Saturday, May 21, 2016

30. Eligible by Curtis Sitterfeld

#4 in a series of Jane Austen's works that have been contemporized (my own word) - they do NOT have to be read in any order, they are all STANDALONES
Library book from TPPL
2016 Random House
 492 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 5/21/16
Goodreads rating: 3.74
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Cincinnati, OH

First line/s:  "Well before his arrival in Cincinnati, everyone knew that Chip Bingley was looking for a wife.  Two years earlier, Chip -- graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School, scion of the Pennsylvania Bingleys, who in the twentieth century had made their fortune in plumbing fixtures - had, ostensibly with some reluctance, appeared on the juggernaut reality-television show Eligible."

My comments:   I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, and there's only one word I can use to describe it.  Delightful.  It was really a blast to read.  It wasn't stupid...well...not really.....  And if you're a fan of Jane Austen, or know the story of Pride and Prejudice, it's all the more fun. I wonder how it would read if one had NO knowledge of Pride and Prejudice?  I had so much to do this weekend, but would sneak away for half hours at a time to read a little more.  It was written in oodles of short (2 - 4) page chapters, which I quite liked, in this case.  The whole "package" was one I very much enjoyed.  Think I'll try one of Sittenfeld's previous works, though the summary/reviews of them don't look exactly like my cuppa tea.

Goodreads synopsis:  A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
          This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
          Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
          Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
          And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Postcard Received 5/20/2106

341.  IDAHO...did you know?
Hi Chirs, While this is not the "flashiest" of cards, it is a "did you know."  Hop you don't have it.  I had hip surgery last week and will have all summer off - like a teacher!  The pain is no fun, thous.  Lisa

Thursday, May 19, 2016

29. Worth Dying For - Lee Child

Jack Reacher #15
Listened to audio cd in the car
2010 Delacorte
400 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 5/19/16
Goodreads rating: 4.20
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary rural Nebraska

First line/s:  "Eldridge Tyler was driving a long, straight two-lane road in Nebraska when his cell phone rang."

My comments:  Jack Reacher was a little disconcerting in this entry, at least until the very end.  He seemed particularly ruthless and ...blood-thirsty... in this one, much more than usual.  But a tiny bit more is revealed just before the very end of the book that made my "thumbs up, Reacher" attitude return.  Reacher is his usual foot-loose and fancy-free self in this one, making quick friends and enemies in an isolated small town in Nebraska where one family rules without question.  And they aren't a nice family.  Of course Reacher discovers what everyone is hiding, how to outsmart one heck-of-a-lot of hoodlums, and end up on the winning side...something you never doubt for a moment.  As always, an enjoyable audible treat on my drive back and forth from work.

Goodreads synopsis:  There’s deadly trouble in the corn county of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved, decades-old case of a missing child that Reacher can’t let go.
The Duncans want Reacher gone—and it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world. For Reacher, it would have made much more sense to put some distance between himself and the hard-core trouble that’s bearing down on him. For Reacher, that was also impossible.

Postcards Received Thursday, May 19, 2016

339.  The Cranberry Lady, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Hello grade 4 class in Tucson, Arizona!  I am from a suburb of Vancouver, BC.  Here we grow most of the cranberries in the world.  Isn't it such a strange way that they are harvested?  Do you like cranberry sauce with your turkey?   They were probably grown here for "Ocean Spray"!
May 8/16

340.  Hodonin, Czech Republic
This is my hometown of about 25,000 situated in south east part of the country in region of wine and traditional costumes.  Enjoy!  Alena.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Postcards Received Wednesday, May 18, 2016

337.  Greetings from Taiwan
Hello, I am Eric Chen.  I am a college student from Taiwan, and I will graduate this June.  this postcard is about our traditional Chinese New Year.  It represents best wishe and Happy New 2016.  Hope you like it.  Eric Chen

338.  Kang Xinyu - Tree
(There was no number on this card so it could not be registered, but it looks like it comes from last June or August - although the postmark looks like 2016 03 01)
Hello Chris, I'm a university student living in China.  This is the phot I pictured in my hometown.  My hometown is a peaceful place living with many panda.  It is such a great place for me.  Hope you will like it.  Yours, Tree

POETRY PICTURE BOOK - Flutter & Hum by Julie Paschkis

Aleteoy y Zumbido: Poemas de Animales
Illustrated by the author
2015, Henry Holt & Co.
HC &$17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.03
My rating:  5
Endpapers: Green
Title Page Single page, decorated with animals from the poems

My comments:  Ah, Julie Paschkis.  One of my all-time favorite illustrators.  And in this gorgeous picture book, she wrote all the poems, too - in two languages!  Some of them just sang out to me.  Others didn't.  She wrote them first in Spanish, then translated to English.  Her illustrations are luscious.  A feast for the eyes.  The few poems that weren't fives for me sounded GREAT in Spanish, even though I couldn't understand a word!
Goodreads:  All sorts of animals flutter and hum, dance and stretch, and slither and leap their way through this joyful collection of poems in English and Spanish. Julie Paschkis's poems and art sing in both languages, bringing out the beauty and playfulness of the animal world.

the grass
the sinuous snake
is writing
a slippery poem
with his body.
But his alphabet is
too simple.
He only knows
one letter:

On this gray day
on the gray street
the black crow caws.

He hops,
          and stares
at a yellow umbrella --
the only sun shining

The moon is a lantern
in the branches.
A shimmer.

A shadow whistles
through the grass.
A whisper.

Out of the darkness
an owl hoots.
An echo.

The night train
is leaving.

CACOPHONY: My Favorite Word Found in a Poem!

Sounds of Rain

Rain's too small a word, too thin
to hold the whole cacophonous din
when drops like arrows
drill the muddy river.

Water plasters fur and feather,
splatters sodden vines and trees,
makes each leaf a drum.

You need a word
for booming bands,
geese honking off at dawn,
fire roaring up the flue,
bacon sizzling in a pan,
thunder shaking windowpanes --

There is no word big enough 
to hold forest rain.

       David Harrison

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Postcards Received Tuesday, May 17, 2016

333.  Lappi Lapland, Finland
Hello!  You already had a card from Oulu, I'm sending a map card of the top half of Finland.  Oulu is a bit below the cut.  I am originally from Tornio on the border of Sweden - when I was a teen we used to bike to Sweden to buy candy because it was cheaper there.  Some of my schoolmates in High School lived in Haparanda, Sweden.  It's a free border, so we could cross it whenever we wanted to.  I've gone to Ruka/Kuusamo area for vacation several times.  We usually stay at a cottage and make short hikes to nearby hills.  There are lots of reindeer in the area - one time we had 5 in the cottage yard.  Mia (5.5.2016)

335.  Northern Spain
Hello there, I tried to find a postcard from Malaio, a small town in Northern Spain where I live.  However, I wasn't successful, so [please accept this postcard of a studious girl instead.
Have a good day, Valentina

336.  Miyajima Public Aquarium, Japan
Greetings from Hiroshima, Japan.  Hope you like this card.  Happy Postcrossing!  Michiko

334.  Greetings from Finland!  
Here is card about my home areas sigil bird, metso (tetrao urogallus).  Large is male and it's hanging out with its chicks.  When in heat male can be really angry and attack on humans too!  My friend got attacked once but he sat on the bird until it calmed down.  Crazy guy!  But both are fine now. :)  Good summer for you, Mervi

Monday, May 16, 2016

28. Hard Light - Elizabeth Hand

#3 Cass Neary, Photographer
read the actual book
2016, Minotaur Books
355 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 5/16/16
Goodreads rating: 4.17
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary England - half London, half the moors

First line/s:  "A stolen passport will only get you so far.  In my case, that was through Customs and Immigration at Heathrow, where I stood in the line for EU travelers, praying I wouldn't have to fake a Swedish accent as an impassive official ran a check on my documentation."

My comments:  I read the second book in this series because Ms. Hand is a Maine author, one of my go-to choices.  Then I read the first, which is set in Maine (yay!).  When I saw this , the third in the series, on the shelf at the library, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
          I really enjoyed this book.  A lot.  Couldn't wait to finish it.  Maybe I'm not quite as shocked about Cass Neary's failings and downfalls (klepto, druggie, alkie), a bit enamored with her deep-down humanity and amount of knowledge of the world and its history, and in agreement with some of her "who cares" attitude about people and situations.
     This was a great story - half taking place in a cold, wintery contemporary London and the other half taking place out on the stormy English moors.  Good mystery, great characterization, a really interesting delve into the underground music and film-making life of the 60s and how poorly it's all aged.   More Cass Neary will be appreciated.  She's really grown on me.

Goodreads synopsis:

Postcards Received Monday, May 16, 2016

328.  Winnipeg: Canada's Natural Beauty
A Postage-Paid Canadian Postcard
Hello from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!  Winnipeg is the capital of the Province of Manitoba.  The building on this card is the government building with a "golden boy" on top of the dome - it was a gift from France.
Happy Postcrossing, Vera

329.  No Kangaroos in Austria
Hello from Vienna!  Hope you don't feel offended, cause you surely never mixed Austria and Australia (as many people do).  Regards and kisses from Vienna, Tricalind

330.  Santorini Thirassia, Greece
Hi!  I'm Ani from Athens, Greece!  I live and work in Athens, my house is close to Athens Riviera and I enjoy seaside walks.  I send you postcard of Thirassia & Santorini islands.  Santorini is the most famious of the two for its wild beauty, the volcano, the vineyards, Akrotiri - an archaeological site like Pompei lost after a volcanic explosion, its beaches are with black or red sand, very special.  Although the island is very touristic & crowded, I prefer in May being there; it's worth it to learn its story and have a look on its breathtaking photos.  Love, Ani.

So when I thanked her for the card, I asked how you got to the village - by boat?  And this is her answer:
“I'm glad you like it,I wish you visit greece! There is a road but it's not seen in the Santorini from the old port to the city you can have a donkey trekking or get the cable lift! In case you need more postcards from greece for your class don't hesitate to ask me! Bye bye!”

331.  Maiko Girls Enjoying Tea-Ceremony in Kyoto, Japan
Hi I'm Rie from Japan, a mom of 3 kids.  They are 10, 8, 6 y.o.  I love books and chocolate so my husband calls me a book junkie and a chocolate addict.  Hope you enjoy this card!  Rie

332.  Oregon City, Oregon
Dear Chris,
Happy Friday the 13th!  Greetings from Oregon City, Oregon.  I sent you another card, but since it's at 50 days out I'm assuming it's gone.  So if it shows up, you have 2!  Happy Postcrossing, Paula

Sunday, May 15, 2016

27. The Fifth Gospel - Ian Caldwell

It looks like The Rule of Four may be some sort of prequel, but I'm not sure...
listened to on Audible
431 pgs.- I'm guessing I read over 200 of them, because I listened for over 7 hours
Adult mystery
Abandoned 5/15/16
Goodreads rating  3.69
My rating:  2/I tried....
Setting: Vatican City, Rome, Italy

First line/s:  "My son is too young to understand forgiveness."

My comments:   I truly enjoy forays into the history of biblical times - but this was so rooted in the Catholic church, the differences between orthodox Greek and Roman Catholic, and believing in the bible, that the plodding manner in which this book moved was just too slow for me to read all the way through. I did read over half the book, but I couldn't get enamored with any of the characters enough to find out more about the history OR who the murderer was.  So I made the decision to go on to one of the thousands of other books waiting for me to read (the same thing happened to me in Rule of Four, I should have paid attention to that, but am forever optimistic....)

Goodreads synopsis:  A lost gospel, a relic, and a dying pope's final wish send two brothers - both Vatican priests - on a quest to untangle Christianity's biggest mystery (the shroud of Turan)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Postcards Received Saturday, May 14, 2016

327.  Grusse aus Osnabruck (Greetings from Osnabruck) Germany
 For many years, Osnabruck has been know as the "Friedensstadt" (City of Peace).  Ever since it was so instrumental in the signing of the Treaty of Westphaolia in 1648 which ended the Thirty Year's War. Some signigficant figures associated with Osnabruck are Erich Maria Remarque, a writer born in the city in 1898 who is best known for his novel "All Quiet on the Western Front", and the Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum, who was born here in 1904 but tragically murdered in Auschwitz in 1944
8/5/2016  Anke

MOVIE - Criminal

R (1:53)
Wide Release 4/15/16
Viewed 5/13/16  - first day at cheapie Theater
RT Critic:  31  Audience:  58
Critic's Consensus:  Despite the valiant efforts of a game and talented cast, Criminal has little to offer beyond the bare minimum expected by the most undemanding of genre enthusiasts.
Cag:  4/ Liked it a lot
Directed by Ariel Vromen
Summit Entertainment

Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Tommy Lee Jones

My comments:  My last decadent Friday-after-school-movie.....ever! ? Only one week at THA left!  And this movie was a really good choice.  Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Costner?  Does it really matter what the movie's about?  It was a thriller, edge-of-your-seat-interesting with a (spoiler!) typical really good ending.  A little bloody/gory for me....torture and brain surgery-wise, but I really liked it a lot.  Probably because of the actors - including Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman as well as the afore-mentioned hotties!

INDb Summary:  In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative's memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative's mission.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Postcards Received Friday, May 13, 2016

321.  Victory Day in Russia
Hello Chris!  Greetings from Russia.  Happy Victory Day!  (Victory Day is the national Russian holiday on 9th May)  I wish you all the best and hope you like this card.  Have a nice day and enjoy every moment!  Nastya

322.  Belgian - French Border
Hello, this is old card of the frontier between FRANCE (Halleun) and BELGIUM (Menen).  I live in Belgium but post this card in France (cheaper).  I have to pass this place.  You could recognize it a little bit.  Lucovic Dedeuk

323.  Princeton, NJ
Hello Chris, my name is Gabriela.,  I live in a little town near Princeton, NJ, but only one hour away from New York City.  I love the countryside and once a year I visit the Big Apple.  The best of Two worlds.  New Jersey is a beautiful state, especially in spring and fall.  Best Wishes!

324.  Chamois in Germany
Hi boys and girls,  In the sout of Germany in the gib mountains there are many of these typical animals called chamois.  Do you have them in the United States, too?  Wishing you all the best, Martina

325.  Erlangen, Germany's Public Library
Hello.  My name is Claudia and I live in Erlangen with 105,000 inhabitants and 39,000 students. In front you see part of out "new town" built in the 17th century in baroque style.  The building is today our public library.  The first owner of the building never lived there, later it was used as a bank, police station....  Greetings, Claudia

326.  Odessa, Texas
Hello!  My name is Anita and I live in Odessa, Texas.  Our main industry here is oil.  We have a large rodeo in January and even larger hight school football games in the fall.  Our city mascot is the jackrabbit.  We have several statues around town.  Anita