Wednesday, June 30, 2010


What is wrong with me?!  I've just been through my genres (i.e. "labels") and realized that I have only ever once mentioned the Alienist and its sequel, the Angel of Darkness.  I must be mad.  They are by Caleb Carr, the wonderful author who brought Holmes and Watson back to life so well in the Italian Secretary.  Both the Alienist and Angel, or the "Kreizler books" as I'll probably start calling them from now on, pre-date the Secretary and are by far superior.

The two books, if you have not read them, center on the adventures of Dr. Lazlo Kreizler and his friends and colleagues as they solve turn-of-the-century New York's most baffling serial crimes.  I shan't give away too much, because you must read them.  They are fast-paced, highly entertaining, and very thought-provoking.  I've read both repeatedly -- as in more than four time a piece -- and never tire of them.  Once I pick up the Alienist, and I cannot put it down until I have finished it.  READ IT!  You must!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


That's how I feel about the remainder of the Twilight Saga. Sorry, fangirls, but I think the book was sophomoric and silly. I finished it, but I have no desire to continue reading. In fact, I already know how it ends. And to me, it ends in rather stereotypical LDS fashion: young marriage, young parents. Who cares that they're vampires? Both of them? I wasn't impressed. Stephenie Meyer needs to practice her craft, and I mean practice -- write some more before you publish again, Stephenie. You write like a teenaged girl instead of for them.

Monday, January 26, 2009


One of my favorite things to listen to lately has been the Sherlock Holmes radio play podcast in iTunes. The majority of the ones broadcast are the ones starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, which oddly brings a measure of believability to them. I enjoy them immensely. They have led me to read he Hound of the Baskervilles (I Break for Holmes), which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Normally, I am not one to read books by one authoring featuring another author's characters, but when it comes to author Caleb Carr, I'm willing to make an exception. He is one of the most thorough, masterful tellers of mystery stories I've ever read. His books on Lazslo Kreizler, the Alienist and the Angel of Darkness are two of my favorite books. I reread them repeatedly. My sister Ginna and I both reread them often. They are amazing. When I saw the Italian Secretary, it looked very interesting. I didn't read it right away -- I believe I was in the middle of the final Harry Potter.

I finally picked up the Secretary last Monday (and finished it on Thursday). Carr was faithful to the method Conan Doyle used to tell his stories -- Watson's point of view. Carr was once again masterful in his method of storytelling. I could almost hear Nigel Bruce telling this story, which for me, was like having Watson himself tell me. The story had an element of the supernatural that was never fully explained, which bothered me a little because I don't really care for loose ends. But this loose end had a purpose, and that purpose was for the reader, as well as Watson, to draw her one conclusions. It bugged me enough (not in a bad way) that I was thinking about it for days afterward, wondering what Holmes believed.

There was plenty of history, one of the things Carr, as a history professor, is wonderful at weaving into his stories. It takes place in Edinburgh, a city I have been able to visit, and that made a difference in being able to "be there."

If you like mystery and history, check this one out. Perhaps it will lead you to read the original Holmes stories, or more of Caleb Carr, both of which I highly recommend.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Listening to:
Coldplay - Clocks
via FoxyTunes
As some of you know, I got sucked into the cyclone of Twilight because of a co-worker. Unfortunately for Twilight, I had to jump off the cheese-o-meter. I'm not sure if I'll get back on, but I wanted to update my faithful few as to my progress, or lack thereof.

So far, I'm not impressed. Yes, parts of it are sweet and passionate without being (too) naughty (not that I mind naughty -- I am an adult, after all). Yes, you get sucked in because Meyer puts cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.

But I'm not sucked in because of the characters. I don't care what happens to Bella (partly because I already kinda know how the saga ends -- don't ask -- I just do). I don't care what happens to Edward. In fact, both Bella and Edward pretty much annoy the Hell outta me. They're whiny and clingy and controlling and all the things that drove me nuts about teenagers when I was a teacher. Only in Edward's case it's magnified a million times because, *sigh*, he's a vampire. Big effing deal. Get over yourself. And Bella, get over Edward.

I'm not sure if I'll finish this book. I'm certainly not going to finish the series. I know the ending, and frankly, I don't care how we get there. I'm also honestly surprised that a woman who was raised LDS and educated at BYU decided to write about one of the most lustful beings in literary history. Check out Bram Stoker's Dracula if you need a refresher.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I finally hit 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, so I'll be reading again shortly. In fact, I have been sucked into the whirlwind that is Twilight. Freakin'-A! I blame my coworker. She really wants to know what I think, but I've been a little distracted.

There was no way I was going to pick that book back up before hitting 50K -- I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down. I'm about 150 pages from the end. It has taken a lot of willpower to leave it in the living room every night -- it's that or my brain will consume its contents without a break.

So, you will soon be hearing what I think of Twilight. And I have plenty to say about it already, so . . . ;-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I learned today that Michael Crichton has passed away from a battle with cancer. I think few of his fans even knew he was ill. And while I don't necessarily count myself among die-hard Crichton fans, I have to admit that I truly enjoyed a number of his books. The two most prominent books were Jurassic Park and the Lost World. I read them after seeing the movie, and I must say I did enjoy the movie. It scared the crap out of me when I was a teenager. But the books were incredible, and I read them when I was staying in Belgium and was a little on the homesick side. The homesickness didn't last -- at all. But the adoration of Jurassic Park and the Lost World did. I have since read Eaters of the Dead and Timeline, the latter being by far my favorite Crichton story. I've also read Disclosure, which was good, but a little too mature for me when I read it.

Timeline will forever be my favorite Crichton book, and I have refused to watch the movie adaptation because I read the synopsis of it, and it totally screwed up the storyline. This is saying something because I am a die-hard Gerard Butler fan (I would marry him tonight if he asked me). Ask any of my girlfriends, and they'll tell you its a big deal if I refuse to watch a movie with him in it.

Anyway, with his passing, I think the majority of readers my age will be sending their thanks for thoughtful, gripping stories with him wherever he decides to rest.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Not only is it one of my favorite movies, but it's also one of my favorite short stories. Every year that I taught, I read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to my classes on Halloween, or whichever day we celebrated it. It was always a big hit. I would turn the lights off and sit in the middle of the room with just a flashlight. It was just spooky enough not to scare anyone.

Still, if you are reading that story in the dark, it is creepy enough to make you sit on the edge of your seat. If you've never actually read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you really should give it a read tonight. It's fantastic!