'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Friday, April 24, 2015

This, That and the Other

A few links to some interesting things I've come across lately. Thought you might like them too.

Especially this one for booklovers in the US!
The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.
FREE books! Hundreds of them. A trip to Baltimore is in my future!

Ever think about learning html? Here's a good cheat sheet for you. This blog looks really interesting for bloggers. Lots of how to's.

Like taking photographs but don't know how to use the manual mode on your camera? Here's a good cheat sheet for that. Hoping I can learn to do this on mine!

Sawny Bean the Hannibal Lector of Olde Scotland.

Did you know that the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, was born with the rare condition vaginal agenesis? I had never heard of this before reading James Ellroy's book about the murder. Good news for women born with this affliction! They can now produce vagina's in the laboratory and transplant them! Science is amazing.

Do you watch the AMC series Mad Men? Here's a list of all the books characters in the series are seen reading or talking about.

Honey recipes

Did you know Abraham Lincoln penned a 'true-crime' tale?

Tuesday I had an Epidermal Inclusion Cyst removed from my chest. Vanity, vanity! It wasn't a danger or anything I just didn't fancy a big bump on my chest, very unattractive :(  Here's a video of a doctor removing one. It's not me, found it on Youtube. My cyst didn't have that dark ring around it. Just looked like I had a robin's egg sitting under the skin. Just a tad sore now and I'll have a small scar, but that's better than a big bump! Any good ideas as to a 'fun' story as to how I got that scar?

Who wants this game?!

This game looks a right laugh!
Posted by UNILAD on Monday, April 20, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Graveyards, Hotbeds of Gossip

The Dirty Dust a 1949 comic masterpiece written in Irish by Máirtín Ó Cadhain has been translated and republished! It is available in the US too! Yea!
What makes this novel unique? The characters are all dead, but their appetite for gossip isn't! I first heard of this novel in this Guardian article.

Mairtin O Cadhain's irresistible and infamous novel The Dirty Dust is consistently ranked as the most important prose work in modern Irish, yet no translation for English-language readers has ever before been published. Alan Titley's vigorous new translation, full of the brio and guts of O Cadhain's original, at last brings the pleasures of this great satiric novel to the far wider audience it deserves. In The Dirty Dust all characters lie dead in their graves. This, however, does not impair their banter or their appetite for news of aboveground happenings from the recently arrived. Told entirely in dialogue, O Cadhain's daring novel listens in on the gossip, rumors, backbiting, complaining, and obsessing of the local community. In the afterlife, it seems, the same old life goes on beneath the sod. Only nothing can be done about it-apart from talk. In this merciless yet comical portrayal of a closely bound community, O Cadhain remains keenly attuned to the absurdity of human behavior, the lilt of Irish gab, and the nasty, deceptive magic of human connection. 

Amazon US
Alibris IndieBound
Powells Indigo
Barnes & Noble Overstock.com

In the UK:
The Guardian bookshop

Think you'll read it?

Peggy Ann

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Book I Can Sink My Teeth Into!

I have been in a reading slump this month. I started a fun read by an author I like very much and really do enjoy his books, Mollie Peer by Van Reid. But for some reason I just couldn't get going with it. Must not be what I'm in the mood for right now. I finally put it back on the shelf to save for another day and started a new one.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White and it's one I can really sink my teeth into! It had me hooked by the end of the prologue. It's due out May 12th. I got an Advance Readers Copy from Netgalley. Stay tuned for my book report!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Hello everyone! We made it home from our information gathering trip to Tennessee in one piece. We spent the week touring around different areas of eastern TN. to try and narrow it down to one or two general areas we want to live in when the boss-man retires next year. He was going to this year, but has decided to wait one (maybe two) more years. There's no predicting what this man will decide to do!! He is only turning 60 this fall so there's no rush.

It rained most of the week, but we did have a couple sunny days in the 80's! The dogwood and other flower trees were in bloom down there and most trees have new leaves already. We are still pretty bare here at home in Pennsylvania.

Every thrift store we saw, my honey stopped at! I love thrift stores but let me tell you, I was thrift stored out by the last couple days! We also hit all kinds of Walmarts as he wanted to pick up Tennessee Volunteers college football clothing and paraphernalia. He said at each new Walmart 'they might have something different!'. He'll be wearing a lot of orange! Their colors are orange and white. I did get some bargains on clothes and picked up 7 books.

Dory, the girl nobody loved (I saw her on TV once years ago)
The Light Between Oceans
Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm
The Window at the White Cat
The Boxwood Maze
William in Trouble
A Little Madness

Maggie the Cow
While in the Sweetwater area (isn't that the greatest name for a town?!) we stopped at The Mayfield Dairy Farms visitor center and did a tour. That was really interesting. We saw how they made the milk jugs and filled different types of containers with milk and watched them package ice cream. Learned all about the cows they use for milk, Jersey cows, and lots of facts and numbers I could never remember to tell you! I do remember that each cow gives 9 gallons of milk a day and that particular plant uses 180,000 gallons of milk a day in the products they process there.

We all had to put red bonnet things on our hair to go into the plant and boss-man had to put a net on his beard too! Silly man, he didn't have it on right. This was one time I was glad I'm always the one taking the pictures and not in them!

One night when we stopped to eat guess who we parked next to?!!

The Ghostbusters! Their real!

 Not only did we discover they are real but we also found out that pigs really do fly!

We found them flying around a miniature golf course in Sevierville, just outside of Pigeon Forge.

We like the Gatlinburg, Sevierville area but there is just too much traffic!! Lots to do there, but I would hate it in the summer tourist season.

Maryville, near Knoxville, is a lovely area and not far from all the hub-bub in the Smoky Mt. National Park area and we considered it. But in the end we decided we like the Tri-cities area up in the far east corner of the state. It is lovely hills and valleys with the Appalachian Mountains for a backdrop. Boss-man said it would be that much closer to the grandkids and back home to Pennsylvania. A good jumping off place for all points north and south and the beach. Not far from the Smoky Mountain National Park for when company wants to go there. In particular we liked Jonesborough, a sweet little town, known for being the oldest town in TN. and the storytelling capital of the world! Just a few miles from Johnson City,  a very large city with everything we would need, yet rural and quaint. Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and President Andrew Jackson all lived in this area. You can tour Andrew Jackson's Greenville TN. home and Davy Crockett's birthplace is a state historic park. I'm excited about the move even if its a ways off. Something to look forward too!

The week away was a terrible reading week! The books I got for listening to in the car were a bust! Two of them weren't in the right format and my devices couldn't play them and I just couldn't get interested in The Burgess Boys to save my life. I thought I would like it a lot! I read a couple chapters in the hardback book I brought, but we spent so much time in the car I didn't get to read much. I get terrible car sick if I read in the car. I downloaded a P.G. Wodehouse from the library and listened to it on the way home. I still have to finish it though. April is not looking to be a good reading month at all! I only have 18 days till I leave for Scotland so I have a lot to do between now and then so I don't hold out much hope for lots of reading.

Oh my goodness I have chewed your ear long enough! Gotta run.

Peggy Ann

Monday, April 6, 2015

Recent Book Finds

Early for an appointment last week we roamed around the Goodwill Thrift shop and I found 4 books.

I was especially tickled to find The Lighthouse Stevensons! Rennie Airth is new to me and Annie Proulx I have never read, but now have 3 of her books! Watched the movie Shipping News and enjoyed it and the odd characters so I'm sure I'll love her books. I also like the settings for her books. Never heard of Barbara Cleverly before but the story sounds interesting and it's part of a series.

The Lighthouse Stevensons
The Bee's Kiss
Accordion Crimes
The Blood Dimmed Tide

I'm still waiting for Marget Pow to arrive from Amazon and waiting on a member from Paperbackswap to send out The Bird Artist by Howard James.

On the ebook front new on my iPad are...
Against a Dark Sky by Katherine Pathak
Dead Before Morning by Geraldine Evans
A Bicycle Built for Murder by Kate Kingsbury

and from Netgalley...
The Sound of Glass by Karen White
Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

and one from Astor-Blue Publishers - Cold Heart by Chandler McGrew

We're off to Tennessee today for a week. Looking forward to lots of reading time! I'd like to get The Sound of Glass and Dead Men's Bones (James Oswald) read this week. I've got three audio books checked out for the time spent in the car, Elizabeth Stroud's Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys and Agatha Christie's The Man in the Brown Suit. Wonder which one or two I'll read?

Peggy Ann

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What's Left the Daughter by Howard Norman

As always I'm a day late and a dollar short when it comes to reviewing books, this one was published in 2010 and I just found it. I would venture to say this will be my FAVORITE book of the year!

I 'read' the audio version read by Bronson Pinchot. He's the actor who played Balki Bartokomous in the TV series Perfect Strangers. Remember that show and the silly character of Balki and his funny voice? I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed this narrator was one and the same! Excellent job, he was Wyatt Hillyer.

Set in Nova Scotia during WWII, this is a story about a love triangle involving a German student and narrated by the main character, Wyatt. He is writing a letter to his daughter, Marlais, whom he hasn't seen since she was very small. He had read or heard the phrase 'What is left the daughter' and it started him thinking about what would be left his daughter. He wanted her to have the details and truth of his life as he had nothing else to give her.

He begins the letter in 1941, the day both his parents jumped to their deaths from different bridges in Halifax within minutes of each other. Wyatt was 17. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle in Middle Economy, a small town in Nova Scotia. Here he becomes an apprentice sled/toboggan maker to his uncle and falls madly in love with his adopted cousin Tilda.

Being set during WWII and involves the sinking of a Canadian passenger ferry, Caribou, by German U boats, (an actual event) this story is both tragic and comedic at the same time. It's a look at the fear and folly of judging people by association. Of how war and tragedy can make a human capable of things he might otherwise never consider doing. How a split second decision changes lives. The wonderfully quirky characters, sharp dialogue and wit bring a lightness to this tragic tale.

I loved the quirky details brought to this story,
  • Tilda being a professional mourner, something common during this period of history, 
  • that she found meaning for life through a book called The Highland Book of Platitudes (a real book published privately in Scotland around 1900),
  • vintage radios, Wyatts mom collected them and had 58. His uncle Donald listened incessantly to the radio for war bulletins,
  • Hans being a philatelist and the importance put on words,
  • Wyatt ending up being a detritus gaffer in the Halifax harbour (pulling garbage from human tragedy like sinking ferries from the waters of the harbour with a big gaffing hook.)
  • The details of dates and times and places.
Was there anything I didn't like about this book? Not a thing!

'Reading' this on audio was like sitting and listening to Wyatt read his letter to me. I loved it. This was my first book by Howard Norman and I think he will become one of my favorite authors. Sadly I had one of his books, The Museum Guard, on my shelf for several years and never read it. It made it through several clearing off of the shelves and last time got sent to the library book sale unread! Pooh! I've ordered The Bird Artist by Norman from Paperbackswap and can't wait to read it!

You can read an excerpt here.

Peggy Ann

Have you read What is Left the Daughter? Or any other book by Norman? What did you think?