Dry Bones is a little outside of my usual reading fare, though it is a light mystery-suspense novel. My choice is usually something in the line of cozDry Bones is a little outside of my usual reading fare, though it is a light mystery-suspense novel. My choice is usually something in the line of cozies ~ British scone-and-tea murders. That being said, Craig Johnson's Dry Bones does fit the bill for light mystery. The story is full of gentle, quirky characters who could easily become favorites. The British tea table has been replaced with canyons and mesquite. Sheriff Walt Longmire, with his cowboy hat and rugged style, takes the place of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. The humor is gentle and tongue in cheek. Even the "stock" characters are enjoyable, though I was a little put off by the tough-talking female deputy/love interest, Vic. The relationship seemed forced. I also got a little tired of the "Save Jen" refrain (Jen being a recently discovered T. Rex skeleton that put the fictional county on the map). Still, if light mysteries are your cup of tea, and gentle, quirky characters of Absaroka County, Wyoming, sound appealing to you, Dry Bones is worth checking out. It's always delightful to discover a whole new mystery series for those hot-chocolate-and-flannel-comforter days....more
The Little White Horse (1946 Carnegie Medal winner), is a children's fairy tale by Elizabeth Goudge. It has as its heroine Maria Merryweather, a thirtThe Little White Horse (1946 Carnegie Medal winner), is a children's fairy tale by Elizabeth Goudge. It has as its heroine Maria Merryweather, a thirteen-year-old recently orphaned girl who is forced by newfound poverty to move from a beautiful house in London square to Moonacre Manor, a country estate owned by her quirky but lovable cousin and guardian, Sir Benjamin Merryweather. Her new home is like a castle with turrets, one of which has a lovely, tiny room just perfect for Maria, and a separate room for her governess, Miss Heliotrope (whom she loves very much). The manor is as romantic and magical as its name sounds. Maria explores to her heart's content, all the while hoping to spot a little white horse that she saw, or seemed to see, on her journey to the manor. Maria finds her true love, discovers her own unique and special destiny as a Moon Princess, and solves a problem that has plagued the Merryweather family and local villagers for some time. The characters are interesting and original, with an earthiness like those of C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. There are overt elements of Christianity. The story's antagonists are atheists. It is interesting that the Christian flavor which will gratify some and offend others, might actually be objectionable in the Bible belt: it is tinged with paganism. The author even praises the early church for having incorporated old myths and superstitions into Christianity. Those who enjoy traditional fantasy-fairy stories (as do I) should enjoy the read. Those who are zealous about pushing women's equality in all literature will simply spit ~ traditional gender roles are strongly encouraged. Some notions are quite outdated, even for my taste. Four stars instead of five: the ending is a bit trite ~ everything is rather abruptly tied up in a neat pink bow and made to end....more
I really loved the book; but of course, it is directly related to my own Civil War book project, and has an anecdote of the soldier I'm studying. ThatI really loved the book; but of course, it is directly related to my own Civil War book project, and has an anecdote of the soldier I'm studying. Thatcher, the author, is a soldier of the Second Michigan Cavalry, as is my cavalryman, McDougall. All that being said, the book is an enjoyable casual read, if you like Civil War non-fiction. The author describes the enlistment experience, the training camp, the marches, and each battle. He gives descriptions and some personal anecdotes of the officers and soldiers in various companies of the regiment. He includes his opinions about people and places, and tells about a few humorous incidents. Thatcher's writing style is simple and informal. It does have some earmarks of the flowery, overly descriptive style of 19th-century biography or journalism, but not too much so. For anyone studying the Second Michigan Cavalry, it is a "must read." The book details each battle, yet is not dry, encyclopedic, or analytic in style. It's a good, easy read....more
I did enjoy the diary, but was disappointed by the brevity of most entries. This is a diary, not an in-depth journal. Some entries are as brief as "PrI did enjoy the diary, but was disappointed by the brevity of most entries. This is a diary, not an in-depth journal. Some entries are as brief as "Pretty day." She might mention that she finished a chemise. This is the diary of a young girl, so her war knowledge is limited to soldiers and citizens who visited the Inman boarding house, sympathetic comments about the Confederate cause, hardships suffered by the family, and vague rumors about nearby troop movements. Occasionally, a rebel raid is close enough to town to warrant a diary entry. There is no war strategy or serious discussion of war events.
Most of the events are only of local interest for the Cleveland, Tennessee, area. The family vacations at Cohutta Springs (near Summerour Chapel) in Murray County, Georgia, once during the summer. Myra also visits friends near Dandridge. Myra is a Southern sympathizer and remains so throughout the war. She resents local Unionists or "Lincolnites." It's interesting to see how her daily routine changes when the Union army comes into town. The northern officers often take meals at the Inman boarding house; occasionally one spends the night.
She does mentions local citizens by name ~ mainly her friends, some of whom are prominent citizens. The slaves are interesting, and seem to be a part of the family; she loves the older woman almost as a mother. She sews clothing for them, which is one of her chores.
I would recommend the diary to people who are specifically researching the Inman and Lea families; to those who are researching the Civil War only as it relates to minor events or people in Cleveland, Tennessee; or to those who enjoy reading about such local topics. It might be of interest to those who want to look at other aspects of slavery, outside the normal stereotypes ~ but there are only a few entries that deal with this topic.
I bought the Myra Inman diary because of a possible link to my family tree, but the listing was too vague to use. However, as I began work on another family story, the diary turned out to be very helpful. I was able to pinpoint dates that the Yankees entered Cleveland or Charleston, Tennessee, dates of rebel raids, specific officers who visited the Inmans, etcetera. These were only helpful insofar as I could cross-reference the entries to other sources, but I did end up using the diary a good bit for that reason. I read it twice and still use it for lookups.
This was one of my first books. Mom used to read us this and we would giggle; somehow we were always surprised at the end, as if we'd never heard it bThis was one of my first books. Mom used to read us this and we would giggle; somehow we were always surprised at the end, as if we'd never heard it before. That's the nature of childhood for a child who loves books ~ kind of like playing peek-a-boo, it never gets old. I was fascinated by the illustrations, too ~ though they're only flat, two-color, broad-brush designs. Just guessing at the date I first read it, but read it many times again, and even dug up a used copy recently....more
This is the most original tea-and-crumpets mystery I've read in awhile. In this case, the tea is bush tea and the preferred delicacy (which Mma RomotsThis is the most original tea-and-crumpets mystery I've read in awhile. In this case, the tea is bush tea and the preferred delicacy (which Mma Romotswe simply cannot resist) is mopani worms. That's because it's set in Africa ~ Botswana, to be precise. The mystery is secondary to the character of the detective, Mma Ramotswe, an honest, far-sighted soul, who is very effective in her newfound business of detecting. Her story is told with delightful humor. Careful, though ~ the book is full of sudden, sly insights that sneak up all at once and stab at your heart. Mma Ramotswe is my new favorite detective. I don't think I can stop at one book....more
This non-fiction selection is of local and regional interest for readers who are interested in the topics of tufting and cottage industry, and in lifeThis non-fiction selection is of local and regional interest for readers who are interested in the topics of tufting and cottage industry, and in lifestyles of the Northwest Georgia region ~ specifically of Dalton, Chatsworth, Eton, Calhoun, and surrounding areas. It would well serve genealogists, whose ancestors worked in tufting in North Georgia, to read this book. As topical non-fiction, it is informative and highly entertaining, up to a point. About halfway through, it does get a little dry, detailing the growth of specific large corporations and their CEOs. The book starts with a description of chenille-tufting beginnings, including a brief biography of youthful entrepreneur, Catherine Evans Whitener, locally credited as being the "first" to revive the folk craft of candlewicking (her own variation of it) in Dalton after the Civil War. It then follows the early-to-mid 20th-century growth of the cottage industry of tufting bedspreads that led to innovations in broadbeam and broadloom carpet tufting, documenting specific dates of origin and acquisition of companies. It is a "vanity-press" publication and does have earmarks of community bragging. However, it goes beyond being a brag book to document stories, anecdotes and biographies of local textile pioneers. OSHA lovers and haters will both shudder and laugh at anecdotes of low-paid, snuff-spitting grannies and children in mountain cabins, tufting away well past midnight by the light of a kerosene lamp; old men converting chicken houses to spreadhouses so they can sell spreads and tinker around with inventions; and early, rather dangerous innovations in textile-manufacturing methods. It really is a wonderful depiction of what hard-scrabble folks will do to earn their keep during hard times. It is indexed and contains about 245 surnames (not counting names of companies, which would add more). It has a glossary of industry terms....more
Excellent collection of favorite shorts for light reading. Some classic titles will be familiar ~ "Tobermory" (Saki), "The Lady or the Tiger" (StocktoExcellent collection of favorite shorts for light reading. Some classic titles will be familiar ~ "Tobermory" (Saki), "The Lady or the Tiger" (Stockton), "The Cask of Amontillado" (Edgar Allan Poe). Most are excellent, and of a piece with these; but, I'll draw attention to some lesser-known, fine works in this batch: "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury (clever and ironic); "To Build a Fire" by Jack London (the author doesn't disappoint); "Leiningen Versus the Ants," (Carl Stephenson), a tale of man against nature guaranteed to make one flinch; and an unusual story of strong emotional impact, "Hook," by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, a tale of a hawk, as told from an omniscient point of view that includes the hawk's own perspective. That last one rivals Jack London's stories, I think. Easy to pick up, browse, pick and choose, or read through. Good read!...more
My enjoyment of this book was discolored by the long, long buildup. The Southern inferiority complex is readily apparent. Sidda, the main character, oMy enjoyment of this book was discolored by the long, long buildup. The Southern inferiority complex is readily apparent. Sidda, the main character, offers up proof that she has left Southern roots behind to become the very cliché of a sophisticated, "successful" urbanite: she has a good career, is in therapy, has a jaded prior love life, and is in a successful relationship ~ which bothers her enough that she immediately puts said relationship in jeopardy. The mother-daughter conflict is laid out. Sidda has been betrayed by a reporter into airing dirty secrets about her mother, thus alienating her family. Delightful to some, disgusting to others, will be the Jane-Fonda-like depiction of Catholicism, laced with profanity and blasphemies enough. Finally comes the story. The plot device is a trip through the minutia of the Ya-Ya scrapbook. The Ya Ya sisters themselves form a tight-knit, kooky group of long-time friends, but the scraps and letters don't tell all (and can be downright boring). I nearly gave up reading, but decided to skim. Finally, the story becomes more absorbing. I found the meat of Vivi's story to be worth reading. That part is spicy, warm, poignant, and insightful, in an Oprah kind of way. The traumas described therein seem very "real," and Vivi is somewhat redeemed; but, lest we come to like her too much, her daughter throws in the obligatory Southern racism. The book has nice moments, though it reads more like a memoir than a novel. Granted, this is not my usual choice of reading material, but the title had given me hope. I was lukewarm about the movie and the book just didn't keep my interest. Still, my opinion shouldn't deter any reader who does love Oprah-like soul searching.
Christian classic, lightweight feel-good novella for the female reader: in this retelling of the Cinderella story, "Aunt Crete," an elderly spinster,Christian classic, lightweight feel-good novella for the female reader: in this retelling of the Cinderella story, "Aunt Crete," an elderly spinster, is whisked away by a rich nephew from over-bearing relatives and a life of drudgery, to experience the joy of a more fulfilling life. Implications are that Christ would do the same for meek souls who are strong in faith. For the most part, this is only implied, but the author does overtly state some moral proverbs, which can be disconcerting. It could be more subtle, but is still a nice story. Interestingly, this book had the makings of a great light short story, O. Henry style, but finally lacked the precision and sophistication of that genre. It is worthy of further exploration for Christians, and should appeal to fans of Grace Livingston Hill....more
(First reading: way back when). A level-headed young man, Sam Gribley, leaves a crowded home in the city and goes out to live off of the land. During(First reading: way back when). A level-headed young man, Sam Gribley, leaves a crowded home in the city and goes out to live off of the land. During his sojourn on the mountain, he befriends humans and animals, particularly a falcon, which he trains. When I first read this in my teen-aged years, I marveled at this boy's self-sufficiency. Re-reading it just recently, I was slightly amused at how willing I was, back then, to believe that a young city fellow, with no training, could read a few books and put theory into practice the way he did. Even so, it's a good thought and a good, heart-warming read. There's humor in it, too. Sam is a "tween" representative of Thoreau, without all the politics (and that allusion is a given, since one of Sam's new-found friends even nicknames him "Thoreau.") A nice, clean, satisfying read....more