Monday, March 31, 2014


The Unexpected Man (audiobook) - Yasmina Reza    

"All these things and so many others you've described, Mr. Parsky, have made me weep. You have no right to be bitter. In your books have been hundreds of moments like eternity."

I loved it: a dialogue, both internal and spoken, between an author and his reader.

Would you really want to meet and get to know your favorite author?

Do you think being disillusioned by the author would affect your enjoyment of her/his work?
The Last Coyote (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"Everybody counts or nobody counts."

"It means I bust my ass to make a case whether its a prostitute or the mayor's wife. That's my rule."

Somebody's just a little bit cranky.

And if you're going to go after the truth, you'd best best ready for what you find.
Trunk Music (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"What is important is not what you hear said, it's what you observe."

Well, I didn't see that coming!

I'm not upset about it, mind you, just a bit surprised.

Angels Flight (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"To these detractors he was the scum of the legal system, a courtroom magician who could reach into the deck at any place and pull out the race card."

Sometimes your train is going up. Sometimes your train is going down. And sometimes that sucker is just sitting there, refusing to move.

Life huh?
Death on the Downs (audiobook) - Simon Brett

"She had parked the Renault on the outskirts of Weldisham, a village on the outskirts of the South Downs that looked from the outside as if it hadn't changed much since the days when Agatha Christie might have set a murder there."

Oh, the complications of remote village life.

People who live in bustling cities just don't know how good they have it!
Charm City - Laura Lippman  

"There was no point in letting her parents know that the unsavory side of Spike's life was in the ascendance."

It definitely pays to be able to think on your feet while building your curriculum vitae - and solving murders.

Sometimes we are absolutely sure we know what we want . . .
Darkness More Than Night - Michael Connelly

"There was polite laughter in the courtroom. Bosch noticed that the attorneys -- prosecution and defense -- dutifully joined in, a couple of them overdoing it. It had been his experience that while in open court a judge could not possibly tell a joke that the lawyers did not laugh at."

Two bracing plots are drawn inexorably together.

All we can be is who we are. No?
William Shakespeare's Star Wars (ebook) - Ian Doescher
"True it is,
That these are not the droids for which thou search'st."
                          - Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi
Shades of Richard III (and all the rest).

All you really need is an appreciation of Shakespeare and a sense of humor.
Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer (audiobook) - Maya Angelou

"On this platform of peace, we can create a language to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other." 

I really want to like the poetry of Maya Angelou. I believe in her basic message, and her desire for justice and equality. I really do. Some of her pieces are breathtaking and move me greatly, but most simply do not. My guess is that this is a lack on my part. So, periodically, I pick up another book and try again.

One of the wonderful things about poetry, my friends, is that there is so much of it. Search, experiment, try and discard, until you find your fit. 

It's okay if you don't like a certain poem, or poet, honest. There are many more from which to choose.

The Dalai Lama's Cat (ebook) - David Michie         

"The purpose of Buddhism is not to convert people. It is to give them tools so they can create greater happiness. So they can be happier Catholics, happier atheists, happier Buddhists. There are many practices."

"It is the wonderful paradox that the best way to achieve happiness for oneself is to give happiness to others."

This is a gentle exposition of Buddhist ideals, narrated deftly by the Dalai Lama's cat, HRH. Who says cats are cold and stand-offish! 

It put me in mind of Virginia Wolf's Flush. (also worth a read, though on a different topic)

The Summer of the Danes (audiobook) - Ellis Peters  

"As roads go, the road home is as good as any."

I have read all of these stories, and I've seen the entire BBC series. It was still a pleasure to listen to a good historical murder mystery told by none other than the steadfast Brother Cadfael, himself. (Sir Derek Jacobi)

A Drink Before the War (audiobook) - Dennis Lehane

"L.A. burns, and so many other cities smolder, waiting for the hose that will flood gasoline over the coals, and we listen to politicians who fuel our hate and our narrow views and tell us it's simply a matter of getting back to basics while they sit in their beachfront properties and listen to the surf so they won't have to hear the screams of the drowning."

Definitely not light reading: a murder wrapped in a mystery, surrounded by a city at war. Compelling.
The Element (audiobook) - Ken Robinson, Ph. D.   

"Being in our element depends on finding our own distinctive talents and passions. Why haven't most people found this? One of the most important reasons is that most people have a very limited conception of their own natural capacities."

In the book, the author says that society (through it's agents: parents, teachers, doctors, etc.) tells us that our individualistic impulses are wrong and we must conform.

He then gives example after example of famous people who were lucky enough to have someone believe in them so that they could escape their programming and succeed.

Just follow their examples!

He also offers ideas to revamp the school system so that the problem might be fixed.

It's more of a pep talk than a how to.

Mrs., Presumed Dead (ebook) - Simon Brett   

"God. Life's bloody unfair. Get born with a tassell and you've got an advantage for the rest of your life."

Some problems are the same wherever you go: neighbors, repair men, murder.

Mrs. Pargeter is inquisitive, independent, and quite sprightly for her age. I may have mentioned this before, but I so want to grow old like this woman.

City of Bones (ebook) - Michael Connelly   

"Bosch nodded in a way he hoped conveyed that he understood and agreed with her thinking at the time. It didn't matter that he did not. It didn't matter that his own mother had faced the same hardship of having a child too soon and under difficult circumstances but had clung to and protected him with a fierceness that inspired his life."

Sometimes the hidden scars can leave us far more debilitated than those we see.

Mrs. Pargeter's Package (ebook) - Simon Brett   
"The only situation which might justify panic is one in which panic is likely to help. Such a situation never arises. Though pretended panic may sometimes cause a useful diversion, real panic can never be anything other than a waste of energy."

The ability to relax is an invaluable skill, and definitely one worth cultivating.

Mrs. Pargeter's Pound of Flesh (ebook) - Simon Brett

"They felt absolutely confident that they had produced a product with enough confusing words in it to make people think they were learning something."

Good friends are a very important asset in life, as is a good self-image.

Mrs. Pargeter's Plot (ebook) - Simon Brett   

"He was a great philanthropist, your husband, Mrs. Pargeter."

Have you ever noticed that many people who have no sense of humor, think they have a great one?

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