What I'm Reading Now: 12 June 25

The virtual self: how our digital lives are altering the world around us-- Nora Young (non-fiction, technology)
Tuesdays at the castle-- Jessica Day George (fantasy)
Catch me-- Lisa Gardner

Why do we track ourselves, noting down where we are and what we ate for lunch in status updates and tweets? Can any good come of the masses of personal data that we create and allow to be collected about ourselves? Nora Young asks some of these questions in The virtual self. She looks at the self-tracking phenomenon, where  people keep track of all kinds of data about themselves, from meals to exercise minutes to incidences of non-moral behavior. It's not new-- people have often kept diaries and journals that include this information-- but now it's often electronic and available to the world. There are dangers, but there are some emerging benefits as well, and Young discusses these and the steps we need to take to protect our data and our virtual selves. I found it interesting reading, but sadly, I didn't retain much of the information.

"Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two." In Tuesdays at the Castle, Castle Glower is alive, and it chooses the heir to the kingdom, as well as expressing its opinion of any visitors by increasing or decreasing the size of their guest rooms. Celie is the youngest princess of Glower, busy mapping the castle, when her parents disappear and royalty from neighboring countries descend to "assist" Celie and her two older siblings. This assistance becomes more and more sinister, and the three children will need all the help they can get from a living, opinionated Castle and some unlikely allies. I've enjoyed two other of Jessica Day George's fantasy novels. Tuesdays at the Castle  is geared for a younger audience, but even so, I found it quite enjoyable. Definitely recommended for the younger set, and the young at heart.

What would you do if you knew that, in four days, someone was going to kill you? Charlene Grant has spent the last year preparing for four days from now, and one of those preparations is to find the right person to investigate her murder. Detective DD Warren has met a lot of people, but never someone looking for the right homicide detective. She's drawn to believe Charlene, but her plate is full with a series of pedophile murders-- not murders by pedophiles, but pedophiles who have been murdered-- and an ambitious colleague is pushing her way into the investigation. Some items of Charlene's past surface, and suddenly DD is wondering if Charlene was at the scene for a more direct and bloody reason. The plot twists are fast and unexpected, the final scenes are tense, and the final identity of the killer and the question of Charlene's survival are neatly and unexpectedly resolved. Catch me was an excellent book, and several characters from Gardner's other books make an appearance as well.