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Posted on May 26, 2012 2:14:03 PM PDT
Barbara Lane says:
anastasia, james, Mr B, rosemarie Larkin, amanda Peck, Keefer, Linda marie, Myers, Anna and all

Just started on ipod THE FALL OF HYPERION by Dan simmons
boy what a let down after Hollywood Station.
I'm having trouble even concentrating while walking silver to the story. 2 star

in the Salon am listening to CELL by Stephen King
Not really impressed with it so far either. 2 star

Really need something like Hollywood station again 5 star oh well will keep plodding on through both of them maybe they may improve.

this morning had a lady arrive 6.50am I listed 10 prints /paintings on ebay 3 sold only. A lady emailed and said she missed the end of the auction could she come out and look at it. I had about 7 art works around with prices on them. I put the price on it $150-00 thinking she will make an offer. She must have forgotten that the starting price at the auction was $125-00 and it didn't sell. she didn't quibble gave me the $150-00 for it and was very happy. Driving out here from Sydney is horrible with traffic. I convinced her to leave home at 6am to miss any traffic and have a great trip. I didn't mind getting up and heating the house ready for her visit. She is thrillled with her purchase.

Now its feed silver and then walk Silver.
then go to sues house walk sue (she still hasn't lost any weight at all (polysystic ovaries (these people have major trouble loosing weight.) But we enjoy the walk and chat Then I convinced her to go to an advertising 2nd hand clothing sale. a hall has been hired at 10.30am this morning and the stall holders booked it out with their 2nd hand clothing months ago. so we are off to see it Then a coffee in the old fashion town of Camden . Great start to the day!!!

Barb down Under

Posted on May 26, 2012 2:19:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2012 2:22:15 PM PDT
Barb:

Two chapters to go on HOLLYWOOD STATION and I'll be sad to get to the end. One of the best novels I've read all year. A lot of laughs too. Definitely 5-stars. Joseph Wambaugh rules!

We've been out doing some landscaping in the yard and it's bloody hot! Back in the central air now.
James

Posted on May 26, 2012 3:09:36 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Barb, Mr. B., James and all:

Barb, glad you got the paintings sold. Sounds like fun.

Mr. B and James and Jesse Stone fans: thanks for telling me about Jesse Stone series based on Robert Parker books. Has anyone read any of this series?

I'm watching the film--I thought it was the first in the series--with the random husband and wife killers and really love it so far.

It was 85 degrees here with lots of humidity so weatherchannel says it felt like 90 and it did! A cool front came through and it will be in the mid-70's tomorrow. May go to New Haven where Yale is tomorrow or Litchfield, CT for a pretty drive and to get out of the house.

Started HOLLYWOOD STATION--it's intense. You need to be in the mood for all that action. Have a couple of books going at once, but I'm feeling like watching something more than reading it so JESSE STONE, streamed from Netflix, or Amazon here, is definitely great stuff. Does Selleck film one or two of these a year? He's so believable as the police chief.

Posted on May 26, 2012 4:43:22 PM PDT
Barb - Did you read Hyperion first before starting Fall of Hyperion? But either way, your point is well taken. I tried Hyperion thinking it would be great as it is known as a sci-fi classic and a take on the Canterbury tales. Well, I bogged down the first time. Then my son decided he wanted to try it again in tandem - and both of us bogged down. I have read and enjoyed other Dan Simmons novels, but I have bogged in a few as well. Do you think you will finish? And can you decide where he goes wrong? A good Dan Simmons read is Carrion Comfort - about mental vampires.

I have been bouncing back and forth between Delicate Dependency - loving it and Hollywood Station - also loving it but I have been busy with handcrafts more than reading. I completed my first jewelry piece using bead embroidery and bead weaving. It is done except for the clasp and while there are a few problems I need to correct in the next iteration I am thrilled with it - connecting elements is a difficulty I am going to have to ponder but overall better than I thought.

Unseasonably cold and rainy here today.

Posted on May 26, 2012 5:04:57 PM PDT
Hi, Barb Down Under and everyone,

It's too hot here to do anything except stay in air-conditioning, so I continued the Midomer film festival.

The murders continue in MIDSOMER MURDERS, Series 14, and the high quality of the series is upheld. Surely the secret to the success of this long-running series is the sympathetic continuing characters, notably Tom, Joyce, and Cully Barnaby, DS Ben Jones, and Dr. George Bullard, and their being perfectly cast. The level of the writing and the complexity of the plots have remained consistently high. Wish American TV could do so well.

"Death and Dust" finds Barnaby and Jones in Wales as they try to protect the life of Dr. James Kirkwood, newly engaged to Delyth Mostyn. Her children are desperately in need of her money, and he's encouraging her to let them stand on their own feet. Kirkwood's partner, Dr. Alan Delaney has already been killed by a hit and run driver, in mistake for Kirkwood. Or is there fact behind the gossip that Kirkwood "helped" his wife die of cancer? Outstanding guest stars include David Yelland (Kirkwood), Stephanie Cole (Dotty Hutton, ex-mother-in-law), and William Thomas (Bryn Williams, Delyth's cousin). 4.25 stars (A-)

"Pictures of Innocence" finds murder involved in the controversy between traditional film and new digital photography, with a leading exponent of each strangled with the cord of his light meter. Barnaby is set up to take the fall, complete with doctored photographs, entries in planners, fingerprints on a wine glass at the home of the first murdered man, everything to make it look as if he's leading a double life. Major actors include Richard Lintern (DCI Martin Spellman, better at admin than crime solving), Andrew Tiernan (Simon Bright), Peter Eyre (Headley Madrigal), and Adrian Scarborough (Eddie Carfax). 4.5/5 stars (A)

"They Seek Him Here" finds Midsomer Magna turned into a movie set for a low-budget remake of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Nick Cheyney is the director everyone seems to hate, including the producer, several of the actors, the owners of the stately home being used as backdrop, their daughter who bore Cheyney's child (that he is now threatening to cliam). and her current partner. And why is a real hard man George Ince hanging about? Murder arrives with use of the prop guillotine to decapitate Cheyney and Gwen Morrison. This episode's greats include Desmond Barrit (Raymond Chandillon, washed up actor), Jay Villiers (Nick Cheyney), and Richard Hope (Neville Hayward, Gwen's brother-in-law). 4.25/5 (B+)

"Death in a Chocolate Box" goes back fifteen years to the Friday Nighters, local cops who regularly enjoyed the favors of Lady Holm after she was arrested for drunkenness; when she turned up dead, her husband was convicted of her murder, and the officers resigned or were fired. Now ex-Sergeant Cole and his wife, ex-DI Gina run a half-way program for released offenders financed by Lord Holm, released after eight years and in love with Gina. First Jack, then the newest parolee Eddie Marston are killed with the same blunt instrument, and Dr. Bullard discovers it was the same as used on Lady Holm all those years ago. Separate murders, or one killer for all three? Edward Peterbridge (Lord Peter Wimsey in HAVE HIS CARCASE, GAUDY NIGHT, and STRONG POISON) plays Lord Holm. 4.25/5 stars (A-)

Linda S.

Posted on May 26, 2012 8:22:15 PM PDT
Barb, James, Keefer, Linda et al,
I, too, worked in the garden this morning. Nearly died! It was 90 here, too! And I hate yard work as it is!

We watched ALBERT NOBBS this evening with Glenn Close. Very interesting (and disturbing) story! Anyone else see it?
Kathy

Posted on May 26, 2012 8:44:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2012 8:45:20 PM PDT
Hi, everybody,

I've found what seems to be another fun free or inexpensive download--BIG HUNGRY by John Clausen. I'm about a third through, and so far it's good. The opening line is a grabber: "The fat woman's corpse cost Pooch Eye Ziegler a 73-pound catfish." A football player is described as having "a room-temperature IQ and a phobic distaste for scholastic effort," and his getting his girlfriend pregnant as "Chris's muscular, over-achieving, never-say-die seed managed to penetrate Tina's defensive line and carry its payload across the goal line." I'm reminded of Bo Tully and the Blanco County, Texas, antics of Red and Billy Don, which is good company. More anon.

Linda S.

Posted on May 26, 2012 11:58:57 PM PDT
Hi, Barb and everyone,

I lucked out on another good story.

John Clausen's BIG HUNGRY was a free or inexpensive Kindle download. It reminds me of Ben Rehder's Blanco County, Texas, series or Patrick F. McManus's Bo Tully series set in Blight County, Idaho. BIG HUNGRY refers to the Big Hungry River that runs near the small town of Tulleyville, North Dakota. It has the same conversational, story-telling traditional tone, and its characters are as rampant, individualistic, and downright ornery as those who deal with Tully and John Marlin. While I can't say some of them are people that I'd like to spend time with, I have known people like them. Not only is BIG HUNGRY funny, it contains a fairly-set out mystery with reasonable motives and a satisfying resolution. I particularly enjoy the short epilogue that fills in what becomes of characters I came to care about.

For the first half of the book, BIG HUNGRY's story line wanders all over. Just like a real storyteller, when a new character is mentioned, there is a backstory fill-in, and it's difficult to see where the action is going. The plot centers on two events: Pooch Eye Ziegler's seeing a woman's dead body floating in the Big Hungry River ("The fat woman's corpse cost Pooch Eye Ziegler a 73-pound catfish" is the opening sentence) and Harlen Ackerman's projected dam on the Big Hungry to create a large lake and recreational area, calculated to bring tourists to Tulleyville and much money to him and his friends. Many oppose the project, but nobody can stop it. Then Harlen is shot, perhaps by the local psychopath Ben Mooney, but Harlen doesn't die and it's generally conceded that Mooney wouldn't have missed. While looking for the floater, Deputy Sheriff Eugene Hornsby and Pooch Eye are shot at with the gun that shot Harlen. Add in a comic kidnapping of a TV journalist for a real comedy of errors before the criminal is caught.

A slight supernatural element in BIG HUNGRY adds spice to the plot but does not dominate it. The writing is colloquial and vivid; for instance, a football player's impregnation of his girl friend is summarized "Chris's muscular, over-achieving, never-say-die seed managed to penetrate Tina's defensive line and carry its payload across the goal line." There's even good advice that Harlen remembers, the Smell Test--if there's a bad smell about something you're about to do, don't do it. It seems picky to point out that Clausen is inconsistent on how he refers to the rifle with which murder is attempted, calling it a 30/30 and a 30.30, when Wikipedia shows the usage as .30-30.

This is a fun quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. 4.5/5 stars (A)

Linda S.

Posted on May 27, 2012 10:12:32 AM PDT
Hey, fans of the Scandinavian writers,

Dailycheapreads.com shows seven of Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer novels available for $1.99 each. Haven't read them, but recognize the name as major writer.

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012 3:33:52 PM PDT
M. Bernstein says:
Linda S,

Also offered by Amazon, so I grabbed 1.

Posted on May 27, 2012 8:49:48 PM PDT
Hi, Barb and everyone,

Hope everyone's having a great weekend. I was disappointed in the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS tonight--no Sousa marches and no fireworks. Bummer!!! I do think it is important that we remember and pay tribute to those who gained and have protected our freedoms. My profoundest thanks.

Otherwise, a quiet day for a bit of silliness in reading. You've got to love the title.

Dixie Cash's MY HEART MAY BE BROKEN, BUT MY HAIR STILL LOOKS GREAT was a free or inexpensive Kindle download. It is the second in her romantic suspense series featuring Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin, joint proprietors of the Styling Station beauty parlor and Domestic Equalizers private investigation agency in Salt Lick, Texas.

Poor little rich girl Paige McBride, whose Daddy E. W. "Buck" McBride, the richest man in Texas has cut off her funds to force her to grow up, and former Texas A&M star quarterback, now D.V.M. Spur Atwater, who grew up poor as dirt, provide the romance. An unknown cowboy who's stealing old horses (because owners don't make as much fuss about their disappearance) for sale to slaughterhouses in East Texas provides the suspense. Not that there is much suspense in either case. The romance is a foregone conclusion from Paige and Spur's first meeting. It's inevitable that Debbie Sue's beloved elderly barrel racer Rocket Man will be stolen and that the women will throw all caution to the winds to go after him. The thief's identity turns out to be a coincidence.

The characters are well-developed stereotypes, Debbie Sue and Edwina "good ole girls" in the best Southern/Western tradition, Paige the spoiled princess who is salt of the earth at the core. The best part of the novel is the Texas ambiance Cash invokes. A pleasant quick read but nothing special. 3/5 stars (C)

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012 9:38:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2012 9:38:46 PM PDT
Linda,
I, too, was disappointed in the concert on PBS. But I was disappointed because it was "called" for bad weather. After they stopped the concert, last year's program was aired in its stead. I've never seen that happen before!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!
Kathy

Posted on May 27, 2012 9:57:22 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Kathy, Linda S. and Mr. B:

It started to pour here about 10 p.m. in the New York/CT area. Not sure where the rain came from--from the midwest or up the coast.

Just watched another Jesse Stone mystery and The Ides of March--which was really well done but seemed too short. It started out as a play.

Kathy, didn't see that Glen Close movie about Mr. Nobbs. I don't like anything too sad or depressing and it sounds like perhaps it was from what you said.

Posted on May 27, 2012 10:49:43 PM PDT
Kathy,

Duh!!! I remember Gary Sinise announcing that they were under extreme weather warning, but the concert would go on. It didn't register that they'd switched to previous year recording and were no longer broadcasting live. Obvious how much of my attention it had, for sure!!!

I'm reading Audrey Peterson's DEATH TOO SOON, the second in her Claire Camden series. I've only just started, but I like the setting and atmosphere of Devon that she creates.

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 6:16:55 AM PDT
I've probably mentioned this before, but Maggie and I named our duo Lucky Mud after a quote from Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle: "In the beginning, God made mud. Some of it was lucky mud and it got to get up and look around at all the other mud."
The Sirens of Titan was my favorite of all his books, and I read all of them during and shortly after getting out of the military in the mid- to late Sixties. I love the story of the robot and Unk, and that vision about why the human race was created is truly, as Vonnegut calls his work, 'sugar-coated despair.'
We got in late last night under, as Emmy Lou Harris sang, "a quarter moon in a ten cent town." Our old van made the trip without complaint, and, as it's an old bread truck that makes a little too much noise for conversation, I drove watching the stormy sky and thinking about, of course, my next book. The compulsion never leaves, but it does have to be modified to fit our lives. The second tropical storm of the season (hooray!) caused a forced evacuation of the Stephen Foster State Park on the last afternoon of the festival, so we had to make a night trip through the first feeder bands of the storm. We both love storms, so that wasn't a problem, but sometimes the old van doesn't like traveling at night and so shuts off its headlights or just decides to rest along the side of the road. This time it hummed all the way home.
We had a great, great festival - our three shows on different stages and our workshop were fantastic, and we had packed song circles at our camp both day/nights. Known as Mudville, every singer and musician in camp drops by in what some call the Mudpit, because they stop to chat and play one song and leave hours later. The first circle started at 4pm Friday and broke up at 3:30 am on Saturday. After we'd all played during the day onstage we met Saturday at our camp at 6pm and played until almost four on a windy Sunday morning. So we're ecstatic.
Good to be back here though, and good to be home. We had to pack wet last night so today will be hours of unpacking, drying out, washing clothes, stacking guitars and emptying the small refrigerator (something one forgets to do only once).
I look forward to rejoining this circle and, of course, returning to work on my book. Nothing new there.
Mike

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 6:27:12 AM PDT
Barb,
Now, that was a dad worth keeping. He didn't use force. He used shame. I love the story. And, if I may assume about Australians as a people, I've never met one I wouldn't like to talk and drink with. Maggie and I were on the island of Sark, the last of the English Channel islands and just off the coast of France. It was a stormy, icy night with sleet whipping around outside a big bed and breakfast overlooking Guernsey. A very, very large Englishman (more a boy...maybe 25) kept getting drunker (as were we all) and more belligerent. An Australian about the same age, and about my size, finally walked over to the big guy and challenged him, saying, "You want to take this outside?"
The guy puffed out his chest and said yeah, so the Aussie opened the big door and stepped aside. When the Englishman raced out into the storm the Aussie closed the door on him and locked it. We could see the silhouette of the big guy standing in the dark, in the storm. He left him out there about five minutes, then opened the door and politely asked if he'd like to come back inside. The guy nodded, walked back inside meekly and the party continued.
That's my memory of Australians. So, hats off to your dad.
Mike

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 8:05:48 AM PDT
Keefer,
I wouldn't say the movie was sad or depressing. Definitley NOT a giggle fest! It was about a woman who passed as a man in order to be able to work. Took place in Ireland. It was sort of an upstairs/downstairs sort of thing but not charming in the same way. A little strange. Yeah, I guess it was a little sad, too.
Kathy

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 8:14:43 AM PDT
Mike!
Mudville sounds just like the place my husband would like to be when he goes camping!
Kathy

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 9:49:17 AM PDT
Kathy,
Send him on! I'll try to figure out how to put a picture or two somewhere....um....I dunno. Somewhere. Brain's still missing. Maybe Maggie'll find it.
Mike

Posted on May 28, 2012 9:49:26 AM PDT
M. Bernstein says:
BdU, Mike and all the ships at sea,

Finished: THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut The Sirens of Titan: A Novel and MARCH by Geraldine Brooks, March. Man what can one say about a Vonnegut book.

Rumsfoord who manages to space-travel appears regularly on earth at his former home wherein lives a wife who despises him, and it seems just about everyone else.

Rumsfoord's real target (in addition to kidnapped earthlings shipped off to Mars) is Malachi Constant, a rather useless millionaire who met his father one day- and that was that, except dad gave him his, "method" for buying stocks which is biblical in its approach.

Malachi, and Rumsfoord's wife eventually are transported to Mars also. Malachi is becomes a Martian soldier, and his wife who bears Malachi's son is a trainer of how to survive in an oxygen poor atmosphere.

Eventually the kidnapped earthlings mount an attack on earth which is in fact a suicide mission. The purpose of the attack is to unite earth against a common enemy.

Malachi, now known as Unk ends up on a spaceship on its way to Mercury with his squad leader. Eventually they find they're in a deep hole with strange creatures which feed off vibrations (Mercury producing its own). Unk with some outside help figures out how to get off Mercury. The sergeant loves the place, and so stays.

Unk returns to Earth briefly, is rejoined with his wife and deliquent son and sent off to Titan, one of Saturn's moons where both die at the age of 74. The son becomes at one with a native species of Titan's birds.

If I would have read SIRENS in the '60's I'd have said, "Great science fiction". Having read it yesterday, so to speak, I'd say, "Incredibly great satire."

Posted on May 28, 2012 11:35:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 11:37:20 AM PDT
M. Bernstein says:
Bdu and all the ships at see,

Gasp! Multitasking today. Nancy returns from Oz Wed., so I'm laundering, folding, watering and this: It's MARCH by Geraldine Brooks March the story of Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN's father. Centered around his year as chaplain for the Union Army during the first year of The American Civil War the story moves between that year and his early years as a book peddler in Virginia where he is invited as a guest in of a wealthy , Clement, planter and meets Grace, an unusually well educated Negress who is caring for the planter's ill wife. He is asked to leave after being discovered teaching a young Negro child to read (against the law). As he leaves Virginia he witness a slave auction.

Returning home in his early twenties now he meets, seduces, or is seduced by Miss Margaret Marie Day, whom he marries.

During March's time with the Union forces in Virginia he is [in] the Battle of the Bluffs. The Union Army is defeated, and he looses a man he was trying to save as they crossed a river.

Back in Boston/Concord, he and his wife, affectionately known as, "Marmee" move in the circle made of the Emersons and Thoreau. Even before March and Marmee were married Marmee was a conductor on the Underground RR.

Ms. Brooks takes March's year (which ends with him in a Washington DC hospital near death) and sweeps back and forth through his life and his relationship with his wife and briefly again, Grace.

This book is the June selection for my Long Beach book club, The Vintage Tea.

This is the 3rd book I've read by Ms. Brooks, the first being again for the book club, YEAR OF WONDERS: A NOVEL OF THE PLAQUE Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, PEOPLE OF THE BOOK People of the Book. I think she is a very fine generalist author. She seems to pick a subject, does the research, and then writes the story.

Posted on May 28, 2012 1:35:22 PM PDT
Hi, everyone,

Hope it's being a good Memorial Day for you. Hot and quiet here.

Audrey Peterson's DEATH TOO SOON is the second in her mystery series centered on Claire Camden, professor of nineteenth-century literature at South Coast University in California. She is in England on sabbatical, researching and writing her critical biography of M. L. Talbot, a popular Victorian novelist presently almost forgotten. She's house-sitting for her ex-mother-in-law in Morbridge, Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor near Exeter where her daughter Sally is a second-year student at the university. She has continued the relationship with Detective Superintendent Neil Padgett that began in DARTMOOR BURIAL.

DEATH TOO SOON opens with the disappearance of Cheryl Bailey, a "Third Year Abroad" student from Claire's school studying at the University of Exeter and sharing a cottage with Sally Camden and Brenda Gilbert. When her nude body is discovered in a kistvaen (prehistoric burial chamber) on the moor, she seems the victim of a serial killer. When Frieda Nolan, wife of the supervisor of the TYA students, is found dead, marked in the same way, it seems the killer has struck again. Or is it a copycat? In the midst of the murders, Claire pursues her research on M. L. Talbot, discovering a connection with Talbot's cousin Prudence Halley, a painter greatly influenced by J. M. W. Turner. Prudence Halley was murdered in 1862, and her portrait, one of the few portraits painted by Turner, so now immensely valuable, disappeared. Can Claire find the portrait? Will her relationship with Neil Padgett survive her involvement in the case?

The sense of real people involved in relationships, in their work, in their hopes and dreams, who sometimes make mistakes, is acute. Peterson is gifted at indirect characterization. Even relatively minor characters are distinct and individual. Her plotting is strong. Conclusions are foreshadowed, motives are reasonable, and the range of suspects realistic. Her depiction of Dartmoor and its towns and villages gives an authentic sense of the place. My only quibble about DEATH TOO SOON is whether DS Padgett would take Claire with the police on a search of a suspect's house, since to do so would raise possibilities for planting evidence. Still, this is a satisfyingly solid read. 4.5/5 stars (A)

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 1:35:47 PM PDT
Barbara Lane says:
Michael

Re that story about the aussie and the drunk guy

Wow I even had tears in my eyes from the end of it.

I love a good story like that.
Everyone when someone tells a short story and if it triggers a memory in you come on tell us about it.

that story Mike just told triggered another about my father but am rushing our the door walking silver then one 2 hr client then going to a specialist for an appointment. so busy for the next few hours.

thank you everyone for making BBC so special.
What are you all reading??? anything interesting on your TBR pile??
List your TBR read pile and one of us may have that book just waiting to be read also and we may be able to read it at the same time.

Barb down Under

Posted on May 28, 2012 1:45:25 PM PDT
Hey, Deborah Crombie fans,

Dailycheapreads.com is showing five more of her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James mysteries for $2.99 each: NOW MAY YOU WEEP, IN A DARK HOUSE, WATER LIKE A STONE, WHERE MEMORIES LIE, and NECESSARY AS BLOOD. This is a good strong series.

Linda S.

Posted on May 28, 2012 2:34:15 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Barb, Linda S., Mr. B and all:

Barb, regarding TBR list, there's two lists: books I SHOULD read and then books that I want to read but can't seem to fit them in.
That's the more interesting list to me. Maybe will have a week in which can only read something from this list:

Rules of Civility: A Novel-'Everything about this novel, set in 1930s New York, is achingly stylish - from the author's name to the slinky jacket design. Katey Kontent, daughter of Russian immigrants, and Evie Ross, from the sleepy midwest, are an ambitious, wisecracking pair who, despite lack of money and connections, aim to set the city alight. A fortuitous meeting with the apparently wealthy Tinker Grey on New Year's Eve, 1937, will change the course of both their lives.' - Guardian 'If you want shopping at Bendel's, gin martinis at a debutante's mansion and jazz bands playing until 3am, RULES OF CIVILITY has it all and more ...While you're lost in the whirl of silk stockings, furs and hip flasks, all you care about is what Katey Kontent does next. Another one bartender, please.' - Observer 'Irresistible ...A cross between Dorothy Parker and Holly Golightly, Katey Kontent is a priceless narrator in her own right - the brains of a bluestocking with the legs of a flapper and the mores of Carrie Bradshaw.' - Telegraph 'Towles creates a narrative that sparkles with sentences so beautiful you'll stop and re-read them. A delicious and memorable novel that will leave you wistful ...and desperate for a martini.' - Stylist 'My book of the year. If the unthinkable happened and I could never read another new work of fiction in 2011, I'd simply re-read this sparkling, stylish book, with yet another round of martinis as dry as the author's wit.' - Herald

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris-After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate.
Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all "discovering" Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city's boulevards and gardens. "At last I have come into a dreamland," wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom's Cabin had brought her.
McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women.

Breakfast with Buddha-When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger-and amuse himself-he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world-and more important, his life-through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.

Stoner (New York Review Books Classics)-William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments: marriage into a "proper" family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude.
John Williams's luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. William Stoner emerges from it not only as an archetypal American, but as an unlikely existential hero, standing, like a figure in a painting by Edward Hopper, in stark relief against an unforgiving world.

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

Linda S.,--it was hot here today, too. Too early for the 80's-90's. Thanks for the alert on the Crombie books. Mr. B., enjoyed reading your reaction to MARCH and the Vonnegut book. Mike, enjoy your stories--you are living an adventurous life with colorful characters that is like a book!
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