"AROUND THIS TIME OF YEAR
MY HUSBAND OFTEN OPINES
HE'D CARVE A TURKEY BETTER
IF IT CAME WITH DOTTED LINES."
Monday, November 17, 2014
Just the name Cussler on the cover lets us know that action abounds beginning with the first page or in this case first few words. And, speaking of which those words are spoken by the estimable Scott Brick, an actor/writer who has umpteen film stage, television and radio appearances to his credit. That experience is evident as he delivers a gripping narration of this adventure thriller again featuring the intelligent, charismatic do-gooder Dirk Pitt, chief of the National Underwater Marine Agency.
This time out he’s investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean Sea that may ultimately place the U.S. in danger. As if that weren’t dangerous enough he soon finds himself embroiled in something even more lethal - a power struggle for control of Cuba. The villain here is General Alberto Gutier who is financing his attempted takeover via bogus deep sea mining.
Now, stir in with this Dirk and Summer, Dirk senior’s offspring, who are up against it in Mexico trying to find an ancient Aztec codex.
As is his wont Cussler delivers magnificent descriptions of undersea work, and once again shows that he is one of the most imaginative writers to be found. Enjoy!
- Gail Cooke
Friday, November 7, 2014
We are a family of readers, and further we usually like the same kind of books. This is both good and not so as often one of us is waiting for another to finish a book so he or she can read it. This, this trio of books by Louise Penny is a real boon for us - we’re all happily reading and once finished I’m sure the conversations will be great as we compare notes.
Mysteries are high on our lists so the chance to read the first three books featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec was a happy early holiday gift. What a hero Gamache is - wise, courageous, and throughly honest. This was discovered in the first book of the trio - Still Life.
Gamache and his colleagues are called to a rural village just south of Montreal where a woman known by all the town folk, Jane Neal, has been found dead in the woods. The residents of Twin Pines are sure it was a sad hunting accident - after all, nothing untoward happens in their peaceful hamlet. Well, Gamache has other ideas and becomes convinced that her death was not an accident.
The second book - A Fatal Grace again focuses on the death of a woman. However, unlike the well liked dearly departed in the first Gamache mystery this woman, Miss de Poitiers, was hated by everyone - including her husband, her lover and her daughter. However, even if most are glad she’s gone why didn’t someone witness her electrocution on a frozen lake in the middle of town? It seems many secrets are hidden in the small village of Twin Pines.
Another unlikely crime occurs in the third book - The Cruelest Month. Residents of Twin Pines have gotten together in an abandoned and some say haunted house for a seance with a visiting psychic. They get more than they bargained for when Madeleine Favreau keels over - frightened to death? Using his mind and outstanding detective skills Gamache tries to look further into this death but his investigation is hampered by the fact that he recently accused his superior officer of past crimes. Further, he wonders if there is a spy on his team. Gamache has his hands more than full this time.
We are thoroughly enjoying having these books to read, share, and talk about. Would highly recommend for those who like cozy mysteries.
- Gail Cooke
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS AUDIO EDITION
By John Lahr; Performed by Elizabeth Ashley
There could not be a more capable or convincing actress than Tony Award winning Elizabeth Ashley to narrate this seminal biography. She has appeared in 14 plays by Tennessee Williams including the unforgettable 1974 Broadway production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Her performance of this book merits another award.
Many words have been written about Williams but surely none as kind or as perceptive as those of John Lahr. The author of 17 books and the New Yorker’s senior drama critic for 20 years Lahr offers not only intimate details of the playwright’s life but access to his mind as found in diaries, letters, memoirs, interviews, theater history and unpublished manuscripts. It is not easy listening as we learn of the fear, self-doubt and paranoia that tormented Williams, eventually driving him to addictions to alcohol and narcotics.
Missives from Williams’s long-time agent, Audrey Wood are especially riveting as are descriptions of his collaboration with film director Elia Kazan. Quite simply this is a stellar biography shedding new light on the life and work of a great playwright beautifully read by an accomplished actress.
- Gail Cooke
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Yes, this book is for children and fortunate is the young one who receives it. Again, yes, this is a book intended for children but this adult is keeping it for the sheer joy and pleasure of leafing through it. Each time I return I see something new in the beautiful full page reproductions or learn something more about a particular artist’s life. For me, it is a privilege to be able to peruse Lives of the Great Artists again and again.
Author Ayres who studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Sotheby’s Institute in London introduces young readers to twenty of the world’s greatest artists from Giotto (1267-1337) to Van Gogh (1853-1890). Each artist is accompanied by his life story, how and where he worked, and lavish reproductions of his works.
Also included are fascinating chronologies of the artists pinpointing not only dates of birth but where the artists lived, who asked them to create something and why, and yearly notations of output and events. There is, of course, a Glossary and a listing of where major collections of the artists’ works may be found. It is hard to imagine more comprehensive coverage of these artists.
The author’s Introduction will be especially helpful to young readers as she explains how the works of art came to be - that many were intended for churches, palaces or private homes. Or, they were commissioned by rich powerful people who commissioned paintings of Bible stories to show how religious they were or by those who wanted paintings of their holdings and their families as evidence of their wealth.
Lives Of the Great Artists would be a perfect gift for a young person to receive before visiting a museum. For those who love art it is simply the perfect gift.
- Gail Cooke