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So I have moved to Maryland, which I don't think I've mentioned here, and taken a very low-key day job at a youth development nonprofit. I am enjoying the job a whole ton, and not really enjoying Maryland very much (plus I am far away from my six-month-old nephew, which is hard). I've cut back a bit on my freelance work, although I still have space in my schedule for a few clients each month, never fear!

But I also -- and this is the real astonishment -- have space in my schedule to read.

I'll tell you what, though, I don't think Nora Roberts wrote the "In Death" books with the expectation that anyone would ever read forty of them in a row in under a month. But that is what I have done, and I say unto you... do not do it.

Although I did, surprisingly enough, enjoy book #32, Salvation in Death -- it really stood out from all the others in a good way. There was much less of Roarke's Irish eyes and poet's mouth, and more murder and mayhem and mystery.

When I was rereading the first 10 or so books in the series, what struck me was how much they are like the first two seasons of Castle!

I also recently read the auto/biography of King Peggy of Otuam in Ghana, which I enjoyed a whole ton. An entire ton, that is how much I enjoyed it. The conceit of writing it in the third person did throw me off a little bit, but it read kind of like a fairy tale in a lot of ways, and I think that was the point.

Next up: Other People's Houses by Lore Segal.

What are you reading?
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Book meme, you make me so happy. I love reading everyone's answers to these prompts.

Related (to books, anyway): did you all see this NPR article about how Barnes & Noble is up for sale? Someone please buy it for me -- my smart, clever, knowledgeable friends and I would do such a good job running that company!

Day 12 - A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times

Oooh, where to begin? As a kid, I was really into The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and, of course, the Anne books. I've read all of the books in those series multiple times -- way more than five.

I've read both of Candas Jane Dorsey's, plus all her books of poetry, more than five times. All of Linda Howard's early single titles, a few Nora Roberts single titles from the 90s -- Montana Sky, Genuine Lies, Public Secrets, and, of course, the first Nora Roberts book I ever read: Honest Illusions.

I also used to reread the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder all the time, and Little Men and Jo's Boys, both of which I liked a whole lot more than I ever liked Little Women -- although my ultimate favorite Alcott book is An Old-Fashioned Girl, which I'd read way more than five times before I ever bothered to pick up Little Women.

[Those Alcott links all go to Project Gutenberg, where you can download those books in various formats for free.]

I will also totally admit to loving several Star Trek tie in novels -- number one on my list of loved Star Trek books is Federation by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, which I have read a bunch of times. And, of course, one of my favorite books when I was a teenager obsessed with Troi and Riker: Imzadi by Peter David! I keep meaning to go back and reread it, but I'm pretty dubious that it has stood the test of time (unlike Federation, which I just reread a few years ago and loved just as much).

And, finally, I was ten or so, my mom got a copy of Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson, which I loved, and read several times. Another book (series!) I got from my mother when I was eight or nine was the Mrs. Pollifax series, about a gardening grandmother who gets a job working for the C.I.A., starting with The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. Oh, how I loved Mrs. Pollifax!

How about you folks? Talk about books you reread often!

Other days of the book meme )
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Ugh, what's with today today? I think I am ordering pizza for supper. Some days, cooking is just beyond me!

Day 09 - Best scene ever

I know that I put together this meme, so I could have edited this day's prompt to be whatever I want. And I did do that with some prompts, but I've met a lot of people who actually have favorite scenes that they read over and over again -- and I want to know about them! I personally do not have a favorite scene, though, not from any book. (I do have a favorite kissing scene, though, which I'll talk about on Day 20!)

There are types of scenes, though, that I almost always love. They are the scenes in which a character demonstrates knowledge of a field. For example, I am reading the new Nora Roberts, The Search, right now, a few chapters every night before bed. (I am deliberately spreading out my reading of it, so that I have it until Faithful Place by Tana French gets here.) The heroine of this book is a dog trainer, and is helping the hero train his new dog. Above and beyond that, she also trains Search and Rescue dogs and dog teams, and quite a few scenes in the book are set during the training of various dogs. And people! She's very specific about how she also trains people, and there is a great scene where she teaches the owner of a yappy dog how to be the alpha dog in the pack.

I love scenes like that. Scenes where I know that the author is demonstrating the competency of a character while at the same time also demonstrating that they did their research -- and it all ties into the book, is all exposition and character development combined. (I think a reader can tell a lot about a character by the way the character reacts to being taught something. Ditto people in real life.)

Yeah, there are some books/authors who go overboard on this kind of thing for my taste -- particularly in historical novels, I sometimes feel like I am being given a history lesson instead of learning about the world and the characters.

Another book I am reading right now is Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell, which, of course, I've read before, as it's the first Kay Scarpetta book, and I love Kay Scarpetta. Medical examiner mystery/suspense novel!

(Clicking through to that Amazon page, I read the Publishers Weekly review, which calls Kay's "self-aggrandizement and interminable complaints" "annoying flaws" -- and I am sort of baffled. Kay's really good at her job, and she knows it, and life for a woman who is good at her job in a male-dominated field wasn't exactly easy in 1989/1990. Not that it's easy now either, but come on! I actually find Kay's struggles with men who won't listen to her or take her seriously to be remarkably realistic -- depressingly so. But I like the books, so I guess I'm biased? Except those things really contribute to how much I like the book and the series, rather than detract.)

Anyway, Kay explains a lot of medical and criminal stuff -- and, okay, yeah, nowadays we can all armchair profile a serial killer, thanks to Criminal Minds and Profiler and Bones, but when I read this book for the first time, I think I was probably around twelve years old, and I was really into the explanation about how profiling works, which was pretty new to me then. Reading the book again now (although this isn't the first time I'm rereading it -- just the first time in the last five or six years), I am again enjoying that scene, even though I know how profiling works, and I read lots of books about serial killers (and medical examiners!).

What's especially nice about the scenes in Postmortem is that they are discussions between professionals who each have a separate area of expertise. So each professional is bringing something new to the table, explaining what they know to the others, and figuring out how the information locks together. It's awesome. I love it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to Postmortem -- they've just discovered that over the weekend someone used a modem to dial into their "data base" and print out information about a case they're working on. They only found out, though, because the computer analyst left the "echo" on -- so all she had to do was scroll up on her computer monitor to see the records. Am I glad it's not 1989 anymore or what?

So how about you guys? Gimme those favorite scenes!

Other days of the book meme )


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anna genoese

November 2015

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