Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It Sucked and then I Cried

Many bloggers get book deals, especially if they have great blogs. We recently had Jennette Fulda, who blogs at, speak for our Writers' Retreat, and she talked about how she got her book deal and how she set up her blog. Heather Armstrong is another one of these wonderful funny writers. Unlike Jennette's book, which is about how she lost weight, Heather's book is about how she had a baby and later developed postpartum depression. Heather blogs at, which is one of the most popular personal blogs out there. Her book indicates why her blog is so popular--despite the serious topic, I laughed out loud a number of times and had to read passages out loud to my husband. At about 250 pages, I was able to read this book in a few hours. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon after I'd just biked 12 miles! The nice thing about books by bloggers is that you can subscribe to their RSS feeds after you've become a fan of their writing. I just subscribed to Heather's blog, and I look forward to reading more about her life and family.

In the Woods - Tana French

A colleague at the Shaker Heights library recommended this book to me (I substitute there from time to time). She said she was "obsessed" with it--so I couldn't pass it up, especially since the audiobook was available. It turns out the Ravenna Road Irregulars, our mystery club, is doing this book as their June selection as well. I definitely could understand why my colleague liked it so much. The story revolves around Rob Ryan, a detective in Dublin, Ireland. A case brings him to his childhood hometown of Knocknoree, and there he must both try to solve the new case as well as come to terms with an older case that he was involved in years ago. The characterization and language were both beautiful, and the plot well constructed--all the most important things I look for in a compelling novel. In addition, the audio reader was fantastic, and even though the book was 18 discs, I was so enthralled that I barely realized it. Usually I get twitchy with a book and want to finish it, especially when it's an audiobook, but it held my attention. I highly recommend this book for both mystery lovers and lovers of literary fiction. I can't wait to read the sequel, The Likeness.

I didn't even realize Carol had already blogged about this book! Just another endorsement from both of us to go read it!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

BPRD: Plague of Frogs

Another installment in a great graphic novel series. This one includes the origin of breakout character Abe Sapien.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jesse Stone books by Robert B. Parker

I have always wanted to read the Spenser series but always thought that it was too big of a commitment with so many books to read. However, Parker has written several other series including the Jesse Stone books. Jesse is a divorced ex L.A. homicide cop. He lost his job because his drinking got out of control when his marriage fell apart. He gets a job as the chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts, a small town on the coast. Jesse is great at his job but not great at his personal life. He and his exwife are on and off again. (He needs to dump her for good!) Anyway, these books are very fast reads but still manage to have good character development and great atmosphere. Also, Tom Selleck stars as Jesse in the made-for-TV movies and does an excellent job. The movies are very well done and capture the dark moodiness of the books. They are in the CLEVNET system. I am addicted to the books and have read the first five in less than a month.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

American Lightning, by Howard Blum

A tale of the first "crime of the century "(20th century). In 1910, 21 people were killed in a bombing of the LA Times. It was a period when labor relations were vicious and often bloody. The event brought together famous detective Billy Burns (first director of what became the FBI), attorney Clarence Darrow (of Scopes monkey trial fame) and filmmaker D.W. Griffith (of Birth of a Nation shame). The Griffith connection is a touch flimsy, but still interesting.

Friday, April 03, 2009

BPRD: The Universal Machine

Mike Mignola's Hellboy has escaped the insular comics world to become popular in the mainstream. Another of his projects, BPRD, is poised to do the same. This is an excellent series involving the investigation of paranormal activities.

How to Live on Mars

It's a hard-science based take on the relatively near future of space colonization. Author Robert Zubrin builds a scenario that assumes humans have taken the plunge and sent colonists to Mars. What results is a kind of travel guide that discusses the risk and potential of various existing concepts. A must-read for those interested in NASA.