I loved these books when I was young. If store carried books for any reason, I'd look for a Trixie Belden book. And re-reading them now I'm only a lit...moreI loved these books when I was young. If store carried books for any reason, I'd look for a Trixie Belden book. And re-reading them now I'm only a little surprised by how much of the story, dialogue, and description I remember intact.
One reason why I loved them so much is that Trixie seemed like a real person with good points and flaws. And she seemed ... 13 years old. So often children and teenagers seem more like adults in disguise. ("Beverly Hills, 90210" seemed a lot more like people in their late 20s who were mysteriously forced to drop by a high school every day.)
I *still* want to be a member of the Bob-Whites, even now. :-/(less)
Ms. Keegan has a lovely voice in this collection of stories and essays. It's a nice mix of well-realized fiction and sharply observed pieces about lif...moreMs. Keegan has a lovely voice in this collection of stories and essays. It's a nice mix of well-realized fiction and sharply observed pieces about life at Yale.
Only one piece didn't really work for me, an epistolary story (can we still use that word if the "epistles" are emails?) of a contractor in one of our interminable wars writing home. But one from an entire book - and a first book at that - is no bad score. (less)
After I heard Piper Kerman on The Moth talking about finally getting a radio while in prison (http://themoth.org/posts/stories/wall...), I wanted to k...moreAfter I heard Piper Kerman on The Moth talking about finally getting a radio while in prison (http://themoth.org/posts/stories/wall...), I wanted to know more about her experience, so I skipped the Hollywood version (the television show) and went right to the book which I read in large gulps.
Most people really know very little about what time in prison is like. Kerman's memoir is great combination of "No, sh*t, I was there," "don't do what I did," and "what I learned." She comes back often to "what I learned" because what she learned changed her as a person. She talks a lot about her thoughtless actions having such a devastating effect on people she cares about and the people who care about them. Sometimes I could have done without the reprise of that number but I understand that she felt very strongly about it and that it preyed on her then and still does.
She is an eloquent spokesperson for the women she shared that year with, speaking of kindnesses large and small and the support system that they have for themselves.
Light, fun, and easy to read, this book features women of great power in their time most of whom are unknown to the average person today. Of necessity...moreLight, fun, and easy to read, this book features women of great power in their time most of whom are unknown to the average person today. Of necessity, the biographies are fairly brief and will probably send history buffs in search of longer works to learn more about one of the women to whom they were introduced here. I, myself, will be looking for more opportunities to bring Aethelflaed up in conversation.
I enjoyed it a lot but think that it would have benefited from one more read for small errors (word substitutions, incorrect spellings, and the occasional sentence that goes off the rails). (less)
Margery Allingham is one of the notable authors from the best years of mystery fiction but I hadn't read much of hers outside of the occasional anthol...moreMargery Allingham is one of the notable authors from the best years of mystery fiction but I hadn't read much of hers outside of the occasional anthologized short story.
Normally I am easily caught up in mystery stories but I had a harder time with this one. Perhaps it was the physical book itself -- the pages are very yellowed -- but that's not usually a problem. Maybe it was that plot elements all seem to exist separately -- a fact or person would be introduced and seemingly abandoned and the "cast" was large enough and homogenous enough that I'd have to go back to remind myself how someone fit into the story. Even though the plot takes place over just a few days, there was no sense for me of a complete story being told.
Or perhaps I was just too tired while I was reading it and the fault lies not in the book but the reader.
I'll have to try another of hers another time and perhaps I'll have better luck.(less)
Riveting, appalling, and heartbreaking. And uplifting as well. Michael MacDonald's descriptions of the events of his South Boston upbringing showed me...moreRiveting, appalling, and heartbreaking. And uplifting as well. Michael MacDonald's descriptions of the events of his South Boston upbringing showed me a world I knew nothing about. I grew up in a largely Catholic neighborhood where children but that majority was a narrow one. My schools were a mix of races and ethnicities, and we didn't think much about it. MacDonald grew up in the Southie of riots over forced busing. I was taught that the policeman was my friend. Kids in Southie knew that the cops couldn't be trusted. And that anyone from more than a few blocks away became a target as soon as they entered the neighborhood.
Tightly-knit families and close neighbors bound by ethnic descent and distrust of outsiders were an insular community that "took care of it's own" and maintained a code of silence even as it cost them the lives of so many of their children.
In one chapter, as MacDonald describes the three month period that his sister Kathy spent in a coma, he lists the visitors to her hospital room, paragraph after paragraph of names, relationships, and fates, all of them tragic.
One thing that struck me oddly about the book is that often MacDonald seems more of an observer than a member of the community. One could argue that this remove may have been what ultimately got him out of Southie but it also means that there is often a Mike-sized hole in the narrative.(less)
At 84 pages, this monograph is short enough to be read in an evening.
Real-life retired Detective Mark Garber (a pseudonym) takes up the investigation...moreAt 84 pages, this monograph is short enough to be read in an evening.
Real-life retired Detective Mark Garber (a pseudonym) takes up the investigation previously attempted by fictional detective Alan Grant in Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time.
Neither a Ricardian nor a Tudorite, Garber applies his professional skills with reasonable objectivity to the "frozen" case and reaches a conclusion he would be comfortable putting in front of a judge and jury.
Part of the fun -- and frustration -- of reading these examinations is impatiently waiting for the author to consider -- or reject -- some favorite piece of evidence that one finds compelling. Garber did consider several of my own favorite "exhibits" but also left unanswered some of the questions that I have always found the most troublesome.
His structure, based on years of writing police reports, is logical and straightforward and his style is breezy and conversational, making the book both easy to read and informative. The facts he lays out so well do stay with you, even if the dates blur (as dates tend to do when there are a lot of them).
One criticism is that Garber seems willing to accept some things as "evidence" that others might have considered "gossip." And perhaps a bias towards the cynical is merely a professional hazard.
Others have mentioned a lack of documentation which would have been helpful.
Garber says that having written his first book, he intends to write no more. I hope that's not the case.
A very enjoyable book that reminds us that there's good regional cooking everywhere you go. My mother, who disliked "corporate" food and loved local c...moreA very enjoyable book that reminds us that there's good regional cooking everywhere you go. My mother, who disliked "corporate" food and loved local cooking, would have loved traveling with Mr. Trillin and trying the treats his favorite places had to offer.
It's also fun watching Alice -- Mrs. Trillin -- trying to squeeze a trip to a museum or picturesque seaside into her husbands grazing schedule.(less)