Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Three Dog Life

A THREE DOG LIFE: A MEMOIR by Abigail Thomas (Harcourt, c2006, ISBN 0-15-101211-3) is a story of love, life, tragedy, and coping with a few furry friends thrown in for understanding.

The book starts out:
This is the only thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt.

On Monday, April 24, 2000, Abigail was called by the door watchman to inform her that her husband, Rich, had been struck by a car just down the street from their New York City home. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and Abigail must learn to do all of the aforementioned things which she does with the help of her dogs (my favorite is Rosie, half dachshund/half whippet).

Because I have this "thing" about learning something from every book I ever read, I was afraid that it would be a challenge with this book because:
A)It's a memoir; and
B)It's very short (182 pages)

However, I was thrilled to learn about "Outsider" Art. Outsider Art, a synonym for Art Brut (which translates as Raw Art or Rough Art) describes art created outside the boundaries of official culture; creator of the label, French artist Jean Dubuffet, focused particularly on art by insane asylum inmates.

Google it. It's an interesting topic.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Childhood memories

The other day I had an experience that flashed me to a book from my childhood. I was in the bathroom of a public building and a very important meeting was about to happen. As I stood in the bathroom, I began to wonder if I could hide out in there and if anybody would notice. I wondered what I could get away with if I wasn't discovered by anyone. And I knew, as an adult, that people would notice that I'd not emerged and come looking to kick me out.

As I went to regail my stealthy behavior to friends standing outside, I called it my FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg (Aladdin Books, c1967, ISBN 0-689-71181-6)moment and I remembered reading that book as a child, which prompted me to check it out again and reread it, if only for nostalgia sake.
The book, the 1968 Newbury award winner, is about Claudia and Jamie Kincaid who run away to New York City and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by hiding out in the bathroom until the museum is shut up for the night. While there, they learn about Angel, a statue that may or may not have been a work of Michelangelo. They strive to learn all about the statue and decide they must meet Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the donor, to learn the secret about Angel--who has some secrets of her own.

The first sentence of the book is from a letter written by Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

"To my lawyer, Saxonberg:

I can't say that I enjoyed your last visit.

On a local note and to read about our own artist, Paco Rosic, who created Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with spray paint on the ceiling of a downtown business here in Waterloo, click here and here. His work is astounding and growing in popularity across the country.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fatal Instinct

I set out to read the entire Jessica Coran series after reading about one of them on a listserv to which I belong. This is the second and I liked this book better than the first.
FATAL INSTINCT by Robert W. Walker (Diamond, c1993, ISBN 1-55773-950-1) is set in New York City and Dr. Jessica Coran is working alongside Alan Rychman to help them solve the case of "The Claw" where women are being brutalized by a madman who is disemboweling them and feasting on their innards. Will Jessica be next?
Probably not, because I think I have ten books to go in the series, but I always love how reviewers end paragraphs with questions like that so I thought I'd try it.

This book starts out:

Each day that Gerald Ray Sims awoke in the Federal Penitentiary for the Criminally Insane, he was amazed at having survived another night locked up with Stainlype.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Motor Mouth

MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich (Harper Collins, c2006, ISBN 0-06-058403-3) is the second in the series featuring Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby, the mechanic, and Sam Hooker, NASCAR driver extraordinaire. This book also features, Beans, a food lovin' Saint Bernard.

Set in Miami, Florida, Barney and Hooker get into trouble when they steal a chip from a competitor's racecar that is worth a lot of money; it appears it is worth more than their lives!

Written in first person, this book is a very simplistic read with a lot of supporting characters (almost too many for my taste) and I like the Stephanie Plum series better, but that doesn't stop me from reading every book this woman writes. I'm an addict, what can I say?

The book begins:

Sometimes there's a decision to be made between winning fairly and cheating for a good cause.

That's a good first sentence that can relate to many things in life, although I am a 'winning fairly' kind-of-girl. I don't lie, cheat or steal--I sound like a country song. Could this be why I'm a country girl at heart?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Angels Fall

Normally, I do not read Nora Roberts. Or Danielle Steel. Or Sandra Brown. Or any other author who writes a typical romance. I don't like them.
However, some of these authors have leaned lately towards the romantic suspense which I enjoy from time to time. Some I've outright loved and this one was one of the better ones I've read.
In Nora Roberts, ANGELS FALL, (GP Putnam's Sons, c2006, ISBN 0-399-15372-1)Reece Gilmore has come to Angel's Fist, Wyoming and decided to settle down, temporarily.

Reece was the sole survivor of a brutal massacre in Boston where she lived (side note: I lived in Weston, MA working as a nanny a lifetime ago, which is just about 15 minutes from Boston-- a very cool place to live) and worked as a chef.
She's been running from her nightmares when she lands in Wyoming and takes up a job as a cook in a local diner. While out one day she witnesses a murder and sinister things begin to happen. Is she going crazy or is someone out to gaslight her?
This was a good, quick read with enjoyable characters and a setting that seems exotic to my cornfields and small town politics, although Roberts' grasp on small town living was dead-on. Her love interest, Brody, a sexy, brooding author type is a definite plus as well.
The first sentence:
Reece Gilmore smoked through the tough knuckles of Angel's Fist in an overheating Chevy Cavalier.

I have her book, NORTHERN LIGHTS, on my shelf to read soon as well as the rest of the Eve Dallas books of the IN DEATH series.

Grave Sight

GRAVE SIGHT by Charlaine Harris (Berkley Prime Crime, c2005, ISBN 0-425-21289-0) is different from her other books, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...only different.
In this book, the first in a series, Harper Connelly and Tolliver Lang, step-siblings are in Sarne, Arkansas for a job. When Harper was a teenager, she was struck by lightning and now has the ability to 'feel' dead people. She and Tolliver travel cross-country as consultants using her abilities in a free-lance style.

This book has an interesting premise to it although I'm not sure yet how I feel entirely about the characters. It's also written in first person which has never been my favorite, however, I will read the second book before passing judgement.

On the other hand, her Sookie Stackhouse books are also written in first person, and I adore those, but if I remember correctly, it took me until book three of that series before I swore I would read each and every one forthcoming. So there may just be more to these characters that I'm not grasping, yet. We'll see how it goes.

This book begins:

The silent witnesses lie everywhere, passing from one form of matter to another, gradually becoming unrecognizable to their nearest and dearest.


STRIPPED by Brian Freeman (St. Martin's Minotaur, c2006, ISBN 978-0-312-34044-5) is the second book in his series featuring Jonathan Stride and Serena Dial.

In this book, Jonathan is working the streets of Las Vegas where he landed at the end of his last book. He is involved with Serena and working with Amanda Gillen, a cop on the force, who nobody seems to care for, but Jonathan likes her.

The story centers around the mysterious death of Amira Luz, a Vegas showgirl in the 1960's who was murdered. Someone is avenging her death, present day, and working his way up the ladder.
This book is told in four parts and I enjoyed the fluid writing although this book has a great many characters to keep track of. I preferred his first book, IMMORAL, better but only because of the Midwest element (and I'm a Midwest girl), however the supporting characters in this book were more real to me, so it's a draw. I'll just look forward to the next book to serve as the deciding the vote. I am glad I found Freeman upon his debut and I look forward to his next book, whether it be an installment in this series or something new.

This book starts out:

She slipped the robe off her shoulders, and the white silk gathered in a pod of accordion folds at her feet.