Saturday, June 1, 2013

May reading

31. Murder is Binding - book 1 in the Booktown series
by Lorna Barrett
mystery, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 5/31/13

30. The Old Man in the Corner
by Baroness Orczy
mystery, 1909
Kindle book
finished 5/26/13

29. Stillmeadow Seasons
by Gladys Taber
nonfiction, 1950
second reading
library book
finished 5/25/13

28. From Doon with Death - book 1 in the Chief Inspector Wexford series
by Ruth Rendell
mystery, 1964
Kindle book
finished 5/7/13

27. The Guards - book 1 in the Jack Taylor series
by Ken Bruen
fiction, 2001
Kindle book
finished 5/5/13

26. The Second Rule of Ten - book 2 in the Tenzing Norbu series
by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
mystery, 2013
Kindle book
finished 5/2/13


I actually made a change in my life from reading The Second Rule of Ten. For far too long I've been doing only seated-in-a-chair yoga because, well, you know what it's like if you have dogs or cats. The floor is never quite free of hair, and you are never quite alone if you want to lie down on it and do the bridge posture. The yoga room I created has long since been given over to a cat - a 'tail' for another day. The bedroom is the only room in the house without animals, but there was also no rug and the yoga mat alone just wasn't that comfortable to lie on. But reading the Hendricks book inspired me to do something about the situation. Do you know the expression, 'rob Peter to pay Paul?' Well, that's what I did. I took the rug which was under my study desk and moved it up to the bedroom. Just that small thing has made a huge difference in my life. Now I do much more floor work, and I am even able to do a little meditation, a la Tenzing because it is quiet.  

In The Second Rule of Ten, Tenzing gets involved with Hollywood types and a drug cartel, and we learn more about his own past with his father and the monks who were his early teachers. With everything he does, the reader sees him try to do right, to eat right, and to make time for his meditation. I so love this series, and can't wait for the prequel, The Broken Rules of Ten which comes out in July. 


This is how it went. We watched the only three episodes available so far of Jack Taylor  on Netflix Instant. It was astonishingly good. A picture of the 'new' Ireland. We had been to Galway in 1971 and the city in this show was a whole different place. The acting was very good, and the stories were riveting, and sometimes upsetting, as one dealing with a Magdalene laundry. If you don't know about these things, or haven't seen the film The Magdalene Sisters, you may read more here 
(if you can bear it).

Anyhow, I decided to read the first book in the Jack Taylor series by Ken Bruen, and was so impressed. The writing was spare and unusual. There are lists, which prompted me to tell Tom he reminded me of Nick Hornby in this particular way, and what did I read the very next day but "Nick Hornby had popularized lists."

The book was even better than the televised version, as often is the case. Jack Taylor isn't an easy character but still worth meeting. There are quite a few books in the series. There is an interview with the author here
.


One evening I was watching As Time Goes By for the millionth time, and noticed Jean was reading a Ruth Rendell book. Years ago I read Simisola, and perhaps Road Rage, though I think it may be that Tom read it and told me about it. I decided it was time I delved more deeply into the Inspector Wexford series so I bought the first one, From Doon with Death for my Kindle. It's an odd title, but it does make sense as the book goes along. A quiet, unprepossessing woman is murdered and it is up to Inspector Wexford to make sense of why anyone would kill such a person. Rendell's work is described as "psychological suspense" - not usually something I care too much for, but I liked the book, and could barely put it down. She's a really good writer and I've already gotten the second in the series from the library.


I first read Stillmeadow Seasons in 2002. My quote book has many offerings from this book, and I've jotted down several more that will appear in my letters at the appropriate time. The book is divided into months, beginning with April and ending with March. Some of her books are divided into seasonal chapters while others are monthly. The monthly ones begin and end variously. She wrote two things in the October chapter, not related to the month especially but interesting to me. One was:

We had two kinds of lettuce when I was growing up. Leaf and store. Now in my salad bowl I may toss two kinds of endive, Oak-leaf lettuce, Bibb, braze beauty, New York 12, and Mayking.
Remembering the book was published in 1950, I was startled to read this. I grew up in the 1950s, and all that was ever on our table was iceberg. It was only in the 1970s that I discovered dark green leafy lettuce that actually had flavor!  As I have said, many a time, this is the wonder of reading old books.

The second noteworthy passage was about fire:

In the dry season we watch the sky anxiously for smoke. Forest fires are the great enemy. … Fires do not start by themselves, and when I think of the devastation a single tossed cigarette can do on a dry roadside, I feel positively murderous. … All modern cars have ash trays, so motorists do not have to fling their glowing stubs to the grassy roadside.
Which got me thinking; now cars do not have ashtrays (notice how the spelling has turned into one word since 1950). And still there are lots of smokers. What do they do with their 'glowing stubs?' Toss them out, I'd guess.

As I finished Stillmeadow Seasons, I wondered if Gladys, wherever she is now, can see me, 63 years after this book was published, living much the same life she was living back then. I hope so. 


I wish I could remember who led me to Baroness Orczy so I could thank her. This book was so interesting. I could barely get my head around how long ago The Old Man in the Corner was written. Such a concept. A young woman reporter goes into a restaurant and there is the man of the title sitting there. He begins telling her how he has solved cases the police couldn't solve. Each visit he tells her a new case, which is a chapter in the book. The reader is amazed at his intelligence. The cases are quite fascinating. I just loved the book, and have also 'bought' for free Lady Molly of Scotland Yard by the author. 

Addendum: it was Debbie and you may find her review here


I'm not wild for cozy mysteries, but I still wanted to read Murder is Binding because it is set in a Hay-On-Wye type of town in New Hampshire, on the Massachusetts border. The town was going downhill until someone came up with the idea of turning it into a destination for book lovers. Now tour buses come and drop off customers. Our heroine Tricia's mystery bookshop is called Haven't Got A Clue. As I read along I had various feelings. Sometimes I liked the story. Sometimes the characters drove me crazy. I liked mentions of authors and book titles. But on the whole I found much of it just too far-fetched. The policeman is a 'sheriff' - except for the fact that in northern New England such a position is never the town cop. I think sheriffs serve papers or something but they do not do the day to day policing. And I couldn't accept the sheriff deciding someone was guilty with no evidence. I might read another one sometime, or I might not.

20 comments:

  1. I enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel, but haven't read any of Orczy's other works. Maybe I'll track this one down at the library.

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    1. I never read SP. But I do like her mysteries.

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  2. I'm sure you know by now that Gladys Taber was and is a favorite of mine. I think I identified more closely with her for decades than I did with women my own age. She was such a good woman and a wise woman. I am so glad when I come across her on any blog because then I hope that young women will rediscover her.

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    1. So many of the young are in cities now, but I would guess those few who have gone to rural living would find her a guide and companion.

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  3. We saw the Scarlett Pimpernel in NYC - it was so good. Have a great Sunday and June Nan.

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    1. Never read or seen it.
      Thanks and same to you!

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  4. Hi, Nan! I reviewed The Man in the Corner from my March reading this year http://www.exurbanis.com/archives/9014#man but my curiosity about this book was originally piqued by Jane at Fleur Fisher. Her review prompted me to get the library to dig this out of storage for me. http://fleurfisher.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/turn-of-the-century-salon-baroness-orczy-and-the-old-man-in-the-corner/

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    1. It was YOU!! Thanks so much for letting me know. You'd think I'd remember since it was only a couple months ago. I went back and even read my comment. I'll add an addendum to this post with a link to yours. Thanks again!! I'll go read the other one as well.

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  5. I'm amazed at how much reading you do! I enjoy reading but it is sort of like exercise for me. I'm glad when I do it but have to force myself to get started. English was my worst subject in school. I too enjoy reading books that are set in places that I'm familiar with.

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    1. I read Tom your comment and he thought that was a great connection between exercise and reading. They do indeed both make one feel better! And really for many people it is hard to find the time to sit down and read when there are so very many other distractions/activities. I think you might like authors like Gladys Taber, Hal Borland, Henry Beston.

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  6. I have ordered the Second Rule of Ten.....you are such a bad influence on me Nan!!!!

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  7. And The First Rule of Ten?? Gotta have that one too! :<)

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  8. I just wanted to say how much, over the years, I have enjoyed your poetry selections which have inspired me to read poets I had never heard about. And I want to thank you for poems like The Things by Donald Hall which I loved and read often...

    Oh,and I also love As Time Goes By- never tire of it.

    Sue

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    1. Thank you very much for telling me. I'm so pleased.
      I have a copy of The Things under my clear blotter on my desk so I can read it anytime. It is a really special poem, isn't it. Thanks again.
      And I never tire of the show either. It always makes me happy.

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  9. I love As Time Goes By and Gladys Tabor and the Rules of Ten series. Can't wait for the third book.

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    1. I preordered the prequel. Someone told me there is a 'three' in the works as well. Yay!

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  10. Oh I just finished the first Rule of Ten and I loved it so much. I was reading bits of it out loud to Bill and now he wants me to try to find it in the Library (he doesn't 'do" Kindle.) I have Second Rule ready to read; glad to know there's a prequel, which I will pre-order if I can.

    I'm so glad you mentioned these books because I had forgotten where I read the recommendation!!! Thank you so much. And good for you on the Yoga...the book made me want to be more faithful to my practice...I go to a class in Oregon and am better at it there than I am here.

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    1. And didn't you love the description of his house? So simple, spare, but lovely. I imagine lots of wood and windows and peace.

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  11. I grew up on iceberb lettuce, but stopped using it many years ago. However, I recently discovered a delicious recipe for a wedge salad, which calls for iceberg. Yummy blue cheese, too.


    Interesting about the ash trays. Yep, my husband would toss them out the window. Drove me crazy...

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    1. Tom might like that. As you know, my 'salad' is lettuce, period. :<)
      I know some people put ashtrays in their cars. If I smoked, I would do that - get a pot, fill it with sand to hold it down, and use that.

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