Friday, May 24, 2013
An ancient volume of philosophical heresy becomes the motive for murder. When the mummified body of a ninth century monk is found stuffed in the boot (trunk) of a car buried in a bog in a remote corner of County Tipperary, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and his partner, pathologist Nora Gavin are called in to consult by the local police.
But it turns out that there is a second body in the boot. Benedict Kavenagh, who vanished mere months ago, was a public intellectual who enjoyed humiliating lesser intellects, was obsessed with a ninth century heretic monk, and had a secret penchant for teenage girls.
Two men, both viciously murdered, but centuries apart, found buried together in a bog. Not far away, an equally disparate group of people inhabit an "artists' colony" called Killowen on the site of an ancient monastery. As Cormac and Nora dig deeper into the ancient crime they become aware that people living at Killowen have become suspects in the more recent murder --- and convinced that there is a connection between what happened in the ninth century and what is happening now.
Erin Hart is an American writer with an abiding interest in Irish history and culture. This is her fourth mystery featuring Cormac and Nora. The others are Haunted Ground, Lake of Sorrows and False Mermaid. Visit her web site at www.ErinHart.com.
The fourteenth novel is Cherryh's acclaimed Foreigner series about human space travelers stranded on a planet and forced to interact with its highly intelligent and dominant alien species, the atevi.
With the atevi world just emerging from a major realignment of manchi, the instinctive sense of personal attachment that drives every aspect of atevi existence, Ben Cameron, the paidhi-aiji --- human mediator for atevi and humans alike --- and his allies have now become the target of ruthless conspirators who may have already infiltrated every clan and government department in their bid to seize power.
Cajeiri, the soon to be nine-year-old son of Tabini-aiji, ruler of the Western Association that effectively governs the planet, has particularly requested the presence of three human children at his birthday festivity. These children, with whom he bonded during a perilous two year mission on the human space ship, have arrived on a planetary surface for the first time in their lives, accompanied by ship Captain Jason Graham, Bren's human friend and ally in space.
Can Bren keep the aiji's son and the human children alive, safe and happy, preserve his bond with Jase and the humans and atevi on the space station, and defeat the conspiracy that seeks to destroy Tabini-aiji and the Western Association? Another cliffhanger from science fiction master Cherryh.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Book 1 in the Lewis Trilogy
The book takes place on the stark island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the norther coast of Scotland. The murder of a childhood nemesis brings DS Fin MacLeod back to the island of his birth to investigate the crime since it seems on the surface related to a previous murder in Edinburgh. The story alternates between the current events surrounding the crime and MacLeod's childhood on the island. May breathes so much life into the island of Lewis that it feels like a character by itself. This is a stark world that is painted beautifully. The story is good, the characters strong, and the sense of place is outstanding.
Duhigg, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, turns his research skills on the question of "why do we do the things we do?" Scientists have discovered that a lot of routine brain function is handled by habit loops where the brain essentially goes on autopilot through a series of actions based on a given cue. This is why you can drive home successfully but not remember the last few miles of the drive when you are tired. Duhigg argues that when you recognize your behaviors that are truly habits, then you can set about changing them by altering your reaction to the cues and leading your actions to a different reward.
The self-help part of the book is minimal. The majority focuses on fascinating case studies from how people with brain injuries adapt to the world and create new habits to how habit research has influenced product marketing. Duhigg also raises intriguing ethical questions in where we as a society draw the line in saying a person has a choice about their actions and can be held accountable for the results.
I really liked this book! I wanted to read this book before I saw the movie. I still have not seen the movie. Silver Linings Playbook is the touching story of how Pat Peoples tries to rebuild and fill in the missing pieces in his life after four years in a mental institution. When Pat moves back home with his parents, he meets Tiffany, his childhood best friend's sister-in-law. Tiffany has her own issues she is dealing with through a therapist. What follows is a very touching story of how two people find their way together through very odd "dates." While Pat is still trying to recover his memories from his past, he awaits reuniting with his wife, Nikki and tries to build a relationship with his father. Pat's greatest therapy comes through exercise, his love of the Eagles football team, and his relationship with his Mom and brother and a great therapist. The reason Pat is not with his wife is revealed which adds to the anticipation of finishing the book. I am anxious to see if the movie plays out like the book, and Pat does find his silver lining after all.
Desiderata means desired things in Latin. This poem is inspiration to live a good life. Desiderata is just good common sense to live your life through. We should all live by the final three lines: "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." Now, if we all could live by these words. I recommend this poem to everyone or look it up online. It surely is inspirational.
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
Julia Child was a beloved American television personality from 1963 to 1985. She pioneered an entire genre of cooking shows well before the Food Network.
She was born Julia McWilliams on August 15, 1912 in
to a prominent land owner, John
McWilliams Jr. and a college graduate mother, Caro (Weston) McWilliams. She was
raised to be a debutant. She graduated from Pasadena, California .
After commencement, she was a free spirit and immature for her age. Her six
feet, 2 inch frame and average looks didn’t help attract a husband. While all
her friends were becoming engaged and marrying their sweet hearts, Julia
struggled to find herself in the world. Smith College
During World War II she served in the Office of Strategic Services. There she met Paul Child. After a long friendship, they fell in love and married in 1946. Julia was thirty four years old and Paul was forty four.
After the War, Paul was stationed in
to occupy her time started taking cooking classes. Before long it became an
obsession. She had finally found her niche. She went on to co-author a
best-selling book, Mastering the Art of
French Cooking and the rest was iconic television history. Paris,