Wondrous Words #354

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found a new word this past week while reading Charm City by Laura Lippman:

1. malaprops: “This wishy-washy tendency, combined with his thick Baltimore accent and talent for malaprops, made him virtually incomprehensible to anyone but Spike.”

A malaprop is the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect.

That’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

I’m featuring Elizabeth Strout’s latest book, My Name Is Lucy Barton. So far I’m really  enjoying the book. I’m a little more than half-way through. This book is different from the author’s other two books that I read. I’ll share my thoughts later this week. Here’s how the story begins:

Lucy BartonThere was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks. This was in New York City, and at night a view of the Chrysler Building, with its geometric brilliance of lights, was directly visible from my bed. During the day, the building’s beauty receded, and gradually it became simply one more large structure against a blue sky, and all the city’s buildings seemed remote, silent, far away. It was May, and then June, and I remember how I would stand and look out the window at the sidewalk below and watch the young women—my age—in their spring cloths, out on their lunch breaks; I could see their heads moving in conversation, their blouses rippling in the breeze. I thought how when I to out of the hospital I would never again walk down the sidewalk without giving thanks for being one of those people, and for many years I did that—I would remember the view from the hospital window and ge glad for the sidewalk was walking on. 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

 

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Look To The Sky

Last week the night sky was so beautiful with the full moon and bright crisp stars. I’ve never been able to capture that beauty with my camera. Fortunately, my daughter Candice doesn’t have that problem. Enjoy her photo.

Full Moon (Candice)

I love the “big sky” country found in parts of the western US. Here’s one from Colorado.

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And one from Nevada.

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The skies in Alaska are always amazing.

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When you live in drought-country like we do here in northern California, we tend to rejoice when we see a sky like this one: Storm Clouds Over the Vineyards.

Stormy Skies

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I’m linking this post with others who participate at Saturday Snapshot located at West Metro Mommy Reads. For more information, visit her website.

Saturday Snapshot

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One More Book Series: Charm City by Laura Lippman

Charm CityI’ve been waning to read a book in Laura Lippmn’s Tess Monaghan series for a long time. I saw a copy of Charm City on sale and grabbed it, thinking I was getting the first book in the series. As it turned out, Charm City is the second book in the series. I was quite a few chapters in before I realized that, but it didn’t matter.

Charm City refers to Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a wonderful setting for a detective novel. To me, it also seemed to be one of the ancillary characters. The city has had lots of set-backs, but is always hopeful about the future. Tess Monaghan also fits that description. She’s a tough, tenacious reporter who has switched to being a tough, tenacious private investigator.

Tess doesn’t have her P.I. license yet, but she does have an office in a law firm and she’s had some paying clients. In this story one of Baltimore’s leading newspapers hires Tess to figure out who pushed through a story onto the front page when there was no editorial approval. It’s a controversial story about a man trying to land an new NBA team for the city. It exposes the newspaper to possible lawsuits. Tess digs in to the case,, but has more to investigate when the man dies, supposedly from suicide. Tess suspects murder and digs deeper.

This was an excellent, fast-moving story. There were some pretty intense moments as well as some light-hearted ones. I really liked Tess and most of the characters I met. I’m looking forward to meeting them again in future books. There was a side mystery about Tess’ uncle and a greyhound dog that was also interesting. It was a great way to meet Tess family and gave the whole story a richer quality.

In the end the author tied up all the loose ends which I always appreciate. I definitely want to know more about this author. Overall, I can wholeheartedly recommend Charm City. I liked it so much that I’m off to find the next book in the series. Have you read any books in the series? What did you think?

Posted in B+, Mysteries | 2 Comments

Wondrous Words #353

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I’m such a big fan of the book reviews in the New  York Times. They give me a thorough analysis of a book I’m thinking about reading, with often an added bonus of a new word or two.. This week I read a Times review of Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler and found this word:

demimonde: Ever since Anthony Bourdain, our tribal king, published his peerless “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000, we, the demimonde of Professional Restaurant, have glutted the bookstores with more accountings of ourselves and our work than anyone could possibly wish to read.

Demimonde, as you have probably guessed, originated in France. In 19th-century France the class of women considered to be of doubtful morality and social standing were given this label. Today it refers to a group of people considered to be on the fringes of respectable society. For example: the demimonde of arms deals.

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Only one word for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? Charm City by Laura Lippman

I’ve been wanting to dabble in the Tess Monaghan mystery series for quite a while. I grabbed Charm City when I saw it at a book sale. I’m about a third of the way in and I really like Tess. She’s an interesting combination of lovable and heartwarming and “bad-ass girl.” Here’s how the book begins:

Charm CityNothing wet was falling from the sky. No snow, no ice, no hail, no rain changing to sleet, no sleet changing to rain. And that was reason enough, Tess Monaghan decided, to feel celebratory. She would walk home from work instead of taking her usual bus, maybe stop at Bertha’s and squinch up her nose at the tourists eating mussels, or nurse something warm and alcoholic at Henniger’s. A March Monday night in Baltimore would never be Mardi Gras, or even Lundi Gras, but it would have its moments, for savvy natives inclined to seek them out. Tess was inclined. For the first time in more than two years, she had a full-time job and a full-time boyfriend. Her life might not have the party-all-the-time euphoria of a beer commercial, but it was definitely edging into international Coffee Territory.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

Posted in First Paragraph | 9 Comments

How Do You Like Your Biscuits?

I know that in Great Britain biscuits are what we in the US call cookies. Over here biscuits are a versatile quick bread served at many American tables. I have American biscuits on Biscuit Club Sandwichmy mind today. Actually, biscuits are always on my mind whenever I’m visiting my eldest daughter in Portland, Oregon. Not only does my daughter make wonderful biscuits, but whenever I am here we always visit Pine State Biscuit.

Yes, I’m up here visiting my daughter and her family. As usual, we made our pilgrimage to this mecca of biscuit baking. Pine State Biscuits is a small chain of restaurants where the menu is focused around the breaded treat. Biscuits don’t sit on the side of the plate. They are the main feature in a variety of dishes and served all day long.

Yesterday when we visited I was thinking about all the different things people put on top of their biscuits. I ordered a plain biscuit and a few toppings. My husband, who grew up with biscuits at breakfast time, likes his biscuits with butter and honey. I like mine with jam. Here in Oregon that would be marionberry jam. (Marionberry is a blackberry developed by the USDA and Oregon State University.)

Biscuit w: toppingsI also tried my biscuit with apple butter (a spicy, textured accompaniment to the biscuit) and gravy. Biscuits and Gravy are a staple at many restaurants, but here at Pine State you can have them with their own homemade sausage gravy or mushroom gravy. They both have a kick to them. They are not like the bland biscuits and gravy you get at most diners. The other interesting topping I tried is their house-made pimento cheese. I usually love pimento cheese, and their’s is delicious. I just didn’t like it with my biscuit.

Overall, I enjoyed my sampling of the various toppings on that yummy biscuit. I will have to say, however, that I also love the restaurant’s various creations such as the club sandwich you see in the photo at the top of the page. You can’t see it, but there’s a slice of bacon just above the bottom half of the biscuit. Next is a slice of crisply fried chicken and then lettuce, tomato and as much bleu-cheese dressing as desired. And that is a great way to top a biscuit. What do you like on your biscuits?

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I’m linking this post to Weekend Cooking. You can find more Weekend Cooking  posts at Beth Fish Reads.

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Posted in Food Talk, Weekend Cooking | 13 Comments

Meet Stone Barrington

Scandalous BehaviorI discovered Scandalous Behavior at the library. I brought it home, started reading and immediately became fascinated by the main character in an odd way. His name is Stone Barrington. He’s extremely rich – rich enough that, after having been shown an estate for sale in England, he whipped out his checkbook and bought it.

One of the perks of the estate is that it has its own private air strip. How nice. Barrington can now fly his private jet in and out of his own estate without bothering with things like baggage claim or customs. (The customs people come to him.) So, he’s a pilot who owns his own jet. In addition he owns several homes and apartments and various companies.

Barrington is the head of his own law firm in New York. Back in his earlier life, from what I can tell, he graduated from law school, but became a cop rather than take the bar exam. I’ve also learned he’s been an investigator and has done some international intelligence work. He also has friends in high places such as in British Intelligence and the FBI.

Barrington is what they used to call a “ladies man.” He seems to have a variety of women in his bed – not all at once. Although I don’t like his attitude and behavior toward women, he reminds me of James Bond. – the Sean Connery version of James Bond. I don’t admire his behavior, but its fun seeing what the man will do next.

How did this guy go from cop to jet-flying millionaire?

New York DeadSince Scandalous Behavior was book number 36 in the series, I decided to go back to the beginning. New York Dead is book one. Right from the beginning I met Barrington, the police detective, who witnessed the “fall” of a woman from a 12-story building. Did she fall or jump or was she pushed or thrown? Barrington is on the case. There are a couple of twists to the story: the woman disappeared somehow after being put into the ambulance. Also, the woman was a well-known anchor on a local news show.

It’s interesting to follow Barrington’s style as he maneuvers through town trying to gather facts. He’s not as flashy as James Bond, but is working on becoming very suave. We also meet his partner Dino who will turn out to be a life-long friend. He was part of the story in book number 36.

I honestly can’t tell you why I liked these two books and Stone Barrington. I just did. Am I going to read the other 34? Probably not all of them. I think I’ll skip through the list and sample a few here and there until my curiosity about this character is satisfied. The library has them all, the librarian tells me. “They’re very popular with men.”

Posted in Mysteries | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wondrous Words #352

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

My two new words this week come courtesy of author Scott Turow. He wrote an excellent book review in the New York Times about Laura Lippman’s latest book, Wilde Lake. Here they are:

1.  elegiac: “Wilde Lake” is engrossing, suspenseful and substantial, it’s wit easing a sober, somewhat elegiac air.

Elegiac (eləˈjīək or eˈlējēˌak) is an adjective meaning something has a mournful quality or is wistfully mournful.

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2.  verisimilitude: My own interpretation is that all novels are hobbled at their end by a fundamental problem of verisimilitude: Life goes on, but a novel does not.

Verisimilitude (verəsəˈmiliˌt(y)o͞od|)  is a noun meaning the appearance of being true or real.

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That’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? New York Dead by Stuart Woods

For some reason, I’m reading a lot of series books lately. I blame the library for this. They always have an enticing display of the latest books. I grab one, take it home, start reading and then discover it’s the latest book in a series with a  bazillion books ahead of it. In the case of this Stuart Woods book, I really liked #36 and decided to go back and see how it all began. Here’s the first paragraph:

New York DeadChapter 1

Elaine was late. The place had exhausted its second wind, and half the customers had gone; otherwise she would not have given Stone Barrington quite so good a table—number 4, along the wall to your right as you enter. Stone knew Elaine, had known her for years, but he was not what you would call a regular—not what Elaine would call a regular.

He rested his left leg on a chair and unconsciously massaged the knee. Elaine got down from her stool at the cash register, walked over, and pulled up a chair.

“So?”

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

Posted in First Paragraph | 8 Comments