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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Hero, JLB

THE GLASS RAINBOW by James Lee Burke
For Robicheaux fans, this was take-your-breath-away. Dave’s relationship with Alafair was particularly interesting to me, as he tries to protect her from a new romance. Clete was his stalwart, quirky, complicated self and their friendship a thoughtful highlight to the story. A real tour du force for JLB.

INNOCENT by Scott Turow
Can you have too much character development. Good courtroom scenes, but complicated emotional issues. Rusty Sabich again on trial for a woman’s murder, this time his wife. To complicate things further, his son is falling in love with Rusty’s ex-mistress.

HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein
This got way too political for me and I abandoned it.

SIZZING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie and Lula are trying to come up with $1,000,000 to rescue/ransom their boss Vinnie who is in deep trouble on a number of fronts. Craziness prevails, as usual. The original popcorn read. The multitudes of Stephanie Plum fans are gonna love it.

HAZARD by Gardiner Harris
This was a different setting for a mystery: the coal mines in Appalachian Kentucky. I learned a lot about mining operations, inundations, methane, ventilation, maps and other details (not that I always wanted to know). The most interesting aspect was the attitude of the owners, inspectors and workers, which is to protect the operations at all costs and make the most money.

THE BURNING WIRE by Jeffery Deaver
I have such admiration for Deaver’s skills as a researcher, as well as a raconteur. The forensic details in all the Lincoln Rhyme books are amazing. I don’t know how one man could know so much without spending hours in the field or in the library. Electricity as a weapon was the subject of this caper and I certainly learned things, some frightening, others worrisome. There was a surprise at the end of this one concerning the players, but I won’t give it away.

DAMAGED by Alex Kava
Rescue swimmer Liz Bailey recovers a cooler from the Gulf of Mexico filled with body parts. FBI agent Maggie O’Dell and her new squeeze are called in on two different cases which turn out to be connected to the lucrative business of selling body parts. This was a good one revolving (bad pun) around a major hurricane which hits Pensacola, FL.

ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen
Excellent, excellent, even some real suspense in this one about Maggie Isles and Jane Rizzoli, who, my daughter informs me, are the heroines of a TNT television show. At a medical convention during a Wyoming winter, Maggie heads off on a spur of the moment ski excursion with some acquaintances and ends up snowbound and stalked in a deserted cult community.

This was really different. Learned a lot about reporting in the days before TV, the philosophy of which is still true today. Print journalists follow a murder story in the Appalachian Mountains in which the accused is a beautiful young schoolteacher and the dead man is her father.


THE COVE Excellent documentary on dolphin massacre in Japan

THE WHITE RIBBON Waste of time, no conclusion, subtitled

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE (Jeremy Irons, yes!) Quite fascinating bio, loved Irons

UP IN THE AIR (George Clooney, Sam Elliott) Mildly good

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