prince caspian

I saw the new Prince Caspian film last week, and thanks to a timely warning from my sister, I did not read the book beforehand. I recommend that anyone who hasn’t seen it yet do the same. The film adaptation is great fun and stays true to the message of the book, but it isn’t the same as the book. Personally, I think the changes they made with for the film make it a more interesting film than if they had simply taken the accounts of the book and put that on the screen.

Afterwards, I re-read the book for the first time in ages. It has been my second favorite of the Narnia books, tied with A Horse and His Boy and beat out by Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Reading it now, as an adult, I am not as entertained by the book as I once was.


Although I am working my way through a book to be reviewed for Blogcritics, I forgot to bring it home with me this weekend, so I decided to pick up one of the books high up on Mt. TBR.

Anne & Todd McCaffrey’s Dragon Harper is a book a received for Christmas. I have been a fan of the Dragonriders of Pern series ever since a friend introduced me to them when I was in high school, and this is the first time I have not read one of the books cover-to-cover on the night I brought home a copy. Mainly, this is because I had so many lined up that I needed to read for review that I felt guilty about spending time on reading for pleasure alone. I will make sure that doesn’t happen again.

There are a few references to characters and events from both Dragon’s Kin and Dragon’s Fire, and since I don’t recall much of the latter, I’m beginning to suspect I may have missed reading that one, too. Regardless, once those connections are made and all the key characters are introduced, this book easily stands on its own with its own tale to tell. If you aren’t already familiar with Pern, you might get a bit lost in the cultures, titles, and terms. This isn’t a good book to start with, but it certainly is a fine addition to the series.

One thing that is noticeably different about this book compared to others in this series is that the authors have narrowed the range of individuals involved in the story, and have done a better job of making the names more distinct. The last few Pern books have had so many key characters doing all sorts of things that I felt like I needed cheater notes just to keep track of who’s who. I did not feel that way with this book, and I hope that future books will also have this balance and clarity.


I’ve been slowly working my way through a more academic book than my usual selection, and it’s taking me a lot longer to finish it. In the mean time, I agreed to send a book to a fellow member for her birthday, but I wanted to read it first. The slim young adult paperback clocks in at 118 pages and I finished it in less than an hour (over lunch today, actually). It’s called Star Ka’at and is written by Andre Norton and Dorothy Madlee.

The story involves two orphan kids and a pair of stray cats they find. The cats are not exactly your typical domestic tabbies, and there are hints of darker elements that a more adult-oriented book might cover. The mini-arc of the book ends satisfactorily, but there are enough questions remaining to make me seek out other titles in the series.


My review of Sylvia Engdahl’s Stewards of the Flame has been published on Blogcritics. I’ve had it on my pending review list for far too long, but most of that was because the length intimidated me. I still haven’t broken my pattern of reading a book cover to cover in one sitting, so I wasn’t particularly eager to jump into the 450+ page tome. However, since I still don’t have teh internets at home, I was able to put off my usual evening routine for a couple of nights and finally get this book read.

Stewards of the Flame is a thought provoking novel that may make you question the authority and direction of modern Western medical practices. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading genre fiction with some substance to it.


I have been reading Rita Mae Brown’s (& Sneaky Pie Brown’s) mystery series for at least ten years, if not longer. I have read all of them, and in the past few years, I’ve begun to collect them in hardcover. In fact, I have bought the last three new in hardcover as soon as they were released, so you can imagine that I was pleased to greet another January with another new book in the series. Except that I didn’t pick up my copy until the first day of February….

Anyway, The Purrfect Murder is now available, and I have spent a lovely evening reading it. After the boring local and unpleasant characters of the last book, and the gruesome and dark murder in the book before it, I was pleased to note that Brown has returned to her tried and true formula for this book. Some might say it’s worn and dated, but for me, it’s just the right kind of predictable-yet-new brain candy that I crave from time to time.

Brown has allowed her characters to grow and develop over time, and she has also continued to incorporate some into the core that were originally introduced as side characters in previous books. Sneaky Pie notes in the afterwards that each book is meant to represent a season, and that four books equal one year in real-time. This was good to know, and something I hadn’t quite consciously noted before now. However, since Brown references events from previous books, it might be difficult for someone not familiar with the series to understand the context.

My only complaint with this book is that it is more noticeably preachy at times. Brown seems to use her characters to make statements on current politics, social issues, and just about any other hot-button issue of the day. I found this distracting, even when I agreed.

books read: 2007

I tried and failed once again to complete the 50 book challenge last year. However, I did a little better than the year before, and probably would have read at least two more books if I hadn’t made a cross country move.

  1. The Empty Chair by Diane Duane (fiction)
  2. A Librarian Is To Read by Betty Vogel (non-fiction)
  3. Wordplay: The Official Companion Book by Will Shortz (non-fiction)
  4. Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  5. Puss ‘n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown (fiction)
  6. So Say We All: An Unauthorized Collection of Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica (Smart Pop series) edited by Richard Hatch (non-fiction)
  7. Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (fiction)
  8. Gauntlet by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  9. Progenitor by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  10. Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  11. The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  12. Three by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  13. Oblivion by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  14. Enigma by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  15. Maker by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
  16. Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Louise Engdahl (fiction)
  17. Orphan’s Quest by Pat Nelson Childs (fiction)
  18. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (fiction)
  19. Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (fiction)
  20. At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie (fiction)
  21. Nemesis by Agatha Christie (fiction)
  22. Ordeal By Innocence by Agatha Christie (fiction)
  23. First Have Something To Say by Walt Crawford (non-fiction)
  24. Social Software in Libraries by Meredith Farkas (non-fiction)
  25. Beer & Food: An American History by Bob Skilnik (non-fiction)
  26. Guinness – The 250-Year Quest for the Perfect Pint by Bill Yenne (non-fiction)

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My review of Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 3 was published on Blogcritics. Go read it and find out why I’ve spent the past month re-reading the books.

My review of Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 3 was published on Blogcritics. Go read it and find out why I’ve spent the past month re-reading the books.


This is my least favorite Miss Marple mystery, but I had to re-read it before watching the new film adaptation of it.

At Bertram’s Hotel is my least favorite Miss Marple mystery, but I had to re-read it before watching the new film adaptation of it. It is just as unsatisfying as I remembered it being. Much like Bertram’s Hotel, the characters are not who they seem to be, and even though it is a Christie mystery, one is left with the feeling that something is not quite right. I wonder if the new version will be more appealing?


I’m not sure if re-reads count for the 50 book challenge.

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

I’m not sure if re-reads count for the 50 book challenge. In this case, it’s one of four Agatha Christie mysteries I’ll be re-reading before watching the adaptations for the new Marple series starring Geraldine McEwan. The original book does not have any of the more well known sleuths, although Poirot is mentioned by the lead detective, Superintendent Battle, who also appears in a minor role in other books. The mystery is solid, and is told well. I had forgotten the outcome, so it was still a bit of a surprise. I wonder how Miss Marple will be incorporated into it?


A fun romp through alternate history.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I hadn’t planned on reading another book on my trip, so I had nothing for the return flight. In fact, I have a pile of podcast episodes to catch up on, so I figured I’d listen to them on the way home. However, after my time warp experience with reading on the flight out, I decided to find a book while in the Atlanta airport. Anything that will make the four hour flight to Seattle more tolerable is worth seeking out.

I had almost given up in my search when I spotted a Penguin paperback edition of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I have a copy of this in hardcover, but I haven’t read it yet. I decided that buying a second copy was better than the torture of sitting bored out of my mind in a cramped space for four hours. After reading it, my only complaint is that it was too short. By the time I finished, I still had an hour and a half to go before we landed. Maybe next time I won’t start reading a half an hour before the boarding process begins.

As for the book itself, I felt a bit ignorant at times. I’ve read Jane Eyre and a handful of the other classics referenced in the story, but often I felt as though something would have more significance if I knew the other works better than I do. Still, quite a fun romp through alternate history!