Tag Archives: reading

A David Bishop Weekend

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,
there is no use in reading it at all.” 

― Oscar Wilde

A winter weekend with nothing planned.  The family was all away and my son and his family had the dreaded lurgy, so what to do but settle down and read.

I decided to reread some of David Bishop’s books, in particular, the Linda Darby series.  I was introduced to this author last year when recuperating after my Adventure, and since then have read several of his books.  Isn’t it great how when you reread a book even one year later, you decide you like it even more than the first time round?

I won’t review these three books here but will do so on my other site in the next few days.  But as a taster – 

In the first book The Woman, we meet Linda Darby, a 30 something single woman.  She has been married to and divorced from a scoundrel about whom we know very little. She subsequently meets and marries her second husband who, unfortunately, is killed while on a secret operation somewhere.  

In an attempt to get over this loss, she settles in a small seaside town on the Oregan coast and here her adventures begin.  She is a day trader and this allows her to work from anywhere.  She keeps to herself and her only real friend in this town is an elderly widowed woman who runs a consulting business, which we later find out, has no visitors, is not listed in the phone book and sends and receives missives only by courier.  

Linda’s quiet uneventful life is disrupted when one night out walking she is attacked by two men but is saved by the intervention of a third man.  This third man disappears and the next day the newspaper reports the murders of the two men.   And then the day after that she learns that her close friend has been tortured and killed, leaving a letter for Linda that will change her life and her whole being, making her think and act in a completely different way.

And through it all,  she is helped, rescued and protected by the mystery man, Ryan Testler.

This is a fast moving and intriguing book, that makes one (or at least me) want to read more of this woman and her adventures.

The next book in the series is Hometown Secrets and it is followed by The First Lady’s Second Man.

I hope I have encouraged you to read some of Bishop’s stories.  There are two other series I have read – The Matt Kile Mysteries and Jack McCall Mysteries.  But I shall leave them to reread on another weekend with nothing planned and nobody home.

PS, Of course, all of these books are available from Amazon.  They are one-sitting reads and so good for a lazy weekend.

And I found this on Pinterest.  Thought Baldacci was spot on.

 

Thanks to pinterest.

PPS  We’ll get back to The Murderer and The Detective just as soon as I have worked out where to from there.

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Movie going

“Fiction writers, magicians, politicians and priests
are the only people rewarded for entertaining us with their lies”
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

I was at a total loss what to write about today.  Then I opened Judy Reeves Prompts and Practices and what jumped out at me? “You’re in a movie theatre”

Well quite coincidentally, I was in a movie theatre on Friday with a friend.  I haven’t been to a movie for months, in fact, since before my latest adventure.  I have read the Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, the UK edition.  My friend hadn’t read the book and so we decided to go to the movies.

We are so lucky here in Wellington.  We have 4 Bijoux movie cinemas, three of which belong to a chain and one that is independent of the others.  We chose to go to our favourite, one of the chain.

We arrived in time to sit and have a cup of tea and a bit of a chat; then we were called into the theatre, the movie was about to start.  These are small theatres seating 100 people at the most. If you have a glass of wine (or in our case tea)or food before the movie starts, you are permitted to take these in with you.  Certainly not something that the big National chains would ever allow.

So we went into the theatre.  The lights were still up as we made our way to our seats.  There were probably only half a dozen others in the theatre and so everybody had room to stretch out.

I enjoyed the movie after I got over the fact that the story was now set in the US and not in and around London as in the book I had read.  It took some time for me to get over the difference in the houses displayed to the houses imagined by me.

Emily Blunt as Rachel was all and more of what I imagined her to be.  She’s an unemployed, alcoholic, divorcee.  Well,that’s enough to make one turn to drink anyway.  She doesn’t tell her flatmate that she has lost her job because of the alcoholism.  Her ex-husband also blames her for his losing his job even though he now seems to have got over it or at least, has found another job.

From the train window,  Rachel watches the inhabitants of the houses in the street where she used to live. One day she sees something that sets her on a trip to places that she doesn’t want to go, or perhaps she does.

In the unlikely event that you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to do so and also encourage you to see the movie.

And in my least pleasant personna – I’m totally envious of
Paula Hawkins and her abilities.
How I wish I could write such a book.

And now as the south wind is blowing very strongly, I think the rest of the day will be spent inside.

I have been honoured by being sent the manuscript of a new Fitzjohn mystery from Jill Paterson.  Poisoned Palette is the title and if her other books are anything to go by, this will be another good read.  By the way, Jill is a friend and it is as a friend that I am reading and commenting on the manuscript.

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I'm not impinging on anyone copyright.

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone copyright.

More Walking

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, 
“and what is inside them,
for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, American author of young adult fiction,
1973 –

Many years ago I discovered Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way.  Through this book, her suggestions and in particular, her Morning Pages, I found that what I really wanted was be a life coach.  I then discovered a special Life Coach, Cary Volmer in Minnesota, and found out first hand what a life coach does.  She encouraged me and subsequently I took a Life Coach course in Australia  and became certified.

So why am I telling you this today, many years after the event?  Well, today I purchased Julia’s next book – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

As usual, I’m spending the weekend with my son and his family.  Today my son was asleep as he works as Night Manager at a Wellington Hotel, my grandsons and their mother were all working and so I took myself off for my walk and ended up in the local mall.  The bookshop, as always, drew me to it and I saw this book.  I picked it up just to look at it, you understand.  The book fell open and the first thing that jumped out at me was the paragraph that included:

Walking makes” a quilt out of the silken patches of our experience.
So yes, it’s important that we walk.”

For me, walking has broadened my life, making me more independent than I have been for several months -4 or 5 kms a day makes all the difference to my life.  So of course, I had to buy the book.

As I’m almost completely recovered I now have to decide what to do with this life of mine and so I’m starting the 12-week course covered in this book to find out where I’m going next and what I am going to do.  So as we say,and if you’re interested, watch this space.

Butterflies

Summer Storm

Happy-Friday

Suddenly, after days of idyllic summer weather, Mother Nature turned her back on us.  Today has been like a day in July (mid-winter here).  Blustery almost gale force winds, trees blown over, pots blown off the deck and smashed and motorists warned against driving.

So a good day to do nothing but stay inside with a good book.  I’ve now succumbed to reading books on my iPad.  For months (years?) I resisted but when the Architect was ill in hospital it seemed easier to carry my iPad rather than a book.  In any case, I had the iPad to communicate with friends so..

I have read quite a few books since I moved here.  I’ve always found it a  good way to escape.  And I do like thrillers I’ve discovered – I guess I always knew this anyway.

So today was such a day.  I rose this morning made tea and toast and went back to bed, where I stayed for the rest of the morning. I was part way through a book entitled “Dead Wood” written by  Dan Ames.  This author was unknown to me and I now find that this book is the first in a series of four all of which are available to read on a kindle or in my case an iPad. So that’s where I stayed for the morning reading until I finished the book.

The story is told by John Rockne a disgraced police officer now turned private investigator.  Yes, I know there are many stories about police officers who become PIs but bear with me.  The young policeman was only six weeks out of training when he makes a terrible mistake that leads to the death of a young man. The mistake is perfectly understandable but we are simply told that he was suspended and his badge and gun were never returned to him.

A maker of fabulous guitars is killed and Rockne is approached by the father of the victim to find who killed his daughter and our hero suddenly finds himself the target of a violent ex-convict.  The twists and turns of the case kept me glued to the iPad for hours.

I’ve now downloaded the next book in the series – Hard Rock.  So if this weather doesn’t improve I shall spend tomorrow reading it.  And who knows.  There are two more books in the series.  I may just not do anything but read fr the next few days.

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain.”
Dolly Parton

Well Read on Wednesday

New Orleans was on my Must Visit list from the time I started making such a list, way back when I was a teenager.  I got to check this off in 1990 when my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) and I took an extended trip to the southern states of the US.  I was not disappointed.  I/we loved everything about it.  We loved the Hotel St Marie in the Old French Quarter  just a short walk from Bourbon Street; we loved the food, the beignets at the Cafe Du Monde, the music, the atmosphere and most of all we loved the friendly people we met.

Some may say that I wasted Wednesday afternoon but I disagree;  I spent it reading.  What was I reading all afternoon and well past dinner time?  The latest in the Charlie Fox thrillers – Die Easy, set in New Orleans.  Double pleasure.

If you were reading my blog posts in the middle of last year, you would know that I am a fan of Zoe Sharp and her feisty, female protagonist Charlie Fox.   I read the first book in the series after reading somewhere that Lee Childs thought Zoe Sharp one of the best thriller writers to emerge in recent times.  And I have followed/stalked Zoe and Charlie ever since.

I have awaited with impatience the publication of each book, and have read devoured each of them with undisguised pleasure, always in one sitting.  This tenth book in the series has not disappointed me and has kept me reading all afternoon.

Die Easy

This time we find Charlie and her partner/lover in New Orleans to act as body guards to a wealthy investor from Florida.   Many people feel that New Orleans the city and the people, have been ignored for too long and a celebrity  fund raiser is planned.  This is the reason Blake Dyer, the client, is going to be in New Orleans at this time.

As may be expected, this job does not go smoothly and is complicated by the fact that Sean Meyer, Charlie’s partner, has not totally recovered from the devastating accident that put him into a coma for several months.  He has woken from the coma  apparently recovered physically but there are large parts of his past that he doesn’t remember, including Charlie.

Even some of the skills at which Sean excelled before the accident seem to have deserted him/been forgotten and Charlie is not completely happy to rely on somebody who is not really at the top of his game to be part of her team.  However, she has no choice but to obey her boss when he says Sean is to be part of the close protection team.

Without giving too much away, Charlie has to face an opponent from her past, deal with a threat not only to herself but also to Sean and more importantly the client while all the time not being sure whether she can rely on Sean to watch her back.  A robbery turned hostage situation develops around the fund raiser and while there are many close protection operatives on board the boat, Charlie is thrust into the lead role as the one to ameliorate the situation and get the passengers off the boat unharmed.  As usual Charlie shows herself both physically and mentally able to cope with all that is put in her path, but with some disastrous consequences.

So I urge you to  get your hands on a copy of this book by fair means or foul – buy, borrow but perhaps I shouldn’t encourage you to steal – and set  aside a Wednesday (or any other) afternoon to read this book.

Once again I commend Zoe Sharp on writing this book, her imagination and her characters.  I like to think of her as a friend.

And I think this quote is particularly appropriate for this book.

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it. “~William Styron,  American novelist and essayist
1925 – 2006

Related posts

Five Facts on Frivolous Friday

I love Fridays – the end of the week and the weekend ahead – who wouldn’t like Fridays?

Indian vegan food

  • We discovered a new vegan restaurant today.  The owners are Indian and the food was scrumptious.  I don’t know the names of the dishes, but I ate a 7 vegetable dish, rice, soup, salad, hot carrot pickle, poppadums etc.  I left feeling pleasantly full.
    letter
  • I received a handwritten letter – yes not typed and not an email – from a friend today, whom I had not heard from for ages.  That was a real pick-me-up.
  • Lotte and I met new people and their dogs at the dog park today.  I love making new friends.

    Pile of books

    Just waiting to be read

  • I found a new author at the library today – well new to me.  This is a Swedish writer and though I have often seen his Detective Kurt Wallander in the series on television I haven’t read any of his books.  So I am looking forward to reading The White Lioness.
    Friday the cat
  • I have a friend with a large tom cat called Friday.  He is larger than Lotte and leaves her in no doubt who is in charge when we visit.  But Lotte just goes along with the flow and they seem to have come to some sort of understanding.

And so another less than memorable Friday hits the dust.  But the sun has been shining today even though it is still fairly cool.  Lotte has been exercising her lungs, barking at any and everything that moves in the street.

No sign of Andy yet.    I just know we are going to be great friends but I wonder where he is lurking.  Getting anxious about the little fellow.

 


Armadillos make affectionate pets, if you need affection that much.
William Jacob “Will” Cuppy (August 23, 1884 – September 19, 1949) was an American humorist and literary critic

My Lot is Cast

Those of you have read some of my earlier blogs will know that I have two very dear sisters.  One lives in London, UK and one in Los Angeles, California.  We keep in touch by phone and of course, emails.  Emails are always addressed to both sisters on the other side of the world.

Phone calls are rather more rare but it is great to hear their voices.  Recently after several many futile phone attempts I connected with my American sister.

We of course, discussed many things but we always without fail, discuss books we have read and those we hope to read.  Because at that time, I had just finished reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 I was full of this book.  Others have written great reviews of it so I wont do so here.  Maybe an idea for another blog?

My sister is a prolific reader and she shared several of her favourite authors and  books she had read with me.

She is apparently very fond of Nicola Upson’s series about detective Jacqueline Tey.  She quoted one of her favourite poem’s which came from the book “To Love and Be Wise.

“My lot is cast in inland places,
Far from sounding beach
and crying gull,
And I
who knew the sea’s voice from my babyhood
Must listen to a river purling
Through green fields
And small birds gossiping
Among the leaves”.

I don’t live in inland places – the ocean is about 10 minutes drive away, but I miss the sights and sounds of the ocean that I used to see from all the windows of my home.  It seemed that we were surrounded by the sea and it’s activities. For 15 years we lived in that house.  The children spent their teenage years there and we became almost immune to the fantastic views from most windows.  We could see not only the ocean with all its comings and goings (cruise ships, ferries, barges and tugs for the port)  but the planes landing at the airport, and the trains bringing people and goods into our capital city. So maybe this post should be headed “Trains and Boats and Planes”.

And as in this poem, now I don’t hear the crying gull when I awaken in the morning but I do hear the small birds gossiping among the leaves.  I love the thought of the birds gossiping.

I hear the sounds of busy families getting ready for their day – households waking up, newspapers being brought in, children going to school and parents to work.  The road outside my house is alive with activity for a short time each morning and then, as if a switch has been pulled, the peace descends and only those of us who are no longer living the busy years are left behind.

We have time for another leisurely cup of coffee; time to exchange pleasantries with our neighbours as we retrieve the newspaper from the drive; time to read the newspaper, complete the crossword and as I am getting older, I peruse the death notices just in case there is somebody I know mentioned there.

And so –

My lot is cast
In different places
Not beside the river or the ocean
But in the city with its life and vitality.
Not in the distant years of my youth
Nor the busy years of family life
But the peaceful years of time for me
To enjoy friends and family.
Time to investigate new things
New activities and new friends
Time to be me.

,old lady smoking cigar

Home again!

Having returned from a short, 5-day vacation I arrived home this morning and switched on the computer.  Oh my.  I was confronted by 720 unread emails, of which some 700 were from my prolific blogging buddies.  It is now 3pm and apart from a 15 minute sandwich break, I have been sitting here since 11.30am reading your many and varied posts.  Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, and if I don’t post a comment it isn’t because I haven’t read your post it is because there are just too many to comment upon.

So, that said, please accept my apologies.  By this time tomorrow, I shall be caught up again (fingers crossed).

In my last post I left you with some kangaroo words and for those of you who played my game here are the answers.

  1. rapscallion – rascal
  2. prattle – prate
  3. perambulate – ramble
  4. pinioned – pinned
  5. regulates – rules
  6. splotches -spots
  7. slithered – slid
  8. perimeter – rim
  9. curtail – cut
    respite – restClapping handsDid you get them all?  We played the game with our hosts a few days ago.  Much laughter and hilarity ensued but not everybody got the words right.
    So now, back to reading more blogs.

Madman, Murderer and Words.

By now you will have recognised realised that I am besotted by words in the English language.  I like the way they look, the way they sound and their meanings.  I can spend whole days following the etymology of words.

Imagine my delight then some years ago to be presented with a copy of “The Professor and the Madman” the story of the compiling of the Oxford English Dictionary and the two men who were so intimately involved in it.

Book cover - Professor and madman

The Professor and the Madman masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the “Oxford English Dictionary”–and literary history.” From the book description on Amazon.

Have you discovered this book yet?  It was written and researched by Simon Winchester and  published in 1999.

We are told that compiling the OED  was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken.   As definitions and quotations were collected, Professor James Murray leading the overseeing committee discovered that Dr W C Minor had submitted more than 10,000 words and their quotations.  The committee insisted honoring him at which time the truth came to light.

That truth – Dr Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was  an inmate at Broadmoor, an asylum for the criminally insane.

Dr Minor had served in the Union army as an  assistant surgeon and held the rank of lieutenant. He spent about six months attending to civil war casualties at hospitals in New England before being sent to the front line in May 1864. It appears that following time in the battlefield his mental illness resurfaced.  Because of this he had to leave the army and was sent by his family to convalesce in London.  He settled in a particularly poor part of London (Lambeth) where he supported himself by painting watercolours and playing the flute.  But his mental illness was never under control and while living there he shot and killed a brewery worker who was on his way to work, thinking that the worker was out to seek revenge for an earlier incident while Minor was in the US Army.

Minor gave himself up to the police and was sentenced to be confined in the newly opened Broadmoor Asylum ‘Until Her Majesty’s Pleasure Be Known’

While detained in Broadmoor where he had two cells, a manservant, a large collection of books, and, incredibly, regular visits from Eliza Merrett, the widow of the man he had murdered, Minor heard of the   ‘Appeal for volunteer readers’ sent out by James Murray, in which Murray asked interested members of the reading public to scour published literature for quotations to illustrate the use of English words. Minor, described by the Broadmoor administrators as particularly learned set to work assembling lists of quotations and by the mid-1880s was sending hundreds, and later thousands, of quotations on slips of paper  to Murray and his team at the “famous scriptorium at 79 Banbury Road, Oxford.”

The letters were  signed ‘W. C. Minor, Crowthorne, Berkshire’, and until he called upon Minor,  Murray had no idea that his most assiduous correspondent was an American murderer and an inmate at one of Britain’s most secure and infamous lunatic asylums.

The two men became firm friends united by the complexity of the English language.  Despite this friendship and the benefits of his involvement in the dictionary Minor’s illness became more acute and in 1902, he amputated his own penis in the belief it might curb his troublesome sexual appetite. Following this and prompted by Murray, the  Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, allowed Minor’s release and deportation in 1910.

Minor was farewelled by Murray and his wife and sailed back to New York where on arrival there, he was immediately committed to  St Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. He deteriorated steadily, was moved to the Retreat for the Elderly Insane in Hartford, Connecticut and in 1920 died of a respiratory infection

We know very little of his life after returning to the United States but his legacy as a volunteer reader can be found among the pages of the twenty-volume Oxford English Dictionary. Professor James Murray said of him at the time that “so enormous have been Dr. Minor’s contributions … that we could easily illustrate the last four centuries from his quotations alone” (The Professor and the madman p160).

Associated posts

Random thoughts

“There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”  Dalai Lama, Buddhist leader of Tibet

Today I have been catching up on blogs to which I subscribe and also following some of them to other places.  Random thoughts are rushing around my head and just so that you don’t miss out (ha ha) I thought I would share inflict some of them with on you.

  • I simply toss out the used coffee grounds after enjoying the taste and aroma of the hot coffee.  But did you know there are some people who use these grounds for all sorts of things.  For example have you considered making your own face mask? or use the grounds as an exfoliator or as a cleaning agent.  I found this blog – I don’t know how I got there – and as it says in the title it lists 6 surprising ways to re-use coffee grounds.  Um…
  • Christmas giving and celebrating.  I recently read a post where the mother had decided that Santa wouldn’t come to their house to leave gifts.  The boys were told that instead Santa would go to more needy houses.  That’s a great idea.  I wish I could direct you to the blog – it’s well worth reading – but unfortunately I deleted it and cannot remember who wrote it.  If you are reading this and it was you, please let me know.
  • Lunch at Mary Potter today.  Some new faces; a few missing having gone home and one leaving for long term care in a another center.  Changes each week; some good others not so good.
  • I heard Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable” on the radio this morning.  This song was played at my Father’s funeral and will always be associated with that very special man as far as I am concerned.
  • I thought about different words we use for the same items – purse, handbag and pocketbook.  Which do you use?  Hood and bonnet of the car, and trunk and boot; cookie and biscuit; jam and jelly; movie and film and on and on.  The same language, English, but two quite separate and different versions.  I wonder how anybody learns English as a second language.
  • Dinner tonight at a favourite restaurant, Chow on Tory,  where the food is described as ‘fresh Asian’.  My very favourite is Peking duck, served in lettuce cups and a new delight Castro’s blue cheese and peanut wontons with berry coulis, all accompanied by Jasmine rice.  Yummy.
  • Today Elizabeth at EOF737 asked Do you feel connected to your body?  Thinking about this made me say yes, most of the time.  I am of course, aware as the years pass that my body may have changed in shape and perhaps size, but it is still the body I was given and is still me.  And after all this time I still like my body.  Does that make me different from the norm?
  • I read another post recently that attracted 434 likes and 302 comments – how would I find time to respond to all of them?
  • I recently went to the local observatory and spent a couple of hours being educated and entertained about the night sky.  More on this in a separate post.

So you see this brain of mine has been running around in ever decreasing circles today.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.  And if tomorrow never comes?

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe; stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you”.  Winnie the Pooh to Christopher Robin

Winnie the Pooh