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Books in April

April has been wet, which is good for reading indoors! So, plunging right in....

A Mist of Prophecies, by Steven Saylor.Collapse )

Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.Collapse )

Falling in Love, by Donna Leon.Collapse )

None So Blind, by Barbara Fradkin.Collapse )

The Fourth Secret, by Andrea Camilleri.Collapse )

Game of Mirrors, by Andrea Camilleri.Collapse )

Vancouver Island Scoundrels, Eccentrics and Originals: Tales from the Library Vault, by Stephen Ruttan.Collapse )

Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place, by W.J. Burley.Collapse )

And a Happy Beltaine to all! (I seem to have somehow forgotten how to write these with just the titles showing and you have to click on the title to get the review; I have no idea what's changed - other than this goddamned new computer that is!)

Books in April

April has been wet, which is good for reading indoors! So, plunging right in....

A Mist of Prophecies, by Steven Saylor.Collapse )
....is this quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the nine Justices who make up the U.S. Supreme Court. She says:

"People ask me sometimes when - when do you think it will be enough? When will there be enough women on the Court? And my answer is, when there are nine."


Given that there have been women on the US Supreme Court in, oh, the last 40 or 50 years as tokens and the last 10 or 15 as more-than-one at a time, and the Supreme Court has been in existence for, oh, 200+ years or so, I think she's being quite moderate. And, well, GO RBG!!!!

New Computer Growing Pains

I got a new desktop computer last week, which we set up last weekend, with various difficulties. It took until yesterday to figure out how to get back my old email server and sign in to it (although gmail transferred smoothly, and I'm in the process of getting rid of the earlier email anyway), and when I figured out how to get to my start-up page on the 'net, it suddenly has ads covering the bottom third of the screen, which is really annoying! I also don't have my bookmarks back yet, although Chris says that should be easy to do when we have time to do it.

On the positive side of things, though, I've got a way better monitor now - mind you, we realized that the probable cause of the problem of the old monitor spontaneously blacking out from time to time was the fact that the cord attaching it to the CPU was almost chewed through (thanks a lot Medb!). This being from Dell, it's loaded with Windows 8 (with an automatic upgrade to Windows 10, I understand), and that's kind of fun, although I don't quite "get" it yet. I also was getting so much span at the old email addy - not a day would pass that I wouldn't receive 3 or 4 emails claiming to be from one bank or another, indicating that my online account would be suspended unless I click here now. What was especially funny about that is that 1) I don't do online banking *at all*, 2) I don't have any accounts at 99% of the banks claiming that I do, and 3) more than 80% of the time the message would be in French rather than English. (Yeah, I got enough such messages that I could parse out the French.) Once I'm sure I have sent my gmail addy to places now getting the other one, I'll just get rid of that account, and thus those messages. That'll be a breath of fresh air!

Now all I need is for Georgia from http://www.breakingcatnews.com to return from her "maternity leave" (she had a baby in early April) and start making new comics again, and everything will be lovely....

Books in March

The Hazards of Home Ownership

So North Americans know that this past weekend, our clocks went forward one hour; on Sunday we dutifully changed 'em all, but we forgot about the (newly replaced) thermostats, so on Monday morning when we woke up at 6:15 AM, the thermostats thought it was 5:15 AM and the heat hadn't gone on. It's warming up here but that was a cold morning. We reset the third floor 'stats, and when I went to the 2nd floor to use the treadmill, I reset the living room one too. After the treadmill, I set the 'stats in the other rooms on that floor, went up for a shower, dressed and came back down. Went into the 2nd floor bathroom and, oh no, there's water dripping down the walls! That WASN'T there 30 minutes earlier, but now certainly was - and looking scary. Was it the 3rd floor shower leaking? Was it in the walls? What could it be?

I should mention here that I'm at the second day today of a nasty cold - most people get colds all the time, no big deal, but I usually get 'em about once every 3 years and they're really debilitating and horrid. So I didn't call the plumber right away.

Instead, today (Tuesday) I called first thing - Chris happened to be working from home because of a dental appointment, which I figured would be good since my cold is WAY worse today and him being here meant he could deal with the plumber. Turned out to be multiple, as they checked stuff on the roof, drilled through the wall and ceiling of the 2nd floor bathroom, also opened a panel on the third floor - and, no, the problem's not the plumbing, it's the roof.

So, we had roofers here in early December, redoing all the falling-apart flashing; so we called them and they showed up late in the day and checked the roof. Yup, there's leaking in two places that need to be fixed NOW. As in, today the temps rose above freezing for the first time since, like, January 2nd, and snow is melting like crazy, including the several feet of snow on the roof. Which is melting into our walls....

Did I mention that I have a cold? Feeling rotten, not very effective? Yeah.

So the roofers moved a lot of snow, will be back tomorrow to fix the two leaks. At a cost of, oh, $4,500 - in cash, by the end of the day. To add to the $5,500 we paid 'em back in December for the flashing. Nothing like an emergency to jack up prices, eh? But it's got to be done ASAP, no question.

And, capping it all, besides having a cold and feeling miserable, etc., we're booked to cross the country to Victoria, B.C., in, oh, let's see, that's just 10 DAYS FROM TODAY! And in-between is "Get Smart" night with friends coming to the house, which I can't clean because of having a cold and because there's no point with workers tromping in and out with snow-mud boots all day long tomorrow. Aargh!

Not to mention we will need to find somebody, after our Victoria trip and perhaps some months later to recover financially, to fix all the holes that the plumbers put everywhere.

Sometimes I think we should go back to being renters.... At least I still have www.breakingcatnews.com to comfort me, until Georgia stops posting new strips for a few months after giving birth to her second child sometime next month.

Books in February

Joining Goodreads

I decided a little while ago to join Goodreads, mainly so I have another place to post book reviews. I discovered that I could import my LibraryThing database, but that's turning out to be quite a chore: I have over 2,600 books in that database (of which only, I think, 410 or so are reviewed as I didn't start writing reviews until joining LT and even then just started reviewing new books as I read 'em). I contacted GR help because I thought it'd take way too long to try uploading that whole database at once, and got really good help - except that I just couldn't seem to get it to work, the site timed out frequently! So the GR help person actually managed to upload about 15 books for me, telling me that it took about 1/2 an hour to do, but it worked eventually. Since then I've started doing it myself, but only in batches of 10 to 15 books at a time. It's working okay, but obviously it's going to take a long time to do at that rate! I'm trying to upload, say, 100 books per day, and if I stick to that timetable, I'll be almost done before we go to Victoria in late March - say early April for the completion of this task. GR tells me when it can't upload certain books, by listing the ISBN, and I've just found an online site (www.isbnsearch.org I think it is) where I can plug in the number and find out what book is missing - a hell of a lot easier than scrolling through 2,600 titles to see what might be missing! But it's all rather more labour-intensive than I'd have hoped....

Also one can post what book one is reading at the time on the GR site, but I haven't figured out how to do that either yet - it seems to want to say that I've finished reading a book that I haven't. Dunno if that makes any difference, since I'll post it after I've finished it anyway, but it definitely makes me feel stooopid that I can't figure it out!

Books in January

It's the new year, holidays are over and it's super-freezing cold here in Quebec. Best to warm up with a good book or three!

The Soul of Discretion, by Susan Hill.Collapse )

Snowblind, by Christopher Golden.Collapse )

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley.Collapse )

Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch.Collapse )

The Girl Next Door, by Ruth Rendell.Collapse )

I'm finishing up January with James Morrow's latest, Galapagos Regained, another of his meditation/satires on religion versus science; good stuff, but I'm not quite done with it yet!

Books in December

Having spent the last week of November in drought-stricken California, I'm now rearranging my list of worries from concern over the lack of rain to nervousness about icy sidewalks; best to stay indoors and read, I think!

The Boy Who Followed Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith.Collapse )

The Dark Room, by Minette Walters.Collapse )

A Brief History of Tea: The Extraordinary Story of the World"s Favourite Drink, by Roy Moxham.Collapse )

The Burglar Caught By a Skeleton and Other Singular Tales from the Victorian Press, by Jeremy Clay.Collapse )

As is my habit, the days leading up to and including Christmas are days when I re-read one of my all-time favourite YA fantasy series, Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence of five books. This year I skipped the second (The Dark Is Rising) and the fourth (The Grey King), to focus instead on the novels featuring the Drew siblings, three human children who are crucial to the Light in its unending battle against the Dark: Over Sea, Under Stone (set in Cornwall, land of my ancestors), The Greenwitch (also set in Cornwall) and Silver on the Tree - and with the latter, final book, I actually skipped Part 3, The Lost Land, because that section focuses entirely on the magical characters, Will and Bran. Kind of odd that I felt like concentrating entirely on the more human and less mystical of the books, but that's how Christmas 2014 felt to me!

Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart, by Christopher Fowler.Collapse )

And a happy 2015 to all!

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