Showing posts from October, 2016

The Friday Photo

Hallelujah Cactus by A.S. Dixon

Recommended Reading: The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley

The Relic Master is a witty adventure story set in northern Europe in 1517. At that time, the buying and selling of relics - the remains of a saint, such as a piece of bone, or items that had been in contact with Jesus, a saint, or other venerated person - was booming in the Holy Roman Empire. The story's protagonist, Dismas, is a dealer in holy relics.

We first meet Dismas at the Basel Relic Fair where he is on a buying trip for his two most important clients, Frederick of Saxony and Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. Although the two clients collected relics for different reasons, for both men the relics produced a stream of revenue. As Dismas says, "Bones bring pilgrims. Pilgrims bring money."

When shopping for his clients, Dismas strives to purchase only true relics - no flim-flam, no fraud. He is ethical.

In all his years of relic hunting, Dismas had never wittingly purchased or sold a relic he knew to be fraudulent. To be sure, with relics it was impossible to be entire…

The Friday Photo

Early Morning in Lyon A.S. Dixon

New Cookbooks for Fall 2016

I'm going to raise a sensitive issue here: holiday gift giving. Yes, holiday gift giving even though it is only October. In the blink of an eye it will be mid-December and you may be scrambling to find a fabulous gift for someone on your list. Why wait? If that someone loves to cook, plan ahead now and check out these intriguing cookbooks, newly out this fall. They all look great.

Power Vegetables!

Taste & Technique

Food52: A New Way to Dinner

Everything I Want to Eat

The Moon Juice Cookbook

A.S. Dixon

2016 Crime Writers Association Dagger Award Winners

Do you enjoy reading crime writing? Then check out the Crime Writers Association (CWA) 2016 award winners list at this link.

The Work of Author Pat Conroy in Focus

The book-reading community will be honoring the work and memory of author Pat Conroy during the week of October 24. Conroy died earlier this year at the age of 70. His writing, as described in the New York Times, "mined the people, the places and the trauma of his childhood and young manhood for his thinly fictionalized novels and a series of memoirs that captivated readers with their openly emotional tone, lurid family stories and lush prose that often reached its most affecting, lyrical pitch when evoking the wetlands around Beaufort, S.C." (William Grimes, The New York Times, March 5, 2016).

Among Mr. Conroy's most famous books are The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides. I read these when initially published, but may revisit The Lords of Discipline, a look at life inside a Southern military academy, which is the latest selection for the Wall Street Journal's book club. (The WSJ Book Club is a public group on Facebook.) I wasn't a h…

The Friday Photo

Messy hair, don't care. Our shih tzu, Rosie, getting rowdy this morning.

Fatal Pursuit by Martin Walker (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel)

In Fatal Pursuit, Martin Walker continues his series of cozy mysteries set in rural France and featuring Bruno, the police chief of St. Denis. In this outing, Bruno is called to the home of an elderly couple. It appears that while the woman was out of town, her husband died of a heart attack. Bruno, however, finds the scene suspicious and sets an investigation into motion.

Now in most mysteries, having identified the potential crime, solving the crime would completely consume the main character's time and attention. This is not Martin Walker's style. Yes, Bruno attends to his job, but that attention includes assignments outside of the dead gentleman. And the reader is also treated to an immersion in life in the French countryside; to the enjoyment of carefully prepared food, good wine, and good times with friends. And in Bruno's case, his group of friends include his horse, dog, and a new romantic relationship with a beautiful woman.

On top of all this, Bruno also spends t…

The Friday Photo

Capital View! A.S. Dixon

Highly Recommended Reading: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Moscow, 1922. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, 32-years old, recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt, and resident of Suite 317 at the Hotel Metropol, Moscow, is a being prosecuted for political crimes before The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. Despite being in jeopardy with the government, Count Rostov is something of a hero to the powers that be for penning a poem in 1905 that was interpreted as a call to revolutionary action. Subsequent events, however, have brought him under suspicion. The Committee deliberates, and concludes:

Alexander Ilyich Rostov, taking into full account your own testimony, we can only assume that the clear-eyed spirit who wrote the poem Where Is It Now? has succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class-and now poses a threat to the very ideals he once espoused. On that basis, our inclination would be to have you taken from this chamber and put against the wall. But there are those within the…