Archive for the 'Mystery' Category



Paperback Thriller

Thoughts  Paperback Thriller: A Novel of Suspense by Lynn Meyer, Random House 1975, 150 pages Hardcover

FOR:  The What’s in a Name 5 Challenge: Find in a Pocket category.

I guess I wanted the book in case I got thoughtful. These transition can be tough, and people find themselves asking difficult questions. I was tired enough to be vulnerable and I didn’t want to have to face the kind of question that might arise: Can a thirty-five-year-old, divorced vegetarian feminist psychiatrist with two lovers and an Angora cat find happiness and fulfillment?  Better to read a not too demanding book, get through the flight and leave that sort of doubt to a time when the energy level is higher.

FIRST SENTENCE: What is normal?

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A psychiatrist returning from a conference decides to pickup a paperback in the airport bookstore so that no one will bother her on her flight home. However, she reads about an office being broken into and the description is exactly like her home office; to the artwork on the wall, the unique items on her desk and her baby blue file cabinets.

She becomes a bit unglued. And starts her own investigation.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The first chapter is brilliant in the setup, the intrigue, the feeling of being extremely unsettled and violated. Our protagonist, Sarah Chayse, is feisty and independent. The characters were interesting and the dialog believable. For a book set in 1975 it is both amazing in how relevant many cultural mentions still are and also sad that we haven’t come further in terms of racial and gender equality.

WHAT’s not so GOOD: The book loses some steam after the fabulous first chapter and slows down during the chase to figure out who and why. It becomes so obvious when our girl is going to get into some serious trouble that there is never quite that big surprise moment. The worse of it, however, is when the author drops the name Friedrich Nietzsche into way too many discussions and unfortunately, I do not have a concept of his philosophy. This proved distracting and frustrating. I even went to Wikipedia hoping to get one nugget that would help me get over these speedbumps but knowing his ‘God is dead’ quote only confused me.

p. 68:  “Is there anything else that might be helpful to me?” I asked. “Not for my conclusions, but for my decision really as to whether to drop it. Anything you think I ought to know that fits, or that surprises by not fitting?”

            “He talked,” Herndon said, “a lot about Nietzsche.”

p.100:  Modesty and gentleness are worth all of Nietzsche.

FINAL THOUGHTS: However, I did enjoy it well enough and was especially keen on the Boston setting. I had purchased this book on a day a friend and I went into town to do the May Beacon Hill Garden Tour. The character traveled many of the streets I had just walked on and that was really fun for me.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. With extra whipped cream.

WORDS

rarebit – p.140 – “I went off to fix myself a rarebit.”  First attempt to look up this word, I found out it is a Welsh rabbit. HUH? She is a vegetarian! So I explored further and found it is a dish of melted and seasoned cheese on toast, sometimes with other ingredients.

Who hasn’t read a book on a plane to avoid conversation?

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Before I Go To Sleep

Thoughts  Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, HARPER An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2011, 358 pages

Loaned to me from a friend within my book club.

What’s it about:  Christy wakes up every day not knowing who she is or where she is. She thinks she is a twenty-something novelist and wakes up middle-aged. She has to relearn who she is and who her husband is. And then every night, she forgets it all again when she goes to sleep. Every morning someone calls her to tell her where her diary is and she wonders who she should trust; should she even trust herself?

Who IS she?!  What HAPPENED to her?!

Rating:  Two Stars.

I am not a big fan of this – it was OK. Just OK. I can’t say it was horrid, only that I really didn’t get all that excited about it and only finished it because I wanted to see how it turned out.

Please don’t take my word for it. Quite a few people enjoyed it and admired the tight consistent pacing of the plot. Check here for Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search results.

What I AM excited for:  Nicole Kidman has signed up to do the movie. (I can’t seem to find the link confirming this, so maybe it is all rumor? I didn’t try that hard.)  I think this might be one of those ‘the movie is better than the book’ – IF (big if!) the director gets the pacing and suspense just right.

Of course, if I woke up seeing my reflection as Nicole Kidman when I looked in the mirror, not sure I would complain that much…

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Book Two: 1Q84

Discussion of Book Two of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (page 310-594 in hardcover edition.)

I’m not getting into answering any of the questions from my Book One post. I am not giving a status update on where Green Peas and Tengo are now. I’ll just give a brief reaction without spoilers.

I could easily walk away from this book. Here I am just about 600 pages in — only 300+ to go, and I have had over a week away from it.

Will I finish?! Yes. I’m curious. Mildly curious.

Some books come along and you read them and it really doesn’t matter if you *liked* it or not. Just one of those books you are glad you read, just so you can (show off and) say, “Yea, I read that.”  No argument, maybe some discussion, but just glad to be in on the *know*.

Will I change my current rating of three stars to four? Will be so excited to say I read all those pages and then give it a higher rating or will it all come together and I will find it awesome in spite of the accomplishment?

I really do not like chunksters…

I honestly think I could forego finishing and still be satisfied with my imagined ending of Aomame and Tengo finding each other and living happily ever after.

If I don’t get this thing done by March 1, when I begin a readalong of Cloud Atlas, 1Q84 may end up DNF.

I feel like a contrarian.

Any questions?

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Cat in a Diamond Dazzle

Thoughts  Cat in a Diamond Dazzle by Carole Nelson Douglas, Forge: A Tom Doherty Associates Book 1996, 414 pages, GENRE: Chicklit Mystery?

Christmas Lobster #13

Yep, it’s a bottle opener.

This book was not my kind of book.  I only read it because it had DIAMOND in the title and I wanted to fulfill the JEWEL category of What’s in a Name 4 Challenge.

As far as I can tell, there is nothing WRONG with this book – just aint for me.  I never had to roll my eyes or question any facts or critique any sentence structure or wonder where it was going.

If you are already a fan of Carole Nelson Douglas, I’m sure this is fine. If you like cats that solve mysteries, you might like this. The premise was fun, I actually liked the cat but this book – for me – was TOOOOOO LOOOOOOONNNNG. I was bored; wanted much more action, less dialogue.  Dialogue propels this entire narrative, it seemed. I liked the cat’s part but that was a tiny portion. I’m not even a cat person! I’m sadly allergic. I do respect cats, however.

Apparently, CND has written quite a few of these Midnight Louie Mysteries and you all know I’m not a series-reader. I am discovering that I’m not much of a mystery reader anymore either. I also thought this book’s cultural references made it seem dated.

It’s about a girl who seems to get herself into situations involving murder and always ends up as a suspect. This time, a male model for a romance writer convention is killed and sure enough, our girl is involved.  Her cat (Midnight Louie) ends up figuring out the whodunnit and has to place the clues just so in order for the humans to have the AHA! moment.  There are other storylines and characters and drama, of course, but.   Sort of reminds me of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich.

I started this in January.  Read a bit here and there (back and forth from Ulysess) and then misplaced the book for most of the year.  I recently dug it out of stacks of crap on the floor of my miscellaneous room and thought I better have a go at finishing.  I skimmed to the last quarter and didn’t feel like I missed anything. Then I read the cat’s overview of the the wrapup on the crime and now I feel very satisfied to check this as a DONE-READ and no longer a DNF.

I finished the What’s in a Name 4!  YIPPEE!!    CHECK.

THisHIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Doctors’ Plague

Notes & Thoughts    The Doctors’ Plague:  Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis by Sherwin B Nuland, W. W. Norton & Company 2003, 191 pages

for Citizen Reader’s Book Menage, May 23

As is typical of books I check out from the library, I have returned it before writing the review.  I did take notes, so let’s see what I can piece together (new stuff is in green, definitions in blue).   This may turn into a big vocabulary lesson.

pg
i    ISBN 0393052990 is written down but according to goodreads.com this gives page count at 160.  I know I had the 191 page version.

119 lucubration -  a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or overelaborate one.

127 Klein’s son-in-law ?!  -  (I don‘t remember what this is nor why it was note-worthy, perhaps my next jottings will lend a clue:)  why does NO one else DUPLICATE the theory in lab work?!

149  sinecure - a position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.  (I just love this word; I want a sinecure, (perhaps I have one…))

152 beleagured – (I love this word, too.)  beset with troubles.   (maybe it’s the definition that I like)

156 logorrheic (couldn’t find, but did find) logorrhea – “pathologically incoherent, repetition incessant or compulsive talkativeness, wearisome volubility/voluble
If PATHOLOGIC means ‘diseased’, then is this a double entrendre?
Basically, it was 543 pages of unreadable crap (I think I am paraphrasing Nuland’s paragraph describing Semmelweis’s final written defense.)

158 bombastic (another groovy word I like because it sounds like its meaning)high-sounding language with little meaning, used to impress people.

166 profligacy - shameless dissoluteness / reckless extravagance / great abundance 

157 – DOH WOW!! (again, I barely recall what I am reacting to, please someone tell me?) OMG – SO SAD!
um, if TV, it would have been murder   (WHAT?! am I wondering if ‘they’ air a made-for-TV drama?)

170 rara avis – a rare person or thing

172 – maladroit (for some reason, I had never quite given real thought to this being the opposite of adroit.)awkward, bungling, tactless

173 “as so often happens in psychopathology, self-concept exists side by side with its opposite …  Apparent disloyalty and deeply insecure men unable to take obvious next step.”   ?   huh.

175 Aeschylus, Sophocles:    deeply insecure, yet arrogant?

180 encomia - a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.

190 Reference to 1949 Morton Thompson’s The Cry and the Covenanthas anyone read this?

*************

SPOILERS AHEAD?

*************

*************

I found Dr. Semmelweis and his behavior very fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed Nuland’s theories of Early Onset Alzheimers.   I was saddened by what happened to the poor guy.    Though I sort of knew the story going in, I was not aware the time between his commitment to the Insane Asylum and his death was so very short.   Which made the next book (The Birth of Love) even MORE fascinating and I am so glad I chose to read this first.

What I didn’t get nor understand was WHY no other doctors anywhere in the world, took up Semmelweis’ ideas and tried to prove or unprove the germ theory!    Was it some professional code that the so-called experts needed the originator to present something/anything in order to run a counter proof?     It just seems odd that SO MANY years went by with his friends’ only trying to persuade Semmelweis to publish rather than someone just taking it and running their own experiments.

Frightening.

And, really.   Knowing what we now know of germ theory and our culture’s current paranoia of washing everything carefully or we might DIE , it’s a wonder that anyone in the Vienna hospitals back then survived at all.     It’s so hard not think of all Semmelweis’ opponents as damnable and arrogant assholes.

Very interesting book; I recommend.

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Copyright © 2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A Secret Gift

Thoughts   A Secret Gift by Ted Gup, The Penguin Press 2010, 346 pages

***   Please click on the book cover image or this line to go to the TLC Book Tour‘s dedicated pages ***

MOTIVATION for READING:     I responded to a Twitter request for tour hosts.      Timing was good for me to read this by today (except I had Dec 12 in my planner – why did I have that?!  oh well.)   I was ready to read more about the Depression era and it truly was a well-crafted memoir exploring family, a town and a particular challenging piece of history:  the Hard Times.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    Mr. Gup was given an unusual piece of luggage that had belonged to his grandfather and he wondered about it.   I do that a lot;  WONDER about stuff, especially items that have been passed down through my family and also about buildings.   But not buildings that have been passed down through the family – I don’t have any of those.   (These points ARE related.)      But I do wonder…   “How did this one item come to be in my grand_____’s possession?   What were her thoughts on it?     Did you know it would come into my hands?     Was it special to her in some way?”     I’ll never know.    It’s too late to find out.

But Ted Gup, being a skilled professional researcher, investigative journalist and writer was able to find out SO MUCH!

The suitcase contained letters and newspaper clippings from 1935 that told a story of one man giving away money to hard-pressed families in need and keeping it all secret.   These letters were  addressed to a name Gup didn’t recognize; fortunately his mother did know the name but not much else.  He had to dig and find exactly what this collection was about and thus unraveled a mystery and triggered the project idea for this book.   (Though I don’t think at that time he had a book in mind.)    He was just hoping to learn more about his grandfather.

HOW ONE MAN’S KINDNESS – AND A TROVE OF LETTERS – REVEALED THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION

WHAT I LIKED:    One of the best things about this book was personal for ME.    My mom and dad were here for Thanksgiving and my mother hijacked this book (while I was in the middle of it!) and she liked it, too.   But the BEST THING?   We talked about OUR HISTORY.   What she could remember about her parents and the Depression and how people DIDN’T REALLY TALK ABOUT IT and how each generation has a different approach to learning about this time.   It was all quite fascinating.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:   Can’t think of a thing!   I loved the fact that it had photos.  I appreciated that Mr. Gup was honest about exposing some truths he found about his family that may not have been positive.    I admired the look into religious animosity and how the gift transcended that.

MORE ABOUT BUILDINGS:   I wish I could say I knew Canton, Ohio which is where Gup’s grandfather lived at the time.   I really enjoyed the descriptions of the town and buildings, then and now.   This is one of those things I wonder about – I love old buildings and like to imagine when it was built, who enjoyed it, etc and then some.      The book doesn’t go into too much depth but I’m glad it was included.

The stories of the people who asked for the cash and what happened to the families since were wonderful.  Some were sad, some were happy and it was just.  INTERESTING.  I’m glad I read this book.

RATING:    FOUR SLICES OF PIE.    My mom gave it 4 stars, too.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Woman in White

Thoughts   The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Barnes & Noble Classics 2005  (orig 1859-1860), 635 pages

MOTIVATION for READING: I was enticed to read this after reading so many glowing reviews during RIP last year (and likely the year before that.)      I borrowed a print copy from my friend Holly but was caught up in a reading-slowdown in October when I got a puppy to chase after.   Reading went out the window;  I only read 2 books that month!      And then…   I was in Western Kansas with my iPad when I decided to check the free books available for my iBook application.    Hot Diggety – this novel was available.   I somehow found the place I had left off during that slump the month before and this classic was my companion under the bitter end.

LOVED IT!      

Thus, being of lax mind and out of review practice, I will point you to my favorite review of this favorite story.     Chris at BookARama captured it best, in my opinion.     And do seek out the Book Blog Search for many many more.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I Declare Some More

Thank you, Dear Readers,  for all the comments on my last post where I allowed some petty ventings to be released to the interwebs and did not expect such response.     That said, I hereby must state that the current book I am enjoying — yes! enjoying immensely, is the tour book due to be reviewed in mid-December

and I am

finding

it

.

.

.

WONDERFUL.

It is nonfiction.   I love nonfiction!
It is history (the Depression years.)  I enjoy learning more about the past.
It is personal stories of family and strangers intertangled and woven over the time and mostly within a certain geographical area.   I am always wondering about old buildings and the people that built them, used them, lived in them, and what has happened since; this book does a great job of touching on the then and now in terms of place.]

It is written by an author more than capable and skilled in research and weaving stories together that deliver emotional punch.

I’m quite moved and have already shed a few tears.

I’m halfway through;   expect my review to be positive.    :)

Oh, the book?   A Secret Gift by Ted Gup.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Neverwhere Audio Experience

Thoughts   Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Harper Audio Unabridged 2007 (orig pub’d 1996), 12 1/2 hours on 10 CDs

Genre:   Fantasy
Challenge:  RIP v
Setting:   London, above and below

“Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him.”    - Stephen King

I’m going to stray from my typical review template and just ramble.

I bought the audio because I had that 33% coupon from Borders AND a 10% off above and beyond coupon and thought an audio would be the best deal since I’m usually a bit hesitant to spend the higher prices for audios even though I understand that the costs to produce might be more (plus supply and demand and other such economic considerations?) and this was the only choice in the store that I wanted to ‘read’.

Neverwhere is well-loved so I had already had it on my to-be-read list.  The fact that the author was the voice AND was highly recommended as a terrific voice, I knew that would not be disappointing.

I was not disappointed.   I loved it.

I do think the time to load all the disks onto my Mac and then transferring all to my iPad was a bit disappointing.    I was also disappointed that when one disk concluded and sometimes within chapters on the same disk, it would jump to who-knows-where.   Yes, I was very disappointed by this and wonder if it is something I do wrong in setting it up but I haven’t figured that out yet.    Seriously?   Often I would be listening and not even aware what chapter I was on when it would jump to disk 10 and then I would have to HUNT which chapter was supposed to be next.

But the experience of listening – when in the correct order – was wonderful!   Gaiman is an excellent reader/voice for audio!   He does accents well.   It was very easy to know which character was talking.

I carried my iPad around everywhere.   Everywhere.   Upstairs, downstairs, out to get the mail…    and when I found earpieces to listen privately so it wouldn’t bug my husband, I was able to listen in the car when hub drove!    Yippee!

However, before earpieces (they have a name but my brain won’t retrieve it;   earBUDS?) I was sad that the volume on the iPad was not sufficiently loud enough to listen while driving.   Big bummer.   I realize I could spend another $50+ to get some kind of device that will plug into my car and allow the car’s stereo system to blast it, but I hate to spend money on such stuff.

The story of Neverwhere is fun and enthralling.    I was rooting for Richard Mayhew from the get-go.    Of course, I realized he was going to be just fine.  I’m pretty sure it was the standard story of ‘regular nice guy gets himself thrust into an adventure of magic and other worlds and REAL DANGER and only wants his boring life back and when he gets it, wishes for the exciting crazy life of adventure again’ etc and then some, but it was still very fun.

Someone somewhere said that a good book is enhanced by a terrific narrator and I agree.    Now that I’m days away from listening, I can’t recall all that much of why I liked it so much – thus the 4 pie slice rating – but I would definitely sign up to listen to Gaiman read me another book any day.

I  just need to get better at the technology of listening to an audio book so the experience wasn’t so disruptive.

MORE AUDIO REVIEWS:   OK, I just typed that and went to Fyrefly’s book blog search, entered ‘Neverwhere Audio’ and didn’t get any specific reviews of this particular book.  I found a lot of Graveyard Book and one for Neverwhere and Beyond – which is news to me that there is a sequel, so I’ll just invite anyone to comment with links if they reviewed it.     For a terrific review of the actual book, click this link to Nymeth’s from 2007 which I’m sure was the catalyst for me to figure out who and what this Neil Gaiman dude was all about…

And then when I found out that this is a mini-series?     AND available on Netflix instant-play!?!   Just might watch it tonight…  :)

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Maltese Falcon and Woman in the Dark

Thoughts   The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Vintage Books, div of Random House 1992 (orig pub’d 1929), 217 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:    for R.I.P. V!   and for Book to Movie Challenge.  And my husband also read The Maltese Falcon; he doesn’t read many books so we are both now looking forward to watching the flick.

FIRST SENTENCE: “Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    Our Sam Spade, Private Investigator, comes to work one day to find a beautiful woman in his office who wants to hire him.   Trouble, trouble, trouble.    He has to avoid getting arrested (and getting beat up – a lot) while trying to track down the source of the trouble, the lost artifact called The Maltese Falcon.

WHAT’s COOL:   Mr. Hammett writes in an extremely descriptive style with lots and lots of colors.   It really stands out how many times he mentions ‘her jade-colored dress’, ‘her green dress’, ‘the flash of emerald’, etc and then some.     The pace of the action picks up as the story lines unfold – it’s a fun ride.    The dialogue is quite good and I can see that this might have been quite easy to adapt to the big screen.

RATING:    Four slices of pie.

____________________________________________________________

Thoughts   Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett, Thorndike Press Large Print 1990 (orig pub’d 1933) Introduction 1988 Robert B. Parker, 128 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   More Hammett!    Found this at the Home for the Aged where I volunteer.

FIRST SENTENCE:  “Her right ankle turned under her and she fell.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   Late one stormy night, a foreign woman escaping her husband?  benefactor?  sugar daddy?    (It’s unclear) happens to knock on the door of a man recently out of prison.  He agrees to help rescue her but it’s all just ‘trouble, trouble, trouble.’   It’s somewhat of a love story, believe it or not.  (I’m not altogether sure about this, either.)

WHAT’s COOL:    Parker’s Intro is a great segue from The Maltese Falcon to this short story.    He describes common threads to all the ‘tough guys’ Hammett uses for his protagonists and he explains how this story was a departure in theme, thus the ‘love story’ component explained.    I would assume if you are a fan of Hammett, this story WITH the Introduction is a must.

But I didn’t like the story.    It didn’t have the frantic “Oh no!  What’s going to happen next?”  suspenseful tension.   And come on, women should not fall in love with the tough guy when he forcibly kisses them.    It’s definitely a book that lacks respect for women; I don’t care what time period it is set in.

RATING:  Two slices of pie.

WORDS:   p.144 of TMF – lathy … = lathlike; long and thin. [I could not, however, find 'lathlike' in the dictionary.]

151 of TMF – swart …  =  swarthy or of dark complexion.

******  Both of these books are available in BookMooch.com ******

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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