Terse and to the point!

No zombies. No vampires. No angels. No self-help. No horror.



Way to go, M.K.B!!!
Cairnaerie - M.K.B. Graham

I am jumping up and down like a little kid. I can finally say that I count among my friends a real live published novelist!!


Today, a very dear friend, who DH has known since high school and I have known since we were invited to her wedding, announced that her novel has been published--and of course, I ran out and bought, on Amazon Smile.


So, here is the blurb from Amazon:

In this sweeping historical fiction, Cairnaerie unfolds across the landscape of Civil War Virginia and the 1920s eugenics movement that follows... Geneva Snow commits the unforgivable Southern sin. No longer the apple of her father’s eye, she is a pariah, defying her society's most sacrosanct rule. To protect her—and hoping for a change of heart—her shattered yet steadfast father hides her at Cairnaerie, his mountain estate. But his iron-willed daughter is unrepentant. After years of solitude, an older and wiser Geneva is finally mellowing, and she is desperate to leave a legacy worthy of the father she loved and lost. To that end, she engages an unwitting young history professor to help her escape Cairnaerie long enough to attend the wedding of her granddaughter—a girl who is dangerously unaware of her lineage. But when a postman’s malevolence and a colleague’s revenge converge, Geneva's long-kept secret is exposed. For a second time, she faces a calamity of her own making. Only this time, there is no place to hide.

0 Stars
Combining satire, cynicism and cornball equals outrageous results
Double Whammy - Carl Hiaasen, George K. Wilson

Hiaasen is not for everyone. Not only is he cynical and satirical but he can be down-right rude and crude at the same time--but he does it with such elan and eclat that rather than roll your eyeballs in disgust, you just laugh along with him. I have read every single one of his adult titles, some of them, more than once.  When I need to laugh at the world, I grab a Hiaasen.


Four and a half stars!!!



0 Stars
A light romp that prompts some deep thinking
The Spaceship Next Door - Gene Doucette, Steve   Carlson

The description on my BookLikes blog clearly states:


Terse and to the point!

No zombies. No vampires. No angels. No self-help. No horror.


Okay, so I broke my own rule. I read a book with zombies in it. I almost put it down when the zombies appeared but I was so entranced by the book that I decided to break my hard and fast rule. After all, I am already reading a book about aliens on earth and really up until now it has been a rather G-rated adventure.


It has been a long time since I have felt so compelled to want to copy a quote from an audio book. Now, I want to get my hands on a hard copy of this book so that I can find the few lines and pin them up on my computer to read every now and then. And , no, I am not going to quote them here when I do find them because that would be a spolier, a really big spoiler.


I'm giving this one 4 and half starts and throwing it into the "To be read again and again and again" pile. Even the narrator was marvelous.



0 Stars
Today's daily deal...
English Grammar Boot Camp - Professor Anne Curzan

How sweet! An item on my wish list showed up as a Daily Deal. It is so infrequently that they feature a title that I am interested in. Lots of suspense and romance but not much that is esoteric or otherwise off the beaten track.


But, that aside, I'm already well into it and it will be a good balm for the spate of spring cleaning that has begun around here. The lecturer has a pleasant voice, knows her topic and has an engaging style.


UPDATE: Finished. So sorry to have to move on. Curzan is so easy to listen to and her subject is fascinating. As a grammarian, she is practical and realistic not pendantic and inflexible. She understands that there is a difference between spoken language and formal written language, that language and usage are constantly changing.


If you just want to learn the rules, buy a style book such as Strunk & White or Brian Gardner or the Chicago Style Manual and just follow their rules. If you want to understand what makes our language tick and where these rules have come from, listen to Anne Curzan.


Rating: 4 and half stars

3 Stars
A Solid Three Star Read
On What Grounds - Rebecca Gibel, Cleo Coyle

I must admit that while I enjoyed book one of the series, I am not running out to buy the next installment. On the other hand, I am not saying that I'm done with it. Coyle kept us guessing until the end whodunit but there is just too much waxing eloquent/pontificating on the joys of coffee along the way. I like my morning cup of joe but I don't worship it.


Mostly, I bought this title because of the narrator and she did a wonderful job. For the most part, her voices were spot on; she sounded New York without blaring it out. The only reason that she didn't completely blend into the background, as a good narrator should, is that I have a face to go with voice; strange how the main character has a very striking resemblance to Ms. Gibel, no matter how she is actually described in the text. ;-)

4 Stars
The DC Smith Series
But for the Grace - Peter Grainger, Gildart Jackson An Accidental Death: A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 1 - Peter Grainger, Gildart Jackson

I read book one in this series a few weeks ago and then rushed out to acquire the next tale in the DC Smith series. 


What I like is that the stories are adult, realistic and not full of suspense or blood and guts. The protagonist, DC Smith, is complex and likable--and has a past that the author keeps hinting about but hasn't yet gotten around to sharing with us. 


The narrator was marvelous. I did not have to keep yelling at him for pronunciation errors and the voices he chose for the various character all fit the character. In other words, the narrator blends into the background, which is how it should be. 

Found on Facebook

Audible sale pile
On What Grounds - Rebecca Gibel, Cleo Coyle

 Audible is currently running a sale on first in a series titles and while checking out what was on offer, I ran across this title. I recognized the name of the narrator and listening to the sample confirmed that it was indeed a young actress who I have seen on stage a number of times with a local rep company. So, I bought the book. If it had a cover, I would be asking her to sign it for me.

Found on Facebook

Found on Facebook

0 Stars
Horrible, Horrible, Horrible Narrator
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - Katarina Bivald, Fiona Hardingham, Lorelei King

The book takes place in Iowa. Unfortunately, Hardingham has only one American accent in her repertoire, a Texas twang kind of a thing, and she doesn't even do it well. She was so bad and the accent was so out of place that it really distracted from the book.



So, book three stars. Narrator, one. Oh, and a little extra because one of the books she quoted opening lines from was Hiassen's Skinny Dip.

36 Books That Changed the World - R. Andrew Wilson, John E. Finn, Jerry Z. Muller, Brad S. Gregory, Charles Kimball, Daniel N. Robinson

This series of lectures is actually a compilation of lectures from other courses, some better than others. At least if you don't like a particular lecturer, you only have to put up with him for half an hour.


I decided to listen to this course for two reason. First, I was curious to know which books were on the list and why the lecturers thought they were game changers. Sometimes the questions was answered and sometimes it wasn't. At least it wasn't a series of cookie-cutter lectures, each trying to defend its being chosen for the list. Second, I'm too lazy to read all of the books myself, especially the ones that are purely philosophical, and this would be an easy way to become familiar with the titles and learn  a bit about them--and who knows, I might even read a couple (more) of them.


Lists like these are always open to dispute and I would like to point out that at least the title is not claiming that this is the definitive list of 36 game changers. If you want a complete list of the 36 titles on this list, go to my blog.



36 Books
36 Books That Changed the World - R. Andrew Wilson, John E. Finn, Jerry Z. Muller, Brad S. Gregory, Charles Kimball, Daniel N. Robinson

I've decided that I'm going to listen to only one lecture per day. For my own reference/sanity, I want to keep a list of them.


  1. Gilgamesh*
  2. Homer's Odyssey -- Quoting the lecturer:  It is the function of literature to recall; literature recalls the good thing that literature does...saving people from being forgotten...
  3. Bhagavad Vita
  4. The Art of War
  5. Analects (Confucius)  -- Do unto others...
  6. Herodotus's Histories -- a new genre at its start
  7. Plato's Republic
  8. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
  9. Ovid's Metamorphosis
  10. Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
  11. St. Augustine's Confessions
  12. The Koran
  13. Liber Abaci -- Arabic numbers arrive
  14. The Divine Comedy*
  15. The Prince*
  16. Copernicus's  On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs
  17. Hamlet*
  18. Don Quijote*
  19. King James translation of the Bible -- important because of the politics surrounding its translation and not because it is a statement of doctrine
  20. Francis Bacon's Novum Organum
  21. Diderot's Encyclopedie
  22. Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language
  23. Common Sense*
  24. The Wealth of Nations
  25. The Federalist Papers
  26. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  27. A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  28. Democracy in America
  29. The Communist Manifesto
  30. Uncle Tom's Cabin
  31. On the Origin of Species
  32. On Liberty (John Stuart Mill) -- VERY TIMELY
  33. Being and Time
  34. The Jungle
  35. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  36. The Feminine Mystique
Attention! Grammar Geeks and Linguists


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