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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mem Day Reading - two

Emily, Alone reinforces Stewart O'Nan creds as a master storyteller, one who takes an unfortunate backseat to such popular less talented writers such as Grisham. O'Nan has a unique ability to expound on subjects he couldn't possibly have experienced (as in a woman's perspective) as he does in this novel of an aging widow. It is a timely study as we Boomers are approaching this stage of our lives and excellently done.

I also read a little known nonfict account called Death in the Barrens by George Grinnell who, as a college student in the 50's completed a horrific, ill-fated canoe trip across Northern Canada. Not particularly well written but nevertheless very readable, I enjoyed it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Albany, O Albany

I always like novels set in the Capital District and this is no exception, made especially desirable by the fact that author Vincent Zandri will be here at the library in June. Zandri's new protagonist in the Concrete Pearl (yes, downtown Albany, Pearl Street)is Ava "Spike" Harrison, a tough-as-nails female construction company owner, battling to save her late father's business in the face of an asbestos scandal and murders. I love the references to the area - APL, Miss Albany Diner, etc., and the presence in the story of Tess and the Lark Tavern. Intend to ask how a writer goes about fictionalizing a real person, name and all. Permission? I read this on my Kindle and was distressed by the grammatical errors. Who to blame for that? I am eager to meet Vincent and ask some questions.

A Drop of the Hard Stuff

Sometimes I wish I drank alcohol becuase I find this title particularly attractive. It is a Matt Scudder novel and a good one, as he approached his first year sober and finds him enmeshed in a complicated and threatening multiple killer investigation. Lawrence Block is a dependable writer and I like Scudder.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not spectacular

what the night knows - Dean Koontz Too supernatural for me. Cop and family assailed by the presence of a long-dead killer.
Crunch Time - Diane Mott Davidson Same old, same old.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easy Reads for a Hard Week

Sandra Brown is always a reliable storyteller and she came through with tough customer which was easy to get in and out of as I suffered from insomia and worried about my nephew. It was not only a killer/stalker tale, it was a neat love story with some echoes of my own life in it.

i'd know you anywhere is told in flashbacks, a technique I'm not fond of. The situation is: Elizabeth, kidnapped at 15, held for 6 weeks, released by abductor who has previously killed his victims. Twenty years passes, name change, marriage, two kids, Elizabeth starts recieving communications from the incarcerated killer. And, for reasons which the author (Laura Lippman) attempts to explain, the victim responds. I was not thrilled with this book on several levels.

However, I am pretty happy with Rebecca James' Beautiful Malice, although it also was told in flashbacks. A psychopathic "friend" exploits a young woman's guilt over the rape and murder of her younger sister. This "friend" is truly frightening and wrecks havoc in many lives. Read this in a matter hours. Can't find any more by this author, but I'll be watching.