Wednesday, June 28, 2006

August books;

It was mentioned that a WESTERN was in order! YES! (fist clenched in the air!) My most favorite "western" author of all time is Louis L'amour, his life history and intelligence make his books come alive, he did so much research, even to the point of talking to cowboys, gunslingers, miners and indians that actually lived during the wild west days.

After much panic and due deliberation I have chosen "Utah Blaine" by Louis Lamour. If you finish that and want more, "Tall Stranger" is a slim novel. It was the first grown-up book I ever read. I think I was five years old!

If you feel like extra western reading, Log of a Cowboy by Andy Adams captures the excitement and the reality of the old West before it was romanticized and mythologized by the movies and popular fiction. (all 1960 "westerns" make me grit my teeth and change the channel)

Now that I have gone on about the books that hit closest to home for me I DO hope you all at least derive a little enjoyment from them.


(Thanks, Bonnie! -- I think. ;)

So the official reading list for July is as follows, barring immediate objections (which I do not anticipate):

1. Atonement, by Ian McEwan (Anneke);

2. The Grasshopper Trap, by Patrick McManus (Carrie);

3. The Peterkin Papers, by Lucretia Hale (Rose); and

4. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Bonnie).

I've never read any Russian lit so C&P should prove interesting. Something tells me that I'm going to be glad we have two light reads in the process. =D This will be fun! I'll change the sidebar directly.

The only thing I was unable to read this month was The Da Vinci Code. All 45 million copies at the library were checked out the entire month. Eventually I will get a hold of one of them and will post commentary after reading it. However, it would appear I'm going to have to wait (as I refuse to buy the book). Did anyone else get a chance to read it?

BTW, August's picks go to Bonnie, Erika, Sky & Anneke. If you four have a book you want to go ahead and suggest to us now, please go right ahead! Rose & I will be back in the loop for September. Can you believe we've come this far? I've enjoyed it. You all have really opened new reading horizons for me. Thank you. I hope you have enjoyed this as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Book recommendation for July

I apologize for being so scatter-brained lately. For some reason, I'd forgotten how much time moving (especially moving off the mainland) can consume. Anyway, after great delay and with much embarrassment I'm posting my recommended book for July. I was able to get a library card the other day, and Crime and Punishment called to me from the bookshelves. I've already read the introduction, and it doesn't look as though it will be quite as ponderous as some of the other pieces of Russian literature I've encountered.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Before reading this book, my only exposure to Mark Twain's classic tale was the Bing Crosby movie version produced in 1949. It has been quite awhile since I've seen the movie, but I was pretty sure while reading that the book and the movie had little, if nothing, to do with one another. I had a hard time imagining Bing Crosby crooning through the pages of Twain's original work. Having just finished the book, I did a quick look up on Amazon to get a review of the movie, which I will post as follows:

"A half-century later, Mark Twain's yarn still doesn't seem like an ideal vehicle for Bing Crosby, and Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke certainly wrote better songs than those offered up here. Still, this droll 1949 musical, like its star, has an easygoing charm and affability that'll win over young and old alike. Der Bingle plays Hank, who wakes up in A.D. 528, rousted by palooka-like Sir Sagramore (William Bendix).

At Camelot, not even Hank's impending doom--not to mention the temporal disconnect--can stop him from making eyes at Alisande (Rhonda Fleming). Codgerly, chronically allergic Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke) is impressed with Hank's hubris and dubs him Sir Boss. Problems arise when Hank woos Alisande to Sir Lancelot's ire, while Merlin (Murvyn Vye) has it in for virtually everyone.

A too-convenient deus ex machina and truncated finale mute the happy ending. The story and the performances are understated amid the pomp of the lavish production values (Ray Rennahan's vivid camerawork handily takes it all in), but in these days of virulently overheated storytelling (even in family films), the casual nature of the work here seems a distinct virtue."

Yet another reason to be annoyed with Hollywood -- even if they did involve good ol' Bing.

To be honest, I had a hard time getting into the book. I found the dialogue boring and the story kind of hard to follow. It wasn't until Hank took off on his "quest" with Sandy that I started to become interested. After that, I was hooked.

I thought the most interesting thing about this book was that most of the time in stories dealing with time traveling, the characters traveling back in time are concerned about what they expose the earlier culture too. There seems to be a consciousness involved of not "jumping the gun" shall we say? The main character, Hank, shared no such scruples. He was interested in making Arthurian England as modern as possible, with little thought to the consequences. I was wondering how Twain would conclude this, as he remained silent on the issue of pre-exposure the entire book. I thought he had an interesting way of dealing with the problem in the end. (In case you haven't read it and/or finished it - I won't give it away.)

Right now I can't believe I've based my ideas of the story on Bing, as Twain was rather dark and depressing at times. I don't remember becoming choked up over the movie. I was bothered when the 18 year old mother was executed for stealing a piece of linen in the book. In a way, this book was rather similar to The Prince and the Pauper after Arthur decided he must disguise himself and join Hank in mingling with the masses. The same tales of woe and torture seem to spring out of the pages, very reminiscent of Prince and the Pauper. However, despite the similarities, I still enjoyed the story.

With all due respect to Mr. Crosby, whose talents I have enjoyed, he didn't do justice to the book at all.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Hmmm interesting. My MIL had a copy of this book so I snagged her copy for the quick read that it was. I definitely agree with eLr in saying it's not a book simply for children. I thought it examined the interests and obsessions of humans very well. It portrayed our selfishness.

How often I, too, get wrapped up in "things of consequence" that are little more than time wasters. I miss the bigger picture, the grand adventure and charming pictures all around me when I become consumed with details that don't matter. I think that was what struck me most when reading the book. When we're kids - we're delighted with the world around us. As we grow up - our imaginations are shaken by realities and hardships. Yes, adults are to be pitied sometimes. Myself included. (Am I REALLY all grown up?)

But there's still magic and I think this book was a good reminder not to ignore it.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Another Sky pick which translates: A happy, good time.

Light reading. This book won't take long to read, in part because its so fun you just don't want to put it down. The pages whirl by.

I liked the idea of a senior citizen finding a new career in life. I like the idea of finally setting out to do something that you've always wanted to do. Truthfully, she reminded me a bit of J's grandmother who passed away earlier this year. She looked for the good in situations and people and made light of what would send other people to their beds for months on end. That is, in essence, Mrs. Pollifax. With a twist of violence, and hint of mystery, of course.

Thanks for the entertainment!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Indo Dreaming

By Neil Grant

"My dead friend is sending me postcards. It's like a voice from hell".
So says the cover of this surfing odyssey set in Australia and Indonesia.
The book has it all: action, romance, mystery and very believable characters who work their way through the story line.
I enjoyed reading about the surfing (a skill I do not possess)and the adventures of Goog were very believable. The end of the story is very unpredictable!

Sky says;
I saw this review when I typed the wrong blog address;

It intrigued me. I need to read it.

And then I was reminded of one of my favorite openers, it's from Quest for a Maid by Frances May Hendry. "When I was nine years old I hid under a table and heard my sister kill a king."
It's a fiction for youth based on the history and legend of the little princess from Norroway who was to save the Kingdom by marriage to Prince Edward of England.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


We're halfway through the year, do you realize? Waa haa haa! This has been great fun so far. I've enjoyed it anyway. You gals have stretched me and entertained me with your book selections. Thanks! So for July, after scrolling through archives, I would propose the following:

1. A book to be selected by Bonnie as the newest member. BLF, your reputation will be staked on your first selection. ;) Please remember this. No pressure.

2. A book to be selected by Rose. Since we're doing Beau Geste this month, perhaps we can go with something other than a swashbuckler?

3. Atonement, by Ian McEwan (Anneke);

4. The Grasshopper Trap, by Patrick McManus (Carrie).

Also, when you leave your comments/votes for July, can you leave some other suggestions of books you'd like us all to read together? Thanks!


Ladies, I think we've all read a large variety of "relationship" books, whether on being single, dating, or marriage.

I think it could be helpful to put together a list of the good, bad, and ugly (with our book reviews as supporting evidence, of course); this way we can collectively read the good ones, and not all waste our time on the bad ones.

I've read:
I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Josh Harris
Boy Meets Girl, Josh Harris
Courtship, Doug Wilson
Finding Your Million Dollar Mate
....many more that I can't remember right now

Any takers?