Archive for April, 2008

Love What You Do

Posted April 26, 2008 By Jandy

Ray Bradbury lives here in Southern California and makes many appearances in the area. Finally, I was able to sit in an audience and listen to his stories. It was super. His theme was “Love What You Do”. He talked about how so many parts of his career happened because he loved what he did or the people he met. He was able to turn that love into his life and his work. I had never known he wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s version of Moby Dick. The man deserved his standing ovation.

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats

Posted April 25, 2008 By Jandy

Thanks, LazyGal, for posting this. All of us cat owners think it’s a hoot. I know this has little to do with reading, but the video is great. Maybe next time I’m curled up with a book in hand and cat on lap, I’ll play this for whichever one is there. Do you think my cats would enjoy it?

Weekend Plans

Posted April 23, 2008 By Jandy

Although I’ve lived in Southern California for almost 7 years, I’ve missed one of the biggest book events in the country each year. Until this year, that is.

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is this weekend. This year I’m going. After I made the decision, I checked the schedule. When tickets became available, I immediately reserved two sessions. On Saturday Ray Bradbury is talking. On Sunday Julie Andrews is. She’s also reading one of her children’s books in the morning on the children’s stage.

Another favorite author of mine will be there – Jacqueline Winspear. Unfortunately, her only panel is scheduled against Dame Andrews. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to see Ms. Winspear – she’s the younger of the two.

I also hope to see Cornelia Funke. Other authors whose work I’ve read who will be there include David Brin, Christopher Buckley, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Higgins Clark (they’re together, but scheduled against Bradbury), Michael Connelly, Richard Paul Evans, Lisa Lutz, Walter Mosley, T. Jefferson Parker, Rick Riordan, Laura Schlessinger, Jane Smiley, and Stuart Woods. Check out the full list of authors and presenters – a few hundred.

It’s about time I made it to this Festival of Books.

Aphrodisiac Food

Posted April 17, 2008 By Jandy

Lords and Ladies Terry PratchettNanny Ogg’s Famous Carrot and Oyster Pie*

*Carrots so you can see in the dark, she’d explain, and oysters so’s you’ve got something to look at


Discworld is such a hoot! From Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

Future of the Library

Posted April 17, 2008 By Jandy

The library field is about to be enriched. My daughter was just accepted into a program for her library and information sciences master’s degree. She’s third generation in the field. Congratulations!

Books to Movies

Posted April 16, 2008 By Jandy

As long as there have been movies, books have been put on film. Tonight I was reading Terry Pratchett‘s Lords and Ladies when I wanted a break. I flipped on the television and channel surfed. On the Sundance Channel I happened to stumble across Farenheit 451, based on Ray Bradbury‘s book titled the same.

The movie stayed fairly true to the book. It wasn’t as mesmerizing as the book, nor was it a great flick. Even so, I had fun watching it.

The “wall television” was smaller than the one that is in my mind’s eye. It looks like our big screen televisions today – foreshadowing? Yet the phones were the old fashioned kind – a couple with the box on the wall where you took the earpiece off and leaned into the mouthpiece. The sets and clothing were definitely from the 1960’s (it was released in 1966). That didn’t bother me like the phones did.

When Montag was being chased at the end, there were men in believable futuristic individual flying machines that wouldn’t be out of place in a futuristic movie made today.

In Bradbury’s book and in the movie, television is what replaces the book. Watching it now, it was odd not to see any sign of a computer or electronic console. I had to chuckle, as well, because one of the “book people” at the end was Ray Bradbury‘s The Martian Chronicles. It was a way for the movie to pay homage to a man who was already an impressive author by then.

Jim Butcher

Posted April 5, 2008 By Jandy

All you Harry Dresden and/or Codex Alera fans, if you ever get a chance to see the author, Jim Butcher, in person, jump at it! Unfortunately, the only good picture I was able to get is this one where he almost looks menacing. Instead he’s impish, has a wicked sense of humor, personable, sardonic and often laughs at himself.

He was at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego today. He’s promoting his newest Harry Dresden novel, Small Favor. It’s no secret if you’ve visited my web site that I like this urban fantasy series a lot. So when I saw he was coming, I jumped at it.

He answered questions for an hour. The questions ranged from his Dresden Files and Codex Alera books to the upcoming graphic novels to the Dresden Files television show to his wife and son to his future ideas after the Alera and Dresden story arcs are done to how he got started in writing. He enjoys playing with his audience, more than once saying “You’ll have to wait and see…” or “I’m not telling.”

Then, of course, Jim Butcher signed our books. He signed every one of his books put in front of him. There were over 125 people in line for signatures. The first time each of us were allowed to have him sign 3 books. He was in a buoyant mood and not in a rush, so he agreed to sign any others after the line had finished the first time. The second time you could take as many books as you wanted. So I now have all 10 of my Dresden file books signed.

Actually, the hardest part was standing in line inside Mysterious Galaxy and not walking out a few hundred dollars broker. I was good – I only bought one book today (I had been in and bought the newest Dresden File book on Wednesday) and that one will be a gift.


Posted April 3, 2008 By Jandy

Brain scans to see what jobs we can do

Advertising using brain scans to see what we’ll purchase

Neural tests to show who will attract us romantically

Brain image profiles to see who we’ll vote for

Sounds like I’ve been reading my science fiction again, doesn’t it? Instead I’m reading a fascinating book by Richard Restak, M.D. called The Naked Brain. Dr. Restak is a neurologist and professor at George Washington University’s Medical Center.

From the back cover: “…Restak explores how the latest technology and research have exposed the brain and how we think, feel, remember, and socialize…Now that knowledge is being used by doctors, advertisers, politicians, and others to influence and revolutionize nearly every aspect of our daily lives.”

This is written in easy, enjoyable layman’s language. The studies Dr. Restak cite are fascinating. He applies the results to our every day lives and shows how the brain controls our reactions, emotions, and reason.

Of course, being a medical librarian, my first thought was to check Dr. Restak’s work. He has authored a few articles that are in respected journals over the past 35 years (I checked PubMed) and has an impressive bibliography at the end of the book. Then I was able to read the book with creditability and enjoy it. It is a compelling look at what we know about the brain now and what we will be able to do with that knowledge in the future.

Reading Oddities

Posted April 2, 2008 By Jandy

Have you noticed that when you read one sort of story, sometimes you end up reading others similar within a short time?

I recently finished High Noon by Nora Roberts. It’s a romantic suspense novel. The main character is a female hostage negotiator with the Savannah police department. Today I started an audio romantic suspense novel called The Negotiator by Dee Henderson. The main character is (guess what?) a hostage negotiator with the Chicago police department. It seems both of them were/are being stalked.

I am liking The Negotiator quite a bit – I think I may have to find more of Dee Henderson’s books.

Last night I finished Dance of the Gods (Nora Roberts again). It’s a paranormal romance that includes vampires – although the vampire isn’t the love interest in this particular book of the trilogy. Tonight I picked up the next book on my review pile – Lady and the Vamp by Michelle Rowen – another paranormal romance with vampires.

4/10 When I finished Murder in Havana, I started another audio book that had been recommended to me. I didn’t know anything about the story line other than it is fantasy. It is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – and is yet another paranormal vampire romance, this time at the young adult level.

Sometimes I feel I’m reading in circles…