Showing posts from April, 2012

Who won the 2012 Edgar Awards?

Yesterday the Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2012 Edgar Allen Poe Awards.  Mo Hayder won the Best Novel category for his book Gone, and the Grand Master award was given to Martha Grimes.  Check out the full list of award winners at this link.

"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed: A compelling, honest, and inspiring memoir.

A view from my hike of Mt. Wrightson in Southern Arizona.

When Cheryl Strayed was 22-years old, her 45-year old mother died.  This loss is the tinder that fuels Wild,Strayed's memoir about hiking alone on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 1995, four years after her mother's death.  Wild is a wonderful book.  Strayed's story breaks your heart, inspires your ambition, informs, entertains, and captivates.

What is particularly elegant about Wild is how Ms. Strayed blends together the story of  her life with the story of her experiences on the trail.  She is a novice hiker setting out to walk a stretch of the PCT running from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State.  The trip is not merely an opportunity to see the PCT, but a challenge to meet, alone and on her own, despite the expected fears and unexpected difficulties along the way.

Meeting this challenge is important because Strayed is trying to re-group after getting a number of hard blows from l…

Alternating reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed with browsing through a few new cookbooks.

I'm about half finished with Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild.  It's been enjoyable reading thus far.  Cheryl is often hungry in this book where she recounts hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Maybe that's why I've been alternating reading Wild with looking over three inspiring cookbooks.

The first cookbook I've been looking at is Big Vegan by Robin Asbell.  I'm not vegan, but am always looking for new ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet and this book has fabulous ideas for doing so.  There are hundreds of recipes. I'm already planning to make Asparagus-Quinoa Risotto, Cream of Cremini Mushroom Soup, and Coconut Sorbet.  There are not a lot of pictures in Big Vegan, but the recipes are easy to read, each recipe comes with a brief introduction, and the instructions look comprehensive.  Of the three cookbooks under discussion here, this seems like the one I will use the most.

The second cookbook is Home Cooking with Jean-Georges.  This book has man…

2012 Orange Prize Shortlist for Fiction.

No Pulitzer Prize for fiction yesterday.  But today fiction aficionados can enjoy looking over the shortlist for this year's Orange Prize.   The candidates in the running are:

Ann Patchett, nominated for State of Wonder, previously won the Orange Prize for Bel Canto, a book I loved and highly recommended.

Have you read any of the shortlisted books?  If so, let us know what your thoughts are on what you read!

It's the middle of April. What are you reading?

It's a blustery, partly-cloudy day where I am; April weather.  In keeping with this, I'm setting aside The Dovekeepers and picking up Wild, Cheryl Strayed's memoir.  Here is a link to Dwight Garner's review of Wildin the New York Times.  It sounds great.  Can't wait to start reading.

North Korea in Books: "The Orphan Master's Son" and "Escape from Camp 14"

Although I've finished Adam Johnson's novel The Orphan Master's Son, I'm postponing publishing my review of it until I read Escape from Camp 14, Blaine Harden's nonfiction book about a man's journey out of one of North Korea's prison camps.   Here is a link to Janet Maslin's review in the New York Times of Escape from Camp 14.

Preview of my thoughts on The Orphan Master's Son:  A great read.

Vote in the Independent Book Blogger Awards Contest

Today, I am asking for a favor:  I would greatly appreciate your vote for this blog in the Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards (IBBA) contest.

To vote, just follow the IBBA link below, or over in the right column:

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!Vote

If you are not already a member of Goodreads, you'll be asked register, which is easy to do.  Goodreads is a cool book site; you'll like it.  And, of course, voting is always fun.

Thanks a bunch!  Send me an email if you have any questions about this.



View from the beach. Kauai.

Links for Mystery Lovers: From the LA Times Magazine: The Best of 2011 and New in 2012

Keep this list handy if you are looking to assemble a stack of books for vacation or summer reading:  Otto Penzler's selection of the best mysteries of last year, and five to check out in 2012, in the LA Times Magazine.

Of the five to watch for in 2012, I am particularly looking forward to reading Steve Hamilton's Die a Stranger.  The book is a continuation of Hamilton's private eye series set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and featuring former Detroit police detective Alex McKnight.  If you haven't read the Alex McKnight series, check it out.  You are in for a treat.  There are eight other books in this entertaining series:

A Cold Day in Paradise (1998)

Winter of the Wolf Moon (2000)

The Hunting Wind (2002)

North of Nowhere (2003)

Blood is the Sky (2004)

Ice Run (2005)

A Stolen Season (2006)

Misery Bay (2011)

The Alex McKnight series is set on the shores of Lake Superior, pictured below, the greatest of the Great Lakes.

Book Snapshots: "Truth Like the Sun" by Jim Lynch.

Helen Gulanos is an ambitious Seattle newspaper reporter.  Roger Morgan is running for mayor.  In Truth Like the Sun, Gulanos is investigating the 70-year old candidate who is famous in the city for being influential in civic matters and a leading force behind the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

The novel alternates from Roger Morgan's activities back in '62 to 2001 and his campaign and Gulanos' investigation.  The chapters set in 2001 are exciting and author Jim Lynch makes great use of his journalism background.  Helen Gulanos has caught the sent of a good story, perhaps even an award winner, in Roger Morgan's campaign.  Under the pressure of deadlines, competition and her own personal life, she works to build something while managing the expectations of her editors and colleagues.  Also well done is Roger Morgan as candidate:  Knocking on doors, holding events, appearing at candidate forums.  Roger is lively, occasionally funny, and a sympathetic character.  It seem…