Monday, November 30, 2009

Last of the Old Guard--#75 finished

Last of the Old Guard is a nice kind of easy read about a couple of lawyers during the turn of the century into the 1900s. A lot of talk of old money and how things were, but interesting in general. No great amount of detail in the book, it is only 212 pages long, but what detail is there really helps the reader learn about the 2 main characters. I enjoyed it.

I am also surprised to see before the book started, it had listed two pages of books the author, Louis Auchincloss, had written. This kind of surprised me because I am pretty sure I hadn't seen his name before finding this book at a library sale. A prolific writer and I hadn't heard of him at all, seems kind of weird, at least to me. Now I do tend to mostly want to avoid this type of book, ones about the Northeastern, old money class, I just don't have much interest in them so maybe that played a part in not recognizing the author, but who knows. I will checkout other books by him if I see any but I doubt I will seek them out.

This is a book that is on 3 people's WL at PBS. I have one book to mail tomorrow already but if I post this one it could take a few days for it to be accepted. I think I will go ahead and just post it tonight and see what happens, if it is a quick acceptance, it will go out tomorrow. If it takes longer it will be towards end of the week or even next week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dog Days--#74 finished

A kind of good political book by Ana Marie Cox, originally from Lincoln, NE--the real reason I bought the book. Have to support my Nebraska writers. I will call it an alright read, parts funny, parts interesting and parts that drug on and others that just didn't seem very much at all. Some kind of tidbits about some behind the scenes stuff going on in DC, but even that wasn't all that interesting, at least to me.

I did enjoy the ending where Melanie takes the high road and gets out of town. Gives you some hope for her to where she might lead a more normal life. The life in DC was not good for her. I do have to say some of the characters were pretty good, the lady campaign manager, Skoloff or something like that, Heather the slut recruited the help out their blog problem were two that seemed to stand out.

I have already posted it on PBS, there are 4 books ahead of mine so there is going to be some kind of wait. I am not sure if Ana Marie Cox has a 2nd book out yet, if not whenever another does come out it will probably help this one to move, or maybe just another election cycle.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Well, I got a couple runs in these last 2 days. First, on Thursday, Thanksgiving, I did a run at Creve Couer Park for the St Vincent DePaul at the parish the kids go to PSR. It was a 2 mile walk and a 3.4 mile run. My garmin said it was 3.3, so I think I will believe that. My time was 33:45 or something around there, very happy with my time. I think the average mile was around 10:09 which is very similar to the last two 5ks I ran. There were only 7 or 8 people that did the run portion and maybe 30 or so that did the walk. I came in last of the runners, there was a young boy that started the run but dropped at some point along the way. I did catch a college age girl toward the end but she re-caught me near the finish. I might have been able to punch a sprint in but thought she deserved to finish ahead of me--I am not a big fighter I guess. I have to give her some credit though in that with her in front of me, I did push myself that last mile in trying to catch her, that in itself was worth more than finishing in front or behind her.

Today, I was off work and it was a nice day out so I decided to get a long run in. I went to Forest Park and was going to just do a lap but after 4 miles decided to extend it 2 more miles for 8 total. I wasn't running all that great but I was trying to keep my pace up while running. I was trying to keep a pace below or just around 11 minutes a mile, to do this though meant that I was taking more walk breaks too. I averaged 12:05 for the 8 miles so like I said not very fast in total, I was happy with both the effort in run harder and the effort to go a little longer and do 8 miles. My right leg is a little sore tonight around the knee and just below it, I kind of felt it during the run but thought it was just muscle stuff. I still think it is just muscle stuff but probably won't even consider running tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas--#73 finished

A very good and moving read about two boys on opposite sides of a fence at a concentration camp in Poland during WWII. It is very sad in a way, especially the ending but also kind of hopeful in the sense that 2 children could get along so well without really knowing or understanding the what the adults were thinking. The Holocaust is one of those subjects that I know that I don't know enough about but I also know that it is just painful and emotional that makes it hard for me to learn more on. I really need to go to the local Holocaust museum here probably in the next couple of years with Rose when she is a little older and better able to understand and maybe not have nightmares about it. Of course the whole understanding part is the tough part, I don't think I will ever be able to understand the whys or hows of it happening. It forces one to look inside oneself to see how you would react in situations like that. Would you go along with the crowd, would you fight it and probably die trying, would you simply ignore it, those are uneasy questions. Obviously I like to think that I would not have stood for it but I also know that in a way I am blessed for never being put in that kind of situation.

I am glad that I have read this book and will enjoy posting it to mail for the next person as well. There are a couple of different versions of this book, this is the library binding so not as many WL for it, but it should still move kind of quickly.

Running Stuff

I haven't typed up anything about my running in a while now so here is something. I was able to get in 4 runs last week for around 18 miles in total. I think all but 1 of the miles was under 12 minutes too so seems my speed is improving some or at least my effort is improving some. Saturday I was able to do kind of a long run of 6 miles at Creve Couer Lake Park, that was nice, I do miss the long runs on weekends. Hopefully I can do one of my 7 or 8 mile routes from home again, I haven't done that route in months--maybe almost a year.

I did a nice 2 miles tonight, I would have liked another mile but had to drop something off afterward and Thomas didn't want to be at PSR so I was with him for a few minutes at the beginning. My legs felt stiff and of course I had a hard time breathing on that first mile, 2nd was better but then it was over.

Thursday, Thanksgiving, the parish where the kids go to PSR is having a run, 3.4 miles. I don't understand the distance other than it is at Creve Couer Park and I think that is the distance around the lake the shorter way. I am guessing the people putting it on are not normal racers, but I could be wrong. They are also have a 2 mile walk. The ads in the bulletin about it don't mention a price, just a donation hoped for--will have some cash & maybe grab a couple of canned goods since it is the St Vincent DePaul org putting it on. The weather is probably going to be cold and maybe rainy but it is only 3.4 so should be able to just get it done.

Still thinking about the Frostbite series and also about a marathon in the Spring. Hasn't gone beyond just thinking about both though at this point.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Suspension--#72 finished

It started out kind of slow and indifferent. I wasn't too interested in the story much at the beginning but once the main character Andy, was beaten up and the locked himself in his apartment, the story changed. Throw in it is New York and 9/11 happens and a minor character suddenly becomes a major character with a good back story and it really becomes fun. I was really impressed with this abrupt change in the story and all of the twists that seemed like a paranoid mind at work. The writer seemed to really take a chance with this because it was kind of confusing and certainly not the normal flow of a novel. It was enjoyable reading because it seemed as if it was being written by the seat of your pants.

The ending was okay, never really answered everything but you kind of have to go on the belief that things will work out at least for the main character. The minor or secondary characters left many unanswered questions that I wouldn't mind reading about in the future if a followup novel occurs. Of course it would be hard to duplicate or re-surprise the readers again in a followup.

Well, there is 1 person out there with this book on their WL so I will post it & see if it goes anywhere. The Louisiana Purchase was requested once the only WL person timed out. I am not sure how people find out about these, but there must be something on the system telling them of recently posted books of few copies or something like that. I obviously don't watch for that so no idea if that is the case or not.

I am reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Dog Days right now. I will probably look for a 3rd book tonight to get started on as well.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Well, I am waiting for the 1 person that has The Louisiana Purchase on their WL. I am not expecting it to be accepted though since that person has no books posted and no other books on their WL. I am guessing just an inactive account so it will just time out & be waiting. I did get another book requested though, The Saffron Kitchen. This is one I recently finished but their were 2 or 3 books in front of it. Well, there are still 2 other books listed and I don't recognize the person requesting so it must be a book that is moving in and out right now. It is headed to Virginia.

I had to run by the library today to return some DVDs we had out and of course checked their for sale table. There really wasn't much there, maybe 20 MMB and some picked over HB books. I found a Harlan Coben book that is about 10 years old or so and since it is buy 1 get 1 free for $.25 per paperback, I picked up a romance novel. The title is Passion Untamed, A Feral Warriors novel, I am sorry but that is almost embarrassing, but I was hoping to move it. I saw that it was a newer book, 9/09 so hoped it would be on WL. It is on 77, so I have posted it and hope to mail with The Saffron Kitchen later this week. I am still stuck with To Seduce a Texan so I have my reminder that not all romance books are good to pickup but at least I will get to mail this one soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Louisiana Purchase--#71 finished

A very good and easy to read book about everything going on leading up to the sale & ratification of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon and France. I remember learning about some of this in school but no where near the details and the back and forth dealings and intrigue that was going on to get this done. I knew Napoleon was the leader of France at the time but wasn't really aware of his advisors like Tallyrand and others and the amount of influence they had or in fact how little influence they had. Also interesting that Napoleon made the sale to get money to invade Britain but through other circumstances that never happened.

This book also touched on the happenings on Santo Domingo, now a days Haiti and where the French army suffered many losses as well as eventual defeat and how this influenced France's decision to sell the Louisiana territory. I have ordered the first book in a 3 part series about the leader of the blacks on Santo Domingo, should be an interesting read--I already have the 3rd part. More to read but that is a good thing.

This book is on one person's WL so I will be posting it, will have to see if it is accepted or not. I hope if not it still shouldn't take long, but really don't know.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Venetian Betrayal--#70 finished

A good book, some action some good history and some leaps of faith stuff. Good read with interesting and even somewhat believable possibilities. I have a few of these Steve Berry books and figured this was a good one to read first. I think I jumped into the middle of a series or at least ones where the main character was introduced prior to this, because there were references back to other things. It didn't take away from the book, but it is sort of a pet peeve of mine when reading a book, oh well. Still a good read and does make me want to read some of those other books I have laying around.

It was about a unified Asian country of basically the foreign USSR Asian provinces that is now ruled by an elected tough woman. She is obsessed with Alexander the Great as well as going to war with neighboring countries. The Venetian guy is a corrupt scientist that found a cure for AIDS but has held it back until it would make him more money. Through in some US spies and various other characters and there you are. Some good stuff in here and some things that kind of make you scratch your head but not really so bad to take much away from the book. Overall a good read, I enjoyed it.

There were already 22 copies on the system so I knew it wouldn't be going anywhere soon, but figured if I get it read it will be in the pipeline for hopefully getting mailed off at some point in the future. I am right now reading The Louisiana Purchase and am looking to start one or two more in the next day or two.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Phi Beta Bimbo--#69 finished

Well another chic lit book, this one more romance though and another not very good book. Hot & Bothered and My 15 Minutes were the two that were decent to good. This one, Phi Beta Bimbo falls in line with The Spy with the Silver Lining and Au Pairs and probably Chasing Harry Winston falls here too. Now that I am looking at it, I am not sure why I am even reading this many chic lit books. I guess when I am at 69 books read for the year, I need to keep an expanded list of types of books I will read, but I expect far fewer of these next year and beyond.

Phi Beta Bimbo was really just not very good. I was almost insulted at times for how stupid and just basic lacking creativity this book showed. It has a catchy title and a somewhat interesting premise but that is about all it has going for it, the story, the dialogue and the characters are very two dimensional at best. This is just not a good book.

I have already posted it on PBS, there are somewhere around 60 other copies ahead of it. Not sure when or if it will move at all, but with the catchy title there is hope right. Will probably end up being a give away book at some point.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Rider--#68 finished

This is a short book written back in the late '70s by Tim Krabbe' a writer, chess player and a cyclist. I really enjoyed it with all of what is going through a cyclist's mind during a long road race. I enjoyed the back and forth between the competitors as well as within the rider himself. For a small book, only 148 pages, it packs a lot into it. If into cycling at all, I would think you would enjoy it. While I rarely ride my bike and never competitively, I do enjoy watching the Tour De France each year on TV. Of course Versus has been kicked off Direct TV for now so not sure if I will be watching it next year or not yet, still plenty of time for them to get it sorted out.

The Rider is on 2 WL & I have posted it just waiting for the first person to accept it. I also have that Bill O'Reilly book Culture Warrior to mail. It is going to Norfolk, NE, just down the road from where I grew up, about 45 minutes. That was the nearest big city with a mall and movie theaters when I was growing up. It will be my first book to NE also. Hopefully The Rider will be accepted so I can mail them together.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Saffron Kitchen--#67 finished

An interesting book, certainly not a page turner but one that makes you think and feel for the characters inside. The mother in the story, Maryam, had wanted a life outside of being married in Iran to a village type life. She wished for instead to study and become a nurse. She was also best friends with and maybe loved in a way Ali. Well circumstances forced her to spend the night with Ali at age 16, where once this became known in the closed society, it was a family scandal. Her father disowned her and forced her to move to Tehran where she eventually ended up in England. Ali was beaten to near death and was allowed to live in the primative village, their hometown.

The story is about how late in life Maryam's feelings that she lived with all her life about what her life would have been and with Ali are forced out and she decides to travel to Iran. She leaves behind her daughter, Sara, a nephew from one of Maryam's sisters that recently died and her husband. I think the book did a very good job at trying to get inside the heads and feelings of those left behind in a way that allowed the reader an understanding but didn't spell everything out either. It let the reader kind of understand the very complex feelings each person was having and the really not knowing Maryam as they thought they did as well.

Well Sara travels to Iran and stays with Maryam and meets Ali and does come to a kind of understanding of her mother. While there is still a part of her that seems to wish for a return to a happy family reconciliation with her mom & dad, she realizes that is not going to happen. Her mom will stay in Iran to live out her days while Sara returns to her life and to start her family. Like I said a good book that really allows the reader to feel some of the emotions and uncertainty the characters are experiencing. Not a great book and parts were tough to keep me interested to keep going but overall a good book.

It is not a WL book on PBS now, it was a month or so ago but a couple other copies are now on the system. Oh well, I expect it will move in the coming months, patience is certainly needed for a PBS account.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday small recap

Well I did 26 for 21--didn't make 31 posts, but 26 is by far tops for this year.

I got a nice run in of 3 miles late Sunday at 12 per mile average. I forgot about daylight savings change so when I left I thought I had some daylight left but I didn't. No problems though just running in the dark. I was at a park so didn't have to worry about traffic issues.

Rams won a game, now 1-7. Good for the coach & team but that just makes getting the #1 overall a little less likely. Not a great win but team has been showing some improvement.

Fell asleep during the World Series & haven't looked it up to see who won last night.