Thursday 13: Winter Tales

I haven’t done a Thursday 13 in a while, on any of my blogs, and thought I’d challenge myself, as a hard freeze descends across north Texas, by pulling away from my fantasies of beach vacations in Outer Banks rentals, and instead compile a list of thirteen Winter Tales.

  1. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott: a perennial favorite of mine, chock full of cozy fall and winter scenes. And then there’s the moment when Amy falls through the ice.
  2. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino: one of the oddest books I’ve ever read, it’s lingered with me since I was 19. Not for light reading.
  3. My Antonia, by Willa Cather: some people think this is boring, but I love those stories of the prairie…I just don’t want to live there.
  4. Holiday Grind, by Cleo Coyle: the ultimate holiday mystery, with recipes, too.,/li>
  5. Time and Again, by Jack Finney: classic fantasy; pay special attention to scenes like when the young couples are skating in Central Park.
  6. Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson: haunting, and you can re-watch the movie when you’ve finished the book.
  7. Smilla’s Sense of Snow, by Peter Hoeg: a tale of suspense and snow. Gripping!
  8. The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin: takes place on a planet called Winter. Must I say more?
  9. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis: always winter, never Christmas, but a classic even so.
  10. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and To Build a Fire, by Jack London: novellas, really, hence the lumping them together. Light a fire and find a thick blanket before you read these stories.
  11. Icehenge, by Kim Stanley Robinson: what if Mars was under totalitarian law, and there was a Stonehenge like creation made of ice on Pluto? What if?
  12. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, by Vendela Vida: love, loss, and a night at the ice hotel.
  13. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder: having lived through a few South Dakota winters, I have a new understanding of what Laura and her family went through.

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Review: The Ghost and the Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost and the Dead Deb
The Ghost and the Dead Deb
Author: Alice Kimberly
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 6, 2005)
Language: English

Penelope “Pen” McClure, co-owner of the fictional “Buy the Book” in Quindicott, RI, should really consider investing in some sort of business insurance, because in this second installment of the Haunted Bookshop series, another visiting author is murdered.

Alice Kimberly once again weaves a charming romance/mystery pairing Pen with Jack Shepherd, the ghost of a noir private investigator, who himself was gunned down in the store decades before. In this book, we learn a bit more about Pen, and, in the related case from Jack’s memory, we also learn a bit more about Jack.

Young deb-turned-author Angel Stark could easily be ripped by any number of today’s tabloids, but the recurring characters are also as vivid as they were in the first novel – especially the group of business owners affectionately referred to as the Quibblers (which name, I confess, reminds me of another fictional mystery series, Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who…).

What really makes this book sing, however, is the developing relationship between Pen and Jack – they’re clearly friends now – which is heightened when Pen finds a way to take Jack with her (so to speak) when she leaves the store.

Goes well with hot tea and a warm quilt.

2009 in Review

It’s a new year here at Bibliotica, which means it’s time to take a look at my stats for the old one. If I have any kind of bookish resolution it’s to be better about logging and reviewing everything I read, for my own sake, if nothing else. I like to see how my tastes have changed and evolved over time.

How did I do?

In the year 2009, not including books I forgot to catalogue, I read 85 books, for an average of 1.635 books per week. My best months were January and May, with 12 books each, and my worst was November, when I logged only three.

(As an aside, I must say that if there were any kind of mechanical breakdown insurance for the brain, books would be it. When I was trying to cope with a miscarriage in May, books were my escape, and the savers of my sanity.)

I don’t generally pick favorites – my favorites change too often to keep up! – but Laurie R. King and Cleo Coyle (in her various guises) made up a significant portion of my reading list, and Diane Johnson’s Lulu in Marrakech is the one that most disappointed me.

I’m sort of in book limbo right now. I have stacks of stuff to read, but none of it is really demanding my attention. I have, however logged my first book of the new year already: Alice Kimberly’s The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library.