What I'm Reading Now: Belated Edition, 11 Mar 26

I thought I’d try something different this week. (By the way, my apologies for the lateness of this week’s post. I’d blame being sick, but it was mostly just laziness.) I’ll comment briefly on all of them this time.

Though not dead-- Dana Stabenow
The eighteenth in Stabenow’s  series featuring Alaskan Aleut sleuth Kate Shugak. Kate’s present-day quest to carry out her old friend’s final request is intercut with the history of one of my favorite secondary characters, Old Sam. As it turns out, Old Sam’s history is also, in a lot of ways, the history of Alaska.

Mommy deadliest--Michael Benson (True crime)
An account of the Stacy Castor case—an American woman who poisoned two of her husbands with antifreeze, then tried to murder her daughter and frame her for both murders. It’s an interesting story, but Michael Benson doesn’t quite have Ann Rule’s skill in making a drawn-out court case fascinating.

The final reckoning-- Sam Bourne
The killing of a suspected terrorist at the UN becomes the senseless murder of an elderly man… but the old man is not the innocent he seems. Although the present-day plot is completely fictional, the background story of Holocaust survivors out for revenge on Nazis (sorry for the spoiler) is very factual.

Betrayal (SEVENS: week 6)-- Scott Wallens (YA)
I mentioned this series a while back. The lives of the seven teens are getting more intertwined and more complicated, and I am waiting impatiently to get my hands on the seventh and final book to find out how it all resolves.

An object of beauty--Steve Martin (Literary fiction)
Yes, it’s by that Steve Martin. Yes, he writes extremely well. But somehow, it just didn’t work for me. I think I wanted it to be funnier, or perhaps I felt it didn’t quite end satisfactorily. This is not to say that I won’t be reading anything else of his, and certainly not that I’m going to quit seeing his movies…

Princess of glass-- Jessica Day George (YA)
Sequel to Princess of the midnight ball.It takes the Cinderella fairy tale as a jumping-off point, and does some neat things with it. Original, interesting,fun… read them both.

So you don’t want to go to church anymore-- Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman (Christian fiction)
Christian teaching loosely organized in narrative format. I wouldn’t give it high marks for plot, but it was interesting and thought-provoking, enough so that I suggested it for possible study in my care group.

Dead reckoning--Linda Castillo
I discovered after I read her two Amish thrillers that Castillo had written a number of books beyond the Harlequin romances I’d heard
about. I decided to try one. She’s good. If you like Tami Hoag and Linda Howard, you’ll enjoy Castillo. This one follows an assistant DA who is about to try a capital case, but it’s not as open-and-shut as it seems, and the ADA herself is pursued by a horrible incident from her past.

Separate from the world--PL Gaus

This is another of the Amish Country mysteries. Itinvolves dwarves, genetics, murder, kidnapping, suicide, cell phones, and the question of what being “separate from the world” really means. I’m impressed with the way Gaus portrays the Amish—not just as bonnet-and-buggy, but as a people facing a world that attempts to pull them in many directions, with varying results.

Spring ishappening in Reinland

Well Spring must surely be here. There are sings of it all over the village. And one of my favourite signs says that there is a community breakfast this Saturday. I can almost smell the biscuits now. The usual tasty foods will be prepared by your friends and neighbours. It is a good time enjoyed by many, you should come out too.

Well we were out and about last week and I saw this beautiful view and had to share it with you.

I always thought that a misty day needed to include some jazz music and a loved one to share it with. This was taken Sunday afternoon, and I did enjoy some good music and the company of my wife after this picture was taken. Well before too, but I'm not a poet, so...


Actually I kinda wanted to put on rubber boots and wade through the puddles, but I don't have any that fit right now.

Spring is here, get out there and enjoy it, and we'll see you on Saturday.


What I'm Reading Now: 17 March 10 Edition


I was sick for a couple of days this week, which you would think would be a perfect opportunity to read, right? Not really-- I was too uncomfortable to really concentrate on anything. I did pick up and read bits of Off with his head by Ngaio Marsh, a recent purchase by a favorite author, and In the stacks: short stories about libraries and librarians, edited by Michael Cart, which was a gift from a sister who has a gift for shopping library sales. Neither one of them really grabbed me, though, so I watched TV instead. Oh, yes, and I read more true crime. I’m a little embarrassed by that, as it seems somewhat lowbrow of me, but there are some good writers in that genre.
John Glatt is one of them. I read Lost and found, about the abduction and imprisonment of Jaycee Lee Duggard, last week, and I was impressed enough to order another John Glatt title from the library. I read that this week. It was Secrets in the cellar, about a similar abduction-and-imprisonment of a girl, but this was the case of Austrian Josef Fritzl, who imprisoned his own daughter and kept her, and the children he subsequently fathered on her, there for twenty-four years. It’s a horrible story, and John Glatt conveys that beautifully, giving enough details to give the picture while still allowing the victims some dignity. His writing is clear and gripping, and his sympathy for the victims of the crime is palpable.
Another find this week was Practical Jean, by Trevor Cole. It was the cover that caught me-- a picture of a girl in fifties sweater and hairdo (and smile) in front of a collection of knives. (I showed it around work and asked “Can you resist a cover like this?” Apparently, everyone but me could. Maybe this is my week for black humor.)  Jean Horemarsh, ceramic artist, dutiful daughter, loving wife, devoted friend, has just spent three months caring for her terminally-ill mother. Those three months have impressed on her the horror of growing old, and the doom that awaits every one of us who reaches that point. After that, life can’t get back to normal for her, and she begins to wonder if there isn’t something she could do to keep her friends from the torment of aging...
I don’t usually like black comedy, but this was well-executed (pun intended), with a light touch. Jean’s motivation is believable, even as events spiral out of control, and Cole’s portraits of middle-aged women are carefully observed and beautifully constructed. If you’re looking for something quirky that will make you think while you chuckle, this might just be the book for you.
Oh, almost forgot this week’s booklist:
Twisted triangle--Caitlyn Rother (True Crime)
Secrets in the cellar --John Glatt (True Crime)
The calling --Inger Ash Wolfe
Meltdown (SEVENS: week 4) Scott Wallens (YA)
Torn (SEVENS: week 5) Scott Wallens (YA)
Agent X-- Noah Boyd
Envy-- Sandra Brown
Practical Jean-- Trevor Cole
Written in blood--Dianne Fanning (True Crime)
Exit Music--Ian Rankin
PS: Agent X is even better than The bricklayer.


Evening in Reinland

I went to college many years ago and studied photography. I have used all sorts of different cameras and found that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and that the smaller the camera the more likely it is that you will have it with you. You can see evidence of this by looking at all the pictures that people take with their cell phones.

So I found a small camera that fits in my pocket. The problem with small cameras is that even though they are small enough to take with you, they are also small enough to lose. So a few weeks ago I was showing my in-laws some pictures that I had just taken, and then I set it down while we had coffee and promptly lost it. This meant that I couldn't share this photo with you until now.

looking east at night.

From the first time I took a picture at night I've always been facinated by the way long exposures make everything look magical. My newest digital camera is the first one that does a decent job of long exposures. I'll try to bring you a few more of these in the coming weeks.