Monday, July 20, 2009

Big News

I might be out of commission until next Monday. I don't think I'll be reading or blogging much over the next week because on Friday, July 17, my wife and I welcomed our first baby, Ava Celeste Barresi!

Happy blogging!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Frank McCourt is ill and unlikely to survive

This is sad news to hear. I loved Angela's Ashes when it came out and I think McCourt did a great service to the reading public. His memoir/novel was a phenomenon before The DaVinci Code.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Just in time for the Everything Austen Challenge. Quirk Books is set to release a follow up to their surprise hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Juliet Marion Hulme

Last night I broke the news to my wife that I had bid on a batch of 10 Anne Perry novels. Four or five hardcovers and the rest paperbacks. A mixture of her William Monk, Thomas Pitt and WWI series. For $10 or $11 I thought it was a steal. For whatever reason I decided to Wikipedia Anne Perry. Wow. I knew Wikipedia was good for something. Anne Perry was born Juliet Marion Hulme in London, was sent to South Africa as a child (for health reasons) and then moved to New Zealand at 13 to be with her family. Perry/Hulme then became part of one of New Zealand's most notorious murders along with Pauline Parker. If you've ever seen the Kate Winslet movie Heavenly Creatures , Kate Winslet portrayed Perry/Hulme. The young women killed Parker's mother in cold blooded murder. They only served five years in prison and as part of their sentence they were told they could never contact one another again.

Perry/Hulme is now 70 years old and lives in Scotland and has written dozens of murder mystery novels. Strange. I had recently begun her novel No Graves as Yet which centers around two brothers trying to unravel the suspicious death of their parents. There is more to the story than that, but I just can't get the real Perry/Hulme out of my head. How can I? I wouldn't read the books of a man that was a convicted murderer, why should I read Perry's novels?

I'm stopping No Graves and I'm going to begin a book by someone that doesn't have a killer instinct, only a killer imagination.

It's a good thing I didn't win the auction on eBay.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge

I've finally narrowed down my selection for the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie's Written Word.

I haven't read Austen in awhile so I will read one Austen novel, three Austen inspired books and two movies.

Lost in Austen - movie
Jane and the Man of the Cloth by Stephanie Barron - novel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - novel
Austenland by Shannon Hale - novel
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith - novel
Emma - movie

Books bought last week

I had a good book buying week. A few Sherlock Holmes pastiche, two bibliomysteries and a book for the Everything Austen Challenge.

Castle Rouge A Novel of Suspense featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Jack the Ripper.
Death at Dartmoor A Victorian mystery featuring Arthur Conan Doyle.
Locked Rooms The eighth book in Laurie King's Mary Russell series. Russell and Holmes travel to San Francisco to take care of some unfinished business.
Jane and the Man of the Cloth The second book in the Jane Austen Mystery series. Jane Austen solving crimes? Sounds like a good fit for me in my attempt at the Everything Austen Challenge. I haven't read the first book in the series yet, but I'm going to read this one first because I have it.
The Godwulf Manuscript I got a nice condition 1973 paperback edition of Parker's classic bibliomystery. It's the first in the Spencer series. And although I've already read it, this is going in my collection.
A Conspiracy of Paper I read part of this novel years ago when it first came out. I think it high time I take it on again and finish it once and for all. Benjamin Weaver is a former boxer in 18Th Century London trying to uncover family secrets and investigate a couple of murders. Can't wait.
No Graves As Yet The first in Anne Perry's World War I mystery series. I haven't read any Perry before, but have only read rave reviews.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Off the beaten path

Last night I wanted to read something different. Our bed has a built in bookshelf and one of the books on the shelf was an ARC I received a couple of months ago...The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. I hadn't read anything by Charlotte Bronte since high school and I had never read anything about her. So I picked up Syrie James's novel. 100 or so pages and I know it was a good decision. It's a very fast read and a lot of fun. I also checked some accuracy of the book and it's seems fairly historically accurate too. The book has a cute green cover with the title written in black script. I don't mind carrying it around with me. But it's so good, I don't think I'll be carrying it along too long.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Jack Reacher always gets his man

Two Jack Reacher books in one week. I wish I could read two every week. For those who may not be infatuated with Jack Reacher, Reacher, as he's most commonly called, is the protagonist in Lee Child's numerous thrillers. Reacher is a former MP (Military Police) Captain and he was one of the best. Now that he's out of the service, he's a drifter that only carries his passport, a fold-up toothbrush, an ATM card and the clothes on his back. After a couple days he just buys more clothes and throws the others out. He's a man of few words and follows the old maxim..."if you're going to shoot, shoot." Basically, he's a comic book superhero for the (somewhat) grown-up reader. Did you see Liam Neeson in Taken? That's kind of like Jack Reacher.

In Persuader, Reacher is walking by Symphony Hall on Huntington Ave. in Boston, when he suddenly sees a man that he thought was long dead. "Truth is by that point I had been in for eleven whole days, since a damp shiny Saturday night in the city of Boston when I saw a dead man walk across a sidewalk and get into a car. It wasn't a delusion. It wasn't an uncanny resemblence. It wasn't a double or a twin or a brother or a cousin. It was a man who had died a decade ago. There was no doubt about it. No trick of light. He looked older by the appropriate number of years and was carrying the scars of the wounds that had killed him."

This starts Reacher on an intense undercover infiltration that will bring him face to face with his 'ghost' where he plans to finish him once and for all. And as all readers of the Reacher novels know, Jack Reacher always gets his man.

Just finished:
Persuader by Lee Child

Now reading:
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"It's a major award"

Thanks to Okbo Lover, I was given my first award, the Kreative Blogger Award. Now I have to list my seven favorite things and tag seven award worthy blogs. Here's the Meme and thanks again to Okbo Lover:

These are a few of my favorite things (not family related):

1. Reading (historical fiction, Beat literature, detective fiction, literary bio)
2. Book collecting (Bibliomysteries, Kerouac, Arturo Perez-Reverte, David McCullough)
3. Photography (I'm a total amateur, but love it)
4. The History Detectives on PBS
5. studying the American Revolution
6. traveling
7. Making lists

Here are my seven award worthy blogs:

1. Bookgirl's Nightstand
2. Historically Obsessed
3. Of Books and Bicycles
4. Box of Books
5. A Work in Progress
6. Nonsuch Book
7. Pages Turned

Monday, July 06, 2009

Weekend Reading

Thursday during lunch I began Lee Child's Bad Luck and Trouble. Friday afternoon I finished. That's how it usually goes with Child's Jack Reacher novels. They're fast, furious and fun and Bad Luck was no exception. I'll hopefully have time to write post my review tonight.

Yesterday we spent a part of our morning reading at Starbucks. My wife was finishing up the last 100 pages of the latest in the Maisie Dobbs series, Among the Mad, and I was beginning Robert Graves', I, Claudius. It may be an ambitious book to begin considering that Baby Barresi is due in 16 days, but I figured that if I didn't begin it now I never would.

Side Projects: I'm still finishing up my re-read of A Study in Scarlet and I may begin another Jack Reacher novel to distract me from anxiously awaiting the little one.

Now reading:
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

On deck:
Persuader by Lee Child
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

LibraryThing - Early Reviewer

I finally snagged my first Early Review book via LibraryThing. I will be reviewing Linwood Barclay's Fear the Worst.

A Letter of Mary

What would you do if you received a letter, written by Mary Magdalene. What if the woman that gave you the letter was a noted expert on Jerusalem and later was mysteriously killed? Those are only a couple of the questions Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes have to try and answer in Laurie R. King's A Letter of Mary. The third book in King's Russell series begins when Dorothy Ruskin, an archaeologist that Russell and Holmes had met in the Middle East a few years prior, visits them at their home and presents a letter supposedly written by Mary Magdalene. In the letter, Mary writes of being an apostle, news that would shock modern (1923) Anglican England and the world. Ruskin asks Russell and Holmes to investigate the letter and try to determine if it is authentic. Unfortunately, they do not even have time to begin their inquiry, when Ruskin is killed in an automobile accident. With her untimely death, Russell and Holmes set to uncover the truth about her death, enlisting the aid of Detective Lestrade and Sherlock's brother, Mycroft.

The investigation takes them to four different groups of potential murderers with four valid motives. Under disguise and careful observation, Russell and Holmes infiltrate and begin to build their case. And though Russell and Holmes are under no real threat of imminent danger, the mystery unravels at a great pace, never leaving the reader too relaxed. Russell as narrator is quick witted, self-depracating and funny. Her personality resonates throughout the book and her smarts are on par with Holmes's. Being married to Holmes, Russell allows the reader to see Holmes during his downtime and during those moments of self-doubt. All of King's novels are full of insight and maintain an authenticity to them that you don't get in a lot of pastiche.

Did the killers kill for money (greed) or were they out to stop the publication of the potentially shattering letter? This is a story about family, ambition and relationships. Especially relationships between between sisters and husband and wife.