Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Dark is Rising

The Dark is Rising The entire five book sequence takes its name from the title of this book. The Dark is Rising is the second book in the series and introduces another major character, Will Stanton. On his 11th birthday, Will discovers that he is the last born of the Old Ones. To come into his full power, he must locate the six Signs of the Light and protect them for use in the coming battle between Light and Dark.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Nights in Rodanthe

Nights in Rodanthe I had not read any books by Nicholas Sparks, even though he's certainly been popular lately. So when I saw this audio CD set on the shelf at the library, I figured it would be a good way to get to know a new author. While the outcome of the story was quite predictable, I did enjoy listening to it very much. I guess I'll look for other books by Mr. Sparks, and maybe try to track down one or more of the movies made from his novels.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Skeleton Man

Skeleton Man I think this is the most recent of the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn novels from Tony Hillerman. Sometimes when I enjoy a series or author as much as this one, I lose track of what I've read and what I haven't.

In this novel, Hillerman introduces a decades old mystery involving the robbery of a remote trading post that Leaphorn had investigated long before his retirement. Now it appears that event may be related to an even earlier mid-air collision over the Grand Canyon and the recent murder of a local jeweler. Mix into this a contested will which DNA evidence may help resolve, Hopi religious practices, and the engagement of Jim Chee to Bernadette Manualito and you have another delightful novel set along the northern border of Arizona and New Mexico.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Blessings I had never read a book by Anna Quindlen, so when I saw this audio CD set at the library, I figured it would be a good introduction. Over the years, I'd been aware of Quindlen's non-fiction books and columns in various publications, but somehow had missed the fact that she also wrote novels.

One thing that I particularly liked about this book is that it didn't attempt to resolve all the problems introduced in the story. The 'hero' didn't wind up getting everything he wanted, or even everything that you felt he deserved. Finished listening to this book sitting in the garage because I wasn't going to get out of the car until it was done.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Portuguese Irregular Verbs

Portuguese Irregular Verbs Having read and adored several books by Alexander McCall-Smith, I asked my local public library to locate a copy of this book and its two sequels. I figured they would request them through InterLibrary Loan, but when they called me to tell me the books were in, they had purchased them. I hope they weren't terribly expensive, because these were somewhat disappointing. While the situations were amusing and even funny from time to time, I found the characters very annoying. I returned the second book (At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances) unread. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Confessions of a Pagan Nun

Confessions of a Pagan Nun In my current fascination with Brigid, I stumbled across this book mentioned on someone else's blog. As usual, I asked the library to find a copy through InterLibrary Loan and sure enough, it arrived on the 13th from the Austin Public Library.

The novel reads like the diary of Sister Gynneve, one of 19 nuns in the convent of Saint Bridget in Kildare. Set around 500 BCE, Gynneve tells her own story: the poverty of her early years, her longing for knowledge and subsequent apprenticeship to the Druid Giannon, and her entry into the convent where she is subsequently martyrred. Of particular interest is the story of how Christianity was spread by zealous monks and priests, displacing the pagan traditions.

I very much enjoyed this book, even though it was quite dark and dreary. I want to approach this book again in a couple of months.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Colman by Monica Furlong

Colman Last year, while reading one of Tamora Pierce's Tortall novels, I noticed an ad in the back of the book for a trilogy written by Monica Furlong. I had read the first two books in the series several years ago, sending them to Jan as soon as I finished them, and was not even aware that the third book had been written. So, I asked my public library to obtain a copy of Colman for me. While I was waiting for Interlibrary Loan to come through, I checked out Wise Child from the Grapevine Library and read it again.

Colman picks up immediately after the events of Wise Child with Juniper, Wise Child, Cormac, and Colman abord the ship captained by Wise Child's father, Finbar. Eventually, they decide to go confer with Juniper's parents, the rulers of a territory in Cornwall. Unfortunately, when they arrive, they find the castle had been ransacked, her parents dead, and her brother being held captive by the Grey Knight and his wife.

Told in the first person by Colman, this story continues the saga of Wise Child as she grows into her skills as a doran in midieval Britain.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Blow Fly Last year when I read Trace, I realized that somehow I had missed one of the Kay Scarpetta novels. Turns out it was Blow Fly, released in 2003. Although I had just about figured out what had happened from reading Trace, I did enjoy catching up. There are three stories here told from three points of view — Benton Wesley, Lucy, and Kay. Untimately, they all come together in Baton Rouge.

This was not the best of the Scarpetta novels, and if I had read it before Trace I might have been even more critical of it. So although this book is quite depressing, I do know that Kay is on her way out of the doldrums and have hopes that the next book will be even better.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Things Not Seen

Things Not Seen Things Not Seen is both a serious book and an amusing one. When fifteen-year-old Bobby steps out of the shower one Friday morning, he realizes that something significant has happened — he is invisible. He enlists his parent's help, but quickly becomes frustrated at their inability to come up with a solution to the problem. Bobby decides to head to the public library. While he can bundle up to walk to the library, he can't take off his gloves and scarf without someone noticing that his clothes apppear to be empty. So, he slips into the restroom and takes off all his clothes. He meets a girl around his own age who is blind and winds up telling her his story. Together, they take things into their own hands to solve the mystery of what caused him to disappear.

I didn't notice until I got home from the library, but I had picked up two books whose titles read together were quite humorous: Mine Eyes Have Seen Things Not Seen. It wasn't intentional, but it does catch your attention.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Mine Eyes Have Seen

Mine Eyes Have Seen Much like The Education of Mary which I finished earlier this month, Mine Eyes Have Seen is a novel about real people and real events. Ann Rinaldi sets her book along the Maryland-Virginia border in late 1859 as John Brown gathers a private army and plans his raid on Harper's Ferry. Annie Brown, his 15-year-old daughter, joined Brown and two of her brothers to provide a semblance of normality and help conceal the covert activities of the men. The story is told through Annie's eyes, in the style of a journal.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Over Sea, Under Stone

Over Sea, Under Stone Upon recommendation, I purchased all five books of the Dark is Rising sequence as a boxed set just after Thanksgiving. Susan Cooper's fantasy series draws upon Celtic myths and British locales to spin the tale of struggle between good and evil, between dark and light.

Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in which we meet the three Drew children: Simon, Jane, and Barney. Together they follow the clues in an ancient manuscript in search of a grail hidden away by an Arthurian knight. Of course, the forces of evil known as the Dark are also seeking the grail and the children find themselves in peril.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Baen Free Library

Another site that has been brought to my attention is the Baen Free Library of science fiction and fantasy. I downloaded a book by Mercedes Lackey. There are several authors here in the free library that I've been wanting to check out. And, there are even more electronic books available for purchase. It's too difficult to read in bed with an electronic book, but it is an easy way to take lots of books with no additional weight. I could even drop several onto a memory stick.

A posting at the Purple Ink group at Yahoo! led me to Pseudo said, "So imagine my delight when I found They have thousands of books listed, and each has a series of questions designed to stimulate conversation in reading groups. While I don't belong to one (a somewhat private obsession, mine), I use the questions to cement in my mind the plot and details, then file it away." So, I visited the site and found that it was indeed wonderful.

I'm continually on the lookout for good books. I pay attention to what people are reading in the airport. I read other people's lists of favorite books. And now, I have another resource to help me locate a good read.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Education of Mary: A Little Miss of Color, 1832

The Education of Mary : A Little Miss of Color, 1832 This is one of the audio books that I "read" while commuting to and from the office over the past couple of weeks. I reached the end of the story just as I arrived in Grapevine this morning, so I returned it to the Grapevine Public Library.

Like the majority of Ann Rinaldi's historical fiction, this book stars characters who participated in the actual events told in the story. In 1832, Prudence Crandall decided to admit Sarah Harris as the first African American student in the boarding academy she ran in Canterbury, Connecticut. When the parents of the other students threatened to remove their daughters, Miss Crandall decided to close the school and reopen it as an academy for "young women and little misses of color". The Mary in the title is Sarah's younger sister who also attended the school, and the tale of the downfall of Miss Crandall's academy is told through her eyes.