November 24th, 2012

Reading - La Liseuse

Books #33 & 34

33. Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish, 354 pages, Mystery, Hardback, 2005 (Walt Longmire Series, Book 1).

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, has an obsession with an old case, the rape of Melissa Little Bird where the underage perpetrators were arrested, were found guilty, but sent to a youth facility where they served very little time at all. He’s also been a widower for a few years, and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, has decided to make him a personal project for a time, getting him to work on fixing up his home and his body in order to date a girl he’s had a childhood crush on. But all this becomes background when one of the rapists is found dead, and what is first thought to be a hunting accident turns into a vendetta with a Sharps .45-70 buffalo rifle. It took a while to read the first couple of chapters; Craig Johnson is able to pack more detail into a paragraph than many writers can in a chapter, and oh-so-very well! The characters, the landscape, the cultures, are all described in lush detail. The Native American mysticism was beautiful; I don’t know accuracy, but I know it touched me as being authentic to the character and an obviously necessary part of the book. The ending took me by surprise; I’m still a bit off-keel from it. The A&E series, Longmire, is based on this series. I’m making plans to buy the book series; I loved the television series, but the book series is better by leaps and bounds!

34. Craig Johnson, Death Without Company, 271 pages, Mystery, Hardback, 2006 (Walt Longmire Series, Book 2).

Book 2 of the Longmire series picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Just as Walt is coming to terms with the events of the prior novel, he gets a call from the former sheriff of Absaroka County, Lucian Connelly, to investigate the death of a fellow resident of his assisted living home. The past of former sheriff Connelly, with one close-held bombshell after another, is pieced together as all those who knew the fate of the late Mari Bajora’s husband dies. Throw in some interesting facts about mineral rights, the status of domestic abuse victims in the 1950s, horrible weather, and Walt trying to fill a few holes in his staff, this book leads everyone in a million directions at once. Wonderfully entertaining!
book and cup

#121 Jane Austen: Selected Letters - Vivien Jones

I must start off by saying I do love Jane Austen. In July I re-read Northanger Abbey during my first month of re-reading, and it made me want to re-read everything of hers soon. I then bought this book of letters and a collection of her juvenilia. I wanted to love this collection, was fully prepared to be captivated by Jane Austen’s life. So it is with some regret I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I had failed to remember that these are private letters, their intended audience only that person to whom they were addressed – usually, though not exclusively Cassandra Austen. It would also appear that the Austen family – possibly not surprisingly – disposed of many of her most private letters in the years following Jane’s death.
The letters cover a period of 21 years and are filled with the minutiae of everyday life. Like so many of Jane Austen’s characters, she and Cassandra spent a lot of time away from the family home, visiting for instance the homes of other members of the family, caring for sick relatives or on purely pleasurable visits to London and Bath. The letters that Jane sent Cassandra then, when they were apart, are filled with family news, local gossip, descriptions of new gowns, and details of balls attended.

“There were twenty dances and I danced them all, & without any fatigue. I was glad to find myself capable of dancing so much & with so much satisfaction as I did; - from my slender enjoyment of the Ashford Balls (as Assemblies for dancing) I had not thought myself equal to it, but in cold weather & with few couples I fancy I could just as well dance for a week together as for half an hour.” (Letter to Cassandra Austen 1798)

I think had there been say fifty pages of such letters – they would have been just charming and interesting enough to be satisfying. However for me there was just a little too much similar content, at times I got a little bogged down by it. That is not to say that there is nothing of interest – there is – and Jane Austen’s wonderful style in itself is an absolute joy. What a marvellous letter writer she was, of course this was a time when gently brought up young women did write a lot of letters. What does shine through so beautifully though is Jane Austen’s deep affection for her sister Cassandra, and indeed her family as a whole. Little in jokes and snippets of a private language used by her and a niece, show us how important she must have been to her family. One can only guess at the loss they must have felt when Jane Austen died at just 41.
One thing I really loved however – and which there wasn’t quite enough of for me – was Jane Austen’s references to her own novels. The novels which she refers to as being her children, and that we, all these years later are still reading and talking about.

“P&P is sold. –Egerton gives £110 for it. – I would rather have had £150, but we could not both be pleased, & I am not at all surprised that he should not chuse to hazard so much.” (Letter to Mary Lloyd 1812)

One thing this collection has done for me is to make me all the more enthusiastic about re-reading the other novels. I’m pretty sure I will read one during my month of re-reading in January.

Book 44

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 44
44 THE COUNTRY GIRLS TRILOGY Edna O'Brien (Ireland, 1960/1962/1964-published as a trilogy in 1987)

This trilogy includes -The Country Girls
                              -The Lonely Girl (also known as Girl with Green Eyes)
                                - Girls in their Married Bliss
                                                                              - a short epilogue
I counted this trilogy as one book because it is only a little over 500 pages. 

This is the coming of age story of two Irish country girls, Kate and Baba, their struggles to find their place within the strict Irish Catholic society, their escape to the city, and their romantic dreams and disappointments.

When The Country Girls came out in Ireland in 1960, it was banned because of its honest depiction of female desires and sexuality. Today, Edna O'Brien is recognized as one of the greatest Irish writers of her time.
I had never read O'Brien before and was therefore impressed by the flawlessness of her debut novels. Her trilogy is a harsh critique of Irish society and the limited options it offers to women through marriage. But despite the depressing events she describes, the author never loses the witty sense of humor that makes this trilogy so readable. Through this coming of age story, O'Brien proves to be a master of character development who can smoothly shift tones.
I can't wait to read more of her books.


Some more books

36. Star Trek The Next Generation: Forgiveness by David Brin and Scott Hampton

37. Save Yourself, Mammal! (A Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal book) by Zachary Weiner

38. xkcd, volume 0 by Randall Munroe

39. Penny Arcade - Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik

Books completed: 39/50

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The Janson Directive

The Janson Directive
by Robert Ludlum

It had been a while since I had read any Ludlum so I was very excited to start reading his novels again. I am afraid I quickly lost steam though and by the end I didn't have any desire to write this review. The book was good but there was a point near the middle that I went Oh there we go classic Ludlum and began to pick out similarities to his other books and that made me lose interest in this one. If you like his novels I think you will like this one as well I just found it to be a bit formulaic for me.


by Don Callander

This book was interesting but moved a bit slow for my taste I had a hard time focusing and really getting into it. This book remained a read on my lunch break kinda book even though I brought it home many times there was always just something more interesting to me to take my time when I was at home. I liked the relationship between the wizard and the apprentice but I find myself getting more and more irritated with love at first sight kind of romances. I want to see relationships develop and be honest role models for the readers. Perhaps I want too much.