Monday 26 November 2007

Book Meme

Gotten from So Many Books blog. and If you are interested, please do this meme on your blog and connect me to your site so I can see your answers! Good luck, and it is fun.

1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? I don't remember learning how to read. I only remember knowing how to read. When I was 7, I received a cookbook (My First Cookbook, by Hamlyn Books) and a hardcover fairytale book - The Bluebird, for Christmas 1970. I adored both books, and began cooking recipes from the book shortly after (with varying degrees of success!) and still have The Bluebird, although it is missing the jacket. I do remember, as a very young child - say about 7? - sitting on floor with a book my mother had had as a child, filled with nursery rhymes, and reading the book, fascinated by the old pictures. It was from the 1930's or 1940's.

2. What do you find most challenging to read? Anything dry. Psychology, statistics (without a context, that is), math, books on economics, religious books.

3. What are your library habits? I love the library! Although I don't go as much now, it's because I want to own books now. So I go rarely - having two young kids also means I don't get to read as much, so while I borrow to the maximum, I rarely end up reading them all! and borrowing doesn't make sense since I don't always want to read what I have borrowed, right away. I used to do alot of borrowing and reading at the library. It is a good source for books that are out of print, and for trying authors that I am not sure about yet.

4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? Oh yes. See above answer. For many years I read far more books borrowed from the library, than bought. And I go rarely now, due to time constraints and wanting to own my own books now.

5. How has blogging changed your reading life? Yes! even though I am new at this, already I have books to be read for next year that I might not have gotten around to reading, thanks to book blogs and reading challenges. I find out about other authors and books through what other people write. It's like having an online friend who I meet for tea and discuss books - not a book club, more an indepth (or not!) review of books with a book friend. And I greatly miss this in my life because I love books and so few people around me do. I love them anyway, and blogging has made me feel a larger part of the book-reading public.

6. What percentage of your books do you get from new book stores, second hand book stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other? 70% at new bookstores, the rest second hand.
7. How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?
Since I have just started my blog this fall, I have reviewed every book I have read since the beginning of Sept. Even if it's a few lines only.
8. What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books? Bending the corners, writing in them unless the book is going to be treasured and kept forever, and the idea of a book burning sends shivers down me.
9. Do you ever read for pleasure at work? yes! During my lunches, fairly often now. Not as much as I used to, because I go for my walks during lunch,if the weather permits. But I read if I can't go out, and sometimes if I take a short walk I can still fit reading in while I eat. Reading at lunch is something I have done for years, ever since school!
10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them?
I try to think of what kinds of books they like, and if I have read the book myself or can recommend the author. I hate giving books that won't be read, so I try to be careful and only give books to those who enjoy reading. People who don't read (and I know some!) get other gifts instead. Every year I have a favourite or two that I give to my mother and friends who read.

There, a bit more about me and my reading Habits.

Sunday 25 November 2007

Cadillac Jukebox - Done!

Hurray! It took only two weeks, but Cadillac Jukebox is done. I did end up really enjoying it, and although I complained in another blog about the evil people, by the end, the book was about the depths to which people will go to survive, and to get revenge. It's a reminder, in these days of glorifying gangsters and drugs, that there are people who kill for the sadistic joy of it, but in this book, the sadistic killer is not brought down by Our Hero, but by the only one who could, the one out for revenge. This book makes the swampy heat of Louisiana come to life, and made me really want to try eating a shrimp po'boy! A good read, entertaining, and gritty.
Then I read 'The Safe-Keeper's Secret' by Sharon Shinn. This is a new series of books that I just discovered by Sharon Shinn, whose detective sci-fi/goddess mystery 'Wrapt in Crystal' is the book I best remember her for......I had no idea she was writing young teens books, until I saw the 4th in her Mystic and Rider series (forget the actual title of the series) reviewed in Locus (go to - a very good science fiction and fantasy review/book publishing mag that has been out for many many years). So at Collected Works two weeks ago I picked up The Safe-Keeper's Secret, and read it in two days! It is a delightful fantasy for teen readers, and the magic world - medieval setting - where some people are truth-tellers, some are secret-keepers and some are dream-makers, as well as normal things like farmers and kings and herbalists and innkeepers - is well-thought out. Highly recommended for an enjoyable read with fun characters.
So now i am working on Life of Pi. I was having difficulty getting into the story until this morning, when I told myself to think of it as a fable - which, duh! it is! A literary fable with humans and animals. So now I am enjoying it more, but I need a stretch of time to read it in, and getting one or two hours to read a day is difficult these days. It's the time between Hallowe'en, birthdays, and the stretch to Christmas......but I will try to read and finish it this week, so I can move on to one of my other 'Stack' titles.
Though, I keep making lists of books to get. As I get through making piles for the upcoming reading challenges starting in January, I see that my shelves have less and less books I haven't read on them, and I start to panic - what will I read next? Oh no, must have stacks of books to choose through!!! So I spent this morning going through the book recommendations on which is run by Terri Windling of Annual Fantasy and Horror Collections fame (among others things, like her own book The Wood Wife). This is a fascinating site for people who read fairy tales, study fairy tales, write fairy tales or paint them. As a source for new books in the fantasy world (with reviews accompanying most) it is among the best on the internet. So there I was, making my lists (third list in a month! My LSS is trying not to panic!) and drooling, so much to read! So much to handle, open, read, buy.....some are books I've seen in passing but didn't know much about (and needing to buy the latest ones from my favourite authors, which I have done now, so my heart is a bit calmer.....I have new books to read over the holidays, which I WILL do no matter how hectic the kids make it!).....books to get now include Delia Sherman's The Changeling, Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter and Dreamquake, Catherine Valente's The Orphan's Tales Vol 2, In the Night Garden, Sarah Monette's A Companion to Wolves (and I still have to finish her Virtu series which I am really enjoying), Michael Scott's The Alchemist, O.R. Melling's The Lightbearer's Daughter, Kate Thompson's The New Policeman. Oh, and Book three of Stevermer and Wrede's series, The Mislaid Magician. And then Neil Gaiman just wrote about Ellen Kushner's sequel to Swordspoint, called The Privilege of the Sword, which Locus did review a while ago (both positively), no shortage of more new books to buy and read!! So I felt calmer, then, and have started carrying my lists with me just in case I pop into a bookstore ("Look dear, the door was open so I went in and look what I found! And don't worry, we still have money for food and Christmas....") Just need some way to open a time portal so I can go somewhere and read, read, read, then when I'm ready, open the portal and slip back into this world. In this fantasy of mine, no time has elapsed so no one knows that I went anywhere, and I get to read all the books I want to!!! I wonder if I would age in that portal/book reading world???
I wonder if I should add to my books read list every year, all the cookbooks I go through? One day I will write about my favourite cookbooks and chefs.....meantime suffice to say Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater, plus Sarah Leah Chase and James Barber, reign supreme in this household!! Which reminds me, Holly-Anne has already come to ask me what's for dinner, so I'd better go and start cooking......Life of Pi (and this blog) will have to wait......

Sunday 18 November 2007

Why Write?

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke writes: "Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: Must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity..." (First letter, Vintage edition, translated by Stephen Mitchell).
I was perusing some blogs last night, and came across one
in which the writer is talking about Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way". I too have done morning pages for many years, up until I moved back to Canada in 2001. With various break from writing them in those years, but at that time I always returned to them. For those who have not encountered her books, Julia writes about creativity, and how to free yourself from what holds you back so you can be as fully creative as you want to be. I found the Artist's Way (as I wrote in a comment to the above blogger) that I found "The Artist's Way" very useful for uncovering my hidden wounds regarding my creativity, and what was holding me back in my writing. I am still uncovering the latter, as I struggle to finish my first full-length novel, the one I've been writing for over 10 years now. Writing the morning pages helped me to see I had plenty to say, and I had no problems writing 3 pages a day! But I couldn't write about writing, I had to write about my day and my complaints, (according to her guidelines) and I found eventually that I could either write in my pages, or later in my regular journal, OR I could write my book each day, but I couldn't do both at once. Julia must have found that the stresses in her life were interfering with her writing. It has taken me until this year to finally realize that if I don't write creatively, I start to feel at odds with my life. I have to write. If I write, I feel a deeper peace with myself and the world, I am content. If I don't write, I start getting short-tempered, and it grows until I am unbearable to be near, until I finally write again. So I have had to decided that it doesn't matter if what I write is crappy, or banal, or boring (though I hope it is not!) - my usual reasons for stopping what I am working on - I have to write. And not in my journal, but creatively. So, in the deep dark of my night, my answer to Rainer Rilke's question do you have to write? is yes, I do.
So my current writing mentor is Walter Mosley's "This Year You Write Your Novel." This book has aided me immensely in getting over the mental blocks I put up to writing, which have to do with expressing myself creatively. Which I discovered doing Julia Cameron's morning pages! The only way through the block is go through it. So after a 4 week halt in writing my novel, on Thursday I set the alarm clock early enough and started writing again. I keep "This Year You Write Your Novel" on my bedside table, and I dip into it every night before I go to sleep. So I start my day with writing, and I end my day with thinking about writing. In between, as he says, becuase I am writing every day, the book - chapter - scene I am working on, or story I am telling (depending where I am with the story) sit with me, and through the day pops into my head. Both he and Stephen King in "On Writing" say that the most important thing to do is write everyday. Even on weekends, during holidays - even Christmas morning, even on holidays - write every day. I still struggle to write on the weekends, and am coming up to Christmas, so we'll see how I do then! In the meantime, I am three-quarters of the
way through my book, I estimate, of the first draft. I've been working on this draft since last May, writing about 1 page a day. As I wrote earlier, I have worked on many drafts of this book, never getting this far, although one year I cam close. I have never been happy with how it progressed, never happy with how I was writing it or where I ended up because it seemed I got side-tracked the further I got into my book. Part of the problem is I don't have an outline, but I have never been able to keep to an outline. Even in university when writing papers I could never write from an outline. I preferred to have an idea, make notes and find quotes, and then write it. I have scenes in my head for my book and I know roughly where I will end up, and what happens to the characters. Though I find I am still too restricted in my thinking/characters, and all the others want a say, too! so my first draft will be a first draft, my building block, and from there I can expand. This feels so good to be able to say at last, about my writing! I am writing!
Now if I can turn the dratted tv off more often so I can get more read......still working on "Cadillac Jukebox" by James Lee Burke, it is more interesting now but it seems to be taking a long time to read. I have so many books to read by Christmas - my From the Stacks list, plus two I just picked up, "The Night Country" by Stewart O'Nan and "The Safe-Keeper's Secret" by Sharon Shinn. Yes, I know the From the Stacks Challenge was supposed to keep me from buying more books! But I figure reading books from my bookshelves helps me feel virtuous because I am reading what I have, and I have to add more so my pile doesn't get too empty. Another blogger I read last night, - see her blog on From the Stacks, - as the butterflies she describes on not having anything to read - ie the TBR pile is getting smaller when we read from it - describes perfectly well why I went out and bought two more books after picking five from the TBR pile!! Now to read them all! And hurry up January - hurry up Christmas - there are so many new books from favourite authors waiting upstairs! I've given them to my LSS to wrap up so I can't peek at them any more! so I will finish James lee Burke today so I can get started onto one of my books on From the Stacks Challenge. All the housework is done - we had my friend and her new boyfriend over for dinner last night, so yesterday was housecleaning and so today is FREE to read!!! When the kids let me, that is.....this blog has been interrupted countless times already and my LSS asked my I was writing it this early in the day (I normally do it after they are in bed). I said it was nice to work on this when I am awake, for once! I only have to take my walk today - there is leftovers for lunch, and dinner is trying out the new Indian curries from President's Choice line, so I don't even have to take a break to make meals! Hurrah!!! It's Susan's reading day!! may you all find time to read today too, Gentle Readers!

Monday 12 November 2007

writing and new challenge From the Stacks - Winter Reading

In writing my earlier blog, I forgot to say why I wouldn't save my writing in case of a fire. I've been thinking alot about it, and I think it's because for my novels, I have the fantasy that I am working on, and if I had to, I could rewrite it again. It would be annoying, but I can definitely redo it. My poetry, on the other hand, is all on the computer. It didn't occur to me to save the computer, which I guess says alot about me and technology! The poems would be pretty much gone as we don't have a cd writer program yet for the computer, so I can't save them. But in a fire, I think my answers would pretty much stay the same. I love my writing, but I can redo the work. If we were allowed to save 10 items, then the computer would come!

And i've joined another book challenge -this is a short one, 5 books to read between now and Jan 30 2008. My list is on the side bar. I'm pretty excited now, I get to start my Canadian Reading Challenge, and read books I already own! This will please my LSS greatly, as I already have a stack of books I bought when Mom was here, for Christmas. And these 5 books are books I owned and have been meaning to read, it will be great to get them read!!

Sunday 11 November 2007

If I could Save Five Things......

At the Hallowe'en party at Patricia and Victor's on Oct 27, all the dinner guests were asked a question: what would you save if a fire was approaching your house, and you had two hours to pack your car and could take five things? Spouses and children were automatically understood to be included. I came up with:
1 - my Goddess statue (and other items on my altar)
2 - my cat Bandit
3 - my tarot cards
4 - my photo albums (most are still in a box since coming from England 6 years ago)
5 - fill a box with books

Afterwards, I was very surprised that I didn't say my writing, or my computer, or my jewellry, but on the whole, the items are picked are irreplaceable. And books, well, I've learned that whatever I give away or lend, unless I hated the book, I usually end up wanting it again sometime later. Almost everything else in the house can be replaced, except for my collection of teapots, of which one is very old and already survived coming from England. But again, while I love them, I can live without them. I can't live without the things on my list. So there you have it, Patricia said it was a quick way to get to know someone - now what would you save, Gentle Reader? And does your answer surprise you?
Oh, and I never said how BIG the box was I was going to fill!!!! VERY large!!!
i finished Have Mercy on Us All last week by Fred Vargas, and I very much enjoyed it. I like the characters, I like how the detective is set up - Detective Commissaire Adamsberg is intuitive, which annoys his immediate underling Danglard who is often frustrated by this kind of thinking, but has been with his boss long enough to give him space (if he can), trusting by now his boss's gaps in thinking that produce miracle connections - but Adamsberg can't remember names and faces of his new staff, 25 officers, so he has a memory book! The crimes are chilling, and the mystery is a mystery - not easily solved - all in all, very entertaining and a good read.
I am currently reading James Lee Burke's Cadillac Jukebox, which was one of the three books Burke names as his favourites with Dave Robicheaux. I had read quite a few of the early books in the series, and then stopped reading him in the last decade. I thought I'd try this one, and I'm finding it slow going. I can't figure out why - I like the character, I love the southern setting, I think i find the evil people - and there are truly evil people in this book - too nasty - there are good people to balance them out, but I think I am annoyed that Robicheaux is taking on a case that isn't a case, for a man who may not have done a crime but no one wants solved by him. I will stick with it for another 100 pages or so, as I still hate to give up on a book, so we'll see. I hope it improves as I just picked up one of his latest, Pegases Descending, for Christmas.....
For my American readers, in the book business up here there has been quite a controversy since our dollar is worth more than your dollar (temporary, I'm sure!). We still pay the Canadian price, which is more than the American price, even though we should be paying what you pay! Now I've worked in bookstores in the past, and I know our price difference is not just because of the dollar - in fact, that has little to do with it. It has much more to do with shipping costs, publishing costs, market size, etc. One of my favourite independent bookstores, Collected Works, is offering books at par with US prices. I am proud to say that I continue to pay the Canadian price. The owner still has to make up the difference on his bills, and I'd rather support my independent book seller any day, than get a book cheaper(unless our Canadian dollar stays high and the publisher's prices become equal......hmmm, I can dream!) For all their size, our Chapters and Indigo stores do not carry the amount of midlist and backlist stock that they should. If you want book 2 in a series, or often book 1, you still have to order it! I go in to scout what books are new (because they can carry a bigger quantity of new releases), and then go to Collected Works and order the books if they don't have them in. Normally they do, and for a small store, Collected Works packs more than enough selection and variety that they often carry books Chapters doesn't! I love the idea of having a bookstore be the size of a library - but if Borders (US and UK) and Chapters can't carry a multitude of titles to match their space size, then it's not likely to happen soon. Which is a shame, and I've always thought that Chapters/Indigo (now owned by Heather Reisman so same company really) missed the chance to be one of the most amazing book companies in the world. But, that lets Collected Works exist, and Prime Crime, and Folio's in England, and all the independent bookstores that you and I treasure, Gentle Reader. Anyway, this was meant to be about the dollar difference and how it is affecting books in Ottawa (and most likely the rest of Canada), and supporting my local bookstore! My friend Patricia (same one who gave the very fun Hallowe'en party mentioned above) works at Coles, which is part of the same chain as Chapters- owned by Heather Reisman - and she has been regalling us with horror stories the past month, of customers coming in and throwing books at her and the other staff because they can't get it for the US amount. It's been really awful, and it's not Patricia's or any other bookstores' staff's fault. Chapters and Coles have begun offering bigger discounts - 30% off the top twenty bestseller list, etc - which takes the price below the American price -but that is not on all the books in the store, though. I suppose the key thing is the range of mark-ups in books is very low - the price is on the book when it's sent by the publisher, so it's not like in other retail stores where the price is inflated for a profit (clothing retail stores are among the worst for this) far beyond what it takes to produce the clothing. Head office can set the price to whatever they like. In books, the price is right there; there is some margin for profit or there would be no bookstores! But the profitability has never been great enough to make a fortune at it. Almost everyone who works in books does it out of love. And though I no longer work in books (the aforementioned low wages!), I can certainly support my local bookstore by buying there and paying the Canadian price!
Ok, my LSS is waiting to start watching Frost on TV......someday I have to read the books I have, that the series are based on.......RD Wingfield is the author.....but now it's relaxing time on this Sunday evening. It's Remembrance Day, and as Patricia said to me earlier today, let's pray for peace today, even as we remember and honour the heroes and the wars and the dead. As always, come home, our soldiers, safe and sound.

Sunday 4 November 2007

2 cases head lice, 1 trip to the hospital, 2 birthdays, 1 small car accident, 1 Hallowe'en later......

Well, where to begin? As the header suggests, October did not go out quietly in our household! It began on the 22 with Holly-Anne throwing up on the school bus. Then the call from daycare next day that the youngest Graham had a suspected case of head lice. Although both kids were checked that night, the next day (Wed the 24) Holly-Anne's daycare called to say she had seen something........five treatments later (Graham got the shampoo twice because I did it wrong the first time), hours every day fighting with Holly-Anne who hates getting her hair more than lightly brushed, Tuesday night rolled around.....Oct 30, Hallowe'en eve. The kids had their last lice treatment, and finally at 10:30 I sat down to carve the pumpkins.....One hour and a bad gash on my hand later, I was at the emergency ward, where i waited with our dear family friend Victor for 5 hours to be seen and stitched up. I devised Susan's rules of Pumpkin Carving:

1. Do not carve after 10 pm.
2. Do not go from scooping pulp from one pumpin, to cutting the top of the next pumpkin, without washing hands first!
3. Do not, while carving one pumpkin, be mentally planning the carving of the next two pumpkins in an ambitious plan to carve 4 pumpkins in two hours because of delays because of head lice (see above).
4. Always pay attention when handling sharp knives!!!

I was so embarrassed. In 20 years of carving pumpkins, I had never done more than knick a finger.......and here I was with a large enough gash that I needed 6 stitches to close it. And it was my left hand, so I couldn't do much - no typing, no writing, no going to work........
so Hallowe'en was done handicapped and in some pain, AND it was Duncan's 19th birthday so I wasn't going to be baking any cakes or brownies as I usually do. One birthday and Hallowe'en trick or treating later, I was finally able to get some sleep!

After Hallowe'en my mother arrived on Thursday night. Friday was Graham's third birthday, so off we went to do errands, our book shopping (we always go to Prime Crime Books on Bank St and load up on mysteries for Christmas), and get snowsuits for Holly-Anne and Graham, Mom's loving and very generous birthday gift for each of them each year. At Bayshore as we arrived at a parking spot, a van was about to drive in. In one of those horrible miscommunications, he motioned for us to get out , but I wanted to make sure he was in before taking Holly-Anne out (he was coming in on her side of the car) and so I waved him in. Suddenly we heard a crunch and knew the car had been hit. Holly-Anne had opened the car door, having gotten out of her car seat despite instructions to stay put until I got to her. Luckily the door had a small buckle and was able to be shut, the van had a broken head and signal light, and even more luckily, extremely luckily, Holly-Anne was completely unhurt. She had dropped her sucker on the car floor and bent down to get it, instead of hopping out of the car. I shudder to think what would have happened if she'd had her leg or arm or head out when the van hit.

Then it was on to shopping, car repairs and Graham's birthday party that night! I think it was yesterday afternoon when I finally found myself taking deep breaths, and I realized that I hadn't really calmed down since I'd cut my hand, that I hadn't had time to catch my breath. Needless, to say, this is the longest I've been able to type on the computer, as the gash is between my thumb and forefinger and the stitches pull when I use my fingers alot. It is healing very nicely, but I think I will be doing some more reading than writing for the next week, until the stitches come out on Friday.

On the plus side, the boys had good birthdays, I did get two pumpkins carved (even if not 4......), it was the warmest Hallowe'en night any of us could remember for the 20 years I've lived in Ottawa, we had a fun visit with my mother (despite her car's new dent, which will be repaired shortly.....), and I did point out that earlier that day she'd said they'd had no problems with the car for 8 years, so she cursed it!! We're paying the repair costs, so fingers crossed we will have enough for at least Holly-Anne's birthday (the day before Christmas)......and I'm very glad we went book shopping BEFORE the accident so I could buy the books guilt-free!

I did manage to read a book before and after the head lice (which thankfully I think we got it all!), and although I finished it Nov 1, after the Hallowe'en deadline, I'm going to count it: Night Relics, by James P. Blaylock.

NIGHT RELICS - James P. Blaylock
written in the early 1990s, a ghost story that is strange and ends bizarrely. It doesn't have as many chills as I like spooky stories to have, and some of the actions of the presences in the forest don't quite fit with the story - some threads are left hanging - but on the whole, it was very enjoyable, and I did pick it up, after all the lice/Hallowe'en events were over, to finish it. It's not a classic ghost story, but it's closer than many books written these days, so I'm glad I read it.

So that is it for my Hallowe'en reading. I started Edgar Allan Poe, but read the introduction and then put the book down. I wasn't in the mood for anything I had already read, which is why I didn't finish Interview with a Vampire. I've read it several times over the years, and thought I wanted to again, but not yet. So not bad for my first book challenge 6 out of the 8 books read! And I started late with it! Of all the books I read for this challenge, Devil in the White City is the book that comes back to me most often. Very definitely a book worth seeking out.

So now it's on to my Canadian books and mysteries that I want to read before the 888 Challenge begins in 8 weeks! I have tinkered with the 888 list again, as I have to add more mysteries; since they and fantasy are the books I read most often every year, in and out, it makes no sense to leave them off. And there are so many books I want to read!!!

I am reading a mystery I bought on Friday from Prime Crime, by Fred Vargas. They were out of Wash This Blood from My Hands, which I have been looking for, but they had another one by the author so I thought I'd try it: Have Mercy on Us All. Fred Vargas is a French writer, a historian in her real job, and has written several mysteries starring Detective Commissaire Adamsberg. I've read 50 pages so far and am quite enjoying it. I like mysteries translated from other languages. It is fascinating to see how they view the world from a different perspective than North American. I do notice when the idioms are wrong, but that is part of the charm for me. I try to think of what a better phrase would be, and maybe what it might have been in the original language. I can get a sense of right and wrong in Sweden or Germany or from wherever, and the feel for the country, the land, the weather, the politics (since many of the best mysteries the world over deal with what is troubling the world, in one context or another). I love Smilla's Sense of Snow, and have read one Arnaldur Irnalddson (I'm pretty sure is spelled wrong, but I borrowed the book from the library, I don't own a copy to spell check the name!) and want to read the others now, have read most of Henning Mankell, and am trying some new Scandinavian mysteries when I can get back to Prime Crime before Christmas (If Mom's car door doesn't cost to-o-o-o much to repair). Wash This Blood from My Hands might be coming out in a smaller softcover version which is what the store computer suggested. I'll let you know, Gentle Reader, how Have Mercy On Us All turns out.

The kids are playing with all of Graham's new toys (many Cars - from the movie CARS -, many trucks and cars and Thomas from Thomas the Tank Engine series) and if they'll let me, I might sneak in a few minutes of reading before they get restless and start asking to go outside to play. Housework needs to done, cookies baked, and tidying up from birthdays and the rest of the Hallowe'en decorations to come down. I hope you all had a much calmer Hallowe'en than we did!!! Time to catch our breath before the Christmas season begins! Happy reading!