Here’s my loot from the book sale! I always use my luggage with wheels so I don’t have to carry heavy boxes through the checkout process. It seemed like there were less people this year at the Friends evening, but still very crowded. And people seemed to be choosier than usual. I don’t get the “list” people, I can’t think of a list when I’m trying to grab up as many books as I can and get them into my bag first.
I’m almost through with a Pamela Morsi I bought, Doing Good. This novel falls under what I think of as Contempory Romance or Women’s Fiction. Strong women characters, trying to work their way out of one dilemna or another. Doing Good is about socialite Jane Lofton finding another meaning to her life after almost being killed in an automobile accident. Her daughter, Brynn is an absolute mess and really nasty to her Mom. Her husband is all about golf and his new girlfriend. The story is how our selfish, dare I say self-centered, ambitious, social climbing character turns herself and her life around as she meets and responds to people as a result of her “near death” promise of “doing good”. Doing Good is not as easy as it seems.
It’s a quick read, and I would read more Morsi after reading this one. The back cover says Morsi is a librarian, so I’m throwing my support to one of my colleagues. Nice first pick out of my truck of booksale booty.
The Friends of the Metropolitan Library System are having their Annual Book Sale this weekend. Don’t miss out on the biggest book event in Oklahoma.
The first Book Sale was held in 1981 and has grown to become ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE NATION with over 600,000+ books for sale. Because of its size, the Book Sale is held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City and takes place during last full weekend of February each year. Hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, audio and videos are sold over a three day span – most for $1.00 or less!!
If you are already a friends member you can come on the Friday night pre-sale event. (I may see you there) or get yourself there on Saturday or Sunday. Admittance is FREE. It’s book lovers heaven. So Get Ready, Get Set, GO !
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Open to the General Public – FREE – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Open to the General Public – FREE! – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Young Bill is off in the land of Mr. Gates and good coffee, and is probably wondering why I haven’t posted anything. So here goes… I just finished Carla Stewart’s first novel, Chasing Lilacs. This coming of age novel is about a year in the life of a young girl growing up in the small Texas Panhandle town of Graham Camp. It’s a petroleum company town in the 50′s, small enough where everyone knows each other, and each other’s business. Sammie Tucker’s mom has “nerve” problems, and after an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, is bundled off to the hospital for shock treatments. The story begins with Sammie learning to deal with the emptiness of being without her mom, taking care of herself while dad is at work and hanging out with her best friend, Tuwana. Sammie’s mom, Rita can not get over the loss of her second child, and checks out emotionally on Sammie. It’s a good story, Carla keeps the interest going throughout the book, and if you like character driven novels you’ll really like this one, even her minor characters are well developed.
Sammie has her first romantic interest in the newly arrived California boy, Cly, reminding us that you can’t judge people by appearance or rumor. She struggles with her mom’s problems, her emotional absence from Sammie and finally a tragedy that Sammie must learn to overcome. Like many Chrisitian Fiction novels, this book has it’s share of very difficult times, but Carla handles it with a gentle touch and a real feel for the characters. Her inspirational words don’t hit you over the head with a 2 by 4, but you still get the message. There are interesting subplots surrounding the main story that keep you guessing right up to the end. There’s also the “mean stepmother” tale in the Aunt who comes to stay. And the story of the elderly widower that seems to have his own dark past, but befriends both Sammie and Cly. In the end Sammie learns to trust herself and follow her resolution to not run away from her problems but tackle them head on. You’ll want to weep with her and cheer for her, and thank Carla Stewart for an enjoyable story.
This book is published by FaithWords, part of the Hachette Book Group. They also publish Oklahoma author, Joyce Meyer.
It’s rare that I like a craft book as much for the writing as for the craft content. But Embroidery Companion is just such an exception. Alicia Paulson understands the process of craft. For many of us it’s not so much the finished project as the exercise of creating. During her recovery from a serious accident she re-discovered the soothing, healing effect of quietly stitching.
She encourages her reader to just try, that practice makes more-perfect, she says “I never say ”perfect”, because I don’t believe in it, and anyway, enjoyment, not perfection, is my goal.” It’s wonderful to get permission to just enjoy yourself, make something for someone, try a new stitch, give yourself up to less than perfection and relax.
Besides all the good advice on the mental and physical virtues of stitching, she includes 30 projects in decorative embroidery, counted cross stitch, and crewelwork. I like the cross stitch using gingham fabric as the basis for the squares, including the chicken scratch stitch. These are yummy projects from the simple to the more complex. Alicia suggests picking and choosing parts of projects if you don’t want to tackle a large project.
Alicia Paulson’s blog Posie Gets Cozy, is a delightful combination of projects and inspiration.
I was a big Agatha Christie fan during my junior high and high school years. It all started with The Mystery of the Blue Train. Actually, it probably started with the smart marketing of the Pocket Books editions of Christie’s novels. That ominous cover, showing a skull and crossbones sign at a train crossing, and the blurb on the back cover, encouraged me to take a chance on my first adult mystery. I bought it at TG&Y and took it home with me.
Now, the funny part of the story: I never finished reading it! Here’s what happened: Toward the end of a junior high math class—8th grade? 9th grade? I don’t remember—I’m talking to my good friend Kathy about the book, telling her how much I’m enjoying it.
She gets into a kidding mood. She has the book in her hands, and she tells me she’s going to reveal the killer. A playful argument ensues, and she says she’s just going to open the book to a back page and read a sentence. She does. And, honest to gosh, she reveals the murderer!
She is immediately apologetic, and I have to check to make sure she really has done what I think she’s done. A quick review of the page tells me that she has given away the perpetrator. Kathy was just kidding around, and she feels bad. I feel bad, because I really loved this book and it’s been ruined for me.
A whodunnit really is all about whodunnit. They’re not called mysteries for nothing. Luckily, this premature reveal didn’t stunt my new Christie obsession. Over the next few years, I devoured the novels of this incredibly prolific “Queen of Crime.” Nope, I haven’t read them all, but still I present…
Young Bill Young’s Best of Agatha Christie
Best Hercule Poirot Mystery: Murder on the Orient Express. (Curiously, Murder in the Calais Coach was the U.S. title when I read it.) Ah, the little grey cells! Have they ever been employed so deliciously? Others will put their vote in for The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd or Death on the Nile, but they don’t even make my runners up list: The Clocks (a real brain twister for my then-young mind), There is a Tide (Taken at the Flood, U.K.) and Cat Among the Pidgeons.
Best Jane Marple Mystery: A Pocketful of Rye. I suspect Marple fans may find this an odd choice. Others would probably put forth my runners up: A Murder is Announced, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side and What Mrs. McGuillicuddy Saw (4:50 from Paddington, U.K.). There is a sadness to A Pocketful of Rye that probably suits my sensibilities. Plus, I think it has one of the most eloquent endings of any Christie novel.
Stay Away From the Poirot mystery Hickory Dickory Death (Hickory Dickory Dock, U.K.), and the Marple mystery Murder by Mirrors (They Do It With Mirrors, U.K.). The Queen of Crime was simply not up to her usual standards in these instances.
- The Pale Horse (murder for hire with a delightful appearance by Christie character Ariadne Oliver)
- Crooked House (a precocious little girl is at the center of this whodunnit)
- By the Pricking of My Thumbs (sleuths Tommy and Tuppence solve a crime in their later years)
- Endless Night (probably the darkest Christie I’ve ever read)
About those big and small screen adaptations…
Best Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Worst Hercule Poirot: Tony Randle (The Alphabet Murders, based on The ABC Murders)
Best Jane Marple: Joan Hickson
Worst Jane Marple: Margaret Rutherford (Not the actress’ fault. The fault lies with the movie creators who wanted to make Miss Marple a comic figure.)
Best Film Adaptation of a Christie work: Witness for the Prosecution. (This is also Christie’s best short story. There are differences, of course, between story and film, but they both work in their own way.)
By the way, I never read the final mysteries of Christie’s two most famous sleuths, the Marple mystery Sleeping Murder, and the Poirot novel Curtain. They were written decades earlier than their mid-70s release, and were not published until after Christie’s death. The author had them all ready to go, and it was a big news story that she had both of her creations die in their final tales. Perhaps it was fitting, but I preferred to keep the little Belgian detective and the busy-body spinster from St. Mary Mead alive and solving crimes in my mind. Much better that way, don’t you think?
Agatha Christie is timeless. Her talent is evident in her continuing popularity. Variety reports that she has sold four billion books! As befits such a true literary force, there are plenty of places in cyberspace to get your Christie fix. Visit agathachristie.com for much more information, or follow the Christie community on Facebook.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us what Christie book you loved. Or let us know what kinds of whodunnits you like to read.
Yep! Times are tough. A day doesn’t go by where we don’t see another news article about how states are having to trim services to make up big budget shortfalls. Often, an alert about jeopardized library funding hits our inbox or turns up on our social media page.The latest alert advises of U.S. House action to cut federal library dollars.
If you read the Okie Reads blog, you know how we feel about the importance of public libraries to a self-governing people.
Author Scott Turrow believes in the importance of libraries, and we were taken with this column he contributed to The Huffington Post:
Read, enjoy, and think long and hard about the budget decisions our lawmakers are discussing as they work to balance our collective budgets. Some services that are on the chopping block may just be the services we need to keep most as we strive to reclaim our economy.
If working at a flower shop on Valentine’s Day doesn’t kill any romantic spirit in me, nothing will. So if you’re like me and still feeling a little bit romantic, all you need to do is turn to Oklahoma’s great Romance Writers.
The new release list from the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America (OKRWA), offers something for everyone and every taste.
Need a little elegant romance in your life, try Amanda McCabe’s well researched, The Shy Duchess.
Christine Rimmer, Vickie McDonough, Tina Radcliffe and Linda Goodnight bring us the sweeter side of romance. I’ve noticed (since I’m a new NOOK owner) that several of Christine’s books are available for download.
Debra Cowan has a new historical romance set in 1886 West Texas. Debra also writes romantic suspense.
And speaking of suspence, Sharon Sala ‘s Blood Stain looks fantastic. I love the trailer, with just the music and words.
And very exciting, Merline Lovelace has a new Samantha Spade book I haven’t read yet called, Catch Her If You Can.
The holiday is over (and for some of us none too soon), but the Romance continues. . . .
That’s the question that the approximately 2% to 3% of us (according to recent estimates) on the planet want to know. Science wants to know the reasons of heterosexual and homosexual development, too, and some intriguing answers are found in Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation by neuroscientist Simon LeVay.
In the nature vs. nurture debate over sexuality and other gender traits, nature seems to be winning the battle, and science is employing a variety of experiments and research to show how sex hormone levels during fetal development, genetics, and brain systems determine whether we develop as straight, gay or bi.
Dr. LeVay doesn’t necessarily break new ground here. What he does is provide an excellent round-up of the most up-to-date scientific theories and experiments, and then adds his own expert analysis.
Among the findings presented in the book:
• There is no actual evidence that family dynamics, learning, early sexual experiences or free choice play a role in the development of an individual’s sexuality.
• Testosterone plays the leading role in the sexual differentiation of the brain, and research points to testosterone levels during fetal development as having an impact on the development of an individual’s sexuality.
• Environmental factors that impact biological factors (such as prenatal stress, which alters testosterone levels) could have an impact on gender traits and sexuality in human beings. (They do in laboratory animals.)
• Other hormones, and the chromosomal sex of brain cells of the fetus, also play a role in determining sexuality.
• Estimates of heritability of homosexuality range from 30% to 50%, similar to heritability for many other psychological traits.
• Sexual orientation is linked to other gendered traits, and gay people express both gender-shifted traits and gender-typical traits.
The findings LeVay shares concerning the effect of hormones on fetal development were popularly introduced back in the 90′s when Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women was published. I read that book, and even gave a copy to my niece and her new husband as a wedding gift. (I know. I’m weird!)
Perhaps most importantly, LeVay presents the additional questions that need further study. This line of scientific inquiry has been going on for some decades now, and yet is still in its infancy. There is much more to discover.
Renowned children’s author George Edward Stanley died on February 7.
Dr. Stanley thrilled young readers for decades. He authored more than 100 books for children and young adults; and he did this after he had written more than 200 short stories in American, British, Irish, and South African magazines and linguistic articles in major International journals.
Dr. Stanley was a professor of African and Middle-Eastern languages and linguistics in the Department of Foreign Languages at Cameron University. At one time or another he had taught all the Germanic and Romance languages, in addition to African and Middle-Eastern languages.
His many recognitions include Cameron’s most prestigious teaching award, The Hackler Award for Teaching Excellence, and the Cameron Alumni Association Faculty Hall of Fame. He received the Oklahoma Book Award in 2010 for his young adult novel, Night Fires.
You will be missed, kind sir.
Memorials may be made to the Cameron University Foreign Languages Department.
Here we go again. More snow! I think we could all use a Library YouTube Break about right now.
How about a reading of Frost’s classic poem set to the music of Franz Schubert? Ahhh… that’s better, isn’t it?