Thursday, October 25, 2012

Random Pampering and Entertainment

1. I had a massage this month...a full-body massage. Every time I have one, I swear that I will treat myself regularly to them because they are soooo wonderful. But a lady in church had to give me a coupon for a free massage to get me on the table. It's been six years since my last one. Six years. That's not regular. That's constipated.

I'm sorry to use that metaphor.

Anyway, it reminds me that I need to take care of myself, just like this post says, and not wait for nice ladies at church to take care of me.

2. At the library last weekend, I checked out The Big Year, a movie about birders competing to see who can see the most birds in a single year. As someone whose personality is prone to obsessive-compulsive behavior that baffles the people around me, I totally related to Steve Martin's and Jack Black's characters, but I sure hope I'm never like Owen Wilson's character, who is a powerful lesson in setting priorities. If you've not seen the movie, I highly recommend it. George is reading the book upon which the movie is based. I look forward to stealing his Nook when he's finished.

3. Speaking of Nooks, I've been reading a lot lately. Here's a quick look at what's on my Nook:

a. Two books of historical fiction by Elizabeth Chadwick about William Marshal, a 12th-century knight who epitomized chivalry and honor. The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion are both really good reads.

b. Fiona Buckley's Queen of Ambition let me down. I had started this series about a woman sleuth who serves Queen Elizabeth I years ago and remembered enjoying it. This is a newer novel, but the writing and plot seemed off to me. The newest book in the series is still priced high, and I'm trying to decide whether to read it or not when the price comes down.

c. Jasper Fforde makes me laugh with every book he publishes. He came out with a new Thursday Next book called The Woman Who Died a Lot. Oh, yeah. Thursday never gets old. If you're new to these books, let me say that they are completely funny, satiric, ironic, and deeply imbedded with enough literary references to make my English-major heart go pitter patter. I can't even begin to explain these books, but if you read a few chapters of The Eyre Affair, you'll get the idea and either love it or hate it. Don't go to Fforde's website, though. It'll just confuse you.

d. Fforde also started a series for young adult readers with a book called The Last Dragonslayer. Far less convoluted and complicated than the Thursday Next books, The Last Dragonslayer is delightful young adult fiction.

e. Speaking of young adult fiction, I got hooked on the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan before the abomination of a movie came out. (Well, the movie isn't really an abomination, but it largely disregards the books, which are infinitely better, so it feels like an abomination.) His latest, The Mark of Athena, was a wonderful new addition to the series. If you loved the Harry Potter books, you'll find a lot to appreciate in the Percy Jackson books. They aren't quite as good as Harry Potter, but they are worth reading, especially if you've ever had a fascination with Greek mythology.

f. Winter Heart is a novella by Margaret Frazer, who writes a mystery series set in the 15th century that centers on Dame Frevisse, a nun. Frazer captures the period beautifully and the mysteries are always good. Winter Heart left me wanting more than just a novella.

g. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom meets expectations in the genre of Manipulative Emotional Parable. MEPs suit my mood at times, and I was definitely in the right mood for this short novel. The Time Keeper gives a wonderful message of the importance of not being a slave to time...a timely message for these over-scheduled times.

h. Laura Child's Skeleton Letters disappointed me. I've read this series about a scrapbook-store-owner who ends up sleuthing in New Orleans for years now, and generally appreciate these books for what they are...light and fluffy mind candy. But in this case, Childs seemed to simply go through the motions of plot and character.

i. All Roads Lead to Austen is a nonfiction work by literature professor Amy Elizabeth Smith who used her sabbatical year to travel in Central and South America setting up reading groups for Jane Austen. She wanted to see how Austen translated in the Latin American world. If you're an Austen fan, you'll probably enjoy her adventures.

j. Anne Perry's latest Inspector Monk book is called A Sunless Sea. Loved it, but ended it feeling very worried about Oliver Rathbone. Darn that Anne Perry.

k. A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch is another Victorian mystery, and I actually stayed up until about 2:00 AM to finish it.  Finch just keeps getting better and better.

And now I must admit that this wasn't a "quick look at what's on my Nook." You'll notice it's heavy on historical mystery series, which are fun for me. And I've escaped into reading the past few months as I've been not feeling top form.

What fun books have you read lately? Any suggestions?


  1. I started "The Time Keeper" and almost didn't finish it. It was quite "different" to say the least. But I did finish it. Can't say it was one of my favorites, but I do like his books.

  2. Over the past few months I've read everything Laura Moriarty has written, starting with The Center of Everything (her first novel and a coming of age story). Her characters are complex, interesting and well developed. She really *gets* women and mothers. My 15-year-old daughter introduced me to her work, and we've read all her books.

  3. I love this, thank you for a list of books. There are several that I want to read. I have a Kindle, and to be honest I have read more books since I got this thing than before. I just finished "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. I was overwhelmed at times by the poverty that was depicted and the struggle that families went through to survive. The self preservation actions that everyone is required to do sometime seemed unbelievable. It isn't a happy book but you certainly do appreciate what you have got.

  4. I have enjoyed reading Riordon myself - kids loved them so I took a peek and enjoyed them. My daughter was all over the Erin Hunter series about cats and I have read all of them and enjoyed them as well (Save having to listen for 20 minutes a day about what was going on an being able to talk about it with her instead lol).

    On the adult book side, The Book Of Negros is excellent (follows the life of a person abducted in Africa and brought to US etc.), Kate Morton books are very good (Forgotten Garden and can't remember the titles of the others), Ken Follet's World Without End and Pillars of the Earth were fabulous (historical fiction) and he just finished book two of a trilogy on world history which are a bit dry at times, but with tons of history in them. The Help is a fun read and the movie is very true to the book. Enjoyed The Hunger Games a lot more than I thought I would (not exactly a nice topic) but felt the first was the best book and went downhill from there (again, the movie is very true to the book). If you like mystery/spy stuff, Robert Ludlum's older books (pre 2000) are amazing. The new guy that writes under his name is not nearly as good.

  5. I'm going to pass on your list to my daughters - they love to read. My older daughter is in a book club that meets monthly. I wish I would take more time to read. I've been so labored with the rentals lately that when I'm home I'm either cooking a meal or in my recliner napping. I bought The Hobbit 6 weeks ago to prepare John and I for the upcoming movie but I've yet to read the first page. I haven't had time to stamp much either. But this will change, soon. We both enjoy Mitch Albom's books - maybe I'll pick that one up for John for Christmas. I do hope you are feeling better. Still thinking about and praying for you.

  6. It's sad to say, but I haven't read anything lately (besides the textbooks at school for 4th and 5th grade and Kindergarten level books). I don't have a real excuse either :( For Christmas this year I might get a Kindle, may be that will help?
    As far as massages go, I haven't had one in a year, so I really need to make an appointment!
    Glad to hear someone treated you, massages should be free to all moms :)

  7. I've been a fan of Elizabeth Chadwick for years now and am glad you like her, too. Have you ever read any of the Flavia deLuce books? They're just great! The first one is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. If you like historical mysteries, you should like Elizabeth Peters, if you've never read her. She has a wonderful sense of humor. My favorite is the Vicki Bliss series, but there are more Amelia Peabody books, most set in Egypt. Because of your recent trip to Hawaii, you might also be interested in Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. It's a nonfiction history of the islands.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!