Archive for LL’s Lists

Books in Brief

Sigh.  I have been reading, honestly.  I just haven’t been writing.  Again.  Here’s a quick look at some books that I have read over the past few months.

 

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  In this post-apocalyptic vision of the future, part of the former United States is now The Republic of Gilead, a far-right totalitarian Christian theocracy.  Women are assigned to various classes; they are not allowed to read or to have money of their own; they are not even allowed to keep their own names.  Offred is a Handmaid, the role assigned to fertile women not eligible for marriage.  Unless she is able to conceive a child by Fred, for him and his wife to adopt as their own, she will be declared an Unwoman and banished to the Colonies to clean up hazardous waste.  Offred recalls her happy past and relates her chilling present.  An absolutely terrifying vision of the future.

A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  A government scientist has gone missing; his daughter, Meg, her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and her friend, Calvin O’Keefe, travel through space and time to find him.  They are aided by Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which.  I loved this book as a kid; I was less impressed with it this time around.

Artemis AwakeningArtemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold.  Centuries have passed since the Empire was shattered by war and the advanced technology it enjoyed was lost.  Legends tell  of Artemis, a planet created to be a pleasure resort back in the Empire’s Golden Age.  All tech was concealed and the occupants, animal and human alike, were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay.

Archaeologist Griffin Dane investigates the legend and it leads him to the actual planet.  Finding himself stranded there, he is rescued by Adara and her psych-linked puma, Sand Shadow.  What will he discover about the forgotten technologies that created Artemis and her inhabitants?  Intriguing beginning to a new series.

A Darkling SeaA Darkling Sea by James Cambias.  Humans first alien contact was with the Sholen and years of conflict followed.  A hard-won truce and an uneasy peace are challenged when humans explore the oceanic world of Ilmatar and make contact with its residents.  The story is narrated by Rob, a member of the human exploration team, Broadtail, an Ilmataran, and Tizhos, a Sholen scientist.  Slightly uneven plotting but a fascinatingly detailed space opera.

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LL’s favorite social networking sites . . .

Facebook is now my favorite, replacing Flickr.  It’s a great way to reconnect with old friends and connect with new ones!

Flickr is fun—it’s an easy, inexpensive way to share photos with friends and family. I wish that my brothers would start flickr pages too (hint, hint!)

Publib may be my second favorite—it’s actually a listserv but it feels like a community because there are so many regular contributors—and I’ve always received helpful responses when I’ve asked a question. I’m no longer in management so I don’t ask as many questions as I did before–but I feel like this listserv keeps me current with issues in public libraries. The humorous posts by Joe Schallen and John Richmond are a bonus—I wish they would write a script for a Librarian television series–Australia already has one but I bet Schallen and Richmond could top it!

Since I have a pet rabbit, BunSpace is a helpful resource. The forums range from serious health issues to pure silliness, so there’s something for every rabbit owner aka ‘bunny slave’ . . .

I’ve recently joined GoodReads—I like it because 1) it has a clean, uncluttered look 2) it’s an easy way to keep track of what I want to read as well as what I’ve already read and 3) it has fun features like book trivia. What puzzles me about GoodReads are some of the friends requests that I receive–I’ve decided that some people just like to have lots of ‘friends’, whether or not common interests are shared. Nothing wrong with that!

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LL’s Favorite Mystery Series

The Anasazi mysteries by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear expertly weave together two suspenseful, haunting storylines: one from A.D. 1200 and one from present day. The Visitant is the first title in the series and it takes us to the desert of present-day New Mexico. Archaeologists excavating a Chaco Anasazi site uncover mass graves containing the bodies of young women, all with their skulls smashed. The story alternates between past and present with characters in each time period trying to solve the crime. If you enjoy historical mysteries with a touch of the mystical, you’ll want to give this series a try! (The Visitant, The Summoning God, Bonewalker) For more on the series, please visit http://www.gear-gear.com/

The Monkeewrench series by P.J. Tracy is an excellent choice if you like an unpredictable plot, quirky characters and snappy dialogue. Monkeewrench is a Minneapolis software company run by eclectic misfits. In the first title, Monkeewrench , the company has created a computer game where the killer is always caught and the good guys always win–but the game becomes a nightmare when someone begins copying the fictional murders in real life. Two police departments as well as the Monkeewrench team strive to piece the clues together and end the killing spree–and in the process, one of the detectives will discover that Monkeewrench itself has a mysterious past . . . . (Monkeewrench, Live Bait, Dead Run, Snow Blind) . For more information on the series, please visit http://www.pjtracy.net/books/monkeewrench.asp

The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters is set in the late 1800s–the series features spunky heroines and employs a perfect combination of romance, archaeology and mystery. Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first title in the series; it introduces us to Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster at age 32. She’s a strong-willed, no-nonsense woman–and she has an inheritance which enables her to pursue her passion of Egyptology. As she undertakes her first archaeological dig she is faced with a mysterious mummy–and a dashing, opinionated archaeologist named Radcliffe Emerson . . . . For a complete list of books in the series, please visit http://www.ameliapeabody.com/bookshelf.htm

The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich is a fun mystery series that’s actually light on mystery–its hallmarks are quirky characters, snappy dialogue and lots of humor. For more about this series, please check out my post on Plum Lucky.

Finally I have to mention the Three Investigators series by Robert Arthur–I was hooked on this series when I was in elementary school and I still think it’s a fun read. Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews are the investigators–in the original series they are probably in their early teens as none of them are old enough to drive. Their headquarters is a trailor cleverly hidden among the junk in the Jones Salvage Yard–they’ve created several secret entrances–the attention given to their headquarter’s secrecy is half of the fun! The first title in the series is the Secret of Terror Castle–in this book, the Three Investigators investigate a house rumored to be haunted. Wikipedia actually has a very good entry on this series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Investigators .

And that concludes my list of my all-time favorite mystery series! If there’s a series you think should become part of my list, please share it–I’m always looking for a new series to try!

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