Monday, August 31, 2009

a review of "The Treasures of Venice"

The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary (Sourcebooks, ISBN 978-1-4022-2670-0)

Now, if you are a regular reader of my reviews and you glance at that cover of the book there on the right that I am presently reviewing, it might seem a little unusual. No, never before have I reviewed a book with a shirtless man, 6 pack..8 pack, a whole case of beer..on display, on the cover. Yes, my dear reader, this books is a romance. A romantic suspense is how it is described, but nevertheless there is that shirtless hunk on the book cover, shouting romance novel.

Why then did I step out of my usual fare to read this book? Well, in the description, I noticed that one of the characters in the book and I share our full name. So, it seemed like a good
Well, happily, I can report that I enjoyed a lot more about this book than one person's name.

Samantha Lewis had expected that her tour of Italy would be with her new husband, but when her fiance sought comfort in the arms of another woman, she took her broken heart and her nonrefundable ticket on the group tour alone. Well, she was alone, that is, until a very handsome Irishman, with beautiful blue eyes, by the name of Kiernan Fitzgerald approaches her as she sits drinking a coffee at a cafe on a Venetian plaza and begs her to play along with the pretense that they know each other. He is being followed, something involving a women. Although it is totally out of character for the young American librarian, she feels oddly connected to this stranger and goes along, only to find herself drawn into a both a present day thriller and a 15th century love story.

Kiernan's sister has been kidnapped by a group of thieves who believe that in her research she has actually discovered the location of the long fabled Jewels of the Madonna. The story is that the jewels were stolen by a young artist named Nino to finance the escape of the woman he had fallen in love with, the lovely Serafina Lombardo, who was pledged by her family in an arranged marriage. Some believe it is just a legend, but Kiernan's sister believed she had proof of their actual existence and now it is up to her brother to find the jewels to exchange for his sister's life. And as we follow the dual storylines, we discover that there may be more that ties these two couples together than the search for the Jewels.

As I mentioned, I am not normally a reader of romance novels nor historical novel for that matter and yet happily in this book I found those aspects combined with a quite entertaining and believably written suspense story that held my attention throughout the book. Ms. McGary is able to intertwine the two stories, present day thriller and 15th century romance and mystery, both set with the intriguing city of Venice as a backdrop, and keep them both convincing.

Which is not to say it is a perfect book. I have mention several times before that I have little patience with characters that act stupidly, like wandering off in the dead of night alone or refusing to go to the police or accept help. It is a compliment to Ms. McGary's very good writing that the book was finished before I even noticed these issues, instead of shouting to the characters about them while I was reading, as sometimes happens. Also the whole supernatural connection was not something I bought into, but it was employed in a light-handed enough way that it did not become an issue for me. Rather, I just pulled along into the story, a story with a fast paced and very entertaining plot, very well written, with quite believable and likable characters.

I do just wish that fellow on the cover would just button his shirt up though. It may well sound elitist, but it is not a cover I would want people to see me reading in

If you want to check out a few more reviews...
The Burton Review
Wendy's Minding Spot

Available Sept. 1 From Amazon

Yes, Another Book From Auntie Caite For Your Birthday...And For Musing Monday.

Todays Musing Monday question from the desk of Just One More Page...

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about books for children…
Do you buy books as gifts for children – either your own or those of friends or family? Would you buy books for all children, or only children who are already practiced readers?

I don't have any children of my own...unless you include Kitty, but imaginary cats seem to read imaginary books, so no purchases needed there.

But as to other people's children, yes, I have bought books for them, because a good book is one of the finest gift you can give anyone. Whether they agree or not!
Certainly if a child, or for that matter, a person of any age, is a reader, a good book will be an appreciated gift. But I also suggest it is a good gift for a child who is not a big reader. A really nice book of their very own, to enjoy at their own pace, about a subject they are interested in and therefore more motivated to delve into, is a wonderful way to introduce the marvelous world of books to non-readers or not very enthusiastic readers..of any age.

And while picture books are all well and good and I think beautiful illustrations can be a great plus to a book, I would actually prefer to give a book to a child that they will find a little more challenging. Not totally discouragingly challenging, but not too quick and easy. If the parents have to get in there and do some reading with the child, all the better! Two birds with one stone, because I think there are few better activities that a parent and child can share than reading together!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can You Buy One On Amazon?

Photograph by: illustration

According to an article on, in the near future you may trading in that litter box and giant bag of cat chow for a more carefree, useful model. Hey, why are the English going to get them first?
"Artificial cats and other man-made companions could be keeping Britain's elderly company within three years if society can be persuaded to start experimenting with robots...A robotic pet could help raise the alarm in the case of an accident, monitor fridge contents to make sure the elderly do not go hungry while voice prompts could remind them to switch off the heating."
But getting yourself even a robo-kitty may raise some issues they claim. Ethical issues, if you can believe it.
"The ethical challenges facing a robotic revolution include concerns that artificial pets or helpers could lead to social isolation for the elderly. The large amount of personal data recorded by any monitoring would also need to be regulated."
So, it will be a very noisy kitty, it seems. Will it be reading my e-mail, checking my bank account, counting the Twinkies in the cupboard? If anything, I would be the one being taken advantage of, not the faux pet. If I choose to acquire one and let it wander around my house, I miss the ethical problem. No need to call PETRA...People for the Ethical Treatment of Robotic Animals...quite yet.

And how exactly would it cause social isolation? Will it unplug my phone, bar the door so I can't go outside, limit my Twitter time...or maybe be so darn cute I will not be able to draw myself away from it's strangely hypnotic orange eyes? Maybe it's just me, but I think if I had a robo-cat, everyone in town would be lined up to see it. I could be the most popular person in NJ. Even more popular than those Housewives, but without all the drama. Just the slightly off sound of it's electronic purring.

Of course, her name will be Kitty. I hope she knows how to do laundry....

Oh my, is that Robo-Bandit?? Eeeek!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a review of "Homer's Odyssey"

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper (Delacorte Press, ISBN 978-0-385-34385-5)

Let me preface my review with two points. First of all, I am not a cat person. I have owned a cat, and I mean a real cat, not just my imaginary kitty, Kitty. My cat's name was...well, Kitty. But while she was a fine cat, I am a dog person. Cats can be cute and all, but I like the total adoration only a dog will provide.
Secondly, you may remember my vowing that never again would I review a memoir. Having read just one too many whining, complaining, "it's all me and it's all (insert name here)'s fault" books, I thought that maybe memoirs were just not my cup of tea.
So, when this book arrived, I was not totally hopeful. A memoir...about a cat. Oh, my....

This book then almost ended up unread for other reasons that I may share later and since it overcame this hurdle, much as poor little Homer overcame his, I decided I had to give this book a chance. Well, my dear readers, I was wrong. Yes, my leap to judgment was wrong, which I admit has happen a time or two before, but certainly in this case. Homer's Odyssey is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would offer with a strong recommendation to my readers.

The cat that would come to be called Homer had a terrible start in life. The two week old kitten was found on the streets, hungry and sick, taken to a vet with such a severe eye infection that the vet had to remove both his eyes to save the cat's life. Then she had to find the now blind kitten a home, which did not prove easy. Her last hope was Ms. Cooper, a patient who already owned 2 cats. Against her better judgment, Ms. Cooper agreed to meet the tiny kitten and the rest was, as they say, kismet.
"You think, when you adopt a pet, that he will become a supporting character in the story of your life. But I was beginning to think I was now a character in this kitten's story."
Indeed, and it is a good story.

It may seem a bit silly to say, but Ms. Cooper was to find that she could learn a great deal from the example of how Homer, as she named him after the blind storyteller with an epic journey ahead, faced life.
"The other thing I realized was that, while he seemed loving, he was not scared or desperate to be loved, the way you would expect a kitten-or even a person- who'd experienced nothing but pain, hunger, and fear to be. Nor was he hostile and defensive, a kitten who'd let a hard life stomp all the love right out of him. He was merely curious and affectionate."
And able to win over, with his bravely and sweetness and inquisitiveness many a cold hearted disbeliever who doubted that a blind cat could survive yet alone thrive.

Of course, it is also the story of Gwen Cooper, and with Homer and his feline "sisters" Vashti and Scarlett tagging along, it is a good story. We follow her from Miami, changing jobs, changing careers, moving in with her parents, moving to New York City, looking for love. And she shares with us, in what I think are the best chapters, the details of her experiences living and working just blocks from the World Trade Center during 9-11. Very movingly shares with us.

Ms. Cooper is a very good writer, and again, while it may sounds a wee bit silly, her ability to 'voice' what her cats are thinking is always entertaining, as is that Greek chorus that lives in her head. While the book is filled with a number of very well portrayed 'characters' including her friends and parents and the man who becomes her husband, not to mention those two other felines housemates, without question the star of the story is Homer and his many exploits.
" "Eres mucho gato, Homer" I whispered. "Thou art plenty of cat.""
as Gwen tells him after he saves her life. Yes, saves her life, and I do not mean in some figurative way. I mean he really saves her life. Wait, maybe that was my favorite chapter....

Actually, I had many favorite chapters in this charming book, some very funny, some very sad but all very well written and very engaging. A rare book that I read straight through, sleep and housework be damned. Yes, I will admit it. Maybe we can even learn things from a cat. To quote Ms. Cooper,
"It was Homer, I realized, who had brought me most of the insights I'd acquired about relationships over the past few years. It was Homer who had taught me that the love of one person who believes in you-and whom you believed in- could inspire you to attempt even the most improbable things...Homer was living proof that dark predictions about potential happiness were nothing more than an opportunity to prove all conventional wisdom wrong."
As this book proves wrong my prejudice about memoirs...even memoirs with cats.

As an aside, let me explain my comment about this book being one that I almost did not read. And not just the cat and memoir thing either. Due to a miscommunication, the package this book came in sat out in the pouring rain for several days. I arrived home to a sodden, swollen brick of pages and almost put it in the trash. I didn't only because there was water pouring off of it and I was afraid the bag would leak. So, I put it outside, under an overhang, and forgot it for weeks. Imagine my surprise to find a dry book that was wrinkled and a bit swollen but totally readable. Wow, those trade paperbacks are way tougher than one would think. If a book survives that, then just like Homer, it deserves a chance!
And this book, the delightful Homer's Odyssey, deserves you to read it.

Thanks to Random House for this ARC.

Available From Amazon

It's Tuesday Thinger. And I Need a Stinking Badge!

My favorite day of the week Bandit Day Tuesday Thinger Day. So, what is this week's question from Wendi's Book Corner...

Questions: Were you aware that you could edit the book details from the cover images under Your Library? Do you have a quick way you like to update books that are already in your library? Do you have any topics/areas you'd like to explore on Tuesday Thingers or general blog/book topics for the coming weeks?

No, I didn't. In fact, I don't think that I have even looks at the 'cover' view of my books. Gosh, book cover are so pretty, aren't they. I especially love how they look all in a group, all neatly lined up like they are on that view. Or a very, very neat bookshelf.
Another reason you all should back away from the Evil Kindles.
Quick Kitty, put the soap box away before they see, that was close. :-)

Usually, I edit books from the "Your Books" page, but in the list view. You can edit a lot right from there- rating, tags, author, title, just about everything. And you can also click on the power edit, which looks like a lightening bolt, and edit a whole bunch at once. Not as pretty as the covers, but it works. Oh, what a wonder Library Thing is, so many ways to do things, oops, the soapbox is peaking out

In reality, most of the editing I do to books after I first put them in my library is from the "Common Knowledge" page of each book. Adding first or last words of the book, dedications, who wrote blurbs for the book, names, places and such...because I want a Gold Helper Badge on my profile page. We have discussed those helper badges before on Tuesday Thinger. I have one bronze and two silver but I want GOLD! GOLD I TELL YA!! A few hundred more entries and one will be mine! GOLD!

What can I say, I am distracted by shiny objects.
And I am also sometimes distracted by a picture of Bandit, this week looking like one cool dude. Or one strange little doggie.

Bandit, did you spend your allowance on those shades?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Monday Musing..Hey, I Am Not The Only One With an Imaginary Friend!

I do enjoy, come Monday in Blogland a nice muse, so let's check out this weeks question from Just One More Page,

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book series…

Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?(question courtesy of Elena)

That is an interesting question, especially since just today I was reading an article about that very question by the writer Laura Lippman. Now, she has written a quite successful mystery series with the character Tess Monaghan, set in Baltimore. But she has also written a number of very successful stand alone books. One point that I found interesting from the article is that it is one of the stand alone books that has been her most successful, both commercially and critically. It seems she is often asked when she is going to kill poor Tess off, as if these series books are not as good, as serious, as the stand alones. It seems that often series do not get the same respect that a stand alone gets, undeservedly I think.

I have read many books in series, usually in the mystery/thriller genre. I prefer to start at the beginning and usually do. But sometimes I have also jumped in the middle and, in my opinion, if it is a well written series, that should not be a major problem. It just offends my inner OCD-ness to read books out of order.

Do I read the whole series? Well, that depends on the quality of the writing. I am loyal, but not silly. I could be wrong, but from a readers point of view, it sometimes seems that some writers see writing a series as being easier than writing a stand alone book. They get repetitive, they get lazy, they fail to keep developing the main character. Those obviously would be the ones I stop reading. The series just runs out of steam and should be put aside by the author. Why don't they? Well, something Ms. Lippman says may explain a few reasons. Speaking about her character Tess she says,
"She has literally kept a roof over my head and even thrown in the kitchen of my dreams. I spend more time with her than almost anyone in my life, with the possible exception of my spouse. She is the childish thing that too many adults are duped into putting away: a very satisfactory imaginary friend."
If you are kind, you might say that the author becomes fond of the character. They enjoy writing about them, putting them in new situations, new challenges. If you are not so kind, you think is it more that issue of keeping a roof over their head.

People seems to like the comfort of the familiar, and, even when the books go south, so to speak, many keep buying them. One that comes to mind immediately is the Scarpetta series of Patricia Cornwell. To early fans of the series, this is no surprise. The early books were quite good I thought, but the series should have ended several books ago. About the time that Dr. Scarpetta's boyfriend...I forget his name...came back from the dead. A bad sign when a writer resorts to cheap tricks like that. Coming back from the dead is bad, unless you are writing sci-fi or vampires books maybe. A few of the later books in that series are to say this in a nice way....they are awful. Not only the plot, but the writing. And still they have been NY Times best sellers, for reasons beyond me to understand. Oh well, it's their money to spend on what they want, even less than great books.

Favorite series...hmmmm...well, just picking a couple (with the help of my beloved Library Thing. I say that just because I know my LT love annoys a few of you, my dear there is Tess Gerritsen's Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series, Lisa Gardner's Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner series, P.D.James's Adam Dalgliesh books, Laurie R.King's Kate Martinelli mysteries, Chelsea Cain's rather gruesome Gretchen Lowell serial killer books...I love a serial book about a serial killer..
and then just to break from my love of mysteries and killers, Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series. Oh wait, they are full of killers and mystery too, with an added dash of the supernatural.
I could go on and on, listing series I have enjoyed, but I imagine you have other things to do. So ok, run along now.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a review of "Liars Anonymous"

Liars Anonymous by Louise Ure
(Minotaur Books, ISBN 978-0-312-37586-7)
"I got away with murder once, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen again. Damn. This time I didn't do it. Well, not all of it anyway."
With that shocking admission, we are tossed into the angry world of Jessie Dancing, where slowly it will be revealed to us the stories of these two murder and Jessie's role in them.

Jessie is living in Phoenix, and as befits the self admitted queen of Liars Anonymous, she is living a carefully constructed new life all based on facts that she has made up. Darling is not actually her name, but then nothing she has told people about herself is true either. She has a job taking calls for an OnStar like company and another as a house sitter, which provides her with some very nice places to live.
"I looked good on the application: a former nun, a nondrinker, with an allergy to pet dander. The nun part always got me the best houses, but it was no more true than the rest of the description. Sure, they could have checked out my story, but I guess I looked trustworthy. Shows what they know."
But her carefully constructed house of cards will start to come tumbling down when one night at work she take a call from a real estate magnate in Tucson who has been involved in a car accident. When it sounds like the man was being attacked, the police are involved and it soon become apparent that Jessie is no stranger to either Tucson or to the Tucson police.

Jessie heads to Tucson, at first to help the police with their investigation into the disappearance of the driver. But we learn that she has a history there, family she would have been just as happy not to see again and who, for the most part, have no desire to be involved with her. And there is also at least one police detective that believes she got away with murder once and is determined to not let her get away again with something criminal that he thinks she is involved in. In part to clear her name and in part to try and figure out what really happened, she finds herself involved in a situation that turns out to be much more complicated and much more dangerous than she first thought. And along the way, we learn more about Jessie's past and maybe why she is such a very angry young woman.

But therein lies what is perhaps, for me, the central problem of this book. Jessie is our heroine and she is a very strong woman, both physically and emotionally and a person with strong convictions that at first, makes her seem like an appealing character. She is also very edgy, very angry, which she tells us again and again.
"Anger..ran through me as I pumped the sand-filled containers again and again. I'd been dipped in rage for three years now, the coating getting thicker and thicker with each injustice, each disappointment, each bit of control seeping away."
But as we learn her story, for me, that anger is just never fully justified, and at that point, she began to lose this reader pulling for her.

Also, as I mentioned in my last review, I hate characters that act in a dumb way, who go it all alone, who don't tell people things when they should, who get into situations they should see are foolish. I am afraid Jessie is often guilty of that. Add a complicated plot that becomes a bit confusing and a lot of periphery characters that are not very well developed and the book becomes a bit muddled as it draws to a conclusion. A conclusion that I liked and thought was interesting, if not totally believable, but not enough to pull it all together for me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a poem from Portland Head Light

The Lighthouse

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
in the white tip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

No one alone: from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean's verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night o'er taken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn
They wave their silent welcome and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,
on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink
And when returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosum clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace:
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of love,
it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
but hails the mariner with words of love.

"Sail on!" it says: "sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man neared unto man.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

a review of 'Sand Sharks'

Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 978-0-44619611-6)

In this, the 15th book in the series, Judge Deborah Knott is off to a judicial conference with her North Carolina peers in Wrightsville Beach. She is excited to be going because it is not only a chance to reconnect with some of her friends and fellow judges, bone up on some new aspects of legislation that effects her decisions on the bench but it will also allow Deborah a few days break from her new husband and stepson. Not that she doesn't love them both, but neither a new marriage or her new role as a mom are without a few difficulties to be worked out.

And then also, who doesn't love a conference that will be held in a lovely hotel on a beautiful beach. That is until the body of one of the judges is found floating in the Cape Fear River near a popular restaurant where many of the conference goers were dining. The person that discovers the body is none other than Deborah and some of the major suspects turn out to be people she has know or worked with for years. But of course, that will not stop her from getting in the thick of the investigation, with the police even asking for her help in some aspects of the investigation. Which may end up making her another potential victim.

As I mentioned, this is the 15th book in the series and that may come into play to a small degree. By the very nature of the setting, a large conferences, there are a large number of characters all introduced in a short period and that was a little confusing, trying to keep them all straight. Also, a number of the people that show up in the story, in one way or another, have a history with Deborah, a history that has been part of some of the previous books. But that being said, I can assure you that it is not necessary to have read the earlier books first to enjoy this one and ultimately not a big issue.

This is the first one of Ms. Maron's book that I have read but I am a sucker for a good mystery and then set that mystery by the ocean and you have me as a reader! And this is a good mystery. I did not figure out who the murderer was and yet, when the killer's identity was revealed, I had to admit that the clues were all there. Always a good sign, because I like my mystery writers to be fair. I also want my mystery writers to create smart, thinking characters and Judge Knott is that. No fumbling, damsel in distress here, but a female character who is smart and well respected in her professional life, at a good place in her personal life and yet up for a little adventure in solving a mystery. And capable of handling some adventure.

This may be the first of the Judge Knott's series that I have read, but I very much doubt it will be my last. I am anxious to explore some of the other North Carolina settings, starting with the interesting sounding "Bootlegger's Daughter". To quote Maron's website,
"Sand Sharks is Margaret Maron's 15th title to feature series character, Judge Deborah Knott, a district court judge in "Colleton County," North Carolina. Deborah is in her late 30s, the youngest child and only daughter of an elderly ex-bootlegger who also has 11 sons. As a district court judge, she ranges all over the state and her cases are set in such interesting places as Harkers Island down on the coast (Shooting at Loons), among the potters in central NC (Uncommon Clay), at the High Point furniture market (Killer Market), and in the Blue Ridge Mountains (High Country Fall)."

Sand Sharks is an interesting story, a pretty fast read, with a very good main character that makes a good introduction to what appears to be an entertaining series.

Thank you to Miriam Parker at Hachette for this book.

Tuesday Thinger...Let's Check Out Groups and a Bandit.

Yes, I know. Again it is Wednesday and I am just posting my Tuesday Thinger. I plead work (with lack of blogging ability there) and tiredness. So, without further ado, let's check for this weeks question from Wendi at Wendi's Book Corner.

This week, I'd like to take a quick peek into the Groups section. For anyone who hasn't visited the groups section, it is a place that is very much like a normal forum, or a place you can post comments and reply to what others have posted. Some groups are topic oriented, and others are more relaxed...The great thing about these groups?? If you want to talk about a book or author, there is probably a group or thread available for you to read, join, or comment in. There are even some great Book Challenges (75 Books Challenge for 2009)!! You can read about a group and then read the "threads" (topics/conversations), join the group, watch the group, or recommend it to a friend.

Questions: Have you recently browsed any of the groups? Are you actively participating in any groups? Do you have any favorites?

I do belong to a number of groups there and check them out and post from time to time. Let me see....ARC Junkies, Bloggers, Catholic Tradition, Easton Press Collectors, Outside, Philadelphians, Tea!, The Green Dragon, TuesdayThingers ...those are the ones I belong to at the moment according to my profile. It changes from time to time as some groups seem to go idle and others seem to pick up and get a lot of good postings.

The first two ARC Junkies and Bloggers I was much more interested in back when I first started blogging and became aware of the whole issue of Advanced Review Copies being available to be requested from various sources. I found it a great place to ask questions and get information from people that always seem happy to help. Great source for a new blogger.

Tea...well, I love tea and some new tea info is always good. Catholic Tradition...well, I am Catholic and at times there are interesting discussions there and some good info about books related to Catholic subjects. But as seems to happen with many of the smaller groups, there is a certain ebb and flow and this one has been pretty quiet for awhile. Easton Press...they are beautiful books that I had admire for years from the catalog I somehow got on the mailing list for, but they are rather expensive. It was from this LT group that I found out they are often available on eBay. As I have said before, Library Thing is a purchase that just keeps paying off and paying off.

Outside is an interesting group. The name, I believe, comes from a 'discussion' in the Green Dragon group. A thread on there had gotten rather argumentative and maybe a bit hostile, so they were asked to take the discussion "outside". So now this Outside group is for subjects where the talk might get a bit more worked up and is allowed to be a little more combative than most groups do. I read it, but rarely if ever post there. They scare me a bit. Pro and Con is a similar group that I read, but never joined...because I am a bit scared to post there

The group that I check out the most often and actually post at on occasion is The Green Dragon. Their own description on themselves included this..."Ale & lively funny lusty chat. Join LibraryThing's best pub! This group is known as one of the busiest on LibraryThing - come enjoy our banter!" They are usually in the top two or three most posted to groups, having almost 1500 in the last 7 days. There are also a huge variety of threads there, some silly, some more serious, rather like 'real' discussions in a 'real' pub, always with an attempt to keep it friendly and not get out of hand. Which is always, in my experience, a problem in many online groups.

I like the groups on Library Thing, even though I don't have the time to read and post there as much as I did once. Several of the 'standing groups' are good places to find out about new features on LT or to report a problem or bug and to ask a question. Also, as Wendi says, it is a great source of information about a book or author that you might be interested in or have a question about. There are hundreds of groups there and you can most likely find one, no matter what you are interested in.

Well, let's see what wee Bandit is up to this week, shall we?

Oh, poor sleepy Bandit! Tired, no doubt from his one day at work. You just take a little nap there, my little sweet Bandit Boy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Take One..Lights, Camera....ACTION! On Musing Monday ..

Another work week begins..the good new is, it's time for another Musing Monday...from Just One More Page,

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about movies …

How do you react to movies made of your favourite books (or even not-so-favourite books)? Do you look forward to seeing them, or avoid them? Do you like to have read the book before seeing the movie?

I can't say that I anxiously await the film version of a favorite book. No, I don't. Quite often, if I liked the book, I will not bother to see the movie. Let's be honest. The movie can rarely be as good as the book. At best, it can only capture a small part of the plot of the book, just because of the time factor. And very often, the cast does not fit my mental picture of the characters.

And then there is the whole issue of changes. They take a book, and buy the movie rights because, supposedly they like it. But once they start writing a screenplay and doing the casting and and filming it, often...not always but often...they make drastic changes. Sometimes so drastic that you wonder why they bought the movie rights to the book to start with rather than just start from scratch. To attract people that loved the book? I am not sure that is true because there just are not that many book lovers out there in most cases. So, really, I am not sure what there thinking is there.

On the other hand, if you see a movie based on a book and have not read the book yet but read it after seeing the movie, that, I think, can be a good experience. If you like the movie, in the vast number of cases, the book will be a deeper, more comprehensive, richer experience. But also an experience that can be enhanced by some of the visual images from the movie. Maybe I don't have a great imagination, but I often find it helpful.

As an aside, I HATE when they reissue the book when the movie comes out and do one of those tie-in book covers, with pictures of the stars all over it. I just think it is so cheesy. But I guess if it works and sells books, and if it takes that to get people to read, well, that is a very good thing. And if it didn't work, they wouldn't keep doing it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Pet Are You?

You Are Like a Dog

You are a natural best friend. You are very loyal and faithful.

In your eyes, your friends can do no wrong. You will stick with them no matter what.

You have a protective streak, and you can be downright nasty if you're being threatened.

More than anything else, you are playful and laid back. You truly live in the moment.

I have always considered myself a 'dog' person. And if I was a dog, I would want a hat like that one, for sure!

Thanks for this one to Kathy at Kittling: Books.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Kindle = The Apocalypse ...Really!

Oh, what is a week without a little anti-Kindle rant? But rants, even mine, can be a little tiresome, so how about another amusing little anti-Kindle video, this one starring author Daniel Handler(Lemony Snicket) in the latest episode of The Kindle vs. The Book from the folks at Green Apple Books with special guest star, The Apocalypse!


Thursday, August 13, 2009


He is the one on the right...wee caite on the left, a number of years ago, in a far off place (Northern NJ), when we were a bit younger. Now he is very, very, what snappy dressers. we wore those suits every day. which explains a lot. :-)

a review of "The Girl Who Played With Fire"

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (Alfred A.Knopf, ISBN 978-0-307-26998-0)

Last week, I reviewed the first book in The Millennium series trio, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and this week we will have a look at the second by the late Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

The book opens with the fascinating Lisbeth Salander, who came by a vast amount of money in an interesting way at the end of the first book, on a bit of a world tour. It seems that as interesting as this rather odd, anti-social, computer wizard young woman was in the first book, we had yet to learn about a number of her talents. We also have a great deal more to learn about her life, past and present, and this and how it all ultimately ties into the murder mystery is really the focus of the book.

Lisbeth returns, in a very stealth way, to Sweden and gets caught up in the latest investigative reporting work of her old friend Blomkvist by hacking into his computer and reading his files. His magazine is going to publish an article about the illegal sex trade in Sweden, an article that will find a number of the most powerful and influential men in Sweden, in business, the government and even in the police, with, if you will forgive the pun, their pants down. When three people, tied in various ways to the sex trade story, are found dead and there is forensic evidence to connect Salander to the crimes, we will be following both Blomkvist and Salander, connected only by some computer messages, as they try to prove her innocence. Meanwhile Salander is also trying to solve some mysteries from her own childhood that have haunted her and now may come back to threaten her in the present.

As a thriller, as a mystery story, I am sorry to say this book is not without some serious weaknesses. For example, there are just two many coincidences, always a cheap shortcut in a suspense novel in my opinion. There are just too many little plot lines that never go anywhere and are just left hanging. And there are a few too many one dimensional characters, including one villain, a huge hulking figure with almost superhuman strength, who feels no pain and almost borders on a cartoon character.
Larsson also has a habit, that becomes rather annoying, of listing minute details about the characters lives. I found I really did not need to hear, yet again, about the brand of frozen pizza Salander was buying at the 7-11 or her exact shopping list, with all the model names, from Ikea when she furnished her apartment...even as much as I like Ikea.

But, even with those weakness, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a pretty good read and those that loved the first book will have to pick this one up too. While I though the plot in the first book was tighter, and even in it's most over the top moments, more believable, in one way this book has an advantage. That advantage quite simply is the very good character of Lisbeth Salander, a character strong enought to carry this book through it's weaker moments. Oh yes, many of the other good characters from the first book are back. Blomkvist, his on again, off again, married girlfriend/business partner Erika Berger, Salander's first boss, security company owner Dragan Armansky, her first official Guardian Palmgren, are all back in this second installment...along with a number of other good characters, with their still difficult to remember Swedish names. But the interplay between Blomkvist and Salander, that was such a large part of the first book, is almost nonexistent this time around. No, this time, without question, the center of interest, the driving force, is the character of Salander, and happily, she is without question able to carry the readers interest in this book.

Bottom line, if you read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo...and you must read that one first...and loved it, this is a must read. I can't say that I enjoyed it as much, but I did enjoy it and am anxiously awaiting, next year I believe, the third and final volume in this story.

Thanks to the folks at Read Street and their Freebie Friday for the chance to win this one!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scene of The Blog!! Mine!

Oh, I am very excited.

I am sure that many of you follow the great weekly feature called Scene of the Blog over at one of my favorite sites, Kittling: Books. Well, just guess who is featured this week. Me! Yes, it is time for you all to see my my humble blogging space...and in retrospect, I wish I had done some redecorating first. Or taken better pictures. Or said something clever.

But I didn't, so it is as it is!

So, I hope you will all wander over there to Cathy's and check it out. Any questions, any rude comments or any adoring posts, I will acknowledge them all.

Adoring posts will be acknowledged first.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How Much Does Integrity Cost Anyhoo?

An interesting article today on about the ongoing question of ethics in blogging. In particular, they are discussing the issue as it relates to the so-called "mommy bloggers".
"Readers have complained they can no longer trust their favorite blogger's advice. Veteran women bloggers grumble that newcomers sully the genre's reputation by demanding free products and trips. published an article last month headlined, "Trusted Mom or Sellout?"
No doubt, if you read the blog of other book bloggers you have seen this question discussed recently, including the question of this Blog With Integrity site.

Folks, books are one thing....but TRIPS! Ok, I might sell out for a trip, a really nice

Speaking of selling out, those who read here regularly may remember my post last Tuesday about the Amazon Vine program. I was not very positive about the Vine Program and not very positive about the Evil Amazon as a whole. I am still not. But here is the truly ironic part. Yesterday, I signed on to my home page at The Evil One, and there is an invitation for Caite to become a member of the Vine program.

What to do, what to do? So in the interest of full disclosure, let me report that, after careful consideration and in the interest of HUGE curiosity, I signed up. It's like being allowed into the Secret Clubhouse. You have to at least take a look in the door when they hold it open, don't you think? I figure I can always quit....or get tossed out which is something that it appears has happened to some people. Not sure yet what you have to do for that to happen...
But now I know the secret password, was shown the secret handshake and accessed the special member only Vine Forum.

One of those actually exists.

Now Fast Can You Read This?

Ok, I admit it.
I am not the faster reader in the world. Not that I was ever really aware of it, until I started blogging and realized that getting through my TBR pile was becoming an issue.
But there are people out there that have ideas about how you can read faster, including this guy in the video. I warn you that the video is preceded with a very short Pampers commercial. But the baby is very cute....

More DIY videos at

It was not until recently that I realized that vocalization was an issue..or that I appear to do it. But I do, and no doubt it slows me down.

But here is the real question. Is it better to read faster? Yes, in that I would be able to read more books, but beyond that is there a plus to these sort of techniques? And on the negative side, do you loose something if you read this way? As some in the people in the comments say, does it take some of the joy out of reading? To quote the comment of someone named Wetzel, "The rhythm of the language is a large part of the aesthetic quality of good writing, for great literature especially."
I am not sure about this whole thing really and would love to hear your input on the question, especially if you are a very fast reader. Most especially if you have every taken a speed reading course.
Forgive me, but it may take me awhile to read your

one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four...

edited to add.. I was curious just how fast I can read, so I searched out a couple of on-line tests. Here are a couple of links if you want to check them out too. How Many Words Per Minute, Speed Reading Test
(thanks to Boing Boing for the link)

HELP!! It Tuesday Thinger!!

Oh, we all need a bit of help from time to time, and Library Thingers are no different as Wendi, at Wendi's Book Corner, discusses in this week's Tuesday Thinger.

Many of you will probably already know this, but there is now a Help button on all the Library Thing pages! The LibraryThing Blog created a post on the new feature called HelpThing: Member-driven Help. This week's post is more of a challenge - I challenge you to go to a page and click the help button to see what comes up!

Questions: Did you use the Help button? Did you get some good information on the page you were on? Did you use the edit feature to add/edit any of the information on the page?

Yes, I was already aware of the Help Button, having read about it some time this week on the LT blog and checked it out.
Of course, because I love Library Thing and all things LT, I think it is wonderful!

Ok, really, I do think it is a very good thing. I will admit, when I first joined Library Thing, I found the site a wee bit confusing. It took awhile to find my way around, to figure out all the features available. But the good thing, as I have mentioned before, is that the people that run LT take suggestions for improvements seriously and, as with all things LT, they are discussed thoroughly in groups there, before, during and after the feature is introduced. Groups like Recommend Site Improvements and Common Knowledge, WikiThing, HelpThing allow every Library Thinger to be a part of the process. And perhaps he most interesting thing is that lots of them want to be. Take the our leader, majority owner, man in charge Tim said on The LibraryThing Blog...
"HelpThing started as a "stealth project" by LibraryThing programmer Chris (ConceptDawg). It took a while before I was convinced of the idea.

While I was ignoring the idea, however, members were busy realizing it, official sanction or no. Most of the content was written by LibraryThing member fyrefly98, with contributions from mvrdrk. A somewhat separate—but integrateable—guide to collections was produced by PortiaLong and Lquilter. These members, and the others who helped them, are simply awesome...."
It is it's members involvement and interest, and TPTB encouragement of that interest that makes Library Thing a great site.

Now, I have not make any additions to the Wiki Page yet, assuming like Wendi mentions, that there are people out there more qualified and more knowledgeable than I to do that. But if I ever think of anything....

...and speaking of great, you just know it is time for our weekly Bandit picture. Bandit and his mom, my niece, have been home for the summer from the Sunshine State where they (OK, just she) attends college. The niece has been working this summer as an intern, in fact for the same utility company I work for, but in a different office. Seemingly a more fun office, because it is one where wee Bandit was able to pay a wee visit in his little puppy dog carrier. I like to call this picture...

Bandit(Jack) In The Box!!

...and be sure to check out wee Bandit's Very Own Blog, the world from down here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Hot and Humid Monday Musing

A hot and humid Monday here at the Jersey Shore, so sit back, get a cool beverage and lets check out the Musing Mondays question from Just One More Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about publishing houses …

Do you have a favourite publishing house -- one that puts out books that you constantly find yourself wanting to read? If so, who? And, what books have they published that you've loved? (question courtesy of MizB)

To be quite honest, I have never paid the slightest bit of attention to publishers. Except for e-mailing them, asking for an avaiable ARc or stuff like that. I get the newsletters of few and I follow a few on Twitter to see if anything interesing is being mentioned out there in BookLand. Of course, with my relationship with Twitter, to say that I actually follow might be an exaggeration....

So let me see if there is any relationship between the books I like and who published them. And do do that, I will again call on my beloved Library Thing. I went to my "Your Books" page, sort by ratings so the books I have rated highest are there first and then scrolled down to see if there was a pattern. Well, two of the most recent ones I rated 5 stars on LT, The Help and The School of Essential Ingredients, are both published by Putnam Adult (oh, my, that makes them sound rather naughty ;-O ). But then it is a real mix....until I noticed a bit further down, in my earlier entered 5 star and 4 1/2 star books, a great many books have been published by Bantam.
It is because they seem to be the publisher of some of my favorite authors, authors who books I regularly read and like...Dean Koontz, Cody McFadyen, Lisa Gardner, Laurie R. King, all published by Bantam. But then, Bantam is owned by Random House, so if you add in other Random imprints, the number would go up even higher no doubt. Three Rivers, Alfred A. Knopf, Knopf Doubleday, Dial Press...wait, is there really only one huge publishing house?

So, my answer would have to be no. It is not about the publisher, it is about the author. If my favorite author changes publisher, of course I will be right there with them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

National Lighthouse Day!

Posted by Picasa

Today, August 7th, is a very special day! It is National Lighthouse Day!

In 1789, the United States Congress approved the Federal Lighthouse Act for the “establishment and support of Lighthouse, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers” and in honor of the 200th anniversary of the act, in 1989, Congress designated August 7th to be forever celebrated as National Lighthouse Day.

From the website of one of my favorite local lights, the lovely Cape May Lighthouse, regarding this holiday...

"The purpose was to provide recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity which they represent...
The history they provide gives us the opportunity to step back in time and learn more about our country. The contributions they made to our society, from protecting our coasts to guiding our sailors, should continue to be appreciated and remembered."

Posted by Picasa
click on picture for a bigger view

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Review of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 978-0-307-26975-1)

Our story opens with one of the two main characters of the book, the Swedish investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, enmeshed in perhaps the low point of his professional career. After writing what was to be an expose of the financier Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, Blomkvist instead finds himself in court, convicted of libel. The conviction may mean the collapse of the magazine Millennium of which he is a co-owner, the fines will take every kronor of his savings and may force him to sell the apartment that he loves and will also send him to jail for several months. But into his nightmare steps an unlikely savior.

He receives a request to meet with the elderly, rather reclusive and very wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger. Vanger offers him a job. The official story will be that Blomkvist is spending the coming year on the small island where Vanger lives, writing the history of Vanger's family and the once very large and very powerful family owned business that they run. In reality, Vanger want him to investigate a 40 year old mystery, the disappearance of his then 16 year old grand niece Harriet. It is a sort of locked room mystery, since the girl disappeared from the island when the only way in or out, a bridge, was blocked by an accident and most of the suspects, those on the island that day, were members of the Vanger family. That most of the suspects are his relatives does not surprise Vanger, because he has a very low opinion of most of them, both past and present. As we will see in the course of the book, he is totally justified in that feeling. He tell Blomkvist "...I want you to take me at my word when I say I detest most of the members of my family. They are for the most part thieves, misers, bullies and incompetents." As we will find out, that opinion is very valid and he doesn't even know the half of it.

Blomkvist is not really interested in what he thinks is a hopeless investigation of the girls disappearance but two things sway him. First is the very large sum of money Vanger is offering for the job, whether he succeeds or not in finding out what happened to Harriet. But most of all, it is because Vanger promises at the end of the year, to give him information that will enable him to prove Wennerstrom is really a thief as his expose said and that will allow Blomkvist to get back his credibility as a journalist.

As he starts the investigation into the history of the family and specifically the disappearance of Harriet, going through vast amounts of material, he realizes that he is going to need some assistance. Vanger's lawyer suggests they hire someone from the agency that he had check into Blomkvist himself before they hired him, and specifically a young woman who works for that security firm, she of the Dragon Tattoo. And so we meet the second main character of the book, the very interesting Lisbeth Salander. Her short, almost anorexic built that often has her mistaken for a teenager, her multiple piercings and tattoos and her almost total lack of any social skills makes the 24 year old woman seem an unlikely choice. She is prone to violence, has a history of abuse and was declared a ward of the state as a child and still has a state appointed guardian that handle all her financial affairs. But things are not quite as they seem, as we will find out in the course of the book, and Salander has a variety of skills that make her an extraordinary investigator and not someone who you want to get on the wrong side of. As her present guardian finds out when uses his position to take advantage of her and is treated to a punishment he will not ever forget. In some ways she brings to mind someone who could be the imaginary love child of Lara Croft and the Rainman.
I think without question the strongest part of the book is the Salander character as she is slowly revealed to us and as she assist Blomkvist in solving what turns out to be several truly horrible mysteries. Mysteries that have taken place over a period of decades and will only be resolved in the present.

This is a very good book that I very much enjoyed and would certainly recommend. But that being said, it is not a perfect book. For one thing it gets off to a very slow and rather confusing start that might have had me closing the book if I had not heard so many good things about it. I say this to urge you to persevere and I can assure you that after the first 40 pages or so, things will take off. Just about the time Salander shows up...

The book also takes a fairly significant number of pages at the end to wrap up a number of story lines. Necessary perhaps but a bit of a let down after the huge climax of the story has taken place. Also, there are a great many characters in the book, both in the present and in the past, and of course the fact that they all have Swedish names that are unfamiliar to my linguistically challenged American ears doesn't help. Nor do I want to admit how many time I had to go online to convert the often mentioned sums of kronors to a currency whose value I could have some sense of.

Not totally insignificant points as you are reading, but ones that ultimately will recede as you get caught up in this compelling and very interesting first book in the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium series.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Thinger, With Barely a Mention of Library Thing

Our Tuesday Thinger, this week, from Wendi at Wendi's Book Corner...

"Another off-topic (to Library Thing) week for us this week. I've recently become aware of a new program through Amazon (played with it over the past month or so) called the Amazon Vine. It is "Amazon Vine™. The Exclusive Club of Influential Amazon Voices." Questions: Have you had an opportunity to check out the new Amazon Vine program? Have you signed up? Is this program something that interests you? How do you feel about the reviews posted on Amazon in general (not counting the ones that have made the news)?"

Well, if by check out, you mean have I seen the reviews with the bright green "Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program" logo plaster across the top or reviews, yes, I have seen those because it is impossible to miss them. Especially since Amazon appears to put those reviews first in the listings. I don't know if that is something new, posting them first, but it is only recently that I have noticed it. And I am not thrilled with it really.

Have I checked it out as in have I been invited to join? No, I have not. Does it interest me? Hmmm....I am not sure that it does. First of all...and I really don't think it is a case of Sour Grapes because I have not been invited to join {{sob}}... but I am not sure that I like the self-described exclusive nature of it. A bit too much of the popular kids in high school in my mind maybe. Amazon itself describe the program this way, with my added italics..." a program that enables a select group of Amazon customers to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make educated purchase decisions. Customers are invited to become Amazon Vine™ Voices based on the trust they have earned in the Amazon community for writing accurate and insightful reviews." group, selected by TPTB (the powers that be) based on what?...well, based on the "trust they have earned" for accurate and insightful reviews....again determined by TPTB at the EVIL AMAZON Amazon.
That is real nice of them, but honestly, I would just as soon make the determination of which reviews I trust on my own.

But it also raises my general issues with the reviews at Amazon as a whole. To say the least, they are a very mixed bunch, ranging from the very good to the very bizarre. I find it useful when there are a large number of reviews to look to just get a general sense of the books ratings. But that has it's weakness. Take, as an example I like to beat like a dead horse (please, no PETA protest, it is just a saying ;-} ) The da Vinci Code. A very poorly, almost painfully badly written, very poorly researched book in my opinion, gets 3 1/2 stars and almost 4000 reviews. On the other hand, when there are just a few reviews, they are pretty useless. I have seen books with a handful of reviews, all raves, that sound like they were written by the author's friends, family and the people they owe large sums of money to. I have read a fair number of reviews that seem to be written by people that did not read the book, or read a totally different book which happen to have the same title.

Amazon book reviews share the same problem that is common to all online reviews. Yes, as much as I love Library Thing, and as I may have mentioned before, I do love LT, it is even true of the reviews there, although I think to a lesser degree. Anyone can write a review, they can even be anonymous. We have no way of knowing if they are honest, or what their motivation is to give a positive or negative review. There is no way of even being reasonably sure that they have read the book. In a way, I assume the Vine program is an attempt by Amazon to bypass some of those problems by pre-selecting people they feel can be "trusted". With some of the examples of controversies that have recently surrounded some Amazon reviews and reviewers, they may be looking for some way build more confidence in their reviews. But I think I may have mentioned before my concern about the POWER that the Mighty, Huge Amazon has over the entire book industry and this just strike me as another attempt to exert that control. I would prefer, perhaps, if Amazon would just leave that judgment up to each of us. All online reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt and the reader has to use some prudence. I'm not sure I want my hand held during the process.

Except with my reviews, of course, every word of which can be totally trusted. ;-)

As can that ever darling Bandit...oh Bandit, where are you, where is my cute little Bandit...oh, there you are...

oh Bandie, you are such a pleasure hound...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Very Weak Musing Monday Answer...Weak I Tell Ya.

Let's check out this week's question from Rebecca at Just One more Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is a library habits meme…courtesy of MizB: {{{Oh no, the library again... :-O }}}

1) If you don't frequent your local library, why not? Frequent is not the word I would use, since I infrequently frequent my local library. Why not? Well, because I don't really need any more books at the moment. Or for the next few years, I think. I seem to have acquired books faster than I read them and have a wee backlog.

2) If you do visit the library, how often do you go? I think we covered that...infrequently. To be totally honest, it has maybe been twice this last year.
Libraries are wonderful could they not be, since they are full of books and they let you take them home and read them! So I am rather ashamed to say it. ;-)

3) Do you have a favorite section that you always head to first, or do you just randomly peruse the shelves? Well, on the times I do visit, I go to one of two places. Mysteries or new releases. Ideally, I want a book that is both, a new mystery! Woo Hoo!

4) How many books are you allowed to check out at one time? Do you take advantage of this? You know, I have no idea. So, I checked out the web site and they say "BOOKS - unlimited number (maximum of three on one topic)..."
5) How long are you allowed to have the books checked out?"...for three week loan."
6) How many times are you allowed to renew your check-outs, if at all? "may be renewed as long as they are not on request for another person. You may renew by phone. You may renew items, up to four times, on your own from a PAC terminal in the library or from your own computer using the Library Catalog." Who knew? this seems very generous!

7) What do you love best about your particular library? Well, it is pretty close's close. And it is full of books...My branch, the one nearest, is quite small and not terrible exciting. So love seems a bit strong.
8) What is one thing you wish your library did differently? Again, because I am rarely there, I am not familiar enough with how they do things to be unhappy with how they do things. As far as I know, they are doing everything just right!

9) Do you request your books via an online catalogue, or through the librarian at your branch? I am an online shopper, so of course I have used the online catalog. I mean, if I ask the librarian, well, first I would have to get dressed and go TO the library and then she or he would most likely go on their computer and access the same program. And, as I mentioned, there is the whole getting dressed part!

10) Have you ever chosen a book on impulse (from the online catalogue OR the shelves) and had it turn out to be totally amazing? If so, what book was it, and why did you love it? Gosh, I wish I had a great answer to this one, but I don't really. I even considered making one up, but that seemed...well, dishonest.

Ok, as I said, I am rather ashamed to admit that I am not really a library user these days and my answer therefore is quite weak and uninteresting.
I could have made up a much better