Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oops! I missed BB's anniversary!

One year ago today (oops! yesterday) I posted my very first post on my very first blog, where I took a long look at The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, 2003, fiction, 8/10.

I had not yet developed any particular format for reviewing books and, for that matter, I'm not sure I'd call what I wrote a review exactly. But I asked (and answered) a lot of questions while doing it. Stephanie and Marg and Margreet showed up and, being the nice people they are, each of them answered my questions and helped me get over the hump of starting a blog. And Chris, didn't you have a blog back then?

Anyway, some of you are new readers and haven't seen that earliest post. Wouldn't you like to check it out and compare THEN and NOW ... and maybe leave me a comment HERE or THERE?

Do you remember any particular thing I have blogged about during my first year? It can be anything from ANY of my numerous blogs, whatever was memorable.

And how exciting that Dewey had something to say at the end of my first year:
You know how some people just seem to be in love with life? Bonnie makes my day by being one of those people. Just by being herself, she reminds me to be delighted by the small joys we all run into every day.
With those words she bestowed upon me the You Make My Day Award. Thanks, Dewey! And now I get to pass it on to these folks who make my day:

1. Nancy makes my day as a Bookfool writing about books ... AND ... as a photographer with a sense of humor. Not only is she a great nature photographer, but she has employed a growing troupe of poppets who pose while exploring their world from a low-down point of view. Nancy makes me laugh.

2. Colleen makes my day with her wicked sense of appropriate labeling of seemingly random photographs, like these and these. Colleen makes me curious about what she'll say next.

3. Jenn makes my day because she's eclectic and has broadened out from her original blog to a photography blog with Alison and a writing blog with 14 others. Jenn inspires me.

4. Vanilla makes my day because she writes well, makes beautiful art from her photographs, and dreamed up a quirky Atyllah the Hen; we met because her lion (#5) and mine (#30) were already friends. Vanilla intrigues me.

5. Tricia makes my day because she ties together books and poetry and teaching science, but most of all because she too loves Miss Rumphius! Tricia makes me notice all things mathematical and scientific that tie in with teaching children.

6. Seamus makes my day because he is so creative and because he founded the Shameless Lions Writing Circle with its current project of writing a collective short story. Seamus makes me smile.

UPDATE: Kailana of Kailana's Written Word has just made my day ... again! Thanks, Kailana. Because I have spent too much of today handing out awards to wonderful blogs (which included the ones listed in this post), I don't think I'll award any more of these today. Should I show you the award all over again? Nah, please scroll up a notch or two and look at the one already in this post. Cheers!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Loves meme, loves meme not

Colleen has tagged me for the following love-hate meme (she got it from Deana):

I love to eat: salads and fried okra and green olives and tomatoes and bananas and ... well, I love to eat most fruits and vegetables.
I hate to eat: overly sweet desserts, so if I eat dessert at all, I save a bite or two of bread or okra or any non-sweet thing to get rid of the icky taste.

I love to go: barefoot around the house. (Colleen said, "Barefoot ... because it means it’s warmed up") I pad around like Shoeless Joe all year long, at least in the house. Does that make me a Tennessee hillbilly?
I hate to go: when I'm having fun. Too often that makes me late to the next thing ... that I'll probably enjoy, too.

I love it when: I have great conversations with friends ... that's when time seems to fly and I am totally surprised to discover we've been talking for 2 hours and 24 minutes.
I hate it when: things quit working unexpectedly. Like my car, Maxine, so named because she's a Maxima. Anyway, Maxine left the automobile hospital on Saturday after major surgery (her mechanic likened it to heart surgery), and that same evening, she stalled. I mean, there I was sitting at a red light and Maxine's low idling just ... stopped. I shifted into park and turned the ignition again, but she stalled again. I had to gun the motor to make it to the grocery store. She was idling just fine on Sunday, so I'm hoping I won't have to take Maxine back to her mechanical provider ... that's sort of an automobile HMO, just as her MD is a Mechanical Doctor.

I love to see: rainbows and smiling faces.
I hate to see: scowling faces.

I hate to hear: television commercials featuring salesmen screaming about their products.
I love to hear: laughter, birds waking up in the early morning, gurgles of delight from a baby, and my cat purring when I hold her.

I'm tagging ALL of you to say what you love and don't love in a comment on this post ... or tell me if you do this meme so I can come by and read it. In the meme-time (thanks, Colleen, I'm adopting this word, so feel free to use it in your next game of Scrabble since surely it will show up in the next edition of the OED, now that it's been so widely used ... by you and me), I’m tagging Seamus and Wendy and Ginnie and Jenn and Stephanie and Selma to do this one, if they are feeling meme-ish (I coined this word on Friday, in my last meme post).

And Colleen, bite me! I found this picture, just for you!

Hey, everybody, want to make your own heart sayings, just in time for Valentine's Day? There are several candy heart generators out there, but I used this one:

UPDATE: And I tag Vanilla to do this meme in February, just before Valentine's Day. And I tag all the rest of you to do the same.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm quirky like that

Selma in the City has tagged me to do a meme about my Quirks.

The rules are
* link to the person who tagged you
* post the rules on your blog
* share six non-important things/ habits/ quirks about yourself
* tag at least 3 people at the end of the post and link to their blogs
* let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
QUIRKY to the power of SIX:

1. QUIRK ~ A Quirk is an odd habit. My oddest habit is playing with words, as I'm doing right here, right now, in this very meme! "Sit up straight, write rightly, and quit playing with your words!"

2. QUARK ~ A Quark is a generic type of physical particle that forms one of the two basic constituents of matter. Okay, I heard you over there. It doesn't matter if I'm a word person; I'm also a science person. I do TOO read about Quarks and Quantum leaps and Quagmires and Quandries.

3. QUANTUM ~ Speaking of Quantum leaps, "Quantum Leap" was one of my favorite TV shows, not that I ever had many, but I loved watching Sam Beckett "leap" from one time-place to another time-place. (Read about the real "Samuel Beckett" if you want to know more about the theater of the absurd.) I have always been intrigued by the idea of time travel. Toss in a little teleportation, and I love it!

4. QUERY ~ A Query is a form of Questioning, in a line of inQuiry. I have always asked a lot of Questions, like this one I asked my mother. In spite of my penchant for Queries, I was never a Querulous child.

5. QUEST ~ A Quest is a journey towards a goal. One of my lifetime Quests has been to explore synchronicity, which could be defined as the conscious perception in a physiological time track of the simultaneous manifestation of the multi-dimensional universe. Don't you wonder what deeper reality might lie behind events demonstrating synchronicity?

6. QUELLE ~ The Q document (from the German Quelle, meaning "source") is a postulated lost textual source for the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke. I taught religions of the world for many years, and I always had fun explaining why scholars believe the writers of Matthew and Luke used not only the earlier gospel of Mark, but also another "source" they had in common. For lack of a name, it was labeled Q.

Okay, now I'll Quit being Qute ... er, cute ... and name the three people (er, chicks?) I'd like to know more about:
June at Spatter
Ellen at Vanilla Extract
Atyllah at Absolute Vanilla
If you are feeling meme-ish, that is.

Atyllah has come through with her quirky report.
So has Ellen, who thinks she's mostly made up of quirks.
And June sets out her little quirks in a very tidy way.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cat's Eyewitness ~ by Rita Mae Brown

Kiki, the con artist

My Kiki cat is quite good at lying for a good cause, but sometimes we have to laugh at her. When my roommate Donna comes home from work, Kiki will tell her she hasn’t had her afternoon treats yet ... and Donna’s cat Sammy will come running to sit on the piano hoping Kiki convinces the human that they are poor, pitiful, starving kitties who never get their treats on time. The only trouble with their scheme is that I’m usually right there in the room. Donna looks at me and says to Kiki, "But you already HAD your treats." Kiki, the more talkative of the two, says plaintively, "Maiow mew mew." Donna says, "Yes, you did." Kiki replies, "Meow miahow mew!" Donna says again, "Yes, you DID." Kiki, "Meow miaow MEOW, myou." They never seem to notice that humans communicate with each other as well as with them. Finally, Kiki gives up and plops in the floor with her back to Donna, and Sammy sighs.

And that brings me to the subject of the book I completed last night, Cat's Eyewitness, a mystery written by Rita Mae Brown and her furry partner Sneaky Pie Brown. First off, I've gotta say, this is NOT one of their better collaborations. The idea was good, but reading it was mostly a waste of time. I would have put it aside, except for the fact that I was reading it for a reading challenge ... and wanted to put Kiki alongside the investigative trio (the meddling menagerie?) of indefatigable felines Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, along with the dogged corgi Tee Tucker. If that isn't too twee for you and you are still reading along, let's run through my book review and get this over with:

Title, author, date of book, and genre?
Cat's Eyewitness, by Rita Mae Brown, 2005, mystery

Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
Murder, another murder, suspects, a few interesting details, case solved.

Were there any especially interesting characters?
Umm, well, no.

Did you think the characters and their problems were believable?
The story was a bit more far-fetched than usual.

What did you like most about the book?
It reads quickly.

What did you like least?
I wanted to know whodunnit, but I never really got involved in the story.

Share a quote from the book.
The notes I took have nothing to do with plot or characters ... but with words I noticed. (Does this tell you how "uninvolved" I was with what the book was supposedly about?)
So long as "man" is the measure of all things, women will be shortchanged (p. 72). (Makes sense to me!)

Cooper pulled up the wooden chair, an old office chair from the 1940s (p. 176). (I made a note of this because I wondered if it's like the chair I'm sitting in now, as I type this review into my computer, a chair that once belonged to my paternal grandfather, who died in 1944.)

doodley-squat (p. 189) (Hmmm, I've always heard it as "diddley-squat.")

jimmy-rigged (p. 202) (Hey, I looked up jerry-rigged and jury-rigged just this week!)
What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
I don't think I'll have a lasting impression. None of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries is deep and challenging, but this one seemed less, somehow, than any of the others I've read, which were more entertaining.

How would you rate this book?
Rated: 4/10, struggled to finish, but not worth it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And the winner is ......

On Monday, January 14, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults -- including the Caldecott, King, Newbery, Schneider Family and Printz awards -- at its Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia:

John Newbery Medal winner for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature was Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children went to The Invention of Hugo Cabret illustrated by Brian Selznick, is the 2008 Caldecott Medal winner.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean.

Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults went to Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences:
... for ages 0-10, went to Kami and the Yaks, written by Andrea Stenn Stryer and illustrated by Bert Dodson.
... for ages 11-13, went to Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.
... for ages 13-18, Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers went to There Is a Bird on Your Head! written and illustrated by Mo Willems.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults went to Orson Scott Card for his novels Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

The Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's books went to an illustrator and an author:
... Yuyi Morales, illustrator of Los Gatos Black on Halloween, which was written by Marisa Montes won the 2008 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.
... Margarita Engle, author of The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, which was illustrated by Sean Qualls, won the 2008 Pura Belpré Author Award.

Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children went to The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain written and illustrated by Peter Sís.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States went to Brave Story, written by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith, which was originally published in Japanese in 2003 as Bureibu Sutori.

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences went to:
... American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly
... Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff
... Essex County Volume 1: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire
... Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
... The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
... A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
... Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
... The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
... The Night Birds by Thomas Maltman
... The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture recognizes an individual of distinction in the field of children's literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site. Walter Dean Myers, widely acclaimed author of picture books, novels, poetry and non-fiction for children and young adults, will deliver the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

For the rest of the list, including all the honor books, go to:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Outstanding science books for children

Were there any Outstanding Science Books Published in 2007 for children? Tricia of "The Miss Rumphius Effect" thinks so, and she is upset that no books on science were included in the Blue Ribbon awards chosen by the staff of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. So Tricia rectified that oversight (but was it an oversight or do those on the committee just not read science books for children?) and posted her own choices of Outstanding Science Books Published in 2007. Go check it out, on her other blog: "Open Wide, Look Inside." You won't be disappointed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Book report ~ Day to Read

Here were the rules laid down by Soccer Mom in Denial: "Please go read something not on the computer. A book. A magazine. The newspaper. Then come back here tomorrow to either tell about it or let me know if you wrote a post about it."

I called this a "book report," but the book wasn't all I read yesterday. Here's some of what I read, not counting road signs and billboards and the running commentary under the newscasts:
One of the seven books our city-wide committee is considering
Menu at my favorite restaurant
Obituary of the husband of an old friend
Social Security information
"Legacy of Women" brochure from my old school
Several of your blogs, though not as many as usual
Information about 135
I want to say a couple of things about that reading:
First, I cannot, absolutely can NOT, imagine what life would be like if I couldn't read. But mainly, I realized that what I read yesterday engendered lots of thoughts (as usual) that rarely make it into my book reviews. Are you interested in hearing about those thoughts swirling around my reading mind?
I read 142 pages of a 282-page book. Ha! That's exactly one page over half the book. Oh, you expect me to mention the title? I'm re-reading The Distinguished Guest by Sue Miller because our A Tale for One City committee is narrowing our current list down from seven books to three books ... and I need to write a review or six or seven. I am sharing this link with you, my readers, to allow you to make comments on these books before our January 29th meeting. In the meanwhile, let me tell you what I was thinking as I read the book ... this time.

Mortality ... I read The Distinguished Guest about a decade ago, found it interesting, and would have given it high marks back then, if I'd been reviewing the books I read. This time, however, I am seeing the main character in a whole new light, now that I have learned my favorite cousin also has Parkinson's. This go 'round, I am retired, as the protagonist is; she has temporarily moved into her son's home until her new place becomes available ... and I am very aware that my children have already discussed what to "do" with me, when "that time" comes. They (not I) have decided which daughter will "have" to take me in because the other two think they aren't able to do that, because of their circumstances. Yikes! I'm 67 and prefer to decide my own life, thank you very much! I don't want to live with any of them (sorry, kids). I'd rather live under the nearest underpass ... well, maybe not ... and saying such a thing would simply convince my children that I am getting senile ... or have the beginnings of Alzheimer's, which my mother had.

Speaking of mortality, I also read that obituary I mentioned above. At the funeral home I recognized my old friend (in the generation before mine) whose husband had died, but I had to ask someone to point out the second son ... I hadn't seen him since high school 50 years ago. He's two years younger than I am, so how come he looks so old??? Oops! I guess we all do, now. Which reminds me, I also read some stuff Social Security sent me this week. Do I have to read it? Yeah, I guess so. Scintillating reading? No, not exactly.

Then I ate out with a friend of mine. I chose the place, which happens to have the best fried okra in town since my mother died. And I read a brochure "The Legacy of Women in Theology and Ministry" from Emory University's Candler School of Theology. I was especially interested in "remembering the past" of the 1980s, when I was in seminary there. Two of the women faculty I studied under were featured in the brochure: Roberta Bondi, hired in 1978 to teach History of the Early Christian Church, and Carol Newsom, added to the faculty in 1980 to teach Old Testament.

And last, but not least ... I discovered that the number 135 is fascinating ... read all about it here. Some of you may remember I like numbers, so this is mere confirmation. What excited me was this fact:
135 = (1+3+5) (1x3x5)
Do I have any readers who like numbers as well as words? Dewey, I know you mentioned numbers to me once, when I was talking about my fascination with the number 9.

January 12th addendumm found online:

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321
1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10 = 1111111111
9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?
And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Other Goose ~ by Barbara Klunder

I found a book! (Like I expect you to be surprised, huh?) Other Goose: Recycled Rhymes for Our Fragile Times was written and illustrated by Barbara Klunder, a Toronto artist. Did you get the humor of the title, huh, huh? Left out the "M" to get OTHER. Okay, so I like words and playing with words. A tiny taste:
Humpty Dumpty
Had a great lake.
Humpty Dumpty
Made a mistake.
All the king's chemicals
All the king's waste
Went into the lake,
For goodness' sake!
I found this on the blog of a Toronto homeschooler and I cannot find it at, so I suppose only the lucky folks in Canada have access to it. No fair.

UPDATE: I got a copy of the book and wrote a review, with the help of my 7-year-old granddaughter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

But first a story from our sponsor.....

Soccer Mom in Denial selected January 10th as Day to Read with this comment: "And, according to research, did you know that reading books is linked to civic engagement?" Wait, I already blogged about that!

Today I want you to read what Soccer Mom in Denial said about discovering whodunnit in the wonderful book she was reading "deep under the covers, way past my bedtime."

Umm, and I'm here to remind you that tomorrow ... yes, TOMORROW, Thursday, January 10th ... is the day we're supposed to "take time one day in January to stop blogging - for the entire day or part of the day - and use the blogging time to read. A book. A magazine. A newspaper. ... Then on Friday, January 11th, write a bit about what you read."

Dewey and others have said they'll be reading ... of course, they'll be reading ... because some of us are readers who read every day. But take this as a challenge to blog about something you don't normally mention, like what you read in a magazine or what that newspaper article was all about that made you read it all the way to the end.

I personally need to write several reviews, but first I'll write about something you may not have expected me to read. Shh, don't bother me tomorrow. I'll be reading.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Do you judge books by their covers?

That's a good question: Do you judge books by their covers? I do. I think most of us do. Look at these two covers, one from the paperback edition and one from the hardback edition, and decide which cover appeals to you. Do that before reading on.

. . .

Now go read what Stephanie of The Written Word said about these covers in a post she called Don't Judge a Book. And if that was interesting to you, take a look at Rekya's Bookshelf, which is a blog all about book covers.

Now, tell me, what's your opinion of book covers? How much do they affect you and your choice of whether or not to buy a particular book? If I have a choice of covers, I am willing to pay a bit more to get the cover that I prefer. Have you ever done that?

May 13, 2008 UPDATE: B&N has a video about The Five Rules of Good Book Cover Design.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency ~ by Alexander McCall Smith

Title, author, date of book, and genre?
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998), by Alexander McCall Smith, is fiction.

Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
Precious Ramotswe opens a detective agency, in spite of the apparent culture of disbelief that a woman could do such work. In fact, she flaunts it by naming her agency the No. 1 LADIES’ Detective Agency. The book shows her going about solving lots of small problems for people, unlike most mysteries I’ve read that give us the details of one great big case. Her ways of working are nothing short of magnificent ... and hilarious.

What did you think of the main character?
Mma Ramotswe is a hoot. I don’t know anyone who thinks quite the way she does, and that makes her interesting to me.

Which character could you relate to best, and why?
Although her thinking was beyond me for most of the book, it was Precious all the way. I would never have thought of her solutions to some of the problems because I don’t think in terms of crocodiles and cobras, but Precious is really ... well ... precious.

Were there any other especially interesting characters?
Just about all of them. I rather liked her secretary just out of secretarial school, and the mechanic from her hometown, and the doctor who is her neighbor and friend, and the Indian teenage girl who just may have deceived Mma Ramotswe herself. I think she did.

Did you think the characters and their problems were believable?
Sometimes it was hard, but that’s because I don’t live in Africa. I can’t imagine losing someone at a baptism, for instance. When I willingly suspend a bit of my stuffy ole ways of thinking, though, it begins to make sense. Africa is quite different from America, and Precious has a few opinions about why she hopes Africa never changes.

From whose point of view is the story told?
Precious Ramotswe, of course. Who else? Through her we see why a proper detective agency must have a secretary, even if it never has another client. We get her viewpoint of men, and except for her daddy, men don’t rate very highly in her opinion, generally speaking.

Was location important to the story?
Oh, yes! Google “Botswana” so you’ll see where the city of Gaborone is in relation to South Africa, the Kalahari Desert, and the towns of Mahalapye and Francistown. I made a copy of the map to put in the book along with my bookmark.

Was the time period important to the story?
I think so. Mma Ramotswe was pleased how far her country of Botswana had come in 30 years (now over 40 years since its 1966 independence). She happily lists the reasons her beloved Botswana is the most progressive country in Africa.

Was the story told chronologically? Was there foreshadowing?
Yes, it was told chronologically. There was foreshadowing, though I was sometimes quite surprised by the outcome of a case she solved. Having identical twin daughters myself, I was fascinated by the case that involved identical twins.

Did you think the story was funny, sad, touching, disturbing, moving?
Yes. Okay, I know that looks like a cop-out, but it was funny in parts, sad and touching in other parts, disturbing a time or two, and moving ... when I watched how Mma Ramotswe cared for her people.

What did you like most about the book?
I liked Africa! Botswana, specifically. I don’t think I would care for the wildlife, but Precious made me more aware of the good in that place.

What did you like least?
Same answer: Africa. I would not like to live so near the wildness of the Kalahari Desert, and yet that’s what made the book so fascinating ... that learning about an exotic place. It was exotic to me, anyway. I need to ask my South African friend if she has read the book and what she thinks of it.

Share a quote from the book.
"I love all the people whom God made, but I especially know how to love the people who live in this place. They are my people, my brothers and sisters. It is my duty to help them to solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do" (p. 4).

Share a favorite scene from the book.
Oh, I really want to, but it would spoil that scene for you. So I won’t share this time. (It's chapter 9, if you read the book.)

What about the ending?
All along I was thinking it had to be this way ... or that other way. Well, “this way” turned out to be better, and I was pleased by the ending. Yes, very satisfactory indeed.

What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
I think I will remember the book with a smile ... and total admiration for Precious Ramotswe.

Which readers are most likely to enjoy this book, and why?
People who enjoy visiting new places in their reading.

Rated: 9/10, an excellent book.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Who's Harriet Klausner?

Have you ever heard of Harriet Klausner? I kept running into her reviews of books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, until I reached a point of looking for her reviews of books I was researching. I haven't been misled by her opinions yet. So I decided to do a search and find out who this person is ... and found out a lot about her. Here's what she says about herself:
I was born in the Bronx where I obtained a Masters in Library Science. My thesis topic was the Impact of Science Fiction Reading by High School Seniors on Standardized Reading Scores. I met my spouse Stan when he read my palm in a Bronx outdoor cafe.

After being married for seven months, we moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where I worked in the local bookstore and provided some limited book reviewing services. I had my only child born there. Later, we moved to Massachusetts where I worked in a small used bookstore that catered to fans of horror and science fiction. Ultimately we moved to Georgia where we currently live. I have worked with the library and found an acquisition job in a bookstore. I also watched my book reviewing career begin to take shape. I take immense pleasure informing other readers about newcomers or unknown authors who have written superb novels.
She has been written about in The Wall Street Journal and in Time magazine. She's even made it into Wikipedia.

Would you like to read some of her reviews? Here are links to the reviews, archived by author and title:

All Reviews By Author:
0 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

All Reviews By Title:
0 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Or maybe you'd rather read only the recent reviews:
Recent Reviews
It's even possible to do a search through all of her reviews:
Search Reviews

Alternative Worlds is the personal website of Harriet Klausner.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Year in review

Taking a clue from Colleen, I have taken the first sentence or two from one of the earliest blog posts of every month of 2007. If you want to read a whole post, click on the month-link. The January post was my very first blog post ever, and it came at the end of January. So technically, I've only been blogging for eleven months ... but who's counting?

In this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri explores just about everything about names.

My son's favorite book was Animal Farm by George Orwell, after his school class had to read it when he was about 12. He thought it was hilarious.

Thanks for this bookshelf and this idea to list a hundred books to Stephanie, who got a list from Ms. Literary Feline, who got that list from Bookfool.

The author, shown at right about 1974, was vilified by the scientific community for publishing this book on planetary theory.

Does bad grammar make you [sic]? Me, too.

I've been meaning to read Gaiman's American Gods, but I put Anansi Boys on reserve after reading Stephanie's great review of the book.

No bad words were found.

Miaow, no treats, but I found a mouse. Not very lively, though.

What are your favorite "buttonhole" books, the ones you urge passionately on friends, colleagues, and passersby?

Here are some ways you can celebrate Banned Books Week:

In two days I wrote 3,337 words ... and found it all to be conspicuously egregious!

The novel is still a draft ... and the end is not yet in sight ... so it will take a lot of writing, polishing, and re-writing before most of it is worth showing to anyone.