of stories for sale at a sad little bookstore and bought it to give the shop some business.  As far as pity purchases go, this was a good one.  There wasn’t a single dud in the collection and George Pelecanos killed off all the characters who used the phrase “just sayin”.  That’s the way it should be.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz–L. Frank Baum
I bought this book as a souvenir at a charming shop in San Francisco called The Booksmith.  I liked the feel of the green leatherette cover and the look of the flying monkey on the spine.  The story itself was good, but I must admit to being shocked at how many creatures the Tin Woodman killed with his ax.  There must’ve been at least forty.  They definitely left that out of the movie adaptation.

Missing Person–Patrick Modiano
This one is about an amnesiac wandering around postwar Paris trying to discover his real name and piece together his true identity.  Despite working at a detective agency, he’s not a very good investigator.  He fails to look in the most obvious places and repeatedly sabotages his own investigation.  He instead latches on to the most unlikely “clues” and imagines himself as characters in the stories he’s told.  I read this book on my front porch on two unseasonably cool mornings.  I honestly don’t remember how it ended.  I think I may have rushed through it to get to the next book.

Finders Keepers–Stephen King
This is a sequel of sorts to last year’s Mr. Mercedes.  This one has an obsessed fan stealing a reclusive author’s unpublished works.  The criminal buries the manuscripts in a trunk, but decades go by before he can return and dig them up.  A few of the characters from Mr. Mercedes show up once the action makes it to the present day, but you don’t need to have read that book to understand what’s going on in Finders Keepers.  If you read and enjoyed Mr. Mercedes, though, you should definitely read this one.

The Jewels of Paradise–Donna Leon
This is the author’s first detective story that doesn’t feature Commissario Guido Brunetti.  Had Brunetti been around, he probably would’ve suggested that Caterina Pellegrini take everything out of the trunk and see if there were any jewels in there instead of hanging out at the library all day doing research.  This was a pretty darn boring book, but I’m happy to admit that it ended well.

The Judges of the Secret Court–David Stacton
Did you know that four people were executed in connection with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?  I’m not even talking about John Wilkes Booth (who died in a shootout); I’m talking about his supposed conspirators.  I had no idea.  David Stacton’s novel about Lincoln’s assassination and the political and legal aftermath was a revelation to me that managed to fill in some embarrassing gaps in my education.  It also happened to be a very exciting, well-written book that I managed to zip through in about two days.  I’d highly recommend this one to fans of historical fiction or to people interested in the Civil War.

Can’t and Won’t: Stories–Lydia Davis
This is the author’s first book of new short stories since The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis came out in 2009.  The Collected Stories was one of my favorite books that year, and Can’t and Won’t is just as fun and originalMy favorite stories were “The Language of the Telephone Company”, “I’m Pretty Comfortable, But I Could Be a Little More Comfortable”, and the series of complaint letter stories.  I love a good complaint letter.

The Hollow Land–Jane Gardam
I bought this one just because I liked the cover art.  The book is a collection of related stories (or maybe it’s a novel divided up into story-like chapters) about two families in rural England and their relationship over the course of a few decades.  The first family lives in the countryside year-round while the second family is from London and rents a nearby house for the holidays.  I liked this one enough that I’m going to seriously consider reading Jane Gardam’s more famous Old Filth trilogy.

ten titles from may and june

(ten titles from may and june)

New York Drawings–Adrian Tomine
Scenes From an Impending Marriage–Adrian Tomine
I like Adrian Tomine’s drawing far more than I like his writing, so his collection of artwork from The New Yorker was far more interesting to me than his little book of marriage-related comics.  I got both of these from the library…along with this last one.

George Sprott: (1894-1975)–Seth
I liked Seth’s It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, but this book about the life of an arctic explorer/TV host never really got off the ground for me.  I think I’d get more out of it if I read it a second time, but that’s probably not going to happen as I already returned it to the library.  I had to take it inside as the book was far too wide to fit in the book drop.

recent library books

(comics from the library)

I’m currently reading three books: Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, a gigantic Drawn & Quarterly anthology, and Ron McLarty’s The Memory of Running.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Sloan @ Fountain Square (6/26/15)

What do I do when a band I’ve liked since the 90s comes to my town to play a free concert ten minutes from my house on a Friday night when I’ve got absolutely nothing else going on?

I pray for rain.

I’m not kidding.  The local weather prophets were raising a hubbub about severe thunderstorms all Friday night, and I found myself hoping they’d be right so I wouldn’t have to leave the house and accidentally have fun.  I didn’t want to drive downtown.  I didn’t want to look around for a parking space.  I didn’t want to be anywhere near people.  I didn’t want to hear some fuckwit use the word “whatever” three different times while introducing one of my favorite bands.  I didn’t want to get wet.  I didn’t want to do anything.  All I wanted to do was sit in my front room where it’s nice and dry.

But if I paid attention to everything I tell myself I want, then I’d probably never do anything at all and eventually turn into a poor version of Howard Hughes sitting around sorting peas.  So I set an alarm for 9:20 p.m.  I decided if it was raining when the alarm went off, then I’d stay at home.  If the weather still looked good, then I’d go see the all-time greatest band from Canada down on Fountain Square for free…driving, parking, bad announcers be damned.

9:20.  No rain.  I headed off.

I didn’t have any problems with the drive or finding a parking space.  I got down to Fountain Square with plenty of time to spare before the 10:00 show.  I took a picture of the WKRP fountain all lit up with red lights.  It was probably for the Cincinnati Reds, but it made me think of that scene in The Shining where the wave of blood comes out of the elevator.

fountain square

(blood bath)

I looked at the merch table and bought a copy of The Double Cross, a Sloan CD I somehow overlooked when it came out a few years back.  It’s the yellow one in this picture.

sloan merch table

(No, I didn’t buy the deck of Sloan playing cards.)

Sloan came out a couple minutes later and started playing “If It Feels Good Do It”.  That’s when something unexpected happened.  All my grumbling and whining and anti-social tendencies disappeared and I felt the urge to do a celebratory rock ‘n’ roll kick and stick my hands in the air and maybe wave them around a little bit.  I didn’t do either of those things, but I did tap my toes.

It turns out that I really like Sloan.  They’ve been doing it a long time and still do it well.  Sometimes people call it power pop, but I consider Sloan a rock band with far more talent than most of the groups in that genre.  Wonderboy, anyone?  All four members write and sing their own songs.  I noticed they were taking turns singing in concert.  It went Patrick, Jay, Chris, Patrick, Jay, Chris.  What about Andrew?  Well, he only took one turn.  It was some turn, though.  He left his drum kit and picked up a guitar about halfway through the show and proceeded to sing “Forty-Eight Portraits”, his entire 18-minute-long suite from last year’s Commonwealth album (that had each of the band members contributing one side of a double LP).  It sort of killed the flow of the show, but I knew the song and was happy to hear it live.

sloan on stage

(Patrick, Andrew, Chris, Jay)

As soon as Andrew’s turn ended, the members of Sloan went back to their usual instruments and began cramming in as many songs as they could before the 11:00 curfew.  They got in four more.  Highlights from this portion of the show included “Losing California” and the last song of the night, “Money City Maniacs”.  I’m writing this post a little over twelve hours after the show ended and I’ve still got that perplexing “Money City Maniacs” chorus stuck in my head.  It was the last thing going through my brain when I went to sleep last night and the first thing I thought this morning.

And the joke is when he awoke his…

As always, here’s the setlist:

Setlist: If It Feels Good Do It/C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started)/Carried Away/Keep Swinging (Downtown)/Who Taught You to Live Like That?/Ready For You/Forty-Eight Portraits/Losing California/I Hate My Generation/The Other Man/Money City Maniacs

I should probably bring this post full-circle by telling you that it never did get around to raining and that I’m glad I went to the show.  Or maybe I should make another reference to sorting peas.  I don’t feel like it.  I’ve written enough.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

The sticker said FRAGILE.

Vinyl Babo hasn’t made an appearance since he was caught writing his name in wet cement with a coffee stirrer back in 2011.  Well, today’s the day for his triumphant return.  Here we go:

vinyl babo gets a box

(Vinyl Babo got a box in the mail!)

vinyl babo uses his apple peeler

(He cuts the tape with his trusty apple peeler.)

vinyl babo dives in

(Vinyl Babo dives in!)

hmm

(Hmm, this guy looks familiar.)

oh no, his leg

(Oh no, he’s having difficulties!)

i'll help you up

(Here, I’ll help you up.)

To be continued…when I find some glue.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

This remedies that.

There’s been too much talk about Darren Hanlon around here and not enough talk about records with drawings of lucha libre wrestlers on the labels.  So here we go:

side a

(SIDE A)

side b

(SIDE B)

I don’t think this guy is supposed to be a Mexican wrestler, but I’m going to stick him in this post anyway.

pooh stick

(SIDE C)

The other side of the reddish record had a gila monster drawn on it, but I forgot to scan that side.

Posted in uncategorized | 9 Comments

Darren Hanlon @ the B-Side at One Lucky Guitar (5/23/15)

I woke up on Saturday morning, made some coffee, and checked in on the internet.  One of the first things I saw was an Instagram post from Darren Hanlon saying he’d left New York City at 3:00 a.m. on a bus headed for Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He was still on that bus while I was lounging about in my front room with a fresh cup of coffee.  That decided it.  If Darren Hanlon was willing to spend 15 hours on a bus to Fort Wayne, then I could drive the seven hours (round-trip) to see his show there.

I planned my route, packed a bag, and drove to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

indiana

(somewhere in Indiana)

I got to the B-Side at One Lucky Guitar at around 5:00.  As far as I can tell, the B-Side doubles as the conference room for a design firm called One Lucky Guitar.  That’s why the name is such a mouthful.  The conference room angle makes it sound like a makeshift venue, but it was actually a very nice place.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a music club that featured my choice of five clean bathrooms.  They also had free cupcakes…and a velvet Bruce Springsteen painting.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

b-side at one lucky guitar

(the B-Side at One Lucky Guitar is upstairs)

I had three hours to explore Fort Wayne before the doors opened at 8:00.  I checked out a couple record stores and looked for a place to eat.  The highlight of my explorations was seeing some girders.

girder district

(…)

I went back to the B-Side.  I took a picture of the “marquee”.

darren hanlon marquee

(Yoga. Healing. Arts. Darren.)

Then I went in and saw that the people running things had more than made up for their marquee with their concert poster.  The poster shows why it’s a good idea to combine a design firm with a music venue.  That’s got to be one of my favorite concert posters ever.  I especially like the cat down at the bottom left and how her tail hangs over onto the white.

darren hanlon poster

(Darren Hanlon concert poster)

I found a good seat right up front and waited for Darren to come down from the One Lucky Guitar workspace into the conference room.

darren goes here

(Darren goes here.)

I didn’t have to wait long.  Darren came on down, picked up his acoustic guitar, and began playing “Title Fight: Heart v Mind”.  That’s got to be one of his oldest songs, so it was a nice surprise to hear it.  I’d never heard him play it live before.  There were a few other songs–both old and recent–that were new to me in a concert setting.  I guess I’ll just go ahead and share the setlist.

Main Setlist – Title Fight: Heart v Mind/Electric Skeleton/Folk Insomnia/I Waited For the 17/Butterfly Bones/Scenes From a Separation/Punk’s Not Dead/Home/All These Things/Fear of the Civil War/The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot

Encore – When You Go/Elbows

Now that I count them, I see Darren only played 13 songs.  That doesn’t sound like many at all, but he also told stories about free pie, What About Bob?, a punk rock house, the new album, playing for school kids, Spooner Oldham’s question, scary Australian movies, etc., and his songs–like this poorly-crafted sentence–tend to have a lot of words in them.  Some of the songs like “I Waited For the 17″ and “The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot” are quite long.  Those two were both highlights for me.  I also enjoyed “Scenes From a Separation” and getting to hear a version of “Fear of the Civil War” without the saxophone bit.

The low points of the evening were all audience-related.  There was a loud, boorish woman in the back who interrupted Darren’s stories and mocked his accent, and a dude up front who thought his outdoor whistle was an indoor one.  I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by the whistler if I hadn’t caught his wife recording me with her cell phone before the show.  Whistling is generally a happy thing and should be encouraged.

I bought a poster after the concert and had Darren sign it for me.  It looks like he signed his name “Darn Hanlon”.  I got a kick out of that.  I didn’t get a chance to really talk to him as the whistler and his wife were bogarting the talent.  I ate a free cupcake and drove on home.  I got back at a little after 1:30 a.m.  It was a good trip.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll Road Trip, uh huh!

If I wake up tomorrow morning and decide that a seven hour drive is a good thing, then I will take the ticket out of this envelope, get in my car, and head off in what I think is probably a northerly direction.

ticket envelope

(click to open this envelope!)

And if I wake up tomorrow morning and decide that a seven hour drive is a bad thing, then I will leave the ticket in the envelope, sit around the house all day eating popsicles, and be out $8.24.

Posted in uncategorized | 12 Comments

This is what it’s like to be me.

The first thing you do is head over to Fawn Alley, the set of steps that leads from where you live down to Mt. Lookout Square.  You take extra care when walking beneath the overhanging limbs as you don’t want to later find a tiny caterpillar living in your beard like you did last week.01 - fawn alleyIt’s Sunday, so you head to one of your favorite restaurants, Buona Terra.  It’s a crêperie and a gelateria combined.  They’ve got balloons and specials going on today to celebrate their second year in business.

02 - buona terraIt’s a bit crowded in Buona Terra so you get your lunch to go and head over to Ault Park.  You find a nice shady bench with vines all around and settle in.  You start with dessert because it’s already beginning to melt a bit.  It’s a new item on the Buona Terra menu, a gigantic macaron with gelato inside instead of the normal macaron goo.  It’s quite tasty, but almost too big to handle.

03 - gigantic gelato macaronYou’re no longer hungry after dessert and you haven’t even gotten to your crepe yet.  It’s that tasty special one that’s got chevrine, spinach, apples, and a honey dijon sauce on it.  It’s as close as you can get to that magical crepe you had in Paris last fall.  You go ahead and eat your crepe because what are you going to do with it if you don’t eat it?  Carry it around with you all day?  Nope.

04 - crepeAfter eating, you walk around Ault Park a bit.  You take a picture of the pavilion.  It reminds you of something you saw at the antiques mall a couple days ago, and you decide to head over there and see if it’s still for sale.

06 - shelter house (2015)You take a picture of your car at the bottom of the stairs because you still like your car quite a lot even after 15 years.  You sort of wish the air conditioner worked, though.  Cincinnati has very hot and humid summers.

05 - car at the bottom of the stairsYou drive over to the Duck Creek Antique Mall.  The employees always follow you around like they think you’re going to steal stuff, but you still stop by every few months to see if any of the sellers have any new vintage photos.  Sometimes you even look for tea towels with the Eiffel Tower on them.

07 - duck creek antique mallYou find it!  It’s an old postcard of Ault Park, the place where you just had lunch!  The pavilion apparently used to be called the “shelter house”.  It pretty much looks the same although there was a big tent out in front earlier this afternoon.  You wish the tent hadn’t been there because it makes the old postcard -vs- new photograph-thing less effective, but you’re not going to let it spoil your day.  You buy the postcard.

08 - shelter house (1940s)Then you drive over to Everybody’s Records.  You hardly ever buy anything from the Blues section, but you like how Leadbelly and Etta James guard over it.  Making a Leadbelly cutout sounds like something you’d do.  You probably would except that you don’t have any pictures of Leadbelly.

09 - leadbelly and etta jamesYou head over to the used vinyl and seriously consider buying the Caravelles LP despite the fact that you’ve never even heard of them (and it’s kind of expensive).  Sometimes you like to buy records or books just because of the cover art, and you think those Caravelles are super cute with their matching tops and poofy helmet hair.  They also sing a version of “Gonna Get Along Without You Now”.  That’s a great song.

10 - caravellesYou don’t buy the Caravelles, though.  You instead buy a copy of Jack McDuff’s The Honeydripper on CD.  Even though it’s not cool anymore, you still prefer your music on compact disc.  Also, you’ve recently been on an organ jazz kick.  Your favorite it Big John Patton, but you’ve already bought most of his stuff and you think it would be a good idea to branch out to some of the other organists.  And Jack McDuff has cool hair.

11 - jack mcduffThen you drive over to Fresh Thyme.  It’s your neighborhood’s sixth fake hippie market, but you tend to go there a lot because it’s right next door to your gym.  Your favorite thing to get there is the High Brew cold-brew coffee.  Despite the fact that it’s canned ice coffee, it’s very good.  The cans are tiny, so you usually buy two.  You don’t normally like salted caramel things, but that’s your favorite flavor of High Brew.

12 - high brew coffeeThen you go to the library to drop off the two movies that are due tomorrow.  You watched The Secret of Roan Inish because you’re kind of interested in selkies.  You watched Night on Earth because you sometimes like Jim Jarmusch’s movies.  This one was pretty good.  So was the selkie movie.

13 - take back the moviesThen you go home and write this post while listening to Neal Casal and Kenny Roby’s Black River Sides for the first time.  You remember seeing the CD for sale in a Rough Trade in London about fifteen years ago, but you didn’t buy it then and haven’t seen it since.  As far as music collecting regrets go, that was your biggest one.  You were excited to finally find a copy for sale from a German guy a couple weeks ago.  You bought it.  You think the Black River Sides version of “Maybe California” is probably the best one.

14 - kenny roby & neal casalYou’re not sure what you’ll do next.  Maybe read.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

SIBR: Ten Books I’ve Read Since the Last Time I Wrote About Books All the Way Back in February

I don’t think anybody noticed, but this website was dead for about a month earlier this year.  I eventually got things going again with a concert write-up and a couple posts about new music, but I still haven’t written about books since February.  I thought about skipping the titles I’ve read since then and picking up with the post for May, but I decided that it would be better to write a catch-all post with a quick paragraph about each of my recent books.

Tesla: A Portrait With Masks–Vladimir Pištalo
Nikola Tesla’s real life is far more interesting to me than the life of any fictional character I can think of–with the possible exception of Don Quixote–and I enjoy reading novels where the inventor makes an appearance.  This Serbian book is sort of half novel/half biography and follows Tesla from boyhood to his eventual death in 1943.  Although Samantha Hunt’s The Invention of Everything Else remains my favorite Tesla novel, Pištalo’s book was a lot of fun to read and I’d recommend it if you’re interested in Tesla or semi-fictional biographies.

The Art of Asking Your Boss For a Raise–Georges Perec
Georges Perec is the author of my favorite novel, Life a User’s Manual, so I will buy and read anything I can find by him.  The Art of Asking Your Boss For a Raise is a minor work that was only recently translated into English.  The book outlines all the steps, considerations, and possible outcomes related to asking for a pay increase.  It’s pretty much a flowchart transformed into an 80-page run-on sentence.

The Martian–Andy Weir
I kept seeing The Martian everywhere I went, so I eventually bought a copy to use as a travel book.  It’s about an astronaut who gets left behind on Mars after an accident.  The astronaut then uses his vast scientific knowledge to NOT DIE.  Although the narrator is sometimes annoying–he uses the phrase “just saying” at least twice–and I kind of wanted him to suffocate or explode a half dozen times, the science side of this science fiction novel was interesting enough to keep me rooting for the annoying nerd.

A Darker Shade of Magic–V.E. Schwab
I’d never heard of V.E. Schwab or her book until I saw A Darker Shade of Magic on display at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.  Will Staehle’s cover art jumped out at me and I headed straight for it.  I knew I’d buy the book as soon as I opened it and read about the “multiple Londons” and the magical traveler with the ability to navigate between them.  It sounded like the best Neil Gaiman book ever.  I’m happy to say the book lived up to the cover art and the jacket copy.  Simply put, A Darker Shade of Magic, is my favorite book mentioned in this post and one of my favorites so far this year.  I hope it ends up being a series as I really liked the two main characters.

The Hobbit–J.R.R. Tolkien
I reread this book because I began wondering if it would take longer to watch The Hobbit movie trilogy or read the book the movies are based on.  I timed everything and got the following results:

  • The Hobbit movies – 7 hours, 54 minutes
  • The Hobbit book – 6 hours, 15 minutes & 42 seconds

The Fifth Gospel–Ian Caldwell
I went to Joseph-Beth Booksellers and couldn’t decide between two new books with the word “Fifth” in the title.  I ended up buying them both.  This first one is a thriller that takes place in the Vatican.  The main character is a Greek Catholic priest who lives there with his son.  Also living nearby is the priest’s brother.  He’s also a Catholic priest, but a completely different kind who believes in completely different stuff.  Yes, there are apparently different kinds of priests.  Who knew?  Despite the fact that most of the characters are priests and there’s a lot of technical gospel analysis going on, I really enjoyed reading this book.  I got caught up in the mystery early on and actually had a hard time putting the book aside at night and getting to bed.  I liked The Fifth Gospel so much, that I dug around for the book Ian Caldwell co-wrote over a decade ago.  More on that later.

š! #15 ‘Cats’–David Schilter & Sanita Muižniece (editors)
I found this tiny Latvian comics anthology in the zine section at Elliott Bay.  Each issue features comics devoted to a single topic like mathematics, disquiet, or the future.  I got the one about cats.  My favorite comics were “7 Deadly Sins For 9 Lives and Beyond” by Reinis Pētersons and “Lovecats” by María Inés Gul.

Falling in Love–Donna Leon
This is the 24th book in the author’s Commissario Brunetti series.  Despite the fact that he’s been doing this for two dozen books, Brunetti isn’t always a good detective.  There are a couple places in this one where he’s a flat-out bonehead.  Still, I’d recommend Falling in Love to fans of the series…especially those who read and enjoyed Death at La Fenice and Acqua Alta.  The opera singer from those two books is at the center of this case.

The Fifth Heart–Dan Simmons
This is the other book with “Fifth” in the title.  The premise is kind of silly.  It features the real-life author Henry James teaming up with the fictional Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery surrounding the death of the real-life Clover Adams, the wife of real-life Henry Adams.  Got that?  Basically this set-up gives the author plenty of opportunities to host dinner parties full of other real-life famous people (Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Clarence King, John Hay, etc.) and have them ask Sherlock Holmes, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be a fictional character?”  Once you get over that, though, there’s a pretty good mystery to be solved and it didn’t really matter who is real and who isn’t.  This is another one that kept me up at night.

The Rule of Four–Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
Back to Ian Caldwell.  His first book was a co-write that I’d heard was “like Dan Brown, but better”.  I’ve never read anything by Dan Brown, but his books must be truly awful if this poorly-written mess somehow manages to top them.  This book is full of indistinguishable college dudes talking about dining halls and paintball and not nearly enough of the history and mystery the dust jacket promised.  The only positive thing I can say about this book is that at least one of the co-authors went on to write a much better one.

the donna leon is missing

(the Donna Leon is missing)

I’m currently reading The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood and Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Hey, let’s look at four vintage photographs!

I bought this old photo for a few reasons:

  1. It shatters the previous record of most women/girls on/near a boat/ship by five!
  2. It appears that there are at least two sets of sisters in the boat.  There might even be some twins.
  3. The girl in the front is wearing a rather sharp outfit…including heels for boating.
  4. The terrible framing job is kind of charming.

nine girls in a boatI bought this second one–labelled “50th wedding anniversary”–for the following reasons:

  1. The facial expression on the woman on the right.  She’s like the sassiest librarian ever.
  2. Three of the four women are wearing matching glasses.
  3. The familial resemblance of some of the people is so obvious that I was almost able to assemble an accurate family tree.
  4. Although it might not come across in my scan, the photograph is incredibly sharp with a level of crisp detail I don’t often see.

50th wedding anniversaryAnd finally, I bought these two because they support my long-held theory that Marion and Herb may have been highway bandits:gunplay - herb and two friendsgunplay - marion and two friends

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | 19 Comments

This post features 44 Spenser novels and a tub of spicy raisins.

I’ve recently been working on a book sorting project in an attempt to get my library more organized and possibly pared down a bit.  It seemed like a good time to do this as I’ve reached the point where I have far more books than I have space on my shelves.  So it’s my goal to weed out the weakest titles, sort the keepers by genre, and find other places around the house for some of the series books that don’t necessarily need to be on the main bookshelves upstairs.  The works of Donna Leon, Kat Richardson, Arnaldur Indriðason, and Robert B. Parker all need new homes.

It occurred to me that I always have empty space in my kitchen pantry.

kitchen pantry (closed)

(open the pantry)

Click on the picture to open up my pantry and see the new Robert Urich Memorial Library.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments