30 November 2009

What I am Reading: November 2009

  1. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon: If you haven't been reading this series for the last, what, 18 years?, there's probably little to say. Most of my other books are boxed up and sitting in a storage unit in New York, so I can't go back to revisit them, as I often do when a new book in a long running series comes out. I enjoyed it and at 814+ pages in the British edition, that says something. This book was especially interesting to me as it was set in my home area and I enjoyed the immediacy of reading about events that I know well in an historical perspective. For those who might be intrigued, check out the wiki article and go from there. The concept is time travel through standing stones and other "holy areas", a well-used fantastic concept, but the novels are gritty, interesting, romantic, and well-researched. 
  2. Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells: The first in a running trilogy that uses the concepts that vampires are one of the branches from Adam through Lilith and that all red hair is a sign of blood attachment to that root. The beginning of a war between the Vampires and the Mages, with some mention of the Faery. Interbreeding, divided loyalties, etc. A decent read a first sale for the author, I think she will get better and look forward to reading the next.
  3. Venetian Dreaming by Paula Weideger: The author, a writer, falls in love with Venice. This is the story of her growing attachment to the city and most especially her love of the apartment she rents (in a palazzo) and her interactions with the noble owners and other members of "high- read rich" society in the arts and culture areas.  Very interesting in light of the current news especiall as regards her view of the "moos". Yesterday was my first German class of the semester and I spent far too much of the chatting with the Italian next to me about my love for his area of Italy (he's from outside of Venice) and we spent 10 minutes talking about the actual deployment of "the moos" and how the decision to build it was Mafia controlled.
  4. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett: Not certain if I've reviewed this before, but since I reread it, I'll mention it again. I love Terry Pratchett. I am never disappointed in one of his works and it is a modern tragedy that he is now a victim of early onset Alzheimers, becuase his command of language and humour are his life. I met him many years ago at an SF con in San Antonio, before I really understood how important his work was, and he was just as modest and funny and charming in person as one might expect from his works. This is a Discworld novel and I was grateful for every one of its 459 pages. Everyone had an opportunity for character development, with special emphasis on Vimes and Lady Sybil, Carrot and Angua, Nobby and Gaspode, and a deepening understanding of Uberwald and it's three-legged balancing act between dwarves, werewolves and vampires as Vimes is sent by the Patrician to Uberwald to act as Ank-Morpork's ambassador to the crowning of the Low King.
  5. Dragon Actually
  6. About a Dragon and
  7. What a Dragon Should Know by GA Aiken: Terribly guilty pleasures. These are three slightly more graphic romance novels than I am used to— there's clearly been a change since the Mills&Boone years— but my gosh, these were fun. In each book there were multiple laugh out loud moments. The novels tell the stories of three brothers and how they each meet their mate, while interacting with a large and amusing family in a well-drawn out medieval period fantasy world.  The women are interesting, amusing, intelligent and with skills of their own. The gods occasionally stick their noses in. And the brothers (I can't say protagonists, because the women are really the stars) are dragons. Great, great fun for those interested in this genre of amusing romance. I hope that there are more forthcoming.
  8. Me and My Shadow by Katie MacAlister: Another Silver Dragon novel, but closely tied in with Aisling, as she and Efrijim are secondary characters throughout the book.May Northcott, a doppelganger, develops into her own person in the paranormal romance. I definitely am seeing a turn to the romantic from the fantastic.
  9. Chalice by Robin McKinley: I love McKinley's writing. Another re-telling of Buaty and the Best and yet different. I could almost hear the buzzing of the bees and feel the warmth of the sushile, golden as honey.

26 November 2009

Steeleye Span...

If you know the name, they are celebrating their 40th Anniversary with a tour and I just can't miss it. So I'll be taking a quick 19 hour trip to London and back to see them at the Barbican on December 7th. The German will be taking the day off to watch the kids, so anyone who would like to see the show and meet up, or meet before or after, drop me a line. Even by myself I expect to have an absolutely glorious time.

25 November 2009


Thing1's fever has finally broken. It  reached 104.1, or just over 40C and it did not respond to Motrin all day so I was getting quite concerned. T2 had the same on Monday night, but it responded beautifully, so she never got over 103F and I never felt that I needed to call the doctor. Today the German spoke to him in the forenoon and I spoke to him in the late afternoon, at home (another of the good parts of the German versus American health care system) and the doctor was able to reassure me that the high temperatures would not hurt her, in and of itself. I've never had a child stay up at 104 for any extended period of time and it's been quite frightening. I researched around and the new literature all seems to say that fevers in and of themselves will not be damaging, but it was very reassuring to have a doctor discuss it with me, offer to come over if I felt it was necessary, but explain why it wasn't at that point. Some cool showers and Motrin and swabbing down later it seems that it may have broken on exactly the same schedule as T2's. Looks like being on the waitlist for the H1N1 vaccine may no longer be as important. T2 back to kita tomorrow, if her health maintains and perhaps T1 can return on Friday.

09 November 2009

Still in Blogger...

Here I am, back on the Blogger platform. I was able to restabilize my computer by de-installing the auto update of Firefox, then deleting all my preference folders and then re-installing (using Opera). Right now, all three of the browsers I was using during that trying time have become stable.

However, when I look at Wordpress' dashboard, it is showing me slightly more than double the posts that I see here in Blogger. So I am going to take (yet another) step back from Wordpress until I figure that out. However, I miss the concept of pages, so I think that I will start to create page equivalents to enable an easier conversion when and if that occurs and I will continue to run these blogs parallel, as I have for yoinks. In that effort, expect to see me remove blogrolls and instead create a single post with links, remove my recipe sidebar and create a post with links and probably add a post that accumulates my monthly book reviews.

I am still having a problem changing categories and tags in Wordpress and really don't like what happened with the export, so anyone who would like to pint me at some way to handle that, I would be grateful.

02 November 2009

My 400th post is actually a move: from Blogger to Wordpress

For some strange reason, I am having major crash problems within Google, both in Reader and here on the Blogger platform. It's been so bad that I actually shut down Firefox and installed Opera, but it's still happening. Right now, I can't even open my own web site to look at it and even though I have come in from the back end and deleted a number of widgets, it hasn't helped.

So here is my final kick in the pants to make me move. Please follow my blog over to


Maybe I will learn how to automatically transfer incoming browsers there, but I doubt it:).

If anyone can point me at a "tag to category" converter/plug-in, I would appreciate that as well.

I'm not certain how long I will run these parallel- if Google straightens out this week I could move back. Otherwise I am in the market for a new reader as well. See you in WP.

01 November 2009

What I am reading: October 2009

  1. My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme: Although I haven't seen the movie yet, I understand that it is a mix of Julie and Julia and this book. I read the former in ARC from the BEA and quite enjoyed it, but really, I love Julia Child. What a woman she was, larger than life in all ways. She came to Europe in her mid-30's and she really travelled and lived with a gusto as large as her frame. I had also ordered her "Mastering..." books before I left the US, but they were back-ordered, I'll pick them up next time over. This book only whetted my appetite to read ore of ehr works as well as to read a real biography, rather than a short memoir: what a long and loving and exciting life she lead.
  2. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs: the third in Briggs' Alpha and Omega series- a good read.
  3. The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede: I really liked this. Basically post-Revolutionary expansionism, with Magic being wild and dangerous past the Mississippi
  4. On the Edge by Ilona Andrews: This is a new series by the author, who is also three books into her Magic..., series, which I am also enjoying. It seems to bear out my belief that tropes run in groups: it's set. as the above book, on the edge between magic and not, although this book is in modern times. There is an "edge", the ribbon of land that runs between the never touching realms of magic and "the broken", where magic does not work. Rose is an Edger and she can move back and forth between the two, unlike most residents of the "real" realms. But she is also strongly talented with magic and that presents a lure to some. I really liked everything about her and her story: a strong, independent woman. The only thing I disliked was the effiminate woosiness of the depiction of the male lead on the cover, so please ignore that.
  5. You Suck by Christopher Moore: I actually read the "prequel" to this, Bloodsucking Fiends, some time ago and although I liked it, I didn't enough to keep an eye out for more (by Moore). I picked this up in Barcelona and I do like it enough that my initial tepid response to Moore will have to be put aside and I'll keep an eye out for another. It's the continuation of the "love story" between C.Thomas Flood and the girlfriend who turns him. His friends are an issue, the ancient vampire who originally turned Jodie is an issue, and there is a giant shaved cat in this book as well.
  6. Momo by Michael Ende: I was looking for The Neverending Story originally, in translation from the German, but this was what I found in Barcelona.Really quite timeless story of a girl and a race of grey men who attempt to stael time. Very good read.
  7. Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook: Four independent novellas. I purchased this for the Andrews story and was very happy with it. It's an important piece of backstory to a secondary set of characters in her Magic... series. The Harris and Singh were ehh, the former a particular disappointment and the Brrok was quite interesting, though I'd never heard of her. If you read Andrews, worth buying the book for her story. Otherwise, buy an Andrews book and after you have read those and liked them, consider buying this book.
  8. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi: Obviously purchased as I was leaving Venice. I really enjoy this genre: the expat travel book, as it were. When it includes recipes, even better. I really enjoyed reading about Venice through de Blasi's eyes and was particularly amused when she mentioned of the track areas where we had wandered.  
  9. A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi: I picked this up in Rome, as the Harris book on Pompeii was not finable in English translation. De Blasi and her husband move north, to Tuscany, as he undergoes basically a mid-life transition. As I understand, through looking to see if her herein mentioned Tuscan travel tour actually exists, there is a great deal of exaggeration in her "memoir". I don't care, though, because I enjoyed reading it.
  10. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett: I pre-ordered this from the UK, of course. Wonderful book. I read it non-stop. The general theme being that one can change oneself, that one is not doomed to be what one was made to be, and that it is possible that society can understand and change as well. As a Jew in Europe, and especially in Germany, the theme resonates strongly. The world is not quite as easy as this, I think, but still: Pratchett's writing, the Unseen University, Vetinari.... Top form. And football as well, for those who care as opposed to myself, who looks at it only as a tool of the writing.
  11. Wild Robert by Diana Wynn Jones: What happened here? A hard cover book that appears only to be the first few chapters of an actual novel? What a tremendous disappointment.