November Reads in the 50-books-in-52-weeks challenge


I love this sign that I saw on a library entrance on the weekend-

At the end of November I had read 56 books in the 50 book challenge.

A Bewitching Smile – Christopher G. Moore.  This is the 2nd book in the Land of Smiles Trilogy and I think it is the best of the three.   I think you need to read the first in the trilogy  (A Killing Smile) first to explain the Thailand scene but this could almost be read as a stand-alone book.   Some of the characters from the first book embark on a journey to Northern Thailand to rescue a friend and a sub plot emerges as they travel.   There is much examining of beliefs and values, myths and magic in this book.     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it for one of these long cold winter weekends.


A Haunting Smile by Christopher G. Moore   – the 3rd book in the Land of Smiles Trilogy.    Set amongst the 1992 political upheaval in Thailand*, this book switches back and forth between short stories of the characters,  a documentary film,  radio reports of the violence on the streets and ghosts and  dreams.  It is an insiders’ look at what was happening during those violent few days.  I found it interesting but it was very hard to finish as I did not like the ghost and dream sequences at all.

*   17-2o May 1992 is commonly called “Black May” when a protest in Bangkok against the government  turned bloody.  There were 52 officially confirmed deaths and many, many disappearances.   More than 3,500 arrests were made and many of those were tortured.


The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson   This book was originally published in 1952.    It is a dark and edgy book written from the perspective of Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford as he struggles against the “illness” inside him – his need to kill.    I really enjoyed this book though perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word to associate with a book on serial killings!   There are no gratuitous, bloody descriptions  – all of those are in the reader’s own mind,  but it is  gory in its warped psychopathic evil.


The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan.   This is a “young adult”  book which was recommended by a couple of my old Vox neighbours.   It was a fast read and perfect for my metro rides.

Mary lives in a fenced-in village run by the Sisterhood. She dreams of what might lie beyond the fence – a world that her mother has told her about; a world full of oceans.   Outside the fence is the Forest of Hands and Teeth and where the Unconsecrated zombie-like people live.  The unrelentingly persistent Unconsecrated press against the fence daily until the day they get in…….    and then a little band of survivors head off in search of Mary’s ocean.    This book sucked me in from the first page and had me writing to Jane/Cat at the end to ask  “what do you think happened to…”


Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke.  This is the 7th book in the Robicheaux series.  This one was published in 1995  and the 17th book was published in 2010 so I have a way to go yet in this series!     This book has drug dealers, the mob and Nazism. Oh, and Dave Robicheaux!   A good fast paced book.


Nothing has changed ….

I have just finished reading this book about Clive Caldwell who was Australia's greatest fighter pilot during World War II.  There is, (quite obviously), a lot written about aeroplanes throughout the book, but I found this an extremely interesting read.

One thing which struck me as I read was how really nothing has changed in the theatre of war nor our treatment of the men who fight on that stage. 

Clive Caldwell could have been writing about today when he wrote the following while fighting in the Middle East in 1941:

"Tomorrow, this indifferent Pole or Jem the quiet man or old MacWilliams or myself would cross into the ranks of the newly dead, and join the countless numbers of those who had once watched the sun setting in a flash of green light at the rim of the desert and found even the smell of fried bully beef acceptable.  It began to seem as if I was condemned to wander around the world engaged in a futile war until a bullet or a crash singled me out and gave me the answer to all the questions asked since childhood.

We quarrel among ourselves until one of our number is attacked by someone outside the circle. Afterwards, if they survive, they persuade themselves that they share the glory with the high commanders who get the knighthoods and the public acclaim.  The abysmal folly of it all.  We gather together half a million men, equip them at a fabulous cost, transport them God knows how many thousands of miles then engage in a death struggle with total strangers for causes that remain obscure.  At the end of it what do we do?  Break our promises to the survivors whom a grateful nation…. will not need again".

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Thief in the Night

If only the person who had stolen the pillows from my front porch had done the same:

I have "stolen" this from the Prince of Petworth website

Hi PoP,

I have a funny story to share. I live in a row house in northern Columbia Heights. Today as I was coming home, I noticed a package on my doorstep, the usual place for UPS or the mail delivery people to leave packages. It was a standard 10″ x 14″ padded manila envelope, the kind with a red pull tab for ease of opening. When I picked it up, I noticed that the tab had already been pulled & the package was wide open. Upon further inspection, it was a pair of books I had ordered, entitled “Thief in the Night.” The package was correctly addressed to my name and street address. Someone had opened my mail! I can just picture a would-be thief opening the package, seeing the book title, thinking it was a sign from God, returning the package to my doorstep, and proceeding directly to the nearest confessional, swearing to never steal again!

–Gurlnexdore in CH



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Tagged reading

I got tagged by F.G. Nikon  so here it is:

Here are the rules

1. Grab your nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

5. Tag 5 different people.

My book:  Trawler: A Journey through the North Atlantic  by Redmond O'Hanlon

Alister Hardy, as my mother might have said, was "not the marrying kind." (And yes, it's true, I thought, the unleashed or even one-eighth-unleashed subconscious throws up scum and euphemisms and cliches because it deals not in advanced words, but in the primitive power of images, cave-paintings, pictures, rituals, inner photographs clicked by emotions we want to forget.)  "Look Alister,"  his perplexed tutor at Oxford had said to him, "Of course you can solve the small matter of the existence of God one day, but that's for later in your career, dear boy, and you've done so well in your finals, and it's obvious to all of us that you love fish – so how about a doctorate study of plankton, instead?"

Phew!   Those sentences were long……  and the paragraph is still going.

I tag  ClaretKletterman   Karen, Melissa  and WPG

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My “to read” drawer

This is my "to read" drawer.  It fits under my bed and seems to always be this full.  In know that I have 3 books under the Christmas tree to add to this collection. Possibly four – it was a bit hard to tell in the prodding because something else is in the package! 🙂

I am currently reading an Ian Rankin "Rebus" book  – only 2 more to go in the Rebus series.

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