I have never before read a book that had delicious recipes for items mentioned in the story. There are twenty-two sweet recipes scattered through the book. The story is an interesting murder of a woman who enjoyed men (perhaps too much!) and all the people involved in her life. Hannah Swenson, who owns a bakery and always seems to have extra sweets around to share with people (which we can bake from the recipes provided), has solved murders before, so this was a good opportunity to use her wisdom and attention to details to find out who did what.
As she is working on the case of the woman found floating in the pool, Hannah is also working out in the gym and dieting to lose weight so she could fit into a dress her mother had chosen for her to wear to a book launch party. Food seems to always be on everyone’s mind, but they do discuss the murder with enough people to bring out the guilty one. In fact, he almost does away with Hannah before she is rescued.
Now to try those recipes!!
Having a German heritage, I really enjoyed this story about a young couple who escaped from their family and home in Germany before the war by coming to America in 1904. Frederick and Jette arrived in New Orleans with just the bags they could carry, a possible job to look for, a small amount of English language, and a baby on the way. They took a steamboat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. Due to the arrival of their baby, they didn’t make it all the way to the possible job, but found themselves in a small German town on the Missouri River named Beatrice, after the stubborn wife of the founder. The local bar needed help, so Frederick got a job there, which led to him eventually buying it. The building stayed in the family through three generations and several changes. At the last, ut becane a Mexican restaurant, still owned by a member of the original family. This is a good story of a family of true Americans – from another country, but dedicated to America.
This is a super story of two young boys and their experiences at a carnival around Halloween time. This was no ordinary carnival, though, it was conducted by very strange supernatural beings who were collecting people. There was a caliope ride that could make one much older or younger than when they got on, with surprising results. There was also a mirror house that few people escaped from, at least in the way they were when they entered. The Illustrated Man, who ran the circus wanted the two boys and almost caught them until they were rescued by the library janitor, father of one of the boys. This story brings to mind the beautiful and scary things one remembers from a circus and is very easy to pull you into the scene – hard to put down.
As the title says, this is about all ghosts, past and present, good and bad, easily seen and hidden. They have been seen, heard, or felt by people of all ages, all over the world. Some have been returning because something in their lives was not finished. Some want to pass on information to the living. Some seem to just want to be noticed and perhaps frighten their audience. Most people have noticed unusual situations, but try to ignore them or are reluctant to mention them to others. The author brings up happenings from the Roman ages to the present that have been observed, smelled, or felt. Sometimes it is a scene or group happening, such as a battle or alignment of soldiers, a disaster taking place, or a sad or happy gathering of people. It seems that ghosts, or spirits, are all around us, noticed by some, but not all of us. The author even gives the steps to take to put yourself into a state of mind to be more aware of the spirits (if you choose to do so).
Wounded dectives are not always allowed to sit around comfortably and recouperate. John Corey was pulled into a murder-treasure theft situation by knowing the right people – those who were murdered. Luckily some of his friends taught him about manuvering a boat in Long Island Sound and about the animal disease research site at Plum Island (before they were killed because of their knowledge). In this story one learns a lot about the way a dective’s mind works, helping to sort out facts from feeliings and put them in a logical order that points the direction of the crime. it is also very interesting to learn about things that may have happened to Captain Kidd’s treasure.
This is a very interesting Sandman collection with only four stories, but they are quite involved. The most easily recognized from classical tales is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. This version combines real people (putting on the show) with mystical creatures (the audience) for this dream story and gives their interaction. The very last story tells the author’s directions for the artists on the script, scenes, description of characters, and some of his thoughts on the story at that point for the first story in the book “Caliope”. The artists sometimes write their comments, too. It is very interesting how complete everything is planned to bring the story to life. To the reader it just seems to flow along.
Known as “Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity”, this story is a excellent description of the journey of a man whose daughter was abducted during a family vacation. He was in “Great Sadness” when he received a note from God inviting him to an old shack where evidence of his daughter’s murder had been found. What he learns about life, truth, and God and the other Heavenly Entities transforms his life and answers questions we all have about how to deal with pain with their help. This is a very comforting story that teaches a lot about understanding through a higher degree of insight.
Having never read a graphic novel before, only simple comics as a child, I knew not what to expect. I was pleased with this book. Neil Graiman has really done an excellent job of writing fast-moving stories of mythological and historical people, usually having a wise ending. The artwork between stories is outstanding – very fitting to the stories. Things can get rather gorey, but I suppose that is expected in these stories. Characters appear very real and show their feelings. The Sandman, the Lord of Dream, appears in each story, giving help to the good and explainations to the reader.
Charles Darwin had great interest in science, but he was expected to become a pastor. Before going into this field, he had an opportunity to go on a trip around the world on a government-sponsored survey ship, the Beagle. The sailing ship didn’t give anyone much room, but wherever they stopped, Charles gathered many items of interest that he wanted to study. Most things were skinned or dried and sent back to England after careful notes and drawings were made. He noted all changes in plants, birds, and animals in different regions and habitats and theorized on what caused these changes. He spent most of his life reading, writing, experimenting and working on understanding the functions of the changes. He documented the importance of Natural Selection. He was also a loving family man who had great sadness in the loss of children and siblings and often suffered from illness himself. Through it all, he was a dedicated scientist.
This is the story of Brave Orchid, a Chinese girl raised among the old ways, where sons were appreciated in a family, but daughters were usually to be sold or married as soon as possible. There were many deaths mentioned in the story – the background of ghosts that were always with the people. Many warnings about life were usually told as stories to children about how the gods expected certain actions and gifts. Her mother sliced the frenum under her tongue when whe was a baby, which caused her great difficulty in speaking clearly, so as a child, she rarely spoke at all. The Chinese say “a ready tongue is an evil.” There are actually many stories of the women in the family. Brave Orchid attended college and got her medical degree. She treated many people in China before coming to America, but when she and her husband moved to California, they made their living with the hard work of a laundromat in the Chinese quarter.
This is another of Cleveland Amory’s humorous stories about a special cat. He is very knowledgeable about cats and prides himself on taking good care of his pets as well as feeling personal friendship with them. He expects his friends to appreciate them, too. Polar Bear was a stray kitten when found and his life until the old-age problem of uremic poisoning, kidney failure, took him away was enjoyed and reviewed by the author with a great deal of humor. Mr. Amory admits learning many things while living with Polar Bear – some of which came in handy with his associates.
I wanted to find out more about the city where i am living and working, and Gary Kremer has covered this very well. He breaks it into 7 Tours around town (mostly meant for walking, with time and distance covered) and the seven cemeteries. He mentions items in the past that are now different and why they changed. He describes the different styles and materials of many buildings and the nationalities and special people who lived there. Many time special activities that have taken place in an area are also mentioned. Many items we wouldn’t know about are described, such as the house that had a turntable in the garage so the owner wouldn’t have to back out onto a busy street. Architects are usually named and large changes that have taken place since the building was erected. This is an excellent tour of Jefferson City that I would recommend to anyone.
This country owes a lot to the efforts of the remarkable but rarely identified women of our western past. Most are familiar with Sacajawea’s help to Lewis and Clark, but who knows of Narcissa Whitman, who ran a mission and helped travelers on the Oregon Trail, sending letters home that described conditions taking place during those years. Many letters written by these early western women have been backgrounds for books. Juliet Bier cared for three children while driving their cattle through Death Valley, following her husband, who was venturing ahead. She helped many of the ’49ers along the trail and was later called “the best man of the party”. There was Dame Shirley, who wrote descriptions of life in the California Gold Rush, minority women such as Biddy Mason and Donaldina Cameron, who taught and helped early settlers and the down-trodden Chinese culture, Esther Morris and Carrie Chapman West who led women in their new right to vote, and Ann Eliza Young, who won her fight agaiinst polygomy in the Mormon culture. Bright Eyes, daughter of Omaha Chief Iron Eyes, educated Indian children, then grew politically and gave many speeches in the East, particularly Boston and Washington D. C., leading a crusade for Indian justice.
There were many women who let the world know the conditions in the West as they taught, lectured, and led policital groups to help the cause of those being unfairly treated. More that were mentioned in the book were: Agnes Morely Cleveland, Pamela Mann, Ella “Cattle Kate” Watson, Elizabeth Taylor (not the actress), Anna Howard Shaw, Bethenia Owens-Adair, Lucy Anthony, Miriam Davis Cott, Mary Elizabeth Lease, and Willa Cather. These were only some of the well-educated women who gave their all in the arts and political fields, as well as personally, to help the people settling the West.
We have all enjoyed hearing Charles Kuralt take us on a journey around the country, meeting the American people. This book visits many people and places briefly around this country and lets us see a bit of its backbone from past history to the present. These are very short glimpses (ninely-second-long broadcasts) of America. Among the people presented were a Vernonter splitting his winter wood, a Tennessee cotton-candy maker, a cable-car driver in San Francisco, a totem pole carver in Alaska, a mailman on the Magnolia River in Alabama, the caretaker of Grant’s Tomb in New York, a whirligig maker in Maine, a basket weaver in South Carolina, and a lady who repairs treadle sewing machines in Massachusetts. Some of the places and things viewed were: the Wisconsin home of Ringling Brothers Circus, the New Jersey U.S. flag-making factory, the home of buffalo wings in Buffalo, New York, a toothpick factory in Maine, the home of the Pony Express in St. Joseph, Missouri, a covered bridge in Oregon, sequoias in California, the small key deer in the Florida Keys, stone gargoyles on New York buildings, stained glass windows begun by Tiffany, and a lightbulb that has been glowing since 1901. There are many, many more parts of our country’s history moments, some of which are still going on, and some just remembered well – all important in their own way in the life of our country.
These are true stories of Texlohoma, Transylvania, and other states that never made it. They were wanted by many people for political reasons, environmental reasons, commercial reasons, and lots more, but all were turned down. Some had strange names, like Absaroka (near the Dakotas, of course), Adelsverein (German Texas), Deseret (Morman land near the desert), Forgottonia, Nickajack, No Man’s Land, Rough and Ready, and Yazoo. Some had names that were later used in a different area, like Washington (south of Lake Erie), Wyoming (between New York and Pennsylvania), and Minnesota (south of Dakota). Some hopeful states had names that stayed as cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Lincoln (now Idaho and part of Washington), and New York City (as a city, it couldn’t be a state). Some were actually in other countries, such as Albania, Cuba, Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland, Panama, Puerto Rico, Sicily, and Taiwan – useful locations, but far away and difficult to protect, even though many of the people there wanted to become part of the United States. If they all made it, I wonder what our flag would look like!
Mankind has always wanted to know more about the animal kingdom. Some animals have been feared, some depicted as gods, some made into pets, and others used for food. The author tells a story of many animals as individuals or as groups, from the ancient past to the present. Excellent photographs and drawings clearly show the animal being described. She brings out many questions that have been asked about the relationship of humans and animals through the years. General information about the situation is given, but readers are allowed to make their own decisions. She describes their lives in the free world and in zoos. At the end, she lets the reader feel and see the world as an animal would, to help us understand their feelings and actions. I found this to be a verywarm, clear description, easily understood by young readers.
Using excerpts from Michener’s books, he writes segments about the animals that were included in the larger stories. This is a wonderful history of the changes of the Earth through the centuries – the development of land and water features and the beginnings of the animal kingdom – from small to huge, back to medium size, and the coming of man. Description of each section is so full of information that the reader feels like he/she is actually there, watching the events happening and understanding the feelings of the animals. One adventure follows two men and a hyena as they explore Africa as friends. Others told about the lives of a mastodon, an ancesstral bison, a crab, a dinosaur, a salmon, armadillos, the comparison of two hunting dogs – a labrador and a chesapeake – by their competing owners, and several other animals. All had names and personalities. I learned so very much about these animals as their stories were told. The last story is told by the author as he visits an old friend who was trying to protect his bird feeder from an invading squirrel, but unwilling to endanger the pest. The squirrel was in no danger.
What an unusual but attention-keeping story! Henry is a time-traveler who vanishes from one moment in time to appear in another – earlier or later in his life, then returns (naked). He may be gone moments, days, or years at a time. He meets his wife, Clare, when she is 6, in a meadow near her house. Through the years he visits her often and teaches her many things about life, nature, music, art – all things she remembers throughout her life. He sometimes leads a rough and hectic life away from her, but always loves and protects her. They marry when she is 22 and she knows that he will always return from his travels no matter how long he is gone. Her age progresses naturally, but his changes in his travels and sometimes he meets himself in another age. Most of the time he is a librarian – could this happen to us?
After Jurassic Park people have wondered if there could be prehistoric animals still living somewhere on Earth. Supposedly they lived only a few thousand years then were killed by the falling of meteors. At a convention in 1993, Dr. Malcolm dicussed the extinction of these animals and said complex animals were unable to adapt to changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. A young palentologist, Richard Lavine, did not agree that all dinosaurs would have died and had heard rumors of some strange animals existing on an island near Costa Rica. He had enough money to fund an exploratory trip to the island, Engin, with several other scientists, Sarah Harding, a field biologist from Africa, and Dr. Malcolm. This is an excitiing adventure where the crew actually did find extinct animals reproducing on the island. Of course, many of these animals were meat-eaters and the people looked like a good meal. They had some very close adventures and the main characters did survive.
Do you ever have trouble remembering something important? Lisa Jackson was about killed and all she remembered was seeing her lover’s face in the window, aiming a gun at her. Very unnerving! Throw in connections to an old asylum where she spent much time as a child while her father treated the patients, several murders with numbers tatooed on them, and a mentally deranged man who feels God is instructing him to dispatch with certain people. This is a fast-moving, hard-to-put-down book.