Archive for July, 2009

Duh! Headlines

Posted July 30, 2009 By Jandy

Older Cancer Patients Have More Frailty Than Other Seniors

Hmmm – do you suppose it’s because they have a debilitating disease? Or perhaps that they’re being bombarded with radiotherapy and chemotherapy?


How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

This review is now at my website.


Posted July 23, 2009 By Jandy

Do you like to read sagas – the ones that span generations? The ones that take forever to read and no time at all?

On Sunday I flew to Seattle for a few days for work. On the plane I started Hawaii by James Michener. I had gotten up very early that morning, so slept more than read, but hey…

Now I’m working through it. I read it 40 years ago and liked it then. I’m enjoying it again, although I don’t think I’m as enthralled this time. I have a month to read it for my book club. I may need every bit of that month, too.

(Of course I have to finish The Blue Angel by Heinrich Mann, too. It’s a library book, so I didn’t take it with me. Now that I’m home again, I’ll pick it back up.)

Huh? Headlines

Posted July 15, 2009 By Jandy

China Stops Shock Therapy for Net Addicts

I’m glad they’re not using the shock therapy treatment any more. What worries me, though, is that I hadn’t realized that an Internet Addiction was realized as a real diagnosed addiction…

Reading Oddities

Posted July 15, 2009 By Jandy

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottLast month I read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Friar Tuck serves St. Dunston at his chapel. Is this a real saint? Presumably, but I don’t know since I’m not Catholic. Now I’m reading Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher. George and Edie are taking refuge for the night at St. Dunston’s Church in London.

I can’t remember ever hearing of the saint before – now twice in a month…

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Posted July 12, 2009 By Jandy

Recently I haven’t been reading the new Nora Roberts romantic suspenses as soon as they came out. But I decided to get Black Hills when it was released last week. I was pleased to see I can use it in my 999 challenge, so started and finished it already. (I bought a signed copy, no less.)

I was hooked in the first chapter or two when we meet a resentful 11-year-old who has been sent to South Dakota to stay with his grandparents rather than staying in New York City for the summer with his friends.

The novel goes on to chronicle Cooper’s friendship with the “farm girl” Lil. Then he broke her heart. Now, 20 years after their first meeting, he’s returned to South Dakota to stay, finally leaving New York City behind.

Lil is a strong character who has built her own animal refuge there in the Black Hills. Roberts did her research to get the right tone for the refuge – where wild animals aren’t pets but are protected. Those that can be are released back to the wild. Those that can’t can live out their lives there.

There is a hunter who has settled in the mountains there whose prey is women. The current prey in his sights is Lil. She understand the land and the hunt. She should be worthy of his skills. The suspense part of the book with the hunter is edgy, keeping the reader caught right in.

The tension is high between Coop and Lil as well, but not as riveting to the reader. Often I felt that the romance is added in because that’s what Roberts writes, but that the real story is the refuge and the serial killer.

Since I’m still chipping away at my web site, this review won’t appear there soon. But I had to mention it because it is new and is Nora’s. The characters are good – including the background characters – Coop’s grandparents, Lil’s parents, her “brother” and her best friend.

Overall I’d say Black Hills is one of Nora Roberts stronger romantic suspense novels in the past few years, but it’s strength is in the suspense and refuge, not the romance.

Duh! Headlines

Posted July 8, 2009 By Jandy

City hospitals suffer highest occupancy

Perhaps because there are more people around???

Big (No, Huge) Projects

Posted July 6, 2009 By Jandy

Yesterday I updated my Facebook status by wondering why I took on big projects. Two people who know me fairly well immediately answered it was because I like the challenge. Although I wouldn’t have said that, they must be right because I do it to myself all the time. Otherwise, I suppose I wouldn’t have earned my Master’s Degree when I was over 50.

My current huge project is to redesign my website. On the surface when I first started planning it out, it didn’t seem too bad. Yes, all the navigation pages would take some major work, but they need it anyway. The individual pages shouldn’t be too bad. (I know there are over 1,000 of them, but haven’t tried to count them. I will after I’ve finished the project.)

Well, the individual pages aren’t too bad – except that each one needs some tweaking to match up to my new vision. That means I have to open each and every single web page file. Since I’m there, if there are links that aren’t to Amazon or another page in my own site, I’d better check those too. If an old link to a book is broken, I need to find the new one. And if… You get the picture.

I slogging along. I spend a lot of time on it, but it’s going slowly. I still have to work, have a social life, and read. I can’t have book review pages without reading books to review.

Plus not everything looks the way I think it should. It looks right in Dreamweaver, but when I look at in on the web through Firefox, it’s wrong. I haven’t tried checking IE yet, or any other browser. I’m sticking with html, xhtml, templates, and css formatting.

Much as I know I should be learning php or other interactive web design programming, that’s beyond my mental abilities right now. I need someone to walk me through the basics, then the stuff I read would probably make sense.

It’s been a month since I started doing this. It’ll be at least another month, and probably two or three before I’m done. I like it so far. If you don’t when I finished, please let me know kindly. I wouldn’t be able to handle harsh after all this work…

999 Challenge

Posted July 2, 2009 By Jandy

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottThis month’s books were once again across the spectrum of genres and writing styles. I read 10 books this month for the challenge, putting me nicely past the half way mark. That’s a good place to be at the end of June. I have caught up from my vacation in April.

For years I’ve been meaning to read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. But now I can’t tell you what I did expect beforehand. As a kid I remember the comic strip Prince Valiant in our paper, and I think I had Ivanhoe mixed up with that. I wasn’t expecting Robin Hood, Prince John, or Richard the Lion Hearted. The language, too, threw me. Scott made his characters sound like Shakespeare. It’s a book of daring do, heraldry, good versus evil, and the white hats always win. While the future isn’t all rosy, it is for the main characters in the book, as expected. I’m glad I finally got to it.

The newest Dresden book was also finished this month – Turn Coat by Jim Butcher. I’ve already written about it this month. Now, sigh, I have to wait another year for the next installment (I hope I live as long as Butcher does so I can read all of these…)

I probably had the most fun with The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block. The one I liked the least overall was A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz. The one that bothered me the most was Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I was glad to add to my series mysteries with Voices by Arnaldur Indridason, When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh, and Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. The schmaltz award for the month goes to Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (no surprise). To round out the month, I picked up Edgar Allen Poe and lived in his macabre world for a while – which reminded me why I don’t read him very often.

Reading wise it was a good month. We’ll see how July goes…

Reading Lists

Posted July 1, 2009 By Jandy

Newsweek has a couple reading lists I recently found. First there is their Meta-List of the top 100 books of all time. They start with the disclaimer “Declaring the best book ever written is tricky business. Who’s to say what the best is?”. This list was created by comparing and crunching together the “top” lists from a number of sources and creating this list from all of those combined.

Newsweek’s Top 100 Books: The Meta-List

The other list has a different twist, probably aimed at Americans but possibly at the English speakers of the world. This one targets 50 books they think are applicable today that are good books. To quote: “…no one needs another best-of list telling you how great The Great Gatsby is. What we do need, in a world with precious little time to read (and think) is to know which books…open a window on the times we live in…”

What to Read Now. And Why

I’ve only read two or three on this second list.