Friday, January 31, 2020

January 2020 Books I read

Catherwood by Marly Youmans the fictional story of a lady in 1676 America (the new world) who gets lost in the wilderness and how she survives.
The 39 Steps by John Buchan a spy story circa WWI
Flotsametrics and the floating world by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano Living in Seattle and beachcombing, you find crazy things sometimes. This scientist studies how things move in the oceans. Fascinating.
Winter Grave by Helene Turston (library) swedish thriller with a complex protagonist.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (library) I did not think it was an "edge of your seat" read. It is a psychological drama more than a thriller in my opinion.
Wheat Belly by William Davis (library) great book about the gluten-free thing. Lots of great information.
Richard Potter by John A. Hodgson (library) The true history of America's first black celebrity 200 years ago in the early 1800's Richard Potter was the most popular entertainer in America.
Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance by Jo Dereske I love this series of mysteries set in the PNW with a librarian protagonist.
Off the Beaten Page by Terri Peterson Smith (library) A travel book with suggestions on where to go with a Literary Theme.
Normal People by Sally Rooney (library) thought it was kind of sad, sort of dysfunctional relationship between a boy and a girl thru High School and College.
Prairie Fever by Michael Parker (library) 2 sisters in early 1900's Oklahoma and the man that comes between them.
The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin (library) great book again about how our modern diet is bad for us...processed foods, too much grain etc.
Oxygen by Carol Cassella an anesthesiologist has a child die during surgery and faces a malpractice suit. Set in Seattle (attention Grays Anatomy fans!!)
McTeague by Frank Norris just rereading this classic, I first read it as a teenager, my Dad had recommended it to me about the same time I was reading stuff like American Tragedy by Dreiser and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.. It is set in San Francisco, so has some great atmosphere of that city.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (library) Great book about aging and death and how it is dealt with in the USA particularly. nonfiction
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (library) If you liked Somewhere in Time or The Age of Adaline or The Time Travelers Wife, you might want to check this one out too. Interesting idea about time travel and loving someone who is out of your time.
While I am Falling by Laura Moriarty (library) story of a girl in college whose life falls apart as her parents are divorcing. Very good. I recommend.
The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford (library) Basically the story of the writing of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. I liked the history of how Christmas was celebrated and also the biography details about Dickens.
The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (audiobook) I really love this book and I caught different stuff during the listening of it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Watersports

Wrightsville Beach is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and Banks Channel, so there are lots of places for protected boating, sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming (and now stand up paddle boarding)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries Secrets of the Nile

There are 36 Super Mystery Books, so I still have more to read and review!

Secrets of the Nile 1995

Frank Hardy calls Nancy Drew and asks for her help. He wants her and Bess to join him and Joe in Egypt. They will need to pose as newlyweds! Someone from the State Department has contacted Frank and Joe and asked them to take the place of newlywed brothers who have been threatened with kidnapping by a terrorist group.  The Addisons are one of the richest families in New York and the State Department is going to make fake passports for the Hardys and track the couples in an attempt to foil the terrorist kidnappers.

Of course, Nancy and Bess go along and they quickly grab a flight from Chicago to New York to meet up with the Hardys and continue on to Cairo. Immediately on arrival in Egypt, their rooms are ransacked. When they try to contact the State Department, there is no record of the agent who contacted them  and there is nothing to show that they are working for the government! Either they are disavowed like some Mission Impossible Ethan Hunt OR they have been set up.  They discover that the Addison brothers are not even married and all clues point to the entire trip being a set up, but for what? And so much money was spent, first class tickets, spending money, new wardrobes for the guys and the girls, what could be so important to justify all this expenditure just to get the Hardys and Nancy Drew to come to Cairo?

Nancy and Bess meet a woman who is trying to find her daughter.  Reminds me of Not Without My Daughter (which was a movie in 1991).  The American woman suspects that her ex-husband who is Egyptian has kidnapped their daughter and brought her to Egypt. Nancy and Bess decide to help her find her daughter.   Frank and Joe get into a knife fight and are arrested. Joe breaks into a warehouse using a credit card to jimmy a door lock. Nancy gets knocked unconscious.  They are threatened twice to stop investigating why they were brought to Egypt.

Nancy is always prepared and manages to have a McGyver handbag, which has a flashlight when needed, scissors when needed etc.  Nancy and Joe work together to defuse a bomb. There is a lot of romance between Nancy and Frank, since they are pretending to be newlyweds and often have to act like they are married. But in the end, they agree that they actually love other people and are just great friends.

I enjoyed the travelogue aspect of the Secrets of the Nile. The fact that the bad guys brought the Hardys and Nancy Drew to Egypt and then they threaten them and don't want them in Egypt is pretty ludicrous to me. This has happened in other Supermysteries where the bad guys are the people who actually bring the detectives into the story. I do not understand. Why?  The two mysteries, the "not without my daughter" story line and the "kidnapping terrorist" story line of course come together in the end and are intertwined.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Station One

These postcards are of views from Station One. An electric trolley operated to Wrightsville Beach for many years. Many place names today, Station One Condos, Trolley Stop hot dogs, and more,  represent this part of Wrightsville Beach's history.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Generic

 First off in my Wrightsville Beach postcard collection are what I consider generic cards. These cards could be for any beach from Maine to Florida but they either have Wrightsville Beach written on them or like the first card with the child, they were mailed from Wrightsville Beach, so that sort of proves that this card was bought and mailed from that location. Even though from the subject matter, these cards could be for any beach. I will also say that the vast majority of my postcard collection are cards that were never mailed, so I have many that do not have postmarks which sometimes makes it hard to figure out what year they are from, but I like the challenge of figuring that out from the style of card and other clues in the photos on the cards.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach, NC: Framed

Okay, so I am going to try something really weird this year. This year in 2020 I am going to highlight only postcards from one place. I have collected postcards from Wrightsville Beach, NC ever since I lived there in the 1980's. So I have a huge box of Wrightsville Beach postcards and even last year, I started trying to get some more recent postcards of this town. Which turned out to be surprisingly difficult. For several reasons, number one, postcards are just not that popular anymore, so folks are less likely to create them and/or sell them. Number two, it seems like Wrightsville Beach does not want to promote itself as a vacation destination anymore. They are basically saying, we have enough people who come here already, so you really do not need to know anything more about us!!  So anyway, 2020 will the the year of Wrightsville Beach. I will start off with this example of how I took postcards and framed them to put on my wall.

You might see some of these cards again in later posts, because I often do have multiples of certain scenes (I really love those antique night scene cards)

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Books I read in December 2019

The Dig by John Preston (library) fictional account about a real archaeological dig in England on the eve of WWII. I really liked it, but then I am obsessed with archaeology and paleontology lately.
The Spellman Files  by Lisa Lutz (audiobook) This was the latest book going in my car, very enjoyable. I am a fan of this series of books about the dysfunctional  Spellman family of detectives
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (library) This is obviously a genre now! This is the third book I have read lately about senior folks getting out and about and into trouble. ("A Man Called Ove" and "An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good" the other two)  Very enjoyable.
Before and After The Incredible Real-life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society by Judy Pace Christie (library) very poignant stories about the real orphans who inspired the fictional book "Before We were Yours" by Lisa Wingate.
The Lucky Hat Mine by J. v. L. Bell A really fun read about a mail order bride to a mining town in Colorado. Romance, Mystery and a bit of history too. A nice set of book club questions at the end also.
The Day the World Ended at Little Big Horn by Joseph M. Marshall III The history of Little Big Horn from the point of view of the Indians. Highly recommend especially if you like history.
Twisted Prey by John Sandford I like to take paperback books like this with me when I travel to Europe because I can just leave them behind when I am done with them.
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell essays by Sarah Vowell. I love her stuff and really enjoy rereading them again.
I'm Off Then by Hape Kerkeling   A book about a German guy walking the Camino de Santiago. If you are a fan of the camino, then read it, but otherwise, I don't think it has general appeal.
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules edited by David Sedaris a collection of short stories collected by David Sedaris. Lots of good ones by great authors like Flannery O'Connor and Dorothy Parker.
Blue Moon by Lee Child (library) the most recent Jack Reacher novel. During his travels, Reacher helps an elderly couple with their medical bills in a town that is split by rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.
Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt the story of a woman who walked from Washington State to New York in 1896 very good, I highly recommend. Especially poignant about the stories from our families that get lost. Talk to your relatives NOW and find out as many stories you can about your family. This incredible story was almost lost forever.
The Man from the Train by Bill James (library) if you like those Cold Case Files TV shows where they take a crime from 20 years ago and try to solve it now with all our new DNA etc. Then this is the book for you. Crimes from 100 years ago!! They do research and find a link between them and discover that a serial killer was to blame. One man for many many murders. Highly Highly recommend. I really enjoyed it.
Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell (library) As someone who has to deal with the public and talk to and explain things to people who are under a lot of stress, I found this book extremely interesting. Lots of great examples of how we do not understand other people's points of view.