Saturday, April 27, 2013

April reading

As happens occasionally in my reading life, I'll start a book with high hopes, read along happily, and then say 'so what?' and quit. And I'm not talking about the Nancy Pearl 'your age minus fifty pages and then quit' either. This month I read over half of a book before returning it to the digital state library. And I read along in a 'chunkster' for a while before quitting it as well. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is April's list:

25. The First Rule of Ten - book 1 in the Tenzing Norbu series
by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
mystery, 2012
Kindle book
finished 4/24/13

24. Getting Old Is A Disaster - book 5 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 4/7/13

23. Getting Old Is To Die For - book 4 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2007
Kindle book
library book
finished 4/3/13


I lived happily within the pages of the Gladdy Gold books, but… there was this little nudging dissatisfaction that I recognized and pushed aside. In an earlier book in the series, Gladdy meets Jack, a widower of her age; a former cop and the father of the local policeman. They get along well, and their relationship flourishes. But then in each further book, there is some obstacle to their relationship, and in this reader's opinion, that obstacle is Jack himself. I thought him rude, unforthcoming, easily annoyed with Gladdy's friends and Gladdy's sense of responsibility and love toward them. It was like he wanted her all to himself. I found him unreasonable and unkind, and I didn't like the way Gladdy kept caring for him. But I kept on reading, thinking that surely the situation would resolve itself, and he would take the higher ground. Nope. In this one I got so annoyed at the way he couldn't say no to requests for help from an old girlfriend that I just said, 'enough. I'm done.' Too bad. In a way, the books would have been more realistic without the introduction of romance. We all know there are way fewer older men than women. And these women are good for each other, and each have something to offer in the private investigating team. Oh, well. No big deal. There are plenty of books to read, and I did like the series for a while.

As for Tenzing Norbu, well, he is an interesting character. 'Ten' as he is called, grew up in a Tibetan monastery in India but chafed against it all through his childhood. Though he believes in Buddhism, and practices his beliefs, he always wanted to be a detective, like his idol Sherlock Holmes. He has been a policeman for many years, but after a shooting incident he decides to quit and pursue his dream of being a PI. He lives in a wonderful sounding house in Topanga Canyon in California with his eighteen-pound cat, Tank. It is a small, uncluttered place in which he has a meditation room. His breathing, his meditations, his Buddhism are who he is though he was a good cop and is a good detective. You might think his 'self' and his job are mutually exclusive, but not at all. The one nurtures and nourishes the other. We get insight into his mother and his father, and see how each of them has influenced who he is today. I'm reading the second in the series now, and am so enjoying it. Though I had not heard of Gay Hendricks before, he is very well-known in his field. You may read more about him here.

20 comments:

  1. I'll be looking for the Ten books. Too bad about your response to the Rita Larkin, though it seems like a reasonable complaint. I have two from the library because you recommended them, and I enjoyed the first one which I read a few weeks ago.

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    1. I do find the Tenzing Norbu books fascinating. He's a very thoughtful man - in the sense that he thinks about actions and emotions.
      I did enjoy the Larkin books until Jack drove me crazy. :<) I kept thinking wouldn't this be good if he wasn't a character.

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  2. I've read one or two of the Gladdy Gold books, but I believe the last one I read is the one where she met Jack. It's refreshing to find older protagonists, so I enjoyed that aspect of the Larkin books but I know what you mean about Jack. The Tens series sounds more promising.

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    1. I did love the older characters, except for Jack. :<) There are only two Ten books so far, but a prequel is coming out this summer about his young years.

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  3. I have so little reading time these days, but it is still fun to come by and see what is happening in the literary world. I am reading, at a snail's pace, Drinking the Rain, a memoir by Alix Kates Shulman. Have you read it?

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    1. I will look it up. I haven't heard of the author or the title. Thank you. I will never forget your recommendation of The Keeper of the Bees. Truly one of the best books I've ever read.

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  4. oh my, another Ten novel - I'm looking it up now. I so enjoyed the First Rule of Ten ... the mystery and humor combined ,,, Tank, the 18 lb cat and Mike his computer whiz go-to man.

    The cover of the Second Rule is so absurb ... made me laugh out loud. He's sitting in meditation on a hill overlooking the Hollywood sign.

    And a Third Rule is on the way ... also a prequel out in July, called Broken Rules about his early years in the monastery. So much happy reading in my future as I get used to my new bionic eyes (just completed the cataract surgery, and it's amazing)

    I like the way you're posting about books now, Nan. A list with short descriptions ... perfect! Think I can handle that, and intend to start my own book blogging soon

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    1. It must be you who told me about the first one. I tried to ILL it from library but couldn't get it so bought a Kindle copy. And then I bought the second, and I have pre-ordered the prequel. Love these books. So unique. And I'm learning a lot.
      So glad your surgery was a success!
      Thank you for your words. This seems to work for me.

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  5. Nan, Not sure yet whether it is recommendation-worthy. Will let you know when I finish it! I would like to re-read Keeper of the Bees. It has been a number of years now since I last read it.

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    1. I did quite a bit of reading about her, and read a very good essay by her.

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  6. I read this post and then hopped right over to Amazon and bought 'the first rule of ten' - it was $1.99 for the Kindle edition. (At that price, I guess I can afford to keep reading your blog and buying your recommendations! ;>).

    I read the first Gladdy Gold and thought it was OK (Some of the characters and interactions were almost too familiar.).....there was quite a lengthy preview of the second book at the end and I wasn't sold enough to immediately order it, although I left it on the home page).

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    1. Oh, am I ever loving this series. I'm learning about Buddhism and meditation, too. So interesting.
      I did enjoy Gladdy and her pals early on, though some of them were silly/obnoxious. :<)

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  7. I am glad you don't feel obligated to finish something that you're not enjoying. Life is too short...

    I had been going to try the Gold series but might not. I'm irritated at Jack just from your words!

    I don't know whether this series would appeal to you or not but a few years ago I came across Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series and have since filled in every book in the series. They're not complicated but reading these mysteries about the NC judge are soothing to me. And she ends up with a perfectly nice man! Her first book in the series was The Bootlegger's Daughter.

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    1. I haven't bothered reading anything I didn't really like since college required reading. :<) I also felt irritated at Gladdy and how she related to him sometimes.
      I have heard of the Maron books but have never tried them. Thanks for the recommendation. I've written it down in my little book.

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  8. Although I haven't ever followed a series, I have collected authors and find that they (or my tastes) are not always reliable either. I'll get a few books in and then realize I'm done with the whole lot and want to move on to something else. It's a good thing, though, I think. Variety keeps things fresh and interesting.

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    1. I agree. There are some authors whose one book I think is wonderful, and nothing else is worth reading for me. I do read a lot of series books. I love getting to know ongoing characters.

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  9. I agree with you, women make better friends (and better stories) than trying to deal with "romance" when you're older. Men just seem to want looking after. I always used to make myself finish books that I picked up, but lately I've put them aside if they don't interest me.
    Ann

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    1. It actually seemed more like a young romance - a teenage guy who wanted Gladdy all to himself. :<) Goes along with what I think - people never really change. :<)

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  10. That "getting old" series sounds fun:) Bet you are looking forward to gardening season:)

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    1. I did think it fun, but then it wasn't. :<) And yes to gardening!

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