Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saffron Skies--#79 finished

This book was billed as an epic family story & it was pretty good overall. I had wanted to read a longer book since looking back on the year I had only read 2 books over 600 pages--The Religion & The Shelters of Stone--and Saffron Skies checks in at 613. I was kind of worried it would be more chic lit than I wanted but it really wasn't, just a good book. The main characters were 3 girls that started as young friends and followed their lives through in to the late 30s. Amber was the main character, she was the girl with a super rich father but also a screwed up family life. Her super rich father never divorced her mother but had a very public mistress and daughter. Amber also had an older brother that was basically useless.

It is a book full of bad decisions by most of the characters--Amber is probably the exception, I can't really think of her bad decisions other than maybe being a little cold & aloof to some around her. Others though like her mom a drunk that for years couldn't function and much less raise her children. Max the father having a very public mistress and dividing his time between two families & then being surprised when both families are screwed up. Amber's brother is a druggie, kicked out of high school and pretty much forgotten for large segments of his life by everyone around him. Becky one of the 3 girls, makes bad decision after bad decision and really shows no ability at growth or understanding throughout the book. Madeleine has a long relationship with a married man and falls apart when he dies, she does gain strength later though but still other issues are there.

Africa is another theme throughout the book. Amber marries a black African of a prominent political family who by the end her husband moves into the presidency of his country. Becky moves to Mozambique where there is the screwed up white oligarchs still and gets caught up there trying to start a business. Obviously it ends bad with her being raped and nearly killed. Poala the half sister is basically forced into marrying an older German who has a large tourist hotel/resort in Nambia. This marriage ends bad too. I enjoyed the discussion of Africa in the book though simply because it seems in what I read Africa just doesn't come up that much.

I enjoyed the book overall but not a great read either. I might check out other books by this author but am not charging out to do so right away either. Not sure it that makes sense but there it is. I have already posted it on PBS, there were no copies of this edition but there are copies of other editions already posted. I am not expecting it to move very fast but you never know either.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hollow Ground--#78 finished

Mixed emotions about the book. Some kind of interesting characters and some interesting things going on in the background of the story but altogether I guess I didn't really enjoy it very much. Gary returns to rural TN after a long absence that included time fighting in Vietnam to meet his son for the first time. Vietnam stuff sounded interesting but hardly mentioned. His son Taft is now a teenager, 14 if I remember correctly. Taft is kind of a loner, he hangs out with a kind of buddy Scott, who he seems to not like but that is who he has. He also has kind of a friend/girl friend in Tanya who at the beginning of the book seemed nice and maybe not innocent not far off, but by the end of the book had turned mental and somewhat evil. The Tanya character really didn't make sense. Through in a crazy uncle Tony and others well a lot was going on but not much of it was being explained.

Oh well, it is the author's first novel so being a little rough is not surprising. I just wish we would have had more of things explained in the book. I guess it is supposed to be up to the reader to decide things both big & small in this book & I really don't feel like doing so.

This is a book that I got from PBS & back to PBS it will go, I hope. There are no other hardcopies on PBS but there are some number of paperback copies. I have posted it on PBS but really don't have an idea how long it will be sitting there.

Thanksgiving Day run

It is a very low key run/mostly walk. There were maybe 30 people out there, 6 that said they were runners, rest walkers. It started at 7:30 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. It was supposed to be about a 3.4 mile run but before it started they said it would be shorter because of high water was across the path. Their guess was maybe 3 miles. It ended up being only 2.66 but that is fine, can't help the weather. I was 6th out of the 6 runners, pretty far back from 5th, I didn't see her for the last 1/2 mile--she was probably finished. I came in at just under 30 minutes, something like 29:55, I think it averaged out to 11:35 per mile. First mile was 10:22, 2nd at 12:06 and last .66 at 11:35. I will take that since I have been very slow for the last month of my running.

Not sure when I will get a run in this weekend. Maybe try to get a couple but not sure at this point.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Glitz--#77 finished

A 1980s action/detective story. Kind of funny and kind of interesting. Action bounces between Puerto Rico and Atlantic City. Overall kind of cheesy and doesn't really stand the test of time but as I grew up in the '80s I understood. Not a bad read but no great literature. What can I say I wanted a kind of easy read/page turner as a change of pace from some of the other books I had been reading & it fit the bill.

There were already 20 copies on PBS so this one became 21. I won't be going anywhere for a long time is my guess but that is alright. Still reading Saffron Skies and Hollow Ground, not sure if I will be starting a 3rd or not--will probably give it a couple days though.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas--#76 finished

This was a nice quick read of eight short stories. Kind of interesting stuff. Relationship problems, desire to travel the states, crappy jobs, etc--the stuff of other short stories that I have read. I think I liked Poe Ballantine's short stories better but these were decent to good overall. This is a short book of only 163 pages and it took me 2 days to read. Not too bad.

I have already posted it on PBS & it has been accepted. I should have it mailed off in the next couple of days with the Rube Foster book. I still have another book that I am waiting to see if it will get accepted so I can mail all 3 together.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Odd Man Out--#75 finished

Matt McCarthy was a Yale baseball player & grad when he was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 21st round. He signed right away & went to minor league camp & then Provo Utah with their Rookie League team. During this time he kept a journal & it is pretty funny stuff and even some kind of serious stuff that went on. He didn't last long, he made it through the season--1/2 season--but was cut in the Spring during Spring Training. He opted to go into life at that point, starting med school at Harvard in the Fall. But his time in pro baseball certainly was something to remember. He writes in a very easy style to read. This was a very enjoyable book and will certainly recommend it to any baseball fans out there. In fact this one will not be going back to PBS right away, there is at least one person at work that wants to read it next. There are still 10 WL for it so should have no problem sending it off in the future.

The Best Pitcher in Baseball: The Life of Rube Foster, Negro League Giant--#74 finished

A very interesting person, a famous black pitcher at the turn of the century. He was one of the best pitchers at the time of any race. Towards the end of his time pitching he had moved over to manager and basically general manager and in charge of scheduling. Then he was also in the forefront of starting the Negro League and was the first commissioner. It was basically through his efforts that a Negro League was formed, he was the large personality that provided money, connections and overall ability to run the league. Like I said a truly interesting person.

The book itself wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. I understand that writing it 75 or so years after his death with no one around that personally knew him that information would be hard to come by. After reading this book, I now have a very baseline understanding of him but really nothing about the person. No information about his family life, no information about his kids or future generations talked about him as. Even the information on baseball is sketchy in that there were no complete records from the games at that time. When he played in was more of roving teams, there was no league and no set schedule.

Everyone does pretty much credit him with being a Hall of Fame pitcher, a Hall of Fame manager and a Hall of Fame type commissioner or league founder type. It is really a shame that more is not known of him because this book really just touches on this larger than life person.

I have posted the book at PBS, there was 1 WL for it. I will hopefully finish my other baseball related book tonight as well. I can't think of the name of it, but I will be loaning it out to a person at work before mailing off.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"B" is for Burglar--#73 finished

Another Kinsey Millhone investigation book read. I do enjoy this series and will be slowly working my way through it in order. Obviously I am also reading several other books so there will be gaps of months between the books most likely. I read A at the end of '09 so not quite a year ago, hopefully it won't be that long of a gap between them. I have several of the books in the series, I do need to check & see if I have C though.

It is a good read, it is fun to see her go through the investigation and also to try to guess ahead, but I am usually pretty bad on this. It is kind of funny reading these books from years ago where cell phones were non-existent and you could really hop on a plane in just a matter of minutes. Times have changed. I am looking forward to reading what Kinsey is like in the present day but I need to pick up the pace to get there.

This is a keeper book of mine which is no big deal because I am sure there are several copies already on PBS. I have been on a good run lately of mailing books off and also getting books in. I will be looking for that next book to read but not sure if I will be making a decision on this tonight or maybe waiting a few days to put more time into the books already started.

5 miles

I hadn't run in just about a week and had been wanting to get a run in several times the last few days. Well this morning presented itself to me. I didn't want to just do my normal boring 3 mile run and I really didn't have time to drive to one of the larger parks in the area for a 6 mile run. I instead choose the 5 mile run starting at my house. Right away I knew I would be struggling, the first mile was a lot of walking and took 15:35, a bathroom stop was also included in this. The 2nd mile a little better at 13:30, 3rd mile at 13:44. Then slowed down to 14:22 and a 14:55 to finish it out. I really struggled but it was a nice morning to run so at least the weather cooperated.

I knew I would have to struggle through a run in order to let the next run be better so here is hoping for a good couple runs later this week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cheyenne in New York--#72 finished

I didn't know when I bought the book or when I started reading it that it was a Morman fiction book. In fact I didn't even know that there were Morman fiction books. I should not be surprised given that I would guess every other religion probably has these type of books. All that being said, I really did not like the book. I thought the characters were really not very good, Cheyenne the daughter of a rancher is a confident gets along well with everyone, nearly perfect young woman who falls for a shallow, irritating young sales executive. Throw in 9/11 and a marriage that no one understands and the man failing at about everything, well there it is. I guess there was some family interaction on both sides as well. Just really didn't care for the book.

I have already posted it on PBS, there is one copy ahead of it so it will probably not be going anywhere for a while. That is alright I guess, I have been mailing quite a few books so I have plenty of room for it to sit right now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

31 for 31 recap

I had 24 blog postings in Oct, so didn't get to 31 but 24 has to be by far the most for any month this year for me. I don't think any of my postings dealt with Down Syndrome but I know that every post I made in Oct I was thinking about it. DS is really one of those subjects that is never far from my mind but I also have to say as my son is getting older, I doesn't seem to be as close to the top of things on my mind as before. My son is my son, the DS is just a part of him, when he was younger I think it seemed a larger part of him but now it seems I have accepted he is who he is more so than earlier. I am having a hard time expressing this thought, reading & typing this doesn't make much sense, but I know what I am saying which is probably most important since I doubt anyone else is reading this blog anyway.

I am reading 3 books right now, still working on Cheyenne in New York. I also just started Saffron Skies and B is for Burglar. Like the Sue Grafton book, don't like the Cheyenne book and Saffron Skies has some potential but too early to tell if good or not yet.