Archive for February, 2009

Any Ideas??

Posted February 28, 2009 By Jandy

Does anyone know of a database source that lists books by the location of their settings?

For example, the Maisie Dobbs series is set in London, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe takes place in mid-Africa, Endangered Species by Nevada Barr takes place at the Cumberland Island National Seashore off the coast of Georgia and Doctor Zhivago takes place in Moscow and across Russia. Is there a database out on the Internet that tracks that?

999 and Alps Vacation Challenge – February Report

Posted February 28, 2009 By Jandy

Promises in Death by J.D. RobbNow I have 14 books read for the 999 challenge. If I stay on this track I’ll finish nicely in December. I’m currently reading the new J.D. Robb that came out this week, Promises in Death, so that will add another one in my 2009 reads.

Actually, 2009 books won’t be hard. I walked into Mysterious Galaxy today to purchase Promises and Among the Mad, the new Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear. While there I found three other books I want/need to buy – Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (2008, not 2009), The Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, and Horizon, the 4th Sharing Knife novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. But I couldn’t afford 5 books at full price, so I only bought the 2 today. I’ll get the others at Mysterious Galaxy later…

The 999 Challenge is on target. I’m not so sure about the Alps vacation target. I only have another 5 weeks and haven’t any clues for Heidelberg, the Alps, or Lucerne. I’ll use Among the Mad for London even if it takes place 75 years ago. I’ll look for translations, if I can, to further both challenges at once. We’ll see…

Agatha Awards Nominees

Posted February 26, 2009 By Jandy

The Agatha Awards Nominees for best mysteries of 2008 are posted at Malice Domestic. Nope, I haven’t read any of them, although I bought Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry for my sister.

Choreography to Make You Laugh

Posted February 25, 2009 By Jandy

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with any of my reading, library groups, or anything along those lines. It’s just funny and worth watching.

Thanks to my old neighbor for linking to this in Facebook. If you look through YouTube it appears there are more of these. When I have an hour to waste I’ll have to check them out.

Reading Oddities – Part 3

Posted February 23, 2009 By Jandy

The Little Book by Selden EdwardsIf I’d ever heard of Gustav Mahler before reading The Little Book, I don’t recall. I was raised with classical music in my home so may have heard his work, but I can’t connect any. You can say I was introduced to this musician in the last book I read. Now I’m reading A Dwarf Kingdom, a dark French mystery by Nicolas Freeling. In the recovery aftermath of a brutal incident, Castang, the protagonist, is wallowing in music. His daughter guesses the piece is Kindertotenlider – by Mahler.

I did a double take – once again those reading oddities can sneak right up on you.

@ Your Library

Posted February 23, 2009 By Jandy

The free community public library is well established in many places around the world. In this current recession, it’s a great source for more than books. Check out this list of Money Saving Tips at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in the UK.

I’ve taken advantage of many of these tips. One suggestion is to learn a language from the library’s audio collection. I already have quick traveler’s guides to German and French downloaded because I’m going to Europe in April. My library’s audio collection includes a group of “In Flight” lessons, presumably so you can learn the basics for travel while you’re on the plan to a county.

I misread one item on the list. “Some library services let you borrow a smart meter to measure your how much electricity you use at home…” I quickly read “electricity you use at home”. Hey, I could take my laptop to my local library and use their wireless and electricity instead of my own…

Just remember, your local public library isn’t really free. You’ve ALREADY PAID FOR IT. The majority of the library funds come out of local taxes. You pay those as you go. So you’re helping pay for this wonderful service. Don’t waste your money!

Post-It Flags

Posted February 22, 2009 By Jandy

I tend to keep post-it flags near at hand. Then books that are more than just the story may find themselves innundated with the little things. For example, take the book I just finished, The Little Book.

This book highlights Vienna Austria, in 1897. At that time Vienna was rich and flying high. But the city and culture are at the edge of a precipice where everything is going to fall apart by the early 20th century. The city is at the apex culturally but is ignoring all the problems that are lying just under the surface. It is an example of the social problems of Europe that lead into the great world wars of the 20th century.

I have around 15 bright orange post-it flags sticking out of the book. They contain brief jottings of my thoughts as I see what is happening to the city and the culture. All my educational studies have been from an overview historical viewpoint with very little of the social and cultural effects observed or discussed. They help me understand what was happening and see what the author, Selden Edwards, is trying to warn us about in his book. It is too easy to see the parallels between the late 19th century Austria with the early 21st century United States. My flags and notes reflect what I discovered.

Part of the notes contain different information – the names of the famous people who get intertwined into the fictional character’s lives. Now, do I leave the flags in the book for the next time I pick it up? The librarian in me says no – the glue on post it notes are hard on book pages if left on. But the researcher and reader in me says differently. I’d like to remind myself of what I thought and learned while reading. I’d see more and new nuances.

For now the post it flags are staying. We’ll see for long term what I decide to do.

Family and Friends

Posted February 18, 2009 By Jandy

Queen of Broken Hearts by Cassandra KingWe were discussing Pride and Prejudice at my book club last night. When Darcy first proposed to Elizabeth, he admitted that she really wasn’t suitable because of her family. But he was prepared to accept them because he loved her.

I’m listening to Queen of Broken Hearts by Cassandra King. Clare, the main character, is a divorce therapist. She also talks about the need to tolerate other people involved with people who are important to us. Clare doesn’t like her best friend’s husband, but has tolerated him for over 25 years because she doesn’t want to lose her best friend.

How often do we find we have to do that in our lives – bite our tongues and accept someone we would prefer not to? My ex-husband had a friend I didn’t appreciate. But I certainly never tried to ruin their friendship. It eventually waned on its own (as did my marriage, but that’s a different story). We often don’t like our children’s friends – but have to accept them anyway, especially if the child is grown.

It’s a good lesson to remember. Learn to accept your loved one’s other family and friends or figure you’ll lose your loved one.

I also learned that Pride and Prejudice was originally named First Impressions. (I’m sure all the Jane Austen fans have known this for years.) That was a good title choice.

Weather Rant

Posted February 11, 2009 By Jandy

Marked By Passion by Kate Perry“Frigid. People had the misconception that California was all sun, palm trees, and blond people in swimsuits, but that was so wrong.”

Marked by Passion by Kate Perry

Ain’t that the truth!

This morning the first thing I heard was that it was 28 degrees where I live. Monday I watched cold rain blowing sideways. I don’t think I’ve seen that since I left Ohio some years back. I am not pleased. The San Diego area is supposed to have “all sun, palm trees, and blond people in swimsuits” type weather all the time, don-cha know?

O.K., I’m done. We need the rain and even the colder weather for our crops. But that is too cold – the citrus crops suffer when covered in frost and below freezing temperatures are not good for them. I really didn’t want to get out from under my warm blankets this morning. Then my sister told me it was 52 in Ohio at the time. Blech!

BTW, Kate Perry was talking about San Francisco, not San Diego, but it still applies.


Right now one of the threads going around Facebook is 25 Random Facts About Myself. I’ve been tagged a couple times, but figure that the only people who really want to know that much about me are my daughters, and “I ain’t tellin'”.

One friend admitted that he is a compulsive book shopper. He walks into a bookstore and has to walk out with something in hand. He told me later that he doesn’t get them all read, but they look interesting so he has to take them home. I told him about Mt. Bookpile but I didn’t admit how large it is. He thought that was a great term.

He’s right, though. I, too, am a compulsive book buyer. I really shouldn’t volunteer at the library used book store. Last week I came home with two books. This week it is 3 (although I may already have a copy of Madame Bovary here waiting for me to get to it). That doesn’t count the 3 I bought the weekend before last. How many have I taken off Mt. Bookpile? Only 3 – no wait, 4. It doesn’t matter how fast I read, I don’t read as fast as I buy.

(Justifying whine) But they all look interesting…

999 Challenge – January Report

Posted February 1, 2009 By Jandy

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenIn January I read 6 books in the “999” challenge. I finished #7 today. I still haven’t read any book published before 1900, although we’re reading Pride and Prejudice for my book club this month and I have Anna Karenina waiting on my audio book list. I haven’t read any books by an author whose last name starts with “Y” – in fact I only have 2 on Mt. Bookpile, and one of those I bought a couple weeks ago for this challenge. I also haven’t read any stand-alone mysteries (not part of a series). I checked Mt. Bookpile. I only have two or three. Most of the mysteries waiting for me are part of a series. Wow. I hadn’t realized that.

In fact, as large as Mt. Bookpile is, there are a lot of holes for my chosen challenge groups. I am close on time travel books – I had 5 or so, plus picked up two more today that I had wanted to read that I found on sale. I have a couple of those I wouldn’t mind re-reading, either (especially The Time Traveler’s Wife or The Doomsday Book). I’m also OK on books with place names in their titles – I have plenty of those. Books for 2009 will go on and off Mt. Bookpile in a hurry. I’m reading Kill for Me by Karen Rose now.

Kill for Me by Karen RoseBut not only don’t I have many stand alone mysteries or authors starting with “Y”, I’m finding very few books with the word “Heart” in the title. I would have thought I had plenty romance novels with that in the title, but so far I’ve only found the one I finished today. Hmmmm. I also don’t have many books on Mt. Bookpile published before 1900. I guess I usually borrow those from the library. I haven’t checked for translated books yet, but I’d guess there aren’t many. I also haven’t checked for facial feature books, yet. I know I have one by Stephen King with “eyes” in the title.

This just means I won’t be able to deplete Mt. Bookpile as much as I’d like, but I will get some books taken off.

Speaking of reading challenges, I’ve added another one for myself for a vacation I’m planning in April. Can anyone suggest some decent novels set in Brussels, Belgium, Heidelburg, Germany, or the Black Forest, or in Lucerne, Switzerland? I think I’d like one set in the Alps, too (but not Heidi). Thanks.