Monday, August 13, 2007

Gargoyle Blues and Lots of Books

A couple of photos of the Notre Dame Cathedral, from a walk on 4 August. Look at that blue sky and sunshine.

I love these gargoyles. One of these days I'm going to climb up all the stairs so that I can get a lot closer to some of these guys, but it has to be after the tourist hordes have died down.

I'm feeling blurgy with the PMS blues. That's PMT for the Brits out there, not quite sure what it would be called (other than misery) in other parts of the world. I'll really be whining once the cramps hit in a couple of days. Think I need to make some chocolatey treats to prepare.

I'm on a reading tear these days. I'm terrible, once I get into a book I don't want to do anything else but read that book. And then another book and another one. Arg. Not that I get any less discriminating. I started (but didn't finish) Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass, a forensic pathology mystery co-written by the doctor who founded The Body Farm. Interesting stuff in there, but I'll read the non-fiction book rather than get endless stories being told by one of the characters to other poorly drawn characters while waiting for some convincing action to happen. And that kiss between the geezer and the grad student? icky icky icky. Skip it.

Martin Cruz Smith's Wolves Eat Dogs was excellent, tho depressing. It's an Arkady Renko police procedural, this time taking place mostly near Chernobyl. I hate to think how much in this novel is true. 4 out of 5 stars.

Traitor to the Blood by Barb and J.C. Hendee is the fourth book in their noble dead series. It's a swords and sorceries fantasy with vampires. Gotta say it's getting really old. Yes, things did change in the book, characters deepened, but I still feel like it's going nowhere. I liked the initial concept, but bored now. I won't be buying any more, but when I'm back in the land of libraries I may get it. 2.5 out of 5.

Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franko reminded me of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. That's a series I kinda like but kinda don't. I find Dresden irritating. I never buy the novels but if I come across them in the library I read them. Unshapely Things is an urban fantasy with a druid--who's lost most of his powers--investigating supernatural crimes that may be leading up to something bigger. Enjoyable and I'm going to get the sequel. 3.75 out of 5. You can read the first chapter at the author's website.

[Angie, the book takes place in Boston so at least the author isn't doing horrible things to Chicago. I think you'd like this one. And the next one, maybe.]

Now the book that I completely and totally loved is Already Dead by Charlie Huston. Reading the reviews, you see lots of references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Quentin Tarantino. Not far off the mark. Of course it would have to be Phillip Marlow playing both Buffy AND Angel (the hero is a vampire) combined into one and there wouldn't be any Scoobie Gang. You got vampires and zombies and a beaten down investigator just trying to solve the case, save the girl, and survive. Not necessarily in that order. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5.

By the way, this is the first book in a projected series of five. You can read an excerpt of the novel at the author's website.

It helps that Already Dead combines my two favorite genres, but it's also very well written and paced. In my mind anyway. I was reading a blog post the other day in which someone wrote about how much she hated Harry Potter. She found the writing itself terrible and the whole thing very sexist. (Harry Potter, not Hermione Potter). Anyway, the reviewer was reading a work of real literature at the time (Viginia Woolf). Everybody has got different taste, that's for sure. I bet she'd hate all the books that I love and I know I wouldn't read Virginia Woolf unless locked in an empty room with nothing else to do for a month.

13 comments:

Katie said...

Yup, different strokes for different folks. I like differnt types of books but historical fiction are probably my favorite. Also anything that has a plot. Thanks for the ideas.

joyce said...

I have just started reading The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris. It is supposed to be a sequel to Chocolat, which was made into the movie with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Chocolat was excellent, even better than the movie, so I have high hopes for this one.

Fiona said...

I recommend 'Agnus Castus' for PMT - it's a herbal remedy in tablet form, works for me but I have no idea what it would be called in French.

Rudy said...

Love the Gargoyles pictures.

candyschultz said...

I ran into someone a couple of weeks ago who couldn't understand all the adult interest Harry Potter. There are people without humor or the ability to suspend disbelief. They are usually not much fun to be around. I used to work for a lot of them. Now Virginia Woolf, on the other hand, is absolutely sublime.

Diane said...

Not even if you were locked in an empty "room of one's own?" (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

Kathie said...

I'm working my way through Harry Potter this summer so that I can be culturally in tune with the rest of the world. How I wish Harry'd been around when I was a kid! Much more heart than Nancy Drew ever had...

My daughter and I were discussing the idea of sexism in the books. Hermione can be a little pill but at least she's out there doing things and not just standing around looking decorative and helping wash dishes or fold laundry.

jovaliquilts said...

The mascot at my kids' high school is the gargoyle -- so much better than a bulldog! The school's in an old building on the university campus and it actually has gargoyles. The gargoyles at Notre Dame are definitely worth a climb. I am fascinated by them, so my husband took a photo of me next to one on our honeymoon, 24 years ago. Wish I had one for a gutterspout here.

atet said...

Oooh -- great photos and a couple of good recommendations for books! Wooo Hooo! Thanks for the tips, I'll check them out. I've been scouraging my library for decent reads lately. I found a potential mystery series about a knitter, but I have the feeling the books could get old really quickly. Thanks for the heads up on the two recommendeds!

Meredith said...

Thanks for stopping by. I read your blog but I never comment. I am working at getting better for today. Seems like you are enjoying Paris. I know I am enjoying all of the photos. I was an art history major back in college.

Finn said...

Hey Ton, I've send chocolate if I could..speedy delivery! Hope you feel better soon. Oh curses on the women's curse!
Love the gargoyles...they are delicious aren't they?? Nothing wrong with 'hitting the books'...one way to pass those miserable days. Take care, hugs, Finn

jmbmommy said...

the last bit just made me laugh...and Diane stole my line. To sum up further, you are one funny lady and Harry Potter rocks!!

Dordogne Clare said...

Funny how different books appeal to different people. I cannot read crime/pathology stuff. I am just about to try P D James but I guess that is completely different from the sort of stuff you read. I love Virginia Woolf! Oh and she thinks Harry is sexist does she. Hurrummpppphhhhh!!!