In the beginning...

...there were The Flyaways, a family who traveled in their miraculous flying machine having daring adventures with Goldilocks and Cinderella. The first in the 3-book series by Alice Dale Hardy was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1925 and copies are almost extinct. Few people remember Ma and Pa, Tommy and Susie Flyaway now.

I became acquainted with them on my grandfather's lap, my dear Grandpa Baker who read and read and read to me every evening for as many years as I can remember. I would hold my breath as each chapter ending neared, hoping he would not stop. I would keep begging for "just one more" chapter until his voice got so hoarse I would have to run to his room to get his throat lozenges.

Over the years we covered all of Uncle Wiggly and Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, the Five Little Peppers, the Wind in the Willow series, some of them more than once. He read to me until long after I could read everything for myself, until I was into Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I was safe and happy snuggled up on the couch with him and that feeling has never left me. I still read and read and read, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deep Shadows

This slam-bang thrill ride is the latest Doc Ford adventure by Randy Wayne White and I'm voting for best. Ford, sidekick Tomklinson, tough old Arlis Futch and a troubled Indian teenager leave Sanibel Island on an inland expeditiuon to search for Batista's missing treasure at the bottom of a Florida lake. What they find there is danger and deadly when they encounter a pair of runaway felons and a lake full of mysterious creatures. 90% of the story unfolds in a two-hour time span, much of it underwater and every minute of it perilous. Lots of info about scuba diving and marine biology. I could hardly put this one down.

Also watched The Way We Get By about the veterans who greet the incoming and outgoing troops at the Bangor Airport. It was sad and touching and heartwarming. I hate the war, but bless those young men and women - and these elderly people who are determined to make them feel appreciated.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I can write poetry.

The New Poet Laureate of Smith's Tavern, wearing my crown.

Wine Country

Erica Spindler wrote a good one here in Blood Vines, a whodunit set in the CA wine country and beginning with the discovery of a 25-year-old body - of an infant uncovered in an old grape planting. Plenty of suspects, secrets and motives. Fast read.

The Vogels

Herb and Dorothy (dvd - documentary)
Off the book record, I watched Dorothy and Herb today, a documentary about the librarian and postal clerk who married in the 60’s and starting buying cheap art. The Vogels became legends in the art world as their collection of modern art grew to astronomical proportions. They eventually donated the priceless collection to the National Gallery (which could not accommodate the entire body of works). Truly an interesting tale for the art appreciator. Also cat lovers, they Vogels had a flame point Himalayan who was so like my Oliver it brought tears to my eyes. I could feel my hands caressing him. Truly interesting story.

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
Although this got good reviews, I found it to be plodding. I started because of the subject matter – two eleven year-olds who kidnap and murder an infant – and finished just to find out why they had done it, but it was disappointing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Never Look Away by Linwood Barkley

I raced through this one, too. David Harwood's wife Jan disappears on a trip to a Lake George amusement park (6 Flags?)and his steadfast love for her makes him oblivious to the mounting evidence that not only was she not who she appeared, but that she skillfully framed him for her murder. THis plot was cleverly constructed, out of the ordinary, and ties up all the loose ends successfully. It was a true thriller and a non-stop rainy day read. I never did wash the kitchen floor.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

30+ on tap

I am such a book hog. I have 30 - yes, more than 30 - books checked out to read, a mix of fiction and non-fiction, true crime and poetry, history, political, health and eating, dogs, favorite authors, recommends. I can't seem to pass one by. I am so afraid that someone else might grab something that looks interesting and I'd miss out somehow on reading it, that I just keep checking out and checking out. I am a madwoman. Well, this is the weekend I must sort and return all but the most desirable. Control, control.

Finally got and quickly read Vincent Zandri's Moonlight Falls. He has a strong new protagonist, Richard Moonlight(!), an ex-cop in trouble with the cops after an illicit sex affair with the alluring and beautiful Scarlet Montana, his ex-cop boss' now dead wife. Was it suicide, accident, did Moonlight kill her, or did the husband? Zandri writes very readable prose, full of twists and turns and set right here in good old Smallabany, which is fun. Zandri seems to be making ripples to a much larger audience than ever. Lots of promotion and good press going on.

Also finished Caught, another fast read by Harlan Coban who is the best at crime fiction. An attractive television reporter, a widow with an engaging teenage son, is being upstaged by a younger rival and then fired after outing a pedophile on national tv. The cops are investigating him in the disappearance of a high school girl when he is beaten and murdered and Wendy begins to question his guilt. The plot thickens, as they say, with the introduction of the Father's Club, a group of unemployed guys who hang out at a coffeshop. Everybody has secrets. Nobody writes a more entertaining tale than Coban. Whipped through this one and want more.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

No Golden Retrievers

David Rosenfelt, my Andy Carpenter/golden retriever guy has produced a winner with another protagonist, Chris Turley, a newspaper journalist who is suddenly catapulted into the limelight when targeted by a madman to be the recipient of the killer's communications. But is there a special reason why Chris was chosen? Is there a connection between them that no one can figure out? Chris finds the FBI is doubting his veracity and considering that he might be the killer. As the reign of terror continues unchecked, Chris' life comes literally Down to the Wire.

Also really enjoyed Liar's Anonymous. Jessie Dancing, living under an alias, is one of the voices on an auto GPS system. When she answers an emergency call, she hears a frightening plea for help. Then the man in the car is found murdered, and because Jessie has been tried and acquited of a murder she actually committed, she becomes a suspect in the investigation.