Thursday 19 April 2012

Anniversary post...

Happy one-year anniversary!!  It was almost exactly one year ago today that I published my first post on the blog.  WOW!  It seems both like the time has gone by so quickly, and also like I've always been writing posts... strange how time is fluid and changeable that way.  Anyways, thanks for sticking with me for a whole year, and I look forward to many more years of great reading and posting experiences!

The first thing I wanted to let you know about is the 48th annual CFUW used book sale that will be held this weekend, Friday April 20 from 9am-9pm and Saturday April 21 from 9am-1pm at the First United Church at King and William Sts in Waterloo.  If you have time on either Friday or Saturday, you really should check it out, as there are often great finds and always at a great price.

I decided not to read depressing When Will There Be Good News?, even though I know I really enjoyed listening to it, and have even downloaded the audiobook again in case I want to listen to it again.  I went to the library on Saturday afternoon and just wandered in the stacks to see if something caught my eye.  I came away with about eight books that I knew nothing about.  Of those, at least four ended up not working for me for various reasons.  From that experience, I learned what it is like for a library patron to come into the library unprepared, with no ideas regarding what she wants to take out.  Having worked at the library for so many years, I'd forgotten how daunting and often frustrating searching for a good book could be.  On Sunday, my husband and I went to another library to select some DVDs for the week, and I also looked for books, blindly, as I had done the day before.  I ended up taking four books, one I had read before and enjoyed, one that is its sequel, one novel about which I know nothing, and one mystery paperback by Ruth Rendell.  I read the Ruth Rendell novel, Not in the Flesh, an Inspector Wexford mystery, and I really enjoyed it.  I've tried a stand-alone novel by this author within the past year, The Water is Lovely, which was kind of surreal and dreamlike.  I thought it was OK, but I much preferred the Wexford novel, a classic British mystery.  Not alot of character development in the novel, and I assume that the rest of the novels in the series are like this one, and they are fairly short and easy to get through, but in terms of a classic mystery, I don't think you could go wrong with one of these.  I'm so happy to have discovered this, as there must be quite a few in this series, which means many more mysteries for me to check out (literally!!).

It's funny, I'm not sure why I like reading mysteries.  I never try to figure out who committed the crime or why.  I like reading mystery series as well as stand-alones, and I especially enjoy British mysteries.  They can be cozy mysteries, taking place in a small town or village, where the crime takes place off the page and the detective is often not really a detective at all, but an amateur sleuth with a skill in some other area (remember the book I wrote about not long ago, Paganini's Ghost, about a violinist who got involved in a murder in a small Italian village?).  They can be psychological mysteries like Minette Walters, whose novels are fairly descriptive, not necessarily graphic or gratuitous in their descriptions, but you don't have to imagine much about the crime, and there are always complex psychological twists. They can be police procedurals like Peter Robinson and Elizabeth George, where the workings of the police and their investigative tools and processes are as important to the story as the crime.  They can be "slice-of-life" novels like Case Histories and others by Kate Atkinson, where the reader feels as if she is learning about life while discovering the truth behind the crime.  Maybe mysteries appeal because they promise resolution in the end, a discovery of the guilty party and hopefully an arrest and prosecution, which should bring some peace of mind to the victims and those who are left behind.  Maybe I like the way the British write mysteries, the atmosphere these writers are able to create and into which I can immerse myself for a little while.  Also, because they are often written in series, there is almost always more to read by that author once you finish one book.  Anyways, I'm very excited to have discovered the Inspector Wexford series by Rendell, and look forward to reading many more (there are more than 20 novels in that series alone - WOO HOO!!  I've hit the "book jackpot"!)

In my last post when I was talking about Ann Patchett's State of Wonder, I mentioned that I was reminded of a few different novels as I was reading it, but at the time of writing I was only able to recall two of those novels, Patchett's Bel Canto and Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible.  Well, I thought of another, not a novel, but an author.  There were sections of the book that reminded of the books of Michael Crichton, where a group of researchers, often working for a big pharmaceutical company, goes into the jungle to discover, usually covertly, the secrets of a tribe of indigenous peoples, and often to exploit them for their own gain, but this always turns out badly for everyone.  Patchett's novel was actually nothing like a Crichton novel, but it certainly had some elements of this type of novel, and Crichton is not the only writer who uses this plotline.  Another novel with this type of plotline, which is more similar to Patchett's novel, is Le Carre's The Constant Gardener, an excellent novel with a disturbing story to tell.  All that to say once again that I loved State of Wonder, and will  most definitely read it again.

That's all for tonight!  Looking forward to another year of posting...

Bye for now!


  1. Happy Anniversary Julie!

  2. Congrats on one year =)
    I look forward to reading your posts!
    I loved Paganini's Ghost. If you have any suggestions to something similar, I would love to hear it (an aside-I did read Paul Adam's other book in the series!)
    Your new profile icon is so wonderfully cozy.