04. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Poetry

Nights with Armour, Lighthearted Light Verse by Armour, Richard, read by Janet, on 04/03/2013

Nights with ArmourThis is a short, simple book of poetry “to take to bed with you”.  The poems are humorous and fun reading, covering many areas of life.  One that fits me as I age is “Lines on Lines:

The older I get, the less I pine for

Things that I have to stand in line for.”

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Death and the Walking Stick by Linda Berry, read by Janet, on 03/28/2013

Death and the Walking StickThis is a delightful tale of a small town police force solving the death of an old woman.  Her regular walking stick was not near the body, but a different one was against the wall – odd placement that provided good clues as the case progressed.  The person telling the story is a female police officer who grew up in the town.  As the three membered police force know everyone in town and their past history, many stories and personalities work together to solve the crime.

20. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Women's Fiction (chick lit) · Tags:

The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters, read by Janet, on 03/17/2013

http://origin.syndetics.com/index.php?isbn=9780061246241/LC.gif&client=mirip&type=hw7Who would imagine that the protection of bodies in Egypt’s Valley of Kings would involve several people being killed because of their knowledge of the artifacts?  Elizabeth Peters always give a full description of the people involved, the surroundings, and enough past information to connect the incidents to the present.  One learns a lot of history and an appreciation of those who uncover and take care of these ancient items. In this story, the bones of King Tut had been stolen and were being held for ransom. A hand was sent for proof.  It takes good detectives to be able to identify the thieves, locate the rest of the body, and move it to a safe place.  Good reading (and lots of eating by the participants).

04. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Janet, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, read by Janet, on 03/01/2013

The Lifeboat    Having just eloped with a man who offered her anything she would ever want and been sailing back to America to meet his mother, Grace suddenly found herself on a crowded lifeboat watching their elegant oceanliner sink beneath the sea.  This is the heart-rending story of people suffering the effects of weather, the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, shortage of food, water, and even sitting space.  The boat is so heavy and over-crowded that it is constantly taking on water, making the situation even more frightening.  As things got worse, some felt they had to lighten the boat and some were “helped” into the sea.  Most of them survived over two weeks in this terrible condition.  After they were rescued those who “helped” others into the water were brought to trial for murder.  This trial discusses the final days and what happened.  One feels the heartache (and pain and hunger) throughout the story.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Janet · Tags:

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, read by Janet, on 02/23/2013

Invisible ManThis is the story of a young black man who, as a child, started living his life in humility as his dying grandfather stressed was necessary, but was a rebel inside.  He won a scholarship to the state college for Negroes and enjoyed his first three years there.  However, he was tricked into going to Harlem for a job the next summer and found out after many adventures that it was to get him out of the school.  There he learned a different life and had to protect himself from almost everyone.  His rebel inside, though, caused him to become a spokesman for those with so many problems.  He learned the importance of diversity as a major issue of life and how it helped him be an invisible man in a large world.

15. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, NonFiction · Tags:

Stories from the Heart - Missouri's African American Heritage by Gladys Caines Coggswell, read by Janet, on 02/11/2013

Stories from the HeartThis is a compilation of interviews with people who were once U.S. slaves and now live a free life (at the time the book was written).  The stories are written in the dialect of the speaker.  They speak of the ghosts and haunts they heard about and how scared they felt, how they were treated by their masters, and how they were treated by other black folks.  The Ku Klux Klan were also very frightening to many.  Most were not educated at all as their white owners were against them getting “big ideas”, however, after freedom, many learned the basics so they could read and write.  They tell of poor clothes and being barefooted all year round.  Many were whipped by their owners and others.  They usually had to doctor themselves – using turpentine or sugar for stomachache, goose grass twigs, black root for constipation, scraped turnip bound to a frost bitten foot, and many other home-made cures.  Pensions for older folks were very small, if anything.  Many had to live with younger family members.

One told an old riddle:  “I rode over the bridge and yet I walked.”  (“Yet I” was a dog.)

05. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Memoirs, NonFiction · Tags:

Missouri Slave Narratives : A Folk History of Slavery in Missouri from Interviews with Former Slaves by The Federal Writers' Project, 1936 - 1938, read by Janet, on 02/02/2013

Missouri Slave NarrativesThis is a compilation of interviews with people who were once slaves and now live a free life.  The stories are written in the dialect of the speaker.  They tell of the ghosts and haunts they saw or heard about in stories and how scared they were of them.  The Ku Klux Klan were also frightening to many.  Most were not educated at all as white owners were against it, however, after gaining their freedom some learned the basics.  They tell of poor clothes and being barefooted all year round.  Many tell of being whipped by their owners and others.  They usually had to doctor themselves – using turpentine on sugar for stomachache, goose grass twigs, black root for constipation, scraped turnip bound to a frost bitten foot, and many other home-made cures.  Pensions for older folks were very small, if anything.  Many had to live with younger famiy members.  One told an old riddle:  “I rode over the bridge and yet I walked.”  (“Yet-I” was a dog.)

 

29. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Janet

The Face-Changers by Thomas Perry, read by Janet, on 01/24/2013

The Face-Changers       This is a fast-moving story of an Indian American woman who helped people who needed to get out of a life-threatening situation.  She used many methods and always seemed to know who to contact or avoid.  Jane Whitefield had promised her husband to quit being a “guide”, but when a friend of his needed her help, she gave in “one last time”.  In this story she helped at least five other people escape the “face-changers” who were using her name and techniques to destroy human lives.

09. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Graphic Novel, Janet

The Story Teller by Jim Henson, read by Janet, on 09/21/2012

This is a very interesting collection of stories that could be shared with children (if they are not easily scared).  Actually, the stories are not as scarey as the pictures.  Animals are involved in many stories and often a good lesson is taught or wise advice given.  “A Storyteller is not only a teller of stories, but a collctor of them as well.”

18. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Janet

The End of the Age by Pat Robertson, read by Janet, on 12/18/2012

     If you ever wonder what might happen when this stage of world life ends, this is the book to read.  Interestingly, many of the things mentioned seem to already be happening!  Every time I hear of a meteor heading toward the Earth I will wonder if it is the one to bring an end to things as we know them.  The one in this story landed in the Pacific Ocean near southern California.  The resulting waves wiped out a large part of the West Coast, countless islands, like Hawaii, caused huge damage to all ocean-lying areas all over the world, and, of course, sank most of the ships in the water.  Many water creatures were also killed.Volcanoes erupted and earthquakes were felt almost everywhere.  Many of the surviving people were withough any power, transportation, homes, or much food.

During this time, two societies developed.  One, led by the Devil’s advocate, Mark Beaulieu, who has unearthly powers and takes over the Oval Office.  He triess to squash his opponents in the Christian Resistance Movement, led by John Edwards.The clash at the end of the world is outstanding, and, thankfully, with a good outcome.

27. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Food, Janet, Mystery

Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke, read by Janet, on 11/26/2012

     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!!

19. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Historical Fiction, Janet

A Good American by Alex George, read by Janet, on 11/19/2012

  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.

06. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Thriller/Suspense

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, read by Janet, on 11/05/2012

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.

02. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Janet

The Complete Book of Ghosts by Paul Roland, read by Janet, on 10/30/2012

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).

22. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Mystery

Plum Island by Nelson DeMille, read by Janet, on 10/21/2012

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.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Janet

The Sandman - Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, read by Janet, on 09/28/2012

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.

18. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Janet

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, read by Janet, on 09/18/2012

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.

11. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Janet

Sandman Library VI - Fables & Reflections by Neil Gaiman, read by Janet, on 09/10/2012

     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.

28. August 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Janet

Charles Darwin, The Life of a Revolutionary Thinker by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, read by Janet, on 08/28/2012

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.

23. August 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Janet

The Woman Warrior, Memiors of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston, read by Janet, on 08/16/2012

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.