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Showing posts from October, 2006

Bibliophile reviews The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter by Sharyn McCrumb

No. in series: 2
Year of publication: 1992
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Police
Setting & time: North Carolina, USA, contemporary
Some themes: Life and death, second sight, cancer, madness, family ties

Story: Two teenagers are the only survivors of a family tragedy that ended in a triple murder and suicide, a woman expecting her first child is beset by loneliness and doubt, a young mother wants the best for her child, and an old man discovers that the cancer that is killing him may be the result of drinking polluted water. All of these stories begin to knit together little by little, with Sheriff Arrowood and seer Nora Bonesteel observing and occasionally participating in the story.

Review: Calling this installation in the Ballad series a mystery is simplifying things. It is not just a mystery but also a psychological thriller, a true-to-life story about ordinary people, and an ode to the Appalachians and their inhabitants. But "mystery" is perhaps as good a la…

Bibliophile reviews Ritual Murder (mystery) by S.T. Haymon

Series detective: Inspector Ben Jurnet
No. in series: 2
Year of publication: 1982
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Police
Setting & time: England, contemporary
Number of murders: 1
Some themes: Religion, drug-dealing, anti-Semitism, social injustice
Awards: The (British) Crime Writer's Association Silver Dagger Award, 1982

Story: A choirboy is found murdered in the cathedral of Angleby (a fictional town based on Norfolk) and signs on the body indicate that someone wanted to recreate the murder of Little Saint Ulf, whose holy bones are buried under the church and whose death had sparked a mass murder of the Jewish inhabitants of medieval Angleby. Ben Jurnet, who has now made a decision in the matter he was considering at the end of Death and the Pregnant Virgin (important for the story), is called in to investigate. He soon finds out that no-one seems to have liked the murdered boy much, but neither does anyone seem to have hated him enough to kill him. The murder sparks a …

Subscribe to Another 52 books

I thought I would make it a bit easier to subscribe to Another 52 Books. On the left sidebar just under my picture there is an icon like this one:
Just click on it and it will take you to my site feed where you can subscribe with any of several popular news readers, like My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Pluck, My AOL, and more.

Books as decoration

Books as decoration, originally uploaded by Netla. Another shelf of books arranged by colour. I have done this myself, with my TBR books, but my other books are organised by a much more mundane and practical system: by size, then genre, then author (not necessarily alphabeticlly). I don't bother with organising by title because once I'm down to that I can easily find the book. Of course, I only have about 3000 books - I suppose once I hit 5 figures I will have to organise them with more precision...

Color coded books

Color coded, originally uploaded by Netla. A cool way of organising your books. Very decorative but I'm afraid this would massively annoy any librarian who came near it. Seeing books organised like this, by colour but not by tone, actually makes me look at them as individual books and not as a collection.

Location: Góði Hirðirinn charity shop, Reykjavík, Iceland.

Tension relievers for book lovers

You are anxiously waiting for someone or something, and need to put your mind off it so you will not start throwing things and screaming to relieve the tension. Books have a calming effect on you, but you are too wound up to read. Well, I've been there, and here are some suggestions for book-related activities:

Dust your books. Dust is an enemy to books just as much as dampness and sunlight.

If you are the type who finds books more by what they look like than by knowing exactly where they are, organise your books by size or colour rather than subject. I've done this with part of my TBR stash and they not only look good on the shelf, they actually look tempting, which might mean I will finally go and read some of them.

Hunt down lost bookmarks. I am a typical bibliophile and if I do something with books, chances are that many other book lovers do the same. I keep putting half-read books away with the bookmark still inside and don't realise I'm doing it until I run out of…

My favourite bookshop

Uppáhalds bókabúðin, originally uploaded by Netla. Although I buy most of my second-hand books at a local charity shop, this is the book-shop that is closest to my heart. I can browse in there for hours, just looking at book after book and soaking up the atmosphere.
Clicking on the image will take you to a bigger version.
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Mystery author #24: Kate Atkinson

Title:Case Histories
Year published: 2004
Type of mystery: Literary mystery, murder, missing persons
Type of investigator: Private detective
Setting & time: Cambridge, UK, contemporary
Number of suspicious deaths: 3
Some themes: Missing persons, family, hopelessness, murder

You may wonder why I am counting Kate Atkinson as a mystery writer. Simple: she has written two mysteries so far which is all it takes to make it onto my mystery author reading list. I am trying to get my hands on her other mystery, which is about the same lead character as this one.

Story: Jackson Brodie is a typical depressed, divorced and chain-smoking hopeless P.I. Three cases land on his table: a child's disappearance more than 20 years before, a 10 year old unsolved murder, and a missing person. The stories of Jackson's investigations into these cases, his private life and the lives of some of those involved intertwine and in the end some things are solved for the participants and others only for the read…

Lovely old books

Lovely old books, originally uploaded by Netla. I came across these lovely old books recently, while searching for used furniture at my favourite second hand shop. I thought they looked so lovely that I snapped a photo of them.

Bibliophile reviews Anyone but you by Jennifer Crusie

Year published: 1996
Genre: Romance
Setting & time: USA, 1990s

Have I mentioned I'm a Jennifer Crusie fan? I am. Every time I open one of her books I know I am guaranteed a funny read, even when the story itself is disappointing (not that this one was).

The Story: Nina endured a long marriage with a social climber and finally divorced him. One of her gestures of independence after she is free is getting the dog he always denied her. However, when she goes to the pound to find a suitable puppy she spots Fred, a middle-aged, ugly and sad looking bloodhound-bassett mix who is about to be put down. She rescues him and takes him home, seriously doubting her own sanity, but happy that she has saved a life. Fred soon brings her into contact with her sexy younger neighbour, Max. The result is instant attraction on both sides but since Nina thinks Max is too young for her and Max thinks he isn't sophisticated enough for Nina, they become friends.
We all know how it will end, but I'…

Bibliophile reviews Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Year published: 2006
Genre: fantasy (aimed at young readers but accessible to all ages)
Setting & time: Discworld, whenever

The Story:
Tiffany Aching (heroine of The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky) is almost thirteen and is still in training to learn witchcraft. This time it's Miss Treason she is working for, a formidable old witch who is both loved and feared by the people she looks after. But old doesn't necessarily mean wise, and when Miss Treason refuses to tell Tiffany the significance of a dance they witness one dark autumn night, Tiffany ends up participating in the dance and catching the eye of the wintersmith, the powerful spirit of winter. But that is not her only problem. There is Horace, and Anagramma, and the Nac Mac Feegles, and Roland. What's a girl to do? Tiffany handles the problems in her own unique fashion, but I don't think I will say any more or it will spoil the fun of finding out for yourself.

Technique and plot:
The book is clearly written for…