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Fiddler's Green
Fiddler's Green
Price: $14.99
61 used & new from $5.13

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Music, August 4, 2012
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This review is from: Fiddler's Green (Audio CD)
I always enjoy hearing Tim O'Brien, in person or on CD. While Fiddler's Green isn't my favorite of his CDs (I prefer Red on Blond, The Crossing, and Away Out on the Mountain), it is still a very enjoyable listening experience.


One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)
One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)
by Ellis Peters
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.00
147 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything in Pairs, August 3, 2012
This remains one of my favorite Cadfael novels, probably because of the fact that so much of the plotting involves pairs. There's Stephen and Maud, at war with each other. There are the lords and ladies supporting Stephen, and likewise those supporting Maud. There are two young women. There are two men in love with one of them. There are two horses to be hidden. And while it seems there is only one treasure bundle, there are, thanks to Cadfael, two treasure bundles.

And then there's the fact of the title: one corpse too many. Instead of 94 men to be buried, there are 95. Who is the 95th body, and why was he killed? This mystery remains the center of the book, and all the pairings and pairings-off relate to it in one way or another. This is a very satisfying, well-plotted mystery, with interesting characters, many of whom will return in future Cadfael novels. Highly recommended.


Mobil Travel Guide: Northern Great Lakes 2007 (Forbes Travel Guide: Northern Great Lakes)
Mobil Travel Guide: Northern Great Lakes 2007 (Forbes Travel Guide: Northern Great Lakes)
by Mobil Travel Guide
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for Basics, August 2, 2012
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I used to really love the Mobil Travel Guides. They were brief and reliable, and I always liked the way they rated both the hotels/motels and the restaurants in each city or town. That is, I liked their star-rating system. I was seldom disappointed. More and more, though, the guides, like this one, simply pick up and repeat information from previous years, without necessarily checking it. It might be better to rely on google searches than on travel guides that aren't "refreshed" often enough.


Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction (Reference)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction (Reference)
by Jon Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.05
98 used & new from $1.92

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best, August 1, 2012
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This is one of the best books I've ever read on writing dramatic nonfiction -- nonfiction which approaches the subject through "story." Franklin, a two-time Pulitzer winner for his dramatic nonfiction, is also a college professor who teaches students how to write. This book gives to all writers and would-be writers the important things Franklin has learned as a practicing journalist and teacher. Included in the book is one of Franklin's prize-winning stories, "Mrs. Kelly's Monster." The story appears as Chapter Two of this book, but then it appears again in an annotated version at the end of the book. In the annotated version, Franklin explains everything he did, often line for line, and why he did it that way. A fantastic learning experience!

Throughout the book, Franklin concentrates on story: what it is in fiction, how it works in nonfiction. He introduces and explains terms such as conflict, complication, and resolution. In addition, he teaches a five-line, three-words-per-line method of outlining a story. The purpose of this seemingly easy (but actually difficult) exercise is so that the writer can chip away and chip away at all the excess until he or she understands exactly and precisely, in the fewest words possible, what the conflict, complication, and resolution of his or her story are. Highly recommended -- for those who write fiction as well as those who write nonfiction.


Three for the Chair (Nero Wolfe)
Three for the Chair (Nero Wolfe)
by Rex Stout
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
91 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Enjoyable, July 31, 2012
Nero and Archie stories are always enjoyable, and even though I strongly prefer the novels to the three-short-stories collections, there's an occasional collection that stands out in my mind. This is one of them, mainly for the last two stories: the one in which Wolfe cooks trout, and the one in which he agrees to wiretap another detective's office, only to learn that the person making the request wasn't who Wolfe thought he was.

"A Window for Death" is the first story, and it involves a present-day inheritance under suspicious circumstances. Bert Fyfe has died of pneumonia . . . maybe. He leaves his two brothers and one sister his share of a uranium mine. He also leaves behind a partner who may have rigged things so that he, the partner, receives the entire inheritance. And then there's the fact that Bert's father died of pneumonia twenty years ago, also under what might have been suspicious circumstances.

"Immune to Murder" takes place in the Adirondacks, Nero and Archie are the guests of an oil tycoon who is also entertaining state department personnel and Theodore Kelefy, an ambassador from a foreign country. Kelefy had requested that Nero Wolfe be present to cook the brook trout that he, Kelefy, would catch. The state department people go off to fish one morning, and later Archie also goes fishing. Archie discovers a dead body: the Assistant Secretary of State has had his head bashed in. Although Nero badly wants to leave this place, he isn't permitted to. So he solves the crime by speaking in French with his attorney, Nathaniel Parker.

"Too Many Detectives" starts with the fact that a year earlier, a man claiming to be Otis Reed, businessman, asks Nero to tap his (Reed's) phone at home. Nero is reluctant, but Archie wants to try the new technology, and so they tap Reed's phone -- only to discover that the man who called himself Otis Reed was not Reed. Now, twelve months after the fact, Nero and Archie are summoned to appear before the New York Secretary of State in Albany, to answer questions about whether or not they engaged in illegal wiretapping. Other detectives are also summoned. Then the man who was impersonating Otis Reed turns up dead and Nero and Archie are arrested.

All in all, one of the better of the short-story collections.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2013 4:37 AM PST


Blues Journey (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
Blues Journey (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
by Walter Dean Myers
Edition: School & Library Binding
Price: $16.66
68 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars To Be Read More Than Once, July 30, 2012
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This is a beautifully illustrated and beautifully written book which depicts, in an informal way (no strong story line, but a strong book nonetheless), the experiences of Black Americans from the time roughly after the Civil War until perhaps mid-20th century. The blues lyrics on each page are gripping. This is a book to be read over and over, savoring the sound of the words and the rhythm and repetition of the blues. Highly recommended.


Navajo Rugs: The Essential Guide
Navajo Rugs: The Essential Guide
by Don Dedera
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.08
71 used & new from $2.40

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Introduction to Navajo Rugs, July 29, 2012
I was given this book by a friend who thought I should know the story behind Navajo rugs. I enjoyed reading the book and particularly enjoyed seeing full color photos of various patterns such as Wide Ruin. I'm not sure that a collector of Navajo rugs would be satisfied with this book, but then it doesn't seem meant for a collector, but rather for a general audience.


Flush
Flush
by Carl Hiaasen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.72
482 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Moves Quickly, July 28, 2012
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This review is from: Flush (Hardcover)
This is the story of Noah, a Florida boy whose father is in jail for having sunk a casino ship which was pumping raw sewage into the harbor. The casino boat is brought back to the surface, and nobody believe's Noah's father, so it's up to Noah and a small assortment of kids and adults to prove that, Yes, the casino boat owners ARE pumping raw sewage into the harbor. An enjoyable read, with empathetic characters.


The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Mysteries)
The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Mysteries)
by Karin Fossum
Edition: Paperback
50 used & new from $1.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unresolved Endings, July 27, 2012
First the positive. This is the first Karin Fossum novel that I've read, and on the whole I enjoyed it a lot. The writing is very smooth and fluid. The plot has several complications but is still easy to follow. And the characters are exceptionally empathetic, particularly Inspector Sejer and Gunder Jomann. The latter went to India to find a wife. For very strong reasons, Gunder is not able to meet his new wife at the airport when she arrives. As a result, she is brutally murdered. The community in which this takes place is small, only 2,000 people. Of the six or seven characters the novel focuses on, which committed the murder? That is the central question to be answered in this mystery.

The author teases the reader with a very short (less than two pages) scene that starts the novel. The inference to be drawn from the scene is that this is the murderer. But then the author subtlety but repeatedly and pointedly brings a minor character under suspicion, even telling us via dialogue at the end of the book that the police never really questioned this character. Why not? That question is never answered, making me assume the lack of questioning was due to plot purposes alone.

The result is a book that's enjoyable to read, but unsatisfying to finish . . . because there is no finish, really. The central question to be answered is not answered. The subplots aren't resolved, either, which seems an excessive amount of unresolved-ness to me. Granted, this is no doubt what the author wanted: an ending that makes the reader feel that the truth can never be known. But many mystery readers, including me, don't want this kind of ending. The mystery novel is basically a riddle novel, and when that riddle is unresolved, the reader is unsatisfied.

If the writing in this novel were mediocre, if the characters were uninteresting, if the plot wasn't gripping, I would probably give this two or three stars. Despite my dissatisfaction, I must admit that the novel is an excellent example of a well-written, unresolved police procedural, so I'm giving the book four stars out of respect for what the author has achieved. I really liked the writing, but I'm not sure I'd ever read another Fossum novel, unless I knew in advance from reviews that the mystery was resolved.


The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
by Suzanne Jurmain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.31
80 used & new from $0.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Nonfiction, July 26, 2012
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This book is a bit of an oddity in that it looks something like a picture book, but reads at a much higher level, say junior-high or senior-high. It tells the story of Prudence Crandall of Connecticut, who in the early 1800s started a school for African-American girls. In seeking to give black children the same opportunities afforded white children, thereby creating more educated and presumably more socially responsible young citizens, both black and white, Crandall was vilified and her school was forced to close.

This book should be required reading for anybody studying American history, the history of early education in the U.S. and in New England in particular, the role of Abolitionists in the fight against slavery, and the role that women such as Prudence Crandall played in the social struggles of the time.


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