My Week . . .

Way back in the 1960’s I started reading the detective novels of P.D. James. I read everything she wrote, but I really loved her long-lasting “star” Adam Dalgliesh. I just kept on reading them until, finally in the late 1990s I got tired of them.

Recently, however. I read a small book of nonfiction that sparked renewed interest in the author. Its called Talking About Detective Fiction. It’s a little bit of detective-novel history going back to the early 1880s, but mostly about her process of writing mysteries. I also enjoyed reading her opinion of the other great detective writers. This is an interesting resource for those of us who love good crime and mystery novels.

After reading Talking About Detective Fiction I now have a nice list of books I want to read mentioned by thew author. But, I also decided to go back and read a couple of P.D. James’ earlier books again. I started with the very first one in the Adam Dalgliesh series, Cover Her Face, first published in 1962. Its been so long that I actually had forgotten most of it, and especially the who-done-it.

This is the tale of the death of a housemaid at a big house in the British countryside. There is the classic locked door and about six to seven suspects. We learn the back-story of nearly everyone, which I like, and a good explanation of the house as well as the area around the house. When Chief Inspector Dalgliesh shows up the story steps up to the level of smart detecting. Dalgliesh is very smart, deliberate, a serious student of human behavior as well as social behavior. I do remember that Dalgliesh is a poet but I didn’t see any of that in this novel. I guess I’ll have to keep re-reading P.D. James.

That was a nice treat for me and perhaps I need to go back and re-read more often. Speaking of re-reading, I also re-read a book for one of my book clubs: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I read and reviewed this book back in 2014. I really loved this book then and still did on this re-read. I was surprised that most of the book club members enjoyed it too. We are a group of people over 65 and the book is a gritty look at the lives of two teenagers back in the 1980s. There is a liberal use of swear words, which I know some don’t like. Surprise! They loved ir anyway. If you haven’t yet read this popular young adult novel, check it out today.

In the non-reading portion of my life:

My husband and I are doing a little extra childcare with our grandson, Tz, while his nanny is gone for a few months. He goes to preschool in the morning and we pick him up and spend the afternoon together. Before we started this “project” we outlined a large variety of things we could do with this lively and curious four-year-old.

Today I want to show you what he and his Papa made. This is a handyman family so Tz is already familiar with most tools and home equipment. Using a Montessori handbook, they made this kid-sized workbench using – mostly – leftover materials and supplies.

Then Papa covered him with an old t-shirt and let him paint the bench in his favorite color. There was paint on the shoes and in he hair, but fortunately it was washable paint. Everyone had fun. Tz is trying to show you two thumbs up in the picture above so you know he’s happy with his project.

Well, we are all looking forward to this nice long holiday weekend. I hope you are too and that it’s nothing but sunny skies wherever you are. Happy Memorial Day.

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Wondrous Words #397

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.

Last week I listened to the audiobook vesion of All By Myself, Alone by Mary Higgins Clark. I heard a new word and decided to look it up. It’s not that easy when you just hear the word. Here’s what I heard:

The man was suffering from hypothermia and numonitis.

It took some doing, but I finally figured out the numonitis is actually pneumonitis.

Pneumonitis or pulmonitis is an inflammation of lung tissue. Many factors can cause pneumonitis, including breathing in animal dander, aspiration (inhaling small food particles or vomit “down the wrong pipe”), and receiving radiation therapy to the chest.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: Cover Her Face by P.D. James

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

I’m an old fan of P.D. James and I picked up her first novel to read it again. Let me share the opening paragraph of Cover Her Face.

 

Chapter One

Exactly three months before the killing at Martingale Mrs, Maxie gave a dinner party. Years later, when the trial was a half-forgotten scandal and the headlines were yellowing on the newspaper lining of cupboard drawers, Eleanor Maxie looked back on that spring evening as the opening scene of tragedy. Memory, selective and perverse, invested what had been a perfectly ordinary dinner party with an aura of foreboding and unease. It became, in retrospect, a ritual gathering under one roof of victims and suspects, a stated preliminary to murder. In fact not all the suspects had been present. Felix Hearne, for one, was not at Martingale that week-end. Yet, in her memory, he too sat at Mrs. Maxie’s table, watching with amused, sardonic eyes the opening antics of the players.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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My Week . . .

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on me. I had an excellent reading week. It makes me say – “This is why I read.”

I’ve just finished reading what is – so far – one of the best books I’ve read this year: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. I’m not the only one who feels this way. This was a book club choice and, for the first time in a long time, every member of our book club felt as I did. I was surprised at this because we pride ourselves on our variety of opinions on books.

What made me and members of my book club love this book so much? Its simple. Its the incredible character at the center of the novel – the gentleman in Moscow. Count Alexander Rostov has been put on House Arrest at the Metropole Hotel. The only thing he has done wrong is to be born an aristocrat. But then, its 1922 and the Bolsheviks are in charge, so what can he do?

The Metropole Hotel in Moscow is a real hotel.

The Count no longer has his luxurious suite. Instead he is given an extremely small room in the attic. But with all the insults he received, the Count makes almost an instinctively choice about his attitude and on how he will continue to live his life. Reading this novel now, for me, came at just the right time. I do pay attention to politics and I’ve been seriously worried about the character of some of our leaders. Meeting Alexander Rostov, a man with incredible integrity, kindness, and honor made the difference for me. It was terrific to spend so much time (18 hours on audio) with the Count. It reminded me that, yes, no matter where they are or their circumstances, there will always be people of good character. Thanks to the author Amor Towles for introducing the Count to us.

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I also read Song Of The Lion by Anne Hillerman. This is the third novel by Anne Hillerman in her Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee series started by her late father, Tony Hillerman. I’m really enjoying this continuing series. The characters and the landscape is still the same, but there are slight changes – at least I think so. The novels seem to focus more on Manuelita, Jim Chee’s wife. We are at least seeing more of Manuelita’s interior life.

Song Of the Lion opens when Manuelito hears a bomb going off outside a school gym while she is attending a local basketball game. Mamuelito manages to get help in controlling the crowd, getting emergency help, and the F.B.I.’s bomb squad. Only one person was killed and no injuries. Who is the dead guy and was he the bomber or just an innocent bystander?

As Manuelito works on this case she finds a link to something her husband Jim is working on. Jim has been assigned to do body guard service for a man who is leading the mediation team of people who want to develop a resort at the Grand Canyon and all those who oppose it. Someone wants him dead. Along the way we get a good look at what’s happening in that special world of New Mexico/Arizona. It was an enjoyable visit.

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One of the other things I’ve been doing is  watching Iron Chef Gauntlet for a couple of months now. Sunday will be the final show in the current series to see if Chef Stephanie Izard can survive the “guantlet” of cooking against three of the premium Iron Chefs. She’s already beat seven other chefs to have this chance. For me it’s fun to see how and what these amazings cooks will cook and serve during a limited time slot. Stephanie’s cooking has been very creative and she seems to keep her cool. I’m pulling for her to make it.

That’s it for me this week. I hope you’ve had a good week too.

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Wondrous Words #396

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.

In the NY Times Opinion newsletter, written by David Leonhardt, I found this word:

fulsomely: Rosenstein wrote a memo that claimed James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, was fired for his handling of the Hillary Clinton inquiry that Trump and Sessions had once praised fulsomely.

Fulsomely is an adverb which means complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

I’m so glad that Anne Hillerman is continuing the series her late father, Tony Hillerman, started. Its so enjoyable to keep up with the adventures of Jim Chee and his wife, Bernie Manuelito and even Joe Leaphorn. Here’s how the newest book in the series begins:

 

Chapter One

Navajo Police Officer Bernadette Manuelito stood in the lobby of the Shiprock High School gym, fondly known as the Chieftain Pit of Pain, trying to decide if she should buy a hot dog or a Frito pie from the booster’s stand. Despite the decibel level produced by more than a thousand fans screaming and stomping on the bleachers, she recognized the new sound even as she felt the building shake.

In Bernie’s mind, the noise from the parking lot changed everything. She nudged back her panic and hurried toward the exit, pushing through a few folks also hoping to leave the building. They sensed danger and wanted to escape; she headed toward it.

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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My Week . . .

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. I’ve had a fun and busy reading week. First, I posted earlier this week my thoughts on American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That was an amazing book and now a TV series! There is nothing like a Neil Gaiman novel.

I also read Silence of the Jams by Gayle Leeson. This was a lovely surprise – a win from Candace at Beth Fish Reads. Believe me, I needed to read a light-hearted cozy mystery after the intensity of American Gods. Silence of the Jams (don’t you love the title?) features cafe owner and super-cook, Amy Flowers. Her Down South Cafe has only been open several months, so Amy is still trying to build its customer base.

The last thing she needs is a customer dropping dead while eating a meal at her cafe. Amy has a natural affinity for chatting up and gossiping with certain residents of the small town. Its the perfect way to narrow down the suspects. Having a boyfriend who works for the sheriff’s department also helps. There was a lot of talk about food, primarily menus for breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately, nothing I was excited about. However, I did enjoyed this fun cozy mystery. I must be losing my touch – I didn’t predict the final culprit.

I also read All By Myself, Alone a Mary Higgins Clark novel this week. A friend told me the plot which sounded good, so I picked it up when I saw it at the library. I was about half-way through it when it seemed like this might be a book from a series. Sure enough – it’s number 11 in the Alvirah and Willy series. Here’s what its about:

A very sleek and luxurious ocean liner is on its maiden voyage. On board are some very wealthy people and those who work for them plus a few others. There is a Lady Emily, a very wealthy woman who has brought along quite a number of her jewels including a necklace believed to have been the last thing Cleopatra wore. Several people on board covet the necklace, but will they commit murder to get it?

Celia is another passenger who befriends Lady Emily. She’s a gemologist who was hired by the cruise ship to give lectures as part of the entertainment. Also on board is a couple who won the lottery several years ago. The wife, Alvirah, is quite the detective so, when Lady Emily is murdered, she and her husband Willy jump in and do what amateur detectives do well – poke their noses into all sorts of places and gather enough tidbits until they solve the crime. It was a fun change of pace to read this very good mystery.

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What I Watched:

My husband and I saw a very inspirational documentary called Tomorrow at our local theater.

“Tomorrow is an optimistic documentary about saving the planet. Actress Melanie Laurent, who directed the movie, traveled the globe in search of innovative ways people have devised to counter climate change, economic inequality, and other critical issues.” (from Variety)

We saw communities of people all over the world working in innovative ways to solve energy problems, grow food all over a busy city, change a school system in Finland, a town in England that prints its own money, changing city streets in Copenhagen to promote more bike riding, city-wide composting in San Francisco, and so on.

We came out of the theater believing that people all over the world are working to solve some of the greatest challenges facing all of us. I hope you all have a chance to see this hopeful and inspirational film.

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Wondrous Words #395

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 was reading author Louise Penny’s monthly newsletter when I came across a new word. She was quoting part of a sonnet written by William Wordsworth.

vicissitude:  “But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?”

Vicissitude (vəˈsisəˌt(y)o͞od) is a noun meaning a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

I’m reading A Gentleman In Moscow for an upcoming book club meeting. I’m just barely into it so I don’t have an opinion yet. Here’s how the story begins:

 

1922
An Ambassador

At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gate of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim. The sky was the very blue that the cupolas of St. Basil’s had been painted for. Their pinks, greens, and golds shimmered as if it were the sole purpose of a religion to cheer its Divinity. Even the Bolshevik girls conversing before the windows of the State Department Store seemed dressed to celebrate the last days of spring.

 

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.

 

Posted in First Paragraph | 6 Comments