Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Death at the President's Lodging




Why had Umpleby met his death in a story-book manner?… He had died in a literary context; indeed, he had in a manner of speaking died admid a confusion of literary contexts.

-- Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes.

This is an erudite Ivory Tower mystery, first published in 1936. I really enjoy the Vintage Mystery Challenge because it's made me search out some Golden Age authors who are new to me, like Michael Innes.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mailbox Monday

 

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Marcia is hosting again in October.  The sign-up post is here, where you can find links for all the participants.

I got one book last week, from OSU Press. It looks like a super-interesting history of the Sherman Institute, an off-reservation boarding school for Native American children that still operates as the Sherman Indian High School.

 

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute, edited by Clifford E. Trafzer, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, and Lorene Sisquoc.

This collection of writings and images focuses on the earlier years of the school in Riverside, California.  The federal government opened this flagship institution in 1902, seeking to transform American Indian students into productive farmers, carpenters, homemakers, nurses, cooks, and seamstresses.

The book is a compilation of documents from the Sherman Indian Museum examining the building of Sherman, the school’s Mission architecture, the nursing program, the Special Five-Year Navajo Program, the Sherman cemetery, and student life.  There is also a photo essay depicting life at the school.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Beginnings: Death at the President's Lodgings


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

TWITTER: If you are on Twitter, please tweet a link to your post using the has tag #BookBeginnings. My Twitter handle is @GilionDumas.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.



MY BOOK BEGINNING


An academic life, Dr. Johnson observed, puts one little in the way of extraordinary casualties. 
 -- Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes.

Isn't the vintage Penguin cover terrific!

I am reading this 1936 Ivory Tower mystery for the Vintage Mystery Challenge.  I'm in Minneapolis for work for a couple of days, and this is the perfect book to read after a long day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Imperfectionists



He already knew [his staff] in a way -- he understood this breed backward and had foreseen how his speech would be received.  Journalists were as touchy as cabaret performers and as stubborn as factory machinists.
-- The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. I am tearing through this novel about an English-language newspaper based in Rome. I love it. What a terrific description of the funny subculture at the center of the story!

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mailbox Monday


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Marcia is hosting again in October.  The sign-up post is here, where you can find links for all the participants.

Last week, I got a book from author Ray Rhamey, his futuristic political/legal thriller, We the Enemy. It looks great!



I met Ray when we were on a panel together at the Wordstock book festival.  He is a writer and editor and has a very fun blog called Flogging the Quill, where he offers to critique the first page of someone's manuscript, with readers' comments and votes on whether they would read past the first page.

The Wordstock panel was moderated by YA author and creator of the Novel Novice blog, Sarah Gundell. Sarah a real live wire! Very fun to work with.

Stephanie Guerra, author of a YA novel Torn and contributor to the popular readergirlz blog, was the third member of the panel.  Stephanie is a wonderful woman who, along with motherhood and several other pursuits, works on a literacy program for troubled teens.





Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Beginnings:


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

TWITTER: If you are on Twitter, please tweet a link to your post using the has tag #BookBeginnings. My Twitter handle is @GilionDumas.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.



MY BOOK BEGINNING

Sorry, I don't have a Book Beginning today!

Yesterday, by court order, my law firm released 1,200 Boy Scout "Perversion Files" about accused molesters in Scouts from 1965 to 1985. It's been a circus at our office.  I was on the phone with reporters all day yesterday for regional stories like this one about accused child molesters in Montana and Wyoming.

And I am rushing off now to a TV studio to do an interview on MSNBC. Crazy!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: The Man With the Golden Arm

 

If gritty reality set to a jazz beat is your thing, then The Man with the Golden Arm is the book for you. It's Jack Kerouac meets James Farrell. In a deserted Chicago alley. With a used hypodermic needle.

 Nelson Algren won the first National Book Award in 1950 for this bleak portrayal of postwar life on Chicago's Division Street. The story centers on Frankie “Machine” Majcinek, discharged from the Army with a morphine addiction, no job, and a wife confined to a wheelchair thanks to his drunken driving. Frankie's days are spent dealing poker, fighting with his wife, shooting up, and putting the moves on his drunken neighbor, all the time fantasizing about playing drums for Gene Krupa.

Mixed in with the plot are several montage scenes where Algren moves out of the action to describe every detail of the picture. These verbal jazz improvs, including serial descriptions of the guys in the holding cell at the local precinct and the revelers at a New Year ’s Eve party at Schwiefka’s neighborhood bar, are virtuoso performances and give the novel lasting value. But the story is still as dark and depressing as it can get, even with these artistically compelling interludes, right to the bleak and inevitable ending.

OTHER REVIEWS

If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it. 

NOTES 

The Man With the Golden Arm is commonly considered the "first" National Book Award winner, but there was a period of time before WWII when an earlier version of the award existed, although it was not limited to American books.

I've already read two National winners for the American Version of the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, so this doesn't count for that challenge.  But I read it with my ears, so it counts for the Audio-Book Challenge

Monday, October 15, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Doctor Zhivago


Once or twice already, Lara had stopped irresolutely and hesitated on the threshold of the drawing room, hoping that Komarovsky, who sat facing the ballroom, would notice her. But he kept his eyes of his cards, which he held fanlike in his left hand, and either really did not see her or pretended not to.
-- Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

The book has all the sweeping grandeur of the movie, with the snow, trains, fur hats, tortured love affairs, and soulful looks. The above passage is typical of the dramatic plot.

But what is understandably missing from the movie (at least, as I recall) are long passages of crypto-religious, philosophical ramblings, usually from the mouth or pen of Zhivago's uncle, sometimes from Zhivago himself. This passage describes the general theme, but the rambling passages are much longer -- or at least feel that way.
In the books [Nikolai Nikolaevich] published there in Russian and in translation, he developed his long-standing notion of history as a second universe, erected by mankind in response to the phenomenon of death with the aid of the phenomena of time and memory. The soul of these books was a new understanding of Christianity, their direct consequence a new understanding of art. 

I'm reading this one for the TBR Pile Challenge and the Eastern Europe Reading Challenge.  Since Pasternak won the Nobel Prize because of Doctor Zhivago, I will also make some progress on that list.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mailbox Monday



 Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Marcia is hosting again in October.  The sign-up post is here, where you can find links for all the participants.



The Things that Matter by Nate Berkus. Mine is an ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. It's a little hard to appreciate the book because all the pictures in the ARC edition are in black and white. But it looks like the real thing will be gorgeous.



The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. This is my Book Club's book for November and it looks great.

I posted early because I have a busy day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wordstock is Here!







This weekend is Wordstock, Portland's annual book and literary festival, a showcase for contemporary writers.

I am excited to be on a panel tomorrow, along with a couple of other book bloggers, to discuss the role of bloggers in the writing community.  It is going to be a lot of fun.

I also hope to see some of the other panels and readings by some of the "Spotlight" authors


Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Beginnings: Krakatoa


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

TWITTER: If you are on Twitter, please tweet a link to your post using the has tag #BookBeginnings. My Twitter handle is @GilionDumas.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.



MY BOOK BEGINNING

 
Though we think first of Java as an eponym for coffee (or, to some today, a computer language), it is in fact the trading of aromatic tropical spices on which the fortunes of the great island's colonizers and Western discoverers were first founded. 
 -- Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 by Simon Winchester. Even though I've had this book on my TBR shelf forever, I am listening to the audio version from the library because it is read by Winchester himself. He is such a favorite of mine and I preferred to have him read to me than read this one with my eyes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club



When a venerable member of the Bellona Club is found dead in a wingback chair, Bellona member, Lord Peter Wimsey, is called in to make some discreet inquiries into the time of his death. The inheritance of a large fortune depends on just when the old fellow shuffled off.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club finds Lord Peter at the top of his game, always urbane and witty as he unravels a series of knotty clues and evaluates myriad suspects. There are many moving parts to the puzzle, but Lord Peter and his technologically savvy butler Bunter never lose their cool, right up to the surprisingly dark ending.

OTHER REVIEWS

My review of Clouds of Witness is here.

If you would like your review of this or any other of Dorothy L. Sayers book listed here, please leave a comment with a link.

NOTES

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, first published in 1928, is Dorothy L. Sayers' fourth book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. It was one of my Golden Age Girls choices for the Vintage Mystery Challenge, hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Boys Don't Tell

 








 



. . . I had always felt that people should put problems of youth, including abuse, behind them. Big deal. Get over it. Move on. Right? Wrong! Until we can open that box and shed light on the abuse, we don't have a clue as to its impact.
-- Boys Don't Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse by Randy Ellison (emphasis in original). This is the author's own story of a life messed up by childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his minister and how he healed by coming forward and confronting the church.  It is an honest and moving account that includes prose and poetry.

Randy is now a strong advocate for abuse survivors, working on his own and with the wonderful organization OAASIS


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



Review: The Comedians

 

François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his secret police, the Tonton Macoute, ruled Haiti from his election in 1957 until his death in 1971. As tin pot dictators go, Papa Doc was particularly repressive, using bribery, extortion, and confiscation to enrich his cohorts; crippling the country by causing a mass exodus of educated professionals; and killing as many as 30,000 of his countrymen.

In The Comedians, Graham Greene tells the story of Papa Doc’s ascendency from the perspective of three foreigners: narrator Brown, owner of a once-chic ex-pat hotel in Port-au-Prince; former US Presidential candidate Smith, in Haiti with his formidable wife to open an institute of vegetarianism; and third rate mercenary Jones, hoping his fabricated credentials will earn him fame and fortune on one side of the conflict or the other.

Brown, Smith, and Jones are the comedians of the title, but only in the older sense of the word comedy as political satire or a work that emphasizes the ridiculous and the absurd in human life. There is humor in the book – the whole bit, for example, about Smith running for President on a vegetarian ticket is an ongoing and funny gag. But the humor is often dark, as when Smith doesn’t understand that there is no need to teach Haitians the benefits of a vegetarian diet since they cannot afford meat.

Although Greene keeps the tone light and the story moves along at a steady clip, there is a sad inevitability to it. Local leaders die, opposition is crushed, and the lucky flee. Brown’s love affair with a diplomat’s wife founders in the turmoil. The grand plans of Smith, Jones, and Brown all crumble against Pap Doc’s corrupt political and military might. Contrary to comedies of old, there is no happy ending, but The Comedians is a story of history on a human scale that will grip the reader’s attention to the very last page.

OTHER REVIEWS

1966 New York Times review of The Comedians

If you would like your review of this or any other Graham Greene book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it. 

NOTES

I read The Comedians for several challenges, most obviously the Graham Greene Reading Challenge hosted by the Carrie at Books and Movies, but also the Birth Year Reading Challenge on Hotchpot Cafe, the Books Published in the First years of My Life Challenge hosted by Emma at Words and Peace, the Mt. TBR Challenge on My Reader's Block, the Off the Shelf Challenge on Bookish Ardour, and the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader.



Empty Mailbox Monday


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Marcia is hosting again in October.  The sign-up post is here, where you can find links for all the participants.

For the first time in a long time, I have an empty mailbox. No books came to my house last week.

Oh well, there's always hope for this week!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

State of the Blog: Part Three, the Challenges



This is the last of my three quarterly blog assessment posts.  The first part addressed my book lists. Part Two ran through my author lists.  This part deals with the challenges I joined this year.

Four times a year, I take a look at what books I've read to that point and see what kind of progress I've made on my books lists and reading projects.  I do it mostly to force myself to update my lists, not because these are particularly interesting posts.

The list of all the challenges I joined this year is here.  So far, I've completed 8 of the 24, made progress on most of them, and haven't started one.


First, the three challenges I am hosting here at Rose City Reader.  There is still time to sign up! Click on the title to go to the main challenge page.


(finished)

  Second, the challenges I've joined:

I've read a lot of book with my ears -- 35 out of my goal of 40 -- but haven't reviewed very many.

BIRTH YEAR READING CHALLENGE   
(finished, lamely)


BOOKS PUBLISHED IN THE FIRST YEARS OF MY LIFE CHALLENGE


EASTERN EUROPE READING CHALLENGE

MEMORABLE MEMOIRS CHALLENGE   
(finished)

MT. TBR, OFF THE SHELF, and the TBR PILE CHALLENGES



None so far.  This is not looking good!

VENICE IN FEBRUARY CHALLENGE 
(finished)


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Four times a year, I take a look at what books I've read to that point and see what kind of progress I've made on my books lists and reading projects.  I do it mostly to force myself to update my lists, not because these are particularly interesting posts. I'm slow on my autumnal posts this time around.

This is the second of three quarterly blog assessment posts.  This second part addresses my favorite authors. Part One covered my lists of Prize Winners and Must Reads.  Part Three will deal with the challenges I joined this year.

My lists of my favorite authors are over in the right-side column. These are now divided into General favorites and Mystery favorites.

NOTE: If you are working on any of these lists, please leave a comment here or on the post for the list (click on the title below or in the right-hand column) and leave a link to any related post. I will add the links on the list post.

So far in 2012, I have read the 19 books by my favorite authors. 


GENERAL FAVORITES




MYSTERY FAVORITES




Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Beginnings:


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

TWITTER: If you are on Twitter, please tweet a link to your post using the has tag #BookBeginnings. My Twitter handle is @GilionDumas.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.



MY BOOK BEGINNING

I didn't start this healing process until age 56. Prior to that, I had dissociated my abuser's behavior from the abuser. He was my friend, my mentor and my minister. I could not possibly think of him as a predator, so I detached the behavior from the person.

 

 Boys Don't Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse by Randy Ellison.  This is the author's own story of a life messed up by childhood sexual abuse and how he healed.  It is an honest and moving account.

Randy is now a strong advocate for abuse survivors, working on his own and with the wonderful organization OAASIS.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Death at the Bar



Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 detective novels featuring British police inspector Roderick Alleyn. Published between 1934 and 1982, most of the novels are set in England, where Marsh lived on and off during her writing career, but four are set in her native New Zealand.

Death at the Bar, first published in 1940, is the ninth book in the series. Inspector Alleyn gets called to an isolated village on the rocky coast of Devon to help the local police solve the riddle of a mysterious death in the local pub. A famous London lawyer died after a dart pricked his hand during a showy bar bet.

As it turns out, plenty of people living or visiting the village wouldn't have minded seeing the lawyer dead. The plot circles around through a long list of possible suspects, including the dead man's traveling companions, an ignored lover, and a hot-headed socialist agitator.

The puzzle is clever and Marsh's writing is intelligent and lively.  Marsh deserves her title as one of the Queens of Crime.

OTHER REVIEWS

If you would like your review of this or any other Ngaio Marsh book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it. 

NOTES

This is the first of Marsh's books that I have read, so I can't compare it to any of her others. It was one of my Golden Age Girls choices for the Vintage Mystery Challenge, hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block. The trouble with this challenge is that it leads to me starting even more book lists! Now I plan to find and read all of Marsh's novels. Good grief!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The General's Daughter

 

All my instincts said to avoid any cases that involved the rape and murder of a general's daughter. It was a lose-lose situation.
-- The General's Daughter by Nelson DeMille.  DeMille is the best of the best when it comes to writing thrillers and this one is particularly good.  I saw the movie, but long enough ago to enjoy the book.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



Mailbox Monday


 Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event (details here).

Marcia is hosting again in October.  The sign-up post is here, where you can find links for all the participants.


I got two interesting books last week:

 

 Boys Don't Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse by Randy Ellison.  This is the author's own story of a life messed up by childhood sexual abuse and how he healed.  He is now a strong advocate for abuse survivors.

The goal of his book is to help explain why victims of abuse by trusted adults find it so difficult to "just get over it and move on." 

   

Aurora, Daughter of the Dawn: A Story of New Beginnings by J. J. Kopp, published by OSU Press.

This historical novel is a short book suitable for young adult readers.  It is based on the life of Aurora Keil, a young pioneer girl whose father founded the Aurora Colony, a nineteenth century utopian communal settlement in western Oregon. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...